Dave Plaehn’s Radio Sister is an interesting blend of funk, soul and reggae. At times, I feel like I’m watching an episode of Moonlighting and Bruce Willis still has hair. Radio Sister is a comfortable record, nostalgic, time traveling and a bit trippy.
The strongest track is “Radio Sister,” grabbing a James Taylor/Lyle Lovett vibe. Bouncy, light, cheeky and irreverently feel good. “Radio Sister” showcases what Plaehn is all about.
He takes us on a joy ride, a cruise, march and waltz through a landscape of ideas and genres. I like “Comin To You” for this reason. Radio Sister slips in and out of timeframes. And it’s a nice way to escape real life with each listen.
On “Better Things To Do,” there’s a bit of Warren Zevon in there. The intent and the style are haunted by Zevon’s while also having Plaehn’s unique tone. On “Love and Truth,” Plaehn sounds like a ringer for Jackson Brown. It’s a lovely sweeping track.
I get a strong brother-from-another-vibe between Plaehn and Loudon Wainwright. Both as skilled as they are quirky.
There’s a reason Plaehn evokes so many feels and vibes. He’s been all over and has picked up a lot of delightful knowledge and a plaid of influences, steeped in eclectic soil from Iowa, Madison Wisconsin and Oregon. The blues, classic rock, reggae and mariachi funk came tumbling out of that living.
BTW, that is not a typo. There is such a thing as mariachi funk. And it’s glorious.
Plaehn is also an accomplished harmonica and jug player. I get the feeling he’d be perfectly fine in the back of a boxcar, the train snaking through a patchwork of styles and sounds, a sum total of a life lived to the fullest.
Radio Sister Tracklisting:
I Want Love
Nothing’s Got a Hold On You
Is Anybody Listening?
Comin To You
Better Things To Do
Give Me Lovin
Love and Truth
Leadbelly Medley: Looky, Looky Yonder / Linin Track / Black Betty
Instruments: Voice, harmonica
Production: Dave Plaehn