Jeff Klein

You'll Never Get to Heaven If You Break My Heart (India)

JEFF KLEIN

You'll Never Get to Heaven If You Break My Heart (India)

Originally from New York, Jeff Klein has been quietly honing his craft in Austin for three years. You'll Never Get to Heaven If You Break My Heart may be his second release, but it sounds like the work of a grizzled veteran. It's a winning set that alternates between dark and light with remarkable finesse, with a variety of moods that flow naturally and always keep it interesting. Klein's vocals at times recall the rasp of Jon Dee Graham, other times the brooding of Son Volt's Jay Farrar. Some atmospheric pieces possess a rustic charm, like "Blown Away," "Song From the Tin Man," and "Black and Blue," while also making room for the massive roar of tunes like "Break in Two" and "Ballad of Big Red." Klein treads on deep emotional territory throughout. Songs like "Lower Down," "Black and Blue," and "Without You" bristle with electricity despite mainly acoustic settings. The rich and varied backdrops are provided by the strong production work of Mark Addison and some of Austin's best players, including Mike Hardwick, Scott Garber, and Nina Singh. The focus, however, is always on Klein, who shows unexpected capacity for writing haunting melodies and startling lyrics that are at times sarcastic, yet always intense and heartfelt. Klein may be a relative newcomer to Austin, but You'll Never Get to Heaven If You Break My Heart shows he's already one of the better singer-songwriters in town.

***.5

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