Wednesday, July 19, 2006

***Duke Puddintown***

Wanna try the rowdiest dance since the Hokey Pokey? Do the "Hurley Burley Stew"! Need an awesome pop song about caring for nature and your fellow human beings? Add "Respect" to your iPod. Been looking for a tune featuring a dog, some pasta, and a peppery breeze? Then, "Poodles and Strudel" is your number. Welcome to Duke Puddintown!

After rocking the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia music scenes, Greg Loop decided to settle down and start a family. The songwriting bug kept biting, but now the results were kids' songs. Armed with a guitar, a bass, and a snare, tons of harmonies and an album's worth of great tunes, Greg Loop recorded Stories from Duke Puddintown in his basement (yes! indie rock rules!), and let the rest of the world know about a mystical, mythical town founded by Great Grand Pappy Cappy Puddintown, and named after his dog, Duke.

You'll find songs about sea adventures, a flying dog, the beauty of the outdoors, a Jamaican family who sailed on a boat of feathers, an environmentally conscious sailor, feelings and social interaction, all backed by irresistibly poppy music. What makes this collection of tunes even more fun is that many of the songs reference each other, giving it the feel of a complete story, like chapters in a seaside folktale. The wordless harmonies and ringing banjo of the instrumental "Butterflies", the story-within-a-story of "Kido Skido", and the epic "Salty Knobby Knees" are great examples of the uniqueness of Stories from Duke Puddintown.

Loop's masterful wordplay skills and ability to write lyrics with a child's imagination really set this album apart from the pack. This is a fun, sweet, catchy CD, Greg's first but hopefully not his last. He makes frequent appearances at Pittsburgh's South Side Works summer series, so if you're in the area, check him out. And say "hi" to Duke and all his friends.