One Track Mind: Damian Joyce with Keith Emerson, “When You’re Around” (2014)

Offered with a rough-hewn, acoustic grace, Damian Joyce’s paean to the Big Apple unfolds with a warm confidentiality. But the beginning? Pure Keith Emerson.

The co-founding keys man from Emerson Lake and Palmer is featured on a classically inspired introduction, setting an atmosphere of romantic stoicism for everything that follows. Greg Lake, of course, once made similar kinds of folky contributions in the heady days of prog-rock prominence back in the 1970s — think “Lucky Man” — and Emerson worked similar oddhanded magic.

Seems after hearing Joyce’s stripped-down, very writerly pieces — the singer-composer is also a published author, having released the novel The Dreamer’s Road [Part One last year -- Emerson insisted on making a contribution. "When You're Around," the lead single from Joyce's new 13-track album Raw, is the happy result.

Raw was produced by Brian Kehew, a touring musician with the Who and former co-producer for Fiona Apple. The song, and this album, also feature contributions from drummer Chris Jago and bassist Joel Gottschalk.

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Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has also explored music for publications like USA Today, Gannett News Service, All About Jazz and Popdose for nearly 30 years. Honored as newspaper columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section that was named Top 10 in the nation by the AP in 2006. Contact him at nderiso@somethingelsereviews.com.