From the instrumental keyboard opener, “3am”, a stunning cinematic piece that sounds like something from Ennio Morricone’s Cinema Paradiso score, to “With Me Always”, which wears Beckley’s undeniable Beatles influences comfortably, this record showcases Gerry’s genius for creating perfect pop songs. Every song fits together poetically, but the standout is the closing track, “Somewhere Somehow”, an ethereal, longing tune with a kind of Burt Bacharach vibe, complete with French horn reminiscent of the instrumentation in “What the World Needs Now (is Love) ”.
Beckley, who owns a bunch of Taylors, puts all of them to very good use on both the America record and the solo outing, which he appropriately chose to illustrate with a hazy, taken-at-dusk photo of an unidentified beachside amusement park roller coaster. It’s a moody, poignant cover shot that perfectly represents what’s inside.
If you set aside a half hour or so and listen to Horizontal Fall from start to finish, you will be dazzled by the melodic artistry that is Gerry Beckley. If you’re a true fan of America, it won’t surprise you. If you’re not, it may. Those expecting “Sister Golden Hair” may be disappointed with Beckley’s solo disc, but anyone who’s actually been paying attention and listening to America’s records over the last 36 years won’t.
Beckley is a masterful singer-songwriter whose songs have always been wonderfully conflicted, with elements of sadness and joy, self-doubt and cockiness, cynicism and innocence and, ultimately, hope. There’s a reason why his band once attracted the services of legendary Beatles producer George Martin. What a comforting, reassuring feeling to know that, so late in the game, Beckley and his band are making some of the best music of their careers.
@request the 2006 album by Songwriter, singer, guitarist of America fame Gerry Beckley.
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