Review: Shape-shifting singer evokes big-time comparisons

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

Anthony D'Amato, "Cold Snap" (New West Records)

Anthony D'Amato's work has been compared to Bruce Springsteen, Simon & Garfunkel and early Bob Dylan, and while those are lofty invocations — and there's really only one early Dylan — the comparisons have some validity.

D'Amato is a fine songwriter, if something of a shape-shifter, and he's at it again on his second album, "Cold Snap." It's bigger-sounding than "The Shipwreck From the Shore," which he wrote after studying with the Irish poet Paul Muldoon, that led to all those lofty comparisons in the first place.

The opener, a lavish song called "Oh My Goodness," echoes latter-day, stadium-anthem Springsteen, although its hook is too repetitive. And it's not a huge leap to hear a hint of Simon & Garfunkel's finger-picking balladry on "A Kick in the Teeth."

Whether the sound is derivative — or merely reflects a wide range of influences — is immaterial. D'Amato has talent and a strong band behind him, and the songs are catchy and muscular.

Some are laced with a hint of self-loathing. In the album's terrific first single, "Rain on a Strange Roof," D'Amato finds himself in someone else's bed — wide awake while the person beside him slumbers — listening to the rain and pondering his choices.

He puts it out there the way the best songwriters do, inviting judgment without declaring it. And like a lot of the work on this album, it has enough depth to reveal new secrets with each listen — and to mark D'Amato as a songwriter to keep an eye on.