Chris Trapper, 'Til the Last Leaf Falls'
CHRIS TRAPPER TIL THE LAST LEAF FALLS
ESSENTIAL "This Time"
Chris Trapper knocked on stardom's door with the Push Stars but has had a long and winding career ever since. This is his fifth solo disc and further affirms his underrated status. Trapper's voice has the earnestly sensitive timbre of Coldplay's Chris Martin (I'd love to hear them sing duets), though he departs from custom and shows a darker side this time. All the songs are subtle musings on love, with some of the better ones afloat in bittersweetness, as in "Big Mistake" and "Black Eye." Some of the tempos are too restrained - this is a classic, Triple A radio-style disc - but Trapper limns them with gorgeous details that shimmer through his quiet melodies. Some of his piano playing is reminiscent of Neil Young on "Journey Through the Past," while his guitar playing is continually effective. His backup players also shine, notably Boston's Duke Levine on guitar, mandolin, and lap steel. This is an artful album about a man in thoughtful transition in life. And he includes his own version of the gently lilting "This Time," which he wrote for the "August Rush" soundtrack (actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers sang it in the movie). Trapper is an incurable romantic and you'll see why here. (Out now)