CD Reviews

LEN G.: Even Rainbows Fade

Len G. (Guerzon) is a North County musician with early experience in rock bands, then working club gigs in LA before settling into a day job, while keeping a musical focus in the contemporary Christian scene. In 2005, he retired and has been splitting his time writing and playing both spiritual and secular songs while developing a catalog of his own original, interesting pop. Even Rainbows Fade is his debut disc.

Much of the music here was made during a time of intense personal family loss for Guerzon, including the passing of three parents and in-laws in a short time in 2010; his 10 songs address such themes as the preciousness of time, the complexities of life, and the life beyond this one. Where he succeeds is in proposing some solutions to these puzzles, sometimes through lightening up and being proactive or taking advantage of love – and in a few tunes, turning to God. At first blush, this looks like a contemporary Christian disc, but these themes are really central in only a couple of tracks.

Musically, the only pattern to Guerzon’s music is the lack of one, other than a broad mixture of light, acoustic-based pop framing his distinct voice. He has a gift for arrangements and good backup musicians, many of them church-connected friends and family members (four Guerzon family members play on the disc, most notably backup singer Cyndi and lead guitarist Jerry). Keyboard/bassist Alan DiCato helped produce.

“Falling” has catchy acoustic guitar picking while a mysterious violin weaves in the background; it’s about falling in love, but the whole vibe is foreboding. The intro to “U Have 2 B” sounds like Santana used to and so do the guitar breaks and percussion; it gives Guerzon’s message of self-realization a jazzy Latin groove, a standout track. Next up, “Why” shifts gears entirely, but still works, with alto sax floating on an airy keyboard carpet, “Why does love have to die?” Another masterful arrangement lifts “Eternity,” telling us we’re here today and gone tomorrow, as the sax-dominated, shifting tempo is arrestingly catchy.

Guerzon tells a parable about various Christian characters in his only narrative, “Give Them a Sign,” it seems to be one of those tunes pointing out the human failings in the outwardly religious – in this case the roster needing the Lord’s help includes a nun, priest, and minister. A more personal approach to spirituality is “Sweet Surrender,” which uses a strong melody and nice guitar work by Jerry G. to tell about how all our lives are in God’s hands, so live accordingly. The disc wraps with “Following Light,” with Cyndi Guerzon in the lead vocal. She does a great job, and it is perhaps the best track here. Two finger-picked folk guitars and sharp harmonies are decorated by slide guitar touches, as she sings a memorable melody about the big change in her life, brought on by her discovery of love.
Len G. makes quite an impression with Even Rainbows Fade. Repeated listening reveals new textures in this highly personal pop document.

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