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Review of Dietrich Strause at the Lizard Lounge 5/8





Review of Dietrich Strause at the Lizard Lounge 5/8

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Dressed in a crumpled white button-down shirt, trousers, and a belt, singer/songwriter Dietrich Strause looked a little like a weary nine-to-fiver when he took the stage at the Lizard Lounge last night, but this unassuming demeanor is exactly what gives the Oberlin graduate his signature modest stage presence. A twinkle in his eye suggests that he sees a kind of humor in the situation, but his shoulders hang heavy with the weight of the observational wisdom that unfurls in his masterfully crafted songs. "As if being an acoustic guitarist/singer/songwriter weren't obvious enough," Dietrich hesitantly thought out loud into the microphone, "I guess you could say that I'm a pretty sensitive guy. I love puppies, and this is a song about dog-walking." Unsurprisingly, the song was not just about dog-walking.

In a completely non-pejorative way, Dietrich Strause is a geek. "Jean-Louise," a song he wrote about Harper Lee's classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird, is evidence enough that this is a guy who reads. "Run along, Jean Louise, while you're still a child," Dietrich urges, echoing the sort of perspective and insight that would sound right at home coming from Atticus Finch himself. Dietrich's intricate, feathery-light guitar playing and smooth, clear vocals bring him aesthetically closer to folk than lit-rock, strictly speaking, but lyrically, his bibliophilic style is reminiscent of poetry-prose artists like The Weakerthans or The Decemberists. "Smart" music can sometimes run the risk of coming off erudite and snobbish, but Dietrich seems like the boy next door who breathes clean, country air. Comparisons to Paul Simon come to mind, but Dietrich probably already knows that, given his spot-on cover of "American Tune." The highlight of the evening, though, was probably "Nuns with Guns," Dietrich's answer to Bob Dylan's "It's Alright, Ma" with the added bonus of a memorable sing-along chanty-style chorus. Word on the street is that Dietrich is an expert trumpeter, too; the only disappointment of last night's show, then, is that he didn't somehow figure out a way to play trumpet and sing at the same time. Maybe someday.

Dietrich Strause will be at No Place Special in Mashpee on May 22nd

--Stephie Coplan

Published: May 10, 2010 |

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