I’ve just finished “reading” fourteen novellas in the last couple of hours. That would be – I have listened to George Wirth’s “The Last Good Kiss” from beginning to end for the first time. Surely, anyone who has fallen into a Wirth song knows that each one is a soft chair, reading light and cherished book containing stories that take the mind to distant and imagined sanctuaries.
Wirth’s second full-length album, following “The Lights of Brigantine,” is another instant classic. His music is like that heavenly piece of land that we wish we could share with a million others, yet we are equally happy to keep this warm place somewhat hidden and reserved for those who will truly appreciate what we have here.
“The Last Good Kiss” is a compilation of Wirth’s observations of life’s struggles, tales and loves. From his dark tome to Asbury Park, “Memorial Drive,” to his subtle love song hidden behind images of Jesus Christ walking on water, “Weight of Sin,” Wirth takes us down long and winding paths that lose time and place as we turn each wonderful page.
On this effort, Wirth has brought some talented friends along for the weaving of his webs. We are graced by the fiddle of Amanda Shires (“The Last Good Kiss” and “In Your Arms”), the dobros of Abbie Gardner (Make You My Home – backing vocals, too) and Jim McCarthy (“Dreamland”) , Gardner again on lap steel (“Power Lines”), and the elusive Janey Todd (writer and co-vocals on “Dreamland). What is most interesting about these contributions comes from the sense that what each artist has brought to the songs has always been there. Each accompaniment is reserved, harmonious and comfortable in its place, as if walking side by side perfectly with Wirth’s guitar and lyrics.
“The Last Good Kiss” is also graced with some of the best songwriter found this side of Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen. Wirth’s aforementioned “Weight of Sin” and Todd’s “Dreamland” stand up to anything the two legends could pen. The aching “The Last Good Kiss,” the conflicted “Water on Water” and the photogenic “Easter” are other extraordinary examples of writing brilliance.
George Wirth is an artistic magician. With the help of some incredibly talented people, he has crafted an album that is required for anyone who wants to say they have the best music on their shelves. I would say more, but I am going to sit quietly and listen some more now.