In his lovely, soulful second album as the collaborative Too Sad for the Public, composer Dick Connette reverently and sometimes irreverently takes the roughhewn spirit of American folk music and refines it like a hunk of whale bone etched into an elaborate, beautiful scrimshaw. Over the years, Connette has irregularly skimmed across the music-industry firmament like a comet, as a producer of others and then with his ensemble Last Forever, where he carefully designed his exquisitely wrought chamber-folk songs and assembled talented musicians to perform them….
On his latest, Too Sad for the Public: Vol. 2: Yet and Still, Connette mostly turns to Canadian-born and Brooklyn-based Ana Egge as the vocal focus of the songs with lyrics. Her bluesy drawl – reminiscent of the laidback, late-night, jazz-hipster singing of Rickie Lee Jones – gives the songs a sardonic, wry sensibility. On “G. Burns in the Bottom,” which takes off from an old string-band song, Egge sings with the darkest of humor: “It’s the awful truth in a world of hurt; Nobody’s smarter than the dirt.” Though known as a musical composer, Connette also shines as a lyricist. His sung stories have the resonance of folk wisdom, but he seasons his wisdom with wry touches of absurdist wit. “I can tell time but I can’t tell it much,” says one narrator. Connette is able to evoke the struggles of his hapless townspeople while still leavening it with a deadpan sense of humor. – Marty Lipp in RootsWorld Magazine