For those of you who aren’t on the Paul Sanchez tip, he may be the best songwriter in this town chock-full of good songwriters. Since leaving Cowboy Mouth, he has taken the opportunity to present his tunes without the volume and bombast of his former band’s arena rock. Here on Reclamation of the Pie-Eyed Piper, he and this band of top players put a collective, little-bit-tighter-than-a-hootenanny feel to songs both old and new.
They grind hard on the Cowboy Mouth standards “Louisiana Lowdown and Blue” and “Light It on Fire” with an edge that the previous versions lacked. On the mellower side, there is the romantic “In the Tunnel of Love with Me” and his songwriting collaboration with Alex McMurray, “”Emotional Equity.” One of Sanchez’s strengths is that he rarely if ever resorts to clichés when he writes about love.
The band fills out the arrangements with a graceful swing or hard-driving rock. Craig Klein’s trombone and Shamarr Allen’s trumpet add New Orleans-flavored fills to the songs here without overwhelming them, and Sonia Tetlow, Debbie Davis and Alex McMurray take vocal turns that give the album variety without distracting from the overall sound. Ironically, Sanchez’s democratic approach draws attention to the songwriting and lyrics as they’re the unifying thread.