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The best kept secret in music


"Americana UK, Feb 2005"

Charlie Degenhart "April's Fool" (Wing Ding Records 2005) This is Nashville based songwriter Degenhart's second recorded venture, a varied and enjoyable 5 track EP, which was produced by guitarist George Marinelli, renowned for his work with Bruce Hornsby and Bonnie Raitt. Marinelli also co-wrote 4 of the songs, and plays just about everything, the only other musician credited being one time Rodney Crowell drummer, Vince Santoro. The aim is clearly at the mainstream American " rock" market, although the songs, by and large, manage to avoid the blandness and sterility which characterises much of the genre. 60s pop, with a contemporary twist, is evident on the opening track "Momentary Bliss ", and the hard rocking groove of " Called" has overtones of some of Don Henley's solo outings. There is also a more country tinged feel present, most notably on " Val Wrenne", and the closing track " Our Crooked Roads". An impressive and well above average effort, and certainly a name to watch out for. JH

- Americana UK

"Degenhart's CD is poetry in motion and fuel for the imagination"

If you close your eyes each time you listen to Charlie Degenhart's 'Bridge St. Main,' you will be reminded why musicians are referred to as artists. In his debut album, Degenhart arranges words and notes to offer a listener a variety of images and moods.
Degenhart's songs in 'Bridge St. Main' combine vocals like Dave Matthews', only smoother. Lyrics are as well crafted as Simon and Garfunkel's and instrumentation as varied as Counting Crows' "August and Everything After."
Track two begins with what would be a dreary February day, but a splash of 'Sweet Lady Sunshine" appears in vivid oil paint with spurts from the sax and lighthearted lyrics.
Pencil sketches of bluesy 'Steel City' could illustrate anyone watching the changing face of a small city with regret. Saxophone and accordion stand out in this song about Degenhart's adopted home of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania:
"Are you only growing older where you are?/Afraid you're fading into a phantom on the corner."
Degenhart paints a picture within a picture in "Alaska." As mortality creeps up on the subject of the song, he requests that when he is gone, a friend deliver to his child his tale of Northern lights, eagles, and the icy blue of the 'Alaska' he experienced in his younger days.
Lighthearted guitar strums and drumbeats set the scene for "Fourth of July," but the words could stand alone: "She'll be sailing across the starry sky/upon a paper dragon/are those ashes falling in your eyes?"
Gentle piano and faint background vocals are perfect compliments to the soft-spokenness Charlie delivers on "Birthday." This watercolor is anything but pale with lyrics like "too soon to know your thorns/your petals smooth and sweet/may be just a reminder to me/how a sunrise is suppossed to be."
Degenhart asks in track five, "What Mood Are You In Today?" and after listening to the entire CD, the answer seems to be whatever mood he puts us in.

Kristi Grier, Weekender Editor
November 2, 2000 - The Times Leader (PA)

"Charlie Degenhart- "April's Fool""

This EP from Charlie Degenhart is a brief but rewarding exercise in witty, straightforward songwriting. Degenhart manages to touch on most of the best rock 'n' roll traditions in a mere five songs. the Beatles float through the opener "Momentary Bliss," Don Henley lurks in "Called," Harry Chapin can be felt in "Two Fools," Elvis Costello in "Val Wrenne" and even some Van Morrison and Randy Newman in "Our Crooked Roads." No mean feat there. That's for illustrative purposes only, and not to say that Degenhart is leaning too heavily on any influences. In fact, he holds his own as both a singer and a songwriter. Each tune is a highlight, but "Val Wrenne" in particular is a wry, dark and peculiar little adventure and "Our Crooked Roads" is a bluesy, melancholy winner.

July, 2005 - Performing Songwriter

"Uncle Daddy's Smoke Shack"

This is another great Wingding Records artist that deserves a mention on our site. Charlie Degenhart is new to the Nashville scene but not new to music in general. He’s already released an excellent full-length album, ‘Bridge Street Main’ available on Tiki God records and his Wingding debut EP, ‘April’s Fool’ builds on the momentum to expose him to Music City. Here is my review of the EP.

Momentary Bliss:
A western feel surrounds the opening of ‘Momentary Bliss’, a story with a moral to enjoy the simple pleasures that many of us often overlook. This is a good mid-tempo opener to set just the right mood.

The albums second track, ‘Called’ reminds me of a mix of Motown and the blues with Degenhart crooning in an almost 60-s era Steve Winwood style. With a swinging, up-tempo swagger, ‘Called’ is a memorable track.

Two Fools:
With an Americanized Beatles influence, ‘Two Fools’ is a mellow, ‘lazy day’ kind of song. This tune gives a view of two siblings that share an April 1st birthdate and take time to forget about the troubles of society in order to revel in each other’s company.

Val Wrenne:
This endearing tune about an elderly man reminiscing on his past glory days on radio and the viewpoint of the songwriter is one of the best “storyteller” songs that I’ve ever heard. The changes are flawless and the song has beautiful melody lines that carry a heavy Lennon/McCartney influence. This tune deserves to be heard by the masses!

Our Crooked Roads:
This is a laid back, heartwarming road song that has a bit of a Randy Newman vibe going on. The slide guitar accentuates the strong biographical lyrics. Twisting around the main lyric of “Home is never as far away as it seems”, ‘Our Crooked Roads’ takes us on a journey worth the ride.

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this disc by Charlie Degenhart. These songs truly carry a personal story that is felt throughout and a set of emotions that we can all relate to. In today’s age of electronic media and other assorted fancy gadgets, Charlie Degenhart reminded me that you can write a thought provoking song that makes an emotional impact on the listener with just a voice and an acoustic guitar. This collection of songs could very well succeed on mainstream radio if given the chance.

Chris Czynszak
Sept 2005

- NashvilleRock.Net


'Bridge St. Main', Tiki God Records, 2000 (LP)
'April's Fool', WingDing Records, 2005 (EP)


Feeling a bit camera shy


Charlie Degenhart is a singer-songwriter who sings as much as he songs, bashes as much as he strums, and gets his kicks with band in tow, bringing the Stones to the party while holding on to troubador roots. In other words, no navel-contemplating here, just good music with depth played hard and with a clarity that doesn't require an English degree to decipher. 'April's Fool' is Degenhart's debut release on WingDing Records and showcases all of his finest attributes in one fell five-song swoop.

Degenhart began his musical odyssey in the early 90's, becoming a regular on the Philadelphia and regional Pennsylvania club scene. His debut CD, 'Bridge St. Main' was released on Tiki God Records in 1999, to sensational critical response. Performing Songwriter magazine described the disc as ". . . stunning. . . the record oozes with kick-ass, thumping, Heartland energy, heartstring-pulling balladry, insightful lyrics, strong melodic hooks and first-class musicianship that falls somewhere between Tom Petty's Heartbreakers and Bruce Springsteen's E-Street Band."

In 2000, Degenhart moved to Nashville to continue his work and to find a band to help keep the Bridge Street Momentum going. Regular performances on Music City's stages have helped to increase his reputation as an outstanding rock and roll frontman with a purpose, winning him new fans at each gig.

His latest EP, 'April's Fool' features five songs co-written with guitarist George Marinelli (Bonnie Raitt, Bruce Hornsby and the Range), and recorded at Marinelli's WingDing Studio. The lead off track of this solid-as-a-rock EP, "Momentary Bliss," is a self-described "snotty take on romance" full of the melodious spirit of the best 60's era pop and roll. "Called" follows and rocks hard with a gritty groove that perfectly frames the posing sneer of its poker-faced narrator. "Two Fools" shifts the mood ever so slightly, as Degenhart wraps his gentle vocals around a haunting melody that takes on the bond between himself and his younger sister, siblings that share all of the psychology of an indelible April 1 birthdate. "Val Wrenne" is a weird but wonderful piece of modern psychedelia, a musical pastiche that XTC or the Fabs would be proud of, about a quietly noble man who used to narrate old radio programs. Finally, Degenhart's EP masterwork closes with "Our Crooked Roads," a folksy piece of Americana dealing with simple themes of reconciliation and family.

'April's Fool' is a listen that puts you right here with Charlie Degenhart in the here and now, while whetting your appetite for where he's headed next. And, whether dancing around the house or cranking it up on your car stereo, you'll want to come along for the ride.