That may seem like a lot of influences to fit into a five-song debut EP, but this performer seems to maximize his resources. With just his voice and acoustic guitar, accented occasionally by harmonica or tambourine, this guy makes bigger sounds than should be expected.
He must be a trip to see live.
Through the five songs, his tenor conveys a mix of pain, excitement and desperation, and his guitar backs it all up wonderfully. Slide guitar and a touch of harmonica gives the opener "So Long" a down-home energy to kick the set off. The simple arrangement of "The Lies" segues nicely into the emotional intensity and sinister guitar work of "All for Tonight."
Anger fades to sadness for "Out of my Head," a lament about a former love. The effect is amazing as he switches gears from dark to just plain drained. "The Lies" closes the collection nicely with a nice bit of acoustic blues.
And suddenly it's over. The brevity of an EP leaves more questions than answers, but isn't that the point? Wallace has followed the simple rule of "leave 'em wanting more."
My spin: B-
The self-released "Playing With Fire" is a nice introduction to Wallace and his music. It's far from perfect, but it shows some very nice promise for this new talent.
Available at cdbaby.com and emusic.com, "Playing With Fire" is worth a good listen. It features a short set of well-crafted songs from a performer, if he stays true to this form, should be gaining notoriety in the coming years.
Released: March 23
The players: Wallace-vocals, guitars, harmonica; Stefano Zazzera-tamborine
Producer: Stefano Zazzera
Learn more at: www.myspace.com/wallaceonfire