Review by Peter Karoly

When I was a kid growing up the early 1960s, my aspirations were no different than any other kid in my neighborhood. We all wanted to grow up and be baseball players. Most of my friends wanted to be Al Kaline or Mickey Mantle. I wanted to be Jerry Lynch. The reason for that is simple. While Lynch never managed to be a regular starter during his 13-year career, he was an outstanding pinch hitter. He was also born in Bay City, since his hometown of Munger didn’t have a hospital, I guess.

Lynch was always an inspiration for me because it showed that someone from my hometown could be successful in the big bad world. In my subsequent travels on the planet, I have never tried to hide where I was from nor how I got to be the way I am. I may be from a smelly little town, but I certainly wouldn't claim to have been born in New York City (don't get me started on that smelly big town or the person who made that comment). I have found that many famous and talented people have come from the Tri-City area and, for my money, there are few places to rival the Michigan music scene. Let's not forget "96 Tears" was recorded in Bay City, but that is another story.

This story is about Traeder, which is made up of singer-songwriter Carrie Treder and guitarist Dr. David Cline. She is originally from southeastern Michigan but currently calls Flint home. He is currently an associate professor of elementary science education and learning theory at Saginaw Valley State University. Together, mixing some letters of their names and combining their talents, they have released their first album of original songs, No Evil From Me. After just a couple of listens, you won't get any argument about that from me. There is no evil here, only listening pleasure.

The 10-song offering is a mixture of many styles, ranging from a bouncy opening song to blues, ballads, and soul. The second song, "Fallen Angel," reminds me of something Richard and Linda Thompson might have done, and Treder’s vocals remind me of a cross between Linda Thompson and Kirsty MacColl, sweet and throaty at the same time. A very appealing combination and one that is perfectly accompanied by the playing of Cline. There is also a Jewel-sounding song, and others that are just Treder.

It is reported that Cline is largely self-taught on guitar and learned by "absorbing ideas and styles from some of the world’s best players through concerts and recordings, as well as countless hours of practice and performance." I, too, have spent countless hours absorbing musical ideas and styles, along with plenty of suds, and the only things I haven’t done are practice and perform. That probably accounts for why I can barely play the radio. Still, if he learned from self-teaching, I would like to sign up for some of those classes. This guy can play guitar, and he can play just about any way you would like. He plays acoustically on this release but has been playing for almost 40 years, including time as both a lead guitarist and bass player in rock and R & B bands. The two work very well together and, if this offering is any indication, they should have a long and successful association.

When I was young, I wanted to be Jerry Lynch. Now that I'm old(er), I have changed my focus but not lowered my standards. I would love to be able to sing and play like this, but I am not willing to commit to the hours of practice. It is much easier to listen to them. All you have to do is download individual songs or the entire album from an online source. For my money (and yours, too), I would go for the whole thing. It is cheaper that way, you get the complete offering, and you help support some really great local music. I won't name any songs that I like more than others but, when someone subtitles something "The Michigan Song," well, that has to rank right up there. It is there that Treder sings "then I could see that I could be just who I am, and you would know the things I show I don't pretend."

There is no pretension here. This is the real thing, and I’m proud to say it's from Michigan. Don't look any further and accept no substitutes.

© Peter Karoly, 2010