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Zach 

Turquoise Dreams (self-released)

Currently one of the most active musicians on the local coffeehouse scene, 18-year-old singer-guitarist Zachary Freidhof has a nasal voice that recalls both Bob Dylan and Tom Petty -- not bad guys to imitate if you're just starting out, but not people with whom you want to be associated if you're trying to break new ground. Backed by a group of local musicians he calls the "Band of Gypsies" -- guitarist Frank Romano, keyboardist Jon Denney (who also produced the album), singer Cory Farinacci, drummer Joe "Coach" Hanna, cellist John Cromano, and bassist Mike Crow -- Freidhof has aligned himself with a cast of capable musicians that provides his songs with a rich musical tapestry. Farinacci, who's a dead ringer for Joni Mitchell, harmonizes particularly well with Freidhof and sings lead vocals on one song, the pop-oriented "There She Goes." She and Freidhof co-wrote the song -- it's not a cover of the La's song "There She Goes" or the Velvet Underground's "There She Goes Again."

But by singing about topics such as the beauty of nature ("Turquoise Dreams"), everlasting love ("Listen"), and fiercely loyal girlfriends (the hidden track "Angel by My Side"), Freidhof's first album is firmly rooted in the folk/rock movement of the late '60s and '70s. Even the metaphors he uses (angels and birds) are outdated. Freidhof needs to look forward. There are moments -- for example, when driving guitars cut into "There She Goes" and when an escalating jam emerges at the end of "Delusions" -- that Turquoise Dreams sounds like something other than a nostalgia trip, but there are not enough of these moments to make the album sound like something contemporary, and that's its shortcoming.

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