Viner ripens

Aug 16, 2006 at 12:00 am

If only someone would write this generation's Harold and Maude, Mr. David Viner could write the sound track. The 24-year-old Londoner hasn't the same name cachet that Cat Stevens did back in the '70s, but something suggests that it's better that way. It's easy to imagine Viner's soft, penetrating voice and nimble guitar-picking guiding us along some painfully lovely storyline, the same way Stevens' did for Harold and Maude. It's easy to visualize Viner too, writing music that's inescapably tied to a plot so beautiful and awkward that we didn't even know we wanted it.

Despite an obvious matriculation from the school of blue-eyed soul and folk, his ear for melody and innocent jocularity make him more than just another pretty piece of UK novelty. He's coming to Detroit this week for, well, a vacation, but being that he's a much-loved performer and pal to a handful of local "garage" musicians, they've put him to work.

It seems Viner has played host to many a UK-touring Detroiter over the years: "It'd be ridiculous not to play while I'm there [Detroit], and, yeah, I guess I'm owed a few beds and dinners," Viner laughs.

But more than being a mate to road-weary Detroiters, Viner is cut from the same cloth as many of his Motor City pals. It makes perfect sense that he has befriended and performed with the Dirtbombs, the Von Bondies and hometowners-by-way-of-Cincinnati, the Soledad Brothers.

He has two records under his belt and both are ear-tickling examples of Viner's tasteful restraint. And the Lovin' Spoonful, Eric Burdon and Hot Tuna loom large.

"It's actually pretty hard to play what I play, but yes, it's straightforward. I'm not making experimental music and I don't stray too far from roots music. I've finally got my dream band," Viner says.

Rumor has it that he might sneak into Jim Diamond's Ghetto Recordings for an impromptu session, but for now the city kid is more focused on going camping and canoeing with his Yankee pals. And he's still got an appropriate amount of vim: "I want to go to Kentucky and try some American spirits. They are expensive here."


Friday, Aug. 18, at the Belmont, 10215 Joseph Campau, Hamtramck; 313-871-1966.

Eve Doster is the listings editor of Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected]