Written by Samuel Barker
Mar 03, 2010 at 06:00 PM
ImageOne of the better points in my life was when I stumbled upon the folk scene here in Houston. Of all the scenes around town, it seems to be the one with the best network, the most accessible venues and, most importantly, the largest pool of raw talent.

On this night, I made it over to see Jimmy Pizzitola perform at McGonigel’s Mucky Duck for the release of his debut album, Poet on the Run. Being a fixture of the Houston folk scene for many years, it was surprising to find that this was Pizzitola’s first official album.

Those familiar with Pizzitola’s performances around town, on the back deck at the Duck with The Front Porch Society or at his family’s BBQ joint, are used to seeing him with just his guitar and a few harmonicas. Pizzitola used to front Alt-Country local band, Jimmy James and the Enablers, but from the times I’ve seen him, he’s never been with a band.

On this night, however, Pizzitola brought in a drummer, a bassist, a keyboard player and fellow folk musician Matt Harlan to play lead guitar. It was a blessing and a curse as the night went on. Some songs shown greatly with the band like “Therapy” and “Fresh Water,” but others lost their power with me like Poet on the Run, his album’s title track.

A rousing cover of Elvis Costello’s “Detectives” definitely shined though, as did his song “Divine,” which is a story you must listen to the song to hear. Pizzitola’s songs are mostly narratives that capture the listener with their interesting takes on the human life. Some tales sordid, some humorous and some paranoid, they all capture humanity perfectly, which is the point of folk music.

Head on over to www.poetontherun.net to check out some sound clips from the album and for future dates from Pizzitola.