Bunny Sigler drops CD
It’s a simple fact that, sometimes, artists lose their way. There are minor and major detours. Some artists will dive headlong in uncertain ways to recover some sliver of the spotlight they’ve lost and crash hard thanks to desperation. Other artists decide that their strengths aren’t sufficient to maintain their place in a changing world. Bunny Sigler and his release Bundino falls into the latter category. The fourteen songs on the album are well produced, but many are experiments at bringing Sigler’s world together with the style of today. It’s an often uneasy fit.
This is apparent from the outset. The opening track, a brief introduction to the album titled “Let’s Start The Show”, is a clashing marriage between box of tricks tastemakers of today and Sigler’s comparatively quaint approach. The situation declines further on the next song, “I’ve Been There Before”, as the rapper duet plays a much more significant role on the album’s first proper song. “Red or Yellow/Black or White” salvages the album’s bumpy start with its condemnation of intolerance filtered through Sigler’s vocal. “Buttermilk and Cornbread” is Bundino’s first unquestionable success. This is an unabashed r&b raver with bellowing horns and a command vocal performance from Sigler.
“When I Think Of You” fades in at the beginning and the gently emerging picture from the music has surprising gracefulness, but the song’s truly surprising turn comes when Sigler starts singing sweetly of simple breakfasts and the other deceptively mundane details of life spent living with close loved ones. “I Don’t Give My Heart” is a more successful mesh of the old and new than heard elsewhere, but the imaginative songwriting from Sigler and Noisette St. John, Jr. is their fifth pairing on the album and one of the very best.
The album’s final memorable moment comes with “Song for Sig”. Sigler’s guts taking on a song like this, clearly cutting so close to the bone of his own experiences, says much about his commitment to the project. Even at seventy nine years old, Sigler is still placing himself on the firing line with his music and letting his risks take him wherever. “Forgive and Forget” is a smooth offering that any fan of the genre has heard before, but Sigler’s take on the traditional subject of reunited lovers has real appeal.
Bundino struggles with predictability in places and misjudged gambles, but insecurity drives them rather than any lack of skill. Sigler needs to focus on what he does best and keep that unique, unassailable sound shined to bright glow. Bundino works best when he’s being Bunny Sigler.