Friday, June 21, 2013

They Call Him Mr. Saxophone

It's not easy being Weird Al Yankovic. Imagine spending your most productive years repurposing pop music as novelty songs and having your original tunes dismissed as "derivative."

Now imagine being Mr. Saxophone (Dave Farver). Wha what? Easy there, son, you'll get there. Trade the accordian for a saxophone. Narrowcast your audience down to school-aged children. Take Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train" and turn it into "Gravy Stain." You get the picture.

Farver has 15 years of field experience around St. Louis wearing giant, stovepipe pants and blindingly colorful shirts to give him street cred. But he wouldn't have lasted this long without genuine musicianship and snappy lyrics.

His new CD, I SNEEZE IN THREES, contains the requisite parodies. In addition to the Osbourne twist, there's "The Gila" (Tequila) and "Luke, I'm Your Father" (Smoke on the Water). Farver manages to make it work and gives an oral history lesson of the original Star Wars trilogy.

Moving past the spoofs, Farver contributes a moving bedtime song, "Earth and Sky Lullaby," an ironic rarity that includes a sax solo. The title track talks about the singer's penchance for rapid-fire nose clearings. "Hugs and Kisses" is a sideways Randy Newman-esque take on "You've Got a Friend in Me":

First you take your arms and open 'em wide
Big enough to put an elephant inside.
Then you wrap 'em up tight around somebody you love
And you give 'em big hugs and kisses.

Being the number one performer in any genre is tough. Mention the name "Weird Al" to most adults and you get an eyeroll in return. Now imagine being Mr. Saxophone. Farver has kept his musicality at a higher level while smartly targeting a younger audience, who may not get the references making their parents laugh.

Luckily, none of us have to imagine ourselves being Mr. Saxophone. Dave Farver is doing that for us. You just have to get his music for your kids. Just try not to delve too deep into the Star Wars mythology.

I SNEEZE IN THREES is available at Mr. Saxophone's website, CDBABY, Amazon, and iTunes.
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