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Local musician proves a
mountain of talent

Stükenberg - Mountain of Pieces
(Machine Records)
4 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: March 28, 2008

Review by Tony Bonyata

It's funny but the wealth of talent right here in our own backyard of SE Wisconsin never ceases to amaze me. The latest case-in-point is the young East Troy-based singer-songwriter Stükenberg (David Stükenberg for those of you in the 53120 area) who has just released his debut full-length effort Mountain of Pieces on the local label imprint, Machine Records. On it, the 21 year-old has produced a sprawling collection of timeless sunny '60s pop mixed with enough eccentricities to keep trendsetting music bloggers scrambling for superlatives for quite sometime.

The album opens with the striding pop of "Don't Mind," which, with Sergio Mendes horns, George Martin strings and a pleasing chorus, wastes no time in setting the positive, uplifting nature of this effort. This tone is further carried on through numbers such as the smile-inducing "Fights" and "Otherwise," the latter which culminates from an inviting pop number into a swelling gospel-infused bit of psychedelia, complete with euphoric soulful vocals reminiscent of Clare Torry's from Pink Floyd's "The Great Gig In The Sky."

During Stükenberg's youth his family was constantly moving from one place to another (having lived in no less than twenty different homes and attending a dozen schools) and the influences of his vast surroundings have also, no doubt, played a major role in shaping the broad musical landscape on Mountain of Pieces. Gentle balladry abounds on the introspective tracks "I See" and "Senses," while an effervescent groove lays the foundation for the after-hours cocktail-pop of "Hypothesis," which finds the musician stretching out beyond the confines of classic '60s and '70s rock.

Despite his stout songcraft, the taut musicianship from his band and rich arrangements, Stükenberg's secret weapon may just, however, be his vocals. Whether powerful and passion-soaked, or lighthearted and jaunty, his voice always has a warm and inviting nature that manages to pull you deeper into many of these musical delights - showcasing the mountain of talent brimming from this budding young musician

Stükenberg will be performing his Mountain of Pieces CD release show this Saturday, March 29 at 8:00 pm at CATHE Center in Burlington (25 East State Street).

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