Lagniappe (la ·gniappe) noun ‘lan-ˌyap,’ — 1. An extra or unexpected gift or benefit. 2. Something given or obtained as a gratuity or bonus.
It’s one of the oldest tricks in the songbook, stringing a bummer sentiment to a buzzy melody, but on his charming new LP Across the Multiverse, Dent May utilizes it with a craftsman’s skill. Buoyed by round synth tones, disco flourishes, and an abiding love for the Beach Boys, the album finds the Mississippi-raised Dent breezing through the same mythic Los Angeles vibe Harry Nilsson, Carole King, and Van Dyke Parks tapped into. Wistful, funny, and warm, it’s a thick, deeply pleasurable chunk of melodic magic. Covering Gerry Rafferty, the Status Quo, and Sade, Dent reveals his attraction to an airtight pop song.
This gem from 1978 has been one of my favorite songs for years. I recorded a pretty straight-forward cover version, because the original recording is so perfect. My band was toying around with covering it live for a while and never did, so here’s my humble attempt at it.
Dent May :: Living On An Island (Status Quo)
I actually fell in love with this 1979 tune accidentally playing the 45 on 33, so it’s a slowed-down, more melancholy take on the original. For some reason, the picture sleeve of the record has a bunch of penguins on it. I’m thinking of an island with a warmer climate when I sing the song.
This is an obvious classic from Sade’s perfect 1984 debut Diamond Life, and much like the Gerry Rafferty song, it was difficult to pull off because the original track is so amazing. This one goes out to everyone out there having trouble making ends meet.