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The music of Jeffrey Altergott is the kind that invites labels such as “folk-rock” or alt.folk, which means he plugs in every now and again and that a small band often joins in. It’s the sort of music that used to be called “soft rock” a generation ago when Paul Simon and James Taylor ruled the pop charts. Like Simon and Taylor, Altergott’s voice is a soothing tenor, the songs are built around sweet melodies with sharp hooks, and he’s not afraid to be playful with the music. Although Altergott can be very sentimental—as on the complexly mixed but stripped down piano-based love song “Dandelion”—he also has an edge and he’s not afraid to slice himself with it. On the catchy title track he speaks frankly of his inability to reconcile his own contradictions: “Maybe if I can embrace/things about myself I hate/it would be less a coffin and more a womb.” Like all good folkies Altergott has his causes—his “Every Day is a Reason” is a moving tribute to the courage of gay couples—but he also has a lighter side. “Kickstand” is a time warp in which he travels back to the swing era for a little small combo jazz. As for me, I like it when social commentary and humor collide, as in “Dismal Voyeurs,” Altergott’s skewer of reality TV and those who watch it. This is a thoughtful, tuneful album—one of those small gems you should go out of your way to discover.