George Kaplan – Reinvented Wilderness

George Kaplan
Reinvented Wilderness

On the game show Whose Line Is It Anyway Wayne Brady became a household name by being able to imitate any musician and style that was thrown at him. On his debut album, Reinvented Wilderness Minnesotan Soren Larson has done the same thing and while the results aren’t nearly as funny, they are just as good.

By performing under the name of George Kaplan, Larson has crafted an album that displays quite proudly the story telling technique of troubadours such as Dylan and Waits. Though only seven songs long each one is packed with the tales of outlaws, some real, some urban legend, delivered in a voice that sounds as though he gargles with the broken glass of a shot of whiskey he’s just downed; which for his relatively young age is no mean feat. The tales spun are of travelers well aware of geography, personal and otherwise. By placing himself in the middle of these characters lives, Larson has no problem convincing you he may have known these people or been one of them himself.

While the song writing is quite good the range of influences is a little too obvious. The best song “Pillars Of Stone,” (reviewed on this site as an Online Review) is a rewrite of “Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream” and shows flashes of well thought out lines though the rhyme schemes occasionally fall flat. “Waiting For The Law (Bonnie & Clyde)” is “Rockin’ In The Free World” with a better guitar solo and the bombast of Waits’ “Big In Japan” pushes the levels to red on the appropriately named “Barn Burning.” Even The Doors make their presence felt with interlocking guitar lines on “Drunk On Power.” It does set an ominous mood and thankfully without all that Jim Morrison pretension. Though these are familiar cornerstones in rock and roll here they are pieced together well, (all instruments are played by Larson) and contain a harder and jagged edge.

Not everyone knocks one out of the park on their first effort and in fact those that sound a little too much like some one else early on, Dylan was Guthrie, Springsteen was Dylan, seems to end up becoming entirely original as a result. Time will tell if Larson will follow that same path but the seeds have been planted for an entertaining career. And if all else fails, there are always game shows.