by Melissa Kucirek

Listeners in need of the coffeehouse sound, or an album creating an envelope of modest orchestration, will find solace in Vitamin-D’s Bridge. Singer- songwriter Dennis Cronin leisurely takes the listener through a journey of carefully crafted nuances; this sojourner is a pleasant-sounding poet. Mellow, but stirring. Cronin’s voice dangles alongside the sturdiness of say, John Mayer or Robin Wilson (lead singer for the Gin Blossoms).

Listeners won’t discover dazzle, but gliding soft-pop tracks comprised of jazz, classical strings and 11-tracks each with distinctive low-key personalities. Joining Cronin (his cronies?...) on Bridge are Konrad Meissner (The Silos, Matt Nathanson), Adam D. Gold (Gutbucket), Greta Gertler and Pete Galub.

Theme - First thing’s first about this album—the word “bridge” is used in four of the 11-tracks’ titles. Not to mention, it’s used several times in lyrics. Don’t despair, as a listener, it doesn’t become as repetitive as one would think. Vitamin-D’s song structure varies each track.

Trumpet Love - It’s nice to hear the trumpet again, especially Cronin’s presentation. On “Bartlett Bridge,” the sexy trumpet intro immediately engages and sets Vitamin-D’s meandering mood. “Astoria Bridge” simply shines. The lovely trumpet caresses this softer, pop rock salutation. It’s a welcomed follow up to the appeasing “Solid Day.”

“Upstaged” cranks it up a few notches (still, very calm) with grand use of the rhythm guitar. The guitar orchestration is almost like The Proclaimers “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles).” Throughout other tracks, like “Keeper” and “The Summer Crossing” it’s evident Cronin’s passion for the subtle sheepishly pokes its head in convincing, artistic arrangements.

Americana UK

vitamindDownbeat Brooklyn Collective with a Williams and Chesnutt Fixation. OK, so they’re no Husky Rescue and they’re no Earlies, but Dennis Cronin and chums have made an attractive, blue and groovesome disc with beats, trumpets, cellos and other paraphernalia which suggest that they have their heads in multiple musical worlds and genres. Here’s to Brooklyn, then, the real musical heart of NYC (Manhattan? Pahh…!), which along with Hoboken and Jersey City seems to be doing more interesting things than the “island at the centre of the world” at the moment. Recorded in their own borough, but also in Boston and Nashville, “Build Another” gets under your skin without too much notice and when you’re not really expecting much of it. It sparkles in places, rhythmically determinedly just above mid tempo but never too happy, and as well as the usual electronic and folk influences, you can’t help thinking that rather like Interpol, The Stills and The Dears, Vitamin-D spent some of their youth with unholy trinity of Morrissey, Marr and Curtis. Having said that, “My Eyes Are Still Blue” is a stuttering, lofi “Why Don’t You Love Me?” by Hank, recorded on a answer machine, just like that other Brooklyn collective led by Yauch, Horovitz and Diamond used to. The title track has me in Northern England more than any other song with it’s mournful vocal and cello figure, and yet it’s followed by “Gympnopedie No 3” (what..?), which is pure late horn blowin over friends greeting each other and talking, like on “What’s Going On?”. Chesnutt’s “When I Ran Off and Left Her” makes a visit, reminding me of Rennie Spark’s style, with it’s opening line: “When I ran off and left her, She wasn’t holding a baby, She was holding a bottle and a big grudge against me…”. “Build Another” ... it’s well written, strongly performed and inventive.


by David Greenberger

The trumpet never found a comfortable voice in rock & roll. The lung-powered instrument that was there from the start was the saxophone. Its ability to convey rebellion and breathy gritty sex made it a natural in everything from surf combos to the carefully contrived Dave Clark Five. Flutes? We won’t even mention them. But the trumpet was only to be found as part of a horn section, the polite friend brought along to the party by Mr. Saxophone. It wasn’t until the second decade of the genre, when “& roll” fell by the wayside that the potential for the instrument was explored. Thank the nonrocker himself, Herb Alpert, and thank the pocket trumpet solo on “Penny Lane” for opening brass doors. The trumpet’s sonorous imprint adds a regal bearing, and its human-scaled expressiveness can tug at the heart in the way a guitar never can.

Which leads me to the debut release by Vitamin-D, a Brooklyn-based ensemble built around trumpeteer, guitarist, singer an songwriter, Dennis Cronin. His playing has graced such pastoral entities as Lambchop and the Willard Grant Conspiracy. Here he’s surpassed the works of some of his peers, creating a gently undulating set that moves gracefully from the instrumental opener “Valentine,” a beautiful melody over foundation of austere piano cords, to the sly rhythmic tug of the unembellished electric guitar riffing on “Clear.” The set’s two covers perfectly describe the breadth of Cronin’s interests: Erik Satie’s “Gymnopedie No. 3,” hereoffered up in the midst of party buzz audio verite, and Vic Chesnutt’s “When I Ran Off And Left Her.”


Live at Holy Joes, Toronto, Canada
by Jessica Padykula

Brooklyn-based Vitamin D is not your standard rock band. With a trumpet as the lead instrument, they’re not really your typical band either, but they knew how to engage the audience.

This show had an intimate feel, like the audience was in a friend’s living room watching their band practice. There was a laid-back, relaxed vibe that carried over into the band’s music.

Frontman Dennis Cronin flipped effortlessly between guitar and trumpet, playing mellow pop songs intertwined with soothing horn solos. Each song melted into the next, with a sweet, almost lullaby-like effect. The between song banter was amusing and added to the friendly atmosphere created by the band.

It’s the kind of music you listen to on a rainy day, relaxing to the jazzy softness. Cronin’s voice was just as soothing as his trumpet playing and seemed to lull the audience into a contented bliss.

‘Ik weet niet of dit wel altcountry is’, e-mailde Dennis Cronin ons nadat we een recensie-exemplaar van Build Another (Landlocked Records) van Vitamin-D hadden aangevraagd. Oeps, daar zit je dan met je goede bedoelingen. Cronin raakt natuurlijk wel een lastig puntje, want een goede definitie van het genre heb ik nog nergens kunnen vinden. Een doorgaans betrouwbare bron had ons met de volgende woorden naar Vitamin-D gelokt: ‘[Cronin] has applied his horn talents to live performances and/or studio recordings from acts such as Josh Rouse, Vic Chesnutt, Guster, Yo La Tengo, Lambchop, Superchunk, Gingersol, Will Kimbrough and Calexico. He's even been seen on stage with his accordion helping out Willard Grant Conspiracy. With these folks as friends you can somewhat imagine where his own musical endeavors lay.’ Niet de minste altcountry-namen, zo dachten wij. Dus de cd toch maar laten komen. Cronin begon met trompet spelen in de vierde klas (‘omdat een trompet makkelijker mee te nemen was dan een tuba en minder truttig was dan een fluit’). Hij belandde later als geluidstechnicus in Nashville. Tijdens de opnamen van Vic Chesnutts The Salesman And Bernadette (1998) kwam men een trompettist te kort. De rest is geschiedenis, zoals men dan zo mooi zegt. Behalve trompet en zang speelt Cronin ook gitaar en others. Daarmee wordt waarschijnlijk elektronica bedoeld, want er komt het nodige uit blik. Assistentie op ‘echte’ instrumenten wordt onder anderen geleverd door Walter Salas-Humara van the Silos (drums) en Pat Sansone (de andere helft van John Stirratts nevenproject the Autumn Defense, bas). Is de muziek op Build Another nu altcountry of niet? Wie het weet mag het zeggen. Het titelnummer – met viool – heeft ontegenzeglijk een country-deun. Miss Tomorrow heeft een ferm vervormde elektrische gitaar, waar Jeff Tweedy zijn hand niet voor om zou draaien. Vic Chesnutts When I Ran Off And Left Her krijgt niemand kapot. En wat te denken van Hanks Why Don’t You Love, hier omgedoopt tot een 28 seconden durend My Eyes Are Still Blue. Door Laurel Lindahl gezongen in een antwoordapparaat, met een iets aangepaste tekst: ‘Why don’t you call me like you used to do? / Why do you treat me like a worn-out shoe? / My hair is still blond and my eyes are still blue / Why don’t you call me like you used to do?’ End of message. Johnny Dowd had het niet beter kunnen bedenken. En verder: veel elektronica, en veel trompetten natuurlijk. De Gebroeders Brouwer, hoor ik menigeen al denken. Misschien waren die ook wel altcountry. Net als Eric Satie. (Peer Bataille) Build Another is verkrijgbaar bij Miles Of Music en CD Baby.