Bloomfield legend Victor Navarro Jr. releases debut | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Bloomfield legend Victor Navarro Jr. releases debut

Victor Navarro Jr.


As one of Pittsburgh's most chain-smoking, pill-poppin', loud-mouthed curmudgeons, Victor Navarro Jr. probably never had, nor will have, a midlife crisis. He may not even have wanted to become a folk singer-cum-beat poet. But concerned for his artistic well-being, his cult of young followers rooted in the mecca of Bloomfield seem to have become preservationists of Navarro's bizarre talents and arcane wisdom.

Due to severe stage fright, Navarro just wasn't able to sustain The Delusionals, his vaudevillian "orchestra" of eccentrics. Yet the group was a likely catalyst for his debut solo release, corn-pone -- 29 minutes of impromptu, utterly profane and nameless tracks. Often they are self-deprecating, sometimes touching and introspective, and, for the most part, hysterically funny. The subject matter ranges from his day-to-day loiterings at DVD-hub Dreaming Ant, the loss of family, sexuality, and of course, psychedelia.

Musically, Victor is a classically trained pianist, and shows some prowess on occasional tracks, but the record is dominated by his muddled guitar playing. His style comes off as a cloudy purgatory of Tom Waits covering the The Frogs, Wesley Willis on a literary binge of William S. Burroughs, or something you would hear in a Harmony Korine or Werner Herzog film.

It's understandable if many listeners pass corn-pone off as ramblings of a dirty old man and weary of it within the first three tracks. But those who embrace outsider Americana will find new respect for this truly unique and seasoned yinzer.

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