Whenever I listen to Danny Paul Grody’s Furniture Music releases, I laugh a little at the idea of these utterly fantastic pieces blending into the background. Grody is such a good guitarist and his ability to craft music that grows in stature through repeating themes and melodies is special, but it’s the essence of these songs that keeps them centered. Furniture Music II is a glowing invitation to let the long shadows linger a little longer and hold onto the small glimpses of what is possible for all days.
Written during the dark days of the pandemic, these straightforward, lovely songs offer clarity in a world where there isn’t much of it. Grody’s unadorned, straight-ahead style feigns simplicity, but in truth, this music is swimming with a thousand emotional undercurrents, intertwined and held softly. “The Hum of an Empty House” takes short steps tiptoeing through the magical, elusive quiet. Grody’s arrangement rocks back and forth with momentary lulls where the whisper of his breath is audible, enhancing the intimacy and warmth. On “Clearing” the silence is filled with rushes of activity as the resonance in the strings infuses the moment with light.
Each piece on Furniture Music II holds its own space. It’s as if each is a room in our homes with its own character and emotion. Washes of drifting memories permeate “The Longview.” Quickening the cadence, Grody adds an urgency to the fingerpicked exultations. It’s like a running monologue in the back of my mind, reminders of the days lost as I try to find solace in the fact I’m still here and will be able to create new moments in the future. Sometimes it’s too much and in acknowledging that, Grody slows down and takes a deep breath on closer, “Holding Pattern.” Crisp notes sing into the emptiness, filling the spaces between us with comfort and mirth.
Maybe this is background music in the way it saturates the familiar moments with an added weight. The inquisitive opening chords of “Returning Light” suggest the beginning of a cycle, whether it’s a day, a week, or a lifetime. We repeat so many patterns and motions that they can lose meaning; putting our child to sleep every night or seeing the sun each morning becomes mundane even though each instance still matters. Grody’s music reminds us to search for the secret beauty in those moments and, as Furniture Music suggests, weave it into every moment we can.