Change a Constant for Stacey Cargal

Atlanta singer, songwriter and musician Stacey Cargal (frontman for Blackfox, and half of The Hills and the Holler with Monica Arrington) tells a heart-wrenching story with the title track off his new digital album $7 and Change. Cargal’s cross between David Bowie-inspired soundscapes and Americana story-songs recounts the 2003 murder of Christian Henderson in East Atlanta by a 15-year-old boy. All for the paltry handful of cash referenced in the title.

Despite there being another dose of Bowie worship (“Shy Light”) and a second folksy tale (“The Prophet”) on the track list, neither approach defines the album. There are also ample doses of heavy-hitting blues-rock (“Getting Late”), white noise collages (“Falling to the Stars”), and even a gorgeous, piano-based display of Cargal’s sensitive side (“Rose Colored Glasses”). The term “eclectic” gets tossed around too much when it comes to music, but it really does suit this 10-song journey through Cargal’s creativity, fleshed out with an array of players from the local scene including Arrington, James Hall, Paul Barrie, Mitchell Sosebee, Kendra Rainey, Jonny Daly (who also produced) and other assorted friends.

In all, Cargal strikes the right balance between experimental rock and roots tradition. Things get delightfully weird, but the music never strays too far from the time-tested singer-songwriter backbone of the album’s title track.