CD Review: Adam Gilbert “A Generation of Forgotten Kings”

Posted: May 10, 2012 in Music
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ImageAdam Gilbert’s A Generation of Forgotten Kings is one of those rare finds- an alternative pop/rock album created using the piano as the main instrument that all of the songs are based around. The piano helps make the album different from the vast majority of the alternative rock albums out there….and that difference is what makes A Generation of Forgotten Kings so refreshing.

The newest release from Adam Gilbert starts with the title track,“A Generation of Forgotten Kings”. The 10-second a’capella chant that begins the track gives the listener some indication that this release may be just a little different. And when Jonathan Lamb’s electric guitar leads the instruments for the next few seconds, you get the impression of a straight-out alternative release. It isn’t until Gilbert’s piano shows up 40 seconds into the track that you get a real sense of what to expect. In fact, with the addition of Gilbert’s piano, the track feels like an alternative rock song with a large orchestral influence. The rock band, Gilbert’s piano and the return of the chant from the beginning of the track all combine to create a track that captures the listener and refuses to let them go. The decision to make “A Generation of Forgotten Kings” the lead-off track to the album (and consequently, the title track of the release, as well) was a very bold move that pays off in a large way.

“How Do We Respond,” the second track off the release, also begins with a’capella: The first couple of seconds of the track start with just Adam Gilbert’s strong tenor voice and gradually transitions into something that might remind you of a song by Marc Cohn. The pop/rock feel of the song alternates between Gilbert’s piano and the guitar playing of Jonathan Lamb, creating a tune that goes well with the lyrics written by Gilbert about not knowing exactly what to say when things happen.

With the track “On a Hill,” you really get a chance to hear the talent of Adam Gilbert as a piano player: For most of the five minutes of the track, it is just Gilbert on the piano being backed up by bassist Jason Fraticelli and Mark Guiliana on the drums. The three musicians create a track that sounds a lot like something that Billy Joel might have written. When the rest of the musicians come in to fill out the sound of the song, the band once again creates a track that has an orchestral feel, kind of like seeing Gilbert live on stage in concert.

One of the most powerful tracks on the latest release from Adam Gilbert is the song “A Little Emotion”. Along with the strong lyrics from Gilbert on this track, the rest of the musicians help Adam create a song that contains the right amount of feeling to pull at the heart. This track features Nathan Goehen on bass as well as Leena Gilbert on violin. In fact, it is Leena Gilbert’s playing that truly brings the “emotion” in this song.

You can tell that an album is very strong when a song as strong as Adam Gilbert’s “Better” comes late in the album’s playlist. “Better” is a song about looking forward to times that aren’t so hopeless and trying. The music is very upbeat and helps to boost the positive message of the lyrics. And when the song finally builds to the big crescendo, the listener gets to experience some of the best playing from all of the musicians involved with the song. This could easily be the best track on the album.

While Adam Gilbert is the writer/singer/piano player and the main point of interest on his release, his album of A Generation of Forgotten Kings was created in such a way to allow all musicians involved the chance to shine as much as Gilbert himself, and the musicians that helped are a major reason why the album is so strong. Guitarists Jonathan Lamb, Matt Jaworski and Steve Berstein all help shape the music, while bassists Jason Fraticelli and Nathan Goehen along with drummers Mark Guiliana (who also helped produce the album) and Shawn Baltazor give the song their strength to help make the release so solid.

Taking Adam Gilbert’s talent as a piano player, his strong yet charming voice, his talent as a songwriter and the talented musicians who helped create this release, you end up with an album that is strong from the first note until it ends one hour later. A Generation of Forgotten Kings leaves you wanting more, a sure sign of how solid an album can be.

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