CD Review: Operation Encore “Monuments”

Posted: June 1, 2017 in Music
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Operation Encore MonumentsSometimes you can never really know what’s inside you until you are faced with something that challenges you. At that point, a hidden talent may shine through that sets you off in a different direction than the one you were heading in before the challenge rose up. With the help of Operation Encore, many soldiers and their spouses are living new lives having turned to the inner musician that was once hidden within. Thanks to Operation Encore, many soldiers end up turning to music as a form of therapy and/or as a new way of making a living.

Having amassed a nice amount of artists who joined the organization, Operation Encore released its first compilation of original music back in 2014. Operation Encore: A Veteran Music Project featured 16 tracks that consisted of music that ranged from Country to Folk to Acoustic Rock. Having had a nice showing with that release, Operation Encore recently compiled a second volume of tracks from many of the same artists from the first album as well as a few new artists that have since joined up. The 2016 version of the project called Operation Encore: Monuments consists of 12 new songs.

Operation Encore: Monuments begins with the newest track from Stephen Covell. Covell kicks off the new album with the title track to the release. “Monuments” is a very strong acoustic rock track that has a bit of influence from The Eagles in the music with a little influence from Simon and Garfunkle in the poetic lyrics of the track. The very commercial sounding track from Stephen Covell is a great track to begin the new edition of the Operation Encore releases.

The second track on the release belongs to one of the new additions to the musicians who brought the last release to life. Logan Vath contributes the song “Once Was” to the album. The track from Vath feels like a combination of something from Tom Waits and Dave Matthews Band. The jazz-rock feel from DMB mixes well with the lyrical style that is very reminiscent of Waits. “Once Was” is a track that is ready-made for radio play.

Another new artist to the Operation Encore series is Andrew Wiscombe. His contribution to the 2016 release is the title track to his album The River, The Lark, The Pine. The Alt/Country track about not fearing others’ opinions is a great song about being true to yourself. The music of the song has a strong Country backbone with a little bit of Rock and Roll thrown in for energy. “The River, The Lark, The Pine” is one track that would fit right in with music found on today’s Country music formats.

Unlike most of the artists on the Operation Encore releases, Rachel Harvey Hill is one artist that belongs to the Operation Encore organization because of her marriage to a soldier. In fact, her track on the Operation Encore: Monuments release was written about her experience of returning home to the United States after being on assignment in the Middle East with her husband. The track “I’m Going Home” would feel right at home with other Country songs from the eighties when the Country music genre had more of a pure Country feel as opposed to the Country/Rock style of today.

Singer-songwriter Steve Wilson is perhaps the artist on the Operation Encore release that has the deepest musical library. Having already written songs for his band The Black Doves, Wilson’s current songs still contain a certain amount of the Black Doves’ Rock and Roll feel while still gaining a style of their own. Steve Wilson’s latest composition of “The Words” seems to have brought him back to the style he had with the Black Doves. In fact, “The Words” would have felt right at home on the band’s 2007 album of Moments of Clarity. The lyrics about a girl losing herself on stage while singing her songs is the perfect addition to an album created by people who all need that release from time-to-time because of dark memories of war.

One of the founders of Operation Encore, Chris Kurek, is the next artist on the Operation Encore: Monuments release. “Last Goodbye” is a song that blends some Folk influences and some light Rock influences together. The track also shows off the real ensemble feel of the organization as Rachel Harvey Hill helps Kurek by adding her vocals to the track. The results are a song that contains an easy duet feel to the lyrics.

Another founding member of Operation Encore, Robert Raymond, adds his track to the album. Much like Stephen Covell earlier in the album, Raymond creates a track in “Pleased to Meet You” that is more than a little bit influenced by the likes of Simon and Garfunkle as the music feels like something from the duo. The track also seems to seem to be influenced by Jim Croce as the lyrics to “Pleased to Meet You” have the same lyrical approach as those of Croce.

Throughout the twelve tracks that make up the newest release from the Operation Encore collective called Monuments, the various artists on the release have come up songs that create an entire album of music that feels solid from the first track until the last note plays out. And just like the original album, the listener encounters plenty of variety in the tracks. The twelve tracks that make up the album show off the talent of each of the singer-songwriters who have found a new calling in life: to be a musician.

For more information on the artists that make up the latest release from Operation Encore as well as more information on the organization itself, check out their website.

For more reading about Operation Encore, check out the review for the first album, the review for Rachel Harvey Hill, the review for Andrew Wiscombe and the review of Steve D. Wilson.

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Comments
  1. Daryl says:

    Thanks for the great review! Stephen Covell is set to release a new EP soon, and we’d love you to take a listen to that one as well.

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