Posts Tagged ‘Country’

Randy SteelePerforming one style of music for many years can make a musician crave something different from time to time; especially if that musician has an inner desire to stretch as an artist. Having spent much time as part of the band Slim Pickens Bluegrass, Randy Steele is one musician who is currently on a mission to create something different from the usual Bluegrass music associated with the band he has been with since 2008. And right now, Randy Steele is getting the chance to do just that as he is currently celebrating the release of a new solo album that features a lot more variety than just Bluegrass.

The resulting collection of new music from Randy Steele is a mix of Americana music that features a variety of sounds. Along with the Bluegrass music that has been a part of Randy Steele’s life for the decade or so, Steele’s solo material incorporates a mix of Country music along with other Roots music influences. Together, these musical influences help to shape the new release from Randy Steele that is entitled Songs from the Suck, a title that refers to Suck Creek, a river near where Steele currently lives.

Songs from the Suck from Randy Steele begins with the track “Northbound 29”. With this track, Randy Steele and his band of musicians create a track that is largely based in the Bluegrass genre. Like much Bluegrass music, the sound of the track features the banjo and the fiddle as the main instruments that help to bring the song to life. The track Of “Northbound 29” comes across as just as authentic as much older songs that have been created by bands like Slim Pickens Bluegrass for decades.

The album continues with the song “Angels with Halos”. Along with the musicians that help to back him up, Randy Steele creates a track that is a lot closer to Country music than Bluegrass. The track contains a much fuller sound as the music contains not only the guitar and fiddle, but also steel guitar and snare drum, creating a track that would be right at home on Country radio formats that feature a mix that incorporates the older styles of Country music. “Angels with Halos” is the perfect track for those listeners who are looking for the sounds of Country music’s past.

With the next song, Randy Steele creates an instrumental track entitled “Shove the Pig’s Foot a Little Closer to the Fire”. The feeling of a Bluegrass reel on the track creates a song that, once again, makes good use of Steele’s Bluegrass background.

Randy Steele continues his album with the track “Mobile Soon”. With this track, Steele returns to a Country state of mind in the music as he plays a slow-paced song that feels very much like an ode to the city. The use of guitar and fiddle make a solid yet simple combination in the music to create a track that feels timeless in nature. Whether today or twenty years ago, “Mobile Soon” could find a large audience on Country music radio stations. “Mobile Soon” is easily one of the tracks on Steele’s Songs from the Suck that stands out for all the right reasons.

One of the tracks on Songs from the Suck that stands out because of the more progressive feel of the music is “Hard Givin’”. Randy Steele and the rest of the band seem to seamlessly combine the Country and Bluegrass genres to create a hybrid sound in the song’s music. The track feels as if it has brought the Bluegrass genre into a more modern age. “Hard Givin’” is yet another track on the release that listeners will gravitate towards.

Taking the music back to an earlier time, Randy Steele and company create the track “1983,” a song that feels as if it had been influenced by the likes of Earl Scruggs and Lester Flatt of Foggy Mountain Boys fame. The track features the banjo and fiddle as the track brings to mind the earlier days of recorded music. The track of “1983” even feels more authentic as the entire track falls under the two-minute play-time, which would have been perfect for a 78 RPM gramophone record.

The final track of “…To the New Perspective” features a simple banjo and vocal arrangement. The track of the release brings to mind the music of someone like Earl Scruggs as the track’s simplistic approach has a definite Old Timey feel to it. That retro feel to the music seems to have been the perfect way to bring the Songs from the Suck to a close as it recalls the early recordings of Bluegrass music.

There is much to love about the Songs from the Suck release from Randy Steele. Whether it is the classic Bluegrass approach or the more modern musical style, the album features songs that will fit nicely within any Country or Bluegrass lover’s music collection.

To check out the music of Randy Steele, listen to the song “Hard Givin’“.

For more information, check out Randy Steele’s PR firm Whiplash PR.

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Peasant MoonAlt-Country duo Peasant Moon came together when two people from different continents joined forces. Singer-songwriter and Australia native Harvey Russell makes up one half of the combo while longtime collaborator Josie Rothwell originally came from the west coast of the United States. However, the duo is currently making their home in Russell’s native land of Australia.

Together, Harvey Russell and Josie Rothwell create music as Peasant Moon that contains a strong Country flavor with plenty of other elements that require their style of music to be categorized as Americana. To bring that Americana sound to life, the duo draws influence from the likes of the Civil Wars, Mandolin Orange, even Ryan Adams. Together, those influences make Peasant Moon’s musical approach very heavy on the folk/country sound. The duo is currently promoting their new 5-song release entitled Our Timing Was Wrong. To help bring their new album of Our Timing Was Wrong to life, Harvey Russell and Josie Rothwell are joined by Aaron Langman (pedal steel, electric guitar), Jonathan Kelly (bass) and Rich Burrows (drums). Together, the ensemble creates a very strong release.

The new release of Our Timing Was Wrong from Peasant Moon begins with the track “Back in Time”. The first track on the release contains a strong country/rock combination. “Back in Time’s” musical combination feels very commercial in its tone and the laidback pace of the music makes good use of the Country music that the band has as an influence. The duo also seems to add just a little bit of Folk music influence to the song, as well. “Back in Time” contains so many different musical elements together that combine effortlessly to create one solid track. The song feels very commercial and would fit well on any Country radio format as well as any Folk format, as well.

Peasant Moon’s new EP continues with the title track of the release. “Our Timing was Wrong” finds the duo adding a lot more of a Country feel to their music. With the inclusion of mandolin and steel guitar, Peasant Moon gives “Our Timing was Wrong” a real Country music flavor. Plus, the lyrics to the song also gives the track that authentic Country flavor. While Harvey Russell comes from Australia, he seems to be doing well in following in the footsteps of fellow Aussie Keith Urban in creating Country music that feels as authentic as anything created here in the U.S. “Our Timing was Wrong” would feel right at home on any Country music radio format.

Harvey Russell and Josie Rothwell take Peasant Moon’s music in a lighter direction for the next track of “Over Again”. With this track, the duo create a track that is much more in the vein of Folk-Rock music than Country music. The mandolin and acoustic guitar help to create most of the flavor to the song as the song proceeds with a light touch and a moderate pace to the music. While the song features Harvey Russell as main vocalist, the vocals from Josie Rothwell help to add a lot of harmony to the lyrics of the song. “Over Again” finds the duo creating a very strong track that would be right at home in the seventies following a band like The Eagles or during the later eighties following The Traveling Wilburys.

The feel of the album changes on the track of “Party”. While the other tracks on Our Timing Was Wrong are full-bodied and contain the entire band helping to back up Peasant Moon, “Party” features a much simpler feel to the music with Russell’s guitar and Aaron Langman’s steel guitar providing much of the track’s musical background. On the track, Harvey Russell and Josie Rothwell create a beautiful duet that would fit well on today’s Country music formats. “Party” is one of the standout tracks on the EP.

Peasant Moon’s Our Timing Was Wrong comes to an end with the track “Leaving Tonight”. The musical combination of the song brings to mind something that would have fit right in on the Every Picture Tells a Story album from Rod Stewart as it would have fit with those songs. The Folk-Rock track has the same sort of feel as several of the songs on that album as the music and vocals would both fit in with those songs.

Our Timing Was Wrong from Australia’s Peasant Moon is a solid five-song release. Harvey Russell and Josie Rothwell have created an Americana release that is as strong as anything released here in the U.S.

Peasant Moon’s Our Timing Was Wrong will be released on August 31, 2017. Before the band’s EP is out, check out “Our Timing Was Wrong,” the title track from their upcoming release.

 

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.

LORES_BlueHoney-AlbumArt_1.jpgAfter each moving to Nashville to pursue a career in music, Troy Brooks and Kassie Jordan-Brooks found each other while performing separately in that music scene. Eventually marrying, Troy and Kassie Brooks came to create a duo under the moniker of Blue Honey.

Back in 2015, Blue Honey created a six-track EP called “1”. The music on the release blends together the duo’s influences to create a style that is equal parts Country, Rock & Roll and Pop. Taking turns, the songs feature both of the Brooks as they share vocal duties while Troy plays the lead guitar and Kassie plays rhythm. The resulting style of the duo’s sound fits easily on Country music formats while also containing enough of a cross-over feel that certain tracks on the EP would easily fit on Top 40 radio.

The 2015 “1” EP from Blue Honey begins with the track “Wherever You Are Tonight (Downtown Dancin’)”. The leadoff track for the EP contains a strong Pop-rock feel with just a little Country flavor to it. With that musical blend, the track feels a lot like some of the music that had been created back in the eighties. Both Troy and Kassie take turns singing as they each tell their side of the story of a couple trying to move on. The resulting duet between Troy and Kassie creates a track that feels very commercial in today’s musical scene. “Wherever You Are Tonight (Downtown Dancin’)” will instantly grab you and refuse to let go.

Blue Honey’s 2015 release continues with the track “Back Home”. Like the track before it, “Back Home” contains a large amount of Pop feel to it. With this track, however, the duo takes their music in a very Irish direction. The music of the song contains a slight Celtic flavor while the lyrics are very reminiscent of traditional Irish songs. The upbeat feel of the music mixed with the lyrics about finding that feeling of family brings out the Celtic feel of the song. The audience reaction also adds to a bit of a party feel to the track.

The band’s “1” EP continues with the song “I Am the Rain”. Ironically, the EP begins with the song’s reprise instrumental that acts as an intro to the song itself. The reprise features the acoustic guitar, electric guitar, organ, bass and drums as each instrument is slowly added to the track, building the feel of the song from a simple acoustic track to a full-blown song that features a strong, driving feel to the music. Once the reprise fades, the actual track begins with an addition of a country twang to both the music and the lyrical delivery from Troy Brooks. While Troy handles the main vocal duty on the track, both Troy and Kassie blend their voices together during the song to create harmony during the chorus of the song. “I Am the Rain” contains enough of a twang to the music that it would easily fit on Contemporary Country radio formats.

Blue Honey brings their 2015 release “1” to a close with the track “Back Home”. Just like with “I Am the Rain,” Blue Honey adds plenty of Country influence to the track “Back Home”. As with many other Country artists over the years, Blue Honey creates a track that adds a little bit of Gospel influence to the track that deals with several different aspects of life including beginning a relationship, having a baby and bringing a life to an end. “Back Home” is a perfect track for today’s Country radio formats.

While Blue Honey released their “1” EP back in 2015, the duo of Troy Brooks and Kassie Jordan-Brooks just recently added to their available recordings with two new tracks. They are currently celebrating the release of the tracks “Angles Come Home” and “Hurts Just the Same”.

The first of the two new tracks from Blue Honey is entitled “Angels Come Home”. With this track, the duo takes their music in a much more Indie Rock direction. It is the keyboards on the track that stands out right from the start. The keys add a lot of reverb to the beginning of the track that lasts throughout the length of the song. Along with that reverb, the rest of the track features a strong Rock and Roll feel with a hint of Country flavor that helps to create the Indie Rock feel to the track. With the very noticeable religious flavor of the song, Blue Honey creates a track in “Angels Come Home” that is extremely multi-layered with many different elements to the track. “Angels Come Home” is a very strong track.

Along with “Angels Come Home,” Troy Brooks and Kassie Jordan-Brooks also release another track that brings their music back in a more Country/Rock direction. The first few seconds of “Hurts the Same” bring to mind the track of “Turn the Page” from Bob Seger and with the guitar solo that exists within the song, “Hurts the Same” seems to have more than just a little bit of Seger-quality influence to the music. Before long, Blue Honey takes the track in a more Country-like direction while keeping some of that Seger influence. The duet vocals from both Troy and Kassie help to create a story told through the two points of view of the singers and the painful feel of the lyrics creates a track that is very reminiscent of Garth Brooks’ song “Thunder Rolls”… without that track’s murderous conclusion.

With the ability to embrace many different styles to create their songs, Troy Brooks and Kassie Jordan-Brooks create songs that are full of variety that helps to keep their music fresh. And with the release of their EP called “1” and their two newest songs, Blue Honey shows off their abilities to write and perform songs that will catch the imagination of the listener.

Check out the music of Blue Honey and their new song “Hurts the Same” by clicking the link.

 

DocFell & Co. CoverMuch of today’s Country music radio sounds as if it was nothing more than Rock and Roll with a Southern accent. And while there are some really good artists out there today creating that style, what is sadly missing from today’s Country radio are artists that want to keep at least some of the old traditional Country sound alive. Thankfully, there are still a few people who are still out there looking to incorporate some of the old style back into the modern version of Country music. One artist keeping some of that traditional Country flavor alive is Dr. John Fell, also known as DocFell.

While spending his days as a general practitioner, Dr, John Fell spends his free time creating Country music that incorporates just a little Pop-rock flavor that helps to bring the traditional Country music style into the 21st Century. To help bring that Country/Pop-rock mixture to life, singer-songwriter/guitarist John Fell is joined by multi-instrumentalist Kyle Brown and several others including John Barker (electric bass guitar), Kevin Rose and Joe Sloan (percussion) who help to make up the ensemble known as DocFell and Co. Just recently, the ensemble released the 2017 album entitled Dust Bowl Heart.

Dust Bowl Heart begins with “Lonesomeville”. The first few seconds of the track features a very Old-Timey and tinny sound to the track as if it had been created near the advent of recording. The track segues into a much more upbeat feel that features a Country sound reminiscent of Jerry Reed’s songs, especially something like “Tupelo Mississippi Flash”. The track about a very lonely man has a strangely upbeat feel to the music, considering the lonesome nature of the person in the song that is telling the story.

With the song “Love Sick,” DocFell and Co. takes their sound back a few decades. The track features a Classic Country sound that would have been around in the early fifties. The song’s style definitely brings to mind something from somebody George Jones or any of the other male Country stars from the same era of the music. The inclusion of the callbacks from the band really adds a lot of energy to the Old time feel of the track.

On the track “Oklahoma Lady,” DocFell and Co. create a track that seems to be more than a little bit influenced by the musical supergroup the Eagles. This seems to contain feel of some of that band’s tunes that they would be famous for. “Oklahoma Lady” has the same type of magic that was found on songs like “Desperado” or “The Best of My Love”. One of the main elements on the song that gives the track that Eagles flavor is the playing from guitarist Kyle Brown that brings to mind the style of that band. “Oklahoma Lady” also contains a certain amount of retro flavor that would have made the track perfect for radio airplay back in the seventies at the same time that the Eagles were climbing the charts.

Dust Bowl Heart continues with “Home on the Hill”. On this song, DocFell and Co. bring to mind yet another band that contained a similar Country Rock vibe like The Eagles were known for. “Home on the Hill” contains a lyrical and musical style that is reminiscent of Michael Nesmith and the First National Band, especially off of that band’s Magnetic South release. The track also contains a little bit of flavor that would remind some of the song “Garden Party” from Rick Nelson. The combination of the styles on “Home on the Hill” creates a track that feels very familiar to the listener and would easily have fit on radio a few decades ago. But that doesn’t mean that the track feels outdated. It would easily feel right at home on radio today.

While most of the Dust Bowl Heart release from DocFell and Co. incorporates a lot of earlier styles of Country music, the track “Broken Heart” brings the music of the band up to today’s style of Country music. The Country/Rock hybrid that is so prevalent on today’s Country stations is just the style that makes up the sound for “Broken Heart”. In a duet-style setting, the vocals of the song ask “Whatcha gonna do with a broken heart?” Of any of the songs on the new album from DocFell and Co, “Broken Heart” is easily the track that would fit well on today’s Country music formats.

Throughout the ten songs that make up the Dust Bowl Heart release from DocFell and Co, there is plenty of variety for those fans of Country music. No matter what era of the style you gravitate towards, there is something for you on this solid album from Dr, John Fell, Kyle Brown and the rest of the gang.

To check out the sound of DocFell and Co, click HERE for the song “Oklahoma Lady”.

 

new-hope-chateau-coverSinger-songwriter Katherine Rondeau grew up being a lifelong music enthusiast as well as a performer. And while she has spent over a decade working in academia, the love of music has always stuck with her. That is why she recently made the decision to return to music.

The style of music that has influenced Katherine Rondeau’s life more than any other is Folk. She lists people such as Bob Dylan, Lucinda Williams and others from the style as influences. With people like that as influences, it is easy to see why Katherine Rondeau would be drawn to Folk music.

Just recently, Katherine Rondeau made her decision to return to music even more permanent as she created her first full-length album of originals and covers. The new release from Katherine Rondeau is called New Hope Chateau.

With Katherine Rondeau choosing Folk as her music of choice, she is able to draw from many different influences to help her create her sound. Rondeau’s album of New Hope Chateau begins with the track “Raise Your Hand,” a song that contains a strong Blues influence. In fact, the style of the song brings to mind something that would have come from Bonnie Raitt. With that Bonnie Raitt vibe, the bluesy feel to the music gives Rondeau the perfect opportunity to show off her “warm-toned vocals”. In fact, her alto voice is perfect for the style of the Blues. And with the obvious political overtones that exist in the song’s lyrics, she proves that she would have fit in well with the artists back in the sixties when Folk was at its peak.

Katherine Rondeau changes the feel of the music on the next track of “Broken Bird”. With the first track containing the feel of the Blues, this track combines some Blues influence with a much stronger Folk influence. The gentler musical approach to the song makes the track feel like it’s a lot closer to classic Folk music than the previous track.

While the majority of the New Hope Chateau release from Katherine Rondeau contains original compositions, she did include several cover tunes from some well-known artists that were part of the folk music movement back in the sixties. Tracks include “Turtle Blues from Janis Joplin, “Long Ago, Far Away” from Bob Dylan, and even “Hit or Miss” from Odetta. For those looking for the more standard songs from known Folk artists, these songs are a great addition to the release.

With the inclusion of songs from some of the most famous names from the sixties’ Folk scene, perhaps the track that stands out the most on the release comes from singer-songwriter Melanie. For her new album, Katherine Rondeau decided to include Melanie’s song “Leftover Wine”. The song features the sound of the guitar, dobro, mandolin and organ. But the instruments are effortlessly pushed into the background to allow her voice to stand out. “Leftover Wine” is a strong track and it helps to give a lot of beauty to New Hope Chateau.

Possibly the most standout song on New Hope Chateau comes very late in the tracking of the album. Katherine Rondeau’s song “When I’m With You” finds the singer and the musicians creating a track that is equal parts Jazz and Folk. That musical blend along with Rondeau’s soulful vocal delivery helps to create a song that seems to set itself apart from the rest of the release. “When I’m With you” could easily be the song that stays with you long after the album comes to an end.

Having slowed the pace of release down with the song “When I’m With You,” Katherine Rondeau picks up the pace back up for one final track. “Off the Rails” is a song that features a strong country sound; not a modern-day Country/Rock crossover feel found in most of today’s Country music, but an honest Country sound that was found in songs from Loretta Lynn or Dolly Parton. “Off the Rails” is as strong as “When I’m With You” before it and could easily be a single.

Katherine Rondeau’s debut release of New Hope Chateau makes good use of her folk roots. And with the singer-songwriter using many different elements that are found in Folk music, her new album is very well-rounded and would be the perfect release for that person who enjoys all styles of Folk.

Click HERE to check out the song “When I’m With You” off of Katherine Rondeau’s new release of New Hope Chateau. 

For more information, check out Katherine Rondeau’s PR firm, Michael J. Media

 

cd-1Bay Area based singer/songwriter Scott Smith creates music that consists of many different genres of music. Country, Blues and other styles all blend together to form Smith’s version of Americana. In order to help Scott Smith bring his musical vision to life, he called upon several talented people. Among them are: pianist Mitch Woods; drummer Vic Carberry; pianist and keyboardist Giovanni Imbesi; Smith’s vocal coach Gailene Elliot, sings backup; Bluegrass mandolinist David Grisman; virtuoso classical and rock violinist David LaFlamme and bassist Jeff Martin. These musicians bring Scott Smith’s The Sum of Life alive.

The Sum of Life album from Scott Smith begins with the instrumental title track of the release. The folk track “The Sum of Life” begins with a very soft acoustic guitar from Scott Smith that is quickly joined by violinist David LaFlamme who adds a gentle violin solo. The duo of Smith and LaFlamme are soon joined by lead guitarist Nina Gerber who adds the texture to the track. The trading off between guitarist Gerber and violinist LaFlamme create a gentle duet of sorts that helps to keep the track interesting for the short 3-minute playing time.

With the song “Eclipsing Moon,” The Sum of Life from Scott Smith picks up a lot of energy. Exchanging the folk feel of the previous track for a stronger Rock and Roll feel, Scott Smith and the rest of his musical ensemble add electric guitars, organ and a stronger bass part for a straight-out Rock and Roll track. The result is a rather unusual track that pairs up somewhat romantic lyrics about spending time together with a strong Rock approach in the music. Although it seems to be a slightly unusual combination, the track of “Eclipsing Moon” is strong and fun to listen to.

On “Blues Guitar Slinger,” Scott Smith creates the next chapter in the music book that already includes the likes of “Johnny B. Goode” from Chuck Berry and “Tupelo Mississippi Flash” from Jerry Reed. Like the previous two songs, “Blues Guitar Slinger” follows the exploits of a musician just making a living. Scott Smith’s song focuses on a slightly different instrument, a slightly different style of playing, yet the same way of storytelling about a legendary figure as he makes his rounds.

On the song “Payday,” Scott Smith takes the sound of his music back to the days of roots rock where people like Bill Hailey, Jerry Lee Lewis and Buddy Holly were creating a new style that separated itself from the Country music of the time. “Payday” features that early Rock and Roll style that centers around the sound of a Honky Tonk piano. The Honky Tonk piano playing on “Payday” comes from Mitch Woods who really adds that classic sound that makes the track sound as genuine as anything that would have come from the days of the early 1950s.

While musically in the past, Scott Smith and the rest of the musicians create a track that brings back the sound and feel of classic Country music. The song “Bad Dreams” contains an easy pace and classic lyrical content that would easily fit in on Country radio back in the sixties. The violin from David LaFlamme helps to add that classic flavor to the track while Gailene Elliott’s vocals help to add a little bit of a duet feel to the song.

The feel of the music on Scott Smith’s new album changes yet again on the track “The Best Gift”. While the previous track contained an old-fashioned Country approach, Smith gives “The Best Gift” a definite Folk flavor to the music. The lyrics about the births of his two children add an emotional touch to the release. “The Best Gift” is one of the most beautiful moments on the release.

After spending a few tracks in the Folk/Country frame of mind, Scott Smith changes directions. For the track “Determination,” the music takes on more of a Rock and Roll feel. The track has a timeless feel to the music as it could fit in with almost any time period within the Rock and Roll era. The track has a strong refrain that makes the song feel just right for commercial radio play.

Along with “Determination,” the song of “The World is Strange” is also a track that features a strong Rock and Roll feel. The track begins with a sound and musical feel that will remind some of something from Eddie Cochran; most specifically, “Summertime Blues”. And while there is that Eddie Cochran influence, the track is equal parts electric guitar and piano so that it also feels like a combination of Cochran and Jerry Lee Lewis.

Throughout the eleven tracks that make up Bay Area singer/songwriter Scott Smith’s new release of The Sum of Life, the listener gets plenty of noteworthy moments to enjoy. The ever-changing styles of music contained within the album feels very much like an entire collection of music on one release. Smith and the rest of the musicians who brought the album to life have created a very strong debut that only hints at the talent of a talented singer-songwriter.