Posts Tagged ‘David Henry’

Mercy AllianceWashington DC-based band The Mercy Alliance is led by singer-songwriter Joe Rathbone. Putting together a sound of melodic rock and roll, Rathbone is joined by several musicians who helped to bring his sound to life; included in the musicians who helped flesh out the music for The Mercy Alliance is drummers David Lopez and Steve Bowman, bassist Brad Jones, and David Henry on strings. Together, the musicians create an ever-changing style of rock and roll that will satisfy any lover of the genre. The Mercy Alliance just recently released their new album Some Kind of Beautiful Story.

Some Kind of Beautiful Story from The Mercy Alliance begins with the track “Washington”. The song has an easy “pop” like approach to the rock and roll. The resulting sound of the song is very infectious and the lyrics could easily get the listener to sing along with the track. The track features an easy driving feel to the music which goes right along with the lyrics about travelling across Washington.

Once “Washington” comes to an end, the album continues with the song “Angel of Mercy”. Taking much of the same feel from the track “Washington,” “Angel of Mercy” has a sound and feel that has a lot of “pop” feel to the music. With “Angel of Mercy,” a slightly harder musical approach comes out. The “title track” of the album starts off with an easy acoustic sound that will remind some of “Take a Picture” from the band Filter for a few seconds before the track goes in a stronger direction and picks up a lot of energy. The resulting track has sound that is very commercially appealing.

While the first two tracks on Some Kind of Beautiful Story, the new release from The Mercy Alliance, have a modern-day feel to them, the track “All for the Love of You” finds the band taking a different approach to their sound. With a sound that brings the guitar out to the forefront, “All for the Love of You” takes The Mercy Alliance’s sound back into the nineties as the band creates a track that will remind people of bands like Weezer and other bands at that time who were creating music that would be played on Alternative radio formats. The music and the lyrics of “All for the Love of You” will definitely take you back in time.

The three-part harmony in the vocals on the track “Moving in Time” once again takes the music of The Mercy Alliance in a “retro” musical direction. The vocals mixed with the slightly psychedelic keyboard sound takes the music of the band and seemingly transport it back into the sixties. The blend of the different musical elements produces a track that sets it apart from the rest of the album as it clearly seems from another place in time.

Some Kind of Beautiful Story from The Mercy Alliance continues with the track “This is How They Know”. With the strings provided by David Henry, the track is one track that stands alone from the rest of the album. The inclusion of strings on the song takes the band’s music in a musical direction that truly lives up to the band’s musical description of “melodic indie rock”. And the lyrics on the song also add a little emotion to the track. The emotional aspect along with the inclusion of strings helps to create a track that is quite different than the rest of the release.

One of the most rockin’ tracks is the song “Libertine”. The band creates one of the best rock tracks in an era where many musicians are going in a more “pop” music direction. The track of “Libertine” proves that The Mercy Alliance can rock out if given the chance.

The new album of Some Kind of Beautiful Story from The Mercy Alliance changes directions from one song to the next. Because of that, the album features a lot of different sounds throughout the albums 9 tracks. As you listen, the different musical styles blend together to create a very entertaining 38 minutes of musical pleasure. With Some Kind of Beautiful Story singer-songwriter Joe Rathbone and The Mercy Alliance easily creates one of the best albums of the year.

To discover the music of The Mercy Alliance, check out their video to the song “Washington” HERE.

Reviewer: Matheson Kamin
Rating: **** (four stars)

One again, I am posting an updated review on a release I wrote about a few years ago. This review is on The Life you Always Wanted, an album from The Bittersweets. Back in 2008, the original article I wrote had double purpose: One purpose was to give some exposure to the band’s new release; the other purpose was to give exposure to the band’s then-upcoming performance in the Cleveland area. Today, I have expanded the original review to cover the entire album. Here is the 2012 version of the review on The Bittersweet’s album, The Life You Always Wanted.

ImageSinger/Songwriter Chris Meyers never really liked country music until he discovered a love for it while attending college in rural Ohio. While in college, Chris set up a national tour out of his dorm room.
After college, Chris moved to California and met up with singer-songwriter Hannah Prater, a jazz vocalist who toured Europe. The two hit it off and started performing together in a duo that was a country based duo and soon released a self-released EP in 2005 under the moniker of The Bittersweets. With the release of the EP, they started gaining attention in the Bay Area.
With the new found popularity the band was getting, the time was right to expand from just a duo to a full-fledged band. Along with Chris and Hannah on vocals and guitars, the group soon included bassist Daniel Schacht and multi-instrumentalist Jerry Becker.
With the group getting their name out there in the Bay area, they ended up getting an ex-drummer for a couple well-known bands interested in them. A certain Steve Bowman from Third Eye Blind and Counting Crows became the last piece to the puzzle to fill out the band.
When the band was finally put together, Chris, Hannah and the rest started opening for big name acts like Rosanne Cash and Train even before they had an album out to help promote themselves. Soon afterward, they went about putting together The Life You Always Wanted, their first album that they recorded for Virt Records.

The Life You Always Wanted from The Bittersweets begins with the song “When the World Ends”. The slow, steady beat of Steve Bowman’s drums starts the song off. It is Hannah Prater who handles the vocal for this track and the power in her voice really gives the song a lot of feeling. When the entire band gets together, the resulting folk-rock song that is produced gives only the slight indication of what The Bittersweets are capable of.

On the song “Bag of Bones,” Prater and Chris Meyers create a duet-like vocal to a song that sounds like it would have been produced in Nashville and NOT California. The commercial quality of the song would sound as much at home on country stations as it would on Top 40 stations. Once again, it is Prater’s vocals that help make the song as her beautiful, clear voice brings home the true meaning of the lyrics of the song.

Long Day” is the first song on The Life You Always Wanted that feels like a hit single. The song features a rock vibe but it’s the mandolin from Jerry Becker that really gives the track some depth. And with the melodica that Becker also adds to the song along with the cello from David Henry (the same person who helped mix the album), “Long Day” is the song that seems to stick out on the album because of its beauty.

While Hannah Prater handles most of the lead vocals on the release, there are times when composer Chris Meyers takes a turn on vocals. One particular song that features Meyers is the track “Houston”. The driving beat of the song gives the track a bouncy, happy quality that will put a smile on the face of anyone who listens. “Houston” is another song The Life You Always Wanted that has the most mass appeal and it’s that mass appeal that makes the song feel very much like a single.

“Mostly Happy People” begins with Hannah Prater singing the lyrics over a music bed of organ and drum loops, but the sound slowly fills in when the rest of the band help create a track that has a slow, steady beat. Eventually, Chris Meyers joins Prater and they once again create a duet-like track. While the title of the song seems to suggest a somewhat upbeat take on life, the lyrics to the song tell a different story.

Meyers and Prater once again come together on the track “Shooting out the Sky”. The pop-rock track finds the entire band creating a strong track with everyone in the group creating some passionate music.

The Life You Always Wanted by The Bittersweets not only shows off singer/songwriter Chris Meyers as the talented composer that he is, it also showcases Hannah Prater and everyone else that help make up the band for this release; the resulting tracks that make up the release end up being full-bodied and fun to listen to.

Click HERE to see a live performance of “Long Day” by Hannah Prater and Chris Meyers.