Posts Tagged ‘Jack Johnson’

Just Like MedicineA.J. Croce is a singer-songwriter that was born to another singer-songwriter that had his time on Earth cut short due to a plane crash. That singer-songwriter was, of course, Jim Croce. Jim Croce was known for such songs as “Time in a Bottle,” “Roller Derby Queen,” “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown,” and others. And although Jim Croce died in a plane crash when A.J. Croce was only two, A.J. was largely influenced by his father. In fact, A.J. was so influenced by his father that he started writing his own music. To date, Adrian James “A.J.” Croce has a musical discography that includes ten albums of music. The latest album from the younger Croce is 2017’s Just Like Medicine.

The Just Like Medicine album finds A.J. Croce creating an album that seems to have been influenced by many of the same people that would have been contemporaries to his father, Jim Croce. And while some of his father’s influence does come through, the other influences help to create an album that feels like it would be welcomed by them, the older crowd and the current market of music buyers all at the same time.

While the new album from A.J. Croce features A.J’s songs, it also comes complete with a few songs that had been written by other musicians. The combination of original compositions from Croce and the few cover tunes he chose to include create an album with a straight-out Rock and Roll soul to it; especially given the fact that the tracks borrow from several different musical directions at once. Here are just a few of the highlights to the Just Like Medicine album:

Just Like Medicine begins with one of A.J’s original songs called “Gotta Get Outta My Head”. While Croce has followed in his father’s musical footsteps, he also has gone in his own direction as far as his writing style is concerned. Nowhere is that more apparent than on this first track of the album. The track feels more like a song that Dr. John would have composed. The track’s musical approach combines elements of Rock and Roll with some Funk to create a track with a rather strong groove to it.

A.J. Croce’s latest release continues with a track that was written by Steve Cropper of Booker T & the MG’s fame. Because of Cropper’s musical background and with the various people he played with, the track “The Heart That Makes Me Whole” contains a strong musical feel that would have felt right at home with the tracks that appeared on the albums produced by The Blues Brothers.  A.J’s version of the track brings that Blues Brothers influence to life.

The other track on A.J. Croce’s latest release of Just Like Medicine that isn’t his is the track “Name of the Game”. This song was written by Jim Croce but was never released because Jim passed away before the release it was to be included on went unfinished. Right from the beginning few notes of the track, it is absolutely clear that “Name of the Game” is Jim Croce’s song. The guitar-driven track would have been right at home next to a song such as “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown”. In fact, the two tracks feel as if they could have been together on the same album.

For the title track of the release, A.J. Croce creates a track in “Cures Just Like Medicine” that brings to mind a style that seems to have been largely influenced by the like of Harry Connick Jr. “Cures Just Like Medicine” features a Jazzy, Connick-like musical approach. The somewhat raspy voice of A.J. Croce and the musical approach once again brings to mind the sound and feel of Dr. John but with more of a jazzy feel.

Staying in a jazzy state of mind, the next track entitled “Move On” features A.J. Croce continues with the Connick influence but with a stronger stressing of jazz to the music. On this track, what ends up coming across is an “American Songbook” era track that would have come from Rod Stewart. The easy feel to the music and the lyrical delivery that is unmistakably Stewart creates a track that transcends age as the track feels both timeless and retro at the same time.

With the song “The Other Side of Love,” A.J. Croce creates a track with a rather soulful feel to the music. That soulful approach comes from the laidback feel to the pace of the music as well as the quiet feel of the vocal delivery from Croce and the piano that is featured on the track. Together, the various elements in the music create a track that feels as if it belongs on the radio back a few decades. But as there are just as many people who are creating music with a retro feel to it, “The Other Side of Love” fits in with other artists today that also bring the older styles of music alive in their current music.

As the album of Just Like Medicine from A.J. Croce continues, the track “Full Up” finds Croce creating a track that features a piano part and vocal delivery that brings to mind the style of Randy Newman. But there’s more to the track than just that Randy Newman influence which proves that A.J. was influenced by the same people who created music at the same time that his father had been creating music. While the delivery and musical approach bring Newman to mind, the music also contains a little influence by a more contemporary artist- Jack Johnson. Together, the two influences blend to create a track with inter-generational appeal.

On the track “Hold You,” A.J. Croce seems to be channeling the musical approach of Van Morrison. Both the music of the track and Croce’s vocal approach to the track bring to mind the sound and style of Morrison. In fact, “Hold You” has such a strong Morrison feel to the music that it would fit right in with the likes of “The Mystic” or “Crazy Love”. “Hold You” is just another track on the album of Just Like Medicine from A.J. Croce that shows off the various influences that give A.J. Croce’s music its appeal.

As you make your way through the ten tracks that make up the Just Like Medicine album from A.J. Croce, it’s hard to ignore the various influences that wind their way through Croce’s music. But those influences aren’t a bad thing. The various influences that Croce draws upon help give his music depth. As a result, his 2017 album is an album that will satisfy any Rock and Roll lover’s desire for something new.

To hear the music from Just Like Medicine from A.J. Croce, check out the Spotify account for the album. 

Also check out the “title track” to the release, “Cures Just like Medicine“. 

To purchase a copy of Just Like Medicine from A.J. Croce, click HERE

Click HERE for A.J. Croce’s version of “Operator” from Jim Croce. 

 

 

 

 

What happens when family members all end up taking an interest in music indecently of each other? Their musical abilities will grow as they develop their skills and they may eventually decide that coming together and creating one group makes sense; especially if the group makes use of each member’s talents. That is exactly what happened when Tim Ehrhart, Mike Ehrhart and Chris Ehrhart came together to create music as a team.

The Ehrharts all came to music on their own, each finding their own niches. Each had their own parts of music that they focused on. But it was when brothers songwriter Mike and musician Tim Ehrhart were trying to create their sound that they found themselves turning to Mike’s son Chris to be the voice of their new band. With the band, Chris was the one to suggest that the band give their music more of a message than most bands out there today. The resulting band is called Beautiful Mess.

Beautiful Mess has been together and creating their Christian Rock music for several years and the band has released several CDs to this date. The band’s latest CD is a five-song EP called Words Getting Around.

Words Getting Around from Beautiful Mess begins with the song “Crazy”. The track begins with a soft rock feel to the song with a message of believing in your dreams as they may actually come true. The track features an acoustic feel with acoustic and piano as the main aspects to the music. While the track does contain a Christian message, the Ehrharts do not dwell on the Christian aspect of the message on this track. The more important part of the message is pay attention to your dreams and Beautiful Mess does a nice job conveying that message in “Crazy”.

The second track on Words Getting Around from Beautiful Mess in the track “Words Getting Around”. While the first of “Crazy” contains an acoustic rock approach, the Ehrharts change musical directions with the track “Words Getting Around”. The main aspect to the music sounds like the band had been listening to a lot of Jack Johnson before they started creating their music. The music to the track has as much soul influence as Johnson’s music. The resulting track feels nothing like the track that preceded it and yet still feels very natural to the band’s sound. With this track, the message about a higher power seems stronger than on the previous track. And while the message is stronger, the band still does not seem to be preaching.

On “Holding On,” Beautiful Mess returns to a sound that is more acoustically based. With the track, the band the acoustic guitars, piano and light percussion all add together to create a sound on the track that will make acoustic rock lovers happy. The lyrics of the track will give the listener a lot of encouragement as Chris Ehrhart sings that God “reached out and won’t let go”. The simple Acoustic feel to the song makes it feel perfect for many spiritual radio formats.

The 5-song EP from Beautiful Mess comes to an end with the track “Home Forever”. While the song contains a lot of religious feel to it, the music of the track feels very much light something that could have been written by Matt Scannell of Vertical Horizon. The track has a very commercial appeal to it and could be right at home on spiritual radio formats just like the song “Holding On”. Words Getting Around from Beautiful Mess is a strong 5-song release.

The tracks that make up the CD keep the interest of the listener by changing from tune track to the next. And while Beautiful Mess writes songs that contain a lot of Christian values in their subject matter, the band seems to stay away from the usual method of being overpowering in their message. The Christian message in their songs will make fans of Christian music happy while the lighter approach to the message could easily help draw the less religious to their music, as well.

Reviewer: Matheson Kamin

Rating: **** (four stars)

Boston-based Hillary Reynolds is currently making her way through the music scene in New England. The singer-songwriter is currently writing music that falls into the Folk music category. When listening to Hillary Reynolds, it’s her voice that first draws you in. The beautiful quality in that voice lends itself well to the music that she is creating.

While Hillary Reynold’s voice sounds as if she would be a perfect fit to create folk music, she ends up writing music that features a lot more variety to it than just plain folk music. Along with the base of Folk, the music created by Hilary Reynolds contains a bit of Country and some Rock and Roll, as well. It is because of that variety in her style that Reynolds qualifies herself as being Americana.

To help bring her music to life, Hillary Reynolds calls upon four other musicians that help to shape her music. Along with Reynolds on piano and vocals, the rest of the group that has come to be called the Hillary Reynolds Band consists of: Trevor Jarvis: Cello/Backup Vocals, Connor Reese: Guitar/Backup Vocals, Jeff Hale: Drums/Percussion/Ukulele and Chris Mewhinney: Bass. Together, the Hillary Reynolds Band just created a new release called The Miles Before Us.

The Miles Before Us by The Hillary Reynolds Band begins with the track “Took Me a While”. Right from the beginning of the song, you get an idea of how strong Hillary Reynolds writing is as the track has crossover appeal to it that would fit in on both folk-based radio formats and Top 40 ones, as well. While there is a lot of folk-rock flavor to the music of the track, there I also some international flavor to it with the inclusion of the cello. The track helps kick off the new release from The Hillary Reynolds Band on a strong note.

“Pretending I’m In Love” begins with a feeling that might remind you of something from Jack Johnson before the track builds a lot more energy to produce a sound that will remind some of a much more upbeat Norah Jones song. And with Reynolds’ vocals sounding very similar to those of Jones’, the two different feelings of Johnson and Jones seem to work well together as they create a song that continues to build throughout the track three and a half minutes. The track is so strong that it could be a single.

The new release from The Hillary Reynolds Band contains many tracks that will touch in you some way. One of the most emotional tracks on the release is the song “Honey, Come Home”. The song contains lyrics about a woman who waits for her love to return. The emotionally beautiful lyrics are matched well with music that brings to mind that of Rhonda Vincent and the Rage. The mandolin from Reynolds and the cello from Travis Jarvis help to shape the music of the track before the rest of the band joins in. The male vocals on the track also add a lot of flavor to the song as they give the track a slight duet feeling.

While the first several tracks on The Miles Before Us by The Hillary Reynolds Band have a really laid-back feeling to them, the band adds a little energy to the music of the song “Can’t Let You Go”. Even though it takes a little time to get into as the song slowly builds, the track contains perhaps the most rock and roll flavor to the music. The drums on the track are a lot stronger than on any other track up to that point. The electric guitar on the track is a slight surprise after having listened to the band as they have created music with an easy folk energy to it. If there was one track that could be added to Top 40 radio playlists, it would be “Can’t Let You Go”.

One of the tracks on the album of that finds the band creating a track with a plain folk music feel to it is the song “Crossing the Line”. The acoustic guitar, mandolin, standup bass, and brushes bring to mind the simple feeling usually associated with folk music. The track ends up being one of the songs from the release that will stay with you. And just like with the songs “Honey, Come Home” and “Can’t Let You Go” the track “Crossing the Line” is strong enough to find itself on the radio.

After a straight-out Folk tune, the band changes pace once again on the song “This Love is Ours”. The track contains an equal blend of Folk influence and Rock and Roll. The track begins with a light musical approach that comes courtesy of a solo guitar and Hillary Reynolds’ voice. The gentle approach of the resulting musical blend creates one of the softest moments on the release. Soon, the rest of the band is added in. The result is a track that features a blend that feels like Lite Rock. The track feels like it would easily have been as much at home on AM radio back in the seventies as it would be right at home on today’s Adult Contemporary radio formats.

The Miles Before Us contains a total of fourteen tracks. Whether you are a fan of straight folk music or like to find the kind of artists who add more elements to their music, you will find more to enjoy on this new release from The Hillary Reynolds Band.

Reviewer: Matheson Kamin

Rating: **** (four stars)

To check out the video to the song “Honey, Come Home,” click the link.

Mike Delledera is a singer-songwriter based in New York. Having studied jazz music, it was natural for him to include part of that knowledge into his writing style. And with Delledera also studying rock guitar, the two parts of his education came together to create a musical hybrid that also seems to include jazz influence, as well. That combination of rock, jazz and blues gives Delledera the freedom to create music with an ever-changing feel to it. To help bring the sound of his music to life, Mike Delledera calls upon many talented musicians with the ability to play as many styles as required to make up the body of his musical ensemble known as The Mike Delledera Band. Recently, The Mike Delledera Band created a new release called WakeUpSideDowntown.

WakeUpSideDowntown by The Mike Delledera Band begins with the song “Silver Ruby Diamonds Blues”. With that type of name, you would figure it would be a track that had a lot of blues feeling to it. In this case, “Silver Ruby Diamonds Blues” is a track that sounds like something that was influenced by Michael Nesmith and the First National Band. The pop-rock track has a light feel to the music and features a sound that contains steel guitar and piano that help add that Country flavor to the song. The resulting song has a jam band feel to it that would also end up making fans of The Grateful Dead happy.

The track “Sugar Face” finds The Mike Delledera Band taking their music back a few decades to the years after the time of Woodstock. The resulting rock song will instantly have you thinking of another song with “sugar” in the title- “Sugar Shack” from Jimmy Gilmer and The Fireballs. Like that song from years gone by, the track from Mike Delledera has an easy rock feel and has simple lyrics that are easy to sing along with.

The song “Gypsy Soul” is easily the first track on the album of WakeUpSideDowntown from The Mike Delledera Band that would fit on today’s radio airwaves. The majority of the music on the track feels like something that could have come from an artist such as Jack Johnson then adds a little Santana-inspired guitar playing and you have a track that is ready-made for today’s music listeners.

As you listen to the new release from The Mike Delledera Band, the music changes moods and sounds throughout the nine tracks. While the first three songs on WakeUpSideDowntown have rock feels to their bases, the track “Bounce” sends the music in a completely different direction as the track has a rock/reggae sound. As the title of “Bounce” might suggest, the track has an easy, bouncy pace to it. The track feels as authentic as much as the music that is being created by artists who make reggae music full time.

The jam band feeling from the song “Silver Ruby Diamonds Blues” returns in the song “Main Street USA” with a stronger rock base to it. The track allows for the guitar and keyboard to take center stage for majority of the song. The jam band feel of the music goes well with the lyrics that make people stop and think.

“Can’t Stop Rockin’,” like “Silver Ruby Diamonds Blues” before it, is a track that features a sound that you wouldn’t expect from the title of the track. This track features the band going for a jazzy feel to their music. The brasses help add a large amount of jazz sound to the track. The jazz sound mixed with the groove being created by the rest of the musicians gives the track yet another unique musical approach on an album that has already had so many different and exciting combinations.

The WakeUpSideDowntown album by The Mike Delledera Band comes to a close with the track “The Music Echoes On”. Falling somewhere between folk/rock and country music, the song has a sound and feeling that is very reminiscent of songs that were released by the band The Lovin’ Spoonful. The track brings the WakeUpSideDowntown album to a close on a gentle note.

Throughout the nine tracks that make up The WakeUpSideDowntown album by The Mike Delledera Band, the music continuously shifts and switches directions. The ever-shifting combination of rock, jazz, blues and country within the music of each track guarantees a new approach to each song. The talented musicians that helped Mike Delledera create this album are just as important to the overall feel of the release as Delledera is. Together, The Mike Delledera Band has created a release that could easily become a favorite album in your collection as it includes many different musical genres and covers almost any taste in music.

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

 

Click HERE for the live video to “Sugar Face” by The Mike Delledera Band.

 

Singer-Songwriter Alexander Vlachos is a Detroit, Michigan-based musician. The style of music that Vlachos makes contains both a folk and jazz quality to it. The resulting music is fresh as it has a sound that brings to mind folk artists like Simon & Garfunkle, Jason Mraz and several other artists. Vlachos performs under the moniker of Greater Alexander. The new album from Greater Alexander is called Positive Love.

Positive Love was mostly created by Alexander Vlachos as he played the large majority of the instrumental parts that help create the songs. As a result of those songs that contain only Vlacho, the majority of the album has a sparse feel to the music. On the few tracks that feature more than just Vlachos by himself, you get a bigger, fuller sound.

The first track off of Positive Love from Greater Alexander is “Any Way out of It”. The first thing you notice when you listen to the track is how much the track sounds like a song that would have been created by Simon & Garfunkle.  It is the vocalizations by Vlachos that really brings to mind that famous folk-rock duo. The song also features a simple guitar part that will remind you of songs created by Simon & Garfunkle.

Positive Love from Greater Alexander continues with the title track. The African stringed instruments on the track “Positive Love” give the track a very interesting sound while still maintaining the folk feel that was present on the track “Any Way out of It”. The track has a feel to it that is similar to that of “I’m Yours” of Jason Mraz.

With the track of “Baby Steps,” the resulting track from Alexander Vlachos has more of a full sound to it than most of the tracks as percussionist Bryan Arnold joins in with Vlachos and gives the track just a little more rhythm. The resulting track has a style that will bring to mind songs from the likes of people like Jack Johnson.

One of the strongest tracks on Positive Love from Greater Alexander is the song “Better Days”. The track features some of Alexander Vlachos’ strongest vocals on the album. The lyrics will also stick with you as they are very upbeat and will have you wishing for those “better days” to come. The music of the track is stronger than most of the tracks on the release as it features Alexander Vlachos who has been joined by Bryan Pope as Pope adds violin to the track. The vocals on the track once again seem to be very powerful as Vlachos adds many levels to the vocals and creates three-part harmony to the lyrics. “Better Days” is easily one of the most commercial tracks on the album.

While most of the tracks on the album feature Alexander Vlachos and his guitar, the song “Everlasting” is one of the tracks that also feature Vlachos on the piano. The sparse piano playing on the track helps to add a slight beauty to the song while it also helps to separate the track from the majority of the rest of the release. Percussionist Bryan Arnold once again joins Vlachos and gives some added texture to the track. The track turns out to be one of the most entertaining tracks on Positive Love.

Alexander Vlachos returns to a more simplistic feel to his music on the track “Negative Fears”. And while the song features only guitars and Vlachos’ voice, the track does feature a layered feeling to the guitars as they give the music a beautiful quietness that adds to the somewhat strong subject matter in the lyrics.

Positive Love from Greater Alexander comes to a close with the track “In the Stillness of Water”. The track begins rather quietly as Alexander Vlachos describes a peaceful scene of tranquility. The song slowly builds to include a full-bodied sound that includes light percussion and keyboards. The song continues until it returns once again to a quieter feeling that fades out.

Positive Love, the new album from Alexander Vlachos’ moniker of Greater Alexander, is an enjoyable release of modern-day folk music. If you happen to be a fan of folk music, this release will have something for any lover of the genre.

Click HERE for the video for “Any Way out of It” from Greater Alexander. You can also check out the Positive Love album from Greater Alexander HERE.