Posts Tagged ‘jazz funk’

dollfaceWhen you combine a multi-talented musician that has a very soulful voice of an R&B diva with other musicians who help to bring her musical vision to life, you end up with a band that blends jazz, R&B and even a little Indie Rock together. The result is a musical outfit by the name of Hello, Dollface. The ensemble consists of singer/guitarist/keyboard player and songwriter Ashley Edwards, bassist/keyboard player Jesse Ogle and keyboard player Easton Stuard. Together with drummer James A. Morrow, the band of Hello, Dollface created the 2016 release entitled Warrior of Light.

Warrior of Light from Hello, Dollface begins with “Movin’ Me”. The slow-tempoed track features a blend of Jazz and R&B. Along with the slow tempo, the song comes across as relatively relaxed as the band plays the music of the song with simplicity. The result is a track that allows the vocals from Ashley Edwards to shine. The style and feel of the music takes the listener back to the seventies where a lot of the music back then had a much lighter and more relaxed feel to it. And while there is a slightly dated feel to the music in the song, “Movin’ Me” would easily fit any modern-day Smooth Jazz radio format.

The 2016 release from Hello, Dollface continues with one of the definite standout tracks. The song “Intuition” hits you with a sound that immediately catches your attention. The song’s music combines a very strong R&B feel with a little Indie Rock style thrown in. Along with the vocals from Ashley Edwards, the track has a style that seems to have been influences, if only a little bit, by the Indie Rock band Zero 7. “Intuition” is one song on the release that will stay with you long after the album has come to an end.

Hello, Dollface’s new release continues with the album’s title track. “Warrior of Light’s” Smooth Jazz approach comes courtesy of the guitar, bass and drums from Ashley Edwards, Jesse Ogle and James A. Morrow. Together, the trio creates a track that has a solid classic jazz feel. The inclusion of the organ on the track helps to add some texture, but it is the guitar, bass and drums that truly bring the majority of the song to life. Edwards’ vocals also give “Warrior of Light” a very infectious sound while the vocal arrangement creates one of the most unique moments on the release.

On the song of “Test Crash,” Hello, Dollface takes their sound in a much different direction than any of the songs that had preceded it on the album. On the songs that led off the Warrior of Light album, the band focused on a style that incorporated a lot of Jazz and R&B influence. But with the track “Test Crash,” the ensemble fully embraces the Indie rock side of their personality. And even though “Test Crash” is still rather laidback, the Indie Rock influence incorporated into the song helps to create a totally different vibe than when compared to the previous songs.

Staying in the mindset of creating a track with a different feel to it, Hello, Dollface changes the feel of their release once again on “Face It”. Together, Edwards, Ogle, Stuard and Morrow create a song that brings out the Soul influence in the band’s sound. In fact, “Face It” is easily the most soulful track on the release. The quartet even incorporates some Reggae influence to add even more texture to the song’s music. The whole thing is brought together with the addition of guitarist Tim McLaughlin who adds a very strong solo to the track. “Face It” is another track on the release that stands out.

Just like “Intuition” from earlier in the album, the song “Carry Me” is another song that comes across as being very infectious. The song’s sound once again brings out the band’s Soul influence. But unlike the track “Face It” that contained mostly that Soul influence, “Carry Me” is equal parts Soul and R&B. The track contains a radio-friendly sound that will immediately jump out at the listener and beg to be heard. “Carry Me” is easily one of the best moments on the Warrior of Light release from Hello, Dollface.

The 2016 release of Warrior of Light from Hello, Dollface comes to a close with “In Your Light”. The song begins with keyboards that create a light Jazz feel. The rest of the instruments join in a little later to help fill out the sound of the track. And while the song is mostly Jazz-based, the music does contain a light influence from Indie Rock to give “In Your Light” a unique feel when compared to the rest of the album. The bass part from Jesse Ogle and the piano create a catchy musical phrasing within the piece that gets repeated, adding yet another infectious quality to part of the track. “In Your Light” brings the release to a close on a rather gentle tone, but the song still catches your ear as it fades the release out.

Throughout the ten tracks that make up the 2016 release from Hello, Dollface entitled Warrior of Light, the listener encounters songs that incorporate many different styles of music that help to create the laidback feel of the band’s sound. Warrior of Light is a strong release with plenty of musical moments that will please the type of listener who looks for strong songwriting and musicianship in the type of music that they add to their musical library. Each track on the release comes with its own style, but the ten tracks all combine to create one album of music that has a certain familiarity from beginning to end.

For more on the band, check out Hello, Dollface’s video to the track “Intuition“. 

For more information, check out the band’s PR firm, XO Publicity

Singer-songwriter Scott Smith left Charleston, South Carolina because of a personal reason and moved to the Cleveland area. That same reason made Scott leave a few months ago after spending 3 years as a resident in the area. During the time he was here, Scott played at several of the area’s smaller venues where he would perfect songs he was writing. As a result of Smith expanding his songbook to include his own compositions, he ended up with enough songs to create an album. It is this group of songs that make up his new 2007 album, Quicksand Remedies.

Quicksand Remedies was recorded by Scott while he was in transition between leaving Cleveland and relocating back to Charleston. The album was produced by another local musician, Joe Rohan. Along with Rohan and co-producer Curt Leonard adding their musical touches to the release, it also features some of Cleveland’s best musicians backing Scott up. The inclusion of these talented individuals in the recording process of Scott Smith’s new album ended up making the release full-bodied and varied from track-to-track.

Because Scott Smith incorporates many different musical genres into his writing including jazz,  funk and even hip hop, Quicksand Remedies provides the listener with just a snapshot of what Scott’s sound is like. For instance, on tracks like “Parking Lot” and “Lively,” Scott lets out his reggae side and shows you what he was known for down in Charleston before he started writing his own music. Other songs like “Comin’ Round” and “G Funk” show Scott’s funky side.

Most of the songs on Quicksand Remedies are fleshed-out versions of stuff that Scott has been playing solo for years in the Cleveland area. However, there are songs like “Quicksand” and “Pocket” that show off Scott by allowing the listener to hear what those of us who followed Scott here in Cleveland have known for years: He is just as talented and entertaining when he is alone with just his guitar.

One of the best examples of what Scott sounds like live is displayed on his song, “The Flight”. “The Flight” is a Michael Hedges-inspired song that features Scott performing on his guitar: no band, no singing, just the guitar. While playing this song live, Scott would turn up the reverb on his sound board and let the reverb create a layering effect. Scott recreated this live sound in the studio. The resulting track reminds me of seeing Scott playing this song in concert.

One of the most interesting, and commercial radio-friendly songs on Quicksand Remedies is Scott’s song, “Amazed”. With this song, think Santana w/Rob Thomas-meets-Marc Cohn. The song starts with the listener joining in on a Santana-style jam that becomes a piano-driven ballad. Changing paces several times during the 4-plus minutes, the song fades out way too fast.

Scott Smith has created an album that you must hear that features music of many styles, from rock to reggae; from funk to jazz and everything in between. Each track on this CD has a very distinct sound and the resulting songs that make up this album definitely give a small but powerful indication of the talent of this musician. While it would absolutely require seeing this musician in concert to truly appreciate all he can do with his guitar, Scott Smith has created a release with the help of Joe Rohan and Curt Leonard that shows off just a small amount of his musical ability. Pick up a copy of Quicksand Remedies from Scott Smith and experience this talented musician for yourself.

For more information, go to Scott Smith’s website. Also check out his Facebook account.

Click HERE for a live performance of “The Flight” by Scott Smith