Posts Tagged ‘jazz’

In every major city in the United States, there exists a very versatile musician or musicians that have the musical talent and ability to create music that consists of many different genres or styles that change from one song to the next. One such musician right here in Cleveland is Rachel Brown.

With her, piano, singer-songwriter Rachel Brown is able to combine together Honky Tonk, Jazz, Blues, Country, even Rock and Roll into songs that are as varied as the genres that help to create them. Brown is one talent that can be put into the Americana musical genre because of her generous use of those individual genres in her songs.

In order to bring her music to life, Rachel Brown is backed up by several musicians who call themselves the Beatnik Playboys. The Beatnik Playboys consist of Bill Watson on bass, Roy King on drums and Dave Huddleston on guitar. As versatile as Brown, the three musicians easily transition from Blues to Jazz to other styles and are the perfect musicians to back up Rachel Brown. And together, Rachel and the Beatnik Playboys create one of Cleveland’s premier bands.

Having already released one album of original music called Just Look My Way, Rachel Brown made a name for herself with that release and has since become one of the most sought after acts in Cleveland. Recently, Rachel and the Beatnik Playboys followed up that release with another album. The 2014 release from Rachel Brown and the Beatnik Playboys is called Once Again.

Once Again begins with the title track. “Once Again” is a slow-paced Country track that brings to mind artists like Loretta Lynn or others who would now be classified as Classic Country. The writing style of Rachel Brown feels as authentic as anything that would have been created back during those classic years that are now seen as so influential to today’s up-and-coming artists that are creating their own take on the Country music genre.

The new release continues with the song “Mama and Daddy”. Staying within that Classic Country sound, the song features the Beatnik Playboys as much as it features Rachel Brown. The trio of bassist Bill Watson, drummer Roy King and guitarist Dave Huddleston creates a strong guitar-based track with plenty of twang courtesy of Huddleston’s guitar. The heartbreaking lyrics contained within the song refer to what a family might do if they no longer had their parents. Those lyrics feel as poignant today as they would have 20-30 years ago. Lyrics like “What would we do if Mama and Daddy were gone?” bring that Old-Timey feel to Rachel Brown’s music.

Rachel Brown is not the only writer within the musical ensemble. The song “It’s Not Easy” features the writing style of bassist Bill Watson. The trio of Watson on bass, Huddleston on guitar and King on drums help lay down a simple jazz sound that Brown adds her piano playing to. The results end up being a track that feels like a Jazz standard. Taking a listen to the track, you’ll swear that you’ve heard the song before as it feels so familiar. You may even start to sing along. That simple feel in the lyrics and music is what makes the song work.

The telltale sign of a good songwriter is the ability to write in such a way that the song being performed actually feels like a story. The ‘story’ of “Jimmy C” from Rachel Brown is one of those songs that seem to bring a character to life as Brown sings of an old friend. The combination of all of the musicians on this track creates a song that easily could be heard on Country music formats on today’s radio.

If there was one particular song on the new release of Once Again from Rachel Brown and the Beatnik Playboys, it would have to be “My Best Friend is My Song”. The track begins with the combo of Brown on piano, Bill Watson on bass and Chris Hanna on organ. The first minute or so of the track is simply the three musicians creating an instrumental moment before Brown adds her vocals. The song’s music will hit you in the heart with its beauty from the very first few bars. With the addition of the lyrics, Brown proceeds to explain the meaning of the title of the song. The lyrics and the music work well together to bring the lyrics to life.  “My Best friend is My Song” is easily one of the best moments on the album.

Just like her previous album of Just Look My Way, Rachel Brown’s Once Again is a strong release from beginning to end. And with plenty of variety in the music, there’s bound to be something for everybody on the songwriter’s new release. Take a listen and see why everybody’s talking about Rachel Brown.

Check out Rachel Brown in concert as she performs the song “My Best Friend is My Song“.

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.

 


Artist: Bill Sunkel
Single Review: “Frankenstein Walk”
Reviewer: Matheson Kamin
Bill Sunkel has created music with several bands over the last few years. Currently, Sunkel is creating his own music with his own sound that incorporates many different musical elements that includes rock, soul, jazz and other musical genres. For his new song of “Frankenstein Walk,” Bill Sunkel and his band create a track that brings to mind the magic that was contained within the music of the band Chicago. The unusual nature of the lyrics helps to add a bit of personality to the track. While some may think the track is about something that has to do with the horror genre, Sunkel explains that it has to do with those people who seem to sleepwalk through life, more or less in a trance. But however you look at the song, “Frankenstein Walk” is still a fun track with a lot of personality. The band behind Bill Sunkel is known as Desperate Measures, a group that both he and his brother Rob Sunkel are part of. Together, the entire ensemble helps to bring the track to life. While Bill Sunkel and his brother Rob add a lot of elements to the song, other musicians help shape the music of the track. “Frankenstein Walk” contains plenty of energy as the song begins with a quick guitar riff before segueing into a sound that would easily fit with any song that has been released by Chicago as the horns and the rest of the band create a vibe that is as funky as it is groovy. “Frankenstein Walk” is one of the most recent songs that Bill Sunkel has created and it’s a good indicator of his past work as well as the new material that is currently being written. And with the lighthearted feeling of the song, it’s a good song to use as an introduction to this talented songwriter/musician.

For the video of Bill Sunkel and Desperate Measures performing “Frankenstein Walk,” click on the link.  
Reviewer: Matheson Kamin
Rating: **** (four stars)

Painted on Water is a new rock outfit made up of composer/guitarist/producer Demir Demirkan and vocalist Sertab Erener, both of Turkish descent. Based in Chicago, the two musicians bring together many different musical influences to create a sound that is very eclectic. The band’s sound incorporates rock, electronica, funk and several other styles to make something unique and fresh. While having already put out a few releases, the duo has just recently created a new release entitled Chicago Issue.

The band’s EP begins with the track “I Need You Most”. The beginning track incorporates a lot of rock feel, some blues and a lot of electronic sound into one musical package.  “I Need You Most” comes to life with the inclusion of a strong guitar part that helps to drive the music of the track. The use of the Talk Box on the track by Painted on Water’s Demir Demirkan helps to add some really interesting rock feel to the song, as well. The various different genres of music come together in the track to help create a song that features many different facets and has plenty of energy. The strong track gives the listener a strong reason to continue on and see what else the duo has to offer.

After “I Need You Most,” Chicago Issue from Painted on Water continues with the track “A New Me”. While the song “I Need You Most” features a strong blues-based feel to the music, “A New Me” has a very strong funk vibe to it. It’s that Funk vibe that truly takes over the feel of the duo’s music on this song. The funk of the song mixes well with the rock feel of the duo’s music. That combination creates a track that is as funky as it is catchy. If it wasn’t for the energy the music gives off, you would almost classify the song under “pop”. But calling the sound of “A New Me” as “pop” is definitely not the right description for the song; especially since the song has as much rock feel to it as it has the funk feel to it. Together, the rock, funk and pop influences ultimately come together to create the EP’s strongest track.

While “A New Me” is probably the strongest track on Chicago Issue from Painted on Water, the song “Hating You Loving You” is the track with the most emotion to its lyrics. The lyrics deal with a woman caught in a relationship that may not be the best for her but she doesn’t want to give it up. The music of the song has a slightly slower pace to it than the first two tracks. However, that slower pace does not take any of the energy away from the music of the song. The energetic music and the emotional lyrics create a song that can only be described as a “power ballad”. The resulting track’s music and the powerful lyrics create a track that is very catchy and memorable; you’ll easily find yourself singing along with the lyrics before the end of the track.

On the next track on the release, “Why Do You Love Me,” the duo of Demir Demirkan and Sertab Erener remove the ballad part of the “Power Ballad” and create a song that finds the singer once again questioning her relationship. While “Hating You Loving Me” contains some beauty in the music of the track, the song “Why Do You Love Me” is a straight-out rocker. The track starts off with Sertab Erener singing about the use of words instead of using actions to show the love for someone. The energy in the music helps add power to the words of the singer who demands proof of her lover’s affection. What ends up being created is one of the least affectionate tracks but the track is still one of the strongest songs on the release.

Chicago Issue from Painted on Water comes to an end with the song “Despite Ourselves”. The vocals from Sertab Erener are matched with a quiet, easy keyboard sound that helps the track begin with an easy pace. Soon, however, the song takes on a sound and style that will immediately remind the listener of something that would have come from the band Evanescence. The Alternative Rock song proves that composer/guitarist/producer Demir Demirkan and vocalist Sertab Erener are very versatile as the final track of Chicago Issue sounds nothing like the rest of the release.

Chicago Issue from Painted on Water is a very strong five-song EP from two musicians of Turkish descent who now make their homes in Chicago. The EP changes sounds and styles throughout the five tracks and keeps the listener wanting more. If this is just a hint of what the duo can do, here’s to more.

 

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

Click HERE for the music of Painted on Water.

Elisa Korenne is a singer-songwriter from Minnesota who creates music that contains many different facets to it. With each song, Korenne seems to approach the music from a different angle. This helps to keep the music from this talented nicely varied. Elisa Korenne is currently promoting her album Concrete.

Concrete from Elisa Korenne begins with the track “Know Better”. The song is a track that contains a simple lyric about wanting better options in her relationship. The song contains a folk-rock feel to the music that gives the track a nice easy pace.

While “Know Better” has a folk-rock feel, the title track of the release, “Concrete,” also has a slightly easy feel to the music. But unlike “Know Better,” the feel of the title track is a lot jazzier. The inclusion of a trumpet to the music of the track helps to truly bring out its jazzy feel. The lyrics of the song are sung rather beautifully by Elisa Korenne, proving that she has the ability to sing many different styles of music.

With the track “Love to Love,” once again changes styles. The music for this track has a blues/rock feel to it. The track also seems to contain more attitude than the first tracks of the album as Elisa sings about different sexual ideas. The slight attitude in the lyrics and the harder approach in the music of the track give “Love to Love” more energy than the previous tracks.

“Keep it in My Heart” changes the feel of the music yet again. The track brings forward a bluesier feel than the album’s first track of “Know Better”. The slow tempo helps to add some intensity to the music of the track while the lyrics contain a slightly upbeat attitude.

The folk feel from the first track of the album returns on the song “Color Me In”. With this track, Elisa Korenne sings an emotional song about wanting to help complete her lover as long as they return the favor. The easy feel to the song help add some emotion to the lyrics to the song.

Almost as quickly as Korenne slows the pace down with “Color Me in,” music returns to a faster pace with the track “Lean into the Curve”. The track is one of the hardest rockin’ songs on the release. The song has one of the strongest electric guitar parts on the entire release. The electric guitar seems to add a bit of Jimi Hendrix–like flavor to the track. The inclusion of saxophone on the track also helps to give the song a bit of a retro feel. The various elements of the track add up to one strong song that could get the listener up and moving to the beat.

The stronger, faster feel to “Lean into the Curve” is short-lived as the next track on the album once again slows the pace of the release down. The song “Take Me Slowly” is a slow-paced song that features a very intense (and very slow) vocal delivery by Elisa Korenne that truly brings out the emotion and meaning to the lyrics to the track. “Take Me Slowly” is one of the most powerful songs on the Concrete album from Elisa Korenne.

While “Take Me Slowly” is one of the most intense tracks on the album, one of the most fun is “100 Miles to Nowhere”. This is one song that makes you smile with the lyrics that seem to have a bit of humor to them. The track has enough twang to please Country music fans while still pleasing rock fans at the same time.

Concrete from Elisa Korenne contains many songs that switch from one style of music to another. With the ever-changing feel of the album, there is something for everyone on the release. And while the style of music changes throughout the album, one thing that stays constant is Korenne’s ability to create a song that is strong and her vocal ability to sing any style as well. This release is strong on many levels and that is what makes it so good.

Review by Matheson Kamin

Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)

Click HERE for the track “Keep it in My Heart” from Elisa Korenne.

italian-project-cover-artBoulder, Colorado is home to Lisa Bell, a singer-songwriter who picks up where other acts like Bonnie Raitt, Carole King, Alison Krauss and Norah Jones left off. Bell’s style seems to incorporate many different aspects from those musicians and combines them into one sound that continuously shifts the ground under the listener’s feet. The always changing feel of Lisa Bell’s music is contained within her new release entitled The Italian Project.

With the new album, Lisa Bell has incorporated a little technology to help bring her music to life. Writing with Lisa Marie Simmons and Bob Story, the tracks that make up the new album were created by the three writers using Skype.

Along with the main three artists of Lisa Bell, Lisa Marie Simmons and Bob Story that created the basis for each song, other musicians help bring the music on the CD to life. On the CD, Lisa Bell is joined by several talented and versatile musicians. Bassist Mario Pagliarulo, drummer Cesare Valbussa, keyboard player Marco Cremaschini and vocalist Christian Codenotti all helped Lisa Marie Simmons with her part of the album as she and the rest of the aforementioned musicians worked on the music in their country of Italy. These International musicians and others from right here in America helped to make The Italian Project the strong album that it is.

The new CD from Lisa Bell of The Italian Project begins with the song “Bring the Love”. “Bring the Love” is a Country-based song that will bring to mind the music of Faith Hill. The track has the same high energy feel to the music that many associate with Hill and her music.

The album continues with the next track of “Come My Way”. While “Bring the Love” has a Country flavor to the song, “Come My Way” has a different feel. The track features a pop sound that has a very commercial “crossover” feel to it. It also contains some powerful guitar playing that helps to add a lot of energy to the song.

With the next track, Lisa Bell sends the music in yet another direction. Part jazz, part R&B, “One Face, One Race” features a smooth jazz feel to the music and that helps to allow Bell’s voice to shine through. The jazzy quality to Bell’s voice on the track proves that she has a definite ability to transition from one musical style to another.

The Italian Project from Lisa Bell stays in a jazzy groove for the next track of “A Brighter Day”. The track takes the listener back in time as the song has a “timeless” sound that feels as fresh today as it would have back in the 1960’s during the days of the Rat Pack. Lisa Bell’s vocals on the track are clear and beautiful. The guitar solo from Bob Story on the track adds a lot of depth to the track and also adds to the jazzy feel of the track.

“Walk with Me” is a track that takes the music on The Italian Project from Lisa Bell in a folk direction. The acoustic guitar, mandolin and bass combine to help form the music of the track. The mandolin playing by Chris Malley and percussion from Chris Sheldon truly gives the song a style that make would any folk music fan happy.

The album once again goes in a very direction with the track “Love Hurts”. The blues-rock music of the track feels very familiar and would fit right in with music from 1980’s radio with the commercial feel of the song. “Love Hurts” is one of the strongest tracks on the album.

Just as the listener finishes one of the hardest rockin’ songs on The Italian Project, Lisa Bell presents one of the most beautiful tracks on the release with the song “Quilt”. The folk-rock track brings to mind artists like John Denver, Gordon Lightfoot or even Peter, Paul and Mary. The simple subject of the quilt once again gives the music a timeless feel.

Lisa Bell brings a little Country music feel back to the album on the track “The Best of Me”. The track sounds like Bell combined the music from “Joy to the World” from Three Dog Night with some Country music flavor.

When listening to The Italian Project from Lisa Bell, the variety in the music for the 11 tracks that make up the release is the first thing you’ll notice. And with each track on the album, the talents of Lisa Bell, Lisa Marie Simmons and Bob Story become more and more evident. No matter what genre of music you like, you’ll find a lot to enjoy on the newest release from Boulder, Colorado’s Lisa Bell.

Click HERE for the video to the song “Walk With Me” from Lisa Bell.

rachelbrown6Cleveland’s own Rachel Brown is a musician that has performed with acts like Hillbilly Idol. It is with acts like that that Rachel has started to get some attention by the followers of the local music scene. And with her talents as a singer and as a piano player, Rachel has also proven herself to be a solid solo artist. In fact, her last performance at The Barking Spider Tavern in University Circle that happened in early February was well-attended as many people came out to see her perform.

With Rachel Brown’s abilities as a singer and piano player being what they are, it should come as no surprise that Brown is also a talented songwriter, as well. In fact, she has just completed a new debut album with several talented musicians from the Greater Cleveland area. These musicians help form Rachel Brown’s back-up band. Together, the group and Brown create the band Rachel Brown and the Beatnik Playboys. It is this band that has just created the release called Just Look My Way.

This new album showcases Rachel Brown’s ability as a singer, musician and songwriter. In fact, of the thirteen original tracks that make up the new release by Brown, twelve of the songs were written by Brown. And while the album does include plenty of Country music as you would expect from someone who spends part of her time performing with a band like Hillbilly Idol, it also includes some Honky Tonk influence, some Jazz influence, even some songs that would fit into the “Easy Listening” category.

Rachel Brown’s new album begins with the only song on the release not written by Brown herself. “As We Speak” is a song written bass player (and Hillbilly Idol member) Bill Watson. “As We Speak” is a track that has more of a Western Swing feel to it than a Country one thanks, in part, to fiddle player Denny Jones. With Jones, the rest of the musicians include Bill Watson on bass, Dave Huddleston on electric guitar, Roy King on drums, with Brown on piano and vocals.

The track “Peace in the Valley” is the first instance where the listener gets to experience the writing style of Rachel Brown. As is evident with this track, Brown has been heavily influenced by the style of Country music that was being created before the Rock ‘n’ Roll style became such a big part of the music that is called Country music today. “Peace in the Valley” is a track that sounds like it would have been recorded many years ago by someone like Dolly Parton. The playing style of Rachel Brown on the piano, matched with steel guitar from Al Moss, gives the track its “old-fashioned” feeling. This track is a welcomed reminder of what the music sounded like years ago and would make any fan of the Country stars of yesterday happy.

Many of today’s musical acts enjoy larger success by releasing songs with “cross-over” potential. If any song on Just Look My Way from Rachel Brown could be considered a “cross-over” potential, it would be the song “Another Lifetime Ago”. The simple ballad featuring piano, bass and drums would easily fit on any “Easy Listening” format, while having just enough fiddle from Denny Jones to still be considered “Country”. But it’s Brown’s beautiful vocals on the track that truly makes the song feel “timeless,” as her delivery on this track is reminiscent of Country singers like Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette. Along with Brown’s emotional lyrics of days gone by, the thing that makes “Another Lifetime Ago” so strong is the piano. There seems to be as much emotion in the notes played by Brown as there is in the words she sings. And with the subtle addition of Denny Jones’ fiddle to the track, all of the musical elements come together to create perhaps the strongest track on the album.

While “Another Lifetime Ago” is probably the strongest standout track on the album, another song that could easily get played on several radio formats is the track “What If”. Another track with a strong and beautiful piano part, “What If” seems to pick up where “Another Lifetime Ago” left off. As “Another Lifetime Ago” deals with looking back, “What If” finds the singer pondering certain paths that may have made the situation better.

Much of Just Look My Way stays in a Country vein, but some tracks find Rachel Brown making other styles of music. The track “Enjoy the Dance” blends pop music with a touch of jazz to create a song that is beautiful and energetic at the same time. The feeling of the song seems to invite the listener to do just as the title of song says and “Enjoy the Dance”. Plus, the saxophone from Jeff Rice helps give the track its jazzy feel.

As a debut release, Just Look My Way by Rachel Brown is as strong as anything from artists with catalogs of releases to listen to. And with the different styles of music created by Rachel Brown and the Beatnik Playboys, the album is nicely varied and helps to show off the talents of all involved ………especially Rachel Brown.  

Julia Wade is a singer that has spent time singing both classical and popular songs. Taking time to learn the two different musical mindsets allows Wade’s music to reach a wider audience. Having already created a library of CDs, Julia Wade has just created a new album to expand that library. The newest CD from Julia Wade is entitled Solos; Solos features 12 songs that were written around prose from Christian Science founder Mary Baker Eddy.

When creating an album, the first thing that needs to happen is choosing the right person or people to help you make the album the way you want it. For Julia Wade, the person who helped create the album of Solos is Peter Link. Peter link has long list of releases that include Broadway compositions as well as inspirational albums. When partnered up with Julia Wade for the Solos, the two artists create a beautiful and moving release that is also inspirational.

The Solos album begins with the song “Beauty”. The first song of the album is a quiet and comforting song about the beauty of all things in life. Julia Wade’s voice blends well with the soft organ music from Peter Link.

For the second track of the release entitled “Today,” the song begins with Link taking a jazzier approach to the music on this piece. The lyrics from Mary Baker Eddy about taking the chance that today gives you to start over are sung by Julia Wade with the same type of jazzy feel that Link’s music has. The music, lyrics and vocals on this song seem to have the effect to make you feel the positive vibe the lyrics contain.

With the song of “Mind’s Camera,” Mary Baker Eddy’s words of accepting what is real in both reality and in religious ideas are sung by Julia Wade with conviction and the same can be said about the playing of Peter Link on the piano. The resulting track is once again full of beauty as the singer and pianist intertwine as if they are one.

While the lyrics of the new album from Julia Wade come from Christian Science Mary Baker Eddy, the song “One” takes on a more educational feel. In fact, the prose that makes up “One” makes the song feel as odd as the songs that used to be played in elementary school science classes. Moreover, “One” may even bring to mind other “educational” takes on science such as the remake of the song “Why Does the Sun Shine?” that was made popular by the band They Might be Giants.

With the next song of “Divine Love,” Julia Wade sings a song that feels more like a Contemporary Christian song. And while there is the ever-present Christian Science thought process running through the song, the listener can truly enjoy a beautiful song about love.

One of the coolest tracks on the release is the song “The Sculptor”. The words about being the ones to “shape” what you see around you are matched well with music by Peter Link that has a slight funky feel to it. While most of the songs on Solos are “easy listening” songs, “The Sculptor” has more of a groove to it than most of the album.

The song “Creation” takes the listener through just a short trip through some of the main ideas that make up the basis of the Christian Science faith. The ideas of “creation” and “The Creator” are well-represented in this beautifully sung track.

The prose from Christian Science founder Mary Baker Eddy fills the tracks that make up the album Solos from Julia Wade. Even though many may find the lyrics a bit unusual at times, the songs themselves are strong and beautiful. And while the religious views of the Christian Science religion fill the album, it is the voice of Julia Wade and the piano playing of Peter link that really shine through. With each track of the album, the listener understands why Julia Wade and Peter link came together to create this album of beautiful vocals, well-composed music and thought-provoking words. Religious concepts aside, the easy listening, relaxing feel of the songs contained within the Solos album from Julia Wade make for a release that many will enjoy.

Click HERE for the video to “Beauty” by Julia Wade

While many people entered the Gods of Indie Guitar competition, only a certain amount of people were able to walk away with the top prize from each of the categories that made up the contest. And while Pennsylvania-based guitarist Krista Parrish did not take home the top prize from the Rhythm Category from the contest, it is her song “Mexico” that is one of the strongest songs that makes up the playlist of the CD that came about after the competition was run and decided. Krista Parrish’s “Mexico” is just one of the songs that make up the Playing with Pendulums release from The Krista Parrish Trio.

Along with Krista Parrish on guitar and vocals the rest of The Krista Parrish Trio consists of Steven Murphy on bass and Michael Fezekas on drums and percussion. This talented trio helped to bring Parrish’s music to life. And while the contest song of “Mexico” is an instrumental track that truly helps give people some idea of what Parrish and her musical companions can do musically, the entire album is NOT instrumental. In fact, about half the album contains lyrics. And while the track “Mexico” is jazz-based, the Playing with Pendulums CD from The Krista Parrish Trio jumps around a lot musically, as the band never stays in one musical mindset very long.

To begin the Playing with Pendulums album, Krista presents the song “Happy Guitar”. The first track of the album gives some idea of the talent of this musician as the song takes the listener on a trip that winds its way through blues, jazz and a even a little bit of folk, as the music changes tempos and feels throughout the entire length of the track. To show the talent of this musician, this would have been my second choice behind “Mexico” as the song to submit to the Gods of Indie Guitar Competition.

The pace and intensity of the music changes with the second track, “Hola Nino Hermoso”: While “Happy Guitar” is one of the instrumental tracks on the album, “Hola Nino Hermoso” is one of the tracks that feature vocals from Parrish. The band takes on a folk-like sound as they lighten the feel of the music. And while the track is more about the lyrics and not the music, the music portion of the song is rather beautiful as Parrish sings of wanting to spend time together with the object of her desire.

Krista Parrish is one of the best finger style guitarists out there. One of the best indications of how good Parrish is with the style is on her song “Mexico”. The song begins with Krista using her fingers to hammer on the strings of her guitar to create a unique sound to the music. The finger style playing by Parrish is complimented by her strumming of the strings to create a two-style approach on the track. The two styles on one track make “Mexico” one of the strongest and most enjoyable songs on the Playing with Pendulums album by The Krista Parrish Trio. It is also one of the best tracks of the Gods of Indie Guitar compilation.

To understand just how versatile Krista Parrish is with her writing, take a listen to her song “Eye to Eye:” “Eye to Eye” sends the music into a different direction as  the song sounds like it would belong with bands that spend their time creating lounge music. The lounge-style of music and Parrish’s jazz-like vocals make for a unique pairing of sounds that work well together. And strangely enough, Krista Parrish’s vocals sound as if she was born to sing that style of music. This track is the one track written by someone other than Krista as the song was written by her late brother, Corey Parrish.

While the majority of the Playing with Pendulums album by The Krista Parrish Trio was created with Steven Murphy on bass and Michael Fezekas on drums, the track “Easier Said than Done” was created by Krista Parrish with the help of Liam Reid on bass and James Stapleford on mandolin and keys. The song is another instance where the resulting track shows off the talent of the musicians. The track is one of the songs you will find yourself singing along with the lyrics.

Having discovered Krista Parrish for the first time while listening to the CD for the Gods of Indie Competition, I am glad for that opportunity as Playing with Pendulums, the album from The Krista Parrish trio is well worth the time it takes to listen to the entire release. As the music changes from track-to-track, you get to hear different sides to this talented musician and her band. And each side of Krista Parrish the musician is as different as the next. You’ll just have to listen to the album to discover the talent of Krista Parrish for yourself.

Click HERE for a live performance of the song “Mexico” from The Krista Parrish Trio.

To read more about the Gods of Indie Guitar competition, click on the link.

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