Posts Tagged ‘Jimi Hendrix’

Within the music industry are a few artists who are influenced so much by the music of the past that they fall in love with that music. One such musician is singer Barbara Gracewood.

Barbara Gracewood recently got together with a band of musicians who were capable of creating a variety of musical styles so that the resulting music created by the musical ensemble had a very full feel to it. With this band, Gracewood recently created a self-titled album of covers in the style of albums like The Classics by Tony Bennett or The Great American Songbook by Rod Stewart.

The self-titled release from Barbara Gracewood begins with the track “Cold Cold Heart”. Having already been one of Hank Williams’ best loved songs when he released it, the track had one life as a Country and Western classic. When Barbara Gracewood and her band took hold of the song, the track took on a totally different feel as the ensemble created a track that feels more like something that Tony Bennett would sing than something from a Country star. The lyrics to the song still contain a certain amount of sadness to them as Barbara Gracewood gives them the emotional feeling they deserve.

Barbara Gracewood’s self-titled release continues with the song “If”. Originally recorded by the band Bread, the song initially had a very laidback soft rock feel to it. While the song still has a bit of that soft rock approach to it, Gracewood’s arrangement of the song adds some of the energy the original hit version by Bread seemed to lack. The version by Barbara Gracewood even outshines the version of the song that was later released by actor/singer Telly Savalas when he did his spoken word version of the tune. Of the three versions of the song that I am aware of, Barbara Gracewood’s version definitely has the most energy to it.

One of the most unusual arrangements of any of the songs included in the 2014 release from Barbara Gracewood has to belong to her version of the song “Torn”. Originally a hit single by Natalie Imbruglia could easily be categorized as pop/rock, Gracewood and her band make the song their won. The track feels as if it had been created by someone like Bonnie Raitt. The song now has a deeper bluesy feel to it. This version is so strong that if Imbrulia had not had her hit version of the composition that is now such a bit part of pop/rock or Top 40 radio formats, this version could easily have made its own history on those same radio stations. As with people like Jimi Hendrix, Manfred Mann and even Link Wray, Barbara Gracewood adds her name to the long list of musicians who have created a cover version to one of Bob Dylan’s songs. Along with the aforementioned musicians who have done covers of songs like “All Along the Watchtower,” “Quinn the Eskimo (Mighty Quinn),” and “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue,” Gracewood adds her version of “Make You Feel My Love” to that list. And just like the others, Gracewood has put her mark on the song. While the original version of the song had an unmistakable Bob Dylan feel to it, the new arrangement for Gracewood takes the song back in time so that it would feel right at home on soft rock formats of the seventies. With this arrangement, both the band and Gracewood sound very relaxed and comfortable while they create a track that truly brings new life to Dylan’s words.

As on the song “Torn” earlier in the release, the track “Come Away with Me” finds Barbara Gracewood and her band creating their own special take on the song made famous by composer Norah Jones. While “Come Away with Me” by Jones has a very jazzy and laidback feel, the version found on this release again finds the band making the song their own. Instead of a jazzy and soothing pace to the music, the ensemble trades the jazzy feel for some blues and creates a track with a bluesy groove to it. The vocals by Gracewood seem to find a balance somewhere between the original jazzy delivery from Jones and the bluesy delivery of the music by Gracewood’s band. The track stands out as one of the strongest moments on the self-titled from Gracewood.

You can tell who a person’s influences are if that person happens to include several songs fronm that influence on their release. One such influence for Barbara Gracewood must be Rhonda Vincent as Gracewood included several tracks from Vincent on her self-titled release. Songs like “The Lucky One” and “Now That I Found You” are absolutely recognizable as part of the playlist for Rhonda Vincent and The Rage. And while the versions of the songs by Rhonda Vincent and the Rage have that undeniable country twang, the versions by Gracewood and her band fall into a more pop-oriented category. The versions of the two tracks that are included on this release as just as well arranged as any of the other tracks that make up the release.

While the ten tracks that make up the self-titled release from Barbara Gracewood come from many different writers with different writing, they all fir together as each arrangement seems to have been done to create one specific style that helps to bind the ten tracks together into one solid release that still features plenty of variety in the music. And although some of the songs are better known than others, they all show off the talents of the musicians involved and most importantly, help show off the talents of one Barbara Gracewood.

As Barbara Gracewood has no videos for any of the songs from this release up on YouTube, check out her CDBaby profile to preview tracks from the album.

 

Mark Nomad is the performing name of a singer/songwriter/musician who has found his voice in the Blues genre after spending time as part of rock bands. Having been recording his Blues music for several years, Nomad already has amassed a catalog of several Blues albums that feature both original compositions as well as Nomad’s versions of tracks from well-known Blues legends. Already having a sizable catalog of releases, Mark Nomad (whose real name is Mark Maulucci) has recently added to that musical library by putting out his latest release entitled A Real Fine Day.

Just like with his previous releases, Mark Nomad called upon his normal circle of musician friends to help him bring his newest release of A Real Fine Day to life. Along with Nomad on vocals and guitar, the rest of the musicians on the new album include: Sturgis Cunningham on percussion, Peter King on bass, John O’Boyle on bass and Dale Monette on drums. Just like Nomad’s other releases, these four additional musicians split their time backing Nomad up.

A Real Fine Day finds Mark Nomad following the same proven mindset he has used while creating his previous albums. During his previous albums, Nomad has included both Blues and Blues-Rock songs as part of the recording process. For A Real Fine Day, he has stuck to that mindset and the inclusion of both styles keeps this new album fresh throughout the 10-song playlist. That proven recipe should satisfy fans of both types of Blues music.

Mark Nomad’s new release begins with a track composed by Nomad himself. “New Day Dawning” is a track that brings to mind songs from the band Canned Heat as the track contains an undeniable Blues influence but also has more energy the usual Blues song. The simple lyrics are also very reminiscent of classic Blues songs. As Nomad plays the guitar part to the track, he also matches it note-for-note with the harmonica to add more depth to the music. “New Day Dawning” is a strong track that helps to keep the tradition of the Blues alive while also adding a more modern feel to them.

The feel of the music changes on the song “Squeeze Me in”. While it does contain a certain amount of Blues feeling to it, the track also has a different groove to it as it contains a nice amount of Funk influence, proving that Mark Nomad and his bandmates are capable of calling upon more than just the Blues to create their music.

For the third track on the release, the feeling of the music changes once again. On the track “My Mind Gets to Wanderin’,” it is only Nomad and his acoustic guitar  with a finger slide to help add that Blues feeling to the song. The resulting track is simple yet powerful as it truly recalls early Blues artists like Robert Johnson. The Nomad-penned “My Mind Gets to Wanderin'” feels so authentic, you’d swear it was a lot older than it is.

If “A Real Fine Day” from Mark Nomad had been released as a record, you could consider the first five songs of the release to be “Side A” and the second five to be considered as “Side B”. The two halves of the release have slightly different feelings to them as the “Side A” part contains five songs written exclusively by Nomad while the “Side B” part contains two songs by Nomad and three songs from three different Blues legends.

The second half of the new release from Mark Nomad begins with the Willie Dixon song “Mellow Down Easy”. Like the track “My Mind Gets to Wanderin’,” “Mellow Down Easy” is a track that once again contains only Nomad and his guitar and harmonica. The song contains a great deal of energy and sounds as good as if Dixon himself had been the one to perform the song. Listening to this track, you can almost hear the bluesy influence in the music that came over from England during the British Invasion era of Rock and Roll.

While all of the tracks on the newest release from Mark Nomad have some sort of Blues influence in them, not all of the tracks contain lyrics. The song “Sun Worlds, Moon Worlds…” is a track that allows Nomad to show off his skills as a guitarist as he and bassist Peter King and drummer Dale Monette create the instrumental song. Throughout the 5-minute track, the three musicians create the instrumental tracks and end up sounding like the Jimi Hendrix Experience. While Nomad’s playing definitely invokes visions of Hendrix and the way he would play, the bass and drum parts from King and Monette feel as authentic as anything that Hendrix’s ensemble would have created. In fact, you can almost hear the musical influence from “The Wind Cries Mary” in the music during the 5-minute playing time.

The newest release from Mark Nomad comes to a close with the title track. For “A Real Fine Day,” the music of the track features a definite Southern Blues influence and the acoustic-meets-electric feel of the track gives “A Real Fine Day” a unique sound. The upbeat lyrics to this Blues track are also something that sets the song apart from the majority of the Blues songs out there. The upbeat feeling of the song brings the release to a close in a very positive way.

A Real Fine Day from Mark Nomad features Blues that is flavored with many different influences. These influences bring character to each of the songs and the influences also help set each track apart from one another. As the listener goes from one track to another, you experience different sides to Nomad’s personality and that helps make A Real Fine Day worthy of being added into your music library.

Check out the video to “Sun Worlds, Moon Worlds…” from the new release of A Real Fine Day from Mark Nomad.