Posts Tagged ‘Marc Cohn’

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

ImageAdam Gilbert’s A Generation of Forgotten Kings is one of those rare finds- an alternative pop/rock album created using the piano as the main instrument that all of the songs are based around. The piano helps make the album different from the vast majority of the alternative rock albums out there….and that difference is what makes A Generation of Forgotten Kings so refreshing.

The newest release from Adam Gilbert starts with the title track,“A Generation of Forgotten Kings”. The 10-second a’capella chant that begins the track gives the listener some indication that this release may be just a little different. And when Jonathan Lamb’s electric guitar leads the instruments for the next few seconds, you get the impression of a straight-out alternative release. It isn’t until Gilbert’s piano shows up 40 seconds into the track that you get a real sense of what to expect. In fact, with the addition of Gilbert’s piano, the track feels like an alternative rock song with a large orchestral influence. The rock band, Gilbert’s piano and the return of the chant from the beginning of the track all combine to create a track that captures the listener and refuses to let them go. The decision to make “A Generation of Forgotten Kings” the lead-off track to the album (and consequently, the title track of the release, as well) was a very bold move that pays off in a large way.

“How Do We Respond,” the second track off the release, also begins with a’capella: The first couple of seconds of the track start with just Adam Gilbert’s strong tenor voice and gradually transitions into something that might remind you of a song by Marc Cohn. The pop/rock feel of the song alternates between Gilbert’s piano and the guitar playing of Jonathan Lamb, creating a tune that goes well with the lyrics written by Gilbert about not knowing exactly what to say when things happen.

With the track “On a Hill,” you really get a chance to hear the talent of Adam Gilbert as a piano player: For most of the five minutes of the track, it is just Gilbert on the piano being backed up by bassist Jason Fraticelli and Mark Guiliana on the drums. The three musicians create a track that sounds a lot like something that Billy Joel might have written. When the rest of the musicians come in to fill out the sound of the song, the band once again creates a track that has an orchestral feel, kind of like seeing Gilbert live on stage in concert.

One of the most powerful tracks on the latest release from Adam Gilbert is the song “A Little Emotion”. Along with the strong lyrics from Gilbert on this track, the rest of the musicians help Adam create a song that contains the right amount of feeling to pull at the heart. This track features Nathan Goehen on bass as well as Leena Gilbert on violin. In fact, it is Leena Gilbert’s playing that truly brings the “emotion” in this song.

You can tell that an album is very strong when a song as strong as Adam Gilbert’s “Better” comes late in the album’s playlist. “Better” is a song about looking forward to times that aren’t so hopeless and trying. The music is very upbeat and helps to boost the positive message of the lyrics. And when the song finally builds to the big crescendo, the listener gets to experience some of the best playing from all of the musicians involved with the song. This could easily be the best track on the album.

While Adam Gilbert is the writer/singer/piano player and the main point of interest on his release, his album of A Generation of Forgotten Kings was created in such a way to allow all musicians involved the chance to shine as much as Gilbert himself, and the musicians that helped are a major reason why the album is so strong. Guitarists Jonathan Lamb, Matt Jaworski and Steve Berstein all help shape the music, while bassists Jason Fraticelli and Nathan Goehen along with drummers Mark Guiliana (who also helped produce the album) and Shawn Baltazor give the song their strength to help make the release so solid.

Taking Adam Gilbert’s talent as a piano player, his strong yet charming voice, his talent as a songwriter and the talented musicians who helped create this release, you end up with an album that is strong from the first note until it ends one hour later. A Generation of Forgotten Kings leaves you wanting more, a sure sign of how solid an album can be.