Posts Tagged ‘Vertical Horizon’

With the decision for Heather Stewart to make the entertainment industry her career of choice also came the decision for Stewart to create her own music. Stewart started writing her own songs and Stewart eventually created her first release from 2008 entitled Life of the Party. With the success of that release, Stewart decided to create a new album.
When creating her latest release of What It is, Heather Stewart took her songs into two different studios that had their own histories that made them ideal locations to record, first at the Sound Factory and the second at Sunset Sound, both in Los Angeles. With being in both of these studios, the recording process took on a special vibe that helped add magic to the music.

To help Heather Stewart bring her music to life, Stewart called upon guitarists Blake Mills, Marty Rifkin and Joshua Grange and drummer Aaron Sterling as well as bassist Sean Hurley who has spent time performing with the likes of John Mayer and Vertical Horizon. The resulting sound of Stewart’s music combines elements of musicians like Bonnie Raitt, Sheryl Crow as well as others.

The latest album from Heather Stewart, What It Is, begins with the album’s title track. “What It Is” The track features a slow pace that adds to the blues-flavored music of song. While the song has a very relaxed feel to it, Stewart’s vocal delivery is still very strong. The results are very similar to something that you could easily expect from Bonnie Raitt, with a little less twang to the song.

The pace of the music on What It Is picks up with the next song of “Tell Me Who”. The resulting track has a vibe that could really remind you of something that would have been created by The Traveling Wilburys: the twang of the guitar on the track could easily have come from George Harrison while the lyrics of the song sound like something that would have come from that band’s first album. The opening seconds of the track would have fit with songs like “End of the Line” and “Handle with Care” from The Traveling Wilburys. The track has a very commercial quality to it and the simplicity to the lyrics makes them easy to sing along with. “Tell Me Who” would be an ideal candidate for a single off the album.

With the song “Stand Up,” Stewart lets more than a little of her independent spirit out as she writes a song about being who you want to be. Like other songs before it, “Stand Up” has the appeal and message that could make the track into a definite anthem for women’s rights. The folk-rock music for the track also has mass appeal for all music listeners.

After a track that features a very strong message about being strong, Stewart follows that song with one of the strongest tracks on the album. “Back and Blue” picks up a lot more rock and roll feeling than any of the tracks that came before it. The bass and drums create a very strong beat for the song that seems to take the listener back to a more creative time in the history of rock and roll as the song feels as if it would have fit in with songs from bands that helped would have been part of the British Invasion. The resulting track of “Black and Blue” could easily have been written by The Animals as it has the same type of strong feeling as the song “House of the Rising Sun” has.

Another track off of What It Is that could easily end up being a single is the song “A Little More”. The heartbreaking lyrics about the singer coming to the realization that a relationship is ending are very universal. The song features a very strong twang that comes from the lead guitar on the track. That twang gives the song enough of a Country music feel that the song could easily be a crossover track. It is that “crossover” appeal that makes “A Little More” one of the strongest tracks on What It Is from Heather Stewart.

The new release from Heather Stewart, What It Is, features many different styles in the tracks of the album. With each change in the feel of the album, the listener gets to experience a different side to Stewart’s personality. Those different sides to her personality help make the release very well-rounded and enjoyable to listen to.

Review by Matheson Kamin
Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)

To get just a glimpse of Heather Stewart’s new release “What It Is,” which will be released October 8, 2013, here is a video of Stewart performing the title track of the album with guitarist Keaton Simons. CLICK HERE.

Very few times will you ever find a band that lasts very long; but Jackopierce is one of the bands that are made up of musicians who just won’t give up. The musicians Jack O’Neill and Cary Pierce have taken their music in several directions over the years. With their new album of Everywhere All the Time, Pierce and O’Neill have created songs that have a very commercial sound to them. With that style, they are sure to make new fans to add to the huge list of fans they already have.

With the newest album of music from this musical group, the duo of Jack O’Neill and Cary Pierce seem to take many different approaches to the music on the album. From straight-out acoustic rock to songs with folk influence, the feeling on the Everywhere All the Time album changes from song to song, creating a release that promises something for everyone.

Everywhere All the Time starts off with the song “Into Me”. Taking some influence from Jason Mraz and some more of today’s pop/rock artists and bands, the rock song has a sound that has a good groove and will get people moving.

After one song with a good groove, Jackopierce creates yet another track with a groove. This time, the song “Finally Free” ends up feeling like the first single of the album. The light feeling of the acoustic and electric guitars combine together with a drumbeat that grabs your attention and won’t let go. The song brings to mind the sound of bands like Vertical Horizon and other pop/rock bands that would fit in on today’s Top 40 radio stations.

Taking a chance to create a sound all their own, the song “Around Me Now” by Jackopierce has a stronger rock feel than the previous tracks on the release. While it still has a pop feel that may remind some of songs by Sugar Ray, there’s enough originality in this track to give people something new to listen to.

Jackopierce takes a different approach with the song “Listen to Me”. The duo of Jack O’Neill and Cary Pierce create the song with an acoustic feel. The acoustic guitars and keyboards in the background take the listener into a folk state of mind. The song has a very catchy sound that may have you thinking of pop/rock from artists from the seventies. The folk feeling that blends with the acoustic rock on the song helps create a mellow feeling while keeping the catchy melody of the song strong.

Sometimes O’Neill and Pierce wear their influences too much on their sleeves; this is definitely the case with the song “Alright By Me”. It is on this very catchy song that the duo brings forward some influence from Blessid Union of Souls into their musical mix. The song about a girl who falls in love with the narrator of the song comes a bit too close to Blessid Union’s best known track “Hey Leonardo“. Though “Alright By Me” could stand on its own if you knew nothing of Blessid Union, for those who do know the band, the connection between the two bands on this song is too obvious; whether O’Neill and Pierce were aware of that connection or not.

Jack O’Neill and Cary Pierce let the lyrics of “Let Go of Me” come to forefront of the song. The ability to take a soft rock song and let the lyrics take control is a sign of good songwriting. “Let Go of Me” is one of the best songs as far as the lyrics are concerned. The play between the two vocalists during the chorus of the song creates one of the best choruses on the whole release. And with the accordion in the background, “Let Go of Me” is one of the best tracks on the newest release from Jackopierce.

The album stays with a soft rock feel with the next song of “Lonely”. Like the song “Let Go of Me” before, “Lonely” plays with your heart as you listen to the emotional lyrics of the song. Like other moments on the album, “Lonely” feels like it comes from a different era of rock. The beauty in the song brings to mind some of the artists in the 70s. In fact, you might find a little bit of The Eagles in the music to the song.

From the pop/rock of “Into Me,” the groove found on “Finally Free,” and the soft rock on songs like “Let Go of Me” and “Lonely,” Jackopierce has created a new release that gives the listener many different styles of rock music on the album. For longtime fans of the band, this is a solid release that should make you happy. For those about to discover the music of the band, Everywhere All the Time’s ever-changing musical style will give you many songs that will fit into your music library. There’s a lot of good music on this release no matter where you fall.

To discover the music of Jackopierce, here is the video to the band’s songAround Me Now“.

If you are a fan of rock and roll and you really don’t have a specific preference to the style that you listen to, Vintage Blue is the band for you. Vintage Blue is a band made up of vocalist and lead guitarist Ben Bassett, rhythm guitarist and vocalist Ryan Tibbs, bassist and vocalist Cesar Corral, keyboard and saxophone player Matt Zimmerman and Will Crowden. The Chicago-area band takes a lot of different sounds and styles of rock and roll and combines them into their music. It’s this combination that can be found on the band’s new release called Strike the Mics.
The Strike the Mics album begins with the track “Set you free”. The song has a strong beat to it, and with the inclusion of Matt Zimmerman’s sax, the song has a great ska quality to it. It’s nice to come across people who want to keep their music from sounding like everyone else’s, and with the ska flavor to this track, Zimmerman and the rest of Vintage Blue give you something different right at the beginning of their new release.
Vintage Blue follows up the ska-influenced “Set You Free” with the song “Unchained”. With this track, the band lets loose a lot of energy on this solid rocker. The guitar playing on the track help add a lot of power to this release. The contrast between the ska feeling on “Set You Free” and the straight-out rock feeling of “Unchained” allows the listener to hear a major difference in the sound of Vintage Blue right at the beginning of the album.
One of the best tracks of the album is probably “California Road”. With the combination of guitars, the keyboards and saxophone from the members in the band, the resulting track has a feel that should give any lover of classic rock a reason to smile.  
Matt Zimmerman once again is featured on another track off of Strike the Mics, the new release from Vintage Blue. While Zimmerman was feature on the saxophone on “Set You Free,” this time the musician is behind the keyboards on the song “Speak”. It is Zimmerman’s playing on the keyboards that really make the song, at least for me.
Probably the most commercial of the songs on Strike the Mics from Vintage Blue is “Just Breathe“. The modern rock music on the song has a feel that might remind people of other modern rock bands like Vertical Horizon.
On the song “What Lies,” the band changes directions once again with their sound. The track features a song that has a more acoustic feel, as the acoustic guitar has a large part in the shaping of the music on this song. The electric guitar on the track helps keep the song from getting too soft. It’s a good balance.

With the song “Great Divide,” Vintage Blue takes a lighter approach. The love song features a great duet, while the music also features a string section to add an orchestral feel. With the beauty in the lyrics and in the music, this is one of the best love songs I’ve heard in a long time.
To finish off Strike the Mics, Vintage Blue includes the song “True”. This is yet another side to the band’s side, as they seem to transport their listener back in time to an era closer to the beginning of rock and roll. The sound of the rock music takes a simpler feel to it, while the saxophone really adds a vintage sound quality to the song that really brings the listener back to that earlier era of rock music.
Having created a sound that features so many different styles of rock music, Chicago band Vintage Blue gives their listeners music that never gets stale and their new release called Strike the Mics reflects that fact. You will definitely find something that catches your ear; however, if you’re like me, the entire release will leave you smiling. There really should be more bands like this out there in today’s music industry.
***** (Out of 5)