Tag Archives: Review

US Review: Sydney Brown “Love Is Stronger Than Smoke and Fire”

22 Feb

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https://oasisentertainmentblog.wordpress.com/2018/02/13/love-is-stronger-than-smoke-and-fire-by-sydney-brown/

 

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US Review: George St. Clair “Ballads of Captivity and Freedom”

21 Feb

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https://oasisentertainmentblog.wordpress.com/2018/02/11/ballads-of-captivity-and-freedom-by-george-st-clair/

Canada Review: MICHAEL TRACY “STILL GOT SOUL”

12 Feb

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http://dmme.net/michael-tracy-still-got-soul/

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US Review: Lindsay Bellows “Wake to Dream”

5 Feb

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http://www.musicstreetjournal.com/index_cdreviews_display.cfm?id=106178

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Lindsay Bellows

Wake to Dream

Review by Gary Hill
The vocals are the real driving element to this set. Each song features multiple layers of singing that showcases so much talent and style. Musically the sound has a pop meets R&B and jazz kind of vibe. The instrumental elements in general take a back seat to the vocals, though. This is quite an entertaining set. I’d love to hear more from this talented artist.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Slow Steady
Piano is a big part of the arrangement here. The vocals really sell it, though. There are multiple layers at times. I like the soulful kind of vibe to this. It’s very much a pop styled tune, but there is jazz and more in the mix.
Wake Up
The acapella motif at the start of this cut is quite soulful. It also holds the tune for a decent amount of time. The sounds that join are understated and quite jazzy. The multiple layers of vocals are definitely the standout element on this piece.
Part Life
Again the vocals are the real magic here. This is musically a bit playful. It’s a catchy pop music based kind of thing.
Wild And Free
I love the jazz vibe to this cut. It’s so cool. I think this is my favorite tune here. The vocal performance is every bit as strong as on the other tunes. It’s just that the musical arrangement comes up to meet it. The bass work here really shines, too. As a bassist, I know that grabs my attention, too.
Simple Gifts
There are some percussive elements (and a bit of other instrumentation) here, but overall this is an acapella number that’s very cool. It’s another highlight of the set with more of those great multiple layers of vocals.

On stage

US Review: Acting Natural “Acting Natural”

2 Feb

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Acting Natural

Acting Natural

Review by Gary Hill
If you take one look at the cover to this EP you will have a good idea of what the music is like. This group’s sound is based on the pop rock of the 1960s. Think “Beatles,” but it goes beyond that, too. These songs are catchy and really feel classic in nature. This is a talented bunch of musicians who really do a great job of creating strong pop rock music. I heartily recommend this to anyone who thinks that the 1960s sound is long gone. You will feel right at home with this one.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
The One
This is a classy tune. It’s part Beatles, part The Knack and all cool. I love the little bass led break and the psychedelic vocal bit that follows. An organ adds some retro texture to the segment that comes after that.
Nicole
A breezy balladic cut, this still has a lot of that classic rock texture. It feels a bit more contemporary, though. This is timeless and classic in sound. The vocal arrangement is great, as is the whole smooth groove of the piece.
Pairadice
A bit more rocking, this has a lot of that early Beatles vibe at its heart. This has just a bit of a funky element in some ways, too. This is fun.
Bloom
A balladic tune, this is another great bit of classic pop rock.
Early Morning
This cut really feels like something John Lennon would have done post-Beatles. It’s a melodic piece that skirts the ground between rocker and ballad.
Missed the Train
More of a rocker, this is catchy and classic in tone. I really dig the instrumental section on this. The guitar solo is one of the tastiest here.

 

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Canada Review: Lindsay Bellows “Wake to Dream”

31 Jan

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http://dmme.net/lindsay-bellows-wake-dream/

LINDSAY BELLOWS – Wake To Dream

Linday Bellows 2017

LINDSAY BELLOWS - Wake To Dream

LINDSAY BELLOWS –
Wake To Dream

Locating the spirit of a city, Californian songstress embraces the whole wide world.

Fiercely independent, Lindsay Bellows usually treads the stage alone, and she conceived this, her debut EP, as an a cappella album. Given an instrumental layer, it turned out better – by focusing the light on the young artist’s tremendous talent and on the many surprises that her songs are comprised of. Joie de vivre oozing out of the record’s cover may say nothing about Linday’s music’s bluesy slant, yet that’s what made “Wake To Dream” so peculiarly perfect.

The handclaps-propelled, spiritual “Wake Up” could induce a blissful trance, but it’s here that Bellows’ lungs reveal their real power, and the soulful musings catch on universal jive, while guitar and bass caress and tickle the simple, if infectious, rhythm and intricate, multi-tracked vocals. There’s no need for transcendence, though, as the lighter beats of “Part Life” make a jungle groove contemporary without ever losing the artist’s integrity to the “tribe” she’s claiming to belong to.

Gracious in “Wild And Free” which can easily lend itself to hip hop treatment, her music is also intimate and sultry; even more so in the bossa-smeared “Simple Gifts” whose engaging lyrics and melody must attract Paul Simon’s attention. The title of “Slow Steady” perfectly reflects its pace: building gradually from unhurried piano chords up, Lindsay’s lines on this piece are stacked carefully, yet precariously, to create an aural pyramid where the melody is rolling over voice loops – that’s why Bellows is self-sufficient on-stage – before her stately walk is turned into a mesmerizing parade of passion.

“I am exactly where I’m supposed to be – perfect place and perfect time,” sings Lindsay, and indeed, her time has come.

*****

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Canada Review: Jennifer Saran “Soulful Christmas”

19 Jan

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http://dmme.net/jennifer-saran-soulful-christmas/

JENNIFER SARAN – Soulful Christmas

Tarpan 2017

JENNIFER SARAN - Soulful Christmas

JENNIFER SARAN –
Soulful Christmas

Another box of Yuletide presents from American songstress who asked us to wake up and walk with her.

Apparently 2015’s “Merry Christmas, You Are Loved” was so auspicious a debut for Ms Saran that, two years down the line, she’s returning to the same place. The homecoming theme runs throughout this record, yet if the place it’s in is the same, it’s a different performer we meet here: more confident, creatively matured and, well, finely seasoned. Most of what’s on offer now, may accompany a quiet evening in front of a fireplace, though, pieces like “I Have My Own Reindeer” oozing a family atmosphere, and still, there are moments that prompt one to shake comfortable numbness and let joy flow to the world.

An epitome of the album’s spirit, opener “Christmas Lover” – that marries Saran’s deliberately wintry, transparent vocals to THE TEMPTATIONS’ eggnog-thick voices – is where contemporary grooves feed into communal tradition, while the “baby, baby” of the title track links Jennifer’s soft seasonal wonderment to the spirit of Smokey’s miracles. Playful and elegant at the same time on the jazzy perennial “Sleigh Ride,” she’s embracing a too by-numbers music hall on “Swingin’ At Christmas Time” so, for all their lighthearted throb, the dance types of “Christmas Delight” – a perky duet with Cornell Carter – and “Merry Christmas To You” work better than simple ballads.

It’s a revue of sorts, instrumental interludes of tunes such as “Hark The Herald Angels Sing” peppering up the songs’ flow and an a cappella snippet of “You Are My Christmas Star” shaping a triumphant finale. Yet the bluegrass vibe and beats make “Soul Cake” genuinely special – reserved, if  irresistibly infectious – with a “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” quote an icing on it all. There’s an impression that, had Ms Saran and her mentor, Narada Michael Wallden, let their hair down and let all these strings and brass kick in, they’d have a hit on their hands… but then, it’s Christmas and a time to relax.

***

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