Tim Chaisson – The Other Side

Tim Chaisson – The Other Side
Bumstead Productions – Bum-CD-122
Canada’s Tim Chaisson has one of those voices that gets its hooks into you the first time you hear it. A wonderfully lush voice with the timbre of Roy Orbison, the soulfulness of Tracy Chapman, and a subtle Midwest twang ala Jeff Buckley. Tim’s emotions are on display in an honest, non-pretentious way, becoming a poignant vehicle for the lyrics which appear to come from all aspects of life and the human soul and conditions. Beyond the thoughtful and compelling words, Tim is a very solid songwriter with an often bare-bones approach that still adds a subtle power to the songs. The quiet explosiveness of “Come Clean,” snappy Mellencamp-ish “Speak Easier,” emotive, but lively folk vibe of “The Other Side”, and intimate angst of ballads like “The Healing” show some of the facets of Tim’s talents. In a world where “singer-songwriter” is often such an overused almost generic term, you have to have something special to make people not think of you as typical. Tim Chaisson is far from typical and has something special. One listen to this debut and you should agree. – MW


The Coals – A Happy Animal

The Coals – A Happy Animal
SoCal’s The Coals have wonderfully weaved several aspects of American folk and roots music into a flavorful stew with their debut effort. Think a pinch of Steve Earle, a spicy dash of the Texas Tornadoes, and a subtle essence of the Radiators, and you get the idea. Sometimes the influences stand out in particular tracks, such as the Mariachi-infused folk of “Maria” or the drunk-on-saturday-at-Tipitina’s romp of Dirt Road. Then there are the more Americana hybrids like the foot-stomping “Lord Lord Lord” and Western balladic “Steal My Heart.” Vocalist Jason Mandell has one of those crooning western tenor voices infused alternately with honest emotion and humorous inflection, often mirroring the lyrics which range from soul-barring to tongue-in-cheek. The musicianship is top notch, adding flavor with the accordion playing of Jack Arky and also featuring former Everclear drummer Greg Eklund. Many newer bands are digging deep into their roots these days, and The Coals have managed to mine gold with the music they have created with their roots. – MW


Jason Daniels – Dashboard Visions and Rearview Reflections

Jason Daniels – Dashboard Visions and Rearview Reflections
Jason Daniels “immigrated” from Nashville, TN to Jackson, MS, and you can feel both influences in this wonderful debut. The horn laced soul kicking off the lead track “You’re An Angel” evokes Ottis Redding, yet Jason’s voice has an underlying twang to his bluesy voice. “Take Me From the City” and “Riding Back to Memphis” tilt more towards Johnny Cash boom-chicka country with a nice touch of organ that leaves the soul vibe as a flavorful backdrop this time. “On The Highway” is a pure hybrid of funk, blues and country. It does not take you long of listening to realize the variance of Jason’s American roots music influences and how he has an uncanny knack of doing interesting and entertaining things with them in both subtle hybrids and very unsubtle direct homages. Combine this with lyrics that obviously come straight from his heart, and musical backups including people who have played for Kid Rock, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Son Seals and others, and you have a CD that defies you at times not to tap your feet, play air guitar, or sit back, close your eyes, nod your head in time to the music and smile. – MW