Jonny Kaplan & The Lazy Stars – Sparkle And Shine

Jonny Kaplan & The Lazy Stars – Sparkle And Shine
Reckless Grace Music
When you hear the first strains of the the eponymous lead track crackle from the speakers at you, you think gritty, Americana or southern based rock in the style of Mellencamp, Petty, the Black Crowes et. al. As you delve deeper, you realize there is more to it than those influences…a LOT more. “Annalee Meets the Scorpion” destroys any coattail hanging perceptions with it’s smokey vibe, rumbling backwoods rhythm and dust-tinged growling vocals. “Helena’s Afraid” is one of those modern/retro blues blends that gnaws at your soul while getting you to nod your head in sympathy, saying, yeah, I’ve gone that route before. This SoCal native invokes the title “troubadour,” and not many newer singer-songwriters can do that, but he makes you feel that he has actually lived the stories that he weaves and creates an empathy with his soulful back country-edged vocal style, and music that burbles with extraordinary life. Nowhere is this more evident perhaps than in “Sweet Magnolia Flower,” a minimalist ballad that invokes early Dylan but with a personality that is undeniably Jonny’s. Featuring a host of veteran players with serious chops, this CD is a knockout, and fans of troubadours and songwriters from Dylan to Earle to Petty and others, will love this. – MW



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