Bobby Pizazz – As The Waters Swallowed the Land

Bobby Pizazz – As The Waters Swallowed the Land
If someone says “singer-songwriter”€ and €œ”Nashville”€ in the same breath, most people will have some preconceived notions of what the music will sound like. Bobby Pizazz blows those preconceived notions away. He has an obvious eclectic taste in influences which serves him very well in this wonderful CD. A veteran in various facets of the entertainment industry, Bobby’€™s acoustic music creations have such an undeniable enjoyable listenability to them; hooky without being common; comforting yet enticing. “€œRhythm Train Unplugged”€ weaves tendrils of jazz, Americana and new age gracing Bobby’€™s melodic, subtly emotive vocal timbre. “End Of The Rainbow” shows a more powerful side of Bobby’s voice, cranking up a fervency to this unplugged bluesy heart-tugger. “€œSouthern Bell” has a snappy folk vibe that invokes visions of an artsy Manhattan coffee house in the early sixties. Lyrically Bobby has no qualms about letting his feelings and passions loose, tackling subject matter that ranges from typified perspectives on life, love and heartache to topical subjects, as in the title track which deals with the affects of Hurricane Katrina. Bobby is also a highly talented musician, creating a perfect landscape for his words that is not pretentious but still smacks of musical brilliance. So if there is one preconceived notion about Nashville and singer-songwriters that rings true, it is the one that some of music’s greatest talents emerge from the Music City. And Bobby Pizazz has serious, serious talent indeed. – MW


David Arn – Walking To Dreamland

David Arn – Walking To Dreamland
If you really want to boil down a definition of the often overused term “singer-songwriter,” you should concentrate on someone who knows how to tell stories. This could be anyone from Guthrie to Dylan to Petty; masters at storytelling and putting their words to the proper music. David Arn has that capability, as his lyrics are both intelligent, from the heart, and always have a point that makes you think. He does a great job in weaving the musical landscape around his stories as well. The title track has a comforting, toe-tapping piano laced groove, followed by “Better Off Today” which feels a bit like U2 on a Tom Waits trip. “When You Lost Your Situation” has a bar room bluesy-pop lilt to it, the kind of song that would make Dr. John smile. “Something More Between Us” is a bare-bones folk effort that is delectably infectious. And yes, David’s voice is the perfect foil for his words – a throaty yet melodic, bluesy croon with that helps burn the lyrics into your cranium, your heart, and your soul. So will his name some day be uttered in the same breath as the aforementioned legends like Guthrie, Dylan and Petty? It would be a bit presumptuous and perhaps hyperbolic to just pronounce yes, but he has the obvious talent that you cannot deny him the possibility either. – MW


Electric Soul Parade – New Horizon

Electric Soul Parade – New Horizon
Power trios are alive and well. Or maybe it is just that L.A.‘s Electric Soul Parade proves that they never went away to begin with. With the rock grit of legendary power trio Cream, this act seems to create a big sound nudging a nice mid-ground between the soul of the Black Crowes and the blues rock of Govt Mule. So many tracks here flat out blister from the slightly country tinged “Candy Flippin’ Sweet Heart” to the full on rocking assault of “Make Up Your Mind” and the down and dirty blues boogie of “Higher Level.” Vocalist/guitarist Travis Lee Stephenson cooks fiery stews with vocal cords and fingers, possessing a gruff but melodic soulful howl and a seething power with his six-string antics. Behind him, bassist Paul Jones and drummer Phillip Major-Willis unleash a potent rhythm machine. This is a parade you are going to definitely want to experience, it is one helluva ride! – MW


Jack Jeffery – Enlightened Horizon

Jack Jeffery – Enlightened Horizon
Jack Jeffery was definitely paying attention to the pioneers of prog rock. That is a good thing as he has found a way to channel his influences into his own sound. You can hear the tendrils of Pink Floyd, Moody Blues, Marillion, and Renaissance among others in Jack’s work. You also hear folksy passages in “The Road That Never Ends,” electronica more in the Prodigy direction in “Continuum,” and even a touch of Americana in the dramatic opus “Never Go Back to the Mountain.” He also has a knack for creating infectious grooves that really draw you in, particularly evident in tracks like “Trans-Celestial Express.” Jack has incredible stories to tell and does them both with his soul bearing lyrics, powerfully melodic vocal croon and prowess on a plethora of instruments and keyboards. Proving that prog can still be innovative even while holding dear to your roots, this is some excellent ear-opening music. – MW


Lunatic Soul – Walking On a Flashlight Beam

Lunatic Soul – Walking On a Flashlight Beam
Kscope Records – KSCOPE299
Vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Mariusz Duda continues to push the musical envelope with his latest release under the moniker Lunatic Soul. A masterful weaver of the experimental facets of new age, electronica, mellow progressive rock, and other styles, Mariusz’s talent pool runs deep and you get the feeling he is still only scratching the surface. The soundscape of “Shutting Out The Sun” is a soothing yet intense prelude that draws you in and caresses you with its lush and subtly burgeoning ambience. “Cold “ is anything but that, with a pulsing warmth both in the breathless vocals and sweeping keyboard/synth work. “Gutter” has a bit more tempered power to it, showcasing Mariusz’s near operatic vocal work fueled by a gritty rhythmic throb. The twelve minute opus “Pygmalion’s Ladder” is one of those types of near epic masterpieces that you have to let the song review itself as it is far more descriptive of Mariusz’s capabilities than any critic can be. This is one of those types of CDs where you wonder why this act does not have wider recognition. Perhaps even in the progressive music world there is too much pretentiousness to delve into anything that does not have at least some vestige of typified commercialization. Plain and simple, this is innovative, intelligent, masterful music, and needs appreciation from anyone who has respect for intellectual musical talents. – MW


Callenberg – The Bailout Shop

Callenberg – The Bailout Shop
Bend Records
Eclectic Swedish musician/songwriter Anders Callenberg has found intriguing ways to make the bizarre refreshing with his sophomore effort. “Curtain” is raised with an atmospheric slightly somber pulse as if Bowie and Bono were kicking back and relaxing with…well, whatever the prefer relaxing with. “Sitting Duck” pulses with a groove that is both subtly hypnotic and hooky with a mesmerizing vocal warble. “You Might As Well Know” busts out a R&B tinged synth pop groove with an ethereal flowing undercurrent, while “Mad Machine” harkens to the days of electronica pioneers such as Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream. Anders is definitely not afraid to take chances with his songwriting, as the songs seem to flow from him like a rock strewn stream winding through past and present electronic and ambient soundscapes. There is easily enough innovation intertwined with the more obvious influences to catch the ears of any electronic music fan.  – MW


KainAndAble – KaneAndAble I/Vibrations

KainAndAble – KaneAndAble I/Vibrations
Spinning World Records
J. Thomas Edward & Matthew O’Keefe began their songwriting collaboration just a couple years ago, and it is quite apparent that their styles and talents mesh wonderfully. They have an eclectic taste in music which is why they decided to release two simultaneous debuts under the moniker of KainAndAble. The first CD is the more energetic CD, blending styles such as alt rock, folk, R&B and Americana into a heady stew of music that often has a brilliant simplicity melded with subtle intricacies. Songs such as “Get Off,” “Better Late Than Never” and “Misery Loves Company” have a deft touch of hookiness while still being edgy and innovative. “Vibrations” is a more acoustic based CD with mellower often haunting vibes, particularly noticeable on the lead track “Hollywood In The Daylight.” Some of the ballads here like “Dreams” and “Sooner Or Later” really stand out, making you think of some of the greats like Cat Stevens and Woody Guthrie. Yes, there is a lot to digest with two CDs and many styles present, but this duo ties it all together masterfully. An act to definitely keep an eye out for if this hefty but highly enjoyable debut tandem is any indication. – MW



Dave Fields – All In

Dave FIelds – All In
FMI Records – 801901000058
Is he a rocker with a blues soul, or a bluesman with a rock and roll soul? These are some questions you may ask listening to the latest CD from Dave Fields, but you won’t mind formulating your own answer as you will be listening to some very good music in the process. This is the third CD from this NYC native and it is very electrifying. The voltage cranking up from the first gritty cords of the down-and-dirty lead track “Changes In My Life.” “Let’s Go Downtown” has a snappy, funky vibe, sort of reminiscent of some of Prince’s more rocking earlier tunes. “Dragon Fly” is a mesmerizing track that also plumbs the various depths of both Dave’s vocal and guitar playing talents. You are also treated to a rather unique live cover version of the Led Zeppelin classic “Black Dog” which seems to be given a juke-joint inflection. When you hit your third CD in todays tough market, you are a proven survivor. Dave Fields survives on talent, passion and honesty in the way he plays his music. Whether he is more of a rocker or bluesman is a moot point as he can surely entertain fans of both genres and their various unholy marriages. – MW


The Alexis P Suter Band – Love The Way You Roll

The Alexis P Suter Band – Love The Way You Roll
American Showplace Music – AS4008
If your jaw does not drop when you first hear the voice of Alexis P Suter roar from the speakers, check your pulse. This young lady has a husky baritone voice – sort of like if Aretha Franklin and Lanny Kravitz were whirling through the back streets of New York – that just really sinks its hooks into you right from the get-go. “Nuthin’ In The World” is a snappy blues rocker with a hooky groove that really helps you experience her vocals. The title track has a deeply swampy groove with some near furious ejaculations that you feel the need to strap in to listen to it. The ballad “Anything” allows you to experience Alexis’ voice in all its glory – flowing and ebbing from pained passion to explosive soul bearing. Alexis may be the star here, but her band is also on fire throughout the twelve tracks, easily handling the variance of songs from the smoking rockers to the traditional laced blues and the mellow R&B passages. Plain and simple, if you love the more powerful side of blues – especially powerful vocal work –  this one is right up your alley. – MW


Bobby “Hurricane” Spencer – Unleashed

Bobby “Hurricane” Spencer – Unleashed
R. Music, Inc.
With the loss this year of Bobby Keyes and the recent loss of Clarence Clemons, it has been a tough time for sax blowers. Bay area stoic Bobby “Hurricane” Spencer is alive and well, and laying down some serious tenor sax chops on his latest release. Weaving blues, jazz, Gospel and R&B, Bobby wastes no time getting down to business in the intensely grooving “Gotta Get Back To Chicago.” “Camarillo” has one of those smoky juke-joint grooves sprinkled with hot sauce and cheap whiskey. Bobby also has a infectious voice, melding a soulful croon with gruff hard-life blues, particularly evident in the poignant ballad “You Make Me Crazy” and the mid tempo snarling boogie of “Holler’n & Wallow’n.” Backed by a talented core of musicians, Bobby’s talents in vocal work, songwriting, honest lyric writing, and, of course, cranking out some incredible sax pyrotechnics make this CD a must for any fans of sax players, from the old greats like Charlie Parker and Ben Webster, to the aforementioned giants who have left us. – MW