CD Review: Greg Roensch “What’s in the Meaning of That Cloud in the Sky”

Greg Roensch is a multi-talented individual who splits his time between the written word, the spoken word and the recorded song. As a writer, you can find Greg Roensch’s written words in his 2017 collection called Breakfast with the Alien and Other Short, Short Stories. His words have also been used to write about subjects such as video games, consumer electronics, winemaking and others, as well as for non-profit organizations. As a singer-songwriter, Roensch has created what he called The Spiral Notebook Project, a project which included 10 songs created by Roensch and other talented individuals at Tiny Telephone Recording in San Francisco (including producer John Vanderslice who has been responsible for plenty of releases over the years from talented individuals). Years after the release of The Spiral Notebook Project, Greg Roensch returns with his latest album, a release once again created with the help of producer John Vanderslice. Greg Roensch’s latest musical release is called What’s in the Meaning of That Cloud in the Sky.  

To begin the What’s in the Meaning of That Cloud in the Sky album, Greg Roensch kicks off his release with the track “Come On Over”. This track brings forth the talents of keyboard player Robert Shelton as it is the organ that is the instrument that is focused on in this song. The organ and the rest of the instrumentation give the song a rather retro feel as the song sounds as if it would have come out of the seventies. Not only is there a seventies feel to the music, but the song itself brings to mind the musical stylings of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers as the tune has a sound with an undeniable resemblance to Petty’s song “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around”.

The new release from Greg Roensch continues with the track “One More Shot”. This track features a Funk/Lite Rock blend to the music. The resulting blend creates a song with a laidback approach while also creating a strong groove that comes courtesy of the aforementioned organs and the bass. The synthesizers on the track add a strong groove of their own while also adding a slightly psychedelic vibe to the music. While the music of the track is rather upbeat, the lyrics are hopeful than anything else. The lyrics describe trying to reignite a relationship that seems to have come to an abrupt end at one point with Roensch cautiously dealing with the situation so things don’t get worse.

If one is familiar with some of the music that came out of the era of the eighties, you should be at least familiar with the title to the song “If I Had a Rocket Launcher,” the very political track from Bruce Cockburn from back in 1984 about his visit to Guatemalan refugee camps in Mexico following the counterinsurgency campaign of dictator Efraín Ríos Montt. On his new album, Greg Roensch takes a little influence from Cockburn as he created a track with a title that is just as striking and memorable. “Don’t Forget Your Hand Grenades” is a track from Roensch that, like Cockburn’s earlier track, was influenced by reality: a sign hanging in an airport in Europe that simply said- “No Hand Grenades”. Forming the music around the lyrics, the song contains a jazzy/funky feel to the laidback music. And with the sing-song feel to Roensch’s vocals, the song comes across as a Spoken Word/Beat Poetry track. But with the lyrical content of the words, that works rather well for the song “Don’t Forget Your Hand Grenades”.

What’s in the Meaning of That Cloud in the Sky album from Greg Roensch continues with the song “Grasshopper”. With this track, Roensch and the rest of the band slow things down quite a bit to create the slow-paced track. Singer Carly Bond joins Roensch as the two create a duet of sorts. While most duets feature lyrics of a mainly romantic nature, Bond and Roensch sing about taking it slow and easy. The track features simplicity at its best as the lyrics deal with the simple act of sitting and watching a grasshopper hopping along while the music contains a slow, steady and laidback pace.

The track “Celluloid Dream” changes the direction of the music. With this track the main focus is on the acoustic guitar of Greg Roensch as he creates a track that feels much like something from singer-songwriters in the mid-to-late sixties or earlier seventies. The slow-paced song features a storyteller approach to the lyrics, in much the same manner that Jimmy Buffett wrote the song “They Don’t Dance Like Carmen No More,” Buffet’s tribute to the multi-talented actress and singer Carmen Miranda. In this instance, Roensch writes about any one of the numerous actresses that graced the silver screen during the early Black & White days of cinema. And while the track easily contains the influence of Jimmy Buffett in the lyrics, the musical part of the track will remind fans of The Princess Bride of that movie’s Main Theme Song, “Storybook Love” from Willie DeVille and Mark Knopfler. Part of the reason for that comes from the inclusion of the cello on the track that is courtesy of Crystal Pascucci, which adds a touch of orchestration to the song.  

Like with the earlier track of “Don’t Forget Your Hand Grenades,” Greg Roensch takes the listener back to the sixties with “Remember the War to End All Wars,” a track that brings to mind songs like “Find the Cost of Freedom” from Crosby, Stills and Nash, or “Stop Children What’s That Sound” from Buffalo Springfield. “Remember the War to End All Wars” contains the same type of lyrical mindset as the aforementioned songs. The track is formed around the cello from Crystal Pascucci who creates a beautiful and touching intro to the track before the song changes to something that could have come from Buffalo Springfield, as the song falls into a style of Folk-Rock reminiscent of that band’s music. “Remember the War to End All Wars” is a powerful reminder to never forget the conflicts that came before as they can still teach us things.

Greg Roensch continues his new release with another poignant track as he stays in the same frame of mind of the previous track. But this time, instead of Folk-Rock, Roensch changes directions and creates a song with a much different feel to the music. It is with the song “Trigger, Trigger (Get Your Gun Out of My Face)” that Roensch explores a much more experimental feel to his music. In fact, the musical direction chosen by the singer-songwriter on this track brings to mind the more experimental side of the band Pere Ubu. The music being what it is and the Spoken Word feel to the words on the track create one of the most different tracks of the entire album.

Singer Carly Band returns as she and Greg Roensch once again join together on the “title track” of the release “Tell It Like It Is”. Just like the first time that Band made an appearance on this release, the song “Tell It Like It Is” contains a duet between Band and Roensch. And like the first track that featured both artists, this song is slow-paced and laidback as the song contains a light touch to the music which goes along with the lyrics about how things are going in the relationship that the song revolves around.  

As the listener goes through the thirteen tracks that make up the What’s in the Meaning of That Cloud in the Sky album from Greg Roensch, you get many different styles and flavors of music. Folk-Rock, Art Punk, Psychedelic Rock and much more make up the various tracks on the album. Strong writing, strong musicianship and nicely varied music combine to create a release that offers something for everyone.   

For more information, check out Greg Roensch’s PR firm of Whiplash PR & Management by clicking on the logo for the company.

 

 

 

 

For a taste of the music from Greg Roensch, check out the song “Come on Over”. 

To hear the entire What’s in the Meaning of That Cloud in the Sky album from Greg Roensch, click on the album cover below: