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CD Review: Divining Rod “Return to Crystal Cove”

Miyuki Furtado and Patrick Harmon are two musicians with rather different backgrounds. Miyuki Furtado had spent time creating some Alternative Rock with the band called The Rogers Sisters, while Patrick Harmon had a background in music that included a Rock and Roll band that created a style referred to as Psych-pop. Together, the duo took their similar styles of music and started creating music under the moniker of Divining Rod.

As Divining Rod, the duo of Miyuki Furtado and Patrick Harmon splits up the musical responsibilities. As the main singer-songwriter, Miyuki Furtado sings and plays the guitar, bass and drums for the duo. At the same time, Patrick Harmon helps to flesh out the music for the duo as he provides the lead guitar/acoustic guitar for each of the tracks that Divining Rod creates. The duo has currently been joined by Mike Malone, John Malone and Eric Kaye as well as others. While Divining Rod has released several singles since they came together as a unit, they are currently celebrating the release of a full length album that album is entitled Return to Crystal Cove   

The new album of Return to Crystal Cove from Divining Rod begins with the track “Hemlock Blues”. The track features a sound that is based around both the acoustic guitar and the electric guitar at the same time. The combination of the two different guitars creates a full sound that seems equally balanced right from the start. The resulting musical combination gives the listener a track that would have been right at home back in the seventies and ends up feeling like something that would have come from some of the more Folk-like musicians from that era. The track also contains a slightly psychedelic feel to that same musical combination while at the same time, containing a very driving feel to the music. Ultimately, because of the folk feel of the song along with the style of the lyrics in the song, the track of “Hemlock Blues” sounds like something from the supergroup Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young if they would have added a lot more energy to their music.

Divining Rod continues their album with the track “The Deepest Sun”. With this track, Miyuki Furtado and Patrick Harmon change the pace of the album by slowing the music down just a little. The track begins with the sound of picking on guitar strings that produce no music but do produce a strange percussive effect. That percussive effect feels very much like the ticking of the clock. Soon, a simple guitar part adds to that ticking effect to start the building of the music of the track. Eventually, what is produced is a track that feels much like something from the late sixties/early seventies. The Classic Rock feel to the music is mixed together with lyrics about seeing clearly.

The third song of the Return to Crystal Cove album is entitled “Love Come Tumbling”. Much like the track before it, “Love Come Tumbling” contains a slower pace than “Hemlock Blues”. In fact, the two tracks have much the same pacing to the music.  “Love Come Tumbling” features a style that is slightly retro in its nature as the duo creates a track that combines some elements of early Rock and Roll with more recent Indie Rock. The track begins with a rather simple guitar riff and an easy beat of the bass drum. The inclusion of the bass drum and the rest of the drum kit help to give the track that retro feel. The song moves along and includes an instrumental break that brings to mind songs from jam bands like The Grateful Dead. After a while, the vocals from Miyuki Furtado return to help bring the song to a close. The song of “Love Come Tumbling” feels both fresh and retro at the same time. 

With the track “Darling Down the Row,” Miyuki Furtado and Patrick Harmon create a track that contains a sound that feels right at home in today’s musical scene. The track’s Rock and Roll approach takes a generous amount of Rock and Roll flavor, adds some Country twang and some Folk flavor to create a song that is as much Rock and Roll as it is Americana. With its Americana feel, you can still imagine the track being played on today’s Top 40 or Modern Rock stations while also feeling as if it would have been right at home on radio formats in the seventies. Of course, the track has enough of a twang that it would also feel right at home on current Country formats.

The band returns to a more retro feel to their music on the song “Master/Servant Blues”. Much like the earlier track of “Hemlock Blues,” the duo brings back the feel of the music from Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. The track’s music brings to mind the seventies flavor of the quartet. It also contains a lyrical content that screams the band’s style. Plus, when Furtado and Harmon harmonize on the track, the influence from the quartet is almost undeniable. “Master/Servant Blues” ends up being one of the strongest tracks on the Return to Crystal Cove album from Divining Rod.

The Return to Crystal Cove album continues with the track “The Silver Ship”. Like much of the album, this track has a very retro feel to it. The Lite Rock feel to the music takes the listener back in time to the seventies when lighter Rock and Roll fare was being produced. The easy pace and lighter style to the music on this track would have been perfect for the AM dial back then. The track would have been right at home in the midst of artists such as Steely Dan, Harry Chapin, or Loggins & Messina. In fact this track feels like it was influenced by the band America, putting the track right in the middle of the decade of the seventies, musically.

On the “title track” of the release, Divining Rod picks up the pace and the energy level to create one of the more energetic tracks of the release. “Crystal Cove” is one of the hardest rockin’ tracks of the release. The song contains a strong Rock and Roll guitar feel and a rather unusual time signature that brings to mind the style of the band Devo. With that type of influence, the track contains a sound that would have been right at home on Rock and Roll stations in the eighties.

Return to Crystal Cove, the full-length album from Divining Rod, finds Miyuki Furtado and Patrick Harmon creating tracks that contain many different styles and influences. The twelve-track release puts to good use the various influences the two musicians have picked up over the years. The resulting album changes from track to the next and never lets up.  

To check out the music from Divining Rod, check out the video to the song “The Silver Ship“. 

To find the band’s music on spotify, click on the record cover below:

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CD Review: Jackopierce “Feel This Good”

Jack O’Neill and Cary Pierce came together to form a musical ensemble back in 1988. Together, they formed a duo called Jackopierce. That concept gave the toe musicians a decade-long music career that featured the release of six albums before they celebrated a decade with the release of the album entitled Decade. After celebrating ten years together, the duo went their separate ways…supposedly over the need to play the song “Three of Us In a Boat,” the song that ended up being their musical signature. After an extended break, O’Neill and Pierce would reconvene the duo and would once again start recording, adding an additional five albums to the Jackopierce discography.

The last album of Everywhere I Go from Jackopierce was released back in 2012. But now the duo of Jack O’Neill and Cary Pierce has once again come back together. This time, they have a new album to promote. The latest album from the band is 2018’s Feel This Good.   

Feel This Good from Jackopierce begins with the album’s title track. “Feel This Good” begins with the sound of lightly clicking percussion that transitions into an easy going Acoustic Rock track. The song has a light, gentle feel as the music on the track contains a Pop-Rock feel. The addition of the banjo on the track adds texture to the music.  When the mandolin starts, the track is equal parts Pop-Rock and Folk.

When the second track of the album called “Without You” begins, the song instantly takes on the feel of the songs that were featured on the Everywhere I Go release. “Without You” contains so much of the same vibe as anything from that album that it’s as if O’Neill and Pierce had one more song left in them from the creation of the previous album and didn’t have any place to put it so they included it on Feel This Good.

The band changes its direction on the track “So Good”. The track has a slight Country feel to the music as it seems as if it would fit right in with any of the songs currently being played on any Country radio format. However, the song also contains a musical approach that also brings to mind the music of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers. The main reason for the Petty influence comes from the guitar playing on the track that contains the same type of twang that was always present in Petty’s music. The musical blend invites two different types of music lover to enjoy this track.

Jackopierce slows things down with the next track that is ironically called “Speed”. Like the previous track of “So Good,” the music on this track contains an easy feel and an almost Folk-like approach. The track’s lyrics deal with a relationship that apparently may be coming to an end.  The easy feel to the music brings to mind the Soft Rock music of the late seventies/early eighties. In fact, you can hear a little bit of influence from the band America in both the music and the lyrical content in the track. While there is a definite flavor to the song that will remind listeners of something from the seventies, you can still imagine “Speed” being played on any of today’s Adult Contemporary radio formats.

For the first few bars of the track “Miracle,” you can imagine the band Jackopierce having the same type of musical approach as the band Vertical Horizon. In fact, as you listen to the guitar on the beginning of “Miracle,” the song’s first few bars brings to mind “I’m Still Here” From VH. After the first few seconds, however, the song takes on a much different feel as the song’s approach takes on more of a Christian Rock approach. That musical approach is helped along with the inclusion of strings that give the song added beauty. The Christian feel not only comes from the musical aspect of the track but also from the lyrical content. While not overly religious, the track of “Miracle” could easily find its way onto Top 40 radio as well as the most obvious of Christian Rock formats, The Fish. The Crossover effect on the song almost guarantees that the song could get plays on many radio stations if given the chance.

With the track “Still House Hollow,” the feel of the band changes drastically. The track contains a straight-out Rock and Roll feel that brings to mind something from the eighties or early nineties. This track stands out because it has a different feel than anything else that appears on the latest release from Jackopierce.  In fact, the closest thing that the track reminds me of is something from the Scottish band Big Country or maybe even the Irish band Energy Orchard. While the track feels slightly unusual when compared to the rest of the album, “Still House Hollow” still has enough commercial appeal that it would still feel right at home on Top 40 Radio.

The band Jackopierce had once been signed to major label A&M back in the nineties. But the band’s more recent material has plenty of modern appeal to it. Songs like “Miracle” and the title track of “Feel This Good” would fit right in with today’s Top 40 music. And while the band’s previous album of Everywhere I Go had been released over six years ago, the time between albums seems to have been well worth it as Feel This Good is a very good release that is just as solid as the band’s last album.

(For more information, click HERE to check out the review for the last album of Everywhere I Go from Jackopierce.) 

Click HERE to check out the Feel This Good album from Jackopierce on Spotify. 

To check out some of the music from Jackopierce, lick HERE for the title track of “Feel This Good”. 

 

To purchase a copy of Feel This Good album from Jackopierce, click on the album cover below:

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CD Review: Dustin Prinz “Feeling It”

Dustin Prinz is a Nebraska-based singer-songwriter who is also an accomplished guitar player. Prinz Is known for his unusual style of playing that he calls Parapicking, a style that is based around including percussive effects into the playing of the instrument. Prinz is so well-known for this style that his videos on YouTube have reached millions of plays. While known for his teaching techniques, Dustin Prinz has continued to write; record and produce his own music. Currently, Prinz is promoting his new release entitled Feeling It.

The first track on the Feeling It EP from Dustin Prinz is the title track of the release. As Prinz is a singer-songwriter, his writing style includes incorporating many different styles of music into his songs. With the track “Feeling It,” Prinz creates a track that features a Rock style to it with a little Blues feel thrown in as well as a generous dose of twang in the vocals from Prinz. “Feeling It” is a track that finds Dustin Prinz creating a track that feels very much like a contemporary Country song.