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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: Spade Mcquade “An Ocean Between Us”

It was nearly thirty years ago that Irish rock band Energy Orchard released their self-titled album. Energy Orchard may never have had a very large following here in the United States, but they did end up releasing their self-titled album on MCA. That band and their self-titled album featured a sound that blended a style reminiscent of U2 with a stronger Irish vibe than the more well-known band ever had. And from that album, the band released one of their strongest singles, a song called “Sailor Town“. That resulting style was featured in several albums before the band would go their separate ways. And for the band’s rhythm guitarist, Spade Mcquade, that meant making his way over to the United States.  

Spade Mcquade now makes his home in the United States. And because of that, his musical style has taken on a definite American flare to it. So much so, that Mcquade refers to his style as Irish Americana. And it is that style that can be found on his latest release entitled An Ocean Between Us

An Ocean Between Us from Spade Mcquade finds the singer-songwriter creating an album in a Live In The Studio setting. What ends up being created is an album that sounds as if the tracks have the same warmth that they would have if the listener was experiencing the tracks in a concert setting.

Spade Mcquade’s An Ocean Between Us album begins with the track “Humble”. The track takes some influence from the early days of Hootie and the Blowfish and combines it with elements of Deep Blue Something’s song “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”. What results is a track that feels as if it would have been right at home on the radio back in the early to mid-nineties. The track finds Mcquade declaring that he has always been and will always be the same person.

It is on the track “London Again” that the listener gets to understand just what is meant by the term Irish Americana.  The track features a strong Country/Rock blend to the base of the music. But it also includes a little Celtic influence from the inclusion of the tin whistle on the track. What results is a sound that is rather reminiscent of the type of music that the band The Pogues would have created, minus the Punk influence to track.

With the next track, Irish musician Spade Mcquade takes the listener back in time a bit on the song “Stupid”. The musical direction on the track finds Mcquade creating a track that seems to contain a strong Folk vibe. But the feel to the music of the song is not just any Folk vibe. The song contains a vibe that was very much present in American music during the sixties. As a matter-of-fact, what comes across is a song that was largely influenced by the likes of Bob Dylan back at the time period of the sixties.

One of the strongest tracks on the An Ocean Between Us album from Spade Mcquade is the song “Human After All”. The track features a sound that feels like a combination between a Michael Nesmith & the First National Band song and a more Countrified song from The Eagles. The combination that is produced creates a track that feels as if it would have been right at home on AM radio back during the seventies. In fact, the song would have been right at home on the Top 40 charts back then.

It is with the next track on the release that the listener gets to experience a bit of Spade Mcquade’s humor. It is with the song “Gaybar” that Mcquade adds a few chuckles to the album, although the track is more light-hearted than humorous. The track finds Spade and some friends leaving a bar as they were looking for something fun. When other places failed to live up to their expectations, they tried a gay bar and found some fun. The track proves that keeping an open mind is very important or else you might miss out on something you might regret later. As far as the music to the track is concerned, Mcquade creates a track that, like with the song “London Again” from earlier on in the release, features a style rather reminiscent of The Pogues. The fun, bouncy feel of the music adds to the overall lightheartedness of the track.

As Spade Mcquade is living in the United States having been born over in Ireland, it should come as no surprise that he would write a song about that very topic. The song called “Bangor Town” finds Mcquade feeling nostalgic as he sings about thinking back to his time back in Ireland and how, no matter where you may go in your life, your hometown will always be where you come from. To go along with the gentle feeling of reminiscing that is found in the lyrics, the music of the track also contains a gentleness that lends itself to the feeling of reminiscing about the past. Together, the music and the lyrics on the release combine to create a moment that most of us can relate to in some way.  

The final track of the An Ocean Between Us album from Spade Mcquade is more of a story than anything else. The song “Just a Cat” contains a light, easy pace to the music as the song features a Folk approach to both the music and lyrical content. “Just a Cat” is the tale of a man who is relaxing in his backyard when a strange cat makes its way over to him. However, there is something different about the animal: He is the reincarnated soul of a friend who is now pondering what to do. The track is a cautionary tale of what might happen if you don’t treat people (or in this case, animals) the way you would to be treated.

While many of the track that are contained in Spade Mcquade’s new album have a Rock and Roll base to them,  An Ocean Between Us album is a release that features different styles of music to nearly every song. The Americana (or Irish Americana, as Spade himself describes it) music contained within the release creates moments on the album that are unique from one track to the next. This ensures that the album is rather varied throughout the ten or so tracks that make up the album.  

To discover the music of Spade Mcquade, check out the song “Pucker Up“. 

You can find An Ocean Between Us album from Spade Mcquade on Spotify HERE

To check out the An Ocean Between Us album from Spade Mcquade, click on the album cover below:  

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CD Review: The Local “Reverie”

Pittsburgh band The Local had its initial foundation miles away from where the band finds itself today. It was in Belfast, Ireland that American Jenny Henry would eventually meet Dean Henry, the man who would become her husband. Together, the duo found out about each other as each performed their own music in pubs and music venues in the area. A romantic spark occurred and the two married and eventually came back to live here in the United States.

After the duo of Dean Henry and Jenny Henry came over the United States, the duo began putting together a band. That band is called The Local. The line-up of The Local consists of Band Members Ben Sweet  on Guitar and Vocals, Dean Henry  on Guitar and Vocals and Jenny Henry on Bass along with percussionist Stephen Flory and keyboardist Eric Matlock. Together, the band combines their talents to create a band that has a strong Pop-Rock feel to their music. That musical approach can be found on the band’s new EP entitled Reverie.

Reverie from The Local begins with the track “Impatience Blues”. While The Local is mostly an American band, the Irish flavor and influence of the band’s music shines through on the first track of the EP. In fact, when the song “Impatience Blues” begins, the easy feel of the Pop-Rock/Folk-Rock music on the track brings to mind the sound and style of another act that was completely based in Belfast- Energy Orchard. Coincidentally enough, the track that The Local’s song “Impatience Blues” brings to mind from the Irish rock band is entitled “Belfast,” the lead-off from Energy Orchard’s 1990 self-titled album. The difference between the two tracks is that “Belfast” has more of an upbeat feel to the music while “Impatience Blues” is a little more relaxed as far as the music is concerned.

The title track of the EP finds the band slightly changing the feel of their music. The electric guitar on the track is at its most intense as the track features a straight-out Rock and Roll feel. The guitars at the beginning create a definite Double-axe attack feel. The music of “Reverie” would fit in with Rock and Roll tracks from the eighties or nineties before Alternative Rock was a radio format. For the title track of The Local’s new EP, the band creates one of the strongest tracks of the release.

Reverie from The Local continues with the track “Maybe I Will”. The track begins with one of the easier paces of any of the tracks that make up the release. The somewhat Folk-like music comes courtesy of a mandolin that starts off the music. Soon enough, a strong machine-like beat joins in to give the track a rather strange combination of musical directions. But that unusual combination of soft from the mandolin and powerful from the drumbeat helps to make the song unique. “Maybe I Will” is easily one of the songs that stand out on the EP.    

The new EP from The Local continues with “Fair Play”. The feel of the track is rather familiar as the track seems to continue right where “Reverie” left off. As a matter of fact, if the EP had been created there with the two songs side-by-side, “Reverie” could have easily just segued into “Fair Play” without a break creating a musical passage with a rather long playtime.

With the final track of “Racing,” the band picks up the energy of their music. One of the things that are different on this track is the increase in the intensity of the music as the band adds more of an Alternative Rock approach to their music. The result is a track that seems to have a sound that is reminiscent of R.E.M’s “Losing My Religion”. “Racing” from The Local will satisfy any fan of the music from the nineties who has been looking for something that helps to bring back the sound of that decade.

Reverie from Pittsburg-based The Local is a short but strong release from a band that makes good use of two different musical styles with the founding members of Dean Henry and Jenny Henry coming from Ireland and the United States respectively. The two different nationalities helped to flavor the band’s music while creating a sound that is still very listener friendly. 

 

For a taste of the music from The Local, check out the title track from the band’s Reverie release.  

Reverie from The Local is still in the production stages. The EP will be available some time in the spring from Wednesday Records. Stay tuned to the band’s website and Facebook page for more information.