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CD Review: Hadley Kennary “Habits”

Chicago, Illinois native Hadley Kennary is a singer-songwriter who, like many trying to make it in the music industry, has moved to Nashville to be part of the vibrant music scene in that town. And being in Nashville, Kennary is starting to get noticed. That has to do with her strong vocals and her writing ability. Both of those qualities have led to many accolades such as winning second place in the Telluride Bluegrass Festival Troubadour Songwriting Competition, as well as being included in several other contests.  

To date, Hadley Kennary released a self-titled release in 2011, the In Fall album in 2013 and the Momentum EP in 2016. Just recently, Kennary released her newest EP of music. The 2019 release from the singer-songwriter is titled Habits. And to help Hadley bring her music to life on that release, she’s joined by Collin Pastore on pedal steel, Austin Webb on guitar, Andrew Brown on Bass, and Jake Finch on drums and background vocals. While Hadley Kennary won that Second Place finish in the aforementioned Bluegrass Songwriting contest, together, Kennary and company create a release that blends together a generous amount of Pop and Rock influences.

Habits from Hadley Kennary begins with the track “First Love”. The track begins with the sound of the guitar and some light percussion as Kennary adds soft vocals to the provided music. Before long, the song changes from the light musical approach to a track with a full-on Pop-Rock musical feel. In fact, the track feels like something from Shania Twain except with a much stronger Rock and Roll influence to the music as Hadley and band create a track that would feel right at home alongside Twain’s “I’m Gonna Getcha Good,” especially since both tracks contain an upbeat delivery on the music as well as containing lyrics about pursing your love interest. The commercial feel of the track ensures a strong showing on the charts if the song gets a chance.

With the next track, Hadley Kennary takes her music in a much different direction. The track “Right by You” is a track that contains a sound that will remind the listener of something from the mid-eighties. In fact, the musical Pop-Rock approach of “Right by You” contains a sound that places the track next to songs from artists like Kim Wilde, Sheena Easton and/or Kim Carnes. The musical vibe of the track comes courtesy of the bassline from Andrew Brown as well as the guitar playing from Austin Webb. As the track continues, the addition of the drums just helps to reinforce that approach. Together, the musicians help create that musical vibe that places the song musically into the eighties. For those who enjoy the sound of that era, “Right by You” will satisfy the craving for music from that decade.

Hadley Kennary and band slow things down on the next track of the EP. The song “Accountability” once again features a Pop-Rock feel to the music as the song begins with the sound of the acoustic guitar and Kennary’s vocals. The simplicity of that combination creates the basis of the track and that simplicity lasts throughout the three minutes of the song, creating a track with a gentle feeling to the music. The inclusion of electric guitar, slide guitar and other instrumentation in the background adds depth to the track. However, that added instrumentation stays rather low-key throughout, allowing the vocals of Kennery to shine as harmonies add even more to the track. Altogether, the soft gentle music of the song brings to mind the musical stylings of someone like Sarah McLaughlin, Tori Amos or other singer-songwriters who stay on the softer side of Pop-Rock.

The harder side of Hadley Kennary and her music returns on the track called “Casual”. The beginning of the track starts with the light sound of the bass before the electric guitar joins in to create a Rock and Roll feel to the music. In fact, it is the electric guitar that stands out on this song, adding power to the music while creating a sound that would fit squarely on the today’s radio airwaves. The full sound of the guitar and the strength of the music creates an Alternative Rock feel to the track. At the beginning of the song, the electric guitar and Alternative Rock feel of the music brings to mind someone like Alanis Morrissett. However, the track changes slightly as some Pop influence is added to the music. The track ultimately feels like a blend of Alanis Morrissett and the more Rock and Roll side of No Doubt. “Casual” ends up being one of the strongest tracks on the release, as well as one of the most commercial. And with that in mind, it’s easy to see why the track is one of the singles on the EP.

It is with the track “Potential” that Hadley Kennary brings her new Habits EP to a close. Much like with the previous track of “Casual,” Kennary creates a track with a strong Rock and Roll backbone to it. But the song also contains a Pop feel to the music at the same time. The track is one of the more energetic of the songs on the release as it contains a driving feel to the music. As far as style is concerned, the music falls somewhere between the nineties and today, creating a very modern feel to the song. You can imagine the track fitting on any Alternative Rock, Modern Rock or even Top 40/Hot A/C radio formats. The energetic feel to the music as well as its commercial vibe makes “Potential” a very listener-friendly track. It also makes the inclusion of the track at the very end of the release a good move as it brings Habits from Hadley Kennary to a close on a strong note.

Habits from Hadley Kennary is a strong five–song release. And with the Pop-Rock, Alternative Rock, even Top 40 influences in the songs, the album gives the listener a short, but accurate indication of the talents of Kennary. Whether you are a fan of Pop-Rock, Alternative Rock, even Top 40 music, there’s something here for any lover of Rock and Roll music.  

For a taste of the music from Hadley Kennary, check out the single “Casual”.

To check out the Habits release from Hadley Kennary, click on the album cover below: 

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CD Review: Matt Zaddy “Be”

Singer-songwriter Matt Zaddy is a Canadian-born artist that comes from the town of Missisaugua, where he is part of the Missisaugua Art Council. Having spent time in the Canadian band called Starring Janet Leigh, Zaddy is now creating a much different sound with his own music that is created by blending together Blues, Soul, and some light Rock & Roll. Matt Zaddy also includes just a touch of Jazz in the music. With that musical blend, he also calls upon several of today’s hottest artists for inspiration. Artists like John Mayer, Neil Young, Jason Mraz, Passenger, Ed Sheeran, and plenty of others help shape the music of Zaddy. With these and other influences, Matt Zaddy’s music is just as fresh and inviting as anything currently found on the radio.

Within the last few years, Matt Zaddy has been focusing on refining his style and sound. But during that time, he has released a single here or there as well as the 2015 five-track EP called Perfect Moments. Since the time of that release, Zaddy has been writing new music and will shortly be releasing his first album.  And to bring the new album to life, Zaddy called upon a group of talented musicians to help flesh out his songs. Along with Matt Zaddy on vocals and guitar, the rest of the band consists of: Thomas Francis on keys; Heather Christine on backing vocals; Stacey Shopsowitz on bass; Adam Cannon on drums; as well as Joash Paul on drums; Ian MacKay on drums; Jeremy Tozero on backing vocals, bass; and Ross Citrullo who adds some slide guitar to the mix. 

Matt Zaddy’s first album entitled Be begins with the lead-off single of the album, “Busy”. On this track, the band takes Zaddy’s various musical influences, blends them together and creates a track that draws largely upon the Blues style of Johnny Lang while also adding some influence of someone like the afore-mentioned John Mayer. The single of “Busy” features a strong, powerful guitar base perfect for the Blues while also containing some light Rock and Roll flavor. It’s a perfect Mayer/Lang mashup. Zaddy’s guitar on the track is, of course, the focal point of the music. However, the keys from Thomas Francis add a definite Soul influence to the song and maybe a little Jazz feel, as well. Altogether, the Soul, Blues, Jazz and Rock and Roll influences combine to create a track that could be the ultimate crossover hit. The music for the single feels as if it could be included on any of several radio formats such as Smooth Jazz, Hot A/C and/or Top 40.

For the second track of the new release from Matt Zaddy, the music takes on a rather familiar feel to the music. It is on the song of “A Dear Friend” that the light feel to the Alt-Rock track brings to mind the musical stylings of the band Vertical Horizon. One of the main reasons for that musical reference is the light and easy blend of the music from the guitar from Zaddy and keyboards on the track from Thomas Francis. Together with the drums from Ian MacKay and bass from Stacey Shopsowitz, the song takes on a rather laidback, almost Smooth Jazz-like feel to the music. Because of that, the listener can almost imagine this song being included on the later albums from Vertical Horizon when Matt Scannell took complete control of the writing of the songs. “A Dear Friend” has a very commercial feel to it and would fit right in on any Adult Contemporary radio station.

The Be album continues with the track “The Truth”. On this song, Matt Zaddy creates a track that once again features an easy approach to the music. While containing a slight Jack Johnson vibe to the track, there is also a stronger influence in both music and lyrical content that brings to mind the music of Rob Thomas. In fact, the listener may be able to hear some reference to Thomas’ “Streetcorner Symphony” in the music of the track. The combination of those two contemporary influences in the music gives “The Truth” an unmistakably modern feel to the song that should guarantee that the song would feel right at home within any Adult Contemporary radio format.

Matt Zaddy’s new release of Be continues with the song “A Tiny Spark”. Much like the previous tracks, the song contains a light musical delivery right at the beginning. The lonesome sound of one guitar and vocals from Matt Zaddy create a quiet passage in the music before the track picks up the bass from Jeremy Tozer and drums from Joash Paul. Add in some organ from Thomas Francis in the background to complete the feel of the track. The light and easy feel of the music is mixed together with vocals from Zaddy that bring to mind the vocal delivery from Rob Hotchkiss. Together, the track features a sound and delivery very reminiscent of the band Train.

On the track “Brighter Days,” Matt Zaddy blends together some Rock and Roll influence with some Blues to create a track that keeps the release in a modern-day musical state of mind. In fact, the Rock/Blues blend with a light Latin musical delivery creates a track that feels like something that may have come off the 1999 Supernatural release from Santana. And with Zaddy having that slight Rob Thomas feel in his voice that returns for this song, the Santana reference is rather obvious on this track.

Matt Zaddy brings his new release called Be to a close with the final track called “Greater Things”. With this track, Zaddy creates a song with yet another Blues/Rock/Soul music blend. With the strong electric guitar on this track, the energy level is raised a little. The electric guitar and the organ from Thomas Francis on the track help to give the song one of the most energetic deliveries on the release. And with that energetic feeling, Matt Zaddy brings his new release to a close on a solid note.

The Soul, Blues, Jazz and Rock & Roll influences in Matt Zaddy’s music are well defined. And the various musicians he draws influence from are too. Together, those various influences help to give Zaddy’s music character and depth. While Be from Matt Zaddy is only seven tracks long, those tracks included in the mix combine to create a release with a very commercial feel to it that should appeal to a large audience. 


The newly-released album called Be from Matt Zaddy is currently being promoted with the single called “Busy”.

To check out Be from Matt Zaddy, you can find the release of spotify. Click on the album cover below to check it out.  

 

 

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CD Review: Benny Bassett “Words For Yesterday”

It was back in 2014 that the band Vintage Blue released their EP called No Going Back. That release would prove to be the band’s last release. Shortly afterward, lead singer Benny Bassett would take the next step and go on his own as a solo artist. And as such, Bassett has created releases that have stayed in a relatively close musical frame of mind as what had been created by his former band.

To date, Bassett has released one album and one EP of original music of his own since the members of the band went their separate ways. Having just recently put out the acoustic EP called Rosemont Sessions – Volume One which finds Bassett segueing from older material to the newer songs, he has just announced that his newest EP called Words for Yesterday will soon be available.

For the release, Benny Bassett has a little help. In addition to Bassett on vocals and guitars, the rest of the musicians on the release consist of: Chip Johnson on Guitars, bass, vocals; Kit Karlson on Keyboards, piano, synth; Travis McNabb on Drums (tracks 3 & 4); as well as Amanda Turpin and Jackie Buono on backing vocals. Together, this group of musicians brings Bassett’s music to life.

The EP of Words for Yesterday from Benny Bassett begins with the track “Window to Forever”.  The track begins with a gentle, steady beat as the music itself contains a slow, steady pace. As the music begins, the listener is exposed to a track that is a reminder of what Bassett’s old band of Vintage Blue used to sound like. The resulting Adult Contemporary music moves along at that slow, steady pace for about a minute before the pace picks up a little. “Window to Forever” blends together some influence from Vintage Blue and some influence from Adult Contemporary bands from the eighties.  With that blend, Bassett has created a track that should appeal to a wide array of listeners.

Bassett picks up the pace for the next track, but only by a little bit. The track “Live Where You Love the Sky” will immediately take the listener back to the eighties as the music on the track features the same type of vibe that you would have found on songs from that decade. But as the song also contains that Vintage Blue feel, the track feels both retro and modern at the same time. The track not only features Benny Bassett but also Amanda Turpin who not only adds vocals to the track, but also helped to write the song. While not truly a love song, the dual vocals on the track makes the song feel like a duet of sorts. “Live Where You Love the Sky” would feel right at home on any Adult Contemporary radio format.

The album of Words for Yesterday from Benny Bassett changes drastically on the next track. Where the first two tracks contain a light for to the music that is closer to pop music than anything else, the third track of the release called “Down Below” finds Bassett pushing the light feel of his music aside for something much heavier. “Down Below” takes on a heavier Rock and Roll approach to the music. Instead of acoustic guitars or a feel that could be described as Pop-Rock, the resulting track features much heavier guitars that truly “rock”.  And instead of being at home on an Adult Contemporary format, the track would need to be included with bands that would fit into the Modern Rock category. While miles apart from the first two tracks of the EP, “Down Below” will still satisfy any fan of Hard Rock or Modern Rock music.

Benny Bassett changes the direction once again on the very next song. The track “Find A Way” brings the energy level of the music back down but keeps more of an edge than the first two tracks of the release. The track features a blend of music that combines a good deal of Rock and Roll with some Soul influence. In fact, the track’s musical blend feels as if it would be right at home next to some of Bruno Mars’ more Soulful tracks. The track features a strong groove that comes from the addition of the Soul influence. Like the previous songs on the release, “Find A Way” has a strong commercial feel to the music and would fit right in on a Hot A/C format.

The next track finds Bassett creating a track that is easily the most commercial and Pop inspired of any of the songs on the release. The song “Building A Future” feels as if it was created at the right time, as if Bassett had written the song to fit right in with the momentum created by the song “Shallow” from the movie A Star Is Born. The light feel to the pop music of the track mixed with the duet between Jackie Buono and Bassett brings to mind the same kind of musical approach as “Shallow”. This track feels readymade for the radio airwaves.

Benny Bassett’s latest release comes to a close with the track “With You”. The feel of the music changes once again on this track. For this song, the music is created mainly by Kit Karlson who contributes the piano and keys to the track. Karlson and Bassett combine to create a track that contains a relaxed feel to the music and the various keyboard parts from Karlson combine to create a multi-layered feel to the music. The beauty of the lyrics from Bennett and the beauty of the music from Karlson create one of the strongest moments of the six-track EP.

Words for Yesterday from Benny Bassett finds the singer-songwriter in fine form. The new EP is perfect for any fan of Adult Contemporary music. The release gives the listener a good cross section of what Bassett can do. The EP comes with a lot of the same kind of Adult Contemporary flavor that was present in his music with his former band of Vintage Blue while it also shows off his ability to stretch as an artist.

The newest release from Benny Bassett is still a few weeks away from being released. The EP will be available for presale beginning on March 21, 2019. The release date for the EP is set for April 12th. Stay tuned to Bassett’s Music Profile on Facebook for more information. 

Currently, there is no single to promote as no music has been released. However, Benny Bassett did release a video to the acoustic version of “Window to Forever,” the song that kicks off the release. The official acoustic version of “Window to Forever” can be found on Bassett’s earlier release entitled Rosemont Sessions – Volume One, which can be found on Benny Bassett’s website along with earlier albums from the artist. 

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CD Review: The Borstal Boys S/T

It is said that many local music scenes, no matter where you live, are made up of about twenty-five musicians or so who make up about seventy-five percent of the music scene. Meaning, if you go out to see a cover band, you are most likely going to run into one of these omnipresent musicians. Even some of the Original Music bands contained within a scene will contain some of these musicians. This is very much the case for the band called The Borstal Boys.

The Borstal Boys is an Original Rock and Roll band that has roots within the Pittsburgh area. Each of the musicians that help to make up the group has a long history within the Pittsburgh music scene. Consisting of: Rocky Lamonde (Bass), Patrick Norman (Electric and Acoustic Guitar), Joe Pelesky (Organ and Vocal), Darryl Thumm (Guitar), Scott Wilson (Drums), Vinny Q (Guitar) and Mark Ponsonby (Lead Vocal), The Borstal Boys have stood on stages with the likes of Bill Toms and Hard Rain, Rusted Root and many other bands. Together, the musicians take the years of experience to create a new band that draws from that long history.

Taking all of their various musical influences such as The Beatles, Bruce Springsteen, The Rolling Stones, The Faces and more The Borstal Boys created their first album. The band’s self-titled album was released in 2018.

The first track on the self-titled release from The Borstal Boys is the track “My Everything”. With this track, the band breaks into some good, old-fashioned Rock and Roll. In fact, what the sound will most likely remind the listener of is something from Bruce Springsteen. Moreover, the song has more than a little bit of influence from The Boss’ music from around the time of the Born to Run era. “My Everything” from The Borstal Boys has more than just a little influence from Springsteen’s song called “Tenth Avenue Freeze Out”.  The track also has some Bob Seger influence to it, as well.

For the next track, the band seems to add some newer influences to the mixture. The track “Marlene Jane” features Rock and Roll that feels as if it came from the eighties. While there is still a good amount of Classic Rock influence to the track, the song also features a little New Wave and/or Alternative influence to the track. The majority of the track seems to contain some influence from John Mellencamp as the guitar-driven track is reminiscent of Mellencamp’s stuff from the eighties. The keyboards in the background of the song, however, seem to contain a much more modern influence to them. Because of the combination of the two directions at one time, “Marlene Jane” is a track that would easily fit well next to songs from the like of the Goo Goo Dolls or Gin Blossoms. The track would be right at home on any Modern Rock or Hot A/C radio format.

With the track “Head Full of Ghosts,” The Borstal Boys take their music back in time once again. The track is firmly placed in the middle of Classic Rock. As you listen to the track, you can easily imagine Power Trios like Cream adding some influence to the music of the band. But there also feels as if there is some Frank Zappa and the Mother of Invention influence present in the music, especially in the guitar playing on the track. For fans of straight-out Rock and Roll looking for that style today, you can’t do better than “Head Full of Ghosts” from The Borstal Boys.

Bringing their music back to a more modern sound, The Borstal Boys create the track “Green Light”. The slower-paced track features a strong guitar feel to the music. The music on the track brings to mind the feel of the music that came from The Black Crowes back in the nineties. This track by The Borstal Boys would feel right at home being played right after a track like “She Talks to Angels”. And with a playtime that exceeds the four-minute mark, “Green Light” ends up being one of the longer tracks on the album, although you really wouldn’t notice as the track flows rather smoothly during that playtime.

And speaking of angels, the very next track on the seven-song release is actually called “Fallen Angel”. And just like with “Green Light,” “Fallen Angel” has a slower pace to the music. While the previous tracks on the self-titled release from The Borstal Boys do not contain any religious meanings, the song “Fallen Angel” is full of heavenly imagery in the lyrics. Plus, the inclusion of the organ on the track also adds a bit of flavor to the track as well.

The Borstal Boys bring their 2018 self-titled release to a close with the track “G-Spot Blues”. The final track on the release finds the band creating an all-instrumental track. And with the fact that the song contains the title it does and the music is quite Progressive in its style of Rock and Roll, the Frank Zappa references are sort of difficult to miss. The completely instrumental feel to the music on this track gives the listener a clear glimpse at the talent of each of the members of the band.

Where many bands and recording artists pay attention to only the newest rends in music, it is great to find those bands that still incorporate real Rock and Roll feeling into their sound. The Borstal Boys have created a strong seven-song release that stays fresh throughout as they create songs that make use of that Classic Rock style.  

 

For more information, check out the band’s record label The Vault Records

To hear the music of The Borstal Boys, check out their song “Head Full of Ghosts” 

To hear the entire self-titled album from The Borstal Boys, find the band on Spotify

To purchase a copy of the self-titled album of the The Borstal Boys, click on the album cover below: 

 

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CD Review: Reina Mora “Bird’s Eye View”

Puerto Rico native Leeane Melendez (from this point on to be referred to by her stage name of Reina Mora) has spent time in the music industry as part of many bands. But after spending time in other people’s groups, the L.A.-based singer-songwriter has taken on a new role as a solo artist. Having written her own songs, Reina Mora is about to release her first solo album. While Mora is an artist that is proud of her Latin background, the singer-songwriter has just created a release that is largely influenced by the same type of music that she has been singing as part of other bands. That pop/rock-based album is entitled Bird’s Eye View, a title that plays on the singer’s stage name of Reina Mora since “Reina Mora” is actually the name of a bird in Puerto Rico.   

The new album from Reina Mora begins with the track “Up In Arms”. The first track of the album finds Reina Mora creating a track that contains a large amount of pop-rock that features a very strong eighties vibe to it. The main reason for that vibe comes from the keyboards that are rather prominent on the track. To go along with the retro feel of the keys, Mora’s vocal approach brings to mind singers from the eighties such as Tiffany (of “I Think We’re Alone Now” fame) who were rather big on commercial radio back then. While rather retro in its sound, “Up In Arms” is a very strong track. 

Bird’s Eye View continues with the track “Trouble,” the first single off of the album. The music of “Trouble” focuses on the electric guitar that help to create a very strong Rock and Roll feel to the track. The electric guitar provides a moderate pace to the music. Reina Mora’s vocals are strong and focused as she plays out the character she created for the song. To go along with the Rock and Roll music, the lyrics of the song find Reina Mora creating a scene based around an Adam and Eve-type setting where Mora is portraying an Eve-like character who knows the power she possesses over “Adam” and is taking advantage of him as she plays out the forbidden apple scene from the Bible. As the title of the track suggests, Reina Mora declares that she is nothing but bad news. But as it turns out, Adam is no fool and he has a few tricks of his own. The writing style contained within the track comes across as a vignette set to music.

Reina Mora’s new album continues with the track “Passenger”. Having already released the song a few years ago, the singer-songwriter ended up revisiting the track for this new album. The original version of the song came complete with a guitar-driven feel that would have been right at home on radio back in the nineties alongside artists like Alannis Morrisette. For this version of the song, Mora completely rewrote the track to give the song a much different feel.  Much like track “Up In Arms” before it, the pop-rock music of this newer version of the track brings to mind music from the era of the eighties. The track begins with a strong heartbeat-like drumbeat that continues throughout the track. That drumbeat is matched up early with an acoustic guitar and the two instruments combine to create a rather infectious feel to the music. Adding the lyrics and the result is a song with a pop-rock ballad that is ultimately a song about regret as Mora sings about the one who got away. Much like the earlier version of the track, the commercial feel of this newer version of “Passenger” from Reina Mora means that the track could easily find its way onto today’s Top 40 radio formats.

The feel of Reina Mora’s new album changes directions with the next track of “If I Am A Stranger”. The track takes on a folk-like quality as the music is created by a mandolin, a bowed double bass and some light percussion. The simple and light music of the track comes complete with a slower pace than the previous tracks on the release. The lighter approach on the music allows Mora’s vocals to come through a lot more than on the tracks that came before.  While a lot lighter than the earlier tracks, “If I Am a Stranger” still contains a sound that is rather infectious.

Bird’s Eye View from Reina Mora continues with the song “Brighter Sky”. The Latin flavor of the percussion at the beginning of the track and the rest of the instrumentation throughout the track help to create a track that brings to mind the music of Gloria Estefan & Miami Sound Machine. Part of the reason why the track brings to mind Estefan and her band is the eighties influence that once again gives the song a little bit of a throwback feel. The difference between Estefan and Mora’s song of “Brighter Sky” is that “Brighter Sky” has more of a Latin feel to it.

Throughout much of the Bird’s Eye View album from Reina Mora, the listener will find several tracks that feel readymade for radio airplay. No place is that more evident than with the track “Behind the Moon”. The commercial quality of the pop-rock music mixed with the strings that add an orchestral feel to the music combine to create a track that would feel right at home on Top 40 radio formats as well as Adult Contemporary formats and/or Hot A/C stations.

With the fact that Leeane Melendez (Reina Mora’s real name) is a native of Puerto Rico, it should come as no surprise that she would include some of her Hispanic background on the music of her album. With the track of “Cielo Azul,” she creates a track that fully allows her Hispanic side to come through. Of course, the listener will automatically recognize “Cielo Azul” as the track is the same song as the earlier track “Brighter Sky” except with lyrics in Spanish.

Bird’s Eye View, the new album from Reina Mora, finds the former frontwoman stepping out on her own to create a release that is solid from the very first track. Taking many of her musical influences that she picked up as a result of performing with the various musical acts she has been a part of, Mora has created an album that is very commercial and contains songs that would fit in on several different radio formats. If you are a fan of Adult Contemporary or Hot A/C radio, Bird’s Eye View from Reina Mora is an album that you need to check out.

 

I happened to get a copy of the Bird’s Eye View album from Reina Mora before it has been released. Because of that, I have no album cover to share for the release. Heck, as of this writing, the cover hasn’t even been shot yet! The Bird’s Eye View album is still in the process of being put together. Stay tuned to Reina’s website for complete release date details.   

However, there is a single available from the upcoming Bird’s Eye View album from Reina Mora. Click HERE to check out the track “Trouble”. 

For more information, check out Reina Mora’s PR firm, WHIPLASH PR

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CD Review: The James Emmett Band “Bet Against Me”

Ever since the band The Outsiders had their first taste of celebrity status when they released the song “Time Won’t Let Me,” the last name of Geraci has meant something in the city of Cleveland as Emmett Peter “Sonny” Geraci was part of that band. And although Sonny Geraci passed away back in early February of 2017, the name is still being mentioned in association with music in Greater Cleveland. But this time, it’s the next generation of the family that is making the noise, so to speak.
Sonny Geraci’s sons Justin James and Mathew Emmett have picked up the music bug and are currently making music just like their father used to do. In fact, they have been creating their own music for years. However, it’s just recently that the two brothers have been doing so together. And together, the brothers have created their own band; a band that features their middle names to form the band’s moniker. The group is called The James Emmett Band.

To bring The James Emmett Band together, guitarist/singer Justin James Geraci and drummer/background vocalist Mathew Emmett Geraci called upon other musicians to complete the lineup. Along with the two brothers, the rest of the group consists of: Chris Heltzel on Background Vocals/Guitar, Creston Heltzel on Guitar and John Kovacic on Bass.

Just like Sonny Geraci and his various musical outfits created music were known for making music that was current with that era’s styles, so too do his sons. The band’s music features a large amount of Rock and Roll influence with other current influences thrown into the mix. The resulting feel of the band’s music would easily fit onto today’s Hot 100 radio formats as well as any Hot A/C formats. Together, the group is currently celebrating the release of a new five-song EP. The new release from The James Emmett Band is entitled Bet Against Me.

Bet Against Me from The James Emmett Band begins with the track “Back of My Hand”. On the track, the brothers seem to say that they don’t take themselves too seriously as the lyrics to this song state: “I know the back of my hand like the back of my hand”. Once the listener gets past the somewhat humorous line (or “groaner,” depending on how you look at it), the track features a slow pace to the music that initially brings to mind the style of Jack Johnson. The track then picks up a slightly orchestral feel to the music and the song feels ready-made for Top 40 radio.

The new five-song release from The James Emmett Band continues with the track “Crawl”. Just like the previous track, “Crawl” feels ready-made for commercial radio airplay. The gentle beat laid down by Mathew Emmett Geraci and John Kovacic on Bass creates an easy pace to the music and the vocals from Justin James Geraci seem very reminiscent of John Mayer on this track. The lyrics on the track come across as rather familiar; so much so that the listener may find themselves singing along before the song is halfway through. The familiar feel to the track makes “Crawl” one of the standout tracks on the Bet Against Me release.

Up next on the release is the title track. The song “Bet Against Me” is perhaps the most “current” track of the EP as the band shows off their various musical influences that are found in today’s music scene. The underlying sound of the music of the track contains a pop/rock feel. That pop/rock influence comes complete with a slight hip-hop style as singer Justin James Geraci performs a strong rap within the track as he comments about the current state of the world and where he stands within that world. This track contains a very infectious feel to the music and would instantly become a favorite among the youth who follow the band.

Much of the music contained within the Bet Against Me release from The James Emmett Band contains a relatively modern feel to the music. However, with the track of “Fall Apart,” the band’s style changes to incorporate a rather throwback style. While the track “Fall Apart” would easily fit alongside Indie Rock from today, the track contains a musical style that brings to mind the music of the eighties; moreover, the feel of the music is reminiscent of the Rock and Roll that had been played on college radio that had not been classified as New Wave.

The Bet Against Me release comes to a close with the track “Havin’ Fun”. Like the majority of the band’s release, this track incorporates a very modern feel in the music. You can feel a little U2 influence in the music. But because the song contains a large keyboard feel, there is also a strong eighties vibe as the track brings to mind several of the New Wave bands like Ultravox or Visage who were largely keyboard-based. The track contains a strong slow, steady beat that goes along with the strong keyboard presence. When added together, both elements create a track that will, once again, fit in well with modern Top 40 radio.

As sons of Rock and Roller Sonny Geraci, Justin James Geraci and Mathew Emmett Geraci have created a band that proves that they have, indeed, inherited the music gene from their father. Bet Against Me from their band The James Emmett Band is a solid effort that comes complete with five songs that show off their various musical influences. The release features plenty of tracks that are just screaming to be played on the radio. If a five-song release is this good, then a full-length is surely welcomed.   

To discover the music from The James Emmett Band, check out their song “Fall Apart“.

To check out the Bet Against Me release from The James Emmett Band, click on the album cover below: