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CD Review: Ray Flanagan and the Authorities S/T

Sometimes a person gets the bug to become a musician by following others who make music their livelihoods. Such is the case with Cleveland-based singer-songwriter Ray Flanagan. It was partially because of another Clevelander named Roger Hoover that Flanagan is the musician he is today.

While the years have passed since Ray Flanagan was learning how to create a sound that people would enjoy, Flanagan has since created an entire library of original music available on several albums. The latest album release from Flanagan was released with a band called the Authorities, a band that, aside from Ray Flanagan himself on guitar and vocals, includes: David Alan Shaw on guitar, some auxiliary instrumentation; Russell Flanagan on keys; Joe Botta – bass; and Dragon Phoenix on drums, percussion.

Together, Ray Flanagan & the Authorities spent several months in residence at a Cleveland, Ohio music venue called The Happy Dog. During that time, songs were created and then recorded, with the entire project being produced with the help of the band’s lead guitarist, David Alan Shaw. Eventually, enough songs from that residency were compiled to create a new EP. That seven-song self-titled release from Ray Flanagan & the Authorities was just celebrated at a CD Release party for the EP.

The self-titled release from Ray Flanagan & the Authorities begins with the track “Morning Light”. The track features a Folk-Rock feel to the music with a stress on the Rock side of things. The track’s Folk-Rock sound brings to mind the sound and feel of the sixties/seventies Folk-Rock band known as The Byrds. It is the jangly feel of the piano on the track along with the guitar playing that is somewhat reminiscent of Roger McGuinn that mainly brings the style of The Byrds to mind when the listener checks out the track. With its light, folky delivery, “Morning Light” feels both modern and retro at the same time.

“Morning Light’s” Folk-Rock feel is replaced with a stronger Rock and Roll approach on the next track called “Fun & Phony”. The stronger Rock and Roll approach of the track would place it right in the middle of the Rock and Roll style that was part of the decade of the eighties. The stronger guitar-driven track has a sound and style that brings to mind something from the Scottish Rock band of Big Country. In fact, the “Fun & Phony” track has a sound that will remind fans of the Scottish band of the song “King of Emotion” from the Peace in Our Time album. The overall eighties feel of the track puts the track into a “timeless” category where fans of any style of Rock and Roll will enjoy the track.

As the self-titled release from Ray Flanagan & the Authorities continues, more and more influences come out, which adds to the timeless feel of the Rock and Roll that makes up the seven-song release. “Undercover” is another case where the band creates a track that overflows with influence. The Rock and Roll style of the song takes the track into a slightly more recent musical era. The feel of the music on “Undercover” seems to draw from bands like The Gin Blossoms, The Goo Goo Dolls, and maybe even Toad the Wet Sprocket.

After several tracks of music that feature an ensemble feel to the songs, Ray Flanagan creates the track “The Year Ahead”. Unlike the previous four songs, “The Year Ahead” comes with a completely different musical approach. Where the other songs feature Flanagan and the rest of The Authorities, “The Year Ahead” is a solo piece featuring only Flanagan and his acoustic guitar. The resulting Folk feel of the song gives the song an Old Timey feel, making the song feel much older than the rest of the release. But that completely different feel of the song gives the listener another perspective on Flanagan’s writing style.

Staying in that Old Timey mindset of “The Year Ahead,” the next track of “Headed Home” is yet another solo piece on the EP that features only Flanagan and his acoustic guitar. The slow pace and gentle feel of the song brings to mind someone like James Taylor who has been known for his laidback style on many of his songs. “Headed Home” from Ray Flanagan is very reminiscent of Taylor’s style.

Ray Flanagan returns the EP to a more ensemble feel as the Authorities return on the final track of “Glue”. Along with the band, Flanagan is joined on backing vocals by yet another performer from the Cleveland Music Scene known as Emily Keener. With the rest of the band back for this song and adding Keener’s vocals to the song, “Glue” is one of the more unique tracks on the release. The song features a style that blends several different musical references together, creating a track with a definite Americana feel to it. “Glue” ends up being perhaps the most unique sounding track on the seven-song release from the band.

The self-titled release from Ray Flanagan & the Authorities comes complete with many different styles through the EP’s seven tracks. And with the fact that the seven songs included on the release were created while the ensemble was “in residence” at Cleveland’s The Happy Dog, it’s easy to see why the EP feels so different from one track to the next. But that variety helps to show off the talents of the various members of the Authorities and Ray Flanagan himself. As a first release for the band as a collective, the self-titled release from Ray Flanagan & the Authorities is a good indicator of what’s to come.    

 

To check out the music from Ray Flanagan & the Authorities, check out the song “Fun and Phony” off of the band’s self-titled release.

To check out the self-titled release from Ray Flanagan & the Authorities, click on the album cover below: 

 

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CD Review: Ale Torriggino “Blue Light”

The city of Rosario, Argentina is home to singer-songwriter Ale Torriggino. Within the town of Rosario, Torriggino and other musicians seem to be very influenced by music that would be considered oldies here in the United States. Because of that, the original music created by Ale has a definite retro feel to it. The feel of Ale Torriggino has been influenced by the likes of B.B. King, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, along with more modern artists such as John Mayer. Together, these influences shine through in the music produced by Torriggino as his music features Rock, Blues and Jazz influences.

Ale Torriggino has already released one album of music. The 2016 album from Torriggino called Sureste features songs written and performed in Spanish. The musician has just recently followed that album up with another album of music. This time, however, Torriggino has created a release performed in English. The 2017 release from Ale Torriggino is entitled Blue Light. To help bring the release to life, Torriggino’s drums and guitar were joined by bass from Marcos Benítez and keyboard from Natalia Nardiello. The album was helped along by Gonzalo Esteybar who contributed production, arrangements, additional guitar.

Blue Light from Ale Torriggino begins with the track “The Healer”. As the song begins, the listener experiences the guitar playing of Torriggino that adds a definite Blues element to the song. Along with that Blues influence, the track also features a strong acoustic approach. The acoustic/electric combination on the track gives the track a timeless musical approach. The track ultimately feels as if it had been influenced by the playing of Eric Clapton. The guitar solo on the track is proof of that.

Ale Torriggino turns up the energy level on the next track called “When the Tide begins to Turn”. The song still contains a strong Blues influence to both the music and the lyrics, but the music is a lot stronger as Torriggino chooses to incorporate the electric guitar to the music. The song’s lyrical content sounds very much like something from B.B. King while the electrified nature of the music makes the song feel more like something from Stevie Ray Vaughn.

The release continues with the song “Grey Sky Blues”. With this song, Ale Torriggino slows things down. The softer musical approach that is contained within the music of the track seems to contain a Folk flavor to it. Plus, the organ that comes courtesy of Natalia Nardiello adds a certain amount of Soul feeling to the track. The lyrics of the song contain a slightly sad feel to them adding to the concept of the grey sky.

After one track with a slower pace, Ale Torriggino picks the pace back up with the song “Catherine”. The music of the track contains elements from musicians such as Elvis Presley or Roy Orbison when they were first starting out, helping to shape the history of Rock and Roll music. The older Rock and Roll influences on the track give the song a definite Rockabilly flavor. That Rockabilly influence does a lot to set “Catherine” apart from the rest of the album.

One of the strongest tracks on the Blue Light release from Ale Torriggino is the song “Waiting for the War to Come”. The track features a strong, driving feel to the music that comes for the inclusion of an electric guitar. The track brings the listener back to the days of the late sixties as the music has a slight Neil Young feel to it. The track would have easily fit in with other anti-war tracks that existed back during the Vietnam War era.

Ale Torriggino keeps the energy level of the music up with the song “Hostage”. The Blues-Rock track brings to mind someone like the band Cream while the song also contains a slight Prog-Rock influence to it. The powerful guitar part is matched up well with a bassline that combine to form a track that has a strong groove to it. “Hostage” is one of the strongest, and shortest, tracks on the Blue Light release from Ale Torriggino.

The track “Shelter” features music that seems to combine elements from both “Let it Ride” from Bachman-Turner Overdrive and “Waiting on the World to Change” from John Mayer; although, as the song progresses, the slow pace of the music would side more with Mayer’s song than with BTO’s track. Throughout the track, the John Mayer influence is evident in both the music and the style of the lyrics. “Shelter” finds Ale Torriggino writing a song about sharing the same roof with that special someone. “Shelter” is easily one of the more commercial tracks on the Blue Light album.

The Blue Light release from Ale Torriggino comes to an end with the song “The Color Life”. The track begins with a simple man-and-his-guitar approach as Torriggino creates a track that feels very much like something from James Taylor, in both music and lyrical content. As the track proceeds, the music continues to build. Eventually, the one lonely guitar is joined by an entire symphony of strings to add an orchestral feel to the track. “The Color Life” and its orchestral feel helps to bring the album to a close in a rather laidback manner.

Blue Light from Ale Torriggino is a strong musical release. The many different musical elements used by Torriggino to create his music ultimately combine to form an album that feels retro in some places and rather modern in others. The ten tracks of music make for an album that will appeal to a lot of music lovers at the same time.

 

To hear some of the music from Ale Torriggino, check out the song “Hostage“.

For more information, check out Ale Torriggino’s record label, River Flow Records.

To purchase a copy of Blue Light from Ale Torriggino, click on the album cover below:

Blue Light

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Jesse Terry “Empty Seat on a Plane”

Take a little bit of Jackson Browne, James Taylor and Paul Simon and you get some idea of what singer-songwriter Jesse Terry sounds like. The folk/pop music that Jesse Terry creates feels right at home when played alongside the music of any of the aforementioned musicians. After garnering some well-deserved attention for his music including winning the Grand Prize for the John Lennon Songwriting Contest, Jesse Terry has taken more of his music and created his newest album entitled Empty Seat on a Plane.

In order to bring his music to life, Jesse Terry assembled a band that includes the multi-talented Neilson Hubbard, guitarist Kris Donegan, Pianist Danny Mitchell, drummer Evan Hutchings, singer Hannah Miller who added harmonies to the songs on the album, and Eamon McLoughlin and David Henry who added strings. Together with Jim DeMain who mastered the album, the aforementioned musicians helped Empty Seat on a Plane by Jesse Terry to be a solid listening experience.