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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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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Jerry Maniscalco “Bold Enough To Try”

Jerry Maniscalco is a singer-songwriter who lives in Jacksonville, Florida. His musical background comes from his time in musical theater in high school and then, later on, in the military where he a member of the United States Naval Academy Men’s Glee Club from 2003-2007. He also was a founding member of the group The Anchormen that came out of that larger outfit.   

After his time in the military, Jerry Maniscalaco would go on to pursue his musical dreams with the help of the organization known as Operation: Encore, an organization that helps former military personnel realize their full potential through training. Operation: Encore then helps those individuals (such as Maniscalco) with opportunities and networking to truly begin living their dreams as real musicians.

As a live performer, Jerry Maniscalaco covers a wide array of artists in the cover songs that he plays. Among the artists he plays are: Led Zeppelin, Matchbox 20, Dave Matthews, John Mayer, Oasis, Tom Petty, John Prine , Ed Sheeran, just to name a few. With this kind of musical blend, it should come as no surprise that Maniscalco’s music contains a lot of variety in the styles that are incorporated within it.

Through his time as a musician, Jerry Maniscalaco has created two releases. They include 2011’s Take What’s Left and Make it Right, 2014’s One (a four-song EP) and the newest four-song release from Maniscalaco called Bold Enough to Try.

2018’s Bold Enough to Try from Jerry Maniscalco begins with the singer-songwriter revisiting an older tune. The track “Gypsy Blood” came off of the artist’s 2011 release of Take What’s Left and Make it Right. With that album, Maniscalco created an entire album of acoustic tracks which included “Gypsy Blood”. So when the new release of Bold Enough to Try came around, it was the perfect opportunity to give the song the treatment it deserved. The new version of the track features a strong Rock and Roll feel to the track. The track finds Maniscalco creating a track that would easily have fit on any 1980s Rock and Roll station. This gives the new release from Maniscalco a strong track to begin the EP.

The newest release from Jerry Maniscalco continues with the track “Riverside”. This track features a Pop-Rock feel to the music as Maniscalco slows things down and lightens the mood. What results is a track that features a style very reminiscent of songs created by John Mayer. In fact, the vocals from Maniscalco on this track also seem to suggest Mayer. The doubling of Maniscalco’s vocals during the refrain of the song even suggests Mayer’s style. The Pop-Rock track contains a timeless feel to the music as it would have been right at home on Top 40 radio during the thirty-five to forty years.

Jerry Maniscalco has the perfect voice for doing Pop-Rock music as it has a rather commercial feel to it. And while his vocals on the previous track suggested Phil Collins, you can almost imagine Bruce Hornsby on the next track of “Don’t Kill the Messenger”.  While the previous track found  Maniscalco bringing the intensity of his music down quite a bit, this track brings the energy level back up if only just a bit. “Don’t Kill the Messenger” may very well be the most commercial track on the Bold Enough to Try release.

The final two tracks off of the Bold Enough to Try release are “Wake Up” and “We Are”. For those familiar with Operation: Encore, you should recognize those song titles. These two tracks were featured on the organization’s first release called Operation Encore: A Veteran Music Project. For this five-song EP, the tracks appear in their original recordings having just been remastered for the EP.

“Wake Up” is a track that features an Acoustic Rock feel to the music. While this is an original song, the track feels very much like something from the Live Stages era from the band Vertical Horizon. You can almost imagine this track playing alongside such Vertical Horizon’s songs such as “It’s Only Me” or “On the Sea”. “Wake Up” from Jerry Maniscalco has the same style and would be the perfect companion to the collection from a fan of Vertical Horizon.

Maniscalco once again takes some inspiration from Vertical Horizon on the music of the track “We Are”. Very much like “Wake Up,” the track features a laidback feel to the music. The track’s lyrics describe people going through their lives doing the same thing every day. As you listen, you can almost imagine yourself playing out one of the scenarios mentioned in the song. The song is so relatable, in fact that the organization Maniscalco belongs to, Operation: Encore has started using it as its theme song of sorts.

The Bold Enough to Try release from Jerry Maniscalco is short but sweet. And while the EP contains only five tracks, all five songs are strong.    

 

For a taste of the music from Jerry Maniscalco, check out the song “We Are,” which is also the theme song for Operation Encore.

To check out the music of Jerry Maniscalco, click on the album cover below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more reading about Operation Encore, check out the review for the first album, the second release of Monuments,the first review for Rachel Harvey Hill, the review for Andrew Wiscombe, the review of Steve D. Wilson, the review for The Real Doug Lane, the review for Stephen Covell, and the review for Unknown Rider by clicking on the links that are highlighted.  

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Reviews and Suggestions

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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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Vintage Blue “No Going Back”

VBOne of the best unsigned bands in the country at the moment is Chicago’s Vintage Blue. Vintage Blue consists of: Ryan Tibbs guitarist, vocalist; Benjamin Bassett guitarist, vocalist; Brent Shumard percussionist, wind; Cesar Corral bassist; Matt Zimmerman backup vocalist, brass, keyboardist and Will Crowden drummer. Back in 2012, the band put out their first CD, a 13-track called Strike the Mics. With that release, the public got a good indication of what the band sounded like as the band’s sound would have attracted fans of both Vertical Horizon and Sister Hazel.

Now Vintage Blue is back with a new 6-song EP called No Going Back. While the last release featured that Vertical Horizon/Sister Hazel sound, the new release finds Vintage Blue going after a pop-rock sound that is much more unique to the band.

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Artists and Bands

A Year in Review – RRR Staff Weigh In On Their Top Picks of ‘09 – Part 2

grammyIt’s finally here! The second half of our “A Year in Review” extravaganza is ready for you to peruse and, hopefully, enjoy. We’re serving up more great albums and fabulous artists and I finally get in on the action by counting down the best songs of the year (with some slight cheating.) For those of you who missed Part 1 (shame on you) I’d just like to repeat: Thank you for making RRR a regular part of your musical intake. (Please don’t leave us in 2010, we love you!)

In Part 2 you’ll find:
Top 10 Songs of ’09 – Barbara Pavone
Top 10 UK Acts of ’09 – Intense Nick
Top 17 Albums & Top 5 Reissues of ’09 – Scott Homewood

Top 5 Albums & Top Reissue of ’09 – Gérard Girard
Top 10 Albums of the Decade – Matheson Kamin