Archive for the ‘music’ Category

utrechtlrcernieMusic is an instrumental part of my life and it has been for many, many years. I often connect to bands and musicians that the masses haven’t (yet) heard of. This is more of a subconscious thing because my philosophy is that whether a song is famous or not has nothing to do with it being a good or a bad song. In fact, I don’t really believe in the monikers good and bad when it comes to songs. I know, I know, when you get down to techniques or progressions or blatant copying of others you could apply those tags to music, but to me, that’s not really the important part of it. Music is emotion, music is connecting with others and if a song strikes a chord with you, to you that will be a really good song. And that’s how it’s supposed to work. Everyone will have a different opinion about music because it is extremely personal.


And when it comes to live music, it doesn’t get much more personal than a livingroom concert (or a similar intimate setting) because it most often literally means singer versus a couple dozen people in the audience. The songs are really going to be going straight from the musician’s mouth to the listener’s ear. It may sound very confrontational but in reality, it really doesn’t feel like that. Because it’s in a homely and informal setting with interested people who are trying to connect, it almost always provides a comfortable feeling.


Tonight I attended a livingroom show at Utrecht LRCs, which is run by two wonderful people (Emile & Antonia). They have a cozy, homely space they specifically use to hold small, intimate shows with artists that aren’t quite the big ticket names yet but have a solid following. They hosted shows with the likes of Bushwalla, Jason Mraz, Jay Nash and Ryan Dilmore, among others. I hadn’t really heard of Utrecht LRCs before, even though there seems to be a solid overlap between the musicians they host and the ones I cover here at Inner Ear Media. So this meeting was certainly overdue.


Tonight it was the chance for Ernie Halter, an artist Inner Ear Media has covered for quite some years, to show what he is made of. I was very excited to finally meet him and hear his tunes played live. I walked in a little early and was immediately welcomed by Emile and Antonia and Ernie was already setting up his ‘stage’. Before I knew it, he approached me to say hi and chat for a while. This immediately set the tone for what would charaterize the whole evening: a really good time!


Ernie Halter played for about 90 minutes, taking requests, mashing up a couple of his own songs with covers and if he didn’t remember how a song went, he’d just look it up and before you knew it, he was playing the song anyway. He played songs from most of his records and much more than at a normal show, a livingroom show allows the artist to tell the stories behind the songs and it gives you a little insight in how songs come to fruition, what the life of an independent musician looks like and how songs and music in general have that special superpower of connecting with others. As Ernie said it himself:”each song is like a little adventure and you never know where it’s going to take you.”


After a short break, he played for another hour or so and played many more requests on both guitar and keyboard and spared no effort to make the night a special experience for all that were there. He didn’t just play songs, he entertained. He listened to the people around and really interacted. Those of you who know Ernie or have been lucky enough to attend his shows will most likely confirm this, but the dude is just a really great guy and on top of that he writes and sings excellent songs that you can really connect to.


So if you ever have the chance to see Ernie Halter live, I would urge you not to hesitate and just go. It really is worth your time and money. And if you are ever in or near Utrecht in the Netherlands and Utrecht LRCs is hosting a show, you should also take my advice and go visit them. First of all, you are going to have a splendid time because their setup is perfect for these kind of small shows and the hosts are incredibly nice, second, they have an excellent taste in music. Third, and I hope this won’t keep you away, I might get to say hi to you, because while this was my first Utrecht LRC experience I have a feeling it will not be my last.

Emile and Antonia also made photos, videos and recordings, so check their website to see when it becomes available!

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davidpoegodanthegirlGod & The Girl

David Poe

July 3, 2014

Think Indie / Charming Martyr (BMI)



Poe is a name that is undeniably associated with the surroundings of nineteenth century American literature. Edgar Allan Poe’s dark romanticism with themes of macabre, death and mystery always attempts to focus onto having a certain effect on the beholder. This also holds true for the modern Poe we are discussing today.


David Poe is an accomplished artist with roots in midwest of the United States. He has written and composed a multitude of songs and musical arrangements. Through the years he released three previous studio albums himself and contributed to the work of other established acts such as Duncan Sheik, Daryll Hall, Grace Potter, Thomas Dybdahl, Curtis Stigers and Oh Land. He also contributes his art to television, Broadway plays and modern dance. He does all this with a great deal of success with no obvious need to take the limelight.


Poe seems content to reach an audience of true supporters without necessarily seeking out the masses. With this approach, Poe manages to create the art he loves and believes in and this comes across magnificently. On his self-titled debut he serves up roughly hewn gems like Blue Glass Fall and Apartment. On his sophomore attempt “The Late Album” the singer/songwriter (though this term should be loosely applied to Poe, as his music reaches beyond the boundaries of this vaguely defined label) comes off more polished with the restrained Drifter which, in another era, would’ve become a pop classic, the artsy The Late Song (Je Ne Suis Pas Mort) and the literary, gritty testimony to a changing entertainment world in Deathwatch For A Living Legend.


Poe’s growth continues as he releases his next album, “Love is Red”. This is basically an in-studio live album. The beauty of this album is that it doesn’t rely on individual songs. It presents as a whole, with a vibe that is both solemn and vibrant, courtesy of the old bunker in Berlin in which it was recorded. If there’s one song I’d have to pick to symbolize this it’d be Wilderness.


The artist David Poe, who experimented with pop, rock, electronic, jazz and other influences fused things together in a way that displayed his personal convictions (I would refer you to the criticism of political and military actions in Gun For A Mouth, which Poe debuted live in 2003) and an artistic believability towards himself and his listeners. But since the release of “Love is Red” in 2005, Poe turned his attention to other projects and expanded into other media. He contributed to Broadway projects (Whisper House), motion pictures (Harvest, Shadowland) and scored two dance productions (The Copier, Shadowland) as well as produced records for established names in popular music (Regina Spector, Jenifer Jackson & The Brendan Hines). A studio album of his own, however, didn’t materialize until just recently.


David Poe returns with “God & The Girl” which instantly delivers on the promise left by his earlier work. The untamed and brazen yet wildly talented musician has transformed into a more experienced, balanced artist who learned to focus his talent into music that delivers in message, meaning and emotion. On this new album, Poe manages to connect to the listener with the simplicity of essentials. It instantly starts with the sweet Honey Moon where Poe’s soft and intimate vocals speak directly to everyone who’s ever felt romantic love. The penultimate verse perfectly delivers the message of that emotion.


Poe doesn’t strike gold with every song on the album but he manages to draw you in regardless. Lonely Like Me has a certain vintage feel to it with the plucking of the strings and the twangy arrangement. Let There Be No Longing sends a simple but powerful message and lyrically, to me, the strength lies in the final line: “Long for vengeance/long for mercy/not the memory of what could not be.”


Tafetta serves as a little break as it doesn’t rely on a gentle, melodic line but a more rhythmic and offbeat arrangement that glimpses back to some of Poe’s older work and could also draw a comparison to some of the work of his friend and contemporary, Duncan Sheik. Following with Wild One, Poe instantly hits his sweet spot. To me, this song connects the familiar sound I remember from the debut and “The Late Album” with the more mature songwriting this new album provides us with. The slight haunting undertone contrasted by that jangly guitar, topped off by slightly philosophical lyrics like “strangers become friends/it changes, breaks and bends/can we make amends/or is this the end?” is a package that ultimately represents why David Poe belongs to the highest standard of modern songwriters.


On When I Fly, Poe reaches back to the familiar sound from his earlier work. Maybe a little more than I had hoped because it sounds like could’ve come straight off The Late Album. And just when I thought the remainder of the album was going to drift off into a musical arrangement trip down memory lane, Poe shows his growth and added experience instantaneously. World Above doesn’t sound like anything he’s released before. Absolute restraint emphasizes the wondering and solemnity that fills the song that covers big questions of belief and existence. Here’s where Poe shows he doesn’t just make music but that his words and arrangements have meaning and substance.


Remember tells the story of heartbreak but at the same time it serves as a metaphor of how hard it is to let things go and how much it hurts to lose something or someone that once consumed such an important part of your life. Poe delivers this with vigor and a hidden urgency that emphasizes the message of the lyrics tenfold. Poe continues with the same theme in Thank You, though the tone is more spiteful and the rhythm has a latin-inspired touch to it that reminds me of creative twists by Santana or Calexico. Sometimes songs overpower you or grab you by the throat in the first second. That didn’t happen for me, but from the first time I listened to this song I was instantly intrigued. And I still am.


Remember the early 70s? When country & western, folk and rock & roll were all still alive in all its glory. That’s what The Devil reminds me of. The lyrics are relatively simple and straightforward. The melody is subtle and the whole thing is topped off with that typical timbre that makes the folk songs of that time sound so iconic. The album ends with a cloudy song titled These Are The Days that once again bridges Poe’s older sound with the more experienced person and artist he has become through the years. And he ends the album in style by sending us a message that we all journey through this life searching for the way that befits us: “Raise a glass to the past and to the soldiers/and faded friends and happy ends and to the old/may we all live as long as we like/may we all be as strong as the wine.”


“The God & The Girl” bridges a gap of almost 10 years. It is instantly familiar to those who were drawn in by David Poe’s older work but also stands as a strong testament to the experiences and growth Poe endured in these times. There’s a certain balance and, dare I say, quiescence to this album that ties things together. There’s no Blue Glass Fall or The Drifter on this album that has that direct pop sensibility though I could definitely hear songs like Honey Moon, When I Fly and The Devil on the radio and maybe even Thank You could even be a dark horse in that department.


Fans of the artistic singer/songwriter genre will heartily embrace this new album, while many other people who will likely never even hear of this release. This is a shame and I hope music aficionados and radio professionals alike are going to pick up on this album because it shows the artistry and uniqueness of a worthy singer/songwriter. It is likely the most crowded genre in all of music because anyone with a guitar or piano is pigeonholed in this incredibly vague section of popular music. Therefore many talented people are getting snowed under by the sheer mass of releases in this so-called genre. David Poe shouldn’t be restricted to this genre or many others should not be shoved into this corner of popular music because it takes away from the uniqueness and meaningfulness of this artist and his music.

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daysliketheseDays Like These
John Taglieri

August 19, 2014
LeapDog Music


iTunes | Amazon | Spotify
Connect: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Reverbnation


John Taglieri has been releasing records for years. And whether it’s been under his own name, under the TAG moniker or as a collaboration with others, one thing has always stood strong: an honest and energetic delivery. If your looking for constant perfection or slickly filed songs through production, bells, whistles and other adornments, you’re barking up the wrong tree. John Taglieri’s music is a little raw, a little rough ’round the edges even, but for a large part that’s where its strength is situated. The passion, the energy and the honest delivery of every single word and every single note sends out a message to take life head on and make the best of it. John sings of ups and downs, of the journey we all experience in life. And when you listen to his songs, you don’t just believe it, you are reminded of those experiences. That’s why you connect and isn’t that what music and art are all about. That personal connection that makes you feel something or inspires you. If anything, that’s what John has always been able to accomplish through his music.


Summer of 2014 is here and so is John’s new release Days Like These. It’s an extended play containing six new songs. John’s previous release, Southern Paradise, touched the country-rock / roots-rock side of things a little more than we were used to but with Days Like These the energetic and passionate contemporary rock anthems are in full swing again. If you enjoy popular contemporary pop/rock such as Lifehouse, Goo Goo Dolls, Nine Days, Sister Hazel, Better Than Ezra with a slight classic vibe such as Bon Jovi, R.E.M. and Bryan Adams, you’ll be ecstatic with this new release. From the upbeat title track that opens the EP to the intriguing closer ‘Toasting The Man In The Moon’, Taglieri manages to capture and hold your attention. You go from pure fun to more reflective thoughts and from admiration to inspiration in just over 20 minutes time. If you can sit through this record without any of your body parts (in)voluntarily moving, you must be a robot.


John Taglieri is an acquired taste because while you can compare him musically to the previously mentioned bands and artists, his music doesn’t get carried away by a big production or by crystal clear vocals. Because that’s not what it’s about. Instead it is filled with life and character. For some of you, this might not be the right cup of tea, but for those of you who can look past it and make that connection, this record is going to be a special one. It’s real music and real emotion and all the ornaments are stripped away. Big radio and mainstream charts may like Christmas trees but there’s also beauty in a fir tree that weathers wind and rain and still is full of life. It may be a weird analogy but it’s the best way to describe what I’m trying to explain. Days Like These is filled with life experiences, with blood, sweat and tears and it gives an extra dimension to the songs that will allow you to make a strong connection if you are open to it.


The EP opens with the title track ‘Days Like These’. It’s probably the most radio friendly tune on the EP as it’s upbeat and allows for singing along quite well. It will come as no surprise that John chose this song as the lead single. The song came to fruition shortly after John heard that he was going to be a father. Maybe that’s why the energy and emotion fuel this song from start to finish. Parts of the song, primarily the chorus, sound reminiscent of Lifehouse’s ‘First Time’, which was a pretty big hit on the radio. So who knows, Taglieri could have radio success ahead of him here.


’Here For The Taking’ follows next. The powerful delivery and rich arrangement bear tribute to 90s artists like Bryan Adams. Taglieri, however, has the ability to use songs as a suit. In the end, songs are always going to sound like John Taglieri songs. The reason for that: from the first note to the last, he gives 100% and you really do hear that.


I was hoping that ‘Beautiful Tonight’ was going to be a little slower with maybe a subtle strings arrangement. However, it’s a sparky, mid-tempo, powerpop song. It’s one of those tracks you may not notice the first time through, but when you get to know the record you start wondering why you didn’t hear this the first time. “Stepping out from the shadows, coming back into the light” is a line that really spoke to me. It reminds me of something from my past. And this is representative for what John Taglieri does with most of his songs. All of a sudden you start to realize he’s speaking to you. Because his songs hold meaning and we are all looking for meaning in our lives.


‘Thin Air’ is one of the standout songs on this album. This song is carried by the arrangement and topped off by John’s vocals that soar high like an eagle. Who doesn’t recognize those moments between hope and despair?


John’s vocals match up with keys beautifully as is proven by ‘Finish Line’. There are many subtle changes in the arrangement that keep the song interesting throughout the whole thing. Also, Taglieri hints to his early release Leap of Faith and weaves it together with other lyrical references. I could imagine a live version with strings accompanying. One of my personal favorites.


The EP finishes strongs with an intriguing song. ‘Toasting The Man In The Moon’ doesn’t just have an awesome song title, it also is a song with a lot of drive and something of a classic John Taglieri sound. In both arrangement and vocals you can hear a superb balance between intensity and restraint. And above all, this is going to make a killer live song.


Days Like These is exactly what you’d hope for and expect from John Taglieri. It’s intense, full of character and doesn’t come with any false pretenses. It is what it is and it holds its own. To recount the previously used analogy: Days Like These is that beautiful, experienced fir tree that, despite and because of all its endurances, is still full of life, ready for whatever is coming next. Proud, strong and energetic, just like its creator.

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John Taglieri – Southern Paradise
John Taglieri Southern Paradise CoverIt was only last year when we last heard from John Taglieri. He released the Lucky #9 EP containing upbeat rock songs. After touring the east coast and spending a lot of time in Florida entertaining the masses he now releases his next effort called “Southern Paradise”. The disc contains 6 songs that have that typical Taglieri signature though they steer away from his previous work slightly.

The EP opens with a positive attitude. The ‘nananana nananana hey hey hey’ jumps in right away on the title track. Southern Paradise is a testament to living with intent as the man himself would say. Where Taglieri was always known for his upbeat mix of powerpop and rock, or at least songs with a little bit of an edge, this song is smoother and more contemporary and the vocals provide most of the edge. With its tempo and summer holiday feel Southern Paradise is a perfect feel good song.

Then we hear When I Think About, which has a bit of a rootsy spice woven through its fabric. The rhythm in the verses builds up to the chorus perfectly and the chorus is pure gold. If only a couple of radio DJs would get their hands on this, it could take off quickly. The lyrics paint a picture of the good life, taking in all it has to offer and who doesn’t like that picture? And listen to the guitar solo roughly two thirds through the song!

On Down The Road Taglieri takes down the pace a little bit. This midtempo song has a very laidback feel and would probably appeal to fans of early Nine Days, Better Than Ezra and Matchbox Twenty. It wasn’t the song that stood out to me immediately but after a few listens I noticed the guitar work and the arrangement held a lot more to it than I noticed early on. Down The Road is a grower.

It’s You is another song where the pace is down a little bit. The lyrics are hommage to love, whether it is for a lover, a friend, a higher power or a family member. To me, it personifies the feeling that someone can mean the world to you and whatever happens or wherever you go, you will always be able to hold on to that anchor. And lets be honest, aren’t we all suckers for a good love song?

Days of Night is a perfect example of John Taglieri’s songwriting style. Listen to the song and how it builds up and finds power in the exact right moments. The honesty and emotion just spring out of it. There are few artists as convincing as John Taglieri is in that department. The song is rootsier than we’re used from Taglieri, but the song doesn’t lose any of its power because of it.

The EP ends with Turn Around which is a bit of a departure in style. It really has a sort of americana taste to it. Toned down, with an acoustic basis and a campfire song feel to it, Turn Around fits as a closer for this record. Slowly, Taglieri builds up the song to a more intense chorus that tones down as it leads towards the next verse. It has the right mix of introspect and energy and leaves the listener satisfied.

“Southern Paradise” is an interesting new record by John Taglieri. The departure towards a more rootsy style doesn’t stand in the way of Taglieri’s passion and energy and therefore it will appeal to his fans immediately. It might also opens up his catalogue for new fans who haven’t yet heard of his infectious songs. Because the songs come off a little smoother and less edgy than before, radio stations might be quicker to pick up on them and who knows what that could lead to. When I Think About and Days of Night would make excellent radio singles and I wouldn’t be surprised to hear one of these songs in a movie one day. John Taglieri keeps doing what he’s best at, writing infectious songs with strong choruses and a real joie de vivre.

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Keith LuBrant – Who I Am
January, 2013
Who-I-Am-Album CoverIt’s been awhile since we last heard from Keith LuBrant. His previous release was Searching For Signal in January of 2007. We praised LuBrant for his ability to combine relatable lyrics with catchy hooks. The blend of powerpop and rock & roll is filled with pop sensibility and classic influences.

Now, six years later, he returns with a new album called Who I Am. And he probably couldn’t have picked a better title as the music on this release reflects who Keith LuBrant is as a musician and an artist.

The album kicks off with a lot of energy. “Wide Awake and Alive” is a pure rock & roll song, driven by the force of guitars and urgent vocals. But underneath the quick pace and bundled energy there’s actually an interesting arrangement that brings melody and skill to the table. It’s sixties rock & roll in a modern jacket. A perfect blend of recognizability, originality and fun.

The album carries on in a nice fashion with “She Always Finds A Way”, which is a powerpop song that’s typical for LuBrant’s style and ability. Successful independent artists like John Taglieri, JJ Appleton and John Hampson have proven there is an audience for this type of music, and rightfully so. It’s pure and honest, it doesn’t rely on fancy decorations or computerized polishing. LuBrant is true to who he is and he’s not afraid to put it out there. The guitar is the groundwork and the vocals that change intensity to build up a climax work like a charm.

There are several songs on the album that don’t necessarily stand out but are an example of the overall quality of the album. And it makes sense, because on an album that has only stand out songs, there are no stand out songs, because there’s nothing that sets the songs apart from the others. “Call of the Search” provides an uptempo sing-along song while “Breathe” takes the pace down a little bit and enables LuBrant’s rootsy side to shine through a little bit.

Deserving a mention is “I Know It’s Over (You Win)” which has a very laid back arrangement and has an almost bluesy undertone. The interaction between the instrumentals and the vocals are in perfect harmony and change the scenery of the song between the verses and the choruses. You can hear some 60s/70s British Influence underneath, but at the same time it has the bluesy/rootsy feel of the late 70s and the melodic pop vibe of the early 90s. The creative use of the arrangement shows off Keith LuBrant’s versatility and musical skill. The vocals emphasize the lyrics and the excellent guitar playing make this song one of the absolute standouts on Who I Am.

“Good For The Girl” is pretty straight-forward but the forward motion in this song makes it stick with you. It might not be the strongest song on the album, but it’s effective nonetheless. The rhythm, the tempo and the recognizability of the tune make it one of those songs that you cannot get out of your head for awhile.

Next up is the title track. The quirky, poppy song is very refreshing and would probably do quite well on independent and college radio stations. The chorus is pure gold. I’m almost expecting a little background clap-along, sing-along scenery. It shows, once again, that LuBrant has a real talent to create honest rock & roll songs with good hooks and pop sensibility.

“Stranger in my Skin” and “Some Things Never Change” feature raw, heartland rock songs. Heartfelt and honestly portrayed. “Sunshine in the South” takes down the pace a little bit. The midtempo anthem feels like a personal, more emotional journey. The addition of keys and emphasis on the melodic lines brings out another side of Keith LuBrant. On “Come Home”, LuBrant bares his soul even more. The acoustic song is stripped of everything except the bare essentials of acoustic guitar and emotional vocals. For just over 1m30, LuBrant speaks straight from the heart. The album also features a bonus track called “Saturation Station” on which LuBrant shows his skills as a guitarist, which I guarantee you is a treat!

Who I Am is a testament to the musician that is Keith LuBrant. Seemingly effortless he blends classic rock, powerpop and other influences together into songs that are well written, performed with honesty and have the ability to resonate with people who prefer different genres and influences. It may have taken six years since Searching For Signal, but Who I Am was well worth the wait. Nothing is overdone, nothing is underdone, it’s all right there. Keith LuBrant doesn’t hide behind fancy productions or other bells and whistles. In the days where the charts are filled with almost artificial music, where young bands try to go out of their way to show they are different or creative and come up with the strangest things, it is refreshing to hear music that is honest and doesn’t try to be what it isn’t. On Who I Am, Keith LuBrant presents just that. Honest, straight-forward, high quality rock & roll music of today!




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Lifehouse – Almeria
(Geffen/Interscope – December 11, 2012)

In the early 2000’s, Lifehouse burst into the international music scene with “No Name Face” and hit single “Hanging by a Moment” in particular. Over the years they added on to their success with four more albums and the singles that went with them. Particularly “You and Me”, “Broken”, “First Time” and “From Where You Are” established their name, particularly in the US, but with the release of the latest albums (“Who We Are” and “Smoke & Mirrors”) they found themselves back in the picture in Europe and Asia as well.

While the band has steadily moved away from the imagery and meaningful lyrics combined with accessible and melodic rock towards a more pop-oriented, radio-friendly style of music, the songs have always managed to capture the hearts of fans. And while more criticism started to surface after the release of “Smoke & Mirrors”, the general feeling among fans and listeners was still that there was a ‘Lifehouse sound’.

With the release of this new album, called “Almeria”, the band continues the road of more generic, radio-friendly pop songs. For a band that was once praised for the imaginative and inspirational messages and lyrics in their music, they let that slip as well. Most of the songs on the album were at least co-written by others, some of the songs even primarily written by others. The first songs released off “Almeria”, lead single “Between The Raindrops” and “Nobody Listen” are decent songs in itself but do not show any imagination or creativity. The former is a collaboration with Aussie superstar Natasha Bedingfield, and while the vocal match between her and lead singer Jason Wade is likeable, the song itself seems to suffer from being ‘just not it’. It was released as a lead single and has a certain catchiness to it, but not the kind of catchiness required to become a massive radio hit. There’s no signature in the song, it’s just a nice song, nothing more than that, nothing special. “Nobody Listen” is even worse, as the song is deprived of all emotion and comes across as bland, boring even.

When we take a listen to the rest of the album, we find that choruses are scarce and lyrics are often very predictable. It won’t take the fans very long to memorize these lyrics as they won’t really be challenged. The poor production of “Almeria”, combined with the overuse of autotune on selected songs and distracting ‘bells & whistles’ make this album sound forced and not very believable. The attempt to insert a little country twang into the mix, which fits with the album title and general theme of the album can’t mask the poor songwriting and repetitiveness of the songs on this album. “Moveonday” has a nice groove to it, but the song never lifts itself out of the ‘average category’.  Lead off track “Gotta Be Tonight” has energy, which makes it one of the more entertaining songs on the album, but lyrically there’s hardly any content and once again, the song carries on the same way all through the song.

The fans of Lifehouse may find “Right Back Home”, which was co-written by Peter Frampton and also features him on guitar and sir Charles Jones as a guest vocalist, a refreshing sound. The rootsy yet classic vibe on the song gives it more body, musically. And also lyrically there is a little more to it. For the first time on this album, you get the feeling there’s a story behind the song. And while the next two songs, “Barricade” and “Aftermath” are also quite predictable, they feature a little more lyrical content and “Aftermath” in particular provides a glimpse of Lifehouse as we’ve become used to over the years. Not on the same level, but it does give one a taste of their signature sound.

So, when we sum up Lifehouse’s new album, we can only say it is disappointing. It might have some commercial success because some of the songs are quite catchy, but because the songs are so predictable and repetitive, they aren’t memorable, so real succes may be a stretch. This may cause Lifehouse to take a long, hard look at themselves and reconsider their artistic path into the future, because they seem to have lost their way, artistically.

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Lisa Redford – Reminders
May 28th, 2012 (Parrot Records)
Her latest release, “Clouds of Silver”, was filled with strong songs that were easy to connect to. With unique vocals that fill in a song with warmth, believability and a personal touch, she was able to connect to many people with her songs.

She’s back now with the release of a new EP called “Reminders”. It contains four songs that have that familiar Lisa Redford-feel with the rootsy, folky undertones that reflect the blend of influences from Britain and the US alike.

The opening track Reminders has well-written lyrics that are reflective in nature and the arrangement is in the same league as some of the R.E.M. classics. The arrangement assists the lyrics in telling the story by setting the mood and accentuating those parts of the story that bring out the quality of the song.

Summer on the L is a more lively track that seems to have some ‘westcoast’-influences (Fleetwood Mac for example?). The verses are solid and the melodic chorus gets in your head. This song would fit great in a commercial or TV show as it has a certain flavor to it.

Up next is the crown jewel on this new EP. Dreaming In Crowds is a real singer/songwriter song. It has depth, both in lyrics and arrangement and tells a heartfelt story in which everyone will recognize something. The way the verses turnover into the chorus are executed perfectly and Lisa Redford really personifies with the song. Sometimes she lets go but for the most part she holds back slightly to let the emotion build up in the song so that it has double the effect. One of those songs!

The EP’s final track is called So Many Words. It starts of a little slow but starts to pick up in pace and intensity as it continues. Vocally it’s not the strongest track on the release, but it’s filled with so much feeling that you will look past that.

“Reminders” is an EP with personal songs that can really speak to you. The lyrics are relatable and the arrangements are clever and never get in the way of the story or the message. They actually enrich the songs and make them better as a whole. In conclusion we can say that Lisa Redford presents us with another very good release that showcases her talent as a very special singer/songwriter with a very own and unique sound. The crossover between her British heritage and her American influences helps to accentuate her uniqueness in her vocals and songwriting. To make a long story short, “Reminders” is a very fine new release by Lisa Redford

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Lisa Redford – Reminders
(Parrot Records, May 28, 2012)

There are singers with great vocals, there are singers with unique vocals and there are singers with special vocals. Once in a while you come across a singer who combines those qualities. That’s when you know you are listening to something special.

Lisa Redford certainly is something special. Having released a number of excellent albums in previous years it is time for a new EP called “Reminders”. The heartfelt lyrics are brought to life by Lisa’s warm vocals and her crafty songwriting. One of her trademarks is that the songs have a certain familiarity to it.
On “Reminders” she addresses the dreams, hopes, challenges and struggles that we all can relate to in one way or another. Recorded in NYC and produced by Jeff Hill.

After three strong full-length releases that got very positive reviews all over the board, this new EP is the next chapter in Lisa Redford’s musical journey. Watch the video below for a little teaser and be sure to keep an eye on Lisa’s website and Inner Ear Media for more news about the release and more!

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John Taglieri – Lucky #9
(April 17, 2012 – Leap Dog Music)

Everyone probably knows the feeling that music can be so familiar, so safe, that it almost feels like a home to you. A place you can hide in or that can take you away from the world. I’m sure everyone has at least one artist or band, or at least an album or a song that has that effect on them. For me that is true with John Taglieri’s music.

Because of all the honest passion and endless energy John weaves in his songs it always gets me going again. After I listen to his songs I have the energy to get on my feet and do all those things that I’ve been putting off. And I feel like there is nothing I cannot do. To quote the legendary Yoda: “Do or do not. There is no try!” This music is my Yoda.

On Lucky #9 Taglieri spins tales of love and frustration, anger and commitment. He takes you on a rollercoaster ride of emotions and issues that range from anger in the edgy rocker ‘Losing Me‘ to betrayal in the cleverly composed ‘Never Knew‘ to absolute commitment in ‘Without You‘ which starts out acoustic and evolves into an powerful pop anthem testament to love.

On ‘Dying Alive‘ John Taglieri pulls out all the stops to describe how much love can mean and how much it can hurt if you feel like it’s slipping away. Listen to the powerful emotion in the bridge. That is classic John Taglieri who can wear a song like other people wear clothes. The EP continues with an uptempo semi-acoustic song called ‘Make Me Believe‘ which is somewhere in the middle of what Sister Hazel, Gin Blossoms and Nine Days used to send into the world, yet Taglieri still manages to make it sound like John Taglieri in the first place. And since we all need someone to make us believe in love, this song is for everyone. When we near the end of this EP we hear an intro that is reminiscent of Tracy Chapman’s self-titled album. The uplifting melody combined with the message of taking action after realizing you don’t have to put your life on halt for someone else is inspiring.

John Taglieri is an honest musician who writes songs that everyone can relate to. The music isn’t pretentious, instead it is full of passion, energy and honesty. The songs on Lucky #9, at times are a little rough around the edges and the EP doesn’t have a fancy production, but that’s exactly what these songs need. Taglieri is a pure artist that writes pure and honest songs and we need them to sound that way too. Which is exactly what we got. Lucky #9 is yet another admirable release by an independent musician who knows what he does best. And trust me, when he visits a town nearby you, don’t hesitate, go to his show. It’s a ton of fun and you get to hear these songs really come to life.

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ImageBrian Jarvis Band – Beautifully Broken
February 2012 – Soundwave

Over the years I heard a lot of music and for some reason a big portion of the music seems to consist of New England-based singer/songwriters. Brian Jarvis is another one of those singer/songwriters.

Some time ago we wrote a little post about his single On & On, which is also included on this album. Back then we came to the conclusion that Jarvis has the ability to make his songs sound very accessible and very pleasant to listen to. The way he crafts his songs into accessible, extremely radio-friendly pop/rock songs may not be something groundbreaking, but because he does it so well it surely does make him stand out.

With help of Pat McGee-veteran Brian Fechino, who produced “Beautifully Broken”, Brian Jarvis managed to write and record a collection of 11 songs that stick together and hold up as an album.

I’ve been following Brian Jarvis’ musical endeavors for just over a year now and with the coming together of this album and the added maturity to the musical arrangements and the more pronounced lyrics, you can tell he’s made strides in becoming more than just another singer/songwriter. It was already apparent he could write songs with catchy hooks and melodies and there wasn’t much wrong with the quality of his performance either. He just needed a little more depth and a little something that would make him stand out in the massive ocean of singer/songwriters that exists today.

In the past few years, Jarvis has had a lot to deal with, both personally and professionally. These years must have been tough on him, but impressively he was able to turn the struggles and the pain into strength. He decided to pursue a musical career fulltime and worked on improving himself in all musical aspects. With “Beautifully Broken” he certainly achieved that. He gathered the right people around him, focused on his songs and came up with a strong album that features gems such as: Hardest Break, Honestly and Beautifully Broken.

The title track opens the album. It’s an emotional journey in which he sets the tone for the rest of the album. The anthemic feel of the song adds to the build up and the honest performance makes the song relatable and because it is, it can really speak to you on a personal level.

Hardest Break is one of those songs that instantly sounds familiar. The song’s very catchy and not only the sound of the song is familiar. The message is as well. Everyone has had experiences where they felt they couldn’t live up to someone else’s expectations, whether it was family, love or something else. The way the story unfolds in this song, it leaves you open to interpret the context in your own head.

Honestly is a song title that appears on many albums yet never ever sounds the same. Neither does this one. This tune has a little more edge to it. Sharp vocals and and a consistent beat provide for energy and guaranteed foot tapping. It’s a song to rock out to and to dance to at the same time. It shows a little bit of a different side of Jarvis, which is not only refreshing, but gives the album a kick in the behind in the energy department. Very nicely done.

There are more strong songs on this album, but the ones mentioned above are the ones that stood out to me. Though the final track Till I See You Again was one that stuck with me as well. Not so much because of the songwriting, but because of the performance. This song comes straight from the heart and goes straight into your own. It’s an honest, emotional testimony that you can’t help but really listen to. It’s not just about the song anymore, it becomes personal. And when a musician can do that, it shows they have what it takes. In essence, music is emotion, that is why we can really connect to it and get lost inside of it. Brian Jarvis recognizes this aspect of music and manages to incorporate it in his songs. This, to me, is the biggest asset a musician can have.

“Beautifully Broken” probably won’t end up on many best of-lists at the end of the year, but in Brian Jarvis’ journey towards becoming an established singer/songwriter it is a big step forward and it confirms his talent as a performer and songwriter. Maybe he’s not quite there yet, but this record has him well on his way. He shows courage, strength and emotion and it comes together quite nicely.

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