The groovy pop/rocker Different Lives starts the album strong. And after his last album, we wouldn’t have expected any less. It’s a nice song that keeps carrying on. Solid opener. Try was co-written by Ron Aniello & Will Hoge and you can hear that in the arrangement. Aniello worked with many great mainstream rock bands and Will Hoge’s a very accomplished singer/songwriter himself. But that mainstream rock feel is definitely there, as well as Halter’s soulful vocal color and Will Hoge’s love for accentuating the song’s strongest points. Try is a very fresh and powerful, yet soulful pop/rock song that ranks amongst the better songs on the album.
Blue Dress has that groovy, swingy 70s feel that we know from artists like Stevie Wonder and Curtis Mayfield. This musical era has a big influence on Ernie Halter, it’s quite obvious listening to his music. And it suits his powerful vocals and his songwriting. Another strong song.
It took me a couple listens to really appreciate Count The Days to the fullest. I like how the vocals take center stage in the song, but the arrangement of the song took some time for me to sink in. It’s quite laid-back and it feels a little ‘off’ sometimes. But it’s also the charm of the song, but it took me awhile to figure that out.
The sweet My Heart Is With You is a little sappy at times, but the song is very nice. The strong piano arrangement and breezy vocals give a very folky feel to the song. Nice accents by the bass and nice bluesy undertone. The acoustic-based Pretty Girl is one of the better songs, because you can really focus on Halter’s excellent vocals. Just the guitar accompanying him for most of the song has a sort of purity to it.
Just Friends, no it’s not a Gavin DeGraw cover, it’s a completely different song. And it’s a pretty strong one too. It has a cool flow and carries on effortlessly. On Crazy Love, Halter gets a little more uptempo again, and the album needed that. He timed it exactly right. It has a bit of an 80s feel to it at some points, but it’s such a cool, friendly song. Could be in a Disney movie.
The build-up in Cyclone is pretty good and it sounds very current. The strong vocals and excellent arrangement of the song make this perhaps the best track on the album. And he carries on in the same fashion, just a little smoother maybe on Played.
The stripped down piano love ballad Lighthouse is a real gem. The piano amplifies Halter’s excellent vocals and the whole thing just fits. To end the album with such ear candy is a sign of the true musician.
Ernie Halter keeps convincing us with his excellent songs and astonishing vocals. If he keeps doing this his success will only continue to grow. “Starting Over” is an excellent record by an excellent musician.