Archive for March, 2012

31
Mar
12

SUSAN JUSTICE/EAT DIRT ‘CAN’T MISS POP GEM” CD REVIEW BY JOHN EMMS

Susan Justice’s debut album Eat Dirt gets to you on the first listen but more importantly gets under your skin on repeated listens.

What you hear is what you get. With Justice  it’s vulnerabilty, honesty and the abilty to make you feel what she is singing.

That may sound easy but many producers don’t understand this and surround vocalists with too much technology and what I like to call “extra shite”.

Justice does not need it. And in the hands of super star producer Toby Gad she gets real close and personal.

There is a joy of discovery to this recording that gets to the listener. Maybe it comes from Justice performing in subways or getting inspired by artists like Tracy Chapman. 

Either way you feel it.

The real trick for Justice will be the ability to pull off  gorgeous songs such as Company, the title track,  I Wonder, and Paper Planes in a live situation.

That always seems the spoiler, when you see a young performer you want to hear them them with a cool little band. Some acoustic guitars, a piano etc.

What you sometimes get,  is a ton of backing tracks and auto-tune.

Elsewhere, on songs like the uptempo Alive, and the killer pop of You Were Meant to Sing Justice gets reflective with integrity.

What more do you want from a pop debut?  

Justice comes off as the real thing. And her debut is a can’t miss pop gem.

JOHN EMMS is veteran music journalist, online rock/roots radio host  http://emms.podbean.com/  roots songwriter www.johnemms.com and has fun with a blues combo www.theshaftmen.com

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29
Mar
12

PHIL COLLINS-LIVE AT MONTREUX 2004-“PHIL COLLINS THE MUSICIAN SHOWS HIS STRIPES” REVIEW JOHN EMMS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everyone at one time has been or still is a Phil Collins fan. At the same time radio overplayed his hits.

Then in 2009 Collins revealed he could not play drums or piano because of a serious vertebrae injury

But in this 2004 set not only does he play drums but sings his ass off behind a killer band in a stunning display of vocal chops and band dynamics.

Yes folks, it’s the real Phil Collins. Songwriter, drummer, and lead vocalist. Yep. the same guy who replaced Peter Gabriel in Genesis and recorded classic albums like A Trick of the Tail and Abacab.

Although there is a 1996 show with a big band, which I will get to, it’s the 2004 show which reminds you in the first place why Collins ended up such a respected player

Don’t Lose My Number, I Missed Again and Hang In Long Enough are funkfied high tempo workouts that have you shaking your head at the musicianship. The horn section consisting of trumpet players Harry Kim and Dan Fornero, sax player/soloist Gerald Allbright as well as trombone player Arturo Velasco dominate these tracks with honest to goodness chops to die for

Another huge surpsise is how emotional songs like Against All Odds, Separate Lives and One More Night are.  In this live context they become very ambient.

In The Air Tonight with it’s  iconic drum fills and superb vocal by Collins almost brings the house down.

On the 1996 Big Band show the arrangements of tracks like That’s All and West Side just to name two fill your room with a sound so real, you swear your sitting in front of the band. Quincy Jones conducts, David Sanborn, and Tony Bennett guest and the proceedings blow you away on a totally different level.

If you ever wondered aloud “Why Phil Collins” this blu-ray proves beyond any doubt how Collins provdes passion and integrity at every turn.  A must buy!! 

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist online radio host http://emms.podbean.com/ and musician www.theshaftmen.com and www.johnemms.com

25
Mar
12

SEAN HOGAN PHOENIX-“HEARTFELT CONVICTION”-CD REVIEW JOHN EMMS

 

When you make an album this good it transcends genres. But that is exactly what Sean Hogan has done with his latest cd Phoenix. You may think about purchasing Keith Urban, Tim McGraw or Kenny Chesney’s music but get this 40 minute cd of well written, soulful tracks first.

Yes folks it’s that good

From the gorgeous ambience of Make It Look Easy to the soul stirrings of Like We Never Said Goodbye and the funky groove of Randy Cooke’s in the pocket stick attack on the title track Hogan demands you listen. What’s more Rick Hutt’s mixes and production are robust and very organic.

This is an album made with real players and it shows.

Elsewhere Hogan breaks your heart on the ballad Something Beautiful and keeps you dancing and grinning from ear to ear on Not Just Any Bull. Bekka Bramlett is all over this album and on Better Angels Prevail and other tracks she literally blows you out of the room.

If there is a better country album than this in 2012, I will be surprised

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, musician and online radio host. Visit The Shaftmem at www.theshaftmen.com and john’s solo site www.johnemms.com

15
Mar
12

SEAN HOGAN AND PHOENIX SOAR/COMING SOON FULL REVIEW

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SEAN HOGAN has always made music that’s matttered. He has just released the album of his career. My full review in a few days

14
Mar
12

DAVID ST. GERMAIN-MY COUNTRY SONG-“BONAFIDE TALENT” -BY JOHN EMMS

 

David St. Germain is one of  the most bonafide, deep down  talented new artists I have heard in country music in the last few years.

It’s that simple.

The last time I was floored on the first listen was when I walked into a bar and heard Jason McCoy for the first time.

St. Germain is a rare find. Passionate singer, gifted musician and co-songwriter on 75 percent of the album

Any artist who opens his album singing about Jackson Browne and slide guitarist  David Lindley gets my vote.

The track is titled Radio and from the first crunch of the guitars to St Germain’s effortless delivery and the line “Jackson he kept a running on” to later “he put a guitar in my hand” is a keeper.

 Check out the killer bridge to the song and you’re on your way.

Elsewhere Everybody Changes is another killer song that just begs for big time airplay. It can’t miss.

And that goes ditto for the exceptional mid tempo rocker Don’t Matter. 

Producer Chris Sutherland who is also the drummer with St.Germain is a major force not only in the songwriting but also for the way he has shaped this album.

The title track is a rock song disguised as amped up country.

 As is the fault with a lot of  country music.

But it does have a nasty riff even if  it has the “heard so many times”  lyrically challenged lines such as ” She’s a hillbilly girl from back in the sticks, rock n’ roll girl in a cowboy hat, etc etc. 

Elsewhere Doc Walker’s Murray Pulver and Darren Savard’s guitars are big and upfront, and on a song like Beautiful and many others on the the cd fiddle/mandolin player Denis Dufresne shows great taste and nuance.

Elsewhere Savard and St. Germain open guitar-mania on the Merle Haggard classic Working Man’s Blues which then segues into “The Duel” where the licks “just keep on coming’. 

If there is not at least 4 great radio ready singles to be had on this album, then something is wrong with radio.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, musician www.theshaftmen.com  online radio host http://emms.podbean.com/ and songwriter www.johnemms.com




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