Album Reviews

Becky Buller: Crêpe Paper Heart

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Submitted by Mike Tabor

St. James, Minnesota’s, Becky Buller came to prominence in the acoustic music world as a songwriter, with cuts by some of the industry’s finest, including Ricky Skaggs, Rhonda Vincent, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Special Consensus, and The Infamous Stringdusters. It has also been published that Buller made bluegrass music history by becoming the first person to win in both instrumental and vocal categories at the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) awards. Her skills prove most astounding on her great new release - Crêpe Paper Heart, a full-length set of remarkable bluegrass numbers.

Becky Buller Band are musicians of the finest order they come in any music genre today. Buller herself is a superior writer, player and vocalist, and all her players are world class at what they do. Even if you don’t like bluegrass you will still find them a musical force to reckon with, just as bluegrass lovers won’t deny, and when “Another Love Gone Wrong” blesses your ears, you can’t turn back for the rest of the disc. Buller describes this as a song she had worked on while attending University at Tennessee State, reminding her to never throw song ideas away.

Jiggley Jones Not Your Typical Day Out

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Submitted by James Olsen

Previously charting on the Roots music report, New Music Weekly Internet Country Charts, and many others with previous records, -Not Your Typical Day Out, by Jiggly Jones is destined to repeat that success and much more. Already spawning 70,000 streams on Spotify, the record is rapidly gaining major radio and music media interest day by day. Jiggley Jones epitomizes the spirit and talent of a true artist. And that’s just some of the press surrounding this fine album full of modern crossover and traditional folk and Americana songs.

“Danger Island” opens-up this recommended full-length album with a very hard to follow cut. This song is in the upper standings of the album for sure, with its jubilant delivery from Jones. The percussive intro reminds of hooves walking up a trail and you get the feeling wildlife is on the agenda. But you don’t get the full dose of the adventure until the third verse runs into the smooth vocals that fly over the words in just the right parts. The use of multi-instruments on this whole collection is worth noting, and they come on strong from the get-go and win you over before the second song even starts.

Doug McCurry Doug McCurry & The Verticals II

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Submitted by Leeland Casper

If there’s one thing about North Carolina music, it’s quirky.

Exhibit A: Squirrel Nut Zippers

Exhibit B: Ben Folds Five

Exhibit C: Mipso

And, add to that list, Charlotte’s alt-rocker, Doug McCurry. His sophomore album, Doug McCurry & The Verticals II is a 10-track collection ripe with fun, weathered guitars and sing-a-long opportunities.

Kicking off the album is “She’s Running.” It’s a perfect choice for track one, as this Elvis Costello meets The Psychedelic Furs song holds your attention with sweet guitar riffs juxtaposed with earthy or even oaky sounding guitar riffs. The lyrics fall into place nicely. This track is ready for radio and the masses.

Pretty Eyes on Fire” has a different brightness to the guitar – McCurry’s channels some gunky guitar riffs, almost a bluesy-squelched sound. His steady-pace vocals sing “I wanna know who did it…who set your pretty eyes on fire.” His voice is easy to handle and as in “She’s Running” he has this Elvis Costello-esque thing going on. After the bridge, the guitar gets tinnier, where it nearly creates a whole different vibe. Strangely enough, the latter part of this song made me think of Wall of Voodoo’s “Mexican Radio.”

Hub Reynolds Jr: Hell I'm Just Me

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Submitted by Addison Coleman

Cool dude! "Hell I'm Just Me".... who the hell is Hub Reynolds Jr.....aside from the country artist who recently released his first hit single? After doing some research I've come to learn that the artist is an inventor of a leather marijuana holder, has lived in a box for 6 years in the parking lots of Walmart and Home Depot, without water or electric, befriended Hell's Angels, was stuck by Lightning, and can write and sing a song with the best of them.

"Hell I'm Just Me" is the first single from this unique soul. The track is an audacious and vibrant, captivating country song, probably a bit autobiographic, definitely catchy, and filled with inspiration. It's fun, it's light hearted, and radio friendly. This guy is going to make it just on spunk alone. The song is accompanied by a video just as magical and filled with energy as the song. His presence is addictive and I have no doubt there are many more songs from this artist that we are about to hear.

Despite the fact this artist was homeless for six years, he uses this as a vehicle to write his story. He's gone from a multi-millionaire in his own construction business, to several failed marriages, to living in a literal box to the height of believe it or not musical country and western journey. This is an artist to watch for, and a download to celebrate.

Check out Hub Reynolds Hit Single “Hell I’m Just Me” on Reverbnation Here:

Cat Thompson Be Mine

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Submitted by Lance Wright

The latest single from Australian born singer/songwriter Cat Thompson, “Be Mine”, finds this talented young artist significantly expanding her reach with a powerful pop single and distinctly American flavour. She’s currently based out of the Los Angeles area as she records a forthcoming EP and the new cut follows up her most recent single “All I Need” in grand style while still giving listeners a sneak peek of what’s waiting for her fans with the upcoming release. Her willingness to work with talented producers like the Los Angeles based Khaled is another reason for her ascending that ladder of success and such collaborations are sure to realize her potential in a much faster way than might otherwise be possible. “Be Mine” poises her to become one of the next marquee pop icons and she exhibits the skills that mark artists of real staying power instead of fly by night performers pandering to a formula and only destined for short-term success.

Christian Heath “One”

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Submitted by Harry Wells

Christian Heath is a super talented Pop singer/songwriter. His eclectic style is showcased in his new solo EP “One,” which contains six very different and unique pop songs that are really catchy, powerful, and filled with a universal message of love and making the world a better place. The songs are full-bodied and full of energy, mixing disco, folk, rock, singer/songwriter music together to create incredible pop songs sung by a singer who’s soulful vocals draw you into a world that you hope you will never have to leave.

Christian Heath has created a collection of songs that soothes the soul, a joyous blend of up-tempo songs and ballads, with smooth transitions from upbeat club-bangers to tender ballads of love and world improvement for all.

The songs on “One” radiate the concept of hope taking the ideas to another level filled with glorious colour. The EP starts with “I’m Yours” which is an upbeat love song that recreates in my mind an image of Heath performing in a stadium with thousands of lighters being held high while the audience sings along to the chorus. Definitely a stadium anthem with a message that is appealing to all.

David Hopkin Overlook

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Submitted by Alonzo Evans

The full musical flight of David HopkinsOverlook is something to admire. There are numerous peaks and valleys embedded in this collection, alongside powerfully evocative vocals and lyrical content that never calls too much attention to itself and, instead, serves the overall scheme. Hopkins’ Overlook has ten songs with varied texture and, often, a willingness to experiment or utilize nuance that never smacks of self-indulgence. The alternative rock colors Hopkins puts to use over the course of this album are culled, undoubtedly, from his own musical vision but, likewise, takes on colors from his time collaborating with some of the music world’s brightest talents like The Who, his former band LIR, Damien Rice, and Mark Stoermer from the band The Killers, but this album conclusively proves that his own star is capable of burning every bit as bright if not brighter.

The BeeKeepers Songs from the Hive Volume 1

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Submitted by Scott Wigley

The BeeKeepers, based out of Norwich, Connecticut, are an Americana inspired trio and multi-instrumentals with songwriting talent to boot. Many acts of this nature are usually reliant on covers and arch-traditional material. Amanda Sullivan, Phred Mileski, and Sylvie Abate are joined with some outside collaborators who contribute much to their material, but the trio are the undisputed star of the show and their lyrical acumen, rich vocal harmonies, and nuanced songwriting leave listeners feeling like they’ve experienced something rather remarkable. Songs from the Hive Volume 1 doesn’t embrace the same pat Americana formula defining many of the releases we hear in this vein but, instead, mixes acoustic rock, folk, and blues into the stew and reflects their willingness to stretch the style without ever veering too far from their roots. The BeeKeepers’ EP has been out for some time now, but it’s still gaining momentum and exposure thanks to widespread radio play and the trio’s frequent live appearances. After even a single listen, it’s easy to hear why.

Deer Park Ranger Bottom Of The Ocean

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

Deer Park Ranger is the solo project of Trevor Humphrey. He formed the project in Oakland, California in mid-2016 and found his sound as he began pairing Rhodes Piano with delayed guitars, and electronics. Inspired by post-rock influences Explosions in the Sky and Mogwai, the layers are simple and beautiful melodies that build into powerful crescendos. 

Bottom Of The Ocean is the first full-length release from Trevor Humphrey’s post-rock/ambient solo project, Deer Park Ranger. After releasing 2 EPs in the last year, Humphrey has followed up with a 10 track LP of compelling and emotional songs. Bottom Of The Ocean is an extremely personal record that touches points of sorrow, pain, and fear while juxtaposing them with moments of hope and elation. This blend highlights the dichotomy of emotions that are present during a major life change. The painful end of things you used to love, and the overwhelming excitement of your next chapter. This emotional tug and pull are present throughout the listening experience. Progressive movements are intertwined with soft piano melodies and blended with synths and arpeggiators to create swelling soundscapes. Heavy, aggressive guitars tear through tracks like Gallows, while Part Of The Story and The Days You Used To Love are reflective and evoke feelings of nostalgia, and the title track cascades to a crescendo of hope and triumph.

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Brian Hutson Anything Can Happen

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Submitted by Charles Hatton
Photo Credit Angela Talley

"Anything Can Happen" joins the fine string of single releases that have characterized Brian Hutson's career thus far. The lone exception, his late 2017 EP release Midnight Sessions, underlined the fact that he's one of the blossoming talents in popular music today. There is a dearth of vocal interpreters both emotionally aware and technically capable, but Brian Hutson fits the role. Hutson's first single, released in 2015, resulted from a chance meeting with famed producer Joe Vulpis who soon whisked Hutson away into a studio for his first recording, "Let It Ride". His natural talents were quite apparent and he couples movie star looks with it to make for an overall winning package. This new release shows Hutson is far from content from resting on whatever laurels he's earned so far and, instead, searches for new musical worlds to conquer. He finds one with "Anything Can Happen" and his presence in the performance is powerful.

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