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Non-Prog CD Reviews

James Lee Stanley

Backstage at the Resurrection

Review by G. W. Hill

The easiest way to classify James Lee Stanley’s music would be to say “acoustic dominated singer songwriter stylings.” That’s really only so true, though. There’s a lot more going on in his music. Perhaps he’s closest to the sounds of groups like America and Crosby Stills and Nash. He wanders near to progressive rock at times. Of course, no matter how you classify it, though, this is an entertaining and tasty disc that never fails to entertain.

Track by Track Review
Backhand Man

After a brief introduction that’s just a little acoustic guitar bit, the cut comes out feeling like the kind of soft rock Crosby Stills and Nash and America were famous for doing. The vocal harmonies are great and there’s a bouncing kind of groove to the music.

I Can't Cry Anymore
Another bouncing number, the bass line to this is extremely cool. The vocal arrangement, again, calls to mind a lot of the harmony oriented soft rock acts of the 1970s.
Coming Out of Hiding
A slower moving cut, this one has a real bluesy texture to it. It’s more in the mode of a singer songwriter tune than the soft rock stylings of the previous pieces. It’s quite a powerful number that is extremely effective. There are some elements that bring it into more of a hard rocking mode and the instrumental section flirts with progressive rock.
Let's Get Out of Here
There’s a bit of a Latin groove to this tune. In fact, it feels a bit like something Carlos Santana might do. Stanley’s vocals are particularly effective here and the instrumental section rocks in an acoustic way.
Going Back To Memphis
A vocal only introduction gives way to another bouncing mellower rocker. This one is perhaps closer to something from Cat Stevens, but there are hints of country music in the mix, too.
Feather River Nocturne
An intricate and dramatic instrumental, this features some killer acoustic guitar soloing.
Don't Wait Too Long
Although mellower than the first two songs of the set, the musical motif here is similar to those in terms of reference points. It’s got some hints of progressive rock and quite an interesting vocal arrangement.
Do As You're Told
Here’s another where I can hear Cat Stevens as a reference. Yet there are other sounds in play here. It rocks out pretty hard (for mellower rock) and has some great multiple layers of vocals.

 

All About Love
A pretty and powerful number, this is catchy and rather involved. Cat Stevens is again a valid reference point.
What Would You Do
Folk rock elements dominate this piece. It’s a good one that is in keeping with the rest of the music here.
Backstage At the Resurrection
This one is more of a hard rocker, but still in an acoustic instrumental arrangement. It has some country music in the mix and a lot of energy.
Let's Get Out of Here (redux)

A stripped back rendition of the earlier tune, the Latin texture’s not as obvious in this arrangement.

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