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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Various Artists

Will Sing For Food: A Charity Album to Benefit the Rock River Valley Food Pantry, Rockford, Illinois

Review by Greg Olma

Benefit albums can be difficult to review because you get a bunch of artists who are generous enough to submit their art for charity. So you hate to be too critical but you owe it to yourself and your readers to be honest.  So what we have here is a charity album that will benefit a food pantry in the Rockford, Illinois area.  This one pulls at my heart-strings a little because I feel these pantries provide a much needed service especially during these tough economic times.  That being said, I can still honestly say that there are some really good tunes on this eclectic disc.  The styles and genre are all over the board here but I think there are at least a few songs for everybody on this record.  Normally you get a single style (i.e., metal, rock, country, and so forth) but having things cross many genre gives this album more of a community feel.  It is just a group of artists who even though they play different kinds of music were still able to come together for a worthy cause.  I’ll admit that many of these songs would not be on my radar as a music fan because I am generally into rock, metal, and prog, but having said that, I still find myself enjoying many of the songs.  Even if at the end of the day you only like a few tunes, this CD is worth checking out because you may discover a new artists that you want to follow more closely and you will be helping out a worthy cause.

(Editor’s Note: While the G.W. Hill who assembled this and provided one of the songs is the same G.W. Hill – hey, it’s me…I don’t know about you but talking in the third person is goofy – who runs Music Street Journal, whenever I have one of my writers review something I’ve worked on, I make sure they know that they are to do an unbiased review and I’ll edit for grammar and such, but never content. So, there is the disclaimer.)


The album can be purchased at http://www.createspace.com/2209207.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Harlan Jefferson – Get Yo Step On

This disc starts off with a Kenny G/Candy Dulfer style jazz track.  It is an upbeat instrumental that has some great saxophone playing courtesy of Jefferson.  I find these types of instrumentals difficult to get into but “Get Yo Step On” has a great groove making it a highly enjoyable listen.

The Soap Flossers – Do As I
I think that this cut is the other end of the spectrum from the first tune.  If you had told me that this song was from some older 70s folk rock record, I would have bought it hook, line, and sinker.  It has that “sitting around a campfire” feel, but not in a cheesy sing-a-long way.  For fans of early folk rock, this is right up your alley.
Michael Whyte and the Sunset Movies – Let It Play
I get a Dire Straits kind of vibe off this track but I can’t explain why.  It is an upbeat track that has a number of different elements that make it an interesting song.
Danielle Juhre – Daniel
Continuing with providing an eclectic bunch of songs, here we get a piano ballad with a great female vocal.  My only problem is that the song is over a little too quickly for me.  It’s a little over two and a half minutes long, but with the quality of the Juhre’s vocal performance, I feel that it could be stretched out a least another minute.  I do enjoy the track and would be interested in hearing more from this artist.
Clark Colborn – Mr. In A Hurry Part 2

If you are into Joe Satriani and Steve Vai, you will love this tune.  It’s a great upbeat guitar driven instrumental that has a lot of hooks and melody.  It also reminds me a little of “Addicted to That Rush” by Mr Big.  This is one of my favorites on this disc and I can’t stop playing it.

Some Kind of Whale – Sorry Today
This is one of those songs that I just don’t get.  I’m sure it has an audience but it is pretty different (and being on a very diverse CD, that is saying something).  It starts off, and ends, with a voice answering machine but then contains this weird guitar sound.  The vocals are okay, but at times, the singer seems to be trying to fit all the words in a small amount of time.  This is one that will not get repeated plays from me.
Joe Disastr – Tim’s Had Bad Luck
I will give any artist credit for putting music on a charity disc, but I can’t imagine this being on any regular CD.  The playing and vocals are so bad that this acoustic ballad is actually enjoyable.  I find myself coming back to this tune often because it is so bad that it’s good.
Paul Hieser – Morning Love
Now we get back to more serious music.  This track has that early 70s rock sound that starts off mellow and slowly builds towards the middle and then fades back towards the end.  I’ve listened to this cut quite a few times and it gets better with each listen.
G. W. Hill – Arrival
This synth tune sounds like a soundtrack to a “Close Encounters” type of film.  It also has that "intro to another song” vibe going for it.  If I had to try and categorize it, I would have to put in under avant-garde prog (although that is a bit redundant).
Fallin Angels/S&S Productions - 9/11 Dedication

I hear this as a Linkin Park inspired cut that is dedicated to the tragic events of 9/11.  As you would expect, it has a sadness to it, and yet, it is one of the tracks I play often off of this record.  It is one of the more modern rock sounding tracks on offer here..

Jim Grass – Peace of Mine
This Bob Dylan-esque song has a lot of heart.  Unlike Dylan, Jim Grass has a better voice. So, if you are looking for a Dylan-ish tune with better vocals, this is for you.  The harmonica also adds to the Dylan comparisons.
Wade Lammon – Guide Me Home
Here we get a really catchy AOR style rock tune.   Wade Lammon puts in a really good vocal performance and his voice fits this type of music perfectly.  If one of the side-effects of these types of albums is that they showcase artists, then I think more people will be looking into Lammon’s music based on “Guide Me Home.”
Pine Cone – Paige
I quite like this punk-ish rocker that would be very much at home at CBGBs.  It is a short but sweet tune that really embraces that punk urgency. 
Tania Nicholson – No Place like Home
Tania Nicholson has a really sweet voice and it is matched perfectly with this folk song.  If radio still had an impact on artists, then this would be a hit because it has hit single written all over it.
P-H-M – Renew
The CD ends with an acoustic track that has a cool vocal duet.  Given the different artists and styles on this disc, “Renew” is the perfect song to end things
 
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