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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Midwest Soul Xchange

New American Century

Review by Gary Hill

I dig the blend of classic sounds on this beast. It really brings a lot of great stuff to the table. This feels both fresh and tied to the sounds of the 1970s. It’s reasonably consistent in terms of quality from start to finish, too.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2015  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Set a Course for Common Worlds

There is a bit of modern edge to this. That said, folk rock and old school progressive rock elements bring some classic sound to the table. I like the harmonica on this cut quite a bit.

Roots
The general musical concepts here are unchanged. Somehow this song feels just a little awkward to me, though.
Truth Attention
Now, this is a completely different thing. A harder rocking tune, this is just so strong. It’s the best song of the whole set and worth the price of admission all by itself. This has some great vocal hooks, exceptional musical textures and just works so well. In some ways, this makes me think of Pink Floyd just a bit. It should be mentioned that this earns a bit of a parental advisory.
Revolt of the Guards
Some psychedelia is on display here. This is a killer tune, too. It’s another highlight for sure. It has a lot of magic. It feels like something that could have been released in the late 1960s. There are hints of middle-Eastern music and more here. I really like some of the guitar soloing on this later.
Occupy the Piper
While this isn’t a big change, it’s a solid tune. It continues the themes of the last few songs, but does so in a fresh and rather exciting way. It’s definitely not the strongest thing here, but it’s far from the weakest, too. I dig the lyrics.
Kings Among Kings
A much mellower song, this is pretty much pure folk music. It brings some variety. It’s not as effective as some of the rockers, but works better than the first couple tunes.
Sun Dried
Psychedelia, folk rock and alternative all seem to merge on this cool song.
She Flies
Here is another that’s more pure folk music. There is some psychedelia built into it, too, though. This is good, but the formula is starting to wear a little thin here.
The Return
This is more of a classic rock tune. It’s quite an effective piece and feels like it would fit in the 1970s.
Has Anybody Seen Bob?
A bouncy psychedelic inspired piece, this is one that feels like something from 1967. It’s fun.
Four Score and Seven to Go
More folk oriented, I like the intricate guitar on this. There is a bit of a droning element and the multiple layers of vocals are a nice touch, too. The really feels a lot like something Crosby Stills and Nash might do.
 
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