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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Amy Coleman

Goodbye New York

Review by Gary Hill

The music here runs the gamut from pure jazz to hard edged classic rock and at times borders on progressive rock. The vocals have an authentic and soulful edge to them. If there’s a part of the disc that could take some getting used to, though, the vocals would be it. It would be fair to compare Coleman’s vocals at times to those of Marianne Faithfull. People who enjoy Faithfull will probably have an easier go at taking in Coleman. Personally, I do like Faithfull’s music and can appreciate her singing, so it was an easy sell for me.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Mother

The introduction to this is dramatic and rather progressive rock like. The song is a John Lennon tune and as it goes out to the song proper, we get more of a straightforward rock and roll approach. Coleman’s vocals are soulful and powerful with a blues and country sort of texture. There is some killer guitar soloing on this number and it’s a really solid rocker. It drops to an evocative piano ballad motif later in the piece. While the credits point to John Lennon for the songwriting, I can swear that this mellow section borrows from Pink Floyd’s The Wall album.

Where Are You
A whispered “Where are you,” leads to a dramatic, but mellow movement with almost Floydian music and a spoken vocal line. From there it works out to a piano dominated arrangement with vocals that are similar to Marianne Faithfull. In fact, this arrangement isn’t that far removed from something she would do. It’s mellow and dramatic and quite powerful. It definitely borders on progressive rock at times. There are some intriguing twists and turns along this musical road.
Goodbye New York

This has a killer classic rock texture to it. The vocal performance is powerful and there is some smoking hot guitar work in play. It’s a powerful tune that really rocks. It’s one of my favorites of the set.

The Old Man
There’s a more stripped down, retro bluesy soulful classic rock texture to this piece. The vocals are at times like Marianne Faithfull, but more soulful. There’s a tasty short keyboard solo later.
Anyone Who Had a Heart
A retro sounding cut, this is a little over the top in terms of its arrangement. It feels like something that would have come out in the 1960s or 1970s. The arrangement works a bit better when it gets powered up later.
Eight Arms
The bass line and finger snapping arrangement calls to mind The Stray Cats. The arrangement is more of a jazz one here, though. The vocal performance is one of the strongest on the set, very bluesy and cool. This is possibly the strongest piece on show here.
The Promise (Time To Believe)
Another bluesy rocker, this is strong, but not as potent as some of the other music here. There’s a little reggae based rap on this piece later.
Let's Pretend
A balladic cut, this is cool, but not as strong as some of the other stuff. All that said, it doesn’t represent a good change of pace. There’s some especially tasty slow bluesy guitar soloing.
Drowning In Your Love
Another that’s got an acoustic basis, this is a rocker rather than a ballad. It’s definitely bluesy, but also has some jazz and rock in the mix. It’s got a killer fast paced jam built in later.
Tango
This is another cut that’s pretty much pure jazz. It’s also very tasty with a piano bass and drum jazz trio arrangement. It’s a great way to end the set in style.
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