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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Sal Valentino

Dreamin’ Man

Review by Gary Hill

Sal Valentino is perhaps best known as the vocalist for the Beau Brummels. While I’m familiar with the name of that band, I’m not really familiar with their music, so I came into this a newbie to the sounds of Valentino. Overall, the music is combination of country, rockabilly and classic rock. Somehow the vocals remind me of Willie Nelson. At times that comparison is less valid than at other points, but it never really goes away. Whatever you call it, though, this is a great album that works really well.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Love Song

The music here is pretty and Latin textured in terms of the rhythm section. Intricate acoustic guitar weaves patterns of melody around as the rest of the group keep the song going.

HWY 49
The introduction to this feels a bit like some kind of progressive rock tune. From there, though, it works into a rockabilly meets country music approach. This is another tasty piece and a great way to change it up from the last one.
Snowman
Basically balladic, this is a playful number that has a lot of rockabilly and some blues built into the arrangement. It’s quite different from either of the first two tracks, but closely related enough to keep it all consistent. The guitar soloing is especially tasty.
Valley of Woe
Combine bluegrass with the blues and add a modern sensibility and you’ll have a good idea of what this piece sounds like. It’s got a lot of energy and is lots of fun. The organic, acoustic based arrangement is a nice change of pace. There’s even a bit of a punk sneer on some of the vocals here.
Weakness In Me
Starting on acoustic guitar like an old school, back porch blues, that motif (with minor augmentation) serves as the backdrop for the first vocals. Other instrumentation come in to add some class and style as it continues, though. There’s a cool melodic, echoey guitar solo later in the track, too.
Lookin' for You
Bouncy and fun, this is a killer rockabilly jam with an emphasis on the old school rock and roll.
Dreamin' Man
As the title track comes in, it’s almost R & B styled. There’s a tasty guitar soloing overhead. It moves to more classic rock stylings in a mellow motif and is extremely dramatic and powerful.
Catherine I Do
Ballad-based, this is a cool tune that works well. It’s more modern in texture than a lot of the other stuff.
Lovin' Fallin'
Here’s another smooth rock tune with a lot of old school roots. There’s some great acoustic guitar soloing built into the piece.
That Way
The closing number is a thoughtful and tasty ballad that’s mostly contemporary country meets classic rock in style. I’m not so sure this was the best choice for ending the disc, though, because it seems to carry on a bit too long.
 
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