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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Jackson Webber

What It Is

Review by Gary Hill

Here we have an intriguing album that sits somewhere in the neighborhood of country with classic rock and pop music in the mix. It varies quite a bit from track to track, but is still cohesive and consistent. It’s a disc that is strong from beginning to end. What It Is is entertaining, plain and simple.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Falling Down

Percussion leads this off and it gradually shifts out to a melodic musical journey. Somehow the vocal melody almost makes me think of country music, but this is very much in keeping with a 1970s rock sound. It’s accessible and quite pretty and entertaining. There is some tasty guitar soloing later in the tune as it works out into a tasty instrumental segment.

Its Only Fools

A slower tune, there is definitely a lot of country music built into this number. It fits into the classic rock meets singer/songwriter style, but it also features plenty of country texture. I’m reminded of Tom Petty here.

Heartbreaker

Another accessible cut, this works really well. It’s got less country in the mix, but the guitar solo certainly brings some of that to the table. This is a great tune on a disc that has no shortage of strong material.

She Said

Piano leads off here and the cut becomes a keyboard based ballad from there. This is definitely all about the classic rock sounds. As guitar comes in later, we get more of those country leanings. There’s a real soaring rock section later that leans towards progressive rock.

Another Time

The general musical concept is pretty well unchanged here, with this number landing well into a country tinged classic rock sound. It’s another strong cut that’s accessible and very tasty. There’s some great slide guitar heard on this.

In the Night

Here’s a slower, more acoustic based ballad-like cut. This has some great instrumental work and a killer texture. It’s one of the highlights and features some delicate acoustic sounds in the mix.

Shame on You

Although there’s still some rock in this, it’s really got a lot of down-home country sound built into it. I’m somehow reminded a bit of some of the more country-like music from The Rolling Stones.

I Believe In

There’s a mellower motif here, but also a lot of that country sound. It’s got a great accessible sound to it. A tasty acoustic solo is included later in the piece. It does get a more potent arrangement and more energy later in the tune.

Wish I Was Falling

Bluesy country sounds open this, but the vocals bring in more rock. It’s a good tune and has some cool gospel-like backing vocals, but doesn’t differ a lot from the rest of the set. Still, the guitar soloing is particularly noteworthy.

Stoney Ground

We get some pretty acoustic stylings on the opening here. This has some nice backing vocals and really is an accessible ballad. There’s some great slide guitar soloing. It is an accessible and effective pop tune with country and retro rock in the mix.

Uncredited Track 1

 The music that makes up the backdrop for this has a lot more country sound built into it.

Uncredited Track 2

There’s a lot of country and plenty of classic rock in this number. I like the piano on it quite a bit. This is actually one of the strongest tunes on the disc. Interestingly enough, there’s a cool instrumental section later in the piece that brings this into the vein of progressive rock. As good as the rest of the set is, if the whole thing had been closer to this, it would have been an even stronger set.

 
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