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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Callie Hopper

Out of the Shadows

Review by Gary Hill

This set is quite effective. I think it might be a bit stronger if it were a little shorter. It just seems that some of the songs don't manage to shine as well as they would because there is just too much music here. This lands somewhere in the range of pop with folk and country in heaping helpings.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
Out of the Shadows

Starting rhythmically, this grows out into a tune that's very much a modern pop music kind of thing. There are hints of country in the mix, too. It has some cool retro textures in some ways, as well. The balance between mellower and more powered up sections here is quite good.

Stay
A mellower, balladic cut, there is a lot of country built into this. It's sort of a modern Americana cut with folk and country in the mix.
Fire and Ice (feat. Chad Alexander)
This duet combines folk and country quite deftly. It winds up in the neighborhood of modern roots music turned pop. It's one of my favorites here.
So Much
Here's another highlight. There is a real blues rock thing going on here. This is a powerhouse number with a lot of energy and emotion.
Beautiful
This is an intricate ballad. It's definitely worthy of the title. It's mostly folk turned pop music. The violin brings some country to the mix, though.
I Never Told You
If there's a song to skip here (and that's questionable), this is it./ It's not that the song is bad. Its energetic pop structure works pretty well. I just find the vocals on this one to be a bit grating at times.
Hold On
Here we have an effective country based power ballad. It's set in a definite modern pop territory, too.
Wishful Thinking
A mellow folk pop styled tune, this starts with piano. It's another standout cut. I really dig the strings on this and the more powered up section, too.
This Song's Not For You
This is very much a playful country folk styled tune. It's a lot of fun. It's also very down-home in nature.
Darlin'
This love song is very much a jazz kind of thing. It's very retro in texture. I love the guitar based structure of this thing It's a very cool cut that's timeless. It's another candidate for best song of the set, too.
Goodbye
Country, folk and more merge here. This is quite a strong tune, but it's not a highlight. That's more about the quality of the other material than it is related to anything lacking here. Still, this is evocative and rather lush. It does get into some rather classic rock sounding territory late.
Drowning
This balladic number works pretty well. It doesn't really standout, though.
Chasing a Dream
A folk styled ballad, this is very much an autobiographical piece. It's a solid one. I think it might have been better suited had it been located earlier in the set, though.
Wishful Thinking - Acoustic (feat. Chad Alexander)
As just a piano and vocal based arrangement, this really works so well. It's a potent ballad.
 
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