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Non-Prog CD Reviews

The Channel Drifters

The Channel Drifters

Review by Gary Hill

There is a modern movement that looks back to roots musical styles like country and folk. This set has a lot of that present. It's merged with something more like alternative rock and modern pop. Each song here is effective. Some stand out as stronger than others, but nothing is really weak. I would say that this set could be stronger if the more modern sounding stuff earlier in the disc were spread amongst the more roots based stuff. That would seem to create a better flow and diversity throughout. Still, it's a minor quibble. This is solid as it is.
 
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
Wall of Stone

Roots music and modern alternative pop music seem to merge here. This is a fairly mellow tune. It's still energetic and quite strong, though. I really love the guitar solo on this. It's bright, clean and expressive.

A Thousand Ways

While the opener featured male vocals, it is female singing driving this one. It's similar in terms of musical scope, but this one rocks just a bit more. Soft rock merged with folk music and some hints of country make up the basis to this number in a lot of ways.

Cannonball
This piece makes good usage of both voices. It's based on more of a modern rock sound, but there is still a lot of roots music here.
When I Sing
There is no big change here, but this is a particularly effective folk song. I like the layers of sound that bring an almost alternative rock edge over the top. That lends some contrast to the traditional sounds that make up the bulk of the song.
Picking Up the Pieces
More of a high energy, rocking cut, there is a lot of country here. This is another killer tune. The female vocals drive this one.
Silver Tones

With male vocals as the dominant ones, this is one of the more purely modern sounding pieces here. It's a classy number that's very much alternative rock based. It's melodic and one of the highlights of the set. Sure, there are still some timeless elements at play, but the roots sounds are almost completely gone here.

Move
Here is another that's set more thoroughly in the sounds of today. It has a bit of a crunchy edge. It's also alternative rock based, but does have some country in the mix. This has lead vocal duties shared between the male and female voices. It's another classic styled cut.
Out of Sight
Another electrified cut, this has a lot of modern country music in the mix. Yet, it's also clearly rock based. It is so accessible and classy. It's probably my favorite song of the set.
Edge of Night
More roots music is back in terms of the overtones here. This still has plenty of alternative rock in it. There is just a definite folk edge here. The female vocals dominate this one.
Beneath the Sun
Complete with harmonica, the opening of this feels like it could be an old school country and western thing. The song launches out from there into a more alterative rock based number. It's far more modern in tone overall. For some reason the the guitar solo here almost seems to have a fusion meets David Gilmour sound to it.

 

 
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