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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Stefanie Keys

Open Road

Review by Gary Hill

I like this album quite a bit. Stefanie Kyes has a great classic voice. She's also got a good range in terms of moods conveyed. The album has a tendency to feel a bit disjointed at times, though. When it leans toward the bluesy rock end of the spectrum is when it really shines the brightest.


This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
Open Road

I love the vaguely raw 1970s rock and roll vibe on the guitar that opens this. As the cut develops to the full arrangement it has a real country feeling to it. It gets more into a pop rock kind of vibe later.

No Tomorrow
More of a contemporary bluesy rocker, this is great stuff. As classic as the opener was, I think this slightly mellower tune is even stronger.
3 Hours Till Yesterday
Here is another that's very much in line with a bluesy rock sound. This is most closely related to electric blues, but it has some healthy helpings of rock music in the mix. I love the backing vocals on this thing. They soar.
Sleeping Lady
This is more of a mellow rocker. It has some adult contemporary reference points. Yet, it does manage to rock out a bit as it continues.
City Life
Here is another that's closer to mainstream pop music. It's almost like a harder rocking Abba in some ways. Sure, it still has some of the alternative rock and other sounds we've heard throughout the disc.
Cold Day
The journey toward pop music is even more complete here. This is electronic based and quite cool. While it's modern pop, it's also got an intriguing edge to it.
Hey

Another that lands closer to the modern school of pop rock. This is good, but perhaps not as striking as some of the others.

Highway To Your Soul
More of an Americana, bluesy rock vibe is heard on this number. It's one of the better tunes here, and definitely a step back in the right direction.
Amos Crane
This bluesy rocker is exceptional. It's powerful. It's also a contender for best song here. I some ways it makes me think of the bluesiest music in Heart's catalog. I like it a lot.
9 O’Clock
The closer is a great bluesy rock song. The sound is classic, and the tune is the other contender for best cut on the disc.
 
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