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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Karen Jonas

Butter

Review by Gary Hill

I've seen Karen Jonas listed as country music. I suppose as a simple answer, that fits. Some of this music is definitely country. Perhaps something like "retro" would be a better answer, though. She has music here that is closer to old-school jazz, and it wanders in other directions, too. The one constant, though, is a firm connection to the music of the past. This is a compelling set of songs that is varied from track to track. Jonas' vocal delivery always works, too. That voice and a feeling of authenticity are the two factors that really make this gel.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Yellow Brick Road
The sound on this tune is both modern and classic. The organ brings some retro texture. There is a real timeless quality to this song. It's probably best described as "pop music that draws from folk and country traditions."
My Sweet Arsonist
More of a ballad, this is more firmly set in the country style. It still has a mainstream pop music vibe to it. The instrumental layers on this are classic country based and so cool.
Butter
A bluesy, jazzy grind dominates this tune. Sure the vocals bring some country to this table, but overall it's butter and jazz on the menu here. The horns bring some magic with them. I really love this song.
Gospel of the Road
Set more fully in old-time country sounds, I like this one a lot. It has some great retro textures, but the vocals are the real selling point on this number. There are some cool guitar fills, too, though.
Kamikaze Love
There is a bluesy rock vibe to this number, making it more of a modern sounding tune. Yet it still has plenty of retro elements on hand.
Oh Icarus
Another with a lot of old school jazz in the mix, this has such cool retro texture. I love the expressive guitar elements on this. The horns add a lot, too. This might be my favorite tune here.
Mama's First Rodeo
Old school country music elements are all over this cut. The slide guitar really adds to that image a lot. The vocal performance is classic in a lot of ways, as well. This does earn a minor parental advisory.
Dance With Me
This is also well based in an old school country sound. It's a mellower number that works well.
Mr. Wonka
Old jazz and show-tune music is the concept here. This is a fun song that has a real classic sound and a humorous nature to it.
The Circus
Country music is the order of business here, but very much the old school variety. This is another classy tune and a good way to end things in style.
 
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