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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Kevin West

Story of My Life

Review by Gary Hill

While there is a modern edge to this thing, it is well-rooted in classic sounds. At points it leans more toward country music. Other things (particularly the closing instrumental) are packed full of jazz. There are numbers that seemed tied to Southern rock and things that have a lot of jam band aesthetic to them. That seems a lot of variety to pack into six songs, but this set does it. Even more impressive, it pulls that off while still feeling cohesive.

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Track by Track Review
Best of Mine
Country and rock and roll merge on this tasty slab of Americana. The vocal delivery is classy and classic. Somehow this tune makes me think of what you might get if you mashed together The Allman Brothers and Hootie and the Blowfish. It's an energetic and solid tune that makes a great starter.
One Too Many
That Allman Brothers thing is all over this number. The organ lends some great retro stylings. The tune has a cool blues rock groove with some Southern rock in the mix. This is grittier and more classic in tone than the opener was.
My Only Sunshine
I dig the jam on this track. It lends an almost Grateful Dead vibe. The tune is another classy one. It's more country based than either of its predecessors were. It really does feel a lot like the Dead in a lot of ways. The female backing vocals are a nice touch.
Sweet Innocence
There are some more modern elements at play here (think Dave Matthews, maybe), but this also has plenty of retro textures built into it. There are definite country music textures at play, too. That's particularly true of the mellower segments.
Story of My Life
Horn brings a lot of jazz to this, but it's not alone. The guitar weaves "jazz chords." This is another tune that makes me think of Dave Matthews in a lot of ways. It's a classy number and works really well.
Not For Nothin'
There is a lot of funk here. In fact, I'm reminded a bit of James Brown. This is soaked full of jazz, too. It's just oozing "cool." This instrumental rocks and features some great instrumental work. The horn soloing really brings the jazz, but the guitar solo has an almost jazz rock vibe. Don't overlook the bass work on the number, though. There are some particularly tasty chops delivered in that low register zone.
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