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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Joshua Ketchmark

Blood

Review by Gary Hill

This is the third release from Joshua Ketchmark that I've reviewed. I like this album quite a bit. Joshua Ketchmark's sound is well rooted in Americana and pop rock traditions. There is a decent amount of range here. The one complaint I have is that there is a bit of tendency toward sameness, largely because too many of the ballad-like pieces are put together. I suppose these days a lot of people listen to a song or two at time versus a whole album at once, so that's only so much of an issue.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2022  Volume 4. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2022.

Track by Track Review
No Stopping Us
The acoustic guitar sound that starts this is classic. The tune works out to a melodic rocker with plenty of Americana in the mix. This is nothing Earth-shattering in terms of originality, but it's just plain tasty when it comes to the execution.
Covered in Blood
More of an electrified rocker, this is no less classic in tone. It's no less effective, either. This is American rock and roll done well. It's mainstream and packed full of hooks and meaty sound. The dropped back section is a nice touch.
Follow Me Home
A more balladic tune, there are hints of country and the blues on this thing. Yet, it also has some alternative rock in the mix. I like this, and particularly the variety it brings, but it's not as strong as the two pieces that preceded it.
Been Gone
The first vocals on this song are nearly acapella, with just some hints of organ in the background. Piano rises up to join as it continues and eventually the arrangement works out to more of a balladic one with some power-ballad aspects. This is in a similar vein to the previous song, but I think this one works better. In fact, I'd consider this one of the highlights of the set.
Death Trap
I think at this point we could really use more of a straight rocker. This doesn't provide that. It's another that comes in with a stripped back melodic approach. It's a good tune, but I think it would stand taller in a different place on the album. This one never rises to the point of power-ballad, remaining mellow throughout. In addition to the placement issue, I think it suffers from being a bit too long.
All I See

Blues, Americana and alternative rock merge on this tune. It's a classy rocker that brings some needed variety. The guitar solo section makes me think of The Eagles.

Deadliest Thing
We're back into slow-moving, ballad-like zones here. The organ is tasty, and the cut does grow pretty nicely.
Casual Subtitles
I dig the intricate acoustic guitar that starts this. The number is moody ballad-styled tune. It works well on its own, but in the scope of the album, it's beginning to feel a bit monolithic. There is a healthy helping of country on this song.
Ashes
Now, this brings some variety. It lives somewhere between rocker and ballad. It has plenty of Americana in the mix and some hints of country music. It's one of the most effective cuts here, in part because of the variety it brings. The powerhouse vocal arrangement doesn't hurt, though.
Crossbone
This cut lives in a similar territory as the previous one, but it's definitely not any kind of carbon copy. It's a solid soft rocker with a lot of Americana in the mix.
Once the Whiskey
There is a moody vibe to this. It's packed full of Americana and class. It's not quite a ballad, but also not quite a rocker, either.
Tazewell County Line
Here we get more of an Americana based rocker. It's a great way to end the album in style.
 
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