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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Becky Wiles

Free Kind of Me

Review by Gary Hill

This is the debut album from Becky Wiles. The one unifying factor on this is her voice. There is a pretty wide range of sounds musically  here. In fact, I'd say that it feels a little disconnected in some ways because of that. Then again, these days most people don't listen to whole albums at once, but rather they spin a song or two at a time. There is only one track here that doesn't really work for me, so taken as individual songs, this would really be great. The thing is, it works well enough as an album, too. It just relies on certain types of tracks (piano ballads) a little too much and seems to lack direction at other times.

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Track by Track Review
Call Me Crazy
A real bluegrass kind of arrangement gets us going here. This is energetic, and catchy. It's a lot of fun, and a great way to start the set. The instrumental section is so classy with its old-school bluegrass vibes.
Free Kind of Me
This balladic cut is packed with emotion and lots of the country music we expect by this point. It intensifies a little later.
Dream Girl
Another that's on the country ballad end of the spectrum, this has a very stripped back arrangement of just acoustic guitar and vocals. It has a duet built into it, and a pretty complex vocal mix. This is one of the strongest tracks here.
Just Look at Me
More mainstream country rock meets pop music is on the menu here. This is powerful and very effective. It's another standout and includes a particularly passionate vocal performance.
Alright by You
A piano and vocal based ballad, this has some icing on the cake elements. It's pretty and emotional. It's not country at all. While it's not one of my favorites here, it is very good, and brings some variety to the proceedings.
Ms. Moxie
Here we get another big change. This has a jazz groove to it. The vocal performance gets pretty bluesy at times. This is a lot of fun.
Send Me
Another acoustic guitar and vocal ballad, this one is not a duet. It's a pretty cut, but not really a standout for me. It's slow moving and just a little lackluster. This definitely overstays its welcome as far as I'm concerned. If I were to pick one song to cut from this album, this would be it.
Now this brings back both the country angles and a lot of energy. It's another fun track.
The Complication
This is another piano and vocal ballad. It's evocative and very pretty. I like the string arrangement on this track, too.
Mr. Miyagi
A potent and effective pop oriented piece, this is all class. It's one of my favorites here.
He Was Good
Here we get another piano based ballad. The icing layers of music bring some country angles. This is a sad song of remembrance. It's pretty, and evocative.
Take a Ride
I like the mellow pop rock vibe of this song. It has a very classic feeling to it. This is another highlight of the disc. It feels very timeless. I love the multiple layers of the vocal arrangement.
Uncommon These Days
The sound of a needle hitting a record is heard at the beginning of this. From there we get another piano and strings ballad. It's a solid number, and does lend a grounding effect to the ending of the set. I like how it intensifies further down the road without adding other instruments.
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