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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Jody Raffoul

Big Sky

Review by Gary Hill

Here’s a contemporary release that’s very classic rock in nature. It combines the singer songwriter style with folk, hard rock, bluesy textures and Beatlesesque pop into a CD that’s pretty darned catchy and powerful. I like this one a lot.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Chasing Paper
A powered up pop rocker, this is a fun tune. I like it a lot. It works out into a tasty, rather prog like jam for a mid-section.
Days Gone By
This comes in with a bit of a bluesy texture. As it fires out into the song proper it’s more stripped down and gritty than the opener. The chorus has more of a power pop sound. This has quite a tasty guitar solo.
Stay (With Me)
An even more stripped down motif, very much in keeping with singer songwriter style, makes up this tasty cut.
Fontana Lane
There’s not a huge change up here, but this song is dramatic and powerfully evocative. It’s one of my favorites on the set. 
Home
A balladic number, this has a bit of Beatles-like vibe to it. The vocals on this remind me of Steve Nardelli from The Syn. I also get a bit of a Tom Petty feeling on this. There’s a cool jam later that starts off with a piano dominated segment and then works out to a more powered up version of the main themes. 
Little Black Car
A folky piece, this reminds me of something from Bob Dylan. There’s a little bit of a country edge to it, too. 
World Of Temptation
This comes out of the gate with a hard rocking style. As it moves out there’s a more 1970’s pop rock texture to this. It’s one of the highlights of the disc and really works well. We get some great bluesy hard rocking guitar later in the cut. 
It's Grand
This is perhaps the hardest rocking cut on the disc. It’s also possibly one of the most dynamic. There’s a definite classic rock feeling to this and it’s a powerful number. There are some Beatles-like moments here and the arrangement gets quite filled out as it carries on. 
Should I Have Known Better
There are more of those Beatles-like elements here, but really more than anything else it reminds me of John Lennon solo music. It’s another strong cut. It’s got some great hard rocking moments. 
Love Is The Answer
Here is another cut that’s cut from a similar cloth as the last couple. It’s another that works quite well. Despite not being exceptionally unique from the rest it’s still a great piece of music. 
I Told You So
There’s a more balladic approach to this one. I hear more of those Dylan bits here, but also The Beatles and a lot more. It’s another strong piece of music on a disc that doesn’t have any weak points. 
On My Way
Although in many ways the main musical concepts aren’t greatly altered, this has a real soulful groove to it and a great retro sound. 
My, My
Much of this is along the lines of a powered up ballad. It’s another that works quite well. The arrangement gets quite powerful as it carries on. 
Learn From Me
This starts with a children’s choir. It gives way to another track that’s in keeping with the rest of the disc. It’s a good one, but it seems to be getting just a little old by this point. The kids return at the end. 
And It Shines
A moody and melancholy balladic approach leads off here. This grows up gradually. This becomes quite Beatles-like later on down the road. It gets pretty intense and more pure hard rock in nature as it continues.
 
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