Search for the Hidden Gem (2012 – vol #2)

Written by on February 23, 2012 in February 23, 2012, Music Reviews - No comments

Search for the Hidden GemI was suffering from NFL withdrawals until I jumped on the bandwagons of Linsanity and the human dunk machine that is Blake Griffin.

Lawson Rollins

“Elevation”
www.lawsonrollins.com
Style (Spanish Guitar / World)

This is the second CD I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing from Lawson Rollins and just like the first this is an amazing CD.  Rollins’ guitar playing is masterfully smooth and sultry, complex yet simple, emotional and romantic.   In Rollins’ last CD I the rock influences peeked out.  For his new CD the rock influences are much more subdued but what I am detecting this go around is the incorporation of South American cultural influences.  And just like last CD, Rollins has blended all these influences into another wonderfully written collection of songs.   I may never visit the Amazon or an Andean mountain range but through the incorporation of such influences in these songs I feel like I’ve been touched by them.  Something else I like about these songs is their usefulness.  Speaking as a guy, having this CD playing during a candlelit romantic dinner for two, with a bottle of fruit forward red wine (an Opolo Zin or maybe a Napa Ridge Petite Syrah) and dinner might not be finished until breakfast the next morning if you catch my drift.

Rating 4

Winchester Rebels

“3 Sheets to the Wind”
www.myspace.com/winchesterrebeles
Style (rock)

I love the band name but that’s where I’m stopping.  To my surprise this is a rock band playing a brand of wishy washy medium tempo rhythms that lack any type of pizzazz or emotion accompanied by lyrics and choruses that are about as interesting as a limp sheet.  What I’m really hearing is a band working a formula for song writing and it’s really not working.  The band is a little young still, forming back in 2009, and maybe with more time together they’ll work out the song writing kinks.  One can only hope but for now I’m moving on.  Really sad too that nothing about this music resembles or relates to the coolness of a band name having the words “Winchester” and “Rebels” in it.

Rating 1 ½ (an extra half for the band name)

RiverBend

“Sleep Walker”
www.myspace.com/riverbendrock
Style (Rock)

I like what these guys are doing here.  First off I dig the gruff rawness in the vocals that sounds real and not copied or pretentious.  Secondly I like the grittiness in the sound giving it a charred skin on the meat quality that adds a strong palatable flavor.  And lastly what I’m really diggin’ on and don’t hear much in many rock bands is the well pronounced bass lines.  Most of the time the mix for the bass player is suppressed but not with RiverBend.  These bass lines are up front and jammin’ and I applaud the producer for recognizing the musicianship in these bass rhythms.  Something else worth mentioning, and I’m not a Neil Young fan at all, but RiverBend did an excellent job covering Young’s song “Old Man” in their own musical style.  My one knock is that the CD only has 7 tracks which is just a tad too light.

Rating 4

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