Search for the Hidden Gem (2010 – vol#5)

Written by on May 13, 2010 in May 13, 2010, Music Reviews - Comments Off on Search for the Hidden Gem (2010 – vol#5)

The sky is falling, the sky is falling!!

1 Giant Leap

“What About Me?”
Style (World / Compilation)

This is the newest musical creation from the 1 Giant Leap producers, Duncan Bridgeman and Jaime Catto, and it, like its predecessor, is absolutely marvelous.  Scouring the globe, Bridgeman and Catto have orchestrated an amazing ensemble of eclectic musical rhythms and vocals that in time will be considered a classic.  Few producers in this world exhibit such a strong pedigree, genius, frequent flyer miles, and determination to search the corners of the globe looking for the right sounds.  The songs on this 2 disc (20 songs) release are unique in their primal complexity, elevating the musical imagination, and opening a conscious conduit for the mind, body, and spirit through rhythmically mystical, haunting, and harmonious music.  Forget about the “We Are The World” sing-along BS (old and new), this release is truly a unique collective of artists and sounds.  Lending their support are artists like Michael Fanti, K.D.Lang, Maxi Jazz, Santana, Michael Stipe, Baaba Maal, Zap Mama, and Alanis Morisette, along with musicians from countries like Kenya, South Africa, Gabon, Senegal, China, Mexico, Brazil, Japan, Turkey, France, Egypt, and the USA.  It’s kind like listening to tribal rhythms from a particular global region, then from left field comes this clarinet from Istanbul, followed by a splash of Spanish guitar, and then with vocals laid over by Michael Stipe, who’s backed by a chorus of singers from Egypt and Senegal.  These songs are truly flawless and inspiring.

Rating 4 ½ (HIDDEN GEM – an amazing collection!)

Ray Wylie Hubbard

“A.Enlightenment B.Endarkenment”
Style (Country / Southern / Blues / Americana)

My first introduction to Hubbard’s musical genius started in 2006 with his “Snake Farm” CD, and from then on I’ve been a fan.  I love Hubbard’s expressive, unpretentious story telling style (lyrically and musically).  Each song is raw, intensely rich with character and purpose, stately and philosophical, delivered by a songwriter with experiences to share about living and the nuances a man learns through trial and error about women.  Slowly paced, the songs are thoughtfully punctuated, giving the background sincere reflective meaning.  Hubbard’s music is uniquely comforting, like spending time hearing your father or grandfather spin a yarn.  As a guitar player, Hubbard kicks out a traditional southern blues sound that’s unpolished and rough around the edges with wonderful tones coming from a 1953 Gibson J45, a 1942 Southern Jumbo Reissue, and a National Style O Resonator.  I’ve been waiting for Hubbard’s next CD since 2006 and I am thrilled to finally have it!  I just hope I don’t have to wait another 4 years for the follow up.

Rating 4 ½ (HIDDEN GEM)


“Party Heard Around the World”
Style (Pop Country)

If this is the party heard around the world then I’m going to stay home and fold the laundry piling up on my lazy boy. Maybe it’s just me but I would think a band’s 10th record, especially one sporting a statement title like that, should at least inspire a party.  I listen to quite a bit of country music on the road and these songs have as much adhesiveness as a greasy burger from a roadside Choke N’ Puke. The band’s sound is run of the mill commercial pop country with hooks and beats tossed out there dangling for a nibble like every other Rascal Flats wannabe pop country band.  I’m not a fan of the sappy love song, unless it’s a really good song, but at least put some emotion and effort into poorly written soda pop fillers like “Let Me Love You,” “You’re The Reason Why,” and “She Wants What She Wants.”  Musically, the vocalist’s high pitch is killing these songs, and the musicianship from the other three comes out passionless.  What I do hear a lot of though is four musicians who phoned in a recording.

Rating 1 (When did country loose its country?)


“Let it Out”
Style (Rock / Pop)

The songs by Neverwonder are listener friendly rock, pop, soul with strong vocals and a clean production.  However, over the length of 16 songs, which is too many by the way, ultimately I’m turned off by the lack of depth in the song writing and the consistent predictability.  The standout of the foursome is vocalist Megan Bobo and for good reason, she can sing.  Bobo has a dominating voice with a rock / soul essence that’s easy on the ears.  However, her bandmates, though possessing serviceable ability, aren’t breaking open the pioneer bank so the music ends up sounding more like a singer with a back-up band instead of a cohesive four piece unit.  Ending the CD for some odd reason is a pointless greeting as a 17th track. The recording of this track is so severely low it’s not worth investing time and effort to figure out what the hell is being said and why.

Rating 2 ½ (just OK)

King Con

“Overdue For a Brew”
Style (Rock / Party)

If you’re female and easily offended by locker room talk about oral sex and getting laid in the backseat, this band isn’t for you but Oprah’s on at 4.  If you’re someone who goes to a bar and sips the house chardonnay with your pinkie sticking out hoity-toity, this band isn’t for you but the tasting rooms in Santa Barbara are open from 10-5.  If you’re someone who doesn’t enjoy a bucket of Corona’s on ice with pizza and hot wings, this band definitely isn’t for you but there’s a Coffee Stop down the street.  To put it simply, if your musical interest is a band professing cold beer, good time sex, and guys being guys, then the lighthearted jocularity of King Con is something to keep on your radar.  The CD production value however is thin, sounding more like a 4 track demo which does leave a bit to be desired.  However, I have witnessed this band live, and on stage is where King Con sets their songs on fire with raucous and rowdy stage antics, lots of personality, and a plethora of drink toasting.  Not to mention a quality number of hot chiquitas wigglin’ on the dance floor.

Rating 2 (check the band’s website for live dates)