Thursday, March 8, 2012

Album Review: Nearly Beloved, "Where's Bob?"

As mentioned in articles past, one of the things I enjoyed most about attending the most recent Americana Music Conference and Festival was meeting some truly great people that work in the business side of music.  I made no bones about the fact that this blog is a one person operation, still in its growing stages of what I would like it to be.  The kindness and support I received from many of those attending the conference was heartwarming.  One such individual has been very kind over the past few months to send me albums of some of the artists that she is tasked with promoting, and I say tasked in the most positive light.  And at long last, far longer than is acceptable really, I'm happy to post the first in a series of great albums that Kim Grant of KG Music Press has been so kind to share for this space.

Produced by lead singer Matt Lax, Nearly Beloved's "Where's Bob?" is a wonderful, eclectic mix of traditional folk, mixed with a bit of blues and a decent amount of the original sounds of California country-rock of the late 60's and early 70's.  I surmise this last ingredient can be somewhat expected, since the band is based out of California.  The album will be released on Attaboy Records on Tuesday March 13, 2012.

The album kicks off in grand style, with a nice little rockabilly number, "My Memory," a tune about  trying to change ones' focus from the negativity in life.  "Whiskey Whispers" evokes a real classic country feel, a really nice throwback to the traditional country sound of the 1950's with it's beautiful steel guitar work.  A nice cover of Bob Dylan's classic "Subterranean Homesick Blues" allows the band to really showcase their musicianship, with a nice shuffle beat from Peter Rubin on drums and some well-placed harmonica work from Peter Lax.  

If "Subterranean Homesick Blues" showcases Nearly Beloved's musical abilities, "Cool Fuckin' Sunset" showcases their harmony's in stellar fashion.  It is this segment on the album, at least for this listener, that invoked many great memories of the California country-rock scene as "Sunset" brought about visions of The Eagles, while the next track "Tomorrow Won't be the Future" reminded me of The Byrds.  I don't say this to be a negative thing, I merely highlight these tracks as key points to the album.  If the goal was to capture a bit of that California sound of days gone by, it was captured in spades.  They are two excellent, very well done tracks.  

Perhaps the most clever song on the album is one that I'm sure would make Roger Miller proud. "My P-Role Officer" is a great story song about a guy who just can't catch a break , to say the least.  A fantastic, well written song and well performed by Matt Lax and the group.

Nearly Beloved's "Where's Bob?" is currently enjoying some well-deserved airplay on great radio stations such as 91.7 FM WHUS, 90.3 FM WZBC, 88.1 FM WMBR, 94.1 FM KFPA, as well as Taproot Radio and various European radio outlets.  You can purchase a copy, and indeed listen, to "Where's Bob?" in its entirety on the Nearly Beloved web site.  If you're interested in learning about more artists under Kim Grant's wing, check out her site at KG Music Press.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Moving On Up to 2012

Hey everyone,

I'm back with a new post after a bit of a dry spell in February.  This one is going to be somewhat short.  

After much arm twisting and convincing, I'm happy to report that Americana Review is now on Twitter.  

I welcome you to follow along at @americanareview for all things Americana Review.  I'll be tweeting about what shows I'll be heading out to, what albums I'm reviewing, what I'm listening to at any given moment and of course, general thoughts and rambles.  

Thanks as always for your support to this point and for sticking it out with the continued evolution of this blog.  There have been over 5,100 of you who have visited, and I can't tell you how much I appreciate it.

Thanks for reading and I look forward to reaching even more of you!