Tuneage Tutelage Music Review Friday...

Sparks Of Insanity By Vinny "Bond" Marini Friday, September 26, 2008

Welcome back to another edition of Tuneage Tutelage Music Review Friday...

Today I just blind picked two of the profiles sitting in my in box waiting to be discovered by you, my most excellent guests.

Let's introduce our first new artist...

JD & The Straight Shot, from New York, NY. Guitar & vocals, John Dolan; guitarist and chief songwriter, Bruce Koplow; bassist, Sue Williams; drummer, David Longworth and keyboardist, Jonny Rosch.

From their official Bio:
Despite some graying, Dolan says his generation – inextricably linked to the music of the ’60s – remains passionate about music and continues to turn out in droves for concerts. He says of his newest album, Nothing To Hide, "(it) is about growing up without growing old, which is what my generation is trying to do right now,” Dolan says. “These are classic rock songs for the classic rock generation.”

Though he had only been hitting New York area stages for a few years, Jim Dolan - the "JD" in the band JD & The Straight Shot - found himself in an enviable position shortly after the release of his band’s 2005 debut album, Nothing to Hide. That album and its accompanying tour received critical praise from blues critics across the country; from the Rocky Mountain News, which stated that "surrounded with crack players, Dolan was putting convincing voice and emotion into the blues-based set," to The New York Post, which hailed Dolan's "swaggering vocals" as "reminiscent of Tom Waits and Randy Newman."

For the past two summers, Dolan and his band joined up with one of the kings of guitar when rock legend and Eagles member Joe Walsh handpicked the rollicking quintet to perform as special guests on his North American tours, which included the much-anticipated reunion of Walsh's original band, The James Gang.

And JD took this rare opportunity all in stride. "I'm just like thousands of guys who picked up a guitar when they were 15, except that I never put it down," he says. "Music is one of my earliest passions and has always been a part of my life. One of my biggest thrills came a few years ago when I stepped onstage in front of a paying crowd for the first time. Of course, the crowds at those Joe Walsh shows had no idea who we were at first, but we eventually won them over. It was such an amazing feeling to start out as complete unknowns and earn the applause of true music lovers over the course of two summers."

On June 24, 2008, the band released their newest album, Right On Time..

The new album includes guest appearances by some of the band’s friends; “Slow Motion in Reverse” features searing lead guitar work by touring companion Joe Walsh, while “A Train’s A Coming” spotlights the intensity of pedal steel guitar virtuoso Robert Randolph.

Dolan maintains that his generation - inextricably linked to the music of the '60s - remains passionate about music and continues to turn out in droves for concerts, as proven by his successful stints with Walsh.

"I think you can grow up without growing old," Dolan says. "We still enjoy timeless blues and classic rock, but our new material has a certain energy and vitality to it that can connect to music lovers of all ages. Maybe I'll even inspire some 15-year-old kid to pick up a guitar.”

My Take:
There is some good music on this album. I have added it to my iTunes and iTouch rotation. Classic harp playing combined with some fancy guitar licks. The sound is still raw and the production techniques are not the best. The band has that feel of being loose, but also being aware of their place in every song.

JD has a voice for this southern-rock based music. Well...let your ears tell you how you feel and please push a button on the poll. Your votes are anonymous to all but me.

"Slow Motion In Reverse"

"Train's A Comin'"

And then I closed my eyes and we ended up across the country and a generation younger....we bring you My American Heart...The band consists of Jesse Barrera - Guitar / Vocals; Dustin Hook - Bass; Jake Kalb - Drums; Nick Logan - Guitar / Vocals; Larry Soliman - Vocals. Their influences include Jimmy Eat World, Foo Fighters and The Get Up Kids.

From their official Bio:
Age doesn’t necessarily denote musical prowess, but for My American Heart, a band who wrote their debut when most of the members were merely 16, making great music has only been augmented by three years of touring, practice and acquired knowledge.

The San Diego fivesome’s dynamic, innovative second record reverberates with a sense of new found wisdom and the sort of skill that comes only from that hard-earned experience, a reminder of how shockingly young the makers of the record actually are. The strikingly varied disc, metaphorically entitled Hiding Inside the Horrible Weather to denote the beauty that inherently lies in all things, soars from hooky, driving rock (“The Shake (Awful Feeling)” and “Boys! Grab Your Guns”) to introspective acoustic ballad (“Tired and Uninspired”) to expansive searches that reveal a whole new side of My American Heart.

Hiding Inside the Horrible Weather is the result of six months of heavy writing time, although some of the album’s tracks come from nearly a year before it was recorded. Following the band’s beloved debut,The Meaning in Makeup, which the group feels was slightly rushed, for this record My American Heart had time to really craft what they consider to be an album that represents how far they have come. “We actually took our time to write this record,” says Soliman. “It was a lot of fun creating this record and expressing ourselves and actually growing as musicians together. Just figuring out what we’re capable of. It was definitely a huge step up from the last record.”

My American Heart has certainly not eschewed their engaging pop sensibilities, but even former disbelievers won’t be able to deny the range and strength of the songwriting on Hiding Inside the Horrible Weather or the memorability of the tracks, which the band hopes will be drawn to any listener who happens to hear them. As far as huge steps up go, this is a massive one, and the significance of that is not lost on My American Heart. “I just want people to really open their minds to this and give some consideration to how much we’ve grown since the last record,” Soliman says. “We really learned that we are better than what we thought we could be.”

My Take:
OK, I hit the play button on their first song not expecting this to really grab me. Why? I am not really sure, but what I found was a really enjoyable new band. They play loud and proud....BUT, the music is built on many layers all coming together.

The guitar work is tight and the rhythm section of Dustin & Jake is rock solid. I ordered up the CD after the two songs we will sample today. But it is not up to me alone...give a listen, cast a vote.

"Boy's Grab Your Guns"

"The Shake (Awful Feeling)"


17 Of Your Sparks

  1. katherine. Says:
  2. my attention span is zilch right now...hopefully I will make it back.

    so...I'm just sayin' hey.

  3. Bond Says:
  4. Katherine: Hey back to you too...hope you come back to listen.

  5. Starrlight Says:
  6. What the fuck is with all these little emo bands claiming Foo Fighters as influences?! Didn't like that last one. There are enough over wrought whiney little punk (and I don't mean that in a Johnny Rotten kind of way) ass'd bands out there already.

    Not that I feel strongly about it or anything :P

    Now the first one I like. Me and Southern Rock are compadres.

  7. Bond Says:
  8. STARRLIGHT: I hate when you hold your feelings back and really do not share with us your inner-most thoughts! Figures, I kinda liked the "over wrought whiney little punk (and I don't mean that in a Johnny Rotten kind of way) ass'd band" and well, I am guessing you did not. Bwahahahahaha

  9. DrillerAA Says:
  10. I'm good with JD and the Straight Shot band, but then, I'm a blues fan.
    The other band is OK, I just probably wouldn't add their music to my collection.

  11. Starrlight Says:
  12. You don't have a teenager. The poor thing suffers through a shit load of bad music (My Chemical Romance or Panic! At the Disco) due to her friends.

    I remember when Emo didn't suck. When it was an off shoot of Hardcore/StraightCore. Now every little pencil chested asswipe in his ironed bangs and Hot Topic t-shirt has a band and screeches about his listless existence. And then people call them Goth. They wouldn't know Lord Byron if he bit them on the ass! DIE!!! DIE!!! Die!!!

    Ahem. Sorry for holding back on you :P

    And I will say that from a musician stand point they play well.

  13. Bond Says:
  14. DRILLERAA: Thanks...did you vote?

    STARRLIGHT: No and when Matt was a teen he was more into rap and R&B...I did think they played well and layered their sound well..I did not concentrate on the lyrics too much I must say.

  15. Micky-T Says:
  16. I voted for JD, I liked the sound but it didn't feel 60's to me at all.

  17. hope your weekend is tits vinnie!

    smiles, bee

  18. Bond Says:
  19. MICKEY-T: I agree it is more current than 60's..I think that comes in because of the harp and Guitar and how they are so under-appreciated these days

    BEE: You also dear..

  20. Mimi Lenox Says:
  21. "Age doesn’t necessarily denote musical prowess..."

    Pencil Skirt is pondering this.
    I'll get back to ya on that.

  22. Travis Says:
  23. I wouldn't say "yawn" on the second band...not for me, but it is an interesting sound.

    I liked the first band quite a bit.

  24. Bond Says:
  25. MIMI: LOL I had a feeling you might ponder that

    TRAVIS: Thanks for your contributions my friend

  26. RWA Says:
  27. I have to agree with Starrlight. The first one I liked. The second? Nope.

  28. Fred Says:
  29. I went 0/2. I'm a tough critic.

  30. TopChamp Says:
  31. I nearly didn't vote but went for it anyway. I'm not a big fan of band no 1 or 2 this time.

    Now I'm going to scroll down see what you've been up to this week.

  32. Dana Says:
  33. I like the first band a whole lot better than the second.


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