Monday, December 01, 2014

Back Porch Orchestra - Volume I

  Simply titled Volume 1 the debut album from Back Porch Orchestra is a light and lively romp through fourteen original numbers by this highly talented bluegrass/country group from Burlington, NC. Just as their live performance is an exhilarating display of exquisite musicianship, so too is the wonderful songwriting skills demonstrated on Volume 1.
  Behind the principle vocals of Jeremy Brady and Bonnie Reed each song on Volume I comes to life with vivid clarity against the backdrop of simple intelligent instrumentation. Brady, Chris Reed and Bonnie Reed all offer up wonderful guitar work with Jeremy also providing banjo and pedal steel licks and Chris indulges the mandolin when necessary while bassist Keith Miller adds the bass lines. From "Wherever," the leadoff song, to "Favorite Pair of Blue-jeans" to the almost anthem-like "Who Am I" Back Porch Orchestra has an intoxicating allure, but it is "Gate City Girl" that demands a closer listen as it names familiar places in the Triad.
  This wonderful collection of original songs will leave an indelibe impression and a thirst for a Volume II.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Meghan Shanley - Ready for Love

  Infusing elements of Jazz, Soul and R&B, the music of Meghan Shanley has a wonderfully distinct sound capable of transporting your mind to a cabaret, lounge or a Broadway stage.   Each of the songs on Meghan’s debut album Ready for Love creates an atmosphere all their  own.
  Full of high energy, and exhilarating instrumentation, each song on Ready for Love is punctuated with Meghan’s powerful vocals. Amid the soaring horns and sublime strings Meghan’s voice comes through strong, clear and clean - stirring a joy within the soul.
  The title track kicks this album off with a blues sound wrapped around a jazz flair before nicely transforming into a full blown R&B number that seems to set the tone for the album. Following the opening track the song “One Day” is a driving number featuring horns reminiscent of the group Chicago with Meghan’s vocals providing a strong compliment to the horns.
  From the high energy of “Ready for Love” and “One Day” the album segue’s into a slower tempo. “Break My Heart” could easily be a solo number in a Broadway musical while “Never Will” is pure R&B as is “Mysterious” with it’s horns and synthesizer.
  “Better Left Unsaid” would be right at home in a smoke-filled lounge with it’s heavy Blues flavored R&B qualities in contrast to the sassy “Shake It.”
  The moody “Without You” sets the stage for the final cut “Smile,” perhaps the most emotional song on the album. A tune written by silent film star Charlie Chaplin for his film “Modern Times.” Meghan’s rendering of this classic song is extremely moving, dripping with emotion and will raise the goosebumps on your arms and neck.