Seems not so long ago I wrote about Jeff Young, but that was in fact an international release of an album out a few years before. And here is his fresh new album. Reading through the press info, one cannot help but be impressed with all the name dropping there; side man to Jackson Browne, Donald Fagen, Curtis Stigers, Bonnie Raitt and Sting. Guest like Kirk Fletcher and Michael (oh wow) Landau! A crew used to work for names like Tori Amos, John Mayer or Gov’t Mule… We must be in for a treat!
And you would be right with that guess. Young is a scene veteran and it shows in every aspect of his songwriting, the sound, and his performance as a keyboard player and a (very soulful) vocalist. Whether it is the East- meets West coast of The Beauty Of A Woman (based on words from Audrey Hepburn), the reggae cover of James Brown’s Cold Sweat, The Steely Dan typed blues in The Art Of Conversation, or what ever song out of the ten on offer here, this is class. And where perfect produced music sometimes leads to clinical, heartless music, here that is not the case at all. This is warm and personal and invites you to play it repeatedly.
So another job well done, and another album that will be revisited from time to time. Comes recommended!
There are a couple of reasons to write some words about this album. First, the new album from Jeff Young called Choose Your Own Unknown, will be released coming march 2016. Second is that this album deals with songs from the musical One Hit Wonder, written in 2009 by Jeff. And I don not often have musicals on offer… And most importantly is reason 3; this is damn fine music!
The songs are a mix of soul, blues, pop, jazz and rock. Brought to you by a cast that impresses on all accounts, even when I think I do not know all the musicians involved. But names like Jackson Browne, Jorgen Carlsson or Robben Ford should ring a bell. The CD tells the fictitious story of Pure Herringbone, who dreams of changing his life with just that one hit record. The songs deal with vision and ambition, obstacles and the machinations of the music industry. And I must say, from the moment I started listening I was impressed. There is something about this music that grabbed me. Something like a warm bath or an putting on that old coat. Instant very comfortable. So this is delivered from the heart and that is what you will also feel listening to this.
If the new album is anything like it, count me in!
“My name is Richard. I am a DJ, label manager and producer from Stockholm. I came across your blog and wanted to share some interesting music stories and my label ”Cambodian Soul Sounds” that re-releases unheard cambodian psych-rock-soul from the 60´s and 70´s.
Unfortunately, as you may know, all the musicians from this time where executed by the Khmer Rouge in 1975, and the Cambodian music scene vanished. Even listening to this wonderful music under the Pol Pot regime would have got you killed. Almost every record and tape was destroyed by soldiers during the genocide. Some brave people smuggled out original recordings. And even up to this date you can find hidden recordings stored in the homes of exile Cambodians. In 2008 (I think) 200 new songs by singer Sinn Sisamouth were found in an apartment in Paris. Hidden and unheard since the dark years of Cambodia.
When I heard this music for the first time I instantly knew I needed to be a part of it. I want to spread it to the world and want to share the sounds and stories of this super cool era in Cambodia. But also tell the stories about the deeply tragic ending of everything. When I was travelling in Phnom Penh last time, I actually got hold of some recordings that I brought with me back home. The audio quality was really poor, but I fixed it up in the studio to make the sound to be playable at loud DJ volumes. Added warmth and eq and mastered it again and released the first compilation ”Cambodian Soul Sounds Vol I”. I needed a place to tell the back stories about this music so I made a Facebook page with the same name where I share stories and happenings around old Cambodian psych/rock/soul music.
The 25th of March. The Vol II compilation will be out. However I´ve set up a ”secret” bandcamp page with the tracks out for early bird purchase now already. Pretty exclusive. Every sale from these tracks is going to charity. I´ve decided to donate everything to Cambodian Childrens Fund. So by buying these wonderful tracks, you can also help make a change.
Something strange just happened to me again. While this is not my first Richie Kotzen album, every time I buy another one I realize I should buy all of them. Such is the effect that this music has on me! Known to some for being the guitar player in Mr. Big after Paul Gilbert’s departure, mister Kotzen also has a long solo career to his credit. And while he first came to the public eye as a shredder, on every album I own, he proves not only to be a very convincing singer with a lot of soul in his voice, but also a guitar player with a brilliant warm tone and capable of giving every song what it needs to shine.
His music is rock, with often funk and soul influences. So yes, his albums tend to be a mixed affair, but the genius he is, is just too good to ignore. So this is easy as good as other stuff I own. I just dig that feel! And if you are not afraid of rock spiced up with some funk and soul, than this is surely something to check out. Love it!
I know you are surprised to see me write about this album. So let me explain a little. I not only bought this album because someone wanted me to teach them the chords of opening track Rolling In The Deep, but also because several members of my family like this. And when we are travelling together, it is always a good idea to have some albums at hand that more people are into.
So lately I have been hearing this quite a lot, and I must confess that I think it is really good! Surprised? You shouldn’t be, good music is good music, and supporting that is what this blog is all about.
Though young of age (you guess), Adele proves to be a woman with a powerful voice and sings with authenticity, feel and colour. Best tracks for me are the more up-tempo tracks like the already mentioned Rolling In The Deep, Rumour Has It, or Set Fire To The Rain. But also the slower tracks (sometimes with minimal arrangement) are very convincing.
I will be curious to find out how Adele will fare as she grows older and (normally) matures further. For now, this album is already very enjoyable, discover it for yourself…