All it takes is 3 chords and a dream!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Wildy's World Auctions to benefit The American Cancer Society

Wildy's World writer/editor Wildy (will-dee)  Haskell will be participating in the Relay For Life in Geneva, NY on July 28-29, 2012.  As part of the fundraising efforts for that event, Wildy's World has reached out to a number of the artists we've worked with in the past.  Throughout June and July of 2012, we will be offering a number of unique, one-of-a-kind auctions on eBay.

Our first auction, going live on Friday, June 1, 2012 at 8:00 PM EDT, is the opportunity to have a song written at your request by New York City singer/songwriter Kati Mac. 


Kati Mac is an internationally known artist with five albums spanning and twenty-year career, and her work has been featured on such television shows as General Hospital, The Guiding Light and Sunset Beach.  While the auctions hasn't kicked off yet, you can view it already.  Kati Mac's song auction will on eBay under item #221038586203.  All auctions can be viewed once they go live under the seller id wildysworld. 

This once in a lifetime opportunity is only the first of many.  To date over thirty artists have signed up to write a song in this fashion.  We've also received some great memorabilia from several artists, with several more promising items.  So stay tuned...  you never know what might be coming next!

Shake The Baron - Ghost Hits

Shake The Baron  - Ghost Hits
2012, Super Duper Records
New York Rockers Shake The Baron go for a neo-British sounding new wave/shoe gaze menagerie on their second album Ghost Hits.  Vocalist Andrew Oedel is appealing, with a voice that’s scratchy and accessible, yet with a purity of tone that is surprising.  Shake The Baron plays with a rhythmic, guitar-driven style that’s easy on the ears.  The songwriting on Ghost Hits is poetically solid, but delves too deeply into the broken psyche of a simpering, perseverating heart.
While tunes such as “Jones”, “Let’s Go Underground” and “We Made A Habit” show signs of real life, Shake The Baron is too often caught asunder by a whirling storm of self-pity and regret.  The inward focus here is just too much, and while broken hearts have driven rock and roll since Les Paul struck the first electric chord, here it becomes a real drag on the music.  Shake The Baron shows real potential on Ghost Hits, but never manages to break out of their own doldrums here.
Rating: 2.5 Stars (Out of 5)
Ghost Hits drops on June 12, 2012.  Learn more at www.shakethebaron.com. 

Please note that the Amazon.com prices listed above are as of the posting date, and may have changed. Wildy's World is not responsible for price changes instituted by Amazon.com.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Wildy's World auctions - American Cancer Society

Keep your eyes open beginning June 1, 2012!

Wildy's World is teaming up with a host of Independent and established artists to offer up some interesting auctions on eBay to raise money for the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life.

Auctions will include the opportunity to have a song written for yourself, about a subject of your choosen, or for someone you love from a host of independent artists, many of whom have been reviewed here on this blog.  To date I have confirmed participation from Kati Mac, John Mueller of Winter Dance Party, Andy Hawk, The Spanish Channel, Missed You At The Show, The Blisterz, BFF, Jodi Shaw, Skyler, Key Dragon, Deborah Crooks, Amanda Belardinelli, These Curious Thoughts. Crown Point Band, Steve Haggard and Beth Whitney.  I also have initial indications of interest from 18 additional artists who want to auction off a song for the winning bidder to shape, as it were.

In addition, several artists have stepped forward with items to raffle off.  Confirmed thus far are Marian Call, Styx, Ron Hawkins (Lowest of the Low), Winter Dance Party, Jerome Lee, Andy Hawk and Lee Alexander.

So keep your eyes on the eBay profile amherstcds beginning June 1, 2012.  Profits from these auctions will benefit the American Cancer Society, with a couple of the auctions splitting the proceeds between the American Cancer Society and other charities/projects.  Each will be specified in the auction listing.

This will be a great opportunity to win a one-of-a-kind auction from some of your favorite independent artists and help the American Cancer Society make a world with more birthdays!

And if you're an artist who'd like to participate in one of these auctions, it's not too late!  Drop me a line at wildysworld@gmail.com.  If you'd just like to make a donation to The American Cancer Society on behalf of Wildy's World, you can donate through Wildy's personal Relay For Life page.  Have a wonderful day, and be well!

...wildy

Darryl Gregory - Big Texas Sky

Darryl Gregory – Big Texas Sky
2012, Emptyhead Musikwerks
Darryl Gregory has seen it all, from the seedy clubs of 1990’s New York City to the wings of off- and off-off-Broadway shows.  He’s seen the music world from the classroom, the orchestra pit and behind the boards.  Even relatively settled now with a wife and children, Darryl Gregory continues to create.  Gregory’s latest album, Big Texas Sky, is an eye-opener for both the power of music and the power of spirit.
“Aunt Jean’s Piano” is a quiet lament of a relative called home too soon.  The song opens with a duet hymn in classic mixolydian harmony, before Gregory transitions into a loving tribute to a beloved aunt who inspired a life-long love of music.  It’s a heart-tugging song full of love and grace, played in a reverent country arrangement.  “Anywhere But Here” is a classic country anthem about a young lady stuck in a small town full of small dreams.  It’s a solid story song, full of wailing pedal steel guitar and a hope for something more.  Gregory shows his vocal limitations here but holds his own.  Techno, rock and blues come together on “Workin’ Man”, with slide guitar and an Industrial percussion style underlining a classic country/blues story song told by a man punching the clock so his lady can have the finer things.  The song is catchy but seems a bit out of character here.
“How Do I Tell Her” is a soliloquy from a man who has lost his job, and is agonizing over how to tell his wife that life has suddenly changed.  Love redeems all here, but the song cuts to the deepest insecurities of an old school working class man.  The melody flows like water, and you could easily imagine this tune in a movie or a countrified musical.  “What About Love” seemingly continues the story line, with the couple giving up their ties to worldly means and simply living.  It’s a recognition of all that is truly important, with love being the currency they share.  Gregory’s songwriting here touches deep to heart and human spirit in this moment.
“Elegy For An Old Man” takes the story tellers soliloquy form to another level; an autobiographical sketch of a life well lived.  There is something magical in the story telling here, as Gregory invokes thoughts of Gordon Lightfoot.  The song follows the life arch, retrospectively, of a man ready to sail off for the great beyond but telling his tale one more time before he leaves.  This is a ‘wow’ moment for Darryl Gregory, and it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see this song picked up by other artists and covered over time.  Gregory winds down Big Texas Sky with “Prayer & Allelujah”.  Starting out in somewhat contemplative fashion, Gregory kicks it up into a classic southern gospel barn burner that will have you on your feet and shouting to the skies.
Darryl Gregory is a pleasant surprising; showing strong compositional abilities and a talent for storytelling that is rare.  While Gregory’s voice is somewhat limited in its comfortable range he doesn’t let it get in his way, singing with the sort of confidence and strength that has powered the careers of Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Gordon Lightfoot and others.  Big Texas Sky ranges as wide as the red dirt it reflects, as Darryl Gregory leads listeners through inspiration, confidence, loss, rebirth and celebration.  It’s a wondrous journey, authentically human and fervently told.  Here’s hoping Darryl Gregory has more where this came from.
Rating: 4 Stars (Out of 5)
Learn more at www.darrylgregory.com.  You can purchase Big Texas Sky directly from Gregory’s website, or through the e-tailers below.

Amazon MP3                 CDBaby (CD & MP3)          iTunes


Please note that the Amazon.com prices listed above are as of the posting date, and may have changed. Wildy's World is not responsible for price changes instituted by Amazon.com.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Crazy Mary - Dreaming In Brilliant Color

Crazy Mary – Dreaming In Brilliant Color
2012, Humsting Records
The 1970’s and early 80’s were a crazy, brilliant, dangerous time in New York City: Prostitutes on 42nd Street, muggings all over town, and some of the smartest, hippest music anywhere.  Much of that city is gone, but Crazy Mary is keeping some of that gritty spirit alive.  On their ninth album, Dreaming In Brilliant Color, Crazy Mary shows off the sort of whip-smart swagger that once made rock and roll so much fun.
Crazy Mary kicks things off with the high energy rocker “Come On Let’s Go”.  Vocalist Em Z is the primary driver here, as the arrangement underneath is decidedly low key.  It’s cult of personality time as Michelle Malone meets Geddy Lee in one of the more memorable vocal performances of the year thus far.  The chorus is crazy infectious, and the unpredictable violin soli is the perfect spice.  “Cup Of Tea” is a catchy little number, although Em Z seems a bit out of synch with the band this time through.  “Driven As A Train” has a theatrical bent that is hard to ignore, and gets stuck in your medulla, making it next to impossible not to move around and shake your limbs.
“Song For A New Year” finds Crazy Mary wanting to capitalize on the political ideals of the ‘occupy’ movement, but the emphasis on the political isn’t matched by the energy, and this tune fizzles before it can set sail.  “Ferris Wheel” finds Crazy Mary getting more into a country/Americana groove where they sound most at home.  “I’m Ready To Go” recaptures the energy the band is capable of, and promises much for Crazy Mary’s live shows. 
Crazy Mary takes a blind turn on “Fallen Angel”, falling nicely into a blues/rock arrangement that’s down and dirty yet refined.  The energy here is ebullient, and Crazy Mary sounds like they are having a blast.  Listeners won’t be able to help from picking up on, and feeding off of that energy.  The live wire feel stays for “Nick’s New Groove”, even if the composition is a bit rough around the edges.  The seams never quite come apart as Crazy Mary tries to expand their musical field of play, but the edge of your seat drama over when it all might come apart is a fun musical sidebar. 
Dreaming In Brilliant Color goes quietly thereafter, with Crazy Mary working through “Another One Like You”, “Take Me By The Hand” and “The Big F” in mercurial fashion.  “The Big F” is a funky monster that never takes off the way it might.  One gets the feeling this tune will play better against the energy of a live audience than it does in the quietude of the studio.
Don’t look now but Crazy Mary is in the neighborhood.  In spite of some slow moments on Dreaming In Brilliant Color, Crazy Mary shows themselves to be accomplished performers and musicians, and Em Z has the sort of voice that’s instantly recognizable once you’ve heard it.  There’s real potential here.  In another era Crazy Mary would have a major label contract and a defined development path.  Left to their own devices it seems likely Crazy Mary will still make it to the larger stage; it might just take a bit longer.
Rating: 3.5 Stars (Out of 5)
Learn more about Crazy Mary at www.crazymary.com.  You can purchase Dreaming In Brilliant Colour from the etailers below.

Amazon CD             Amazon MP3              iTunes.


Please note that the Amazon.com prices listed above are as of the posting date, and may have changed. Wildy's World is not responsible for price changes instituted by Amazon.com.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Smash Cast - The Music Of Smash


Smash Cast – The Music Of Smash
2012, Columbia Records
The NBC television show Smash has been both praised and derided as Glee for adults.  While this is not entirely unfair, on either side of the coin, what often gets missed is that at the heart of the show is a brilliant Broadway score written by Marc Shaiman and Scott Whitman.  Female principals Katharine McPhee (American Idol) and Megan Hilty (Wicked, 9 to 5: The Musical) bring the sort of power and finesse that Glee has never been able to achieve.  The supporting cast, including Broadway veterans Christian Borle (Thoroughly Modern Millie, Legally Blonde, Spamalot); Brian D’Arcy James (Shrek: The Musical, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Next To Normal); Will Chase and Anne Harada, as well as TV/movie stars Debra Messing (Will & Grace) and Anjelica Huston, is nothing to sneeze at either.  Given the star power and the quality of the musical performances in the show, it was inevitable that a soundtrack would be release eventually.  It’s disappointing; however, that the producers of the album chose to focus on the pop star karaoke numbers from the show rather than on Shaiman/Whitman’s original material.
Don’t get me wrong, the soundtrack includes five original numbers from the increasingly not fictional show Bombshell, but at thirteen tracks for the standard issue and eighteen tracks for the Target exclusive, The Music Of Smash undersells the very heart of the show.  That’s not a knock on the performances on the album, which range from above average to downright brilliant.  The only ‘dog’ (if you will) on the entire the album is the opening track, “Touch Me”.  Written for the show by Bonnie McKee and Ryan Tedder (One Republic), the song is pure pre-programmed electro pop, and sticks out here like a sore thumb.  McPhee’s vocal performance is flawless, but the material is below her, and even her voice can’t lift the song.  Luckily things improve quickly.
The highlights of the album are the songs from Bombshell: “Let Me Be Your Star” (Katharine McPhee & Megan Hilty); “The 20th Century Fox Mambo” (McPhee); “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” (Hilty & Will Chase); “Let’s Be Bad” (Hilty); and “History Is Made At Night” (Hilty & Chase).  These songs support the rumors that Shaiman and Whitman will take the ideas developed in Smash and bring Bombshell to the Broadway stage.  Other highlights from Megan Hilty include the cover of Carrie Underwood’s “Crazy Dreams” and the “Breakaway”.  Katharine McPhee gets the bulk of the pop songs, with “Stand” (with Leslie Odom); Linda Perry’s “Beautiful; and the Bob Hilliard/Mort Garson-penned “Our Day Will Come”. 
McPhee and Hilty don’t get to steal the show entirely, however.  Nick Jonas provides a surprisingly deft cover of “Haven’t Me You Yet”, and the First Lady of Broadway, Bernadette Peters, offers up a brilliant “Everything’s Coming Up Roses”.  The downside is that for a show about the making of a Broadway musical, there’s too much focus on radio-friendly pop music here.  That is the price, perhaps, for providing such a unique look at bringing a show to the Great White Way.  Television is not just about the story of course, but the marketing opportunities that come with it.  Broadway fans will feel that more could have been done with this release, while pop music fans will love the Top-40 focus.
On the whole, The Music Of Smash is very an appealing collection of songs sung by some of the best voices in the pop and Broadway worlds.  Not including a track from Christian Borle is something of a crime, but in the end, the positives far outweigh the negatives.
Rating: 4 Stars (Out of 5)

Learn more about Smash at www.nbc.com/smash

Target Deluxe (5 bonus tracks)        iTunes.

     Amazon CD          Amazom MP3     


Please note that the Amazon.com prices listed above are as of the posting date, and may have changed. Wildy's World is not responsible for price changes instituted by Amazon.com.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Rob Morsberger - Ghosts Before Breakfast


Rob Morsberger  - Ghosts Before Breakfast
2011, Hieroglyph Records
Rob Morsberger has always had a talent for writing deep-yet quirky pop/rock songs.  His 2010 release, The Chronicle Of A Literal Man, was a musical breath of fresh air bursting upon a world of jaded pop.  Morsberger’s most recent work, Ghost Before Breakfast, takes a darker yet no less enigmatic turn.  The album was written before Morsberger learned that he had inoperable brain cancer, yet listening to the album you’d think that some part of his mind knew something was going on.  The album foreshadows Morsberger’s battle in lucid terms, eking out the fa├žade of beauty and tragedy that is real life.
Ghosts Before Breakfast travels the map, musically, from solid Americana to 1950’s rock to catchy pop tunes.  Kicking off with the title track, Morsberger sets the tone for an upbeat look at the downward slide that is the end of life.  “Ghosts Before Breakfast” is upbeat, almost jaunty.  In “The Great Whatever”, Morsberger explores facing the afterlife without concrete faith of belief to hold onto.  There is a gentle exploration going on here, a sort of intellectual curiosity about the spiritual truths of life and death.  “The Distinguished Thing” is a catchy little rock number that you won’t be able to get out of your head. 
Morsberger flaunts his talent for lyrical imagery in “Cobblestones”, lamenting the one who left him alone.  The easy listening arrangement is a nice contrast to Morsberger’s rough hewn voice.  “The Wild Wind” has a mellow-Springsteen feel, a solid Americana turn that’s deeper than it first appears.    “A Man Of Much Merit” is a letter from son to father about impending death, and expressing appreciation for his surroundings and his past.  This one is a heartbreaker – beautiful and without the expected sense of self-pity.  This is a ‘WOW’ moment.  “Celebrity Artist” finds Morsberger turning his prodigious wit on the modern concept of what it means to be a celebrity.  The song is well written and amusing.
It’s into 1950’s style pop/rock for “For Heaven’s Sake”, and into the 1960’s for the Beatles-esque “Rocket Science”.  Try to get this one out of your head.  “Feather In A Stream” is another wow moment for Morsberger, using strings to striking effect to highlight a Zen look at the world to come.  “Christine In Your Salon” is an ode to a remarkable woman, beautiful in its honesty and simplicity.  Mark that down as a third ‘WOW’ for Morsberger.
Ghosts Before Breakfast finds Rob Morsberger negotiating impending tragedy with a subtle grace that is inspiring.    It is a subdued work, full of quiet reflections and keen insight, but even here Morsberger doesn’t leave his sense of humor at the door.  Morsberger finds beauty in darkness, bring light to the gloom and doom of impending death, by choosing to focus on the life remaining than the end to come.  Ghosts Before Breakfast is inspiring.
Rating:  4.5 Stars (Out of 5)
You can learn more about Rob Morsberger at www.RobMorsberger.com or www.myspace.com/robmorsberger.  Ghosts Before Breakfast is available through the e-tailers below, as well as through the Wildy’s World Amazon.com store.

   Amazon MP3            CDBaby (CD/MP3)       iTunes


Please note that the Amazon.com prices listed above are as of the posting date, and may have changed. Wildy's World is not responsible for price changes instituted by Amazon.com.