All it takes is 3 chords and a dream!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Adam Gilbert - A Generation Of Forgotten Kings

Adam Gilbert – A Generation of Forgotten Kings
2012, Adam Gilbert
New Jersey native Adam Gilbert has been pursuing the life of a piano man since graduating from the University of Miami in 2004.  His 2007 album Fishing For Water won wave reviews and resulted in significant airplay across the U.S.   For his latest work, Gilbert dug deep for the authentic, honest sound that issues forth from A Generation of Forgotten Kings.  The process was a personal one for Gilbert, as he strove to expose ideas of spirituality, accountability, responsibility, love and grace.
Gilbert jumps right in with the title track.  “A Generation of Forgotten Kings” is catchy, and built against a grand sonic landscape, ala U2.  Gilbert’s voice is certainly an acquired taste, although if you’re into early Bowie you’ll dig his sound.  The song focuses on stewardship, and asks what will happen to the children of today.  “How Do We Respond” plays in the same sonic playground, but the effect is a bit more bland here.  The chorus lingers on too long, and while the sound is nice, there’s no emotional oomph to back the message.  “On A Hill” plays in the same vein.

“Steady As We Go” is a solid piano ballad.  Gilbert breaks out of the U2 mold and writes an inspired song about holding on and staying the course.  Gilbert’s piano style on this tune may remind you of early Billy Joel.  “A Little Emotion” is best described as an amalgam of Billy Joel and David Bowie.  Although the songwriting here is diffuse, the overall sound works well, and Gilbert’s gruff voice will definitely grow on you.  “We’re Accountable” uses an almost hyper baroque piano style to back up a lyric ballad about personal responsibility for the world around us.  Gilbert’s against the grain voice is a nice fit here, and the sonic build throughout the song is appealing.  Lyrically, the song is a bit ham-handed in handling its subject, but it gets the desired message across.
“This Old World” is a love ballad with spiritual/religious undertones.  It’s a fair effort, but is the beginning of a long slow decline for A Generation of Forgotten Kings.  In general, the final six songs on the album aren’t really ready for prime time.  Gilbert works his way through “Better”, “Do You Want Me Now” and “I’ll Hold You In My Arms” like he’s going through the proverbial motions.    He shows a mild recovery for “Stay Awhile”, but slips back into the doldrums with the closing track, “Listen”.

Adam Gilbert starts with great intentions on A Generation of Forgotten Kings.  It’s the intentions that get him.  Gilbert spends the entire album writing to the message he wants to convey, rather than writing music and allowing his message to be born of it.  The result is similar to what often happens with CCM music… the message overcomes the musicality of the songs, and end product often sounds awkward.  Gilbert shows some real potential on the first half of the album, and a six or seven song EP made up from the first half of the album would find much greater success.  Gilbert is one to watch however, as he can write quite well.  He just gets stuck trying to write heart messages with his head on A Generation of Forgotten Kings. 
Rating: 2.5 Stars (Out of 5)

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Julia Wade - Solos

Julia Wade – Solos
2012, Julia Wade
Julia Wade has a singular voice born of classical training and operatic leanings.  As a crossover artist, Wade’s material runs the gamut from classical to Broadway to folk, with a bit of almost everything in between.  Wade seeks to inspire with Judeo-Christian inspired lyrics and an easy, contemplative musical style that lends itself to meditation.  Wade’s latest album, Solos, is cut wholly from this cloth.  Expounding on passages about God, spiritual love, sacrifice and joy. 
Wade kicks off Solos with the contemplative recitative “Beauty.”  This seeming rumination on aesthetics is actually woven with phrases that strive for a deeper spiritual connection.  Wade’s poetry is rough and unpolished at best, and her lyric presentation style grows quickly tiring.  “Today” sounds like a labored off-off-Broadway castoff.  No one doubts Wade’s voice, but the songwriting is ham-handed and her presentational style is stilted and impersonal.  Wade hits choppy waters on “Dominion”, offering a solid vocal performance that is unable to overcome awkward and stilted writing.  “Mind’s Camera” shows a distinct disconnect between song and style, and the lyrics are so overdone with faux intellectual spiritual musings that they become unlistenable.    “One” follows similar style and sounds, and practically requires its own libretto. 
Julia Wade is afflicted with a need to describe every thought in complete detail.  Listen to “Divine Love” if you need an example of this tendency, and how it can completely kill a song.  Wade bludgeons each thought with a barrage of descriptive language that leeches the intended spirituality and heart from the message.  “Government” follows a similar path, dealing in pseudo-intellectual musings on human institutions with spiritual overtones.  “Prayer” is truly expansive, clocking in at 6:13.  Wade’s prayer is full of emotional disconnect.  This disconnect seemingly decides it likes the neighborhood and sticks around through the end of Solos. 
Julia Wade has a distinctive voice that is perfect for the stage.   She manages to make some interest on Solos in spite of largely uninspired spiritual writing.  You’ll want to check out Solos for Wade’s voice, but it’s a tough garden to tend, and the songs you’ll have to wade through will try the patience.  Solos is a tough sell.
Rating: 1 Star (Out of 5)
Learn more at

Friday, July 27, 2012

A sapphire for my wife

Good day to you.

I am writing to you today with a story that might interest you.  Please read on.

McKenzie Haskell is a wonderful wife and mom.  I know the former because I am the guy who was lucky enough to be chosen by her.  The latter I know because our children, Nathanael (5) and Savannah (4) are turning out to be such wonderful kids.  McKenzie home schools our kids, keeps the families basic needs happening, acts as social director and manages the family finances.

This year I have watched her go through one of the hardest things she will ever do.  You see, McKenzie’s mom is dying of lung cancer. 

There’s no hyperbole there.  McKenzie's mom was diagnosed last August with Stage IV small cell lung cancer.  By the time it was diagnosed it had spread to her chest outside of her lungs, her brain and to other organ systems as well.  She has fought hard, but the doctors have done all they can do now.

This story isn’t unique, of course. 

Not knowing what else to do, McKenzie signed up to participate in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life in Geneva, NY on July 28-29, 2012.  She enlisted several of her family members and friends in the cause.  Our team, The Cave Crashers has raised $10,800.00 as of 6:00 PM on 7/27/12.  This is not bad for a small town Relay for Life.

Early on, McKenzie was reading through the support materials for the Relay and that teams can attain a fundraising level of “Sapphire”, which is $15,000.00.  This took on significance for my wife as her mom’s favorite color is Sapphire Blue.  At present we are 1 day away from the Relay, and without some unknown force becoming involved we will not make our team goal of $15,000.00.

This is where I am hoping you might be able to help.  I know you all have great hearts, and I am hoping you will help.  We’ve never been fancy people, but I would like to give this sapphire to my wife this year, in honor of her mom.  Donations can be made through the Cave Crashers team page (American Cancer Society hosted).  The full link is here:

I realize I am sending this along late in the game, so to speak.  This is my last ditch effort to get us there.  It’s not going to change the course of things for McKenzie's mom, but it will lift my wife’s spirits in this time to know she got this sapphire for her mom.

Thank you for taking the time to read this either way.  Have a wonderful day.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Jenn Summers - When Life Gives You Lemons

Jenn Summers – When Life Gives You Lemons
2012, Jenn Summers
Some folks spend their lives bemoaning the minor pits and pratfalls of life.  Others struggle bravely on in spite of steeper obstacles and keep a sunny disposition, grateful for what they have.  Enter Jenn Summers.  She is definitely of the latter group.  Afflicted with a congenital heart disease, Summers has already lived through three open heart procedures in her young life.  In spite of that, Summers displays a warmth and sweetness in her songwriting that is the product of a golden heart.  It all comes clear on her new album When Life Gives You Lemons. 
Summers kicks things off with “Blue Velveteen”, an ode to living fully and freely in spite of not having much in the way of worldly possessions.   The catchy country/folk/pop feel of this number is very appealing, and Summers’ voice is the perfect summer balm.  This is a great way to kick off an album.  “Get Better” is built in the same mode; a stripped down and simple arrangement that perfectly embraces Summers’ vocal.  There’s a bit more of a pop/singer-songwriter orientation here, and Summer’s everywoman voice is engaging and warm.
“When Life Gives You Lemons, Make L.O.V.E.” is a sweet song built on minimalist guitar, voices, handclaps, and a killer pop sensibility.  The jaunty feel of this number could make it prone to kitsch, but Jenn Summers sings it with such conviction that you never question her authenticity.    “This Side Of Free” is a straight-up pop/rock number that asks for the dropping of the guard in a relationship.  There’s a catchy feel here that gets in your head, even if the more full-sound orientation here is surprisingly thin.  “Don’t Mind Me” is self-pity in the form of a pop song.  The writing here is a bit bland, but Summers builds a nice sound out of it nonetheless. 
“The Monday Song” is pure fluffy folk/pop; it’s easy to imagine this song catching on to a movie soundtrack and raising Summers’ profile in the process.  “Wake Me Up” brings a touch of country flavor once again.  This is a song that sneaks up on you… the first listen might not be particularly notable, but this tune will grow on you over time.  Summers is at her vocal best here, and the slow build into the chorus will carry you along.  “Muchi Muchi” is a cute/sweet love long; bright and airy and lots of fun.  The simple arrangement and catchy melody are a winner, and Summer is perfectly in her element on the vocal. 
“On My Own” is a solid pop/country number dressed up as adult contemporary.  The melody is well crafted and hauntingly familiar even on first listen. The pacing here is a bit off, and the rhymes a bit predictable, but Summers does a fine job of making it all work.  When Life Gives You Lemons winds down with “Bad Idea”, a dreamy piano ballad.  The sound here is silky smooth, with Summers creating a near-perfect sonic blend.  The lyrical output here is still a bit awkward at times, but the sound is so smooth you won’t care.
Jenn Summers has a gift for creating bright airy pop songs and lyric ballads, crafted in simple arrangements that are rarely more or less than exactly what they need to be.  When Life Gives You Lemons is both more and less than it should be.  Sonically, Summers keeps things simple yet brings out the utter beauty of simple arrangements, an artistic choice that fits well thematically with much of her lyric writing.  From a lyrical perspective, Summers’ authenticity and sweetness of heart cannot be questioned.  The occasional awkwardness of rhyme this engenders is easily overlooked in light of Summers’ near-perfect melodic sensibilities.  When Life Gives You Lemons is not the best album you will hear all year, but it might be the one you most remember, and the one you keep returning to.  It’s musical comfort food with a positive message.  You’ll want to spend some real time with Jenn Summers.
Rating: 4 Stars (Out of 5)
Learn more about Jenn Summers at or!/jennsummersmusic. When Life Gives You Lemons is available from the e-tailers below:
Amazon MP3                   iTunes

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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Geneva NY Relay For Life - Free Concert Event July 28-29, 2012

Hey New York!  This July 28th and 29th there is an amazing musical event coming your way!  Geneva, NY will be hosting it's own Relay for Life event on those days, and Wildy's World, in conjunction with the American Cancer Society is presenting a free concert event in conjunction with the Relay that is not to be believed!  Check out the lineup!

Saturday July 28th, 2012
4:00 PM   - Bryan Johnson and Family

5:00 PM   - Atomic Solace

5:30 PM   - Christie Lenee

7:00 PM   - The Devyl Nellys

8:00 PM   - Jessie Kilguss & Radio Gold

9:00 PM   - Jennings

10:00 PM - HEADLINER - Rachael Sage

11:00 PM - Jeneen Terrana

Sunday July 29th, 2012
12:00 AM - All Star Jam

The jam will include several of the artists listed above, as well as one or two special guests.

All sets on Saturday are free and open to the public.  Individuals who want to stay on the grounds after midnight must be registered for the Relay for Life.  Special registration bracelets will be available on site for those who have not pre-registered.

All of the artists above are generously donating their time and talents to this year's Relay for Life.  As such, there is no charge, but donations to the American Cancer Society will be gladly accepted.  Additionally, attendees will be able to purchase tickets to vote for their favorite artist of the night.  The artist with most votes will receive a special award!

For more information on the Geneva Relay for Life, please check out the event website!  If you have specific questions about the musical acts, or would like to come and participate in the jam, please contact me at, or via

All press inquiries can be sent to Laurena Marrone of Grit PR, who has graciously donated her services to promoting the event!

And of course, if you'd like to donate to the Relay For Life as a sponsor for my team, the Cave Crashers, you can click on Wildy's personal page an select the 'donate on my behalf' button.  Any amount great or small helps us build toward a world with more birthdays!