All it takes is 3 chords and a dream!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Rachael Sage - Haunted By You

Rachael Sage – Haunted By You
2012, MPress Records
Singer, songwriter, producer and music entrepreneur Rachael Sage releases her 10th album on May 8, 2012.  Haunted By You tracks a topsy-turvy period of falling in and out of love, breaking hearts and having her own broken.  The result is the three-time Independent Music Award winner’s most raw and emotive work to date.  Haunted By You finds Sage at her most elemental, stripping arrangements down to their bare bones, while baring her heart for all the world to see, while she ruminates on love lost and found, and the never ending cycle of renewal that begets it all.
Opening with “Invisible Light”, Sage lays it all on the line in a gorgeous love song full of amazing energy.  There’s a quirky feel to this number – not mischief but something not too far removed, and Sage’s superior melodic sensibility is not left behind.  Sage brings a 1970’s singer/songwriter flair on “Abby Would You Wait”.  This is a prospective love song, and Sage fills it with a solid, if subtle groove.  “California” is a lamentation, of sorts, of effort put into a relationship that now seems to be falling apart.    Sage is up close and personal here, in a heart-to-heart soliloquy that’s an intriguing mix of raw emotion and intellect.
“Performance Art” is a lush self-reflection on creation, performance and the drawbacks of being a public persona.  The parallel and competitive ambivalence between this career choice and romantic attachments is a sub-theme here, and Sage dresses up the whole thing in a gorgeous, string-laden arrangement that flows like honey-laden water.  “Everything” is a song of redemption, with love as the redeemer.  From a purely aesthetic perspective, this is one of the most compelling songs Sage has written in her storied career. Sage shows her edgier side on “Ready”, and it’s hard not to make a comparison to Tori Amos’ early work on this song, but it’s just sage showing one of her many creative layers. 
Haunted By You” pushes aside the curtain of unrequited love in a personal missive that is compelling and impossible to ignore.  Sage’s powerful lyrics and musical presence will turn heads here.  “Birthday” finds Sage exploring good intentions and human faults, perhaps in the wake of a relationship.  Well-written and very real, this number brings laying it all on the line to a new level. “Hey Nah” is a celebratory love song pull of jaunty piano, funky bass and smooth horns.  It is destined to be a fan favorite and has the right feel to be a summertime hit.  “Confession” is a mea culpa full of romantic regret, with Sage bearing her heart completely.  “Soulstice” explores long distance love, using a stripped-down song structure with a lush heart.   Sage comes full circle to close Haunted By You, closing with a reprise of “Invisible Light”.
Rachael Sage herself comes full circle on Haunted By You, returning to the highly personal songwriting style that has driven her songwriting over the years.  Sage’s powers of perception and analysis are turned inward here, as she explores the landscape of romantic creation and destruction.  Musically, Sage is at the top of her game, creating everything from minimalist piano accompaniment to fully orchestrated arrangements, as befits her musical mood.  Haunted By You is a Wildy’s World Certified Desert Island Disc.  You’re certain to find it a mutual attraction.
Rating: 5 Stars (Out of 5)
Learn more about Rachael Sage at  Haunted By You drops on May 8, 2012.  You can pre-order the album through the e-tailers below, or from the Wildy’s World store.

    Amazon CD           Amazon MP3

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

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Lauren Edman - It's Always The Quiet One

Lauren Edman – It’s Always The Quiet One
2012, Lauren Edman
At first listen, Lauren Edman’s It’s Always The Quiet One might seem like a musical autobiography that’s full of contradictions.  It that’s your first impression you might want to listen again.  In a world full of superficial pop music, Edman digs deep.  Exploring the worlds perceptions of a ‘quiet person’ in direct contrast to her sense of self, Edman gets deep into her own psyche while navigating the musical pathways between trip-hop and shoegaze.  Sparse, ethereal arrangements both frame the songs and leave Edman’s voice and presence exposed to the world.  It is a brave artistic effort that succeeds on chutzpah and musicality.
Edman has a sweet, plaintive voice with just a hint of edge to it; the high school wall flower that finally speaks during graduation week and makes everyone uncomfortable with how much she’s been paying attention all these years.  Edman’s focus is turned inward on It’s Always The Quiet One, however, examining her own emotions, motives and insecurities.  On “Wasting”, E      dman explores self-doubt in the context of gorgeous ambience.  The vocal harmonies she builds around herself have to be heard to be fully appreciated.   “Slate” sets up an interesting juxtaposition between the arrangement and Edman’s voice.  The almost clockwork piano style nearly sounds programmed, whereas Edman’s voice is passive and sweet.  The theatrical sense here is compelling, as an implication of events out of her control wash by Edmans in her ‘quiet’ state. 
“Be The Light” explores the mindset of a loner who knows how to break free but stays confined to their own inner restrictions.  This is a through the looking glass moment, standing on the precipice of setting oneself free while negotiating the inherent discomforts.  This struggle resolves in “Sweet Girl”, with Edman breaking out of her shell.  There’s an almost apologist air to this, but only for the discomfort she’s caused others.  It’s very clear that the quiet girl is here to stay.  The energy in this song changes as well, an uptick from the quiet aesthetics that span much of It’s Always The Quiet One.  Edman doesn’t so much get louder as she injects more energy into her electronic muse, achieving a sense of dynamic that is too often missing from electronic pop.
Perhaps the big struggle on It’s Always The Quiet One is that the album climaxes too early.  “Sweet Girl” is a being is becoming moment.  In a movie, you would expect such a character breakthrough to lead to the realization of a goal, dream, etc.  There would be some sort of payoff for the main character or narrator.  That payoff never comes on It’s Always The Quiet One.  Edman offers up a series of musical doodles that are more afterthought that aftershock.  “Red Wings”, “Desperate Times” and “Silent” simply slide by the listener.  Edman shows signs of life on “This Is It”, but they are mere sonic echoes.  “She’s Not Here” is an attempt to celebrate the rite of passage that has occurred in “Sweet Girl”, but it is too far disconnected by time and musical experience to have the impact it might have otherwise.
In spite of all of this, there really isn’t a weak song on It’s Always The Quiet One.  It’s simply that Edman starts out with a quietly theatrical sense and the feel of a story in development, but then drops listeners half way through for a series of scattered sidebar illuminations that don’t resonate with the progression she starts with.  It’s clear that Lauren Edman has a talent for building sonically pleasing songs from the electronic ether, and her voice is sweet, but with just enough of an edge to keep it interesting.  There is a talent, however, to building an album that involves more than simply writing songs, but the ability to put them together in a way that flows and makes sense.  Edman loses that sense part way through It’s Always A Quiet One.  It’s not a fatal error, but it does make the listening experience a bit disjointed.
Rating: 3 Stars (Out of 5)
Learn more about Lauren Edman at  It's Always The Quiet One is available from the e-tailers below, as well as through the Wildy's World store.

Amazon CD                 Amazon MP3           iTunes

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

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Christie Lenee Video - Just Watch

I just had to share this video of Christie Lenee communing with her guitar.  I wish I could do that. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Martina Downy - Sign Post

Martina Downey – Sign Post
2011, Martina Downey
Martina Downey grew up with music in her soul.  The Paterson, NJ native grew up with 1960’s and 1970’s R&B and rock n roll, eventually becoming enthralled with the ever shifting glam of David Bowie.  At the same time, Downey became deeply involved in Gospel music through her church choir.  Downey has even taken to the theater stage, but her first love seems to be rock and roll.  Downey returns to her roots on her sophomore album, Sign Post, while bringing spiritual introspection into the mix.
What is most surprising about Sign Post given Downey’s résumé, are her struggles with pitch and tone throughout the album.  The opening moments of the first track “Close To Her” may well inspire some listeners to switch off and find something else to listen to.  Downey just can’t seem to find her place, but does improve as the song progresses.  She is not helped out by the messy, unfocused arrangement here either.  “Catch The News” shows similarly unfocused songwriting, although decent melodic sensibility does arise as the song progresses.  “Be Paused” meanders along without seeming purpose, although Downey does set a mildly funky atmosphere for the song.
“Hurricane” once more finds Downey displaying an unusual melodic sensibility.  From a songwriting perspective this is really quite good.  Unfortunately Downey’s tonal issues reassert themselves here, even with the relative protection of a recording studio there to back her up.  “Slide” could be a hit for the right artist, with a catchy and sneakily danceable under bed formed by sprightly rock guitar, synth, and some doo wop style back vocals.  Downey holds her own here.  The title track, “Sign Post” is an expansive story ballad that mixes philosophical musing with a meandering, drawn out arrangement that simply takes too long to develop.  “Tired Sick And Lonely” is perhaps the most intriguing composition on the album.  Downey’s composition is snappy and sharp, and you could hear this perhaps having been an AM radio hit in the late 1970’s or early 1980’s. 
Having shared her best, Downey sinks back through the depths for remaining tracks.  “Like A Flower” and “Dark Caverns” are bland space savers, with “Finer Things” adding repetition into the mix just to keep it interesting.    This is one of those instances where a five song EP may have made a better impression than a full length album.
Martina Downey shows a distinctive, if highly raw talent for crafting intriguing musical lines on Sign Post.  Unfortunately these blazes of brilliance are often set amidst messy and meandering arrangements that do more to hide these moments than contrast them.  As a vocalist, Downey is certainly experienced, but runs into enough pitch and tonal issues here to make for an occasionally difficult listen.  There are definitely nuggets here worth tuning in for, but Sign Post will be a difficult road to walk for most listeners.
Rating:  2 Stars (Out of 5)

Learn more about Martina Downey at  You can purchase Sign Post from the e-tailers below, or through the Wildy's World store.
    Amazon CD         Amazon MP3         iTunes

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

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Jodi Shaw - In Waterland

Jodi Shaw – In Waterland
2012, Jodi Shaw
Jodi Shaw has always been a bit off the beaten path.  The Canadian-born, self-taught singer songwriter transitioned to songs from poetry, finding that her aural and lexemic muse flowed freely together.  In 2009, Shaw teamed up with fellow Canadian Malcolm Burn (Daniel Lanois, Emmylou Harris, Patti Smith, Bob Dylan, Blue Rodeo) to record her latest album, In Waterland, her most accomplished work to date.  In Waterland (due May 5, 2012) took a long time to make it out into the world.  Partway through the creative process, Shaw discovered she was pregnant.  After the birth of twins, she took some time off from music, but returned to complete the album.  Shaw’s poetry and musical sensibilities intertwine to near perfect on In Waterland, a deeply personal and moving experience that is as subtle as the current, and as deep and unbending as the tide.
Kicking things off with “Swim”, Shaw sinks into a sparse and gorgeous musical medium that flows as freely as an ocean current.  Shaw’s voice is incredibly warm, falling somewhere between the edgy depths of Tori Amos and the enigma that is Leslie Feist, with a touch of Fiona Apple’s edge thrown in.  Shaw goes for shock and awe in “The Witch”, assaulting listeners’ preconceptions full on with deep and esoteric musings on the mutability of beauty.  This could be a message from mother to daughter, perhaps, but it explores the essence of beauty as opposed to the often bollixed perceptions of the world.  This is a wow moment for Jodi Shaw, both as a writer and a performer.
Shaw doesn’t waste time offering up another wow, digging deep for Jack & Jill with ruminations on imperfection and love, and how they interrelate.  Shaw builds offsets her vocal affect with a simple and sparse arrangement that draws equally on the twin beauties of the sonic and silence.  Down through these currents to a more carnal side of human nature, Shaw digs in to “Mystery Of Love”, an utterly poetic yet in your face come on.  There is more here than meets the eye/ear, however, as Shaw shows that even desire has many levels.
Shaw gives listeners a breather with “To The Country (We Go)”, a solid transition that sets up the fantasy/reality of “This Balloon/Ode To Zvezdochka”, a tribute to the last Russian dog cosmonaut, if you will.  Think of this as art deco philosophy, driven in time and place by thought that is not trapped by time frame it captures.  “Fortunate Prince” is once again solid, setting the stage for the utter beauty of the title track, “In Waterland”.  Here Shaw paints with a broad brush, in poetic and graceful strokes that go much deeper than the surface.  Shaw explores the connections we make, the loneliness we feel, and the occasional bits of magic we encounter along the way. You’ll find yourself playing this song again and again; plumbing its depths for deeper meaning that is always just out of reach.
In “Hell’s Bells”, Shaw explores the confusion and pain of being taken in romantically by someone whose intentions aren’t as pure or open as your own.  Shaw leaves no emotional stone unturned, exploring the depths and of personal disgrace in both lyrics and music.  In Waterland closes by turning the game around on those who would toy.  In “Fellas”, Shaw is the huntress and the boys are expendable.  You might expect a tongue in cheek nod here, but if there, it never quite becomes apparent.  It’s a powerful close, one that creates its own suspense without ever answering, or even asking, a question.
It’s a cliché, perhaps, but In Waterland is a revelation.  Jodi Shaw creates music like a master painter creates art, with each single stroke building to something beautiful, ear-catching and raw.  The album is nothing short of sublime, leaving rote ideas and musical schemes by the wayside, in favor of raw honesty, and a musical purity not often approached in popular music.  The same melodic magic that Sarah McLachlan is capable of is here, but in more subtle and vaguely darker tones.  At the same time, Shaw exudes the edge of Amos, Apple and Feist.  The album is nothing less than stunning, a Wildy’s World Certified Desert Island Disc for certain.
Rating: 5 Stars (Out of 5)
Learn more about Jodi Shaw at or  In Waterland makes its way into the world on CD on May 5, 2012.  For those of you who prefer to rent your music, it's already available as a download through the etailers below, as well as through the Wildy's World Amazon Store.

    Amazon MP3          iTunes

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

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Spike Nicer And The Lewis Sisters - 4th Farewell

Spike Nicer And The Lewis Sisters – 4th Farewell
2012, Spike Nicer Records
When last we heard from Spike Nicer, he was promoting his album, Mystery Time.  A classic troubadour, Nicer has benefited from a steady stream of jobs, meeting more and varied colorful personalities than the average Joe.  He is adept at translating his varied experiences into song, bringing characters to life who, if not real in and of themselves, are certainly inspired by those who are.  Nicer recently teamed up with Goodlettsville, Tennessee’s The Lewis Sisters to release a live collection in honor of a fallen friend.  4th Farewell captures Nicer at his most enigmatic; the master showman who truly takes the stage.  It is also a pleasant surprise, offering up the discovery of the angelic voices of the Lewis sisters.

The Lewis Sisters kick things off with a gorgeous, 3-part acappella harmony version of “The Star Spangled Banner.”  This is a goose bump inducing performance, one that you won’t want to miss.  Nicer kicks things into gear with “E.I.L.Y”, a wonderfully catchy and funk-infused rocker that simply won’t leave you alone.  Nicer’s voice is as pleasant as ever, with an artfully understated style that conspires to draw the listener in.  “Back-Up Man” is outstanding, bringing all of the dysfunction and imperfection that Spicer displayed on Mystery Time, but with a bit more panache this time around.  “Rain” takes on a late-1960’s or early 1970’s rock sound, muscled up and ready to flush out the dust.  Nicer’s band is as tight as a wire hear, and hitting on all eight cylinders.

Nicer shows the depth of his songwriting ability on “99 Parts Dust”, an answer to Joni Mitchell’s “The Circle Game” that’s just as deep without slipping into the classic cliché of growing old before we know it has happened.    This song is among Nicer’s highest achievements as a songwriter, and is played beautifully here.  “Kate Shaw” is an old school country tune that’s highly entertaining and exceedingly well performed.  There are elements of Johnny Cash here that are impossible to ignore.  “Everything Auction” gets spiced up with the voices of The Lewis Sisters, who make a great bit of songwriting sound even better.  “Turn The Lights Off Baby” is a wonderful country duet about love aging gracefully.  There’s a sweetness here that can’t be denied.

“Madeline In The Morning” is a moving portrait of the life of one woman who is primarily driven, and saved by music.  Most everyone will have heard a story like the one, but Nicer brings the protagonist to life in song in a way few singer/songwriters ever achieve.  “Stop This Train” takes on an Americana tinge, but remains firmly in the country/rock mode.  “Some Friends Of Mine” examines the lives of others whose relationships are falling apart.  This is more of a pictorial in song than anything else; one that might just hit home with listeners.  “Catie Bange” is dramatic and entertaining, mixing elements of house and hip-hop into a living and breathing arrangement that’s rock and roll, soul, country, jazz and R&B.  Nicer’s cover of John Carter Cash’s “Loch Ness Monster” is utterly inspired, perhaps even channeled at times.

“Disarray” comes across in much more modern tones, with Nicer sounding like he’s working an outtake from Blue Rodeo.    This time around it’s love and dysfunction, all wrapped in melancholy for the world to consider.  In this moment, Nicer finds beauty, even as it flits and fleets away as soon as it is formed.   “Apple Pie & Coffee” and “(Hey Baby I’m The) Baker Man” are solid, delivering a slow build that occasionally flattens out.  Nicer rebounds nicely on “Pumpkin Pie”, a quietly dynamic closer that will get stuck in your grille and stay there. 

Spike Nicer is as good as you might remember (if you’re already familiar with him.)  That’s not to say that there won’t be the occasional miss, depending on the listener, but 4th Farewell is full of great songwriting, amazing voices, and the sort of inspirational play that can’t be planned for.  The Lewis Sisters themselves are a revelation, and very much worth spending some time getting to know.  In the mean time, 4th Farewell is the sort of effort you can’t afford to not give some attention to. 

Rating:  4.5 Stars (Out of 5)

Learn more about Spike Nicer And The Lewis Sisters at or  You can purchase singles from 4th Farewell on, but as yet no formal album release appears to have occurred.  Keep checking Nicer's website for additional details.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Suite 709 - Night & Day

Suite 709 – Night & Day
2012, Suite 709
In a day and age when modern R&B has become cliché and the rock and roll on radio sounds pro-forma and pre-packaged, it’s refreshing to find a band that blends the two with a real sense of life.  Suite 709 will make you want to dance, but without the mind numbing beats of electronic music or the lyrical rashness of modern pop.  Suite 709 is a party waiting to happen, a fact that becomes readily apparent on their debut album, Night & Day.
Kicking things off with “Tonight Is My Night”, a vibrant song celebrating love in its many splendors, Suite 709 impresses from the start.  Front man Jirod Greene is part Jermaine Stewart and part Philip Bailey, impressing with golden tones and an acrobatic vocal style that engages the listener.  “She Don’t Even Know” carries a distinctive pop sensibility, sucking the listener in with a radio-ready sound while flying a bit loose lyrically.  “Rockets” is a catchy, upbeat love song that you won’t be able to shake, although the lyrical component seems a bit rote.
“Miss You The Most (True Love)” is a bit bland, but carries a nice melody that may have been better spent in a different arrangement.  It’s a solid effort, but perhaps just not up to the standard set thus far by Suite 709.  “I Like It” brings the funk in a lively number that will have you feet ready to boogie.  If you aren’t moving to this number then you simply aren’t listening.  Suite 709 takes a bow with “Apples And Oranges”, the best writing on the album.  Suite 709 achieves a classic Motown feel here, updating it a bit in style and sound, but making the case that they not only belong, but are here to stay.
Jirod Greene is the sort of front man who can make a band, a fact that should not be used to overlook the rest of Suite 709.  These guys play together like they were born together.  Greene’s enigmatic vocal style stands out, but he’s really just part of a dynamic ensemble whose full talent has yet to be tapped.  Night & Day is a great introduction to a band that is going to have a lot to say over the next few years.  Don’t be surprised if Suite 709 is a staple on commercial radio in the not-too-distant future.
Rating: 4 Stars (Out of 5)
Learn more about Suite 709 at 
Night & Day drops on April 21, 2012.  Suite 709 is currently working to pre-sell 200 limited copies, including an autographed 12” vinyl copy and an autographed CD.  You can check it out and buy in their webstore.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Jekylls - The Sweet Factory

The Jekylls – Sweet Factory
2012, The Jekylls
The Jekylls are a Colorado super group, comprised of members of Colorado stalwarts The Hollyfelds, the Railbenders and Sunday Girl.  1960’s pop is the glue that holds the Jekylls together on their debut album, Sweet Factory, due out April 20, 2012.
Sweet Factory is a treat for the ears.  Kicking off with "I Think I Thought”, The Jekylls set the tone early with a catchy early rocker with a Lo-Fi/Hi-Fi feel.  The retro glaze can’t hide the flat out quality of the musicianship in the band.  And as vocalists go, if you were ever to draft a fantasy band, Eryn Hoerig would be an automatic first round pick.  “Goodbye” is a catchy, old-school kiss off song with country somewhere in its roots.  None of the modern effluvium of country radio here, but just a good, old fashioned 'get lost' set to song. 
“Tomorrow” and “Where You Were” are solid entries that show off the all-around talent of the ensemble, and “Your Walking Papers” goes at the kiss off from a slightly different direction.  This is the sort of number that gets the jilted patrons in a bar to sing along at the top of their longs, screaming the kiss-off lines and high-fiving each other.  It’s also highly danceable, so even the rest of you might have a hard time not joining in. 
Hoerig and company get to show off their melancholy side in a superbly arranged number that’s almost magical in how it flows.  Not ones to slow down for long, The Jekylls respond by ramping up into the rambunctious “You’re Probably Right”, with Tony Asnicar dropping his snappiest guitar work of the album, and Eryn Hoerig committing to the melody like a vocal vixen.  The sultry and sly feel isn’t confined to the vocal line, however, as the rest of the Jekylls wrap around the melody in a musical love fest you don’t want to miss.  Having hit the apex here, the Jekylls close out on solid notes with “These Long Weeks”, “Lose It All” and “What I Want”.
The Sweet Factory is a deceptive album.  The Jekylls are so packed with star-quality writers and performers that it’s easy to become complacent as a listener.  The true standout material on the album can’t be ignored, but the quality of their work is so consistent that the casual listener might find a truly well-crafted number to be something of a letdown next to songs like “You’re Probably Right” or “Goodbye”.  While The Jekylls have years of collective experience, they are still somewhat young as bands go (formed in the summer of 2011), and so the cohesion of sound you might expect to find across the album as a whole isn’t quite there.  Nevertheless, this is an extraordinary debut album that’s going to have a hard time staying regional.
Rating:  4 Stars (Out of 5)
Learn more about The Jekylls at or    The Sweet Factory drops on April 20, 2012.  You can pre-order the download through the Wildy’s World Amazon store, or from e-tailers below.  Keep your eyes open for wider availability, and additional formats, as the release date draws closer.

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