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New Music: Five Recently Released Works


Rock And Roll Over – Just Furr Fun” – 17 Local Nashville Artists   Self Released

In a year filled with so many problems it seems to make sense that one of mankind’s best friends are not forgotten. That is exactly what seventeen Nashville artists set out to accomplish – raise the profile on, you guessed it, dogs. Curated from some of Nashville’s canine loving artists, “Rock and Roll Over” was created while in total lockdown, making it perhaps even more improbable. Basically, this is a rock styled work, hence the album name. However, each track is devoted to a different breed of dog. Song titles include “I’m A Terrier,” “He’s A Poodle,” and “I’m Your Beagle.” I didn’t actually pay much attention to the CD jewel case before playing. I just jumped in and started listening. It therefore took me a few songs to realize a lot of devotion to dogs was being payed. The goal of this work is two-fold – one, help support the adoption of dogs to save them from being euthanized, and two, raise awareness that dogs also suffer during a pandemic. I liked the music on this work. I certainly champion the cause. All in all, it was a barking good time. (Yeah, I know – very corny) 

Overall: 8

Sonics: 8

Last Year’s Man – “Brave The Storm” Self Released

Oregon based songwriter and producer Tyler Fortier, or as he is known on his debut release, “Last Year’s man,” is a mostly folk based work with mostly simple arrangements. Each song tells a story and combined with Fortier’s listenable voice, all of the eight tracks seem to make you want to get comfortable and just listen. Audiophiles understand that for sure. What Fortier is perhaps better known for is his work as a songwriter and producer. His music has appeared on venues such as CBS, Netflix and Showtime. These simple arrangements on this release include guitar, piano and drums and each one moves and flows through the story being told. In certain cases, to say music is not complex might be construed as something negative. In this case it is just the opposite. “Brave The Storm” does exactly that, with a quiet fierceness that is very enjoyable. 

Overall: 8

Sonics: 8

Brian Lisik – “Gudbye Stoopid Whirled” Cherokee Queen Recordings

If I have learned anything about music over the years, it is to not pay too much attention to album titles. So I casually dismissed whatever it was Brian Lisik was trying to say with his latest album title. My guess is that it is somehow ironical. What I do know is that Lisik, originally from Ohio, has been known for guitar centric, hard charging rock. With “Gudbye Stoopid,” he abandons all that for a sorta rock, sorta pop, sorta folk, sorta acoustic work that harkens memories of music from the 1960’s. There are several inconsistencies aside from the title of the work. For instance, there is a track named “Call It Liquid Timing (Part One).” Um, there’s no part two? Despite being mixed by noted producer Don Dixon (REM, Counting Crows, and others), there is a feeling of simplicity on “Whirled.” In the end I decided to stop trying to figure too much out. Instead, just enjoy. And that’s exactly what I did. 

Overall: 8

Sonics: 8

Justin Farren – “Pretty Free” Bad Service Badger Productions

After hearing a few tracks from “Pretty Free” I jotted “cerebral music” down in my review notes. Farren’s lyrics made me think. I spent a fair amount of time trying to understand what his songs were saying. At the same time, I was enjoying the country / folk with pop overtones presentation of the music itself. Farren recorded “Free” in a shed in his backyard. He even plays most of the instruments himself. Don’t let any of that concern you, however. This is music that tells a story, and it is up to the listener to understand that story. Farren noted that now that the project has been completed, he would not go back and change anything. He is happy with it just the way it is. I would agree. I found “Free” to be a great work of interesting narratives, partnered with music presented in a softer, more melodic tone. I’ll try to be a simple as the songs Farren created – this is just good music. 

Overall: 8

Sonics: 8

Leah Belle Faser – Crossing Hermi’s Bridge” LBF Music

“Well, okay, let’s see what this one’s all about.” That was my first thought when I picked up the CD and saw a picture of a blond girl on a bridge holding a guitar. My next thought was “okay, she sounds kinda like Taylor Swift.” Then I suddenly thought “oh no, another work of “he done me wrong songs.” Do I really want to listen to that? I kept listening and, in the end, I’m glad I did. Now to be fair, these seven songs are about things a teenager must face. Growing older. Life. Love. And so on. She had a very notable role model in the aforementioned Swift. And the comparison is undeniable. Faser herself, however, says she was influenced by artists including Patsy Cline, Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt. And Faser also noted that at her age, she writes about what she has known so far, and also about future things that worry her. Perhaps most remarkably, she’s only 15 YEARS OLD! Her style is more or less county / rock / pop and her voice is clear and powerful. Yet, on some of the softer tracks, she sings in a quiet, relaxed type of presentation. At 15, Faser sure seems like she has her act together. Keep an eye on this one, she might just be the next pop sensation. 

Overall: 9.5

Sonics: 8

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