The Hillary Step and Ward White

The Hillary Step “Note 2 Self”
The Hillary Step (Rob Schiffmann and Jon Rothstein) continue to work melodic magic on ‘Note 2 Self’. The wonderful opener “Tell Me You Love Me” works its masterful chorus into your head effortlessly with smart key changes at just the right moment. The guitar compositions on “All I’ve Got” and especially “Answers” are reminiscent of The Rembrandts in spots.

It shifts gears with a piano ballad in “For The Moment,” with its captivating acoustic solo at the break. And the ballads really resonate, like the son’s plea to his father on “What Are We Waiting For” and “Quietness Of Love” – both full of emotion and honest lyrics. The compositions vary in style, but it’s impossible to dismiss the quality of these songs. Fans of Andrew Gold and Dan Fogelberg will also enjoy this immensely.

Ward White “Done With The Talking Cure”
White is a Brooklyn, NY based songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. The title track is part Bowie and part Byrds wrapped in a soulful operatic tenor. Next, the sarcastic “Change Your Clothes” is where White’s style most reminds me of Stephen Trask. “Radio Silence” has an effective Beatles guitar riff and catchy chorus.

Frequent collaborator Joe McGinty does some keyboards here, and if you liked the duos album, this seems like a natural addition. The Scott Walker – Burt Bacharach influence is over most of the latter tracks, with light string arrangements on each track. The nicely baroque “1964” has neat hand claps and harpsichord melody. White is a gifted vocalist with a distinct voice and musical stories that beg to be heard.