Vinnie Zummo and Nine Times Blue
Vinnie Zummo “Swinging Guitar Sounds of Young America Vol 3″
Once again Vinnie Zummo gives us a collection of stylistic homages in several different genres. The melody of “I Wanna Love You” features bright Breach Boys styled harmonies, and Vinnie’s compelling lead. The slide guitar and jangley melody of “Play Paul McCartney” sure to warm the hearts of power pop fans everywhere. He uses retro Beatles song structure on “Can’t You See,” and a vintage Stevie Wonder harmonica for the soul pop of “Funky Games.” He even does Steely Dan on “Howd This Happen,” the man is the definition of versatility.
His wife Janice really stands out as the vocalist for the country tune “Pocket Full of Soul.” You’ve got a massive twenty of tracks of music and I have to say that Vinnie’s songwriting and production have continued to improve. Recommended tracks are “Heartless,” “Just For You,” “Living On The Sun,” and with “George Harrison” he’s got a song for each Beatle! Update: Just finished an interview with Mr. Zummo. Read it here.
Nine Times Blue “Falling Slowly”
The band is named after a Michael Nesmith song and is based in the Washington DC area. Lead by Kirk Waldrop (vocals and guitar) and joined by Greg King (guitar), Jeff Nelson (bass) and Jason Brewer (drums) opens with the title track, and I could sworn it was the Goo Goo Dolls or The Gin Blossoms. It’s rock with a high jangle content and familiarity. In addition, a cadre of power pop stars have minor roles (Joe Giddings, John Faye, David Myhr) on the LP.
The strongest material is early on, the most impressive being “Crazy To Think” and the title track. The instrumentation is exceptional, as evidenced on “Grace” and “Silent Words.” Other than a few heartfelt melodies like “Fun and Games” and some guitar acrobatics on “So Much Time,” it just didn’t move me like the first three songs here. But, if you like contemporary rock with a emphasis on strong guitar playing, this is for you.