The Mockers and Willow

The Mockers “Men of La Mancha” EP
Power pop veterans The Mockers have been dripping out singles all year, but finally we get a nice group together in one EP. A cover of “Impossible Dream” from the Broadway show Man of La Mancha, it starts off traditionally… then speeds off into Mockersville. The Spanish pop gem “Que Vida” sounds like it fell off the Los Imposibles album. And the liberal dream single “Republican Girl” is a bona fide viral hit. Add to this two new holiday songs and you have all killer, no filler — one of the best EPs this year. Highly recommended!

Willow “Charcoal & Blue”
Once again we follow guitarist Mike Barnett to his new project. Willow is a collaboration between Barnett, Jerry Risner (bass) and Denise Risner (vocals, keyboards). The trio leans on Denise’s jazzy vocal and Barnett’s jangle styled guitar playing. Opening with “Nobody Does It Like You” its a Dylanesque gem, and I enjoyed the soulful lyric and Byrdsian riffs on “Good Love Is Hard To Find” and “Counting On You.” Unfortunately weariness on some of the vocals is evident, and some songs lack energy. Fans of both Dylan and Steve Forbert may appreciate it more than I did.

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