JoDee Purkeypile “Messenger”
This is the second solo album by JoDee Purkeypile (The Alice Rose) and starting with the piano melody of “Cruel Movements” its full of double tracked vocals and Elliot Smith styled isolation. “I Think It’s Alright” breaks out a fantastic guitar riff, with various variations of the chorus.
Purkeypile brings his English power pop influences to the forefront so if you like Squeeze, Crowded House, Nick Lowe and Badfinger you’ll enjoy this. The bounce of “Wired Wrong” and Elton styled piano of “She Can Ride A Bike” are real gems. JoDee’s mastery of the classic instrumentation and layered arrangements invites repeat listens on many tracks, notably “Storm On The Sea of You and Me.” Things slow down towards the albums end, but overall an excellent album to dig into. Highly Recommended!
Richie Fontana “Steady On The Steel”
Studio journeyman guitarist/drummer Fontana has a long and impressive career. Getting his start in Piper (Billy Squire’s first band,) Richie then worked with Paul Stanley (Kiss,) Laura Branigan and many others. Eventually Richie made the commitment to step out with his first solo LP. It should also be noted that, although Richie has Multiple Sclerosis, he’s carried on and done everything himself on the album (including mixing, producing and arranging).
Steady On The Steel has a classic 80’s power pop sound, and his vocal cadence resembles Billy Joel on the catchy “Every Time I Dream.” The production here is clean and the musicianship is flawless, as the title track demonstrates. I’m sure if some of these songs made it to the radio back then, you’d have several big hits – “Be My Shadow” and “Tomorrow Never Comes” being prime examples.