Phil Angotti and Chase Hamblin & The Roustabouts

Phil Angotti “Life and Rhymes”
An enjoyable follow-up to 2011’s People and Places, Angotti once again takes us on an introspective journey. Fans of McCartney-Emitt Rhodes styled pop will love this album, starting with “Hopeful Kids” and its sing along chorus. The lyrics about looking back in “Difficult World” and “Life and Rhymes” are both expertly arranged and performed, with the title track comparable to a Carole King classic. Phils’ hopes and dreams may have started by looking “In Liverpool,” but the Beatlesque bounce of “I Might Come Back” is fast-paced gem that begs repeat listens.

Each tune radiates warmth and genuine feelings, especially cool is the lone country song here “Daddy’s Country Records,” about how his Dad would tell’em to “knock off that 60’s pop” and learn to be “country.” No filler and all killer here – I do not hesitate adding this my year-end top ten contenders list.

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Chase Hamblin & The Roustabouts “VAUdeVILLE
Chase Hamblin’s grandfather was a songwriter in the heyday of vaudeville, the popular early 20th century “variety show” that combined musical performances with comedy, dancing, burlesque and more. Hamblin and his band, The Roustabouts channel some of that theatrical flair here, “Beautiful Things” being an early standout song with a great hook. Things get more psychedelic on “Round and Round” with its dark lyrics, tight harmonies and harpsichord flourishes.

The circus-themed and varied compositions are a mixed bag, but most songs resonate from the somber “Lonesome” to the Wombles-like “I’ve Got A Brain.” It’s tough to separate the novelty from the good stuff here, but some nice guitar and piano work stand out on “Leaving Town.” Overall, its a finely layered production that fans of Sgt. Pepper would approve of.