Steve Caraway “Upon This Rock”
Steve Caraway is a veteran adult contemporary singer from Boston, think a cross between Bryan Adams and Steve Perry. I expected “Upon This Rock” to be a modern Christian rock album based on the title, and although it has its share of inspiring tunes, is clearly secular.
The simple strum of “This Foolish Heart” is a good opener about learning to love again. “Big Star” is a tribute to the late Alex Chilton and the band without sounding at all like the subject, more a wistful reminiscence. “Supernova” heads into power ballad territory and comparisons to Perry are appropriate here, that mentioned its a catchy tune with layered horns and guitars. The purest power pop here is “Candy” with its strong guitar line and minor chords, but there is plenty here to recommend including the epic title track which feels like a great Elton John ballad and the rocking love-song “Justine.” Well done and highly recommended.
Dave Caruso “Cardboard Vegas Roundabout”
We reviewed David Caruso before, so the laid back guitar on “Mystery & Sweetness” is an expected pleasure, but he really has the vocal technique honed on his Beach Boys tribute “Champion.” With some wonderful “Ba ba ba” harmonies, it lyrically states the truth “how do you keep it light while peeling back the layers of bittersweet insight?” Fans of adult contemporary pop will just love “Rockabye (A Rockturnal Lullabye)” with its descending chord structure and perfectly timed guitar solo.
Caruso’s guitar pop hits a winner with “Fake Friends,” a jangle-tastic single about ignoring those Facebook nobodies. David’s clear pop production reminds me a lot of Lewis Taylor on the soulful “I’ve Tried To Write You.” Another big highlight is the Elvis Costello like ballad “The Art of Erica,” and it proves this to be another highly recommended album.