Dana Countryman “Pop2! The Exploding Musical Mind of Dana Countryman”
Dana Countryman is back! After the debut LP almost exactly one year ago he returns with a solid light pop delight. Unlike last year’s debut Dana isn’t showcasing a mix of different pop styles, he sticks with the mid 70’s romantic sound that was popularized by AM radio staples like The Carpenters, Gilbert O’Sullivan and Andrew Gold.
Dana is extremely comfortable with this style, “Baby I’ll Be Your Star” is a great theme with its crisp melody lines and sax lead, it reminded me of the Hudson Brothers or Eric Carmen. The romantic harmonies of “Just Look In My Eyes” is dripping with so much sweetness, it approaches epic Barry Manilow status. When he chimes “I wake up every morning with a Great Big Goofy Grin,” he sings this affirmation like its his life mantra. Then Dana sings a duet with Beach Boys styled vocalist John Hunter Phillips on “I’ll Get Right Back To You” and its a perfect match as Dana’s vocals are uncannily like Al Jardine — this is another winner. It can get way too corny, “Momma Said I’m Not Supposed To Roll And Roll” is an over the top fifties boogie, but its fun too. Overall, this is bright, bouncy sweet pop music that recalls the top 40 from 40 years ago. If you are a nostalgic sap like me, you’ll love it. Highly Recommended!
The Bishop’s Daredevil Stunt Club “Veva, Hold On!”
This Chicago band is one of those rare finds where you’ll be saying “Where have these guys been hiding?” Lead by singer songwriter Billy Giricz, the Bishop’s Daredevil Stunt Club is an alternative rock band that draws influences from The Posies, Radiohead, Stone Temple Pilots and Matthew Sweet. He’s assisted by Dan Passarelli on bass, Paulette Bertrand on keys, Darin Gregg on guitar and Luke Smith on drums.
Opening with “Bob’s Yer Uncle,” you hear clear vocals, steady rhythm and solid song structure. Next my favorite track, “Days At The Pool” is a hypnotic slice of life that draws you in. Paulette adds her vocal on “Treat Yourself”as the harmonies weave into the background. “Singlehandedly” is a highlight similar to Weezer or The Replacements, but it almost goes off track with the six minute droning of “Jaws of Life.” The charming Lou Reed-like title track keeps things fun, and helps make this an enjoyable (but short) LP. Check it out.