CDREVIEWSONLINE

Winter 2008

Under The Radar Review

Featured Substantiated Sighting Review


 
"Poetic Americana with a heartfelt drawl and retro rock kick" Rob Lincoln, cdreviewsonline.com

If you are a fan of Lucinda Williams, you should definitely check out Amelia White. Not that Amelia White does not have her own sound. Her distinctive drawl is unique and her melodic sense and ability to write a great hook is impressive, but the venerable Lucinda seems to be one of her main influences. Both writers have a rootsy feel but Amelia White is more retro alt rock. White's lyrics are always intelligent and poetic and often quite moving. I got to see Amelia White live about two years ago and bought this cd when it came out a few months afterward. I was not disappointed. There are a number of excellent songs and they are supported by a fine group of musicians. The favorite songs are:

1) Windowpane- I have not been able to get this song out of my head in over a year. It's catchy hook and jangly guitars take you back everytime to a place where love and unlimited possibilities await you.

2) Black Doves- The title track is a beautifully poetic song about those left back home during the war. While it is on a political subject-the Iraq War- it is more sad than angry. It has a quiet power to it. The black doves are an image you will not soon forget.

3) Snakes & Pushers- A song about low lifes in high places, this is a fun crunchy tune with slinky electric lead guitar and sneering vocal.

4) Sleeping Poppy- A very catchy love song to her lover, this sweet song is so universal it could be about anyone, such as a child.

5) Afraid of a Kiss- This love song is a bit more sensual but universal as well. It opens the cd and sets the atmosphere for a ride that takes you through many moods within a consistent style.

While these are my favorites, all the songs are enjoyable. Most have a retro roots rock feel that still sounds quite modern. The musicianship is top notch, but the jangly guitars in particular stand out with their catchy melodic licks and excellent retro tones. Kudos to guitarists Russell Chudnofsky, Doug Lancia and Adam Schoenfeld. I don't know which one does what, but as a unit they get an A+.  The producers, Nelson Hubbard and Brian Brown did an outstanding job. Of course, it is Amelia White, with her unique vocal delivery and cerebral yet heartfelt lyrics that drive the music.

To learn more about this artist and to purchase Black Doves, go to www.ameliawhite.com

 


"Neil Young and Springsteen influenced songwriter sings sweet, plays hard and delivers a knockout song" Rob Lincoln, cdreviewsonline

 

Briz is a versatile Philadelphia area singer-songwriter who is an excellent live performer with an awesome vocal range. He sings blues, country and Americana and can sound like Neil Young in his vocal delivery when he sings high. When he is growling, he can also sound a bit like Springsteen. His writing can sound like both artists as well. However, he also knows how to write a good country tune, and in the case of this self produced release he has written an extraordinary country tune. I usually do not review cds unless I love 5 or more songs but I am making an exception here as this one song is worth the cost of the CD. My favorite songs are:

1) Cowboy Serenade- This song is so good that whenever Briz plays it live, the room comes alive, people begin singing and then comes a huge ovation. It has a melody that is unforgettable, not only because the hook is so catchy but because the entire song is so well constructed into three distinctive and equallly strong parts (verse, bridge and chorus). And then of course there are the words. It is a riveting story in which the narrator now old and wheel chair bound, sitting in a nursing home poignanty cries, "If they only knew my name..." and then the listener is vividly transported into the past when the old man was a young singing cowboy. It is an unforgettable song lyrically and melodically. If Briz never writes another song again, this is one for the ages

2) How'd We Ever Get Out Alive?- Imagine a cross between American Pie and We Didn't Start The Fire and you have this song. Briz does a great live version of this tune. This version is just ok.


3) She Can't Wait To Leave This Town- Briz must have been channelling Springsteen on this one. It has a really gritty roots rock sound.

Honorable mention- Ivyland Special has a kickin' bluesy groove and the countryish Never Wanted You To Go and Still Gone showcase Briz's range as a singer.

There are no bad songs on this cd. But there is only one great song. How good is that song? Well of all the songs I've heard in the 7 years I have been booking the 60+ artists in the Philadelphia Area Songwriters' Alliance Houseconerts, I believe Cowboy Serenade the most likely to become a national hit on the country charts.  Make sure if you are in the Philly area to check out Briz live--he is an outstanding performer. To learn more about Briz and hear this CD go to www.brizsongs.com

Substantiated Sighting Review

Briz (Eponymous)