If you are a fan of Josh Kelley, then Keaton Simons'
music may sound familiar to you since Simons co-wrote three songs
on Kelley's latest album Special Company. Parlaying his singing,
songwriting and guitar playing into a solo career, Simons has released
his debut album Can You Hear Me. Sometimes the tunes on Simon's
new release feel like songs that Simons came up with while driving
on a coastal road along southern California's seaside landscape, and
other times it seems like he wrote these songs while he was in a half
sleep mode and a conscious state of mind with lyrical content that
seems like thoughts which appear in dreams while stemmed in reality.
He sticks mainly to a folk-pop fare with additives of dusty country-toned
acoustic strings, sunny-pop gusts, and even some gritty southern rock
and bluesy jazz estuaries with a bar-room ambience. Whichever way
Simons takes his melodies, he shows the songwriting skills of veteran
tunesmiths like Randy Newman, talking about the lives of regular
people with smooth rugged vocal timbres and a genuine attachment to
a simple way of life.
The pop/rock threads of "Nobody Knows" are sharpened
by curt rhythmic strikes which give the beats a repetitive jolt
like a constant pump injecting air pressure into the melody's pockets.
Simons keeps an upbeat tempo through the sunny-pop flavoring and
cheery handclapping beats of "Good Things Get Better."
It's the kind of tune that you'll listen to on a nice spring day
to enhance the enjoyment of the warmth. Tunes like "To Me"
and "Misfits" are detailed by countrified guitar strings
and a west coast breeziness strewn through the melodic movements,
while the lyrics create an inlet into a well of concealed thoughts.
The folk-pop tune of "Without Your Skin" is a prime example
of Simons' lyrical abilities with verses like, "On the outside
I seem fine/ When you look into my eyes, Baby, you're bound to see
Without your skin, I'm naked." Simons' lyrics
reveal what is often being concealed from the outside.
The bluesy jazz facets of "Currently" exude a bar-room
atmosphere with torchlight piano keys and languid guitar tones stationed
beside the folk-pop textures of "Burch Mog" and "Joseph,"
which are both fitted with sonic vestments that you'll hear played
in a rustic, off the highway roadhouse. The gritty southern rock
sheen of "Mama Song" has the potential to really draw
in a crowd, and the smitten folk-pop ballad "Unstoppable"
has a sensual vibe ripe for cuddling with your loved one by a warm
fireplace. The album tops off with folk-pop clusters that filter
through the title track "Can You Hear Me" with Simons'
laid-back coasting vocal stride comparable in Randy Newman's style
Keaton Simons' album Can You Hear Me shows a songwriter-singer-guitarist
with changing facets that carries a strong likeness to Randy Newman's
tune-smithing. Produced by Dave Bianco, the album shows Simons'
valid attachment to what affects regular people's lives, the way blue-collar
rock artists like Bruce Springsteen and The Allman Brothers
have done in the past. Like these guys, Simons' album takes music
from the bar-room to the world stage and never loses its credibility
to connect with regular people's lives along the way.
Check out more
e-mail the chief
Like this article?
it to a friend!