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Jon Robert
Meant To Be
Red Cup Records


Though mass produced pop is not technically a music genre, people know it when they hear it and singer-songwriter Jon Robert is prolific at making it. Robert is a cross between Chris Daughtry's middle of the road rock and David Cook's sentimental-tinged folk pop. There is a trend here, both Daughtry and Cook were American Idol contestants, and Robert definitely could have been a contender in that arena.

His latest release Meant To Be has cornrows of attractive guitar cuts and oscillating rhythms set to a dulcet timer. Produced by Will Hurt, the songs are smoothly buffed making all the yin and yang aspects in the tracks balance on a feng shui axis. Robert's vocals pipe a Kenny Wayne Shepherd-toned register that makes the folksy-webbed melodies feel comfortable looped in pop/rock hooks and plugged into a modem that makes Robert a contemporary of Daughtry's and Cook's pleasantly crusted rock.

The folk pop seams and modern rock stuffing in Robert's songs are nursed from start to finish. Not a strand is left out of place. Soft-pop vines are dusted by fluttering strings in tracks like "Victim For Life" and "Back Home To You," while buttery motes sprayed by the acoustic guitar produce poetic clusters through "Serena", resembling Keith Urban's country-weathered plains. The guitar flusters crackling along "Summer's Over" tack on thrilling sensations through the tune that stir anticipation in the listener, and the basin of tenderly brushed strokes of the guitar in "Fall Guy" are plumped up in a tooling of billowy strings.

Robert's lyrics are personable, enabling listeners to live in his words and feel his expressions like in "Victim For Life" when he admits, "'Cause you give me this sudden reaction… I wasn't looking for you… I'll be your victim for life." Robert's lyrics tend to resonate with the sentiment of a lovesick puppy in phrases like "It feels so good coming back home to you" from "Back Home To You," or "Serena, have a little faith in me" from "Serena."

If music was a clothier, Jon Robert's would be the Diesel Jeans of pop/rock's class; able to appeal to the general public but also making each song personalized and asserting contemporary trends. Every artist has their time and this is Jon Robert's moment.

-Susan Frances

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