Rock and roll started so long ago, at least seemingly so. There were
some amazing artists that got the ball rolling for the world. Some
of those voices have never been eclipsed. There are still huge lessons
to be gleaned from that old rock, the genesis of rock and roll. John
Paul Keith tips his hat to those glory days of the beginning of
rock music and derives much of his sound from one of the best and
brightest spots possible
Buddy Holley (aka Buddy Holly).
Keith starts his latest release off with a track that could easily
have been left off of a Crickets' record in the 1950s, the
jangly and throbbing "Never Could Say No." Drawing from
the rhythms that Holley popularized with such hits as "Not Fade
Away", etc. "Anyone Can Do It" sounds like it also
would have been right at home in those glory days, or even like some
1980's Los Lobos revivalist rockabilly track with much smoother
edges. "Songs For Sale" is a 1950s ballad right down to
the slowly strummed arpeggios and the kind of guitar work that would
go on to build R'n'B into the powerhouse it would become in the 1960s.
Keith doesn't stick there though
he throws in a bit of pure
American country music ("You Devil You") and some gritty,
garage rock-inspired or Farfisa organ-fueled tunes ("Afraid To
Look", "I Think I Fell In Love Today") and even manages
a purely 50s throwback rockabilly tune, complete with screaming guitar
solo ("Dry County"). The sound of the record is classic,
with spring reverbs playing a large part of the ambiance of the tunes,
and the production being clean and sharp. Distortion hardly exists,
even on the heaviest tunes.
John Paul Keith has made a record that is instantly likeable and
easy to listen to; a record that sounds familiar and draws heavily
from what many would consider the golden age of rock and roll music.
However, he's not ripping anyone off. This record is full of original
material that pays homage in a way without being a simple reworking
of the rhythms and melodies of the past. Keith's songs are sharp
and clean with lyrics that will sit in your ear for days and days
after listening. This is a record of well-crafted songs that have
been recorded and produced in a beautifully clean, classic way.
You'll like this record. Your parents will like this record. Your
kids will like this record. In this age of revivalist sound, Keith
takes the best from the best and creates his own substance from
that greatness, creating something far greater than many artists
can muster without sounding simply derivative.
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