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John Paul Keith
The Man That Time Forgot
Big Legal Mess Records
www.johnpaulkeith.net


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.

-L. Keane

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