Music Morsels

Sept 2007

by Mark Waterbury
  Valencia Vas

Valencia Vas - Reflections
Providence Records - 23030-1

The lush, soprano voice of Valencia Vas will tug at your heartstrings throughout the twelve tracks of her debut. Backed by wonderful music in a classical/new age mid-ground, the soothing vibe allows you to fully experience both the breathless emotion and pure vocal talent Valencia is fully capable of. Songs like “Lament” and “Home” provide glimpses of her operatic training with stunning range and intense vocal inflections. As talented as any of the big names out there, Valencia has that undefinable little something extra that could propel her to stardom.


  Ben Godwin

Ben Godwin - Skin and Bone
Karma Farm Records - 43087-9

Singer/songwriter Ben Godwin, a transplant from London to New York seems to have a bit of New Orleans flowing in his bloodstream. There’s this sort of smoky, barrelhouse, piano-laced blues reflective of Dr. John, with gritty but intelligent lyrics to the shade of Tom Waits or Leonard Cohen. Ben’s fervent, throaty croon really blows songs like “Drinking Gasoline” and “Constantly Reminded” through the roof. A refreshing talent with very enjoyable tunes.


  Whitney Wolanin

Whitney Wolanin - Loud And Clear
Top Notch Music Records

Considering the direction some young female pop singers have gone as of late - both professionally and personally - it is refreshing to hear someone new and talented. Sixteen year old Floridian Whitney Wolanin gives a glimpse of her upcoming second album with five different takes on the song “Loud and Clear.” Including pulse pounding danceable versions, a more R&B hip-hop flavored track and even an a cappella version, Whitney’s vocal capabilities are quite amazing for someone so young. If she keeps at it and avoids the “pop star” pratfalls (and from the looks of her bio she has it together) teens could have someone to both look up to an enjoy.


  Fred Moolten

Fred Moolten - Snakebite & Valentine
Great Gull Records

Songsmith Fred Moolten provides another collection of whimsical songs in various folksy avenues. There are some talented vocalists conveying his words, particularly the sweet intonations of Maureen Budway and velvet tongued but edgy Donnie Marisco. Songs raging from the bitingly satirical title track and “Infidelity” to the more heartfelt “It Won’t Be Me” and “Afraid To Fall” exemplify Fred’s talents in weaving words. The songs are quite enjoyable as they are, and could be really magical if the right recording stars got their hands on them. 


  Trashlight Vision

Trashlight Vision - Alibis and Ammunition
Rock Ridge Music - RKM2-61120

If you put a more punk slant to Velvet Revolver, you will get a good idea of what Trashlight Vision sounds like. “Dead Waves on Air” kick starts the album with guitar power like double barreled shotguns on crack. They keep the throttles full to the stops throughout the disc; nothing resembling a ballad here. The slowest tempo song is called “My Fuck You 2 U” which kind of gives you an idea of the attitude here. They are far edgier than say Green Day or the Strokes, and with plenty of musical abilities as well. Watch out or these guys may run you over.


  Todd Fritsch

Todd Fritsch - Sawdust
Diamond Music Group - RGGP0003

The second CD from Texan Todd Fritsch showcases why he is becoming one of country’s rising stars. A true cattle ranching cowboy, the West courses through Todd’s veins and pours out of his stellar voice and lyrics that stick to tried and true subjects while still telling great stories. From emotive ballads like “The Rock” and “Life’s A Circle” to the more upbeat “What’s Wrong With Me” and “Honky Tonk Talk” Todd infuses far more of his soul into his music than most country stars do these days. Pure honesty and catchy songs work to wonderful effect here.


  Sucka Brown

Sucka Brown - What Elephant?
Roho Records

This foursome takes a deep rooted funk soul, sort of like Royal Crescent mob did, and fuels it with some pretty edgy, intense rock. The lead track “Throw Your Weight Around” gives you a good idea with its wah-wah bass heavy boogie intro and crunchy guitar powered chorus. “Sideways” has a touch of reggae before exploding with seething intensity. Interesting lyrics and harmonic vocals are augmented by solid instrumental talents and excellent songwriting. Not necessarily groundbreaking, but very well done and enjoyable.


  The Fades

The Fades - The Fades

You can’t quite put your finger on the sound of The Fades, but perhaps that is the way this London foursome wants it. A punked up Coldplay?...I know that sounds like a caveat, but you have this ethereal guitar kicked into hyperdrive with scorching DK-like rhythms occasionally straying into island vibes ala The Clash. One thing is certain; they are all prolific songwriters, whether tearing your head off with the wildly intense “Caca” or sneaking into hookier areas with the radio friendly “Music is Killing Me.” Overall, this is one of the fresher acts out of England in a long line.


  Jeff Coffey

Jeff Coffey - Long Way Home
Smoketree Records

Florida’s Jeff Coffey proves to be a multifaceted singer/songwriter more than capable of weaving blues, country and rock influences from various eras into a signature sound. With a voice like a more soulful Tommy Shaw, the music has a comforting folksy sound, while still carrying an edginess both in the musical backdrop and emotive vocal conveyances. From the hooky alt pop ditty “Ordinary” to the potent ballad “For You”, Jeff proves to be a talent to watch out for.



1888 - Honey, I’d Kill...
Clay Garden Records - CGR 003

The tidewater area of Virginia keeps on producing more and more talent with 1888 being the latest. A trio with a fresh approach to songwriting, “Unconscious On the Telephone.” launches the CD with a stew of haunting vocals, intense guitar pyrotechnics and driving rhythms. A kinder gentler side pops up in the wonderfully bizarre, pop tinged “I Don’t Think” and the twisted Beatlesque blues of “Son So.” This is the music that really makes you want to sit down and listen to every lick, realizing that true passion went into its creation.


The Band Mates Network
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