CD REVIEW: Chadwick Stokes "Simmerkane II"

Simmerkane II (Bonus Track Version)
Being in two bands is a full time job. But, for singer/songwriter of Dispatch and State Radio, Chadwick Stokes still has a lot up his sleeves. Built off of stories of his time spent train hopping and politically charged activism, Stokes has music that doesn't fit the mold of either his bands. The logical progression is to put out a solo album, and this one, his first, is a stab at folk music that is far beyond what you might expect. Dispatch and State Radio are full of high energy, and while both are rooted in folk music, Chad's music rarely touches such a personal level. Now, with this platform, Chad can showcase where he comes from and where he is rooted in his music, while still maintaining the same quality and delivery his fans are used to. The album is personal and well written, and features a handful of songs that are instantly classic. The lead single, "Back To The Races," is the closest bridge to Dispatch and State Radio, while still remaining stripped and bare, showcasing the lyrics. "Adelaide" is a song that Chad debuted with State Radio but given that it is a folk song, the right avenue and sound is portrayed beautifully here. The biggest surprise track is "Rainsong" which is Stokes' folksiest song ever and doesn't sound like either of his previous bands' work. You even get a bit of reggae on the bonus tracks which he recorded with Sierra Leone's Refugee Allstars. He enlisted a bunch of musical friends to help complete his vision, included folk legend Carly Simon. In all, Stokes has proven that some rockers do have a heart, soul, and centered core that drive them within their music. Chadwick Stokes is proof that as musicians dicover they have more to offer than they have been delivering, it's time to branch out and spread their wings, letting loose all the creative juices and setting free the all beauty of their talents.

CD REVIEW: Mat McHugh "Go Don't Stop"

Go Don't Stop
The lead singer of Australian roots reggae rockers The Beautiful Girls, Mat McHugh is back with his second solo offering. Reminding us just how TBG got their start, McHugh has assembled an EP of acoustic tracks that dive deep into his songwriting while touching the core roots and reggae sounds of his band. McHugh is one of the most talented in conveying this music style to the world, and his unique and easily identifiable voice brings and added credibility to his music. The title track is acoustic reggae at its finest and the song "Love Come Save Me" is simple, beautiful, and everything acoustic roots music should be. With the EP being only 4 songs long it's just a taste of what McHugh is cooking up for future solo and TBG releases, but the most special treat is an acoustic version of "My Mind Is An Echo Chamber," a song from The Beautiful Girls' most recent release. The song is a truly different take from the original and it, along with the other three tracks, reminds listeners that, at the core, McHugh's lyrics are what drive his music.

New Release Tuesday

New music out today worth checking out:
  • 311 - Universal Pulse
  • Burlap To Cashmere - Burlap To Cashmere
  • John Butler Trio - Live At Red Rocks
  • Joshua Hyslop - Cold Wind
  • TFDI - When I Stop Running