A Real “Rochelle, Rochelle” Musical!

“Imagine what you’d get when you marinate a down-to-earth, fine cut of talent with a sprinkle of Dolly Parton, a smidgen of Maureen McGovern, a dash of Stevie Nix, and a teaspoon of Cher…”

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Rochelle front

Richmond, Virginia, April 21, 2019 – One of the great things about traveling the Airbnb way is that you meet some very interesting people, on an almost neighborly and intimate level, in a short period of time! I have gotten to cook in some very well-stocked kitchens and love to taste and cook gourmet dishes to chow on with a smorgasbord of sound in the background.  Check out my latest, recipe:

Imagine now, what you’d get when you marinate a down-to-earth, fine cut of talent with a sprinkle of Dolly Parton, a smidgen of Maureen McGovern, a dash of Stevie Nix, and a teaspoon of Cher?  Mix all into a bowl with her lead-guitar husband “Boz”, funky horns (including a baritone sax), Hammon organ and solid percussion.  Don’t let it simmer too long before firing it up, and you get medium-well done and tasty to your ears, the rangy Rochelle Harper (and her Mississippi band) jammin’!

She told me her music is “Americana” and while defined as contemporary music that incorporates elements of various American roots music styles, including country, roots-rock, folk, bluegrass, R&B and blues and also often uses a full electric band, to debate categorization is a whole other post.  I’ll highlight the tunes that swooned me on recent road trips, transcending mere categorization.  If you must narrow, I’d play several of the songs on my Contemporary Hits, Top 40 and jammin’ music radio stations!

Her 2014 solo effort, “Lilt” is in a class by itself, while her band showcases and performs under a more funky, free-form umbrella.  The first song from “Lilt” is a mid-tempo rocker called “Bittersweet”. Its soulfully fulfilling because the lyrics are realistic and hook repeated often,  “You’re the thing I shouldn’t do, but I know I wanna do anyway…”  Next is “Stars Out” which brings Fleetwood Mac to my DJ mind. They could have changed the ending to a vamp-to-fade and gone on longer, IMO.  I kept hitting ‘repeat’, trying to keep the feeling!!!

 

At this point,  I am needing to reach for a lyric sheet because, like most great crooners, we mortals cannot always understand the heartfelt words!  One of those occasions where, sometime in the future, you hear a cut and suddenly understand what they were singing all along!  Rochelle rear

The disc settles-down after that, into “Cajun Wind” and “Say”, two tracks that let her explore forks in her vocal road that may be more in-tune with that “Americana” thing; she sounds like Cher here, for the first time on my drive (she will again on “Angelina”), and I am just crossing the South-to-North Carolina border on I-95!

Suddenly, there I sat, while the road was closed for a still inexplicable reason – I-95 used to never come to a standstill as I remember it – I shut the music off, in frustration while we sat still for at least sixty minutes. There went my ETA of the day.

When we began to move fast again, Rochelle helped me find my favorite and a-pro-po jam, “Highway One”!  Becoming a tune-wedgie, I’ve played it again and again.  The guitar solo sounds a bit like that of Redbone on the classic 1971 song, “Maggie” and its brass from the outset gave my trip momentum like the legendary Memphis Horns section. Rochelle also covers Bobby Gentry’s “Ode To Billy Joe” on this album.  I’d had enuff of that one growing up, but it might be insightful for a younger audience to listen to.  On “Comin’ Home Again” we are happily greeted by Randall Bramblett’s Hammond B3, and throughout this poppin’ buster, his presence is prevalent like pew prayer in church.

Finally, Rochelle’s signature message song, I suspect, after having talked to her a few times at our AIRbnb Inn, is the reggae-rocker, “Universal Love” whose lyrics – and she wrote eight of the eleven songs – identify her as a strong “Rasta” goddess voice in a body of a natural Gulf Coast girl. Major props to Blair Shotts, whose solid drumming caught my ears, as a once-upon-a-time drummer.  He does Motown accents really well!

Rochelle jacket

When she first introduced herself to me I thought of Seinfeld’s “Rochelle Rochelle!”  With wishes to hear newer success and happier for having met this couple, my rating is  four-out-of-five, “Peace Within Music” signs, (like Rochelle’s Hippie pants) peace-sign-1066713_960_720!

** Next post,  I will revu the separate Band album, Mississippi Hippie Blues.

This video is a sneak-preview:

 

**Sureshot: Please remember to check out my other Rochelle-related review and other topics at the Mothership blog, achilliad.wordpress.com

There’s No Waning Mark on Glasmire, Thru My Eyes (and ears) 

[Nashville, Tennessee, December, 2018] Proving that you can put a new slant on tried and true formats, is listening to the new album by Mark Wayne Glasmire [Traceway Records MWGCD 2018-1] who “Can’t Be Denied” stardom.  Take out your neatly included little lyric booklet, so you can follow along with me…

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From the first snare drum accents of “I’ve Got A Feeling”, this album captivates you into the professionally gleaned clean sound of “MWG”.   Hark! I think I even hear a friendly banjo pluckin-away and soulful, groovin’ organ on that first track! Yes! Checkin’ one of the SoMuchMooreMedia press advances, I read that we are hearing wonderful Wanda Vick on banjo, fiddle and mandolin (I so wanna see her, upon hearing this!) and Dennis Wage on the Hammond B3. It all comes so-together from start-to-finish on this record musically;  the band is tight.

Next in line, the very relaxing ‘Those Nights”, my first-favorite song here and reminiscent of The Eagles in the the late 1970s/early 1980s of my early Top 40 DJ days on the radio.  It changes the pace of the former by starting with a three-note piano flair, the bluesy, plaintiff organ and then midway through a classic Country music piano/guitar solo interlude. I frown my face up to keep from cryin’ with joy.  The more you listen, the more you’ll love it.

I have a feeling that Mark “Can’t Be Denied” consideration for a CMA award.  This tune continues the feel of the former, flowing naturally next; great song positioning! I love the unique way the guitar’s three note progression becomes the hook!  Tracks four and five play in the same key and “Alysia” is the best of that hook-up. This song is somehow reminiscent of “Spanish Lei”, an instrumental on the late Barry White’s Love Unlimited Orchestra’s “White Gold” album.  Mark sings to and the guitar workings, (“bling, bling,bling…”) reveal her Latino roots. “Hey Alysia, (strum, strum, strum), You’re inside my [musical mind] heart …” It must be the mandolin; all they need is a marimba to complete the south of the border groove!  She also mixed into my head magically, on other songs of the album as I went about my daily chores in recent weeks while working-up this review.

The sixth song, “Borderline”, is a bad-ass story of waking up to a bad day, a card game gone sour and attempted escape, only to cross that final ‘borderline”, that we all must at some point.  Shades of Kenny Rogers on this one and I like that kinda storytellin’.

With so much to describe on this album, I don’t want to leave much out nor bore you because I “Feel Your Love”, as Mark so cleverly works real talk lingo into the lyrical mix. You have to hear how he hides the last word in this (paragraph) to know what I mean,  “I guess that I could walk away and hang it up with dignity and class/But I would rather swing away and tell them all to kiss my…aaaaa-asss!”  I smile out-loud, every time I hear it.

Unfortunately, we all know someone  “Gone Too Soon”  these days.  A a nice fiddle interlude contributes perspective within the complimentary guitars and a Glen Campbell-style feeling throughout.  “This Too Shall Pass” is a sobering ballad towards the end of the album, that addresses earthy, serious topics in all of our lives and its so philosophically introspective that I almost teared-up again, here at the end of a oft-sobering 2018 year. “Sometimes I sit back and wonder/How I made it this far/Nothing to show for the battles I fought/But the pain and the loss and the scars…”  

Honorable mentions to check out are, “Deep Inside” for your traditional uptempo Country music jam-party foot-stomper and “Frying Pan Into the Fire” to hear some of our elders favorite admonitions when we were going up, in-song.  ‘I’ve got a feeling’ that Mark will be heard at the upcoming 2019 CRS in Nashville and wish I could spy it.

This is cool, traveling and radio ready – even in radio’s current configuration – music.  An Adult Contemporary, Americana or Country Music Director would have to be deaf not to add these tunes; yet, use’em sparingly, because the album can last a long time. With a glossy CD cover that spells label commitment, I couldn’t even make notes on it with a sharpie!

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Congratulations, Mark! Major Props on producing music that truly touches all bases and produces potential dreaded “tune wedgies” at every other track. Five-out-of-five Country acoustic guitars is my rating.  5 gold guitars

Thanks for reading, please comment, if you wish and remember to check back to my “mothership connection” blog at www.achilliad.wordpress.com anytime for non-music  opinion.