Jeffrey Halford and the healers: Delivering Down-home “Lo-Fi Dreams”

“At the end of the musical day, if I was still a DJ on the radio, this music would be deemed “MOR” (middle of the road) back in the 1970s. Now, I hear it is described as “Americana”? Well…”

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CHARLESTON July 29, 2017 – I have been having a party recently in my car, listening to “Lo-Fi Dreams” performed by Jeffrey Halford and The Healers [Floating Records] on its CD player.

What is this “Lo-Fi” Dream?

Hi-Fi (High Fidelity) was the 1960 predecessor to Stereo and after that came Quadraphonic audio, so does it follow that “Lo-Fi” might be back to the future after Digital?  If so,then what a groovy journey!

What I like first is that every one of the ten tunes are different.

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Track one is “Two Jacksons” and I challenge you to guess what it is about before you listen or I tell you below (don’t peek!). It is a great, very descriptive lead-off song which helps you imagine letting your mind wander while watching this healing live.  No mention of the background singers much to my lament.

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Track two leaves no doubt as to the subject matter. “Elvis Shot the Television” starts with a Jimi Hendrix playing the Star-Spangled Banner-like guitar riff and then goes on to remind of us a legendary Presley incident.   “Good Trouble” is just that and who of us hasn’t had some of it at one time or another?!   I like “10,000 Miles”, as a good behind-the-wheel tune.  Speaking of relationships one way or another throughout, “Bird of Youth” is a song of irreconcilable differences, again, like we all have experienced at one time or another. This is the music of our lifetime.

Track eight has a smooth country pace and could have been named “Refuse” or the “Diner”. Instead they went with the tale told of “Sweet Annette” which features a succulent solo guitar in the middle of this offering whose lyrics make me want to have breakfast any time of the day!  “Great Divide” is geographically separating love music!

At the end of the musical day, this music would be played on “MOR” (middle of the road) format radio back in the 1970s. Now it is described as “Americana” I guess.  I do not care much about labels, except that my research took me to the definition described by ‘The Atlantic’ as, “slang for the comforting, middle-class ephemera at your average antique store — things like needle-pointed pillows, Civil War daguerreotypes, and engraved silverware sets. In the 1990s, radio programmers coined a new, related usage: “Americana” became a nickname for the weather-beaten, rural-sounding music that bands like Whiskeytown and Uncle Tupelo were making. It was warm, twangy stuff, full of finger-plucked guitars and gnarled voices like tires on a dirt road.”  Many lyrics feature uniquely different musical takes on love and unhappiness while others celebrate connections and odd circumstances we All have experienced.

Well, not wanting to undo the diversity of this music review but, my elderly mum has similar “engraved silverware” sets to this very day, so what does this say about her “Lo-Fi Dreams”?

Whether Jeffery knows it or not, he has evolved into an entertaining diversity of sound – much like High Fidelity audio was back before “the day”.

Oh, by the way, “Two Jacksons” is about an article of men’s clothing that cost forty dollars and a flirtation situation. “You wear that jacket and I’m yours tonight! Torn and frayed, in need of repair/she was standing right there…” It should become a single hit.  I love the classic hit musik bar X formula bridge solo.

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Four of five steel guitars is my rating.

 Comments please?  Many Thanks.

The Long-Awaited Rick Monroe EP: “Gypsy Soul”

“From one “Gypsy Soul” to another, there is certainly nothing wrong with that theme nor this diverse set of songs encompassing it…”

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June 20, 2017; Nashville, TN.  My man Rick and the band present six tunes that will linger in your musical mind long after you turn your player off. If you remember, I covered his performance in Ladson, South Carolina at the “Honky Tonk Saloon” last February (I still can’t believe there is really a venue with that name! lol)  This CD sampler dropped last month.  I mentioned to Rick that, since I do not have a CD player in my new apartment, that I could only review it while driving in the car and he said the trips might have to be short because it is an “EP”. you know what?  I took many  pleasurable “short trips” to listen again and again…

Here are the tracks. In reverse order, they are:

The bluesy and soulful with Memphis-like horns, “Rage On”; a Country-rocker, the first one I would play on my ‘Pajama Bar’ radio show, “Moment Like This”; a great title song, “Gypsy Soul”; the mid-tempo with sexy-delicious lyrics, “Ease On Down”; another C-Rocker (rock-her) in “Better” and his romantic smash from the winter of 2017, “This Side of You”.

I dig the many metaphors on “Better”!  “She’s like that first sip of coffee/that first drag on a cigarette…”  Great word-pictures! I once had one whose kiss was “like that first sip of an ice-cold Heineken” lol

Cut four is the title track, “Gypsy Soul” and some of those lyrics could be part of my personal theme song; I really identify with it! No non-rebels need apply.

From one “Gypsy Soul” to another, I believe, as a man who is nomadic as a “gypsy”, if you ask some of my peers who don’t know I know how they feel about me, there is certainly nothing wrong with that theme nor this diverse set of songs encompassing it.  I do want to mention the late, great Curtis Mayfield and The Impressions who sang the R&B hit, “Gypsy Woman” because of the title and lyrical neighborhood point of reference herein.

While Rick Monroe’s core audience is Country music, he surly can cross over into other genres.

This is a five-acoustic guitar EP5 gold guitars!  I rage that you bring on the full album, Rick! Safe travels, Pioneer.  Cheers.

(I’ll update the video when he releases the feature-length scenes, K?)

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Please leave your comments! Thank you.

(be sure to check out the mothership, https://achilliad.wordpress.com)

Hellooo, Southern Halo!

“…The more I listened to their close-with-a-modern-edge storylines and harmonies, the more I realized that they are poised to become the latest legendary singing sister trio! The Andrew Sisters and my friends The Pointer Sisters immediately came to mind…”

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I received a CD in the mail with a little handwritten note on the back of an invitation flier asking me to please enjoy and review their album after I listened.  It was from Natalia, Christina and Hannah, the ladies of Southern Halo, who hail from Cleveland, Mississippi.  I am thinking that maybe they were named after the famous thoroughbred race horse, since the sister’s bio mentions horses a part of the pets they love and care for.

The more I listened to their close-with-a-modern-edge storylines and harmonies, the more I realized that they are poised to become the latest legendary singing sister trio!  The Andrew Sisters and my friends, The Pointer Sisters, immediately came to mind.  The album features a family affair of catchy song concepts and lyrics which reflect their regional realities and grow on your ears with each listen.

You will really hear and feel the church bells “ring-in’” the album as the trio are cantillating “Little White Dress” which is a wedding day song.  I imagine all three marring simultaneously, but then again, they are not “triplets”, so that might not work. A great lyric here is, “My Daddy says I’m a handful, I’m just a little bit wild and free…” Every time I heard them sing, “fun, fun, fun” I had a Beach Boys moment. I kept waiting for “’til her daddy takes the T-bird away” lol

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As they move into the intro of “Rewind”, you’ll hear a soulful organ in the background.  I love the ballad”, I don’t Wanna Move On”, which I would subtitle, “Tonight, Tonight, Tonight”. It climaxes sweetly with a nice instrumental interlude.

“Over You” has a unique hook and it took many listens to try to figure-out what I was hearing in-order to describe it for you and the best I can glean is, ‘Ohh-ver you.” (maybe a lyric sheet needed on their website?).  Is it, “I’m now, ow, ow, ow, ooo-ver you for the last time…”  I’ll look for your translation in the “Comments” section below. There is good background guitar and instrumentation work on this selection especially.

“Moonshine”, cut number six, is my first favorite upon initial listens in my car one sunny day. A standout lyric is, “And he’s kissin’ on me and I’m lovin’ it.” Aww.

Remember that little note I received?  It mentioned that the “latest single is “Living Like That”.  Well, it too is a rocker, not as energetic; might grow on the fans and they can do better – like the very next song, the amusing and descriptive poetry of “Cowboys”, featuring more, crisp percussion from Nick Buda per the CD liner notes! I’m a little more confused as their press release denotes Christina on drums.

Finally, I like the last hard rocking good Southern USA Country rock of cut of track ten, “I Ain’t Crazy (But My Daddy Is)”, which is another take on the shotgun wedding tradition, in my opinion.

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There is not much that hasn’t been said or written about Southern Halo, whose sound is full of feel-good fun and charming southern comfort.  Compromise will continue to be the straw which stirs the showbiz togetherness drink with the group going forward.

I give them Three Acoustic guitars out of five for this 2015 release, while praying for more big things to come for these growing siblings, who are on their way to perform in London U.K. as I compose this review.

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“Bon Voyage” Ladies!!, “knock ‘em dead” and “Y’all come back now real soon, to do more new music, ya hear?”

Be sure to check out my original blog for more older “My Vinyl” posts at www.achilliad.wordpress.com