Review: Gary Reynolds “Volume One”
By: Phil Lisotti
It’s never too late to try and get back out there. After a five year hiatus, Gary Reynolds has returned to the music scene with the release of his first album in as many years, and shows that he has certainly not forgotten how to write a song. Also produced and engineered by the man himself, Gary comes swinging with strong heartfelt lyrics over a number of tracks with obvious strong inspiration from past masters in the music business, such as late 60’s Beatles-esque pop with early 70’s soft rock. Even a feint glimpse of 90’s alternative era influence can be heard, specifically in lieu of a band like Oasis.
The albums first track, Wall Eyed Girl, starts off with a soothing electric piano, giving a Beatles “Help” era feel. It doesn’t take long for the song to pick up with more instruments, giving the song a much more full feeling. Gary also shows some more strong ability to write on a piano, on songs such as Instant Happiness, Honeymoon, Who Do You Love (all three having a somewhat gloomy, heartbroken feel to them) and All Because of You, which is among the more happy sounding tracks off the album, a very inspiring story about a loved one with Gary having a bit of fun in the recording studio on the bridge (perhaps too much).
Guitars do play a big part in this album. Life on my Own has a John Fogerty sounding opening guitar riff that continues throughout the song, giving it a bit of a hard yet subtle feel. The song has one of the better choruses on the album, all thanks to the guitar playing. She’s the One has a harder guitar tone, very early 70’s-like tone. Along with its harmonized vocals make this track among the harder tunes, unfortunately it is not a very long track, but it will undoubtedly have its listener singing along. Want is the most 90’s sounding track off the album, with its hard guitar tone, and strong usage of intermittent guitar playing during verses, making way for the drums and bass to have a bit of spotlight (listen to Nirvana, you’ll notice they do this quite a bit). Getting Over is the last of the strong guitar driven tracks on the album. It combines the previously mentioned electric piano in the background, but rest assured it is a guitar player’s song, featuring one of few guitar solos on the album. And it’s a dandy bluesy guitar solo too.
Elijah is a very well written track, starting off acoustically, and feeling like a Neil Young song until the rest of the instruments come in. One of the softer tracks on the album, it is also probably the most full track, filled with piano, tambourine, drums and a string section, perfect for the listener who just wants to relax, not play anything hard, but at the same time doesn’t want to play a corny ballad…not that there is anything wrong with a corny ballad.
Songs like Lay It down on Me and Paula My Dear aren’t defined by the instruments played on them. They are more or less the singer’s songs on the album. Gary may not be the most talented singer, but he has a voice that can certainly be listened to. Waiting for Godot is probably the albums weakest track. Gary concentrates more on the song’s lyrics rather than the delivery of the lyrics, giving it a bit of an uneven feeling. And the albums finally track, I Will Remain, ends the album off on a very Beatles sounding note. It features multi-tracked vocals to make Gary’s voice sound stronger and mixes acoustic guitars with electric guitars, and its lyrics, as the title suggests, assure the listener that even though it is the last song, it is not the last we’ll hear of Gary.
All in all, this album is pretty good! It lacks some originality, but in this day in age so does almost everyone. What matters is that there is a strong sense of music knowledge and song writing skills displayed throughout the album. Great for the avid listener of soft rock or softer classic rock artists such as Billy Joel or John Mellencamp
“Instant Happiness” – The best written song on the album. On a music’s standpoint, it goes from a staccato piano beat with Gary’s soft sung lyrics over top that sounds like he’s creeping up getting ready to jump up and scare you, and he almost does. The verse leads to a slightly harder chorus, with the full band playing and Gary singing his heart out. The track is another to feature a guitar solo, and just like Getting Over, it is a guitar player’s solo. Not a complex one but a bluesy one with a lot of feeling to it.
7 (Out of 10)
Phil Lisotti writes for Phil’s Rock Reviews which is a site for avid rock fans – http://rockreviewphil.blogspot.ca – Also check out his facebook page.