- Published on Monday, 13 January 2014 15:45
- Written by Administrator
By Dave Boyer
I’ve always had a deep appreciation for music as far back as my memory allows (and that’s starting to be a long trek back now unfortunately), but I never considered reviewing a musician’s set of songs. It might be a daunting task if, in the end, I didn’t enjoy the body of work I was opining on. I took the chance and put Mike Renick Band’s 7 song CD in my truck and let it fill the cab during drive times to and from my destinations over an eight day stretch.
“Brother John” kicks things off with an energetic “AAAH…!” from the speakers and an over-driven toned guitar riff that got my interest straight out of the gate. It quickly smoothes into a couple of verses about how a little scheme became a wild goose-chase until it kicks into an energetic tempo change peppered with aggression before reprising to the opening riff that kicked things off. Just after the half-way mark, the song makes another move that highlights the heavy drum beat, a pumping rhythm and mean-toned guitar track … 2/3rd’s in finds a tasty lead guitar section with it’s own impressive tone. The song comes full circle before coming to a close.
After listening to Brother John, I got a hint that the rest of the CD could be an interesting combination of styles, impressive musicianship and mix. It is.
“Saying All The Right Things” is one of my two favorites. Some musician’s don’t appreciate their music being compared to a famous band’s sound, but I can’t help thinking this song favors an effort that Bono and the Edge might work up (as a U2 fan, this is no slight). A horn-section and the band’s unique sound assures this tune holds its own flavor. I like it!
”Stop and Go” is a good cruising tune lyrically, rhythmically and metaphorically as its grooves went for a drive with me.
“Time” holds its own on the CD with a good hook, more tasty guitar work, hints of horns and spirited lyrics.
“The Lick” is a rocker that battles “Saying All The Right Things” for favorite song of the CD for me. A great mix of solid musicianship and rhythms makes me turn the volume knob clockwise each time the opening power-chord and riff kicks in. I imagine the Mike Renick Band’s live version as a crowd pleaser … I hope to find out someday.
“Better Man Than Me” eases things back with a smooth sax and tasty, clean guitar tones that compliment a sentimental message from a father to his young son. The interstate miles were easy during this song.
The closing tune, “Eyes to Eyes”, appears to be a hidden track as it wasn’t on the track list and started 30 seconds after “Better Man Than Me” on my CD. It digresses from the others here in it’s experimental style. It has a techno feel laced with synthesized drums and keyboards that, to me, cross-breed ’80’s new wave and modern club-beats. What’s the problem with a talented band taking things in different directions at times? No problem at all to this listener.
The Mike Renick Band strikes me as a band that makes the grade creating a solid set of songs that may echo familiar genres while successfully forming a unique style and sound of its own … a task most musicians strive to accomplish as they move the gift of music across time. The real confirmation for me was that, after more than a week of listening while in my ride, I was in no hurry to change CDs … for me that’s always a good sign that a set of songs has merit.
Check out the songs below, all featured on the CD. Visit the band's website for more details, as well as information on purchasing the music.