STYLE: Roots/Acoustic RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 53573-14922 LABEL: Independent FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1
Reviewed by Lins Honeyman
The debut release from American singer/songwriter Joel Gragg is a joy to the ears. A relative unknown, Gragg has produced a piece of work that embodies the gritty realism of faith in today's America amidst an ingenious organic backdrop of blues and rock. Despite getting off to a slightly shaky start vocally with "All My Life", Gragg is on top form with the likes of the defiant "You Won't Keep Me Down" and the politically aware "Patriotic Apathy" which reference Springsteen and Tom Petty as influences. Feedback induced guitar solos and radio soundbites are slotted into songs whilst Gragg employs a sitar in the psychedelic title track to make this a rollercoaster ride of sonic surprise that marks Gragg's ability as a producer as well as a writer and performer. Highlights include the glorious gospel stomp "Redemption Draws Nigh", complete with handclap rhythm and swamp guitar, whilst the mandolin-driven "I Had A Dream" showcases Gragg's appetite for diversity. Elsewhere, the social comment of "Lack Of Love", with some vocal help from wife Beth, and the tender reminiscence of "I Still Remember Us" display Gragg's lyrical worth. A captivating musical feast from an artist who deserves wider recognition.
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