Saturday, September 10, 2011

Thief of Hearts

I thought I would do a few reviews for some Albums that have been out for a while. Sometimes these are only available via download. The Rocket Summer Bryce Avery: His Instruments, Your Voices is available free on his website. That's the entire album folks, not just a song or two. The Album is a live concert album that was done acoustic in small venues in what I can tell from verbal cues, in Hollywood and Salt Lake City. I am usually of mixed feelings when it comes to Live albums, but this one is very good.

His Instruments

Of Men And AngelsBryce is a multi-instrumentalist, which means he can be a one man band if he wants to, and in this case he does. Though he sticks to piano and guitar in this acoustic set, he does a "solo jam" which involves drums, guitar, electric guitar and some additional layering of instruments which would be impossible if not for a computer/synthesizer of some sort. Not that I'm complaining. I love techno. And all CCM one man-bands owe a lot to a man by the name of Leon Patillo. If you grew up in the 80's you may know who I am talking about.

I have two complaints about live albums, and both are addressed here. The first is that in a Live recording, "something is missing". The sound is never quite right, because it cannot be controlled. Bryce takes the K.I.S.S. Method here to achieve near perfection. Small Venue, Acoustic, not much can go wrong, and accept for an audience caused snafu (more on that in the second part), nothing does.

Your Voices

Hello, Good Friend.This is where the album really shines. In most live albums, when the artist/band asks for the audience to sing along is when things start to go bad. Maybe it's just that they don't have the audience miked, maybe it's the mix, and maybe we've got an audience of newbies who don't know the songs. The result is usually dead air. I liken it to those town hall meetings when they ask a question, you don't hear the question, and then you hear, that's a great question from the pol. (It doesn't matter your political persuasion, they're all equally bad.)

Such is not the case here. These fans are rabid. Not in stalker rabid, but they know all the words to every song and sing it loud and proud. This is a live experience at its finest. The fans are also responsible for a very funny moment during the show. After requesting Never Knew, they clap along at to quick a speed, throwing off Bryce's rhythm. After complaining playfully, he says "I can do this, I'm a professional" and continues the song. The energy is obvious.

Final Thoughts

I Thought I might not do this review, considering it is a free album, but it is that good, so I have to spill. In the Interest of the Night Beat making a buck, let me add that the full studio versions of the songs on the live set are on the albums Of Men and Angels, Hello Good Friend, Do You Feel, Calendar Days, and The Rocket Summer.

I played this for a family member, and after it concluded, the remark was "He stole their hearts". I agree. Now, I have a job for you the listener. As a live experience, this gets the full 5 Emerald treatment. Here is my question. Since it is a free download which may get limited circulation, should I include it in the PVA's this year? This could accomplish two things, getting more people to download and more comments for me. A Win-Win. I await your decision. As always, I am Awaiting Your Reply.