CD REVIEW: Ashley Rivera - Danger Dreaming
by: Cyrus Rhodes
"Rivera brings the mojo"
- INDIE MUSIC DIGEST-
Label: Groundlift Music
Alternative Rock, Psychedelic Soul Pop, Jam Band, Rocking Blues
Weakness: Short sided CD, Short sided songs
(WINDER, GA) Ashley Rivera just released her debut CD entitled “Danger Dreaming” in 2014. She is known most for her soulful vocals and no-holds-barred, in-your-face live shows. But look closer and you'll find an artist with roots in traditional blues and Southern folk story-telling. Ashley's debut album "Danger Dreaming" is available now.
The CD takes flight with “Buried” a psychedelic ditty with slamming intro that serves up soulful vocals feel from Rivera with impressive guitar work, vocal harmonies, melodic musical touches against a grand slam chorus. Track 2 “The Wreckage” up shifts a bit with its psychedelic Organ intro eventually lending itself into an impressive “Gold Standard” ballad that flows and ebbs its way through to emotional fruition. Track 3 “If You Only Had a Heart” keeps thing moving in the right direction with its infectious melody, steady flowing rhythm, impressive electronic ambience and a good heartfelt/thought provoking message. The CD makes a great first impression dashing out 3 solid tracks in a row. I would classify this music as Soul Pop Rock, with a dash of Soulful Pop, and Rocking Blues. Also present are unique elements of what I would call Full Tilt Contemporary Country or Jam Band-Soul and even Electronic Pop. It’s impressive how well all the aforementioned genera’s come together on this CD without sounding to forced or fused.. All in all the CD touches a wide range of musical styles. Besides the four piece standard you will notice impressive instrumentation with things like impressive guitar, solo guitar, organ, sporadic keyboard and synth accents, well-placed harmonies, dynamic electronic sound effects, based drums all built upon a solid moog driven rhythm section to boot. The musicianship and musical touches from Rivera are clearly above the bar. As for her vocal abilities, she works extremely well within the confines of this catalogue. She’s got a good look, a catchy mystique and knows how to sit deep within the pocket and sing a song with amazing vocal fluidity. Rivera’s got soul. Her voice goes down smooth and fills the space peacefully and unobtrusively with an infectious jagged edge. She’s got a good vibrato and impressive Mezzo Soprano. Rivera showcases an impressive falsetto and has much to offer insofar as power, control and finesse. As a songwriter: the songwriting consistent and rock solid across the board. The harmonies and melodies are well placed and well crafted. All the Engineering aspects are in check (Recording, Mixing, and Mastering) as the CD possesses solid low end punch and crystal clear high end clarity. This 7 track offering from Rivera is rock solid and delivers everything you would expect from a top-tiered musical Production such as this providing much in the way of musical variety and melodic layering. It definitely offers has a lot of musical depth and variety within the sonic space. Her music reminds me of a combination between trippy and psychedelic music from Amy Winehouse and Pink. Other comparisons include: Sara Bareilles, Kelly Clarkston, Pink, Gwen Stefani, Melanie C, Dido, Sophie B. Hawkins. All songs are well crafted and consistent across the board. From grooving “Midnight Son” to striking The Worst Way” to melodic “She” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 0 “Danger Dreaming” the perfect finale statement for a CD like this.
CD is a bit short with just 7 Tracks. Perhaps 4-5 more songs are needed to make this a fully loaded release. All songs under 3 minutes feel like incomplete statements to me.
From start to finish “Danger Dreaming” by Ashley Rivera brings the mojo and is a very strong 7 Track statement from start to finish. The music is diverse, grooving, upbeat, soulful and sonically entertaining. The songwriting – all consistent musical experiences, each one possessing a unique personality, flair and signature groove. The writing, playing and singing abilities of Rivera and her band are highly marketable. Her overall persona and mainstream mystique is something millions of people should gravitate towards.
Cyrus Rhodes Rhodes