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CD REVIEW: Charley and Jesi  - Circus

by: Cyrus Rhodes


"hot new release from Charley and Jesi"





Artist/Band: Charley and Jesi
Album: Circus
Label:  Wini Flashdance Records
Website: http://charleyandjesi.com/

Genre: Blues/Rock, Alternative Rock, Americana Soul
Sounds Like: Cheryl Crow, Black Crows, Four Non Blondes, Cowboy Junkies

Technical Grade: 10/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 9/10
Commercial Value: 9/10
Overall Talent Level: 10/10
Songwriting Skills: 10/10
Performance Skill: 10/10
Best Songs: Metaphors, Tell Me, Baby I Love You

Weakness: Short Sided CD



Charley (Hinchcliffe) and Jesi (Dipalo) are a rock duo based out of Los Angeles, California. This is their second CD to date entitled “Curcus” recorded in 2013 (Wini Flash Records). For their second album, they recorded at the Village Recorder and hired some of the top musicians in Los Angeles including two-time Latin Grammy winning drummer, Julio Figueroa, top session bassists, K.T. Tyler and Daniel Baker, Glendale native that Charley met at jazz band at Hoover High School. They mastered the record at Capitol Records by Robert Vosgien, known for his work with No Doubt's Tragic Kingdom. After self producing, promoting and managing both albums, they decided to form their own record label. "Nowadays making music is so accessible to anyone and being that we have the do it yourself attitude, it just makes sense. We're not waiting for someone to make our dreams come true, we're doing it ourselves." They street perform regularly at farmers markets, street fairs and art walks along with open mikes all across the US and now are planning their tour of the Pacific North West from California to Vancouver, Canada.


The CD kicks gets off the ground nicely with “Feelin” an impressive intro groove that serves up slamming psychedelic rock groove, meshed against intoxicating rhythm, walking bass line and soulful melody from Charley and Jesi. Track 2 “The Circus Song” keeps thing moving in the right direction with catchy blues vibe, with steady flowing horn-guitar ambience meshed against a grand slam chorus making for an impressive follow up piece. Track 3 “Voodoo Woman” serves up a slow moving blues-rock ditty with impressive slide guitar and well placed harmonies that flows and ebbs its way through to emotional fruition. The CD makes a great first impression dashing out 3 amazing songs in a row. The musicianship of everyone involved is above the bar. I would classify this music as classic R&B, Americana, with brief touches of Psychedelic 70’s Rock and Soul. Music is reminiscent of classic Sonny and Cher, Cheryl Crow, Cowboy Junkies, Black Crows, Four Non Blondes, with brief splashes of The Waitresses and even the Beatles. Along the way besides the four piece standard you will notice lush instrumentation with things like impressive rhythm and solo guitar, well placed percussion, Piano, Hammond Organ, impressive Horn sections, and lush harmonies layered everywhere. What I like the most about this band is how well they seem to groove together, testament to hundreds of hours of writing and rehearsal time no doubt. Now turning our attention over to Charley and Jesi - as for their vocal abilities, they are both amazing. Together they go down smooth and fills the space peacefully and unobtrusively with a timber that works well within the confines of this catalogue.  I also like how well they both sing and harmonize well and tight together- like a hand in glove with amazing soul. Jesi Dipalo's bring some serious vocal mojo to the table as she she dishes out a vocal timber that is warm, inviting and infectious. I could listen to her sing the Dictionary all day long. She has amazing instincts as she navigates through each song vocally. I might add both take some impressive vocal risks indicating to me a confident vocal ability. The guitar playing from Charlie is equally as impressive and I didn't fail to notice a few hot to the touch guitar solos along the way. All songs are well crafted and consistent across the board. This latest CD from The Charlie and Jesi delivers 9 solid tracks all providing musical enjoyment filled with strong musical variety and diversity. The music of The Charley and Jesi has everything you would expect from a world class musical production. From grooving “Metaphors” to soulful “Sweet Darlin’” and “It Doesn’t Matter” to heartfelt “Tell Me” to psychedelic “Wasted Time” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 9 “Wasted Time” the perfect finale statement for a CD like this.   


This 9 track catalogue is a bit short, this includes one song from their last CD as well “Sweet Darlin” Perhaps 2 or3 more tracks are need to make it a fully loaded release and really hit it out of the park.  


From start to finish Circus is a hot new release from Charlie and Jesi. The songwriting – world class, all consistent musical experiences, each one possessing a unique personality, flair and signature groove. Note for note, song for song there isn’t really weak piece on this entire catalog. The writing and playing abilities Charley and Jesi and company are rock solid. The melodies and harmonies are well crafted and the overall vibe is served up hot with a side of god ole' Americana soul.  


Cyrus Rhodes