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CD REVIEW: Nathanial Sexton - "Grave"

By: Cyrus Rhodes

 

"Sexton is a premier talent"

 

"Powerful, passionate, & uplifting

- INDIE MUSIC DIGEST:-

 

 

 

 

**********

Artist: Nathanial Sexton
Album: Grave
Label: Independent Artist

Website: www.nathansextonmusic.com

Genre: Rock, Pop, Soul, R&B

Sounds Like: Rob Thomas, Michael Duble, Jeff Buckley

Technical Grade: 5/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 7/10
Commercial Value: 5/10
Overall Talent Level: 10/10
Songwriting Skills: 10/10
Performance Skill: 10/10
Best Songs: I Say It, Defeat, Crooner

Weakness: Erratic Mix, Dated Sounding Production, Marketability


CD REVIEW:  

Atlanta’s own singer, songwriter Nathan Sexton releases his debut CD entitled “Grave” an exciting 10 track catalogue citing influences ranging from Jeff Buckley, Ryan Adams, The Beetles, & Tom Petty.  

The CD kicks things off with “I’m Fine” a smooth intro lullaby that serves up hypnotic melodies, well placed  harmonies, accompanied by inviting 70’s psychedelic flair. Track 2 “Satellite” shifts gears a bit delivering a more amped-up guitar delivery, with it's dynamic  peak & valley musical flow, coupled with hypnotic vocal layering from Sexton. Track 3 presents a solid remake of the classic Beetles ”All My Loving.” It’s quite impressive how well Sexton makes this song all his own, with his effective harmonies & well placed percussive accents along the way. As the CD slowly unfolds I can hear many musical influences reminiscent of classic Yes, The Beetles, Jeff Buckley & Michael Duble with perhaps just a splash of America, & Crosby Stills & Nash. The music itself has a lot of musical variety to it delivering music that has a powerful, passionate & uplifting spirit to it. The CD offers a rich melodic & vocal foundation, with lush layers of instrumentation along the way. I would classify this music as rock, pop with a vintage 70’s psychedelic rock aftertaste. Besides the standard 4 piece delivery, you will also notice brief splashes of instrumentation layered everywhere from piano, acoustic guitar, mandolin, percussive accents, to distorted guitar & full orchestral strings. This production is packed to the hilt with impressive chops from Sexton & his band. Sexton’s voice works well within the catalogue & is in the vein of Jon Anderson (YES), Elton John, Rob Thomas, Jeff Buckley, & even Michael W. Smith. I might add Sexton plays guitar & takes some very impressive vocal risks along the way. This indicates to me a strong & confident vocal ability. I didn’t fail to notice a few well placed falsettos along the way either. By track 4 the CD hits solid stride delivering 5 amazing songs back to back. From powerful “Defeat” to bluesy “The you inside of me” to passionate “Crooner” & “My favorite Season” this CD pretty much has something for just about everyone.

The overall production quality (recording, mixing, mastering) seems to be somewhat erratic, amateurish, & a bit all over the place. From drums that lack serious bottom end, to obscure sounding distorted guitars, & drum recordings, to extreme right to left pans, to vocal levels that seem extremely disproportional to the music – this CD has all the trademarks of a "basement garage-band" or a dated late eighties & early ninety mix job. This is especially evident whenever the full band kicks in, especially drums, percussion & distorted guitar. It takes skill and engineering savvy to record, mix, & master a musical production to industry standards these days. The impact this will have on it's overall  marketability cannot be overstated. If this was 1975 this would be a cutting edge musical production, unfortunately it's 2010, so the bar is set really high for independent artists like Sexton. Given the talent factor of Sexton, & the scope of his songwriting craft, amazing vocal abilities, & world class musicianship - it’s a bit unfortunate besides being unorthodox. If this review seems lopsided it’s merely a reflection to the extremes presented on “Grave.”  

In close “Grave” is an impressive musical production from start to finish. It’s strong suit – it's amazing musical variety, world class musicianship, & amazing vocal presence from Sexton. The songs are extremely melodic, passionate, & powerful & will no doubt lift your spirits without even trying. The musicianship is first rate; the songs are short & sweet musical experiences, each one possessing a unique personality, flair, & signature groove. Last but not least Nathaniel Sexton is a premier talent, possessing solid chops, an infectious voice, & some amazing songwriting skills. If I could say anything to Sexton right now – it would be to surround yourself with world class Mixing, Mastering, & Recording engineers that can do your music proper justice thus giving your audience a production they so rightfully deserve. Do this & it’s fair to say your best CD is yet to come.

Cyrus Rhodes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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