CD REVIEW: Phil Celia - "Stockholm Street"
By: Cyrus Rhodes
"honest, striking, yet uplifting statement"
- INDIE MUSIC DIGEST:-
Artist: Phil Celia
CD: Stockholm Street
Label: Independent Artist
Genre: Rock, Americana, Folk
Sounds Like: Bruce Springsteen, Cat Stevens, Neil Diamond, Marc Cohen
Technical Grade: 7/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 7/10
Weakness: Shortsided CD, more musical variety within
the song structure, marketability, lack of peak & valley
Acoustic singer/Songwriter Phil Celia releases his latest CD entitled Stockholm Street in 2010. Band line up includes Celia – guitars & vocals, Eric Richardon – Bass, Bob Sporadeo – drums & Bob Merill – Keyboards. Celia hails from Hanover New Hampshire.
Logging in at just over 3 minutes the CD kicks things off with “Stockholm Street” a gentile intro piece complete with delicate rhythmic acoustic guitar, well placed strings & impressive vocal presence from Celia. Track 2 “Saint Teresa” downshifts a bit with more of a solitary melody, with just acoustic guitar and naked yet powerful vocals & lyrics from Celia. Track 3 “Sunshine in your Eyes” is another up-beat, thought provoking melody with driving rhythm, & impressive vocals, & melodic touches from Celia. As this CD slowly unfolds it’s obvious Celia's music has a lot to offer. It has all the trademarks of acoustic folk/rock - sometimes dark, sometimes bright, never to be underestimated, always striking & powerful, yet fully entertained all at the same time. This CD flows extremely well song for song with musical textures reminiscent of Bruce Springsteen, Marc Cohen, Neil Diamond & Classic Chicago, & even Cat Stevens. Each piece is short and sweet, and holds your attention span perfectly. The musical textures are pretty simplistic, and for a 4 piece rock delivery holds its own remarkably well. You will even notice things like Hammond Organ, percussive accents layered within the music. The musicianship of all the players involved is solid across the board & conservative. Some songs are upbeat and will lift your spirits like “Brothers” while other are full of no nonsense-type passion like “Maryann (Song for Mom)” & “Home” The defining moments for me are the sad but true moments - “Being Alone” this is where we see the true moments cut through revealing the true brilliance of Celia. Celia is never afraid to shy away from the naked truth. Here you will touched by his vocal presence and message. These amazing ballads let it all hang out emotionally serving up passionate vocals and amazing subject matter. Celia's vocal style works extremely well song for song. He possesses passion, & a vocal swagger that goes down smooth, & simply refuses too try to hard. Celia holds his own in the bare bones musical setting extremely well. There’s even an extended version of “Stockholm Street Again” at the end of the CD.
It’s safe to say some songs need more parts to them to add to the overall musical variety .For example “Stockholm Street” is extremely repetitive note for note & perhaps needs another melody line or chord progression to keep the attention span. As a result several songs painfully drag you to the finish line & come across as being extremely repetitive, & lacking musical peak & valley. I can’t help but wonder what some of these songs would sound like with even more musical variety layered within the music. Instruments such as multi-textured guitars, solo guitar, harmonica, mandolin, violin, viola, cello, piano, banjo, ukulele, more percussion, would bring a much needed musical dimension to the catalogue. As a result the production goes down a bit dry. Also at 33 minutes the CD is a bit short. I fully realize this is a subjective art form, but all of the above effect the CD’s overall marketability.
Overall this release from Phil Celia is an impressive musical statement. Its strong suit is his musical & emotional depth, songwriting craft, & passionate vocal presence. Celia touches all the emotions not only in his writing, but his vocals. Pound for Pound “Stockholm Street” is honest, striking, yet an uplifting statement, filled with messages of wisdom, life, hope, & the love of life. “Stockholm Street” doesn’t let you forget who you are, where you came from - & where you one day will return either. Back to where you belong – home on “Stockholm Street.”
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