CD REVIEW: Ric Zweig - Running out of Time
By: Cyrus Rhodes
'a rare find
- INDIE MUSIC DIGEST:-
Artist: Ric Zweig
Label: Independent Artist
Genre: 70’s classic rock, alternative rock,
Sounds Like: Leonard Cohen, Van Morrison, Peter Frampton
Technical Grade: 8/10
Weakness: Choppy & erratic vocal delivery, repetitive vocal paraphrasing, dated
musical catalogue, marketability
Early in the 2000s, after twenty years of being a judge on top of a lengthy career as a prosecutor and defense attorney, Zweig decided he’d had enough of the legal world and told his staff he was quitting to play rock and roll. They thought he was crazy, but then again, they didn’t know his truest heart beneath the robe. He never told them about his lifelong passion for rock and blues that went back to his days writing a rock column and hosting a radio program at Ithaca College, when most of his friends were musicians--a few of whom went on to successful careers in music. Inspired by the greats he grew up with like Van Morrison and Bob Dylan, he bought an Epiphone guitar, taught himself to play and worked on his songwriting chops. Now in 2010 we get a glimpse of this Floridians latest release “Running out of Time”
The CD kicks things off with the title track - a rocking intro piece that serves up driving rock rhythm against classic 70’s guitar & passionate vocal melody & harmonies from Zweig & company. Track 2 shifts gears with “I’d like to do it again” a slow but passionate piece with melancholy piano intro, that flows & ebbs it’s way through emotional fruition. Track 3 “Out with the Tide” dishes up some impressive 70’s keyboard accents against steady drum rhythm, throbbing bass guitar & some impressive solo guitar work. As the CD slowly unfolds I can hear many different musical textures reminiscent of such classic 70’s musical acts as Peter Frampton, Leonard Cohen, & maybe a dash of the Eagles & Van Morrison. The music itself is an impressive blend of progressive rock, & acoustic rock with a classic roc aftertaste with perhaps a splash of passionate folk. Zweig’s voice fills the sonic space peacefully & unobtrusively & is full of passion. You will also catch brilliant flashes of bold honesty & a slight vulnerability in the music & lyrical content that simply can’t be faked. The musicianship from all the other members in the band is above the bar & has everything you would expect from a classic rock musical statement. Zweig really makes the (singer to listener) vocal connection with his singing, songwriting & words that sometimes cut like a knife. The songs themselves are powerful musical experiences, each one possessing unique personality, flair, & signature groove. From passionate “Lost in the Chase to mesmerizing “Puppet” to powerful “So go on” to slow to passionate “Something for Her” to easy flowing “Mr. Good Vibe” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with “What are we supposed to do” a tranquil finale statement that ends things on a positive note with easy flowing melodies with impressive solo guitar work & an impressive musical build through finale.
It’s fair to say Zweig doesn’t possess a world class vocal ability. I like the vocal passion that emanates from Zweig but he avoids taking any serious risks that would indicate a serious vocal ability. His vocal phrasing & paraphrasing lacks serious creativity & is in serious need of a melodic phrasing overhaul. Zweig’s vocal delivery is also extremely choppy & erratic note for note, song for song. At the end of the day it lacks fullness, melodic depth & variety. It’s almost like he’s speaking or whispering the notes to you. Over time this repetitive scratchy baritone delivery will take a major toll on you. Some songs in the catalogue are better than others. Catalogue is a bit dated & was perhaps released about 25 years too late. I know this is a subjective art form, but all the aforementioned affects it's overall marketability.
Overall “Running out of Time” from Ric Zweig is a compelling catalogue of music & is not without it's impressive moments. The strong suit of this CD – the bold & painfully honest writing style of Rob Zweig. I really admire artists out there that are themselves & just let the chips fall where they may. Zweig is one of these brave artists. It’s rare find to get this kind of snapshot or music & genuine perspective from an artist. Praise goes out to the ones that are brave enough to show us the naked truth & what lies beneath their veil of vanity. Hats' of to the production team: Producer Luis Salazar (Lil Wayne, Jennifer Hudson) & Mastering Engineer Michael Fuller for delivering a musical production with crystal clear clarity & vivid sound. I also thoroughly enjoyed some of the musical performances, especially the solo guitar work & the overall 70’s classic rock vibe. If your looking for bold & deeply honest musical catalogue sung to you from an artists perspective with a classic rock aftertaste then I highly recommend you jump into “Running out of Time” By Rob Zweig head first.
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