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CD REVIEW: Sounding Rick - Never Be Famous

by: Cyrus Rhodes


"the best Sounding Rick to date"







Artist: Sounding Rick (feat. Rick Reynolds)
Never Be Famous

Label: Skabeeb Music

Website: http://www.soundingrick.com/

Genre: Pop, Americana, Jazzy Folk, Jam Band, R&B, Singer Songwriter, Psychedelic Funk

Sounds Like: John Mayer, Steely Dan, Todd Rundgren, Chicago, Van Morrison,

Technical Grade: 10/10

Production/Musicianship Grade: 9/10
Commercial Value: 8/10
Overall Talent Level: 10/10
Songwriting Skills: 9/10
Performance Skill: 9/10
Best Songs: Baggin’ Glue, Stay with Me, I feel Like Me, Better Brand of Gin

Weakness: More solo segments




Florida based Sounding Rick (Rick Reynolds) Guitarist/Songwriter just released his latest CD entitled Never Be Famous in 2013 – his eighth release in 7 years. Quoting Rick: Never Be Famous is one of my favorite CD’s in years! Rick Reynolds has presented us 15 songs that range in content from love to alcoholism to the use of Viagra. Funk, jazz, rock, horns, humor all abound here along with his awesome voice. While Rick uses the same cast of power players such as Greg Roth, Bomani and Michael Glenn, there are special guests on this CD that stand out, such as bassist Kasim Sulton who can be heard on “Believe” and the smash pop song “So In Love”. Funny that the album is titled “Never Be Famous”…with fans worldwide downloading his music and shows in Japan and the US, Sounding Rick shows that he is indeed famous after all.

The CD kicks gets off the ground nicely with "Made I"t a smooth flowing intro piece that serves up slamming Horn section meshed against intoxicating walking bass lines, effective harmonies and soulful melody from. Track 2 “Baggin’ Glue” keeps things moving in the right direction with slamming groove, steady flowing rhythm, well placed guitar chops painted against a hooky chorus making for an impressive follow-up statement. Track 3 “Believe” dishes out another impressive jazzy-groove that serves up rock steady rhythm, impressive and thought provoking lyrical content that flows and ebbs its way through to motional fruition. The CD makes a great first impression dashing out 3 amazing songs in a row. The musicianship of everyone involved. I would classify this music as classic Pop, Americana, with brief touches of Jam Band,  Jazz, R&B to Psychedelic Funk of the 70’s. Music is reminiscent of classic John Mayer, Jason Mraz, Steely Dan, Todd Rundgren, Van Morrison and classic Chicago. Along the way you will notice lush instrumentation with things like impressive horn section, piano, accordion, cello, violin, impressive rhythm and solo guitar, well placed Hammond Organ, lush harmonies layered everywhere all built upon a thick as a brick rhythm section. 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 Reynolds - as for his vocal, guitar playing and guitar playing abilities he’s extremely talents. His voice goes down smooth and fills the space peacefully and unobtrusively with a timber that is simply infectious. I might add he takes some impressive vocal risks indicating to me a confident vocal ability. Did I mention this guy can make his 6 string talk like nobody’s business. All songs are extremely well crafted and consistent across the board - world class songwriting. This CD from Sounding Rock delivers 15 solid tracks all providing musical enjoyment filled with strong musical variety and diversity. The music of Sounding Rick has everything you would expect from a world class musical production. From upbeat “I Feel Like Me” and In with Kids” to rocking “Wagadoo” heartfelt “So In Love” and “Day by Day” to grooving “Stay with Me” to comical “Better Brand of Gin” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 15 “Use As Needed” the perfect finale statement for a CD like this.     

It’s hard to find any serious weaknesses with this release however I do wish there were more slamming solos throughout. Weather it be guitar, Hammond Organ, Saxophone, Harmonica, Horn, Trumpet, Piano - more solo segments would mix up the catalogue a bit better. I like Reynolds' voice, vibrato and overall timber but there are times I wish he would spike the punch and really push that crazy emotional envelope. Kind of like "Play that Funky music White Boy" vocals by Wild Cherry. CD cover art is a bit bland and lacks al visual presentation with no photographs of the artist in question. 

From start to finish Never Be Famous by Sounding Rick is the best Sounding Rick to date and an amazing collection of music. The songwriting – the gold standard, 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 of Sounding Reynolds and company are rock solid. The melodies and harmonies are well crafted, and the lyrical content is packed to the hilt with good old fashioned no holds barred R&B-Pop-Rock swagger. At the end of the day Sounding Rick featuring Rick Reynolds the mojo and is clearly a marquee talent based out of Florida. One would be wise to keep a watchful eye on him over the years to come  - as he becomes even more famous.  

Cyrus Rhodes