CD REVIEW: Saint Mad - Waiting to Start
By Cyrus Rhodes
"Saint Mad let's it all hang out..."
- INDIE MUSIC DIGEST:-
Album: Waiting to Start
Label: Independent Artist Website: www.saintmad.com
Genre: Jazz - Folk - Pop Rock
Sounds Like: Dr. John, Bob Dorough, Peter Paul & Mary, Joni Mitchell
Shot Catalogue of music, give the horns a break
Philadelphia’s own Saint Mad releases his debut CD “Waiting to Start” in the Spring 2009. This is their debut release.
Logging in at just over 40 minutes, the CD kicks things off with “Can’t Let Go” an upbeat intro piece that serves up driving rhythms, up-beat vocal melodies, accompanied by inviting horns & full tilt parlor piano. Track 2 “I see Myself In You” shifts gears a bit with French Café style instrumentation, against this soothing acoustical ballad that is sincere as much as it is genuine. Track 3 “God Gives You What You Need”’ delivers well placed vocal harmonies from Harris & Co. with nice percussive accents, & earthy type feel feel making for a nice folk type ditty. As the CD slowly unfolds you will notice a lot of musical variety from Harris & Co. First his music itself has a lot of vocal originality, & possesses a very carefree & uplifting spirit & persona. The CD offers a rich melodic vocal foundation, & lush layers of instrumentation. I would classify this music as Poppy, Folk Jazz with a strong emphasis on vocal harmonies & melodic reinforcement. Besides the standard 4 piece delivery you will also notice brief splashes of percussion, piano, gong, harmonica, & saxophone layered within the music. All in all the CD has some truly impressive moments on it showcasing musical influences of the likes of classic Dr. John, Joni Mitchell, Jimmy Buffet, & do I dare say Peter Paul & Mary. Harris’s vocal abilities work well across the board possessing a vocal swagger reminiscent of Bob Dorough (Schoolhouse Rock), Jimmy Buffet, Dr. John, with just s splash of Joe Cocker. As for the other members (3 females) they continuously deliver confident vocal abilities indicating a confident vocal ability. I would wager this band probably sung choir in High School. From upbeat pieces "What else Is Kindness” & “Canyon Song” to Jazzy "Wistful" to pieces that deliver rich conventional wisdom that simply can't be faked like on "Live" this CD pretty much has it all. To my personal favorite "O Sweet Spontaneous" to cover songs "Across The Universe" & "Over the Rainbow" I can honestly say this CD doesn’t have to many weak moments on it. The CD ends with “Wish” a nice wrap, with lyrics that go “Why should I care if no one writes on my grave, here lies a person who always behaved, cuz' no one is safe by not making waves, despite how we try to pretend.” Nice touch there!!
Removing the 2 cover songs this musical production logs just over 33 minutes – a bit short. I wish there were say 2 to 3 more original songs just to add to the catalogue. “I see Myself in You” feels like it ends way to quickly. I love the horn section but geez it seems like it’s always in your face around every corner, in every song.
In close Saint Mad is just a blast to listen to, & Strong musical production from start to finish. The music is highly original, extremely melodic, and it will lift your spirits without even trying. As the CD progressed I became more and more impressed with this 4 piece. Because of the influences I would say the flower children out there will love this one. My hats off to Daoud Shaw for not only playing percussion on the CD, but adding his producers touch to the presentation. The musicianship is first rate, the songs are short and sweet musical experiences, each one possessing a unique personality, flair, and signature groove. Lastly - the writing, and singing abilities of Saint Mad is about as good as it gets for this genera. Like an Evil Saint it's Saint Mad let's it all hang out delivering music that is as much fun as it is entertaining, & unpredictable. I look forward to hearing more material from Saint Mad in the future.
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