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CD REVIEW: Willie Ames - Night Owl

By: Cyrus Rhodes




Artist: Willie Ames

CD: Night Owl

Label: Independent Artist

Website:  http://www.willieames.com

Genre: Alternative Folk, Americana, Celtic Rock

Sounds Like: Tom Petty, Dire Straits, Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac, Dave Matthews, Bob Dylan
Technical Grade: 8/10

Production/Musicianship Grade: 8/10
Commercial Value: 8/10
Overall Talent Level: 9/10
Songwriting Skills: 8/10
Performance Skill: 9/10
Best Songs: Neanderthal, Desert Run

Weakness: A Few short-sided songs , More solos please 




Los Angeles based Singer/Songwriter Willie Ames just released his latest release entitled Night Wol in 2012. Willie Ames is no stranger to the Music Business. He was awarded Solo Artist of the Year and performer in the 20th Annual Los Angeles Music Awards (LAMAs) and Best Male Performer in the eWorld Music Awards 2011 at SIR Studios in Hollywood.

The CD kicks things off with “Human Race” a jumping intro piece that serves up steady rock rhythm, against infectious vocal vibe with catchy vocal groove and catchy fretwork from Ames. Track 2 “Night Owl” keeps things moving in the right direction with a more striking movement against methodical  musical build painted against hooky melody, and a heartfelt vocal presence from Ames. This coupled with mesmerizing lyrical content makes for a very interesting follow-up musical statement. Track 3 “Walk in the Path” serves up classical finger picking playing style  from Ames that flows and ebbs its way through to emotional fruition with hypnotic movement against a mesmerizing vibe. As the CD slowly unfolds I can hear many different musical soundscapes reminiscent of such classic acts such as Tom Petty, Dire Straits, Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac, and Dave Matthews to Bob Dylan. Right from the start you will notice rich musical textures overflowing everywhere, full of passion, variety and strong melodic structure. The songs themselves are addictive, and packed full of zany and entertaining lyrical content and subject matter that simply cannot be faked. The music itself is an impressive blend of Rock, Alternative Rock with just a dash Celtic, Classical Folk and Americana-type roots. Along the way besides the typical 4 piece standard you will notice well placed percussive accents, impressive Acoustic guitar, Banjo, Piano, Strings, and Classical finger-picking playing styles, with well placed harmonies all built on a solid low end rhythm section foundation. Ames makes no attempt at sugar coating the truth via his music, instead he lets it all hang out with reckless abandon. His voice works well within the confines of this upbeat yet melancholy catalogue. I might add he takes some impressive vocal risks throughout the CD as well. No doubt Ames can hold his own vocally, as I didn’t fail to notice a few well-placed harmonies and fancy fretwork throughout that lets it all hang out. Enter Ames musicianship and production virtuoso - equally as impressive. What I like most about the music is its sheer unpredictability and amazing amount of originality. Song for song you can never really predict what’s waiting for you around the next corner. From thought provoking “Neanderthal” to dynamic “Feelings” to striking “Black Widow” to hypnotic “Desert Run” and Stumbling Home” to heartfelt “Dance With You” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 11 the classic Fleetwod Mac song from Rumors “Never Going Back” the perfect finale statement for a CD of this caliber.   

It’s hard to find any noticeable weaknesses with this latest release. Track 1 one feels a bit short to me. I wish I heard more in the way of soloing from any instrument to mix up the catalogue a bit better in true to form Jam Band fashion.  Also like Lindsey Buckinhma m does flawlessly I Would encourage Ames to spike the punch and showcase more in the way of raw blood curling emotion in his vocal delivery when the music calls for it. 

Night Owl from Willie Ames is an impressive musical production from start to finish. It’s strong suit – the amazing creative genius and solid fretwork from a one Willie Ames. He possesses enough musical talent, musicianship, and songwriting prowess to be extremely dangerous. The music is clean, goes down smooth, and is full of earthy musical textures that come at you from every direction. The messages are passionate, honest, and amazingly witty - all from a brilliant perspective. The true meaning of some of these songs is buried deep within the lyrical content and is not so easily pinned down the first listen. I really admire artists out there who are themselves and just let the chips fall where they may. Praise goes out to the artist that can show us something real and genuine beneath their veil of vanity. Willie Ames is one of those artists.

Cyrus Rhodes


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