CD REVIEW: Wooden Hez - Children's Parade
By: Cyrus Rhodes
Artist/Band: Wooden Hez
Classic Rock, Americana, Folk, Alternative Rock
Mix, Production Value, Marketability, Repetitive Catalog
Philadelphia based Alternative Rock band Wooden Hez” just released their latest release in 2012. Core members include Dave Pitone - Vocals, Guitar, and Alan Lee - Bass. Other Co-conspirators: Sam Shemin – Drums, Aviv Roziner – Drums, Chris Welty – Drums, Mark Pilli - Guitar.
The CD kicks off with "Take Them There" a slow moving heartfelt ditty that serves up steady rock beat reminiscent of vintage Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan complete with a rockabilly type guitars, soothing melodies and well placed harmonies. Track 2 “Radio Man” keeps things moving with it’s steady rock rhythm, aggressive rock groove and impressive melodic ambience. Track 3 “Children’s’ Parade” keeps thing s moving with its methodical musical build, heart felt vocals and grand slam chorus that flows and ebbs it’s way through to emotional fruition. As the CD slowly unfolds I can hear many musical influences reminiscent of classic Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Pink Floyd and even R.E.M. The actual musical format is very intimate, up close: a personal snapshot of a band. The songs themselves are very naked and personal with messages revealing the highs and lows of life, love, passion and do I dare say life’s observations. Overall the catalogue is upbeat, methodical, providing a brilliant perspective on life. Besides the 4 piece standard you will also notice brief splashes of Americana-Folk-Rock overtones, well placed rhythm and solo guitar and lush harmonies layered everywhere all built upon a thick as a brick rhythmic foundation. Lyrical content is extremely revealing and thought provoking. All songs cut deep to the core and its obvious Pitone and company are also a very capable songwriter. From rocking “Sinner” to striking “Old Skin” to mesmerizing “Just Sacrifice” to heartfelt “Walk By” to thought provoking Competent Man” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 9 “Children Parade (acoustic) the perfect finale statement for a CD of this caliber.
It’s fair to say Pitone doesn’t have the most effective vocal abilities in the world. This is also not the nest mix I’ve ever heard. At the end of the overall production value comes across as a bit dated, lacking dynamics and a modern-day flair. It takes skill and engineering savvy to record, mix, and master a musical production to industry standards these days. The impact this will have on its overall sound cannot be overstated. If this was 1980 this would be a cutting edge musical production, unfortunately its 2013, so the bar is set really high for independent artists like Wodden Hez. It’s safe to say the catalogue is a bit repetitive overall. I fully realize this is a subjective art form but many of the aforementioned issues do affect the CD’s overall marketability.
The strong suit of Wooden Hez is their strong consistency, lyrical wisdom and bold passion and raw straightforwardness. Make no bones about it folks; it took raw courage and honesty to write and perform these songs. What I like most about Wooden Hez is there is no attempt to hide how he feels, or sugarcoat the truth. 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 has the courage to show us something real and genuine beneath their veil of vanity. Wooden Hez is one of those artists.