Artist Review: MiZ – “A Year Ago Today” LP

Review by: Justyn Brodsky

Acoustic, electric and all around eclectic, we get a fun and heartfelt catalogue of multifaceted tracks from Americana/Roots Rock recording artist MiZ‘s newest album A Year Ago Today.

MiZ is definitely no stranger to the industry. He’s performed his music on a vast array of tours and has opened up for industry heavyweights like Jason Isbell, Blues Traveler, The Wallflowers, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and a slew of others. And is also a two time winner of the Tri-State Indie Award for “Acoustic Artist Of The Year”. Now continuing his career after the well received success of his debut album, MiZ has emerged from the studio with his second studio album A Year Ago Today, and proves to be a very diligently crafted follow up record with all the goods.

Staying true to his signature sound of blissful guitar textures, dynamic melody placements and tasty vocal harmonies, MiZ delivers up an album of heartfelt catchiness that sings to your soul and sticks in your head. Each track is intelligently pieced together, has flavorful additives and delves into a fresh Americana sound with elements of Folk and served up with a classic Roots Rock style. All the while maintaining modern production value and musicianship factors that makes A Year Ago Today a very relevant record for today’s mainstream market.

From well blended acoustic guitar progressions, keyboard melodies to funky fiddles gliding through each measure with a tight rhythm section, MiZ‘s versatile vocal range is showcased very effectively and really stands out as a true original. Each song really shows the facets of his song writing and his lyrical content with catchy vocal melodies are a collective standout on this album. There is something for everyone on this record.

Another great component is the diversity of the tracks. It provides a sound that shares equal parts originality and familiarity, where you get something different from each song but know it’s coming from the same artist. And the attentiveness to the detail of MiZ‘s songwriting is one of the major things that makes A Year Ago Today the gem that it really is.

This is a masterful album, and if this is your first time discovering MiZ, you’ll be glad you did. It’s the type of album that’ll give you intrigue, and really entice you to look deeper into MiZ‘s music career and previous records. His true talent glows in this album, and it’s made apparent from start to finish.

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Artist Review: Wayland – “She Lights It Up” Single

Review by: Justyn Brodsky

Captivating and soul shaking, Wayland‘s eclectic Rock ballad “She Lights It Up” will light up your life and glow you fluorescent.

“…She Lights It uuuuup…” will never get out of your head again from the very first listen of this anthem by acclaimed rockers Wayland. From having one of their anchor singles go viral, hitting the Top 10 on the iTunes Charts and relentless touring for over half a decade, this quartet of multifaceted musicians prove that brilliant songwriting and mastering your craft has its payoffs in epic proportions when you truly have what it takes.

Adding to their legacy of hit songs, “She Lights It Up” is a piano-led ballad with possibly one of the catchiest vocal melodies in any chorus you could ever hear. And that isn’t to be taken lightly. With an emotionally supercharged piano progression, soaring lead vocals doused with beautiful Country-style harmonies and instrumental additives that include steel guitars and a mandolin, this song truly hits it out of the park.

This is a ballad the way it was meant to be written, and it shows facets of each member of the band’s contributing factors when you especially watch the in-studio themed music video. The immaculate vocal range and melody placements by singer Mitch Arnold are a standout of its own, and he really puts his heart into this track with several angles of his voice being showcased throughout the song, and it’s quite the amazement to behold. Meanwhile the band fills everything else in beautifully with not only their respective progressions and rhythm parts, but their textures as well to give this song every magical touch that it needs. And it all falls into place perfectly. Seriously, it doesn’t get much better than this when it comes to perfecting a song to its absolute potential.

One thing you’ll definitely take note of is Mitch Arnold’s vocal range and overall performance in this song. The authentic realness of his voice and the band that brings it all out in its full glory is something very rare in today’s era of post production theatrics and unnecessary noise. It’s the biggest breath of fresh air you’ll feel in quite some time.

We can’t recommend this song highly enough. If this is your first time discovering Wayland, then you’ll be an instant fan after one listen of this track.

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Artist Review: Randall Fowler – “The Recipe” EP

Review by: Justyn Brodsky

It’s rare that you discover an artist that is so good, that you have to listen to the music twice to fully embrace what you just heard. That’s the sensation you get when listening to Randall Fowler‘s newest hybrid Country-Rock EP The Recipe.

“A little bit o’ you, a little bit ‘o me, baby that’s the recipe” sings Fowler on the self-titled track of the EP. And that’s exactly what his songs are all about – the recipe. Something that is evident and appropriately titled, with every component of each song in its rightful place where it can deliver the most impact.

Emerging from the Charleston music scene in South Carolina, Randall Fowler, a musician since childhood, combines a strong Country Rock style with Pop and R&B additives that encompass familiar vibes and an innovative modern feel. His vocal range and control is something to behold all on its own, but combined with his ability to write and compose eclectic and intelligently crafted songs is what makes him the gem he really is. And The Recipe demonstrates this perfectly.

The precision of the EP carries significant weight with the production value and lends a hand at putting a modern twist to a very favorable genre in a very versatile way. With smooth acoustic guitar progressions and textures mixed with multifaceted EDM sensibilities, The Recipe delivers up a sound you’ve never quite heard before. It has incredible performance value, freshly innovative ideas, and really showcases Fowler in the most effective way possible. And that’s one of the greatest parts about this record – Fowler‘s authenticity and unwavering talent is at the forefront and is shown in many angles. You’ll have to hear it to believe it – and you’ll be glad you did.

Every track offers up something new, but stays true to a signature sound you’ll come to recognize. The Recipe is currently available on all digital music retailers and streaming platforms. You’ll be very glad we pointed you in Fowler‘s direction, and you’ll definitely thank us later.

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Artist Review: Scissortail – “So Alone” Single

Review by: Justyn Brodsky

Americana-duo Scissortail bring us ambient guitar swells and anthemic vocals with their newest single “So Alone.”

Scissortail, comprised of fellow musicians Seth Patterson and Trey Lockhart, come together to bring us smooth guitars and feel-good vibes with their eclectic Americana sound in this new single, and it’s something that will captivate your soul.

With great use of acoustic melodies and electric textures, both guitar parts compliment the good nature and well controlled vocals that embrace a passionate tone and overall atmosphere throughout the track. It is a simple song that is effective, high spirited and brings their true musicianship factors to the forefront.

The heartfelt lyrics and versatile vocal range really puts a signature touch to this song, and really gets you to sit back and enjoy the facets of two talented musicians coming together to create a solidified chemistry.

Scissortail is definitely a duo that is onto something, and will leave you very eager to hear more as the duo continues to manifest new material. Their unique and multifaceted take on the passionate Americana style is a treat for the soul and something to behold. You’ll be enticed to explore more into what Scissortail has in store.

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Artist Review: Zama Rripa – “American Soul” LP

Review by: Justyn Brodsky

With great spirit, good nature, and a whole hearted eclectic sound driving his passion for music forward, Zama Rripa proves with his newest album American Soul that his message is just as powerful as his music.

Zama, emerging from the elite Miami music scene, has been garnering an insatiable street buzz with his indie-folk-americana rock style and free spirited lyrics that are uplifting and warm; yet take a stand at the same time in a positive and protesting way. He has performed all over the world in various bands as well as a solo artist, and his solo effort in American Soul really touches on his experiences, views and adventures into finding one’s journey and purpose.

Each anchor single off this album is very anthemic and has a very vibrant and almost tropical feel at times. With some reggae influences in the mix with a modern folk and americana signature, each track is very eclectic in its structure and timeless in its message.

With smooth acoustic textures and clean guitar layers that blend in with a very rhythmic flow, Zama‘s songwriting structures are very fresh, bold and deliver an authentic feel that is genuine and heartfelt. You can feel the passion that has been put into these tracks, and it really authenticates Zama‘s artistic merit every time each song plays out. There’s no specific formula – he writes and plays what he loves, and that’s what makes a songwriter truly influential.

If there’s one thing I can say about American Soul, it’s that Zama aims to inspire to be inspired. And to truly take in his music for what it really is – inspiring. He’s one of those artists that truly wants to make the world a better place through his music. And American Soul encompasses that with every track.

American Soul officially releases on October 26th and will be available on all digital music retailers and streaming platforms.

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Artist Review: Winston-Salem – “Hell Is A Turnpike” Single

Review by: Justyn Brodsky

It’s rare in today’s music era when you can run into truly well written songs. Songs where the actual songwriting is priority, and an effective showcasing of true musicianship factors are present. One of those rare gems is the Winston-Salem single “Hell Is A Turnpike,” a group from the UK that is really hitting the ground running.

Known for their very charismatic Alt-Americana signature sound, “Hell Is A Turnpike” makes use of great guitar progressions, catchy vocal melodies and a 90’s style songwriting structure that reminds you of Gin Blossoms with Tom Petty singing lead vocals. The guitars blend together beautifully as they interchange between a solid crunch and clean acoustic textures, and really compliments the authentically versatile vocals that are driven by heartfelt lyrics and melody arrangements.

The band encompasses an indie sound but also has elements of today’s modern production value that really gives the band relevance and their own identity. They’re the type of group where when you hear one of their tunes – you know it’s them. They have a style that they can truly call their own and it’s something their fans can identify with, as well as every music fan that discovers them.

Winston-Salem is definitely into something. And “Hell Is A Turnpike” is a great introductory track if it’s your first time hearing them. You’ll definitely be looking forward to their upcoming releases after hearing this track. You’ll be glad we sent you to them.

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Artist Review: Von Rodri – “Flower Days” EP

Review by: Justyn Brodsky

When it comes to enchanting acoustic textures and a Star-like quality voice that is versatile and eclectic, Von Rodri absolutely delivers anthemic sweetness with his EP and anchor single “Flower Days.”

It’s rare that we hear a solid acoustic track anymore. So Von is definitely a fresh breath of much needed air. Resonating a classic acoustic sound with modern day production value, “Flower Days” gives us a series of feel-good moods that we haven’t felt in quite some time.

Playing lightly textured guitar parts with a catchy progression, Von gives a more than worthy vocal performance in his tone and choice of melodies. The song is very crafty and really hovers among many musical eras that accompany great acoustic anthems, and if a solid acoustic track is in your wish list, then look no further. “Flower Days” will capture your spirit and captivate your soul.

The EP is currently available on SoundCloud and recently just became available on Spotify and Apple Music as of September 22nd. Once you get a grasp onto Von Rodri‘s blissful vocals and dynamic songwriting structures, you’ll be in anticipation of what’s to come with his future releases. You’ll be glad you gave this a listen.

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