Street Date 06/05/12
In a conversation with saxophonist Bob Mintzer on how he views critics he replied, "Not Everything Sucks." Fair enough...But this was back in January when this release was in post production and the sonic plug should have been pulled as an act of mercy.
More than just a pretty face? Sure. Lisa McClowry is certainly a better than average singer and has the resume to back it up. McClowery's 2010 release Time Signatures was met with favorable reviews and she has been featured on numerous national television spots for such notable companies as Applebee's and TRESemme shampoos and conditioners. A singer is a bit different than a vocalist much like my mastery of addition and subtraction certainly is not sufficient enough qualification to refer to myself as an accountant. Jim Peterik is a Grammy and Oscar winning singer/songwriter whose fifteen minutes of fame ("Eye Of The Tiger") does not exactly catapult him to iconic status. The most puzzling aspect of this release being both Greg Carmichael and Miles Gilderdale appear on every track on McClowry's latest, Sings Acoustic Alchemy. More often then not when original lyrics are added to extremely successful instrumental music as is the case with Acoustic Alchemy the results are disappointing at best. Why? Simple. Too many cooks spoil the soup and with Peterik not participating in the origin of the song from beginning to end there can be a great deal is lost in translation given some of these tunes are at least twenty years old. The end result of the collaboration here is easy listening on steroids. Nothing works.
McClowry is a good singer but offers nothing special. Bland, boring and utterly predictable there is no new ground cut but the vast majority of the blame falls on the anemic lyrics of Peterik. Gilderdale and Carmichael turn in stellar performances but are so far hidden in the mix that Osama Bin Laden was easier to find and what they do have to offer is difficult at best to find in what would be best described as a "hot mess" thanks to some vocals that take self indulgent to a new level. If Carmichael and Gilderdale were looking to reinvent some classic tunes from their most impressive discography this is a project they should have taken on themselves. While the initial press release does indicate that Acoustic Alchemy did in fact love the initial single recording featuring McClowry's vocals and what began as the idea as a single for the next McClowry release quickly turned into a full blown release this release hit the streets D.O.A
Having often said the worst review you can give an artist is simply no mention at all, I am stunned that anyone could find anything other than :15 to :20 seconds of bits and pieces of palatable material. There are 25 other singers I have reviewed in the past 90 days that sound identical to McClowry. Peterik's songwriting simply confirms his better days are behind him and I am in shock that one of the best contemporary ensembles that has every been put together would attach their name to such an unbelievable train wreck. One potential clue may be that the guitar parts from Carmichael and Gilderdale were literally "phoned in."
To be perfectly honest, I do not even remember requesting a copy of this release for review.
I still consider myself a jazz advocate. Decide for yourself but if you have an extra twenty you are itching to spend I would recommend giving it to your local food bank before picking this release up. It leaves me scratching my head wondering what the hell happened...
The best I can possibly say for the die hard Acoustic Alchemy fan is to compare it to Charlie Brown's Christmas tree as maybe all it needs is just a little love.