(jpeg via Amazon.com where you can purchase along with checking out iTunes. this is not a link to any web site.)
Sometimes writing about something because you want to and not because you have to is a beautiful thing...so is the debut release from American Idol alum Casey Abrams. Having worked Production on Season 8 there may be a bias on my part but once you have been a part of the Idol family for even a short period the bond stays with you and there is no denying Abrams talent, drive, and infectious enthusiasm for his craft. Other more seasoned artists should take note and remember what it was like to be hungry. Concord released this in June of 2012 and this could easily be a release some listeners could gloss over. Pre-conceived ideas are normally not the best. It would be easy to assume the release would be "one-note" or perhaps Abrams was a one trick pony at best while on the show but diversity and a strong artistic sense of self and of belonging place this Idol veteran at the top for debut releases. There are other Idol veterans that are now musical footnotes. Abrams is eerily reminiscent of a younger and slightly more polished Eddie Vedder minus the angst and self indulgent pretense that killed grunge rock faster than one can say "Hope and Change".
Granted that Abrams is stepping outside my musical comfort zone but pushing boundaries as well as musical buttons is how I roll. I plan to challenge my own sensibilities more and apparently Abrams and I are on the same page. The best singer never wins Idol, was Abrams the best singer? Taste is subjective but when it comes to the total package then arguably Casey Abrams was the best all around talent the show has seen since Carrie Underwood with consistency being his only stumbling block. Thanks to the superior production work of John Burke, Randy Jackson and Iain Pirie we find Abrams self titled debut release with an ebb and flow that is built around consistency while transcending all genres. A critics worst nightmare is a beautiful thing as well. From the doo-wop off the hook harmonies of the Abrams tune "Simple Life" to a smoldering blues infused cover of "Hit The Road Jack" we take a slightly more alternative folk jazz influence and give it the contemporary adrenalin rush needed with the end result being a complete winner in every respect. Abrams moves from double bass to acoustic guitar with ease, has a solid and accessible lyrical sense of self and can reharm a classic without taking it past the point of no return. Casey Abrams takes pop music to a new dimension of artistic expression and old fashioned fun!
There are those with a built in bias against all things Idol but music is a business first and an art form second - provided you want to keep food in the fridge. From eclectic photos and design to making old school new cool again there is not a blip anywhere. Idol is an incredibly difficult show and no performer has near the time they need to give an accurate representation of their craft but Abrams has taken the right amount of time and has the right people in his corner and is a name you will hear more from in the near future. Imagine Eddie Vedder doing a jazz riff and you may get the idea or better still check out this official video via You Tube.
Tracks: Simple Life; Ghosts; Get Out; Great Bright Morning; Blame It On Me; Wore Out My Soul; Stuck In London; Midnight Girl; A Boy Can Dream; Dry Spell; Hit The Road Jack.
Personnel: Casey Abrams: vocals, double bass, electric bass, wurlitzer, melodica, shaker, acoustic guitar, cello, drums, recorder; Nikolaj Torp: synth bass, backing vocals, piano, organ; Martin Terefe: acoustic guitar, banjo, backing vocals, bass; Karl Brazil: drums, percussion, backing vocals; Rune Westberg: all instruments on 3,4; Luke Potashnik acoustic guitars; Kristoffer Sonne: drums; Shaneeka Simon: backing vocals; Lucille Findlay: backing vocals; Ian Barter: guitar, keyboards, flute; Ian Wilson: violin; Alex Eichenburher: cello; Sacha Skarbek: rhodes; Sam Keyte: hands; Jamie Cullum: piano; Haley Reinhart: vocals; Dean Parks: guitar; Larry Goldings: wurlitzer; hammond b3; Steve Jordan: drums.