Scott Gray – Raincoats and Other Short Stories

This month sees the exclusive re-release in the U.K. and Europe of Raincoats & Other Short Stories, the latest EP from US singer-songwriter Scott Gray. Featuring re-mastered songs and a bonus track, the seven song release is a familiar croon for the heart and a picture book for the imagination which provides a rather enjoyable companion for the ears too.

Nashville based, Gray takes inspiration from the likes of Sting, Leonard Cohen, and Jamie Cullum and like them instinctively crafts his songs as stories embracing the imagination and personal experiences seeded in the broad and intimate moments in life all in some way can relate to. Musically, these adventures further blossom from their creator’s infectious fusion of pop and jazz, a blend carrying a breath as soulful as it is melodic rock energetic. Certainly artists like Michael Bublé and Harry Connick Jr come to mind at times across Gray’s new release but more so it offers an eagerly captivating fresh and individual character.

Raincoats & Other Short Stories first embraces ears with Raincoats, a song which immediately got under the skin as the body bounced to its catchy lure of voice and piano. Gray’s fingers stroll over keys with smiling eagerness, his tones just as vibrant and enthused and almost grinning as they welcome the subsequent full spirited swing of brass and the summery sparkle of keys. The flames of the chorus add another virulent hue to the inescapably catchy encounter and thrilling start to the EP.

Maybe It’s You follows and is no less a flirtatious temptation, its more concentrated canter a joy of nagging bass and again balmy keys cast melodies. Harmonies and brass simply accentuate the track’s affectionate tale and persuasion, a growing classic rock hue another magnetic spice to its swinging heart and keenly sauntering demeanour. As its predecessor, the track quickly had us eating out of its enterprising hand before making way for the sultry charm and intimate jazz club climate of She Remains. Smoky brass joins melancholic keys alongside the reflective reveal of word and Gray’s ever alluring voice; every second of their melodic and wistful contemplation effortlessly beguiling.

Equally thoughtful and pensively mellow is Captured, a tale of dejection, determination and unstoppable romance. Though it maybe took a play or two more to tempt as those before it, the song emerges another ear and appetite ensnaring proposal persistently tempting with an almost gnarly throated sax, invigorating crescendos and Gray’s consistently potent and persuasive voice, the latter especially just as commanding and compelling within the following Someday, Gray’s latest single. Sharing a park bench with the listener watching life go by, it is a melodic musing easily embracing and sparking the imagination.

The lively infectious rock ‘n’ roll of Games You Play, a pop fuelled canter with a jazz rock bred personality and bounce that again needed little time to gain ears and participation, brings further variety to the EP before it closes up with bonus track, As If. An emotionally charged serenade of voice and sound with a fire in its heart, the song makes a fine end to a release which just grows and blossoms in ears and enjoyment play by play and is easy to see bringing a whole new audience the way of Scott Gray from this side of the big pond.

Raincoats and Other Short Stories is only available in the UK and Europe on iTunes @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/raincoats-other-short-stories/1451747753

http://www.scottgraymusic.com/    https://www.facebook.com/500HatsMusic/   https://twitter.com/ScottGrayMusic

Pete RingMaster 24/03/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Old House Playground – 21st Century Glory

OHP_RingMaster Review

Having already seduced 2015 with their dark blues honed rock ‘n’ roll courtesy of The Great Escape EP, UK homed Old House Playground do it again with their new single 21st Century Glory. Continuing the compelling and fiercely alluring sound of their last release, the Manchester based trio take ears and imagination into another shadow built and gothic aired adventure, a creative escapade as seeded in “the songwriting culture of traditional Greek folk music” as it is the noir spawned recesses of modern blues rock. The result is a pair of songs which bewitch and inspire, and a single sure to add pressure on the richest spotlights to wake up to the impressive band.

Athens bred, Old House Playground relocated to Manchester in 2009, to “experiment with new musical paths and forms of expression.” Consisting then of vocalist/guitarist Tryfon Lazos, drummer Andreas Venetantes, and bassist Conor Loughran, the band drew on inspirations from the likes of Tom Waits, Django Reinhardt, Nick Cave as well as Greek artists Psarantonis and Marcos Vamvakaris as their sound’s character and voice evolved. After the departure of Loughran, the remaining pair recorded debut album God Damn That Gold with producer/musician Chris Evans, its release coming in 2013 through Evening Economies/Fat Bob Records. Well received and praised, the full-length led to a collaboration with Durutti Column, that leading to Lazos singing onstage alongside Vini Reilly. The addition of bassist Jago Furnas was made in 2014, with the threesome going on to record, and earlier this year release, The Great Escape.

21st Century Glory Artwork_RingMaster Review   Now it is the turn of 21st Century Glory to whip up ears and appetites, a success quickly in motion as the track opens with flames of brass upon strolling rhythms and fiery guitar coaxing. The distinctive tones of Lazos are soon adding to the temptation as the song itself entwines strands of blues and jazz into its emerging sultry swing within an imagination driven intent. As with their previous release, strong hints of artists like Tom Waits, Nick Cave, and The Doors collude with the scent of others like Eighties B-Line Train Disaster and Bernaccia, yet what emerges is a mischievous proposal that stands alone as an Old House Playground incitement. The virulent nature of the song continues to enslave, even as the guitar at times creates a fuzzy sizzle of persuasion; that underlying catchiness perpetual and inescapable bait throughout.

The song is bewitching; a lively shuffle of gothic intrigue and tenacious sultriness, matched in kind by the accompanying Love And Other Demons. A slower rockabilly coloured saunter, the song courts ears and imagination with the guile of The Stray Cats and the tangy noir scent of Chris Isaak, whispers of Gene Vincent and Harry Connick, Jr. also lighting its presence as it swaggers along with poise and charm. As restrained as it is in comparison to its companion, there is zeal to its persuasion and presence which seems to know it is something special as it infests the psyche.

Like a great many, Old House Playground is proving to be a band we cannot get enough of, so if you have yet to be infected by their majestic dark alchemy, we suggest 21st Century Glory is the perfect way to be first bitten by them.

21st Century Glory is out now via Horus Music.

http://www.oldhouseplayground.net/   https://www.facebook.com/oldhouseplayground  https://twitter.com/oldhouseplay

Pete RingMaster 17/11/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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