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

Bill Parton Trio – Self Titled EP

BPT

     It is always a treat and thrill when a release comes from out of nowhere to play with and inspire the imagination and passions. Every year has a few of those moments when a band which has never even been a scent in the nostrils of attentions suddenly steps forward to light up the ears and the Bill Parton Trio is certainly an early one for 2014. With their debut self-titled EP, the trio from Adelaide, South Australia dance with and entice the senses with piano led pop and a passionate endeavour which is virulently catchy and unashamedly tempting. The accompanying press sheet for the release suggests the band is like a merger of The Beatles, Coldplay, Jeff Buckley, and Radio Head to which we would suggest a slice of Michael Bublé, none particularly inspiring if we are honest for our personal tastes meaning the encounter struggled to spark any eagerness towards it before a note was heard. It is a false description, though you can understand why comparisons are made, one not to be taken too accurately as the Bill Parton Trio have something quite distinct and memorable to them, a sound irrepressibly engaging.

     Consisting of William Parton (vocals, piano), Jeremy Martin (bass) and Andrew Partington (drums), the band has garnered a fine and increasingly potent name for themselves in their homeland through their insatiable appetite to gig and the successful release of the singles Going Away and Falling For You Again. Numerous festival appearances have also increased the stature of the band with the release of their EP in Australia last August accelerating their presence and success. Recorded with producer Darren Mullan (The Angels, The Beards, John Swan, Russell Morris), the release now gets its UK unveiling and it is hard not to assume it will find the same attention and success again.

     It does not take long for the EP’s opening track to bring appetite and attention to the boil. The initial piano beckoning of Falling for You Again builds to a mini crescendo before relaxing as it embraces the vocals of Parton for the parading of the song’s narrative. Even in its gentle stroll there is an open infectiousness which intensifies as the track swings its hips into a lively chorus clad in a harmonious embrace. A song you can join in easily with by the second return of its irresistible catchy main call, the encounter makes for an absorbing and masterful invitation to band and release.

   The following So Unfair brings a slower sultry glaze to its persuasion which smoulders and entices another flame of pleasure. As with a few of the songs there is something indefinably recognisable to the track, an admittedly appealing but definitely familiar bait which could be a take it or leave it issue for some. As Parton and song croons with expertise and emotive elegance it is something which certainly brought another tasty morsel to the table of the EP for us, a pleasing flavour soon matched and exceeded by Going Away. There is no disguising the Lennon and McCartney aspect to the song here but again it works rather than derails the suasion of the song, its contagion the primary lure to be enslaved and excited by though matched again by the keys and vocal prowess of Parton aligned to the rhythmic call of the rest of the band.

     If You’re Here With Me slows things down just a little next, though still there is a swerve to the body of the evocative tale. The bass of Martin adds its own captivating bait whilst the beats of Partington cast a crisp frame to the melodic resources of Parton, the trio once again leading thoughts into a sultry emotional encounter. That sense of familiarity once more only adds to the lure of the track, helping the EP play more like an old friend rather than an undiscovered new acquaintance, but a returning companion you always hold a full welcome for.

   The closing Stalker Man is more of the same, a familiar but refreshing breeze of melodic piano pop with vivacious harmonies and lyrical poignancy. It brings the release to a fine and enjoyable conclusion if without quite lighting the same depth of reactions as the previous songs. The EP is a thoroughly pleasing and attentive proposition with really only a lack of something mouth-wateringly original to its wares is a slight disappointment. Nevertheless with the quality and sheer infectiousness of its songs there is little to hold back making a full recommendation to check out the release and the Bill Parton Trio.

http://www.billpartontrio.com

8.5/10

RingMaster 17/03/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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