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  • Bryon Harris

Bongo Boy Records - 'Homestead Volume Three by Various Artists'

‘Homestead Volume Three by Various Artists is full of great Americana, Folk and Country music by Award-winning recording artists on Bongo Boy Records. Offering 15 songs, each with their own story to sing, the songs on ‘Homestead Volume Three by Various Artists’ will move you with notable authenticity and musicianship. Opening with a gentle fingerpicking guitar motif, The Darryl Morris Band creates a moving, wide-open acoustic sound. Darryl enters singing with stirring, soulful vocals that have a folk-rock edge. Soon the percussion drops for a beat you can really get into. Plucked instrumentation adds a very nice Americana touch. “My Name” is about having a father in name only and it’s about yearning for connection. Towards the end a sweet electric guitar solo captures the song’s heartfelt emotion. “My Name”, with its expressive musicality and vocals, is a strong to start to an extraordinary album.

Up next is Danny Kensy with “Pocketful of Money.” With muted rhythmic strumming, smooth electric guitar solos and crisp percussion that you can clap along to, Danny Kensy delivers grit-tapping country. “Pocket full of Money” is about a guy who has been replaced by an uptown guy (with a penthouse pension) and he’s moving on by visiting a local dive bar, drinking beer, dancing with some honeys, and listening the Juke Box. Oh, and he’s putting his pub therapy on his ex’s credit card. “I ain’t missing you honey, I gotta pocket full of money and a cold beer in my hand.” The lyrics are highly clever and entertaining, and Danny’s vocal performance takes it home as he expresses every nuance of the story with a vivid performance.

Track three is Annemarie Picerno’s upbeat and fun “Discount Tobacco and Beer.” Changing things up, a fat and funky walking bass starts the track. Slick electric guitar riffs and solos add a bluesy vibe. Jamming plucked instrumentation is the icing on this multi-genre cake. Annemarie has a powerful, expressive voice that delivers the gut and groove that this rockin’ country song is made of. Towards the end, she lets loose with an impressive scatt-like vocalese that gives the song a live feel. Annmarie is the kind of artist who can combine country, blues, folk, and rock and impress every single genre fan in the house.

Track four presents Jaded Past with the song, “Move Along.” With a strong southern-rock flavor, the full and engaging instrumentation starts with some tasteful harmonica playing against a solid, tight rock band: rhythm guitar, crying lead guitar solos and hard-hitting drums. George Becker, enters singing with a voice that has edge and character. “Time goes on, just singing my song.” There’s a yearning in this melodic song that is very moving as George sings about life’s highs and lows and holding onto the one’s you love. With universal appeal, “Move Along” will have you stopping to listen more than once. On Track 5, Frank Trousdell showcases his country-rock chops in “Little Girl, Big City”, a cautionary music tale about a young woman leaving country life for the promise of big city lights. Like a lot of great country artists, Frank knows how to sing a story with great expression. In this story, the grass isn’t greener on the other side. “It wasn’t what she imagined. It wasn’t what she dreamed.” With a thick, fuzzy guitar-driven track and a great beat, Franks offers an engaging and entertaining song that captivates.

Up next is Todd Barrow with “Down on The Farm.” Mixing a classic, nostalgic country feel with contemporary song-writing, “Down on the Farm” is a swinging, upbeat, tight toe-tapping country number about a restless country girl who is bored with country life. The big city lights are calling. Todd has a fantastic, clear vocal presence with an FM radio-ready sound. The arrangement is stellar with polished musicianship throughout. Fans of traditional country music will find the real deal in Todd Barrow who is a treasure to the country scene.

The next song, “Save Our Suwannee”, Jay Jourden & The Suwannee River Coalition shines with pure and authentic Americana music and protest song lyrics. “The water table’s going down, cricks are running dry…. They say we need more power, there’s more rain in the sky.” Fast fingerpicking and plucking action make you feel that you are right at the river’s edge listening to a folk band jamming. The song has a community call to action sing-along at the end that will get everyone into the spirit of the moment. Convincing and catchy, this song combines the right elements to change the tides. With a swampy and bluesy infectious groove, Monique Sherrell Brown kills it in “Wishing You the Best.” Her raw and soulful voice takes center stage. Monique Sherrell Brown’s vocals are gritty and smooth; confident and laid-back, and downright good. “Hello my love. Goodbye, my love. Hello, my love. No more playing silly little games.” As she digs into every word, you will find yourself more than digging this country roots gem and the woman who sings it like she owns every last note.

With a wavy slide guitar intro, Bobby Rue commences his song “Just Lookin’ For Peace.” After the laid-back introduction, the strumming pick’s up and Bobby gets right into the upbeat song. “Just lookin’ for peace. Just lookin’ peace. I’m so tired of the killing wars.” The song is highly melodic with a very catchy chorus that will stick in your head long after you’ve heard it. The song is a call for harmony and community. “Why can’t we find peace together.” The sing-a-long feel will be a popular addition to communities and organizations where people gather for peace. The arrangement has nice, tight musicianship that makes the song sway. “Country Storm” by Donald Miclette literally takes you into a country-rock storm as it opens with thunder and power guitar. A strong back-beat keeps the song moving forward. The song is response to a woman who makes a claim that the country scene is over. The song moves on to prove that country music is very much alive and well with a song that “will rock you and roll you until the sun comes up.” Donald delivers the vocals with a down-to-earth touch and jamming piano adds a nice timbre to the track.

Calico is up next with “She’s Like A Weatherman.” With hints of the blues, “She’s Like A Weatherman” struts into your ears like a country cat. The refined track with syncopated rhythm guitar, sparkles with warm electric guitar solos that weave their way in and out. Calico’s voice is smooth and inviting. The song does a fantastic job of painting how a woman feels as she predicts the ever-changing mood of her lover. “She can predict his highs and lows, no matter what the radar shows. Could bring love and happiness. Could mean cold loneliness. She’s like a weatherman.” Track 12 is Ann M. Wolf’s magnificent rendition of “Simple Gifts.” The song opens with delicate and very intricate guitar playing that sounds harp-like. A light rhythm is established that has an uplifting quality. Ann sings the classic folk song with a gentle spirit that warms the heart. Her vocals are articulate and sweet making for a memorable performance. As the song progresses, a soft orchestrated arrangement is added to the beautiful guitar.

Adam Jacob moves emotional mountains with “I Don’t Think Its Hit Me Ye.” With the simplicity of a man and his guitar, Adam gently plays his musical heart on his sleeve. Commencing with light strumming, Adam sings with a pure tone about what it feels like to be a father expecting a child. He wonders if he can ever live up to the love he feels inside. “The first time I saw those little feet. I can still feel those tears welling up.” The song captures the heart of a new parent-to-be with all the tenderness of a lullaby.

Linda Faye Carson and LodeStar’s “Walking on Mountaintops feat. Rob Diggins & Caterina Delaisla” walks along with a syncopated, rhythmic swing; you will find yourself swaying to the music from the start. Along with strumming guitar, melodic solos sound like flutes in the sky. The song is about appreciation for the earth’s glorious sweet sounds and sights. “Wild flowers, rare perfumes, delights unfold. Dawn’s colors, peach and rose, crimson and gold.” The lyrics are poetic and magical and as you walk along with Linda Faye Carson and LodeStar, they will take you to a joyful musical mountaintop.

The album ends with Donald Miclette’s moving song, “In the Eyes of a Child.” The song plays the heartstrings with thoughtful, inspired lyrics about seeing the world from the innocent eyes of a child. Sophisticated piano playing keeps the song engaging with a tasteful choice of harmonies. Rhythm guitar and percussion give the song a swaying feel that feels like hands joining together in song. Donald delivers a moving vocals performance that captures the songs meaningful lyrics.

For more information on the album, the artists and Bongo Boy Records, please visit their website.

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