The Direct Buzz offers reviews by a team of professional music critics. Any AirPlay Direct artist or label interested in being considered for a review should contact us. Choose three songs from your DPK, and we’ll give you our opinion of them. We can’t guarantee a rave review, but we can assure you that it will be honest and constructive. We will try to honor all requests, but it might take awhile. As such, your patience is appreciated.
Roger Street Friedman
As soon as I listened to the first few bars of Life Forum, I knew this album was going to be one I would just fall into and not want to climb out again. For those lovers of early Chick Corea and Return to Forever, Gerald has taken the tasty, less is more approach, to making an album that will be a benchmark work in the style of Jazz. This album is aggressive, and dynamic in arrangement and execution.
True artistic beauty can’t be forced or fabricated. It requires authentic inspiration and dedication from an artist to see his or her vision come into fruition. Roger Street Friedman’s debut solo album “The Waiting Sky” exemplifies this. After nearly three decades of being virtually out of the music business, Friedman was struck by a creative revelation. Seven years ago he and his wife had their first child after they had been told they would never be able to conceive. This unexpected joy, and the pain of losing his parents provided Roger with a renewed sense of artistry. The results are striking. On “The Waiting Sky” Roger tackles highly personal subject matters. “You Are Not Alone” was written about his father’s final night while “The Miracle Is You” is about their child. Classic influences like Paul Simon, Jackson Browne, and Peter Gabriel are apparent, but this album also sounds remarkably fresh and contemporary. In fact, this album fits in nicely with the work of young artists like Dawes and The Avett Brothers. Roger says that he’s enjoying making music again so much that he’s never going to stop. Let’s hope he stays true to his word! Ryan Smith
You may not have heard of Drew Davis, but there’s a very good chance you’ve heard his music without realizing it. Davis wrote the song “Holler If You’re With Me,” which was recently used in a national Pepsi campaign and now appears on his new solo album “SWERVE.” It was also recorded by X-Factor winner Tate Stevens on his album that charted #4 on the Billboard Country Chart. Other songs written by Davis have been recorded by national country and rock artists and placed on numerous popular television shows. Born in small-town Missouri, Drew grew up singing in church and performed at any honky tonk that would have him. While attending college he got a job as the lead singer at Lowes’ Branson Town Theater where he rubbed elbows with many legends of country music. He has since relocated to LA and Nashville continuing to build a solid career as a writer and performer. At his best, Davis evokes the spirit of Springsteen and Roy Orbison fused with a no-nonsense classic rock sensibility. His songwriting is chock full of undeniable pop hooks and witty lyrics. With a little luck, “SWERVE” is destined to hit the airwaves of modern country radio. Ryan Smith
Gerald Clayton has taken the piano to new height in the complexity of Jazz, and made it feel effortless. The notes are layered thru the arrangements in a hypnotic walk that pulls you in and weaves flavors of tones that are so tasty each bit leaves you wanting more. This is has to be one of the best Jazz projects I have heard in the 34 years I have been listening and playing Jazz. Shadamanthern, Dusk Baby, and Sir Third were my favorite tracks, but I did not find one track that did not leave me wanting more. If you never thought you would like Jazz give this a taste you might just find it is delicious. Barye Cassell
The Waiting Sky