Friday, February 22, 2013

CD Review: Catchy Hooks And Folk/Rock Fill New Albums From Todd Kessler And Common Shiner

Singer/songwriter Todd Kessler has experienced the spotlight as a contestant this past season on NBC’s The Voice. As a member of Team Ceelo, Todd was able to pick up a few pointers to help with the release of his fifth studio album, “Sea Fever.” His music has been described as Alternative/Folk/Pop and is heard on the opening song “Oh Brother” and in “Prospect of Protest.” His voice in the song “Intangible” sounds so innocent and pure that you can’t help but get lost in his words.

Kessler’s band, The New Folk, finally make their presence known in “Holes In The Floor” as the music swings with a jazz-rock appeal. The up-tempo beat of “Zen Lunatics” give the song a fun, danceable sound, while the piano ballad “Canary In A Coal Mine” shows Kessler’s passion for what he does. The album finishes up with the folk-sounds of “Put You In My Pocket.”

Todd Kessler and The New Folk have six dates scheduled at the moment, beginning March 13 in Tulsa, OK. For more information, check out his Facebook page at

From Chicago comes Common Shiner with their latest album, "Before They Sold Out (Part 2)." The album was released on February 5 and follows the local success of "Before They Sold Out (Part 1)." While "Part 1" was an all-acoustic adventure, "Part 2" shows the full force of the band's folk/rock/pop sound.

Beginning with "Sharks!," Common Shiner have that winning combination of catchy hooks and meaningful lyrics. Their sound follows the successful footsteps of The Lumineers and Mumford & Sons. The songs "Mae Calling" and "When To Say When" show off their pop/rock side, while the songs "Write Back Soon" and "Oh, The Optimist" give us the folk side of the songwriting. At times, their music can be compared to Barenaked Ladies as in "Even My Vices Have Vices," before they turn their amps up and rock to "We Own This." The album closes with Common Shiner reverting back to "Part 1" with the acoustic folk of "It Took The Dead..." 

After a sold out show at Schubas in Chicago, IL, Common Shiner have only one show on their schedule. They will be performing at the Pyramid Scheme in Grand Rapids, MI on March 16. For more information, please visit the band's website at

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