Wednesday, June 17, 2015

CD Review: New Pop, Folk, Rock And Jazz Music From Rising Independent Artists

First up, from Bruce Springsteen's hometown of Asbury Park, NJ comes the debut CD from the musical duo of Regina Conroy and Reshy P., known at Far In The Maples. Their album "Skywork" is filled with pop hooks and sonic landscapes that break through the barriers of contemporary music. Beginning with "Hookline," we get the heart-warming vocals of Regina Conroy amongst a country/pop backdrop as they weave their way into your musical soul. The fun, energetic feel of "Free" and the passion delivered in "Won't Do This Alone," have all the right ingredients for pop success. It all comes together perfectly for the steady flow of "Make Believe," which allows Conroy's vocals to soar. The album closes with the comfort of "Walk Away" that just leaves you wanting more from this duo. To find out more about Far In The Maples and their new album "Skywork," please visit their Facebook page at
Next from Los Angeles comes the latest release from singer/songwriter Ryan Calhoun entitled "Paper Stars." This latest batch of songs will look to recapture the breakthrough success that Calhoun found with his iTunes #1 single "Who We Are" and #3 charting iTunes album "Everything That I'm Not." The new release begins with the album's first single "Coffee," which follows the same pop formula as Ed Sheeran, which makes Ryan's vocals hard to resist. He keeps the pop tempo flowing with "Paper Stars," before showcasing his folk side with "Time And December." To find out more about Ryan Calhoun and his latest release "Paper Stars," please visit

From Toronto, Canada comes the debut solo album from folk artist Dan Latner entitled "No Fun Intended." His vocals and lyrics are easy to follow as he does not take everything seriously and just sings what his feels as in "Northern Canada" and "Bored." His lyrics are playful with the song "Haven't Brushed My Teeth" as he brings the dixieland jazz of New Orleans to Canada. The heartfelt "Girl In Glasses" was written while Dan spent time in Nepal, before quickening your pulse with the banjo strumming of "The Downside." The new thirteen-song release finishes up with his slightly unusual love letter to "Marina." To find out more about Dan Latner and his new release "No Fun Intended," please visit

Chicago's independent folk/rock band Burnside & Hooker return with their sophomore album, "All The Way To The Devil." Since the release of their debut album two years ago, the band has been busy performing live and building a strong following. Their new fourteen-song release begins with folk/rock groove of "The Graveyard" as lead singer Rachel Bonacquisti's pipes take center stage. The tempo changes of "Someday (Gonna Leave This Town)" gives the song a ska-like feeling, before heading into the punk-like fury of "Bad Guy." The gentle touch of "Aodhan's Song" has a nice flow, until they try their hand at the hard rock approach of "Momma Said," which is a great song, but seems a little out of place amongst these other tunes. The electric blues of "Mistaken" and the guitar shuffle of "Red Betty" end the album on a high note along with the folk strumming of "Goodbye, Louisiana." To find out more about Burnside & Hooker's latest release "All The Way To The Devil," please visit their Facebook page at

Canadian/New York independent folk group Tiny Rhymes gives us their latest four-song EP entitled "A Kinder History." You will instantly fall in love with their harmonies on the album's lead single "Arrows." Their music is simple, which allows you to focus more on their voices. Although they are still fairly new in the folk music scene, their music has a maturity as displayed in "Oh Amarante!" and "Gold Mountain." The album closes with the warm vocal textures of "Home." To find out more about Tiny Rhymes, please visit their Facebook page at

Finally we get to the debut release of "3 Steps To 4" by the newest jazz band in the land, Phonograph Team Project. The album features seven stunning jazz numbers that keep a moderate flow of energy while stimulating your senses as you are introduced to their music with "Saturday After The Dog Park." The members of Phonograph Team Project each take a turn in the spotlight of "Cycle Shift" and showcase their talents with the uptempo, smooth jazz of "Ditto." The album closes with some more jazz guitar and piano highlights in "Unknown Journeys." To find out more about the Phonograph Team Project and their latest release "3 Steps To 4," please visit their Facebook page at

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