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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Listen. - Melissa Collins - New Release Review - Ellis James: Guest writer

Collins’ EP “Listen” provides five song showcase for a healthy voice capable of supporting more developed lyrical content than the sketches found here. A consistently positive message is delivered in each song. Earthy and powerful, Collins sings with what I call ‘Church’ influence (y’all). I mean, if she’ never been inside of a church she most definitely have been in the neighborhood enough to get a dose of Soul. I include her in a cadre of performers who have something encouraging and good to say without use of cliché’s or required words or holy names. The Hard Way contains vocals with soulful flavorings that are ready to drop into Sheryl Crow’s ‘100 Mile From Memphis’ mixed with a touch of this current generation of “R&B”. No credits were provided to identify the guitar player. The pleasant and well played simple riffs were hinting at a Tony Joe White. ‘Don’t Give Up’ makes use of stripped-down lyrics of the title but the passion and delivery of both the vocals and instrumental carries it through. ‘What Would You Do?’ and ‘All Along’ tell of experiences and obvious life lessons gratefully containing a more rocking in the first and bringing on the Blues in the later. ‘Keep the Dream Alive’ is evidence of that soulful style backed up initially with symphonic strings giving way for that R&B touch with vocal processing and repetition of the key message. Initially I was not so sure of this set and wanted to judge it as simple but found that it contained more gems, subtleties and complexities with repeated exposure. My desire is to see this artist blessed with a larger budget, a wider pool of songwriters and stellar production in a full 10-12 song CD. My ears look forward to even greater things from this bright and rising star. Good stuff!

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