Sunday, August 20, 2023

Chris Chitsey “Last Time I Saw You”

Classic country tonality can be a profound source of inspiration, and it’s obvious the inspired backdrop of the American landscape had a fair amount of influence over Chris Chitsey when listening to his new single “Last Time I Saw You.” Much like the last couple of tracks we’ve heard from this singer/songwriter, “Last Time I Saw You” has a pastoral simplicity that steers away from traditional Americana towards something a bit more cathartic, and no matter how big a country fan you happen to be, it’s got the melodic footing to turn you into a Chris Chitsey supporter after even the most cursory of listening sessions.
There’s a lot of charm to Chitsey’s natural delivery, which is part of the reason why I like this vocal-centric mix as much as I do. Instead of spreading the love between the instrumentation and the lead, my man is owning the spotlight with his serenade whilst creating a balanced harmony with the guitar parts that sends chills down my back every time I listen to this song. 

He’s found the right medium of expression, and his relaxed attitude at the mic is indicative of just how emotionally invested he is in the subject matter he’s singing about. The rhythm of the instruments backs up the romantic tone of the lyrics brilliantly, and I would even go so far as to say that the slower tempo is the main framing that gives Chitsey’s lyrics so much depth here. 

He could have approached us with a slightly higher sense of urgency to his words and still have come across to the audience with a healthy dose of sincerity, but it’s only at this easy beat that we’re able to appreciate just how much is weighing on his heart, despite the fairly light presence of the harmonies in this mix. I would love to hear what Chris Chitsey sounds like in a live performance as if it can hold up to what he’s putting forth in this piece, he would probably have an even greater following on the road than he does as a recording artist restricted to the four walls of the studio. 

He’s got an ease about him when he’s singing this song that makes me curious to see him in an intimate setting, where there’s nothing but the spotlight between his place on the stage and everyone in the audience hanging on his lyrics. Although I only just recently came across Chris Chitsey and his music, mostly because of the buzz that his previous works have been racking up, I think what he’s putting together as a signature sound in “Last Time I Saw You” is going to be strong enough to get a lot of listeners interested in hearing more of his work soon. He’s got a lot of potential that still needs to be worked out and grown into something a bit more complete, but for what he’s letting go of in this performance, I think a lot of country singers need to take note of this rising star.

Jonathan Klee 

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

JoZie “Perfect Enough”


JoZie’s latest single “Perfect Enough” is a pop anthem for owning who you are. JoZie got her start when she was just 8 years old when she found musical magic through a karaoke machine given to her by her dad. At 18 JoZie moved to Music City, where she’s teamed up with writers Thornton Cline and Lacie Carpenter. JoZie has already reached number one on the World Indie Music Top 100 charts and Euro Indie Network Top 100 Charts with her first radio single, “My Lucky Song.” JoZie’s second single, “Perfect Enough” highlights her vocal power and her pop-star persona. 

In fact, that’s what is so refreshing about “Perfect Enough,” is JoZie’s encouragement that whatever you naturally given doesn’t need to be altered. Any young person out there knows that there are unrealistic beauty standards all over social media. There is constant social pressure from the media to change your appearance to the latest trend, because in some way, how you naturally look isn’t enough. JoZie comes in with strong vocals that challenge this thought with “Perfect Enough.” JoZie confronts the tendency to follow the trend by offering a counterpoint that timeless beauty is what matters more. “Close enough to perfection/What dreams are made of,”  JoZie takes a compliment we all wish to receive at some point in and our life and claims it as her own. JoZie is a pop singer who is already looking to keep things real with her listeners. She inspires a healthy outlook for young women in particular with lyrics, “She’s like a fine sunny day/Sprinkled with a brain.” Its not often that intelligence is celebrated but JoZie is making sure of that. 

The production of “Perfect Enough” is powerful and upbeat, in the same way Gwen Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl” is. The most intriguing aspect of this track is when JoZie foregoes belting for talking. “She’s a warrior/A conqueror/Her strength never wavers,” comes in between the chorus. This talking section reminds me of Lana Del Rey’s talking in “National Anthem.” Make no mistake, “Perfect Enough” is all JoZie’s. The choice to add these moments of talking imbues a sense of risk and creativity into the track. Its a pop song that doesn’t do what you expect it to, which is exactly what the theme of “Perfect Enough” is doing. JoZie aims to celebrate our differences because they make us who we are and last a lifetime. My favorite talking section is when JoZie says, “She’s got all the qualities/No need for apologies/Imperfections cloud her reflections/Of all the beauty she can’t see.” 

JoZie’s message is loud and clear, if you don’t look like everyone else, that’s okay, that’s enough. Timelessness is the true aim, a look that never goes out of style. Getting lost in the sea of trends breeds feelings of inadequacy. These insecurities can keep you from realizing your own strength, beauty, and power. “Perfect Enough” reminds listeners to not fear “irrelevancy” if you don’t look like what’s trending. You don’t need all of that to be considered “perfect” or “beautiful,” you just need to be you. You are worthy enough as is. This is an impressive and empowering new single from JoZie, who is already nailing the pop-anthem by exploring her creativity. The talking sections of “Perfect Enough” are edgy and unique, JoZie nails them, leaving the door open for where her sound could go. I’m impressed that she is already so willing to explore poignant topics and melodies. “Perfect Enough” has me curious about what direction her EP is going to take, since the anthem is her bread and butter.

“Perfect Enough” is an exciting new song from JoZie, that promises to empower you with one listen. JoZie’s voice is effortless and timeless, marking an exciting beginning for the singer. I can’t wait to see what avenues she chooses to explore, her voice and her songwriting team are onto something. Its clear that she’s interested in being an artist all her own. If you’re not feeling good enough, put on “Perfect Enough” it’ll remind that you are perfect as you are.

Lauren Millar 

Monday, January 17, 2022

“Instincts” by Talon David

The definition of the word ‘talon’ has two meanings: a claw, especially one belonging to a bird of prey; the part of a bolt which the key presses to slide it into a lock. Newcomer Talon David has two defining moments happening with her new release “Instincts”: she proves she can both sing and write a gripping pop song; she’s just the bolt of lightning the music world needs right now. “Instincts” is a shoo-in and has its claws locked in for one of 2022’s best songs. And it’s only January. 


“Instincts”, co-written with Thornton Cline, is the Nashville-based David’s follow-up to “Not My Problem”. Cline, a Songwriter Hall of Fame Inductee, is a multiple Grammy nominee and has well over 1,000 published songs to his name. Cline is also a Young Adult and Children’s Author. He certainly has his pulse on what teenagers are thinking, how they are feeling and the emotions they are facing – making him the perfect partner for David’s easy-going, and humble vocals. She’s young and you can hear it in her voice, but that’s also her strength. I wanted to hear these words mirror mirror on the wall, you think that you see it all – from her perspective. It's an altogether different experience to hear that from a seasoned, dare I say it, older artist. David reveals an entirely new level to the concept of ‘trusting your instincts’ to her listeners. I think, too, that even if you didn’t realize her youth, you would still feel transfixed by her voice and have that instant trust. 

As the song moves along, so does David’s transformation. The drum work and the piano arrangements don’t swallow her vocals. The final mix is dripping with moments of elegance and intimacy. The piano keys sparkle and glisten. The drums beat their way to the top. Her voice emerges as a lovely, guiding light. She’s a siren that breaks through the murkiness of the jazz and pop rhythms. I hear glimpses of Adel and even Olivia Rodrigo in “Instincts”. But it’s all David and her expressive patterns that make such a wonderful patchwork of adult contemporary, pop, jazz and Americana by song’s end, I felt very appreciative that “Instincts” doesn’t sound like just every other single on the radio these days. That’s the beauty of music discovery – indie artists like David are why music continues to evolve and challenge our viewpoints. David readies the listener for a wonderful sonic journey – she takes the listener in her arms and she’s easy to embrace in “Instincts”. 


Artists might wait a lifetime for validation or crave a connection with their fans. What David communicates in her new single “Instincts” is that she’s finally free and she’s happy looking in the mirror each day and trusts what she sees. I believe in her too. “Instincts” is out-of-the-gate one of the truest pop songs I’ve heard in a very long time. She truly lets go and lets her instincts take over in this gem-of-a-song. I’ve surrendered to the great work found in “Instincts”. 

 Jonah McPherson

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

“My Lucky Song” by Vocalist JoZie

Layered up in the mix but still sporting a virginal melodicism that only comes about in an organic pop single, JoZie’s vocal in her new track “My Lucky Song” is undeniably one of the sexiest elements you’re going to discover in this upbeat three-minute jam. Instead of centering all of the magic around her linguistic delivery exclusively, JoZie doesn’t mind taking the bassline out for a walk in “My Lucky Song” like she was born to groove harder than the status quo calls for, and despite a simplistic compositional structure, she plays quite the sophisticated role as the leading lady in this stunner of a single. 

JoZie is filled with an easy-going spirit in this performance that beckons us closer to the hook with every verse she swings in our direction, but she doesn’t ever come off as arrogant in these lyrics. She poetically rejects four-leaf clovers and horseshoes in favor of celebrating the titular song she’s singing with supreme pride, and the statements she makes undisputedly translate through the happy-go-lucky lens of the instrumentation and rhythm. This is the right setting to be swaggering, and her lyrical wit couldn’t have a better backdrop through which to shine. 

This springy beat in the background is reflective of the positive vibe JoZie is working off of from the get-go in “My Lucky Song,” and had it not been executed with as much panache as it is in this piece, I can’t say whether or not her vocal would sound as supported as it does here. Details are more important in pop music than any critic would ever like to admit, but this is an instance where the subject isn’t rejecting the rulebook in favor of going her own way - she’s actually living within the model, but simply adding her own spin to the finish. 

The warmth of the harmonies in this single had my attention the moment I listened to “My Lucky Song” forward, and I don’t think they could have been sourced from synthetics and sounded as sharp as they do here. JoZie is investing as much of her voice into the melodic foundations beneath her as possible without sounding overindulgent from behind the mic, and to me, her efforts are more or less what makes this is such a dynamic and provocatively artist-centric sampling of her work. She’s not a household name, but she’s going to get there as long as she maintains this kind of attitude in the studio. 

“My Lucky Song” is a fine introduction to who JoZie wants to be as a pop singer, and I think that, provided she sticks with the aesthetical framework she brings to fruition so seamlessly in this performance, she’s going to continue to evolve as an artist with each release she puts together. There’s not a lot of self-control in this genre of music, but based on the disciplined approach she’s taking to the finer points of this single, I have a feeling her abilities are going to put her well ahead of the competition in the near future. 

Mark Druery

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Gravity by Paul Mark and The Van Dorens

Gravity by Paul Mark & The Dorens, is an album that comes with an abundance of originality and current topics plus a Yardbirds cover which is a must hear. These songs all follow the quality level of the great songwriters of the same level in which Mark and company are. I had just never heard this great band before, so it was also fun to listen to some other titles from the past to bring me up to speed with Gravity and get some of that ground itself covered. And what I discovered was a seminal artist and producer that really delivers. 

“Gravity Is Failing” works to get the whole show on the road for an album that rates very high within the first listen and grows with every listen from there. Fans might find similarities with Leon Russell, Willie Nelson at times and even Bob Dylan. Paul Mark is clearly a virtuoso musician and a maestro producer in the studio, so he’s totally in control of his work, but accompanied well as usual by the band. “Forever” and “Spin Of The Wheel” are as good of examples as any to back that and keep you interested for more magic. That magic happens the second he starts singing “The Next Fight,” as it is perfectly placed in the track list, as if to come to this point in what is loosely story based without being too progressive. But that is not to say the next cut doesn’t bleed some progressive undertones as an instrumental that pushes the album’s musical boundaries with some crazy organ work.

It’s all enough to remind you there is a concept going on here and “Con Man VIP” is at the epicenter of it and where the album truly delivers the business it may or may not have set out to in the first place. I really like this album, especially the piano, keyboard/organ playing of Paul Mark, as well as the songwriting and vocals for that matter I am happy to be turned onto this release and his prior work. “Friend Gone Astray” is another thing of beauty and it even tends to remind of Bruce Springsteen or even Bruce Hornsby. 

You Can’t Take It With You” keeps the ball rolling with more of a Sunday reflection song but worth a mention. But the Yardbirds hit song “Heart Full Of Soul” is revisited with much integrity, and I like it so much it’s going on my covers playlist. This should bring the band some attention because it’s so good it’s worth the price of admission. “Waiting Round For You” and “December At The P.O.” come last but not least with the former being the least to write home about, but the closing track on the level of everything else to be heard on Gravity, which is a remarkable album by a band I’m glad to know about. 

Paul Mark deserves top songwriting and producing praise for this enormously satisfying musical statement in a time well needed for it.

Jonah McPherson

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Alonzo Interview

Hey Alonzo! Thank you for your time. Tell us what has been your favorite cheat food in quarantine?  

Hey! Thank you for this interview. I think I’ve been enjoying food a little too much during this quarantine haha. I’d say my recent cheat food has been cookies. There are these Sea Salt Carmel Chocolate Chip cookies I’ve been baking a few nights a week. I’m going to try not to buy anymore because they are addicting LOL.

Any exiting news you want to share with us? 

Exciting News…Hmmm…Well my Album is DONE! We’ve been planning our next moves but it has definitely been difficult during this time. I think our biggest focus is now the fall and 2021. New Music is definitely on the way!

Any loves other than music? 

I loveeeee going to concerts. Does that count? Haha. Honestly my life revolves around music. Im really loving Tik Tok right now as well. 

Do you ever get nervous before you play music live?

YES! I always have the most random thoughts before going on stage. What if I forget all of the words? What if I fall off the stage? Haha I definitely have to keep my nerves under control before I play. The cool thing is that almost instantly when I walk on stage and the microphone is in front of my face my nerves are gone.

What is your next goal as a musician?

I’d say I have many goals but my biggest one right now is to secure I opening slot on a major artist tour. If there are any major artists out there looking for opening acts please keep me in mind.

What is your favorite song to belt out in the car/for karaoke? 

Omg this is so embarrassing but right now I am obsessed with Jessie J’s version of “Part of your world” from The Little Mermaid. Don’t judge me hahaha

Name one your strengths? 

I think a great strength of mine is leading

What is your own definition of happiness?

Ahhh I love this question. My definition of happiness is the feeling of Love, Gratitude and Peace occupying the space of Anxiety and Fear.

How do you see yourself in 5 years? 

In 5 years, I will be headlining a world tour and I will be one of the most known entertainers in the world. I will have opened a arts school in my hometown Rockford, IL and I will be inspiring people around the world.

How would you describe your fashion style? 

I’m still discovering my style. It changes often. Sometimes I’m very Chic, clean cut and classy. Other times I like a little edge more on the Sexy Rock & Roll side. Just depends on my mood. 

Where we can follow you on social media? 

Please follow on my Instagram @StoryOfAlonzo

Press Inquiries:

End of Interview 

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Leo’s Guitar (EP) by Izzie's Caravan

As its title implies, Leo’s Guitar is all about artistic expression via an electrified six-string courtesy of Izzie’s Caravan, and in four fantastically engaging songs, this EP does everything its creators designed it to. Izzie’s Caravan come in blistering hot at the start of the tracklist with “Two in the Bush” before ripping through the slow-rolling “Lightnins-A-Howlin’,” crushing “Dorian’s Lament” and the instrumental juggernaut title track. Inside of just twelve minutes’ time, these blues-rockers manage to dispense one fiery eruption of tonality after another whilst making use of every melodic tool at their disposal. A great example of what can come from dedicated songcraft meeting passionate players in their prime, Leo’s Guitar is as top shelf as electric blues records get in the contemporary age.

The strings are mightily textured throughout the whole of this EP, and I’m not talking about the guitar parts alone. The basslines in “Lightnins-A-Howlin’” and the title track are bursting with detail upon closer inspection, and though they never come even close to stealing any of the spotlight away from the leads at the top of the mix, their sonic contribution makes this material as chill-inducing as it is. Most everything in the mix is arranged as to create additional tension through the physicality of tone and harmony, and while there are moments that sound almost nauseatingly crisp, nothing here feels overproduced to me. Izzie’s Caravan are putting some serious effort into making this a meticulous sampling of their talents, and for my money, they couldn’t have done much better.

The almost conflicted, hesitant rhythm in “Two in the Bush” and “Dorian’s Lament” allows for maximum melodic exploitation in both of these songs, which won me over in right out of the gate when I sat down with Leo’s Guitar for the first time. Nothing in this extended play seems even slightly rushed or thrown-together, and even in the case of up-tempo tunes that require ridiculous dexterity, you can tell that no one in Izzie’s Caravan was sweating the task at hand. They’ve got a great energy in this disc, and if it’s something I can expect to experience in their live performances, I’ll make a point of checking out their stage show the next time they’re in my neck of the woods.

I’ve been a guitar buff for the better part of my life, but I don’t think you need to be to fall in love with what Izzie’s Caravan are doing in Leo’s Guitar. Fiercely streamlined but not lacking in any of the compositional bells and whistles that diehard blues fans expect in a modern release, Leo’s Guitar is a credible offering from a band clearly capable of getting a lot done in the studio. A full-length album of this crew’s blues style would be quite enticing indeed, and if given the right space to record it, I think such a record could make a serious impact both in and outside of their native scene. I’ll be looking out for more, and I’d recommend you do the same.

Jonah McPherson