Monday, October 10, 2011

Review of in My Dreams by JD Wood

I really like the music from JD Wood's, "In My Dreams". I find myself repeatedly listening to each song in my car, on my iPod, and on my computer.

While this music is mostly rock oriented adult contemporary, JD is clearly comfortable infusing several styles into his originals. Most of the songs have certain similarities to artists such as The Fray, Lenny Kravitz, Bon Jovi, and 70's group, Badfinger, but there are a few jazzier compositions with similarities to Harry Connick, Jr.. Otherwise, the music is uniquely JD Wood, a blend of powerful vocals and well-crafted songs.

As a whole, I suppose I am first impressed by the cohesive nature of the songs on this CD. Lyrically, it is about relationships and the songs tell stories of love found, love lost, and recovery from love lost. I am also impressed with the expressive nature of these songs and the appropriate musical settings. The melodies are nicely interwoven into sophisticated chord progressions and arrangements, producing a very desirable effect throughout the entire CD.

The title track, "In My Dreams" has a sweet intro that quickly morphs into syncopated orchestration. The song then moves seamlessly into a beautiful bridge and a majestic chorus. This song could easily find a place in film or television, but I found myself worrying a little about the overall content of the CD, despite having listened to only one song. My worries immediately dissipated as I moved to the second song.

I was surprised and refreshed by the groove of the second track, "Come and Tell". This song could very well have been a collaboration between Dr. John, Stevie Wonder and Badfinger. It starts out funky but moves quickly to a syncopated rock song. The bridge and the chorus deviate from both initial styles to create a refreshing melody in the style of Badfinger (or another group from the 60's and 70's starting with a B). I don't take this level of praise lightly, but this music deserves it. I found myself moving around in my chair while listening. I love this song!

Song three is a very cool jazz groove entitled "I Feel Alive" that is in the style of Harry Connick, Jr. The music is again syncopated and fun. All of the instruments are excellent with amazing arrangements. JD's singing evokes images of a jazz performer who is in command of his voice and very comfortable in this genre.

The fourth track, "Smile To My Face" starts with JD's superb piano that is reminiscent of Elton John with some very nice orchestration thrown in for effect. The song is a very nice love ballad that Barry Manilow would be proud to call his own. The bridge and the break are very well written and arranged, one of JD's many gifts.

The fifth track, "Tell Me Why", goes in a new direction with a ballad rock style that I could associate with Bon Jovi or Rob Thomas. The break is a bit retro on it's way to a hard rock orchestration style at the end.

"Love Made Me Blind" has a very tender intro and the chorus is dripping with emotion. This emotion is carried into a very nice string accompaniment. This song drifts into a bridge section. However, it really surprised me at the end with a strong hard rock change that caused the hair on my neck to stand up.

"It's Time To Say Goodbye" has a decidedly darker mood than any of the other songs. It is another very emotional song about parting ways. I believe this could be a song for the stage.

"Time Is Ticking Away" is another song in the rock ballad style reminiscent of Bon Jovi. The chorus is very good with a nice break. JD once again demonstrates his talent for composition with an appropriate bridge section and a final chorus.

"Welcome Back To Life" is another very cool jazz number. The bass in this song would make Stanley Clarke proud. The chorus section has a great hook and moves very nicely back to the orchestrated verse section. The bridge is too cool for words and it delivers once again with a song that sticks in your mind and keeps your interest throughout.

"The Key" starts with a syncopated piano and goes immediately to a very nice lift to the chorus. The melodies are very nice throughout, but the chorus melody is extraordinary. The bridge section is much harder but the return to the chorus is nothing short of spectacular.

Perhaps my favorite song on the entire CD, "I Am Strong" has a great hook. The song has the signature emotion, groove and melodic movement for JD Wood. This song builds very nicely and evokes the same emotions that you might get when you go to see a great "feel good movie" when the underdog is finally able to overcome adversity in the end.


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