Title - 'And Then ...'
Artist - Michael Stanley
Wow. This mans music is so amazing. For Michael Stanley's new album, And Then ... he had an incredible career of music to revert back to - and yet this album sounds as fresh as anything he has ever done! I mean, his last album, The Job, was an exercise in quality writing, for sure, but this one, is, well, perfection on the turntable, to say the very least.
The album was produced by Stanley and mixed by his longtime studio collaborator, Bill Szymczyk, who handled similar chores for the Eagles, B.B. King, Joe Walsh, the James Gang, the Who and Santana.
If you are not aware, Stanley is an American singer-songwriter, musician, and radio personality. Both as a solo artist and with the Michael Stanley Band, his brand of heartland rock was popular in Cleveland and around the American Midwest in the 1970s and 1980s.
The album kicks off with 'All Together Now,' a ridiculously upbeat track that fairly bounces off the stereo right at you, before the mid-tempo early Springteen vibe of 'Radio Waves' (listen to it for yourself and tell me I'm wrong). Next up is are both 'Sound Of a Train' and 'Shifting Gears,' with the title track, 'And Then' yet another reason to fall in love with this incredible new album from Stanley.
With lyrically content that obviously springs from growing up in the same timeframe as rock n' roll, and being knocked out by all the different styles that led to that musical melting pot that was created, the powerhaus 'Snakes' is up next. The blistering track is one of the highlights of this album for me personally, of course, and is followed by both 'Sweet Spot' and the taut, gritty 'Long Ohio Winter.'
The imploring 'Hang On To This Heart's is next, and that is followed by yet another quite refreshingly brilliant track, 'Don't Say Nothing.' As Stanley has said before, "It's your world, pay attention" and that's exactly what ya'll need to do on 'Good Day For The Blues,' which is, quite easily, something that could have so easily have been written and recorded way back in the Delta South. The romantic 'In Your Kiss' is next and then the album is wrapped up by the uber melodic gentle rampage of 'Circadian Rhythm.'