The 61st FYC Album by Various Artists under the Bongo Boy Records umbrella of creativity is a thoroughly enjoyable and refreshingly alternative collection that’s well worth adding to your playlist. This project compiles songs from various artists who were on the first voting ballot of the 61st Annual Grammy Awards® Nomination consideration.
Na Hoa’s Leo Kama’aina begins the album and drives with a gorgeously organic, beach-side acoustic guitar sound and a gathering of gentle, exotic voices – offering an uplifting lightness and warmth that’s blissful to have rain down around you. Though there’s some familiarity in the sound, the bulk of what makes this song so great is how unusual it is among today’s musical landscape – melodically and performance-wise. That originality and that quiet passion are beautiful to witness.
Mark Lindsay (former Lead Singer of Paul Revere & the Raiders) follows and injects a quick hit of classic rock and roll with Rush On You. The energy soars and the pace and character of this sweeps you off your feet a little after the delicacy of the opener. Then you get the briefly acoustic and spacious tones of 69 Days Till Freedom from Slight Return and Mark Kassa – a song that quickly evolves into a dark and distorted hard-rock piece with a captivating story-line and another brilliantly fresh melody.
If you spend too much time not listening to the music Bongo Boy Records put together, you tend to forget how incredibly unique and impressive it always is. Sangeeta Kaur adds a level of emotional poignancy with the piano-led tones of Bring It Down. Rarely do you get an entire album that feels as original and incomparable as this. Robin Spielberg’s SPELLBOUND comes afterwards and continues down this pathway. A stunning composition on piano that lets the mind wander to intensely unexpected depths. Absolutely worth a listen at volume and possibly when alone; even if just the once.
OBLIVEA pick up the pace again with the gorgeous soft-rock ballad that is The Way Things Stand. A beautiful leading vocal delivers this poetic and optimistic song in a fully entrancing fashion. The subtle instrumental build-up is perfect to accompany and enhance the progression throughout. A hugely majestic song that feels like a slept on hit form a simpler time – I was reminded a little of Goo Goo Dolls.
A hint of distorted yet melodically colourful grunge emerges with Zombie Garden Club’s stunning song Animals. Already the first half of the album begs for you to head back and repeat the journey. Every song on this project turns out to be well-deserved as part of the 61st celebrations.
Studeo mellow things out with a flicker of smooth jazz on Our Perfect Place To Be. Kama Ruby follows with a country shuffle and some hypnotic storytelling for Badlands of Bakersfield. Butter On My Rolls from Sheba The Mississippi Queen then keeps the Western vibe alive a little longer but fuses it with a soulful bluesy swing that marks a brilliant moment on the album.
The latter half of the playlist also features Sharon Lia Band – Anomie feels like the outro to some epic film, incredibly passionate and powerful. Then a rush of electronic indie-rock peaks through as The Corridors appear with Chain Reaction.
Country vibes return for the wonderful collection of voices featured on Annemarie Picerno’s BONFIRE – a power ballad with a mighty sense of togetherness about it. Damian Wyldes’ Disengage afterwards is awesomely cinematic in its beautifully organic build-up. Then you get the smooth riffs and thoughtful writing of Jim McCarty’s A Special Girl, right before the gypsy-jazz aura of La Bohemienne by The Violanta hits and redirects things completely.
Kevin Lucas Experience bring the collection to a close with the atmospheric and tribal beats of a well-known Africa. A lovely way to finish what is genuinely a stunning album. It would be a crying shame for the world not to hear this project, eclectic and endlessly skillful – a total joy to escape within and the perfect accompaniment to almost any kind of day.
Grab the album via the Bongo Boy Records Website.