CD REVIEW: Christian Floyd - Conversations in an Empty Room
By Cyrus Rhodes - 05/15/2012 - 12:54 PM EDT
Artist: Christian Floyd
Album: Conversations in an Empty Room
Label: Christian Floyd
Genre: Acoustic Singer/Songwriter
Sounds Like: Suzanne Vega, Jewel, Black Francis
Technical Grade: 7/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 9/10
Commercial Value: 8/10
Overall Talent Level: 10/10
Songwriting Skills: 10/10
Performance Skill: 9/10
Best Songs: Lady of the Birds, This Empty Room, Handfuls of Life
Weakness: Lack of Instrumentation
Delaware based Guitarist/Singer/Songwriter Christian Floyd just released his second album entitled "Conversations in an Empty Room" in 2012. Floyd’s back ground is as a Heavy Metal guitarist. Reading from his bio: The insistent drive of metal gave way to the soft musings of an acoustic guitar and the gentle rasp of his newfound voice.
The CD gently takes flight with “Handfuls of Life” is a melancholy acoustic intro piece that serves up solitary vocal delivery from Floyd that is passionate, up front and very personal. Track 2 “Morning’s Life” keeps things moving along the intimate path with solitary acoustic guitar ambience and Floyds passionate voice and thought provoking lyrical content front and center. This track along with Track 3 “Mirror Me” are both striking pieces that flow and ebb their way through emotional fruition. As the CD slowly unfolds I can hear many musical influences reminiscent of classic Jewel, Suzanne Vega and perhaps a splash of Sinead O Conner – except from a male voice and perspective. The actual musical format is very intimate, up close: a personal snapshot of the artist. The songs themselves are very naked and personal with messages revealing the highs and lows of life, love, passion and do I dare say Life observations. Overall the catalogue is extremely melancholy but brilliant nonetheless. Besides the voice and the acoustic guitar you will also notice brief splashes of Celtic type solos built upon an impressive finger picking playing style. The guitar playing abilities from Floyd are conservative but impressive nonetheless. Timing is spot on within each piece. I might add Floyd displays an impressive baritone, impressive vibrato and an occasional falsetto every no and then. His vocal timer reminds me of a cross between Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumkins) Jack Black and Black Francis (Pixies). Lyrical content is extremely revealing and thought provoking. All songs cut deep to the core and its obvious Floyd is also a very capable songwriter. From striking “Lady of the Birds” and compelling “Bless the End” to upbeat “Thunderstorms” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 8 “A Shadow’s Life” the perfect finale statement for a CD of this caliber.
There are risks you take when delivering a bare bones musical performance such as this. It’s fair to say more musical depth is often needed to compensate. Again I can’t help but wonder what some of these songs would sound like with other musical elements behind them. Instruments such as a pedal steel, mandolin, fiddles, viola, stand up bass, cello, percussion, and even Harmonica would add a much needed musical dimension. Due to lack of musical depth the production goes down a bit dry. Again it takes an amazing amount of talent and skill to deliver a bare bones musical production effectively, and for the record it’s truly impressive what Floyd has done here with just a guitar and a microphone. CD cover art is a bit amateurish looking and lacks in overall marketability.
Floyd will work best on days you want a delicate acoustic sound to fill your atmosphere. "Conservations in an Empty Room" is a brilliant, striking and compelling musical production. Its strong suit is it’s overall consistency, lyrical wisdom and bold straightforwardness. Make no bones about it folks; It took raw honesty to write and perform some of these songs. What I like most about Floyd is there is no attempt to hide how she feels, or sugar coat the truth. I really admire artists out there who are themselves and just let the chips fall where they may. Praise goes out to the artist that has the courage to show us something real and genuine beneath their veil of vanity. Floyd is one of those artists. Be advised you may not want to listen to this CD on the day you get fired, but if you like melancholy music that provides a very real assessment of the human condition then you should jump into the CD head first. If I could say anything to Floyd right now it would be - add a bit more musical flavor to your next production. This can be done without losing the solitary musical foundation. You've also proven how effective you are at staying in the pocket during slow parts, but don't be afraid to exit that comfort zone, and really push that emotional envelope to the hilt during some of your other parts. The real selling point for any song is the (singer to listener) emotional connection. Here experienced artists will execute and make this connection every time. It cannot be faked and has to be totally genuine. At the end of the day people don't buy plastic and paper, they buy emotions. Trim up some of your songs a bit, but whatever you do, don’t stop telling us what the truth Is……….because that's what you do the best.
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