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CD REVIEW: Jim Gallant - Old Hat with a New Coat
By Cyrus Rhodes - 02/16/2011 - 12:51 AM EST

Artist: Jim Gallant
Album: Old Hat with a New Coat
Label: Independent Artist
Website: http://www.jimgallant.com
Genre: Americana, Folk, Acoustic
Sounds Like: Kingston Trio, Peter Paul & Mary, Lyle Lovitt
Technical Grade: 7/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 8/10
Commercial Value: 8/10
Overall Talent Level: 8/10
Songwriting Skills: 10/10
Performance Skill: 7/10
Best Songs: Ballad of Billy d Byron, Buffalo Bill
Weakness: More Instrumentation
CD Review: New England’s own Jim Gallant just released his latest CD entitled Old Hat with a New Coat in 2010. Gallant is no stranger to the Music Business as this is his 6th release thus far.     

The CD kicks things off with “Joshua” an upbeat intro piece that serves up classic Americana vibe that delivers slamming fiddle, driving rhythm, & rich harmonies & hooky melody from Gallant. Track 2 “Pilgrims Song” keeps things moving with its smooth flowing rhythm, impressive solo guitar accents, & classic Americana groove. Track 3 shifts gears up a notch with Blind Ted Darby classic “I Never Cried” a classic guitar driven melody with slamming Banjo, driving rhythm, & passionate vocals from Gallant that flows & ebbs it’s way through to emotional fruition. This CD makes a solid first impression dishing out 3 solid tracks in arrow. As this CD slowly unfolds I can hear many different musical soundscapes reminiscent of such classic acts like Kingston trio, Peter Paul & Mary, & Lyle Lovitt.The music itself is an amazing blend of modern acoustic folk, with Americana roots with an unmistakable country, bluegrass, & R&B vibe. The musicianship of all the players involved is equally as impressive. Gallant brings a slew of impressive session players to the table. You will notice lush layers of instrumentation layered everywhere, from impressive solo guitar licks, well placed harmonies, impressive banjo licks, fiddles & mandolin. But the most impressive thing about Old Hat with a New Coat is the impressive songwriting & vocal persona from Gallant. From upbeat “Whaleback Mountain Night” & Rings” to Celtic “Ballad of Billy D Byron” & Penny Candy Man” to grooving “Buffalo Bill” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with “Ain’t No Future In That” the perfect finale statement for a CD of this caliber.

It’s hard to find any solid weaknesses with this CD. I would offer up 1 item that would make it even better. Perhaps more instruments would increase the production value a  bit more. Things like Accordion, Piano, percussive accents, harmonica, harpsichord, Pedal Steel, Hammond Organ, Cello, Stand-up Bass, & even Slide Guitar would spice up the production even further, thus making it less dry & repetitive.   

From start to finish Old Hat with a New Coat by Jim Gallant is one impressive catalog of music. The music is consistent, uplifting, & extremely entertaining. Note for note, song for song there isn’t really a weak piece on this entire catalog. The writing & playing abilities of Gallant & company & his band is rock solid. The lyrics are catchy, & the melodies are well crafted & hooky. Last but not least the songwriting & vocal presence from front Jim Gallant is world-class. It’s no wonder Jim Gallant is as popular as he is out east.  




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