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CD REVIEW: Jody Blackwell - Come & Gone
By Cyrus Rhodes - 03/13/2011 - 06:28 PM EDT

Artist: Jody Blackwell
Album: Come & Gone
Label: Independent Artist
Genre: Acoustic Rock, Singer-Songwriter
Sounds Like: Carol King, Bonnie Rait, Carly Simon
Technical Grade: 10/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 9/10
Commercial Value: 8/10
Overall Talent Level: 9/10
Songwriting Skills: 8/10
Performance Skill: 9/10
Best Songs: Breakthrough. Inconvenient, Native
Weakness: Winded Songs.
CD Review: Boston’s own Jody Blackwell releases her latest CD entitled Come & Gone in late 2011. Band members include Jody Blackwell (guitars, vocals) & a slew of impressive session players including l Duke Levine (guitars, lap steel, mandolin) Mike Mele (electric Guitar) Steve Chaggaris (drums & percussion) Joe McMahon (Bass) Ken Clark (electric keyboards) & Dan Baker Lead guitar). 

The CD kicks things off with “Forward” a steady moving intro piece serving up steady beat, melodic guitar, well placed harmonies & smooth flowing vocal from Blackwell. Track 2 “Tender” is an impressive slow moving rock groove with impressive piano accents, slide guitar that flows & ebbs its way through to emotional fruition. Track 3 “So Glad” dishes out yet another solid piece with driving rock rhythm, impressive Hammond Organ chops & solo guitar. This CD makes a great first impression & gets off the ground effectively dishing our 3 solid tracks in a row. The music itself has a nice R&B, pop-rock groove with an earthy acoustic feel to it. Music is reminiscent of Bonnie Rait, Carly Simon, Carol King & Joni Mitchell. As this CD slowly unfolds its obvious the players in Blackwell’s band are quite accomplished. The guitar work of Baker & Levine are extremely melodic. Chaggaris (drummer) pushes the natural accents perfectly. What I like the most about this band is how well they groove together – testament to hundreds of hours of rehearsal time no doubt. As for her vocal abilities, Blackwell’s voice fits perfectly into this catalog - like a glove. Yep this is clearly where she belongs. Her voice goes down smooth and like the aforementioned; she fills the pop-rock R&B space flawlessly. Along the way you will no doubt notice some of her vocal influences I suspect are – Joni Mitchell, Carol King, Carly Simon & even Natalie Cole, & Ella Fitzgerald. As for the music, all songs are extremely well crafted and consistent across the board. Blackwell delivers10 solid tracks all providing deep, thought provoking wisdom with messages that are uplifting and positive. From soothing “Breakthrough” & Most Likely Place” to rocking “Most Likely Place” to heartfelt “Lately Come” this CD has something for just about everyone. I especially like the grooves presented on ”Inconvenient” & Native. ”The CD ends with Turley Creek, the perfect finale statement for a CD of this caliber.

It’s hard to find any solid weaknesses on this CD no doubt. However I would offer up 2 items: All songs over 4 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line a bit. I would trim up all songs, catalog about 10% making it more short & sweet.

Come & Gone is a world class musical production from start to finish. There’s not really a weak song on this entire catalog. The musicianship is first rate. Each song possesses a unique personality, flair,& signature groove. Lastly - the playing, writing, and singing abilities of Jodi Blackwell are amazing. I guess could go on and on all night about Jody Blackwell you’ve simply got to get your hands on some of her music & see what I am talking about. You should start with Come & Gone.

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