CD REVIEW: Mann Wolf - Knock First
By Don Sechelski - 04/25/2009 - 10:24 PM EDT
Artist: Mann Wolf Album: Knock First Genre: Country/Rock Technical Grade: 10/10 Production/Musicianship Grade: 10/10 Commercial Value: 8/10 Songwriting Skills: 10/10 Performance Skill: 10/10 Best Songs: Fly, Lullabye, Ev'rything CD Review:
Mann Wolf’s new release, Knock First, is a delightful collection of well written, well
produced songs that sparkle like new diamonds. Wolf is a Cleveland area song
writer with past success as part of the duo, Windwords, and as a songwriter for
the Nashville country market. On Knock
First, Wolf plays most of the instruments, a collection that includes
guitars, keyboards, synths, and drums.
He’s joined by Bill Fox on sax on one cut and the “In The Pocket” gospel
choir provides background vocals on another number.
It’s Wolf’s songwriting that takes center stage here. Hole In
My Pocket, the first cut is a great example. Wolf’s driving acoustic guitar
rings clear providing great support for his soulful vocal. Recorded live, Wolf’s
performance is emotional and powerful. Back in the studio, Let It Go gives Wolf a chance to show off his considerable
arranging and production skills. Let It
Go continues the vibe as Mann backs up strong songwriting with excellent
arrangement and production. His guitar work is sterling on every song. Fly is one of my favorite cuts. Wolf’s
slow blues is perfect and his soaring guitar solo is the perfect punctuation to
an excellently crafted song. This is great rock and roll.
There are some great songs on Knock First and Mann Wolf delivers them with passion and wit.
Lullabye is anything but a lullaby as Wolf shuffles through a witty tune that
includes my favorite line,
"Reduce my carbon footprint, increase my credit line. Sell my
stock on the auction block, try and buy some time."
Too Long Gone has
a definite Beatles feel and features some excellent vocals from Wolf coupled
with a cleverly constructed song. Ev’rything features a gospel choir supporting
Wolf’s passionate vocal on the anthem that closes the album. Mann Wolf is a
consummate songwriter and excellent producer. Knock First is a very good album.
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