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CD REVIEW: Mike Ian - Puzzle Pieces
By Dan Cohen - 06/18/2011 - 04:24 PM EDT

Artist: Mike Ian
Album: Puzzle Pieces
Genre: Alternative Rock
Sounds Like: Rush, Train, Neil Young
Technical Grade: 10/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 10/10
Commercial Value: 8/10
Overall Talent Level: 8/10
Songwriting Skills: 8/10
Performance Skill: 9/10
Best Songs: The Sweetest Sound, Take Another Way
CD Review: Bluegrass meets Yngwie? Mike Ian's got a nice thing going, good production, fine playing. The album cover makes Puzzle Pieces look like a contemplative jazz album, but Mike rocks, as evidenced by the rave up closer on the album, kind of a Doc Watson channelled through Jimmy Page number called Tele Chicken Pickin'. Big sound. Nice drum playing throughout, also by Mr. Ian. Get this man a band! Songwriting can be a bit derivative at times, his 'Mountain Song' being very reminiscent of Train's Calling All Angels, yet still has a nice groove and sweet message. The Great Escape has echoes of Neil Young's 'After the Gold Rush'. Alot of Beatlesesque harmonies. But he's copping from the best. Ian's vocal delivery is somewhat reminiscent of both Young as well as Ray Davies of the Kinks. A great effort. Take Another Way is a sweet blend of both country and pop influences that manages to sound both familiar and fresh.  Continue to explore your inner bluegrass shredder!

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