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CD REVIEW: Nick Zubeck - Tracker
By Don Sechelski - 01/27/2009 - 09:20 PM EST

Artist: Nick Zubeck
Album: Tracker
Genre: Blend of rock, jazz and experimental sounds
Sounds Like: Nobody else
Technical Grade: 10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 10
Commercial Value: 8
Overall Talent Level: 10
Songwriting Skills: 10
Performance Skill: 10
Best Songs: Blues In Reds, Cherry Sunshine, Body Parts
CD Review:

Great sounds keep coming from the great white north. The latest is Tracker, the new CD from Toronto based rocker, Nick Zubeck.  Itís an eclectic mix of well written, well played and produced tunes that donít hesitate to push boundaries and take chances. Zubeck plays a variety of guitars, a banjo, lap steel, and other instruments as well as singing lead vocal. He wrote all the tracks, some by himself, some with bassist Darren Wall. The production is tied together by experimental post rocker, Sandro Perri, who adds his unique electronic touch as a player on several tracks while doubling as producer for the project.

Sentimental Devil is perfect case in point. Perriís moog blends with a great percussion section to kick off a rocker that morphs into a swinging tune highlighted by Ryan Driverís flute and Zubeckís clever lyric. Zubeck doesnít shy away from creating new tones and shimmering sounds. Body Parts is a jazzy song that features a great Rhodes track from Robbie Grunwald and smooth guitar work from Zubeck. His vocal is reminiscent of Todd Rundgrenís best and the production is stellar. Darren Wallís double bass sets the tone for Track and Field while Grunwald contributes a strong part on Grand Piano. Tip of My Tongue starts with a brisk acoustic riff from Zubeck before the horns and mellophone kick in to drive the song home. Blues and Reds is my favorite cut on the album. Zubeck shares vocal duties with Olenka Krakus in jazzy, melancholy piece that features spare but incredibly tasty instrumentation. Zubeck writes witty, intelligent lyrics that stand up to repeated listening while uncovering depths of meaning.

The more I listen to Tracker, the more I like it. Itís intricate and unusual sounds reveal an artist unafraid to take risks and unwilling to bend to the latest pop whim. Zubeck is a unique talent whose music demands to be listened to over and over. Each listen reveals new depths, new awakenings that delight and excite the discerning listener. Nick Zubeck and Tracker are worth a listen. Actually, theyíre worth a lot of listens.

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