Spike Ivory, architect of his distinctive sonic realm, laid the foundation of his sound in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. In the subsequent years, his musical odyssey took a defined turn with the release of his inaugural album in the mid to late ‘80s, where Ivory's multi-instrumental prowess left an indelible mark on each track. Despite embarking on a major label production deal, unforeseen circumstances prompted a departure from the mainstream music trajectory. Undeterred, Ivory persisted in his creative journey, weaving tales through his songwriting, gracing local stages and navigating the touring circuit. In a recent venture, Ivory unfurls a fourteen-track album called Outside Looking In that, for the most part, intricately melds rock and country elements, underscored by a palpable Americana flavor.
The opening track, "Carolina," sets the stage with slick slide guitar, a rhythmic backbone, and resonant vocal harmonies that exude warmth. "Outside Looking In" channels pure Americana, both in lyricism and melodies, drawing parallels to the sonic landscape reminiscent of the E-Street Band. The track boasts straightforward energy and indelible vocal melodies. Consistency prevails in both energy and songwriting across the album, with notable gems scattered throughout.
Ballads such as "Are You Old Enough" strike a balance between nostalgia and sincerity, with the piano taking a prominent role in the spotlight. Standout moments include "Don't Hold Back" and "Regular Guy," while the closing track, "Someone To Believe," adeptly strikes emotional and musical chords, serving as a fitting finale. While the album maintains a commendable energy and songwriting finesse, a nuanced critique surfaces—a yearning for a couple of slower compositions, perhaps stripped down to guitar and vocals, to diversify the sonic landscape.
In summation, Ivory delivers a meticulously crafted album that encapsulates the quintessence of Americana—a musical tapestry as authentically American as apple pie. Highly recommended for those seeking an immersive sonic journey.
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