William Hart Strecker â€“ Smoke and Clouds / 2008 WHS / 13 Tracks / http://www.williamhartstrecker.com /
Streckerâ€™s â€œSmoke and Cloudsâ€ is the third foray into Americana music by this individual, who was previously known for touring with individuals as diverse as Dizzy Gillespie, George Duke, and Mariah Carey. If eir contributions to the works and live shows of those individuals has not rang a bell, Strecker is also well known for running Fluid, a jingle firm that crafts a number of distinct sounds for advertisers throughout the world. â€œRound and Roundâ€ is the first track on â€œSmoke and Cloudsâ€, and it showcases the maturity of Streckerâ€™s overall sound.
This track holds ground that is in the midst of country, nineties alternative, and even classic pop (in the vein of individuals like Billy Joel and Elton John). The diversity of sounds broached by Strecker during this introductory track shows that there are few limits to Streckerâ€™s sound; individuals do not know where Strecker will go in the tracks to come. Finally, the hints of greats like Neil Young and Warren Zevon in Streckerâ€™s vocal output really establish Strecker as a modern day virtuoso; where the tracks on â€œSmoke and Cloudsâ€ all have a familiar sound to them, Strecker succeeds in crafting an unique sound throughout the discâ€™s 13 tracks. â€œDreaming Californiaâ€ is the second track on the disc, blending together Stevie Ray Vaughan with the aforementioned Neil Young, but adding a little bit of a Lenny Kravitz sound to the mix. The first real â€œhitâ€ for Strecker is â€œAnna Belleâ€, a sultry track that wins individuals over through very catchy melodies and memorable arrangements.
I understand that three discs does not establish individuals as a master in their craft, but I feel as if Strecker is one of the best at what ey does. It is not only the compelling nature of the tracks on â€œSmoke and Cloudsâ€, nor the smoothed-out and friendly vocals of Strecker, but the way in which the album engages the listener. The diverse, dense arrangements present during tracks such as â€œSlow Down Darlinâ€ will ensure that individuals will keep â€œSmoke and Cloudsâ€ in their players for months to come, lest they miss something important. Strecker could be right up there with Santana and other masters of the rock craft, it is just a matter of getting enough in the way of individuals to listen in. Hopefully the dizzying heights of â€œSmoke and Cloudsâ€ will allow fans to start streaming in. Pick it up.
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