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Label: Mascot Records

Release Date: June 4, 2021

Rating: 100%

Reviewer: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur

I dig some blues stuff and will take most of it for a spin, as long as it hits a rock vein.  That said, I dug into the latest from Quinn Sullivan because I really enjoyed his last effort, Midnight Highway.  Instead of rehashing, let’s jump into this one… Disc opener “All Around The World” is a song that jumped into my head, ears, and heart.  With all that has transpired over the last sixteen or so months, this song is exactly what we need right now lyrically.  The musical accompaniment is as contagious as the lyric and Quinn’s guitar and vocals deliver the message with compassion, hope, and precision.  Be sure to hang out for the blues-tinged licks on the bridge.  “She’s So Irresistible” takes the good vibe and groove from the opener and dials up the energy a bit and adds some attitude, crunch, and swagger to the track.  This one has a great blues-rock driven sound that benefits from a heavy bottom end and some cool guitar licks that lean more into rock territory than blues, but it keeps things flowing.  “In A World Without You” kicks things up a notch and we are given a solid rock track that may have nuances of blues tossed in, but this track is very Santana-like in my mind.  The melody and harmony dance that takes place between the vocals and guitars is fun to listen to and allow each to take their moment in the spotlight, especially on the second verse.  “Baby Please” is one of those songs that sneaks up on you and works its way into your playlist.  The verse comes in slowly and unfolds into a great chorus that is catchy and gets you singing along before the first pass ends.  The percussion no this track sticks out in the mix, as does the harmonies of voice and guitar swirling together on the verses.  The bluesy solo on the bridge helps tie this to his catalog.  “You’re The One” is another song that stands out to me on this disc, but that list gets longer with each listen through the disc.  The lyrics are fun and draw you in.  Sullivan’s vocals are tight and precise on this track, giving the song a serious flavor without taking away from the fun groove in the musical accompaniment.  “Strawberry Rain” has a killer cadence that drives the track underneath Quinn’s vocals and chugging guitars in the mix.  The pre-chorus and chorus are so damn contagious, but the real hook to this track is the layered vocals that enhance the songs sound on the chorus that blend into some cool blues riffs in the transitions.

“How Many Tears” is the second single and video released from the disc and one listen through you understand why.  This ballad captures all the nuances in Sullivan’s vocals, guitar playing, and help showcase his softer side.  The lyric is all blues (and would also make a great country track).  The horns in the mix add depth and dimension to the track and disc in its entirety.  The solo on the bridge is as emotive as any on the disc.  “She’s Gone” slowly works its way in sonically and gives us a poppier listen to Sullivan and combo of vocals and guitars as well as the musical accompaniment that helps carry the tune.  Much like “How Many Tears,” this ballad-like track swirls different sounds together and gives us another killer track.  As a guy from Detroit, gotta love the nod to Marvin in the track.  “Real Thing” is a great rock track that leans into radio friendly territory, and it is good stuff.  The chugging riff and solid cadence form the rhythm section builds a perfect for the foundation that seems to take flight when the chorus kicks in.  The song grows on me more and more.  This one has a cool contagious chorus that is as fun to sing along to as it is to sit back and listen to.  Title track “Wide Awake” comes along and I am slightly perplexed, but at the same time understand.  Typically the title track will fall within the first one to three tracks on a disc to help set the pace and bar for a disc, as the track typically held something that prompted the disc to be named after it.  On this disc, there are so many good tracks that the song wasn’t needed to introduce the disc, the concepts, or the emotions.  The slight blues thread woven into this track gives the rock sound a little push and helps create a great sound that should go over well in a live setting.  “Jessica” is a current favorite that has lodged itself in my head like an earworm and in my heart, as we all have our own Jessica.  The different sounds and textures in the musical part of the track gives this one a sweet sound that gets better with each note and word.  Don’t sleep on the bridge, as the vocal is one of the best on the disc and morphs into a beautiful acoustic driven guitar solo.  Disc closer “Keep Up” takes us out with as strong a song as any on the disc.  The piano intro that is slowly added to with vocals and guitar combine to show off another sound and vibe that Quinn can toss into his musical arsenal.  The vocal drives home the lyrics with power without being overpowering, thanks to his emotional tie to the music and lyric as a whole.  The disc’s more mature sound and lyrics demonstrate how much Sullivan has progressed from his previous release and based on this growth, the sky is truly the limit.  I cannot wait to hopefully see and hear these tracks on a stage near me soon.

Tracklisting: All Around The World – She’s So Irresistible – How Many Tears – In A World Without You – She’s Gone – Baby Please – Real Thing – You’re The One – Wide Awake – Strawberry Rain – Jessica – Keep Up






Category: CD Reviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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