Well this is interesting. I’ll admit I didn’t have the highest expectations for this one. They say don’t judge a book by its cover, well I guess I shouldn’t have judged a musician by the CD’s back cover either.
So my immediate thought here was seeing the lone unshaven man pictured sitting against the wall in his ragged jeans, boots, and beat up work shirt and thought, “okay here we go another singer songwriter.”
However, Philadelphia musician Charles Ramsey is anything but your typical sounding singer songwriter. Though this album may have been recorded in late 2009, the sound is a solid pop record that included parts funk, country, and rock, which is straight out of the 1970s. The piano driven light hearted pop tunes Ramsey offers up sound like a flash back to the days of Brian Wilson, and Todd Rundgren. His melodies have more resemblance to the likes of the flower power folk of hippie era Donovan then they do to modern soft rock balled makers like Coldplay’s Chris Martin. What is most impressive is Ramsey’s ability to shift in and out of genres and not lose the albums over all solid feel. Drifting in and out from Elton John style upbeat over the top soft rock ballads such as the albums title track, to “Odelia” where Ramsey’s voice and song approach sounds hauntingly like the late George Harrison. Later in the CD on “Still Waiting” Ramsey changes it up yet again, with a silky voices cowboy country song that would fit in with any Willie Nelson song list. Just when you think Ramsey has shown all he has to offer the album wraps with the whimsical piano driven bluesy pop style “Oh Anne Marie” that resembles the original “piano man” Billy Joel.
Charles Ramsey is still an artist who seems to be discovering a sound of his own. Though he seems to wear his influences on his sleeve, and pay tribute to them with his sound, Ramsey’s talent is all his own. As styles and genres of popular music continue to change it’s refreshing to hear an artist whose sound may not fit in to the current “scene”, yet still offer up a variety of great songs.
STANDOUT TRACKS: #1 Good Morning and Good Night, #3 Odelia, #4 Still Waiting, & # 10 Oh Anne Marie.
Rating: 4 of 5