by Will Phoenix –
Shane Alexander is preparing to release his next new album Bliss. Shane Alexander, for those not up on their indie artists, has toured the globe as both a headliner and a supporting artist. He has opened for the likes of Yes, Styx, Seal, Suzanne Vega, John Hiatt, Jewel and Bon Iver.
His music has been featured in over 100 TV shows and motion pictures. Bliss is his sixth full-length record since his official debut in 2005. Bliss is contains 10 tracks recorded in his Buddhaland Studios in Ventura, California.
On Bliss Alexander takes charge on vocals, guitars, keyboards and percussion. The CD includes an assortment of other artists as well. The guest list includes Jesse Siebenberg (lap steel, pedal steel, Omnichord, percussion, guitar and backing vocals), Peter Adams piano and keyboards), Vic Ruiz (bass), Billy Mohler (double bass), Sarah Pigion (harmonium and backing vocals), Stevie Blacke (strings), Danny T. levin (horns), Mike Mullins (mandolin), Josh Grolemund and Aaron Sterling (drums and percussion) and Jamie Drake and Justine Bennett (backing vocals).
Alexander wrote or co-wrote most of the songs on the album. The lead-in, “Evergreen”, was co-composed with Adam Levy. It’s quiet and subtle but enough to keep the listener’s attention. It’s a light folk song very reminiscent of Paul Simon and maybe even Ram-album Paul McCartney.
Things pick up with another Alexander-Levy collaboration titled “Something Real Never Dies”. It’s a pop rocker with a 1980s touch. “In The High”, co-written with Midas Treub, is consistent but perhaps all too soon overshadowed by the death-dark track “I Will Die Alone” which is one of those depressing personal pieces that would garner critical acclaim and awards for its sincerity.
“Heart Of California” breaks through the heartache and pain on the platter with a literally lighter touch. It is a welcome and well-placed piece complete with a bit of Tom Petty push. It’s an ode to the Golden State.
His signature sound soars on “Hold Me Helpless”. It’s one of the best cuts here. It’s got commercial possibilities but it’s not at all overly obvious.
“Angel’s Share” was written by Tim Krekel. Alexander makes quiet but not too pretty song his own. “Nobody’s Home” was co-written with Jeremy Silver and further exhibits the talents of those involved.
By the time “Meet Me Halfway” opens, even casual listeners will have gotten the message. The closing cut is also the titular track which was intended to leave listeners on a more peaceful note. With a street date of July 8, 2016, this upcoming audio offering cements his fluid, acoustically-driven signature sound as a tuneful tribute to both classic rock influences and more recent lesser known ones as well. So check out Shane Alexander’s Bliss. You just might find yourself totally “In The High”.
MAAF Box Listening Pleasure: Hold Me Helpless, I Will Die Alone, Heart of California
MAAF Box Rating: