Steven Graves – Captain Soul | Album Review

Steven Graves – Captain Soul

One Essence Music

11 tracks

Steven Graves mixes a bunch of genres here in this predominantly rock album. Graves is touted as a rootsy perfromer but the roots here are mostly folksy and country.  There not any blues here to speak of.  His bio on the one sheet talks a lot about the Grateful Dead and jam band stuff, but again, this is a softer presentation of music; most of what is here are ballads and folk rock songs.

Graves plays some guitar and does all the singing up front.  David Mendoza does most of the bass work and Travis Cruse most of the guitar work.  David Tucker is on drums with help from Jim Coulson on 3 cuts.  Art Alm, John R. Burr and John Dryden share the piano, organ and keys.  A host of others join in the fun, too.

“Light Turns to Day” starts us off.  It’s a bouncy rock tune with organ and vocals bouncing along together.  It has a sort of Caribbean flair to it with congas and organ jiving it together.  a distorted guitar solo also makes things interesting. “Man from A Different Planet” is an homage to David Bowie.  It’s another rock song with lap steel.  “Walk With Me” starts with some horns as Graves sort of plays crooner here.  It’s a pretty ballad.  “Somewhere, Somehow” reminded me a Jimmy Buffet sort of tune.  Again, no blues here.  “Take You For a Ride” begins with some bluesy harp.  Finally some blues?  A little.  The rest of the cut sounds more like a rock song a la CSN. “Fly Like the Dove” opens like an Elton John song with solo piano and lonely vocals.  It turns more country than anything else as it progresses, mixing rock and a little country sound for effect.

“Forever Wild” is a mid-tempo rocker.  It’s a nice cut, one of my favorites on the CD.  “Called Her An Angel” is a thoughtful piece, slow and cool. Next up is “No One Left To Blame.”  There is some nice solo guitar and the organ fills nicely.  we get some slide and pedal steel with “Heaven in Your Hands”  It’s got a heavy country flair to it; it’s an enjoyable lament.  The CD ends with “another Day,” featuring piano and  lap steel.  Another thoughtful ballad that I enjoyed.

Given that this is Blues Blast Magazine, I’d expect to have at least some blues featured in submissions.  There really was not any here.  Graves is occasionally rootsy with a country flair, but I’d label this a rock album.  It’s a nice little piece with some interesting songs.  Most are slower to medium tempo-ed and  none ever “rock out,” so if you are looking for a modernistic folksy sort of album give it a go.  If you want blues, look elsewhere.

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