(MARCH 15, ASBURY PARK) -- Arlan Feiles taught me a lesson once that I will never forget.
His CD "Razing A Nation" originally came out on an indie label a few years ago with a cover that looked slightly worse than your average cheap bootleg. The cover turned me off so much that the cd stayed in our pile of new cds for about 4-5 months. When I finally got around to giving it a listen it was like hearing Dylan's "Blonde on Blonde" for the first time.
It blew me away.
That disc instantly became one of my all-time favorite CDs by a Jersey artist and it remains one of the top two CDs we have ever received at Upstage Magazine by an artist we had never heard of before (the debut album by Jason Shain being the other).
Thankfully Not Pop Records has rescued this wonderful disc and given it new life and new, MUCH IMPROVED packaging. Arlan had a release party for the new CD at the Saint in Asbury Park on March 15th and proceeded to play the entire disc. It was interesting seeing Arlan perform solo again as lately nearly all of his shows feature his large orchestra with a setlist comprised of newer songs. Arlan may be a bit tired of playing the songs from "Razing A Nation" but they not only deserve a wider audience they are as fresh today as the day the CD first came out years ago. Fortunately for Arlan the CD was ready around the same time as Shannon McNally was returning to the area so he was able to have her join him on stage for the two songs she did backing vocals for on the record.
There's not a weak track on the disc with highlights including the anti-war song "Sign Up", "Change" and "Drifted Town" (both which include Shannon McNally on backing vocals), "Impossibly Lonely" and "The Ballad Of A New Lone Ranger".
The record should be available in local stores, but you can turn to http://www.notpoprecords.com or http://www.arlanfeiles.com for more information.
If you're a fan of singer-songwriters, this CD needs to be in your collection.
Gary Wien has been covering the arts since 2001 and has had work published with Jersey Arts, Elmore Magazine, Princeton Magazine, Backstreets and other publications. He is a three-time winner of the Asbury Music Award for Top Music Journalist and the author of Beyond the Palace (the first book on the history of rock and roll in Asbury Park) and Are You Listening? The Top 100 Albums of 2001-2010 by New Jersey Artists. In addition, he runs New Jersey Stage and the online radio station The Penguin Rocks. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.