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CD REVIEW: "Strange Situation" by Jon Caspi

By Gary Wien


by Gary Wien

*** (3 stars out of 4)

The latest release by Jon Caspi finds the Jersey artist veering in a slightly new direction. After two solid power-pop releases and a brilliant "rock novel", the new record leans more towards a faster rock/punk feel. Caspi has again penned a couple great songs although what I like most about this record took me quite a while to figure out.

The record sounds as close to a live concert as any studio recording I've ever heard. And I mean that in a very good way.

Driving home from work one day with the disc in my car's player, it suddenly dawned on me that "Strange Situation" plays out from start to finish as if Caspi was performing a live set on the radio minus the crowd noise and stage banter. The songs are sequenced wonderfully -- as if it was a set list (or mix tape) designed for maximum effect. The record flows back and forth from highs to lows, rockers to slower tunes -- even a ska-based tune to break things up. It might be because the album features several songs with rather untraditional drum beats to kick things off, but the tunes really sound like a live concert to me. There's a brilliant sort of energy and pace to the record that you don't hear that often. It just sort of pops out at you as if you're hearing the band live.

Highlights include the stunningly beautiful, "Don't Bend" and a pair of rockers: "Fading Into Gray" and the title track.

"Don't Bend" is one of several songs on the record inspired by the son Jon adopted from Africa. Here he's offering his son some advice on how to be strong during an awkward situation he foresees somewhere down the road.
"Don't bend so easily
Don't bend so easily
No matter what they say
You look them in the face
Don't bend so easily"

"Fading Into Gray" is sort of an anthem for rock and rollers who continue to fight the good fight even as the years go by.

"Lately, all of you just drive me crazy
don't know why I let it phase me
but I still dream of yesterday
while I'm just fading into gray"

"Strange Situation" may be the first song I've ever heard to accurately describe the unique moment of adoption.
"Well one day there you were
A picture from another world
We were told you would be ours
So did Addis I did go
I came to take you home
You didn't know me at all
It's a strange situation, I know"

Caspi's music always had a bit of a melodic punk edge floating towards the surface in my opinion. This record just lets him explore that side of his influences a little more. All in all, it's a strong disc that makes me curious just where he'll head in the future!



For more by this author, click here






NJSO presents 2019 Winter Festival, 'Music Speaks'
(NEWARK, NJ) -- A trio of renowned guest artists with distinct musical voices—pianists Emanuel Ax and Daniil Trifonov and soprano Dawn Upshaw—headline the NJSO’s Winter Festival, “Music Speaks,” in January 2019. The Orchestra’s signature artistic event takes place across three weekends, January 10–27, in six New Jersey venues.
RVCC Chorale to Perform Annual Holiday Concert on December 8th
(BRANCHBURG, NJ) --The RVCC Chorale will give its annual holiday concert on Saturday, December 8 at 8:00pm in the Welpe Theatre at Raritan Valley Community College’s Branchburg campus. The program will feature Johann Sebastian Bach’s cantata, Das Neugeborne Kindelein, as well as a cappella pieces from by Sergei Rachmaninov, Zoltan Kodaly and Giuseppe Verdi. The program also will include an audience singalong of traditional carols.
Classic Stones Live! The Complete Rolling Stones Tribute Show Comes To SOPAC
(SOUTH ORANGE, NJ) -- The Rolling Stones, the greatest Blues band of all time, couldn’t make it to SOPAC on their 2018 tour. Instead, the acclaimed tribute band Classic Stones Live! makes an appearance on the SOPAC stage December 15 at 8:00pm for those who like to hear their Rolling Stones hits live.
Tony Trischka Presents "Of a Winter's Night" at the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship
(MORRISTOWN, NJ) -- Of a Winter’s Night is Tony Trischka's acoustic celebration of the holiday season. Based on his CD release of the same name, this concert features Trischka’s considerable melodic inventiveness on a wide variety of seasonal tunes. He turns his inventiveness loose on bluegrass and Americana music for the holidays. This one of a kind concert will take place at the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship on Saturday, December 8 at 7:30pm.
Idle Wave To Hold Record Release Party At Asbury Park Brewery
(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- Pop-punks Idle Wave will celebrate the release of their self-titled EP on Saturday, December 1st at Asbury Park Brewery.  The record release show also includes performances by Skyeline, Roderick, and Pollyanna.


"An Amazing Musical Genius!" Brian Wilson LIVE! at the State Theatre
In the music room in the back of our house, there’s an electric bass and amp, two acoustic guitars, a microphone and PA speakers, several pieces of music recording equipment, and a bookcase filled with books on music, not to mention a slew of assorted music memorabilia. But, perhaps, one of the most highly prized items in the room is hanging directly above the piano next to the college music diplomas.
Jazz Saxophonist Don Braden LIVE! at Toms River’s Grunin Center
It’s a breezy day for a new installment of the Jazz On a Sunday Afternoon concert series at Toms River, NJ’s Grunin Center of the Arts this Sunday Oct. 27, 2018 afternoon. Today’s special 3pm performance is entitled Earth, Wind and Wonder and is presented by jazz saxophonist Don Braden.
Charlie Thomas’ Drifters, The Classics IV, and The Brooklyn Bridge LIVE! at The Strand, Lakewood
The stars are out this Saturday Oct. 26, 2018 evening in Lakewood, NJ for a “Golden Oldies” concert featuring Charlie Thomas’ Drifters, The Classics IV, and The Brooklyn Bridge!
PODCAST: Grammy Winner Terri Lyne Carrington At TD James Moody Jazz Festival
Drummer, leader, and composer Terri Lyne Carrington made history as the first woman to win a Grammy for Best Instrumental Jazz for her album “Money Jungle: Provocative in Blue.” Now, she brings her interpretation of Duke Ellington’s “Money Jungle” to the TD James Moody Jazz Festival at NJPAC on November 11, 2018, as part of a program called “Jazz Vinyl Revisited.” Producer Susan Wallner talks to Carrington about her connections to the jazz greats Clark Terry and Max Roach; her newest project, the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice; and why she thinks drummers make natural leaders.
Sha Na Na LIVE! at the Newton Theatre
The audience is streaming into the Newton Theatre auditorium in Newton, NJ this Friday, Oct. 19, 2018 for a live concert starring Sha Na Na!










Event calendar
Thursday, Nov 15, 2018


MUSIC

New Politics @ House of Independents, Asbury Park - 8:00pm

THE REPUTATIONS @ The Saint, Asbury Park - 7:30pm

TOTO @ Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Morristown - 8:00pm


THEATRE

An Actor's Carol @ Cape May Stage, Cape May - 7:30pm

ANNIE, The Musical @ Axelrod Performing Arts Center, Deal Park - 8:00pm

Apples In Winter @ Centenary Stage Company - Kutz Theater of the Lackland Center, Hackettstown - 7:30pm

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat @ The Levoy Theatre, Millville - 7:30pm

Spring Awakening: The Rock Musical @ Black Box PAC, Teaneck - 8:00pm







DANCE

PARSONS DANCE @ State Theatre New Jersey, New Brunswick - 8:00pm


FILM

Crybaby Matinee: March of the Penguins @ Hopewell Theater, Hopewell - 11:00am

View all events
























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