by Lisa Barber
As a recent addition to the whatzup staff, I have been introduced to many new things, some of which should go unspoken of, and anyhow are inconsequential to this review. Another is the introduction to new music.
Several have gone unnoticed in the harried atmosphere of day-to-day life here at world headquarters ... which may inadvertently say something for the music itself. Others have been inflicted upon me like the flu I hope to avoid all winter. I have endured marathons of the Barenaked Ladies, hours of the always uplifting Neil Young, and Ben Folds Five (on this day particularly, I was not feeling enlightened ó musically or otherwise). However, the obvious rewards in such a diverse musical atmosphere are the treasures you wait for, such as the recent Van Morrison/Lewis collaboration, Sleepy LaBeefeís unconventional efforts and David Todoranís brilliant Americana that I have grown to love so much. And although these treasures are welcomed, it is also natural for us aS human beings to revert to what we know. Having grown up in the 70s and 80s, my musical tastes lean toward the comparatively radical here at whatzup. It has been many a time that the plug has been pulled on my beloved Ozzy. I plead for Creed, Pearl Jam and the Dave Matthews Band without any sympathy from the boss. After all, along with my future, Mr. whatzup also holds complete control of the five-CD changer.
Back to introductions. My introduction to Rosemary Gates was this past summer at a private party. The local celebrities for whom I have so often composed ads were everywhere. I was extremely impressed by each performer who took the stage. In my days of running Fort Wayne, this type of original talent was unheard of. But when Rosemary Gates started their set, I was mesmerized. The bandís professionalism, in the less-than-ideal weather conditions, and their commitment to the crowd were enough to capture oneís heart. But as the set progressed it became quickly obvious that this was no typical cover band trying to please a crowd. They were live, they were original and they were outstanding. So it is no accident that my debut as a reviewer coincides with the release of the Rosemary Gates debut CD Shine. I chose them.
When Shine was finally brought to the office, I couldnít wait to hear it. My patience paid off. There, bouncing off the walls of whatzup World Headquarters, were essences of all the afore-mentioned bands that move me. An entrancing balance of my eclectic tastes satisfied by one band. I was hooked.
The vocal spectrum is phenomenal. Christian Schultís utterances are among the most sensual and intoxicating I have ever heard. Like Linda Blair in the Exorcist, they speak to me as if several voices are calling to me at once. His performance on ìHorsesî in particular is haunting and sent chills through me. His versatility, displayed magnificently on ìFree,î makes him instantly captivating. You just want to listen to him. Period.
The musical offerings are equally as impressive. Guitars ó electric and acoustic ó harmonicas, drums and a bass that make you want to get up and go somewhere ... and take this CD with you. Each instrument is played to a degree that reaches sheer excitement. Each is played like these boys were born with one in their hands.
Although the lyrics may be undecipherable to the first-time listener, it is unimportant. You like them anyway. I promise after your second listen you can understand and relate to them ó with the exception of the lyrics to ìBurnî (ìShe blows it in/ and she sucks me downî), which I am still working on because I like the sound. Okay, I didnít promise you will relate to them all, but I can promise youíll want to listen a second time.
Shine also includes the already local favorite ìShining Rainî ... and I will not look at a rainy day the same, nor shall I neglect to pass this wisdom to my friends. Thereís a cover of ìRosemary,î written by Lenny Kravitz (and from which the band took half its name), played with the passion Iím sure was intended. And thereís a personal favorite, ìBrotherman,î which I now find my self humming when the CD isnít handy. And thereís a funked-up surprise at the end appropriately named ìRewind,î which is what youíll want to do.
Produced here in Fort Wayne by Soundmill Studios, Shine sounds as good as any CD that I own. And the art Nathan Fast created, with the help of Justin Vaughnís photography, makes it look just as good on my shelf.
From here on out during my dreary days at World HQ, my plea will be for Creed, Pearl Jam, the Dave Matthews Band ... and Rosemary Gates. With Mr. whatzupís affirmed appreciation for RG in writing, I might just get get an occasional thrill.
The official release of Shine is scheduled for Saturday, October 28 at Columbia Street West. It is gritty, sensitive, funky (yeah, yeah) ... exactly what youíve been waiting for. It will be available at the release party and after the show becomes available at all Wooden Nickel, Sam Goody, On Cue and Borderís Bookstore locations.
Visit the official Rosemary Gates web site for more information at www.rosemarygates.com.
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