Tuesday, 18 August 2015

GARY O'DEA

CD Review

Fly

This is a pretty laid back album which has that quality of being able to enjoy the songs no matter what mood you are in, which is testament to the art of songwriting and music making Gary O'Dea possesses.

Gary O'Dea
The opening track Angel sets the mood perfectly with O'Dea sounding a little like John Meloncamp but with a more chilled out acoustic sound on his guitar. All the tracks are O'Dea's own work except Take The Money and Run where he collaborated with Garry Oliver.
O'Dea from Tipton is another talent the Midlands can be proud of, although his sound is seriously chilled out that doesn't mean it is bland or lacks any depth of emotion, nothing could be further from the truth. There are a great many musical influences which come out during his playing and the almost under-produced sound using the skills of Eddy Morton give this album a rawness which you associate with the recordings of folk singers of the Sixties. O'Dea is a street musician who occasionally plays indoors and hopefully he will never lose that edgy feel to his playing. Take The Money and Run My Dear is a reworking of one his well known songs. It carries that same chilled out style of his and even has the odd Indian-style insert which could almost be a homage to The Beatles era.
The Birmingham Clarion Singers
Socialist Choir
His sound changes slightly for Be Careful What You Wish For, this time he does have that smooth sound associated with such as Labi Siffre. By the time you get to this track you find you have immersed yourself in the sound a bit like sliding down into a hot tub after a hard day. The clever thing about O'Dea is that this smoothness is something of a smoke screen for the passion he has for social justice. You get a better feeling of the cutting edge of his lyric writing with Build It Like A Rock. Here he is more bluesy/soulful and you can't help but feel there are definite shades of Simply Red with the odd hint of Jamiroquai. Interlude is a strange one, it begins with a definite European sound to it, slides into the folky style gob iron and blossoms into a Springsteen-style blue collar ballad. It seems O'Dea doesn't like to be defined too rigidly as he pulls out a more country-style for In A Zone.
The new album
Things Are Gonna Change comes in very much like a spiritual complete with American chapel organ sound and backing choir and whether by fluke or design does have hints of Change Is Gonna Come. With yet another curve ball, O'Dea comes in with a Sixties-style lounge sound for You, Me and Al Green which is an obvious homage to the great soul singer. It is just another example of how versatile O'Dea is and, of course, he is opening himself to his listeners confessing his influences. Just when you think you are getting a handle on him his penultimate song All Down The Days sounds like it could be a tribute to the Hothouse Flowers. O'Dea takes out the album with another cool beat on the title track. With the slick trumpet playing he almost slips into Rat Pack mode with the brushes skimming across the drumskins in the background.
O'Dea is versatility personified, he is talented, knows his music and is a remarkably cool performer. His singing and playing is unpretentious and his influences are legion. He expresses and executes them extremely well, which leads to the burning question is there a stripped down Gary O'Dea? Now there is an album that would be well worth a listen.
Fly is released August 28 to order or buy the album follow http://garyodea-gojomusic.bandcamp.com/. There will a be a launch event for the album on Sunday September 6 at Katie Fitzgerald's, Enville Street, Stourbridge. The gig starts at 5pm and entry is £5.

You can also catch him on Friday September 11 at The Blue Piano Bar, 24-26 Harborne Rd, Edgbaston, Birmingham. B15 3AA. The gig starts at 6.30pm.