A Lot Like You
The first Sun Break Records release comes from the band Greg Black & the Blacklights and is called A Lot Like You. It has 12 tracks lasting about 55 minutes. The music is acoustic based varying in feel from americana to folk-rock. Song themes include taking care of family, friends and our neighborhoods, making a living, saying I’m sorry, loving the special ones, being healthy, and relaxing and appreciating the joys of life. If you like to move to music, there are swinging rhythms in a variety of tempos. This is a group of songs that features ensemble playing with 9 musicians contributing. The highlight is the lyrics which may catch your ears. Here is a sample of one of the songs. It is the mantra that ends the album.
Comments from Mike Croman, Olympia artist:
A Lot Like You is a wonderful potpourri of tunes that offer a much needed relief to the anxieties and angst of our daily lives. The album reminds me of our core common bonds as humans who hold the potential to fulfill the dreams of a global community, living in harmony and advancing the welfare of all. The instrumental quality and wonderful vocal harmonies displayed in this album provide a rich listening experience that draws attention to the words of each song — words that carry serious meanings in their message. I’m taken back to the joyful, energetic times of the 1960’s. These songs help carry that spirit forward with a sense of hope and renewed commitment.
Music video of the first song on the new album:
You can listen to excerpts of all tracks or buy the album by clicking on the CDBaby link.
Or you can check it out on iTunes by clicking this link:
Here are some pictures of the musicians that made this album happen: Alice Lind, Susanna Stratton, Stephen Middleton, Julianne Forest, Denis DeGrace, Scott Askew, Greg Black, Molly Staley, and Bob Owen.
Greg Black releases his first CD with his band the Blacklights on the new independent label Sun Break Records. It is called “A Lot Like You” and has 12 tracks lasting about 55 minutes. The music is acoustic based varying in feel from americana, reggae, folk, rock, to jazz. The layers are deep and provide a freshness even with repeated listening. You can use this collection of original music to give you some daily encouragement.
Here are Greg’s comments about the album:
“I have been singing and playing music for many years and this is my first professionally recorded CD. I dabbled with the idea of becoming a full-time musician when I was in my 20s and even in my 30s. I chose to continue in different professions while continuing to keep the music flowing in my spare time playing with a number of local low-key bands (Elderberry Jam, The Sundowners, Whitewater, Planetary People, Planetary Refugees, The Healers & a few not really organized or named). I can now do what I have been wanting to do musically, namely: record and produce original music. One goal with this project is to create something that I enjoy listening to now. While I love and have played harder edged music, I wanted something a bit mellower. This recording is based on acoustic instruments with electric guitar and electric bass in supporting roles. I always like danceable rhythms and this album has a few in case you want to move to some free form, modified reggae, western 2-step, swing, or fox trot. The songs cover a wide range of topics with a common thread of our shared humanity living healthy lives together respectfully. The lyrics have risen from the well to burn passionately in my heart and I hope that you can relate and are entertained. Of course you can listen to the songs in any order, but I have arranged them in a sequence to enhance their overall enjoyment.”
Here is a seasoned boomer musician bucking the prevailing paradigm of worthy new artists on the national scene only being young. This music is new and appeals to music appreciators of any age. The variety of music in this album is Impressive. It includes three songs that sound very americana with dulcimer accompaniment (Free Store, Salute to the Family Farmer, and Homegrown). Then there are four that are closer to folk-rock with reggae embedded rhythms. What is surprising is the three pieces that are jazz tinged (Smile, Mariposa, and Desert Rose). And yes, there are a couple of love songs. The sounds here are made by real people using real instruments. The sessions were obviously done with the entire group playing all together and a minimum of overdubs. You can feel the live band sound on a number of the cuts. The lyrics can penetrate your mind in unexpected ways. This effort should give all of those amateur boomer musicians the vision that it’s not too late to produce some great original music.
The topics of the songs are interesting with a few being edgy like “Apology” about racism, “Homegrown” about pure food, and “A Lot Like You” about world violence. One song provides a long overdue “Salute to the Family Farmer.” The song “Free Store” is already stuck in a few heads with its catchy chorus. And the love songs “Smile” and “Desert Rose” are sweet and special. The one instrumental piece is downright surprising in a jazz classic rock tinged way. And the piece “Unwind” contains an eminently lush ending. Here is a group of songs for a mellower roll down the highway or for intense listening with the headphones.
Greg Black is a song writer and musician. He has done something a lot of us have dreamed of -— gathered his musician friends, rented a studio and made an album. Not just any album, but one from his deepest feelings. From the bouncy opener Free Store about the joy of giving away what you no longer need to the heavy duty songs that follow to the sweet Desert Rose this album is about love. It takes courage to write and sing songs like this. It’s not designed to be a commercial success -— though it may be one. It’s really designed to be a reality check on what’s important. Here’s a song about smiles -— a song about growing your own food -— a song about white racism. The title song, A Lot Like You, is a unique statement of brother and sisterhood -— Greg announces that “If you were born of a woman, you’re a lot like me.” It’s really an anthem about alienation -— about women’s right -— about human rights. But that qualification of commonality -— if you were born of a woman -— says something about women -— and something about closeness that takes a little getting used to. A lot of this album makes you think. There are twelve songs on this album -— including an instrumental, Mariposa. By the time you get this far, you realize the Blacklights are a talented group of musicians. In the liner notes Greg tells us this is his first professionally recorded CD. It’s an excellent effort -— worth listening to -— and the more you do, the more you’ll find yourself singing these songs yourself.
© 2015 Sun Break Records