Jody Raffoul – Big Sky
High Five Records (9/16/08)
Jody Raffoul has put together a nice little singer/songwriter rock album with a classic-rock vein in Big Sky, and his music could slot right in with Tom Petty or Bruce Springsteen… or perhaps Bon Jovi (who, in a way, gave him his “big break” when Raffoul won a national contest to open for him on the Have a Nice Day tour). But the problem is, there’s really nothing that sets him off from the aforementioned bands.
Sure, Raffoul has a great voice, and a knack for writing catchy pop-rock material. But he doesn’t really advance the classic approach to the genre. There’s no modern feel to the music—it’s almost as if he would have been better suited to simply stay in the bar scene. That being said, songs like “Stay (With Me)” and “Days Gone By” are solid tracks. And Raffoul does his best Springsteen/Petty impression on the mid-tempo “Fontana Lane”.
Raffoul is at his best with mellower material like “Little Black Car” (with some nice backing violin work) and the tremendous “My My”, where his soulful voice can really shine.
But don’t get me wrong, Jody Raffoul is the real deal. He crafts really good, catchy songs, and the music is totally comfortable. It’s just that, with the legends still making the same material, and nothing really to set him off from his obvious influences, the material seems less important and necessary. It’s the same reason bands like Default and Theory of a Deadman will never really go huge with Nickelback still making albums.
If you love Petty or Springsteen, and have all of their music, you’ll want to check out Raffoul. If you’re a fan of that type of music, you’ll find something to love on Big Sky. It seems like Raffoul might have to make one or two more albums to really find a niche for himself. There’s nothing terrible on this album, there’s just nothing too noteworthy on here, either.
Tags: Bruce Springsteen, Nickelback