Dreamy vocals embellish Char Butler’s evocative pop/rock

Reviewed by Carson James

Char Butler/”My Life”-“Tonight” [promo single]

Taken from her album Secrets of the Heart, the songs “My Life (I Love You)” and “Tonight” glide by with dreamy textures and somewhat ethereal vocals. With its sublime piano and subtle electronica touches, “My Life (I Love You)” is probably too gorgeous and evocative for commercial radio. Do they still play songs as sweetly arranged and fetchingly sung as this? I’m reminded of the Cranberries without the post-grunge guitars and Irish accents. “Tonight” is reportedly a success on Adult Contemporary radio stations, and I can easily see why. The singing is reminiscent of Paula Cole’s without trying to be (it just is), and the arrangements are more down-to-Earth, a warm bed of acoustic guitars as Butler’s soft voice drifts to the clouds. Daydream the afternoon away.

http://www.charbutler.com

Published in: on March 30, 2008 at 8:19 pm  Leave a Comment  
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‘No Air Guitar Allowed’ offers hilarious look at concertgoing experience

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Reviewed by Carson James

Steve Weinberger with Sarah Torribio/No Air Guitar Allowed

Love may be a battlefield, but so can be the concert experience. Concert vet Steve Weinberger could’ve written a book just about his days in the mosh pit; instead, he takes it several layers deeper, categorizing the kind of people that you will usually meet at these shows (all genres have their stones overturned). You will find yourself laughing at nearly every page.

Weinberger writes with a intensely observant yet never mean-spirited eye; the closest comparison I could make are the less than caustic but nevertheless hysterically funny parodies in Mad magazine or perhaps National Lampoon, who would’ve easily published this 20 years ago. Rarely have I ever seen somebody write something so intelligently about the stupidest human behavior. Weinberger will have you observing your fellow concertgoers at the next gig you attend, searching for the characters in his book. For example, under the heading “Gal Pals,” Weinberger addresses the Lilith Fair crowd that made superstars out of female singer/songwriters such as Paula Cole and Ani DiFranco. “First, it is understood that the ‘woman show’ is a time to reclaim lost tribal unity. This means that the girl who keeps bumping into you is not That Bitch (see the Girl Fight) but instead a misguided sister,” Weinberger explains. That’s just a small sample of the big laughs in No Air Guitar Allowed.

http://www.noairguitarallowed.com

Published in: on March 23, 2008 at 6:03 pm  Leave a Comment  
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