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Album Review

STEVE KATZ
Barricades

Steve Katz sent me an email with a link to his music and asked if I would listen. I did, but it was just a cursory listen and while I planned to get back to it, I have a lot on my plate and told him so while inviting him to send reminders now and again. He did. Last week, he sent a new link, one to his brand spanking new EP, Barricades, and I decided maybe it was time. I always give musicians credit for persistence (partially because I am always telling musicians that in this new musical age, persistence is what counts). So I listened. And I listened. And I'm still listening. And you can guess where this is going from here, I'll bet.

Truth is, Katz blindsided me. I'm so overworked that I have little time to listen, but he was such a nice guy and was so patient, I had to. The guilt wore me down. Thank God for guilt.

Steve Katz, it turns out, has put out a five-sided brass ring of an EP. It is indicative of what I search for all the time. No, I don't have the time, but when I hear stuff like this, I make the time. Barricades could easily have slipped past me like a ship in the night. I can only believe that I heard this for a reason. That being to pass it along.

What he does is not so much groundbreaking or original as it is good. He's a singer/songwriter, yes, but you will toss that aside after hearing this few times. I always say that really good music--- the music that is far above the norm--- defies genre. These five songs are defiant as hell. True, Today I Saw Hope has a bit of a folk edge, but listen closely to the lyrics and the sentiment and you quickly forget that. If it is folk, it is among the better folk being performed today and, to my ears, in the past. Fair would be just another soft-rocker but for the performance and the production and the sidemen. It made me want to grab hold of the CD jacket to see who was playing that guitar, who was singing background, who was plucking that bass. Things like that mean something to me--- mean a lot, actually. Too often I've heard, “I really like this song” or “I'm reading this really good book” only to be met with a blank stare when asked who sang it or who wrote it. On Fair (and to be fair--- sometimes I slay myself), the people involved earn the right to be known. On every track. Are you paying attention to the italics? I'm trying to make a point here.

I shouldn't have to. Head to Steve's Soundcloud page and click on Thrive or Barricades and let them convince you. They are exceptional. Guys, if you want to make a few brownie points with your ladies, pick this up and have a romantic night at home. Ladies, if you want to know if he's really worth a shit or just a card-carrying pheremone, put this on late at night when you're winding down. If he doesn't get it, dump his ass.

I'm going to do something I seldom do right now. I'm going to post this without editing. I don't want to edit it. I want it to be posted just as it was written, quickly and with emphasis.

The guy's name is Steve Katz, folks. Write it down or not, it is a name you will be hearing a lot of from now on. And Steve? You can bet I will be giving any future emails immediate attention. See those italics? Well done! And thank you!

Frank O. Gutch Jr.


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