Big hooks and upbeat tunes with a touch of Americana have been done many times before, but new artist Gabriel is bringing a new twist to an old formula.
The Los Angeles-via Chicago singer-songwriter has released his new EP, ‘Love Lives Here’, which is distributed through the legendary Detroit Records and produced by prolific producer and musician Loren Molinare of The DOGS, the Detroit punk band that toured with MC5.
Born in Chicago and raised in Los Angeles, Gabriel Johns, who simply goes by the moniker Gabriel, manages to capture personal experiences and feelings in a collection of six multi-influenced songs. ‘Music has always been about self-reflection, my experiences, my hopes and dreams,’ explained Gabriel, ‘I come from a turbulent background of family, historical unrest and social expectations. To those who have and those who have not, the separation that the world tries to engrain into us is great.’
If Americana music seems to be the main influence on most of the songs, such as the blues country ‘Take Me to Heaven’, which booms with soulful riffs and powerful vocals, the album shows subtile nuances. ‘Beautiful Sunset’ or ‘Whose Life’ have echoes of a Steve Earle song with a muscular delivery and an occasional harmonica in the mix, while ‘Boy with a Gun’ incorporates synth swirls and a darker tone as if the song was borrowing a few electro beats from the Cure or the English new wave scene. But the earworm of the album is certainly the single ‘Baby It’s You’, which combines a fearless rhythm with a touch of Michael Stipe or Elvis Costello in the vocals.
The themes of the songs (all written by Gabriel, except for ‘Take Me to Heaven’ and ‘Beautiful Sunset’ which were written by Gabriel & Loren Molinare) range from love to hope and if the tone sounds optimistic, it is mostly because of the big driving tempos of the music and Gabriel’s fierce vocals, which have drawn comparisons to John Cougar Mellencamp.
Released last June, ‘Love Lives Here’ also features The DOGS’ drummer, Tony Matteucci, and renowned rock bassist Paul Ill.
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a weekend of stardust-spangled grandeur
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