ARTIST OF THE MONTH FEATURE - DECEMBER, 2016
The Dreaming Street brings an old school vibe with a new school twist. The upbeat funky soul of "Jellybean" enticed me to take a closer look at this new offering. While the horns and harmonies on "It Didn't Have to Be Like This", convinced me that this is one album that I really wanted to add to my collection. It is very rare these days when a great group of musicians take their time in the studio to put out a totally flawless album.
It's simply astounding how these songs get you swaying and moving to the groove. Apart from the brilliant musicianship, I am taken aback by the meticulous arrangements, the overall sound production, the intricate mastering, and how just everybody in this project delivers their performance immaculately. Dissect the tracks and you will see what I mean. And if you're at all surprised by the quality of the musical execution, read the album credits.
Created by songwriter and keyboardist Cyrus Rua (Cast in Bronze), The Dreaming Street features a diverse array of musicians from all over the world, including front man Josiah Ruff, a well-respected Miami Gospel artist, as well as drummer Nick D'Virgilio (Genesis, Tears for Fears), bassist John Avila (Oingo Boingo), guitarist Jean-Michael Sutcliffe, violinist Joni Fuller, and a horn section featuring Devarian "Shaddow" Rose, Eric Bolvin and Kenny Walker (Little Richard).
What goes on instrumentally on this album is over the top. Think of it as world-class musicians jamming their butts off - pianos grooving in the pocket of funky guitars, flashing drums and horns. Then comes the brilliant, soulful lead vocals, and the rich layers of harmony. There are 13 smoking tracks here that showcase the sheer virtuosity and musicianship of the band members, who are at the peak of their craft.
Every single track has its own signature without straying away from the overall Rhythm and Blues theme of the album. Perfection is not a word to throw around carelessly. The Dreaming Street is perfection...mastered. Music, as all art, can be entertainment. There is nothing wrong with that. But when it achieves both, art and entertainment, that is perfection. Press play on "From Spring Days to Winter", and savor the haunting melody, the soaring vocals, the chord progressions and the varying instrumental textures used to produce the warm and rich soundscape.
Listen to the band's stunning interpretation of Genesis' "No Reply at All," making it their own while remaining true to the original. Song after song though, it is hard to not get excited by the gorgeous voice of Josiah Ruff whose timbre and phrasing sits comfortably, somewhere between Luther Vandross, Seal and Darius Rucker. Ruff manages to elevate each song to a level of sublime magnificence. Yet the instrumentalists never fall far behind, and everyone gets a chance to shine, whether it's the bass on "Between Us" and "Wonder Child", the pianos on "Closing Time" and "Everything We Need", or the drums on "Say", and just about everybody on the instrumental "Bridle Pass".
These songs are as easy-going and enjoyable as they are deep expressions of emotion. The Dreaming Street can go from rolling, continuously captivating rhythms like "Galilee" to smoky, bluesy numbers like "Closing Time", consuming the listener in a whirlwind of melodic sounds and rhythmic renderings. All-round, the music is fabulous and the synergy of all of the musicians is impeccable. This recording is without a doubt the most pleasant surprise of the past year. Open your minds, hearts and ears. Expand your horizons beyond mainstream pop. You might hear something worth listening to all your life on The Dreaming Street!© 2016 Jamsphere Magazine