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BIG BLUE SPRUCE – Short Story Long

 
 
Review by Jim Munster
PA Music Scene.com
November 2010

Big Blue Spruce is Paul Miller, Danny Park, Will Moreschi and Shelia Hershey. “Short Story Long” produced by BBS and David Park. Recorded and Mixed at Underhouse Studios, Mastered by Richard Morris.  

I must say that the CD packaging, layout and artwork are top-notch.  When I tore off the plastic I felt like a kid at Christmas opening a shiny, new gift.  All aspects of the layout and design of Big Blue Spruce’s “Short Story Long” have been tastefully thought out and planned.  The presentation and theme prepared me mentally to sink in and give it a warm listen.  Attention to detail in the package design really can affect how the listener interprets the music therein.  I feel like I should listening to this CD in a cozy library somewhere with a cup of hot coffee…maybe I will.

The opening tune “All Away” gives the listener something meaty to chew on right away, which was a great move by BBS.  I wasn’t prepared for the progressive verse time structures and I like it a lot(I’m a progressive metal nerd so I must continue).  The song begins with a mellow, but steady 4/4 groove, then the verses combine three measures of 3/4 time and a final measure of 2/4, giving us a real contrasting mixed meter to offset the steady 4. I could hear this tune being played on adult contemporary radio with a definite cross-over on a smooth jazz station.  Tasteful guitar licks throughout-not overpowering and well placed in the heart of the song.  I like the focus on the lyric which give us a double-play on words: “I’m giving it all away, Giving it all.”

“When It Dies“-Did the Grateful Dead start touring again?  Hello?? Not only is the guitar tone a “Dead”-ringer(lol) the lead vocals could pass for Jerry Garcia reincarnate or maybe Bob Weir?  A jam band mentality..real nice vocal harmonies, minor key bridge groove works nice in this song…

“Only Break” Sweet, sparkly tonality and production on this number.  Acoustic guitar can be tricky to mic in the studio to capture the essence of the instrument.  BBS nailed it in the studio.
 
The best aspect of BBS that I really like is their vocal layering and harmonies.  If you didn’t tell me I was listening to a local group, I would have bet dollars to donuts that this was Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.  It is uncanny how much some of the vocals come off so tight and polished.  Nice job.

If I had to pick one criticism of the band, it would be the fact that they aren’t playing closer to me tonight so I could go see them.

A solid album of eight songs to showcase the many talents of Big Blue Spruce.  So, to make a long story short…“Short Story Long.”

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