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This Atlanta native singer/songwriter is one of the most in demand talents in the country. Pop radio listeners have no doubt heard countless songs written and/or produced by Butch. His Epic debut CD, Letters, features the first single, "Mixtape."
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This latest effort shows off all Butch's skills. Singing, songwriting, producing, arranging, etc. His last solo effort was more an extension of M3 -- while "Letters" is a complete departure that sounds more Jeff Buckley at times than rock and roll superstar. Of course all with clever sense of humor, a ton of passion, incredible range and mad guitar skills.
1. Sunny Day Real Estate - A quick intro to set the vibe and kick the CD off.
2. Maybe It's Just Me - A classic. Was on the "Heartwork" EP released a few months back. Touching lyrics, killer recording, good use of the keys and an all around winner.
3. Mixtape - The single that will sadly go unnoticed since MTV and modern radio are looking for the next HoobaBizkitPuddleOfNickelback instead of a solid singer/songwriter. SHOULD be a hit, but won't. Appreciate this one. Classic tune - though nowhere near the CD's best.
4. #1 Summer Jam - Haven't beaten this one up enough yet. Most others here I have seen performed live or have a bootleg of. Not this tune. Can't really elaborate yet, but I like what I hear.
5. So At Last - Living in Southern California, I can appreciate where this some came from. Could be an absolute anthem to sum up a memorable time period.
6. Uncomfortably Numb - A quick little rocker and a change of pace after five laid back tunes. Cool recording of the vocals and use of the keys. A definite new wave, power pop rock tune.
7. Joan - A beautiful ballad that showcases homeboy's piano skills. Somber and sounds like there is some truth behind the touching lyrics. String section sets the mood. Nice tune.
8. Don't Move - One of my faves. Rememeber being very moved when Butch played an acoustic version of it this past summer on tour. The recording is even better. Great dynamics. When the chorus kicks in, you'll sing along like you wrote it -- and it will instinctively remind you of someone who crossed you life's path at some point. Great song top to bottom. Solid texture and instrumentation.
9. Lights Out - Another fun rocker that pokes fun at "the scene" of LA and all that garbage people pay way too much to read weekly in US Magazine. B-Diddy's sense of humor is still going full speed.
10. Best Thing You Never Had - Another one I saw live a few times this summer and was floored by. The title alone makes it a classic since that is something everyone, everywhere has uttered to someone at a point in their life. Vocal range really shows in this one and it is all about the emotion.
11. Race Cars And Goth Rock - Craftiest lyrics Butch has come up with since "Suburbia" off his last disc. When played live, it had more of a Queen vibe that isn't really captured on the disk here. Hearing it with just vocals/guitar was one thing -- lots of instrumentation here and a trippy recording. Love both versions - but not used to this one yet.
12. Promise - Haven't heard this one enough yet. Definitely somber and mood altering. Like the sound of the acoustic guitar a just the voice. Lines about dad giving him the first beer and holding his head when he puked keep the listener from getting too down and just appreciating the vibe the tune creates.
13a. Thank You Note - Doesn't do much for me at this point of the game. Sounds nice, but a little somber. Back to back, slow ballads are sort of a downer. Would've rather seen "My Best Friend's Magic Girlfriend" or "Last Flight Out" here (both on "Heartwork" EP) -- or even "All Falls Apart."
13b. Stateline - Butch saved himself here. Just when I was about to curse him for leaving "Stateline" off this disc, it kicks in at 3:38 of track #13. A favorite I have seen him do live, I was sick that it was neither on the EP or LP. Hearing it as a bonus track proved to be the highlight of the CD.
If you know Butch, you'll appreciate this disc. A 180 from "Left Of Self Centered" but very touching and the next logical step in his musical journey. If you don't know Butch - get in the game already. He is the best name in rock and roll that you've never heard of....
I hear some Nick Drake on a few of the songs and maybe a slight 70's nod with the keys. Nothing like Kravitz though. You can tell that a lot of these songs are personal stories.
Its unfortunate that the masses will not hear this album because it is better than 99.9% of what is out there. Hopefully one of the bands he has produced will give a shout out to him (Avril???) which can generate some free pub.
In my opinion, this is the best album that I have bought in several years