Johnny Reid

A Place Called Love

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Though still sporting the tag of country artist -- and offering just enough tunes to justify it -- Johnny Reid actually delves into blues and gospel in the Joe Cocker vein on A Place Called Love. The opening track utilizes a token fiddle, but the stuff that follows is more likely to utilize a brass section instead -- you can hear it in the choruses of at least half a dozen songs, together with waves of female backing vocals, just how Mr. Cocker likes to be doing it. Oddly enough, it's Reid's strong but rugged and down-to-earth vocals that have the most explicit country vibe on A Place Called Love -- he does justice to the bluesy melodies he tackles, but it's nevertheless hard to shake the image of a guy in a Stetson wooing his sweetheart through his songs in the countryside. Just to warp things some more, Reid also throws in a clear reggae influence on a couple of tracks, all without changing the singing style. Still, he returns to the roots in the latter half of the album, filled with more fiddle, banjo, slow quiet balladry, and soft rock guitar textures, and actually sounds more comfortable there. The end result presents a moderately disorderly jumble of influences, but counts as a proper, if not exactly hit-laden, adult contemporary record -- even more so since Reid's vocals actually sound uncannily like a stand-in for Bernie Shaw of latter-day Uriah Heep who traded old-school hard rock for something more mellow, and got the good end of the bargain.

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