John Bottomley

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Blackberry Review

by Aaron Badgley

John Bottomley has a great voice. That stands out throughout this CD. He has a distinctive manner in which he phrases his lyrics, and, quite honestly, it is the standout feature to his music. The CD itself is good. A fine mix of folk-rock with pop. Bottomley wears his influences on his sleeve (John Lennon, Neil Young, Dylan). In fact the opening track "The River" borrows heavily from Lennon's "Old Dirt Road." He does manage to use such influences to create his own sound. He writes interesting lyrics that demand attention in a very subtle way. An example of this is heard with the song "You Lose and You Gain" (the clear highlight of the set). Utilizing great production and arrangements, Bottomley makes it sound so real and personal that it is almost uncomfortable for the listener. The song is sheer brilliance (co-written with producer David Kershenbaum). Overall, it is a creative and ambitious album that lasts a few songs too long. When he attempts a more blusey feel it does not work, and perhaps he would be better off sticking with the folk-rock style that best suits him. Well worth investigating for fans of '70s folk-rock with a '90s sound.

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