I Am

Michael Tolcher

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I Am Review

by Jonathan Widran

Anyone who thinks great indie artists aren't still out there on upstart labels should check out this gifted, alternative, Georgia-bred roots rocker, whose way with guitar-driven rock vocals turn most of his attractive original material into anthemic poetry. It's ironic that his early encouragement to play in clubs and coffee houses came from Tupac Shakur's father, because hip-hop is the furthest thing from Tolcher's mind. His dynamic vocals edge into Dave Matthews territory on sizzling mid-tempo rockers like "This Is What I Meant by That," but become more intimate on more subtle, vibe-oriented confessionals like "I Am." True to his southern roots, there's a crunchy blues element and interesting imagery apparent on key tracks like "Mission Responsible" and the gritty "No One Above." Based on the caliber of musicians and engineers he got to work with on the project (whose all-star credits are in the liner notes), Tolcher is no secret in the industry. With this spectacular debut, that should translate into mainstream modern rock success as well.

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