Big Sixteen Music
144 Washington Street Suite 2
Brighton, MA 02135
A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
By Roberta B. Schwartz
Joel Cage's second independent release demonstrates his tremendous growth as an artist. Armed with a handful of carefully crafted tunes and an invitation to perform at the Kerrville Folk Festival, Cage is well on his way to making a name for himself.
The recording opens with one of its strongest cuts. Lover could be just another song about a jilted suitor, left and lost. But in Cage's hands it rocks and resonates with the sureness of a world full of possibilities. The melody and chorus will stick with you long after your first listen.
Wander expresses the Beatlesque joy of love in all of its simple goodness. Loaded with great guitar hooks, it features Warren Smith and Joel Cage on fretless bass and guitar. Cage's voice, with its warm, mid-range tones is right on target here.
Moody and driven by Cage's signature acoustic rock guitar, Winter projects the loneliness of the season, and the hope that love is soon to follow. James Greenfield, on a percussion instrument called a kahone, lends a bit of wintry atmosphere to the mix.
Touching, lovely and real Reason is the standout tune on this recording. There's always someone who is doing the leaving, and someone who is left behind. Cage captures it all here with a simple acoustic guitar line and pop vocals reminiscent of the likes of James Taylor. A near perfect song.
Rose rocks with an acoustic edge and some fine finger-picking on the guitar, stringing together one image, after another, after another: "rose colored glasses. /Multi-colored sun. / Atmosphere electric, /there's a big dog on the run but, /like a magician, deception is his game, /watching for reactions at the drop of a name."
Where the Streets Have No Name opens with Cage on guitar making you wish that it would go on forever. This is a great folk/rock tune with a soaring vocal.
Joel Cage has it all: expressive, warm vocals which can whisper a love song or send a song rocking into the stratosphere, engaging true-to-life lyrics and a guitar mastery that has few peers on the singer/songwriter beat. Whether he's pouring out his heart to us or giving Eric Clapton a run for his money on rock-flavored guitar, Cage's energy has no end. This recording, once again self-produced on a shoestring budget, is great fun to listen to. Get yourself a copy and see for yourself. Cage is going places.
Edited by David N. Pyles