CONCERT REVIEW: World Ascension Tour (A Lightworker’s Journey) – Live at Village Studios in 432 HZ by Scott Howard

Scott Howard is a singer and songwriter from Fort Lauderdale in Florida. Music played a big role in his childhood as his mother was an opera singer and he was a stagehand. His musical journey is closely bound with his spiritual journey as he decided to use his songwriting as a force for good after the tragic loss of his son, Maxx.

His inspirational songs have already reached many, with his debut album, Ascended Man, accumulating 6.4 million streams. And, a total of 10 million streams of all of his songs combined. He uses a special kind of instrument tuning, 432hz, which is regarded by some as the frequency of the universe and therefore has a spiritually uplifting effect on the listener. He followed this up in 2020 with his four track EP, The Language of Clouds To which I gave a highly favorable review (read here).

This latest release is a recorded concert performance called World Ascension Tour (A Lightworker’s Journey) – Live at Village Studios in 432 HZ. It starts out with the superb title track from his debut album, Ascended Man. The sheer quality of the musicians that back up Scott is immediately apparent, providing a note perfect rendition of one of his best-known songs.

Scott’s distinctive voice, reminiscent of the legendary Cat Stevens, are very powerful in this musical context. The visual aspect of a concert performance certainly does allow a deeper connection with the music and Scott as an artist.

All Scott’s music has a vibrant, spiritual quality and this truly shines in a live context, especially with his use of 432 HZ tuning which results in a crystalline, pure sound. Interspersed with the songs are short interview clips which add emotional resonance. After the strong opening song, Illusions of Life follows.

This is also from his debut album and starts with a powerful synth intro. The lyrics capture the poetic, philosophical style that Scott has made his own, a blend of the mystical with ‘down to earth’ life wisdom borne of real experiences. After this contemplative track on the timeless “prodigal son” theme and life’s lessons learnt, the opening song from his debut is next, Come with Me.

With its ascending chord progression and hugely anthemic chorus, it’s one of Scott’s most instantly memorable songs and is well placed here. The way it builds up and rocks out at the end is very effective, the musicians really letting loose. Next comes a track from his short album, The Language of Clouds. Dreamer is one of his finest songs, the folky Cat Stevens influences fused with a harder hitting rock element, featuring some great bursts of electric guitar.

Through My Eyes returns to his first album and starts out in 6/8. It’s a particularly moving song as it’s about his son Maxx, who was sadly taken at a young age. But the strong belief that we are spiritual beings pervades Scott’s music and could be considered his essential message. It flips into a harder hitting section halfway through which nails the “seize the day”, life affirming vibe.

Written in the Clouds follows next, from his most recent album The Language of Clouds. It’s perhaps his most anthemic song, with an almost Springsteen-type grandeur and one which must be a fan favorite. It’s about finding your own way in life and facing up to your fate. This is then contrasted by the tender balladry of Life’s Not Easy, a finely crafted song augmented by heart tugging strings then propelled into action towards the end with thunderous toms.

Next is the magical Awaken, enriched by the enchanting sound of twelve string guitar. The finger picked style shows his folk roots and it’s another song of spiritual hidden depths from the Ascended Man album. We then return to his latest album with the truly romantic ballad The Queen of Hearts. This one is a poignant song about destiny and one day being brought together with your soulmate. This live rendition captures all the deep feeling of the album version, leaving the listener on an emotional high by the end.

The culmination of this concert, the grand finale, is the last track from Ascended Man, the superb Source (Shine A Light). With its rich, overdriven organ and fantastic guitar work, it’s reminiscent of great 70’s rock and lyrically captures Scott at his most utopian in his vision. The anthemic refrain “We are source…we are love” is his essential message to spiritually awaken us all and it’s the perfect end to this live performance.

Overall, World Ascension Tour (A Lightworker’s Journey) – Live at Village Studios in 432 HZ is a fantastic concert performance from Scott Howard and his talented bunch of musical cohorts. Scott’s genuinely uplifting music truly soars in a live setting, breathing fresh life into the music and acting as the perfect introduction to his highly spiritual and altruistic work. Blending some of the finest moments from his first two albums, it will undoubtedly delight his existing fans and win him a whole lot more.

VERDICT = 9.3 out of 10

Alex Faulkner

Buy/rent the concert on Amazon here

Visit his website here

Watch the trailer here:

ALBUM REVIEW: The Language Of Clouds by Scott Howard

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https://www.scotthowardmusic.com/

Scott Howard is a singer and songwriter from Fort Lauderdale, FL. Music played a big role in his childhood. Born to an entrepreneurial opera star in New York State, Scott Howard’s mother began the Long Island Lyric Opera which propelled him into the world of inspiring, finely tuned, and captivating music. His musical journey is closely bound with his spiritual journey as he is resolute to use his song writing as a force for good after the tragic loss of his son, Maxx.

His inspirational songs have already reached many, with his debut album, Ascended Man, accumulating 6.4 million streams. He uses a special kind of instrument tuning, 432 Hz, which is regarded by some as the frequency of the universe and therefore has a spiritually uplifting effect on the listener.

This album, The Language of Clouds, is the follow up to Ascended Man and consists of four songs. The album begins strongly with Written in the Clouds. It starts with a beautiful intro consisting of strummed acoustic guitar and celestial sounding synths. From the opening lines you can tell Scott takes a deeper approach to lyrics than most: “What language do you speak when you say hello to a cloud, out loud?”.

Scott is blessed with a strong and distinctive voice which some have compared to Cat Stevens, and he has a similar inclination towards the mystical. After a succinct verse it builds to a powerful and memorable chorus with poetic words: “Thunder and lightning be along to say, “Wake up and find your way”. Lyrically, it’s about becoming spiritually awakened, the underlying message essentially behind all of Scott’s music. Interestingly, the arrangement ends on another verse rather than the traditional repeat choruses.

The following Queen of Hearts has an equally crystalline sound, the theme of this one more romantic, about finding your soulmate. Beginning with exquisitely recorded acoustic guitar, the first verse sets the scene of trying to find true love: “When I was a younger man, a little voice called to me, “You’ll meet the woman of your dreams, a real life fantasy”.

The second verse depicts a more realistic and down to earth perspective on building a lasting love relationship: “To rebuild our hearts takes every moment, bricks and blood and tears to make a love that lasts forever, at least a million years…”. Once again, it explodes into an uplifting, epic chorus, Scott displaying his excellent vocal range.

Third track Dreamer is more up tempo, driven by infectiously rhythmic acoustic guitars. It’s another philosophical and reflective song full of spiritual wisdom: “Everything that’s evergreen is turning brown…. life is always changing, life is rearranging”. Once again, it features an anthemic and singalong chorus, one of his real strengths as a songwriter.

The album closes with a live performance of the profound and inspirational Harvest Blessings, which is about the dawning of a new spiritual era: “As the trumpets herald the new earth, the time to weep is over….”. The lyrics have a deep poetic and mystical quality that brought to mind Dylan and Leonard Cohen at their most spiritual.

He closes the song with a powerful message that it is how we think that creates our future: “The truth is yours to find…so manifest your best….your mind creates nightmares and miracles…”.

Overall, this is a wonderful short album from a unique singer/songwriter with a powerful spiritual message to convey. Combining the mystical introspection of Cat Stevens with the anthemic energy of Bruce Springsteen, Scott Howard has already inspired many. The Language of Clouds could see him reach many millions more with its universal appeal and many words of wisdom enshrined in memorable melodies.

 

VERDICT= 9.1 out of 10

Alex Faulkner

SINGLE REVIEW: Something Else by Tim Spriggs

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www.timspriggs.com

Tim Spriggs is a singer and songwriter hailing from Australia. He grew up in an environment surrounded by music, learning guitar along the way. Over the past ten years he has been honing his songwriting craft and this has culminated in the release of his first material, a five song EP called Something Else, with this being the title track and lead single. His music is essentially in the genre of acoustic pop though he has stated that he listens to a wide array of artists and genres.

To my ear, Tim Spriggs belongs in a long lineage of acoustic singer/songwriters and troubadours. His finger picking style recalls classic songwriters of the past like Nick Drake and Cat Stevens, along with more modern artists like Ed Sheeran and George Ezra. Vocally, Tim is blessed with a rich baritone voice, singing in a low register similar to Ezra and not sounding unlike fellow Australian Nick Cave at times.

Something Else is exquisitely recorded, consisting of crystal clear acoustic guitar and vocals, at least to begin with. The song is about individuality and making your own choices despite the influence of others: “They tell me what I want, maybe it’s what I need….but I want something else…”. The first section features some fine Nick Drake-esque finger picking from Spriggs, who has developed a unique style as a guitarist.

This minimal style is nice contrasted by a 2/4 section featuring some Western-style whistling and tastefully driven electric guitar. The resulting sound is very polished and radio friendly, which bodes well for his commercial prospects. More importantly, the song has a memorable hook and an emotive quality that is best described as ‘real’, clearly written from the heart.

Overall, this is an extremely accomplished song from an artist who has emerged fully formed and hit the ground running. He has developed his own style so that he stands out from the crowd yet would not sound out of place next to similar sounding artists on mainstream radio, a difficult and vital balancing act. I expect his music to gain rapidly in popularity and the release of his debut album could make a seriously strong impact on the music world.

 

VERDICT: 8.7 out of 10

Alex Faulkner

 

Listen here:

 

ALBUM REVIEW: Good News by Will Adams

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Will Adams is an alternative folk singer songwriter hailing from New York. I don’t have many background details to convey on this enigmatic artist, but I can tell you that artistically he lies halfway between the folk legends Nick Drake and Cat Stevens. His music is stripped down to just his vocals and acoustic guitar, giving it an immediate intimacy and warmth.

As a songwriter, he has been prolific. In 2007, he released his marathon 23 track debut album Time Lost and Found, following up with Little Brother, Big Sister in 2008 and The Ballad of Reginald Fessenden the following year. Since then he has released a steady stream of singles and this album, Good News, marks his first full length release for a while.

From the first seconds of opening track Magic Garden, with its crystal clear, finger picked acoustic guitar and gentle, emotive vocals, the listener realizes they’re in the hands of a very fine talent. Certainly, the obvious comparison to make is with the aforementioned Nick Drake and there are undoubtedly some similarities; Adams has that same purely poetic quality that manifests in Drake’s finest work and a penchant for alternate guitar tunings.

But whereas poor Nick viewed the world through a deeply melancholy lens as opposed to rose-tinted glasses, Will Adams has an innate optimism and understated joy in his music. Magic Garden encourages appreciating what we have and seizing the day in a poignant way: “Before it’s too late to play these silly games, before we’re old and grey and cannot say our names….”.

Second song Where The Wind Will Blow has another gorgeous, lilting finger-picked  progression and is full of finely drawn and vivid lyrical imagery: “All along the river, the blue ray birds are flying by, across the cornfields and down the lane the farmer walks home in the rain…”. It’s another touching song about not knowing where life will take us.

The following She’s Partial To Fruity Drinks, as the title implies, is rather lighter in tone, painting a portrait of a woman that made me think of the mysterious female characters in Dylan songs like She Belongs To Me and Sad Eyed Lady of The Lowlands. The dry humour in the lyrics acts as a nice counterpoint to the more serious songs on the album: “She likes to go diving in out of town dumpsters, she lives in a house that looks like the Munsters….”.

This character continues straight into the next song, We’ve Been Conned, deepening the detail of this endearingly eccentric character: “She’s good at clearing up messes wearing fancy dresses…”. Fifth track Bread Pudding is built around a lovely descending chord progression and it’s another strangely affecting song about something simple, the eating of a pudding. It’s the measure of an artist to take the mundane and make it seem beautiful.

The next two songs, Prayer For A Homeless Man and Prayer For Frey, are both heartwarming tales, with the former a particularly moving depiction of living homeless and the importance of basic human compassion: “I turned and looked into my pocket and put ten dollars in his hand.…”.

Eighth song Longer Way Home is one of the more melancholy moments, conjuring up the sombre mood of a late night. But the Cat Stevens-esque world wonder is suitably restored on the final track, A Glorious Gift: “Let the guardian angels pick up the pieces….”. This is the ultimate message of the whole album, the dwelling on the light in the midst of darkness and making the most of our lives.

Overall, this is a wonderful collection of songs that work both separately and as a cohesive whole. As a songwriter, Will Adams has found his own niche combining the delicate poeticism of Nick Drake and Joni Mitchell, with the evergreen joie de vivre of Cat Stevens yet also the timeworn wisdom of Paul Simon and Dylan. In these times of internecine strife, this music seems like a glorious gift indeed.

 

VERDICT =  8.9 out of 10

Alex Faulkner

Listen here:

SINGLE REVIEW: Moon Time by Chords of Truth

chords-of-truth-mt-cover Chords of Truth is the moniker for singer/songwriter Jason Garriotte, who writes songs in the country/folk/Americana style, comparable with songwriters like Don McLean, Cat Stevens and Ray LaMontagne. Having turned an E.P. of inspirational folk songs, Reflections of Reality, into a collaborative remix project involving many producers and genres, he now returns with the release of the single Moon Time.

This song has an interesting subject behind it, as it was inspired by discovering the 13 Moon Calendar and how our Gregorian calendar puts us out of step with nature. The song is essentially about the mysterious power of the moon on our lives. Musically, it is an upbeat acoustic folk track, with Jason’s distinctive voice being the main aspect that draws the listener in.

The verses have some quite complex and mystical lines that are much deeper than most country songs you’d regularly hear, like “we flow through the spacetime ether in this suit of skin and bones...”. These philosophical lines alternate with the simple, very catchy chorus hook “We’re talkin’ about moon time…”. This contrast works well, and it can be enjoyed as simply a memorable song without knowing the full meaning of the words.

Overall, this is an excellent piece of songwriting. By tackling such an unusual subject matter it helps to give Chords of Truth a unique style, which is perhaps the most important aspect an artist needs in forging a lasting career. With a likeable easy-on-the-ear voice, and a commercial sound perfect for radio, I can imagine Chords of Truth, and this song, going on to eventually become very popular.

 

Alex Faulkner

Verdict: 8.5 out of 10