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Various Artists: IAC Artists Sampler 2018

I must admit that IAC Records have so far slipped under my radar, so this 18 track, seven artist sampler is a good opportunity to get acquainted. The label’s self stated remit is to bring national and international exposure to talented Northern and Central Californian musicians and as such the label is set to re-release nine titles late in 2018 from Dirk Hamilton, Eric Westphal, Willie Hines, Napa Valley Duo, Nathan Ignacio, Andrew Durr and James Blonde. Unsurprisingly the 18 tracks included here gather together two each from the nine albums due for re-release.

First up is the Live At The Palms album from Dirk Hamilton, “Searchin’ For The Heart Of Soul” and “Alias I” revealing a countrified Americana stance and a Springsteen like voice, especially in the first of the two. The latter is much more country based and also a little ‘preachy’ in its message, but both are intriguing introductions. Hence the energetic strum and holler of “Footsteps” is something of a shock as it bursts into a heavy rock setting that verges into blues. Eric Westphal is your man here and boy can he sing as he tears a strip from his fretboard. With a soulful, brass filled bent to “Stop And Smell The Roses”, neither is he a one trick pony.

Proving that the first change of pace was no one off, Napa Valley Duo aren’t here to serve you the latest vinos, instead this cello/piano twosome are considered, enigmatic and reserved. And yet, with the likes of “Hotel”, “See Me Feel Me/I Will Fight And Never Slack”, “Chimera” and “Claire De Lune” coming from the pair of their albums to be reissued, we travel from Gershwin like outbursts to laments, while also incorporating a cover of The Who, this is no one dimensional two-piece. I can’t say they’d be my usual listening fare, but nonetheless, you can’t argue with the class on show.

And again, the sharp biting guitars of the upbeat Americana from ex-Jet Red front man Willie Hines leaves little doubt of the variety IAC are keen to offer up.“Let’s Not Waste Time” is catchy as hell and equally memorable, although “On Fire” takes a more observational stance, while still retaining its instant hook. From the seven artists included here, Hines has my attention! Although the blistering riff of “Eldorado” from James Blonde comes a close second, the Tyketto-lite like lilt most welcome. Just as “New Wave” adds a hit of… well… new wave to proceedings in quite some style! We’re in the land of power pop and the other JB duo of “Marie” and “Money” seal the deal with an almost punkish push!

“Broken Hands” prefers to play it cool, a languid rustic Americana vibe running deep in the delivery of Nathan Ignacio, his lived in style also perfect for the more folk finessed “She Never Knew”. Leaving Andrew Durr to walk a line between out and out Native American enhanced rock and folk-country on the echoing “Pastures A Plenty” and “The Way You Look Tonight”, which are both positively powered by authentic atmosphere.

Nine albums, seven artists and one record label are represented by this sampler and it has to be said, that while personal preferences will always come into the equation, it’s an impressive presentation. As a way of setting their stall out - and available at a budget price - this comes highly recommended. In an extremely crowded market place IAC are still undoubtedly worthy of your attention.


Track Listing
1. Searchin' for the Heart of Soul (Live) - Dirk Hamilton Band
2. Alias I (Live) - Dirk Hamilton Band
3. Footsteps - Eric Westphal
4. Stop and Smell the Roses - Eric Westphal
5. Hotel - Napa Valley Duo
6. See Me Feel Me - I Will Fight and Never Slack - Napa Valley Duo
7. Let's Not Waste Time - Willie Hines
8. On Fire - Willie Hines
9. El Dorado - James Blonde
10. New Wave - James Blonde
11. Pastures a Plenty - Andrew Durr
12. The Way You Look Tonight - Andrew Durr
13. Broken Hands - Nathan Ignacio
14. She Never Knew - Nathan Ignacio
15. Chimera - Napa Valley Duo
16. Claire De Lune - Napa Valley Duo
17. Marie - James Blonde
18. Money - James Blonde

Added: December 15th 2018
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score:
Related Link: IAC Sampler
Hits: 71
Language: english

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