An American Odyssey
Bob Schneider is apparently something of a household name in the US where 'I'm Good Now' has already been christened 'Album of the Year' in the Austin Music Awards. It's therefore, quite exciting to see an already acclaimed artist making his way to our shores, but will we fall for the American charm?
Opening track 'Come With Me Tonight' has the big, longing vocals of visionary American singers like Bruce Springsteen over a twinkling guitar melody that really sets it alight. It's smooth and subtlety addictive with a fine echo that definitely lingers in the ears. Then there's 'Medicine', which is more upbeat and rocks with a cheeky country twang, the riffs are snappy and the guitar sneaks in a buzzing solo, then there's 'A Long Way To Get' which breezes along on a fingerpicked chorus that's full of simplistic genius.
Title track, 'I'm Good Now' is so tight that it almost hurts and begins like a sultry Bob Dylan refrain with flurries of gritty, coarse lyrics but it transforms into a very catchy and slightly brooding anthem that's really ignited by the mix of guitar sounds and techniques that all drive it along like a Cadillac on route 56.
Some of the tracks do drag a little and lack any kind of ultimate direction, such as the eternally optimistic, 'This Is The Way That Life's Supposed To Be', but the mix of fascinating tunes, from the perfect rock ballad of confusion, 'The Bridge Builders' to the easygoing, 'Capn Kirk' makes up for this.
'C'mon Baby' is full of menacing percussion and vocals that sound like they belong to a car park brawl; dark, scorching and sultry, it's a really powerful aural assault and one of the most impressive tunes to grace this album. 'God Is My Friend' is full of sincere ruminations about life, but it's by no means a slow, or delicate tune; it's full of big guitar chords and sounds a little more like that Joan Osborne song that every reviewer is bound to cite.
It's odd with the new wave of mellow and moody songwriters like Daniel Powter and James Blunt flooding the charts at present, that someone with some the same sincere vocals but really beefy tunes like Bob Schneider remains virtually unknown over here. 'I'm Good Now' is definitely worth a listen; the songs really stand up like monuments to Schneider's talent and there's a variety of good class tracks.