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article by: Michael Canter

14 May 2013

Album Review - Artists In The Plus Compilation (Various Artists)

"I do want to thank David Santy, James Olmos, Sara Corbin, Robert Combs, Deni Gauthier, Myrna Braza and Brent Michelle for going above and beyond in helping me promote and build AITP. Along with everyone else who has offered help, watched our shows, and visited our page. AITP is about community and it would be nothing without the community."
~ John Voshell

Release Date: 12-May-2013
Genre: Multi-Genre
Location: Wyoming, DE
Publisher: [p][c] 2013 tomtom & Braza
Label/Distribution: tomtom & Braza
Total Time: 1h 23m 04s
Review Date: 14-May-2013
Review Format: AAC (iTunes)
Bit Rate: 256 kbps
Songs In Jivewired Radio Rotation: All Songs Have Been Placed Into Radio Rotation
Previous Jivewired Review: None
Jivewired Digital One Sheet: Not Currently Affiliated With Jivewired

Purchase:Google Play | iTunes | Amazon
Stream: Google Play

Track Listing:

01. I Need You by Deni Gauthier 3:41
02. Everybody Say by MadCraft 3:43
03. Lala by Myrna Braza 3:17
04. Hey Anthony by Sabrina Signs 2:40
05. Replay by Rachel Koller 2:59
06. I Saw The News by Minds 3:19
07. In My Room by Sonia Rao 3:23
08. The State I'm Living In by Vanessa Peters 3:42
09. Before I Fall by Rebecca Perl 3:19
10. Blood Eyes Sunrise by Kristian Jackson 4:18
11. Still Wish by Sam Batt 3:51
12. Don't Cry by Heather Fay 3:08
13. Stay Right Here by Lisa Marshall 3:18
14. Say [Acoustic] by Kayla Yvonne 4:40
15. Merry Go Round by Shani 4:22
16. One By One by James Olmos 3:48
17. Round and Round by Brent Michelle 3:54
18. Mess Like You by VK Lynne 2:56
19. Like It Was Yesterday by Cass Mitchell 4:29
20. Hanging Around by Laura Marie 4:03
21. The Last Real Cowboy (Acoustic) by Eric Dodge 4:23
22. The Loveliest Guy I Know by Meri Amber 3:00
23. I'm Waiting by Frank Palangi 3:06


We don't often review compilation albums but every so often we come across something noteworthy. In this case, the Artists In The Plus Compilation put together by John Voshell with the help of many friends and collaborators is one of those exceptions.  This is a terrific, multi-genre effort that provides a forum for Artists In The Plus to celebrate the tremendous effort put into promoting indie bands and artists.

Most notably, you can get to know these artists up close and personal through the Artists In The Plus Google Hangouts and Voshell's Artists In The Plus! series.  John showcases the artists he works with through live video chats via Google Plus in an effort to offer greater exposure to his circle of artists and in an effort for both fans and industry contacts to get to know the performers on a more personal and casual level.  He also lists the top-rated videos of each week.

The Artists In The Plus platform is quite effective.  This album showcases a wonderful array of talent that is a wonderful reflection of John Voshell's efforts.  It's very heavy on female singer-songwriters and adult contemporary soundscapes, but there is truly something for fans of any and all genres of music on this compilation.

"Artists In The Plus helps a lot of top Indie artists in addition to Up-and-coming artists. They invited me on the Google Plus show, In The Spotlight! four months ago. After interviewing me on the show and sing[ing] some original songs.  My fan base has increased 40%." ~ James Olmos

For more information about Artists In The Plus you can contact John Voshell via e-mail.

Following is a track-by-track review of this compilation.  Comparisons are based on the songs listed, and not a reflection of the comprehensive work of each performer, as one song per artist is an incredibly small sample size.  That being said, I have enclosed links to each performer's website and encourage our readers to explore each individual performer in greater depth.

Track 01: I Need You by Deni Gauthier --  For fans of Damien Rice and Jeff Buckley.  Impassioned folk that moves from stripped down to layered orchestration and back with tremendous ease.  Simple guitars, and Deni Gauthier's vocals combine with swelling strings to create an emotive that resides in lucid beauty.  The bridge is a sojourn in contemporary elegance.

Track 02: Everybody Say by MadCraft -- For fans of Blink-182 and All Time Low.  Perky power-pop and punk that could easily find a place on Van's Warped Tour.  Everybody Say screams break-out single with an indelible hook and catchy chorus.  MadCraft offers highly commercial production and firepower sound with this release that is mutually resolute and anthemic.   A great summer song.

Track 03: Lala by Myrna Braza -- For fans of Dido and Lisa Stansfield.  Myrna has a timeless and soulful voice that perfectly combines deluxe soundscapes and modern pop arrangements with house, soul and R&B elements to create a sound that is instantly likeable. This is a fashionable song that uses it's pop leanings to create a delicious and catchy essence.  There is a retro feel, but Braza manages to keep it from feeling dated.  One of the best songs on this compilation.

Track 04: Hey Anthony by Sabrina Signs -- Sabrina lists her genre as EDM but this song is a folk-infused pop song, a blend of roots, pop and country reminiscent of von Grey.  The vocal layering creates an amazing harmony echo that drives this effort.  The simple guitar accents Sabrina's heartfelt lyrics.  The combination is aurally appeasing.

Track 05: Replay by Rachel Koller -- For fans of Sara Bareilles and Vanessa Carlton.  The first thing that jumps out is Rachel's pitch-perfect vocal ability and remarkable inflection.  She certainly stands shoulder to shoulder with many of today's pop divas in that respect.  The comparisons, however, to the plethora of adult-contemporary female pianist acts are undeniable, so she will have to work past that.  Replay is an emotionally charged gem with a pristine arrangement.  That helps immensely.  But it is Rachel's vocals that are definitively enchanting.

Track 06: I Saw The News by Minds --  For fans of World5 and Whitehouse.  I Saw The News offers wonderfully structured lyrics and melodically soothing harmonies with a strong, world music aesthetic that will play well in an adult-contemporary format. 

Track 07: In My Room by Sonia Rao -- For fans of Lana Del Ray and Regina Spektor.  In My Room borders on contemporary folk but it is the bewitching, soul-infused vocals of Sonia Rao that gives it a more atmospheric feel.  The orchestration is sublime, featuring wonderful layers and avant-garde effects that serve to highlight Rao's beautiful voice.  Her vocal crescendos and holds are captivating.

Track 08: The State I'm Living In by Vanessa Peters -- There is a song by Widespread Panic called Counting Train Cars that effectively showcases their understated ability to perfect the alt-country sound, despite being more of a jam band, and I always use that as a frame of reference when someone asks me to identify my favorite modern-day alt-country songs.  The State I'm Living In by Vanessa Peters demonstrates that very principle. This is not to say that Peters sounds anything like Widespread Panic and if I had to offer a vocal comp it might be Sam Phillips or Tift Merritt.  That being said, this is now one of my favorite alt-country songs.  Though this particular song review may not be that helpful, I urge you to simply listen for yourself.  This is my favorite song on this compilation.  That says everything.

Track 09: Before I Fall by Rebecca Perl -- For fans of Kasey Chambers and Shawn Colvin.  This is a great segue coming off of the previous track so kudos to the production team.  More great indie folk, and this is a little more slick, though not soulless, in substance and a song that leans slightly on adult contemporary textures.  I love the pedal steel accompaniment - it's underscored and effective.  But it is Perl's understated delivery and the succulence in her harmonies that is the difference maker. 

Track 10: Blood Eyes Sunrise by Kristian Jackson -- For fans of Liam Gallagher and David Gray.  Don't let the simple piano/guitar intro fool you.  Once you get about ninety seconds into this song be prepared for a combustible soundscape of wonderfulness that slowly burns into an incendiary collage of intense guitar, pounding keys and Jackson's effortless dalliance with his upper register.  The piano foundation never wavers, but this song proceeds like an out of control freight train that builds and builds into an amazing coda that will leave you breathless and wanting more.  That's rock and roll exhilaration. 

Track 11: Still Wish by Sam Batt -- For fans of Laura Marling and Kate Bush.  Sam Batt encapsulates a wide range of sensibilities in her past and current catalog and this ephemeral gem reminds me a little of a cross between Laura Marling, Nina Persson of The Cardigans and Lana Del Ray. Obviously the vocals stand out but the distorted, fuzzy guitars are a highlight as well.  There is something addictive about this song, and it is the combination of it's hypnotic beat and it's sultry arrangement, and of course Batt's sexy voice, that satiates the listener.

Track 12: Don't Cry by Heather Fay -- For fans of Dar Williams and Mary Chapin Carpenter.  Gorgeous and lush would be an apt description, but not in the over-orchestrated image that it may conjure.  This is a sing-along folk nonpareil of self-reflection that finds it's strength in Fay's vocals, which sound similar to Natalie Merchant on this song, and her wonderful electric organ accompaniment.   It's a great comfort song that immediately feels like your best friend when you most need your best friend.

Track 13: Stay Right Here by Lisa Mashall -- For fans of Joss Stone, Aretha Franklin and The Staple Singers.  Marshall's voice is full and out-of-this world powerful.  She could just as easily grab center stage solo as much as she could be the thunder-stealing foil to Mick Jagger.  Freddy Celis is on record as saying Marshall has "the best white soul voice of the moment." No argument here.  The energy on this song is amazing.  Marshall's timing is perfect, as are her holds. Love the Stax Soul feel. 

Track 14:  Day [Acoustic] by Kayla Yvonne -- For fans of Dolores O'Riordan and Alanis Morissette.  A lovely string arrangement accompanies Kayla Yvonne's acoustic guitar and gives this song a slightly uilleann feel, offering a perfect blend of projection, inflection and intricate delicacy that serves to accentuate it's celtic beauty, intended or not.  Her voluminous and immaculate vocals are unquestionably amazing and Yvonne works splendidly within her wide vocal range, effectively best at her upper register.   

Track 15: Merry Go Round by Shani -- For fans of Norah Jones.  I was immediately intrigued by the opening chords of Merry Go Round and then more so by Shani's voice.  As I said this album is heavy on adult contemporary sensibilities as well as female singer-songwriter types which means that artists need to step up in order to stand out.  Shani steps up.  To be honest, Merry Go Round is a perfect soundtrack song for a movie along the lines of Serendipity, Valentine's Day or New Year's Eve.  It's a truly wonderful scene accompaniment for the romantic part of your favorite romantic comedy.  Someone call Garry Marshall.  Merry Go Round is a song that sticks with you after listening and is sure to invoke memories of some of your most treasured and self-reflective romantic moments, and is perfect for licensing and just chilling to. 

Track 16: One By One by James Olmos -- For fans of Damien Rice.  One By One gets a slightly poor placing following two similarly paced songs in a spot where, as listeners, we need something a little more uplifting.  That doesn't diminish the effort however.  To give the song a fair review I had to step away for a few minutes and then listen.  The acoustic guitar interplay with the string accompaniment stands out here, and Olmos has strong vocal characteristics.  That vocal effort rests on the song's simple but elegant lyrical quality.  This is true adult contemporary, so unlike many of the other songs on this compilation there is no genre crossover, which limits its general appeal slightly.

Track 17: Round and Round by Brent Michelle --  For fans of Sara Bareilles.  Soulful. Vibrant. Compelling.  The imagery and theme of self-doubt is certainly relatable, and Michelle deftly emotes her stories in a pop-friendly arrangement.  Vocally, she is spot on and pitch perfect.  There's nothing groundbreaking here, but it's a very good listen that burns it up slightly on it's bridge and choruses.  Michelle has a nice voice, and the instrumentation plays it up quite well.  It's slightly formulaic, but I like this song a great deal nonetheless.  There are very few unturned stones, if any, thematically speaking when it comes to music anyway.  Michelle makes this one work wonderfully.

Track 18:  Mess Like You by VK Lynne -- For fans of Ana Popovic and Sass Jordan.  A burner of a song that leans on a staggering bass line and unabashed, face-melting riffs.  Lynne's growling vocals and earthy, sexual undertones offer an appeal that has been absent in female-led, hard-edged rock and roll since the heady days of Lita Ford and Joan Jett. VK Lynne can shred.  Believe that.

Track 19: Like It Was Yesterday by Cass Mitchell -- For fans of Ani DiFranco.  Mitchell tackles the broad spectrum of roots-based folk rock with a poignant love for it's musical forms.  Like it Was Yesterday feels very personal, but in a way that is relatable for almost anyone who listens.  There is a heartfelt message both lyrically and vocally, but it is the song's arrangement, a soulful longing against a backdrop of alternately light and pounding acoustic strumming that drives the emotion.

Track 20: Hanging Around by Laura Marie -- For fans of Natalie Merchant.  I'm a big fan of Laura Marie and probably on any given day you will find at least one of Laura's songs in our radio playlist.  I had not heard this song until now but it immediately belongs in the upper echelon of great Laura Marie singles. The Natalie Merchant comparison is particularly obvious on this song, but Laura owns this track for it's post-folk sensibilities that earmark her best tracks.  I love the orchestration and the layers.  The production is pristine and the emphasis on that added texture works wonderfully well.

Track 21: The Last Real Cowboy [Acoustic] by Eric Dodge -- For fans of John Michael Montgomery and Brad Paisley.  Country pop with adult contemporary sensibilities, this is cowboy balladry replete with that swooning inflection that fuels the MOR crossover hit factory that exists in country music today.  Dodge has a great voice, one that is quietly soulful but intense when necessary. To me, Brad Paisley personifies modern country music, and vocally, Eric Dodge is right there.  I'm generally not a fan of country music but this is a great discovery thanks to it's crossover potential.  Dodge is definitely someone worth investigating further.   

Track 22: The Loveliest Guy I Know by Meri Amber -- For fans of Ingrid Michaelson.  The vocals are earnest and expressive and the summery feel to the arrangement creates the hook.  The echoing harmonies and choruses play up well against the acoustic guitar and I love the fractured instrumentation on the intro and the shifting time signatures that follow.  Meri Amber has a decent voice, but one that works better when she removes the constraints.  In that regard the choruses are the strength of this song, and the chorus-bridge-chorus segue scores the highest marks here.

Track 23:  I'm Waiting by Frank Palangi -- For fans of Three Doors Down and Our Lady Peace.  A really good song that seems slightly out of place on this compilation, which is probably why it's the closing track.  It's also an older song (my research indicates a release date of 2008, though that could be incorrect), which attests to it's gargantuan post-grunge feel.  The intensity is inviting, the guitars and rhythms inescapably addictive, and Palangi shows an overarching sense of ambition on this cut.   But, that leaves me wondering why a song that may be five years old is the artist representation on this compilation and why it hasn't been a mainstream hit.  Still, I'm Waiting is well worth the, um, wait, both on this album specifically and in mainstream rock radio in general.  Sorry for sounding cliched. 

About Artists In The Plus:


Artists In The Plus and Tomtom & Braza bring you the Artists In The Plus Compilation Album. Featuring twenty three amazing Independent and Upcoming Artists from around the world. The album includes musicians from the United States, Canada, England, Norway, Spain, Finland, and Australia. A truly global effort was put into making this album, and it showcases some of the best Artists you will find on Artists In The Plus.

This album has been put together to help Artists In The Plus in it’s efforts to help musicians around the globe. Artists In The Plus was started by John Voshell from Wyoming, Delaware in February 2012.

To create a network of free promotion and tools to help Independent and Upcoming musicians. Currently there are sixty two endorsed Artists, and close to two hundred total that are being helped with free promotion. This is done through live online shows and concerts. We currently have four interviews a week along with one or two concerts a month. All shows all streamed Live worldwide using Google+ Hangouts and YouTube. As well as a weekly fan voted Top 20 Countdown, based on Google+ and Facebook votes of weekly showcased videos. In December 2012, Artists In The Plus held the first AITP Online Music Festival with sixty two musicians performing live for 34 straight hours. These musicians streamed live over the internet from around the globe. We have a goal of over a hundred performers for this years Online Festival September 27-29.. This album is one way we hope to generate revenue to promote our events.

Don’t forget to make your donation to keep indie alive by supporting the AITP Music in the Plus Music Festival, check it out here:

… currently planning the 2013 AITP Online Music Festival, and funding is needed to promote the event. This event will feature close to a hundred musicians from around the world. This event has the opportunity to be great exposure for these Artists on a worldwide stage. We need your support to bring awareness to this event. We have many gifts as a Thank You for helping with this fundraiser on +Indiegogo. You can now download the AITP album for $5 through the fundraiser, also for $20 you can get both the download and a physical copy. You can even donate as little as a $1, we appreciate any support. It will all help us bring as much attention to the Artists involved as possible.

Contact: John Voshell via E-Mail

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