Wednesday, April 12, 2006

CD of the Day, 4/12/06: Geoff Smith-Geoff Smith and The Tonewheels

I'm getting a little tired of making Ben Folds comparisons. Doing a search on previous posts, I've noticed that on no fewer than 10 occasions over the two months I've been running this joint Folds has been used as a point of reference. But then I get this disc with a guy from North Carolina (check) who plays well-written uptempo piano-based pop songs (check) with a lot of energy and sass (check), and what I am supposed to do, compare him to Godsmack?

So there you have it - if you like Ben Folds, you'll love Geoff Smith (or should that be if you love Ben Folds, you'll like Geoff Smith?). Credited to either Geoff Smith and The Tonewheels (the spine of the cd packaging) or Geoff Smith with The Tonewheels (the cover), this piano man from Charlotte definitely has an excellent debut on his hands. He hits you right away with the leadoff track "Not on the Radio", an accurate take on today's music-listening zeitgeist. "Does anyone here still have a radio", Smith asks as he describes the iPod-listening legions out there "with their earbuds jammed in so far" over a Beatlesque melody reminiscent of Folds' "Where's Summer B?".
"Stuck in the Middle" (not a Stealers Wheel cover) complete with "na na naa naa"s doesn't disappoint either, and "Take Me Back" has a slinkier melody that had me thinking Randy & The Bloody Lovelies. Smith is capable of pulling off the slower numbers as well; "Rose", "Slightest Blue", and the album closer "So I'm Waiting" remain melodic without being cloying or sappy.

He has a few mp3s up at his site ("Not on the radio", indeed):

Stuck in the Middle

Here Nowhere

I don't see a myspace page for him, but you can sample the rest of the tracks at cd baby, and buy it there for a mere $9.99. With Ben Folds not even making decent Ben Folds albums these days (Songs For Silverman, bleh), it's always refreshing when someone like Smith or Justin Levinson keeps the subgenre going with good material.

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