Friday, February 10, 2006

CD of the Day, 2/10/06: Gary Henson-The Coast Is Clear

Today's installment brings us Gary Henson's The Coast Is Clear, a late 2005 release that will appeal to power poppers who fall more on the "pop" than "power" part of the spectrum. Coast is a must for fans of Neil Finn, XTC and Badly Drawn Boy. Although the album is described on his cdbaby page as "infused with artistic traces of The Beatles, Travis, Oasis, Blur, Radiohead, and Coldplay, to name a few", to me it sounds a bit more retro than those bands (the Beatles excepted, of course), with more of a sixties british pop sensibility (Small Faces, anybody?).

There are several winners here: the title track, with its jaunty chorus, the ballad "Bit by Bit" (complete with strings and sitar), and the Lennonesque by way of Liam Gallagher (ok, I see the Oasis there) "Time Fades". Apparently, Henson was the Second Place Winner in the 2004 International Songwriting Competition, and this album reveals a budding pop craftsman at work. (This gets me thinking someone should make a version of those diamond-shaped yellow construction signs that says "Pop Craftsman at Work").

Unfortunately, he's pretty stingy about streaming and mp3s at his site (a handful of 40-second clips); we even get this message:
"When you pay for a CD or song, you provide a rightful income to musicians, their record labels and staff, artists and designers, recording studios and engineers, printers, distributors, retailers and all those whose efforts make it possible for you to enjoy music."
OK, Gary, we get it: stealing your music is bad. We certainly don't condone that here (I, for one, paid the $12 at cdbaby for the disc), so the samples at cdbaby will have to do for preview purposes. But don't let that put you off - The Coast Is Clear is worth buying.

UPDATE: Equal time from Gary's webmaster in the comments section. Make sure you check it out.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Greetings! Gary was at my studio today while we tweaked some items on his site. While looking over his webstats we noticed your link in the referrals section and stopped by to check out your blog. *Great* resource - thanks for the link and kind review. Some time this weekend I'll link back to you from Gary's News and Links pages.

Here's the scoop on our MP3 nag (and short music clips)... a longtime friend of mine is the former keyboard player for a now defunct pop band that had a string of top 10 hits in the mid-eighties. He's also worked as a producer and co-writer with many name acts and artists whose names you'd recognize (and did some music for the much missed Max Headroom TV series). Anyway, after the advent of "free" music downloads - especially in the early Napster days - he watched his mechanical royalties drop by a whopping 87%. It really put a strain on his finances - and his ability to get new music out to the world.

When we were designing Gary's site, I made the choice to keep our free clips short - since you can hear longer clips for all the songs at CD Baby. Gary sort of wanted the clips to be longer, but I was stubborn about it. So blame me, not him (grin)! Anyway, we figured it was an OK compromise between our somewhat better audio quality and CD Baby's longer clips. Hope that helps explain why we're being stingy.

Thanks again for your blog. I'll stop in from time to time to read your recommendations... I'm always looking for new ways to tickle my ears. Gary will drop you a line, too. And thanks for supporting independent music by buying Gary's CD. He's hard at work on the new CD... based on your tastes, I get the feeling you'll like it.

All the best from all of us at,
Webmaster -