Cole Powell - Thanks For The Broken Heart
Hailing from Jayess, Mississippi, Cole Powell debuts with Thanks For The Broken Heart. The genre is a hybrid of rock, pop, blues, and country, with just a twist of jazz. All those influences easily distinguishable on any of the eight songs.
Always a good sign when an artist starts off strong, he does so with "Stay (Begging You)". What I like about this track is its clean straightforward bluesy pop/rock vibe. Definitely radio-ready. Good dynamics as well, with its amped up chorus and electric guitars. It's followed by "Beautiful Now". The first thing I noticed about this song are the programmed drums. Powell is obviously going for a nice commercial sound. He reaches his mark with this one.
"Lost" is a duet with singer Brittany D. The song itself isn't all that exciting, but I like the juxtaposition of the his-and-her points of view. It's reminiscent of many country/pop tunes in recent years, most notably Kid Rock and Sheryll Crow's "Picture". I also like how the music gets choppy a little after two minutes in.
"Now That You're Gone" is what appears to be a ballad at first, featuring more of those programmed drums, along with some live ones later on. But the song switches gears and gains momentum at about 1:44, when it becomes a full-fledged mid-tempo pop-rock track, but without losing the integrity of the ballad we just came out of.
My absolute favorite tune on here is "Not The One To Say (I Told You So)". This is a perfect track, and Powell seems most comfortable in this mix of jazz and rock that reminds me of a lot of John Mayer's work. The rolling drum line adds the perfect bit of tension for an otherwise mellow song.
At the risk of sounding cliché, Cole Powell is an artist with a tremendous amount of potential. Full of talent and full of flavor. He sings with a bluesy flare that can at times seem contrived, but for the most part works. I do feel he has tapped into his sound, and dare I say, found his niche. But he needs to tweak it a bit and really capitalize on his strong points, adding some more of that jazzy goodness.
Thanks For The Broken Heart showcases Powell's ability to achieve greatness, as demonstrated by "Not The One To Say (I Told You So)", but the verdict is still out on whether or not he can do it on a consistent basis. I wouldn't say he achieved that end on this particular project. I will say, however, that this was a very smooth listening experience. Great musicianship, a little moody and edgy, but not enough to take away from its commercial appeal. Cole Powell is an artist, definitely to keep on the radar.
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