Finally, we have Mission Bell, a new offering from local NorCal artist Steven Graves. He’s assembled a formidable roster of guests on this one, and he’s chosen wisely. Graves’ voice works best when he cuts back on power vocals or intensity, and lets it roll lightly through old-timey song choices: vocally, he’s more at home in the James Taylor school than in the Mick Jagger school. On Mission Bell, he makes that work for him.
With thirteen songs to choose from, the CD offers a nice spread of diversity and themes. It has some standouts: “When You’re Around” feels as comfortable as your favourite slippers. “It’s Not My Time” has a nice underlying sense of urgency that sits just behind the lyric and production. My personal favourite, though, is a delicious tongue in cheek cover of the Wheeler-Leiber song, “Jackson”. The “yeah, me too!” drawling call and response duet with singer Alysha Antonino left me grinning and reaching for the replay.
Artist website: http://StevenGravesMusic.com