Artist: Ken Schick
Label: Independent Artist
Genre: Alternative Folk/Pop
Sounds Like: BEck Technical Grade: 10/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 10/10
Commercial Value: 10/10
Overall Talent Level: 10/10
Songwriting Skills: 10/10
Performance Skill: 10/10
Best Songs: 10 Feet Thick, Thank You, Games, None More Black, City of Angels
CD Review: Schick’s 5th solo studio Cd – ‘SHUFFLE’ is Americana with colors of rock, punk and jazz, influences from a multi-genre past. Songs of longing, loss, hope – about love and politics and always thought provoking in his intense and deliberate lyric writing. Schick has a loyal following, and for good reason – his has very entertaining live shows, there is passion, laughter, tears, craftsmanship, and thought provoking lyricism. The shows take listeners on a journey with much interplay between him and the audience. Kenny is a generous performer and uses his quick comedic sense to balance the intensity of the songs, which often explore the darker realms of human experience.
The CD gently takes flight with psychedelic “Closer Intro” and jumps quickly into Track 2 “Thank You” a soothing acoustic lullaby that gradually builds into a passionate rock ballad complete with hooky acoustic guitar chops and playing meshed against catchy vocal melody and a grand slam chorus. This intro track sets the tone rather well for this CD, with its feel good groove and clever lyrical content. Track 3 “10 Feet Thick” dishes out yet another impressive track with its steady flowing rock rhythm, and heartfelt vocal melody from Schick and infectious persona. Track 4 “Cereal” serves up yet another interesting track with hypnotic lyrical content, strong melodies and impressive vocal flair again from Schick. As the CD slowly unfolds I can hear many musical influences reminiscent of classic Beck, Blind Mellon, and even a dash of material by Les Claypool and even Frank Zappa. I can even hear rock influences from Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, Red Hot Chili Peppers. On the other side of the sonic spectrum I can even hear Peter Gabriel, Yes and Genesis. That’s a pretty wide range of styles and I get the impression Schick dabble sin many styles of music. I would classify this music as acoustic alt rock, with a slight aftertaste of alternative folk, jazz, fusion and an ounce of singer/songwriter. The songs themselves are addictive, and interesting, complete with passionate and interesting subject matter. The musicianship of this band is pretty solid across the board. Schick is a very capable singer, guitarist and songwriter. The players themselves write and play there parts extremely well. Besides the 4 piece standard you will also notice things like impressive solo guitar, horns, organ, well placed drums and sporadic percussive accents, and lush harmonies layered along the way. Equally as impressive is the vocal presence of Schick as he takes many vocal risks throughout the CD indicating to me a strong, confident and infectious vocal ability. His voice sounds in the vein of Les Claypool. All engineering aspects check out. CD Possesses crystal clear high end clarity and thick low end frequency. All songs are short and sweet musical experiences, never too winded, never to short. From melodic “Blackbird” and Black and Blue” to trippy “Games” and thought provoking “Half Life” to dynamic “I Am” to rocking “ Julia” and “Push” to jumpy “None More Black” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 18 “Half A World Away” the perfect finale statement for a CD of this caliber.
In close Shuffle by Kenny Schick is a highly original, diversified and compelling musical production from start to finish. It’s strong suit – its amazing artistic presence, brilliance, vision from Schick. This guy is a musical mastermind with more than enough zaniness, creativity and eccentricity to go around. For the record: Schick wrote, recorded, preformed, produced played electric, acoustic guitars, saxophone, basses, violin, Washing Machine, percussion, banjo on this CD. The songs are extremely melodic, grooving, and somewhat eccentric – but above all infectious. The songs are short and sweet musical experiences, each one possessing a unique personality, flair, and signature groove. Last but not least Kenny Schick Is an extremely capable artist.