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CD Review: John Degarmo – JD & Friends- Music Feeds Your Soul

John
Degarmo – JD & Friends- Music Feeds Your Soul
 
Twelve-Song
EP:
I Got A Crush On You, Without Love, Midnight Don’t Come Easy, We’re
Movin’ to Nashville, Oh Darlin’, I Never Needed Love, Love Love Love, One Too
Many Beers, People In Hell Want Ice Water, Come Along With Me, What to do About
You, My Best Friend
 
 
John
DeGarmo was born and raised in California, and took to singing and crafting
songs at an early age. The name DeGarmo is synonymous with music. His relative
Diana DeGarmo is a well known singer on Broadway, and “…cousin Eddie “ was
President of EMI CMG and involved with Country Music stars Brad Paisley and
Dierks Bentley as well was part of the Christian duo DeGarmo & Key. The
latter was a good reason for this songwriter to reach out to his now retired
Emi Producer cousin to chat about music and compare notes on songwriting and
performance just last year. Because this artist is blind he feels his ears and
listening skills has enhanced his improvisation with a certain fluidity no one
can deny. Not even his cousin Eddie can deny JD’s strong suits, and came to a
performance giving him two thumbs up.
 
His skills,
stature, and stage presence has made him accepted in a very prolific Bay Area music
circuit. Residing near San Jose, and with a rapid transit pass, he frequently
travels to San Francisco to get in the mix with many stars and recent 2015
Grammy winners. We will definitely look forward to checking out his second
album being released later this year that will encompass the talents of those
he rubs elbows with in The City By The Bay. This is where you can catch him
weave melodic tales of woe and love weekly. If you are looking for him, you
will find him. You actually won’t be able to miss him, expect him to be looking
a bit like Edgar Winter, and around the same age.
 
John
DeGarmo has contributed treasures to the Country Music world catalogue.  “We’re
Moving to Nashville” was penned by JD, but with music tracks crediting Squid
Vicious aka German born guitarist Bobby Scott. Squid, or Scott, has worked with
Pointer Sisters and Stevie Wonder, and been described in print as “The Otto
Preminger of Rock and Roll”.  The song has every element of Country that you need in a fix, and you
will likely inspire one to book a trip to Nashville soon. Besides JD’s
clear lyrical craft, the guitar mastery will also stand out. 
 
True to Country Music’s appeal, the listener will want to cry in his or
her Hefeweissbier upon hearing the “Oh Darlin’ ” lament. While you ponder over
the time old question, “ Where did our love go? “ please be sure to take the
opportunity to waltz with a dance partner. JD will take any lovers down memory
lane on this track number five.  He does showcase the depth of his vocal
range on this lovely tune. 
 
The song,
“ Midnight Don’t Come Easy” could only be written by the experienced artist and
writer, and in this case, multiple writers. Its harmony style is reminiscent of
a person well versed in 1970’s style of Country vocal layering, it has some well
thought out structures that were made popular in modern movies around then.
Think: country soul, living hard in the city. I see a cowboy in my mind’s eye
outside of a skyscraper. Randall/Butler/Randall wrote this track, heralding from
a Christian music background. It’s gut-wretching to hear him plea “Take me
back, take me back, take me back…..” and then a calvacade of notes fall giving
it a jazz tinge. Then comes the chorus of girls, who you just can imagine in
jeans and country shirts outside of Houston somewhere, where a love and loss
are the horns of the bull.
 
“One Too
Many Beers”, and “Love Love Love” I would like to point out are also “ Countrifried
“ topics, much like chicken fried steak and chess pie, and terrific, but the
album is mixed with also not-so-Country songs. “I Got a Crush on You” is Pop Rock.
“Without Love” is poignant and immortal, has a super fantastic message and is
Soft Rock, but heck, we’ll just call it Folk. “People in Hell Want Ice Water”
might become your theme song for your worst break up ever; it’s snappy, and
once again Country. The listener really gets a wide array of styles at play. So, why on
earth, do you think, we would review this CD, when it is so blatantly
non-Country in part? It is because the songs that are on this CD that meet the
true Country spirit are so very solid, for any songwriter to come up with them,
they must be Country at Heart.  
 
Sometimes
artists take a decade to make a record, and in doing so have an analog depth
and dimension hybrid with a digital age product. These recordings have that
feel. The album was cut and then added to later, and although it is not a bad
album, you become quasi aware of it, and could wonder about the mastering
validity. I think they have solid songs, and merit in the body of work. If you
are willing to overlook the mysterious quality question, likely originally a
funding issue and a mastering nightmare, you have certainly discovered for
yourself a worthy catalog of material.
 
It is John Degarmos’ first album, and sold over 10,000 copies and then picked up Distribution. The artist is working
on his second release and rumor is it has 16 songs, far more than the 40minute
industry standard that is required. It’s likely to have fine musical gems among
the tracks, to be sure. It won’t surprise this reviewer if some of these New
Country Songs, are picked up by younger artists who run with them bringing this
songwriter over the top, where he belongs. John DeGarmo is sure to seal his
place, in the Great Country Hall of Fame, one day.
 

RECORD REVIEW BY BARBARA MEYER-SPIDELL
– Music Journalist, Country Music News International

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