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CD REVIEW: Bill Kapac - Cross Country Serenade
By Cyrus Rhodes - 12/28/2011 - 12:19 AM EST

Artist: Bill Kapac
Album: Cross Country Serenade
Label: Independent Artist
Genre: Blues/Rock
Sounds Like: Johnny Cash, Social Distortion, Tom Petty, Rodney Crowell
Technical Grade: 5/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 7/10
Commercial Value: 7/10
Overall Talent Level: 8/10
Songwriting Skills: 10/10
Performance Skill: 8/10
Best Songs: Six Gun Sally, Cross Country Serenade, How Long Does Love Last
Weakness: Substandard Mixing Quality, Dated Sounding Production, Production Value
CD Review: Williamstown, New Jersey Bill Kapac releases his latest CD entitled Cross Country Serenade” in May 2011.

The CD kicks things off with “But Every Night She Cries” an acoustic  Americana intro piece that kicks things off  with driving rhythm guitar, well placed harmonies and thought provoking lyrical content from Kapac. This first track pretty much hits it out of the park with respect to Kapac’s catchy signature sound. Track 2 “Six Gun Sally” dishes out hooky beat, upbeat Rockabilly groove with infectious bluesy-rock melody that flows and ebbs its way through to emotional fruition. I especially like the Brian Setzer-type guitar licks and infectious lyrical content on this track. Track 3 “How Long Does Love Last” dishes out yet another solid track with its foreboding groove, impressive slide guitar fretwork and heartfelt vocal delivery by Kapac. The CD makes a solid first impression dishing out 3 compelling songs in a row. As the CD unfolds I can hear many musical influences reminiscent of classic Joe Walsh, Tom Petty, Johnny Cash and even George Thoroughood and even Social Distortion and Hank  Williams Jr. and Sr. Right from the start you will notice Kapac and company feel quite comfortable just letting it all hang out musically, not holding anything back. The overall musical vibe has a full tilt rocking indie feel to it. The bands playing is rock solid across the board as they dish out impressive bluesy guitar licks and rock solid Rockabilly fretwork. Equally as impressive is Kapac’s vocal presence and vocal harmonies as it fits into this “raw-but-real” R&B sound perfectly. The musicianship from all the other members in the band is pretty solid. The songs themselves are short and sweet musical experiences, each one possessing unique personality, flair and signature groove in classic Jam Band fashion. From the rocking title track, to heartfelt “The Only Heart you had was Mine” to uplifting “We’re Falling In Love Again” to bluesy “I’m only Lonely When you’re Here” to rocking We’ll Go Away as Friends” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with “She was Looking Better than any reason I could Find” the perfect finale statement for a CD like this.

The overall mix of this CD is not what I would call legendary. At times it lacks true dynamic and depth. Getting more specific the quality of the drum recordings has much room for improvement. As a result a few of the songs sound a bit flat and one sided. In 2011 the bar is set high for artists like Kapac with respect to their production value. This mix has all the trademarks of an amateur basement mix job from start to finish. However I will add that because the songs themselves are so well crafted and addictive, this issue is somewhat transparent as Kapac makes up for it with other strengths and manages to make his point via the raw indie-type production. As a listener I remained entertained the entire time.  

Cross Country Serenade by Bill Kapac is a rock solid CD from start to finish. One would be wise not to underestimate or turn your back on him - you willg et what you deserve. At his core – Bill Kapac is cut from the same cloth as many a Americana Musical Legend. He's got the key ingrediant that bleeds Red, White and Blue. Song for song, note for note it just flows extremely well. It's definitely got the feel good groove - dead in the pocket. It’s strong suit – the song for song rock solid consistency and infectious vocal presence of Kapac. If Kapac has a slam dunk live presentation then that would make a pretty lethal combination. No doubt he is a lot of fun to check out live. So if you like your music raw-but-real then you should jump head first into this Pink Cadillac called Cross Country Serenade today.

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