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CD REVIEW: Go Time - Tight Like Wood
By Cyrus Rhodes - 07/31/2013 - 02:13 PM EDT

Artist: Go Time
Album: Tight Like Wood
Label: Independent Artist
Genre: Alternative Rock
Sounds Like: Smithereens, R.E.M. Tom Petty, The Ramones, Tommy 2 Tone.
Technical Grade: 6/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 7/10
Commercial Value: 7/10
Overall Talent Level: 7/10
Songwriting Skills: 7/10
Performance Skill: 7/10
Best Songs: In a Certain Mood, Sorry Someday, Dead and Gone
Weakness: In a Certain Mood, Sorry Someday, Dead and Gone
CD Review:

While the band has just finished its third CD, its four members are no strangers to the Chicago music scene. GO TIME! was initially comprised of former PrairieTown members Scott Niekelski (composer/lead guitar/vocals), Marko Marketti (bass) and Steve Grzenia (percussion). GO TIME! officially formed when PrairieTown disbanded after a two-decade run. In 2008, after a year-long painstaking search for a guitarist to complement Scott’s style, veteran musician Paul Schmidt answered an online ad seeking an experienced guitarist and the rest is history. GO TIME! plans to spend the first part of 2012 playing shows in support of "Boneshaker" and then heading back into the studio to work on CD number 4 at the end of 2012. Scott Niekelski - Lead Guitar and Vocals, Paul Schmidt – Guitar, Mark Marketti – Bass, Steve Grzenia - Drums.

The CD kicks off with "The Lines Were Blurred” a rocked out kick-off statement delivering a heartfelt ditty that serves up steady rock beat reminiscent of vintage R.E.M complete with a guitar driven guitars, driving rock rhythm, impressive solo guitar and hard hitting message. Track 2 “Writer or Slut” keeps things moving with it’s aggressive rock groove, no holds barred vocal attack from Niekelski coupled and impressive melodic ambience and striking message. There’s one line from this song I like “There are so many Critics out there”. Track 3 “Simpler Times” keeps things moving with its rock steady feel, impressive eythem guitar coupled with impressive vocals against a grand slam chorus that flows and ebbs it’s way through to emotional fruition. As the CD slowly unfolds I can hear many musical influences reminiscent of classic Smithereens, R.E.M. Tom Petty, to The Byrds and The Ramones. The actual musical format is very intimate, up close: a personal snapshot of a band. The songs themselves are very naked and personal with messages revealing the highs and lows of life, love, passion and do I dare say life’s observations. Overall the catalogue is upbeat, methodical, providing a brilliant perspective on life. Besides the 4 piece standard you will also notice brief splashes of Classic Rock and Jam Band overtones, well placed rhythm and solo guitar, Keyboards, Electronic Piano, Organ, and lush harmonies layered everywhere all built upon a thick as a brick rhythmic foundation. Lyrical content is extremely revealing and thought provoking. All songs cut deep to the core and its obvious Niekelski and company are also a very capable songwriter. From rocking “In a Certain Mood” and Sorry Someday” to heartfelt “The Life We Once Had” melodic “See Alice” to full throttle “Dead and Gone” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 16 “Jealous Dance” the perfect finale statement for a CD of this caliber.

It’s fair to say Niekelski doesn’t have the most effective vocal abilities in the world - but hey it works for this style of music. This is also not the nest mix I’ve ever heard. At the end of the overall production value comes across as a bit dated, lacking dynamics and a modern-day flair. It takes skill and engineering savvy to record, mix, and master a musical production to industry standards these days. The impact this will have on its overall sound cannot be overstated. If this was 1980 this would be a cutting edge musical production, unfortunately its 2013, so the bar is set really high for independent artists like Go Time. It’s safe to say the catalogue is a bit repetitive and winded. All songs over 4 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line.

In the end the strong suit of "Go Time" their strong consistency, lyrical wisdom and bold passion and raw straightforwardness. Make no bones about it folks; it took raw courage and honesty to write and perform these songs. What I like most about "Go Time" is there is no attempt to hide how he feels, or sugarcoat the truth. I really admire artists out there who are themselves and just let the chips fall where they may. Praise goes out to the artist that has the courage to show us something real and genuine beneath their veil of vanity. Go Time is one of those artists/bands.

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