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CD REVIEW: Kyle Alden - Hello Again Kind Stranger
By Cyrus Rhodes - 12/08/2010 - 12:54 AM EST

Artist: Kyle Alden
Album: Hello Again Kind Stranger
Label: Independent Artist
Genre: Acoustic Folk/Rock
Sounds Like: The Eagles, Michael Mullins
Technical Grade: 10/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 10/10
Commercial Value: 8/10
Overall Talent Level: 8/10
Songwriting Skills: 8/10
Performance Skill: 8/10
Best Songs: Silence is Silver, How Long, Buckeye Song
Weakness: Winded Songs, More Emotional vocals
CD Review:

San Francisco singer/songwriter Kyle Alden releases his latest CD entitled “Hello Again Kind Stranger” in 2008. He is accompanied by at last count 6 session players for the project.   

Logging in at just over 46 minutes the CD gently takes flight with “Wanted You Too” a gentle flowing acoustic-rock intro piece that serves up steady rock groove against catchy vocal melodies, & hooky chorus from Alden Track 2 radically shifts gears With “Wedding Cake Smile” with it’s driving rock rhythm, clever lyrical content & mesmerizing vocal melody line from Alden. Track 3 “Silence is Silver” is my personal favorite serving up yet another up beat folk-rock ditty with driving rock rhythm, against impressive slide guitar accents that peaks &ebbs it’s way through to emotional fruition. As the CD slowly unfolds I can hear many musical influences reminiscent of classic The Eagles, Joe Cocker, Michael Mullins, Bob Welch, & perhaps a splash of Bread. This CD makes a pretty solid first impression. Right from the start you will notice rich musical textures overflowing everywhere, full of warmth, variety, & strong melodic structure. I would classify this music as acoustic pop rock, with a slight aftertaste of American, R&B, & Alternative Folk. The songs themselves are addictive, & passionate complete with positive subject matter. Along the way you will notice brilliant flashes of rich conventional wisdom that is golden. The musicianship of this band is pretty solid across the board. The players themselves write, & play there parts extremely well song for song. Besides the 4 piece standard you will also notice lush layers of instrumentation. layered along the way. From well placed keyboard & Hammond Organ Chops, impressive slide guitar, accordion, pedal steel, solid rhythm sections & well placed harmonies. Kudos goes out to some of the fancy fretwork & impressive Hammond Organ chops layered along the way. Alden’s voice works well across the board & fills the sonic space peacefully & unobtrusively. I especially liked how Alden just refused to try to hard. By track 4 the CD hits solid stride dishing out solid tracks back to back. From grooving “How Long” to upbeat “Hollywood Sign” to upbeat “Hollywood Sign” to slamming “Beach Guitar” to rocking “ Reckless Flame” this CD pretty much has something for just about everyone. I especially liked the solitary moments displayed on “Pay no Mind” & Last Stop” The CD ends with Track 11 “Mockingbird Blues” the perfect final statement.

All songs over 4 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line with their excessive intro’s, outros. I like Alden’s vocal presence but at times I wish he sealed the deal more during some of the finale moments thus pushing the emotional envelope a bit harder.  I don’t like how Track 7 “Beach Guitar” fades out – sounds cheesy & amateurish.

“Hello Again Kind Stranger” is a very impressive musical production from start to finish. The music is clean, goes down smooth, & the messages are upbeat, & sung from a very passionate & wise perspective. It’s strong suit – the wide musical variety & musical warmth of Alden & company. He possesses enough musical talent & songwriting prowess to be extremely dangerous. The musicianship is first rate. The vocal harmonies & melodic accents are brilliantly placed & extremely well crafted. The messages are packed to the hilt with rich conventional wisdom offering hope & compassion along the way. As a listener I remained entertained the entire time. “Hello Again Kind Stranger” goes down smooth, & will not only entertain you; it will also lift your spirits in the process.      

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