Steve Angel knows how to hook a listener. Take a Blues Brothers horn section, mix it with some syncopated rhythms, a tongue-in-cheek lyric that asserts
"Everybody Wants To Be A Star," and you have a combination that is at once both interesting and familiar. You can almost hear him say, "I dare you to
stop listening." And I bet you won't; this guy is both an accomplished wordsmith and able tunesmith with a conversational songwriting style that makes
it feel like he's talking directly to you with every word he sings.
Find My Way is Steve Angel's sophomore album. His debut, Hollywood, was released in 2001 and from what I've heard of it, Angel has
definitely developed and matured over the last five years. He's found his groove and his voice. A bit of wit and a whisper of wisdom blended with plenty
of honest, free-spirited playfulness make this album an uplifting, energizing listen.....
But don't take this to mean that Angel doesn't have a sensitive side. The soulful "Mary Ann" could easily pass for a cover of any
number of 1950s high school malt shop jukebox hits -- it's a bona fide teen-crush anthem that
will grab you by the heartstrings and never let go. This is probably the most perfectly produced song on the whole album, right down to the out-chorus
(Oh, to be 16 again!):
You're my one and only, Mary Ann...Loving you's so easy to understand...You won't find no other biggest fan, Mary-Ann ...
And he's no stranger to the darker emotions, either. "Hopeless" is an exploration into pain and depression, the apathy and utter
defeat that all of us of have felt, however briefly, at least once in our lives (whether or not we have the courage to admit it). It's this track that gives
him credibility; he has the courage to admit his humanity and hold it up to the world:
If all should crumble look up and believe...In the hands of God you will find your destiny...So alone in this world it can hurt just
to breathe...Hopeless, hopeless, hopeless...Sorry that your life has reached the end.
Certainly, Steve Angel's musical life is anything but hopeless. Here's a guy who is capable of giving the best advice there is for living
life on planet Earth: don't take yourself too seriously. And he does it with a talent that can't be ignored.
Reviewed by Kenny Hart - September 9th, 2006
If Steve Angel could find his way, "The Good Life" could be right around the corner. The thing is, musically speaking; I think the man has found
his way. He lays his own road down on Find My Way.
I really like Angel's style with music and lyrics. His abilities alone are enough to record an album, never mind all the rest
of the contributors on this CD. Angel sings, plays guitar, trumpet, accordion, and the keyboards. A host of very capable musicians fills in the gaps
with bass, drums, background vocals, sax, and trombone, making this outing a very enjoyable and lively recording. Something about Angel's vocals sets
you at ease. His style is conversational yet his ability to sing and bring it home to the heart is his greatest asset. Although his best voice and range
is not on this recording, it was purposeful, and once you hear the tracks it will all make sense. One of his other gigs is being a
professional tenor pop/opera singer,
so what you are hearing is an entirely different side of the man and his voice. His style is appealing, kind of like
country blues with earthy tones delivered by well-traveled soul.
On the 10 tracks found on this CD Angel covers the gamut of human emotions and does it with several styles of music. Rock, pop,
jazzy interludes, and even a little rap on the closing track "My Playground" is in between the rocking hook laden guitar and spacey keyboards. This is the
strongest track on the album because of all the styles he effectively melds into it. I heard rock, rhythm and blues, the rap like passages that emphasize
the lyrics, and some sounds that would even qualify as space rock. It is quite the accomplishment musically and it all happens in less than six minutes.
This is not to take away anything from the rest of the album, which holds its own very well throughout the run of the disc. In fact, I cannot say there is
a weak link in anything that Angel presents here. "The Good Life" is a strong track, it is a rock-pop gem that has an overpowering rhythm and feel-good-all-over
vibe to it, it calls to you like mid afternoon dose of caffeine, and in effect gets the job done by reawakening the spirit within, kind of like the Dunkin Donuts
slogan 'bring yourself back." "Nobody Loves Me Like You Do" could stand on the lyrical content alone but in the end is a good song that hangs around for a while,
like the after taste of a good drink or some tasty food. Every song has some element or aspect that you will remember, which will have you reaching for the CD
again to re-listen.
I get the feeling that Steve Angel is a straight up kind of guy, so what you get on this CD is all of him, nothing more, and nothing less.
The production aspects are good, the band is tight, and Angel does a good job steering the ship into inviting waters without drowning the passengers. I would be
willing to get onboard for another cruise, without a doubt. I really enjoyed this CD, and more and more with each listen.
Reviewed by Keith Hannaleck (Freelance music critic) - March 12th, 2006
SOUND THE SIRENS music, life and culture magazine
You can sense from his upfront, friendly presence that Steve Angel doesn't ask for much - just a gig and some music appreciators with
a good ear for social commentary. It's the year 2005 and a lot of crazy shit's been going on. Been living under a rock? Just ask Steve
Angel. He'll give you the big picture in 10 tracks or less. Steve Angel Project releases his second album, Find My Way, with upbeat
instrumental pop all about the musings of the human condition in what we call the modern world today.
Angel's frank and sincere vocals are only the glazed topping on a bevy of honest lyrics that challenge the conventional
in a non-threatening and questioning manner and encourage taking on challenges (read: track 3 entitled "Fight"). Not to get you down or anything,
reminding you of life's hardships and the superficiality of the masses and all, but Angel balances out his message with buoyant, guitar-rich,
drum-heavy pop à la The Counting Crows or Dave Matthews Band (but less nuevo 90's hippy.
Some rhythms smacking of ska are even picked up in tracks like "The Good Life." There's jazzy
sax in "Mary-Ann" and mucho tambourine in everything else. Don't get me wrong - it's not all nay-saying about his worldly woes. Angel includes some tracks on just plain appreciation of certain individuals who
you can tell mean a great lot to him ("Nobody Loves Me Like You Do" - big giveaway, no?). What's life without a little gratitude? He hails from Florida,
so I suppose all that sun was infused somewhere in his musical influence. His conversational tone and casual, down-to-earth approach to instrumental pop
make for easy listening and easy enjoyment.
Reviewed by Sable Yong (New York based writer) - June 29th, 2005
THE MUSIC KORNER
As a multi-instrumentalist handling everything from guitar and keyboards to trumpet and accordion, singer/songwriter Steve Angel once again shows his diversity
on his sophomore effort Find My Way. Angel opens things with "The Good Life" and "If I Could Find My Way" a couple of fun and infectious upbeat tunes punctuated
with ska-like horns and keyboards respectively, before slowing things down with "Fight" a laid-back cut reminiscent of INXS. Elsewhere you'll find the upbeat
"Everybody Wants To Be A Star" with it's reggae beat, the horn driven jazz-rock of "Nobody Loves Me Like You Do", the slow introspective sounds of "Hopeless" and
even a bit of hip-hip with "My Playground". Find My Way is definitely another top notch from Angel and one that will have you listening over and over.
Reviewed by Geoff Melton - May 25th, 2006
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