Perpetual Change: CD Review — “Take The Day Off” by Michelle Rocking Horse Garcia

| Mar 14, 2016

Singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Michelle Rocking Horse Garcia has just completed a new CD entitled Take The Day Off and I’ve been fortunate enough to receive an advance copy.

Anyone who has read this column over the years will be familiar with Ms. Garcia and her work. She moved to Nashville, Tennessee a couple years ago, put a band together, and proceeded to begin making a dent in the local music scene. In a town like Nashville, that’s no easy task. Everybody is either a musician or a songwriter. Michelle did it the smart way, though. Since she’s already an established musician from the West Coast, she didn’t have any trouble finding incredible players to work with and soon started doing local gigs. Last year, she released Dead End Street as well as a new version of her all instrumental CD Spanish Traveler.

Michelle Rocking Horse Garcia

Michelle Rocking Horse Garcia

Her newest offering, Take The Day Off, is her best work to date. Of the project’s 12 tunes, two are instrumentals, with the rest being vocals, which feature the layered vocal effect she’s known for. Included is everything from country, to R&B, to pop, to Brit pop.

Michelle sort of “book-ends” the project by opening with an instrumental called Club Monster and ending with a more Latin themed instrumental, Mexican Sun Dance. The first instrumental has some excellent guitar work and overall is kind of a jazz/rock/funk hybrid.

This is followed by Paranoid, which is one of the pop tunes (not to be confused with the old Black Sabbath tune by the same name). Other pop style tunes include the aforementioned Brit pop found in It’s Been Alright, the Latin pop, with driving percussion, of It’s Never Too Late, and one of the project’s complete stand out tracks, Blue Vibe. This one tune almost seems out of place, with a somewhat darker feel, yet with good sax playing and a great melody that makes it sound more like a cabaret tune.

The three country tunes are Pool Of Emotions, Country Music Tonight, which is actually a very modern country feel and sounds very much like the song writing of Eric Clapton, and the tune Telling Ourselves This Is Fun.

Two of the other stand out tracks are both R&B flavored. The title track Take The Day Off has a lot going on, with a very layered feel, good groove, good sax solo and is probably the best production moment on the CD. Billy And The Bullies is another R&B tune that takes a look a the current problem of bullying in our nation’s schools, so it’s not only a good tune but addresses a pertinent issue. Along with true R&B horns, there’s also some great blues harp work and very good guitar work. Yet another song that fits into the R&B mode but is more funk is Cleopatra, which is actually about a cat. It has the best bass playing on the project, in my humble opinion.

As I’ve said at the start of this review, Michelle book-ended the CD with instrumentals. The closing track of Mexican Sun Dance is definitely a Latin theme, but the Spanish style acoustic guitar playing is more in the smooth jazz vein than Spanish. But, that’s not a criticism . . . I love smooth jazz.

When Michelle sent my copy to me, she told me that she regards this particular project as a “. . .labor of love.” True to form, she wrote more songs than she could use and didn’t want to put 13 tunes on a the project (superstitious, perhaps?) but is starting to stockpile music for yet another release. For now, when Take The Day Off finally becomes available, you need to include this in your collection. Anything that Michelle Rocking Horse Garcia does is well produced and in this case, she showcases her ability to function credibly with more than one style of music. This is what a true musician — no, a true craftswoman, does.

Michelle will be on tour on the West Coast this month. Please check out her Facebook page, as well as various YouTube videos.

ALSO THIS MONTH

Storm Miguel Florez will be playing at Mack Dab Open Mic (along with Avery Cassell) on March 16th at Strut, 470 Castro Street, San Fran., and on March 25th he will be at the Victoria Theater (2961 16th Street), also in San Fran. Also, the Major documentary that Storm has been working on for the last two years is set for some upcoming screenings. Check out his website for more details. David de Alba has a bio documentary film coming out soon. For more information, check out his website as well as a new Facebook fan pageRev. Yolanda’s Church With A Two Drink Minimum will be held again on Palm Sunday, March 30th, 3-5 pm at The Sidewalk Café (94Ave. A. and 6th Street, NYC. Also, Yolanda’s song We Are Angels has been listed as one of the top ten songs of 2015 by OutVoice.net. To celebrate, she has released a new CD with 5 different versions of the song. For more information and to hear downloads, please check out her websiteGeorgie Jessup will be appearing at The Wood Shop, April 23rd. For contact information and other gig listings, please visit Georgie’s websiteCoco Peru is launching a Kickstarter campaign to fund the filming of the pilot episode of her Conversations With Coco TV show. For more information on the campaign visit the Kickstarter page and also please check out Miss Peru’s website.

NEW MUSIC

Power (EP) by Alex Newell

Alex-Newell-Power-2016-2480x2480-300x300This is the five song debut from Alex Newell, who became well known as the character Wade “Unique” Adams during the first season of Oxygen’s The Glee Project.

The five song EP is all danceable material, with little variation on Newell’s somewhat over processed vocals. That’s the only real flaw I could hear on an otherwise excellent foray into mainstream dance/pop. His range and vocal inflections remind me a lot of Michael Jackson and perhaps that’s an influence. He sure sounds like Jackson most of the time.

The two best cuts on the EP are Basically Over You, which has great production, and the most standout track of Nobody To Love. This particular tune is more of a hybrid of rock/techno/dance/R&B and has the best production moment on the project.

At 23 years old, hopefully Alex Newell won’t get eaten alive by the music industry, because it’s evident he’s a developing talent that could be around for a long time. His website has more info. He’s also on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Soundcloud.)

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Category: Music

Pam Degroff

About Pam Degroff: Pamela DeGroff been writing for TGForum since the start of 1999. Her humor column, The Pamela Principle, ran until 2005. She started the Perpetual Change music column in May of 1999, and in 2008, Angela Gardner came up with the idea for the Transvocalizers column and put Pam to work on that. Pamela was a regular contributor to Transgender Community News until that magazine's demise. While part of a support group in Nashville called The Tennessee Vals she began writing for their newsletter, and also wrote for several local GLBT alternative newspapers in Tennessee. Pamela is currently a staff reporter for a small town daily paper in Indiana, and is also a working musician.

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