All that guitarist/vocalist Rob Shipley wants for you is to be happy. To meet that goal, he gives us an engaging, tastefully rendered vibe on Think Melodically, Feel Rhythmically, Live Musically, a genre-bending set of original music with elements of jazz, Latin, pop, soul, blues and rock. Shipley even slips a guest’s rap into his arrangement of the groovy cut, “Slow Down.” The South Carolina-based artist says that the album has been several years in the making, primarily because Shipley has had to balance a couple of deployments to Iraq while also pursuing his music avocation.
Rob Shipley’s band also includes Devin Coleman (guitar, organ), Chris Cottrill (drums), and Rob Palmay (bass). Guests on the album, simply called Think, Feel, Live are Donatus “Tryumph” Okeke (rap vocals), Colin Wood (sax) and J.B. Tenney (guitar). Together, they’re an eclectic bunch with some serious chops that wrap nicely around Shipley’s appealing voice which is lyrically frank without trend hopping.
The accompanists are persistently engaging and never intrusive. They’re also given plenty of opportunities to grab the spotlight and shine. Palmay’s given a short bass break in the opening cut, “More Than Friends.” A few other examples are Wood’s passionate saxophone on songs like “Within” and “Let’s Be Together,” Tenney’s magnetic guitar licks on “Rear View Mirror,” and Coleman’s nimble-fingered string and adroit keyboard work throughout the project.
While Shipley’s vocals may be the group’s center of gravity, the others provide a wide-ranging and balanced sense of versatility, confidence and flair. Their music is easy to listen to, although it would’ve been nice if the CD jacket had included more about the band, artists and songs (along with lyrics).
Serving in the Armed Forces has no doubt taught Shipley a thing or two about mission accomplishment, teamwork, cooperation and communication. We hear those elements on this album. The tightly crafted music is a delightful package of variety, charm, spirit and musicality.