Singer/songwriter Andrew Reed dropped his most recent album on January 1, 2018. It’s called If All the World Were Right, a conceptual album built around the idea of a Prodigal, who comes home after going through a succession of disappointments, pretty much destiny-blasted.
Reed’s premise is that there are possibilities. “We have a choice in how we experience the world! And all it takes to improve this is to change your thinking or perception of things. Once I got a hold of that idea many years ago, Bam! My life changed! We tend to become what we think about … and it is about that simple,” says Reed.
In other words, life doesn’t have to be a somewhat insipid experience to be tolerated. It can be a lot more, if you simply put on a different pair of sunglasses and alter your perception of people and the world around you.
Reed’s sound revolves around an amalgamation of Americana, folk, classic rock, and rock. The album features Reed on guitars and vocals; Franklin Keel on cello; Kara Poorbaugh on viola; Kyle Snuffer on trombone; Joseph Dowdy on sax; Alex Bradley on trumpet; Paul Babelay on percussion; and Courtney Hodges on backup vocals.
“Sailed Away” delivers a soft smooth soft rock melody with pale shimmering colors. The tune reminds me of a hybrid of America and The Doobie Brothers, imbued with Reed’s relaxed tenor. “Cure My Mind” travels aboard quavering tones from an organ, accompanied by layers of guitars sprinkling accents of varied colors. There’s a laid-back southern rock component flowing through the tune that’s delightfully ambling.
“Life in the City” reminds me of a Smashing Pumpkins tune infused with jazz-lite flavors riding a SoCal soft rock melody. The horns add wonderful reflections of color, giving the song an infectious movement. “Putting Things in Order” begins with tight metallic guitars flowing into a bluesy country pop melody. As the music ascends, it assumes a bright misty pigmentation bordering on Leon Russell lushness.
The title track ramps things up a bit with a powerful intro that drops into a creamy streaming country pop melody. An orchestral glow envelops the chorus, giving the tune sonic majesty. “Carolina in the Morning” rides a folksy/Americana melody full of tender colors and Reed’s twangy, drawling vocals. I like this song because of its jangly, spilling feel. “Where She Goes” offers gentle country hues coursing with deft comfortable energy.
“The Ghost of Robert Johnson” conveys dark and bluesy colors, tarnished and unctuous. The oily guitars ooze thick, viscous tones fluctuating between dangerous and wicked. And Reed’s voice takes on a bewitching essence rife with snarling growls and ominous timbres. “Open Road” delivers a dreamy Americana melody resting on supple guitars and a lamenting slide guitar that’s delicious. A dirty, howling guitar solo punctuates the music with poignant colors.
“All of My Life” delivers a tender folk/rock melody, mellifluous and lenient. A gracious piano injects refined vulnerability into the tune. It’s a gorgeous one. “Hourglass” begins with opaque essences from the guitars and then mounts to luxurious imposing levels as the strings enter. The reprise version of “Sailed Away” offers a wistful take on the tune, featuring potent horns that add shiny coloration atop a wailing guitar. The final track is a spoken poem escorted by delicate strings and a soothing piano.
This is a beautiful album, full of sumptuous rich melodies laced with exquisite, mellow energy. Reed’s voice is easy to listen to, placid and satisfying. If All the World Were Right is perfect for chilling on a sunny afternoon.