Today we have the final game from The American in Paris Region #1 seed Rebecca Frezza and Big Truck are taking on the 6th seeded Suzi Shelton (try saying that out loud 10 times real fast).
I just couldn't help myself with this pairing..."Special Kind of Day" vs. "No Ordinary Day"...I mean, c'mon that was just screaming to be put together!
After the voting ends on this contest, we will move into the final round which will actually leave just three records (as opposed to a "final four") because, well, I suck at math and I didn't extend out a 12 team tournament ahead of time to realize that ending up with 4 was impossible. Ha! What I will do is throw in one of the non-Final Three records to the lucky winner. While I won't reveal which disc, I can tell you it will be a good one that will surprisingly not advance into the next round.
(1) Rebecca Frezza and Big Truck "Special Kind of Day"
"Special Kind of Day", Rebecca's fourth album, and is a rousing work that shows what having an eight-piece band (yes, that's right...a kid's band with nine total members...a sort of kiddie Polyphonic Spree or, for my older readers, P-Funk) can do for you. Every artist has a story, but Rebecca's journey to the kiddie rock world is a rather interesting one. She has spent time as both a music teacher and as a "showbiz gypsy", as she puts it, in traveling productions of EVITA and A Chorus Line. Clearly no stranger to the stage it should come as no surprise that her live rock show is an energetic and splashy affair with dancing and theatrics.
"Special Kind of Day" opens with the pleasant sounds of birds chirping then quickly kicks into the terrific ode to the greatest season - Spring. "Come on Out", along with Justin Roberts' "I Chalk" from "Meltdown!", is one of the finest lead tracks on a kid's album I've heard in a long time and is timed perfectly with this new disc's April 8th release date...just in time for the ducks, squirrels and birds to begin appearing again in our backyards and, deep in the woods, bears to wake up from their long winter slumber.
Rebecca's voice is lovely. She shows off her technically-sound singing style all over "Special Kind of Day" but especially on the tracks such as "Sidewalk Chalk" and "Birthday Song". Many of the cuts feature some real-life white noise at the top which is really cool - not obnoxious like what Bright Eyes does on his records - and pretty unusual in the kid's genre.
"So Nice To Meet You", much like the title track of Brady Rymer's new effort, is screaming to be that all important first song during a live concert. It would shock me if this happy, salutory (yes, I know that is not a real word) tune is not the one Rebecca Frezza and Big Truck kick off their upcoming shows with.
Rebecaa Frezza and Big Truck's "Special Kind of Day" has a clever, seasonal arc to it. As I mentioned, the disc starts with a springtime ode, then it moves through the seasons. Sidewalk chalkin' and carnival fun in the summer, spooky dancin' at Halloween, leaves fallin' in Autumn, ending with a snowy winter. Brilliant composition of a true album in a digital/singles world - I love it.
"Special Kind of Day" is a wonderfully written and well executed record from start to finish. The instrumentation and vocals are mixed perfectly. The flutes are up front and prominent when needed, the backup singer's harmonies are full-bodied and integrated very nicely. It's rare that this kind of technical detail gets mentioned in a review here but this disc is so perfect in that regard that I couldn't not give it precious space here on the digital pages of OWTK.
Sample tracks from this fine album right here.
(6) Suzi Shelton "No Ordinary Day"
Was there an artistic ordinance to draft songs about road trips this year? First Ellis Paul, then Brady Rymer and now Suzi Shelton...they all have travelin' songs on their new records. How funny. Check out Suzi performing "Goin' on a Road Trip" live at Southpaw in Brooklyn:
And speaking of tremendous opening songs, "Lift Me Up" - the lead cut on "No Ordinary Day", is a wonderful tune featuring Suzi's cheery voice along with what sounds like a handful of kids providing backup vocals. The track, like the whole album, is put together so well and serves as the ideal introduction to the music of Suzi Shelton. "No Ordinary Day" is akin to a ray of sunshine after a few days of clouds and rain - the songs are welcoming, bright and sure to put a smile on your face.
Suzi, a mother of two and a former pre-school teacher, is going to be a force to reckon with on the kiddie rock circuit if she keeps churning out tunes like "Jump", "Lift Me Up" and "Scooter Boy" - a sort of kiddie take on Avril Lavigne's old hit "Skater Boy" .
"No Ordinary Day" is no ordinary record. Suzi Shelton has tapped into something exciting here and her growing fan base is testament to her wide-scale appeal. She is an artist that both kids and parents will sing along with and will be able to call their own. She is poppy and fun but also breaks things down and gets all sentimental with the gorgeous lullaby-ish song "My Favorite Moon" complete with sweeping strings and the sweet tickling of the ivory. A lovely number.
Where Rebecca has the perfect opening song, Suzi has the ideal closing tune in "Makes Me So Happy" in which she essentially thanks each of us for listening, dancing and enjoying her music. See I told you this was a match made in heaven. Not that kid's shows have opening acts but she would be perfect playing in front of Rebecca Frezza, oddly enough. Someone needs to put these two talented ladies together on one bill.
Vote for either Rebecca Frezza or Suzi Shelton by midnight ET on Wednesday 4/2. Your comments will help decide the winner. Everyone that leaves a comment during the Tournament will have a chance to win the Final Four CDs.