REVIEW: MARY GATCHELL – ‘CAMINO REAL’ 161

A world class performer who has sung with the Rolling Stones as part of their 50th anniversary tour, and on Broadway as a member of the Smash: Bombshell the Musical, ensemble, Mary Gatchell is a talent whose gifts have captivated audiences and listeners for years.

Her new and 7th album, Camino Real, takes the listener on a journey, blending together an array of R&B, heart-breaking ballads and soul music in a way that this reviewer in particular hasn’t heard in a very long time – if ever.

Opening number “You’ve Been On My Mind” has a toe-tapping rhythm but with the instrumentation considerably stripped back, allows Gatchell’s smooth vocal to rightly take centre stage, and it stays there for pretty much the whole album.

“Let’s Stand On Eternity” is more emotive and the power with which Gatchell delivers every line provides evidence, were any needed, of how much she believes in her lyrics. Title track “Camino Real” ups the tempo once more, adding a bit of swing and sway to proceedings; it’s different, and at just over 6 minutes in length, a little long, but for the most part it works pretty well.

There’s also a Spanish/Latin flare to “Casualty Of You”, which is noticeable from the outset, but it’s Gatchell’s vocal delivery which once again makes the song one of many a listener should want to put on repeat, even though it’s a little slow and a tad sombre in places.

The introduction to “Time Goes So Slow”, which is a little long-winded runs the risk of causing some listeners to skip the track altogether, but if they stick with it, they’ll be rewarded with a soulful ballad which is a stand out feature on the album.

Sadly, the album closes with “Don’t Go”, one of the weaker, if not weakest, inclusions on the collection. Although it allows Gatchell to once again demonstrate the emotive side of herself and her music, it comes across as a sad and rather depressing farewell – to this recording at least. Given the many highs the album has showcased already, it’s a little disappointing to see Camino Real end on such a low note.

Header photo credit: Allie Burke.

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RJ WORD TALKS “WHAT YOU NEED”, SOCIAL MEDIA & HIS DREAM SHOW LINE-UP 35

Having just released the video to his new single “What You Need”, RJ Word is certainly well on his way to making his mark on the music industry. Currently working on a number of singles, ThisIsTheLatest caught up with RJ to chat all things inspiration, ultimate compliments and what he’d most like to be remembered for.

TITL: Has music always been your ambition, or, growing up, did you consider exploring other avenues? Ultimately, who or what made you realise that music was the right path for you?

RJ Word: Growing up I studied music and acting. I still consider myself an actor, it’s just not my primary focus at the moment. Music gives me more freedom to create. A song can be anywhere from 90 seconds to 10 minutes and can be made considerably faster than a film. Also, you just can’t beat that feeling music gives you. There’s nothing like it.

TITL: Which bands and artists are you most influenced and inspired by and is there one in particular you might say you sound similar to?

RJ: Michael Jackson, David Bowie, Paul McCartney, Bruno Mars and Justin Timberlake have all influenced me a lot, but hopefully I don’t sound too much like any of them.

TITL: Is there a story behind your new track “What You Need”?

RJ: I wanted to make a disco inspired record with some more modern rhythmic elements. We came up with this.

TITL: Are there any EP/album plans in the works, and if so, what can you tell me about how they’re coming along?

RJ: Just working on more singles at the moment, but that’s going really well. I have a couple songs I’m really excited about.

TITL: How easy or hard do you find the song-writing process? Do you find it often depends on the subject matter and other such issues?

RJ: Some days it can be a little tough to get started. But once you’re in the zone it’s just fun, unless you’re writing something about a heartbreak that just happened.

TITL: In your mind, what makes a song truly great and which song would you say is the greatest ever written?

RJ: It’s half lyrics/melody and half production, so both have to be spot on to make an excellent record. The songs that stand out in my memory are the ones that do something different and unconventional. That’s where the magic happens. It’d be impossible for me to name a favorite.

TITL: Do you have any upcoming performance/tour plans?

RJ: Not right now. I’m mostly focusing on writing and recording for the next couple of months.

TITL: If you could perform with three bands or artists, who can be living or dead, who would they be?

RJ: That’s a tough one. Most of my idols are legendary performers and to be up next to them would be really intimidating. But my dream set would be to do a show with MJ and have Quincy Jones conducting a full orchestra live along with us. Depending on if you count the musicians in the orchestra, that’d be way more or one less than 3 acts.

TITL: What has been the nicest thing someone’s written/posted about you and your music and what would the ultimate compliment be?

RJ: When people say online that one of my songs is the best they’re ever heard it’s always nice. But I’m so critical of my work that it’s hard for me to seriously take that to heart. The ultimate compliment would be for someone I really respect in the industry to just say they liked it.

TITL: Both personally and professionally, how do you feel about social media? What impact is it having on your career and your ability to reach an audience, and do you believe it’s possible for upcoming bands and artists today to achieve success without it?

RJ: It’s been amazing tool for me professionally but something I have never used personally. I like my privacy too much. Being able to share my music with the world and grow a fan base, the way I have, can be directly accredited to it. So yeah, it’s very important to me. I think it’s still possible for an upcoming act to blow up without using it directly. But if their fan base is growing they’ll be using socials to talk about them. So at least indirectly it’ll be used. It’s a big part of how the world today communicates.

TITL: Finally then, five-ten years from now, what do you hope to have achieved from your music career? What bucket list items do you want to have ticked off and if you could be remembered for one thing when it comes to your music, what would it be?

RJ: I’d love to have toured the world, have some records I’m really proud of and have worked with some of my idols. I have no clue what I’ll be remembered for yet. At the moment my goal is to make what’s on the radio musical again. Getting away from all the loop based tracks and repetitive samples. I’d be okay with being remembered for that.

Check out the video for “What You Need” below and to keep up to date with RJ Word, visit his website, give his page a like on Facebook or follow him on Twitter.

SUPERSTAR DJ AVICII FOUND DEAD AGED 28 38

The Swedish-born producer and DJ known as Avicii has been found dead in Oman.

Publicist Diana Baron said in a statement that the 28-year-old DJ, born Tim Bergling, was in Muscat, Oman.

“The family is devastated and we ask everyone to please respect their need for privacy in this difficult time,” the statement said.

Avicii was a pioneer of the contemporary Electronic Dance Movement and a rare DJ capable of worldwide arena tour. He won two MTV Music Awards, one Billboard Music Award and earned two Grammy nominations. His biggest hit was “Levels.”

His death comes just days after he was nominated for a Billboard Music Award for top dance/electronic album for his EP “Avicii (01).”

His hits include “Wake Me Up!” ”The Days” and “You Make Me.” He is the subject of the 2017 Levan Tsikurishvil documentary “Avicii: True Stories.”

Avicii had in the past suffered acute pancreatitis, in part due to excessive drinking. After having his gallbladder and appendix removed in 2014, he canceled a series of shows in attempt to recover. He quit touring in 2016 but continued making music in the studio.

“It’s been a very crazy journey. I started producing when I was 16. I started touring when I was 18. From that point on, I just jumped into 100 percent,” Avicii told Billboard magazine in 2016.

“When I look back on my life, I think: whoa, did I do that? It was the best time of my life in a sense. It came with a price – a lot of stress a lot of anxiety for me – but it was the best journey of my life.”