The Asbury Park sound is the Rose Colored Glasses of Rock-n-Roll. It’s immediately distinct feel-good
Rock-n-Roll on a grand stage that gives life to even the direst of
circumstances. Bruce Springsteen gave it a voice, showed how blue-collar life
could be as satisfying as any life, if you could just find the pleasantness of
reality; to look at, perceive, understand, and appreciate the world through Rose Colored Glasses.
15 years after The Livesay’s 1st release, “Little Bit of Hurt,” (which this reviewer called “Solid Asbury Park”), Billy Livesay (guitars, lead vocals) returns with Eddie Zyne (drums), and old friends/new members Jorge Laplume (bass), Victor “Cuqui” Berrios (Hammond organ, vocals), and Tim Murphy (piano, vocals). Rose Colored Glasses, the resulting sophomore effort, displays the professionalism
of Billy’s 12 years touring as the lead guitarist/singer of Clarence Clemon’s Temple of Soul, the many National/professional acts that the
accompanying line-up can accredit to their resumes, and the ability to apply
the Asbury Park sound as the Rose Colored Glasses worn with the maturity of someone who looks at, perceives, and understands
the dogma of life and reaches out to let us know it can be appreciated.
The semi-autobiographical title track opens the
album with a heartfelt tale of hope – typical blue-collar, single, working mom
and the effects her dating life has on her wondrous child. The great keyboard
work and Classic E-Street band arrangements lay the groundwork for these 13
songs of anthem proportion, bringing to mind not only the storytelling of The Boss
himself, but also, Bob Seger, John Mellencamp, Jon Bon Jovi, and all the others
whose arena rock vibe so closely aligns with the voice of the Asbury Park everyman.
What follows is a testament of life - missed
opportunities (I Waited Too Long), divorce (Little
Wars), and all the
emotions that fall in-between, underneath, and on top of love. Starting with,
and centered around, Until You Kissed Me Like That – A flowing tale of sexual attraction that
pronounces the heightened awareness of love and awakens the inner senses in a
tango-esque mambo of foreplay and joyous baring of the soul. This is how we all
fell in love, every time – and this is the music/song(s) that we did it to.
Continuing on this theme, The Livesays bring the power and passion of love through songs
of reflection (Riding Fences, Sentimental Fool, I Couldn’t
acknowledgement (Someone Like You), and good times/fun (Malibu
Bleach Blond, Shake It Up) with a deep rooted, personal meaning that anyone who has fallen in,
and out, of love (again and again) is sure to identify, connect, and sing along
In an effort to acknowledge the reality of life when
not looking through Rose Colored Glasses, Billy concludes this pleasant journey with 3 songs that give even
more significance to the joyous ride we’ve just taken – Somebody is the encore with a solid arena-rock backbeat that
has us pumping our fists to the passionate plea of (every)ones desire to be
somebody - to be the one that she/he wants, needs, - Loves, because our dreams
are who we are.
The album could end there and we’d be filing out of
the show on a euphoric high to last for days, but The Livesays come back with Diamonds
In The Rough. A
song that seemingly is another appeal for recognition of the dream, but comes
through more as an ode/tribute to Billy’s old friend Clarence Clemons (you can
almost hear the Big Man’s horn swooning in Billy’s lead guitar at the end). By
immediately following this with a spot-on rendition of Robert Zimmerman’s My
Back Pages we’re
brought full circle to understand that this album was made possible by Billy’s
ability to embrace the Rose Colored Glasses of the Asbury Park sound in order to allow us an escape from the
harshness of reality, but also to realize that you do not have to remove those
glasses in order to survive, in fact, it is precisely those glasses that allow
us the maturity to look at, perceive, understand, and appreciate the
pleasantness of the world, life, love, and dreams.
Rose Colored Glasses by The Livesays
is available now for $9.98 + s/h*
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