Mar. 27, 2014
Truly slammin’ right from the start, smooth guitarist Nick Colionne lets his energetic style and Epiphone axe do the talking on the opening track, “Slammin’,” of his latest release, Influences, due out on April 1 — and that’s literally just the beginning of this satisfying project.
With loads of playing, writing, and production help from Pieces of A Dream keyboard wiz James Lloyd, the two collaborate on a heavy piece of work that is bound to impress. Along with contributions from songstress Maysa and some cool mixing by Darren Rahn, the way up is a clear path for Colionne here.
Maneuvering between his Epiphone and the bluesy grit of his Gibson, Colionne captures the essence of the cool cat from the windy city in a nutshell.
The mid-tempo and suave charmer “Got to Keep It Moving” is a tune (already available as a single) that I’m sure his beloved departed manager and friend Carol Ray would greatly appreciate, knowing that’s exactly what she would want him to do. In fact, I’m sure he makes her proud throughout this project.
The casual cool of “Nico’s Ride” (one of my faves) is as contagious as any track he’s ever recorded, with its syrupy fluidity and soulfulness, not to mention its lovely melody.
You’ll find many of these tracks to be the laid-back guitar-serenading tracks that always strut with confidence through Colionne’s albums. Cases in point include, as well as those already mentioned, “Whatcha Gonna Do,” the nicely caressing “When You Love Somebody,” “Here’s to You,” and one with a slightly Brazilian edge obviously dedicated to Carol called “C-Ray.”
Of course, the romanticism and sexiness of the guitarist’s music is not forgotten at all as he and Maysa delve into a wonderful cover of the always warm Billy Preston/Syreeta song written by Carol Connors and David Shire, “Born Again.” Combined with the unleashed funkiness of “Whatta ‘Bout You” and the Gibson-led blues jam finale “Sting Like a King B,” Colionne definitely covers the meatier bases.
Simply put, Colionne, with Influences, remains a viable force well in his groove zone — which just happens to be the same zone in which many of us live, as well. One solid effort. – Ronald Jackson