Poag’s Latest LP Proves He Is One Of The Music Industry’s Best Kept Secrets

Courtesy: Danal Music, LLC

Almost two years have passed since independent singer-songwriter Vincent Poag released his most recent album For The Girls.  Later this month, on June 29, that wait will come to an end when he releases his new album Heroes and Demons.  The 10-song record will be released via Danal Music, LLC.  It is a record that will appeal to fans of folk and classic rock.  That is thanks to both the album’s musical and lyrical content, as is evidenced right from the album’s outset in its opener ‘Beautiful Day.’  This song will be discussed shortly.  ‘Young Again’ is another of the songs that serves to support that proves the album’s appeal for classic rock and folk fans.  It will be discussed later.  ‘And The Ocean Rolls’ is yet another example of what makes this record’s appeal so wide-ranging.  It will also be discussed later.  Each song in its own right, proves the album’s appeal.  They are not the only examples of the album’s strength and appeal, though.  The moving war story presented in ‘Sir Nicholas Winton,’ the light vibe of ‘Pipe Play’ and ‘Daisy’ all could be cited, too along with the other four songs not noted here.  All things considered, this record proves in whole to be another win for Vincent Poag.

Vincent Poag’s new full-length album Heroes & Demons is another strong new effort from the independent, New York-based singer-songwriter.  It is a record whose appeal reaches fans of the folk genre and classic rock alike.  Those noted audiences will agree in hearing the album from start to finish that it is a successful effort overall, too.  The album’s opener, ‘Beautiful Day’ is just one of the songs that serves to support those statements.  This is proven through the song’s simple, guitar-driven arrangement.  Its light, upbeat vibe, which is strengthened the accompanying tuba, flute and Poag’s own vocal delivery expertly illustrates the song’s equally positive lyrics.  Poag sings here, “What a beautiful day/With the sun shining bright/Cotton cloud/Sky of blue/And a star-spangled night/You in my arms/Everything going right/Gonna hold onto this/With all my might/What a beautiful day/Not a care in sight/Just a cool, gentle breeze/And it’s feeling so nice/With the one that I love/On a picnic in paradise/Just one of those nights/Where the stars are aligned/Holding your hand like lucky dice/Lucky to be/In love/Lucky to be alive/Just a beautiful day/With you by my side/Holding you close/High on your eyes/You have got me/Completely mesmerized/You’re all that I need/And we still have all night/Somehow I knew/Had to be you/In my life/Never looked back/Never thought twice/One of those days/Every once in a while/Everything going your way/Seeing clearly for miles/And miles/Looking out at the world/through the eyes of a child/One of those days/Where you just have to smile.”  Compared by most to the likes of Bobby McFerrin’s hit single ‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy,’ those comparisons are easy.  One could also compare this song both musically and lyrically to works from musical great Randy Newman and – to a lesser extent – Jack Johnson.  It’s a wonderful way to open the album that is certain to put a smile on listeners’ faces.  The comparisons to the noted audiences shows without doubt that previously noted reach, supporting the noted statement of the album’s potential success.  It is just one of the songs included in this record to support those statements.  ‘Young Again’ is another example of what makes this album another strong effort from Vincent Poag.

‘Young Again’ shows in its own way why Heroes & Demons is another strong effort from Poag.  As with the album’s opener, that is due in no small part to its guitar-driven arrangement.  The classic rock style approach taken by Paog instantly lends itself to comparisons with rock the one and only John Fogerty.  In the same breath, one could just as easily make comparisons to the likes of Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen and John Mellencamp.  Paog is not the only one to be credited with having made such comparisons happen.  His fellow musicians – drummer Larry Lelli, organist Kathy Sommer, and bassist/guitarist Matt Anthony – add their own special touch to the song.  The whole of the group’s efforts is one of this record’s highest points, musically speaking.  In terms of its lyrical content, it proves just as interesting as Poag sings, “Once I was invincible/Had to learn things hard/Damn the consequences/Casual disregard/Strapped in destiny’s parachute/Fate upon the wind/Oh, to be young again.”  Immediately, what listeners get here is a familiar topic.  It is someone looking back on his or her life, yearning for those glory days gone by.  Who hasn’t been there?  What’s really interesting here is that Poag and company could so easily have made this into an “oh woe is me” moment.  But instead, they opted to create an air of understanding those days are gone but still wishing they were still here.  Again, this is something to which so many people can relate.  Who out there has not had one of those moments, not sad, but just remembering fondly those days of yore?  That is the feeling that this song exhibits.  This is proven even more in the song’s second verse, in which Poag sings, “Head full of ideals/Champion of the underdog/Feelings unconcealed/Heavy-hearted lover/Bullet for a friend/Oh, to be young again/Mirror on the wall/Don’t you talk to me/Bones might have some aches and pains/But my heart’s 23.”  Once more, this is someone remembering those days gone by with a certain fondness while still yearning to some extent for those days.  It is a nice approach to a familiar topic that continues on into the song’s final verse, too.  Keeping this in mind, the semi-bittersweet vibe of this song – both musically and lyrically – shows once again a certain sensibility about the record’s creative process.  That sensibility again shows what makes the album another strong offering from Poag, and still is not the last of the songs that proves the album’s strength and potential for success.  ‘And The Ocean Rolls,’ the album’s finale, supports those statements.

‘And The Ocean Rolls’ is an intriguing addition to Heroes & Demons because of how much it stands out both musically and lyrically to its counterparts.  One can only assume in listening through this nearly three-and-a-half-minute work that it is a military tribute of sorts thanks to its arrangement.  Between the solid, snare drum-driven march tempo and vibe, choral backing and horns, it comes across as something that would play against a scene from some World War II epic.  He sings of individuals crossing the ocean “in a boat with holes/As the tide flowss/And the ocean rolls.”  He also sings early on in the song of those people crossing the ocean, “When it’s not enough/Can’t depend on luck/Can’t be given up/Things that mean so much/A better life behold/Bells of freedom toll/As the tide flows/And the ocean rolls/Shine us down/A ray/Are we worthy/We aren’t holy/We are only…Help us find the way/To a better day.”  He also sings of having “blind faith,” having “come a long way.”  The powerful final seconds put the finishing touch to the song.  Again, it is only an assumption that this song has anything to do with the military, but considering such lyrical content as noted here, one has to assume even more than Poag is trying to get into the heads of the men who gave all so that the free world could have all.  It is definitely an original and powerful way to do just that if that is indeed what he is trying to do here.  Regardless, Poag and his fellow musicians – Larry Lelli, Frank Vilardi, Andrew porter (all on percussion), Tony Kadleck, Jon Owens (trumpet), Keith O’Quinn, Birch Johnson, Timothy Sessions (trombone), Jake Gluckman, Luke Wroblewski, David Jordan, Nick Massoud (backing vocals) – have presented a story through this song’s musical and lyrical content that is certain to stir listeners in the best way possible and at the same time prove to be one more of the album’s highest points.  Keeping this in mind, it is without doubt one more way in which Heroes & Demons proves to be such a solid album.  When it is considered alongside the other noted songs and those not directly noted here, the end result is the agreement that Heroes & Demons is another successful offering from a singer-songwriter who deserves so much more attention and credit than he has gotten and that he gets now.  It is a work that proves Vincent Poag continues to have a bright future regardless of that support.

Vincent Poag’s new album Heroes & Demons is a strong new effort from a singer-songwriter (and his fellow musicians).  That is because of the course of its 37-minute run time, it clearly exhibits Poag’s songwriting ability as well as his musical ability.  The added music contributed by his fellow musicians in each song deepens the album’s enjoyment even more.  This is evidenced clearly in all three of the songs noted here.  It is made even clearer when those songs are examined along with the rest of the album’s entries.  All things considered, this latest effort from Vincent Poag proves itself with ease to be another viable candidate for any critic’s list of the year’s top new albums overall.  It will be available June 29.  More information on Heroes & Demons is available online now along with all of Poag’s latest news and more at:




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Poag’s “For The Girls” Is An Album For The People

Courtesy:  Danal Music, LLC

Courtesy: Danal Music, LLC

Singer/songwriter Vincent Poag’s new album For The Girls is an album for the people. His second full length studio release, it is one of the year’s absolute best new albums. The album’s run time comes in at roughly thirty-six minutes. That hardly makes it the longest album ever crafted by an artist, band or group. But the sheer musical and lyrical depth of the album’s thirteen total songs one of the most extensive albums released so far this year. Poag doesn’t stick to just one style of song from one track to the next on this record. Every track is different from the one before. And this should come as no surprise considering Poag’s influences. Those influences range from names such as Bob Dylan and The Beatles to even George Gershwin, Cole Porter, and Rogers and Hammerstein. Each of their influences is evident at one point or another throughout the course of the album’s barely half-hour plus collection of tunes. Audiences can clearly hear the Dylan influence right from the album’s outset in the song ’45 Mile An Hour Girl.’ The influence of Rogers and Hammerstein comes in the form of ‘Waiting For Me.’ And one could argue that Poag’s musical tribute to New Orleans would make even Cole Porter proud. Porter was known more for other styles of jazz. But Dixieland jazz is still within the jazz realm. So by that logic, Porter’s influence is still evident in the inclusion of this tune. The songs noted here are each wonderful additions to Poag’s new album in their own right. There are ten more songs on the album from which audiences will find their own favorites. Regardless of whether those favorites be among that group of songs or among the trio mentioned here, one thing is certain: All of the songs that comprise For The Girls collectively make this one of 2014’s best new albums.

Vincent Poag’s biography notes that one of the biggest influences in his musical life is Bob Dylan. That influence is evident right off the top of this album in the song ’45 Mile An Hour Girl.’ Poag sings fondly of an unnamed woman in this song. The song’s very first line is short. But it speaks volumes. He sings, “She’s a forty-five mile an hour girl/I’m a seventy-five mile an hour guy/She’s carefully balanced/Not to stumble or fall/I’ve tried to catch the world on the fly/She’s that delicate blend of lover and friend/With a class that’s as far as is wide/She a forty-five mile and hour girl/And together we’re off for a drive.” The use of the harmonica and guitar is the most obvious evidence of that influence from Dylan. Poag’s vocal style adds to that influence. He actually sounds slightly like Dylan as he sings. Even more interesting, one could also compare his vocal style to a mix of Elvis Costello and Randy Newman. On the song’s lyrical side, his use of metaphor is just as impressive. He is saying that the woman in question takes things slowly versus him. And it’s that slower speed that makes the man slow down, too. In turn, she makes him a better person as they embark on the drive that is a relationship. It’s definitely one of the more creative metaphors that has ever been used for a love song’s lyrical side. Just as creative is his use of words to say that his male subject doesn’t know what the girl sees in the guy. He sings, “She doesn’t gossip au contraire/Quite demure mi amour/What she sees in me is obscure.” That line is made even more impactful coupled with its equally gentle musical backing. It’s one more part of the whole that makes this song so touching and the perfect choice with which to open the album.

’45 Mile An Hour Girl’ was the perfect way to open For The Girls. It shows within the span of a little more than three minutes the depth of Poag’s musical and lyrical talent and the talent of his fellow musicians. It does just as impressive a job displaying the influence of the likes of Bob Dylan on Poag’s own music. Just as much depth is exhibited in the performance of ‘Waiting For Me.’ This song could so easily be seen as a tune included in any stage play. That’s thanks to the general delivery of the song and the emotion. They paint a picture of a man sitting on a park bench in New York’s Central Park, a single lamp lighting the figure and the bench. One can vividly see the man sitting there singing, “Strange how we give shelter to/The images we weave/Reality a question/Of the things that we believe/Boundaries readjusted/By the lines that are deceit/And I thought the world was waiting/For me.” The way that he holds that last phrase between “waiting” and “for me” is a tiny moment. But that one moment works worlds. It especially works in the transition into the song’s bridge in which a muted trumpet enters. That section conjures thoughts of the city’s lights off in the distance as the sole figure sits on that barely lit bench, singing woefully. The contrasting visual is so vivid and so powerful. That Poag and his fellow musicians can invoke such imagery is a statement to their talent. It’s just as much a statement to the caliber of the work that audiences can expect from this record. And it isn’t the last statement, either.

The opener to Vincent Poag’s new album and the slow, bluesy ‘Waiting For Me’ are both excellent examples of what makes this record such an outstanding work. They both speak volumes to the talent and creativity of Poag and his fellow musicians throughout the album. There is at least one more example of that talent on this record that stands out to this critic. That example lies in the album’s penultimate song, ‘New Orleans.’ While it is specifically Dixieland jazz, it is still jazz. It shows in its own right the influence of famed jazz composer Cole Porter. The very fact that Poag would include the song among the already varied sounds on this record shows that. Poag pays tribute to New Orleans’ rich history going all the way back to the Louisiana purchase and up to modern day in this piece. He sings of the city’s history, “1803/Louisiana Purchase/By Jefferson from Napoleon/Worldwide trading flourished/Tobacco/Sugar/The cotton gin…15 feet below the river/Mardi Gras…nothing stops the music from playing here/New Orleans.” The song as a whole is a musical love letter to one of the capitols of the music industry and of America’s culture. Any fan of Dixieland jazz will most definitely appreciate this piece. It’s unlike any of the other songs compiled for this album just as the others are unlike one another, too. That singularity displayed by each song also serves to display so much talent and depth from Poag and his fellow musicians. This includes the songs’ lyrical side as well as their musical side. Whether it be for this song or any other on the record, every listener will agree that after hearing this record, it more than proves to be one of the year’s true best new overall albums.

For The Girls is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered direct from Vincent Poag’s website at http://www.vincentpoag.com and via iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/for-the-girls/id859327192. More information on For The Girls, upcoming tour dates and more is available online at http://www.vincentpoag.com and http://www.facebook.com/VincentPoagMusic. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.