POJ’s Latest Full-Length Album Is A Joy For Every Listener

Courtesy:   Write Home Records

Courtesy: Write Home Records

Jukestone Paradise, the latest full-length studio effort from Pimps of Joytime, is one of this year’s best new independent albums. In the case of this review, independent refers to the fact that the album, which is available now, has been released via an independent record label, Write Home Records. Having noted this, anyone that is a fan of Robert Randolph, Sly and the Family Stone and others of that ilk will especially enjoy this record. That is thanks in large part to the album’s mix of blues, funk, soul, and pop. Lyrically the album reaches into a number of different topics, which in its own right makes the album just as interesting a new release for the Brooklyn, New York-based act. One example of the its various musical and lyrical reaches comes in the old school funk-influenced ‘Body Party.’ This celebratory piece is laid back, musically speaking. Yet the coupling of its musical and lyrical side gives it a certain energy that is sure to get listeners on their feet, singing and dancing along whether at a party or at home. POJ (as it will henceforth be called) also touches on a more personal matter early on in the form of ‘Heart is Wild.’ Musically, this song also exhibits an obvious old-school influence that is just as certain to catch audiences’ ears. Lyrically, it comes across as a declaration of self-worth despite the view of others on a person. It is a declaration that comes across in a wholly positive fashion not just lyrically but musically, too. Such uplifting lyrics set alongside the song’s equally almost celebratory musical side makes this song one of the highest points of Jukestone Paradise. ‘Freedom Dancer,’ the album’s closer presents its own positive lyrical message and equally positive music that once again is certain to put just as much of a smile on listeners’ faces as they dance and sing along. It’s just one more example of why audiences will enjoy this record. It isn’t the last, either. The album’s obviously Robert Randolph-influenced opener ‘Red Golden,’ is another of the album’s high points as is the laid back groove of ‘Waiting for My Ride.’ Those familiar with their music history may even recognize the keyboard line that serves as the song’s foundation. It’s one more way in which this record proves to be a record that any listener will love and a record that is entirely deserving of a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s best new independent albums.

POJ’s new album Jukestone Paradise boasts a total of ten tracks and tops off at no more than forty-five minutes. That really is not that long of a run time considering the album’s total makeup. Even at such a relatively average run time, it still offers so much enjoyment that at no one point does the album ever feel like it passes by too quickly or slowly. One of its best offerings comes in the form of its celebratory party-perfect song ‘Body Party.’ This piece is one that audiences will love whether at a party or pumping on the radio. Vocalist Mayteana Morales sings over he song’s funk-influenced musical side, “It don’t matter what shoes you wear/Long as you show up and you don’t care/I might have said care/But I meant don’t give a f***/Cause at the end of the night/Got a bunch of lugs who show up.” Lyrically and musically the song continues on in the same positive fashion straight through to the end. Its musical side grooves so solidly that it will instantly have any listener on his or her feet instantly. The song taken wholly into consideration, it shows to be one of the year’s top new party anthems. And given the proper support it will be one of the year’s top new party anthems playing at clubs and parties across the country. It is just one song from this album that proves the support that the album in whole deserves, too. ‘Heart is Wild,’ which comes earlier in the record, is another excellent example of what makes this album so enjoyable.

‘Heart Is Wild’ is another interesting part of the whole of Jukestone Paradise that makes this album such an enjoyable work. The song is a piece that comes across as a statement of self-worth so to speak. That interpretation comes across as lead vocalist Brian J sings over the song’s funky guitar line and equally grooving bongo line, “People say/That I need/To get my s*** together/They don’t know/They don’t understand/You can’t feel/What I do/Or who I am/My heart is wild/Well I don’t forget/I won’t forfeit/Got a fire burning inside/Haters hate and I keep creatin’/Don’t have to question why/I’m a laid back jack…Paid the cost to be my own boss/Ain’t nothin’ wrong with that y’all.” That’s a pretty clear statement. It leaves very little to the imagination in terms of interpretation. And that’s not a bad thing, either. Lyrically and musically, Brian J and company keep the positive vibes coming right to the end. Those positive vibes will inspire any listener and move them to dance and sing along again and again. Considering the general makeup of so many funk and R&B songs out there, it’s a fully welcome change of pace. And such a change of pace makes it all the more reason for audiences to hear not just this song but Jukestone Paradise in whole.

Both ‘Heart is Wild’ and ‘Body Party’ are excellent examples of the joy that POJ offers listeners with its latest full-length studio effort. They are both but a tiny glimpse into what the group has to offer listeners on this its latest album. The album’s closer ‘Freedom Dancer’ is one more clear look at what makes Jukestone Paradise such a joy. At well over eight minutes in length, it is the longest of the album’s compositions. That doesn’t take anything away from the song, though. It will make listeners feel just as good as either of the album’s previously noted songs. That’s thanks to its musical mix of modern and old school influences and equally inspiring lyrics. The group sings together over the song’s old school funk sound, “Stepped outside/Of the way that I used to be/Stepped outside/Of the way that I used to see/Can’t stop the clock/When your heart is blocked/You gotta push on through/You know you gotta bring it on up on this/It’s the only thing left to do/Some people/Always trying to be putting you down/They ain’t gonna feel it/I ain’t gonna feel it/When the spirit gone’ come around/I’m a freedom dancer/I’m gonna dance awhile.” This lead verse along speaks volumes. The group is saying clearly to audiences that if you feel moved to dance, then dance. Don’t let anyone stop you whether they be dance critics, hipsters who think they’re too good for anyone, or any other type. When the spirit moves a person to dance, it does just that. No one can predict when it’s going to happen. The spirit obviously moved the band in the second half of this song (and will move listeners just as much). That’s because the entire second half of the eight-minute plus song is a full on instrumental jam that will move listeners to dance till they sweat. It’s just one more way that POJ proves how much the group has to offer audiences on this record. It most certainly isn’t the last, either. The album’s obviously Robert Randolph-influenced opener ‘Red Golden’ and the laid back groove of ‘Waiting For My Ride’ are two more examples of what makes this album so enjoyable. Whether for those two tracks, the other compositions noted here or those not noted Jukestone Paradise in whole proves itself to be an album that everybody will enjoy. It is an album that is more than deserving of a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s best new independent releases at the very least.

Jukestone Paradise proves over the course of ten tracks and roughly forty-five minutes that it is deserving of being added to any critic’s list of 2015’s top new independent releases at the very least. It is possible that it could even be added to any critic’s list with its old school musical vibe and its equally inspiring and enlightening lyrics. This applies both to the songs noted here and those not noted. POJ is scheduled to hit the road again beginning May 14th in Atlanta, Georgia in support of Jukestone Paradise. Fans can pick up Jukestone Paradise at any of the group’s upcoming shows, in stores and online, too. Fans can get a full list of the group’s upcoming tour dates online now along with the group’s latest news at:

Website: http://www.pimpsofjoytime.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pimpsofjoytime

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Every Family Will Enjoy Listening To Stacey Peasley’s Debut record “Together”

Courtesy:  Stacey Peasley

Courtesy: Stacey Peasley

Children’s entertainer Stacey Peasley recently released her sophomore full-length album Lucky Day to the masses.  That album proved to audiences why given the chance, Peasley could be one of the next big names in the world of kindie-rock.  Peasley’s 2011 debut Together is just as good as that album if not actually better than Lucky Day.  Together is anchored by Peasley’s funky, celebratory ‘Dance Party.’  The song harkens back to the days of Kool and the Gang, KC and the Sunshine Band, and Sly and the Family Stone just to name a few groups.  ‘Fun, Fun, Fun’ is an equally up-tempo piece that boasts a poppy 90s vibe.  And while hardly the longest song, its equally upbeat, optimistic lyrics will put a smile on the face of listeners of all ages.  Rounding out the whole album is a sweet, lullaby of sorts in the song ‘Snuggle Daddy.’  After all of the fun of the album’s previous group of songs, this song is a fitting closer.  It’s one of those songs that some parents might even find a guilty pleasure as it will make them think of their own children when they’re at school or asleep in their beds.  It might even bring a small tear of joy to some parents’ eyes.  And that’s perfectly fine, too.  That’s because it is just that wonderful of a song.  Of course it and the other songs noted here are not all that families will appreciate about Together.  There is also a fun little song about bath time simply titled ‘Soapy Bubbles’ and a bittersweet and somewhat heart wrenching song about a child in a broken family titled ‘Far Away.’  This song is especially interesting considering that so few kindie-rock entertainers delve into that topic.  It is a tough song to hear.   That song alongside the others featured as part of Together make this record quite the impressive first effort from Stacey Peasley.

Together is a wonderful first effort from Stacey Peasley.  From beginning to end, every one of the album’s offerings make the album a joy to hear in its own way.  The album is anchored most strongly by the funky and fittingly titled ‘Dance Party.’  This song will have parents, children, and even grandparents dancing and smiling, well, together.  Musically, the song harkens back to the days of musical greats such as KC and the Sunshine Band, Sly and the Family Stone, and even Kool and the Gang with its mix of horns, keyboards, drums and easygoing guitars.  Peasley herself even seems to channel some of the great vocalists of days gone by as she sings, “Come on everybody/We’ve got dancin’ to do/There’ll be no sittin’ down/We’ve got to get up and move/Listen to the instruments play their tune/They can play all day/Your imagination is all you need/Grab a microphone and you can take the lead/Go ask your mom and dad/And you know they’ll be glad/They’ll spend the day with you/Put on your dancing shoes/And have a dance party.”  It would be so easy to see this song in a live setting.  Both kids and grown-ups will be dancing and singing along so happily, the lights on the stage flashing in time with the band.  And even a music video in the same vein would make sense.  It’s just a fun, infectious song that will instantly get stuck in listeners’ heads and on their lips.  It’s just one of the songs that make Together such a fun album for the whole family.

While it boasts a slightly different sound than ‘Dance Party,’ Together’s penultimate song ‘Fun, Fun, Fun’ is just as fun and memorable a song.  Whereas ‘Dance Party’ was more of a throwback to the great names of funk, ‘Fun, Fun, Fun’ boasts more of a poppy 90s vibe.  The mix of the song’s piano line, guitar, and tambourine backed by Marty Beller’s drumming by itself makes the song so infectious.  Lyrically, Peasley perfectly captures the joys of childhood friendship as she sings, “When my friends and I get together/We always have a really good time/We laugh and play/And spend the day/With one thing on our mind/We have fun, fun, fun/As long as we can/When we get together/The day never ends/Fun, fun, fun/Until the sun sets/You’re my best friend/Til’ the very end.”  Kids will relate to these words just as much as parents to these words.  For kids, it celebrates the joys that they are currently feeling as they develop friendships and learn about the joys of having that social circle and those relationships.  For parents, it will take them back to their own childhoods.  What better way to get rid of the stresses of the work week than reminisce about better times? Kudos to Stacey Peasley for that.

‘Dance Party’ and ‘Fun, Fun, Fun’ are two great examples of what makes Together an album that every family will in fact enjoy listening to together, thus the album’s title. The album’s gentle closer ‘Snuggle Daddy’ is one more example of what makes this album so enjoyable for families. It would be a surprise if this song doesn’t put a smile on a parent’s face and a slight tear of joy in said parent’s eye. Peasley sings of the joys felt by a young child spending those all-important minutes before bed with his or her father. What really makes this song great isn’t just the song’s gentle musical side or even its lyrical side, but the fact that it could come from the angle of a young boy or girl. The song’s gentle, almost sleepy vibe is a perfect complement to the lyrics. Peasley sings from the vantage point of the child, “AFtermy bath/Before I go to bed/I like to lay close/And rest my head/On my daddy/Snuggle daddy/Sometimes we hide/So mommy can’t see/Under the blankets/It’s just me and my daddy.” She goes on to sing of the child happily reading a bedtime story and more before heading off to dreamland. It’s such a short song. Yet it is so emotionally powerful. Being such a powerful piece, it is a wonderful finale from Peasley on her debut. And alongside the likes of ‘Dance Party’ and ‘Fun, Fun, Fun’ it makes even clearer why any parent should listen to this record. It will bring such joy to not only children but parents, too.

The songs noted here are three fine examples of what makes Together such a standout release from Stacey Peasley. Especially being an independent release it is a surprise that none of the major children’s music labels picked her up. Perhaps after hearing the noted songs, those same labels will give her more of a chance. The same can be said of the heart wrenching ‘Far Away’ and the fun bath time song ‘Soapy Bubbles’ ‘Far Away’ comes across as delving into the difficult topic of a young child being stuck between two divorced parents. That’s a tough topic for kids, which is why so few children’s entertainers tackle the subject in their music. Mrs. Peasley is to be highly commended for such bravery. And on the totally opposite side of things is the much more lighthearted bath time song ‘Soapy Bubbles.’ This fun little romp is sure to put just as much of a smile on the face of any listener regardless of age. Peasley sings of the joys a child feels playing with bubbles in the bathtub. What parent can’t relate? This parent certainly can, watching his own son’s eyes glimmer with joy as he blows them around the tub. It’s just a fun song. And it’s one more addition to an album that while it has been out for a few years is still just as good as any album that has been released this year. As a matter of fact, had it been released this year, it might have even made this critic’s list of the year’s top new children’s albums.

Audiences will get a chance to hear all of the songs noted here and even more later this year when Stacey Peasley performs live at the Long Island Children’s Museum Show. That concert is scheduled for Saturday, December 27th at 11am. It is an all-ages show. To get more information on this show, more upcoming dates, and to keep up with all of the latest updates from Stacey Peasley, audiences can follow her online at http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Stacey-Peasley-Band/60359963730 and http://www.staceypeasley.com. Fans can also order both of her current releases through her official website. 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.