I’m a sucker for good music. I admit it. There I sat at my computer on a Friday evening / Saturday morning at almost one am. (I had nothing else to do but that’s another story). I was just getting ready to hit the sack and thought I would check my email one last time before turning in. Damn. I had just gotten an email from an online site for which I write the occasional music review. He needs a review done as soon as possible. I shoot him back a quick missive that tomorrow morning is the best I can do. Like most people, I tend to see the world from my perspective and what I fail to realize until it’s too late is that he is in Australia and it is already mid-day Saturday there. Too late. So he responds almost immediately with the details and a link to download the tracks and the pertinent information. Instead of turning off the computer and going to bed, curiosity gets the best of me. I click the download link and seconds later, the new album from Billy Grima is on my desktop. Still not too late to bail. I already told him I couldn’t get to it until the morning. What the hell. A quick listen to a track or two and off to bed. Who am I kidding?
The first thing I encounter is the album cover. This guy looks like a cross between James Taylor and Paul Simon. A dead ringer. Alright. A quick preview. The next thing I know, I am eight tracks in to a ten track record and haven’t heard a filler yet. A filler? You know, a song that just doesn’t quite measure up to the rest of the material. Not a one, so far. Grima’s manner and style is confident, energetic and very easy going. His songwriting style is narrative and very clever. His vocal style is familiar yet unique. Almost a Billy Joel quality but not quite as sappy as Joel. The music is probably best classified as Americana which is becoming somewhat of a catch all these days. It’s not exactly folky but very much in the style of a James Taylor or Paul Simon. He is a modern singer/songwriter. Genuine, melodic and a great ear for hooks that are memorable but not at all forced. Sparse use of horns in all the right places that gives this record almost a Chicago blues vibe.
Grima was born in Australia and now makes his home near Toronto. Billy has 3 albums to his credit: “I'm Just Standing”, “A Little Piece Of Heaven” and his latest, “Sugar & Cream” to which I am currently grooving. Like I said at the outset, I am a sucker for good music and trust me, if the record had been a dud, I would have hit the hay, but “Sugar & Cream” is a fantastic record and I can’t wait to feature some tracks on my weekly internet radio show The Mad Music Asylum. The only problem I have is which tracks to play, they’re all so good.
Uncle Duke; a.k.a. Rob Penland is the producer and host of "The Mad Music Asylum" a 4 hour weekly syndicated radio show and now a 24 hour streaming internet station.