A cover of a well-known song often serves as a good introduction to a lesser-known artist, and that is no less true of the opening cut on Vance Gilbert's new album, Angels Castles Covers. "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing" opens an album that's mostly filled with pop and R&B covers, delivered in Gilbert's soulful, smooth vocal style and backed by light accompaniment. Indeed, one might think of Gilbert's approach as soul lite, an approach that's easy on the ears and that commingles easily on cuts like "Rainy Night in Georgia," "I'm So Tired of Being Alone," and "Save the Last Dance for Me." The most daunting thing here is that it's inevitable, since these songs are so well-known that they'll be compared to the originals.
Composer Hans Zimmer (Gladiator, Thin Red Line, Batman Begins) successfully fused his signature brand of overwrought but highly effective melodrama to the backbone of director Ron Howard's 2006 movie adaptation of Dan Brown's controversial religious thriller The Da Vinci Code. That film's main theme, "Chevaliers de Sangreal," has been retooled for the 2009 sequel (the book was actually a prequel) Angels & Demons, preserving all of its elegiac atmosphere while bringing in more choral elements, as well as the nimble fingers of Grammy Award-winning violinist Joshua Bell to reflect the story's central character, Vatican City.
Call it a soundtrack producer's dream. One of the most vital and influential bands in modern-day music cuts a song entitled "If God Will Send His Angels" just months before you are hired to put together a soundtrack for a movie entitled City of Angels. The band is U2, and their song not only opens the City of Angels soundtrack, but it is also the anchor of a group of tracks that narrowly escapes the sappy trail that the movie blazed when it hit theaters. In all actuality, the soundtrack sounds much too dark, menacing, and legitimate to be attached to the film. Alanis Morissette assures the direction of the album when she follows U2's less-than-perky offering with "Uninvited," which is nothing if not vintage Alanis. From there on the quality drops off somewhat, but not until after Jimi Hendrix comes in with "Red House." It's still amazing to this day how the sounds of Hendrix on the guitar could be so many things all at the same time – soothing, moving, eerie, and untouchable.
Born in England, the son of a jazz guitarist, Keith Salmon later moved to live and work in the Highlands of Scotland. Here, surrounded by the natural beauty and influenced by his own spiritual awakening, his music developed from its up-tempo origins to the gentleness of its present form…