Most would agree most popular artists out there have something truly special to give to their fans. This goes above the typical attributes like raw talent, amazing songs, nice voice, or even a very marketable look, sound and image. There’s something truly infectious at the core of these artists that simply makes us feel good when we listen to them. Whatever “it” is – they all seem to have “it”. Today I listened to the latest CD from Maui, Hawaii based artist Pat Simmons Jr. who just released his latest debut CD entitled: “This Mountain”. If the name rings a bell it should, because this guy is the son of legendary guitarist and Doobie Brothers founder Pat Simmons. Venturing to his website I get the impression this is one guy that’s extremely determined, dedicated and passionate about the songwriting craft and carrying the persona of a carefree songwriting spirit. Anyway – from start to finish this short but sweet CD from Simmons delivers the goods and is a very entertaining musical experience. It has an impressive and carefree Acrostic-Folk rock quality to it, and even dabbles in Jazz/Blues/Folk-Rock and Americana, Reggae to Jam Band.
Any fans of any of these musical styles or bands will enjoy this latest release. It’s clearly marketed for those who like an easy going male vocal front and playing that never let’s down its guard. I get the impression Simmons is letting it all hang out via this compelling 6 track line up. In other words he hits the mark remarkably well by just by being who he is musically. I definitely feel that laid- back Hawaiian attitude. All songs strike the perfect balance between Jazzy Pop, Reggae-Rock, Folk, Blues and Easy Rock. The songwriting is impressive and digs a bit deeper than the next independent band. Within each one of these pieces Simmons Jr. captures something special as he bares his soul and delivers what I would call pure musical mojo. Simmons has a good voice and knows how to sit deep in the pocket. Along the way I couldn’t fail to notice a classic reggae vibe reminiscent of classic Bob Marley. I noticed some amazing slide guitar, bluesy guitar licks and amazing solo guitar courtesy of Willie K. The vocals from of award winning Hawai’ian artist Keali’i Reichel is a real treat on the title track. Other components include Harmonica, Piano, well placed harmonies, solid rhythm section and Banjo. “This Mountain” offers much in the way of relaxation and easy going lyrical content. The playing/singing/songwriting from Simmons Jr. is spot on and just makes the whole CD even more enjoyable. Besides singing Simmons Jr. plays ukulele and Acoustic guitar. The overall persona and easy flowing baritone from Simmons is to die for. The overall vibe of the production is very positive and easy going with pockets of hope shining through your day.
My favorite moment of the CD is the finale ending and message on “Touch the Ground.” “There’s no wealth to getting down, except to touch the ground” – NICE!
I see “This Mountain” by Pat Simmons Jr. as a grand slam debut, thus proving himself in spades. My only criticism if you call it that is I only wish it was say 5-7 tracks longer. Simmons Jr. is a diamond in the rough, with an amazing amount of potential. But most importantly his release shows he is comfortable standing on his own ground as an artist. As time goes by he will no doubt hear more from him I also would be surprised to hear his music on the Radio someday or even in a TV Series or Feature Film or on Headlining tour someday. In close most famous artists out there have “it” I’m not so sure what it but Pat Simmons Jr. has whatever “it” may be.