THE TELEGRAM.COM and THE HERALD..........Stellar sophomore album

A review of BREAKING BOUNDARIES by CRAIG SEAMON at TELEGRAM.COM and the HERALD.
http://www.telegram.com/article/20140912/COLUMN17/309129947/1053&template=MOBILE

Heres what they has to say!!!

When Auburn's premiere singing cowboy Glenn Stewart made the "big move" to Nashville back in April 2013, he had hopes of making an album that would be as good, if not better, as anything currently burning up the country charts.  Not only is his sophomore release "Breaking Boundaries" everything he ever hoped for, Stewart's stellar sophomore album might be poised for mainstream success. Now, it's up to country music to see if it's ready for a rock 'n' roll cowboy who parties hard but still has plenty of heart.


"Nashville was the place I needed to be in order to make a CD that sounded like this," Stewart said. "The CD has totally exceeded my expectations. I found this amazing studio and this great engineer, John Albini, and he runs a studio called Sonic Eden in Nashville ... There are a lot of studios that are very capable but John had the edge. He grew up himself in a metal band that toured internationally, and had a lot of success themselves. So, he knew I wanted that big, arena-rock-country sound that still had that '80s flair to it because that's a lot of my roots."

A country-western singer with a hair-metal band past, Stewart — who will be rocking Sunday at Indian Ranch, Webster, opening for the Charlie Daniels Band — wonderfully meshes the best elements of country, rock and pop to come up with a musical hybrid that he has aptly branded as "country that kicks."

"What's funny, every so often I'll go on YouTube or Facebook and some hater will be sending me mailings saying, "Oh, you sold out country. Blaah, blaah, blaah," but Big Machine Records (Taylor Swift's label) just put out a tribute record to Mötley Crüe. So I guess I'm not so far off the mark after all."


The man who brought us "country that kicks" launched a successful Kickstarter campaign to raise an additional $10,000 to put the finishing tweaks on the record.

"For my first record, I played everything. I played all the drums, all the bass, all the acoustic, all the vocals and then just have people in my band. This one, I had to give up all of that control and really rely on the people to do what they do best," Stewart said.

"On these tracks, I have Peter Frampton's drummer playing drums. I got the backup vocalist who goes on tour with George Strait. I got guitar players that have done session work for everywhere from Lady Antebellum to Kenny Chesney to Luke Byran ... When they sat down and pulled the song together, it made the hair on the back of my neck stand up because they pulled it completely out of my head. Literally, each track was cut in maybe one or two takes and then they started doing all the overdubs. And, I'm like, why the hell didn't I just do this with the first record."

Stewart takes an unlikely dance track from drag queen extraordinaire RuPaul and turns it to country gold with a cover of "(Here It Comes) Around Again," which daringly serves as the album's leadoff track. Despite the source material, Stewart plays it straight here and doesn't deliver the song as a goof. Instead, Stewart passionately (and, more importantly, convincingly) belts out the tune while the guitars glorious chime and drums feverously pound.

To his credit, Stewart taps into the heart of the lyrics and unearths intimate emotion and urgency that were buried in the flamboyant original. In the end, "Around Again" is enough to make RuPaul flip her wigs and make the country music industry stand up and notice.

On the mid-tempo "Centerline," Stewart comes to a crossroads in a relationship and realizes that he's been holding on to a fleeting, failing romance. But, instead of your typical, cry-in-your-beer, honkytonk tearjerker, Stewart delivers an affectionate ode to amour and finding new love. Using the great, open highway analogy that his lover is the "centerline" that keeps him grounded, keeps him sane, keeps him on course, Stewart reveals his heart without sounding mushy or maudlin, which, many of his peers will prove in their own music, isn't an easy feat at all.

Described by Stewart as a song that literally wrote itself (in actuality, it was written in five minutes), "Baby You're My Only" is a dreamy serenade that celebrates having a soulmate who offers ultimate support and understanding for what you stand for personally and professionally. Here, Stewart warmly caresses the lovelorn lyrics and firmly establishes himself as a Cowboy Casanova on the rise.

From its Bruce Hornsby-inspired piano intro to his Doobie Brothers' choppy guitar groove, "Rock 'n' Roll Cowboy" certainly lives up to its name."Rock 'n' Roll Cowboy" is just what the urban outlaw ordered, a credo to live by and a catchy chorus you can't get out your head.

The song that's going to get people talking and jaws dropping is the unabashed, hedonistic, head-banging rocker, "Little Miss John Wayne." On this irresistible barroom boogie/readymade stripper anthem, crunchy power chords, snarly guitar licks and powder-keg drumming lay down the foundation for the song's sweaty and sinewy strut and indelible, sing-along chorus of "Hey yeah, I'm trying to make her horses run/Hey yeah, you better hold on/Hey Yeah, the girl is like a loaded gun/When she got her swagger on/She's Little Miss John Wayne." Even better still is the tongue-in-cheek video that features Worcester drag queen Joslyn Fox in the role as the ultimate, liquored-up "rock chick," a role she was born to play.

It's Friday night and Stewart got his "country on" with "Rock This Place." With strutty guitar riffage colliding with party hard vocals, Stewart insists, "Hey man turn the music up/I like my country with a lot of rock/Come on no time to waste/Get up we're going to rock this place." You don't have to ask twice.

Despite sporting rattlesnake boots and a lightning bolt tattoo, Stewart finds a hot, scantily clad blond is the best form of fashion accessory on the irresistible bad boy anthem, "Good on Me'.

Inspired by Kayla Millette (and dedicated to Kayla and her parents, Kerry and Craig Millette), "Dancing" takes a delicate theme about a special girl who always kept a positive outlook in life (despite every day of her short life being a struggle) and transforms it into an inspirational opus.

No matter how much he learns and lives life, Stewart finds he is no more the wiser when it comes to amour on the strutty rocker, "Long Streak of Gone." In addition to coming up with another great musical catchphrase, Stewart weaves another great analogy (this time, a runaway train screaming down that line") that would even make the Man in Black envious.

The album's closer, "Bigger Than Life" unmercifully skewers the "American Idol" mentally of overnight success without working for it.

Deflating "superficial, blown-up heroes" who are in love with money and fame and not the music and the inherent responsibilities that come with, Stewart predicts someday being "original" will be the "next big thing" and then he'll have half a chance.

Here's hoping Stewart is right.

Contact Craig S. Semon at craig.semon@telegram.com Follow him on Twitter @CraigSemon

 

 

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