Note: These reviews originally appeared in the Around Hears section of the Illinois Entertainer.
Singer-guitarist Mayo’s 12-song Experiment CD is an electric guitar showcase, with four instrumentals, including an intriguing take on The Beatles’ “Glass Onion.” Mayo is also an effective vocalist and keyboards player, particularly on the T. Rex inspired “Diamond Heavy” and hard rock stomp of “Seven Seas.” There's a variety of approaches on the CD, from the more intricate "Glory"to the serious jamming at the end of “Weeping Lady.”
The glamorous packaging for Covering Up Your Flaws, the debut CD from 21 year-old Isaiah Grass, is a dead giveaway that he’s simultaneously pursuing a career as a pop star and a model. That said, his versatile vocal style and self-penned material sound well-suited to Urban Contemporary radio. The single, “I’m A Freak,” has infectious synth beats, while the acoustic-based “Rainy Days” and “Starting Over” are light and breezy.
Singer-songwriter Leah Thompson takes a light and romantic approach to what she calls neo-soul-pop music on her three-song EP, The Magic. She calls to mind Norah Jones on the breezy acoustic ballad, “Summer Song,” while the title track, with MC J-Biggs helping out, has more of an R&B feel. “I Love The Sun,” a wise choice for a video, features Thompson in a playful and flirtatious mood.