Ray Tarantino – Good Things Will Happen

I’m guilty of judging books by their covers.  If a book cover or title catches my attention, I’m more likely to take a chance on it without knowing much more about it. Sometimes I come away pleasantly surprised, but most times not.  As a “glass half full” type, I couldn’t help but take on the review of Ray Tarantino’s new album,  Good Things Will Happen.  If I had to describe it in one word, it would be soulful.  A mighty brass section and stirring backing vocals present throughout complement Tarantino’s raspy, yet warm and controlled vocals.  Fortunately, this album fulfills its promise – good things did happen, to my ears.

Raised in the UK, Tarantino currently resides in the US.  Good Things Will Happen has been described as a tribute to the American dream, and it fits the definition of Americana music to a T, melding influences of folk, country, blues, and rock and roll.  Tarantino’s voice sounds like a mix of Jakob Dylan and Tom Petty, with a pinch of Daniel Lanois.  That said, his songwriting and musicianship ensures that he stands in a class of his own.

The album starts out strong with “Brand New Day.”  Boasting a vibrant brass section and soulful backing vocals, Tarantino shows early on that he is a talented lyricist:  There’s a place across the dark where I belong / chase the doubt from my dreams / don’t let me be the one who gives up on me … Let me see / that I’m standing on the edge / one sunrise away from the blessing of a brand new day.  Symbolically, the lyrics really convey the belief that “Good Things Will Happen.”

The more I listened to this album, the more I got that warm, contented feeling of happiness that comes from a long drive on a sunny day with windows rolled down, or a summer BBQ with friends and family.  “Empty Hands” perfectly embodies this feeling.  On “Faith in Faith,” Tarantino slows things down a bit, and shows off excellent, lilting guitar skills and a bit of a falsetto.  The lyrics are strong and metaphorical again.  And as I had come to expect by now, the amazing backup singers add a lot of heart to this track right near the end, as if to pound the message home.

The album mixes slower and up-tempo tracks in a way that flows really well.  “Miss Me Now” boasts a lovely string arrangement throughout.  “Guilty No More” is on the other end of the spectrum, offering a blast of drums, keyboard, insane brass, and a killer guitar solo.  All of these serve Tarantino’s powerful vocals extremely well.

Within a few notes, I knew “Silver Line” would be a favourite on the album.  Piano and acoustic guitar-based, it provides a ton of beautiful chord progressions.  Lyrically, it’s exceptional, with Tarantino calling on various characters from Greek mythology:  “Cupid do you ever retrieve the arrows you cast? / How do you feel when you witness that a love doesn’t last? / If I sliced every failure out of your past / Would it feel like the good that you’ve done hasn’t faded too fast?”

While there were a few tracks that didn’t strike me as much as others, I have to say that overall, this is a strong album with a great melodies and vocals, and inspiring lyrics.  Instrumentally, there is a lot going on, yet all works brilliantly together.  I will definitely be adding Good Things Will Happen to my collection, and look forward to hearing more from Tarantino.

Good Things Will Happen is available at http://raytarantino.com and will be released sometime in 2014.

Written by Valerie

About Valerie 21 Articles
Valerie has always enjoyed discovering new music and sharing her awesome finds with others. She's especially fond of alternative, pop, indie, folk and singer-songwriter genres, but also has a soft spot for the old storyteller country music her parents played while she was young. A good chord progression makes her weak in the knees; prime examples being the opening notes of John Mayer's "Slow Dancing in Burning Room" and 2:22 to 2:46 of Foy Vance's "You and I". Her all-time faves include: Crowded House, Keane, The Housemartins, Ron Sexsmith and Travis. Newer faves include: Boy & Bear, Josh Pyke and Bastille.

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