Review of One of Us

Believe it or not, this is an actual review of my album. It was written by Bunk Nesbit and appeared in an Asheville free paper called The Indie.

The songs on "One of Us" from local open-mic staple Michael Channing were written over a time period of roughly 10 years. The songs are very personal and can range from touching to haunting to downright scary at times, but all beautiful in a child-like sense of being. This is real emotional music. Michael uses music as an outlet, and in the liner notes, encourages others to do the same. I cannot agree more.

Michael's main instrument is the bass guitar, but he also incorporates synth sounds, drum machine, and various items found around the house for a full-blown orchestra of one.

The vocals range from spoken word analysis to soft whispery singing that grasp you from the first breath. Nothing is held back, and he lays all his thoughts, fears, and frustrations on the line for all the world to hear, and you can't help but listen, attentively.

Indeed. This is not a CD to play in the background, or for casual listening, this is a CD to give all of your undivided attention to... it will be time well spent.

"Fairytale" is a spark of wonder, with the line "no one believes in heroes anymore when heroes are easily killed," all done with just bass and vocals. Nothing else is needed to get the point across... sometimes simplicity is far superior than complexity. The song that truly shines is appropriately titled, "Make it Shine." This particular track uses the quiet/loud structure to its highest potential. Verses float by quietly, then burst into gold highlighted by outstanding didgeridoo work from guest Kapila. This isn't world music, this is other-worldly music!

"Freaks" takes the album to an even higher level, by exposing some anger, and the basic "one of us" theme, where no matter how different you may want to be, it's hard to overcome your upbringing and early surroundings to be that much different than those around you. "Freaks" is followed by a track called "Wish I Was There" in which Michael longs to help console the hurting faced by many in everyday life situations.

This CD touches many bases. It is sad, angry and depressing, but it is also thoughtful, insightful, and curiously optimistic in its pessimism. It will make you think, and may even cause you to think and act different. That is a positive quality that is rare these days. Everyone should be required to listen to this CD, it would only make the world a better place.

foolscap Home       Podcast       Essays       Poems       Songs       Videos       Stories       Images foolscap

Chokes and Warbles
Now Available

Chokes and Warbles, a collection of essays and poems by Michael Channing