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Oli Rockberger: Sovereign

Roger Farbey By

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Undoubtedly, Berklee College of Music educated keyboardist and singer Oli Rockberger possesses a truly irresistible voice. True, his compositions and vocal style are vaguely reminiscent of Mose Allison, Georgie Fame and Sting (and, pray, is that a bad thing?); but there's definitely a uniqueness to the delivery of his attractive and memorable songs. He's lived in America for sixteen years but has now returned to his native London, but not before recording this fine album in New York City, released on Michael Janisch's admirable Whirlwind Recordings label.

"Let's Stay Home" is a bluesy, soulful opener, imbued with shades of Steve Winwood and even Paul Simon too. The rousing emotion of "My Old Life" celebrates Rockberger's former time in the States and looks forward to his new renaissance in England. On "Is Anybody Out There?" Rockberger utilises a neat passing falsetto to add poignancy to the hook line of the song, whilst Hannah Read contributes some vital backing vocals on "Right Through Me"

There's a stinging electric guitar break on "Ridiculous" from Ryan Scott and the complex harmonies of "The Garden" are sumptuous. "Burned" has strains of Randy Newman flowing through its satisfying, perfectly-balanced construction plus there's some apposite slide guitar, again from Scott. With Sovereign Rockberger successfully succeeds in melding elements of pop, soul, blues, country, rock and jazz and the resulting live-in-the-studio album is nothing less than enchanting.

Track Listing: Let's Stay Home; My Old Life; Is Anybody Out There?; Vertigo ; Right Through Me; Ridiculous; The Garden; Burned; Let Go; Justify.

Personnel: Oli Rockberger: piano, Fender Rhodes, Wurlitzer, Hammond organ, melodica, vocals; John Shannon (2, 3, 5, 9), Ryan Scott: (tracks 6, 8): guitar; Jordan Scannella ( 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10), Owen Biddle: bass (7); Jordan Perlson: drums (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10); Zach Danziger: drums, programming (7); Hannah Read: additional vocals (2, 3, 5).

Title: Sovereign | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Whirlwind Recordings Ltd

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