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CD Reviews:  Aware 9: The Compilation

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No one has an eye for talent like Aware's Greg Latterman. Having started out less than 10 years ago in a Boston apartment with Aware 1, a compilation of great unsigned talent, this label has helped launch the careers of (are you ready for this?) Better Than Ezra, Hootie and the Blowfish, Edwin McCain, Guster, Vertical Horizon, the Verve Pipe, Tabitha's Secret (who later became Matchbox 20), Five For Fighting, Train and John Mayer. Whew. Seriously, what single major label can compete with that track record? Apparently none, which is why Aware is now under the Sony umbrella.

On to the new release, Aware 9. Boston band Wheat kicks off the record with "I Met a Girl" and reminds me of a modern day Cure. The guitar, piano and sweet harmony of the band Creeper Lagoon are reminiscent of Train with their contribution, "Under the Tracks." Singer/songwriter Bleu has a unique but melodic sound with two tracks on the record. Chicago artist Alice Peacock sounds a bit like Melissa Etheridge on "Alabama Boy" and "Real Day." Jack Johnson, who was also featured on Aware 8, offers "Posters," an acoustic track with a Dave Matthews flavor. Another Matthews-ish track is Dan Darrah's "Jungle Gym Literature." Luce, another band with two tracks, has the haunting "Long Way Down" and rythmic live version of "Good Day." There are some semi-celebrities as well, including Glen Phillips of Toad the Wet Sprocket fame -- his band Mutual Admiration Society is featured, as well as Holly Williams, the daughter of Hank Williams Jr. Holly has the acoustic rock flavor of a Natalie Imbruglia meets Sheryl Crow. Less memorable is the poppy "Idol" by Julie Korman. But hands-down my favorite track is "Tear Down the Blue Sky" by Stacey Wilde -- she reminds me of two of my favorite songwriters, Patty Griffin and Kim Richey, rolled into one. 

While I offer all these comparisons, they are only for the music fan who hasn't heard of these artists yet. Don't you want to just pick this up and say you heard of them before they made it big? And with Aware's track record of scouting superior songs and talent, it's bound to keep happening.

~Mike Farley 

Click here to read Mike's article on Aware! : Feedback - Link to Us  - About B-E - FAQ - Advertise with Us

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