CD Review of The Fall Precaution by John Boy’s Courage

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Buy your copy from John Boy’s Courage:
The Fall Precaution
starstarhalf starno starno star Label: No label
Released: 2007

Hailing from St. Louis, Mo., John Boy’s Courage offers up an acoustic-based singer/songwriter sound in the vein of adult-alternative pop such as John Mayer or Dave Matthews. There are also moments that recall some of the cheesier songs from bands such as Bon Jovi and Collective Soul, but unfortunately no rockers like “Shine” or “Living on a Prayer.” Many may think John Boy’s Courage is Collective Soul upon first listen, due to how vocalist/acoustic guitarist Todd Sarvies’ voice recalls Ed Roland’s gritty vocals.

Sarvies sounds more compelling when he belts it out, as some of the softer stuff will be a bit too delicate for many rock fans, although it may also make some of the ladies swoon. “Still” is an example of this contrast – the song starts off as a softer, adult-contemporary tune, but grows until Sarvies is belting it out at the end. “Whisper” brings in a fully electrified sound and has some nice sparkly lead guitar melodies behind the vocals. This is a rarely employed tactic in pop rock these days, but well done here. It’s only too bad that there’s so little of it on the album.

“Matter of Time” has some atmospheric electric guitar that backs Sarvies in creating a bluesy, sultry mood. But the chorus falls back into something of a cheesy vibe. “Wither” is an interesting track; the band gets into a rocking vibe in the verses, then goes into a softer chorus, the opposite of standard pop formula. “Indian Summer” is another of the more rocking tracks, again featuring some nice lead guitar melodies behind the vocals that propel the overall sound.

But most of the songs are based in a stripped-down acoustic sound, with Sarvies emoting heavily. If that’s your cup of tea, this is your band. For the rockers, John Boy’s Courage will be a little too light.

~Greg M. Schwartz