THE SHAUN PIAZZA BAND – self titled by John "Stoney" Cannon
Rustic, smooth, soothing. Just a few words that could be used to describe the long-awaited debut disc by rootsy singer-songwriter Shaun Piazza. Chock full of not only traditional Americana fare but also a hearty helping of the classic alternative sounds long dwelling in the region, Piazza’s songs are indicative of what an artist residing between the musical scenes of Columbia, South Carolina and Athens, Georgia might and in some cases should sound like. Piazza’s trick is that he has managed to capture perfectly what should have been unleashed years ago all the while sounding as fresh as any of his contemporaries in today’s music.

Leadoff track “When All” slowly blends in with Henry Wynn’s trademark sensual violin providing the perfect launching pad for Piazza’s weepy vocals. Layered above Jayson Rubio’s subtle drumming and Eric Kinlaw’s floating bass, this track offers the listener an immediate peak at what to expect. Piazza continues with probably his best known track “Blue”. Highlighted by emotionally strained vocals that veer close to haunting, it is easy to hear why this is a fan favorite. “Where Do You Want to Go?” is reminiscent of Beatles era McCartney with lush instrumentation while “Call Your Friends” picks up the musical journey to a comfortable gallop. “Elizabeth” and “Angel of Love” are companion pieces that build on a similar tempo the first driven by vocals and the latter pushed on by its expressive bass line.

If there was a tune here that one would call a “happy” tune it would have to be “What I Want to Do”. Combining strummy and choppy acoustic guitar with hopping vocals that hint 70’s era ELO minus the harmonies, ”What I Want to Do” stands as the perfect stepping stone for the similar “Sold to the Bridge”. Choosing to close out his debut offering on more of a mellow note, Piazza gets the ball rolling with “Alcohol”, a piece that comes dangerously close to being a twin for the Rolling Stones “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” before gliding to a slow halt with the beautifully enchanting “Sad Girl”.

While there is certainly nothing groundbreaking about the Shaun Piazza Band’s debut release, it is made up of ingredients that are getting harder to come by in today’s music like sincerity, longing, and an open cleansing of the soul.

Listen toShaun Piazza Band - What i Want to Do