Singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Gary Go’s eponymous debut is fine-tuned power-pop at its best. On his new album, the U.K.-born songsmith (and iPhone music app expert) fuses deft production with emotionally charged songwriting, delivering a soaring set of polished pop hits. Go shines here as both writer and performer. Supported by a band of ace session ringers, Go’s originals span the stylistic as well as emotional divide. Tracks like “Open Arms,” “So So,” and “Wonderful” (the album’s first single) brim with kinetic energy, taking their production cues from past hits by perennial favorites like U2 and Coldplay. “Life Gets In the Way” injects a vintage vibe by way of a swirling Hammond organ. And on “Brooklyn,” the introspective songsmith turns the volume down with a string-drenched piano ballad. Recommended. Jon Regen (Decca Records, whoisgarygo.com )
Career Counselor Go Team Go
It had been a long time since I’d gotten a call to be a sideman. Seven-plus years of solid work as a leader left me pegged as “not interested” by a large chunk of the sidemanseeking population. But nothing could have been farther from the truth. When you’re a leader, you’re often forced to focus on everything but the music — bookings, travel arrangements, publicity — all necessary components to successful music work, but many times removed from the melodies that got us here in the first place. But as a sideman, your job is simply to make the music shine, by any means necessary. A legendary jazz pianist’s fabled contract sums it up perfectly: “Performance fee: Free. Travel Fee: $50,000.” Most of us would play the gig for nothing. It’s the rest of the work that we need to get paid for!