New Music in Review

Posted In: Arts & Entertainment, National Music,   From Issue 796   By: Trish Lewis

11th September, 2014     0

Music Reviewer, Producer and Host of “The Eclectic Chair”

Survival is the New Success – Paul Sachs

New York City singer songwriter Paul Sachs’ fifth album, “Survival Is The New Success” is bursting with 11 songs that are pure American vignettes. The band is tight and spare with Sachs’ earthy vocals and acoustic guitar, Mark Dann on acoustic and electric guitars and bass, Steve Holley on drums, Fooch Fischetti on pedal steel and violin, Ross Rice on piano and organ. Diana Jones adds her vocals and a tenor guitar on the song “Still Life”.

Sachs’ offers points of view from the past that relate to today like “Oswald’s Window”; “Still I’m thinking bout happiness / Life and liberty / Got the pledge of allegiance / Deep inside of me” and “Hank Williams’ Guitar”; “Pawn shopped and beaten down / All throughout their years / Hank Williams’ guitar / Is still full of tears”.

He cites in the truth of a modern day female soldier with PSTD unable to return to her family and civilian life in “The Devil Never Did” chorus; “I used to pray to God all the time / I used to go to church as a kid / Now I can’t find any peace of mind / After doing things the devil never did” and the sober lament of always being among “All The Junkies”; “You never lose what you really want / Just the stuff you need”.

There is humor in his song “Jesus Candle”; “I’m not religious / But on that grocery shelf / He was staring at me / And I couldn’t help myself”.  In the title track is a Woody Guthrie / Pete Seeger style anthem of the 99% in “Survival Is The New Success”; “Some people sleep inside their cars / And work three jobs a day / Behind in rent or bars / they’re invisible USA”. There have been a lot of these kinds of songs pouring in from independent artists all over the world. This one is one of the few truly worthy of that Guthrie/Seeger comparison to date.

Sachs’ has his finger on the pulse of under trodden and unheard voices of angst, longing and hopelessness of the masses and creative community many seem to tune out for fear that acknowledging unhappiness will make it spread like a virus. He surprised this listener when he made me relate to visions I’d never before considered.

“Survival Is The New Success” by Paul Sachs is a disc not to be missed if you enjoy alternative voices in folk music.

Schlock Star • Joe Sullivan

Saginaw Singer-Songwriter Guitarist Joe Sullivan has a new disc out named “Schlock Star” that brings fresh air to our local pop rock scene so aptly guided by Andy Reed’s production and engineering at Reed Recording Company in Bay City. All ten songs are written by Joe Sullivan who performs vocals and guitars, along with Reed (American Underdog, The Legal Matters) on bass, vocals, keys, lead guitars on the song “Victims Of The Sarlaac” and drums on tracks 2, 6 & 7. Also performing is The Verve Pipe’s Donny Brown drums on tracks 3 and 6, and Yum’s Cody Marecek drums on tracks 1, 5, 8, 9 & 10.

His song “Conspiracy Radio” is a classic pop ditty harkening back a time when radio was the means to a songwriter’s end and perhaps even social change; “C’mon everybody come and listen to the radio/We’ll start a revolution when we listen to the radio/My friends say I’m crazy but they’ve never heard/The power contained when I’m hanging on every word…”

“Nurse Tracy” is a classic pop love song to Sullivan’s wife as well as “Okinawa Girl”; “Somewhere in the Orient/I don’t remember where we went/I met this little girl by the shore/She said her name was Nana San we talked until the day was done and then we talked a little bit more/I’d like to walk you home girl but I don’t know where you’re from/A million miles from home girl, in the land of the rising sun.”

“Sean-Patrick’s Balloon” tells a sweet Beatlesque story of his children Sean and Madisson at the zoo. “Rock Star Boyfriend” is a tongue in cheek look at the 1980s pop rock idolization; “There’s only one thing that she wants from me/My girl would rather listen to eight tracks/Hair bands and Marshall stacks…”

I think my personal favorite is his song “Look At Me Now”; “I used to be a total mess/Ask all my friends they will attest/So arrogant so full of spite/oh what a dreadful sight/I’d burn a bridge and never hesitate/’Cause Pat and Sally didn’t raise no saint…” I have to believe his parents are happy looking at their son now!

All ten songs on this album are a testament to Sullivan’s pop driven psyche. Like all great pop rock, it leaves the listener waiting to cue up for the next release.

I just met Joe Sullivan recently and was blown away by his self-deprecating humor and his comment when I mentioned I am more of a lyric driven music reviewer; “Oh, sorry about my lyrics. I kind of let the music carry them a little. However, my favorite story tellers are Tom Waits, Richard Brautigan, and Mike Viola.”

This pop music man has found a new fan in this listener. Find the 2014 Futureman Records release “Schlock Star” at Bandcamp: and find artist on Facebook:


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