Looking at Buzz Cason’s material on Discogs or AllMusic.com and hearing his new Passion album one gets the sense that the music industry has an obligation to artists creating something as driving, catchy and meaningful as this essential release. An obligation to get this music into as many ears as possible. Perfectly sequenced, be it track 6, “Like a Dog,” or that which follows, “Just as Gone,” wherever one drops the proverbial needle rocking, introspective and appealing melodies flow over the danceable undercurrent. Cason’s voice is distinct and to the point. The guitar riffs are key, a component Ian Hunter utilizes – though the two artists are on different sides of the fence, they’d be a complementary pairing in concert. Hunter’s ten song Fingers Crossed disc and Cason’s eleven tune Passion are releases by two masters in control of their sound and their message. The music here rises above the categories and labels – “Americana,” “Country Rock,” “Southern Pop,” the telling “Fear” is philosophical, as the aforementioned Hunter certainly likes to be, but – again – from a different perspective. “We Soldiered On” feels like a paean to what Joe South and Gordon Lightfoot were fervently providing in the ‘70s, elaborating on those themes with superb production that brings each instrument its space, the combination making for a listenable collection that stands up to dozens of spins. I’ve kept this disc front and center for the better part of three weeks, and it begs repeated listens.
Venturing to Cason’s Apple iTunes page is like walking into a brick and mortar store and finding a stack of wax to plow through, especially for the listener unaware of this man who jammed with Elvis and put vocals on some of Presley’s posthumous releases. The title track has lilting guitars that merge with the symphonic strings/keys while Buzz tells the story with an abundance of descriptive words, distilling into the one-word chorus, ”Passion.” The harmonica on “Bread” sets the stage for this pop-goes-to-the-old-west essay. Not the Jerry Ross composition that was famously on the flip side of Bobby Hebb’s “Sunny,” this “Bread” is a Cason original, personal manna from heaven as “there was a time when I thought life should give me a free pass,” diving into a chorus that is the solution. Fans of Neil Young can find much power in these tracks, “Will You Love Me” having Young’s transcendence and grit. Three of the eleven tracks reach the four-minute mark, the other seven within the pop confines of 2:49 to 3:27, succinct and trenchant, expressing a variety of emotions. Be it “Walkin,” or “That’s the Way it Is,” the train chugs along with improvisational narratives that each deliver their own brand of fun.
em>Joe Viglione is the Chief Film Critic at TMRZoo.com. He has written thousands of reviews and biographies for AllMovie.com, Allmusic.com, Gatehouse Media, Al Aronowitz’s The Blacklisted Journal, and a variety of other media outlets. Joe also produces and hosts Visual Radio, a seventeen year old variety show on cable TV which has interviewed Jodie Foster, director/screenwriter David Koepp, Michael Moore, John Cena, comics/actors Margaret Cho, Gilbert Gottfried, Gallagher, musicians Mark Farner and Don Brewer of Grand Funk Railroad, Ian Hunter of Mott The Hoople, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore, Felix Cavaliere of The Rascals, political commentator Bill Press and hundreds of other personalities.