Paul and Friends
This is Paul and Friends’ third CD, requiring 4-5 years to produce. It features top-notch musicians from New Orleans and other parts of Louisiana, as well as from Australia. This CD is quite up-beat and eclectic, featuring original primarily jazz tunes, sub-categorized as jazz-rock, acoustic rock, blues, pop, easy listening, Brazilian jazz, and Christian. Quite a potpourri, but it works. Two gems on the album are Sammarco’s own up-beat, jazz-rock title track – the A-side single – ‘Journey of the Heart’, featuring Michael Klaus on vocals, and the B-side – ‘Bad Habits’, featuring Richard Toups. The latter is the first US release of this high-energy Australian swing hit originally recorded by Billy Field. Sammarco has attempted to retain the original flavor of the tune; taking William Motzing’s setting and re-arranging it.
‘Call Her Mellow’ and ‘Beautiful Day’ have easy-going Brazilian musical settings and feature Ben Melancon on lead vocals.
‘Lost and Found’ is an acoustic CSN-type story song, sung by Michael Klaus. A cover on the CD is “Laughter in the Rain” – the Neil Sedaka tune in which Sammarco has combined the arrangements of Sedaka and Jeffrey Foskett (Brian Wilson’s touring music director) and added his own spice to the mix.
‘Yesterday’s Dream’ is a kick-butt blues tune featuring Sarah Sullivan on lead vocal and Jason Ricci (Grammy Award Winner, Johnny Winter Band) on harmonica.
‘Find Your Paradise’ is a light rock tune featuring Michael Klaus on lead vocal. It has a bit of a dark theme, but comes out shining in the end.
‘Out of the Woods’ is a ying and yang instrumental featuring Roger Kimball on sax, Mark Trentecosta on guitar, and Rachel Billiott Klaus on synthesizer.
‘Create in Me a Clean Heart’ is a beautiful Christian hymn, featuring the enormously talented Donna Sammarco of ‘On Eagles Wings’ fame, on solo piano.
Another Christian tune is ‘The 23rd Psalm, with a Children’s Prayer’, setting the story of the 23rd Psalm (“The Lord is my Shepherd…”) as a child’s dream – sung by two choirs.
A third Christian tune is another Sammarco original, ‘The Lord, He Knows’, an acoustic tune with heavy vocal harmonies, again featuring Michael Klaus on lead vocals.
The Bonus Tracks are short vignettes excised from Paul and Friends’ earlier CD ‘Smooth Sailing’. Here the instrumentals have been stripped from the recording to reveal the rich a capella vocal harmonies. The tunes include ‘Have You Ever Seen…?’, ‘Drift Away’, and ‘Just One More Time’, featuring Martin Hart, Lindsay Melancon Ogle, Ben Melancon, and Paul W. Sammarco. This thing’s a mix, but we think it came out great. Enjoy!