Gar Francis | Shine On

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Pop: 60's Pop Rock: 60's Rock Moods: Mood: Upbeat
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Shine On

by Gar Francis

Genre: Pop: 60's Pop
Release Date: 

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1. Shine On
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4:01 $0.99
2. Back in 1985
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3:20 $0.99
3. Blue Cadillac
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4:23 $0.99
4. Tragedy
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5. I'm Still Alive
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
"Shine On" the new solo EP from Doughboys guitarist Gar Francis continues with that 60's Garage Rock sound that we have come to know and love so well. The first track "Shine On" starts with that 60's psychedelic groove. Next comes "Back In 1985" with a 60's type ballad feel reminecent of a Phil Spector production. "Blue Cadillac" is a bluesy groove with production from the same inspiration as the Black Keys. "Tragedy" is a pure 12 string guitar based song about the equal opportunity everyone has in finding themselves homeless. And "I'm Still Alive" is an old Who type song declaring that the child inside still remains many years after.


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Skope Magazine - James Independent Music Promotions

SHINE ON - A fantastic EP by Gar Francis
Gar Francis is a Garage rock/Americana/Blues solo artist hailing from Belvidere, New Jersey with a long list of accolades and credits to his name. He has received awards from The John Lennon Song Contest, the Unisong Music Awards, and an honourable mention in the Billboard Song Contest. He’s been writing, recording and playing live for decades, has written songs for the Doughboys, and Jeanne Lozier, as well as writing a tribute for the USA Armed Forces and performing for them. Gar is a busy man, but my task today is to dig into his brand new EP “Shine On”, which comes to us courtesy of Bongo Boy Records.

It’s 5 seconds in and I have to pause to absorb this. Gar Francis knows how to rock, and he’s certainly not content to phone in this performance, preferring rather to set the tone with stomps, claps, distorted guitars and a gravelly, Tom Waits-type lead vocal that carries with it a true rock n’ roll spirit. The energy has elements of punk rock and much of the vocals remind me of Iggy Pop, which is a wonderful thing. Authentic, well-written, and forceful. The production is top notch and the bass, guitars and drums are all interesting; never missing a cue. The bellowing chorus refrain of “Shine on” sounds like both a rebellion and a celebration of life and perseverance. Shine on, indeed.

“Back in 1985” introduces us to more of a Rolling Stones/Americana influence, and no speed has been lost on our trek through this EP. The celebratory, open-hearted aspects of Bruce Springstein’s work are evident in the sound here as well. Gar Francis’s voice is experienced and unpredictable. He sounds vital and thoroughly energized as he reminisces about 1985. This is a perfect example of remembering the good times without dwelling; still seizing the moment, ready to have more fun.

“Blue Cadillac” is immediately cooler than cool; ice cold, in case you didn’t guess. Rarely do you hear a classic sound as fully pepped up as this. If there ever was highway music, music to turn up loud and get out of town, these twanging guitars and peppy beat fit the bill. The destination would have to be some dirty, southern rock bar with just a hint of danger. The kind of place where anything could happen. Gar Francis croons “Rock with me, baby, in my blue Cadillac” and shows the kind of swagger most would shy away from.

“Tragedy” brings a simple two-chord progression with a great lead guitar line, the kind that Tom Petty would take a liking to. The happy-go-lucky feel of the music itself brings an intriguing dash of irony to the song, which is about loss and hardship. And alas, this makes “Tragedy” an intriguing piece, as Gar is taking the zen observer’s approach, or at least the wise man’s perspective that “it happens to all of us”. There’s no reason to be afraid because we are all in this together. A bona fide radio hit that I’d like to see spread for Mr. Francis.

Gar Francis closes this 5-track EP with “I’m Still Alive”, and the energy hasn’t let up. With an explosive Stooges-type guitar bringing the bluesy punk, Gar screeches “I remember different times when youth could stop a war. We were young but we were right. No one gives a damn no more.”

Gar Francis’s EP “Shine On” is recommended listening for any rock n’ roll fans. It’s inspiring to hear this type of output coming from anyone; Mr. Francis’s guttural Iggy Pop-like delivery and genuine fire eclipses most music I’ve heard from artists who are probably half his age. This really is a fantastic EP and I look forward to the next full length for another rock fix.

Blitz Magazine-Michael McDowell- Editor/Publisher

Shine On a reflection of its creator.
Francis brought to the table a wealth of experience as an active participant in second and third generation garage rock circles. As such, it was inevitable that some of the attributes unique to that phase of the genre would find their way into both his work with the Doughboys and solo endeavors such as this one.

To wit, the opening title track takes the basic backbeat of the Dave Clark Five’s Bits And Pieces (Epic 5-9671), adds a bit of the rave up perspective from that band’s labelmates, the Yardbirds and generously embellishes it with the bravado and technical flair of the second generation garage rock visionary and revisionist, Dave Edmunds. While such alliances are not without precedent, they nonetheless do put the most discriminating of peripheral observers on alert.

As such, those observers will no doubt find themselves scrambling to reconcile the perceived dichotomy in Back In 1985, in which Francis’ most marginal references to the closing moments of the heyday of second generation garage rock will find its basic early electric era Bob Dylan template to be an incongruous foundation for such a setting. Indeed, by the time that the fundamentals of the Will Bradley Trio’s Down The Road Apiece (Columbia 35707) find their way into Blue Cadillac, the purists will no doubt be in full retreat mode, only to be finally driven back into their narrow parameters by the Dunwich sandwich (combining the commanding rhythm guitar of the Shadows Of Knight’s Gloria with a variation on the Barqoue-ish leanings of the lead guitar from George Edwards’ Norwegian Wood) on a basic slice of the Everly Brothers’ Since You Broke My Heart (Cadence 1376) that constitutes Tragedy, and the curious deferences to the hippie movement (which remains anathema to the mission statement of many a genre purist and progressive, alike) that suggest at least a brief flirtation with the much despised arena rock that closed out that ilk’s impact on the movement at large at the midpoint of I’m Still Alive.

Which of course is their loss. While a more structured incorporation of the various metaphors may have helped Francis in terms of accessibility (and may have in turn have fostered a modicum of understanding with respect to his perspective on that closing track), Shine On nonetheless stands quite well on its own merits (mixed metaphors and all) and underscores the fact that the most effective mission statement is one that is a reflection of its creator.

Michael McDowell - Blitz Magazine

Gar Francis glows with new EP "Shine On"
Francis brought to the table a wealth of experience as an active participant in second and third generation garage rock circles. As such, it was inevitable that some of the attributes unique to that phase of the genre would find their way into both his work with the Doughboys and solo endeavors such as this one.
Shine On nonetheless stands quite well on its own merits (mixed metaphors and all) and underscores the fact that the most effective mission statement is one that is a reflection of its creator.
Blitz's web site: http://blitzmag.blogspot.com

Review by Bob SuehsRock n Roll Experience

5 slices o' the mans brilliance
Rating: 6 stars! given by Rock n Roll Experience.
Mixing classic rock with 80's style & just a touch o' country tinge in pieces, Gar Francis has a new EP out that gives his fans 5 slices o' the mans brilliance.
Gar's guitar playing & singing compliment each other well & the production sounds great for an independent release.
Do what you have to do by any means to get this disc, it's a MUST HAVE!!