Reed Dickinson | Ruby

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Pop: 80's Pop Pop: Bubblegum Pop Moods: Solo Male Artist
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Ruby

by Reed Dickinson

80's Pop Art
Genre: Pop: 80's Pop
Release Date: 

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1. Ice on a river
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3:36 $0.99
2. Ruby red eyes
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3:29 $0.99
3. No longer a chore
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3:43 $0.99
4. Write to me
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3:16 $0.99
5. Limboland
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6. Dangerous curves
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7. Believe in yourself
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8. Springtime will come again
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9. I am a kite
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10. Bad to me
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11. Devil doll
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12. Lazy day
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13. Rebecca
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Reed Dickinson

Reed Dickinson is a Boston, MA area native who's been recording his own music since 1996. He recorded the retro rock CD Playing Games With The Sun and released it in August 2001 to critical acclaim. "The sweet melodies and superb lyrics Reed Dickinson displays in this album baffled me. Reed Dickinson obviously has heaps of talent as a songwriter and is a very capable singer as well. Playing Games with the Sun is a wonderful surprise and is definitely worth a listen. Reed Dickinson could be something special in the very near future." MODERNROCK.COM. This CD has been compared by music publications to the Beatles more than to any other band or recording artist.

Reed has just released his new CD called Ruby. It's a rock CD but with an eclectic mixture of other types of music interspersed throughout the CD. It might just sound like the Beatles would have sounded had they been together today. The surprises abound.

Ruby was engineered and produced by Paul Caruso at Bay Farm Sound Studio, MA. Paul is well known for his work with the band Aerosmith. Paul also lends a hand with drums and percussion. Other members of the Playing Games With The Sun sessions including guitarist Dana West, keyboard player Janet Hood and bass player Danny Mo contribute to many of the songs on Ruby. The members of this core band are famous for being outstanding Massachusetts musicians.
Ruby is an exciting CD. It is quite different musically from Playing Games but as always, the music is very melodic with lots of cool harmonies and Reed's character portrayals and lyrical messages are still prevalent.

RUBY

Released in September 2003, Ruby is very different from Reed's first CD, Playing Games With The Sun. Games is a soft folk/pop introspection with a 60s/70s retro flavor. Ruby is pure rock energy -- from the driving chords and strings of the opening track Ice On A River, the country-rock of No Longer A Chore, reggae beat and steel drums in Limboland, beautiful and complex orchestration Springtime Will Come Again, punk rock Devil Doll, and the jazz club ambiance of Lazy Day...Ruby is never predictable. Recorded, mixed and mastered at Bay Farm Sound Studio, Reed, Paul Caruso and nine outstanding musicians spent over a year on painstaking detail to get Ruby to sound this good. We hope you like it too.


Reviews


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Genevieve Will

An exceptional singer/songwriter with a heavy storytelling element.
Although “he’s grown up, and he’s mature,” Reed Dickinson can’t seem to abandon the 80s on his new album Ruby. An exceptional singer/songwriter with a heavy storytelling element surfacing in most of his lyrics, Dickinson launches full throttle into modern rock, but loves reversing into power ballad guitar and the synthesizer sound of older Duran Duran. The same gentle excited vocals from Dickinson’s last album Playing Games With the Sun emerge on his new one, only now stronger and accompanied by the singing delight Kerri Powers. Playing the safer side of rock, nothing too heavy or abrupt, Dickinson nonetheless shows himself to be relatively experimental. While a significant portion of the tracks are straight rock with poignant blues-style guitar, he playfully incorporates the sounds of reggae in “Limboland” and country in “No Longer a Chore.” Also quite impressive is the orchestral intro to “Springtime Will Come Again,” nearly evoking the excitement at the inception of a Pink Floyd great. Not that Dickinson accomplished all this on his own; he certainly has no shortage of musical supporters. To jump into the extensive list: Paul Caruso on drums and keyboards, Dana West on guitars, Janet Hood doing keyboards and string arrangements as well, Danny Mo on bass, Cameron Sawzin on cello, Jane Hemenway on violin, Matt Leavenworth on mandolin and fiddle, Jeff Stout on trumpet and PJ Adamson on steel drums. Once again, I’ll plug “Springtime Will Come Again,” as it is a simply gorgeous consolation for and about one who has experienced a great deal of tragedy/pain. I also have to drop props to “Ice on a River” for its 80s sound, great backup vocals by Kerri Powers and socially pointed lyrics against corporate bastards. Finally, “Devil Doll” remains a favorite with its drum ’n bass intro and hilarious male-anti-female lyrics.

Jeff Penczak

Ruby is highly recommended for power pop fans.
For all you folks hooked on VH-1s "I Love the 80s" series, complaining that they don't write songs like they used to, Dickinson's sophomore effort may just be the answer to your prayers. From the catchy "Ruby Red Eyes," with its perfectly executed mini guitar solo from Dana West, to the cheesy, feminine backing vocals of Kerrie Powers on the toe-tapping "Dangerous Curves," and the jumpy, dancefloor magnetism of "Devil Doll, Ruby will bring a smile to fans of such 80s' singer/songwriters as Roy Sundholm and Tommy Keene. Even Wallflowers and Jayhawks' fans will be pleased with the alt.country vibe of the twangy, violin-led (courtesy Matt Leavenworth) "No Longer A Chore." Howard Jones and Paul Young fans may shed a few tears over the heartbreaking tearjerker, "Springtime Will Come Again," and even an old codger like me couldn't refrain from welling up over the father-daughter lovesong, "Rebecca." But these are only minor pitstops along the way, and are quickly overshadowed by the likes of "Limboland," which wears its reggae influences on its sleeve and will have Parrotheads dancing in the aisles, and "I Am A Kite," which sounds like a long-lost Cars' B-side. Ruby is highly recommended for power pop fans of everyone from The Knack and Shoes to 20/20 and The Pop, and is infinitely better than last year's disappointing Rubinoos' comeback.

J-Sin

"He's armed to conquer the airwaves"
Reed Dickinson picks up where he left off with "Playing Games With the Sun." Somehow and I don’t know how, he’s able to actually write BETTER songs! Utilizing drum loops as well as a hodge-podge of instruments like the fiddle, mandolin, steel drums, trumpet, violin, cello, along with your standard three-piece. The title-track is a standout on an album of standouts—I mean that hook is so good it’s sick. He improved his singing ten-fold, which on his last album might have been his only, and I mean only, downfall. So now that he’s armed to conquer the airwaves, are you ready to surrender?

Nicole Volpicelli

Any music lover could find their personal theme song on this CD.
Reed Dickinson's Ruby contains great music with flowing, meaningful lyrics. Any music lover could find their personal theme song on this CD. The world needs more upbeat, encouraging musicians to help us through this sarcastic but loving world. If ever there was a CD to lift your spirits and make sure you will get through the hard times in your life, this is it. With lyrics like, "why must life have constant change/ everything is set than its rearranged/someday you feel just like a king/ but you never know what tomorrow will bring" (track 5, Limoland) It's very hard not to love this optimist.

Charlie Mcfewe

Amazing... Rebecca song includes beautiful harmonies... Just Perfect
This Cd is one of the best out there the whole cd is just amazing. My favorite song is the Rebecca song it is the most beautiful song I have ever heard! Its harmonies are awsome. Just awsome...

Dick Metcalf

Once I put the CD in the player, I couldn't take it out!
I promised Reed (a coupla' months ago) that I'd get this full CD reviewed before trekkin' all over th' world. Though my schedule's been krammed, that's not the only reason it hadn't been reviewed yet. Once I put it in th' CD player in th' truck, I couldn't take it out! He described it as "primarily a rock album," & that fits it pretty aptly. The first track, "Ice On A River" is one of my favorites, & a large part of why th' album stayed in my truck so long. There's a lot of energy & talent displayed here, & though it's not (by any stretch) an "improv" album, it has a relentless punch & enough driving rhythms to salvage it from any "bugglebum" categorization. College listeners will dig it, verzure, & even some of us old cats will find ourselves skippin' back to toons (like th' title track) that remind us of long-lost teenage loves. Dickinson's vocals are clear & "up," & he has a supporting cast of musicians that know xactly what he wants to convey. A cool lil' album that makes for great cruising on down th' road - gets a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for listeners who want something to groove to.

Bill Ribas

I am rather enamored by his songs.
Dickinson returns with his second offering. The music is an amalgam of power pop that traces its roots to the old days of glam rock and big-sounding bands like ELO and Squeeze. A definite '80s nostalgia is at work here. And, again, the songwriting is Dickinson's strong point; choruses have solid hooks, instrument arrangements are varied and interesting, and production is top notch. The title track leaps off the disc with a searing guitar lead, before settling down to an acoustic charge and then building again. And when that chorus hits, with the piano hammering away, I get flashbacks of ELO. Dickinson can kick it up too, as in "Devil Doll," an up-tempo, power-chord-chugging number. It gets a bit dissonant in the middle, but I liked it, nonetheless. He even infringes on a jazz-cabaret sound with "Lazy Day," a slow, sultry number, and his vocals fit quite well. Once again I am rather enamored by his songs.

Doug Cornell

Pure pop bliss.
Are you convinced that there is no one creating pure pop/rock any more? Long before Matthew Sweet flamed out, Cheap Trick sold out to the commercial music empire. These days, all music is pigeonholed into sub-genres.

Boston's Reed Dickinson is serious about putting some fire into the pop/rock category. His new album, Ruby, successfully combines pop melodies with guitar/drum/bass/keyboards rock instrumentation (and maybe a bit of fiddle thrown in for good luck). Dickinson's sharp tenor voice is an acquired taste - his pitch is perfect and he surely knows his way around a hook.

The first track, "Ice On a River," opens with a "Dream Police" era synth melody. The lyrics, which describes a rich, bored businessman, are right out of the '70's. But Dickinson redeems himself with an incredible chorus. "Ruby Red Eyes" is pure pop bliss, with it's happy beat, slamming piano, and radio-ready chorus. Musically, the next track, "No Longer a Chore," could be from the Tom Petty catalog, with it's strumming guitars and fiddle solo. Dickinson also has a way with ballads ("Write to Me", "Believe In Yourself", "Lazy Day"), and while no new ground is broken, he certainly excels at writing melodies. "Limboland" is silly fun, complete with island drums and airy trumpets. "Dangerous Curves," the obligatory driving song, lightens the mood before the dark and moody "Springtime Will Come Again." Expertly recorded guitars, drums and keyboards make a pleasant backdrop for the bubblegum pop of "I Am a Kite." "Bad to Me" has a bit of a Stones vibe, while "Devil Doll's" fast beat is guaranteed to light up the dance floor. Beautiful acoustic guitars and excellent harmonies close the album with the interesting ballad "Rebecca."

There's no new ground being broken on Ruby. Dickinson gives us expertly recorded rock and pop, with solid musicianship and crisp production. For anyone looking for some pure, clean music, Ruby fits the bill.

Stacey Board

Multi-colored influences on “Ruby” from Nashville to Liverpool.
Ruby is a word that conjures up a solid wall of rich red. But I hear many multi-colored influences on “Ruby” from Nashville to Liverpool.

One of strongest songs in my opinion is “No Longer A Chore” for its melody, its lovely slide guitar touches and background vocals.

All of the musicians are polished pros and add strong touches. There are drum loop credits given on 6 of the 13 songs which give the CD a strong pop feel. Actual human operated drums do appear, as does a steel drum.

Dickinson himself plays lead, does all lead vocals, plays keyboards and even arranges the strings. He also does all the songwriting and delivers each one in a pleasing, rich, smooth voice.

“Ruby” is full of positive songs that are fun loving and well played.