RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Michael Stanley – The Job
Line Level Music

Rating: B+

Michael Stanley is best known around the world as the Michael Stanley from MSB…The Michael Stanley Band.  You know, they had that song, “He Can’t Love You Like I Love You.”  Ironically their best known song is one that this acclaimed singer and songwriter didn’t write, or sing.  Seems that’s kinda how life worked out for this guy who plays music and lives in Cleveland, where he’s set attendance records at venues despite being an opening act everywhere else.  The fact that he is now more than ever a hometown hero does not mean he has persevered.  He has.  In fact, he’s writing and recording some of the best music of his life.

Stanley’s new album, The Job, is quietly one of the best albums to be released this year.  While it is tempting to call this a singer/songwriter type of project, that would not be fair, as this is a band effort.  The album has groove throughout.  Yet, this one is all about Stanley.  Sometimes its personal and sometimes he’s writing about a character he has made up.  Some songs make you dance, while others make you cry.  This is music that celebrates humanity, the ups and downs, the victories and defeats and the dark scary places that no one likes to talk about.  After all, it’s our job as humans to live through it all.  Stanley’s job as a songwriter is to make us reflect and forget, to think deeply and to boogie and on this sucker, he does both and he does it well.

I don’t even need to mention that his mentor, friend and all around famous dude for producing the Eagles, Bill Szymczyk, produced the album with Michael.  I didn’t need to mention it, but I did.  Shit, if this is good enough to have Bill’s stamp of approval on it, then it certainly gets mine. 

The important thing here is the songs.  From the title track, to the rocking “Everything’s Fine,” to the funny “Last Good Nerve,” to the hopeful “Maybe This is the Day” to the solemn “Dark Angels,” Michael Stanley has captured something special.  It’s our job as music fans to realize this, buy it, listen to it and then tell others about it. 

So, what are you waiting for?  Head over to his website and check it out.  Just click the link: http://linelevelmusic.com

The Job Track Listing

1. Everything’s Fine
2. The Job
3. Last Good Nerve
4. You Just Never Know
5. Survive & Advance
6. Maybe This Is the Day
7. Velvet Parkway
8. Breaking News
9. Unfinished Business
10. Get In Line
11. Taking the Long Way Aroun
12. Same River Twice
13. Dark Angels

By Jeb Wright