Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.
In this evening’s edition of the Independent Spotlight, we shine our gaze on Billy Sterg, an independent singer songwriter with an 'impressive range' that’s released a slew of new singles recently. His songwriting and production style has caused some to draw parallels to the likes of Sting and Bruce Springsteen due to the “timeless and emotional” music he’s penning. Thus, let’s explore five new tracks from Sterg, all of which are available on a variety of platforms, including his official website.
‘Bamboo Bar,’ the first track we’ll be digging into, is, very as its name suggests, an island themed endeavor. Thus, its execution is sort of hokey, perhaps akin to ‘Margaritaville.’ Sterg does carry himself nicely, though, and the instrumental performances are actually fairly excellent. The song is injected with a heavy pop sensibility that even borderlines contemporary “country.” (Zac Brown or something similar.) This could make it a perfect song for the playlist at a summer cookout this season.
‘Delila’ has a decisively different style - a far superior one, I’d argue. It’s much more suave, and far more smooth. The song is doused in a few different styles. The strings evoke French gypsy music, and the guitar banter is akin to Spanish stylings. All of this culminates rather nicely, resulting in ‘Delila’ landing as one of Sterg’s better songs available. ‘Dreaming’ feels like a spiritual, more upbeat counterpart to ‘Delila,’ and Sterg is accentuated by a superb performance on behalf of his backing band and vocalists. As a lyricist, Sterg defines himself a bit stronger in tunes like ‘Dreaming,' proving he has chops beyond things like 'Bamboo Bar.'
‘Nothing Lasts Forever’ does sound like it was left on the cutting room floor of ‘Tunnel of Love,’ so I get the Springsteen comparison. The synthesized, reverb-laden atmosphere is most certainly similar to The Boss’ classic 1987 record. Hence, the performances on ‘Nothing Lasts Forever’ do feel a tad dated. They are also, however, particularly lovable, and I think fans of 80s love ballads are going to go nuts for ‘Nothing Lasts Forever.’
‘Woman’ is a good hodgepodge of the four tracks that precede it in this review. It has the ‘island’ feel of ‘Bamboo Bar,’ the emotion of ‘Nothing Lasts Forever,’ and the pop sensibility of ‘Dreaming.’ Out of the five tracks, it’s a close second to ‘Dreaming’ in competition for Sterg’s finest work showcased here on the Spotlight. Thus, I’d highly recommend checking him out if these kind of jams are up your avenue. These are well done songs worth your time. They're quite fun.
(Oh, and instead of including album art above, I included a painting of Sterg’s. If he ever gives up music, he’s got quite the career in that art form. What a lovely painting!)