MelodicRock Records [Release date 30.03.18]
An interesting match-up here as guitarist JK Northrup is well known to hard rock fans for his work with King Kobra, Paul Shortino et al, however vocalist David Cagle will be a new name and boy does he have a rocking good vocal! Joining these two are Larry Hart (bass), Steve Brown (drums and younger brother of Dokken drummer Mick) and Eric Ragno (keyboards). The album was started back in 2014 but for various reasons hasn’t been completed and released until now.
Plenty of great rock to be had on here, from the opener ‘The Night Is Mine’ with its distinct 70′s hard rock feel and for those after a decent ballad look no further than ‘I Found You’. Album closer ‘Chasing Ghosts’ is another top notch ballad, with added keys from Eric Ragno (he adds a modern feel with his keys playing on ‘Gone’).
On the title track Steve Brown shows his skill with some great drumming, whilst ‘For Sure Thing’ is an instant hit on the ears, with Cagle’s vocals recalling Foreigner’s Lou Gramm. Bit of a curveball on ‘Siren’ which has a funky 70′s groove, although the chorus again brings Foreigner to mind. On this one Larry Hart impresses with some funky bass runs.
JK Northrup keeps the old riffs coming throughout the rockier moments and plays a couple of sublime solos. The good thing is he never overdoes any solo and keeps it short ‘n’ sweet on the solos.
A real treat lies in-store on this album for all fans of top notch melodic hard rock and hopefully we will hear a lot more from David Cagle. ****
Review by Jason Ritchie
JK Northrup answered a few questions about the recent releases with David Cagle and Mood Groove, plus more on the production side of his career…
What have you got planned musically for the rest of the year and beyond?
JK- Wow, quite a lot Jason! I’m currently working on the next Fiction Syxx album with Mark Allen Lanoue, Larry Hart, Rory Faciane and Eric Ragno. However, I am also working on a lot of mastering projects (tba) and working with a few local bands in Sacramento, my hometown, doing production, mixing etc. I will be back at working on my next album project as soon as time allows.
Have you been pleased with the fans and reviewers action to album with you and David Cagle?
JK- Oh yes indeed I have. Although you can never please everyone, the reviews are overall the best I’ve received in a long time! So, we must’ve done something right here :)
How did you hook up with David and any possibility of live shows at some point?
JK- I first worked with David on a song for Liberty N’ Justice via Justin Murr for the album “The Cigar Chronicles” in 2012. I later wrote the song “The Moment” as a single and had David sing it acoustically which turned out great! It also appears on the new album as a full band track. Several of the songs on the new album, “That’s Gonna Leave A Mark” began as an LNJ album that was never finished, but was released as “The Vow” although it wasn’t done. Most songs didn’t have solos, none were final mix or masters and all were done with drum loops and programmed drums and I played the bass. Andrew McNeice heard the demos and wanted David and I to finish it and do it right. Bringing in Eric Ragno on Keys, Larry Hart on Bass and Steve Brown on Drums made the album KICK the way it was intended!! I met up with David and Larry at the MelodicRockFest 5 in Chicago ealier in May and we did discuss the possibility of some live shows, but we’ll see.
The Mood Groove album is a real departure from what you are normally associated with musically. How did the idea for this album come about and have you been pleased with the reaction to it so far?
JK- The Mood Groove has actually been around since the early 2000′s. Lyricist, songwriter, guitarist and published poet, Ed Balldinger, along with few of our dearest friends and I would simply go in the studio and jam stuff out, truly for ourselves! Ed and I write all of the tunes together. Experimenting with different styles, sounds and just having FUN without the boundaries, or A BOX that most music is put into. We never intended on releasing The Mood Groove to the masses, but Khalil Turk at Escape Music heard the new album and knew there was something Different and worth getting out to the masses! The addition of Larry Hart on Bass and Glenn Hicks on Drums and some Lead Vocals, really turned the album into an album that I am very proud of. Although not everyone will enjoy it for what it is, “Ear candy for the brain, so the third eye can see again” (lol, that’s how I explain it), however, for the most part, all that “Get it”, that it isn’t supposed to be radio rock truly love it!
You’re doing lots of producing at the moment. What do you hope to achieve when you produce an album? Which producers do you admire and why?
JK- Yes I am being asked more and more to produce, which can be very time consuming, so I am picking and choosing these days.
My goal when producing is pretty simple. Keep the essence of the artists vision and enhance each song to bring out the best in each one. Then to be sure that each song works as a whole to complete the project. As far as producers I admire, I don’t really have one that stands out, because there are so many. Most of my favorites are the old school guys. I know that’s vague, but true :)
The Gypsy Soul album finally saw the light of day last year and what a great album it is. Why didn’t it get a release back in the day and would you be interested in working with Johnny Edwards again?
JK- That was a great band and we were in the studio with Geffen, Atlantic and a couple other major labels! Several of those songs on Gypsy Soul were from those sessions. Unfortunately, whether it was an issue with our management, or otherwise, we never put pen to paper and we disbanded. Johnny went to Foreigner and I wrote the album which became “Back On Track” with Paul Shortino. Great album :) I am always interested in working with Johnny!! He did sing the title track “Wired In My Skin” back in 2007. Great singer!!
Message for your fans…
JK- I would say to all of my fans and followers “Thank You” and to get ready, because the best is yet to come!! I am blessed to be surrounded by so many great singers, keyboardists, bassists and drummers, so I will be putting together another album soon. There is a lot of positive energy happening right now!!
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