Jimmy Stewart - Thompson, PA

Jimmy Stewart - Thompson, PAJimmy Stewart - Thompson, PA
by Fred Wheeler

Jimmy says he's a fan of The Beatles, especially John Lennon. There are times when listening to the songs on Cordially I am tempted to think that I am actually listening to Lennon. The voice and singing style are amazingly Lennon-like. He even uses some of the same effects Lennon at times used to drench his voice. Harmonies, octaves and phrasing on cuts such as "Cat's Don't Grow Antlers" , and "Karen McDeegle" are very reminiscent of the Mind Games - Walls and Bridges era. Another big influence in Jimmy's music is without a doubt Pink Floyd. It's in the structure of the song and the clean, slinky guitar playing. Check out "East Bound 44," one of my favorite Jimmy Stewart songs. Maybe Gilmour joined in with Lennon. Another Floyd-like song is the 6-minute piece "Requiem" from Klassic Kuts I, in which he moves from theme to theme held together by a Roger Waters-sounding bass line. On "No, Not I" the stye switches to late 60's Buffalo Springfield or early solo Neil Young. Like "Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing" if John Lennon snuck in the studio and did Neil's vocal.

This isn't to say that Jimmy Stewart is simply a clone of classic rock masters. Quite the contrary. He seems to have been able to take all these influences and put them together over the past 30 years of playing music and create an amalgamated sound all his own. He uses multi-tracking to its fullest, adding tasteful surprises here and there. Psychedelic organ, percussion, multi-layered voices. The dual guitar leads on "East Bound 44" demonstrate his superior skill at the guitar, conjuring up Gilmour but with a somewhat blues flair.

While Cordially is the best engineered and produced of the 3 CDs, both Klassic Kuts I and Klassic Kuts II contain some gems. In addition to "Requiem", there's the angry "Short Time"; the psychedelic phrasings of "The Nativity of Irving Goochie"; the self-confident pleadings in "Next Time"; or the blues-based Syd Barrett-evoking "Living With the Lunatics." (Did Lennon sneak in on the Dark Side of the Moon Sessions too?). For something totally different, there's the collaboration he recently pulled off with Kitusai called "Swivel."

Jimmy Stewart has had considerable success with his music in 1999 on various mp3 sites on the net. He's been awarded recognition by the operator's of both MP3.com and AMP3.com. It's easy to see why. In a sea of mediocrity and a plethora of computer-generated songs recorded by people who don't have a clue what it means to master an acutal musical instrument, Jimmy is a musician's musician. He's a hell of a song-writer too.

Recommended for anyone who enjoys classic rock, especially The Beatles. If you're a Lennon fan, you better get these CDs.