Sep 28, 2018
CD Baby Review: Best Independent Album of 2018 thus far!!!!
Jim Stanard is NOT your standard run-of-the-mill singer/songwriter. He recently retired from his job as a prominent leader in the finance and insurance world. As such, he is now honing his craft as performer. His new CD, entitled BUCKET LIST (Manatee Records) is an inspiring collection of songs. He waited some 40 years to begin his singing and song writing career. Simply put, it was worth the wait. Full Disclosure — Jim started preparing for his music debut in the early 2000s, but didn’t start his career until earlier this year.
There are 11 tracks (all original compositions). His singing and lyrics are unique. Although quite contemporary, he is undoubtedly influenced by Bob Dylan. He recently said that he has always carried around a Dylan line "he not busy being born is busy dying” or so he says! His tunes are quite infectious and wide ranging in terms of influences that includes such diverse artists as Warren Zevon, John Renbourn, Stefan Grossman and David Bromberg. There are hints of classic rock, which he is no doubt also influenced by. Stanard talks about taking responsibility of some of his life choices ("Lobster"), intuitively gets inside the thought pattern of a soldier ("Dogs of War"), and a mild dose of politics ("Can't Happen Here"). He even tackles philosophy ("It's All Turtles"), regret ("Meant to Say") and, you guessed it — the game of love ("Bucket List") and thermodynamics ("Law of Love").
His songs are lyrical, witty and intelligently conceived — some are delightfully constructed ballad. He was an aficionado of great folk singers, growing up. Back then Stanard hung out at the legendary Main Point Coffeehouse in Bryn Mar, Pennsylvania watching legends perform — like Tom Rush, Doc Watson, even early Bruce Springsteen, among others. He saw Bob Dylan in Philadelphia. A series of introductions to music industry insiders led to guitar lessons with Jon Skibic of the Afghan Whigs, and voice lessons with Kip Winger, leader of the platinum-selling rock band Winger. Kip encouraged Jim to begin writing songs and Jim dove in head first, studying with Kip and others and crystallizing his observations into the songs that went on to comprise — but never compromise — BUCKET LIST.
This album is refreshing, and most probably more interesting than what you have been listening to this year. Give Jim Stanard a try. You won’t be sorry you did. It is my sleeper pick for best independent label album thus far in 2018.
— Tony Mastrianni, CD Baby Syndicated Writer