(left to right) Jeff Lewis - Steve Strickland - Barbara Jean
Rich Alcorn - Dave Swart - Ken Petersen
Gotham Rose was formed in 1996 and started out as a
showcase act, promoting special concerts they'd stage for friends and fans wherever they
could; firehalls, the rodeo grounds, even a car lot. The magic was there and before they
knew what was happening, there were original songs being written, studio time being
booked, and opening act gigs for nationally known entertainers. Among those entertainers
were Patty Loveless, the first real break for Gotham Rose, then followed by opening for
Trace Adkins, Neal McCoy, Toby Keith, Collin Raye, Diamond Rio, Rhett Akins, and the ol'
possum himself, George Jones.
Gotham Rose has a sound that is as dynamic as their
name. Their debut CD is self titled, "Gotham Rose" and the music ranges from
traditional ballads to modern country rock with some good ol' two-steppin' and bluegrass
along the way. There's a lot of talent here and all 10 songs on their debut album are
originals penned by Rich Alcorn, their primary songwriter (electric and acoustic guitar
and vocals), Steve Strickland (piano/electric keyboards/vocals) and Barbara Jean
(bass/vocals). On the sidelines but a major part of this album is Nashville's, John
Thompson, who wrote and cowrote several songs, as well as play acoustic guitar on,
"The Best Is A Song" AND produced 8 of the 10 songs on the album. Ken Peterson
handles the pedal steel guitar, lap steel and banjo with ease and Dave Swart brings it all
together on drums and percussion.
That leaves us with Jeff Lewis, the lead singer of
Gotham Rose who's voice needs no accompaniment or gimmicks to set it off. My
favorite songs on the CD are, of course, the ballads. "Dam This River" which
begins with a soft piano, then Jeff's voice backed by a soft, sad acoustic guitar which
gradually grows into the full band. This is such a beautiful song; words, melody,
harmonies, instrumentals, everything.. it's just "got it" and it got me.
"The Best Is A Song", which is backed by the song's writer, John Thompson
with his acoustic guitar, is another heartfelt ballad that just pulls you into it's words
and melody as if it were a part of your heart.
For those of you who love the rockin' songs, you'll
love "Momma Likes to Shake It", and there's the quick bluegrass style of
"Where's There's Smoke There's Fire". All in all, there's not a bad song on the
album and there's a little bit of everything to please everyone. "Gotham Rose"
is truly an enjoyable album and one I'm pleased to have in my collection. It gets even
better... this CD is for sale on Gotham Rose's website for only $8.50 U.S. plus Shipping