Janet Goodman review of “Rose Colored Glasses”

5 STAR REVIEW of The Livesays’ “Rose Colored Glasses”
by Janet Goodman

South Florida pop/rock band The Livesays deserves to be heard on a national stage. Locals have known this to be so since their inception in 1996. The quintet of seasoned veteran musicians has got the radio-ready mojo going on – a chemistry and sound that are all at once comfortably familiar and walking the edge of “Who is THAT?”

Led by Billy Livesay, longtime lead singer and guitarist for the late Clarence Clemons’ band Temple of Soul, whose soulful, smoky rasp and vocal range are nothing short of killer, the group has recorded their latest album, “Rose Colored Glasses,” released by Echo XS Entertainment. Twelve of the thirteen tracks are written or co-written by the singer, with one cool cover – Dylan’s “My Back Pages.” This record oozes talent, from the solid musicianship to memorably commercial melodies to dead-on rock arrangements by Livesay.

First thing that’s clear here is his story-telling ability. This raconteur knows how to wring emotion out of every sung syllable, and his lyrics are a-bloom with imagery. In “I Waited Too Long” – a moving tale of regret – Livesay brings us into his world: “I tilt my head when I look in the mirror/I look like my father or so I’ve been told/I wanted to see him, reach out and touch him/But I was a secret and that was so long ago.” A tortured electric guitar and music breakdown on the final chorus, as well as not-so blatant, ticking clock-like drumming, all add to the drama of the scene.

We witness the slow death of a marriage in “Little Wars,” and an intimate moment between lovers in the sexy Latin-tinged “Until You Kissed Me Like That.” “Riding Fences” offers up an eerie piano riff, while stand-out track “Sentimental Fool” has a smooth chorus melody and heart-on-the-sleeve lyrics about being “hopped up on romance”: “Wake me, shake me, don’t let me sleep/Cause I’m feeling too good today/I found love when I thought that there was none/And I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Eddie Zyne on drums, Jorge Laplume on bass, Cuqui Berrios on Hammond organ and Tim Murphy on piano round out this dynamic rock band. “Rose Colored Glasses” ought to be on “Best Of” lists everywhere.