Paul Rolnick: Shoot for the Moon

| July 3, 2017

Paul Rolnick

Shoot for the Moon

(Zevely Records)

June 29, 2017

Reviewed by John Hoglund for Cabaret Scenes

Zevely Records has released Emmy-nominated songwriter/producer Paul Rolnick’s debut CD, Shoot for the Moon. The real surprise here is that he waited so long. Inspired by heroes from the past like James Taylor and Jimmy Buffett, his well-phrased folk style recalls an era when many greats were making big waves. The disc of original songs shows him in the best light with his rangy lyric voice that, at times, echoes a fusion of John Denver, Don McLean, and Kenny Rankin. Rolnick’s expressive vocals rank with some of the best. He sings without artifice and it’s all straight from the heart in a manner that is earthy and compelling. Such is the reason he can be compared to the aforementioned greats who came from a time when good singing and phrasing weren’t as rare as they are now.

Throughout the CD, his gifts as a relevant and skilled songwriter are obvious. He repeatedly adds a bit of country to pop sounds, starting with the catchy opener “Is There Anybody Out There?” (written with Tom Kochan), which is a terrific cut. This is also true on “I Still See You” (written with Karen Taylor Good), which is particularly effective. The album is filled with so many gems, like “It’s About Time” (the 2013 MAC Award Song of the Year winner written with Shelly Markham). A poignant beauty with a beat about finding that lifetime love, the song deserves serious exposure: “… it’s about a love that is meant to last forever/It’s about a life that leaves nothing behind.” Together with so many exceptional musical collaborators, Paul Rolnick makes the kind of music you only hear once in awhile in this schizo age of confusing pop music.

Other highlights include two songs performed with his critically acclaimed wife, Karen Mason: “Shoot for the Moon” (written with Dennis Scott). This Emmy-nominated cut sharpens the blurry images of living out all lovers’ dreams: “… we can live out all our fantasies or stay the way we are… or if we shoot for the moon/the worst that will happen is we’ll fall among the stars.” This cut is a diamond and one of the album’s purest gems. The other duet with Mason, “You Sure Know How to Kiss” (written with Dennis Scott), is a lively throwback to those by Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash with a decidedly Nashville flavor that cooks. Other duets also shine, including “The Girls on Ocean Avenue,” sung with co-writer Alan Rolnick, a catchy song with a driving doo-wop beat, and a bouncy holiday ditty, “Step Into the Light, sung with co-writer Paul Evans. The memorable “Believe What You’re Dreaming” (written with Michael Edwin) is an optimistic Disney-esque lullaby that anyone whoever dreamed a dream can relate to. In fact, this terrific collection is a goldmine of dreams (real or imagined) that is sure to get the attention it so deserves.

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Category: CD Reviews, Music, New York City, New York City Music Reviews, Regional

Comments (1)

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  1. Bill Goodman says:

    SHOOT FOR THE MOON (song) is an absolute HIT SONG! Let’s make this happen!

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