Indie Music Stop Review - 3/11/2009

Artist: Just Blue
Title: Below the Damage
Style: Acoustic Folk
Label: Cherry Tonic Music
Rating: 9 out of 10
By Senior Writer C.W. Ross

Just Blue is the duo of Melissa Barelmann (vocals) and Chad Fagg (guitars, backing vocals). This Melbourne, Florida based group plays a pure and simple style of acoustic music.

This musical duo has only been together since February of 2006. They started out playing cover songs in local coffeehouses but weren’t satisfied so they started writing some original material. In just a few short months they were able to write 20 songs, 13 of which made their way onto this release.

Just Blue’s music is uncluttered and both very well written and arranged. Even though the only instrumentation found in the songs is Chad Fagg’s acoustic guitar, like a seasoned snake charmer making a King Cobra dance to his commands, Fagg is able to make his guitar take different forms, be it slow and soft or up tempo with hard string hits.

Layered on top of that guitar work is the pure, crisp vocals, provided by Melissa Barelmann.

Put the two parts together and you have a formula for a release that’s destined to become a classic.

Theme wise the songs pretty much deal with love. Mostly with the rough side of it, like when a relationship is ending. But you’ll also find a few more positive, joyous love lyrics, in a few of the songs.

The highlight tracks for me from this release were, “Better Off Alone,” a spirited song with powerful vocals. “Just for One Day,” that features some nice tempo changes, along with very well done backing vocals that really compliment the lead vocals found in it, and lastly the passionate song, “Catch Me if You Can.”

If you’re a fan of acoustic music then you need to get Below the Damage quickly, even if you’re not, but curious, this release will give you a good taste of what acoustic music sounds like when it’s done right.

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