Charles Ramsey
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Charles Ramsey

New York City, New York, United States | SELF

New York City, New York, United States | SELF
Band Pop Rock


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Cracked! Music Blog"

Well this is interesting. I’ll admit I didn’t have the highest expectations for this one. They say don’t judge a book by its cover, well I guess I shouldn’t have judged a musician by the CD’s back cover either.

So my immediate thought here was seeing the lone unshaven man pictured sitting against the wall in his ragged jeans, boots, and beat up work shirt and thought, “okay here we go another singer songwriter.”

However, Philadelphia musician Charles Ramsey is anything but your typical sounding singer songwriter. Though this album may have been recorded in late 2009, the sound is a solid pop record that included parts funk, country, and rock, which is straight out of the 1970s. The piano driven light hearted pop tunes Ramsey offers up sound like a flash back to the days of Brian Wilson, and Todd Rundgren. His melodies have more resemblance to the likes of the flower power folk of hippie era Donovan then they do to modern soft rock balled makers like Coldplay’s Chris Martin. What is most impressive is Ramsey’s ability to shift in and out of genres and not lose the albums over all solid feel. Drifting in and out from Elton John style upbeat over the top soft rock ballads such as the albums title track, to “Odelia” where Ramsey’s voice and song approach sounds hauntingly like the late George Harrison. Later in the CD on “Still Waiting” Ramsey changes it up yet again, with a silky voices cowboy country song that would fit in with any Willie Nelson song list. Just when you think Ramsey has shown all he has to offer the album wraps with the whimsical piano driven bluesy pop style “Oh Anne Marie” that resembles the original “piano man” Billy Joel.

Charles Ramsey is still an artist who seems to be discovering a sound of his own. Though he seems to wear his influences on his sleeve, and pay tribute to them with his sound, Ramsey’s talent is all his own. As styles and genres of popular music continue to change it’s refreshing to hear an artist whose sound may not fit in to the current “scene”, yet still offer up a variety of great songs.

STANDOUT TRACKS: #1 Good Morning and Good Night, #3 Odelia, #4 Still Waiting, & # 10 Oh Anne Marie.

Rating: 4 of 5 - Cracked! Music Blog

"Not Lame"

One of the strongest examples of 70s singer/songwriter tuneage I`ve heard in a few years. Blind test and drop the digital needle on most of these songs, you`d be hard pressed (in a most expressively positively manner) to say this record was recorded in 2009. Such is the nature of timeless, well-written songs adorned with great piano-based melodies and a soaring, passionate vocals. Fans of Todd Rundgren, Jackson Browne, Billy Joel and more modern day tunesmiths like Jeff Larson listen up! - Not Lame Recording Company

"The Big Takeover (Spring 2010 Issue)"

If 'Good' didn’t have a 2009 copyright date on it, you’d think this was a long-lost gem from the ‘70s. Pennsylvanian Ramsey clearly reveres Todd Rundgren, Harry Nilsson, and especially Emitt Rhodes. None of this is a bad thing—as contemporaries such as Brookville, Orange Peels, and Goodbye Girl Friday have proven, there’s still an audience hungry for heart and melody without an overdose of aggression. Led by Ramsey’s mellifluous singing and piano-based arrangements, “Things Could Be Different,” “The See and Be Seen Scene,” and “When the Forgetfulness of Sleep Has Gone” scratch a pop itch that few artists these days are interested in satisfying. That he does it without once becoming cloying is a remarkable achievement.
- The Big Takeover

"Centre Daily Times (Central PA)"

Incredibly likeable...with songs such as 'Up and Down' and 'One in a Crowd' immediately finding a niche deep inside your brain.
- Brian J. Stokes on

" (New York City)"

Truly remarkable...If 'So Much Better Off' doesn't get your foot tapping, then you probably don't have a foot.
- Jason Mulgrew on

" (Brooklyn, New York)"

Similar to The Cars, The Smiths, and The Cure, Charles proves that there is indeed such an animal as quality pop music. - Dan D'Ippolito on

"Centre Daily Times, WEEKENDER"

If ‘So Much Better Off’ has a flaw, it is definitely one of brevity. With only four songs, the EP paints two distinct sides of Ramsey -- that of incredible pop troubadour and another of acoustic bard who is down on his luck. It's a tempting sound of things to come, and Ramsey pulls off both with ease. Though when in the guise of Liberace on valium, he brings us the pop magic that's hard to forget. - Dennis Fallon on the "So Much Better Off" EP-single

"2008 Williamsburg Live Songwriter Competition"

Charles Ramsey is perhaps the most proficient and tasteful guitarist to perform in the [2008 Williamsburg Live Songwriter Competition] thus far. Add to this natural (rather extraordinary) songwriting ability, thoughtful lyrics, and a really great voice, and you have yourself a singer-songwriter to keep an eye on. -

"Absolute Powerpop"

Charles Ramsey-Good Morning & Good Night. The music of Philly's Charles Ramsey could be summed up best by invoking 3 famous "B"s: The Brill Building, Burt Bacharach, and Brian Wilson. And it's quite reminiscent of a disc last year from another "B": Brent Cash's How Will I Know If I'm Awake. (If I really wanted to pile on the similarities, I could also cite a fifth "B", Ben Sadock). Anyway, enough of the influences and similar artists - they aren't worth a damn if the songs aren't good. That's not a worry here, as you'll find out right away on the bouncy opening title track with its bright melodies and classic 60s-pop horn section. "Odelia" is another highlight, channeling those early Bee Gees records before they went disco, while "Still Waiting" has me looking for Jimmy Webb in the songwriting credits. And he saves the best for the second half of the disc: "She Changes You" might be the best track on the album, with Ramsey in fine voice and a string section that manages to be very prominent yet not overbearing, and the piano-based "My Lost Days" is where the Bacharach comparisons come in. If this kind of pop is up your alley, this will be a major find. -


Charles Ramsey's second album has plenty of great songs, and it's opening title track evokes those bright melodic Burt Bacharach-Hal David hits of the 70's, and resembles current contemporaries, Brent Cash and Adrian Whitehead. But after this great opening track, it settles into a more folk-pop mode with the acoustic guitar similar to Harry Chapin or Cat Stevens with "Things Could Be Different." Ramsey has a rich mid-tone vocal here that wavers on the higher register at times, but the plaintive "Odelia" is a perfect example of where his vocal range belongs. Lower profile pop ballads make up the bulk of the album with "The See & Be Seen Scene" bringing to mind a Philadelphia version of Billy Joel. The only return to the Brill building pop sound is the brilliant "My Lost Days" which resembles Michael Brown (Left Banke, Stories) with a masterful hook, melody and a gorgeous key change in the chorus. The slow but steady "When Forgetfulness or Sleep Has Gone" makes best use of the full orchestra backdrop, although his vocal limitations are on full display here. If you like classical 70's pop and folk this is a welcome addition to your album collection. -

"Philadelphia Weekly"

Charles Ramsey
Good Morning and Good Night
Sounds like: Sophomore effort from State College, Pa., kid whose emulation of Brian Wilson turned left at indie pop and got lost.
Free Association: Nearly empty bar, strumming on a stool.
For Fans Of: Morrissey after the Smiths. -

"Teatunes (UK)"

One of the unexpected results of starting teatunes is that every now and then some plugger or promoter gets in touch with us wanting us to listen to one of their artists. Initially this was brilliant – we said yes to everything, took all we could and felt like gods – GODS – when our ill-gotten gains were delivered. As time wore on, we got less excited about these emails because, well, let’s say there’s a reason that these artists are struggling.

Then I had a message from Charles Ramsey, an American singer-songwriter who got in touch through a shared love of The Divine Comedy. I accepted a freebie copy of his second album Good Morning and Good Night and being the obliging shill that I am I gave it a listen during a quiet afternoon.

As I’m blogging about it and we haven’t discussed dross artists before, you’ve probably already sussed that I’m of the opinion that this might be a bit good. He’s also a difficult artist to describe without comparison to other artists – a practice that I think is criminally unfair but which Charles has said he doesn’t mind me doing.

Let’s start with the inevitable – Charles is a singer-songwriter who primarily uses and composes on piano. At times when listening to Good Morning and Good Night you will, inevitably, be reminded variously of Ben Folds, Billy Joel, Elton John and Rufus Wainwright. Crucially, at no point do you feel that he’s ripping off any particular artist – Charles feels very much his own performer with his own style.

And what a style it is! I purchase dozens of albums every year and find only a scant few songs create a persistence of memory, an impression on your mind that not only makes you whistle it without realising but makes you want to get back to the stereo immediately to listen to that track one more time. Good Morning and Good Night, surprisingly, has more than one of these tracks. The title track is the main culprit – a rousing, bouncy old-fashioned pop song about someone who can’t wait until they’re living with their partner. It’s early Beach Boys material, sure, but when that chorus kicks in for the second time and the production builds with the rhythm, you cannot helped but be utterly bowled over. That little ‘Dontcha know that everything is going to be so lovely / when the sun is shining bright? / And every day we’ll say / Good morning and good night to one another’ refrain will stay in your head for days. Days and days.

Charles doesn’t just stick to typical pop song faire, though. Firmly placing himself in the same vaguely-intelligentish solo singer/songwriter camp as Neil Hannon, Duncan Sheik and Ben Folds, tracks vary from the travelling ballad Still Waiting (currently available on his MySpace page) to the nostalgic My Lost Days. It’s at his most unorthodox that Charles is especially reminiscent of Ben Folds – She Changes You treads much the same territory as Folds’ Landed (people drastically changing when they’re with a new parter) and My Lost Days cribs Folds’ trademark handclaps and horn solo.

It’s a bit tedious that I keep saying Charles is like such-and-such an artist but, as far as I’m concerned, it’s a reflection of how great I consider this album to be that I’m comparing him to these great artists. I have nothing but utter admiration for Ben Folds (well, when he’s not creating rubbish like Rent-a-Cop) and, similarly, I have nothing but utter admiration for Charles. After a month of pretty solid listening, the best I can say is this: take Rufus Wainwright, strip away his ridiculous pomp and chintz, replace it with a grounded, middle-American bonhomie and you have Good Morning and Good Night.

If you like music that beguiles you, that grabs your attention and renders you unable to do anything other than listen then I cannot recommend this album enough. Ok, the production does have a tendency to make some of the songs sound a little similar and he’s someone that could really benefit from an authoritative producer but such is the nature of low-budget albums. Look past that and you’ll find music that shines like little else rarely does these days. It feels like Charles is on the cusp of being discovered – or at least I certainly hope so – and I’m glad I’m here a the beginning. Shouldn’t you be, too?

Charles offers copies of the album for sale directly through his website and through CDBaby or, if you’re that way inclined, it can be purchased through iTunes. There’s a couple of tracks up on his MySpace page, too.

Our friend Gaz over on JustPlayed gave a big ole recommendation to Charles last week and included a free mp3 download of She Changes You. As if you need further convincing! -

"Just Played (UK)"

Do you long for a time when Ben Folds wasn’t shit? Do you find yourself wondering why nobody writes proper songs anymore? Were you pissed off when the last Duke Special album sounded like it was made entirely of sugar, dipped in more sugar and then encased in that sugary stuff they put around sugared almonds? Fear not, help is at hand.

Today’s Futuremusic focus is the really rather lovely music of Charles Ramsey. For a start he has a good singer-songwriter name; it trips off the tongue like Randy Newman, Paul Simon, Teddy Thompson. Luckily, he also delivers when it comes to the music. I’ve always been a sucker for what I would call ‘beautiful’ songs. My brain gets diverted, my thought processes unravel and I zone out of all conversation whenever a ‘beautiful’ songs loom into earshot. Recently, I found myself dashing to iTunes as a result of Peter Gabriel’s stunning cover of The Magnetic Fields‘ ‘The Book Of Love’ being used over the final scenes of the eighth season of Scrubs. Not someone whose musical antics I would normally hoover up, but there I was, desperate to get hold of this track which, as it happened, isn’t available via download stores and thus Amazon gained £3 in order for me to relieve them of a copy of the otherwise shite soundtrack to ‘Shall We Dance’. But it’s happened many times before and I truly hope it will happen many times again the future. The latest ‘beautiful’ song moment came courtesy of Charles Ramsey. ‘She Changes You’, from his current album, ‘Good Morning and Good Night’, is a perfect pop song. A gentle drum beat and a stirring string refrain lure you in before Ramsey’s distinctive but utterly soothing vocals take over. It’s not great surprise to see that he counts The Beatles, Burt Bacharach and The Divine Comedy amongst his influences. The presence of both a harpsichord and an English Horn on this track ensure that it is sonically beguiling. And, yes, you’re reading the words of a fan of The Divine Comedy here, but I defy you to listen to that song and not think, “Mmmmm, I’d like to here more of his stuff.” So, why don’t you give yourself a four minute break from whatever your doing and do just that. Clicky for said song.

See? The music of Charles Ramsey is so clearly borne of a great musical heritage, absorbed over years of intensive listening to some of the true greats, and yet it avoids being simply derivative and inessential. His debut album, ‘Something New’, was the sound of an artist finding his feet and didn’t quite scale the heights of ‘Good Morning & Good Night’ but nevertheless demonstrated a skill for what you might term ‘classic songwriting’. ‘So Much Better Off’, the debut’s highlight, can be heard on Ramsey’s Myspace player and it’s a nifty little piano-pop beast that, were it released by a faddish troupe of pop tarts such as The Hoosiers, could be a huge hit. It bounces along, piano thudding along in a fashion that Foldy Benjamin would be thrilled with, horns gradually building to a glorious flourish and all of it sounding like a record made by someone who loves a bit of ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer’. It’s great.

Recent recordings build on Ramsey’s pop nous and thus ‘Good Morning & Good Night’ is an album that deserves an audience. As any good scientist will tell you, it’s been clinically proven that if you end up whistling a song involuntarily, it must be pretty decent and so I have found myself offering my own, fairly out of tune, renderings of three of four songs from this album in recent days. As with the two acts already featured this week, Charles Ramsey has seized the initiative and put his music out there for you to go and get and both albums are available from iTunes (and other download stores) should you wish to get an immediate fix.

iTunes link for ‘Good Morning & Good Night’

iTunes link for ‘Something New’

But, for those of who’d rather have the physical product (and which right-minded individual wouldn’t) you can avoid cutting Apple in on the deal and give your money direct to the man himself via Paypal options on his website. Clicky.

Whether it’s ‘So Much Better Off’ or ‘She Changes You’, just wait till the next time you find yourself absent mindedly whistling to yourself and take a moment to check which song it was. Charles Ramsey is never going to be trumpeted by the NME as the new sound of anything because, frankly, he’s not but I’d say a bit of space can be made in the hearts of anyone who likes smart pop music, be it Ben Folds, Teenage Fanclub or the aforementioned Paul Simon. No agenda. No fad. Plenty of decent tunes.



LOVE DON'T NEED TO FEEL SO FOREIGN (2012) - New EP featuring five new songs.
GOOD MORNING AND GOOD NIGHT (2009) - The second full-length album.
SO MUCH BETTER OFF (2006) - The EP single featuring the title track and three new recordings.
SOMETHING NEW (2005) - The debut full-length album.



New York-based songwriter Charles Ramsey released his third CD in May 2012. Entitled "Love Don’t Need to Feel So Foreign," the 5-song EP was recorded at ROKBOX Productions and Studio A in Philadelphia with producer Lance Davis (LATEBLOOM, The Bailey Hounds, Alex Radus, Theotis Joe). The EP's release was heralded with a pair of full-band shows at The Living Room, New York's renowned singer/songwriter venue. In August of 2012, critic Mark Suppanz ranked the EP in his Top Ten, praising Ramsey’s “keen melodic sense and lovingly-crafted pop.” Songs from the EP have received radio play on WXPN (Philadelphia), WSTW (Wilmington, Delaware), and Salford City Radio (Salford, England).

Ramsey recently completed work on his newest project: a trio of singles to be released in late-2012 and early-2013. The first of these, “One of Us,” was co-written by Ramsey and Grammy-winning songwriter Scot Sax. All three singles are being produced by Lance Davis and recorded at ROKBOX and Studio A.

Ramsey’s previous album, Good Morning & Good Night was released in 2009 to international acclaim. Drawing comparisons to Rufus Wainwright, Ben Folds, Morrissey, and the Divine Comedy, the album was described as “one of the best releases of 2009” by the Brazil-based music site Paralelo Pop, and ranked in the top 50 of Absolute Powerpop’s Top 100 Albums of 2009. The album built on the success of Ramsey’s debut full-length, Something New (2005), which was met with critical praise and earned Ramsey opening slots for such acts as Dawn Kinnard and Sean Lennon.

Charles Ramsey’s music is available internationally on iTunes, Amazon, CDBaby, Bandcamp, and other sites.