Sol 17
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Sol 17

Band Alternative Rock

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May
21
Sol 17 @ Riverbend Winery

Louisville, Kentucky, USA

Louisville, Kentucky, USA

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


Musicianship – 8 out of 10
Though their music isn’t flashy, the Louisville-based trio of musicians that make up the band Sol 17 do a good job of providing substance in every note that they play and sing on their newest release, Breakthrough.  Built on the foundation of solid but quiet drumming by Drew Duvall, bassist Melissa Gaddie and guitarist Ray Wegimont use their instruments to weave a musical tapestry that at first, seems crude.  However, with each additional listen, the tapestry begins to reveal its pattern. After the pattern becomes recognizable, you begin to see the quality of the songs, and the musical artistry that has gone into the creation of each note.  Granted, this album is not a technical display of musical skill; it is, however, a catharsis of sorts.  The members of Sol17 create music because it is within them, and because doing anything else would be untrue to how they feel and to the people that they are!

In particular, I feel like Ray allows the music to pour from within directly to his hands.  His playing, especially his guitar solo at the end of (Race Car), is inspired!  It creates a feel for the project, and is a colorful backdrop against which Melissa is then able to add her rich, dark-tinged vocals.  Considered as a whole, the result is an album that the listener is able to find new meaning in continually!  The more you listen, the more you hear and are able to sense!  I am glad that I gave this CD about 4 or 5 listens before writing the review, because my opinion changed for the better every time I did!  I really like the music on Breakthrough!
 
Songwriting – 8.5 out of 10
I really enjoyed listening to the lyrics of the songs on this CD.  A lot of emotion is revealed, and a lot of feelings are laid bare for listeners to observe. 

In particular, I found the lyrics on the song (New Song) to be very honest and unflinching.  Written from the perspective of the band, it describes the feelings that they have as musicians when they reveal their creations to crowds of listeners, and the listeners just don’t seem to understand.  It also talks about the frustration they have experienced when playing with other bands who only want to promote their own agendas, and only exist to take the stage for their own gratification.  These are emotions that a lot of bands feel, but don’t ever put out there for public consumption. Very brave!

I also found the lyrics on the songs (Race Car) and (3/4 In C) to be very cool.  The first is a reflection of the emotions and thoughts experienced as the author’s life relates to those around her.  In the second, we see the power that love has to change a person’s life, and their subsequent outlook on life and the people in it!  I probably liked this one the best, to be honest, because I found myself applying the words of the songs to my own experiences.  It is a very cool song!  All the songs on Breakthrough are incredibly well-written, and because of that, I am very impressed!

Sound Quality/Professionalism – 7.5 out of 10
Breakthrough has highs and lows for me in this area.  I think that the album is very professionally done; in fact, according to Sol 17’s bio, and from speaking with the members of the band, they feel like this album is a definitive project in their careers!  They feel like they did everything right on this one, and in a lot of ways, I am inclined to agree with them! They do sound really good, and their sound is definitely less ‘lo-fi’ than their last record was.  However, I feel torn, because there were a lot of things I liked about their last record, too!  The first time or two that I listened to Breakthrough, I wasn’t totally sold on it; I had really liked the way they sounded on their self-titled debut, and to me it felt as if they were fixing something that wasn’t broken!  After reading the band’s comments about this CD, and the way they feel after making it, though, I’m happy for them!  In subsequent listens, I’ve grown to like the sound of the new disc, as well!  No reason I can’t like both!  Good job, guys! 
 
Packaging – 7.5 out of 10
I like the very low-key feel of the packaging for Breakthrough.  It has the essentials, but not much else, and in that sense it is very minimalist.  The one disappointment I had was that I didn’t have access to the lyrics for the songs.  That addition would have made all the difference in the world to me!  No worries, though; I just listened intently, so that I could get all of the lyrics to the songs!  Next time, make it easy on a poor reviewer like me, huh?  All kidding aside, though, the packaging (info and artwork) looks great. 

Favorite Tracks
3/4 In C
Race Car
New Song

Overall Rating – 8 out of 10
There is a special ‘something’ that I really like about Sol 17.  I’m not totally sure what it is, but I think that it is a feeling of honesty and openness in their songs, and in their performances.  Ray, Drew, and Melissa are genuine people, and you can tell that through their music, even if you never have the opportunity to meet them!  That’s something that doesn’t happen on a regular basis in the music industry.  No doubt, they have been jaded to a degree by the business we call show, but they have taken that in stride, and expressed their frustration through and in their songs.  That is a healthy and cool way to do so!

I definitely recommend Breakthrough to fans of Independent music.  Sol 17 presents a fresh approach to songwriting and music, and their approach draws you in as a listener.  Every song on this CD is a good song, because the members of the band have put everything they are and everything they have into these songs.  They have laid their souls bare before us.  That is refreshing, and I applaud them for doing so.  I wish them much success in the future, and hope that when you have a chance to hear their stuff, you will be equally impressed with their music!—Mark Lush, Midwestbands.com, 3/11/05 *Listen to Sol 17 on MWB Radio! - Mark Lush, Midwestbands.com


September 2003
With the folkish-rock style of Bob Dylan mixed with vocal talent heard in 10,000 Maniacs, Sol 17 brings folk music with a twist. With songs titled Interstellar Space Suit, Pussified, and Kountry Mist, Sol 17 builds music around great lyrics that do more than tell a story, but build a visual dreamleand that listeners can picture while listening to the album. But just as interesting as Sol 17’s music is the meaning behind their name, mostly just the “sol” part, meaning sun in Spanish.
Overall the album is produced well and mixes up the style the Sol 17 dominates. The only flaw is the tightness of the album. At times some vocals could be stronger, drum beats cleaner and guitar riffs clearer, but still a good quality album. And especially good with it being Sol 17’s first full-length album. With their growth, Sol 17 can only get bigger and brighter. - Louisville.com


Discography

Sol 17, released 2002
"Breakthrough" released 2004

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

A few months back, the three members of Sol 17 took a long, sobering look at their budding career. The band had certainly achieved some noteworthy accomplishments since releasing their first full-length album in the summer of 2002. The group had garnered both critical and public acclaim in the Louisville, KY music press. They’d seen increased exposure as a result, including a Derby Eve radio broadcast on WFPK’s Live Lunch series, a showcase slot at the second annual MOM’s Music Festival, and an impressive showing in the WHAS "Saturday Morning Superstar" contest. And the group had certainly learned quite a bit about the business of music, sharpening their networking skills and taking advantage of regional conference and workshop opportunities.

Still, the band had yet to achieve the seemingly simple task of defining their sound. There was no easy answer for the blank on the showcase application or the question of the booking agent. "I got kind of tired of mentioning the Bob Dylan comparisons," wryly notes lead singer and bassist Melissa Gaddie. However, those comparisons did help them realize the inescapable influence of such classic rock icons on their hard-to-pinpoint style. Other influences were more nebulous in nature, so Gaddie, guitarist Ray Wegimont and drummer Drew Duvall did exactly what music critics frequently do when stumped by style – they invoked the quixotic "E" word.

"If you think about it," says Gaddie with a shrug, "none of the bands labeled ‘emo’ by the press really admit to aspiring to that particular designation. We just thought we might as well cop to it."

Now sufficiently defined, the trio could spend their energy working on a new release, recorded at the studio of co-producers John and Marion Dries, who Ray refers to as "the Viagra of the Louisville music scene." The new 4-cut EP is more rock-oriented and less lo-fi than their previous efforts, and most importantly, it more accurately represents the sound of Sol 17. It’s a disc that all members of the band agree they can finally be proud of.

Sol 17 wisely resisted the temptation to title their new EP "Finding Emo," and opted for Breakthrough instead. "It really is a breakthrough for us," Gaddie enthuses. "In terms of sound, this record is light-years ahead of the first disc."