Virgil Cain
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Virgil Cain

Binghamton, New York, United States

Binghamton, New York, United States
Band Pop Rock

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"CD Review "Lights and Darks""

CD REVIEW
Virgil Cain, Lights and Darks.

Onstage, local musician Virgil Cain is a one-man wonder who uses a little technology and a lot of sweat to play three instruments — keyboards, guitar and violin — in his effort to create a full-band sound. His new CD, Lights and Darks, pulls it all together to deliver 12 original tunes that are by turns romantic, playful, poignant and laugh-out-loud funny.

Let's Go opens the album with a bang — an uptempo anthem that urges people to follow their dreams in a post-9/11 world.

In Squish!, Cain can laugh now about a botched encounter in a State Street bar. Thanks to a flawless memory and a fluffed pickup line, a girl he likes thinks he's a dork instead: “I thought that I could have caught her, but her friend said, ‘You wish’ / It's like she took all the water and made me feel like a fish / Everyone turned around / Everybody heard that sound / ... squish!” Make sure to catch the subtle use of the Jaws theme and the gurgling in the background.

Cain pulls at the heartstrings in Forever Mine (a man asks for his girlfriend's hand in marriage) and Pour Some Candlelight (driving home for a romantic encounter with the woman he loves).

But Cain doesn't shy away from love's flip side. In Far Away From Here, a marriage is ending, and the narrator seems to know it may be for the best (“she can't wait / to tear the wrapper off her brand new shiny day”).

31 Yesterdays counts down the days since a breakup, then fast-forwards 31 years to find the pain is just as fresh.

My Check, with its Franz Ferdinand-like guitar hook, is a fun rocker that extolls the advantages of collecting unemployment checks: “What the heck is everybody working for? / Why should I get a job to take a cut in my pay?”

Cain deviates from pop music for the album's last three songs. For two of them, he takes a page from Billy Joel and tries his hand at some classically inspired instrumental music.

The final track, Hey Virgil, This Is Bob, is grinding techno-rock built around a voice mail from his old boss.

Clever lyrics, heartfelt storytelling, and arrangements that will get stuck in your brain — it's enough to give you hope that pop music can have a future that won't be homogenized, focus-grouped and American Idolized.
(Cain's CD can be purchased through his Web site, virgilcainmusic.com — or you can buy a copy at one of his many live shows around the area. No matter what your taste in music, Cain's mix of cover songs and originals won't disappoint.)
— Chris Kocher
- Binghamton Press & Sun Bulletin


"CD Review "Lights and Darks""

Bribes of Twizzlers get you nowhere. Ok, maybe it helps a bit. Playing electric guitar since 13 and violin since the tender age of 5, Virgil Cain is no stranger to the music world. But despite a long career in the music world and plenty of recording sessions under his belt, “Lights and Darks” is his first complete CD of original compositions. And the beautiful part is that there’s no rust, no wetness behind the ears, and none of that obnoxious flavors that singer/songwriters add on their debuts to try to separate themselves from everyone else. He sets himself apart by just sticking to the roots of pop-rock and staying true to the idea that a great song must have a catchy hook somewhere and build off of that.

- J-Sin - Smother.net


"Live Review"

For 9 years, Johnny's has brought you some great talent ....I'm excited to bring back for the third time this year: VIRGIL CAIN..He is exceptional. I have to say that he is the most talented musician to ever perform on our stage. You have to see this guy to believe him...check him out at www.virgilcainmusic.com .He's been "tearing up the Northeast" and building a huge fan base wherever he goes... See him while you can, up close and personal ..this guy is going places!!!

-John Savino (Johnny's Irish Pub - Rochester, NY) - Johnny's Irish Pub Owner


"CD Review "Lights and Darks""

Artist: Virgil Cain

CD: Lights and Darks

Home: Upstate New York

Style: Electric Blues/Rock

Quote: "His earnest ballads feel like Dan Fogelberg or James Taylor with more bite. And his quirky, fun songs make me think of Todd Rundgren."

By Jennifer Layton

This guy is going places. Not only has Virgil Cain presented a wonderfully written, performed, and produced debut CD, but he gets major points for presentation as well. From sending a Twizzler as a blatant bribe to quoting himself in the press kit just after the quotes from the Binghamton Press and Garageband.com (“This CD rocks!” – Virgil Cain), he’s got self-effacing humor that instantly connected with me. The cover concept and photography, credited to Jim Smith, is clever and eye-catching, making the disc stand out from the pile in my office awaiting review. This project may be DIY, but Cain’s not going to use that as an excuse to be unimaginative or lazy with his self-promotion.

As for the music, it sells itself. This is a near-perfect CD. There are some love songs, but Cain also looks for material in other aspects of life – gleefully collecting unemployment checks, not-so-gleefully getting shot down repeatedly in a townie bar by his target’s best friend. And the final track is a pure stroke of genius – “Hi Virgil, this is Bob” takes a musical Office Space approach to a voice mail left by a former supervisor, who I’m assuming has a sense of humor, since he’s credited and thanked in the liner notes. (I hope I’m also correct in assuming that Cain no longer needs him as a reference.)

Cain plays all the instruments on this project, including some impressive violin work that adds magic to rock tracks like the opener “Let’s Go.” This song kicks things off with a fun, catchy, energetic vibe about making this life truly count. He could have gone sappy with the lyrics, but he goes for roadtrip imagery instead:

All this time, my life’s been Sunday driving
My good intentions all around
And I look back and see them flying out the window
Just littering the ground ...

All through the CD, Cain shows a knack for lyrics, giving us images that jump out at us from all directions. A woman walking out of her marriage (“Far Away From Here”), is strolling down the stairs, “and she can’t wait to tear the wrapper off her brand new shiny day.” Any guy who’s proposed marriage knows the feeling described in “Forever Mine”: “I’m on my knee while I’m on my toes.”

There are a couple of places where Cain does trip himself up on the lyrics. “My Check” contains the line “I should be circling ads, instead, I stand here scratching my (pause) assessing opportunities ... “ I groaned out loud when I heard that one. Cain’s way too skilled to be resorting to high school locker room lyrical efforts. And while “Pour Some Candlelight” has warm and romantic lyrics, hearing words like “windshield condensation” kills the mood just a touch.

But that’s just my slap on Cain’s hand with the editor’s ruler. He shows us on the rest of the album that he certainly knows better. His earnest ballads feel like Dan Fogelberg or James Taylor with more bite. And his quirky, fun songs make me think of Todd Rundgren.

Despite the wide range of subject matter and lyrical wanderings, when the CD was over, the impression Cain left with me was that of skilled, gifted musicianship. If nothing else convinces you, check out the gorgeous instrumental piano piece (“IXXI”) or the growling, aggressive guitar on the answering machine track. Cain may have an engaging sense of humor and an anything-is-fair-game approach to songwriting, but he is dead serious about his skills and his career. I’m pretty sure this is one of the few indie reviews he’s going to have to look for. Pretty soon, we’re going to have to hand him over to the major press. I want to let them know right now that I’m not responsible for what Cain does if you leave him a voice message.
- Indie-Music.com


Discography

Full Length original CD "Lights and Darks", released May 20,2005. available on CD Baby (www.cdbaby.com). Digital distribution is pending.

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Bio

A life-long passion for music has culminated into a tightly woven, professionally produced show by VIRGIL CAIN. A multi-talented musician, Virgil has drawn on over a decade of recording sessions and live performances to meticulously build a multi-layered show that appeals to most any audience.

It all started at the age of 5 with violin lessons in kindergarten. Age 13 came around and he discovered the electric guitar. Listening to guitarists such as Eddie Van Halen, Eric Johnson, Jimmy Page, Virgil found his way to playing guitar in original/cover bands in the 90’s. He began playing piano and keyboard parts on recorded songs too. After one of the bands “disbanded”, Virgil played piano and acoustic guitar in local coffeehouses, singing stripped down versions of originals and original renditions of many songs. The solo show developed with influences from Billy Joel/Elton John/Coldplay on piano to Paul Simon/Dave Matthews/John Mayer on guitar. With a passion for evolving a show, he discovered new technologies. Digital looping and sequencing created a full band sound from one musician. Songs would be built up live with guitars, keyboards and electric violin parts built on top of each other. It's this "one man band" aspect of his performance that fascinates audiences whenever he plays and accounts for a good portion of what makes his show worth seeing. His stage presence, showmanship, appearance, and an easy ability to connect with an audience makes up another portion. But, it's Virgil’s talent as a musician, above all else, that garners the respect & admiration of an audience and rounds out the full package. This show also allows him to focus solely on music to make a living.

“Lights and Darks” ©2005 is the first original CD released by Virgil Cain. All instruments (acoustic/electric guitars, keyboards, violins, drums, bass, and many organic effects) and vocals were performed by him in the studio. Creative freedom may have gone overboard with gurgling and whistling solos on the CD, however, profound feelings of passion and inspiration fill out the entire album with stories/songs written from many human emotions. Virgil has received excellent initial reviews……

Clever Lyrics, heartfelt storytelling, and arrangements that will get stuck in your brain – it’s enough to give you hope that pop music can have a future that won’t be homogenized, focus grouped and American Idolized. ---- The Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin

I really can't say enough good things about this song. The details are obviously well-thought out, yet come across as very off-the-cuff. It takes quite a lot of talent to to accomplish that feat! If I could give you more than five stars, I would…. Excellent work! ----- Garageband.com

This CD Rocks! ---Virgil Cain

……...and is presently touring upstate NY to Maryland….and branching out to Massachusetts and Virginia in the near future.