ALBUM REVIEW: Gaby Jogeix ‘Smile to the Clouds’

Grammy nominated Americana artist Gaby Jogeix releases his latest album, ‘Smile at the Clouds’ a collection of tracks brimming with a classic New Orleans swagger, that always maintains a distinctly darker undertone.

Opening up the album is the titular, ‘Smile at the Clouds’ and it serves as a perfect introduction to the record. The blues fuelled guitar hook harkens back to pioneers such as BB King, while the chorus draws clear inspiration from the British invasion bands that would follow. ‘Ain’t From Around’ follows in this same vein with the anthemic guitar lead packed full of bravado, a beautiful mix of Slash and Keith Richards. By the time the drums come in the breaks are off and the track begins the charge through your speakers with reckless abandon. As it draws to a close it makes a slight genre jump, morphing into a great slice of classic rock’n’roll.

‘Take it Easy’ shifts the album into a different direction. With a slower, acoustic guitar providing the tracks backbone, it moves away from the more boisterous rock’n’roll, to a calmer, more country sound. This is case lyrically to, with Jogeix hitting all the hallmarks of the genre as he recounts a tale of money woes and work stresses. ‘Low Tide’ takes this slower, country influence and runs with it. It’s intimate and raw as though you were hearing it live in a spit and sawdust bar. The vocal delivery is the real standout here, with Jogeix voice holding that same raspy charm that makes the likes of Rod Stewart so popular.

The highlight of the album is unquestionably, ‘Love Is One Fire’. The track leads in with one of the funkiest guitar riffs you’re ever likely to hear, an equal mix of Nile Rodgers and John Frusciante. As it progresses the duel between the light and heavy of the vocals brings yet another dimension to the track, in particular the lighter vocal delivery that adds a splash of Jamiroquai to this Chili Pepper/Chic Gumbo that’s being cooked up.

Closing out the record is the ominous, brooding, ‘River of Love’. The guitar riff opens up the track, pulling you in with its almost nightmarish quality, before all of a sudden the vocals come out of nowhere, breaking you from this melodic grasp. The rest of the track works mainly as a spoken word affair, with the guitar riff being used almost to garnish Jogeix’s lyrics.

‘Smile at the Clouds’ could be one of the most varied and well composed Americana albums you’re likely to hear this year. Packed full of call-backs to rocks past whilst never feeling dated, the album offers a little something for everybody. With its monstrous highs and dark brooding lows, it’s an album with so much substance to it that it more than warrants multiple listens.