Best Of The Batch: America
Here & Now

By MuzikMan [02-27-2007]

Artist: America
Title: Here & Now
Genre: Live/Studio CDs
Label: Burgundy Records

Dewey Bunnell, Dan Peek, and Gerry Beckley were America, one of the most famous rock-pop trios to ever record. Bunnell and Beckley remain, with a host of other veteran recording artists to help them record the studio and live segments of their new CD set, Here & Now.

I was watching their PBS special prior to Christmas and was surprised how good they sounded live. The special revolved around promoting this new set, which they offered for PBS memberships. I suspected that this band was yet another dinosaur act trying to make the past come back and they would sound terrible live. I am glad that they proved me wrong. They sounded wonderful, actually, and I was very intrigued as to how the new studio portion of the set would sound, with all new songs.

The last time America released a studio album was the 2002 title Holiday Harmony. I had lost track of the band long ago, and once in while would give their greatest hits a spin and reminisce about the '70s and growing up, but that was the extent of my interest in America.

Funny how things change and how one album can spark your interest in a band, and set you on path to start digging around for more of their recordings. Well, I have not started to do that yet with America and probably will not, but I have to admit that the more I hear this set, the more I enjoy it. Am I surprised?

No doubt, it caught me off guard. I had no idea that this band would be capable of producing such a high quality, consistent studio recording to accompany a standout live performance. Who knew? Well I do now and I hope many others find out soon that America is back and ready to steal your heart away again with folk-rock imagery, lyrics, and those amazing harmonies.

Disc 1 consists of all studio tracks. It is a strong and consistent effort that will remind fans of their string of five albums starting with the letter H in '70s. Tracks like “Ride On,” “Chasing The Rainbow,” and “Indian Summer” are most likely picks for singles, in my estimation. They were the three tracks that reminded me mostly of the America. I remember hearing on the radio back when I actually listened to that from of entertainment, and it was important for artist to have that kind of exposure.

The second disc covers all the live tracks, which is a greatest hits compilation played live, essentially. They do a nice job considering they are missing Dan Peek. The do have some very capable backup on stage to make their old magic return.

I thought it was very clever of them to release a package like this; it generates interest in their back catalog while introducing the new recordings at the same time. This is, of course, a double shot for the fans and the band at the same time (i.e. their wallets). I enjoyed every bit of this great set. I wish America all the success in the world now and in the future.

Disc: 1

01. Chasing The Rainbow
02. Indian Summer
03. One Chance
04. Golden
05. Always Love
06. Ride On
07. Love & Leaving
08. Look At Me Now
09. This Time
10. Work To Do
11. All I Think About Is You
12. Walk In The Woods

Disc: 2

01. Ventura Highway
02. Don't Cross The River
03. Daisy Jane
04. I Need You
05. Tin Man
06. Muskrat Love
07. Woman Tonight
08. Only In Your Heart
09. Lonely People
10. Sandman
11. Sister Golden Hair
12. A Horse With No Name

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