REVIEW: Joe Piket — Everything is Different (LP)

Joe Piket’s Everything is Different has the sort of creative audacity you don’t typically hear from an independent artist. The Long Island based musical artist moves freely between soulful jazz, heartland rock, doo wop, and even prog rock with a convincing talent for each form. Such a synthesis of styles might seem to promise a musical soup but there’s a consistent voice present throughout this material that never abandons Piket. He has the confidence of a seasoned artist and understands full well how to provide an entertaining and honest musical experience for listeners.

URL: http://www.joepiket.com/

“Now I Have Everything” starts off the release in a bracing way. I never expected the violins and strings carrying the initial opening and expected the move into doo wop following on its heels. Piket and his musical cohorts do an exemplary job weaving a handful of vocal strands together with entertaining results. The doo wop form is dated, without question, but Piket never treats it like a butterfly pinned under glass. His voice fills it with the same energy you would imagine him bringing to a rock track.

“Coke Stevenson” puts this theory to the test. It’s another example of the one of a kind songwriting that’s powered much of Piket’s career though its reference in the title to a long-dead Texas governor may feel a little obscure for some despite the song’s contents. It is unlikely to be a serious distraction. He takes on reggae with the cut “My Rear View Mirror” and it is one of the strongest performances included on the release. Its lyrics are among the album’s best and exhibit an easy-going conversational style scores of listeners will enjoy. It is easily one of the more commercially promising tracks on the album.

“Hard to Be Good” has a lot of commercial potential as well. Bringing horns into play gives this song plenty of punch missing from other songs. It strikes quite a contrast with his cover of the jazz/R&B standard “She’s Funny that Way”, one of the most self-deprecating love songs ever written but still affecting after all these years. Made famous by legendary vocalist Billie Holliday, Piket doesn’t emulate her treatment every step of the way, but it’s impossible for anyone to take on this song without laboring in her shadow. He does very well, however, and provides listeners with an artistic and tasteful alternative.

“Another Age” pushes Piket into places the earlier “Piles” only hints at. This multi-part musical odyssey could come off as an overwrought but Piket crafts an epic that doesn’t exhaust your patience three- or four-minutes in. The unlikely blending of styles never strains belief. Much of it echoes territory covered by earlier cuts but benefits from a fresh coat of paint. Joe Piket’s Everything is Different offers something unique for modern music fans to enjoy and many of the songs here should play well for his live audiences. It is a full-bodied work that looks to leave an impression on listeners rather than the disposable music glutting our world today.

Colin Jordan