I got home from work the other day and noticed a package on the kitchen counter addressed to me from Eliza Neal’s, and reading that, instantly drew a big smile on my face. I have done work with Eliza back a couple of years ago on another CD she put out called “Liquorfoot”, so I knew I had a winner in my hands.
I felt the bubble envelope and knew it had to be a CD. I open the package and out comes Eliza’s New CD “No Frogs for Snakes”… The CD cover has an eye-catching colorful photograph of Eliza looking slightly back over her shoulder. Her sultry, beautiful look has much, much more to say as you listen closely to each song on the album. Maybe that’s why she has one eye hidden behind a strand of her hair that falls lightly at an angle across her pretty face… There’s definitely mystery there. The rest of the CD, such as the back cover, has another shot of Eliza with her songs listed and yes the black leather jacket with her light colored reddish-blond hair looks nice on her too. This shows her rock side… The focused and unfocused settings in the photographs looks like they are taken near bridges, highways, and railroad tracks. Maybe these are the roads into Detroit as her website homepage suggests.
ELIZA NEALS is "the bluesy grit of Janis Joplin with the fresh new soul of Alicia Keys." "No Frogs for Snakes," the new self released album, exposes Eliza's talents for uniquely written piano ballads with soulful catchy hooks. Armed with ten new songs, four of which are co-written by Barrett Strong, this album is highly anticipated. Eliza has enlisted many of her favorite Detroit musicians to perform on "No Frogs for Snakes," which will be internationally released on iTunes and CD-Baby in June 2007.
liquorfoot" was released in 2005, Eliza worked with Legendary Motown songwriter Barrett Strong ("Heard it Through The Grapevine") and Louis Resto (Academy Award winning producer for Eminem) to develop a sometimes sweet, yet gritty Rock-n-Soul sound. It rocked its way into the Village Voice's top twelve album picks and was Nominated for a Detroit Music Award in 2006 and 2007. "liquorfoot" has generated a great deal of press see it all at www.elizaneals.com
So… I open the CD and popped it into my favorite player and from the first song to the last I was in Soul-Ville Heaven. This album has some real catchy radio friendly tunes. However, it’s the deep soulful compositions that really grab you. Eliza is one soulful lady.
Eliza Neals CD Review – “no frogs for snakes” by Scott Thomas
Song 1 – back to life
This slow to start rocker has a lot of that Jersey Shore sound. I can see guys like little Steven Van Zandt producing this one. Eliza’s sings this tune so smoothly… vocally; she knows how to give a song dynamics and flair. Her lyrics talk about her leaving familiar surroundings and trying to find herself in the bright city lights, and ends up meeting the one that brings her “back to life” emotionally and spiritually. The song builds to several rocking guitars. The guitars sound really big and the beat is infectious. I can hear a song like this being a big crossover hit on rock stations and cross-over country stations too! So... if you like music that has substance to it, kickin’ vocals, rockin’ guitars and hip beats, then the first songs is definitely a green flag to listen to some more.
Song 2 – about her
Eliza starts this one with some jazzy acapella singing in the intro (reminiscent of Alicia Keys). Now comes the steady down beat… oh! Yeah! Once again, Eliza gets vocally into a groove on this one. Her lyrics are so real, but catchy at the same time. She knows how to use her voice always to her advantage. The song references cheating, and heartbreak. Believe me… by the time this song is over, you’ll be playing it again just so you can sing along with her on the chorus. I love the piano sounds on this track. It gives the song real substance. The bluesy acoustic lead solo really adds a touch of class to the song. Bruce Bright plays very clean and melodic and puts conviction into the performance. The tune will have everyone dancin’ if you broke this out at a house party. This is definitely a girl’s anthem… reminiscent of other cleverly written Diva tunes.
Song 3 – save me from the fire
In the beginning, the acoustics guitars with the slide guitar give the tune a southwestern feel. Eliza sings with a deep and raspy voice on this one. Syn (Zug Izland) gives Eliza help with the performance by doing the duet with her. His voice is very bassy and deep and fits very well with the flavor of the song. At times, the harmony almost sounds like gospel music with the many vocal choruses’ building to a big crescendo. Once again, Eliza’s piano playing is nothing but flawless… TALENT!
Song 4 – snakes
Yeah! A killer beat and crunchy guitar rhythm to bring this tune to life. The song’s title tells it all, and the word “attitude” comes to mind when listening to the track. The music is straight ahead rock. Brian Lord’s bass playing is really popping and keeps the song moving along effortlessly. . The lead solo has a really hip distorted electric-buzzing effect on the guitar sound. Neat! Eliza’s arrangement sensibilities are evident here and she’s not afraid to let her feelings known… “Get of my way!” she laments.
Eliza’s album “I'm Waiting” was nominated for "Outstanding Soul/Pop Artist” “Outstanding Live Performer” and “Outstanding Songwriter” at The Detroit Music Awards in April 2006. She has been spotlighted on popular Midwest radio stations including The River (94.3 FM), The Planet (96.3FM), 89X (88.7FM) and WDET (101.9 FM) and has made guest appearances on Detroit’s Fox 2 News and PBS “Backstage Pass."
Eliza Neals has a strong, sultry voice that touches the spirit with unforgettable engaging lyrics that are persuasive and gripping. Her undeniably soulful sound will capture your heart and sweep you .
Song 5 – u can bet
This tune sounds so-o-ooo smooth. Again, Eliza’s velvet voice and piano playing flow like sweet molasses in the warming sun of spring weather. I’m totally diggin’ her ballad and arrangements. The mood of the tune is very reflective in character. Oh… Yeah… here comes the trumpet (played by Ken Robinson) for the solo. Talk about class! Then she has guitarist Stan Blackman lightly sprinkle some flamenco acoustic fills throughout. Once again, Eliza shows another one of her musically talented sides.
Song 6 – paralyzed
Keeping the same mood, Eliza gives us another wonderful piano ballad. The slow tempo and her singing present you with the feeling that she may have personally gone through the very thing she sings about… love and the loss of control. Eliza sings and plays from the heart… there are no hiding any insincerity in her music.
Song 7 – let go
If you love easy listen FM music and need a song to bring you back from the verge of a good ol’ case of road rage, then this is the song to turn up on your music player. Eliza has so many musical influences in her repertoire that it’s really hard to place her with any one diva. The arrangements and the James Taylor sounding acoustics on this song give the song a 70’s vibe. I guess what I’m saying is that Eliza’s music crosses many generations and genres. This tune is just pure “sweetness”.
"No Frogs for Snakes" will Jump into the Ears of the Innocent and Strike the Heart of its Soul. "NYC is Fulfilling and Challenging" says this high energy charismatic displaced Rock-n-Soul singer. "The City" honed Eliza’s unique sound with new energy, honesty, endurance and passion. "No Frogs for Snakes" is a kick ass blend of Rock-n-Soul!
The NYC Album Release Party at the Cutting Room was a stone cold JAM! To all of you that were in the house for the Lunar Eclipse during my performance and felt the magical energy it was unreal! Thank you to my NYC Musicians and visiting Guitarist Mike Smith! Find him on the new Album! Thanks Everyone near and far for your support of Independent music!
Song 8 – leaving Detroit
Up-tempo and sassy… this tune will have your foot just a tappin’ for sure. Once again Eliza employs percussive acoustic guitars with steady hand claps giving the song a revival-meeting feel. She is always looking to give you just the perfect musical setting for each one of her savvy songs.
Song 9 – southern man
One of the best cover versions of this song I have ever heard. Eliza’s vocals are just perfect for this tune. Mike Smith’s lead soloing on this tune definitely captures the Neil Young sound, and even expands on it too… Just totally awesome playing all the way around on this one. You really need to bring something to the table when you do a classic like Southern Man and Eliza nails it here.
Song 10 – forgotten town
Eliza’s last song speaks of a place that has been lost to the winds of time. A place where there once was flourishing life and now wandering forgotten souls. Eliza’s asks, “can I rescue you”? Maybe she is talking about Detroit… the so-called city of the rust belt. Like I said before, Ms. Neals write songs from the heart and sings from the heart. The last song on the album leaves me melancholy…
Well, as an album overall… I give “no frogs for snakes” a “10”. What can I say…? I see and hear T-A-L-E-N-T. With all the music coming out and everyone sounding the same, it’s nice to hear a fresh voice rise up above the pack. Eliza will be around for awhile and I can hear maturity from one album to the next. Do I see a blossoming Diva on the horizon? Time will tell…
Editor / Guitarz Forever.com
Eliza Neals "Southern Comfort Dreams"
"Southern Comfort Dream" was written just after the storm Karina hit and the media caught everyone off guard with the images and cries for help. I wrote this song and donated proceeds to the relief effort. For at least a year or two we started many a show with "Southern Comfort Dream"