Monday, October 20, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Johnny Colla’s ‘I Hear Voices’ is a delightful musical journey

JohnnyColla

By
From page B1 | November 30, 2012 |

If the sophomore jinx that supposedly curses artists’ second recordings actually exists, more should be as “cursed” as Huey Lewis and the News’s saxophonist/singer/songwriter Johnny Colla is with the release of “I Hear Voices.”

The Suisun City native’s second solo effort, following 2000’s “Lucky Devil,” is one of those rare gems that would sound just as great cuddled up with your honey on a couch in the winter (stocking stuffer – hint, hint) as well as blaring out of the car stereo on a scorching July day on the way to the beach.

The project started out as an a cappella tribute to some of the tunes that Colla loved while growing up, but eventually he added talented players and singers to augment the selections. Colla is the lead vocalist. His soulful, sincere instrument shines on each cut. Every song is rendered with obvious love and affection and, taken as a whole, the project reflects the gamut of human experience from joy to hope to loss to love. Plus, it’s a whole lotta fun.

“I Hear Voices” kicks off with “Our Prayer,” the a cappella Beach Boys song that was supposed to be the lead-off batter for their never-released “Smile” record. With glorious floating harmonies dished up by Colla and his wife Christie, it serves as a sort of invocation.

Any lingering solemnity hanging around after the enchanting opening number quickly flies out the door when the infectious, bouncy “Let Me In” kicks in. Colla’s voice, soulful and edgy yet ultimately sweet, is like an old friend. The song also features some tasty baritone sax by Johnnie Bamont.

“Lover Please” follows and the pleading lyrics paired with a jump-out-of-your-seat-and-dance melody creates a wonderful effect. The tune also happily lets the piano (Steve Lucjy) and sax take victory lap solos.

Colla slows it down on “Naturally,” a tune he penned for Huey Lewis and the News’ “Fore” album, which did not make it on the disc. It achieves that tricky balance of sounding familiar but not derivative. One of my favorite lines: “Love is a struggle and only the strong will survive, so it’s up to me and you to do what we‘ve gotta do to keep our love alive.” While it would have fit nicely on the Huey Lewis and the News’ album, it fits here, well, naturally.

Fifteen-year-old phenom Gabi Wilson, who hails from Vallejo, swings in a duet with Colla on the Chubby Checker hit “Slow Twistin’ ” and it is a ball. Again, the sax is phat and I defy anyone not to sing along.

“A Wonderful Dream” is very different from the falsetto-laden original, but certainly not lacking in heart. The haunting melody and idyllic lyrics of “So Much in Love” are handled deftly by Colla.

I have to say that having “Little Bitty Pretty One,” which features harmonized humming in its intro following the toe-tapping song “Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um” with its moaned title repeated throughout, was a stroke of genius. Both are smooth, affecting and the harmonies are to die for.

“A Lover’s Question,” from 1958, follows and is a delicate and sweet treat.

Queen’s “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” is a song that I grew up loving and Colla’s arrangement swings. The only thing is, I expected a solo that never came. Not a replica of the iconic Brian May guitar solo in the original, but maybe a tasty piano or sax one. Still, the song doesn’t need it: that’s just my Queen snobbishness.

“Save the Last Dance” is a classy way to close out the delightful journey “I Hear Voices” takes the listener on and you are left satisfied, yet wanting more.

I understand that Colla is remixing another version of the album true to the original a cappella vision and that would be wonderful as well. Labor of love is cliché, but I tell you, with this disc, it’s almost like you can see the performers smiling. They do each song wonderful justice by adding just what is needed to service it.

While the musicianship is impeccable, the true star of the show throughout is Colla’s voice. He lives in each song.

 Reach Fairfield writer Tony Wade at over40rocker@sbcglobal.net.

Tony Wade

Tony Wade

Tony Wade is the slightly older yet infinitely more handsome brother of long-time DR columnist Kelvin Wade
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Girl Scouts explore sweet side of chemistry

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Time again for my Cheers and Jeers

By Tony Wade | From Page: A2, 6 Comments

Total Home, Garden & Harvest Festival wraps up

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A3, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Pumpkin Patch Festival set for final weekend

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A3

 
Sessions teach about child support process

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A3

Arrivederci! Italian Festival

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Red Kettle Program returns for holidays

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A3, 1 Comment

Holiday Fashion Extravaganza registration deadline looms

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A3

 
Elder depression and substance abuse topic of discussion

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A3

Vacaville library to host composting series

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A3

 
Senior Center hosts monthly travel presentation

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A3

Napa man jailed for running over ex-girlfriend

By Staff and wire reports | From Page: A4, 2 Comments

 
Local governments schedule meetings

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

Weather for Monday, Oct. 20, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B12

 
.

US / World

Expelled Nazis paid millions in Social Security

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Cruise ship docks with Ebola-watched health worker

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Friends, family of Ebola patient reach milestone

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Obama switches gears, confronting Ebola head on

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 2 Comments

CDC to revise Ebola protocol, Pentagon preps team

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
California lottery sales top $5B for first time

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Archaeologists seek movie set in California sands

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
The 10 semifinalists for World’s Funniest Person

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 2 Comments

On the road to find the world’s funniest person

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
New England raking in millions from leaf peepers

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Police hunt for clues near where Va. remains found

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Super drunk woman arrested, mistook jail for bar

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

Robotic device helps paralyzed groom walk aisle

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

 
Coroner: 6 fire victims died of smoke inhalation

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Pope beatifies Paul VI at remarkable synod’s end

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

 
S. Korea: 2 Koreas exchange gunfire along border

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Sweden: 3 credible sightings in submarine search

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
5 Things to Know about Pope Paul VI

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

UN says Iraq has executed 60 people this year

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Marine accused in Philippine killing tests US ties

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

.

Opinion

Is it truly affordable health care?

By Jim Mccully | From Page: A8, 21 Comments

 
Suisun mayor offers his endorsements

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 7 Comments

Which candidates support Alzheimer’s cure?

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Beware a Trojan horse

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 4 Comments

Pulse poll question

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: Oct. 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: Oct. 20, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

I’m too scared to leave my abusive husband of 15 years

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B5

 
Horoscopes: Oct. 20, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

 
Horoscopes: Oct. 21, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B7

.

Entertainment

TVGrid Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A10

 
TVGrid Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

Comedians honor Jay Leno with humor prize in DC

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
Report: Nashville songwriter Paul Craft dies at 76

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

Reported ‘Easy Rider’ chopper sells at auction

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
‘New Girl,’ ‘Cosmos’ win Environmental Media Award

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
‘Fury’ blasts ‘Gone Girl’ from top of box office

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

.

Sports

Manning breaks Favre’s TD mark in 42-17 win over 49ers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Tim Lincecum waits his turn, still yet to pitch

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Keselowski keeps title hopes alive at Talladega

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Palmer leads Cardinals past Raiders 24-13

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Kings pick up G Ben McLemore’s option

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Rockets beat Warriors 90-83 in exhibition game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Pacquiao makes professional basketball debut

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Cal receiver Trevor Davis released from hospital

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Sounders rally for 2-2 tie with LA Galaxy

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Rangers net 2 in 4 seconds; Lundqvist stops Sharks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

NFL roundup: Jaguars bounce Browns, gets first win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
SEC is 1st conference to put 4 in top 5 of AP poll

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Ski champ Svindal injured while playing soccer

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Serena Williams hits back at Russian official

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

This date in sports history for Monday, Oct. 20, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Royals dependent on 3-headed bullpen monster

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
Hend wins Hong Kong Open in a playoff

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

Baek wins playoff to take LPGA South Korea

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
Ilonen beats Stenson in World Match Play final

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

Jay Haas wins Greater Hickory Kia Classic

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
Ben Martin wins 1st PGA Tour title in Las Vegas

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

Denkinger’s miss revisited as Series returns to KC

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9 | Gallery

 
.

Business

Facebook, Apple pay for egg freezing, sperm donors

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
.

Obituaries

.

Comics

B.C. Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Peanuts Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baby Blues Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Rose is Rose Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Dilbert Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Frank and Ernest Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Get Fuzzy Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Pickles Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Garfield October 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Sally Forth Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baldo Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Beetle Bailey Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Zits Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Blondie Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Wizard of Id Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
For Better or Worse Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Bridge Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Cryptoquote Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Crossword Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Word Sleuth Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Sudoku Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Dilbert Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Beetle Bailey Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
B.C. Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Frank and Ernest Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Blondie Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Garfield Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Get Fuzzy Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Baldo Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Pickles Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Rose is Rose Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Baby Blues Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

For Better or Worse Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Sally Forth Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Zits Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Wizard of Id Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Peanuts Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Bridge Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Sudoku Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Crossword Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Word Sleuth Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Cryptoquote Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7