Monday, September 1, 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

 
Highway 12 project nears completion

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 3 Comments | Gallery

‘Snail mail’ still kinda cool

By Tony Wade | From Page: A2

 
Democrats plan candidates meet, greet

By Glen Faison | From Page: A3, 2 Comments

 
Stand Up 2 Cancer Viewing party set in Vacaville

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Senior center schedules discussion on senior travel

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Local government schedule meetings

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
 
Car club raises funds, supplies for SPCA

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3

Goodwill opens Outlet Store in Fairfield

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A7, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
Premier post details of new lease

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A7

 
Il Fiorello to host jazz event

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

 
New doctors join NorthBay

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A7

Small earthquakes shake Solano

By Glen Faison | From Page: A9, 1 Comment

 
.

Opinion

 
Whopper of a tax dodge for Burger King

By Mike Kirchubel | From Page: A8, 27 Comments

 
Is social media enlarging or stifling democracy?

By Cynthia M. Allen | From Page: A8

Compromise on Cordelia Road rail crossing costs

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

 
Justice for all

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 9 Comments

Good job, Susan Winlow

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 2 Comments

 
Editorial Cartoon: Sept. 1, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

.

Living

Community Calendar: Sept. 1, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: Sept. 1, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Is my husband right when he says men aren’t made for monogamy?

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B5

 
Horoscopes: Sept. 1, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

 
Horoscopes: Sept. 2, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B7

.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A5

 
5 takeaways from a punch-less summer box office

By Jake Coyle | From Page: A11

Joan Rivers’ daughter: I’m keeping fingers crossed

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

.

Sports

Source: 49ers OL Boone agrees to new 2-yr deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
49er Ray McDonald accused of domestic violence

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1, 1 Comment | Gallery

Kahne holds off Kenseth to win Atlanta shootout

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Wozniacki outlasts Sharapova, in US Open quarters

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Falcons looking to be defensive

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Down at half, US beats Turkey in basketball worlds

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Source: Chiefs’ Smith agrees to 4-yr extension

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Tony Stewart’s return to race track ends early

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Sam clears waivers, meets with Fisher

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

FC Kansas City wins NWSL title over Seattle, 2-1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Raiders claim DE Mayowa off waivers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Jensen waived after Jaguars awarded TE Shuler

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Otto wins Italian Open; Gallacher comes up short

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Weather for Monday, Sept. 1, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

 
Henley takes a 1-shot lead at Deutsche Bank

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Dunn dealt to A’s, could be his last shot playoffs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Fred Couples wins Champions Tour event

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

A’s frustrated after 8-1 loss caps sweep by Angels

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Ernst wins LPGA’s Portland Classic in playoff

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Giants power past Brewers 15-5 for 3-game sweep

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
This date in sports history for Monday, Sept. 1, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

Laurie Danielson Bailey

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 3 Comments

 
Hazel Gertrude Wamsley

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Jerry Lee Trammell

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 6 Comments

 
.

Comics

Rose is Rose Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baldo Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Beetle Bailey Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
B.C. Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Get Fuzzy Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Frank and Ernest Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Dilbert Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Zits Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Pickles Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Wizard of Id Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Garfield Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4, 1 Comment

 
Sally Forth Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

For Better or Worse Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baby Blues Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Peanuts Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Blondie Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sudoku Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Crossword Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Cryptoquote Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Word Sleuth Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Baldo Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Garfield Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Frank and Ernest Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Zits Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Dilbert Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Wizard of Id Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

For Better or Worse Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Sally Forth Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Peanuts Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Blondie Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Rose is Rose Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Get Fuzzy Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

B.C. Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Word Sleuth Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Crossword Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Cryptoquote Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Sudoku Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Bridge Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7