CD REVIEW: The Grey Agents
by: Cyrus Rhodes
Artist: The Grey Agents
CD: Classified Misinformation
Label: Independent Artist
Genre: Melodic Rock, Classic Rock n' Roll, Americana, Classic Rock, R&B, Jam Band
Sounds Like: Tom Petty, Todd Rundgren, Big Star. Jackson Browne, Cheap Trick, Tommy James and the Shondells, The Grass Roots, The Wallflowers
Technical Grade: 7/10
Weakness: Dated Sound, Repetitive Catalog, Winded Songs, Short-Sided Songs
(WEST VIRGINIA) The “Grey Agents” are a 5 piece rock band based out of WV. Band members include Brian Cottrill (Vocals, Rhythm Guitar), John Farmer (Bass), John Forester (Lead Guitar), and Bob Workman (Drums) and Davin Seamon (Piano). Iinfluences include Tom Petty, The Band, REM, The Who, John Mellencamp, Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, The Knack, Big Star and Counting Crows. This latest CD “Classified Misinformation” was released in 2015,
The CD kicks things off with “Anytime” an upbeat intro piece that serves up classic Americana-Rock vibe with slamming rhythm guitar, driving rhythm, rich harmonies and infectious vocal melody from Cottrill and company. Track 2 “Evie” keeps it rocking with its rock steady groove, warm and melodic musical overtone that showcase these 5 as a moving grooving unit. Track 3 keeps things moving with “City of Cold” an impressive melody with slamming guitar served up hot against impassioned vocal feel and heartfelt lyrics from Cottrill that flows and ebbs its way through to emotional fruition. This CD makes a solid first impression dishing out 3 solid tracks in arrow. As this CD slowly unfolds I can hear many different musical soundscapes reminiscent of such classic acts like Tom Petty, Todd Rundgren, Big Star. Jackson Browne, Cheap Trick, The Wallflowers, Tommy James and the Shondells, The Grass Roots and Marshall Crenshaw. The music itself is an amazing blend of classic rock, Slamming R&B, Rocking Blues and a dies of rocking pop popular in the 70 and 80.s. I would not classify this music as power pop, its more melodic rock. Make no bones about it, Cottrill and the gang bring some impressive talents to the table. He’s a great guitarist, singer/songwriter and has a very appealing baritone. His voice goes down smooth and his deep rich vocal delivery. He mostly reminds me of Tom Petty. You will notice lush layers of instrumentation layered everywhere, from impressive solo guitar licks, well placed harmonies, keyboards/organ, impressive rhythm guitar, sporadic percussion and thick as a brick rhythm section. But the most impressive thing about this CD is the amazing wit, songwriting prowess and infectious charm from Cottrill. All musical touches are brilliant and extremely melodic, the drummer pushes the natural accents perfectly and the silky rhythm section clearly gives this production a solid backbone. All songs are extremely well crafted and consistent across the board. "Classified Misinformation by The Grey Agents delivers 15 classic tracks all providing deep, thought provoking wisdom with messages that are uplifting and extremely positive. All engineering aspects check out. CD possesses thick low end punch and crystal clear high end clarity. The amazing lyrics to some of these songs truly personify the "love" human condition – mostly carefree subject matter that is highly entertaining. “Classified Misinformation” works extremely well in this old school rock setting songs for song and track to track. From rock steady “All These Little Pieces” and “Girls’ Code” to grooving “You Gotta’ Be With Me” and “Oh Hannah” to melodic “First It’s Fast” to heartfelt “The Real me” this CD has something for just about everyone.
CD tends to sound a tad bit dated reminiscent of rock bands popular some 20+ years ago. CD tends to sound a bit repetitive overall. All songs over 4 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line. All songs under 2 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line. CD was Mixed by Brian Cottrill, and some of the other band members were involved in various phases of the Engineering. Typically you want 3 separate engineers assigned to each production phase (Recording, Mixing, Mastering). Having 3 sets of ears assigned to each phase of Production is the best way for your sound to reach it's fullest potential. But more importantly it's never a good idea to have anyone from the band assigned to any phase of Production as they are too close to the project to give their sound a fresh perspective. In the end it's about checks and balances and this is the same approach most high end labels use. .
From start to finish “Classified Misinformation” by the Grey Agents pulls out all the stops and is a barn burner of a release. The music is consistent, uplifting, and extremely entertaining. More importantly it captures everything you would want from a vintage Rock n' Roll performance, Note for note, song for song there isn’t really a weak piece on this entire catalog. The writing and playing abilities of Cottrill and his band is rock solid. The lyrics are catchy, the melodies are well crafted and hooky and the musical charisma of The Grey Agents is of rock legend.