It takes pure, unadulterated talent for an artist to hold an audience captive. Based on what I heard on Jon Regen’s album Stop Time, this singer, songwriter and pianist undeniably fits the bill.
Featuring members of Elvis Costello’s band the Imposters, Regen delivers a record boasting ten original songs that are positively infectious. Cooler still is the fact that the CD was inspired by the Oscar-winning actor, Jeremy Irons. Regen and Irons met while at a party in London and jammed on a song together that night. When he returned to New York, Regen took the bluesy, New Orleans vibe from that jam session and combined it to some lyrics he’d already penned that eventually turned into the CD’s title track. The rest, as they say, is history.
Stop Time is a stripped down album teeming with intoxicating piano hooks, soulful grooves and beautiful melodies. More importantly, it focuses on Regen’s comforting tenor voice, swinging playing and emotional storytelling through his songs. This guy is the real deal. His playing style is just like his songwriting – no-frills and straightforward. He doesn’t try hard to win you over, but you’ll still end up falling head over heels thanks to his effortlessly smooth artistry.
Even though earworm will set in after listening to every track (meant as high praise, not an annoyance), highlights for me include the buoyant opening number, “I Will Wait,” the previously mentioned energetic title track and the gritty ballad, “Annie.” But who am I kidding? This album offers music fans one of those rare occasions to press the repeat button indefinitely.
Swinging jazz, straight-ahead pop and funky blues truly makes Jon Regen’s Stop Time a remarkably pleasant listening experience.