Monday, February 21, 2011

Review -- JAY SEMKO -- Self-Titled

Jay Semko

It is interesting how time evolves the music of some musicians.
Saskatchewan’s Jay Semko is certainly one such artist.
Most readers over the age of 40 will remember Semko as one of the driving forces behind the rock band The Northern Pikes, who still do gigs as many of the bands of that era, Streetheart, Trooper, The Stampeders still do filling a thirst for the old rockers out there to recapture a bit of the past.
Aside from the Pikes Semko has had a solo career, while not having him fill stadiums, has meant a series of really fine CDs.
The best of them might still have been Mouse, a CD which really showed the modern poetic side Semko.
It was softer than the Pikes, but still pop/rock/alternative in nature.
With follow-up CDs such as Redberry and International Superstar, Semko began slipping toward the country side of things, a journey now pretty much complete with his recent self-titled effort.
I am not sure what the transformation will mean for some fans. This is not the music of the Pikes, and I’d love him to do Mouse II, but you know, in the end, Semko can do two things; he writes good lyrics, and he can sing.
When you are able to do both with the level of skills, and the input of heart Semko does, the music ultimately wins out.
On this one Semko is helped out on several songs. Kelly Brock chimes in on Nobody’s Watching and Let’s Wake Up the Moon, the latter song being a very nice one. I mention Brock because she is memorable among the hundreds of CDs I have reviewed. I didn’t like her disk, and she was quite upset with the low rating, vowing not to send me her future disks. You know I can’t say I’ve lost sleep over that, but I do remember it.
Then there is Canadian veteran Patricia Conroy helping out on That Kind of Blue. She is a musician always up to accommodate the media.
The same can be said of Semko. We email on occasion on Facebook, and follow each other’s artistic effort.
In this case Semko is solidly country, and not the Nashville tripe either. There is some element of ‘real’ here that works.
The first single release to radio is Comeback Kid, a rockier piece that has a good beat.
For sure one worth having. Check it out at
-- Review first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper Aug 25, 2010 - Yorkton, SK. Canada

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