Friday, February 7, 2014

RECORD REVIEW: Violectric "One"

CosPlay Records

Mmm, the sweet sound
of a string ensemble
colliding with the salty
crunch of a rock band. 
Hey, call Reese — we've
got a delicious new 
combo on our hands!

For violinist, Michelle Jones, the album Physical Graffiti was a bona fide game-changer. And when her father first introduced the aspiring young musician to the record's iconic track, Kashmir, she received a revelation — "Wow, Led Zeppelin has strings!" The seed had been planted.

By the mid '90s, the South Carolina native had relocated to Central Florida and she was performing in various ensembles with many of the other classically-trained musicians who later would comprise her dream project — the strings-based rock band, Violectric.

Touted proudly as "Classic Musicians Who Rock," Violectric is comprised of Michelle Jones - violin, viola, piano, bells and whistles / Brandy Moulden - violin / Elizabeth Chaconas - viola / Yamilet Trujillo - cello / Paul Cuevas - upright bass, keys, piano / Jeff Stairs - drums, percussion  and Carol Hensal - keyboards.

Since first forming in 2008, Jones has led her troupe to concert stages around the world — including a series of 2010 performances in China. And in 2014, the band is releasing its debut record, One.

Produced by Michelle Jones and Jerry Jones (no, not that Jerry Jones), One was recorded and mixed at CosPlay Studios in Windemere, Florida. And the unique marriage of classical instruments and arrangements with new and used pop / rock favorites makes for a seductive 12-song slam-dunk.

Kicking off with The Who's iconic "Who are You?" One also features an array of classics from the likes of Fleetwood Mac, The Police, Rick Springfield and Queen in addition to hits from today's hottest chart-busters, including Maroon 5 and fun.

More than fresh and engaging, One is an important record. By allowing such eclectic works as The Dave Matthews Band's "Ants Marching," "Owner of a Lonely Heart" from Yes and Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" to co-mingle, Violectric succeeds in erasing stylistic boundaries. And insiders are talking:

"Violectric's version of 
"Roxanne" has such a
rich and unique flavor 
that you almost don't
miss the vocal — and 
I'm a huge Police fan!"
-Michelle Wilson (

One pops out rapid-fire aural gems like a super-charged musical Pez dispenser. But for my money, the record's crown jewel is the riveting remake of Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run." Jones' and Paul Cuevas' instrumental arrangement breathes fresh life into the 1975 anthem while maintaining its original swagger — even including the signature, "1-2-3-4!" coming into the big finish. And Beth Gottlieb's glockenspiel contribution twinkling throughout makes it sound as magical as ever. BRAVO, KIDS!

The record will be released officially via iTunes on February 14th, with the CD version becoming available on February 23rd. And to commemorate this auspicious occasion, Violectric will celebrate with an all-ages, live concert album release party on Sunday, February 23rd (6pm-9pm) at Dexter's in Winter Park, Florida. The ultra-hip nightspot accommodates approximately 300 patrons and houses a fabulous concert stage, as well as providing plenty-o-parking. In addition to meeting, greeting and signing copies of their record, Violectic also is scheduled to perform two action-packed sets. Better still, admission is FREE. FYI, expect a packed house, so get there early!

For all things Violectric, visit the bands official website.

-Christopher Long
(February 2014)

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