Jonny Kaplan & The Lazy Stars 'Sparkle And Shine' - Reckless Grace

A part of the Americana scene in California Jonny Kaplan's fourth album is a mix of rock (Rolling Stones, Tom Petty) and country (Gram Parsons). Kaplan has produced the album and assembled a strong crew of supportive guest musicians in such musicians as keyboardist Adam McDougall (Black Crowes), Brad Smith (Blind Melon), alongside actual Lazy Stars Rami Jaffee on keyboards and guitarist Dan Wistrom. Another guest on a number of tracks is pedal steel stalwart Chris Lawrence who brings that a touch more of a country flavour to a number of the songs. Actress Daryl Hannah is also on hand to add some backing vocals.

The album opens in rockin' style with the title track before taking a more bluesy route with Annalee Meets The Scorpion with B3 and resonator guitar and Kaplan's distorted vocal adding to the grit. That mood lights a little with Helena's Friend, a song that sounds a little like recent Elliot Murphy. There is a lot of diversity with the songs. The tempos change and Kaplan's song explore the emotions of relationships. Daryl Hannah joins Kaplan on the sage harbour offered in When Your Down. In more rootsy mode The Child Is Gone balances the acoustic guitar, B3 and pedal steel over the slow paced rhythm on a song of reaching a level of pain. 

When he brings things down to the level of guitar and voice (with strings) Kaplan further extends the capabilities of his range with Sweet Magnolia Flower. Hannah's second stint at the vocal microphone is on Charlie Robison's Always. A good time romp with guitar and piano giving it a Faces' feel. He finishes the set with Pretty Little Nose, a song that starts with guitar and steel guitar and slowly builds to a mediative reflection on loving someone close who may at times cause you pause to consider the times that they might let you down.