There’s something about the anticipation of a new album release that still brings me back to Christmas Eve as a child. Although I can’t remember ever being disappointed on Christmas morning, I can remember on more than one occasion when a long awaited release of new music by a favorite artist left a putrid taste in my mouth. Fortunately, some musicians seem to satisfy time after time and Jason Bieler always seems to deliver to his fans in a big way.
The follow up EP to 2013’s “The Gathering” is more of the same and for the buying public, that’s a great thing. “The Happening” is all substance and no filler. It’s just another in a long line of Bieler projects that is laced with unpredictable, yet perfectly polished songs.
Jason Bieler made his mark on the music world as lead guitarist, songwriter and sometimes vocalist for the band Saigon Kick with the top 12 hit, “Love is on the Way”. Shamefully, as successful as that song was commercially, it hardly represented the brilliance or the diversity of the Saigon Kick music catalog. The four Saigon Kick albums were plush with intricate drum patterns, grinding guitar rhythms, scorching leads and silky vocal harmonies.
Owl Stretching grabs the baton from where Saigon Kick left off and delivers more of the same in a big way. Along with the new EP Bieler released a new single titled, “Ten Long Years” on March 24th, 2014. With today’s modern delivery of new music to the listener artists like Bieler are able to release music as they please without the limitations that vinyl records or compact discs had. Modern technology, coupled with the ability to sample the music from the comfort of your home computer or mobile device, has transformed the entire landscape of music marketing and customer delivery for the better.
“Jason Bieler’s Owl Stretching” had flown under my own radar until news came of the Saigon Kick reunion shows. While searching for upcoming concert dates I stumbled across the gem that is the EP “The Gathering”. Each of the six tracks on that release is infectious.
Now in a period of two years fans that had waited patiently for new music from Jason Bieler have suddenly been hit with an avalanche of brilliant new tracks. On 2014’s EP “The Happening” the second track “Mighty Hammer” opens with a jangly blues riff and then moves into a heavy and distorted slide rhythm that carries through to the song’s final note. “All Souls Lost”, the third track opens with an “a cappello” vocal harmony that’s reminiscent of the musical styling of Queen.
“The Gathering”, which was released in 2013 is rock solid from top to bottom and includes a Satrioni like instrumental titled, “Broken Bad” and another blues driven track titled, “Testify”.
All of the new tracks are a musical showcase for a guitarist and songwriter who has been vastly underrated since the single “The Lizard” began splitting the eardrums of hard rock music fans from coast to coast. In the years since Saigon Kick disbanded Bieler has formed a record label and his attention to detail in the production of the new music does not go unnoticed while enjoying all of the songs.
Bieler and Saigon Kick will be performing on April 25th at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Reviews from the reunion shows have been nothing short of rabid with support. If you are like me and missed out on seeing Saigon Kick during their first incarnation then you won’t want to miss out on the chance to see them this time around.
For more information on Owl Stretching and the genius of Jason Bieler go to www.jasonbieler.com.
To sample or purchase the new EP’s “The Happening”, “The Gathering” or any of the new Owl Stretching music go to https://owlstretching.bandcamp.com/