REVIEW BY JOHN BERGER / email@example.com
American pop music is constantly mutating, but its primary themes remain constant. Love. Loss. Loneliness. The search for that special someone. Looking back at love.
Veteran singer/songwriter Kaleo Vai covers those tried and true topics in engaging style on “Overhead.” In the title song, he describes the challenge of chasing dreams and taking risks in terms that also apply to ocean sports.
Vai is also taking a risk with his music, at least in local terms. It’s “island music” when it comes to expressing the feelings of a Hawaii resident, but doesn’t have a Jamaican-derivative rhythm favored by local “island music” radio stations. Producer/musician Imua Garza and percussionist Jon Porlas join him on arrangements that bring together elements of samba, bossa nova and tropical jazz in ways that give these songs international appeal.
Vai describes romantic feelings in memorable lyrical terms: “It’s not my living room unless you’re living in it / It’s not home-cooked unless you’ve dipped your finger it / The day’s not good unless you’re there when I begin it,” he tells the object of his affections in “Home Is Wherever You Are.”
In “Pick It Up,” he asks a prodigal love if she is “still the girl I knew three years and seven months ago?” He poses the question in such romantic terms that its natural to hope that the answer is “yes” and that the woman has returned home to stay.
With these songs and others, Vai shares the highs and lows of a romantic’s life — seeking love, finding it and losing it, and sometimes reconnecting when circumstances change and the stars align again.
Sophisticated romantics of all ages will certainly relate!
John Berger has been a mainstay in the local entertainment scene for more than 40 years. Contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Doing the bday charity event with James Chan and Ryan Kalei TONIGHT!
Playing at Cafe Central Honolulu this Thursday, 12 noon. Check out their great reviews on Yelp, then come on by for some holiday cheer!