Reviews

Stephen has a velvet voice, rich and rough, and the tracks tell stories that center around love and life’s realities.

“I don’t know if Georgia native Stephen Poppell has ever been near a deep, dark Louisiana swamp like my friend Tony Joe White, but if not, he certainly could have fooled me.

Tony Joe could have written “Alligator Joe” but Stephen beat him to it.  A hip but traditional sound is his trademark. Stephen has a velvet voice, rich and rough and the tracks tell stories that center around love and life’s realities. The songs are virtual novels reduced to several minutes. I especially like the JJ Cale style blues feel of “Tell Me Darlin” and the line, Tell me darlin’ what can I say? You ain’t listening anyway.” That is just plain Tulsa style, and that’s cool, I don’t care who you are!

Stephen concocts a vivid blend of Americana, blues, Southern rock and even country, complete with richly evocative lyrics and an easygoing sense of plainspoken songs. Clever arrangements, laid back rhythms that are interesting, hypnotic and throw down funky. An overall imaginative collection of thought-provoking lyrics with an easy, comfortable feel that explore a diverse array of musical roots.

Stephen never oversells these songs, he lays back and sings them with heart and wonderfully textured reading. His singing is complemented by his band, who are equally as warm, relaxed, and engaging. This is music that goes down so easy, and on subsequent plays you realize how fully realized and dare I say it, different from the rest of the pack it really is.

Stephen stays safely away from the trap I call the hi-tech curse: all the sounds that he produces are always firmly controlled by the man, never imposed on him by producer hacks. That’s because he doesn’t have a producer. Which makes it all the more interesting and even better. If the formula works don’t mess with it. Check out the wah-wah guitar on “Thing Called Love,” one of my personal favorites. When these guys rock, the grooves are big enough to park a tour bus in.

The end result is an irresistible group of blues-infected, spirited, well-crafted performances by a great up-and-coming Indie artist. The effect sets in on succeeding listens, with his stunning minimalism and, above all, that deeply-felt sincere and utterly humane nature of all the songs. In blues-rock, it is usually not the actual melody that is important – the melodies are all already written – but the approach and attitude.

A great band, Stephen Poppell and the Wolfpack are one of my top runners up in my Sonicbids International Song Competition. I should give them all a trip to the Mississippi Delta so they can see where their music comes from! I would recommend crossing a body of water like Hendrix did when he quit backing strippers at Printers Alley and headed for Britain. Or the British Invasion in reverse. It can be brutal to get respect in your hometown. Come on over to America and be heroes.

These guys can quit their day jobs, or get a day job and then quit. In the immortal words of Bill Murray, ‘I want to party with you dudes!’”

-Gary Allen (The Charlie Daniels Band/JJ Cale)

Electrifying energy and good ole’ time feel

“Melodic tunes and enriching lyrics easily tell passionate stories of everyday life’s ups and downs. Want to hear music that speaks to one’s heart and soul? Then take a chance with one of the best currently out in the Indie Music Industry.”

– Isaac Davies Jr., JuniorsCave.com

Traditional instrumentation and original music

Stephen Poppell “weaves both subtle and distinct phrasing into his adventures in songwriting. He mixes the music heard in the American South with sultry blues and the hot guitar licks of modern rock ‘n roll.”

– Vents Magazine