PJ BOSTIC: Light Me On

Paul Roraback records under the moniker “PJ Bostic”. Recording under a band name gives Paul the freedom to either do everything himself, or collaborate with other musicians to bring his musical vision to life

I have had his album Light On Me on constant repeat for a few days now. He is to later era Rush what Greta Van Fleet is to early Led Zeppelin. Except, PJ is not a direct rip-off of the Counterparts sound, Paul weaves his influences throughout his music to create something wholly his own. I’m hearing a musician that wears his influences on his sleeve and is proud to do so. 

Paul plays every instrument, sings all the vocals, wrote all the songs, created all the arrangements and produced the album. Let’s go through each of his roles and see how he did:

Drums: There is a definite Neal Peart influence here but Paul lets more space in his playing. He is snappy, precise but most of all tasteful.

Guitars: The guitar playing is more rhythm with very few Lifesonesque shredding leads. The playing serves the songs well and like the drums, it’s all very precise with a lot of breathing room.

Bass: Paul channels his best Geddy Lee on this record. It is way up on the mix driving the songs forward and becoming a much more melodic instrument than most bands allow.

Vocals: Paul has a tenor voice much like Geddy, but it is much less nasal and more palatable to the casual listener.  It is quite pleasant and he demonstrates some great control. He also multi-tracks some harmonies that are very tastefully done.

Songs: This is where Paul stands out. These are equal to the best songs off of Presto, Counterparts or Test of Echo. Lyrically, they are hopeful, uplifting and decidedly spiritual. He is not one to hide his faith. Instrumentally these songs really shine. The album has a consistent feel but neve feels repetitive. And there is no filler. It is 57 minutes of great songwriting.

Arrangements: Fantastic! Paul knows about this often underused quality called dynamics. This album has an ebb and flow to it that makes sure it doesn’t wear out its welcome. The bass lines never step over the guitar and the guitar parts complement what Paul is doing on bass. Nothing seems out of place.

Production: If I had the talent to record an album, I’d want Paul to produce it. I said it earlier, his understanding of dynamics is outstanding.  This album breathes, but rocks as well. The recording is pristine, and the mix is perfect.

If you are a Rush fan that enjoys the later releases (Presto through Vapor Trails) you will love this record. But don’t think it is a Rush clone, Paul has made his own thing. It is just too easy to describe it in a Rush context since there are so many similarities.

This album would have been in my top 3 for 2015 if I had heard it back then. Right now, I can’t stop listening to it. It is a wonder.

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