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ALBUM REVIEW: Rich Cloke “Northern Skies” by Got Country Online

Rich Cloke. Northern Skies. From rink rat to country cowboy. Coming to you from Ontario, Canada. The guy has the moves on the ice hockey rink and he has all the trappings for a successful country music artist.

Along with the October 7th debut of the album, Rich released his debut video for the lead single “Wanting You“. “Wanting You” is currently included on The Iceman’s Top 40 New Country Artists for the Week of October 20. The song is from a guy’s perspective…and yet the ladies will love it. Guy wants girl, making eyes from across the room but doesn’t know what he will do if he stands near her. The song focuses on his feelings, his nervousness and not the usual heavy descriptions about the girl’s appearance or dance moves. This one is about him.
“Rockin in the Summer” will be a great release for 2015. A perfect song for cruising with the windows down. Rockin, dancing, summer nights, moonlit nights. Loved the guitar on this one. “Miss Those Days” starts very mellow and sentimental. Boy reminisces about first date, falling in love, lying by the fire, dancing to the flames, moving away, nights spent on the telephone, long distance love and missing it all. The listener will love the way “Miss Those Days” ends with a gentle pining away on the guitar.

Rich’s songs are from the heart. Smooth, danceable, a little edgy, a little twangy, thoughtful and radio friendly. They are songs that you want to sing along to, not just hum along to. You will be singing along to them while you are dancing…2 steps, el paso, line dancing. His voice is fluid and tone clean. His lyrics are very clear when he sings, the melodies are fun and have a nice range of instrumentation. Lyrics are heartfelt whether they are melancholy or joyful. Rich Cloke’s ruggedly handsome good looks complete the presentation. The only thing you will take away from Northern Skies is a feeling of happy and the desire to listen to the songs again. And that, you will.

Northern Skies brings you original songs that reflect the enthusiasm and passion Rich Cloke has for his music, his lyrics and his desire to bring smiles to the faces of those listening. ‘His straightforward narrative lends itself well to songs about what he knows, what he’s experienced, and where he’s headed.’ The music reflects influences from artists that include George Strait, Jason Aldean and Kenny Chesney while not ignoring rock and pop influences. Northern Skies delivers danceable and memorable tunes that will stick in your head and come out of your mouth.
Rich is articulate whether he is songwriting or providing me with some background info on himself and his music. His goal with the album was simple. He wants to provide listeners with music that is fun and uplifting. He wants listeners to smile. What is a bit unique, is not his desire to write from a ‘real place’ but that “all songs written are pulled from my personal experiences…who says all experiences need to be negative” . Often songs written from a real place translate into songs that started in a painful place. Not necessarily the case here, as Northern Skies proves.

Guitar in hand at 10 years old, playing in a rock band in high school and university, he started to develop his skills as a solo artist. With his producer and friend, Flavio Monopoli, he hones his songwriting and singing abilities. In an interesting twist from what we usually hear about new artists, Rich would often fake his way through a cover song as he had spent so much of his time writing his own music ‘instead of learning how to play that new radio hit or classic.”

All the songs on Northern Skies were written and arranged by Rich Cloke and Flavio Monopoli. Rich provides the vocals and electric and acoustic guitars. Flavio gives us the drums and percussion. Friends and industry professionals round out the sound: Jason Graham (guitars, mandolin, lap steel), Roger Williams (bass), Nina Cutrone (backing vocals), Jungle Tshongo (programming and additional vocals), Peter Kadar (piano) and Tony Cutrone (organ).

I strongly recommend Rich Cloke’s Northern Skies release be added to your new artist playlist. Follow him on his various social media as he has a great appreciation for his fan base, family and friends. And when you hear that Rich Cloke is on a Canadian/US tour for 2015, remember you heard about him first at Got Country Online, eh!
- Got Country Online
Reviewed: Rich Cloke’s “Northern Skies” by Top Country

Review By: Shenieka Russell-Metcalf

Canadian country newcomer Rich Cloke released his debut album Northern Skies last month. Citing influences such as George Strait, Garth Brooks, Kenny Chesney, Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean, Rich delivers an impactful and fun eight tracks.

“Wanting You” is his lead single and my favourite from the album – it is the first song I heard by Rich and it impressed me immediately. It has a great sound to it, the lyrics are catchy and it’s the kind of song you want to hear on the radio and just sing-a-long to.

“Rockin’ In The Summer”is a fast-paced song with a rock edge to it, it will be sure to get you dancing. Rich slows it down on “Not Ready For Goodbye” and “Miss Those Days”. His voice has a great tone on both songs and it shows us a softer side of him.

Track Listing:

1. Just Call Me Crazy
2. Wanting You
3. Rockin’ In The Summer
4. You’re My Kind Of Country
5. Not Ready For Goodbye
6. One More Kiss Goodnight
7. Miss Those Days
8. These Moments

I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for Rich, as he is a very talented artist. His debut album gets top marks in my books!

To purchase your copy of Northern Skies, visit: iTunes
- Top Country