Thursday, July 28, 2016

50SHR #9: Nova Rex (Florida)



Band: Nova Rex

Release: Blow Me Away
Year: 1992
Line-up: Abbie Stancato (vocals), JP Cervoni (guitars), Kenny Wilkerson (bass), Tim Berry (drums)

Track Listing:
1.  Bitch  
2.  Think Of Me  
3.  Children Of The Night  
4.  Can't Find Love  
5.  Alone Tonight  
6.  Black And Blues  
7.  Blow Me Away  

Release: Ain't Easy Being Cheesy
Year: 1994
Line-up: Derek Madison (vocals), JP Cervoni (guitars, keyboards), Kenny Wilkerson (bass), John Plantero (drums)

Track Listing:

1.  Think Of Me  
2.  Don't Give Up  
3.  Bitch  
4.  I Luv You  
5.  Rock N' Roll Part 1  
6.  Love Sucks  
7.  Alone Tonight  
8.  JP Blues  
9.  I Just Wanna Rock  

Fletchanator's comment: While I've included the band Nova Rex under Florida in this countdown, I could just as easily have put them under Indiana. Allow me to explain: The band was formed in Florida in the mid-80s and made the typical move to Hollywood, but when that scene started dying a horrible death (aka grungepocalypse) they relocated to Indiana, home state of bassist Kenny Wilkerson, and enjoyed a rebirth on the local scene there. However, since their roots were in the Sunshine State, I think Florida is the better pick.
As you can see, I've made the unusual move of posting *two* albums by Nova Rex. The first, 1992's Blow Me Away, is the band's second release (their self-titled 1987 album is impossible to find these days), with Abbie Stancato on vocals. It's a great album, in particular the three tracks Children of the Night, Can't Find Love and Alone Tonight - the latter being a fantastic AOR-ish ballad.
The follow-up, 1994's Ain't Easy Being Cheesy, is rockier and features new singer Derek Madison, whose voice is more gravelly and raw. An easy comparison can be drawn between the two singers because the songs Bitch and Alone Tonight are on both albums - in my opinion both vocalists are very good, although Madison probably has the more traditional "hard rock" voice suited to more rocking tunes, while Stancato suits the more AOR-sounding stuff.
Singers aside, the real key to Nova Rex's sound is the excellent axemanship of JP Cervoni, and the tight playing of bassist Kenny Wilkerson (Cervoni and Wilkerson were also the core songwriters for the band). Cervoni shines on both albums with some nice licks and tasty solos and gets to really show his stuff on the instrumental JP Blues.
In 2011 Nova Rex released a behind-the-scenes DVD also called Ain't Easy Being Cheesy. I haven't seen it, but by all accounts it's a humorous look back at their glory days and how the band members are living now.
I highly recommend both of these albums!

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