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10 Reviews
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best one yet!
James Rhodes's third album is, in my view, his best one yet. A double CD but each disc holds up as a separate collection of music of the highest quality. But take them as a pair and you get some idea of the bi-polar nature of this remarkable pianist, but it is not as polarised as that - the range of emotions evinced by this assortment is not as black and white as the...
Published on 5 Jan 2011 by William Stafford

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19 of 29 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Could It Work? Fascinating To Think It Could
There's an agenda here, as everywhere. Let's sell classical music to an audience wary or even snoring at the very word 'classical'. Let's make it look like a pop album, use a reasonably photogenic young pianist, let him write his own introduction and give the whole thing a suitably buzzwordy title:

Bullets & Lullabies

(Who else might that suit...
Published on 10 Jan 2011 by Philoctetes


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best one yet!, 5 Jan 2011
By 
William Stafford "klunt" (Dudley, West Midlands) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Bullets & Lullabies (Audio CD)
James Rhodes's third album is, in my view, his best one yet. A double CD but each disc holds up as a separate collection of music of the highest quality. But take them as a pair and you get some idea of the bi-polar nature of this remarkable pianist, but it is not as polarised as that - the range of emotions evinced by this assortment is not as black and white as the packaging! All human life is contained within this programme of pieces - some of which you will recognise at once, others you will grow to adore. Regardless of Mr Rhodes's extraordinary journey into his present incarnation, the playing stands as some of the finest you will hear by contemporary performers. If you learn of his troubled past, it makes the beauty emanating from your speakers all the more miraculous. I have nothing short of admiration for this man - the melancholy of his 'Clair de Lune' haunts me long after the track has ended.

Buy it and love it.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, some classical with a bit of a soul, 22 Jan 2011
By 
H. Beevers (England, Yorkshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bullets & Lullabies (Audio CD)
I noted the 3 star review for this album which said that the recording and playing was poor and although i'm not high brow enough to be able to analyse the quality of playing, it sounds great to me. The quality of recording isn't 100%, i've got to say, i'm running an asus DX sound card and come sennheisser HD555 headphones and on one or two tracks i can hear some noise in the background when few notes are being played but this isn't noticeable once the track gets going.

On to the reason for the 5 stars and the odd review title. James Rhodes chose these songs himself, not because they're hard to play or because they're popular and would sell well but because he wanted people to hear him playing these tracks. The track selection is very personal and genuine which gives the whole album a much more emotional and heartfelt feel to it than almost any other album i've heard. It's very accessible as the CD comes with a short on why each song was selected and a bit of background on the original artists said by James Rhodes himself, shows he can be bothered which is a nice touch.

If you're just getting into or want to get into classical music then this is a brilliant album, it's accessible, has a bit of soul to it and James Rhodes is quite genuinely enthusiastic and totally besotted with the music, this is passed on to the listener in every way. This album is a bit different form most other classical albums of today, it feels more organic, he's playing because he wants to, not because it's his job to.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Aussie fan, 15 Nov 2011
By 
Britta Huttel (Sydney, Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Bullets & Lullabies (Audio CD)
I heard James Rhodes being interviewed on radio in Sydney, Australia and was intrigued enough to purchase several of his CDs and I'm so very happy that I did so. His interpretations on all 3 CDs is as good as I expected from the interview!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, 12 Nov 2013
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D. Thompson (Chetlenham, Gloucestershire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bullets & Lullabies (Audio CD)
An excellent choice of music: CD1 is active, powerful and passionate, played in James' beautifully unique and expressive style; CD2 is then soft, romantic and meditative - and if anything, even more deeply felt. The French Suites in particular are just gorgeous...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this pianist, 20 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Bullets & Lullabies (Audio CD)
When I listen to James playing I find the music and the way he uses the piano with such passion wonderful.
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5.0 out of 5 stars lovely selection of piano music, 11 Dec 2012
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This review is from: Bullets & Lullabies (Audio CD)
Bullets & LullabiesI hate snide reviewers! Unless he is a really brilliant pianist the last reviewer was simply trying to be clever. James Rhodes has a genuine appeal and wonderful touch. His music is different, possibly because he plays with passion but not perfection. So what? I love this album and am so happy to have discovered him. Please make lots of lovely music for old ladies like me.
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5.0 out of 5 stars James Rhodes, 3 Jan 2012
This review is from: Bullets & Lullabies (Audio CD)
This is the second of Rhodes' CDs that I have purchased, and have been delighted! James toured Australia during Nov. 2011; unfortunately I was unable to see him. However, he was interviewed on the ABC Classical music station, which is where I first heard of him. The CD is technically beautiful, extensive knowledge of the material is supported by a deep involvement with the historical and musicality of the pieces is quite breathtaking. I eagerly await his next five CD's with much anticipation.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful introduction to classical piano, 9 Dec 2011
By 
This review is from: Bullets & Lullabies (Audio CD)
I'm not a big classical buff, I would barely know a concerto from a sonata, but am thoroughly enjoying this album. Conceptually divided as a 'wake up' or bullets first disk, and a gentle 'going to sleep' lullabies on the second, the album is nicely put together and flows along at an enjoyable tempo depending on your mood and which disk you decide to put on.

I find James' playing easy to listen to, however I couldn't comment from a position of comparing him to many other pianists. Having seen him play live, there is showmanship about him, and this definitely comes through on the CD. He is passionate about the music, however doesn't appear to want that to influence him as an individual, or how he goes about his work. This may well upset those of a more critical nature, however it makes him as a musician more accessible as a human being, and his approach is refreshing, and comes across as sincere.

I think we'll be hearing lots more from James in the future, I think the contemporary presentation of the artwork and sleeve notes etc. is more of an indication of James' personality than a marketing ploy. All that aside, I love the pieces and the playing so it's 5 stars from me.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended, 9 Feb 2011
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This review is from: Bullets & Lullabies (MP3 Download)
Love this album - great combination of calm and gentle with fast and furious. Impressive playing from a pianist who clearly transmits his enjoyment in the music.
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19 of 29 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Could It Work? Fascinating To Think It Could, 10 Jan 2011
By 
Philoctetes (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Bullets & Lullabies (Audio CD)
There's an agenda here, as everywhere. Let's sell classical music to an audience wary or even snoring at the very word 'classical'. Let's make it look like a pop album, use a reasonably photogenic young pianist, let him write his own introduction and give the whole thing a suitably buzzwordy title:

Bullets & Lullabies

(Who else might that suit? Steven Seagal? ACDC? Meatloaf? Pamela Anderson?)

Yet at my record store this album played by James Rhodes is tucked away in the classical section, back corner, under the pianist's surname in the Piano section. If they really wanted to sell it to a young audience, why not put it in with the Pop music, where it might be noticed?

Anyhow, I listened with a pal, rather more analytical than me, who decided almost from the first track that he hated it, that the recording was shoddy and the playing inept. I didn't decide against it until the very end, when an intermezzo by Brahms died of old age before my very ears. BUT, I don't doubt the sincerity of the artist, and although I initially bridled at some of his notes, I couldn't fault his honesty or the scrupulous avoidance of anything academic or top-down in his approach to us.

But, as the BBC review quoted by Amazon makes clear, there's something dubious about the attempt to interest a listener by reciting the details of a tough childhood, drugs, addiction, finding a calling, redemption in music, blah blah blah. The telling statement is the bit about turning down a scholarship and taking music up again after ten years in the city boys' wilderness (if I got that right).

So, I guess I'm saying this album might, ought(?) to succeed inspite of the playing, if it can truly be marketed to a rock and pop hungry audience then willing to discover the actual artistry of the composers on this double album, not just focus on the slightly geeky appeal of this young confident painist with his accessible liner notes and Soho specs. Buy it for your nephew or niece and leave it somewhere round the house for them to accidentally find on the next annual get-together.

Good luck to him.
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