Following up his debut solo album from last year called, ‘Necessary Illusion,’ Rick Shaffer reveals to you ‘Hidden Charms’.  This multidimensional artist not only played the role of singer, guitarist, bassist and percussionist, but also wrote and produced the entire record.  Additional members backed up Shaffer wonderfully to help ‘Hidden Charms’ become discovered gems.
   
Rick has plenty of experience playing with his band The Reds®, but now looks to make a mark as a solo act.  The 10 tracks on this CD would indicate that Shaffer has stolen the spotlight.  Listening to this disc felt like I was literally taking a trip back in time to when the hair was long and the mood was far out.  Rick Shaffer exhibits a style and feeling that screams 60s rock ‘n’ roll all the way.  Rick is rolling together some rock and blues that will leave you feeling completely satisfied.  I couldn’t help but notice a strong Rolling Stones/Mick Jagger-type vibe coming forth that focused on those early bluesy rock days.  The Stones feel was heavy and the Jagger-isms were highly evident which was very cool to hear but you have to be careful to not mimic too closely.  I gotta hear a Rolling Stones cover now after experiencing Rick Shaffer’s musical display so go for it!

I really love the fact that Shaffer is not afraid to play outside the box and has no room for mindless 2011 and beyond pop tart songs.  People in the world will always move forward but Rick Shaffer and his music will instantly take you back to a different era.  It almost seems like Rick was searching for just the right mojo for this project and man did he find it– “YEAHH BABY!” (Austin Powers aka Mike Myers). 

Vocally and musically, Shaffer exhibited a very raw approach that was stripped down to the bone.  Early garage band appeal at its finest as Shaffer and company brought the goods!  Plenty of hip tambourine playing and distorted guitar chords made for one groovin’ listening experience.  ‘Hidden Charms’ is lost no more and I can’t wait to see what Rick Shaffer pulls out of his magical mystery bag next!

• Jimmy Rae • SKOPE 

 Rating: 4 (OUT OF 5)