Jim Oblon – Kiss the Shaman

Jim Oblon has a startlingly impressive resume. He played on Paul Simon’s 2011 album So Beautiful Or So What, toured as a multi-instrumentalist with Mr. Simon and was a studio musician for Phil Ramone – just to name a few highlights. So, with that kind of CV, you’d have to expect that he’d have plenty of musical ideas yearning to be expressed as his own musical creation and you’d be right.

Kiss the Shaman is one such endeavor that recently came to light (early February 2019). At first glance, it seems to be a quality rock record filled with riffs, memorable choruses and the occasional shredding guitar but a digging in a little deeper there’s more than that at play. Songs like “Cristero War” feature foreboding samples in Spanish, with some unexpected changes and soft moments. “The Vine” has some tropicalia style drums and flourishes carrying the track along. In fact, the deeper you go into the album, the more it sheds its rock and roll veneer and gives away to something altogether different until you reach the final track and a rip-roaring epic is brought back into the mix.

Oblon clearly is a man of many influences and a variety of interests; much of which he’s successfully able to wrangle into a cohesive album that touches on many of them. This variety may feel a bit disjointed on first listen but it’s a refreshing journey, clearly meant to be experienced from start to finish. His official website cites multiple albums in the work for the near future and I’d be willing to bet the next one showcases an even wider range of styles. Looking forward to it.