Reviewed by Harry Kaplan
It’s Just Craig is the self applied moniker of Craig Helmreich. Pay attention to this story, because it is a good one! Craig was at a bit of a crossroads at his life when he turned 40. Helmreich is a partner in a law firm in Indianapolis but that just wasn’t totally fulfilling Craig. He made a decision to go back and try to fulfill his dream of becoming a recording artist and performer.
Others have theorized that Helmreich did what he did because of mid life crisis. Maybe it wasn’t a crisis at all. I went through a similar situation, so I think I can speak with a tiny bit of authority on this. You get to a point in your life where you want to do something for the love of it and not because you have to, due to the trappings of life. That is not a slight on anyone’s career or ambition. Everyone is motivated and driven by different stimuli.
Now that you all know about the inspiring back story, the music needs to hold up or the story loses its impact. Well, not to worry, because the music holds up very well. Go (Track 2) is a particularly good song in the company of good songs. This song is the total package with great lyrics, vocals, harmonies, and a beautiful Allman Brothers’ style guitar solo. This solo will know your socks off.
This isn’t someone just trying their hand at this without a plan. Craig clearly had an executable plan. The music itself is great, but the production value is outstanding. This is not the work of amateurs.
I said on many occastions that I am a sucker for a beautiful female voice. There are two on this album that qualify: Jess Von Strantz – Background Vocals & Acoustic Guitar and Kelsey Von Strantz – Background Vocals & Cello. These folks provide some completely, lighter than air backing vocals. Just take a listen to Leaving Now (Track 8). The whole song is great, but the backing vocals provided by Less and Kelsey Von Strantz will leave you breathless.
The whole album will leave you breathless, frankly. Bring some extra O2 when listening to Dark Corners by It’s Just Craig. It really isn’t just Craig. There are a lot of great people on here. Probably the best part is that Craig is giving away CDs and LPs for free (including shipping!) until they are all gone. This is worth at least $12 and with shipping, make that $15.00. And Craig will cover everything? Oh, it just happens to be great.
Here it is in Craig’s own words: “People can contact us on www.itsjustcraig.com or via @justcraigmusic on twitter or @itsjustcraigofficial on instagram and we’ll send them the CD or Vinyl or both free until our first run is gone!!!” There is no downside.