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Album Review

Tim Bowman calls his disc Smile, and thus it follows naturally that the guitarist would create songs and moods that would provoke that response from the listener. Titles like "Happiness Is...," a bright, retro-soul charmer featuring Bowman's chipper electric lines and occasional wah-wah accents, tell the basic story; it's pleasant, uplifting music that only occasionally extends beyond simple cheery emotions with some well crafted improvisations. He toys with various acoustic tones on "Heart and Soul," sometimes bringing Peter White's lightheartedness to mind as synth strings waft through. The title track is in some ways the ultimate smooth jazz radio track — a snappy guitar melody offset by some rich harmonic undertones and a lush solo by saxman Dave McMurray. His liner notes reveal his Christian faith, and it's no surprise that the best tracks here have more of a gospel influence. He gives gospel singer Fred Hammond's "Glory To Glory" a likeable reading, which allows some stretching on electric, even if it's over a very synthesized groove. The church roots truly come alive on the buoyant and funky "Columbus GA," on which Bowman blends his own low electric tones with the muted trumpet musings of Jesse McGuire — all bouncing happily over the shimmering organ foundations of Bryan Bowman. The moody closer "My Prayer" isn't quite as inspired, but it's still a nice display of Bowman's rich and soulful sense of balladry.

Smile, Tim Bowman
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