Articles By: Shimon Simpson

Shimon’s Review of “V’Havienu 4”

Shimon’s Review of “V’Havienu 4”

Fun fact of the day: Did you know that the name “Künstler” is German for “artist”?  It’s appropriate, then, that the Kunstler family is one of the most recognized musical families in Jewish Music today.  From Avi Kunstler’s vocal heroics in the last generation, to Dani Kunstler performing as a member of the Miami Boys [&hellip

Shimon’s Review of “New York Boys Choir: The Sequel”

Shimon’s Review of “New York Boys Choir: The Sequel”

Very few people have had as much influence on the current state of Jewish Music as Yitzy Bald.  When I was in high school, Mendy Wald’s Sameach was lighting the world on fire, and ten years later he introduced bagpipes into the genre on Dovid Gabay’s Legabay, with many other hits in between.  In 2011, [&hellip

Album Sample: “U’teshuva” by Hillel Kapnick from “Inscribed”

In honor of Yom Kippur, please enjoy this track from C.D. Eichler’s new collaboration project, Inscribed: Songs of Inspiration for the Y’mei Haratzon.  “U’teshuva” features our very own Hillel Kapnick, who also composed the track. Enjoy, and a G’mar Chasimah Tovah from everyone here at JMR! &nbsp

Shimon’s Review of “Pruz Control” by Michoel Pruzansky

Shimon’s Review of “Pruz Control” by Michoel Pruzansky

2003 was a pretty good year for Jewish Music.  That year saw the release of Abie Rotenberg’s Aish 2, the first Yeshiva Boys Choir album, Ohad’s first solo album, the satire/parody album I’m So Sick of Racheim, and, of course, Journeys 4.  Therefore, it was definitely understandable if a certain Yochi Briskman production starring a [&hellip

Shimon’s Review of “My Father’s Zemiros” by Avraham Fried

Shimon’s Review of “My Father’s Zemiros” by Avraham Fried

It’s the Three Weeks again, which means it’s time for more a cappella music! I have found that there are three main varieties of Jewish a cappella: 1) “Mainstream” or “pop” a cappella, which can range from barbershop-quartet-style groups (Beatachon), to modern groups who could star on NBC’s The Voice (The Maccabeats, Lev Tahor), to [&hellip

Shimon’s Review of “A Time For Music XXVII: Celebrating 40 Years of Camp HASC”

Shimon’s Review of “A Time For Music XXVII: Celebrating 40 Years of Camp HASC”

Full disclosure: I love, love, love the annual HASC Concert.  It is—and has been for many years—the flagship event of the Jewish Music industry, featuring many of the greatest stars of past, present, and future, always in a top-notch venue.  I have attended two HASC concerts—A Time for Music XVI: Vintage MBD in 2003 at [&hellip

Shimon’s Review of “Am Yisroel” by R’ Nachman Seltzer and Shira Chadasha

Shimon’s Review of “Am Yisroel” by R’ Nachman Seltzer and Shira Chadasha

The boys’ choir has always been a mainstay of Jewish music.  From the earliest chassidishe choirs, to Amudei Shaish and Toronto Pirchei in the ‘70s, to Tzlil V’zemer and Miami in the ‘80s and ‘90s, to YBC, NYBC, and Shira Chadasha today, there are ample examples—and dozens of albums—from the song-and-dance groups made up primarily [&hellip

Shimon’s Review of “Hearts Mind” by Eli Schwebel

Shimon’s Review of “Hearts Mind” by Eli Schwebel

Jewish music has reached a bit of a comfort zone.  Albums have a formula which listeners expect: 4 discos + 4 slow songs + 1 kumzitzy-“Shiru Lamelech”-type song + 1 or 2 rock songs (optional: 1 freilach song and 1 chazzanus number) = album.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  Included in the formula is at least one [&hellip

Shimon’s Review of “A Cappella Soul 2” by Ari Goldwag

Shimon’s Review of “A Cappella Soul 2” by Ari Goldwag

I started caring about Jewish Music in earnest when I was in middle school, and the hottest singers among my circle of friends were not the MBDs and Avraham Frieds of the world—we were Miami Boys’ Choir junkies.  Nachum Stark, Oded Karity, and Yitzy Spinner—and, of course, Ari Goldwag—were our muses, inspiring sing-offs, debates, and [&hellip

Shimon’s Review of “One Day More” by The Maccabeats

Shimon’s Review of “One Day More” by The Maccabeats

It’s sefirah again, which means time for some a cappella (that’s “chapel-style”, i.e., “non-instrumental”, for you non-Italian speakers) music, and who better to kick off the season than Yeshiva University’s very own Maccabeats?  Founded in 2007, the Maccabeats’ popularity took off three and a half years ago when their hit Chanukah song “Candlelight” hit YouTube [&hellip

Shimon’s Review of “Beats” by EvanAl Orchestra and Yoely Greenfeld

Shimon’s Review of “Beats” by EvanAl Orchestra and Yoely Greenfeld

First things first: I am, and always have been, a huge fan of compilation albums.  From the old-school What A Wedding albums of the ‘80s featuring Neginah Orchestra, to Yochi Briskman’s Project X albums of the ‘90s and 2000s, to Special Moments starring the Werdyger clan, to Yossi Green’s Shades of Green, to Benny Friedman’s [&hellip

Purim Reviews, Part IV: “Greatest Purim Hits! with Avrumi Flam”

Purim Reviews, Part IV: “Greatest Purim Hits! with Avrumi Flam”

Purim albums tend to follow a general template.  Make sure to include the old standbys (“Layehudim”, “Venahaphoch Hu”), throw in a couple of horas or discos (which may or may not be Purim themed), ignore the slow songs, add one original song (optional), and voila!  A Purim album.  What separates the good albums from the [&hellip

Shimon’s Review of “Pischi Li” by Simcha Leiner

Shimon’s Review of “Pischi Li” by Simcha Leiner

Jewish singers enter the industry in various ways.  In no particular order, we have: the Grown Up Child Soloists (Ari Goldwag, Shloime Dachs), the Dynastic Successors Who May Have Been Born In The Studio (MBD, Yeedle, Benny Friedman, 8th Day), the Chazzanim (Shlomo Simcha, YM Helfgot, Tzudik), the Instant Sensations (Baruch Levine), the Composers (Baruch [&hellip