CONNER GILBERT – LIFE IN THE YEARS (no label) Ten years after the release of his first album, 2009’s The View From Within, Altoona area-based singer and songwriter Conner Gilbert has unveiled his follow-up album, Life in the Years. Conner has honed his songwriting skills during the past decade, resulting in ten strong and diverse melodies – blending rock, pop, alternative, folk, and blues flavors – that stand strong individually, but also blend into a cohesive whole. Singing and playing the guitars, Conner utilizes a number of guest musician contributors – some international – to flesh out his song creations, including multi-instrumentalist Drew Adams, who he co-produced the album with. The general theme of Life in the Years is life’s journey and lessons, and seizing the opportunities life has to offer. That theme is first established in the uplifting and ethereal opener “Bridges,” which builds into a broad, soaring chorus backed with mellotron-like key flourishes. The blues-driven “Lost and Found” encourages inner strength in times of doubt and turmoil, while the uptempo rocker “Here’s to the Days” celebrates happy memories and moments. The soulful and thoughtful “Run Away” offers words of hope to listeners overwhelmed by life’s challenges, utilizing an irresistible chorus hook to send the message home. Conner and his hired guns throw a jazzy vibe into the hopeful “Hold on to That Truth,” punctuated with playful trumpet bursts. “All Alone” and “Across the Wire” explore folk and folk-rock terrain, and the album ends on another uplifting note with the optimistic “Still Gonna Find Our Way.” This album sounds bright and colorful from start to end. The instrumental performances are solid and smooth, and Conner sings with confidence, heart, and range. The disc sounds polished and balanced, and any of these songs would sound good on a radio. Life in the Years provides a pleasant, upbeat listen, and it shows that Conner Gilbert has evolved into a skilled songsmith with a hopeful outlook.” - Jim Price

— Pennsylvania Musician Magazine, www.pamusician.net

I closed my with one more live musical performance and one more pen sketch - taking in Conner Gilbert's Sunday Funday show at Altoona's Family Pizza & Pub. Conner kept the dinner and bar crowd happy with his pleasant mixture of new and older favorites. Conner kept the music constant and nonstop as he sang and strummed acoustic guitar; doing numbers from Cheap Trick, Three Doors Down, Tom Petty, Bryan Adams, Michael Jackson, Walk The Moon, Eagles, Styx, Old Crow Medicine Show, Lynyrd Skynyrd and more. The most intriguing highlights for me included Conner's take on Sheryl Crow's "If It Makes You Happy," and his night-ending edition of Marc Cohn's "Walking in Memphis." For a little while, I was multi-tasking, as I was pen sketching, eating dinner (a cheese steak sando and fries), watching Conner and watching the Olympics on the HD television on the wall in front (getting excited when American Chris Mazdzer captured the silver medal in men's luge). An enjoyable show, and an enjoyable evening." -JP ” - Jim Price
Singer and songwriter Conner Gilbert recently released the lyric video for his song “The Prospect”. The emotionally-driven performance appeared on his 2009 solo album debut titled 'The View from Within'. If you are looking for an inspiring song with purposeful lyrics, “The Prospect” will certainly deliver. Reminiscent of early acts such as Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi, Conner commands the attention of listeners with epic instrumentals and rock-infused vocals. “The Prospect” is a refreshing production with contemporary appeal. Should you need a diversion from the heavily saturated pop/hip-hop hybrid tracks that are currently soaking up the air ways, “The Prospect” will provide a delightful respite. If you are jonesing for the sounds of Chris Isaak with a contemporary pop-rock flair, you will be pleased to discover the sounds of Conner Gilbert. The young artist's songwriting resonates with the imprint of the distinguished 1960s and 1990s styles. He has, however, uniquely crafted a modernized acoustic style with a distinct vocal performance. Conner's lyric video release provides a thoughtful visual to accompany the poetic words which emerge slowly from the track. As the video progresses, viewers are introduced to several landmarks and sights that are gently blurred in the background. As the words appear across the screen viewers are quickly enveloped into the resounding message that Conner has decided to share with his audience. In summary, “The Prospect” is dynamic and engaging. Energetic guitars strum as background vocals harmonize and Conner sings “You'll never really know what you mean to me my friend”. Pianos capture the essence of the composition while carefully crafted layers express retro sounds. As the track builds intensity, Conner hits a long note and lets it linger on as the instrumentals kick out a lighthearted melody. For a fleeting moment, the song winds down, teasing fans with some catchy riffs only to surge forward with a cinematic finish. “The Prospect” is highly-contagious and marvelously uplifting. Conner Gilbert demonstrates effortless sophistication with intricate patterns that seem to flow naturally. The song creates a panoramic journey as interpreted in the lyric video. Conner captures fans, achieving the apex of listening satisfaction with creative insight, strong vocals, and polished instrumentals. ”

G&S Lifestyle, Fashion, Music

Recently arriving in the Altoona area to become sports information director at Penn State Altoona, Hagerstown native Conner Gilbert is also a musician, and introduces a bright, acoustic-geared pop rock sound on his first solo CD, "The View from Within."Singing and playing guitars, bass and sharing keyboard duties with Christian Harper, Gilbert's sound is rooted in both the pop songcraft tradition of the Beatles and Beach Boys, as well as the '90s pop rock ingenuity of Matthew Sweet and Oasis.Gilbert shows a strong knack for song hooks throughout the album, and mixes up the flavors over the disc's dozen tracks.The opener "Since You've Been Away," with its layered choruses and vocal harmonies, recalls "Pet Sounds"-era Beach Boys; while the modern-ish "Nowhere" exudes touches of Beatle-like far-eastern psychedelia. Gilbert taps into more recent influences as well; the acoustic-driven "Susannah" provides a Goo Goo Dolls flavor; while "The Prospect," "Lost In A City In Your Mind" and the disc-closer "There's No Way In The World" are more firmly rooted in Oasis.All 12 songs are infectious and stand well on their own, yet work well together as a complete set. The overall vibe is pleasant and colorful; with the balance of keys, acoustic and electric guitars, and Gilbert's soaring voice and vocal harmonies providing a fresh listen from start to end.” - Jim Price

— Altoona Mirror

JP'S TEN FAVORITE LOCAL/REGIONAL SONGS OF 2009: 9) CONNER GILBERT – "Since You’ve Been Away" Newcomer Conner Gilbert crafted one of the better-sounding pieces of rocking ear candy I heard in 2009 with “Since You’ve Been Away,” the lead-off track from his debut CD The View from Within. Leading in with choral effects, the melody kicks in with Conner’s smooth voice set against a piano-accented backdrop, and builds to a soaring, full-bodied chorus that stays in your head. This song nicely sets the stage for the rest of the album, and makes a strong introductory statement about Conner Gilbert and what he has to offer. ” - Jim Price

Altoona Mirror

Artist Reveals 'View From Within' In explaining how he's matured as an artist, Conner Gilbert said his song writing process used to be no longer than 15 minutes. I had it set to a formula," said Gilbert, 22, of Hagerstown. If he couldn't crank it out in 15 minutes, the song sat somewhere and collected dust, Gilbert said. But that was then. Gilbert, the former guitar player and vocalist of the defunct rock group Basement, is billing himself as a solo act. He's performing an acoustic show Friday at Ava, the downstairs lounge of Duffy's on Potomac in downtown Hagerstown. Formed in 2003, Basement was the quintessential high school rock band. But the band split up in 2006 after the guys went off to college. Gilbert said there were no hard feelings. Everyone still keeps in touch. Aside from the upcoming show, Gilbert has a lot going on. His first solo album, "The View from Within," is coming out later this month. He revisited some of the old tunes -- some back from his Basement days -- and has created some new ones for "View. Instead of using the clock as a creative filter, he's testing the new stuff on audiences. Gilbert's music will also be featured on a radio show in Liverpool, 7 Waves Community Radio (http://7waves.co.uk), on April 15, a feat he attributes to networking online. He's been gaining traction as a performer in and around his school, St. Vincent College, near Pittsburgh. Gilbert is a senior majoring in communications. So why is all this happening now? Gilbert chatted about it with The Herald-Mail from his dorm room, a day before he came back home for Easter break. I wanted to get something out there primarily to prove to myself that I could do it," Gilbert said, "to put out something for my college friends to remember me by. Q&A with Conner Gilbert   What was the hardest part about recording an album by yourself? Probably deciding what to include. I had a lot of stuff that I had written recently and then I had stuff I had written as long as four years ago. I liked all of it. Eventually I narrowed it down to 12. It's a pretty good mix of stuff I've written recently and stuff I brought back around. What do you think your strengths are as an artist? I've developed my voice a lot better than it used to be. I used to not really care about how my voice sounded -- I used to consider myself more of a guitarist. I used to not put as much drive behind my singing. Now, I take care of my voice. What sort of impression do you want to leave audiences with? What do you want people to know about you? I want people to know that this album is symbolic of me.” - Tiffany Arnold

Herald-Mail

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