Track Review: How Cool Is Cool // John Engel

Influenced by the likes of James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Carole King, Chicago and Paul Simon, singer-songwriter John Engel is bringing old-school sounds to a contemporary audience. Merging elements of folk, blues, funk and rock, John certainly has a genre-defying sound; however, you shouldn’t expect much less from a naturally talented veteran musician. Featured in blogs like The Other Side Reviews, Roadie Music, Karl Is My Unkle, and Info Music, John is reaching audiences across the globe – or at least throughout Europe.



Following his unplugged version of ‘Without A Voice’, ‘How Cool Is Cool’ is considered his debut single. If you are into old-school 70s jazz-rock, then this is definitely one for you! Immediately reminding me of Chicago (one of my favourite bands), John expertly layers vocals and instrumentation to create a textured sound. I think it is the outstanding combination of a brass section with guitars and keyboard that really makes me think of Chicago! Recorded with a plethora of veteran musicians, John Engel and Michelino Bisceglia effortlessly flow all instruments with the enchanting backing vocals and John’s soft, rich tones in their arrangement.

While the enchanting melody can have you tapping your toe and swaying along to the music, it is the poetic lyricism that adds an intimacy to the track. John shares that his lyrics are often autobiographical in nature looking at various life situations with deeper insight. He explains that ‘How Cool Is Cool’ is about how playing the long game in life is more significant and necessary than short-term plans. Nostalgic with a certain melancholic vibe, ‘How Cool Is Cool’ is filled with sincerity and sentimentality.

“There once was a high school quarterback. He was the star on the field, the guy every girl wanted, the guitarist in the band…but life’s about playing the long game.” – John Engel on ‘How Cool Is Cool’.

As I mentioned, John Engel is a veteran musician having performed in clubs and bars as a solo singer-songwriter for many years. When he followed his passion for filmmaking, music was put on the backburner until he reassessed his priorities after being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Reviving his love for music, he decided to get back on the guitar and share his powerful sound with the world. I’m so glad he did!

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