Surfing the Web of Life goes far beyond the definition of "album," attaining a status something closer to a socio-political manifesto set to an eclectic blend of folky jazz with a solid dose of world rhythms. I must say this makes for one impressive listening experience. But while the music itself is top notch by anyone's measure, what really makes this album shine is Vick's issue-oriented lyrics. "The Norm" starts things off with an emphatic statement, "The norm, it just ain't normal anymore." Any armchair philosopher worth his mettle will see the truth inherent in those words. And it doesn't stop there. In one track after another, for a total of 13 songs, Vick wows us with vignettes of life as he sees it, artfully framed by the instrumental and vocal virtuosity of him and his fellow band members: his daughter, Elisa; bassist/producer/songwriter Rob Moitoza; and, drummer/percussionist Dan Ochipinti. From "A Thousand Waves," with its upbeat face-the-storm-and-ride-it-out message to the satirical "Good Germans," with its stance against the social apathy that plagues our culture, Vick shares his philosophy of life. In "Ship Of Love," a fun, folksy romp, he waxes romantic, and in 'Tilt' he professes his politics. While every song is a standout in its own right, my pick is "Our Lady." The hooky guitar intro on this tune immediately caught my attention and held it until Vick went in a completely unexpected direction in the verses before bringing it right back around again. And I simply cannot end this review without commenting upon the high quality of production, recording and mixing. Not often do you hear such professionalism in a self-produced work. Ochipinti, assisted by Moitoza, engineered the tracks and Vick, Moitoza and Ochipinti produced and mixed the album. Without question, Surfing the Web of Life earns the distinction of "Ear Candy" and will take its rightful place at the top of that stack in my indie music collection. And it's going to spend a lot of time spinning in my CD player, too.
Like many people, I conjure up visions of comparable bands to whatever I play for the first time. After listening to the first few tracks of Surfing I felt as though I was at one of the many jam-band festivals that my brother and I attended over the years on the riverbend of Cincinnati. There’s a big difference in the Jim Vick Dot Combo’s Surfing release, though - lyrical content. The musicians in this group are at the top of their craft, play jammy, jazzy, neo-folk pieces, and gave the album its robustness with sign-of-the-times lyrical visions, rhetoric, and editorials. I would consider the Jim Vick Dot Combo band the thinking-man’s jam band, and that to me is very exciting. The stylish packaging of the CD is as cool as the music and makes reading the lyrics all the more fun while listening to this great album. There’s so much content both lyrically and musically that the listener will be refreshed with the opportunity to keep getting more and more out of it as time goes on.
OP: Independent Music
"Jim Vick's creative fusion of jazz-rock/folk/ethnic/pop elements makes for some of the most refreshingly vital music to appear in sometime. Vick fashions his own rich, varied texture for every song, emerging with a distinct, highly personal, yet open-ended style. He's a thoughtful, inventive lyricist whose songs brim with optimism, caring, and love for personkind without sounding sacharine or overly precious . . . a songwriter not afraid to take risks with both words and music."
New Horizons, KPFA FM 94, Berkeley, CA
"Jim Vick has honored his talent by perfecting his vocal and instrumental techniques and dedicating them to the service of the Spirit. The vitality and beauty of his music reflect the strength of his commitment to seeking positive solutions to contemporary concerns from an inner knowing - the wellspring of peace and harmony in all our endeavors to care for one another and the planet."
Freetime Entertainment Weekly
"Jim Vick's heartfelt and very original songwriting left me quietly and deeply moved."
The Record Archive
"He is a consummate guitarist and a very gifted songwriter."