It’s usually one of the first things you see in a convenience store.

Emerson Hart is the former lead singer of Tonic, but now he has gone solo with his debut CD, Cigarettes and Gasoline, and I’m sure he has no regrets because this CD really allows him to open up and show his solo abilities.

Emerson Hart is the former lead singer of Tonic, but now he has gone solo with his debut CD, Cigarettes and Gasoline, and I’m sure he has no regrets because this CD really allows him to open up and show his solo abilities. There is an indie feel to the album as the lyrics are raw but well rounded. The sound has soft alternative rock routes, but there is a slight country feel to some songs, like “If You’re Gonna Leave” and “Flyin’.” The slight twang may be from Hart’s move to Nashville from L.A. in 2002. Hart says most of his writing was done in Nashville and New Orleans for this CD, that was very cathartic for him. The guitar- and piano-heavy songs keep the emotion in the music. The listener can feel the struggle Hart feels about letting go in the enthralling, “I Wish the Best for You.” “I Know” has single written all over it with its hard vocals and guitar riffs. “Green Hills Race for California” is beautiful, both through lyrics and sound. It reminds me of Bob Dylan and Kansas. Hart has the ability to word his feelings so knowingly, without boring the listener. While I like “Friend to a Stranger,” the instrumentals in between the verses sound a bit too computerized for the soft rock feel the song is going for. However, computerized sound works well in the final song, “Cigarettes and Gasoline,” because it is only depended on for percussion. The song is an emotion filled memoir of “good things” from Hart's memory. I found myself singing along to some choruses on the first listen and I hope to continue. Cigarettes and Gasoline is for someone who enjoys artists like Matt Nathanson, Tonic, Train, or The Fray. It’s a softer, acoustic driven rock. It’s available now on iTunes and Amazon. Reviewer: Mallory Groff

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