Title - 'Mists of Time: Solo Piano & Ambient Soundscapes'
Artist - Andrew Colyer
For those not in the know, Award-winning composer and performer Andrew Colyer has sung and played piano, keyboards and trumpet across the US, England, Canada and Japan and has even performed at Carnegie Hall three times.
Classically-trained at Juilliard, Colyer’s musical resumé is literally all over the map - from rock and prog-rock to jazz and big band to scoring for radio, video and film - and that eclectic background merges to create a style and approach that is unique and original.
Indeed, the list of artists and groups Andrew has performed and collaborated with is an impressive “Who’s Who” of contemporary music.
Which all goes to show that here on his brand new album, Mists of Time: Solo Piano and Ambient Soundscapes (out now via Inner Nova Music Label), fans of George Winston and Peter Kater might also appreciate this new set of works.
As well as people who like the space present in Michael Whalen's pianoscapes, Brian Eno and Deuter's ambient music, new age chill-out music, and finally, perhaps even Thomas Newman's American Beauty soundtrack.
1. 'Rain Notes: Storm'
2. 'Oliver's Journey'
3. 'In Alex's Orbit'
5. 'Strings of the Ocean'
6. 'One Thing (Remastered 2020)'
7. 'Rain Notes: Forest'
8. 'A Thoughtful Moment'
9. 'Ghosts of Aberfan'
10. 'Moons of Jupiter'
In short, Mists of Time captures non-traditional solo piano improvisations and ambient soundscape arrangements, and thus opens with the weathering magnificence of 'Rain Notes: Storm,' which is followed by the precisely plaintive notes of 'Oliver's Journey,' the free flowing transcendency of 'In Alex's Orbit,' the playful 'Climb,' and then we get one of my own personal favorites, the beautifully ornate, Latin-imbued 'Strings of the Ocean.'
Next up are the elegant pairing of both 'One Thing (Remastered 2020)' and 'Rain Notes: Forest,' and they are followed by the delicate reverence of 'A Thoughtful Moment,' the soft touch ballad 'Ghosts of Aberfan,' the sonically spatial 'Moons of Jupiter,' with the album rounding out on the intricate shapes cultivated within 'Overcoming,' closing on the calmingly peaceful, and aptly-named 'Serenity.'
In closing, listeners should enjoy the fresh piano-driven approaches, and all twelve tracks are original, which is a nice turn of events.
Colyer's classical and jazz training are present throughout, in addition to his work in film scoring and progressive rock.
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Title - 'Mercy Rising'
Artist - Maia Sharp
For those not in the know, Maia Sharp wears many hats and furthermore, she has had her songs recorded by The Chicks, Bonnie Raitt, Trisha Yearwood, Keb’ Mo’, Cher, Edwin McCain, Terri Clark, David Wilcox, Art Garfunkel, Lizz Wright, Paul Carrack, Lisa Loeb and oh-so many more.
She produced Edwin McCain's album Mercy Bound (429 Records) and even two songs for Art Garfunkel's retrospective double album The Singer (Sony).
And through it all, Maia has continued to record her own albums. She has six solo releases, a collaborative project with Art Garfunkel and Buddy Mondlock Everything Waits to be Noticed and her latest duo project Roscoe & Etta, with writing/production partner Anna Schulze.
Each release has led to extensive touring throughout the US and UK and appearances on Mountain Stage, Acoustic Cafe, World Cafe, NPR's "All Things Considered," CBS Early Morning and the Today Show to name a few.
Maia is also an adjunct professor at NYU for the Summer Songwriter Workshop and she has been writing for Songwriting with Soldiers since 2017 where active duty service members, veterans and/or their family members are paired with professional songwriters in a safe and inspiring environment to share their experience and turn it into a song.
Combining recent influences such as Phoebe Bridgers and Jason Isbell with lifers Bonnie Raitt and Paul Simon, her brand new album Mercy Rising's first digital single release, 'Whatever We Are' brings irreverence and a new production sense to a classic writing style that you could easily imagine George and Tammy covering.
1. 'Mercy Rising'
2. 'You'll Know Who Knows You'
4. 'Nice Girl'
5. 'When The World Doesn't End'
6. 'Whatever We Are'
7. 'Things To Fix'
8. 'Junkyard Dog'
9. 'Not Your Friend'
10. 'Nowhere Together'
12. 'Always Good To See You'
This quite magnificent, and beautifully crafted album of warmth, personalization and accessibly honest storytelling, opens with the atmospheric Americana of the title track 'Mercy Rising' and backs that up seamlessly with the one-two, slow rock ambiance of 'You'll Know Who Knows You,' the foot-tapping 'Backburner,' the cool summer breeze of, although deceptively titled, 'Nice Girl,' and then we get the lonesome ode to a break up found within 'When The World Doesn't End,' followed by the front porch, sunsetting cadence of 'Whatever We Are.'
Featuring some mid-tempo beats and a quietly sanguine chorus, next up is 'Things To Fix' which is itself backed by the Americana-blues twang of 'Junkyard Dog,' the telling-it-like-it-is 'Not Your Friend,' the almost ethereal 'Nowhere Together,' and then the album rounds out with the earnest reality of 'Missions,' closing on the beautifully euphoric, melodiously dulcet 'Always Good To See You.'
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Title - 'Someday, Someday'
Artist - Rebecca DuMaine & the Dave Miller Trio
For those not in the know, with the release of Chez Nous in 2019, the future certainly looked bright for singer Rebecca DuMaine and her father pianist Dave Miller.
But then the Covid-19 pandemic hit and, as for virtually everyone, their plans and dreams got put on hold. 2020 has certainly been a dark year, says Rebecca. "I found myself gravitating more towards singing melancholy songs and I also started writing.",p>
"We decided to do an album that deviated a little from our typical sunny upbeat and hopeful mood and looked into songs that were a little bit darker, but still ultimately hopeful. It was a cathartic experience for us."
Dave Miller grew up on Long Island, New York and started playing piano when he was just three. Although classically trained, seeing Ahmad Jamal in concert and loving the music of George Shearing resulted in him switching to jazz as a teenager.
His group is heard at its best on 2009's Rapture and their 2019 tribute to George Shearing Just Imagine plus their recordings with his daughter.
Rebecca DuMaine was raised in the San Francisco Bay area and had a successful career as an actress who appeared on stage, in commercials and voice-overs, and is additionally a professor of voice and speech.
She always loved to sing but found that she preferred singing jazz over musical theater and since moving back to Northern California from New York in 2010, Rebecca has sung regularly with her father's trio. Indeed, they have recorded five CDs for Summit prior to 2020.
1. 'Just Friends'
2. 'Alone Again'
3. 'Samba De Mon Coeur'
4. 'The Gentleman Is A Dope'
5. 'Someday, Someday'
6. 'Both Sides Now'
7. 'Time To Get Unstuck'
8. 'As Long As I Live'
9. 'On A Clear Day'
10. 'I Guess I'll Have To Change My Plan'
11. 'Cry Me A River'
12. 'La Vie En Rose / Au Privave'
13. 'Wrap Your Thoughts In Dreams'
On their brand new album, Someday, Someday (released on March 12th, 2021), they open with the joyful 'Just Friends' and the lush ambiance of 'Alone Again,' before bringing us the French-imbued ambiance of 'Samba De Mon Coeur,' the forthright, finger-snappin' 'The Gentleman Is A Dope,' and both the fervent nature of the title track 'Someday, Someday' and then the balladeering of DuMaine comes to the fore on the truly beautiful 'Both Sides Now.'
On what is a subtle, yet noticeably different approach to their usual recordings together, Miller's swinging solos and tasteful accompaniment of his daughter continue onward with the perky 'Time To Get Unstuck' which is itself backed by the Eartha Kitt-esque 'As Long As I Live,' the free flowing 'On A Clear Day' and then we get one of my own personal favorites, the gossamer storytelling of 'I Guess I'll Have To Change My Plan.'
The album then rounds out with the feisty 'Cry Me A River,' a quite magnificent, and wholly buoyant, and once more French-imbued 'La Vie En Rose / Au Privave,' closing on the floatingly exuberant Summer's day vibe of 'Wrap Your Thoughts In Dreams' and the quite wondrously shiny disposition of 'Sunny.'
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Title - 'Imaginary Road'
Artist - Reza Khan
For those not in the know, a socially conscious musical citizen of the world, Reza Khan has a long-established history of blazing fresh trails, pushing limits and finding unique ways to redefine what is possible in contemporary jazz.
Working with some of the genre’s most revered sidemen, the Bangladesh born and raised, NYC-based composer/guitarist has, since his 2009 debut Painted Diaries, taken a freewheeling approach to creating his dynamic, infectious yet unpredictable fusion of pop, jazz, soul and world music influences.
Having scored his first Billboard Top Ten single with 'Drop of Faith' from his critically acclaimed fifth album Next Train Home, the most logical approach moving ahead would have been a slick, in the pocket urban/smooth jazz session.
Instead, helping us navigate our way through the darkness, anxiety and steep challenges of the past year, Khan graces us with an empowering way forward along a fascinating, twist and turn filled Imaginary Road (released March 26th, 2021).
While Khan’s name is the one atop Imaginary Road and he is credited as writer/producer, the ten-track set is once again a largely collaborative effort featuring his longtime collaborative core band – bassist Mark Egan, pianist Matt King, rhythm and classical guitarist Sergio Pereira, drummer Maurizio Zottarelli – and guest artists David Mann (all wind instruments), Acoustic Alchemy’s Miles Gilderdale (electric lead guitar) and Philippe Saisse (synth, Moog, Melodion, mallets).
1. 'Waiting for the Sky'
2. 'Neo Funk'
3. 'I See Stars'
4. 'La Liaison'
5. 'Midnight Runner'
6. 'Broken River'
7. 'Seven Miles Road'
8. 'It's Happening'
9. 'Somewhere East'
10. 'Imaginary Road'
On his personable, and highly atmospherically memorable new album, Khan opens with the free flowing ambiance of 'Waiting for the Sky' and the quieter paced, Hammond-imbued 'Neo Funk,' before bringing us the beautiful gossamer of 'I See Stars,' the late afternoon, Mediterranean breeze of 'La Liaison,' and both the lush 'Midnight Runner' and the toe-tappin' delicacy 'Broken River.'
Next up is one of my own personal favorites, the quietly rambunctious 'Seven Miles Road' which is itself backed by the delightful hipsway of 'It's Happening,' the Summer's breeze of 'Somewhere East,' with the joyfully groovy album coming to a close on the bright and perky title track itself, 'Imaginary Road.'
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Title - 'Unity'
Artist - Sonic Twist
Starting back in September 2020, Sonic Twist - Judi Silvano, Voice, and Bruce Arnold, Guitar - began the release of four compositions each month (five in November) for the CD Unity.
The much anticipated final release of the duo’s complete Unity CD was this past February 5th, 2021 (out now via Muse Eek).
In short, this project is highly bold and very refreshing with each track conveying a musical state of consciousness.
Indeed, each track features the guitar and vocals of Arnold and Silvano respectively, with the exception of 'Chrysalis,' a solo guitar track by Bruce Arnold.
On this breathtakingly expansive, and wholly enjoyable 17-track album, Unity seems to mirror the feelings and the reality that people are dealing with and searching for today on oh-so many levels.
From elation to wonder, from bursting out of refracted jagged edges to engaging in light-hearted wonderment at the “mysteries of life”, to reflective moods of acceptance and contemplation, Unity is the album to bring us all together as one.
1. 'A Ha'
3. 'I Saw That'
4. 'Bruce's Boogie'
10. 'Home Free'
11. 'That's What That Is'
13. 'Shaman's Plane'
16. 'Shimmer Down'
17. 'Compression Expansion'
Embedded with a live energy, a syncopation of minds, all coming together as one for the musical cause, the album opens with the paced structure of 'A Ha' and follows that up with the soulful play of 'Capricious,' the psychedelic mysteries of the freeform, word improvisations within 'I Saw That,' the skittled 'Bruce's Boogie,' and then we get the incantations of 'Dryads,' the gentle scat of the delicate 'Lacewing' and the fluttering, shimmering ambiance of 'Hovercraft.'
Next up is the mystical 'Flutterby' which is itself backed by one of my own personal favorites, the early '80s-esque synth pop remnants that make up 'HA,' and then we get the calming 'Home Free,' the frenetically discombobulated, word association reverb of 'That's What That Is,' the ornate 'Chrysalis' and then the spiritually pulsing, guitar-backed melodies of 'Shaman's Plane.'
The album then rounds out with (what is said to be) "a disturbing foray into an alternative mental world" within 'Confabulation,' the playful piece 'Frisky,' with the album closing out on the spiraling sonics of 'Shimmer Down' and then the kaleidoscope of physical movements made by the musicians brought to musical form within 'Compression Expansion.'
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Sonic Twist - 'Capricious' (ft. Judi Silvano, Bruce Arnold) Official Music Video
Sonic Twist - 'Capricious' (ft. Judi Silvano, Bruce Arnold) Official Music Video
Sonic Twist - 'Frisky' (ft. Judi Silvano, Bruce Arnold) Official Music Video
Title - 'You Wanted To Be The Shore But Instead ...'
Artist - Natalie D-Napoleon
For those not in the know, for an Australian singer-songwriter entrenched in the traditions of folk/rock and Americana music, not only did writing her latest album on the front porch of her 100-year old California cottage give Natalie D-Napoleon the time and space to create You Wanted to Be the Shore but Instead You Were the Sea (due out March 26th, 2021) but also the passing world served as a poignant muse.
“I sat there and wrote and wrote and wrote,” explains Natalie. “Sometimes people stopped and listened to me playing, mainly parents with kids. Guys walked up and asked what guitar I was playing."
"But mostly folks ignored me and kept walking. I really liked watching the world go by, offering up song ideas, while I plugged away on my instrument and sang.”
1. 'Thunder Rumor'
2. 'How to Break a Spell'
4. 'Second Time Around'
6. 'No Longer Mine'
7. 'You Wanted to Be the Shore but Instead You Were the Sea'
8. 'Gasoline & Liquor'
9. 'Mother of Exiles'
11. 'Cut Your Hair'
This personal, and creatively constructed, tasty slice of Americana pie opens on the steadfast 'Thunder Rumor' and backs that up with the melodic 'How to Break a Spell,' the summer breeze ambiance of 'Wildflowers,' the wisdom of starting over is brought forth within 'Second Time Around,' and then we get both the aptly-named, muted restrains of 'Soft' and then the flying high euphoria of an ended relationship within 'No Longer Mine.'
Up next is the earnest yearning of the title track 'You Wanted to Be the Shore but Instead You Were the Sea,' which is followed by the lush, gently swaying beauty of 'Gasoline & Liquor,' the more forthright 'Mother of Exiles,' the ponderances of 'Reasons,' with the album rounding out on the foot-tapping 'Cut Your Hair,' closing on the harshness of human self-reflections found within 'Broken.'
So, I guess the view from her porch also gave Natalie a new perspective.
“All my life I've written personal songs.” Natalie continues. “I’ve tucked myself away and poured my emotional life into music, yet I discovered after a while it burnt me out. It wasn't always a well that was nourishing, but one that began to drain me emotionally."
“As the songs began to flow, a theme emerged — I was telling stories of women that passed me by. But these were stories that aren’t commonly told in song."
"Women have long been the muse in song-writing but it’s been a very one-dimensional view. Rarely have our complexities been portrayed — I wanted to change that."
"'Second Time Around' is a song about the wisdom that comes with starting over and 'No Longer Mine' enthusiastically celebrates the resulting liberty from ending a relationship while 'Wildflowers' is a rustic front-porch song."
“The songs did not come without work,” Natalie is quick to add. “But this time I decided to feed the songbird within me. I gave her water and seeds as you do to any living creature you want to keep coming back to visit.”
In closing, You Wanted to Be the Shore But Instead You Were the Sea is Natalie D-Napoleon’s surrender to music — a place where it’s okay to be vulnerable and courageous, fierce and kind, and to stand your ground yet still be forgiving all at the same time.
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Title - 'Seeker'
Artist - Brigitte DeMeyer
For those not in the know, having spent years as a working musician, residing in Nashville was a good thing for Brigitte DeMeyer.
Becoming a part of Music City’s vibrant community of artists and industry folks kept her busy, as she carved out her place living and working there, all while raising her young son.
Originally from California, she commuted to Nashville for years; relocating full time was a leap of faith — one that paid off. And, while the work has been rewarding, the greatest rewards for the artist are the friendships and partnerships she maintains there.
When an urgent need to move back to California came suddenly for her family, DeMeyer had to go. But her spirit keeps deep roots in the South.
DeMeyer remembers watching the roots trio Wood Brothers’ keyboardist/drummer Jano Rix play piano in Zac Brown’s Southern Ground Studio on multiple occasions.
But when she heard him play behind powerhouse singer Maureen Murphy on a video recorded there, a new inspiration took hold.
And now, the thought of standing by Rix’s masterful piano playing and just singing has become a reality for on her brand new album, Seeker (due out March 26th, 2021 on BDM Music), does she ever sing.
1. 'All the Blue'
2. 'Cat Man Do'
3. 'Salt of the Earth'
5. 'Calamity Gone'
6, 'Already In'
7. 'Ain’t No Mister'
10. 'Roots and Wings and Bones'
This quite captivatedly open and honest, fresh and vibrant new album opens with the laid back, Summer's breeze of 'All the Blue' and the honky tonk vibe of 'Cat Man Do,' before bringing us the most perfect rhythmic pop bounce of 'Salt of the Earth,' which is itself backed by the sterner piano storytelling of 'Louisiana' (a tribute to this favorite city of DeMeyer's) and the upbeat, foot-tappin', Gospel imbued, straight-up protest song 'Calamity Gone.'
Next up is the quietly passionate, acoustic guitar work of the love song 'Already In' and the gently funky piano jazz of 'Ain’t No Mister' which is then followed by the train track ambiance of 'Wishbone,' with the album rounding out on the earnest pairing of the title track 'Seeker' and the forthright yearning of the song dedicated to DeMeyer’s son, 'Roots and Wings and Bones.'
Co-written and produced by Rix, who appeared on the DeMeyer/Will Kimbrough release Mockingbird Soul (along with Oliver and Chris Wood), as well as DeMeyer’s Savannah Road, Seeker wonderfully showcases DeMeyer’s versatility as a singer and writer, moving with ease from ethereal to greasy vocal styles.
As bassist Chris Wood put it, the collaboration between DeMeyer and Rix is “like Sly Stone meets Bob Dylan.” Her emotive voice and painterly lyrics combined with Rix’s mastery of piano and rhythm create a sparkle. The chemistry between the two is solid.
The album is adorned by a family of friends: Alfreda McCrary (McCrary Sisters), DeMeyer’s best friend and godmother to her son, sings backing and harmony vocals; Oliver Wood is on electric guitar and harmony vocals; and Chris Wood shares upright and electric bass contributions with Viktor Krauss.
Session players Ted Pecchio (bass) and JP Ruggieri and Kris Donegan (guitars) helped complete the backbone. “I just let everybody do what they do best,” says DeMeyer, “and I stood there and sang. The best way to make a record feel good is to be really comfortable with the people playing with you. It’s all about vibe.”
And vibe is alive and well on Seeker for the result obviously took DeMeyer to a whole different level musically.
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Title - 'Up Front' [EP]
Artist - Annicia Banks
For those not in the know, Annicia Banks is a reggae singer-songwriter from Kingston, Jamaica.
Furthermore, she has toured the Caribbean, United States, Asia, Africa, and Europe, using the dulcet tones of her voice to provide background support for internationally acclaimed reggae artists Judy Mowatt (of I-Threes fame), Bunny Wailer (original member of The Wailers), Sister Carol, and the legendary “Crown Prince of Reggae” Dennis Emmanuel Brown.
Banks will finally seize the spotlight with the release of her debut solo EP Up Front (via Raw Vue Music), in stores and online March 5th, 2021.
The EP will introduce her own original songs, including a collaboration with the late and legendary Bob Andy, and as the first single a cover of the Dennis Brown hit 'Love Has Found Its Way' featuring original saxophonist Dean Fraser will release online February 5th, 2021.
1. 'Jamaica Forever' (feat. King Kohai)
2. 'It's You'
3. 'Love Has Found Its Way'
5. 'It's Too Late'
6. 'Free, Free, Free' (feat. Bob Andy)
7. 'Restore My Soul'
This breezy, beautiful, uplifting new 7-track EP opens with the sumptuous bounce and flow of 'Jamaica Forever' (feat. King Kobai) and backs that up seamlessly with the gentle hipsway of 'It's You' and then the joyous, Reggae-lite, Caribbean hipsway of the first single, a cover of the Dennis Brown hit 'Love Has Found Its Way' (featuring original saxophonist Dean Fraser) is brought forth.
Next up is the one-two, foot-tappin' beats of 'Hush' and that's backed by the summer breeze of 'It's Too Late,' with the EP rounding out on the beautifully crafted 'Free, Free, Free' (feat. Bob Andy), closing on the alluringly melodious 'Restore My Soul.'
Currently residing in Massachusetts, Annicia Banks is also a mother, singer-songwriter, and world-class chef with a passion for driving long distances.
Her favorite saying is “one day at a time,” and she exemplifies the sincere meaning of “patience surpasses learning.”
The second of seven children born to Kenneth Banks and Vera Barrett in Kingston, Jamaica, at the age of eight she participated in school plays and talent shows while attending Holy Trinity Secondary School, which piqued her interest in singing.
During her teenage years she participated in talent shows all across the island, where she was continually recognized by several top people in the music industry.
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Title - 'Make It Happen!'
Artist - Stacey Peasley
For those not in the know, the Boston area’s beloved family musician Stacey Peasley celebrates a positive message of empowerment, courage, and strength in her fifth kids’ album, Make it Happen!
Packed with lyrical wisdom born of Stacey’s life as a parent, teacher, and performer, Make it Happen! will be released on February 12th, 2021.
Make it Happen! centers on creating relationships and experiences, both individual and community.
Each of the album’s ten original songs imparts a story carefully crafted to resonate with children and families.
Indeed, the heart of Stacey’s charm is found in the ways these stories roll effortlessly out of her songs to connect with listeners in a meaningful way.
1. 'Make It Happen'
2. 'Boo Boo'
3. 'What Girls Do'
4. 'Choo Choo'
5. 'At the Parade'
6. 'Play the Game'
7. 'Goodie Bag'
8. 'Happy Tears'
9. 'Swimming Pool'
10. 'Soapy Bubbles 2020'
This delightful new album opens on the boldly inspirational message found within the title track 'Make It Happen' (a track that should inspire adults, let alone children, to push on and make more of themselves each day), and that's backed by the guitar rock of 'Boo Boo,' and then the funky, finger-snappin', one-two pop bounce of the 'What Girls Do' (inspired by Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign, when Senator Warren made pinky promises to young girls and told them, “I’m running for president, because that’s what girls do.”).
Next up is old country styling of 'Choo Choo' and that's followed by some vibrant, trumpet-imbued work from Matthew Girard on 'At the Parade' (created back when St. Patrick’s Day parades were cancelled, but from Stacey’s indomitable spirit emerged the idea that families could create their own parades at home), and then we get my own personal favorite, the Queen-inspired sports stadium anthem 'Play the Game.'
The No Doubt-esque, reggae-ska melodic bounce of 'Goodie Bag' is up next and is followed by a nod back to Stacey's time as part of the NYC-based ‘50s and ‘60s girl group tribute band, The Chiclettes on the smooth hipsway of 'Happy Tears' (complete with tenor sax from Vitalijus Lisovskis), with the album coming to a close on the Caribbean-flavored 'Swimming Pool' and finally the only song on this new album that was recorded live, the funky, drum and horn-led 'Soapy Bubbles' (an updated version of Stacey’s most popular song, which first appeared on her debut album, Together).
“I think I’m a good storyteller, and I write songs about unique experiences that aren’t often written about,” Stacey admits. "I have been inspired by so many different things this past year."
"Looking at our social and political landscape and honing in on the experiences that kids have shared with me has really taken my writing to a new level."
"Credit is also due to my long-time producer Marty Beller. Throughout our ten-year collaboration, Marty has always applauded my work and pushed me to do better when he knew I could.”
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Title - Richard Pryor / 'Craps' (After Hours): Expanded
Artist - Richard Pryor
For those who cannot recall, naming him the #1 stand-up comic of all time, Rolling Stone wrote of Richard Pryor: “Pryor was untouchable ... If [George] Carlin is the brain and conscience of comedy, Pryor is its guts and heart, and it’s unlikely the man referred to as the ‘Picasso of our profession’ — by no less than Jerry Seinfeld — will ever be topped.”
On February 26th, 2021, Omnivore Recordings will release expanded editions of Pryor’s first two recordings, the self-titled Richard Pryor and ‘Craps’ (After Hours) (both will be available on CD and Digital).
Richard Pryor, originally released in 1968, featured cover art (shot by legendary photographer Henry Diltz) that should have let the buyer know this was not your average comedy record.
Pryor was at a career crossroads that year, when the album was recorded at the Troubadour in West Hollywood. He’d already become a regular on The Merv Griffin Show and The Ed Sullivan Show, and was signed to the same agency that handled the Beatles and the Supremes.
But it wasn’t just his love of artistic freedom that pulled him toward what many looked at as defiance. Pryor wanted to not only change comedy, but how we look at ourselves and those around us.
Richard Pryor’s original eight tracks make up the first disc of this new edition, while the second disc contains 21 tracks from the out-of-print Evolution/Revolution: The Early Years (1966-1974) collection — originally co-compiled by producer Reggie Collins, who helms this new set along with Jennifer Lee Pryor and Grammy®-winning producer Cheryl Pawelski (remastering is by Grammy®-winner Michael Graves).
1. Super Nigger
4. Prison Play
5. T.V. Panel Show
7. Army Life
I mean, come on now. How can one man have been so funny for so damn long? Pryor’s genre-shaping, and even Grammy-winning ’70s albums, all contained evidence that long the way we watch, look and listen to Pryor growing up, from a stand-up who offered inspired observations, into a performer who turned his own flaws into transcendent comedy.
Featuring early pieces like the opener 'Super Nigger,' the comical 'Farting' and even his unique show ending piece 'Frankenstein,' Pryor was a genius who could weave the intricate nature of the extant social issues with familiar personal events that we all could relate, appreciate and find the amazing humor.
1. Peoria [Bonus Track]
2. Improv, Pt. 1 [Bonus Track]>BR>
3. Heart & Brain [Bonus Track]
4. Taxi Cabs & Subways [Bonus Track]
5. Playboy Club [Bonus Track]
6. Rumpelstiltskin [Bonus Track]
7. Slippin’ In Poo Poo [Bonus Track]
8. Birth Control [Bonus Track]
9. Nigger Babies [Bonus Track]
10. Faith Healer [Bonus Track]
11. Black Power [Bonus Track]
12. I Feel [Bonus Track]
13. Jail [Bonus Track]
14. Directions [Bonus Track]
15. Movie Stars In The Bathroom
16. War Movies [Bonus Track]
17. The Army [Bonus Track]
18. Hippy Dippys [Bonus Track]
19. Hank’s Place [Bonus Track]
20. Improv, Pt. 2 [Bonus Track]
21. Mankind [Bonus Track]
For all intents and purposes, this second disc traces Pryor's transformation from a slightly naughty Cosby wannabe (Rumpelstiltskin) to raunchy comic icon (Whorehouse), stopping along the way at any given junction for both giggles and bell laughs aplenty.
Originally released in 1971, ‘Craps’ (After Hours) arrived on a new label, Laff Records. It also came from a tumultuous time in Pryor’s personal life.
But this new arrangement and Pryor’s need to create saw him — for the first time since his earliest days in Peoria — performing in nightclubs that drew an almost entirely black audience.
In these lively black clubs, he could say anything he wanted. and those parts of himself that had been buried, by shame or censorship, could now serve as his creative fuel.
The original 32 tracks from ‘Craps’ (After Hours) are now teamed with four bonus tracks from the out-of-print Evolution/Revolution: The Early Years (1966-1974) and No Pryor Restraint: Life In Concert collections (production and remastering credits are the same as for Richard Pryor).
1. Gettin’ High
2. F**k From Memory
3. Big Tits
4. Gettin’ Some
5. The President
7. The Line-Up
10. Black Preachers
11. Being Born
12. Blow Our Image
14. I Spy Cops
15. Sugar Ray
16. White Folks
18. Ass Wupin’
19. Get A Dollar
20. Pres’ Black Baby
22. Wino Panthers
23. After Hours
24. 280 Pound Ass
25. Crap Game
26. Insurance Man
27. Black And Proud
28. Gettin’ The Nut
29. F**k The Faggot
30. Jackin’ Off
31. Snappin’ Pussy
33. Whorehouse, Pt. 1 [Bonus Track]
34. Whorehouse, Pt. 2 [Bonus Track]
35. Wino & Junkie (Alternate Version) [Bonus Track]
36. Attica (Behind Those Walls) [Bonus Track]
As great as Eddie Murphy's stand-up shows of the 80s were, when you look back, he owes most of his success to Pryor. Eddie had the boundless energy and the dead-on impressions, but he didn't have a fraction of the depth.
Simply put, 'Craps' (After Hours) was Richard's all-time best XXX-rated comedy album that had his fans, and even casual passerby's dying from laughter in less than five minutes of exposure to him!
Featuring some of his, in my humble opinion, all time funniest routines, when he concentrated on his earlier life growing up in his hometown of Peoria, IL, he simply floored the audience with his raw, and beyond humorous anecdotes.
It also includes one of worldly renowned and funniest comedy bits, 'Black Preachers' - "You know, I first met God in 1929 in a little Jefferson Hotel in Baltimore walking down the street. I was eating a tuna fish sandwich. That's right! 1929! You can eat anything that you can get."
"I heard this voice calling unto me and the voice had this par and majesty and the voice said "Psst"! And so I walked up to the voice and I said "What?" And with a magnified voice and with a Holy and resounding "Uh" the voice said back to me, "Gimme some of that sandwich"!"
As a whole, Pryor had the nerve to say what everyone else only thought. He gave insights that were both universal and unique to this country's African-American experiences.
His timing, delivery, inflection was, without a shadow of a doubt, totally and completely unequaled. We memorized his observations and recited them as the situation called for, never with his touch, but always with the utmost respect.
He was, is and will always be, THE TRUTH!
Official Richard Pryor: Expanded CD Purchase Link
Official 'Craps' (After Hours): Expanded CD Purchase Link
Title - 'October 1993'
Artist - Harry Dean Stanton with the Cheap Dates
For those who didn't know, Harry Dean Stanton, the beloved actor with a career spanning more than six decades, also loved to sing and play music.
His trusted musical partner for 15+ years was Jamie James (The Kingbees, Dennis Quaid & the Sharks), as evidenced in the acclaimed documentary and soundtrack Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction. Omnivore Recordings released the soundtrack to the movie in 2014.
On February 12th, 2021, Omnivore will release Harry Dean Stanton With the Cheap Dates, October 1993, a collection of never-before-heard music from the man Los Angeles Times described as a “prolific character actor who brought a soulful, hangdog presence.”
Produced by Jamie James, the album features four tracks from the studio alongside five recorded live at Doug Weston’s Troubadour in West Hollywood (the album will be available on CD, LP and Digital).
1. 'I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight'
2. 'Promised Land'
3. 'You Don’t Miss Your Water'
4. 'Across the Borderline'
5. 'You Never Can Tell' (Live at the Troubadour)
6. 'Spanish Harlem' (Live at the Troubadour)
7. 'Miss Froggie' (Live at the Troubadour)
8. 'Bright Lights, Big City' (Live at the Troubadour)
9. 'Canción Mixteca' (Live at the Troubadour)
The album opens on the mid-tempo roll of 'I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight' and backs that up seamlessly with the uptempo 'Promised Land,' the laid back and lonesome 'You Don’t Miss Your Water,' and then one of my personal favorites, the achingly beautiful 'Across the Borderline.'
The expanded portion of this CD now includes live tracks from the Troubadour, and first brings us the harmonica-driven 'You Never Can Tell,' which is masterfully backed by the lofi 'Spanish Harlem,' the gently frenetic 'Miss Froggie,' rounding out on the lush orchestrations of 'Bright Lights, Big City,' closing on the Latin-flavored 'Canción Mixteca.'
James sets the scene in his liner notes: “Together, Harry and I had been doing some dates around Los Angeles as a duo,” he writes. “And I remember suggesting to Harry to have Slim Jim Phantom (Stray Cats) come over and play drums with us."
"In doing so, he brought along Jeff “Skunk” Baxter (The Doobie Brothers) to play pedal steel, which then led to Slim and I asking Tony Sales (Iggy Pop, David Bowie, Todd Rundgren) to play bass, and that’s how we became the Cheap Dates.”
October 1993 documents that collaboration. Featuring covers of Bob Dylan, Chuck Berry, Ben E. King, and Jimmy Reed, among others, it’s a celebration of friendship, music, and love.
Official Harry Dean Stanton with the Cheap Dates October 1993: Expanded CD Purchase Link
Omnivore Harry Dean Stanton With The Cheap Dates Trailer
Title - 'Recorded Live At Waterloo Ice House'
Artist - Uncle Walt’s Band
For those who didn't hear it the first time, “The best band in town was Uncle Walt’s Band.” That’s what Jimmie Dale Gilmore remembers about the trio of Walter Hyatt, Champ Hood, and David Ball circa 1980.
Originally released as a private pressing in 1982 on the band’s own Lespedeza label, Recorded Live was a document of their legendary shows at Waterloo Ice House in Austin, Texas.
While those shows began around 9:30 p.m. and often continued past 2 a.m., only 14 tracks recorded over four nights were made available to share the magic of the three virtuoso singers and players.
Now, after releasing the anthology and expanded versions of their self-titled debut and its follow-up, An American in Texas, Omnivore Recordings will present a re-imagined version of Recorded Live — now titled Recorded Live at Waterloo Ice House (street date for CD and Digital is February 5th, 2021).
The collection has been expanded to 21 tracks, with seven songs from the original release, four previously unissued alternate takes, and a whopping ten previously unissued performances.
The new package features photos, ephemera, new liner notes from Peter Blackstock (music writer for the Austin American-Statesman), and restoration and mastering from Grammy®-winning engineer Michael Graves.
1. 'If I Don’t Stop Crying'
2. 'Mock, Mock, Mockingbird'
3. 'Love Has Laid Me Down'
4. 'Stagger Lee'
5. 'Since I Fell For You'
6. 'Honest Papas Love Their Mamas Better'
7. 'Bye, Bye Baby'
8. 'Motor City Man'
9. 'The More I See You'
11. 'I Gotta Know'
12. 'What Have You Done With My Love'
13. 'I’m Going To Break My Heart In Two'
14. 'Snowing Me Under'
15. 'Country Boy'
16. 'Lose Me Baby'
17. 'Eddie’s Girl'
18. 'Georgia Rose'
20. 'Just A Little Understanding'
21. 'Early Morning Love'
Opening on the delightfully harmonic 'If I Don’t Stop Crying,' they back that up seamlessly with 'Mock, Mock, Mockingbird,' the beautiful ballad 'Love Has Laid Me Down,' a very unique rendition of 'Stagger Lee,' and then we get the yearning of 'Since I Fell For You' and the pop guitar bounce of 'Honest Papas Love Their Mamas Better.'
Next up is the lush hipsway of 'Bye, Bye Baby,' which is in turn backed by the mid-tempo 'Motor City Man,' the upbeat 'The More I See You,' the orchestrated magnificence of 'Desiree,' the fervent 'I Gotta Know' and then the forlorn wonderings of 'What Have You Done With My Love' is brought forth.
One of my own personal favorites is up next in the shape of the foot-tappin' 'I’m Going To Break My Heart In Two,' which is followed by the laid back flow of 'Snowing Me Under,' the quietly-paced jaunt 'Country Boy,' the buoyant 'Lose Me Baby,' and then we get another great track within the melodic sway of 'Eddie’s Girl.'
Up next is the quietly strident 'Georgia Rose' and the upbeat 'Diggaroo,' with the album rounding out on the rhythmically acoustic, lo-fi pop semblance of 'Just A Little Understanding,' closing on the finger-snappin' delicacy 'Early Morning Love.'
Official Recorded Live At Waterloo Ice House: Expanded CD Purchase Link
Omnivore Uncle Walt's Band Live At Waterloo Ice House Trailer
Title - 'Oblivious' [Vinyl]
Artist - Babyflow
For those not in the know, Independent label Wildflow Records and Anthony Rogers announces the release of the wild debut album from Babyflow entitled Oblivious
The album is available on the full range of digital and stream services and is available again on limited edition vinyl, in keeping with all releases thus far on Wildflow.
Oblivious marks the first time Rogers has released an album under another name, evidently, like everything else these days, a side effect of the Covid experience, one assumes.
Rogers remarks, “This is a wild one. We intended an even more collaborative album which got shut down 2 songs in March. After that, it wasn’t until August that we had the Lillers come back in separately to finish the vocals."
"Since there were a number of tracks with vocals other than mine, it was entirely appropriate to put this under another name. Blake significantly stepped up writing wise and the others - especially the Liller brothers - left a big imprint on the final product."
"Then, of course, the craziness of the commercials and format (suddenly all) made sense to me.”
1. 'Daddy Got Played'
2. 'Substitute for Science'
4. 'Covid Beach'
6. '3 for $12.99'
7. 'William Burns'
8. 'Invisible Mask'
9. 'Wish Away'
12. 'Karen for Hire'
13. 'Rain Cloud'
Marketed as “an indie solution for the Covid/Trump hangover,” Oblivious opens with the gentle psych dreamscape of 'Daddy Got Played,' and backs that up with the rhythmically drum-led 'Substitute for Science,' the melodic pop of 'Wrong,' the upbeat, albeit twisted twister 'Covid Beach,' and then the lofi grunge guitar pop of 'Greaser' is brought forth.
The foot-tappin' '3 for $12.99' is then backed by the transcendent qualities of 'William Burns' and itself followed by the trippy hippy hipsway of 'Invisible Mask,' the lush rock orchestrations of 'Wish Away,' and then we get the prog psych, Zappa-esque rock of 'NTHI.'
This tongue in cheek, yet profoundly heartfelt album - a balance between despair, reflection, optimism outrage and humor (both direct and sarcastic) - then rounds out with the mid-'70s folk rock-imbibed 'Listen,' the short, but sweetly tainted 'Karen for Hire,' closing on the beautiful, free flowing harmonies of 'Rain Cloud.'
Oblivious is the fourth full length release (#3 on Wildflow) by Appalachian indie artist Anthony W. Rogers and in addition to Rogers, Babyflow features the usual contributions from Rogers’ children - Blake (Audrey) and Joe Rogers - as well as heavy contributions from brothers Aaron and Sean Liller, and musical contributions from local musicians/friends Pierce Miller and Bryson Bush.
To complete the family circle, the iconic, full on unforgettable sun cover art was painted by artist Lisa Rayden-Rogers, wife of Anthony/mother of Blake and Joe.
Amazon Digital Purchase Link
Anthony W. Rogers @ YouTube
Title - 'Uncommon Measures'
Artist - Lyle Workman
For those not in the know, Lyle Workman hasn’t just had a successful career — he’s had three!
As a sideman and first-call session musician, he’s toured and recorded with everyone from Beck and Sting to Frank Black and Todd Rundgren; as a composer for film and television, he’s written music for box office blockbusters that have earned over a billion dollars worldwide, including Superbad, The 40 Year Old Virgin, and Forgetting Sarah Marshall; and as a songwriter and solo artist, he’s written a hit single and earned praise from guitar heroes like Steve Vai and Steve Lukather.
Now, Workman is set to bring all three of his disparate worlds together with Uncommon Measures (releasing February 19th, 2021 via Blue Canoe Records), a simply stunning new instrumental collection featuring a 63-piece orchestra captured live at Abbey Road Studios in London.
1. 'North Star' (9:18)
2. 'All the Colors of the World' (7:25)
3. 'Noble Savage' (4:02)
4. 'Arc of Life' (10:26)
5. 'Imaginary World' (4:29)
6. 'Unsung Hero' (6:08)
7. 'Labyrinth of Love' (2:48)
8. 'Rise and Shine' (4:07)
9. 'Our Friendship' (3:34)
Bursting at the seams with soaring arrangements and virtuosic performances, Uncommon Measures opens on the near-ten minute opus, 'North Star' and never looks back.
That buoyantly memorable work of musical art is then backed by the sedater, more lusciously-woven, and itself near-eight minute long 'All the Colors of the World,' the gently frenetic 'Noble Savage,' and then we get the epic, ten-minute majesty of 'Arc of Life.'
Combining elements of prog, jazz fusion, and romantic classical music with gleeful abandon, next up is one of my own personal favorites here on this new album, the free flowing guitar and horn blend of 'Imaginary World' which is followed seamlessly by much the same in the funky 'Unsung Hero,' with the album rounding out on the yearning ambiance of 'Labyrinth of Love,' the lightly-spirited 'Rise and Shine,' and then closing on the aching prog guitar reach of 'Our Friendship.'
“This record ties together all the different threads of who I am as an artist,” explains Workman. “It was four years in the making due to my film and TV schedule, but it’s really the culmination of a lifetime in music.”
"“I’ve always felt like the muse is much more intuitive and in touch with my emotions than I am,” he continues. “Writing these songs, I tried to just go into this tabula rasa state of mind, a meditative place where I could let the music tell me where to go.”
“If there’s any one thing that ties all of these songs together,” Workman concludes, "it’s the power of expressing yourself at all costs, of free falling into the music with complete abandon."
"When I’m working on a film or someone else’s record, there are always parameters to follow and opinions to consider, but here, there were no boundaries at all. I could do anything I wanted.”
Musicians: Lyle Workman: electric and acoustic guitar, keys; Vinnie Colaiuta: drums on 1,2; Abe Laboriel Jr.: drums on 3; Toss Panos: drums on 4; Donald Barrett: drums on 5, 6; Matt Chamberlain: drums on 8; Tim Lefebvre: bass on 1, 2, 5, 6, 8; Dan Lutz: bass on 4
Sam Wilkes: bass on 3; Jeff Babko: electric piano, organ on 1, 5, 6; Charlie Bisharat: violin on 1, 2, 3; Wade Culbreath: vibes, marimba, glockenspiel on 1, 2, 3; Katisse Buckingham: alto sax on 5, 6; Ron Dziubla: tenor sax on 5, 6; Jamie Hovorka: trumpet on 5, 6; Chris Bleth: oboe, flute, clarinet on 2; and Greg Leisz: pedal steel on 8.
LACHSA Choir: Aleta Braxton (choir master); Skylar Lehr-Bryant;
Leilani Patao; Rachel Goodman; Monique Ramirez; and Coco Mori.
Official Purchase Link
Lyle Workman @ Facebook
Lyle Workman @ Twitter
Lyle Workman @ Instagram
Lyle Workman @ YouTube
Title - 'Geminus'
Artist - Kane Mathis
For those not in the know, after 23 years of intense traditional study of the Kora and Oud, Kane Mathis releases a record featuring himself on both instruments in a trio setting with fellow New York-based musicians John Hadfield on drums (Yo-Yo Ma, Kinan Azmeh) and Sam Minaie on bass (Tigran Hamasyan, Mark Guiliana).
Geminus (out April 9th, 2021) features all original material that is strongly rooted in Kane’s long standing study of these two traditions.
15 years of frequent trips to The Gambia to study with his Kora teacher Malamini Jobarteh and 5 and half years of close continual study of the Oud with Münir Nurettin Beken have given Kane a strong traditional foundation from which to branch out from.
This beautifully recorded debut album, mixed by John Davis (Brad Mehldau) at The Bunker recording studio in Brooklyn, New York in live sessions over 3 days, is one of the most ambiently magnificent I have heard in many a year, and I truly believe that anyone who takes the time to listen, will be instantly enraptured by it also.
1. 'Route Des Jardins' (7:32)
2. 'Kürdi Oud Taksim' (1:21)
3. 'Kürdi 7 and 9' (3:42)
4. 'Kaira' (5:38)
5. 'August' (5:43)
6. 'Chant' (5:01)
7. 'Etude' [for Oud in 3 sections] (6:47)
8. 'Muhayyer Kürdi Semai' (4:37)
9. 'Gemini' (6:25)
10. 'Nikriz Sirto' (5:19)
Performing on the 21-string Mandinka Harp and the Turkish Oud, Kane renders compelling interpretations of these traditional music, opening with the gently frenetic, yet always controlled and stunning atmospheric 'Route Des Jardins' and backs that up with the ornate 'Kürdi Oud Taksim,' the more relaxed, foot-tapping bounce and sway of 'Kürdi 7 and 9,' the airy and free mantra of 'Kaira,' and then the melodic 'August.'
After years of study with generous masters who have given Kane a rare opportunity to share these traditions with other cultures, all that and more can be found within the quite mesmerizing 'Chant,' which is followed by the grounded passion of 'Etude' [for Oud in 3 sections], the album rounding out with the gently forthright 'Muhayyer Kürdi Semai,' the feverish 'Gemini,' closing on the decorated structure of 'Nikriz Sirto.'
In summary, this debut is not quite like any other record that interprets these traditions in a band setting.
The lead instruments are uniquely exposed and the general approach trades languid romanticism for highly engaged dynamic energy.
Often, fusion efforts buttress cultures up against one another, seldom going beyond the novelty of the encounter.
This project presents more as the productive result of a conversation intending to draw equally from each tradition involved.
Official Purchase Link
Kane Mathis @ Twitter
Title - 'Colors of Brazil'
Artist - Kenney Polson
For those not in the know, West Coast jazz saxophonist Kenney Polson is a world traveler who has been to over 50 countries, spreading the gospel of jazz and collaborating with many musicians.
He was fortunate to complete successful tours in France and Hawaii before 2020 pandemic travel restrictions set in, then turned his attention to completing a new album, Colors of Brazil, for release on March 5th, 2021.
Polson’s chart-topping 2019 album For Lovers Only merged smooth jazz and R&B, and, as Jeff Becker writes for Jazz Sensibilities, he is clearly “an accomplished crossover artist.”
While adept at mixing genres and eagerly absorbing aspects of other cultures, Polson has a strong foundation in American jazz; he earned a master’s degree in jazz composition and arranging from Howard University in 1997.
In his new recording, Colors of Brazil, he allows his love of Brazilian music to permeate his smooth jazz sound and gives additional flavor and texture by adding unexpected instruments in novel ways.
1. 'Aquarela do Brazil' (5:41)
2. 'Hipnotizado' (4:18)
3. 'Caravana' (5:40)
4. 'Flor de Lis' (3:43)
5. 'Mariana' (4:32)
6. 'Leva e Traz' (4:55)
7. 'Passeio de Bicicleta' (3:40)
8. 'Incompatibilidade de Genios' (4:32)
9. 'Obsessao' (6:50)
10. 'Luz do Sol' (4:49)
Opening on the late '50s, cinematic soundscape aura of 'Aquarela do Brazil,' that's backed seamlessly by the summer breeze, free flowing jaunt of 'Hipnotizado,' an energetic rendition of Duke Ellington's 'Caravana' and then a quite simply stunningly ornate 'Flor de Lis' is brought forth.
Next up is the gently frenetic, and yet always harmoniously sculptured 'Mariana' which is itself followed by the contagious Latin hipsway of 'Leva e Traz,' the mellow 'Passeio de Bicicleta,' and then the album rounds out on the beautifully atmospheric orchestrations of 'Incompatibilidade de Genios,' the lush notes of 'Obsessao,' closing on the late night, smoky underground jazz club lament, 'Luz do Sol.'
Polson’s vision for Colors of Brazil was expansive. While wholeheartedly embracing a Brazilian theme, he also experimented by adding different sounds.
Leni Stern added guitar and African nGnoni. L.A. harpist Mariea Antoinette adorns two tracks, and Dr. Osamu Kitajima and Mitsuki Dazai play Japanese koto on five tracks.
The added instruments create interesting textures, and the intriguing result reflects Polson’s life journey and quest for new sounds.
Polson is deeply touched by the beauty of Brazil’s landscape and its inhabitants. This new project reflects that inspiration.
If you’ve ever been to Rio, you know how exquisite the beaches can be. If you haven’t had the pleasure, this album will help you imagine!
Writing in the Liner Notes, jazz journalist Raul da Gama says, “The imprint of flawless, superlative artistry is all over Polson’s 2021 album…a recording on par with the finest Brazilian recordings by titans of the saxophone.”
Official Purchase Links
Kenney Polson @ Facebook
Kenney Polson @ Twitter
Kenney Polson @ Instagram
Kenney Polson @ YouTube
Kenney Polson @ Soundcloud
Title - 'I'll Never Be The Same'
Artist - Jack Brandfield
For those not in the know, New York City Native tenor saxophonist Jack Brandfield is a passionate musician who brings his own style in carrying the torch for interpreters of the Great American Songbook.
His talents have been recognized by jazz luminaries that he has shared the stage with such as John Pizzarelli, Rodney Whitaker, Bill Cunliffe, and Harry Allen.
Jack even holds a B.M in Jazz Studies from Michigan State University and is currently a scholarship recipient from The Frost School of Music at The University of Miami, where he is completing an M.M in Studio Music and Jazz.
"The title track, 'I’ll Never Be The Same,' speaks to the inspiration behind the making of my debut album," explains Jack. "For the past four years, I’ve had the great pleasure to be under the mentorship of two of my favorite musicians, Rodney Whitaker and Randy Napoleon."
"The knowledge and insight I received from them on what it means to swing, how to present a melody and the importance of carrying the torch for this great American art form will stay with me for the rest of my life."
"The making of this album is a celebration of the friendship and bonds I built with them."
"The drumless trio is a sound that has always captivated me since hearing Stan Getz Meets The Oscar Peterson Trio at a young age. That album was a gateway for me to hear all the great tenor players of the 20th Century, such as Ben Webster, Johnny Griffin, and Zoot Sims, who are a few of my favorites."
"I have always tried to emulate their ability to sing through the horn with confidence and a sense of subtlety and beauty."
On his brand new album, a tribute to the aforementioned Great American Songbook, the aptly entitled I'll Never Be The Same (releasing April 2nd, 2021 via Gut String Records), Jack pays tribute to these inspirations growing up, by attempting to do what they did best, whilst presenting his own favorite melodies within his own voice.
1. 'Nobody Else But Me' (6:31)
2. 'Vignette' (4:55)
3. 'Where Leaves Change' (4:50)
4. 'Lover Come Back To Me' (4:18)
5. 'I’ll Never Be The Same' (6:24)
6. 'Andorinha' (4:10)
7. 'On A Slow Boat To China' (4:25)
8. 'Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me' [Rodney Whitaker Only] (4:51)
9. 'Over The Rainbow' [Randy Napoleon Only] (3:14)
10. 'Bossa Nova Ova (Thad Jones)' (4:14)
11. 'Ballad Medley' (7:23)
12. 'Wildwood' (3:59)
Featuring Jack on tenor saxophone along with Randy Napoleon on guitar and Rodney Whitaker on bass, the album opens with the lush, late night, underground, smoky club appeal of both 'Nobody Else But Me' and 'Vignette,' the original, and vinylesque piece 'Where Leaves Change' follows and then we get both the dulcet 'Lover Come Back To Me' and the dusky ambiance of the title track 'I’ll Never Be The Same.'
Next up is the atmospheric 'Andorinha' which is itself followed by the first upbeat, and rather perky track 'On A Slow Boat To China,' before Jack's choice of solo moment for Rodney comes forth.
Allowing him to pay tribute to his vast knowledge of Duke Ellington’s legacy, the truly imbued 'Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me' is then backed by Jack's solo choice for Randy; a track that showcases the power of presenting melodies with clarity and sophistication that he possesses, the hauntingly perfect 'Over The Rainbow.'
This quite wondrous album then rounds out with the gently upbeat 'Bossa Nova Ova (Thad Jones),' the yearning of 'Ballad Medley,' coming to close on the mid-tempo hipsway of 'Wildwood'.
"The repertoire I selected for the album is a collection of my favorite songs and music that has significantly influenced me in some way," Jack reveals.
"I have always been drawn to The Great American Songbook, and becoming a leading interpreter of these songs is a lifetime goal of mine."
"With this record, I have begun the documentation of this process. It was also essential to record individual duo tracks."
Jack Brandfield @ Instagram
Jack Brandfield @ YouTube
Title - 'The Mulligan Chronicles'
Artist - David Larsen
For those not in the know, The Mulligan Chronicles (releasing April 1st, 2021 ... honestly!) is the culmination of years of study into the compositions of Gerry Mulligan by saxophonist, composer, and educator David Larsen.
"In my studies, I traveled to the Library of Congress to view hundreds of Gerry Mulligan’s handwritten scores and interview countless musicians," he reveals.
"Zubin Mehta, Ted Rosenthal, and the many others I spoke with agreed that Gerry Mulligan was a musical genius,” Larsen adds.
David holds degrees from Pacific University, University of Oregon, and Western Oregon University and is currently finishing a PhD from Washington State University where he is studying the music of Gerry Mulligan.
He has studied with Emmy Award winning saxophonist Stephen Kravitz, Steve Owen, and Dr. Greg Yasinitsky.
David has also performed widely with a variety of artists including Ken Peplowski, Francisco Torres, Dave Glenn, Ron Vincent, Bill Mays, Dean Johnson, and the internationally acclaimed jazz vocalist Halie Loren.
Indeed, recently, David appears on the Origin Records release New Normal (2021) by Greg Yasinitsky and was featured on the award-winning Halie Loren album Butterfly Blue (2015).
David's previous releases include Borrowed Time (2018), One of a Kind (2016), and Night Shift (2016) and his compositions have won numerous awards including JW Peppers Editor’s Choice for 2018, 2019, and 2020.
These charts “Applied Physics,” “Bright Days,” and “Avocado Toast,” and others are available from Dapper Page Music.
The result of years of research into the music of Gerry Mulligan, and after pouring through hundreds of scores, transcribing many solos, and interviewing a number of players, The Mulligan Chronicles brings us 13 of David's favorite Gerry Mulligan tunes.
1. 'Walkin’ Shoes' (6:18)
2. 'Curtains' (6:19)
3. 'Festive Minor' (5:27)
4. 'Good Neighbor Thelonius' (4:31)
5. 'Lonesome Boulevard' (5:05)
6. 'Idol Gossip' (5:06)
7. 'Rico Apollo' (4:27)
8. 'Open Country' (4:31)
9. 'The Flying Scotsman' (5:54)
10. 'Out Back of the Barn' (4:24)
11. 'Etude for Franca' (2:37)
12. 'Ring Around a Bright Star' (3:28)
13. 'Taurus Moon' (3:18)
Opening on the fun, one-two step of 'Walkin’ Shoes' he backs that up with the melodic notations of 'Curtains,' the stand up bass and horn work of 'Festive Minor,' and then we get both the Pink Pantherish 'Good Neighbor Thelonius' and the laid back, sunny Sunday afternoon haze of 'Lonesome Boulevard.'
Next up is the upbeat 'Idol Gossip' which is itself followed by the manically foot-tapping excellence of 'Rico Apollo,' the mid-tempo, tuneful roll of 'Open Country,' and then both the building, finger-snapping, quietly turbulent 'The Flying Scotsman' and the more pronounced work found within 'Out Back of the Barn.'
We are then treated to one of my own personal favorites on this terrifically sculptured new album, the smooth and cordially created lines of 'Etude for Franca,' with the album rounding out on more upbeat melodies, this time found within 'Ring Around a Bright Star,' closing on the late night, smoky, jazz piano bar ambiance of 'Taurus Moon.'
"After listening and learning so much about his music, I have put together a collection of some of his best compositions," David further explains. "Drawing from his early works, 'Walkin’ Shoes' and 'Festive Minor,' through his later pieces, 'Lonesome Boulevard' and 'Rico Apollo,' I wanted to capture the breadth of his musical catalog as well as his many musical styles."
"Gerry Mulligan was fascinated by composition from a young age and always considered himself a composer first. Mulligan wrote for big bands, small groups, film scores, as well as symphony orchestra, so sorting out some of his finest works was a real joy.”
David Larsen - Baritone Saxophone
Dave Glenn - Trombone
Bill Mays - Piano
Dean Johnson - Bass
Ron Vincent - Drums
Official Purchase Links
David Larsen @ Facebook
David Larsen @ Instagram
David Larsen @ YouTube
Title - 'For the Record'
Artist - Vinnie Riccitelli Octet
For those not in the know, Vinnie Riccitelli could be regarded as one of the best-kept secrets in Jazz.
Born in 1926, Riccitelli was raised in Yonkers, New York. He began playing alto saxophone at the age of 11. At the age of 15, Riccitelli started to play professionally, taking a summer job with his brother Joe on accordion, performing in the Catskills in upstate New York.
Before such bygone things in America, like labor laws and minors working in venues serving alcohol. Imagine something like that happening today! Riccitelli continued to play club dates throughout his four years of high school.
At the age of 18, during World War II, Riccitelli enlisted in the navy. Upon completing his service to his country, Riccitelli was accepted by the prestigious Juilliard School of Music in Manhattan, becoming one of the first of three students ever to be accepted as an alto saxophone major at Juilliard School.
He studied there for five semesters, under the auspices of the GI bill, while continuing to perform professionally. Upon leaving Juilliard, he became a full-time gigging musician. That career would be the only one he would ever know in his long and storied life.
The year 1956 would be turn out to be a seminal year for him, as he both married the love of his life, his loving wife of 60 years, Jean Krupa, and wrote, arranged, and recorded his first album, entitled Unique Jazz, The Westchester Workshop.
That recording – Jazz from the Westchester, Workshop [RKO Unique, Records, 1956] – comprised eight beautifully sculpted original tracks, played by his octet.
“Music was what I did for a living," Vinnie explains. "This recording was mainly an experiment, an opportunity for me to ply my compositional and arranging skills while giving me the chance to give something back to the guys I admired, respected, and performed with."
All in all, Riccitelli’s professional career spanned a remarkable 77 years, from 1941 to 2018. He decided to stop performing publicly and professionally in 2018, although he remains actively engaged with his music at home for enjoyment and recreation.
Serendipitously, since retiring from performing on alto sax professionally, Riccitelli rediscovered his love for playing piano and became inspired to revisit some of his unrecorded compositions and arrangements from his earlier career.
All these years later, and For the Record, this latest album released some sixty plus years after the first, features those songs and arrangements, and was recorded between November 2019 and January 2020 (with this timeline explaining his absence from this recording).
Vinnie, of course, was present for all the recording sessions and remained intimately involved with all facets of its production. This most recent project again provided him the chance to work with and reward some of his longtime friends, including a former student of his from the late 1940s, tenor saxophonist Joe Stelluti (Duke Ellington, Harry James, Jimmie Dorsey, Larry Elgardt, Ray Charles), alongside his talented son Chris, on baritone sax, and Joe’s brother Lou on bass, making their contribution to the project a true family affair.
1. 'Minor Seventh Heaven' (3:31)
2. 'I’m Old Fashioned' (3:18)
3. 'If You Could See Me Now' (3:37)
4. 'Serenata' (3:46)
5. 'Stompin’ at the Savoy' (2:36)
6. 'Star Eyes' (4:31)
7. 'Mr. Lucky' (2:58)
8. 'Blues Dominant' (4:14)
9. 'Maids of Cadiz' (5:16)
10. 'Along Came Betty' (5:06)
11. 'Darn the Dream' (4:33)
12. 'Dolphin Dance' (4:03)
13. 'Flugelsville' (3:27)
14. 'Flying Down To Rio' (4:36)
15. 'Jordu' (4:09)
16. 'Round Midnight' (4:59)
17. 'Little Boy Blew' (3:15)
This simply stunning, vibrantly magnificent new album opens with Vinnie's first original, 'Minor Seventh Heaven,' a chart that pays homage to the beauty of minor seventh chords, and that's backed by the fun play of Jerome Kern’s 'I’m Old Fashioned' (which features a beautifully melodic solo from tenor man Joe Stelluti), and then we get treated to Tadd Dameron’s lazy hazy 'If You Could See Me Now,' the sterner horn work of some rhythmic changes found within Leroy Anderson’s 'Serenata,' and then Edgar Sampsson's stand up bass-led 'Stompin’ at the Savoy.'
Next up is the free flowing majesty of Gene De Paul and Don Raye's 'Star Eyes' (here injected with a humorous 5/4 meter now melded into the arrangement, enabling the tune to modulate three times), and then we get one of my own personal favorites, the Henry Mancini-conceived 'Mr. Lucky' (which features the fantastic Eddie Monteiro on accordion, which is itself backed by the layered smoothness of the second original, 'Blues Dominant' - which was written in Mixolydian mode, and utilizes 13th chords, not just predominantly but exclusively.
Another stand out track is the horn-led 'Maids of Cadiz,' a composition by Leo Delibes, with an arrangement now provided by Tommy Newsom, and that's followed by Benny Golson’s 'Along Came Betty,' where Vinnie's arrangement now features an improvised and harmonized jazz chorus, before we relish in the low slung warmth of 'Darn That Dream, which features the fine musical craftsmanship of trombonist Bruce Bonvissuto.
Up next is Herbie Hancock's brilliant 'Dolphin Dance,' which allows saxophonist Nathan Childers (Buddy Rich, Jimmie and Tommy Dorsey, Aretha Franklin, Deep Purple, Birdland Big Band) to truly shine on the arrangement and that's backed by the third original, the mid-tempo delight entitled 'Flugelsville.'
An arrangement initially written as an improvisational vehicle for the flugelhorn of the late Joe Shepley from his Westchester Workshop days, this new recording’s rendition features the exquisite playing of Glenn Drewes (Woody Herman, Buddy Rich, Thad Jones /Mel Lewis Big Band, Dizzy Gillespie), a dear friend of Riccitelli’s and one of New York’s premier musicians for the past forty years.
Then we get yet another stand out cut, the delightful 'Flying Down To Rio' (composed by Vincent Youmans, Gus Kahn and Edward Eliscu), and that in turn is followed by the late '60s cinematic emotions of 'Jordu' (composed by Duke Jordan), with the album rounding out on Thelonius Monk’s renowned tune, 'Round Midnight' (which utilizes half time and double time sections to spice up the arrangement), closing on the album’s fourth and final original, entitled 'Little Boy Blew' - an uptempo bebop blues, which creatively and refreshingly avoids conventional blues changes.
This recording’s brilliance and spirit might make it hard for one to think of Vinnie Riccitelli as a 90+ year-old musician. His ability to write and arrange inventive, swinging charts demonstrates a musician with both a mature and serious talent, combined with an uncommonly fresh youthfulness.
Throughout the recording, there is a consistent degree of balance and integration of melody, harmony, and rhythm. The pieces feature not just tightly arranged compositions, but also skillful improvisation, exploration, and the individual voice of each player is given ample chance to be heard.
On balance, the entire project stands firmly in the idiom and tradition. These arrangements provide and reward the listener with a glimpse of the freshness and modernity of the period of mid-fifties jazz music.
All involved with the project are grateful and proud to be involved with the documentation of this marvelous gift to the jazz community. Riccitelli’s family and friends were delighted to see the joy and passion it provided for its creator.
In summary, it truly all comes together naturally, with passion, authenticity, and a wide range of emotions.
For the Record is an album that effectively captures the essence of a significant period in jazz history, and more importantly, the talent, brilliance, and creativity of a great musician, composer, and arranger.
Leo Ursini: alto saxophone [tracks 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 13, 16]
Nathan Childers: alto saxophone [tracks 01, 11, 12, 14, 15, 17]
Joe Stelluti: tenor saxophone
Chris Stelluti: baritone saxophone
Glenn Drewes: trumpet and flugelhorn
Bruce Bonvissuto: trombone
Eddie Monteiro: piano and accordion [track 07]
Lou Stelluti: bass
Tony Tedesco: drums
Vinnie Riccitelli Octet @ YouTube
Title - 'Let Go'
Artist - Rob Kovacs
For those not in the know, Cleveland native Rob Kovacs has a pretty storied musical career for a guy who, in a lot of ways, can be considered just starting out.
This multitalented recording artist, pianist, and singer/songwriter has built up quite the resume. He has composed scores for several award-winning short films, an award-winning virtual reality game as well as American Greeting’s e-cards.
Along the more traditional rock star route, he toured and released an album with the piano-based trio Return of Simple and started the indie-rock band Math + Logic.
He has also performed under the artist name 88bit, recording and performing virtuosic note-for-note piano arrangements of Nintendo soundtracks breathing new life to forgotten video games.
These days, he’s adding to his resume by launching his own solo career. Having released his debut single in late November, Kovacs is already back with more and American Songwriter has the world premiere of his new tune 'Fizzle.'
Even more exciting, he’s taking this opportunity to announce he’s got more than just one new song, he’s got a full album ready to go!
“The album, titled Let Go, is all about one relationship and tells the story in chronological order from a personal perspective,” outlines Kovacs.
“The songs are about love, longing, loss, desire, confusion, acceptance, pain, the struggle to let go – all that fun stuff."
3. 'Momentary Bliss'
4. 'Reach You'
6. 'Here in the Future'
7. 'Should Haves'
9. 'Bitter Memory'
Opening with the delightfully breezy, yet earnest and meaningfully storied .53 second track 'Phade,' Rob backs that up with some light and airy vocals that meld beautifully with a dulcet piano accompaniment on the lead single 'Fizzle,' and then we get the gently layered approach of 'Momentary Bliss,' which is backed by the Coldplay-esque soliloquy 'Reach You.'
After the sweetly soothing, yet unerringly crystalized two minute 'Interlude' we then get the controlled, yet free-flowing fervor of 'Here in the Future,' the melodically sterner, stoic approach to 'Should Haves,' and then after a tunefully quick 'Reprise,' the album closes on the affecting resonance of, save for a loud piano and guitar rock jam in its mid-section, a track that, come the final words, sheds light on the album title, 'Bitter Memory.'
“I first started recording the album in 2014 along with about twelve other songs (which have been set aside for another album)," Rob reveals.
"I initially was going to release a record of my best songs, but it was clear they just didn’t all work together, specifically the songs on Let Go didn’t gel with the rest and needed to be their own thing."
"Those Let Go songs alone weren’t enough for a complete album. So, I ended up finishing two songs that I had started writing during the same time as the others.”
“On the surface level, I just want people to enjoy the sound, the melody, the chords, the groove, the momentum and progression of 'Fizzle'," Rob continues.
"On a deeper level, I hope people are moved by it and relate to that feeling of longing for true human connection. There’s a lot I can say about the album."
"It took a very long time and wasn’t the album I initially set out to make. Though, I am happy it turned out the way it did.”
Official Purchase Links
Rob Kovacs @ Facebook
Rob Kovacs @ Twitter
Rob Kovacs @ Instagram
Rob Kovacs @ YouTube
Rob Kovacs @ Soundcloud
Title - 'Ultimate Georgia Satellites' [3CD]
Artist - Georgia Satelittes
For those not in the know, this just-released (via Cherry Red Records), magnificent Ultimate Georgia Satellites 3CD, 53 track ultimate collection focuses on the band’s output whilst signed to Elektra Records.
Spanning the years 1986 to 1990, the band released three studio albums and various singles that feature on this collection plus the related bonus tracks taken from the band’s b-sides and 12” releases.
Ergo, it is the definitive collection of the band’s material available.
The Satellites were like the city's house band. It was a time when all of these hip and arty bands were rising up in Athens, Ga. — and that was a great scene — but there was a rock and roll element that was missing, and The Satellites filled it.
'Keep Your Hands to Yourself' is just a perfect song. You know, if you want to tell some Martian or something, "Hey, this is what rock and roll is!" you could do far worse than play 'Keep Your Hands to Yourself' for them.
OK, sure, some days I think there are one-hit wonders, but on others (given that has a kind of a dismissive tone to it) I reflect back to another chart entry from them, the raucous rock of 'Battleship Chains.'
CD 1 features the ten original album tracks of the band’s first studio album Georgia Satellites that was released in 1986 and which was produced by Jeff Glixman.
There are now also 8 bonus tracks including two mixes, Party Mix and Kick ‘N’ Lick Remix of the single ‘Battleship Chains’, five live tracks including the band’s cover of Lou Reed’s ‘I’m Waiting For The Man’ (which featured as a b-side on the band’s best known single ‘Keep Your Hands To Yourself’).
CD 1: Georgia Satellites
1. 'Keep Your Hands To Yourself'
2. 'Railroad Steel'
3. 'Battleship Chains'
4. 'Red Light'
5. 'The Myth of Love'
6. 'Can't Stand The Pain'
7. 'Golden Light'
8. 'Over And Over'
9. 'Nights Of Mystery'
10. 'Every Picture Tells A Story'
11. 'The Myth Of Love' (Live) [Bonus Track]
12. 'Battleship Chains' (Kick 'N' Lick Remix)' [Bonus Track]
13. 'Hard Luck Boy' [Bonus Track]
14. 'Red Light' (Live) [Bonus Track]
15. 'No Money Down' (Live) [Bonus Track]
16. 'Battleship Chains' (Party Mix) [Bonus Track]
17. 'Nights Of Mystery' (Live) [Bonus Track]
18. 'I’m Waiting For The Man' (Live) [Bonus Track]
Simply put, this was a great, and fun rock album from the late '80s when everyone else in the genre seemed to be donning make up, spandex and perms and paying more attention to their image than the actual music!
The band brought with them Southern Rock without the jams, mixed with British Blues of the 1960's and the result was naked, loud rock! I mean, come on now, this was a fresh shot of what rock was always rooted in!
'Keep Your Hands To Yourself' is the ballsy first track and the opening salvo of 10 cuts that don't bore you to death at any point. 'Battleship Chains,' 'Can't Stand The Pain,' 'Over And Over' as well as a ripping version of Rod Stewart's 'Every Picture Tells a Story' are also stand out selections.
For this re-release, 7 other tracks have been added. Two remixes of 'Battleship Chains' does not really add, nor detract from the original cut though.
'I'm Waiting For The Man' and 'Hard Luck Boy' could easily have been added to the original release. As for the live tracks, 'The Myth Of Love' and 'No Money Down' show the band in their element and are great additions to the disc.
In other words, the original was not a perfect album, but it is a near-classic, that's for darn sure!
CD 2 focuses on the band’s second album, Open All Night, with the 11 original album tracks plus 6 bonus tracks. The bonus material includes the remix of their single, ‘Sheila’ along with live recordings of ‘Let It Rock’, ‘Battleship Chains’ and ‘Railroad Steel’.
CD 2: Open All Night
1. 'Open All Night'
3. 'Whole Lotta Shakin'
4. 'Cool Justice'
5. 'Don't Pass Me By'
6. 'My Baby'
7. 'Mon Cheri'
8. 'Down And Down'
9. 'Dunk 'N' Dine'
10. 'Baby So Fine'
11. 'Hand To Mouth'
12. 'Let It Rock' (Live)[Bonus Track]
13. 'Hippy Hippy Shake' [Bonus Track]
14. 'Sheila' (Remix) [Bonus Track]
15. 'Battleship Chains' (Live) [Bonus Track]
16. 'Railroad Steel' (Live) [Bonus Track]
17. 'Almost Saturday Night / Rockin' All Over The World' [Bonus Track]
After hitting paydirt with their self-titled debut album and the huge hit 'Keep Your Hands To Yourself', the Georgia Satellites hit the sophomore slump on Open All Night.
Upon hearing this, you get the sense that the band was rushed back in the studio too soon and didn't have enough time to prepare a better album, but from what I've heard down the years, that actually wasn't the case.
There are two cover songs here and while the versions of 'Don't Pass Me By' and 'Whole Lotta Shakin' are good, they don't have the spirit of the cover song from its debut, 'Every Picture Tells a Story'.
Only the nasty 'Cool Inside', 'Mon Cheri', and the title track are on the level of anything from their debut, but I'll also add that both 'Down And Down' and 'Hand To Mouth' are pretty decent as well.
The rest of the songs though, especially 'My Baby', 'Dunk `N' Dine' and 'Baby So Fine' just don't stand out for me, with their respective performances just not catching fire, so to musically speak.
The 6 bonus tracks now included bring some interesting live stuff to the fore, but truly notable are both a vibrant 'Hippy Hippy Shake' and an energetically brilliant medley of 'Almost Saturday Night / Rockin' All Over The World.'
CD 3 is the band’s final Elektra album, In The Land Of Salvation And Sin from 1989 and which was produced by Joe Hardy. This CD features the 14 original album tracks plus five bonus offerings including the b-sides ‘Saddle Up’ and ‘That Woman’, the US promo edit versions of ‘Shake That Thing’ and ‘All Over But The Cryin’’ and the UK single version of ‘Another Chance’.
CD 3: In The Land Of Salvation And Sin
1. 'I Dunno'
2. 'Bottle O' Tears'
3. 'All Over But the Cryin'
4. 'Shake That Thing'
5. 'Six Years Gone'
6. 'Games People Play'
7. 'Another Chance'
8. 'Bring Down The Hammer'
10. 'Stellazine Blues'
11. 'Sweet Blue Midnight'
12. 'Days Gone By'
14. 'Dan Takes Five'
15. 'Saddle Up' [Bonus Track]
16. 'That Woman' [Bonus Track]
17. 'Another Chance' (Edit) [Bonus Track]
18. 'All Over But The Cryin' (Shorter Version) [Bonus Track]
18. 'Shake That Thing' (Edit) [Bonus Track]
In the Land of Salvation and Sin would be the third and final album the Georgia Satellites would release before their breakup in 1989. Having lost their momentum, In the Land of suffered the same fate as its predecessor and would ultimately lead to the band's demise.
However, the few that bought the album would find a diamond in the rough as it showed a quantum leap in Dan Baird's songwriting abilities as well as a musical diversity that was absent from their previous releases.
Thus, In the Land of has become one of the great lost albums in rock history, only appreciated by the few fans that purchased it.
Every track here is pretty good with a few being among their best, in my humble opinion. 'Days Gone By', 'Six Years Gone', and the cover of Joe South's 'Games People Play' are all great songs, containing memorable choruses you could sing along to.
'Shake That Thing' is an awesome tribute to the late Lowell George, sounding like an updated version of Little Feat's 'Fat Man In The Bathtub' and the mid-tempo tracks such as 'Bottle O' Tears', 'Crazy', and 'Bring Down the Hammer' continue in the Lowell George tradition with extensive slide guitar from Baird and guitarist Rick Richards.
The fast-paced rockers 'I Dunno', 'Slaughterhouse', and the relentless 'Dan Takes Five' show that the band hadn't abandoned the hard rocking spirit of their first two albums.
However, there are three tracks that truly make this album a hidden treasure. 'Sweet Blue Midnight' is a tender country ballad featuring great vocals from Baird and special guest Nicolette Larson.
'Another Chance' is one of those great acoustic songs you can imagine a bunch of your friends singing around a campfire on a hot summer night.
And finally, there's the most well-known track, the mid-tempo 'All Over But The Cryin' which is still one of the all-time great breakup songs; as well as arguably being the best song Dan Baird ever wrote.
All told, In the Land of Salvation and Sin shows that the Georgia Satellites had a lot more to offer than just 'Keep Your Hands To Yourself,' and now it comes complete with 5 bonus tracks; the stand out highlight being their balls-to-wall rawker 'Saddle Up.'
This new release comes in capacity wallet packaging with each CD housed in a card wallet featuring the original album artwork of the featured disc. This in turn is housed within an outer sleeve along with a CD booklet.
There are extensive sleeve notes contributions by each of the original band members – Dan Baird, Mauro Magellan, Rick Price and Rick Richards – plus a UK discography.
The band also supplied photos from their own collections for inclusion within the CD booklet.
Official 3CD Purchase Link
Title - 'A Sting in the Tale [Deluxe Edition]'
Artist - Ten Years After
For those not in the know, Ten Years After are best known for their Platinum-selling album A Space in Time which featured the Top 40 hit 'I'd Love to Change the World', and their prodigious performance appearance at the Woodstock Festival in upstate New York, August 1969.
Indeed, their rendition of 'I'm Going Home' was featured in both the subsequent film and soundtrack album and catapulted them to star status.
Original members Ric Lee and Chick Churchill have continued this legacy and are now rounded out by Guitarist/Vocalist Marcus Bonfanti and Bass Icon Colin Hodgkinson.
A Sting in the Tale was engineered and produced by Bonfanti at his Cricklewood Green Studios in Cricklewood, North London and mixed by acclaimed Canadian mix engineer Doug Organ in Edmonton Canada.
The 4 bonus live tracks, including 'I’d Love To Change The World' were recorded during a subsequent tour in Erfurt, Germany.
As Drummer Ric Lee states, “The creative process of the studio album was a joy. Writing and recording together, being able to construct songs that reflect the personalities, memories and experiences of each of the members was extremely satisfying."
"We’re very happy that Deko suggested adding four live bonus tracks to make this the Deluxe Edition".
1. 'Land Of The Vandals'
2. 'Iron Horse'
3. 'Miss Constable'
4. 'Up In Smoke'
5. 'Retired Hurt'
6. 'Suranne Suranne'
7. 'Stoned Alone'
8. 'Two Lost Souls'
9. 'Diamond Girl'
10. 'Last Night Of The Bottle'
11. 'Guitar Hero'
12. 'Silverspoon Lady'
13. 'Land Of The Vandals' (live)
14. 'Last Night Of The Bottle' (live)
15. 'Silverspoon Lady' (live)
16. 'I’d Love To Change The World' (live)
To my mind, from start to finish, the 2017 album was a British blues rock masterpiece, chock full of excellent production, and a sound that still held fast the spirit of the original band.
Furthermore, both original members Ric Lee and Chick Churchill really did an excellent job on the album, and the additional of both Marcus Bonfanti and Colin Hodkingson was a masterstroke of the highest quality too.
The album is simply one of the best blues rock records of this very young century. Bonfanti sings as if his palette is whiskey-coated, embracing every emotion of each song, perfectly mastering the harder gait and the quieter tones in their own moments.
And then we have three older gentlemen, including world-famous bassist Hodgkinson (Whitesnake/Rainbow, et al) who all play like young gods. From the bright opener 'Land of the Vandals', on through to the deadly sad 'Up in Smoke', the fast-paced, foot-tappin' 'Suranne Suranne' and the big 'Stoned Alone', the album doesn't contain any fillers at all.
For a little more knowledge, the album title A Sting In The Tale reflects the same sentiment Ric and Chick wished to convey in the 2015 live album The Name Remains The Same.
Through the new lineup the music continues to evolve and grow fifty years on. The sound of the band will always be heavily rooted in the way they paved the way during the late sixties and early seventies and will never forget its incredible heritage.
This new record is the Sting in the continuing Tale of Ten Years After. Deko Entertainment Bruce Pucciarello on Ten Years After joining the Deko family, “Their story is legend and working with these guys at DEKO has been a privilege. The album, classic organic contemporary, forward, it just rocks. You put it on…you can’t just listen once.”
Ten Years After - 'Suranne Suranne' Music Video
Ten Years After @ Facebook
Title - 'A Sky Full of Ghosts'
Artist - Sonus Umbra
For those not in the know, Sonus Umbra (Roey Ben-Yoseph - Lead Vocals; Rich Poston - Electric Guitar, Keyboards; Steve Royce - Flute, Keyboards; David Keller - Cello, Orchestral Percussion; Tim McCaskey - Acoustic and Electric Guitar; Andy Tillotson - Drums, Keyboards, Guitars, Sound Design; and Luis Nasser - Bass, Keyboards, Sound Design) are a progressive rock band that is currently, geographically dispersed between Chicago and Abu Dhabi, but was established in Mexico City back in the 20th century.
Formed in 1991 by a group of physics and math students in Mexico City who drew their shared love for all things dark, hard rocking and melodic, 30 years later, and now including some of the most accomplished veteran musicians of the Chicago rock music scene, the band continue casting shadows made of sound.
The band's new studio album, A Sky Full of Ghosts concludes the journey that began with Beyond the Panopticon and closes a chapter in the band's own journey.
The new album is a milestone of elaborate and ferocious prog rock, and yet it is also their most melodic material to date.
The former album tells the story about the misconceived identity of a nameless protagonist who reminisces about lost love and near misses with death until he suddenly discovers that all of these memories are false.
This brand new album starts with the protagonist at war with his identity and environment. He learns he is on board a vessel, deep in space and very far from home. The date unknown. His mission is to assist the AI that runs the vessel and keeps him healthy and alive as they search for an exoplanet suitable for human habitation.
1. 'Antidentity' (7:02)
2. 'Bleary-Eyed People' (08:09)
3. 'Desolation Dreams' (3:28)
4. 'Hidden in the Light' (20:52)
5. 'Losing My Insanity' (4:33)
6. 'The Last Menagerie' (7:09)
7. 'Time Is Running Out' (2:54)
8. 'The Waves Will Devour the Sea' (6:25)
9. 'Apogee' (4:02)
Opening with the free flowing majesty of the opus 'Antidentity' they back that up seamlessly with the eight minute long, epic storytelling of 'Bleary-Eyed People,' which itself is backed by the dulcet orchestrations of 'Desolation Dreams,' before we are then presented with the opus extraordinaire, and the longest track on the album at some twenty minutes, the mesmerizing 'Hidden in the Light.'
The keyboard-led, flute-enhanced, old Genesis-esque 'Losing My Insanity' is up next and is backed by the rocker 'The Last Menagerie,' then comes the atmospheric 'Time Is Running Out,' rounding out on the drum-led 'The Waves Will Devour the Sea,' closing on the acoustic and synth musical elegance of 'Apogee.'
Official Sonus Umbra Purchase Links
Sonus Umbra @ Facebook
Sonus Umbra @ YouTube
Sonus Umbra @ Twitter
Title - 'Greatest Hits A-Z'
Artist - D.I.
For those not in the know, the bad boys of OC punk rock, D.I., are back with a collection of new versions of their biggest and best hits presented in alphabetical order (for quick reference)!
Formed in 1981 in Fullerton, California, D.I. was founded by vocalist and primary songwriter Casey Royer, after previously playing drums in the bands Adolescents and Social Distortion.
Since its formation, D.I. has had many line-up changes over the years with Royer being the only constant member of the band.
That said, the band has continued to work, although they have had inactive periods, which include the band going on hiatus between albums.
During their years of touring and recording albums, D.I. have never gained a huge mainstream success, but they have influenced many of the 1990s era melodic hardcore punk and punk rock revival bands, including Face to Face, Guttermouth, Jughead's Revenge, The Offspring, and Pennywise.
Members of the band also joined up with Daddy X and the Dirtball of the Kottonmouth Kings, to create the punk rock band the X-Pistols, in 2010.
Also including 'Ameoba,' which D.I. founder Casey Royer wrote for his previous band Adolescents alongside D.I. signatures such as 'Richard Hung Himself,' 'Johnny’s Got A Problem,' 'Pervert Nurse' and more, Greatest Hits A-Z (out now via Cleopatra Records) is full-on OC punk rock power from start (A) to finish (Z)!
2. 'Chiva' [CD ONLY]
3. 'Colors And Blood' [CD ONLY]
4. 'Dying In The USA'
5. 'Falling Out'
7. 'Hang Ten In East Berlin'
8. 'Imminent War'
9. 'Johnny’s Got A Problem'
10. 'No Moms'
11. 'Nuclear Funeral'
12. 'O.C. Life'
14. 'Pervert Nurse'
16. 'Reagan Der Fuhrer'
17. 'Richard Hung Himself'
18. 'Spiritual Law'
19. 'Stand Up'
20. 'Stick To Your Guns'
21. 'Tragedy Again' [CD ONLY]
22. 'Venus De Milo'
23. 'Youth In Asia'
Opening on the melodic punk of both 'Amoeba' and the brilliant 'Chiva,' next up we get the frenetic 'Colors And Blood,' the sculptured 'Dying In The USA,' the rapid fire pairing of 'Falling Out' and 'Guns,' which are backed by the rip-roaring trio 'Hang Ten In East Berlin,' 'Imminent War' and 'Johnny’s Got A Problem.'
Next up are a quartet of pulsating freneticism in the form of 'No Moms,' 'Nuclear Funeral,' 'O.C. Life' and 'Obnoxious,' which are themselves followed by the melodic 'Pervert Nurse,' and then the Goth-like 'Purgatory,' the guitar slaying of Reagan Der Fuhrer,' and then the gung-ho spirit of 'Richard Hung Himself,' Spiritual Law,' and the euphoric 'Stand Up.'
The album then rounds out with the frenzied pairing of both 'Stick To Your Guns' and 'Tragedy Again,' closing on the mid-tempo 'Venus De Milo' and then the drum-led 'Youth In Asia.'
Greatest Hits A-Z is available as a CD and on a special limited edition Orange or Blue Vinyl LP!
Official Purchase Link
Title - 'Lonely Town'
Artist - Down By Law
For those not in the know, hugely influential punk rock kings Down By Law return with a compelling and supercharged new album proving these punk veterans haven’t lost a bit of their edge!
Formed in 1989 by former All front man Dave Smalley, who is the only remaining original member, the band has recorded seven studio albums.
They stayed on Epitaph Records until 1998 and have since switched to other labels. Down by Law has never achieved substantial commercial success, but a number of largely popular acts cite them as influential, and they still have an underground following even now.
After several lineup changes, the band went on hiatus from touring and recording in 2003, but resurfaced in 2008 before beginning work on new material and embarking on their first tour in six years in 2009.
In 2017, the band reunited their Punkrockacademyfightsong lineup and are currently active and touring.
As aforementioned, and still helmed by the unstoppable Dave Smalley, DBL remain peerless in writing some of the most dynamic and catchy yet quintessentially punk rock songs ever here on the brand new album Lonely Town (releasing February 26th, 2021 via Cleopatra Records).
1. 'Denim & Leather'
3. 'Lonely Town'
5. 'Steal The Night'
6. 'So Solo'
7. 'Darkest Sun'
8. 'Go Back Home'
9. 'Black Sheep'
10. 'Heroes & Zeroes'
12. 'This Heart Remains'
13. 'My Reservation’s Been Confirmed'
Featuring the standout tracks 'Heroes & Zeroes,' 'Darkest Sun,' and 'This Heart Remains,' Down By Law's thunderously melodic new album opens with the gently frenetic 'Denim & Leather' and backs that up with the foot-stompin' 'Anthem,' the pop urge of the title track 'Lonely Town,' and then we get both the mid-tempo plush of 'Gleam' and the harder paced 'Steal The Night.'
Next up is the drum-led 'So Solo' which is backed by the manic 'Darkest Sun,' and that's followed by the low slung storytelling of 'Go Back Home,' the old school punk of 'Black Sheep, and then the fun pop bounce of 'Heroes & Zeroes.'
The album then rounds out in fine style with 'Soar,' the one-two, indie pop punch of 'This Heart Remains,' closing on the brilliant guitar rock of 'My Reservation’s Been Confirmed.'
Lonely Town is available as a CD and on a special limited edition BLACK & WHITE HAZE vinyl!
Official Purchase Link
Down By Law @ Facebook
Title - 'Shake The Devil: The Lost Sessions'
Artist - Tommy Bolin
For those not in the know, guitar legend Tommy Bolin, known for his work with Deep Purple and The James Gang, lives on in this treasure trove collection of unreleased tracks!
Bolin was an American guitarist and songwriter who played with Zephyr (from 1969 to 1971), The James Gang (from 1973 to 1974), and Deep Purple (from 1975 to 1976), in addition to maintaining a notable career as a solo artist and session musician.
Featuring demos and outtakes from the recording sessions that produced Bolin’s most fully realized and sadly final album, the 1976 masterpiece Private Eyes, Shake The Devil: The Lost Sessions (out now via Cleopatra Records) also includes informative liner notes written by rock journalist Dave Thompson.
1. 'Shake The Devil' (Alternate Mix)
2. 'Bustin’ Out For Rosey' (Alternate Version)
3. 'Hello Again' (Outtake, No Strings)
4. 'Gypsy Soul' (Outtake)
5. 'Sweet Burgundy' (Alternate Version)
6. 'Someday We’ll Bring Our Love Home' (Instrumental Demo)
7. 'You Told Me That You Loved Me' (Instrumental Demo)
8. 'Post Toastee' (Acoustic Demo)
9. 'Tommy’s Instrumental' (Outtake)
10. 'Gypsy Soul' (Acoustic Demo)
11. 'Gypsy Soul' (Rehearsal Demo)
12. 'Someday We’ll Bring Our Love Home' (Instrumental Demo)
Opening with the slow blues crawl guitar rock of the title track 'Shake The Devil' (Alternate Mix), that's backed by the melodic '70s pop rock of 'Bustin’ Out For Rosey' (Alternate Version), the beautiful ballad duo of 'Hello Again' (Outtake, No Strings) and the simply shimmering 'Gypsy Soul' (Outtake), and then we get the mid-tempo pop soul of 'Sweet Burgundy' (Alternate Version) and the upbeat acoustic guitar vibe 'Someday We’ll Bring Our Love Home' (Instrumental Demo).
The groovy 'You Told Me That You Loved Me' (Instrumental Demo) is a pure, unadulterated gem here also (and sounds like the intro to a Late Night '70s TV chat show), and that's backed by a funky 'Post Toastee' (Acoustic Demo), a five minute work of guitar excellence found within the aptly-named 'Tommy’s Instrumental,' with the album rounding out on two more versions of 'Gypsy Soul' (Acoustic Demo and Rehearsal Demo), closing on an Instrumental Demo of 'Someday We’ll Bring Our Love Home.'
Shake The Devil: The Lost Sessions is available as a CD and in a special limited edition gorgeous colored vinyl in a gatefold jacket!
Official Purchase Link
Title - 'A Fresh Perspective'
Artist - Ian Charleton Big Band
For those not in the know, Ian Charleton, who has been writing for big band since he was 15 years old, leads his 18-piece big band on ten new tracks featuring his original compositions and new interpretations of standards, including 'Stardust' by Hoagy Carmichael, Irving Berlin's 'Blue Skies', Marvin Fisher's 'When Sunny Gets Blue,' Vincent Youman's 'Tea For Two,' and 'Everything I've Got,' by Rogers & Hart.
Charleton, a Senior Chief Musician, who was the Head of Academics at the Naval School of Music, where he taught arranging, and is a graduate of the University of North Texas, burst on the scene with his 2013 debut CD, Brain Chatter.
His long-awaited follow-up, A Fresh Perspective (out March 16th, 2021), showcases his extraordinary gifts as an inventive and engaging composer, and an imaginative arranger.
1. '1 West 67th Street'
2. 'Sunday Morning'
3. 'A Fresh Perspective'
4. 'Everything I've Got'
6. 'El Otoño'
7. 'Blues Skies'
8. 'Tea For Two'
9. 'When Sunny Gets Blue'
10. 'Party on Park'
This truly upbeat and simply divine album opens with the perky key work of '1 West 67th Street' and backs that up seamlessly with the lushly laid back orchestrations of 'Sunday Morning,' the more prone tones of the title track 'A Fresh Perspective,' and then we get the gently frenetic, and vocalized 'Everything I've Got' followed by the almost comatose ambiance of 'Stardust.'
Next up is one of my own personal favorites, the light swing of 'El Otoño' which is followed by the dapper, and also vocalized 'Blues Skies,' the piano ballad 'Tea For Two,' with the album rounding out on the magnificently vibrant, finger-snappin' allure of 'When Sunny Gets Blue,' closing on much the same within 'Party on Park.'
Leader/Arranger: Ian Charleton, Saxophones: Richard Garcia: Alto/Soprano Sax (Lead), Jason Hammers: Alto Sax, Keith Philbrick: Tenor Sax, Michael Ferrante: Tenor Sax, David Fatek: Baritone Sax, Trumpet and Flugelhorn Mark Oates (Lead), Pete Sutorius, Mark Nixon, Kerry Moffit, Trombones John Lloyd (Lead), Lisa Drefke, Carl Lundgren, Dandrick Glenn (Bass), Rhythm Emily Charleton (Vocals), Bart Kuebler (Piano), Wes Wagner (Guitar), Ryan Persaud (Bass), and Bob Habib (Drums).
Title - 'Human Qualities'
Artist - Schapiro 17
For those not in the know, Schapiro 17's debut recording, New Shoes: Kind of Blue at 60, consisted of reworkings of the five selections from Miles Davis' Kind of Blue plus seven of the leader's originals.
A year later, Human Qualities (out March 12th, 2021 via Summit Records) builds upon the earlier album's success with seven new Schapiro compositions plus a fresh rendition of a classic ballad.
1. 'Count on Me'
4. 'The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face'
5. 'Human Qualities'
7. 'A Bounce in Her Step'
8. 'House Money'
This upbeat and freshly vibrant new album opens with the perky 'Count Me In' and backs that up with the laid low 'Tango' (which features the baritone work of Matt Hong), the melodic shuffle musings of 'Hmmm' (featuring Andy Gravish and Paul Carlon, on trumpet and tenor respectively) and then we get my own personal favorite, the achingly dulcet tones of 'The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face' (which features Eddie Allen on trumpet).
Next up are the near twelve minute musical brilliances of both the title track 'Human Qualities' and the quintessentially old school, bebop-imbued 'Hallelujah' (featuring some stern tenor and guitar work from Paul Carlon and Sebastian Noelle respectively), then we get the finger-snappin' 'A Bounce In Her Step,' and then it comes to a close on the high top swing of 'House Money' (which features Alex Jeun's forceful trombone work).
Compositions from Jon Schapiro & Ewen MacColl
trumpets: Bryan Davis, Andy Gravish, Eddie Allen, Noyes Bartholomew
trombones: Alex Jeun, Deborah Weisz, Nick Grinder, Walter Harris
saxophones: Rob Wilkerson, Candace DeBartolo, Paul Carlon, Rob Middleton, Matt Hong
piano: Roberta Piket
guitar: Sebastian Noelle
bass: Evan Gregor
drums: Jon Wikan
Digital Purchase Link
Title - 'Dies Irae'
Artist - Skold
For those not in the know, when Tim Skold, producer and former member of Marilyn Manson’s band, ex-KMFDM member, Motionless In White producer, and co-founder of Swedish metal act Shotgun Messiah, titled his new album Dies Irae - a Latin phrase meaning “Day Of Wrath” - not even he could have imagined what the fates had in store for 2021.
Between political upheavals and violent revolts to a myriad of allegations against established heroes and icons, it seems a day of reckoning may indeed be coming, like a “black cloud on a dirty horizon.”
That’s the image painted by SKOLD in the lead-off track to Dies Irae, the fifth and most aggressive album to date, 'Dirty Horizon,' a heavy-as-fu*k metal anthem that grabs you by the throat with its opening riff and doesn’t let up for the entirety of its 4-minute running time!
1. 'Dirty Horizon'
3. 'The End Is Near'
5. 'Love Is A Disease'
6. 'This Is The Way'
7. 'Silicon Dreams'
8. 'As Above So Below'
9. 'Kill Yourself'
Opening with that very same bold and powerful track ('Dirty Horizon'), and one that suggests that this particular beginning is in fact the beginning of the end, “Goodbye and goodnight / Everything is alright / Blinded by starlight / Everything is fine / Just let it BURN,”, they back that up with the lighter fare of both 'Unspoken' and SKOLD's revolution ode 'The End Is Near,' before the Gary Numan-esque brilliance of his lyrical musings on death come to the fore on 'Terrified.'
The electro pulse of the romantic 'Love Is A Disease' is then backed by the thrasher 'This Is The Way' and the Goth electronica of 'Silicon Dreams,' and then we get another stand out cut in the form of the harmonic 'As Above So Below,' with the album coming to a close on the dark synth of 'Kill Yourself' and the melodically-toned 'Goodbye.'
As for SKOLD himself, after 3 decades of making music, he is determined as ever to remain true to his vision and defy audience expectations, saying “I really don’t know what people expect but I think that is a good thing. The idea is that if I just stick to doing my thing I will somehow retain the original enthusiasm and it is actually working, I’m literally getting more inspired the further down the rabbit hole I go. It’s getting scary.”
Dies Irae features artwork from hugely talented German artist Sebastian Nabel showcased beautifully on reverse-board digipak for CD plus a special limited edition vinyl edition with a reverse-board jacket and full-color inner sleeve housing a gorgeous CLEAR vinyl LP!
Official Purchase Links
SKOLD @ Facebook
SKOLD @ Instagram
SKOLD - 'Dirty Horizon' (Official Music Video)
Title - 'Big Storm'
Artist - Adam Warner
For those not in the know, neo-traditional Country singer-songwriter, and U.S. Marine veteran Adam Warner will release his full length album Big Storm on Friday, February 26 during his week-long residency at the world famous Million Dollar Cowboy Bar in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Warner has released three singles from Big Storm to date, including several songs written by legendary Nashville songwriter Kim Williams, including the title track.
The first song he released was his ode to the Marine Corps, 'Semper Fi,' co-written by Adam’s friend and mentor, Trace Adkins.
1. 'Big Storm'
2. 'That’s How You Know You’re Livin'
3. 'Someone God Can Use'
4. 'Semper Fi'
6. 'I Love Her, She Hates Me, I Drink'
7. 'Beer Makes You Lean'
8. 'Can’t Get Enough'
9. 'Devil In The Mirror'
10. '4 Square Miles'
11. 'Between Whiskey & Gin'
12. 'Rowdy As Randall'
Opening with the loud and proud twanger of the title track, 'Big Storm,' the album rolls on with the mid-tempo, bar-friendly 'That’s How You Know You’re Livin,' the low slung ballads 'Someone God Can Use' and the much-adorned 'Semper Fi' which is itself backed by the deep-throated wonderment of 'Nicotine.'
Next up is the inquisitive ballad 'I Love Her, She Hates Me, I Drink,' which is backed by one of my own personal favorites, the fun-imbibed 'Beer Makes You Lean,' and then we get the foot-tappin' gentle rocker 'Can’t Get Enough,' the Southern R'n'R of 'Devil In The Mirror,' the storytelling of '4 Square Miles,' with the album rounding out on the lonesome outcry of 'Between Whiskey & Gin,' closing on the upbeat, rockin' country swagger of 'Rowdy As Randall.'
“I am really looking forward to returning back to Jackson Hole during the week I release my first full length album, Big Storm,” said Warner. “The fans out there really love their country music, and I love bringing it to them just as much!”
Adam Warner comes from a family who have been family farmers for more than 100 years, and he grew up with men who served in the U.S. Military.
He found an early love for music and played in bands throughout high school. Influenced by his favorite singers, including Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, George Jones and Hank Williams Jr. and Sr., he started writing songs and continued to perform until he took a break from music while in college to join the U. S. Marines for five years.
As soon as he could after his discharge, Warner moved to Nashville, where he was soon back to writing songs and entertaining fans. It was obviously the right decision, because country star Trace Adkins heard about him and invited Warner to open his shows.
Warner had heard Adkins’ hit 'Semper Fi' when he was in the Marines and told Adkins he would like to record the song, and Adkins agreed to duet on it with him.
The song won Warner the Vox Pop award for Country Music Song of the Year at the 17th annual Independent Music Awards in June of 2019.
Warner and buddies Quinn Loggins and Trafton Harvey wrote 'Welcome to the South,' which has become the theme song for the NFL team the Tennessee Titans, who turned it into a video they play before each of their games in Nashville.
Warner has also released an EP, Can’t Get Enough, which resulted in him being heralded by critics as a welcome return to traditional country with songs that are mini-movies about every-day life.
He is now working on his next project, which he says will stay in the same realm, but as the Marines taught him, will show growth in his music.
Adam Warner @ Facebook
Adam Warner @ Twitter
Adam Warner @ Instagram
Adam Warner @ YouTube
Adam Warner @ Soundcloud
Title - 'Worlds On Hold'
Artist - Prog Collective
For those not in the know, the prog rock supergroup spearheaded by much heralded producer/musician Billy Sherwood returns with a timely and magnificent new studio album.
Entitled Worlds On Hold (out now via Purple Pyramid/Cleopatra Records), it features a star-studded cast with Todd Rundgren, former Queensrÿche vocalist Geoff Tate, Focus's Jan Akkerman, Ayreon mastermind Arjen Anthony Lucassen, The Flower Kings' Roine Stolt as well as Derek Sherinian, Steve Hillage, Joe Lynn Turner and so many more.
This is the first release under The Prog Collective moniker since 2013's epic Epilogue and the album is split between new compositions and spectacular versions of familiar classics such as Peter Gabriel's 'Solsbury Hill,' Alan Parson's Project's 'Eye In The Sky 'and more.
1. 'Worlds On Hold' (feat. Todd Rundgren & L. Shankar)
2. 'Two Trajectories' (feat. Geoff Tate & Ron Bumblefoot Thal)
3. 'Anything But Goodbye' (feat. Jon Davison & Patrick Moraz)
4. 'Meant To Be' (feat. Jan Akkerman & Billy Sherwood)
5. 'Brave New World' (feat. Sonja Kristina & Steve Hillage)
6. 'Glory Days Ahead' (feat. Arjen Anthony Lucassen & Steve Hackett)
7. 'Solsbury Hill' (feat. Roine Stolt & Billy Sherwood)
8. 'A Whiter Shade Of Pale' (feat. Graham Bonnet & Derek Sherinian)
9. 'Eye In The Sky' (feat. Joe Lynn Turner & Martin Barre)
10. 'Nights In White Satin' (feat. David Clayton-Thomas & Geoff Downes)
11. 'Penny Lane' (feat. John Wetton)
12. 'More Than A Feeling' (feat. Alan White, Tony Kaye & Billy Sherwood)
13. 'People Are Strange' (feat. David Johansen)
This quite brilliant new album kicks things off in fine style with the building, orchestrally sweepingly 'Worlds On Hold' (feat. Todd Rundgren & L. Shankar) and backs that up with the melodic pacing of 'Two Trajectories' (feat. Geoff Tate & Ron Bumblefoot Thal), the Yes-esque 'Anything But Goodbye' (feat. Jon Davison & Patrick Moraz), and then we get then the harder rock edge of 'Meant To Be' (feat. Jan Akkerman & Billy Sherwood) and the free flowing keys and Renaissance vibe of 'Brave New World' (feat. Sonja Kristina & Steve Hillage).
Next up is the beautiful thematic storytelling of 'Glory Days Ahead' (feat. Arjen Anthony Lucassen & Steve Hackett) and that's followed by a quite stunning rendition of Peter Gabriel's 'Solsbury Hill' (feat. Roine Stolt & Billy Sherwood), Procol Harum's reputable 'A Whiter Shade Of Pale' (feat. the unmistakable vocals of Graham Bonnet & Derek Sherinian), and then we get the mid-tempo, APP ballad 'Eye In The Sky' (feat. Joe Lynn Turner & Martin Barre), and then the Moody Blues' 'Nights In White Satin' (feat. David Clayton-Thomas & Geoff Downes).
With the CD including 3 previously-released bonus tracks of Billy Sherwood produced cover versions, such as an interesting take on the Beatles' 'Penny Lane' (feat. John Wetton), Boston's rousing 'More Than A Feeling' (feat. Alan White, Tony Kaye & Billy Sherwood), and then closes out on The Doors' classic 'People Are Strange' (feat. David Johansen), I can honestly say that everything about this new recording is simply wondrous and that it fully deserves a wide, global audience (especially as our own world is, of course, currently on hold also!
Worlds On Hold is available as a CD and as a special limited edition GREEN vinyl!
Official Purchase Link
The Prog Collective on Bandcamp
Title - 'Theory of Everything'
Artist - Shijin
For those not in the know, the performances by Shijin can thus be experienced as a practical application of the "The Theory of Everything" in music.
Just like "The Theory of Everything", which is regarded as the Holy Grail of theories and consists of the reconciliation of infinitely large and small, the collegial musical creation by various musicians in different constellations is an exciting and complex principle.
Here on their very own Theory Of Everything new album (due out March 12th, 2021 via Music Box Publishing), Shijin offers 8 interactive pieces, which are first developed as duets, then completed by the other two musicians and finally put together into a complete format that is rarely used in jazz production: the "Concept Album".
This then combines electrical and acoustic music as well as improvisation and composition where within this particular conceptual framework, even contemporary music and traditional jazz can be reconciled.
1. 'Mystery of a White Dwarf'
2. 'Unexpected Discovery'
3. 'Golden Age'
5. 'Time Travel'
6. 'Separating Circle'
8. 'You Are Here'
9. 'Curved Wrinkles'
This really quite uniquely orchestrated new album opens with the free flowing beats of 'Mystery of a White Dwarf' and backs that up with the slow and earthy 'Unexpected Discovery,' and then we get the mid-tempo perkiness of 'Golden Age.'
Next up is the gently frenetic 'Implosion' (their second single released thus far) and the easy listening of 'Time Travel' (the first single), which is followed by the jangly 'Separating Circle,' with the album rounding out on the foot-tappin' 'You Are Here,' closing on the sterner, more forthright melodies of 'Curved Wrinkles.'
Official Purchase Link
Title - 'YITA (Deep water)'
Artist - Fely Tchaco
For those not in the know, for African women, singing can be the road to many challenges; however, the same road can lead to personal power which can move mountains, inspire and win battles.
Drawing from her own life's experience as well as folk wisdom, Ivory Coast singer songwriter Fely Tchaco (who currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area) embodies the new generation of artists who remain attached to their African heritage, while at the same time maintaining a resolutely modern outlook on the world.
If beauty is all it takes for success, well then Ivory Coast music sensation Fely Tchaco embodies this quality and more.
Multi talented, Billboard Nominee, Singer Songwriter, performer, Fely Tchaco who moved to San Francisco in the early 2000 was born and raised in Cote d'Ivoire West Africa.
Fely’s passion for music began in her early teenager years. She started singing French ballad and popular songs in piano bars and music venues throughout the Ivory Coast to establish herself as a singer doing cover songs.
1996 Fely released her first album Amour Perdu as an independent artist and was distributed by EMI Cote d’Ivoire back then called Emi Fat Music, followed by another one 1998, which launched her career with her song titled 'Mon Espoir'.
In 2004 Fely recorded and released her first U.S. debut album De Zere Gnan followed by an EP Awareness in 2008 and Maturite in 2011.
In 2012 her song 'Goba' from the album 'Maturite' won the Independent Music Awards in the World Beat song category. Another song of the same album called 'Toilata' also had an honorable mention in the International Songwriting Competition in 2010 (where Fely was among the top 10 finalists from over 15,000 entrants).
In early 2014, she made it as an extra for the NBC series Looking in 2011 and was also cast as an extra for the movie 'Contageon.'
Fely Tchaco's highly anticipated new album YITA (out March 8th, 2021) is a tribute to African migrants dying in the Mediterranean seas whilst also being a call for social justice and police brutality against civilians.
The album was scheduled to be launched in the spring of 2020, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the release has been postponed to this now later date in March.
1. 'Ato Lagoh'
2. 'Cawe Yoko'
3. 'Blamer Les Autres'
4. 'Djebi Dje'
5. 'Do Afe'
9. 'It's Never Too Late'
10. 'Tile Tete'
This quite mesmerizing new album opens on the rhythmic drum mastery of both 'Ato Lagoh' and 'Cawe Yoko' and follows them seamlessly with the lusciously Latin-flavored 'Blamer Les Autres' and the electronica-inspired beats of 'Djebi Dje,' and then we get one of my own personal favorites here, the sweepingly ambient 'Do Afe.'
Next up are more foot-tappin' beats within 'Zaouli' which is backed by the highly spirited 'Zante,' which are in turn followed by the quietly moving title track 'Yita,' the percussion-imbued 'It's Never Too Late,' with the album rounding out on the light and breezy, Summer's day, top down drive of 'Tile Tete,' closing on the joyous tones of 'Kubeli.'
Her lyrics draw on life experiences, ruminating on what is going on in the world today and Fely also sings in many different languages; English, French as well in her native Gouro language, emphasizing her cultural background.
Fely is the total package. With a powerful persona and a positive aura, she is a dynamic performer and dancer as well as specializing in rhythms of the West African forest region - such as Gbegbe, Gaou Alloukou and Zaouli, et al.
Furthermore, Fely collaborated with renowned composers such as Jerry Martin (former Audio Director at EA) and Serge Bile (an international author and writer based in Martinique) and lately with Grammy Awards winner Christian Tumalan.
In addition of being a singer songwriter performer, Fely is a mother, a wife, visual artist and a fashion designer. She combines her art and fashion to express her creativity in her music and on stage.
Beside her music, Fely Tchaco is also a visual artist, fashion designer and entrepreneur.
One of her projects is to raise a fund to go to Africa and create a documentary on the Zaouli Dance mask of the Gouro tribe; which is the rhythm adapted in her award winning song 'Goba.'
Official Purchase Link
Fely Tchaco @ Facebook
Fely Tchaco @ Instagram
Fely Tchaco @ Twitter
Fely Tchaco @ YouTube
Title - 'Afterglow' [CD Single]
Artist - The Walk-A-Bout
For those not in the know, Aussie-American acoustically driven rock ‘n’ roll quintet The Walk-A-Bout hail from the artistic East End of Long Island, New York.
Having released their self-titled debut in 2017, and their sophomore album Things Are Looking Up in 2018, come 2020 and The Walk-A-Bout (Darren “Sully” Sullivan, Kevin Anderson, Drew Bertran, Dave Christian and Keenan Zach) then brought forth their third album, the well-received 20/20 in 2020.
Now the rock quintet The Walk-A-Bout have announced a new cover of the hit INXS single 'Afterglow,' that they will be releasing digitally and as a special limited edition single later this week.
Written by INXS founding member Andrew Farriss and world-renowned songwriter Desmond Child as a tribute to the late Michael Hutchins, this new arrangement of 'Afterglow' by The Walk-A-Bout was recorded during the sessions for their latest album 20/20.
The single is a departure from the band's usual approach, featuring a string trio with solely acoustic accompaniment. The beautiful production and organic feel make for an exciting new addition to The Walk-A-Bout catalog.
1. 'Afterglow' (4;10)
2. 'Hero' (3:11)
This special, highly ambient, lushiously warm, and lovingly embodied with smooth hipsway grooves new single, paired with a live acoustic rendition of the band's hit song 'Hero' as the "B-side," releases worldwide on all digital services February 5th, 2021 with a limited edition 7" vinyl 45 version available for pre-order too.
Official Pre-Order Purchase Link
The Walk-A-Bout @ Facebook
The Walk-A-Bout @ Twitter
The Walk-A-Bout @ Instagram
The Walk-A-Bout @ Bandcamp
The Walk-A-Bout @ YouTube
Title - Live in New Orleans-40th Anniversary Edition [2LP]
Artist - Maze featuring Frankie Beverly
For those not in the know, Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, one of America’s best-loved R&B bands, will celebrate the 40th anniversary of their acclaimed 1981 double album Live in New Orleans with a 2LP vinyl reissue and two special digital releases on February 19th, 2021 via Capitol/UMe.
The American soul band Maze was founded by Frankie Beverly in Philadelphia in 1970 under the moniker Raw Soul. Upon moving to San Francisco in the mid ‘70s and being introduced to Marvin Gaye, who took them out on the road as an opening act, they changed their name to Maze in part due to Gaye’s suggestion.
Along with having roots in both Philadelphia and the San Francisco Bay area, Maze have always considered New Orleans their home base. Beverly has credited the city for the Gold status of their 1977 debut album, Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, saying that the majority of copies were sold in Louisiana and the greater New Orleans area.
With that in mind, Maze decided to record their first live album and fifth overall album, Live in New Orleans, at the Saenger on November 14–15, 1980.
The studio tracks that make up Side 4 were recorded at the Automatt Recording Studio in San Francisco and the album was produced and arranged by Frankie Beverly for Amazement Music.
This 40th Anniversary 2LP will be released in two physical forms: standard weight black double-LP and special white vinyl, an homage to Beverly’s all-white stage outfits and an acknowledgment to the audience members who in their own tribute faithfully wore all-white to Maze shows.
2. 'Changing Times'
3. 'Joy and Pain'
4. 'Happy Feelin's'
5. 'Southern Girl'
6. 'Look at California'
1. 'Feel That You’re Feelin’'
2. 'The Look In Your Eyes'
3. 'Running Away'
4. 'Before I Let Go'
5. 'We Need Love To Live'
Live in New Orleans reached #3 on Billboard's R&B Albums chart and #34 on the Billboard 200 chart.
With three sides recorded at New Orleans’ Saenger Theatre, it features extended live versions of their top 10 R&B chart hits 'Feel That You’re Feelin’' and 'Southern Girl.'
It also features the definitive live versions of album cuts 'Look At California' and 'Joy and Pain,' probably their biggest song that was never a hit single – and it shows, as the band performance transforms into a thrilling audience sing-along.
Opening with the thunderously funky, come on everyone, clap your hands track 'You' they back that up with the free-flowing, smooth jazz/soul of the grooving 'Changing Times' (where Beverly talks about how the times are'a changing, and that we have to keep on truckin' through), and then the first side rounds out on a near ten minute, yet expertly broken down for some crowd participation, 'Joy and Pain.'
The second side opens with more smooth R&B brought forth within their big hit 'Happy Feelin's' and then we get the gently frenetic, yet carefully contained bounce of 'Southern Girl' (which also includes a mighty fine shout out to all the New Orleans women in the house), this side rounding out on their incredible 11 minute melodic jazz blues grooving, funky hipsway opus, 'Look at California.'
The third side opens with the nearly 10 minute, laid low R&B flow of the beautiful 'Feel That You’re Feelin’' which, and after the crowd unashamedly bays for more, they seamlessly back up with the soulful, mid-tempo balladry of 'The Look In Your Eyes.'
The fourth side is the studio side of Live in New Orleans and opens with the Top 10 R&B hit 'Running Away,' and the yearning Maze anthem, 'Before I Let Go' (the latter of which was covered by Beyoncé for her 2019 Homecoming: The Live Album and was the topic of a dance challenge from the musician on social media), next comes the low slung ballad 'We Need Love To Live,' with this epic 40th Anniversary Edition 2LP release from UMe coming to a close on the smooth R&B ebb of 'Reason.'
In closing, Live in New Orleans secured Maze and Frankie Beverly's deep-rooted bond with New Orleans, and transformed it into an indelible, tangible delivery for the entire world to experience.
They’ve since closed the annual Essence Fest in the city for more than 20 years.
But wait, there's more as to coincide with the 40th anniversary release of Live in New Orleans during Black History Month 2021 and the week of Mardi Gras, UMe are also releasing the same day two digital remix EPs: Maze: The M+M Mixes and Joy and Pain: The Lifelines Remixes.
The M+M Mixes EP features all of the remixes created by M+M’s John Morales including Maze’s first R&B chart #1, 'Back in Stride,' in a version longer than the original 12”, and 'Too Many Games' (#5 US, top 40 UK), originally released only in the U.K. in 1985, and Morales’s 2017 remixes of 'Before I Let Go' and 'Joy and Pain,' that had only a limited release in Europe.
Each remix also has a corresponding instrumental version, two of which are previously unreleased (see track list below). All tracks are making their digital debut as well as their commercial US debut.
1. 'Before I Let Go' [M+M Mix, 8:50]
2. 'Joy and Pain' [John Morales M+M Mix, 11:11]
3. 'Back In Stride' [Extended M+M Mix, 9:34*]
4. 'Too Many Games' [Extended Remix, 7:30]
5. 'Before I Let Go' [John Morales M+M Mix Instrumental, 6:56*]
6. 'Joy and Pain' [John Morales M+M Mix Instrumental, 11:14*]
7. 'Back In Stride' [John Morales M+M Mix Instrumental, 8:15]
8. 'Too Many Games' [John Morales M+M Mix Instrumental, 5:47]
The Joy and Pain EP features the rare 'Lifelines' remixes of the classic song by Hank Shocklee, Eric Sadler and Paul Shabazz, a.k.a. members of the production team The Bomb Squad, best known for their era-defining, multi-layered work with Public Enemy.
These remixes, with Kurtis Blow doing a guest rap, were originally only issued on a promo 12” in 1989 to promote the album The Greatest Hits: Lifelines that included some remixes – and now, except for the long version on that album, these tracks are making their commercial debut as well as their digital debut.
The EP also includes a highly sought-after instrumental version of the original LP version of 'Joy and Pain.'
1. 'Joy and Pain' [Lifelines Remix 7” feat. Kurtis Blow, 4:17]
2. 'Joy and Pain' [Lifelines Remix Radio Version feat. Kurtis Blow, 6:56]
3. 'Joy and Pain' [Lifelines Remix feat. Kurtis Blow, 8:47]
4. 'Joy and Pain' [Lifelines Remix Instrumental, 8:32]
5. 'Joy and Pain' [Original LP Instrumental, 7:21]
Official 2LP Purchase Link
Maze featuring Frankie Beverly @ Facebook
Title - Riot City-Complete Singles Collection UK '82 [4CD]
Artist - Various
For those not in the know, following on from the success of the recent No Future Complete Singles Collection, Captain Oi! proudly presents the Riot City - Complete Singles Collection: The Sound of UK '82, a 4CD capacity wallet round up of every single single issued by the seminal early '80s Punk label.
Vice Squad drummer and co-label founder Shane Baldwin has provided in-depth liner notes on the story of the label that did so much to establish the “UK/82” Punk sound.
Each release has its original sleeve illustrated and now comes with line up and chart position information added. Many of these releases are now highly prized items on the Punk collector’s scene.
Inclusive of 118 tracks that are spread across the four discs, they make up the 33 singles issued by the label, with 27 of them having made the then important Independent Chart.
1. 'LAST ROCKERS' – Vice Squad
2. 'LIVING ON DREAMS' – Vice Squad
3. 'LATEX LOVE' – Vice Squad
4. 'RESURRECTION' – Vice Squad
5. 'YOUNG BLOOD' – Vice Squad
6. 'HUMANE' – Vice Squad
7. 'POLITICS' – The Insane
8. 'DEAD AND GONE' – The Insane
9. 'LAST DAY' – The Insane
10. 'VICIOUS CIRCLE' – Abrasive Wheels
11. 'ATTACK' – Abrasive Wheels
12. 'VOICE OF YOUTH' – Abrasive Wheels
13. 'GOT TO GET OUT' – Court Martial
14. 'FIGHT FOR YOUR LIFE' – Court Martial
15. 'YOUNG OFFENDERS' – Court Martial
16. '4 MINUTE WARNING' – Chaos U.K.
17. 'KILL YOUR BABY' – Chaos U.K.
18. 'ARMY' – Chaos U.K.
19. 'VICTIMISED' – Chaos U.K.
20. 'IT’S CORRUPTION' – The Undead
21. 'UNDEAD' – The Undead
22. 'DREAMING' – The Expelled
23. 'NO LIFE NO FUTURE' – The Expelled
24. 'WHAT JUSTICE?' – The Expelled
25. 'ARMY SONG' – Abrasive Wheels
26. 'JUVENILE' – Abrasive Wheels
27. 'SO SLOW' – Abrasive Wheels
28. 'FUCK THE WORLD' – Chaotic
29. 'YOU’RE GONNA DIE' – Chaotic
30. 'SOLD OUT TO THE G.P.O.' – Chaotic Dischord
Opening this simply INCREDIBLE 4CD collection are Vice Squad. Formed in 1979 in Bristol, UK, the band was formed from two other local punk bands, The Contingent and TV Brakes.
The songwriter and vocalist Beki Bondage (born Rebecca Bond) was a founding member of the band and although there was a period of time when the band had a different vocalist, she actually reformed the band in 1997.
If you've never heard of this band, let alone all the others on this compilation, do yourself a favor and youtube them as tracks like the opener 'Last rockers,' the frenetically drum-led 'Living On Dreams,' and the two minute slam fest 'Latex Love' STILL hold up today as melodic punk rock at its finest.
After six of the best from them, we next get three rather more earthy, more basement screamers from The Insane. Originally formed as a 5-piece band from Wigan, UK in 1979, there were actually two bands called The Insane for a while when the original band split.
This lineup recorded the three track El Salvador EP at Cargo Studios in Rochdale before David Ellesmere left to join Discharge. The Insane actually saw 14 different lineups in their career and these three cuts showcase their rawness perfectly.
Next up are a trio from Court Martial, who formed in Bristol, UK in 1980, but like most bands of the same ilk, split up in 1982, and these three tracks, especially the frenetic 'Gotta Get Out' encapsulate the British punk movement of early 1982 perfectly.
Then we get a quartet from the reverberatingly, gratingly sonic punk band, Chaos U.K. Formed in 1979 in Portishead, UK, they emerged as part of the anarcho-punk scene, developing a fast and aggressive hardcore punk style.
Labelled (rightly so) as the "fastest, noisiest band in the cosmos," they are followed by duo from The Undead (formed in Bristol, UK in 1981 and who slit in 1983), three brilliant tracks from the Siouxsie-esque The Expelled (first formed in July 1981 in Leeds, UK and featuring Jo Ball on vocals).
After three more from Abrasive Wheels, the first CD rounds out with the spasmodic duo of 'Fuck The World' and You're Gonna Die' from Chaotic (who went on to become Chaotic Dischord), closing on the electrifying punk wrath of 'Sold Out To The G.P.O'.
1. 'NO SOLUTION' – Court Martial
2. 'TOO LATE' – Court Martial
3. 'TAKE CONTROL' – Court Martial
4. 'NO SECURITY' – Chaos U.K.
5. 'WHAT ABOUT THE FUTURE' – Chaos U.K.
6. 'HYPOCRITE' – Chaos U.K.
7. 'DOGS BODY' – Mayhem
8. 'STREET FIGHT' – Mayhem
9. 'BLOOD MONEY' – Mayhem
10. 'PATRIOTS' – Mayhem
11. 'HAVE YOU GOT 10p?' – The Ejected
12. 'CLASS OF ’82' – The Ejected
13. 'ONE OF THE BOYS' – The Ejected
14. 'DEAD REVOLUTION' – The Undead
15. 'THIS PLACE IS BURNING' – The Undead
16. 'BURN ‘EM DOWN' – Abrasive Wheels
17. 'URBAN REBEL' – Abrasive Wheels
18. 'GOVERNMENT POLICY' – The Expelled
19. 'MAKE IT ALONE' – The Expelled
20. 'NOTTINGHAM PROBLEM' – Resistance 77
21. 'JOIN THE ARMY' – Resistance 77
22. 'COLLARS AND TIES' – Resistance 77
23. 'NUCLEAR ATTACK' – Resistance 77
24. 'FAST ‘N’ LOUD' – The Ejected
25. 'I DON’T CARE' – The Ejected
26. 'WHAT HAPPENED IN BRIGHTON' – The Ejected
27. 'SADIST DREAM' – No Choice
28. 'NUCLEAR DISASTER' – No Choice
29. 'CREAM OF THE CROP' – No Choice
The second disc opens with a trio from Court Martial, including the drum-led, foot-tappin', fist-pumpin' brilliance of 'No Solution,' and that's backed by three from Chaos U.K., a thunderous quartet from Mayhem. Formed in Southport, UK in 1979, they stuck it out before finally splitting in 1986, but lyrics within songs like the melodic punk of 'Dogs Body' and 'Patriots' still ring true today.
Up next is a trio of tracks, including the frenetic 'Have You Got 10p?' from The Ejected (formed in Dagenham, UK, and active mainly between 1981 and 1983). A still marvelous track to listen to now, and one that flashes right back to the time and place when it was recorded, that's for sure, we then get a triple double from The Undead, Abrasive Wheels, and The Expelled.
The true spirit of punk ebbs and flows proudly through a quartet from Resistance 77 (formed in Nottingham, UK in 1980), none more so than the vibrant duo 'Join The Army' and 'Nuclear Attack' and they are followed by three more classics from The Ejected, closing on three from the more sedate side of the punk scene (especially the spoken-word 'Sadist Dream'), No Choice (formed in Cardiff, Wales in 1982).
1. 'POINTS OF VIEW' – Emergency
2. 'CITY FUN' – Emergency
3. 'DOES ANYBODY REALISE?' – Emergency
4. 'NEVER TRUST A FRIEND' – Chaotic Dischord
5. 'ARE STUDENTYS SAFE?' – Chaotic Dischord
6. 'POPSTARS' – Chaotic Dischord
7. 'BACK ON THE PISS AGAIN' – Sex Aids
8. 'THE AMAZING MR. MICHAEL HOGARTH' – Sex Aids
9. 'WE ARE THE ROAD CREW' – Sex Aids
10. 'GENTLE MURDER' – Mayhem
11. '(YOUR FACE FITS) LIE AND DIE' – Mayhem
12. 'CLEAN CUT' – Mayhem
13. 'CRIME FOR REVENGE' – Ultra Violent
14. 'WHERE ANGELS DARE NOT TREAD' – Ultra Violent
15. 'DEAD GENERATION' – Ultra Violent
16. 'EAST OF DACHAU' – The Underdogs
17. 'JOHNNY GO HOME' – The Underdogs
18. 'DEAD SOLDIER' – The Underdogs
19. 'DIE FOR YOUR GOVERNMENT' - The Varukers
20. 'ALL SYSTEMS FAIL' – The Varukers
21. 'RUSSIANS' – The Ejected
22. '24 YEARS' – The Ejected
23. 'IN THE CITY' – The Ejected
24. 'LED TO THE SLAUGHTER' – The Varukers
25. 'THE END IS NIGH' – The Varukers
26. 'YOU’RE DEAD' – The Varukers
27. 'PUBLIC ANIMAL NO.1' – The Ejected
28. 'GENERATION LANDSLIDE' – The Ejected
29. 'ROCK STAR' – The Ejected
The third disc opens with three melodic works of punk from Emergency, a band formed in Manchester, UK in 1982, from the ashes of The Hoax and who released just the one acclaimed single and promptly split!
Then we get a trio, once more, from Chaotic Dischord before a threesome with the fun-to-be-heard Sex Aids, a band from Bristol, UK and a notable side project of Chaotic Dischord and Vice Squad members.
Mayhem come roaring back with a threesome of their own with a fantastically frantic trio from Ultra Violent up next. With tracks perfectly suited to their band name, they formed in January 1982 in Hebden Bridge, UK from the remains of two bands: Delinquent and Dreaded Cult.
One of my own personal favorite of the trios of music is up next in the tuneful punk angst of The Underdogs (from Rothwell, UK and formed in 1982, splitting in 1984), especially the meaty 'East Of Dachau,' and that's backed by a quintet from melodic rockers The Varukers (formed in 1979 by vocalist Anthony "Rat" Martin).
Sandwiched in between is a trio from The Ejected and then once the second set from The Varukers has played out, the disc closes out on yet another threesome from The Ejected.
1. 'ROCK & ROLL SWINDLE' – Chaotic Dischord
2. 'DON’T THROW IT ALL AWAY' – Chaotic Dischord
3. 'STAB YOUR BACK' – Chaotic Dischord
4. 'SAUSAGE BEANS & CHIPS' – Chaotic Dischord
5. 'WHO KILLED ET?' – Chaotic Dischord
6. '22 HOLE DOC MARTENS' – Chaotic Dischord
7. 'ANARCHY IN WOOLWORTHS' – Chaotic Dischord
8. 'BATCAVE BENDERS MEET ALIEN DUREX MACHINE' – Chaotic Dischord
9. 'ANOTHER RELIGION ANOTHER WAR' – The Varukers
10. 'NO ESCAPE' – The Varukers
11. 'CONDEMNED TO DEATH' – The Varukers
12. 'THE LAST WAR' – The Varukers
13. 'WHO PAYS' – The Varukers
14. 'NEGLECTED' – The Varukers
15. 'DEADLY GAMES' – The Varukers
16. 'SEEK SHELTER IN HELL' – The Varukers
17. 'COWARD' – Vice Squad
18. 'MARY WHITEHOUSE' – Organized Chaos
19. 'CRIMINAL YOUTH' – Abrasive Wheels
20. 'YOUR WAR' – Court Martial
21. 'SENSELESS CONFLICT' – Chaos U.K.
22. 'FUN WARS' – Dead Katss
23. 'BRICKS IN BRIXTON' – Resistance 77
24. 'WHERE DOES OUR MONEY GO' – Havoc
25. 'IT’S A SELL OUT' – Vice Squad
26. 'PSYCHO' – Mayhem
27. 'BLOWN AWAY' – The Expelled
28. 'T.D.A.' – T.D.A.
29. 'SANCTUARY' – The Undead
30. 'BRITISH MAN' – Lunatic Fringe
31. 'ACCIDENT' – Chaotic Dischord
The fourth and final disc is split into two and opens with eight from Chaotic Dischord, none more epitomizing of the era than their right royally rollicking 'Rock & Roll Swindle,' which is followed by eight of their own from The Varukers.
Lastly, the rare Riotous Assembly compilation that Riot City issued in 1982, and which contained 15 tracks unique to the release at the time, is added as a bonus to this last disc and rounds it all off very nicely.
Official 4CD Purchase Link
Title - Lynyrd Skynyrd: Nothing Comes Easy 1991-2012 [5CD]
Artist - Lynyrd Skynyrd
For those not in the know, with roots going back to 1964 when this fledgling bunch of Southern Rockers from Jacksonville, Florida were playing colleges before graduating to local bars, Lynyrd Skynyrd were primed for international success with their debut record in 1973.
Tragically, their career was cut short in October 1977 when their plane crashed at the outset of their Street Survivors tour. The surviving members regrouped in 1987 for the Lynyrd Skynyrd Tribute Tour.
This brand new 5CD collection box-set contains digitally remastered and expanded editions of the Southern Rock band's albums: Lynyrd Skynyrd 1991, The Last Rebel (1993), God And Guns (2009), the bonus God And Guns EP, and Last Of A Dyin' Breed (2012).
CD 1: Lynyrd Skynyrd 1991 (1991)
1. 'SMOKESTACK LIGHTNING'
2. 'KEEPING THE FAITH'
3. 'SOUTHERN WOMEN'
4. 'PURE & SIMPLE'
5. 'I’VE SEEN ENOUGH'
6. 'GOOD THING'
7. 'MONEY MAN'
8. 'BACKSTREET CRAWLER'
9. 'IT’S A KILLER'
10. 'MAMA (AFRAID TO SAY GOODBYE)'
11. 'END OF THE ROAD'
12. 'KEEPING THE FAITH' (EDIT) - Bonus Track
For my money, and a lover of all-things southern rock, 1991 is a great release that, sure, features a lot of the bands surviving members along with new recruits, but each and every person brings their all as they play some good solid southern rock music.
There are plenty of sick leads, grooving rhythms and heavy beats and the album, as a whole, is consistently good and really says a lot of the musicians in the band that they could retain that level of quality; after all those years of injuries and solo projects.
Of course, 1991 does not sound like old school '70s Lynyrd Skynyrd and there I think lies the main issue with this record (for a lot of "fans"). People want that kick of nostalgia and an album like this does not do that.
This was a band moving on from the past instead of reliving it and is the main reason why I enjoyed it as much as I did, in truth. Johnny's lyrics aren't quite as good as his brothers for he seems to lack the subtlety that made Ronnie so popular, but he does know how to write a good catchy chorus and can sing just as good, that's for darn sure.
Fronted by Johnny Van Zandt, younger brother of inimitable Skynyrd singer and front man Ronnie Van Zandt, he was joined by original band members Gary Rossington on guitar, Ed King on guitar, Leon Wilkeson on bass, Billy Powell on keyboards and Artimus Pyle on drums for Lynyrd Skynyrd 1991.
CD 2: The Last Rebel (1993)
1. 'GOOD LOVIN’S HARD TO FIND'
2. 'ONE THING'
3. 'CAN’T TAKE THAT AWAY'
4. 'BEST THING’S IN LIFE'
5. 'THE LAST REBEL'
6. 'OUTTA HELL IN MY DODGE'
7. 'KISS YOUR FREEDOM GOODBYE'
8. 'SOUTH OF HEAVEN'
9. 'LOVE DON’T ALWAYS COME EASY'
10. 'BORN TO RUN'
11. 'THE LAST REBEL' (EDIT) - Bonus Track
12. 'THE LAST REBEL' (ACOUSTIC) - Bonus Track
13. 'BORN TO RUN' (EDIT) - Bonus Track
The sophomore studio album by the reformed Skynyrd Band (their seventh album, and second for Atlantic, and included the singles ‘Good Lovin’s Hard To Find’ and ‘Born To Run’ and which now features three bonus tracks) came two years later, and it was also the first to feature Johnny Van Zant's now familiar growl in his voice.
Oh, and The Last Rebel, by their own admission, is Gary Rossington, the lone survivor of the groups original nucleus, as Allen Collins had recently died.
The album has a country music feel to it, if you gave country music a kick in the ass and all in all is a mighty fine follow up to 1991, for my liking.
Indeed, both thus far were mighty worthy of the Skynyrd legacy. So try to judge this on its own merits, because the original band was all but gone, and these guys were never trying to "copy" them. They were just doing their own thing and they're doing it bloody well!
CD 3: Gods & Guns (2009)
1. 'STILL UNBROKEN'
2. 'SIMPLE LIFE'
3. 'LITTLE THING CALLED YOU'
4. 'SOUTHERN WAYS'
5. 'SKYNYRD NATION'
6. 'UNWRITE THAT SONG'
8. 'THAT AIN’T MY AMERICA'
9. 'COMIN’ BACK FOR MORE'
10. 'GOD & GUNS'
12. 'GIFTED HANDS'
13. 'STILL UNBROKEN' (EDIT) - Bonus Track
On Gods & Guns (which was also their highest charting release since 1977’s Street Survivors, peaking at #18 on the U.S. Billboard chart), and with this restored Skynyrd sound, you get songs like 'Still Unbroken' (as in, they've been through hell and back, but they are still unbroken) and the lyrically poignant 'Skynyrd Nation' (a song about how the Skynyrd tradition has been carried on, even from 1st generation fans, all the way up through 2nd and even now 3rd generation fans).
Then there's the title song, 'God & Guns,' which caused a little controversy due to Ronnie Van Zant having had the song 'Saturday Night Special'. So, just how do you reconcile the two songs? You don't! Simply out, you enjoy them both for what they are.
The album, which was dedicated to Billy Powell, and to bassist Ean Evans who sadly both died during the making of this album, admittedly features a few other tracks similar to prior work from Ronnie, none more so than his 'Railroad Song' and 'That Ain't my America,' but come the end, and taken for what it is, it's still a mighty fine slice of American Southern Pie.
CD 4: God & Guns - Bonus EP
1. 'BANG BANG'
2. 'RAINING IN MY HEARTLAND'
3. 'HOBO KINDA MAN'
4. 'RED WHITE & BLUE' (LIVE)
5. 'CALL ME THE BREEZE' (LIVE)
6. 'SWEET HOME ALABAMA' (LIVE)
The bonus tracks from the special edition of Gods & Guns are included here on the fourth disc, and include the barnstorming 'Bang Bang’, the tender assault of ‘Raining In My Heartland’, the southern hoedown rock of ‘Hobo Kinda Man’, plus three live tracks recorded at the Freedom Hall in Lousiville, Kentucky: ‘Red White & Blue.’ JJ Cale’s ‘Call Me The Breeze,’ and the perennial classic, ‘Sweet Home Alabama.’
CD 5: Last Of A Dyin' Breed (2012)
1. 'LAST OF A DYIN’ BREED'
2. 'ONE DAY AT A TIME'
4. 'READY TO FLY'
5. 'MISSISSIPPI BLOOD'
6. 'GOOD TEACHER'
7. 'SOMETHING TO LIVE FOR'
8. 'LIFE’S TWISTED'
9. 'NOTHING COMES EASY'
10. 'HONEY HOLE'
11. 'START LIVIN’ LIFE AGAIN'
12. 'POOR MAN’S DREAM' - Bonus Track
13. 'DO IT UP LIGHT' - Bonus Track
14. 'SAD SONGS' - Bonus Track
15. 'LOW DOWN DIRTY' - Bonus Track
16. 'SKYNYRD NATION (LIVE) - Bonus Track
17. 'GIMME THREE STEPS' (LIVE) - Bonus Track
All the usual themes are here on their fourteenth studio album, Last Of A Dyin' Breed: Defiance ('Last of a Dyin' Breed'), Death ('Ready To Fly'), tales of broken America ('Something To Live For'/'Nothing Comes Easy'), Family ('Good Teacher'), and, of course, the challenges of life within both 'One Day At A Time' and 'Life's Twisted'.
Furthermore, it's an album of many moods, from the hope of 'Poor Mans Dream' to the world weary 'Start Livin Life Again', the good time 'Doin It Up Right'/'Homegrown' and 'Mississippi Blood,' to the downright Lecherous 'Honey Hole'.
It's truly such a magnificently vibrant southern rock album capturing every emotion, of which you can fully envisage them sitting back on the porch, throwing back a few beers while playing the tracks as demos in early 2011.
Again produced by Bob Marlette and released on Roadrunner Records, the title track was released as the lead single. Released in various formats, including a Classic Rock magazine “fanpack”, this version includes six bonus tracks from the album: ‘Poor Man’s Dream’, ‘Do It Up Light’, ‘Sad Songs’, ‘Low Down Dirty’, ‘Skynyrd Nation’ (Live) and fittingly finishing off with a live rendition of a track from their 1973 debut, (Pronounced ‘Lĕh-‘nérd ‘Skin-‘nérd), the joyously rockin' fun of ‘Gimme Three Steps’.
Official 5CD Purchase Link
Title - 'Bullet Train'
Artist - Joe Macre
For those not in the know, Joe Macre is best known as the original bassist for the progressive rock band Crack The Sky, whose debut was voted album of the year in Rolling Stone Magazine and is still included in the top 50 progressive rock albums of all time.
Macre was a member of Crack The Sky from 1975-1980 and 2004-2009 and has also worked with The B.E. Taylor Group, Wild Cherry, King Friday, Jim Croce, David Sanborn, The Brecker Brothers, Marie Osmond, Grammy Award Artist, Oliver Wakeman (and Eddie Offord Yes), Andy Timmons (Danger Danger), Robert Schindler (Johnny Nash), Madukwu Chinwah (Erikah Badu), Keith Green, Clint Brown, amongst others.
This brand new release from Joe Macre, entitled Bullet Train is a collection of ten songs written and recorded at Joe Macs American Garage.
With a release date of March 1st, 2021, Bullet Train is one of two albums written and recorded by Joe with friends who visited his American Garage studios.
That cast of friends include musicians such as: Chris Elliot and Jerry Oxendyne of 86 Bullets, Pete Hewllett (Billy Joel), Jeff Adams (Facedancer), John Palumbo, Rick Witkowski, Jimmy Griffiths, Bobby Hird and Joey D'Amico (Crack The Sky) and many other talented friends who visited Joe's American Garage Studios.
Indeed, made famous for housing cars, the garage has become a recording studio for musicians all over the world.
1. 'Drag It Down'
2. 'Bring On The Night'
3. 'You Can't Take It With You'
4. 'Slow Ryder'
5. 'Diesel Locomotive'
6. 'That's Summer'
7. 'At The Roadhouse'
8. 'If I Only Had Brain'
9. 'Safety In Numbers'
This truly magnificent album opens with the thunderous guitar rock of 'Drag It Down' and backs that up beautifully with both the prog lite guitar mastery of 'Bring On The Night' and the Hendrix-esque 'You Can't Take It With You,' and then we get the one-two, searingly low slung rock of 'Slow Ryder' and the atmospheric 'Diesel Locomotive.'
Next up is more of that good old Prog rock feel within the live feel of 'That's Summer' which is paired with the gentle, harmonica-imbibed funk of 'At The Roadhouse' which is in turn followed by the uniquely trippy 'If I Only Had Brain,' the fairground ambiance of 'Safety In Numbers,' coming to a close on the delightfully ambient Beatles' 1969 track 'Goodbye'
Official CD Purchase Link
Title - 'Let's Go!'
Artist - The Laurie Berkner Band
For those not in the know, legendary children's musician Laurie Berkner has hurdled pandemic-related obstacles to bring her 14th album, Let’s Go! to children and families.
Laurie Berkner is a singer, songwriter, lyricist, author, and founder of Two Tomatoes Records, LLC. With an average of more than twelve million monthly streams and millions of albums, songs, and DVDs sold, Laurie’s songs have become beloved classics for children worldwide.
Set for release on March 5th, 2021, Let’s Go! showers Laurie’s ever-growing list of fans with an inspiring array of original, interactive songs in her signature style, famous for its clarity, warmth, and wisdom.
1. 'Let's Go!'
2. 'When It's Cold'
3. 'What Am I Gonna Be (for Halloween)'
4. 'The Superhero Handwashing Song'
5. 'I Saw A Butterfly'
6. 'I'm On Vacation'
7. 'Time To Eat'
8. 'Listen To The Sounds'
9. 'It's Hard To Be 3'
10. 'Jumping Jack'
11. 'Take A Look At My Face'
12. 'Tied My Shoes'
13. 'One Step'
14. 'Happy New Year'
15. 'Beautiful Light'
16. 'The Superhero Mask Song' [Bonus Track]
Opening on the hyper fun anthem of the title track 'Let's Go!' that's followed by the chilly sensations of 'When It's Cold' and then we get the sunny strummer 'What Am I Gonna Be (for Halloween),' the clap-along of 'The Superhero Handwashing Song,' and then the achingly beautiful 'I Saw A Butterfly' is backed by the perky 'I'm On Vacation.'
Next up is the make-you-hungry 'Time To Eat' and the low tempo, drum beat-led 'Listen To The Sounds' which are followed by the joyous 'It's Hard To Be 3,' the gently frenetic 'Jumping Jack,' and then the glorious storytelling of 'Take A Look At My Face' is brought forth.
The cutely informative 'Tied My Shoes' is up next and backed by the harmonious 'One Step,' the funky 'Happy New Year,' with the album rounding out on the aptly-named, Gospel-esque 'Beautiful Light,' closing on the bonus track, an acoustically informative 'The Superhero Mask Song.'
“A pandemic is a strange and challenging time to make and release a new album,” Laurie admits. “What’s really important? What’s going to change completely by tomorrow? I didn’t expect a song about handwashing to end up on this album, or a song about wearing a mask, and I waited to release the title track until after we were no longer under strict stay-at-home orders because … well, where were we going to go?"
"Somehow, through the remote help of my amazing producer, Dave Darlington, my great bandmates, and my incredible Two Tomatoes team, I was able to finish Let’s Go! from my home and put it out into the world. I love the shape of this album, and I hope families will, too.”
Official CD Purchase Link
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Laurie Berkner @ YouTube
Title - 'Wyrd'
Artist - Ellesmere
For those not in the know, Ellesmere is the brainchild of Roberto Vitelli, former bass and guitar player from Italian prog band Taproban.
And the band have just-released their third Ellesmere album, the brilliantly-entitled Wyrd via AMS Records/Btf label as a CD/Mini LP sleeve format and Digital Download.
The album is once again the brainchild of the Italian multi-instrumentalist Roberto Vitelli, who wrote the music and the lyrics of every song, as well as taking care of all of the bass and guitar parts on the five tracks that are included in the concept.
Indeed on Wyrd, the power trio - composed of Roberto Vitelli on bass, guitars and bass pedals, Mattias Olsson (Änglagård, Molesome, Döskalle, etc.) on drums and percussion, and Fabio Bonuglia (Ivory Moon, Metallari Animati) on keyboards - is joined by many fantastic special guests: David Cross (King Crimson) on violin; John Hackett (Steve Hackett, JHBand) on flute; Tony Paglica (Le Orme), Tomas Bodin (The Flower Kings) and Fabio Liberatori (Stadio, RAM) on keyboards; David Jackson (VDGG, Osanna) on saxes; Luciano Regoli (RRR, Samadhi) and Giorgio Pizzala (NIR) on vocals.
2. 'The Eary Manor'
Opening on the stoically orchestrated, seven minute piano and synth masterpiece 'Challenge,' they follow that with the more atmospherically-liberating, haunted house eeriness of aptly-named 'The Eary Manor,' and then we get one of my own personal favorites here, the sonically mesmerizing, eight minute opus 'Endeavour.'
Next up is yet another stand out track, in the form of the gently frenetic, yet always controlled and vibrantly cultured, eight minute 'Ajar,' with the album coming to a close on the highly emphatic, exhilaratingly phonic, thirteen minute epic 'Endless.'
Roberto Vitelli: Rickenbacker 4003 Jetglo Bass, Fender “Geddy Lee” Jazz Bass, Taurus Moog I, Gibson Gold Top Guitar
Fabio Bonuglia: Mellotron M400, Minimoog Model D, Moog Voyager, Prophet 5, Moog Voyager, Hammond Organ, Crumar Multiman - S, Korg Mono / Poly
Mattias Olsson: Drums, Percussions, FX
Tomas Bodin: Keyboards (1)
David Cross: Violin (1)
John Hackett: Flute (2/5)
David Jackson: Saxes & Wind Instruments (1-3/5)
Tony Pagliuca: Keyboards (2)
Fabio Liberatori: Keyboards (5)
Luciano Regoli: Vocals (1-3/5)
Giorgio Pizzala: Vocals (1-3-5)
Official CD Purchase Link
Ellesmere @ Facebook
Title - 'Samir'
Artist - il Paradiso Degli Orchi
For those not in the know, it is customary to say that the third album of a band constitutes a fundamental chapter within their artistic path and, in the case of il Paradiso degli Orchi, Samir is no exception.
In what is a mature recording that, in the words of the musicians themselves, "was born in Montreal, Canada, after an unforgettable night spent by the band in a strange pub in the suburbs surrounded by people in the grip of acids, double-breasted pimps, drug dealers, slot drunkards, and tables that are overturned, and embraced by the feeling that the evening will end badly, at a certain point here comes the talkative Samir."
"A Lebanese gentleman who works as an express courier, between serious speeches of real life and digressions to the limit of the absurdity of drones, revolutions, Neapolitan music and special cigarettes, the night ends with the promise to pay the title of the third album of il Paradiso Degli Orchi to their new friend."
Samir is a direct, powerful and intriguing album, twisted and unpredictable, passionate and modern, in which il Paradiso Degli Orchi mixes and reinvents, once again, its unique sound with a journey through prog, rock, pop, psychedelia, and even quotes Mediterranean and oriental atmospheres; which are the soundtrack to the thoughts of the protagonist.
Furthermore, Samir is also the result of a collective work, in which all six musicians of the group participated, creating something strongly personal and personal to give substance to the idea of il Paradiso Degli Orchi's progressive rock nature.
1. 'Introinduzione' (5:53)
2. 'Slowgun' (4:32)
3. 'Samir' (10:20)
4. 'Mente' (11:21)
5. 'Ali di Gabbiano' (7:49)
Featuring five songs that span forty minutes of music in which the band concentrates their imagination, and which veers towards more powerful sounds than the previous records, they open with the wondrous sonic wanderings of 'Introinduzione' and back that up seamlessly with the guitar rocker 'Slowgun,' and then we get the ten minute title track opus itself, the building, chantingly symbolic, and atmospherically amazing 'Samir.'
Containing epic and symphonic moments that leave room for more irreverent solutions and scratchy arrangements, all imbued with an anarchic and raw punk-inspired attitude (that often recalls the psychedelic best of Frank Zappa), next up is the funky, drum-led, soaringly expansive prog rocker 'Mente,' with the album closing on the, at times, ornate, at others melodically free flowingly, and yet at all times melodically tactile, organic musings of 'Ali di Gabbiano.'
Official CD Purchase Link
Title - 'La Chiamata'
Artist - Deadburger Factory
For those not in the know, originally know as simply Deadburger, the classic 5-player line-up became Deadburger Factory in 2013 and have never looked back.
An open ensemble created as a permanent experimentation collective, their brand new album, the just-released La Chiamata features some 20 musicians: the founding members Vittorio Nistri (electronics, keyboards, lyrics, arrangements, sound design), Simone Tilli (vocals), Alessandro Casini (guitars), and Carlo Sciannameo (bass guitar); along with some of the best Italian rock and avant-jazz musicians they could lay their hands on (see the full list below).
This large ensemble, unusual for an indie label, has ideological reasons. The collective nature of the album is a reaction to the growing isolation in our lives.
We believe we are social being alone in front of a screen; but every worker no longer feels like a member of a social class, but a abandoned dog; and so many musicians seem to withdraw into themselves, churning out homemade albums after albums in solitude (even before lockdown).
Ergo, this is a record against the age of self.
1. 'Onoda Hiiro' (4:39)
2. 'Un incendio visto da lontano' (5:06)
3. 'La chiamata' (5:44)
4. 'Tryptich' (5:51)
5. 'Tamburo sei pazzo' (7:21)
6. 'Manifesto cannibale' (9:07)
7. 'Blu quasi trasparente' (9:27)
Opening on the thunderously magnificent musical turmoil of 'Onoda Hiiro,' they back that up with the slinking ear worm 'Un incendio visto da lontano,' and then we get one of my own personal favorites, the avant-garde, transonic, melodic wrath of the title track, 'La chiamata.'
Up next on this captivating concept album is the industrial-emblazoned, changeling approach to their unique musical creations 'Tryptich,' which is itself followed by their idiosyncratically enhanced, spoken word crocheted masterpiece 'Tamburo sei pazzo,' with the album rounding out on two nine minute works of musical art: the strong-fisted, forthright 'Manifesto cannibale' and then closes on the more evocative, mid-tempo blues/prog rhythms of 'Blu quasi trasparente.'
Silvia Bolognesi (Art Ensemble of Chicago), Bruno Dorella (OvO, Ronin, Bachi da Pietra), Enrico Gabrielli (PJ Harvey, Mike Patton, Steve Wynn, Damo Suzuki), Cristiano Calcagnile (Anthony Braxton, Tristan Honsinger, Buch Morris), Edoardo Marraffa (William Parker, Hamid Drake, Han Bennink, Wayne Horvitz, Wadada Leo Smith), and Zeno De Rossi (Anthony Coleman, Marc Ribot, Jamie Saft, Carla Bozulich).
Official CD Purchase Link
Deadburger Factory @ Facebook
Title - 'In The Name Of... '
Artist - Unquiet Music Ltd
For those not in the know, Unquiet Music Ltd has released a new concept album entitled In The Name Of... (A Prayer For Our Times) which also features Trey Gunn of King Crimson, Markus Reuter of Stick Men and Frédéric L’Epée of Yang among others.
The overall spirit behind this album is rock ‘n’ roll - keeping a popular access to an uncompromised way of approaching things. However, it also has the ambition of providing something different for adventurous ears.
The styles of music used are diverse, and influences can be traced from concrete music, minimalism, ambient, electronic, progressive rock, and contemporary classical.
Having listened to is twice through now, a few obvious names can be cited as inspirations: Olivier Messiaen, Steve Reich, Arvo Pärt, Brian Eno, Robert Fripp, Peter Gabriel, and John Zorn just to name but a few.
1. 'Anaerobic awakening' (6:03)
2. 'Feeling unity' (6:34)
3. 'Conditional cases' (10:16)
4. 'Monopolizing spaces' (5:59)
5. 'Producing symmetries' (4:25)
6. 'A sound of Now' (1:52)
7. 'A Mosaic return' (5:35)
8. 'A lullaby for Uma Devi' (3:54)
9. 'Another sound of Now' (2:56)
10. 'The introspection of Edward Maitland' (12:24)
11. 'Post-Epiphany' (8:59)
Comprised of four chapters, we open within The Father, and the first track being the sonically seductive 'Anaerobic awakening' which leads us seamlessly into the more alive, tingling atmospherics if 'Feeling unity,' which itself is then backed by one of the longest tracks at 10 minutes, the free flowing aural majesty of 'Conditional cases.'
We then glide into the second chapter, The Son, which opens with the prog rock opera-vibe of 'Monopolizing spaces,' which is backed by the late-'80s industrial, goth-lite, XTC-esque ebbing textures of 'Producing symmetries,' before the third chapter (The Holy Spirit) brings forth the short 'A sound of Now.'
The stuttered, crackly, in reverse radio tuning static of 'A Mosaic return' is up next and then we get the lush ambient echoes of 'A lullaby for Uma Devi,' with this chapter culminating on the fervent, statically, slipshod nature of 'Another sound of Now.'
The fourth, and final chapter is Amen, and it opens with the longest track on the album, the 12 minute opus that combines oh-so many different musical attributes that its form here under the guise of 'The introspection of Edward Maitland' is just organically masterful, and the entire project comes to a close on the atmospherically breathtaking, and highly meditative 'Post-Epiphany.'
“I’m glad that I live in a world where music and sound art like this are a reality. So much detail, a lifetime of creativity incorporated into an insane long-form opus. This is the musical place where ideas and idealism meet. You all should treat it with respect” - Markus Reuter.
“Fucking A! Great work. Super great. I wasn’t sure what to expect. But this exceeds anything I could have conceived of. Very, very classy. And very, very well composed! Everything in this work sounds like it could have come from another planet. An extra-terrestrial composition.” - Trey Gunn.
Official CD Purchase Link
Unquiet Music Ltd @ Facebook
Title - 'San Fernando Blitz' [EP]
Artist - Sandy McKnight with Fernando Perdomo
For those not in the know, after last January’s release of their successful first collaboration (San Fernando Beat EP), Albany-area artist Sandy McKnight and Los Angeles’ ubiquitous multi-instrumentalist/producer Fernando Perdomo have just released their follow-up EP, the highly-anticipated San Fernando Blitz.
Featuring six (6) tracks, not one of them over 3 minutes long, the new EP expertly showcases the duo at their combined musical greatness, and trust me when I say that you will be hitting repeat on your CD players quite a few times (as it's just that darn good!)
1. 'Living On The West Side'
2. 'C’mon C’mon C’mon'
3. 'Melody Anne'
4. 'Pay It Any Mind'
5. 'Why Make Promises?'
6. 'Seven Words'
The EP opens with the lushly melodic, mid-'70s pop flow of 'Living On The West Side' and the subdued Beach Boys turn on 'C’mon C’mon C’mon,' before bringing us an acoustic/electric guitar, light drum and tambourine-imbibed 'Melody Anne.'
The dainty summer's breeze fun pop flow of 'Pay It Any Mind' is a quite delicious ear worm, and that's followed by the upbeat, late '70s guitar rock of 'Why Make Promises?,' with the EP rounding out on the easygoing, poppy bounce of 'Seven Words.'
Sandy McKnight - vocals, bass
Fernando Perdomo - guitars, drums, keys
Official CD Purchase Link
Sandy McKnight with Fernando Perdo @ Facebook
Title - 'Episode 6'
Artist - Gerald Gradwohl Group
++ april 1th, 21""
For those not in the know, working at the highest international level of quality has always been a fundamental characteristic of the Gerald Gradwohl Group, for the man himself has collaborated with Bob Berg, Gary Willis, Kirk Covington, Adam Nitti amongst others.
Rooted in the quartet’s own unique approach to instrumental fusion, their brand new, and just-released sixth album Episode 6 is a celebration of improvisation set within an exciting and colorful, sonic landscape of imposing compositions.
As we have come to know from guitarist and composer Gerald Gradwohl, he continues to work with musicians who, aside from their extraordinary instrumental skills, also bring maturity and creative drive into both concert and recording situations.
Ergo, Episode 6 is no exception.
Gradwohl’s sophisticated and stylistically diverse instrumental compositions conceptualize exciting musical interactions, and his approach not only continues to keep live recordings fresh and challenging but also fosters the intuition and spontaneity of the musicians, all consolidating the band’s highly dynamic sound.
Which all goes to prove that Gerald Gradwohl and his band mates - Thomas Kugi (sax), Jojo lackner (bass) and Harald Tanschek (drums) - have once again shown themselves to be an exceptional ensemble, unifying dynamic and intimate musicality with artistic intuition and emotional depth.
1. 'Viking' (0:59)
2. 'Let's Talk' (4:38)
3. 'K-Log' (7:54)
4. 'Longing For Home' (7:06)
5. 'The Essence Of Time' (7:15)
6. 'Jabo' (7:33)
7. 'What's On Your Mind?' (7:10)
8. 'Positive Grid' (7:27)
Opening with the Led Zeppelin-esque sixty second 'Viking,' they immediately bounce into the Jeff Healey-styled funk of 'Let's Talk' which they back up sweetly with the down low, sax-imbibed 'K-Log' and then we get the lushly slow, serenely paced 'Longing For Home.'
Up next is the simply beautiful, subtly-imbued Mediterranean guitar and sax work of 'The Essence Of Time' which in turn is backed by the gently frenetic, yet always controlled bass and trumpet work found on 'Jabo,' with the album rounding out on the blues guitar rock of 'What's On Your Mind?', closing on the atmospheric ambiance of the laid back, and highly contemplative 'Positive Grid.'
Official CD Purchase Link
Gerald Gradwohl @ Facebook
Gerald Gradwohl @ Twitter
Gerald Gradwohl @ Instagram
Title - 'Fabulous Twilight'
Artist - Jon Klages
For those not in the know, on April 1st, 2021, singer-songwriter-guitarist Jon Klages, who helped create the Hoboken Sound as lead guitarist for the Individuals, will release Fabulous Twilight, a collection of original songs and instrumentals.
With a songcraft, melodic inventiveness, and humor that recalls the early albums of Harry Nilsson and Randy Newman, Fabulous Twilight is a fresh and bold addition to Klages’s musical resumé.
Weaving songs and instrumentals in the style of the long-players he loved as a child, Klages and producer Todd Solomon take the listener on an emotionally rich and musically diverse journey, from soulful ballads and plaintive blues to surf guitar and R&B instrumentals to a smile-raising, country-tinged ode to the Columbia House Record Club, all set against sparkling arrangements that spotlight Jon’s expressive vocals and celebrated guitar-playing.
1. 'Best That We Can'
3. 'The Fabulous Twilights'
4. 'Too Cool for Spy School'
5. 'Long-Tailed Cat'
6. 'Red-Dirt Country'
7. 'Kazoos Are People Too'
8. 'God Bless the Columbia House Record Club'
10. '1133 Ave. of the Americas (for Enoch Light)'
11. 'Goin' Home'
Opening with the quietly sensual roll of 'Best That We Can' and the lushly orchestrated, summer's breeze of 'Rosalie,' next up is the magnificent, late night throwback ambiance of 'The Fabulous Twilights' which is itself backed by some cleverly-crafted, mid-'60s, old school musical spy vibes within 'Too Cool for Spy School' and then the finger-snappin' elegance of 'Long-Tailed Cat' is brought forth.
Next up is the atmospheric, slow roll, Americana storytelling of 'Red-Dirt Country' which is followed by the funky guitar and organ/keys interplay of 'Kazoos Are People Too,' the free flowing ease of 'God Bless the Columbia House Record Club,' and then we get the sun baked, Old West effervescence of 'Remains.'
Of special note (and of special meaning to Klages) is the next track, '1133 Ave. of the Americas (For Enoch Light),' which is actually Jon’s tribute to his grandfather. Featuring rhythmic cascades of vocals that recall one of Light’s most illustrious productions, ’60s pop group the Free Design, the album then rounds out with the short but sweet, Randy Newman-esque 'Goin' Home.'
To make an album as far-ranging as Fabulous Twilight, Klages needed top-caliber musicians who could effortlessly shift between musical styles.
And he found them. From Elvis Costello’s band, the Imposters, came Rock & Roll Hall of Fame drummer Pete Thomas and bassist extraordinaire Davey Faragher.
Neil Larsen, whose keyboard mastery made him the piano man of choice for such artists as George Harrison, Leonard Cohen, and Rickie Lee Jones, came aboard to handle the ivories and Hammond organ.
Finally, golden-voiced Arnold McCuller (James Taylor, Lyle Lovett, Bonnie Raitt) stepped in to handle the background vocals with Klages and the Honey Whiskey Trio, completing an all-star lineup with a stunning musical history.
Official Purchase Links
Jon Klages @ Facebook!
Title - 'Stone Survivor: Anthology' [4CD]
Artist - Paul Brett
For those not in the know, Paul Brett spent most of the '60s and '70s as one of rock's quintessential journeymen, a hired gun for the great and the good, one of the session guitarists of choice, as well as following that familiar trajectory from the Beat Boom onwards.
He played in a host of Beat, Mod, R&B, Psychedelic and Progressive outfits before finally creating his own band Paul Brett's Sage in 1970, resulting in three albums for Pye/Dawn in the last half century or so.
Included on this brand new, 4CD Stone Survivor: Anthology set from Cherry Red Records UK (due out March 26th, 2021), are rare tracks from the dawn of his career with budding beat/mod/psych bands The SW4, The Union and Tintern Abbey, as well as the historic debut 45 by The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown from 1967.
Key tracks from a subsequent purple patch for Paul Brett's Sage are also included, plus three rarities unissued at the time, followed by highlights from Paul's multi-album tenures with the labels Bradley's and RCA.
Sandwiched between them are selections from two self-released mid-70s albums, when Paul switched to the 12-string guitar whereas later choices are drawn from Paul's many self-released solo albums from the nineties and noughties, always centered around his guitar prowess.
In what, one assumes, to have been a quite extraordinary task to undertake such as to both garner and organize the collective works of Paul Brett, somehow the geniuses at Cherry Red Records UK have managed to do just that.
From collating the track listing for this quite wondrously unique Anthology, especially given that it is spread over 4 CDs, the followed timeline of material - that runs the gamut from Brett's recorded material of the 1960’s to today - brings forth a highly impressive 92 tracks for our musical enjoyment!
Born in Fulham, London, Brett first became interested in playing guitar at 14, for his Metalwork teacher, Mr. Carter, was a semi-pro guitarist in a local dance band who taught him a few basis chords.
The story goes that whilst actually in class, when everyone else was making copper ashtrays, Mr. Carter and he were making tremolo units. From there, it was the old way of learning, most notably from Bert Weedon’s great book ‘Play in a Day’ (oh, and slowing down 45rpm singles to 33rpm and painstakingly learning note for note, popular instrumentals like ‘Ghost Riders in the Sky’ and ‘Apache.’)
This set opens on a couple from his semi-pro band, SW4. The lead singer was Ralph Denyer, later of Blonde in Blonde, and they played mainly R&B at the time, as did many other groups during that era.
Moving on and having auditioned Arthur Brown for his band The Swinging Machine (as they needed a singer), eventually they instead changed the band’s name to The Arthur Brown Union. There were 7 in the line-up, including two brass players and after a while Brown left was replaced by Dave Terry, later Elmer Gantry; so they just went out as The Union.
The story goes that when Arthur returned from Paris, he asked Brett to get a new line-up together and so they went back for a 6 month residency at The James Palladium, the top music venue at the time in Paris, along with the Bus Palladium.
After, they had done a 6 month stint in a new Night Club in Spain for the same promoter, Brett came back to London to wait for Arthur, but as he didn’t come back for awhile, he instead joined another band; just to pay the rent!
When Arthur did return, he asked Brett to play on his first single 'The Devil’s Grip,' which he, of course, did. However, Brett didn’t join the actual Crazy World line-up due to still playing with another band.
Up next was Tintern Abbey who were based in a small terraced house in Chelsea that was owned by publisher and group manager Nigel Samuels. It's been said that the band was nothing more than a rehearsal band where Nigel would occasionally turn up and ask them to play for him!
They did some demos and finally got the Spencer Davis Agency to take them on which meant they could, at last, play live. These gigs went down great and it also brought in Terry Goldberg from The Mark Leeman 5.
Two out of the four tracks Brett recorded with Tintern Abbey are on this first disc, but things drifted after that and so Brett was offered a gig with Elmer Gantry’s Velvet Opera, who had lots of live gigs and a hit record.
Elmer Gantry’s Velvet Opera were already a working outfit when Brett joined. Their guitarist, Colin Forster had just left, but Brett had worked before with Dave Terry (Elmer Gantry) in The Union. Playing a lot of live gigs with them, but when Elmer left the band, Brett got British Blues 12 string legend Johnny Joyce in and made the Velvet Opera Ride a Hustler’s Dream LP and a couple of singles.
Another band featured on these discs is Paul Brett’s Sage, which was formed out of his association with Fire. He and Bob Voice teamed up to play some Ritchie Haven’s style acoustic guitar and percussions songs, played a few gigs, it all went very well and so they sent a demo to Cyril Stapleton; the famous Big Band Leader who was head of A&R at Pye records.
The story goes that Cyril rang back almost immediately upon receiving it and offered them a contract to record an album with him producing. Fire had split and Dick joined them on bass and then they got in Nicky Higgenbottom to play flute and sax.
They recorded the album, which included '3D Mona Lisa,' their first single at Pye Studios and whilst they waited for its release, Bob and Brett played with Cyril’s Orchestra in Blackpool for a Sumner Season.
After a few weeks, Brett joined Lonnie Donegan’s group as his guitarist left suddenly, and they got on a like a house on fire (they both were huge Leadbelly fans).
The first Sage album was a mix of acoustic and percussive songs with a smattering of electric guitar and the odd drum kit thrown in. There was one orchestral arrangement track ‘Reason for your Askin’ in the songs and that was orchestrated by David Palmer, who was later with Jethro Tull. '3D Mona Lisa' was, as aforementioned, the first single and that seemed to be the track that paved the way for future albums.
When PBS split, Mike Piggott and Brett went on a National tour with Status Quo and were then signed to Bradley’s Records for a two album deal.
Before the end of the '70s, Brett has recorded 3 other albums for RCA - Interlife, Eclipse and Guitar Trek - with Tubular Bells producer Tom Newman having produced both Interlife and Eclipse.
Right at the dawn of the '80s, TV advertising company K Tel asked Brett to record a 16 track Romantic Guitar album, fully orchestrated album, which he did and it went into the UK charts and achieved Gold and Silver sales awards.
That album was released in the early '80s, but it also slowed the recording roll of Brett. Following its release, he took a job as MD of a company named Pan Polychord. He accepted this as he wanted to take a break from being a pro musician, especially after some behind-the-scenes K Tel monetary issues.
Towards the end of the '90s, Brett got together with his old mate Johnny Joyce and recorded Acoustic Power which got rave reviews. They followed this with a live album, recorded by Tom Newman at the Lyric Theatre in Hammersmith.
Sadly, Johnny died in 2004 just as Desmond Carrington on Radio 2 was playing ‘On the Road’ from the album. A fitting send off to Joyce's departure from the planet, I think we can all agree.
Finally, in 2014, Brett reactivated Paul Brett Sage (dropping the ‘s) and released an album called Emergence. A few others followed after that and it's said he is working on another currently.
"I am just trying to keep the name of the band alive plus the fact, I enjoy creating band style music with different line ups and keeping my hands fresh in electric playing," Brett has since said.
"I have tried to keep the balance between our original PBS format of featuring acoustic songs with band songs and adding vocal harmonies."
1. 'BO DIDDLEY' (The SW4)*
2. 'SHAME, SHAME, SHAME' (The SW4)
3. 'IN THE MIDNIGHT HOUR' (The Union)*
4. 'SHAKE (The Union)'*
5. 'HOW DO I FEEL TODAY' (Tintern Abbey)
6. 'DO WHAT YOU MUST' (Tintern Abbey)
7. 'DEVIL’S GRIP' (The Crazy World of Arthur Brown)
8. 'GIVE HIM A FLOWER' (The Crazy World of Arthur Brown)
9. 'VOLCANO' (Elmer Gantry's Velvet Opera)
10. 'STATESBORO BLUES' (The Velvet Opera)
11. 'RAISE THE LIGHT' (The Velvet Opera)
12. 'ANNA DANCE SQUARE' (The Velvet Opera)
13. '3D MONA LISA' (Paul Brett's Sage)
14. 'TROPHIES OF WAR' (Paul Brett's Sage)
15. 'THE TOWER' (Paul Brett's Sage)
16. 'COTTAGE MADE FOR TWO' (Paul Brett's Sage)
17. 'GOOD OLD FASHIONED FUNKY KIND OF MUSIC WINTER' (Paul Brett's Sage)
18. 'WRITTEN IN WINTER' (Paul Brett's Sage)
19. 'JUBILATION FOUNDRY' (Paul Brett's Sage)
20. 'GIVE A LITTLE SOMETHING TO THE RAGMAN' (Paul Brett's Sage)*
21. 'LOVE IS A FOUR LETTER WORD' (Paul Brett's Sage)*
22. 'ULYSSES THE TRAVELLER' (Paul Brett's Sage)*
* previously unissued Paul Brett
1. 'TUESDAY EVENING' (Paul Brett's Sage)
2. 'CUSTOM ANGEL MAN' (Paul Brett's Sage)
3. 'CHARLENE' (Paul Brett's Sage)
4. 'THE ANT' (Paul Brett)
5. 'HANDFUL OF RAIN' (Paul Brett)
6. 'THE SPANISH MAIN' (Paul Brett)
7. 'CLOCKS' (Paul Brett)
8. 'SOHO JACK' (Paul Brett)
9. 'EMPTY DREAMS AND FLYING MACHINES' (Paul Brett)
10. 'STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER' (Live) (Paul Brett)
11. 'MEDLEY' (Live) (Paul Brett)
12. 'PHOENIX FUTURE' (Paul Brett)
13. 'MY KIND OF DAY' (Paul Brett)
14. 'CATCHING CATFISH' (Paul Brett)
15. 'CHRISTENED BY FIRE' (Paul Brett)
16. 'ALONE IN SPACE' (Paul Brett)
17. 'DANCE OF THE DAWN HERALD' (Paul Brett)
18. 'INTERLIFE' (Paul Brett)
19. 'INTO LIFE' (Paul Brett)
20. 'ECLIPSE' (Paul Brett)
1. 'OVERTURE FOR DECADENCE' (Paul Brett)
2. 'CHAOS' (Paul Brett)
3. 'ALTERNATIVE 12 STRING' (Paul Brett)
4. 'THE BISHOP WENT DOWN TO FULHAM' (Paul Brett)
5. 'IN SEARCH OF AZTECS' (Paul Brett)
6. 'HAND-BUILT BY ROBOTS' (Paul Brett)
7. 'NIGHTS IN WHITE SATIN' (Paul Brett)
8. 'I WILL SURVIVE' (Paul Brett)
9. 'AIN’T NO SUNSHINE' (Paul Brett)
10. 'THE BOXER' (Paul Brett)
11. 'ALBATROSS' (Paul Brett)
12. 'LOVE IS A CRAZY THING' (Paul Brett)
13. 'DIDN’T GET SO EXCITED' (Paul Brett)
14. 'LEENA' (Paul Brett)
15. 'TAKE 5' (Paul Brett & Johnny Joyce)
16. 'ON THE ROAD' (Paul Brett & Johnny Joyce)
17. 'DOLLARS AND DAMES' (Paul Brett & Johnny Joyce)
18. 'SUMMERTIME' (Paul Brett & Johnny Joyce)
19. 'EARTH' (Paul Brett)
20. 'THE QUEEN’S SHILLING' (Paul Brett)
21. 'IT’S ONLY ROCK’N’ROLL' (Paul Brett)
22. 'WALKIN’ ON MY GRAVE' (Paul Brett)
23. 'SHAKIN’ ALL OVER' (Paul Brett)
24. 'JESUS ON THE MAIN LINE' (Paul Brett)
1. 'THE PASSIONATE SHEPHERD TO HIS LOVE' (Paul Brett)
2. 'VIRTUE' (Paul Brett)
3. 'METAMORPHOSIS' (Paul Brett)
4. 'WAVE DANCERS' (Paul Brett)
5. 'THE GREEN MAN’S TEARS' (Paul Brett Sage)
6. 'AMSTERDAM' (Paul Brett Sage)
7. '666' (Paul Brett Sage)
8. 'THE TEMPEST' (Paul Brett Sage)
9. 'ROCK ISLAND LINE' (Paul Brett)
10. 'STEALIN’ (Paul Brett)
11. 'GIN HOUSE BLUES' (Paul Brett)
12. 'STONE SURVIVORS (GRYPHON SUITE FOR HIGH 12 STRING)' (Paul Brett)
13. 'BULLET' (Paul Brett Sage)
14. 'SPACE ODDITY' (Paul Brett)
15. 'DO NOT GO GENTLE INTO THAT GOOD NIGHT' (Paul Brett)
16. 'BAT OUT OF HELL' (Paul Brett)
17. 'ONE NIGHT STAND' (Paul Brett Sage)
18. 'YOU DON’T LIKE LOVE SONGS' (Paul Brett Sage)
19. 'METAL HEARTS – MENTAL MINDS' (Paul Brett Sage)
20. 'FROM THE CRADLE TO THE GRAVE' (Paul Brett)
21. 'GUNFIGHTERS' (Paul Brett)
22. 'SUN' (Paul Brett)
23. 'THE DEVIL’S WHISPER' (Paul Brett)
24. 'THE RAVEN' (Paul Brett)
25. 'THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM' (Paul Brett)
26. 'EVENING STAR' (Paul Brett)
Official 4CD Purchase Link
Title - 'Live At Rockpalast 2015' [2CD+DVD]
Artist - Radio Moscow
For those not in the know, one of today’s top blues-rock-psych bands, Radio Moscow, has dug into their archives and unearthed the recently released Live At Rockpalast 2015.
Featuring members singer/guitarist Parker Griggs, bassist Anthony Meier, and drummer Paul Marrone, the 15-track release (filmed on May 18th, 2015) includes fully-cranked versions of all the Radio Moscow classics fans have come to expect hearing on the concert stage; such as 'I Just Don’t Know,' '250 Miles,' 'Broke Down,' 'Brain Cycles,' and 'No Good Woman,' etc.
Formed in 2003 by Griggs in Ames, Iowa, the band has been based in San Diego county, California, for several years now.
Radio Moscow has released four studio albums to date: 2007’s self-titled debut - produced by The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach, who introduced the band to Alive Natural Sound records, the label that has released the band’s next three albums – 2009’s Brain Cycles, 2011’s The Great Escape of Leslie Magnafuzz, and 2014’s Magical Dirt (the last title being the one that the trio was supporting at the time of this performance’s taping).
And in 2017, the group offered up ‘New Beginnings’ – their first for Century Media Records.
According to the group’s manager, Bruce Duff, the idea behind issuing the performance was a simple one. “MIG licensed it from the Rockpalast company, it’s a big reissue campaign involving numerous artists. Live its louder, more direct, and more open to free-form improvisation.”
1. 'Death Of A Queen'
2. 'I Just Don't Know'
3. 'Rancho Tehama Airport'
4. 'Broke Down'
5. '250 Miles'
6. 'Brain Cycles'
7. 'Before It Burns'
8. 'These Days'
9. 'Deep Blue Sea'
And this stellar concert recording is certain to lead to further accolades bestowed upon the band and kicks off with the searing, Hendrix-esque 'Death Of A Queen,' and backs that up with more of the same on the blistering guitar work of 'I Just Don't Know,' the brilliantly-paced, throaty 'Rancho Tehama Airport,' the foot-pounding, drum-led 'Broke Down,' and then we get the pairing of the lofi '250 Miles' combined with the twisting and turning, psych blues rock sounds of 'Brain Cycles.'
The excellent, near 8 minute fervent blues guitar escapade 'Before It Burns' is pure, unadulterated joy to behold and that's followed by the shredding of 'These Days,' the first disc closing on 'Deep Blue Sea,' a track that spotlights why Griggs is one of the best guitarists of our generation.
1. 'Mistreating Queen'
2. 'No Time'
3. 'Gypsy Fast Woman'
4. 'I Don't Need Nobody'
5. 'The Escape'
6. 'No Good Woman'
8. 'Frustrating Sound'
9. 'World Keep On Turning' (Acoustic) [Bonus Track]
10. '250 Miles' (Acoustic) [Bonus Track]
This definitive, must-see/must-hear live document of the trio continues onward on the second disc with the blisteringly mind-blowing, near ten minute 'Mistreating Queen' and then slips seamlessly into the fluently paced guitar and drum work of 'No Time.'
Next up is the methodically-paced Blues extravaganza 'Gypsy Fast Woman' which in turn is followed by the guitar fest of 'I Don't Need Nobody,' the harder rock of 'The Escape' and then we get the near nine minute, foot-tappin, arms raised, anthemic pulse of 'No Good Woman.'
After a batch of introductions to the band, which do admittedly take a wee bit longer than needs be, and most likely crafted to enable them all to get a well deserved breather, one assumes, the poundingly rhythmic 'Frustrating Sound' is brought forth, with the second disc rounding out on two acoustic version bonus tracks: 'World Keep On Turning' and '250 Miles.'
The DVD features all the very same aforementioned tracks, plus an Interview with the guys before the show, and an Interview with them after the show.
Amazon 2CD+DVD Purchase Link
Radio Moscow @ Alive Records
Radio Moscow @ Facebook
Radio Moscow @ Bandcamp
Title - 'Long Rider'
Artist - 3 Pairs of Boots
For those not in the know, on January 29th, 2021, California-based husband-and-wife duo Andrew Stern and Laura Arias of 3 Pairs of Boots released their sophomore album, Long Rider.
Drawing on their combination of Americana-leaning Folk and Rock, the themes on the album are relatable, with the wider contexts of the new recording further suggesting the ways in which Stern and Arias have musical progressed on this follow-up to their debut album Down South.
1. 'Quittin' Time'
2. 'Angels of the Trail'
3. 'Devil Road'
4. 'Take a Step'
5. 'Everywhere I Go'
6. 'I Am the Map'
7. 'Summer of Love'
9. 'My Best Friend'
10. 'Roller Coaster'
Here on this breathtakingly ambient new album, where the layered guitars combine soulfully with the nuanced vocals, it opens with the free flowing majesty of 'Quittin' Time' and the melodic country pop of 'Angels of the Trail,' which are backed by the gently frenetic bops found within both 'Devil Road' and 'Take a Step,' and then we get the upbeat and earnest 'Everywhere I Go.'
Inspired by the life of “Lady Long Rider” Bernice Ende, who traversed the country alone on horseback over 30,000 miles in the later years of her life, next up we have the yearning ballad 'I Am the Map' and then the mid-tempo, delightful summery sway of 'Summer of Love,' with the album rounding out on the sterner rock storytelling of 'Low,' the early Fleetwood Mac-esque 'My Best Friend,' and comes to a close on the foot-tappin' 'Roller Coaster.'
Stern explains regarding their sound: “We sort of stumbled into this genre: It was there the whole time, and we just had to realize it."
Arias adds: “Andrew likes to take someone’s story and run with it. The story is always important.”
After focusing on 3 Pairs of Boots only on the weekends for some time, in 2019 the band became the duo's central focus. They now write and record full-time in their two-room home studio.
Stern comments: "It feels like we’re settling into who we are now, writing whatever feels right. We’re self-sufficient. Having the studio at home allows us unlimited time to create and perfect the tracks.”
Official Purchase Links
3 Pairs Of Boots @ Facebook
3 Pairs Of Boots @ Twitter
3 Pairs Of Boots @ Instagram
Title - 'Down Where The Valleys Are Low'
Artist - Lorenzo Wolff
For those unaware, Producer and multi-instrumentalist Lorenzo Wolff first encountered the beguiling music of Judee Sill back in 2010 on a playlist created by tour-mate Henry Wolfe during one of those long, typically dull, drives between gigs.
He still recalls how the late, much lamented singer/songwriter’s music stood out “like a briar patch in a line of palm trees.”
Sill’s music stuck with Wolff over the years and yet he still marvels at how her work evoked “a strange, somewhat untrustworthy landscape of shadow figures.”
His fascination with Sill’s music led him, in 2019, to create a Sills tribute project, Down Where the Valleys Are Low: Another Otherworld for Judee Sill (set for release from StorySound Records on March 12th, 2021), in which seven songs are presented in bold interpretations of the original versions.
Wolff, who also is a big fan of artist Pieter Bruegel’s detailed, maximalist style, believes Sill’s vibrant, dramatic lyrical and musical language — which he describes as “both psychedelic and medieval, like an illuminated manuscript annotated in Day-Glo” — could not only support a more robust, aggressive sonic palette but actually asks for it.
1. 'Down Where the Valleys Are Low' [feat. Mary-Elaine Jenkins]
2. 'The Pearl' [Bartees Strange]
3. 'Crayon Angels' [Grace McLean]
4. 'The Kiss' [Emily Holden]
5. 'Jesus Was a Cross Maker' [Michael Cerveris]
6. 'There’s a Rugged Road' [Osei Essed]
7. 'The Phoenix' [Bobby Hawk and Kate Ferber]
Reinterpreting these seven songs by the legendary singer/songwriter, and assisted by a circle of singers and musicians associated with his East Williamsburg studio, Wolff replaces the period LA soft rock, semi-classical, ethereal sounds of Sill’s original recordings with what he calls “dirtier, more earthbound elements.”
Opening with the earthy and low brow, Americana troubadour heartbeat of the title track 'Down Where the Valleys Are Low,' that's backed by the beautifully soulful 'The Pearl,' and then the raw jangly guitar and fuzzy mic resonance of 'Crayon Angels' is brought forth.
Next up is the ethereal exaltation of 'The Kiss' which is in turn followed by the soulful, achingly earnest 'Jesus Was a Cross Maker,' the lonesome and jagged electro vibe of 'There’s a Rugged Road,' with this artistically insightful album coming to a close on the Americana storytelling twang of 'The Phoenix.'
Judee Sill’s eponymous 1972 debut was the first released on David Geffen’s Asylum Records. She was championed early on by J.D. Souther and Graham Nash.
She cited, as her major influences, Pythagoras, Bach, and Ray Charles, and her stated ambition was to “become the world’s greatest songwriter.”
A second album followed in 1973, but she fell out of favor with Geffen, was dropped from the label, drifted into obscurity, and died at 35 from a drug overdose.
Judee Sill never really fit in to the hip SoCal music scene. She came up hard, suffered abuse from her mother and stepfather, fell in with petty criminals, robbed liquor stores and gas stations, was arrested and sent to a reformatory, became a junkie and prostituted herself to support her habit.
But she also developed her own religious philosophy and believed that, as her song goes, "Down where the valleys are low/There’s a refuge so high,” and that, as she once said, “Out of the mud a lotus grows.”
That lotus was her music - she composed, arranged, played, and sang with a celestial elegance.
Today, Judee Sill remains a name that terms like “little-known” and “overlooked” are typically attached to, but those who know her music hold an intense adulation for her.
XTC co-founder Andy Partridge described her songs as being “like little tiny symphonies with beautiful chord changes I’d never heard anyone use.”
Singer/songwriter Shawn Colvin has compared Sill to Brian Wilson, and proclaimed, “she didn’t sound like anybody else … streetwise and yet … religious.”
Sleater-Kinney’s Carrie Brownstein, another obsessed fan, wonderfully summarized Sill’s multi-layered music when she wrote that “her songs are psychological labyrinths, twisting and searching; they are religious and mythical explorations that touch on pain, wonder, and joy. The happy/sad quality is both elating and heartbreaking.”
Official Purchase Link
Title - 'Once Only'
Artist - Eternal Return
For those unaware, the international progressive ensemble Eternal Return is a five-piece combining various duos/trios that have previously recorded and toured together.
Notably, Colin Edwin (Porcupine Tree, NoMan, O.R.k.) on bass with his frequent collaborator, Estonian guitarist Robert Jürjendal (Toyah Wilcox, Fripp’s Crafty Guitar School). At the heart of the band is Dogon, the duo of Miguel Noya, (Venezuelan electronic music pioneer, Phantom Limb Recordings) and Paul Godwin, (California-based composer/singer).
Holding down this aerial act is Miguel Toro, Venezuelan-born, Berlin-based drummer (Royal Dust). It seems like a distant past when five musicians from around the world could meet in a foreign city to record an album in-person, but that’s just what they did.
They came from Venezuela, England, Estonia, California & Spain to meet in Berlin and form this band. The result is something flowing and hypnotic, mysterious yet comforting.
Ergo their debut album Once Only (out now via New Dog Records) was recorded in Berlin in late 2019 by Bob Spencer at The Famous Gold Watch Studio (a former munitions factory and Stasi HQ) and mixed at Pete Townsend’s Grand Cru boat studio in London’s St. Katherine’s Docks by Jonathon Hucks.
The album is concerned with “nomadism” in a time of lockdown inspired by Noya’s status as part of Venezuelan economic and political diaspora (currently living in Europe.)
Musically siting progressive ambient and dream-pop influences such as Talk Talk’s Spirit of Eden, David Sylvian’s solo work, or the mysterious and finely wrought 4AD project, This Mortal Coil, the album is something fresh, darkly intimate and beguiling.
2. 'The Void'
3. 'A Medium-Sized Village'
4. 'The Triggering Town'
5. 'The Bottom of the Pond'
6. 'The Sky'
Opening with the grounded storytelling of 'Nomad' and then the ornately earthy and resonant 'The Void,' they back that up with the longest track at over seven minutes, the ethereally rich 'A Medium-Sized Village.'
We then get the gossamery 'The Triggering Town' which is followed by the gentle prog rock of 'The Bottom of the Pond,' with their debut recording coming to a close on the lazy, hazy, gently psych-imbibed 'The Sky.'
Official Purchase Link
Title - 'Water Finds a Way'
Artist - Robert Jürjendal
For those unaware, Robert Jürjendal is an Estonian guitarist and composer, studied classical guitar and composition (Anti Marguste) at Tallinn Georg Ots Music School.
Indeed, during 1992-1997 he participated in Robert Fripp Guitar Craft Courses. Robert has composed for classical and contemporary guitar, cembalo, mixed ensembles, choirs; documentaries, art exhibitions and theater, across genres from folk to post-rock to ambient-jazz.
On his brand new album, the just-released Water Finds A Way (New Dog Records), what continues is the colorful guitar/effects-based conception that Jürjendal began with his previous three solo efforts.
With rich harmonies and melody lines, his musical language takes influence from the particular guitars and effects he uses. A graduate of Robert Fripp’s Crafty Guitar School, Jürjendal became a member of Toyah Wilcox’s band as well.
Furthermore, on the new album, Robert plays his new custom-built electric guitar - a fully equipped system containing a Sustainer pickup which gives a life for the long-sustained notes.
Using a guitar synth (though it's hard to recognize) mixed with natural guitar sounds creating a unique hybrid.
2. 'On the Heights'
3. 'Morning Land'
4. 'Grey and Blue'
6. 'The Lake Freezes'
7. 'For the Bees'
8. 'On the Border of Sleep'
9. 'Come Back Free'
10. 'Before and Now'
12. 'The Clock Ticks-Time S Wind Beat'
13. 'Water Finds a Way'
14. 'Everything Goes On'
This quite mesmerizingly magnificent musical opus opens with the ornate delicacy of 'Trust' and then follows that seamlessly with the translucent 'On the Heights,' the flutteringly Asian ambiance of 'Morning Land,' the haunting, piano preciseness of 'Grey and Blue,' the atmospheric 'Hikers,' and then we get the melodic guitar work of 'The Lake Freezes' and the lusciously unseen, scenic ambiguity of 'For the Bees.'
Next up is the perfectly-entitled 'On the Border of Sleep' which is itself followed by the free flowing 'Come Back Free,' the playful 'Before and Now,' a guitar strain that both Joe Satriani and Steve Vai would kill to have created on 'Air,' and then the album rounds out with the delicate musings of 'The Clock Ticks-Time S Wind Beat,' the organ-ordained 'Water Finds a Way,' closing on the sheer lightness of being within 'Everything Goes On.'
Official Purchase Link
Robert Jürjendal @ Facebook
Robert Jürjendal @ Bandcamp
Robert Jürjendal @ Soundcloud
Title - 'Freak Show: pREServed Edition' [3CD]
Artist - The Residents
For those not in the know, formed in the early 1970s, The Residents have been charting a unique path through the musical landscape for almost fifty years.
From far-out, experimental recordings to highly conceptual, innovative multi-platform projects, the band refuses to stand still, and continues to move in several different directions at once.
Produced with The Cryptic Corporation using archival tapes supplied by the group themselves, this brand new 3CD package Freak Show: pREServed Edition (released March 26th, 2021 via Cryptic Corporation/Cherry Red Records UK) explores and expands the classic 1990 album, which formed the basis of a move into multi-media work which characterized The Residents’ ‘90s output.
Freak Show explores a series of character studies of unfortunates and unloveables, all of whom have their origin in The Residents’ own childhood memories of travelling ‘freak shows’, such as they were.
This stunning 3CD set includes the original album and related contemporary tracks, an entire CD detailing the evolution of the album’s musical content throughout 1990 and live interpretations of all of the album’s tracks, including the legendary ‘Ty’s Freak Show’ performance (28 unreleased recordings in all!)
CD 1: Freak Show
1. 'Everyone Comes To The Freak Show'
2. 'Harry The Head'
3. 'Herman The Human Mole'
4. 'Wanda The Worm Woman'
5. 'Jack The Boneless Boy'
6. 'Benny The Bouncing Bump'
7. 'Mickey The Mumbling Midget'
9. 'Nobody Laughs When They Leave'
10. 'The Mutes' [BONUS TRACK]
11. 'Blowoff' [BONUS TRACK]
12. 'All Tha' Freaks' [BONUS TRACK]
13. 'The Eyes Scream' [BONUS TRACK]
14. 'Jelly Jack (Icky Flix)' [BONUS TRACK]
15. 'Harry The Head (Icky Flix)' [BONUS TRACK]
16. 'Jelly Jack RMX' [BONUS TRACK]
By the turn of the '90s, The Residents were exploring very different concepts than most other bands of their ilk. This is in, and unto itself, a very definitive concept album about a circus show of freaks; and one of the most disturbing albums I have heard! (Definitely not to be played at night).
'Everyone Comes to the Freak Show' opens proceedings with an announcer plying his vocal wears ("Roll up. Roll up. And welcome") and some dissonant music is heard, just to add to the feeling of overall dementedness.
'Harry the Head' has a gorgeous female singer and some repetitive chanting about poor Harry and his head and then we get 'Herman the Human Mole,' which is a low key, nasal vocal similar to that heard on most Residents albums; plus oodles of synth droning.
'Wanda the Worm Woman' is a narrative as Wanda hypnotizes the crowd, with her "Mona Lisa smile" whilst dancing up a storm and picks off her worms to some disturbing music! The female voice is again a nice touch breaking up the usual male nasal intonations.
'Jack the Boneless Boy' has an oddball chant and some jelly-like vocals warbling around within it (the boy lives inside a jar, people stare ("... eyeballs in a pool of flesh surrounded by some hair").
Jack wishes he was a cowboy and we hear his thoughts about a possible life, but he is, obviously, still stuck in a jar. The pitchy choir that sings has a nursery rhyme feel, but this is certainly one of the more disturbing songs from The Residents.
Next up are the jaunty rhythms of 'Benny the Bouncing Bump,' a 6 minute piece of mirth that also comprise some rather unsettling lyrics. About Benny, who is just a lump of flesh and has to bounce to move around, and who collects girly magazines ("... he kept them all in plastic bags and everybody said that Benny talked to them at night before he went to bed"), the music moves into a tonal synth and eerie flourishes very easily.
The original album begins to round out with the announcement of 'Mickey the Mumbling Midget,' backed by some very odd music with dramatic bass and drum. Indeed, the music lurches into a rhythmic Samba percussion sound at one point and yet more high-pitched voices are echoed by a narrator.
'Lillie' is a 7 minute track, and one that will leave you wondering just what her "freakish problem" might me, given that it is not stated in the title. I soon found out for little Lillie grosses out audiences by regurgitating things such as coins ("Her face is too white, like a corpse in sunshine"), whilst her deranged screams of pure, unadulterated hatred are spewed forth.
'Nobody Laughs When They Leave' closes the Freak Show with a statement shrouded in the metaphor of Life is a lot like a Freak Show, as Nobody Laughs When They Leave. Having listened to this album twice through now, inclusive of the other two bonus discs of elongated samples and live cuts, I can echo that sentiment also, for Freak Show is as chilling, and dementedly manic to behold today as it was back then, trust me! [ST]
CD 2: The Freak Show Evolutions
1. 'Spring 1990 Jam 1'
2. 'Spring 1990 Jam 2'
3. 'Spring 1990 Jam 3'
4. 'Rough Mix 1'
5. 'Rough Mix 2'
6. 'Rough Mix 4'
7. 'Rough Mix 7'
8. 'Rough Mix 10'
9. 'Rough Mix 12'
10. 'Rough Mix 13'
11. 'Rough Mix 14'
12. 'Rough Mix 16'
13. 'Rough Mix 19'
14. 'Rough Mix 21'
15. 'Pony Rink 1'
16. 'Pony Rink 3'
17. 'Pony Rink 4'
18. 'Pony Rink 5'
19. 'Pony Rink 6'
20. 'Pony Rink 9'
21. 'Pony Rink 10'
22. 'Pony Rink 11'
23. 'Pony Rink 13'
24. 'Pony Rink 17'
25. 'Pony Rink 20'
26. 'Pony Rink 23'
27. 'Pony Rink 26'
All tracks Previously Unreleased
CD 3: Live Freaks
1. 'Ty's Freak Show Restoration (1991)'*
2. 'Everyone Comes To The Freakshow (1997)'
3. 'Harry (2014)'
4. 'Herman (2014)'
5. 'Wanda (1995)'
6. 'Jack (1997)'
7. 'Benny (2001)'
8. 'Mickey (2018)'
9. 'Lillie (2011)'
10. 'Nobody Laughs When They Leave' (2001)
Remastered, expanded, and preserved for future generation, this is The Residents as we’ve always wanted to hear them, and the latest in a series of archival reissues that will continue throughout 2021 and beyond.
Look out for forthcoming Gingerbread Man, Wormwood and Icky Flix sets, as well as a number of special vinyl releases.
Official 3CD Purchase Link
Title - 'Last Night ...'
Artist - Dan Rose
What is it about the guitar that can bring out the raging exhibitionist in those who play it? All too often we hear recordings featuring guitarists that are flooded with fretboard frenzy; notes and chords cascading about each other seeming as if to prove that all that plentiful practice to master the instrument was well spent.
And then there are guitarists like Dan Rose and albums like Last Night .... Taking his time, finding on the mark harmony and linking it perfectly by way of "mot juste" note selection and phrasing.
Rose plays to the song, not to his ego.
That Rose is a virtuoso is unquestioned; his extraordinary command of the instrument is always in plain site, but extravagant speed and other look-what-I-can-do displays are replaced by taste and subtlety.
The beauty of Rose's tone and his mellifluous playing is part and parcel of the artfulness of the classic songs he chooses. Through him we notice once more the sturdy structure and lyrical splendor of long familiar melodies.
And as we listen to Last Night ... we hear a musician expressing his sincere love of song and elegant improvisation.
Simultaneously, we continually admire a masterful player who treats exquisite music with the respectful restraint it fully deserves. [SF]
1. 'Body and Soul'
2. 'Darn that Dream'
3. 'Ellington Medley'
4. 'Say it Over and Over Again',br>
6. 'What’s New'
7. 'Sweet and Lovely'
8. 'The Folks Who Live on the Hill'
9. 'If I Loved You'
10. 'Spring is Here'
11. 'Moonlight in Vermont'
12. 'Last Night When We Were Young'
13. 'Medley: Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out to Dry/Detour Ahead/Dreamsville'
Opening with the quietly lush tones of 'Body and Soul' and 'Darn that Dream,' up next is the expertly synched together 'Ellington Medley,' the melodic hipsway of 'Say it Over and Over Again,' the gentle perkiness of 'Tenderly' and then both the poignant 'What’s New' and then the articulate mannerisms of 'Sweet and Lovely' are brought forth.
Up next is the beautifully sculptured 'The Folks Who Live on the Hill' which is in turn followed by the gossamer of 'If I Loved You,' the beautifully crafted 'Spring is Here,' the harmoniously atmospheric chords of 'Moonlight in Vermont,' with the album rounding out on the rich tonal values of 'Last Night When We Were Young,' closing on the musical flourishing that is 'Medley: Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out to Dry/Detour Ahead/Dreamsville.'
Official Purchase Link
Title - 'Loom'
Artist - Kali Trio
For those not in the know, Kali Trio is a Swiss post-genre band who function as a collective, with every member contributing equally to the writing and creative processes.
Their just-released sophomore Loom (Ronin Rhythm Records) shows the consequent development of the original style of the working band.
The three Swiss musicians Nicolas Stocker (Drums), Urs Müller (E-Gitarre) und Raphael Loher (Piano) weave the various threads of their stylistic background together with relish and fresh skillfulness on their musical loom.
The music, created together as an organism, is continuously charged in the four tracks and in the overall dramaturgy of the album and unfolds its rhythmic pull and its mysterious atmosphere in a subtle and inexorable manner.
1. 'Shipol' (11:25)
2. 'Transitoriness' (10:52)
3. 'Dry Soul' (8:09)
4. 'Folding Space' (14:46)
Notably consisting of only four compositions, and yet bringing forth an incredible 45 minutes of pure, unadulterated musical pleasure, the album opens with the synoptic beats of the 11 minute 'Shipol' it then bleeds seamlessly into the more forthright, drum-led, 10 minute 'Transitoriness,' before presenting us the yearningly opulent 'Dry Soul,' closing on the Asian-imbued chimes and accompaniments found within the 14 minute opus 'Folding Space.'
Kali Trio's original score for Thomas Imbach’s movie 'Nemesis' will arrive in 2021.
Official Purchase Link
Kali Trio @ Facebook
Kali Trio @ Instagram
Kali Trio @ YouTube
Title - 'The Creation'
Artist - Intelligent Music Project VI
For those not in the know, after the great success of the previous album of the band Intelligent Music Project V Life Motion, the expectations of the rock fans for the new one were logically high and we dare say that they will be fully justified!
This was said by the creator, producer and author of the music and lyrics of Intelligent Music Project Milen Vrabevski, MD.
Thus, Intelligent Music Project VI was born and their brand new album, The Creation - featuring Members of Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Asia, Styx, Nazareth and River Hounds - is out now via Intelligent Music Records.
The Creation is the newest piece of rock art by the Bulgarian businessman, philanthropist and patron of arts. In his own words, this is an album about the creative approaches, a key to success in a meaningful life.
Indeed, the album showcases the chemistry and the creative style of all five previous albums of the supergroup. The musical diversity and the positive messages of the twelve songs from The Creation make it exclusively interesting and attractive to listen.
Moreover the sixth album again features well-known, world famous, rock singers – Ronnie Romero (Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, Michael Schenker Group, Vandenberg, Lords of Black), John Payne (ex-Asia) and Carl Sentence (Nazareth).
1. 'A Sense Of Progress'
2. 'The Story'
3. 'A Shelter'
5. 'Your Thoughts'
7. 'Back To The Truth'
8. 'Let It Go'
9. 'A Sight'
10. 'That Something'
11. 'I Know'
This quite brilliant new album opens on the melodic '80s rock vibe of 'A Sense Of Progress' and the acoustic guitar balladry of 'The Story' which are backed by the drum-led rocker 'A Shelter,' the beautiful 'Listen' and then we get the soaring, euphorically anthemic 'Your Thoughts.'
The foot-tappin' 'Sometimes' is itself backed by the stalwart, Old Country-esque, low ebb resonance of 'Back To The Truth,' the gentle skuttle shuffle of 'Let It Go,' the mid-tempo, tuneful rock of both 'A Sight' and 'That Something,' with the album rounding out on the pounding Dio-esque 'I Know,' closing on the aching ballad 'Serve.'
The Creation is the 4th Intelligent Music Project album in a row in which the fans of the band can enjoy the beautiful voice of the ex-Asia lead singer John Payne. He says about the album: "The Creation continues the conceptual album work by the Intelligent Music Project."
"The team is amazing – from the songwriting to incredible musicianship, the production. This is a fantastic album and I am proud to be part of it!”
And while Ronnie and John are well known members of Intelligent Music Project from the previous albums, here comes the big surprise for the old hard rock lovers.
The drums on the album are played by two brand new for the band, but otherwise legendary drummers – Bobby Rondinelli (Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, Black Sabbath) and Todd Sucherman (Styx).
Bobby Rondinelli: “When Milen sent me the material I couldn’t believe how good it sounded and the demos sounded like a record already! I think The Creation is an absolutely great album with all name players, all world class guys!”
Todd Sucherman: “It’s a very diverse record and has many different styles. It was really fun for me to play!”
Intelligent Music Project VI The Creation Feat. Ronnie Romero (Rainbow), Bobby Rondinelli (Black Sabbath, Rainbow), John Payne (ex-Asia), Todd Sucherman (Styx), Carl Sentence (Nazareth) and Richard Grisman (River Hounds).
Amazon Digital Purchase Link
Intelligent Music Project @ Facebook
Intelligent Music Project @ Instagram
Ronnie Romero, Todd Sucherman, Bobby Rondinelli and John Payne talk about The Creation (YouTube)
Title - 'Under A Spell'
Artist - Richard Barbieri
For those not in the know, Richard Barbieri (Japan, Rain Tree Crow, Porcupine Tree) didn’t plan to make an album like Under A Spell, having originally intended his fourth solo album to be a direct follow from its predecessor, 2017’s Planets + Persona.
That record, made in different studios across Europe and heavily incorporating live performances from a range of musicians, was adventurous and bold, showcasing Barbieri’s endlessly inventive song writing and mastery of electronic music.
The follow-up would pick up where it left off, journeying further into the expansive terrain he mapped out on the previous record. And then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and everything changed. “I wrote and recorded it in my studio at home, with all this strangeness going on outside,” says Barbieri of Under A Spell. “It became something completely different: this weird, self-contained dream-state album.”
1. 'Under A Spell' [7:19]
2. 'Clockwork' [2:33]
3. 'Flare 2' [8:51]
4. 'A Star Light' [3:50]
5. 'Serpentine' [6:22]
6. 'Sleep Will Find You' [2:51]
7. 'Sketch 6' [6:30]
8. 'Darkness Will Find You' [4:58]
9. 'Lucid' [6:14]
The man whose illustrious career began in the late '70s with synth-pop visionaries Japan, and more recently as a member of influential art-rock band Porcupine Tree, opens his brand new album with the hauntingly playful title track 'Under A Spell' and backs that up with the bright and perky 'Clockwork,' the the sterner, metallic ambiance of 'Flare 2,' and then the translucent 'A Star Light.'
The emotive 'Serpentine' takes us back to his days creating grooves for Japan and then we get the short, but sweet 'Sleep Will Find You,' the drum-led melodies of 'Sketch 6,' the album rounding out on the grounded ether of 'Darkness Will Find You,' closing on the free flowing majesty of 'Lucid.'
The album’s title perfectly encapsulates the haunting, evocative world Barbieri has created. Songs such as the skittering, billowing ‘Clockwork’ and ‘Sketch 6’s dub-inspired soundscape hang suspended in that strange half-world between sleep and waking – a subconscious reflection of the surreal state the planet has found itself in over recent months.
“I was having a lot of bizarre, recurring dreams that were hanging around after I woke up,” says Barbieri. “They were based around this woodland pathway, which is really summed up by the album cover – this surreal, deserted, Blair Witch Project type of environment."
"You’re going through these woods, heading towards this light, almost like you’re leaving life. That’s where the title Under A Spell came from – it was a feeling of not being totally in control."
"Almost as if your dreams are pointing you in directions that sometimes you can control and sometimes you can’t.”
Under A Spell was released on Kscope on 26th February, on CD, gatefold double black vinyl LP, limited edition gatefold double red vinyl LP (exclusive to the Kscope store) and digitally.
Official Purchase Links
Richard Barbieri @ Facebook
Richard Barbieri @ Instagram
Title - 'Settlement'
Artist - Strawbs
For those not in the know, Esoteric Antenna is delighted to announce the release of the new studio album by the legendary band the Strawbs.
Settlement (out now) is the latest album recorded by the Strawbs, more than 50 years on from the band’s first major label release.
Indeed, the album comes at a time of political and social upheaval, which the lyrics and melodies of the songs reflect. Undeterred by the fact that business as usual was not possible because of the global COVID-19 pandemic – working remote from one another, from their own home studios – Settlement is a quite remarkable achievement.
David Cousins, leader of the Strawbs has said, "Settlement is something extraordinary. I can’t think of another band who can go from metal grunge to the lilt of an Irish ghost story – or from a song in 6/8 time to singing in 4/4 over a 5/4 backbeat – in half an hour!"
"The lyrics reflect the times we have been living through and I’m immensely proud of what we’ve achieved.”
2. 'Strange Times'
3. 'Judgement Day'
4. 'Each Manner of Man'
5. 'The Visit'
6. 'Flying Free'
7. 'Quicksilver Days'
8. 'We Are Everyone'
10. 'Champion Jack'
11. 'Better Days' (Life Is Now A Game)'
Opening on the insightful storytelling of the rockin' title track 'Settlement,' that's backed by the quietly wistful 'Strange Times,' the more upbeat melodies of 'Judgement Day,' the foot-tappin' sing-along of 'Each Manner of Man' and then we get the '60s-esque reflections found on 'The Visit.'
The exuberant instrumental tones of 'Flying Free' and the achingly poignant reminiscing of 'Quicksilver Days' are then followed by the gossamer-like ambiance of 'We Are Everyone' and the free flowing melodic strains of 'Chorale.'
Added as "Off the beaten tracks," the foreboding tale spun within 'Champion Jack' is first out the gate and is backed by the somewhat Calypso-imbued, and veritably uplifting 'Better Days' (Life Is Now A Game),' closing on the thought-provoking 'Liberty.'
Settlement is produced by Blue Weaver who played with the Strawbs and Bee Gees in their 1970s heydays. The recording was coordinated from Blue’s studio in Germany, where he now lives.
The Strawbs are David Cousins, Dave Lambert, Chas Cronk, Tony Fernandez and Dave Bainbridge and special guests on the album are John Ford, another former member of the Strawbs, who lives in New York, Cathryn Craig, with her lovely voice and unmistakable Southern lilt, who lives in Northern Ireland, and bass player Schalk Joubert, with whom David Cousins performed in South Africa at the beginning of the year.
The album will be available both on CD and 180 gram vinyl formats.
Official CD Purchase Link
Official Vinyl LP Purchase Link
Strawbs @ Facebook
Strawbs @ Twitter
Title - 'Drastic Plastic: Expanded Edition' [2CD]
Artist - Be-Bop Deluxe
For those not in the know, Be-Bop Deluxe were an English progressive rock band who achieved critical acclaim and moderate commercial success during the mid to late 1970s.
The band's sound emerged as a mixture of glam rock, prog rock and straightforward rock and roll, where science fiction imagery was common in the lyrics; along with the more traditional themes of love and the human condition.
Esoteric Recordings (via Cherry Red Records UK) have just released a newly remastered and expanded 2 CD edition of Drastic Plastic, the legendary 1978 album by Be-Bop Deluxe.
Drastic Plastic would be the final Be-Bop Deluxe album and was recorded in the summer of 1978 in the South of France at The Villa Saint Georges, Juan-les-Pins, utilizing the Rolling Stones mobile studio, with final sessions taking place at The Manor Studio and Abbey Road Studios.
The record saw Bill Nelson (vocals, guitars, keyboards), Charles Tumahai (bass, vocals), Andy Clark (keyboards) and Simon Fox (drums) venture into new musical styles, with the album being ground-breaking in its move to more “art rock” and “new wave” influences.
In many ways it can be seen as the signpost to where Bill Nelson would head with his Red Noise project with a desire to continue to progress as an artist by pushing musical boundaries.
Co-produced by Bill Nelson and John Leckie, Drastic Plastic was another hit album in both the UK and the USA and featured such classic material as ‘Electrical Language’, ‘Panic in the World’, ‘New Mysteries’, ‘Islands of the Dead’ and ‘Surreal Estate’.
The recording sessions produced many more tracks which would appear as singles (such as Japan) and others that were originally planned for release as an EP set (‘Autosexual’, ‘Lovers are Mortal’, ‘Speed of the Wind’, ‘Quest for the Harvest of the Stars’, ‘Face in the Rain’), all of which eventually appeared on the retrospective compilation The Best of & the Rest Of… later in 1978.
This expanded reissue has been newly re-mastered from the original master tapes and features an additional 25 tracks, drawn from stunning stereo mixes from the original multi-track tapes by award winning engineer Stephen W. Tayler and non-album singles and additional tracks recorded for an intended EP.
CD 1: Drastic Plastic: The Original Stereo Mix
1. 'Electrical Language'
2. 'New Precision'
3. 'New mysteries'
4. 'Surreal Estate'
5. 'Love In Flames'
6. 'Panic In The World'
7. 'Dangerous Stranger'
8. 'Superenigmatix (Lethal Appliances For The Home With Everything)'
9. 'Visions Of Endless Hopes'
11. 'Islands Of The Dead'
12. 'Japan' [Bonus Track - A-Side of single released as Harvest HAR 5135 in Sept 1977)]
13. 'Futurist Manifesto' [Bonus Track - B-Side of single released as Harvest HAR 5135 in Sept 1977)]
14. 'Blue As A Jewel' [Bonus Track - B-side of single released as Harvest HAR 5147 in January 1978]
15. 'Autosexual' [Bonus Track]*
16. 'Face In The Rain' [Bonus Track]*
17. 'Lovers Are Mortal' [Bonus Track]*
18. 'Blimps' [Bonus Track]*
19. 'Speed Of The Wind' [Bonus Tracks]*
20. 'Quest Of Harvest For The Stars' [Bonus Track]*
* Recorded at Villa St. Georges, Juan-les-Pins in May and June 1977. Mixed at The Manor studio, August 1977 for an intended EP.
To my mind, Drastic Plastic is a mishmash of their more guitar driven stuff with new tunes that featured synthesizers more prominently. It is not a cohesive album because it points to a post Be-Bop Deluxe existence for Bill Nelson where he would do it all himself, but it's most definitely a quite stunning ambient rock album.
And like pretty much anything else Nelson does, it is always interesting enough to be worth the time. The band is tight, working well together with tracks like the opener 'Electrical Language' a joyous fusion of guitar with a Kraftwerk vibe, 'Love In Flames' showcasing perfectly a hot-dogging Nelson at his best, and 'Panic In The World' is just an all-out pop gem.
That's not to say that Nelson doesn't throw down with some fat-toned, heart-felt wickedness that has made him one of the world's best unknown guitarists (except those already in the know, of course).
For these tunes are what I call "cream-of-the-crop pop". Every song is filled with catchy hooks that not only keep you listening, but stay in your head long after the stereo power button is turned off (the aforementioned 'Panic In The World' being the best example of that).
'Superenegmatix' is a nod to early punk rock (which when this was released, punk WAS early), 'Dangerous Stranger' is reminiscent of Nick Lowe, 'New Mysteries' musically brings to my mind a futuristic, mechanical, marching army, and 'Island of the Dead', is a morbid love ballad!
Indeed, there is a lot of ground that Be-Bop Deluxe covers on the brilliant Drastic Plastic and now coming complete with a lot of the previously unreleased tracks (along with B-sides too), this is the best price of admission yet, and listening experience therein, for all Be-Bop Deluxe lovers of Drastic Plastic.
CD 2: Drastic Plastic: The New Stereo Mix
1. 'Electrical Language'
2. 'New Precision'
3. 'New mysteries'
4. 'Surreal Estate'
5. 'Love In Flames'
6. 'Panic In The World'
7. 'Dangerous Stranger'
8. 'Superenigmatix (Lethal Appliances For The Home With Everything)'
9. 'Visions Of Endless Hopes'
11. 'Islands Of The Dead'
12. 'Panic In The World' (Single Edit) [Bonus Track - A-side of single released as Harvest HAR 5147 in January 1978]
13. 'Electrical Language' (Single Vesion) [Bonus Track - A-side of single released as Harvest HAR5158 in May 1978]
14. 'Love In Flames' (Single Version) [Bonus Track - B-side of single released as Harvest HAR5158 in May 1978]
15. 'Islands Of The Dead' (Take Four' [Bonus Track]*
16. 'The Saxophonist' (Juan-les-Pins Version) (Bonus Track]*
* Recorded at Villa St. Georges, Juan-les-Pins in May and June 1977.
Again, to my mind and ear, Drastic Plastic is yet another filled-to-the-brim with incredible melodic ideas that keep flowing like a wondrous spring of breathtaking musical brilliance throughout.
It's fine writing and musicianship keep this recording floating like a feather on sweetly scented winds and with ace guitarist Bill Nelson's (the Bop behind Be-Bop Deluxe) guitar transcending everything it comes within ear shot of, well, now having this wondrous expanded edition in my hand, life is great once more.
His miraculous tone, phrasing, fluid leads and expert rhythm playing embellish these songs with the joy of a man gifted well beyond most guitarists.
Furthermore, he gives you a listening experience that is seldom rivaled and although Drastic Plastic is not a heavy album by any means, it definitely makes a huge impact on the listener ready to be enveloped by it's warm embrace.
There is also a quite magnificent Expanded Deluxe reissue that has been newly re-mastered from the original master tapes and features an additional 88 tracks, (43 of which are previously unreleased), drawn from stunning new 5.1 surround sound & stereo mixes from the original multi-track tapes by award winning engineer Stephen W. Tayler, previously unreleased out-takes from the album sessions, a BBC Radio John Peel Show session from January 1978, along with a CD of Bill Nelson’s previously unreleased demos for the album, A Feeling of Playing.
Also included in that separate release is an additional DVD featuring Be-Bop Deluxe in the South of France, (a collection of Bill Nelson’s 8mm home movies shot whilst recording Drastic Plastic) and the band’s Sight & Sound In Concert performance for BBC TV from 1978.
Another highlight of this limited-edition boxed set is the lavishly illustrated 68-page book with many previously unseen photographs and an essay of recollections by Bill Nelson. Additionally, the set includes postcards and a replica poster.
This special deluxe limited-edition boxed set of Drastic Plastic is a fitting tribute to the creative vision of Bill Nelson and the musicianship of Be-Bop Deluxe.
Official 2CD Purchase Link
Title - 'Screenplay' [2CD]
Artist - District 97
For those not in the know, District 97 is undoubtedly the most musically adventurous rock band in the world to feature an American Idol Top 10 Female Finalist!
Formed in the Fall of 2006 by drummer/primary composer Jonathan Schang, keyboardist Rob Clearfield, bassist Patrick Mulcahy and guitarist Sam Krahn, the band drew upon influences from heavy metal to avant-garde jazz.
The foursome from Chicago honed a no-holds barred style of eclectic and intricate Instrumental Rock before deciding the right vocalist was needed to complement their sound: enter 2007 American Idol Top 10 Female Finalist, Leslie Hunt.
With a look, sound, and stage presence comparable to a young Ann Wilson from Heart, Leslie's dynamic performances pushed the band into a new direction that forged a unique marriage between accessible, catchy vocal melodies and an adventurous instrumental prowess.
She was followed shortly thereafter by one of Chicago's finest guitarists, Jim Tashjian.
With this new blend of charisma and stellar musicianship in place, their live shows over the past several years at festivals such as RoSfest, Prog Dreams II and V, and numerous appearances across the USA, UK and Europe cemented the band as a force to be reckoned with onstage as well as in the recording studio.
Hybrid Child, the band’s 2010 debut on record label Laser’s Edge, immediately made a big impression worldwide with their sophomore album, 2012's critically-acclaimed Trouble With Machines further proving the band was the real deal.
The band took to the studio in 2014 to record their third album, In Vaults (which was released in June of 2015) and whilst Rob Clearfield and Patrick Mulcahy left the group and were succeeded by Andrew Lawrence and Tim Seisser, 2018 saw the band release their fourth album, the much lauded album Screens (and first with the new lineup).
Well, the Chicago prog legends District 97 have just-released their brand new live album called Screenplay (via Cherry Red Records UK) which features well over 2 hours of music across 2 CDs.
Indeed, the album comprises all of District 97’s critically-acclaimed Screens album performed live at Europe's prog rock mecca, Boerderij Cultuurpodium, in October 2019.
Additionally, the collection boasts a wide variety of additional live material spanning District 97’s back catalog and covers ranging from John Lennon to Yes.
Also included is a rousing unreleased live performance of '21st Century Schizoid Man' featuring the late King Crimson/Asia/UK legend John Wetton, as well as collaborations with other artists such as Dave Kerzner and Fernando Perdomo
And if all that wasn't enough, there are also two "secret encore” performances and a very special bonus, a brand new song recorded in quarantine called 'Divided We Fall' is also included here!
1. 'Forest Fire'
3. 'Sea I Provide'
4. 'Bread & Yarn'
6. 'After Orbit Mission'
Opening on the funky 'Forest Fire' and the gently frenetic 'Sheep,' the band never look back, as they progress forward with the forthright 'Sea I Provide,' the quieter fare of 'Bread & Yarn' and the absolutely breathtaking rock of 'Trigger.'
Next up is the 90 second, slap bass instrumental 'After Orbit Mission' which is itself backed seamlessly by the swirling duo of both 'Shapeshifter' and 'Blueprint,' with the first disc coming to a close on the near 14 minute opus 'Ghost Girl.'
1. 'Divided We Fall'
2. 'Jealous Guy'
3. 'Snow Country'
5. 'The Actual Color'
6. 'A Lottery'
8. 'Presto Vivace'
9. 'Back in N.Y.C.'
10. 'Travels with Myself-And Someone Else'
11. 'Fainting in Coils'
12. 'Long Distance Runaround'
14. '21st Century Schizoid Man' (live w/John Wetton)
15. 'Out on the Tiles'
The second disc opens on their freshly-minted new track, the powerhaus 'Divided We Fall,' and then we get their 90 second, lo-fi take on John Lennon's 'Jealous Guy' and the ethereal rock of 'Snow Country,' before the band launches us into further joyous musical turmoil on the foot-tappin' 'Takeover,' the fervency of 'The Actual Color,' the simply majestic 'A Lottery,' and the one of my own personal favorites here, the achingly, Tool-esque 'Termites.'
The 90 second rapid synth instrumantal 'Presto Vivace' is up next and is followed by the early '90s rock aura of 'Back in N.Y.C.', the gossamer of 'Travels with Myself-And Someone Else,' the storytelling of 'Fainting in Coils,' and as the evening careens into the final bend, we get the free flowing, mid-'80s melodies of 'Long Distance Runaround,' the guitar rock of 'Red,' the album rounding out on the absolutely fantastic '21st Century Schizoid Man' (featuring ASIA's John Wetton), closing on the rock pop of 'Out on the Tiles' (oh, and stick around as you never know, that hinted at "secret encore" track might just be headed your way soon and have you walking on sunshine!!)
Official 2CD Purchase Link
District 97 - 'Ghost Girl' (Official Short Film)
District 97 @ Facebook
District 97 @ Twitter
District 97 @ YouTube
Title - 'Halcyon Hymns' [CD/DVD]
Artist - Downes Braide Association
For those not in the know, Downes Braide Association (DBA) have announced the release of 'Your Heart Will Find The Way' - the second track to be taken from their just-released album Halcyon Hymns (via Cherry Red Records UK).
Watch The Video Here!
Downes Braide Association was formed as a studio-based project by Geoff Downes and Chris Braide and has now produced three studio albums: Pictures Of You (2012), Suburban Ghosts (2015) and Skyscraper Souls (2017) and a live album Live In England (2019).
The project draws on Downes’ and Braide’s rich musical heritage to create a delightfully accessible brand of classic rock.
Keyboard wizard Geoff Downes was thrust into the limelight with the worldwide success of 'Video Killed The Radio Star' in 1979. The single topped the charts chart in 16 countries for The Buggles duo of Geoff and Trevor Horn (vocals, bass guitar).
They briefly joined prog legends YES before Downes became a founder member of the supergroup Asia with YES guitarist Steve Howe, ELP drummer Carl Palmer and the late John Wetton (vocals, bass guitar).
The Wetton-Downes composition 'Heat Of The Moment' became a world-wide hit in 1982 heralding many years of success for Asia with their FM radio-friendly brand of rock. Downes later rejoined YES in 2011 and remains with the band alongside Steve Howe.
British singer-songwriter-pianist Chris Braide has recently returned to UK shores after many years based in California. He enjoys enormous success writing and producing music for film scores, advertising campaigns and working closely with artists including Sia, Lana Del Rey, Christina Aguilera, Beyonce, Paloma Faith, Britney Spears and Marc Almond.
1. 'Love Among the Ruins' (6:23)
2. 'King of the Sunset' (ft. David Longdon) (6:37)
3. 'Your Heart Will Find the Way' (5:19)
4. 'Holding the Heavens' (ft. David Longdon) (7:53)
5. 'Beachcombers' (3:30)
6. 'Warm Summer Sun' (ft. Marc Almond) (4:33)
7. 'Today' (6:58)
8. 'Hymn to Darkness' (2:58)
9. 'She’ll Be Riding Horses' (4:35)
10. 'Late Summer' (2:24)
11. 'Remembrance' (11:43)
On this fourth studio album from the well-known writing partnership that is Geoff Downes and Chris Braide, and one on which the songs reflect a bucolic halcyon summer, they open with some narration from Barney Ashton Bullock (which is a running theme throughout the album), before free flowing into the translucent Prog ambiance of 'Love Among the Ruins' which they back with the emotionally impactful 'King of the Sunset' (featuring Big Train's David Longdon) and then comes the much talked about 'Your Heart Will Find the Way' - a simply beautiful, and highly melodic, Prog-pop anthemic track at its very finest.
Next we get the early Genesis-esque 'Holding the Heavens' (once again featuring David Longdon) which is followed by the layered vocal overdubs of 'Beachcombers,' the electronica-imbued 'Warm Summer Sun' (featuring Marc Almond), and then we get the Prog-rock of the emphatic 'Today' (inclusive of a ravenous Dave Bainbridge guitar outing).
This quite magically buoyant and wholly wondrous new album then rounds out with the haunting ethereal, mandolin-imbued 'Hymn to Darkness,' the vibrantly alive 'She’ll Be Riding Horses,' some sumptuous, all be they gentle, piano and choral textures found within 'Late Summer,' with the album coming to a close on the twelve minute opus, 'Remembrance' and then a :35 second, vocal and mandolin-layered 'Epilogue.'
The Artwork has been painted by the legendary Roger Dean, who also creates for Yes and Asia, to name but a few and those Painting Sessions are included on the accompanying DVD (along with 3 lyric music videos - 'Love Among The Ruins,' 'Your Heart Will Find The Way,' and 'Today').
Geoff Downes – Keyboards
Chris Braide – Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards
Ash Soen – Drums
Andy Hodge – Bass
Dave Bainbridge – Guitars
David Longdon – Vocals
Marc Almond – Vocals
Barney Ashton Bullock – Narration
Chris Braide says: “'Your Heart Will Find The Way' has an almost YES like quality of all the songs from Halcyon Hymns I feel, in that it's very up and direct. It’s also a great example of how Geoff and I will sometimes write."
"Geoff sent me the verse chord progression and the riff and then I added the chorus chord progression and the melody just fell out on top of those two elements."
"The brooding verse and majestic riff coupled with the uplift of the chorus dictated the lyric which is about listening to your inner voice and trusting your gut instinct to navigate you out of adversity…It’s a positive self-affirmation of a song.”
A few words from Geoff: “It was such a joy to hear the basic idea I sent Chris for ‘Your Heart Will Find A Way’ turn into something of a mini-epic. The masterful development of the rhythm section of Ash andAndy really enhances the track and brings it to life."
"It has become something of a feature of mine and Chris’s songwriting where the verse (in the minor key) sets the mood of the piece only to climax into an upbeat chorus (in the major)."
"Here is a good example I believe of how we mix pathos with positivity – but ultimately delivering the overall message as one of hope and promise."
It could be about a relationship, or indeed about having a belief and confidence in yourself that will eventually succeed. It’s for the listener to relate to and hopefully feel the strength of the message contained within.”
Official CD+DVD Purchase Link
Official White Vinyl Purchase Link
DBA @ Facebook
Title - 'Identity Crisis'
Artist - Marcelo Paganini
For those not in the know, Identity Crisis is the new prog rock jazz fusion album to be released by guitar virtuoso Marcelo Paganini (this past December 11th, 2020).
The album features special guests Billy Sherwood (YES/ASIA), Adam Holzman (Steve Wilson Band), Rachel Flowers, Lenny White (Return to Forever), Chad Wackerman (Frank Zappa Band), Jan Dumée (Focus), Marc Madoré, Karla Downey, Jamison Smeltz, Damilton Viana, Esdras Ferreira and Adriano Campagnani (Beto Guedes Band).
Five of the six songs of the album were mixed and mastered by Gudjon Sveinsson in Iceland with the lead single 'Circus is Empty' having been mixed by Daniel Boivin in France and mastered by Maor Appelbaum in LA, California, USA.
“When Allan Holdsworth passed away all of a sudden it was up to me and the others to keep guitar composition and playing moving forward," reveals Paganini.
"‘Do your own thing’ he said every time we met. Now Eddie Van Halen passed away as well and we realize how hard it will be,” he further recalls, about his intentions when he started this project.
"I changed the tuning of the guitar so I could not repeat anything I knew before. I decided to only use in the whole album, except for acoustic 12 string intros, the black guitar X-Ing Ibanez - no vibrato bar, bare bones."
"And to record just one guitar per track, to be able to play it live and sound like the album, or better. When live concerts will come back.”
1. 'Bacteria' [8:22]
2. 'Circus is Empty' [5:36]
3. 'Soul Much Further Away' [4:48]
4. 'Learn to Love to Wait' [7:11]
5. 'Tangerine Way' [7:13]
6. 'Captain's Face' [4:59]
Opening on the trippy rock opera 'Bacteria,' Paganini slips seamlessly into the more guitar heavy, drum led, funky attributes of 'Circus is Empty' and then backs that up with the lighter fare of the melodic Summer's day, top down, Zappa-esque breeze of 'Soul Much Further Away.'
Bringing forth some funky slap bass lines, 'Learn to Love to Wait' - which admittedly comes across as a slowed down, disjointed version of most all Level 42 tracks - is a rather effective, if not overly busy track, in and unto itself, and that is followed by the emotively lush storytelling of 'Tangerine Way,' with the album coming to a close on the percussion-imbued musical mish-mash 'Captain's Face.'
The music on Identity Crisis mixes up the best influences from classic prog rock, with unexpected contemporary harmonic solutions and melodic turns.
The songs can break loose by surprise in furious jazz fusion improvisations. As impressive as the casting in the album can be, and it is, the incredible alchemy that happened between Marcelo Paganini and Rachel Flowers in 4 out of 6 songs, at the 11th hour, was a game changer in the intensity of that musical language. [Paganini]
Official Purchase Link
Marcelo Paganini @ Facebook
Marcelo Paganini @ Instagram
Marcelo Paganini @ YouTube
Title - 'Nature's Light'
Artist - Blackmore's Night
For those not in the know, on March 12th, 2021, internationally renowned Renaissance rock band Blackmore’s Night, featuring Ritchie Blackmore, Candice Night and their band of minstrels, released their brand new album, Nature’s Light.
Having achieved international success, with several gold records and a global track record of sold-out performances, Blackmore’s Night have crafted a 20+ year legacy of merging medieval melodies with rock elements, initially evidenced on Ritchie Blackmore’s groundbreaking work with Deep Purple and Rainbow.
Singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Candice Night seamlessly blends her ethereal vocals and lyrics, along with a command of numerous classic woodwinds.
With Blackmore traversing all matter of six-string instruments, from acoustic and electric guitar to mandolin, mandolas, hurdy gurdy, and nyckelharpa, the result is a unique listening experience.
Their first new album in six years, and eleventh studio album overall, Nature’s Light - which was released via earMusic (distributed by BFD / The Orchard) - showcases ten brand new songs.
1. 'Once Upon December'
2. 'Four Winds'
3. 'Feather In The Wind'
4. 'Darker Shade of Black' (Instrumental)
5. 'The Twisted Oak'
6. 'Nature's Light'
7. 'Der Letzte Musketier' (Instrumental)
8. 'Wish You Were Here' (2021)
9. 'Going To The Faire'
10. 'Second Element'
Seamlessly mixing their mutual love for the tradition of British Folk music and that age-old Renaissance sound, and with their style inspired by myths and legends of ancient times, this 10-track musical bout of wondrous escapism opens with the bouncy jig that is 'Once Upon December' and backs that up with the pop-imbued 'Four Winds,' the rambunctious 'Feather In The Wind,' and then we get Blackmore's alternate Deep Purple take of his own, the yearning 'Darker Shade of Black' instrumental.
The sprightly 'The Twisted Oak' is yet another joyous trip through their fable land, and that's followed by the free flowing majesty of the euphoric title track 'Nature's Light,' before Blackmore, once again, showcases his unmistakable Fender Stratocaster guitar sound along with some mesmerizing Hammond organ work on the instrumental 'Der Letzte Musketier.'
Their incredibly heartfelt ballad from their stupendous Shadow of the Moon (1997) album 'Wish You Were Here' is now updated and a whole new version and that's followed by the light and breezy jaunt 'Going To The Faire,' with the album coming to a close on the light balladeering fare of 'Second Element.'
Nature’s Light is available on multiple formats (CD, Digital, and 180g 1LP Gatefold on Black Vinyl, as well as a Strictly Limited 2CD Hardcover Mediabook with a bonus CD of selected songs from the band’s extensive back catalogue, and a limited heavyweight 1LP Gatefold Edition on Yellow Vinyl).
Official Purchase Links
Blackmore's Night - 'Once Upon December' (Official Lyric Video)
Blackmore's Night @ Facebook
Blackmore's Night @ Instagram
Title - 'DarWin 3: Unplugged'
Artist - DarWin
For those not in the know, DarWin first grabbed attention with the epic 17 track double album Origin of Species in 2019. It won over fans and critics alike with its mix of virtuoso playing, heavy guitars, and symphonic rock, co-produced by Simon Phillips.
The punchy follow up album DarWin 2: A Frozen War took the concept a stage further, adding musicians Billy Sheehan, Guthrie Govan, Greg Howe and Derek Sherinian to the mix.
Now comes DarWin 3: Unplugged, a collection of orchestral and stripped back versions of tracks from the first two albums.
Indeed, the songs first appeared as a bonus addition to the limited edition DarWin 2: A Frozen War double vinyl LP, and are now being given a stand-alone release here as DarWin 3 (on April 23rd, 2021).
1. 'Escape The Maze' (Orchestral)
2. 'Nightmare Of My Dreams' (Orchestral)
3. 'Slowly Melting' (Unplugged)
4. 'Forever' (Orchestral)
5. 'One Horizon' (Unplugged)
6. 'Rise' (Orchestral)
7. 'Last Chance' (Orchestral)
8. 'Another Year' (Acapella)
Opening with the sweepingly beautiful instrumental 'Escape The Maze' and the wondrously orchestral 'Nightmare Of My Dreams,' DarWin backs those up seamlessly with the ornate unplugged version of 'Slowly Melting' and then gives us one of the stand out highlights here (IMHO), the cinematically magnificent orchestral version of 'Forever.'
Next up is the unplugged, and gentle foot-tapper version of 'One Horizon,' which is backed by the orchestral versions of the gossamer of 'Rise' and the more forthright 'Last Chance,' with this third album closing on the hand-clapping euphoria found within the pop hipsway of the acapella track 'Another Year.'
The album, once again produced by Simon Phillips (Toto, The Who, Santana), features DarWin (guitars), Matt Bissonette (Elton John, Jeff Beck) on bass and vocals, The Chamber Orchestra of London, and The Reykjavik Quartet across its eight tracks. Phillips also adds his signature percussion and effects to the album.
DarWin says, “Upon completing our first and second albums, we quickly realized that completely different interpretations of the songs were possible by isolating the strings or acoustic instruments as much as possible."
"Indeed, they sounded like completely different songs, although the fundamental concepts and spirit of the songs remained intact. Simon went to work on doing new mixes with the exact same instruments and tracks from the recordings in the earlier albums to create these ‘unplugged’ versions of the songs."
"Matt Bissonette also recorded two new solo versions of ‘Slowly Melting’ and ‘One Horizon,’ with just his voice and bass. Simple and pure. ‘Slowly Melting’ was recorded on a live take with the voice and bass parts simultaneously."
"Many of these songs were deeply emotional journeys, and that character tends to shine through in these unplugged versions.”
Official Purchase Link
DarWin @ Facebook
DarWin @ YouTube
DarWin @ Spotify
Title - 'Wolf Song'
Artist - Melody Duncan
For those not in the know, Atlanta, GA-based singer-songwriter/violinist/multi-instrumentalist Melody Duncan has just released her debut solo album, Wolf Song, this past March 12th, 2021.
With hints of Americana, indie-pop, chamber-pop, and folk woven together into a compelling mix, the songs on the album also feature Duncan’s unique vocals, a slightly gravelly beckoning into the depths of her music.
With a clear vision and focus, Wolf Song was entirely written, performed, recorded, and produced by Duncan.
2. 'Wolf Song'
4. 'Dear Friend'
7. 'Over the Hill'
11. 'Rain Storm'
This exceptionally fresh and uniquely vibrant new album opens with the angelic, choir-like few seconds of 'Prelude' and backs that up with the foot-tappin' Americana title track 'Wolf Song,' the atmospheric 'Cardinal' and then we get the gently strummed storytelling of 'Dear Friend' and then some Old West-whistled harmonies accompany the delightful 'Lonely.'
Prior to her solo music endeavors, Duncan was a member of the international touring group The Mulligan Brothers, where she brought violin, fiddle, keyboards, and vocals to the band.
Together they hit the top 50 on the Americana charts in the U.S. and played the Cayamo Cruise with artists such as Emmylou Harris, Brandi Carlile, Shawn Mullins, Steve Earle and John Paul White.
With Wolf Song, instead of playing songs that others had written, Duncan finally set out to share her own original music with the world. True to her upbringing, her original music is a mix of genres, a taste all its own.
Perhaps none more so than the floatingly ambient 'Paper' and the delicately played and sung 'Over the Hill,' which are in turn backed by the gossamer beauty within 'Reunion,' before the album closes out on the atmospheric trio of 'Campfire,' the rain-imbued 'Edward,' finally closing on the near five minute, and aptly entitled 'Rain Storm' - in which all you hear for the entirety of those minutes is an actual, real life rain storm! (which, I swear, by about halfway through you can start to smell!)
In addition to counting the members of her family as musically encouraging and motivating, Duncan has also drawn inspiration from artists as diverse as Freddie Mercury, Alison Krauss, Elton John, Chris Thile, and James Taylor.
“They are masters of their craft, and they make technically savvy music readily enjoyable to all types of audiences,” says Duncan.
"Listening to their music makes my heart happy. The music keeps me company and makes me feel inspired. My hope is to pass that on, to add light, inspiration, and encouragement to other people. I feel that music can be like a prayer, a hope, a connection to our deepest source of light.”
Official Purchase Link
Melody Duncan @ Facebook
Title - 'Amorphous'
Artist - Icon For Hire
For those not in the know, modern-rock giants Icon For Hire have today released their third album, Amorphous, this past February 19th, 2021.
Since forming in 2007, Icon For Hire (composed of singer Ariel Bloomer and guitarist Shawn Jump) have quietly amassed a legion of followers.
Currently sitting at over half a million monthly listeners on Spotify and over 600,000 followers across social platforms, Icon For Hire are the sleeping giants of the modern rock scene, and are now ready to step into the forefront with new album Amorphous (available through Kartel Music Group).
For fans of Twenty One Pilots and PVRIS, Icon For Hire’s sound is one that effortlessly blends heavy riffs, elements of electronic production and soaring vocal lines into a powerful & bold sonic explosion.
But at the heart of Icon For Hire’s music is a message of positivity, self-love and personal empowerment from the painfully relatable and rousing lyrics of Ariel.
1. 'Brittle (Prelude)'
3. 'Curse or Cure'
5. 'Panic Attacks'
7. 'Thirteen (Interlude)'
8. 'Background Sad'
9. 'Last One Standing'
10. 'Waste My Hate'
11. 'Impossibles & Obstacles (Interlude)'
12. 'Sticks And Stones'
14. 'Only Be A Story'
This quite mesmerizingly fantastic album opens on the :44 second 'Brittle' (Prelude) before launching full force into the actual track, and then they bleed seamlessly into the thunderous 'Curse or Cure,' the melodically-infused, foot-pounder 'Enemies,' and then we get the trippy speed rap of 'Panic Attacks,' the fiercely energetic call to arms that is 'Seeds,' and the beautiful, acoustic piano interlude 'Thirteen.'
For Amorphous the band worked with Grammy Nominated engineer Romesh Dodangoda (known for his previous work producing the last Bring Me The Horizon album as well as acts such as Don Broco, Busted, and Kids in Glass Houses), and his influence can be heard veined through such tracks as both the metal gossamer of 'Background Sad' and the building soar of euphoria within 'Last One Standing.'
Next up is the triumphant, drum-led, empowered strength of 'Waste My Hate' which is followed by the raw rap interlude of 'Impossibles & Obstacles,' which is itself backed by the free flowing pop rock power of 'Sticks And Stones,' the album rounding out on the magnificent, vocally pristine powerhaus track 'Warrior,' closing on the stilled quietness of the piano-led masterpiece 'Only Be A Story.'
The album has been completely funded by fans through a Kickstarter campaign that raised over $263k in just 30 days — making it one of the year’s highest-raising music campaigns.
This success was achieved thanks to the bands highly dedicated fanbase that support them on Patreon and have been there for the band though thick, thin, litigation, addiction and more.
Having overcome both personal and professional adversity, Icon For Hire are living proof that you can take control of your life — and that’s perhaps the greatest success anyone can hope to accomplish.
Icon For Hire - 'Seeds' (Official Music Video)
Official Purchase Link
Icon For Hire @ Facebook
Icon For Hire @ Twitter
Icon For Hire @ Instagram
Title - 'Sleeping Beauty'
Artist - Srdjan Ivanovic Blazin' Quartet
For those not in the know, blending oriental musical philosophy with the adventurousness of Jazz, Srdjan Ivanovic's Blazin' Quartet has created a unique sound, ranging from melodic to rhythmic, concrete to abstract and acoustic to electronic.
Never has a five-member quartet sounded better! Or bigger! Or more profoundly, organically, articulate!
On their just-released new album, Sleeping Beauty, we discover nine tracks of unpredictable, potent, refreshingly-divorced-from-the-status-quo-while-exceedingly-brilliant creative mettle that are offered, awaiting our gleeful listening pleasure.
Joined by special guest, maestro flutist, Magic Malik, Srdjan Ivanovic's renowned Blazin' Quartet - featuring Andreas Polyzogopoulos (trumpet), Federico Casagrande (guitar), Mihail Ivanov (double bass) and Srdjan Ivanovic (drums; keyboards; composer) - delivers in truly omnipotent fashion.
1. 'Intro' (1:28)
2. 'Sleeping Beauty' (6:00)
3. 'The Man With The Harmonica' (7:04)
4. 'Guchi' (6:46)
5. 'Andreas' (2:15)
6. 'Rue Des Balkans' (5:41)
7. 'Sleeping Beauty' (Solo Guitar) (2:12)
8. 'A'Laube Du Cinquième Jour (Gott Mit Uns)' (4:38)
9. 'Outro' (1:39)
In truth, seldom does such an ensemble jazz cast weave so seamlessly, yet play with such heartfelt emotion, conviction and, at times, abandon than here on the simply magnificent Sleeping Beauty.
They open with a melodically quick intro before sliding into the earthy, ornate ambiance of the exquisite title track ballad (which was inspired by his wife, Catherine), before bringing us a reworked version of Ennio Morricone's western-themed 'The Man With The Harmonica' (here where a trumpet lyrically replaces the harmonica, so to speak), the intimate dialogue between trumpet and flute of 'Guchi,' and the short, but sweet, trumpet tones of 'Andreas.'
The aching yearn and reach of more trumpet and flute come forth on the excellent 'Rue Des Balkans,' making this one of my own personal favorites from the album, and that is followed by the dulcetly masterful solo guitar reworking of the title track, before we get the second of his Morricone renditions, this time the melodic 'A'Laube Du Cinquième Jour (Gott Mit Uns),' closing on a dutifully serene :90 second outro.
"When initially asked to talk about this new album, my first thought was to say that beauty ‘’sleeps’’ in everything," Srdjan reveals, "but when I think again I would rather say that everything is beautiful but we are ‘’asleep’’ and don’t experience it."
"But, sometimes, somebody creates something that touches us, wakes us up, and for a moment we see everything shining in it’s true light. I hope this recording does that to you."
Official Purchase Link
Srdjan Ivanovic @ Facebook
Srdjan Ivanovic @ Bandcamp
Title - 'Giant Steppes'
Artist - Dennis Rea
For those not in the know, MoonJune stalwart Dennis Rea (Moraine, Iron Kim Style, Zhongyu) continues his series of “musical travelogues” with Giant Steppes, a boldly unconventional exploration of Central Asian music that follows on from his acclaimed 2010 MoonJune release Views From Chicheng Precipice.
The album also comes with Rea's companion book Tuva and Busted, available as a free download from Blue Ear Books at: www.blueearbooks.com
Recorded over several years in Seattle and Siberia, Giant Steppes is the ever-unpredictable guitarist/composer/arranger's most ambitious album so far, interpolating Silk Road desert airs, Russian choral songs, Tuvan throat singing, and mutant Tibetan pop with a gleeful yet respectful disregard for genre purity.
1. 'Live At Gaochang (Uyghur Suite)' (16:41)
2. 'Altai By And By' (8:44)
3. 'Wind Of The World's Nest' (9:56)
4. 'The Fellowship Of Tsering' (14:07)
Opening on the mesmerizingly, near 17-minute, magnificent opus 'Live At Gaochang (Uyghur Suite)' all you need to know about this talented collective is summed up perfectly within all that musically comes forth.
A cavalcade of sounds, vibrations, and musical dreamscapes that randomly interchange at will, Rea (electric, resonator, and ‘Mellotron’ guitars) is on top form here and once that has subsided, they slip seamlessly into the Russian traditional song (arranged by Juliana Svetlitchnaia and Dennis Rea) 'Altai By And By.'
Featuring Rea on electric guitar and both Juliana and PAVA on vocals and hurdy-gurdy respectively, the track is hauntingly breathtaking and is a massive stand out cut for this album to tentpole itself on.
Next up is the throaty spoken-word/sung, melodic Tuvan traditional song 'Wind Of The World's Nest,' which has Rea on electric guitar and ‘throat guitar,’ along with Albert Kuvezin's deeply tonal vocals bringing forth the lyrics of Galsan Tschinag.
The album then rounds out with the 15-miute epic 'The Fellowship Of Tsering' from Jampa Tsering and arranged by Rea. My oh my, what a journey this song is, as it takes us from lands near and far, across waters and uncharted ground, through fires and droughts, whilst at all times signaling a harkened, beating outcry, all whilst Rea showcases his talent on the electric and organ guitars along with the kalimba.
As I'm sure you are now all more than well aware, Giant Steppes is all over the map both geographically and sonically, mingling jazz, heavy prog, krautrock, surf, electroacoustic soundscapes, and field recordings, but that's exactly what makes it just so damn good!
Showcasing such formidable musicians as Tuvan singer Albert Kuvezin (Yat Kha), celebrated Russian choral ensemble Juliana & PAVA, badass bassist Wadim Dicke, trumpet mage Greg Kelley, Rea's 1970s Earthstar bandmate Daniel Zongrone, and Seattle treasures Steve Fisk, Doug Haire, Stuart Dempster, Dick Valentine, Don Berman, Greg Campbell, Brian Oppel, and Greg Powers, the 4-track, 50 minute plus album is one of the Top 5 of my year so far, and I'm sure it will be for you also.
Official Purchase Link
Dennis Rea @ Bandcamp
Title - 'Zoji'
Artist - Wingfield / Chapman / Adewale
Parallel Times. Dizzying constellations of notes netted within the soundboard of the harpsichord, quill-plucked and sent spinning in darting arcs and ascending steps.
Harmonic fog adrift from which notes slip out in silvery streaks, gleaming with passion, while some, disconsolate, fall into dark silence snuffing out their glow.
Cymbals sizzle and resonate, ceding space to the crackle of shells shaken. Wood, skin, clay all brushed, touched and tamped, honed into accents and beats, breathing between the firefly flurries criss-crossing through their time.
When Mark Wingfield, Jane Chapman and Adriano Adewale came to breathe life into these ornate and dazzling compositions, they collectively embarked on a process that would have them prospecting in the eddying silt of imagination and intuition.
As each player exchanged ideas, modified aspects of the pieces, and brought their energy, momentum, and focus to the work, new and exciting music swirled into being.
Making music and making a record is, to a lesser or greater degree, all about personal transformation. Something that previously only existed in concept is given tangible form, a creation unique to the moment that’s tethered to specific locations; in this case Chapman’s house and Wingfield’s studio.
And lo, their brand new collective album was born, Zoji (out now via MoonJune Records).
1. 'City Story' [5:11]
2. 'Seven Faces Of Silence' [6:36]
3. 'Persian Snow Leopard' [8:18]
4. 'Parallel Time' [8:42]
5. 'Land On Sky' [6:39]
6. 'Sun Court' [3:18]
7. 'Wind Falls Cliffs Rise' [7:22]
8. 'Pasquali Dream' [2:20]
9. 'Zoji Pass' [6:08]
10. 'Prélude Sinueux' [4:22]
11. 'Viaduct Road' [5:49]
Opening on the '70s-imbued, TV spy thriller-esque soundscapes of 'City Story' and 'Seven Faces Of Silence,' they then bring us the quietly magnificent, stand alone masterpiece 'Persian Snow Leopard,' which they follow up seamlessly with the articulate musicianship of 'Parallel Time' and the deeply-rooted, atmospheric ambiance of 'Land On Sky.'
Next up is the free flowing hipsway of 'Sun Court' and the statically charged melodies of 'Wind Falls Cliffs Rise,' which are backed by the delicate musings of 'Pasquali Dream,' the dancing and twirling gossamer of 'Zoji Pass,' the album rounding out on the earthy, organically-enthused 'Prélude Sinueux,' closing on the rich musical synergism of 'Viaduct Road.'
Official Purchase Link
Mark Wingfield @ Bandcamp
Title - 'No Ordinary Love: The Music of Sade'
Artist - Bill Kwan
For those not in the know, this is no ordinary jazz album and it’s not just that San Francisco vocalist Bill Kwan delves deeply into the songbook of one of the 20th century’s most popular female singers either.
Slated for release on April 16th, 2021 No Ordinary Love: The Music of Sade captures an artist boldly redefining himself. Collaborating closely with a brilliant cast of New York players, he brings a confidently sensuous male sensibility to material defined by the Nigerian-born superstar, whose cool, understated style and regal persona has largely kept other artists from interpreting her songs.
Working again with veteran producer Matt Pierson, whose credits range from Brad Mehldau, Joshua Redman and Kirk Whalum to k.d. lang, Laura Benanti and Jane Monheit, Kwan is both reverent and resolutely unprecious in reimagining Sade’s music.
In many ways, No Ordinary Love builds on his previous project with Pierson, 2015’s Poison & Wine, a pensive and often riveting collection of contemporary indie rock songs by the likes of Beck, Björk, Bon Iver, Gillian Welch, and The Civil Wars.
1. 'The Sweetest Taboo'
2. 'Flower Of The Universe' (from Disney's A Wrinkle in Time)
3. 'King Of Sorrow'
5. 'No Ordinary Love'
6. 'The Moon And The Sky'
7. 'Love Is Stronger Than Pride'
8. 'Haunt Me'
9. 'The Big Unknown' (from Widows)
Having decided not to tackle all of Sade's bigger, better know hits singles from around the world, instead Kwan settles for just four of her more hypnotic hits — 'The Sweetest Taboo,' 'King of Sorrow,' 'Love is Stronger Than Pride,' and the title track.
Opening with the joyously melodic, and now sultry 'The Sweetest Taboo,' Kwan then walks us into the ornate nature of the delicate 'Flower Of The Universe,' the slow motion balladeering hipsway of both 'King Of Sorrow' and 'Jezebel,' before delivering a gently sped up, yet quite stunning rendition of Sade's gently pulsating 'No Ordinary Love.'
Kwan then digs deep into the Sade catalogue for the Latin-flavored 'The Moon And The Sky,' from their sixth album, Soldier of Love (2010), before the mid-tempo rhythms and flow of 'Love Is Stronger Than Pride' are brought forth.
The album rounds out on the slow and easy, trumpet-imbibed 'Haunt Me,' from the third Sade album, Stronger Than Pride (1988), before choosing to close on their soundtrack cut for the 2018 feature film 'Widows,' the earthy, organic and mesmerizingly sculpted 'The Big Unknown.'
“It’s very different tackling these songs from a male perspective and I could only sing pieces where I could identify with the lyrics. The key was maintaining the intimacy and not over-singing. We maintained the fragile quality of Sade’s music even though the feel is very different,” Kwan says.
“The challenge is that her music is so identifiable,” Kwan explains. “Even if some of the original productions, like ‘The Sweetest Taboo,’ may not have aged well, her phrasing and approach is so hip."
"I adopted a very specific rule, singing like you’re not singing, while trying to make sure there’s enough emotion. What makes her music interesting is the repetition."
"The magic is that hook or melody. Often times [veteran producer] Matt [Pierson] would dial me down. He really did guide me with the dynamics of each song.”
Bill Kwan @ Facebook
Bill Kwan @ Twitter
Bill Kwan @ YouTube
Title - 'Sundial'
Artist - Carl Verheyen
For those not in the know, in his 50-plus years of playing the instrument, Carl Verheyen has created a wildly successful, multi-faceted career.
Indeed, he is a critically acclaimed musician, vocalist, songwriter, arranger, producer and educator with fifteen albums and two live DVDs released worldwide.
Carl is commonly regarded as a guitar virtuoso capable of playing any style of music with remarkable mastery and conviction. He has been one of LA’s elite “first call” session players for the past 38 years, playing on hundreds of records, movie soundtracks and television shows.
As a solo artist, Verheyen has graced the pages of countless industry publications and been the subject of numerous articles chronicling his rise to the forefront of the modern day guitar scene. Carl has won numerous polls and musical honors in the US, Germany, France, Italy and the UK.
A member of the British rock group Supertramp since 1985, Carl has played to millions of enthusiastic fans in sold out arenas worldwide.
As the creative force behind the Carl Verheyen Band, he has released an impressive and eclectic discography that showcases his endless talents across a wide array of musical genres.
The CVB tours all over the world and continues to draw fans on the festival circuit as well as theaters and clubs.
A much sought after studio musician, Carl plays on other artists’ CDs whenever his busy schedule permits. He has recorded and played with a virtual who’s who of the music industry.
His vast collection of movie soundtrack and television credits is enviable. 67,000,000 people heard Carl as a featured soloist at the 2009 Academy Awards. He is also heavily featured in the documentary film about the electric guitar called Turn It Up!
As an active performer, songwriter, teacher and producer Carl continues to work and practice the guitar everyday.
His brand new album, Sundial (releasing April 9th, 2021 via Cranktone Entertainment) is an esoteric record comprising of rock, funk, ska, soulful ballads and afro-pop music. Recorded during the music industry’s “Grand Pause” of 2020, guitarist Verheyen adopted an “anything goes” concept and musical variety is most definitely the theme.
3. 'Clawhammer Man'
4. 'Never Again'
5. 'Garfunkel (It Was All Too Real)'
6. 'People Got To Be Free'
7. 'Spiral Glide'
8. 'Michelle’s Song'
9. 'No Time For A Kiss'
10. 'Sundial Slight Return'
Opening with the title track 'Sundial' (a track imbued with acoustic and electric guitars, piano, organ and backing vocals), the song soars through jazz-rock, prog-rock and even folk-rock tonalities, which all lead us neatly on to the up tempo instrumental 'Kaningie.
Inspired by a record collection of Afro-pop recordings and crossing it with the feel of the Santana classic 'Soul Sacrifice,' Verheyen has written a wild and relentless melody for this track, and one captured live with two drummers, none the less.
Next up is the brilliant 'Clawhammer Man, a song that has been told to have grown from a two bar lick played out of a tiny four watt amplifier, and that's backed by the melodic blues undertones of 'Never Again' and 'Garfunkel (It Was All Too Real)' (a song created especially by Verheyen in memory of the day, as a 15 year-old boy, in a hotel lobby in Alberta, Canada, he stopped to play the intro to the #1 song of the day, only for Art Garfunkel to appear behind him and sing along!)
The Rascals have always been a favorite band of Verheyen’s and Felix Cavalier one of his favorite singers, so next we get treated to an up tempo rendition of the Ska tune 'People Got To Be Free,' which is followed by 'Spiral Glide,’ his tribute to David Gilmour ("a true English gentleman and lifelong inspiration.”.
'Michelle’s Song,' which was born from listening to a long forgotten Elton John tune from the '70s movie soundtrack called ‘Friends,' is Verheyen's reimagined beautiful tune with a southern rock meets country feel, and then the album rounds out with the blues rock ballad 'No Time For A Kiss,' closing on one last ponderance within 'Sundial Slight Return.'
“The title track ‘Sundial’ was an attempt to write a healing and uplifting piece of music that makes me feel good every time I hear it,” says Verheyen.
Official Purchase Link
Carl Verheyen @ Facebook
Carl Verheyen @ Instagram
Carl Verheyen @ Twitter
Carl Verheyen @ YouTube
Carl Verheyen @ Soundcloud
Title - 'Goodnight, Lover'
Artist - Sweetlove
For those not in the know, in late 2017, Sweetlove was beginning to work on new original material when she was faced with three devastating losses - her oldest friend, Matt, her long-time love, David, and her cousin, Teddy, all passed away within one year of each other.
She funneled her grief into collaborations with writers such as Jay Stolar (Selena Gomez, Trevor Daniel, Aloe Blacc, G-Eazy, Demi Lovato), Evangelina, Zach Berkman/The Heart Of (Ron Pope), Garen Gueyikian, and Adam Tressler, resulting in a collection of songs about “grappling with loss, coming to terms with it, missing someone, wishing you had known you weren’t going to have more time, and how to find joy again.”
Sweetlove has found her own refuge in songwriting after years of helping others showcase theirs. She sang backup vocals for Grammy-nominated and Tony award-winning artists, paying dues on huge stages.
The daughter of a preacher and a teacher, she grew up in California’s Simi Valley and experienced music as a natural part of life – not as a pursuit or a practice, but an extension of just being.
Childhood Pentecostal religious services began with songs often sung by David’s bearded, raspy-voiced father. “I grew up with his voice,” Sweetlove says, before noting that many of his children – David’s siblings – became professional musicians.
Now, after living in West Hollywood for the last 15 years, Sweetlove has drawn from her time sharing stages with superstars and that resonant voice that readied worshippers for interpreting tongues to create something that is entirely, beautifully hers.
Produced by Justin Glasco (The Lone Bellow), her brand new EP Goodnight, Lover puts Sweetlove’s twin devotions to her earthy pop and the people she loves on magnificent display.
Written with Stolar, the title track nods to the bluesy swagger of Shelby Lynne as Sweetlove sings to a new lover, from a distance. Then, just one month later, David died – and Sweetlove’s world and the songs she would write, all changed.
1. 'Devil On Your Shoulder'
2. 'Goodnight, Lover'
3. 'The House'
4. 'Did You Even Know'
5. 'Before The Devil Knows You're Dead'
6. 'Things I Didn't Say'
Opening with arguably the only happy song on the EP, the one-two beat step of 'Devil on Your Shoulder,' Sweetlove urges self-acceptance with heartwarming confidence, and backs that up with the yearning, country twang reach of the title track, and then we get the low slung, layered ballad 'The House.'
Next up is the Americana-pop of the troubadour-imbibed 'Did You Even Know' which she backs up seamlessly with the lazy, hazy country balladeering of wishes for outrunning demons within 'Before The Devil Knows You're Dead,' closing on the lovelorn 'Things I Didn't Say' (a song written about Sweetlove’s last time in Portland with David).
Listening to Goodnight, Lover, a truth emerges: Sweetlove isn’t merely working through her own hurt. She is singing these songs to the ones she still misses, addressing them with tenderness and love.
She is interested in the potential of music therapy to assist others – from veterans with PTSD to those dealing with loss – and she hopes these songs can be a balm to anyone who hears them.
“I think David would be really happy to hear that I took this terrible thing and made something beautiful out of it – something that can touch others,” Sweetlove says, quietly. “I hope listeners take what they need from it to comfort themselves or maybe feel less alone.”
Official Purchase Link
Sweetlove @ Facebook
Sweetlove @ Instagram
Sweetlove @ Twitter
Sweetlove @ Spotify
Title - 'Metaphysics: The Lost Atlantic Album'
Artist - Hasaan Ibn Ali
For those not in the know, in 1964, drummer/composer Max Roach convinced Atlantic Records to record him with producer Nusuhi Ertegun at the helm.
Sessions were held in December of 1964 and the resulting album, The Max Roach Trio Featuring the Legendary Hasaan, was released three months later.
Atlantic invited Ali to record again in August and September of 1965, but before mixing sessions could turn the recorded material into a releasable album, Ali had become incarcerated on a narcotics possession.
Atlantic shelved the album. Thirteen years later, that tape went up in flames in an Atlantic Records warehouse in Long Branch, N.J. For years a rumor circulated, that a copy of the sessions had been made, but attempts to locate it never turned up a source ... until recently.
Omnivore Recordings is proud to present this long-thought lost piece of jazz history, restored and mastered by Grammy Award-winning engineer Michael Graves from a tape copy of long-lost reference acetates of the sessions, and with notes from producer Alan Sukoenig and author/pianist Lewis Porter.
Releasing under the title Metaphysics: The Lost Atlantic Album, and available on CD, Vinyl and Digital this coming April 23rd, 2021, the project, co-produced by Sukoenig and Grammy Award-nominated producer Patrick Milligan, and Grammy Award-winning producer Cheryl Pawelski, features the seven surviving tracks from the album sessions along with three surviving alternate takes.
1. 'Atlantic Ones'
3. 'El Hasaan'
4. 'Richard May Love Give Powell'
7. 'True Train'
8. 'True Train' (Short Version) [Bonus Track]
9. 'Viceroy' (Short Version) [Bonus Track]
10. 'Atlantic Ones' (Short Version) [Bonus Track]
This quite opulent album of buried treasure opens with the reverently boisterous melodies of 'Atlantic Ones' and the lush orchestrations of 'Viceroy' and backs them both up seamlessly with the one-two rhythmic punch of the thoughtfully precise 'El Hasaan,' and then the aching tenderness of 'Richard May Love Give Powell' is brought forth.
Next up comes the finger-snapping title track 'Metaphysics' which is itself followed by the elegant blues hipsway of 'Epitome' and the pure piano majesty of 'True Train,' with this expanded edition now coming complete with short versions of 'True Train,' 'Viceroy' and 'Atlantic Ones.'
Personnel on the August 23 and September 7, 1965 sessions that took place at Atlantic Studios in New York City were Hasaan, piano; Pope, tenor sax; Art Davis, bass; and Kalil Madi, drums. All are profiled in the liner notes.
From the liner notes: “The pianist, Hasaan Ibn Ali, whom saxophonist Odean Pope calls ‘the most advanced player to ever develop [in Philadelphia],’ had practiced intensively with John Coltrane in the early 1950s and is thought, by Pope and others, to have been the influence behind Coltrane’s so-called sheets of sound as well as the harmonic approach that underlay Coltrane’s breakthrough Giant Steps, and also, with Earl Bostic, one of the two role models behind Coltrane’s strict work ethic.
Yet he was rarely employed, even by musicians who respected his playing and his knowledge, thus leaving him with little chance to develop an audience. When he sat down at the piano at the Woodbine, an after-hours club in Philadelphia, all the horn players would leave the stand for they were unable to play with him, so unfamiliar were his harmonic concepts.”
Packaging includes photos from December of 1964 by notable photographer Larry Fink, who refers to Ali as “the Prokofiev of jazz.”
Omnivore - Hasaan Ibn Ali 'Metaphysics' Official Trailer
Official Purchase Link
Title - 'Cleveland Time'
Artist - Matthew Alec and The Soul Electric
Cleveland Time (out now via Cleveland Time Records), acclaimed saxophonist Matthew Alec leads a new crew of musicians in his jazz fusion band Matthew Alec & The Soul Electric.
Whilst Alec heads the group with his skillful saxophone work in the album’s eight tracks, also joining him are bandmates: keyboardist and vocalist Brian Woods, bassist Jared Lees, guitarist Steven Forrest Sanders, percussionist Jeremiah ‘The Franchise’ Hawkins and drummer Leon Henault.
1. 'Give What You Take'
2. 'Baby You Got Me' (feat. Brian Woods)
3. 'Cleveland Time' (feat. Tom Bones Malone, Minus the Alien & Jared Lees)
4. 'Never With You'
5. 'Enigma Man' (feat. Steven Forrest Sanders)
6. 'Blues for McCoy' (feat. Tim Coyne)
7. 'Sunshine On Prospect'
8. 'Cleveland Time' (feat. Tom Bones Malone, Minus the Alien & Jared Lees) (Radio Edit)
Opening on the upbeat and funky 'Give What You Take' they back that up with the oh-so smoothly lush, R&B flow of 'Baby You Got Me' (feat. Brian Woods), the masterful, full on deep horn and percussion work of the title track 'Cleveland Time' (feat. Tom Bones Malone, Minus the Alien & Jared Lees), and then we get the slow roll, balladeering shuffle of 'Never With You.'
With the entirety of Cleveland Time having been recorded in two sessions with Cleveland-based producer Jim Stewart, with a lengthy pause between the sessions due to the coronavirus pandemic, next up is the mid-tempo R&B hipsway of 'Enigma Man' (feat. Steven Forrest Sanders) which is followed by the gently frenetic 'Blues for McCoy' (feat. Tim Coyne), the beautiful evensong of 'Sunshine On Prospect,' with the album rounding out on the radio edit of 'Cleveland Time.'
The crew originally formed while Alec performed in a James Brown tribute band, where he connected with the other local musicians.
“I had wanted to do some type of jazz fusion project for a long time,” Alec said. “I’m a huge fan of Brecker Brothers, David Sanborn - ’70s and ’80s jazz fusion. I wanted to do a project like that.”
It builds off of Alec’s experience performing both jazz and funk with his former band Winslow, which he toured with for about a decade, he said. After his time in Winslow, Alec performed around town for hire, and decided he wanted to make his own band, which is when he brought the group together.
Beyond the band’s core members, Alec managed to land a star for The Soul Electric’s first album. Trombonist Tom “Bones” Malone is a performer best-known for his roles performing in the “Saturday Night Live” band, the house band for the “Late Show with David Letterman” and in “The Blues Brothers” band.
Official Purchase Links
Matthew Alec and The Soul Electric @ Instagram
Matthew Alec and The Soul Electric @ YouTube
Title - 'California Music Presents Add Some Music'
Artist - Various
“The world could come together as one.”
These lyrics are from the 1970 Beach Boys composition 'Add Some Music to Your Day,' and they are the inspiration for a new Omnivore Recordings album, California Music Presents Add Some Music, due out April 23rd, 2021 on CD and Digital.
Initiated by Beach Boys historian and documentarian David Beard, California Music Presents Add Some Music is an uplifting collection celebrating all that is good about one of California’s greatest exports … music!
In 2020, Beard re-recorded the classic 1970 Beach Boys song 'Add Some Music to Your Day' (written by Brian Wilson, Mike Love and Joe Knott) with Beach Boys members Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston and David Marks and the children of the Beach Boys; including Carnie and Wendy Wilson (Brian Wilson’s daughters), Christian, Hayleigh and Ambha Love (Mike Love’s children); Justyn Wilson (son of Carl Wilson); and Matt Jardine (son of founding Beach Boys member Al Jardine).
Their brilliant new rendering of 'Add Some Music to Your Day' was arranged and produced by Rob Bonfiglio (member of the Brian Wilson Band and husband to Carnie Wilson).
Filling out the ten tracks are recordings by Love, Jardine, Johnston, Marks longtime Beach Boys associate Jeffrey Foskett, Bonfiglio, and a previously unreleased recording of The Beach Boys’ classic ‘Friends' from the next generation.
1. 'Add Some Music To Your Day' – California Music
2. 'Ram Raj' – Mike Love
3. 'Jenny Clover' – Al Jardine
4. 'She Believes in Love Again' – Bruce Johnston
5. 'Long Promised Road' – David Marks
6. 'Friends' – Christian Love, Matt Jardine, Carnie Wilson, Wendy Wilson, Justyn Wilson, Ambha Love, Adam Jardine, Carl B. Wilson
7. 'Get Together' – Jeffrey Foskett
8. 'Golden State' – Rob Bonfiglio
9. 'Add Some Music to Your Day' (A Capella Version) – California Music
10. 'Add Some Music to Your Day' (Instrumental) – California Music
This quite uplifting, soothing and totally awesome new album opens on the free flowing harmonies and melodies of 'Add Some Music To Your Day' (from the California Music collective) and backs that up with the heavily chanted ambiance of 'Ram Raj' (Mike Love), the genuine tenderness of 'Jenny Clover' (Al Jardine), and then we get both the lush orchestrations of 'She Believes in Love Again' (Bruce Johnston) and the guitar psych work of 'Long Promised Road' from David Marks.
Next up is the free flowing, layered harmonies of 'Friends' (feat. Christian Love, Matt Jardine, Carnie Wilson, Wendy Wilson, Justyn Wilson, Ambha Love, Adam Jardine, Carl B. Wilson), which is itself backed by the foot-tapping 'Get Together' (Jeffrey Foskett), the tambourine-imbibed, gentle hipsway of 'Golden State' (Rob Bonfiglio), with the album coming to a close on an acapella version, and then an instrumental version, of 'Add Some Music to Your Day.'
From Beard’s liner notes: “Gathering together these incredible talents in order to help those in need is as good as it gets, and when it comes to the music of The Beach Boys, it makes sense."
"We get to listen to music while helping others. It’s ventures like this one that make the future a little brighter.”
A portion of the proceeds of this release will be donated to:
Official Purchase Link
'California Music Add Some Music To Your Day' - Official Music Video
Omnivore 'California Music Presents Add Some Music' Official Trailer
Title - 'Self [En]Titled'
Artist - Cole Quest and the City Pickers
For those unaware, Cole Quest and the City Pickers are a group of New York City musicians connected by friendship and a love of bluegrass.
Quest, grandson of the folk icon Woody Guthrie, has brought together a collection of eclectic pickers who have gained recognition on the local scene.
Performing both Quest's original tunes as well as traditional favorites, the City Pickers bring their special brand of high-spirited talent to the stage, with up-beat, knee-slapping energy and a high-lonesome sound that’ll leave you wanting more.
After recording at NYC’s renowned Magic Shop studio and releasing their debut album in 2017, the group has created their first EP, Self [En]Titled (due out April 16th, 2021 via Omnivore Recordings), with the help of Grammy®-winning producer Steve Rosenthal and Grammy®-winning engineer Michael Graves.
Recorded in January of 2020, in person at Brooklyn’s Conveyor Studios by recording engineer Jason Borisoff, and produced by Rosenthal, the 6 track EP, Self [En]Titled, contains witty originals and crucial covers for the modern listener.
1. 'Ostrich Therapy'
2. 'The Bitcoin Gambler'
3. 'Way Over Yonder In The Minor Key'
4. '7-11 / Foggy Mountain Rock'
5. 'My Sweet Little Girl'
6. 'If I Still Had You'
Opening on the gently frenetic 'Ostrich Therapy,' which take the perspective of someone attempting to hide from the problems of this world (or simply just 2020!), they back that up seamlessly with the hamronica-driven 'The Bitcoin Gambler,' a John Prine-imbued, modern take on old gambling songs with modern references to the perils of the cryptocurrency market sewn into every lyric.
Next up is their re-envisioned Woody Guthrie/Billy Bragg cover, 'Way Over Yonder in The Minor Key,' now instilled with a more bluegrass ensemble in mind and led by the power house vocals of Christian Apuzzo, and that is followed by the only instrumental on the EP, their homage to the bluegrass legends, Flatt and Scruggs, '7-11 / Foggy Mountain Rock.'
This vibrantly authentic EP then rounds out with the quieter pacing of 'My Sweet Little Girl,' an ode to the struggles and pain of losing a beloved animal companion, closing on the more traditional bluegrass setting found within 'If I Still Had You.'
The core band resembles a slightly modified take on the traditional 5 piece bluegrass band, consisting of dobro (Cole Quest), guitar (Christian Apuzzo), banjo (Mike Mulhollan), harmonica (Matheus Verardino), and bass (Larry Cook). The album also features the likes of the incredibly talented Sam Reider (organ and wurlitzer), Sean Trishka (drums), and Erik Alvar (bass).
Official Purchase Link
Cole Quest And The City Pickers - 'Way Over Yonder In The Minor Key' Official Video
Omnivore Omnivore - Cole Quest 'Self [En]Titled' Official Trailer
Cole Quest and the City Pickers @ Facebook
Cole Quest and the City Pickers @ Instagram
Title - 'From The Wreckage - Part One'
Artist - Jason Charles Miller
For those unaware, Jason Charles Miller has just released a brand new album, From the Wreckage – Part One, this past March 26th, 2021.
Straddling the line between rock and country, the new album, which was released through Miller’s own Haunted Mill Music record label, puts his gritty, passion-filled style on full display throughout the seven new tracks.
Produced by Jason Charles Miller, Stewart Cararas and Matt Hyde, From the Wreckage – Part One is Miller’s fifth full-length and sixth studio release.
The album features several collaborations, including Adam Shoenfeld (Tim McGraw) playing lead guitar and “Cowboy” Eddie Long (Jamey Johnson) playing pedal steel on 'Better Late Than Never,' Duane Betts of the Allman Betts Band on 'Expiration Day,' and Katie Cole from Smashing Pumpkins on 'Day After Day' along with Eban Schletter (film composer) playing the Theremin.
1. 'Expiration Day'
2. 'Better Late Than Never'
3. 'Day After Day'
4. 'Losing My Way'
6. 'You’re About To'
7. 'Never Turning Back' [vocal version]
Opening on the thunderously magnificent 'Expiration Day,' which also features Duane Betts from the Allman Betts band on lead guitar, that's backed seamlessly by the best representation of who Miller thinks he is as an artist (for my money), the wailing foot-tapper 'Better Late Than Never' (featuring Adam Shoenfeld (Tim McGraw) on lead guitar and “Cowboy” Eddie Long (Jamey Johnson) on pedal steel).
Miller's cover of Badfinger's ballad 'Day After Day' is up next and featuring Katie Cole (from Smashing Pumpkins) on vocals and Eban Schletter (film composer) on Theremin, it has been quite masterfully re-envisoned, and that's backed by the late '80s, rockin' backbeat and bass line vibe of the brilliant 'Losing My Way' (and which also serves as the theme song to the podcast “What’s My Name Again?” hosted by Actor Kurt Caceras).
The pounding guitar fest of 'Reckless' is up next and really keeps the party going, and that's followed by the Americana Southern Rock revue found within 'You’re About To,' with the album coming to a close on the vocal, earthy version of 'Never Turning Back.'
Miller - widely remembered as the voice of the rock band Godhead - commented about the collaborations: “I have so many friends who happen to also be great musicians, and I love collaborating with them."
"I live in Los Angeles, so when friends from Nashville travel through on tour, I try and grab ‘em while I can and hit the record button - not to mention all the amazing musicians who live in Los Angeles."
"My long-time collaborator and friend Stewart Cararas was paramount in helping me complete both this album, and Part Two, another seven tracks that we are planning to release in summer 2021."
" And of course, I need to mention the great Matt Hyde - he produced my last full-length album, and we continue to work together when our schedules permit.”
Official Purchase Link
Jason Charles Miller @ YouTube
Jason Charles Miller @ Facebook
Jason Charles Miller @ Instagram
Jason Charles Miller @ Twitter
Title - 'Anomalia'
Artist - Jane Getter Premonition
Esoteric Antenna is delighted to announce the release of the superb new studio album by Jane Getter Premonition, Anomalia.
For those unaware, Jane’s band has carved out a niche at the intersection of jazz, rock, metal, and singer-songwriter styles with her masterful playing and complex and dynamic compositions and has dazzled audiences internationally on stage.
Citing musical influences such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, King Crimson, Porcupine Tree, Jeff Beck, Allan Holdsworth, and Wes Montgomery, Jane has played with many luminaries in the worlds of jazz and rock and formed her band Jane Getter Premonition to present her sophisticated compositions on record and on stage.
Assembling musicians Adam Holzman (Miles Davis, Steven Wilson), Alex Skolnick (Testament), Chad Wackerman (Frank Zappa), plus Mark Egan (Pat Metheny), Gene Lake (David Sanborn), Stu Hamm (Joe Satrianni), special guests Vernon Reid and singers Randy McStine and Chanda Rule, the album Anomalia is the stunning result of a series of magical recording sessions and is, without a shadow of a doubt, her finest work to date.
2. 'Lessons Learned'
4. 'Alien Refugee'
5. 'Still Here'
7. 'Queen of Spies'
9. 'Safe House'
Opening on the frenetic melodies within 'Kryptone' and the more laid back, swarthy 'Lessons Learned,' they are followed by the more rhythmic prog vibes of 'Dissembler,' the Renaissance-esque 'Alien Refugee,' and then one of my own personal favorites, the bouncy hipsway of 'Still Here.'
Next up is the mid-tempo, pop rock of 'Answers' which is itself backed by the fluid prog rock orchestrations of 'Queen of Spies,' with the album rounding out on the beautifully sedate 'Disappear,' closing on the acoustic Latin guitar approach to 'Safe House.'
In summary, and adorned with a striking cover image by artist Lasse Hoile, Anomalia is some mighty fine work by a mighty fine, and truly progressive musician and her band.
Official Purchase Link
Jane Getter @ Facebook
Jane Getter @ Twitter
Jane Getter @ Instagram
Jane Getter @ YouTube
Title - 'Creétisvan'
Artist - Mike Tiano
For those unaware, Mike Tiano is known for his bringing Yes into the Internet age. After helming one of the first online fanzines Notes From the Edge Mike created their official web site YesWorld, and for well over a decade was their web site manager.
Mike is also a musician and songwriter in his own right, now releasing Creétisvan which he characterizes as his life’s work and is informally calling the album his “audiobiography”.
As he explains, “This album is culled from many of my best compositions, written throughout my adulthood. I’ve rarely performed these, and had only recently produced them.”
What is evident is Mike’s being inspired by the likes of the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Rush, and of course Yes.
Indeed, listening along to it, you will quickly discover that the tunes are in the vein of early progressive rock: lots of heart along with catchy melodies, recurring themes, sonic instrumental flights, shifting dynamics, and the kind of tuneful content which is sorely missing in today’s popular musical scene.
Every track was written and arranged by Mike, who is lead vocalist and handles the lion’s share of the guitar work. While he also produced ten of the twelve tracks, the remaining two were handled by Yes member Billy Sherwood on 'Different Drummer' while the instrumental 'Dance of the Little Guys' is the work of Randy George, bassist for the Neal Morse Band. Both musicians perform on those respective songs.
1. 'There Behind You'
2. 'On Hold'
3. 'Constant Companion'
4. 'The Dark Ages'
5. 'Dance of the Little Guys'
6. 'Different Drummer'
8. 'A Natural'
9. 'The Evergreens'
11. '(Because) You Win'
12. 'Emerge Triumphant'
Many who miss classic rock, in general, will find much to enjoy here for Mike's influences are apparent throughout the album, if none more so than the trio of openers 'There Behind You,' the translucent 'On Hold,' and the free flowing prog ambiance of 'Constant Companion.'
Next up is the mesmerizingly exquisite 'The Dark Ages,' which is itself followed by the instrumental 'Dance of the Little Guys,' and then we get Billy Sherwood on the seven minute 'Different Drummer,' the Zeppelin-esque 'Automaton' and then one of my own personal favorites here, the the Buffalo Springfield vibe of 'A Natural.'
The album begins to round out with the deliciously effervescent 'The Evergreens,' before we get treated to the Yes-like 'Triad,' the notably Beatles-inspired '(Because) You Win,' with this quite tremendous album closing on the euphorically epic 'Emerge Triumphant' (which also features a live orchestra).
Other accomplished musicians gracing Creétisvan include David Sancious (Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, Jon Anderson’s album Animation); keyboard wizard and orchestrator Jonathan Sindelman (Keith Emerson Band, The Magic Band/Captain Beefheart); guitarist Steve McKnight (Cry Wolf, GayC/DC); keyboardist Rick Daugherty (the reformed Flash); vocalist Joanne Perica; and a host of notable Seattle-area talents.
Mike attributes the album’s “exquisite mix” to Grammy winner Steve Smith. Steve began his career as assistant engineer on Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life and was a member of legendary Beatles engineer Geoff Emerick’s production team for Supertramp’s 'Even in the Quietest Moments', where Steve participated on the hit 'Give a Little Bit'.
Steve would go on to apply his talents on projects for Heart, Cheap Trick, Donna Summer, Garth Brooks, and video game orchestrations for Michael Giacchino to name a very few.
Oh, and what the heck is a Creétisvan anyway? Well, when he was young Mike aspired to be a cartoonist; in his late teens and early twenties he created spacey cartoon collages.
To title this style of art he used a word unique to his own history—one that you won’t find in a dictionary (yet). Mike would use “Creetisvan” (no accent over the second ‘e’) for that art and later for his musical performances, and when he decided to retain it for the title of the album he added that accent to include the word “create”—denoting his devotion to artistry and creativity.
Bringing his artistic journey full circle some of the original artwork he created as a young adult will be found on the inside cover.
Official Purchase Link
Mike Tiano @ Facebook
Mike Tiano @ Twitter
Mike Tiano's Portfolio of Work
Title - 'Dark Horizons'
Artist - Illuminae
For those unaware, Immrama Records and Gonzo MultiMedia have announced the release of Dark Horizons, the debut album from Illuminae, the brand-new project from Ian Jones (Karnataka, Chasing The Monsoon) and Agnieszka Swita (Caamora).
From dark, twisted symphonies to sweet lullabies, the collective writing talents of Ian Jones and Agnieszka Swita combine in their powerful new musical collaboration.
Embracing symphonic, progressive and Celtic influences, bitter sweet melodies intertwine with lush harmonies to create a majestic towering cathedral of sound, songs which traverse the dividing line between darkness and light, life and death, solitude and hope.
1. 'The Lighthouse'
2. 'Blood On Your Hands'
3. 'Edge of Darkness'
6. 'Heretics and Prophecy'
8. 'Black Angel'
9. 'Sign of Infinity'
10. 'Dark Horizons'
In much the same vein as shards of light piercing a subterranean labyrinth, this simply breathtakingly ornate and magnificently sculptured new album opens with the atmospheric epic 'The Lighthouse' (featuring Steve Hackett) and the melodically reaching rock of 'Blood On Your Hands' and they back those up with the edgingly paced, sweeping drama of 'Edge of Darkness,' the gently whispered, vocally retrained ballad 'Lullaby,' and then we get the organ-led, mid-tempo rock hipsway of 'Twice.'
Next up is the Eastern-imbued, funeral pyre storytelling of 'Heretics and Prophecy' which is itself followed by the pop rock of both 'Sanctuary' and 'Black Angel,' with the album rounding out on the gossamer ebb and flow of 'Sign of Infinity,' before closing on the near 12-minute long opus, 'Dark Horizons.'
The album features special guests Steve Hackett (Genesis), John Helliwell (Supertramp), Troy Donockley (Nightwish), Craig Blundell (Steven Wilson), Luke Machin and Gonzalo Carrera.
The album was mixed by Joe Gibb, highly regarded as a world class mix engineer and who has worked with many prestigious artists including Massive Attack, The Cure and Leftfield.
Official Purchase Links
Illuminae @ Facebook
Illuminae @ Twitter
Illuminae @ Instagram
Illuminae @ YouTube
Title - 'Nainnoh'
Artist - Nainnoh
For those not in the know, Nainnoh is a Georgian-born American singer-songwriter. She blends atmospheric folk into psychedelic indie pop, intricate mixture of poetry, visual art, and cinematic mental imagery to create an all encompassing artistic statement.
Nainnoh was born in Rustavi, Georgia. Her father was an architect and her mother was a biochemist, so naturally, she grew up with a curious mind.
Her musical talents emerged very early, as she showed a surprising knack for American pop and jazz from an early age. She started piano and solfeggio lessons at 7 and began writing her own songs when she was only 11.
With a sound influenced by Joni Mitchell and Nina Simone as well as Georgian folk music, she began exploring the mystic infinities of the universe, adding astrology and physics to her songwriting vocabulary.
Nainnoh’s transcendent talent opened many doors for her and allowed her to work with some of the top talents in the music industry for her first album, the just-released, self-titled opus Nainnoh.
John Sully was her music producer, cited for his sound design and diverse multimedia career in the New York underground. Additionally she worked with Grammy winner Chris Gehringer and music industry mainstay Daniel Lynas.
1. 'Cambium Rings'
8. 'Break Apart'
9. 'Vital Illusions'
11. 'Velvet Mode'
Here on Nainnoh, Nainnoh has made a quite stirring album full of cosmic psychedelic meditations and melodies that reach the highest form of expression.
Opening with the luminous orchestrations of 'Cambium Rings' and the '70s-esque psych trip of 'Colors,' next up is the sonically-challenged reverb of 'Water,' then we get the more ethereal 'Run,' before both the jagged outlines of 'Threads' and the more '70s lush pop folk flow of 'Seasons' are brought forth.
We then get the mystically-imbibed 'Reasons' and some beautifully cultivated melodies within 'Break Apart' which are in turn followed by the smooth and creamy vibe of 'Vital Illusions,' with this uniquely sculpted album coming to a close on the quietly ornate 'Words' and the foot-tappin' beats of the mid-tempo 'Velvet Mode.'
"I've always been fascinated by the mysticism of the Georgian language," says Nainnoh, 'and the Georgian word for 'god' actually originated form the phrase 'deep one'."
"I want people listening to these songs to realize the depth of their powers to love and heal and unite, to realize that we could all be gods in our own ways. I want my music to be that kind of awakening."
Amazon Purchase Links
Nainnoh @ Facebook
Nainnoh @ Twitter
Nainnoh @ Instagram
Nainnoh @ YouTube
Title - 'Sweet Soul Song' [EP]
Artist - James Holvay
For those not in the know, after four decades out of the music limelight, singer-songwriter-guitarist James Holvay makes his return with a vital five-song slab of authentic Chicago-style soul music, Sweet Soul Song on his Mob Town Records imprint and set for release on April 16th, 2021.
The collection is a vibrant tip of the hat to the music Holvay witnessed and then played in during its 1960s flowering, when such hometown stars — all saluted on its title track — as Curtis Mayfield (lead singer-guitarist-songwriter of the Impressions), Major Lance (whose 'The Monkey Time' was one of several smashes penned by Mayfield), and Gene Chandler (nationally known for 'The Duke of Earl') ruled the R&B roost in America.
1. 'Working On It'
2. 'Sweet Soul Song'
3. 'Still The Fool'
4. 'Love Has Found A Way'
5. 'Talkin' About'
One of Holvay's originals opens Sweet Soul Song, in the form of the up-tempo stomper 'Working On It' which bleeds seamlessly into the rhythm and blues of the title track 'Sweet Soul Song' and then we get the string-decorated ballad 'Still the Fool.'
With the entire EP lovingly embracing the glory days of Windy City soul, an era that Holvay was able to experience first-hand as an aspiring adolescent guitarist and songwriter, we then find him dip into the Motown-esque, horn-imbued 'Love Has Found A Way,' with the EP closing on the hand-clapping, foot-tappin', sweet soul ambiance of 'Talking About.'
The EP’s background vocal arrangements were helmed by one of Holvay’s oldest musical compatriots, the Mob’s Gary Beisbier.
Every aspect of Sweet Soul Song was designed for maximum authenticity, right down to the last detail on the record’s cover art, a careful recreation of the LP jacket for Gene Chandler’s 1964 Constellation Records title Just Be True.
Crafted with care and played and sung with punch, James Holvay’s debut recording in his own name is sure to delight the most ardent soul music fans.
Holvay himself may be most tickled by praise the record received from Johnny Pate, the legendary arranger of the Impressions, Major Lance, Betty Everett, Bobby Bland, B.B. King, and other stars.
“He’s 97, and living in Texas now,” the musician says. “I sent him a copy of the record, and he said, ‘Ah, Jimmy, that brings back such beautiful memories.’”
Amazon Digital Purchase Link
James Holvay @ Facebook
James Holvay @ Instagram
James Holvay @ Soundcloud
Title - 'New Leaves'
Artist - Dan Rose / Claudine François
What is it about the guitar that can bring out the raging exhibitionist in those who play it?
All too often we hear recordings featuring guitarists that are flooded with fretboard frenzy; notes and chords cascading about each other seeming as if to prove that all that plentiful practice to master the instrument was well spent.
And then there are guitarists like Dan Rose and albums like his recent solo endeavor Last Night ... and his latest album, the quite beautifully crafted New leaves; a duo set recorded with Claudine François on piano.
Rose, noted for taking his time, finding on the mark harmony and linking it perfectly by way of "mot juste" note selection and phrasing only means that he plays to the song, not to his ego.
That Rose is a virtuoso is unquestioned; his extraordinary command of the instrument is always in plain site, but extravagant speed and other look-what-I-can-do displays are replaced by taste and subtlety.
The beauty of Rose's tone and his mellifluous playing is part and parcel of the artfulness of the classic songs he chooses. Through him we notice once more the sturdy structure and lyrical splendor of long familiar melodies.
And as we listen to his new duo album New Leaves with François, herself a talented pianist and musician of multitudinous adventures (Don Cherry, Jim Pepper, Jane Bunnett, et al), as well as being a multi-faceted artist who, within the expression of her art, incorporates African, Caribbean and African-American post-bop influences without ever renouncing her European roots, we now get to hear two musicians expressing their sincere love of song and elegant improvisation.
Simultaneously, we continually admire a masterful player who treats exquisite music with the respectful restraint it fully deserves. [SF]
1. 'The New Leaf'
2. 'Monk’s Dream'
3. 'Ladies In Mercedes'
4. 'Le Désert'
5. 'Señor Blues'
7. 'Yes I Do'
8. 'Mr. Slaint'
9. 'The Seagulls of Kristlansund'
Opening with the dulcet tones of 'The New Leaf,' where François' key work backs each deeper note played by Rose perfectly, that's backed by the upbeat 'Monk's Dream,' the poignant, piano-led 'Ladies In Mercedes,' and then we get the lushly free flowing piano work that becomes the magnificent 'Le Désert.'
Up next is the upbeat swing of 'Señor Blues' and that, in turn, is followed by the laid back, Summer's day, sunshine glow of 'Lawns,' the late '60s-imbued haze of 'Yes I Do,' with the album rounding out on the richly imbued tonal values of 'Mr. Slaint,' closing on the more ethereal stillness of 'The Seagulls of Kristlandsund.'
Official Purchase Link
Title - 'No Matter What: Revisiting the Hits'
Artist - Badfinger
You’ve grooved to Matthew Sweet’s 'Baby Blue,' played air piano along with Rick Wakeman on 'Come And Get It,' and swooned hearing Rick Springfield’s voice on 'Love Is Gonna Come At Last,' but now the wait is finally over as the full-length collaboration between Joey Molland’s Badfinger and a stellar line-up of special guest superstars is finally released!
No Matter What: Revisiting The Hits (out March 26th, 2021 via Cleopatra Records) gathers an immense amount of talent on one album. For, and in addition to the aforementioned, guests include Jethro Tull front man Ian Anderson, blues legend Sonny Landreth, eclectic art rockers The Legendary Pink Dots and many more.
Each one offering their very own, and unique twists on some of Badfinger’s biggest, most era-defining hits, we get such classics as the Paul McCartney-penned 'Come And Get It' to 'Day After Day,' to the monster ballad 'Without You.
The latter was originally released by Badfinger in 1970 but became a global phenomenon when Harry Nilsson recorded a version in 1971, and then it conquered the airwaves again in 1994 courtesy of Mariah Carey’s bombastic version.
Here on No Matter What: Revisiting the Hits, Rock Hall Of Fame nominee and producer/songwriter/guitarist extraordinaire Todd Rundgren offers a passionate rendering of the song that is, by itself, worth the price of admission to this great collection.
1. 'No Matter What' (feat. Mark Stein) [Vanilla Fudge]
2. 'Come And Get It' (feat. Rick Wakeman)
3. 'I Don’t Mind' (feat. Carl Giammarese) [The Buckinghams]
4. 'Day After Day' (feat. Ian Anderson, Jethro Tull; Terry Reid & Manchester String Quartet)
5. 'Love Is Gonna Come At Last' (feat. Rick Springfield)
6. 'Baby Blue' (feat. Matthew Sweet)
7. 'Midnight Caller' (feat. The Legendary Pink Dots)
8. 'Suitcase' (feat. Sonny Landreth)
9. 'Sweet Tuesday Morning' (feat. Albert Lee)
10. 'Without You' (feat. Todd Rundgren)
Opening on the thunderous 'No Matter What' (feat. Mark Stein, Vanilla Fudge), that's backed with the by-the-numbers 'Come And Get It' (feat. Rick Wakeman), the trippy husk of 'I Don’t Mind' (feat. Carl Giammarese, The Buckinghams) and then newly-crafted renditions of their own hits with both the gentle hipsway of 'Day After Day' (feat. Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull, Terry Reid & the Manchester String Quartet), and the smarmy 'Love Is Gonna Come At Last' (feat. Rick Springfield) up next.
The early '90s alt-guitar jangle of 'Baby Blue' (feat. Matthew Sweet) is a fine throwback and that's backed by the psychedelic sway of 'Midnight Caller' (feat. The Legendary Pink Dots), and then we get one of my own personal favorites, the old school rock 'n' roll of 'Suitcase' (feat. Sonny Landreth), before the album rounds out on the gentle rocker 'Sweet Tuesday Morning' (feat. Albert Lee), closing on the angelically magnificent 'Without You' (feat. Todd Rundgren).
No Matter What: Revisiting The Hits will be available on both digipak CD and in superb-looking tri-color (red, white & blue) vinyl!
Official CD Purchase Link
Official Color Vinyl Purchase Link
Title - 'Sweetheartland'
Artist - Hope Dunbar
For those unaware, Nebraska-based Americana-folk singer-songwriter Hope Dunbar will release her brand new sophomore album, Sweetheartland, on April 2nd, 2021.
Recorded in Nashville before the pandemic hit, it’s her second full-length, and it was produced by Zack Smith (one-half of the celebrated duo Smooth Hound Smith), Jesse Thompson, and Dunbar herself.
After growing up in Mission Viejo, California, and study abroad in Paraguay during high school, Valparaiso University in Indiana beckoned Dunbar.
She met and married her husband there and moved with him to a small town in Iowa, where she started singing folk songs with a new friend at public libraries, farmer’s markets, and fairs. Before long, she was writing her own songs.
A move to Nebraska provided the perfect quiet place to pen her tunes. Drawing from Simon & Garfunkel, Indigo Girls, Patty Griffin, Nanci Griffith, Joni Mitchell, John Prine, Lori McKenna, and other inspirations, she developed a distinctive perspective, musically and lyrically.
Her debut solo EP, Woman Like Me, came out in 2013. In 2014, as a participant in the “RealWomenRealSongs” project, she wrote 52 songs, one per week.
The following year, Dunbar recorded an EP, The End Of Wanting, and was a finalist at the Kerrville New Folk Festival. She took second place in American Songwriter magazine’s lyrics contest early in 2017 with her song 'We Want.'
Three Black Crows followed later in 2017, and when it was released the album inspired positive comparisons to Springsteen’s Nebraska. The Americana blog Mother Church Pew cited her references to “dusty roads, endless fields and massive starry skies,” to which she adds layers of meaning through her “visceral authenticity and raw honesty.”
American Roots host Craig Havighurst extolled her “incredible language and truth-telling” in the Bluegrass Situation. Off-Center Views called it a “masterpiece.”
2. 'What Were You Thinking'
3. 'Woman Like Me'
4. 'John Prine'
5. 'Dog Like You'
7. 'The Road Is'
On an album as rife with Candor, resignation, craft, and New American Prairie-style resonance aplenty as it is with hopefulness, energy and a vast array of troubadour wonderment, Hope opens with the Spring-has-sprung, waking vibrancy of the title track and never looks back.
Next up is the harmonica-driven, free flowing, early '90s alt-indie vibe of 'What Were You Thinking' which she backs seamlessly with the yearning tone of 'Woman Like Me,' her ode to the Maywood, Illinois-native, and two time Grammy-winner, singer-songwriter John Prine ('John Prine. John Prine. I wish your songs were mine") follows, and then we get the upbeat vibrancy of 'Dog Like You.'
Indeed, Sweetheartland takes listeners om a journey through stories lifted from everyday routine and secret dreams, perhaps none more so than on the David Lynch-esque 'Evacuate,' which is followed by the quieter hipsway of 'The Road Is,' with the album rounding out on the mid-tempo, heartfelt storytelling of 'Dust,' coming to a close on the gently euphoric 'More.'
“My mission in this project was to fully realize my own strength and identity as a songwriter,” says Dunbar. “I gave myself permission to have fun, to be humorous, to be frustrated and intense, to be sexual, powerful, hopeful, and sad."
"As a small-town preacher’s wife, I had been kind of tentative with my identity on my previous album, Three Black Crows. It just felt unbecoming for me to express feminine, sexual power on a record."
"But I’ve always had a sense of rebellion, so this time I just decided to put that out there, along with everything else. Three Black Crows has the spirit of asking for permission, a feeling of tentativeness."
"My intention with Sweetheartland was to walk in and say, ‘I’m not asking your permission. I’m doing what I want to do. I am fully empowered, and I’m choosing to make this record.'”
Hope Dunbar @ Facebook
Hope Dunbar Music @ Facebook
Hope Dunbar @ Twitter
Hope Dunbar @ Soundcloud
Title - 'Connections'
Artist - Steve Hunt
For those unaware, throughout his career, pianist Steve Hunt has stayed true to an uncompromising vision of composing and performing jazz music from his heart.
Steve has continued to push himself technically, focusing on a musical style that is both challenging and meaningful.
After recording and performing with top Boston jazz musicians such as Randy Roos and Tiger Okoshi, and leading his own jazz fusion band, Steve spent the next ten years on the road with several renowned jazz artists such as Billy Cobham, Stanley Clarke, Angela Bofill, Tom Brown, and Allan Holdsworth.
Steve’s international touring took him to countries such as Japan, Israel, Austria, France, England, Italy, Sweden, Argentina, Australia, and major cities in the US and Canada.
Furthermore, Hunt reached a significant milestone, producing his solo jazz CD From Your Heart and Your Soul (BMI).
Indeed, for the promotional release tour, Steve organized a quintet including Gregg Bendian, John Lockwood, Ole Mathisen, and Bruce Bartlett.
Holdsworth’s more recent CD releases, including Secrets, Wardencliff Tower, and Hard Hat Area, as well as featuring Steve on keyboards, also include Steve’s original tunes 'Maid Marion,' 'Joshua,' and 'Dodgy Boat.'
While touring with Holdsworth, Steve was featured in the Japanese edition of Keyboard Magazine (July 1991 and March 1993). Other noteworthy recording contributions by Steve include Stanley Clarke’s CD releases If This Bass Could Only Talk and East River Drive.
Hunt’s latest release entitled Connections (out now via Spice Rack Records), is aptly titled, not only exploring collaborations with longtime friends who all have noted careers themselves, but also the universal connection that binds each of us in the universe that transfers through Steve’s latest leader release.
1. 'Now's The Time'
2. 'Prayer for a New Day (Cherokee Morning Song)'
3. 'Memories Of Sherwood'
4. 'First Creation'
5. 'Carry On'
6. 'Quantum Entanglement'
7. 'Le Zonage Trois'
8. 'Full Plate'
Opening on the beautiful, free flowing ambiance of 'Now's The Time' he backs that up with the simply mesmerizingly stunning musical opus 'Prayer for a New Day (Cherokee Morning Song)' (featuring both Joshua Hunt and Sophia Wackerman on vocals), which in turn is followed by the translucent appeal of 'Memories Of Sherwood' and the more pronounced, methodically cultured sonic jam 'First Creation' (featuring lush percussion from Jorge Bezerra).
Next up is the early '80s jazz hipsway of 'Carry On' which is followed by the shimmering, sax-enhanced (Ole Matheisen) 'Quantum Entanglement,' with the album rounding out on the drum-led (Billy Cobham) 'Le Zonage Trois' and the swirling dancefloor-esque 'Full Plate' (featuring some mighty fine alto sax work from Eric Marienthal), closing on the magically divine, near 14-minute epic title track, 'Connections.'
Amazon Digital Purchase Link
Title - 'Future Shock'
Artist - Michael Whalen
For those unaware, Michael Whalen is a two-time Emmy® Award winning composer who has worked in advertising, television, film and video games for over 30 years.
Michael is also an internationally renown recording artist with 35 solo and soundtrack recordings to his credit. He has also produced and executive produced over 100 recordings for other artists.
As well as his music work, currently, Michael is the General Manager and the Head of A&R for myndstream, an independent label based in Los Angeles (part of The Cutting Edge Group).
A lifelong devotee of jazz fusion, world music and progressive rock, Michael’s early exposure to the music of Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Return to Forever and Keith Jarrett has been hugely formative and influential to him.
His brand new album is entitled Future Shock (via Spout/MWM) and is a bringing together of all of these early experiences along with Michael’s renown gift for melody.
Rather than being a showcase of “show-off” playing, this project, which, amongst others also includes longtime Toto drummer Simon Phillips, is compositionally based with one of the best back-up bands on the planet.
1. 'Future Shock' (5:58)
2. 'Hop, Skip and Jump' (4:38)
3. 'La Hermosa Noche' (5:41)
4. 'Lights of Home' (5:11)
5. 'Memories of You' (5:01)
6. 'Poly Jam' (4:59)
7. 'Miracle Mile' (5:16)
8. 'Morning On the Cape' (3:49)
9. 'Wanderlust' (5:35)
10. 'Your Eyes, Your Touch, Your Kiss' (5:47)
Opening on the euphorically '80s pop bounce of the title track 'Future Shock,' Whalen backs that up with the synth sonic trip 'Hop, Skip and Jump' and then we get the drum-led 'La Hermosa Noche,' the beautiful, lazy hazy, Summer's flow of 'Lights of Home' and then the effervescent 'Memories of You.'
Next up is the forthright '80s synth work of 'Poly Jam' (in which, at times, I could swear Jon Lord was going to break out a Whitesnake Hammond barb or two), and that's backed by the breezy 'Miracle Mile,' the sax-imbued earnestness of 'Morning On the Cape,' closing on the frenetically melodic 'Wanderlust' and then we get some outdoor, early evening to dusk, smooth jazz in the form of 'Your Eyes, Your Touch, Your Kiss.'
Michael Whalen: keyboards, synthesizers, electronic percussion & programming
Simon Phillips: drums & additional percussion
Bob Magnuson: saxophones, flute and shehnai
Tony Levin: electric & upright basses, Chapman stick
Michael Whalen @ Facebook
Title - 'Maroon Futures'
Artist - Afro Yaqui Music Collective
For those unaware, Afro Yaqui Music Collective came together in response to the rapidly changing political climate, in which working immigrant communities have become under attack, and climate change has threatened peoples across the world.
As part of the band’s mission, their work develops dialogue with activists across the world. They have performed and worked with social movement leaders in Iraqi Kurdistan, Mayan and Yaqui communities in Mexico, and Tanzania.
The ASCAP award-winning Afro Yaqui Music Collective is a multilingual jazz band. Since 2016, they have been creating music ranging from soothing, introspective, cello-infused tango, to grooving, hard-hitting, virtuosic jazz-funk.
Influenced by frontwoman Gizelxanath Rodriguez’s experience growing up in two cultures (Mexican and American) and her ancestry as an Indigenous Yaqui woman, Afro Yaqui creates music in which culture and language fuse with catchy melodies and mind-bending harmony to create a space where social movements, activists, and different cultures can unite within a shared commitment to liberation.
The just-released Maroon Futures (Neuma Records) is a six-track album that celebrates the struggle and lessons of maroons -- enslaved peoples who the escape the evils of the built world being erected on genocide and slavery, to the protective bosom of the natural world.
The tracks lift up love, camaraderie, women’s empowerment (what we call revolutionary matriarchy), and the indomitability of the Maroon fighting spirit.
We reject all forms of social exclusion, and we unite the sounds of Afro-Cuban culture, Chinese Opera, Indigenous languages, jazz, and hip-hop to say: our struggle is one.
This album is dedicated to Russell Maroon Shoatz, known to his friends and family as “Maroon,” a political prisoner who has been incarcerated in the state of Pennsylvania for fifty years, with thirty years in solitary confinement.
He was released into general population in 2014. Bandmembers contribute to the campaign to free Maroon through compassionate release through the office of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf.
Each of the tracks relate to causes that Maroon cares deeply about and writes on often: social justice, antiracism, women’s empowerment, and the struggle for a livable planet.
1. 'Nonantzin' (7:00)
2. 'Sister Soul' (8:24)
3. 'La Cigarra' (5:37)
4. 'Ya Habibi' (5:39)
5. 'We Refuse to be Used and Abused' (10:05)
6. 'Insurrealista' (8:01)
Opening on the ornate stillness of pure vocal beauty, before launching into the highly funky, foot-stompin' grooves of 'Nonantzin,' that's followed by the spoken word-imbued, rhythmic 'Sister Soul' and then we get the mellifluent, at times even opera-esque 'La Cigarra.'
Next up is the early '70s funk power of 'Ya Habibi' which is itself backed by the 10 minute, free flowing, epic jam session 'We Refuse to be Used and Abused,' with this quite brilliant new album closing on the gently frenetic musings and melodies of 'Insurrealista.'
Furthermore, the Afro Yaqui Music Collective is global and includes musicians from all over the world. Some of their core members include co-leader Ben Barson (winner ASCAP’s top award in jazz composers under 30, the Johnny Mandel prize), Charlotte Hill O’Neal (a former Black Panther and community organizer now living in Tanzania), Nejma Nefertiti (a New York-based revolutionary hip-hop artist) Hugo Cruz (one of Havana’s leading drummers and percussionists), Julian Powell (Pittsburgh’s renowned hip-hop drummer) Yang Jin (a pipa player who has toured with Yo-Yo Ma and countless others), Beni Rossman, Roger Romero, Randraiz Wharton, Samuel Okoh-Boateng, Alec Redd, and Mimi Jong.
PLAYERS & INSTRUMENTS:
Gizelxanath Rodriguez - Vocalist
Charlotte Hill O’Neal - Vocalist
Benjamin Barson - Baritone Sax, Contrabass Clarinet
Nejma Nefertiti -- EmCee
Roger Romero- Tenor Saxophonist
Alec Zander Redd - Alto Saxophone
Daro Behroozi - Tenor Saxophone and Ney (Track 3)
John Bagnato - Guitar
Mimi Jong - Erhu
Yang Jin - Pipa and Zheng
Randraiz Wharton - Keyboard
Chris Potter - Keyboard (Track 5 + 6)
Beni Rossman - Electric Bass
Hugo Cruz - Percussion
Julian Powell - Drums
Amazon Purchase Link
Afro Yaqui Music Collective @ Facebook
Title - 'Tightrope'
Artist - Cactus
For those unaware, ‘70s classic rock legends Cactus came to be known as The American Led Zeppelin, a moniker they owned by virtue of their explosive blues rock stylings, subdued yet undeniably brilliant musicianship, not to mention their energetic and vivacious stage presence which made them a staple of arena rock venues around the globe.
Now the band have returned with a smashing new album called Tightrope (out April 2nd, 2021 via Purple Pyramid / Cleopatra Records) that strikes a delicate balance between powerful, driving rockers and more complex, heady album tracks.
Still led by iconic drummer Carmine Appice alongside long-time members Jimmy Kunes on vocals and Randy Pratt on harmonica, Tightrope is, according to Appice, “one of the best Cactus albums we’ve ever done. From playing to production and songs, we really took a step up!”
They are joined by new lead guitarist/vocalist Paul Warren (ex-Rod Stewart, Tina Turner, Joe Cocker) and James Caputo on bass.
Tightrope will also give long-time Cactus fans a reason to cheer as it includes special guest appearances from original Cactus guitarist Jim McCarty and singer Phil Naro!
2. 'Papa Was A Rolling Stone'
3. 'All Shook Up'
4. 'Poison In Paradise'
5. 'Third Time Gone'
6. 'Shake That Thing'
7. 'Primitive Touch'
8. 'Preaching Woman Man Blues'
10. 'Suite 1 And 2: Everlong, All The Madmen'
11. 'Headed For A Fall'
12. 'Wear It Out'
Opening on the pulsating title track 'Tightrope' and a totally killer, guitar and horn-driven cover of 'Papa Was A Rolling Stone' (with co-lead vocals by current Cactus guitarist Paul Warren, who made his recording debut on The Temptation’s 1972 smash hit version of the very same song!), they then move smoothly into the all-out rocker 'All Shook Up,' the mid-tempo ballad 'Poison In Paradise' and then the rockin' blues of 'Third Time Gone' are brought forth.
Next up is the foot-stompin' 'Shake That Thing' and the free flowing rocker 'Primitive Touch' which are followed by the blues harmonica-driven beauty 'Preaching Woman Man Blues' and the ballsy rocker 'Elevation,' the seven minute rock opus 'Suite 1 And 2: Everlong, All The Madmen' comes next, and the album rounds out on the drum-led, funky rhythms of 'Headed For A Fall,' closing on the late '70s rock imbibed 'Wear It Out.'
This incredible new album is available on both digipak CD and special 2LP set with a gatefold jacket and colored vinyl!
Official CD Purchase Link
Official Color Vinyl Purchase Link
Cactus @ Facebook
Title - 'Quartet for the End of Time'
Artist - Left Coast Chamber Ensemble
For those unaware, the provocative and beguiling Left Coast Chamber Ensemble (LCCE) comprises the crème de la crème of the San Francisco Bay Area’s musicians.
Their motto: nothing is out of bounds, and anything is possible. Presenters of all types of music including small ensemble, vocal, orchestral, multi-media and operatic, a select group comes together for this recording of Olivier Messiaen’s seminal chamber work, Quartet for the End of Time.
Written during the composer’s confinement in World War II, he maintained hope, expressing, “The abyss is Time with its sadness, its weariness. The birds are the opposite … our desire for light, for stars, for rainbows, and for jubilant songs.”
LCCE co-founder and prize-winning composer Kurt Rohde echoes this sentiment in his Messiaen-inspired one wing for violin and piano, heard here in its world-premiere recording.
Recorded live in February 2020 at the Berkeley Hillside Club and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Quartet for the End of Time opens with the explorative, if not gently cautious Liturgie de cristal (Crystal liturgy) and backs that up with the sterner, more defiant Vocalise, pour l’ange qui annonce la fin du temps (Vocalise, for the Angel who announces the end of time), the wistful Abîme des oiseaux (Abyss of the birds), and then we get the short, but beautifully perky, and oh-so sweet Intermède (Interlude).
Along next is the heartfelt yearning of grounded sorrow within Louange à l’éternité de Jésus (Praise to the eternity of Jesus) and then the pace is picked back up for the furtively expansive Danse de la fureur, pour les sept trompettes (Dance of fury, for the seven trumpets), the plaintive longing of Fouillis d’arcs-en-ciel, pour l’ange qui annonce la fin du temps (Tangle of rainbows, for the Angel who announces the end of time, the work coming to a close on the doleful embrace of Louange àl’immoralité de Jésus (Praise to the immortality of Jesus), and then we are presented the all-encompassing, 12 minute opus from Kurt Rohde of one wing.
Olivier Messiaen (1908 – 1992)
Quatuor pour la fin du temps
Quartet for the End of Time
1. Liturgie de cristal (Crystal liturgy) (2.43)
2. Vocalise, pour l’ange qui annonce la fin du temps (Vocalise, for the Angel who announces the end of time) (4.53)
3. Abîme des oiseaux (Abyss of the birds) (7.23)
4. Intermède (Interlude) (1.42)
5. Louange à l’éternité de Jésus (Praise to the eternity of Jesus) (8.21)
6. Danse de la fureur, pour les sept trompettes (Dance of fury, for the seven trumpets) (6.04)
7. Fouillis d’arcs-en-ciel, pour l’ange qui annonce la fin du temps (Tangle of rainbows, for the Angel who announces the end of time) (7.02)
8. Louange àl’immoralité de Jésus (Praise to the immortality of Jesus) (7.12)
Kurt Rohde (b. 1966)
9. one wing * (12.45)
[Total time: 58.17]
Left Coast Chamber Ensemble:
Jerome Simas clarinet
Anna Presler violin *
Tanya Tomkins cello
Eric Zivian piano *
Official CD Purchase Link
Title - 'Let's Put On a Show'
Artist - Beth Jean
For those unaware, award-winning children’s performer Beth Jean’s innovative videos featured on the Emmy®-winning PBS children’s show The Friday Zone have garnered the Wisconsin-based artist fans in numerous households throughout the Midwest.
Indeed, now Beth Jean looks forward to reaching families nationwide with the release of her second children’s album, Let’s Put On a Show, on April 9th, 2021.
Inspired by Beth Jean’s love of musicals and the theater, Let’s Put On A Show encourages kids to use their imaginations to create their own narratives while listening to her music.
With music that’s been described as “quirky pop,” Beth Jean also brings a boatload of DIY determination to Let’s Put On A Show. Produced during quarantine, the album came to life through Beth Jean’s particular brand of “girl power.”
She wrote and sang all the songs, played a variety of instruments, recorded and produced three songs entirely by herself, and costumed, filmed, and edited accompanying music videos.
Co-producers Pat Hanlin (of Josh & the Jamtones) and Brian King pulled together the production elements for the album’s remaining seven songs, adding their own background vocals, instrumentals, and inspiration.
1. 'Let's Put On a Show'
2. 'You Are Magic!'
3. 'Waddlin' We Go (The Penguin Song)'
4. 'No Gravity'
5. 'Never Give Up'
6. 'I Am a Hamster, Yes I Am Sir!'
7. 'The Best Mustache in Michigan'
8. 'Garden Gnome'
9. 'Whoopsie Daisy'
10. 'Tweet a Little Tweet Tweet'
Inspired by “The Magic Store” from The Muppet Movie when she wrote the album’s title track (Beth Jean even performs a tap solo in the middle of the number!), this vibrantly fun album opens (via Act I) with 'Let's Put On a Show' and follows that up with the self-love track 'You Are Magic!' the (if you close your eyes) visceral 'Waddlin' We Go (The Penguin Song)' and then we get the melodically atmospheric (all pun intended) 'No Gravity' and the euphoric stance of 'Never Give Up.'
Act II brings us the short, but oh-so sweet, rodent life and times of 'I Am a Hamster, Yes I Am Sir!' which is itself backed by the mid-'80s guitar and synth pop bounce of 'The Best Mustache in Michigan,' the in depth reveal of the life of a terracotta troubadour within 'Garden Gnome,' with the album rounding out on the upbeat, Bangles-esque 'Whoopsie Daisy,' closing on the cheerfully effervescent 'Tweet a Little Tweet Tweet.'
Official 'Let's Put On a Show' Music Video
Beth Jean @ Facebook
Beth Jean @ Instagram
Beth Jean @ YouTube
Beth Jean @ Spotify
Title - 'Across The Pacific'
Artist - The South Pasifika Sound Project
For those unaware, The South Pasifika Sound Project's debut album Across The Pacific is a stunning, 8-track instrumental narrative of a journey across the South Seas, from Vanuatu in the west to the Cook Islands in the east.
Each track on the album, except for the title track, represents a location in the South Pacific Ocean, with the aforementioned title track describing the great voyages of Pacific people over the past millennia.
1. 'Across The Pacific'
2. 'Moso's Footprint'
Opening on the free flowing majesty of the title track, up next is the atmospheric 'Moso's Footprint' (named after a strangely shaped indentation in the lava at Cape Puava), and then we get the melodic island hipsway of 'Aitutaki' (an area which features a beautiful turquoise lagoon on the coral atoll), and the more forthright, mid-tempo guitar rock of 'Matapa' (which contains a striking cleft in the coastal limestone rock on the tiny island of Niue).
Next up is the finger-snapping, gently frenetic wonderment of 'Sola' (an ode to the amazing women water drummers of the Banks Islands in northern Vanuatu), which is itself backed by the effervescent warming of 'Tagaqe' (which is a small village on the coral coast of Viti Levu in Fiji), the album rounding out on the beautifully harmonic strains of 'Anahulu' (whose island, like many in the South Pacific, are formed from uplifted coral reefs), and closes on the more robust, quiet surf rock reverb of 'Tarawera' (which is named after Mt. Tarawera, an active volcano that erupted in 1886, destroying the famous Pink and White terraces).
Official Purchase Link
Title - 'Made In Japan' (Live)
Artist - The Supertones
For those not in the know, The Supertones are a surf band from NYC formed in 1988. The original members - Tim Sullivan (guitars), Ted Lawrence (guitars), Marc Lipscher (bass), and Mike Arcidiacono (drums) - built a solid musical foundation and even though they are currently in their fourth incarnation as a band, original band leader Sullivan has never let the Surf-Rock spirit leave him.
Every year The Supertones release a new album, which is not only a cause for celebration for all their long time fans from their hometown of NYC, but also for fans worldwide of instrumental Surf Rock.
Of course, Sullivan is at the helm once again on the vivacious new album, Made In Japan which features 12 live recordings of pure, unadulterated instrumental Surf-Rock gold!
Not a particularly Eastern sounding set of instrumentals, the album seamlessly takes its place among the many great Supertones albums.
Subtitled “Play Japanese Pop Hits”, Made In Japan was inspired by the Japanese Ventures tribute band called The Mizusawa Ventures.
Indeed, Made In Japan features a number of unusual tracks that are for the most part unknown, although the second track actually features a rockin’ Supertones cover of Hank Marvin’s 1965 Shadows’ classic 'Geronimo', a favorite still with surf-rock bands worldwide.
On Made In Japan, Tim Sullivan continues receiving top-notch support from long-time Supertones members Simon Chardiet (bass, producer) and Seth Lipscher (rhythm guitar) yet, for Made In Japan, the Supertones have enlisted the skills of a new drummer, J.J. Murphy.
1. 'Sayonara Siberian Railroad'
3. 'The Sun Is Alone'
4. 'Night Sky Star'
5. 'Message in Rouge'
6. 'Blue Star Dust'
8. 'Hula Girl'
9. 'Softly as in a Morning Sunrise'
10. 'The Rocket Man'
Recorded live in September 2020 at Oceanus Studio in Rockaway Beach, NYC, The Supertones’ Made In Japan opens on the addictively frenetic 'Sayonara Siberian Railroad' and never looks back!
Their aforementioned cover of The Shadows' 'Geronimo' is a pure joy to behold and is backed by the quieter pace of 'The Sun Is Alone,' the mid-tempo (for them) pairing of both 'Night Sky Star' and 'Message in Rouge', and then we get my own personal favorite, the translucent guitar work of 'Blue Star Dust.'
Their brand of thriving Surf-Rock instrumentals continues onward with the turbulent 'Emma' which is in turn followed by the melodic magnificence of 'Hula Girl,' the foot-tappin' 'Softly as in a Morning Sunrise,' with the album rounding out on the rousing 'The Rocket Man,' the forthright 'Django,' closing on the vibrancy of 'Subway.'
Amazon CD Purchase Link
The Supertones @ Facebook
Title - 'Flying Circus'
Artist - Flying Circus
For those unaware, after a 30 year band history (their anniversary was in 2020), a nostalgic look back would certainly have been allowed for progressive hard rockers Flying Circus from the German Rhineland town of Grevenbroich (especially if you present a "best of" album with 15 songs from seven previous releases).
Instead, Michael Dorp (vocals), Michael Rick (guitar), Rüdiger Blömer (keyboards and violin), Roger Weitz (bass) and Ande Roderigo (drums) decided to spend their anniversary year bringing a large part of their old repertoire into the here and now.
Ergo, all songs on this album that were originally released before 2011 have now been completely re-recorded with the band's current line-up, and all tracks older than 2020 have been given a fresh mix.
Only the two numbers originally from the concept album 1968, which is not even a year old, remain completely unchanged, and with 'Dystopia' - a song that is decidedly meant as a commentary on the current political situation - we also find a brand new song on this release.
1. 'The World Is Mine'
3. 'Fire (I Wanna Go)'
5. 'Bedevere's Wake'
6. 'Cut It Deep'
8. 'Follow The Empress'
9. 'Carpe Noctem'
10. 'Living a Lie'
11. 'The Hopes We Had (In 1968)'
12. 'Voices in the Rain'
13. 'Pride of Creation'
14. 'The Edge of the World'
15. 'The Jewel City'
Opening on the earnest, impassioned, Renaissance-imbibed 'The World Is Mine' and the rocker 'Dystopia,' they back those up seamlessly with the
gently melodic 'Fire (I Wanna Go),' the mid-tempo prog of 'Seasons,' the achingly brilliant storytelling of 'Bedevere's Wake' and then we get the prog spiral of 'Cut It Deep,' the fiddled, Celtic-imbued wonderment of 'Derby,' and then the beautiful ebb and flow of 'Follow The Empress.'
Next up is the harmonic 'Carpe Noctem' and the frenetic prog rock of 'Living a Lie,' which are themselves backed by the foot-tappin' 'The Hopes We Had (In 1968),' the lusciously ambient 'Voices in the Rain,' with the album rounding out on the funky guitars of 'Ride of Creation,' the generous prog opus 'The Edge of the World,' coming to a close on the drum-led 'The Jewel City.'
Luckily for all us fans, the re-recordings of the older songs offer lots of surprises, perhaps none more so that when singer Michael Dorp hands over the vocals to drummer Ande Roderigo for the acoustic ballad 'Carpe Noctem.'
Or when keyboardist Rüdiger Blömer garnishes classic Flying Circus tracks like 'Seasons' or the aforementioned 'Carpe Noctem' with either insanely dexterous, or simply beautiful, solos on his other instrument, the violin.
Blömer's string arrangements, implemented by him recording each violin individually instead of using samples (such as with the massive bombast opener 'The World Is Mine'), further demonstrate what a high degree of musicianship Flying Circus have assembled since the current line-up came together in 2012.
Official Purchase Links
Flying Circus @ YouTube
Flying Circus @ Facebook
Flying Circus @ Instagram
'Seasons' - Official Flying Circus 4K Video
Title - 'Olias of Sunhillow: Expanded Edition' [CD/DVD]
Artist - Jon Anderson
For those unaware, Esoteric Recordings is proud to announce the release of a newly Expanded and Remastered 2 Disc Edition of the classic debut solo album by Yes vocalist Jon Anderson, Olias of Sunhillow.
Released in July 1976, the album was a conceptual work recounting the story of an alien race on a journey to find a new world following volcanic destruction on their home planet.
All music on the album was written and performed by Jon Anderson and the recording took place at Anderson's Buckinghamshire home studio whilst Yes were on hiatus following the tour to promote the album Relayer.
Initially recorded on an 8-track tape machine, the arrangements were then rerecorded on to a 24-track tape machine. The album saw Jon perform the music entirely alone, teaching himself to play keyboards and acknowledging the influence of such legendary musicians as Rick Wakeman, Patrick Moraz and Vangelis on his work.
Indeed, it was even rumored Vangelis performed on the album, something the maestro would subsequently deny in interviews thereafter.
Olias of Sunhillow was released by Atlantic Records in the summer of 1976 in an elaborate gatefold sleeve designed by David Fairbrother-Roe and was a top ten album in the UK.
This Esoteric Recordings edition has been newly remastered from the original album master tapes and fully restores the stunning original artwork and also features a booklet with a new essay and exclusive interview with Jon Anderson.
Over the ensuing years the excellence of the album has led to many calls for the album to be remixed in a 5.1 Surround Sound format.
Alas, despite extensive research, the multi-track masters of the album cannot be found. However, this Expanded Edition of Olias of Sunhillow features a DVD featuring a high resolution 96 kHz / 24-bit re-master of the stereo mix and also includes a high resolution 5.1 Surround Sound up-mix derived from the original stereo master tapes as an additional feature.
Disc One - Olias of Sunhillow: Remastered Edition
1. 'Ocean Song'
2. 'Meeting (Garden of Geda)' / 'Sound of the Galleon'
3. 'Dance of Ranyart' / 'Olias (To Build the Moorglade)'
4. 'Qoquaq en Transic' / 'Naon' / 'Transic To'
5. 'Flight of the Moorglade'
6. 'Solid Space'
7. 'Moon Ra' / 'Chords' / 'Songs of Search'
8. 'To The Runner'
Disc Two - Olias of Sunhillow: High Resolution 96 Kmz / 24-Bit 5:1 Surround Sound Upmix & Stereo Remaster
After the release of the brilliant Relayer (November '74), between 1975 and 1976, each member of Yes released a solo album (some notably better than others), but all of them had at least an inkling of semblance to Yes music.
Jon Anderson though, as the main creative thrust of the group and the voice of Yes, would create a spectacle that truly seemed like a Yes album in all its essence.
Both in scope and and in its ideas, let alone its album art, which featured artwork by the artist David Roe (all of which paid homage to the artwork of Roger Dean, who had been building a fantasy world through Yes album graphics beforehand), Jon would even dedicate the album to Dean.
Ergo, on July 24th, 1976, Jon Anderson released Olias of Sunhillow, a musical fantasy epic on which he plays literally every instrument, writes every word, and sings every verse, including multi-tracked vocals for chorale effects!
In my humble opinion, Olias is a dense, and richly ebullient, new-age opus that realistically preceded the new age genre that was to follow.
It is notably a rather complex album with sometimes indescribable musical textures that envelope you while listening. A fantasy story from beginning to end with a plot-driven purpose, the album even included a multi-page spread of written storyboard and beautiful artwork (which has been wonderfully preserved here in this delightful rerelease by Esoteric Recordings).
To paraphrase a line from Jon's song 'State of Independence,' whilst conjuring up his cosmic, unchangingly beautiful voice, his sound is much like ... holy water to my lips" (as well as my ears and my spirit, of course).
Ergo, Olias is no different an experience where Jon creates textures with sound that I, and millions of others can only dream about. Simply put, the music was ahead of it's time.
An auditory excursion into a fantasy fairy tale with instruments and sounds that capture so many wonderful flavors of songs, chants, incantations and ambient soundscapes. Breathtaking, from start to finish.
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Title - 'Seven Year Itch'
Artist - The 69 Cats
For those unaware, the explosive second full-length album from the gothic-themed rockabilly project formed by The 69 Eyes front man Jyrki 69 and rockabilly guitar legend & Headcat Danny B. Harvey, The 69 Cats will release their pulsating new album Seven Year Itch this coming April 16th, 2021 via Cleopatra Records.
Joining the Cats for this go round is longtime drummer of The Damned, Rat Scabies, and Nekromantix founder Kim Nekroman and from start to finish, these 12 tracks warmly take you by the throat and lovingly shake you about!
1. 'She’s Hot'
2. 'Hollywood’s Bleeding'
3. '(You’re) The Kind Of Girl I Need'
4. 'Good Time To Die'
5. 'Graveyard Blues'
6. 'Hey World' [feat. Sky Saxon]
7. '(Let’s Go) Psycho'
8. 'Vampire Shuffle'
9. 'Teddy Boy Boogie'
10. 'The Hell Of The Mountain King'
11. 'I’m Evil'
12. 'It Ain’t Enough' [feat. Larry Wallis]
Opening with the foot-tappin, distinctive baritone voice of Jyrki 69 on 'She’s Hot' and the lighter fare of their cover of Post Malone’s 'Hollywood’s Bleeding' (which was released in October of last year to rave reviews), we next get the rhythmic '(You’re) The Kind Of Girl I Need,' the blues rock of 'Good Time To Die,' the guitar pop hop of 'Graveyard Blues,' and then the all-out rocker 'Hey World' (featuring the late Sky Saxon on vocals).
The pure rockabilly-imbued '(Let’s Go) Psycho' (which is actually a song written with Australian Psychobilly / Rockabilly artist Brigitte Handley back in 2000, and still features her on background vocals) is one of my own stand out cuts here and is backed by some old school rock 'n' roll vibes within both 'Vampire Shuffle' and 'Teddy Boy Boogie,' and then we get the surf rock appeal of 'The Hell Of The Mountain King,' with this vibrantly delicious album rounding out on the mid-tempo shuffle of 'I’m Evil,' closing on the gently frenetic 'It Ain’t Enough' (featuring Larry Wallis from the Pink Fairies, and an early member of Motörhead).
Seven Year Itch is available on digipak CD as well as a deluxe gatefold jacket housing PINK vinyl!
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Title - 'United State of Mind'
Artist - Trower - Priest - Brown
For those unaware, releasing on CD in the US on April 16th, 2021 is a fantastic album entitled United State of Mind (via Manhaton Records) that brings together three very different UK music legends: Robin Trower, Maxi Priest and Livingstone Brown.
Virtuoso rock guitarist Robin Trower found fame with Procol Harum, then went on to lead his very own power trio: The Robin Trower Band. His album Bridge of Sighs has sold millions of copies worldwide.
“USM was one of the first pieces of music that I came up with for Maxi,” Trower reflects, "as soon as he heard it, Maxi had the lyric idea of ‘On a lonely highway’ and everything started to fall into place from there."
"I think it is one of the best tracks I’ve been involved in. Working on the album with Livi and Maxi was a complete joy from beginning to end.”
Maxi Priest is an iconic British reggae vocalist, with Jamaican heritage, who’s best known for singing reggae with added R&B flavor, creating that potent blend called reggae fusion.
Maxi was a pioneer in the genre and is acknowledged as one of the most successful reggae fusion acts of all time.
Livingstone Brown, meanwhile, is a talented producer/mix engineer and musician. As a session and touring musician during the '80s and '90s, Livingstone worked, separately, with Robin Trower and Maxi Priest; not to mention in his long career other high-calibre artists such as Ed Sheeran, The Waterboys, Tina Turner, Bryan Ferry, Kylie Minogue, De La Soul, ABC and Bill Withers — to name but an impressive several others!
1. 'United State of Mind'
2. 'Are We Just People'
3. 'On Fire Like Zsa Zsa'
4. 'Walking Wounded'
5. 'Sunrise Revolution'
6. 'Hands To The Sky'
7. 'Bring It All Back To You'
8. 'Good Day'
9. 'Where Our Love Came From'
Featuring three artists with distinctive, trademark sounds and styles that dovetail and fuse together, creating an excellent whole that’s full of atmosphere, allure and a whole lotta soul, the album opens on the Summer's breeze of the title track 'United State of Mind' which feeds seamlessly into the '70s slow funk groove of 'Are We Just People,' Trower's lush mid-tempo guitar work on 'On Fire Like Zsa Zsa' and then the slow crawl of the Hendrix-esque 'Walking Wounded.'
That flow continues onward with the smooth and velvety ambiance of 'Sunrise Revolution' and the gently funky 'Hands To The Sky,' and the quieter tones of the ponderances within 'Bring It All Back To You,' with the album rounding out on the rhythmically melodic 'Good Day,' closing on Trower's renowned blues guitar work on the enigmatic 'Where Our Love Came From.'
Amazon Purchase Links
'United State of Mind' - Official Lyric Video
Title - 'Modern Age'
Artist - Vanessa Peters
For those unaware, Texas-and-Italy-based singer-songwriter Vanessa Peters is set to release a new album, Modern Age, on April 23rd, 2021 via Idol Records.
The first single from the collection is the song 'Crazymaker,' which premieres with Glide Magazine on February 24th and will be released on February 26th.
The second single, the title track, will follow with a release date on March 26th.
In late February 2020, Peters was in Italy, getting ready to go on a European tour with her band. She had just launched a Kickstarter to fund Modern Age (it was fully funded within three days), and recording sessions were scheduled for March.
So the band planned to head to Austin, Texas for SXSW and then to record the album with her friend and old tourmate, Grammy-award winning producer Joe Reyes, and engineer wunderkind Jim Vollentine.
But when Italy suddenly went into a national lockdown, Peters and her husband/bandmate, Rip Rowan, instead hatched a plan to work around the international travel restrictions.
Building on a series of demos recorded on the road in the Netherlands and Germany during their last tour, the band holed up in a farmhouse in Castiglion Fiorentino, the small town in Italy that Peters had once called home.
Over the course of 10 days, they worked to finish the songs they’d begun the year prior and to tackle the batch of new songs that Peters had written in the meantime.
“It was recorded kind of like Jackson Browne’s Running on Empty,” recalls Peters. “We worked on the album in four different countries and in pop-up studios, in part while we were on tour.”
1. 'Modern Age'
2. 'Make Up My Mind'
4. 'Valley of Ashes'
5. 'Hood Ornament'
6. 'The Band Played On'
7. 'Never Really Gone'
8. 'The Weight of This'
10. 'The Try'
11. 'Still Got Time'
From the opening power chords of the title track, 'Modern Age,' it’s obvious that the relationship between Peters and her band during lockdown has sparked a fresh, raucous energy to their collaborative state, for that is backed seamlessly by the indie alt-rock of 'Make Up My Mind,' (a song about being written off as a "chick singer"), the brilliant, early '90s indie-imbued 'Crazymaker' (which explores the sort of person who makes you feel that you are the crazy one), and then we get the low key, gentle funk guitar work of 'Valley of Ashes' and the drum-led, palpitating key work beauty 'Hood Ornament.'
The acoustic/electric guitar work of the mid-tempo Phair-esque 'The Band Played On' is a euphoric masterpiece of the highest order and that's backed by the melodically foot-tappin' 'Never Really Gone,' the quieter fare of 'The Weight of This,' Peters' forth rightfulness of earnest angst within 'Yes' then comes to the fore, with the album rounding out on the upbeat, folk-pop rock of 'The Try,' closing on the joyous hand-clapper 'Still Got Time.'
Produced and mixed by Rowan, with mastering by Dave McNair, Modern Age also boasts a band lineup featuring Peters (vocals, acoustic guitar), Rowan (drums, keyboards), Federico Ciancabilla (electric guitar), Matteo Patrone (keyboards), and Andrea Colicchia (bass guitar), with special guest Reyes providing rhythm guitar on the first single, 'Crazymaker.'
Official Purchase Link
Vanessa Peters @ Facebook
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Vanessa Peters @ Instagram
Title - 'Isolation Boulevard'
Artist - Sweet
For those unaware, Sweet are a British Rock Band with a pedigree of hit singles under their collective belts from the past few decades!
Songs such as 'Fox on The Run,' 'Ballroom Blitz,' 'Action,' 'Love is Like Oxygen' and many more have graced the airwaves and our ears seemingly forever, and their 1975 album Desolation Boulevard has truly stood the test of time; keeping the band as relevant today as it was back then.
And now, much to the excitement of fans worldwide, Sweet has released a new album Isolation Boulevard (out now via Prudential Music Group) which is a reworking of many of the original tracks, including the latest single 'Set Me Free,' written by original guitarist and producer Andy Scott.
Indeed he has led the band since 1985 maintaining the high standards set more than 50 years ago when Sweet first burst onto the music scene.
1. 'Fox On The Run' (2020)
2. 'Still Got The Rock' (2020)
3. 'Action' (2020)
4. 'Love Is Like Oxygen' (2020)
5. 'Hellraiser' (2020)
6. 'The Sex Teens' (2020)
7. 'Blockbuster' (2020)
8. 'Set Me Free' (2020)
9. 'Teenage Rampage' (2020)
10. 'Turn It Down' (2020)
11. 'New York Groove' (2020)
12. 'Ballroom Blitz' (2020)
On what are the first recordings by the revamped Sweet line-up that sees original member guitarist Scott and long serving drummer Bruce Bisland joined by bassist/backing vocalist Lee Small (Phenomena, Shy, Lionsheart) and vocalist Paul Manzi (Cats In Space, Arena), they open with their gently updated blockbuster 'Fox On The Run' and back it up seamlessly with the foot-tappin' 'Still Got The Rock,' the frenetic 'Action,' the pop rock of 'Love Is Like Oxygen,' and then both the beautifully crafted 'Hellraiser' and the acoustically-imbued 'The Sex Teens.'
The absolutely magnificent 'Blockbuster' is up next and is followed by the free flowing guitar rock of 'Set Me Free,' the swirling ambiance of 'Teenage Rampage,' the AOR of 'Turn It Down,' before rounding out on the foot-stomping 'New York Groove,' closing on the career-making, '70s rock glamor of 'Ballroom Blitz.'
Recorded between lockdowns in September/October 2020, this newly envisioned album harks back to Sweet’s golden era and the 1975 album of its original title and with vocalist Paul Manzi now on vocals (which he has been deputizing for Tony O’Hara for a few years now in the Sweet, mainly when they were touring Australia), this newly envisioned album is a right royal breath of fresh air!
The cover artwork tips a hat to Desolation Boulevard, 1975 and the band’s first headline tours where the comparisons between the old and new are obvious, as they are both a compilation of the best of Sweet’s recordings, satisfaction guaranteed!
Sweet - 'Set Me Free' (Radio Edit) (Official Video)
Official Purchase Link
Sweet @ Twitter
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Title - 'I'm Dreaming'
Artist - Chris St. John
For those unaware, over the last quarter century, Long Island Singer/Songwriter Chris St. John has truly led a diverse and successful professional career in the field of law as a prosecutor, judge and practicing attorney.
Now, his dream of lateral success in the music business is starting to become a reality, as his LP, I’m Dreaming, is now available on www.chrisstjohn.com, Soundcloud and all the major services.
His instantly satisfying first single from the record 'I Called You Rose,' hit Number #3 on the Euro Indie Music Charts and #8 on the World Indie Music Charts - with a second tune 'I’d Send You My Heart' - hitting the airwaves now.
The album, which includes 13 original songs - including the beautiful storytelling of the opener 'I Need A Horse,' the Summer's day ambiance of 'Your Baby Loves You,' the gentle one-two beats of 'Two Tender Angels,' the upbeat Americana Folk vibe of The Chance I Gave to You,' and a lush cover of 'Peggy O'' - also includes 'Never Forget the Day / Walk Through The Forest,' a musical score that seamlessly connects two compositions.
1. 'I Need A Horse'
2. 'I Called You Rose'
3. 'Your Baby Loves You'
4. 'Pacific Sunrise'
5. 'Dreams are Free'
6. 'Two Tender Angels'
7. 'A Box of Jewels'
8. 'The Winds they Blow'
9. 'Looking at the Sky'
10. 'The Chances I Gave to You'
11. 'Peggy O''
12. 'The Guests have Gone Home'
13. 'You Sang to Me'
14. 'Never Forget the Day / Walk Through The Forest'
15. 'I'll Send you My Heart'
The topics include the loss of love at a young age; the loss of his parents; the birth of his son John (now 18) and life with his wife of 27 years Elisabeth; a surprise DNA discovery; a serious illness where he was put in a medically induced coma, and a nurse sang him back to life; the loss of a young relative in a car accident and the subsequent climb out of depression; alcohol addiction and recovery; and a gift from his grandmother that he intends to return to her someday.
“My professional career is what I do. These songs are who I am. They are about my personal life. The songs have been written over about 30 years, with four new ones written in the last several months to finish up the album,” St. John reveals.
Chris also worked in the State Department, participating in the Reagan-Gorbachev Summit in 1987; and lived, studied, and taught in China later that year. He was also a Congressional Aide and is now a volunteer firefighter.
In 2015, he and his friend started a not-for-profit charity called HALO Missions, which provides medical care, clothing, food, farming equipment, and surgeries for AIDS orphans and the extreme poor throughout Africa, Central America, and the Caribbean.
St. John adds, “The title of the LP is ‘I’m Dreaming’ because some of these songs were dreamed in my sleep and written down when I awoke. Others came from daydreams."
"There are so many references to dreaming in the album. I guess I like to dream. People have told me I should write a book or make an album. This is both to me."
Listen to and Purchase Chris St. John's I'm Dreaming on Spotify!
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Title - 'Fire It Up'
Artist - Steve Cropper
For those unaware, on April 23rd, 2021, guitar legend Steve Cropper will release Fire It Up (via Mascot Label Group/Provogue Records), which he’s calling his first proper solo album since 1969.
After decades of stardom in soul, blues, and rock and roll, he says of this new recording, "This album is different from everything out there now”, he explains, in reference to two vocals albums he released in the 80s, and "I haven’t heard myself this way since the 60s.”
1. 'Bush Hog Part 1'
2. 'Fire It Up'
3. 'One Good Turn'
4. 'I'm Not Havin' It'
5. 'Out of Love'
6. 'Far Away'
7. 'Say You Don't Know Me'
8. 'She's So Fine'
9. 'Two Wrongs'
10. 'Heartbreak Street'
11. 'The Go-Getter Is Gone'
12. 'Bush Hog Part 2'
13. 'Bush Hog'
Cropper actually announced the album with the release of 'Far Away,' a bouncing soul number that draws heavily from classic R&B, and that also features his signature guitar that’s always in service to the groove, but before we hit that track, the album opens on the quickfire rumble of 'Bush Hog Part 1' and the throaty title track 'Fire It Up,' before bringing us the melodic, horn-imbued 'One Good Turn,' the rhythmic rock of 'I'm Not Havin' It' and then the AOR of 'Out of Love' is brought forth.
“I’m a rhythm player,” Steve explains, “I set the groove. I’m always listening to the singer and the rest of band,” he adds as the aforementioned 'Far Away' is next brought forth. That's then backed by the sweepingly magnetic 'Say You Don't Know Me' and the foot-tappin' energy of 'She's So Fine,' the gentle rock of 'Two Wrongs,' the rockin' good times of both 'Heartbreak Street' and 'The Go-Getter Is Gone,' with the album rounding out on a quick recap within 'Bush Hog Part 2,' closing on the mid-tempo instrumental 'Bush Hog.'
Seven decades into his legendary career, Steve sees this record as something a little different: “This is the first Steve Cropper album since 1969,” he says. “It’s made from old grooves, because during a lockdown, you work on stuff that’s been in your head for years.”
Rooted in sessions with the Rascals’ Felix Cavaliere and produced with long-time collaborator Jon Tiven, Cropper is both guitarist and a producer on the album, a role he is most comfortable in after years on the scene. “To be a good producer, you’ve got to be able to hear a song finished in your head before there’s much of anything done,” he explains. “..a good production is not accidental. I’m really proud of things that I produce.”
Official Purchase Links
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Title - 'Home' [EP]
Artist - Evvan
“I like to tell stories and create moods and melodies to get lost in,” alternative-folk singer-songwriter Evvan, formerly known as Evan Petruzzi, says.
If you are unaware, the Long Island, NY native is known for her distinctive voice and singular sound, replete with textured melodies and layered harmonies inspired by a mix of Fleetwood Mac, Foy Vance, and Brandi Carlile.
“In today’s music, genres cross over all the time,” she says. “They blend and mesh and can turn into something really interesting you’ve never heard before. I’ve never been one to follow the norm, and I think that comes across in my music."
"I hear the melody, and one day it can be a song entirely folk, while the next day, it can be a really moody soundscape. I think, as a songwriter, that’s the beauty of music. If you let it, it will take you anywhere.”
After a personal awakening, Evvan revamped her writing, melodies and overall brand while creating a group of songs that felt near and dear. "While music has always been my most intimate friend over the years, I’m finding myself delving even deeper into myself and pouring it out through these songs,” she says.
Her quite divine new EP, entitled Home (out April 30th, 2021), was recorded in Los Angeles and co-produced by members of the band Milo Greene, and mixed/engineered by Grammy winner Sean O’Brien.
The five songs dive deep into self-discovery and acceptance, finding universal threads and exploring them, so the listener feels less alone in their heartbreak, judgment, fear, and shame.
2. 'I'm Not Done Yet'
4. 'Falling Over You'
Opening with the drum-led, foot-tapping, ambiently-imbued tones of 'Wolf,' where Evvan delves into individuality, asking, “What will you do when the wolf comes out in you?” next up is the lead single 'I'm Not Done Yet,' which is an anthem of inclusivity, especially among the LGBTQ+ community, and reflects on Evvan's own longing to come out as pansexual and nonbinary.
That's followed by the sweeping Americana storytelling of a metaphor for a tumultuous relationship found within 'Hurricane,' the yearningly euphoric musings of unreciprocated feelings within 'Falling Over You,' and then this simply beautiful EP ends with a reminder to stop and allow yourself to be in the moment, to take stock of the little things in life that offer safety and comfort, on the delicate title track 'Home.'
Evvan - 'I'm Not Done Yet' Music Video
Official Purchase Links
Evvan @ Spotify
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Evvan @ Instagram
Title - 'Something Wonderful: The Great American Songbook'
Artist - Peggy Lee
For those not in the know, over her seven-decade career, Peggy Lee, as both a singer and a songwriter, helped redefine what it meant to be a female singer, and her quietly captivating voice continues to resonate with audiences of all ages.
Born in an era in which women struggled for equality — a conversation that continues today — and carrying the burden of a traumatic childhood, she was a true pioneer and survivor to her core.
What she accomplished as a woman, and as an artist, is nothing short of extraordinary.
Lee’s vast and varied catalog of songs flourished from remarkable longevity in the music business: she recorded more than 1,100 masters and over 50 original albums.
Her total number of radio broadcast performances exceeds 800, and her television appearances surpass the 200-mark.
Best known for such songs as 'Fever,' 'It’s A Good Day,' 'Why Don’t You Do Right,' 'I’m a Woman' and 'Is That All There Is?,' she amassed over 100 chart entries beginning with 'I Got It Bad' (1941) and culminating with the posthumous hit 'Similau' (2017).
Among the myriad music honors bestowed upon Lee are 13 Grammy® Award nominations, a 1969 Grammy win, and a 1995 Lifetime Achievement Award.
Well, to the joy of all her fans and admirers, Omnivore Recordings and Peggy Lee Associates have just released (via Omnivore Recordings) Something Wonderful: Peggy Lee Sings The Great American Songbook.
Compiled to accompany the 2020 PBS documentary Fever: The Music of Peggy Lee, this two-CD, 40-song set features dozens of previously unissued performances from Lee’s 1951-1952 radio program.
Besides her renditions of American standard classics, songwriters Hoagy Carmichael, Matt Dennis, Frank Loesser and Johnny Mercer make rare duet appearances with Lee.
1. Peggy Lee Introduction
2. Johnny Mercer Introduction
3. 'Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate The Positive' [Peggy Lee with Johnny Mercer]
4. 'Goody Goody'
5. 'Come Rain Or Come Shine'
6. 'That Old Black Magic'
7. '(Ah, The Apple Trees) When The World Was Young'
8. Johnny Mercer Introduction
9. 'Medley: Jeepers Creepers/Too Marvelous For Words/Mandy Is Two/Blues In The Night' [Peggy Lee with Johnny Mercer]
10. 'My Funny Valentine'
11. 'The Lady Is A Tramp'
12. 'I Could Write A Book'
13. 'This Can’t Be Love'
15. 'Something Wonderful'
16. 'Mountain Greenery'
17. 'From This Moment On'
18. 'I’ve Got You Under My Skin'
19. 'What Is This Thing Called Love?'
20. 'Just One Of Those Things'
21. 'Everything Happens To Me'
22. 'Medley: We Belong Together/Angel Eyes/Let’s Get Away From It All' [Peggy Lee with Matt Dennis]
Opening on a :17 second Announcer introduction and then Peggy talking to Johnny Mercer (in which we get a snippet of one very honest and funny chat), their wondrous, oh-so joyful duet 'Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate The Positive' is first up and that's backed by the finger-snappin' 'Goody Goody,' the smooth and sultry 'Come Rain Or Come Shine,' the funky 'That Old Black Magic,' and then we get the storytelling of '(Ah, The Apple Trees) When The World Was Young.'
After another Johnny Mercer introduction from Peggy, we get their dulcet duet medley of 'Jeepers Creepers/Too Marvelous For Words/Mandy Is Two/Blues In The Night,' which is followed by the lush 'My Funny Valentine,' the romantically quirky 'The Lady Is A Tramp,' the short, but oh-so sweet 'I Could Write A Book,' and then the jazzy swing of 'This Can’t Be Love.'
Next up is the train track roll of 'Lover' and the low brow notes of 'Something Wonderful' which are in turn backed by the upbeat duo of both 'Mountain Greenery' and 'From This Moment On,' a foot-tappin' rendition of 'I’ve Got You Under My Skin,' an abundantly joyous 'What Is This Thing Called Love?', the fast hipsway of 'Just One Of Those Things,' with the first disc rounding out on the quiet ballad 'Everything Happens To Me,' closing on another medley, this time with Matt Dennis, 'We Belong Together/Angel Eyes/Let’s Get Away From It All.'
1. 'It’s A Good Day'
2. 'I Don’t Know Enough About You'
4. 'Whee Baby'
6. 'Medley: Georgia On My Mind/I Get Along Without You Very Well/Old Rockin’ Chair' (plus three) [Peggy Lee with Hoagy Carmichael]
7. 'Hoop Dee Doo'
8. Frank Loesser Introduction
9. 'Medley: Jingle, Jangle, Jingle/If I Were A Bell/On A Slow Boat To China' (plus two) [Peggy Lee with Frank Loesser]
11. 'Somebody Loves Me'
12. 'Oh, Look At Me Now'
14. 'Lullaby Of Broadway'
15. 'Alone Together'
16. 'When You’re Smiling'
17. 'Try A Little Tenderness'
18. 'All Of Me'
The second disc opens on the brilliantly fun 'It’s A Good Day' and the yearning of 'I Don’t Know Enough About You' before moving seamlessly into the Latin hipsway of 'Mañana,' the mid-tempo 'Whee Baby,' the gossamer balladry of 'Skylark,' before we get another medley, this time with Hoagy Carmichael 'Georgia On My Mind/I Get Along Without You Very Well/Old Rockin’ Chair' (plus three) which is itself backed by the gently frenetic dancer 'Hoop Dee Doo.'
After a quick Frank Loesser (Mr. Guys & Dolls himself) introduction, we then get the last medley of the two CD set, 'Jingle, Jangle, Jingle/If I Were A Bell/On A Slow Boat To China' (plus two), which is followed by a Poem-read introduction by Peggy that itself leads into mystically ethereal 'Somebody Loves Me,' before we get the perky 'Oh, Look At Me Now.'
Her beautiful rendition of 'Unforgettable' is up next with the second disc rounding out with the soft shoe shuffle of 'Lullaby Of Broadway,' the achingly stunning 'Alone Together,' closing on the upbeat 'When You’re Smiling,' the dulcet piano work of 'Try A Little Tenderness,' and then we get the mid-tempo floozy 'All Of Me.'
Official Purchase Link
Peggy Lee - Something Wonderful Trailer (Omnivore)
Title - 'Duke Reid International Disco Series: Collection'
Artist - Various
For those not in the know, the Duke Reid International Disco Series – The Complete Collection 3CD set (out April 23rd, 2021 via Doctor Bird / Cherry Red Records UK) is a must for all fans of rock steady, dub and dancehall, as well as admirers of Duke Reid’s inimitable Treasure Isle sound.
The dancehall phenomenon of the late Seventies resulted in renewed interest in the sounds and rhythms of rock steady and early reggae; a development that prompted noted producer Sonia Pottinger to revisit many of the classic recordings in Duke Reid’s legendary Treasure Isle catalogue that she now owned.
The Duke had been a dominant force on the Jamaican music scene during the Sixties and early Seventies, when he had produced an array of hugely popular sides from his famed Treasure Isle studio on Bond Street, Kingston.
Upon his premature demise in 1976, Pottinger inherited the business, although it was not until the close of the decade that that the true value of Reid’s work began to be appreciated once more.
Aside from re-releasing numerous classic Treasure Isle sides on 7” and a trio of “Hottest Hits” long players, Pottinger also had Treasure Isle sound engineer, Errol Brown, remix many of Reid’s most significant sides, updating the sound to fit the new dancehall style.
The result was a series of 12” singles that saw issue in Jamaica on either the Treasure Isle or her own High Note label.
Virtually all of these recordings, along with four previously unreleased sides, feature on this essential collection and thus with all but a few of the tracks making their CD debut, this 3CD set is a must for all fans of rock steady, dub and dancehall, as well as admirers of Duke Reid’s inimitable Treasure Isle sound.
1. 'IF I COULD RULE THIS WORLD' – Alton Ellis
2. 'YOU DON’T CARE' – The Techniques & Ranking Trevor *
3. 'MY BEST GIRL' – The Paragons & Jah Stone *
4. 'GET ON THE RIGHT TRACK' – Phyllis Dillon *
5. 'I CAN’T STOP NOW' – Alton Ellis
6. 'QUEEN MAJESTY' – The Techniques & Jah Walton *
7. 'KANSAS CITY' – Joya Landis *
8. 'OOO WEE BABY' – Alton Ellis
9. 'TRUE TRUE' – Ken Parker *
10. 'RIDING HIGH / GT.195' – The Paragons & Jah Stone *
11. 'I’M IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE' – The Techniques *
12. 'ALI BABA' – John Holt +
* Tracks new to CD
+ Previously unreleased tracks
Opening on a song of hope for the world, 'If I Could Rule This World' from Alton Ellis, that's backed by the mid-tempo ballad 'You Don't Care' by The Techniques & Ranking Trevor, the infectious 'My Best Girl (by The Paragons & Jah Stone), the funky beats of 'Get On The Right Track' (by Phyllis Dillon), and then we get the one-two dubstep of 'I Can't Stop Now' from Alton Ellis which is followed by the lush 'Queen Majesty' from The Techniques & Jah Walton.
Next up is the perky 'Kansas City' by Joya Landis which is itself backed by the foot-tappin' beats of 'Ooo Wee Baby (Baby I Love You)' from Alton Ellis, the upbeat R&B of 'True True' by Ken Parker, with the first disc rounding out on the one-two dub of 'Riding High / GT.195' (The Paragons & Jah Stone), the fun hipsway of 'I’m In The Mood For Love' (The Techniques), closing on the uptown, fairytale, storytelling groove of 'Ali Baba' from John Holt.
1. 'LOVE IS NOT A GAMBLE' – The Techniques & Ranking Trevor *
2. 'I CAN’T STAND IT' – Alton Ellis
3. 'THOSE GUYS' – The Sensations *
4. 'TRAVELLING MAN' – The Techniques *
5. 'PEACE AND LOVE' – The Jamaicans *
6. 'MERCY, MERCY, MERCY' – The Paragons & Jah Stone *
7. 'MOONLIGHT LOVER' – Joya Landis *
8. 'YOU MAKE ME SO VERY HAPPY' – Alton Ellis & Ranking Trevor
9. 'IT’S YOU I LOVE' – The Techniques *
10. 'DON’T TOUCH ME TOMATO' – Phyllis Dillon *
11. 'BARBWIRE' – Nora Dean +
12. 'BREAKING UP / PHANTOM IN THE JUNGLE' –
Alton Ellis & Papa Ritchie
13. 'BREAKING UP DUB' – The Supersonics *
* Tracks new to CD
+ Previously unreleased tracks
The second disc opens on the mid-tempo, slow roll of 'Love Is Now A Gamble' by The Techniques & Ranking Trevor and the forthright groove of 'I Can't Stand It' by Alton Ellis and those are backed seamlessly by the gentle bounce of 'Those Guys' (The Sensations), 'Travelling Man' (The Techniques), and 'Peace and Love' (The Jamaicans), and then we get the R&B dub soul of 'Mercy, Mercy, Mercy' (The Paragons & Jah Stone), and a funky 'Moonlight Lover' by Joya Landis.
Next up is the dubstep groove of 'You Make Me So Very Happy' by Alton Ellis & Ranking Trevor and the drum-led 'It's You I Love' by The Techniques, and they are followed by the wildly-named 'Don't Touch Me Tomato' (Phyllis Dillon), a quite delicious 'Barbwire' (Nora Dean), before rounding out on the twelve minute opus 'Breaking Up / Phantom In The Jungle' (Alton Ellis & Papa Ritchie), closing on the rapturous 'Breaking Up Dub' from The Supersonics.
1. 'BABY LOVE / WESTMORELAND FLOOD –
The Sensations & Jah Stone *
2. 'YOU DON’T CARE' (2ND MIX) – The Techniques *
3. 'CHATTY CHATTY PEOPLE' – Alton Ellis *
4. 'THE SAME SONG' – The Paragons *
5. 'I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN' – Ken Parker *
6. 'CRY TOUGH' – Alton Ellis & The Flames
7. 'I WISH IT WOULD RAIN' – The Techniques & Jah Walton *
8. 'YOU HAVE CAUGHT ME' – The Melodians *
9. 'STEALING' – John Holt +
10. 'REMEMBER THAT SUNDAY' – Alton Ellis
11. 'RED ASH' – Carl Bryan & The Supersonics +
12. 'BABA BOOM BOOM' – The Jamaicans *
13. 'MUSICAL BEST' – Jah Thomas & The Supersonics *
* Tracks new to CD
+ Previously unreleased tracks
The third disc of this simply terrific new collection opens on the gentle hipsway of 'Baby Love / Westmoreland Flood' by The Sensations & Jah Stone and the warm beats of 'You Don't Care' (2nd Mix) from The Techniques, and they are followed by fairly swinging 'Chatty Chatty People' by Alton Ellis, the one-two dubstep of 'The Same Song' (The Paragons), the gentle funk of the love song 'I Should Have Known' (Ken Parker), and then we get the R&B soul of 'Cry Tough' (Alton Ellis & The Flames) and then comes the beautiful groove within 'I Wish It Would Rain' by The Techniques & Jah Walton.
Then we get the a near nine minute long 'You Have Caught Me' from The Melodians and a joyous 'Stealing' from John Holt, which are backed by the one-two dubstep of 'Remember That Sunday' from Alton Ellis, with this third disc, and the collection, rounding out on the forthright beats of 'Red Ash' (Carl Bryan & The Supersonics), closing on the lush harmonies of 'Baba Boom Boom' from The Jamaicans, and then the sonic reggae bursts of 'Musical Best' come forth from Jah Thomas & The Supersonics.
Official 3CD Purchase Link
Title - 'Dance Songs For Hard Times'
Artist - Rev. Peyton's Big Damn Band
For those unaware, the new album from Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band was written by candlelight and then recorded using the best technology available . . . in the 1950s!
But listeners won’t find another album as relevant, electrifying and timely as Dance Songs for Hard Times (out now via Thirty Tigers).
Far from a depressing listen, Dance Songs For Hard Times lives up to its name by delivering action-packed riffs and rhythms across 11 songs.
1. 'Ways and Means'
2. 'Rattle Can'
3. 'Dirty Hustlin''
4. 'I'll Pick You Up'
4. 'Too Cool To Dance'
5. 'No Tellin' When'
6. 'Sad Songs'
7. 'Crime To Be Poor'
8. ''Til We Die'
10. 'Nothing's Easy but You and Me'
11. 'Come Down Angels'
On an album that unashamedly conveys the hopes and fears of pandemic living, through eyes young and old, this quite magnificently vibrant and authentically original album opens on the sterner storytelling of 'Ways and Means' (a song that edges close to mimicking the hook line of Dr. Feelgood's 'Milk and Alcohol,' and which here details bleak financial challenges), that's backed by the upbeat, gently frenetic 'Rattle Can,' the rhythm and blues underbelly of 'Dirty Hustlin'' is up next, and then we get the forthright, foot-stompin', dancehall swing of 'I'll Pick You Up.'
Rev. Peyton, the Big Damn Band’s vocalist and world-class fingerstyle guitarist, then truly comes to the fore on fervent swing beats of 'Too Cool to Dance' which he backs with a personally impassioned statement of unknowing with regard reunions with loved ones on 'No Tellin’ When,' and then we get the boisterous, Meat Loaf-esque 'Sad Songs,' the funky 'Crime to Be Poor,' a quite brilliant guitar piece within ''Til We Die,' with the album rounding out on the all-out rocker 'Nothing's Easy but You and Me,' closing on the Rev.'s impassioned plea for celestial relief on the righteous 'Come Down Angels.'
In short, the country blues trio that won over crowds on more than one Warped Tour damn sure know how to make an audience move!
Amazon Purchase Links
Rev. Peyton's Big Damn Band @ Facebook
Rev. Peyton's Big Damn Band @ YouTube
Rev. Peyton's Big Damn Band @ Twitter
Rev. Peyton's Big Damn Band @ Instagram
Title - 'Running On Love' [EP]
Artist - Run Katie Run
For those unaware, Atlanta-based, Americana-leaning quintet Run Katie Run is set to release a new EP, Running on Love, on April 16th, 2021.
Composed of Kate Coleman (lead vocals), Corey Coleman (guitar), Adam Pendlington (guitar, banjo), Stephen Quinn (bass), and Ian Pendlington (drums), Run Katie Run is one of the few new bands in recent memory that can rock multiple genres, flaunt resonant harmonies, and showcase a dynamic lead vocalist whose passion and power demand attention.
Running on Love was produced by Kate and the band, recorded and mastered by Corey, and mixed by Ian and whilst Kate is quick to share credit with her bandmates, the fact is that Run Katie Run centers on her singing, writing, and presence.
1. '15 Minutes'
2. 'No Way Out'
3. 'Stolen Time'
4. 'Kinda Hoping'
5. 'Stay or Leave'
6. 'Running on Love'
This quite beautiful, breathtaking breath of new musical fresh air, opens on the gentle hipsway, at first, and then the euphoric upswing of '15 Minutes' and backs that up with the heightened pop rock of 'No Way Out,' and then we get the dulcet gossamer opening to the mid-tempo rocker of a ballad 'Stolen Time.'
Up next is the free flowing, melodic Americana rock of 'Kinda Hoping' which is backed by the funky guitar work of the fast-versed 'Stay or Leave,' with the EP closing out on the rhythmically stunning harmonies, and far reaching vocals of the title track 'Running on Love.'
In closing, Running on Love winds through the restless drive, complex emotions, and exhilarating key changes of '15 Minutes,' travels between the candor and yearning of 'Kinda Hoping,' explores the bitter commentary of 'No Way Out,' riding a current of tight rhythm, and summits at Kate’s climactic — and frankly stunning — high note in 'Running on Love' as it builds toward an explosive ending.
Indeed, she lays down the law to an irresolute lover on 'Stay or Leave,' amidst blazing fills and solo breaks from her musicians. And, simply put, 'Stolen Time' confirms Run Katie Run’s ascension as one of today’s best harmony bands.
Run Katie Run @ Facebook
Run Katie Run @ YouTube
Run Katie Run @ Twitter
Run Katie Run @ Instagram
Title - 'At Reed College: First Recorded Reading Of Howl'
Artist - Allen Ginsberg
For those unaware, Allen Ginsberg’s first public reading of his epic poem “Howl” took place at San Francisco’s famous Six Gallery in October of 1955.
Along with Ginsberg, the evening included readings by Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen, Philip Lamantia, and Michael McClure. Poet and anthologist Kenneth Rexroth was the emcee, and Jack Kerouac, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and Neal Cassady were in attendance.
Unfortunately for literary history, no one recorded the Six Gallery reading, and it was long-thought that the first recording of “Howl” was from a reading at Berkeley in March 1956.
Before visiting Berkeley, however, Ginsberg had traveled to Reed College in Portland, Oregon, with Gary Snyder to give a series of readings. Snyder and Philip Whalen had been students at Reed and had studied under the legendary calligrapher Lloyd Reynolds.
Other attendees of Reed have included Steve Jobs, James Beard, Barry Hansen (Dr. Demento), Barbara Ehrenreich, Ry Cooder, Mary Barnard, Lee Blessing, Del Hymes, Arlene Blum, Eric Overmyer, and Max Gordon (founder of the Village Vanguard jazz club in NYC).
On February 13th and 14th, 1956, Snyder and Ginsberg read at Reed, with the Valentine’s Day performance recorded then forgotten about until author John Suiter, researching Snyder at Reed’s Hauser Memorial Library, found the tape in a box in 2007.
Suiter immediately recognized the significance of the recording. Its discovery made headlines after it was verified in 2008, but the recording itself was never made widely accessible until Reed named its 16th president, Dr. Audrey Bilger in 2019; it happens that Bilger’s wife, Cheryl Pawelski, is a Grammy Award-winning record producer and co-founder of Omnivore Recordings who has long been interested in Ginsberg’s writing and performances.
In collaboration with the Ginsberg Estate, Omnivore Recordings had previously released two Ginsberg projects, The Complete Songs of Innocence and Experience (2017) and The Last Word on First Blues (2016).
Excited by the prospect of making the historic recording of “Howl” available on Omnivore, Pawelski obtained permission from the Ginsberg Estate to release the recording and the original tape was sent to Grammy Award-winning engineer, Michael Graves, for transfer, restoration, and mastering.
The recording will be made available a little over 65 years from its original reading, April 2nd, 2021, on Allen Ginsberg at Reed College — The First Recorded Reading of Howl and Other Poems; formats include CD, Digital and LP, with a special Limited Edition color variant — “Reed Red” vinyl — available only from the Omnivore Recordings web store and the Reed College Bookstore (while supplies last).
& Other Poems:
1. EPITHALAMION (Later published as Love Poem On Theme By Whitman)
2. WILD ORPHAN
3. OVER KANSAS
4. A DREAM RECORD
5. BLESSED BE THE MUSES
6. A SUPERMARKET IN CALIFORNIA
7. THE TREMBLING OF THE VEIL (Later titled Transcription Of Organ Music)
10. LINE PICK UP
11. HOWL (Part II)
Opening with the :90 second EPITHALAMION (which was later published as Love Poem On Theme By Whitman) and the :70 second WILD ORPHAN, Ginsberg backs those up with the much longer storytelling of OVER KANSAS, the retelling of a drunken night in his own house within A DREAM RECORD, and then we get the :14 second (and a lot of that is page turning) BLESSED BE THE MUSES.
Allen is expertly captured here, his vocal tone crisp and concise, his volume never fluctuating throughout, his enunciation clear, his rhythmic timing perfect. Thus the man with the classic North Jersey Jewish accent, intelligent and passionate, continues onward with the fun A SUPERMARKET IN CALIFORNIA, before bringing us a touched THE TREMBLING OF THE VEIL (later titled Transcription Of Organ Music).
After a brief Introduction from Ginsberg, the near-14 minute HOWL is then unleashed upon us. Widely regarded as a seminal literary work with a profound influence on the Beat Generation and the counterculture movement of the 1960s and 1970s, that is then backed by the almost lyrical LINE PICK UP, with the recording coming to a close on the :70 second ("Moloch! Moloch! Nightmare of Moloch! Moloch the loveless! Mental Moloch! Moloch the heavy judger of men!") HOWL (Part II).
Official Allen Ginsberg Trailer
Official Purchase Link
Title - 'Tales of the New West' [Deluxe 2CD]
Artist - The Beat Farmers
For those unaware, The Beat Farmers, one of roots-rock’s most beloved but unsung combos, finally get their due with a deluxe reissue of their classic 1985 debut album, Tales of the New West, out April 2nd, 2021 from Blixa Sounds.
This deluxe CD reissue features all 12 tracks from the original album released on Rhino Records, as well as a second disc, Live at the Spring Valley Inn, 1983, a 21-song recording of the Beat Farmers on their home turf of San Diego that helped land the band a record deal.
Tales of the New West features the Beat Farmers’ classic lineup of singer-guitarists Jerry Raney and Buddy Blue, bassist Rolle Dexter, and drummer-singer Country Dick Montana.
With their trademark double-barreled attack, the Farmers had the unique talent to deliver a mix of earnest roots-rock with killer riffs on originals like Blue’s 'Lost Weekend' and Raney’s 'Showbiz,' and choice covers of the Velvet Underground's 'There She Goes Again' and Bruce Springsteen's 'Reason to Believe.'
And then they capped it all off with the over-the-top lunacy of Country Dick on tracks such as 'California Kid' and 'Happy Boy.'
CD 1: Tales of the New West
1. 'Bigger Stones'
2. 'There She Goes Again'
3. 'Reason to Believe'
4. 'Lost Weekend'
5. 'California Kid'
6. 'Never Goin' Back'
9. 'Lonesome Hound'
10. 'Where Do They Go'
11. 'Selfish Heart'
12. 'Happy Boy'
This is the best music put out by the best American band to come out of the 1980's, period. This roots/rockabilly/protopunk group of San Diego music scene stalwarts were together for only two full-length discs and an EP, and here are most of the best cuts from all three.
The late Buddy Blue, in particular, shines on such rockabilly gems as his 'Goldmine', 'Lonesome Hound', and the always great to hear 'Lost Weekend.' Indeed, his singing and guitar licks are matched only by Jerry Raney's harder rocking edge on 'Selfish Heart', and the wistful 'Where Do They Go.'
The late Country Dick Montana is in full, booming voice on the magnificent, and hilarious cut 'California Kid' and so from the Paul Kamanski penned opener 'Bigger Stones' through a killer Lou Reed cover, originals and the aforementioned amusing Country Dick vignette, this is, without a shadow of a doubt, the Beat Farmers album to have (especially now that it's been expanded, of course!).
CD 2: Live at The Spring Valley Inn, 1983
1. 'Never Going Back'
2. 'Trying to Get to You'
3. 'Jump Right Back'
4. 'Lonely Blue Boy'
5. 'Beat Generation'
6. 'Selfish Heart'
7. 'Assembly Line Rock'
8. 'Lonesome Hound'
9. 'Dim Lights, Thick Smoke and Loud, Loud Music'
10. 'Big River'
12. 'Sloppy Drunk'
13. 'Sunday Morning'
14. 'Reason to Believe'
15. 'Big Rock Candy Mountain'
16. 'Big Ugly Wheels'
17. 'Upsettin' Me'
18. 'I Still Miss Someone'
19. 'Lost Weekend'
20. 'You Can't Judge a Book by Its Cover'
According to Buddy Blue himself, Live At The Spring Valley Inn, 1983 was never meant to rear its ugly little head, but was intended for use by the band to con their way into a recording contract with somebody - anybody - and Rhino Records originally rose to the bait!
Since the master 2-track of this show has now gone the way of Gene Simmons' hair, this disc was ACTUALLY transferred from a filthy cassette Blue apparently pulled out of thin air and despite what's being said about failed attempts to gloss up the sound quality, it's really not that bad.
Well, in truth, as I think we all know, The Beat Farmers' sonic squalor was never meant to be stripped and clinically clean anyway, but rather raucous, loose, and bordering on Neanderthal, alive with a booze-fueled sense of invincibility and leaving behind a slick of petroleum!
So what we get is a rather swashbuckling mix of rock and roll, country, blues, and rockabilly (although, and much to their eternal chagrin, they were also saddled with the label "cow-punk") possessing the chops to knock the snot out of covers of Joel Maphis' 'Dim Lights, Thick Smoke And Loud, Loud Music,' Johnny Cash's 'Big River,' Bruce Springsteen's 'Reason To Believe,' and even Willie Dixon's 'You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover,' as well as the ballsy brilliance to pen originals like 'Jump Right Back,' 'Showbiz,' 'Big Ugly Wheels,' and, especially, 'Lost Weekend.'
FYI: A gatefold package houses the two discs with a 24-page booklet featuring rare photos and other images. Also included are liner notes by the reissue’s producer, Dan Perloff, an early champion who discovered the band while attending San Diego State University and brought them to the attention of Rhino Records executive Gary Stewart.
Amazon 2CD Purchase Link
Amazon Vinyl Purchase Link
Beat Farmers - Tales Of The New West: Deluxe Reissue [Video Promo]
Title - 'Into My Heart'
Artist - Jeannine Otis
For those unaware, music has been a part of Jeannine Otis’s life since she was born. Having a mother who was a Musical Director and a family that includes the Jones Brothers Hank, Thad, and Elvin formed the basis of exposure to music that began a career that started with Jeannine’s debut as a vocalist with the Detroit Symphony with American Youth Performs at age 12.
She has shared the stage with great musicians of every genre (especially jazz) who have served as mentors including Grover Washington Jr., Arthur Prysock, Kool and the Gang, Joe Chambers and Donald Byrd, Rudy Mwangozi, Saul Ruin, Stanley Banks bassist, Finnish Jazz composer Heikki Sarmanto and Vishnu Wood, bassist, and his band Safari East.
Indeed, Jeannine was recently the recipient of The Bishop’s Cross, which is the highest award for lay people by the Episcopal Church, for her musical contribution to the church as the music director of St Mark’s Church in the Bowery.
Now vocalist/educator/actress/author Jeannine Otis has just released her brand new album Into My Heart, her first recording in eight years!
Otis shines on this intimate and engaging small combo/duet recording on nine ballad, dance and Latin-tinged tracks featuring original compositions and standards, including Billie Holiday's classic 'Lover Man,' Duke Ellington's 'In a Sentimental Mood,' and two selections by the late keyboardist/composer Onaje Allan Gumbs.
1. 'Mood Is For Lovin''
2. 'Touch Me Tonight'
3. 'Brazilian Jam'
4. 'Sweet Sad Guitar'
5. 'Lover Man'
7. 'Joy Of Life'
8. 'In A Sentimental Mood'
9. 'Into My Heart'
This truly beautiful album opens on the Latin-tinged guitar work of 'Mood Is For Lovin'' and the aching ballad 'Touch Me Tonight' which Otis backs up seamlessly with the sweepingly magical ambiance of 'Brazilian Jam,' the gently foot-tapper 'Sweet Sad Guitar,' and then we get one of my own personal favorites, the vocally earnest, and acoustic guitar-imbibed 'Lover Man.'
Otis' broad vocal talents truly come to the fore once again on the free flowing Summer's breeze of 'Cokika' which is followed by the lush orchestrations of 'Joy Of Life,' with this gorgeous album rounding out on the gossamer of 'In A Sentimental Mood,' and then closing on the smooth R&B of the title track, 'Into My Heart.'
Amazon Digital Purchase Link
Jeannine Otis @ Facebook
Title - ''Round Midnight: Re-Imagined'
Artist - Amber Weekes
For those unaware, Amber Weekes was born and raised in Los Angeles. Her grandparents owned Weekes’ Luncheonette in Harlem and among their regular customers were Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Harry Belafonte and Diahann Carroll.
“My parents are Harlemites and they were both singers. My father loved Frank Sinatra while my mother was more of a classical singer, so it is not surprising that I was born singing."
"In the house we heard everything: Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, the Beatles, Barbra Streisand’s early recordings, classical music, Motown, Ella, Sarah and Billie. I have memories of standing on my parent’s coffee table and singing ‘Somewhere’ when I was three or four.”
Amber studied singing extensively with such teachers as Gwendolyn Wyatt, Phil Moore, Jr., Catherine Hansen, and Sue Fink. Most significant has been her many years of important lessons with the great Sue Raney.
"She encouraged my desire for storytelling inside of a song, allowing me to use my instrument in a way that I had always dreamed of. I am very lucky that I have had the opportunity to work with her so long. I think of Sue as an extended family member.”
Having released her album Pure Imagination in 2019 and followed it up with an EP My Romance - A Special Valentine (which also includes her duet 'The Way He Makes Me Feel'), and now Amber will release her brand new album, 'Round Midnight: Re-Imagined (May 1st, 2021 via Amber Inn Records).
1. 'Hazel's Hips'
2. 'Summer Samba'
3. 'Cristo Redentor / I Want Jesus to Walk With Me'
4. 'Sistermoon / Summertime'
5. 'My Romance'
6. 'Don't You Feel My Leg'
The Bar Suite:
7. 'Something Cool'
8. 'One For My Baby'
9. 'The Man That Got Away'
11. ''Round Midnight'
12. 'More Than You Know'
A tribute to her late father, the selections chosen on this 12-track album range from Oscar Brown Jr.’s 'Hazel’s Hips' and 'More than You Know' to a medley of 'Cristo Redentor' and 'I Want Jesus To Walk With Me.'
With her beautiful voice and very expressive style, Amber opens the album on the vibrant 'Hazel's Hips' and the free flowing breeze of 'Summer Samba,' and backs those up with the magnificently cinematic-imbibed ambiance of 'Cristo Redentor / I Want Jesus to Walk With Me,' the mid-tempo hipsway of 'Sistermoon / Summertime,' and then both the lush ballad 'My Romance' and the euphorically-sculptured 'Don't You Feel My Leg.'
With the latter songs falling under the subsection of The Bar Suite,' Amber next brings us the late night, smoky jazz club vibe of 'Something Cool' which she follows with the beautiful 'One For My Baby,' the heavenly ornate 'The Man That Got Away,' and then the album rounds out with the fervent R&B of 'Lovers,' the crushingly earnest ''Round Midnight,' closing on the harp-imbibed love song 'More Than You Know.'
Official Purchase Link
Amber Weekes @ Facebook
Amber Weekes @ Twitter
Title - 'The Outsiders: Count For Something' [5CD]
Artist - The Outsiders
For those not in the know, formed whilst still at school in late 1974, The Outsiders charted their own unlikely path through the tumultuous punk era, releasing one of the very first independent ‘punk’ albums in the process and dividing opinion with their contribution to the new musical revolution.
Aided and backed by front man Adrian Borland’s father, the band produced material in an adventurous range of styles (somehow becoming ‘post-punk’ during the original wave), recorded in their own private studio and released material on their own Raw Edge label.
Borland and co-founder Adrian Janes, whilst tapping into punk’s energy, explored songwriting which dug deeper than much of whatever else was happening at the time, simultaneously youthful, reflective and knowing.
Produced in association with founder and co-writer Adrian Janes, Count For Something: Albums, Demos, Live & Unreleased 1976-1978 (5CD Box Set) - which releases on April 30th, 2021 via Cherry Red Records UK) charts a recording career lasting less than two years and which segued into Adrian Borland’s next project, The Sound.
Janes’ remembrances, song-by-song recollections and in-depth recording information make for a unique insider’s view of The Outsiders’ experience, accompanied by a plethora of recently unearthed songs, demos and live material.
Disc 1: Calling On Youth
1. 'CALLING ON YOUTH'
2. 'BREAK FREE'
3. 'ON THE EDGE'
4. 'HIT AND RUN'
5. 'START OVER'
7. 'I’M SCREWED UP'
8. 'WALKING THROUGH A STORM'
9. 'TERMINAL CASE'
One To Infinity (EP)
10. 'ONE TO INFINITY'
11. 'NEW UNIFORM'
In 1977, the home-recorded Calling On Youth, a searching full-length that straddles nihilo-punk argot ('Terminal Case' and 'I'm Screwed Up') as well as smudged glam balladry ('Start Over' and 'Weird') was thrown into the cauldron of the fledgling punk world.
It's release, on the group's own Raw Edge label, with Borland's cityscape abstraction on the cover, marked the first independent punk full-length in the United Kingdom.
The Outsiders, at that time featuring bassist Bob Lawrence and drummer Adrian "Jan" James, were punk in the moment before punk cut ties with solos and five minute songs.
Calling On Youth, though, announces Borland as more than a precious teenage bandleader. The nervous introspection, wiry leads and negative space that he would refine solo and in The Sound, Second Layer and Witch Trials glistens throughout Calling On Youth, beckoning rediscovery.
Disc 2: Calling On Youth (Demos and Early Songs)
1. 'CALLING ON YOUTH' (DEMO)
2. 'BREAK FREE' (ORIGINAL VERSION)
3. 'HIT AND RUN' (DEMO)
4. 'START OVER' (ALTERNATIVE MIX)
5. 'WEIRD' (PATHWAY SESSION)
6. 'I’M SCREWED UP' (ORIGINAL VERSION)
7. 'WALKING THROUGH A STORM' (ORIGINAL VERSION)
8. 'ONE TO INFINITY' (DEMO)
9. 'CONSEQUENCES' (DEMO)
10. 'BLOWTORCH' (ORIGINAL VERSION)
11. 'BLOWTORCH' (PATHWAY SESSION)
13. 'I’M GONNA BE FREE'
14. 'PERFECT GIRL' (DEMO)
Simply put, and even though all these 14 tracks here on this second disc are previously unreleased demos and early versions from Calling On Youth, the album (in and unto itself) is still a really worthwhile addition to any early punk collection.
Even in the early demos and such, it's raw, a bit punky, a bit rock 'n' roll, but always you can hear glimpses of what was to follow for the band at that time.
I mean, you'd have to be deaf to not see where Adrian was heading, because there are songs here, rather than just riffs, and even though here on this second disc the tracks do have that raw demo feel, they are all still well recorded and chock full of fervent excitement for what was to come.
Disc 3: Close Up
1. 'VITAL HOURS'
3. 'FIXED UP'
4. 'TOUCH AND GO'
5. 'WHITE DEBT'
6. 'COUNT FOR SOMETHING'
7. 'OUT OF PLACE'
8. 'KEEP THE PAIN INSIDE'
9. 'FACE TO FACE'
10. 'SEMI-DETACHED LIFE'
11. 'CONSPIRACY OF WAR'
This great sophomore opus was recorded in 1978, but was not released until 1979, but the 11 tracks are of some mighty fine, powerful rock music that jumps out of your speakers and into your brains, that's for damn sure!
On this follow-up album, they actually sound a lot like the band Television to me ('Fixed Up,' 'Keep The Pain Inside'), with a hint of The Pretenders ('Out of Place,' 'Semi-Detached Life') and similar bands of the era, but taken up a notch on the energy scale.
The guitar is very strong here throughout and as much as it is a little less punky, less angst ridden, the only way to play it is loud, trust me!
Disc 4: Close Up (Demos and Late Songs)
1. 'VITAL HOURS' (PIPER STUDIO SESSION)
2. 'OBSERVATIONS' (DEMO)
3. 'FIXED UP' (DEMO)
4. 'TOUCH AND GO' (PIPER STUDIO SESSION)
5. 'WHITE DEBT' (DEMO)
6. 'COUNT FOR SOMETHING' (DEMO)
7. 'OUT OF PLACE' (DEMO)
8. 'KEEP THE PAIN INSIDE' (DEMO)
9. 'FACE TO FACE' (DEMO)
10. 'SEMI-DETACHED LIFE' (DEMO)
11. 'CONSPIRACY OF WAR' (DEMO)
12. 'WATCHDOG' (DEMO)
13. 'PRIME MOVER' (DEMO)
14. 'SETTLED DUST' (DEMO)
15. 'FLESH ON FLESH' (DEMO)
16. 'BLIND DATE' (MIX 1) (DEMO)
17. 'BLIND DATE' (MIX 2) (DEMO)
18. 'SOONER OR LATER' (DEMO)
19. 'DEEP BREATH' (DEMO)
20. 'NIGHT VS. DAY' (DEMO)
21. 'SYMBOLS' (DEMO)
22. 'QUARTER PAST TWO' (DEMO)
23. 'GOT TO GET AWAY' (DEMO)
Chock full of 23 previously unreleased demos and "late" songs, this fourth disc of their sophomore album just goes to show you how dedicated to the musical cause the guys were.
Where in the demos (and now knowing what the final song sounds like) there are rough, wonky passages of chord relays and vocal mixes, they obviously were never happy with them and so the final versions show how they knuckled down to recreate them with a little spit and polish, so to speak.
Yet more great material with tracks unique to one another and high quality nonetheless, not one track here is a throwaway and all of them showcase some wonderful masterpieces in the making.
Disc 5: Live at LSE
1. 'COUNT FOR SOMETHING'
2. 'NEW UNIFORM'
4. 'RAW POWER'
5. 'TOUCH AND GO'
6. 'KEEP THE PAIN INSIDE'
7. 'FIXED UP'
8. 'RUNNING OUT OF TIME'
10. 'VITAL HOURS'
The fifth and final disc here is their previously unreleased (tracks or the actual concert) Live at LSE in London and it is a ferocious beauty, you have my word on that!
From the very opening power chords of both 'Count For Something' and the drum-led 'New Uniform,' on through to both the mid-tempo guitar work of 'Keep The Pain Inside' and the thrash fest of 'Fixed Up,' on through to the geography-based 'Observations' and the curtain call of the energetic 'Vital Hours,' this live album is the most perfect addition to this magnificent 5CD box-set from Chery Red Records UK.
Long overdue reappraisal and acknowledgement, The Outsiders approached the punk boom with gusto. Adventurous, unrestrained and somewhat eccentric, this was a young band feeding off of the atmosphere around them and transforming it into their own suburban take on that place and time.
A must for punk and alternative rock collectors, fans of Adrian Borland and those with an interest in home-recording and the independent spirit.
Official 5CD Purchase Link
Title - 'Springville Sessions'
Artist - The Ladles
For those unaware, with the COVID-19 pandemic cancelling an entire year’s worth of tour dates, The Ladles decided to turn their only remaining gig of 2020 — a three-week summer residency in the quaint town of Springville, New York — into their extraordinary and spontaneous new album, Springville Sessions.
Recorded over the course of four days in an historic former Baptist church, the collection mixes folk sensibilities with pop, jazz, choral, and chamber music, creating a gorgeous blend fueled by spare, acoustic instrumentation and brilliant harmonies.
"When all three voices come together,” writes American Songwriter, “the sound lights up the space like a firefly in the night.”
Composed of fiddler/singer Lucia Purpura-Pontoniere, guitarist/singer Katie Martucci, and banjoist/singer Caroline Kuhn, The Ladles have always managed to walk the line between technical virtuosity and emotional intuition.
But Springville Sessions finds the trio reaching new heights with a less-is-more approach, embracing their environment at the Springville Center for the Arts and recording the entire album with the stripped-down intimacy of a live performance.
The result is an entrancing chronicle of a singular moment in time, a raw, organic record that hints at everything from I’m With Her and The Wailin’ Jennys to Mountain Man and The Staves as it finds connection and hope in the face of isolation and overwhelming uncertainty.
“With only the three of us and an engineer in the room, we were free to just be ourselves,” says Purpura-Pontoniere. “Everything was as intimate as it could possibly be.”
1. 'Sunset Pink'
3. 'Nobody Knew'
4. 'Thank You'
9. 'The Friends You Had'
Opening on the pure dreamy gossamer of the lovingly dulcet 'Sunset Pink,' they back that up seamlessly with the quietly acoustic reverence of both 'Crushin'' and the harmonious resonance of 'Nobody Knew,' which in turn are followed by the yearning orchestrations of 'Thank You.'
The gently pensive storytelling of 'Sugarcoat' is up next and backed by the joyful American pop bounce of 'Baltimore' and the achingly earnest 'Pages,' with this album (one that puts you in a happy place from the very off and keeps you safely there throughout) rounding out on the melodically sweet sounding 'T.O.B.S.,' closing on the mellifluous 'The Friends You Had.'
Amazon Digital Purchase Links
The Ladles @ Facebook
The Ladles @ Twitter
The Ladles @ Instagram
The Ladles @ YouTube
Title - 'Virtual Birdland'
Artist - Arturo O' Farrill & The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra
For those unaware, Arturo O'Farrill (a six time Grammy Award Winner) and all the musicians on this brand new album, entitled Virtual Birdland (out now via Zoho Music) performed remotely in their living rooms, enriching lives of unseen listeners.
Indeed, Gulab Jamón's title is a mash up of two of O'Farrill's favorite cuisines, Indian and Spanish. He has stated that the inspiration came from thinking about water and how it can exist in many forms, but is essentially the same.
"We should see humanity as existing in many forms but being of the same essence," O'Farrill explains. "We do not dilute our essence when we embrace others."
1. 'Gulab Jamón'
5. 'Ana Mashoof'
6. 'Samba for Carmen'
8. 'En La Oscuridad'
10. 'Para Los Rumberos'
This vibrantly seductive album opens on the cinematically imbibed, deep horn layered 'Gulab Jamón' and backs that up with the rhythmical hipsway of 'Pouvoir,' before we get the staggered, at times sharply countered, at others mystically beveled 'Desert,' the lush orchestrations of the euphoric 'Nightfall,' and then, at over eight minutes, come the longest track, the calmative concinnity of 'Ana Mashoof.'
Up next is the upbeat and free flowing 'Samba for Carmen' and the one-two, gentle Latin-pop sway reflections of 'Alafia,' with the album rounding out on the slinking, late night smoky jazz club majesty of 'En La Oscuridad,' one of my own personal favorites, the smooth foot-tapping elegance of 'Cimarron,' closing on the confidently optimistic 'Para Los Rumberos.'
"Pouvoir means power in French and is written by a very powerful artist born in Morocco, a defender of the sacred Moroccan rhythmic code, Chaabi" (a traditional style of North African dance music associated with weddings and festivals), O'Farrill continues.
"Malika Zarra, trained in New York, currently residing in Paris, is an archetype of how the music of Mother Africa flows from its sources and travels the globe enriching everyone it touches."
"Beautiful human beings make beautiful music," O'Farrill continues. "I'm not talking about high cheekbones or sculpted abs. I refer to those whose inner joy radiates in who they are and what they bring. Rafi Malkiel is just such a being."
"If you know Rafi, you love Rafi. Desert, his composition, is an example of that inner joy flowing out. The sound of ancient trade routes connecting with a moment in time where we all need healing."
"'Nightfall' by Larry Willis is an example of the compositional prowess of this brilliant pianist," O'Farrill continues. "The effortlessness of his swing and the efficacy of his tumbao reveal that the roots, path, and future of this music we call jazz are Afro Latino."
"Influenced by the middle east and beyond, this music filters through Spain, ferments in Northern African, crystalizes in Western Africa and through a cataclysm called the slave trade, makes its way into all of the Americas."
"The next piece is an example of global cooperation, of what could be if artists ran the world," O'Farrill further explains. "Ghazi Faisal Al-Mulaifi from Kuwait wrote this beautiful song, Ana Mashoof, and it was originally performed in Abu Dhabi during a concert called Cuba Meets Khaleeji: The Middle Eastern Roots of Afro Cuban Jazz."
Amazon Digital Purchase Link
Arturo O' Farrill @ Facebook
Arturo O' Farrill @ Twitter
Arturo O' Farrill @ YouTube
Title - 'In The Running: Expanded Deluxe' (3CD+DVD)
Artist - Howard Jones
Cherry Red Records is both delighted and proud to announce the newly remastered and expanded release of Howard Jones' fifth and final long player album for Warner Bros, In The Running (May 7th, 2021).
Released in April 1992, the album was produced by Jones with Ross Cullum, whom he had worked with on his previous album Cross That Line. Rupert Hine (who had produced Howard’s first two multi-million selling albums Human’s Lib and Dream Into Action) was the album’s Executive Producer and it was mixed by Bob Clearmountain.
In The Running marked a conscious move away from the use of electronic instrumentation towards more piano based melodies. It is the most deeply melodic recording that Jones had made up until that point, full of meticulously-crafted songs that focused on personal, societal and environmental concerns.
There was also a stellar array of guest musicians that featured on this album including Richie Hayward from Little Feat, Dean Parks from Steely Dan, Mark Brezecki from Big Country and Midge Ure from Ultravox.
It is beautifully packaged in a digipack with a fully illustrated 16-page booklet containing a brand new sleeve note and track by track annotation about In The Running by Howard Jones as told to acclaimed writer Anil Prasad.
It features an expanded selection of previously unreleased studio versions, edits, instrumentals, live versions and remixes plus newly remastered tracks.
All that and we also get versions of a previously unreleased ’93 Remix of Howard’s biggest hit ‘What Is Love?’ along with a DVD (NTSC/Region Free) containing a brand new interview with Howard Jones from October 2020 discussing creating the In The Running album, a Track By Track Commentary, TV appearances as well as Promotional Videos.
1. 'Lift Me Up'
2. 'Fallin' Away'
3. 'Show Me'
4. 'The Voices Are Back'
6. 'Tears To Tell'
7. 'Two Souls'
8. 'Gun Turned On The World'
9. 'One Last Try'
10. 'City Song'
11. 'I. G. Y. (What A Beautiful World)' [Single Mix]
12. 'New Man'
13. 'Takin' The Time'
14. 'You Say'
15. 'One Last Try' [Edit]*
* PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED
Most musicians who were famous in the '80s often faced an impasse. If they stuck to the synthesized sound that they became popular with, they would be considered out of touch and old-fashioned. If they tried to change and update themselves for the times, they'd be considered sell-outs or out of their range.
Howard Jones faced that kind of problem. His biggest hits like 'What Is Love' and 'Things Can Only Get Better' were some of the better-conceived synth-pop hits of the decade, but he was smart enough to realize that the sound wouldn't be popular forever and did the right thing by moving on through the years.
The only problem was that the public didn't want him to change and as a result, his audience was cut down to a cult following. Especially, it not more so, here in the U.S. as Howard's last album of any note in America was 1992's this one in review, In The Running.
Despite having hits post-synthesizers like 'No One Is To Blame' and the brilliant 'Everlasting Love,' they were not the major successes of his more upbeat computerized tunes.
With In The Running, Howard had his last top 40 hit to date with the uptempo 'Lift Me Up' and then that was sadly that. That said, there are still some synths in the mix, but they aren't as intrusive and the result is one of Howard's most underrated singles ever (IMHO).
Elsewhere, he tries his best to use actual keyboards on songs like 'Fallin' Away,' 'Tears To Tell' (a minor hit single that barely went anywhere) and the closing epic 'City Song,' which is another hats-off to Howard's biggest idol, Elton John.
The results are surprisingly successful, proving that he is actually quite a good keyboard player even when he isn't plugged in.
1. 'Lift Me Up' [Instrumental]*
2. 'Fallin' Away' [Instrumental]*
3. 'Show Me' [Instrumental]*
4. 'The Voices Are Back' [Instrumental]*
5. 'Exodus' [Instrumental]*
6. 'Tears To Tell' [Instrumental]*
7. 'Two Souls' [Instrumental]*
8. 'Gun Turned On The World' [Instrumental Extended Version]*
9. 'One Last Try' [Instrumental Extended Version]*
10. 'City Song' [Instrumental]*
11. 'I.G.Y. (What A Beautiful World)' [Instrumental]*
12. 'Road To Cairo' [TV Mix]*
13. 'Other People Are Us' [TV Mix]*
14. 'What Is Love?' [’93 Remix Instrumental]*
* PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED
For me, and whether it be the original version, the instrumental version, the live version, or any number of the remixes down the years, the best of the rest included, right there at the fire, the stunning 'Gun Turned On The World.'
In truth, it's rather hard to grasp its meaning when you hear it the first time, unlike 'The Voices Are Back' - which is much hated by Howard's fans - and it is very surreal in its DNA.
Another decent track is 'Exodus' which has Howard contributing his own brand of social commentary, but perhaps he hasn't really understood the meaning of "too preachy" just yet at that time.
'Show Me' and 'One Last Try' are run-of-the-mill love songs that could have come from anyone, even a '90s Elton John, but they all come together to make one highly listenable album, that's for sure.
1. 'What Is Love?' [’93 12″ Remix, Part 1]*
2. 'What is Love?' [’93 12″ Remix, Part 2]*
3. 'Tears To Tell' [7″ Edit]**
4. 'Don't Be Part Of It'
5. 'Road To Cairo' [Andy Scarth Mix]**
6. 'I. G. Y. (What A Beautiful World)' [Special DJ Edit]**
7. 'Other People Are Us'
8. 'What Is Love?' [’93 Remix]*
9. 'Two Souls' [Early Extended Mix]*
10. 'Don't Be Part of It' [Moo Mix]**
11. 'I. G. Y. (What A Beautiful World)' [Live at the Spectrum Theatre, Philadelphia 1987]**
12. 'Road To Cairo**
13. 'Tears To Tell' [Early Mix]*
14. 'One Last Try' [Extended Version]*
15. 'Don't Be Part Of It' [Dance Mix AKA Dub Mix]**
* PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED
** PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED REMASTERED
Always a strong lyricist, Howard took the time on this album to express the uneasiness that a musician of his age bracket might've been feeling during this era.
By bumping up the soul and jazz touches in his music, he made these lyrics and strong melodicism evident to those who may not have noticed it before.
After In The Running, Howard's American appeal disappeared and even now his major fan base remains, to this day, in his homeland of Europe.
However, 1997's Angels & Lovers was another excursion into acoustic keyboard territory which was later released in an "Americanized" version called People in 1998.
So while Howard may now be considered more of a cult favorite since he's affirmatively non-synthesized, that doesn't mean his music has gone bad - as this album clearly showcases.
1. Interview with Howard Jones (October 2020):
• Creating In The Running
• Track By Track Commentary
2. 'I.G.Y. (What A Beautiful World)' [Pebble Mill – 18/05/1993]
3. 'What Is Love?' [Pebble Mill -18/05/1993]
4. 'Tears To Tell' [Promo Video]
5. 'Lift Me Up' [Promo Video]
6. 'I.G.Y. (What A Beautiful World)' [Promo Video]
7. 'Tears To Tell' (Blue Tint Version) [Promo Video]
Official 3CD/DVD Purchase Link
Howard Jones @ Facebook
Howard Jones @ Twitter
Title - 'Markstown'
Artist - Steve Tintweiss and The Purple Why
For those unaware, Steve Tintweiss, who is still active today, is perhaps best-known for his contributions to the avant-garde jazz scene of the late 1960s/early ’70s when he was considered a very valuable sideman and a stimulating improviser.
As a leader, he enjoyed writing strong themes that led logically to free-form solos and exhilarating ensembles.
In 1967 he formed The Purple Why, a septet that also included trumpeter James DuBoise, Mark Whitecage on tenor and flute, baritonist Trevor Koehler, drummer Laurence Cook, and both Judy Stuart and Amy Sheffer on vocals.
Although the group, which lasted until the mid-1970s, made an impact at the time, the just-released MarksTown (Inky Dot Media) is the first documentation of the band to be released.
It consists of a pair of concert performances from 1968. Steve Tintweiss wanted Purple Why to be socially conscious and part of the late 1960s political movement like many of the rock groups and folk singers.
St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery: August 21th, 1968
1. Bells Intro (0:20)
2. 'Ramona, I Love You' (4:52)
3. 'How Sweet?' (3:55)
4. 'Contrapuntal' (4:17)
5. 'N.E.S.W. up/down' (5:22)
6. 'The Purple Why Theme' (1:15)
7. Closing announcement (0:25)
The first half of MarksTown is taken from a performance at St. Mark’s Church that was part of a marathon weeklong benefit for the victims of the Nigerian-Biafran conflict.
The Purple Why was the only performing jazz group in a lineup that also included Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, Pete Seeger, Country Joe McDonald, Jimi Hendrix and many others.
The band only had 20 minutes so they performed a medley of some of their pieces. Most memorable are the somber melody of 'Ramona, I Love You,' Tintweiss’ bowed bass on 'Contrapuntal,' and the fiery trumpet on 'N.E.S.W. up/down.'
The Town Hall New York City: September 14th, 1968
8. 'Universal Heroes' (1:49)
9. 'Just Be Mine' (8:24)
10. 'Monogamy Is Out' (10:17)
11. 'Space Rocks' (9:33)
12. “We Are All The Universal Heroes” (0:25)
The second half of MarksTown features The Purple Why at their Town Hall concert of Sept. 14th, 1968 where they had more of an opportunity to stretch out.
Trumpeter DuBoise creates a particularly strong solo on 'Just Be Mine,' the singers and Whitecage are in the spotlight on 'Monogamy Is Out,' and the dramatic 'Space Rocks' concludes with a memorable outer space ending.
Throughout this release, The Purple Why displays a musical personality of its own, but yet at all times this still highly talented bass player; that has featured on so many historical recordings with Albert Ayler, Patty Waters, Burton Greeene and many other innovators, keeps all these melodic constructs on time, in tempo and, given they were live shows, as sweepingly, sonically ornate as you could ever hope them to be.
Musicians: The Purple Why
James DuBoise - trumpet
Mark Whitecage - tenor saxophone and flute
Trevor Koehler - baritone saxophone, Judy Stuart - vocals
Amy Sheffer - vocals
Steve Tintweiss - double bass, melodica, vocals, composer, leader
Laurence Cook - drums
Title - 'Symphony No.2'
Artist - Northwest Sinfonia / Clyde Mitchell
For those unaware, vast, deep and emotional are apt descriptions of the single-movement, 53-minute-long Symphony No. 2 by Christopher Tyler Nickel.
The award-winning Canadian composer elaborates: “One can think of this music as consisting of mirrors between ideas that equally disturb yet entice."
"Each side of the reflection is in itself conceivably valid, but when facing each other friction and dissonance are created. The exquisitely alluring and the grotesque exist simultaneously."
"Perhaps another way to understand the symphony is as a meditation on the state of cognitive dissonance.”
CHRISTOPHER TYLER NICKEL (b. 1978)
Symphony No. 2 (2016, rev. 2018)
1. I. Grave – Andante – Grave – Mysterioso – Fatalistically – Grave
Total time: 53.00.
Recorded on November 5th, 2019 at St. Thomas Chapel at Bastyr University, Kenmore, Washington, USA, the entrepreneurial Clyde Mitchell conducts the Seattle-based Northwest Sinfonia on this simply breathtaking, heart-poundingly euphoric one minute, ornately passionate and endearing the next, world-premiere recording.
Throughout the cinematic vastness of this 53 minute, deeply emotional and heartily visceral offering, each movement made within is just pure, unadulterated gossamer and lays down a thistledown bed of generous musical proportion for the listener from the very beginning.
Christopher Tyler Nickel’s contemporary classical compositions pack a bracing and emotional punch. His award-winning works for the concert hall, stage and screen have been heard in over 160 countries by audiences in the tens of thousands.
His experience as an oboist instils a confidence to compose with an exhilarating freedom to explore the vast expressive range of the instrument, from lyrical and plaintive to acerbic and brittle.
Official Purchase Link
Title - 'Ember Days'
Artist - Carl Weingarten
For those unaware, Ember Days (out February 12th, 2021 via Multiphase Records) is the latest CD release from Carl Weingarten.
Carl is an American guitarist, photographer and founder of the independent music label
Multiphase Records. Described as "one of the best indie musicians working today" by the San
Francisco Chronicle, Carl is best known for his atmospheric sound and his innovative use of the slide
guitar and Dobro.
Furthermore, Carl has played a significant role in the progressive independent music scene since the 1980s, recording numerous solo and collaborative instrumental albums.
Indeed, much of the music here on the just-released Ember Days was produced during the Covid shut-in, during which Carl performed and recorded nearly all the instruments.
The CD contains 10 new instrumentals that range from the smoky jazz
club mood of 'Geola,' to the rock-fusion guitars of 'Goodbye Sun,' to the elegant choral inspired title track, all composed around Carl’s signature guitar sound.
1. 'Round Robin' (4:44)
2. 'Brother Mountain' (5:42)
3. 'What The Raindrop Saw' (5:36)
4. 'Goodbye Sun' (5:18)
5. 'Ember Days' (5:09)
6. 'Geola' (5:27)
7. 'Skying Out' (4:25)
8. 'Blue Spaces' (4:40)
9. 'A Solitary Interlude' (4:22)
10. What The Raindrop Saw' (Cafe Mix) (5:51)
This truly beautiful album opens on the Summer's drive, top down breeze of 'Round Robin' and the more sedate, playfully cautious 'Brother Mountain,' before bringing us the mid-tempo, free flowing atmospheric ambiance of 'What The Raindrop Saw,' the forthright guitar work of 'Goodbye Sun' and then the orchestrally magnificent gossamer of the title track, 'Ember Days' is brought forth.
Next up is the shimmeringly ornate guitar work of 'Geola' and the gently frenetic hipsway of 'Skying Out,' which is in turn backed by the reaching, Pink Floydesque majesty of 'Blue Spaces,' with the album rounding out on the veritable chiffon aura of 'A Solitary Interlude,' closing on a new Cafe Mix of 'What The Raindrop Saw.'
"Ember Days was created under the condition photographers call
“available light”, Carl explains. "With the Covid shut-in I had little choice but to work on my own without the pleasure of the in- person collaborations that have been so rewarding on my previous releases including, Life Under Stars and This Is Where I
"So, I challenged myself to become my own ensemble, if an unlikely one. Despite all my experience as a composer, it felt like I was starting from scratch. As a guitarist, most songs were first inspired there, usually a guitar phrase or a melody."
"As the songs developed, I created orchestrations with whatever sounds and instruments I had available in my studio, like my keyboard,
sampled sounds, pedal effects, sound effects, acoustic and electric guitars, all played and recorded in real time."
"So what began as madness eventually became a method, and over the months that followed and the music simply fell into place. I was also fortunate that several musician friends were able to record remotely."
"They contributed generously to selected songs and include: Michael Manring (bass), Ulrich Schnauss (synthesizers from
London), Kit Walker (piano from Uruguay), Tate Bissinger
(vocals), Pete Calandra (keyboards from New York), David Udell
(guitar) and Walter Whitney (keyboards) my Delay Tactics
bandmates from St. Louis."
Amazon Purchase Links
Carl Weingarten @ Facebook
Carl Weingarten @ YouTube
Carl Weingarten @ Flickr
Title - 'Guitar Town'
Artist - Pekka Tiilikainen & Beatmakers
For those unaware, Beatmakers formed some 32 years ago. Jori Venemies (bass guitar, backing vocals) and Juha Heinonen (lead guitar, backing vocals) were both studying at the University of Tampere and student parties needed music.
They started the band with Petri Ylonen and the band played almost all parties there for four years. By coincidence Jori and Juha went to work at the same place after studies and decided to continue with the new line up.
In 1998, Pekka Tiilikainen (vocals. rhythm guitar) joined the band and they started gigging more professionally (inclusive now of Mikko Lund on drums and percussion) and have continued to do so, having now done around 1300 gigs worldwide!
Their collective influences are quite wide, everything from '50s rock ´n roll to Black Sabbath, from Eddie Cochran, and Elvis, and Johnny Cash, through to Johnny Burnette, the Stray Cats, The Ventures and, naturally enough, The Shadows.
Although Pekka Tiilikainen & Beatmakers is not just an instrumental band and have recorded several vocal albums (and with about two-thirds of a liv set list containing vocalized songs), here is what Alan Taylor has said about the band: "The gig material includes a good mix of roots style music from rockabilly, rock ´n roll, sixties beat and rock instrumentals; with at least a third of them always being band originals."
And so the band, who have also won two lifetime achievement awards - in Finland, Rautalanka (2007) and The Key of Yyteri (2019) - now bring us their brand new album, Guitar Town (via Swedish label Triola Records).
Featuring guest musicians, Kaarle Viikate (the well known leader of a Finnish melodic metal band Viikate) and Hannu Kiviaho (lead guitarist for the famous Swedish rock ´n roll band Fatboy), the highly motivating, always lovingly frenetic, precisely orchestrated and never dull new album is, to my mind, one of their best yet!
1. 'Golden Days'
2. '1963 - Fifteen Years Later'
3. 'Do The Waddle'
4. 'I Love You Anyway'
5. 'El Baile de la Cobra'
6. 'Musta ruusu - Dark Rose'
7. 'Song for Wendy'
8. 'The Road to Bodie'
10. 'Guitar Town'
Opening on the lush, melodic, late Summer ambiance of 'Golden Days' and the rhythmic hipsway of '1963 - Fifteen Years Later' they then back those up with the slightly more pronounced 'Do The Waddle,' the lushly orchestrated 'I Love You Anyway,' and then some lighter fare in the form of the drum-led 'El Baile de la Cobra' and then the foot-tapping energy of my own personal favorite, 'Musta ruusu - Dark Rose.'
Next up is the sweepingly magnificent 'Song for Wendy' and the swing jive of 'The Road to Bodie,' which are in turn followed by the feistier musical edge of their rendition of the original Gershon Kingsley surf rock tune, 'Popcorn,' with the album rounding out on the dancefloor hop of the title track 'Guitar Town,' the adoringly heartfelt 'Elena,' coming to a close on the mid-tempo, yet slow dance ballad 'Archipelago.'
Jori himself has said that the Beatmakers formed in 1988 and have been twanging all over Finland ever since: “I don´t know why, but Finland
is a very good country for this kind of music. Guitar instrumentals, in general, have been quite popular here since the '60s."
"We do around 50 gigs a year which is quite good and have also played gigs in the UK, Germany, The Netherlands and Sweden. This pandemic has messed things up, but our calendar still looks quite good
despite the cancelled gigs!"
Exclusive SIGNED CD Giveaway!
If you would like to win a, AUTOGRAPHED copy of this new CD, just answer this question about the band, set by Jori himself: How many times has the band performed at the Lakeside Festival in the UK?
Send us your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these brand new, and FULLY AUTOGRAPHED Guitar Town CDs!
Just send us an e:mail here before August 1st, 2021 with your answer and the subject title CONTEST: BEATMAKERS SIGNED CDs to: email@example.com
PT & Beatmakers @ Facebook
PT & Beatmakers @ YouTube
'Golden Days' - Music Video
'El Baile de la Cobra' - Music Video
'1963 - Fifteen Years Later' - Music Video
Title - 'Get Out Of Your Own Way'
Artist - Evie Sands
For those unaware, Evie Sands sought inspiration as she got in gear for a long-awaited new album after a two-decade wait. “I was in a meditation, a thing I only do once in a while,” she says. “And these words came to me: ‘Forgive yourself. Get out of your own way. All will follow.’”
Putting that into practice, she got home and within hours had the song that would become the title track — and philosophy — of her new release, Get Out of Your Own Way, due out April 23rd, 2021 on R-Spot Records.
While elements of pop, rock, soul, country and Americana float in and out of the songs and performances in varying forms, Sands brings such a distinctive blend — reflecting her own voracious tastes and open-eared feelings about music — that it’s impossible to peg any genre labels anywhere on these songs, or on her, and wrong to try.
"I’ve never chased trends or let that define me,” she says. “It’s the never-ending quest to be true to myself as an artist and to what’s inspiring for me. It’s like when I was two and listening to the radio and just turning the dial — R&B and soul and blues without walls. That thrilled me! It’s who I am.”
1. 'The Truth is in Disguise'
2. 'Lovin' You Enough'
3. 'Don't Hold Back'
4. 'Beautiful Lie'
5. 'My Darkest Days'
6. 'Get Out of Your Own Way'
7. 'Another Night'
8. 'Leap of Faith'
9. 'After Tonight'
10. 'Scandal Du Jour'
11. 'If You Give Up'
12. 'Don't Look Back, Don't Look Down'
More than a collection of songs, this is an album with an arc, with interconnected stories to tell, the way classic albums used to be made, and opens on the robust heartbreak rocker 'The Truth is in Disguise' and continues seamlessly onward with the yearningly hopeful 'Lovin' You Enough,' the fleet-footed foot-tapper 'Don't Hold Back,' the optimistic break up ditty 'Beautiful Lie,' and then both the dulcet strength of being within 'My Darkest Days' and the Summer's day, top down, window-leaning title track 'Get Out of Your Own Way' are brought forth.
Next up is the guitar-driven AOR of 'Another Night' and the gentle pop vocal sensibilities together with late '60s guitar-imbibed 'Leap of Faith' which are in turn backed by Sands' ode to heartbreak within 'After Tonight,' with the album rounding out on the addictively mid-tempo, cultural critique of 'Scandal Du Jour,' the inspirational 'If You Give Up,' closing on one of Evie's live set favorites (making its recorded debut here), the early '70s-infused pop hipsway of 'Don't Look Back, Don't Look Down.'
Her early career, famously, was marked by several coulda-beens — she made the original recordings of 'Take Me For a Little While,' 'I Can’t Let Go' and 'Angel of the Morning,' releases tripped up due to various music business failures and treacheries.
But Sands built a following among top figures in the music world, including Johnny Cash, who invited her to perform on his TV show in 1969, saying that she has “silver bells in her voice … electricity in her fingers.”
Her subsequent single, 'Any Way That You Want Me,' broke through, residing 17 weeks on the charts and racking up over half a million sales.
Evie’s journey, and guidance from such mentors as producer-songwriters Chip Taylor and Al Gorgoni, and veteran Ben Weisman (Elvis Presley’s go-to tunesmith), gave her the determination and the tools to take charge of her own art and destiny.
She stepped up as a songwriter with the very first self-penned song she recorded, 'It’s This I Am,' on her watershed album Any Way That You Want Me. It’s a testimony to her innate acumen and taste for enduring emotional and musical connection.
Get Out of Your Own Way’s 12 originals represent a welcome outburst of creativity from Evie that’s fresh and familiar, vintage and vital.
It signals a full-tilt return from this seemingly elusive, singer-songwriter/guitar-slinger. Concurrent with this album’s release comes a new association with Warner Chappell Music to represent her songs for a full range of exposure.
Presently not being able to tour in support, Sands has new music always in the works and plans are being imagined for future recordings and collaborations.
Evie Sands and band can’t wait to be socially present again, to get back on stage once possible, and perform it all live — like life depends on it.
Official 'Beautiful Lie' Video
Evie Sands @ Twitter
Evie Sands @ Facebook
Evie Sands @ YouTube
Evie Sands @ Instagram
Title - 'Until The Sun'
Artist - Drowning In Blue
For those unaware, blues-rock band Until The Sun will be releasing their highly anticipated second album titled Drowning in Blue on April 20th, 2021 via Unit 233 Media, LLC.).
The new album touches on the depths of human emotion, in the face of sorrow, love, betrayal, overcoming adversity, infatuation and existential collapse.
Until the Sun, a Rocking Blues band, was formed in 2017 and their music includes and often fuses elements of Blues, Alternative Rock, Pink-Floyd-esque Psychedelia, and Jazz.
Until the Sun quickly began playing national shows, has opened up for famous Blues and Rock artists, and has played world renowned venues.
The band includes Brandon Teskey on lead guitar, Bruce Jensen on co-lead vocals and bass guitar (as well as occasional rhythm guitar and/or keys/electronics), Chris Tex on drums, and Alyssa Swartz also on co-lead vocals.
1. 'Drowning In Blue'
2. 'Shadow of The Valley'
3. 'New Delilah'
4. '1,000 Miles Away'
6. 'Burning Home'
7. 'I'm Still Me'
8. 'Doing My Best' (Live)
9. 'Lemontree' (Live)
10. 'Deathbed Blues'
Opening on the throaty, one-two-one beat step of the title track 'Drowning In Blue' they back that up with the Southern twang of 'Shadow of The Valley,' the free flowing blues ambiance of the Alyssa Swartz-sung 'New Delilah,' the paced, drum-led back bone of the earnest '1,000 Miles Away,' and then we get the foot-tappin' and funky slap bass vibe of 'Crucible.'
The stunning blues ballad 'Burning Home' (sung by Swartz) is another stand out highlight here and is backed by the lighter blues fare of 'I'm Still Me,' before the album rounds out on two live tracks (the slow poke 'Doing My Best' and the euphorically rousing 'Lemontree'), before coming to a close on the Mississippi Delta blues of 'Deathbed Blues.'
Having released their debut album, Blackheart, in 2019, for this sophomore follow-up, Brandon, Bruce, Chris, and Alyssa all poured their hearts and souls into striving for what was before unattained levels of musicianship, songwriting, tone, performance, and reaching new levels of professionalism that continues to develop.
Says Brandon, “We did all the recording ourselves in our studio. Bruce recorded, engineered, and mixed everything. It was a long process that took over a year. We were perfectionists when it came to the performances and quality."
"We wanted to create something that would stand the tests of time and make something as close to a blues-rock magnum opus as we were capable of. We kept going back again and again to try and make everything perfect."
"We got some good production notes from Josh Smith, the blues guitarist out of LA, who gave a lot of helpful advice. About half way through the recording process, Alyssa Swartz joined the band as a second vocalist."
"We had a female vocalist who was featured on a few songs off our first record, Blackheart, because we like the two-vocalist dynamic, and think it brings a deeper dimension and greater dynamic to the music."
"So, after she joined, we went back and rewrote some of the lyrics from a female perspective and re-recorded vocals on all the songs she sings on - as well as background vocals on some of the songs Bruce sings.”
Official 'New Delilah' Music Video
'Doing My Best' Live Video
Official Purchase Link
Drowning In Blue @ Facebook
Drowning In Blue @ YouTube
Drowning In Blue @ ReverbNation
Drowning In Blue @ Instagram
Title - 50th Anniversary: Ashes Are Burning - An Anthology
Artist - Renaissance
For those not in the know, Renaissance are an English progressive rock band, best known for their 1978 UK top 10 hit 'Northern Lights' and progressive rock classics like 'Carpet of the Sun', 'Mother Russia', and 'Ashes Are Burning'.
They developed a unique sound, combining a female lead vocal with a fusion of classical, folk, rock, and jazz influences.
Characteristic elements of the Renaissance sound are Annie Haslam's wide vocal range, prominent piano accompaniment, orchestral arrangements, vocal harmonies, acoustic guitar, bass guitar, synthesizer, and versatile drum work.
The band created a significant following in the northeast United States in the 1970s, and that region remains their strongest fan base.
The original line-up included two former members of The Yardbirds, Keith Relf and Jim McCarty, along with John Hawken, Louis Cennamo and Relf's sister Jane Relf.
They intended to put "something together with more of a classical influence" and so Renaissance was born; and the band released a studio album in 1969, and another in 1971.
Subsequently, John Tout replaced Hawken on keyboards, followed by a period of high turnover of musicians until the "classic line-up" of Haslam, John Tout, Michael Dunford, Jon Camp, and Terry Sullivan was established; although none of them were in the original band.
They were assisted with lyrics on many songs from Cornish poet Betty Thatcher-Newsinger.
From 1972 to 1979 Renaissance released seven successful studio albums, toured extensively, and sold out three nights in a row at Carnegie Hall with Tony Cox conducting the New York Philharmonic.
The 1980s were a lean time for them, with personnel changes, and two relatively unsuccessful studio albums, leading to disbandment in 1987.
Two different offshoots of Renaissance existed at the same time at one stage in the mid-1990s. The band re-formed in 1998 to record Tuscany, which was eventually released in 2001; however, they disbanded again the next year.
2009 heralded a new line-up for Renaissance, led by Haslam and Dunford, and since then the band has continued to record and tour.
They were shocked and saddened by the sudden death of Dunford in November 2012, but later Haslam stated that the band would continue touring.
The current line-up is not as English as the band's early period, with five U.S.-born members and one English-born member who lives in the United States and in April 2014, Renaissance released the studio album Symphony of Light.
Symphonic Rock Recordings is pleased to announce the release of 50th Anniversary – Ashes Are Burning – An Anthology Live in Concert, the wonderful new 4 Disc CD, DVD and Blu ray set by Renaissance.
To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the formation of Renaissance, vocalist Annie Haslam and band performed a series of concerts with an orchestra in the USA in October 2019 featuring a set list which included songs which had never been orchestrated or performed with an orchestra before.
The most memorable concert took place at the Keswick Theater in Glenside, PA on 12th October 2019.
This sold-out concert saw the band perform a set which included such classics as 'Carpet of The Sun,' 'Ocean Gypsy,' 'Running Hard,' 'Day of The Dreamer and 'A Song For All Seasons' and also saw a special guest appearance by Renaissance founder Jim McCarty who performed on the song 'Island' and the epic closing piece 'Ashes Are Burning.'
1. 'Carpet of The Sun'
2. 'Ocean Gypsy'
3. 'Running Hard'
4. 'Midas Man'
5. 'Symphony of Light'
6. 'Island' (with Jim McCarty)
1. 'Opening Out'
2. 'Day of The Dreamer'
3. 'Mystic and The Muse'
4. 'A Song for All Seasons'
5. 'Ashes Are Burning' (with Jim McCarty)
Blu-ray + DVD
1. 'Carpet of The Sun'
2. 'Ocean Gypsy'
3. 'Running Hard'
4. 'Midas Man'
5. 'Symphony of Light'
6. 'Island' (with Jim McCarty)
7. 'Opening Out'
8. 'Day of The Dreamer'
9. 'Mystic and The Muse'
10. 'A Song for All Seasons'
11. 'Ashes Are Burning' (with Jim McCarty)
In truth, Ashes Are Burning is my favorite Renaissance album for I just adore their combination of folk, rock, and classical music.
The songs by Michael Dunford (music) and Betty Thatcher (lyrics) have great melodies but sadly as Renaissance had such a small following in the US this wondrous album only reached #171 in the US Album Charts of that time.
I discovered the band while at college in 1975 and liked their unusual sound and so when this album was recorded in 1973 they had already made three other rather excellent albums beforehand for us fans to enjoy.
After 1979, the band moved in a more pop direction, but weirdly enough their '70s records have not really dated all that much as they are all mostly acoustic.
Annie Haslam was/is a superb singer with a unique voice and John Tout played the piano rather than a synthesizer, which was unusual for a prog band.
However, and I'm sure there is much more to it behind the scenes, but to my mind it's strange that Michael Dunford contributed acoustic guitar and nearly all the music, but is not credited as a full member of the band.
This truly magical evening of music (complete with a string and brass section) audibly opens on 'Carpet of The Sun,' which is simply just an enticingly majestic piece, and with Annie in the spotlight for most of the duration, and proves to be the most perfect of opening bards.
With classics like 'Ocean Gypsy,' 'Song For All Seasons,' and the epic, Doctor Zhivago-quoting title track, this live show (recorded in Annie's hometown State of PA), let alone the original album from where this show was culled, continues to pay heed to the fact that Renaissance are still one of the finest progressive rockers of that, any quite possibly this generation!
Add to that there are two (2) discs - Blu-ray + DVD - of high resolution and multi-region enabled of the show and boy, are they all that and more re: visual quality and grading.
The packaging is a clamshell, multi-disc phenom and opens up to be a rather delightful item to own (complete with each disc being housed inside slip sleeves with original, and exclusive artwork by Annie herself emblazoned on the front of each) especially given that the price for it isn't all that cheap, of course.
And being that the package was actually created via an online fundraiser, those who paid a little more get their collective names written on the inside of the main booklet, which is rather nice for them.
In closing, this is a beautifully orchestral live recording - culled from an album that in 2015 was listed at #31 in Rolling Stone's "50 Greatest Prog Rock Albums of All Time" - that captures the spirit of the band just perfectly, and as for Annie, well, she still sounds like she is as young as she ever was!
This 4-disc set captures this concert over 2 CDs and a concert film on both DVD and High-Definition Blu ray multi region formats (featuring a stunning 5.1 Surround Sound mix).
50th Anniversary – Ashes Are Burning – An Anthology Live in Concert is a perfect celebration of a legendary and treasured body of music.
Official Purchase Link
Title - 'Convergence'
Artist - Lunar Octet
For those unaware, a decades-long institution in Ann Arbor, home of the University of Michigan, and also the nearby Metro Detroit area, the Lunar Octet is back with a potent collection of originals inspired by such wide-ranging influences as mambo, samba, funk, Afrobeat and jazz on Convergence (releasing June 18th, 2021 via Summit Records).
The title itself suggests a confluence of rhythms and styles, and that is precisely what this band of multi-directional musicians has been doing since meeting 36 years ago in Ann Arbor and subsequently recording their 1994 debut, Highway Fun for Schoolkids Records.
Reuniting in the studio 25 years later, the members of the Lunar Octet documented their collective growth while remaining committed to their original mission on Convergence.
1. 'Norm's Nambo'
2. 'Toote Sweet'
4. 'Subway Tension'
6. 'Flugel Tune'
7. 'Dancin' in the Doghouse'
9. 'Samba Diabolico'
11. 'Heart of Congatar'
12. 'Until I Find the Words'
13. 'Olduvai Gorge'
14. 'Samba Over Easy'
This vibrantly colorful and wholesomely welcoming new album opens on the upright bass-led 'Norm's Nambo' and the adamantly trumpet-led 'Toote Sweet' and then we get the rhythmic Latin percussion passion of 'Oye' and then come the free flowing hipsway of 'Subway Tension' and the flavorful mambo-bossa nova crossover 'Mambossa.'
Next up is a track as far removed from its definition of being either a harpsichord or a grand piano, the metrical 'Flugel Tune' which is itself backed by the soulful, early '70s Stax Records-imbibed 'Dancin' in the Doghouse,' the glitteringly precise piano work of 'Elephants' and then we get the trumpet-led, structured diligence of interpretation within the magnificent 'Samba Diabolico.'
A couple of my own personal favorites here are the groovy 'Cruisin'' and the maracas-infused back beat of 'Heart of Congatar,' which are followed by the resonating, and atmospherically wondrous, cultured woodwind appeal of 'Until I Find the Words' and the gorgeous, and sentimentally crafted 'Olduvai Gorge' (actually named after one of the most important paleoanthropological sites in the world, found in Tanzania).
Closing on the reworked rhythms normally associated with the musical style, but now wholly, and uncharacteristically having had its rhythmic patterns under emphasized, its relatively simple harmonies formed anew, the quite breathtakingly sculptured 'Samba Over Easy' is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the definitive stand out tracks on this quite fantastically crisp and fresh new album.
Originally formed in 1984 as the Afrobeat flavored Lunar Glee Club, the group morphed into the Lunar Octet in the ‘90s and began taking on the influences of samba and jazz through the compositions and arranging of alto saxophonist and principal composer Steve Hiltner.
The New York City-born Kaufman absorbed music in the Big Apple (represented by his tune “Subway Tension”) before his family moved to Puerto Rico.
Through his mentor Norman Shobey (Aron’s tune “Norm’s Nambo” is dedicated to Norm), Kaufman began studying conga and later widened his repertoire with a year abroad in Israel, where he soaked up Middle Eastern music and began playing the darbuka drum.
Other founding members of the band include drummer Jon Krosnick (who also anchors the West Coast-based fusion band Charged Particles), tenor saxophonist Paul VornHagen (who also leads the Cuban jazz combo Tumbao Bravo), trumpeter Brandon Cooper (an in-demand freelancer in the Metro Detroit area) and guitarist Sam Clark. Rounding out the Lunar Octet are young piano sensation Keaton Royer, bassist Jeff Dalton, and percussionist Olman Piedra.
Regarding the group’s long hiatus and recent return with Convergence, Krosnick said, “The early ‘90s was the peak time for the band, when we were on national radio broadcasts and playing at major festivals. But then band members moved away."
"I took a job teaching at Ohio State, Steve Hiltner moved to North Carolina, others moved elsewhere. So we lost momentum. But we rediscovered ourselves five years ago and said, “Hey, this music’s cool, let’s keep doing this".”
That reunion came in 2014 with a performance at the Kerrytown Concert House in Ann Arbor. And regular performances have followed ever since. “It's been fun to come back with live shows,” Krosnick continues. “And now with the release of Convergence, we're feeling like we can create some buzz about the band and do some touring.”
Steve Hiltner, Saxophones
Paul Vornhagen, Saxophones, Flute
Brandon Cooper, Trumpet
Sam Clark, Guitar
Keaton Royer, Keyboards
Jeff Dalton, Bass
Aron Kaufman, Congas, Percussion
Olman Piedra, Timbales, Percussion
Jon Krosnick, Drums
Official CD Purchase Link
Lunar Octet @ Facebook
Luna Octet @ Twitter