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Title - 'Across the Waves'
Artist - The Harmed Brothers

For those not in the know, over a decade ago, singer/songwriter Ray Vietti first encountered LA transplant, song-smith and multi-instrumentalist Alex Salcido.

The two soon came to recognize each other as kindred spirits in both vision and song, and began creating a universe in which The Harmed Brothers would tell their stories.

The duo recorded and released its independent debut, All The Lies You Wanna Hear in 2010, and their evolution as songwriters, as we ll as a growing band continued to shine through on their 2011 sophomore effort, Come Morning.

By 2013, years of constant cross-country touring led The Harmed Brothers to St. Louis' Native Sound Studio and with a full band in tow, they released their most ambitious work to date, Better Days.

An EP, A Lovely Conversation followed in 2016 as well as a 2017 self-titled release, but in 2019, The Harmed Brothers crossed the river into downtown Cincinnati's historic Herzog Studios to record their fifth, and highly anticipated new album, Across the Waves (due out June 5th, 2020 via Fluff & Gravy Records).

Listening to this new album, it veritably shines with some of The Harmed Brothers' strongest, and most self-realized tracks to date.

The collective wisdom of two songwriters beginning new chapters in their lives, working through ghosts, doom and existential hang-ups, might sound ominously foreboding, and yet somehow it not only cemented their kinship, but allowed them to bring forth ten tracks of pure indie Americana rock brilliance.

1. 'Skyline Over'
2. 'Picture show'
3. 'Funnies'
4. 'River Town'
5. 'Born a Rotten Egg'
6. 'In a Staring Contest'
7. 'Where You're Going'
8. 'All The Same'
9. 'Ride It Out'
10. 'Time'

Opening with the enormous balladeer pop rock of 'Skyline Over,' they back that up seamlessly with more of the same on 'Picture Show' and then comes the stuttered one-two, foot-tap hipsway of 'Funnies,' with the beautiful ballad 'River Town' up next.

We then get the pure Americana roll of 'Born a Rotten Egg' which is backed by the uptempo vibe of 'In a Staring Contest,' and then comes one of my own personal favorites, the stunning vocal resonance found within 'Where You're Going.'

The breezier, mid-tempo guitar fare of 'All The Same' is a delight to behold, and then the album rounds out with the guitars turned up for the rock of 'Ride It Out,' before coming to a close on a track that, at first, is an acoustic guitar bed that later becomes a free flowing, cultured, sonic staging of electric tranquility, 'Time.'

Alex Salcido (vocals, piano, guitar, banjo), Ray Vietti (vocals, guitar), Ben Knight (lead guitar), Matthew McClure (bass), Ryan Land(drums).

Official Purchase Links

The Harmed Brothers @ Facebook

The Harmed Brothers @ Instagram

Title - 'SremmLife' [2LP, Translucent Red]
Artist - Rae Sremmurd

For those not in the know, Rae Sremmurd, the Mississippi-bred hip-hop heroes revered for the Billboard #1 hit 'Black Beatles' as well as other Hot 100 hits like 'No Type,' 'Swang,' and 'Powerglide,' have just re-released their scrappy, promising 2015 debut album SremmLife via Interscope/UMe.

Furthermore, and for the first time ever, the album was released on translucent red, 180-gram, double-vinyl in a gatefold configuration with the bonus 'No Flex Zone (Remix).'

Side A:
1. 'Lit Like Bic'
2. 'Unlock The Swag'
3. 'No Flex Zone'

Side B:
1. 'My X'
2. 'This Could Be Us'
3. 'Come Get Her'
4. 'Up Like Trump'

Side C:
1. 'Throw Some Mo'
2. 'YNo'
3. 'No Type'

Side D:
1. 'Safe Sex Pays Checks'
2. 'No Flex Zone (Remix)'

Without a shadow of a doubt, SremmLife was just the beginning of a breakout year for Rae Sremmurd in 2015/16.

Rae Sremmurd - which is Drummers Ear spelt backwards - were barely known back nearly five years ago, but once this album came out, the way it had been produced, and the fact it seamlessly merged hip hop and R&B, meant that their youthful exuberance combined with massive beats blending with concert-level choruses made your ears stand up to attention!

Indeed, this was also Record Producer Mike WiLL Made-It’s return to hip-hop’s pantheon for despite basically owning 2013 (and arguably 2012 as well), making an especially large splash by providing the hip-hop underpinnings of ex-Disney starlet Miley Cyrus’ pop-charts-smashing Bangerz, the young producer spent most of 2014 outside of the spotlight; quietly assembling an army of other young producers (EarDrummers Entertainment) before making a play for re-recognition via his protégés, Rae Sremmurd.

That said, the album features a good number of other "background" producers backing the promising young duo’s debut full-length, but as we can see from the album’s cover, it seems as though Khalif and Aaquil Brown are the two focal points here.

On an album that gives as much as it gets, both in the converging elements of Hip Hop / R&B / Trap-Flow intensity and emotional abreaction, if you want more proof, check out the first three songs on Side A, for they alone crush the competition within fifteen minutes!

The self-proclaimed Gatekeepers of Hip Hop bring forth loud lashings of vocal effects, simplistic flow patterns and, at times, repetitive, and at times, even obnoxious late '90s vibes that infiltrate your body like an incredible Hip Hop/R&B amalgamation virus!

Throughout this incredible album its noticeable that their three main strengths are rock solid instrumentals, uber catchy choruses and inspired melodies, that even if you don't quite understand what they are referencing, will still have your body moving, trust me!

In truth, the biggest single off the album, 'No Type' was never my own personal stand out, and might well also be their least effective track of the 45 minute show.

That said, 'No Flex Zone' is a masterclass of how to put together a chorus, the bizarre Julia Stiles dancing to Biggie of 'Come Get Her,' the raw openness of 'My X' (a slow burn of 'I Don't F**k With You') all still resonate today.

As for guest appearances, we get Big Sean himself joining in on the humongous 'YNo,' but it's a shame that Nicki Minaj is only restricted to a sparse hook on the R&B groover 'Throw Sum Mo.'

Now’s your chance to own SremmLife on double vinyl and to revisit a modern rap classic with fresh ears.

Rae Sremmurd’s plucky debut proves that even while relatively wet behind the ears, they wanted the world — and they would soon get it.

'SremmLife' [2LP, Translucent Red] - Amazon Purchase Link

Rae Sremmurd @ Facebook

Rae Sremmurd @ Twitter

Rae Sremmurd @ Instagram

Rae Sremmurd @ YouTube

Title - 'Desires Shape' [Vinyl]
Artist - Stoll Vaughan

For those not in the know, much-lauded singer-songwriter Stoll Vaughan's latest album Desires Shape is now available on vinyl, CD and digital formats (via Commonwealth Artist), and includes the lead single 'Weather In Kentucky,' an ode to the artist’s home state.

Stoll Vaughan’s background is a storied one with lots of strange turns. In the late ‘90s he was recruited to play guitar by punk-turned-rock band Chamberlain while working at John Mellencamp guitarist Mike Wanchic’s recording studio.

By the mid ‘00s, Vaughan had released two solo albums, Hold On Thru Sleep and Dreams and Love Like A Mule, touring with the likes of Mellencamp, John Fogerty, Marty Stuart, Don Williams, James McMurtry, and most improbably as a concert opener act on a Journey/Def Leppard national tour.

Vaughan then detoured into TV/film, with his songs featured in True Blood, Friday Night Lights, Shameless and The Office. He also composed music for David Lynch’s Webby Award-winning documentary series Interview Project.

In 2018, his solo career resumed with the release The Conversation, his third album.

In sharp contrast to that last album, which was recorded in both Indiana by Wanchic and in Tennessee by My Morning Jacket guitarist Carl Broemel, Desires Shape was tracked entirely in the singer/guitarist’s current home of Los Angeles, with a minimalist approach.

The end result is as pure and stripped down as possible, consisting entirely of originals sung and played on a 1946 Martin 000-18 acoustic guitar by Vaughan, who co-produced the album with Effie Dozier.

Side A:
1) 'Put It Back Together'
2) 'Desires of Despair'
3) 'Weather In Kentucky'
4) 'Oklahoma'
5) 'Entertained'

Side B:
1) 'So Righteous'
2) 'Rosie'
3) 'Will of Man'
4) 'Set Her Free'
5) 'Maria'

The album opens with the rhythmic Americana of both 'Put It Back Together' and 'Desires of Despair,' and he backs that up seamlessly with the harmonica-driven beauty 'Weather In Kentucky.'

The lo-fi resonance of 'Oklahoma' is a devout bout of storytelling with Side A of this wondrous vinyl coming to a close on the upbeat, foot-tappin' inflections of 'Entertained.'

Side B opens with the slapped acoustic guitar backbeat of 'So Righteous,' which is followed by the free flowing, wind swept majesty of 'Rosie,' and then a beautiful showcasing of Vaughan's guitar prowess comes to the fore on 'Will of Man.'

The second side then comes to a close with the piano and harmonica, cathartic rhapsody of 'Set Her Free,' and then a dulcet, hand-clappin' back bone provides the core for the melodic 'Maria.'

“A whirlwind of activity ensued after the release of The Conversation album 18 months ago,” says Vaughan. “There were tour dates throughout the country, radio visits, festival performances and lengthy songwriting sessions with collaborators Devon Allman and Duane Betts for their Allman Betts Band."

"I was inspired by the way things were moving and blessed to find the time to write and record these songs for Desires Shape. I wanted to approach this record with a simplicity that would force its intimacy."

"The title is something of a reflection of that desire to exist and be proud of your raw form.”

Duane Betts offered high praise for his songwriting collaborator, “Stoll Vaughan is the real deal, authentic, American songwriter. It is always an honor to work with him and to call him my dear friend.”

Duane’s bandmate, Devon Allman was equally effusive, offering, “Stoll Vaughan is the consummate Americana songwriter. He’s singlehandedly brought our songwriting partnership to the next level. He resumé speaks for itself. He is an unspoken legend. Truly.”

On the eve on the release of Desires Shape, Vaughan reflected, “To be able to write, record and perform is a true blessing and continues to shape my life and for that I am grateful. I hope people enjoy this record and it connects to them as it does to me.”

'Desires Shape' [Vinyl] - Official Purchase Link

'Desires Shape' [CD] - Official Purchase Link

'Put It Back Together' Music Video

'Weather In Kentucky' Music Video

Stoll Vaughan @ Facebook

Stoll Vaughan @ Twitter

Stoll Vaughan @ Instagram

Stoll Vaughan @ YouTube

Title - Sweet Inspiration / Images [2CD Expanded Edition]
Artist - Cilla Black

For those not in the know, Cilla Black was an much beloved English singer, television presenter, actress and author.

Championed by her friends the Beatles, she began her career as a singer in 1963, and her singles 'Anyone Who Had a Heart' and 'You're My World' both reached number one in the UK in 1964. Black had eleven Top Ten hits on the British charts between then and 1971; and an additional 8 hits that made the top 40.

In May 2010, new research published by BBC Radio 2 showed that her version of 'Anyone Who Had a Heart' was the UK's biggest-selling single by a female artist in the 1960s. 'You're My World' was also a modest hit in the US, peaking at No. 26 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Along with a successful recording career in the 1960s and early 1970s, Black hosted her own variety show, Cilla, for the BBC between 1968 and 1976. After a brief time as a comedy actress in the mid-1970s, she became a prominent television presenter in the 1980s and 1990s, hosting hit entertainment shows such as Blind Date (1985–2003), The Moment of Truth (1998–2001) and Surprise Surprise (1984–2001).

In 2013, Black celebrated her 50 years in show business. British television network ITV honored this milestone with a one-off entertainment special which aired on 16 October 2013. The show, called The One & Only Cilla Black, featured Black herself and was hosted by Paul O'Grady.

Sadly, Cilla Black died on August 1st, 2015 after a fall in her villa in Estepona, Spain. The day after her funeral, the compilation album The Very Best of Cilla Black went to number one on the UK Albums Chart and the New Zealand Albums Chart; it was her first number one album.

This latest release in the Cilla Original Album Series comes, as ever, with a richly illustrated 28 page photo booklet with introductory sleeve notes and quotes from a 2009 interview with Cilla herself.

The release is produced with the full support and input of the Cilla Black Estate.

In this package we get Cilla’s fifth studio album, 1970’s Sweet Inspiration, which reunited her with Manfred Mann star and respected arranger Mike Vickers.

That's paired with her sixth studio album, Images, where she once again employed both Mike Vickers as musical arranger and Sir George Martin as producer.

CD 1: Sweet Inspiration
1. 'Sweet Inspiration'
2. 'Put a Little Love in Your Heart'
3. 'The April Fools'
4. 'I Can't Go on Living Without You'
5. 'Both Sides Now'
6. 'Across the Universe'
7. 'Black Paper Roses'
8. 'Mysterious People'
9. 'Dear Madame'
10. 'Oh Pleasure Man'
11. 'Little Pleasure Acre'
12. 'For Once in My Life'
13. 'Rule Britannia'
Bonus Tracks
14. 'On a Street Called Hope'
15. 'For Once in My Life' [2009 Stripped Down Mix]
16. 'Black Paper Roses' [2009 Stripped Down Mix]
17. 'Conversations'
18. 'It Feels So Good'
19. 'If I Thought You'd Ever Change Your Mind'

Reuniting Cilla with Manfred Mann star and respected arranger Mike Vickers, the result (Sweet Inspiration) was an album of powerful pop tunes, many of which were written by some of the best songwriters of the day (such as Joni Mitchell, ‘Both Sides Now’, Les Reed, ‘Dear Madame’, Jackie DeShannon, 'Put A Little Love In Your Heart’, Lennon & McCartney, 'Across The Universe’, and Elton John & Bernie Taupin, ‘I Can’t Go On Living Without You’); the latter of which Cilla recorded in 1969 before Elton’s own ascendency to super-stardom.

Also included is Cilla’s rendition of the title song from the movie ‘The April Fools’, which had been penned by crack song-writing team Burt Bacharach and Hal David, and even a spirited and jubilant interpretation of ‘Rule Britannia’.

Released in 1970 by Parlophone Records the album peaked at #42 in the UK Albums Chart in July 1970, but still today has a firm place in the hearts of all Cilla fans.

Pregnant with her son (Robert) at the time of recording it, showcasing a noticeable, softer change in her singing style, she begins with the title track and provides an exuberantly lush collection of tunes thereafter.

A slower-than-we-know version of 'Put a Little Love in Your Heart' is then backed by a tender 'The April Fools,' an upbeat 'I Can't Go on Living Without You,' one of my own personal favorites here, the brilliant 'Both Sides Now,' and then a quietly passive 'Across the Universe' and a mid-tempo 'Black Paper Roses.'

A rather theatrical, perky 'Mysterious People' is another musical gem here and is backed by the smooth 'Dear Madame,' and then the upbeat, finger-snappin' mirth of 'Oh Pleasure Man' comes a'callin'.

The gentleness of 'Little Pleasure Acre' is followed by the raucous (well, as much as Cilla could muster, of course) 'For Once in My Life,' and then we get the last original album track, her sweet rendition of the patriotic song 'Rule Britannia.'

The bonus tracks here are plentiful, which is rather delightful, as we get a truly beautiful 'On a Street Called Hope,' which is backed by 2009 Stripped Down Mixes of both 'For Once in My Life' and 'Black Paper Roses.'

Her UK #7 hit single, 'Conversations' is a lovely track and is followed by the triumphant euro pop sound of 'It Feels So Good,' with the first CD rounding out with the light and breezy delightfulness of 'If I Thought You'd Ever Change Your Mind.'

CD 2: Images
1. 'Faded Images'
2. 'Junk'
3. 'Your Song'
4. 'Just Friends'
5. 'It's Different Now'
6. 'First of May'
7. '(They Long to Be) Close to You'
8. 'Rainbow'
9. 'Make It with You'
10. 'Our Brand New World'
11. 'Sad Sad Song'
12. 'Bridge Over Troubled Water'
Bonus Tracks
13. 'Child of Mine'
14. 'Faded Images' [Take 3 - 2009 Mix]
15. 'Your Song' [Takes 1&2 - 2009 Mix]
16. 'Your Song' [Take 6 - 2009 Stripped Down Mix]
17. 'The World I Wish for You' [2009 Mix Without Fade]
18. 'Faded Images' [Almighty Extended Mix]
19. Cilla Black Message
20. 'Something Tells Me' [Almighty Radio Edit]
21. 'Something Tells Me' [Arnold from Mumbai Remix]

Her next album, her sixth, employed again both Mike Vickers as musical arranger and Sir George Martin as producer. For 1971’s Images album, Sir George Martin, together with Cilla and her husband and manager, Bobby Willis, shortlisted an impressive selection of then contemporary songs which included evergreen classics like ‘First of May’ by The Bee Gees, ‘Make It With You’ by Bread and ‘(They Long To Be) Close To You’ by The Carpenters.

Another exceptional track which made the cut was ‘Your Song’ which was an out-take from Cilla’s previous LP ‘Sweet Inspiration’. Notably, Cilla was the first person to cover this now revered song by the then upcoming singer-songwriter, Elton John.

Other album highlights are Cilla’s deft cover versions of Paul Simon’s ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ and Paul McCartney’s ‘Junk’ which Paul had only himself released the year before on 1970’s ‘McCartney’ album – his first ever solo album!

Another album that once again showed the softer side of Cilla, all the tracks might well be termed as "ballads," but trust me when I say that they range from quietly ornate to mid-tempo very nicely.

Opening with the mid-tempo, funky, horn-backed 'Faded Images,' next up we get a more traditional ballad in the form of 'Junk,' before her exquisite version of EJ's 'Your Song' is brought forth.

The free flowing majesty of 'Just Friends' is next and that's backed seamlessly by the piano work of 'It's Different Now,' the organ work of 'First Of May,' and then a near note-for-note, dutifully harmonized '(They Long to Be) Close to You.'

Backed by a dulcet acoustic guitar and some strings, the mid-tempo 'Rainbow' is then followed by more acoustic guitar on 'Make It with You.'

The original album then rounds out with the gentle foot-tappin' melodies of 'Our Brand New World,' the forceful piano work of 'Sad Sad Song,' before coming to a close on another note-for-note musical gem, her rendition of 'Bridge Over Troubled Waters.'

In a plethora of bonus tracks now included, we first get a gentle 'Child Of Mine, which is followed by various 2009 outtakes and mixes for 'Faded Images,' two versions of 'Your Song,' 'The World I Wish for You' and then a rather good 'Faded Images' [Almighty Extended Mix].

After a quick "Cillabration" from the lady herself, this second CD comes to a close on two versions of her upbeat, summery and always fun to listen to hit 'Something Tells Me.'

Cilla Black @ Facebook!

Official 2CD Purchase Link

Title - Cilla Sings A Rainbow/Day By Day With Cilla [2CD]
Artist - Cilla Black

For those not in the know, Cilla Black was an much beloved English singer, television presenter, actress and author.

Championed by her friends the Beatles, she began her career as a singer in 1963, and her singles 'Anyone Who Had a Heart' and 'You're My World' both reached number one in the UK in 1964. Black had eleven Top Ten hits on the British charts between then and 1971; and an additional 8 hits that made the top 40.

In May 2010, new research published by BBC Radio 2 showed that her version of 'Anyone Who Had a Heart' was the UK's biggest-selling single by a female artist in the 1960s. 'You're My World' was also a modest hit in the US, peaking at No. 26 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Along with a successful recording career in the 1960s and early 1970s, Black hosted her own variety show, Cilla, for the BBC between 1968 and 1976. After a brief time as a comedy actress in the mid-1970s, she became a prominent television presenter in the 1980s and 1990s, hosting hit entertainment shows such as Blind Date (1985–2003), The Moment of Truth (1998–2001) and Surprise Surprise (1984–2001).

In 2013, Black celebrated her 50 years in show business. British television network ITV honored this milestone with a one-off entertainment special which aired on 16 October 2013. The show, called The One & Only Cilla Black, featured Black herself and was hosted by Paul O'Grady.

Sadly, Cilla Black died on August 1st, 2015 after a fall in her villa in Estepona, Spain. The day after her funeral, the compilation album The Very Best of Cilla Black went to number one on the UK Albums Chart and the New Zealand Albums Chart; it was her first number one album.

This latest release in the Cilla Original Album Series comes, as ever, with a richly illustrated 28 page photo booklet with introductory sleeve notes and quotes from a 2009 interview with Cilla herself.

The release is produced with the full support and input of the Cilla Black Estate.

In this package we first get Cilla Sings A Rainbow which spent 15 weeks on the British album chart peaking at #4. This, her second ever LP, remains to this day Cilla’s biggest-selling studio album.

That's paired with Cilla’s seventh studio album, 1973’s Day by Day with Cilla, and which was also her final LP to be recorded with her long-time producer Sir George Martin (Sir George had been the architect of Cilla’s best-loved and biggest-selling music releases since her debut in 1963).

CD 1: Cilla Sings A Rainbow
1. 'Love's Just a Broken Heart'
2. 'A Lover's Concerto'
3. 'Make It Easy on Yourself'
4. 'One Two Three'
5. '(There's) No Place to Hide'
6. 'When I Fall in Love'
7. 'Yesterday'
8. 'Sing a Rainbow'
9. 'Baby I'm Yours'
10. 'The Real Thing'
11. 'Everything I Touch Turns to Tears'
12. 'In a Woman's Eyes'
13. 'My Love Come Home'
Bonus Tracks
14. 'I Don't Want to Know' [Mono]
15. 'Don't Answer Me' [Alternate Take]
16. 'A Fool Am I' [Take 18 - 2009 Orchestral Mix]
17. 'Love's Just a Broken Heart' [Mono]
18. 'A Lover's Concerto' [Mono]
19. 'Make It Easy on Yourself' [Mono]
20. 'One Two Three' [Mono]
21. '(There's) No Place to Hide' [Mono]
22. 'When I Fall in Love' [Mono]
23. 'Yesterday' [Mono]
24. 'Sing a Rainbow' [Mono]
25. 'Baby I'm Yours' [Mono]
26. 'Everything I Touch Turns to Tears' [Mono]
27. 'In a Woman's Eyes' [Mono]
28. 'My Love Come Home' [Mono]

On Cilla Sings A Rainbow, Cilla was actually originally inspired to cover the title track having seen Peggy Lee singing the number in a dramatic scene in her musical film ‘Pete Kelley’s Blues’.

It could be seen, as a song choice, as a statement of intent to move in the direction of a family entertainer, foreshadowing her soon to be parallel career as a much loved television personality!

The song was memorably showcased, alongside the album’s lead single, Top 5 hit ‘Love’s Just A Broken Heart’ on the top rating TV variety show Sunday Night At The London Palladium in early 1966.

The album further expanded Cilla’s immensely popular big ballad repertoire by finding songs in this vein from the worlds of pop, soul and rock.

Opening with the forthright, orchestrated pop vibe of 'Love's Just a Broken Heart,' she backs that up with the upbeat, soaring majesty of 'A Lover's Concerto,' the full orchestra greatness of 'Make It Easy on Yourself,' and then the finger-snappin', horn-backed exuberance of 'One Two Three.'

She next slows things down with the jazzy, late night club feel of '(There's) No Place to Hide' which is followed by an enormous sounding, almost theatrical version of 'When I Fall in Love.'

Her passionate rendition of 'Yesterday' is one of my own personal favorites here and is backed by the beautifully delicate 'Sing a Rainbow,' and then the mid-tempo hipsway of 'Baby I'm Yours.'

Bringing the original album to a close, we get the pounding dancefloor jive of 'The Real Thing,' the passionate outreach of 'Everything I Touch Turns to Tears,' and then it rounds out with the layered brilliance of 'In a Woman's Eyes' and the Latin-flavored resonance of 'My Love Come Home.'

The newly added bonus tracks feature a complete Mono version of the whole album, along with tracks such as the gentle finger-snap delight of 'I Don't Want to Know' [Mono], the gentle outreach of 'Don't Answer Me' [Alternate Take], and a completely brilliant version of 'A Fool Am I' [Take 18 - 2009 Orchestral Mix].

CD 2: Day By Day With Cilla
1. 'Without You'
2. 'Thank Heavens I've Got You'
3. 'Help Me Jesus'
4. 'The Long and Winding Road'
5. 'I Hate Sunday'
6. 'I Don't Know How to Love Him'
7. 'Day By Day'
8. 'I've Still Got My Heart Joe'
9. 'Sleep Song'
10. 'Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves'
11. 'Winterwood'
12. 'Oh My Love'
Bonus Tracks
13. 'The Long and Winding Road' [Take 1 Without Fade - 2009 Mix]
14. 'Without You' [Take 1 Outtake - 2009 Mix]
15. 'Without You' [Take 2 - 2009 Mix]
16. 'Day By Day' [Take 1 - Without Fade - 2009 Mix]
17. 'Silly, Wasn't I?'
18. 'I Don't Know How to Love Him' [David Lee Marks Extended Mix]

Very much seen, by 1973, as predominantly a television celebrity, rather than the pop princess of the decade previous, Cilla’s final collaboration with Sir George, nonetheless, marked a notable change of approach, featuring a more sophisticated and mature song selection.

She sang challenging big musical theatre numbers ‘Day By Day’ (from "Godspell") and ‘I Don’t Know How To Love Him’ (from “Jesus Christ Superstar”), her version of which is lyricist Tim Rice’s favorite.

The album also includes a wealth of more delicate singer-songwriter creations that demonstrate Cilla’s great tenderness in her storytelling; Cook and Greenaway’s ‘I’ve Still Got My Heart Joe’ and opening number ‘Without You’.

Another album highlight is Cilla’s cover of the Sonny And Cher classic ‘Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves’ of which Cilla said, “It was for me, a modern day Judy Garland number. If there was ever a modern day Garland, I would say, at that time, Cher was it with that song!”.

Cilla opens up this quite stunningly orchestrated album with a magical rendition of Nilsson's infamous 'Without You,' and backs that with the elegance of 'Thank Heavens I've Got You,' the soaring orchestrations and jangly guitar work of 'Help Me Jesus,' and then both the lo-fi subtle majesty of 'The Long and Winding Road' and the tender reveal of 'I Hate Sunday.'

The temperature turns back up for the rapturous 'I Don't Know How to Love Him' which is backed by the soft piano work of 'Day By Day,' the soft horn section excellence of 'I've Still Got My Heart Joe,' and then the graceful tenderness of 'Sleep Song.'

The original album then rounds out with her note-for-note perfect tribute to Cher on 'Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves,' a delightful, free flowing 'Winterwood,' before coming to a close on the breathy yearning of 'Oh My Love.'

The bonus tracks here include a non-fade out version of 'The Long and Winding Road,' two more 2009 versions of 'Without You,' a new 2009 'Day By Day' without fade, a song of pure, unadulterated delight in 'Silly, Wasn't I?', before itself coming to a close on 'I Don't Know How to Love Him' [David Lee Marks Extended Mix].

Cilla Black @ Facebook!

Official 2CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Huntin' Season' [CD Single]
Artist - Dallas Remington

For those not in the know, Kentucky-born and no-nonsense country recording artist and songwriter, 19-year old Dallas Remington, has released her new single, 'Huntin’ Season' to radio.

The single (released via RoadWarrior Records) was penned by Remington, Allie Colleen, Scott Barrier and Cyndi Lymbaugh Torres and even after one listen, it's hard to not fall in love with her foot-tappin' melodies and already-seasoned vocals.

From sequins to camouflage, Dallas Remington is a country artist who knows who she is and what she wants!

A Kentucky girl with a passion for life, music, and her faith, she is currently working diligently to establish herself as a country music artist.

Dallas landed her first gigs in Nashville, Tennessee at the age of 11 and soon became a resident artist at the World Famous Nashville Palace.

The two hour drive to and from Music City became a normal routine, but at just 15-years old, with a heart of determination, Dallas relocated to Nashville to perform, study music, and pursue her dream.

There she was accepted into an Emerging Artist Development Program, released her first EP Freedom, charted her first single 'Found Her Freedom' on the MusicRow Breakout Chart Top 60, and her sophomore single 'Never Turned Around' reached #37!

She followed that up with the release of 'Boy In A Band' (which charted at #41) and the video has had nearly a million views on Facebook, Youtube, and Instagram!

"Huntin' Season" is a song about a broken heart that finds healing in an unexpected twist of a new found skill," Dallas herself explains. "That's the best thing you ever done for me!"

“It’s huntin’ season
It’s time to track, plan my attack
Deep in the woods ain’t no going back
It’s huntin’ season
Pick my spot, lay and wait
By the time you see me it’ll be too late...”

Check out her brand new single, 'Huntin' Season on your local radio station or your favorite streaming platform.

'Huntin' Season' Digital Purchase Link

Dallas Remington @ Facebook

Dallas Remington @ Instagram

Dallas Remington @ Twitter

Dallas Remington @ YouTube

Title - 'Secrets Are The Best Stories'
Artist - Kurt Elling

For those not in the know, Secrets Are The Best Stories (released April 3rd, 2020) is the new album from acclaimed vocalist and Grammy-winning artist Kurt Elling.

Featuring renowned pianist Danilo Pérez, and released on the British label, Edition Records, this cohesively vibrant and alluring new album showcases the two maestros as they enhance and lift the dual works.

Ergo, this wondrous collaboration not only marks a vital new musical gem between two of the greats within music, but is an album that confirms Kurt Elling as the male vocalist of his generation – one who has the presence, the message and the artistic vision to stand out from the rest.

1. 'The Fanfold Hawk (for Franz Wright)' (2.44)
2. 'A Certain Continuum' (5.06)
3. 'Stays' (5.28)
4. 'Gratitude (for Robert Bly)' (6.21)
5. 'Stage I' (5.05)
6. 'Beloved (for Toni Morrison)' (9.32)
7. 'Stages II, III' (4.26)
8. 'Song Of The Rio Grande (for Oscar and Valeria Martinez-Ramirez)' (4.56)
9. 'Rabo de Nube' (3.20)
10. 'Esperanto' (5.01)
11. 'Epílogo' (1.33)

Here, on what is now easily one of my own personal Top 5 albums of the year thus far, Elling adds evocative new lyrics to compositions by greats like Pérez’s iconic collaborator Wayne Shorter, late fusion bass genius Jaco Pastorius, and visionary composer/arranger Vince Mendoza, and to pieces from Pérez’s own catalogue.

Along with his own compelling narratives, Elling adapts the works of contemporary poets Franz Wright and Robert Bly, the 19th century abolitionist poet Frances E.W. Harper and Nobel-winning author Toni Morrison.

Opening with the dulcet majesty of 'The Fanfold Hawk (For Franz Wright),' they back that up seamlessly with the beautiful percussion of 'A Certain Continuum,' the late night jazz club feel of 'Stays,' and then both the evoking 'Gratitude (For Robert Bly)' and the stoic recalling of 'Stage I.'

Next up is the truly beautiful 'Beloved (For Toni Morrison)' (complete with a super lush sax solo), which is followed by 'Stages II, III' and the playful 'Song of the Rio Grande (For Oscar and Valeria Martinez-Ramirez).'

This quite magnificent album then rounds out with the Spanish-sung 'Rabo de Nube,' the gentle hipsway of 'Esperanto,' and then rounds out with the short piano work of 'Epílogo.'

To help them amplify this musical outcry, Elling and Pérez gather together a remarkable ensemble. The core of the band is formed by the singer’s longtime bassist Clark Sommers, in-demand drummer Johnathan Blake and Brazilian percussion master Rogerio Boccato.

They’re joined by a retinue of stellar special guests, including alto saxophonist Miguel Zenón, guitarist Chico Pinheiro, and Román Díaz, a revered elder statesman of Cuban percussion.

Kurt Elling: Voice
Danilo Pérez: Piano, Rhodes
Clark Sommers: Bass
Johnathan Blake: Drums
Rogerio Boccato: Percussion
Román Díaz: Percussion (Track 2)
Miguel Zenón: Alto Saxophone
Chico Pinheiro: Guitar

Amazon CD Purchase Link

Title - 'While Looking Up'
Artist - Jimmy Greene

For those not in the know, on his brand new album While Looking Up (out now via Mack Avenue), Jimmy Greene finds solace, support and inspiration from multiple directions, but in particular from casting his gaze heavenward.

Looking inward, he’s comforted by his faith and by the gift for moving, expressive composition that has marked his work for the last two decades.

Looking outward, he has his family and his brilliant collaborators, culled for this project from a list of longtime favorites who haven’t entered the studio together in at least a decade.

And while looking up, he recalls the joyful spirit of his daughter, Ana Márquez-Greene, who tragically lost her life in 2012, along with 25 other students and educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

1. 'So in Love'
2. 'No Words'
3. 'Always There'
4. 'April 4th'
5. 'Good Morning Heartache'
6. 'Overreaction'
7. 'Steadfast'
8. 'I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)'
9. 'While Looking Up'
10. 'Simple Prayer'

On this prolifically heartfelt new album, the saxophonist - who is also, and always, guided by the inspirational words of his pastor - opens with the upbeat melodies of Cole Porter's 'So In Love,' and backs that up with the creeping 'No Words,' before bringing forth both the bass-backed 'Always There' and then the wistful piano elegance of 'April 4th.'

The breathy sax work of 'Good Morning Heartache' is then followed by the upbeat turn of 'Overreaction,' which in turn is backed by the stoic sax and piano turn of 'Steadfast.'

The Whitney hit (albeit here completely and totally unrecognizable) 'I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)' is up next and then the album rounds out with the sultry late night, twinkling groove of 'While Looking Up' and then comes to a close with the beautiful, emotionally bursting 'Simple Prayer.'

“The whole idea of While Looking Up is indicative of the times we’re in now,” Greene says. “I can think about my personal journey through our family’s tragedy, and I can also look outside of myself and see the state we’re in, constantly bombarded with the chaos that’s become normalized in our society and our country."

"In both instances, it’s easy to walk away feeling disillusioned and, in many ways, hopeless. But I’m always reminded to look upward.”

Amazon CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Four Questions'
Artist - Arturo O'Farrill / The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra

For those not in the know, Arturo O'Farrill, pianist, composer, and educator, was born in Mexico and grew up in New York City.

He received his formal musical education at the Manhattan School of Music and the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College.

Arturo’s professional career began with the Carla Bley Band and continued as a solo performer with a wide spectrum of artists including Dizzy Gillespie, Lester Bowie, Wynton Marsalis, and Harry Belafonte.

In 2007, he founded the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance as a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the performance, education, and preservation of Afro Latin music.

In December 2010 Arturo traveled with the original Chico O’Farrill Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra to Cuba, returning his father’s musicians to his homeland.

He continues to travel to Cuba regularly as an informal Cultural Ambassador, working with Cuban musicians, dancers, and students, bringing local musicians from Cuba to the US and American musicians to Cuba.

Now Arturo has just released the magnificent Four Questions (via Zoho Music), which features two large-scaled compositions from the six time Grammy winner for his Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra.

1. 'Baby Jack' (7:21)
2. 'Jazz Twins' (9:31)
3. 'Four Questions' (16:13)
4. 'Clump, Unclump' (7:16)

A Still, Small Voice
5. 'Elijah - 1 Kings 19:-13' (8:05)
6. 'Amidst The Fire and Whirlwind' (1:14)
7. 'Cacophonous' (4:25)
8. 'A Still, Small Voice' (8:02)

Weaving together empowering messages for the times, Four Questions portrays the pioneering pianist as outspoken as ever on the obligation of artists to speak truth to the great injustices occurring across the globe.

Opening with the euphorically mesmerizing Latin hipsway of 'Baby Jack,' that's backed seamlessly by the sterner procedural of 'Jazz Twins,' and then comes the stunning, and (for the most part), spoken word title track, with the playful, yet cultured piano intricacies of 'Clump, Unclump' bringing the first section of this recording to a close.

The quietly regal beauty of 'Elijah - 1 Kings 19:-13' is a true blessing to behold and that is followed by a short, stirring, choir-embodied 'Amidst The Fire and Whirlwind.'

This vibrantly magnificent album then rounds out with the startlingly alert, fervent and yet at all times grounded, vibrantly free flowing melodies of 'Cacophonous' (my own personal favorite here), and then closes out with the stunningly crystalized, and perfectly harmonized vocals of the smooth R&B-tinged 'A Still, Small Voice.'

"What does integrity do in the face of adversity / oppression?,' asks Arturo. "What does honesty do in the face of lies / deception? What does decency do in the face of insult? How does virtue meet brute force?"

"These four questions posed by the great African American civil rights activist and author W. E. B. Du Bois in his 1903 book The Souls of Black Folk are expounded upon in a speech given by Dr. Cornel West based on his book, Black Prophetic Fire, given October 9th, 2014 at Town Hall in Seattle. That speech turned my life around and Dr. West has become a giant figure in my thinking."

"Without a doubt, he is a controversial figure and many within his own intelligentsia community have attacked him for a variety of reasons."

"I have learned from firsthand experience that if you are under attack (especially by your own) it could be because standing strong for what you believe will threaten others in their complacency."

"Regardless of your stance on Dr. West, he holds our feet to the fire and demands that we deal with the social and political horrors of our day. Say what you will, he is a modern-day prophet and prophets throughout the ages are attacked for calling it like it is."

"Watching Dr. West speak is one of the sublime musical experiences of my life. His oratory has the weight of a John Coltrane solo. His rhythmic delivery has the tumbao of Mongo Santamaria."

"The humor with which he injects his very serious messages floats like Charlie Parker in flight and, oh, most sacred of all, when he gets deliberate, each word has the authenticity and Afrocentricity of Thelonious Monk's right hand."

"Upon seeing him in a debate at Riverside Church in New York, I knew I must write a concerto for his delivery of W. E. B. Du Bois' questions, and I pursued this goal relentlessly. Dr. West is a giant of a human being and graciously agreed to be the subject of what has become an extensive project."

Amazon CD Purchase Link

Arturo O'Farrill / The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra @ Facebook

Title - 'Sons of the Pioneers: The Lost Masters'
Artist - Sons of the Pioneers

Sons of the Pioneers: The Lost Masters will be released March 13th, 2020 via Country Rewind Records / Western Heritage Collection (and will be distributed by Select-O-Hits) and was produced by Rex Allen Jr. for Boxer Productions at Jim Farrell Studios, Towanda, KS and Executive Producer Thomas Gramuglia, with mastering by Jim Farrell and John Forbes.

Country Rewind Records has dedicated itself to bring classic country with this contemporary feel to not only the past country fans but also to the new country listeners by bringing unreleased traditional Country music into the contemporary Country era.

Sons of the Pioneers that appear on the original The Lost Masters recording various times include Lloyd Perryman, Pat Brady, Tommy Doss, Shug Fisher, Karl Farr, Roy Lanham, Hugh Farr, Dale Warren, Rusty Richards, Bob Minser and Billy Armstrong.

1. 'Cowboy Jubilee' (Ken Carson)
2. 'Blue Prairie' (Bob Nolan, Tim Spencer)
3. 'Open Range Ahead' (Bob Nolan)
4. 'When Payday Rolls Around' (Bob Nolan)
5. 'Wind' (Bob Nolan)
6. 'Yippi Yi Your Troubles Away' (Tim Spencer)
7. 'The Everlasting Hills of Oklahoma' (Tim Spencer)
8. 'A Cowboy Has to Sing' (Bob Nolan)
9. 'Along the Navajo Trail' (Larry Marks, Dick Charles, Eddie De Lange)
10. 'Hold That Critter Down' (Bob Nolan)
11. 'Cimarron (Roll on)' (Johnny Bond)
12. 'Chant of the Plains (I Need You)' (Bob Nolan)
13. 'Whoopie Ti Yi Yo' (Traditional)
14. 'Song of the Trail' (Stan Jones)
15. 'Ridin’ Home' (Bob Nolan)
16. 'Chant of the Wanderer' (Bob Nolan)

This quite stunning, era evoking 16-track album kicks off in some fine style with the upbeat, fun sing-along of 'Cowboy Jubilee' (Ken Carson) and backs that up with the late evening sway of 'Blue Prairie' (Bob Nolan, Tim Spencer), the mid-tempo storytelling of 'Open Range Ahead' (Bob Nolan), and both the full steam ahead vibe of of 'When Payday Rolls Around' (Bob Nolan), and the lush ballad 'Wind' (Bob Nolan).

Next up we get the foot-tappin' magnificence of 'Yippi Yi Your Troubles Away' (Tim Spencer) ["When you cut loose, watch you troubles vamoose"], which is followed by the gentle rhythmic sway of 'The Everlasting Hills of Oklahoma' (Tim Spencer).

Then we get one of my own personal favorites on this quite beautiful collection, the tuneful Country storytelling of 'A Cowboy Has to Sing' (Bob Nolan), which is backed by the front porch crooning of 'Along the Navajo Trail' (Larry Marks, Dick Charles, Eddie De Lange), and then the instructional 'Hold That Critter Down' (Bob Nolan), and the stirring 'Cimarron (Roll on)' (Johnny Bond).

The album then rounds out with the upbeat one-two beats of 'Chant of the Plains (I Need You)' (Bob Nolan), which is followed by the swaying 'Whoopie Ti Yi Yo' (Traditional), and comes to a close with the rousing 'Song of the Trail' (Stan Jones), the yearning ballad 'Ridin’ Home' (Bob Nolan), and then winds down with the magnificent melodies of 'Chant of the Wanderer' (Bob Nolan).

“Being a current member of The Sons Of The Pioneers, I am very pleased to hear that Country Rewind Records is releasing the lost masters of the Son's," exclaims Dusty Rogers.

"My father founded this group back in 1934 and I am so proud to now be part of this very talented group of fellas. This year we are celebrating 86 years of continuous entertainment and it is wonderful to know our music will continue on into the future to countless new generations of western music fans.”

"On this fine CD the songs written and performed by the Sons of the Pioneers will be sung a thousand years from now; perhaps on other planets,” shared Roy “Dusty” Rogers Jr. “What a great heritage to have left the world.”

Amazon CD Purchase Link

Title - 'The Country Blues'
Artist - Outlaw Billy Don Burns

Country Rewind Records has just released the brand new album from Outlaw Billy Don Burns, the 16-track The Country Blues, which was made available on March 15th, 2020 (with distribution by Select-O-Hits).

Country Rewind Records has dedicated itself to bring classic country with this contemporary feel to not only the past country fans but also to the new country listeners by bringing unreleased traditional Country music into the contemporary Country era.

Outlaw Billy Don Burns' The Country Blues was produced by Executive Producers, Charlie Ammerman and Thomas Gramuglia and co-produced by Billy Don Burns / Jeff Williams / Mike Randolph at "The Den" Nashville Music Group. Additional production and engineering and mixing by Aaron Dethrage at EastSide Manor Studios East Nashville. Mastered by John Forbes and Aaron Dethrage.

1. 'Runnin' Drugs Out Of Mexico'
2. 'Mexican Woman'
3. 'No Shortage Of The Blues'
4. 'Damn Cryin' Shame'
5. 'Stranger'
6. 'The Prison Song'
7. 'Ramblin' Gypsy'
8. 'You Lied Our Love Away'
9. 'I Like Trains'
10. 'No God In Juaurez'
11. 'Wild Dogs'
12. 'Honky Tonk Boots'

This evoking new album kicks off with the mid-tempo fiddle and percussion magnificence of 'Runnin' Drugs Out Of Mexico' and that's followed by the free flowing spirit of 'Mexican Woman' ["She loved my silver dollars and I loved her emerald eyes"], and the foot-tappin' vibe of 'No Shortage Of The Blues.'

The lo-fi ballad 'Damn Cryin' Shame' is then backed by the upbeat fun of looking back at a life lived in 'Stranger.' Some home truth (perhaps) storytelling comes to the fore on 'The Prison Song,' which is followed by the finger-snappin' 'Ramblin' Gypsy' and then the mid-tempo sway of 'You Lied Our Love Away.'

Then we get the song dedicated to all railfan's, 'I Like Trains,' and that's backed by the Country blues of 'No God In Juaurez,' with the album rounding out with the Morricone-resonating vibe of 'Wild Dogs,' before ending on the barn dance beauty, 'Honky Tonk Boots.'

“It is a great album, Billy Don sounds great, as he always does. The songs are fantastic. He sings about the truth and hard times, but he tells a tale of warning and a tale of heart with this album,” exclaims Shooter Jennings.

“Long live Billy Don Burns and his very important place in the history of Country and Western Music.”

Amazon CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Then & Now'
Artist - Rex Allen Jr.

Country Rewind Records has just released the brand new album from Rex Allen Jr, the 16-track Then & Now, which was made available on October 25th, 2019 (with distribution by Select-O-Hits).

Country Rewind Records has dedicated itself to bring classic country with this contemporary feel to not only the past country fans but also to the new country listeners by bringing unreleased traditional Country music into the contemporary Country era.

Rex Allen Jr. (born August 23, 1947) is an American country music singer, who started singing at the age of six; he had followed in the footsteps of his father, Rex Allen, a singing cowboy and the narrator of many Walt Disney films.

Allen followed his father’s footsteps as a film narrator when he lent his voice as narrator of the Jim Carrey movie, Me, Myself, and Irene.

1. 'Dream on Texas Ladies'
2. 'Running Down Memory Lane'
3. 'A Good Woman's Love'
4. 'When You Held Me in Your Arms'
5. 'My Angel'
6. 'Memory Train'
7. 'The Air That I Breathe'
8. 'I Never Made Love'
9. 'Sweet Rosanna'
10. 'Deep in the West'
11. 'Lonesome Town'
12. 'Peaceful Easy Feeling'
13. 'Crying in the Chapel'
14. 'Bullets in the Gun'
15. 'Where Are the Heroes'
16. 'Forever Young' [Bonus Track]

This beautiful, vibrant new album kicks off with the free flowing 'Dream on Texas Ladies' (and which is also his new single), which he backs up seamlessly with the sprightly 'Running Down Memory Lane' (with Eddie Raven), the rousing 'A Good Woman's Love,' and then both the twinkling storytelling of 'When You Held Me in Your Arms' and then the longing found within 'My Angel.'

The mid-tempo 'Memory Train' is one of the stand out cuts here for me, and is backed by a cover of The Hollies' 'The Air That I Breathe,' which in turn is followed by a gently euphoric 'I Never Made Love' and then a lush 'Sweet Rosanna.'

The yearning ballad 'Deep in the West' is next and is followed by the Country reminiscing of 'Lonesome Town.' A cover of the Eagles' 'Peaceful Easy Feeling' is a pure, unadulterated joy to behold, and that's backed by a cover of Elvis Presley's 'Crying in the Chapel.'

This gem of an album then rounds out with the upbeat 'Bullets in the Gun,' coming to a close with the troubadour vibe of 'Where Are the Heroes,' and then a quite triumphant Bob Dylan cover, 'Forever Young' (with Juni Fisher)

"The new CD contains my last Master Recording done in Nashville during the mid-eighties as well as more recent songs from the 2000’s," Rex explains. "I am very excited about this CD."

Amazon CD Purchase Link

Title - 'America's Last Singing Cowboy'
Artist - Rex Allen

Country Rewind Records has just released the brand new album from Rex Allen, the 16-track America's Last Singing Cowboy, which was made available on October 25th, 2019 (with distribution by Select-O-Hits).

Country Rewind Records has dedicated itself to bring classic country with this contemporary feel to not only the past country fans but also to the new country listeners by bringing unreleased traditional Country music into the contemporary Country era.

Rex Allen was a multimedia star before the term 'multimedia' was coined. He found fame as a singer, a song- writer, a Western movie star, a television actor and (in later life) as a narrator of Disney movies and TV shows.

This new collection was produced and updated by Rex Allen Jr, by adding background vocals, acoustic guitar and keyboard.

The results are just gorgeous pieces of Western material with the Sons of the Pioneers and The Riders In The Sky singing background vocals.

1. 'Texas Plains'
2. 'Lazy River'
3. 'My Swiss Moonlight Lullaby (Strollin' Along)'
4. 'I Can't Stop Loving You'
5. 'There's a Blue Sky Way up Yonder'
6. 'The Trail of the Lonesome Pine'
7. 'Highways Are Happy Ways'
8. 'Blue Dream'
9. 'Money Marbles and Chalk'
10. 'Blue Light Waltz'
11. 'All Cried Out'
12. 'This Land is Your Land'
13. 'Streets of Laredo'
14. 'Novalee'
15. 'This Old House'

This ornately, wondrously era-evoking album opens with 'Texas Plains,' a prime example of Country yodeling that lasted through the 1940s, and then we get the smoothly lush 'Lazy River,' the upbeat fun of 'My Swiss Moonlight Lullaby (Strollin' Along),' and then both a wonderful 'I Can't Stop Loving You' (Don Gibson), and then more yodeling within he gently frenetic 'There's a Blue Sky Way up Yonder.'

Believe me when I say that complete with new instrumentation and background vocals, these fifteen songs taken from the master recordings made at Radio Recorders Studio in California (between 1950 and 1965) are all magnificently enhanced here with Cliffie Stone’s band combining with the Sons of the Pioneers as the backing vocals.

A clear favorite here is 'The Trail of the Lonesome Pine,' which may well have been written back in 1913 by Ballard MacDonald with music by Harry Carroll, but I think everyone knows it more as having been sung by Laurel & Hardy!

Next up is the mid-tempo 'Highways Are Happy Ways' which is followed by the crooning of 'Blue Dream,' the one-two, gently spoken-sung 'Money Marbles and Chalk,' and then both the yearning of 'Blue Light Waltz,' and the sorrowful ballad 'All Cried Out.'

The Country folk of Woody Guthrie's rhythmic 'This Land is Your Land' is up next, and is backed by the lo-fi, graveled vocals of 'Streets of Laredo,' with the album rounding out with the lighter fare (albeit not in lyrically content) of 'Novalee,' with the finger-snappin' jive of 'This Old House' (a HUGE pop hit in the UK for Shakin' Stevens in the '80s) bringing the show to a close.

"It's absolutely magical," Rex Jr. evokes. "My father was the last singing cowboy and the world needs to hear these songs."

Amazon CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Invasion of the B-Girls'
Artist - Josie Cotton

For those not in the know, Josie Cotton, '80s New Wave icon ('Johnny Are You Queer?' and for her performance in the film Valley Girl), continues her return to music with the brand new, and just released (via Kitten Robot Records) Invasion of the B-Girls.

Originally released on CD only (no vinyl, no digital, no downloads, no streaming, no cassette, no nothing!) in 2007, Invasion of the B-Girls has been meticulously remastered and includes new artwork and packaging.

The album is a collection of cover versions of B-movie theme songs, from infamous to forgotten!

A lifelong fan of horror, sci-fi, grindhouse, and exploitation films, Cotton pays homage to title songs from Russ Meyer's Faster Pussycat Kill! Kill! and Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls, Ted V. Mikels' Girl In Gold Boots, Joseph Cates' Who Killed Teddy Bear? and other "great songs from bad movies" (as she herself describes them!)

1. 'Maneaters (Get Off The Road)'
2. 'Girl In Gold Boots'
3. 'Who Killed Teddy Bear?'
4. 'Green Slime'
5. 'Black Klansman'
6. 'Female Trouble'
7. 'Run Pussy Cat'
8. 'Days Of Now And Then'
9. 'Shiawaseo Yobo'
10. 'Goodbye Godzilla'

The first single opens the album, the '70s hipsway of 'Maneaters (Get Off the Road)' from the Herschell Gordon Lewis gore classic She Devils On Wheels and that's backed by the funky, harmonica-driven 'Girl In Gold Boots,' and then comes the smooth, yet dedicated '70s keyboard elegance of 'Who Killed Teddy Bear ?'

Next up is the melodic sing-along of 'Green Slime' which is followed by both the psych sounds of 'Black Klansman' and the newest single from the album, the mid-tempo, slow roll of 'Female Trouble.'

The fast paced, speeding beauty of 'Run Pussy Cat' (from, of course, Faster, Pussy Cat! Kill! Kill!) is next and is backed by the lush, summer vibe of 'Days Of Now And Then' (from Beyond the Valley Of the Dolls).

This quite vibrantly fantastic album rounds out with the lo-fi elegance of 'Shiawaseo Yabou (Let's Try To Be Happy)' (from Ghidorah, The Three-Headed Monster), and then closes on the passionate renderings of 'Goodbye Godzilla' (from 1985's Return Of Godzilla).

Featuring all real instruments, combined with some legendary musicianship on display from the Tower Of Power horn section, not to mention liner notes from legendary filmmaker John Waters, Invasion of the B-Girls is easily one of my Top 10 albums of 2020 (and I'm sure it will be one of yours too).

"Along with I was obsessed with science fiction movies since childhood, a lot of which you could call B-movies, but seeing Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! as an adult was a kind of Come-to-Jesus moment for me," explains Josie about her inspiration to cover these forgotten classics.

"The whole world of B-movie culture opened up and the demented humor and in-your-face irreverence toward society all spoke to me. And the best ones all seemed to be from the 1960s and 1970s for some reason."

So slip on your white go-go boots, your polka dot shift dress, stack your hair up in a Brigitte Bardot beehive, and get that popcorn ready… This B-Girl is going to invade your space!

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Title - 'It's Time' [EP]
Artist - Tracye Eileen

For those not in the know, the first weekend in March, Tracye Eileen exuberantly danced and sang 'Somehow Someway' at the video shoot from a perch high atop a downtown Los Angeles building.

The R&B/jazz singer had spent the last eleven years building towards this moment, excited about the upcoming release of her brand new It’s Time EP (due June 12th, 2020).

Taking direction from Emmy Award winner Ali LeRoi (“The Chris Rock Show,” “Everybody Hates Chris”), the Chicago native’s time seems to finally have come; in more ways than one.

“It took a while to bring this project and my career to where I’m ready to move to the next level," Tracye explains. "My dream and goal have always been to be an internationally known soul/R&B artist."

"This project represents my next leap. It’s time now for that transition to happen. It’s time for all these projects to come to fruition.”

1. 'Somehow Someway' (4:22)
2. 'Now That We’re Here' (3:53)
3. 'Sweeter With Time' (4:54)
4. 'Why Did I Say Yes?' (4:21)
5. 'Why Did I Say Yes? (House Remix)' (8:17)

Opening with the euphorically mesmerizing first radio single 'Somehow Someway,' Tracye then blends that seamlessly into the mid-tempo R&B groove of 'Now That We're Here' (complete with a soulful sax moment from Donald Hayes), and then comes the rich hipsway vibe of the sensual dancefloor cut, 'Sweeter With Time' (which features a lush drum and bass rhythm track from Terry Baker and Simeon Baker respectively).

This quite breathtakingly vibrant new R&B delight of an EP then rounds out with the forthright wonderment of 'Why Did I Say Yes?' and comes to a close on the joyously beat-enhanced House Remix version of that very same track.

Tracye acknowledges that the songs on It’s Time are about her romantic life. “The three new songs are aspirational. Now it’s time. I’ve done a lot of work on myself and now I’m ready for the type of love that I want in my life.”

The EP closes with two versions – including a house mix - of the first song Tracye ever wrote. "'Why Did I Say Yes?' is the title cut of my 2018 album," she explains. "I started my professional music career after I got divorced, deciding to invest in myself to release a jazz album, Love’s Journey (2012); after having previously invested in my ex-husband’s dreams."

"I decided to be self-revealing, because I want my music to be authentic and real, songs that people could connect to, so I knew it had to be truthful."

"I’ve had both men and women connect with ‘Why Did I Say Yes?’ which I wrote with the longtime keyboardist in my band, Tom Viatsas," she continues.

"It’s about being in a relationship that you know is not good for you, but you’re in love. When you finally make your way out of it, maybe you run into the person again and you find yourself right back to where you started."

"Eventually, you make a choice for yourself. You choose you and you choose to operate and stay on a higher plane. The song comes from a very positive place of growth and change.”

“I didn’t recognize how connected the songs were until I started thinking about an EP title. It’s Time came to me in addition to how the songs tie together and why."

"I knew I wanted to write about a love that I wanted in my life having grown from my past experiences, but I didn’t plan for the songs to flow in a sequence the way they do naturally.”

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Title - 'Eyes Wide Open'
Artist - David Sancious

For those not in the know, former E-Street member David Sancious has brought out a new album entitled Eyes Wide Open (out now via Not By Sight, Inc.).

It's an 8-song project featuring legendary musicians such as Vinnie Colaiuta, Prince alumni Michael Bland and Sonny T. (Thomson).

A mix of instrumental and vocal music reminiscent of David’s group Tone, Eyes Wide Open takes a contemporary stance by addressing today’s issues head-on through David’s signature sound.

1. 'Eyes Wide Open'
2. 'In the Middle of the Night'
3. 'Urban Psalm #3'
4. 'If'
5. 'Flip It'
6. 'The Treehouse'
7. 'December'
8. 'War in Heaven'

This quite wondrous hybrid record kicks off in fine style with the funky rock guitar and punched keyboard groove of the title song, before, atop a bed of lush piano work and free flowing melodies, we get the almost-confessional 'In the Middle of the Night.'

Infusing funk, pop, rock, blues, jazz, and even a scattering of prog within every song, Sancious showcases his musical expertise here to the finest of levels. None more so perhaps than on the mid-tempo hipsway of the earthy, and resoundingly brilliant vibe of 'Urban Psalm #3.'

Next up is 'If,' a track that opens with “Excuse me, I have a question”, before lovingly dissolving into a warm, bluesy, late night club piece, and that's backed by the first of four instrumental pieces, the heightened guitar funk of 'Flip It.'

That's followed by the intricate piano work, combined with a rich, natural, mother earth ambiance on 'The Treehouse,' with the album rounding out with the pulsating, yet at all times tempered, acoustic guitar work of 'December,' with the drum-led fortitude, and sax infused magnificence of 'War in Heaven' bringing the album to a close.

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Title - 'Destination Unknown' (EP)
Artist - Signal 13

For those not in the know, Signal 13 is a contemporary rock band that is paying homage to the classic rock sound on their latest release, the 5-song EP, Destination Unknown (out now).

Formed in Baltimore, the band is led by front-woman, Vicky Starr and joined by guitarists Johnathan Lassiter and Chris Starr, bassist Patrick Jenkins, and drummer Johnny Sexx.

Originally a covers band, Signal 13 are well known in their Mid-Atlantic area for their energetic live shows, and due to them have even had the honor to open for the likes of Kix and Great White.

1. 'Dirty' (3:41)
2. 'Karma' (3:29)
3. 'Make It Rain' (4:16)
4. 'Stay With Me' (4:53)
5. 'All Fired Up' (3:33)

For this, their first original release, Signal 13 open with the drum-led, '80s glam rock essence of 'Dirty' (a track that could easily have been an early Crüe cut) and backs that up with the melodically paced, rock fire of 'Karma.'

Starr's rock growl comes to the fore on the mid-tempo, early Girlschool vibe of 'Make It Rain,' which is followed by the one-two guitar and drum beats of 'Stay With Me,' with the EP coming to a close on the finger-snappin', rockin' blues bluster of 'All Fired Up.'

"We sat together and jammed writing different pieces of music on the release,” explains Vicky. “When we write together, I think of it as a musical fusion the way we pull it together."

"When we recorded ‘Karma,’ I acted more like a conductor without a baton. I would stop everyone, rearrange and then have them start again."

" I forgot that we had live mics on the drums and I was dancing around and singing along with the song. Sometimes the excitement is overwhelming and hard to contain.”

And with the focus of the band being on front-woman Vicky, it turns out that she is a multi-talented force within Signal 13, according to Chris. “Vicky has a process for lyrics and she is always writing. She has lyrics for a few hundred songs already written. It’s hard for the rest of us to keep up – she’s a writing machine."

"A few times while we’re recording, she left the studio and went and sat on a cinder block that was in the laundry room and wrote lyrics. She wrote a few songs like that. It’s become a kind of magic cinder block. It’s her strange concrete muse.”

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Title - 'Siren Songs'
Artist - Siren Songs

For those not in the know, Siren Songs is the brand-new musical collaboration between Merideth Kaye Clark and Jenn Grinels and they have just released their very first album, the eponymous Siren Songs, on May 29th, 2020.

Featuring powerhouse vocalists, musicians, and national touring artists, the longtime best friends showcase gorgeous harmonies and unique arrangements performed on a variety of stringed instruments (banjo, dulcimer, viola) here on the quite breathtaking Siren Songs.

1. 'Goodnight Sun, Hello Moon'
2. 'Jolene'
3. 'Edelweiss'
4. '100'
5. 'Chelsea Morning'
6. 'Gray'
7. 'Angel From Montgomery'
8. 'For Good'
9. 'Time After Time'

The album opens with the lush, ornate American beauty of 'Goodnight Sun, Hello Moon' which they back seamlessly with a banjo-inspired cover of Dolly Parton’s classic 'Jolene.' [The song was selected by Parton herself and Netflix as their favorite rendition during the #JoleneChallenge].

That's followed by the well known lullaby for a white flower found high in the Austrian Alps, and which was also the inspiration for the Waltz, a wonderfully gentle, dulcet rendition of 'Edelweiss.'

The balladeering harmonies of the acoustic guitar-led '100' is one of my own personal favorites here, and then the tempo is stoked up for the foot-tappin' Joni Mitchell track 'Chelsea Morning.'

Next comes the affable elegance of the alluring 'Gray,' another banjo-inspired rendition, this time of John Prine's 'Angel From Montgomery,' and then this delightfully perfect album rounds out with a delicate rendition of 'For Good' (from 'Wicked'), and then a stirringly ambient cover of the timeless Cyndi Lauper ballad, 'Time After Time' closes the album.

Featuring a mix of both original songs written by Grinels ('Goodnight Sun, Hello Moon,' '100,' and 'Gray'), as well as a selection of folk and Americana favorites, Siren Songs is already one of my Top 10 albums of 2020!

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Title - 'The Trojan Albums Collection' [2CD]
Artist - Prince Far I

For those not in the know, by the time Michael Williams aka the late Prince Far I (sadly, he was murdered the September 15th, 1983) became established as a recording artist in the mid-Seventies, he was in fact already a veteran of the Jamaican music scene, having begun deejaying early the previous decade.

His deep, slow and deliberate delivery, allied to his consistently hard-hitting commentaries proved popular with reggae fans around the world, most notably in the UK, where his work strongly resonated with the punk generation.

In 1979, Far I signed with Trojan Records, cutting a quartet of vocal albums for the company over a four-year period, but in September 1983, soon after the release of his “Musical History” LP, he was senselessly murdered while visiting a friend in Portmore, Jamaica.

This brand new 2CD set entitled The Trojan Albums Collection (releasing May 15th, 2020 via Cherry Red Records UK) brings together the entirety of the influential DJ’s vocal recordings for Trojan, which is today widely regarded to be his finest work.

CD 1: From Sin
1. 'Free from Sin'
2. 'When Jah Ready You Got to Move'
3. 'Call on I in Trouble'
4. 'Don't Deal with Folly'
5. 'Light of Fire'
6. 'Reggae Music'
7. 'Go Home on the Morning Train'
8. 'Siren'
9. 'I and I Are the Chosen One'

CD 1: Jamaican Heroes
10. 'Deck of Life'
11. 'The Vision'
12. 'Natty Champion'
13. 'Read a Chapter'
14. 'Golden Throne'
15. 'Jamaican Heroes'
16. 'Prison Discipline'
17. 'Musical History'
18. 'Jah Will Provide'
19. 'David' [Bonus Track]

Featuring three of the original albums that are now making their CD debut, one of the most iconic and influential Jamaican artists of all time kicks things off with the Free Of Sin (1979) album, and in particular, the natty dread of the title track backed by the one-two hipsway of 'When Jah Ready You Got to Move' and 'Call on I in Trouble.'

Produced by Prince Far I and engineered by Sylvan Morris and Errol Brown, next up is the drum-led 'Don't Deal with Folly' which is followed by the rhythmic beauty of both 'Light of Fire' and 'Reggae Music.'

This particular album then rounds out with the dutiful 'Go Home on the Morning Train' (recorded for "the King"), 'Siren,' and then comes to a close on the storytelling of 'I and I Are the Chosen One.'

Next up on the first disc is the Jamaican Heroes (1980) album, which opens with the reverberating 'Deck of Life' and backs that up seamlessly with both the measured vibe of 'The Vision,' and the natty dread, boxing-inspired 'Natty Champion.'

'Read a Chapter' is then followed by the slo-mo fuzz of 'Golden Throne,' the upbeat effervescence of the title track, and then comes one of my own personal favorites, the foot-tappin' reggae elegance of 'Prison Discipline.'

This tremendously melodic and highly empowered album (whose featured musicians included Roots Radics and The Flying Lizards) then rounds out with the uptempo 'Musical History,' the low-slung 'Jah Will Provide,' and closes on a bonus track that Prince Far I actually himself calls 'Dub Do Africa,' but on this new CD is entitled 'David.'

CD 2: Voice Of Thunder
1. 'Ten Commandments'
2. 'Tribute to Bob Marley'
3. 'Hold the Fort'
4. 'Every Time I Hear the Word'
5. 'Head of the Buccaneer'
6. 'Shall Not Dwell in Wickedness'
7. 'Give I Strength'
8. 'Kingdom of God'
9. 'Coming in from the Rock'
10. 'Skinhead'

CD 2: Musical History
11. 'Everytime I Talk About Jah'
12. 'Prince Far I Come Again'
13. 'Tell Them About Jah Love'
14. 'More We Are Together'
15. 'At the Cross'
16. 'Working for My Saviour'
17. 'I Don't Know Why I Love Jah So'
18. 'What You Gonna Do on Judgement Day'
19. 'Take Heed Frontline'

The second disc opens with his brilliant Voice Of Thunder (1981) album, and notably the biblical reggae of 'Ten Commandments' which is smoothly backed by both the magnificent 'Tribute to Bob Marley' and then the melodic twinkling of 'Hold the Fort.'

Next up is the atmospheric 'Every Time I Hear the Word,' the rhymical hipsway of 'Head of the Buccaneer' and the dancefloor track 'Shall Not Dwell in Wickedness,' with another stand out being the horn-inspired 'Give I Strength' following.

This album then rounds out with reverberation of 'Kingdom of God,' the guitar-led 'Coming in from the Rock,' and closes on the majestically lo-fi 'Skinhead.'

The second album on the second disc (which was also released the year of his death) is Musical History (1983), which opens with the bounce-an-sway of both 'Everytime I Talk About Jah' and 'Prince Far I Come Again,' the storytelling of 'Tell Them About Jah Love,' and then the low brow reggae of both 'More We Are Together' and 'At the Cross.'

Then we get another passionate track in the form of the earnest 'Working for My Saviour,' more Prince Far I storytelling within 'I Don't Know Why I Love Jah So,' with the album rounding out on the gentle bounce of 'What You Gonna Do on Judgement Day,' and then coming to a close on the sermon known as 'Take Heed Frontline.'

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Title - 'More Trouble' [Vinyl LP]
Artist - Marvin Gaye

For those not in the know, More Trouble is a collection of bonus tracks and alternate takes from Marvin Gaye’s Trouble Man sessions, and taken from the Trouble Man: 40th Anniversary Expanded Edition.

Released on April 3rd, 2020 (via Motown Select / UMe), and all now on vinyl for the very first time, the soundtrack to the 1972 Ivan Dixon-directed film of the same name, Trouble Man was the first album to be written and produced solely by Gaye.

This wondrous 9-track More Trouble (released as a delightful gatefold jacket that, in keeping with albums theme, is an alternate to the iconic one on the original soundtrack) collects tracks from Trouble Man’s recording sessions, including an unedited version of ‘“T” Plays It Cool’ and an extended version of the titular song.

Side A:
1. 'Main Theme From Trouble Man' (2) (Alternate Take With Strings)
2. '“T” Plays It Cool' (Unedited)
3. 'Poor Abbey Walsh, Part 2' (Take 1)
4. 'Trouble Man' (Extended Version)
5. 'Theme From Trouble Man' (Vocal Version)

Side B:
1. 'Main Theme From Trouble Man' (Vocal Version)
2. '“T” Stands For Trouble' (Unedited Vocal Version)
3. '“T” Stands For Trouble' (Alternate Version)
4. 'Trouble Man – Trouble Man Original Score'

Side A (of this luscious, absolutely magnificent new vinyl release) opens with a gently moderated, yet fervently impatient wailing guitar, which bleeds into the two and a half minute piano, saxophone and drum masterpiece 'Main Theme From Trouble Man' (2) (here as an alternate version with orchestrated strings added), and that's backed by the longer, sterner, drum-led backbeat of the much-sampled '“T” Plays It Cool' (Unedited).

The sumptuous, saxophone-driven 'Poor Abbey Walsh, Part 2' (Take 1) is a pure, unadulterated joy to behold, and is backed by a rousing, and extended version of the title track, with the first side coming to a close with some oh-so sweet horn play that simply melts the soul on the two minute vocal version of 'Theme From Trouble Man' (which was featured in the film’s opening sequence, but not on the soundtrack).

Side B pretty much gives us more of the same, which ain't no bad thing, kicking things off with a vocalized version of 'Main Theme From Trouble Man' before unveiling two versions of '“T” Stands For Trouble' (an unedited, and very rare vocal, and an alternate version).

Culminating the musical experience with a quite magnificent 'Trouble Man – Trouble Man Original Score' (which showcased Gaye's trademark duet of high and low vocals), much like the original soundtrack album, each and every track here is as smooth as silk to the ears.

It's that classic Motown sound from Marvin Gaye, when songwriters had something to say and sang their own songs. For me, not only was Trouble Man one of the more underrated, overlooked and understated soundtracks of the '70s, but it most assuredly captures the great man at his musical peak.

While 1971's What's Going On and 1973's Let's Get It On are regularly acknowledged as Soul masterpieces (let alone name-checked by everyone who is anyone in love with music that genuinely touches you), real Marvin Gaye devotees have always had a rush of blood to the head at the mere sight of 1972's Trouble Man (which Gaye himself rated as some of his best work).

These 1972 outtakes, and which have been stunningly remastered by UMe for vinyl, are the newest celebration of Gaye’s unrivalled legacy and a further illustration of a significant chapter in his discography.

Indeed, all the tracks have been mixed in high resolution audio from Motown’s original 16-track session reels by the famed John Morales, and remastered by Alex Abrash at AA Mastering.

The title track from Trouble Man was one of the album’s few vocal cuts. It became a #7 hit on Billboard‘s Hot 100 in January 1973, reaching #4 on the R&B chart.

The vinyl More Trouble echoes the design of the original album, with an alternative image of Gaye on the gatefold cover.

Additional photography includes scans of the original session tape boxes.

There are also new liner notes by musicologist Dr. Andrew Flory, who wrote the essay for the Trouble Man: 40th Anniversary Expanded Edition gatefold jacket.

A gifted, visionary talent, Gaye tragically died April 1st, 1984, just one day before his 45th birthday. Three years later, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

With More Trouble as proof, Gaye continues to hold his place as one of the greatest singers, composers and producers of all time.

Official 'More Trouble' [Vinyl LP] Purchase Links

Title - 'Once Bitten Acoustic Bytes'
Artist - Jack Russell's Great White

For those not up to date with the goings on of this band, vocalist and co-founder of legendary ‘80s hard rock group Great White, Jack Russell, has just released his brand new, and very special acoustic album, Once bitten Acoustic Bytes (out now via Cleopatra Records).

Revisiting the band’s 1987 multi-platinum masterpiece Once Bitten it features some of their biggest and most recognizable GW hits, such as 'Save Your Love' and 'Rock Me.'

Aided by the likes of guitarist Robby Lochner (who also produced and mixed the album), longtime Great White bassist Tony Montana (now on guitar), bassist Dan McNay and drummer Dicki Fliszer, these songs have been stripped to their emotional core, spotlighting the intensely passionate story at the heart of each song.

1. 'Lady Redlight'
2. 'Gonna Getcha'
3. 'Rock Me'
4. 'All Over Now'
5. 'Mistreater'
6. 'Never Change Heart'
7. 'Fast Road' 9. 'Save Your Love'
10. 'Babe (I'm Gonna Leave You)'

This quite magnificent, and highly enlightening new album opens with the drum and guitar-led, mid-tempo 'Lady Redlight' (a track that veritably still begs to be unleashed at full pelt!), and backs that up with the early AC/DC-esque 'Gonna Getcha,' and then a rather wondrous lo-fi version of 'Rock Me.'

The upbeat 'All Over Now' is the followed by lowdown rockin' blues of 'Mistreater' (which features some fine, skedaddling fret work from Montana), and that's followed by the mid-tempo 'Never Change Heart.'

Fliszer comes to the fore on the speeding train approach to his acoustic drum rhythm that drives 'Fast Road,' and that's backed by the resoundingly brilliant 'Livin' On The Edge.'

This inventive, and empowering new acoustic album then rounds out with their unforgettable ballad 'Save Your Love,' which is now embodied with an impassioned hymn-like yearning, with the album coming to a close on the heartfelt 'Babe (I'm Gonna Leave You).

Jack Russell explains “Once Bitten is one of my favorite albums that we did. I always wondered what it would sound like done acoustically."

"The experience recording this unplugged version was really neat. It brought back a lot of memories of the original recording session, things I had forgotten about."

"Interestingly, the songs that I thought wouldn’t translate acoustically like ‘Livin’ On The Edge’ and ‘Never Change Heart,’ the heavier songs, came out the best."

"Now, I’m looking forward to doing it again for Twice Shy!”

Once Bitten Acoustic Bytes will be available everywhere starting May 1st, 2020 on digital as well as CD and a limited edition BLUE vinyl LP from Deadline Music, a division of Cleopatra Records, Inc.

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Title - 'Have A Good Time But ... Get Out Alive!'
Artist - Iron City Houserockers

For those not in the know, Love's So Tough, the 1979 debut from the Iron City Houserockers, established the Pittsburgh-bred group on a national level, garnering important recognition, most notably from legendary journalist Greil Marcus (Rolling Stone).

The band had created a unique sounding blend of blue collar rock informed by their influences which included a deep love of Chicago blues, early rock and roll and old school soul, all mixed together with dollops of the then-current sounds of punk and new wave added in.

Their second album, 1980's Have A Good Time (But Get Out Alive), found them recording in New York City with an incredible supporting cast.

Cleveland International's Steve Popovich and Marty Mooney tapped Mick Ronson (David Bowie) to co-produce the sessions, with additional input coming from Ian Hunter (Mott The Hoople) and Steven Van Zandt (Bruce Springsteen, Southside Johnny)."We were a particularly effective concert band at the time We just wanted to kick your ass and tear the place down."

"That's the attitude we had and then you had these guys that joined us who had much more experience recording," he further explains. "They brought a little bit of sophistication to the whole process. You have the English guys and then you had the New Jersey guys and then you has us from Pittsburgh and on paper, it never should have worked. But somehow it did. Everything just fell into place."

Cleveland International Records is celebrating the 40th anniversary of Have A Good Time ... But Get Out Alive! with a new expanded reissue that is available on both CD and Vinyl (bonus tracks available via a download card).

Grushecky worked with his son, Johnny (who also plays guitar in the current version of the band) and his sound engineer, Brian Coleman, to compile a second disc with an additional 16 tracks, all previously unreleased.

It features more than an hour's worth of demos and rarities, including alternate takes and in some cases, songs that didn't make the final running order of the original album, adding an intriguing chapter to the existing legend of the record."We always went into a local studio in Pittsburgh and I would write songs," Grushecky continues. "Some of the guys would bring in some ideas and we would demo everything,"

"Most of the demos, when we were recording them, we weren't setting out to make a final product. So a lot of this stuff is just first and second takes to see what the song sounded like."

Going through reel-to-reel tapes and even some cassettes that had been in boxes for decades, Grushecky found he had an abundance of material.

"At first, I thought we were just going to include a couple of extra tracks on this reissue. Then I started finding all of these different things and I started to get excited about it," he says. "You know, to some people, I'm sure it would be like a great lost Iron City Houserockers record."

1. 'Have a Good Time (But Get Out Alive)'
2. 'Don't Let Them Push You Around'
3. 'Pumping Iron'
4. 'Hypnotized'
5. 'Price of Love'
6. 'Angela'
7. 'We're Not Dead Yet'
8. 'Blondie'
9. 'Old Man Bar'
10. 'Junior's Bar'
11. 'Runnin' Scared'
12. 'Rock Ola'

Featuring a vibrantly magnificent 12 tracks, this completely rockin' collection from one of the most wholly underrated bands of the day, still stands loud and proud today, trust me!

Featuring some great vocals and lyrics from Joe Gruschecky, the guys open with the drum and guitar-led title track with the harmonica-driven 'Don't Let Them Push You Around' along next.

The one-two guitar bounce of 'Pumping Iron' is then backed by the subtle piano lead into the mid-tempo wonderment of 'Hypnotized,' before the free flowing, high flying majesty of 'Price of Love' is brought forth.

The temperature is turned back up for the Springsteen-esque 'Angela' which is followed by the melodic piano and drum core of 'We're Not Dead Yet.'

This pulsating album continues onward with their salute to Debbie Harry on the fast-paced 'Blondie, the gentle guitar and accordion-driven 'Old Man Bar' (featuring Gil Snyder), and then the Springsteen brand of guitar rock returns for 'Junior's Bar.'

The album then rounds out with the rockin' blues of 'Runnin' Scared' with the low key storytelling of 'Rock Ola' bringing the album to a close.

1. 'Have a Good Time (But Get Out Alive)' [Demo]
2. 'Don't Let Them Push You Around' [Demo]
3. 'Pumping Iron' [Demo]
4. 'Don't Stop The Music' [Demo]
5. 'Angela' [Demo]
6. 'Price Of Love' [Demo]
7. 'Hold Out' [Demo]
8. 'Rock Ola' [Demo]
9. 'Struggle & Die' [Demo]
10. 'Rock Ola' [Extended]
11. 'Charlena/Blondie'
12. 'Runnin' Scared'
13. 'Runnin' Scared' #2'
14. 'Hypnotized' (A Work In Progress)
15. 'Rooster Blues'
16. 'Do Wah Diddy'

This most perfect missing link between Springsteen's E Street Band and Petty's Heartbreakers continues bringing the good stuff here on this second disc of musical gems.

First up are lower key demos of 'Have a Good Time (But Get Out Alive),' 'Don't Let Them Push You Around' and 'Pumping Iron,' before we get 'Don't Stop The Music,' a totally rockin' blues cut, complete with harmonica backbeat.

Next up are more tentative demos, such as the second take of 'Angela' and 'Price Of Love,' which are backed by both the foot-tappin' 'Hold Out' and a demo of 'Rock Ola.'

The gradual build of musicianship and storytelling of 'Struggle & Die' makes this one of my own personal favorites of these outtakes, and that's followed by an extended version of 'Rock Ola.'

We then get a fervent 'Charlena/Blondie' blend, which is backed by two versions of 'Runnin' Scared,' a chitty-chatty 'Hypnotized' (A Work In Progress) jam, before this second disc closes on the harmonica and guitar brilliance of the Lightnin' Slim track 'Rooster Blues' (which sounds like 9 Below Zero had entered the building), and then an accelerated The Exciters cut (although it was made famous by Manfred Mann), 'Do Wah Diddy'

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Title - 'Stories To Live Up To'
Artist - Harvey Dalton Arnold

For those not in the know, Harvey Dalton Arnold is a singer, guitarist and North Carolina-native who has a passion for the blues.

He sold millions of albums as a member of southern-rock band The Outlaws from 1976-80 and has, amongst oh-so many others around the world, played at Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall.

Harvey performs a left-handed finger-picking style coupled with slide playing on electric and acoustic guitars and over the years has received much acclaim for founding and performing with The Harvey Dalton Arnold Blues Band.

Arnolds’s first solo release was the 2013 blues album Outlaw, but here on his sophomore effort, Stories To Live Up To (out now via Music Maker Recordings), the talented musician brings forth a collection of songs and stories that showcase his writing and influences to perfection.

1. 'Stay Here with Me'
2. 'Early Bird'
3. 'What's On Your Mind'
4. 'Poor Boy'
5. 'When The Sun Goes Down'
6. 'Lone Outlaw'
7. 'Gotta See Ya'
8. 'Put Me BaCK'
9. 'Catfish Blues'

The original southern rocker opens his new set (of which six out of the nine vocals were done live) with the upbeat R&B slide of 'Stay Here with Me,' and then backs that up with the guitar-led rocker 'Early Bird,' the down south, slow poke, open G slide guitar work of 'What’s on Your Mind,' and then comes the mid-tempo storytelling ballad 'Poor Boy.'

The dirty blues of 'When the Sun Goes Down' is a pure, unadulterated joy to behold and that's followed by a chance for Arnold's vocal expertise to come to the fore on the rural ode to founding Outlaws member Hughie Thomasson, 'Lone Outlaw.'

The album - which features both bass player Zev Katz, and drummer Charlie Drayton – then rounds out with the old school rockin' of 'Gotta See Ya,' the Johnny Winter-influenced, rock guitar bounce of 'Put Me Back,' before coming to a close on the free flowing rawness of 'Catfish Blues.'

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Title - 'XX'
Artist - Brian Culbertson

Instead of being on stage in Pittsburgh, one week into a planned 70+ date coast-to-coast concert tour set up to launch his milestone twentieth album release, the aptly titled XX (Roman numerals for twenty), R&B/jazz/funk multi-instrumentalist Brian Culbertson was at home, marking the occasion by hanging out with a glass of wine and entertaining fans via his popular Facebook Live broadcast!

While The XX Tour that was to start April 1st with shows booked through June had to be pushed to 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic, the new album’s retro-charged first single, 'Get Up!' (featuring Mr. Talkbox & Marcus Anderson) entered Billboard at #6, and soon after produced the hitmaker’s 33rd #1 on the Billboard Smooth Jazz Charts.

1. 'Get Up!'
2. 'Dance Like This'
3. 'The Hangout'
4. 'Prelude To More Thank Thankful'
5. 'More Than Thankful'
6. 'It's A Love Thing'
7. 'Time Flies'
8. 'Sexy Love'
9. 'Keep Movin'
10. 'The Truth'
11. 'Intro To Looking Back'
12. 'Looking Back'

As aforementioned, Culbertson opens with the uptempo, slap bass, old school funky groove of 'Get Up!' and backs that up with the late-'70s dancefloor slide of 'Dance Like This' (featuring Bootsy Collins), the the near-seven minute mid-tempo, horn-fluent masterpiece 'The Hangout' (featuring Ray Parker Jr., albeit not in a vocal capacity), and then we get a quick, dulcet prelude moment before the free flowing R&B of 'More Thank Thankful' (featuring Avery*Sunshine aka Denise Nicole White) comes forth.

With Culbertson having written and produced XX, it's obvious listening to it that he has taken a fresh approach to his writing process, in that he has incorporated a little bit of everything from his expansive career to bring forth 12 tracks that enable your mind, body and soul to simply soar; no matter what may currently be weighing you down.

All those previously upbeat and ultra funky grooves get tempered for the luscious, streamlined piano melodies found within 'It's A Love Thing,' the finger-snappin' suppleness of 'Time Flies,' and then 'Sexy Love' (featuring guitar work from Maze’s Jubu Smith), with Everette Harp's saxophone attributes coming to the fore on the pop-jazz bounce of 'Keep Movin.'

This quite magnificent album then rounds out with the love song 'The Truth' (featuring the soulful R&B vocals of Noel Gourdin), with the short intro to 'Looking Back' then bleeding into the full track (featuring New Orleans native Patches Stewart on trumpet) closing the album.

"This album was about creating lots of different moods, which is a little different for me in terms of what I’ve done over the last several albums that were more conceptual and consistent from beginning to end - either the romantic side of things, a funk album, straight-ahead jazz trio or what not", Culbertson explains.

"I deliberately set out to have no one genre or one style in mind; just give people a total mix of everything that I do – funky instrumentals, jazz, R&B slow jams, gospel, pop, and straight-up funk”, he continues, adding that he hopes the collection will uplift listeners during this unprecedented time of social distancing and economic uncertainty.

“The fact that it’s coming out during this time when everyone is under stay at home orders, I hope it does lift people up. That’s what music does."

"That’s the beauty of music. It makes you feel better. It takes you out of whatever place you’re in at the moment. It transports you. That’s why I love making music."

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Title - 'Music Unites'
Artist - Rocco Zifarelli

For more than 20 years Rocco Zifarelli has worked alongside the famous movie music composer Ennio Morricone, with whom he has recorded many award-winning scores (Academy Award, Golden Globe, Bafta, etc) and performed in many tours around the world.

Published 20 years after the acclaimed Lyndon (Via VenetoJazz-Universal) this brand new album Music Unites continues on the same musical concept, that concerns instrumental electric jazz and jazz-rock in general, with 10 tracks describing a series of experiences of musical life in Rome, New York and especially in Paris.

1. 'Northern Line' (7:47)
2. 'Aural' (6:02)
3. 'Le Clan Des Siciliens' (6;11)
4. 'The Untouchables' (4:59)
5. 'Ballad For Mr. Kromback' (4:11)
6. 'Essential Blues' (8:04)
7. 'With The Help Of God, Shine' (6:38)
8. 'Abidjan' (4:32)
9. 'Aural - reprise' (3:27)
10. 'The Untouchables - alt. take' (4:53)

For this quite magnificent musical experience, Music Unites prompted Rocco to bring together a number of great musicians with whom he had collaborated with in the past.

These included: Paco Sery (Ivory Coast) on drums, Linley Marthe (Mauritius Island) on bass; the rhythm section of Joe Zawinul Syndicate; Italian electric and acoustic bass stars Dario Deidda and Pippo Matino; Russian trumpeter Alex Sipiagin; and two DJ’s and sound designers Freddy Jay (Paris) and Yassin Africancuts (Brussels), amongst others.

Featuring a lot of musical variety, original and non-original compositions, including two revisited Morricone’s themes, Music Unites is most definitely an album that brings together people, cultures and sounds to formulate an expansive, and worldly backbeat to guide us all, in these darks times, through and out the other side.

Opening with the soaring, cultural magnificence of 'Northern Line', he backs that up seamlessly with the uber-frenetic, DJ-mastered 'Aural' and then relaxes us back into a revisiting of Morricone's very own 'Le Clan Des Siciliens.'

That's backed by another dynamic delve into Morricone's past on the now electronically sampled, and guitar heavy 'The Untouchables' which he follows with the lush Latin approach to 'Ballad for Mr. Kromback' and then the upbeat, guitar-twanging, funky brilliance of 'Essential Blues (with lyrics by Joe Bowie).

The reverberating electronics of 'With the Help of God, Shine' have quickly made this track the stand out for me personally, and that's backed by more frenetic DJ-propelled beats within 'Abidjan,' with the album rounding out on the gentle acoustic guitar work of 'Aural (Reprise),' and then closes out on the drum-led exuberance of 'The Untouchables (Alternative Take).'

Says Rocco, “This record is the story of my musical and private life, through the ten tracks, like the chapters of an autobiographical book."

"It’s also a journey, a long journey in all senses, was conceived from the point of view of the compositional ideas many years ago, shortly after the release of my first and only album Lyndon, but had a very long gestation, due to many factors both external and personal, changes of human and artistic life mainly influenced by the massive events that have affected the whole world in the last twenty years."

"During this time I traveled a lot, for tours and concerts, and lived in some world great musical cities. Especially my three years in Paris, after joining the Defunkt, where I met many African artists who were able to express depths of their native cultures."

"Even now Paris absorbs these important influences and, in musical terms, trains generations of extraordinary esteemed all over the world. All that already happened in New York since forever, but not with African born artists, really hard to arrive in the US."

"It is not a coincidence that Joe Zawinul has taken so many musicians of the last Syndicate in Paris, even if they were not originally from France.”

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Title - 'Strings for Peace: Premieres For Guitar & Sarod'
Artist - Amjad Khan, Sharon Isnin, Amaan & Ayaan Bangash

On this groundbreaking ZOHO release, Strings for Peace: Premieres For Guitar & Sarod (out May 22nd, 2020 via ZOHO Music), multiple Grammy winner, guitarist Sharon Isbin explores the richness of North Indian classical music with Ustad (maestro) Amjad Ali Khan, representing the sixth generation of sarod masters.

Khan has also been guru to his two amazingly talented sons, Amaan Ali and Ayaan Ali Bangash also featured on this recording, in four ragas arranged for Sharon Isbin.

1. 'By The Moon' - raga behag' (13:26)
2. 'Love Avalanche - raga mishra bhairav' (3:57)
3. 'Romancing Earth - raga pilu' (16:38)
4. 'Sacred Evening - raga yaman' (16:36)

For those not in the know, a raga (or raag) is a melodic framework for improvisation akin to a melodic mode in Indian classical music and so this quite magnificent musical experience opens with the first of the new quartet, the transcendent celestial opus 'By The Moon' - raga behag' which is seamlessly backed by the shorter, upbeat, tabla-backed fare of 'Love Avalanche - raga mishra bhairav.

Next we get a scenically beautiful 30 minutes of music in the form of two pieces: the folksy resonance of 'Romancing Earth - raga pilu' which is backed by the modulating flourishes of 'Sacred Evening - raga yaman.'

In recent years father and sons have turned their attention more and more towards collaborations with musicians from other great traditions, especially Western classical music, seeking ways in which their Indian music finds resonances and parallels in other music; so that the Western musicians concerned can find a way into Indian music without the years of formal training expected of an Indian.

An obvious connection featured in this album is that the sarod and guitar are both leading plucked stringed instruments of their respective traditions.

The sarod does not have frets, and this enables it better to replicate the essential slides and other embellishments demanded of raga performance.

Thus it requires a guitarist of the caliber of Sharon Isbin to interact with no fewer than three sarod masters. In the words of Amjad Ali Khan himself, "each of the artists brings the spirit of sharing the great unique treasures of their own artistic traditions, as well as finding common ground in ragas and medieval modes."

"The idea is to achieve a cross-fertilization at both the cellular and cosmic levels of two classical music traditions, which are often held to be radically different."

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Title - 'Affinity'
Artist - Sharon Isbin

Acclaimed for her extraordinary lyricism, technique and versatility, multiple GRAMMY-Award winner Sharon Isbin was named the 2020 Musical America Worldwide Instrumentalist of the Year; the first guitarist ever to receive the coveted honor in its 59 year award history.

Isbin has appeared as soloist with over 200 orchestras and has given sold-out performances in many of the world’s finest halls, including New York’s Carnegie and Geffen Halls, Boston’s Symphony Hall, Washington D.C.’s Kennedy Center, et al.

Isbin’s catalogue of over 30 albums from Baroque, Spanish/Latin and 20th Century to crossover and jazz-fusion, has sold nearly a million copies and reflects her remarkable versatility.

Her two latest releases in May 2020 of world premiere recordings of music composed for her are Strings for Peace, with India’s legendary Amjad Ali Khan in a program of ragas for guitar, sarod and tabla, and this one here, Affinity (featuring Chris Brubeck’s acclaimed concerto for guitar and orchestra).

1. 'Affinity: Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra' (16:08)
2. 'El arpa del guerrero' (4:04)
3. 'La huida de los amantes por el valle de los ecos' (4:09)
4. 'Balada de la doncella enamorada' (5:52)
5. 'Waltz No. 3 Natalia' (feat. Colin Davin) (2:59)
6. 'Seven Desires for Guitar' (10:56)
7. 'Listen ...' (3:48)
8. 'This Night of Love ...' (2:18)
9. 'Your Beauty ...' (4:55)

On this historic ZOHO release, Isbin performs multi-faceted and virtuosic new works for guitar, written for her by four leading composers.

From the Africa-influenced El Decameron Negro by iconic Cuban guitarist/composer Leo Brouwer, through the Chinese and Spanish influenced Seven Desires by Tan Dun, to Richard Danielpour's song cycle Of Love and Longing and the jazz and world music-influenced Affinity: Concerto for Guitar & Orchestra by Chris Brubeck, Isbin gives her inimitable imprint to, and vastly enriches major new repertoire for guitar.

This beautiful, simply divine new album opens with the perky, playful 'Affinity: Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra' and backs that up with the dulcet guitar work of 'El arpa del guerrero,' the cautious 'La huida de los amantes por el valle de los ecos,' and then the third of the El Decameron Negroes, the tender 'Balada de la doncella enamorada.'

The whirlingly stupendous majesty of 'Waltz No. 3 Natalia' (feat. Colin Davin) is a pure, unadulterated joy to behold and is followed by the sterner, more pronounced tenures of 'Seven Desires for Guitar' (featuring work by classical composer and pianist, Tan Dun).

An operatic trilogy Of Love and Longing rounds out the album, with the first being the expansive 'Listen ...' which is followed by the shorter, Spanish-guitar inspired 'This Night of Love ...', with the mood evoking 'Your Beauty ...' bringing the album to a close.

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Title - 'Live at the Paramount'
Artist - Ruthie Foster Big Band

On January 26th, 2019, the Ruthie Foster Big Band took the stage at the historic Paramount Theater in Austin, TX to perform a set of live big band era tracks that would make up her new album.

Featuring arrangements by Miles Davis alum John Beasley and bandleader John Miller, Ruthie Foster’s latest album Live at the Paramount evokes Sinatra, Ellington, Ella and other swing-era greats on collection of favorite originals and dynamic covers.

1. Introduction'
2. 'Brand New Day'
3. 'Might Not Be Right'
4. 'Ring Of Fire'
5. 'Stone Love'
6. 'The Ghetto'
7. 'Death Came A Knockin' (Travelin' Shoes)'
8. 'Singin' The Blues'
9. 'Runaway Soul'
10 .'Woke Up This Morning'
11. 'Joy Comes Back'
12. 'Phenomenal Woman'
13. 'Fly Me To The Moon'
14. 'Mack The Knife'

The album opens with Ruthie's daughter Mai, who then herself, and to rapturous applause, introduces her own mother to the packed house.

That leads us neatly into the one-two punch of 'Brand New Day,' which is followed by both the mid-tempo love song 'Might Not Be Right' (written with the great William Bell) and then a beautiful, laid back cover of Johnny Cash's infamous 'Ring Of Fire.'

Next up is Foster playing testimony via the uproarious 'Stone Love,' with that being backed by the lo-fi ballad 'The Ghetto,' the hip shakin' magnificence of 'Death Came A Knockin' (Travelin' Shoes),' and then the foot tappin' vibes of the mid-tempo 'Singin' The Blues.'

Backed by a guitarist, keyboardist, bassist, drummer, ten horn players, vocalists, and conductor, the upbeat 'Runaway Soul' is a joy to behold and is backed by the soulful R&B of 'Woke Up This Morning' and then the joyous New Orleans hipsway of 'Joy Comes Back.'

This delightfully vibrant live album then rounds out with the sung poem by Maya Angelou, 'Phenomenal Woman,' a cover of Frank Sinatra's 'Fly Me To The Moon,' with another cover in the form of the Bobby Darin-made famous hit from 1959 (although her dedicated to Ella Fitzgerald), the finger-snappin' excellence of 'Mack The Knife.'

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Title - 'We Still Go To Rodeos'
Artist - Whitney Rose

For those not in the know, Austin, Texas based recording artist Whitney Rose has just released her fifth studio recording, We Still Go to Rodeos this past April 24th, 2020.

Rose is an award winning internationally lauded and critically acclaimed vocalist and songwriter whose music bends genres and transcends international boundaries.

Furthermore, Rose has been covered in major outlets like The New York Times, Rolling Stone, The Fader, UPROXX and international outlets like Fashion Magazine, Glamour, and Esquire.

In 2016 Rose won the ECMA Award for Country Album of the Year and in 2019 she won Honky Tonk Female of the Year at The Ameripolitan Awards.

She has also performed on stages or recorded with artists such as The Mavericks, Raul Malo, Dwight Yoakam, Marty Stuart, Jason Isbell, Redd Volkaert, Earle Poole Ball, The Proclaimers, Reverend Horton Heat, Midland, and many more.

Her new album, We Still Go To Rodeos (whose cover art always reminds me of Bobby Charles' self-titled 1972 album cover) features twelve original Whitney Rose recordings and was produced by Paul Kolderie (Radiohead, Hole, The Pixies, Uncle Tupelo, Lou Reed).

1. 'Just Circumstance'
2. 'Home With You'
3. 'Believe Me, Angels'
4. 'In A Rut'
5. 'A Hundred Shades Of Blue'
6. 'I'd Rather Be Alone'
7. 'You'd Blame Me For The Rain'
8. 'Fell Through The Cracks'
9. 'Don't Give Up On Me'
10. 'Better Man'
11. 'Thanks For Trying'
12. 'We Still Go To Rodeos'

On Rose’s first record away from the Canadian-based Six Shooter Records, and on her own label MCG, the album opens with the upbeat, jangling guitar storytelling of 'Just Circumstance,' which she backs up seamlessly with both the mid-tempo 'Home With You' and the pedal steel-driven 'Believe Me, Angels.'

As all fans of hers will have themselves noted even just three songs in, where Rose's previous album had delved more into '60s vibes, here We Still Go To Rodeos focuses more on the use of '80s and early '90s soundscapes.

Perhaps none more so than both the lo-fi punk of 'In A Rut' and the lusciously divine, softly psych flow of 'A Hundred Shades Of Blue.'

They are then backed by the melodic 'I'd Rather Be Alone,' the foot-tappin' 'You'd Blame Me For The Rain,' and both the yearning of 'Fell Through The Cracks' and the light, breezy acoustic work of 'Don't Give Up On Me.'

Rose's rock 'tude comes back for the upbeat 'Better Man,' which is backed by the reaching, emphatic arc of 'Thanks For Trying,' before the album comes to a close on the lonesome, harmonica-driven country title track, 'We Still Go To Rodeos.'

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Title - 'Songs I Can't Live Without'
Artist - Marshall Chapman

For those not in the know, Marshall Chapman is an American singer-songwriter-author who was born and raised in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

To date she has released thirteen critically acclaimed albums, with her 2013 release, Blaze of Glory, having been hailed as a masterpiece.

Chapman's fourteenth album, Songs I Can’t Live Without was just released this past May 15th, 2020 (her eighth on TallGirl Records) and is an album of classics that had always been on Chapman’s bucket list to record.

"The songs I write have always been so personal,” Chapman says. “I needed a break. I was getting tired of living myself into a corner, just so I could write myself out.”

1. 'Tower Of Song'
2. 'Turn The Page'
3. 'I Fall In Love Too Easily'
4. 'Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow'
5. 'I Still Miss Someone'
6. 'Don't Be Cruel'
7. 'Tennessee Blues'
8. 'After Midnight'
10. 'He's Got The Whole World In His Hands'

This quite breathtakingly raw, and openly honest and passionate album opens with Leonard Cohen’s gruff 'Tower Of Song,' which Chapman sings for the first time while recording it and that's backed by an earthy 'Turn The Page' (Bob Seger) and then a slow poke turn at Chet Baker's 'I Fall In Love Too Easily' is brought forth.

A breathy, fuzzy guitar vibe is given to Carole King's 'Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow' before we get a dedicated homage to Johnny Cash on his 'I Still Miss Someone' and then a lo-fi, gently acoustic hipsway cover of Elvis Presley's 'Don't Be Cruel.'

Chapman brings a hauntingly evocative southern crawl to Bobby Charles' 1972 hit 'Tennessee Blues,' which is backed by J.J. Cale's renowned 'After Midnight,' with the album coming to a close on a truly prophetic rendering of the traditional 'He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands.'

Chapman explains, “'He’s Got the Whole World in his Hands' is the first song I remember singing as a child. I was eight years old. It was a big hit on the radio by an English singer named Laurie London. It’s one of those songs you know the minute you hear it."

"When we first tracked this album, another song was the closer. But it just didn’t seem quite right. So for days and days I thought about a replacement."

"Then it hit me that a gospel song might be the ticket. I considered 'I Shall Not Be Moved,' but then I remembered 'He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.'"

"The day we recorded this was the day of the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton. I was driving to the studio in East Nashville, and when I saw all the flags at half mast, I had to pull over to the side of the road."

"There I jotted down notes for the recitation that you hear at the end of this recording. I hope you enjoy this as much as we enjoyed recording it.”

Marshall Chapman is currently featured in “Outlaws & Armadillos: Country’s Roaring ’70s” at the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum in Nashville. The exhibit will run until Feb. 14th, 2021.

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Title - 'Old Forgotten Altars: The 1960s Demos'
Artist - John Stewart

For those not in the know, in a career spanning more than four decades, John Stewart swiftly progressed from his beginnings in a southern California garage band, through folk groups The Cumberland Three and The Kingston Trio, to a successful solo career.

He contributed well over 40 albums and more than 600 songs to our musical universe and thus his song catalog is not only staggering in volume, but it’s also loaded with classic compositions.

Most will know Stewart’s songwriting from 'Daydream Believer' by The Monkees (and Anne Murray) or his own Lindsey Buckingham-produced, 'Gold,' a #5 hit in 1979, but just as impressive are 'Runaway Train' from Rosanne Cash’s 1987 King’s Record Shop album, 'Sweet Dreams Will Come' on Nanci Griffith’s Little Love Affairs, or 'Mother Country' from Stewart’s own 1969 California Bloodlines album; which was used to usher the Apollo 11 spacecraft safely back to Earth after its historic journey.

Omnivore is has just released John Stewart's Old Forgotten Altars: The 1960s Demos this past May 8th, 2020 and it is an album that contains a lot of rare, and previously unreleased gems from the great songwriter.

It features four tunes found here that wound up on The Kingston Trio’s Children Of The Morning album released in 1966 with one of them, 'The Spinnin’ Of The World,' getting a second airing on 1979s hit album, Bombs Away Dream Babies; which yielded the aforementioned charting single, 'Gold, with two other songs, 'Midnight Wind' and 'Lost Her In The Sun' also making the Top 40.

Three duets with Buffy Ford Stewart foreshadow Signals Through The Glass album which the singing partners, and later husband and wife team, would release on Capitol Records in 1968.

This collection also features five tracks that would form nearly half of Stewart’s classic California Bloodlines album released in 1969. Of particular note, 'July, You’re A Woman' makes its first recorded appearance here alongside demos for 'Mother Country' and 'The Pirates Of Stone County Road.

1. 'Livin' That Way' (Demo)
2. 'When You're Been Away For A Long Time' (Demo)
3. 'Down The Highway You Go' (Demo)
4. 'Lock All The Windows' (Demo)
5. 'Rambler Get On Board' (Demo)
6. 'Shackles & Chains' (Demo)
7. 'One More Chapter Is Gone' (Demo)
8. 'Being Born Again' (Demo)
9. 'Long Life' (Demo)
10. 'Children Of The Morning' (Demo)
11. 'The Spinnin' Of The World' (Demo)
12. 'Draft Age Today' (Demo)
13. 'The Pirates of Stone County Road' (John Stewart with Buffy Ford Stewart) (Demo)
14. 'One Tiny Grain of Sand' (Demo)
15. 'July, You're A Woman' (Demo)
16. 'Big Sur' (John Stewart with Buffy Ford Stewart) (Demo)
17. 'Mother Country' (Demo)
18. 'She Believes In Me' (John Stewart with Buffy Ford Stewart) (Demo)
19. 'Hey Sarrey' [1959 Bonus Demo]

Opening with the upbeat 'Livin' That Way' and the passionate embrace of 'When You're Been Away For A Long Time,' next up is the pure country of 'Down The Highway You Go' ("I know I shouldn't cry, but I've got freedom in my eyes"), and then the earnest duo of 'Lock All The Windows' and 'Rambler Get On Board.'

The gentle warbling vocals of Stewart come to the fore on the uptempo 'Shackles & Chains,' and that's followed by the storytelling of 'One More Chapter Is Gone,' the sing-along, tambourine-backed 'Being Born Again,' and then the gentle pop sounds of 'Long Life' and the lushly ornate 'Children Of The Morning.'

More vocal reverberations are showcased on 'The Spinnin' Of The World' which is backed by the reminiscing of 'Draft Age Today,' the gently melodic 'The Pirates of Stone County Road' (fetauring Buffy Ford Stewart), and then both the low key 'One Tiny Grain Of Sand' and the Simon & Garfunkel-esque 'July, You're A Woman.'

The beautiful 'Big Sur' (featuring Buffy Ford Stewart) is a pure, unadulterated joy to behold, and that's followed by 'Mother Country,' with 'She Believes In Me' (again featuring Buffy Ford Stewart), and the banjo-driven bonus track 'Hey Sarrey' bringing the collection to a close.

In 2001, Stewart was honored by the World Folk Music Association with a Lifetime Achievement Award and continued to perform live until nearly 2008.

Thus, here on Old Forgotten Altars: The 1960s Demos, Omnivore honors his life’s work and legacy with this peek behind the curtain into his songwriting process while he was making his way from The Kingston Trio to his solo career.

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Title - 'New York at Night'
Artist - Willie Nile

For those not in the know, New York at Night is the 13th studio album from veteran rock 'n' roll troubadour Willie Nile, and the strongest manifestation to date of his deep affinity for the city.

The album's 12 new originals exemplify the artist's trademark mix of romance, idealism, humor, emotional urgency and a true believer's passionate embrace of all things rock 'n' roll.

Nile's abiding passion for his town animates such tunes as 'New York Is Rockin' and the album's title track. "New York City has always inspired me," states Willie. "I've lived in Greenwich Village for many years now, and I still love being there."

"The energy, the grit, and the mystery of it all fills my heart with wonder. Most of these songs were written in New York or were inspired by it in one way or another."

Nile recorded New York at Night (released May 15th, 2020 via River House Records) just across the river, at Weehawken, N.J.'s Hobo Sound, co-producing with longtime collaborator Stewart Lerman (Elvis Costello, Neko Case, Patti Smith) and backed by his longtime live band.

The album also features well renowned guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Steuart Smith (Eagles, Rosanne Cash, Rodney Crowell), pianist Brian Mitchell (Bob Dylan, Levon Helm, B.B. King), and an assortment of backing vocalists including singer-songwriters Frankie Lee and James Maddock, and veteran singers Tawatha Agee and Vaneese Thomas.

1. 'New York Is Rockin'
2. 'The Backstreet Slide'
3. 'Doors Of Paradise'
4. 'Lost and Lonely World'
5. 'The Fool Who Drank The Ocean'
6. 'A Little Bit Of Love'
7. 'New York at Night'
8. 'The Last Time We Made Love'
9. 'Surrender The Moon'
10. 'Under This Roof'
11. 'Downtown Girl'
12. 'Run Free'

This vibrantly earthy album opens with the upbeat sing-along 'New York Is Rockin' and backs that up with the low slung guitar work of 'The Backstreet Slide,' then the lo-fi reverb of 'Doors Of Paradise,' and then the mid-tempo, early '90s rock vibe of the terrific 'Lost and Lonely World.'

The drum-led beats of 'The Fool Who Drank The Ocean' ("I'm as mad as a hatter, I'm as drunk as Lord. I've been stumbling backward, falling on my soul") are then backed by the AOR ballad 'A Little Bit Of Love' and then the rambunctious title track 'New York at Night' ("I went into the subway and it felt just like a dream. Saw a fella going by covered in whipped cream") bursts forth.

Nile's ornate piano ballad, the yearning 'The Last Time We Made Love' makes it one of the stand out highlights here for me, and that's followed by the rockin' late '80s vibe of 'Surrender The Moon.'

The album then rounds out with the passionate, balladeering promises of 'Under This Roof,' before the tempo is raised once again for the thunderous 'Downtown Girl,' with the album coming to a close on the freewheeling, Springteen-esque 'Run Free.'

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Title - 'The Garden' [EP]
Artist - Den of Ashes

Ash Beck, the grandson of early Country & Western entertainers John and “Texas Peggy” Clemens / The Wyoming Ramblers circa 1930s – 1950s (who toured and shared friendships with The Carter Family, Tex Ritter, Patsy Cline and Johnny Cash), has just released his brand new EP (and his third studio album), the sweetly melancholic The Garden (out now via Starry Eyed Records).

The singer-songwriter better known as Den of Ashes creates and presents his music as a unique and intimate exploration into the human condition of love, hope, dreams and even death.

The moody melodic songs are about lost moments in time which means there is a rare loneliness there within the deep rich vocals and western tonality, which captures the very essence of the Western landscape.

1. 'Adam and Eve'
2. 'Rain'
3. 'Avenue of Stars'
4. 'Adam and Eve' (Extended Version)

This creatively ornate, musically sublime 4-track EP begins with the lo-fi troubadour vibe of 'Adam and Eve' ("I don't want to fade away, but the rain came down like cellophane, and she just vanished in the haze, and she was"), and that's followed by the harmonica-driven, soulful, earnest reverence of 'Rain.'

Next up is the storytelling of 'Avenue of Stars,' a lonesome reflection of days gone by on this darkly moody, yet thoroughly melodic soundtrack into a journey of solitude, and then the EP wraps on an extended version of 'Adam and Eve.'

Official Digital Purchase Link

Den of Ashes @ Facebook

Title - 'All That Matters'
Artist - Lights Out

Being hailed as "The Nation's #1 Tribute to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Philly-based groupLights Out brings a lead singer whose voice is virtually identical to Frankie Valli himself, and the group's harmonies, engaging personality, and a fully choreographed show keeps audiences captivated from beginning to end.

Their brand new album All That Matters (released April 9th, 2020 via GSO Records) also features the original title track song that has garnered much attention around the world for it's inspirational message during the Covid-19 Pandemic.

With proceeds from the song being lovingly donated to the 1st Responders Children's Fund, the single (itself released worldwide this past April 20th, 2020) was composed by members Chris James and Danny Goscicki.

With fellow group member Chad Moroz suggesting the track be released as a single, complete with fourth band member Rob, 'All That Matters' is a melodic, blue-eyed soul, harmonized work of musical brilliance that ensures a smile to the soul will come to anyone who plays or simply hears it.

Watch The Official Music Video Here!

1. 'The Emptiness'
2. 'Takin’ My Time'
3. 'One More Chance'
4. 'All That Matters'
5. 'The Best Thing in My Life'
6. 'To Be With You'
7. 'I Walk Alone'
8. 'The Song the Echoes Tell'
9. 'Carry On'
10. 'If I Do'
11. 'Stand By Me' (with special guest Ben Vereen)
12. 'Surfin’ U.S.A.'
13. 'December 1963 (Oh, What a Night)'

As for the new album, it features 13 tracks that encompass the sheer vocally harmonized majesty of this quartet to their most magnificent best.

Here you will find nine originals along with four covers, in the form of The Beach Boys’ 'Surfin’ U.S.A.,' The Four Seasons’ 'December 1963 (Oh, What a Night),' Mr. Big’s 'To Be With You,' and a rather stupendous, zestful hip-pop rendition of Ben E. King's 'Stand By Me' (featuring a guest appearance by show business titan Ben Vereen - who himself gained prominence for his performances in the original Broadway productions of the musicals Jesus Christ Superstar, for which he received a Tony Award nomination, and Pippin, for which he won the 1973 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical).

Kicking off in some fine style with the *NSYNC/BSB-esque 'The Emptiness' they back that up with the mid-tempo, reverb rap of 'Takin’ My Time' and then both the soaring ballad 'One More Chance' and the aforementioned new single, 'All That Matters.'

The gentle hipsway of 'The Best Thing in My Life' is then backed by a faithful rendition of Mr. Big's acoustic guitar ballad 'To Be With You,' a soothing piano ballad in the form of 'I Walk Alone,' and then one of my own personal favorites here, the upbeat, early '90s hip-pop synth of 'The Song the Echoes Tell.'

The heartfelt storytelling of 'Carry On' is then followed by the tenderly smooth groove R&B of 'If I Do,' the wildly modernized 'Stand By Me' (featuring Ben Vereen), with the album coming to a close on Lights Outs' signature sound, the dutifully frenetic 'Surfin’ U.S.A.' and then the finger-snappin' excellence of 'December 1963 (Oh, What a Night).'

Digital Purchase Link

Lights Out @ Facebook

Lights Out @ Twitter

Title - 'Float Back To You'
Artist - Holy Hive

For those not in the know, Homer Steinweiss, the Brooklyn based soul-funk drumming staple, always had a soft spot for folk music. Paul Spring, a young idealist folk singer traveling the country, always had a beautiful falsetto in his back pocket.

Little did these two know, when they met on a girlfriend’s family farm in central Minnesota, a musical journey would ensue in which traditions of folk and soul music could cross pollinate to form Holy Hive.

After enlisting a studio assistant named Joe Harrison to join the band on bass, a sound started to form — warm and pleasant like a riverside camp fire while steady and hypnotizing like a silent night train.

A year-long monthly residency of gigs at Sunny’s Bar in Brooklyn, and a couple years working together in a Queens recording studio amassed into collection of songs musing on love and loss with lyrics inspired by ancient Greek poetry, 19th century Irish ballads, and '60s soul music.

Gathering steady momentum from their spring 2019 Harping EP featuring Mary Lattimore and Sasami and a handful of 45rpm singles, Holy Hive’s debut album Float Back To You is being released on June 19th, 2020 via Big Crown Records.

1. 'Broom'
2. 'Hypnosis'
3. 'Blue Light'
4. 'Oh I Miss Her So '
5. 'Float Back To You'
6. 'Be Thou By My Side'
7. 'Didn't You Say'
8. 'Embers To Ashes'
9. 'Cynthia's Celebration'
10. 'Red Is The Rose'
11. 'You Will Always Be By My Side Forever'
12. 'Sophia's Part'

A melodic, lo-fi drum beat gentle introduces us to the dreamy '60s ambiance of 'Broom,' with the jangly guitar work of 'Hypnosis' (which also has a touch of a Marvin Gaye backbeat at times) and then the drum-led majesty of 'Blue Light' seamlessly following along.

When then get the summer's breeze of 'Oh I Miss Her So,' a track that showcases the vocal range of Spring just perfectly, with the resilient ambiance of the regulated musical heartbeat of the title track, 'Float Back To You' along next.

Some dulcet, yet orchestrated acoustic guitar work is found next in 'Be Thou By My Side' ("I've lived like a baker, but I've loved you like a King"), and that's backed by the funky, almost Motownesque 'Didn't You Say' and then the translucent 'Embers To Ashes.'

The instrumental 'Cynthia's Celebration' is a beautiful track that simply begs to be absorbed, and is backed by the western plains appeal of 'Red Is The Rose,' with the album rounding out with the earnest 'You Will Always Be By My Side Forever,' and coming to a close on the ethereally unwinding 'Sophia's Part.'

Unlike many bands of today, spending time with Holy Hive means you not only get to listen and enjoy their music at first blush, but after a few more listens, their layered musical creations reveal, one and all, a much deeper, and ultimately, profoundly soulful experience.

Official Purchase Links

Holy Hive @ Facebook

Title - 'Brillance Indéniable'
Artist - Alana Youssefian & Le Bien-Aimé

For those not in the know, award-winning baroque violinist Alana Youssefian and her ensemble Le Bien-Aimé have just released their brand new musical showcasing of the brilliant, but seldom-heard French violinist and composer Louis-Gabriel Guillemain.

On the quite magnificent Brillance Indéniable (out April 3rd, 2020 via AVIE Records), Guillemain, who from an early age possessed an above-average amount of precociousness, also went on to serve in the court of King Louis XV.

His symphonies are as uplifting and innovative as his sonatas are astonishingly virtuosic. While his compositions tested the abilities of his contemporaries, his lasting legacy may have been his knack for bridging the baroque and classical styles; seamlessly adapting to shifting tastes in music and art of his time.

Here on Brillance Indéniable, Youssefian, the young, New York-based violinist who is a rather sought-after soloist for baroque, classical, and romantic repertoire, most definitely rises to the challenges of Guillemain's technical demands with ease.

Furthermore, she has been honored with the top prize in The Juilliard Schools Historical Performance Concerto Competition and a coveted fellowship by The English Concert in America.

1-4 'Violin Sonata in B Minor, Op. 1 No. 3' (10:56)
5-6 'Symphony in G Major, Op. 14 No. 6' (12:18)
8-10 'Violin Sonata in C Minor, Op. 1 No. 8' (12:43)
11-13 'Symphony in G Major, Op. 6 No. 1' (10:56)
14-15 'Violin Sonata in E-Flat Major, Op. 1 No. 6' (9:07)
16-18 'Symphony in E-Flat Major, Op. 14 No. 2' (11:11)

This delightful program brings forth three of Guillemain’s virtuosic Op.1 sonatas with three of his more ostentatious and disarming symphonies, with the works now purposely scored for a trio sonata ensemble.

Opening with the stirring, impassioned, yet diligently, and tightly orchestrated four-parter 'Violin Sonata in B Minor, Op. 1 No. 3,' that is seamlessly followed by the faster, more vibrantly alert three-parter 'Symphony in G Major, Op. 14 No. 6.'

Up next is the structured playfulness of the three-part 'Violin Sonata in C Minor, Op. 1 No. 8' which is backed by my own personal favorite, the three-part ballroom swirl of 'Symphony in G Major, Op. 6.'

This simply magnificently evoking collection of new recordings from Alana Youssefian & Le Bien-Aimé then rounds out with the yearning of the two-part 'Violin Sonata in E-Flat Major, Op. 1 No. 6' (9:07), before coming to a close on the upbeat flare of the three-parter 'Symphony in E-Flat Major, Op. 14 No. 2.'

Official Brillance Indéniable CD Purchase Link