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Title - inglish
Artist - Shubh Saran

For those unaware, New York-based guitarist, composer, and producer Shubh Saran will independently release his second full-length album and fourth overall release titled inglish on October 29th, 2021.

After releasing his last EP titled Becoming in late 2019, Saran toured briefly in the United States and India, and upon returning to the U.S. was faced with what became the beginning of the Covid-19 lockdown.

During this time, Saran quickly began writing and recording demos for what would ultimately transform into inglish.

The new album explores new musical territory, as Saran incorporates predominant Indian and Middle Eastern instruments for the first time, while expanding the use of modular synthesizers in the momentous arrangements.

1. Enculture
2. intra
3. postradition
4. Ring Hunting
5. Terai 1911
6. the Other
7. There Across The Ocean
8. remember to come home soon
9. MOS
10. Mother Tongue Influence

This multi-layered album that explores concepts of identity far beyond the music opens on the fervent ’80s synth score-imbibed Enculture and the Eastern hipsway of intra and backs those up seamlessly with the gently buoyant postradition, the magnificently ambient Ring Hunting and then we get the ornately threaded gossamer of Terai 1911.

Next up is the rambunctious the Other and the atmospheric There Across The Ocean which are in turn followed by the whispery gauze laid out within remember to come home soon, the album rounding out on the forthright clemency of tone found in MOS, closing on the funkily defined, Eastern-imbued Mother Tongue Influence.

As people continue to think, move, and grow globally, the essence of native culture and identity are challenged, but still remain critically important.

For Shubh Saran, inglish is a longform message that pays tribute to the difficult process of assimilating while embracing your own culture.

Throughout his life, having to assimilate into different cultures has been a common occurrence for Saran, and inglish is a reflection of that progression and evolution. “I wanted to find a metaphor for this idea of existing in the world where you’re trying to navigate a global culture while at the same navigating your own culture and home culture,” he says.

Managing changes in culture and language has been a repeat experience for the Indian artist, who has spent time living around the world in places like New Delhi, Dhaka, Cairo, Geneva, Toronto, Boston, and New York City.

To provide some historical context, the term “inglish,” a portmanteau from the late 1900s, describes Indian English, a variety of the English language spoken in India and by Indian diaspora.

It’s a form of dialect that has shown similarity to British English, brought by British Colonization, but has become an amalgamation of Indian and Western culture.

This duality has been the focus of Saran’s most recent research and explorations in music, and it’s something that he has experienced first hand. “Within the last several decades, Indian English has taken on a life of its own, with a lot of influence from regional languages and dialects, and a mixture of ‘Queen’s English’,” says Saran, reflecting on the connection between the album title and its anthropological history.

Shubh Saran @ Facebook

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Title - Blind Faith
Artist - Jimmy Carter

For those unaware, Jimmy Carter, the last original member of The Blind Boys of Alabama will be releasing his long awaited first solo album titled Blind Faith on November 5th, 2021.

The album was produced and co-written by songwriter, guitarist Ron Pullman. Jimmy’s hope is to bring to the world through the music on Blind Faith a Gospel message and a source of peace.

“This is my first solo album and I am excited to be able to sing some original music that’s in harmony with traditional Gospel, while using a range of different musical genres that embrace the Gospel sound with an up-lifting message.” – Jimmy Carter.

1. After The Storm
2. Blind Faith
3. Crossing The Threshold
4. Dream On
5. Find Your Way Home
6. I Am With You Still
7. I Love To Pray
8. Lord Take Me
9. Why Me
+ I Am With You Still (Video)

Opening on the heartfelt yearning of the mid-tempo hipsway found within After The Storm and then the melodically rhythmic title track Blind Faith, he backs those up seamlessly with the spiritual twang of Crossing The Threshold, and then we get the upbeat, horn-imbued joyous reach of Dream On.

Up next we get one of my own personal favorites, the magnificent, spiritually gritty storytelling of Find Your Way Home which is in turn followed by the earnestly profound rendering of I am With You Still, the gently rambunctious I Love To Pray, the album rounding out on the truly excellent, mid-tempo balladry of Lord Take Me, closing on the beaten down, personal remunerations pondered within Why Me.

Jimmy Carter is the eldest member of The Blind Boys of Alabama, five-time Grammy winners, Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winners, Gospel Hall of Fame, and the National Heritage Fellowship from the Endowment for the Arts to name a few.

He sang with the original group, including his good friend Clarence Fountain back in the late 1930’s when they were at the Alabama Institute for the Negro Deaf and Blind, (now the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind) but was too young to go touring with them at the beginning.

After singing with the Dixieland Blind Boys and the Five Blind Boys of Mississippi, he eventually officially joined The Blind Boys of Alabama and has been singing with them ever since.

Jimmy dedicated the song I Am With You Still, the first single off of Blind Faith, in memory of his good friend, co-founder of The Blind Boys of Alabama, Clarence Fountain.

The music track of I Am With You Still was engineered by legendary engineer/producer Alan Parsons at his studio Parsonics in Santa Barbara, CA. Jimmy returned to his roots and the school where he and Clarence attended to have the student choir from AIDB perform on I Am With You Still.

The Blind Boys of Alabama have the rare distinction of being recognized around the world as both living legends and modern-day innovators of Traditional Gospel, Americana and Roots Gospel music.

They are not just gospel singers borrowing from old traditions; the group helped to define those traditions in the 20th century and almost single-handedly created a new gospel sound for the 21st.

Since the original members first sang together as kids in the late 1930’s (including Jimmy Carter, who leads the group today), the band has persevered through seven decades to become one of the most recognized and decorated Traditional Gospel, Gospel Roots and Americana music groups in the world.

Rolling Stone Magazine has called The Blind Boys of Alabama “Gospel Titians” and The New Yorker simply said “legendary”. Few would disagree!

Over the past 20 years, Jimmy and The Blind Boys of Alabama have worked with the likes of Ben Harper, Charlie Musselwhite, Prince, Robert Randolph, Mavis Staples, Taj Mahal, Ruthie Foster, Bon Iver, Paul Thorn, Peter Gabriel and Ron Pullman.

The list goes on. Everybody, it seems, wants to perform and record with Jimmy and the Blind Boys.

Ron Pullman wrote all the tracks except tracks 7 and 9, which were written by Joey Williams the band leader of the Jimmy Carter Band. Ron produced the entire record and is the music director for the band and the up-coming tour.

Jimmy and Ron talked a lot together and came up with a plan and direction for this album. Says Jimmy, “I am blessed to have worked on my record with Ron Pullman. He is an amazing writer, producer, performer and a great friend.”

Jay Dudt (5 Grammy) engineered most of the record and is a good friend of Ron’s. The album was recorded mostly at Audible Images, Pittsburgh and Sound of Birmingham, Birmingham, AL.

I Am With You Still - Jimmy Carter and Ron Pullman [Official Video]

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Title - Single Girl, Married Girl
Artist - Three Generations of Leaving

For those not in the know, steeped in a folk songwriting tradition that harkens back to Pete Seeger and Joan Baez mixed with modern songwriting elements in the style of Jenny Lewis and Brandi Carlile, Single Girl, Married Girl’s new sophomore album, Three Generations of Leaving (out November 19th, 2021), fearlessly tackles issues ranging from loss and drug addiction to insecurity and depression.

The album chronicles the trials and traumas of three generations of women from the same family - the matriarch, one of her daughters, and her estranged granddaughter.

Each of the women are of their time: the grandmother a rural 1950s housewife and homemaker devoted to her husband, the daughter a rebellious teen of the 1960s, and the granddaughter a young woman grappling with unrealistic expectations and societal standards in a digital world.

Hence, the songs shift in style and arrangement matching the lives and times of the characters.

Recorded primarily in New York at Rift Studios with Grammy-nominated engineer Tom Gardner, who also serves as producer, the album features lush instrumentation, catchy melodies and sweeping musical arrangements that bring the songs’ poignant lyrics to life.

Furthermore, Pierre de Reeder of Rilo Kiley tracked the main vocals and some of the instrumentation at his Los Angeles studio, 64 Sound.

1. Walking on Water
2. So She Runs
3. Wreck Cut Loose
4. Looking
5. A Widow
6. Scared to Move
7. Secret
8. Hurt Her So
9. Runaway
10. Control
11. The Flood

Named after the folk song made famous by The Carter Family, Single Girl, Married Girl (led by frontwoman Chelsey Coy and her husband Gary Knight) open this amazingly vibrant and breathtakingly heartfelt, at times translucently-imbibed new album with the powerful, far-reaching balladry of Walking on Water and the upbeat, one-two beats of So She Runs and backs those up seamlessly with the introspectively ornate Wreck Cut Loose, the mid-tempo, joyful jaunt of Looking and then comes the lovingly adorned gossamer of A Widow.

Next up is one of my own personal favorites, for complete with delicately played, harp-infused majesties, the beautifully soulful ballad Scared to Move is brought to life and is itself followed by the upbeat melodies of Secret, the hauntingly sculptured Hurt Her So, the quietly passive troubadour-esque Runaway, the album rounding out on the robust Control, closing on the gently countrified twang of The Flood.

The other individual musical talents of Single Girl, Married Girl are: Charlie Rauh, a singular player and bassist; John Gray provides the music with all the verve and sweet, earthy tones an upright bass affords; Oskar Haggdahl is behind all the warm and dynamic percussion; and Shannon contributes the ethereal, other-worldly harmonies.

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Title - Close To Nearby
Artist - Octarine Sky

For those not in the know, new band Octarine Sky, formed during the creation of the album Close To Nearby, as the shared vision of pianist and vocalist Dyanne Potter Voegtlin (of Potter’s Daughter), the legendary drummer, Simon Phillips, and bassist and producer Jan Christiana, became apparent.

Close To Nearby (due out November 5th, 2021) is indeed a true collaboration; all three play several instruments on the album, all three contributed to the arrangement of the songs, all three composed parts for every song.

And the result? A wide-reaching sound that’s artistically adventurous, driving and forceful, yet at certain moments also haunting and vulnerable.

Close To Nearby by Octarine Sky offers both instrumental virtuosity and beautiful, lush vocal harmonies while the rhythm section of Phillips and Christiana provide magnificent power and groove.

Add to that the artistry of the two superlative guitarists, Guthrie Govan (The Aristocrats, Asia, GPS, The Young Punx and The Fellowship) and Amit Chatterjee (renowned for his work as a guitarist, sitarist, vocalist and composer) and the outcome is the rich and riveting listening experience that is Close To Nearby.

The album features 8 tracks, 3 virtuosic instrumentals and 5 captivating vocal songs with all compositions arranged and produced by Jan-Christian Vögtlin.

1. One
2. Rosewind
3. Night Sky / Into the Dream (featuring Guthrie Govan)
4. The Mask
5. 5 (featuring Guthrie Govan)
6. Midnight (featuring Guthrie Govan)
7. VII (featuring Guthrie Govan)
8. Hold (featuring Amit Chatterjee)

Opening on the stylistically compelling notes of One, an arrangement of the first movement of the Piano Sonata #1 by Alberto Ginastera, they next move seamlessly through a captivatingly sonorous Rosewood into the cinematic Night Sky / Into the Dream (featuring Guthrie Govan), before bringing us a quite magical, conceptually vibrant The Mask.

Next up is the conceptual fusion of the aptly-named fifth track 5 which is itself backed by the organically ambulant Midnight, with this mesmerizingly spectacular new album rounding out on the atonal virtuosic masterpiece of VII (an arrangement for full band of a piano solo by Julia Schwartz), closing on the evocative and hopeful Hold (featuring Amit Chatterjee).

Potter’s Daughter - We Could Be [Official Music Video]

Official Website

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Title - Christmas Time is Here
Artist - Carolyn Lee Jones

For those not in the know, though music was a large part of Carolyn Lee Jones’ formative years in Nebraska, she was lured to the big city of Dallas pursuing a career with luxury retailers.

Because she happily traveled the world as a Buyer, her exposure too and the love of music never ceased. Carolyn sought out opportunities to sing in NYC and abroad, while flourishing successfully in her first profession. “I knew that one day I’d be a full-time classic jazz- vintage pop vocalist so, it was just a matter of when! Retailing was another type of show business!”

Indeed, her choice to be a jazz-pop vocalist and bandleader was a natural next step. She burst on to the jazz scene in 2008 and is living proof that is is possible to reinvent yourself.

From classic jazz to vintage pop, she makes the standards sound new and the new sound standard. Carolyn performs with her groups; Fresh Vintage Jazz, The Satin Dolls Band and In Full Swing 8 pc to big band. Furthermore, Carolyn’s rich, silky vocals and extensive repertoire have endeared her to fans and critics. She has released four nationally reviewed CD’s on the independent Catn’round Sound label and 4 singles.

And with The New Collection a cappella jazz group, a separate album was released led by vocal jazz arranger and Professor Emeritus, Paris Rutherford of the University of North Texas Vocal Jazz Department.

Come November 1st, 2021 and Carolyn Lee Jones will be releasing her very first Christmas-themed album, Christmas Time is Here via the aforementioned Catn’round Sound.

1. The Christmas Song (4:04)
2. Christmas Time Is Here (3:15)
3. Warm In December (3:34)
4. Jingles The Christmas Cat (2:53)
5. You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To (3:36)
6. I’d Like You For Christmas (3:34)
7. Merry Christmas Baby (3:08)
8. Red Christmas (2:56)
9. Santa Baby (4:06)
10. White Christmas (4:07)
11. Toyland (3:43)
12. Count Your Blessings (Instead Of Sheep) (3:13)

Opening on the stylistically, bossa nova-imbued, compelling notes of The Christmas Song and a rather wondrous and soulfully nostalgic Christmas Time Is Here, then comes a delightfully snappy, and complete with smooth trombone solo, Warm In December, a lush, heartwarmingly cozy Jingles The Christmas Cat, and then we get the Cole Porter gem You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To and the sweetness of I’d Like You For Christmas.

Up next is the euphoric, percussion-enhanced, ensemble sound of Merry Christmas Baby and the foot-tapping magnificence of the lighthearted new track Red Christmas, which are in turn followed by a stirringly sensual, sultry and slinky Santa Baby, a smooth-jazz arrangement of the holiday classic White Christmas, the album rounding out on the mid-tempo bossa nova rendering of Toyland (from the operetta Babes in Toyland), closing on the piano-imbibed ode to all overly-excited children on Christmas Eve, Count Your Blessings (Instead Of Sheep).

Players, Instruments, Tracks:
Brad Williams: piano (all), B3 (7), celeste (10)
Jonathan Fisher: bass (1,3) cello (2)
Andrew Griffith: drums (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 12)
Tom Burchill: guitar (1, 2, 5)
Steven Heffner: bass (3, 4, 6, 12)
Todd Parsnow: guitar (3, 4, 7, 8, 10, 11)
Tony Baker: trombone (3, 7, 9, 11)
Keith Jordan: Fluegelhorn (5), trumpet (7)
Shelley Carrol: saxophone (6)
Lynn Seaton: bass (7, 8, 9, 10, 11)
Dennis Durick: drums, percussion (7, 8, 9, 10, 11)
Mario Cruz: saxophone (7, 9, 10)
Dave Monsch: baritone sax (7, 9), alto flute (11)
Veronica Gan: violins (10, 11)
Imelda Tecson: viola (10, 11)
Buffi Jacobs: cello (10, 11)

Official Website

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Title - Sky Blossom: Songs From My Tour of Duty
Artist - Alexis Cole

For those not in the know, award-winning jazz vocalist Alexis Cole may be the most talented singer to ever hold a top-secret military clearance.

A dozen albums into her critically acclaimed career, she may also be the best-kept secret in jazz, a status that’s certain to change as more people are discovering her for themselves.

Releasing a string of well-received albums, including four titles for Venus, two for Motema, and two on Chesky Records, Alexis Cole jumps into her debut release Sky Blossom: Songs From My Tour Of Duty (out November 5th, 2021) with ZOHO performing swinging big band classics from her time as the vocalist for the West Point Band’s Jazz Knights.

Included on this masterpiece are songs by the Gershwins, Lennon/McCartney, Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, A.C. Jobim, Billy Joel and others.

Indeed, the new album title Sky Blossom is actually a military term for an opening parachute and is a nod to Cole’s military service and her credo of jumping into the unknown with faith.

1. JOY SPRING (5:18)
4. ALL BLUES (7:58)
5. ESTATE (7:19)
7. TRISTE (6:33)
8. HOW I WISH (6:53)
9. SOCIAL CALL (3:27)

This most joyful of musical experiences opens on the perfectly titled, upbeat and spirited JOY SPRING and the lush hipsway of PURE IMAGINATION, backing those up seamlessly with the ornate gossamer of HOW LONG HAS THIS BEEN GOING ON, the gently frenetic ALL BLUES (complete with an incredible trumpet interlude), the organically beautiful ESTATE and then we get the lonesome yearn of the Beatles’ ACROSS THE UNIVERSE.

Up next is the free-flowing majesty of the trumpet-led TRISTE and the amorous dancefloor twirl of HOW I WISH, which are in turn followed by the perky, finger-snapping, late night jazz club exuberance of SOCIAL CALL, an upbeat and justifiably precocious rendition of Billy Joel’s NEW YORK STATE OF MIND, the album rounding out on the foot-tapping, piano and trumpet-imbibed OUR LOVE IS HERE TO STAY, closing on the ornate musings of AMERICAN ANTHEM.

On the education front, Alexis Cole recently founded the website, an online educational community featuring singing classes, professional development workshops and private lessons with some of the top names in vocal jazz.

She is in her 7th year as the director of the vocal program at the renowned conservatory at SUNY Purchase, and is a Jamey Aebersold-sponsored clinician.

Alexis Cole’s freshly reclaimed civilian status has opened a new world where her profound experience can meld more completely with her worldview and personal expression.

As the noted jazz journalist Scott Yanow points out, “Alexis Cole grows in power, maturity, and depth each year. She continues to have unlimited potential.”

Whether you’re a long-time jazz fan or a newcomer to the art form, you won’t want to miss a single note from this icon in-the-making.

Alexis Cole - vocals (tracks 2–7, 9-11)
Conductor: Jeff Jarvis
Ryan DeWesse, Cade Gotthardt, Evan Hamada, Andrew Solares - trumpets
Phineas Crisp, Ken Eernisse, Anna Menotti, Bobby Burton - trombones
Stephen Wood, Erik Larsen, Nathan King - solo (11), Tanner Olivas, Chris Cockrill - saxophones
Alex Flavell - piano
Max Myrick - bass
Tyler Kreutel - drums
Brandon Johnson - guitar
Pablo Muñoz - Snyder - vibes
Nick Mancini - vibes
Jeff Haynes - percussion

Official Website

Amazon CD Purchase Link

Alexis Cole @ Facebook

Title - 7 Shades of Snow [EP]
Artist - June Bisantz

For those not in the know, a holiday recording had long been in June Bisantz’ creative plans.

A lover of the holidays with their focus on love and celebration, she understands the holiday season is also a time of reckoning - with the year just past and the new one just ahead.

Her search for material led her to this collection of holiday/winter songs entitled 7 Shades of Now (out November 8th, 2021 via Arabesque Records), written by American composers Connie Pearce and Arnold Miller in 1960-61 for cool-jazz singer June Christy.

Indeed, 7 Shades of Snow is proof of music’s power to transcend all barriers. Begun in the winter of 2020 at the height of pandemic restrictions, this project was conceived, arranged, and recorded remotely in seven separate studios with musicians who had never met - but are now forever connected through this musical adventure.

Digital technology combined with the talent and generous spirit of Jon Burr and his jazz sextet made 7 Shades of Snow a reality in spite of widespread lockdowns.

The six songs on 7 Shades of Snow speak not just to the holidays - but to the winter season as well - the poignance of New Year’s Eve (Sorry to See You Go), the long wait for spring (Winter’s Got Spring Up Its Sleeve) and the beauty of snow itself as a canvas for all the colors of the rainbow (7 Shades of Snow).

1. The Merriest (2:30)
2. Ring a Merry Bell (3:21)
3. Hang Them On The Tree (3:23)
4. 7 Shades of Snow (3:10)
5. Sorry To See You Go (2:18)
6. Winter’s Got Spring Up Its Sleeve (2:56)

This beautiful EP opens on the joyful soiree The Merriest (complete with Brandon Lee bringing the heartfelt warmth via his trumpet work) and the gentle hipsway of Ring a Merry Bell and the luscious, finger-snapping melodies of Hang Them On The Tree (complete with Mike Eckroth and his spirited piano work).

Next up is the dulcet mastering of the title track itself 7 Shades of Snow which is backed by the gently upbeat musings of Sorry To See You Go (where Alvester Garnett and his gossamer drumming comes into full effect), this delightful EP closing on the wistful yearning of Winter’s Got Spring Up Its Sleeve.

Bassist Jon Burr’s inspired arrangements form the musical foundation of the project. With his acclaimed jazz sextet, he produced the instrumental tracks, recorded and delivered remotely, and encouraged Bisantz to create a sound studio in her home to record the vocal tracks.

Reflecting on the process, Bisantz says “Creating this body of work has been an unexpected ray of light in the midst of a dark time for the world. Through this project I have discovered an entirely new way of making music.”

What began in the isolation of Covid-19, has resulted in this exuberant collaboration, connecting artists across seemingly insurmountable barriers.

Already a June Christy fan, Bisantz quickly became enamored of these sophisticated and unusual songs and their cool-jazz vibe. Witty, ironic, and introspective, these songs are most of all honest about the range of feelings we experience during the holiday season.

Bisantz and Christy share a vocal range as well a first name, and they sing these songs in the same key.

June Bisantz: vocals
John Burr: bass
Mike Eckroth: piano
James Chirillo: (Char-ill-o): guitar
Brandon Lee: trumpet
Marc Pfaneuf (Fan-oof): saxophone
Alvester Garnett: drums

Official Website

June Bisantz @ Vimeo

June Bisantz @ Instagram

June Bisantz @ YouTube

June Bisantz @ LinkedIn

Title - Out of Control
Artist - Marco Mattei

For those not in the know, Italian guitarist/songwriter Marco Mattei unveils his first solo album, an original mix of prog-rock, dream-pop, folk and world music entitled Out of Control on 7D Media/Third Star Records on November 19th, 2021.

It also features a rather stellar line-up, inclusive of: Tony Levin (King Crimson, Peter Gabriel), Fabio Trentini (Le Orme, Markus Reuter), Jerry Marotta (Peter Gabriel, Hall & Oates), Pat Mastelotto (King Crimson, XTC), Chad Wackerman (Frank Zappa, Allan Holdsworth), and Clive Deamer (Portishead, Radiohead, Robert Plant).

Out of Control is a multi-facet collection of intense, emotional songs. Marco creates a multi-layered, original sound utilizing a wide range of electric and acoustic guitars together with guitar loops, bouzouki and resonator guitars, supported by lifelong friends and globally acclaimed musicians.

The musical texture is further enriched with a variety of acoustic/ethnic instruments such as Irish whistle, flute, fiddle, mandolin, pedal steel guitar, sitar and tambura played by a collection of musicians from all parts of the world.

The lyrics of this concept album revolve around things we cannot control such as the place and time we are born, the color of our skin or the people we meet during our life.

12. GONE

This vibrantly eclectic, wholly organic album opens on the gentle breeze of WOULD I BE ME and the prog-rock bounce of PICTURE IN A FRAME and backs those up with the lushly orchestrated MORE INTENSE, the beautiful gossamer of I’LL BE BORN, and then we get both the dulcet LULLABY FOR YOU and the frenetic rocker ANYMORE.

Up next is the Westernized TOMORROW and the diaphanous VOID which are in turn followed by one of my own personal favorites, the reaching ambiance of ON YOUR SIDE, then comes the Southern-imbibed string work of the short, but sweet AFTER TOMORROW, the album rounding out on the atmospheric HIDDEN GEMS, closing on the languishing GONE.

Says Marco, “Yes, this is a concept album about things we cannot control. The key insight is the realization that many aspects of what we perceive to be defining our identity are not under our control. And the main message is that this realization should lead to a change of perspective: as we put ourselves in other people’s shoes, we allow ourselves to become more open and empathic.”

“The other aspect of it is that we cannot control the hand we are dealt with, but we can surely decide how to play it. Beside my passion for music, spreading this message of empathy and inclusion is one of the things that motivates me.”

Marco Mattei was born and raised in Civitavecchia, Italy. Very passionate about music from an early age, as a teenager he studied jazz guitar with Max Rosati while developing a deep interest in the creative vision and complexity of prog rock music.

He joined DeBlaise, a new prog local band, contributing to the songwriting of their EP “By Common Consent” and to many years of live music. He also co-founded “The Snowdogs” a Rush tribute band.

As he earned his master’s degree in Electronics and MBA, he also developed an interest in sound engineering and design and attended advanced audio engineering and music production programs.

Marco lived in six different countries in three different continents, exploring cultural differences, picking up musical influences and learning the value of diversity.

He currently lives in the USA and continues to explore different musical styles as a composer, musician and producer, collaborating with artists from all around the world.

In closing Marco has this to impart: “Listen to the album multiple times and you will keep finding new dimensions to it. Pay attention to the lyrics and consider the perspective that, as we realize that many aspects of what we perceive to be defining our own identity are not under our control, we should tend to be more tolerant, empathic, and inclusive.”

In closing, and to my mind, and ear, of course, this sensational album Out of Control will most definitely appeal to listeners of Peter Gabriel, King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Radiohead and Paul Simon (amongst others).

All tracks written by Marco Mattei, except for Gone by Andy Timmons.

Official Website

Official Purchase Link

Marco Mattei @ Facebook

Marco Mattei @ Instagram

Title - Eclectic Electric
Artist - Joe Louis Walker

For those not in the know, one of most celebrated and respected bluesmen working today, Joe Louis Walker returns with some of the most electrifying recordings he’s done in his over 4 decade long career!

Entitled Eclectic Electric (and released November 12th, 2021 via Cleopatra Blues Records), this extraordinarily diverse set includes both incredible new compositions including the blues stomping opener Uptown Girl Blues and horn-powered Bad Betty, as well as killer cover versions of The Eagles’ Hotel California and Warren Zevon’s Werewolves Of London.

The album also includes special guest performances by Waddy Wachtel, Doyle Bramhall II and the incomparable B.B. King Blues Band!

Walker is a road dog like no other and he has a string of shows lined up to support this album and excite his enormously supportive fanbase! Available on both CD packaged in a digipak and on RED vinyl!

1. Uptown Girl Blues
2. Wine
3. Bad Betty
4. Gone and Alone
5. Hotel California
6. Regal Blues
7. Make No Mistake
8. Two Trains Running
9. Werewolves of London
10. Lady in Red
11. All She Wants to Do is Dance

This quite stunningly authentic, heart-pounding blues rock album opens on the foot-pounder Uptown Girl Blues (which notably features Jimmy Vivino on guitar) and the hand-clapper, accordion-led Wine (featuring Steve Berlin on baritone sax) and backs those up sweetly with the free flowing blues of Bad Betty, the upbeat and joyous Gone and Alone and then comes one of my own personal favorites, Walker’s unique take of The Eagles’ Hotel California (which features Murali Coryell on guitar).

Up next is the B.B. King-esque tone of Regal Blues (which features, of course, the B.B. King Blues Band and Doyle Bramhall II on guitar) and the earthy blues-pop flow Make No Mistake which are in turn followed by the preppy Two Trains Running, a quite magnificently blues’d-up rendition of Warren Zevon’s Werewolves of London (featuring Waddy Wachtel on guitar), the album rounding out on the mid-tempo balladry of Lady in Red (with Brooklyn native Bette Smith on vocals), closing on the Don Henley classic All She Wants to Do is Dance.

The New York Times raves, “Walker is a singer with a Cadillac of a voice. He delivers no-nonsense, gutsy blues. His guitar solos are fast, wiry and incisive, moaning with bluesy despair.”

Rolling Stone simply calls him “ferocious.”

And Billboard writes: “His playing blows all over the map…gutbucket blues, joyous gospel, Rolling Stones-style rock crunch, and aching R&B. Walker’s guitar playing is fine and fierce.”

Joe won the 2016 Blues Foundation Contemporary Blues Male Artist of the Year award at the Blues Foundation Awards ceremony in Memphis. The Blues Music Awards are universally recognized as the highest accolade afforded blues music performers.

The annual Blues Music Awards ceremony is the premier event for blues professionals, musicians, and fans from all over the world.

T-Bone Shuffle - Joe Louis Walker [Official Live Video]

Joe Louis Walker @ Facebook

Amazon CD Purchase Links

Joe Louis Walker @ Instagram

Title - Tales From The Black Swamp
Artist - Southbound 75

For those not in the know, Southbound 75 are set to officially release their highly-anticipated first full length studio album, Tales From The Black Swamp, on Friday, October 29th, 2021 via Bad Jeu Jeu Records and The Orchard.

The new set of tunes was recorded at Omni Sound Studio in Nashville, and produced by music city hitmaker Bill McDermott (Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley, George Strait), who credited the Florida-based quintet by saying, “I think these guys are great for today’s country music because they have a rock ‘edge’ that I think country is already moving towards, and I think they want more of. I think these guys are primed to be there when that happens, and they’re gonna help spearhead it.”

1. Let It Burn
2. Not Ready To Say I’m Sorry Yet
3. Wild & Young
4. Crazy
5. Spilled Champagne
6. Friend of the Bride
7. Stumble
8. Daddy’s Liquor Cabinet
9. Long Way Home
10. Whiskey & Wine
11. Missing Carolina

This vibrantly alive and fully heartfelt full-length debut album, opens on the gently raucous Let It Burn and the one-two country rock punch of Not Ready To Say I’m Sorry Yet and backs those up seamlessly with the foot-tapper Wild & Young, the mid-tempo balladry of Crazy and then we get both the free flowing rhythms of Spilled Champagne and the beautifully crafted Friend of the Bride.

Up next is one of my own personal favorites, the upbeat, fun and loud sing-along of Stumble which is itself followed by the euphorically-charged Daddy’s Liquor Cabinet, then come the melodic country rock of both Long Way Home and the lyrically addictive Whiskey & Wine, the album (sadly) closing on the lonesome hipsway of Missing Carolina.

“We are so excited to finally get our debut album out on October 29,” said chief songwriter and front man Mark Lorenzo. “I am pretty sure we’ve experienced about every delay we could with the COVID-19 pandemic, but we’ve finally reached the finish line, and are excited about our new partnerships with Bad Jeu Jeu Records, Bob Morelli at Cool Is Forever, and everyone else on our team that has helped us reach our goal of getting this record out in a big way!”

The band recently introduced the album’s newest single Spilled Champagne to country radio on PlayMPE, where more than a dozen stations throughout the south and midwest have already picked up the song for airplay.

Exclusively premiered by SCENES Media in May, the song has a somewhat laughable backstory about spending entirely too much money on a girl that is just way out of your league.

“When we wrote the song, it started out as just a funny story,” said Lorenzo. “But as we began playing the song live, fans started telling us about their own life experiences with similar situations. Not necessarily flying to the islands, but a few actually got to the ‘Diamonds’ stage, so that helped make the song way more authentic!”

The Making of Tales from the Black Swamp – Southbound 75 [Official Video]

Southbound 75 - Not Ready to Say I’m Sorry Yet [Official Music Video]

Official Purchase Links

Official Website

Southbound 75 @ Facebook

Southbound 75 @ YouTube

Southbound 75 @ Twitter

Southbound 75 @ Instagram

Title - Shed Sessions, Volumes One & Two
Artist - Chantel McGregor

For those not in the know, critically acclaimed Blues-rock guitarist Chantel McGregor has just released two new albums titled The Shed Sessions, Volumes One & Two.

Indeed, the first volume (acoustic) came out first and the second volume (electric) was just released this past week.

Chantel McGregor has been performing live gigs since the age of 12, schooled at a music college and achieved a First Class Honours Degree in Popular Music.

Along with her current band members, Colin Sutton on bass and Thom Gardner on drums, they form an awesome power trio playing an eclectic mix of blues based tunes, composed by Chantel, ranging from traditional blues numbers complimented perfectly by the purity of her singing voice, to a much more raunchy blues rock style.

And boy, can that girl play guitar! With several complicated solos she proved that she can shred with the best of them as her and her guitar became one.

Shed Sessions, Volume One:
1. Needle and the Damage Done
2. Morning Song
3. Sledgehammer
4. Angel From Montgomery
5. Gold Dust Woman
6. Fire and Rain
7. Can’t Find My Way Home
8. Love Has No Pride
9. Harvest Moon
10. Landslide
11. Voodoo Chile
12. I Can’t Make You Love Me
13. Nothing Else Matters

The first acoustic volume features all cover versions with tracks from a scattering of bands, genres and eras such as Stevie Nicks, Peter Gabriel, Steve Winwood, Neil Young and even Metallica.

Trying to not only recreate each well known song, but moreover make each track her own, the album opens on the gentle bounce of both Needle and the Damage Done (Neil Young) and Morning Song (Jewel) and follows those up with one of my own personal favorites, a quite magnificently resculptured Sledgehammer (Peter Gabriel), a merciful Angel From Montgomery (John Prine) and then we get a reined Gold Dust Woman (Fleetwood Mac) and an ornamented rendition of Fire and Rain (James Taylor).

Next up is a rather beautifully arrayed Can’t Find My Way Home (Blind Faith), a quietly heartfelt Love Has No Pride (Bonnie Raitt), a tender era reminisce within Harvest Moon (Neil Young), another stand out within the silky gauze of Landslide (Fleetwood Mac), a forthright and determined vocal and guitar-imbibed Voodoo Chile (Jimi Hendrix), the album rounding out on the quietly impassioned I Can’t Make You Love Me (Bonnie Raitt), closing on her precisely-sculptured, substantially delicate, yet wholeheartedly McGregor-infused Nothing Else Matters (Metallica).

Shed Sessions, Volume Two:
1. Creep
2. Foolish Games
3. Drive Home
4. Winter
5. Walk On Land
6. Uninvited
7. Summertime
8. April
9. River
10. The Raven That Refused To Sing

The second electric volume is a very eclectic offering and whilst it also features covers of such artists as Jewel, Radiohead, Joni Mitchell and Tori Amos, it also comes complete with two reworkings of McGregor’s own songs.

Opening on the dulcet gossamer of Creep (Radiohead) and the gently rhythmic Foolish Games (Jewel), those are backed seamlessly by the lush orchestrations of Drive Home (Steven Wilson), her ornate take of Winter (Tori Amos), and then we get a slyly altered version of her own Walk On Land.

A quite stunning, veritably ethereal Uninvited (Alanis Morissette) is up next and is followed by the low key Summertime (Ella Fitzgerald), a wistfully expressive, newly-determined track of her own, April, the album rounding out on the expressive River (Joni Mitchell), closing on her stoic, unique take on Steve Wilson’s The Raven That Refused To Sing.

March 2020, the world changed and the everyday things that we normally did became a dream, the world went into lockdown, the pause button on life was hit, and we stayed at home, Chantel explains.

So, I was sat there one night in my shed thinking to myself What can I do to make lockdown seem a little bit brighter? After a while it came to me, Why not do a live stream so that I could stay in touch and connect with my lovely fans, they could connect with each other, and we all have a little bit of fun and music during a pretty gloomy time?

At the time, I didn’t know that it would become a weekly thing, but the first session was so much fun that I thought I’ll do another one the following week, and then the week after that, and it became a weekly gig, The Shed Sessions!

5pm every Saturday was the hour every week where I could perform my music, have a bit of banter and catch up with friends on the live stream. An hour of music and humour to remind everyone that one day things will be fun again and live music will still be there!

A lot of people asked if I would record an album of the sessions, so I started thinking about what to record. There were so many songs to choose from!

At the start of lockdown, I was living in the North of England, so the sessions were just acoustic guitar and vocals, but when the government said you could move around more freely, I moved to the South of England and started collaborating with Jamie Brooks on keyboards, which meant that I could feature my electric guitar and a bit more improvisation.

Because lockdown was still restricting studios being open, both albums were recorded at home, using a wardrobe as a vocal booth and then sent off to Wayne Proctor to mix and master.

The two albums are incredibly different, so it seemed appropriate to do two albums, one acoustic and one electric; Volumes One and Two.

Official Purchase Links

Official Website

Chantel McGregor @ Facebook

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Chantel McGregor @ Instagram

Chantel McGregor @ YouTube

Title - Magnificent [3CD]
Artist - Nicolas Meier World Group

For those unaware, even in a globally-intimate music world long accustomed to cross-cultural hybrids, the adventures of Nicolas Meier, the elegantly skillful and stylistically agile guitarist, composer, and bandleader from Switzerland, turns heads.

Meier, whose triple-album Magnificent (which includes the new album Magnificent, along with the recently released Stories and a rather wondrous live performance from 2020 also) is released this month (promoted and marketed by MoonJune Music), and who is back on the road into 2022 with his four-piece World Group, starts his appeal from an ever-alluring source – pretty tunes.

Like his early hero, Pat Metheny, Meier loves catchy songlike melody wherever it comes from, and that open-handedly communicative quality has infused his music from the start, and still does.

But he also hears the traditions of jazz guitar (which he absorbed from that most influential of oracles, Boston’s Berklee College) in seamless harmony with Anatolian and Middle Eastern music, western rock, flamenco, tango, and much else.

CD 1 - Magnificent:
1. Mesudiye (6:40)
2. Semur’s Bridge (6:19)
3. Hip (6:20)
4. Stories From The Garden (7:39)
5. Sous le ciel de Fribourg (5:03)
6. Villa Olivio (7:32)
7. The Pond (6:48)
8. Under An Olive Tree (8:25)

The new album Magnificent is again music taken from many of Meier’s travels, listening to different folk music - such as Spanish, Turkish, Balkanic, Middle-eastern, North African, and South American - all in an improvised musical constraint.

Here on this new album we enjoy the sound of Nicolas’ guitars (glissentar, fretted and fretless nylon strings, 12 strings) all with the sound of the violin, accompanied with a strong rhythm from Demi Garcia and Kevin Glasgow.

This stunningly opulent album opens on the leisurely stride on the Black Sea-inspired Mesudiye (a portrayal of Turkish street music) and the beautiful gossamer of Semur’s Bridge and backs those up seamlessly with the gentle one-two ebb and flow of Hip, the atmospheric, and aptly-named Stories From The Garden, the dulcet ambiance of Sous le ciel de Fribourg, and then we get the magnificently rhythmic Villa Olivio, the album rounding out on the softly-played, guitar-enabled majesties of The Pond, closing on the upbeat and perky hipsway of Under An Olive Tree.

CD 2 - Stories:
1. La Vie en Rose (3:16)
2. Blues for Alice (2:31)
3. The Godfather (3:42)
4. Kismet (6:04)
5. Mona Lisa (3:23)
6. Goodbye Pork Pie Hat / Brush with the Blues (3:19)
7. My Foolish Heart (2:27)
8. October In Ankara (4:51)
9. Nothing Else Matters (3:43)
10. C’est si Bon (2:47)
11. Sous le Ciel de Fribourg (3:27)
12. Night & Day (3:06)
13. Stories From The Garden (4:20)
14. Esmeralda (4:07)

In addition to the recent release from Nicolas Meier | Dewa Budjana Group’s Flying Spirits, guitarist Nicolas Meier has also released an independent solo guitar album titled, Stories.

Stories is made of original music and lots of covers like La Vie en Rose, music from The Godfather, Night & Day, Blues for Alice, Mona Lisa, Jeff Beck’s Brush with the Blues and even Metallica’s Nothing Else Matters.

Opening on the quite stunning La Vie en Rose and the warmly-rounded dancefloor rhythms of Charlie Parker’s Blues for Alice, they are backed by the sterner percussion work of both Nino Rota’s underscore to The Godfather and the 1911 musical Kismet, the lighter, airier fare of Mona Lisa, the cultured brilliance of Charles Mingus’ Lester Young tribute Goodbye Pork Pie Hat / Brush with the Blues and then we get one of my own personal favorites, the sumptuous work of My Foolish Heart.

The at-times gently frenetic guitar work of October In Ankara is along next and is followed by a mind-blowingly, intricately created and articulate Nothing Else Matters (Metallica), which in turn is backed by the summer’s breeze of C’est si Bon, the rich textures of Sous le Ciel de Fribourg, the upbeat and vibrant Night & Day, the album coming to a close on the low bass-tonal, Eastern-imbibed Stories From The Garden, and the intriguing ambiance of Esmeralda.

CD 3 - Live:
1. Manzanita Samba (8:19)
2. Besiktas Cafe (5:50)
3. Caravan Of Anatolia (9:45)
4. City Of The 3 Rivers (9:06)
5. Riversides (8:45)
6. Prince’s Island (7:54)
7. Water Lillies (8:19)
8. Tales (6:14)
9. Adiguzel (9:28)

The band played a wonderful concert on February 16th 2020 in Colchester Arts Centre Jazz Club, UK and luckily for all fans it was filmed and recorded. It is now included here in audio form as the third CD of the package.

This live album opens on the mesmerizingly ornate complexities of the dulcet hipsway found within the easygoing glide of Meier’s shifts across the chords on Manzanita Samba and the free flowing rhythms of Besiktas Cafe and follows those up with the Eastern-imbued Caravan Of Anatolia, the gently flowing, dreamy sway recreation of an Iberian heat-haze mingle within City Of The 3 Rivers, the mid-tempo lush orchestrations of Riversides, the quietly passive, for the most part, yet growing in stature as the track progresses Prince’s Island, the mesmerizingly luxuriant melodies of Water Lillies, the third and final album rounding out on the gentle flow and tailored bounce of Tales, coming to a close on the gently frenetic (inclusive of a whirling Turkish dance section), yet always impassioned Adiguzel.

The collection often suggests a wellspring of ideas and experiences in Nicolas Meier’s head and fingers that had been waiting for an opportunity to burst out.

But it was an unexpected lockdown experience that focused the energies to make it happen, when the guitarist rediscovered the social role of music-making no further from home than his own back garden.

NICOLAS MEIER - Acoustic fretless and fretted nylon string string guitars, glissentar and 12 string guitar
DEMI GARCIA – Percussion

Official Purchase Link

Title - Seriously Deep
Artist - Beledo

For those unaware, Beledo gained guitar-hero status in his teens, playing every theatre in his hometown of Montevideo, and captivating audiences in Uruguay and Argentina.

Today living in the US, he belongs to the Moonjune Records family with the second album on that label called Seriously Deep (releasing November 16th, 2021) featuring the legendary Tony Levin on bass and and the amazing Kenny Grohowski on drums known for his work with John Zorn, Felix Pastorius, Brand X and many others.

His previous album on Moonjune called Dreamland Mechanism featured legendary Gary Husband on drums and Lincoln Goines on bass.

1. Seriously Deep (14:16)
2. Mama D (7:51)
3. Coasting Zone (5:08)
4. Maggie’s Sunrise (8:38)
5. Knocking Waves (9:48)
6. A Temple in The Valley (10:57)
7. Into The Spirals (4:16)

Versed in classical theory, guitar and piano, composition and technique, adept in the traditional styles of his birthplace, drawing inspiration from vast and diverse modern musical forms, Beledo opens this new album on the pure, unadulterated gossamer of the near fifteen minute title track Seriously Deep and the spirited Mama D and backs those up with the lush exuberance of Coasting Zone.

Having already earnt his place among the most sophisticated, versatile, and gifted artists of our time, Beledo continues onward here in fine style with the ornately sculptured Maggie’s Sunrise, the atmospheric wonderment of Knocking Waves, rounding out this excellently bejeweled recording with the free flowing rhythms and breathy melodies of A Temple in The Valley, closing on the drum-led beats within Into The Spirals.

His next Moonjune project for next year is currently in production, recorded at La Casa Murada in Barcelona, Spain, with Carles Benavent (bass) and Jorge Pardo (flute), known for their unforgettable work with Paco De Lucia, the definite number one flamenco guitarist in the world. He went on tour to China with his band featuring Indonesian Superstar Dwiki Dharmawan with whom he performed twice in Indonesia.

As a session musician and side man, he has worked with South African Jazz band, Ojoyo, featuring saxophonist and band leader, Morris Goldberg; drummer, Anton Fig and bassist Bakithi Kumalo. Other dates had included amazing musicians like violinist Mauro Pagani of PFM, Jimmy Haslip, Jeff Berlin, and Mino Cinelu.

Additional outstanding Moonjune Records collaborations included work with the extraordinary Indonesian World Jazz Fusion band, Simak Dialog, and with Indonesian superstar guitarist, Dewa Budjana.

Official Website

Beledo @ Facebook

Beledo @ YouTube

Beledo @ MoonJune BandCamp

Title - Love Revolution
Artist - Love Bubble

“I Live for Love and Music” is a lyric from the stunning third track entitled Harmony, on Love Bubble’s debut record, Love Revolution.

Furthermore, it’s a phrase that articulates the soul of the founding members of Love Bubble.

Three award-winning singers/musicians/songwriters from Asheville, NC serendipitously came together in the spring of 2019 and discovered their shared desire to bring more love into the world through music.

Voices that blended from the first note, it was that inspiring sound that kick-started this collaborative collection of tuneful, delectable, charming, romantic, humorous and uplifting original songs.

Hank’s prowess as a singer, guitarist and songwriter were irresistible to Miss Paula and Miss Peggy, not to mention his ample supply of wit and merriment.

It was love at first sight!

1. Love Bubble (2:54)
2. Twice This Summer (2:53)
3. Harmony (2:37)
4. Paradise Falls (2:54)
5. I Wanna Be (2:32)
6. A Little Bit of Everything (3:15)
7. Warm & Cozy (3:44)
8. Moonlight Swim (2:40)
9. Beautiful Soul (3:43)
10. Guilty Pleasures (2:42)
11. Honeymoon In June (3:25)
12. Love Revolution (3:16)
13. I Got You Babe (3:14) [Bonus Track]

This beautifully happy-go-lucky album opens on the Summer sunshine of Love Bubble and the guitar-driven hand-clapper Twice This Summer and backs those up seamlessly with the lazy-hazy, foot-tapping Harmony, the euphonic melodies of Paradise Falls, the quaint and dainty harmonies of I Wanna Be and then we get one of my own personal favorites, the ’70s-imbibed sing-along A Little Bit of Everything.

Up next is the gentle, trumpet-imbued hipsway of Warm & Cozy and the joyfully groovy, finger-snapping storytelling of Moonlight Swim which are in turn followed by the mid-tempo balladry of Beautiful Soul, the album rounding out on the ragtime feel of Guilty Pleasures and the low slung guitar ballad Honeymoon In June, coming to a close on the upbeat, gently rambunctious Love Revolution and then their vivacious rendition of Sonny & Cher’s I Got You Babe.

Love Revolution was recorded at Hank’s house in his tiki lounge the old fashion way - no drum machines, no computers, no auto tune. “Just the three of us playing and singing and having a ball,” says Hank.

“The concept of the album is love, not only in the lyrics but the way the songs were arranged and recorded singing together, not separated by booths and baffles. Any opportunity for musical growth was taken. Paula surprised herself with her flute playing adding a whole new signature sound to the band. What’s next? Peggy on harmonica, and a video hopefully and more songs about things we love.”

Combining their esthetic, work ethic while creating the brilliant vocal arrangements on this album, was a labor of love indeed. Playing to each other’s strengths was the key to defining their overall approach and sound.

Hank’s previously and recently penned songs make up the crux of the record as 9 of the 13 songs are his creations. Two songs were written by Ratusz and one co-written by Hanke and Bones. The only non-original song is the bonus track written by Sonny Bono, re-arranged by Love Bubble.

Paula’s sweet flute, banjulele and ukulele playing, fill holes in lovely and colorful ways, while Hank aptly bears the brunt of the instrumentation throughout the record.

What you’ll hear throughout every personal and positive track, is the unique sensibility the trio embodies; their fervent spirit is evident. From the first track Love Bubble (their theme song) to the last, Love Revolution (their mission) a groovy and nostalgically-new vocal ensemble is born.

In closing, Love Bubble’s new album exhibits the human touch in all it’s warm and inviting splendor.

Official BandCamp Website

Official Purchase Link

Love Bubble @ Facebook

Love Bubble @ Reverbnation

Title - Speaking of Jazz (East to West Coast)
Artist - Manny Kellough and Friends

For those not in the know, Manny Kellough has had a wide-ranging career, playing drums with such notables as Billy Preston, Ray Charles, Freddie Hubbard and even the Rolling Stones. A bandleader since 2002, Kellough enjoys performing fresh versions of standards, music that makes audiences feel good.

On Speaking of Jazz (East to West Coast) (out September 5th, 2021), Kellough gathered together some of his favorite instrumentalists and singers for a set of music that will make listeners smile.

For the first eight numbers, he is joined by pianist William Knowles, bassist Wes “Suga” Biles and on most selections altoist Antonio Parker and trumpeter-flugelhornist Michael Thomas.

The latter three numbers have Manny joined by pianist Matt Clark, bassist Gary Brown and singer Azure McCall.

1. Generosity
2. Secret Love
3. Nothing From Nothing
4. Katrina Ballerina
5. I Thought About You
6. Smile
7. Happy Swing In “F”
8. When I Fall In Love
9. How High The Moon
10. East of the Sun
11. Foggy Day

This vibrantly sculptured new selection opens on the gentle snap of Knowles’ original Generosity and backs that up with a modernized, and upbeat Secret Love, before they roll into Billy Preston’s goodtime Nothing From Nothing, a chance for Michael Thomas’ trumpet to truly shine then comes on Woody Shaw’s melodic jazz waltz Katrina Ballerina, and then we get an uptempo stance in 5/4 time before (switching it to a 4/4 strut), totally swinging version of the Julian Hipkins-vocalized I Thought About You.

Hipkins returns on the expressive Smile which is itself followed by the quintet coming together beautifully for Happy Swing In “F”, an original that lives up to its name, before Manny’s daughter Ashley’s heartfelt vocals are brought forth on their upscale rendition of When I Fall In Love, the album rounding out on Azure McCall’s vocals and finger-snapping beats bringing us How High The Moon, a slower-than-usual East of the Sun, this mighty fine recording closing on the dulcetly-imbued, scat-enhanced Foggy Day.

Manny Kellough – Percussions
William Knowles – Piano
Wes “Suga” Biles – Bass
Michael Thomas - Trumpet & Flugel Horn
Antonio Parker - Alto Sax
Matt Clark - Piano
Gary Brown - Bass
Julian Hipkins - Vocalist
Ashley Kellough - Vocalist Official Website

Title - Perspective
Artist - Station

For those unaware, Perspective is the 4th full-length release by STATION.

STATION is one of the hottest new bands to come out of New York City that brings with it a high voltage stage show with electrifying melodies that come together to make STATION an unforgettable musical and visual experience.

Like on all previous STATION albums, the songs on Perspective show remarkable diversity and impressive musicianship. Lyrically, they cover a wide spectrum of different types of topics, ranging from purely happy, fun songs about love to touching on more introspective and serious emotions.

1. I Can’t Find My Way
2. See The Light
3. Do You Really Want To Fall In Love Again
4. Don’t Keep Me Waiting
5. Tonight
6. If You Want Love
7. Believe
8. All Over Again
9. Spanish Steps
10. You Found Yesterday

This vibrantly alive, powerful and yet melodically rhythmic album opens on the AOR foot-tapper I Can’t Find My Way and the harder edged rock of See The Light and backs those up seamlessly with the lush mid-tempo balladry of Do You Really Want To Fall In Love Again, the ’80s-imbibed rock of Don’t Keep Me Waiting and then we get the classic English rock band vibe of Tonight.

Up next is one of my own personal favorites on this new album, the euphorically sculptured If You Want Love which is in turn backed by the free-wheelin’ rock of Believe, the, for the most part, acoustic balladry of All Over Again, and then the album rounds out with the low slung orchestrations of Spanish Steps, closing on another trip into ’80s rock with the belter You Found Yesterday.

Station - I Can’t Find My Way (Official Music Video)

Official Website

Official BandCamp Purchase Link

Station @ Facebook

Station @ Twitter

Station @ Instagram

Station @ YouTube

Title - Home for Christmas
Artist - Jan Daley

Adored for her singular magic of making what’s classic, contemporary again, Jan Daley is the most multi-talented and beautiful, and perhaps even best kept secret in entertainment today.

The multi-talented singer-songwriter and actress is well known as one of the music industry’s go-to singers, one who takes the iconic sound of traditional Jazz and reinvents it for the modern audience to enjoy.

Furthermore, she always hits the sweet spot between authentic, personal presentation with just the right amount of razzle dazzle.

For those unaware, once again, Jan Daley presents her take on Christmas tunes with unique arrangements of thirteen classics.

The songs are transformed here on Home for Christmas to fit her style and rich vocal presentation.

Indeed, this new collection of 13 festive tracks is a traditional album that can sampled endlessly for your own Holiday parties!

1. I’ll Be Home for Christmas
2. Christmas Song
3. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
4. Winter Wonderland
5. O Holy Night
6. Grown-up Christmas List
7. The Best Gift
8. The First Noel
9. A Christmas Love Song
10. Nothing Like Christmas/The Christmas Waltz
11. Can’t Give You Any Answers
12. White Christmas
13. Silent Night

This beautifully crafted, heartfelt Christmas album opens on the ornately sculptured I’ll Be Home for Christmas a jazz-lite Christmas Song and backs those up with the lush orchestrations of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, a playful Winter Wonderland and then we get crystalline renditions of both O Holy Night and the storytelling of Grown-up Christmas List.

Up next is one of my own personal favorites from this new festive collection, the inner reach of The Best Gift and an acoustic The First Noel which are in turn followed by the stunning vocal and musical gossamer of A Christmas Love Song, the dulcet pairing of Nothing Like Christmas/The Christmas Waltz, the album rounding out with the unfeigned Can’t Give You Any Answers, closing on the profoundly sincere pairing of White Christmas and a quite breathlessly alluring rendition of Silent Night.

Official Website

Amazon Purchase Links

Jan Daley @ Facebook

Jan Daley @ Twitter

Jan Daley @ Instagram

Jan Daley @ YouTube

Jan Daley @ Pinterest

Title - Night is Alive
Artist - The End of America [TEOA]

For those unaware, The End of America [TEOA] is a band of friends, more so brothers, that have been releasing music for over a decade.

The Philadelphia, Connecticut and New Hampshire based trio consist of band members Trevor Leonard, James Downes and Brendon Thomas.

Through their years of being a band and road dogs (who credit their name to Kerouac’s On The Road, traveling “across the groaning continent” in search of inspiration and reaching “the end of America, no more land, and now there was nowhere to go but back”), they have garnered many fans and have become recognized for their live performances, harmonies and songwriting.

Most recently gaining attention on Spotify’s Folk Pop editorial playlist for their song Wait No More. After their recent release Push Back, they are now anticipating their next single drop Empty Sea (Reprise) due out on October 22nd, 2021.

This track will be their final single release before they deliver their fourth LP Night is Alive (reviewed below) out on November 12th, 2021.

1. Not The End
2. Canyon
3. A Million Miles of Low Road
4. Push Back
5. Holy Shit
6. Wait No More
7. Are We Alright
8. I.F.H.
9. Empty Sea (Reprise)
10. Can’t Do This Alone

This quite mesmerizingly opulent album opens on the pleasingly free-flowing Not The End and the gently rhythmic Americana of Canyon and backs those up seamlessly with the amiable folk flow of A Million Miles of Low Road, the divinely orchestrated essence of Push Back and then brings us the melodically harmonized Holy Shit.

Next up is one of my own personal favorites, the contextually mid-tempo, folk-Americana of Wait No More which is itself followed by the inquisitively euphoric Are We Alright, the softly sculptured storytelling pf I.F.H. (I F*cking Hate), the album rounding out with the lavish gossamer of Empty Sea (Reprise), closing on the pleasingly luxuriant melodies of Can’t Do This Alone.

Empty Sea was originally recorded for TEOA’s 2016 self-titled LP. They wrote it as a gentle anthem for staking everything on what you feel you were born to do, and pursuing it in the face of so much uncertainty.

TEOA describes the feeling as, “the higher you climb the mountain, the steeper it gets, all the while howling out across what feels like an empty sea below. You have to maintain faith in yourself and keep pushing to reach the summit. And maybe you can’t do it alone. For us, this song has been our anthem for being in a band.”

Over the years, Empty Sea has been a staple of TEOA’s live shows and it’s their one song that they’ve always felt a deep connection with their audience.

The track has evolved with the band over time and now it’s turned into something greater. They recall from most of their shows there being, “an audible sigh from the audience when we hold and release that last note. The feeling is mutual.”

Ergo, Empty Sea the reprised adaptation is just as breathtaking.

It was during the pandemic that TEOA (The End of America) reimagined a version of the song with piano accompaniment and designated the guitar to a secondary role.

After performing it over a livestream at Caffe Lena last March, it became clear that they needed to capture this song in its evolved state … and added some cello, too.

Inspired by the piano/cello/harmony production on Brandi Carlile’s most recent albums, as well as Chris Walla era production of Death Cab For Cutie’s Transatlanticism & Plans album.

The band was fortunately graced by their friend Katie Weissman’s cello arrangement, which can be heard all over their new album Night is Alive. Katie had already performed the song with TEOA live at a few shows, so she came in knowing exactly what to do.

Furthermore, this new version of Empty Sea was virtually recorded at their home studios in New Hampshire, Philadelphia, and at the time, Bronx - by way of passing tracks around - and mixed by Brendon Thomas.

Official Website

Official The End of America [TEOA] CD Purchase Links

The End of America [TEOA] @ Facebook

The End of America [TEOA] @ Twitter

The End of America [TEOA] @ Instagram

The End of America [TEOA] @ YouTube

Empty Sea (Reprise) Teaser Two [Official Music Video]

Title - Vivaldi: The Four Seasons
Artist - Apollo’s Fire w/ Francisco Fullana

For those unaware, Grammy Award-winning baroque orchestra Apollo’s Fire and its founder-director Jeannette Sorrell have blazed trails in the world of historically informed performance with pioneering programming, presentational flair and an entrepreneurial spirit, qualities that have earned them eight Billboard chart-topping albums and more than 7 million views on YouTube.

Their latest release, which launches the ensemble’s 30th anniversary season, is destined to soar to similar heights: the ensemble’s first recording of the perennial audience favorite, Antonio Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, featuring the phenomenal Spanish-born fiddler Francisco Fullana.


The Four Seasons (Le Quattro Stagioni)
Soloist: Francisco Fullana, violin

La Primavera (Spring), Op. 8 No. 1
1. i. Allegro (3:37)
2. ii. Largo (2:45)
3. iii. Allegro (4:29)

L’estate (Summer), Op. 8 No. 2
4. i. Allegro non molto – Allegro (5:02)
5. ii. Adagio e piano (2:21)
6. iii. Presto: Tempo impetuoso d’estate (2:52)

L’autunno (Autumn), Op. 8 No. 3
7. i. Allegro (5:11)
8. ii. Adagio molto (2:45)
9. iii. Allegro (3:20)

L’inverno (Winter), Op. 8 No. 4
10. i. Allegro non molto (3:34)
11. ii. Largo (2:15)
12. iii. Allegro (3:20)

Antonio Vivaldi/arr. Jeanette Sorrell: “La Folia” (Madness)
Soloists: Francisco Fullana and Alan Choo, violin
13. Concerto Grosso (10:45)

Francisco Fullana, Alan Choo, violins
Apollo’s Fire, The Cleveland Baroque Orchestra
Jeannette Sorrell, director

Recorded on April 15th-17th, 2021 at Avon Lake United Church of Christ this delightfully ambient new recording opens on the first of the Spring trio, the sprightly Allegro and then continues with the more dulcet Largo, culminating on the cultured Allegro, before moving seamlessly onto the Summer trilogy of the ornate Allegro non molto – Allegro, the cultured Adagio e piano, ending with the vivaciously flamboyant Presto.

Next up is the Autumnal trio, beginning with the sprightly Allegro, then moving onto the cagey Adagio molto, before closing on the buoyant confidence of Allegro, and that is followed neatly, of course, buy the Winter trilogy, which opens on the stern Allegro non molto, before moving into the softly driven Largo, rounding out on the gently euphoric Allegro, with the added pleasure here of a near-11 minute 12 Trio Sonatas, Op. 1: XII. Trio Sonata in D Minor, RV 63 “La Folia” (arr. Sorrell) closing the new recording in some style.

Frequently performed at Apollo’s Fire home base in Cleveland, Ohio and on their international tours, “Sorrell’s vivid approach to the pictorial elements make these familiar works seem freshly minted, full of astonishing incident”, according to Seen & Heard International.

Fullana, winner of the 2018 Avery Fisher Career Grant, has been dubbed a “rising star” by BBC Music Magazine, and an “amazing talent” by conductor Gustavo Dudamel.

The Four Seasons is the first of four releases spread throughout the season celebrating Apollo’s Fire’s milestone 30th anniversary.

Official Purchase Link

Title - Modest Mussorgsky: Unorthodox Music
Artist - Claire Booth / Christopher Glynn

For those unaware, first came Percy Grainger: Folk Music, then Edvard Grieg: Lyric Music, and now Modest Mussorgsky: Unorthodox Music – a logical sequence in soprano Claire Booth’s and pianist Christopher Glynn’s growing AVIE discography, interspersing a selection of under-represented songs with solo piano works by this most individual and idiosyncratic of all Russian composers.

Claire and Chris approach Modest Mussorgsky: Unorthodox Music in the spirit of a storyteller, tracing an arc of life from innocence to experience that is arranged across a prologue and four “scenes” – Nursery, Youthful Years, Marriage and Loneliness – taking their cue from the colorful tableaux of the composer’s operas.


1. The Billy Goat – A Society Tale (02:31)

2. Nanny and I (Memories of Childhood) (01:16) *
3. With Nanny (Nursery) (01:48)
4. In the Corner (Nursery) (01:39)
5. Nanny locks me in a dark cupboard (Memories of Childhood) (01:32) *
6. With the Doll (Nursery) (01:57)
7. Hobby Horse (Nursery) (03:24)

Youthful Years
8.Porte-enseigne Polka (03:02) *
9. Desire (02:39)
10. Impromptu-passioné (02:34) *
11. Many have grown from my tears (01:41)
12. Hopak of the Merry Young Ukrainians (from the opera Sorochintsky Fair) (01:51) *
13. Night (04:16)

14. Hopak (03:12)
15. Oh, how your eyes look at me sometimes (02:37)
16. Oh, you drunken sot! (03:01)
17. Intermezzo in modo classico (03:34) *
18. Trepak (Songs and Dances of Death) (05:02)

19. Méditation (Album Leaf) (04:17) *
20. The leaves rustled softly (03:41)
21. Cum mortuis in lingua mortua (Pictures at an Exhibition) (02:40) *
22. Within four walls (Sunless) (01:33)
23. On the River (Sunless) (04:22)
24. Rêverie (05:12) *

Claire Booth, soprano
Christopher Glynn, piano (*solo: 2, 5, 8, 10, 12, 17, 19, 21, 24)

Recorded in October 2020 at Pyrton, Oxfordshire (1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 13–16) and March 2021 at Menuhin Hall, Surrey (2, 5, 8, 10, 12, 17–24), this stunningly orchestrated new recording opens on the one track from its Prologue, the precisely culled The Billy Goat – A Society Tale and then we roll right into six from the Nursery phase: opening on the playful Nanny and I (Memories of Childhood), the playful beats of With Nanny, the stunning In the Corner, the sprightly Nanny locks me in a dark cupboard (Memories of Childhood), closing on the quietly passive With the Doll and the upbeat and perky Hobby Horse.

Next up are tales from the Youthful Years which opens on the vibrant Porte-enseigne Polka and the delicately sculptured Desire, and follows those up with the majestic Impromptu-passioné, the crystalline Many have grown from my tears, a fruitfully organic Hopak of the Merry Young Ukrainians (from the opera Sorochintsky Fair), closing on the gentle gustre of Night.

The next section we get introduced to is Marriage which itself opens on the wildly airy Hopak and the sweeping Oh, how your eyes look at me sometimes, the excellently titled pert poignancy of Oh, you drunken sot!, rounding out on the magnificently orchestrated Intermezzo in modo classico, closing on the quietly stoic caress of Trepak (Songs and Dances of Death).

The final phase is Loneliness which begins with the reflective Méditation (Album Leaf) and the pensively aware The leaves rustled softly, before bringing us the diaphanous musings found within Cum mortuis in lingua mortua (Pictures at an Exhibition), the sheer musical refinement of Within four walls (Sunless), the whole recording rounding out on the tacitly spirited On the River (Sunless), closing on the peaceful tranquility of Rêverie.

Individual numbers from the great song cycles – Youthful Years, Nursery, Sunless, and Songs and Dances of Death – are juxtaposed with works from Mussorgsky’s more unorthodox output, all delivered by Claire and Chris with disarming affect. Official Purchase Link

Title - Liszt: Années de pèlerinage, et al
Artist - Charles Owen

For those unaware, with his critically acclaimed AVIE Records releases of music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Johannes Brahms, Gabriel Fauré and Sergei Rachmaninov to his credit, the celebrated British pianist Charles Owen scales the heights of Franz Liszt’s anthology Années de pèlerinage, Première année: Suisse (“Years of Travel, First Year: Switzerland”), which evokes the great 19th-century pianist-composer’s Swiss sojourns with aural impressions of the Alpine landscape, its peaks and valleys, mountains and streams, and the country’s distinctive folk music.

FRANZ LISZT (1811–1886)

1-9) Années de pèlerinage, Première année: Suisse S160
Chapelle de Guillaume Tell (5:32)
Au lac de Wallenstadt (3:50)
Pastorale (1:51)
Au bord d’une source (4:24)
Orage (4:39)
Vallée d’Obermann (14:30)
Eglogue (3:21)
Le mal du pays (Heimweh) (5:43)
Les cloches de Genève – Nocturne (6:13)

10) Bénédiction de Dieu dans la solitude
No. 3 from Harmonies Poétiques Et Religieuses G153 (17:32)

Charles Owen, piano

Recorded on October 19th-31at, 2020, Menuhin Hall, Yehudi Menuhin School, Cobham, Surrey, UK this stunning opulent recording opens on the melodic Chapelle de Guillaume Tell and the delicate Au lac de Wallenstadt, before bringing us the gently playful Pastorale, the staggered embrace of Au bord d’une source and then the vibrantly free-flowing Orage.

The near-15 minute opus Vallée d’Obermann is up next and is itself followed by this particular phase rounding out on the kittenish Eglogue, the ornate pairing of both Le mal du pays (Heimweh) and Les cloches de Genève – Nocturne, the entire recording closing on the quite breathtaking near-18 minute opus Bénédiction de Dieu dans la solitude (No. 3 from Harmonies Poétiques Et Religieuses G153).

Indeed, literary references abound in the album’s concluding piece, the emotional Bénédiction de Dieu dans la solitude (“The Blessing of God in Solitude”) which was inspired by a poem penned by Liszt’s friend Alphonse de Lamartine.

Emotions ran equally high for Charles Owen who turned to Liszt during lockdown. The uncertainty of being homebound throughout the pandemic was eased by the extra meaning and solace of the composer’s evocations of journeying, experiencing the natural world and its sense of beauty and liberation.

Official Purchase Link

Title - Mysterium [4-Track CD Single]
Artist - Held By Trees

For those unaware, founding Dire Straits member David Knopfler and former Pretenders guitarist Robbie McIntosh are among the many respected musicians who are contributing to a new instrumental project called Held by Trees.

The collective, led by composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist David Joseph, will release a new single called “Mysterium” on November 12th, 2021 and is planning to issue its self-titled debut album in the spring of 2022.

Joseph describes Held by Trees’ music as somewhere between David Gilmour-era Pink Floyd and the later, prog-rock-influenced work of British new wave band Talk Talk.

The latter is no surprise, considering the fact that several musicians who worked with Talk Talk — and on the solo recordings by that group’s late frontman Mark Hollis — are featured on “Mysterium.”

They include McIntosh, drummer/percussionist Martin Ditcham and keyboardist Laurence Pendrous and this debut track also includes the talents of veteran blues singer/songwriter Eric Bibb.

1. Mysterium (Radio Edit) (4:47)
2. Mysterium (Full Version) (4:52)
3. In The Trees (6:07)
4. In The Trees (Ambient Version) (6:31)

This quite mesmerizingly opulent CD single from the instrumental post-rock project Held By Trees opens on the definitively diaphanous gossamer of Mysterium (Radio Edit) and then brings us its Full Version, before diving into the translucent ebb and flow of In The Trees, closing on the aptly versionized, and thus quietly subdued Ambient Version of the same track.

Official Website

Official “Mysterium” Purchase Links

Official Debut Album Pre-Order Purchase Link

Held By Trees @ Facebook

Held By Trees @ Instagram

Held By Trees @ Twitter

Title - Love Songs & Low Pass Filters [EP]
Artist - CJ Washington

For those unaware, set to release his new Love Songs & Low Pass Filters EP on November 12th, 2021, CJ Washington is a Sacramento-based pop, R&B, and soul singer-songwriter and guitarist.

Inspired by John Mayer, Chris Brown, Stevie Wonder, and R&B singer Joe, CJ Washington began playing guitar as a young kid and has gone on to work with talented and influential artists including P. Diddy.

CJ has previously released two EPs, Soulacoustic and Spend the Night, and has also landed credits with Berner & B-Real on their Los Meros album, as well as with Capolow on the track “Lately.”

1. Upside Down
2. Thru 2 U
3. Him
4. Raindrops
5. Waitin’ On Love

This Love Songs & Low Pass Filters EP brings together elements of guitar and hip-hop drums in an up-tempo collection of pop and R&B songs performed entirely by CJ Washington, opening on the lushly orchestrated R&B-pop hipsway of Upside Down (about the love-hate relationship between an addict and their addiction) which is then backed by the free flowing musical melodies of Thru 2 U.

Co-written with his producing partner Vidal Garcia and friend Devin Wright, the EP was recorded at the WAV Lounge throughout 2020 and into 2021 and continues onward with the righteous beats of Him (about missed opportunities and seeing someone you love with somebody else), the reaching Raindrops, coming to a close on the calmingly tight, bounce flow of Waitin’ On Love.

In truth, this Love Songs & Low Pass Filters EP is full of catchy tracks that we all can feel connected to, as in their own ways convey the ups and downs of life and relationships (although here through the eyes of CJ, of course).

Official Album Pre-Order Purchase Links

CJ Washington @ Instagram

CJ Washington @ Facebook

CJ Washington @ Spotify

CJ Washington @ Twitter

Title - Dynasty: 4 Classic Albums on 3 CDs!
Artist - Dynasty

For those unaware, these Dynasty albums - Your Piece Of The Rock, Adventures In The Land Of Music, The Second Adventure and Right Back At Cha! - cover a period from 1979 through to 1988 when the Los Angeles-created band were key to the success of SOLAR Records.

Put together by producer and label head Dick Griffey, and record producer Leon Sylvers III, the band was completed by keyboardist Kevin Spencer and vocalists Nidra Beard and Linda Carriere.

The Your Piece Of The Rock album features the full length 7:20 version of I Don’t Want To Be A Freak (But I Can’t Help Myself) a club classic from 1979, while Adventures In The Land Of Music includes their Top 10 R&B smash I’ve Just Begun To Love You as well as the super cool album title track.

Dynasty followed that in 1981 with The Second Adventure album and the single Here I Am, a real banger that kicks the package off. The album also featured the RnB charting Love In The Fast Lane.

Right Back At Cha! followed in 1982 featuring a host of great dance tracks including Check It Out and Strokin’.

CD 1: Your Piece Of The Rock (1979)
1. Your Piece Of The Rock
2. I Don’t Want To Be A Freak (But I Can’t Help Myself)
3. Satisfied
4. When You Feel Like Giving Love (Dial My Number)
5. It’s Still A Thrill

By late 1979 / early 1980, it was obvious that Dick Griffey’s Solar Records had as distinctive and recognizable a sound as Motown and Stax in the 1960s or Philadelphia International in the 1970s.

Put on just about any late-’70s or early- to mid-’80s recording by the Whispers, Shalamar, Midnight Star, or Dynasty, and it only takes a few notes to realize that you’re listening to a Solar recording.

Dynasty wasn’t as big as the Whispers or Shalamar, but the Los Angeles-based vocal group did enjoy a few hits and made some valuable contributions to the Solar catalog.

Produced by Leon F. Sylvers III, Dynasty’s debut LP Your Piece of the Rock sported the almost eight-minutes long disco smash I Don’t Wanna Be a Freak (But I Can’t Help Myself), which went to number 36 on the R&B charts in the fall of 1979.

The title track, Satisfied, and Still a Thrill were also dancefloor favorites with the mid-tempo ballad Dial My Number hearkening back to the producer/group leader’s work with his family, the Sylvers.

For those wanting to know more, Your Piece of the Rock was reissued as a 1999 CD, and some of the album’s tracks can be found on Greatest Hits and the 1994 Sequel CD The Best of Dynasty.

CD 1: Adventures In The Land Of Music (1980)
6. I’ve Just Begun To Love You
7. Groove Control
8. Take Another Look At Love
9. Day And Night
10. Do Me Right
11. Something To Remember
12. Adventures In The Land Of Music
13. Ice Breaker

Adventures in the Land of Music, which came out on vinyl in 1980 and was reissued on CD by the Canadian Unidisc label in 2001, is Dynasty’s second album - and it is arguably the group’s most essential.

Adventures contains the Angelinos’ biggest hit, I’ve Just Begun to Love You, as well as the equally danceable single Do Me Right, but the singles aren’t the only things that make this album produced by Leon Sylvers III worth owning.

For Adventures also contains a lot of memorable album tracks, which range from dance-oriented numbers like Ice Breaker, Day and Night, and Groove Patrol to the soul ballad Take Another Look at Love.

Dynasty is best remembered for up-tempo dance and disco-funk material, but Take Another Look at Love demonstrates that the group was quite capable of handling romantic soul ballads.

Because Dynasty favored a lot of male/female vocal interaction and was so Solar-sounding, the group was often compared to another part-male, part-female group, Shalamar.

But Dynasty had an appealing identity of its own, and that identity serves the quartet well on this excellent sophomore effort.

CD 2: The Second Adventure (1981)
1. Here I Am
2. Pain, Got A Hold On Me
3. A Man In Love
4. Give Your Love To Me
5. You’re My Angel
6. Love In The Fast Lane
7. Revenge
8. Give It Up For Love
9. High Time (I Left You Baby)
10. That Lovin’ Feelin’

Their longtime producer Leon Sylvers III became the fifth member of the group for their third effort The Second Adventure. However, his profile in the group did little to to help with their continuing fame, sadly.

Also not helping matters was the issue surrounding all of the 1981 releases on Solar Records. Around that time, label founder Dick Griffey rush released recordings on Solar to get out of their distribution with RCA to enter into a partnership with Elektra, where he continued to rush release recordings. As a result, all of the albums by the acts on the roster suffered marketing and promotion problems.

Anyway, back on track (so to speak), and for my money, The Second Adventure contained some of their best work. With Leon Sylvers III at the helm with co-production by Kevin Spencer and William Shelby, their album has songs that could have easily have come together to create a very classic record.

Stand out tracks for me are the openers such as Here I Am (a song about still wanting to be in love despite being hurt which was co-written by Midnight Star members Melvin Gentry and Belinda Lipscomb), a man that fancies himself a ladies’ man gets his comeuppance on the funky Pain, Got A Hold On Me, while A Man In Love shows someone who cannot hide their happiness and feelings over their significant other.

Overall, The Second Adventure is a great yet overlooked album by Dynasty. Sadly, the group would never reach the level of success that their labelmates achieved - mostly because they gave away songs that became huge hits for their peers The Whispers and Shalamar!

CD 2: Right Back At Cha! (1982)
11. Check It Out
12. Strokin’
13. The Only One
14. Questions
15. Does That Ring A Bell
16. Straight Out
17. Right Back At Cha!

CD 3: Right Back At Cha! (1982) [Continued]
1. That’s The Way I Feel About You
2. I Can’t Stop Lovin’ You
3. All’s Fair In Love And War

This is one of my favorite Dynasty albums along with Adventures in the Land of Music, but unfortunately the funky slammer Check It Out was the group’s only hit on the album (peaking at a low #39 on the R&B charts in late 1982) and last hit to date.

It was funky and classy from beginning to end and will work up quite a sweat! Questions is another favorite of mine that should have been a single while Strokin’ and Does That Ring A Bell keeps that classic galactic funky that SOLAR records was known for.

The Only One was one of the earliest Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis compositions that was written well, in my humble opinion. Straight Out was raw and had Klymaxx in mind while The Way I Feel About You was a laid back and sentimental ballad headlined by William Shelby that was produced well and should also have been a single.

Since black music was slowly shifting by abandoning authentic and live instruments in favor of New Wave, Electronic, and/or soft pop, this album went unnoticed which was a mistake.

After this album, Leon returned to finishing up The Look album for Shalamar, Love For Love album by The Whispers, and to venture to work with artists outside of SOLAR records such as Evelyn King, Rockie Robbins, Glenn Jones, and The legendary Detroit Spinners.

Linda Carriere left the group after this album and the rest of the group continued their song writing and production for other artists before they did it again for 1986’s release, Daydreamin’.

CD 3: Bonus Tracks
4. Your Piece Of The Rock (7″ Version)
5. I Don’t Want To Be A Freak (But I Can’t Help Myself) (7″ Version)
6. Satisfied (7″ Version)
7. When You Feel Like Giving Love (Dial My Number) (7″ Version)
8. I’ve Just Begun To Love You (7″ Version)
9. Do Me Right (7″ Version)
10. Something To Remember (7″ Version)
11. Love In The Fast Lane (7″ Version)

This brand new Dynasty: 4 Classic Albums 3CD box-set from Robinsongs / Cherry Red Records (UK) (releasing December 3rd, 2021) contains four fantastic albums by SOLAR recording artists Dynasty, plus ten bonus 7” versions of their biggest hits, and comes with new sleeve notes from MOJO and Record Collector journalist Charles Waring.

Official 3CD Purchase Link

Title - A Great Miracle: Guitar Soli Chanukah Record
Artist - Jeremiah Lockwood

As the nights get longer and days get brisker, the feeling of the holidays descends upon us. And with all holidays come the traditions, reflections, smells, sights and sounds that uplift the season, help us greet the familiar time of year.

This year, musician Jeremiah Lockwood presents a Chanukah record that is sure to become a standard in holiday’s lexicon. A Great Miracle: Jeremiah Lockwood’s Guitar Soli Chanukah Record (due out November 22nd, 2021 by Reboot Records) is a beautiful solo guitar tribute to the holiday.

With heartfelt appreciation of the 1968 classic The New Possibility: John Fahey’s Guitar Soli Christmas Record, Lockwood has sweetly crafted eight songs, one for each night of Chanukah, to celebrate the dancing candlelight with his new, blues-inspired takes on the most beloved melodies of the holiday’s cannon.

From the prayers for lighting the candles to the kids’ songs that are sung around the burning menorah, Lockwood paints the light through the darkness with his instrumental creations.

1. Ritual
2. Al Hanisim
3. Mi Yemalel
4. Al Hanisim Izhar Cohen
5. Maoz Tzur
6. Little Dreydl
7. Drey Dreydl
8. Chanuka Oy Chanuka

This beautifully crafted new album pens on the delicately ornate Ritual and the intricate workings of Al Hanisim and backs those up seamlessly with the more free wheeling pairing of both Mi Yemalel and Al Hanisim Izhar Cohen.

The mazelike gauze of Maoz Tzur is itself then followed by the upbeat and harmonious joy of Little Dreydl, the album rounding out on the immaculately crafted Drey Dreydl, closing on the graceful magnificence of Chanuka Oy Chanuka.

Lockwood’s career has followed a unique path, with deep musical inspiration coming from two mentors. His grandfather Cantor Jacob Konigsberg (1921-2007) infused in him the melodies of the Jewish liturgy, with Lockwood performing in his choir.

Lockwood credits his career as a guitarist to a decade-long apprenticeship with the legendary blues musician Carolina Slim, a.k.a. Elijah Staley (1926-2014), who passed down to Lockwood the Piedmont blues tradition of Brownie McGhee and Buddy Moss.

Lockwood also leads the band Sway Machinery, which features Jordan McLean of Antibalis and at one point Brian Chase of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

The Great Miracle is the ultimate realization of both sides of Lockwood’s learning, as he translates the major Chanukkah melodies into a blues language, through his fingers and the strings of his Gibson guitar.

Lockwood is accompanied by guitarist and friend Luther Dickinson of the North Mississippi All-Stars on his rendition of Little Dreydl, a song they have been playing together since 2011 at Tikva Records in San Francisco.

Reb Nachman tells of a mystical story around the Dreydl, that it replicates the rotating wheel of creation out of which all things emanate, where the mortal and finite world of human beings meets the infinite.

Jeremiah Lockwood’s great miracle proves that the best way to start the motion of the Dreydl is through the breath of his guitar as he exhales a new soundtrack for the annual eight-day holiday of Chanukkah.

Official Website

Jeremiah Lockwood @ Instagram

Jeremiah Lockwood @ Facebook

Title - Cockadoodledeux
Artist - Legendary Shack Shakers

Twenty-five years. Two-and-a-half decades. A quarter of a century. A long time no matter what you are talking about. So it’s no surprise J.D. Wilkes wanted to celebrate that milestone for his band, the Legendary Shack Shakers.

Founder/frontman/multi-instrumentalist Wilkes decided the best way to commemorate a quarter century of making music with his band was — of course — by making more music.

But like most long-lasting groups, the Legendary Shack Shakers have had a lot of band members come and go through the years. So a “family reunion” was planned, one that would host past members and the current lineup for celebratory recording sessions.

The result is the group’s new full-length offering from Alternative Tentacles, Cockadoodledeux, due out November 5th, 2021 via Jello Biafra’s Alternative Tentacles label.

The title is a nod to the Shack Shakers’ 2003 album, Cockadoodledon’t. Though not their debut record, it was the one that broke the group to a wider audience.

Indeed, its explosive collision of punk, blues and country was perhaps what made the Shack Shakers legendary!

1. Rawhide
2. Tickle Yore Innards
3. They Won’t Let Me Forget (All The Things I Can’t Recall)
4. Godforsaken Town
5. U-Can-B-A-Star
6. Port Arthur Boys
7. Secret Mountain
8. I Told You So
9. I Don’t Remember Loving You
10. Punk Rock Retirement Plan
11. Triple-Timer
12. Farewell Ye Rovin’ Eyed Girls

This vibrantly effective new recording opens on the iconic western theme of Rawhide (a collaboration with label founder and punk/rock titan Jello Biafra, who sings background vocals and makes a special appearance in the Nathan Brown-directed music video) and the fervent Tickle Yore Innards and then follows those up with the harmonica-driven, free flowing country of They Won’t Let Me Forget (All The Things I Can’t Recall) and the vibrant Godforsaken Town.

Next up is one of my own personal favorites, the spirited U-Can-B-A-Star which is itself backed by the roustabout vibe of Port Arthur Boys, Secret Mountain, I Told You So, the tongue in cheek passion of I Don’t Remember Loving You, the album rounding out on the gentle dancefloor hipsway of Punk Rock Retirement Plan, the irreverently-toiled Triple-Timer, closing on the soaringly robust Farewell Ye Rovin’ Eyed Girls.

To my mind, it should be mentioned that Cockadoodledeux is more singular in its focus than its 2003 predecessor. Wilkes had been yearning to set his rock ’n’ roll leanings aside and record something new.

This time, instead of hopping genres as many of his albums do, Wilkes wanted to explore one genre alone. He wanted to just make a country-and-Western record.

“Our older albums jump around all over the place, genre to genre, styles that are almost diametrically-opposed even,” he says. “But this record jumps only within country music itself. It’s a big-tent genre, really. It has all these little subgenres within it providing endless variety. From Western swing and rockabilly to spaghetti Western and bluegrass — and even Tex Mex.”

Originally, Wilkes planned to pursue this concept on his 2018 solo record, Fire Dream, but when the sessions got underway, the muse pulled him in a different direction.

“Suddenly, I had all these unused country tunes, and I thought, ‘Hey, that could be the new Shack Shakers record,’” he says. “And it made sense to me because family reunions and country music seem to go hand in hand.”

In addition to the current members (guitarist Gary Siperko, bassist Fuller Condon and drummer Preston Corn), the original 1990s lineup showed up, and former members like multi-instrumentalist Chris Scruggs (Marty Stuart’s Fabulous Superlatives) and bassist Morgan Jahnig (Old Crow Medicine Show) pitched in, too.

Cockadoodledeux also includes performances by a few Kentucky music legends, such as Sun Studio guitarist Stanley Walker (Jean Shepard, “Rockin’” Ray Smith), dobroist Jack Martin (Lester Flatt) and renowned Cajun fiddler “Hillbilly” Bob Prather (Onie Wheeler).

Punk rock icon and founder of Alternative Tentacles Jello Biafra makes a special guest appearance, as well, contributing vocals to the band’s cover of the theme to the TV Western series Rawhide.

He first met the Shakers at South by Southwest in 2005 and has since made several appearances with the band, both onstage and on their album Pandelirium. Biafra calls Wilkes “the last great rock ’n’ roll frontman.”

Of Biafra, Wilkes says, “It’s just good to be with people who believe in you and are passionate about what you do.”

Because of the Covid pandemic, Wilkes uploaded the Rawhide tracks to Biafra’s San Francisco studio where he added his wild yelps and yodels remotely. “He killed it,” Wilkes says.

The bulk of the recording was done at the Time on the String studio in Paducah, Kentucky. But like Biafra, Jahnig and Scruggs added their parts remotely.

“Morgan has a studio of his own, so I sent him the tracks,” Wilkes says. “And I drove down to see Chris and was actually at the studio in Nashville as he laid down steel guitar. Otherwise, everyone else came to Kentucky for the family reunion.”

Cockadoodledeux includes a track, Secret Mountain, that was originally intended for the band’s first release on Alternative Tentacles. Recorded at Nashville’s famous Woodland Studio, it features Micah Hulscher (Wanda Jackson, Emmylou Harris, Margo Price) on barrelhouse piano and former Shack Shakers Mark Robertson, Rod Hamdallah and Brett Whitacre.

“‘Secret Mountain’ is a track that got nixed off The Southern Surreal,” Wilkes explains. “It was just too country at the time. But, of course, it’s perfect for this.”

Wilkes’s passion for country and western music is apparent throughout the record, his vocal performances resonating with an authenticity that too often is missing from modern country fare. And while Cockadoodledeux may be more musically disciplined than their past albums, songs like They Won’t Let Me Forget (All The Things I Can’t Recall) and Punk Rock Retirement Plan (“He likes a square dance instead of a slam dance”) reflect Wilkes’ wickedly hilarious brand of lyricism; a thing that has been winning him fans for quite a while — 25 years, in fact.

Looking back on the group’s journey, Wilkes remarks, “It’s been 25 years of long-lasting friendships, unfortunate rivalries — amazing experiences. Triumphs. Heartaches. The whole dramatic story arc.”

He pauses, then adds, “And I can’t wait for the next 25.”

Official Purchase Link

RAWHIDE! (Official Video) Legendary Shack Shakers w/Jello Biafra (background vx) & Long Gone Gulch

Official Website

Legendary Shack Shakers @ Facebook

Legendary Shack Shakers @ YouTube

Legendary Shack Shakers @ Twitter

Title - San Fernando Blast!
Artist - Sandy McKnight w/ Fernando Perdomo

All this downtime, staying home, collecting stimulus checks, has affected the world of music. Musicians are rehearsing, songwriters writing, and recording studios are busier than ever.

Add that to the fact that entire records can be made remotely, and the virus has generated a new golden era for original music.

Which brings us to the story of one such project/band/duo, Sandy McKnight w/Fernando Perdomo. The story of the “San Fernando” series of releases began in 2019, when artist/studio musician/performer/producer Perdomo met songwriter/musician/producer/author McKnight at a session at Reseda Ranch, Fernando’s L.A. studio.

Some months later, Sandy returned to the left coast (from his home base in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts), and booked a few hours to record one of his power pop tunes.

Then, as they worked, they suddenly realized they had a certain magic together - Perdomo on drums, guitars and keys, McKnight on bass and vocals. After that session, the virus intervened, and all travel options became temporarily, well ... not an option.

But the World Wide Web allowed for the speedy travel of bits and bytes on the information superhighway, and so the boys continued to groove long-distance.

They completed a 6-song EP, “San Fernando Beat”, and released it in the spring of 2020 and in early 2021, a second EP was born, “San Fernando Blitz”, and was also released to wide acclaim.

Which now leads us nicely to their third release, and their first full-length album, San Fernando Blast.

They took the 12 songs from the 2 EPs, added 3 new recordings of McKnight originals, and voila! A 15-song tour-de-force that may actually be even better than the sum of its parts.

1. Adrienne (2:38)
2. Pay It Any Mind (2:11)
3. Heart in Your Hands (3:52)
4. C’mon C’mon C’mon (2:23)
5. Under the Sun (2:53)
6. Chloe’s Gone (3:44)
7. Any Time of Day (2:37)
8. Single Flowers (2:55)
9. Melody Anne (2:59)
10. Why Make Promises? (2:37)
11. Got Me Where You Want Me (2:59)
12. Living On the West Side (2:23)
13. Facing the End of the World (2:36)
14. Fake (3:30)
15. Seven Words (2:35)

This dynamic duo, who can do it all, open up their musical cornucopia chest of 15 hook-filled hits with the gentle guitar rock of Adrienne and the jaunty pop rock of Pay It Any Mind and follow those up with the Beatles-eseque (circa Sgt. Pepper) Heart in Your Hands, the calming fuzz rock of C’mon C’mon C’mon, the twangingly melodic Under the Sun, and then we get the lusciously drum-led Chloe’s Gone.

The pop-tastic Any Time of Day is up next and is backed seamlessly by the bass-led, Elvis Costello-imbibed duo of Single Flowers and Melody Anne, then comes the AOR of Why Make Promises?, the rhythmically brilliant Got Me Where You Want Me, the sparklingly melodic Living On the West Side, with this album of magical musicianship, prodigious production, and immeasurable passion rounding out on the gently rambunctious Facing the End of the World, the laboring Fake, closing on the free flowing Seven Words.

In closing, Sandy McKnight and Fernando Perdomo have created a cohesive soundscape by sequencing the tunes with a fluid listening experience in mind, they may have done the impossible: made a greatest hits album that makes sense as a continuous listen.

Thus, while each song stands on its own, they are even more fun together.

Their manifesto says: “The concept was thus: create a 15-song album of power pop/pop/pop-rock recordings, each of which sound unique, yet hold together as a single work by an identifiable performer/artist. Ideally, the songs should be under 3 minutes (2 went longer), with killer hooks and simple production. I think we pulled it off!”

Official Purchase Link


Sandy McKnight @ Facebook

Fernando Perdomo @ Facebook

Sandy McKnight @ YouTube

Fernando Perdomo @ YouTube

Sandy McKnight @ Twitter

Fernando Perdomo @ Twitter

Sandy McKnight @ Bandcamp

Fernando Perdomo @ Instagram

Title - As We Are
Artist - Dave Stryker

Whether you’ve heard guitarist Dave Stryker leading his own group (with 30 CD’s as a leader to date), or as a featured sideman with Stanley Turrentine, Jack McDuff, and many others, you know why the Village Voice calls him “one of the most distinctive guitarists to come along in recent years.”

Oh, and he was recently voted once again into the 2020 Downbeat Poll for the 11th time!

Dave’s latest project As We Are, arrives Jan 7th, 2022 via Strikezone Records and features John Patitucci (bass), Brian Blade (drums), Julian Shore (piano) and even a string quartet!

1. Overture
2. Lanes
3. River Man
4. Hope
5. Saudade
6. One Thing At A Time
7. As We Were
8. Dreams Are Real
9. Soul Friend

This beautifully crafted new album opens on the short, but sweet Overture before rolling seamlessly into the cinematic tones of Lanes and the atmospherically-charged River Man, next bringing us one of my own personal favorites, the hypnotizingly dulcet Hope.

Next up is the languishingly beautiful Saudade and the gently frenetic One Thing At A Time which are in turn backed by the achingly poignant ebb and flow of As We Were, the album rounding out on the artistically cultured gossamer of Dreams Are Real, coming to an all-too-soon close on the laid back, late night smoky club vibe of Soul Friend.

Amazon Purchase Link

Official Website

Dave Stryker @ Facebook

Dave Stryker @ Twitter

Strikezone Records @ Facebook

Title - Life Thru A Lens [Vinyl Reissue]
Artist - Robbie Williams

For those not in the know, Robbie Williams today reissues his first two multi-million selling solo albums Life Thru A Lens and I’ve Been Expecting You on vinyl for the very first time -- including a special edition white vinyl of Life Thru A Lens and aquamarine for I’ve Been Expecting You that are available exclusively at: Official Purchase Links.

Released August 27th, 2021, both titles have been newly mastered at Abbey Road Studios, are pressed on 180 gram heavyweight vinyl and housed in gatefold sleeves, reproducing the original distinctive artwork. Both titles come with Download codes.

Originally released in October 1997, Life Thru A Lens was Robbie’s debut solo album. It entered the chart at #11 but had to wait almost six months before it reached #1.

It eventually spent 147 weeks on the Top 100 and has been certified 8x Platinum by the BPI for UK sales in excess of 2 million copies.

It includes the hit singles Old Before I Die (#2), Lazy Days (#8), South Of The Border (#14), Let Me Entertain You (#3) and Angels (#4), the latter his biggest selling single to date and voted the best song of the last twenty-five years at the 2005 BRIT Awards.

Side A:
1. Lazy Days
2. Life Thru A Lens
3. Ego A Go-Go
4. Angels
5. South of the Border
6. Old Before I Die

Side B:
1. One Of God’s Better People
2. Let Me Entertain You
3. Killing Me
4. Clean
5. Baby Girl Window

One of the best U.K. debuts of the ’90s, Life Thru a Lens is an uninhibited joyride through all manner of British music, from glam to alternative to soft-rock to dance-pop.

OK, sure, not one single from the album topped the singles chart in the UK (although Angels should have done!), but the album certainly trumped all comers in its category, buoyed by both the celebrity status of its (co) maker and the catchy nature of whistle-along tunes.

Beginning with the joyous, Oasis-esque, brit-pop imbibed Lazy Days, the album continually betrays overt influences from such bands, but triumphs nevertheless due to gorgeous production, Williams’ irresistible personality, and the overall flavor of outrageous, utterly enjoyable pop music.

Whether he’s romping through aggressively upbeat, funk-tastic bass and brass tracks such a Ego A Go Go, the excellent barn burner Let Me Entertain You and the melodic South of the Border (with its rather catchy hook and a middle-eight that has Robbie speaking thru a walkie-talkie of sorts), crooning on the simply breathtaking ballad Angels, or offering a slice of life - working-class style - on the title track and the aforementioned Lazy Days, Williams is a pop star through and through.

Oh, and with regard one of the stand out lines from verse two on Angels, did you know that And as the feeling grows/She breathes flesh to my bones was actually borrowed from a poem his sister wrote!

Elsewhere, Clean is a cheery song, albeit chock full of inane lyrics (Clean yeah/friends with Mr. Sheen yeah), but some nice bouncy guitars keep its head above water and the veritably acoustic One Of God’s Better People has Robbie singing in his lush harmonious boyband voice.

And if you give the album closer some listening time, Baby Girl Window is Robbie reciting a poem about school, which itself closes with the very British tag line of Bollocks, Sir. Kiss my ass!

Thus, and for those who appreciate great pop tunes with plenty of tongue in cheek substance veined throughout, Life Thru A Lens is an excellent album and still stands the test of time today, and given that it comes from Britain’s most-successful solo artist of all time, I’d add that it sounds even better here on this just-released vinyl!

Official Purchase Links

Official Website

Robbie Williams - Angels (Official Video)

Robbie Williams @ Facebook

Robbie Williams @ Twitter

Robbie Williams @ Instagram

Robbie Williams @ YouTube

Robbie Williams @ Spotify

Title - King Boy Vandals
Artist - Slinky Vagabond

For those not in the know, Slinky Vagabond is a concept band that originally formed in 2007 and became an integral part of the New York club scene and performed at celebrations for Joey Ramone’s Birthday Bash alongside the New York Dolls, Fashion Week’s Gen Art and Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp and Marc Bolan’s 30th Anniversary Show alongside Patti Smith, Tom Morello, Joan Jett and Ronnie Spector.

They will release their new CD album King Boy Vandals on December 6th, 2021 and have explained that the title of the album is an anagram of their own band name. We re-arranged the name just as we re-arranged the band," explains New York-based fashion designer/author/musician Keanan Duffty about this new recording made with Italian guitarist/songwriter/producer Fabio Fabbri.

The band’s ethos was built with guest collaborations at its core and this has remained the same since 2007. The band’s original lineup featured the aforementioned Duffty - still the current driving force behind the band - Earl Slick (David Bowie, John Lennon), Glen Matlock (Sex Pistols, Rich Kids), Clem Burke (Blondie, The Ramones) and Pete Shelley (Buzzcocks) on backing vocals.

They were structured like hip hop bands that construct songs on features, tracks and featured a veritable slew of collaborations and luckily for us all, King Boy Vandals carries on that tradition.

As noted, long time friend and collaborator of Duffty, Fabio Fabbri has produced the record and even co-wrote the songs and played guitar. There are also guest appearances from Midge Ure (Ultravox/Visage/Live Aid co-founder), Dave Formula (Magazine/Visage), Richard Fortus (Guns N’ Roses/Psychedelic Furs), David Torn (David Bowie/David Sylvian), Tony Bowers (Durutti Column/Simply Red) and Martin Turner (Wishbone Ash).

1. Prima Donna (feat. Midge Ure, Tony Bowers)
2. Fear No Evil (feat. Martin Turner, Richard Fortus)
3. The Beauty in You (feat. Dave Formula, Tony Bowers)
4. Old Boy (feat. Midge Ure, Tony Bowers)
5. I’m Falling Down (feat. Dave Formula, Tony Bowers)
6. Euphoria (feat. David Torn, Tony Bowers)
7. Absolutely Dark
8. English Country Garden (feat. Andy Hilfiger, Richard Fortus)
9. Black Leather Jacket
10. Rockin’ into an Explosion (feat. Tony Bowers)
11. The Beauty in You (Acoustic) (feat. Dave Formula, David Maher)

This quite breathtakingly alive, vibrantly grounded new rock album opens on the second single released, the mid-tempo, jangly orchestrated beats and rhythms of Prima Donna (a tale of an imaginary waltz down the Kings Road with a ’60s icon like Anita Pallenberg) and then brings forth the harder-edged rocker Fear No Evil.

Next up is their first single, the free flowing, low key, wavy, reverberated guitar work of The Beauty in You which is backed seamlessly by the retro alt-punk rock of Old Boy, the melodically swarthy I’m Falling Down and then comes the lushly orchestrated, low ebb psych hipsway of Euphoria.

Then we get the melodious foot-stomper Absolutely Dark and the twisting and turning, passively sculptured, psych-imbed English Country Garden, which are in turn followed the alt-punk of the forthright Black Leather Jacket, the album rounding out on the soaringly euphoric ambiance of Rockin’ into an Explosion, closing on a dulcet acoustic version of The Beauty in You.

Slinky Vagabond -The Beauty In You (feat. Dave Formula & Tony Bowers) [Official Video]

Slinky Vagabond - Prima Donna (feat Midge Ure) [Official Video]

Official Website

Slinky Vagabond @ Facebook

Slinky Vagabond @ Twitter

Slinky Vagabond @ Instagram

Slinky Vagabond @ YouTube

Slinky Vagabond @ Spotify

Slinky Vagabond @ Apple Music

Title - A Momentary Lapse Of Reason Remixed & Updated
Artist - Pink Floyd

For those unaware, originally released in 1987, A Momentary Lapse Of Reason was updated and remixed by David Gilmour and Andy Jackson for The Later Years Box Set.

By returning to some of Richard Wright’s original keyboard parts and by re-recording new drum tracks with Nick Mason, producers David Gilmour and Bob Ezrin have restored the creative balance between the three Pink Floyd members.

Furthermore, the lush front cover art now features an alternative photograph from the original album cover photoshoot.

This Deluxe CD/DVD Box was remixed in 2019 from the original master tapes and includes bonus material and 5.1 Surround Sound Audio, along with a 40-page booklet and envelope containing 6 exclusive stickers designed by Peter Curzon from StormStudios.

Although originally regarded as a faux Pink Floyd album because Roger Waters had left (and, truly, David Gilmour started the album as a solo release initially), A Momentary Lapse Of Reason eschews Waters’ often personalized lyrics (although there is darkness here) in favor of topics that the band has either visited before or concerns that Gilmour and his lyricists) were focused on.

Musically, it’s an inventive album but what it does lack is Waters’ biting cynicism and personal emotional investment in a narrative. That doesn’t make it a bad album. In fact, it’s an exceptionally good album musically and the lyrics are pretty good too overall even if they aren’t by Roger Waters.

This remixed and updated version of the album incorporates more Rick Wright (always a good thing) and Nick Mason re-recording the drum parts (less electronic drums) giving the album a much more orangix sound.

So yes, for all your enthusiasts out there wondering, it does indeed change the feel of the album and some of the remixes are notably different in a good way; some less so, of course. As noted in the description, this was original released as part of The Later Years box-set so it’s nice to see this get a stand alone release now for fans.

Stand outs for me are Learning to Fly, which uses Gilmour’s new found fascination with flying a plane as a thoughtful metaphor on humanity and the lyrics by progressive rock band Slapp Happy’s Anthony Moore are actually quite brilliant, if truth be told.

Moore also turns in two other lyrics on The Dogs of War - a much derided and lyrically heavy handed song that still manages to work due to the production and music - and the compassionate On the Turning Away - something at the time that I couldn’t quite imagine Waters writing!

Indeed, One Slip features a much derided (unnecessarily I should add, although the lyrics are noticeably vague and do not resolve well, and yet they do work within the context of the song) but competent lyric by Gilmour and music by Roxy Music and 801’s Phil Manzanera and Gilmour.

In closing, A New Machine (Parts 1 & 2) and also Another Movie may not match the lyrical highs of Waters, but they fit the musical tone overall, no question. In fact, in my humble opinion, Sorrow could be seen as a message to Roger Waters and is one of Gilmour’s more accomplished lyrics.

Oh, and the instrumentals on the album more than hold their own and, if you will pardon me this folly, divorced of, well, the acrimony of the band’s divorce, overall (whether it be in its original form or this remixed and updated version) it is a mighty fine album.

As for this new box-set, as a whole, it includes a rather lovely, expansive and uber colorful 40-page booklet, some stickers (in an envelope) and a CD and DVD (or Blu-Ray, as it depends on which version you purchase) with the latter also featuring the 5.1 lossless remix of the album as well as three concert screen films, an interview about the album cover with Gilmour himself and Storm Thorgerson, and three wondrous, thoroughly engrossing live audio tracks from 1987 in Atlanta along with three music videos.

Thus, for those who believe that Pink Floyd ended when Roger Waters left the band and Gilmour resumed it, there will be no interest in this album. For the Gilmour-led years (as opposed to the Barrett or Waters years), this will be essential (although, sure, the Gilmour years had their flaws, yes, but there was plenty of good to great music made).

1. Signs Of Life
2. Learning To Fly
3. The Dogs Of War
4. One Slip
5. On The Turning Away
6. Yet Another Movie
7. Round And Around
8. A New Machine Part 1
9. Terminal Frost
10. A New Machine Part 2
11. Sorrow

Bonus Material:
• Audio-Visual
Music Videos (Stereo PCM, 48/24)
• Learning To Fly
• Album cover photo shoot 1987
• Learning To Fly (alternate version)

Concert screen films 1987 (Stereo PCM, 96/24)
• Signs of Life
• Learning To Fly
• The Dogs Of War

Documentary (Stereo PCM 48/24):
• David Gilmour & Storm Thorgerson – interview
Re: A Momentary Lapse Of Reason Album Cover Photo Shoot

Audio only (Stereo PCM, 96/24):
• The Dogs Of War (live, Atlanta 1987)
• On The Turning Away (live, Atlanta 1987)
• Run Like Hell (live, Atlanta 1987)

• Surround Sound Audio A Momentary Lapse of Reason (Remixed & Updated)
• Stereo PCM (48/16)
• 5.1 Dolby Digital (48/16)
• 5.1 dts (48/16)

Title - Spice 25 [2CD Box-Set]
Artist - Spice Girls

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of Spice, the debut album by the biggest selling girl band of all time, the Spice Girls are releasing an expanded deluxe edition on a 2CD set and Digital Album audio on October 29th, 2021 via UMe /EMI.

Curated by the Spice Girls themselves, it brings together the original chart-topping album with some of their favorite bonus tracks and B-sides, along with previously unreleased recordings from the Virgin archives.

Which all comes together to create a collection rich in highlights with the original album including their four UK No.1 singles as well now as a variety of remixes.

The iconic Spice album, released on the November 5th, 1996, spent 15 weeks at No.1 on the Official Charts UK Album Chart across four separate spells, spending more than a year in the Top 40.

The album also topped the US Billboard 200 album chart and was No.1 in thirteen other countries around the world.

Since then, Spice has sold more than 23 million copies worldwide, including more than 3 million in the UK alone (certified 10X platinum by the BPI) and 7.5 million in the US (certified 7X platinum by the RIAA). Oh and Spice was the third best-selling album of the decade in the UK!

This lush 2CD box-set comes in an incredible, and uber colorful A5 hardback booklet with a collection of iconic images plus brand new messages from the girls (see below).

The 2CD set also includes a set of six Spice Girls postcards, featuring photographs by Tim Roney, taken in Paris in September 1996.

1. Wannabe (02:53)
2. Say You’ll Be There (03:56)
3. 2 Become 1 (Single Version) (04:05)
4. Love Thing (03:39)
5. Last Time Lover (04:11)
6. Mama (05:05)
7. Who Do You Think You Are (04:01)
8. Something Kinda Funny (04:05)
9. Naked (04:26)
10. If U Can’t Dance (03:49)

The Spice Girls whip up a frothy musical dessert on SPICE, vamping through 10 disco-based hits with their signature sound - breathy, little-girl vocals and loads of cheery call-and-response - intact.

Cute and flirty without ever getting all that explicit, the girls (and their producers) make the most of what they’ve got: sweet, thin voices that float above solid, danceable instrumental tracks.

Occasional harmonies work, but perky, spoken call-and-response (such as the Zigazig ha line on the vivacious Wannabe, for example) work a lot better, in my humble opinion.

I guess, simply put, the Spice Girls are fun!

Sure, they have that whole Girl Power message thing going for them, but ultimately their music just makes you want to dance around and be silly for a bit.

I was in college when Spice was released, and I remember the instant shame I felt among my peers whenever I revealed to them that I enjoyed the band! Furthermore, I developed crushes on all of the members of the band at some point (but Sporty and Baby will always have my heart), and suddenly I knew the lyrics to all of their tracks.

A few weeks after my revelation to my friends, I had no shame at all proclaiming that I was a fan of the Spice Girls and still remain one today, I’m proud to say!

The album itself is a very solid pop project. The anchor tracks are obviously the insanely addictive Wannabe and profoundly under-rated, shiny funk/disco stylings of Say You’ll Be There, but every song on this album is good in its own right.

Next up is the audacious ballad 2 Become One which is followed by the TLC-imbibed slow funk, R&B roll of Love Thing, the wholly beautiful Mama, and then we get the brilliantly-paced, retro disco vibe of Who Do You Think You Are and the free flowing, mid-tempo flow of Something Kinda Funny.

The only tracks that are somewhat lacking, to my mind, are the two that close the album, the flimsy, languishing, repetitive Naked and the slow, dulled even, foreign language rap of If U Can’t Dance, but even they add to the strength of this album in their own way, of course.

1. Wannabe (Dave Way Alternative Mix) (03:25)
2. Say You’ll Be There (7-inch Radio Mix) * (04:09)
3. 2 Become 1 (Orchestral Version) (04:05)
4. Mama (Biffco Mix) (05:49)
5. Love Thing (12-inch Unlimited Groove Mix) (06:25)
6. Take Me Home (04:07)
7. Last Time Lover (Demo) * (04:05)
8. Feed Your Love (04:36)
9. If U Can’t Dance (Demo) * (03:36)
10. Who Do You Think You Are (Demo) * (03:49)
11. One of These Girls (03:33)
12. ‘Shall We Say Goodbye Then?’ * (00:53)

Tracks marked * are Previously Unreleased.

Some messages from the band:
“From the first wannabe baby steps to conquering the whole world with a team of Spices, thank you doesn’t seem enough to all of you who have supported us, followed in our footsteps, walked in our great big shoes and who have shared our dreams. It’s been 25 years of pure magic. Spice Girls forever!!!”

“To our diehard and loyal fans; without you there is no us – sending endless love and gratitude. Whoever you are, whatever your dreams – live them, be them. The Spice Girls motto is testament to that.”

Melanie C:
“25 years, wow! I have so many wonderful memories of writing, recording, promoting and touring this album and so many people to thank. This is the record that set us off on our incredible journey. A huge thank you to our fans and family all around the World. Thank you for always being there with your unrelenting support and making our dreams come true. My love and gratitude always.”

Melanie B:
“All I ever wanted was to be accepted and to make everyone around me – gay, straight, brown, black, shy or loud like me – to feel they can celebrate who they are and to be free to be themselves. All I hope – 25 years on – is that message has been heard loud and clear.”

“It’s true that in the end love IS all you need so I thank everyone who has ever bought a Spice Girls record or stood in the rain to greet us or got dressed up in pink, in a tracksuit, a ginger wig, a leopard print catsuit or put on Vic’s iconic pout!”

“We couldn’t let 25 years pass without thanking the fans for their incredible support. There are so many people who have played a part in the success of the Spice Girls throughout the years, you know who you are and we thank you.”

In closing, the album will come in a number of other formats, including a Zoetrope picture disc and limited edition colored vinyl and cassettes (containing the audio from the original album only), with each Girl having a specific color that corresponds across both vinyl and cassette editions.

The perfect collector’s items for any Spice Girls fan, the full original album has also been recreated in Dolby Atmos/ Apple Spatial Audio which will be available on Apple Music from October 29th, 2021.

Dolby Atmos is a revolutionary, immersive audio experience that goes beyond the ordinary listening experience and puts you inside the song in a spatial way, revealing every detail of the music with unparalleled clarity and depth.

Official Website

Spice Girls @ Facebook!

Spice Girls @ Instagram!

Spice Girls @ Twitter!

Title - Snowfall: The Tony Bennett Christmas Album [180g]
Artist - Tony Bennett

Columbia Records and Legacy Recordings, the catalog division of Sony Music Entertainment, announce the release of a new edition of Tony Bennett’s Snowfall: The Tony Bennett Christmas Album, available as a digital album or single 12″ vinyl LP on Friday, October 1ST, 2021.

The new edition of Snowfall: The Tony Bennett Christmas Album includes a restoration of the original album art by illustrator Bob Peak and a vinyl sleeve featuring original holiday paintings by Tony Bennett.

The album has been remixed and sonically enhanced for this 2021 pressing by producer/sound engineer (and Tony’s son) Dae Bennett, winner of seven Grammy Awards and a Primetime Emmy.

Released on October 6th, 1968 on Columbia Records, Snowfall: The Tony Bennett Christmas Album was Tony’s first holiday album. Originally produced by Jack Gold, Snowfall showcases ten swinging performances of perennial holiday classics as interpreted by the master pop vocalist, accompanied by a full orchestra conducted by Robert Farnon, the album’s musical arranger.

Tony and Farnon recorded the album in two historic sessions, laying down six performances at Columbia’s 30th Street Studios in New York and four tracks at CTS Bayswater in London.

Side A:
1. Snowfall
2. My Favorite Things
3. The Christmas Song
4. Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town
5. Medley: We Wish You A Merry Christmas / Silent Night, Holy Night / O Come, All Ye Faithful / Jingle Bells / Where Is Love
6. Christmasland

Side B:
7. Medley: I Love The Winter Weather / I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm
8. White Christmas
9. Winter Wonderland
10. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

From Rodgers and Hammerstein’s My Favorite Things down to a previously unreleased track (at the time), I’ll Be Home For Christmas (which is sung here in a jazzy fashion and was taken from The Jon Stewart Show), this stellar album still offers an array of Christmas songs that you’ll greatly enjoy and will add a glow to your holidays.

It boasts some of the greatest musical moments of the bright career of Tony Bennett, who believes that his key to success is making music that lasts. He is backed by an orchestra and a choir conducted by none other than a fine arranger/orchestrator, Robert Farnon, whose body of work has greatly influenced Johnny Mandel, Henry Mancini, Quincy Jones, John Williams and André Previn.

Thus, on this album, he brings a wealth of experience in the field of creative chart arrangements and gleaming orchestrations to Tony Bennett’s unique vocal artistry and timeless style.

Some of my favorites are the spectacular tracks that were recorded in London - The Christmas Song, White Christmas, Santa Claus Is Coming To Town – but the medley of I Love The Winter Weather / I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm is an absolute beauty!

His takes on Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, Winter Wonderland and the title track, Snowfall are also such delights and so remarkable and the inclusion of Where Is Love, an achingly beautiful theme song from the musical Oliver is such a surprise, but it blends harmoniously with the rest of the Christmas carols from the medley.

Christmasland, composed by Brian Farnon and Dennis Farnon, is a sentimental Christmas song that brings to mind fond memories of childhood. It is so melodious and Tony Bennett gives a heartfelt reading of the lyric making it one of the highlights from this collection.

With Tony Bennett and Robert Farnon teaming-up artistically in this album, I guarantee there’s not a single dull moment and there’s nothing to whine about. This is Christmas music that can warm your hearts even on the coldest winter day, so give it your welcoming ears and enjoy it with your Christmas celebrations!

Official Website

Title - Release Me 2 [180g Vinyl]
Artist - Barbra Streisand

Columbia Records and Legacy Recordings, the catalog division of Sony Music Entertainment, announce the release of Barbra Streisand’s Release Me 2, available as a digital album, CD digipak or single 12″ vinyl LP (standard black, various colors and even picture disc) on June 4th, 2021.

This new collection of ten previously unreleased sublime studio performances, recorded over the course of Barbra’s astounding career, opens on the impassioned, melodic plea for empathy toward the world’s unfortunate ones within Be Aware (recorded within the period of Stoney End and Barbra Joan Streisand) and the cultured, smooth Latin beats of You Light Up My Life.

Next up is her dulcet (albeit it, for the most part, a so-called talky vocal) duet ballad (from 2014) with Willie Nelson, the gently passive undertaking of I’d Want It To Be You (which, to be fair, also includes the heartwarming little highlight, when Willie sings, You’ll always be that Funny Girl to me, and Barbra responds, Awww, thanks Willie) which is itself followed one of my own personal favorites here, the emotional ballad Sweet Forgiveness.

The first side then rounds out on the ‘70s song, complete with casual vocal and gossamer strings, Living Without You and then the soaring reach of the delightfully hopeful One Day (A Prayer) (one of two songs written by Michel Legrand and Barbra’s pals the Bergmans).

The second side opens on the delicately Rainbow Connection, a duet with Kermit The Frog (!), here played as a waltz tempo, very upbeat and with Barbra’s vocal expressing appropriate childlike innocence throughout, and that is backed by a song that itself showcases early Barbra’s precise enunciation of every syllable and nailing of every note, Right As The Rain (which was actually recorded in 1962, before the version that was done for The Second Barbra Streisand Album).

The album then rounds out with the If Only You Were Mine, a jazz-lite upbeat duet with Barry Gibb, where he only scats, there’s no singing, but nonetheless a track where Barbra’s vocals sound as fresh and clear on this 2005 recording as they ever did on much of her earlier work, with the recording closing on the heartfelt ballad (again written by Michel Legrand and the Bergmans) Once You’ve Been In Love – and which was itself recorded with an orchestra in one take in the studio.

Side A
1. Be Aware
2. You Light Up My Life
3. I’d Want It To Be You
4. Sweet Forgiveness
5. Living Without You
6. One Day (A Prayer)

Side B
7. Rainbow Connection
8. Right As The Rain
9. If Only You Were Mine
10. Once You’ve Been In Love

Release Me 2 is available as a digital album as well as a CD digipak with a 32-page booklet–featuring liner notes by Barbra Streisand and Jay Landers, the album’s executive producers. Several collectible 12″ vinyl editions, art directed by Barbra Streisand, will be available in a variety of color packages, color vinyl pressings, and a special picture disc.

For the ultimate Barbra fan, Release Me 2 Collector Box Sets are available through The Thread Shop, Sony Music Entertainment’s merchandising division.

With three different amazing sets to select from and collect, each offers specially curated album inspired items, as well as a physical copy of Release Me 2.

The Box Sets are available for pre-order now at Barbra’s Official Store,

Official Website

Barbra Streisand - Be Aware (Official Music Video)

Title - Not In Kansas Anymore: A Prog Opera
Artist - Robby Steinhardt

For those not in the know, the late Robby Steinhardt and Solar Studios announce Robby’s first and only solo recording, Not in Kansas Anymore: A Prog Opera, releasing October 25th, 2021.

You know him as the legendary violinist, vocalist and front man for the band KANSAS, recording 9 albums which reached gold, platinum and double platinum status, and is now making another mark on the world with his first and only solo album.

The new album, Not in Kansas Anymore is a powerful, well thought-out offering of Prog Rock magic. Timely songs with incredible arrangements and virtuoso performances. Robby’s vocals and signature electric violin come through on this continuous work labeled a “Prog Opera”.

1. Tempest
2. Truth to Power (Only Truth Can Change the World)
3. Mother Earth (Is Calling You)
4. Rise of the Phoenix (Climb to Grace)
5. The Phoenix
6. Prelude
7. Dust In the Wind
8. Pizzacotto – (A Slice for Baby Boy Flynn)
9. Downtown Royalty
10. Not in Kansas Anymore
11. A Prayer for Peace (Bonus Track)

With Steinhardt’s only full-length music releases outside of Kansas having been with the mid ‘90s project Steinhardt-Moon (composed of himself and guitarist Rick Moon), here on the heartfelt prog rock of his one and only solo album, he comes out the gates in fine style on the earnest Tempest and the drivingly compelling Truth to Power (Only Truth Can Change the World).

Next up is the languishing beauty of Mother Earth (Is Calling You) and the prog rock duo of both Rise of the Phoenix (Climb to Grace) and The Phoenix, which are in turn backed by the eagerly flourishing Prelude and then we get a reworked, orchestral remake of the classic, and always immense hit Dust In the Wind.

The Celtic stylings found playfully within Pizzacotto – (A Slice for Baby Boy Flynn) are up next with that track being backed by the sweepingly gorgeous Downtown Royalty, the album rounding out on the free flowing Not in Kansas Anymore, coming to a righteous close on the wondrously emphatic, gently rousing bonus track, A Prayer for Peace.

In his only interview for the project, he spoke with Bill Shafer of PBS. Steinhardt was asked what the meaning behind the title Not in Kansas Anymore was. Steinhardt responded, “It’s no slight against the band, no never! My time with Kansas defined a big part of my life, of which I am very proud of. Ever since The Wizard of OZ, those words have become an American axiom for moving forward, you can never go back etc.” Robby laughed, “I guess it has a special meaning when it is fixed to me.”

The album, produced by Michael Thomas Franklin, is his latest production since the highly acclaimed Jon Anderson 1000 Hands Chapter One. Franklin used a similar approach using a large cast of renown musicians to lend their talents.

Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull, Steve Morse of Deep Purple/Dixie Dregs, Billy Cobham of Mahavishnu Orchestra, Bobby Kimball of Toto, Chuck Leavell of The Rolling Stones, Liberty Devitto (Drummer on Billy Joel’s hits), Jim Gentry, Pat Travers, Billy Ashbaugh (Moody Blues/Pat Benatar), Lisa Fischer (longtime vocalist for The Rolling Stones), 1000 Hands members Michael Franklin, Tommy Calton, Tim Franklin, Jocelyn Hsu, Rayford Griffin and Benoit Lajeunesse and many others including Orchestra and Choir.

The songs provide powerful lyrics, hard to forget choruses, combined with crafty playing. All this combined with Franklin’s lavish and complicated arrangements makes listening to Not in Kansas Anymore a wonderful hour well spent.

The stunning album artwork created by Tom Lupo of Magnificent Pictures and subliminal song quotes from the Wizard of OZ, are another added feature to this complex Prog Opera. Currently four videos are in the works.

Steinhardt was in a reborn state of mind in the months prior to finishing the record. He and wife Cindy were looking forward to a new chapter in their lives. He had started rehearsals and was preparing to hit the road in August when he became ill in May.

Robby’s musical vision, voice and violin lives on with his first and only solo album, Not in Kansas Anymore! Release was delayed due to Steinhardt’s passing July 17th, 2021.

Robby Steinhardt - Not In Kansas Anymore [Official Promo]

Official Website

Official Purchase Link

Title - Nowhere Else To Go [EP]
Artist - ELDR

For those not in the know, Nashville-based husband and wife Americana duo ELDR have just released their debut EP, entitled Nowhere Else To Go, this past October 29th, 2021.

Jameson Elder and Hanna Rae have both had successful careers on their own, but during the pandemic lockdown they decided to team up for ELDR and shared a live from the living room performance of the first single from the project, My Love Looks Good On You, last year.

Furthermore, they wrote and produced the EP almost entirely in their Nashville home while the nation was in lockdown. This project really started to just see if we could do music together, says Elder.

As a married couple with individual careers, that can be a bit tricky. We have both had careers as individual artists, but this is our first true collaborative project despite being together for almost eight years!

During the pandemic, the project turned into a way for us to process all of the news together. Our hope is that these songs provide some sort of salve for our listeners after a rough couple of years and hopefully bring a little joy into people’s lives.

ELDR have also released two new singles ahead of the EP release, starting with Safe With You (September 17th), followed by the title track on October 15th).

1. Coming Undone
2. Nowhere Else To Go
3. Safe With You
4. My Love Looks Good On You
5. You’re What makes A Good Day

This truly beautiful collection of harmonious folk-Americana opens on the muzzled density of Coming Undone and the mellifluously free flowing majesty of Nowhere Else To Go and then we get the jauntily upbeat Safe With You.

Next up is the softly cultured balladry of My Love Looks Good On You and then the EP comes to an all-too-soon close on the sonically pleasing, upbeat and joyous You’re What makes A Good Day.

Official Website

ELDR - My Love Looks Good On You [Live from the Living Room]

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Title - The Beatles and India (Songs Inspired by the Film)
Artist - Various

For those unaware, the newly-released double album, Songs Inspired By The Film The Beatles And India features a diverse cast of Indian artists (Vishal Dadlani, Kiss Nuka, Benny Dayal, Dhruv Ghanekar, Karsh Kale, Nikhil D’Souza, Anoushka Shankar, Farhan Ahktar, Soulmate and many others) all bringing their own musical styles, as well as contemporary and classical Indian influences and techniques to the record.

The album features Beatles’ songs written during their stay in Rishikesh, India including Mother Nature’s Son, Revolution, Sexy Sadie, Dear Prudence, Child of Nature among others. It also includes songs from their incredible catalogue which were colored by their earlier leanings to the magical sounds of India.

The hypnotic, lyrical soundtrack for The Beatles and India was written by award-winning composer Benji Merrison and recorded at Abbey Road Studio 2, the legendary home of The Beatles recording sessions, Budapest, Hungary and Pune, India.

Both a classically trained composer and a skilled music producer and engineer, Benji has scored music for projects across film, television, installations and events. His distinctive musical voice is in high demand and he is known for SAS: Red Notice, Forces of Nature with Brian Cox, Dynasties, General Magic.

CD 1: Songs Inspired By The Film
1. Tomorrow Never Knows (John Lennon / Paul McCartney) Performed by Kiss Nuka
2. Mother Nature’s Son (John Lennon / Paul McCartney) Performed by Karsh Kale / Benny Dayal
3. Gimme Some Truth (John Lennon) Performed by Soulmate
4. Across The Universe (John Lennon / Paul McCartney) Performed by Tejas / Mali
5. Everybody’s Got Something To Hide (Except Me And My Monkey) (John Lennon / Paul McCartney) Performed by Rohan Rajadhyaksha / Warren Mendonsa
6. I Will (John Lennon / Paul McCartney) Performed by Shibani Dandekar / Neil Mukherjee
7. Julia (John Lennon / Paul McCartney) Performed by Dhruv Ghanekar
8. Child of Nature (John Lennon) Performed by Anupam Roy
9. The Inner Light (George Harrison) Performed by Anoushka Shankar / Karsh Kale
10. The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill (John Lennon / Paul McCartney) Performed by Raaga Trippin
11. Back In The USSR (John Lennon / Paul McCartney) Performed by Karsh Kale / Farhan Ahktar
12. I’m So Tired (John Lennon / Paul McCartney) Performed by Lisa Mishra / Warren Mendonsa
13. Sexy Sadie (John Lennon / Paul McCartney) Performed by Siddharth Basrur / Neil Mukherjee
14. Martha My Dear (John Lennon / Paul McCartney) Performed by Nikhil D’Souza
15. Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) (John Lennon / Paul McCartney) Performed by Parekh & Singh
16. Revolution (John Lennon / Paul McCartney) Performed by Vishal Dadlani / Warren Mendonsa
17. Love You To (George Harrison) Performed by Dhruv Ghanekar
18. Dear Prudence (John Lennon / Paul McCartney) Performed by Karsh Kale / Monica Dogra
19. India, India (John Lennon) Performed by Nikhil D’Souza

This quite stunningly opulent new album opens on the pulsatingly translucent Tomorrow Never Knows by Kiss Nuka and an on the nose Mother Nature’s Son by Karsh Kale and Benny Dayal and those are backed up by a rousing, rap-imbibed Gimme Some Truth by Soulmate, a beautiful Across The Universe by Tejas and Mali Manoj, the funky rocker Everybody’s Got Something To Hide (Except Me And My Monkey) by Rohan Rajadhyaksha and Warren Mendonsa, and then we get breathtaking I Will by Shibani Dandekar and Neil Mukherjee.

Next up is the mid-tempo pop bounce of Julia by Dhruv Ghanekar and a quite spinetingling rendition of Child of Nature by Anupam Roy, and they themselves are followed by the stirringly ambient The Inner Light by Anoushka Shankar and Karsh Kale, the poptastic, lowed power pop of The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill by Raaga Trippin, a fairly frenetic, electronic-enhanced Back In The USSR by Karsh Kale and Farhan Ahktar, and the comes the gentle hipsway of I’m So Tired by Lisa Mishra and Warren Mendonsa.

Along next is one of my own personal favorites, the gentle funk rock of Sexy Sadie by Siddharth Basrur and Neil Mukherjee and then the handclapping extravaganza of Martha My Dear by Nikhil D’Souza, a heavenly Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) by Parekh and Singh, the album rounding out on the thunderous, jangling guitars of Revolution by Vishal Dadlani and Warren Mendonsa, an atmospherically-charged Love You To by Dhruv Ghanekar, the album closing on the ethereal Dear Prudence by Karsh Kale and Monica Dogra and a foot-tapping India, India by Nikhil D’Souza.

CD 2: Original Score - Composed by Benji Merrison
1. Main Titles
2. Diminutive Yogi
3. Crazy Trailblazer
4. Selling Like Hotcakes
5. A Few Lessons
6. Something Very Grateful
7. Rishikesh Bridge
8. Jai Guru Dev
9. A Simple Existence
10. Old Ashram
11. The Prayer Room
12. 50 Years Ago
13. Feeling and Heart
14. All Of India
15. Birthday Party
16. Spiritual Teacher
17. A Dealbreaker
18. Secrets Revealed
19. Down To Kerala
20. Small Gift To The World
21. End Credits

The award-winning film, The Beatles And India, is a unique historical chronicle of the enduring love affair between The Beatles and India that started more than half a century ago.

Rare archival footage, recordings and photographs, eye-witness accounts and expert comments along with location shoots across India bring alive the fascinating journey of George, John, Paul and Ringo from their high octane celebrity lives in the West to a remote Himalayan ashram in search of spiritual bliss that inspires an unprecedented burst of creative songwriting.

It is the first serious exploration of how India shaped the development of the greatest ever rock band and their own pioneering role bridging two vastly different cultures.

The Beatles And India was directed by Ajoy Bose and co-directed by Peter Compton. The film was produced by Reynold D’Silva (Renoir Pictures / Silva Screen Productions) with executive producers Adam Greenup and Keith Ferreira.

The documentary won Best Film Audience Choice and Best Music at the 2021 UK Asian Film Festival.

Amazon CD Purchase Link

Title - Distant Voices
Artist - David Janeway – ‘Distant Voices’

For those unaware, pianist David Janeway has just released his third trio recording, Distant Voices, on Steeplechase Records.

Indeed, this is the first recording for his working trio that features Billy Hart on drums and Cameron Brown, bass.

During this time of Covid, Janeway looks back and pays tribute to the many jazz pianists that have inspired and influenced him throughout his career.

There are selections by Hank Jones, Walter Bishop Jr. Bill Evans and Ellington as well as tributes written for Ahmad Jamal, Larry Willis, Cedar Walton and Herbie Hancock.

This is an exciting and interactive trio that demonstrates a connected symbiosis between the players. Michael Nastos writes in his review, “This is an excellent recording, and the more you listen, the more compelling the music becomes. This could easily be one of the Top Ten Jazz CD’s on 2021, and maybe one for the ages.”

3. BLUE SERGE (4:58)
4. MOONTRANE (4:20)
5. GARDENIA (6:21)
6. ONE FOR CEDAR (5:07)
7. BRIGITTE (4:59)
9. EXCURSION (5:01)
11. IN PASSING (3:14)
12. NEFERTITI (6:53)
13. MOVIN’ ON (5:42)

Opening this vibrantly heartfelt new album are the lushly free flowing orchestrations of both SWEET AND LOVELY and MINOR CONTENTION and they are backed seamlessly by the more dulcetly ambient BLUE SERGE, the upbeat and perky MOONTRANE, the late night, smoky club-imbibed, upright bass-led GARDENIA and then get the swinging hipsway of ONE FOR CEDAR and the low, cultured ebb of BRIGITTE.

Up next are two of my own personal favorites here on this new album, the pairing of the gently fervent WALTZ FOR ZWEETIE and the faster-paced EXCURSION, the forthright appeal of ALL OR NOTHING AT ALL, the album rounding out on the unadulterated gossamer of IN PASSING, the finger-snapping delights of NEFERTITI, closing on the upright bass-led, late night wonderment of MOVIN’ ON.

Janeway was born in Rochester, New York. He began studying classical piano at the age of five after moving to Detroit in 1960. Growing up in Detroit in the 60s and 70s, he became immersed in the rich tradition of R&B and Jazz, which afforded him the opportunity to work with such iconic artists, the Supremes, Marcus Belgrave, Wendall Harrison, Roy Brooks and many others before moving to NYC in 1978. After moving to New York City in 1978, Janeway studied with the late Albert Dailey for two years.

Active on the NYC scene since then, he has performed at Zanzibar, Visiones, Sonny’s, Village Gate for the Salsa Meets Jazz series, J’s, Sweet Basil, Sweet Rhythm, Cleopatra’s Needle, Birdland, Jazz Forum, and other NYC clubs. Janeway performed at the NYC Salsa Festival at Madison Square Garden in 1980, the Detroit Jazz Festival along with other festivals and clubs throughout the US and Europe.

He has played and/or recorded with Valery Ponomarev, Tom Harrell, Art Farmer, Sonny Fortune, Harvie S, Eddie Henderson, Benny Golson, David “Fathead” Newman, Bobby Sanabria, Angel Canales and Sabor, Jr. Cook, Michal Urbaniak and many others. Janeway has previously collaborated with Billy Hart and Sonny Fortune as a leader on his album, Inside Out, released on Timeless in 1993.

David Janeway - piano, Fender Rhodes
Cameron Brown – bass
Billy Hart – drums

Official Website

Title - Imaginary World
Artist - Randal Clark

For those unaware, Randal Clark is a contemporary and concert saxophonist based in Salt Lake City who began playing saxophone at the age of 9.

On his new release, Imaginary World (out now via Blue Hour Productions), Randal is joined with music icons including: Jeff Lorber, Jimmy Haslip, Randy Brecker, Vinnie Colaiuta, Gary Novak, Michael Thompson, Gerald Albright, Sonny Emory, David Mann, and many more.

Randal Clark’s Imaginary World stretches beyond the conscious boundaries and illuminates the dark corners. It’s clear from the onset that it is steeped in jazz tradition with a giant foothold on both rhythmic and melodic foundations. Clark establishes himself early and never lets go.

Too often a buoyant blast off can ultimately fade away into the abyss of both the imaginary and conscious recesses of the mind or a once steaming groove can melt into the wallpaper. Even the most established of artists can find pacing to be a challenge.

Sequencing is an art form in itself. That said, it matters little without the right chops and strong compositions. Prolific songwriter Jeff Lorber is responsible for well over half of the material on this project.

As always, his tunes are bright and melodious. The keyboardist is also among the strong cast of musicians assembled for this recording. That list includes drummers Vinnie Colaiuta and Gary Novak, bassist Jimmy Haslip (who also produced), guitarists Mike Miller and Michael Thompson, as well as several others. There’s even a special guest appearance from Randy Brecker for good measure.

1. Trailblazer (feat. Jeff Lorber)
2. New Day
3. Daybreak (feat. Jeff Lorber)
4. Living Underground
5. Discovery (Extended Version) (feat. Michael Thompson)
6. Boulevard East
7. Tiger Lily
8. Looking Back
9. Turbocharged
10. Time’s Arrow (feat. Randy Brecker)
11. Imaginary World

This melodiously on fire album opens on the burning hot rhythms of Trailblazer (which also features Jeff Lorber) and the smooth jazz hipsway of New Day and backs those up with the low ebb of Daybreak (also featuring Lorber), the upbeat and gentle funk of Living Underground, before we are brought forth the truly mesmerizing Discovery (Extended Version) featuring Michael Thompson.

That gentle funk hook line continues on within the energetic Boulevard East and the paced Tiger Lily, before musical proceedings are brought down to balladry levels on the ornate, and aptly-named Looking Back, the finger-snapping melodies of Turbocharged, the album rounding out on more funk from Clark (this time featuring Randy Brecker) on the brilliant Time’s Arrow, closing on the lusciously orchestrated title track Imaginary World.

As a performer, Randal has been extremely busy performing as a jazz and classical soloist. He has appeared at numerous jazz festivals and concerts around the country as a featured performer.

He performs regularly with the Utah Symphony Orchestra and is a regular session musician for TV, movie, video games, and more. His most enjoyable performances have been with the Cannonball Band both as featured soloist and also sharing the stage with artists like: Gerald Albright, Eric Darius, Elan Trotman, Andrew Neu, Lebron Dennis, and Keith Anderson to name a few.

As a music educator, he has received numerous awards, including: The Utah State Office of Education Sorensen Legacy Award for Outstanding Music Educator, the Utah High School Activities Association award for Outstanding High School Music Educator, Utah Music Educator’s Association (UMEA) award for Outstanding High School Music Educator, and the National Band Association Outstanding Band Educator and Outstanding Jazz Educator award.

Amazon Purchase Link

Title - Free Jam Session
Artist - Avenue B Collective

For those unaware, the just-released Ave B Free Jam was brought together by Laurence Cook, Jacques Coursil, Warren Gale, and both Perry Robinson and Steve Tintweiss.

It is a collective extended improvisation recorded May 12th, 1967 in New York City with the source master recording 7.5ips ¼ track stereo reel.

The title lays it out: Five musicians looped and shimmered in an unplanned environment of a NYC Lower East Side apartment session. No audience but themselves; no leader, no tunes, no objective but the engine of their own ideas fusing immediacy, pace and momentum.

Perfectly balanced in the alloy are listening and flowing with the sounds. Here’s the raw edge of now, tempered by the etiquette of cooperative improvisation.

Troubadour Robinson was the veteran in this company, a recording artist twice over; all the others were close to the dawn of their careers.

Both trumpeters were poised “lead” players who had just made their mark in the avant-garde: Warren Gale, who had just recorded with drummer Jim Zitro, was destined for Stan Kenton’s Orchestra and a Bebop future; Parisian Coursil, who worked stateside with Sunny Murray and Bill Dixon, spent decades in academia before returning to music in his last years.

Twenty-year-old Tintweiss had already recorded with Patty Waters, Burton Greene and Frank Wright (alongside Coursil) for the ESP-Disk free jazz label. Laurence Cook still surges on as he did for years with Bill Dixon, Paul Bley, Bobby Naughton, the Purple Why and others.

With no track-listing, per say, this vibrantly heartfelt and at all times impassioned and cultured session was a continuous collective, extended acoustic, free-form, spontaneous, high-energy improvisation from start to finish!

Thus, for CD connoisseurs around the world, twenty-one track marks have been embedded to enable playlist and radio segment selections as desired for tracks 01–21. With a total stereo CD playing time of 78.42, trust me when I say that what you listen to hear today on this remastered musical wonderment from 1967 will change your life for the better. Of that you have my word.

”What bassist Steve Tintweiss captured on his stereo Tandberg deck, with near studio clarity, his label INKY DoT MEDIA now brings to thousands of ears. Unique and superlative in every regard, the Avenue B session meshes these two cherished trumpet voices with Perry Robinson’s only known appearance on bass clarinet. It’s a vital and early view of all these talents, and a thrilling ride”. — Ben Young, Winter 2020.

Official Purchase Link

Title - Serenade to Highland Park
Artist - Doug MacDonald

There are some musicians who earn the label “a players player”. Individuals who possess a quality and integrity that peers look up to, not for mere bursts of blazing notes or chops, but for the perfection of their performances and the joy they bring. Such a musician is West coast based Jazz journeyman guitarist Doug MacDonald.

“I’ve simply never lost my love affair for warm notes, a good standard and striving for the best performance”, states the guitarist. In that regard, MacDonald’s musicianship evokes thoughts of such artists as Chet Baker and Sinatra, to name a few, who performed and excelled in a particular style their entire careers while keeping it fresh for their audiences time after time.

Originally from Philadelphia, he began his career in Hawaii, where he played with Trummy Young and Gabe Balthazar, and with Del Courtney at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. Relocating to Las Vegas, Doug found himself immersed in a vibrant music scene, and began playing in lounges and showrooms with jazz greats, including Joe Williams, Carl Fontana, Jack Montrose, and Carson Smith.

On to Los Angeles, Doug played in the bands of Bill Holman, Ray Anthony, and John Clayton, and performed and recorded with Jake Hanna, Rosemary Clooney, Jack Sheldon, Bob Cooper, Ross Tompkins, Ray Brown, Buddy Rich, and Ray Charles. Doug also began recording and performing with his own trio and quartet, as well as his 13 piece ensemble, The Jazz Coalition.

His brand new album, Serenade to Highland Park (out November 16th, 2021) features MacDonald at the head of a trio with bassist Mike Flick and drummer Paul Kreibich.

Designed as a tribute to an area of Los Angeles that has been undergoing a renaissance, the music consists mostly of classic standards plus two of the guitarist’s originals.

1. Days of Wine and Roses
2. Manhã de Carnaval
3. Next Time You See Me
4. Hortense
5. Dearly Beloved
6. More Than You Know
7. Shadow Waltz
8. They Say It’s Wonderful Wonderful
9. Brazil
10. Serenade to Highland Park
11. Frenesi
12. You Stepped Out of a Dream

This lusciously tantalizing new album opens on the playfully joyful treatment of Days of Wine and Roses and the famous bossa nova (by Brazilian composer Luiz Bonfá and lyricist Antônio Maria) Manhã de Carnaval and follows those up with the infectious blues melodies within Next Time You See Me, MacDonald’s own jazz waltz Hortense, the gently frenetic Dearly Beloved, and then we get both the melodious More Than You Know and the spirited Shadow Waltz (taken in 4/4 time).

Up next are the finger-snapping delights of They Say It’s Wonderful Wonderful and their catchy rendition of Brazil, which are in turn backed by the thoughtfully heartfelt title track Serenade to Highland Park, the album rounding out on a rather swingin’ rendition of Frenesi, closing in the percussion-led, orchestrational wonderment of You Stepped Out of a Dream.

Most impressive here is the interplay between the three musicians. They listen closely to each other, immediately react, and play with creative intuition.

While MacDonald is in the lead, each of the musicians makes important contributions to the music, accompanying each other’s individual statements and thus forming a very attractive ensemble sound.

Official Website

Title - Feel Again
Artist - Elena Maque

Vocalist, composer and saxophonist Elena Maque was born in St. Petersburg, Russia. A university-trained musician, Maque has spent years honing her craft and wowing audiences throughout Russia, Europe, and the United States.

Her ability to cross-pollinate jazz with funk and pop has been a magnet for fans globally. As a result, it is not unusual to find a guest DJ scratching beats as Maque spices an up-tempo swing tune with sophistication while honoring the jazz vernacular in her execution.

Maque was already an established musician upon graduating from Mussorgsky College of Music in St. Petersburg, Russia. For a few years, she toured Russia and Europe with jazz Big Band led by Gennady Golshtein, “Saxophones of St. Petersburg.” This foundation gave her a strong focal point of style that illuminates her writing and informs her playing.

In 2019, Maque began collaborating and recording her debut album with Los Angeles-based legendary keyboardist and producer Scott Kinsey. The album is filled with six well-crafted originals and three innovative interpretations of well-known classics from the jazz, Brazilian and pop idioms.

Titled Feel Again (out November 19th, 2021), Maque as executive producer, and Kinsey as the music producer, collaborated on the project, taking a few tunes Maque had tracked with local musicians in Seattle and combined them with new sessions tracked in Los Angeles.

Featuring heavyweights such as Gary Novak (George Benson, Chick Corea, Alanis Morrisette), Hadrien Feraud (Thundercat, Chick Corea, Kamasi Washington), GRAMMY-winning guitarist Leonardo Amuedo (Herbie Hancock, Stevie Wonder, Chris Botti), the result is a tasteful blend of jazz, funk, Latin, and pop genres.

1. Hey Friend (3:30)
2. Lover Man (4:29)
3. The Girl From Ipanema (3:48)
4. Feel Again (3:50)
5. And I Love Here (4:34)
6. Weightless (3:42)
7. Autumn Rain (3:31)
8. Chance (3:42)
9. Like A Song (3:50)

Opening on the majestically beautiful, infectious groove of Hey Friend and the lonesome yearn, seductive and darkened hue of Lover Man, Maque backs those up seamlessly with the rhythmic, well-traversed Jobim tune The Girl From Ipanema (sung in both Portuguese and English), and the free flowing Summer’s breeze of the title track Feel Again.

Up next is the smoothly orchestrated Beatles track And I Love Here (off their A Hard Day’s Night album) and that is in turn followed by the dulcetly beautiful instrumental Weightless, the mid-tempo delights of Autumn Rain, the album rounding out on the thrill of new love on the blithe Chance, closing on the joyful, celebratory Latin rhythms found within the bountiful Like A Song.

Elena Maque: saxophones, vocal, executive producer
Scott Kinsey: piano, Rhodes, music producer
Hadrien Feraud: bass,
Gary Novak: drums
Leonardo Amuedo: guitar
Brad Dutz: percussion

Official Website

Title - Body & Soul
Artist - Alexander McCabe

Body and Soul (out now) is Alexander McCabe’s 6th album as a leader, it feature’s frequent collaborators Paul Odeh on piano, Ugonna Okegwo on Bass and Craig Wuepper on drums.

Each musician has their own impressive resumes in the jazz world, notably, Ugonna has been Tom Harrel’s bass player since 1997. Paul has worked with George Coleman and others and Craig has worked with Cedar Walton and others as well.

The album has four McCabe originals: Elena, a lilting waltz that McCabe plays the soprano sax on (named for his niece), If I See Her, a medium tempo ballad, Angela, also a ballad (named for Craig’s wife) and Christi’s Day an up-tempo Blues (named for an old friend) and also includes classic standards Body and Soul (Johnny Green) and John Coltrane’s Countdown.

1.Elena (6:45)
2.If I See Here (10:55)
3.Christi’s Day (5:17)
4.Body and Soul (7:33) (Johnny Green)
5.Angela (7:18)
6.Countdown (3:42) (John Coltrane)

Opening on the precociously flirty Elena and the aching yearn of If I See Here, those are seamlessly followed by the gently frenetic Christi’s Day, the free flowing orchestrated majesties of Green’s Body and Soul, the album rounding out on the dulcet mastering of Angela, closing on McCabe’s frantically cultured rendition of Coltrane’s Countdown.

Alexander McCabe is a saxophonist, pianist, and composer. Alexander was a featured soloist with the Ray Charles Orchestra. In addition, he also toured and played with the Chico O’Farrill Afro-Cuban Big Band.

Alexander’s music can be heard in many films and television shows, including A Beautiful Day in The Neighborhood, The Affair (SHO), the Chris Rock film Top Five, Breaking Bad (AMC), Nurse Jackie (Showtime), Skins (MTV), Damages (Fox) and many more. As a band member and songwriter for the popular ska band Mephiskapheles, he performed and toured the US and Europe. Mephiskapheles songs were featured prominently in MTV’s The Real Life. Alexander recorded with the techno artist Moby on the soundtrack to the James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies.

He’s a member of the George Coleman Octet, and has played and toured with many well-known jazz artists, including Harold Mabern, Clifford Jordan, Jimmy Cobb, and the actor Danny Aiello. He’s toured the UK and Europe and played at the Edinburgh, Vienne, North Sea, Pori, and Cork Jazz festivals. He has recorded extensively with a variety of artists.

McCabe says: “This is the best, and most satisfying album I’ve done as a leader. It was fun working with these guys, because not only are they great musicians, but also very close friends. We had several rehearsals, and they were all very involved with the musical/artistic process, they all contributed ideas that help make the music dynamic!”

Alexander McCabe: soprano, alto saxophones
Paul Odeh: piano
Ugonna Okegwo: bass
Craig Wuepper: drums

Official Website

Title - Crooked Roots (EP)
Artist - Hadley Kennary

For those unaware, Nashville-based indie-pop singer-songwriter Hadley Kennary has just released her EP, Crooked Roots this past October 29th, 2021.

Recorded in Nashville, this collection of five new songs finds Kennary tipping her musical hat to the early-2000s songwriter-pop she was raised on while introducing a fresh take on raw songwriting.

On this EP, Kennary makes her own musical collage: personal, multi-faceted storytelling rife with poetic prose, contagiously catchy melodies, hooky guitar lines, and undeniable pop sensibilities.

“Most of my songwriting is pretty personal, but this one really hits close to home,” Kennary says of the title track. “It’s bittersweet; there’s an amount of grief buried in it, realizing that there are versions of ‘home’ I’ll never get back, but it’s wrapped in gratitude for the colorful variety of places I do get to call home.”

1. Orbit
2. Crooked Roots
3. Possession of Pain
4. Everything Hurts
5. Love Like That

This quite stunningly opulent new EP from Kennary - someone to seriously watch out for – opens on the breathy, dancefloor-sculptured, ‘90s-imbibed summer’s breeze of Orbit and then we get the more forlornly reflective title track balladry of Crooked Roots.

Reverting back to that ‘90s soaring pop feel of the opening track, we next get the synth-pop flow of the expressive Possession of Pain which is itself followed by the foot-tapping, free flowing elegance of Everything Hurts, the EP closing (all too soon) on the lushly orchestrated, gently countrified swirl of Love Like That.

The EP was co-produced by Collin Pastore and Jake Finch, the same production duo who made Kennary’s 2019 buzz-worthy release, Habits. Kennary says of the new EP, “Making this project has helped to solidify a few of my roots that have grown over the last few years: holding myself accountable for things I regret, reminding myself how important it is to encourage people to feel what they need to feel (myself included), allowing myself to let people go, and acknowledging time is the only true healer.”

In closing, and as I honestly couldn’t have put this any better myself, PopMatters has described Kennary as “one part pop starlet, one part wandering troubadour” and by God, if that ain’t as perfect a musical description of her that could ever have been conjured.

Official Website

Hadley Kennary @ Instagram!

Hadley Kennary @ Facebook!

Hadley Kennary @ Twitter!

Hadley Kennary @ YouTube!

Title - Fools for Yule
Artist - Uptown Vocal Jazz Quartet

For those unaware, Uptown Vocal Jazz Quartet (“UVJQ”) is back just in time for the holidays!

The singing foursome and their supporting musicians have put their creative stamp on the timeless art of sizzling, swinging 4-part harmony vocal jazz over the years with their original songbook recordings and celebrated collaboration album with the late saxophonist Richie Cole, who declared the group “my new discovery, the whole package.”

Now UVJQ has released a long awaited holiday album entitled Fools for Yule which dishes up a smorgasbord of original holiday songs destined to become seasonal classics by the group’s principal songwriter and arranger Ginny Carr Goldberg (Fool for Yule, Whisper, It Doesn’t Feel Like Christmas and more), along with their delightfully fresh takes on beloved holiday classics.

Uptown Vocal Jazz Quartet’s celebrated songwriting, hip arrangements, joyful delivery and eclectic performance range are on full display with this very special seasonal album.

1. I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm (Irving Berlin, arr. Ginny Carr Goldberg) (3:24)
2. Fool for Yule (Ginny Carr Goldberg) (5:06)
3. Christmas Time is Here (Vince Guaraldi/Lee Mendelson, arr. Ginny Carr Goldberg) (4:08)
4. Winter Wonderland (Felix Bernard/Richard B. Smith, arr. Ginny Carr Goldberg) (3:30)
5. Whisper (Ginny Carr Goldberg) (3:32)
6. L’Amour Nous Entoure Ce Soir (Ginny Carr Goldberg) (5:18)
7. The Christmas Song (Mel Tormé/Robert Wells, arr. Ginny Carr Goldberg) (2:25)
8. Santa Dear, Where’s Mine? (Marilyn Shockey, arr. Ginny Carr Goldberg) (4:36)
9. St. Ita’s Vision (Samuel Barber, arr. Robert McBride) (2:37)
10. It Doesn’t Feel Like Christmas (Ginny Carr Goldberg) (4:29)
11. Silent Night (Traditional, arr. David Nokes) (3:58)

Running at just under 45 minutes, this festively luxurious album opens on the lush, finger-snapping harmonies of I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm and the joyous rhythms of the title track Fool for Yule which are followed seamlessly by the ornately sculptured balladry of Christmas Time is Here, their gorgeous rendition of the timeless Winter Wonderland, and both a vocally magical Whisper and the gentle French-imbibed hipsway of L’Amour Nous Entoure Ce Soir is brought forth.

Next up is the rather lovely Barber Shop Quartet-hued The Christmas Song and the solid fare of Santa Dear, Where’s Mine? which are in turn backed by the simply heavenly, operatically-imbibed St. Ita’s Vision, the album rounding out on the harmonious It Doesn’t Feel Like Christmas, closing out on a magnificent, soaringly acoustic Silent Night.

Official Purchase Link

Official Website

Title - Truth and Destiny
Artist - Fella Cederbaum

For those unaware, renaissance woman Fella Cederbaum will release an album of poetry and original music, Truth and Destiny on November 12th, 2021 via MahniVerse Productions.

On Truth and Destiny, psychotherapist-turned-poet Cederbaum aka MahnoDahno, shares a lifetime of insights on how to transcend disruption – and thrive!

Indeed, isolation and lockdown led to the creation of Truth and Destiny, the debut recording of artistic polymath Cederbaum. On the brand new debut album, the multi-talented author recites a dozen of her poems while performing her original compositions on piano and keyboards.

Coming to terms with the past, cherishing the present and facing the future with lifted spirits are among the themes Cederbaum explores on Truth and Destiny, the first recording from the popular poet who has authored three books: the well-reviewed Of Life and Other Such Matters, Volumes 1 and 2, which came out in 2018 and 2019, and That’s Why, set for 2022 publication.

1. When Thoughts Stick To Your Mind
2. The Orchid And The Daisy
3. No Gyroscope
4. The Door
5. Unlive The Lived
6. Desires
7. Truth
8. Sprinkled Bubbles
9. Eternally Tickled
10. Dance With Me
11. Will You Hold Me
12. Destiny

This debut recording from the internationally recognized poet, composer, filmmaker and artist opens on the classically backed, soothing set of Have you? questions, that one and all you know you have indeed considered or been through, and travels on through other such poems, such as letting go of the last thought you were holding, of the last words you were knowing, or the last dream of your past.

And, amongst others, when all hope for the future has been thrown out (The Door), the piano-backed poems of inner bliss (Sprinkled Bubbles) and of when you are finally tired of all your endless thoughts and yet how new ones keep flooding in (Eternally Tickled), and the penultimate wonderment and spiritual wanderings of when it is time to release all your stories of old into the universe (Will You Hold Me).

With Truth and Destiny, Cederbaum offers her poetry as a welcome guide in navigating the current difficulties we are all experiencing, and fining opportunities for self-discovery in the Covid era, challenging us to look at ourselves with acceptance and kindness.

Her musings on truth, love, loyalty and friendship are often soothing though always thought-provoking, replete with words of wisdom that encourage and reassure like a spa visit for the mind and soul.

Oh, and besides writing and performing the music and poetry, Cederbaum is also the producer of Truth and Destiny.

Cederbaum has built an enthusiastic global following for her poetry as a regular guest on WABC radio, broadcast in the New York tri-state area. She has been featured regularly on the station’s weekly Poetry Corner segment, as well as on international streams and widely-available podcasts creating a burgeoning social media presence and earning kudos from the likes of coaching guru Tony J. Selimi.

Official Website

Fella Cederbaum @ Facebook!

Title - Dear Onda Wahl
Artist - Lizzie & The Makers

For those unaware, NYC-based Lizzie & The Makers have released their third single Mojo Hand today, accompanied by a dark, mysterious music video that ends with a ghoulish twist.

The otherworldly track is the third single from their sophomore studio album Dear Onda Wahl (out now independently) which was produced by renowned producers Reeves Gabrels (David Bowie, Tin Machine) and Mario J. McNulty (David Bowie, Prince).

Mojo Hand - Lizzie & the Makers - YouTube Mojo Hand - Lizzie & the Makers [OFFICIAL VIDEO]

I wanted to make a video somewhere in the woods and incorporate a spooky séance of sorts, says frontwoman Lizzie Edwards of the ominous witchy video treatment, produced by Alphawave Studios in New Jersey.

We filmed at Tenafly Nature Center in New Jersey that had all of these creepy little fairy houses scattered throughout the forest. Then, inspired by The Ring, we used a filter to create dark overtones and a glitchy effect.

Recorded at Mission Sound Recording in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, LP Dear Onda Wahl threads rootsy, shoegazey, psychedelic layers throughout its core. Though influenced by traditional music genres, we were also heavily influenced by David Lynch and Twin Peaks in writing this album. So there is always a little bit of old and familiar mixed with alien, fantasy and the unexpected in our music, remarks Edwards.

1. Lover By Proxy
2. Mermaid
3. Magic River
4. Bottle
5. LES Idiots
6. Waiting For The Teeth
7. Dear Onda Wahl
8. Tell Her
9. Mojo Hand

Opening on the thunderous, drum-led, swamp rocker Lover By Proxy and the free flowing, ‘70s-imbied rock hipsway found within Mermaid, they are followed by the atmospherically-charged, sultry blues of Magic River, the bouncy pop-rock of LES Idiots, and then the reverberating vocal stance of the hard-stanced Bottle.

Next up is the gently-gated swash of prog-imbued mellowness within the cathartic, slow rock jam Waiting for the Teeth, the rambunctious title track Dear Onda Wahl (a play on words that refers to a metaphorical letter Lizzie wrote to a mounted hunting trophy at the bar where she worked, i.e Deer On The Wall), the album rounding out on their yearningly translucent approach to the forlorn Tell Her, closing (all too soon) on the rousing, hauntingly sonic Mojo Hand (featuring great guitar work, as always, from Reeves Gabrels).

The most exciting thing about working on recording the album was the music and the people themselves, comments Reeves Gabrels. Lizzie is a distinctive singer and she and Gregg McMullen are great songwriters with a sense of rock tradition and a willingness to push the music forward.

Lizzie & The Makers’ debut album, Fire from the Heart of Man was released in 2015, followed by the EP Meanwhile… three years later. A 2017 concert collection Live at Rockwood Music Hall conveyed The Makers’ famously visceral stage show.

Lizzie & The Makers is singer/songwriter Lizzie Edwards, guitarist Greg McMullen, bassist Brett Bass (Gregg Allman, Bernie Worrell), drummer Steve Williams (Sadé, Digable Planets, Keith Richards, David Byrne) and keyboard player Rob Clores (Black Crowes, Jesse Malin).

Lover By Proxy - Lizzie & The Makers [Official Music Video]

Official Website

Title - Tomorrow is Delayed
Artist - Professor Tip Top

For those not in the know, Professor Tip Top is one of the top progressive rock bands in all Scandinavia! Following a series of classic albums, this critically-acclaimed Norwegian rock band is still highly-regarded and they continue to fuel the musical interest of fans on their brand new album Tomorrow is Delayed (out now via Apollon Prog Records).

Long time Professor Tip Top fans continue to witness the band’s evolution, shining alight on the band’s lead guitarist and primary songwriter, Sam Fossbakk.

That continued evolution moves forward with the recent addition of the band’s new lead singer Sonja Otto as well as the tight rhythm section of Stein Høgseth (bass) and Charlie Wise (drums).

Debuting on Tomorrow is Delayed, Ms. Otto is a fine singer and she adds in her tasty keyboard sound too and the broad scope and definitive sound of the 8-track, 46 minute album makes it the strongest PTT album yet, in my humble opinion.

Each track is filled with thoughtful lyrics, making a mix of pop, rock and electronic-flavored psychedelic prog music. Even with all the moving music on the first four tracks, the album reaches its zenith on the title track, which appears as track 5 on the CD.

1. Erebus (3:27)
2. In The Mirror (07:07)
3. Under The Crystal Stars (04:02)
4. The Ghost Within (05:55)
5. Tomorrow Is Delayed (05:35)
6. Beneath The Silence (07:43)
7. Objet Petit a (06:11)
8. Earth (03:05)

This retro-inspired progressive, melodic and psychedelic music album opens on the drum-led, melancholic, slow funk rhythms of Erebus and the choir-esque, goth-lite swarth of In The Mirror and backs those up seamlessly with the melodically-created, guitar hipsway of Under The Crystal Stars and then the velvet gossamer of The Ghost Within is brought forth.

Next up is one of my own personal favorites, the swirling Ren-prog vibe of the title track, Tomorrow is Delayed and that is itself followed by the Floyd-imbed Beneath The Silence, this simply breathtakingly opulent album rounding out on the expansively psychedelic Objet Petit a, closing on another session of melancholic rhythms within Earth.

Essential for listeners of 21st century progressive rock, Tomorrow is delayed is already reaching North American ears with the band even as we speak preparing a brand new album for release late 2021/ early 2022 re: Lanes Of Time.

Official Purchase Link

Professor Tip Top @ Facebook!

Title - Astral Café
Artist - Jimmy Ryan

Following his 2017 solo album 21st Century Riffology, Jimmy Ryan is back in action with a new album that some long-time fans are calling his finest musical achievement to date.

Released in 2021, the 13-track Astral Café finds the guitar legend behind the Flyin’ Ryan Brothers in stellar form.

As the co-founder of The Flyin’ Ryan Brothers, Jimmy Ryan and his brother Johnny Ryan released 7 albums between 19999-2011 and Astral Café brings his sound back alive and well in the roaring ‘20s.

Although Jimmy Ryan released his solo album, 21st Century Riffology to favorable critical acclaim in 2017, the 2021 release of Astral Café proves to be a most auspicious release.

No guitar genre is overlooked on Astral Café – from new takes on the soaring hard rock instrumental sound to inspired symphonic fusion instrumentals, couple with several vocal tracks featuring Jimmy’s vocals.

Every track here has something to offer long time Flyin’ Flynn Brothers fans.

1. Starlord (4:16)
2. Shatterbrain (5:21)
3. Crossroads (5:29)
4. Earthrise (2:57)
5. Skydance (4:35)
6. Black Ice (3:35)
7. I’m Ready (5:09)
8. Dulcinea (3:31)
9. Beserker (4:12)
10. Plectrumelectrum (4:53)
11. Dreadhulk (1:51)
12. Celestial Voice (8:07)
13. Quiet Flight (8:12)

This vibrantly alive and heartfelt new album opens on the symphonic trio of Starlord, the energetic Shatterbrain and Crossroads, and then brings us the sculptured Earthrise and then both the diligently maneuvered Skydance and the fusional dexterity of Black Ice.

Next up is one of my own personal favorites, the vibrant allure of I’m Ready which is itself backed by the dulcet tones of Dulcinea, the aprly-named Beserker, the brilliantly-named Plectrumelectrum, the tour-de-force that is Dreadhulk, the album coming to a close on the thrilling Celestial Voice, closing on the beautifully free flowing, eight minute Quiet Flight.

Adding to the sound of Astral Café is drummer and album co-producer Dab Van Schindel, whose style combines both power-rock combined with a jazz-fusion dexterity.

Fans that miss the guitar interplay between Jimmy and brother Johnny will note the appearance of Johnny Ryan on the album’s eight-minute closer Quiet Fight.

In closing, when it comes to the classic instro-rock sound you would be challenged to find a more talented composer / artist than guitar great Jimmy Ryan.

Official Website

Title - Torch Light
Artist - The Breakers

Hot on the heels of their two most recent, critically-acclaimed albums, including the 2020 release of Voodoo Treatment as we as an EP from late 2020 / early 2021 entitled A Date with Destiny, Chicago’s prolific instrumental surf-rock band The Breakers return in style with Torch Light.

Indeed, the 18-track Torch Light clearly demonstrates just how and why The Breakers have evolved into one of the most prolific instrumental combos of the early 2020’s surf-rock scene.

In all honesty, calling The Breakers a creative surf-rock collective would be an understatement as just about every genre of the modern day guitar instrumental sound is explored to the max on this brand new album.

1. A Trip Through Life (2:20)
2. Ocean Of Fire (2:10)
3. Wisconcentration (3:06)
4. Torch Light (3:58)
5. Escalator For Two (2:51)
6. The Wreck of The Edmund Fitzgerald (3:23)
7. Riot (2:01)
8. Blue Light Run (3:43)
9. The Other Side of The Clock (3:09)
10. Guilty As Charged (3:24)
11. Rum With Me (2:47)
12. Tide Pool (2:22)
13. The Most Trouble I’ve Ever Been In (2:08)
14. Orphans of The Storm (3:44)
15. Afternoon Moon (2:17)
16. Bitchin’ Board Bust Out (2:26)
17. Never To Be Found (1:40)
18. Egyptian Surf (2:24)

The wonderful, simply divine new album from The Breakers opens on the laid back rock hipsway of A Trip Through Life and the upbeat Ocean Of Fire and backs those up seamlessly with the funky Wisconcentration, the free flowing title track Torch Light and then we get the emotive rhythms of Escalator For Two and the reverberated guitar work of The Wreck of The Edmund Fitzgerald.

Next up is the aptly-named Riot which is in turn followed by the screechingly, surf rock empowered ‘Blue Light Run, and then comes the melodic The Other Side of The Clock, the sterner guitar stance of Guilty As Charged, the mid-tempo rock and underlying percussion of Rum With Me and then we get the power surf duo of both Tide Pool and The Most Trouble I’ve Ever Been In.

This quite wonderful new album then rounds out with the fairly translucent, psych reverb rock of the brilliantly sculptured Orphans of The Storm, the finger-snapping Afternoon Moon, the more traditional fare of Bitchin’ Board Bust Out, closing on the wishy-washy reverb psych rock of Never To Be Found and the aptly-named Egyptian Surf.

As on their earlier albums, Torch Light features the imaginative and magnetic guitar work of Jim Abrahams along with the expert Breakers rhythm section of Marc Lockett (drums, percussion), and Jayson Slater (bass).

On top of highlighting the core Breakers band, Torch Light also features guest spots from other fine musicians including Bruno Kriese (bass on Escalator For Two), Dan Klapman (sax), Gary Kretchmer (trumpet) and Jeff Bond (guitar), with the icing on the cake being contributions from Breakers producer Craig Williams (production, guitar).

Official Purchase Link

The Breakers @ Facebook!

Title - Energy Overload
Artist - Carmine Appice and Fernando Perdomo

Fiery guitarist Fernando Perdomo meets cool as ice drummer Carmine Appice on this once in a lifetime clash of the titans entitled Energy Overload!

This all-instrumental, and massively enjoyable new album features some mind blowing original material plus killer cover versions of Paul McCartney’s Maybe I’m Amazed, Rod Stewart’s Da Ya Think I’m Sexy? (which was co-written by Appice), and more!

See below for the music video out now for the high energy Rocket To The Sun!

1. Blown Speaker Boogie
2. Funky Jackson
3. Energy Overland (feat. Derek Sherinian)
4. Flower Child
5. Rocket to The Sun
6. Pure Ecstasy (feat. Derek Sherinian)
7. The Triumph
8. Maybe I’m Amazed (feat. Durga McBroom)
9. Little Havana, Big Havana
10. Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?
11. Starstream
12. Thunder
13. Reprise (Hidden Track)

Opening this free wheelin’ rock extravaganza is the dutiful Blown Speaker Boogie and the aptly-named Funky Jackson and they are followed seamlessly by the formidable title track rocker Energy Overland (feat. Derek Sherinian), the beautifully crafted Flower Child and then the all-hands-to-the-pump vibe of Rocket to The Sun.

Next up is another taste of their tantalizingly, Hammond-imbed, funky stance on Pure Ecstasy (feat. Derek Sherinian) and the soaring The Triumph, which are in turn backed by a quite brilliant take on McCartney’s Maybe I’m Amazed (feat. Durga McBroom), a rhythmically rockin’ Little Havana, Big Havana, a swashy reggae take on Stewart’s Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?, the album rounding out on the swashbuckling Starstream, closing on the forthright rock of Thunder (and a quick :39 second guitar and drum trade off entitled Reprise).

Carmine Appice & Fernando Perdomo - Rocket To The Sun (Official Music Video)

Official Purchase Link

Title - This Is My War
Artist - Breed Of Aggression

For those not in the know, BREED OF AGGRESSION was born out of Scott McClellan and Susie Hoffman Beahm’s shared goal to create extreme metal that is organic, free, and without defining limits to their sound.

Their first album, This Is My War (released worldwide on Dark Star Records on November 5th, 2021) exemplifies that approach perfectly, delivering eight intense tracks produced by Destrophy frontman and guitarist, Ari Mihalopoulos, that boldly announce the arrival of this dynamic duo.

1. Dance With the Devil
2. Unmasked
3. This is My War
4. I am the Enemy
5. Cicada
6. Driver of the Nail
7. We are the Strong
8. Aftershock

This thunderously loud, melodically vibrant new album opens on the free flowing rock majesty of Dance With the Devil and the foot-pounding Unmasked and then comes the rock-tensity of the title track This is My War and the Goth-imbibed, drum-led, breathy guitar rocker I am the Enemy.

The throaty vocal and swirling guitars of Cicada make this a definitive stand out track and that is itself followed by the rhythmically passionate metal sound of Driver of the Nail, the album rounding out on the heartily euphoric We are the Strong, closing on the frenetically-paced brilliance of Aftershock.

Tony Martin, former Black Sabbath lead singer on BREED OF AGGRESSION, Susie sings really well and the talent is surely there, the tracks that stand out for me are Unmasked and I Am The Enemy.

Susie Hoffman Beham discusses making the album, This album has been two years in the making and I couldn’t ask for a better partner in its creation. The landscape Scott painted allowed me to open my mind and create something that came organically and without boundaries.

Scott McClellan talking about meeting Susie, I had been writing a metal album and was in search of a singer for it for a while, Through mutual friends I was introduced to Susie, I asked her to audition, the first song I was completely blown away by her power!

I was not looking for a female vocalist for this album, when I had heard her voice, my opinion was changed right away. Her skill stands out like no other in both male and female metal singers, that being said BREED OF AGGRESSION was born.

Breed of Aggression - Unmasked (Official Music Video)

Official Purchase Links

Official Website

Breed Of Aggression @ Instagram!

Breed Of Aggression @ Facebook!

Title - Live At The Gong Family Unconventional Gathering
Artist - Gong

The Gong Family Unconvention at the Melkweg club in Amsterdam in November 2006 was a unique 3-day event in which all the surviving original members of this legendary psychedelic band came together and, after performing their own individual sets, performed once again as Gong.

This climactic and joyful 2hr 16min Gong live set entitled Live At The Gong Family Unconventional Gathering was beautifully captured for this DVD video and for the first time CD audio recording (and is now available as a glorious tri-fold digipak with 16 page booklet!)

This was the last time that Gong played with the full “classic” line-up (minus just Pierre Moerlen on drums, who died the year before).

1. You Can’t Kill Me (from the album ‘Camembert Electrique’)
2. Radio Gnome Invisible (from the album ‘Flying Teapot’)
3. Tomorrow Afternoon (I Am Your Fantasy) (from ‘Camembert Electrique’)
4. Dynamite / I Am Your Animal (from ‘Camembert Electrique’)
5. Flute Salad (from the album ‘Angel’s Egg’)
6. Oily Way (from ‘Angel’s Egg’)
7. Outer Temple (from ‘Angel’s Egg’)
8. Inner Temple (from ‘Angel’s Egg’)
9. Zero The Hero and the Witch’s Spell (from ‘Flying Teapot’)
10. I Am Your Pussy (from ‘Flying Teapot’)
11. Tropical Fish (from ‘Camembert Electrique’)
12. Selene (from ‘Camembert Electrique’)

This quite stunningly opulent double album and video – with a setlist that is basically Gong’s greatest hits, drawing from Camembert Electrique and the Planet Gong trilogy from the 1970s, with the added bonus of Magdelene from 2000’s Zero to Infinity - opens on the free-flowing You Can’t Kill Me and the psych rock ambiance of Radio Gnome Invisible and backs those up seamlessly with the translucent, Bjork-esque Tomorrow Afternoon (I Am Your Fantasy), a rather deranged Dynamite / I Am Your Animal, the electronically synced wonderment of Flute Salad and then the all-out funk of the brilliant Oily Way.

Up next is the wishy washy vibe of the pairing of jazz lite outings, Outer Temple and Inner Temple which are in turn followed by one of my own personal favorites, the epically excellent Zero The Hero and the Witch’s Spell, with the first disc rounding out on the ‘70s rock of I Am Your Pussy and the perfect slide from the gently frenetic percussion of Tropical Fish into the quite breathtaking Selene (both from ‘Camembert Electrique’).

1. I Never Glid Before (from ‘Angel’s Egg’)
2. Prostitute Poem (from ‘Angel’s Egg’)
3. Magdalene (from the album ‘Zero To Infinity’)
4. A Sprinkling of Clouds (from the album ‘You’)
5. She Is the Great Goddess (Magick Mother Invocation) (from ‘You’)
6. Master Builder (from ‘You’)
7. The Isle of Everywhere (from ‘You’)
8. You Never Blow Yr Trip Forever (from ‘You’)

The second disc opens on the tremendously enriched I Never Glid Before and the trippy Prostitute Poem and follows those up in turn with the funk rock of Magdalene, the rock opera A Sprinkling of Clouds, the veritable spoken word majesty of the space rock-imbibed She Is the Great Goddess (Magick Mother Invocation), before coming to a righteous close on the frenetically-challenged jammer Master Builder, the meanderingly magnificent, ten minute long percussion-led opus The Isle of Everywhere, and finally a rather masterfully trippy version of their nearly 18 minute space rocker You Never Blow Yr Trip Forever (from ‘You’).

Released by G-Wave Records through UK distributors SRD. Digital release via Ingrooves (North and South America) and Orchard (UK & rest of world).

The line-up for this unique and special performance:
Daevid Allen - Guitar, Voice
Gilli Smyth - Voice, Space Whisper
Steve Hillage – Guitar
Didier Malherbe - Flute, Soprano Sax, Duduk
Theo Travis - Tenor Sax
Tim Blake - Synthesizer, Voice
Miquette Giraudy – Synthesizer
Mike Howlett – Bass
Chris Taylor – Drums

Gong - Radio Gnome Invisible - from the 2006 Amsterdam Unconvention

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Title - Songs of the Polka King – The Ultimate Collection
Artist - Frank Yankovic & Friends

In the annals of home-grown American ethnic music, Frank Yankovic (1915 – 1998) stands alone, above all others, in terms having an eight-decade career marked by transcendent success.

He was beloved within the Slovenian community in which he was rooted and with the general record buying public who embraced his string of “cross-over” hits, acknowledgement of his role as “America’s Polka King” and was, in fact, the very first artist to win a GRAMMY® in the Polka category.

He recorded an estimated 200 + albums and capped off his reign with the release of Songs of the Polka King in 1995 and, finally, Songs of the Polka King, Vol. 2, issued just before his passing.

Now these two historic Grammy-nominated albums have been digitally remastered and combined by Cleveland International Records appropriately titled Songs of the Polka King – The Ultimate Collection on CD and as a 2 LP set, available on vinyl for the very first time (set for release on November 12th, 2021).

1. Introduction – with Cowboy Jack Clement
2. Just Because – with Little Joe Hernandez
3. Who Stole the Kishka – with Weird Al Yankovic
4. Hoop-Dee-Doo – with Riders In The Sky
5. Blue Skirt Waltz - with Chet Atkins and Margaret Bailey
6. Too Fat Polka – with Drew Carey
7. Cleveland the Polka Town – with Polka All Stars
8. The Beer Barrel Polka – with Chas and Dave
9. In Heaven There is No Beer – with Eddie Blazonczyk
10. The Bar Room Polka – with Cowboy Jack Clement
11. Zivili Brace, Zivili Sestra - with Johnny Krizancic
12. For Old Times Sake with Joey Miskulin
13. The Night Frank Yankovic Came to Town with David Allan Coe and Roger Martin
14. The Pennsylvania Polka with Gary Chapman
15. Hey Little Sweetheart – with Lenny Gomulka
16. My Melody of Love - with Big Chuck & Lil’ John/Eddie Blazonczyk
17. Milwaukee Polka – with Cowboy Jack Clement
18. That Silver-Haired Daddy of Mine – with Don Everly
19. I Wanna Call You Sweetheart – with Lisa Silver and Joey Miskulin
20. Baby Doll Polka – with Lynn Marie Rink
21. Play, Play Your Accordion with a Tribute to Frank Yankovic narrated by Tony Petkovsek
22. The Yankovic Medley – with Zeke and Charlie and the Gang
23. Who Stole the Kishka - with Kinky Friedman

The album opens on a musical introduction from Cowboy Jack Clement before sliding seamlessly into the upbeat Just Because (with Little Joe Hernandez), the joyously clap-happy Who Stole the Kishka (with the great Weird Al Yankovic), the twirling swirls of Hoop-Dee-Doo (with Riders In The Sky), and then we get the engaging trio of the lush Blue Skirt Waltz (with Chet Atkins and Margaret Bailey), a track that ... goes out to all the sexy people in the house, Too Fat Polka (with comedian Drew Carey), and then the sturdy Cleveland the Polka Town with the Polka All Stars.

Up next is the foot-tapping The Beer Barrel Polka (with Britain’s Chas and Dave) and the informative In Heaven There is No Beer (with Eddie Blazonczyk) and they are in turn backed by the upbeat The Bar Room Polka (with Cowboy Jack Clement), the free flowing melodies of Zivili Brace, Zivili Sestra (with Johnny Krizancic ), the old-time feel of For Old Times Sake (with Joey Miskulin), the polka-rocker The Night Frank Yankovic Came to Town (with David Allan Coe and Roger Martin), and then the rousing trio of The Pennsylvania Polka (with Gary Chapman), the lively hipsway of Hey Little Sweetheart (with Lenny Gomulka ) and then the chatty My Melody of Love with Big Chuck & Lil’ John/Eddie Blazonczyk.

Continuing onward at a fair melodic lick, along next is the organ-imbued Milwaukee Polka (with Cowboy Jack Clement) and the balladry of That Silver-Haired Daddy of Mine (with the late, great Don Everly), and they are in turn backed by the vivacious I Wanna Call You Sweetheart (with Lisa Silver and Joey Miskulin), the joyous Baby Doll Polka (with Lynn Marie Rink), the album rounding out with the narrated Play, Play Your Accordion (with a Tribute to Frank Yankovic narrated by Tony Petkovsek), the full on Polka genius of The Yankovic Medley (with Zeke and Charlie and the Gang), coming to a merry close on a 2021 version of Who Stole the Kishka with Kinky Friedman.

Steve Popovich, Cleveland International’s late founder, had a vision for Frank Yankovic who was an enduring presence not only in Cleveland where there’s a Frankie Yankovic Square -- at the intersection of East 152nd St. and Waterloo - but throughout the nation and the world where polka traditions abide.

Popovich assigned Riders In The Sky’s Joey Miskulin to co-produce the albums and the logic of that decision was implicit insofar as Miskulin, as a child accordion prodigy, had been mentored by Yankovic who took him on the road at the age of 13.

The recording sessions for both albums attracted numerous nationally recognized polka and country luminaries who joined Yankovic. His recording partners included, among many others, Cowboy Jack Clement, Little Joe Hernandez, Riders In The Sky, David Allan Coe, Don Everly, Kinky Friedman as well as Eddie Blazonczyk and Lenny Gomulka.

Even now, as polka in America has evolved into many different regional, ethnic, and generational variants, it is Yankovic who remains the undisputed champion who united music fans with his brilliant musicianship, unbridled enthusiasm and a sense of joy that’s palpable.

Weird Al Yankovic (no relation) even remarked just a few days before he recorded with Frank, “People talk a lot about alternative music, but polka’s the only alternative out there right now, so polka players are the hippest of hip.”

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Title - American Babylon: 25th Anniversary Edition [2CD]
Artist - Joe Grushecky & the Houserockers

For those unaware, the anticipation is building for the upcoming re-release of American Babylon, the 1995 album by Pittsburgh rock legends Joe Grushecky And The Houserockers.

The 25th Anniversary Edition of the album, produced by Bruce Springsteen, will be out on Friday, Oct. 29th, 2021 from Cleveland International Records and offers not only the original album’s twelve tracks but also three bonus tracks that are demos Grushecky and Springsteen worked on together before the album was recorded.

Beyond that, there is an entire companion disc consisting of 13 tracks recorded live with Springsteen joining Joe and the Houserockers on stage at Nick’s Fat City in Pittsburgh during the band’s “October Assault Tour.”

While the expanded edition of American Babylon is set for digital and streaming and a 2CD release right about now, a quite wondrous 2LP deluxe vinyl set will follow early in 2022.

Disc 1:
1. Dark and Bloody Ground
2. Chain Smokin’
3. Never Be Enough Time
4. American Babylon
5. Labor Of Love
6. What Did You Do In the War
7. Homestead
8. Comin’ Down Maria
9. Talk Show
10. No Strings Attached
11. Billy’s Waltz
12. Only Lovers Left Alive
13. Chain Smokin’ / demo [Bonus Track]
14. Never Be Enough Time / demo [Bonus Track]
15. Only Lovers Left Alive / demo [Bonus Track]

The first disc of this quite brilliantly vibrant new album opens on the throaty storytelling of Dark and Bloody Ground and the Human Touch ambiance of the mid-tempo ballad Chain Smokin’ and then we get the gentle meanderings of Never Be Enough Time, the rambunctious title track American Babylon, more Human Touch vibes within the dulcet rocker Labor Of Love, the acoustic guitar-led rocker What Did You Do In the War, the harmonica-driven Homestead and then comes the impassioned Comin’ Down Maria.

Next up is the rock-pop shot, Mellencamp-esque bounce of Talk Show, the rocker No Strings Attached and they are in turn followed by the reflective yearning of Billy’s Waltz, the Americana storytelling of Only Lovers Left Alive, with the first disc rounding out on the previously unreleased trio of demo’s: Chain Smokin’, Never Be Enough Time and Only Lovers Left Alive.

Disc 2 (Recorded Live at Nick’s Fat City, Pittsburgh, PA October 1995)
1. No Strings Attached
2. Only Lovers Left Alive
3. Bruce Springsteen Intro
4. What Did You Do In The War *
5. Chain Smokin’ *
6. Labor Of Love *
7. Never Enough *
8. Dark and Bloody Ground *
9. Pumping Iron *
10. Homestead *
11. American Babylon *
12. Light of Day (feat. Bruce Springsteen)
13. Down The Road Apiece (feat. Bruce Springsteen)
* Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers with Bruce Springsteen

The second disc documents live performances recorded at Nick’s Fat City in Pittsburgh during the Houserockers’ memorable “October Assault Tour” that launched the album that month in 1995.

Joe and the band with Springsteen performed not only in Grushecky’s hometown but also in Philadelphia, New York, Chicago and Asbury Park. Springsteen plays on eight of the album’s tracks and his voice is heard on Light of Day, his own song, as well as a version of Down The Road Apiece, the album’s closer.

One track featured on the live disc that is not part of the American Babylon tune stack is Pumping Iron, a fan favorite from The Iron City Houserockers’ 1980 Have A Good Time But Get Out Alive album.

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Title - Dragnet
Artist - NRBQ

Ladies and gentlemen, the story you are about to hear is true ... NRBQ’s first new album since 2014 – entitled Dragnet - is about to unleashed! No names have been changed and no one is innocent!

NRBQ released its self-titled debut in 1969, and toured and recorded consistently until its 35th anniversary in 2004, when they took a hiatus until 2011’s Keep This Love Goin’. The band’s lineup is keyboardist Terry Adams, guitarist Scott Ligon, bassist Casey McDonough, and drummer John Perrin.

After the release in recent years of High Noon — A 50 Year Retrospective, In • Frequencies (a rarities collection), the Happy Talk and April Showers EPs, the live Turn On, Tune In, and reissues of their eponymous debut album and All Hopped Up, NRBQ returns with its first full-length since 2014.

In addition to their version of the Dragnet theme, the album contains ten new original songs, all of which were written or co-written by the band, including Adams’ Sunflower, which was originally recorded for the 2018 film Change in the Air.

1. Where’s My Pebble?
2. I Like Her So Much
3. Memo Song
4. Miss Goody Two Shoes
5. You Can’t Change People
6. Dragnet
7. The Moon And Other Things
8. That Makes Me A Fool
9. Five More Miles
10. L-O-N-E Lone-ly
11. Sunflower

The album opens on the rhythmic explosion of Where’s My Pebble? and the foot-tapper I Like Her So Much and keeps the tempo going perfectly on the drum and harmonica-led roll of Memo Song, the upbeat and fun Miss Goody Two Shoes and then the Beatles-imbibed You Can’t Change People.

Next up is their brilliantly vibrant reworking of the original Dragnet theme which is in turn followed by the languishing beauty of The Moon And Other Things, which in turn is backed by the late ‘50s, summers haze balladry of That Makes Me A Fool, the joyously heartfelt clap-along of Five More Miles, the album rounding out on the ticking clock, veritable spoken-word L-O-N-E Lone-ly, closing on a beautiful piano ballad, the atmospheric milieu of Sunflower.

According to Perrin: “I wanna give this album a great big hug. It was nothing but fun to make. On one song I even got to be a human clock, playing nothing but woodblocks.“

McDonough: “The sessions for Dragnet were joyous, collaborative events. No idea was too far out. If someone wanted to try something, we did. Everyone was loose and relaxed, but focused. I believe our collective joy in playing together is palpable in these recordings. It’s also a solid combination of our various sensibilities meshing into one groovy thing.”

Ligon: “We cut [“Dragnet”] a while back. And the very next night as we were walking onstage Terry whispered to me “*agnet.” I turned to John and said, ‘Did he say Magnet or Dragnet?’ Turns out he DID say Dragnet. We never played it live again. I think we forgot about it completely. But when we got back in the studio and heard a playback it sounded pretty good! Now it’s the title track! “

And founding member Adams: “The songs came out of nowhere … or at least somewhere nice. All of us are in there.”

Any release of NRBQ music is a cause for celebration, but after nearly a decade since their last full-length studio release, Dragnet brings the band back to the turntables and live venues of America. Though they don’t carry a badge, they are going to work, and after more than a year away from live performances, this is where they come in. So do your part and safely celebrate the release of Dragnet when they come to your city and in the meantime, duh duh-duh duh!

Dragnet will be available from Omnivore Recordings on November 12th, 2021 on CD and Digital and the vinyl LP will follow in early 2022.

Omnivore NRBQ Dragnet [Official Trailer]

Official Purchase Link

Title - Catching Leaves
Artist - Avi Wisnia

With Catching Leaves, Avi Wisnia returns with his poignant and long-awaited sophomore release.

Produced by acclaimed bassist/conductor Ken Pendergast, the collection is a tender and intimate ode to living in the moment, to surrendering to forces beyond our control and finding peace in growth, change, and acceptance.

Wisnia writes with a gentle touch, reflecting on love and loss with a soulful maturity, mixing hints of jazz, roots, and the Great American Songbook together into an organic swell that’s at once beautiful and bittersweet.

The result is a moving, intimate album shaped by the power of human connection and community, a riveting collection that calls to mind everyone from Rufus Wainwright and Teddy Thompson to Ron Sexsmith and Gabriel Kahane as it navigates darkness and doubt, faith and family, pain and resilience.

1. Catching Leaves
2. Heat Lightning
3. Come Home To
4. Harvest Moon
5. You’re Wrong
6. Somebody Else’s Fault
7. Make Me Cry
8. How To Fight Loneliness
9. It’s Gonna Rain Today
10. Simple Words
11. Just Another Daydream
12. Dindi
13. Goodnight
14. Sky Blue Sky [Bonus Track]

This quite mesmerizingly beautiful new album opens on the lusciously orchestrated, hushed title track Catching Leaves and the gentle R&B-pop bounce of Heat Lightning and backs those up seamlessly with the mid-tempo piano balladry of Come Home To, the tenderly euphoric Harvest Moon, the playfully upbeat You’re Wrong, and then we get both the earnestly melancholic Somebody Else’s Fault and the jaunty ‘70s pop-imbibed Make Me Cry.

Next up is the lush, late night, smoky jazz club ambiance of How To Fight Loneliness and the ornate, mournful storytelling balladry of It’s Gonna Rain Today which are themselves backed perfectly by the mid-tempo hipsway of Simple Words, the finger-snapping, trumpet-led Just Another Daydream, the album rounding out on both the string and percussion-imbued Dindi and the free flowing Goodnight, coming to a close on the simply beautiful, vividly rhythmical bonus track Sky Blue Sky.

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Title - The Best of Steve Goodman
Artist - Steve Goodman

There is no denying Steve Goodman’s impact on the world of songwriting. And, while Omnivore Recordings’ reissues of his Red Pajamas label material included a slew of demo recordings, radio sessions, live material, and even a rarities set, there has been no comprehensive collection of his classic songs.

The Best of Steve Goodman, due out November 5th, 2021 on CD and Digital from Omnivore, is just that: 19 career-spanning tracks — studio recordings, live tracks, and demos — showcasing not only this cherished artist’s acclaimed songwriting, but also displaying his endearing versatility in front of the microphone as a performer.

Included are such gems as City of New Orleans, presented as a previously unissued solo demo; You Never Even Call Me by My Name, a John Prine co-write, heard here for the first time since its broadcast on the 1982 HBO special Johnny Cash’s America; the Go Cubs Go single recorded for WGN-AM Radio; live versions of fan favorites Vegematic and Banana Republics; and two nods to Goodman’s hometown of Chicago: A Dying Cub Fan’s Last Request and Lincoln Park Pirates.

1. City of New Orleans (Solo Demo)
2. Yellow Coat
3. Would You Like to Learn to Dance
4. You Never Even Call Me by My Name (Live on Johnny Cash’s America)
5. The Dutchman (Radio Session)
6. Chicken Cordon Bleus (Live)
7. Lincoln Park Pirates (Live)
8. This Hotel Room (Live)
9. Banana Republics (Live)
10. Video Tape (Radio Session)
11. My Old Man (Live)
12. Men Who Love Women Who Love Men (Live)
13. Talk Backwards
14. Souvenirs
15. Vegematic (Live)
16. A Dying Cub Fan’s Last Request (Live)
17. Go Cubs Go (WGN Radio’s Cubs Theme) - Goodman with Chicago Cubs Chorus
18. Face on the Cutting Room Floor
19. As Time Goes By

Beloved songs The Dutchman, Souvenirs, and Video Tape also make their requisite appearances, but this wonderful collection opens on a previously unreleased version of City of New Orleans (Solo Demo) and a languidly mellow Yellow Coat before leaning into a gentle Would You Like to Learn to Dance, the also previously unreleased You Never Even Call Me by My Name (Live on Johnny Cash’s America), the beautiful mid-tempo flow of the aforementioned The Dutchman (Radio Session), and then we get the fun, fat licks of Chicken Cordon Bleus (Live), the gorgeously free wheelin’ of Lincoln Park Pirates (Live), the fancy, gentle, rock-pop bounce of This Hotel Room (Live) and a live cut of the lush, Eagles-esque Banana Republics.

Next up is a casually upbeat radio session cut of Video Tape and a live version of My Old Man which are in turn followed by a rambunctious of Men Who Love Women Who Love Men (Live), a part sung / part spoken word Talk Backwards, a quite breathtakingly ambient Souvenirs, a live cut of Vegematic, with this lovely set rounding out on the low key, guitar strummed, primarily spoken word A Dying Cub Fan’s Last Request (Live), a euphoric Go Cubs Go (WGN Radio’s Cubs Theme) – which features Goodman along with the Chicago Cubs Chorus, the foot tapper Face on the Cutting Room Floor, coming to a close on the intricately performed, Herman Hupfeld-written (1931) masterpiece As Time Goes By.

Produced for release by Grammy®-winner Cheryl Pawelski, mastered by fellow Grammy®-winner Michael Graves, and with full approval from the Steve Goodman estate, The Best of Steve Goodman features photos and new liner notes from journalist and author Lee Zimmerman.

From Zimmerman’s notes: “It is clear while revisiting this material that Steve Goodman was not only a multi-faceted artist but a man whose music was, like itself, flush with varied perspectives, whether through humor, homily or the unflinching reality that he conveyed through his critical commentary. In a sense he was a musical Everyman — knowing yet nuanced, clever yet never condescending, wistful yet still relating to anyone who finds reason to celebrate success while retaining the wisdom and determination to face all the challenges tossed his way.”

Either as an introduction, or a necessary addition to any Goodman collection, The Best of Steve Goodman tells the story of this incredible performer and songwriter in an entirely new way.

Omnivore Steve Goodman Best Of [Official Trailer]

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Title - The Wandering Hearts
Artist - The Wandering Hearts

For those not in the know, London country/folk/pop group The Wandering Hearts have followed in the footsteps of Ward Thomas, the Staves, and the Shires as part of the vanguard in the new British Americana scene of the mid-2010s.

The seeds of the band were sown in late 2015 when Tara Wilcox and Tim Prottey-Jones found themselves singing at the same gig, and immediately hit it off, given their shared background. Both were hard-bitten pros: Wilcox, with years of experience under her belt, had her own singing school, while Prottey-Jones was a multi-instrumentalist, singer, and actor.

Shortly thereafter, they were introduced by mutual friends to singer/guitarist A.J. Dean (an alumnus of British rock & rollers the Bluejays) and Francesca Chess Whiffin, also a former musical theater performer.

Christening themselves the Paper Hearts, the band recorded two demo songs, Today Is Ours and Sunshine, which they uploaded to SoundCloud, leading to a flurry of immediate interest.

The deft fingerpicking, rousing choruses, dark-hued lyrics, and sweet, close vocal harmonies drew comparisons to Fleetwood Mac, whom the band later acknowledged as a major influence, along with First Aid Kit, the Civil Wars, Tom Petty, Simon & Garfunkel, and Cara Dillon.

Within a month, they had been invited to audition for Decca, who signed them on the spot. Rebranded The Wandering Hearts, probably to avoid confusion with other acts with the same name, they played a number of high-profile festival shows in 2016, and released their debut single, the bittersweet Wish I Could early in 2017.

Their eponymous debut album followed in September of that year (a deluxe edition added eight bonus tracks) and having subsequently been reduced to a trio with the departure of Prottey-Jones, the band have brought out their sophomore album, the self-titled The Wandering Hearts (out now on Cooking Vinyl).

1. Hammer Falls
2. Over Your Body
3. Build a Fire
4. I Feel It Too
5. Gold
6. Dolores
7. Dreams
8. Never Too Late
9. Tell Me When I Wake Up
10. On Our Way
11. Stardust
12. Lullaby

This beautifully harmonic and cleverly rhythmical album opens on the difficult psychological issues of a failing relationship within the defiant Hammer Falls and then moves swiftly into the gentle rock-pop hipsway of Over Your Body, before we are introduced to the euphoric Americana of Build a Fire, the earnest balladry (that relates the strength that can be found within a partnership) of I feel It Too, the gently rambunctious Gold, and then comes the dulcet magnificence of Dolores (a song dedicated to the late Cranberries’ frontwoman Dolores O’Riordan).

More Americana-folk comes forth within the Marty Stuart and his wife Connie Smith-written Dreams (which also features Stuart on mandolin) and the foot-tapper Never Too Late, which are in turn followed by the quietly passive, hushed tones of Tell Me When I Wake Up, the upbeat, pleasing blithe of On Our Way, the album rounding out on the exultant Stardust, coming to a close on the ornate musings found within Lullaby.

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Title - Treasure Isle Presents The Hottest Hits Albums Set
Artist - Various

In the late ’70s, the influence of rock steady on the burgeoning sound of dancehall was duly recognized by a number of Jamaica’s longest-standing producers, who delved deep within their archives to re-release many of their finest and most influential works from the previous decade.

Of all the re-issues of vintage material from this period, none proved more popular than the ‘Hottest Hits’ albums series, each of which comprised a dozen rock steady and early reggae tracks from the vaults of Duke Reid’s Treasure Isle catalogue.

Now, at long last, all three original albums in the series are issued together in this essential 3CD set entitled Treasure Isle Presents The Hottest Hits Albums Collection (releasing November 19th, 2021 via Cherry Red Records, UK).

Also featured are three newly curated volumes, plus an array of bonus recordings, culminating in 84 tracks of solid gold Treasure Isle gems.

Disc One:
1. Those Guys – The Sensations
2. Come On Little Girl – Melodians
3. Loving Pauper – Dobby Dobson
4. Midnight Hour – The Silvertones
5. Heartaches – Vic Taylor
6. Cry Tough – Alton Ellis & The Flames
7. Queen Majesty – The Techniques
8. Get On The Right Track – Phyllis Dillon
9. I’ll Never Fall In Love – The Sensations
10. The Tide Is High – The Paragons
11. Things You Say You Love – The Jamaicans
12. It’s Raining – The Three Tops
13. Girl I’ve Got A Date – Alton Ellis & The Flames
14. Every Day Is Like A Holiday – The Sensations
15. Love Is A Treasure – Freddie McKay
16. Don’t Stay Away – Phyllis Dillon
17. You Don’t Need Me – Melodians
18. My Girl – Techniques
19. Perfidia – Phyllis Dillon
20. La La Means I Love You – Alton Ellis
21. Travelling Man – The Techniques
22. I’ll Get Along Without You – Melodians
23. Moonlight Lover – Joya Landis
24. I Wish It Would Rain – Techniques
25. It’s You I Love – Techniques
26. Happy Go Lucky Girl – The Paragons
27. Love Is All I Had – Phyllis Dillon
28. Ain’t That Loving You – Alton Ellis

One of the most popular Jamaican music album series of all time and one which now includes many of the greatest Treasure Isle tracks, this first disc opens on the gentle rhythmic hipsway of both the charming Those Guys (The Sensations) and Come On Little Girl (by the melodious Melodians) and follows those up with the rocksteady bounce of Loving Pauper (Dobby Dobson), a quite magical rendition of Midnight Hour (The Silvertones, complete with McCook’s magic horns!), a lush Heartaches (Vic Taylor), the heartwarming trio of Cry Tough (Alton Ellis & The Flames), a rocksteady Queen Majesty (The Techniques) and the forthright Get On The Right Track (Phyllis Dillon), and then we get the reggae-pop bounce and flow of I’ll Never Fall In Love (The Sensations), the warmth and richness of The Tide Is High (The Paragons, and of which only today I have realized Blondie never wrote!), and the duo of the fervent Things You Say You Love (The Jamaicans), and the melodic hipsway of It’s Raining – The Three Tops.

Next up is old school rocksteady reggae of Girl I’ve Got A Date (Alton Ellis & The Flames) and the laid back rhythms of Every Day Is Like A Holiday (The Sensations) which are in turn followed by the ska-flavored, dub bounce of Love Is A Treasure (Freddie McKay), the upbeat and perky, harmonica-driven Don’t Stay Away (Phyllis Dillon), the storytelling ebb and flow of You Don’t Need Me (Melodians), the exquisite, high pitched melodies of My Girl (Techniques), the lushly sung, and at times veritable spoken-word wonderment of the rocksteady Perfidia (Phyllis Dillon), the free flowing La La Means I Love You (Alton Ellis) and then comes the old school vibes of Travelling Man (The Techniques).

Up next is the brilliantly melodic, rocksteady hipsway of I’ll Get Along Without You (Melodians) and the lush orchestrations of Moonlight Lover (Joya Landis) and they are backed by the the harmonic reggae of I Wish It Would Rain (Techniques), with four bonus tracks no included: the Curtis Mayfield-esque It’s You I Love (Techniques), the vibrantly on fire Happy Go Lucky Girl (The Paragons), this first disc closing on the reggae-pop flow of Love Is All I Had (Phyllis Dillon) and Ain’t That Loving You, from the Bob Marley of his time, Alton Ellis.

Disc Two:
1. Remember That Sunday – Alton Ellis & Phyllis Dillon
2. Wear You To The Ball – The Paragons
3. Love Is Not A Gamble – Techniques
4. Stealing Stealing (alt mix) – John Holt
5. Boom Shaka Lacka (alt version) – Hopeton Lewis & The Chosen Few
6. Tonight Is The Night – Claudette Miller
7. The Love That A Woman – Phyllis Dillon
8. Sinners – Justin Hinds & The Dominoes
9. There Comes A Time – Techniques
10. What More Can I Do – Clive & Doreen
11. Ali Baba – John Holt
12. Willow Tree – Alton Ellis
13. Only A Smile – The Paragons
14. You Don’t Care – Techniques
15. Angel Of The Morning – Joya Landis
16. Weather Report (Only Living Boy In New York) – The Tennors
17. True, True, True – Ken Parker
18. Last Train To Expo ’67 – Melodians
19. Woman Of The Ghetto – Phyllis Dillon
20. Baba Boom – The Jamaicans
21. The Same Song – The Paragons
22. What Does It Take – Alton Ellis
23. I’m In The Mood For Love – Techniques
24. Black Bird – Rosalyn Sweat & The Paragons
25. Tonight – John Holt
26. Rock Steady – Alton Ellis & The Flames
27. Kiss An Angel Good Morning – Ken Parker
28. Once A Man, Twice A Child – Justin Hinds & The Dominoes

The second disc opens on a track truly from the golden era of Jamaican music, the duet Remember That Sunday (Alton Ellis & Phyllis Dillon) and the rocksteady, pitch perfect vocals of Wear You To The Ball (The Paragons) and follows those up seamlessly with the beautiful melodies of Love Is Not A Gamble (Techniques), the polished reggae sound of Stealing Stealing (alt mix) (John Holt), the laid back mid-tempo vibes of Boom Shaka Lacka (alt version) (Hopeton Lewis & The Chosen Few), and the come the trio of the lushly orchestrated Tonight Is The Night (Claudette Miller), the simply divine The Love That A Woman (Phyllis Dillon) and the splendid Sinners, featuring the unique voice, the genius that was Justin Hinds (& The Dominoes).

Next up is the upbeat and friendly There Comes A Time (Techniques) and the summers breeze reggae flow of the duet What More Can I Do (Clive & Doreen) and they are in turn backed by one of Trojan records greatest ever recordings, Ali Baba by John Holt, the sweet, lovingly simple Willow Tree (Alton Ellis), the bass-tastic Only A Smile (The Paragons), the delightfully beautiful You Don’t Care (Techniques, featuring the voice of the late, great Pat Kelly), the cool rocksteady vibe of both Angel Of The Morning (Joya Landis) and Weather Report (Only Living Boy In New York) (The Tennors), and then we get the Studio 1 stylings of True, True, True (Ken Parker) and the spirited rocksteady of Last Train To Expo ’67 from the Melodians.

The last chapter of this second disc opens on the songbird vocals of Woman Of The Ghetto from Phyllis Dillon and the July afternoon sun’s rays of Baba Boom (The Jamaicans) and follows those up with the John Holt-sung The Same Song (The Paragons), the soulful What Does It Take (Alton Ellis), the legendary I’m In The Mood For Love (Techniques), with the five bonus tracks being the brilliantly joyous duet Black Bird (Rosalyn Sweat & The Paragons), the poignant Tonight (John Holt), the disc rounding out on the obvious rocksteady grooves of Rock Steady (Alton Ellis & The Flames), the countrified storytelling of Kiss An Angel Good Morning by Ken Parker, closing on the healing music of Once A Man, Twice A Child from Justin Hinds & The Dominoes.

Disc Three:
1. On The Beach – The Paragons
2. You’ve Made Me So Happy – Alton Ellis
3. I’ll Be Lonely – John Holt & Joya Landis
4. I Can’t Hide – Ken Parker
5. Save A Bread – Justin Hinds & The Dominoes
6. You Have Caught Me – Melodians,
7. Kansas City – Joya Landis
8. Why Birds Follow Spring – Alton Ellis & The Flames
9. My Best Girl – The Paragons
10. Jimmy Brown (The Three Bells) – Ken Parker
11. Do It Right – The Three Tops
12. One Life To Live – Phyllis Dillon
13. Breaking Up – Alton Ellis & The Flames
14. Sister Big Stuff – John Holt
15. Don’t Touch Me Tomato – Phyllis Dillon
16. Help Me Make It Through The Night – Ken Parker
17. Silver Bird – Melodians
18. Oowee Baby, Baby I Love You – Alton Ellis
19. Out De Light – Joya Landis
20. Everybody Bawling – Melodians
21. Midnight Confessions – Phyllis Dillon
22. If I Could Rule This World – Alton Ellis
23. Mighty Redeemer – Justin Hinds & The Dominoes
24. Mercy Mercy Mercy – The Paragons
25. Baby Love – The Sensations
26. Boys And Girls Reggae – Phyllis Dillon
27. I Can’t Stop Now – Alton Ellis & The Flames
28. Drink Milk – Justin Hinds & The Dominoes

Features numerous major Jamaican hits from the rock steady era, the third and final disc opens on the gentle rocksteady bounce of On The Beach (The Paragons) and the straightforward, rustic You’ve Made Me So Happy (Alton Ellis) and they are followed perfectly by the blissful melodies of the duet I’ll Be Lonely (John Holt & Joya Landis), the percussion-led I Can’t Hide (Ken Parker), the inspirationally ageless Save A Bread (Justin Hinds & The Dominoes), the melodious You Have Caught Me (Melodians), a big tune from the time in Kansas City from Joya Landis, the sweet soul music of Why Birds Follow Spring (Alton Ellis & The Flames), the golden vocals of John Holt on My Best Girl (The Paragons), the reggae lite Jimmy Brown (The Three Bells) (Ken Parker), the fresh sounds of Do It Right (The Three Tops – who knew there were less than Four?!), and then come the Studio 1 gems One Life To Live (Phyllis Dillon) and Breaking Up from Alton Ellis & The Flames.

Next up is the golden oldie of high reggae status Sister Big Stuff (John Holt) and the beautiful Don’t Touch Me Tomato from the Queen of Reggae herself, Phyllis Dillon, and those are followed by an absolute belter of a track, the hipsway of Help Me Make It Through The Night (Ken Parker), the lush vibe of Silver Bird (Melodians), the reggae-pop bounce of Oowee Baby, Baby I Love You (Alton Ellis), the cracklingly authentic Out De Light (Joya Landis), then comes the dancehall flow of Everybody Bawling (Melodians), the soulful Midnight Confessions (Phyllis Dillon) and the mystical If I Could Rule This World by Alton Ellis.

This third disc continues onward with the always-fantastic-to-hear Mighty Redeemer by Justin Hinds & The Dominoes and the rocksteady beats of Mercy Mercy Mercy (The Paragons) with the four bonus tracks being the dancehall ebb and flow of Baby Love (The Sensations), the spirited reggae gold of Boys And Girls Reggae (Phyllis Dillon), the box-set coming to a close on the delightful reggae bounce of I Can’t Stop Now by Alton Ellis & The Flames, and the highly-underrated track Drink Milk from Justin Hinds & The Dominoes.

Official Purchase Link

Title - Turn To Crime
Artist - Deep Purple

For those unaware, and still requisite with a strong tailwind from last year’s chart leading album Whoosh!, Deep Purple surprises with new album Turning To Crime (earMUSIC) on November 26th, 2021 produced by Bob Ezrin.

Turning To Crime arrives only 15 months after Whoosh! – Deep Purple’s 21st studio album, which received acclaim by critics who praised the creative strength of a band that continues evolving with every release, and prestigious chart achievements (3rd consecutive #1 in Germany, #4 in the UK, and topped the US Independent Album and Hard Music Albums charts).

1) 7 And 7 Is
2) Rockin’ Pneumonia And The Boogie Woogie Flu
3) Oh Well
4) Jenny Take A Ride!
5) Watching The River Flow
6) Let The Good Times Roll
7) Dixie Chicken
8) Shapes Of Things
9) The Battle Of New Orleans
10) Lucifer
11) White Room
12) Caught In The Act [Medley: Going Down /Green Onions / Hot ‘Lanta /Dazed and Confused / Gimme Some Lovin’]

This new release, which is also Deep Purple’s first album of tracks that weren’t written by the band and thus are a collection of songs previously recorded by other artists, opens on the amped proto-punk of the first single, Arthur Lee and Love’s 7 And 7 Is and then the joyous blues of Huey “Piano” Smith’s Rockin’ Pneumonia And The Boogie Woogie Flu and never looks back thereafter.

Up next is one of the early crossovers between blues rock and heavy metal, their version of the call and response vocalized melodies of Fleetwood Mac’s Oh Well, the gritty thunder of Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels’ Jenny Take A Ride! and both the laid back rhythm’s of Bob Dylan’s Watching The River Flow and the finger-snapping roll of Ray Charles & Quincy Jones’s Let The Good Times Roll, with one of my own personal favorites from the album, the piano-led, Southern-grilled Little Feat’s Dixie Chicken backing those up nicely.

A stormingly energetic rendition of The Yardbirds’s Shapes Of Things is along next and is followed seamlessly by the gently fervent thigh slapper The Battle Of New Orleans (Lonnie Donegan/Johnny Horton), a magnificently rock raucous cover of Bob Seger System’s Lucifer, the album rounding out on a resoundingly precise rendition of Cream’s White Room, closing on the jam fest that is Caught In The Act; which is primarily a medley that more than adequately comprises: Going Down (Freddie King) / Green Onions (Booker T. and the M.G.’s) / Hot ‘Lanta (The Allman Brothers Band) / Dazed and Confused (Led Zeppelin) / Gimme Some Lovin’ (The Spencer Davis Group).

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Official Website

Title - The Rare Reprise Singles
Artist - Trini Lopez

For those unaware, Trinidad López III (aka Trini Lopez) was born in Dallas, TX on May 15, 1937 and at the tender age of 15, he formed his first band, The Big Beats. Trini played guitar and his repertoire consisted of Mexican folk songs, rhythm and blues hits and rock ’n roll favorites.

The Big Beats played the local clubs in Texas where he met Buddy Holly. Holly referred him to his producer Norman Petty and Petty helped The Big Beats and Trini get their first record deal with Columbia Records.

Unfortunately, Petty wanted the band to be an instrumental outfit. Trini was not interested in that style of music and soon left the band. He then did some solo sides for Volk and King Records but by 1962 he was without a label and started playing clubs in Los Angeles.

Living and playing in Los Angeles, Trini developed quite a following. Soon, he established a residency at one club in particular, PJ’s, in West Hollywood. Record man Don Costa who worked for Frank Sinatra’s new label, Reprise Records, brought the boss to one of Trini’s shows one night and soon thereafter, Lopez was signed to Reprise and released his first album, Trini Lopez At PJ’s. The album went as high as #2 on the Billboard album charts and Trini’s live cover of Pete Seeger’s “If I Had A Hammer” soon went gold, reaching #3 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Trini’s career with Reprise was plentiful, releasing 20 albums from 1963–1969 and establishing himself as one of the first Latin crossover acts to the pop charts. But the long player wasn’t the only place one could hear new Trini Lopez music as he released several non-LP A- and B- sides throughout the years.

Omnivore Recordings will now release The Rare Reprise Singles (out December 3rd, 2021), a 24-track compilation that puts together all of the non-LP tracks that Lopez would record for Reprise Records from 1962–1970.


Hearing many of these songs for the very first time on CD, the simply divine new collection opens on the joyously buoyant studio version of A-MER-I-CA and the finger-snappin’ LET IT BE KNOWN and backs those up seamlessly with the gently frenzied I’VE LOST MY LOVE FOR YOU, the lushly orchestrated REGRESA A MI (RETURN TO ME), and then we get the rock ’n’ roll of MI FELICIDAD (LITTLE MISS HAPPINESS), the Latin hipsway of MADE IN PARIS and then the beautiful balladry of PRETTY LITTLE GIRL.

Up next is the ‘60s pop bounce of UP TO NOW which is itself followed by an upbeat THE BRAMBLE BUSH (from the MGM Production The Dirty Dozen which Trini starred in), the sterner Western fare of THE BALLAD OF THE DIRTY DOZEN, the foot-tapper TOGETHER, both the free flowing MASTER JACK and the subtle Latin and Western-imbibed guitar work of MALAGUEÑA SALEROSA, and the comes the free wheelin’ rhythms of SOMETHING TELLS ME.

Along next is the mid-tempo balladry of EL NIÑO DEL TAMBOR (THE LITTLE DRUMMER BOY) and the ornate holiday mastery of NOCHE DE PAZ (SILENT NIGHT) / LET THERE BE PEACE, which are backed by a rather lovely LOVE STORY (a cover of Randy Newman’s song, produced by Bob Gaudio of The Four Seasons) and then more finger-snappin’ grooves on a cover of the Vogues’ renowned FIVE O’CLOCK WORLD, the upbeat and joyful YOU MAKE MY DAY, the laid back affair of TIME TO GET IT TOGETHER, both the drum-led, guitar rock of MEXICAN MEDICINE MAN and the poppy ambiance of SU-KAL-DE-DON, with the new CD collection rounding out on the piano and guitar, soft AOR embodiment of THERE WAS A CROOKED MAN, closing on the gently rambunctious LET’S THINK ABOUT LIVING.

Official Purchase Link

Title - Let It Out [Vinyl]
Artist - Ratinoff

For those unaware, Northern California-based retro rock-inspired singer and songwriter RATINOFF released his self-titled debut EP amid the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Touring was off the table for him and artists around the globe, so he channeled his frustration into creativity and used the time to write and record his new album.

The outcome is his recently released dark-edged yet melody-driven LET IT OUT, with a sound that pays homage to the sonic tenets of the post-punk icons who first inspired him.

Produced by Grammy-nominated producer Wes Sharon (Parker Millsap, Turnpike Troubadours) LET IT OUT is available on all streaming platforms and CD with vinyl coming out on October 29th, 2021.

1. Another Day
2. Light Me Up
3. You Won’t
4. Better
5. Take Me Away
6. Honey
7. I Just Wanna Rock
8. Destiny Waits
9. Hot As Hell
10. Bye

This quite stunningly vibrant and thoroughly ‘80s ambient album opens on the guitar/synth hipsway of Another Day and the AOR of Light Me Up and backs those up seamlessly with the smooth blues rock of You Won’t and then Side A rounds out with the balladry of Better and The Cure-esque Take Me Away.

Flip the album over (yes, this is a vinyl album, after all) and we next get the translucent reverb rock waves of Honey and the full-on rocker I Just Wanna Rock, which is in turn followed by the mid-tempo balladry akin to Cutting Crew/Mr. Mister within Destiny Waits, Side B closing on the melodic American rock vibe of Hot As Hell and the upbeat and resoundingly effervescent Bye.

“Jay and I initially connected over our mutual love of Joy Division," says producer Sharon. "That was our starting point of our musical bond. From there we dove into making the record. Our goal was to make music that made us feel like we were listening to music from that era but capturing the vibe of today."

“Jay’s voice was the glue. Working with Jay was one of the best experiences I’ve had. He always has tons of ideas and he’s never afraid to try something new."

Emotionally charged from beginning to end, the three videos from Let It Out (all can be found on Ratinoff’s YouTube – link below) have collectively accumulated over 335k views and growing, with the songs garnering spots on dozens of playlists.

Official Website

Take Me Away - Ratinoff [Official Music Video]

Ratinoff @ Facebook!

Ratinoff @ Instagram!

Ratinoff @ Spotify!

Ratinoff @ YouTube!

Title - Winter Carols (Deluxe Edition)
Artist - Blackmore’s Night

For those unaware, and following traditional Holiday music back to its roots, Blackmore’s Night (Candice Night and Ritchie Blackmore) always approach Christmas songs with their own unique styling.

On November 19th, 2021, they will celebrate the holidays with the relaunch of their classic album Winter Carols, available as a high-quality 2CD Digipak Edition and digital album (earMUSIC).

Originally released in 2006, this 2021 version has been carefully remastered and contains these four tracks that were previously unavailable in this format: Here We Come A-Caroling, It Came Upon A Midnight Clear, O Little Town Of Bethlehem and Silent Night.

Additionally, Winter Carols includes a remastered version of their timeless Christmas single Christmas Eve.

A brand-new song, Coventry Carol, is an English Christmas carol dating back to the 16th century with additional lyrics by award-winning lyricist / vocalist Candice Night and new musical arrangements by legendary guitarist Ritchie Blackmore.

CD 1: :
1. Coventry Carol
2. Deck The Halls
3. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
4. O Christmas Tree
5. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing / O Come All Ye Faithful
7. Winter (Basse Dance)
8. Ding Dong Merrily On High
9. Ma-O-Tzur
10. Good King Wenceslas
11. Simple Gifts (Lord Of The Dance)
12. We Three Kings
13. Wish You Were Here (2021)
14. Emmanuel
15. Christmas Eve
16. We Wish You A Merry Christmas

This quite delightful, and uniquely resonating deluxe edition of the album opens on the aforementioned new song, the English carol Coventry Carol and the more traditionally-known Deck The Halls before bringing us the ornately created God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, the gentle hipsway of O Christmas Tree, a luscious, guitar-enhanced medley of Hark! The Herald Angels Sing / O Come All Ye Faithful, the jaunty bounce of I Saw Three Ships, the pure guitar gossamer of Winter (Basse Dance) and then comes the delicately beautiful Ding Dong Merrily On High.

Next up we get to hear the full reach and vocal tone of Candice on the Hebrew hymn Ma-O-Tzur (sung in both Hebrew and English) and the gorgeous traditional fare of Good King Wenceslas and they are in turn followed by the gently rambunctious Simple Gifts (Lord Of The Dance), an effervescent We Three Kings, some yearning guitar balladry on Wish You Were Here (2021), the first disc rounding out on the gently beauty of Emmanuel, the airy Christmas Eve, closing on the rousing We Wish You A Merry Christmas.

CD 2
1. Crowning Of The King
2. Here We Come A-Caroling
3. It Came Upon A Midnight Clear
4. O Little Town Of Bethlehem
5. Silent Night
6. Christmas Eve (2013 Version)
7. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing / O Come All Ye Faithful (Live From Minstrel Hall)
8. Emmanuel (Live From Minstrel Hall)
9. We Three Kings (Live From Minstrel Hall)
10. Ma-O-Tzur (Live From Minstrel Hall)
11. Good King Wenceslas (Live From Minstrel Hall)

The second disc opens on the stirringly Renaissance-imbibed Crowning Of The King and the delightfully merry Here We Come A-Caroling and then we get the restfully peaceful ambiance of It Came Upon A Midnight Clear, the charming O Little Town Of Bethlehem and then comes the free flowing majesty of Silent Night and a spirited Christmas Eve (2013 Version).

The second disc rounds out proceedings with five live tracks recorded at Minstrel Hall: the emphatic Hark! The Herald Angels Sing / O Come All Ye Faithful, the gently ornate Emmanuel, the stunningly acoustic, Latin guitar work found within We Three Kings, the beautifully sung Hebrew hymn Ma-O-Tzur, and then (after some faint background chit-chat), the simply divine Good King Wenceslas is brought forth.

Mastering the mix of Rock and Folk elements, Blackmore’s Night have always perfected the art of creating music for family, friends, and fans to come together and celebrate. Winter Carols provides the perfect backdrop for the holiday season.

Official Website

Ritchie Blackmore / Blackmore’s Night @ Facebook!

Ritchie Blackmore / Blackmore’s Night @ Instagram!

Ritchie Blackmore / Blackmore’s Night @ Twitter!

Ritchie Blackmore / Blackmore’s Night @ YouTube!

Title - Please Re-Adjust Your Time [4CD]
Artist - Ian A. Anderson

For those not in the know, Ian A. Anderson is an English folk musician who was a luminary of the late 1960s country blues scene before becoming one of the pioneers of psychedelic/acid folk and founding the now collectable “alternative folk label” Village Thing in the early 1970s.

Releasing December 6th, 2021 via Cherry Tree / Cherry Red Records (UK), this first-ever 4-CD box-set entitled Please Re-Adjust Your Time – The Early Blues & Psych-Folk Years 1967-1972 documents all of Ian A. Anderson’s seminal early albums – including lots of rare material.

Curated and supported by the artist, Please Re-Adjust Your Time captures an exciting time in British roots music. From gutsy acoustic blues to ground-breaking acid folk, the music sounds as vital today as it did half a century ago.

Disc One: Stereo Death Breakdown
13. PUT IT IN A FRAME [Bonus Track]
14. STOP AND LISTEN [Bonus Track]
15. LOUISE [Bonus Track]
17. BIG ROAD BLUES [Bonus Track]
18. TOM RUSHEN BLUES [Bonus Track]
20. ROWDY BLUES [Bonus Track]
21. WEST COUNTRY BLUES [Bonus Track]
22. DON’T YOU WANT TO GO [Bonus Track]
23. THE INVERTED WORLD [Bonus Track]

First issued in 1969, Stereo Death Breakdown was credited to Ian Anderson’s Country Blues Band, a moniker which hinted at the music therein. Eleven bonus tracks are drawn from Saydisc EPs (Anderson Jones Jackson, from 1967 and Almost The Country Blues, 1968) and Saydisc Matchbox albums (Blues Like Showers Of Rain, from 1968 and The Inverted World, 1969).

Fifty odd years ago, the original of this album almost appeared on Island Records, and therein lies a tale almost as interesting as the record itself. Ian A. Anderson, as he was then known, almost shared a name with Jethro Tull’s frontman. The band’s management decided the label wasn’t large enough for two Ian Anderson’s and the newcomer was shuffled off elsewhere.

As an anecdote it’s priceless, but so is this artefact of the British blues boom of the late 1960s. It was, perhaps, great hubris on Anderson’s part to believe he could write blues songs equal to those of the greats (and he probably cringes these days over his humorous Short Haired Woman Blues), but in many ways they hold up well, and he’s helped out by some excellent musicians - notably the great Bob Hall on piano, while Chris Turner turns in some stunning harmonica performances.

At times it all gets a bit jug band, but when the blues fully asserts itself, this is actually a good record - not just of its time, but good, period, with a standout vocal contribution from “Harmonica" Annie Matthews on New Lonesome Day.

No one’s going to claim Anderson is a great blues singer, but he tries hard here, approximating a kind of Southern drawl and generally staying on key. But even if the technique isn’t perfect, the feel is, and that counts for a great deal.

Recorded in 1969, and now with a rather wondrous 11 bonus tracks included, the excellent production has an odd way of sounding like a historical artifact that could have been recorded today. While the recordings that inspired this project come from scratchy 78s, Stereo Death Breakdown somehow captures the grit of the originals on a clean recording here from Cherry Red Records.

Thus, and even if the sound gets a bit monotonous after a while, the entire experience is a joy and thus all I can say is if you have the blues, chase them away by listening to Stereo Death Breakdown.

Disc Two: Royal Oak Crescent
12. GET BACK INTO TOWN (LIVE) [Bonus Track]
13. SLEEPY LYNNE [Bonus Track]

The self-produced Royal York Crescent (1970) album was Ian’s first on his new Village Thing label and here it is bolstered by three extra recordings from 1969, live at Farnham Folk And Blues Festival and from sessions at Chapel Studios, London.

To give you some insight into the world that he was creating for himself, from 1970, and with the release of Royal York Crescent (on his own Village Thing label), we he first began to use the name Ian A. Anderson (to avoid further confusion with the leader of Jethro Tull).

In 1973, Anderson formed Hot Vultures with his then wife Maggie Holland. From then on they phased out most of his previous self-written works, in favor of concentrating on an original English approach to American blues/old-time/traditional R&B material.

Luckily for fans of the former genre of music, Royal Oak Crescent is chock full of it. The album, which features 11 tracks which apart from two, were written by Ian) had not been released on CD for decades, simply because Ian refused to release the original tapes.

Which is why its inclusion here today in this brilliant box-set is enough to make it as perfect a collector’s piece as anything he has ever released for the public, in truth.

A long forgotten, highly underrated work of musical art, it opens on the free flowing folk/pop sensibilities of That’s No Way To Get Along and the upbeat and jaunty box-set title track Please Re-Adjust Your Time, and backs those up with cuts such as the atmospherically short but sweet Goblets & Elms, the mid-tempo, beautifully strummed duo Silent Night No.2 and Mr. Cornelius, and the beautifully crafted songs such as both Ginger Man and Working Man.

Recorded at Rockfield Studios, A Vulture Is Not A Bird You Can Trust (1971) is now swelled with a quartet of additional sides, again from a studio tenure in Chapel Studios back in 1969.

Disc Three: A Vulture Is Not A Bird You Can Trust
10. NUMBER 61
11. BOOK OF CHANGES [Bonus Track]
13. MOUSE HUNT [Bonus Track]

Featuring supporting artists such as: Ian Hunt (guitar), Pique Withers (drums), Peter The Bass (bass guitar), Kipps Brown (keyboards), John Turner (double bass), and Keith Warmington (harmonica), this 1971 album (which housed 10 tracks, three not written by Anderson (Black Uncle Remus - Loudon Wainwright III; Well Alright - Holly, Allison, Mauldin, Petty; and One Too Many Mornings - Bob Dylan) has always been a hard to find slice of psych/acid folk that mixes traditional folk stylings with more contemporary lyrical concerns.

Opening on the joyously flowing, summer’s breeze of One More Chance and the slide guitar work of Policeman’s Ball, we also get along the way the playful, yet intricate guitar work of Edges, the lighter AOR fare of The Survivor, and it rounds out with, amongst other, the gently guitar stylings of the stunning Time Is Ripe (which also includes the title of the album within its lyrics).

The fourth and final disc is devoted to Ian’s final Village Thing album, Singer Sleeps On As Blaze Rages (1972) which is joined by four extra songs, including three previously unreleased – the Hot Vultures’ demos recorded at Village Thing, Bristol, 1973.

Disc Four: Singer Sleeps On As Blaze Rages
12. DAN SCAGGS [Bonus Track]
13. LONDON BLUES [Bonus Track]

Recorded at Village Thing, August 1972, produced by Ian A. Anderson, engineered by Maggie Holland (tracks 3, 14). and Rockfield, Sept 1972, produced by Mike Cooper and Ian A. Anderson, engineered by Ralph Down, Kingsley Ward and Pat Moran, (tracks 4, 8, 18) and featuring the musicianship of: Mike Cooper (National guitar), Les Calvert (bass guitar), Ian Foster (drums), and Pete Siddons (bouzouki), this final Village Thing release is also one of my own personal favorites of Anderson’s.

It opens on the slide guitar work and gently rambunctious foot-tapping melodies of Hey Space Pilot and the dulcetly beautiful Marie Celeste On Down and flows evenly, much like a storytelling troubadour through other tracks such as the slightly sterner A Sign Of The Times, the upbeat and completely joyful Paint It, Black (Stones), the gently frenetic strumming style within The Western Wind, and the quite brilliantly-titled, and spiritually uplifting Shirley Temple Meets Hawkwind.

Subsequently, alongside his music career, Ian was founding editor of the popular folk magazine fRoots and a broadcaster who has presented shows on BBC Radio 2, BBC World Service and Jazz FM. Ian currently presents Podwireless – a monthly podcast dedicated to the world of folk, roots and ‘unpop’ music.

Official Purchase Link

Title - Gypsum
Artist - Gypsum

For those not in the know, LA indie-post rock trio Gypsum have just released their critically-acclaimed debut album via Sonic Ritual.

Gypsum, featuring Sapphire Jewell (guitarist and vocalist), Anna Arboles (guitarist and vocalist) and Jessy Reed (drums), formed as a weekly jam session in 2014 as a way for them to “have a safe place to drop the ego that was ever-present in music school,” remembers Jewell.

After a band field trip to the LA. Natural History Museum, the band pulled their name from a mineral that takes both functional and vibrational forms – this idea aligned with the possibilities of the project, which take sits members outside of insular writing and into an ecstatic commitment to the songs and one another.

Assembled through the knotty intersections between guitars, imploring harmonies and exploratory rhythms, Gypsum features all three members on backing vocals, Jewell and Arboles’ voices blending with atomic affinity, rich alto leads encircled by hazily imploring harmony stacks.

Reed, whose interest in Brazilian polyrhythms and Latin percussion inflect her performance, used a hodgepodge of kits ranging from the 1930’s to present, swapping out toms regularly and changing snare tunings to accommodate her “sounds and visions” for each track.

All whilst the guitarists’ lifelong love of riot grrl and grunge inform the dynamic builds of their intricate fretwork.

1. Follow Me
2. Lungs
3. Gull Lake
4. Give It
5. Snow White
6. Grafting
7. Kaleidoscope
8. Satisfied
9. Margaret
10. Disappear

Opening on the buoyantly joyful Follow Me and the sterner fare of Lungs, they back those up seamlessly with the organically translucent Gull Lake, the drum-led rocker Give It and then we get the ornate, ethereal gossamer of balladry found within Snow White.

Up next is the indie guitar rock ebb and flow of Grafting and the upbeat, melodious and climactically majestically soaring Kaleidoscope which are in turn followed by the dulcet indie pop vibe of Satisfied (complete with its soft, yet ultimately flourishing center), with the album rounding out on the languid mid-tempo strains of Margaret, closing on the free flowing, lushly rhythmic, late ‘80s/early ‘90s Brit alt-pop textures of Disappear.

In closing, the band’s self-titled debut album Gypsum was recorded over 14 days at Station House Studio with engineer Mark Rains (Tanya Tucker, Alice Bag), and is a deeply rewarding listen, dense with mystery, complexity, darkness, majesty and beauty.

Official Website

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Gypsum @ Twitter!

Gypsum @ Soundcloud!

Title - Visitors from Another Planet
Artist - Mark Murdoch

For those unaware, Mark Murdock’s new prog release Visitors From Another Planet features a cast of visiting prog earthlings like drummer Ric Parnell of Atomic Rooster/Spinal Tap, drummer Ron Howden, bassist Derek ‘Mo’ Moore, both from the band Nektar, also drummer Alan Childs of David Bowie, guitarist Fernando Perdomo, guitarist Katsumi Yoneda of French TV, guitarist Joe Berger, vocalist Tim Pepper of TheId and more!

Mark Murdock, best known as the drummer in Peter Banks (YES) Empire Mark lll, The New Empire with Fernando Perdomo, Cymbalic Encounters with Brand X members.

Mark most recently released a solo record, The Phoenix Has Risen and with Nuclear Bird’s Tyrannical Megalomanic. Mark sees his new creation Visitors from Another Planet as a “further contribution to the Arts with new dimensions and atmospheres not explored on my previous works.”

1. Visitors from Another Planet
2. Time Travelers from the Future
3. The Purveyors of Underworld Ideas
4. The Tarnished Mirror
5. False Algorithms
6. Forgotten Episodes
7. The River of Illusion
8. Somewhere and Nowhere
9. Adapted for Theater
10. Sub-Reactional Stratospheric Complex
11. Friction
12. Shadows that Stood Between the Lies
13. In Speculation

This quite mesmerizingly translucent new album from the uber-talented Mark Murdoch opens on the sensitized ambiance of Visitors from Another Planet and the funky grooves of Time Travelers from the Future and backs those up seamlessly with the gently fervent The Purveyors of Underworld Ideas, the lush balladry of The Tarnished Mirror, the spikey, scattered synth work of False Algorithms, the glorious ‘80s rhythms of Forgotten Episodes and then comes the Peter Gabriel re: Genesis-esque The River of Illusion.

Up next is the triumphantly melodic Somewhere and Nowhere and the mid-tempo AOR of Adapted for Theater and they are in turn followed by the simply euphoric guitar work found within Sub-Reactional Stratospheric Complex, the album rounding out on the quiet rock of Friction, the lushly free flowing Shadows that Stood Between the Lies, closing on the more Peter Gabriel re: Genesis-esque vibes of In Speculation. [FYI: The Digital album features the Bonus Track of The Truth is Out There].

Mark Murdock - drums, synthesizer & gongs
Tim Pepper - lead vocal
Ric Parnell - drums & percussion on 2, 4 & 13
Alan Childs - drums on 3
Ron Howden - drums on 6 & 7
Fernando Perdomo - guitar on 1, 4, 7, 9 & 11
Derek ‘Mo’ Moore - bass on 7
Joe Berger - lead guitar on 11 & alien voice on 1
Katsumi Yoneda - guitar on 5, 6, 9 &13
Dave Juteau - guitar on 1, 2, 8 & 12
Preston Murdock - guitar on 3 and 7
Kenta Shimokuni – bass
Rod Farlora - bass on 10
Jeff Curry - bass on songs 2, 3, 6, 8 & 12

Visitors from Another Planet - Promotional Sample Video

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Title - 35th Anniversary Collection [4CD]
Artist - Jaki Graham

For those unaware, after making her singing debut and winning with a clear victory at the school’s Christmas talent contest with Michael Jackson’s Ben, it was only a matter of time before Jaki would sign her first record deal.

Following stints with One Night Affair at the age of 17, the SRO Band and then Ferrari, it was when Jaki recorded a session for the jazz funk group, Medium Wave, that she was spotted by a talent scout and signed with EMI in 1983.

It took EMI to channel her image and style into the correct direction, to form the soul seductress she is today. Her single entitled What’s the Name of Your Game? gave Jaki her first TV appearance on the children’s TV program Crackerjack. Heaven Knows became the title track of her debut album.

Could it Be I’m Falling In Love? marked a significant collaboration in Jaki’s career, and is a song that remains a timeless 80’s classic. Reaching No.5 in the British charts in March ’85, her second and last hit duet entitled Mated again received wide critical acclaim.

When Jaki had the opportunity to take center stage, there were no holds barred. Her powerful voice, positive energy and radiance were injected in every one of her performances and Round and Around became Jaki’s first successful solo hit reaching No.9 in June ’85.

Jaki’s hits have remained fresh, uncomplicated and modern. Set Me Free remains an ageless pop classic after rocketing to No.7 in the British charts in May ’86, an anthem of that era.

Breaking Away followed and offered her first location shoot abroad, charting at a respectable No.14 in August ‘86. Step Right Up brought Jaki back to her trademark high energy, up tempo pop hits and gave her yet another Top 20 hit in November ‘86.

In the same year, Michael McDonald came into Jaki’s life looking for a female singer to accompany him on the track On My Own for his UK Tour. Michael, who has worked with some of the most influential names in showbiz, personally chose Jaki over a stream of UK female vocalists.

After hearing her voice, he was quoted as saying that Jaki was ‘one of the best singers Britain has ever produced’. A deep friendship and mutual respect grew between the two artists and to this day, Jaki continues to be a special guest on the UK legs of Michael’s tours.

Towards the end of the 80’s, sales and figures provided by Billboard magazine had established Jaki as Britain’s most successful black female artist ever. Not surprisingly, Jaki’s success was not limited to the shores of the United Kingdom.

People of every culture and language from every corner of the globe loved her natural vocal perfection. The distinct, powerful delivery, coupled with her warm and compassionate ease seemed to melt the barriers of language, color and creed.

Denmark, Germany, Japan, Australia, South Africa – places she had only ever dreamed of visiting – loved her and her fan base grew worldwide.

Her third album with EMI, From Now On was produced in 1987, coinciding with Jaki achieving a Guinness World Record for being the first black British female solo artist to have 6 consecutive Top 10 / 20 hits, unheard of by a black British female at that time.

The just-released Jaki Graham: 35th Anniversary Collection is a wondrous 4CD Box-Set (via Cherry Red Records, UK) celebrating the 35th anniversary of Jaki Graham’s aforementioned albums Heaven Knows and Breaking Away (released in 1985/86).

Furthermore, this is the first widely available reissue of the Heaven Knows album since 1986. Featuring the most comprehensive collection of Jaki’s EMI albums plus loads of related bonus tracks including 12” mixes, remixes of the singles and B-sides from the period, this is truly the ultimate collection for all Jaki’s fans around the world.

Heaven Knows contains two UK Top 20 singles - Could It Be I’m Falling In Love, a duet with David Grant that peaked at #5 and Round And Around that reached #9.

Breaking Away enjoyed extensive chart success across Europe and produced four UK Top 20 singles, Mated, again duetting with David Grant and peaking at #20, Set Me Free #7, Breaking Away #16 and Step Right Up #15.

CD 1: Heaven Knows (1985)
3. COULD IT BE I’M FALLING IN LOVE (Duet with David Grant)
8. LOVING YOU (Duet with Derek Bramble)
12. COULD IT BE I’M FALLING IN LOVE (7” VERSION) (Duet with David Grant) [Bonus Track]*
14. VICTIM OF EMOTION [Bonus Track]*
15. WHO’S MAKING UP YOUR MIND [Bonus Track]*

CD 1 features the Heaven Knows album plus bonus tracks including UK single versions of Heaven Knows (Feels So Good), Once More With Feeling and her duet, Could It Be I’m Falling In Love with Linx frontman David Grant, plus the US remixes of Once More With Feeling and What’s The Name Of Your Game.

For my money, this album somehow hits the mark where others do not of the era. The synths are effervescent, the hooks are great, there is a lot of cool jazziness and the overall energy is palpable throughout.

Opening on the gently rambunctious synth-pop Round and Around and then the lushness of the title track, next up is the smooth R&B groove of the lovely duet with David Grant Could It Be I’m Falling In Love, the ballad I Fell For You, the mid-tempo Hold On and then we get more synth-pop in the shape of The Facts of Life.

Next up is the fast paced rhythms of You’re Mine and the beautiful ballad with Derek Bramble, Loving You, and they are backed by the poppy What’s the Name of Your Game, the finger-snapping Stay the Way You Are, with the bonus tracks amounting to a fair few 7” mixes, with the fast-pacing of Once More With The Feeling and the punchy Victim of Emotion thrown in for good measure.

At the very least, it has aged way better than Janet Jackson and her massive Control album or, in truth, whatever Whitney Houston was putting out at the time.

CD 2: Bonus Tracks + Extended Versions

CD 2 features 12 tracks of extended versions plus remixes including the hard to find Revolutionary Mix of Round And Around and US remixes of Once More With Feeling and What’s The Name Of Your Game.

Also included are Freeze You Out and Greatest Smile, both previously unreleased tracks sourced from the tape archives.

CD 3: Breaking Away (1986)
5. LET’S GET BLUE (Duet with Derek Bramble)
9. THE CLOSEST ONE (Duet with Derek Bramble)
11. MATED (Duet with David Grant)
15. MATED (EXTENDED VERSION) (Duet with David Grant) [Bonus Track]

CD 3 features Jaki’s 1986 album Breaking Away plus 4 bonus tracks including single versions of Breaking Away and Step Right Up and extended versions of Set Me Free and Mated.

This is a great sophomore album by Jaki, one that features production by Derek Bramble which sounds similar to Stock Aitken Waterman’s more soulful style of the time (the style they gave to Princess, Mel & Kim, Haywoode and O’chi Brown, amongst others).

For me the best two songs are the singles that open the album, the fast-synth-pop of Set Me Free and the, at first, aching balladry then swift pop sense of Breaking Away, but subsequent tracks such as the lushly orchestrated Still In Love, the gentle Caribbean sway of Love Under Moonlight, the duet pairing with Derek Bramble of both Let’s Get Blue and the upbeat funk of The Closest One (let alone her brilliant duet with David Grant on Mated) being stand outs too.

In truth, it is an excellent album to listen to, even now, but it is just oh-so great to see the en masse of bonus mixes and extras now collected here on the fourth disc too (some appearing for the very first time).

CD 4: Bonus Tracks
11 LUV 2 MUCH (TOO MUCH 12”)

* denotes appearing on CD for the first time

CD 4 includes various mixes and remixes from the Breaking Away period including two mixes of Set Me Free, three of Breaking Away, two of Step Right Up and Still In Love along with a three track Mega Mix featuring Set Me Free, The Closest One and Step Right Up.

The collection comes in a box with each CD in individual wallets featuring related Jaki Graham sleeve images from the period, with a 20 page booklet including sleeve notes and a UK Discography.

Official 4CD Purchase Link

Title - Lasting
Artist - Echoes

For those unaware, set for an October 15th, 2021 release, Lasting is the third album by the up-and-coming group of young jazz musicians Echoes.

Reedist Max Bessesen, percussionist Matt DiBiase, Drummer Chase Kuesel, and bassist Evan Levine make up the leaderless collective, whose sound blends futuristic electronica with jazz improvisation, while dabbing with electronic instruments, loops, and triggers for an additional layer of intricacy.

Their music pairs futuristic electronica with focused improvisations to create a sound that is uniquely their own. Inspired by 21st-century musical ideals of cross-pollination and experimentation, the group augments its already unorthodox instrumentation with a variety of electronic instruments, loops, and triggers to explore new sonic and rhythmic territory.

Simply put, each member show off their personal styles throughout, with each composing two of the tracks that make up the album.

1. Jamfest
2. Taylor
3. Off Switch
4. Flipbook
5. Asbury
6. Wasted
7. Attics
8. Lasting

This charismatically translucent new album opens on gently frenetic orchestrations of Jamfest (... a tongue-in-cheek piece for a good time, says Bessesennd) and the simply beautiful, ornately sculptured rhythms of Taylor (which are worked around an adaptation of a beatboxing performance by Taylor McFerrin, which Kuesel adeptly translates to the drum kit) and then we get the emotional landscapes found within the organic Off Switch and the melodic, playful and perky ambiance of the rather delightful Flipbook.

Next up are the layered grooves found within Asbury (which Levine titled after his hometown of Asbury Park, NJ) which is in turn followed by the divinely cultured Wasted (a tale of relationships, nights, sobriety ... all wasted away and explored here in these forlorn at times, gently romantic, yet always contemplative movements), with the album rounding out on the jazz and blues-lite grooves of Attics, closing on the almost ethereally meditative Lasting.

Taken as a whole, Lasting finds an ensemble equally interested in joyful interplay and melancholic reflection. It is a strong and compelling effort, and an important document from an ensemble that is poised to refine its unique voice on the international stage for years to come.

Official Website

Echoes @ Facebook!

Echoes @ Twitter!

Echoes @ Soundcloud!

Title - Tales from The Script: Greatest Hits
Artist - The Script

For those unaware, Tales from The Script – Greatest Hits features all of the biggest hits and fan favorites from The Script’s six albums so far.

It highlights the classic cuts from the trio’s catalogue, taking in the likes of the #1 smash Hall of Fame (featuring and the Top 10 hits The Man Who Can’t Be Moved, For The First Time and Superheroes.

It also includes landmark moments and staples of their live show including Breakeven, their debut single We Cry and Rain.

The collection honors everything that the band - Danny O’Donoghue, Glen Power and Mark Sheehan - have achieved together since forming fourteen years ago.

It’s completed by the brand new song I Want It All, which Sheehan says “... delivers all the ingredients everyone knows and loves” plus the Acoustic Sessions version of Never Seen Anything “Quite Like You”.

1. Breakeven (4:20)
2. The Man Who Can’t Be Moved (4:00)
3. For the First Time (4:12)
4. Nothing (4:31)
5. Hall of Fame (featuring (3:22)
6. If You Could See Me Now (3:38)
7. Superheroes (4:02)
8. Six Degrees of Separation (3:52)
9. Rain (3:30)
10. Arms Open (4:02)
11. The Last Time (3:17)
12. Run Through Walls (3:28)
13. Before the Worst (3:23)
14. We Cry (3:44)
15. Science & Faith (4:20)
16. No Good in Goodbye (5:08)
17. Never Seen Anything “Quite Like You” (Acoustic) (3:48)
18. I Want It All (3:07)

Also including a 32 page booklet of career-spanning images, the much beloved Irish pop rock band kick things off here in fine style with the free flowing Breakeven and the lushly orchestrated The Man Who Can’t Be Moved and follows those up with the sculptured For the First Time, the pop bounce of Nothing, the resoundingly excellent Hall of Fame (feat. and then come the sterner rap of If You Could See Me Now and the impassioned flow of Superheroes.

Next up is the mid-tempo balladry of Six Degrees of Separation and the earnest yearn of Rain, which are in turn followed by the Celtic-imbibed Arms Open, the hauntingly crafted, mid-tempo rocker The Last Time, the free flowing balladry of Run Through Walls, the upbeat melodies of Before the Worst, with the album rounding out on the gentle pop/rap bounce of We Cry, Science & Faith, the reach of No Good in Goodbye, coming to a close on a quite stunning Never Seen Anything “Quite Like You” (Acoustic) and the soaring new track I Want It All.

The Script - I Want It All (Official Video)

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The Script @ Facebook!

The Script @ Twitter!

The Script @ Instagram!

The Script @ YouTube!

Title - Dark Fables
Artist - Clive Nolan & Oliver Wakeman

For those unaware, prog duo Clive Nolan and Oliver Wakeman have just released a standalone CD version of Dark Fables through Cherry Red Records this past November 5th, 2021.

The album originally featured as the third disc on the pair’s Tales By Gaslight box set which was released back in April.

Dark Fables features previously unreleased pieces that were intended to complete the trilogy and over 30 minutes of music conceived for the abandoned Frankenstein album and unused from The Hound of The Baskervilles.

These include The Man Called Sherlock which was the original version of the Overture and 221B, inspired by Sherlock Holmes’ famous address.

1. The Overture
2. I’d Give You Anything
3. The Mirror
4. Elizabeth
5. Why Do You Hate Me?
6. The Wedding Approaches
7. Time Passes
8. A Descent Into Madness
9. 221B
10. The Man Called Sherlock
11. The Baker Street Irregulars
12. The Jabberwocky

This bewitchingly sublime collection opens on the soaring The Overture and the stirringly operatic storytelling of I’d Give You Anything, and then moves seamlessly into a poignant endeavor within The Mirror, the beautiful piano work of Elizabeth and then comes the melodious goth-lite Why Do You Hate Me? and the ornate Renaissance-invoking The Wedding Approaches.

Up next is the jittery synth score of Time Passes and the frenetic synth meandering of A Descent Into Madness which are in turn followed by the short, but sweet, and greatly joyous 221B, the collection rounding out on the seven minute The Man Called Sherlock, the uplifting buoyancy of The Baker Street Irregulars, closing on the spoken word The Jabberwocky.

Clive Nolan (Pendragon, Arena) and Oliver Wakeman (YES, Strawbs) first combined their considerable keyboard and compositional talents to create the two aforementioned rock opera/concept albums in 1999 and 2002.

Peter Pracownik was the creative behind the original The Hound Of The Baskervilles artwork 20 years ago and has employed his talents again for the sleeve of Dark Fables.

Dark Fables features guest performances from an array of prog talent including Gordon Giltrap, Paul Manzi (The Sweet, Arena, Oliver Wakeman Band), Andy Sears (Twelfth Night), Karl Groom (Threshold), David Mark Pearce (Oliver Wakeman Band, Munroe’s Thunder) and Charlotte Dickerson.

Why Do You Hate Me? (Official Video)

Clive Nolan - Official Website

Oliver Wakeman - Official Website

Official Purchase Link

Title - Descend [EP]
Artist - Leslie Hunt

Contrary to the title, District 97 lead-singer and ex-American Idol finalist, Leslie Hunt continues her upward trajectory with Descend, her brand new solo seven-track EP.

Descend marks Part Two of a 2-EP set, and is the follow-up to Ascend, which was released in June.

Featuring another set of seven adeptly crafted songs, each one a testament to Leslie Hunt’s progressively assured songwriting ability.

Where Ascend’s seven tracks dealt with matters relating to the heart and soul, the songs on Descend deal predominantly with freedom of the individual and their attempt to find a place within an increasingly complex and sometimes harsh society.


Leslie Hunt’s eclectic range of influences move naturally among Descend’s seven songs traversing an array of genres and opens on the soaringly effervescent ambiance of DON’T MAKE ME COME BACK THERE and the countrified pop bounce of AGAIN + AGAIN and then we get the beautiful balladry found within QUIET MIND.

Next up is the light, melodic pop ebb and flow of BIG WHITE FLAG and the acoustic guitar bed work of THESE DAYS, the EP rounding out on the gracious embrace of SO MANY TIMES, closing on the gentle mid-tempo gossamer of the dulcet COMPLEX HEART.

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Title - Busman’s Holiday
Artist - Virginia and the Slims

For those unaware, Virginia and The Slims started in Summer of 2013 with Virginia DeMoss on vocals, Perry Lavin on drums, James Kamp on tenor sax, Harry Schaefer on bass, Ginger Drake on alto sax and Sean Anderson, on guitar.

Virginia’s husband came up with the name and that was that, so the story goes. The idea was to play blues, but to play songs people would respond to, especially swing or jump blues as no one else locally to them was focusing on that.

Eventually Virginia left to start a family, Ginger left for Nashville, and Perry and Harry left to pursue their first love, Indian classical music.

James and Sean reorganized with Sid Heilbraun, a rock solid bassist, and Brian Gant, a Nashville pro on drums and Rebecca O’Quinn came on board as their new singer.

After about a year, she also left and their current vocalist, Joanna Best was brought into the musical mix. Bringing with her the ability to vocally embrace old time blues like no one’s business, the band then added long term friend (and killer harmonica player) Bill Mattocks as well as saxophonist Vinny Corda and Marco Noto on drums.

The band, which now has added Howie Neal on Guitar, John Davis on Bass, and John Barrett on drums, has come together and created a brand new recording entitled Busman’s Holiday (out now via CD Baby).

1. Let It Go
2. Take Me To Mardi Gras
3. Trace
4. Sugar Baby
5. Push On Through
6. Tha Way I Walk
7. When Will I Find Him
8. I’ll Be Back Again
9. Your Money’s No Good
10. Shine

This beautifully crafted way low, finger-snapping coolness of Let It Go and the shimmering Take Me To The Mardi Gras and backs those up seamlessly with the sultry sax-adorned Trace, the upbeat and frisky Sugar Baby and then comes one of my own personal favorites, the dulcet, harmonica yearn of Push On Through.

Up next is the gently fervent ambiance of Tha Way I Walk and the piano-driven Gospel-imbibed When Will I Find Him? and follow those up with the smooth I’ll Be Back Again, the album rounding out on the upbeat and gently rambunctious Your Money’s No Good, closing on the glowingly optimistic Shine.

Official Website

Official Purchase Links

Virginia and the Slims @ Instagram

Title - The Lady In The Balcony: Lockdown Sessions
Artist - Eric Clapton

For those unaware, Eric Clapton returns with a remarkable new release, The Lady In The Balcony: Lockdown Sessions on November 12th, 2021.

Available via Mercury Studios on multiple formats, the 17 songs find Clapton and longtime bandmates Nathan East (Bass and Vocals), Steve Gadd (Drums) and Chris Stainton (Keyboards) performing acoustic renditions of Clapton standards and an assortment of other numbers encompassing blues, country and rarified originals.

The project was initiated as the result of the forced cancellation of Eric Clapton’s concerts scheduled for May 2021 at the Royal Albert Hall due to the continued disruption caused by the pandemic.

Looking for a viable alternative and hoping to keep his options open, he reconvened with his band to the English countryside and staged a concert in the presence of only the participants themselves while letting the cameras roll. (Clapton’s wife Melia, the sole outside observer inspired the Sessions title).

The mostly acoustic set was envisioned to be like an Eric Clapton Unplugged II, but not quite, as three songs are played with electric guitars.

The result became far more than simply a sequence of greatest hits. Rather, it’s one of the most intimate and authentic performances of Clapton’s entire career, an offering flush with real insight into the make-up of his indelible catalogue.

1. Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out
2. Golden Ring
3. Black Magic Woman
4. Man of the World
5. Kerry
6. After Midnight
7. Bell Bottom Blues
8. Key to the Highway
9. River of Tears
10. Rock Me Baby
11. Believe in Life
12. Going Down Slow
13. Layla
14. Tears in Heaven
15. Long Distance Call
16. Bad Boy
17. Got My Mojo Working

This charismatically translucent new album opens on Clapton’s love for Vaudeville-blues styling within Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out and Golden Ring (a song written by Clapton in the emotional transition year between Pattie Boyd’s official divorce from George Harrison and his own marriage to Boyd in 1979) and backs those up seamlessly with his cover of the 1968 Fleetwood Mac classics Black Magic Woman, the gently amiable Man of the World, and then a beautifully dulcet song entitled Kerry (which is actually dedicated to Fleetwood Mac’s Peter Green).

Up next is a J.J. Cale track, first released in 1966 and which Clapton later covered for his eponymous album in 1970, here sung with lower adversity and less urgency, After Midnight and that is itself followed by his unrequited love song, the Derek and the Dominos-sung Bell Bottom Blues, the Charlie Segar, piano-led, blues beauty Key to the Highway, the quietly reimagined River of Tears and then comes a mid-tempo B.B. King cut, Rock Me Baby.

This emphatically magnificent new recording continues onward with a song written about Clapton’s aforementioned wife Melia McEnery, the gently strummed artistry of Believe in Life and a blues standard from American blues singer St. Louis Jimmy Ode, Going Down Slow, and they are backed by a concentrated, Derek and the Dominos-imbibed Layla, a quite breathtaking rendition of Tears in Heaven (written about the death of his four-year-old son, Conor), and then this incredible collection rounds out with the Muddy Waters hit Long Distance Call, the slow-poke, blues crawl of the highly underrated Bad Boy (written by Clapton, Delaney Bramlett and Bonnie Bramlett), coming to a close on another Muddy Waters tune, the blues funk of Got My Mojo Working.

In conclusion, and having also watched the DVD that goes along with this, the way Clapton approaches any recording session is always breathtakingly professional, but the calmness, the laid back aura that these guys performed these lockdown session tracks within is something amazing to behold.

Nobody is dressed up for the cameras. Nobody is trying to sneak into the limelight (not even Clapton). Everyone is as casual as casual could ever be, with Clapton himself happy to show off his lockdown weight and (somewhat) unkempt appearance.

The culmination of their sessions together at Cowdray House, West Sussex, England, the DVD is something you don’t have to visually watch, but can keep playing in the background whilst you work around the house; it is just that accommodating (oh, and this sent-for-review CD/DVD combo also comes complete with a colorful 16 page booklet).

Amazon CD/DVD Purchase Link

Eric Clapton’s The Lady in the Balcony: Lockdown Sessions will also be available on: DVD+CD, Blu-ray+CD, 4K UHD+Blu-ray, 2 LPs pressed on yellow vinyl, and a Deluxe Edition containing the DVD, Blu-ray & CD packaged in a 40 page 12” x 12” hardback photo book, digital video & digital audio.

In addition, a CD-only version will be available exclusively at Target.

Official Trailer

Official Website

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Title - Johnny Cash - At the Carousel Ballroom [2LP]
Artist - Johnny Cash

For those unaware, after a tumultuous 1967 for Johnny Cash, the year 1968 was bookended by what would become his two iconic, highest-grossing albums, At Folsom Prison and At San Quentin.

But now, fifty-three years later, a lost chapter has emerged to enrich and complement the story of that very good year.

Johnny Cash - At the Carousel Ballroom, recorded on April 24th, 1968, captures the Man in Black at the height of his charismatic powers.

Confidently departing from the more formalized setlist he’d been doing, we hear him in playful and powerful dialogue with his new bride June Carter and his longtime musicians — guitarist Luther Perkins, bassist Marshall Grant and drummer W.S. Holland—connecting with an audience more accustomed to the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane.

What makes the performance even more significant is that it was recorded by the innovative sound wizard Owsley “Bear” Stanley in a verité style that startles with a clarity and dimension missing from the two more well-known releases.

In 1968, it was just another entry in Bear’s continuing “sonic journal” of recorded shows, a means to keep improving his art. But thirty years later, Stanley would recognize it as one of a handful of the most significant performances he’d captured.

Side A:
1. Cocaine Blues
2. Long Black Veil
3. Going To Memphis
4. The Ballad Of Ira Hayes
5. Rock Island Line

The first side opens on the gently buoyant Cocaine Blues and the mournful Long Black Veil (which he actually performed on the very first episode of The Johnny Cash Show in 1969), and then we get melodious storytelling of Going To Memphis, Side A rounding out on the Peter LaFarge-written The Ballad Of Ira Hayes and Lead Belly’s rambunctious Rock Island Line.

Side B:
6. Guess Things Happen That Way
7. One Too Many Mornings
8. Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right
9. Give My Love To Rose
10. Green, Green Grass Of Home
11. Old Apache Squaw
12. Lorena

The flip side of this newly-created double vinyl LP set opens on the foot-tapping Guess Things Happen That Way and then we get a couple Bob Dylan-written cuts in the form of One Too Many Mornings and Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right which are in turn backed by the prisoner’s love story within Give My Love To Rose, the second side closing on the Claude “Curly” Putman Jr.-written Green, Green Grass Of Home and the upbeat Old Apache Squaw and then the antebellum song Lorena.

Side C:
1. Forty Shades Of Green
2. Bad News
3. Jackson (Johnny Cash & June Carter Cash)
4. Tall Lover Man (Johnny Cash & June Carter Cash)
5. June Carter Medley

The next vinyl LP from the double set now on the turntable, and things kick off with Cash’s song about Ireland, Forty Shades Of Green and devilishly fun Bad News, and then the tempo is cranked right up for a song written in 1963 by Billy Edd Wheeler and Jerry Leiber, and sung here by both Johnny and June, Jackson, with this third side rounding out on the primarily June-sung Tall Lover Man and then a truly delightful, albeit short selection of June’s tracks, simply entitled June Carter Medley.

Side D:
6. Long Legged Guitar Pickin’ Man (Johnny Cash & June Carter Cash)
7. Ring Of Fire
8. Big River
9. Don’t Take Your Guns To Town
10. I Walk The Line

Flipping the vinyl over and we next get a track written by Johnny Cash’s bass player Marshall Grant, Long Legged Guitar Pickin’ Man (again sung with June), before Johnny goes solo for the wondrous run in of Ring Of Fire (although, weirdly, it was actually written by June and Merle Kilgore), the early days, rockabilly hit Big River (released as a single by Sun Records in 1958), the brilliantly informative Don’t Take Your Guns To Town (from the 1962 TV pilot ’Night Rider’ - in which Johnny stars as Johnny Laredo), the whole collection coming to a righteous close on I Walk The Line (which was written as Johnny’s promise to remain faithful to his first wife, Vivian, while he was on the road).

This previously-unheard concert from the Carousel Ballroom in 1968 features Johnny Cash along with his wife, June and the Tennessee Three (Luther Perkins-guitar, Marshall Grant-bass, W.S. Holland-drums) playing for the Hippies in the heart of the Haight-Ashbury.

“I don’t think there are any live recordings of Johnny that weren’t originally intended to be an album. So to be able to stumble across such a live recording during such a golden era for him, and find that it was recorded in such a dynamic way, is incredible.”

“It’s an opportunity to show Johnny in a new light. When John Carter Cash heard the first fifteen seconds of this recording, he recognized it as something significant. It has a three-dimensional, dynamic quality that a lot of live music from that era does not have.” - Josh Matas, on behalf of the John R. Cash Trust.

Available in CD, all analog Double LP Vinyl, and Limited Edition Deluxe Box Set featuring: a vintage Johnny Cash Comic Book, colored vinyl, original concert poster and more.

Extensive liner notes include musings on Johnny Cash from contributors Bob Weir, John Carter Cash, and Dave Schools.

Original artwork by 3x Grammy-winner Susan Archie and Digital master by Jeffrey Norman, long-time collaborator with the Grateful Dead and Owsley Stanley.

For vinyl, all analog master by Bear’s collaborator Paul Stubblebine.

“A masterpiece. Dad gave what I believe to be one of the most intimate and connected shows I have ever heard.” – John Carter Cash.

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Title - It’s Christmas All Over [Red Vinyl LP]
Artist - Goo Goo Dolls

For those unaware, just in time for the holidays, Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum selling band Goo Goo Dolls have officially announced they will release a deluxe edition of It’s Christmas All Over on November 5th, 2021 via Warner Records.

The twelve-song LP marks a special version of the band’s first-ever Christmas record, featuring the brand new original track One Last Song About Christmas and a never-before-heard cover of I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm, a holiday staple that was made famous by Dean Martin.

Alongside the deluxe edition of It’s Christmas All Over, the band is also offering exclusive merch including a red vinyl LP, a limited edition drinkware set that includes a set of whiskey glasses, whiskey rocks, a Tom Collins recipe glass and Christmas All Over cocktail napkins.

Side A:
1. Christmas All Over Again
2. Shake Hands With Santa Claus
3. This Is Christmas
4. Christmas Don’t Be Late
5. Better Days

Side B:
6. You Ain’t Getting Nothin’
7. Let It Snow
8. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
9. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
10. The Christmas Party (Feat. The Union Square 5)

Today we are reviewing the wondrous red vinyl 10-track LP (a Barnes & Noble Limited Edition Exclusive, no less), chock full of the spirit of Christmas, the album righteously delivers on its promise to deliver a much-needed loving hug of warmth and hope to 2021/22!

Creatively put together during lockdown this year, Side A of this vinyl LP opens on the upbeat and Oasis-esque Christmas All Over Again and the swarmy, old-time hipsway of Shake Hands With Santa Claus, continues on with the all-embracing This Is Christmas, rounding out on the gently rocking Christmas Don’t Be Late and the young child vocalization of Better Days.

Flipping the vinyl LP over and Side B brings us the drunk, end of night, coal-slinging, sing-along You Ain’t Getting Nothin’ and a warmly beautiful rendition of both holiday staples Let It Snow and Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, the album closing on a breathy Hark! The Herald Angels Sing and a rousingly upbeat The Christmas Party (Feat. The Union Square 5).

Both One Last Song About Christmas (a ballad that balances melancholy lyricism with instrumentals that channel the warmth and nostalgia of classic holiday favorites) and I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm (feat. Kudisan Kai) can be found on the newly expanded, Deluxe Edition of the CD.

Produced by frontman John Rzeznik in addition to the band’s longtime collaborators Brad Fernquist and Jimmy McGorman, It’s Christmas All Over initially arrived in late 2020.

“I wanted to write a song about the people and places most of us don’t see or think about at Christmas time,” says Rzeznik about One Last Song About Christmas.

“To tell an unorthodox love story about slipping through the cracks and celebrating a very different type of holiday, while finding a bittersweet joy that carries them through the season.”

The digital deluxe album and limited edition drinkware set will be available to purchase in the band’s store here on November 5th, 2021.

Goo Goo Dolls - One Last Song About Christmas (Lyric Video)

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Title - New Star Shining
Artist - Orleans

For those unaware, Orleans has just released their first and only Christmas album entitled New Shining Star.

Subconsciously, the group — which is about to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2022 — must have been working on the holiday collection for decades.

Orleans co-founder Lance Hoppen says, “The material comes from various sources, most written internally and some by friends from other bands. Some had previously recorded lives elsewhere and were remastered, others had previous starts but underwent major revisions and upgrades. Some were cut from scratch in isolation. Some are purely secular, while others center around the Christmas story.”

1. New Star Shining
2. Quiet Place
3. Jinglin’ in New England
4. Mary’s Christmas
5. I Wish I Could’ve Been There
6. The Sound of Christmas
7. Mary Had a Baby (Traditional)
8. Snowed in With You
9. I’m Comin’ Home for Christmas
10. I Wish I Could Fly
11. Winter Wonderland
12. Ballad of the Christmas Day Cowboy

This simply heavenly divine holiday album opens on the lushly orchestrated title track New Star Shining and the harmonic Quiet Place and backs those up seamlessly with the upbeat, guitar-infused Jinglin’ in New England, the melodic storytelling of Mary’s Christmas, and then we get smooth flow of I Wish I Could’ve Been There and the rich embrace of The Sound of Christmas is brought forth.

Next up is one of my own personal favorites from this album, the dulcetly harmonized traditional Mary Had a Baby which is in turn followed by the free flowing Snowed in With You, the joyous I’m Comin’ Home for Christmas, the album rounding out on the ’50s-imbued balladry of I Wish I Could Fly, the R&B foot-tapper Winter Wonderland, coming to a close on the countrified Ballad of the Christmas Day Cowboy.

John and Johanna Hall co-wrote the title track, New Star Shining which the band recorded in 1994 for a Woodstock Holidays CD released only in Japan.

The group’s only Christmas song until now, it was also cut as a duet by Ricky Skaggs and James Taylor and which this version features shared lead vocals by John, Larry Hoppen, Lance and Bob Leinbach.

The acclaimed songwriting duo also co-wrote Snowed In With You, I Wish I Could’ve Been There with Tad Richards, and Quiet Place with Jonell Mosser.

I Wish features Little Feat’s Bill Payne on piano and multi-instrumentalist John Jorgenson (the Desert Rose Band and The Hellecasters) playing mandolin and Snowed In shines with Dan Dugmore’s pedal steel and Andrea Zonn’s fiddle.

Two more historical recordings came from the Hoppen family. Lance found his late brother Larry’s version of Winter Wonderland on YouTube, which was recorded for a 2010 Rock Xmas Foundation charity.

Larry, Lance, brother Lane and sister Lynda sang the introduction of the traditional song Mary Had a Baby around 1985 at a Hoppen Family holiday gathering; Lance found the tape, a snippet of which was digitized and included.

The band then recreated the entire four-part harmony arrangement during the pandemic.

Fly Amero contributed three songs: Jinglin’ In New England was written with his wife Donna with the other Fly songs including Ballad of the Christmas Day Cowboy (a collaboration with platinum country writer Robert Ellis Orrall) and I Wish I Could Fly, written with Allen Estes, featuring Beaver Brown Band’s keyboardist, Steve Burke.

Other songs include Mary’s Christmas, originally recorded by The Little River Band, and I’m Coming Home for Christmas originally recorded by Ambrosia’s Joe Puerta and The Sound of Christmas came from Orleans alumnus Chip Martin, who’s written for Billy Paul and Randy Meisner.

Band members on New Shining Star: John Hall: Guitars & Vocals
Lance Hoppen: Bass & Vocals
Fly Amero: Guitars & Vocals
Lane Hoppen: Keyboards & Vocals
Brady Spencer: Drums & Vocals

Historical contributions from former members Bob Leinbach, Larry Hoppen.

Orleans’ New Star Shining will be on all digital platforms and available in music stores and holiday catalogs.

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Title - The Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concerts [2CD/BR]
Artist - Bruce Springsteen & E Street Band

Sony Music Entertainment’s Premium Content Division, in partnership with Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, has announced The Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concerts, a Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band film featuring ten never-before released performances from the Madison Square Garden MUSE benefit concerts, and full footage of the band’s entire setlist for the first time.

Edited by longtime Springsteen collaborator Thom Zimny from the original 16mm film alongside remixed audio from Bob Clearmountain, The Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concerts represent the highest quality and best recorded Bruce Springsteen performances from an explosive, ascendant and rarely-filmed era of the E Street Band.

The Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concerts film will be released in HD on physical formats November 19th, 2021 including on two CD with DVD, two CD with Blu-Ray (of which we have been sent for review here today) and two LP formats.

The film will be available globally in HD for digital download on November 16th, 2021 and digital rental on November 23rd, 2021.

1. Prove It All Night
2. Badlands
3. The Promised Land
4. The River
5. Sherry Darling
6. Thunder Road
7. Jungleland
8. Rosalita Come Out Tonight
9. Born To Run
10. Stay
11. Detroit Medley
12. Quarter To Three
13. Rave On

A composite of two performances captured during the multi-day ‘No Nukes’ concerts, the film packs the intensity of a marathon Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band show into a crackling 90 minute run-time.

If you like your Bruce Springsteen young, raw, deeply-angst ridden and yet wholly embodying everything that New Jersey could offer a musician with the Golden Ticket to legendary musicianship status, then ladies and gentlemen, this live performance has all that you could ever wish to flashback to ... and oh so much more!

Opening on the penultimate song from his fourth, and some might say best studio album Darkness on the Edge of Town, the feisty Prove It All Night (which comes with the imbedded message that success requires sacrifice) leads the way and is backed supremely by the leadoff track from that very same album, the raucous teen angst of Badlands.

Next up is actually the third single from that album - after both opening tracks - the harmonica-driven beauty The Promised Land, and then comes one of my own all-time Springsteen favorites, a then-unreleased version of The River (off of what was Springsteen’s only double album) and the lively Sherry Darling (which had been purposely left off Darkness to help fill The River run time), which are backed by the opening track on his breakthrough album Born to Run, the breathtaking Thunder Road.

Along next is one of the true stand out cuts from this live recording, the closing song on Springsteen’s Born to Run, and a track that also contains one of E Street Band saxophonist Clarence Clemons’ most recognizable solos, Jungleland is played to a baying audience and is followed by a 12 minute Rosalita, from his quite brilliant The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle album.

Up next is another thundering highlight, the energized, sweaty and street fighting, pulsating Born to Run and then Springsteen introduces his special guests Jackson Browne, Tom Petty and Rosemary Butler on stage for their group collective rendition of the 1960 song by Maurice Williams & The Zodiacs, Stay.

Being from Detroit, Springsteen and his ensemble’s 10 minute Detroit Medley (featuring: Devil with the Blue Dress On / Good Golly Miss Molly / C.C. Rider / Jenny Take A Ride) is something to truly behold, and then the recording rounds out with the Gary U.S. Bonds-sung, Quarter To Three (a track that was sung regularly by Springsteen as a show closer on the Born to Run and Darkness tours), closing on a rousing cover of Buddy Holly’s Rave On.

The Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concerts were captured while Springsteen and the E Street Band were in the midst of recording The River and just after the conclusion of their breakout 1978 Darkness Tour, marking a rare chance to witness the future Rock and Roll Hall of Famers comprehensively in the heart of their reputation-making rise.

Captured during an ascendant, but rarely-filmed period for Springsteen and the E Street Band, the footage in The Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concerts marks the highest quality and most comprehensive live experience from the heart of the band’s reputation-making rise.

Highlights from the 90 minute set include the live debut of The River, guest appearances from Tom Petty and Jackson Browne, Springsteen’s on-stage 30th birthday celebrations, an exuberant cover-packed grand finale and live favorites Born To Run, Badlands and Thunder Road.

Noted film producer Jon Kilik, who served in the camera crew for the No Nukes concerts and penned liner notes for this release, reflects that “... magic was in the air. The energy on stage and from the crowd was beyond measure and description.”

Much of all that is born out in the footage that still to this day showcases a man seemingly always at the top of his game. His brisk stage darting along with youthful gusto, let alone his still developing growl, are in full view, although he himself does freely admit that even back then he was weary of his age: “I can’t go on like this. I’m 30 years old! My heart’s about to go on me!”

Watching the live show now here on Blu-ray, you get to see just how controlled, yet vivacious Max Weinberg’s hard drum swing was and along with showcasing (and rightly so) Clarence Clemons’ R&B sax, the camera also focuses on the careening, intensified key work of both Danny Federici and Roy Bittan.

The entire group, the entire stage entourage is happy and even though they knew that collectively re: Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band had already amassed a wondrously deep catalog of hit singles and beloved album cuts, they purposefully remained connected with their audience by bringing them nothing short of one of the greatest rock’n’roll hits events ever to be created.

Pivotally, Springsteen was not one of the founders of Musicians United for Safe Energy (MUSE), the organization behind the No Nukes concerts in the fall of 1979.

Those people were actually Jackson Browne, Graham Nash, Bonnie Raitt, and John Hall (a member of the soft-rock outfit Orleans, best known for their 1976 hit Still the One, who would later be elected to the House of Representatives).

MUSE was formed in the wake of the Three Mile Island nuclear accident, a disaster that had consumed headlines that spring. In another twist of fate, the Three Mile Island tragedy inspired Springsteen’s Roulette, a cathartic ode that was the first song cut during the sessions for his 1980 album The River; but lay dormant until it was released as a B-side in 1988.

“A few years ago, I started re-examining the filmed archives for Bruce and the Band’s appearances at the No Nukes concerts of 1979,” said Thom Zimny. “I quickly realized that these were the best performances and best filming from the Band’s legendary Seventies, and dedicated myself to bringing out the full potential of the footage.”

“Having worked as Bruce’s principal director and editor for the last 20 years, I can say without reservation that this newly re-edited, re-mixed and restored ninety minute film is the gold standard for Bruce and the Band live during one of their greatest creative periods.”

“The Seventies were a golden period in the history of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, and the Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concerts is the greatest document of that era we will ever have,” said Jon Landau.

“It’s a pure rock show from beginning to end, the energy level is transcendent, and the mastery of the art and the craft of rock music is awe inspiring.”

“We’re thrilled to be able to give audiences around the world the opportunity to witness these groundbreaking performances,” said Tom Mackay, President, Premium Content, Sony Music Entertainment. “‘The Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concerts’ is a rare opportunity to experience an event that became an instant classic and marked a pivotal moment for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.”

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Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band - The Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concert [Official Trailer]

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Title - How Are You Coping With This Century?
Artist - Novelty Island

For those unaware, this 2021 debut album from Liverpool’s Novelty Island is a highly enjoyable trip through sunny, quasi-psychedelic songcraft across tracks with titles like Cowboy On A Bicycle and Blackcurrant Sky.

Entitled How Are You Coping With This Century? (and released thru Think Like A Key Music), others songs with insistent alt-pop credentials abound, such as the Graham Coxon-indebted Michael Afternoon and the free flow of the one-day recordings such as album opener This Bird.

Indeed, the album is entirely other, yet cloaked in a warm-blanket of familiarity. Criss-crossed with cello, harmonium, horns and banjo, How Are You Coping With This Century? is an engine of parts that appear random, yet purrs with cultured reliability.

1. This Bird
2. Cowboy On A Bicycle
3. Michael Afternoon
4. Ladybird
5. Jangleheart
6. Blackcurrant Sky
7. Citrus Wood
8. Listen
9. Blank Wine
10. I’ll Sleep In April
11. Turtle Rock
12. Yes

This beautifully crafted and heartfelt ode to the pure consciousness of music, opens on the gentle pop-bounce of This Bird and the jaunty, joyfully atmospheric Cowboy On A Bicycle and backs those up with the harder edged, mid-tempo rock of Michael Afternoon, the lushly orchestrated Ladybird and then we get both the foot-tapping ’70s rock of Jangleheart and the Beatles-esque psych-swirls of Blackcurrant Sky.

The transportive Citrus Wood and the amiable soft rock piano and tambourine flow of Listen are up next and are seamlessly followed by the soft gossamer of Blank Wine, the drum-led AOR of I’ll Sleep In April, the album closing on the alt-guitar rock of Turtle Rock, closing on the vocally harmonious, melodically enchanting Yes.

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Title - Bach: Sonatas for Viola Da Gamba
Artist - Sarah Cunningham / Richard Egarr

For those unaware, legends of the period-performance community Sarah Cunningham and Richard Egarr need little introduction with their contributions to recorded music garnering critical acclaim from early music aficionados across the decades.

They join forces for their AVIE Records debut recording of J.S. Bach’s celebrated Sonatas for Viola da Gamba & Harpsichord together with Cunningham’s dazzling Organ Trio Sonata and Flute Partita arrangements to conclude the program.

The Gamba Sonatas have long-established themselves as a staple in the cello/gamba repertoire, notably extending their fame into popular culture with the Adagio from Sonata No. 3 featuring (alongside with Bach’s solo suites) in Anthony Minghella’s 1990 BAFTA award-winning movie “Truly, Madly, Deeply”, starring Alan Rickman and Juliet Stephenson.

Sonata No. 1 in G BWV 1027 for viola da gamba & harpsichord
1. I. Adagio 4.02
2. II. Allegro ma non tanto 3.39
3. III. Andante 2.20
4. IV. Allegro moderato 3.13

Sonata No. 2 in D BWV 1028 for viola da gamba & harpsichord
5. I. [Adagio] 1.51
6. II. Allegro 4.01
7. III. Andante 4.17
8. IV. Allegro 4.09

Sonata No. 3 in G minor BWV 1029 for viola da gamba & harpsichord
9. I. Vivace 5.33
10. II. Adagio 4.56 SINGLE AV2499 (15 November)
11. III. Allegro 3.57

Organ Trio Sonata No. 3 in D minor BWV 527
arranged by Sarah Cunningham for viola da gamba & harpsichord
12. I. Andante 4.55
13. II. Adagio e dolce 5.01
14. III. Vivace 4.00

15. Flute Partita in A minor BWV 1013: I. Allemande 9.22
arranged by Sarah Cunningham for viola da gamba solo (transcribed to D minor)

With Sarah Cunningham widely recognized as one of the foremost viola da gambists worldwide, to my mind it’s actually Richard Egarr’s harpsichord exploration and exceptional elegance that leads the way here, for the entire opening Sonata No. 1 in G BWV 1027 is as wondrously sculptured, as delightfully crisp, as rewardingly ambient as one could ever have imagined or hoped for (the last contrapuntal movement, although not labelled as a bourrée, makes reference to this dance form by commencing with a quaver figure on the fourth beat of the bar).

Cunningham comes more to the fore within the more precisely orchestrated Sonata No. 2 in D BWV 1028, the first movement beginning with the gamba introducing a thematic fragment repeated by the harpsichord whilst the following movement includes echos and from the first one, especially of the latter half of the first movement - whereas the third movement is in the rhythm of a siciliano, followed by a fast movement in 6/8 time.

Then the sterner, more cultured, deeper-structured Sonata No. 3 in G minor BWV 1029 brings Egarr back to the spotlight. The sonata begins with a theme by the viola da gamba, which is soon joined by the harpsichord. This is driven forward with lively figuration. The middle movement, in B♭ major, allows the parts to intertwine even more, ending with the allegro, which begins with repeated notes in the gamba part soon to be taken up by the lower harpsichord part.

Closing these works - from the late 1730s and early 1740s - on the sweeping three-part elegance of Organ Trio Sonata No. 3 in D minor BWV 527 and the stand alone brilliance of the Cunningham-arranged Bach, J S: Partita in A minor for solo flute, BWV1013, recorded at the United Church of New Marlborough, Southfield, Massachusetts, in November 2017, this stunningly opulent recording is one that could even be heard in homes across the world this Holiday season.

Sarah Cunningham, viola da gamba Jane Julier, 2003, after Bertrand.

Richard Egarr, harpsichord David Rubio, Duns Tew (Oxford), 1977, after Taskin (from the collection of Peter Sykes).

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Title - Whiskey and the Dog
Artist - Creed Fisher

With over 22 million combined streams on Spotify and over 17 million views on YouTube with past releases, Life of A Workin’ Man, The Way That I Am, and This Place Called USA, Texas-born and bred southern rock artist Creed Fisher has just released a brand new album, Whiskey and the Dog.

His first album to be released through Dirt Rock Empire and distributed by CMDSHFT, the 14-track album reflects Fisher’s hardships, outlaw living, and blue-collar lifestyle and represents a community of hard-working men and women.

1. High on The Bottle
2. This Town
3. Girls with Big Titties
4. Whiskey and The Dog
5. Hundred Dollars Short
6. Gray Skys
7. Don’t California My Texas
8. The Good Ol’ U.S. of A.
9. Down To The Riverbank
10. Find My Way Back Home
11. Honkey Tonk Drankin’
12. I’m Crazy And You’re Gone
13. Jesus, Haggard & Jones
14. Hankles

Produced by Bart Rose, Josh Rodgers, and Fisher, and with eleven songs written entirely by himself and three others co-written with Mark Jones, Whiskey and The Dog opens on the reflective mid-tempo hipsway of High on The Bottle and the balladry of This Town and backs those up with the interestingly-titled ode Girls with Big Titties, the lonesome title track Whiskey and the Dog and then we get the rambunctious Hundred Dollars Short.

Next up is laid back Gray Skys and the flaunty Don’t California My Texas which are in turn followed by the low brow balladry of The Good Ol’ U.S. of A., the Hammond-imbued rocker Down To The Riverbank, the quietly paced Find My Way Back Home, the gentle funk of Honkey Tonk Drankin’, the album rounding out on the stillness of regret within I’m Crazy And You’re Gone, the barnyard slow dance Jesus, Haggard & Jones, closing on the thoughtfully gently, comedically side-eyed Hankles.

In closing, Whiskey and The Dog is different than anything Fisher has done to date and yet stays true to who he is - unapologetic, patriotic, and passionate.

Indeed, the album remains true to Creed Fisher’s unwavering form, speaking to and for his fans, and is his strongest country album he has produced thus far in his career.

His songwriting harkens back to the roots of genuine outlaw country music, taking listeners back to a place and time when the fine art of storytelling flowed effortlessly.

With this new album, Fisher promises fans, “A rollercoaster of emotions; laughs, cheers with drinks and songs that will make you want to cry.”

When describing his aspirations for the album, Fisher states, "I hope fans walk away knowing that I’m still in the trenches fighting this battle for Real Country Music.”

“We haven’t lost a step; if anything, this album is stronger than ever and shows that Creed Fisher is a force to be reckoned with in Outlaw Country Music.”

Creed Fisher - High On The Bottle (Official Video)

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Title - Top Shelf [Japanese Edition]
Artist - Laura Ainsworth

For those not in the know, when Dallas-based retro jazz singer Laura Ainsworth began releasing a series of CDs on her indie label Eclectus Records, she says, “I thought of them as messages in a bottle. I sent them out into the world with no idea if anyone would ever find them.”

Thus she was stunned when her sophisticated lounge jazz won fans, accolades and multiple awards, leading to radio play and performances from Los Angeles to India.

And so with Laura’s music having received such a warm response from Japanese critics and fans of classic American vocal jazz, Japan’s very own Ratspack Records have now created this expanded CD version of her best-of vinyl LP, Top Shelf.

The CD, in coveted mini-LP CD format, includes 16 tracks - 15 of Laura’s favorite tracks from her first three albums, plus the previously-unreleased Irving Berlin classic, You’d Be Surprised.

All are warmly remastered by Jessica Thompson, Grammy-nominated for her work on Erroll Garner’s The Complete Concert by the Sea.

The production was overseen by David Gasten, producer of the popular This is Vintage Now CD compilation series (Laura’s version of An Occasional Man is the lead track on This Is Vintage Now Volume 2).

The Top Shelf CD comes in a plastic protective sleeve with an Obi band, extensive liner notes including info on each song, lyric sheet for all songs, and a 16-page color photo booklet on Laura’s unusual upbringing as the daughter of big band musical prodigy Billy Ainsworth (Tommy Dorsey, Freddy Martin, Ray McKinley, Tex Beneke and more) and her own award-winning mixture of modern and classic lounge/jazz/big band/torch musical styles.

1. That’s How I Got My Start
2. Necessary Evil
3. That’s the Kind of Guy I Dream Of
4. The Gentleman Is A Dope
5. You’d Be Surprised
6. Love For Sale
7. Skylark
8. Medley: Long Ago And Far Away/You Stepped Out Of A Dream
9. An Occasional Man
10. Out Of This World
11. Hooray For Love
12. Personality
13. My Foolish Heart
14. Dream A Little Dream Of Me
15. Wasting My Love On You
16. Just Give Me A Man

With the tracks having been were recorded at Crystal Clear Studios in Dallas with renowned pianist/producer/arranger Brian Piper and Laura’s loyal coterie of top Texas jazz players, including John Adams on bass and Chris McGuire on sax and clarinet, this new collection opens on the storytelling ache of That’s How I Got My Start and the bombastic fervor of Necessary Evil (made famous in the ’50s by Frankie Laine) and backs those up with the upbeat and sprightly, albeit it firmly tongue-in-cheek That’s the Kind of Guy I Dream Of.

Next up is the resoundingly forthright, lesser known Rodgers and Hammerstein track The Gentleman Is A Dope and the sultry-embraced throes of the previously unreleased You’d Be Surprised (an Irving Berlin tune made famous by Marilyn Monroe) which are in turn followed by the alluringly refined classic Cole Porter cut Love For Sale, the ornate balladry gossamer of Skylark and then a righteously-creative Medley: consisting of Long Ago And Far Away/You Stepped Out Of A Dream.

Along next comes one of my own personal favorites in the form of the atmospherically Caribbean, finger-snapping attributes of An Occasional Man (sung back in the day by both Sarah Vaughn and Julie London) and then come the luxurious tones of Johnny Mercer/Harold Arlen’s Out Of This World, the gentle jazz skip-whirl of Hooray For Love and Johnny Burke and Jimmy Van Heusen’s mid-tempo foot-tapper Personality.

Another aching, this time fiddle-imbued ballad in the form of Ned Washington and Victor Young’s My Foolish Heart is up next with the album rounding out on Gus Kahn’s gorgeously sumptuous Dream A Little Dream Of Me, closing on two bonus tracks: the free flowing hipsway of Wasting My Love On You and the late night, smoky jazz club ambiance of Just Give Me A Man.

Japan’s Jazz Critique magazine wrote that “you will quickly become captivated by her alluring singing,” praised her “exceptionally great” voice and “master craftsmanship” that creates “her own one-and-only world.”

They declared Laura “crucial for jazz vocal fans” and Top Shelf “irresistible for 1920-1950s retro standard lovers.”

Jazz Japan likewise hailed Laura’s “silky, vibrant voice” that “conveys elegantly the beauty of the standards.”

In truth, it’s all rather overwhelming for Laura herself, who originally just hoped to help keep alive the music she learned to love from her dad.

Her classic sound has taken her from Texas to Manhattan’s Metropolitan Room to a top jazz club in Dubai and beyond. Now, she says, “As soon as this pandemic is under control, I hope you’ll find me singing Johnny Mercer in Tokyo!”

That’s How I Got My Start - Laura Ainsworth [Official Video]

Where Did The Magic Go - Laura Ainsworth [Official Video]

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Title - Ta’ Mig Med
Artist - Jesper Sivebæk

On Ta’ Mig Med (Take Me Along), guitarist Jesper Sivebæk plays the music of rock musician Kim Larsen on classical guitar.

Kim Larsen – the much-loved Danish rock musician and multi-artist – captured – in music and words – the Danish soul. With 500 recorded songs and 40 albums he was known by Danes of all ages.

Jesper Sivebæk, guitarist, and head of guitar department at The Royal Academy of Music in Copenhagen, had two heroes in his youth: Andrés Segovia and Kim Larsen – and they have followed him ever since.

For more than 10 years Jesper Sivebæk has worked on the pieces on this album.

With his vast experience he uses the possibilities of the guitar to the utmost and follows the classical tradition of making instrumental versions of folk songs – like in Miguel Llobet’s arrangements of Catalan folksongs, in Benjamin Britten’s English and Chinese folksongs arrangements, and in Bela Bartok’s Hungarian folk songs.

Sivebæk is true both to the beauty and the simplicity of Kim Larsen’s songs, and to his instrument – the classical Spanish guitar.

In these arrangements, classical guitar players around the globe now have 12 new pieces to discover and put on their concert programs.

1. Kvinde min (Lady oh lady)
2. Hvis din far gi’r dig lov - (If your dad says okay)
3. Joanna - (Joanna)
4. Masser af success - (Lot’s of success)
5. Der er en sang - (There is a song)
6. Susan Himmelbla - (Susan Himmelbla)
7. Den lige vej - (The narrow road)
8. Om lidt - (In a moment)
9. Flyvere i natten - (Planes in the night)
10. Himlen - (Heaven)
11. Kom igen - (Come again)
12. Som et strejf af en drabe - (Like a touch of a raindrop)

This music for summer evenings and Sunday afternoons opens on the translucent Kvinde min and the gently playful duo of Hvis din far gi’r dig lov and Joanna and backs those with the slightly sterner orchestrations of Masser af success, the beautifully crafted Der er en sang and then comes the organic musings of Susan Himmelbla.

Next up is the ornate gossamer of both Den lige vej and the delightful Om lidt and backs those up seamlessly with the free flowing majesties of Flyvere i natten, the album rounding out on the effervescent Himlen, the structured elegance of Kom igen, closing on the embroidered melodies of Som et strejf af en drabe.

Album Teaser

Masser af success (Lot’s of success) [Official Music Video]

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