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Title - The Midnight Sky (OST)
Artist - Alexandre Desplat

For those unaware, ABKCO have just released the CD of The Midnight Sky (Music from the Netflix Film) from Academy Award winning composer Alexandre Desplat.

He worked with The London Symphony Orchestra to create a dramatic score for the George Clooney film, which premiered December 23rd, 2020 on Netflix, for which Desplat earned his twelfth Golden Globe Award nomination in the Best Original Score category.

When I sat down with Alexandre, he goes, Oh, you want me to write a concert. George Clooney says, laughing. And I was like, Yeah, I want you to write a concert! And he did. He understands emotion as well as any composer I have ever heard.

Georges masterful directing and his true passion for music offered me a wonderful canvas on which to write music. comments Desplat. The heartbreaking events depicted in the film, a dying earth, the delicate tender scenes between Augustine and Iris, the virtuoso sequences in space and the metaphysical questions raised allowed me to compose a score in which emotions, from the more intimate to the widest scope are emphasized by the amazing string section of the London Symphony orchestra.

1. The Midnight Sky (3:31)
2. Aether Spaceship (3:32)
3. Mission (4:22)
4. Iris in the Stars (4:30)
5. Evacuation (2:46)
6. Families & Friends (2:29)
7. In the Milky Way (2:54)
8. A Child (1:55)
9. Peas Battle (3:20)
10. First Alert (3:51)
11. Crashed Plane (5:20)
12. The Ice Breaks (3:07)
13. Visual on Earth (3:03)
14. Survivors (3:12)
15. Is There Hope? (7:42)
16. Changing Route (3:54)
17. Asteroids Rain (2:07)
18. Blood Drops (5:30)
19. Mourning (3:58)
20. There is Nowhere (2:12)
21. A Ride Home (1:42)
22. A New Life Ahead (3:03)

Opening on the sweepingly ambient, groundswell magnificence of The Midnight Sky, the playful notes of Aether Spaceship and both the click-clack of gradient coding within Mission and the more startlingly aware crispness of the fervent Iris in the Stars, ever onward there is never a dull time to be encountered on this quite stunning new soundtrack CD.

Other stand out tracks are the at-first delicate piano, before turning into a jagged orchestral work within Wolves, the reachingly dreamy pairing of In The Milky Way and Visual On Earth, along with frantic danger exposed within Asteroids Rain, and the gaping hole of undeniable acceptance within There Is Nowhere, the work ending on the wishful, hopeful ebb and flow of A New Life Ahead.

The Midnight Sky, starring George Clooney, Felicity Jones, David Oyelowo, Tiffany Boone with Demian Bichir and Kyle Chandler and introducing Caoilinn Springall is an adaptation of Lily Brooks-Daltons acclaimed novel Good Morning, Midnight.

This post-apocalyptic tale follows Augustine (George Clooney), a lonely scientist in the Arctic, as he races to stop Sully (Felicity Jones) and her fellow astronauts from returning home to a mysterious global catastrophe.

The film has been nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Visual Effects category.

Official Purchase Links

Official The Midnight Sky Movie Trailer

Watch George Clooney and Alexandre Desplat discuss their approach to the score

Title - Introducing Kendall Carter
Artist - Kendall Carter

For those not in the know, Kendall Carter is a Louisville, KY native who began playing the piano at the age of 4.

Being reared in the church, helped develop him into the consummate musician he is today.

He is a graduate of the University of Louisville, Jamey Aebersold Studies Jazz Program where he received his Bachelor of Music in Jazz Performance and his Master of Music in Composition and Arranging.

While at UofL he studied composition & arranging with Dr. Gabriel Evens, John LaBarbera, and Dr. Allison Ogden; and piano with Chris Fitzgerald & Jim Connerley.

During his collegiate studies and since, he has had the opportunity to perform with Tim Warfield, Carl Allen, Dave Stryker, Carmen Bradford, Greg Abate & many others.

As an educator he provides private lessons, masterclasses, and can be seen every summer on faculty at the Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshop. He endorses and is a Hammond Artist, primarily using the Hammond Sk-2 and A100 model organs.

​As a performer he can be seen regularly working with the Jamey Aebersold Quartet, the Marlin McKay Group, and performing weekly solo piano and organ trio gigs in Louisville.

Furthermore, he still is active in his local church as the Minister of Music there at The Greater Faith Church of Deliverance; where he has produced their first single entitled Dont Worry, Just Worship!

Kendalls brand new solo debut album, aptly entitled Introducing Kendall Carter (out now via Lladnek Music) is a collection of 11 tracks, (two featuring both Dave Stryker and Kenny Phelps) and flows through many of his influences; which are all lovingly reflected in his performance style.

Included are standards such as Afro Blue, Blame It on the Boogie, and Bill Withers Lovely Day, and Kendall also contributes Punjabi Affair, an original tune with a mid-tempo groove. Indeed, the album concludes with the swinging Blues for Kendall, an original by Stryker that serves as a wonderful showcase for the talents of the young organist.

1. Blame It on the Boogie
2. Afro Blue
3. Lovely Day
4. Short Story
5. Lawns
6. Speedball
7. Beatrice
8. The Masquerade Is Over
9. Punjabi Affair
10. Thats All
11. Blues For Kendall

Opening on the lushly-orchestrated, melodically funky tones of Blame It on the Boogie and the gently fervent Afro Blue, next up is the finger-snapping Lovely Day, the magnificently vibrant Short Story (featuring Dave Stryker & Kenny Phelps), and then we get the laid back, almost comatose ambiance of Lawns and the joyous Speedball (once again, featuring Dave Stryker & Kenny Phelps).

Next up is the soft shuffle of Beatrice and the mid-tempo The Masquerade Is Over, which are in turn followed by the gently perky Punjabi Affair, the deeply seated Thats All, with the album coming to a close on the highly melodious Blues for Kendall.

Kendall Carter - Lovely Day (Official Video) Kendall Carter @ Facebook

Kendall Carter @ Instagram

Kendall Carter @ YouTube

Kendall Carter @ Bandcamp

Title - Whole Nother World
Artist - Patti Parks

For those not in the know, Buffalo Music Hall-of-Famer Patti Parks is a riveting live performer, with a soulful and sensual voice that cranks out an uplifting, ebullient blend of Chicago Blues, Funk and Memphis Soul.

After hearing Patti at the Blues Foundations International Blues Challenge, famed American Bluesman Kenny Neal signed her to his Booga Music label and brought her to his Baton Rouge, Louisiana studio to produce, arrange, and perform on the eclectic gem, Whole Nother World, due for release through Booga Music/VizzTone on May 28th, 2021.

Neal joins Patti for a vocal duet on the track Baby Bee while providing harmonica and guitar on that song as well as others on the diversely satisfying album.

1. Im Trouble
2. More Than Youll Ever Know
3. Its A Mans Mans Mans World
4. Baby Bee (Feat. Kenny Neal)
5. Stickin To My Guns
6. Dont Play Me Cheap
7. I Cant Think
8. No Means No

This quite brilliant, melodically earthy and richly layered album opens on the blues swing of Im Trouble and the sultry More Than Youll Ever Know, before bringing us the old school balladry flow of Its A Mans Mans Mans World and then the deeply emotive, rawly loamy Baby Bee (featuring the aforementioned American blues guitarist/singer Kenny Neal).

Next up is the harmonica-driven Stickin To My Guns and the beautiful piano ballad Dont Play Me Cheap, with this album rounding out on the funky blues foot-tapper I Cant Think, closing all too soon on the rhythmic blues, and Hammond-imbued No Means No.

In addition to being a sizzling blues performer, Patti is also a working nurse, and the creator of the Nurs N Blues education program, which she developed to help high risk children at drug rehab centers.

Patti Parks - Highlights Reel - Live at The Funky Biscuit

Patti Parks Band Promo Video 2019

Patti Parks @ Facebook

Patti Parks @ YouTube

Patti Parks @ Apple Music

Patti Parks @ Twitter

Title - All. Right. Now.
Artist - Satsang

For those unaware, Satsangs soulful, reggae-infused folk-rock brought their last album to #1 on Billboards Reggae Chart, with 15 million Spotify streams, and saw them share the stage with the likes of Michael Franti and Nahko & Medicine for the People.

Now, on their new album, the just released All. Right. Now. (via Side One Dummy Records), front man Drew McManus is found reconnecting with his Montana roots and exploring a whole new palette of sounds, drawing on classic country and modern Americana.

The performances are broad and spacious, reflecting the soaring mountains that surrounded the band while they were recording.

It is a lush, organic collection fueled by acoustic guitars, fiddle, and pedal steel; a warm, inviting record that hints at everything from Uncle Tupelo and The Jayhawks to Gregory Alan Isakov and The Head and the Heart.

Inspired by the land and by his role as a father, All. Right. Now. is a joyful, rustic collection all about letting go and living in the moment.

1. From And I Go
2. All. Right. Now.
3. Answer Was Yes
4. This Place (ft. Trevor Hall)
5. Im The One
6. Further This Goes
7. Malachi
8. Back Around (ft. G. Love)
9. Ill Try
10. Love
11. To Last

Opening on the lush, low key orchestrations of From And I Go and the free flowing melodies of the twanging title track All. Right. Now. they back those up seamlessly with the earnest mid-tempo ballad Answer Was Yes, the rhythmic country rap of This Place (ft. Trevor Hall), and then both the Caribbean hipsway of Im The One and the low slung rocker Further This Goes.

Up next is the upbeat, fiddle-imbued Malachi and the absolutely magnificent Americana of Back Around (ft. G. Love), with the album rounding out on the soft drum-led shuffle of Ill Try, the mid-tempo sing-along Love, coming to a close on the pure gossamer flow of To Last.

McManus produced the album himself, and while the songs are certainly honest and deeply personal, they were written in a spiritual language that taps into something far more universal; something inherent in the human condition that binds us as brothers and sisters on a shared journey to find our place in this world.

Grounding himself in a dedicated mixed-martial-arts practice, McManus sees no inherent contradiction between fighting and music, which both require patience, endurance, and a willingness to immerse yourself completely into practice.

As a father and a husband, McManus is more committed than ever to taking care of his mind, body, and soul and to making the most of his limited time.

When you are dealt a tough hand, you can either get bitter or you can get better, says McManus. You can blame your upbringing for everything and complain about what happened to you, or you can choose to believe that everything happened for you, to step into your power and become the person you want to be.

In Montana, that is precisely what McManus has done, turning his dreams into reality in a place that, some days, feels more like Heaven than Earth. My wife, my kids, Montana, they are all one thing to me now, says McManus. They are home.

Satsang - All. Right. Now. (Official Music Video)

Satsang - Forever and Ever, Amen (Home Video)

Satsang @ Twitter

Satsang @ Facebook

Satsung @ Instagram

Title - I Stand Accused: Complete Merseybeats & Merseys
Artist - The Merseybeats / The Merseys

For those not in the know, I Stand Accused: The Complete Merseybeats and Merseys Sixties Recordings (out June 18th, 2021 via Grapefruit/Cherry Red Records) features everything known to have been recorded by both acts, including demos, out-takes, alternative versions and home recordings.

The set also incorporates the various splinter projects that took place during the same time-frame, with a pseudonymous single as Crackers joined by some highly sought-after 45s involving Merseybeats drummer John Banks and former Big Three bassist Johnny Gustafson, who had briefly replaced Kinsley in The Merseybeats.

Emerging from the Liverpool group scene during the goldrush years, The Merseybeats combination of Everly Brothers-style vocal harmonies and adroitly-chosen beat boom ballads saw them record several hit singles (including I Think Of You, which reached the Top Five), a brace of very popular EPs and a self-titled album that spent a couple of months in the LP charts.

After their superb version of I Stand Accused (a big favorite of local teenager Elvis Costello, later to cover the song) failed to become the huge success that it deserved to be, group leaders Tony Crane and Billy Kinsley reinvented themselves as vocal duo The Merseys, who recorded one of the classic mid-Sixties pop hits in Sorrow, subsequently quoted in Beatles track Its All Too Much and taken back into the charts a few years later by David Bowie.

Sorrow was followed by a handful of Merseys singles that, although less successful, are now highly regarded by admirers of late Sixties British pop and psychedelia, and are now legitimately assembled under one roof for the first time.

CD 1: The Merseybeats
1. Its Love That Really Counts
2. The Fortune Teller
3. I Think Of You
4. Mister Moonlight
5. Long Tall Sally
6. Im Gonna Sit Right Down and Cry
7. Shame
8. You Cant Judge a Book By The Cover
9. Dont Turn Around
10. Really Mystified
11. Milkman
12. Hello Young Lovers
13. He Will Break Your Heart
14. Funny Face
15. The Girl That I Marry
16. Fools Like Me
17. My Heart And I
18. Bring It On Home to Me
19. Lavender Blue
20. Jumping Jonah
21. The Things I Want To Hear (Pretty Words)
22. Wishin and Hopin
23. Last Night (I Made A Little Girl Cry)
24. See Me Back
25. Dont Let It Happen To Us
26. It Would Take a Long, Long Time
27. I Love You, Yes I Do
28. Good, Good Lovin
29. Soldier of Love
30. I Stand Accused
31. All My Life
32. Our Day Will Come
33. Nur Unsere Liebe Zahlt (Its Love That Really Counts)
34. Nur De Allein (I Think Of You)

The Merseybeats were one of the lesser Liverpool bands, who rode to some success on the coattails of the better groups. Over these two new CD compilations, the songs clearly inform you why they had some success and also why it was so limited.

The two ballads that were their biggest hits, I Think Of You and Dont Turn Around (the latter not even included here) are nice songs which suit their style and the singers voices, for sure, but the rest of the culled tracks do not match up to them, in my humble opinion.

However, and that said, I am not dismissing this wondrous 2CD set just for that personal opinion, no, far from it, for I believe like many bands of that time, they were very young, musically immature, but the sounds that they made were remarkably polished; hence their ability to catch the wave of popularity before it inevitably (except for the really good bands ala the Beatles and such) ebbed away.

Opening on the gentle finger-snap melodies of Its Love That Really Counts, the frenetic Fortune Teller, the swarmy ballad I Think Of You, and both the rhythmic Mister Moonlight, other stand out cuts here on the first disc include the addictive rampage of Im Gonna Sit Right Down and Cry, the lovely hipsway of Really Mystified, the yearning ballad Lavender Blue, the lo-fi Last Night (I Made A Little Girl Cry), the foot-stomper of a title track I Stand Accused, and the inventive, German-sung pairing of Nur Unsere Liebe Zahlt (Its Love That Really Counts) and Nur De Allein (I Think Of You).

CD 2: The Merseys and Beyond
1. Sorrow
2. Some Other Day
3. So Sad About Us
4. Love Will Continue
5. Rhythm of Love
6. Is It Love?
7. The Cat
8. Change of Heart
9. Penny In My Pocket
10. I Hope Youre Happy
11. Lovely Loretta
12. Dreaming
13. Honey Do
14. It Happens All The Time
15. Sorrow (Alternative Version)
16. Nothing Can Change This Love
17. Do Me A Favour
18. Just To Be With You
19. Sweet Day
20. Take Me For a Little While
21. Make Me Your Number One
22. Bumper to Bumper
23. Scrape My Boot
24. Cool It
25. Mark of Her Head
26. Hello Memories
27. Pretend
28. So How Come (No-One Loves Me)
29. All I Have To Do Is Dream

The second disc opens on the massively popular hit Sorrow and backs that up seamlessly with the lush orchestrations of the lo-fi Some Other Day, the tambourine-imbibed So Sad About Us, and both the medieval backdrop-imbued Love Will Continue and the dancefloor spin cycle of Rhythm of Love.

Other stands outs include the ferocious pop edge of The Cat and the trippy hippy sounds of Penny In My Pocket, with others such as the pop-tastic Lovely Loretta, the pop blues of the brilliant horn-led Bumper to Bumper, and both the catchy Pretend and an aching rendition of All I Have To Do Is Dream, all adding to the musical magnificence of this new set.

A 2-CD digipak release, I Stand Accused features many superb full color photos as well as a new 9,000 word essay that covers the fascinating careers of both bands, including their relationships with the pre-fame Beatles and Brian Epstein, their adventures with The Who (with whom they shared the same management team, leading to John Entwistle and Keith Moon playing on a handful of Merseys tracks) and their unwitting part in the tale of Pete Bests dismissal.

CD 1:
1-2 Single, Fontana TF 412, released August 1963; 3-4 Single, Fontana TF 431, released December 1963; 5-8 EP, Fontana TE 17422, released March 1964; 9-10 Single, Fontana TF 459, released April 1964 11-20 From the album The Merseybeats, Fontana TL 5210, released June 1964; 21 Not originally released, recorded 1964; 22 Single, Fontana TF 482, released July 1964; 23-24 Single, Fontana TF 504, released October 1964; 25-26 Single, Fontana TF 568, released May 1965; 27-28 Single, Fontana TF 607, released September 1965; 29 Not originally released, recorded late 1965; 30-31 Single, Fontana TF 645, released December 1965; 32 From the album This Is Merseybeat Vol. One, Oriole PS 40047, released July 1963; 33-34 Single, German Fontana 269 310 TF, released June 1964.

CD 2:
1-2 Single, Fontana TF 694, released April 1966; 3-4 Single, Fontana TF 732, released July 1966; 5-6 Single, Fontana TF 776, released November 1966; 7-8 Single, Fontana TF 845, released June 1967; 9-10 Single, Fontana TF 916, released March 1968; 11-12 Single, Fontana TF 955, released July 1968; 13-14 Crackers single, Fontana TF 995, released January 1969; 15 Not originally released first version, recorded early 1966; 16 Not originally released, recorded 1966; 17 The Kinsleys, not originally released, recorded 1964; 18-19 Johnny Gustafson single, Polydor BM 56022, released August 1965; 20-21 Johnny Gustafson single, Polydor BM 56043, released January 1966; 22-23 Johnny & John single, Polydor BM 56087, released June 1966; 24-25 The Quotations single, CBS 3716, released September 1968; 26-27 The Quotations single, CBS 4376, released July 1969; 28-29 The Merseybeats, not originally released home demos, recorded December 1962.

Official 2CD Purchase Link

Title - Gingerbread Man: pREServed Edition [3CD]
Artist - The Residents

For those not in the know, formed in the early 1970s, The Residents have been charting a unique path through the musical landscape for almost fifty years.

From far-out, experimental recordings to highly conceptual, innovative multi-platform projects, the band refuses to stand still, and continues to move in several different directions at once.

Produced with The Cryptic Corporation using archival tapes supplied by the group themselves, this brand new Gingerbread Man: pREServed Edition 3CD package (out now via Cherry Red Records) explores and expands the classic 1994 album another series of character studies, as first explored on the Freak Show project alongside the contemporary Hunters OST recording, an instrumental suite composed to accompany the 1995 TV show of the same name.

Disc Two also includes, in full, the previously unreleased Fat Boy tape, a collection of material compiled by the group in early 1994 and either adapted and incorporated into Gingerbread Man and Hunters or quickly forgotten ... until now!

CD 1: Gingerbread Man
1. The Weaver
2. The Dying Oilman
3. The Confused Transsexual
4. The Sold-Out Artist
5. The Ascetic
6. The Old Soldier
7. The Aging Musician
8. The Butcher
9. The Old Woman
10. Gingers Lament
11. The Gingerbread Man (Live Ginger, 1997)
12. The Aging Musician (Live Ginger, 1997)
13. The Old Woman (Live Ginger, 1997)
14. The Sold-Out Artist (Live Ginger, 1997)
15. Gingerbread Man Suite (Live Ginger, 2001)
16. The Old Woman (Live Ginger, 2011)
17. The Confused Transsexual (Live Ginger, 2013)

Over the years, the Residents style has evolved from very avant-garde to more cleanly orchestrated works. Ergo, you could say that Gingerbread Man is much more polished than older albums like Fingerprince and such, but like most material from the Residents, it still has that dark, wonderfully eerie trademark to it.

Each track (except for the ending epilogue) is about one of nine characters and follows a common format: 1) a short instrumental introduction that includes a recurring, catchy melody, 2) a verse sung by the character that poetically sums up their pain and exhaustion with life, and finally, 3) spoken comments and thoughts from the character set to music (the liner notes to the CD explains the story behind each character).

I know one criticism people have had about this album is that all the songs sound too similar, which is fair enough, but I honestly think the repetition purposely fits here to make a musical/opera kind of format; where each chapter of the story begins with the same catchy melody.

I mean, scores for musicals tend to do this and it works for them, so why should not work for this highly imaginative concept album; and it does, trust me on that!

Simply put, Gingerbread Man reveals how bitter and twisted some people can become in their eternal chase of the dreams they cannot achieve. As we hear the doomsday babble of all 9 characters, Ginger keeps reminding us: Run, run, fast as you can, you cannot catch me, I am the Gingerbread Man!

This really is one of those albums that the less I say the better and that I myself was pleasantly surprised by it all.

Its quirky and strange, but it all goes along together well. It flows like that of a river, smooth and at a brisk pace. But when you take a closer look you see what the river really holds.

Some things, perhaps some of the expanded material noted below, are better off left unsaid, but moreover, the album (and now as an expanded whole), is an experience where one should not really listen to the tracks individually; but experience them collectively as a magnificent journey of space and time that transcends multiple ideas and people.

CD 2: The Fat Boy Tape
1. Banco
2. Last Ton
3. Snots
4. E-Z
5. Devise LP
6. Mood I
7. Blues for Twos
8. Burn 3
9. Malice Timba
10. Another
11. Cod Rack
12. Little Thoughts
13. Trail Mix
14. Pizza
15. Laughin Waters
16. Uncomfort
17. Uncomfort (2)
18. Warm Pallet
19. Summertime
20. Weep No More
21. Black Forest
22. Prosane
23. Robber Baron
24. Harts
25. Imple
26. Mighty
27. Nutstoya
28. Yahoo
29. Jandine
30. Dunlap #2
31. Isosceles
32. Big Jumble A
33. Gingerbread Man (The Complete Instrumental

All tracks Previously Unreleased

CD 3: Hunters
1. Hunters Prelude
2. The Deadly Game
3. Tooth and Claw
4. The Dangerous Sea
5. Rulers of The Deep
6. Track of The Cat
7. The Giant Grizzlies
8. Dawn of The Dragons
9. Eye of The Serpent
10. The Crawling Kingdom
11. The Savage Pack
12. Hunters Reprise
Prelude to The Teds
13. Teddy
14. I Tried to Cry
15. The Cry of A Crow
16. Struggle

Remastered, expanded, packed with previously unheard music and pREServed for future generations this is The Residents as we have always wanted to hear them, and the latest in a series of archival reissues that will continue throughout 2021 and beyond.

Oh, and look out for forthcoming Wormwood and Icky Flix sets, as well as a number of special vinyl releases.

The Residents will, of course, be resuming their sure-to-be-smash Dog Stab world tour the moment normality is resumed.

Official 3CD Purchase Link

Title - The Battle At Gardens Gate
Artist - Greta Van Fleet

For those not in the know, Greta Van Fleet released their brand new album, the truly magnificent The Battle at Gardens Gate, on April 16th, 2021.

The new music is a distinct evolution from the bands 2018 debut album Anthem of the Peaceful Army, with a very personal and compelling backstory rooted in the collective experiences the band had during their first three years as professional recording and touring musicians.

Over that time, their eyes were opened to new and different worlds of culture, history, philosophy, and spirituality, and that introduced them to many realities they had no prior connection with; certainly a far cry from the warm and secure life in their idyllic hometown, Frankenmuth, Michigan.

These encounters ushered in an entirely new way of looking at life and their interactions with it.

Simply put, for anyone who appreciates tremendous musicianship, songwriting, and an obvious love and respect for what they are producing, this is an album for you.

If you prefer the modernity of music, you will most likely be perplexed at what you are hearing here as there are variations of musical themes, interesting and uncommon chord progressions, and vocals that I would guess were captured as part of the recording of the song, and not just a layered cut and paste to get the the perfect sound.

The resonance, pitch variation, and vocal inflection lead me to believe you are hearing someone singing as part of the music, and not for production value. Trust me when I say that alone is such a refreshing sound to behold these days.

The songs are just outstanding. The first three cuts have already been released and are all rather catchy and very highly listenable. Keep listening through the album and you will appreciate the range of what these guys are capable of doing.

It may sound like classic rock, which it emulates, but it also deserves billing right next to bands such as Led Zeppelin, Rush, AC DC and The Who, in my humble opinion.

Detractors do what they do to bring attention to themselves to prove they somehow know more than what the rest of us are hearing. This album only cements the fact that Greta Van Fleet can succeed in spite of those aforementioned detractors, and for that we should all be thankful.

There are not that many new bands blazing their own trail so when a great one comes along I feel the need to support their efforts. I have the CD here from which I constructed this review, but I will soon own the vinyl for my own sonic listening enjoyment (and I suggest you all do too!)

Greta Van Fleet @ Facebook

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Title - Aint No Good Man
Artist - Lisa St. Lou

For those unaware, the new album from emerging soul singer Lisa St. Lou spent 7 weeks on the Billboard Charts and is steeped in the music of New Orleans, featuring guest appearances by Cyril Neville, Aaron Neville, Irma Thomas, and number of other NOLA based artists.

The album tells the story of Lisas self-rediscovery after surviving a soulless, emotionally abusive marriage. A seeker of the soul who found a way to drown-out the demons of the past with her sensational voice, Lisas passion for music began as a young girl performing for a small congregation at her grandmothers Baptist Church in St. Louis.

Pressured to pursue a formal education rather than a career as a recording artist, she moved to NY to study music, received a masters degree in opera, and ultimately landed a role in The Producers on Broadway.

But her personal ambitions clashed with the desires of her husband, and when the marriage became untenable, Lisa made the toughest decision of her life, leaving the life she knew and refocusing her energies on her love of music.

Aint No Good Man marks Lisas return to the spirit that moved her to sing in church. It is the story of a woman who went through it, came out the other side, and lived to tell the tale.

1. Aint No Good Man
2. Girl, Get On
3. Hey, Hey, Hey
4. Still Hanging On
5. You Better Dont
6. Love Me Baby
7. Nothing Is Ever Enough (for a man)
8. Watcha Gonna Do
9. Miracle In Motion
10. Ive Seen The Light
11. Are You Ready
12. Flowers In The Rain

This melodically compelling new album opens on the rambunctious title track jam Aint No Good Man and backs that up with the hi-energy of Girl, Get On, the mid-tempo, horn-imbued foot-tapper Hey, Hey, Hey, the countrified ballad Still Hanging On, and both the Gospel-infused You Better Dont and the finger-snapping jive of Love Me Baby.

Next up is the uproarious Nothing Is Ever Enough (for a man) and the melodiously magnificent ambiance of Watcha Gonna Do, the sweepingly soaring harmonies of Miracle In Motion, the funky blues flow of Ive Seen The Light, with the album rounding out on more finger-snapping, mid-tempo funk within Are You Ready, closing on the aesthetically pleasurable piano ballad Flowers In The Rain.

Official Purchase Links

Lisa St. Lou - Aint No Good Man (Official Music Video)

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Lisa St. Lou @ Instagram

Title - May Day
Artist - Trapper Schoepp

For those unaware, in 2019, Milwaukees Trapper Schoepp hit a songwriters jackpot: a co-write with Bob Dylan. And the circumstances were wildly serendipitous.

On the day Dylan entered Columbia Studios in 1961 to begin recording his first studio album, he wrote a song about Wisconsin. The lyric sheet sat unseen with a former roommate, and was later unearthed and put up for auction at $30,000.

Schoepp saw the story and seized the opportunity to set music to words. After Schoepps effort, he was granted Dylans approval to jointly publish the song.

This 57-year-collaboration On, Wisconsin led to features in Rolling Stone and Billboard, an album called Primetime Illusion produced by Wilcos Patrick Sansone, and nearly a hundred international tour dates.

But other ventures in the singer-songwriters life were not as fulfilling.

Schoepp spent the summer prior to the release of Primetime Illusion at the Hotel Astor, a historic 1920s hotel he describes as having the air of a haunting Stephen King novel.

Indulging in the spookiness of his transient lodgings, Schoepp went on a ghost tour of Milwaukee, and as the specters saw fit, the tour ended back at the very hotel where he was staying.

The guide shared the story of a 1935 fire that claimed the lives of a nurse and her patient, a deaf man who did not wake to the nurses pounding at his door. With creative liberties, Schoepp reimagined their story into Hotel Astor.

Schoepp explores themes of ghosts and rebirth, springtime and renewal on his new album, May Day out May 5th, 2021 on Grand Phony Records.

May Day is an ancient holiday that celebrates the arrival of springtime, the natural world and also workers rights. It is also my birthday, Schoepp says with a laugh. After this trying winter, we found solace in making an album for the spring.

1. May Day
2. Hotel Astor
3. River Called Disaster
4. Yellow Moon
5. Paris Syndrome
6. Little Drop of Medicine
7. Solo Quarantine
8. I Am a Rider
9. It Didnt Take
10. Something About You

This quite crisply sonic, resonatingly heartfelt, troubadour-imbued new album opens on the light and cheery title track and then slips seamlessly into the mid-tempo rocker Hotel Astor before bringing us the addictive foot-tapper River Called Disaster, and the summer breeze of Yellow Moon and the acoustic ballad Paris Syndrome.

Up next is the earnest blues rocker Little Drop of Medicine which is itself backed by the warm storytelling of Solo Quarantine, with the pleasant hipsway of I Am a Rider along next, the album closing on the rambunctious It Didnt Take and then the dulcet, organic complexions of the ballad Something About You.

May Day, the halfway point between the spring equinox and the summer solstice, has historically been observed with dancing and singing around a maypole.

Schoepps album cover features a Roaring Twenties era photo of women dancing around a maypole alongside the Washington Monument, which was found in a Library of Congress archive by his brother and bassist/singer, Tanner Schoepp, and adapted into album art by designer, Daniel Murphy (Bon Iver, The War On Drugs).

Official Purchase Link

Trapper Schoepp @ Facebook

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Trapper Schoepp @ YouTube

Trapper Schoepp @ Instagram

Title - Leap Of Faith
Artist - Derev

For those unaware, Derev is a progressive Rock/Metal band from Toronto, Canada, formed by the Italian/Armenian guitarist Armando Bablanian and the Syrian/Armenian drummer Michel Karakach.

Derevs sound combines the energy and intensity of metal music with the atmospheric sound of old-school progressive rock, while incorporating elements of their Arabic and Armenian heritage.

The plan for what eventually became Derev was in the works since Michel and Armando met in high school while living in Kuwait. At the time, they were unable to pursue the project due to circumstances of living in the Middle East.

After obtaining his dental degree during the war in Syria and seeking asylum in Canada, Michel joined Armando in Toronto to form the band after an eight-year hiatus, where they met the bassist Liam Horrigan who recently joined the project.

In anticipation of their debut EP Leap of Faith, Derev has already released two singles and an animated music video in early 2021.

Leap of Faith features Adel Saflou (Ambrotype) on vocals and will be released on May 21st, 2021 and the band will also be releasing a video for the track Turab on the same day.

Says Derev, Leap of Faith is our debut EP. It is meant to introduce the bands diverse style and unique sound, merging the heaviness of metal music with the atmospheric feel and rhythms of old school progressive rock, while experimenting with middle-eastern scales derived from the bands origins.

Even though the EP is not a concept album and each song aims to discuss a different topic, the common theme is about seeing things from a different, unconventional perspective and taking the risk of action to make a change, rather than accepting the status quo, thus the EPs name.

1. Tunnel Vision (1:04)
2. Turab (5:15)
3. Futile (8:22)
4. Delayed (7:07)
5. Slipping Down Again (5:59)
6. Ghost of Guilt (8:35)

Opening on the short album appetizer track Tunnel Vision, they back that up with the melodically, heavily riffed Turab and the drum-led, veritable smorgasbord of sounds combined with storytelling within Futile, then we get the free flowing, mid-tempo Delayed, with the EP EP rounding out on the quieter, balladry fare of Slipping Down Again, closing on the guitar prog rock of Ghost Of Guilt.

The main themes, melodies, and riffs came out of prolonged jam sessions between Armando and Michel. From there, they were slowly developed into full songs through numerous iterations of rehearsing, adjusting, and recording demos.

Once the structure of a song was ready, they wrote lyrics and worked on the general vocal melodies and harmonies. The entire EP was recorded at home. Guitars and bass were recorded in the bands home studio in Toronto.

Adel Saflou (guest vocals) took their demos, added his own character and sound to it and recorded the vocals in his home studio in Amsterdam.

Michel tracked the drums on his electric kit, and then fine-tuned it to preserve his performance, while keeping everything sounding organic. Once everything was tracked the band sent the songs to James Zhan who mixed and mastered the EP.

Official Purchase Link

Derev - Turab (Official Music Video)

Derev @ Facebook

Derev @ Twitter

Derev @ Instagram

Derev @ Instagram

Title - Frontiers Woman
Artist - Angela Autumn

For those unaware, Americana/folk singer-songwriter Angela Autumn is set to release her new album, Frontiers Woman, on June 4th, 2021.

A guitar player by trade who also plays clawhammer banjo, Autumn originally hails from Zelienople, Pennsylvania but now calls Nashville home.

Like the weathered Appalachian mountain peaks of her home, her voice yodels, cascades, and breaks with emotion. Accompanied by an often-droning guitar, a homespun sensibility is the center of Autumns lyrical craft.

From the carefree whooping and bluegrass elements in the albums jaunty kiss-off opener Old Time Lovers, to the slow, Latin shuffle of Gods Green Earth, to the Laurel Canyon elements in Texas Blue Jeans, her music freely wanders the backroads of American music.

Mining the emotional roller coaster of life and telling stories from an empowered female perspective, Autumns lyric-heavy songs on Frontiers Woman create a cohesive whole centered around nomadic ways.

Frontiers Woman is about a young woman who is traveling, says Autumn. This young person is examining their life in relation to a map, and where she wants to go. What is the cost of being a pioneer when no one else believes in what you are doing? When no one else understands -- and you do not even understand -- are you going to keep moving towards your dreams?

1. Old Time Lovers
2. Sowin Seeds
3. Gods Green Earth
4. Shooter
5. Back in Line
6. Fine Blue Sky
7. Texas Blue Jeans

Opening on the carefree, tantalizing, finding-the-truth storytelling gossamer of Old Time Lovers and the banjo and fiddle-driven Sowin Seeds, next up is the delightful two-step twirl of Gods Green Earth and then we get the low slung tale of reckoning with depression, Shooter.

Up next is the seasoned troubadour-imbibed Back in Line which is itself followed by the gentle foot-tapper about exploring the limits of self-liberation within Fine Blue Sky, with the new album closing on the mid-tempo, upbeat melodies of Texas Blue Jeans.

Helping Autumn on her journey toward her dreams, demo collaborations with pals Nick Harley (S.G. Goodman) on guitar and Kate Haldrup (Lilly Hiatt) on drums were the genesis of Frontiers Woman with the initial three songs: Old Time Lovers, Sowin Seeds, and Gods Green Earth.

he trio began to record the album in late 2019, with Autumn at the helm as producer and Haldrup engineering. Frontiers Woman is her first self-produced album. I had much more agency just in having more time to think and be immersed in the process, Autumn says of producing the record.

Working with a female engineer was just a different experience. With the records release delayed by the events of 2020, Autumn had time to overdub some of the songs, adding Wilco-esque drums and electric guitars to the initial arrangements.

It also gave her time to add three more songs: Back in Line, Texas Blue Jeans, and Fine Blue Sky.

Official Purchase Link

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