Saturday, July 31, 2010

CD Review: Davy Mooney Brings Back "Ghosts"

Singer/Songwriter Davy Mooney is a native of New Orleans, but recently moved up to New York City. His newest release "Ghosts of Music, Past" brings influences from home into his new songs. The title track is a gentle, flowing ballad with just the slightest hint of horns to give it a little soul. "Summer Shower Song" displays more of Davy's vocal talents, while "The Captain's Daughter" is a story waiting to be heard. The album carries a very relaxing vibe that makes the listener focus on what is presented, instead of what is missing.

Davy Mooney will be performing a couple of dates in New York City on August 2 (55 Bar) and August 19 (Bar Next Door). For more information on this up and coming songwriter, please visit daveymooney.net.

Friday, July 30, 2010

CD Review: Fauxbois "Carry On" With New Album

The beginnings of the band Fauxbois date back almost 10 years when principle songwriter Brian Mayer began writing songs in his Brooklyn, NY apartment. After many years of touring on his own under the name Mayerforceone, he began recording a proper album in 2007 with studio musicians in Point Juncture, WA. The sessions went so well that he recruited the musicians to form Fauxbois.

The band's debut "Carry On" will not blow you away, but that's not the point. Their sound is a slow, steady building folk-rock with highlights of electric guitars here and there. The songs that stand-out are the album opener "Hearts A Radio" which is a catchy pop song and the acoustic "Neptune." The band finds their strength in song-writing on the softer "Start Of My Slip" and "Let It Fall Down." Fauxbois does know how to rock too in the mostly instrumental "Last Heart Beats."

Fauxbois will be performing in New York and Pennsylvania at the end of the month before heading to Massachusetts and New Jersey at the beginning of August. Their new album "Carry On" is available now on Spark & Shine Records. Visit the band's myspace (www.myspace.com/fauxboisidaho) for more information.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

CD Review: The Punch Brothers' "Antifogmatic" Creation

The Punch Brothers have been changing the way bluegrass music is played for the past four years. The sound on their latest release "Antifogmatic" is like a rock album without the drums. The way the members of the band play their instruments is nothing short of spectacular.

Right from the beginning, in the songs "You Are" and "Don't Need No," you notice this not your typical bluegrass band. The fast strumming and rock-style vocals definitely tune you into their sound. "Rye Whiskey" features some great lyrics that turn into a sing along with the band. The song "Missy" shows us the gentleness of the band while "The Woman And The Bell" shows us the band's diversity. The Punch Brothers float between traditional bluegrass and Dave Matthews Band acoustic rock on "Next To The Trash." But they really show off their skills on the six-and-half minute "Welcome Home."

The Punch Brothers new album "Antifogmatic" was released in June on Nonesuch Records. The combination of their sound and live performances should open up their music to a whole new group of fans. The band has over two dozen dates scheduled including the Newport Folk Festival on August 1. For a complete list of shows and more information on the Punch Brothers, please visit their website, punchbrothers.com.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

CD Review: Robert Randolph Walks "This Road"

Robert Randolph has always had trouble capturing his extraordinary live sound in the studio. His first album "Unclassified" failed to make an impact, while his second album "Colorblind" brought in some special guests to help his sound grow. Well, his third album is about to change all that. Instead of following the jamband sound of his live act into the studio, Robert Randolph decided to explore the studio with the help of producer T Bone Burnett on "We Walk This Road." Robert Randolph tries to capture a century's worth of American music in 56 minutes and makes a valid attempt at it.

"We Walk The Road" begins with the gospel, sing along "Traveling Shoes." The addition of vocals supplied by Lenesha Randolph and Danyel Morgan highlight the breaks between Robert's pedal steel guitar solos. The album features a number of cover songs including the r&b flavored "Back To the Wall" and Fleetwood Mac influenced "I Still Belong To Jesus." Bob Dylan's "Shot Of Love" gets new life with the searing guitar of Robert Randolph while Prince's "Walk Don't Walk" plays perfectly to the album's overall sound. "I'm Not Listening" is a protest song for the African American people with its building drum beats and shout of "Yeah!" The album closes with "Salvation," a gentle gospel infused sing along that features the legendary Leon Russell on piano.

Robert Randolph & The Family Band are currently touring the US. They will make a stop in Connecticut on July 30 at the Gathering of the Vibes Festival in Bridgeport. Their tour concludes at the Austin City Limits Music Festival in October. Check out the band's website (robertrandolph.net) for a complete list of tour dates and for a free download of their new song "Traveling Shoes."

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

CD Review: Audra Mae's "Happiest" Debut!

Singer-songwriter Audra Mae has just released her debut album "The Happiest Lamb" in May of this year. Her singing roots flow deep as she is the grand niece of famed singer Judy Garland, but "The Happiest Lamb" is Audra's new beginning in music.

Her voice and storytelling lyrics carry the album. Audra's voice is strong and smooth in the songs "Millionaire" and "My Lonely Worry." She also shows her country-side in "The River" and her jazzy-side in "Snakebite." If her voice doesn't capture you, then her lyrics will. The stories within the songs "The Fable" and "Sullivan's Letter" are just magnificent. She closes her album with a powerful rendition of the Dolly Parton song "Little Sparrow."

After just finishing up an east-coast tour in June, Audra Mae will be back on the road in September on the west-coast. Her album "The Happiest Lamb" is available now on Side One Dummy Records. Please visit her myspace page for updates.

Monday, July 26, 2010

How About Performing At The Life Is Good Festival?

The 2010 Life Is Good Festival is looking for a couple of local acts to perform on the same stage as headliners Jason Mraz and Ben Harper & Relentless 7. If you think you have the musical chops and follow the "Life Is Good" message of peace, love and unity, then head over to lifeisgood.com/festivals to enter your band in the contest. Two local bands will be chosen to perform along side 20 world-class performers who are appearing to raise money for the Life Is Good Kids Foundation.

Even if you are not interested in performing at the festival or just a fan of good music, come by and visit the Life Is Good Festival. The festival takes place September 11 & 12 at the Blue Hills of Canton, MA. Both days are filled with great music as well as interactive art activities, games and a nationally known circus. There is also a stage set-up just for the kids featuring The Laurie Berkner Band, Dan Zanes & Friends and They Might Be Giants.

If you are unable to attend the music festival, you can still become a part of the event by donating to the Life Is Good Kids Foundation. They also have some great products to purchase from the website and 100% of the profits go towards the foundation.

So, if you are an up n' coming New England band, make sure to enter the contest to be chosen to perform in front of over 15,000 fans. Tickets for this festival are still available, please visit the Life Is Good (lifeisgood.com) website for more information.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

CD Review: New York City's Own Ignacio

New York's own Ignacio will be performing a couple of upcoming shows in the NYC area, Webster Hall on July 28 and Crash Mansion on August 10. His new EP has just been released and is available on iTunes and Amazon, as well as at his shows.

Ignacio's sound is a very polished alternative rock with dashes of punk similar to Elvis Costello. "What It Takes" has a great energetic beat with even more energetic vocals. The simplicity of "Jane" and "Miles Away" keeps the focus on the lyrics more so than the music. For song samples and more, please visit www.ignacionyc.com.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

CD Review: See Green's "Violet" EP

Pop sounds and textured keyboards get highlighted by the rich voice of Courtenay Green. That's what See Green's new EP "Violet" is all about. "Think Twice" sounds like an underground, new wave hit, while "Get What I Want" carries a pop sound demanding attention with Courtenay's bold, commanding vocals. Her musical range is most noticeable between the dance beat of "Devil In The Details" and the acoustic "Fade Away," which draws similarities to Edie Brickell.

See Green's EP, "Violet" is available now on iTunes and Amazon. For more information on Courtenay Green and her new band, please visit her website courtenaygreen.com.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Concert Review: Star Wars’ Musical Journey Invades Mohegan Sun

Even thought the Star Wars films may be over, George Lucas’ latest adventure finally made its way back to Connecticut after a performance last year. The music from one of the largest movie franchises in history came to life Thursday night at the Mohegan Sun Arena. Star Wars: In Concert was definitely a sight to behold.

Before the music began, there was museum of Star Wars paraphernalia to view. Costumes, blasters and drawings flooded the halls of the arena and parents and kids couldn’t get enough of it. Cameras were flashed away as Darth Vader, Boba Fett and even Stormtroopers roamed the arena. It almost made you feel like a kid again with smiles on the faces of the young and the young at heart.

The musical portion of the evening was broken into two segments. The first set mainly dealt with the newer trilogy, Star Wars Episodes I, II, and III. The second set revolved around the more well-known and well-loved original trilogy, Star Wars Episodes IV, V, and VI. The music performed live, by the newly dubbed Star Wars Symphony Orchestra, created an atmosphere that surrounded a central theme or character. Musical subjects ranged from the Pod Race to the beloved Millenium Falcon. The theme for Anakin Skywalker was a simple, gentle piece similar to his early childhood while Dark Vader’s theme was dark and eerie. Images from all six Star Wars movies were projected on a screen that stood 3-stories tall and as wide as the concert stage.

The narrator of the evening was Anthony Daniels who performed as C3PO in all six Star Wars movies. His slight British accent was enough to keep even the youngest of fans attentive. The “love” theme between Anakin and Padme was soothing and relaxing, but it was the images and quotes of Luke Skywalker and Yoda that received the biggest applause. And what Star Wars musical evening would be complete without the music from the Cantina at Mos Eisley Spaceport which had kids and some adults dancing in their seats.

After the destruction of the Death Star on the screen and lasers shooting through the arena, conductor Lucas Richmond and Anthony Daniels bowed to a stand ovation. The two were enticed to perform one last song. As the audience took their seats once more, the orchestra performed “Darth Vader’s March.” With only one minor distraction due to the fireworks outside, the evening was another legendary event in the history of the Star Wars franchise.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

CD Review: The Best Of Reel Big Fish

After 15 years and 7 albums, Ska/Punk rockers Reel Big Fish thought it was about time to revisit their catalogue for a greatest hits compilation of their own. The band's old label Jive Records released a "greatest hits" album back in 2006, but the band wanted to reintroduce themselves to the masses. Their new recently released compilation entitled "The Best Of Us For The Rest Of Us" features 22 songs chosen by the band and fans based on their popularity. Also, due to license restrictions, many of the songs on this compilation are re-recorded versions of their hits.

Reel Big Fish are known for their fun lyrics and energetic shows. It seems that the band has most of their fun on their earlier songs like "She Has A Girlfriend Now" and "Everything Sucks." The band's playful lyrics are on full display in "Another F. U. Song" and "Ban The Tube Top," but their songs are so catchy and concise that they are hard to resist. Their biggest hits "Sell Out" and "Trendy" are here as well. The only songs that don't seem as fresh as Reel Big Fish's original songs are the covers of "Take On Me" and "Brown Eyed Girl." It's nice to have all their favorites together and the band sounds great rerecording their hits.

Accompanying this new "greatest hits" CD is a bonus "skacoustic" CD. The disc contains 14 of their songs done acoustically. The band really has fun recreating these songs. The raw acoustic recording puts the listener at a huge bonfire or cookout with one of the most fun bands in music today.

Reel Big Fish's new compilation is sold exclusively through Best Buy. Also, Reel Big Fish have joined the Vans Warped Tour and will be performing on the main stage until the end of the tour on August 15. For more information on this release and tour dates, please visit www.myspace.com/reelbigfish.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

CD Review: Deftones Return With "Diamond Eyes"

The album "Diamond Eyes" is the first new Deftones album in over 4 years. It features Quicksand bassist Sergio Vega filling-in for Chi Cheng who was injured in a car accident back in November 2008. It was released back in May on Reprise Records.

After 20 years and six albums, the band shows no signs of slowing down. The Deftones brutal force is felt in the songs "Royal" and "Cmnd/Ctrl" with lead singer Chino Moreno screaming the vocals. The albums' two singles "Diamond Eyes" and "Rocket Skates" displays the true vision and strength behind this band. "You've Seen The Butcher" is a slow-rocker built around Moreno's guitar riff. The songs "Beauty School," "Prince," and "976-Evil" strip-away the metal image to reveal a more alternative rock-friendly sound.

The Deftones' energy and commitment to their music is felt throughout the album with some of the groups strongest songs. The album debuted at #6 on the Billboard albums chart and is expected to be one of the band's biggest selling albums to date. Look for the Deftones to join Alice In Chains on the BlackDiamondSkye Tour in September. For tour dates and album info, please visit deftones.com.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Concert Review: Rush Brings "Moving Pictures" And More To Mohegan Sun

Let me start off by saying that Rush is arguably the best band not in the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame. They have sold over 25 million albums in the U.S. in their 36 year career and have one of the biggest fan followings in music. Rush's recent tour named "The Time Machine" has packed arenas in the US and Canada and the sold-out Mohegan Sun Arena Monday night could attest to that fact.

The evening began with a short video that, in recent years, showcased the band's love for acting. After making fun of themselves on screen, they brought the sold-out crowd to their feet with the opener "The Spirit Of Radio." Rush continued with their 1987 single "Time Stand Still" which found Geddy Lee reaching to hit those high notes that used to be second nature to his singing. "Presto" had guitarist Alex Lifeson dancing around his pedal board to switch guitar sounds throughout the song. With only one hour to work with for the first set, Rush did manage to throw in a couple songs from their last album, 2007's "Snakes & Arrows". They also included the brand new song "BU2B (Brought Up To Believe)" which was the heaviest rocker of the evening. The song fit in perfectly along with "Freewill" and "Subdivisons."

A short intermission concluded with a video time machine moving from the band's start date (1974) up to the year their breakthrough "Moving Pictures" was released (1981). The audience was instantly transformed back in time with the first notes of "Tom Sawyer" ringing through the arena. Rush proceeded to perform the album in its entirety with each song raising the volume of roar from the crowd. "YYZ" was pure intensity, which featured Alex and Geddy trading solos and "Limelight" had fans mimicking Neil Peart's drumming. After the second brand-new song (Caravan) of the evening, it was time for Neil Peart to shine with his jaw-dropping drum solo. With the adrenaline pumping, Rush concluded with the popular "Closer To The Heart," the epic "2112 Overture/Temples of Syrinx," and heart pounding "Far Cry."

The encore displayed the full talents of guitarist Alex Lifeson with his outstanding solos during "La Villa Strangiato." An unexpected reggae beat started off the night's final song, "Working Man," before the band rocked the remaining notes. One more video featuring Paul Rudd and Jason Segel from the movie "I Love You, Man" played as fans exited the arena adding one more Rush experience to their lives.

Setlist:
The Spirit Of Radio
Time Stand Still
Presto
Stick It Out
Workin' Them Angels
Leave That Thing Alone
Faithless
BU2B (Brought Up To Believe)
Freewill
Marathon
Subdivisions
- intermission -
Tom Sawyer
Red Barchetta
YYZ
Limelight
Camera Eye
Witch Hunt
Vital Signs
Caravan
Drum Solo
Closer To The Heart
2112 Overture/Temples of Syrinx
Far Cry
- encore -
La Villa Strangiato
Working Man

Monday, July 19, 2010

CD Review: Floater Creates "Prog-Rock" With "Wake"

Oregon band Floater have joined the "prog-rock" community with their latest release "Wake." The members of Floater have come to master their sound, combining pop, progressive and psychedelic rock to draw the listener into their music world.

The guitar-driven "Concentrate" brings back memories of the early days of Genesis with its multiple chord changes. Floater spreads themselves out with the pop hooks of "Wondering" and "Matadors," where as the funkiness of "Broken Toy" is what makes this band stand-out. The band also knows how to rock in "Leave A Light On" and "You Taught Me." "Killing Time" finds the right mix of experimental music and hard-hitting lyrics, but "Let It Go" finds the band returning to a more pop sound.

The self-financed, self-released album is available now through their website (floater.com) and the band currently have a couple dates left on their tour schedule.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

CD Review: Quick & Easy Boys' "Red Light" Debut

The debut album "Red Light Rabbit" from The Quick & Easy Boys on PerCapita Records instantly draws a comparison to early Red Hot Chili Peppers. The funk/punk sound of the album's opener "Foster I..." and "7 Ways" carries the energy of the album. The Quick & Easy Boys' influences shine all throughout this new release. "Take Your Medicine" shows off the band's Funkadelic sounds while "Breakin' Love" shows the band's love for Willie Nelson. The song "Senorita" has California bass groove similar to Sublime's musical styles and the album closes with dashes of Frank Zappa on the songs "Spicey Paella" and "Daggers."

The band has a great modern sound, but too many similarities to other artists takes away from the authenticity of their own music. I hope the band expands and experiments more on their next release. The Quick & Easy Boys have a video for the album's single "Take Your Medicine" and their tour has them sticking to the west coast. Their album is available on iTunes and Amazon. For more information visit the band's website quickandeasyboys.com.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

CD Review: Casey Neill Says "Goodbye To The Rank And File"

The acoustic folk sounds of singer/songwriter Casey Neill draw similarities to Bruce Springsteen's Seeger Sessions Band, but Casey expands upon that with his hard to resist pop lyrics and soothing voice. On Casey Neill's new album, "Goodbye To The Rank And File" it is his band The Norway Rats that energizes his lyrics.

The album's lead off track "All Summer Glory" pulls you into Neill's world of acoustics and storytelling. The intensity of the song "When The World Was Young" is picked-up by the clashing combination of strings and drums. But, Neill's vocals shine bright on the gentle ballads of "Ouroboros" and "Idyll." The song "Guttered" sounds like a missed opportunity for Johnny Cash to cover, while pop lyrics of "She Floated Away" and country rocker "This Year Was A Blur" finds Casey Neill vocals easily compared to that of R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe. But Casey Neill and The Norway Rats find their comfort zone on "Night Owl And The Skylark" written about Joe Strummer' death and the album closer "Stonewall."

The new album "Goodbye To The Rank And File" was released early this year on In Music We Trust Records and is available on the band's website (www.caseyneill.org)

Friday, July 16, 2010

CD Review: "Nothing Shows" For Keegan DeWitt

Singer/Songwriter Keegan DeWitt's new EP entitled "Nothing Shows" was released on July 13th through Daytrotter's Record Barn (daytrotter.com.) The EP introduces you to DeWitt with the acoustic love song "More Of You." His vocal range is limited which adds to the meaningful lyrics of "Tired of Love." His gentle duet with Maid Diaz in the song "Michel Bizot" is welcome inclusion to his repertoire. "Say La La" seems out of place with the other songs on this album, but sure is fun to listen to with it's dance-clap beat. The EP's overall sound of acoustics and harmonies work so well together that multiple plays of this EP are in order.

Keegan Dewitt released his debut album "Islands" last year and has performed film scores for a number of independent films, one of which was chosen by IFC Films. Dewitt will make a return appearance at the Rockwood Music Hall on August 7th. Visit his website (keegandewitt.com) for more information on this rising musician.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

CD Review: Now Introducing, Welcome To Ashley

Chicago's Welcome To Ashley have a new album entitled "Beyond The Pale" as the band continues to gain notoriety from their critically praised 2009 EP "Absent Man." Their sound draws some similarities to The Smiths and R.E.M., but singer Coley Kennedy's vocals are a bit rougher than those of Michael Stipe. The lyrics of "What A Day It Was For Dying" are clever, but the song ends just as you get into it. Welcome To Ashley shows off their rock influences on "Destination" and their punks influences on "These Dreams of Mine." The band seems to find themselves caught in a "New Wave" kick on the new album. "I Love Monday Mornings" draws you in with its catchy drum beat, but the lyrics seem too scattered. The song is missing a catchy chorus to keep you singing along. But "Thursday Afternoon" carries a strong bass groove and guitar chords that become hard to resist. The acoustic album closer "End Of The Line" puts the vocals right out front without adding anything extra and it works perfectly.

Welcome To Ashley currently have a handful of live dates and their new album is available on iTunes. For more information on this band, please visit their myspace page (www.myspace.com/welcomtoashley).

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

CD Review: Abby Ahmad Gives Us Her "Curriculum"

Singer/songwriter Abby Ahmad’s smoky voice shines bright on her latest release “Curriculum.” The jazzy, acoustic vibe of the opener “Star Pupil” captures the essence of Abby’s music. The songs “Q & A” and “Lost On Me” show a soft side to Abby’s sound, but her stories come alive in “Landing Gear” and “Borders.” The revengeful, energetic “Habit” sounds like an acoustic outtake of early Alanis Morrisette. Abby mixes up the sounds on “Up and Through” with toy pianos, mellophones, glockenspiels and more. It gives the song a great original sound. She spills her heart out on “Going Gone,” before ending with the gentle acoustics of “In Favor Of Braver Parts.”

Abby Ahmad’s new album “Curriculum” will be available at her CD release show on July 15 at The Space in Hamden, CT. Do yourself a favor and check her out. If you are unable to make it to the show, her new album as well as her acclaimed debut “The Rearview” are available on her website www.abbyahmad.net.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

CD Review: Grant Squire Draws "County Lines"

The simpler the better for Connecticut's own Grant Squire. His new album entitled "County Lines" was released back in January and was recorded at the Carriage House in Stamford, CT. His lyrics reflect Bob Dylan, his sound draws a slight comparison to early Billy Joel and his voice at times captures the essence of Kinks' front-man Ray Davies.

The songs on his new album are short and concise. Grant puts the lyrics out front and does not try overpower them with any unnecessary music or solos. His favorite instrument throughout the album is the harmonica which stands out here and there on the songs "One Of A Kind" and "She Won't Be Tamed." The playful vocals of "Round Round Round" are as catchy as anything else out there and the simplicity of the acoustic guitar only adds to the campfire sing along. The atmospheric "'Til You Come Home" puts you in a piano bar as Grant bares his soul to his fans. "Haunted" brings all the elements together to produce one of the best songs on the album.

Grant Squire will be performing at The Space in Hamden, CT on July 16. His new album "County Lines" is available now and can be purchased through his website (www.myspace.com/grantsquire).

Monday, July 12, 2010

CD Review: Hammer Tries To Impress With "Bruce"

The alternative rock trio of Jeff Stickley (Drums, Vocals), E. Duncan Webster (Bass, Vocals) and Joe Hall (Guitar, Vocals), also known as Hammer No More The Fingers, have released their follow-up album entitled "Looking For Bruce." One feature that makes this band stand out is the way they break the tempo of their songs like in "Shutterbug." The vocal harmonies and steady beats make "Nobody Knows" one of the more attractive songs of the album. The playful lyrics of "Fall Down, Play Dead" and "Mushrooms" gives life to these short songs. The up-tempo beat of "Nitro" gives off an energetic and welcoming vibe. The band saves one of its best songs for the end with the album closer "I Fell Asleep."

Hammer No More The Fingers are currently touring the east coast and will make a stop at Sub Rosa in Danbury, CT on July 18th. Their album is available now from Churchkey Records. To stream the full album and for tour information, visit the band's website, www.hnmtf.com.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Concert Review: Country Legend Ronnie Milsap Visits Connecticut

Country artist Ronnie Milsap has had more number one singles (40) than Elvis Presley (33) and more Grammy Awards (6) than Garth Brooks (2). His legendary status is almost forgotten in the world of country music today, but his appearance Saturday night at the Wolf Den at Mohegan Sun reminded those in attendance how great of a performer Ronnie Milsap is and always was.

Born partially blind, Ronnie Milsap overcame many obstacles on his way to success as the evening became a night of appreciation for his music. A medley of some of his number one singles reminded fans of how good a singer he is. The combination of his vocals and piano on “(I’d Be) A Legend In My Time” were stellar. His ballad “Lost In The Fifties” received multiple applauses with the help of his talented backing band. Their vocals skills were on display performing a trio of doo-wop songs (Come Go With Me, Little Bitty Pretty One, Young Blood). Ronnie performed only one song from his recently released award winning gospel album, “Then Sings My Soul,” but had the place rockin’ with “Button Off My Shirt.”

Ronnie joked with the audience about his handicap as well as possibly performing a Jimi Hendrix tune on piano. One of the stories he told was about a recording session with Elvis Presley for the song “Kentucky Rain” that gave him the idea for one of his biggest hits “Smoky Mountain Rain.” The song recently was chosen as the Tennessee state song. As Ronnie mostly performed at his piano, he did feel his way to the keyboards for the songs, “Any Day Now” and “Stranger In My House.” His finale of “America The Beautiful” brought fans to their feet, singing along.

As the 75 minute performance seemed to flash by in a heartbeat, it was enough to remind the standing room attendance how important his music is to our lives.

Setlist:
Don’t You Know How Much I Love You
Any Day Now
What A Difference You Made In My Life (Medley)
- I Wouldn’t Have Missed It For The World
- It Was Almost Like A Song
- (I’m A) Stand By My Woman Man
- Pure Love
- There’s No Getting Over Me
A Woman In Love
Legend In My Time
Walkin’ After Midnight (Rhonda Hampton vocals)
Up To Zion
Lost In The Fifties Tonight (In The Still Of The Night)
Come Go With Me
Little Bitty Pretty One
Young Blood
Button Off My Shirt
Let’s Take The Long Way Around The World
Daydreams About Night Things
Smoky Mountain Rain
Stranger In My House
America The Beautiful

Friday, July 9, 2010

CD Review: Chris Shiflett Shows Us His Country-Side

Foo Fighters' guitarist Chris Shiflett will release is solo debut album on July 13. Backed by his band, The Dead Peasants, Chris' passion for country music shines bright.

The lead-off track "Helsinki" sets the tone for the rest of the album. This isn't another Foo Fighters-type rock album. Acoustic guitars take over for electric guitars and hard rock anthems get replaced with country-rock singalongs. The "easy going" melody and lyrics of "Bandaged" brings out the Americana-style featuring highlights of slide guitar. The closest Chris Shiflett gets to the Foo Fighters is on the acoustic rockers "God Damn" and "Not Going Down Alone." While Chris' vocals are not the strongest on "Burning Lights" the chorus is as catchy as anything on the radio. Chris shows us some of his guitar skills on the up-tempo "Baby, Let It Out." The album finishes with the classic country acoustic sounds of "Death March."

Look for Chris Shiflett to begin his tour out in California before heading east at the beginning of August. His new self-titled album will be released on the Le Coq Napoleon/RCA label. Please visit Chris' myspace page (www.myspace.com/chrisshiflettcamesinos) for more information.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

CD Review: Pierce The Veil Get "Selfish" On New Album

Pierce The Veil's newest release "Selfish Machines" was released on June 21 and is anything but a sophomore slump. Following Veil's 2007 acclaimed "A Flair For the Dramatic." the band recorded the follow-up at producer Mike Green's (Paramore) studio in Los Angeles.

Speed comes to mind with the album's lead-off track "Besitos." Metal guitars and quick drum beats is what gives this album the energy that Pierce The Veil are known for. Singer Vic Fuentes' vocals interchange from shouting to screaming on "The Boy Who Could Fly." The band's aggression shows through on "Caraphernelia," while the gentle "Stay Away From My Friends" displays another side of the band. The rhythm section of Mike Fuentes on drums and Jaime Preciado on bass provides the energy to songs "Fast Time At Clairemont High" and "Disasterology." Guitarist Tony Perry shines during the solos on "Bulletproof Love" and "The Sky Under The Sea."

Catch Pierce The Veil on July 11 at the Comcast Music Theater in Hartford, CT as one of the headliners of the Vans Warped Tour. Pierce The Veil's album "Selfish Machines" is available now on Equal Vision Records. For tour dates, merchandise and more, please visit www.myspace.com/piercetheveil.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Concert Review: Mohegan Sun Receives The Royal Treatment From Sting

Sting is not one to follow the normal procedure for success. He dismantled his band The Police at the height of their success and then reunited with them 20 years later. He then left the mainstream of pop music to make an album of 18th century classical music and now he is touring with a 35-piece orchestra. "The largest band I've ever had" as Sting remarked during his appearance at the Mohegan Sun arena Tuesday Night.

As members of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra took their seats and began tuning-up, conductor Steven Mercurio took center stage to begin an evening of classics written by Sting. Many of Sting's songs played perfectly to the large ensemble, especially the ballads, "When We Dance," "Shape Of My Heart," and "Fields Of Gold." Sting was very talkative, explaining the meanings of songs like how "Russians" was about the children of the Cold War and "Tomorrow We'll See" about a transvestite. The different orchestra arrangements for The Police songs meshed well with "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic," but "Roxanne" seemed to lose its edge and power and become lifeless. He finished the first set with an energetic version of the early Police classic "Next To You."

After a twenty minute break, Sting returned to the stage performing the opening song "A Thousand Years" from his "Mercury Falling" album. The second set was filled with more obscure songs released on soundtracks and as B-sides. "The End Of The Game" and "All Would Envy" both contained a bit of Spanish flair, while "You Will Be My Ain True Love" brought a Civil War atmosphere to its sound. But Sting brought the audience to life with The Police hits "King Of Pain" and "Every Breath You Take" leaving the masses on their feet wanting more.

The encore began with the Moroccan flavored "Desert Rose" and continuing with the jazz-fueled "She's Too Good For Me." Sting finished the evening with the gentle ballad "Fragile," dedicating to the victims of the Gulf Coast. As his band exited the stage, Sting sang the first verse of "I Was Brought To My Senses" acapella to an audience that surrendered their senses to Sting.

Setlist:
If I Ever Lose My Faith In You
Englishman In New York
Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic
Roxanne
Straight To My Heart
When We Dance
Russians
I Hung My Head
Shape Of My Heart
Why Should I Cry For You
Whenever I Say Your Name
Fields Of Gold
Next To You
- intermission -
A Thousand Years
Tomorrow We'll See
Moon Over Bourdon Street
The End Of The Game
You Will Be My Ain True Love
All Would Envy
Mad About You
King Of Pain
Every Breath You Take
- encore -
Desert Rose
She's Too Good For Me
Fragile
I Was Brought To My Senses (1st verse acapella)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

CD Review: Meat Loaf Hangs Cool On New Release

Meat Loaf is back! His latest release "Hang Cool Teddy Bear" is a concept album based on the short story with the same title by Kilian Kerwin. It was released back in May on Roadrunner Records and was produced by Rob Cavallo (Green Day).

The albums plays like a rock opera with a who's who of guest musicians. Starting with the steady rocker "Peace On Earth", Meat Loaf is one of the only musicians that can pull off an all-out rock assault with a full-string orchestra. The album's first single "Los Angeloser" is a bit of a stretch for Meat Loaf, who's singles are usually big production pieces instead of country-pop. "Love Is Not Real" not only plays to Meat Loaf's strength of passionate lyrics, but includes the guitars of Queen's Brian May and virtuoso Steve Vai. The addition of Jack Black on the song "Like A Rose" gives the song a bit of edge, but its the chorus that could make this a hit single. The highlight of "Song of Madness" is the guitar of Steve Vai which compliments Meat Loaf's vocals. Although his voice is noticeable lower, the classic Meat Loaf returns in "Let's Be In Love" featuring vocals by Patti Russo and Bon Jovi influences are all over the album closer "Elvis In Vegas," co-written by Jon Bon Jovi.

The album debuted at #27 on the Billboard albums chart, his highest non-Bat Out of Hell release since 1995. Meat Loaf just began his US tour and will be making a stop and the Mohegan Sun Arena on July 12th. For tour dates and album information, please visit www.meatloaf.net.

Monday, July 5, 2010

A Little Light Summer Reading

Neil Young has been in the spotlight quite a bit this past year with the release of his long-awaited box set, the mystery behind his entirely rebuilt electric car, his acoustic/electric solo tour and his recently recorded new studio album. But, one of the greatest things to have come out this past year was a book entitled Neil Young - Long May You Run: The Illustrated History. A 224-page hardcover gateway to the life of Neil Young. The book is filled to the brim with pictures as far back as his childhood all the way to present day.

It covers his time in The Squires, Buffalo Springfield, CSNY and more. It talks about his favorite guitar, how he came to write the classic song "Ohio" as well as comments from other artists like Joe Perry of Aerosmith.

One of my favorite things is that this book shows is his concert posters throughout the years, as well as the covers of the different albums and singles he released in different countries. This book contains Neil Young's entire discography, including any guest appearances he made on other albums.

This exceptional book was written by Daniel Durchholz & Gary Graff and released through Voyageur Press. For more information on this book, please visit www.voyageurpress.com. Also check your local online bookstore to purchase the history of one of the most outstanding and innovative artists to have ever performed.

Friday, July 2, 2010

CD Review: The Steve Miller Band Is Back With "Bingo!"

It has been 17 years since The Steve Miller Band's last album "Wide River" and it will be even longer since his last album of original material. The Steve Miller Band's latest release "Bingo!" is a small taste of the type of music that attracted Steve Miller to pick up a guitar over 40 years ago. Steve Miller said that this is a "party record" to get up and dance to. It contains covers of songs from B.B. King, Jimmie Vaughan, Earl King, Otis Rush and more.

The album was released as a standard 10-song format and a special edition featuring 14-songs. The standard edition is a very short, concise collection of some great covers performed by the current Steve Miller Band line-up. Songs like "Don't Cha Know" and the album's first single "Hey Yeah" find Steve's voice in fine form. It makes you wish he made more albums in the past 17 years. Also noticeable on this new album is the addition of Sonny Charles (Checkmates) on vocals. His blues-style singing is a welcoming compliment to Steve Miller's guitar style. The guest appearance of Joe Satriani on the songs "Rock Me Baby" and "Sweet Soul Vibe" steals the guitar thunder from Steve Miller, but also gives these songs a blues-rock edge. "All Your Love (I Miss Loving)" has that classic Steve Miller Band sound we've been waiting years to hear again and Sonny Charles shines on the album closer "Ooh Poo Pah Doo."

Many of the songs on "Bingo!" seem destined to be expanded on in a live setting. The Steve Miller Band is currently on tour, crisscrossing across the country. Check out The Steve Miller Band's website (stevemillerband.com) for more information.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

CD Review: Automatic Loveletter Start Off With "Truth Or Dare"

Alternative/Punk group Automatic Loveletter have just released their debut album last month entitled "Truth Or Dare" on the Sony Music Independent Network. They are also one of the premier bands on this year's Vans Warped Tour.

The album's lead-off single "Heart Song" displays the passion and revenge felt in singer Juliet Simms' voice. Juliet's singing becomes the main focus in the songs "Fade Away" and "To Die For." The songs "Story Of My Life" and "The Day That Saved Us" should find their way to the mainstream of modern rock with its guitar hooks and powerful chorus. The power ballads "Hush" and "Eyes On You" are a nice addition to the album that shows us another side to the band. Automatic Loveletter comes roaring back with the rocker "Butterflies" before closing with the pleading vocals of "Back To Life."

Look for Automatic Loveletter to make an impact on the Vans Warped Tour when they make a stop at the Comcast Music Theatre on July 11th. Also be on the look-out for the premier of their video for the single "Heart Song." For song samples and tour information visit the band's myspace page at www.myspace.com/automaticloveletter.