Saturday, November 30, 2013

CD Review: New Music From Some Underground East Coast Musicians

If you're looking for a little change of pace from the overproduced music on the radio, then I have a few independent releases for you to check out. First, from New York comes the Irish singer/songwriter John Gribbin, better known by his stage name Building Pictures, with his latest release "West Orchard." It is his first full-length album and was released on November 12th.

Starting off with the slow moving "Answer For You" he invites you into his wonderful world of words and music. The album's first single "In Her Veins" is a big breakthrough to his sound by adding a swooping chorus and with unforgettable lyrics to create a great piece of music. Building Pictures' album is hard to resist with the mellow pace of "It's Slow Down" and the edgier, Ryan Adams-sounding "Praying For Sins." Another potential single is the pop/folk sound of "Water And Sand," before softening his tone on storied lyrics of "The Boy." The album closes with the build-up of the folk/rock feel of "Green Light."

To find out more about Building Pictures and his latest album "West Orchard." please visit his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/buildingpictures.
 
 
Next is Connecticut's own independent singer/songwriter/guitarist Cameron Sutphin. His latest release "My Guitar And Me" is an hour of acoustic folk music that is just enjoyable to put on a relax to.

The album was written, recorded, performed and produced entirely by Sutphin. While the recording sounds a bit raw, it shows determination and a passion in his performance of "Lord What Have I Done" and "Single Mother." His talent for songwriting shines in "Baby, Tangled Up In Blue" and "Dust To Dust." He brings in a Neil Young tone when he uses the harmonica as in "This Guitar" and on "Lord Tell Me Why." With just a little more production, his songs could have a little warmer and fuller sound and have a wider appeal.

To find out more about Cameron Sutphin, please visit http://camrsutphin.webs.com/.
 
 
Last up is experimental musician, Fertanish, who recently released his third album in the last two years. This latest piece of music entitled “Mesh Bloom Iconstar” is almost an hour’s worth of soundscapes and musical collages that sway between classic progressive rock and meditation.

The album begins with the song, “Sential” that becomes confusing at times with the voice overs, but also draws a closes comparison to classic experimentation done by Genesis. The simple aspects of “Wish” continues to find its way through a crowded tones, before Fertanish heads into the thirteen minute Pink Floydian adventure of “Mind The Veins.” The album shows glimpses of direction with “I Am Also A Fire” and “Case of Me,” before closing with the ten-minute drag of “Slower.”

To find out more about Fertanish and his latest release “Mesh Bloom Iconstar,” please visit www.fertanish.com.

Friday, November 29, 2013

CD Review: A "Rockin'" Tribute To Jack White On Black Friday

One of the greatest compliments as a songwriter has to be when a tribute album is recorded in your honor. One of this generation's greatest songwriters is Jack White and recently became the subject of a new tribute album entitled "Rockin' Legends Pay Tribute To Jack White." The new album was released on November 19th through Cleopatra Records and features some the biggest names of the fifties and sixties like Wanda Jackson, Bobby Vee, Gary U.S. Bonds and others singing the songs of Jack White.

The fourteen song release begins with a brand new recording by rockabilly queen Wanda Jackson covering "In The Cold, Cold Night" with Shooter Jennings on guitar. The song feels as if White wrote this song ten years earlier specifically for Jackson to record. Gary U.S. Bonds puts all his energy into The Raconteurs' "Salute Your Solutions," while Sonny Burgess turns "Steady As She Goes" into a southern swamp boogie. One of White's most well-known songs "Seven Nation Army" turns slightly chaotic as Knox, Walter Lure and W.S. Holland try to add their own flavor to the song's striking appeal. Sixties icon Bobby Vee tries out "We Are Going To Be Friends," a song that he may well have written and recorded earlier in Vee's career, with a new appeal to his vocals. The energy picks up with rockabilly songstress Rosie Flores blazing a path with "Blunderbus," before the album closes with an instrumental surf-guitar version of "Icky Thump" by Los Straitjackets.

To find out more about this new album, please visit http://cleorecs.com/store/shop/rockin-legends-pay-tribute-to-jack-white/

Thursday, November 28, 2013

CD Review: Do You Hear, What I Hear?...New Christmas Music

Now that the Christmas season has officially begun, let's run through some new releases that may have been overlooked when they were released earlier on October. First, from Columbia Records we get the latest album from one of the timeless voices of the last decade, Susan Boyle. She released her second holiday album on October 29th entitled "Home For Christmas."

The twelve-song album begins with Boyle duetting with none other than, Elvis Presley on "O Come All Ye Faithful." Their voices seemed to match perfectly as if Elvis was in the studio singing with Boyle into the same microphone. She also receives help from The Overtones on "Little Drummer Boy" and the legendary Johnny Mathis on "When I Child Is Born." Her voice alone are enough to capture the spirit of Christmas with her versions of "I'll Be Home For Christmas" and "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas." She opens up her vocals on the choir-filled "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing," before closing with the original song "Miracle Hymn" from Boyle's first movie "The Christmas Candle."

To find out more information on this new album from Susan Boyle, please visit susanboylemusic.com.

The other latest holiday release from Columbia Records is from the legendary voice of Johnny Mathis. His latest holiday release is entitled "Sending You A Little Christmas" and features a load of special guests including Natalie Cole, Billy Joel, Jim Brickman and even Susan Boyle on a different song that is featured on her new Christmas album.

We begin with Mathis's smooth vocals being accompanied by Billy Joel on one of his Joel's newest recordings of "The Christmas Song." Natalie Cole lends her sweet voice to "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," before Johnny Mathis is accented perfectly by Jim Brickman's piano on "Sending You A Little Christmas." Gloria Estefan adds a little pop in "Mary's Boy Child," while Susan Boyle and Mathis fit together wonderfully on "Do You Hear What I Hear." The album closes with Mathis performing the medley of "I'll Be Home For Christmas/White Christmas" with Vince Gill and Amy Grant, and "Count Your Blessings (Instead Of Sheep)," which was made famous by Bing Crosby.

To find out more about Johnny Mathis' newest holiday album, please visit johnnymathis.com.

The hit AMC television series "Mad Men" released their first holiday compilation on October 8th through Concord Records. It features ten Christmas classics like Dean Martin's "Baby It's Cold Outside," Tony Bennett's "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" and Rosemary Clooney's "White Christmas." Two of the newer songs on this compilation are "A Beautiful Mine (The Mad Men Theme)" from RJD2 and Jessica Pare's "Zou Bisou Bisou," remixed by IAMX.

The release features a great collection of holiday classics from the sixties and was available exclusively through Target stores nationwide. To find out more about 'Mad Men Christmas," please visit http://blogs.amctv.com/mad-men/2013/11/mad-men-christmas-cd-now-available/.

The Concord Music Group is also responsible for turning one the most popular Christmas albums of all time into a holiday decoration with the "Snoopy Doghouse Edition" of "A Charlie Brown Christmas." It features the same remastered album that was released last holiday season, but this year that added a fun special touch to the artwork. The cardboard digipak case folds out to recreate Snoopy's doghouse from the TV special. Also included are cut-outs of Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy and of course Snoopy. The music was newly remastered last year from the original recordings and they have never sounded better on CD.

So, if you passed over last year's release, here it is again, but updated with a little more holiday cheer to enjoy. To find out more, please visit http://www2.concordmusicgroup.com/albums/A-Charlie-Brown-Christmas-Snoopy-Doghouse-Edition/.

Last, but not least, we get the latest release from the independent music group, The Alex Tjoland Band with their holiday album "Silent Revelry." It features nine original songs including the up-tempo "God In Us, Emmanuel" and the fun surf-guitar instrumental "Surf's Up, Santa Clause." They do an outstanding job on the traditional "Silent Night" and showcase their bluesy rock side with "Blind Man." The heart of the album is in the meaningful sounds of "This Picture Of You" and the blazing guitar rock of "Mercy."

To find out more about this underground music act, please visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Alex-Tjoland-Band/278430608843640.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

CD & Book Review: "Buck'em!" The Latest Collection Of Buck Owens' Songs And Stories

When you think of classic country artists, you immediately think of Johnny Cash or Willie Nelson or even George Jones, but one of the most iconic men of country music was Buck Owens. His music influenced a new generation of country musicians and his songs have been covered by everyone from The Beatles to The Mavericks. Now if someone tells you that they have the best Buck Owens collection, you can simply reply with "Buck'em," the name of the newest 2CD collection of songs spanning Buck Owen entire career.

This latest collection entitled "Buck'em! The Music of Buck Owens (1955-1967)" brings together 50 songs from the Buck Owens catalog with some never before released on CD. Disc 1 begins with six of Buck Owens earliest singles from the 1950's like "Down On The Corner Of Love" and "Under Your Spell Again," presented here in crystal clear mono. Some of the other exceptional tracks on the first disc is an alternate version of Buck Owens' top 5 country hit "Above And Beyond," a previously unreleased early version of "Under The Influence Of Love" and a live version of his first #1 hit single "Act Naturally."

Disc Two picks up with Buck Owens' fourth consecutive country #1 single as "I Don't Care (Just As Long As You Love Me)," which is also presented in mono. The two-disc collection contains 18 of Buck Owens' singles in their original mono releases. The treasures of the second disc are contained to the end with live versions of "Together Again" and "Buckaroo" from Carnegie Hall. Also the alternate versions of "Where Does The Good Times Go" and "How Long Will My Baby Be Gone" that give more insight to the well-known hits that we all have known through the years.

"Buck'em! The Music of Buck Owens (1955-1967)" was released on November 5 through Omnivore Recordings. To find out more about this release, please visit http://omnivorerecordings.com/buck-owens/.

Now this new 2CD set is only considered the companion piece to the newly published "Buck'em! The Autobiography Of Buck Owens." This 360-page hardcover contains everything you wanted to know about how hard Buck Owens worked at achieving all his fame and how he dealt with the popularity.

Owens began work on his autobiography in the late 1990s, by recording stories into a cassette recorder so that one day he would be able to tell his stories to the generations yet to come. Grammy nominated producer and author Randy Poe was given the task of assembling hours of recorded speech into what has become the ultimate book on Buck Owens. Poe does a masterful job of putting the reader in a place, sitting right across from Owens, as if he is still telling you these stories first hand. While Owens' stories end just after the turn of the milleniuim, the afterword by Poe completes the circle that makes Buck Owens a true legend of country music.

With 135 chapters, loads of pictures and a preface from friend and fellow country musician Dwight Yoakam, "Buck'em! The Autobiography of Buck Owens" is a must have for music fans. As you venture through Owen's stories you begin to get a feel of how great a human being he was and how he worked to become the biggest country music star of the 1960s.

The book was published on November 19th through Backbeat Books, in association with Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group and retails for $29.99. For more information, please visit http://www.halleonardbooks.com/product/viewproduct.do?itemid=333129&lid=7&seriesfeature=&menuid=9343&subsiteid=168&

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

CD Review: New Smooth Indie-Jazz From Groovchasers And The Erik Lamberth Quartet

From across the pond comes the independent U.K. jazz band the Groovechasers with their latest album "Back On The Right Track." Having been around for 13 years, the Groovechasers have notched out a fan base in South East England and has made several appearances at the annual Maidstone Jazz Festival.

Their latest eight song release has them expanding their sound all over the place, beginning with the classic jazz sound of the forties and fifties on "Almost Straight Ahead." They move in a more modern jazz direction with a little bounce to their sound with the "Africa Boogie." They slow down for the eight-minute "Back Alley Blues," before adding some Latin flair to the nine-minute, Santana-like "Groove Samba." The album closes with the bebop pep of "Song For Habib."

To find out more about this talented jazz band from England, please visit groovechasers.co.uk.

For something a little closer to home, we have the smooth Jazz of Philadelphia's Erik Lamberth Jazz Quartet. After releasing a number of jazz and blues guitar based instrumental albums, producer Cyrus Rhodes (Billy Joel, Harry Connick Jr.) decided to bring in other musicians and turn Erik's music into a Jazz Quartet.

The fourteen song release entitled "Opportunity" has that classic, laid back, jazz lounge sound as heard in the opening track "Light Sea." The band stick pretty close to this formula as Erik lends his guitar to a cover of Wes Montgomery's "West Coast Blues," before opening up their sound with the more upbeat sound of "The Party." The band turn in a more modern direction on "The Walk," before adding a little Texas guitar on "SRV Jazz." The album closes with the classic jazz appeal of "Straight Ahead" and the quickness of "Double Time."

To find out more about the Erik Lamberth Jazz Quartet, please visit eriklamberth.com.

Monday, November 25, 2013

CD Review: New Music From Singer/Songwriters David Lockwood And P.J. Pacifico

Singer/songwriters David Lockwood and P.J. Pacifico have new music that keeps the underground music scene explode with great talent and songs that keep you coming back for more.

The latest release from David Lockwood entitled "Modern Love" was inspired by a column in the New York Times. His smoky, aged voice draws similarities to a younger version of Tom Waits. Each of the songs were influenced by a different article about love that he had read leading up to the recoding of this album.

The album begins with the gentle folk-storytelling of "Love Like This" as you are introduced to Lockwood's smooth vocals that feel like they lived through each tale he tells. His music gets a little bluesy on "He's Not Right For You" as Lockwood plays a younger Leonard Cohen with his vocal delivery. Guest singer Jennifer Kimball takes over the lead vocal duties on the ballad "Not Your Way," while singer Amy Coreia lends her voice to the smooth motion of "The Two Of Us." David Lockwood shows his talents on the piano during the instrumental "Modern Love," before again turning the spotlight over to Erica Leigh on the soft sound of "Keeping Me." Lockwood returns to close the album with the meaningful lyrics of "The 9:49" and the acoustic appeal of "Gone."

David Lockwood has a show schedule for December 7 in his home state of New Hampshire. To find out more, please visit davidlockwoodmusic.com.

Connecticut native P.J. Pacifico keeps rolling out new music as with his latest release "Overlooking The Obvious" on Viper Records. His sound continues to grow and evolve with each new release as his music becomes more polished while keeping his folk-storytelling background.

The five-song EP begins with the pop-rock of "Bend It Till It Breaks" as he seems to be on the verge of breaking into mainstream pop stardom. He does a masterful job combining his quiet acoustic side with a just enough of a backdrop of sound to give "Just Live A Lover" a pulse. He slows the pace down with the passion of "Walls," before closing with the light sounds of "Let Go Or Be Dragged."

His latest album "Bend It Till It Breaks" was released earlier this month. To find out more about P.J. Pacifico, please visit pjpacifico.com.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Book Review: "Guitar Aficionado" Showcases Some Of The Most Famous Guitars And Collections

If you are looking to splurge a little for the guitar, or music, fan in your life, I have the perfect book for you. "Guitar Aficionado - The Collections: The Most Famous, Rare and Valuable Guitars in the World" is over 250 pages packed with some of the guitars that have shaped the music world.
 
Each guitar in the book is described passionately from the owners themselves, including Lindsey Buckingham (Fleetwood Mac), Brad Whitford (Aerosmith), James Hetfield (Metallica), Carlos Santana. Mick Mars (Motley Crue) and a whole lot more. Over twenty musicians give insight into their collections and why certain guitars are especially important to them. Each of the twenty artists get a short description as to their history in music and each of the "one-of-a-kind" guitars in their collections also gets a short description by the artist as to importance of each piece.

Now, that's just half of the book, the other half is dedicated to some of the most well-known axes in rock music history. Seventeen of the most famous guitars, from Jimmy Page's Les Paul Standard guitar to John Lennon's Rickenbacker 325 guitar, each get a page dedicated to the craftsmanship and importance of that specific guitar. Not only is the reading great, but the wonderful pictures are amazing to take in. Each artist gets beautiful two-page photo spread before diving into their collection and each of the individual guitar gets photographed right up close to see the history of its involvement in music.

The hardcover book "Guitar Aficionado - The Collections The Most Famous, Rare and Valuable Guitars in the World" was published on October 15th by Time Home Entertainment and carries a retail price tag of $50. To find out more about this amazing piece of literature, please visit http://www.guitaraficionado.com/available-now-guitar-aficionado-the-collections-the-most-famous-rare-and-valuable-guitars-in-the-world.html

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Concert Review: The History Of The Grateful Dead Is Alive Through The Dark Star Orchestra

Since the Grateful Dead called it quits after the death of singer/guitarist Jerry Garcia in 1995, there have been numerous tribute band giving fans hope that the Dead's music will live on. One of the premiere Grateful Dead tribute bands is the Dark Star Orchestra (DSO). Beginning in 1997, the DSO have been performing shows based on original setlists from the Grateful Dead's live concert history. The DSO are close to performing their 2,000th show and decided to pay a visit to the Oakdale Theatre as part of their 2013 East Coast Fall Tour.

Grateful Dead fans both young and old filed anxiously into the dome, eagerly awaiting to once again hear the music that lifted their spirits so many times before. As the lights went out shortly after 8:15pm, fumes filled the air as the band started off with "Mississippi Half Step." DSO got the crowd dancing with a cover of "Big River," before slowing the tempo down to a sway with "It Must Have Been The Roses." At times, the band seemed a little disorganized between songs, maybe because they were trying to capture the same magic from their performance that the Grateful Dead did on May 4, 1977. That is the date that DSO picked to duplicate Friday night's at the Oakdale Theatre.

The tempo picked up with "Cassidy" and "Brown Eyed Women," before closing the first set with an amazing rendition of "Dancing In The Street." Lead guitarist Jeff Matson did a masterful job recreating Garcia's guitar solo while newcomer bassist Skip Vangelas kept the band on track.

After a short break, the second set found DSO continuing right where they left off, jamming on "Estimated Prophet" and "Scarlet Begosias," which led beautifully into a blazing performance of "Fire On The Mountain." The band seemed locked in on "Terrapin Station," before closing the second set with highlight of the night. Once the first notes of "Playing In The Band" hit the ears of the audience, everyone tried to carve out a space to dance and express themselves. Lead singer/guitarist Rob Eaton and singer Lisa Mackey found the perfect balance during the chorus, while the band lead the audience on a journey with their performance.

As the hour of midnight approached, Dark Star Orchestra returned to the stage once more, performing the bluesy "Strange Man" lead by Lisa Mackey on vocals. While the original Grateful Dead may only be a memory, the Dark Star Orchestra are alive and well, bringing those memories back to life.

Set 1: Mississippi Half-Step, Big River, They Love Each Other, New Minglewood Blues, It Must Have Been the Roses, Cassidy, Deal, Looks Like Rain, Brown Eyed Women, Dancin' in the Streets

Set 2: Estimated Prophet, Scarlet Begonias, Fire on the Mountain, Terrapin Station, Playin' in the Band, Comes a Time, Playin' in the Band
 
Encore: Strange Man

Friday, November 22, 2013

CD Review: Blackie And The Rodeo Kings Head Down "South" On New Release

From Canada comes the latest release from Blackie And The Rodeo Kings. Their latest album entitled "South" will be available on January 14 through File Under: Music. They previously released 7" singles of the two opening songs  on the album, "North" and "South." Their sound has a classic acoustic tone that brings up the ghosts of past country music legends.

The new album carries a raw, live in-the-studio feel with the entire band sitting together around the mics. They seem to be feeling their way through songs like "Gotta Stay Young" and "Everything I Am," but that's part of the charm of this recording. They add a little pep to their sound with the chugging guitar of "Summertime's Over" and tread over to a little bluegrass on "I'm Still Loving You." The album closes with Blackie And The Rodeo Kings covering Canadian folk artist Willie P. Bennett's "Driftin Snow," which is the perfect collaboration between the band members and also features some great harmonizing.

The band will be hitting the road in January with a load of dates in Canada. To find out more about Blackie And The Rodeo Kings and their latest album "South," please visit blackieandtherodeokings.com.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

CD Review: Strong Debuts From Newcomers Echosmith And The Rubens

From Southern California comes the young indie-pop, alternative band Echosmith with their debut album "Talking Dreams." They first burst upon the scene with their single "Tonight We're Making History," which was featured during the 2012 Summer Olympics. Echosmith was also featured in Alternative Press magazine as one the "Top 100 Bands You Need To Know."
 
Their album begins with their latest single, the explosive chorus of  "Come Together" as their sound fits in perfectly alongside fellow pop-rockers fun. They play to their adolescent audience with "Cool Kids," before sounding very mature on "March Into The Sun." All of their talents line-up perfectly for the folk-pop feel of "Bright," before the band plugs back in to show they can rock on "Talking Dreams" and "Ran Off In The Night." The album closes with the dance beat of "Safest Place" and the quiet acoustics of the enjoyable "Surround You."
 
Echosmith are wrapping up their headlining tour in November. To find out more about this new young band, please visit echosmith.com.
 
From Australia comes the self-titled debut album from The Rubens. They have only been together for less than two years, but their sound is very mature. The lead single from the album, "My Gun" has a Black Keys vibe while "Never Be The Same" carries a Coldplay feel to it. The Rubens inject a little blues into their music on "Lay It Down" and on "Elvis," before returning with the marching beat of "The Day You Went Away." The album closes with the slow sway of "Paddy."
 
To find out more about this rising band, please visit therubensmusic.com.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

CD Review: Connecticut's Independent Music Scene Is Alive And Well With New Music

Connecticut duo Becky Kessler and Floyd Kellogg never intended to become a band. Becky simply asked Floyd to produce her solo album and the two hit it off so well in the studio that Violent Mae was born. They recently were awarded 2013’s Connecticut Best New Band and released their debut album on November 19 and have an album kick-off show scheduled in Hartford on December 6.

The new ten-song release starts off with the raw grunge of the guitars on “Later On,” which into the mellow rock beat of “Hole In My Heart.” The vocal delivery of Becky Kessler on “Any Time You Fall” is a little haunting, but flawless amongst a stark backdrop of guitars which also becomes the recipe for “Man In The Country." The album closes with the stark, country-blues of “Long Hard Wait” and gentle chords of “Real Love Song.”

The new album from Violent Mae is available now, locally at Redscroll Records (Wallingford, CT) and Telegraph Records (New London, CT). To find out more, please visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/VIOLENTMAE.

Also from Connecticut comes the folk duo of Dan Garaffa and Nancy Michaud-Wozniacki, better known as Dancy. While the English definition of “dancy” means, suitable of or inviting dancing, their music is very suitable for their name. Their debut album “Stories” was released earlier this year and brings us back to a time when electronics and computers were not even thought of for producing music. Aside from a couple songs with electric guitars, everything is very roots based with acoustic guitars, ukuleles and hand claps.

The album is short and sweet, beginning with the folk-swing of “Big City Blues,” which finds Dan taking on the lead vocals, but the sound of Nancy’s voice on “I Guess I Won’t Forget You” is so genuine that makes you feel at ease. Dancy add a little country into their sound on “Toodle-oo,” before combining their vocals on “Our Song” as you begin to notice what brought them together. Their music turns a little dark on the low tones of “Famous Singer,” before returning to the more light-hearted sound of “You Were A Waste Of My Time.”

To find out more about Dancy and their debut album “Stories,” please visit their Facebook page at
www.facebook.com/Dancymusic.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

CD Review: New Music From Independent Guitar Greats Marcus Singletary And Dan Mumm

Singer/songwriter/guitarist Marcus Singletary is closing out the year with a new live album entitled "Live On Sunset." It was recorded at LA's Whisky A Go-Go and released on November 5th through Aviation Records. It is Marcus' first live album in over five years and follows on the heel of his album "Sings Country Standards," which was released earlier this year.
 
He begins with the up-tempo sixties rocker "Best In Me," before heading over to the blues of "Shame." Marcus takes over the keyboard on the retro sounding jam of "The Music's Playin'," before closing with a couple great cover songs. He speeds up "Good Lovin'," channeling his idol Jerry Garcia on the solo, before finishing the show with the blues romp of "Sweet Home Chicago."
 
To find out more about Marcus Singletary and his new album "Live On Sunset," please visit his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/MarcusSingletaryMusic.
 
Neo-Classical guitarist Dan Mumm recently updated his album “A Glimpse Beyond” which was released last December. His new release entitled “A Glimpse Beyond MMXIII” showcases his talents on the guitar. He learned to compose and perform music at a very young age and moved toward the Heavy Metal music scene in the late 90’s. Dan has also created a number of advanced instructional videos under Doug Mark’s Metal Method instructional DVD series.
 
He introduces you, on his latest release, with the haunting keyboard introduction of “Anthem Of The Mad.” Mumm’s guitar quickly takes over on “They Were As Stone” as you feel the metal prowess of his performance. He begins to get more involved in his technique on “Glass Alice” and in his rendition of “Hungarian Rhapsody” as he displays his knowledge of classical music. He combines both musical worlds on “La Folia (Corelli)” before finishing with some floating guitar solos during “The End.”
 
To find out more about Dan Mumm’s album, “A Glimpse Beyond MMXIII” and about his instructional videos, please visit danmumm.com.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Book Review: The History Of Metallica Gets Told Through Pictures In The Latest Book From Voyageur Press

Well, Voyageur Press has done it again! Their latest book covers one of the most iconic bands in music history. "Metallica: The Complete Illustrated History" is a must have for fans as this book contains over 300 images, including photos, concert shirts, posters, backstage passes and a whole lot more. Author Martin Popoff is a heavy metal journalist that's very familiar with the band and their crazy history. He does a wonderful job filling in the gaps of the band's history that fans may not know.
 
The beginning of the book starts in 1981 with Lars Ulrich searching for a band of brothers to share in his love for "New Wave Of British Heavy Metal" music. Once James Hetfield walks into his life, everything changes and Popoff does a masterful job putting you in the middle of every turning point in the band's history. From the removal of Dave Mustaine from the band to the tragic death of Cliff Burton, this book has it all. Each of the band's nine studio albums get an in depth look, even the misguided "Lulu" gets some love and just might have you looking differently at some of Metallica's most well-known songs.
 
The book also cover immensely the many tours that Metallica have gone on as opening band and as headliners. You also learn about the tightness of the band that got them to become the biggest band in the world and also almost led to their demise.
 
Martin Popoff gets help from almost a dozen contributors, including Neil Daniels, author of "Iron Maiden: The Ultimate Unauthorized History of the Beast" and Richard Bienstock, senior editor of "Guitar World" magazine. What I keep going back to are the wonderful pictures and posters that show the growth of the band in popularity and in maturity.
 
"Metallica: The Complete Illustrated History" is almost 200 pages full everything a fan could want and need. To find out more about this latest amazing book, please visit http://www.qbookshop.com/products/211448/9780760344828/Metallica.html.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

CD Review: Fresh New Music From Courage My Love and The Tragic Thrills

Canadian trio Courage My Love are bringing their latest release "Becoming" to the U.S. on a winter tour that begins in December with shows in Cambridge, MA and Hamden, CT. The eight-song album showcases a trio of young musicians that have a very youthful, punk-like sound which powers their music.
 
The album starts out with "Skin And Bone," which has a very mature rock sound with aspects of pop thrown in. The energetic punk of "Cold Blooded" is closer to their expertise than the pop-rock of "Unfamiliar Sheets." The alternative-grunge of the guitars in "You Don't Know How" is a great balance to lead singer Mercedes Arn-Horns' powerful vocals. Their music crosses too far into pop territory with "All I Need," before closing with the heavy drumming of "We're Not In Kansas Anymore" and the wonderful harmonizing between the Arn-Horn sisters on "Dark Wood, Dark Water."
 
To find out more about Courage My Love, please visit ilovecouragemylove.com.
 
From California comes one of the hottest underground alternative rock bands, The Tragic Thrills with their self-titled debut album. The album debuted at #7 on Billboard's "Heatseekers" chart and their lead-single, "Tears" is receiving a great amount of air-play along the west coast.
 
The album begins with the energetic, alternative rock of "Tears" as the music is so infectious that you can't help but want to listen to just this song on repeat. Their music heads into a more folk-rock direction on the clap-stomp beat of "Afterthoughts" and "Crazy," before turning on the charm with the Train-sounding "Creeps and Strangers." Their sound grows on you with each song like the acoustic build-up chorus of "Alive" and the fun, west coast rock of "Everyday," before closing their album with the spoken-word lyrics of "Main Girl."
 
The Tragic Thrills recently performed at 91X San Diego's Next Big Thing showcase and have one more live date scheduled at the moment in Arizona. To find out more about The Tragic Thrills, please visit thetragicthrills.com.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

CD Review: Celine Dion Returns "Back To Life" With A New Album

One of the best voices of our generation has returned with a brand new album. After a six year absence, Celine Dion returns with her latest full-length, English-language pop album entitled "Loved Me Back To Life." The new album was released on November 5 through Columbia Records and debuted at #2 on the Billboard Album chart. Celine Dion worked with some of the biggest names in songwriting on this album including Diane Warren, Ne-Yo, Babyface and Stevie Wonder.
 
The album starts off with the upbeat title-song that is also the first single from the album. Dion hits the dance floor with "Somebody Loves Somebody," then gets her R&B groove going on "Incredible" as she duets with Ne-Yo. Her timeless voice excels on the piano led "Breakaway" and on the pop beats of "Thank You," before she teams up with Stevie Wonder on his classic song, "Overjoyed." The album proceeds with the gentle touch of "At Seventeen" and the piano ballad of "Always Be Your Girl," before closing with the club beats of "Unfinished Songs."
 
Celine Dion is currently performing over in Europe before returning to her residency in Las Vegas, NV in December. For more information on the new album "Loved Me Back To Life," please visit celinedion.com.

Friday, November 15, 2013

CD Review: New Metal Music From Reflections And Impending Doom, While Katey Sagal Covers The Classics

The eOne Music label is cranking out loads of new music from the hardcore doom metal of Impending Doom and Reflections to the classic sounds of singer/actress Katey Sagal.
 
Sagal is no stranger to the mic, although most know her from the hit FX show "Sons of Anarchy." She has released three solo albums, including her latest "Covered." Katey Sagal has sang back-up on albums by Bob Dylan and Gene Simmons and was also a member of The Group With No Name and in Bette Midler's backup group The Harlettes. Her new album "Covered" came out on November 11 and features cover songs from such popular artists as Tom Petty, Ryan Adams and Joni Mitchell. She turns Jackson Browne's "For A Dancer" into a heartfelt serenade and gives the perfect rendition of Laura Nyro's "Gonna Take A Miracle." The ten-song release closes with the country sway of Ron Sexsmith's "Secret Heart" and my personal favorite, the smoky sound of Ray LaMontagne's "Roses And Cigarettes."
 
To find out more about this latest release from Katey Sagal, please visit kateysagal.net.
 
Now for the hard-hitting, bone crushing sounds of Impending Doom and Reflections. Both bands released their albums a week apart and both albums will have your ears bleeding from the machine gun drumming, buzzsaw guitars and screaming vocals. Reflections attack with their brand of hardcore nu-metal as featured in the songs "Exit" and "Vain Words From An Empty Mind." Their beat driven sound gets taken to a different level on "Lost Pages" as the band experiments with their sound, but quickly return to bash your brains in with "Candle." The album closes with the guitar-driven screams of "Exist."
 
To find out more about Reflections and their latest release "Exi(s)t," please visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/reflectionsmn.
Impending Doom is just pure hardcore metal with the howling vocals of new album's title track, "Death Will Reign" and evil build-up of "Beyond The Grave." The music on this new album just mauls you down as with the attack of "Doomsday" and "Helhole." The eleven-song album closes with the screams of "Live or Die" and the eight-minute epic "The Great Divide" which showcases the great musicianship within the band's hardcore metal sound.
 
To find our more about Impending Doom and their latest release, "Death Will Reign," please visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/impendingdoom.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

CD Review: The Dirty Heads Relive "Phantoms Of Summer" Through Acoustic Sessions

It has been only five short years since the Dirty Heads released their debut album "Any Port In The Storm," which made a minor splash in the musical pond. Their second album "Cabin By The Sea" cracked the top 20 when it was released in 2012 through Eleven Seven Music. Their fun sound comes directly from the California beaches, stating bands like Sublime and Bob Marley as hugh influences.
 
On October 29th, the Dirty Heads released their third album, "Home - Phantoms Of Summer: The Acoustic Sessions." It debuted at #27 on the Billboard Album chart and features a more laid back, relaxed sound due to the album's raw recording. The album features 8 brand new songs and also an acoustic version of the their "Top 40" hit "Cabin By The Sea."
 
The songs on this album are built for the perfect summer soundtrack, starting off with "Warming Sun" as you close your eyes and are instantly transported to Caribbean. They don't stray too far from their reggae/pop/hip-hop formula until we hit the two-minute dark tones of "Phantom." The song showcases a different side to their songwriting. The Dirty Heads seem to be having fun recording this album as heard in this new laid-back version of "Cabin By The Sea" and the rolling lyrics of "Sloth's Revenge." The album closes with the quick, two-minute "Outro (Beast Of The Lake)," which seems like the only incomplete song of the set.
 
To find out more about The Dirty Heads and their brand new album "Home - Phantoms of Summer: The Acoustic Sessions," please visit dirtyheads.com.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

CD Review: A Perfect Circle Come Around "Three Sixty" With New Releases


Hard rock band, A Perfect Circle was the “perfect situation” for Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan and guitarist Billy Howerdel. Their friendship laid the groundwork for a band that had no expectations, only the reliability of one another. After releasing three studio albums from 2000 to 2004, A Perfect Circle laid low, until regrouping in 2010 for a full-length tour.

The Universal Music Group recently announced the release of a “greatest hits” album and also a 3CD/1DVD set of the band’s live output from their 2010/2011 tour. Each CD from the live box set focuses on the band’s individual albums and the DVD was filmed at A Perfect Circle’s show from August 2011 at Red Rock. The new “greatest hits” set entitled “Three Sixty” included the first new recording by the band in a decade. The song “By and Down” was written during their live shows a couple years ago and fits in perfectly amongst their more well-known songs. The new release comes in two formats, a standard edition which includes a dozen of A Perfect Circle’s “hit” songs as well and the new recording and also a deluxe edition which includes 19 songs spread over two discs.

The “Three Sixty” set opens with the first song off the first album, “The Hollow,” which reminds you of how good their music was when they first started out. The album goes in chronological order, but the deluxe edition throws in the extra song “Rose” from the first album before moving on to the hard-hitting aggression of “Judith.” Their second album “Thirteenth Step” also gets cover extensively with six of the albums twelve tracks appearing in the deluxe edition, including a live version of “Gravity.” They mix in songs from their 2004 studio covers album “eMOTIVe” with a dark live version of “People Are People.” The second disc of the deluxe edition closes live versions of “3 Libras,” “Gravity” and “Fiddle and the Drum,” which all stick pretty close to their studio versions.

The live box set, “A Perfect Circle Live: Featuring Stone and Echo” was limited to only 2500 copies and sold out very quickly. Digital versions of these albums with be available digitally on November 26 and each of the three albums that A Perfect Circle recorded in the studio will be reborn in a live setting. “Thirteenth Step Live” features the twelve tracks featured on the original studio album, only with an extra boost of adrenaline. The other two live albums, “Mer De Noms Live” and “eMOTIVe Live” are each given a bonus track along with the live versions of the studio albums. The real prize in this set is the live DVD (and audio CD) of their full twenty song performance at Red Rocks in August 2011. The songs cover the band’s entire career and also includes a live version of the band’s new studio song “By and Down” before being released on the new “greatest hits” set, “Three Sixty.

To find out more about all the new releases coming from A Perfect Circle, please visit aperfectcircle.com.