Saturday, April 30, 2016

CD Review: Lorrie Morgan Delivers Her Greatest Hits And Jennifer Saran Releases Pop-Inspired New Album

American country artist Lorrie Morgan recently released a new collection of her greatest hits singles and inspirational favorites titled "A Picture Of Me." She became the first female country artist to release three consecutive platinum selling albums, selling over six million albums worldwide. Her new sixteen-song release begins with the country-rock feel of her 1992 single, "Watch Me," which hit #2 on the country singles chart. She adds a slight country twang to her cover of The Beach Boys' "Don't Worry Baby," but her voice really excels on the ballad "Good As I Was To You," which is why Lorrie Morgan ranks up there with some of the all-time best female country artists. This new release includes a re-recorded version of her 1990 #1 single "Five Minutes" and her wonderful cover of the George Jones classic "Loving You Could Never Be Better." Also included is her big hit single here in the U.S. and north of the border, "What Part Of No" along with her version of Tammy Wynette's song "Take Me To Your World." The album finishes with the stunning ballad "Mirror, Mirror" and the quiet love song "Hopelessly Yours." Lorrie Morgan has some live dates sprinkled throughout the summer. For a complete list of shows and to find out more about her newly released greatest hits album "A Picture Of Me," please visit lorrie.com.

American adult-pop singer/songwriter Jennifer Saran is following up her 2015 Christmas album with a new release titled "Walk With Me." It features 18-songs produced by platinum recording artist Narada Michael Walden and released through his own label, Tarpan Records. The album begins with the upbeat, pop feel of "Let My Love Stand" and the eighties, R&B flavor of "Where Have You Been."  Jennifer's voice soars on the ballad "Walk With Me," before getting your body moving with the electronic dance beats of "Let's Get Away." The smooth, sultry delivery of "Wait For Me" and the modern pop of "Smooth Baby" showcases the many different sides of Jennifer's passion for music. The album closes with the delicately wonderful sounds of "Soar" and the plea of love for "You Are My Man." To find out more about Jennifer Saran and her latest release "Walk With Me," please visit jennifersaran.com.

Friday, April 29, 2016

CD Review: The Security Project Take On Peter Gabriel With "Live 1"

This newly formed supergoup The Security Project, will be releasing their first album "Live 1" in May. The band consists of Trey Gunn (King Crimson), Jerry Marotta (Peter Gabriel), Michael Cozzi (Peter Gabriel), David Jameson (Tin Machine) and singer Brian Cummins. Cummins has been touring with his Genesis tribute group, The Carpet Crawlers before the members of The Security Project contacted him with the idea of performing the work of Peter Gabriel in an intimate live setting.

Their new twelve-song live album is pure wonder. Listening to this, you would think that Peter Gabriel, himself was fronting this supergroup. The album begins with Gabriel's 1982 song "Lay Your Hands On Me" as the band sticks close to this original tone of this hidden solo Gabriel gem. This new release features four other songs from Gabriel's iconic 1982 album as The Security Project deliver an amazing version of "I Have The Touch." The Security Project stretches the songs "San Jacinto" and "The Family And The Fishing Net,"a couple of Gabriel classics, past the seven-minute mark. Brian Cummins brings the youthfulness of Gabriel's original tunes perfectly into this live setting with the rest of the band following his lead right up until the album closer "Biko."

The Security Project are touring the west coast during the second half of May. For a complete list of shows and to find out more about their new album "Live 1," please visit securityprojectband.com.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

CD Review: New Music From The Refusers, Hillbilly Vegas, Stewart Francke And Scott Smith

Politically charged rockers The Refusers are releasing their new eight-song EP titled "Born To Rock." It begins with the energized, guitar driven title-song, which has a classic eighties, hard rock sound. The bluesy feel of "Wake Up America" and the jazzy feel of "New York Times," showcases the diversity of their songwriting. They return to rock with a call to arms for "Hang The Bankers," before finishing with the same way the album began, with guitars blazing for "Information Junkie." To find out more about The Refusers and their latest release "Born To Rock," please visit therefusers.com.

Country-rockers Hillbilly Vegas return with their new EP titled "76." After their debut album, "Ringo Manor" sold over 10,000 copies right out of the gate, Hillbilly Vegas became one of the hottest rising bands in country music. Their new six-song release continues their lucky streak with the up-tempo rocker "Can't Go Home" and the country gold of "Long Way Back" that should find it's way to the music charts this summer. Hillbilly Vegas know how to keep their music fun with the country grit of "Shake It Like A Hillbilly" and the quick, energetic pace of "2 Gun Town." To find out more about Hillbilly Vegas and their latest release "76," please visit hillbillyvegasmusic.com.

Next, from Detroit comes the new self-titled EP from singer/songwriter Stewart Francke, which also features a guest appearance by Bruce Springsteen. The eight tracks that make up his new release are songs taken from his 2015 greatest hits compilation "Midwestern: The Very Best of Stewart Francke." Bruce Springsteen, a fan of Stewart's work, lends his vocals to the chorus of the anti-war anthem "Summer Soldier." Stewart showcases his wonderful knack for storytelling with the regional hit single "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" and dabbles with the R&B sound of "Sam Cooke's On The Radio." The songs "House Of Lights" and "Heart Of A Heartless World" dig deep into emotional times as Stewart delivers the words and music with such grace and power. To find out more about Stewart Francke and his latest release, please visit stewartfrancke.com.

Finally from the Bay Area comes the debut album, "The Sum Of Life" from singer/songwriter Scott Smith. Smith invited some legendary musicians to help him accomplish his goal of producing a timeless album. Beginning with the title-song, "The Sum Of Life" is a gentle, acoustic instrumental that invites you in to experience the full range of what Smith has to offer. He picks the tempo up with the bluesy rocker "Eclipsing Moon" and the country swing of "Payday" to showcase his musicianship. The old school, Americana sounds of "Bad Dreams" and "The Best Gift" are highlighted by David LaFlamme (It's A Beautiful Day) on violin, who gives the songs an authenticity. The new eleven-song release finishes up with the guitar/piano boogie of "The World Is Strange" and the dirty blues rock of "Messing With Reality." To find out more about Scott Smith and his latest release "The Sum Of Life," please visit scottsmithband.com.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

CD Review: Joe Bouchard Unleashes "The Power Of Music" And Divine Weeks Searches For "Those Landing Lights"

Former founding member of Blue Oyster Cult, Joe Bouchard will be releasing his new studio album "The Power Of Music" on April 29th. Joe performs all of the instruments on the album along with all of the lead vocals. Since his retirement from Blue Oyster Cult in 1986, Bouchard has become a composer, producer, teacher, author and engineer, even producing three solo albums. 
 
The new nine-track release begins with the classic, power-chord hard rock of "Walk With The Devil" as Bouchard puts his guitar skills to the test. He ventures into pop/rock territory with "36 Strings" and was inspired to write the Halloween-like tale of "Is He The Wolfman," while performing on the Lynyrd Skynyrd cruise in 2012. He works up the rock ballad "Dusty Old Piano," before the steady rhythm of "Story Of The Blues Project" lifts your spirits. The album finishes with the synth-filled instrumental "Touring Age" and the classic, raw rock appeal of "Career Of Evil." To find out more about Joe Bouchard and his latest release "The Power Of Music," please visit joebouchard.com.

Independent LA rock band Divine Weeks recently released their latest album "See Those Landing Lights." They were considered one of the best unsigned bands of Los Angeles back in the late-eighties when they released their debut album "Through And Through." Their new release features ten songs combining elements of modern, alternative pop/rock with raw, garage-punk energy. Beginning with "Here's My Heart And Soul," Divine Weeks puts their finger on the pulse of classic rock music as the song's up-tempo vibe becomes very addictive. The wonderful songwriting of "Built My Life Around You" and "Someday (By & By)" should place them in elite company next to bands like Matchbox 20 and Goo Goo Dolls. The album finishes with two, 6-minute gems as Divine Weeks builds up the excitement of "Like The Last Night Of Out Lives" and U2-like feel of "Big Sky," highlighted by pulsating guitar licks. To find out more about Divine Weeks and their latest release "See Those Landing Lights," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/divineweekstheband.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

CD Review: Avatar Brings Together "Feathers & Flesh" For Epic New Album

From Sweden comes the latest studio album titled "Feathers & Flesh" from the melodic heavy metal band Avatar. Lead singer Johannes Eckerstrom leads his band of minstrels, wearing make-up that blurs the line between Alice Cooper and Ringling Bros. Circus. While their look may make them stand out, their music is what grabs your attention.
 
 Their new fourteen-song release is a concept album that centers around the story of an owl who goes to war with the rest of the world. The album begins with the two-minute build-up of "Regret," which leads into the intense pace of "House Of Eternal Hunt." The story gets established with the addictive lyrics of "The Eagle Has Landed," while "Tooth, Beak & Claw" features a hardcore metal sound, before slowing down for the ballad "Fiddler's Farewell." The thunderous, marching rhythm of "One More Hill" and mainstream metal of "Black Waters" showcases the expertise that Avatar have to offer as each member understands his place in the band. The album finishes with the aggressive, prog-metal appeal of "Pray The Sun Away" and seven-minute epic "Sky Burial." 
 
Avatar will be on tour in the U.S. throughout the month of May, before heading back to Europe in June. To find out more about their latest album "Feathers & Flesh," please visit avatarmetal.com.

Monday, April 25, 2016

CD Review: Purple Pyramid Records Boxes Up Classic Live Shows From Todd Rundgren

On April 1st, Purple Pyramid Records released the limited edition box set titled "Box O'Todd," featuring live, in-studio recordings that were originally presented only for radio. The new 3-disc set features Todd Rundgren stripped down to the basics as he delivers many of his hits from the seventies. The first disc features his full, fifteen-song performance in Philadelphia in 1971 as Rundgren covers his first two solo albums.

He begins with the piano ballad "Believe In Me" as you instantly are transported into the studio with Rundgren as it feels as if he is only playing a concert just to you. The Hello People band join him for the bluesy feel of "I Got My Pipe" and the laid-back seventies, southern-California vibe of "I Wouldn't Have Made Any Difference." He goes back to the piano for a solo performance of "Everybody In The Congregation," as if you are at church and Todd Rundgren is leading the sermon. He delivers a heartfelt cover of Smokey Robinson's "Ooh, Baby Baby," before closing the first disc with the jamming of "I'm Feelin' Better" and the quietness of "The Ballad (Denny & Jean)."

The great thing about this set is that there are very little crossover with the songs Rundgren performs as disc two features his performance at Ultrasonic Studios in New York in 1972. Beginning with the down and dirty blues/rock of "Broke Down & Busted," Rundgren reverts back to his debut solo album to get things going. Rundgren and the band get locked into the groove of "Outside Love," before he takes on "Piss Aaron" on his own. He premiers "A Dream Goes On Forever," which won't appear on his solo album until 1974's "Todd." Rundgren returns with a quick version of his top 20 hit single "I Saw The Light," then extends Hello People's "Mad Red Ant Lady" past the seven-minute mark. The second disc finishes with the band rising to the challenge of "Lady On The Terrace" and "Slut."

Disc 3 features Todd Rundgren at the Counterparts Studio in Cinncinati in 1973. He begins with a solo piano version of his hit single "I Saw The Light," before things start to turn strange with the odd delivery of "Lord Chancellor's Nightmare Song." The band joins him for his biggest selling single "Hello It's Me" and takes the listening audience on a journey with the fourteen-minute progressive rock piece "Utopia Theme." He finishes his performance with the funk-fueled "Hungry For Love" and spacey, nine-minute closer "The Ikon."

The new three disc box set also includes a 20-page booklet featuring full-color pictures and liner notes by Dave Thompson. To find out more about this new release from Todd Rundgren, please visit cleorecs.com.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Book Review: New Beatles Books Cover The Recording Sessions For "Rubber Soul" And "Revolver"

Almost every music critic agrees that The Beatles hit their creative peak with their 1967 album "Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band," but what about the two amazing albums that have lead to that crowning achievement in music. Without the albums "Rubber Soul" and "Revolver," there may not have been a "Sgt. Peppers" and now we get the inside scoop on this two iconic albums with two newly published books, "This Bird Has Flown: The Enduring Beauty Of Rubber Soul, Fifty Years On" and "Revolver: How The Beatles Reimagined Rock 'n' Roll."


The album "Rubber Soul" was released in December 1965. It is considered the 5th "greatest album of all time" according to Rolling Stone magazine and topped the charts in the U.K. and the U.S. upon its release. This new book, "This Bird Has Flown," dives into the recording of the album by dedicating twenty of the book's twenty-five chapters each to a song that was originally recorded for this album. The book begins with the ever-rising popularity of The Beatles following their historic show at Shea Stadium and the success of their movies, "A Hard Days Night" and Help!" This album would be their first album to be recorded in a four week session with no distractions. This allowed The Beatles to examine the entire recording studio in order to expand their sound beyond the three-minute pop song. The book examines the hits like "Yesterday" and "In My Life" with a microscope, covering everything that was said and done in the studio during the recording of each song. Author John Kruth gathers every single bit of information he can and puts it together in such a way that you feel like you were part of The Beatles' inner circle of friends. Even the unreleased song "12-Bar Original" gets its own chapter to explore the meaning behind it's recording. The book also contains some color and black & white promotional photos of the band along with covers of the album and singles. To find out more about the newly published Beatles' book "This Bird Has Flown," please visit halleonardbooks.com.


Following the success of "Rubber Soul," The Beatles returned to the studio to record their most experimental album to date, the eye-opening "Revolver." The newly published book that examines the recording of that album is titled "Revolver: How The Beatles Reimagined Rock 'n' Roll." Author Robert Rodriguez breaks the book down into three parts and only eight chapters which goes in depth into the recording of this magical album that showed what kind of songwriters and musicians The Beatles were. It's amazing in this day of age to see how quickly The Beatles recorded many of these classic songs and how quickly they were released to the public in hastily cobbled together compilation. These songs received their due when placed together in the proper order for the August 1966 release of "Revolver." Author Rodriguez explains how many different musical influences from Ravi Shankar to Bob Dylan helped The Beatles get creative, along with a little help of marijuana and LSD. The book also dives into the recordings of each song from the album with in depth details of the song's influence and arrangement. Robert Rodriguez finishes his latest book with a chapter that explains how this album opened many doors for other musicians, including The Beatles themselves leading up to their most iconic album "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." To find out more about the newly published book, "Revolver: How The Beatles Reimagined Rock 'n' Roll," please visit halleonardbooks.com.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

CD Review: Revisit Pete Seeger's Grammy Album "Pete" Along With New Music From Miss Nina And Eric Herman

American folk legend Pete Seeger won his first Grammy in 1997 for his album "Pete." It was produced by Grammy winning producer Paul Winter and features eighteen tracks that have become timeless classics over the last twenty years. In honor of this achievement, Living Music is re-releasing the album on CD with a bonus DVD containing footage of Seeger performing alongside the Paul Winter Consort, Susan Osborn and Brazilian band, Pe de Boi. The DVD features three of Seeger's performances in Connecticut, beginning in 1982 with the Living Music Festival at the Mohawk Mountain Ski Area in Cornwall, CT. The show was recorded by a three-man camera crew and went unviewed for 33 years until Seeger's passing in 2014. The original tapes were converted to high definition for this release. Also included is a video of Pete Seeger performing live in 1997 at Paul Winter's farm, where the "Pete" album was recorded and finally one of Seeger's last performances in Connecticut in 2005. He sang at a banquet in Goshen, CT, hosted by the Harriet Beecher Stowe Society in honor of the 40th anniversary of "Bloody Sunday."  

 The album features Seeger at his most inspirational with the addition of a chorus on many of these songs like "My Rainbow Race" and "The Water Is Wide," which give him a preacher-like appearance on this album. He seems to be given new life with the storied lyrics of "Sailing Down My Golden River" and "How Can I Keep From Singing" as Seeger seems far from his final days of performing. There is a familiarity with his delivery of "Old Devil Time" and "In The Evening" that puts your worries at ease as you enjoy the best this classic artist has to offer. To find out more about this new re-issue of Pete Seeger's "Pete," please visit paulwinter.com.

Beloved children's musician Miss Nina will soon be releasing her new album "Every Day's Your Birthday" with her band The Jumping Jacks. The new twelve song release begins with the fun, up-beat swing of the title-song, "Every Day's Your Birthday." She gets silly with "This Song," which should have kids sing along in no time at all. She goes quiet for the acoustic "Colors Of You," before getting you back up your feet for the instructional dance of "Up & Down." After delivering her folk/pop gem "Sunshine Blue Skies," Miss Nina closes the album with the laid-back country vibe of "Let's Go Home" and the hip-hop delivery of "DJ In My PJs." To find out more about Miss Nina and The Jumping Jacks latest album "Every Day's Your Birthday," please visit mymissnina.com.

Children's recording artist Eric Herman will be releasing his new album "Bubble Wrap" on June 10th. It is the first album to feature his band The Thunder Puppies and looks to bridge the gap between kids and tween pop/rock music. Beginning with the title song, "Bubble Wrap" you are instantly jolted with this light-hearted song. His word play in "You Are What You Eat" is very addictive as he continues with the bluesy tone of "Where's Saturday." Eric has a similar tone to many of today's alt-pop bands with the storied lyrics of "Everybody's Watching," before finishing up the new twelve-song release the piano ballad "Okay" and the pop/rock of "Hello." To find out more about Eric Herman and The Thunder Puppies and their latest release "Bubble Wrap," please visit erichermanmusic.com.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

CD Review: Candlebox Return Refreshed With New Album "Disappearing In Airports"

American rock band Candlebox are returning after four years with their new studio album titled "Disappearing In Airports." The band's rise to fame came swift as their self-titled debut album hit #7 on the album charts and has since gone 4x platinum. In 2000, Candlebox went on hiatus as band members went their separate ways to pursue other musical endeavors. The band reunited in 2006 to tour behind a greatest hits compilation, which led them to record a new album in 2008. Since then, Candlebox has mixed in touring and new albums with their busy personal lives, but are ready to put their all into this latest release.
 
The new ten song release begins with "Only Because Of You," which starts the album with a pop/rock sound that is a far distance from their hard rock debut album. They pick the tempo and the intensity up with "Vexatious," before returning to their roots on the funk-like, arena rock of "Supernova." Lead singer Kevin Martin opens up his vocal pipes for the powerful delivery of "Alive At Last" then brings the band along to release his anger for "I've Got A Gun," which should please long-time fans with its hard-edged sound. The album finishes with the power ballad "Spotlights" and the punk-like energy of "God's Gift." 
 
Candlebox is currently on the road, promoting the new album with shows running through May, including a stop at the Wolf Den at Mohegan Sun. To find out more about their new album "Disappearing In Airports," please visit candleboxrocks.com.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

CD Review: New Progressive Rock Releases From Ben Craven And Darryl Way

Ben Craven is one of Australia's top progressive-rock singer/songwriters. He recently released his latest album "Last Chance To Hear" in March. The new ten-song release begins with the hard rock groove of "Last Chance To Hear, Part 1" as all the instrumentation comes together perfectly to lift things off. The grand appeal of "Critical Mass, Part 1 & 2" showcases Craven's knack for expanding beyond the boundaries of prog-rock as the song's full orchestration takes you on a sonic adventure. The eight-minute epic "Spy In The Sky, Part 3" is helped along by the great William Shatner on vocals. Ben Craven digs in with his seventies rock influences on the quick-paced "Revenge Of Dr. Komodo," before finishing with the gentle piano-ballad "Mortal Remains." To find out more about Ben Craven and his latest release "Last Chance To Hear," please visit bencraven.com.

Curved Air co-founder Darryl Way recently released his latest album "Myths, Legends And Tales" on April 1st. It features ten songs, mixing together an early progressive rock sound with symphonic rock movements in order to showcase his broad range of songwriting. Beginning with "Apollo (Racing Against The Sun)," Darryl brings back that classic Curved Air sound with this atmospheric piece. He continues with the orchestral rock of "Orpheus And The Underworld" as his instrumentals tell the perfect tale of good vs. evil. He injects a youthful energy into the dark tones of "Dove Of Peace," before gliding through space and time during "Strange Goings On." He softens his sound for the emotional ballad of "The Ice Man," then lays down a country rhythm for "Helter Skelter," before closing with the nine-minute prog-rock epic "Prometheus Chained." To find out more about Darryl Way and his latest release "Myths, Legends And Tales," please visit darrylway.com.

Monday, April 11, 2016

CD Review: Cleopatra Records Releases Two New Classic Rock Albums

Cleopatra Records recently released a live solo show from classic rock singer, Joe Lynn Turner titled "Streets Of Dreams - Boston 1985." Joe Lynn Turner was known as the iconic front man for late-seventies/early-eighties hard rock band Rainbow and for a brief time Deep Purple in the nineties. This newly released live album features Joe Lynn Turner on tour following his debut solo album "Rescue You."

The new thirteen-song release begins with the newly written "I Found Love," which would not appear on a Joe Lynn Turner studio album for another fifteen years. He dives right into his current solo album at the time with "Losing You," which is the perfect setting for Turner's vocals, among a hard driving keyboard backdrop. He keeps the vibe of the eighties flowing with the build-up of "Soul Searcher" as guitarist Bobby Messano peels off an electrifying solo. Turner performs seven of the eleven tracks from his solo album during this show, leaving room for a couple of Rainbow covers, "Stone Cold" and "Street Of Dreams." The show closes with a hard rock/funk cover of Buddy Miles "Them Changes." Joe Lynn Turner is currently on tour in South America, before returning to Europe in July. To find out more about this newly released show from 1985, please visit cleorecs.com. 

Rock drummer Carmine Appice has been very busy over the course of only the last five years. He reunited with his mid-eighties hard rock band King Kobra for two new studio albums, performed on the latest releases from Michael Schenker's Temple Of Rock and Rated X and also joined his brother for a tour titled "Drum Wars" which created the live album of the same name. His latest release includes his collaboration with fellow rock keyboardist/guitarist/vocalist Pat Travers over a decade ago. Deadline Music will be re-issuing their 2004 album "It Takes A Lot Of Balls" as simply "The Balls Album" and it contains two newly recorded bonus tracks.

The original twelve song release begins with the hard-edged blues rock of "Taken" as Travers is let loose on the guitar. They keep the energy going with "Better From A Distance" as their collaboration on this album is the perfect match of hard rock talents. The duo get deeper into the southern blues of "Escape The Fire," before roaring back with the rhythm-fueled "Rock Me." Carmine's drums begin "Remind Me To Forget You" as Travers invites himself to take over the song with his blazing guitar riffs and stellar vocals. Appice and Travers get a little funky with the island groove of "I Can't Let You Go" and finish the original album with misdirected rap of "Gotta Have Ya." The two bonus tracks features the slow burn of "Tonite" and bluesy cover of Berry White's "Never Gonna Give You Up." To find out more about this new re-issue from Pat Travers and Carmine Appice, please visit cleorecs.com.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

DVD Review: Judas Priest Let Out Their "Battle Cry" With New Live Video

The legendary heavy metal band Judas Priest recently released a brand new live album titled "Battle Cry." It came out on CD, DVD and Blu-ray and was recorded at the 2015 Wacken Festival in Germany. Judas Priest easily ranks as one of the best live acts of all time and this video proves that after four decades, they can still gets 85,000 metal fans to follow their every word.

The 17-song set begins with a pair of new songs, "Battle Cry" and "Dragonaut" as guitarist Richie Faulkner asserts himself center stage with his electrifying guitar playing. Lead singer Rob Halford gets warmed up with the screams of "Devil's Child" as he works both sides of the stage. When the camera does a sweep of the audience, you can appreciate the size of the crowd as Halford and the band can hardly be seen from a distance. When guitarists Richie Faulkner and Glenn Tipton work together, as in "Victim Of Change" they are one of the best guitar duos in the heavy metal genre.

Judas Priest are promoting their latest studio album "Redeemer Of Souls" with songs like "Halls Of Valhalla" and the title song that have developed into quite a stage show over the course of the tour. The crowd really gets into the hits like "Turbo Lover" and "Breaking The Law" as they sing the chorus back to the band. An iconic concert moment is when Halford rides out on his motorcycle and lifts the energy of the show for "Hell Bent For Leather" and "You've Got Another Thing Coming." The crowd shouts for "Painkiller" as drummer Scott Travis bashes out the song's intro as Halford seems to strain to hit the high notes. The night closes with everyone singing along to "Living After Midnight" as Judas Priest receive a roaring applause from the fans at Wacken.

The video includes three bonus performances of "Screaming For Vengeance," "The Rage" and "Desert Plains" recorded live in Poland on one of the last dates of their world tour. The camera angles in these bonus tracks are very interesting and up close, which gives you a sense that the band is performing right to you. To find out more about Judas Priest and their latest live release "Battle Cry," please visit judaspriest.com.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

CD Review: Jimbo Mathus Assembles A "Band Of Storms" And The Malawi Mouse Boys Discover North America

American singer/songwriter Jimbo Mathus has been producing a new studio album every year, for the past six years and his latest, "Band Of Storms" may be his most exciting one to date. The new nine-song album begins with the big, bluesy guitar rock of "Gringo Man," which has a seventies throw-back vibe. He brings together a sweet southern soul groove for "Can't Get Much Higher" and showcases his Johnny Cash imitation with "Let's Play With Fire," before blasting away your worries with the punk-like fury of "Massive Confusion." The short 23-minute album finishes with the slow, swampy blues of "Slow Down Sun" and the stripped-down, Americana feel of "Catahoula." To find out more about Jimbo Mathus and his latest release "Band Of Storms," please visit his Facebook page at facebook.com/jimbomathus.

African vocal group the Malawi Mouse Boys will see their first North American release on April 8th as their latest album "Forever Is 4 You" will be released through Omnivore Recordings. The Malawi Mouse Boys will be the first artist ever to release an album internationally in the Chichewa language. The new fifteen-song album begins with the quick, 70-second prayer for "Chisomo (Grace)." The simplicity of the instruments allows you to put your focus on their voices as they tell their stories as in "Ndatopa Nawe (I'm Tired Of You)" and showcase their amazing harmonies as in the acapella piece "Yesu Ndinkhulupirira (I Believe Jesus)." They pick up the energy with the quicker tempo of "Ian, A Blessing" and "Mau A Mulungu (The Ways Of God)." While you may not understand the language, you can appreciate the simplicity of their performances and understand the emotion behind the music and vocals. The album finishes with the starkness of "Umasiye Wanga (My Loneliness)" and the sing-along prayer of "Ambuye Kozeni (He Made Me)." To find out more about the Malawi Mouse Boys and their latest release "Forever Is 4 You," please visit omnivorerecordings.com.

Friday, April 8, 2016

CD Review: New Sweet Soul Music From Charles Bradley, The Bo-Keys and Ozonna

R&B/Soul singer Charles Bradley recently released his latest album "Changes" on April 1st. It is only his third full-length studio album in twenty years, but Bradley knows how make his music last a lifetime. His new eleven-song release begins with a prayer for "God Bless America" as Bradley's emotions are poured into this short 90-second introduction. He continues with the James Brown impersonation of "Good To Be Back Home" and the soulful tones of "Nobody But You." Charles Bradley takes on an odd cover of Black Sabbath's "Changes" with amazing results, showcasing the heart and emotion of the song's lyrics as Bradley delivers a career defining moment on his new release. Bradley brings in the funk for "Ain't It A Sin," before delivering the sixties soul of "Crazy For Your Love." The album finishes with the horn-fueled R&B swing of "Changed The World" and the strong, emotional delivery of "Slow Love." To find out more about Charles Bradley and his new album "Changes," please visit thecharlesbradley.com.

The Memphis, TN soul/jazz band The Bo-Keys return with their first, full-length studio album of new recordings in half-a-decade. The new release titled "Heartaches By The Numbers" is The Bo-Keys tribute to the country and soul jukebox singles that helped inspire the band's iconic sound. Beginning with the Ray Price song, "Heartaches By The Numbers," The Bo-Keys will get you up on your feet moving to the song's soul-swinging rhythm. They turn Hank Williams' "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" into an R&B classic as they slow the medley down for the song's bluesy words. The Bo-Keys add some soul to the heartfelt lyrics of Bob Dylan's "I Threw It All Away," then they pick the tempo up for the sixties R&B feel that's added to Johnny Paycheck's "Don't Take Her (She's All I Got)" with help from The Masqueraders singing group. The new ten-song release finishes with a spot-on cover of Freddie Fender's "Wasted Day And Wasted Nights" and the instrumental "Last Date" originally written by Floyd Cramer. To find out more about The Bo-Keys and their latest release "Heartaches By The Number," please visit thebokeys.com.

From London comes the debut EP from R&B/soul singer Ozonna titled "Believe It To See It." It features five songs that combines elements of pop, dance and African rhythms to create an infection groove to songs like "Wonderland" (video: youtube.com) and "Corrupt Mind." The lead single from this release is the title-song, "Believe It To See It" as the beats will take over the dance floor as Ozonna delivers his smooth vocals. To find out more about Ozonna and his latest release "Believe It To See It," please visit ozonna.com.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

CD Review: Resonance Records Uses "Some Other Time" For Unreleased Bill Evans Session

American jazz pianist Bill Evans began his musical career with the late-great Miles Davis, recording the biggest selling jazz album of all-time, "Kind Of Blue." He released over 75 albums as a bandleader and a number of others as a collaborator with some of the biggest names in jazz like Chet Baker and Cannonball Adderley. On April 22nd, Resonance Records will release an album of new material by Bill Evans titled "Some Other Time: The Lost Session From The Black Forest." It features two discs filled with studio recordings made on June 20, 1968 with Evans performing along side jazz greats Eddie Gomez and Jack DeJohnette. It is also the only studio album ever recorded with this trio.
 
The first disc features eleven tracks, beginning with the uptempo swing of "You Go To My Head" as Evans' piano performance steals the show. He performs mostly solo on "What Kind Of Fool Am I?" and pours his emotions into his delivery of "My Funny Valentine." Bill Evans piano is center stage for "Turn Out The Stars" as Gomez and DeJohnette follow his lead. The disc closes with the elegance and grace of "These Foolish Things" and the slow-pace of "Some Other Time."
 
The second disc contains ten tracks, beginning with "You're Gonna Hear From Me" as the trio work out the arrangement as the song progresses. Drummer Jack DeJohnette and bassist Eddie Gomez shine on their solos during "Walkin' Up" and the trio take a stab at "It's All Right With Me," to which Evans was just running away with the song before it suddenly ends. They work up "On Dolphin Street," made famous by Miles Davis when Bill Evans was in his band, before finishing with the quiet bass solo of "Wonder Why" and the alternate take of "You're Gonna Hear From Me." 
 
The new 2CD set will also be released as a limited edition double gatefold LP. Included in this set is a 40-page booklet of rare photos from the session as well as interviews with Gomez, DeJohnette and others. To find out more about this newly discovered, newly released Bill Evans album, please visit resonancerecords.org.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

CD Review: B-Movie Brings On A "Climate Of Fear" And Genre Peak Start Up Their "Engine"

New Wave British band, B-Movie took over the club scene with their 1982 hit single "Nowhere Girl." They followed with that with their debut album "Forever Running," which failed to make the same statement as their hit single. B-Movie broke up shortly after their tour to support the album. They reunited to record their comeback album "The Age Of Illusion," which spawned a successful tour. Their latest album "Climate Of Fear" features ten new tracks that remind us of how good B-Movie was in their heyday. Beginning with "Another False Dawn," their new music showcases all of their individual experiences since breaking up in the mid-eighties. They rework Scott McKenzie's sixties anthem "San Francisco" into a keyboard-heavy, corporate-driven song about money, before picking the tempo up with the modern, post-punk appeal of "Corridors." They showcase their classic eighties pop sound with "Climate Of Fear," before going dark with the rhythmic synthesizer of "Feeling Gothic." The new album closes with four brand-new remixes of their hit single "Nowhere Girl." To find out more about B-Movie and their latest album "Climate Of Fear," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/B.MovieMusic.

U.K. songwriter/vocalist Martin Birke recently released his latest collaboration under the moniker Genre Peak. The new album titled "Your Sleekest Engine" features his work alongside Steve Jansen (Japan/David Sylvian), Jon Hassell (Brian Eno/Peter Gabriel), Richard Barbieri (Japan/Porcupine Tree) and Matt Malley (Counting Crows). The new nine-song release begins with the atmospheric, prog-rock feel of "Nightfalls" with lyrics and vocals by Lesley Braden. Birke incorporates a dance beat into "Denzen Darklight," before slowing the tempo down for the spacey, soundscape of "Metanoa." Birke plays around with the rhythms of "American Civil Rage," before the pounding of "Fix Me Deeper," featuring spoken word vocals from Manal Deeb. The album closes with the addictive, electronic pop beats of "The Waiting Station" as Charlie Woodward (Falco) delivers the vocals. To find out more about Genre Peak and his lastest release "Your Sleekest Engine," please visit genrepeak.net.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

CD Review: Ace Frehley Returns To His "Origins" For New Covers Album

Former KISS guitarist Ace Frehley has been riding a creative high since his 2009 album, "Anomaly" returned him to the forefront of the rock landscape. He followed a world tour with the second album "Space Invader," which was the only solo album by a member of KISS to hit the top 10 on the album charts. Now, the spaceman returns once again with his first full-length covers album titled "Origins, Vol. 1." It will be released on April 15th through eOne Music and features a dozen songs chosen by Ace to represent his biggest musical influences, as well as some of his self-penned KISS classics.
 
Beginning with the late-sixties trio of "White Room," "Street Fighting Man" and "Spanish Castle Magic" these songs had major influence with a raw, bluesy guitar that Ace showcased early in his career. He invites fellow KISS member Paul Stanley to take the lead vocals on Free's "Fire And Water," which sounds like a missed opportunity for KISS to cover live in concert during their heyday. Ace Frehley and Slash trade guitar licks during a blazing version of Thin Lizzy's "Emerald." Lita Ford lends her vocals to the timeless "Wild Thing" and guitarist John 5 adds his guitar-style to the KISS classic "Parasite," which Ace wrote, but never sang until now. Pearl Jam's Mike McCready works with Ace on this new electrifying version of KISS' "Cold Gin," before closing with another KISS cover, the lesser-known "Rock And Roll Hell" originally from their "Creatures Of The Night" album. 
 
Ace Frehley is currently on tour with about ten dates left, but look for him to announce more in the near future, after the release of his new album. For more information on Ace and his new album "Origins, Vol. 1," please visit acefrehley.com.

Monday, April 4, 2016

CD Review: Zakk Wylde Readies His New Solo Album "Book Of Shadows II"

It has been 20 years since heavy metal singer/guitarist/songwriter Zakk Wylde released his debut solo album "Book Of Shadows." At the time of this release, he was still a member of Ozzy Osbourne's band, but his solo album showcased a different side, a softer side to Wylde's songwriting. Now, after two more albums with Ozzy and 13 with his latest band Black Label Society, Zakk Wylde returns on April 8th with "Book Of Shadows II."

After two more decades in the music business, Wylde has become a smarter, healthier person, and his new music reflects this new awakening. The new fourteen-song release starts out with the Pearl Jam-like ballad "Autumn Changes" as you can really appreciate Wylde's warm, raw vocals on this new album. He strums an acoustic guitar for the laid back feel of "Tears Of December" as you can fully appreciate Wylde's tremendous songwriting as displayed in "Lay Me Down." The songs on this latest release are filled with emotions and grace as Zakk and his band hold the reigns of heavy metal back to let songs like "Darkest Hour" and "Useless Apologies" find their way into your heart. You can hear some of Zakk Wylde's early influences on "Yesterday's Tears" and "Harbors Of Pity," while "Sleeping Dogs" and "The King" have a bluesy vibe.

After recently wrapping up his appearance on the "Experience Hendrix" tour, Zakk Wylde will be joining fellow guitarists Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen, Nuno Bettencourt and Tosin Abasi on the "Generation Axe" tour, which runs from through April into May. To find out more about Zakk Wylde and his latest release "Book Of Shadows II," please visit zakkwylde.com.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

CD Review: Charlie Faye & The Fayettes Debut In June, While The Grahams Are "Glory Bound" Again

Coming this June is the self-titled debut release from sixties-style girl-group Charlie Faye & The Fayettes. It is the beginning of a retro-revival as their new eleven-song release displays a brand of soul-pop that was last heard over five decades ago. Beginning with "Green Light," you are treated to a sweet, up-tempo swing as Charlie's voice becomes very addictive. They add a spaghetti-western tone to "Loving Names," while the harmonies on "Sweet Little Messages" are delivered at a perfect tone. The simplicity of "Heart" will have you falingl in love with Charlie's retro sound. She brings back the funk of the seventies on the smooth groove of "Eastside," while "Coming Round The Bend" has that familiarity to it that will have you remembering a simpler time in the music industry. The album finishes with the quick, attractive rhythm of "Delayed Reaction" and pop gold of "It's All Happening." To find out more about Charlie Faye & The Fayettes and their latest release, please visit charliefayeandthefayettes.com.

The country/roots duo, Alyssa and Doug Graham revisit their 2015 album "Glory Bound" with a new deluxe edition of the album. The album was originally released in May of 2015 (review: jpsmusicblog.blogspot.com) and became a turning point in The Grahams career, debuting in the top 40 on the Americana music charts. Their idea for this album was to play with as many musicians as they could and this new deluxe edition adds five more songs to the album's original twelve. First up for the new songs is a new recording of the album's title track, "Glory Bound," featuring The Watkins Family. Next, The Grahams perform the country ballad "Broken Bottle," originally written by Mexican singer/songwriter Alejandro Escovendo. The build-up of "Mama," featuring David Garza and Suzanna Choffel, is fun and light-hearted, while the gentle touch of "The Lonely Ones"  touches the heart as The Grahams are joined by Kenneth Pattengale of The Milk Carton Kids. To find out more about The Grahams and their new deluxe edition of "Glory Road," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/thegrahamsmusic.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

CD Review: Frank Zappa Discovery Get Proper Release With "An Evening With Wild Man Fischer"

From UK record label, Gonzo Multimedia, comes the new 2CD release "An Evening With Wild Man Fischer." It features the long out-of-print album from diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic Larry Fischer. He was institutionalized at the age of 16, escaped from the metal hospital and wandered the streets of Los Angeles as a street musician. He was discovered by Frank Zappa and invited to record a solo album with Zappa and the Mother Of Inventions lending some musical accompaniment to his poetry.

This new two-disc set is broken up into four parts. The first and second parts, which makes up the first disc, are titled "The Basic Fischer" and "Larry's Songs." It is basically a live recording of Fischer in the recording studio, singing whatever comes to mind as he discusses his songs with whoever is in the studio with him at the time. Beginning with "Merry-Go-Round," you instantly get sucked in to its simple arraignment as you can't help find yourself singing along. Weird Al named the song one of his top five songs to "Scare The Neighbors." He spurts off poetry as quickly as it enters his mind, without any form or style. It is almost like walking around in his mind, as Fischer is your tour guide to his thoughts. While the tracks are numbered, you will need to listen to this album as a complete piece of art, in order to appreciate what is being accomplished with this recording.

The second disc features the third and fourth parts of this set titled "Some Historical Notes" and "In Conclusion." Beginning with "The Taster," you get a sense of what Zappa was able to add to Fischer's words as he and the Mothers add some music to his poetry in order to make a more complete song. The rest of the third part is made up of Fischer singing acapella, then explaining the ideas behind the songs. The second half of the disc includes the highlights of "Larry & His Guitar," which features Fischer playing any random thought and "Circle," which also includes Frank Zappa supplying all of music on this song. To find out more about the new release of "An Evening With Wild Man Fischer," please visit gonzomultimedia.com.

Friday, April 1, 2016

CD Review: Fractal Mirror Return With "Slow Burn" & Spain Revisits Their Roots In "Carolina"

From The Netherlands comes the third full-length release titled "Slow Burn 1," from the progressive-rock/pop band Fractal Mirror. Their previous album "Garden of Ghosts" received enormous praise and they look to grow their fanbasae with this new concept album. The eleven-song release begins with a short "Prelude," which leads into the modern-day, synth-fueled Genesis feel of "Miracle." The gentle acoustics of "Floods" and the soft touch of "Numbers," showcases the diversity in their songwriting as "Enemies" displays a darker edge to the song's melodic tone. You can't help but feel uplifted by the Pink Floydian-feel of "Embers," before finishing up with the steady rhythm of "Artifacts" and the eight-minute epic of "Universal." To find out more about Fractal Mirror and their latest release "Slow Burn 1," please visit fractalmirror.net.

American rock band Spain returns with their sixth studio album titled "Carolina." The band's roots date back to the early nineties as they developed a cult following, touring across the U.S. and Europe. Their song "Spiritual" was even covered by the late-great Johnny Cash for his Grammy-winning album "Unchained." Their new ten-song release begins with the dark tones of "Tennessee" as the storied lyrics are like a history lesson highlighted with some sweet slide guitar. The slow-movement of "The Depression" and the quiet, gentleness of "Apologies" wraps around you like a warm blanket as you let go of all worries. The lyrics of "One Last Look" and "Battle Of Saratoga" bring up the past as Spain spins the tales in a thoughtful, caring way. The album finishes up with the chants of "For You" and Americana tone of regrets of "Station 2." To find out more about Spain and their latest release "Carolina," please visit spaintheband.com.