Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Check Out New Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Music From I The Fire, American Me And The Nika Riots

From New York comes the debut album from the hard rock band I The Fire. Their new 12-song release is a nice wake-up call that there are still new bands out there that have that classic hard rock edge. The album kicks off with the high-octane of "Bridges" as you'd never know this was the band's debut release. Their sound gets a little more raw on the screams of "Reckless" and the pounding rhythm of "Keeping Secrets." Sandwiched between the heavy hitters is the amazing power ballad "Every Sun Casts A Shadow," before I The Fire kick things into high gear with the energy blast of "I Know You Know." They wrap up their new album with the more mainstream rock approach of "Broken Eyes Disguise" and the final hard rock attack of "Anthem." To find out more about I The Fire and their new debut album, please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/ithefire.

Next from Portland, OR comes the latest release titled "Still Firing" from the hardcore metal band American Me. The band returns from a five year hiatus with a trio of new songs, beginning with the quick-driving, 90-second attack of "Still Firing." They continue with the hard-hitting, industrial metal appeal of "Anti-Life Equation," before finishing up their new short release with the growling vocals of "Passing Ships." To find out more about American Me and their latest release "Still Firing," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/AmericanMe503.

Then, from Oslo, Norway comes the debut album from The Nika Riots titled "Set Fire." Their new six-song release kicks off with the high-energy screams and bashing rhythms of "Anti-Social Club." The Nika Riots pick up the tempo with the hardcore punk appeal of "Knock'em Dead" and the retro, thrash-metal attack of "Hanged, Drawn & Quartered." Their new short debut release finishes with high-powered "All Hail The Queen" as the chorus will draw you in and make you an instant fan. To find out more about The Nika Riots and their latest release "Set Fire," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/thenikariots.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Artist Geoff Downes Unleashes New Albums With The Downes Braide Association & "iCon: Zero"

English musician Geoff Downes has been heavily involved with tours from Yes and Asia, but did find time to record a new Downes Braide Association (DBA) album with his partner Chris Braide. This is the duo's third collaboration and the album features guest appearances from Andy Partridge (XTC), Marc Almond and Kate Pierson (B52s). The new 9-song release titled "Skyscraper Souls" features artwork by famed Yes designer Roger Dean and a sophisticated progressive rock sound, beginning with the short two-minute "Prelude." Then you dive into the epic 18-minute adventure "Skyscraper Souls" as the orchestral like music guides your storied tour as Pierson makes her appearance. Singer Matthews Koma lends a hand on the addictive rock melody of "Angel On Your Shoulder" and you can hear the connection to Asia in "Lighthouse" with support from fellow English singer/songwriter Tim Bowness. The album finishes with the mellow, jazz appeal of "Skin Deep" and the rock ballad "Darker Times." To find out more about Downes Braide Association and their latest release "Skyscraper Souls," please visit downesbraide.com.

The duo of John Wetton and Geoff Downes collaborated at the turn of the century for a new series of releases titled "iCon." Three albums were created and released before the untimely passing of John Wetton earlier this year. Before his passing, Wetton and Downes were preparing to re-release the demo-filled 2002 album "Wetton/Downes." This new re-release will rename the album "iCon: Zero" and features a remastered version of the album with two additional, previously unreleased bonus tracks. The original album features recordings the two made during the late-eighties/early-nineties, which set the seeds for the "iCon" collaboration. Fans will appreciate the remastering as all of the songs now sound their best, including the ballad "Just As Long As I Need You" and "Kari-Anne." The two additional songs on this release features a demo version of "She Knows" that seems very polished for a demo and an alternative version of "I Would Die For You," which comes across with a harder rock edge to it. To find out more about Wetton & Downes re-release of "iCon: Zero," please visit johnwetton.com.


Monday, December 11, 2017

New Progressive Rock Music From Dave Kerzner, Fischer's Flicker And The Ed Palermo Big Band

Progressive rock artist Dave Kerzner recently released his second solo album titled "Static." The album features a guest appearance from legendary Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett, as well as members of Big Big Train and Porcupine Tree. Kerzner's new 14-track album plays out like a rock opera, centered around the chaos of modern everyday life. After a short piano "Prelude," the album kicks off with the 8-minute prog-rock attack of "Hypocrites" as Kerzner establishes himself as a student of early progressive rock giants like King Crimson, Genesis and Pink Floyd. Hackett makes his presence known with the guitar solo in "Static," before Kerzner picks up the tempo for the harder edge rocker "Chain Reaction." He continues with the sonic blast of "Dirty Soap Box" and the seven-minute epic piece "The Truth Behind," before finishing up his new album with the nearly 17-minute prog-rock adventure "The Carnival Of Modern Life," which ties his whole concept album together. To find out more about Dave Kerzner and his latest release "Static," please visit davekerzner.com.


Chicago native Scott Fischer is ready to return to his band after contributing to Zappacast (official Frank Zappa podcast) and performing as a member of the Rod Stewart Experience. He recently released his seventh studio album titled "Open 28 Hours" as his songwriting continues to grow toward the prog-rock genre of music. His new 10-song release begins with the funk-soul groove of "The In-Betweener" and continues with the more pop-oriented rock tone of "You & Everybody." He showcases a harder edge on the grind of "3 6 9," before the Steely Dan inspiration of "Spiders." The highlight of the album is the nearly ten-minute epic piece "Mother Of A Ship" as Fischer lets loose on this studio jam feeling, before finishing up with the acoustic rock sing-along of "Zen." To find out more about Fischer's Flicker and his latest release "Open 28 Hours," please visit fischersflicker.com.


Many may know Ed Palermo from his orchestral arrangements of Frank Zappa's music, following the artists' death in 1993, but his latest incantation features The Ed Palermo Big Band reinventing the music of Zappa and Todd Rundgren. Their new album titled "The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren" features 25 tracks and over an hour's worth of interpretations of some of the most well-known songs in rock music like "Peaches En Regalia" and "Hello It's Me." Palermo and his Big Band jam on their nearly seven-minute version of Zappa's "Montana" and use there voices as the instruments during "Echidna's Arf (Of You)." The band turns Rundgren's "Broke Down And Busted" into show-tune gold, as you'd swear it was part of a Broadway musical. The album closes with a great cover of Zappa's "Zoot Allures" and the quick-moving one-minute reprise of "Yer Fast." To find more about The Ed Palermo Big Band and their latest release "The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren," please visit palermobigband.com.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

New Music From Steven Casper & Cowboy Angst And Also Bonsai Universe

Arriving in early 2018 is the brand new album from Steven Casper & Cowboy Angst titled "Sometimes Jesse James." In the past five years, the band has received accolades from Country Music Television (CMT) and Music Connection Magazine and continue to gain prominence with their 8th studio album. This new 6-song release begins with the guitar boogie shuffle of "Down" as the music is sure to get your blood pumping. Steven Casper & Cowboy Angst showcase their softer side with the country ballad "The Best Day Of Our Lives," then they bring on the blues with "The Call It Love." The album heads toward the end with the steady pace of "Born To Lose Blues," which according to Casper has been the writing board for about "four or five years" and the Mexican ballad "Mi Sueno, Mi Dolor." To find out more about Steven Casper & Cowboy Angst and their latest release "Sometimes Jesse James," please visit caspermusic.com.

From the far out reaches of space comes the latest release from Bonsai Universe. The band is the brainchild of musician Woody Aplanalp and his new album "Moonstream" is performed, produced and mixed by himself. Aplanalp has worked with well-established artists like Bobby Womack, Lauryn Hill and Aloe Blacc, and he has taken those experiences into his new 13-song release. The album begins with the steady electronic folk output of the title-song "Moonstream." His songs take on a more mainstream vibe with the country tones of "Am I Good Enough" and the folk rock appeal of "Walking With My Eyes Closed." He goes back to the more experimental, keyboard-filled music of "Why Are My Dreams?," then  he gets an acoustic, island-flair going with "Sweet Exaggeration." The album finishes with the gentle-touch of "A Lot Of Nerve," the atmospheric drifting of "Too Real" and the electric folk appeal of "Starstream." To find out more about Bonsai Universe and the new release "Moonstream," please visit his Facebook page at facebook.com/BonsaiUniverse.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Fellow Artists Pay Tribute To The Music Of Dan Fogelberg With New Release

American singer/songwriter Dan Fogelberg was an artists' artist. He made music that other musicians fell in love with and this latest release proves that, as some of the biggest names in country/pop music gathered together pay tribute to Fogelberg. The new 14-song release titled "A Tribute To Dan Fogelberg" was released on November 17th through BMG and follows the singer's induction into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame, which took place back in August.

The set kicks off with Garth Brooks injecting a blast of energy into a rocking version of "Phoenix" and then Train delivers a stellar version of the seasonal classic "Same Old Lang Syne." In between we get the inspiration of "Nether Lands" from Donna Summer and Vince Gill teams up with Amy Grant for an emotional delivery of Fogelberg's hit single "Longer." Legendary singer, Dobie Gray lends his style to "Don't Lose Heart" and The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, along with Richie Furay perform the country ballad, "Run For The Roses." This new tribute closes with fellow singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffet's folk version of "There's A Place In The World For A Gambler" and a live version of the Zac Brown Band delivering an acoustic rendition of "Leader Of The Band" as a tribute to his Zac's father. To find out more about "A Tribute To Dan Fogelberg," please visit danfogelberg.com.

Friday, December 8, 2017

New Music From Robbing Johnny, The US Americans, Caroline Ferrante, Ryan Zimmerman And Surreal Nation

First from New York City comes the new full-length release "Cold March" from folk/hip-hop/rock band Robbing Johnny. Their new 9-song release begins with the gentle, acoustic harmonies of "Sylvia," before the band dives into a Celtic/punk-swinging rhythm. They roll through the title-song "Cold March" delivering lyrics like a hip-hop artist, then find the perfect groove in "Red Bird In The City" to showcase their modern alt-rock groove. Their songwriting shines on the inspirational "Highbridge Park" as the vocals and melody build up on this powerful piece of music. Robbing Johnny finish up their new release with the laid-back, mellow folk tones of "Summer Sux" and the excitingly, energetic sing-along, "Worms In The Soil." To find out more about Robbing Johnny and their latest release "Cold March," please visit robbingjohnny.com.

Next up is the debut release from indie-punk/rock band The US Americans titled "Greatest Hits." This new 12-song release kicks off with the high energy of "Playtime" and the heavier rock groove of "Money In America." They deliver a Red Hot Chili Peppers sound on "Dance Song 17," before experimenting more with their sound on the dark, moody feel of "Movies." The US Americans showcase their skills on the seven-plus minute epic "Fade Out," then finish up their new release with the funky beats of "Lazy Suzy" and the blues ballad "Dentist Street." To find out more about The US Americans and their latest release "Greatest Hits," please visit theusamericans.com.

From Washington, D.C. comes the latest release from Americana/country artist Caroline Ferrante. Her new 4-song EP titled "Sky" showcases Caroline's exceptional vocals, beginning with the up-beat swing of "Feels Like A Holiday." Her sound becomes bigger on the stomp-rhythm, country rock of "Better Angels," before returning to pop aspects of "Great Big Beautiful World." She finishes up her new short release with the empowering sound of "Symphony" as her vocals soar. To find out more about Caroline Ferrante and her latest release "Sky," please visit carolineferrante.com.

Next, is Ryan Zimmerman, a singer/songwriter from New Jersey, who recently release his new 4-song EP titled "Ephemeral As A Kiss." The album begins with the acoustic, island, reggae groove of "The Reason" as he fuses together different music genres to suit his songwriting. He tells us the tale of "Lola And John" as his warming vocals will settle your nerves. Ryan wraps up his new release with the thick reggae vibe of "For The Meek" as he gets his groove on. To find out more about Ryan Zimmerman and his latest release "Ephemeral As A Kiss," please visit ryanzimmermanmusic.com.

Lastly we arrive at the latest release from Surreal Nation titled "I Know Better." This five-piece band from Delaware are full of energy, combining elements of alternative rock, ska, punk and jazz to create a unique, but very addictive sound. Their new 5-song EP begins with the swinging, up-tempo rhythm of "Would You Do Me The Honor Of Becoming My Mexican Divorce?," before the alt-pop tones of "I Can Feel The Night" are sure to get you excited for this new band. Their new short release wraps up with jazzy ballad "Hangtime" and the steady climb of "Spirit Is Silent." To find out more about Surreal Nation and their latest release "I Know Better," please visit the band's Facebook page at facebook.com/surrealnation.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

New Music From Indie-Artists LEF, Eraldo Bernocchi, Lucille Furs And Two Sets Of Eyes

Italian vocalist Lorenzo Esposito Fornasari (LEF) has gathered together a "superband" for his debut album, "HyperSomniac." The album is a soundtrack to the online comic that is drawn by Nana Octopus Dalla Porta and features LEF's brand new score featuring the support of Eiviand Aarset, Niles Petter Molvaer, Rebecca Sneddon, Bill Laswell, Stale Stroiokken and Kenneth Kapstad. The new 12-song release begins with the two-minute "Opening," which leads into the industrial hard rock attack of "Parallel Powers." The short instrumentals, break up the songs as LEF and his band set the mood with the dark tones of "Aran Has Changed" and the ambient feel of "A Glimpse Of Emma." The album finishes with the King Crimson-like, jazz fusion of "Therapy" and the quieter, orchestral build-up of "Let The Sun Fall Apart." To find out more about LEF and his latest release "HyperSomniac," please visit lefmusic.com.

Italian electro-producer/guitarist Eraldo Bernocchi is teaming up with percussionist FM Einheit and cellist Jo Quail on his latest release "Rosebud." The album comes out on December 8th and features six tracks of modern, electronic, ambient music, which kicks off with the nearly 11-minute opener "Bloom." Bernocchi's music at times is very peaceful, before being broken up by experimental pulses of shrieking guitar and sonic buzzing. The album continues with FM Einheit getting into the act with the rhythm infused "Ministry Of Disinformation" and Jo Quail lending a dark, eerie tone to "Xanadu." The band comes together for the up-beat, yet odd, groove of "Kangoo," before wrapping up the album with the nine-plus minute gentle soundscape feeling of "The Inquiter." To find out more about Eraldo Bernocchi and his latest release "Rosebud," please visit eraldobernocchi.com.

The British invasion is back. When you listen to the self-titled debut album from psychedelic rock band Lucille Furs, you would never have guessed that this band is from Chicago and that this is a newly recorded album. The band's new 12-song release will certainly have you reminiscing about the psychedelic sixties as their music sounds as if it came straight from that time period. The opening tracks "The Fawn Of Teal Dear" and "Thoughts & Words" will have you wanting to dive in further into this band's debut release. You can hear their influences in the songs "Sunset Moon" and "Alabaster Crayon." while "Please, Give Her This Letter" may have hit the singles chart fifty years ago. The album delivers the perfect nostalgic trip for fans of music from that era. To find out more about Lucille Furs and their new self-titled debut album, please visit lucillefurs.com.

Finally from Chicago comes the debut release from the progressive rock trio Two Sets Of Eyes. Their new 5-song release combines elements of punk-rock, jazz fusion and emo styles to create some unique sonic journeys, beginning with "Sunshine, You're Standing In My Sunlight." They showcase an up-tempo, alt-pop sound with "For The Last Time" and then display the funk infused groove "No Simple Words," before closing their new short release with emo tones of "Waiting/Reacting." To find out more about Two Sets Of Eyes and their latest self-titled release, please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/twosetsofeyes.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The New Soundtrack To "Excalibur IV' And New Music From The Strawbs

In 1998, the first chapter in the "Celtic rock opera," "Excalibur" premiered live on stage, followed a year later by the soundtrack album. The story was written and directed by award-winner Alan Simon and after releasing part 3 of his original trilogy in 2012, Simon decided to revisit "Excalibur" with a fourth chapter in the story titled "The Dark Age Of The Dragon." The new 19-track album was released on November 10th and the music features members of Jethro Tull, Supertramp and Uriah Heep just to name a few. The new story of songs surrounds the tale of Merlin being freed from Morgana's spell, only to find the world he's known in decay. Merlin then frees the dragon in order to bring back to order the virtues of King Arthur's knights of the roundtable.

The "rock opera" was performed live in Germany in 2016 and now, following the release of the new album, "Excalibur IV - The Dark Age Of The Dragon," the show will tour again in 2018. To find out more about the newly released chapter four of Alan Simon's "Excalibur" rock opera, please visit cherryred.co.uk.

Legendary English rock band the Strawbs recently released their new album titled "The Ferryman's Curse." It is the band's first album of new material in over eight years and is considered the epic sequel to their 1970 song "The Vision Of The Lady Of The Lake." Their new 10-song release begins with a 2-minute introduction instrumental simply titled "In The Beginning," before heading into the progressive rock feel of "The Nails From The Hands Of Christ." The gentleness of "The Song Of Infinite Sadness" and "The Familiarity Of Old Lovers" allows you to focus on the storied lyrics, before the Strawbs bring in the blues for "The Ten Commandments." They wrap up their new release with the epic, 9-minute storied adventure of "The Ferryman's Curse" and the keyboard driven rocker "We Have The Power." To find out more about the Strawbs and their latest release "The Ferryman's Curse," please visit strawbsweb.co.uk.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Omnivore Recordings Collects "The Sire Recordings" For New Compilation Of The Searchers

One of the forgotten bands of the British Invasion was The Searchers. During their sixties heyday, The Searchers topped the U.K. singles chart three times and had a top 5 hit in the U.S. with "Love Potion No. 9." Their album sales slowed during the seventies, as The Searches perfected their live sound and developed a cult following with their newly developed modern rock vibe. In 1979, The Searchers would release their first album of new material since 1965 and quickly followed that up two years later with "Love's Melodies," before the band went on hiatus. Those two albums were released all over the world with different song line-ups and B-sides, and now Omnivore Recordings is correcting the issues with the newly released "Another Night: The Sire Recordings 1979-1981."

This new 2CD set collects all of the songs from those two albums and dedicates each disc to its own album, along with bonus tracks from the recording sessions for the albums. The Searchers 1979 self-titled album featured covers by Tom Petty ("Lost In Your Eyes") and Bob Dylan ("Coming From The Heart") as the band were still transitioning their sixties pop melodies into more meaningful representations of their music. The album also contained the original song "Switchboard Susan," which became a hit for Nick Cave. The first disc adds three bonus tracks, an alternate version of the album song "It's Too Late" and two alternate mixes of songs that would appear on the band's follow-up album "Love's Melodies."

The Searchers would continue with the same formula on their 1981 album "Love's Melodies" as they continued to deliver strong harmonies and an addictive pop sound that still carries that nostalgic sixties sound. This album would also contain covers by John Fogerty ("Almost Saturday Night") and Alex Chilton ("September Gurls"). The original 12-song album gets an additional four bonus songs that were recorded during the album sessions, but left off the original album. The song "Sick And Tired" carried and up-tempo rockabilly flair, while "Changing" once again showcases the band's Merseybeat sound. The set finishes with a couple of John Hiatt covers, "Back To The War" and "Ambulance Chaser." To find out more about this new compilation from The Searchers titled "Another Night: The Sire Recordings 1979-1981," please visit omnivorerecordings.com.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Jeff Lynne's ELO Showcases Classic Rock Anthems On New Live Album "Wembley Or Bust"

In 2015, English singer/songwriter/composer/producer and musician, Jeff Lynne reformed his band Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) and recorded an album of new material titled "Alone In The Universe." The response he received was overwhelming, when he took Jeff Lynne's ELO out on the road, performing at sold out arenas around the world. One of the last stops on the band's 2017 tour was recorded and was released on November 17th through Columbia Records.

Jeff Lynne's ELO performed a sold-out show to over 60,000 fans at Wembley Stadium in his home country on June 24, 2017. The show was filmed and released in a number of different formats, including a 2CD/Blu-ray set, a 2CD/DVD set, as simply a 2CD set and also 3 disc vinyl. The live set includes a mix of classic ELO songs like "Evil Woman," "Telephone Line" and "Don't Bring Me Down." Jeff Lynne makes sure to cover his entire career by performing "Do Ya" from his early 1970's band The Move and "Handle With Care" from the supergroup, the Traveling Wilburys. He also fits in his latest single "When I Was A Boy" along side other ELO classics like "Xanadu," "Can't Get It Out Of My Head" and the crowd favorite "Mr. Blue Sky." He wraps up the show with a six-minute version of one of his earliest hits, a cover of Chuck Berry's "Roll Over Beethoven."

Jeff Lynne's ELO will be hitting the states with new dates in August 2018. For a complete list of shows and to find out more about his new album "Wembley Or Bust," please visit jefflynneselo.com.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Bret Michaels Keeps The Music Of Poison Alive With Solo Show At The Wolf Den At Mohegan Sun


Bret Michaels, frontman for the rock band Poison, is in the midst of a solo tour, which made a stop in Connecticut last Saturday night at the Wolf Den at the Mohegan Sun Casino. He was a kingpin in getting Poison to tour this past summer with Def Leppard and Tesla, as Poison celebrated their 30th anniversary together. Michaels' solo show would rely heavily on his Poison songbook with a few scattered cover songs to flesh out his 70-minute show.

Bret Michaels and his 4-piece backing band kicked off the night with a duo of old-school Poison hits, "Talk Dirty To Me" and "Look What The Cat Dragged In." He kept the energy of the Wolf Den flowing with covers of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama" and Loggins & Messina's "Your Mama Don't Dance" as the audience sang along to the chorus of every song performed this evening. Michaels, who is a big advocate for military personal and veterans, dedicated the power ballad "Something To Believe In" to members of the armed forces.

Members of the Bret Michaels band got their moment to shine as each got to perform a short solo after their introductions, with bassist Eric Brittingham (from the band Cinderella) leading the party anthems "Unskinny Bop" and "Nothin' But A Good Time." Sandwiched between the two classic Poison rock hits is the #1 single, "Every Rose Has It's Thorn" as the entire Wolf Den sang along.

The night closes with Bret Michaels and his band performing one of his all-time favorite songs by one of his favorite bands as they kicked off a fun, high-energy version of KISS' "Rock And Roll All Nite." As the setlist consisted of only nine-songs, for Bret Michaels, its more about delivering and keeping the music of Poison alive and kicking, until the band's next reunited tour.

Setlist: Talk Dirty To Me, Look What The Cat Dragged In, Sweet Home Alabama, Your Mama Don't Dance, Something To Believe In, Unskinny Bop, Every Rose Has It's Thorn, Nothin' But A Good Time
Encore: Rock And Roll All Nite

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Dr. Dre & Jimmy Iovine Become "The Defiant Ones" In New 4-Part Documentary

Music moguls Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine were part of one of the biggest deals of all time in the music industry when they sold their company, beats to Apple for 3 billion dollars, yes billion. Dr. Dre became the first billionaire west coast rapper/producer and Jimmy Iovine began looking for his next task. The story of these two lives, that would both leave footprints through the history of music, is told in the new 4-part documentary "The Defiant Ones."

It originally aired during the summer of 2017 on HBO covering four consecutive nights and is now being released on Blu-ray/DVD on November 28 through Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. The four-and-a-half hour long series explains the history of both Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine and how that came together as business partners and eventually billionaires.

Director Allen Hughes ("Menace II Society") does a masterful job interweaving between their two backstories. Hughes includes newly recorded interviews with everyone from Ice Cube to Puff Daddy to Eminem to help tell Dre's story, and Bruce Springsteen, Bono, Tom Petty, Patti Smith and more help describe the life of Jimmy Iovine. Both men came from 2 totally different backgrounds with only one thing in common, music. Both Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine can appreciate good music and both men worked hard to achieve their goals in the music industry.

The film is a must see to fully appreciate the untold stories and see the respect that each artist gave to these two individuals when they are asked about the impact Dr. Dre or Jimmy Iovine had in their life. With a soundtrack that boast some of the biggest songs and albums of all time, you will easily find yourself immersed in this documentary and you may even look at tackling life's problems a little differently to achieve your goals as Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine did with their merger with Apple. To find out more about "The Defiant Ones," please visit uphe.com.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Rush Adds Live Show & New Cover Songs To 40th Anniversary Release Of "A Farewell To Kings"

In 1977, the Canadian rock band Rush could do no wrong. They baffled music executives with their progressive rock suite "2112" and were now ready to continue the trend with their follow-up album "A Farewell To Kings." Almost similar to "2112," the "Kings" album contained two epic pieces, the 11-minute "Xanadu" and the ten-minute "Cygnus X-1" as well as the radio-friendly single "Closer To The Heart." This album made Rush into a household name and gave the band their first gold-selling album. To celebrate the album's accomplishments, Universal Music and Anthem will release the 40th anniversary edition of "A Farewell To Kings." It will be released in a number of formats, including a 3CD Deluxe Edition, a 4LP Deluxe Edition, a Super Deluxe Edition and a Digital Deluxe Edition.

The Deluxe Edition of the album contains the original "A Farewell To Kings" on disc 1. Discs 2 and 3 feature a complete show of Rush performing at the Hammersmith Odeon on February 20, 1978. Also included in the set are 4 cover songs (similar to the "2112" anniversary edition) done by Dream Theater, Big Wreck, The Trews and Alain Johannes with an added outtake from the recording sessions titled "Cygnus X-2 EH." The song is a 4-minute, atmospheric introduction that might have been inserted to the beginning of the original "Cygnus" song.

Rush fans will want to get their hands on the Super Deluxe Edition, as it contains the same 3CD set as the regular Deluxe Edition, as well as the 4LPs and a Blu-ray Audio disc. The Blu-ray audio contains a brand new 5.1 surround mix of the album, along with 3 promo videos for the album from 1977. The box set will also include other items like a "King's Ring," neck chain, 2 lithographs of original artwork from Rush designer Hugh Syme, a turntable mad and a reproduction of the 1978 "A Farewell To Kings" tour program. To find out more about the new 40th anniversary release of Rush's "A Farewell To Kings," please visit rush.com.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

New Music From Indi-Artists Bonefish, Cary Heuchert And Dinosaur Eyelids

From Sweden comes the new release titled "Atoms" from the mainstream, modern rock band Bonefish. This is the band's second full-length album and kicks off with the slow-buildup of the title-song "Atoms" as you will find yourself singing along to the chorus. Their new 11-song release continues with the addictive dance/rock rhythm of "Another Day" and the melodic "Fallen In Love." Bonefish change gears for the darker, Americana groove of "Potential Loss Of Faith" and then return to the pop sounds of "I See Your Heart." They wrap up their new release with the country-rock appeal of "Hey Hi Ho" and the steady delivery of "Crappy Eyes." To find out more about Bonefish and their latest release "Atoms," please visit bonefishswe.com.


Canadian singer/songwriter Cary Heuchert is re-releasing his 2014 album "Blue Rain" with new liner notes and a brand new song "Mirror Of Dreams/Nightwish." The original 10-track album displays Cary's amazing songwriting ability as his acoustic-based psych-folk-pop sound allows you to follow his words while the music relaxes your mind as in "Every Morning Comes." He adds a middle-eastern rhythm to "The Girl Of Dreams" and finds the perfect blend of adult contemporary pop to the soft rock of "Rainfall." His original album finishes up with the acoustic folk ballad "Someday" and the psychedelic feel of "Ode To The Sun." The new bonus track, "Mirror Of Dreams/Nightwish" has a classical backdrop as Cary gentle delivers his storied lyrics. To find out more about Cary Heuchert and his latest release "Blue Rain," please visit oddiyorecords.com.


From New Jersey comes the latest release titled "Left Turn On Red" from the alternative rock band Dinosaur Eyelids. This is the band first new album in three years and they kick off their new 11-song release with a couple of indie-grunge burners "Day Zero" and "Into The Woods" as down-tuned guitars and raw rock drumming showcase the band's signature sound. They continue to blaze a path with the garage-rock appeal of "Basilone Bridge" and the sonic college rock radio gem "Neshanic." The band slow down their sound for the accessible, mellow alt-rock of "L.A. Lady"  and acoustic plea to alcohol with ""Whisky," before returning with the punk-like energy of "Land Of Sky." Dinosaur Eyelids wrap up their new album with the steady strumming and inspirational "No Money Blues" and the acoustic folk-rock appeal of "Sourland Wind." To find out more about Dinosaur Eyelids and their latest release "Left Turn On Red," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/dinosaureyelids.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

New Music From Singer/Songwriters Rich Krueger, Christopher Pellnat And Lindsay Bellows

From Chicago comes the latest release titled "Life Ain't That Long" from singer/songwriter Rich Krueger. Krueger has been performing with his band, The Dysfunctionells for the better part of three decades and is ready to breakout on his own with two new solo albums. This release, being the first of the two new albums contains 10 solid songs of well-structured songwriting, beginning with the upbeat, Americana vibe of "A Stoopid Broken Heart." The album continues with "The Gospel According To Carl," which sounds like it came straight from the seventies folk/rock movement and should turn you into an instant fan of Rich's songwriting. His music takes on an edgier sound with his tribute to 1977 when Krueger was only 17 years old and all the highlights he experienced that year in "77/17." When he slows down for the ballad "Can't See Me In This Light," you can appreciate the honest delivery of his words and the emotions he pours into his performances. He wraps up his new release with the seven-minute, soul grooved plea of "The Wednesday Boys" and the inspired, gospel sway of "What We Are." There are also two bonus songs added to this album, including his Christmas-themed "And It's That Time Again," which Rich wrote back in 1985. To find out more about Rich Krueger and his latest release "Life Ain't That Long," please visit richkrueger.com.



From New York comes the latest release titled "Honey Venom Wings" from singer/songwriter Christopher Pellnat. His new 10-song release has a nostalgic overlaying tone as he begins with his plea to the bees with "Quiver." He picks the tempo up with the steady rhythm of "On The Ground," as the song's structure carries a Celtic vibe. Christopher draws you in with his words during the acoustic folk story of "Cloud King" and during the explanation of "Vegetarian Blues," before finishing his new album with the gentle acoustics tale of "I Made A Circle (And I Don't Know Why)." To find out more about Christopher Pellnat and his latest release "Honey Venom Wings," please visit his Facebook page at facebook.com/ChristopherPellnat.



Arriving on November 17th is the debut release from singer/songwriter Lindsay Bellows titled "Wake To Dream." The new 5-song release is a perfect introduction to this new independent artist as you are instantly draw into her sound on the smooth R&B pop of "Slow Steady." Her voice grabs your attention on the playful delivery of "Wake Up" as the song's rhythm has a jazz based groove. Her new short release finishes up with the slightly funkier beat of "Wild And Free" and the a capella feel of "Simple Gifts." To find out more about Lindsay Bellows and her latest release "Wake To Dream," please visit lindsaybellowsmusic.com.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Tears For Fears Look To "Rule The World" With New Greatest Hits Release

Eighties rock duo Tears For Fears reformed this past summer for a sold out arena tour of the U.K. and co-headlined a U.S. tour this past year with Hall & Oates. To celebrate their triumphant return, Universal Music will release a brand new, greatest hits set titled "Rule The World" on November 17th. It will be only be the band's second "greatest hits" set (first came out in 1992) and contains two brand new songs, "I Love You But I'm Lost" and "Stay," the duos first new music since 2004.

The new 16-song set begins with two of the band's biggest hit singles, "Everybody Wants To Rule The World" and "Shout," before reaching the first brand new track "I Love You But I'm Lost." The song contains a modern dance/pop flair highlighted by the timeless Tears For Fears vocals. Most of the songs on this new compilation mainly revolve around their first three albums, all released during the 1980s. The second new song "Stay" is a sweet sounding ballad that fits perfectly alongside their other mellow classics, "Mad World" and "I Believe." The new release closes with some of Tears For Fears more recent output, 1995's "Raoul And The Kings Of Spain" and 2004's "Closet Thing To Heaven." To find out more about Tears For Fears and their new "greatest hits" compilation "Rule The World," please visit tearsforfears.com.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Celebrate Jimi Hendrix's 75th Birthday With New "Illustrated History" Book

On November 27th, we celebrate the 75th birthday of guitar legend Jimi Hendrix. Hendrix, who left us way too soon at the age of 27 has been the subject of countless books about his life and music career, so why would be need another one. Well, the newly published "Hendrix: The Illustrated Story," gives us the complete life of Jimi Hendrix as famed music writer/historian Gillian G. Gear examines everything from Hendrix's upbringing as a child, to his time in the military to becoming a star in London.

Not only are Gear's word's easy to follow as she quotes people who were around Hendrix throughout his life, but the hardcover, gift-book contains over 200 color/B&W images, many have never been published before. The first couple chapters center around Hendrix's influences and his time performing as a sideman in many bands before catching the eye of producer Chas Chandler, who eventually turned Jimi Hendrix into an international rock star. As great as the photos are, just as great is the addition of the famed concert posters and rare singles that the Jimi Hendrix released during the late-sixties.

As you read through this book, you get a sense as to the whirlwind career that Hendrix had in those few short years before his death. He was constantly involved in music, either writing, recording or performing, Hendrix was always creating something magical. The book also covers the three studio albums and one live album that Hendrix released during his lifetime, along with insight into the guitars Hendrix would use during his performances.

The last couple chapters cover the final days of Jimi Hendrix performing his last concert at the "Open Air Love Peace Festival" in Germany and his posthumous album releases and movies about his life. Also included at the end of the book is a complete listing of his live performances from 1967-1970 and a selected discography of his albums and singles. So, if you are looking for the most complete, illustrated history of the legendary Jimi Hendrix, look no further than the newly published "Hendrix: The Illustrated Story." To find out more about this wonderful new book, please visit quartoknows.com

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Donny Osmond Gives His All To His Fans For "One Night Only"

The legendary Donny Osmond has been a part of the entertainment industry for almost 55 years. His musical career began back in the mid-sixties when he performed with his brothers as "The Osmonds." Then in the early seventies, Donny broke away from his brothers and began his solo career with the hit singles "Go Away Little Girl" and "Puppy Love."

This past summer, Donny Osmond went on tour in the UK, performing at sold-out arenas at every stop. To celebrate that outstanding achievement, Gonzo Distribution Ltd. released a brand new live CD/DVD set of his performance at NEC Birmingham. Osmond described the tour as one of "my favorite that I've ever done." The 2CD/2DVD set spans Osmond's entire career, including covers of more modern hits like "Dynamite" and "Uptown Funk."

The shows kicks off with a medley of classic tunes like "Celebration" and "Start Me Up," before he draws his fans in with a stellar version of "Puppy Love." The cameras that capture the entire show where everywhere in the arena, from the audiences point of view, to being on stage next to Donny Osmond. Some of the greatest clips of the show are when you can see the joy and love on the face of his fans as his gives his all to his performances.

The show continues, mixing in covers of classics like "Let's Stay Together" and "The Long And Winding Road" with more of his hit singles like "Sacred Emotion" and "Breeze On By." You can see how Osmond works the crowd as they sing-along to some of his more obscure tracks like "Long Haired Lover From Loverpool" and during a segment he calls "The Purple Cards," Osmond answers questions from the audience and even finds one fan in the audience to sing just for her. Osmond also performs with his brothers, virtually on screen singing "Love Me For A Reason." Donny does it all, he swings with his dancers during Steely Dan's "Peg" and even performs "I'll Make A Man Out Of You" from the Disney classic, "Mulan." The performance closes with Donny performing on the piano, singing "Survivor" and the inspirational ballad "This Is The Moment." To find out more about the new Donny Osmond live album "One Night Only," please visit donny.com.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Celebrate Christmas With "Home Alone 2: 25th Anniversary" & New Jennifer Saran Release

Now that Thanksgiving has passed, it's time to bring on the Christmas movies. One particular movie that is celebrating an anniversary is "Home Alone 2." The "Home Alone" series produced 3 theater movies and 2 made-for-TV movies and also turned child actor Macaulay Culkin in a star at the young age of 10. The first "Home Alone" movie was one of the biggest grossing movies in the U.S. from its release in 1990 to 2011.  The movie's sequel "Home Along 2: Lost In New York" follows Culkin and the same two criminals, the Wet Bandits (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern) to New York as Culkin's character "Kevin McCallister" gets on the wrong flight and has to fend for himself in the "big apple."

To celebrate the movie's 25th anniversary, 20th Century Fox re-released the film back in October as a combo Blu-ray/DVD/Digital HD package with new cover art. To find out more about this new release, please visit foxconnect.com.

Songstress Jennifer Saran is preparing to released her debut, holiday-themed album titled "Soulful Christmas." on November 24th. It features a 17-song mix of originals and Christmas classics, performed with a timeless feel. She begins with the holiday original "Christmas Lover," which features supporting vocals from the legendary Temptations. Eleven of the songs are newly penned originals as Saran showcases her beautiful vocals on "Long Road Home For Christmas" and "Some Children See Him." The title-song "Soulful Christmas" can easily be a new traditional R&B holiday classic as it carries that timeless quality, like in "Sleigh Ride" and the album closer "Frosty The Snowman." She picks the tempo up with the pop beats of "Merry Christmas To You" and has fun performing with Cornell "CC" Carter on the playful "Christmas Delight." To find out more about Jennifer Saran and her latest release "Soulful Christmas," please visit jennifersaran.com.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Holiday Gift Ideas For Your Music Fan

Once again, the season of giving is upon us and fans of classic rock music will have much to celebrate. This year was dominated by anniversary box sets from some of the biggest artists of all time. Leading the way of must have gifts is the 50th anniversary release of The Beatles iconic album, "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." This new 4CD/DVD/Blu-Ray box set not only contains a new remix of the album, done by Giles Martin (son of George Martin), but the box set also comes with two full CDs of outtakes from the album sessions. The quality of these studio outtakes is amazing and Giles Martin does a stellar job breathing new life into this 50 year old masterpiece. Plus, along with the four discs of music, you get a hardcover book that talks about the sessions and what went into the creation of each song on the album. Many other pinnacle albums celebrated their 50th anniversary this year with box sets (The Doors, Rolling Stones), but none were more impressive than The Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band."

While 1967 was a magical year in music, so was 1987 as two historic albums were released that year and each one received a 30th anniversary box set for fans to dive into. The band, U2 were still on the rise, when they released their breakthrough album "The Joshua Tree" in 1987. The album spawned six singles (two hitting #1 on the charts) and took U2 from performing in theaters to large venue arenas and stadiums. The band, along with Universal Music, released a 4CD or 7LP box set that included a remastered version of the album, an unreleased live show from that tour and two discs worth of outtakes, B-sides and rarities. Fans will also appreciate the wonderful book of photos that accompanies this box set.

Another major release that year was Def Leppard's album "Hysteria." The album would go on to sell over 12 million copies in the U.S. alone and distribute 7 hit singles that are still being played in concert 30 years later. A new 5CD/2DVD box set was released this past summer that simply made fans drool. A newly remastered version of the album was joined by a live, two disc set "In Your Face, In The Round," which was recorded in 1988 in Denver, CO. The final two discs in the set, collects all of released remixes and B-sides. The two DVDs include music videos, live shots and the VH1 documentary "Behind The Music."

One final box set that has become a yearly event is Bob Dylan's "Bootleg Series." This year marks volume 13 and focuses on his controversial Christianity period from 1979 to 1981. The new 9-disc (8CD/1DVD) set includes 100 previously unreleased live and studio recordings, including 14 unreleased songs. In that time period from 1979 to 1981, Bob Dylan released 3 albums that centered around his faith and the bible. This new eight-disc set features two discs of mixed live songs and two discs of rare, unreleased music from that period. The remaining discs contain two complete live shows from Toronto in 1980 and Earl's Court in London in 1981. A very special DVD is included and contains a newly created documentary titled "Trouble No More - A Musical Film," which follows Dylan on tour in 1980. Now, if these massive box sets are out of your price range this holiday season, don’t be upset, they also have 2CD and 3CD condensed versions for you to appreciate.

A new rising trend that has been happening is the release of more live albums. A few of the live albums that need to be on your Christmas list this year is David Gilmour's "Live At Pompeii,” Bob Marley's "Live!" and Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats “Live At Red Rock.” Last year, David Gilmour returned to Pompeii (he played there with Pink Floyd in 1971) to perform live in front of an audience. It was the first time that live performances in front of a crowd was permitted in almost 2,000 years. Gilmour knew this was a special occasion and captured the moment in high-definition on Blu-ray, DVD and on CD. As Gilmour mixes in Pink Floyd classics with songs from his latest studio album "Rattle That Lock" you will certainly fall in love with this timeless music all over again.

A newly released deluxe edition of Bob Marley And The Wailers "Live!" album features both shows from the band’s 1975 performance at the Lyceum Theatre. Originally this was released on vinyl in 1975 and now both shows are available for the first time on vinyl and on CD. If this isn’t enough Bob Marley for you, Voyageur Press recently published a new book titled "Bob Marley And The Wailers - The Ultimate Illustrated History." It features over 300 photos and follows the life of Bob Marley and The Wailers, including original Wailers Peter Tosh and Bunny Livingston. This is a great history lesson into how the world discovered reggae music through Bob Marley and The Wailers.

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats have been riding the wave of success since the release of their 2015 self-titled studio album. Last year they cobbled together some outtake and live songs for the EP “A Little Something More From” and now this holiday season, the band will release their first live album, “Live From Red Rocks.” This single CD release will give fans insight into the band phenomenal live performance as they headlined their first tour in 2016. The highlight of the set is the band’s closing number, a rousing performance of Sam Cooke’s “Having A Party.”

The holiday season is also a time for greatest hits compilations and one of the top releases this year is Elton John's "Diamonds." It was released in a number of formats including a 3CD set, a 2CD set, a 1CD set and as a 2LP gatefold vinyl. The 2CD set contains 34 tracks from throughout Elton John's entire career right up to his last studio album "Wonderful Crazy Night." The limited edition 3CD boxset includes the same two discs as in the 2CD set along with a third disc of Elton's favorites and a 72-page hardcover book that contains stories about each song in the set. This will be a must have for any Elton John fan this Christmas season.

So this was just a quick run-down of some options for the music fan in your life. I hope that this was informative and please check out my music blog at jpsmusicblog.blogspot.com for album and concert reviews all year round.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Concert Review: Dead & Company Keep The Spirit Of The Grateful Dead Alive With Show In Hartford

When the Grateful Dead called it quits in 1995 following the death of singer/guitarist Jerry Garcia, fans were at a loss, scrambling to find the next form of the Grateful Dead to follow around the country. The remaining members of the Grateful Dead have joined together on a number of tours over the course of the last two decades, but nothing lasted longer than a few years. This latest version of the Grateful Dead, named Dead & Company, features original Grateful Dead members Bob Weir, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann, joined by former Grateful Dead keyboardist Jeff Chimenti and newcomers Oteil Burbridge (Allman Brothers Band) and Connecticut native John Mayer. After a highly successful run of shows this past summer, they decided to reconvene for a Fall tour, which included a stop Wednesday night at the XL Center in Hartford.

As the first notes of the opening song "Iko Iko" rang out through the arena, all worries of violent threats on this show vanished as the sea of people moved in unison to the song's rhythm. Connecticut's own John Mayer would make his presence known early singing lead on the slow blues of "They Love Each Other" as all would be in complete awe of Mayer's skills on the guitar. Fans were pleasantly surprised by the addition of a countrified version of the Grateful Dead classic "Friend Of The Devil." The Dead & Company closed out their first set with an enlightening version of their classic "Birdsong."

The band would kick-off the second set with an epic, 16-minute version of "Estimated Prophet," only to be outdone by their even longer epic delivery of the nearly 20-minute "Eyes Of The World." The song would not only showcase Mayer's exceptional guitar skills, but also allowed pianist Jeff Chimenti and bassist Oteil Burbrige their own moment in the spotlight with solos. Oteil would also sing lead on the mellow "China Doll," that would lead into the fan favorite "The Other Ones." After drummers, Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart performed their trippy solos "Drums" and "Space," Bob Weir would lead the band through the bluesy "Black Peter." Dead & Company would raise the energy in the arena once again, closing out their second set with "Uncle John's Band" and "U.S. Blues," as Mayer and Weir traded verses and the audience would help them out, singing the song's chorus.

The band returned after a quick break as John Mayer lead Dead & Company through a cover of  Bob Dylan's "Knockin' On Heaven's Door." Throughout the night, you can see the joy on Mayer's face as his home state crowd delivered the energy that has been keeping the spirit of the Grateful Dead alive for last two decades.

Setlist: Iko Iko, Shakedown Street, They Love Each Other, Loose Lucy, Friend Of The Devil, Bridsong, Estimated Prophet, Eyes Of The World, China Doll, The Other One, Drums/Space, Black Peter, Uncle John's Band U.S. Blues
Encore: Knockin' On Heaven's Door

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

CD Review: New Age/Family Releases From FLOW, Mister G & Lullapop Lullabies

The first New Age Supergroup, FLOW, recently released their self-titled debut album, which is already a top five album on the New Age music chart. The group consists of pianist Fiona Joy, guitarist Lawrence Blatt, trumpeter Jeff Oster and guitarist Will Ackerman, founder of Windam Hill Records. Their new 11-song release begins with the slow-build up piano melody of "Arrival," which features subtle hints of trumpet and guitar. The music on the album just glides on by in "Whisper Me This" and "Free Ascent" as you can simply ease your troubles away with the gentle tones of these songs. They add a bit of tempo to with the smooth guitar work of "Waiting For Sunshine," then enlighten the album with the rise of "Tenth Life." The album closes with the subtle touch of "Rest Now My Friend" and the sweeping piano of "Rosita And Giovanni." To find out more about FLOW and their new self-titled album, please visit flowthegroup.com.

Debuting on January 26, 2018 is the release of "Lullapop Lullabies." It features lullaby version of current pop songs. The songs have been crafted into soothing instrumentals for babies and toddlers to enjoy. The new 21-song release features songs made famous by modern artists like Ed Sheeran, Adele, Bruno Mars, Justin Timberlake and many more. The music centers around the glockenspiel, harp and piano and will help your young ones drift off to dream land. It may also work on some parent too, so make sure you are not driving or operating machinery when listening to the soothing melodies. To find out more about "Lullpop Lullabies," please visit razorandtie.com.

Latin Grammy winner and children's recording artist, Mister G recently released his new Hanukkah-themed album titled "The Mitzvah Bus." It features fourteen playful tracks that center around the Jewish tradition. The songs are sung in English, Hebrew, Spanish and Yiddish as Mister G uses folk, rock and ska to help celebrate the holiday. Fans of his music and kids that are still learning about the Hanukkah season will certainly enjoy the songs as this album will become a new tradition for families around the holiday season. To find out more about Mister G and his latest release "The Mitzvah Bus," please visit mistergsongs.com.