Wednesday, September 20, 2017

CD Review: New Music From Indie-Rock Bands Hot Water Music, Makeout, Blindwish & Sons Of Texas

From Gainesville, FL comes the latest release titled "Light It Up" from the hard rock/punk band Hot Water Music. It was self-produced and released on September 15th through Rise Records and features the band's most complete work of their nearly 25-year career. The new 12-song release begins with the aggressive, hard-hitting song,"Complicated" as Hot Water Music deliver their music with a chip on their shoulder. They quicken their pace with the punk-like fury of the title-song, "Light It Up" and "Never Going Back" as the band continue to showcase their youthful side in their music. They continue their hard rock assault with the big guitar riffs of "Sympathizer" and "Bury Your Idols," before finishing up their new release with the passion of "High Class Catastrophe" and the sing-along chorus of "Take You Away." To find out more about Hot Water Music and their latest release "Light It Up," please visit hotwatermusic.com.

Another new release from Rise Records is the full-length debut album, "The Good Life" from American punk band Makeout. The band won a spot on the Vans Warped Tour and developed quite a following in their home state of Massachusetts. Their new 12-song album kicks off with the high-energy of "Childish" as their music was tailor-made for alternative rock radio. Their music is the perfect soundtrack for high schools with songs like "Crazy" and "Lisa." Makeout build up the intensity of the chorus on "You Can't Blame Me" and "Til We're Gone," before finishing their new album with the acoustic revenge punk ballad "Secrets" and the final "Blast Off" of punk energy. To find out more about Makeout and their latest release "The Good Life," please visit makeoutofficial.com.

On September 1st, we received the debut album from Dallas, TX alternative rock band Blindwish. Their new album titled "Good Excuses" features 1o-tracks of high-energy, beginning with the modern rock of "After Midnight," which combines elements of electronics with hard rock riffs and a youthful energy that will have you stand up and take notice of the rising new band. They continue to blast your ears with the intense rock approach of "Single Word" and the hard rock riffs of "Cold Shoulders." Blindwish take their foot off the gas for the acoustic ballad "Down," before returning to the hard rock of "They're Not Real" and guitar driven "Echo." To find out more about Blindwish and their latest release "Good Excuses," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/blindwishband.

Arriving on September 22nd is the sophomore release titled "Forged By Fortitude" by the Texas heavy metal band Sons Of Texas. Their new 11-song release comes bursting out of the gate with the hardcore metal attack of "Buy In To Sell Out" as the thunderous drum rolls will certainly get your blood pumping. They lock into a modern thrash groove for "Feed The Need," before diving "Down In The Trenches" with the song's big guitar riffs. They find the perfect recipe for hard rock radio success with "Cast In Stone" and showcase their planned attack on your ears with the frenzy of "Expedition To Perdition" and "Jaded Eyes." Sons Of Texas wrap up their new release with a return to their hardcore metal sound in the title song, "Forged By Fortitude" and the hard-edged country rock of "Slam With The Lights On." To find out more about the Sons Of Texas and their latest release "Forged By Fortitude," please visit sonsoftexasmusic.com.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

RJ Podcast: Patrick Mulock From Phear Talks With Us About The Band's Latest Release "The Curse Lives"

CD Review: New Music From Chris Barron, Chip Ratliff, Mike Blakely & Marcus Singletary

The American rock band, the Spin Doctors found success early with their debut album reaching the top 5 in many countries. Their music was iconic, led by the vocals of singer Chris Barron, who had a certain swagger in how he delivered the lyrics. The Spin Doctors released their last album over 4 years ago, but lead singer Barron returns with a new solo album titled "Angels And One-Armed Jugglers." It will be released on October 20th through Chrysanthemum Records and features 11-tracks that will remind you of the early days of the Spin Doctors as the music and vocals are able to breathe on their own. He begins with the grand sounding blues ballad "Angels And One-Armed Jugglers" as Barron's vocals fit perfectly into this musical setting. The tempo picks up with the steady rock rhythm of "April And May," before finding he finds his way into your heart with the acoustic ballad "Gonna (Need Someone)." He has fun with the zombie love story "In A Cold Kind Of Way" and turns on the classic folk charm of "Still A Beautiful World," before wrapping up with the slow, jazzy waltz of "Till The Cows Come Home" and the steady rock of "Too Young To Fade." To find out more about Chris Barron and his latest release "Angels And One-Armed Jugglers," please visit thechrisbarron.com.

From Chicago comes the return of Chip Ratliff (grandson of blues guitarist Herman Ratliff Sr.) with his first album in ten years titled "Resilient." This new funk-fueled 8-song album begins with the spoken-prayer of "Resilient," before Chip gets your body up and moving with the seventies funk of "Dance! Dance! Dance!" He continues with the horn-infused "Back When We Were Funky," then lays down the smooth R&B of "Somewhere Else Not Thinkin' (About You)." Chip Ratliff wraps up his new album with the blues/rock of "WhyDoYouDoWhatchaDo" and the spaced out jazz/funk of "DirtyBlu." To find out more about Chip Ratliff and his latest release "Resilient," please visit chipratliff.net.

Americana singer/songwriter Mike Blakely returns after a six year absence to release his new studio album titled "Keepsake." It will be his 12th album in 25 years and features ten beautifully delivered tunes of love, hope and redemption. He begins with the gentle acoustic love story of "A Town Called Paradise" and continues with the steady pace of the folk story of "My Same Old New Mexican Dream." Mike showcases his country side with the twang of "Easy Ramblin'," then brings in an island vibe with the acoustic strumming "I Am Nobody." He finishes up his new album with the country blues of "Miranda's Warning" and the heartfelt plea of "Don't Send Flowers." To find out more about Mike Blakely and his latest release "Keepsake," please visit mikeblakely.com.

Marcus Singletary, the musical chameleon, returns once again with a new album titled "Daydream Station."  This 14-song, 20 minute comedy album showcases Marcus' more comedic side was these short parodies of interviews ("The I.R.S." and "Attack Of The Record Men"), commercials ("S.P.I.T. 909") and public service announcements. While Marcus does not play any music on this new album, it is worth a listen for the tongue-in-cheek political comedy that we all have come to know in this day-in-age. His new release closes with a great 5-minute stand-up where nobody laughs or even notices his jokes. To find out more about Marcus Singletary and his latest release "Daydream Station," please visit his Facebook page at facebook.com/MarcusSingletaryMusic.

Monday, September 18, 2017

CD Review: New Live Album From John McLaughlin & The Best "Feeling" From Jack Tempchin

English musician, John McLaughlin has had an amazing 50-plus year career as a solo artists and as a founding member of the jazz-rock fusion band, Mahavishnu Orchestra. He released his last studio album in 2015 ("Black Light") and is preparing to release his new live album titled "Live @ Ronnie Scott's" on September 15th. The show was recorded back in March and McLaughlin brought along his latest band, The 4th Dimension.
 
The new 9-song release tries to cover McLaughlin's entire career as the set begins with "Meeting Of The Spirits," which originally appeared on the debut album from Mahavishnu Orchestra. McLaughlin's guitar work is amazing on this 8-minute opener as the members of The 4th Dimension take the spotlight on the follow-up track "Miles Ahead." One of the epic pieces appearing on this new live release is the spirited, rhythm-fueled, 10-plus minute rock fusion of "Here Come The Jiis" from his most recent solo album "Black Light." He sticks with that album for the swift pace of "El Hombre Que Sabia," before going back to Mahavishnu Orchestra's second album "Birds Of Prey" with the jazzier appeal of "Sanctuary." John McLaughlin wraps up his new live album with the 12-minute jam on his solo piece "Echoes Of Then."
 
John McLaughlin and The 4th Dimension will be hitting the road again on November 1st for a string of dates across the U.S. For a complete list of shows and to find out more about his new live album "Live @ Ronnie Scott's," please visit johnmclaughlin.com.
 
The name of one of the great American singer/songwriters may not be known to the common music fan, but Jack Tempchin wrote some of the best songs that country legends have turned into hits. Tempchin's biggest hit was The Eagles' "Peaceful Easy Feeling," which became a top 20 hit for the band. He would write a handful more songs for the band, as well as hits for Johnny Rivers, Glenn Frey, George Jones, Glen Campbell and Tanya Tucker. After over 40 years in the music business, Jack Tempchin is releasing his first greatest hits album titled "Peaceful Easy Feeling, The Songs Of Jack Tempchin."
 
This new 10-song set begins with Tempchin's version of "Peaceful Easy Feeling," which is identical to the version performed by The Eagles. He follows that with an acoustic version of "Part Of Me, Part Of You" and a beautiful duet with Rita Coolidge on "Slow Dancing." Country artists Chris Hillman and Herb Pedersen lend a hand on another hit that Tempchin wrote for The Eagles, "Already Gone." Tempchin's new greatest hits release wraps up with him rocking out to "Privacy" and "Party Town," before slowing back down for the acoustic country/folk sounds of "It's Your World Now." To find out more about Jack Tempchin and his latest release "Peaceful Easy Feeling, The Songs Of Jack Tempchin," please visit jacktempchin.com.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

CD Review: Singer Linda Perhacs Feels A Resurgence With "Harmony"

American folk singer Linda Perhacs will be releasing only her third studio album in the last 47 years on September 22nd. The new album titled "I'm A Harmony" features a load of special guests including Pat Sansone, Glenn Kotche and Nels Cline from the band Wilco. The inspiration behind this new album came as her 2014 release "Parallelograms" brought a sense of joy back into Linda's life, after not performing for over 4 decades.

Her new 11-song release begins with Nels Cline helping out on guitar for the psychedelic folk-rock of "Winds Of Sky." She continues with the quiet, stirring vocals of "We Will Live" as fellow folk artists Julia Holter and Devendra Banhart help out on the song's vocals. She follows that up with the spacey, 8-minute folk trip, "I'm A Harmony," before returning with the nostalgic, seventies acoustic folk-rock of "Crazy Love" with The Autumn Defense backing up Linda's vocals. Julie Holter returns to lend her vocals to the gentle fray of "Beautiful Play" and the experimental psychedelic trip of "Visions," before finishing the album with "You Wash My Soul In Sound" as Linda delivers another sonic folk gem. To find out more about Linda Perhacs and her latest release on Omnivore Recordings titled "I'm A Harmony," please visit lindaperhacs.com/.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Concert Review: 2Cellos Bring More Than Just The Classics To The Oakdale Theatre

When you hear that the music duo, 2Cellos is coming in concert, you would probably expect a classical ensemble with strings, a horn section and brass. So, when 2Cellos made their way to the Toyota Presents The Oakdale Theatre, one would think that the crowd would consist of men in suits and women in dresses, but the eclectic crowd of both young and old had their rock concert attire flowing. Many of the evening's younger fans may have recognized 2Cellos from their appearance on the hit TV show "Glee," while others know them for their range of performing rock music in a classical setting. Although, Luka Sulic (one of the 2Cellos) made a comment that this was "not a classical concert."

2Cellos are currently on tour, promoting their latest album "The Score," which features popular scores from some of the biggest movies of all time. The duo walked out on stage to a roaring applause and immediately broke down the barrier between artists and the audience by inviting fans to scream and applaud for their favorite songs. The first half of the show consisted of themes from movies like "The Godfather" and "Rain Man," with the biggest applause arriving for "My Heart Will Go On" (from "Titanic).

As the evening slowly built up to the rock portion of the show, Stjepan Hauser (the other member of 2Cellos) mentioned that this first half of the show was "for the ladies" and that these songs from famous movies sound "better on cello than the originals." After the pulsating sonic rhythm of "Mombasa," 2Cellos and their orchestra dove right into the theme from "Game Of Thrones." Then quickly followed that up with a sped up version of their break-through cover of the Michael Jackson single "Smooth Criminal."

With the help of their drummer, Dusan Kranjc and his electrifying drum solo, 2Cellos entered the hard rock portion of their show, getting the audience up on their feet with AC/DC covers "Thunderstruck" and "You Shook Me All Night Long." Fans were encouraged to sing along to the Rolling Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," before closing their set with another AC/DC standout, "Back In Black."

The encore found the duo combining their love of classical music ("William Tell Overture") with their love of heavy metal (Iron Maiden's "The Trooper). The speed at which these two performers would play at was astonishing. They would also please the young fans in the audience with their covers of modern hits like "Wake Me Up" (Avicii) and "Despacito" (Luis Fonsi), before finishing the night with a lullabye of U2's "With Or Without You." A night with the 2Cellos duo will definitely change your mind about the musical instrument and about classical music in general as they continue their evolution of breaking the barriers between different music genres.

Setlist: Theme From Chariots Of Fire, Love Theme From The Godfather, Moon River, Theme From Rain Man, Love Story, My Heart Will Go On, Now We Are Free, Mombasa, Theme From Game Of Thrones, Smooth Criminal, Thunderstruck, Smells Like Teen Spirit, You Shook Me All Night Long, Highway To Hell, (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction, Back In Black
Encore: The Trooper, Wake Me Up, Despacito, With Or Without You

Friday, September 15, 2017

CD Review: The Steve Miller Band Unleash Their "Ultimate Hits" Collection

Whenever someone releases the "ultimate" edition of anything, whether its an album or a book or a movie, you have a lot of pressure to make this the best collection anyone has ever had. So when Universal Music announced the new "Ultimate Hits" release from the Steve Miller Band I was apprehensive at first. The Steve Miller Band was a music staple on AM and FM radio throughout the seventies and their "Greatest Hits 1974-78" album is one of the best selling albums of all time. So how do you improve on that? 
 
This new "Ultimate Hits" will be released in a number of different formats, including multiple CD and vinyl editions. The single CD release mirrors the 2LP edition and both contain 22 songs, including Les Paul talking to a five-year old Steve Miller on becoming a big star. This release also includes all of the Steve Miller Band's classic hits like "The Joker," "Take The Money And Run" and "Abracadabra." Three previously unreleased tracks round out the single CD release as current live versions of Steve Miller Band classics "Living In The USA" and "Space Cowboy" are proof at how timeless their music is. The treasure on this release is the previously unreleased song "Seasons," which is a heartfelt acoustic piece that showcases Steve Miller's softer side.
 
There is also a deluxe edition which fills up 2CDs or a 4LP vinyl set. This includes 40 songs that dig deeper into the Steve Miller Band catalog with songs like "My Dark Hour," "Journey From Eden" and "Heart Like A Wheel." The beginning of the deluxe edition is great with Steve Miller describing his early days in concert before performing a solo acoustic version of "Gangster Of Love." Not only does it included the unreleased song "Seasons," but it has a second previously unreleased track titled "Baby's Callin' Me Home," which carries a jazzy blues vibe and a third one, which is a studio recording of Wilson Pickett's "Midnight Hour." Another hidden gem on this deluxe edition is the demo of "Take The Money And Run." The only complaint I have on this "Ultimate Hits" release is that the string of hits ends in 1987 and does not include any songs from his last three studio albums.
 
The Steve Miller Band "Ultimate Hits" is definitely a great addition to anyone's musical library and should re-introduce their brand of blues/rock music to a whole new generation. The Steve Miller Band have about half-a-dozen live shows remaining on their calendar for this year. Please visit stevemillerband.com for more information on the Steve Miller Band's new release "Ultimate Hits."

Thursday, September 14, 2017

CD Review: The Script Releases The "Freedom Child" & LCD Soundsytem Return With The "American Dream"

Irish modern rock band, The Script have continued to grow in popularity in the U.S. since their debut album was released almost 10 years ago. Their latest album titled "Freedom Child" was released on September 1st through Sony Music and features 14 new tracks of modern pop/rock music. They begin with the big dance beats of "No Man Is An Island" as you will find yourself singing along in no time to this song's addictive chorus. They follow that up with the album's led single, "Rain," which carries an up-tempo dance/pop vibe. They keep the energy flowing with the arena ready "Rock The World" and "Divided States Of America." The Script instill a groove into "Eden" that will have you up and moving as you finish up their new release with their return to rock with the title song "Freedom Child." The Script have a 14-date tour on the horizon, beginning on September 28th at The Grand Theater at Foxwoods Resort Casino. For a complete list of shows and to find out more about their new album "Freedom Child," please visit thescriptmusic.com.

Brooklyn-based dance band, LCD Soundsystem have been climbing up the musical charts since their debut album over a dozen years ago. Their last album was released over seven years ago and LCD Soundsystem are looking to recapture their crown as America's premier dance group with a new album titled "American Dream." It features 10-tracks, beginning with the moderate beats and subtle vocals of "Oh Baby." They dig deep into bass groove of the Talking Heads-sounding "Other Voices," then they deliver the frenzy rock vibe of "Change Yr Mind." Just prior to the album's funky lead single, "Tonite," is a 9-plus minute rhythm heavy epic piece titled "How Do You Sleep?," which will have you fully invested in the LCD Soundsystem. They finish up their new album with the quick-paced rock attach of "Call The Police" and the 12-minute steady pace of the the keyboard beats of "Black Screen." LCD Soundsystem are currently on the opening dates of their 4-month tour with dates sold out in Paris, Amsterdam, Manchester and London. For a complete list of shows and to find out more about their new album "American Dream," please visit lcdsoundsystem.com.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

CD Review: New Music From Female Songwriters Whitney Rose, Eilen Jewell And Karen Atkins

Rising country artist Whitney Rose is preparing to release her third full-length studio album titled "Rule 62" on October 6 through Six Shooter Records/Thirty Tigers. The new release features 11-tracks of classic country that will open your eyes and ears to this brand of music. She starts out with the gentle country swing of "I Don't Want Half (I Just Want Out)," which will have you instantly fall in love with Whitney's voice. The tempo picks up with the nostalgic feel of "Arizona" and then brings back the sound of the sixties girl groups with "Better To My Baby." Her vocals are so warm and inviting on the ballad "You Never Cross My Mind" and her stellar band provides the perfect basis for Whitney to shine in the spotlight of "You Don't Scare Me" and "Tied To The Wheel." She finishes her new album with the country blues of "Wake Me In Wyoming" and the electrifying rocker "Time To Cry." Whitney Rose has a line-up of shows around Texas, before heading up to New England in late-October. For a complete list of shows and to find out more about her new album "Rule 62," please visit whitneyrosemusic.com.

American singer/songwriter Eilen Jewell takes a break from songwriting to deliver a blues album for the ages with "Down Hearted Blues." It features a dozen blues treasures from artists like Otis Rush, Howlin' Wolf and Memphis Minnie that Jewell re-creates in her own brand of country/folk blues. She begins her new release with the steady pace of "It's Your Voodoo Working" and the slower, classic blues of "Another Night To Cry" as Eilen's voice fits this genre of music perfectly. She picks the tempo back up with the Willie Dixon jewel "You'll Be Mine" and Betty James' "I'm A Little Mixed Up." Eilen made it a point to feature songs from the women of blues like Memphis Minnie ("Nothing In Rambling") and "Big" Maybelle Smith ("Don't Leave Poor Me") as she reminds us of these buried treasures. She finishes her new album with the jazz tones of "Crazy Mixed Up World" and the acoustic blues of "The Poor Girl's Story." Eilen Jewell is currently touring around New England, before heading over to Europe in November. For a complete list of shows and to find out more about her new album "Down Hearted Blues," please visit eilenjewell.com.

From the San Fransisco Bay area comes the latest release titled "In My Room" from singer/songwriter Karen Atkins. After her rising fame from her health aspects, Karen was constantly asked about her early years as a musician, so she decided to surround herself with some of the finest session musicians and create this new inspirational album. Her new 10-song release begins with the up-tempo, contemporary rock groove of "Love Is Love" and the quieter folk presentation of "Draw The Line." She tells us the story of "Julian," before getting a little funky with the bass groove of "Can't Get." Her new release finishes with the gentle touch of "In My Room" and a beautiful rendition of Paul Simon's "Slip Slidin' Away." To find out more about the musical side of Karen Atkins and her new album, "In My Room," please visit karenatkinsmusic.com.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

RJ Podcast: Killset's Chris Luca Discusses The Band New Album "S.T.F.U." & Possible Tour

CD Review: Roadcase Royale Puts "First Things First" With Debut Album & U.S. Tour

A new rock supergroup is preparing to introduce themselves to the world as Roadcase Royale will roll out a new album and live dates with Bob Seger on his current U.S. tour. The band is made up of Nancy Wilson (Heart), Liv Warfield (New Power Generation), Dan Rothchild (Heart, Beck), Chris Joyner (Jason Mraz, Sheryl Crow), Ben Smith (Heart) and Ryan Waters (Sade). They made their live debut back in March and will be releasing their debut album "First Things First" on September 22nd.
 
Their new 10-song release begins with the album's lead single "Get Loud." It features a modern pop, swinging rhythm, which allows Liv Warfield to wrap you up with her vocals. Nancy Wilson makes her presence known with the raw, bluesy guitar of "Not Giving Up," before delivering a countrified version of Heart's "Even It Up." You feel the full force of the band on the up-tempo rock number "Cover Each Other" as the combination of Liv's vocals and the band honest musicianship give authenticity to the music. Nancy's vocals on "The Dragon" gives the song a hint of Heart, while "Insaniac" is a hard hitting number that will electrify your senses. The album wraps up with a gentle, acoustic sing-along of Heart's "These Dreams" and the Americana stomp/clap rhythm of "Never Say Die."
 
Roadcase Royale will begin their 2-month tour with Bob Seger tonight. For a complete list of live shows, which includes a stop a the Mohegan Sun Arena on Saturday and to find out more about their new release "First Things First," please visit roadcaseroyale.com.

Monday, September 11, 2017

RJ Podcast: BIg Shot's Mike DelGuidice Talks About Performing Along His Musical Idol Billy Joel

CD Review: Two New Soundtracks For "The Vietnam War" Reminds Us Of Hardships & Protest

Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns returns this fall with a new 10-part series surrounding "The Vietnam War." Burns, along with Lynn Novick, will premiere the documentary on September 17th on PBS. Adjoining the documentary is not one, but two soundtracks. The first one features the original score from "The Vietnam War" series provided by Academy Award winners Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails) and Atticus Ross. The 17-song, 2CD set features very atmospheric music that will impact your mood while listening to this subtle, but effective sonic landscapes of experimental sounds. Reznor certainly leaves his iconic stamp on these instrumental pieces of music along with the guidance of Ross. The music will certainly have more of an impact along with the visuals that accompany each of these tracks.
 
The second soundtrack for "The Vietnam War" includes 38 songs that helped define that era in music history. While the documentary film series features over 120 songs, these were picked to be included on this new 2-disc set as they are very effective pieces of music that will remind anyone of that period in time. The set begins with the voice of change throughout the sixties, Bob Dylan with his politically charged "A Hard Rain A-Gonna Fall." Dylan also shows up a couple more times in this compilation with "One Too Many Mornings" and "Don't Think Twice It's Alright." While many of the songs from that era are anti-war anthems like "Eve Of Destruction" by Barry McGuire and "It's My Life" by The Animals as they strike chords of riotous themes, songs like "Hello Vietnam" by Johnnie Wright and The Byrds "Turn! Turn! Turn!" were delivering more peaceful sounding anthems for the youth of that generation.
 
This was also the time when music had its second explosion, with music arriving from new bands like The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Big Brother & The Holding Company. The landscape of music would be forever changed as groups like Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and The Rolling Stones sung about current events as in "Ohio" and "Gimmie Shelter," respectively. There are also the timeless songs from that era ("America The Beautiful," "What's Going On" & "Let It Be") that make you proud to be alive and a lover of patriotism and music. To find out more about these two new amazing releases and about the new 10-part series on "The Vietnam War," please visit facebook.com/TheVietnamWarPBS.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

CD Review: The Action Skulls Deliver What "Angels Hear" On Debut Release

What do you get when you combine The Bangles with The Beach Boys and The Cowsills? Answer is the debut album from Action Skulls. Their new release titled "Angels Hear" features Vicki Peterson (The Bangles), her husband John Cowsill (The Cowsills, The Beach Boys) and Bill Mumy (Barnes & Barnes). It is a full collaborative effort that has been 4 years in the making.

Their new 11-song release begins with the addictive pop/rock of "Mainstream," which feature vocals from every member of the band. Bill Mumy takes the lead on the California rock sound of "In The Future," before Peterson joins him on the bluesy ballad "If I See You In Another World." Peterson goes on solo for the country/folk appeal of "Map Of The World," then everyone joins back in for the sixties-sounding "Standing On A Mountain." The album wraps up with the steady country backdrop of "The Land Of Dreams" as all three vocals mesh together perfectly. To find out more about Action Skulls and their debut release "Angels Hear," please visit billmumy.com/ActionSkulls.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

CD Review: Newly Discoved Album By Country Star Billie Jo Spears Finally Released

Country artist Billie Jo Spears had a musical career that lasted over 60 years. She had a #1 hit single in 1975 with "Blanket On The Ground" and cracked the top ten 4 other times. Spears became even more popular in the U.K. where she was named "Queen Mother Of Country Music." Spears released her last studio album in 1991. She passed away in 2011 from cancer at the age of 74.

A newly discovered, unreleased studio album from Billie Jo Spears was finally released in August. It was recorded in 1982 and was titled after the album's most famous cover song "C'est La Vie." The new release features 13-tracks, beginning with Chuck Berry's "(You Never Can Tell) C'est La Vie" and the emotional "Apart At The Dreams." She delivers that classic country sound in "I Can Hear Kentucky Calling Me," then lets her vocals soar on the ballad, "When I Dream." One of the songs on this release was previously recorded in 1975 for her album "Billie Jo" as you can hear the sincerity in her voice for "Everytime Two Fools Collide." The album closes with the nostalgic country twang of "I'm Not Good At Goodbye." To find out more about this newly released Billie Jo Spears album, please visit cleorecs.com.

Friday, September 8, 2017

CD Review: New Music From Indie Artists Tokyo Rosenthal, Case Carrett And Stoney Spring

Americana artist Tokyo Rosenthal returns with his new album titled "This Minstrel Life." It mixes together new original tunes with a couple of cover tunes and also features a mix of studio and live recordings. He begins his new album with the swift, country shuffle of "Hundred Mile Man" as his words speak truth amongst an honest musical backdrop. Then he showcases his quieter side with the gentle acoustics of "The Seder," before heading back out to the country with the politically charged "Now I Believe There's A Devil." Tokyo turns the words of Moija Saucer into the dark tale of "Wiregrass," then finishes the studio portion of his new album with the island flair of "The Immigrant Revisited." He finishes up his new album with 4 live tracks that were recorded between 2012 and 2015, beginning with a quick strumming cover of Merle Haggard's "Mama Tried" with The Sap Brothers. He also includes a live version of his controversial, pro-gay marriage song "Love Won Out," performed in the U.K. To find out more about Tokyo Rosenthal and his latest release "This Minstrel Life," please visit tokyorosenthal.com.

Newcomer Case Garrett will be releasing his debut album titled "Aurora" on November 3rd. His new 8-track release features Garrett's brand of alt-country music with his warming, down-home vocals. He begins with the classic twang of "What Can I Say?" and the acoustic ballad "Long Way Down" as his vocals and lyrics sound very genuine. The song "Going Down To Mobile" appears twice on the album, first as a classic, up-tempo country swinging tune and again at the end of the album as a country rock radio gem with a bit more grit added to the song's over vibe. Garrett's new album also includes a countrified version of J.J. Cale's "Call Me The Breeze" and the exciting country sway of "Fill'er Up." To find out more about Case Garrett and his latest release "Aurora," please visit casegarrett.com.

Arriving October 20th is the latest release from psych-folk band Stoney Spring titled "The Natural Sweetness Of Cream." It features 10-tracks, starting off with the acoustic strumming of "I Think I Am A Rasta" as the song continues to build with each verse. The album continues with the the swift-moving, psychedelic/experiential rock of "Kindersound," before moving back to the folk-like, storied tales of "Revisiting The Past." Stoney Spring take you on a sonic trip with the instrumental "Class Of '72," before returning to the psych-folk delivery of "Chasing An Abstract Dream." They finish up their new album with the experimental, atmospheric tones of the spoken words of "Western States Part II" and the Frank Zappa-like instrumental "Black Vernissage." To find out more about Stoney Spring and their latest release "The Natural Sweetness Of Cream," please visit stoneyspring.com.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

CD Review: New Music From Indie-Artists JD & The Straight Shot, Ben Stevenson And Charlie Bonnet

From New York comes the sixth studio album from Americana band, JD & The Straight Shot. Their new album titled "Good Luck And Good Night" will be released on September 15th and was influenced by traditional folk and classical music. They follow-up the release of their new album with a string of live dates with The Doobie Brothers. The new 10-song release begins with the up-tempo, foot-stomping rhythm of "Redemption Train," before telling us the classic tale of the "Ballad Of Jacob Marley." The wonderful harmonies of "Moonlight" and the gentle folk delivery of "I Know You Know I Know" give the music authenticity as if the band sat in a circle and recorded the songs with only one microphone in the room. The album also includes two cover songs, the first is simple, stark version of Three Dog Night's "Shambala" and the other is a sweet, smooth cover of The Eagles' "It's Your World Now." The album finishes with a return to the classic, clap-stomp rhythm of "Never Alone," based on Maya Angelou's poem, "Alone." To find out more about JD & The Straight Shot and their latest release "Good Luck And Good Night," please visit jdandthestraightshot.com.

Arriving on September 22nd is the latest release from singer/songwriter Ben Stevenson titled "Cara Cara." Sessions began at a studio near Joshua Tree National Park and it sounds as if some of U2's influence also seeped into the recording of this album. The new 12-track release begins with the Brazilian beats of "No Better Way" and the sweeping melody of "Up In The Morning." Ben lets his vocals soar on the atmospheric feel of "Mind Movie," while "Yellow Bird" displays his quieter, folk side. He experiments with his music on "Some Kind Of Blue" and "Wavy Wednesday," before finishing up his new album with the sweet harmonies of "Cara Cara" and the pop tones of "Honeycola." To find out more about Ben Stevenson and his latest album "Cara Cara," please visit his Facebook page at facebook.com/benjaminstevie.

From Nashville comes the new 6-six song EP from rocker Charlie Bonnet III titled "Sinner With A Song." Bonnet has teamed up with L.A. Guns leader Tracii Guns for this new album, which kicks off with the big guitar riffs of the title song "Sinner With A Song." Bonnet keeps the energy going with the seventies sounding rocker "Restless And Reckless," before bringing on the blues with "Hometown Heroes." Bonnet finishes up his new EP with the acoustic, country ballads "Heading Home" and "Cold And Alone" as Tracii Guns mans the B3 organ. To find out more about Charlie Bonnet III and his latest release "Sinner With A Song," please visit his Facebook page at facebook.com/CharlieBonnetIII.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

CD Review: Two New Releases & Two New Re-Issues Arriving This September From Metal Blade Records

Arriving in the middle of September are two re-issues of albums by the heavy metal band Riot. Their 2002 album "Through The Storm" and their 2006 album "Army Of One" are getting new releases on Metal Blade Records. Each album gets bonus tracks added to their original track listing. Riot's "Through The Storm" is the only album to feature drummer Bobby Rondinelli (Black Sabbath, Rainbow) and contains two amazing cover songs by UFO and The Beatles. On top of the original 12-song album, this new release features 4 bonus songs, beginning with a demo of "Turn The Tables," which was originally named "Follow You." The new "Through The Storm" album also included instrumental versions of the songs "Army Of One," "Shine" and "Blinded," which will all appear on their follow-up album, "Army Of One."
 
The new re-issue of the "Army Of One" album features the original 12-tracks, plus an additional two bonus songs. This album was recorded immediately following the release of "Through The Storm" and is the last Riot album to feature vocalist Mike DiMeo. The bonus tracks consist of the Japanese-only live track "Road Racin'," which originally appeared on Riot's second album "Narita" and an instrumental version of the album song "Still Alive." To find out more about these two new re-issues from Riot, please visit metalblade.com. 
 
Also arriving on September 15th are the latest from death metal band Ensiferum titled "Two Paths" and German thrash metal band "Cripper" with "Follow Me: Kill!" Ensiferum begin their new album with epic sounding opener "Ajattomasta Unesta," which leads the way into the electrifying speed of "For Those About To Fight For Metal." The band signals their arrival with the thunderous approach of "Way Of The Warrior" and the quick pace of "King Of Storms." Ensiferum deliver the heavy metal pub-like sing-along with "Don't You Say," before finishing up their new release with the thrash like speed of "God Is Dead" and the 2-minute instrumental "Unettomaan Aikaan." To find out more about Ensiferum and their latest release "Two Paths," please visit ensiferum.com.
 
Speaking of thrash metal, we also have the latest release from Cripper titled "Follow Me: Kill!" Their new 10-song album begins with the powerful quickness of "Pressure," which will certainly get your adrenaline pumping. They deliver a more epic, progressive metal sound with "World Coming Down" and the chugging rhythm of "Shoot Or Get Shot" makes Cripper a force to reckon with. They finish up their new album with the blazing guitar riffs of "Bleeding Red" and the growling vocals of "Menetekel" as Cripper deliver one of the most exciting heavy metal releases of 2017. To find out more about their new album "Follow Me: Kill!," please visit cripper.de.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

RJ Podcast: Local Musicians Keith Zalinger & Justin Piccirillo Invite You To Relive CT's 90's Underground Hard Rock & Heavy Metal Scene

CD Review: New Heavy Metal Releases From Mausoleum Gate, Midnite Hellion & Sinicle

New heavy metal music arriving in September from Mausoleum Gate, Midnite Hellion and Sinicle. First up we have the sophomore album from Mausoleum Gate titled "Into A Dark Divinity." It features only 6-songs, but this progressive metal band knows how to get the most out of their music. They begin with the opening 9-minute epic piece "Condemned To Darkness" as the band delivers a nostalgic, early metal vibe with their horror-story lyrics. They pick the energy up with the swift pace of "Burn The Witches At Dawn," before returning to the dark, atmospheric build-up of "Apophis." The album finishes with the classic heavy metal sound of "Horns" and the adventurous 10-plus minute finale piece "Into A Dark Divinity." To find out more about Mausoleum Gate and their latest release "Into A Dark Divinity," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/MausoleumGate.
 
Arriving September 15 is the latest release from Midnite Hellion titled "Condemned To Hell." It features 9-tracks of explosive power and speed, beginning with the head-banging metal appeal of "Black And White." This trio continue to amaze with the adrenaline-fueled "Death Dealer" and the intense, thunderous approach of "Cross The Line." The band flexes their musical muscle with "The Fever" and "Rip It Up," before finishing their new album with the hysterically fun lyrics of "Teenage Blooksuckin' Bimbos." To find out more about Midnite Hellion and their latest release "Condemned To Hell," please visit midnitehellion.com.
 
The following week, we get the latest album from power metal trio Sinicle titled "Angels & Demons." Last year they performed at Ozzfest Meets Knotfest and brought that energy into the studio to create this new 11-song release. After screeching your ears with the opening instrumental "DEER XING," they come blasting out of your speakers with the onslaught of "Damnation." They continue their attack with the hardcore metal of "Death Coast" and the more melodic "Rabbit Hole." Sinicle head toward the end of their new release with the quick-pace of "Baltimore" and the mainstream metal of "Broken Silence," before closing with the frenzy of "Operations Activate." To find out more about Sinicle and their latest release "Angels & Demons," please visit siniclemusic.com.

Monday, September 4, 2017

CD Review: The Darkness Deliver A "Pinewood Smile" With Their New Album

English rock band, The Darkness have enjoyed much success in their home country, while they are still looking to re-capture the popularity of their debut album here in the U.S. It's been two years since their last full-length release and The Darkness are ready to announce their return with a brand new studio album titled "Pinewood Smile." It will be released on October 6th through Cooking Vinyl and The Darkness are already lining up shows and festivals for 2018.

Their new 10-song release begins with the autobiographical lyrics of "All The Pretty Girls" as they re-examine their life as rock stars. The band delivers the energy with the high octane delivery of "Buccaneers Of Hispaniola" and lead singer Justin Hawkins uses his high alto vocals for the hysterical chorus of "Solid Gold." They slow the tempo down for the beautiful poetic lyrics of "Why Don't The Beautiful Cry," before revving things back up with the epic sounding "Japanese Prisoner Of Love." Their new album wraps up with the high vocals and high energy of "I Wish I Was In Heaven" and the power ballad "Stampede Of Love."

The Darkness will begin their latest European tour on October 13th in Limerick, Ireland. For a complete list of shows and to find out more about their new album "Pinewood Smile," please visit thedarknesslive.com.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

CD Review: Two New Movie Soundtracks Feature Eclectic Music Line-Ups

Two new independent films arriving later this year are carrying with them some of the most exciting soundtracks to appear this year. The first film is a thrilling action/adventure tale set in the Middle East named "8 Assassins: The Beautiful, The Band And The Ugly." The 2CD set features an eclectic mix of progressive, psychedelic and industrial rock music mixed with hip-hop and folk music to make for one memorable trip. Artists on this album range from heavy metal bands like Klute and The Coffin Daggers to hip-hop artists Onyx and DMX. You'll instantly be drawn in to the instrumental soundscape of Hedersleben's "Gulf Of Lost Souls," before the classic psych-rock band Hawkwind bring you to the Middle East with the Arabic singing of "Hassan I Sabbah." Judy Collins vocals are a welcome addition to this 24-song set as she calms your emotions with the gentle touch of "Run." Acid rock band, Space Temple will take you on a sonic trip with "Acid Journey," before closing the soundtrack with Christian Death's reading of "Psalm (Maggot's Lair)" and the big beats of Loon's "Belly Dance." To find out more about the movie and soundtrack to "8 Assassins: The Beautiful, The Band And The Ugly" movie, please visit cleopatra-entertainment.com.

The second film is titled "The Rift: Dark Side Of The Moon" and it carries a stellar line-up of classic rock artists performing songs by Pink Floyd, as well as their own originals. Superstars like Robby Krieger (The Doors) and John Wetton (Asia) pour their all into the Pink Floyd classics "Brain Damage" and "Us And Them," respectively. Other rock veterans like Rick Wakeman (Yes) and Nik Turner (Hawkwind) mix together with more modern rock artists like Echolust and Chrome to create a unique music experience that will take you on a sonic journey through space and time as you follow every note. Nektar bring out the classic sound of the seventies with "Astronaut's Nightmare," while Mani Neumeier performs double duty with Guru Freakout's "Notre Dame (Mothership)" and Guru Guru Groove Band's "UFOLove." The soundtrack wraps up with a "spacier" version of the 80's radio staple "I Ran (So Far Away)" by A Flock Of Seagulls. To find out more about the movie and soundtrack for "The Rift: Dark Side Of The Moon," please visit facebook.com/The-RIFT.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Book Review: Two New Books Feature The Richness Of Bob Marley's Legacy

The name Bob Marley is synonymous with reggae music. There are two new books being released that relates to the legend. One will give you a deeper understanding into the history of the man and his music. The other is from one of his children that uses the "one love" of Marley Coffee to create some truly exceptional dishes with a new cookbook.

The first book being published on September 1st is titled "Bob Marley And The Wailers: The Ultimate Illustrated History." It covers the entire history of Bob Marley, beginning with his poor upbringings in Jamaica. The chapters continue to dive deeper into his musical development with Bunny Livingston and Peter Tosh as The Wailers were created and released their first local hit single, "Simmer Down" in 1964.

The book gives insight into the development of the group's sound with Marley becoming the lead figure of the band. All 13 of Bob Marley And The Wailers' albums are covered extensively with their own write-up, separate from the story of his rise to international stardom. The book goes on to include the turmoil within the band between Marley, Livingston and Tosh as Marley was heading into a more Americanized reggae sound, which made him into one of the biggest names in music during the seventies.

The book also sheds light onto Marley's political agenda of one world united by love, which was not an easy task. He would use his music to empower the less fortunate and give hope for unity. Most of the stories center around the session work that went into his albums and also follows the solo work of Peter Tosh and Bunny Livingston, as Tosh became another international music star. The final chapters deal with Marley's untimely illness and death and the amazing legacy that continues to this day.

This new hardcover release features over 300 photos, images, illustrations and memorabilia. Author Richie Unterberger has made this book into the authoritative history of one of the greatest musical artists of all time, Bob Marley. To find out more about "Bob Marley And The Wailers: The Ultimate Illustrated History," please visit quartoknows.com.

The second book is a cookbook that was recently published by Bob Marley's son, Rohan Marley. It features 100 recipes that include the Marley name brand of coffee as a key ingredient. Rohan Marley, along with fellow chef Maxcel Hardy III and food editor Rosemary Black, have created some unique ways to use Marley Coffee in everything from honey-glazed chicken to curry & coffee-braised lamb.

The short introduction gives you a little background into who Rohan Marley is and how he came to fall in love with creating amazing dishes. The book is divided up into chapters that cover breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert and everything in-between. The beautiful full color pictures of almost every dish or treat will inspire you to create these wonderful dishes using the many different blends of Marley Coffee. With step-by-step instructions, you will be wowing your spouse, family and friends in no time.

Each chapter begins with a slight background about being a coffee farmer and what Marley's family meals were like growing up in Jamaica. A little imagination, love and faith is all you need to create these iconic dishes. To find out more about "The Marley Coffee Cookbook," please visit quartoknows.com.

Friday, September 1, 2017

CD Review: Remembering The Sweet Sounds Of Classic Gospel Music With New "Jesus Rocked The Jukebox" Compilation

Arriving on September 15th is one of the greatest lessons in music with the arrival of a new compilation titled "Jesus Rocked The Jukebox: Small Group Black Gospel (1951-1965)." This new 40-track compilation will introduce you to the early days of gospel/R&B music which inspired everyone from Elvis Presley to Johnny Cash. It will be released as a triple LP or 2CD set and includes music from some famous groups like The Staple Singers and The Blind Boys Of Alabama.

The set begins with the rockabilly swing of "People Don't Sing Like They Used To Sing" by The Original Blind Boys as you can't help but move to the song's undeniable rhythm. The accapella delivery of "Jesus Gave Me Water" from The Soul Stirrers showcases the wonderful talents of the voices with-in these groups. The famous Staple Singers arrive with the blues of "Uncloudy Day" and the all girl group The Patterson Singers spark up interest with "I Am So Glad." The warming deep vocals of "Oh Sinner" and "Wade In The Water" by The Harmonizing Four, will make you fan of this music before you finish the first disc. The Staple Singers return with the up-tempo gospel number "Pray On"," before the first disc finishes with the power of The Harmonizing Four's vocals on "It's In My Heart."

The second disc begins much like the first with the gospel swing of "After While" from The Pilgrim Travelers and continues with the sweet tones of The Patterson Singers' "Heavenly Father." The Staple Singers show up twice on this second disc, first with the beautiful harmonizing of "Sit Down Servant" and again with the more upbeat rhythm of "Help Me Jesus." The Harmonizing Four also have two songs appear on this second disc. First is the doo-wop sounding ballad "Happy Home" and the other is the deep singing of "Hallelujah." The set finishes with the soulful sounds of the Blind Boys of Alabama with "He's Alright" and The Swan Silvertones return to close out this new release with the "Lord's Prayer." To find out more about the new compilation "Jesus Rocked The Jukebox," please visit concordmusicgroup.com.