Wasteland – The Purgatory by Seether

I have been a major fan of the South African band Seether since the beginning and built a nice CD library of them and have a few vinyl of them in my collection.  My latest add to my collection is the the 5 song EP Wasteland- The Purgatory on the Frontier Records label which features features Shawn Morgan on guitar and lead vocals, Dale Stewart on bass and backing vocals, John Humphrey on drums and new member Corey Lowery on lead guitar and backing vocals and was recorded in Nashville, Tennessee.  The CD version and digital download version was released on June 22, 2021 and the vinyl version will be released October 22, 2021.  The five song album features a regular and alternate version of the song Wasteland from their recent full album Si Vis Pacem Para Bellum which was released June 24, 2020.  The rest of the album features three never-before-heard tracks What Would You Do, Will It Ever End, and my favorite of the new tracks Feast Or Famine.  This amazing CD was well performed, great song writing by Shawn Morgan and a superb recording.   If you are a major Seether fan like I am, you will definitely want to add this to your collection.  I plan to get the vinyl version of this EP in the future. You can get your copy on Vinyl, CD or digital download from Amazon and many other music retailers.  Please go to their official website https://www.seether.com/ to learn more about this band and their music.

Open Road by Colin James

Multi-award-winning, chart-topping, and multi-platinum-selling guitarist Colin James releases his 20th studio album on November 5, 2021 via Stony Plain Records titled Open Road.  This will be my fourth review for this amazing Canadian artist, my last being National Steel in 2019.  This thirteen track album is a slight departure from Colin’s last few albums and leans more into the Americana/blues/ roots categories, fueled by standout performances from drummer, Geoff Hicks, bassists Steve Pelletier and Norm Fisher, B3 wizards Simon Kendall and Jesse O’ Brien, and rhythm guitarist Chris Caddell plus Steve Marriner on harmonica, Jesse O’Brien on piano, and saxophonists Jerry Cook and Steve Hilliam completes the sound along with Colin James substantial vocal and guitar chops on such tracks as As The Crow Flies, the title track Open Road, Raging River, It Takes TimeBad Boy, and so much more.  I was quite moved by the performance on this album along with amazing musicianship, excellent songwriting and a superb recording.  This is a release you will want to add to your music library which will be available on Vinyl, CD and digital download from Amazon, Apple Music, and many other music retailers.   Please check out his official website https://colinjames.com/ to learn more about this artist and his music.

The Shed Sessions Volume 1 & 2 by Chantel McGregor

Critically acclaimed British blues rock guitarist and singer-songwriter, Chantel McGregor released two new albums titled The Shed Sessions Volume 1 & 2.  The first volume (acoustic) has been available since July and the second volume (electric) was released August 2, 2021 with her current band members, Colin Sutton on bass and Thom Gardner on drums, they form an awesome power trio playing an eclectic mix of blues based tunes, composed by Chantel, ranging from traditional blues numbers complimented perfectly by the purity of her singing voice, to a much more raunchy blues rock style.  She also collaborated with Jamie Brooks on keyboards in this project which only real similarity between the two albums is that both of them were recorded in a bedroom where a wardrobe was used as a vocal booth and all during the pandemic.   Volume 1is acoustic and features all cover versions withracks from the likes of Stevie Nicks, Peter Gabriel, Steve Winwood and METALLICA. With this album Ms McGregor has managed to pull off an incredibly rare feat and made every track her own. Sledgehammerby Peter Gabriel is a prime example of this, as well as James Taylor’s Fire and Rain, Neil Young’s Needle And The Damage Done, Jimi Hendrix’s Voodoo Chile and so much more.  Volume 2 is a slightly more eclectic affair but just as sublime with racks by such artists as Jewel, Radioheadand Tori Amos get the Chantel treatment as well as her own material such as tracks Walk On Land and April.  Other tracks on volume two that I fell in love with Jewel’s Foolish Games,  George Gershwin’s Summertime, Drive Home and much more.   It is only my personal taste but I didn’t like her version of the radiohead classic Creep (One of my favorite songs).  I felt her version was a little irritating to my ears on the high parts.  All in all, I felt both albums features an amazing performance, brilliant musicianship, powerful vocals and a superb recording.  I still recommend this album for your music library.  I would love the opportunity to hear her earlier work to see her growth as a performer and songwriter.  Both albums are available from Spotify, Discogs and many other music retailers as well as her official website https://www.chantelmcgregor.com/ where you can learn more about her music, her recent tour and much more. After I posted this review, I noticed that wrote a review on one of her previous albums Bury’d Alive back in 2019.

Fire And Soul by Guido Stoecker’s Bodyguerra

As a German modern rock band, Guido Stoecker’s Bodyguerra embodies heavy and punchy guitar, driver rock that is characterized by Guido Stoecker’s guitar playing, complimented by Christian Anwerpen’s heavy drumming and bassist Daniel “Danji” Perl’s driving bass lines, the band provides the foundation for Ela Sturm’s vocals with its four octave range and her voice sounds equally impressive in the lows as well as in the highs.  The result is their latest album Fire And Soul is scheduled for released on October 15, 2021 on the Fast Ball Records label.  This thirteen track album which includes two bonus tracks features such great songs as Danger Zone, Behind the Clouds, Steelheart, the title track Fire & Soul, and so much more.  I was quite moved by the performance on this project, as well as the creative songwriting and superb recording.  This is a band, that I would love to hear more from, especially their album Freddy: Nothing As It Seems to hear the growth of this band from 2013 to the present as a band and as songwriters.  This amazing album is available from Fast Ball Records and from their official website https://www.bodyguerra.com/ where you can learn more about this band, their music, and their schedule when they commence touring again.

Leonid And Friends at The Plaza Live in Orlando, Florida

Have you ever heard a band and you love their music so much and you said to yourself, “I must see this band perform in person”.  Well my wish came true this past Saturday, October 2, 2021 when I got to see Russia based band Leonid and Friends perform at the Plaza Live in Orlando Florida.  This amazing band that started in 2014 with the video of Brand New Love Affair by Chicago created a youtube sensation plus becoming a regular band giving homage to the American band Chicago and their music. Since then Leonid & Friends has recorded videos of other Chicago hits including Make Me Smile25 or 6 to 4, and Saturday In The Park and much more. All total the videos have received more than 50 million views. Also, Leonid & Friends has recorded three albums showcasing its tribute to Chicago.  This band has gone through several member changes and the current lineup consists of Leonid Vorobyev on vocals, piano, and bass, Vasily Akimov on vocals, Igor Javad-Zade on drums, Konstantin Kovachev on lead guitar , Andrey Zyl on trumpet and flugelhorn, Maxim Likhachev on trombone, Oleg Kudryavtsev on saxophone, Sergey Kureav  on keyboards and backing vocal, Serge Tiagniryadno on vocals and guitar, Ksenia Buzina  and Danil Buranov vocals.  This evening started out amazing, after a two and a half hour drive from Lakeland, Florida to Orlando I was met by my friend and Leonid and Friends representative Chris Nibeck, given a VIP lanyard and with several other guests taken into the showroom for a special treat, a mini concert by Leonid and Friends of songs that is not normally played at the main concert.  They took time out to answer questions such as favorite Chicago song, mine being Street Player and I got the big surprise, they played that song for me.  This mini concert was actually a sound check, but a major treat as well.  After the sound check they took a group photo with all of us with VIP Passes and signed what we brought.  To make sure I had something for them to sign, I went to a local music shop and bought a drum head which is written in the middle Leonid and Friends in English and Russian, then all the band members signed the drumhead which will look good on my wall at home.  After a little time to get a drink, use restroom etc. and find your seat, the band started the show, playing all the big hits of Chicago such as Beginnings, Old Days, Introduction, I’ve Been Searching So Long and many more.  You can close your eyes and feel that you were actually at a Chicago concert with amazing musicianship, powerful vocals and superb harmonies.  Toward the end of the show that played I’m A Man featuring a great drum solo by Igor Javad-Zade  and then my other all time favorite song by Chicago 25 to 6 to 4.  I got to tell you, if this band is ever playing in your area, please don’t miss it because you will miss hearing one of the most amazing bands of all time.  To learn more about this exciting band as well find out where they will be playing near you, please go to their official website http://leonidandfriends.band/ and also check out their videos on you tube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCD5ZsXiIFlrWrbOCM6rEDKQ. In closing, I want to thank the management and staff at The Plaza Live for their friendliness, efficiency, and comfort, making it a perfect place to go for concerts.