The Red Planet is a studio album by English keyboardist and former member of Yes, Rick Wakeman, released on 19 June 2020 on the R&D Media and Madfish Music Records label and featuring an alternative line-up of his backing band, The English Rock Ensemble which features Dave Colquhoun on guitars, Lee Pomeroy on bass and Ash Soan on drums. Wakeman revealed that it will take form as an instrumental progressive rock album that is “keyboard-heavy” in a similar style to his 1973 debut, The Six Wives of Henry VIII. This eight-song album with connections to space features such tracks as Ascraeus Mons, Arsia Mons, Olympus Mons, Pavonis Mons. This great release features an amazing performance, excellent songwriting talent, and a superb recording. I have been a big fan of Rick Wakeman since his days this yes and his earlier solo work. If you are a big Rick Wakeman fan like I am, you will definitely want to add this album to your music library. This awesome release is available on Vinyl, CD, and digital download from Amazon and many other music retailers.
As He Now Appears is the instrumental debut album by Elliot Nelson, a British born instrumental solo artist, composer, and producer from the north of England released on August 7, 2020. Elliot is the son of Be-box Deluxe frontman Bill Nelson and on this album, he brings to this album a mixture of various music genres from electronic, jazz, ambient classical, and experimental rock. This eleven-song album features such great tracks as the title track As He Now Appears, The Ethereal Balloon, God’s Pythons, From The Blonde To The Beast and so much more. I was impressed with the performance on this album as well as the brilliant songwriting talent and a superb recording. This is an artist I am looking forward to hearing more from in the future. This amazing release is available on digital download from Bandcamp and other music outlets.
Love is the second album by Southern California based progressive rock band Staring Into Nothing released March 13, 2020, featuring founders Steve Rogers (keyboards and vocals) and Kurt Barabas (bass, vocals, and guitars) who take a Steely Dan-esque approach to music creation, using the studio and a revolving cast of world-class collaborators to create music that observes and scrutinizes the human experience. Joining Rogers and Barabas on this album are Gregg Bissonette (David Lee Roth, Santana, Ringo Starr) on drums, Victor Bisetti (Los Lobos) on percussion, Mike Keneally (Zappa, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani) on guitars, Trey Gunn (King Crimson, John Paul Jones) on Warr Guitar, Dave Nachmanoff (Al Stewart) on background vocals/acoustic guitar and Danny T. Levin (Iggy Pop, Twenty One Pilots, Vampire Weekend) on horns. This twelve track album starts off with songs titled after the four seasons Winter, Spring, Summer, and Autumn, then moves into such tracks as Beautiful Delusion, Only Love, Amazing Grace, and much more. I enjoyed this album from start to finish with that great soft rock sound, excellent vocals, and great instrumentation. I was quite impressed with the performance on this album as well as superb songwriting and recording. This is a perfect album to listen to in the morning while you are working up to listen to something heavier later in the day. I hope to get the opportunity to hear their first album to see the growth from the first album to the present. This album is one I would highly recommend that you add to your music library and is available from Bandcamp, Amazon and other music outlets where CD’s and digital downloads are sold. To learn more about this band and their music, go to their official website https://www.staringintonothing.com/
Transitory is the fourth album I have reviewed by the award-winning aeronautical engineer, music producer, and songwriter Dr. Chrispy (AKA Dr. Chris Boshulzen), released on August 7, 2020, on the Interplanetary Records label. This seven-track EP is a collection of short stories woven over old school beats and instrumentation, with a mixture of live, sampled, and electronic instruments to create a nostalgic feeling with each song describing a certain time of day whether it is morning afternoon or evening. I was quite impressed with the performance as well as how it was written, recorded, and produced. I am always looking forward to seeing what this amazing artist does next. You can find this EP at Bandcamp, Spotify and other outlets where music is sold. You can learn more about this artist and his other releases by going to https://drchrispy.bandcamp.com/
After almost a two month hiatus due to my move to Florida and getting settled, I am back with a review for a band I have reviewed twice in the past. What do you get when you take two theatrical lead vocalists, a keyboard player from Juilliard, a versatile rock virtuoso on guitar, a zany bass player from another galaxy, and a drummer with progressive rock in his DNA? The answer is the progressive rock band Circuline and their forthcoming live Blu-Ray/DVD/CD called Circulive: New View set to be released on October 9, 2020 on the Innernova Records label. The album was recorded at the Union County Performing Arts Center in Rahway, New Jersey in 2017 and features Andrew Colyer on keyboards, vocals and percussion, Darin Brannon on drum and keyboards, Natalie Brown on lead vocals and percussion, William “Billy” Spillane on lead vocals and rhythm guitars, Joel Simches on bass, drums and acoustic guitar and Alek Darson on lead and rhythm guitars. This album has an amazing sound that is live with this thirteen track album which features such tracks as Black Sun, Nautilus, Fallout Shelter, Summit and so much more. I was very impressed with the songwriting growth as well as the recording and performance on this amazing live album which will be available on October 9th everywhere that CDs and digital downloads are sold.
Los Angeles based indie label Cleopatra Records and Hungarian-born songwriter/producer/musician Leslie Mandoki, the mastermind behind the living, breathing art-rock project Mandoki Soulmates, are proud to announce the release of the first full-length album since the two entities joined forces earlier this year. Living In The Gap + Hungarian Pictures which was released October 11, 2019, is actually a double album which along with Leslie Mandoki features performances by Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson, Supertramp’s John Helliwell & John Siebenberg, Toto’s Bobby Kimball Manfred Mann’s Chris Thompson, Cream’s Jack Bruce, Jazz-Rock giants Al Di Meola, Cory Henry, Mike Stern, Randy Brecker, Bill Evans, Richard Bona and many more! This nineteen track progressive rock album features such great tracks as the title track Living In The Gap, Old Rebels, Wake Up, Mother Europe, Utopia For Realists, Transylvanian Dances, Return To Budapest and so much more. I was quite moved with the performance on this collection as well as excellent songwriting and a superb recording. This amazing album is available on CD and digital download from Amazon, Discogs, Cleopatra Records, and all other retailers where music is sold. While you are at it be sure to check out Mandoki Soulmates and Ian Anderson’s special tribute to the heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic – hospital workers, grocery store clerks, food delivery drivers, and others – on the digital EP, We Say Thank You! Proceeds from the EP will be donated to The United Nations Foundation’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund in support of the WHO (World Health Organization) and The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City. In closing, I want to thank Red Rock Productions for the very impressive promo pack with CD, several books with information and photos, and a flash drive with the song We Say Thank You. I hope to hear the earlier work from this amazing group as well as their future releases.
Observer is the upcoming album by Life On Mars scheduled for release on June 29, 2020. This album is the second review I have done for collaboration, consisting of Fernando Perdomo which I have reviewed fourteen times and is both producer, engineer and artist on vocals and most instruments, Earl Kayoss, who on my second review is the principal songwriter, producer, and artist on vocals, guitar, and piano. This album also features special guest appearances from Zak Nilsson on lead vocals, Salvador Navarra on piano, synthesizer, and the legendary Scarlet Rivera (Bob Dylan/Joni Mitchell) on violin. This seventeen track fourth album of new original songs are varied and range from ballads to some of the hardest rock you will ever hear and everything in between. I enjoyed this album from start to finish with such tracks as And One Day, The Ghost Of Elvin Hawkins, The Tall Man, The Hotel Underground, No Sky and so much more. In addition to an amazing performance, this release features great songwriting talent and a superb recording. I highly recommend this album to your music library which will be available in CD and digital download format on June 29th from Bandcamp and other music outlets.
Chepleeri Dream is the new album coming June 12, 2020, on the Cleopatra Records Records label by Indian violinist, vocalist, composer, and record producer L. Shankar which features Korn’s Jonathan Davis, world-renowned Vedic chanter P.N. Sivarama Krishnan, King Crimson’s Tony Levin, Chester Thompson (Phil Collins / Genesis / Frank Zappa), Scott Page of Supertramp & Pink Floyd, Jane’s Addiction drummer Stephen Perkins, Norwood Fisher of Fishbone, and others! This eleven-track album features such great songs as In My Heart, Can’t Wait, Oceans Waves, Patience, and much more. I enjoyed this album from start to finish with a powerful performance, amazing songwriting talent, and a superb recording. This is definitely an album you will want to add to your rock library which is will be available on June 22 from Cleopatra Records, Apple Music, and many other music retailers where CDs, Vinyl, and digital downloads are sold. To learn more about this amazing artist, his music and more go to his official website http://lshankar.com/
The other day I received the 20 September 2019 signed vinyl album by Ex Norwegian called Something Unreal: The Best Of on the Think Like A Key Records label. Ex Norwegian consists of Roger Houdaille playing most of the instruments on this album along with my good friend and talented musician Fernando Perdomo doing the drum work and more. This fifteen track vinyl and 48 track CD contains such great work as the title track Something Unreal, Unstoppable, Feelin’ It, Sudeki Lover, Love Is, I Like The Way, Hold Please, and much more. The two-CD set also contains a nice selection of live tracks. I was quite impressed with the performance on this album as well as Roger’s songwriting talent and a superb recording. In the upcoming weeks I will be sharing my review on the other vinyl he sent me called Hue Spotting and a CD called Spotting Hues. You can pick up your own copy of this vinyl, CD, or digital download from Amazon, https://shop.exnorwegian.com/music, and many other music outlets. To learn more about this amazing artist and his music, go to his official website https://www.exnorwegian.com/ where you can get your hands on his other recordings and much more.
Instantine is the May 15, 2020 release by DVR, a studio music project by singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Olav Christensen. Originally from Denmark, Christensen is now based in Brooklyn, NY, and writes, records, produces, and masters all his music. This is my fourth review for this artist, my last one was for the album All Good Things which he sent me as a Vinyl which I still listen to on my turntable. This eighteen track release which is only available as a digital download in which I am very impressed with the growth on this album both as a songwriter and an artist with such great tracks as Agonizing Rhythm Of Time, Anytime Now, Golden Hour, When I See, Weather and so much more and can be purchased as of today from his Bandcamp page https://dvrmusic.bandcamp.com/