Good Morning to all those that have been following my reviews. This morning I want to introduce you to the New York native jazz vocalist Leiza Michaels, who is showcasing her great voice and songwriting talents with the EP called New Standards which is released on the Starburst Records label. This brand new album of six original songs which she co-wrote with Jay Carney of Starburst records reminds me of the sound of Cole Porter, George Gershwin, and many others with such amazing tracks as Movin’ Too Slow, The Older You Get, Charm Me and much more. This release presents an amazing performance and superb recording which is available on CD and digital download from Starburst Records and other music outlets. In closing, I want to thank Jay Carney of Starburst Records for turning me on to this great album.
Last Light On The Highway is the May 8, 2020 album by blues and country-infused rock n’ roll quintet Robert Jon and the Wreck out of Orange County, California comprising of Robert Jon Burrison on vocals and guitar, Andrew Espantman on drums, Steve Maggiora keyboards and vocals, Henry James on lead guitar and vocals, and Warren Murrel on bass and vocals. This eleven-song album amazing vocals and great guitar riffs features such great tracks as Oh Miss Carolina, Can’t Stand It, Don’t Let Me Go, One Last Time, the title track Last Light On The Highway which is in two parts and much more. I was quite moved by the performance on this album, as well as great songwriting and a superb recording. I am looking forward to hearing more from this amazing band, as well as hearing their earlier work. Last Light on the Highway will be available on CD, Vinyl, Limited Edition Deluxe colored vinyl (blue and white speckled) and various bundles including Signed Deluxe Edition Vinyl, Ltd Edition T-shirt, Signed CD, Ltd Edition collectors badge set and signed Ltd Edition poster of Robert Jon & The Wreck. The album and bundles are available for pre-order Friday 27th March from http://www.robertjonandthewreck.com/ where you can learn more about this band, their music, and tour schedule when this coronavirus situation is over.
Nektar’s album Live From The Wildey Theatre was filmed on March 7, 2020, on their Up Close And Intimate Tour of North America. This show performed in Edwardsville, Illinois focuses on new and classic Nektar tracks spanning their 50 Year career as a band. The psychedelic progressive rock band Nektar comprises of Randy Dembo on bass, 1 string guitar, bass pedals and vocals, Kendall Scott on keyboards and vocals, Ryche Chlanda on guitar and vocals, Ron Howden on drums, and Derek “Mo” Moore on bass. This fourteen track album features such greats songs as The Light Beyond, The Devil’s Door, Love Is The Other Side, It’s All Over, I’m On Fire and so much more. I first listened to the audio tracks which I enjoyed tremendously before watching the video of the concert. Both the audio and video were well performed and recorded in addition to excellent songwriting. I hope one day I will get the opportunity to this band live if they play in my area. You can purchase this album from the band’s official website https://nektarsmusic.com/ where you can also learn about this band, their music, and more.
The other day I received the CD The Dark Hores; At A Time When Time Was Irrelevant, the debut album by Zilverbacks with vibrant layers of guitars accompanied by lead vocalist Chris Harris’ distinct vocal tone. I was quite impressed with this eight-song album with such tracks as Real Lies, Breakthrough, Woman and much more. This album showcases a great performance, excellent songwriting talent, and superb recording. I was also impressed with how Chris did everything on this album, playing all the instruments, recorded and produced this release. This is an artist I hope to hear much more of in the future. The digital download album is available from Soundcloud, Bandcamp, and other music outlets. To get the CD, learn more about this artist and his music go to his Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/zilverbacks
Usually when someone asks me to review a single, usually tell them I don’t have time to review singles, just full albums. When I heard the single (Don’t Want to) Live Without You by the WannaBeatles guitarist Bryan Cumming, it hit me so much that I must review this song. Recently Bryan lost his wife of 26 years, Holly Cumming. Bryan told me, “My wife Holly went into the hospital on February 16. The next day I could feel my heart saying ‘I don’t want to live without you…I can… I will if I have to….but I don’t want to.’ Holly was in the hospital for 12 days, and I played guitar in her room every day. It was soft, sweet music, just like the music she and I had made together for the Bilateral Music albums.”. When Holly passed away, part of his coping with her death was writing this beautiful song. I had the honor of meeting Holly last Fourth of July when the WannaBeatles performed here in Jonesborough. She is a sweet lady and I enjoyed talking to her and she will be missed. This is a beautiful song with great vocals and acoustic guitar work and when you listen to the lyrics you can tell that he can live on after you lose someone you love instead of going into a deep depression like many people do. This is a song that I feel that would work well on country radio and I know you will love. This song should be available soon through Amazon, Spotify, Itunes and CD Baby. In closing, I want to thank my friend Bryan Cumming for giving me the honor of listening to this song because especially with this Coronavirus epidemic going on and people dying from it, it is the perfect song for their loved ones to hear and move on.
Todd Rundgren’s cult prog/art-rock outfit Utopia released a mere handful of studio albums in several incarnations starting in 1974 before retiring in the early ‘80s. Yet the band has managed to maintain an intensely devout fanbase that enthusiastically flocked to sold-out performances when Rundgren revived the act for a national tour in 2018. When Todd Rundgren’s Utopia, Moogy “Mark” Klingman, fell ill. As Klingman’s health deteriorated and his medical bills began to pile up, Todd Rundgren’s Utopia reformed for special benefit engagements to raise money for their dear friend. The result was an astounding coming together in music and a spirit of compassion as former Utopia members, including Mr. Klingman himself, stepped on the stage behind their leader, Todd Rundgren, and gave the fans an incredible concert, one they wouldn’t soon forget. Now, a new box set collects together both the audio and video of the January 2011 Todd Rundgren’s Utopia reunion show as well as the November show later that year recorded just a few days after Klingman’s passing. The entire box, titled Benefit For Moogy Klingman, is a multi-media treasure trove featuring 4 audio discs and 2 DVDs with special features that include interviews with the band members and a gorgeous booklet with extensive liner notes and photos. The box is set to be released on May 1 courtesy of Purple Pyramid Records, a division of Cleopatra Records, Inc. This twenty-eight track collection features both uptempo and ballads with such tracks as Never Never Land, Dust In The Wind, Another Life, Heavy Metal Kids, The Wheel, Do Ya, Last Ride and so much more. I was quite impressed with the performance on this album as well as Todd’s great songwriting talent and a superb recording. I have been a big fan of Utopia for many years so I was excited when I got the opportunity to review this album. You can get your copy of this amazing collection from Amazon, FYE, Cleopatra Records and many other music outlets. In closing, I want to send out a big thank you to Billy from Glass Onyon PR for turning me on to this awesome collection.
Back in August of 2017, we saw an ad for a CD free for the cost of postage, so I ordered the CD Ten Cent Tour by the band The Empty Pockets. I was impressed with the sound of it that I decided to write a review on the album. Moving forward over two and a half years later, I received package in the mail today with two CDs, a nice t-shirt and the signed vinyl copy of the album Voices with a nice note that said “Thanks for such a nice review of our album Ten Cent Tour, It means a lot to us” signed The Empty Pockets. I also received a message from Josh Solomon thanking me for the 2017 review and that he and Erika Brett first saw the review a few days ago. I am glad they finally got the chance to read and like the review. Voices is the September 1, 2017 album by the Empty Pockets which features Josh Solomon, Erika Brett, Nate Bellon, and Danny Rosenthal on the MT Pockets Records label which features vocals of energetic pop-leaning country Americana, with careful and bright vocal harmonies on such songs on this ten-track album such as Voices In My Head, I Am Strong, The Bubble, Need To Know and so much more. I was quite moved by their performance, their songwriting skills, and how this album was recorded. If you have not had the chance to hear this amazing band yet, please give them a listen, you will not regret it. This great album is available as a digital download from Amazon, Itunes, and all other music retailers. It is also available on autographed Vinyl from https://the-empty-pockets.myshopify.com plus you will be able to learn more about this amazing band, their other music releases and their current tour schedule by going to their official website http://theemptypockets.com.
Grammy Award-winning musician David Clayton-Thomas has announced the release of his latest album, Say Somethin’ which is set for release on March 20, 2020, via Linus Records. This former frontman for one of my childhood favorite bands Blood Sweat and Tears showcases some great tracks on this ten-song album in the form of potent music and inspirational songwriting from the legendary artist. In addition, the album confronts many timely issues across today’s social spectrum, including climate change, immigration, and politics with such songs as Never Again, Clayton-Thomas’ powerful battle cry calling attention to the gun violence plaguing the U.S. and The System, his insistent calls for action within the youth justice system. Other noteworthy tracks on this album feature Dear Mr. Obama, This Town, A Bright Shining City and so much more. I was quite moved by his songwriting talent, his amazing performance, and a superb recording. This voice is still as strong as ever and after I finish this review, I think I will pull my old Blood Sweat and Tears album out and listen to it on my turntable. This release will be available on CD and digital download on March 20th from Amazon, Linus Records, and other music outlets. I need to find a way to get my hands on his other solo releases.
Slice Of Life: Live Solo is the March 31, 2009 double CD by Bruce Cockburn, a Canadian singer-songwriter and guitarist released on the Rounder/UMGD Records label. Recorded in 2008 over a series of dates, this is Bruce’s Cockburn’s first live solo recording. It’s a double CD that showcases a cross-section of Cockburn’s finest songs and some of his most dazzling guitar work with such tracks as Last Night Of The World, Soul Of A Man, Tramps In The Street, If I Had A Rocket Launcher, Tie Me At The Crossroads, Wondering Where the Lions Are, Lovers in a Dangerous Time, and so much more. This album shows his great work as a songwriter as well as a great performance and how well this release was recorded and produced. I am definitely looking forward to listening to more by this great artist. This release is available on CD and digital download from Amazon, Discogs and other outlets where music is sold. You can find out Bruce’s tour schedule and other info on this artist by going to his website http://brucecockburn.com
This past Saturday, I finally got the opportunity to see a band live that I have been waiting for some 45 years to see. On February 15, 2020, I finally got to see Y&T at The Grey Eagle in Ashville, North Carolina which is over an hour’s drive from me. Opening for Y&T was a great heavy rock band Red Reign. Red Reign is from Richmond, Virginia and features the line up of Carlton “Bubba” McMichael on lead vocals and guitar, Steve Shred on Lead guitar and backup vocals, Larry Moore on bass and back up vocals and Sammy Lee on drums. I loved their energetic performance as they played original tracks from their EP and some new songs not yet recorded. I totally enjoyed their performance plus getting the opportunity to talk to all the band members plus getting my EP signed all of the members. This is a band I am looking forward to hearing more from. After a short break, it was time to hear the band I have been looking forward to Y&T (originally known as Yesterday & Today) is an American hard rock/heavy metal band formed in 1974 in Oakland, California. This band features the current line up of Dave Meniketti on lead vocals and guitar, John Nymann on guitar and backing vocals, Mike Vanderhule on drums and Aaron Leigh on bass and backing vocals. This amazing band gave a high energy performance with they performed many of their tracks from the many albums they have released over the years. This is a band I hope to see again. I have been talking to their member John Nymann for several years on Facebook and finally got the opportunity to talk to him in person. John took a few minutes out of his busy schedule to talk to me, which I was quite honored. I was hoping to meet the rest of the band, but I did not get the opportunity, maybe another time. The Grey Eagle is a great venue with friendly staff, a nice size venue of about 500 person capacity, clean, and plenty of seating in the bar area. I am not a fan of Mexican food which is all they served but that is okay. All and all I enjoyed the experience of that evening.