Voices by The Empty Pockets

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.

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Say Something by David Clayton Thomas

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.

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Slice O Life: Live Solo by Bruce Cockburn

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 StreetIf I Had A Rocket LauncherTie Me At The CrossroadsWondering Where the Lions AreLovers 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

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Y&T and Red Reign at The Grey Eagle in Ashville, North Carolina

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 ReignRed 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.

Amplified by The Wylde Things

As I work toward my 1600th music review, I have chosen for my 1584th review the album Amplified by the UK band The Wylde Things released May 11, 2019, on the Moonwood Recordings label which fuses hillbilly and blues with electronic trickery and the message that music can cross any genre and shake up your soul.  This amazing band consists of Gina Fashioni on vocals and keyboards, Monty Malpas on drums, toolshed percussion and drum programming, Rich Mawdsley on bass and acoustic guitars, Emma Mawdsley on vocals and keyboards and Lou Fashioni on guitar, keyboards and synthesizers.  This twelve track album gets your body moving with that disco sound on the song If You Don’t Want Love and rock sound on such tracks as Catch My Breath, Never Say Die and much others going to the track Things You Say (A Song For Lily) which has a mixture of rock, disco and a bit of hillbilly thrown in (which was my favorite track off this album).  I was quite impressed by the vocals and performance on this album, plus how it was written and recorded.  Looking at this album notes, I noted that this album is dedicated to Leanne (Lily) Johnson and also found out that all proceeds from the album will be donated to Cancer Research UK.  I am quite looking forward to hearing a whole lot more from this amazing band.  You can get your own copy of this digital download from Amazon, Bandcamp, and many other music outlets.

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A Journey Beyond Understanding by Cousin Silas and Head Joint

A Journey Beyond Understanding is the January 31, 2015 album on the Petrogly Records label by Cousin Silas, the stage name of English electronic artist David Hughes and Head Joint, an progressive rock band featuring Victor Rivkin from Atlanta, Georgia on vocals, guitar, keyboards, trumpet and bass and Michael Jobborn from Ontario, Canada on keyboards, Hammond organ, guitars, piano, flute, violin, xaphoon, tin whistle, clarinet, pan flute, fife, and harmonica. This nine-track album has a very unique sound which I found very relaxing with such tracks as the title track A Journey Beyond Understanding, An Adventure In An Unknown Star System, No Balance On The Moon Parts One Two and Three, plus much more.  The first two tracks are over twelve minutes long.  I was quite impressed with the work on this album with how it was written, performed and recorded.  I am looking forward to listening to more music from this record label.  You can find this album from Discogs and https://petroglyphmusic.bandcamp.com/album/a-journey-beyond-understanding

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Daybreaking Live by Roz Vitalis

Daybreaking Live is the album recorded live at the Babooinumfest, the progressive rock festival organized by Sergey Gorchaninov and his band OT&DO. This album includes mainly Roz Vitalis’ newest stuff, composed, arranged and developed in 2018 and 2019.  This album released January 10, 2020, features the lineup Ruslan Kirillov on bass guitar, Vladislav Korotkikh on flute, Ivan Rozmainsky on electric piano & synth, Vladimir Semenov and Tyan-Shansky – electric guitar and Evgeny Trefilov on drums, mixing, and mastering.  This eight-track album features such tracks as Mother of All Rain (from Patience of Hope album), Fret Not Thyself Because of Evildoers and Psalm 6 (both from The Hidden Man of the Heart album) and several more.  I enjoyed listening to this album and was impressed with the songwriting, the performance and how this was recorded.  This album is available from Bandcamp and other digital outlets.

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10 Years, In The Whale, and The Kindest People at Capone’s in Johnson City, Tennessee

On Thursday, December 26, 2019, I experienced the great sounds of local and national bands at Capone’s in Johnson City, Tennessee with The Kindest People, In The Whale and 10 Years.  This sold-out show started with The Kindest People an Indie/Garage/Punk band from Johnson City, Tennessee featuring Matthew Sykes on guitar, keyboards and vocals, Spencer Otey on guitar and backing vocals, Evan Rice on Bass and backing vocals and Matthew Dougherty on drums. Their high energy show featured original music from their album Observations From The Alternate and others, plus a great performance. I got the opportunity to talk to this band for a long time after their show and planned to see them again which I did a couple days later.  After a short break for set up it was time for the next band In The Whale, an American alternative rock band from Greeley, Colorado composed of Nathaniel Valdez on lead vocals and guitar and Eric Riley on drums and vocals.  As I was coming back into the club, I was hearing a great sound and when I looked, I was shocked to see this great sound coming from only two people as they played tracks from their album Dopamine and previous work.  Their performance was definitely high energy and got the crowd ready for the final performance of the night which was the Knoxville, Tennessee American alternative metal band called 10 Years featuring Jesse Hasek on lead vocals, Brian Vodinh on lead and rhythm guitar and backing vocals, Matt Wantland on rhythm guitar, Luke Narey on drums and Chad Grennor on bass.  I have been waiting to see this band again since 98Rockfest that took place in Ladson, South Carolina on April 22, 2018, but I missed the opportunity to get my vinyl album (How To Live) As Ghost signed during their autograph session.  I finally got my album signed just before they went on stage.  Thanks to a new friend that I made with one of the opening acts band I could see this performance from the sound area in which I could see the band from above as they performed tracks from their album (How To Live) As Ghost and other albums. This band gave a great performance  As always I enjoyed this venue with a great and friendly staff.

Great Dirty World by Gowan

Great Dirty World is the third studio album by Canadian musician Gowan, who is the current keyboardist and vocalist for the band Styx, originally released in 1987 on Columbia Records and reissued on May 22, 2012, on the Linus Entertainment Records label.  This album spawned three singles, Moonlight Desires (which features the background vocals of Yes former vocalist Jon Anderson), Awake the Giant, and Living in the Golden Age.  Other notable tracks are Human Drama, 60 Second Nightmare and much more.  I was quite impressed with his vocal style, his great songwriting, and performance as well as the recording of this album.  This is the first time I have heard this artist and am looking forward to hearing more from him.  This great album is available from Amazon, Discogs, and many other outlets as well as his official website http://www.gowan.org where you can learn more about the artist and his music.

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Shaved Fish by John Lennon

Shaved Fish is a compilation album by John Lennon and the Plastic Ono Band, issued on October 20, 1975, from Apple Records. It contains all of the singles that he had issued up to that point in the United States as a solo artist and is the only compilation of Lennon’s non-Beatles recordings released during his lifetime.  This eleven-track album features such great hits as Imagine, Mind Games, Instant Karma, Give Peace A Chance, my favorite Christmas song of all time Happy Xmas (War Is Over) and so much more.  This compilation was well written, recorded and performed.  If you were only able to add one John Lennon record to your library, this should be the one.  This great compilation is still available on Vinyl, CD and digital download from Amazon, Discogs, and many other music outlets