31 August 2006

Uplift-Nothing Left Behind

Artist: Uplift
Title: Nothing Left Behind
Genre: Metal-Rock
Label: Mohawk Recording Group
Website

I always say there is nothing like some bone crunching metal cranked up all the way to give you the energy you need. There are days that I need that extra kick in the pants desperately and when I do, I like to reach for a CD like the new Uplift album Nothing Left Behind.

In eight rousing tracks Uplift makes a statement, they leave their mark, kind of like the territorial pissings of wild animals. I know that does not sound all that appealing but this is in your mug crash and burn guitars, courtesy of Garrett Bird with the juggernaut rhythm section of Michael Marino and Alex Fuller followed by the finishing touch of singer Jason Arigoni, who does a great job keeping up with all of that activity. And the dude does not growl or scream, he actually sings, how about that?

I think most people that enjoy some good loud and hard rock and/or metal will get off on this CD. I listened to it for one week straight while taking my daily jaunts in my car. It is perfect for cranking up and rolling down the windows on a hot summer day. I am not romanticizing the music. I am speaking about the joys of youth and all of that testosterone screaming from your body. This music goes hand in hand with that period of time when you are growing up.

Physically I cannot feel that way anymore but the music sure puts me in that space very quickly. For me that is magic, the power of suggestion, pounding into your brain via the sounds and words emanating from that shiny little disc. If this stuff does not make your heart beat faster, you had better check the obituaries to see if you are worm food and there is Nothing Left Behind.

© Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck

August 31, 2006

1. Pkr. (3:17)
2. Tolerance (3:39)
3. Weight (4:16)
4. Progress (3:33)
5. As Yet (3:42)
6. Transparent (3:27)
7. Rust (3:19)
8. Truth (5:04)

Uplift is:

Jason Arigoni-Voices
Michael Marino-Bass
Garrett Bird-Guitars
Alex Fuller-Drums

John Fogerty-The Long Road Home-In Concert

Artist: John Fogerty
Title: The Long Road Home-In Concert
Format: DVD
Genre:Rock
Label: Concord Music Group
Website


I like what John Fogerty says to the audience at the beginning of this concert. He states his music is simple straight-ahead rock ‘n’ roll. I always said the same thing about Fogerty and that is the strongest reason why I continue to enjoy his music-solo and CCR tracks.

The Long Road Home-In Concert is the follow up to his greatest hits compilation, the CD that finally put together the best of CCR and his solo work.

Fogerty is a first class entertainer however; this DVD does not do him complete justice. The camera work is horrendous at times, some of the shots come from the audience’s vantage point, shaking up and down, as if the person running the camera was just as excited as everyone else there. Other than the rollercoaster ride camera work at times, this is a great DVD.

Fogerty has a magical connection to his audience-it is so obvious. The man has a lot of history behind him now, with several generations of listeners supporting his music, both old and new. This is an enviable position for any artist. It is what anyone that has his or her entire lifetime wrapped up in music would want. Fogerty has always been dedicated to the evolution of his music and set on bringing it to the people that made him what he is today. I think the man is the real deal. It is apparent to me that the heart and soul of whom he is, the life force that makes the man tick, is his music and the people that enjoy it so much. This concert puts all of that into proper perspective for all of us longtime fans. Hopefully along the way we bring onboard some new fans too.

It would have been nice to end this great performance with a career retrospective and interview with John but that may be in the next installment from Concord. I have a feeling there will be a lot more to come from Fogerty in the next few years, whether its archival material or new songs, all of us that love his music will surely be getting in line to buy it.

Twenty-seven songs covers a lot of ground and if you have not seen John Fogerty perform or were looking for a fine souvenir of his live act, this is a good start, after all-its Déjà vu all over again.

© Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck

August 31, 2006

Tracks:
1. Intro
2. Travelin' Band
3. Green River
4. Who'll Stop The Rain
5. Blue Moon Nights
6. Lodi
7. Lookin' Out My Backdoor
8. Hot Rod Heart
9. Rambunctious Boy
10. She's Got Baggage
11. Born On The Bayou
12. Bootleg
13. Run Through The Jungle
14. Deja Vu (All Over Again)
15. Have You Ever Seen The Rain?
16. Tombstone Shadow
17. Keep On Chooglin'
18. Sweet Hitch Hiker
19. Hey Tonight
20. Down On The Corner
21. Centerfield
22. Up Around The Bend
23. The Old Man Down The Road
24. Fortunate Son
25. Bad Moon Rising
26. Rockin' All Over The World
27. Proud Mary
28. Bonus Track: Deja Vu (All Over Again)

27 August 2006

Nickels & Dimes-Midnight Overdrive

Artist: Nickels & Dimes
Title: Midnight Overdrive
Genre: Blues-Rock
Label: Camelback
Website
CD Baby Link

When is the last time you heard a band from Norway that sounded like the Jimi Hendrix Experience playing blues-rock as if they came from suburban America? Nickles & Dimes is that band. The have released albums every three to four years since 1993. So they do have a record of accomplishment as a veteran recording band.

Midnight Overdrive was my introduction to this smokin’ electric blues trio. Even if it’s obvious, that the Hendrix worship is all over the place here, I really enjoyed the CD. The fact that I love Hendrix does not hurt a bit either.

Right at the outset of the opening track “ 3 2 Get Ready” when you hear a scream you know something is up. It is the sign that you are about to have your soul rocked, and by god they do a good job of it. “Trampoline” is their ode to the masters of the past, three minutes and twenty-seven seconds of pure rockin’ bliss; blues-rock energy just like Jimi would have it.

The trio is Steffen Nicolaisen (guitar & vocals), Arild Steinsrud (bass), and Nils H. Maehlum (drums). At times Nicolaisen reminded me of one the great rock vocalist, the UFO front man Phil Moog. Yet another band that has that blues-rock influence in their music. When you think about it for a minute, there are not too many rock bands worth their salt that do not have that influence somewhere in their music...thank you Robert Johnson.

This was an enjoyable CD with a solid sound and production. When you get right down to it this was great fun to hear, especially tracks like “Rubber Man,” with that crazy acoustic slide going on backed with a locomotive rhythm section that never misses a step.

I think this band has enormous potential if they step further away from the more obvious influences and carve out their own legacy with their god given talents. Take for example the direct Hendrix or Stevie Ray riff fleecing from “Kill That Dog.” Did I hear someone say “Vodoo Chile”? Then again, it could simply be about their respect for those legends, or just for kicks, who knows? In the end it does not really matter to me, I enjoyed the music! There is no doubt in my mind that everything is in order for this band to take it to the next level; they just need to find their own road with an original approach and some new and different sounds.

© Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck

August 27, 2006


01. 3 2 Get Ready (3:02)
02. This Is The House (3:18)
03. Trampoline (3:27)
04. One On One (5:40)
05. Lets Talk About Freedom (3:03)
06. Walking In The Sun (3:42)
07. Rubber Man (3:16)
08. Kill That Dog (4:23)
09. Love Cant Fool Me (3:42)
10. Burning Soul (6:44)

Credits:
Steffen Nicolaisen: Guitar & vocals
Arild Steinsrud: Bass
Nils H. Maehlum: Drums

Additional Musicians:

Lars Andre Kvistum: Organ & Piano
John Heslo: Flute
Ove Husemoon: Background Vocals
Per Strand: Slideguitar

26 August 2006

The Knights Release Rock Instrumental Gem

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Albuquerque, New Mexico--August 26, 2006-- The Knights (a.k.a. King Richard and the Knights) had their beginnings in 1961 in Albuquerque, New Mexico during a time when instrumental rock ruled with great bands like The Ventures and The Fireballs. Those days seem light years away now, but Dick Stewart is still going strong releasing classic rock instrumental albums year after year.

The most recent release is King Richard's Red Hot New Mexican Chile Stew – Art and it’s now available on the Stewart family owned Lance Records. It is a spicy concoction of New Mexico culture, rock, country, instrumental, and surf music. Stewart has his longtime bass player Gary Snow, drummer Steve Hudgins, and his two sons, Jason on lead guitar, and Richard on bass to make the Knights a unit that is hard to compare.

Stewart’s ongoing love affair with the Southwest continues with each Knights release and the influence of the area is all over King Richard's Red Hot New Mexican Chile Stew – Art from the colorful cover art to area specific tracks like “Surfin’ The Rio Grande” to “El Incendio de Los Alamos.”

Jason Stewart is an incredibly gifted guitar player; it is in his blood. He takes his fiery guitar lines and combines it with the old school of his father’s identifiable sound and the outcome is a rockin’ instrumental stew that will have you coming back for a second helping. Jason has some solo albums of his own that demonstrate his guitar virtuosity quite well. Like father, like son, it works out very well for the Stewart’s in every aspect from recording to the distribution of their music.

Instrumental and surf music have a tendency to be repetitive and the effect of the music wears off quickly. This is not the case with the music of The Knights. Stewart is well aware of the fact that he must produce something different to make a dent in the increasingly difficult independent music arena. By combining his many years of experience as a musician, producer, and recording engineer with the vibrant energy of his sons and the other band members, the crafty veteran of the music wars gets results that are unique and effective, while providing inspiration to others in the indie community. This is a brand of instrumental rock that you will not find anywhere other than Dick Stewart’s own backyard.

King Richard's Red Hot New Mexican Chile Stew – Art is available from the Lance Records website and CD Baby.

Contact: Dick Stewart
Company: RvStewartProductions
Address: P.O. Box 613, Sandia Park, NM 87047
Telephone: (505) 286-0623
Fax: (505) 286-2550
E-Mail
Website
CD Baby Link


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Jam Camp Live! Debuts at Dogstock Music Festival

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Seattle, Washington-August 26, 2006-- Jam Camp is an accomplished jazz-rock-fusion band based in the Seattle area. After releasing two critically acclaimed studio albums, Jam Camp and Black Hills Jam-Preserves Volume 2, the band has selected 11 tracks from recent live performances for Jam Camp Live!, which will be a limited release Dogstock Special Edition.

The live recording will be available this upcoming Labor Day at the Dogstock Music Festival in Melvern, KS. The four-day festival is for the benefit of The Akita Adoption & Rescue Foundation. The band hopes supporters of the cause and their music will attend to enjoy a great festival weekend. Everyone in attendance will have an opportunity to purchase this fine souvenir of the Jam Camp live experience.

Jam Camp Live! consists of tracks from performances in April, June, and July of this year, all masterfully mixed for optimum listening pleasure.

Fans of jazz, jam, and progressive rock will find continual enjoyment with Jam Camp Live! The CD offers 70 minutes of prime Jam Camp performances. The band combines their colorful brand of fusion with long stretches of improvisation, innovative guitar-sax interplay over relentless jam band grooves. This release should satisfy both the psychedelic rock crowd and the most discerning fusion listeners.

The future indeed looks bright for the Northwest-based ensemble and most certainly, there will be many releases to come. Their next archival release is due in November and plans are set for a new studio release in January, following all of that activity a re-issuing of their first studio release with bonus tracks will accompany a five disc boxed set.

Jam Camp’s latest news, pictures, and CDs are available from their website and CD Baby.

Contact: Joel Veatch
Company: Jam Camp Entertainment
Address: 1944 Pacific Avenue Suite 202, Tacoma, WA 98402
Telephone: 206-225-3601
E-Mail
Website

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21 August 2006

Cactus Returns Strongly With New Release V!

Artist: Cactus
Title: V
Genre: Blues-Rock
Label: Escapi Music
Website

Tim Bogert and Carmine Appice are one of the greatest rhythm sections in rock music history there is no denying that. They helped to put Vanilla Fudge and countless other bands on the map over the last 40 years. Cactus was one of those bands that came and went rather quickly with little notoriety, and unjustly I might add. I remember how I discovered them, I was in a used bookstore that carried old scratched up LPs and I grabbed the Cactus album Restrictions, and that was my introduction. As I recall their rough blues-rock and the wailing of lead vocalist Rusty Day did nothing for me. Like many bands, I found an appreciation for them years later. Now I am finding all the Cactus music I can get my hands on, I love it. Its funny how perceptions and priorities change as life goes by.

All original members, Bogert, Appice, and guitarist Jim McCarty, are back with lead vocalist Jimmy Runes, who is a perfect fit for their blues based rock to burn down the house with. Ok I know you are already scratching your head and having doubts about a band getting back together after over 30 years to make a comeback album. Well let me tell you something, V is jam packed with great music-its boogie, funk, blues, and rock baby, ‘Ot ‘N’ Sweaty just like it used to be. Classic rock sounds, I mean original, not fabricated by some young upstarts, is hard to find these days. For the most part, you have to go out and find the old LPs, CDs, or if you are lucky to land the reissued CDs then its music nirvana. Some you cannot find anymore or if you do its over in Europe for some outrageous price. I am a happy camper today, Cactus is back with a new album, and it smokes!

Bogert and Appice still have it and McCarty plays some scorching licks while Runes does more than an adequate job with his forceful and arousing pipes. All of these parts fit the bill for a fantastic Cactus album. The CD booklet includes lyrics and for the most part, you can actually understand what Runes is singing about during the course of the album but its still fun to have a look at the lyrics to sing along.

Highlights include the hook filled “Cactus Music,” an old school anthem that ask you to “get your 45’s together and put a record on the deck,” which I am sure the digital download set will have no clue about, sad but true. “Muscle and Soul,” the title pretty much says it all, it’s a very steamy sexy hard rockin’ number about some sweet young thang that has caught someone’s eye. “Electric Blue” is some heavy duty music, McCarty shows why he can still step out and play some great riffs that really grab you and Runes does a phenomenal job with the vocals on this one. I like the way they wind up the album with a snappy instrumental tune called “Jazzed,” which lets everyone know why they were a great band when they first got together in the first place. The chemistry and certainly the chops are still in place here.

It is obvious everyone that was involved with this project got a good kick in the pants from it, now it’s our turn as listeners to give it a spin and feel the music, just as it was back in the day. This is a solid comeback for a forgotten band and it should kick up some dust, joggle some cobwebs, and help people to reevaluate the importance of Cactus music. They are back with a vengeance, so let’s rock to Cactus music… rock, rock, rock.

© Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck

August 17, 2006

01. Doing Time (4:49)
02. Muscle and Soul (5:39)
03. Cactus Music (4:34)
04. The Groover (4:47)
05. High in the City (4:11)
06. Day for Night (5:49)
07. Living for Today (2:58)
08. Shine (3:57)
09. Electric Blue (5:40)
10. Your Brother's Keeper (4:33)
11. Blues for Mr. Day [instrumental] (1:21)
12. Part of the Game (5:02)
13. Gone Train Gone (4:50)
14. Jazzed [instrumental] (4:42)

20 August 2006

Bluessmyth Makes Their Mark With Self-Titled Blues-Rock Release


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 21, 2006-- Calgary, Alberta--Bluessmyth may be Canada’s answer to ZZ Top after the release of their sizzling new album Bluessmyth. In the tradition of that little old band from Texas, they are a power trio with the drive and authority that makes people stand up and take notice. In addition to the compelling musical onslaught the band so veraciously pumps out, the trio of Chris (guitar and vocals) and Jason Yaholkoski (bass) with Calvin Becker (drums) has a few things to say along the way.

This is not your typical blues about drinking, sex, and other sundry subjects, this band uses their time in the spotlight wisely to pound home a message to anyone within earshot. The primary objective of the recording is to shed light on “The Story of Emmett Till,” a true story about racism and cold-blooded murder that took place in the 1950s.The song is a three part composition that fits snugly at the mid point of the release.

The vocal style of Chris Yaholkoski is that of a man that has lived a hundred lives. His deep growling soulful style brings the lyrics point home with feeling and meaning. The music that accompanies the lyrics is as moving and expressive as the vocals provided, making it a formidable triangle of electricity and vigor that is hard to ignore.

Chris says," This CD is heavier, and in some ways more thoughtful, than our first CD 30 Pieces Of Silver. On Bluessmyth, the songs speak about permanent and universal things everyone goes through, like the choice between good and evil, the finding of your own place in this world, and of life and death. On this CD we wanted to tell stories."

Visit the Bluessmyth website for more information, downloads, and news about upcoming performances.

Contact: Chris Yaholkoski
Company: Arges Records
Address: 2208, 12 Cimarron Common, Okotoks, Alberta T1S 2G1 Canada
Phone: 403-939-1376
Email
Website
Indie Pool Link
EPK

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Laura Day Is Sweet On RC


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Madison, Wisconsin--August 21, 2006-- Back when Laura Day was a young woman working in a grocery store as an office-girl, (the girl you’d see in that cage next to the check lanes), those were the days when soda came in bottles and folks brought their empties back for refunds. Everyone loves a great love story, and this love story is about an RC Cola truck driver who delivered soda to Laura’s grocery store, and in the process, delivered her the most thrilling crush of her lifetime. It was a heart racing, palms sweating, weak-in-the-knees pure infatuation.

Day was so in love that she had to write a song about her sweet delivery man. Aptly titled “RC,” the song is a country-folk flavored tune that is bound to turn some heads at the RC Cola Company, and encourage them to contact Laura and begin a new advertising campaign. After all, when was the last time you saw an advertisement on TV or heard a jingle on the radio for RC soda?

With verse after verse as sweet as the soda pop that the song is named after, Laura Day takes her talents and her once-in-a-lifetime feelings for her RC driver and sets them to words…

I work the office in this big-name grocery store
Checkin' deliveries as they come through the door
And the first time that I saw the boy, it put me on the floor
While he was counting six packs, I was counting on a little more


Besides being a talented singer, songwriter and musician, Laura Day also launched a publishing company in 2005, Stratess Publishing, Inc., which is a subsidiary of her computer consulting company, Stratess, Inc. She is currently recording tracks for her next album at Smart Studio in Madison, WI, performing concerts, and continuing in her corporate consulting and custom business systems application development work.

Contact:
Laura Day
Stratess Publishing, Inc.
P.O. Box 45335 Madison, WI 53744-5335
Tel: 608-358-4418
Email
Website
Listen To RC


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17 August 2006

Jam Camp Live!- DogStock Special Edition

Artist: Jam Camp
Title: Jam Camp Live!- DogStock Special Edition
Genre: Rock-Jazz-Fusion
Label: Independent
Website

The Dogstock Music Festival in Melvern, KS, which supports The Akita Adoption & Rescue Foundation, has an upcoming Labor Day event that features bands such as Jam Camp. If you have not had the pleasure of an introduction to this fine band yet, they are a jazz-rock-fusion machine that you must hear.

Jam Camp Live! is a limited edition release consisting of tracks from performances in April, June and July of this year, mixed down to remove the crowd noise for optimum listening pleasure, giving the tracks a clean and crisp sound from top to bottom. Keep one thought in mind, crowd noise is something you get in addition to the music so it does not really matter if you are a true lover of music. You will soon forget about the fact that they are actually playing on stage and find yourself immersed in the music in no time. With two studio albums already behind them, Jam Camp and Black Hills Jam-Preserves Volume 2, this unit has no trouble having enough material to perform to its audience. This release has 11 tracks, the shortest running at 4:07, and the longest at 8:29.

“Blue Is You” turns out to be one of my favorites on the CD. I like the combination of smooth jazz and fusion. The saxophone playing of Steve Munger is the key factor in creating the necessary vibe on the track. “Thrush” has some exceptional lead guitar work courtesy of Dave Broyles and Smitty Smith. The two string benders peel off licks at an incredibly fast rate, giving Jam Camp a one-two lead combo that knows how to rock and fuse the elements of jazz for that perfect marriage between the genres. Every track features these essentials and it allows each band member to step out to the front and show everyone why the name of the band is a good fit.

This is a great live album that gives you a taste of the past (previous releases) and the future (3 new cuts for the forthcoming studio album) of Jam Camp. It promises to be a great year for this band and something new for fusion fans to discover. Finding music like this is like looking over the fence at the girl next door and realizing she is all grown up and beautiful, what a revelation!

© Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck

August 17, 2006

01. Echologic (7:23)
02. Thrush (7:10)
03. Westside Highway (6:48)
04. Blue Is You (8:09)
05. Trees (8:29)
06. West 8 (4:31)
07. Wormhole (4:07)
08. The Reach (5:17)
09. Paper Walls (4:51)
10. Mr. Bliss (5:29)
11. Groove Monkey (7:40)


Credits:

Dave Broyles: Guitar
Mike "Smitty" Smith: Guitar
Steve Munger: Saxophone
Jess White: Bass
Joel Veatch: Drums

15 August 2006

Patrick Yandall-Samoa Soul

Artist: Patrick Yandall
Title: Samoa Soul
Genre: Instrumental Jazz
Label: Zangi Records
Website
CD Baby Link

Patrick Yandall continues to improve with each successive release. Samoa Soul is his seventh album. Yandall is talented in many ways musically however his instinct for applying the rudiments of jazz outweighs everything else. That is the one most important aspect of his makeup as a performing artist that lands him right at the top of the heap for jazz indie artists.

There is something very relevant about being in the right ‘mood’ to listen to certain music. I woke up with a splitting headache and decided to listen to some high-energy noisy guitar oriented rock after I took some aspirin; I figured in an hour that the dose of medication would make it go away, it did help, but it came roaring back with a vengeance once I started to listen to the music. What I really needed was to give Samoa Soul another spin. I know from experience how soothing and relaxing the music of Patrick Yandall can be.

Patrick uses a selective group of guitars for his compositions. He employs an Ibanez GB10, Naked Telecaster, Fender Custom Strats, Carvin Contour, Martin Acoustic, and Takamine Classical to give his sound a distinctive tone and texture for each track.

I enjoyed listening to all 11 tracks on this CD; each one was a treat for the mind, body, and soul, not to mention my ears. As one track seamlessly blends into the next you realize that the goal seems to be just that, create a listening experience that has a beginning and an end with no place in between that has any radical transitions or changes that forces you to adjust your thought process and overall mood. This consistent formula works very well for Yandall. The only switch in flow is his instrumental interpretation of the Christopher Cross hit “Sailing,” which is very good considering the lyrics are nonexistent. Every track has a different mood and tempo while offering pure smooth jazz with Latin and R & B rudiments to give it that certain Yandall flavor that is prevalent on all of his releases. His guitar playing encourages rhythms to come forth from other instruments and that is why he is an exceptional composer and leader.

You do not have to be a star to shine in the world of music but this star is bright and one of the most promising in the world of jazz.


© Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck


August 15, 2006

Tracks:
01. Samoa Soul (3:31)
02. Fade to Black (3:50)
03. Londons Way (3:48)
04. Funkin' for Jamaica (3:44)
05. Smile for Today (3:46)
06. Passion Avenue (3:42)
07. The Beat Generation (3:42)
08. Sailing (4:00)
09. Who's the Bossa (3:39)
10. Back in the Day (3:45)
11. Dawn Patrol (4:28)

Credits:

Partrick Yandall: electric guitars, acoustic guitars, bass, synth bass, piano, Rhodes, Sampled strings and horns, Vocalese, Drum and Loop programming

Andre Mayeux: Clavinet, B3, and Piano solo on “Londons Way”

Nathan Brown: Bass on “Passion Avenue” and “Dawn Patrol”

14 August 2006

Neil Carswell-Good Man’s Journey

Artist: Neil Carswell
Title: Good Man’s Journey
Genre: Southern Rock-Blues
Label: East Winds Records
Website

Neil Carswell has shed his skin from the days of his band Copperhead like a Cobra ready to mesmerize old and new fans alike. Good Man’s Journey is a great southern blues-rock album in the tradition of the Allman Brothers and bands that make similar music.

Carswell has that roughly hewn southern whiskey vocal style that makes all the words come across with maximum impact. I mean you can really ‘feel’ it when he sings. He has a little help from his friends too. Johnny Neel (keyboards, Allman Bros.), Barry Goudreau (guitar, Boston), Stu Kimball (guitar, Bob Dylan), and Chris Anderson (guitar, The Outlaws), lend their experience and tasteful playing to the mix. If you look at the all people involved, they have the necessary background, styles, and resumes to help Neil perfect this recording. Carswell and Anderson also combined their efforts to produce the CD.

“The Cain Preacher” kick starts the proceedings with some scorching blues-rock guitar courtesy of Goudreau, with Carswell belting out the lyrics as if he held every word dear to his heart. It all should come across that way when you are playing deep down southern blues-rock. This release is different from Carswell’s previous work, it is more down to earth, bluesy, and richly colored with some slower grooves, although it does have its share of rockin’ moments too. What it all boils down to is this- if you love the blues and southern rock, this CD is for you.

Some of the more emotional and meaningful tracks that struck a chord in my heart were “Poor Side Of The Tracks” and “Never Been Born.” For a heavy dose of reality and a taste of the cards dealt unfairly at times in life, “Poor Side Of The Tracks” cuts right to the bone. “Never Been Born,” is a heart-wrenching track about Mom and her struggles to teach you right from wrong while you are growing up. That was one hell of closer for my ears; it got right in the crosshairs of my feelings and thoughts and hung on tight from beginning to end. It always helps when it is all backed by some incredibly good music and a vocalist that knows how to delivery the goods.

Neil Carswell is man with many talents musically, but his ability to sing a song that you will never forget is a gift from the gods that anyone with an ounce of soul and feeling could understand. Good Man’s Journey has been one of the highlights of 2006 for me. Growing up on classic rock helped me to zone in on this music and artists like this are a reminder of what it used to sound like.

© Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck

August 14, 2006

Credits:

Johnny Neel: Keyboards
Barry Goudreau: Guitar
Stu Kimball: Guitar
Chris Anderson: Guitar

01. The Cain Preacher (5:35)
02. Good Man’s Journey (3:40)
03. Ruby Jane (5:41)
04. Glasses Of Wine (3:53)
05. Righteous Side (5:15)
06. Edge Of The Green (3:32)
07. Poor Side Of The Tracks (4:30)
08. Walking Out On You (4:43)
09. Malibu Days (4:13)
10. Never Been Born (5:18)

13 August 2006

Independent Artist Sue Merchant Releases Classic Folk Album Fool

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

London, England--August 14, 2006--UK based Sue Merchant is a product of her environment. While living in the South West of England, she received plenty of exposure to music and poetry through her father. That turned out to be a good influence as a lifetime of love for the arts found its place and meaning through a culmination of 10 tracks on her new release Fool.

Sue Merchant is a self-professed poet with a guitar, as many people in folk music are. Legendary performers inspire most artists that find themselves driven to succeed and Sue is no exception. She has found motivation and insight into her craft through legendary performers such as Joni Mitchell, Melanie, Joan Baez, and others cut from the same cloth.

The new release Fool is destined to receive accolades from the media sector and most importantly from current listeners eager to listen, which in turn will create awareness in a large potential audience waiting to discover her distinct art form. The album is already shaping up like an independent release that is sure to be a classic of the genre. In her own typically humble opinion, the title track is the best she has ever written and certainly, those that are familiar with the essence of folk music will agree. It comes as no surprise that it recently won 1st place honors in the UK Songwriting Contest for the Folk/Country genre.

Collectively the album is a montage of gut level feelings, emotions, and real life situations expressed intelligently through well thought out lyrics via beautiful melodies and rhythms. Sue has an atmospheric vocal style that has an uncanny way of bringing the words to life, which brings the message home effectively to the listener.

Fool is a shot, straight from the heart from an artist that pulls no punches. The CD is on Bandit Records and available to sample and purchase on the Sue Merchant website or CD Baby.

Contact: Ms. Deborah Carrel
Company: Bandit Records
Address: SQS Bath Rd. Bridgewater, Somerset UK TA6 4PZ
Telephone: 01458-259450
Website
Email

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Jaci Rae to Co-Host New Show Concerts In The Sky With Jesse Dylan


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Los Angeles, CA--August 14, 2006--Jaci Rae’s grit and determination brought her from a poor childhood to a successful singer and author who tours around the world. She is the recipient of the "Female Vocalist of the Year" award at the Golden Music Awards in Nashville, TN as well as a #1 Best selling author. She is the author of The Indie Guide to Music, Marketing and Money, as well as Winning Points With The Woman In Your Life One Touchdown At A Time, she is on the dating team of Savvymiss.com, and serves as a relationship advisor for Loveisgreat.com.

Now to add to her every growing resume Jaci Rae is proud to announce that she will be co-hosting a new show with Jesse Dylan called Concerts In The Sky. It will broadcast live around the world, check Jaci's website http://www.jacirae.com for information on how you can tune in. You will be able to hear all of the acts performing then sitting down and telling their stories. It promises to be a real treat for all music fans.

The Concerts In The Sky show schedule is already filling up and the flagship show featured Jaci singing live on August 1, 2006. The second show will feature guest Dennis Marcellino from The Elvin Bishop Group and The Tokens on Friday, August 25, 2006 at 9 AM PST and 12 PM EST. The third show will be in September featuring Shelly Streeter (CMA chart topper, award winning singer and top indie artist). Other guests will be It's a Beautiful Day, Big Brother and Holding Company (Janice Joplin's band) as well as rising stars in the music industry on both major and indie labels.

If you missed Jaci's performance, you will have a chance to catch her again at the beginning of November when she appears live from New York. Jaci Rae has been asked to be a panelist for the CMJ Music Marathon in New York, October 31 – November 1st.

Jaci Rae will also be performing on The Bonnie D. Graham Show Friday, August 11 on the Long Island Show WGBB in New York. You can hear it on a live simulcast on the web or live on WGBB. All of this information and more is available at jacirae.com.

Contact: Bruce Biggio
Company: NSR, Inc.
Address: P O Box 1118 Felton, CA 95018
Telephone: 831-771-0205
Email
Website


PR Created and Distributed by MuzikReviews.com

10 August 2006

The Knights-King Richard's Red Hot New Mexican Chile Stew – Art

Artist: The Knights
Title: King Richard's Red Hot New Mexican Chile Stew – Art
Genre: Rock-Instrumental
Label: Lance Records
Website
CD Baby Link

One of the progenitors of surf instrumental music, Dick Stewart, and his band The Knights have returned in 2006 with a new release titled King Richard's Red Hot New Mexican Chile Stew – Art. I knew the band’s previous release, In Progression was going to be hard to top; it is my personal favorite, and I do not think The Knights will ever come up with anything better than that album. It stands alone in uniqueness for the instrumental genre. That does not take anything away from this new release, however, which is destined to be a classic as well. This great CD will find its way into the hearts of the true instro fans that have been waiting for a new release from the Stewart camp.

You may recognize some of the tracks on this new album from the band’s 1998 CD release, Surfin’ the Web. This CD is no longer available, so hang on to your copy if you have one. The tracks on Surfin’ the Web were never mastered, so Stewart decided it was time to fix that and add a few new twists and turns. One of the tunes, “Cool Links,” now has son Jason ripping off some slick fretwork of his own on the bridge in order to make the newly mastered recording sound as crisp and powerful as possible. Listening to the Stewarts play is like a guitar 101—old school vs. the new wave; it is a lot of fun, and the contrasts are very interesting and can be very educational if you happen to own your own six string.

The first track kicks things off with style with a haunting wind blowing as “Phantom Riders” begins--it’s Dick’s own “Ghost Riders In The Sky” 2006 if you will, which he happens to cover on this release as well (remastered and reissued). I love the song; it has the kind of melody and rhythm you cannot resist, and I think it will go down as an instrumental classic—you heard it here first. An important nod for a job well done goes to Dick’s son Richard, for his fine bass playing on the track.

“Riley’s Switch” (formerly “Surfin’ The Web” now updated and mastered) is a tribute to the legendary town of Clovis, New Mexico, once called Riley’s Switch. One thing you can count on with Dick Stewart when he records an album is that you will get a history lesson of the area in which he lives. He is an avid historian and has studied meteorology over the years. I have spent literally hours talking to the man throughout the years, discussing everything from soup to nuts and beyond, once we get all the music talk out the way, of course.

Stewart’s love affair with the Southwest continues with this brilliant release, from “Chas” Pike’s colorful and cultural artwork on the CD cover to the surf-rock-country (with Southwest spice) influenced music you will hear on this CD. Other outstanding new tracks are the atmospheric “Cimarron,” “Waterfalls,” with its rapid-fire metallic picking pushed through a phase shifter, and the self-explanatory “Calm and the Storm.”

Once again, King Richard and his court have gathered to delight all comers to his castle instrumental. I am very pleased, but then again I expect to be when a new album comes out. Dick Stewart is an amazing man; he is 66 with the heart and spirit of man 30 years younger. Its no wonder he just keeps crankin’ out the tunes with regularity. There are not many original ‘60s instrumental dudes around still making music. We are very fortunate to have the opportunity to hear one of the best still bending the strings with passion and purpose.


© Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck

August 10, 2006


Tracks & Credits:

01. Phantom Riders (Dick Stewart – first lead guitar, Jason Stewart – second lead guitar, Ritch Stewart – bass) (3:58)

02. Cool Links (Dick Stewart – first lead guitar, Jason Stewart – second lead guitar, Gary Snow – bass, Steve Hudgins – drums) (3:47)

03. Riley’s Switch (Dick Stewart - lead and rhythm guitar, Gary Snow – bass, Steve Hudgins – drums) (3:30)

04. La del Moño Colorado (Dick Stewart – lead guitar, Floyd “Flaco” Gonzales – rhythm guitar, Jose “Prospero” Montoya – bass, Anthony Lucero – drums) (2:20)

05. Ghost Riders (Dick Stewart – lead and rhythm guitar, Gary Snow – bass, Steve Hudgins – drums) (3:59)

06. Mother Road (Dick Stewart – lead and rhythm guitar, Gary Snow – bass, Steve Hudgins – drums) (5:14)

07. El Rancho Grande (Dick Stewart – lead guitar, Floyd “Flaco” Gonzales – rhythm guitar, Jose “Prospero” Montoya – bass, Anthony Lucero – drums) (2:32)

08. Cimarron (Dick Stewart – lead and rhythm guitar, Gary Snow – bass, Steve Hudgins – drums) (3:28)

09. El Incendio de Los Alamos (Dick Stewart – lead and rhythm guitar, Gary Snow – bass, Steve Hudgins – drums) (3:16)

10. Waterfalls (Jason Stewart – all instruments) (2:08)

11. Poco de Todo (Dick Stewart – lead guitar, Little Ralph Pais – backup lead guitarist, Floyd “Flaco” Gonzales – rhythm guitar, Jose “Prospero” Montoya – bass, Anthony Lucero – drums) (2:30)

12. Penetration (Dick Stewart – first lead guitar, Jason Stewart – second lead guitar, bass, and keys) (3:22)

13. Surfin’ the Rio Grande (Dick Stewart - lead and rhythm guitar, Gary Snow – bass, Steve Hudgins – drums) (4:16)

14. Here Today, Gone Tomorrow (Dick Stewart - lead and rhythm guitar, Gary Snow – bass, Steve Hudgins – drums) (4:13)

15. Calm and the Storm (Jason Stewart – all instruments) (4:12)

16. A Medias de la Noche (Dick Stewart – lead guitar, Little Ralph Pais – backup lead guitarist, Floyd “Flaco” Gonzales – rhythm guitar, Jose “Prospero” Montoya – bass, Anthony Lucero – drums) (3:12)

17. Adios (Dick Stewart – lead and rhythm guitar and vocal, Jason Stewart – keys) (1:52)

08 August 2006

Variant-Beyond Jargon

Artist: Variant
Title: Beyond Jargon
Genre: Progressive Rock-Metal
Label: Independent
Website
CD Baby Link

The cover of the new Variant CD suggests that what they have to offer inside is Beyond Jargon. As I found out rather quickly, it lives up to its title. Jargon, defined as vocabulary of a group, is something every group has, in a musical reference. A sound or way of communicating is the best frame of reference concerning the new Variant CD.

There was a reason I was instantly attracted to this music, the lead singer Jerry Wengert has a similar style and tone to Andy Powell of Wishbone Ash. The music itself has some similarities as well with sound and subject matter. A good case in point would be “March To War” and “Deeds.” Some deeply emotional subjects close to many people in war torn countries gets some good coverage in the tracks.

Musically this band is very strong, vividly pounding home their lyrics with a mixture of rock, progressive, and metal. Since I enjoy listening to all three styles of music this was a lot fun to absorb. Upon my second listen, I took a closer look at the lyrics and heard many words that held meaning and importance to me. I found myself agreeing with the band’s point of view. The beginning of “Deeds” goes like this…

The deeds of mankind are chilling
The needs of so many, so few
Mankind can’t seem to be willing
To look through the other man’s views


It gives you a few things to think about and makes you step back and look at the world at large and gaze into the mirror and ask yourself if you are living right. With this, I am sure the band feels they are able to ignite interest in their music and create some kind of an impact if people can glean this kind of information from one of their songs. This was one of those ‘play it again it will grow on you CDs’ and the reason you should check it out for all of the above reasons.


© Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck


August 8, 2006

1. March To War (6:49)
2. Today I Tried (4:21)
3. None So Blind (7:10)
4. Deeds (6:10)
5. Carrin' Carrion (10:20)
6. Going (6:58)
7. Regardless (9:24)
8. Reflections (1:17)
9. When the Lights On (4:17)


Credits:

Gary Langton: drums, blocks, chimes, and cymbalation
Erik Connolly: lead and rhythm 6 string guitars, lap steel guitar
Mike Herrel: 5 strings basses and piccolo bass
Jerry Wengert: vocals, 6 & 12 string rhythm and lead guitars

06 August 2006

Magenta-Home (Special Edition 2 Disc)

Artist: Magenta
Title: Home (Special Edition 2 Disc)
Genre: Progressive Rock
Label: F2 Music
Website

Magenta reminds me of one my favorite progressive rock bands, Mostly Autumn. They have a great female lead singer backed by fine musicianship. Christina Booth leads the band with her warm dreamy vocals and every track comes delivered to your ears via the tasteful guitar work of Martin Rosser, Chris Fry, and the many instruments manned by Rob Reed. Reed plays bass, guitar, piano, and mandolin to name a few select pieces of equipment. He is a versatile gent if I do say so myself. On the bottom end, Allan Mason-Jones sits behind the drum kit whilst Dan Fry keeps good time with his battery mate on bass. This is the core group. There are many other key contributors to this project that help to shape the sound as well (see credits).

Magenta’s music is appealing yet effective, not always aggressive, but it invites you to jump in and become engrossed in the entire package. Home offers an array of very well thought out and played music that demonstrates each member’s adeptness with each instrument. This is prog-rock after all so it’s not cut and dried, it never is. This is the special edition with a five-track bonus disc titled New York Suite. The bonus disc turns out to be just as solid as the main disc in the set; it has a strong group of tracks.

It’s a bit tough to single out favorites when you enjoy an entire set so completely, so let me just say that there is not a bad cut on this album. I heard nothing worth offering any objective criticism over. All the elements are in place here-good guitar, excellent vocals that tell the story well, keyboards that provide a nice bed of atmosphere for the rest of the instruments and most importantly, know exactly when to come in and build a bridge that leads to another time, place, and tempo in a composition. It all comes together quite nicely and as a listener, I could not ask for more. Magenta has perfected their presentation and sound in a most impressive way.

Prog-Rock can be a very difficult genre to make an impression and get the attention you deserve; it is a worldwide community but very small in comparison to other more popular styles of music. I have to say that these tracks are some of the best I have heard to date on a progressive rock release. I have heard my share as I always do so that is significant from my own perspective. Other than rock, prog is my first choice when I listen to music. So a job well done Magenta, you got my attention and made me a believer. So now, you have a new fan that will look forward to subsequent releases.


© Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck


August 6, 2006

Disc One

01. This Life (2.30)
02. Hurt (5.35)
03. Moving On (6.02)
04. My Home Town (Far Away) (3.56)
05. Brave New Land (1.02)
06. The Journey (6.21)
07. Towers of Hope (2.10)
08. Demons (5.16)
09. Morning Sunlight (2.43)
10. Joe (11.14)
11. A Dream (1.11)
12. The Visionary (6.00) Full
13. Journey’s End (7.41) 1
14. The Travellers Lament (1.15)
15. Home (4.13)

Disc Two

New York Suite

1. Arrival (10:58)
2. Home From Home (8:09)
3. White Lies (8:43)
4.T ruth (10:53)
5. This Life (Reprise) (1:21)


Credits:

Rob Reed: Keyboards, Bass, Guitars, Backing Vocals, Recorder, Tambourine, Grand Piano, Mandolin, Acoustic Guitar
Christina Booth: Lead Vocals
Chris Fry: Lead Guitar
Martin Rosser: Lead Guitar
Dan Fry: Bass
Allan Mason-Jones: Drums
Guests: Tim Robinson: Drums
Martin Shellard: Guitar
Lee Goodall: Tenor Saxophone
Hywel Maggs: Guitar
Christian Philips: Guitar, Backing Vocals
Troy Donockley: Uilleann Pipes, Whistles
Mal Pope: Backing Vocals
Lorrain King: Backing Vocals

04 August 2006

Foxy Moon Baby-Dreamer

Artist: Foxy Moon Baby
Title: Dreamer
Genre: Jazz-Rock-Fusion
Label: Bigway Productions
Website
CD Baby Link

Foxy Moon Baby kicks off their new album Dreamer with the title track, an upbeat jazz mover that focuses on their instrumental prowess. Then no sooner, you are in the instrumental frame of mind and the next track “Velma in the Shade” kicks in, offering some more jazz with pop overtones and the pleasant vocals of Dennis Lippe, who also mans the guitars along with his sibling Chris.

So straight away you are wondering how this CD is going to develop as it moves deeper into the eight tracks. The third track “Native Land” reverts to the purer jazz that this band offers however, this time with some Latin flair embodying some tangy percussion and snappy trumpet along with some guitar that is more rock oriented, kind of like something Santana would do. I loved it, all of the components with red-hot Latin rhythms weaving their web in the song and the resolute prevailing percussion that always seems to provide the underpinning for everything else, allowing everything to fall into place somehow to make a complete song. Things do not stop there, it just keeps going, one entertaining track after another. I like the flow, selection, and ambiance on this CD. Its dissimilar aptitude is what makes this such an agreeable listen for lovers of jazz with broad tastes.

“Eclectic Fanfare” is something right out of the Herb Alpert bag of tricks, the trumpet plays a lead role and it makes the song what it is. I cannot take away anything from the other instruments though as each one has its place. Each slot in need of filling for every track has a musician that is very capable and more than just adequate, whether it is a band member or guest. A special mention goes to John Rolland (drums) and Geoff Kraly (bass), who are an effective one-two punch that provides the model rhythm section that any good jazz unit needs to carry on. Everything fits just right and all the moving parts come together just as they need to make this an absolute success.

So hats off to everyone involved in this project. Every track takes you on a multihued jazz journey, and as expected, each one is long enough to satisfy. This CD was worthy of many listens from my vantage point and surely I am not going to be the only one that feels that way once the word gets out about Foxy Moon Baby. What is great about a CD like this is that people that normally do not hear jazz, will, and those firmly entrenched with their jazz have an opportunity to hear a different brand of rock and pop mixed with jazz.

© Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck

August 4, 2006

1. Dreamer (7:48)
2. Velma in the Shade (5:04)
3. Native Land (5:52)
4. Eclectic Fanfare (6:59)
5. Tanglewood Bliss (7:59)
6. Home and Away (4:54)
7. CIA (7:19)
8. Mother Discovery (5:04)

Credits:
Dennis Lippe: guitars and vocals
Chris Lippe: guitars
John Rolland: drums and percussion
Geoff Kraly: bass

Additional Musicians:
Jeffery Woodruff: percussion
Tim Hayes: piano and keyboards
Justin Davis: trumpet
Michael Kammers: tenor saxophone
Meilana Gillard McLean: tenor saxophone

03 August 2006

Particle-Transformations Live

Artist: Particle
Title: Transformations Live (DVD) & Transformations Live For The People (2 CD Set)
Genre: Rock-Fusion-Jazz-Blues-Techno-Jam Band
Label: Shout Factory
Website


Since 2000, Particle has been bringing their extraordinary musicianship and instrumental jazz-rock-blues-fusion techno-flavored jams to sold-out shows across the country. They have one studio album that was released in 2004 titled Launchpad and have literally transformed into another band recently by adding two guitarists, Eric Combe and Steve Metzger. Metzger unfortunately had to leave the band recently due to a family illness.

Transformations Live (DVD) & Transformations Live For The People (2 CD Set) gave their fans a window into their new live show for the first time at the Henry Fonda Theater in Hollywood on February 24, 2006. The new members of the band have breathed new life and a different kind of element into their music. They take many new roads and side streets during a performance highlighting these aspects; it is all very exciting and fresh.

It is obvious the respect they command in the musical community as Joe Satriani, Blackalicious, DJ Logic, and Robbie Kreiger of The Doors step on stage to join the band and add to their adventurous musical excursions. They do a great job with The Doors classic "LA Woman." Having Kreiger there to show them the way was quite the treat to watch.

This band will always be in transformation because of their free spirited open ended attitude towards the development of any song they play. Anyone that happens to be along for the ride has the time of their life. I saw Satriani smiling enough while jamming with this band.

The bonus features are generous including interviews with band members, additional studio and concert footage, and a good overview from band members about how they transformed into what they are today and what it means to each individual personally. The feeling I had listening and watching this band perform was a mixed bag of emotions, there were highs and melancholy but most of all I really enjoyed everything I heard and the variety was tremendous. All of these factors came into play to make this experience memorable and one I would choose to enjoy more than once.

You can feel the sense of community that Particle has with each other and their fans, its very similar to that special connection bands like The Grateful Dead and Phish had, its something that is not easy to define, its more of 'you have to be there to understand it' kind of thing.

I have to give Shout Factory a lot credit for their great work and I will continue to do so. The product is always packaged well and presented in a way that fits each band they represent. So, as usual, a job well done. I appreciate the label responding to my special request to receive the CD version of the concert so I could enjoy both formats. There is something very cool about listening to a live audio version then watching it take on a life of its own before your eyes. In fundamental nature, it is a true transformation, which is the entire premise behind this ambitious project.

Jam Band freaks will love every minute of this and those that are not particularly attracted to this genre would serve themselves well by checking out Particle. This band is going to be around for a long time and will make an impression on the formation of musical advances as time passes. It will be interesting to see how the importance of this band takes shape over the next few years.

July 30, 2006

© Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck

DVD Track Listing:

1. Prelude
2. Give
3. 7 Minutes Till Radio Darkness (Part II)
4. Below Radar
5. LA Woman (with Robby Krieger)
6. Eye Of The Storm
7. Set Break
8. Particle People (with Blackalicious)
9. E-Pro (with Blackalicious)
10. W (with Joe Satriani and DJ Logic)
11. Sun Mar
12. Thanks
13. Lucky Man
14. Superstition (with Joe Satriani, Robby Krieger, Blackalicious, DJ Logic, Lucent Dossier)

DVD Extras:
• Particle Transforms featurette with "Triple Threat" and the new song "The Sweeper"
• Collaborations featurette with "Simulator" featuring Joe Satriani
• Transformations photo gallery featuring "Smile" live 2.24.06.
• 5.1 Surround Sound

CD TRACK LIST:

Disc One:

1. Particle People/E-Pro (With Blackalicious) (recorded at the Henry Fonda Theater)
2. Triple Threat (recorded at the Great American Music Hall)
3. Ghetto Queen (recorded at the Great American Music Hall)
4. Fiyo On The Bayou (recorded at the Great American Music Hall)
5. W (With Joe Satriani and DJ Logic) (recorded at the Henry Fonda Theater)
6. Ed + Molly (recorded at the Great American Music Hall)

Disc Two:

1. Eye Of The Storm (recorded at the Henry Fonda Theater)
2. Below Radar (recorded at the Great American Music Hall)
3. LA Woman (With Robbie Krieger) (recorded at the Henry Fonda Theater)
4. Losing It (recorded at the Great American Music Hall)
5. Sun Mar 11 (recorded at the Henry Fonda Theater)
6. Thanks (recorded at the Henry Fonda Theater)
7. Lucky Man (recorded at the Henry Fonda Theater)

02 August 2006

Stream Of Passion-Live In The Real World

Artist: Stream Of Passion (Featuring Ayreon)
Title: Live In The Real World
Format: DVD
Genre: Progressive Rock
Label: Inside Out
Website

Stream Of Passion felt they needed to silence their critics by releasing a live performance of their new music. Some people thought that the band was suspect because the first studio release Embrace The Storm came together by exchanging files over the internet. Arjen “Ayreon” Luccassen and the rest of the band are all over the globe so there was no other way at the time to make the recording happen. The results were fantastic and the album garnered some great reviews and it continues to gather momentum, the critics be damned! This is a common practice these days and many great albums have resulted by using the available technologies to eliminate the logistical nightmares that previously killed many great projects before their birth, leaving just a thought or an idea on the table, never to be revisited again. Welcome to 2006 and all the wonderful mediums at our disposal.

The Live In The Real World DVD (also available as two CD set) removes any doubt or speculation that this band is not the real deal and capable of performing their studio cuts and a range of previous Ayreon tracks just as well or if not better in a live setting. Marcela Bovio is magnetic on stage and she has her equally beautiful sister Diana by her side to provide the outstanding backup vocals necessary for all of the tracks the band runs through on the DVD. Damian Wilson (Threshold, Rick Wakeman) steps up and steers the ship for the Ayreon classics “The Castle Hall” and “Into the Black Hole.” His voice is widely recognized in the world of progressive rock and he is one of the most sought after lead vocalist today. Arjen knows who the best are and always manages to bring them into his projects at some point. The title track is one of the more dynamic and exciting performances and I can see why it was the choice for a single and video shoot. Every track has the ability to stand on its own and I enjoyed it so much, a few days later I watched it again.

This DVD whetted my appetite and brought my anxiousness to another level. I have to see this band play live, one way or another it has to happen. I think Arjen has put together a lethal combination of musicians, writers, and vocalists, well he always does but this time it is exceptional, there is special energy going on between these people. Once again, I have to credit the entire band for their excellence.

Here is the lineup:

Arjen Lucassen: What else can I say about him? Over the years I have spoke of his brilliance and my feelings remain the same-He is one of the best guitar players and composers on the planet and he continues to come up with new ideas and compositions that are engaging and unique. This is what makes Lucassen one of the more distinctive artists in recorded music today.

Marcela Bovio: She is a true to form temptress on stage, always dancing about and jumping around with her alluring and mysterious vocals. She works that stage as if it was her home. She is also the lead vocalist for Elfonia, her excellent prog-rock band from Mexico.

Alejandro Milan: He creates a wall of sound with his piano and strings, and then adds some surprisingly good vocals in as well.

Lori Linstruth: Her razor sharp guitar lines and good looks are one of the highlights of the show, although she needs to come out from behind all of those beautiful golden locks and look at her audience some more. Lori does a nice job answering Arjen’s guitar lines blow for blow and at times leads the way.

Johan Van Startum and Davy Mickers: They hold down the bottom end with authority, forming a formidable rhythm section that truly stands out as one of the best out there today. When you hear the complexity of some of the arrangements and watch these two put it all together while keeping it all marching in a straight line, it is a thing of beauty to watch.

Diana Bovio: Marcela’s little sister. Obviously has a tremendous voice all her own that will find its way leading her own band some day.

And of course, the prominent guest Damian Wilson for his contributions.

The bonuses are great fun as well, the tour dairy, the making of the “Out In The Real World” video and then the entire full length mesmerizing video, wrap this fine package of entertainment up. This DVD is a necessary purchase for the legions of Arjen followers and prog rockers all over the world that have been waiting for this day to arrive. There is no doubt, and there never has been that the talent of Stream Of Passion was fully realized in the studio, and now it comes to life on stage before your eyes, enjoy the magic.

© Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck

July 14, 2006


01. Intro
02. Spellbound
03. Passion
04. Waracle
05. Wherever You Are
06. Computer Eyes
07. Calliopeia
08. Valley of the Queens
09. Haunted
10. The Charm of the Seer
11. Deceiver / Songs of the Ocean
12. Day One: Vigil
13. Day Three: Pain
14. Nostalgia
15. Out in the Real World
16. The Castle Hall
17. Into the Black Hole
18. When the Levee Breaks
19. Day Eleven: Love
Features

Live in Concert (Dolby 2.0 and 5.1)
Behind the Scenes
Photo Gallery
Video Clip: Out in the Real World
Making of the Video Clip
Tour Diary

01 August 2006

Sue Merchant-Fool


Artist: Sue Merchant
Title: Fool
Genre: Folk
Label: Bandit Records
Website
CD Baby Link

Sue Merchant has released an acoustic folk masterpiece called Fool. The simplicity of the instrumentation, beautiful melodies (notably on the opening title track) and Merchant’s clear and atmospheric voice, at times classically influenced with a definitive English accent, along with her descriptive and thoughtful lyrics, make for a nice journey for listeners.

I always said that if given the choice I would prefer to rock out, even though my tastes are broad in scope. However, folk music has a way of spinning a tale and relaxing me if it is exceptional. This album got my attention straight away and provoked me to listen several times to absorb the storylines found between the notes. Amongst other subjects, Merchant sings of lovers, friends, and family on this release. I do not think she could be more up close and personal and real than what you will hear on this CD.

Merchant gets some help from her friends for some well timed and placed background and harmony vocals, classical guitars, and bass. Key elements were the layers of acoustic guitars, piano, and keyboards beautifully played to accompany her expressive breathy vocals. Collectively it all clicks, bringing the production to splendid fruition. Check off the list of things you look for in an album if you are a meticulous listener and chances are you will be satisfied with Fool.

Just like a line from the hard realities and finality of the track “Vignette from the Edge”- “Its time to find heaven before we die.” I think you can find it right here on this great CD.

© Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck
July 26, 2006

01. Fool (3:09)
02. To the Lighthouse (4:06)
03. Virginia in the Fall (3:25)
04. Sarah, sing me the Blues (3:19)
05. Stage Plays (2:58)
06. Virtually Unreal (2:55)
07. The Homecoming (4:25)
08. Vignette from the Edge (3:30)
09. J'Attends (3:59)
10. Those who Lose (4:14)


Credits:

Sue Merchant: Lead Vocals & Acoustic Guitar
Viv Lynham: Counter & Harmony Vocals
Mark Barnwell: Spanish/Classical & Electric Guitar
Martin Selwood: Keyboards
Chris Foden: Acoustic/Electric/Classical & Bass Guitar
Dawn Blamey: Keyboards & Harmony Vocals

Bluessmyth


Artist: Bluessmyth
Title: Bluessmyth
Genre: Blues-Rock
Label: Arges Records
Website
Indie Pool Link

Canada’s answer to ZZ Top has arrived. They are a raw and energy fill trio called Bluessmyth. This killer blues rockin’ trio is the Yaholkoski brothers, Chris and Jason, and Calvin Becker. Chris leads the way with his beefy lead guitar chops, a deep voice (that sounds like Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top) that snarls. Jason sings backup vocals and thumps away on bass laying down a bottom end for the other half of the rhythm section, Becker, who plays drums, keyboards, and provides backing vocals. The band likes to call it blues metal and I can relate to that in some ways but when it’s all said and done its blues-rock.

Rocking blues comes out sounding its very best this way and it’s all because there are no complications with the song structures, they crank it out with passion and fire to make it feel real. On the lyrical side, it gets a little heavy and complex with the three-part track “The Story of Emmett Till,” which is true story about a young man, brutally murdered because he was black. The music is naturally highly charged and emotional and brings to light the sadness and harsh realities of racism.

The cover depicts a powerful man (the character’s name is Henry) shaping and molding his weapon, which falls right in line with the way this band plays and develops each of the tracks on this CD. They do it with a lot of muscle and sweat and make it into something that works both musically and lyrically, which is what it’s all about when you record an album. I see where this CD would have equal appeal with rock and blues fans. Yes, very potent stuff here-you have to hear it to feel it, believe it, and come to know it as if you were part of the story. It worked well for me and I really had a good time rockin’ out and feeling the blues with this recording.

© Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck
August 1, 2006

01. The Duel (0:52)
02. Rollin’ Penny (2:42)
03. Bring It On (3:34)
04. The Story of Emmett Till
(I) Innocence Bound (3:10)
(II) Run For Your Life (3:36)
(III) The Phoenix (2:25)
05. Take The Road (4:32)
06. Mean Mean Woman (3:31)
07. Bluessmyth (9:21)

Credits:

Chris Yaholkoski: guitars, harmonica, leadvocals
Calvin Becker: drums, keyboards, backing vocals
Jason Yaholkoski: bass, backing vocals