26 February 2007

James Sudakow-Green

Artist: James Sudakow
Title: Green
Genre: Progressive Rock
Label: Independent
Website
CD Baby Link

Electric violin player James Sudakow credits rock guitarists with giving him the inspiration to create his musical progressive rock expedition. The list is impressive, Jimi Hendrix, Dave Navarro (Jane’s Addiction), and Vernon Reid (Living Colour) are the top three six-string innovators that Sudakow points to as his mentors in sound.

Green is the title of Sudakow’s six-track CD. This instrumental assault of the senses focuses on six basic colors, all of course different in every way. The cover of the CD is very expressive with all the colors as well. Some folks may think right away because of the tie die image on the cover that this is something relating to jamband music, which would be way off base. Think of Jean-Luc Ponty on mescaline or David Ragsdale on speed, Sudakow is very different, in a good way.

“Black” is the opening track and it begins with some powerful and prolific drums that really get your blood pumping through your arteries, then Sudakow kicks it into high gear with some crazy violin playing, think of guitar shredding but with a violin. It is not that hard to imagine because after you listen a few times it starts sounding like a guitar. Then as you get towards the end of the recording and “Blue” starts, the violin sounds more synthesized, like keyboards. This is one example of the radical changes he takes the violin through from one composition to the next.

After taking all of it in you start to realize the concept behind this entire project-it is to show you the listener, all the different colors that the violin is capable of creating within the musical spectrum. It does not hurt that Sudakow has two band mates that know their chops; it fleshes out his overall sound nicely. David Gaziel (drums) and Matt Bissonette (bass) make for an outstanding rhythm section. Once I stopped for a moment to reflect upon it all after intently listening for the second time I realized that the three instruments combining their strengths started sounding more like an army of musicians.

This music requires several listens before you really understand what Sudakow is accomplishing through his music. I will be the first to admit that after hearing this the first time I was not too sure, but that just means I needed to listen again to get an entirely different outlook on another day. Without fail, this works for me, especially when a CD has merits like Green.

© Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck

February 26, 2007

1. Black (8:21)
2. Purple (5:47)
3. Orange (9:43)
4. Green (6:26)
5. Red (10:14)
6. Blue (5:08)

Credits:

James Sudakow: electric violins
David Gaziel: drums
Matt Bissonette: bass

25 February 2007

Mikey J Releases Indie CD Life’s Road

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Nashua, NH--February 26, 2007--Mikey J (Michael Johnson), is a folk rock performer hailing from New Hampshire. Mikey J is not unlike the rest of us, he is a product of his environment, and calling New England your home has its responsibilities as well as a few idiosyncrasies inherit of the region. Mikey J is a good fit for his surroundings and all of his music and lyrics paint a picture that is very descriptive to the listener.

The new release from Mikey J is Life’s Road and it takes you down his own personal path carved out by his own life and feelings. With a combination of acoustic and electric guitars, understated rhythm sections and just the right amount of keyboards for the additional layer that makes a tune have more depth while pushing along the lyrics, Mikey J and his band make each track a journey through time, past and future.

Good friend and longtime collaborator Duane Carleton is a very important part of the overall equation and outcome of Life’s Road. His experience and talent have become invaluable to Mikey J. Carelton provides timely background vocals and expert musicianship with electric and acoustic guitars, bass, and mandolin.

Tracks such as “Father” are a focus of the artist and his personal struggles with family relationships and “3 Men In A Mirror’ falls right in line after that track as Mikey J sings about himself, his son, and father. This is how a look into the mirror of life can reveal images of all three men and how they all seemingly blend into the same person. This is only apparent if we choose to look at reality. This suggests the similarities of inherited character traits both good and bad that we all have and discover by looking at a parent, child, or inside your own soul.

Mikey J and his music is food for thought and reflection and the way the music is arranged and played gently pushes you to think about what he is trying to say and how it may be applied in your own life. Those that appreciate heartfelt lyrical prose, folk-rock, and good old New England values will find a wealth of inspiration and enjoyment in this music.

Visit the Mikey J site for downloads, performance dates, pictures, and updates.

Contact: Michael Johnson
Company: Mikey Js
Address: 1 Rayes Drive, Hudson, NH 03051
Tel: (603) 889-5282
Fax: (603) 889-5282
Email
Website

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Swampdawamp Releases Self-Titled Blues-Rock Burner On Red Eye Distribution

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Charlotte, North Carolina--February 26, 2007-- Charlotte, North Carolina--February 26, 2007--Don’t look now but the south is gonna do it again! Swampdawamp has released a self-titled debut that will put them on the rock map very quickly. The disc, produced by Joe Boyland (Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bad Company, Nazareth), has a definitive sound.

Swampdawamp lead singer Gig Michaels calls their sound a blend of classic, southern, and alternative rock. When it all comes together, it sounds like a roots-blues-rock blend that is infectious as it is unforgettable.

Swampdawamp sings about backyard barbeques, NASCAR, and everything that makes up a culture born and raised in the south. It’s a “Sunday Southern Tradition” charged by emotionally drenched vocals and peppered with red-hot guitar licks. This band stays with you for each song from start to finish, every song guarantees that there will be lyrics and music ringing in your ears long after the final note plays.

The entertainment value of a band like Swampdawamp is evident on their lively debut and the band’s unique name and sound is hard to forget. Their self-titled album is a good introduction for listeners unexposed to their particular sound, and longtime fans of the music will rejoice and recall great bands of yesteryear that dished out the same kind of backyard cookin’ that they came to know and love. In many ways, Swampdawamp has old-fashioned values in the way they play their music with such passion and heart. Its music by the people for the people and it does not get any simpler than that.

Contact: Chip Schutzman
Company: Miles High Productions
Address: 6622 Delongpre Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90028
Tel: 323-806-0400
Fax: 323-462-0829
Email
Website
Amazon Link

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17 February 2007

Retired NBA Superstar Trades Basketball for Billboard Charts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


San Francisco, CA--February 19, 2007-- Retired NBA Superstar, Terry Cummings has made a smooth transition from the NBA to the recording studio. The former NBA star formed the Cummings Entertainment Group several years ago to manage his record, film, internet, and multimedia ventures. Terry, a self-taught musician, has recently found a home for his signature style of smooth R&B fused with Gospel and Urban influences when the Cummings Entertainment Group signed an exclusive distribution agreement with RNLG Distribution, LLC. RNLG is a label group distributed by Koch Entertainment, the number one ranked independent distributor in North America several years running. Terry Cumming's first RNLG/Koch release, T.C. Finally, is slated for an April 10, 2007 release date. "Cummings is a gifted self-taught musician," says label president, Rob Nonies, "He possesses something that's long missing in today's pre-packaged music scene-passion."

Cummings is as dedicated in the studio as he was on the court; trading in his sneakers for piano keys and platinum plaques. His new album T.C. Finally, is a worthy effort very much in the tradition of some of his favorite vocalists such as Marvin Gaye, Jackie Wilson, Sam Cooke, Al Green, and Gerald Levert. The album is a sublime song cycle performed by a man who has lived a dream and experienced the soul, gospel and jazz essence...it is everything that Terry Cummings is.

In addition to basketball and musical skills, Cummings is a multimedia all-star. He has produced, written, and directed several television commercials, acted in a Spike Lee Joint film, and has toured the world as a motivational speaker. Although retired from the NBA, Terry Cummings shows no sign of slowing down; the young-at-heart philanthropist and recording artist will perform his music on the world stage this year with the help and support of RNLG.

About RNLG Distribution, LLC:
RNLG Distribution is distributed exclusively throughout North America by Koch Entertainment, the number one ranked independent distributor in North America. RNLG has a simple philosophy--"distribute the best." RNLG seeks the best labels, with the best staff and most importantly the best music. RNLG was launched to extend national distribution opportunities to independent labels that are financially capable of sustaining their own marketing and promotion campaigns. The company's primary function will be to provide support to its label's releases with the expertise and staff needed for each project. Consistent with his past performance, Rob Nonies and R.N.L.G. Distribution is enjoying conspicuous growth and is actively looking for labels and partners to continue their aggressive distribution schedule for the remainder of 2007 and beyond.


Contact: Chip Schutzman
Company: Miles High Productions
Address: 6622 Delongpre Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90028
Tel: 323-806-0400
Fax: 323-462-0829
Email
Website

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15 February 2007

Shasta- No More Smoking!

Artist: Shasta
Title: No More Smoking!
Genre: Folk
Label: Mountain Thunder Music
Website
CD Baby Link

Shasta is poet, guitar player, songwriter, and comedian all wrapped into one remarkable package. No More Smoking! Consist of 14 tracks chock full of poetic justice, tongue-in-cheek lyrics, rollicking acoustic guitar parts, and at times some biting electric riffs provided by select guests, that make your ears perk up and take notice.

This artist will remind you of Dylan. The influence is obviously there, and he openly and proudly proclaims his allegiance to the former Robert Zimmerman. Personally, I never liked Dylan’s vocals and actually this artist has a more palatable vocal style for these ears and he is on the lighter side of those bloody tracks, which is always a welcome addition to my stereo. The best example of levity and some fun sexual innuendo is “It Won't Reach! (My Hose Won't Reach!).” The track is an absolute riot and the music is just dandy as well, in fact, Shasta does a nice job consistently offering up some decent guitar licks on the acoustic. The man seems to have an innate ability to put the lyrics right on top of the notes so it is smooth sailin’ all the way through.

If you are looking for polished and pretty, you will not find here on this CD. Its WYSIWYG from start to finish and that is exactly why I enjoyed this music and the way Shasta goes about presenting his act. Now when I spin this CD again I know exactly what I am going to get, there are no false pretenses or surprises, you get “Modern Fixations” sandwiched in between a “Cold New England Rain” (lord knows I can feel it as I write), which have no parallels whatsoever. This guy has something different to dish out in every song and each one has nothing to do with the last one you heard. When the party is over, this is a notable strength and what makes this album what it is in the first place…different, original, and all Shasta, even if he does sound like Dylan.

© Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck

February 15, 2007

Shasta: lead vocals, acoustic guitars, harmonica, effects
Ed Goldfarb: keyboards
Bill Hare: bass, electric & acoustic guitars
Rod Farias, Jon & Pat Driscoll, Jeff Tracy & Brian Masaki: electric guitars
Jeff Lewis: trumpet & harmonica
Randy Musumeci, Steve Rosebery, Frank Stewart, Charlie Sporck & Joe Rizzi: drums Tracy Harris, Susie Slade, Monique DeMoulin & Lotte West: background vocals

Tracks:
01. No More Smoking! (live! Clean Edit) (3:41)
02. Outside My Window (3:51)
03. It Won't Reach! (My Hose Won't Reach!) (3:14)
04. Cold New England Rain (6:34)
05. Modern Fixations (3:53)
06. No! No Doctor! (3:52)
07. America's Home Town (bonus Full Length Edition) (4:38)
08. Condo-Commandos (3:26)
09. Stand Back! /Drop Down! (6:19)
10. Silicon Heartland (3:48)
11. Freudian Flowers (3:12)
12. America's Child (4:02)
13. Chasin' My Ghost (6:59)
14. No More Smoking! (live! Explicit Lyric) (3:42)

14 February 2007

Mikey J-Life’s Road

Artist: Mikey J
Title: Life’s Road
Genre: Folk-Rock
Label: Independent
Website

Michael Johnson, aka Mikey J, is a folk rock performer from New Hampshire. His New England values and roots come through his music and lyrics in a warm and meaningful way. I guess you have to be from these parts to understand a statement like that. I am right below him in Massachusetts so that made it all that much easier for me to discern where he was coming from while listening to his music.

Life’s Road takes you right down Mikey J’s own personal path through 10 descriptive tracks. This is very reflective and relaxing acoustic folk music for the most part and I took a liking to it rather quickly. Some of the tracks are just Mikey featured with a nice strumming acoustic guitar; others have a nice piano tinkling in the background to give it a nice layer that accentuates everything else going on. This production is a well thought out and purposefully arranged.

I found it interesting how tracks 4 and 5 intersect. “Father” is about a man that does not know how to love his Dad. I can see how that can happen at times for many men, as relationships with men are entirely different from what women have with each other. I think the male machismo and competitive spirit can get in the way of resolving any disagreements or issues. I have personally experienced this with male family members. Possibly this is what Mikey is referring to in this song. The next track is “3 Men In The Mirror,’ which is very interesting. He sings about his own son becoming a man, and when he looks into the mirror of life, he sees all three men-himself, his father, and his son. I have caught myself doing this over the last few years myself. As much as we hate to admit it at times, we are a lot like our parents and some of those more disturbing attributes become glaringly obvious to your significant other. Certainly, anyone can relate to this in some way.

What this all boils down to for this listener is a simple fact, the music forced me to look at my own life-past, present, and future. This is not always the easiest thing to do but the music and Mikey’s vocal style, made it a little bit easier to do so. Sometimes music has a way of making you smile regardless of the subject, well most of the time anyway. In this case, I felt that I knew the artist just as if he was a next-door neighbor for years.

Artists like Mikey J come at you with their heart on their sleeve leaving nothing to chance; he brings it all to the table and lays down his cards. It is then up to you what cards you want dealt to you, track by track. In the end, Mikey deals a full house and walks away the winner. I really enjoyed this simple straightforward artist and his music.

© Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck

February 14, 2007

01. Only the Mountains
02. See the Light
03. Aged Traveler
04. Father
05. 3 Men In The Mirror
06. Do You Think of Me
07. Still
08. You Never Loved Me Anyway
09. Let Me Go
10. Just Gotta Love Me

Musicians:
Michael Johnson: Vocals, 12 & 6 string acoustic guitar
Duane Carleton: Background Vocals, 12 & 6 string Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitars, Mandolin, Bass
Bob Boyer: Bass Guitar, Drums
Tim Lynch: Percussion, Piano/Keyboards
Rick Sullivan: Snare Drum

11 February 2007

Brenda David Releases Indie Recording Better Part Of Me

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Jacksonville, FL--February 12, 2007-- Singer, songwriter, guitarist, Brenda David came out of an eight-year break from recording last year to release a new album titled Better Part Of Me. The multitalented Florida native jumped back into the music world with a much anticipated sophomore album on Cadillac Records and it has been gathering momentum since its initial release. Following the success of her debut album Scratch, this recording refuses to fit squarely into a box; it features a diverse mix of pop, rock, blues, and country for her devoted and patient fan base.

Better Part Of Me includes nine original songs, each with slightly different tastes and atmospheres, yet all with the unique Brenda David sound that sets her apart from all the rest. “Call Your Name” and “I'll Be the One” are country-pop tunes that you could imagine hearing on the radio and “Better Part of Me,’ the lead off track, has a distinct jazz-pop feel, highlighting the CD. David receives some stellar musical support from a list of musicians that have paid their dues and earned the respect they deserve in the industry. Her husband Richard Smith was a key collaborator co-producing and writing the song “Restless Hearts.” Other key members of the project were engineer and musician Mark Dennison, and Kevin Banks who played sitar, guitar, and mandolin.

“My original music is so meaningful to me because most of it evolves from personal experiences,” said David. This statement is reflection of who she is and it comes pouring out her soul one track at a time on Better Part Of Me. The music is fresh and inviting while maintaining a high standard of production value, giving the listener nothing but the best all around listening experience.

Visit Brenda David’s website for updates, downloads, photos, and concert dates.

Contact: Brenda David
Company: Cadillac Records
Address: 1314 Bigtree Rd., Neptune Beach, FL 32266
Tel: (904) 614-2898
Email
Website
CD Direct Link

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05 February 2007

Micah Wolf Releases Self-Titled CD

Artist: Micah Wolf
Title: Micah Wolf
Genre: Folk-Rock
Label: Blockplane Records
Website
CD Baby Link

Micah Wolf’s music is as tranquil and beautiful as his natural surroundings in Hawaii. After around the third spin of this CD this music and the lyrics finally started to soak into my over worked cranium. Wolf comes across with a gentle approach yet he still gets his point across in a song.

This is very mellow laid-back music punctuated by Wolf’s distinct vocal style and elegant acoustic guitar. Although dubbed as folk rock, I heard much more than that. I could hear Wolf reciting poems to music, and in some instances adding his own version of a rap with a rhythm and rhyme to everything (Counting Cracks) he was conveying within a song.

I like what it says on the back cover of the CD…From the ground up. From the construction of the instruments to building our own studio, this album was produced, engineered, and mixed from the ground up-Music is a way of life. Now that tells the story in a literal sense of where Micah and his friends are coming from. I believe it after looking at his biography. He had parents that traveled around to hippie communes in various locations before he became an adult and finally settled in Hawaii. No doubt, his experiences when he was 8 years old when he received his first guitar, the travel, and the exposure to free spirited individuals along with an adventurous lifestyle, shaped who he is today. You can hear it come through in all the rich colors and textures of his music and vocals.

Yes, Micah Wolf comes from places of the heart and soul that few dare to travel within their music because they are too concerned with the commercial viability and technology of the product. This is not a product for Micah. This is his life on the CD, a living breathing entity that needs care, attention, and love, on a continual basis to grow and mature. That in a nutshell is what this music is all about.

Although there is dobro, piano, violin, and drums in the mix, they are understated, although positioned properly to fit into the context of each composition. The voice and guitar of Micah are featured and stand out on the recording, however, everything else you hear is essential to the balance and overall sound of each complete track. I like the way all of the aspects fall together and how each individual track tells a story with the music used as more than just a backdrop. It serves as more of a propellant, an inspiration for Micah to make the lyrics come out and reach you and pull you right in and keep you. It worked well for me but it took more than one listen, which is always the case with anything worth hearing.

© Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck

February 5, 2007

01. Burn Me (3:49)
02. Self Esteem (3:14)
03. Storm Is Rollin' In (3:23)
04. Pay No Mind (3:34)
05. Plastics (3:48)
06. Burden (3:15)
07. Return To You (3:48)
08. Counting Cracks (4:00)
09. Tease Me (2:10)
10. Muse (4:06)
11. To Forgive (4:37)
12. Stand Tall (4:23)
13. Believe (2:51)

Musicians:

Micah Wolf: guitars, vocal, piano
Eric DeVine: bass, dobro, guitar
Michael Buono: drums
Mark D’Antonio: percussion
Maria Zoe: backup vocals track 6
Don Lax: violin track 10