Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from March, 2007

Hill Briggs-Solo Album

Artist: Hill Briggs
Title: Solo Album
Genre: Jazz-Rock-Fusion-Instrumental
Label: Blue Pie Records
Website


Hill Briggs is a one man show on his simply and fittingly titled Solo Album. I find it difficult to begin to articulate all the feelings and complete satisfaction I felt listening to this music. Briggs is an outstanding musician. He spent two years putting this amazing project together. What I find astonishing is the fact that Hill composed all 16 tracks and then played all the instruments, live off the floor, except the saxophone on “Jez G.” He is currently rehearsing a band to play the project live. Too bad I am not in UK to see this event unfold, I would find it very interesting after listening to this CD several times, knowing that he played everything himself except one sax part. It is hard for me to fathom this but every time I hear it, it becomes more real and that much more incredible.

Briggs walks you through his worlds of music one track at a time effortlessly like the polish…

Jen Porter-Moving On

Artist: Jen Porter
Title: Moving On
Genre: Blues, Rock, Singer/Songwriter, Adult Contemporary
Label: JJP Productions
Website
CD Baby Link


Moving On, the third album from Chicago-based artist Jen Porter, showcases the singer's sultry, gutsy voice and ability to seamlessly blend rock and roll, blues and country-folk influences into a contemporary sound. Featuring a solid backing band, this collection of songs is polished, down-to-earth, and full of energy, the perfect soundtrack to a dinner party with friends or a night out on the town. Residents of Chicago can easily catch a live performance, as the hard-working Porter plays four to five shows a week around her hometown; for the rest of us, Moving On brings Porter's powerful vocals right to our living rooms.

The album gets started with "Along the Way", a pop-tinged blues anthem that quickly sets the stage for Porter's no-holds-barred vocals and fine piano work.. "Get Out", a driving ode to a former lover, calls…

Richard Zeier-Phenomenation

Artist: Richard Zeier
Title: Phenomenation
Genre: Symphonic Rock
Label: RJZ Music
Website
CD Baby Link

Richard Zeier's Phenomenation is a cleanly produced, mostly instrumental album that incorporates sounds from rock, classical, new age, and electronica. The album is well composed and Zeier's guitar work is superb. Each of the thirteen tracks explores emotional locations that combine to create an overall sound that at once transcends time and location yet feels very familiar and accessible.

The album opens with "Rainbow Nebula," which features an ethereal beginning followed by layers of acoustic and electric guitar under laid by a rhythmic bass line and interspersed with piano. The sound is upbeat yet underscored with darker rhythms and melodies that suggest you are entering a textured and complex musical world. That multi-layered sound appears throughout the album and gives Zeier's work a cinematic feel: each of these tracks suggests plots and complexities that extend …

Paul and Friends-Smooth Sailing

Artist: Paul and Friends
Title: Smooth Sailing
Genre: Jazz-Pop-Rock
Label: P & J Records
Website


After hearing Smooth Sailing for the first time, my first impression was that it might be a little too contemporary and syrupy for these ears. I do listen to a wide variety of music but I always find myself reaching for my 70’s classic rock when I really want to unwind. Never being one to dismiss a recording after merely one listen, unless its completely horrible for the first 3 or 4 tracks, I endeavored to open my mind and ears once again to really ‘hear’ the music.

Well for starters, they really hit the proverbial nail on the head for the title. This CD is without a doubt Smooth Sailing all the way through. I have to emphasize the word smooth, as in smooth jazz and rock. Paul & Friends is Paul W. Sammarco (alias Paul Summers, his stage name in Australia). He is the leader of the pack, and I do not refer to pack lightly (see credits). One of the more difficult things to do is to put tog…

Eric Kamen Releases Second Instrumental Album Eric 2.0

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

New York, New York--March 19, 2007-- From the heart of the Big Apple Eric Kamen delivers his multicultural instrumental music to the world. Nearly a year and a half has passed since the incredible Native Unit made its mark upon our consciousness and now Eric 2.0 continues the journey of the tasteful Latin-World flavored instrumental compositions that have built a large worldwide following. Once again, Kamen gracefully plucks his Spanish guitar and dazzles us with picturesque soundscapes on his latest offering.

Kamen composed, recorded, and played all the instruments on Eric 2.0, again proving his steadfast indie approach to all of his recorded output. Since the release of the last album, the artist has found his place amongst the many flourishing cyberspace communities. The phenomenon of Myspace is no stranger to Eric, and he has created an entirely new audience by connecting to that community. As he progresses as an artist, his listener’s are with him every step…

Thomas Earl-Golddust Magic

Artist: Thomas Earl
Title: Golddust Magic
Genre: Folk-Rock
Label: Independent
Website
CD Baby Link

Thomas Earl grew up in the 60’s and his music has that kind of quality and personality about it on Golddust Magic. I have always remained steadfast that the 60's was the best decade for music and the most important in the development of rock and folk genres.

Earl has a Dave Alvin meets Gordon Lightfoot vocal tone and style that is very appealing, immediately setting you at ease. He gives you comfort and the ability to absorb all the music and words unencumbered by distractions. Right from the melodic opener “On My Way” which leads into the toe-tapping “Fly,” Earl turns on his Golddust Magic. “Fly” is my pick for a single that I think would get tons of airplay. I found it literally impossible to get it out my head after I heard it the first time.

I get the feeling Earl is an old soul, a gifted poet that has the ability to set it all to music in a beautiful and unforgettable way that few arti…

Electron Love Theory-Colors Of The Galaxy

Artist: Electron Love Theory
Title: Colors Of The Galaxy
Genre: Pop, Electronic, Dance
Label: Electron Records
Website
CD Baby Link

Listening to Colors Of The Galaxy you get the sense that electron love theory feels equally comfortable producing top-forty hits as they do spinning late night in a club. The creation of writer, musician, and producer Jeff Leisawitz, Electron Love Theory has been compared to artists such as Dido, Portishead, and Everything But the Girl, to name a few, and the range of comparisons is apt: Colors Of The Galaxy incorporates a wide range of styles across its thirteen tracks. What is remarkable about this album is how seamlessly, and to what good effect, Electron Love Theory incorporates different musical directions into a depth and breadth of sound that takes the best from each and mixes them into an aural ecosystem where every part adds to the whole.

“The Perfect Lie” brings the galaxy into existence with a smooth, ethereal sound setting the stage for the clean vo…

Roddo Fab Industries-Sugar. Plum. Plastic.

Artist: Roddo Fab Industries
Title: Sugar. Plum. Plastic.
Genre: Rock-Pop
Label: Independent
Website
CD Baby Link

Roddo Fab Industries…kind of sounds like the latest animated film. Well its not and that thought actually, could not be farther from the truth. This band is actually one person, his name is John Gassere, and he provides all the lyrics and music while playing all the instruments. It truly is amazing what you can put together in a studio these days. I can imagine the time and effort that must have gone into this. He really does sound like a band on the new CD Sugar. Plum. Plastic.

The way the title is spelled out suggests a certain finality that carries with it definitive meaning in each song.

I found this CD very light in atmosphere and feeling. The weight of the world and all its problems melt away while listening to these pop-rock nuggets. As the artist suggests, this is a throwback to bands like the Beatles. If you listen to “Purple Streets” with its psychedelic underbelly pu…

Kemp Harris-Edenton

Artist: Kemp Harris
Title: Edenton
Genre: Blues-Gospel
Label: Righteous Mischeif LLC
Website

Kemp Harris titled his new album after his home Edenton North Carolina. It makes sense to me, use your “home is where the heart is” philosophy, and turn it into music and lyrics that come from the very core of your soul. Harris sings about much more than his former hometown (he resides in Boston now) but I cannot help feeling that was the foundation for everything else that happened on this recording.

This CD has continued to grow on me with the passing of time. I liked it when I first heard it but the more I listen to the music and words, the more it permeates my senses in every way. Harris reminded me of Robert Cray at times with his vocal style. He is very expressive and emotional when he sings a song and the 11 tracks on this recording benefit from those feelings and thoughts projected through the music. Harris uses his ears and heart to lead him on this recording session. He also gets some help…

The Alternate Routes-Good And Reckless And True

Artist: The Alternate Routes
Title: Good And Reckless And True
Genre: Rock
Label:Vanguard Records
Website
Amazon Link


With The Alternate Routes CD Good And Reckless And True you can instantly be reminded of sounds you have heard before (the lead singer reminded me of John Waite). It seems weird to say a band that is making music like this today is a throwback to an era gone by but it is true and actually a good thing in this case. Make no mistake about it this is a band of modern rockers that sound fresh and vibrant on their exciting debut.

I really like this music and this band. This album stands on solid ground backed by a legendary label known for presenting quality acts. I have to say they have done it again, made every effort to impress, and came up with a great rock band that offers some immense straight ahead rock music-11 tracks that put this talented group in a good light.

Firstly, you will recognize as I did, the lead singer Tim Warren on the catchy brilliant opener “Ordinary” (m…

Electric Violinist James Sudakow Releases Instrumental Progressive Rock Album Green

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Long Beach, CA--March 12, 2007-- James Sudakow is a musician with an imaginative and groundbreaking approach to the electric violin and viola. Classically trained since the age of four, he has modified his training to revise the instrument’s sound and potential. The artist uses a heavy distortion to play both lead and guitar like riffs and rhythm sections in much of his original progressive rock projects.

The summit of the advances with the instrument and James’ superior creative talents reach its fruition on the new recording Green. He demonstrates a unique application of the electric violin/viola and Marshall JCM2000 Amplifier in his studio work and electrifying live performances.

Sudakow sites particular influences that pushed him in the direction he arrived at musically and surprisingly enough his heroes are not whom you would expect. Guitar players such as Hendrix and Vernon Reid take credit for the path he decided to travel years ago.

Troy Paul, President of…

Bard Shasta Re-Masters Indie Release No More Smoking!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Hartford, Connecticut—March 6, 2007— When you hear the name Shasta you immediately think of the famous mountain; however, in the world of music it has another meaning. Shasta is a Bard with a guitar, armed and ready to make you reflect and ponder your very existence on this planet while questioning your own belief system. The New England native made a life-changing sojourn to California years ago, which is when he began developing into the artist he is today.

The re-mastered and re-issued version of “No More Smoking!” will have folk rock fans wondering why Shasta has not opened for legendary acts like Dylan. He won Dylan imitator contests in the past, so it is no coincidence his sound is similar. The lyrics he presents in a song are just as thought provoking and prolific as some of the master’s work. Although Shasta does not take himself that seriously, he knows how to have fun in a song and get his audiences laughing. The tongue in cheek innuendo of “It Won't …

Kelly Sweet-We Are One

Artist: Kelly Sweet
Title: We Are One
Genre: Pop
Label:Razor & Tie
Website
Amazon Link

Kelly Sweet is going to be the next big star, the diva we all have been waiting to come onto the scene that is not a manufactured American Idol. Kelly met with producer, arranger, and songwriter Mark Portmann (Celine Dion) in the summer of 2004. Soon the two began writing songs together, resulting in the turning point of a career that blossoms on We Are One on Razor & Tie Entertainment.

The twelve tracks on this CD give you a glimpse of the diverse talent that Kelly Sweet is. Someday this album will be a cherished debut that few were able to duplicate. The comparisons to Celine Dion will invariably arise due to her relationship with Portmann as the producer and the fact that she recorded three tracks in French and Italian. Although I could not understand a word, I could feel the emotion that went into each track and Sweet’s talent is obvious no matter what she is doing on this recording. This lady …

Swampdawamp-Self Titled

Artist: Swampdawamp
Title: Swampdawamp
Genre: Blues-Rock
Label: Big Penny Entertainment
Website
Amazon Link

With a tongue twister of a name like Swampdawamp you may not know what to expect for music. I figured it had to be at least southern flavored, and I was partially right. This band plays rock and blues and their sound is something like the Allman Brothers meets Lynyrd Skynyrd or some facsimile thereof. Ok enough with the comparisons and trying to figure who and what they sound like, when the day is done they create a sound that is all their own.

Gig Michaels has a hefty whiskey like vocal style that lends itself nicely to the lyrics and the sounds the band generates. Right at the outset “I’m Feelin’ Saturday” sets the tone and they grab hold and take control of the steering wheel, never once veering off track. As they move through each track you become increasingly entertained and engrossed in what they have to offer.

The one track that really says who they are lyrically and musically i…

Eric Kamen-Eric 2.0

Artist: Eric Kamen
Title: Eric 2.0
Genre: Instrumental-World-Fusion
Label: E*Traxxx Productions Inc.
Website

Eric Kamen has returned with a continuation of his Native Unit project with Eric 2.0. Once again, Kamen plays all the instruments, composes all the tracks, and produces the final product.

He is nothing short of a magician with the Spanish guitar, dazzling us once again with a distinct blend of Latin and Middle Eastern flavored rides that last long into the desert evening. As the sun sets in your mind’s eye, you can picture a mysterious stranger riding off into the sunset, just like in the old spaghetti westerns. It sounds cornball but this wonderful music is simply destined for each individual listener to evoke his or her own images. Surely, only the creator could truly convey what it all means but it allows us to let our imaginations run wild as the wind and make up our own stories complete with handpicked actors to play out the drama.

There are 14 tracks on this CD and it sounds as …

The Alternate Routes To Debut New Vanguard Records Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Santa Monica, CA--March 5, 2007-- Vanguard Records has signed the powerful rock/pop group, The Alternate Routes and plan on releasing their label debut, Good and Reckless and True on March 13, 2007.

The Alternate Routes, which include co-founders Tim Warren (lead vocals/acoustic guitar) and Eric Donnelly (guitar), Chip Johnson (bass), Stephen Chopek (drums) and Mike Sembos (keyboard/electric guitar), have never been afraid to work hard and take risks during their turbulent journey. Based in Bridgeport , Connecticut , they are five talented young musicians who’s strong work ethic both in the studio and on the road have led to a solid fan base, airplay on an influential Boston radio station and now, a label deal with Vanguard Records.

Good and Reckless and True, produced by Jay Joyce (Patty Griffin, John Hiatt), is a collection of eleven songs born out of pain, faith, personal tragedy, passion, humor and desperation. From the haunting first track, “Ordinary” to the…

Multitalented Kemp Harris Releases Blues-Gospel Album Edenton

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Boston, MA--March 5, 2007-- With almost four decades behind him as a songwriter and performer, Kemp Harris has shared the stage with a surprising range of talent -- including Koko Taylor, Taj Mahal, Gil Scott-Heron, and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre.

Harris’ depth of experience echoes powerfully throughout his sophomore CD release entitled “Edenton,” scheduled for release on March 13th. The album is both a literal and figurative journey back to Harris’ roots in Edenton, North Carolina, the town where he was born.

It features the legendary Holmes Brothers on backing vocals. The Brothers bring the full force of their talent, providing deep, rootsy harmonies to the raw-boned force of Harris’ lead vocals. With the support of the Holmes Brothers, Harris’s original songwriting and performances reflect a mature artist not content to rehash the clichés of the blues and roots genre. Harris shows his willingness to fuse diverse elements in the search for a more mode…