30 September 2010
28 September 2010
CD Baby Link
Standing against a desolate industrial backdrop, Nick Gill, an 18 year-old pop rock singer songwriter from Fairhope, Alabama stands with his guitar ready to divulge the innermost feelings that an 18 year old would have...READ MORE...
24 September 2010
Title: Walker 904A
CD Baby Link
If you are in the mood for some good folk songs with touching lyrics I have the right medicine for you, Scott Dameron & Jay Ladd V...READ MORE...
09 September 2010
03 September 2010
So where do you start with a recording that created a genre? Bitches Brew and its legendary and iconic status has not waned one iota since the celebrated release of the set in 1970. Miles Davis changed jazz forever more than once from the 50s all the way up to this marvelous concoction of jazz-rock fusion genius.
To honor the 40th anniversary of Bitches Brew Sony Legacy has completely outdone everyone else with a remasters series by releasing three different exceedingly tempting configurations. This is the Legacy Edition then there will be the Legacy Collector’s Edition and to follow that, if that wasn’t enough for you jazz enthusiasts, the Super Deluxe 40th Anniversary Collector’s Edition, which has a previously unissued performance from Tanglewood in August 1970. I happen to have the advance copy of that Tanglewood performance however this edition includes a live performance from Copenhagen in 1969. Confused yet? I guess it depends how much of a Davis fan you are and how many dollars you are willing to drop for these sets. You can snag up this gem for $18.99 at Amazon right now.
I think Bitches Brew remains unmatched for flat out jazz-rock fusion albums and then some considerations are necessary for the influences you hear in world music as well. There is a reason for that, several actually. The primary driving force, Mr. Miles Davis was an innovator of the trumpet the day he picked it up and as for his collaborators that lofty status applies as well. You cannot have one innovator and the rest of the band in a box musically, they all need to be flexible and stretch the boundaries of their genre and instruments to come up with a classic recording like Bitches Brew. I don’t have to remind you of how great this recording sounds but I will anyway. With the Columbia/Sony Legacy stamp adorning each disc you will see underneath that text ‘360 Sound’ STEREO ‘360 Sound’ with little arrows pointing in either direction. That little advertisement lives up to its billing you can be sure of that.
As the opening track “Pharaoh's Dance” kicks off you are immediately challenged to listen intently yet Miles and his cohorts gradually pull you in with more mellow passages and it all builds into amazing crescendos of sound with Miles leading the way. “Bitches Brew”, “Spanish Key” and “John McLaughlin” are jaw dropping examples of jazz-rock fusion, monuments in time and a tribute to men at the top of their game, With Shorter, Holland, Corea, DeJohnette (look up the names in Wikipedia) and a host of other musicians passing through the studios during the recording sessions it was like a hall of fame jazz gathering. Miles was the definitive leader of the pack and everyone else followed and the resulting music that was captured was groundbreaking and still totally mind blowing to this day.
The four tracks on disc one cover some ground; “Pharaoh’s Dance” (20:04), “Bitches Brew” (26:58), “Spanish Key” (17:31) and “John McLaughlin” (4:22). The title track alone is nearly one full LP and the Davis tribute to one the greatest six string benders, McLaughlin, seems like a short running single in comparison. Was this self indulgent, bombastic and long drawn out improvisation? You better believe it, and it was all so breathtaking. Where do you think progressive rock got its inspiration from besides classical music?
Disc two has some nice treats to offer as well including single edits and alternate versions. The opener “Miles Runs The Voodoo Down” is a real burner featuring that incredibly powerful rhythm section of Dave Holland (bass, who is stellar on the first four tracks as well) and check this out - dual drummers with Jack DeJohnette (right) and Don Alias (left) and some Congas for extra flavor. All that together created an amazing exercise in surround sound syncopated rhythms. And that is just the first track! You get seven more tracks after that then you can put on the DVD and watch some of these amazing performances in a live setting. The DVD is the icing on the cake of one phenomenal exhibition of flawless musical magic that can only be absorbed in chapters like a long, intense novel. To finalize the package a 23 page booklet is included; jam packed with photos and the most fitting and eloquent liner notes from Greg Tate.
I say no more, now the choice is yours what package you want. Anyway you look at it you are going to love every second of this if you are a jazz-rock fusion fan. Just think for a minute where music as a whole would be without brilliant individuals like Miles Davis to show us the way?
Key Tracks: Bitches Brew, Spanish Key, Miles Runs The Voodoo Down
Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-August 27, 2010
02 September 2010
Heart: Red Velvet Car. (2010)Legacy Recording
Wow. It’s been 6 years since Heart has released an album, but their chops have never been better. There are 10 solid tunes on this album that will renew your faith in the band, make you a Heart fan all over again, or if you’re lucky enough to be hearing them for the first time, make you a brand new fan.
The sisters from Seattle have released 12 previous albums with varying levels of commercial success; but after repeated listens, I am convinced this is their best work to date. Time will tell how well it does in the charts, but it won’t matter. This is the band’s crowning achievement.
If there was any doubt that aging rockers could make great albums, forget about it. Red Velvet Car is proof of that they can. It is not just a good album, it is an excellent album. It is not just a collection of great songs either. The songs weave themes, imagery and symbolism together so tightly and artfully you get more than the sum of the parts: you get a masterpiece. With each repeated listen each song takes on deeper connotations and the imagery gets richer and richer. The songs become stones in a mosaic. As you step back it reveals itself to be much bigger than it seems.
This one deserves a track by track review.
1. There You Go
This is a great choice for a first song because musically it kind of defines the laid back soul funk groove style that the band has become known for. Lyrically, it sketches a vague yet familiar character. Welcome to America 2010.
“Now is there anywhere left to go?
The highest highs lowest lows
A friend with a doctor
A friend with a gun
You got big trouble you better run.”
…There you go again”
If the characters on the album experience déjà-vu, so does the listener. The music is drenched in dreamy 70’s style licks, riffs and themes. This is a refreshing album for long time Heart fans. Gone are the over the top keyboards and synthesizers as there were in Heart’s 80’s pop phase. There are keyboard washes throughout the album but they are used so tastefully you barely notice them. They work to add a layer of darkness and mystery to the songs.
This is a straight on rock tune that reaches out to a generation that finds itself frenetically spinning in a web of social media, unaware of the consequences or at least not caring.
“How much talking does it take
Talkin’ bout your bad mistakes?
I’m gonna talk you wide awake
Talk until your ego breaks
… The hardest thing ya ever learn is
What bridge to cross and what bridge to burn.”
3. Red Velvet Car.
This is the mellowest tune on the album. It is a ballad perfectly placed and seems to offer a ray of hope or at least offers a tired world a way out, if not an escape.
“Maybe you got hit real hard
Maybe you are on the floor
People screaming out your name
Cuz they don’t trust you anymore
I’m coming for you
“So pull your weary bones inside
You can sleep while I drive
Watch the moon out on the lake
I won’t even touch the brake
In my red velvet car”
4. Queen City.
The fourth track, Queen City is a good example of the sound the band was going for on this release. Plenty of acoustic guitar, Ann Wilson’s powerful and soulful vocals, and even a guest appearance by a church bell make this cut a real treat on the headphones.
5. Hey You
Ann Wilson steps up to the microphone on Hey You and delivers a fun country tinged ballad complete with a catchy “Na, Na , Na” chorus. It is the most overt pop song on the album but is perfectly placed in the middle of the record, contrasting the mood of its surroundings.
They band rolls right back into the dark with “Wheels”. This tune uses a funky, driving bass riff to carry it along. This is the point in the album where you start to see a faint image of something familiar emerging out of the fog.
7. Safronia’s Mark
Safronia’s Mark combines great acoustic blues riffs with slide guitar and mandolin in a tasty mix of Americana. Lyrically we are confronted with some real life blues.
She took the stain
How can she fly?
How can she fly on a broken wing?
That carries the stain of everything
Sarfronia’s soul is wandering
She just walked on by”
8. Death Valley
Death Valley is the best song on an album of great ones. The imagery becomes palpable in it intensity, It gets downright dangerous and intoxicating. A menacing, chordal guitar riff opens the tune and sets the mood for what is the pure poetry of the lyrics. It is tempting to include the lyrics in their entirety here, but it is better to discover this song for oneself. The setting is a lonely ride through a desert.
“I texted you in desperation
I said heaven forbid this place
It’s hotter than hell
And I’m losing my cool
This is not of the human race.
A thousand miles to go
What if the engine should break down
What if the tires should blow
What if my souls should slip off this bus
And land in the inferno
Bouncing and tumbling over
Watching in vain for a change
A windmill, a billboard, a Joshua tree
Rusted at home on the range”
Ann Wilson returns to offer a ray of hope with this gentle rocker. There is still a place for love amid the dark confusion. It is as if Ann is the light and Nancy is the dark on this record, but it works well to break things up and provide needed contrast.
The finale is another perfectly placed song. It is a medium tempo rock tune that features some excellent guitar work by Ann Wilson. Here, the author bids a kind of farewell, but it is a farewell to the illusions of despair created by the previous songs.
“A trick of light upon our eyes
A trick of time upon our lives
Ancient songs cry out to you
And surely this we sing
Is slipping through
Slipping through the glass of time
Surely this sweet sand will run out
Bye and Bye
And while the days come down to you
You are just a traveler passing through”
This album is a rare occurrence. It is inspiring in its ability to make 70’s rock relevant again by somehow reaching backwards and forwards in time and simultaneously staring the present straight in the face - and not backing down.
Title: We Walk In Temperatures
Genre: Folk-Modern Folk
Label: Home Tone Records
CD Baby Link
When I first saw the Partridge Family on TV I was fascinated at the thought of starting a band within my family. As it turns out, the wolf pack that raised me were only good at howling at each other and no music can make that sound good...READ MORE...
01 September 2010
Title: Red Velvet Car
Label: Sony Legacy
It’s hard to believe it has been six years since the release of the fantastic Jupiter’s Darling album. Heart and the sisters Wilson have been very busy...READ MORE...