30 March 2015

Blodwyn Pig/Jethro Tull Original Guitarist Mick Abrahams Releases New CD/DVD “Revived” Featuring Guest Appearances By Bill Wyman, Martin Barre, Bernie Marsden and Others!


London, UK - Over the years legendary Blodwyn Pig/Jethro Tull original guitarist Mick Abrahams has recorded a number of solo albums, steeped in the delta blues DNA that had mystically been passed down to him by Robert Johnson. Mick is 71 now, and still has the heart of a bluesman - the remarkable musicianship on this gem of an album Mick Abrahams and Guests “Mick Abrahams Revived” pays testament to that!

Mick Abrahams has made what is possibly the strongest album of his career. This time he is accompanied by a whole slew of special guests including Martin Barre his successor in Jethro Tull, legendary singer Paul Jones, Steely Dan's one-time guitarist Elliott Randall, Jim Rodford drummer from The Kinks, Bernie Marsden the guitarist from Whitesnake, and Rolling Stones legend Bill Wyman!

Featuring!
Bill Wyman – bass
Martin Barre - gtr
Bernie Marsden - gtr
Graham Walker - drums
John Gordon - bass
Jim Rodford - bass
George Murayni - keyboards
Elliott Randall - gtr
Geoff Whitehorn - gtr
Emily Gardner - gtr
Josh Phillips - hammond organ
Mark Feltham - harmonica vox
Paul Jones - harmonica vox
Beverley Skeete - vox
Don Andrews - vox
Patrick Walshe - vox
Peter Aldridge - vox
Frank mead - saxophones, squeezebox
Nick Payn - saxophones, vox
Terry Taylor - gtr

Tracks:
Summer Day
What About Us
Elz & Abys Jam
On The Road Again
Nadine
Remember Abrahams
I Can Tell
I'm A Hog For You
Bright Lights Big City
Dragonfly Alex
Boney Moronie
Goodnight Irene
Poison Ivy
Red River Rock
North By North West
Hungry For Love
Summer Day With Hammond

Mick Abrahams and Guests “Mick Abrahams Revived” will be released on April 7, 2015. The dvd version is a limited edition and exclusively available at Gonzo.

Check out the video:

For more information:
http://www.gonzomultimedia.co.uk/product_details/15786

Mick Abrahams official website: http://www.squirrelmusic.com

Press inquiries: Glass Onyon PR, PH: 828-350-8158, glassonyonpr@gmail.com

29 March 2015

Art Rock Review: Rhys Marsh-Sentiment

Genre: Art Rock
Release Date: 10thNovember 2014
Label:   Autumnsong Records (Burning Shed)


This is another of those times when items for review have links. Having recently reviewed the debut release by Kaukasus, I now find that the new release by Rhys Marsh, Sentiment, has landed on the reviewing desk. Rhys is a singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer based in Trondheim, Norway. Apart from being a solo artist, Rhys is the leader of the band The Autumn Ghost and a member of both Kaukasus and Mandala.

Autumn 2013 saw Rhys debut solo release entitled Suspended in A Weightless Wind, which comprised 5 tracks of cover material including Nick Drake and King Crimson.

Sentiment is the first full length solo release by Rhys and was written and recorded in his own Autumnsongs Recording studio. The artist himself has described the material as “my darkest and noisiest album so far. That encouraged me to step away from my comfort zone and really delve into more personal matters.”

Normally I would now go into a bit of info about the artist /band and who played what etc. but this time it is very short and indeed very easy. The only musician listed on the album is one Rhys Marsh, who plays “everything.”
Sentiment is a 9 track album with a total playing time of around 42 minutes, with the shortest track, “Burn The Brightest Day” lasting 3:19 minutes and the longest track, “The Ghost Ship” running on just beyond the 6 minute mark (6:11).

“Pictures Of Ashes” (3:50) is a very catchy track with a gentle light bass behind a plaintive vocal. The acoustic guitar is excellent and the “flute” (possibly a mellotron?) helps the track build with the increasing intensity of the snare. The chorus occurs through what is normally referred to as a wall of sound and then this drops away around the 2 minute mark and the music becomes very sparse, but so melodic. There is a change just after 2:30 minute point with a blast of sound from the mellotron before a return to the earlier theme. This is a track that very quickly permeates into your head.

Track 4, “The Seventh Face” (4:49) is one of those tracks that is, in a very subtle way, burrowing deep into your mind without you being aware of the situation. This is another example of some superb bass playing together with “strings” (mellotron again?) to create an amazing aural soundscape. Rhys vocals, as on Kaukasus recordings, are so clear and powerful, adding another facet to this track. This is my favorite track of the album thus far.

Up next is the longest track, “The Ghost Ship” (6:11) is a beautiful, melancholic track of stunning simplicity. Herein lies the proof that drums can be subtle as they are so light, and together with more perfectly played bass, they paint an amazing scenario. With the general feeling one of melancholy or sadness, the vocals fit that description like a glove. This is a track that at different times both drifts, and occasionally, drives along forming a superb piece of work. It leaves with a very much upbeat blast including fuzz toned guitars.

The next track in this section, “In The Sand” (3:49) is the opposite in style of expression of the previous track. The feeling of openness, evident earlier in the tracks has been replaced by a tight precision which anchors the track, and although relatively short, is a track that will linger long in the mind.

The general feeling of this album is that Rhys has evolved from previous material, but has, at the same time, maintained the “Rhys ethos” in that he retains the ability to tell amazing stories in his catchy, melodic/moody, vocal led work. Several times he approaches the area that Kaukasus inhabit, but this release, Sentiment, is very definitely a Rhys marsh solo success. Sentiment may require several listens before you realize that each and every track has somehow managed to get inside your head and subsequent listens seem to accentuate the little hooks and themes that you might have previously missed. Sentiment is an album to be savored and should be high on your CD shopping list.

4.5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: The Seventh Face, The Ghost Ship, In The Sand

Tracks:
Calling In The Night
Burn The Brightest Day
Picture Of Ashes
The Seventh Face
The Ghost Ship
In The Sand
Last November
Silver Light And Blackened Eyes
Give Me (What You Need)


Jim “The Ancient One” Lawson-Sr. Reviewer Prog Rock Music Talk

March 29, 2015

Review Provided By Write A Music Review

28 March 2015

New Age Instrumental/Meditation Review: Peter Kater & Michael Brant DeMaria-Heart of Silence

Release Date: March 31, 2015
Label: Sounds True

This is the first collaboration between renowned new age recording artists Peter Kater and Michael Brant DeMaria. Both men have carved out their own niche and are well respected in the genre. The combination of piano and flute coexist with a purpose and meaning on the new release titled Heart of Silence.

The duo refers to the eight tracks as sound poems. Kater’s elegant piano coupled with DeMaria’s Native American flutes is a step into solace and grace found beyond daily life and our surroundings. The tracks invite your soul to find the peace waiting to be discovered, it’s yours for the taking if you let this music look inward. Just relax and let it take you over. This is excellent meditation music however I found it quite enjoyable to listen to without any particular focus, I just took it all in with the realization that I could enjoy it for no other reason than letting the vibrations and sounds soothe my weary mind and give my soul a sense of calm and peace.

DeMaria was inspired to go in this direction after his mother nearly died in his arms. While that is a very sad event in a person’s life I am sure he saw the beauty and acceptance of moving on for his beloved mother and also how blessed he was to be there for her. Life and death is a process we all go through but it is our choice which road we take and how we either embrace each phase of our existence or turn away and refuse to acknowledge the spirit within us all. Most certainly the love a child has for a mother is something special and a connection like no other for all living creatures. I think DeMaria opening himself to that experience allowed this amazing music to be created and has prepared him for when that day arrives when his mother decides to move on. He decided to use a deep base flute that provided a drone like sound comparable to a didgeridoo. That sound projects beautifully and provides a foundation for the rest of the music to gently float over the top like clouds moving across the sky or a hot spring bubbling beneath the surface. It was a choice that was initiated by DeMaria’s experience while his mother was going between the spirit world and her existence her on the physical plane. When he closed his eyes while holding his mother he could see a light and a deep oooommmm sound, a drone if you will. That is how this all came about. He is blessed with the comfort of knowing that his loved one will indeed pass on to another beautiful existence.

I found “Tender Heart” as the most exceptional track. It is moving and spacious as a clear night glittering with thousands of stars. The music is pure like the earth and sky above and the sounds and textures in the track made me feel closer to Mother Earth. We are all here to honor our place on this great planet. All eight tracks are beautiful and serve a higher purpose and all you have to do is listen and find out where it will take you. Each track blends into the next making it a complete and satisfying journey of sounds and atmospheres.

This is the kind of music that is for relaxation, meditation, reflection, recharging yourself and realigning your purpose and meaning. Life holds many gifts for us all but at times we are pulled away from what is right in front of us with our busy lives and pressures of work and all the noise and chatter that can swallow us up if we let it. I choose to survive the day and then let music from CDs like Heart of Silence remind me of who I am and what is really important. Without words music can carry a very powerful message and I am thankful I was able to hear it and grateful for some insight into the lessons presented to one man.

4.5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: ALL

Tracks:
1. Heart of Silence
2. Radiant Dawn
3. First Breath
4. Holding Space
5. Tender Heart
6. Timeless Echoes
7. Midnight Dreaming
8. Awakening

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder

March 28, 2015

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

27 March 2015

Rock/Blues Review: Under The Influence: The Songs That Made Them Rock- Robert Plant & Led Zeppelin’s Jukebox

Release Date: February 10, 2015
Label: Chrome Dreams

Led Zeppelin are one most influential and important rock bands in the history of music. Formed out of the ashes of the rock band The Yardbirds in 1968, the four members of Led Zeppelin, Robert Plant (vocals), Jimmy Page (guitars), John Paul Jones (bass, piano), and John Bonham (drums), have ascended to the realm of rock gods.  Their songs are iconic, there sound is imitated, and their success is dreamed of. However, all of these things did not happen overnight.  
 
There are always those who came before, those who have paved the way. They are shoulders these rock giants stood on, in addition to being giants themselves. And Led Zeppelin’s & Robert Plant’s Jukebox are albums about sharing the works that set them on the tracks to rock stardom. It is a brilliant compilation of some of the most talented performers across multiple genres, including blues, rock and roll, and jazz to name a few. 
There are some of the most electrifying performers in all of music featured with appearances from Elvis Presley (“Baby, Let’s Play House”), Little Richard (“Tutti Frutti”), and James Brown (“I’ll Go Crazy”). Blues is heavily featured on Jukebox with legendary blues guitarist B.B. King showing everyone how it is done on “Three O’Clock News” and the slide guitarist Elmore James on “Dust My Broom,” whose influence is undeniable. Not to mention his piercing vocals. The likes of Sonny Boy Williamson I, Sonny Boy Williamson II, Blind Boy Fuller, Blind Willie Johnson, Bukka White, and John Lee Hooker among others make for an incredibly strong showing for the blues. This album would not be complete without Chuck Berry, who should be on everyone’s Mt. Rushmore of guitarist, and his classic rock song “Maybellene” is just one reason why.

There is also Tiny Bradshaw’s “The Train Kept A-Rollin,’” which became a favorite opener of Led Zeppelin.  Also, there are instances on direct influence that can be seen in Led Zeppelin’s work. Howlin’ Wolf’s “How Many More Years” influenced “How Many More Times” on Zeppelin’s debut album.  Then there is Robert Johnson’s “Travelling Salesman Blues” and Arthur McKay’s “She Squeezed My Lemon” lyrical influence on “The Lemon Song.”  Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie’s song about the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, “When the Levee Breaks,” should be easily recognizable to any Zeppelin fan.

Jazz and rock and roll are the next two prominent genres on the album.  There’s Charles Mingus’ smoky jazz instrumental “Haitian Fight Song” and the blistering “The Drum Battle,” which is just amazing. It is a live performance of a drum battle between jazz drummers Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich. The live recording really plays into its favor because the crowd is really into it and their enthusiasm transfers over to the listener. At one point an audience member can be heard saying “Go, Buddy, go!” amidst the cheers and whistling. It makes me want to have been there. It also reminds me some of John Bonham’s solos, especially in concert for the lucky ones who got to see Led Zeppelin play live (I envy you), while the rest of us who were born too late are stuck seeing the magic on home video.

Instrumentals are not the only thing that are hot on this album, because there are some very good and powerful vocals, as well.  There is the Ray Charles’ quintessential rhythm and blues hit “I Got a Woman,” and “Lessa Faker” from Uum Kalthoum, and “Ahenn Elek (I Miss You)” from Abdel Halim Hafez.  The latter two showcase poetic quality of the Arabic language, while showcasing the Middle Eastern musical influences that can be found in Led Zeppelin’s work.

One of the most unforgettable songs on the album comes from Muddy Waters. His “Mannish Boy” is a powerhouse of a song, the classic answer song to Bo Diddley’s “I’m a Man.” It is the type of song that you know is special before it is even over. Once you hear this song you will never forget it. The drumming, the guitar riff, the powerful, meaty vocals, and the visceral “Yeah” screamed throughout the song will leave a lasting impression. Speaking of Bo Diddley, he also makes an appearance with his classic upbeat rock song “Who Do You Love.” Listen to that sweet sounding guitar. 

There is also a spattering of folk and psychedelic rock as well.  Pete Seeger (“Cindy”) and Tim Buckley (“Song to the Siren”) representing folk and Jefferson Airplane (“The Ballad of You and Me and Pooneil”) and Moby Grape (“Omaha”) adding the psychedelic rock influences. If you are into the music of the 60’s and 70’s, then you probably have heard of Jefferson Airplane, but Moby Grape might have flown under the radar. The recording of Moby Grape’s “Omaha” is not of the best quality but the guitars really go at it. It is a shame that the quality was not better. 

The sound quality is one of my main points of criticism of this compilation. The majority of the songs are of very good quality; however, because many of these recordings are from the period spanning the 1930’s to the 1950’s, the sound quality is an issue given their age. Also, the differing genres might not be to everyone’s taste as blues fans might not like psychedelic rock and rock and roll fans might not enjoy jazz or folk music. It is a concern, but I think that it is worth the risk in expanding one’s musical horizons. 

Led Zeppelin’s Jukebox and Robert Plant’s Jukebox is a fascinating and an eye-opening 2 disc set that gives insight into the main influences of one of the greatest bands of all time and its legendary lead vocalist. Jukebox is jam packed with classic and hit songs from a diverse range of music genres. It is a celebration of the giants that came before and an interesting look into the creative process. With many songs dating from the 1930’s to the 1950’s, this set will have you searching out these music greats. 

4.5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Three O’Clock Blues, Drum Battle, Mannish Boy, Boogie Chillen, Who Do You Love, Good Rockin’ Tonight, Omaha 

Tracks

Disc One:
1.Baby, Let’s Play House
2.Three O’Clock News
3.Dust My Broom
4.No Place to Go
5.Evil
6.Haitian Fight Song
7.Trukin’ Little Woman
8.I Got a Woman
9.The Drum Battle
10.The Train Kept A-Rollin’
11.Mannish Boy
12.Good Morning Little School Girl
13.Eyesight to the Blind
14.Bottle Up and Go
15.Maybellene
16.Tutti Frutti
17.Traveling Riverside Blues
18.She Squeezed My Lemon
19.Gallis Pole
20.When the Levee Breaks
21.I Want Some of Your Pie
22.In My Time of Dying
23.Nobody’s Fault But Mine
24.Mystery Train
25.Boogie Chillen’


Disc 2:

1.Baby, Let’s Play House
2.Who Do You Love
3.Don’t Start Me Talkin’
4.Blackwaterside
5.How Many More Years
6.The Ballad of You and Me and Pooneil
7.Performance
8.I’ll Go Crazy
9.Lessa Faker
10.Lively Up Yourself (Live)
11.I Got a Woman
12.Sea of Love
13.Good Rockin’ Tonight
14.Gallis Pole
15.Omaha
16.Nobody’s Fault but Mine
17.Ahenn Elek (I Miss You)
18.Song to the Siren
19.Hey Joe
20.Fixin’ to Die
21.Crawling King Snake
22.Stick with Me
23.Rich Woman
24.Cindy
25.Falling in Love Again
26.Twelve Gates to the City


Brian McKinnon - Write A Music Review Sr. Staff
March 27, 2015
Review Provided By Write A Music Review

26 March 2015

Progressive Rock Review: Nth Ascension-Ascension Of Kings

Release Date: 15thDecember 2014
Label:  Sonic Vista Records

Following on from a debut album, Frequencies Of Day And Night, which was made available as a free download on Aurovine, the band, Nth Ascension, have recently released album No 2, Ascension Of Kings. The music on the debut album, released in 2011, had been likened to such bands as Grey Lady Down, Arena and Pallas.

The band, when the 2014 album, Ascension Of Kings was recorded, was a 5 piece unit comprising Martin Walker (guitars), Gavin Walker (bass), Craig Walker (drums, percussion), Alan “Spud” Taylor (vocals) and Daniel Treece Birch (keyboards). Unless there is a huge coincidence in the names, I might hazard a guess that the first 3 band members might be related.

The album, Ascension of Kings, is an 8 track release with a total running time of around 57 minutes. The final track, “Vision,” is the longest track at 18:44 minutes and track 2, “Return Of The King” is the shortest at under 4 minutes (3:44). Tracks 4, 5 and 6, although separate, form parts of a trilogy, with “Overture,” “Realm With A Soul” and “Seventh Rider” being subtitled Clanaan Parts 1, 2 and 3 respectively.

“Fourth Kingdom” (6:21), the opening track on Ascension Of Kings, starts with a little soundscape with wind whistling, but quickly moves into some excellent work on the drums and bass and a little hook being played on the guitar. The feeling of the track is reminiscent of Thin Lizzy and the guitar riff, and drum/bass powerhouse hinted at a subdued Black Sabbath. This is an excellent track that moves along with a feeling of aggression bubbling just under the surface, but the great achievement is that this “hidden” aggression is controlled and never allowed to “escape,” which results in a very classy piece of work to open the album. In the latter half of the track, the keyboards are allowed some time in the spotlight and this just adds the perfect finishing touch.

Tracks 4, 5 and 6, “Overture” (6:08), “Realm With A Soul” (3:51) and “Seventh Rider” (4:00), as mentioned earlier form the Clanaan Trilogy. “Overture” is the scene setter with a superb soundscape being “painted.” The sound builds with keyboards playing a subtle little theme, with synths adding flourishes now and again. An almost choral effect is generated and the listener is left to use their imagination as to what they think is happening. At around the 2:30 minute mark the drums enter and the track moves up a gear. The simple theme is repeated, morphed slightly and then returns, all the while emanating waves of magnificence. As the music moves into “Realm With A Soul,” it initially seems to be setting a darker style piece of work, but with a sudden synth flourish, an acoustic guitar takes up the reins and is joined by some very gentle delicate vocals. This is a passage of great harmonizing with some superb synth fills in the background. The final part of the trilogy, “Seventh Rider,” bucks the general trend of multi-sectioned tracks by refusing to become a full blooded reprise of the early theme, and instead makes the third part a thing of delicate beauty. Some superb playing with excellent guitar flourishes makes the final part of the trilogy little short of stunning. Increasing intensity builds the music before the guitar theme reappears. These three tracks flow together so well and show that Nth Ascension have the writing ability and instrumental techniques to become one of the bigger players in the world of progressive music.

The final, and longest, track, “Visions” (18:44) once more starts off by setting a barren, sparse scenario, but without any warning, the track abruptly changes to a full band workout. This is a track that initially drives along with touches of light and dark and a powerful vocal. Slight touches of the metronomic drumming style appear, but the excellence of the music refuses to let the track flounder on this. From around the 6 minute mark there is a long instrumental section, driving guitars, soaring keyboards and synths and amazingly solid power being generated from the drum/bass duo. A more acoustic passage is escorted around the 11:30 minute mark, just prior to the reappearance of the vocals at 12:00 minutes. Another 30 seconds and there is more guitar work with a “wind” in the background, and this continues to wash along taking the track on an elongated exit. A louder vocal kicks back in around the 17 minute point as the albums second tour-de-force is allowed to slowly fade into nothingness.

I always look upon my reviewing as a chance to come across some excellent new material. Reviews for well-known bands are great, but one is aware of the standing of the band and to some extent, this “colors” the expectation. Once in a while, a new name just nails it and literally blows you away. Ascension of Kings by Nth Ascension, is just such an album, where from the word go, you are pulled into the places the band want you to be and treated to an amazing statement of musical skills, each track seeming to take you further into their world. The advice is again simple, you should clear a small space on your CD shelf, as I can guarantee, with close to 100% certainty, that once Ascension Of Kings has been heard, you will immediately part with the necessary shiny coins to allow you to own it.

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Fourth Kingdom, The Clanaan Trilogy, Vision

Tracks:
Fourth Kingdom
Return Of The King
Strange Dreams
Overture (Clanaan Pt 1)
Realm With A Soul (Clanaan Pt 2)
Seventh Rider (Clanaan Pt 3)
Weight Of The World
Vision


 
Jim “The Ancient One” Lawson-Sr. Reviewer Prog Rock Music Talk

March 26, 2015

Review Provided By Prog Rock Music Talk

24 March 2015

Bangtower Producer Jon Pomplin Signs Endorsement Deal With Conquest Sound USA


Chicago IL - Declassified Records is proud to announce that Bassist, Composer. Producer and company founder Jon Pomplin has signed an endorsement agreement with Conquest Sound USA, a leading designer and manufacturer of audio/video/data cable and wiring systems since 1977.

“Reliability accuracy and quality is required from all the gear I use, no matter the project type. Whether I’m plugging in a bass, console or HD camera, I need to know it will work and the signal will be accurate. I can always count on products from Conquest USA.”

Jon Pomplin is most recently known for his work with the band BangTower, featuring Grammy winner Neil Citron, fretless bassist Percy Jones and percussionist Walter Garces. Jon (and Neil) produced the internationally acclaimed 2010 debut record “Casting Shadows”, and the 2013 single “This is My Town”. Jon is currently recording and producing BangTower’s follow-up CD due in 2015. He has produced and directed several award winning music videos including those from BangTower and composed/performed the music for an award winning Independent film. Jon is a BMI publisher and songwriter, a voting member of NARAS (Grammy’s) and is the president of Declassified Records. With over 35 years professional experience performing live and in the studio, Jon also proudly endorses GHS Strings, Rocktron FX, Morley Pedals, EbTech Power and Hot-Wire Basses.

Adding “I tested all my cables after moving to a new location and discovered all the Conquest cables I owned, no matter the age, were still in excellent condition. Like many, I had acquired cables from various companies over 36 years in music, and even many of the “high-end” heavy duty cables failed. I decided it was time to stick with the best for all my needs, and started working with Conquest.”

Conquest Sound USA has been a leading manufacturer of Audio/Video/Data wiring systems since 1977. 4000+ different products are manufactured at their Illinois facility including Audio Cables, Snakes, Splitters, Patching systems, Wall Plates, Stage Lighting Cables, Video Breakout and custom designs from their Custom Shop Studio. Products carry a lifetime warranty.

Conquest Sound USA - http://www.conquestsound.com/
Declassified Records – http://www.declassifiedrecords.com
BangTower – http://www.bangtower.com
GHS Strings – http://www.ghsstrings.com
Rocktron FX – http://www.rocktron.com
Morley Pedals – http://www.morleypedals.com
EBTech Audio - http://www.ebtechaudio.com/
Hot-Wire Bass Guitars - http://hotwire-bass.com/
Press inquiries: Glass Onyon PR, PH: 828-350-8158, glassonyonpr@gmail.com

New Age Instrumental Review: Ryan Stewart-One Journey

Release Date: October 1, 2014
Label: Ryan Stewart Music

Ryan Stewart was given the gift of music by his mother. At the age of thirteen, she passed away from breast cancer and the event has forever left a mark on his soul. In One Journey, Stewart’s third album, he explores the continuity of human relationships. Not the type you find online where everyone is so focused on technology, but the kind of real connection you get with the people that make an impact on our lives. This songwriter and composer has a gift of emotional resonance that fluttered through me with every song. Guest artists on the album include: Monte Belknap (violin) and Nicole Pinnell (cello). Stewart has composed works for documentaries and many others.

“Under the Willow” is a meaningful piece for Stewart for multiple reasons. It was inspired by his childhood memories at the ages of twelve and thirteen. He would lie underneath a very particular willow tree and dream. Soft and melodic, the song drifts in like a cloud, swiftly changing to the poignant tones of a violin. The Celtic overtones in the piece bring harp and the beautiful vocals of Stewart’s daughter Aysia. His daughter was the same age as he was when he first found the willow tree so getting her involved in the project was especially meaningful. Wind instruments flex and merge into a composition that is truly breathtaking. Buoyant and full of wonderment, this piece is for all the dreamers out there reaching out to find the deeper things in life.

“Winding Road” begins as a piano sequence and continues as such. The imagery invoked is walking along a well-trod path, as your mind works out the troubles of the day. A steady melody, the piece keeps time as you make your way. With anything, you do not walk your path alone. There are loved ones that fall into step beside you and though the way may wind and at times be unclear, the journey is part of the process.

“Coming Home” is a joyous composition. A cornucopia of sound, this piece encapsulates the joy you feel as you stride across the doorstep of the place you call home. Violins, percussion and multiple instruments swirl together to create an uplifting feeling that is truly infectious. It is bending down to enfold your puppy in your arms after a long day at work. It is the twinkling eyes of your daughter as she meets your gaze or the unconditional love of your spouse. But most of all, it is musical symmetry and the artistry of Ryan Stewart and the gifted musicians that helped to create this piece.

Our life journey is one filled with opportunity and people who make a difference by word and deed. Ryan Stewart found such a person in his gifted mother, a musician who instilled in him a love for the craft. Today he spends time with his family and is thrilled to compose and perform music for multiple outlets. Each song on One Journey is like a vanilla cupcake and a cup of your favorite tea. It just goes down smooth and you never want it to end.

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Under the Willow, Winding Road, Coming Home

Tracks: 
01.When We Met
02.Here and Now   
03. Brighter
04.Under the Willow
05.Innocence
06.Old Friend
07.The Portrait
08.Happy People
09.One Step Closer
10.Windows of Time
11.Winding Road
12.Our Story
13.Coming Home

 
Dana Wright, Sr. Staff Writer
March 24, 2015       
    
Review Provided By New Age Music Review

23 March 2015

UK Prog Icons Karnataka To Release New CD 'Secrets Of Angels' Featuring Epic 21-Minute Opus!


London, UK - 'Secrets of Angels' is the eagerly anticipated new album from UK rock ensemble Karnataka. Featuring eight brand new tracks and showcasing a more dynamic and symphonic direction, the new album propels the band to powerful and majestic new highs. Recorded at Peter Gabriel's Real World Studios and Quadra Studios in London the new album explores themes from despair, anguish and the futility of war to love across cultural divides and culminates in the 21-minute opus and epic title track, “Secrets of Angels”. The music was written over a period of two years following on from the band's last tours in 2012. The new tracks showcase a more dynamic and symphonic direction.

The album embraces several interlinked themes - temptation, lust, secrets, darkness, division and betrayal but with a constant underlying message of searching for an inner strength, to battle through when hope is lost or emotions are at their weakest, 'to step free from shadows cast'…. a sense of defiance that always wins through. Says bassist Ian Jones, “There are threads running through the album. The title track 'Secrets of Angels' has a theme of war through the ages – the futility of war – told through the eyes of two people. The despair and anguish experienced. 'Secrets of Angels' refers to the secrets a person takes to the grave… 'Road To Cairo' is a love letter to Egypt as a country but it also has a personal theme about love across religious and cultural divides. ‘Forbidden Dreams’ is about temptation and passion. ‘Poison Ivy’ is about betrayal, anger, danger...

The album features guest appearances from Nightwish's Troy Donockley on uilleann pipes and whistles, one of Ireland's top young harpists Seána Davey and a string section from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Karnataka rose to the forefront of the female-fronted symphonic progressive rock scene with the release of their landmark album 'Delicate Flame of Desire'. Their follow up and critically acclaimed album 'The Gathering Light' won best International Album at the World Prog awards.

The band features an international line up of world class musicians. The beautiful voice of enigmatic lead singer Hayley Griffiths (Riverdance, Lord Of The Dance), the virtuoso fretwork of Italian guitarist Enrico Pinna, the melodic driving bass of Ian Jones, the innovative and symphonic orchestrations of Turkish keyboard player Cagri Tozluoglu all powerfully driven forward by the dynamic drumming of French sticks man Jimmy Pallagrosi. Together they create a beautiful tapestry of sound that transcends musical boundaries and showcases the band‘s sublime songwriting and musicianship all of which have won plaudits from Radio 2's Bob Harris, Rick Wakeman and many others.

The band's powerful live performances have entranced and captivated audiences across the UK, USA and European mainland and also seen them perform alongside prestigious artists such as Robert Plant and Porcupine Tree. Karnataka will be launching the album with a full UK tour in March 2015.

Tracks:
Road To Cairo
Because of You
Poison Ivy
Forbidden Dreams
Borderline
Fairytale Lies
Feels Like Home
Secrets of Angels

In closing Ian has this to impart, “We hope you enjoy listening to the new album as much as we enjoyed making it. Every Karnataka album is a labour of love and 'Secrets Of Angels' is no exception. We’re very proud of our new creation – time to let it loose! We've explored some darker themes in the new album… temptation, lust, secrets, darkness, division and borders and betrayal but also war… we're all living in a time of constant war… many experience the loss and anguish first hand… for others it has become a white noise constantly in the background of our lives. Writing about war is a sensitive and difficult issue – the temptation is not to try… but we didn’t feel we could ignore it. The title track 'Secrets of Angels' is about the futility of war - the anguish and despair – war through the centuries seen through the eyes of two people. A repeating theme is division and borders… both personal and cultural – another theme that is touching many today.”

Release Date: 9th March 2015
http://www.gonzomultimedia.co.uk/product_details/15814

SECRETS OF ANGELS TOUR 2015
Feb 27 Bury The Met Theatre
Feb 28 Lowdham Hall
March 7 Derby Flowerpot
March 8 Bilston Robin 2
March 13 Edinburgh The Voodoo Rooms
March 14 Chesterfield Classic Rock Society
March 20 Bristol BierKeller
March 21 Worcester Huntingdon Hall
March 22nd Leamington Spa (special guests of Arena)
March 26th Norwich Arts Centre
March 27th Milton Keynes The Stables
March 29th Southampton The Brook
April 12th Swansea The Scene
April 17th Leicester Y Theatre
May 9th London Islington Assembly Hall

www.karnataka.org.uk
www.facebook.com/karnatakaOfficial
www.twitter.com/karnataka

Press inquiries: Glass Onyon PR, PH: 828-350-8158, glassonyonpr@gmail.com

22 March 2015

Progressive Rock Review: Kaukasus-‘I’

Release Date: 4thMay 2014
Label:   Autumn Song Records (Burning Shed)

This release arrived on my desk a short while ago for review, but I was already aware of the band, Kaukasus, and indeed, had already aired a couple of tracks of ‘I’ on my radio show. The band was initially formed as an experimental project into the Krautrock style of music, but evolved into modern, dark, Nordic progressive rock, containing subtle, and sometimes, not so subtle hints at Krautrock, Art Rock and World Music. Influences have been drawn from such diverse bands as Japan, Genesis and Can, to name only a few.

Kaukasus comprises Ketil Vestrum Einarson (alto/soprano flutes, tenor horn, treated flute, hulusi, electric piano and EWI synthesizer), Rhys Marsh (voices, electric guitar, acoustic piano, bass guitar, Fender Rhodes, mellotron, drum machine and pedal steel guitar) and Mattias Olsen (drums, percussion, mellotron, orchestron, moog Taurus, VCS3 and Mother Modular System, baritone guitar and bass marimba). The three musicians are very well known and respected progressive musicians, Ketil as part of Jaga Jazzist and Motorpsycho, Rhys as part of Autumn Ghost and Opium Cartel and Mattias as part of Anglagard and White Willow.

‘I’ is a 7 track release with a total playing time of around 47 minutes. Track 5, “Reptilian,” is the longest on offer at 9:10 minutes, with track 6, “The Witness” being the shortest at just over 4 minutes (4:11).

The opening track to the album, ‘I’, “The Ending of the Open Sky” (5:34) has some very atmospheric flute as an introduction, together with some synths in the background. The drums then enter and some breathy vocals before there is a great riff on the guitar. Rhys vocals are amazing, so clear and powerful and riding high over the background. The drums continue to underpin the track and drive the music along. Around the 2:30 minute mark there is a little passage that almost enters the discordant with the sax playing but the general feeling of excellence is maintained. There is then a return to the flute led passage and back to the vocals by Rhys. There is then a little bit of double tracking on the vocals, the drumming by Matthias is superb throughout the track and the flute, and saxophones, provided by Ketil are excellent. Around the 5 minute mark the vocals and the drumming disappear and an atmospheric soundscape takes the track out.

Track 2, “Lift The Memory” (8:53) sees Matthias’ drumming providing the start point for the first 30 seconds before the track bursts into life. Rhys vocals are again clear and powerful and the lyrics are easily followed. Around 2:30 minutes there is a total change with the instruments dropping away and the track then moves into a very jazzy veined section powered by the drums and Rhys vocals continue to drive the track along. This track is certainly one that conjures up thoughts of David Sylvian (especially when he recorded as Rain Tree Crow). The sound that these 3 musicians can generate is excellent. This track has quiet passages, but every so often, it seems to throw in some “killer” hooks. The breathy whispered lyrics, which are just about understandable at points adds to the atmosphere. Around the 5 minute point there is an aural soundscape which takes over with a plaintive passage and a synth that enters and leaves in the background. This is a simply stunning section of a magnificent track. By 6:30 minutes, the track is into some heavy riffing and then into the main theme again before the track takes its leave with a gentle fadeout for the last minute or so.
“Stillness Of Time” (5:57) starts with the piano, bass and terrific drums with Rhys voice over everything. There is very simple drumming with synths appearing initially and then the power kicks in with a heavier, almost muddied, background. A return to the sparse drumming, which also conjures up the sound a train generates, and the piano, heralds the return of the vocals. Around 3:30 minutes there is a terrific synth passage which drifts into a gentle soundscape. Atmospheric is a word that comes to mind frequently and this soundscape takes the track out with some extraneous sounds away in the background.

“Starlit Motion” (5:21) is a synth led haunting melody, with the synth “painting” a scenario which seems very bleak, until another synth can be heard bubbling away underneath and this is soon joined by some superb flute from Ketil. The sound is very reminiscent of the Snow Goose era Camel. Ketil continues to push the track along before more synths build up a melody again, again joined by the flute and the feeling is that of very early Kraftwerk territory. This is the type of instrumental that pulls the listener deep into the track and demands that they hang around to enjoy everything the track has to offer.

“Reptilian” (9:10) is the longest track on the album and starts in a sort of Eastern style which merges into drums and saxophone prior to the entry of the vocals by Rhys, which moves from channel to channel on alternate lines. Synths carry the track along with more Mattias magic on the drums and the sound builds into a mélange of Eastern bits and pieces. Breathy, almost inaudible lyrics paint another excellent soundscape before the track builds up again and into the mélange mentioned earlier. The shift in the use of percussion in different areas is stunning in its simplicity. Guitars, from Rhys, help to build the atmosphere in the track. If there is one area that is slightly disappointing with this particular track, it is the very repetitive vocalization which can “drag” a little. From 7:30 minutes, there is the setting of another haunting aural soundscape which escorts the track out.

The penultimate track, “The Witness” (4:18), is the shortest track and starts with guitar and flute with the synth adding little flourishes. The deep, clear vocals provided by Rhys explain the tale of the witness and the addition of a pedal steel guitar passage adds another level to the track. The feeling within “The Witness” is that of a sparse barren scenario, but at just over 4 minutes, it appears close to perfection.

“The Skies Give Meaning” (8:06) is another chunk of haunting atmospherics, with flute, drums and percussion all dovetailing into place. The track slowly builds with layers appearing and disappearing until around 3:30 minutes when a “cloak of heaviness” descends. This time, Rhys voice seems to be in a battle with the instruments to determine the victor. “Reptilian,” as mentioned, was a little disappointing. “The Witness” turned that around into near perfection leaving the final track a lot to do to keep the flow going, but unfortunately for some reason, it misses the bull’s-eye. This last track just seems to lack the “je ne sais quoi” that was apparent in most of the earlier tracks.

Despite the bit of a letdown with the final track, this is a superb album. Very few albums can claim to be “perfect” throughout, apart from some Greatest Hit albums, and ‘I’is no exception. ‘I’ needs to be listened to several times to fully appreciate what these 3 musicians have achieved. Both stickers appear on the cover of the Kaukasus album, “One to Buy” and “The Experience will last Forever” and my simple advice on ‘I’ is “get out there and buy this album,” settle into a comfortable chair and let the stunning artistry that is ‘I’ Iwash over you.

4/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Lift The Memory, Starlit Motion, The Witness

Tracks: 
The Ending Of The Open Sky
Lift The Memory
In The Stillness of Time
Starlit Motion
Reptilian
The Witness
The Skies Give Meaning

 
Jim “The Ancient One” Lawson-Sr. Reviewer Prog Rock Music Talk

March 22, 2015

Review Provided By Prog Rock Music Talk

21 March 2015

J-Pop Idol Group Momoiro Clover Z Sets Out To Win Over Western Audiences Releasing Their First Two Albums Through American Label Cleopatra!


Los Angeles, CA - Hot on the heels of the group’s history making collaboration with hard rock legends KISS, Momoiro Clover Z is looking to capitalize on the burgeoning interest of Western audiences for Japanese Pop Idol music by issuing their first two albums in select Western markets. Arriving first on April 14 is of Momclo’s most recent album, the mega-popular 5TH DIMENSION, which contains another stellar collaboration with metal royalty, superstar guitarist Marty Friedman of Megadeth who lends his six-string pyrotechnics to one of the album’s songs. Following that release just two weeks later is the Limited Edition A version of Battle And Romance, Momoclo’s astounding 2011 debut album that won the Grand Prix prize at Japan’s prestigious 4th CD Shop Awards! This version includes a bonus disc of solo recordings by each of the Momoclo members.

Founded in 2008, Momoiro Clover Z are hugely popular stars in their home country of Japan. Their albums have topped Japan’s music charts while their highly energetic and theatrical live performances have packed stadiums with tens of thousands of devoted fans. Stylistically, the group merges the danceable rhythms and bouncy vocal melodies of J-pop with cutting edge music production steeped in the energy of American hard rock. No wonder then that the group caught the attention of quintessential American hard rocker Paul Stanley of KISS, who penned two songs for this special international collaboration. The two groups even filmed a visually stunning new video that pits the two acts against one another in an epic, anime-inspired fantasy battle. Next stop for Momoiro Clover Z - WORLD DOMINATION!

Pre-order 5th Dimension on CD: http://geni.us/5thDimension
Pre-order Battle And Romance on CD: http://geni.us/BattleAndRomance

5TH DIMENSION Track List:
1. Neo Stargate
2. 仮想ディストピア
3. 猛烈宇宙交響曲・第七楽章「無限の愛」
4. 5 The POWER
5. 労働讃歌
6. ゲッダーン!
7. Z女戦争
8. 月と銀紙飛行船
9. BIRTH Ø BIRTH
10. 上球物語 -Carpe Diem-
11. 宙飛ぶ!お座敷列車
12. サラバ、愛しき悲しみたちよ
13. 灰とダイヤモンド

Battle And Romance Track List:
DISC 1
1. Z伝説 〜終わりなき革命〜
2. CONTRADICTION
3. ミライボウル
4. ワニとシャンプー
5. ピンキージョーンズ
6. キミノアト
7. D'の純情
8. 天手力男
9. オレンジノート
10. スターダストセレナーデ
11. コノウタ
12. ももクロのニッポン万歳! (Bonus)

DISC 2
1. 太陽とえくぼ)
2. fall into me
3. …愛ですか?, "…Is It Love?"
4. だって あーりんなんだもーん☆
5. ありがとうのプレゼント, "Thank You Present"
6. 恋は暴れ鬼太鼓, "Love is a Rampaging Oni Daiko"

Press inquiries:
Glass Onyon PR
Billy James
PH: 828-350-8158
glassonyonpr@gmail.com

CLEOPATRA RECORDS, Inc.
11041 Santa Monica Blvd #703
Los Angeles CA 90025
www.CleopatraRecords.com

Producer Jus launches Zenith Point Records and Releases His Debut EP “Obsession” Worldwide on April 21st, 2015, Featuring Many Special Guests


New York, NY - Justin Naundros, professionally known as Jus, has been working on his debut EP Obsession for the past year. This 6-song debut will be released worldwide both physically and digitally on April 21st, 2015, through his Zenith Point Records label. Jus was inspired to create the project while thinking about his own obsessions, and after having a conversation with someone else about theirs, realized that everyone has one main thing in their life that could be considered their obsession. Jus then began to produce tracks that he believed translated his obsessions, and began looking for artists to feature that could also give voice to theirs.

The first track Jus created was a song called Legacy and he was able to get Bobby Dub (BMG artist from LA) to write and sing the hook. Jus then recorded Add-2, a Chicago rapper who is managed by producer 9th Wonder, and DaCor, who put a verse onto the track. Add-2 is also featured on another track on the EP titled Love Songs which also features retired Air Force Veteran Niko Ellison, a powerhouse R&B Vocalist, who sang for 20 years in the Air Force band and has spent several years singing and songwriting for other projects.

As Jus continued to make tracks he connected with Maryann (Bae God) of N-Crowd, who recently released an EP of her own. Her EP features some notable guests such as Waka Flocka Flame. Justin was also able to record Freddy Flopez, a bi-lingual rapper from East Palo Alto, CA as well as Are Too, a music teacher in Oakland an up and coming singer and saxophonist. Tommy Gunna, another up and coming artist from the Bay Area is also featured on the EP’s track Tonight. Jus features guitarist and producer Jay Marston Rubin who really brings life to the track Love Song.

As the release started taking shape, there was a production team Jus brought on board. These two producers, Nico Breeze and Hrmonik added a lot of Pop to the production value of the entire project. In Jus’ own words, “It wouldn’t have sounded the same without them.” Most of the EP was recorded in various studios in the Bay Area, including two very well known rooms at Pyramind Sound and Ghost Cat Studios.

Justin Jerome Smith Naundros was born May 11, 1991, in Decatur, GA, but moved to St. Petersburg, FL at the age of four, where his grandmother raised him until he was 13. As a teenager, Justin developed a love for drums and percussion and started playing in the school band when he was in 7th grade. He continued to play all the way through his senior year in both his High School band and in a Community band that was run by the youth program Everyone's Youth United.

That band often played for big city events including a Bay Area talent show that Rev. Run (Run-DMC) and Russell Simmons were featured speakers. While growing up in the southern U.S., Justin always had a love for a wide variety of music from Country to Hip Hop, R&B, and so much more. To him music was a way to express emotions, and he always had a song to reference no matter what mood he was in.

After graduating from High School in 2009, Jus enlisted in the U.S. Army as an Apache Crew chief and served for 4 years. During his time in the Army, Justin was stationed in several different locations, including overseas. After being injured Jus left the military in 2013, and began to put in motion his dream of working in the music industry and owning his own record label.

The day after he left the military Jus found himself interning at Universal Music Enterprises, working for Vice President of A&R Harry Weinger. Even though his tenure at Universal was brief it inspired even more determination to make his dreams a reality. Realizing at the time that his skill level in audio production would only take him so far, Jus enrolled at Pyramind Training in San Francisco in May 2014 to study music production and sound design. In January of 2015 Jus was accepted into The New York Film Academy and he currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.

Jus’ Obsession EP will be released direct to fans https://thisisjus.bandcamp.com/ in early April and worldwide on April 21st, 2015. For more information or sound samples visit the ZPR Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ZenithPointRecords

For Physical Distribution Inquires please contact Steffen Franz or Ben Lang at Independent Distribution Collective at 415-292-7007 or via e-mail sales@independentdistro.com

For General Interview Requests or other Media Inquiries contact Billy James at Glass Onyon PR at 828-350-8158 glassonyonpr@gmail.com

For Urban Media Inquiries contact Brendan Blandy at ConnectiveMKT brendan@brendanblandy.com

For Digital Distribution Inquiries contact Jerome Forney at IDCDigital at 415-292-7007 or via e-mail jerome@independentdistro.com

Instrumental New Age/Classical Review: Christine Brown-Souvenirs

Release Date: August 21, 2014
Label: Key Image Music

Christine Brown’s releases go back to 1997. Souvenirs is her tenth proper album.

Right from the first track “Rhythm of the Rain” I could tell that her music would evoke a strong sense of emotions and deep feelings. Although this can be positive or indifferent depending on whom you are, I can honestly say that I believe it will heal you regardless of what emerges while listening. The rhythm she captures is life itself, a heartbeat, a breath of fresh air, or morning dew dripping off a leaf. It is so quiet and delicate yet if you listen very carefully those sounds will surround you in the great outdoors. This album touches upon the beauty and wonder of nature and more.

Christine’s love for the piano started at a very early age and it’s obvious that her love has blossomed into something very special. Her gift is evident on every track of Souvenirs. The combination of classical and new age sets the stage from the outset and what the artist presents is a literal open canvas of life set to music. You are the canvas and her piano paints the broad strokes across the vast horizon of life and emotions.

“Prelude to Sunrise” is as beautiful as the event itself. Christine’s fingers glide across the keys effortlessly as she ushers in a new day full of warmth and light from one of God’s greatest gifts, the giver of life our sun.

“Aqua Abyss” has a dark and pensive side yet it allows the beauty of the music to peak around the corner and invite you in. It is a surprise turn of events on this album and actually sounds like something that could be part of a dramatic stage play like “Phantom of the Opera” or something of that nature. As the track moves on towards the end the abyss turns into a pool of freshly fallen rain. It is one of my favorite tracks because I did not expect that particular pace or harder emotional charge to come forth. The ending was perfect and it brought everything back into balance. Certainly it must have been difficult to play and then the transition towards the end was such a change it really keeps you on your toes!

Every time I hear this type of music it heals me. I was in much need of healing when I listened to this, fighting off a flu that would not go away. It made me focus on the beauty of the music and the powers that are evident in my inner soul. That is not something I think about when I am not well. Healer heal thy self indeed. Thank you for the push in the right direction Chris.

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Rhythm of the Rain, Prelude to Sunrise, Aqua Abyss

Tracks:
 

01.Rhythm of the Rain
02.Souvenirs
03.Shiver
04.Prelude to Sunrise
05.Chasing the Moon
06.Aqua Abyss
07.Silver Lining
08.Silhouette
09.Traveling Dreams
10.The Hour Glass
11.Morning Grace
12.Stepping Stones
13.Guardian Angel
14.Cashmere Clouds
 
Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder
March 20, 2015