Saturday, April 30, 2016

CD Review: Lorrie Morgan Delivers Her Greatest Hits And Jennifer Saran Releases Pop-Inspired New Album

American country artist Lorrie Morgan recently released a new collection of her greatest hits singles and inspirational favorites titled "A Picture Of Me." She became the first female country artist to release three consecutive platinum selling albums, selling over six million albums worldwide. Her new sixteen-song release begins with the country-rock feel of her 1992 single, "Watch Me," which hit #2 on the country singles chart. She adds a slight country twang to her cover of The Beach Boys' "Don't Worry Baby," but her voice really excels on the ballad "Good As I Was To You," which is why Lorrie Morgan ranks up there with some of the all-time best female country artists. This new release includes a re-recorded version of her 1990 #1 single "Five Minutes" and her wonderful cover of the George Jones classic "Loving You Could Never Be Better." Also included is her big hit single here in the U.S. and north of the border, "What Part Of No" along with her version of Tammy Wynette's song "Take Me To Your World." The album finishes with the stunning ballad "Mirror, Mirror" and the quiet love song "Hopelessly Yours." Lorrie Morgan has some live dates sprinkled throughout the summer. For a complete list of shows and to find out more about her newly released greatest hits album "A Picture Of Me," please visit lorrie.com.

American adult-pop singer/songwriter Jennifer Saran is following up her 2015 Christmas album with a new release titled "Walk With Me." It features 18-songs produced by platinum recording artist Narada Michael Walden and released through his own label, Tarpan Records. The album begins with the upbeat, pop feel of "Let My Love Stand" and the eighties, R&B flavor of "Where Have You Been."  Jennifer's voice soars on the ballad "Walk With Me," before getting your body moving with the electronic dance beats of "Let's Get Away." The smooth, sultry delivery of "Wait For Me" and the modern pop of "Smooth Baby" showcases the many different sides of Jennifer's passion for music. The album closes with the delicately wonderful sounds of "Soar" and the plea of love for "You Are My Man." To find out more about Jennifer Saran and her latest release "Walk With Me," please visit jennifersaran.com.

Friday, April 29, 2016

CD Review: The Security Project Take On Peter Gabriel With "Live 1"

This newly formed supergoup The Security Project, will be releasing their first album "Live 1" in May. The band consists of Trey Gunn (King Crimson), Jerry Marotta (Peter Gabriel), Michael Cozzi (Peter Gabriel), David Jameson (Tin Machine) and singer Brian Cummins. Cummins has been touring with his Genesis tribute group, The Carpet Crawlers before the members of The Security Project contacted him with the idea of performing the work of Peter Gabriel in an intimate live setting.

Their new twelve-song live album is pure wonder. Listening to this, you would think that Peter Gabriel, himself was fronting this supergroup. The album begins with Gabriel's 1982 song "Lay Your Hands On Me" as the band sticks close to this original tone of this hidden solo Gabriel gem. This new release features three other songs from Gabriel's iconic 1982 album as The Security Project deliver an amazing version of "I Have The Touch." The Security Project stretches the songs "San Jacinto" and "The Family And The Fishing Net,"a couple of Gabriel classics, past the seven-minute mark. Brian Cummins brings the youthfulness of Gabriel's original tunes perfectly into this live setting with the rest of the band following his lead right up until the album closer "Biko."

The Security Project are touring the west coast during the second half of May. For a complete list of shows and to find out more about their new album "Live 1," please visit securityprojectband.com.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

CD Review: New Music From The Refusers, Hillbilly Vegas, Stewart Francke And Scott Smith

Politically charged rockers The Refusers are releasing their new eight-song EP titled "Born To Rock." It begins with the energized, guitar driven title-song, which has a classic eighties, hard rock sound. The bluesy feel of "Wake Up America" and the jazzy feel of "New York Times," showcases the diversity of their songwriting. They return to rock with a call to arms for "Hang The Bankers," before finishing with the same way the album began, with guitars blazing for "Information Junkie." To find out more about The Refusers and their latest release "Born To Rock," please visit therefusers.com.

Country-rockers Hillbilly Vegas return with their new EP titled "76." After their debut album, "Ringo Manor" sold over 10,000 copies right out of the gate, Hillbilly Vegas became one of the hottest rising bands in country music. Their new six-song release continues their lucky streak with the up-tempo rocker "Can't Go Home" and the country gold of "Long Way Back" that should find it's way to the music charts this summer. Hillbilly Vegas know how to keep their music fun with the country grit of "Shake It Like A Hillbilly" and the quick, energetic pace of "2 Gun Town." To find out more about Hillbilly Vegas and their latest release "76," please visit hillbillyvegasmusic.com.

Next, from Detroit comes the new self-titled EP from singer/songwriter Stewart Francke, which also features a guest appearance by Bruce Springsteen. The eight tracks that make up his new release are songs taken from his 2015 greatest hits compilation "Midwestern: The Very Best of Stewart Francke." Bruce Springsteen, a fan of Stewart's work, lends his vocals to the chorus of the anti-war anthem "Summer Soldier." Stewart showcases his wonderful knack for storytelling with the regional hit single "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" and dabbles with the R&B sound of "Sam Cooke's On The Radio." The songs "House Of Lights" and "Heart Of A Heartless World" dig deep into emotional times as Stewart delivers the words and music with such grace and power. To find out more about Stewart Francke and his latest release, please visit stewartfrancke.com.

Finally from the Bay Area comes the debut album, "The Sum Of Life" from singer/songwriter Scott Smith. Smith invited some legendary musicians to help him accomplish his goal of producing a timeless album. Beginning with the title-song, "The Sum Of Life" is a gentle, acoustic instrumental that invites you in to experience the full range of what Smith has to offer. He picks the tempo up with the bluesy rocker "Eclipsing Moon" and the country swing of "Payday" to showcase his musicianship. The old school, Americana sounds of "Bad Dreams" and "The Best Gift" are highlighted by David LaFlamme (It's A Beautiful Day) on violin, who gives the songs an authenticity. The new eleven-song release finishes up with the guitar/piano boogie of "The World Is Strange" and the dirty blues rock of "Messing With Reality." To find out more about Scott Smith and his latest release "The Sum Of Life," please visit scottsmithband.com.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

CD Review: Joe Bouchard Unleashes "The Power Of Music" And Divine Weeks Searches For "Those Landing Lights"

Former founding member of Blue Oyster Cult, Joe Bouchard will be releasing his new studio album "The Power Of Music" on April 29th. Joe performs all of the instruments on the album along with all of the lead vocals. Since his retirement from Blue Oyster Cult in 1986, Bouchard has become a composer, producer, teacher, author and engineer, even producing three solo albums. 
 
The new nine-track release begins with the classic, power-chord hard rock of "Walk With The Devil" as Bouchard puts his guitar skills to the test. He ventures into pop/rock territory with "36 Strings" and was inspired to write the Halloween-like tale of "Is He The Wolfman," while performing on the Lynyrd Skynyrd cruise in 2012. He works up the rock ballad "Dusty Old Piano," before the steady rhythm of "Story Of The Blues Project" lifts your spirits. The album finishes with the synth-filled instrumental "Touring Age" and the classic, raw rock appeal of "Career Of Evil." To find out more about Joe Bouchard and his latest release "The Power Of Music," please visit joebouchard.com.

Independent LA rock band Divine Weeks recently released their latest album "See Those Landing Lights." They were considered one of the best unsigned bands of Los Angeles back in the late-eighties when they released their debut album "Through And Through." Their new release features ten songs combining elements of modern, alternative pop/rock with raw, garage-punk energy. Beginning with "Here's My Heart And Soul," Divine Weeks puts their finger on the pulse of classic rock music as the song's up-tempo vibe becomes very addictive. The wonderful songwriting of "Built My Life Around You" and "Someday (By & By)" should place them in elite company next to bands like Matchbox 20 and Goo Goo Dolls. The album finishes with two, 6-minute gems as Divine Weeks builds up the excitement of "Like The Last Night Of Out Lives" and U2-like feel of "Big Sky," highlighted by pulsating guitar licks. To find out more about Divine Weeks and their latest release "See Those Landing Lights," please visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/divineweekstheband.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

CD Review: Avatar Brings Together "Feathers & Flesh" For Epic New Album

From Sweden comes the latest studio album titled "Feathers & Flesh" from the melodic heavy metal band Avatar. Lead singer Johannes Eckerstrom leads his band of minstrels, wearing make-up that blurs the line between Alice Cooper and Ringling Bros. Circus. While their look may make them stand out, their music is what grabs your attention.
 
 Their new fourteen-song release is a concept album that centers around the story of an owl who goes to war with the rest of the world. The album begins with the two-minute build-up of "Regret," which leads into the intense pace of "House Of Eternal Hunt." The story gets established with the addictive lyrics of "The Eagle Has Landed," while "Tooth, Beak & Claw" features a hardcore metal sound, before slowing down for the ballad "Fiddler's Farewell." The thunderous, marching rhythm of "One More Hill" and mainstream metal of "Black Waters" showcases the expertise that Avatar have to offer as each member understands his place in the band. The album finishes with the aggressive, prog-metal appeal of "Pray The Sun Away" and seven-minute epic "Sky Burial." 
 
Avatar will be on tour in the U.S. throughout the month of May, before heading back to Europe in June. To find out more about their latest album "Feathers & Flesh," please visit avatarmetal.com.