Monday, July 25, 2016

CD Review: Omnivore Recordings Reminds Us Of Velvet Crush's "Pre-Teen" Years

Rhode Island, indie-rock band Velvet Crush released their debut album in 1991 on Creation Records. They were signed based on the success of their cover of Teenage Fanclub's "Everything Flows," but it would be their second album "Teenage Symphonies To God" that would make American audiences stand up and take notice of the band. The Velvet Crush would break up and reform again before the end of the decade, creating four more albums until going on hiatus in 2004.
 
Their latest release titled "Pre-Teen Symphonies" gathers eight previously unreleased demos from their classic second album along with eight songs recorded live in 1994 at the Cabaret Metro in Chicago. Beginning with their hit single "Hold Me Up," this version is as good as the one officially released. The recordings are a little more raw on "My Blank Pages" and "Turn Down," which gives the song's a more spontaneous feel. The live songs show the power of the band with the songs "Window To The World" and "Atmosphere," before turning up the energy with the punk-like delivery of "This Life Is Killing Me." They close with a live version of "Hold Me Up" and a cover of 20/20's "Remember The Lightning." This new compilation was released on July 22nd through Omnivore Recordings. To find out more about Velvet Crush's "Pre-Teen Symphonies," please visit omnivorerecordings.com.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

CD Review: New Roots Music Reigns "On Top Of Old Smoky" Along With The Coal Men And The Grahams

Arriving August 21st is the 23-song compilation "On Top Of Old Smoky: New Old-Time Smoky Mountain Music." It features new and previously unreleased songs by contemporary roots artists inspired by the work of Joseph S. Hall in the Great Smoky Mountains. Many of the songs on this release have become or used as the bases of nursery rhymes and lullabies. Beginning with "On Top Of Old Smoky," artist Carol Elizabeth Jones sings it accapella as you follow her every word of this familiar tale. Davit Holt brings in the classic country swing of "The Girl I Love Don't Pay Me No Mind" and Corbin Hayslett strums that banjo for the quick pace of "Something's Always Sure To Tickle Me." A couple of songs on this compilation that have stood the test of time are "Man Of Constant Sorrow" performed here by John Lilly and "Goin' Down The Road Feelin' Bad" by Amythyst Kiah with Roy Andrade. Dolly Parton, one of the biggest names in country music, sings the blues of "Little Rosewood Casket" as this song is very dear to her heart. The compilation closes with Dale Jett and Hello Stranger performing The Carter Family staple "Will The Circle Be Unbroken."

Included in this release is a 40-page booklet featuring an essay from Ted Olsen, professor of Appalachian Studies and Bluegrass, Old-Time and Country Music Studies at East Tennessee State University. Also included are lyrics to every song along with a description of each song. To find out more about this newly released compilation "On Top Of Old Smoky: New Old-Time Smoky Mountain Music," please visit smokiesinformation.org.

From Nashville comes the latest from the roots-rock trio, The Coal Men titled "Pushed To The Side." It features a dozen tracks of truthful, honest music. Beginning with "Depreciate," you are swept up by the emotion poured into their music. The song sounds like it could have fit on Bruce Springsteen's "Devils And Dust" album. The country swagger of "Pushed To The Side" slowly reveals its storied lyrics as you hang onto every word. They pick the tempo up with the country-rocker "The Payoff" and bring in the blues of "Willy Jett," before returning the gentle folk appeal of "Travis." The album finishes with the rockabilly swing of "Speeding Like A Demon" and the tale of "The Singer (In Louisville)." To find out more about The Coal Men and their latest release "Pushed To The Side," please visit thecoalmen.com.

The country-roots band The Grahams continue to roll out new items recorded from their career-defining album "Glory Bound." Originally released in April 2015, The Grahams created something special, bringing together their experiences of riding the rails and recording the songs they wrote based on their experiences and there to capture it all was film director Cody Dickinson (founding member of the North Mississippi All-Stars). The new documentary titled "Rattle The Hocks," shows footage of The Grahams, Doug and Alyssa, traveling to the heartlands of America, including Memphis and New Orleans, explaining their feelings of being honored to have this experience.

In between their stops, the film shows footage of the band recording in the studio with some of the greats including Luther Dickinson, Lucero, Duwayne Burnside and Alvin Youngblood Hart. The documentary features candid interviews and on the spot recordings that give an authenticity to their music. The whole short 30-minute documentary is a great addition to an already amazing album as The Grahams continue to deliver some of the greatest country-roots music of today. To find out more about "Rattle The Hocks," please visit thegrahamsmusic.net.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

CD Review: New Albums From Guitar Wizards Eric Gales And Gregg Kofi Brown

American blues-rock guitarist Eric Gales recently released a new live album titled "A Night On The Sunset Strip." The new release is to celebrate his 25th year in the music industry. It was recorded at the legendary Viper Room in Los Angeles, CA as Gales brings some southern blues to the west coast. Beginning with "Make It There," Gales wastes no time heating things up with his amazing guitar solos and bluesy vocals. He brings in a little Texas-shuffle to "The Change In Me" and draws from his back catalog with rock gems "Block The Sun" and the nine-minute guitar lesson of "The Open Road." Gales showcases his band with their own solo spots before heading into the blues-funk of "1019." The album closes with a cover of The Rolling Stones' "Miss You," featuring Raphael Saadiq (The Roots, John Legend) on bass. This new live collection was released on July 8th through Cleopatra Records in a  CD/DVD combo. To find out more about Eric Gales and "A Night On The Sunset Strip," please visit cleorecs.com.

British singer/songwriter/guitarist Gregg Kofi Brown has come full circle with his latest release. A career defining anthology titled "Rock 'N' Roll And UFOs." Gregg Kofi Brown has worked along side such esteemed artists as Dominic Miller (Sting), Joe Cocker and Eric Burdon (The Animals); and has been apart of the Afro-funk band Osibisa and toured with Hanoi Rocks. His new "greatest hits" album features 17-tracks that cover his entire career. Beginning with the pop sounds of "Chasing Rainbows," he leads you through all of his aspects, including the wonderfully vulnerable unplugged version of "All The Way For You." He brings in the funk of "Nikosi B," which features The Who's longtime keyboardist John Rabbit Bundrick and speaking of The Who, included on this set is "Listening To You" performed by the cast of "Tommy" to which Gregg Kofi Brown was a member of. The new anthology features one song from his former band, Osibisa titled "Whisper In The Wind" as the reggae-funk groove delivers the song's upbeat rhythm. With so many styles included in this set, it's hard to pinpoint Brown into one category, which is great for an artist and draws together his many fans to stretch out and experience different genres. To find out more about Gregg Kofi Brown and his latest release "Rock 'N' Roll And UFOs," please visit greggkofibrown.co.uk.

Friday, July 22, 2016

CD Review: New Music From Indie-Artists Michael Todd, Bucky Hayes & The Commonwealth, Jordan Bennett And Sweet Sweet

From the plains of Oklahoma comes the debut album from singer/songwriter Michael Todd titled "Crashland." After opening for the likes of Ronnie Milsap, BJ Thomas and Sawyer Brown; Michael Todd was ready to collect his best songs together for his debut release. The new nine-song album begins with the storied folk lyrics of "The Cave," as Michael Todd invites you "down, down, down." He has fun singing the words to "French Fried Lady In Combat Boots" as his voice get powerful during the chorus, but the soulful, emotional delivery of "Shine" showcases the vulnerability in his songs. The album finishes with the laid-back sound of "Sensible Midsize Sedan" and the high-powered acoustic strumming of "The Undertow." To find out more about Michael Todd and his latest release "Crashland," please visit facebook.com/Michael-Todd-Music.
 
Next from New York City comes the debut album from Bucky Hayes And The Commonwealth titled "100 Miles To Macon," which shows that Bucky is a southern boy at heart. The new ten song release begins with the country rocker "I'll Leave The Light On" as Bucky's vocals reflect a southern version of John Mellencamp. He demands your full attention on the big bluesy guitar riffs of "Sweet June" and the up-tempo swing of "Loretta Rae." He fully engulfs the southern rock sound of "100 Miles To Macon" and showcases his softer side with "The Times You Chose To Be In My Arms," before closing with the high-energy, Americana/country rhythm of "We Gonna Get Strong." To find out more about Bucky Hayes And The Commonwealth and their latest release "100 Miles To Macon," please visit buckyhayes.com.
 
Christian artist Jordan Bennett will be releasing his acoustic-based debut album titled "Outcasts And Untouchables." His soulful vocals have the perfect blend for this rising singer/songwriter to open his album with "Stars At Night." The gentle folk delivery of "Nothing Without You" and the acoustic pop/rock of "Outcasts And Untouchables" shows that Jordan's songwriting is mature beyond his years. He closes with a reflection of his faith with "Walk With Me To The Heavens" and the up-beat strumming of "The Great Unknown." To find out more about Jordan Bennett and his new release "Outcasts And Untouchables," please visit facebook.com/JordanBennettBand. 
 
Finally we arrive at the latest release from the duo Sweet Sweet. Their new album titled "In Tandem" featuring an array of styles, including country, folk, rock and that's just in the opener "To The Stars." The new five-song EP contains the warm, gentle acoustics of "Daylight" and the Americana flow of "Remind Me." They close their new short 20-minute album with the classic Paul Simon like build-up of "Lost Kids." To find out more about Sweet Sweet and their latest release "In Tandem," please visit sweetsweetband.com.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

On The Record - Music: Features Guitarist Geo Filippides From The Beatles Tribute Band "Number 9"

Meriden musician, Geo Filippides talks with us about his love of the music of The Beatles and about his trio of upcoming concerts in Meriden on July 29th in Downtown Meriden, August 27 at Hubbard Park and September 10 as part of the grand opening of the new Meriden Green.