Wednesday, June 28, 2017

CD Review: New Music From Freddie Nelson, Tom Killner, Rex Shepherd, Darryl Way & Bryan Stephens

Singer/songwriter/guitarist Freddie Nelson will be releasing his debut solo album "Shake The Cage" on July 7th. Nelson recently teamed up with guitar virtuoso Paul Gilbert (Mr. Big) to record and also to tour, which helped Nelson land a record deal. Nelson performs and produced most of the music on his new album, beginning with the hard rock of "Turn You On" as Nelson's vocals draw you in. The album's first single "Hey Doll" has a slinky rhythm as Nelson uses some of his pop aspects to create this addictive tune. He continues with the blues of "Light" and the punk-like energy of "Never Fight Alone" to showcase the diversity in his sound. The energy of "Let You Go" and "All Night Long" will have you coming back for more from this rising music artist. To find out more about Freddie Nelson and his latest release "Shake The Cage," please visit freddienelson.com.

UK blues guitarist Tom Killner recently released a brand new live album titled simply "Live." It follows quickly on the heels of his debut studio album and features a dozen cover songs that he adds his own spin to. He begins with the up-beat guitar rock of Fleetwood Mac's "Like It This Way" and Slim Harpo's "King Bee," as Killner showcases that he is a force of nature on stage. He electrifies the audience with his version of "Have You Ever Loved A Woman," before getting the blood pumping with the swift pace of Stevie Wonder's "Higher Ground." He slows the tempo down for the folk blues story of "Cocaine Blues," then doubles-up on Jimi Hendrix and The Allman Brothers Band, before closing with Joe Cocker's version of The Beatles' "With A Little Help From My Friends." To find out more about Tom Killner and his new "Live" album, please visit tomkillnerband.co.uk.

Experimental guitarist Rex Shepherd recently released his third installment of his "Never Buy My Self" instrumental series." This latest release features 14-tracks that may have you looking at guitar instrumental music in a different way. He begins with what sounds like a tuning exercise titled "A Blue Penguin In Khaki Pants." Then he looks to take you to the outer reaches of space with the sonic landscape of "47 & 48." He gently feels his way through the slow moving "An Improvised Ballad For Being My Beautiful Wife." The sound gets "grungy" on the darker tone of "Which Way Is Out," before showing us a glimpse more of his guitar skills on "Poison Ivy." Rex finishes his latest album with ambient feel of "Drift" and the sonic clash of "In An Experimental Mood." To find out more about Rex Shepherd and his latest release "Never Buy My Self III," please visit rexshep.com.

Next up is the latest release from Curved Air violist Darryl Way titled "Underworld." It is a brand-new rock opera that tells the dark tales of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. It was released on June 21st in 2 different forms, the complete rock opera with narration and a version of just the songs. Darryl Way brings in ten different vocalists to sing the story, while he handles violins and keyboards along with Richard Mead on guitar and Pete Skinner on drums. The 18-song only album begins with the uptempo, Queen-like rock tones of "The Language Of Love," before showcasing the beautiful ballad "I Miss Him Already." Then the story turns darker with the jazz/rock vibe of "All Is Fair In Love And War" and the stellar acting vocals of "The Contract" as you can easily follow the story through the song's lyrics. The story of deception continues with steady build-up of "Sorry Babe," until we reach "The Final Showdown" as anger rings through this six-minute prog-rock number. The album closes with the operatic ballad "The Floozies Lament" and the short instrumental "End Music." To find out more about Darryl Way and his latest release "Underworld," please visit darrylway.com.

Finally we arrive at the new debut album from singer/songwriter Bryan Stephens titled "Village Of Dreams." Stephens is the musical director for the famous club, Cafe Wha and a chance meeting happened to turn into a record deal with Blue Elan Records. Stephens new 12-song release begins with the R&B/pop of "River Flows." His vocals sound pure and genuine as he adds an addictive, up-tempo rock vibe to "In June" and "Revolution," before slowing down with the power ballad "Deprivation." Bryan adds a worldly flavor to "Out Of Her Mind," then rocks out on his cover of The Guess Who's "No Time." The album finishes with the grittier guitar driven "Taking Time" and the acoustic folk strumming of "Dreams." To find out more about Bryan Stephens new album "Village Of Dreams," please visit blueelan.com.

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