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6 Degrees Entertainment

Title - 'Deadlines: Remastered & Expanded Box-Set'
Artist - The Strawbs

For those not in the know, The Strawbs are an English rock band founded in 1964. Although the band started out as a bluegrass group they eventually moved on to other styles such as folk rock, progressive rock, and (briefly) glam rock.

They are best known for their hit, 'Part of the Union', which reached number two in the UK charts in February 1973, as well as for 'Lay Down,' a popular progressive rock hit from the same LP.

The Strawbs also toured with Supertramp on their Crime of the Century tour, doing their own Hero and Heroine tour, which drew musical similarities and themes.

Esoteric Recordings is now releasing (June 21st, 2019 via Esoteric Recordings / Cherry Red Records UK) a remastered and expanded 2 CD / 1 DVD boxset edition of their 1977 album, Deadlines.

Released in late 1977, this would be the band’s final album to be released in the 1970s. Recorded in Dublin and London by a line-up of Dave Cousins (vocals, acoustic guitars, banjo, guitar), Dave Lambert (vocals, lead guitar), Chas Cronk (bass, acoustic guitar, vocals) and Tony Fernandez (drums, percussion) with guest keyboard players John Mealing and Robert Kirby, Deadlines was the Strawbs only album for the Arista label.

Often unfairly overlooked in the Strawbs canon and largely ignored by some quarters of the music press upon its release (at the height of Punk rock), Deadlines was a mighty fine album featuring some excellent tracks such as ‘No Return’, ‘The Last Resort’, ‘Sealed With A Traitor’s Kiss’, ‘Time And Life’, ‘New Beginnings’, ‘Deadly Nightshade’ and ‘Words of Wisdom’.

CD 1 - Deadlines: Original Album
1. 'No Return'
2. 'Joey and Me'
3. 'Sealed with a Traitor's Kiss'
4. 'I Don't Want to Talk About It'
5. 'The Last Resort'
6. 'Time and Life'
7. 'New Beginnings'
8. 'Deadly Nightshade'
9. 'Words of Wisdom'
10. 'Midnight' (Out-Take) - BONUS TRACK
11. 'No Return' (Acoustic Demo) - BONUS TRACK
12. 'Sealed with a Traitors Kiss' (Acoustic Demo) - BONUS TRACK
13. 'Time and Life' (Acoustic Demo) - BONUS TRACK
14. 'Deadly Nightshade' (Acoustic Demo) - BONUS TRACK
15. 'Words of Wisdom' (Acoustic Demo) - BONUS TRACK
16. 'The Chosen Ones' (Acoustic Demo) - BONUS TRACK
17. 'Sealed with a Traitors Kiss' (Band Demo) - BONUS TRACK
18. 'No Return' (Dublin Production Mix) - BONUS TRACK
19. 'Joey and Me' (Dublin Production Mix) - BONUS TRACK
20. 'Deadly Nightshade' (Dublin Production Mix) - BONUS TRACK

CD 2 - BBC Radio One "Sight & Sound in Concert" 18th February 1978
1. 'Lay Down'
2. 'The Last Resort'
3. 'Ghosts'
4. 'No Return'
5. 'Heartbreaker'
6. 'Sealed with a Traitors Kiss'
7. 'Simple Visions'
8. 'Cut Like a Diamond'
9. 'Out in the Cold'
10. 'Round and Round'
11. 'Hero and Heroine'

DVD - BBC TV "Sight & Sound in Concert" 18th February 1978
1. 'Lay Down'
2. 'The Last Resort'
3. 'Ghosts'
4. 'No Return'
5. 'Heartbreaker'
6. 'Sealed with a Traitors Kiss'
7. 'Simple Visions'
8. 'Cut Like a Diamond'
9. 'Out in the Cold'
10. 'Round and Round'
11. 'Hero and Heroine'

For most hardcore Strawbs fans, this album remains a perennial let down. Why? Two reasons: 1) Dave Cousins admitted it was not one of his favorite recording experiences as the label was shunting him aside for Dave Lambert; having the guitarist assume a de facto leader role when (really) none was needed, and 2) It came out at a time when progressive rock was withering on the vine and its best bands were struggling for redefinition.

However, The Strawbs were no stranger to this latter dilemma. Deadlines can be described as full of sound and fury signifying nothing; a loud, lumbering set weighed down by bombastic production, overdub nightmares and poor songwriting.

And yet, this brand new 2019 3-Disc boxset from Esoteric Recordings has strangely made me fall in love (perhaps for the first time ever) with the album!

Real heft and drama have been "added" to these songs via the remastering process, the bottom solid, the spacing and instrumentation given newfound clarity and context throughout.

The vocals are much better layered, mannered, effervescent and the guitars sting and barb the listener with newfound power (all hail Dave Lambert!).

Of course, we've heard all these songs before, but some just "pop" now quite like never before. I mean, 'Words Of Wisdom' and 'No Return' both retain their venom and vitriol and sound even MORE anthemic than ever.

Yet I've now come to actually enjoy 'Joey And Me' and 'The Last Resort', not to mention the dark ballads such as both 'Sealed With A Traitor's Kiss' and 'Deadly Nightshade'.

So time isn't the enemy here and the remastered tweaking has made a decent, if unspectacular, album all THAT much better. The Strawbs fans have no fear, dig in and enjoy for it's now time for Deadlines to take its rightful place in the Strawbs pantheon!

To promote the album. The Strawbs made a memorable appearance on the BBC TV and Radio simulcast programme “Sight & Sound in Concert” in February 1978 (featuring recently recruited keyboard player Andy Richards in their ranks) where they performed a blistering 60 minute set of some material from Deadlines along with other classics such as ‘Lay Down’, ‘Ghosts’, ‘Heartbreaker’, ‘Cut Like a Diamond’, ‘Round and Round’ and ‘Hero and Heroine’.

This concert appears on both a CD and a DVD (NTSC / Region Free) in this wondrous boxset for the first time, remastered from the original BBC tapes, along with 11 bonus tracks comprising alternate takes and demos from the Deadlines sessions.

2 CD / 1 DVD Box-Set Purchase Link

Title - 'The Rabbit & The Rope'
Artist - Owen-Glass

For those not in the know, creative indie folk-rock duo Owen-Glass (singer-songwriter Kelly Wayne Conley and guitarist Cole Humphrey) have just released their incredible debut album The Rope & The Rabbit.

A collection several years in the making, The Rope & The Rabbit makes an impactful statement about who we are as individuals living in a larger society; challenging us to look inside ourselves and think about how we are connected to the world around us.

1. 'Rabbit Hole'
2. 'Here It Comes'
3. 'Devil Don't Mind'
4. 'General Butler'
5. 'Leave It Alone'
6. 'Hammer and Sickle'
7. 'Saint'
8. 'Paper Chains'
9. 'Solomon Pt. 1'
10. 'This Room'
11. 'The Rope'

The duo from the Piney Woods of East Texas open their album with the dulcet tunesmith 'Rabbit Hole' and back that up seamlessly with the upbeat 'Here It Comes' and the laid back hipsway of 'Devil Don't Mind.'

The gentle reggae bounce of 'General Butler' is a right royal gem here and that's followed by the early '90s indie guitar vibe of 'Leave It Alone' with the quite brilliantly sweet and free flowing 'Hammer and Sickle' one of the stand out cuts. The sterner paced 'Saint' is up next before we get yet another musical gem in the form of the structured slap guitar of 'Paper Chains.'

The album (which was produced and engineered by David Beck, mixed by Beck, Conley and James Campbell at Cibolo Studios in San Antonio, TX, and mastered by Evan Bradford - The Avett Brothers, Dierks Bentley, Dawes - of Mixtown USA in Los Angeles, CA) then rounds out with the countrified storytelling found within 'Solomon Pt. 1,' the mid tempo ballad 'This Room,' and then the lay-in-a-meadow, sun shining, eyes closed sweeping melodies of 'The Rope' bring the show to a close.

“It’s really a chronicle of that ‘coming of age’ period where you call everything into question, expose yourself to new ideas, and really expend a lot of intellectual energy finding out who you are, what you believe, and what your purpose in life must be,” Conley reveals.

"I fell down quite the rabbit hole—intensely studying philosophy, religion, economics—you-name-it—and wrote several of these tunes along the way. When you really tune in to the lyrics, you notice pretty quickly that there’s more going on than some heavy breakup. There’s a soul being exposed and vulnerable.”

Of working with Conley, Bradford says: “I truly enjoyed working on his music and am honored to have been a part of this album."

"I personally find it difficult to box music into really specific genres, but I also feel that the best songs and albums don’t necessarily fit into a nice little box, and this definitely falls into that category for me."

"There is clearly a theme and concept that threads the whole album together, and I love how it speaks to me.”

The Rope & The Rabbit announces the arrival of an unshakable duo onto the indie scene through the bold drive of rock, the organic glory of Americana, and the powerful charge of gospel.

Stream or download the album now on digital music platforms.

'Here It Comes' - Official Video

Owen-Glass @ Facebook

Owen-Glass @ Twitter

Title - 'And Then'
Artist - Christopher Martin

For those not in the know, Christopher Martin is a reggae/dancehall singer and songwriter from St. Catherine, Jamaica.

Martin won Digicel's Rising Stars in 2005 (the Jamaican version of American Idol) and is best known for the songs 'Cheaters Prayer', 'Paper Loving' and 'Big Deal'.

One of Jamaica’s most versatile vocal stars, Martin's sophomore album for VP Records entitled And Then is packed pop-flavored mid-tempo cuts the singer calls "sugar reggae."

The album will definitely please core fans (ladies) and attract new listeners (more ladies) based on smooth audio and video productions to support the feature tracks, with his latest hit 'Life' on the Global Warming Riddim produced by Omar Samuels and Corey Stoneman, having launched in mid-March.

1. 'Life'
2. 'Come Back'
3. 'Bun Fi Bun'
4. 'Can't Dweet Again'
5. 'I'm About It'
6. 'To Be With You'
7. 'Still Got Feeling'
8. 'Is It Love'
9. 'True Love'
10. 'Happy You're Mine'
11. 'Mirror Mirror'
12. 'Don't Tell'
13. 'Tears In Her Eyes'
14. 'I'm Tired'
15. 'I Do It All'

The first track we get ushered into is the aforementioned lead single, a cut that is both vibrant and sun-kissed to the fullest extent. Next up is the pairing of the mid-tempo hype yearnings of 'Come Back' and the dancehall reggae of 'Bun Fi Bun.'

The ballad 'Can't Dweet Again' is then seamlessly backed by the lo-fi beats of the mid-tempo ballad 'I'm About It' with an outstanding, absolutely brilliant cover of Mr. Big's 'To Be With You' along next.

A genuine stand out highlight of the album, that's followed by the summery pop of 'Still Got Feeling,' the dubstep of 'Is It Love' and then another great cut in the heartfelt 'True Love.'

The joyous bounce of 'Happy You're Mine' is the backed by 'Mirror Mirror' with the pop reggae beats of 'Don't Tell' along next. The album then rounds out with the gentle ballad 'Tears In Her Eyes,' the beautiful hipsway of 'I'm Tired,' and then the barefoot on the sand as sunset approaches passionate plea to both Heaven and earth, 'I Do It All.'

Official CD Purchase Link

Christopher Martin @ Facebook

Title - 'Blood and Water' (CD Single)
Artist - Potter's Daughter & Annie Haslam

For those not in the know, the international art pop band Potter’s Daughter was formed in NYC while North Pocono native Dyanne Potter Voegtlin (piano, vocals, composer) was studying classical piano performance at the Manhattan School of Music.

The group performed regularly in NYC, as well as in northeastern PA, and has been featured on radio and TV.

Now, joining forces with longtime friend, Amit Chatterjee, (producer, arranger, and guitarist), Ian C. Voegtlin (composer, guitarist, saxophonist), Randy Crafton (percussion), and Walter Sitz (drums), Potter's Daughter has just-released their first single since the release of their debut album, The Blind Side, last spring.

Indeed, and furthermore, Potter's Daughter are not only extremely honored to share this new single, 'Blood and Water' with us all, but are beyond excited to reveal that it also features a very special guest artist, Annie Haslam.

Annie, as I'm sure you will all be well aware, is the legendary lead singer from the band Renaissance, and has also had a long and diverse solo career.

And aside from the fact that Annie has an incredible five-octave vocal range she is also a talented painter, and simply a warm-hearted and genuine woman all round.

Listening to the single now here in the office, on both CD single and a very rare 7" single (vinyl, and which is always my go-to listening pleasure), it's obvious that the love and admiration between all the aforementioned musicians for the song to be as instantly accepting to our hearts and souls reveals just how free flowingly gracious their combined talents were that day.

With the poetic lyrics for ‘Blood and Water’ having been co-written by Dyanne and her dear friend, Ronda Dubiel, their embodied spirit of our human connection to each other, to the love we can do better to spread, to the glorious layers of nature that surround us, and to the World in general is both captivatingly resonant and stirringly poignant in today's current climate.

Having stepped away from their debut album sound of acoustic music this new single showcases the new progressive rock sound of the Potter's Daughter.

Complete with some fantastic percussion from Randy throughout, a beautiful guitar solo from Ian midway through, the always ethereal vocals of Annie backed supportively by Dyanne, and a rather searing guitar solo from Amit rounding the new recording out, the up tempo single is admittedly different from their debut The Blind Side, but never jarringly so.

Oh, and lest we forget that Ronda’s daughter, Addy Dubiel is the young and talented artist who created the thought-provoking artwork for the cover of ‘Blood and Water’.

Interestingly enough, 'Blood and Water' was actually recorded in several studios, including one in Old Forge, to accommodate the far-flung musicians’ busy schedules.

"This was the most collaborative process I’ve ever done in my life, from composing to recording to lyrics to artwork," Dyanne explains. "For example, Amit and Walter recorded the drums and bass in Vienna.”

Potter’s Daughter are currently working on a new album and Dyanne is pleased that all of the songs for the album were written in pretty much the same way, as a collaborative effort between Dyanne and Ronda for the song lyrics and with music largely composed by Dyanne’s son, Ian.

"Ian will improvise and I have a library of ideas he’s come up with," Dyanne explains. "Sometimes one will captivate me and I take that idea and develop it into a whole song,” she continues.

Potter's Daughter @ Facebook

Title - 'Weinberg: Symphonies Nos. 2 & 21'
Artist - Graþinytë-Tyla/Kremer/City Of Birmingham Symphony

For those not in the know, Mirga Graþinytë-Tyla is a Lithuanian conductor who was named Music Director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in February 2016; following in the footsteps of Sir Simon Rattle, Sakari Oramo and Andris Nelsons.

Her Music Directorship was extended through the 2020-21 season.

Highlights of her 2018-19 season include numerous European tours with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, performances with the New York Philharmonic, NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, Swedish Radio Orchestra, Filharmonica della Scalla, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the National Symphony Orchestra. She will also take part in highly anticipated events such as the CBSO Song Festival and the BBC Proms.

Graþinyte-Tyla has electrified audiences as a guest conductor all over the world. In Europe, she has collaborated with the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra, the Beethoven Orchestra Bonn, the Deutsche Radiophilharmonie, the Choir of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the MDR Symphony Orchestra, as well as the Chamber Orchestras of Vienna, the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, the Mozarteum Orchestra and the Camerata Salzburg, and the Orchestra of the Komische Oper in Berlin.

For her first recording with Deutsche Grammophon, the Lithuanian conductor offers haunting accounts of two symphonies by the Polish-born Soviet composer, Mieczysùaw Weinberg.

Having just released the album in May this wondrous collection of orchestral works by Polish composer Mieczysùaw Weinberg, whose centenary falls this year is as good as it gets, in my humble opinion.

On this 2CD set, we get the String Symphony No. 2, played by Gidon Kremer’s Kremerata Baltica, and the longer Symphony No. 21 (“Kaddish”), the composer’s last, played by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra; both, of course, conducted by the latter’s new chief, Graþinytë-Tyla.

In the first movement, violinist Kremer takes the long solo violin segments, while Graþinytë-Tyla takes on the soprano part in the finale. A stunning combination, perhaps less operatic than in works gone by, nonetheless it's Graþinytë-Tyla’s dulcet, schooled, pure dare I say singing that shines through on this new interpretation.

Indeed, she conducts the combined forces of the CBSO, Kremerata Baltica and violinist Kremer in Symphony No. 21 “Kaddish” – a major work completed in 1991 and dedicated to the victims of the Warsaw Ghetto - as if her life depended on a successful interpretation.

Much as she also did in the early Symphony No. 2, she allows the Second String Symphony to become more "classical" in character, shall I say. More tightly bound than the somewhat fragmented “Kaddish” it's a more readily approachable and even moving a composition now.

Official CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Rise'
Artist - Jess Gillam

For those not in the know, the young British saxophonist Jess Gillam has acquired a burgeoning presence in the UK music scene; starting from her reaching the finals of the 2016 BBC Young Musician of the Year competition, and building up to her appearance at the 2018 Last Night of the Proms, which proved a breakout moment for her, in terms of cultural recognition.

Now Gillam has debuted at the top of the Official UK Classical Chart with her critically-acclaimed album Rise, released on April 26th, 2019 on Decca Classics.

This remarkable achievement makes Gillam the youngest saxophonist ever to hit the No.1 spot of the classical charts.

An instrument which is often forgotten in the classical world, the 20-year-old star has brought the saxophone into the spotlight, and back to the top of the charts.

This totally unique album showcases Gillam's phenomenal talent as well as her diverse musical taste, with tracks ranging from John Williams and Shostakovich to David Bowie and Kate Bush.

1. Pedro Iturralde - 'Pequeña Czarda'
2. Kate Bush - 'This Woman's Work'
3. Alessandro Marcello - 'Adagio'
4. Darius Milhaud - 'Brazileira'
5. John Williams - 'Closing In'
6. Michael Nyman - 'If'
7. John Harle - 'RANT!'
8. David Bowie - 'Where Are We Now?'
9. Kurt Weill - 'Je ne t'aime pas'
10. John Dowland - 'Flow My Tears (featuring Miloš, guitar)
11. Rudy Wiedoeft - 'Valse Vanité'
12. Dmitri Shostakovich - 'Waltz 2'
13. Traditional - 'Dark Eyes'
14. Francis Lai - 'Love Story - Theme' (Bonus Track)

This quite stunning, elegant album opens with the playful 'Pequeña Czarda' from Iturralde (the liner notes by Jessica Duchen comment that this track has actually become Gillam's signature piece now) and then brings us the stirring, low key 'This Woman's Work' from Bush, with the stirring beauty of 'Adagio (Oboe Concerto in D Minor)' by Marcello next.

The fast-paced, at times delightfully nearly tripping over itself 'Brazileira (Scaramouche, suite for saxophone & piano (or orchestra), Op. 165c)' by Milhaud is one of my own personal favorites here and that's backed by Williams' 'Closing In' (from Escapades and also adapted from his score for the film 'Catch Me If You Can') and the sweeping 'If' from The Diary of Anne Frank by Nyman.

The sternly playful 'RANT!' by Harle (which was actually composed by Harle as a musical salute to and portrait of Gillam) is a piece that sounds like it might well have been Gillam's toughest work to master, given all it's breathless tucks and bounds and that's followed by Bowie's haunting The Next Day (2013) album track 'Where Are We Now?'

The gentleness of 'Je ne t'aime pas' by German Jewish composer Weill is perfectly paired with the reflective 'Flow my Tears' featuring Miloš on guitar (from Dowland's Second Booke of Songes, 1600), the delightful sax and piano duet 'Valse Vanité' by Wiedoeft next.

The album then rounds out with Shostakovich's twirling ballroom musical wonderment 'Waltz 2' (from his Suite for Variety Orchestra and which was also included in the film 'Eyes Wide Shut'), the ethereal Traditional track 'Dark Eyes,' and then the Bonus Track is the sentimentally lush 'Love Story – Theme' from Lai.

On hearing of her chart success, the young star said: “If someone had told me – when I first picked up a saxophone in the Barracudas Carnival Band in Barrow-on-Furness – that I would get a classical number one for my first album release, I wouldn’t have believed them in a million years!"

“It has been so exciting to record my debut with the team at Decca Classics, and special thanks to the producer John Harle, BBC Concert Orchestra and Miloš for being a part of Rise."

"Music has been such an important part of my life and the tracks included on the album are very personal to me, so it’s overwhelming that there has been such an amazing response to it so far."

Amazon CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Palimpsest'
Artist - Mika Stoltzman & Richard Stoltzman

Clarinet legend Richard Stoltzman and virtuoso marimbist Mika Stoltzman have come together to bring forth a rather delightful, entertaining and vibrant new collection of arrangements evoking the past and new works of the present on Palimpsest.

Including music by J.S. Bach, William Thomas McKinley, Astor Piazzolla, Maurice Ravel and John Zorn, the album is not only the fruit of the Stoltzman's musical partnership, but their relationship as husband and wife.

JS Bach (1685-1750)
1. Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue (15:51)
2. Chaconne (16:51)
Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)
3. Pavane pour une infante deìfunte (6:47)
William Thomas McKinley (1938-2015)
4. Mostly Blues Nos. 2, 8 & 12 (6:10)
John Zorn (b. 1953)
5. Palimpsest (4:44)
Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992)
6. Tango–Eìtude No. 5 (2:30)
7. Fuga y misterio (6:10)

This quite brilliant, dulcet and charming, precise and yet ever flowing album begins in gentle form with two of Bach's works: Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue allows Mika to step to the fore, whilst Chaconne showcases the talent of Richard.

Ravel's perky Pavane pour une infante deìfunte is excellently performed here by Richard on clarinet with McKinley's sprightly Mostly Blues Nos. 2, 8 & 12 allows for the Stoltzman's harmonious relationship (along with some wondrous work from Hector Del Curto on bandoneon) to come to the fore, once again.

My own personal favorite here is the collection's title track, Palimpsest for Clarinet and Marimba (by Zorn) which has Richard most definitely reaching musical heights (quite literally) that allow Mika's marimba undercurrent to create a beautiful backbone for him.

This insightful and stunning album rounds out with two from Piazzolla: first the playful peaks and troughs of the magical Tango–Eìtude No. 5 and then the quietly captivating Fuga y misterio brings things to a stoically ethereal close.

Amazon CD Purchase Link

Title - 'JS Bach, Kodály & Brown: Music for Solo Cello'
Artist - Matthew Zalkind

Praised for his “impressive refinement, eloquent phrasing, and singing tone” by The New York Times, American cellist Matthew Zalkind has performed throughout the United States and abroad as a recitalist, soloist and chamber musician.

As a soloist, Zalkind has performed concerti with such organizations as the, the Albany Symphony, the Hongzhou Philharmonic, Musica Viva Moscow Chamber Orchestra, the Utah Symphony, the Tongyeong International Music Festival Orchestra, the Music Academy of the West Festival Orchestra and the Juilliard Symphony Orchestra.

Zalkind has also performed concerti with conductors Ludovic Morlot, Thierry Fischer, Giancarlo Guerrero, David Alan Miller and several others.

On his solo debut recording, JS Bach, Kodály & Brown: Music for Solo Cello, the acclaimed cellist truly puts his best foot forward with his interpretations of works by JS Bach, Michael Brown and Zoltan Kodaly.

JS Bach (1685-1750)
1-6 Suite No. 6 in D for Solo Cello BWV 1012 (30:00)
Michael Brown (b. 1987)
7-9 Suite for Solo Cello
Zoltán Kodály (1882-1967)
Sonata for Solo Cello, Op. 8

Playing all his works on a rare Italian cello made by Florentine Maker Luigi Piatellini in 1760, Zalkind takes Bach's work first and although playing by all the noted rules, still manages to make the half hour his own.

Always safe in the knowledge that these works he has chosen to bring together as one already possess a strong sense of kinship between the composers, with each one exploring the vast expressive and technical possibilities of the solo cello, Zalkind's movements within Brown's (who is also a close friend and colleague of his) are simply divine.

But for me, it's his take on Kodály's daunting Sonata for Solo Cello, Op. 8 that has become my go-to for return play. The eloquent phrasing along with the magnificent inflections and nuances of the Hungarian folk music make Zalkind's work crispy soar with perfectly astute harmonies.

Amazon CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Keep On Keeping On' [EP]
Artist - The Truth

I guess I should start at the beginning, but as it's rather a long story, which would subsequently make for an even longer intro, I'll just cut to the chase.

One of my favorite bands growing up in the UK was Nine Below Zero, an English blues band who had a cult following throughout Europe, and were most popular during the period 1980–1982.

When Nine Below Zero split, no-one saw Dennis Greaves starting again with what would become the UK's best Modernist Soul band since the heyday of the 1960's, The Truth.

But sure enough, with the addition of the song-writing talents of Mick Lister, hits like "Confusion (Hits Us Everytime), "Exception Of Love" and "A Step In The Right Direction" saw a full chart assault whilst still playing to a largely new, post-Jam crowd of Mods.

Signing to WEA and then IRS they went through several line-up changes, but Greaves and Lister remained members throughout the group's run (1982-1989).

In 1990 Greaves then reformed Nine Below Zero (inclusive of Mark Feltham) and in 2012 he and Lister reformed The Truth for live performances around the world.

Well, all good things come to those who wait because some 35 years on and via Heavy Soul! Records The Truth have just brought out a wondrous new 4-Track EP CD and vinyl 7" single (limited to just 250) entitled "Keep On Keeping On."

1. "Keep On Keeping On"
2. "Confusion Hits Us Every Time" (2019)
3. "A Step In The Right Direction" (2019)
4. "Life Through A Glass"

Featuring two totally new tracks with the EP CD alongside two new recordings of the bands biggest hits, once the finger-snappin' opening bars of "Keep On Keeping On" arrive your brain instantly acknowledges the fact that The Truth are back and in some mighty fine rollicking form!

A love letter to Mods everywhere along with harboring a delicious Northern soul vein, that's backed next by two splendidly vibrant re-recordings of days gone by in both "Confusion Hits Us Every Time" and "A Step In The Right Direction."

Always two highlights of any live shows, let alone watching the videos whenever they crept onto TV never failed to encourage my hipsway to come to the fore, the EP rounds out with the quietly acoustic new Lister-sung track "Life Through A Glass."

Chock full of all The Truth passion, verve and melodic bounce that always existed it's also pretty brilliant to hear that Greaves has lost none of his distinctive trademark vocals.

Indeed, his brand of stylistic singing that branded each record either Nine Below Zero or The Truth released from '83 onward is still perfectly in place here on this stunning return-to-recording-form 4-track EP CD.

Official 4-track EP CD Purchase Link

Official 7" Single Purchase Link

The Truth @ Facebook!

Title - 'Rambling Stranger'
Artist - Lucy Isabel

New Jersey-born and Nashville-based singer-songwriter Lucy Isabel has just released her new full-length album, Rambling Stranger this past June 14th, 2019 and it is glorious. Simply glorious.

Produced by Jared Anderson and recorded in a series of live, inspired takes, Rambling Stranger shows the full scope of Isabel’s songwriting along with her classic-sounding folk croon – that evokes everyone from Brandi Carlile to Judy Collins.

1. 'How It Goes'
2. 'Something New'
3. 'The Road Ahead'
4. 'Rambling Stranger'
5. 'California Coming Down'
6. 'False Prophet'
7. 'Little Bird'
8. 'Lucky Stars'
9. 'The Between'
10. 'Don't Ask Me Why'

The first track of the 10 is 'Here It Goes' which opens bombastically before free flowing into a wondrous Americana vibe and that's backed by both the dulcet lo-fi bluegrass-folk of 'Something New' and the counted-in country roots-rock of 'The Road Ahead.'

The beautiful, lush title track 'Rambling Stranger' is a track that you will find yourself hitting replay on many times and that's backed by a distinctive rock-blues orientated sound on 'California Coming Down.'

Another of my personal favorites is when Isabel's brand of Nashville Americana comes to the fore on the beautiful 'False Prophet' which then has the folk-pop of 'Little Bird' following along nicely thereafter.

This quite captivating new album then rounds out with the gentle acoustic ballad 'Lucky Stars,' the harder-hitting rock bounce of 'The Between', and then the storytelling whilst sat at the piano of 'Don't Ask Me Why' brings the show to a righteous close.

With all 10 of these new songs being filled with images from an adulthood lived on the run: a shuttered army fort along the Jersey Shore; a mountain range outside of Seattle; a road leading to an unknown destination, promising nothing but the unexpected for anyone willing to take it, Rambling Stranger is as perfect an album as I've heard (within any genre) in many a year.

“This album has been building up inside of me since I first moved to Nashville,” says Isabel. “I’m so excited to have had the opportunity to work with such amazing musicians and friends to bring it to life, and I’m even more excited to share it with as many people as possible.”

Amazon Digital Purchase Link

Title - 'No Wind Tonight ...'
Artist - Free Human Zoo

Featuring elements of Jazz, Rock, Jazz-Rock, Pop, Prog, Folk, Etno, World and so much more, the electrifying sextet Free Human Zoo - led by drummer and percussionist Gilles Le Rest - keeps on its passionate search for liberating music here on their brand new album No Wind Tonight …, whilst still incorporating its bold brand of hybridization.

Some two years after they released their wondrously received album Freedom, Now!, Free Human Zoo - Laurent Skoczek, Samy Thiébault, Nico Feuger, Emmanuel Guerrero, Matthieu Rosso and the aforementioned Gilles Le Rest - are back with a bang!

CD 1 - Bab'Y
01. 'Prologue' (2:40)
02. 'Barbarossa' (4:25)
03. 'Klezmer Volutes' (1:47)
04. 'Die frohlichen kamaraden' (3:58)
05. 'Pitchipoi' (4:22)
06. 'L'espoir au Coeur' (3:57)
07. 'The Yar' (6:49)
08. 'My Little African Doll' (5:48)
09. 'Revoir l'aurore' (2:42)
10. 'Forces Vitales' (5:57)
11. 'Epilogue' (1:42)

CD 2 - Curritur ad Vocem
01. 'Curritur' (6:42)
02. 'Sursum Corda' (5:12)
03. 'Ad Vocem' (3:20)
04. 'Vive Valeque' (4:22)
05. 'Acta Est Fabula' (5:10)
06. Talitha Koum (6:42)
07. No Wind Tonight (7:07)

The first disc opens with a long memorial suite entitled Bab'Y, the 11 sub part opus being a heartfelt a tribute to the survivors of Babi Yar (where in September 1941 some 33,771 Jews were gunned down by the SS).

Opening with the stern 'Prologue,' the melodies being to come forth on the more playful 'Barbarossa' and the short, but uber sweet 'Klezmer Volutes.'

The methodical 'Die frohlichen kamaraden' is along next and even has a gentle Wintry feel to it, before the finger-snappin' and sax wonderment of 'Pitchipoi' (my personal favorite amongst the 11) and then the vibrant 'L'espoir au Coeur' are brought forth.

Evoking the power of the life forces, the forces of life, through the evidence of a compassionate fraternity, of a necessary communion of the "after", as a whole BabY's sub tracks draw from a spiral of contrary feelings and bring them into the light - if only for a few minutes.

The dulcet piano work of 'The Yar' gives this track its more serious backbone with the thoughtful, yet melodic key work of 'My Little African Doll' backing it beautifully.

A track that wouldn't be out of place in a smoky underground, late night/early morning jazz club 'Revoir l'aurore' is up next with the first disc rounding out with the bombastic 'Forces Vitales,' and then the emphatic closer 'Epilogue.'

The second disc comes in three pieces, the first split into 5 sub tracks and overall is a piece inspired by a traditional medieval style that comes from the series called "Carmina Burana" (manuscript of the Abbey of Benediktbeuern / XIII C.).

Opening with the joyous musical deliberations of 'Curritur' that's backed seamlessly by the free flowing piano, drum, bass and trumpet work on 'Sursum Corda,' with the more delicate 'Ad Vocem' along next.

The drums and sax take centerstage next on another late night jazz club-evoking 'Vive Valeque' with the sweepingly lush 'Acta Est Fabula' another stand out work of musical art here.

The next main track is 'Talitha Koum' and celebrates the mystery of perpetual rebirth, especially through an open and laughing harmonic grid combined with a fast and more tense tempo.

This quite stunning, absolutely mesmerizing new album then comes to a close with the title track (and longest at over seven minutes), 'No Wind Tonight.' The cut is an eponymous theme of the album and comes across as a calm, clensing and introspective journey for the soul once undertaken.

With room to freely manoevure within its construction for the acoustic piano, double bass and tenor sax, it's Zen warmth and state of fluid being makes it the most perfect way to end the album - let alone ones day, in general, of course.

Amazon CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Getz at The Gate' [2CD]
Artist - Stan Getz

For those not in the know, Stan Getz (born Stanley Gayetski) was an American jazz saxophonist. Playing primarily the tenor saxophone, Getz was known as "The Sound" because of his warm, lyrical tone, his prime influence being the wispy, mellow timbre of his idol, Lester Young.

Coming to prominence in the late 1940s with Woody Herman's big band, Getz is described by critic Scott Yanow as "one of the all-time great tenor saxophonists".

Getz performed in bebop and cool jazz groups. Influenced by João Gilberto and Antônio Carlos Jobim, he popularized bossa nova in America with the hit single 'The Girl from Ipanema' (1964).

A previously unreleased recording of master jazz saxophonist Stan Getz and his quartet, recorded on November 26th, 1961 at New York’s Village Gate, will be released by Verve/UMe on June 14th, 2019.

Entitled Getz At The Gate it will be available as 2CD, 3LP and digital sets featuring every note performed that night by Getz with his new band of the time, featuring Steve Kuhn, John Neves and Roy Haynes.

The show itself was professionally recorded with a view to possible commercial release but, after those plans were forgotten, the tape sat in the vaults for 58 years.

Ergo, the recording now serves as a priceless document of a direction that Getz, ultimately, did not follow.

CD 1:
1 – Announcement by Chip Monck
2 – 'It’s Alright With Me' (Cole Porter)
3 – 'Wildwood' (Gigi Gryce)
4 – 'When The Sun Comes Out' (Harold Arlen-Ted Koehler)
5 – 'Impressions' (John Coltrane)
6 – 'Airegin' (Sonny Rollins)
7 – 'Like Someone In Love' (Jimmy Van Heusen-Johnny Burke)
8 – 'Woody ’N You' (Dizzy Gillespie)
9 – 'Blues' (Stan Getz)

CD 2:
1 – 'Where Do You Go' (Alec Wilder-Arnold Sundgaard)
2 – 'Yesterday’s Gardenias' (Dick Robertson)
3 – 'Stella By Starlight' (Victor Young-Ned Washington)
4 – 'It’s You Or No One' (Jule Stine-Sammy Cahn)
5 – 'Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most' (Tommy Wolf-Fran Landesman)
6 – '52nd Street Theme' (Thelonious Monk)
7 – 'Jumpin’ With Symphony Sid' (Lester Young-King Pleasure)

Listening avidly to this quite wondrous 2CD set, not only does Getz at The Gate contain performances of several tracks that he had recorded in the 1950s - including ‘When the Sun Comes Out,’ ‘Like Someone in Love’ and ‘Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most’ - but it also hints at where he might have gone if the bossa nova sound had not dictated his next direction (with Getz’s only known recordings of ‘It’s All Right with Me’ and ‘Yesterday’s Gardenias’ included here).

On what is quite a harmonious and illustrious live album, the 16-tracks include renditions of John Coltrane’s ‘Impressions’, Thelonious Monk’s ’52nd Street Theme,’ and complete with uptempo choruses, Sonny Rollins’ ‘Airegin’.

As aforementioned, this impassioned lush live recording captures Getz shortly before his deep dive into jazz samba, and now iconic releases with Charlie Byrd (Jazz Samba, 1962) and João Gilberto (Getz / Gilberto, 1964), but also showcases a man not afraid to experiment.

2CD Purchase Link

3LP Purchase Link

Title - 'Phenomena: Anthology'
Artist - Phenomena

For those not in the know, Phenomena is a rock music concept formed by record producer Tom Galley and brother, Whitesnake guitarist Mel Galley.

During the recording of their debut, Phenomena they were joined by Metalhammer founder Wilfried Rimensberger with other contributors along the way being such notables as leading rock musicians Glenn Hughes, Brian May, and John Wetton, amongst others.

In fact, Phenomena's production of rock songs based on a story line running through a whole album, attached to artworks and other multi-media aspects was credited for the “return of the concept album” in the 1980s.

Phenomena released three albums in the 1980s and early 1990s, and had a number one hit single in South America with 'Did It All For Love,' while the album charted across Europe, in Japan and Brazil.

With all three of those aforementioned Phenomena albums having been re-released as Definitive Editions in 2018, their legion of fans can now also enjoy these incredible rock performances under the one roof in this excellent best of one disc compilation entitled Anthology.

1. 'Still the Night'
2. 'Dance with the Devil'
3. 'Phoenix Rising'
4. 'Assassins of the Night'
5. 'Running with the Pack'
6. 'Stop!'
7. 'Did It All for Love'
8. 'Hearts on Fire'
9. 'Banzai' (Single Edit)
10. 'What About Love'
11. 'If You Want to Rock'
12. 'How Much Do You Love Me?'
13. 'Stealing Heaven'
14. 'Did It All for Love' (12" Remix)
15. 'Still the Night' (12" Remix)

Phenomena was their aforementioned debut in 1985 with the all-star, million selling album - created by Tom Galley - featuring the rock talents of: Glenn Hughes; Cozy Powell; Mel Galley; Neil Murray; Don Airey; Ric Sanders; John Thomas; and Ted McKenna.

This Anthology features three of those tracks - 'Still The Night,' 'Dance With The Devil,' and 'Phoenix Rising' - along with final mixes of the rare tracks ‘Assassins in the Night’ and ‘Running with the Pack.’

From Phenomena II: Dream Runner (1987) we get just the three cuts from the original ten - 'Stop!,' 'Did It All For Love' and 'Hearts On Fire' - but they are, in truth, and in my own humble opinion, also the best of the bunch from the release.

Phenomena III: Innervision from 1993 completes the all-star Phenomena trilogy, and brings forth five cuts from the brilliant album - 'Banzai' (Single Edit), 'What About Love,' 'If You Want to Rock,' 'How Much Do You Love Me?,' and the final mix of the rare track 'Stealing Heaven.'

The bonus tracks included are the rare 12” Remix of ‘Did It All For Love’ along with the previously-unreleased 12” Remix of ‘Still The Night.

The styling of the music is amazing, much like a mix of '70s melodies and rhythms from the '80s. Complete with atmospheric intros on many of the songs and featuring a lot of ex-Whitesnake members, it's no wonder that the album leans towards that sound - together with a tag that hung with them forever, which was they sounded like "Journey's evil cousin"!

The lyrics tend toward dark themes, while the music bounces through light and shade, hard rock and pop rock, and guitar dueling with synthesizer and, perhaps, even fiddle on 'Dance with the Devil'.

With a three year gap in place, and featuring a largely different group of rock musicians to aid them this time, Phenomena came back with tracks such as the brilliant 'Stop!' from Ray Gillen (Black Sabbath).

Sounding like a great Asia cut, Wetton's only venture to the mic is the melodic harmonies of 'Did It All For Love,' and remains one of my all-time Phenomena favorites.

On the debut, Glenn Hughes took vocal command of the tracks, but here he only performs on three, with the late John Wetton (Asia), Ray Gillen (Black Sabbath/Badlands) and Max Bacon (GTR) splitting the remaining seven between them.

They completed their all-star Phenomena trilogy with a much smaller army of willing and able rockers: Brian May; Scott Gorham; Michael Sturgis; Keith Murrell; and Leif Johansen.

Six years had now passed for Phenomena by the time their third album, Innervision, had been created and most all these tunes enabled more playing time for the guitar Gods Brian May and Thin Lizzy's very own Scott Gorham to wreck musically perfected havoc on the 10 song collection!

The Alcatrazz-esqe '80s synth in play on 'Banzai' is as strong to hear now as it was to listen to for the first time back then with the mid-tempo Journey-esque ballad 'What About Love?' (complete with Brian May’s undeniable contribution) following along perfectly.

The stand out cut from that album is the anthemic 'If You Want To Rock' which is backed by the pop rock sensibility of 'How Much Do You Love Me?' and then the power pop rock of the rare track 'Stealing Heaven.'

Trust me, if you like Whitesnake, Journey, and other bands of the same musical ilk, this new Anthology is for you, my friends.

'Phenomena: Anthology' CD Purchase Link

'Phenomena' (Definitive Edition) CD Purchase Link

'Phenomena II: Dream Runner' (Definitive Edition) CD Purchase Link

'Phenomena III: Innervision' (Definitive Edition) CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Black Moon'
Artist - Lucifer's Friend

For those not in the know, Lucifer's Friend is a German hard rock band, formed in Hamburg in 1970 by guitarist Peter Hesslein, singer John Lawton, bassist Dieter Horns, keyboardist Peter Hecht, and drummer Joachim Reitenbach.

The group was an early practitioner of heavy metal and progressive rock and they also incorporated elements of jazz and fusion into their music, especially in their fourth album Banquet of 1974.

Beyond heavy metal the band has also been cited as one of the pioneers of doom metal, helping to define both genres due to their heavy sound and dark oriented lyrics of their acclaimed debut Lucifer's Friend (1970) and returning to their roots in 1981 with Mean Machine; although here more notably influenced by speed metal.

The band officially broke up in 1982, but Lucifer’s Friend reformed in 2015 and since then has been playing high profile festival concerts - such as the HEADLINE act on 4 Sound Stage the SWEDEN ROCK FESTIVAL and at the ROCK OF AGES and LORELEY festivals too.

Lucifer’s Friend have now released a new studio album, Black Moon which is their first album since 2016’s Too Late To Hate.

It is also the band’s second album since the aforementioned reuniting in 2015 with singer John Lawton, guitarist Peter Hesslein and bassist Dieter Horns all in the line up.

1. 'Black Moon'
2. 'Passengers'
3. 'Rolling the Stone'
4. 'Behind the Smile'
5. 'Palace of Fools'
6. 'Call the Captain'
7. 'Little Man'
8. 'Freedom'
9. 'Taking It to the Edge'
10. 'Glory Days'

Featuring the original core members of John Lawton (ex-Uriah Heep), Peter Hesslein and Dieter Horns, the album opens with the title track itself, 'Black Moon.'

A wondrous jazz-fusion cut, and also one of my favorites off the new 10 track album, it's Lawton’s still-incredible and strong vocals that grab you first, Hesslein’s guitar work next, and then the storytelling lyrics following along thereafter.

In what I can only describe as a beautiful flashback to an era and sound gone by, Black Moon to me (as an album) comes across much in the same musical vein as their 1974 album Banquet. And that thought is showcased to perfection within both 'Passengers' and the R&B vibe to 'Rolling The Stone.'

The keyboard-led 'Behind The Smile' is another harkening beauty and is backed seamlessly by both the rock prowess of 'Palace of Fools' and the pacey seafaring tale within 'Call the Captain.'

'Little Man' is then followed by the tribal beats found within the uplifting 'Freedom' with the album then rounding out with both the rock-fusion wonderment of 'Taking It To The Edge' and a sly nod to their own moments in the spotlight, perhaps, on the reflective 'Glory Days.'

Official CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Chouans'
Artist - Alan Simon

For those not in the know, Alan Simon is a French folk-rock musician and composer, best known for his rock operas performed with noted rock musicians guesting.

Simon is associated with Breton Celticism, and his most ambitious works are typically on themes linked to Celtic myth and history. Indeed, Simon has also branched out into film-making.

Simon achieved fame with his rock opera Excalibur, La Légende des Celtes (Excalibur, The Legend of the Celts) (Sony) in 1999, of which he was both songwriter and producer.

His brand new studio album entitled Chouans is Simon’s epic musical interpretation of the French Revolution and is being released to coincide with the 230th Anniversary of the start of the revolution.

CD 1:
1. 'Ouverture'
2. 'L'incorruptible'
3. 'Ça Ira'
4. 'Au Nom de Tous Les Miens'
5. 'Le Chant Des Paysans'
6. 'La Folie'
7. 'Ma France, Mon Espérance'
8. 'La Complainte de L'abbé'
9. 'Dieu & Le Roy'
10. 'L'appel de Cadoudal'
11. 'Le Saint de L'anjou'

CD 2:
1. 'L'amazone'
2. 'Le Pardon de Bonchamps'
3. 'La Virée de Galerne'
4. 'L'infernale Danse'
5. 'Monsieur Henri'
6. 'Coeur de Chouans'
7. 'God Save the King'
8. 'Réfractaire'
9. 'Un Nouveau Monde'
10. 'Mourir Pour Des Idées'
11. 'Mon Petit Frère'
12. 'Le Vent de la Mémoire'

This incredible and expansive new orchestral rock double album features all new studio tracks and is, from the very off, both haunting ethereal and yet buoyantly hopeful.

Inclusive within these moods are many bouts of invigorating fervor where Simon's orchestrated passion for hands held solidarity against the war and its undertakings is strong, loud and proud.

To listen to just one track might well be enough for the average bystander to be drawn in for more, but collectively, well, it is a vibrant, authentic and massively engrossing work of musical art that has to be heard to be believed.

“It's the dark side of the French Revolution! The unknown pages! 300 000 people died. Mainly paysans, priest and some nobles. They were killed in the west of France where I was born," Simon himself explains.

"It's the last French civil war! The very young republic just created the humans rights and 18 months later Paris the national assembly gave the orders to march on the district call 'Vende'."

"That's was where most of the royalists were leaving. But mostly poor people! That's the history! This is the first historical album about this history! It's an hidden story. No one is proud about it!”

Official CD Purchase Link

Alan Simon's 'Chouans' @ Facebook!

Title - 'Ashes Are Burning: Remastered & Expanded'
Artist - Renaissance

Formed in 1969 by former Yardbirds members Jim McCarty and Keith Relf, by the 1971 Renaissance had undergone a series of line-up changes and had evolved into a completely different band from the one that had recorded the albums Renaissance and Illusion.

By June 1972, Renaissance had signed to EMI's Sovereign label and had settled into a line-up featuring the highly gifted vocalist Annie Haslam.

Featuring such classic material as 'Can You Understand', 'Carpet Of The Sun', 'At The Harbour' and the epic title track (featuring Andy Powell of Wishbone Ash on electric guitar).

Released in October 1973, Ashes Are Burning would establish Renaissance as one of the finest symphonic progressive rock acts.

This Esoteric Recordings edition has been remastered from the original Sovereign Records master tapes and adds a previously unreleased thirty minute live performance for BBC Radio One's In Concert programme in 1974 (recently discovered in the archives).

1. 'Can You Understand'
2. 'Let It Grow'
3. 'On the Frontier'
4. 'Carpet of the Sun'
5. 'At the Harbour'
6. 'Ashes Are Burning'
7. 'Can You Understand' (Live -BBC Radio "In Concert" 1974)
8. 'Let It Grow' (Live -BBC Radio "In Concert" 1974)
9. 'Ashes Are Burning' (Live - BBC Radio "In Concert" 1974)

In truth, Ashes Are Burning is my favorite Renaissance album for I just adore their combination of folk, rock, and classical music.

The songs by Michael Dunford (music) and Betty Thatcher (lyrics) have great melodies but sadly as Renaissance had such a small following in the US this wondrous album only reached #171 in the US Album Charts of that time.

I discovered the band while at college in 1975 and liked their unusual sound and so when this album was recorded in 1973 they had already made three other rather excellent albums beforehand for us fans to enjoy.

After 1979, the band moved in a more pop direction, but weirdly enough their '70s records have not really dated all that much as they are all mostly acoustic.

Annie Haslam was/is a superb singer with a unique voice and John Tout played the piano rather than a synthesizer, which was unusual for a prog band.

However, and I'm sure there is much more to it behind the scenes, but to my mind it's strange that Michael Dunford contributes acoustic guitar and nearly all the music, but is not credited as a full member of the band.

Look out for a superb electric guitar solo at the end of the title track, from Wishbone Ash's Andy Powell if not only for the fact it is the only electric instrument on the album; apart Jon Camp's bass guitar.

In closing, this is a beautiful album and in 2015 was listed at #31 in Rolling Stone's "50 Greatest Prog Rock Albums of All Time."

The booklet features a new essay and exclusive interviews with Annie Haslam and Terry Sullivan and fully restores the original album artwork.

CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Futurama: Expanded & Remastered'
Artist - Be-Bop Deluxe

For those not in the know, Be-Bop Deluxe were an English progressive rock band who achieved critical acclaim and moderate commercial success during the mid to late 1970s.

The band's sound emerged as a mixture of glam rock, prog rock and straightforward rock and roll. Indeed, Science fiction imagery was common in the lyrics, along with the more traditional themes of love and the human condition.

Digitally remastered and now an expanded 2CD edition, Futurama, the legendary 1975 album by Be-Bop Deluxe, has now been re-released via Esoteric Recordings / Cherry Red Records (UK).

This expanded reissue has been newly re-mastered from the original master tapes and features an additional 15 bonus tracks drawn from some stunning new stereo mixes from the original multi-track tapes by award winning engineer Stephen W. Tayler, a previously unreleased out-take from the album sessions and rare single tracks.

CD 1: The Original Stereo Mix
1. 'Stage Whispers'
2. 'Love with the Madman'
3. 'Maid in Heaven'
4. 'Sister Seagull'
5. 'Sound Track'
6. 'Music in Dreamland'
7. 'Jean Cocteau'
8. 'Between the Worlds'
9. 'Swan Song'
10. 'Between the Worlds (Single Version)' (Bonus Track)
11. 'Lights' (Bonus Track)

CD 2: New Stereo Mix
1. 'Stage Whispers'
2. 'Love with the Madman'
3. 'Maid in Heaven'
4. 'Sister Seagull'
5. 'Sound Track'
6. 'Music in Dreamland'
7. 'Jean Cocteau'
8. 'Between the Worlds'
9. 'Swan Song'
10. 'Between the Worlds (Single Version)'
11. 'Lights'
12. 'Music in Dreamland' (Phonogram Studios Version) (Previously Unreleased)
14. 'Between the Worlds' (Alternate Single Version) (Previously Unreleased)

Recorded in the first two months of 1975 at Rockfield studios (with some sessions also taking place at SARM studios in London), Futurama was the second album by Be Bop Deluxe and the first to feature the line-up of Bill Nelson (vocals, guitars, keyboards), Charlie Tumahai (bass, vocals) and Simon Fox (drums).

Produced by Roy Thomas Baker (who at the time was also working with Queen), Futurama was an album of immense musical inventiveness and creativity and was a huge leap forward in creative terms for Bill Nelson.

The album gained much praise thanks to Bill Nelson’s composition skills and his highly innovative guitar playing. Featuring such wonderful material as ‘Maid in Heaven’, ‘Sister Seagull’, ‘Music in Dreamland’, ‘Sound Track’, ‘Between the Worlds’, ‘Jean Cocteau’ and ‘Swan Song’, the album would see Be-Bop Deluxe heralded as one of the most accomplished acts of 1975.

Top-heavy with massed guitars and melodic ideas pursued on a whim and just as quickly abandoned, it nevertheless contained two of the most perfect pop singles never to make the charts – 'Maid in Heaven' and 'Sister Seagull'.

Oh, and for those who are interested, the first three Be-Bop Deluxe albums are all, in one way or another, named after guitars. Axe is slang for a guitar, Futurama is a particular make of guitar, while Sunburst Finish refers to a style of finishing for the instrument.

Kicking off in some guitar-flaring (and original stereo mix) style with the pop sensibilities of the rampant 'Stage Whispers' (which also has a definitive pubescent Queen vibe to it), that was backed seamlessly by both 'Love With the Madman' (and its David Bowie mimicry) and the definite Queen-influenced 'Maid in Heaven.'

The first to feature the aforementioned line-up of Bill Nelson (vocals, guitars, keyboards), Charlie Tumahai (bass, vocals) and Simon Fox (drums) next up is the brilliant '70s prog cut 'Sister Seagull.'

Next up comes the pure pop Prog fluidity of 'Sound Track' which is backed by the free flowing operatic beauty of 'Music in Dreamland.' Up next is one of my own personal album favorites, the gentle trip of 'Jean Cocteau', which is followed by the frenetic 'Between the Worlds.'

The original album then rounds out with the six minute opus 'Swan Song,' with this newly expanded and remastered classic now containing on the first disc two bonus tracks: 'Between the Worlds (Single Version)' and funky soul of 'Lights.'

The second CD features all the same songs, all be they now recorded as new stereo mixes and inclusive of three Bonus Tracks: Once again 'Between the Worlds (Single Version)' and 'Lights,' and also 'Music in Dreamland (Phonogram Studios Version)' and 'Between the Worlds (Alternate Single Version).'

The set also features a booklet which restores the original album artwork and includes previously unseen photographs and an essay of recollections by Bill Nelson.

This re-mastered and expanded edition of Futurama is a fitting tribute to a fine band, the creative vision of Bill Nelson and a wonderful album.

Official 2CD Purchase Link

Title - 'The Singles Collection'
Artist - Bay City Rollers

For those not in the know, the Bay City Rollers are a Scottish pop rock band known for their worldwide teen idol popularity in the 1970s.

They have been called the "tartan teen sensations from Edinburgh", and "the first of many acts heralded as the 'biggest group since the Beatles'".

The group's line-up had many changes over the years, but the classic line-up during its heyday included guitarists Eric Faulkner and Stuart John Wood, singer Les McKeown, bassist Alan Longmuir, and drummer Derek Longmuir.

Vocalist Les McKeown still leads a version of the band to this day and has recently undertaken a tour of the UK’s largest venues with the likes of Suzi Quatro and David Essex.

Indeed, another version of the line-up still touring now includes guitarist Stuart John Wood (Woody), singer Ian Thomson, bassist Marcus Cordock and drummer Jamie McGrory.

The UK No.1’s ‘Bye Bye Baby’ and ‘Give A Little Love’ plus Top Ten’s such as ‘Remember’, ‘Shang A Lang’, ‘Summerlove Sensation’, ‘Love Me Like I Love You’ and ‘Money Honey’ are all included.

Also featured is the U.S. chart topper ‘Saturday Night’ plus many other hits from around the globe as the band in the mid 70’s – unlike many other UK bands whose success was limited to their homeland – really did rule the charts all over the world.

From one of the biggest selling bands of the entire '70s comes this 47 track clam shell box-set rounding up all of the singles from when "Roller Mania" ruled the world!

CD 1:
1. 'Keep on Dancing'
2. 'Alright'
3. 'We Can Make Music'
4. 'Jenny'
5. 'Manana'
6. 'Because I Love You'
7. 'Saturday Night'
8. 'Hey! C.B'
9. 'Remember'
10. 'Bye Bye Barbara'
11. 'Shang A Lang'
12. 'Are You Ready for That Rock N Roll'
13. 'Summerlove Sensation'
14. 'Bringing Back the Good Times'
15. 'All of Me Loves All of You'
16. 'The Bump'

CD 2:
1. 'Bye Bye Baby'
2. 'It's For You'
3. 'Give A Little Love'
4. 'She'll Be Crying Over You'
5. 'Saturday Night (Les Version)'
6. 'Marlina'
7. 'Money Honey'
8. 'Maryanne'
9. 'Love Me Like I Love You'
10. 'Mama Li'>br> 11. 'Rock 'N Roll Love Letter'
12. 'Shanghai'd in Love'
13. 'I Only Wanna Be with You'
14. 'Rock 'N Roller'
15. 'Yesterday's Hero'
16. 'My Lisa'

CD 3:
1. 'It's A Game' 2. 'Dance, Dance, Dance'
3. 'You Made Me Believe in Magic'
4. 'Are You Cuckoo?'
5. 'Dedication (Les Version)'
6. 'The Way I Feel Tonight'
7. 'Love Power'
8. 'All of the World Is Falling in Love'
9. 'If You Were My Woman'
10. 'Turn on the Radio'
11. 'Washington's Birthday'
12. 'Life on the Radio'
13. 'Ricochet'
14. 'No Doubt About It'
15. 'Set the Fashion'

The first disc kicks off with the finger-snappin' gentle pop rock hipsway of 'Keep on Dancing' and backs that up with the drum-led (and repetitive chords of) 'Alright,' the charismatic 'We Can Make Music' (a track that was originally meant to be released as the band's first single with 'Alright' on the B side, although that honor obviously went to 'Keep On Dancing'), and then both the faux piano lead in to the upbeat tempo of 'Jenny' and the unchosen Eurovision song contest qualifier, 'Manana.'

Next up is 'Because I Love You' (sung by Gordon "Nobby" Clark) which is backed by the bubblegum pop of that era 'Saturday Night,' the roaringly gritty rock of 'Hey! C.B,' the Sha la la la la la la la shoobie do of 'Remember' and then both the twangy bounce of 'Bye Bye Barbara' and always brilliant and catchy as all heck 'Shang A Lang.'

The fists pumped high 'Are You Ready for That Rock N Roll' (a track that never made it anywhere, sadly) is up next and that's followed by one of their all-time greats, and a song that after all the years still sounds great and brings back some wonderful memories, 'Summerlove Sensation.'

Next up is the gentle mid-tempo cut 'Bringing Back the Good Times' with both the joyous bounce romp of 'All of Me Loves All of You' and the drum-led 'The Bump' rounding the first disc out nicely.

The second disc opens with the phenomenal chart hit 'Bye Bye Baby' (written for them by the Four Seasons), and that's backed by the lesser known, and yet still brilliant to hear today ballad 'It's For You' and then another ballad in the form of 'Give a Little Love' ("It's a teenage dream to be seventeen. And to find you're all wrapped up in love.")

Written by Eric Faulkner and Stuart "Woody" Wood and the B-side of their hit single 'Give A Little Love,' next up is 'She'll Be Crying Over You' and that's followed by a 'Saturday Night (Les Version).'

The heart skip beats of 'Marlina' makes this, quite easily, one of the best BCR songs (in my humble opinion) and that's backed by both the heavy guitar work of the Faulkner/Wood cut 'Money Honey.'

The delightful pop rock of 'Maryanne' is up next and is backed by both 'Love Me Like I Love You,' 'Mama Li' (which was the B-side of 'Love Me Like I Love You' and had a video of the boys mucking out horses, if memory serves me correctly!), the hard rocking of 'Rock 'N Roll Love Letter' and then the dreamy mid-tempo ballad 'Shanghai'd in Love.'

This second disc continues on with the foot-tappin' classic 'I Only Wanna Be with You' and the guitar and vocal rocker 'Rock 'N Roller,' with the disc rounding out with both 'Yesterday's Hero' (which was already a hit in 1975 by John Paul Young in Australia and written by two Australian's from The Easybeats - Vanda and Young) and then the beautiful ballad 'My Lisa.'

The third and final disc begins with a new era for the BCR and the track 'It's A Game' (which had been an unsuccessful 1973 single by String Driven Thing),which came from an album that mysteriously only went to #18 on the UK Album Charts of the year.

'Dance, Dance, Dance' is next and that's followed by the pop soul R&B funk of 'You Made Me Believe in Magic' and the pure, unadulterated brass funk of 'Are You Cuckoo?' 'Dedication (Les Version)' is next (although the original version sung by Ian Mitchell is still the better one, for me), and that's backed by one of best love songs ever written, 'The Way I Feel Tonight.'

The rock guitar work on 'Love Power' is one to turn the sound bar up for and that's followed by both the gentle beauty of 'All of the World Is Falling in Love' and the pop flow of 'If You Were My Woman.'

At the end of 1978, the band had split with McKeown, then fired manager Tam Paton shortly after, and decided to continue in a more new wave, rock-oriented sound.

Their name was now the Rollers. South African-born Duncan Faure joined the band as new lead vocalist, guitarist and songwriter. The first of those was the pop rock bounce of 'Turn on the Radio' which was backed by the heavier 'Washington's Birthday' and the whistled-in fan favorite 'Life on the Radio.'

The third disc then rounds out with the guitar-heavy instrumental 'Ricochet' (which was a far cry from their teenage bubblegum pop '70s stuff), the absolutely thunderous 'No Doubt About It' and then the melodic back beats of 'Set the Fashion.'

With Faure, the line-up produced three albums: Elevator (1979), Voxx (1980) and Ricochet (1981).

The booklet also contains notes for each single and stacks of collectable picture sleeves from across the world plus tons of memorabilia.

Official 3CD Box-Set Purchase Link

Title - 'Lesley Step Lightly: The GM Recordings'
Artist - Lesley Duncan

For those not in the know, Lesley Duncan was an English singer-songwriter, best known for her work during the 1970s.

She received a lot of airplay on British radio stations such as BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 2; but never achieved great commercial success; in part because of her unwillingness to chase stardom, and crippling stage fright.

Lesley Steps Lightly is a brand new anthology of Lesley’s period with the (Billy) Gaff Management set up (managers of The Faces, Status Quo, Rory Gallagher, Greenslade at the time), releasing recordings on their GM label.

Indeed, to Lesley’s name were 3 LPs and 7 singles, all included here, from 1974-1978.

The three albums included are Everything Changes (Disc One), Moon Bathing (Disc Two), and Maybe It's Lost (Disc Three).

CD 1 - Everything Changes (1974)
1. My Soul'
2. Broken Old Doll'
3. The Serf'
4. Hold On'
5. Everything Changes'
6. Love Melts Away'
7. Sam'
8. You'
9. Watch the Tears'
10. We'll Get By'
11. My Soul (Live)' - Bonus Track
12. Sam (Live)' - Bonus Track
13. Fortieth Floor (Live)' - Bonus Track
14. Love Song (Live)' - Bonus Track
15. The Serf (Live)' - Bonus Track
16. Earth Mother (Live)' - Bonus Track
17. Sing Children Sing (Live)' - Bonus Track

CD 2 - Moon Bathing (1975)
1. I Can See Where I'm Going'
2. Heaven Knows'
3. Moon Bathing'
4. Rescue Me'
5. Lady Step Lightly'
6. Wooden Spoon'
7. Pick Up the Phone'
8. Helpless'
9. Fine Friends'
10. Jumped Right in the River'
11. Rocking Chair'
12. Could've Been a Winner' - Bonus Track
13. Earth Mother (Live at Reading Festival)' - Bonus Track

CD 3 - Maybe It's Lost (1977)
1. The Sky on Fire'
2. Maybe It's Lost'
3. Slipping Sideways'
4. Living It All Again'
5. Another Rainy Day'
6. Ride on the Wind'
7. Let It Roll'
8. Walk in the Sea'
9. Falling Like a Leaf'
10. Don't Worry 'Bout It'
11. Drift Away'
12. The Magic's Fine' - Bonus Track (1978-1982)
13. Paper Highways' - Bonus Track (1978-1982)
14. Sing Children Sing (Charity Group Version)' - Bonus Track (1978-1982)
15. Rainbow Games' - Bonus Track (1978-1982)
16. Don't Cry Anita' - Unreleased Bonus Track (1978-1982)
17. The Wrong Woman' - Unreleased Bonus Track (1978-1982)
18. Walking Out Into a Bad Dream' - Unreleased Bonus Track (1978-1982)
19. Yesterday (Was It Too Late)' - Unreleased Bonus Track (1978-1982)
20. You're a Sly One' - Unreleased Bonus Track (1978-1982)
21. Masters of War' - Bonus Track (1978-1982)
22. Another Light Goes Out' - Bonus Track (1978-1982)

With ninety per cent of the tracks written by Lesley these songs are very largely chronicles of relationships both happy and troubled; most, but not all of them, about Lesley's own with some songs notably being about friends rather than herself.

Everything about the debut album, Everything Changes is of the highest quality (much like all her material, to be quite honest). The songwriting, her vocals, the musicianship, the overall production and mastering are of a very high standard and each track is a pure unadulterated gem to behold.

The additional material on Disc One is the 1974 BBC In Concert recording made at the Golders Green Hippodrome. Listening to the second album, Moon Bathing and I harken back to a 1987 story I read on her that claimed Duncan blamed herself for her music not having become as far reaching as everyone around her had always hoped.

She said that being a backup session musician was easy money for all she had to do was simply write and sing and only when she felt like it. She added that she always had it in the back of her mind to make records but added she never wanted to promote them.

Indeed she was happy with her quiet life, home and child. She also said she was treated very well as a back up and felt it would be unfair to have a record label invest in her, when she probably wouldn't do much, if anything, to promote an album they had made her write/sing.

Disc Two has an extra b-side plus the live cut of one of Lesley's big song's 'Earth Mother' recorded live in 1973 at the Reading Festival.

The third album was also a doozy in the form of 'Maybe It's Lost.' Her voice, her style, all is wonderful. The instruments are at the same level with her own backing musicians on song with the way Duncan could only have hoped for.

And Disc Three goes beyond the GM years and rounds up unreleased songs recorded with her second husband arranger/producer Tony Cox during the early 1980s; her final mainstream single in 1982 an acerbic delivery of Dylan's 'Masters Of War', and the 1979 live aid style charity single cover of Lesley's song 'Sing Children Sing' with Pete Townshend, Madeline Bell, Kate Bush, Joe and Vicki Brown, Billy Nicholls and Phil Lynott.

A major 20 page essay details Lesley’s whole career and importantly offers fascinating context material with input from Jimmy Horowitz , Linda Lewis, Madeline Bell, Tony Hazzard, Kiki Dee, Jeff Dexter and Tony Cox.

The great Lesley Duncan is sadly no longer with us, but at least we can still enjoy her superb voice and songwriting talent here on this 3CD box-set.

Official 3CD Digipak Purchase Link

Title - 'The Road to Zion'
Artist - Peter Lewis

For those not in the know, early in his long and winding odyssey, Peter Lewis played a crucial part in the creation of that rare beast, the perfect rock & roll album: Moby Grape, a legendary union of guitars, voices and brotherhood made in a now-distant American age, the psychedelic San Francisco of 1967.

All these years later, and still making incredible and heart felt music, Peter is set to release his latest full-length album The Road To Zion this upcoming July 16th, 2019.

Releasing via Omad, the boutique label of the album's producer John DeNicola, listening to the 11 tracks it's quite clear that the singer/songwriter has made his best record yet.

1. 'On The Road To Zion'
2. 'Down By The Water'
3. 'When I Think About Me'
4. 'Nobody's Love'
5. 'In This Place'
6. 'Journey To The Crossroads'
7. 'A Song For Kris (This Memory)'
8. 'When I'm Gone'
9. 'Only A Fool'
10. 'Celebration Of January 24'
11. 'For The Gypsy'

From start to finish the album is a pure, unadulterated and wondrous flashback to an era when music was original and a troubadour told stories for the first time.

You don't have to get too deep into the album before you realize the quality of music that you are in for and that Lewis brings to the table for the lead single 'Down By The Water' is just Heaven on a stick, my friends.

Indeed, the title song, complete with its layered guitars and gentle vocal is as evolved as anything out there today, whereas other cuts such as the jangling march found within 'In This Place' and the hauntingly profound 'Nobody's Love' are further reminders of just how good Peter's musicianship really is.

Much like the pop Americana storytelling found within those, each track also ebbs and flows much the same stories of wanderlust, fortune, trial and commitment. So much so that, at times, you will swear the mighty Springsteen has had a hand in the albums creation.

Official CD Purchase Link

Title - 'It Ain't The Same'
Artist - Jack Klatt

For those not in the know, musical missionary, tireless troubadour and producer Jack Klatt (based in Minneapolis, MN) isn’t one to be easily categorized or relegated to a narrow niche.

Indeed, he comes across as a young man with a wizened and worldly perspective, an artist who possesses a timeless sensibility of both place and purpose.

Yet, his artistic integrity extends to more than simply his songs. It embodies both execution and intent. Much like the way he has mastered his deft finger-picking technique and used that sturdy approach to bring his material an authenticity reminiscent of the most revered musicians and storytellers.

His brand new album, the rather stunning It Ain’t The Same (out September 27th, 2019 on Yep Roc Records) reflects that reverential attitude, but adds a depth and devotion that ensures its contemporary credence.

1. 'I'll Never Let You Down'
2. 'Looking For Love'
3. 'World Shaker'
4. 'Ramblin' Kind'
5. 'It Ain't The Same'
6. 'Caught In The Middle'
7. 'Highway Lines'
8. 'Prove My Love'
9. 'Tinted In Blue'
10. 'Tomorrow'
11. 'Love Me Lonely'

From the quite brilliant opening track 'I'll Never Let You Down' and the combination of Klatt's strong vocals and perfected guitar playing within impassioned lyrics such as "Wild flowers are hard to find, in a world that's lost it's mind" and "Be careful with playing shy, you never know what'll pass you by", this 11 track album has quickly become one of my Top 10 for 2019.

The quieter pacing of the dulcet 'Looking For Love' ("If you stray, it will find you. Give it away, it will unwind you") is up next and that's backed by the more upbeat Americana of 'World Shaker' and the lo-fi country of 'Ramblin' Kind.'

That slow country roll continues onward on the slow poke reminiscing beauty of the title track 'It Ain't The Same,' which Klatt backs up seamlessly with both the stoic guitar work of 'Caught In The Middle' and the yearning within 'Highway Lines.'

Pulling from a wide range of American music, Klatt's love for genres such as Rhythm and Blues and early Rock N’ Roll, to country and folk music, is lovingly apparent within each track.

Bringing his own voice to all of his songs, next up is the most upbeat track, the Rock N' Roll hipsway of 'Prove My Love,' which he backs with the early '70s pop sensibilities of 'Tinted In Blue.'

Inclusive of the talents of a skilled set of session players - John James Tourville (The Deslondes) on electric guitar and pedal steel, Casey McDonough (NRBQ) on bass skills, and Alex Hall (JD McPherson, The Cactus Blossoms, Robbie Fulks) on drums, percussion, keys and engineering - this wondrous new album then rounds out with the showcasing of Klatt's signature guitar work on 'Tomorrow,' with the delicate love song 'Love Me Lonely' bringing the album to a heartfelt close.

'Prove My Love' Music Video

Title - 'Lieder: Brahms, Schumann & Mahler'
Artist - Renée Fleming

For those not in the know, Renée Fleming is an American opera singer and soprano who has a full lyric soprano voice.

She has performed coloratura, lyric, and lighter spinto soprano operatic roles in Italian, German, French, Czech, and Russian, aside from her native English.

She has also sung chansons, jazz and indie rock and speaks fluent German and French, along with limited Italian.

Her signature roles include Countess Almaviva in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro, Desdemona in Verdi's Otello, Violetta in Verdi's La traviata, the title role in Dvořák's Rusalka, the title role in Massenet's Manon, the title role in Massenet's Thaïs, the title role in Richard Strauss's Arabella, the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier, and the Countess in Capriccio.

A National Medal of Arts and Richard Tucker Award winner, she regularly performs in opera houses and concert halls worldwide and in 2008, she was awarded the Swedish Polar Music Prize for her services in music.

In 2010, she took the title of 'Creative Consultant' to the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the first person to hold such a title with the company.

Conductor Sir Georg Solti said of Fleming, "In my long life, I have met maybe two sopranos with this quality of singing; the other was Renata Tebaldi."

Four-time Grammy winner Renée Fleming now presents her first full-length Lieder album in almost two decades (out June 14th, 2019 via Decca Records), featuring a selection of favorite songs from Brahms, Schumann, and Mahler.

1. ‘Wiegenlied’ (‘Lullaby’), Op. 49, No. 4
2. ‘Ständchen’, Op. 106, No. 1
3. ‘Lerchengesang’, Op. 70, No. 2
4. ‘Mondnacht’, WoO 21
5. ‘Des Liebsten Schwur’, Op. 69, No. 4
6. ‘Die Mainacht’, Op. 43, No. 2
7. ‘Du Unten Im Tale’, WoO 33, No. 6
8. ‘Vergebliches Ständchen’

Frauenliebe Und Leben, Op. 42
9. ‘Seit Ich Ihn Gesehen’
10. ‘Er, Der Herrlichste Von Allen’
11. ‘Ich Kann’s Nicht Fassen, Nicht Glauben’
12. ‘Du Ring An Meinem Finger’
13. ‘Helft Mir, Ihr Schwestern’
14. ‘Süßer Fruend, Du Blickest’
15. ‘An Meinem Herzen, An Meiner Brust’
16. ‘Nun Hast Du Mir Den Ersten Schmerz Getan’

17. ‘Ich Atmet’ Einen Linden Duft’
18. ‘Liebst Du Um Schönheit’
19. ‘Um Mitternacht’
20. ‘Blicke Mir Nicht In Die Lieder!’
21. ‘Ich Bin Der Welt Abhanden Gekommen’

Spanning six decades of German song, Lieder: Brahms, Schumann & Mahler features songs by the aforementioned trio of composers, each of whom bring Romantic poetry to life.

Fleming is partnered by her long-standing artistic collaborator Hartmut Höll on piano for songs by Brahms, including the beloved Brahms’ ‘Lullaby’, and also for Schumann’s ‘Frauenliebe Und-Leben’.

She is also joined by Christian Thielemann and the Munich Philharmonic for a performance of Mahler’s ‘Rückert Lieder’ which, in my humble opinion, is the stand out highlight of this gorgeous new collection.

“I love lieder for the marriage of poetry and music that allows both profound emotion and the most intimate, nuanced expression”, Renée explains.

"The German lied is, for me, both the foundation and the pinnacle of song literature. I am especially excited to have been able to collaborate with some of the greatest interpreters in the world for this repertoire.”

For my money, here on Lieder: Brahms, Schumann & Mahler Renée, quite easily the world’s most beloved soprano has conjured up a magnificent trio of works to embody and embrace within the German vernacular of Lieder.

Indeed, her lower register has become ever-richer toned, yet fluid, while higher up her silken soprano remains undiminished within the lengths and breadths of all these works.

Title - 'Subversions II'
Artist - U.K. Subs

For those not in the know, the U.K. Subs are an English punk band, among the earliest in the first wave of British punk.

Formed in 1976 (initially using the name the Subversives), the mainstay of the band has been vocalist Charlie Harper, originally a singer in Britain's R&B scene.

Originally one of the first street punk bands, their style combined the energy of punk and the rock and roll edge of the then thriving pub rock scene.

The band had hit singles such as "Stranglehold", "Warhead", "Teenage", and "Tomorrow's Girls", with several of their songs even managing to enter the United Kingdom's Top 40 Singles Chart.

Now Charlie along with Alvin Gibbs (bass), Jamie Oliver (drums) and Steve Straughan (guitar) return for another killer covers album that puts the Subs' unique spin on a dozen rock classics!

1. "Diversion"
2. "White Light, White Heat"
3. "Immigrant Song"
4. "One More Time"
5. "Season of the Witch"
6. "Search and Destroy"
7. "This Is Rock N' Roll"
8. "My Generation"
9. "You Wreck Me"
10. "Rockin' in the Free World"
11. "We Will Rock You"
12. "The Last Time"

Including brilliant reworkings of well known songs by Led Zeppelin, Velvet Underground, The Stooges, Neil Young, The Who, Queen and more the album kicks off in serious no holds barred style with "Diversion."

Written by Eddy Grant and first released by The Equals in 1973, that's backed by both a thunderous "White Light, White Heat" (Velvet Underground) and a pale (in comparison to the original) "Immigrant Song" (Led Zeppelin).

Frenetic drums and guitars blend together for "One More Time" before a diligent cover of Donovan's "Season Of The Witch" is unleashed. "Search And Destroy" from Iggy And The Stooges is one of their better covers here (containing a lot of the same energy that propelled Iggy himself during his live performances) and that's backed by "This Is Rock 'N' Roll" (The Kids) and then a valid attempt at The Who's "My Generation."

Another highlight here is their soulful version of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers' "You Wreck Me" which is followed by a passionate "Rockin' In The Free World" (Neil Young).

The album then comes to a close with a growled, gnarly Lemmy-esque "We Will Rock You" (Queen) and a near-perfect rendition of The Stones' "The Last Time" (that showcases perfectly just how good Harper's 70 year-old vocals truly still are!).

Available on both CD and vinyl (in your choice of BLUE or WHITE), the U.K. Subs' new album of covers Subversions II is as good as it gets within this genre - where bands seemingly now don't actually come to die at a certain vintage!

Title - 'Piggy Go Getter: Remastered'
Artist - Tear Gas

For those not in the know, formed in Glasgow at the close of the 1960s, the band Tear Gas (originally known as Mustard) featured Eddie Campbell (keyboards), Zal Cleminson (guitar), Chris Glen (bass, vocals), Gilson Lavis (drums) and Andi Mulvey (vocals).

Mulvey and Lavis were soon replaced respectively by keyboard player and vocalist David Batchelor, and Richard “Wullie” Monro and it was this very same line-up that recorded Piggy Go Getter at Regent Sound studios in London in 1970.

The album was a fine progressive rock record which gained a release both in the UK and the USA (adorned in an elaborate gatefold sleeve).

Tear Gas enjoyed a fine reputation on the European live circuit and would undergo further line-up changes when some months later Hugh McKenna replaced Batchelor and his cousin Ted McKenna (ex-Dream Police) took over from Monro on drums.

In August 1972 Zal Cleminson, Ted McKenna, Hugh McKenna and Chris Glen joined forces with vocalist Alex Harvey to form The Sensational Alex Harvey Band who would meet with success and record a series of inventive albums throughout the 1970s.

Thanks to the musician’s later work with SAHB, the Tear Gas recordings are now highly sought after by collectors.

Ergo, this just released August 2nd, 2019 via Esoteric Recordings edition has been remastered from the surviving master tapes and the booklet features a new essay with exclusive interviews with Zal Cleminson and Chris Glen and restores the original album artwork.

1. 'Lost Awakening' (3:25)
2. 'Your Woman's Gone and Left You' (2:22)
3. 'Night Girl' (5:40)
4. 'Nothing Can Change Your Mind' (3:31)
6. 'Big House' (3:35)
7. 'Mirrors of Sorrow' (2:52)
8. 'Look What Else Is Happening' (5:05)
9. 'I'm Fallin' Far Behind' (2:57)
10. 'Witches Come Today' (3:16)

On an album typical of the time with it's long guitar and keyboard passages, the group never shied away from the fact that as playful as they were musically, they were, at heart, simply a really loud band!

If memory serves me correctly, they used to open their live shows with Jethro Tull's 'Love Story' which started out very softly allowing the crowd to drift towards the front. Then they would turn the volume up and blow everyone out of the hall!

'Lost Awakening,' the albums opener, is like an electric CS&N number with harmonized vocals only in the chorus. Some decently flung solos close the track. Not bad. A similar, acoustic-laden gait ambles over to 'Your Woman’s Gone and Left You', a song that really needs to be given a hotfoot or something!

In and out of melancholy is 'Night Girl,' which means it’s in and out of vigor as well for a literally down the middle track; though still isn’t saving the day. More meandering takes place in the chorus-heavy, stillborn 'Nothing in This World Can Change Your Mind', but then 'Living for Today' pretends to be the harbinger of the future, centered on a strong, intriguing riff that kind of deflates to a rather fruity chorus.

'Big House' is a piano-led foot-tapper with a somewhat insipid forefront harmony they could easily lose, but it’s worth sitting through to shift 'Mirrors of Sorrow' into audible range.

Simultaneously dirge-like and bouncy, the obscure rhythm shares momentum with full-scale backing vocals, a breaking chorus, off-the-beam drum work and some memorial driving hooks that easily propel this to the top of the totem.

While not as boisterous, 'Look What Else is Happening' is still almost as lively as the first four tracks combined! Drummer Willie Munro finally wakes up and gets his licks in, as does guitarist Zal Cleminson and keyboardist Eddie Campbell.

'I’m Fallin’ Far Behind' persists in the feverish pace with another original main riff that ducks and moves like a basketball player angling for a shot. Discordant and lethal is the riffage of 'Witches Come Today' that grudgingly steps aside for a more prescribed, softer chorus.

Official CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Hard Luck'
Artist - Royal Teeth

For those not in the know, New Orleans-based indie rock/electronic pop band Royal Teeth (Gary Larsen, singer Nora Patterson, guitarist Thomas Onebane, and drummer Josh Hefner) will be releasing their long-awaited full-length sophomore album Hard Luck on June 28th, 2019 via Round Hill Records.

The new album features their five recently released singles, as well as five other tracks that make this album chock full of delicious new rock/electro-pop/hip-hop hybrid tunes.

1. Never Gonna Quit'
2. 'Show You What I Can Do'
3. 'Get A Load Of This One'
4. 'It's Just The Start'
5. 'Time Bomb'
6. 'The Best'
7. 'Rivalry'
8. 'Unbreakable'
9. 'You Make It Better'
10. 'Arrival'

From the jaunty opening track 'Never Gonna Quit,' the aforementioned electro-pop energy is as alive, as designed, as raw and as head swirling as ever!

The fact that it leans seamlessly into the brilliantly frenetic 'Show You What I Can Do' (featuring Tunde Olaniran, a Flint, MI native who's become a staple of Detroit's music scene) and then the hybrid hip-hop of 'Get A Load Of This One' just means your car will never need to have any other CD playing within it!

The (for the most part) softer love song 'It's Just The Start' is a pleasant surprise ("There's a war in me, but I'm bigger than the rivalry") and that's backed by the funky '80s electro-pop of 'Time Bomb.'

A track that showcases the uniqueness of Nora Patterson's vocals, that's followed by the back-to-basics 'The Best' with one of my favorite tracks, the lo-fi emotionally vulnerable ballad 'Rivalry' along next.

The fun and vibrancy of 'Unbreakable' is then backed by more of Patterson coming to the fore (which is never a bad thing), and then the album rounds out with the pop-rock distorted dancefloor funk of 'Arrival.'

Hard Luck marks Royal Teeth’s comeback to indie rock, with a progression in their sound that exudes energy and conviction. No stranger to the ups and downs of the music industry, they have known success and off-sets.

Hard Luck is a chronicle of the rocky road of being in a band, and also of the determination, passion, creativity, and connection that makes it all worthwhile.

As singer and guitarist Gary Larsen puts it, “This line of work can be difficult. It requires you to be vulnerable and put yourself out there to be judged by others."

"It’s hard to get used to. We are using this album as a platform to face our fears, and to focus on the love we find through the music we create and those who connect along the way."

"I hope that this album gives strength to anyone who has a hard time putting themselves out there for the world to see.”

Amazon Digital Purchase Link

Hard Luck @ Facebook!

Title - 'The Empty Room'
Artist - Frédéric L’Épée

For those not in the know, Frédéric L’Épée is a French guitarist and composer who is best known for founding the progressive rock band Shylock in 1974 (gathered again since 2012), the guitar band Philharmonie in 1988, the instrumental quartet Yang in 2002, and the acoustic rock band Lobotonics in 2008.

L’Épée is also a solo performer, a contemporary composer, and takes part in several collective projects (e-werk, Steppe Scape).

L’Épée has made nine solo albums so far, all of them available for download on Bandcamp, with his latest the expertly created The Empty Room is out now via L’Épée/Yang Music.

1. 'Badong' (07:00)
2. 'Inévitable Traversée' (04:23)
3. 'Descending the Slow River' (06:28)
4. 'Amour et dissolution' (3:32)
5. 'Delta' (08:22)
6. 'Hymne aux Ancêtres 1' (3:15)
7. 'Treasured Wounds' (06:48)
8. 'Mist' (04:50)
9. 'Parle-moi Encore' (06:40)
10. 'Souvenirs de Traversée' (5:40)
11. 'Hymne aux Ancêtres 2' (2:04)
12. 'Wegschippernd' (1:03)

On this ninth solo album - which is also the very first one to become pressed to CD - L’Épée brings forth a state of mourning; albeit one that musically is not sad.

More a questioning of loss, about letting go or the handling of internal pain, the tracks "talk" about how, after time, grief can turn into a vessel of serenity and peace.

From the opening track 'Badong' you are transported into a whole new and exciting world, freefalling one minute, flying high the next under the expert guidance of L’Épée.

The beautiful, dulcet 'Inévitable Traversée' (aka 'unavoidable crossing') is as poetically lush an instrumental as I think I've heard in the past decade and is backed by the sterner 'Descending the Slow River' (aka 'en descendant la rivière lente').

Though we all have to face it one day or another, the process is different for each of us with regard L’Épée's centralized theme, but here on The Empty Room his personal previews of human inner turmoil are, at once, both transfixing and yet tangible.

Both 'Amour et dissolution' and the pert (and longest track on the album at just over eight minutes) 'Delta' are perfect mid-point partners and they are followed by the stoic heartbeat of 'Hymne aux Ancêtres 1.'

L’Épée started to compose this new album some nine years ago during one of the most painful periods of his life with the next track 'Treasured Wounds' (aka blessures précieuses') directly linked to that time.

Since then, each year has brought the loss of someone close to him and so with what he already had to emotional deal with still raw inside him, L’Épée soon found himself taking on the tangible burdens of others.

Ergo, all that and more is reflected in the next track 'Mist' (aka 'brume') which comes across as a heartache siren learning to slowly embrace the euphoric understanding of grief as a whole.

L’Épée's plaintive piano work is brought to the fore next on the stark, but emotive 'Parle-moi Encore' (aka 'keep talking to me') which he backs seamlessly with the upbeat wonderment of 'Souvenirs de Traversée' (aka 'memories of crossing').

The album then comes to a close with two shorter tracks. The first, 'Hymne aux Ancêtres 2' is a guttural expression found within us all at any low moment of hardship and loss.

The second, 'Wegschippernd' (aka 'Sailing Away - Voguant au Loin') even at being just over a minute long inclusive of both yearning and understanding in equal measures.

Official Digital/CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Leaving On a Jet Plane'
Artist - Blueridge Mountain Bluegrass Band

For those not in the know, the Blueridge Mountain Bluegrass Band came about when you mix together the very best Adirondack Bluegrass musicians with some of Nashville's best pickers and singers!

The band includes three National Champion players, along with two twenty year veterans of the Grand Ole Opry.

A special blend of Bluegrass and Folk standards that is Americana Music at it's best, their debut album I'm Leaving On a Jet Plane is out now via Country Rewind Records.

1. 'Adrenaline Hayride'
2. 'Leaving on a Jet Plane'
3. 'Stony Lady'
4. 'Cripple Creek'
5. 'Bartender's Blues'
6. 'Dixie Hoedown'
7. 'You Are My Sunshine'
8. 'Head over Heels in Love with You'
9. 'Blackberry Blossom'
10. 'Blue Suede Shoes'
11. 'Foggy Mountain Breakdown'
12. 'More Pretty Girls Than One'
13. 'The Ballad of Jed Clampett'
14. 'Summertime'
15. 'Salt Creek'
16. 'Grandfather's Clock'

The album kicks off in high octane style with the barn burner, fast fiddlin' and banjo strummin' beauty 'Adrenaline Hayride' and backs that up with both the joyous title track 'Leaving on a Jet Plane' (yes, the very same John Denver track) and then the storytelling of 'Stony Lady.'

Those nibble-picked, fast-talkin' banjos and fiddles come back out on 'Cripple Creek' and that's backed seamlessly by the slower paced reminiscing of 'Bartender's Blues' and then the gently frenetic 'Dixie Hoedown.'

The beautifully melodic 'You Are My Sunshine' (popularized by Jimmie Davis and Charles Mitchell in 1939 and which has since been a hit for many a country artist) is up next and is followed by the short but sweet 'Head over Heels in Love with You.'

One of my own personal favorites here is the vibrant 'Blackberry Blossom' which is backed by a near note-for-note rendition of 'Blue Suede Shoes' (although the Bluegrass harmonies are a joy to behold).

Next up is the famous Bluegrass instrumental written by Earl Scruggs 'Foggy Mountain Breakdown' and then comes yet another stand out cut, their rendition of the Lyle Lovett classic 'More Pretty Girls Than One.'

Then we get a right royal flashback treat in 'The Ballad of Jed Clampett' (which you will recall was also the theme song for the television series The Beverly Hillbillies) and that's backed by a quite stunning 'Summertime' (Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, et al).

This resoundingly upbeat album then rounds out with the Bill Monroe & His Bluegrass Boys' fast-fiddled instrumental 'Salt Creek' with Johnny Cash's wondrous 'Grandfather's Clock' bringing the show to a close.

Amazon CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Mr. Country'
Artist - Carl Smith

For those not in the know, Carl Smith (March 15, 1927 – January 16, 2010) was an American country music singer.

Known as "Mr. Country," Smith was the husband of June Carter (later June Carter Cash) and Goldie Hill, and the father of Carlene Carter.

He was one of country's most successful male artists during the 1950s, with 30 Top 10 Billboard hits, including 21 in a row.

Indeed, Smith's success continued well into the 1970s, when he had a charting single every year except one. He is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.

These unreleased recordings on his new album, appropriately entitled Mr. Country have been enhanced by Producer Larry Marrs with a light touch, adding some acoustic and electric guitar, bass, snare drum, kick drum and background vocals, bringing the tracks up to twenty-first century audio standards.

Included are four unreleased versions of Smith's #1 hits which is important to know as a distinction between those tracks verses the newly updated ones is admittedly found, but Marrs felt it was essential to exactly match the style and the tone of those original recordings nonetheless.

1. 'Are You Teasing Me'
2. 'If Teardrops Were Pennies'
3. 'Deep Water'
4. 'Loose Talk'
5. 'Mr. Moon'
6. 'Hey Joe'
7. '(When You Feel Like You're In Love) Don't Just Stand There'
8. 'There Stands the Glass'
9. 'I Love You Because'
10. 'Foggy River'
11. 'The Best Years of Your Life'
12. 'She Called Me Baby'
13. 'I Over Looked An Orchid'
14. 'The Way I Lose My Mind'

We begin with the laid back, foot-tappin' wonderment of 'Are You Teasing Me,' which he backs up with his #8 hit from 1951 'If Teardrops Were Pennies.'

The upbeat jazz, finger-snappin' delight 'Deep Water' is a pure gem of a cut and that's backed by both Smith's last #1 hit 'Loose Talk' (1954) and the fourth single released by Smith in 1951, the #4 hit 'Mr. Moon.'

A 1953 popular song written by Boudleaux Bryant, up next is 'Hey Joe' and spent eight weeks at #1 on the US country music chart that same year. Then comes the wonderful country duo of the brilliantly titled #1 hit '[When You Feel Like You're in Love] Don't Just Stand There' (1952) and the reflective 'There Stands a Glass.'

The gentle country hipsway of 'I Love You Because' is always something beautiful to hear and is followed by his #18 hit from 1967, 'Foggy River.'

The reminiscing of 'The Best Years of Your Life' (#15, 1959) is another stand out cut from Smith and is backed by the storytelling of a lost love within 'She Called Me Baby.'

The album then rounds out with the impassioned sentiment within his second (non-charting) single 'I Overlooked an Orchid' and then the yearning fiddle work of 'The Way I Lose My Mind' brings the musical show to a close.

Amazon CD Purchase Link

Title - 'The Music City Sessions'
Artist - Jeannie C. Riley

For those not in the know, which included me before this album arrived, an album of previously unreleased Jeannie C. Riley songs recorded by Elvis Presley’s guitar player Scotty Moore has now been released; complete with a Sam Phillips connection.

Sam Phillips was the owner and founder of Sun Records, Elvis Presley’s first record label.

This new Jeannie C. Riley album comes via Country Rewind, founded by Sam Phillips and his brother Tom in 1960 and know operated by Tom’s son and Sam’s nephews Sam W. and John Philips.

The other partner in the project is Thomas Gramuglia who rescued the songs after 50 years in storage.

Indeed, the tracks were initially never intended for commercial release but have been restored and upgraded to the sounds available from today’s technology.

Ergo, Jeannie's talent is at it's peak in these unreleased The Music City Sessions!

Included here is a new version of 'Harper Valley P.T.A' (which she actually rerecorded for these sessions), along with never before released tracks with exceptional performances throughout.

Producers J.R. McNeely and Larry Marrs have brought these lost tracks up to twenty first century audio standards by adding additional instruments and background vocals.

Old and new fans alike will love this album and once again Jeannie will be making country music history.

1. 'Country Girl'
2. 'That's A No-No'
3. 'Harper Valley P.T.A.'
4. 'Crying Time'
5. 'There Never Was A Time'
6. 'Son of A Preacher Man'
7. 'Things Go Better With Love'
8. 'Me and Bobby McGee'
9. 'Back Side of Dallas'
10. 'Games People Play'
11. 'Wish You Were Here'
12. 'Girl Most Likely'
13. 'Okie from Muskogee'
14. 'Roll in My Sweet Baby's Arms'

The album begins with 'Country Girl,' a tale of how far away New York is from Texas, and the trials and tribulations between them, with the twangin' beauty 'That's a No-No,' the finger-snappin' fun of 'Harper Valley P.T.A.' and then the quietly stunning lo-fi country of 'Cryin' Time' following.

The countrified bounce of 'There Never Was a Time' is a wonderful gem to behold and that's backed by her Dusty Springfield rendition of 'Son of A Preacher Man.'

The sweet love story of 'Things Go Better with Love' is then backed by the Kris Kristofferson-written, Janis Joplin-made famous 'Me and Bobby McGee,' with the upbeat hipsway of 'Back Side of Dallas' along next.

The Joe South track 'Games People Play' is lovingly embraced by Jeannie and then she follows that up with the vibrant duo of both 'Wish You Were Here' and 'The Girl Most Likely' up next.

The album then rounds out with the storytelling of small town folk within 'Okie from Muskogee' and then the fast-paced, yet cultured mid-tempo country vibe of 'Roll in My Sweet Baby's Arms.'

Amazon CD Purchase Link

Title - 'All I Gotta Do Is Act Naturally'
Artist - Johnny Russell

For those not in the know, Johnny Russell (January 23, 1940 – July 3, 2001) was an American country singer, songwriter, and comedian best known for his song 'Act Naturally' - which was made famous by Buck Owens, who recorded it in 1963, and The Beatles in 1965.

Indeed, his songs have been recorded by Burl Ives, Jim Reeves, Jerry Garcia, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, and Linda Ronstadt.

Now released by Country Rewind Records, All I Gotta Do Is Act Naturally is a 14-track collection of his songs for a whole new generation of country fans to get to hear.

Producer J.R. Mcneely has enhanced each song by adding a little bit of polish to make these tracks shine.

These long-forgotten tracks, now saved for prosperity, show Johnny Russell at his very best.

1. 'Good Hearted Woman'
2. 'She's In Love With A Rodeo Man'
3. 'Red Necks, White Socks and Blue Ribbon Beer'
4. 'Johnny B. Goode'
5. 'Catfish John'
6. 'Act Naturally'
7. 'I Can't Help It (If I'm Still In Love With You)'
8. 'Making Plans'
9. 'In A Mansion Stands My Love'
10. 'She Burn't The Little Roadside Tavern Down'
11. 'Jambalaya'
12. 'The Baptism of Jesse Taylor'
13. 'Mr. and Mrs. Untrue'
14. 'The World's Meanest Man'

We begin with the happy lo-fi country bounce of 'Good Hearted Woman' which he backs up with both the story of a bar maid in a West Texas dance hall 'She's in Love with a Rodeo Man' and then the passionate 'Red Necks, White Socks and Blue Ribbon Beer.'

A vibrant and truly better than I ever expected rendition of Chuck Berry's iconic 'Johnny B. Goode' is up next and is followed by the Gospel-esque 'Catfish John' and then his go-to hit single, 'Act Naturally.'

The beautifully sweet ballad 'I Can't Help It (If I'm Still in Love with You)' is something I think we can all nod gently too, and that's backed by 'Making Plans' and then lush country vibe of 'In a Mansion Stands My Love.'

The fun and jaunty ditty 'She Burn't the Little Roadside Tavern Down' is always a pleasure to hear and then comes both a loving rendition of The Carpenters' 'Jambalaya (On the Bayou)' and the Gospel-edged 'The Baptism of Jesse Taylor.'

The album then rounds out with the gentle guitar twang of 'Mr. and Mrs. Untrue,' with the upbeat, yet heartbroken man ditty 'The World's Meanest Man.'

Amazon CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Drums On Low'
Artist - Dave Schoepke

For those not in the know, after spending many years as a touring and professional musician, longtime Milwaukee-area drummer Dave Schoepke realized one of his many career goals — to record an entire album of percussion music.

Ergo, and recorded in his Hartland home studio, his first solo album Drums On Low will be released July 15th, 2019.

The album contains a mix of Schoepke’s previous compositions and improvisational work and to help select material for the album, the drummer turned to his No Quarter bandmates, Michael Brandenburg and Matt Miller.

1. 'War Of The Grasshoppers'
2. 'Which One ARE You'
3. 'N'ging'
4. 'Window'
5. 'The Throw'
6. 'Sound On Low'
7. 'Eleven Three'
8. 'The Thing From The Darkness'
9. 'Pool-Pond'
10. 'Tangles'
11. 'Four Twenty Six'

Listening to the 11 tracks it's obvious Schoepke wanted to think of drums as a compositional tool, like a guitar or piano. As for an actuality, it's been said that to help the album achieve a melodic, harmonic sound, Schoepke experimented with tuning his Ludwig drums in a number of ways.

Playing out, one after another like eclectic, yet aspiring works of performance art, all the tracks on Drums On Low are a culminative journey for a drummer that fully deserves the new, front of stage spotlight.

'Which One ARE You' - Music Video

Title - 'Detroit Breakout!'
Artist - Mitch Ryder Appearing With Guests

For those not in the know, legendary blue eyed soul singer and one of Detroit music's most iconic figures, Mitch Ryder has returned with a host of friends to reimagine 14 soul and classic rock anthems!

Featuring guest performances by fellow Motor City alumni James Williamson of The Stooges and Wayne Kramer of MC5 as well as blues legends Joe Louis Walker and Arthur Adams, not forgetting the New York Dolls' Sylvain Sylvain, The Runaways' Cherie Currie, daughter of B.B. King, Shirley King and more, Detroit Breakout! is a quite stunning album to behold!

1. 'Devil with a Blue Dress' (Feat. James Williamson)
2. 'Cool Jerk' (Feat. Wayne Kramer & Brian Auger)
3. 'Dirty Water' (Feat. Sylvain Sylvain)
4. 'Turn Back the Hands of Time' (Feat. Shirley King)
5. 'Have Love Will Travel' (Feat. Paul Rudolph)
6. '(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone' (Feat. Walter Lure)
7. 'Dream Baby (How Long Must I Dream)' (Feat. Cherie Currie)
8. '(Sittin' on) the Dock of the Bay' (Feat. Arthur Adams)
9. 'Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)' (Feat. Lee Oskar)
10. 'Bad Bad Leroy Brown' (Feat. Joe Louis Walker)
11. 'You Send Me' (Feat. Linda Gail Lewis)
12. 'Twistin' the Night Away' (Feat. Joe Louis Walker)
13. 'If I Had a Hammer' (Feat. Linda Gail Lewis)
14. 'Shout' (Feat. Linda Gail Lewis)

Including smokin' new versions of Ryder's own blockbuster hit single 'Devil With A Blue Dress' as well as '60s/'70s soul classics such as 'Cool Jerk,' 'Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me),' '(Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay' and lots more, the 14 tracks will have you hitting repeat every time it comes to and end, that's for sure!

This breathtaking new album kicks off with a new rendition of Ryder's classic 1966 hit with his band The Detroit Wheels, 'Devil with a Blue Dress.' Featuring Williamson on guitar it's more paced than it used to be, but contains no less the energy, for sure.

Other stand out cuts include a cover of The Capitols' hip swingin', dancefloor shuffle 'Cool Jerk' (featuring Wayne Kramer & Brian Auger), a thunderously gritty 'Dirty Water' cover of The Standells hit (featuring Sylvian Sylvain), and they are backed seamlessly by both the quietly melodic Tyrone Davis cover 'Turn Back the Hands of Time' (with Shirley King), and righteously raw 'Have Love, Will Travel' from The Sonics (featuring Paul Rudolph).

A muted '[I'm Not Your] Steppin' Stone' (The Monkees) featuring Walter Luke is next and that's backed by a joyous Roy Orbison cover of 'Dream Baby (How Long Must I Dream)' (featuring Cherie Currie) and a lush '[Sittin' On] The Dock of the Bay' (Otis Redding) with Arthur Adams.

The Temptations get a dust off next with 'Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)' featuring Lee Oskar and then comes the vibrant blues swing of Jim Croce's 'Bad, Bad Leroy Brown' (featuring Joe Louis Walker) and one of the best tracks here, in my humble opinion, a cover of Sam Cooke's endearing 'You Send Me' featuring Linda Gail Lewis.

Cooke gets another shout out with Ryder's noticeably quieter rendition of 'Twistin' the Night Away' (featuring Joe Louis Walker), with the album rounding out with the Peter, Paul & Mary hit 'If I Had a Hammer' and then an Isley Brothers' cover of 'Shout' - both featuring singer and pianist Lewis, once again).

Oh, and this release is also available not only on CD in a special digipak, but as a wondrous, and very limited edition RED vinyl pressing!

Official CD Purchase Link

Official RED Vinyl Purchase Link

Title - 'Live from Niles City'
Artist - Jack Barksdale

For those not in the know, Forth Worth, TX-based Americana and blues music artist Jack Barksdale has announced the upcoming release of his debut full-length album, Live From Niles City.

Inspired by folk, rock, and blues legends, Jack started performing original music at the age of nine and has already shared the stage with Ray Wylie Hubbard, Max Gomez, Will Kimbrough, and Hayes Carll.

Releasing this June 28th, 2019 via his own Jack Barksdale Music, the 12-year-old singer / songwriter / Multi-instrumentalist has brought together a collection of 12 tracks (albeit that three are simply intro's into the main songs) that feature an intimate live set recorded with over fifty fans in attendance at the iconic Niles City Sound in Fort Worth.

1. 'Niles City Blues'
2. 'Widow of the Wind'
3. 'Never To Love Me'
4. 'Until The End'
5. 'My Mother Intro'
6. 'My Mother'
7. 'Revival Song No. 2'
8. 'Somber Sundown'
9. 'White Freightliner Blues Intro'
10. 'White Freightliner Blues'
11. 'Folsom Prison Blues Intro'
12. 'Folsom Prison Blues'

Following on the heels of Jack's debut EP release last September, Revival, this full-length album features seven original songs penned by Jack along with two covers – a slide guitar version of Johnny Cash’s 'Folsom Prison Blues' and a harmonica-fueled 'White Freight Liner Blues' by Townes Van Zandt.

The album is, without a shadow of a doubt, one excellent wizened-before-his-time musical testimony to a boy who's blood bleeds blue and opens perfectly with the frenetic instrumental slide guitar beauty 'Niles City Blues.'

From there we travel seamlessly into a tale of grief found within 'Widow of the Wind' which is backed by the American folk roll of 'Never to Love Me.'

A track that showcases both how young, unblemished Jack's vocals are alongside his expertly flawless fingerpicking skills makes this a pure and unadulterated joy to behold.

The traditional country fare of the yearning found within 'My Mother' is quite powerful to behold also and that's followed by the stunning pairing of the harmonica driven companion piece to his debut EP 'Revival No. 2' and the brilliant and far reaching chords of 'Somber Sundown.'

With Jack’s inspirations including classic country artists such as Cash and Hank Williams Sr. along with Texas singer-songwriters van Zandt and Guy Clark, the album rounds out just perfectly with a couple of aforementioned covers from both Cash and van Zandt.

Amazon Digital Purchase Link

Jack Barksdale @ Facebook!

Title - 'Dawnbreaker'
Artist - Daughter Of Swords

For those not in the know, which definitely included me before this album arrived, as a member of the vocal trio Mountain Man, Alexandra Sauser-Monnig found her lineage within a long history of folk music, stretching back to the traditional American songbook.

Ergo, the title track of her solo debut Dawnbreaker - under the name Daughter of Swords - sounds untethered to anything but her own drifting visions, delicate and hazy as it bends through the air.

1. 'Fellows'
2. 'Gem'
3. 'Fields Of Gold'
4. 'Shining Woman'
5. 'Grasses'
6. 'Easy Is Hard'
7. 'Rising Sun'
8. 'Long Leaf Pine'
9. 'Human'
10. 'Dawnbreaker'

Indeed, from that very first track, the haunting ethereal, yet deeply personal-sounding 'Fellows,' Sauser-Monnig’s oh-so-gently fingerpicked guitar and breathy vocals ensure your musical journey with her is not going to be one spent fruitlessly.

The tempo rises for the bright and breezy CA highway drive of 'Gem' which she backs up seamlessly with both the more casual and light approach to 'Fields Of Gold' (no, not the Sting track) and the textural beauty of 'Shining Woman.'

The quieter ponderings of 'Grasses' then leads into one of my own personal favorites here on this 10 track album, the humbling American folk vibe of 'Easy Is Hard.'

The early morning resonance of 'Rising Sun' is a beautiful, clippity-clop Country cut which is followed by the delightful serenity found within oneself on 'Long Leaf Pine.'

This quite remarkable, and wholly grounded album (produced by Nick Sanborn, of Sylvan Esso) then rounds out with Sauser-Monnig’s perfected hushed vocal approach on 'Human' with the mid-tempo title track, 'Dawnbreaker' bringing things to a righteous close.

Amazon CD Purchase Link

Daughter Of Swords @ Facebook!

Title - 'Zëss'
Artist - Magma

For those not in the know, Magma is a French progressive rock band founded in Paris in 1969 by classically trained drummer Christian Vander; who claimed as his inspiration a "vision of humanity's spiritual and ecological future" that profoundly disturbed him.

In the course of their first album, the band tells the story of a group of people fleeing a doomed Earth to settle on the planet Kobaïa. Later, conflict arises when the Kobaïans—descendants of the original colonists—encounter other Earth refugees.

Furthermore, Vander invented a constructed language, Kobaïan, in which most lyrics are sung.

In a 1977 interview with Vander and long-time Magma vocalist Klaus Blasquiz, Blasquiz said that Kobaïan is a "phonetic language made by elements of the Slavonic and Germanic languages to be able to express some things musically. The language has of course a content, but not word by word."

Vander himself has said, "When I wrote, the sounds [of Kobaïan] came naturally with it. I didn't intellectualize the process by saying 'Ok, now I'm going to write some words in a particular language', it was really sounds that were coming at the same time as the music."

Later albums tell different stories set in more ancient times; however, the Kobaïan language remains an integral part of the music.

Magma's brand new album Zëss marks the 50th anniversary of the group, still led by Christian Vander with long-time member Stella Vander assisting, as always.

Released this past June 28th, 2019 via Seventh Records it comes with a 40-page deluxe CD book which also includes all the lyrics from the record.

Given that the Vanders are not spring chickens these days, word has already spread that this might well be their very last album.

Indeed, some of the lyrics themselves kinda foreshadow that theory, but then again, understanding them wholly and having your own mind as to their meanings is a whole other world to be part of, of course.

That said, Christian - who for the first time ever does not play drums on the album (which already puts Zëss into its very own singular entry in the group’s discography) - has admitted that this is to be the grand finale to the Kobaïan story - so it makes sense to go out with a bang, so to speak!

The album's plot - which features just the one song for just under 38 minutes in length - focuses on the end of the universe and all of the music is accompanied by the aforementioned orchestra.

Indeed, a first draft of Zëss first emerged in 1977, made its live debut in 1979, and was part of the French outfit’s set until 1983.

Now completed as a mainstay project this wondrous new studio version complete with the excellent The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra is rather the most perfect prog beast to behold, believe me.

Vocalist and producer Stella Vander Linon says: “It was the right time for us, and our audience wanted it too. We wanted to make a beautiful studio version – different from the live versions and closer to the original vision for the song."

Christian Vander adds: “Zëss is the story of the end of everything – the end of time and of everything that has ever existed. Absolute oblivion, like a dreamless night."

"It feels like nothing has ever existed nor will it ever exist again – all forms of consciousness have vanished.”

Amazon CD Purchase Link

Magma @ Facebook!

Title - 'Lucky, Revisited'
Artist - Karen Jonas

For those not in the know, Fredericksburg, VA-based award-winning Americana artist Karen Jonas is set to release her fourth full-length album, Lucky, Revisited, on July 19th, 2019.

Lucky, Revisited (which had 92 backers on Kickstarter who pledged $8,605 to help bring this project to life) is a fresh look at some of Jonas' favorite songs on her previous records; which given that after over five years of touring, means that the songs have grown along with these highly talented musicians too, of course.

And with that in mind, Lucky, Revisited features new, stripped-down, acoustic recordings of nine songs released on her first three albums, as aforementioned, as well as two stellar covers.

“The songs grow, morphing by millimeters at each of hundreds of shows, so they always feel new,” Jonas says. “We decided to make these new recordings of songs you’ve heard on our previous records, as they are today, after so much growing.”

1. 'Ophelia'
2. 'Lovesick Blues'
3. 'Oklahoma Lottery'
4. 'Lucky'
5. 'It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry'
6. 'Butter'
7. 'Country Songs'
8. 'Wasting Time'
9. 'River Song'
10. 'Money'
11. 'Gospel of the Road'

The first single off the album is 'Ophelia,' a "hang on to your hats, boys" frenetic act of musical storytelling if ever there were and that's backed by both the mid-tempo hipsway of 'Lovesick Blues' and the gentle country road, top down, arm leaning blessing of 'Oklahoma lottery.'

The jazz scat bounce of 'Lucky' is as joyous to hear now as it ever was and that's backed by road weary, heart broken yearning of 'It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry.'

The fun, jovial flow of 'Butter' is a stand out highlight here and is followed by the country twang of 'Country Songs.'

The wistful, breathy 'Wasting Time' is yet another golden cut here and showcases Jonas' vocals just perfectly and is backed by gentle Americana of 'River Song.'

This complete in oh-so many ways album then rounds out with the upbeat, barn storming ditty 'Money' with the delicate ballad 'Gospel of the Road' bringing it all to a most beautiful close.

Amazon CD Purchase Link

Karen Jonas @ Facebook!

Title - 'Sound City'
Artist - The Hollywood Stars'

For those not in the know, The Hollywood Stars are a group originally assembled by rock impresario Kim Fowley in 1973 that have announced the first-time issue of a “lost album” recorded in 1976.

In fact, during the 1970s, the glitter rockers toured with The Kinks and supported such artists as The New York Dolls, Iggy Pop, Ramones, and even disco legend Sylvester – while future superstars like Journey, Van Halen, The Runaways, Quiet Riot, and The Knack all opened shows for the Stars!

Furthermore, their 1974 debut album for Columbia Records remained shelved until 2013 and a 1977 album on Arista came and went without the attention it deserved.

But now, the aforementioned "lost album" Sound City arrives on CD and digital download via Burger Records on August 23rd, 2019.

A month prior to the album release, the newly-reformed Hollywood Stars will headline the world famous Whisky a Go Go in Hollywood, a venue at which the band was previously a top draw.

1. 'Sunrise On Sunset'
2. 'I Can't Help It'
3. 'Escape'
4. 'So Blue'
5. 'Too Hot To Handle'
6. 'All the Kids On The Street'
7. 'Habits'
8. 'Make It To The Party'
9. 'Shotgun'
10. 'Houdini of Rock and Roll'

Recorded at the legendary Sound City Recording Studios (immortalized by Dave Grohl in the 2013 documentary Sound City, and a recording home of artists ranging from Fleetwood Mac to Barry Manilow) has been unleashed and having listened to it twice through now I can confirm that it is a right royal doozy of sounds and emotive flashbacks!

'Houdini of Rock ‘n’ Roll,' 'Shotgun,' and the Merryweather-helmed version of 'Escape' all debut on Sound City with both 'Too Hot to Handle' and 'Habits' having previously been issued on a limited-edition 7" Vinyl Single back in 2017.

The five remaining cuts were all re-recorded for the 1977 Arista LP The Hollywood Stars produced by Harry Maslin (David Bowie, Melissa Manchester), but premiere here on Sound City in their original versions.

Of those my two personal favorites are the flashback gem 'All the Kids On The Street' (complete with its sly hand-clappin' bounce) and album opener 'Sunrise On Sunset.'

Both encapsulate exactly not only what this band were bringing to the table back then, but the quality of both their bandsmanship and their lyrics.

The Hollywood Stars’ renaissance will continue after they headline the world famous Whisky a Go Go with a newly-recorded album, which will feature fresh band compositions as well as songs penned by the late Mark Anthony.

“We all have a sense of unfinished business," says original member Scott Phares (vocals). “We’re looking forward to telling our story and playing to our fans—old and new."

"The band is currently deep into the process of writing a new record, which will feature brand-new Stars compositions as well as songs by Mark (Anthony).'

Official CD Purchase Link

The Hollywood Stars @ Facebook!

Title - 'Magnetic Moves'
Artist - Katie Toupin

For those not in the know, Katie Toupin, formerly of Houndmouth, currently of herself, and futurely of the future, will release her debut solo album, Magnetic Moves this June 14th, 2019.

Indeed, in the spirit of self-reliance, Toupin took the reins in producing Magnetic Moves, letting her intuition guide her to everything from the harmony-heavy gospel of 'Lost Sometimes' to the Beatles-esque psych-pop of 'In Your Dreams.'

With multi-instrumentalist Scott Davis and percussionist Josh Blue accompanying Toupin, the album unfolds in a dreamy pastiche of soul and pop and brightly jangly ’70s rock, a sound that’s lavishly detailed but fantastically fluid.

1. 'Magnetic Moves'
2. 'Run To You'
3. 'Someone To You'
4. 'Real Love'
5. 'In Your Dreams'
6. 'As Good As It Gets'
7. 'The Hills Are Calling'
8. 'I Need You'
9. 'Lost Sometimes'
10. 'Back In Time'

The mid-tempo electro pop of the quietly defiant opener and title track 'Magnetic Movies' is an unadulterated joy to behold, and although 'Run To You' is a bit repetitive in its DNA, the wondrous hopefulness of the love song 'Someone To You' makes up for it in spades.

The lo-fi countryfied 'Real Love' is then followed by the more upbeat, rousing '70s flashback cut 'In Your Dreams' (which also features the vocals of Austin-based soul singers Lauren Marie and Angela Miller) with the truly beautiful ballad 'As Good As It Gets' along next.

The storytelling of a relationship gone bad 'The Hills Are Calling' follows that with the slow hand clappin' hipsway of 'I Need You' following. The album then rounds out with an Amy Winehouse-esque 'Lost Sometimes' (which again also features the vocals of Austin-based soul singers Lauren Marie and Angela Miller) with the upbeat melodic notes of 'Back In Time' bringing this delightful album to a close.

“It’s about being bold and being brave, and using your magnetism to create the world you want to live in,” says the L.A.-based singer/songwriter, Toupin.

"The whole album came from a place of wanting to be completely direct, in a way I never felt I could before. I think it’s important to let yourself show your heart like that.”

Amazon Digital Purchase Link

Katie Toupin @ Facebook!

Title - 'Deeper Roots: Where The Bluegrass Grows'
Artist - Steven Curtis Chapman

For those not in the know, the backing soundtrack to Steven Curtis Chapman’s childhood was bluegrass music.

Some of his earliest memories are of watching and hearing live bluegrass music with his dad on guitar and a couple of his dad’s best friends on the dobro and banjo.

When he was still a toddler, Chapman’s dad opened a music store in his hometown of Paducah, Kentucky. Following in his dad’s footsteps, Chapman developed a love for music and playing the guitar.

Deeper Roots: Where the Bluegrass Grows, the newest project from Steven Curtis Chapman, harkens back to those younger days of hearing his dad play bluegrass and folk music as well as playing bluegrass tunes for music store customers.

1. 'Where the Bluegrass Grows'
2. 'Dive' (featuring Ricky Skaggs)
3. ‘Til The Blue' (featuring Gary LeVox)
4. 'Cinderella'
5. 'Victory in Jesus' (featuring Herb Chapman Sr. and Herb Chapman Jr.)
6. 'Great is Thy Faithfulness' (featuring Herb Chapman Sr. and Herb Chapman Jr.)
7. 'My Redeemer is Faithful and True'
8. 'How Great Thou Art' (featuring Jillian Edwards Chapman)
9. 'Life is Like a Mountain Railroad' (featuring Herb Chapman Sr. and Herb Chapman Jr.)
10. 'I’ll Fly Away'
11. 'Without Him' (featuring Herb Chapman Sr. and Herb Chapman Jr.)
12. 'Be Still and Know' (featuring Caleb Chapman)
13. 'I’d Rather Have Jesus' (featuring Herb Chapman Sr.)

Honoring his rural Kentucky heritage, this quite wondrous new album announces itself with a 'Where the Bluegrass Grows' and then rolls seamlessly into a rollicking romp bluegrass version of 'Dive' - featuring recent Bluegrass Hall of Fame and Country Music Hall of Fame inductee, Ricky Skaggs.

Up next is the signature Chapman soul-filled tearjerker 'Til The Blue' featuring Gary LeVox with the excellent lo-fi young love fairy tale of fan favorite 'Cinderella' along next. One of the stand out cuts here for me is the forthright stance of 'Victory in Jesus' featuring Herb Chapman Sr. and Herb Chapman Jr. (father and brother) and that's backed by the trio coming back on the strong ballad 'Great is Thy Faithfulness.'

The gentle guitar work and passive vocals on 'My Redeemer is Faithful and True' is just a joy to behold and that's backed by the wanderings and wonderings of 'How Great Thou Art' - featuring the dulcet vocals of Jillian Edwards Chapman (his daughter-in-law).

The upbeat 'Life is Like a Mountain Railroad' once again features Herb Chapman Sr. and Herb Chapman Jr. and that's followed by the high flying, arms and hands raised to the skies jamboree 'I’ll Fly Away.'

The album then rounds out with the family back on 'Without Him,' the quietly yearning 'Be Still and Know' featuring Caleb Chapman, with his father taking the lead vocal focus on the tender overview within 'I’d Rather Have Jesus.'

Official Purchase Link

Steven Curtis Chapman @ Facebook!

Title - 'Propaganda Man'
Artist - Jack Spann

For those not in the know, Jack Spann has had an incredible couple of years.

The Saint Louis native has lived in New York City for the last 18 years and established himself as one of the city's in-demand keyboardists.

Indeed, his reputation led to an introduction to David Bowie's producer, Tony Visconti who hired him to play on the demos for what would be Bowie's final album, Blackstar.

Spann's Visconti connection did not end there. It led to an introduction to Milwaukee-based producer, Gary Tanin, who worked with Spann on his 1st and 2nd solo records, Time, Time, Time, Time, Time, and Beautiful Man From Mars, and now on his 3rd upcoming release Propaganda Man.

1. 'Propaganda Man'
2. 'Rage In The Garden'
3. 'All Go Together'
4. 'Her Majesty'
5. 'She's My Love Line'
6. 'Your Lullaby'
7. 'Sing Your own Song'
8. 'When Joe Sings'
9. 'Marry The Flag'
10. 'Dead Man's Clothes'
11. 'Shut The Door'
12. 'Good Night Lullaby'

The album, which took two years to complete, is different from his last in that it faces social issues head on and does not shy away from addressing thorny social conundrums.

Kicking off with the guitar-led title track 'Propaganda Man' ("Who'll be my next little Hitler") each track that follows contains jaunty rhythms, informative and self-indulgent lyrics all wrapped within Spann's distinctive vocals.

A wondrous '70s flashback rock approach to 'Rage In The Garden' makes this one a stand out for me personally, and that's backed by nostalgic, sixties British-type vibe on both 'All Go Together' and vibrantly trippy 'Her Majesty.'

Drums lead us into '70s melodic pop rock of 'She's My Love Line' with the lush and thoughtful elements of 'Your Lullaby' and the finger snappin' hipsway of 'Sing Your Own Song' along next.

The '80s AOR lo-fi vibe of 'When Joe Sings' is a pleasant way to spend an afternoon with the epic tale within 'Marry The Flag' backing it. Those playful mid'90s are back on energetic rocker 'Dead Man's Clothes' with the wistful 'Shut The Door,' and then the quietly peaceful 'Good Night Lullaby' rounds things off nicely.

Jack Spann @ Facebook!

Title - 'Binary Garden'
Artist - Auras

For those not in the know, Auras is a four-piece Canadian progressive metal band from Waterloo, Ontario.

Founded in March 2010, the group is composed of Josh Ligaya and Aaron Hallman (guitars), Eric Almeida (vocals), and Nathan Bulla (drums).

They released their debut 7-Track EP Panacea in January of 2013 and have been gaining momentum ever since.

Indeed, in the summer of 2013, the band followed up Panacea with a single called 'Adverse Condition', a hint of their newly developed sound.

Noted for their tasteful combination of riveting grooves and harmonious melody, Auras continue to challenge themselves musically to bring fans consistently fresh material.

Furthermore, Auras operate in a musical landscape instantly familiar to devotees of Meshuggah, Periphery, The Contortionist, and Tool.

But their specific take on the genre combines the bite of thrash, the weight of death metal, and the spirit of hardcore with a hypnotic groove-oriented pulse shrouded in a captivating atmosphere.

Thus, with that in mind, Auras' new album Binary Garden (out July 12th, 2019 via eOne Entertainment) explores the complex relationship between humankind and technology; as people evolve from symbiotic parts of mother nature into cybernetic bits of code.

1. 'Momenta'
2. 'Pseudo Intellect'
3. 'Erode'
4. 'Another Place'
5. 'Whiteout'
6. 'Disenchant'
7. 'The Last Canary'
8. 'The Demoness'
9. 'Essence'
10. 'Abyss'

The intellectual depth of the subject matter on Binary Garden is juxtaposed by its immediate accessibility. The expansion of Auras into bigger melodic hooks is more suited to the digital single oriented era than ever; even as Binary Garden works as a cohesive whole.

From the moment the building of 'Momenta' and its drum-led movements come to the fore quickly followed by Almeida's distinctive death metal vocals, you know exactly what you are in for here.

Their version of prog-metal continues onward with the frenetic duo of 'Pseudo Intellect' and 'Erode' and then one of my own personal favorites on this new album, the growing spirit within 'Another Place.'

The spatial ambiance that opens 'Whiteout' continues to weave through the track and that's backed by both 'Disenchant' and the crashing guitar work of 'The Last Canary.'

Another stand out track is the disjointed appeal of 'The Demoness' which is followed by the peaceful, melodic presence found within 'Essence.' The album then rounds out with the known quip and bite of the band on 'Abyss.'

Auras continue to throw new curveballs, pulverizing through tight musical corners with precision, filling their songs with rhythmic twitches and warped riffs that beckon listeners down a new rabbit hole with each rewarding repeated listen.

It’s all imbued with a deep sense of connection to the audience and an emphasis on communication. Ergo, Auras shouldn’t just be listened to. This is music that simply must be experienced.

Official Digital Purchase Link

Auras @ Facebook!

Title - 'People Mover'
Artist - Scott Henderson

For those not in the know, guitar virtuoso Scott Henderson has finally finished his brand new album People Mover, the most ambitious project of his career!

The American jazz fusion and blues guitarist best known for his work with the band Tribal Tech grew up in an era where blues-rock was at it's peak.

His formative musical years took place in South Florida where he played the clubs with various bands, playing everything from Led Zeppelin to James Brown.

As he was learning his instrument, Henderson was influenced by Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix, Ritchie Blackmore, and his favorite blues guitarist Albert King.

Even though Henderson claims to be more of a blues-rock player, it was the influence of jazz that led him to the style of playing and composing that he is now famous for.

This highly anticipated instrumental album for guitar trio was just released this past July 1st, 2019 and features 10 new and original recordings from the master guitarist.

1. 'Transatlantic'
2. 'Primary Location'
3. 'All Aboard'
4. 'People Mover'
5. 'Satellite'
6. 'Blood Moon'
7. 'Blue Heron Boulevard'
8. 'Syringe'
9. 'Happy Fun-Sing'
10. 'Fawn'

Having listened to the wondrous People Mover twice through now I can honestly say that it demonstrates Scott's striking ability to combine elements of jazz, rock, funk and blues in an even more authentic, seamless and musical way than any of his previous work.

Tracks such as the stunning eight minute album opener 'Transatlantic,' the funky hipsway of 'Primary Location,' the AOR appeal of the title track itself and both the melancholy leaning of 'Blood Moon' and the perky bass prog of 'Syringe,' all serve as proof that after 35 years as a bandleader, Scott is a musician whose playing and composing continues to grow.

Amazon Purchase Link

Scott Henderson @ Facebook!

Title - 'Resilience'
Artist - Bayonics

For those not in the know, much like myself, for over a decade now, the six-piece band known as Bayonics has been rocking the San Francisco Bay Area and abroad with a unique blend of latin, reggae, funk music.

This stalwart band has been a Bay Area headliner for many years and they never fail to deliver fresh new music and move the crowd with consistent passion, energy and emotion.

Led by the powerful vocal stylings of Jairo Vargas (aka Rojai), he merges elements to produce a raw soulful sound as distinct and unique as the San Francisco streets that bred him.

Channeling a sixth sense that only he holds he puts forth melodies, lyrics and compositions that carry inherent respect for the artist that inspired his craft.

Luckily for all their fans, Bayonics will now be releasing a new album worldwide entitled Resilience on August 2nd, 2019.

1. 'Exile'
2. 'El Bajo'
3. 'Soldier Dance'
4. 'Around The Way'
5. 'Olvidaste'
6. 'Now That You Want It'
7. 'Runaway'
8. 'We Gon Show 'Em'
9. 'Batalla en Babylon'
10. 'Sospechosos'
11. 'Not The One' (Acoustic)
12. 'Olvidaste' (Reprise)

The 12-track album kicks off with their first single ‘Exile,’ a track that not only encapsulates Bayonics at their best, but also brings forth a beautiful, and cultured reggae bounce flow not heard since the days of Bob Marley.

Other stand out cuts here for me include the hypnotic reggae hipsway of both 'Olvidaste' and 'Now That You Want It,' along with the urban Latin grooves found within both 'We Gon Show 'Em' and 'Sospechosos.'

Freely melding genres, they carry on the tradition of legendary Bay Area groups such as Santana and Sly & The Family Stone, groups that sought to transcend genre with music that moves people both literally and figuratively.

The album Resiliences inspired by a range of topics, from social issues like immigration, poverty, and gentrification, to more personal topics like love and heartbreak. The common theme being resilience.

As the world changes around us, be it global politics, the city we live in, or the people in our lives, we all need a healthy dose of optimism, fortitude, and resilience to keep moving forward.

Well, having now listened to this album twice through I can confirm that Bayonics have created an album that not only provides that in spades, but also acknowledges the fact that music might still be the key for a better conversation to be heard.

Official Purchase Link

Bayonics @ Facebook!

Title - 'Angels on the Slope'
Artist - Lisel

For those not in the know, much like myself, singer, producer, multi-instrumentalist and artist Eliza Bagg (a member of Brooklyn's Pavo Pavo) recently launched her new solo project Lisel with its first single, the stunning 'Ciphers.'

Releasing on July 26th, 2019 via Luminelle Recordings, Lisel's remarkable self-produced debut album, Angels on the Slope, showcases an exciting introduction to a solo artist who taps into her experience in classical, avant-garde, experimental and indie pop spheres on this quite wondrous debut.

1. 'Ciphers'
2. 'Digital Light Field'
3. 'Hollowmaker'
4. 'Vanity'
5. 'Bloodletting'
6. 'Hunker Down'
7. 'GENUiNE'
8. 'Sun and the Swarm'
9. 'Mirage'
10. 'This Time Tomorrow'

Opening our eyes to her incredible, truly ethereal and crisply uplifting vocals from the off, the album opens with both the aforementioned 'Ciphers' and backs that up with the lead single, 'Digital Light Field.'

The latter a track about our attempts to make sure the things that happen around us are meaningful by capturing them electronically, affirming and insisting on their significance, it's a constant theme here that Bagg wishes to convey.

Indeed, it's Bagg's personal drive that propels this brand new 10-track selection for she has never been one to sit back and allow the world to govern her thoughts, moods and constructions.

With her prolific career also including collaborations alongside Helado Negro and Julianna Barwick, as well as work as a classical singer, operating in avant-garde operas by Meredith Monk with the LA Philharmonic, here on Angels on the Slope Bagg is always aiming to create immersive art that transports the listener to a place where our everyday, familiar thoughts about the world don't quite fit exactly.

"The fact that on this record I was mainly processing my own voice -- something human, intuitive, elemental -- with the digital world of the computer, felt really significant," Bagg reveals. "Each song on the album feels like it's own individual micro-biome built out of the different versions of how I might use or manipulate my voice in that way."

Gradually building up each track, the album - with stand out tracks such as the immensely profound, moving trio of 'Hollowmaker,' 'Bloodletting' and 'Sun and the Swarm' - touches upon familiar aesthetic points while also allowing fresh light to intrude. “I had found space in the classical world that made sense for me,” she continues, “but I realized I needed to make something that was truly mine, that sprung from my own voice.”

Thus, this quite stunning first solo effort finds Bagg crafting a gorgeous record as a whole. One grounded in specific, at times strange vocal sounds that form a diverse, upside down world landscape.

One where her music focuses on her voice and all the intimate and warmth confined there, whilst at the same time her impossibly crystalline and heavenly resonation brings forth worldly notes of ethereally distorted, beat-driven pop.

Official Purchase Link

Watch the 'Ciphers' Video Now!

Watch the 'Digital Light Field' Video Now!

Title - 'Samson - Bright Lights: The Albums 1979-81'
Artist - Samson

For those not in the know, Samson were a British rock band formed in 1977 by guitarist and vocalist Paul Samson (.d).

They are best known for their first three albums with future Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson, then known as "Bruce Bruce", and drummer Thunderstick (real name Barry Graham Purkis), who wore a leather mask and performed on stage in a metal cage!

As for other drummer's associated with the band, Clive Burr was with them both before and after his tenure with Iron Maiden along with Mel Gaynor, who had a successful music career being a member of Simple Minds for over 20 years.

Dickinson's replacement on vocals, Nicky Moore, performed with Samson throughout the mid-1980s and again from the late 1990s onwards and was also a member of the bands Mammoth and Nicky Moore and the Blues Corporation.

Also named as a part of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, alongside Iron Maiden, Angel Witch, Def Leppard and Saxon, to name but a handful, Samson - Bright Lights: The Albums 1979-81 is a wondrous 5CD box-set that collects together the three albums released by the influential classic hard rock and NWOBHM band.

All featuring lead guitarist Paul Samson, we also get a disc entitled Head On: Tony Platt Alternative Mix (an 11-track CD of, well, alternative versions of the tracks from their Head On album - previously unavailable) as well as a disc of their Live At Reading show in 1981.

CD 1 - Survivors (1979)
1. 'It's Not As Easy As It Seems'
2. 'I Wish I Was the Saddle of a Schoolgirl's Bike'
3. 'Big Brother'
4. 'Tomorrow or Yesterday'
5. 'Koz'
6. 'Six Foot Under'
7. 'Inside Out'
8. 'Wrong Side of Time'
9. 'Mr Rock 'N' Roll' (Bonus Track)
10. 'Primrose Shuffle' (Bonus Track)
Alternative Recordings with Bruce Dickinson on Vocals
11. 'It's Not As Easy As It Seems'
12. 'I Wish I Was the Saddle of a Schoolgirl's Bike'
13. 'Big Brother'
14. 'Tomorrow or Yesterday'
15. 'Six Foot Under'
16. 'Inside Out'
17. 'Wrong Side of Time'

Produced by Gillan's John McCoy, Samson released their debut Survivors in 1979 and it was around the time the band had coalesced around lead guitarist Paul, drummer Thunderstick, and bass guitarist Chris Aylmer.

The then unknown singer going by the Monty Python inspired name "Bruce Bruce", now much better known as simply Bruce Dickinson joined after the album had been put to tape.

Back in those days there were plenty fuzzy and obscure releases, mingling various elements of Rock, Jazz and Blues into mesmerizing monstrosities.

However, Samson's music and sound seemed to have taken the harder edge of Rock and encrusted it with a decent amount of psychedelia and Blues, sounding like earlier versions of Deep Purple and even Led Zeppelin.

In truth, here on Survivors the songwriting is varied, at times memorable, sometimes hooking, but never magnificent. 'Tomorrow or Yesterday' is this album's treasure piece, noting the change of seasons in Rock, between the subtly of the old dreamy gloom and right into the crunchier twists of Rock 'N' Roll and Heavy Rock.

'Wrong Side of Time' maintains a moderately spacey vibe, enticing with its sorrowful balladry nature, living up to be a well-made Rock venture sharing nostalgic moments.

Both 'Big Brother' and 'Inside Out' continue the slick slides of the boogie fame, contagious Bluesy Hard Rock tunes right on the edge of the upcoming heaviness and melody.

'Mr Rock 'N' Roll', one of this new version's bonus cuts, is a solid ball of Rock, straight to the point glitter and rather hook-laden with its riffs and chorus.

As well as the aforemention 'Mr Rock 'N' Roll' single, bonus tracks included here now are some interesting alternative versions of seven tracks from the album featuring the aforementioned Dickinson.

These special alternative versions of the albums songs with Dickinson at the helm of the vocals just means, in my humble opinion, that his distinctive voice upgraded the songs to new levels.

I mean, come on now, how could they not given that he is renowned as having one of the greatest voices in Metal music!

CD 2 - Head On (1980)
1. 'Hard Times'
2. 'Take It Like a Man'
3. 'Vice Versa'
4. 'Manwatcher'
5. 'Too Close to Rock'
6. 'Thunderburst'
7. 'Hammerhead'
8. 'Hunted'
9. 'Take Me to Your Leader'
10. 'Walking Out on You'
11. 'Angel with a Machine Gun' (7" B-Side) (Bonus Track)
12. 'Kingsway Jam' (Bonus Track)
13. 'Vice Versa' (7" Edit) (Bonus Track)

In 1980 Samson released Head On, featuring the NWOBHM classic single 'Vice Versa', and the first full album to feature Bruce Dickinson's vocals. This sophomore album is, essentially, Bruce Dickinson's first foray into the serious world of music and for all his freshman status, it doesn't show at all.

Simply put, Head On may even feature some of the greatest performances by Dickinson throughout his career. Around a minute and a half into the final track of the album, 'Kingsway Jam' he even manages to hit a note that seems to be gone from him by the time of Iron Maiden's Number of the Beast!

The album is filled with vocal sections that range from the straightforward and expected, but yet still mighty proficient to the hurried, fluctuating, and at times, almost out of place; such as the aforementioned 'Kingsway Jam.'

But they are always interestingly, passionately, and energetically sung. 'Hammerhead' feels like a precursor to a Power Metal epic, while the track 'Angel With a Machine Gun' is a pure joy hard rock fantasy.if there were to be any downside to Head On, it would possibly be the fact that 'Thunderburst' also happens to be the Iron Maiden song 'The Ides of March' (due in most part to the fact that it was co-written by Paul Samson and Steve Harris!)

CD 3 - Head On: Tony Platt Alternative Mix (1980)
1. 'Hard Times'
2. 'Take It Like a Man'
3. 'Vice Versa'
4. 'Manwatcher'
5. 'Too Close to Rock'
6. 'Thunderburst'
7. 'Hammerhead'
8. 'Hunted'
9. 'Take Me to Your Leader'
10. 'Walking Out on You'
11. 'Hard Times' (7" Version) (Bonus Track)

Next up us the entire Head On album remixed by Tony Platt and available on CD for the very first time.

Nothing much more to add here for the tracks save for they sound crisper, louder in places and definitely punched and less fuzzy, so to speak.

CD 4 - Shock Tactics (1981)
1. 'Riding with the Angels'
2. 'Earth Mother'
3. 'Nice Girl'
4. 'Blood Lust'
5. 'Go to Hell'
6. 'Bright Lights'
7. 'Once Bitten'
8. 'Grime Crime'
9. 'Communion'
10. 'Little Big Man' (7" B-Side) (Bonus Track)
11. 'Pyramid to the Stars' (Bonus Track)
12. 'Losing My Grip' (Bonus Track)

Samson looked poised to enter the big time with 1981's Shock Tactics on the next disc. Kicking off with the Russ Ballard penned rocker Riding With The Angels, the album includes the classic Earth Mother and features the bonus tracks Little Big Man, Pyramid To The Stars and Losing My Grip.

For my money, Shock Tactics can be thought of as the most metal album that Samson has ever released! I mean, sure, Head On had its metal tendencies, but all in all it was not as nearly as consistent.

Virtually all of the work to follow would not be metal as well, but rather Blues-oriented rock. Dickinson's vocals on Shock Tactics is still not quite what it would go on to be known for in Iron Maiden, but it is definitely getting much closer than with Head On.

The opening track, 'Riding With the Angels' could definitely be an Iron Maiden song with Bruce's slick and raunchy vocal stylings blending seamlessly with a bevy of power chords from Paul Samson making this a straight up NWOBHM masterpiece.

There is not exactly much of a solo to this song, which is its only downfall, but then again, Paul Samson happened to be the band's only guitarist; therefore not able to pull off the twin axe attack of Iron Maiden.

'Nice Girl' is just one of the many metal songs I have heard about a lust for women and if you listen closely, oddly enough half of this album has a considerable amount of sexually oriented lyrics!

'Blood Lust' and 'Grime Crime' have a considerable amount of shrieking in them and 'Communion' (which is probably my favorite non-screamed track) is also the lone ballad.

CD 5 - Live at Reading (1981)
1. 'Big Brother'
2. 'Take It Like a Man'
3. 'Nice Girl'
4. 'Earth Mother'
5. 'Vice Versa'
6. 'Bright Lights'
7. 'Walking Out on You'
8. 'Hammerhead'
9. 'Riding with the Angels'
10. 'Gravy Train'
11. 'Red Skies' - Rehearsals (Bonus Track)
12. 'Turn Out the Lights' - Rehearsals (Bonus Track)
13. 'Firing Line' - Rehearsals (Bonus Track)

This 5CD set finishes with their triumphant show at the 1981 Reading Festival when they played on a bill featuring Gillan, Rose Tattoo and Billy Squier.

In what sounds like an immensely strong live vocal and performance outing, both Dickinson and Paul Samson were at their Samson peak here.

The former shows his signature captivating hold of the audience combined with his utmost charisma as a front man (and man, those pipes!), the latter the energies associated with his guitar work that swarm the stage as he prowls it taking his guitar playing to new heights.

In a show kicking off with 'Big Brother' and featuring 'Nice Girl', 'Earth Mother', 'Vice Versa', and 'Riding With The Angels', it remains a fitting tribute to this early era of Samson.

Indeed, the set list for the show crossed the first three albums discography and is, overall, a good set to have seen live, one imagines.

Less of the past obscurity and more into the tough Hard Rock / NWOBHM edge most of the songs were from Head On and Shock Tactics, but sadly missing is one of my favorites from them, 'Tomorrow Or Yesterday.'

Following the 1981 Reading show, Bruce Dickinson left for worldwide success with Iron Maiden, joining ex-Samson drummer Clive Burr for 1982's The Number Of The Beast LP.

Paul would carry on with various line-ups of Samson, most notably with powerhouse vocalist Nicky Moore, where the band took a much more blues orientated direction, until his sad and untimely death in 2002.

Capturing the halcyon days of the band's career, and produced in conjunction with NWOBHM expert John Tucker, and Samson's archive curator Rob Grain, Bright Lights: The Albums 1979-1981 is essential for fans of quality Classic Hard Rock & NWOBHM.

Official 5CD Box-Set Purchase Link

Title - 'Version'
Artist - The Members

For those not in the know, The Members are a British punk band that originated in Camberley, England.

In the UK, they are best known for their single 'The Sound of the Suburbs', reaching #12 in 1979, and in Australia, 'Radio' which reached #5 in 1982.

Now released via Cleopatra Records comes the brand new 2019 release from the British punk legends, Version.

On Version, The Members play the hits of Buzzcocks, The Lurkers, The Ramones, Johnny Thunders, The Wailers, Gregory Isaacs, Grandmaster Flash, Dillinger and many others with each track reflecting the many and varied influences of the band (aka punk to pop to reggae and dub).

1. 'When You Were Mine'
2. 'Does Your Mother Know'
3. 'Boys Keep Swinging'
4. 'What Do I Get?'
5. 'Sheena Is a Punk Rocker'
6. 'Shadow'
7. 'On Broadway'
8. 'Chinese Rocks'
9. 'Police in Helicopter'
10. 'Soul Rebel'
11. 'Night Nurse'
12. 'Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn't've?) / Under Mi Sleng Teng'
13. 'Cokane in My Brain / White Lines'
14. 'Waiting For My Man'

With all the 14 tracks arranged and performed with an intense artistry all their own, they kick off with the brilliant duo of Prince's 'When You Were Mine' and a gently distorted version 'Does Your Mother Know' (yes, ABBA!), before a quite stunning rendition of David Bowie's 'Boys Keep Swinging' (even sounding like him!) is brought forth.

Next up is 'What Do I Get?' (Buzzcocks) which is backed by a blistering 'Sheena Is a Punk Rocker' (Ramones), before we then get a more contemporary track in the form of The Lurkers' 'Shadow,' followed by continued smooth vocal roll (albeit in the style of The Kinks!) for 'On Broadway.'

Showcasing perfectly how apt at performing both old school and new school The Members - JC Carroll, guitar/keys/vocals; Chris Payne, bass/ guitar/vocals; Nick Cash, drums/percussion; and Calle Engelmarc, guitars/vocals - still are today that's backed by a more than decent stab at the classic Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers cut 'Chinese Rocks,' the genius that was John Holt on 'Police in Helicopter,' and then the beloved Bob Marley track 'Soul Rebel.'

Their version of reggae artist phenom Gregory Isaacs' 'Night Nurse' is a most definite stand out cut here, and is backed by a rather interesting, foot off the pedal version of their old mates the Buzzcocks' 'Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn't've?) / Under Mi Sleng Teng.'

Jamaican musician Dillinger's 'Cokane in My Brain' is then blended sweetly with Grandmaster Flash's infamous 1983 chart-topper 'White Lines,' with the album rounding out with a righteous nod to the Velvet Underground (and Lou Reed, in particular) on 'Waiting For My Man.'

Version is available on both CD as well as a special limited edition (only 200 made) vinyl pressing!

Official CD Purchase Link

Official Vinyl LP Purchase Link

Title - 'Gratitude'
Artist - Steve Cole

For those not in the know, known for consistently cranking out chart-topping singles that deploy big vibrant pop hooks, contemporary jazz saxophonist Steve Cole is actually much more than that; for he is also a professor/adviser of music business at the University of St. Thomas.

The Chicago native exploded onto the scene in 1998 with the album Stay Awhile that was produced by fellow Chicagoan Brian Culbertson. The disc scored two #1 hits and earned Cole the Oasis Smooth Jazz Award for best new artist shortly before his sophomore set, Between Us, was released in 2000.

His catchy singles made him an instant radio favorite and he cranked them out with regularity on subsequent albums NY LA (2003), Spin (2005), True (2006), Moonlight (2011), Pulse (2013), and then Turn It Up in 2016.

It’s during the times when we’re confronted with life’s hardest struggles that we learn to appreciate the humanity around us. On his latest album, Gratitude, Cole offers thanks for the people who’ve helped see him through some of his tough times – the loved ones, the musicians and collaborators who rallied around, and the often-nameless professionals whose job is to help and to heal.

Releasing on July 26th, 2019 via Artistry Music / Mack Avenue Records, Gratitude arrives on the heels of a health scare in Cole’s family.

The successful battle left the saxophonist feeling rejuvenated, with a renewed sense of hope and faith in his fellow humans.

"Going through something like this," Cole says of the recent health scare, "and seeing all these marvelous people who care so much about others has really imbued my music with optimism and gratitude."

Ergo, that depth of feeling shines through on the album’s ten tracks, which joyously spotlight Cole’s gift for infectious grooves, soulful melodies, and vibrant pop hooks.

1. 'Good News Day'
2. 'Neo Sol'
3. 'Gratitude'
4. 'Soho'
5. 'Starting Over'
6. 'Love Ballad'
7. 'Five6oh83'
8. 'Can't Get Enough'
9. 'Let's Go!'
10. 'Toronto'

The first track from his brand new ninth album is the upbeat, addictively funky and definitely the only track you would need playing in your open top car on a summer drive 'Good News Day' and that's backed by both the gentle jazz lite flow of 'Neo Sol' and the quieter title track ballad 'Gratitude.'

The beat gets turned back up on the finger-snappin' beauty 'Soho' which is backed seamlessly by both the gently distorted slap bass and guitar of 'Stating Over' and the truly lush, and aptly titled 'Love Ballad.'

Bringing back the funk for 'Five6oh83' that's followed by one of my own personal favorites here, the windswept hipsway of 'Can't Get Enough.'

The album then rounds out in some style with Cole showcasing his immense sax talents on the fun 'Let's Go!' with the laid back ease of 'Toronto' bringing this quite stunning new album to a close.

Amazon CD Purchase Link

Steve Cole @ Facebook!

Title - 'Tor & Vale'
Artist - Mark Wingfield & Gary Husband

For those not in the know, Mark Wingfield is a guitarist and composer based in the UK. Most of his output is rooted in jazz, but he is also active in contemporary classical music.

Indeed, Wingfield cites jazz, rock, Indian, Japanese, African, and classical music as influences and has written over 70 compositions.

Gary Husband is an English jazz and rock drummer, pianist, and bandleader. He is best known for his emotive and dynamic style on both his primary instruments, the keyboards and the drums.

Also a composer, arranger and producer, Husband is a member of John McLaughlin's group The 4th Dimension and also performs with Germany's Norddeutscher Rundfunk Big Band and as a solo pianist.

He has been a member of many of Billy Cobham's groups (including Cobham's Spectrum 40 band), the guitarist Allan Holdsworth's groups, British pop/funk band Level 42 and groups led by Jack Bruce and guitarist Gary Moore.

Coming together on the quite brilliant new album Tor & Vale (released July 5th, 2019 via MoonJune Records), this quite magnificent album was recorded in high resolution digital on a single day during a multi-day set of sessions.

With audio engineer Jesus Rovira at the helm along with other artists at La Casamurada Studios in Catalonia, Spain the eight track album consists of five compositions from Wingfield together with three improvised pieces by them both.

1. 'Kittiwake' (07:25)
2. 'The Golden Thread' (08:19)
3. 'Night Song' (05:48)
4. 'Tor&Vale' (16:28)
5. 'Shape of Light' (10:41)
6. 'Tryfan' (09:37)
7. 'Silver Sky' (11:59)
8. 'Vaquita' (05:49)

The first track from his new coupling is 'Kittiwake' (07:25) which immediately showcases the wealth of dedicated passion these two have for such lush acoustic piano and electronic guitar pieces.

Their New Age flow is embraced once more on the free flowing, call-and-response exchanges found within the dramatic structure of 'The Golden Thread' which in turn is backed seamlessly by both the dynamic tone of 'Night Song' (05:48) and then the hauntingly ethereal free-form title track, 'Tor&Vale' (16:28).

Next up is the improvised piece 'Shape of Light' (10:41) which brings to the fore the truly dynamic, yet ultimately playful relationship between both men and their treatments.

One of my own personal favorites is the delightful 'Tryfan' (09:37) that allows the genuine, unforced chemistry between these two extraordinary players to truly take centerstage.

The album then rounds out with the heartfelt and driven 'Silver Sky' (11:59), and then the intrepid improvisers bring the new project to a close with the resoundingly magnificent 'Vaquita' (05:49).

Official Digital / CD / 2LP Purchase Link

Mark Wingfield @ Facebook!

Title - 'Wild Kingdom'
Artist - Hot Club of Cowtown'

For those not in the know, the Hot Club of Cowtown - Whit Smith, Jake Erwin and Elana James - is celebrating its 22nd anniversary during the 2019-2020 touring season.

Since its beginnings in the late 1990s, the Hot Club of Cowtown’s star has continued to rise as its reputation for jaw-dropping virtuosity and unforgettable live shows has become the band’s global brand.

Lauded for its “down-home melodies and exuberant improvisation” (The Times, London), the Hot Club has always woven a combination of seemingly disparate styles together to its own magical effect, setting up camp “at that crossroads where country meets jazz and chases the blues away” (The Independent), remaining “conscious always that above all else, the music is for dancing and an old-fashioned good time” (New York Times).

The band’s musical alchemy has been described as “another breathless journey in the Texas tardis” (The Times, London), while American Songwriter observed that “the excellent three players of this band could be doing anything but have chosen to honor the greats of jazz and swing with their sound.”

Indeed, the Belfast Telegraph called the Hot Club of Cowtown “a pretty much perfect country trio at the very top of their game,” and the New York Times, in a live review viewed the trio as armed with “an arsenal full of technique and joy.”

Releasing on September 27th, 2019 via Gold Strike Records is their brand new, and highly anticipated new album of new material in ten years, Wild Kingdom.

Featuring 11 brand-new original songs plus three traditional band favorites along with one of the most colorful album covers I think I've seen in the past decade, Wild Kingdom sees the Austin-based trio upping their musical and lyrical game.

1. 'My Candy' (04:08)
2. 'Last Call' (04:47)
3. 'Caveman' (03:29)
4. 'Near Mrs.' (04:41)
5. 'Three Little Words' (03:13)
6. 'Billy The Kid' (04:20)
7. 'Tall Tall Ship' (03:21)
8. 'Rodeo Blues' (03:47)
9. 'Ways Of Escape' (04:24)
10. 'Loch Lomond' (02:50)
11. 'High Upon The Mountain' (04:01)
12. 'Easy Money' (04:15)
13. 'Before the Time of Men' (05:05)
14. 'How High The Moon' (04:33)

The first cut from this wonderfully vibrant new album is the fun tuck and roll of the James-written, sweet-talkin' 'My Candy,' which is backed seamlessly by the bands traditional American music vibe on both the drinking waltz of 'Last Call' and the Smith-original storytelling of 'Caveman.'

James's 'Near Mrs.' has that classic sound you expect from the band (complete with an unexpected big country star name drop), and that's followed by the first of the bands favorites, the 1930s theme from the eponymous film 'Three Little Words.'

The storytelling continues on the interestingly told lyrics found within 'Billy The Kid' (where cornered by Sheriff Pat Garrett, Billy's life flashes before his eyes), and then comes the chugging country rhythm of 'Tall Tall Ship.'

'Rodeo Blues' is another deeply meaningful cut that uses the metaphor of the pickup rider in a rodeo as the savior in a relationship, with Smith's bluesy brilliance for both lyrical and musical combinations rising to the top on the outstanding 'Ways To Escape' thereafter.

A swinging version of the traditional 'Loch Lomond' is backed by 'High Upon The Mountain,' which itself paints a glorious picture of nature's power to make us look inward and consider the stillness around us (in contrast to the turmoil in our lives).

On 'Easy Money,' another of my personal favorites here, the central theme of Smith's relationship with a gold-digging girlfriend who he cannot help but still love makes for an interesting lyrically emotive tale, and then the album rounds out with the complex mix of central Asian flair and manouche jazz of 'Before The Time of Me', and then an inspired cover of Les Paul and Mary Ford's 'How High The Moon.'

On an album that will have you tappin' your toes, snappin' your fingers, creating gentle hipsway in your chair, and even trepidatiously reminiscing about days gone by, Wild Kingdom is, without a shadow of a doubt, the album of 2019 to put a smile on your face and a spring in your step!

Official CD Purchase Link

Hot Club of Cowtown @ Facebook!

Title - 'Sacred Kind Of Love: The Columbia Recordings'
Artist - Grover Washington, Jr.

For those not in the know, Grover Washington Jr. (December 12, 1943 – December 17, 1999) was an American jazz-funk / soul-jazz saxophonist.

Along with George Benson, John Klemmer, David Sanborn, Bob James, Chuck Mangione, Dave Grusin, Herb Alpert, and Spyro Gyra, he is considered by many to be one of the founders of the smooth jazz genre.

Indeed he wrote some of his material and later became an arranger and producer.

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Washington made some of the genre's most memorable hits, including "Mister Magic", "Reed Seed", "Black Frost", "Winelight", "Inner City Blues" and "The Best is Yet to Come".

In addition, he performed very frequently with other artists, including Bill Withers on "Just the Two of Us" (still in regular rotation on radio today), Patti LaBelle on "The Best Is Yet to Come" and Phyllis Hyman on "A Sacred Kind of Love".

He is also remembered for his take on the Dave Brubeck classic "Take Five", and for his 1996 version of "Soulful Strut".

Washington had a preference for black nickel-plated saxophones made by Julius Keilwerth which also included a SX90R alto and SX90R tenor. He also played Selmer Mark VI alto in the early years, but his main soprano was a black nickel-plated H. Couf Superba II (also built by Keilwerth for Herbert Couf) and a Keilwerth SX90 in the last years of his life.

SoulMusic Records (via Cherry Red Records) now presents Sacred Kind Of Love: The Columbia Recordings, a 5-CD deluxe box-set of six stellar albums, spanning nine years (1987-1996) by the legendary saxophonist himself, Grover Washington, Jr.

Four of the six albums – Strawberry Moon (1987), Time Out Of Mind (1989), Next Exit (1992) and Soulful Strut (1996), his final LP for Columbia – achieved success on the U.S. R&B, jazz and pop charts, while two albums, 1988’s Then And Now (with guest players such as Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Grady Tate) and 1994’s All My Tomorrows (featuring Eddie Henderson, Bobby Watson, Hank Jones, Robin Eubanks and Billy Hart) were both critically acclaimed by audiences; demonstrating Grover’s skill as a ‘straight ahead’ jazz musician of the first order.

Justifiably considered an influential pioneer in fusing jazz, soul, R&B and pop and bringing his distinctive sound to mainstream audiences globally throughout his career, this box-set also includes detailed liner notes by renowned UK writer Charles Waring that include comments from Ramsey Lewis; a personal tribute to Washington by reissue producer and founder David Nathan; with first class mastering by Nick Robbins and superb artwork by Roger Williams.

CD 1 - Strawberry Moon (1987)
1. "Strawberry Moon"
2. "The Look of Love" (Feat. Jean Carne)
3. "Shivaree Ride"
4. "Caught a Touch of Your Love"
5. "Maddie's Blues"
6. "I Will Be Here for You"
7. "Monte Carlo Nights"
8. "Keep in Touch" (Feat. Jean Carne)
9. "Summer Nights"

Then And Now (1988)
10. "Blues for D.P"
11. "Just Enough"
12. "French Connections"
13. "Something Borrowed, Something Blue"
14. "Lullaby for Shana Bly"

The sounds of Grover Washington's saxophone are indeed very soothing, especially more so here on his brilliant Strawberry Moon album. The special effects from the synthesizers and the percussion merely add to the songs rather than over color them as other artists sometimes do.

The themes on each of the songs are also quite memorable. "Caught A Touch Of Your Love" is probably the most memorable piece on this collection as BB King delivers some fine vocals and guitar licks in between Grover's tender sax sounds.

"The Look Of Love", "Monte Carlo Nights", and the title track itself also are very memorable mostly due to the balance between the instruments with the bass lines on the latter just pulsating.

Then And Now (which is weirdly spread over two CDs) is one of Washington, Jr.'s occasional strays away from R&B-oriented jazz to play in a more straight ahead setting, so to speak.

Switching between soprano, alto and tenor, he is accompanied by either Tommy Flanagan or Herbie Hancock on piano during some of the selections as he performs such numbers as Ron Carter's "Blues for D.P.," "French Connections" and both "Stolen Moments" and "Stella by Starlight" with swing and taste. (Oh, and tenor-saxophonist Igor Butman also helps out on three songs).

CD 2 - Here And Now (1988) (Continued)
1. "Stolen Moments"
2. "In a Sentimental Mood"
3. "Stella By Starlight"

Time Out Of Mind (1989)
4. "Jamaica"
5. "Gramercy Park"
6. "Sacred Kind of Love" (Feat. Phyllis Hyman)
7. "Brand New Age"
8. "Fly Away"
9. "Don't Take Your Love from Me"
10. "Time Out of Mind"
11. "Split Second (Act II, the Bar Scene)"
12. "Nice-N-Easy"
13. "Unspoken Love"
14. "Protect the Dream"

Washington never followed trends when it came to his music - he made them. Ergo this album from the '80s was magical in its time. Today it is still a pleasure to hear. Not bop, nor smooth jazz, he had a sophistication all of his own. Musically, he gave much and was truly respected for not just his talent but his sharing and caring.

It's obvious that Grover Washington Jr. also had an ear for talent. Check out the great soul diva Phyllis Hyman on "Sacred Kind Of Love". Grover's sax and Phyllis' voice blend beautifully to make it a timeless song.

"Unspoken Love" has smoldering moments intermingled with tender interludes as it's a rather gorgeous sax solo full of soul and depth. Oh, and "Protect The Dream" will take you away as you get caught up inside it.

CD 3 - Next Exit (1992)
1. "Take Five (Another Five)"
2. "Your Love"
3. "Only for You (Siempre Para D'sera)"
4. "Greene Street"
5. "Next Exit"
6. "I Miss Home"
7. "Love Like This" (Feat. Lalah Hathaway)
8. "Summer Chill"
9. "Till You Return to Me"
10. "Get on Up"
11. "Check Out Grover"

All My Tomorrows (1994)
1. "É Preciso Perdoar"
2. "When I Fall in Love"
3. "I'm Glad There Is You"
4. "Happenstance"

CD 4 - All My Tomorrows (1994) (Continued)
5. "All My Tomorrows"
6. "Nature Boy"
7. "Please Send Me Someone to Love"
8. "Overjoyed"
9. "Flamingo"
10. "For Heaven's Sake"
11. "Estate ("Ess-Tah-Tay") (In Summer)"
12. "Every Day a Little Death" (From a Little Night Music) - Bonus Track

My main reason for loving Next Exit so much is because of my favorite (of all-time) vocalist Ms. Nancy Wilson's rendition of "Your Love." Wow, what an incredible, soulful touch she brings to this wondrous song.

But there is so much more to love on this album that after my second listening all these years later I was mesmerized and actually fell in love with the whole album.

I love the Latin-flavored hipsway beat that swoops and dances itself way through most all of the songs along with the overall timeless of his music.

Indeed, Washington's sax shares time with vocal tracks featuring the likes of not just Wilson, but Lalah Hathaway, and the Four Tops too, of course.

Sadly, yet again, another of his albums has been spread across two CDs, this time his great album All My Tomorrows. Here, Washington is joined by a fantastic band with plenty of delicious piano by Hank Jones.

I fell in love at first with the opening and last tracks of this album, but after few more listening sessions (most notably in my car, top down, summer sun on my face, I can now conclude that entire album blends perfectly; revealing a very relaxing atmosphere, full of beautiful tunes.

Ergo, for my money, All My Tomorrows is an overlooked gem from the reedman, recorded in his later years, but a set that's actually got more of an acoustic style overall – and one that goes back to the roots farther than any of Grover's fusion records, to my mind.

CD 5 - Soulful Street (1996)
1. "Soulful Strut"
2. "Can You Stop the Rain"
3. "Play That Groove for Me"
4. "Bordertown"
5. "I Can Count the Times"
6. "Village Groove"
7. "Headman's Haunt"
8. "Poacher Man"
9. "Mystical Force"
10. "Uptown"
11. "Heat Index" - Bonus Track
12. "The Night Fantastic" - Bonus Track

Soulful Strut is a typically smooth and swinging date from Washington where, in all honesty, and maybe only to my ear, sure, but occasionally, the production by Walter Afanasieff is a wee bit too slick and commercial; diluting the impact of Washington's subtle, relaxed groove.

Fortunately, Washington's instrumental skills cut through the gloss, making Soulful Strut another worthy record for mainstream soul-jazz fans.

Various special guest vocal performances by Jean Carne ("The Look Of Love", 'Keep In Touch"), Phyllis Hyman ("Sacred Kind Of Love"), B.B. King ("Caught A Touch Of Your Love"), Nancy Wilson ("Your Love"), Lalah Hathaway ("Love Like This") and The Four Tops’ Levi Stubbs ("Till You Return To Me") are among the many highlights of Grover’s tenure with Columbia Records along with bonus tracks, "Protect The Dream" (originally released on the CD version of Time Out Mind); "Every Day A Little Death", (from the 1995 Sony album, Color And Light: Jazz Sketches On Sondheim); "Heat Index" and "The Night Fantastic", both originally included on Prime Cuts, a Columbia Records compilation released in 1999 - the year Grover passed away at the age of 56.

Official 5CD Box-Set Purchase Link

Title - 'All You Get' [Vinyl]
Artist - Andras Jones

For those not in the know, Andras Jones is a West Coast-based actor, author, the host of the podcast Radio8Ball, singer-songwriter, and musician.

Having also appeared in such films as 'Nightmare on Elm Street 4 – The Dream Master', 'The Prom', and 'Every Day Is A Journey,' and having also written a book entitled 'Accidental Initiations: In The Kabbalistic Tree Of Olympia' (Sync Book Press), Jones's career also includes seven previous runs all under different monikers (along with touring with his band The Previous).

Now Jones has brought his true musical self back to the fore on his just-released eighth studio album, the deeply personal recanting of All You Get.

Having admittedly avoided finishing the album since the turn of the millennium Jones battled his own personal crises (one that mirrored a nation's descent into the future) and even though the album had been completed years before, finally knew the time was right to raise his voice and tell his tales once more.

1. 'All You Get'
2. 'The Things I Have to Live Without'
3. 'Natalie Wood said ...'
4. 'Spin The Bottle'
5. 'Cartesian Shack'
6. 'Insecurity'
7. 'Jealousy Nation'
8. 'Birthday Boy'
9. 'You Moved to Chicago'
10. 'Epic Teen (Nancy)'
11. 'One More Figure'
12. 'Paint My Day'

The first track from his wondrous, simply stunning, earthy and yet vibrantly alive album is the jangling guitar title track itself, a cut (with additional vocals from Frazey Ford) that showcases perfectly the non-traditional workings of a musician whose almost whispered conspiratorial qualities are as much his trademark as his synchronistic musical format known as the aforementioned Radio8Ball.

The grey day following winter home aspects of 'The Things I Have to Live Without' bring forth yet another self-realized emotive core from Jones, with one of the best cuts on the album, IMHO, the delicate, yet lush early '70s psych pop flow of 'Natalie Wood said' along next.

The gently beautiful strummed acoustic vibe of 'Spin The Bottle' is a pure delight to behold and that's backed by the swaying moments of distorted hipsway found within the subtle humor of 'Cartesian Shack' (featuring the dulcet trumpet work of Ida Nilson), with Side A of this vinyl record rounding out with the album's longest track at just under six minutes, the building assortment of melodies found within the ballad 'Insecurity.'

Recorded in Vancouver, BC with Canadian Wildman Ford Pier (D.O.A., The Rheostatics) at the helm and featuring a crew of illustrious Canucks like Frazey Ford & Samantha Parton (The Be Good Tanyas), Barry Mirochnik (Neko Case), Keith Rose (The Hanson Brothers) & Veda Hille, Side B opens with the fun and perky 'Jealousy Nation,' and then the lo-fi finger-snappin' vibe of the storytelling (inclusive of Marc L’esperance on violin and additional vocals and Walt Vincent on bass) behind 'Birthday Boy' ("Check out the kid with the face like a Russian novel, long and hard to read").

The upright jazz bass (courtesy of Keith Rose) and lo-rent blues inherent within both the music and Jones's vocals make 'You Moved to Chicago' (with backing vocals from Samantha Parton) my own personal favorite track here and that's backed seamlessly by the soft cinematic shuffle of 'Epic Teen (Nancy)' (featuring Marshall Thompson on Wurlitzer organ).

This resonating new album then rounds out with the upbeat and inspired guitar playing and vocal expression from Jones and company on the foot-tappin' groove of 'One More Figure,' with the breathy, organ-led (by Veda Hille) 'Paint My Day' bringing this heartfelt musical experience to a close.

In closing, Jones himself has said about this new album, "It’s a record about disappointment that I hope isn’t disappointing,” but trust me when I say that there is nothing disappointing abut this album. Nothing.

All You Get - The Album @ Facebook!

Andras Jones @ Facebook!

Official Radio8Ball Website

Andras Jones & Radio8Ball @ Twitter

Title - 'Soca Gold 2019' (2CD)
Artist - Various

Capturing the hottest hits of the 2019 Caribbean carnival season is what Soca Gold is all about!

For over 20 years, this annual compilation has presented the best songs from breaking and biggest artists in the genre.

Out June 21st, 2019 this latest 2019 compilation features some of the best soca songs of the season from international artists representing the best of the Caribbean including Trinidad, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Grenada and more.

The two-disc CD set includes 17 tracks on Disc 1 and a Soca Gold 2019 Mega-Mix by Team Soca- DJ Spice on Disc 2.

CD 1:
1. 'Savannah Grass' - Kes
2. 'Marc' - Fay-Ann Lyons
3. 'Brace Up' - Machel Montano
4. 'Issa Snack' - Nessa Preppy X Travis World
5. 'Trouble In The Morning' - V'Ghn
6. 'Rag Storm' (feat. 3 Canal) - Super Blue
7. 'Water Blessings' - Iwer George
8. 'Funky Business' - Fimba
9. 'Soca Land' - Jamesy P
10. 'Vent' - Teddyson John X Intl Stephen
11. 'My Sweet Sweet Woman' - Tony Prescott
12. 'Come Inside' - Sean Caruth
13. 'Cyah Function' - Rikki Jai
14. 'Wine After Wine' - Hypasounds
15. 'Manager' - Jus D
16. 'Feting Family' - Mikey
17. 'Pull It Up' - Ricky T

We begin with the frenetic Eastern-flavored synth reggae dancefloor vibe of 'Savannah Grass' from Kes (which was also one of the hottest songs from the most recent Trinidad Carnival and which came 2nd place at the 2019 Trinidad Road March) and that's backed by the brilliant hipsway of 'Marc' from a true staple of the Soca music scene, Fay-Ann Lyons.

The commanding vocals of Machel Montano on 'Brace Up,' and then both the lo-fi poppin' sexuality of Nessa Preppy X Travis World on 'Issa Snack,' and then the sweet festival vibe of 'Trouble In The Morning' from V'Ghn (which was also a Groovy Soca Monarch 3rd place winner) come along next.

Beach drums and scintillating dancefloor sounds then come forth in the foot-tappin' and pacey 'Rag Storm' (feat. 3 Canal) from Super Blue and that's backed seamlessly by 'Water Blessings' (which came 2nd place in the 2019 Power Soca Monarch Category) from Soca veteran Neil 'Iwer' George.

The Caribbean hipsway of 'Funky Business' by Fimba (2018 Road March Winner of St. Vincent) and then both the soundtrack anthem 'Soca Land' from Jamesy P, and the sweet romantic dub beats of 'Vent' (which was also a Groovy Soca Monarch 2nd place winner) from Teddyson John X Intl Stephen keep the party going.

The gently Eastern-flavored beauty 'My Sweet Sweet Woman' by Tony Prescott is next up and that is followed by the sweet soul flow of 'Come Inside' from Sean Caruth (both tracks exclusively commissioned for this new compilation), and then comes the terrific drum-led upbeat Chutney rhythm and rhymes of Rikki Jai on 'Cyah Function.'

One of my own personal favorites here is the free flowing 'Wine After Wine' from Hypasounds which is backed by 'Manager' from Jus D, with the album rounding out nicely with both the massive hands in the air, late night chants of 'Feting Family' by Mikey, and then the lovers dancefloor vibe of 'Pull It Up' by Ricky T bringing the whole new Soca Gold 2019 experience to a close.

“Every year, Soca becomes more and more recognized by the masses as a genre of music that brings joy and happiness to so many people.” said Edwin Howell, A&R at VP Records, Retail Store Manager and Program Director for Reggae King Radio.

"I am proud of this year’s set of songs as they represent what is trending right now with new and classic artists that make good music for carnival and beyond,” he concludes.

As aforementioned, the second disc then brings us a Soca Gold 2019 Mega-Mix by Team Soca- DJ Spice.

CD 2:
1. 'Savannah Grass (Remix)' - Kes
2. 'Funky Business (Remix)' - Fimba
3. 'Soca Land (Remix)' - Jamesy P
4. 'Feting Family (Remix)' - Mikey
5. 'Come Inside (Remix)' - Sean Caruth
6. 'My Sweet Sweet Woman (Remix)' - Tony Prescott
7. 'Cyah Function (Remix)' - Rikki Jai
8. 'Trouble In The Morning (Remix)' - V'Ghn
9. 'Vent (Remix)' - Teddyson John & Intl Stephen
10. 'Manager (Remix)' - Jus D
11. 'Issa Snack (Remix)' - Nessa Preppy & Travis World
12. 'Pull It Up (Remix)' - Ricky T
13. 'Brace Up (Remix)' - Machel Montano
14. 'Marc (Remix)' - Fay-Ann Lyons
15. 'Wine After Wine (Remix)' - Hypasounds
16. 'Water Blessings (Remix)' - Iwer George
17. 'Rag Storm' (feat. 3 Canal) - Super Blue

Official 2CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Reggae Gold 2019'
Artist - Various

The iconic Reggae Gold compilation series returns July 26th, 2019 and marks the release of the exclusive lead track and instant-grat 'Juju' from Dancehall vixen Dovey Magnum.

'Juju' is a sensual dancehall track that has all the makings of a hit with Dovey having risen in stardom due to her songs having been co-signed by some of the hottest artists in the reggae/dancehall industry and beyond.

Her music blends a mainstream R&B and pop feel with the gritty and suggestive lyrics many dancehall vixens are known for.

In fact there is no shortage of crowd pleasers and popular hits from the past year here on Reggae Gold 2019, with some of the stand outs including 'Never Die' by Squash and 'Government' by Chronic Law.

Both artists have been recently known as two of the hottest, most popular acts out of Jamaica right now and they for sure lead the way here on what is a truly pulsating 19-track album.

1. 'Touch Down' (feat. Nicki Minaj & Vybz Kartel) [Remix] - Stylo G
2. 'Life' - Christopher Martin
3. 'One Way' - Busy Signal
4. 'Government' - Chronic Law
5. 'Hurtin' Me' - Stefflon Don & French Montana
6. 'Never Die' - Squash
7. 'JuJu' - Dovey Magnum
8. 'Paradise Plum' - Naomi Cowan
9. 'Lights Out' - Estelle
10. 'Made To Fall In Love' - Bitty McLean & Sly & Robbie
11. 'Marijuana' (feat. Damian 'Jr. Gong' Marley) - Jah Cure
12. 'Banks Of The Hope' (feat. Popcaan) [Remix] - Agent Sasco
13. 'Keep The Same Energy' - Noah Powa
14. 'Owna Lane' - Teejay
15. 'Land Of Sunshine' - Beres Hammond
16. 'To See' - Queen Ifrica
17. 'Heaven (Ready Fi Di Feeling)' - Jah9
18. 'Guess Who?' (feat. Mykal Rose) - Tarrus Riley
19. 'The Unforgiven' (feat. Raging Fyah) - Alborosie

We begin with the Dancehall reggae of 'Touch Down' (feat. Nicki Minaj & Vybz Kartel) [Remix] by Stylo G and that's backed by one of the stand out cuts here from the reggae/dancehall singer and songwriter from St. Catherine, Jamaica, Christopher Martin on his brilliant 'Life.'

'One Way' from Reanno Devon Gordon aka Busy Signal then leads seamlessly into both the new generation of reggae with Chronic Law's (aka Akeeme Campbell) 'Government' and the beautiful lover's hardship flow of 'Hurtin' Me' from Stefflon Don and French Montana.

Next 6ixx Crew’s Squash brings us 'Never Die' which is followed by the aforementioned 'JuJu' from Dovey Magnum, with 'Paradise Plum' from the Kingston, Jamaica singer-songwriter Naomi Cowan backing it sweetly.

The British-born Estelle next brings us more of her brand of lovers rock on 'Lights Out' and that's backed by the truly excellent 'Made To Fall In Love' from Bitty McLean and Sly & Robbie.

Jah Cure then provides yet another highlight here with the stunning 'Marijuana' (feat. Damian 'Jr. Gong' Marley) and that's backed by the lo-fi dancehall reggae of 'Banks Of The Hope' (feat. Popcaan) [Remix] by Agent Sasco (aka Jeffrey Campbell).

Completing his transition from selector to dancehall deejay, Nohard “Noah Powa” Grant provides yet more quality to this new compilation with 'Keep The Same Energy,' which is followed by the young man from the Glendevon area in Montego Bay, St. James, Jamaica, Timoy Janeyo Jones aka Teejay on 'Owna Lane.'

We then get more lovers rock in the shape of the gentle hipsway bounce of 'Land Of Sunshine' from reggae legend Beres Hammond and that's followed by reggae singer and disc jockey from the hills above Montego Bay, Jamaica, Queen Ifrica on 'To See.'

The dub rhythms of roots R&B reggae come through on 'Heaven (Ready Fi Di Feeling)' by Janine Elizabeth Cunningham (better known as Jah9), with the album rounding out with the Rastafari movement loud and proud on 'Guess Who?' (feat. Mykal Rose) from Tarrus Riley, and then the Italian reggae artist known as Alborosie channels the chorus of Metallic on the quite brilliant 'The Unforgiven' (feat. Raging Fyah).

Official CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Romance'
Artist - Isata Kanneh-Mason

For those not in the know, a postgraduate student at London’s Royal Academy of Music, Isata Kanneh-Mason has embarked on a successful and increasingly busy concert career as a solo artist, with concerto appearances, solo recitals and chamber concerts throughout the UK and abroad.

Indeed, Isata also continues to perform with her siblings, including regular duo recitals with her brother, the cellist, Sheku Kanneh-Mason.

Isata reached her category final in the 2014 BBC Young Musician competition, winning the Walter Todds Bursary for the most promising musician before the Grand Final.

She has since performed several times on television and radio, including BBC Radio 3 In Tune, the Radio 3 RPS Awards, BBC2 Proms Extra, Radio 4 Woman’s Hour, Al Jazeera TV, BBC World Service, Channel 4, The One Show, ITV Born To Shine, BBC2 Classroom Heroes, and a feature for CBS’s Sunday Morning.

Big sister to aforementioned cellist Sheku, Isata's first recording for Decca Classics is an album of Clara Schumann’s piano music in celebration of the 200th anniversary of the composer’s birth.

Simply entitled Romance, the album not only illuminates the world of Isata's musical heroine but brings her together to join forces with an all-female lineup to champion Schumann.

1-3 Piano Concerto in A minor Op. 7
‘Allegro maestoso’
‘Romanze – Andante non troppo, con grazia’
‘Finale – Allegro non troppo’
4-6 3 Romances Op. 11
‘Andante – allegro passionate’
7 Scherzo No 2 in C minor Op. 14
8-10 3 Romances for Violin and Piano Op. 22
‘Andante molto’
‘Leidenschaftlich schnell’
11 Widmung (R. Schumann trans. C. Schumann)
12 Mondnacht (R. Schumann trans. C. Schumann)
13-16 Piano Sonata in G minor

With its wondrous core being a recording of the Piano Concerto in A minor with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Holly Mathieson, and 3 Romances for Violin & Piano - with violinist and former BBC New Generation Artist Elena Urioste - Romance might just be one of the best albums of music of this genre and ilk to have come out in the past decade.

To realize that Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A minor was actually written at the tender age of just fourteen, and which was performed by the composer at Leipzig Gewandhaus two years later under the baton of Felix Mendelssohn, just enhances Isata's observations and endeavor to bring forth her own tribute to such an already-stunning work of musical art.

Opening with the three-part Piano Concerto in A minor Op. 7, its first contains memorable, all by they conventions themes, the slower second (complete with memorable cello solo) more deeply lyrical, with the virtuosic third movement bringing everything to a rather playful conclusion.

This magnificent recording also features music from various phases of Schumann's life, from the youthful Piano Concerto to the mature magnificence of her Piano Sonata the achingly beautiful Violin Romances and rarely-recorded transcriptions of songs by Robert Schumann.

The album, released on Decca Classics on July 5th, 2019, doesn't force itself upon you at any time, never wanting to carry you away on dips and curves already constructed, but moreover only wishes for you to be transported back to enjoy a musically vibrant painting of an intimate portrait of Schumann's life through her compositions.

Official CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Here To Make You Feel Good'
Artist - Arthur Adams

For those not in the know, Arthur Adams is an American blues guitarist from Medon, Tennessee.

Inspired by B.B. King and other 1950s artists, he played gospel music before attending college. He moved to Los Angeles, and during the 1960s and 1970s he released solo albums and worked as a session musician.

In 1985 he was tapped to tour on bass guitar with Nina Simone, and he staged a comeback in the 1990s when he released Back on Track, and became a respected Chicago blues player and bandleader in B.B. King's clubs.

A prolific songwriter, with a blues style that incorporated a variety of genres, and a vocalist with a funky, soul-driven sound, Adams is known for his collaboration with many of blues' elite and continues to perform to date.

Now the Blues legend brings his best on this fantastic new album of soulful blues guaranteed to make you FEEL GOOD! Released this past July 19th, 2019 via Cleopatra Blues, with stand out tracks such as 'Tear The House Down,' 'Sweet Spot' and others already having garnered radio airplay courtesy of popular KJazz DJ Gary "The Wagman" Wagner, it's obvious that this new 10-track album Here To Make You Feel Good is going to fast become one of his most revered.

1. 'Tear the House Down'
2. 'Full of Fire'
3. 'Sweet Spot'
4. 'Pretty Lady'
5. 'Forgive Me'
6. 'Gonna Make Some Money'
7. 'Enjoy Each Moment'
8. 'By Myself'
9. 'Here to Make You Feel Good'
10. 'Little Dab'll Do Ya'

Opening with the aforementioned duo of the lo-fi Blues on 'Tear the House Down' and the pacier 'Full of Fire,' this album has already become a firm favorite here in the office and it's easy to hear why.

With Arthur's credits as a session guitarist and live musician including the aforementioned B.B. King, Sam Cooke, Nina Simone, Bonnie Raitt, Quincy Jones, the Jackson 5, Lou Rawls, and so many more, his overflowing and inherent passion for making great music is most assuredly front and center here on Here To Make You Feel Good.

The magnificent, and crystal clear guitar-playing on the mid-tempo ballad 'Sweet Spot' allow for Adams' unmistakable vocals to shine, as do both 'Pretty Lady,' and the laid back lyrical apology of 'Forgive Me.'

His finger-snappin' hipsway is brought back on the storytelling of 'Gonna Make Some Money' and that's followed by the R&B Soul of Enjoy Each Moment.'

Adams then gets to unleash his down and dirty guitar Blues on 'By Myself' with the album coming to a close with the vibrant title track 'Here to Make You Feel Good,' and then the slow-poke, back burner Blues funk of 'Little Dab'll Do Ya' rounds things off nicely.

Official CD Purchase Link

Arthur Adams @ Facebook!

Title - 'Thomas Road'
Artist - John Berry

For those not in the know, Grammy winning singer/songwriter John Berry has just released his latest project, the quite stunning EP Thomas Road via his very own label, JB Music, LLC.

Named after the street he grew up on in Decatur, GA and where his passion and love for music first took a hold and instilled within him a desire to become a recording artist, each of the six tracks here showcase Berry's musical reminiscence; and one that flies in the face of the old adage You can’t go home again.

1. 'Thomas Road'
2. 'Richest Man'
3. 'Heavin’ Comin’ Down'
4. 'Why Didn’t I'
5. 'Beautifully Broken'
6. 'Don’t Think I Ain’t Country'

From the hearty opening title track ("Thomas Road, where dreams began"), it's clear that as Berry continues to celebrate the 25th anniversary since signing his first record deal his passion for a solid song with a great hook is still always front and center of his recording process.

The beautiful, free flowing, gilded ballad 'The Richest Man' then glides seamlessly into the lush foot-tappin' hipsway of 'Heaven Coming Down,' with the pace slowed once again for the thought provoking 'Why Didn't I.'

Having recently charted at #30 on the Music Row Breakout Charts with the single, 'Beautifully Broken' - which is also featured on the soundtrack for the upcoming movie of the same name - the album then rounds out with the upbeat Country roll of 'Don't Think I Ain't Country.'

“I was fortunate to grow up in a home where music was always celebrated," Berry reveals. "The sounds of gospel, classical, country or pop were always present, but it was the latter years of elementary school into high school that were a significant time for me."

"Carole King wove Tapestry, John Denver came down a Country Road, Cat Stevens rode in on a Peace Train and I began playing the guitar,” he continues. "Listening to a white AM radio on the shop table in my dad’s garage helped me to dream bigger than who I was."

"The music drew me in and I had to be a part of it … it was a part of me. With my dad’s encouragement and help we built a little studio in the basement of our house and I recorded my first four albums there."

"The fire inside me grew. I am beyond grateful for the inspiration I found in family, friends and music on Thomas Road. All those memories keep calling me back home to Thomas Road.”

Digital Purchase Link

Title - 'Love Will Find a Way'
Artist - Philip Bailey

For those not in the know, Philip Bailey is an American R&B, soul, gospel and funk singer, songwriter and percussionist best known as an early member, and one of the two lead singers (along with group founder Maurice White) of the band Earth, Wind & Fire.

Noted for his four-octave vocal range and distinctive falsetto register, Bailey has won seven Grammy Awards and was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame as a member of Earth, Wind & Fire. (Bailey was also inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame for his work with the band).

Bailey has released several solo albums over the years with Chinese Wall (1984) receiving a Grammy Award nomination for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male, and which included the international hit, 'Easy Lover' (a duet with Phil Collins).

In May 2008, Bailey was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Berklee College of Music at Berklee's Commencement Ceremony where he was the commencement speaker.

Love Will Find a Way, Bailey’s newest solo album on Verve Records (June 21st, 2019) is a continuation of his musical exploration and another step in his solo career.

The album features trusted friends like bassist Christian McBride, iconic jazz pianist Chick Corea and drum legend Steve Gadd although Bailey also tapped several of the brightest contemporary lights in jazz, R&B, pop and more as collaborators: keyboardist Robert Glasper, saxophonist Kamasi Washington, rapper, musician and producer, trumpeter Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, singer-songwriter Bilal, singer-saxophonist Casey Benjamin, guitarist Lionel Loueke, drummer Kendrick Scott and bassist Derrick Hodge, among others.

1. 'Billy Jack' (6:56)
2. 'You're Everything' (4:50)
3. 'We're A Winner' (5:32)
4. 'Stairway To The Stars' (4:55)
5. 'Brooklyn Blues' (2:55)
6. 'Once In A Lifetime' (5:52)
7. 'Just To Keep You Satisfied' (5:17)
8. 'Sacred Sounds' (8:15)
9. 'Long As You're Living' (4:40)
10. 'Love Will Find A Way' (6:31)

With some of the tracks chosen purposefully addressing these troubled and divisive times that we currently live in, Bailey’s poignant interpretations of songs means that he immediately kicks things into sweet motion here with his West African-tinged take on Curtis Mayfield’s 'Billy Jack,' before heading into a simply stunning jazz fusion groove rendition of Return to Forever's 'You’re Everything.'

On what can only be described as a mature, soulful set straddling the line between contemporary jazz vocal and classic R&B, Mayfield's 'We’re A Winner' (featuring Bilal) is next, with Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah (on plangent trumpet) and (creating a tribal beat on drums) helping to bring forth the magnificent (and mostly) instrumental 'Stairway to the Stars' thereafter.

One of my own personal favorites is 'Brooklyn Blues' where Bailey uses his Kalimba (an African thumb piano) to ambient perfection, but Bailey really surprises us next with his unbelievable interpretation (reimagined here as a spoken word slow jam) of one of my all-time favorite tracks from my youth, the Talking Head’s 'Once In A Lifetime.'

Next up is a magnificent, and obviously heartfelt and deeply personal homage to Bailey's idol, Marvin Gaye on 'Just To Keep You Satisfied' which is backed beautifully by his take (alongside Kamasi Washington’s tenor saxophone) on the spiritually-driven, and nearly nine minutes long 'Sacred Sounds.'

Another stand out track here is the jazz-pop-R&B bounce of the Abbey Lincoln/Max Roach-associated 'Long As You're Living,' before the title track, Pharoah Sanders' 'Love Will Find a Way' (featuring Casey Benjamin’s saxophone and Vocoder) rounds out the album and allows Bailey’s falsetto to come lovingly to the fore.

On an album that openly addresses pertinent themes of social justice and self-empowerment at its core, rather than becoming mired in politics, Bailey’s message is one of optimism for all humanity. “That’s in keeping with my philosophy and Earth Wind & Fire’s philosophy,” he states. "It was something that is a continual thread of what we’ve done over our almost 50-year career. So that’s just staying true to who I am.”

"There was a flow to the project that was reminiscent of back in the day, when we used to do those records with the Fire and we had what I call our A-team," Bailey continues, talking about this new album. "This record is opening up real vivid possibilities of where I’m going from here. I see a runway that will allow me to build on this vision.”

Philip Bailey, vocals; Chick Corea, piano; Robert Glasper, keyboards; Lionel Loueke, guitar; Kamasi Washington, saxophone; Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, trumpet; Casey Benjamin, saxophone, vocals; Christian McBride, bass Derrick Hodge, bass; Steve Gadd, drums; Kendrick Scott, drums.

Amazon CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Incognito'
Artist - Duane Morano

For those not in the know, songwriter and guitarist Duane Morano has just released his stunning debut album, Incognito.

This quite pulsating album of 13 brand new tracks also comes fully enhanced by the fact that it features a slew of guests such as: Alice Cooper guitarist Nita Strauss, Extreme’s Pat Badger and Kevin Figueiredo, The Firm/Blue Murder’s Tony Franklin, Firehouse’s Michael Foster and Bill Leverty, XYZ’s Terry Ilous, and Tyketto’s Danny Vaughn.

1. 'After The Love'
2. 'Cookie Jar'
3. 'Love Is A Lie'
4. 'Face The Fire'
5. 'Giovanna'
6. 'Don't Believe You'
7. 'Barely Breathing'
8. 'Kid Gloves'
9. 'I Want Love'
10. 'Hearts'
11. 'Manhattan'
12. 'Why'
13. 'Sincerely Yours'

On an album that began its creation via the now-defunct Pledge Music website, you would think that the hardest part of putting together an album such as this would be trying to get musicians from different bands spread across the country to come together at the same time!

But as it has been told by Morano, that wasn't an issue as they all came running the moment he opened up his studio doors and man, what a ringing endorsement that is for any album to have!

A masterful guitarist and expert composer, Morana opens with 'After The Love' (featuring the vocals of Danny Vaughn) and backed by both the throbbing guitar work of 'Cookie Jar' (Bryan Cole) and the Terry Ilous-sung 'Love Is A Lie,' the album (and the catchy choruses) instantly have you hooked for the day!

Chock full of late '80s and early '90s rock riffs and vocalizations, Incognito is the musical fix you always knew you needed for those of us that grew up to the originators of that era, showcasing all that and more to the max on the Vaughn-sung duo 'Face The Fire' and 'Giovanna.'

One of the stand out cuts here is also a tribute to the power and range found within Cole's vocals on 'Don't Believe You' which is followed seamlessly by another Vaughn pairing for the thunderous 'Barely Breathing' and the old-school rockin' funk of 'Kid Gloves.'

A couple from Ilous are up next in the form of 'I Want Love' and the only true ballad of the album, the almost-acoustic 'Hearts,' with the era-atmospheric 'Manhattan' (featuring Dan Michaels on vocals along with the guitar power of Nita Strauss) backing them up.

This quite wondrous debut album then comes to a close with 'Why' (Ilous), before rounding out with the ferocious 'Sincerely Yours' (Cole).

Highlighting the need for music like this in our times, Morano's guitar shred moments are restrained, sure, but guided and cultured nonetheless.

In closing, his group of assembled musical avengers here on Incognito are the most perfect additions to his cause, but it has to be noted that if a debut album can be as good as this, then Morano's sophomore has a lot to live up to!

"I had known Bill Leverty for a great many years so he was in from the beginning," Morano explains about how the album came to be. "Back in 2016 I was having dinner with Bill and was asked if I was ever going to unshelve a CD I started working on years ago."

"After some thought I finished a few of the tracks in my studio and sent them to Bill to be mixed. As we listened to the mixes it became clear to both of us I needed to get rid of the programmed drums, find a bass player instead of a guitar player trying to play bass, and get someone that could sing what I was struggling to attempt!"

"Changes needed to be made so that was when Bill suggested his drummer Michael Foster so I gave him a shout.”

Discussing some of the album’s highlights, Morano says: “Nita Strauss' solo on ‘Manhattan’ was a pick up your jaw off the floor moment. Bryan Cole’s vocals on ‘Don’t Believe You’ grabs elements of rock and blues with a touch of soul and delivers one of the best performances I’ve ever heard him do."

"The way Michael Foster and Pat Badger really cement and play with the groove on ‘Kid Gloves’ is really cool too.”

Official CD Purchase Link

Duane Morano @ Facebook!

Title - 'Die Happy'
Artist - Them Coulee Boys

Allegedly founded at a bible camp, and born in the back valleys of Western Wisconsin, Them Coulee Boys craft a brand of Americana that blends punk, bluegrass, and rock & roll.

Somewhere underneath the energy, the exuberance, the wit, and the passion of Them Coulee Boys lies a big, heaving heart.

It's a heart filled with sincerity, honesty, and the will to make the world a better place. Indeed, this heart is not only evident in every song, but also in Them Coulee Boys as a whole.

Their songs are meant for dancing, for excitement, but are also for thought, and for the quiet moments for Them Coulee Boys - SOREN STAFF (Lead Vocals, Guitar, Piano), BEAU JANKE (Banjo, Electric Banjo, Piano, Harmonica, Vocals), JENS STAFF (Mandolin, Vocals) and NEIL KRAUSE (Bass, Kick Drum, Vocals) - seek to balance the high with the low, the happy with the sad, and the love with pain.

It's how we live our lives and so they make music that reflects that.

In the winter of 2018, Them Coulee Boys set to capture a new sound. They gathered at the famed Pachyderm Studios (Nirvana, Son Volt, PJ Harvey) in Cannon Falls, MN to record with their friend Dave Simonett (Trampled By Turtles).

The fruits of this recording session are now born within their upcoming new album Die Happy (out August 23rd via North Carolinian indie label LoHi Records).

1. 'Pray You Don't Get Lonely'
2. 'Hand Of God Pt.1'
3. 'Only One'
4. 'Find Your Muse'
5. 'Die Happy'
6. 'Mary's On The Telephone'
7. 'Midnight Manifestos'
8. '5'6" Monument'
9. 'Evangelina'
10. 'Hand Of God Pt.2'
11. 'My Anxiety & Me'

Building their ever evolving sound, while capturing the live element Them Coulee Boys are known for, this wondrous new album is framed as a journey of sorts, starting in a volatile place, and ending in acceptance.

Indeed, this is the inner workings of a band that has grown into the sound they’ve been working towards, while keeping the sincerity they built themselves on.

From the stunning lo-fi folk pacing of 'Pray You Don't Get Lonely' to the yearning found within the title track, to the upbeat sing-along of 'Midnight Manifestos' to the divine Americana hipsway of 'Evangelina,' Die Happy seamlessly merges the best of rock, folk, Americana along with subtle moments of R&B in a way that I've not heard done so flawlessly for many a year.

Much like a troubadour takes to the open road to bring to the listener a sense of a musical journey being undertaken by them both, here on Die Happy Them Coulee Boys also unspool their emotional and personal storytelling baggage for us all to happily journey along with.

The CD comes with 8 page insert including lyrics, credits, thank you's, and liner notes by best selling author Nickolas Butler.

Amazon CD Purchase Link

Them Coulee Boys @ Facebook!

Title - 'Back Seat'
Artist - Lisa Bell

For those not in the know, singer-songwriter Lisa Bell is set to release her fifth album, the musically compelling gem Back Seat, on September 6th, 2019 (via her own label, Lisa Bell Music).

Already known as a musically diverse Americana artist with jazz influences, Bell shifts gears with the release, compiling a potent album that nods to the influences that have helped sharpen her sound - including laidback R&B, melodic soul, and American roots music - while also pushing into contemporary, Triple A-friendly territory.

Combining seamlessly together Bell's expressive voice and ever-evolving writing chops, these finely-tuned elements combine to tell the story of an empty nester who, having spent years raising her children, is ready to climb back into the driver's seat and chase down new dreams.

1. 'Back Seat'
2. 'I Can't Stand the Rain'
3. 'The Road is Always Longer'
4. 'Take Me to the Other Side'
5. 'I Don't Know What You Want from Me'
6. 'Always Chasing Darkness'
7. 'What Went Wrong'
8. 'My Love'
9. 'India'
10. 'Get in the Flow'
11. 'Inspiration'
12. 'Meet Me In the Space Inbetween'

Produced by Evan Reeves and with all 12 songs having been born out of a secluded trip to a backwoods cabin right from the off on the title track Bell sings with a powerful, natural voice.

Sharing the spotlight with electric piano, organ, electric guitar, saxophone, and even ukulele, this beautiful title track - which doubles as the album's only co-written tune, penned alongside fellow Coloradan Andy Ard - showcases Bell's sultry vocals just perfectly.

'I Can't Stand the Rain' (no, not that one) is a gently, heartfelt ballad (written during a huge rainstorm that necessitated being inside instead of out enjoying nature), whereas 'The Road is Always Longer' brings forth some foot-tappin' lo-fi rhythm and blues in the spirit of Bonnie Raitt.

The hipsway of a shining sun on an Autumn late afternoon found within 'Take Me to the Other Side' (a track written about the anxiety around doing anything new, or something that seems daunting and how it can be simply paralyzing) is just beautiful to behold, and that's backed seamlessly by both the low-slung Blues guitar vibe of 'I Don't Know What You Want from Me,' and then the pace changes for the thought-provoking subject matter of depression, 'Always Chasing Darkness.'

The one-two keyboard-infused groove of 'What Went Wrong' makes this track one of my own favorites and that's followed by the acoustic guitar ballad 'My Love.' The ethereal lushness of 'India' (a song that tells the story of this wonderful, yet dichotic country) is simply a joy to behold as is the poetic inner musings of 'Get in the Flow.'

The album then rounds out with the strong musical backbone of 'Inspiration' with the mid-tempo, late night, smoky underground club, saxophone enriched 'Meet Me in the Space Between' (which refers to the level of understanding between two people that transcends the physical) making the most perfect book end to Bell's lyrically-woven storytelling.

An Americana tapestry woven of roots, blues, jazz, and pop, Back Seat tells a story that reaches beyond Bell's own experiences. There are deep, mature love songs on this vibrantly rich new recording, with songs that examine human relationships not from the perspective of starry-eyed newly-weds, but of lovers who've ridden the rollercoaster of a long, emotional partnership together a wee bit too long.

And while it’s been six years since her last full-length, Bell's craft has only burned stronger and brighter and braver. "I am thrilled with this new album and feel it is the most genuine and expressive yet," Bell says.

"I took my time in writing and producing this body of work, to hone songs that really speak directly from my heart and tap into my full creative potential."

Lisa Bell Music @ Facebook!

Title - 'Billy Ocean: Remixes and Rarities' (2CD)
Artist - Billy Ocean

For those not in the know, Billy Ocean (actually born Leslie Sebastian Charles) is a Trinidadian-English recording artist who had a string of R&B international pop hits in the 1970s and 1980s.

Indeed he was the most popular Trinidad–British R&B singer-songwriter of the early to mid-1980s.

After scoring his first four UK Top 20 successes, seven years passed before he accumulated a series of transatlantic successes, including three US No. 1's.

His 1985 hit 'When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going' reached No. 1 in the UK and No. 2 in the US and in 1985, Ocean won the Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance for his worldwide hit 'Caribbean Queen (No More Love On The Run)' and in 1987 was nominated for the Brit Award for Best British Male Artist.

His 1988 hit 'Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car' also reached No. 1 in the US and No. 3 in the UK and his 1986 hit 'There'll Be Sad Songs (To Make You Cry)' also reached No. 1 in the US.

Releasing August 30th, 2019 via Cherry Pop Records (UK), Billy Ocean: Remixes and Rarities is a quite brilliant 2CD that further promotes the labels Remixes & Rarities series.

This time focusing on the many special and sought-after versions of tracks from everyone’s favorite Anglo-Trinidadian pop superstar, Billy Ocean, the 2CD album features 23 alternative versions of some of Billy’s best known tracks.

CD 1:
1. 'When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going (Extended Version)'
2. 'European Queen (No More Love On The Run) (Special Mix)'
3. 'City Limit (Alternative Version)'
4. 'Love Really Hurts Without You (1986 Dance Mix)'
5. 'Mystery Lady (Club Mix)'
6. 'Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car (Extended Version)'
7. 'Loverboy (Dub Mix)'
8. 'Are You Ready (12" Version)'
9. 'Licence to Chill (Extended Version)'
10. 'Pressure (UK 12" Extended Mix)'
11. 'When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going (Instrumental)'
12. 'Love Zone (Extended Version)'

With a number of these wickedly vibrant versions making their first ever appearance on CD here on this new 2CD set, the first disc opens with the always-great to hear 'When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going (Extended Version)' and that's backed by the punchy original version of 'European Queen (No More Love On The Run) (Special Mix)' and then Billy's underrated early smooth R&B classic 'City Limit (Alternative Version).'

One of my all-time favorites from Billy is up next in 'Love Really Hurts Without You (1986 Dance Mix)' and that's backed by the sultry, one-on-one soulful R&B of the finger-snappin' 'Mystery Lady (Club Mix).' The massively popular dancefloor smash 'Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car (Extended Version)' is next and that's backed by the synth-bounce brilliance of 'Loverboy (Dub Mix).'

The Jackson-esque dancefloor vibe of 'Are You Ready (12" Version)' is another underrated gem from Billy which is why I'm so very happy to find it here amongst his more upbeat pop chart hits and that's followed by the funky two-step of 'Licence to Chill (Extended Version).'

The Caribbean hipsway of 'Pressure (UK 12" Extended Mix)' is yet another delight to hear and then the first disc rounds out with another version of 'When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going (Instrumental),' and then the slap bass of the mid-tempo love song 'Love Zone (Extended Version)' is showcased.

CD 2:
1. 'African Queen (No More Love on the Run) (New Extended Mix)'
2. 'American Hearts (12" Version)'
3. 'Dance Floor (Extended Mix)'
4. 'When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going (Club Mix)'
5. 'I Sleep Much Better (In Someone Else's Bed) (Extended Version)'
6. 'Love Really Hurts Without You (Dub Mix)'
7. 'Bittersweet (Extended Version)'
8. 'Pick Up the Pieces (Put It Back) (Reese Club Riot Mix)'
9. 'Loverboy (Extended Club Remix)'
10. 'Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car (Instrumental)'
11. 'When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going (7th Heaven Club Mix)'

The second disc opens up with an extended moment of the worldly recognized saxophone intro to 'African Queen (No More Love on the Run) (New Extended Mix),' before we get another burst of Billy from back in his R&B solo days on the free flowing 'American Hearts (12" Version).'

A gentle funky hipsway is evoked in Billy's lesser known 'Dance Floor (Extended Mix)' before we get another version of 'When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going (Club Mix).' Next Billy brings us some lo-fi Hip Hop vibes on 'I Sleep Much Better (In Someone Else's Bed) (Extended Version)' with the powerfully fabulous 'Love Really Hurts Without You (Dub Mix)' along next.

The synth upbeat love song hit 'Bittersweet (Extended Version)' is then backed by the lesser known 'Pick Up the Pieces (Put It Back) (Reese Club Riot Mix)' and then another version of 'Loverboy (Extended Club Remix).'

This simply divine new 2CD collection of remixes and rarities then rounds out with another 'Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car (Instrumental)' with yet another 'When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going (7th Heaven Club Mix)' bringing the show to a close.

Although sadly missing a couple of Billy's all-time greatest hits, 'Red Light Spells Danger' and 'The Colour Of Love,' this brand new 2CD set Billy Ocean: Remixes & Rarities is still a great rounding up of his songs; all extended, expanded, or done alternatively, of course.

Official 2CD Purchase Link

Title - 'Beleaf'
Artist - Indubious

Rising up out out of the fertile soil of Southern Oregon’s Rogue Valley, the group of Intergalatic Reggae Revolutionaries known as Indubious come to spread high vibes through their earth-shattering sound.

On their brand new album, Beleaf (in stores and online worldwide August 16th, 2019), this genre-bending reggae power trio comes pumping a positive message, and wielding impressive instrumental skill on their follow-up to 2017's From Zero album.

1. 'Here We Come'
2. 'Fabric Of Creation'
3. 'Be The Best You Can'
4. 'Years'
5. 'Strong End'
6. 'One By One' (featuring The Elovators)
7. 'Here We Go'
8. 'Arrow' (featuring Michael Leslie)
9. 'Frequent See'
10. 'Shuffle The Deck'
11. 'Good Ol' Days' (featuring Satsang)
12. 'Hocus Focus'
13. 'Blessings Run'
14. 'Here We Are'

Kicking things off with the mesmerizing slow groove hipsway of 'Here We Come' and then backing that up seamlessly with both the reggae bounce of 'Fabric Of Creation' and the upbeat, sharp rap streams found within 'Be The Best You Can,' you instantly know you've spent your money wisely.

The freeflowing beauty of 'Years' is up next with the tempo brought right down for the gently breezy ballad 'Strong End.' The storytelling within 'One By One' (featuring The Elovators) makes this one of the stand out cuts here for my money, and is followed by the quickly related heartfelt concerns of 'Here We Go.'

Featuring a beautifully woven storyline rich with visionary lyrical content, deep Dub and Roots Reggae textures, all of which are blended seamlessly with Dancehall, Rootstronica, and heart-centered songwriting, next up is another gem in the form of 'Arrow' (featuring Michael Leslie), and then the beautiful lo-fi pairing of 'Frequent See' and 'Shuffle The Deck.'

'Good Ol' Days' (featuring Satsang) is yet another cultured cut on this deeply moving, always informative album and is backed up by the slow funk grooves of 'Hocus Focus.'

The album then rounds out with more of the same on 'Blessings Run' with the book-end to the opening track, 'Here We Are' bringing a perfect end to a most incredible and pulsating new album.

Official Digital Purchase Link

Indubious @ Facebook

Title - 'Gone South'
Artist - 3 Pairs Of Boots

For those not in the know, San Francisco, CA-based Americana husband-and-wife duo 3 Pairs of Boots (Andrew Stern and Laura Arias) have just released their debut album, Gone South this past July 12th, 2019.

Stern and Arias originally met through a “Singer Wanted” ad and within a year they were not just bandmates, they were also spouses.

Produced by Stern and recorded in the band’s own studio, the music here on Gone South (out via Dark Country Music) is an amalgam of twangy two-step, gritty guitars, dusty pop, and bluesy, bittersweet folk from the Left Coast.

1. 'Hey, I'm On My Way'
2. 'Anything For You'
3. 'It Ain't Easy'
4. 'Gone South'
5. 'Dollar Store'
6. 'Wash Away the Blues'
7. 'One More Ride'
8. 'Slipping Away'
9. 'He Lost My Number'
10. 'Lousy Week'
11. 'Liberty'
12. 'Always Loved Cowboys'

While Tennessee and Texas reap most of the Americana glory, one cannot discount California’s contributions to the form. After all, the wide and deep genre’s roots reach back into the West Coast’s folk-rock scene just as much as they do the South’s blues and country traditions.

Kicking things off in fine style with the frenetic pace of 'Hey, I'm On My Way' and backing it up perfectly with both the mid-tempo, Sheryl Crow-esque 'Anything For You' and the finger-snappin' shuffle of 'It Ain't Easy,' you quickly know you've spent your money well.

The title track is as good as they come within this genre and begs to be played whilst you drive your car on a summer's day, windows down, arm-leaning. That's followed by 'Dollar Store,' a song that showcases the length and breadth of Arias' vocal talents exquisitely with the mid-tempo ballad 'Wash Away the Blues' along next.

The beautiful ballad 'One More Ride' is then backed by the up tempo gem 'Slipping Away' with one of my own personal favorites from the album, the fun storytelling of 'He Lost My Number' backing it nicely.

Another vocal depth is revealed by Arias within the sternly broadcast 'Lousy Week' with the album rounding out with a flowery 'Liberty,' and then the slow lo-fi country roll of 'Always Loved Cowboys.'

“We had a great time writing and recording these songs and got so much enjoyment as they revealed themselves during the recording process, discovering what they were all about, taking us places where we did not expect,” say Stern about Gone South. “We feel very close to all of them.”

Amazon Digital Purchase Link

3 Pairs Of Boots @ Facebook

Title - 'Guy Walks Into A Bar ...'
Artist - Mini Mansions

Partners-in-crime and brothers in all but blood, Michael Shuman (Queens of the Stone Age), Zach Dawes and Tyler Parkford reveal their unique personalities on their just-released new album Guy Walks Into A Bar ….

Mini Mansions was founded in 2009 after Queens of the Stone Age decided to take a break after touring in support of Era Vulgaris.

Their self-released EP from 2009 contains nine tracks and in 2014 they released the single 'Death Is a Girl' that appeared on their second studio album The Great Pretenders, released on March 24, 2015.

Serving the kind of rock 'n' roll you'd find on a dive bar jukebox, Mini Mansions's new album Guy Walks Into a Bar... sounds happily unaffected by trend or time and yet fills you with a calm sense of knowing.

1. 'Should Be Dancing'
2. 'Bad Things (That Make You Feel Good)'
3. 'Don't Even Know You'
4. 'Forgot Your Name'
5. 'I'm In Love'
6. 'Time Machine'
7. 'Works Every Time'
8. 'Living In The Future'
9. 'GummyBear'
10. 'Hey Lover' (featuring Alison Mosshart)
11. 'Tears In Her Eyes'

The album - which was actually written with a narrative about love in mind and thus follows a story from beginning to end re: finding someone special, experiencing all the wonderful feelings, and finally breaking up - kicks off brilliantly with the electro-fuzz of 'We Should Be Dancing' and then backs that up with both the frenetic 'Bad Things (That Make You Feel Good)' and the mid-tempo smooth glide of 'Don't Even Know You.'

My personal favorite here is up next on the poptastic guitar gem 'Forgot Your Name' which is followed by the euphoric foot-stompin' anthem 'I'm In Love.' The gorgeous hipsway of 'Time Machine' is next and is backed seamlessly by the upbeat ballad 'Works Every Time.'

On an album chock full of dance synth treats combined with catchy melodies and hook line's for days, that vibe continues onward within 'Living In The Future' and then comes the groovy electro R&B of 'GummyBear.'

This quite stunning new album then rounds out with the psychedelic-tinged 'Hey Lover,' which is also a duet with Alison Mosshart / The Kills, with the final cut being the late '80s rock influenced 'Tears In Her Eyes.'

Amazon CD Purchase Link

Official Vinyl LP Purchase Link

Title - 'American Hard Rock'
Artist - Lou DiBello

Guitarist Lou DiBello certainly showed the world he is one of the most talented guitarists on the six-string with his previous album, Heat Wave and now he's back on the follow up American Hard Rock (out now via Lou Dibello Records).

“I am excited to release the new album American Hard Rock as this record is both a logical progression and a big step up from my last album," DiBello explains.

"Some of the highlights for me are the instrumental ‘Driving Force,’ with some of my hottest playing to date and ‘Beast Mode: Engage' featuring guest vocalist Carsten Schulz and with bassist Mike LePond on both tunes".

1) 'Driving Force'
2) 'Jack & Coke'
3) 'Walk Through The Fire'
4) 'Love Is Blind'
5) 'Flying High'
6) 'Beast Mode: Engage'
7) 'The Nighttime Is The Right Time'
8) 'I Love You'
9) 'Frankenstein'

DiBello, an honors graduate from Musician’s Institute in Hollywood, California, and who has been a part of the Central Illinois music scene since the late ‘80s, opens this vibrantly brilliant new album with the aforementioned instrumental 'Driving Force.'

A frenetically zip line showcasing of how a guitar truly shreds, that is backed up seamlessly by both 'Jack & Coke' and one of my own personal favorites here, the powerful early '90s guitar vibe found on 'Walk Through The Fire.'

The bluesy mid-tempo 'Love Is Blind' is along next and throws you back to the days when Gary Moore walked the very same path in the early '90s and that's followed by the free flowing 'Flying High.'

The balls to the wall, ferocious guitar slinging, drums and vocals on the Maiden-esque 'Beast Mode: Engage' is a pulsating, heart pounding ride, with the more melodic 'The Nighttime Is The Right Time' along next.

The album then rounds out with the only ballad on the album, the Bon Jovi-esque 'I Love You,' before DiBello's cover of Edgar Winter's ‘Frankenstein’ (a song that he has been playing at live shows for years now) brings the powerhaus rock show to a close.

Lou DiBello - Lead, rhythm guitars, bass, lead and backing vocals
Ron Phelps - Drums
Stacey Krecji - Bass (4,9), keyboards (4,8,9)
Also appearing:
Carsten Lizard Schulz - Lead and backing vocals on (6)
Bobby Whiles - Drums (1,5,6)
Mike LePond - Bass guitar on (1,6)

Official Purchase Links

Lou DiBello @ Facebook!

Title - Myrtle and Rose: Songs by Clara & Robert Schumann
Artist - Kyle Stegall & Eric Zivian

Myrtle and Rose - the title taken from the Heinrich Heine poem which Robert Schumann set as the final song of his Liederkreis, Op. 24 - features two of Robert Schumann's most beloved song cycles (the other being Liederkreis, Op. 39) along with several rarely-recorded songs by his wife Clara.

The album beautifully captures the artistic partnership of tenor Kyle Stegall and fortepianist Eric Zivian, who first collaborated at the Valley of the Moon Music Festival in Sonoma, California.

Combining Stegall's dulcet tone and impassioned expression together with Eric Zivian's original 1841 Rausch fortepiano from Vienna - built exactly when the songs were written - means that what the listener get to hear is something not only memorable, but atmospherically perfect.

Robert Schumann (1810-1856)
1-12 Liederkreis, Op. 39 (25:40)

Clara Schumann (1819-1896)
13. Ich Stand In Dunklen Träumen, Op. 13, No. 1 (2:09)
14. Lorelei (2:25)
15. Mein Stern (1:56)
16. Liebst Du Um Schönheit (2:22)
17. O Lust, O Lust, Op. 23, No. 6 (1:53)

Robert Schumann
18-26 Liederkreis, Op. 24 (23:18)

Trust me when I say that between the two of them, both Stegall and Zivian combine majestically to bring forth some truly inspired and highly illuminating interpretations here on Myrtle & Rose.

This simply magnificent and era-provoking work of musical art celebrates the 200th anniversary of the birth of Clara Schumann and as a unique bonus there is also included Kyle Stegall's new English translations of the sung texts in the booklet.

Official CD Purchase Link

AVIE Records @ Facebook!

Title - 'Bonnie Tyler - The RCA Years' [4CD]
Artist - Bonnie Tyler

In truth, Bonnie Tyler needs little introduction: from the late 1970s to the late 1980s, she was one of the most popular British singers with a truly unique and amazing voice, a string of classic hits and a legion of fans.

The Welsh singer, known for her distinctive husky voice, Tyler came to prominence with the release of her 1977 album The World Starts Tonight and its singles 'Lost in France' and 'More Than a Lover'.

Furthermore, her 1978 single 'It's a Heartache' reached number four on the UK Singles Chart, and number three on the US Billboard Hot 100.

In the 1980s, Tyler ventured into rock music with songwriter and producer Jim Steinman. He wrote Tyler's biggest hit 'Total Eclipse of the Heart', the lead single from her 1983 UK chart topping album Faster Than the Speed of Night and also wrote Tyler's other major 1980s hit 'Holding Out For A Hero.'

She had success in mainland Europe during the 1990s with Dieter Bohlen, who wrote and produced her hit 'Bitterblue' and in 2003, Tyler re-recorded 'Total Eclipse of the Heart' with singer Kareen Antonn (their bilingual duet topped the French charts).

Rocks and Honey was released in 2013 and features the single 'Believe in Me' which she performed representing the United Kingdom at the Eurovision Song Contest 2013 in Malmö, Sweden and her latest album Between the Earth and the Stars was released on March 15th, 2019.

Both 'It's a Heartache' and 'Total Eclipse of the Heart' are among the best-selling singles of all time, with sales in excess of six million each.

Tyler's work has earned her three Grammy Award nominations and three Brit Award nominations, among other accolades.

Released with the artist’s blessing, Bonnie Tyler - The RCA Years does exactly what it says on the box! Containing CD miniatures of the singer’s first four albums, recorded for RCA Records between 1976 and 1981, each CD is housed in a replica of the original LP sleeve and each boasts various bonus tracks; collectively offering Bonnie’s entire RCA output in one place for the first time.

Disc: 1 - The World Starts Tonight
1. 'Got So Used to Loving You'
2. 'Love of a Rolling Stone'
3. 'Lost in France'
4. 'Piece of My Heart'
5. 'More Than a Lover'
6. 'Give Me Your Love'
7. 'The World Starts Tonight'
8. 'Here's Monday'
9. 'Love Tangle'
10.' Let the Show Begin'
11. 'My! My! Honeycomb' [Bonus]
12. 'I've Got So Used to Loving You, Baby' [Bonus]
13. 'Baby I Remember You' [Bonus]

Interestingly enough, soon after Bonnie recorded this album, she had an operation that changed her voice forever. However, although the difference is noticeable, it's not too dramatic for her voice was always husky.

That said, this album is filled with love songs, all but two of them written by the Scott-Wolfe partnership who, together with David Mackay, produced the album.

It yielded the UK top ten hit, 'Lost in France', and the UK top thirty hit, 'More Than A Lover' and also contains Bonnie's cover of the classic pop-rock song, 'Piece Of My Heart'.

This album was definitely difficult to find before becoming part of this wondrous box-set, but most of the tracks have been re-released on various compilations.

Nevertheless, it's nice to be able to listen to Bonnie's debut album in its entirety once again, this time containing the three (3) bonus tracks: 'My! My! Honeycomb,' 'I've Got So Used to Loving You, Baby' and 'Baby I Remember You.'

Disc: 2 Natural Forces
1. 'It's a Heartache'
2. 'Blame Me'
3. 'Living for the City'
4. 'If I Sing You a Love Song'
5. 'Heaven'
6. 'Yesterday Dreams'
7. 'Hey Love (It's a Feelin')'
8. '(You Make Me Feel Like a) Natural Woman'
9. 'Here Am I'
10. 'Baby Goodnight'
11. 'Don't Stop the Music' [Bonus]
12. 'It's About Time' [Bonus]
13. 'Don't Stop the Music' (German 7" Version) [Bonus]

I mean, come on now. If you are a fan of Bonnie Tyler this album won't disappoint. I originally purchased it just to have 'Living for the City and 'It's a Heartache,' but I was so impressed with the album I kept the vinyl on my turntable for weeks!

Definitely a melancholy album, but Bonnie's raspy vocals are amazing throughout. Interestingly, Natural Force was actually the European title for the album whereupon here in the US it was released entitled It's A Heartache.

Containing all ten of the original tracks this newly-created version for this box-set now adds three (3) additional bonus cuts: 'Don't Stop the Music,' 'It's About Time,' and 'Don't Stop the Music' (German 7" Version).

Disc: 3 - Diamond Cut
1. 'If You Ever Need Me Again'
2. 'Too Good to Last'
3. 'What a Way to Treat My Heart'
4. 'The Eyes of a Fool'
5. 'Bye Bye Now My Sweet Love'
6. 'Louisiana Rain'
7. 'Baby I Just Love You'
8. 'Words Can Change Your Life'
9. 'My Guns Are Loaded'
10. 'I'm a Fool'
11. '(The World Is Full of) Married Men'
12. 'My Guns Are Loaded' (Single Version) [Bonus]
13. '(The World Is Full of) Married Men' (12" Version) [Bonus]
14. '(The World Is Full of) Married Men' (Disco Version Acapella) [Bonus]
15. 'Sitting on the Edge of the Ocean' (Live at the World Popular Song Festival 1979) [Bonus]
16. 'I Believe in Your Sweet Love' (Single Version) [Bonus]
17. 'I Believe in Your Sweet Love' (Full Length Version) [Bonus]

Where I'm not a big fan of country, when Bonnie Tyler brought out this album of country-tinged rock in 1979 luckily for this fan there was enough rock to outweigh the country to still make it enjoyable to the rocker in me.

For my money, artists like Bonnie Tyler and The Eagles are responsible for creating the modern sound of country music. Shania Twain, Faith Hill, and Taylor Swift owe Tyler and company a HUGE debt of gratitude for creating a style of music that has become the standard of today; and for allowing country and rock music to blend together and rise to the top of the pop charts.

With any of these songs easily able to find their way onto the current country charts of today, Diamond Cuts contains the UK hit single 'Married Men' (#35) plus the French Top 20 smash 'My Guns Are Loaded'.

Simply put, on this newly-created CD from Cherry Pop (that now contains six bonus tracks, including a rare live cut), if you want to see where today's country hits got their start play this CD!

Disc: 4 - Goodbye To The Island
1. 'I'm Just a Woman'
2. 'We Danced on the Ceiling'
3. 'Wild Love'
4. 'The Closer You Get'
5. 'Sometimes When We Touch'
6. 'Goodbye to the Island'
7. 'Wild Side of Life'
8. 'A Whiter Shade of Pale'
9. 'Sitting on the Edge of the Ocean'
10. 'I Believe in Your Sweet Love'
11. 'Come on, Give Me Lovin''
12. 'Get Out of My Head'
13. 'Sitting on the Edge of the Ocean' (Single Version) [Bonus]
14. 'Sola a la Orilla Del Mar' [Bonus]
15. 'I'm Just a Woman' (Single Version) [Bonus]
16. 'Sitting on the Edge of the Ocean' (Alternate Version) [Bonus]
17. 'Sayonara Tokyo' [Bonus]
18. 'Gonna Get Better' (1981 Version) [Bonus]

Goodbye to the Island is the fourth studio album by Bonnie Tyler and, as we now know, it became her final work with RCA Records after it was released in January 1981.

Ronnie Scott and Steve Wolfe wrote the majority of songs for the album, and co-produced the record with Hugh Murphy.

The album's lead single, 'I Believe in Your Sweet Love' was released in November 1979, but only reached #138 on the US Record World chart the next month.

Tyler actually won the World Popular Song Festival with 'Sitting on the Edge of the Ocean' when she represented the United Kingdom and so it was then released as a single in November 1979.

This new version of the album comes complete with six (6) lovely bonus tracks including and alternative version of 'Sitting on the Edge of the Ocean' and the always-brilliant to hear 'Sayonara Tokyo.'

Bonnie Tyler - The RCA Years follows the earlier success of the Cherry Pop 2-CD Remixes & Rarities and has been assembled by the same team.

Title - 'Coffin Eyes'
Artist - High Sunn

For those not in the know, Bay Area multi-instrumentalist/vocalist/songwriter Justin Cheromiah has just released his latest album of melodic guitar-oriented indie rock.

High Sunn is the project of San Francisco's Justin Cheromiah, who started using the name to upload his garage rock-influenced home recordings as a 14-year-old in 2014.

His sound developed across dozens of releases over the next few years to the more coherent lo-fi guitar pop that marked High Sunn's first studio and full-band LP in 2018.

Cheromiah's entirely self-made debut album, High Sunn, appeared on Bandcamp in mid-2014. He followed it with a steady stream of singles, EPs, and LPs exploring shoegaze, punk, and melodic guitar pop, including September 2015's Luv Songs for Whiners.

It featured drums and percussion by Tristin Sovannarath, who became a regular contributor to Cheromiah's recordings. A month later, The Okada Bedroom Sessions offered a feedback and distortion-filled collection of "songs that were either rough drafts or thrown in the trash."

Subsequent releases included the split EP Emotional sHits with childhood friends Junkie in April 2016, and that July, his live drummer Joe Jensen appeared on Flower Funeral.

The latter received a cassette release on Crafted Sounds (U.S.) and Galaxy Train Records (Japan). Z Tapes issued the 20-track collection Sequential Sakura that October.

Another collection of otherwise discarded ideas and demos arrived in the form of sorryidroppedyoufrommyanimelist. With production help from prior collaborator John Mello, even the rougher demos demonstrated a tendency toward more structured, melody-focused songs.

High Sunn released its first studio recording, the Hopeless Romantic EP, in May 2017. Also its first full-band recording, Cheromiah was joined in the studio by Jensen on drums, lead guitarist Freddy Rivera, bassist Arianna Vazuez, and producer/engineer Dylan Wall.

Made with the same team, High Sunn's full-length studio debut, Missed Connections, followed in May 2018 on Pnk Slm.

And now, Cheromiah - who blends the influences of Studio Ghibli films, Taiwanese pop music, skateboarding, and boba tea, reflecting the diversity of his own cultural heritage (which include Native American, Chinese, German and Filipino ancestry) - has brought out his superb new album, Coffin Eyes via Cleopatra Records.

The album is a masterclass in guitar-orientated melodic bedroom rock, where the no-frills production adds to the rawness of Cheromiah's emotion and vulnerability.

1) 'Coffin Eyes'
2) 'Ginger Peach Tea'
3) 'Familiar Insecurities'
4) 'Guardpupper'
5) 'Knife'
6) 'Others Can't'
7) 'Night Walk'
8) 'Planner'
9) 'Dagger Dog'
10) 'Not Another Poem'
11) 'Tender'
12) 'Life Getting In The Way'

The album opens with the joyful indie pop bounce of the title track before flowing seamlessly into both the trippy-lite 'Ginger Peach Tea' and then the heartier 'Familiar Insecurities.'

The sunny and upbeat, acoustic guitar-led 'Guardpupper' is one of my own personal favorites here, with the laid back, gentle hipsway of 'Knife' and then the jangling guitar and synth work of 'Others Can't' along next.

The ethereal 'Night Walk' is yet another stand out cut and that's followed by the frenetic-drum groove tempo found within 'Planner' and then the lo-fi indie rock of 'Dagger Dog.'

The album then rounds out with the lyrically entertaining 'Not Another Poem,' the early '90s garage vibe of 'Tender,' before coming to a close with the melodic perkiness of 'Life Getting In The Way.'

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High Sunn Merchandise

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Title - 'Back In Time For Tea'
Artist - The Tea Set

For those not in the know, British post-punk veterans The Tea Set, known for their theatrical live shows support slots with The Clash, U2, and Iggy Pop as well as tours with The Stranglers and The Skids, have unveiled their video for their new track 'Pharaohs - a song featured on their new singles collection Back in Time For Tea.

Official 'Pharaohs' Music Video

The video sees the band dressed as mummies under a pyramid, paying homage to both the campy nature of the '60s rock, augmented by vintage organs, overlaid with springy guitars and bass, spliced together with footage from the bands early days circa 1979.

Formed in 1978 after the demise of one of Watford's most popular punk bands, The Bears, The Tea Set began with drummer Cally and bassist Ron West regrouped and drafted both keyboard player Mark Wilkins and Nic Egan, an art student who'd never sung a note on stage, as their new front man.

It was with this line up that the band made their first record, the Cups and Saucers EP, a raw debut that captured the group transitioning from their punk origins ('B5SG') to their first attempts at experimental rock ('Grey Starling').

It was well received by the music press and fans alike and ended up selling out of its first run. This was followed by three other singles including the wildly popular 'Parry Thomas / Tri X Pan' and the High Cornwell-produced 'Keep On Running (Big Noise From The Jungle)'.

Shortly after, the band's bass player Duncan Stringer left and they were joined by St. Albans guitarist Nick Haeffner while West moved back over to bass.

The Tea Set were the complete package with a highly energetic, theatrical live show that made them a popular attraction in London and a resurgence in popularity brought the band back together last year to not only record this aforementioned new track, but also to put this vibrantly brilliant new CD package together.

Entitled Back In Time For Tea (out now via Cleopatra Records), it includes all of the bands recordings originally released on 7 from 1978-1981 as well as two never-heard-before tracks!

1. 'On Them'
2. 'Sing Song'
3. 'Grey Starling'
4. 'B52G'
5. 'Parry Thomas'
6. 'Tri X Pan'
7. 'Keep On Running (Big Noise From The Jungle)'
8. 'Flaccid Pot'
9. 'South Pacific'
10. 'The Preacher'
11. 'Walk Small'
12. 'Pharaohs'

The album opens with the chargingly anthemic 'On Them' which is backed by both the frenetic finger-snappin' joy of 'Sing Song' and the truly atmospheric beauty of 'Grey Starling.'

Their mid-'70s raw punk sound flows freely through on 'B52G' and that's backed by the perky, foot-tappin' groove of 'Parry Thomas,' and then a song that sounds like early Adam & The Ants (circa 1977) 'Tri X Pan.'

The upbeat one-two beat of 'Keep On Running (Big Noise From The Jungle)' (originally recorded by Jackie Edwards, and which became a number one hit in the UK when recorded by The Spencer Davis Group) showcases the band at their hip finest, whilst both the mid-tempo, drum-led 'Flaccid Pot' and pacier 'South Pacific' bring forth other musical traits.

The album then rounds out with the softly-sung 'The Preacher,' and then two never-before-heard tracks in the form of the psychedelic vibe of 'Walk Small' and then the aforementioned, and recently recorded 'Pharaohs.'

The album art is by The Tea Set vocalist / front man Nic Egan who has designed cover art for The Clash, The Ramones and Bow Wow Wow as well as directing videos for Duran Duran, INXS, Oasis, Sonic Youth and many more!

All of these tracks are available here for the first time ever on CD and on 12" vinyl (only 200 copies made)!

Official CD Purchase Link

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