Album Reviews

Shaman's Harvest - Smokin' Hearts & Broken Guns - The Review

Shaman's Harvest - Smokin' Hearts & Broken Guns - The Review

 

The album that almost was never going to be completed; the band vocalist Nathan Hunt was diagnosed with throat cancer at the start of the recording process and one could have really feared the worst. Instead, this thunderous rock band from Jefferson City, Missouri, releases possibly their best album to date, a true labour of love and determination.

Read more: Shaman's Harvest - Smokin' Hearts & Broken Guns - The Review

Gomez's Ben Ottewell releases RATTLEBAG

 

Anticipating the delivery of Ben Ottewells new record was as much because I had no idea what his music sounded like, and equally because I was hoping to be swept off my feet. Being unfamiliar with the music of the band he is a member of, Britain's 'GOMEZ", my intention is there would be no comparisons with Gomez's music. As soon as I heard the first song, 'Rattlebag', I knew this was just the surprise I was hoping for.

Read more: Gomez's Ben Ottewell releases RATTLEBAG

Paul Gilbert - Stone Pushing Uphill Man - The Review

Let's clear something straight away; I think Paul Gilbert's absolute best always comes from his enormous talent on guitar and very rarely through his singing voice. Nevertheless, the album is a delightful pastiche of different music tempos and genres, in which Gilbert's signature playing style take the listeners into a fancy flight into worldwide music at 360 degrees.

Despite clocking off at approximately 42 minutes, the album offers a fabulous package of 8 covers and 3 originals, all played superbly by Gilbert. From pop classics such as Elton John's "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" to The Beatles' "Why Don't We Do It In The Road," to more stomping rock- tempo charged tunes such as Loverboy's "Working For The Weekend" or The Police's "Murder By Numbers," the American guitarist never ceased to amaze through his eclecticism and infinite class.

The record reaches its peak on the originals, though. The album's title track that closes is the only tune sang by Gilbert and what a treat it is! The lyrics are very intimate, almost sounding personal and the sound goes into a crescendo from acoustic to electric like a rising sun. "Shock Absorber" has almost got some Zeppelin-esque echoes, while the slow number "Purple Without All The Red," is a great exercise of simplicity on guitar. It takes the listeners on an imaginary stroll throughon a South-American sea shore, lulled by the sweetness that the melody of the tune carries.

Thirteen solo albums in - and Paul Gilbert always finds the way to amaze anybody by engaging the listeners on a music path that surely, this extraordinary musician will continue to successfully follow for many years to come.

 

gioAbout Our Author: Giovanni "Gio" Pilato is Italian music writer, who has been living in UK since 2002. With an enormous passion for music, and life in general, his interest in the communications began at 11 years old. He worked briefly for local radios in his youth and did a one-off radio show on 2007 on the glorious BBC 6 Music Radio station. Gio started his freelance journalist career in 2012, with Italian artists, and is now mainly focusing on blues artists. To follow Gio Pilato and his all cool radio show, Visit: (RTL 102.5 Cool (Webradio)): http://www.rtl.it/Cool

 

Ray Goren: Save My Soul

 

Artist: Ray Goren

Album: Save My Soul

Label: RJRay Entertainment, Inc.

Release Date: September 23, 2014 

Ray Goren on iTunes

 

14 year old Ray Goren is the definition of the word Prodigy. By the age of five, Goren was already playing his favorite tunes by Thelonious Monk, J.J. Johnson, Miles Davis, and Oscar Peterson on a keyboard. Later, while searching Youtube, Goren stumbled on a clip of BB King, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Buddy Guy and Albert Collins playing together. Before the day was over, with the Internet at his disposal, Goren discovered many other blues and rock greats including Albert King, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and Otis Rush. After talking his parents into getting him a guitar, Goren found his calling, according to the artist's biography.

A few years later, Goren started to write his own original music which draws from a wide range of influences in all musical genres. Subsequently, Goren penned five songs on the EP, LA Sessions, which was released to critical acclaim in June 2014.

"From first to last note, LA Sessions, is a hit parade, with Goren strumming to his own beat, as the young composer cleverly integrates jazz, rock, pop, rhythm, and blues elements into one distinctly modern soundtrack," writes Bluebirdreviews.

Read more: Ray Goren: Save My Soul

Joe Bonamassa - Different Shades Of Blue

One cannot certainly deny two things about Joe Bonamassa: he is one of the most talented guitarists around and one of the hardest working bluesmen ever.

Different Shades Of Blue is an all-original record of 11 tracks co-written with a team of veteran Nashville songwriters, except for the opening track "Hey Baby," an obscure Hendrix cover. Superbly produced, as always, by Kevin Shirley, the album title maintains exactly the promises made by its title. Bonamassa manages successfully to experiment even further his tried-and-tested formula based on solid blues-rock, in tracks such as the powerful centrepiece of the record "Oh Beautiful," which is a crossover between a Delta Blues lament and a psychedelic-rock anthem.

Read more: Joe Bonamassa - Different Shades Of Blue

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers: Hypnotic Eye

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers: Hypnotic EyeHypnotic Eye, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

Reprise Records/Warner Bros.

Released: July 29, 2014

Produced by: Ryan Ulyate, Tom Petty, Mike Campbell

This is a really exciting release from Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers and we are honored to preview it. Early press from Rolling Stone and others have said this record was a revisit to Petty's first two albums, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers  (1976) and You’re Gonna Get It (1978). Just a look at the cover art and it is reminiscent of long running LP's that we classic rockers cherish. Album rock is back. However, Petty continues to take this history and move it forward, bringing all of the writing experience, independent attitude and new inspirations right along with him.

Singles were available last month and fans grabbed on to the solid foundation of classic rock that continues to be Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers. His vocals sound as solid as they did back in the 1970's, with the warm textures and unique tones that are signature Tom Petty. The Heartbreakers rock out in this 13th release, the 2nd album in the last 12 years. Petty told the LA Times, (who now consider TPATH an LA BAND!)  that they worked on the record between tours and were newly inspired by young rock bands. This new album is not as thick with blues as Mojo, but there are some gems that go right to not only blues, but roots. Tom Petty fans can be reassured, the Mud Crutch days are still in our midst.

Read more: Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers: Hypnotic Eye

Ray Goren: LA Sessions

Artist: Ray Goren

Album: LA Sessions

Label: RJRay Entertainment, Inc.

Release Date: June 24, 2014

Don't let his bashful, adolescent expression mislead you. Ray Goren, a 14 year-old guitar prodigy from California, has the potential to reinvent any genre he explores.

"By the age of five, Goren was already playing his favorite tunes by Thelonious Monk, JJ Johnson, Miles Davis, and Oscar Peterson on a keyboard.

A few years later, while searching Youtube, Goren stumbled on a clip of BB King, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Buddy Guy and Albert Collins playing together," reads Goren's press biography. "After talking his parents into getting him a guitar, Goren found his calling."

What's more, the young artist has played all around the United States since he was 10 years-old, performing in front of thousands of music go-ers at big draw events like Detroit Jazz Festival (2011) and Doheny Blues Festival (2012).

Read more: Ray Goren: LA Sessions

A Bad Think: Sleep

The music of Michael Marquart is a walk through images, presented to the listener in symbolic dreams. Historically, he has been the understated writer for many ground breaking music projects, and a drummer for A Flock of Seagulls. Recorded in Marquart's revamped Windmark Recording studios, and mixed by Jason Elgin (Creed, Collective Soul), his newest release, via band name A BAD THINK, is simultaneously sparse and dense. Progressive and current, Marquart lends his creativity to the score of it with vocals, drums, bass, guitar and keys. The layers are viewed by Ralph (voodoo man) Bruner's guitar and mandolin, with ethereal textures added through the vocals of Samantha Marq. Finally, additional guitars underline the edges by Mark Woerpel.

Read more: A Bad Think: Sleep

Rich Robinson: Ceaseless Sight

Review by Lee Hebert

RICH ROBINSON TO RELEASE NEW SOLO ALBUM

June 3, 2014 Circle Sound/THE END RECORDS

Stream the record on ROLLING STONE.

richrobinsonEvery time an artist releases a solo record, and he or she is a prominent member of a relevant band, there will be comparisons. This very relevant record by Rich Robinson is going to be no different.

He is a member of one of the finest bands in rock & roll, The Black Crowes. He is a principle songwriter, band leader, musical director, guitarist and singer in the band. So consequently, Rich's influence on the sound of the Crowes is huge.

Being a Crowes fan, I realize that Rich Robinson has more to do with The Black Crowes sound than anyone else. Even his brother, front man, singer and songwriter, Chris Robinson, doesn't make solo records that sound like The Black Crowes music. Chris' vocals, of course, but his music, no.

So, with that being said, this is not a Black Crowes record. Ceaseless Sight is a Rich Robinson record. The music has a lot of the familiar song structuring, intros and the same wailing guitar licks that Crowes fans have come to crave. The big difference here, is that Rich is singing all the lead vocals. As the opening song begins, you feel the music could be The Black Crowes, but the voice isn't. By the second chorus, the Crowes leave your mind, as you dive into the strongest Rich Robinson solo album to date.  

Read more: Rich Robinson: Ceaseless Sight

The Quartet: Shattering

The-Quartet Shattering

Like many things in life, if we are open to the journey of exploration, a deeper understanding of ourselves occurs, and more threads appear to be followed, weaving what we love into a personal tapestry. In a conversation with Jack Hues, we discussed projects that are outside of Wang Chung. Hues' interest in jazz has been long standing. Illuminated and Shattering are two gems in the jazz music catalogs of Hues and pianist Sam Bailey. In our interview, drummer, Dave Smith is described as 'heroic' in his mastery of genre eclectisism. The Quartet and special guests are equally entrancing, progressive and pull the listener into the story lines. They create molds, for the sole purpose of breaking them.

Enter: The Quartet with Shattering on Helium Records (2008).

Read more: The Quartet: Shattering

Stesha Cano: Simple As Everything

Stesha Cano

"Simple As Everything"

One of the joys of running an independent music review website is the freedom to follow artists from their early careers into later seasons. Stesha Cano debuted Like A Bee in 2011 with a mix of jazz and soul that stunned audiences with its raw power.

Her sophomore album, Simple As Everything, is even stronger as she has established herself in the production world and built more sophisticated arrangements, while keeping the core of her writing locked in emotional ground zero.

We had some questions for Stesha about her influences and inspirations. Here is what she said:  

Read more: Stesha Cano: Simple As Everything

Out On The Tiles

Rock Candy Funk Party at the Baked Potato.

Review by Rick Beck.

January 15, 2012

Since this site is fan driven and based, how many would like a chance to see their Guitar Hero play in a tiny intimate place with just a few lucky fans in attendance? How many would like to see Joe laying music for fun with some musical buddies and no pressure to perform to sold out venues such as the Royal Albert Hall? Here's the story of just such an event. Joe Bonamassa having fun with his friends and playing music you never would hear on tour, just for fun and the chance to play some amps and guitars from his extensive collection of rarities.

A dream come true for a lucky few.

 The Venue:

The Baked Potato

The Baked Potato, is a tiny dive bar named for its menu of a dozen or so kinds of stuffed baked potatoes. It's called "The Spud" by those in the know, and has been the venue of choice in the Los Angeles area for famous musicians to jam and relive the early days when they played to small audiences in tiny clubs. Jazz, funk, fusion, even sometimes rock and big band jazz sounds can be heard there on any given night. Mondays are open jam nights for any musician to come and sit in with the house band. It is common for big stars to show up and jam as well. The club is really small, seating maybe 40 or so with standing room for another half dozen. You are seated at tiny tables on tiny chairs squeezed in like sardines around a tiny area that makes up the stage. Intimate, loud, and very, very cool. Think of a place the size of a large garage but the garage band is made up of some of the best musicians in the world. It happens!

The History:

For those Joe Bonamassa fans in Southern California, this singular event last year has become a semi-regular cult following whenever he is home between tours. Joe's friends and fellow musicians at home in LA, one of them, his new drummer Tal Bergman, have a band and like to play Funk and Jazz. Last April, following a tweet by Tal, the word was out that Joe was going to sit in and jam with his buddies at a legendary jazz club in Studio City near Hollywood.

For the last year, whenever Joe and Tal are on break from his relentless touring schedule and at home in Hollywood, they have been jamming at the Spud with Rock Candy Funk Party. The regular members are keyboard wizard Arlan Schierbaum on Moog and B3 (with dual Leslies!), Ron DeJesus on guitar, Tal Bergman on drums, and Mike Merritt on bass. Now Joe Bonamassa is a regular member when he is in town. Guest artists usually sit in on vocals. This month the word was out that the band was going to jam once more for the third time, and was passed to the fanbase in Southern California and friends of the band via fanchat and heads-up emails. It was to happen concurrent with the NAMM convention which brought musicians from all over the world to LA and several were in the audience as well. Tuesday January 17th was the day. As soon as the website put the tickets up it sold out in no time at all. The performances the first two times were legendary and no one who could make it would miss this chance to see the band play again. The day before the gig, Joe Bonamassa tweeted that rehearsals were done and that singer Beth Hart would be sitting in. WOW! Joe and Beth had recently recorded a cd that has been nominated for top awards in Blues music featuring covers of legendary artists like Etta James and more. The buzz was really on now!

Seating is first come first seated and there are only two unobstructed tables in the stagefront area so those of us who are videographers and wanted to record the event again for the global fanbase headed for the venue very early to line up by the door. The club opens about 8, the first set started at 10:30. I was in line at 3:30 and wasn't first. Three other fans who live in LA beat me and my pals who car pooled 2 1/2 hours up from San Diego. They had been there for an hour and a half already! Other fans began arriving over the next few hours and a party was on in front of the bar on the sidewalk. A small Mexican cafe was next door and a liquor store next to it so we were well provided for. Here's a shot taken two hours before the doors opened. Click here for photo. We watched as the band arrived and took the gear in for sound check, greeting each performer as they drove up. Soon the walls were vibrating with music we soon would be hearing and the excitement level jumped several notches as we began to move outside to the funky groove emanating from the club.

The Show:

Shortly after the sound check was done, the door opened and we were let in one at a time with our names checked off the presale list and took our seats. No printed tickets exist for these shows. By agreement, those who had video gear and arrived earliest were taking the best 4 seats right in front of the stage, the rest sat in the next best as the place filled up. Most are off to the side or back by the bar with limited or obstructed viewing. No matter where you sit, the listening is just fine. As the place filled up the buzz started when folks recognized some of the people in the crowd and began whispering and pointing. Steve Perry- Journey, Adrian Smith- Iron Maiden and Dave Amato- REO Speedwagon were there in the crowd. They were left undisturbed because we were all there for one thing. Music by Rock Candy Funk Party!

Soon after all had food and drink, the band members took the stage, picked up their instruments and the first set was on. Here's the set list, more or less adhered to as the band changed their minds several times as the mood struck. The encore list will give you an example. None on the list were played as they decided to play I'm A Man (Winwood) from the first set again so 'whatever' won out. 

Set List from Joe Bonamassa at the Baked Potato

Each song was only a framework for wide ranging jams that ebbed and flowed as each musician took off with his own interpretation for extended solos. They'd joke and chat with the crowd between many songs.

First up, Root Down, a classic by Jimmy Smith which set the funky tone for the evenings fare. A great jam featuring B3 work by Arlan and rotating solos by the rest. Next, Jean Pierre (Miles Davis). More Jazz than Funk with blistering solos by Ron and Joe. Now it was time for the fabulous Beth Hart to take the mic and they played the eponymous track from the cd, For My Friend (Bill Withers), with a fine solo break by Ron while Joe played fills. She was superb.

The setlist had Well Well from the cd next, but crowd pleas changed it to the stunning Etta James song I'd Rather Go Blind from the same cd. Beth's singing and Joe's tender, heartfelt and virtuosic solo break with the band backing produced a soul searing version that left some in tears and the rest stunned by the incredible performance. Here is my video.

The band now finished up the first set with a free form instrumental version of Respect (Redding) straight into I'm A Man (Winwood) which brought the house down. After a break, when many mingled with the band members and stretched their legs, we were off to the second set. They opened with the classic jazz standard Mr. Clean, a favorite of the band with free running solos by all. Pusherman was next (Mayfield), with vocals by Arlan featuring his smoking B3 and Moog work. Now a treat. An original composition by Ron and Tal called The Hint. An extended jam with all taking solos. Joe stepped up next for some Blues with a slowed down version of Memphis Jimmy's (James Clark) Look Over Yonders Wall which he performed on his Black Rock cd. Just superb! They finished up the set with Led Boots, a stomping version of the classic by Jeff Beck. For the encore they decided to do another extended version of I'm A Man which left the audience screaming for more but that was to be it. Not a dud all night long and we cruised back down the freeway in the wee hours a bunch of very happy fans, looking forward to the next chance to hav e a run up the road to the Baked Potato jams with JoeB and Rock Candy Funk Party.

Check out  My Youtube Channel for over 9 hours of videos from the three shows so far if you care to watch more of these rare and superb jams by Joe and his friends.

The Gear:

For the gearheads reading, here is the list of what Joe played that night and his post on his forum.

The Baked Potato rig was ....

Dumble Overdrive special 1981 #0104

Jim Kelley single channel amp restored by Jim in 2010 #013

1953 Fender Telecaster #5088

1963 Fender Stratocaster #L01310

1959 Les Paul standard #9-1951

LOL that should take care of the insurance form...

~ It was a blast literally.... Beth Hart was the highlight for me.

Rick Beck

For more information about Joe Bonamassa check out his website, click here.

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Maine Music News

Dont let the name fool you! Maine Music News provides live concert reviews and photography for shows throughout all of New England. Our photographers cover shows in Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts and anywhere else we can! Our writers provide detailed album reviews and expertly written interviews as well. We may be called Maine Music News, but we dont let the Maine border stop us!
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