Album Reviews

Warren Haynes - Ashes & Dust

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Never give for grant what Warren Haynes' next project may be. In his long and successful career, the American guitarist has often surprised medias and fans with his unpredictable and highly brilliant changes of music direction, incontrovertable sign of great knowledge, appreciation and deep understanding of music at 360 degrees.

Ashes & Dust is a record that Haynes had in his mind for a very long time, given the fact that some of the songs of the album have been written almost 25 years ago. Somehow, though, for various reasons, those songs never managed to fit on any record that Haynes had previously done with the Mule or with the Allman Brothers, right until now.

Lyrically, the album is an intimate excursion into friendship, loss, distance and redemption, sang with that typical honesty and pathos by Haynes. In some aspects, Ashes & Dust, musically speaking, is a true revelation. The guitarist manages to assemble a wonderful combustion of Americana with hints of folk, blues and roots, splendidly supported by the Railroad Earth, a group of musicians that Haynes has been knowing and played with for quite some time. The quality, the beauty and the intensity of Warren Haynes' slide guitar sound too, on this record, is a further demonstration of the immense skills in the music repertoire of the American guitarist/singer/songwriter. 

Blue Maiden's Tale, one of the tracks of the album, echoes almost an ethereal, Celtic type of sound that works wonderfully as a platform for Warren Haynes' lyrics: "There's a story, no one knows if it is true, about a maiden, just as pretty as you."

Haynes' new record is possibly one of the most personal and passionate music journey that this fabulous artist has created throughout his entire career. A truly, fabulous album.

 

Giovanni "Gio" Pilato

 

Ashes & Dust can be purchased via Mascot Label Group or via Amazon

Joe Satriani - Shockwave Supernova

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One can say a lot of things about Satriani's ability and eclecticism on playing guitar but never that he is a predictable artist.

Shockwave Supernova is almost a concept album, inspired by the fact that, at the end of his last tour, Satriani felt that on stage he had developed an alter ego, becoming somebody that was carrying out a different side of his personality, wild and incontrollable, whilst performing live.

Satriani is an artist that lets his guitar sing, rather than his own voice and always with astonishing results. Shockwave Supernova is an incredible ensemble of 15, free-formula tracks, in which Satriani concentrates more on a straighter style of guitar playing, rather than gunblazing his formidable array of instrumental rock tones.

The album sees "Satch" teasing his fans, mixing his rock formula with elements of different music genres such as blues, samba, jazz and swing, also thanks to the formidable support of the musicians accompaining the guitarist on this musical journey.

To focus on a few tracks in particular, on this fabulous album, would mean diminishing the masterpiece of an artist at one of the highest peaks of his career. Lost In A Memory, though,  deserves a particular mention; Satriani wrote this tune back in the late '80s and never managed to find the right melody. Now, thanks to the groove brought by Marco Minnemann on drums and Bryan Beller on bass, this spectacular track finally sees the light of the day.

With Shockwave Supernova, the "guitarist extraordinaire" from New York nails one of the best albums of his long-running career. This album speaks to people's heart in a more direct way than his previous works, managing to create a sonic bridge that carries sounds and melodies between the artist and any music fan.

If this is the result of the almost incontrollable Alter-Ego of the American guitarist that emerges during his live shows, many music lovers are in for a treat from now to years to come.

 

Giovanni "Gio" Pilato

 

 

Shockwave Supernova is released on 24th July 2015 and can be purchased Here

Joe Satriani World Tour begins 17th September in Europe - US Tour planned early 2016. Find all the details about the Tour by following this Link

 

Galactic - Into The Deep

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The cover of the album says it all about Galactic's intents about taking their music to outer space. An astronaut's helmet with the moon in the background depicts perfectly the mission that the fabulous New Orleans funk collective want to achieve on their new record, Into The Deep.

Masterfully produced by band members and hugely skilled musicians Ben Ellman and Robert Mercurio, the album showcases a series of infectious R&B and Funk-Soul gems, which include guest appearances of some of the most important artists of this genres of the last three decades of music worldwide.

The title track features a Macy Gray at the top of her form. A slow soul number permeated of that grace and class that emerges, as always, through the voice of the Ohio-born diva. This is just one of the many surprises on Into The Deep, though.

JJ Grey's energy and powerful vocal delivery on Higher And Higher, Mavis Staples deep and passionate performance on Does It Really Make A Difference, David Shaw and Maggie Koehrner's outstanding duet on Dolla Diva, make you fall in love with this album deeper and deeper on each listen.

The instrumental numbers are, though, the key factor on the Galactic's album. Long Live The Borgne, Sugar Doosie and most of all, Buck 77, with that classic 70's tempo that ignites memories of Isaac Hayes at his very best, are true testimony of style, ability and artistry of the highest quality of this fantastic band.

Galactic wanted to take their music through the universe and into space with Into The Deep. Mission accomplished, without a doubt.

 

Giovanni "Gio" Pilato

 

Into The Deep is released by Provogue, part of Mascot Label Group and can be purchased here

 

 

 

Bottle Full Of Blues - Jeff Fetterman

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It has been a long journey for Jeff Fetterman, since his 1999 debut album, Ordinary Man, to record Bottle Full Of Blues, perhaps the album of a lifetime. This extraordinary bluesman from Pennsylvania has exponentially increased his popularity, through the years, with fans and media by combining a winning combustion of blues, rock and funk, the very same formula that brought him to write Bottle Full Of Blues.

The album is an elegant exercise of songwriting skills and phenomenal music ability, not just by Fetterman himself but by the whole array of musicians performing on the album too. In that respect, the instrumental Devil's Shuffle pitches to perfection the craftmanship of the whole band, with Fetterman, Otis James on Harmonica, Anthony Brown on keys and Ralph Reitinger III teasing one another in this brilliant number.

There are lots of radio friendly tracks on the album; the opening Paradise starts as a blues/rock, to then deviating to an irresistible funkadelic tempo. Southbound is a rock tune that would have made Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis ecstatic with joy, with Fettermans' powerful guitar riffs and the band complementing splendidly Fetterman's voice with a muscular performance on this track.

The album title track Bottle Full Of Blues and Wash My Blues Away are delicate, but intense ballads and perhaps the best demonstration of what Jeff Fetterman is all about. Both tracks showcase his incredible guitar ability with some very powerful vocals, as a demonstration of a musical maturity exploding on full blast on this album.

It may be a Bottle Full Of Blues, as the album title suggests, but Jeff Fetterman and his band are far from being uniquely defined as blues musicians. This album, undoubtedly, is a clear statement of Fetterman's music vision and the shape of things to come in his career. A music career that will take him certainly to the zenith of music scene real soon.

 

Giovanni "Gio" Pilato

 

Bottle Full Of Blues can be purchased on CD Baby or as a download via Amazon

Vortex - Neal Schon

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Neal Schon is, undoubtedly, having one of his most inspired periods of creativity. His previous album, So U, showed clear signs of the guitarist's return to music excellence, signs re-inforced and confirmed on Schon's new release, Vortex.

The 2-CD all-instrumental album captures the rock guitarist in great form, showing once again his full versatility in this labour of phenomenal skills and craftmanship. A labour of love, too, considering that Schon dedicated, in the sleeve notes of the album, Vortex to his wife Michaele.

Vortex is a delightful album made of incredible rock vignettes, tinted with different elements of world music, jazz, classical and occasionally, even fusion. The opening Miles Beyond is a clear statement of intents on what the album is going to be like; a classy flight on rock experimentations, crafted with the attention to detail by a true Maestro. El Matador, Irish Cream and Airliner NS910 make rocking hearts pulsate even deeper, through Schon's majestic style and Steve Smith thunderous work on drums.

Jan Hammer, one of the most talented keyboardists worldwide is a vital presence on the album too. He and Igor Len add an even vigorous depth to the album by offering, possibly, the best keys on any rock record heard for a very long time. A track like Schon & Hammer Now, is a real demonstration of two musicians at the top of their game and an absolute joy to listen to, whether one may be a rock music fan or not.

There are some beautiful ballads too on the album, such as Tortured Souls, Unspoken Faith and Mom, the latter dedicated to Neal's mother Barbara.

An absolute gem of an album and most certainly a record that comes straight from the heart and soul of the american guitarist. The most sonic masterpiece of Neal Schon ever.

 

Giovanni "Gio" Pilato

 

 

 

Vortex is available on Mascot Label Group and Amazon 

Sofia - Left To The Clouds

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Sofia Donavan might be just 18, but very bright sparkles of a hugely promising career can be easily spotted through her new mini album. Left To The Clouds is the second EP released by this young artist, after her 2013 debut called Square One. Sofia's pastiche of folk and country carries echoes of a young Joni Mitchell or maybe a more contemporary Taylor Swift, through the beautiful 5 tracks comprised in the EP. Her lyrics may sound at times slightly sad, still, they always come across by being honest and straight from the heart.

Donavan has put that heart on her sleeves on this record, not just lyrically but also musically speaking. Tracks as If It Wasn’t For Love and Rare As Gold speak volume on the personal life journey that the Hispanic/American Donavan is on. That very same life journey that, through her integrity as an artist, will bring Donavan for sure very far in her music career.

 

Giovanni "Gio" Pilato

 

Sofia's Official Website

 

 

 

 

The Only Good Addiction Is Love - Sean Taylor

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The most delicate flowers are often hidden in the most unthinkable places, either a volcanic rock or maybe, sometimes, in a back alley right in the heart of a big city.

The Only Good Addiction Is Love, Taylor's new album, is one of those beautiful flowers; a sincere homage to poetry, literature and art, played with delicacy and intensity through his guitar and that fabulous depth that his voice possesses.

Taylor has been often emphasised the importance of celebrating the power of language in his precedent albums and this new record is no exception. Through this album, Taylor takes a definite step to the world of aesthetics with the charisma and the experience of a modern Troubadour, supported by a superb array of fellow musicians on each individual track.

There are open references to the Spanish writer Federico Garcia Lorca through a couple of tracks, the instrumental Lorca and the sweet Tienes Mi Alma En Tus Manos. The track Rothko, is a fabulous portrait in music dedicated to the expressionist painter Mark Rothko, whose works are very close to the heart of this very talented artist.

The album flows with such beauty and gentility that one almost regrets to have reached the last track on the album. The White Birds, a poem by W B Yeats closes the album superbly, with the Pedal Steel Guitar of Kim Deschamps keeping the up-tempo, whilst the voice of Taylor takes the listeners to that sea so superbly described by Yeats' lyrics, just by closing your eyes and listening to the song.

A true masterpiece in itself. Taylor deserves respect for his love and devotion for the music he creates and his fine ability and skills as a guitarist. The United Kingdom has definitely unleashed, through this record, another phenomenal artist to definite music stardom.

 

Giovanni "Gio" Pilato

Sean Taylor's album available on Amazon

Erja Lyytinen - Live In London

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by Giovanni "Gio" Pilato

 

For someone like Erja Lyytinen, being raised listening in her home town in Kuopio, Finland, to many different blues influences, from Son House to Robben Ford, Mississippi John Hurt to Brian Setzer, to play in 2014 at the historic 100 Club venue in London, Uk, must have been a dream come true.

The Finnish artist is now already at her 11th album collectively, between studio, live and collaborative records with other artists. On this live recording, from the opening gospel of It's A Blessing onward, the Finnish artist opens the doors of her music world and her personal music heroes, one of these being the great Elmore James, to which Lyytinen dedicated her previous studio album, The Sky Is Crying. Five of the 11 tracks included in the album are Elmore James' but penned in an outstanding format by Lyytinen through her very personal style. Hints of funk emerge occasionally as well on tracks like Person To Person, showing, once again, the deep understanding Lyytinen has about different music style and how well they can work together. From the whole live album, one track in particular though, still from James' back catalogue, The Sky Is Crying, stands out definitely. Such track demonstrates a level of intensity and an incredible depth by the Finnish artist in playing the slide and singing style, which takes one's breath away throughout the whole duration of the song.

But Erja Lyytinen has got many surprises hidden in her own repertoire; Change Of Season is a splendid blues/rock ballad containing a stunnning solo by Davide Floreno, who co-wrote the song with Lyytinen, Let It Shine has that rousing blues tempo that makes you tap your foot incessantly.

Erja Lyytinen is not just a national treasure for Finland as an artist but for the entire world of Blues/Rock and that emerges once again in this outstanding live album. Her music style is fresh, contemporary, forward-thinking and her voice and stage charisma have got that natural fleur and swagger that just pure artists have got built within themselves. If anyone is not aware yet of Erja Lyytinen, please get this album and enjoy it, you won't be disappointed.

 

Giovanni "Gio" Pilato

 

You can see Erja Lyytinen live on Tour next to you at this link: Tour Dates

Album release date: June 8th 2015

Sonny Landreth - Bound By The Blues

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When it comes to developing vision about music in its globality, Sonny Landreth is the right man for the job.

After the last two albums mostly orientated towards classical jazz and fusion, Landreth returns to play blues at the usual level of excellency on his forthcoming new record, Bound By The Blues, released on June 9th.

Read more: Sonny Landreth - Bound By The Blues

The Tomas Doncker Band : Big Apple Blues

We got connected to the Tomas Doncker Band through his recent performances with Gregory Porter, but actually, his music has been part of the airwave all along. Released in 2014, the title track explodes with a Howlin' Wolf scream and then simmers down to grab your attention with an organ harp background vocals gone gospel to blues tension. Doncker is breathy and serious in his message and performance. The blues are a background that float across the landscape, which is a subtle effect. When the lead guitars come in, though, they hold nothing back and totally rock it out. "Can't Say No" is a fun funky rant that invites you in and keeps you hoppin'. Tomas Doncker has a southern swagger, despite his NYC placement on the map here. "The New Day" seems to be a storied ballad of Eastern seaboard life and a tribute to the folks who work real hard in the day to day life, living in faith and strength, wherever they can get it. Here we are blessed with Doncker's wisdom and witness.

Read more: The Tomas Doncker Band : Big Apple Blues

King King - Reaching For The Light

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The quartet from Glasgow, Scotland, has really gone far since the time they released Take My Hand, their first album. Being labelled fundamentally as a blues band and recognized in the United Kingdom as one of the best bands around through their second album, Standing In The Shadows, Reaching For The Light takes a decisive curve in King King's style.

There is a kind of southern-rock approach to many of the tracks on the album and it is most interesting to feel echoes of different influences on the record. A highly interesting combustion of sound coming from bands like Bad Company, Genesis or even Traffic, through the terrific wall of sound created by Bob Fridzema in most of the tracks on the album.

Reaching For The Light is, perhaps, the most personal record the Scottish band has ever released. The great turn on of this record comes from a very compact sound, coming from all the influences of the band members and a maturity that makes this album one of the most interesting and listenable releases of this year so far.

Hurricane, the first single of the King King's new album, has got almost a modern prog-rock type of sound and it is one of those tracks that gets stuck in one's mind in the nicest way possible. You Stopped The Rain is very West Coast and has got the type of lyrics and sound that would be the best car radio companion in a journey on any Highway in America. Rush Hour is a perfect crossover between the type of sound that bands like Bad Company, Whitesnake or even more recently, Black Country Communion have been able to achieve. Lay With Me is a wonderful ballad that has got echoes of 70's sound perfectly modernised by a band certainly at the top of their game.

Reaching For The Light is an album masterfully played, with powerful lyrics and a robust sound that never cease to surprise the listener. It is an honest album, intimate at times but recorded with enormous craftmanship and certainly palatable to many music lovers out there.

 

Gio Pilato

 

Reaching For The Light is released on Manhaton Records and can be purchased on: Amazon

Album Press Release and Tour Dates: http://bit.ly/1BjMWaD 

 

Out On The Tiles

Peter Gabriel: SO, Back to Front Tour

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The TD Garden arena in Boston hummed. It was quiet, as the fans filed into the stadium to wait for Peter Gabriel to commence the performance. Mumbled voices and music fans of all ages were present. There was a positive tension, an anticipation, as if we were waiting for the unveiling of an art piece. We were.

Read more...

 

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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!