Album Reviews

Stoned Side Of The Mule Vol. 1 & 2 - Gov't Mule

618Wc0Ed3CL20 years gone by and never a downside. This year in music has got a significant meaning for the carrier of the Gov't Mule. 20 years as a perfect music machine with an incredibly vast music repertoire. The phenomenal American collective has released, to celebrate this landmark in their career, 4 live albums in the last 4 months, each in a different music style, as an ulterior confirmation of their skills and versatility as a band.

After Dark Side Of The Mule (featuring Pink Floyd's classic hits), Sco-Mule (a jazz-infused performance featuring John Scofield, also reviewed previously on BBR) and Dub Side Of The Mule (a tribute to dub/reggae music, featuring Toots Hibbert), here comes the fourth and last release of this monumental artistic project. Stoned Side Of The Mule, as the album title may suggest, is a generous homage to the Rolling Stones music catalogue, with a carefully selected choices of tracks and not necessarily obvious choices to the Stones' super hits.

Recorded in 2009 at the Tower Theater, just out of Philadelphia, Stones Side... sees as Special Guests on horns two extraordinary musicians, Jackie Green and especially Steve Elson on saxophone. The two musicians contribute with their huge skills to embellish and enrich the sound of a band already at the top of their game. The whole performance get that extra notch that can be easily heard on tracks like Slave or Play With Fire, where the  luxury of having Green and Elson adds that almost orchestral sound element to the entire record.

Read more: Stoned Side Of The Mule Vol. 1 & 2 - Gov't Mule

Descendants Of Hill Country - Cedric Burnside Project

CedricBurnsideProject DescendantsofHillThere is a marvelous music documentary aired by the BBC in England this year called Songs Of The South. In such documentary, the host went down to places like Georgia, Louisiana or Mississippi, trying to capture the true spirit of the blues. When asked by the host what really is the Mississippi Hill Country Blues sound, the hugely talented Cedric Burnside answered: "We like also to call it Field Music. It is music that one cannot really write, that type of music that has got no 16 bars, no 12 bars, it is just field music that comes from the heart. I am a Hill Country Man and I will die a Hill Country Man".

I do believe each word Cedric Burnside said in that occasion. The Grandson of the great R.L. Burnside, Cedric has now, for many years, ran the Cedric Burnside Project, in partnership with those great musicians named Trenton Ayers and Cedric's uncle, Garry Burnside. Their new release, Descendants Of Hill Country, is a true testimony of the honesty and integrity of the blues tradition at its very best. The interchange between the musicians, all playing different instruments, is absolutely amazing and one can hardily work out where one musician ends and the other begins.

The record grabs the listener from the heart, that very heart that Cedric mentioned in the BBC Documentary, whilst describing his approach to music. Someone like Nile Rodgers would love for sure that powerful bass line in Don't Shoot The Dice; Going Away Baby sounds like a perfect night out playing John Lee Hooker in the car. You Just Wait And See makes the listeners close their eyes and make them think of a beautiful sunset in Mississippi, sitting in someone's front porch, having a drink and listening to a delicate stripped-to-the-bone acoustic blues track with some good friends.

To find a floor to the album is an almost impossible task; the trio of musicians manage to fuse each other's sound in a perfect alchemy, which makes their project the  trademark of authentic Mississippi (Hill Country) Blues. 

Gio Pilato


Descendants Of Hill County can be purchased at the links below:

CD Baby



Don't Forget Us - A Bad Think

abadthinkpressphoto1Michael Marquart, aka, A Bad Think, is certainly a unique artist. His rock-enter style has always been full of finesse and masterfully executed and his 6th release, Don't Forget Us, although an EP, is no exception.

After the 2014 Grammy Nomination for Rock Album Of the Year, the temptation of creating a commercial and radio friendly album must have been massive for the hugely talented Michael. Instead, A Bad Think put together on this new record, a marvelous music jewel made by seven gems that travels across different states of mind and music tempos.

One has the feeling Marquart is just following his instinct, whilst composing, not following a direct straight line but applying different variations to his work. This approach enriches the album in itself and allows the listeners to take advantage of the full versatility of this extraordinary musician. The instrumental closing Who We Are is, perhaps, the most surprising track of the record; a delicate tempo that run through the whole track, the perfect fade-out to this little, but intense, musical journey that is Don't Forget Us.

It is almost a pity that this is just an EP, therefore a record of a short length. However, if this is the shape of things to come, A Bad Think is a phenomenal music project destined to last for many years. A record to listen, enjoy and love in every moment of the day, wherever you may be.

Gio Pilato

Don't Forget Us is released on Windmark/The Orchard on April 21st, 2015


April 21st, 2015 - Grammy Award nominated artist, A Bad Think has release its new EP Don't Forget Us. today via Windmark Records. Produced, written and performed by Michael Marquart and mixed by Jason Elgin (Collective Soul, Creed), Don't Forget Us. is the 6th release under the moniker A Bad Think. The album was recorded in Los Angeles at Windmark Recording and in Windmark's east coast studio. Don't Forget Us. is a collection of seven masterfully crafted modern alternative songs that is a glimpse inside the mind of singer-songwriter and sole member Michael Marquart.

Read Also:

The Michael Marquart Interview

A Bad Think: Sleep

Caustic Love: (And Why We Love) Paolo Nutini

Paolo Nutini captured our attention on the world stage, when he was introduced as one of the youngest to sign with Atlantic Records before Ahmet Ertegun died. It was this honor that lead him to be part of the most historic music event of the decade, the Ahmet Ertegun Tribute in London, with the surviving members of Led Zeppelin reunited for the one-off show. One of the early performers, he kept his place as a smart historian and did not sing his own music, but dove into the archives of blues performing, "Mess Around " by Ray Charles.

This event happened the year after his UK release of the blue-eyed soul to pop record, These Streets, (Atlantic, 2006, UK, 2007, US).  With the hook-catchy "New Shoes" and the sultry-pining, "Last Request," doing well on radio charts and plays, the Paisley, Glasgow native was pegged by Atlantic to be a Scottish soul singer, causing a buzz, with his stunning Italian name.

Read more: Caustic Love: (And Why We Love) Paolo Nutini

Beth Hart: Better Than Home

There are things that sometimes, despite an artist's attempt to be as open and honest as possible, emerge only through their music. Better Than Home is an album that belongs to a different Beth, emotionally speaking, from her previous album Bang Bang Boom Boom. Yet it preserves her charisma, by telling her fears, hopes and passions through powerful lyrics.

Better Than Home fully analyzes Beth's living moments, and from a musical and lyrical prospective, the record never fails to thrill the listener. The album is perhaps the most personal Beth Hart has ever made. Despite the fact that the demons of her past life occasionally surface here and there, the record is infused with a great positivity and love for life.

Read more: Beth Hart: Better Than Home



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Blues and Delta Blues in particular, have always been the perfect archetype of music authenticity. America is often cited as The Root of the genre, the heart and soul of blues, but this record proves that also Italy is not so far fetched. And so happened that two hugely talented guitarists, such as American, Reed Turchi, and Italian, Adriano Viterbini, decided to join forces and give life to a delicate music portrait of Delta Blues with dark twists that cannot define any better the journey of the blues music of the last half century.

Although maybe a bit short on duration (sadly just about 28 minutes), Scrapyard undoubtedly homages any listener with 8 blues sketches of true intensity and beauty that it makes one wish the record would last forever. Echoes of John Fahey and Ry Cooder can be easily spotted in the fabulous catharsis the two guitarists are able to produce on each track, even without any rhythm section whatsoever. The track Gira is the joyous finale of a music experiment that, hopefully, will reserve us more and more beautiful records like this in the years to come.

A marvelous example of talent and simplicity and perhaps one of the best guides to blues newcomers that wish to learn and appreciate the purity of that wonderful genre that is blues.

Gio Pilato

Devil Down Records -

George Grant: I Got To Get My Mind Right

The only thing that's tough about listening to George Grant and The Mighty Templars is choosing a genre for categorization. Thankfully, our site lives on the boundaries and hates anything that is cookie cutter music, although we do love our sweets. George Grant and The Mighty Templars is high end quality soul. You hear every relevant instrument in just one song. Harp, funk guitar, blues riffs, smashing real time percussion and Grant's genuine soul groove vocals, complete with howlin' improvs. Where have you been? Get out from under your rock, because this is a soul gem.

The title track, "Got To Get My Mind Right" has enough brass to send us back to juxe joints in Chicago, but the guitar picks up and it sounds like a retro pre-Beatles tune. Backup singers and stepwise basslines bring us a Motown tone, without the tin garage sound, but that's refreshing, because Grant has his own sound going on, so dig it.

"I Really Loved You" is a slow ballad of emotional honesty with the pain of complicated love, "I cried for you, I cried for me, now I have to tell you, I just can't let it be ..." while, "Like A Fool" is a straightforward blues to soul clip with standard forms that stabilizes the set back to its basics of coming at ya, soul. Love the way the guitar solo and drums take this time during the bridge. "Let me tell ya bout the girl I lost ..." "Examine My Soul" has a marching beat in its initial drums, a welcoming blues intro, and folds into a gospel chant, complete with organ backups, which show Grant's wide range and grasp of the roots of rock, blues and soul. "New York Groove" is a fun cover of this rock classic with Grant's bold voice and tambourine harmonies, it has his signature sound.  

Here's the uptempo "Move On" and whoosh, do we love that harp!!

More Info about George Grant and The Mighty Templars:

Hailing From New York City via Pittsburgh PA, George Grant has infused the soul, rock and pop music of his youth into a bombastic sonic array. Growing up in a household where one could hear Steve Wonder or Jackie Wilson as readily as Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix, he honed his musical skills supplied by the best of three musical worlds - rock, soul and a solid foundation of pop AM radio. A veteran of the New York rock scene (as both a bassist and vocalist), George has now channeled these earliest roots into a rousing and sometimes heartbreaking new collection of original songs. Rooted in the sounds of Memphis, Motown and even Cincinnati, his music brings to mind an A to Z of old school soul music, from The Temptations to Otis Redding to Curtis Mayfield without skipping a beat - literally. Fans of newer soul acts such as Charles Bradley and Eli "Paperboy Reid" will also find this a very pleasing collection of finely crafted rocking soul meets classic 70's pop material.

JJ Grey & Mofro - Ol' Glory


Ol' Glory is released on February 23rd 2015 in Europe and February 24th 2015 in North America by PROVOGUE/MASCOT LABEL GROUP

In a time of over-refined and over-produced record making in the last twenty-odd years, this album arrives like a breeze of fresh air in the music business. Born in Jacksonville, Florida, JJ Grey has been nurturing the ambition to entwine the work of two of his most beloved music heroes, Jerry Reed and Otis Redding.

Read more: JJ Grey & Mofro - Ol' Glory

Fabrizio Poggi & Chicken Mambo - Spaghetti Juke Joint

 Fabrizio Poggi Chicken Mambo Spaghetti Juke Joint

When a new record by Fabrizio Poggi is released, the heartbeat of every blues fan of the genre begins to pulsate faster, as the sound of Fabrizio's harmonica.

Spaghetti Juke Joint is a tribute to those Italians who emigrated to America in search of work at the end of 1800, in the plantations of Mississippi and and that maybe, who knows, as some urban legend recalls, may have really opened a Juke Joint somewhere in-between the cotton fields. The disc itself pays homage to the genre in full 360 degrees. The sounds and rhytms that run through the record are suspended between the Delta Blues sound of Sonny Boy Williamson, the best period of the English blues masters such as Rory Gallagher and the blues rock of titans like Canned Heat and the late great Johnny Winter.

Read more: Fabrizio Poggi & Chicken Mambo - Spaghetti Juke Joint

Gov't Mule Feat. John Scofield - Sco-Mule


10 years in the pipeline have gone by but finally, this memorable live event sees the light of the day. Sco-Mule is the new live "baby" of the Gov't Mule, a band that never fails to surprise, always in a very positive way musically speaking featuring John Scofield, a very eclectic jazz-rock guitarist that has been performing with the best names in the Jazz business through the years (Charlie Mingus and Miles Davis, amongst many many others).

Read more: Gov't Mule Feat. John Scofield - Sco-Mule

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

Out On The Tiles

Phish - Halloween - Atlantic City 2010

Phish - Halloween 2010
Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, NJ
By: FrontRowDave

Phishing Expedition:

I’ve heard OF them, but never actually HEARD them. Oh, maybe a song here or there, but I've never actually LISTENED to them. I hear they have diehard fans that travel high and low. It's rumored that Phish fans are unlike any other. It’s not about the trip- it’s about the music and…at the same time…it’s not about the music- it’s about the trip.



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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!