Album Reviews

Eddie Martin's Big Red Radio - Live In Tuscany



It's celebration time for the British-born and super versatile blues artist Eddie Martin. After his 2014 Best Of album, Martin has now released a new record, Live In Tuscany, in which the scale of his eclecticity reaches one of the highest peaks of Martin's music career.

The live album, released under the name of Eddie Martin's Big Red Radio, took almost 3 years for the blues Maestro to be able to find the right musicians and complete this project.

Live In Tuscany develops the original form of some of Martin's classics to a complete new level, dazzling through country-blues, americana and folk, incorporating brilliantly even some pop music elements.

The outcome fits perfectly the album's concept. Blues Took Me By The Hand resonates as the work of a complete blues orchestra, pulsating throughout the whole tune with elegance and craftmanship. Ingolstadt has got a fabulous down-tempo groove, with a great solo on keyboards by Alberto Gurissi.

The intensity of Five Things brings back memories of Blind Willie Johnson, Something About You Baby carries through some little funky vibes while Month Of Mondays' Bossanova delicate sound help even further to make this album even more palatable to any music lover.

The rock attack on Watching The Weather detonates as strong as a Led Zeppelin song would have done in the old days. Martin's voice sounds as good as it has ever been throughout Live In Tuscany and his work on Harmonica, Slide and Electric Guitar is first class.

Martin plays with the lyrical themes on the album very cleverly. Aware of the multi-ethnicity of the musicians present in this project, Eddie Martin incorporates themes very close to his heart, such as social justice to others related to social harmony, tolerance and respect for one another.

Live In Tuscany represents not just a music feast in its entirety but it is also a clear manifesto of the high level of music skills of an artist like Martin. An artist that never stops to surprise and entertain people with his talent and ability.


Giovanni "Gio" Pilato


Live In Tuscany is out now and can be purchased at Amazon

Leslie West - Soundcheck



Soundcheck is an album that describes the many faces of a musician that loves music in its entirety, approaching each song from West's unique point of view. This album is, essentially, an elegant collection of covers that West had always wanted to put on record and felt that it was right to do so right now.

Some of the album's covers have been given an amazing transformation. You Are My Sunshine is played in an astonishing minor-key version, allowing West and Peter Frampton, special guest on this track, to showcase both guitarists' great technique and West's amazing vocals. The best vocals that West delivers on the album belong though, to Empty Promises/Nothing Sacred, a song that West defines as "His tribute to AC/DC". The New York Guitar virtuoso clearly demonstrates on this track that rock knows no age, either from a guitar playing prospective or by delivering incredible levels of vocals.

There are many more highlights on the album. The opening Left By The Roadside To Die is, perhaps, the stand-out track on Soundcheck. West combines beautifully acoustic and electric guitar on a music carpet of synth, created by his keyboard player David Biglin. The solo guitar part played on a slide is a little masterpiece and encaptures perfectly the skills and artistry of Leslie West.

The two instrumentals on Soundcheck are also very special. Eleanor Rigby, The Beatles classic, gives the opportunity to West's bassist, Rev Jones, to pen an incredible solo of rare beauty. A Stern Warning instead, sees West zigzaging elegantly from acoustic blues to country and classical, with amazing changes of music tempo thrughout the whole track.

West is never shy in inviting big names onto any of his albums and Soundcheck is no exception. For the cover of Freddie King's classic Goin' Down, West dusts off from his archive a version that he had recorded more than a decade ago with Queen's guitarist Brian May and legendary session players of the calibre of David Hood and Bobby Whitlock. Once West had the original tapes, he just had to track vocals on and the outcome sounds really incandescently powerful.

One final note for the closing track of the album. Willie Dixon's Spoonful was recorded live in 1988 and along with West, there was Joe Franco on drums and the late great Jack Bruce on bass and vocals. The live performance of this tune is wild, powerful, with that 70's circa raw type of sound and reminds all of us once again, not just West's incredible artistry on guitar but also Bruce's amazing talent.

Soundcheck is not, perhaps, West's finest hour but contains so many great moments that tiny moments of indulgence can be easily forgiven. A celebration of skills and musical extravaganza, elegantly packed, as always by Leslie West.


Giovanni "Gio" Pilato


Soundcheck is out now via Provogue/Mascot Label Group

Marcus Nand - Time And Tide Wait For No Man

marcus nand

One of the greatest virtues of an artist is to be able to assemble his music roots on a record and mash them together, creating a winning music formula.

Marcus Nand is an artist that has got in his DNA a lot of rock, blues, world music and an insane passion for Flamenco guitar style. Time And Tide Wait For No Man has got plenty of rock ballads, often penned by some beautifully executed Flamenco guitar solo and that deep, bluesy voice the English-born Nand has installed in his vocal chords.

Self-produced by Nand himself and co-written together with one of the best bass player worldwide, Carmine Rojas (playing on the album too), Time And Tide Wait For No Man is a definite step ahead in Nand's eclectic music career. Lyrically, the album goes through different aspects of life, in which many listeners may easily find themselves into. Nand gets even a bit spiritual, in Tarifa, one of the best tunes of the album, when he sings "Fear will leave you, God will touch you. Then your spirit will suddenly find you...".

Nand sings both in English and Spanish on the album, as a true homage to his roots. His voice improves as the years go by and songs like Cuando Amamos or The Prize are a clear manifesto of the great singing range of the American-based artist.

Time And Tide Wait For No Man feels like a sweet caress in the night, any night, anywhere in the world. The album of the maturity for Marcus Nand.


Giovanni "Gio" Pilato



Time And Tide Wait For No Man is out now and available on ITunes and Amazon

Anna Von Hausswolff - The Miraculous


The Miraculous is a musical rollercoaster between darkness and serenity. This album is a body of work so modern, beautiful and challenging in many aspects that it deserves a special place in the music Olympus.

Anna Von Hausswolff, on her third album, offers a magnificent portrait in music of gothic litherature, history and fantasy. That same fantasy that populated the heart and soul of the young artist from Sweden during her childhood. The Miraculous is a place that Von Hausswolff has idealised for many years, when bedtime stories related to the album title brought in her sleep journeys made of terror, magic and loss.

The Miraculous is an outstanding journey into creativity and talent. Von Hausswolff's voice offers, throughout the album, an array of peaks, curves, highs and lows, showing a remarkable amount of flexibility and power at the same time.

Musically, the album is almost a cinematic dream. One of the secrets of the fabulous sound springing out of The Miraculous comes from the use of the Acusticum Pipe Organ from Piteå, Sweden, with the impressive amount of nine thousand pipes. Together as an organ, this magnificent instrument incorporates built-in glockenspiel, vibraphone, celeste and percussion adding to the core of this album, a unique wall-of-sound.

The title track is ethereal, with slightly dark Popol Vuh-type music passages at times, dominated totally by the purity of Von Hausswolff's voice and the remarkable sound of the organ above mentioned. Come With Me/Deliverance is exhilarating and intense, An Oath is an ode to seductivity, with Von Hausswolff drawing you in with her beautifully unique singing voice.

An artist like no other in the music business. A record to cherish and love. Album of the year.


Giovanni "Gio" Pilato




The Miraculous can be purchased via Amazon 

Anna Von Hausswolff's The Miraculous Tour Dates:


AVH Tour

Broken Down - Dana Fuchs

Dana Fuchs Broken Down Acoustic Sessions

Broken Down is an album that meant to be made, maybe through divine intervention. The new album by Dana Fuchs is her first acoustic record, a record that Fuchs' fans wanted for a very long time. The central theme of the album came up by pure accident during the recording session, simply by staring at photos of some of Fuchs' family members, sadly passed away prematurily.

The American Artist has always had a very close relationship with her family and such personal losses made a big effect on the New York based singer/songwriter's soul. Being on Tour has been a kind of antidote for Dana Fuchs in the last couple of years, able to discharge her sorrow night after night on stage, with her devoted fans and her band. Broken Down encapsules 14 stripped-to-the-bone songs, some of them brand new, other previously released on early albums plus the cover of Ain't No Love In The Heart Of The City.

The album, as mentioned by Fuchs on the sleeve notes, is a meditation in music on love and loss on a deep, personal level. Lyrically, Dana Fuchs explores the life journey she has been through in the last couple of years with the usual, unique intensity and honesty that have been some of the trademarks of her career, together with her powerful, beautiful voice. There are songs about holding memories of the past, although painful sometimes (Keepsake, What Went Right), which the American Artist knows to be the only recipe she knows to hold on to the meaning of life. Dana Fuchs sings with her heart and soul on each song, no matter whether it is about sufference and loss (Moment Away) or love (Kind Of Love).

Jon Diamond, Fuchs' Compadre of a lifetime, shows his craftmanship once again in co-producing the album (together with Fuchs), playing acoustic/electric guitars and harmonica beautifully. One of Diamond's big merit is to be able to read and feel Fuchs' inner feelings like no other and, as a consequence, to complete musically Fuchs' outstanding singing style on the album.

The closing tracks of the record are particularly moving. Misery, a demo that Fuchs made some time ago and never saw the light of the day until now, shows a woman that is trying hard to get back on her feet, still living the pain of her personal losses ("Are you just like me? Holding on to misery... You need someone to believe in).

Dana Fuchs has announced recently to the press that she will take some time off from touring, before the Winter Tour and given what she has been through, that is perfectly understandable. This beautiful acoustic album has allowed the singer/songwriter to express and let go, under the art form she likes the most, all the pain Fuchs has been through and still going. It is not a coincidence that in Sad Salvation, the song that closes the record, there are lyrics such as "She smiles at the children selling candy on the street, remembers the good old days, a life so bittersweet. Listens to the schoolgirls sing their songs a little louder and with the weight of the world she walks a little prouder".

Dana Fuchs has got all the right to feel that pride, especially on this record. With Broken Down, Fuchs has been able to frame a crucial, although sad part of her life on a special record like this and, at the same time, to gift her fans with a body of work of incredible intensity. Broken Down is food for soul and a beautiful portrait of true artistry and poetry.


Giovanni "Gio" Pilato


Broken Down will be released November 10th 2015 and can be purchased via Dana Fuchs Website

The Kitchen Sink - Omar & The Howlers


There are many ways to remember the people we loved in our lives. Those very same people who played an important part for us and left an inner and indelible mark in our existences.

Omar Dykes and his Howlers decided, through their new album, to honor some of their friends they lost in 2014 in the only way that suited them the most, through music. Twelve songs that show a perfect caption of the band's music philosophy, throughout their whole career. Every Omar & The Howlers album has always an intense, visceral, direct and distinctive sound and, above all, always respects the music roots closer to the band's hearts.

At first, The Kitchen Sink may seem an album divided into two segments, with seven songs all completely original and five covers. Given the theme of the album, though, even the choice of the covers makes lyrically sense and the whole album comes together as a unique core. From the Western music shades coming from I'll Keep On Dreamin, through the Country-esque and easygoing Dixie's All Night Bar until the firing, in every sense of the word, Fire And Gasoline, where Dykes' guitar offers sumptuous, delicate arpeggios, belonging to, perhaps, the finest moments of the repertoire of this giant of the blues.

Even when Omar & The Howlers do covers, they manage spectacularly to put their music signature on each songs, making them sound like they are almost their own. Dykes proves, once again, besides being a great guitar player, to be also a fabulous singer in the old classic Cutie Named Judy, by Jerry McCain. Throughout the whole record, The Howlers sound in great shape and a front man like Dykes could not wish to have a better group of musicians accompanying him. On this particular tune, they succeed beautifully in re-creating an highly entertaining 50's rock type of sound.

The cover of Who Do You Love is perhaps the most intense moment of the album. This celebrated masterpiece, originally from Bo Diddley, is executed so masterfully by The Howlers which, despite the turnover of musicians throughout the years and within the band, manage to mantain a robust and highly refined sound, so intense to sound like a real blues war machine. This version is certainly a true testimony of their musical artistry.

The album closes with another original by Omar & The Howlers, Climb On Board, where Nick Connolly's piano solo stands out in a tune that resembles Western atmospheres and carries an intrinsic message of love and devotion to the band's friends sadly passed in 2014.

"Climb on board and ride this gospel train with me," sings Dykes, almost to invite the listener on this journey made of memories and very personal to Dykes and his band. Omar & The Howlers, once again, have not only made another great record but also created a labour of love and respect for life and that great value which is friendship.


Giovanni "Gio" Pilato


The Kitchen Sink can be purchased as a download via Amazon

Walter Trout - Battle Scars

battle scars

Few people have the ability to talk about the pain, the suffering and the return to life in the way Walter Trout does. Few, very few, believed and hoped to be able to hear a new album from Trout, given the heavy health issues in which the American artist had been through in the last 24 months. Whereas The Blues Came Calling drew almost an artistic testament, Battle Scars, Walter Trout's new album, marks instead the struggle and the physical and artistic resurrection of this incredible artist.

By Trout's admission, Battle Scars is a Concept Album that, through its lyrics, describes the moments of despair and the desire to fight against the painful physical ordeal Trout has lived in recent times. Despite the hard lyrics, Trout honesty and immediacy of his words go straight to the heart of any listeners. Sonically, the album is a complete triumph. Battle Scars reaches such levels of musical excellence that perhaps the American artist had managed to achieve as a soloist only with albums such as Blues For A Modern Daze or Full Circle in his long and glorious career.

Produced very accurately and beautifully once again by Eric Corne, Battle Scars finds Trout and his band in top form. Trout's guitar has that sound of a lion kept in a cage for a long, long time. Michael Leisure and Sammy Avila, faithful "Compadres" of Trout for many years, combine their talent in playing their instruments with Trout's guitar and harmonica so perfectly and in unison with the American Guitar Maestro, almost sounding like a unique sonic core throughout the album.

Walter Trout's new album is perhaps one of the most rock sounding records he has ever done and the sound that echoes out of Battle Scars goes in perfect harmony with the concept of the album. At first dark and almost sinister in the lyrics, then increasingly steady and powerful, especially through Trout's Wall Of Sound, as to symbolize the will to fight with all his strength against the pain.

Playin 'Hideaway, Fly Away and Move On exude powerful and lightning hard-rock, for which bands such as AC/DC now would sell their souls to the devil, in order to be able to emulate what Trout and his band manage to put together, on Battle Scars.

My Ship Came In and Tomorrow Seems So Far Away are so perfect that not a single note is out of place on those tracks. Cold, Cold Ground, despite the gloomy lyrics, summarizes beautifully in its majestic blues tempo all about Trout's talent, both as a guitarist and as a singer/songwriter.

It is rather difficult, if not impossible, to find any low points in a flawless album like this, that shows so many traces of sonic and lyrical peaks of great artistic value. The acoustic ballad Gonna Live Again that closes the album, sums up everything that Battle Scars is all about. The fears, the hopes, the desire to fight and never give up. And for Trout and all his fans, the absolute certainty to have found once again, through this album, one of the most inspired and talented music artists of this generation.


Giovanni "Gio" Pilato


Battle Scars is available worldwide via Mascot Label Group

Dave Hanson - Blind Faith (EP)

Dave Hanson


Leeds in England is maybe not the most obvious place in the world to listen to music that echoes genres such as Rootsy and Americana. Dave Hanson, however, manages very successfully to put together a music package that fuses the tradition of the best British songwriting with American West Coast music style, in an excellent mini EP album that offers many promises for a full length debut album to come expected for this winter.

Blind Faith, the title track of Hanson's mini album, is catchy and radio friendly. The song recalls echoes of JJ Cale and Black Keys at the same time, artists which are very close to Dave Hanson's heart.

Four songs that offer different shades of a musician who has, undoubtedly, very interesting artistic intuitions. One of such intuitions is expressed through the sinuous Island Sky, which transports the listeners into a tropical oasis, suspended half a way between the Caribbean and the M6, one of the most well-known British motorways.

If this EP is a taste of things to come, we may expect even more fireworks from the forthcoming album that Dave Hanson will release later this winter. In the meantime, Blind Faith is certainly an EP of great quality and depth that deserves the attention of all the fans of great music at 360 degrees.


Giovanni "Gio" Pilato


Blind Faith EP can be purchased via Amazon


Joe Bonamassa - Live At Radio City Music Hall


The hardest working man in music, the self-made blues/rock Titan, Bonamassa must have heard these comments a thousand times in his career. Music cliches aside, Live At Radio City Music Hall, his new live album (the 14th one in 13 years) offers a different take on the many abilities of the Guitar Virtuoso from Utica, NY.

From Bonamassa's personal perspective, this new live album has many significances. It is the Grand Finale of 36 months spent with his half-acoustic and half-electric band on Tour and also a dream come true, by playing in such iconic venue for a born and bred New Yorker like Bonamassa.

Given the importance of the event and the special location in his heart, Jo-Bo showcases his class and talent in many different ways, by re-dressing some of the songs from his latest studio album under form of more bluesy, folk or even funky shaped tunes. In the acoustic part of the show, with what Bonamassa called The Huckleberries part of the band, songs like Different Shades Of Blue or Happier Times dazzle the crowd with a new light.

The electric part of the show is equally intense. Bonamassa, maybe feeling a little bit the tension of playing on home ground, loses no time in onstage banters or indulging himself on long guitar solos. There is an excellent array of musicians on stage with him and the Guitar Maestro uses their skills and artistry in full. From the raw blues atmosphere of Double Trouble (sadly absent from the cd tracklist) to the rampant blues/rock of One Less Cross To Bear, a new track, in which the Horns Session adds an extra spice to the swaggering sound of this fabulous tune.

Many underestimate a vital point, about Joe Bonamassa. He is not just a hugely talented guitarist but he is a very good singer too. The closing version of So, What I Would Do?, offers one of the best vocal live takes this artist has ever given in his long and glorious career. The standing ovation from the crowd, in the end, is totally deserved.

The Radio City Music Hall live recording is, perhaps, one of the best live albums Bonamassa has recorded. There is a real desire and drive, from the American Guitarist, to showcase his knowledge and understanding of different music genres, without falling into the temptation to play his hits over and over again. And he certainly succeeded in doing so.


Giovanni "Gio" Pilato



Live At Radio City Music Hall will be released on 2nd October 2015 and can be purchased at Mascot Label Group or Amazon

Joe Bonamassa World Tour Dates

Uk Tour:


Fabrizio Poggi - Il Soffio Della Liberta'



The aim of who creates art, any form of art, is to bring to the masses that message of culture that, in an era like this, too often get soffocated or totally nullified by the Internet and the various Social Networks.

Fabrizio Poggi from Italy is an artist that respects such statement right to the bone. His new record, Il Soffio Della Liberta' (The Murmur Of Freedom) is a labour of love, inspired by the blues culture and the values and the richness of history that this genre carries. The album has been inspired by a theatrical music performance of the Italian Bluesman, celebrating a century of blues through the songs and the stories of those human heroes that have brought the Afro-American population from slavery to freedom.

The album features some brilliantly revised classics, such as Seeger's We Shall Overcome or Dylan's I Shall Be Released and some powerful Traditionals of the Blues, like Oh Freedom or I Want Jesus To Walk With Me.

Poggi has, in this record, stellar Special Guests to help him accomplishing this splendid music project, artists of the highest calibre like The Blind Boys Of Alabama, Eric Bibb, Charlie Musselwhite, Garth Hudson and many more. Musically, Poggi challenges himself in performing those classics, by offering an highly palatable ensemble of Blues, Folk and Americana. And where his voice can't reach, then there is his fabulous harmonica and the class of the musicians accompanying Poggi, creating some really special vibes on this musical history ride. To hear the closing track of the album, the evergreen Amazing Grace, just on harmonica and voice, it is really something special and almost goose-pumping.

There are several references, on Il Soffio Della Liberta', to Martin Luther King and his importance on inspiring Poggi to create this concept album. In one of his most famous quotes, King once said "You can kill the dreamer, but you can't kill the dream". That is the way in which the Italian Artist lives and has always lived his life, by breathing, thinking and living the dream of Blues every single day through his enormous talent.

A work of love, honesty and class. Il Soffio Della Liberta' is musical food for soul.


Giovanni "Gio" Pilato



Il Soffio Della Liberta' can be purchased via Amazon Italia.


Fabrizio Poggi will be touring the United States, please see Tour Dates below:

September 27th - Gruene Hall, New Braunfels, TX

October 2nd - Hondo's On Main, Fredericksburgh, TX

October 3rd - Poodie's Party, Spicewood, TX


Everybody Wants A Piece - Joe Louis Walker



It's quite remarkable that some artists like Joe Louis Walker manage to sustain an incredible quality of sound and energy as the years go by, even after something like 20 plus albums recorded. Everybody Wants A Piece, out on 9th October, is his new, highly entertaining album, that travels across Walker's music influences since he was a teenager.

On his own admission, to record this album was almost a "no brainer" for Walker and his band, an ensemble of highly skilled musicians that fuses perfectly the spirit and the style of this guitarist Virtuoso.

Walker, together with an indisputable ability as a guitarist, has also the gift to be highly versatile as a songwriter too. Black & Blue is almost a R&B ballad, on which JL Walker talks about conflicts of the heart between a couple and is perhaps one of the songs where the whole band has the opportunity to flex their musical muscles splendidly.

Witchcraft has got a very sinuous 70's funky tempo. One Sunny Day carries instead that blues/rock torch so much loved by Walker throughout his career. Gospel Blues is a delicate instrumental blues piece, where the ability and the class of the American Artist in playing guitar, with that nocturnal, almost intimate sound, raises straight to bar 10 in excellence and talent.

Buddy Guy's cover of Man Of Many Words has got that real depth and intensity able to rival even the original, through the powerful voice of Walker, his formidable band and a horn section that gives the feeling of being in the presence of a true R&B orchestra.

A record that oozes authenticity and passion for the blues and all the different musical shades or colors applicable to the genre. 

Everybody Wants A Piece offers exactly what the album describes in his title. Eleven songs that each contain a piece of the talent of this gifted musician. A truly beautiful album.


Giovanni "Gio" Pilato




Everybody Wants A Piece can be pre-ordered on Mascot Label Group website or through Amazon

Out On The Tiles

Train Rocks Tanglewood - August 8 2011, Promises A New Record

TRAIN at Tanglewood, MA, August 8th, 2011
Photography by Cheryl Puerling.
Tanglewood Catering by Valerie Jensen-Lefevre at Kitchen Therapy.

This is the second time I've seen Train live. I caught their show at the Calvin Theatre in Northampton last year. It was an in the moment  decision, but I'm glad that I went. The show shined with its new album, 'Save Me San Francisco,' mixed with favorites from their multiple records, and added some great covers of classic rock hits from Van Halen and Led Zeppelin. Who wouldn't want a re-run of that?



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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!