Album Reviews

Nine Below Zero - 13 Shades Of Blue

nine below zero

 

 

The British Blues, R&B and Soul band Nine Below Zero is one of those very rare group of musicians able to travel through the music decades thanks to their unique music combo, without feeling the weight of changing times and fashions.

Formed in 1979, the collective created by two of the finest British musicians, Dennis Greaves on guitars and vocals and Mark Feltham on harp and vocals, saw the peak of their media popularity through the iconic 80's BBC TV Serie called The Young Ones, in which the band was regularly featured. The band built through the years, thanks also to the addition to the original line-up of the band of Mickey Burkey on percussion and Bryan Bethell on bass (plus touring bassist Ben Willis), a serie of remarkable commercial successes, from the epic 1980's Live At The Marquee's album until the more recent 2014's re-release of one of their most successful records, Third Degree.

Throughout the 35-plus years of Nine Below Zero's existence, many of the original band members left and then re-joined the collective from time to time. It took, though, the suggestion of one of Greaves & Co.'s good friends and Universal's catalogue man, Johnny Chandler to the band on making an album that would pay tribute to Blues and R&B, to generate new enthusiasm within the band and make possible that this eclectic group of musicians would enter the studio once again with their original line-up. It didn't take long for Nine Below Zero to think about paying tribute, through this new record, to their most favourite artists by playing their own personal cover versions of some of such artist's classics and hidden gems of their repertoires.

What came out of the band’s musical top hat is truly excellent. 13 Shades Of Blue, Nine Below Zero's new album, is a remarkable homage not just to the genres previously mentioned but also to the work of pioneers of genres like Funk and Cajun of the 50's and 60's.

For this exciting project, Nine Below Zero decided to call a generous number of fellow musicians to help them cutting the record in the studio, with a full array of instruments including a Horn section, violin, accordion, backing vocals and even an ukulele.

The sound of the British collective on this album is as sharp, powerful and cohesive as it has never been before, a clear sign of artistic maturity and high level of craftsmanship. Senior’s Soul classic  Don't Lay Your Funky Trip On Me is the perfect opening statement of the album, a tune that enhances the rich sounds and powerful vibes coming from the English collective’s great artistry.

Dennis Greaves is a truly fine guitarist, as repeatedly demonstrated through the whole band’s career and this new album is no exception. Little Milton’s That’s What Love Will Make You Do and B.B. King’s You’re Still My Woman display Greave’s ability in full swing, through two memorable guitar solos. As an added bonus to the record, his vocals too get better and better too, as the years go by.

Mark Feltham is an authentic Harp Virtuoso that has reached numerous by the worldwide music press and fellow musicians in his career, thanks to his great talent and his artistic background showcased through the last 4 decades of music, not just with Nine Below Zero but also by collaborating with artists such as Terrorvision, Dido, Oasis, Talk Talk, Joe Cocker and Roger Daltrey, just to mention few of the great acts Feltham has been working with in his career. His harmonica sound may fly like the speed of light in John Mayall’s classic Crawling Up A Hill or provide the ideal sonic carpet with his playing style for the whole band in It’s Your Voodoo Working.

As much as Greaves and Feltham’s artistry fully deserve to be underlined, it’s also true that those 13 tracks couldn’t sound as effective and well executed as they are without the support of the splendid group of musicians present on the album. Charlie Austen on vocals gives great justice to Aretha Franklin’s Don’t Play That Song and Stephen Large on Piano does a very fine job too, on the same tune.

Bryan Bethell and Ben Wallis on bass are the engine of a spotless rhythm section of a band that emanates energy and class throughout the whole album. When it comes the time to close an album in style, Nine Below Zero never fail to deliver the task. Allen Touissant's Hercules perhaps doesn't pack the same punch on the vocals as much as previous versions of this track as other artists have made, like Boz Scaggs or Aaron Neville, for example. Still, the band plays at their finest, with the Horn section of Chris Rand, Adam Davey, Tom Waters and Jazzy Jeffery Brown shining through the whole song with a masterful performance.

The closing track is pure loudness and fun, in true Nine Below Zero style.  Boozoo Chavis's Paper In My Shoe is finely executed by a band, once again, in splendid form, with Greaves launching himself even in singing few lines of the tune in French language, adding a sprinkle of extra fun to the collective's sound.  

13 Shades Of Blue is a record that shows a band expressing class, energy, creativity and respect for their music heroes without taking any heavy license at all off the original versions. Still, the vibes that Nine Below Zero exude are perfectly recognisable, thanks to a trademark sound that has accompained the band for their entire career. A career that just gets better and better with each passing record.

 

 

Giovanni "Gio" Pilato

 

 

 

 

13 Shades Of Blue is out now and it is available via Nine Below Zero's Official Website

 

 

"Buy a record, support the artists, preserve the future of music"

 

 

John Weeks Band - Dark Angel

dark angel

 

For years, there has been an unjustified rumour in the music business about how much blues artists are capable to play their instruments to perfection but constantly struggling to write great lyrics for their records.

Fortunately, as time goes by, more and more artists show every time, through their hard work and talent how untrue this is, by crafting marvellous albums full of catchy tunes, excellent songwriting and superb musicianship.

The second album of the John Weeks Band from Denver, Colorado called Dark Angel, is the full proof of how a group of skilled musicians can produce, by combining all together their many abilities, all the ingredients needed to create a record with great depth of quality as Dark Angel.

John Weeks, guitarist, vocalist and chief songwriter of the band has been and still is one of the most respected blues musicians of the United States for the last couple of decades. Through the years, he has learned very well how to bring the blues to a new level, by adding elements of swing, jazz and even particles of 70's rock in the already rich and sumptuous sound produced by Weeks and his band.

It's a record where every musician, within the band, has the space to shine and let it loose when the tune allows it, without overshadowing his fellow musicians but just enriching the band's sound even more through their individual skills.

Dark Angel is a finely played album, full of groove and some swagger too. Weeks has got the luxury to have many songwriters in his band, to help him out building a highly entertaining record like this.

Danny Haynes on keyboards and vocals is a true revelation. His songwriting is inspired, his vocals crisp and his work on keyboards an authentic joy to listen to. Stacey Turpenoff helps out as well on the songwriting but when it comes to singing, she is certainly The Lady in the John Weeks Band's house. Her vocal deliveries are terrific and Turpenoff is able to deliver either joy and playfulness, like in the song Devil In My House or intense, deep emotions, like in that splendid ballad that is The Blues Just Got More Blue, thanks to her soulful, powerful voice .

The new John Weeks Band's album delivers many wonderful musical moments. Impossible is a delicate semi-acoustic tune, perfectly executed by a band in stratospheric form. A separate mention deserves How Can You Love Me?, a slow tempo blues tune that exemplify the most the fluidity of sound of this tried-and-true music machine. Stephen Whitfield on bass and Robert Fiorino on drums work in perfect synchronicity with one another. Week's guitar solo on this tune is absolutely outstanding. Danny Hayne's work on piano is, again, top notch and Stacey Turpenoff's singing style is smooth like the sweetest of caresses.

Dark Angel is an excellent record and musically, a vast step forward in comparison to the band's debut album. The John Weeks Band shows all the positive signs of a band destined to a great future in the music business.

 

 

 

Giovanni "Gio" Pilato

 

 

 

Dark Angel is out now and it is available via John Weeks Band Official Website

 

 

"Buy a record, support the artists, preserve the future of music"

Mississippi Heat - Cab Driving Man

cab driving man

 

 

When in 2014 the album Warning Shot by the Chigaco-based collective Mississippi Heat reached the top of the Blues Charts of half of the world, that moment can be remembered as a very significant one not just for the band but for the whole Blues community.

The success of that album was the clear sign that the Blues genre was definitely migrating and transforming itself to something bigger and bolder, still maintaining its roots deep down in those sounds and vibes that have made this genre the most pivotal one in music history ever.

Mississippi Heat's new album, Cab Driving Man, has not just carried the robust vibes and tones of its 2014's predecessor but has even improved the overall sound of the band by bringing it to a new level, thanks to the phenomenal talent of each individual member and the inspired songwriting and musical vision of Mississippi Heat's harpist and band leader Pierre Lacocque.

Throughout the sixteen songs included in Cab Driving Man, the band showcases an artistic maturity of rare beauty. A beauty that transpires every step of the way in an irresistible tracklist that combines the Blues roots of the band with elements of boogie, R&B, funk and latin rhythms in a truly, explosive musical package.

Pierre Lacocque, together with being one of the best harpist worldwide, is also a great connoisseur of talents, when he spots one. He must have certainly spotted so many of them, during his 25 years of career in the music industry and the current line-up of the band is no exception. Inetta Visor is an incredible and versatile singer, capable to show a phenomenal vocal artillery with elegance and class many times throughout the album, like in the jazzy Life Is Too Short, in the wonderfully executed Sarah Vaughan's cover of Smooth Operator or in the unstoppable vocal performance in the funky-spiced Icy Blue.

The talent flies high everywhere in this magnificent Big Band. Brian Quinn on bass and Kenny Smith on drums are an electrifying rhythm section, Chris Cameron on piano and keys is an outstanding musician and Michael Dotson, guitarist and singer/songwriter, is a true genius.

Pierre Lacocque has certainly assembled not just one of the finest group of musicians worldwide, within the band but has also chiseled some of the best songs he has ever written in his career. Music Is My Life has got such a passion that doesn't just transpire through his lyrics but also through a superb performance on vocals by Inetta Visor and Chris Cameron on piano. Lacocque tinges every song of the album with the intense vibes emerging by his Harmonica, providing an ideal music blanket to the already vibrant sound of Mississippi Heat. The work on Harmonica of the Belgian/American artist is truly superb in the ballad Mama Kaila, one of the many highlights of a very refined and well crafted album.

The closing track of the album, the instrumental Hey Pipo!, incorporates the whole spirit of the Mississippi Heat's artistic message. Three minutes of pure entertainment, beautifully executed, with a superb interplay of all the musicians showcasing, once again, the calibre of their immense craftmanship in this free-form tune.

Cab Driving Man is an album that travels to the pace and the grace of a feather swirling gently in the music skies, thanks to the phenomenal twists and turns that Lacocque and his band have designed on this superb album. In the album's sleeve notes, Lacocque says that "An aIbum is a passport, it gives you opportunity to keep growing and travelling". Cab Driving Man is certainly Mississippi Heat's passport for music heaven.

 

 

Giovanni "Gio" Pilato

 

 

 

 

Cab Driving Man is out now and it is available via Delmark Records

"Buy a record, support the artists, preserve the future of music"

Painting Rockets - From The Debris EP

 from the debris

Scotland's Painting Rockets are an impressive post-punk pop duo fronted by guitarist/keyboardist Stephen Christie along with vocalist Keli Thomson. They initially came together back in 2014 and have recently released their latest EP titled, From The Debris. It's musically loaded and packed with exciting punk and post/punk sounds.

The band’s sonic approach mainly gravitates towards seminal post-punk, specifically bands like PIL. They don't pull any punches, their sound heavily coated with jagged rhythm guitars played against programmable drums and elegant synths.

Often, inexperienced minimalistic duos can often end up sounding very raw and sparse. Not the case here.The two sole members of this duo more than make up for any potential and casual lapse in musical conversation by their adept use of sonic time and space. In the end we are left with a full and lavish production that is as impressive sonically as it is musically.

The opener, I’ll Be Fine,kicks off with a way cool lo-fi efx patch; then,with guitars quickly leading into PIL territory. Propelling drum patch drives the song throughout. As we approach the climax we are treated to a very affective vocal crescendo. Christie and Thompson truly knows how to start off an album.

Christie and Thompson as musicians, competently communicate a distinct and eloquent musical language; their songs at times incorporating an ethereal dynamic. One example of this is the third song, Empathy. Christie’s sequenced synth’ line at the intro is at once followed by sharp, rugged guitar.Then, without warning we are treated to a totally unexpected drop-of-a-dime halt; immediately followed by a soothing atmospheric keyboard break. A challenging and very well executed track.

Throughout the album the Scottish band displays their versatility in a myriad of ways. On the song,Paranoid, we are immediately confronted  with an ominous keyboard patch which swiftly takes us into parts unknown. Minimalistic, even avant-garde to some degree. This is a pleasant change-up on this all instrumental piece and displays the band’s boldness with regards to taking chances and the willingness to step out. Yes, the feeling of Paranoia ensues, thanks to clever instrumentation and a tune which would certainly fit well onto the soundtrack of nearly any film.

The closer, The Chaos Is All So Beautiful, shows the softer side of the duo. In this instance the sound and vibe is overtly melancholic; bringing to mind bands like The Velvet Underground who were memorable for 2-chord compositions such as this.

Painting Rockets, like the best punk/post-punk/new wave bands produce short-mini- sweet pop ditties that are well composed and performed. The vocals are muscular yet sensitive and emotive. Although there are times when the lyrics are indecipherable this only adds an element of mystique and charm to their material.

From The Debris is a mature and very solid second outing for a band that seems very confident in the musical direction they are headed towards.

 

 

 

Marc C. Cancassi

 

 

 

 

 

 

From The Debris is out now and available via Bandcamp

 

"Buy a record, support the artists, preserve the future of music"

 

 

 

 

Mat Walklate & Paolo Fuschi - Kicking Up The Dust

kicking up the dust

 

It's very refreshing to hear, in a stage of blues history like this, where the genre is evolving in many different ways, the fact that artists like Mat Westlake and Paolo Fuschi decide instead to stick to the traditions, by releasing an album that is a touching tribute the the sound of the Chicago Blues of the late 40's and the 50's.

Their new, entirely acoustic new album called Kicking Up The Dust, purposely recorded in a lo-fi style in order to adhere to the meaning of their musical message, simply by using Westlake's harmonica and Fuschi's guitar, is a well-crafted portray of blue's deepest roots. It's a record that brings back the song's format back in a time and a place where the intensity of a tune was simply defined by an artist, his instrument and his voice.

Kicking Up The Dust sees Walklate & Fuschi re-interpreting in their own ways some well-known classics of the genre, by adding unexpected touches of brilliancy and variation to the songs present on the album, like the foot-stomping opener Ain't No Big Deal On You or Bobo Jenkin's phenomenal version of Nothin' But Love.

Both musicians showcase an excellent artistic background and tons of musical skills. Walklate's harmonica style has got class and finesse written through and through and his work on Derrick Morgan's classic Fat Man is a true testimony of Walklate's talent. His vocals are deep, delivered with such a style and charisma that bring back echoes of a young Elvis Presley.

Paolo Fuschi is a highly skilled guitarist and his eclectic style allows himself to shine numerous times in the album. Take, for example, Fuschi's guitar solo on Goin' Down Slow, where the Italian artist, thanks to his instinct and his craftmanship, pens the most perfect intermezzo possible for this tune.

Walklate and Fuschi's interplay is pitch perfect and awe inspiring and runs deep through the whole album. The best example of such perfection can be heard in the only original tune of the record written by both the artists called Don't You Know Me, a song that sums very well the level of artistry of this formidable duo.

Kicking Up The Dust is a record that keeps on giving right to the end. Lightnin' Hopkins version of Black Cat Bone is one of the true peaks of this record for intensity and brilliancy from the two artists and the medley of The Technique's Oh Babe (Sick And Tired) and Don Drummond's Man In The Street magically combine elements of ska and blues of the highest level, thanks to Fuschi and Walklate's ability and versatility.

This record is a beautiful, full immersion in the purity of the blues, performed by two artists with a great level of knowledge, understanding, appreciation and great respect for an ageless genre like this. A truly inspired album and, without a doubt, a career defining moment for these two talented musicians.

 

 

Giovanni "Gio" Pilato

 

 

 

 

Kicking Up The Dust is out now and it is available via the artist's Official Website

 

 

"Buy a record, support the artists, preserve the future of music"

Fabrizio Poggi - Texas Blues Voices

texas blues voices

 

There are not many blues and gospel music fans left in the world that do not know the story of the Italian Harmonica Blues Maestro and music writer Fabrizio Poggi. This incredible artist discovered his great passion and love for the instrument since a very young age, making him, through the years, one of the most revered and respected musicians both by music fans and fellow artists.

Poggi has always been and still is, throughout his career, one of the most prolific recording artists ever. Between solo albums and side projects (the latest being Fabrizio Poggi & Chicken Mambo), the Italian artist has released 19 albums until now. It comes without saying that Album No. 20, Texas Blues Voices, had to be really something special and it most certainly is.

The Italian artist's brand new album is a fabulous tribute to those unique blues vibes coming from the great state of Texas, a place that so much has given and still does to this genre in the last half a century. It's a homage at 360 degrees to some of Texas' most fabulous singers, guitarists and musicians in general.

Recorded in about 10 days in Austin, Texas, the record assembles a stellar cast of singers and multi-instrumentalist artists, which often play a part in each other's songs, either by providing backing vocals or playing an instrument in general, in short, a total and great Team effort. Poggi's Harmonica, as always, provides a genuinely fabulous sonic blanket to all songs, either originals o traditionals, performed by each artist, through Poggi's great class and ability as a musician.

To find one or two highlights on such a well-balanced album, so beautifully sang and played is a mammouth task. The level of quality of every Special Guest's performance on each song reaches peak of truly, sheer perfection. Carolyn Wonderland's vocals on the album's opener on Blind Willie Johnson's classic Nobody's Fault But Mine are first class and her work on guitar is equally remarkable. The same can be said about that fabulous artist that is Mike Zito and his rendition of Muddy Waters and Bernard Roth's Forty Days And Forty Nights, where the Texan blues/rocker's deliver is absolutely pitch perfect.

Poggi has chosen an array of fantastic musicians to provide the right sounds and rhythms to each of the Guest Artists present on Texas Blues Voices. Bobby Mack and Joe Forlini on guitars, Cole El-Saleh on piano and organs, Dony Wynn on drums and Donnie Price on bass guitar are a sublime Music Machine to listen to and their artistry and individual skills are second to none.

Every song constitutes a different vibe, a different journey in the history of blues. To hear perhaps the youngest sounding 86-years-old artist in the world, Lavelle White, who has sang in her career with giants of the blues like Otis Redding, Sam Cooke and Aretha Franklin amongst others, singing a song she wrote about her roots with such intensity and pathos is truly emotional.

Each Special Guest leaves a strong, emotional impact on Texas Blues Voices; Ruthie Foster's version of Ruth and Brownie McGhee's Walk On is one of the most soulful versions ever heard of this great classic and on the same tune, the work of Mack and Forlini on guitars is an unmissable treat for the ears of any music fans. 

With all the emotions and the intensity pouring out from those songs present on Texas Blues Voices, Fabrizio Poggi's harmonica keeps working incessantly and beautifully in the background, helping to create that necessary balance that makes every song a bit more special, through his unmistakable style.

The Italian artist couldn't close a stellar album like this in a more perfect way than having Guy Forsyth performing with him a fabulous rendition of the traditional Run On. Poggi's Harmonica and Forsyth's superb job on vocals and National Reso-phonic combined together are an irresistible force of nature and the outcome is simply outstanding.

Texas Blues Voices is an album that screams talent, passion, and most of all, unconditional love for the blues. At the same time, it is a splendid record that deservely rewards Fabrizio Poggi for his talent, his belief and his perseverance in carrying the torch of tradition and history that only a music genre like the blues has in its DNA.

"I guess I gotta keep on walkin', no matter what, till I find my way", say the lyrics on one of the album's songs, Walk On. Fabrizio Poggi will keep on walking with the blues for the rest of his life and we cannot be more thankful for that.

 

 

 

Giovanni "Gio" Pilato

 

 

 

 

Texas Blues Voices is out now and available via Appaloosa Records

 

 

"Buy a record, support the artists, preserve the future of music"

Glenn Hughes - Resonate

glenn hughes resonate

 

It has been some time now, for Glenn Hughes, to make a new record as a solo artist. After five years spent recording with Black Country Communion and California Breed, Hughes has finally decided to break this long hiatus by releasing his twelfth album, called Resonate.

Few recent health issues have not certainly stopped the beating rock'n'roll heart of a tried-and-true artist like Hughes and Resonate is the definite proof of it. Hughes let it loose completely on his brand new record, by unleashing a free-form album in which the American bassist and singer/songwriter shows all the different sides of his artistry.

Hughes catwalks in many different musical territories, sometimes with unexpected and interesting results and in very few occasions, with slightly less memorable ones. Resonate sees Hughes accompained by first class musicians like Soren Andersen, guitarist and co-producer of the album, Lachy Doley on keys and Pontus Engborg on drums. The musician's skills shine throughout the whole record but particularly on prog-rock musical excursions on the album, such as on tunes like Steady and Flow.

One of the great virtues of Resonate is that it clearly sounds like an album where Hughes had a lot of fun to record. Landmines is the best expression of love and passion for funky music that the Bass Maestro could showcase, on such an eclectic album like this.

Things, though, become more serious when the American artist digs deep into his most congenial musical ground, which is hard rock and metal. My Town, God Of Money and, most of all, the splendid How Long show an artist totally in control of his music and his talent, both as a singer and as a musician. His vocals are still as sharp as razor blades, just as his incredible artistry on bass.

Even little episodes like Stumble & Go, where Hughes doesn't feel like he is playing exactly on his favourite playground, can be easily forgiven. The album closing, Long Time Gone, is among the best moments of the record and, at the same time,  the ultimate apotheosis of what Glenn Hughes truly is; a versatile singer, an extraordinary musician and a sublime raconteur.

Resonate is the return to form of an artist that has given so much to rock and roll in the last four decades and still going on full throttle. Like the finest bottle of Brunello Di Montalcino red wine, Hughes demonstrates through this record that his music tastes better and better as the years go by. Good to have you back, Mr. Hughes!

 

 

 

Giovanni "Gio" Pilato

 

 

 

 

 

Resonate is out now and available via Frontiers Music

 

 

"Buy a record, support the artists, preserve the future of music"

Coolhand - Live At The Globe

 

live at the globe

 

One of the many beauties of a country like the great United Kingdom is that, wherever you go in the country, no matter whether it is England, Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales, you will be always guaranteed to find everywhere great musicians and people loving music in general.

Daz Edwards and Luke Bradshaw from Wales are both great musicians and music lovers. The duo, formerly known as Coolhand, has been already guests of our website, when BBR reviewed their self-titled debut album, a remarkable record showcasing an eclectic sound tinted with folk, rock and few sprinkles of pop here and there. The whole package supported by an all around excellent songwriting and production.

Coolhand are though, most of all, a live band and their new album, Live At The Globe, displays perfectly where the root of their sound comes from. In addition, what a live album does best, most times, is to give justice even more to the artistry of each band member and this live recording certainly hit the spot.

Daz Edwards has got one of those rich and intense voices able to warm up arenas filled with thousands people. His vocal delivery is always passionate and sincere and songs like the opener Virtual Life or Give Love A Chance are the perfect demonstration of his many qualities as a lead singer.

Edward's fellow bandmate and guitarist extraordinaire Luke Bradshaw is a musician that every band would dream to have. His guitar playing is slick, solid and his timing in keeping the whole band on stage all together is absolutely pitch perfect.

If you have not had yet the chance of getting Coolhand's studio album, Live At The Globe will give you the opportunity to get the full setlist of their wonderful debut album. Together with being excellent musicians, Edwards and Bradshaw are great storytellers too, through their songs. The live versions of Hardly The Time, a song about past disillusions and hopes in the future and Looking Back, the story of a man paying for a night of romance (and more) are simply superb, certainly Bluebird Review's favourites among an overall, very solid live album.

Live At The Globe also gives the opportunity and the right platform to the band to "test" new songs with their fans, like Just A Man, a very spiritual and powerful tune that could be, potentially, included in one of Coolhand's next albums in years to come.

Live At The Globe is an album that shows in full the artistic depth of two skilled musicians, whose passion, respect and love for music allow them to be able to deliver constantly songs of great qualities. Something that it is not easy to find, in nowaday's music business. 

 

 

Giovanni "Gio" Pilato

 

 

 

 

Live At The Globe is out now and is available via ITunes

 

"Buy a record, support the artists, preserve the future of music"

King King - Live

king king live

 

Rock music has changed a lot in the last 3 decades of music history, assuming different shapes and shades through the incorporation of music elements belonging to different genres. The meaning of what many identify as "Modern Rock", today, can be best described as a combustion of 70's prog-rock with fragments of funk and blues and in this moment in time, not many bands in the United Kingdom are able to play Modern Rock with such perfection as well as the Scottish band King King does.

With three previous albums in the bag and a triumphant history of six years On The Road spent together as a collective, in which King King have received many awards and repeatedly recognised by the press as one of the best rock bands in the country, the Scottish quartet has now decided that this is the right time to release a live album that would capture perfectly the intensity of their live performances.

Recorded in two of the band's most favourite venues, Live is a 2CDs plus a Bonus DVD album that displays a band in excellent form. King King is a collective that assembles 4 highly skilled musicians, which all contribute, through their individual skills, to build a marvellous wall of sound on stage or in studio. Bob Fridzema on keyboards is a real master in carrying, with his artistry, the Progressive Rock part of the King King unmistakable sound, something that can be easily spotted on the Live album in the opening Lose Control or in another outstanding track like All Your Life. Wayne Proctor on drums and Lindsay Coulson on bass guitar are such a perfect rhythm section, maybe among the best in Europe. Their alchemy, on stage, is so highly in tune to make them sound like their instruments are joined together as one, with flawless results.

Their band leader, Alan Nimmo, is certainly one of the most respected and talented guitarists and singer/songwriter in the country. When it comes to write songs, the Glaswegian artist possesses such a natural ability in writing lyrics and modelling the sound of the band in a unique way that provides the best possible sonic outfit to the songs he writes. Nimmo's singing style can be emotionally intense or thunderous and travel side by side with his ability to play guitar, depending by the tempo and the theme of the song King King play. Waking Up and You Stopped The Rain are the perfect demonstration of Nimmo's artistry at 360 degrees and among the most beautiful songs ever written by the Scottish artist.

King King is, undoubtedly, one of the best bands in the United Kingdom nowadays. Every time these four musicians work together on stage, the harmony, brilliancy and quality of their sound explode in full, like in tunes like Crazy and the closing Let Love In, where the talent of this formidable quartet get fully unfolded with remarkable results.

Live is an album not just for long-time fans of the band but also for those that never had the chance either to listen to any of their previous albums or saw them performing on stage yet. The record is not just the celebration of an important moment of their careers but also a statement of sheer class and craftmanship from one of the best UK bands of this last decade. The Ministries of Modern Rock.

 

 

 

Giovanni "Gio" Pilato

 

 

 

 

 

Live is out now and can be purchased via Manhaton Records

 

"Buy a record, support the artists, preserve the future of music"

 

 

Beth Hart - Fire On The Floor

beth hart fire on the floor cover

 

The music industry is one of those many businesses in which you may find either artists very good about selling an image of themselves far from their real personalities or others unable to fake, in the slightest, who they really are, what they stand for and the places in their souls where their songs come from.

The latters are those every day's heroes who wear their hearts on their sleeves and often make of music the only possible vehicle through which they are able to express their fears, joys, hopes and disillusions and in that respect, Beth Hart certainly fits the brief.

Written in a particularly difficult time of her personal life, Fire On The Floor, Hart's new album, is a definite step up from the artist's latest and commercially successful album, Better Than Home. Fire On The Floor it's an album that depicts perfectly the singer and songwriter's urgency to find refuge in one of the very few things that helped her throughout her life, which is writing music, as remedy to fight bad things happening while she was working on this record.

To help Hart to strike the right artistic balance between the power of her beautiful voice, the sharpness of her songwriting and to find the right musicians able to translate Hart's abilities into music, Oliver Leiber, one of the most acclaimed producers in the business, came into the scene.

Leiber's supervision on Fire On The Floor was certainly a vital element, especially by helping to bring into the studio to record with the L.A. artist top class musicians like Michael Landau on guitar or Rick Marotta on drums, just to cite few of them. Combining excellent studio musicians to the high quality of the songs written by this phenomenal singer/songwriter, it makes of Fire On The Floor one of the most accomplished and beautifully written albums of Hart's entire career so far.

It is a record made of two separate halves. The first part shows a dazzling Beth Hart exploring, through her unique voice, a serie of different genres with such vocal agility to render anyone listening to this record speechless. From the opener Jazz Man, a song evoking 30s and 40s smoky club's atmospheres to the playful and happy rootsy vibes of Let's Get Together, the Californian artist doesn't fail to impress on any moment of the album, no matter whichever style she sings. Hart's voice is one of the most beautiful instruments ever created by the hand of God, something that can recreate the same goose-pumping feeling that a guitar riff, a piano solo or an entire Horn Section can give, all at the same time through her incredible vocal versatility.

When Hart pushes on the rock and roll accelerator, she becomes absolutely unstoppable. Fat Man is a tune that Beth Hart wrote several years ago with a songwriter called Glen Burtnik but never finished completely, until now. Landau's guitar riff that runs throughout the song is infectiously mesmerising and Hart's vocals are as sublime and powerful as much as they sounded in a memorable live album at the Paradiso club in Amsterdam Hart recorded several years ago.

If there is something that Beth Hart is never short of, it's passion. Passion for life, people and love. That very same love that sometimes can be either the Baddest Blues or A Lie, as she sings halfway her new record, through a tune called, infact, Love Is A Lie.

Love is the key word that defines the second half of the album, in an initial downward spiral that finds its focal point in one of the most poignants songs Hart has ever written, called Woman You've Been Dreaming Of. The song tells a tale of betrayal, a moral one more than a physical one, in which the singer/songwriter describes in such an intense way, the pain, sadness and sufferance she is going through when she realises that the love of her life is losing interest in her.

Another splendid musical moment, among many, on Fire On The Floor is the song called Picture In A Frame. Hart becomes one of the most inspired lyricists in the world, especially when it comes to capture her emotions under form of a song, as in this case. The tune is all about the desire to bring back the initial sparkle between a man and a woman and to re-live those moments that built the palace of their love through a serie of images, moments stopped in time through the eyes of a camera. Hart's singing style is incredibly honest and it's impossible for the listener not to empathyze with what she is expressing through the magic of her voice. 

The closing song of this superb record is about something that Beth Hart has been mentioning few times lately, during press conferences. No Place Like Home talks about the need of the L.A. artist to be able to spend a bit more time in the comfort of her own place, trying to maximise every minute of her life, perhaps even at the cost of slowing down a little with her very intense Live Touring schedule.

Fire On The Floor is the culmination of what Beth Hart is in her entirety. One of the most naturally gifted female artists worldwide, a passionate and warm-hearted woman and, at the same time, a vulnerable and sometimes tormented soul. This is an album that shows an artist at the peak of her career, both as a singer and as a songwriter. It's Beth Hart's ultimate songbook and her personal masterpiece.

 

 

 

 

Giovanni "Gio" Pilato

 

 

 

 

 

Fire On The Floor is out now in Europe and due to be released in the United States on 3rd February 2017 via Provogue/Mascot Label Group

 

 

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Aynsley Lister - Eyes Wide Open

Music is and will always be the best and healthier therapy to help fighting personal or professional issues in one’s life. You can be either a music fan or an Average Joe or a very skilled and talented artist like Aynsley Lister. aynsley lister

His brand new record, Eyes Wide Open, the eighth of his career, displays an artist that seems to have finally found the perfect balance between inspired song-writing and his personal passion for blues, rock, funk and soul.

Lister’s new record is one of the most honest and open autobiographical records that Bluebird Reviews has heard for quite some time. The strong will from Lister to re-connect with music and his fans transpires immediately through the album’s opener, All Of Your Love. The tune has a crisp, bluesy attack and the main guitar riff that support the whole track is a perfect reminder of the artist’s big passion for the Led Zeppelin’s sound.

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Out On The Tiles

Boston Strong.

On April 15th, 2013, a beautiful sunny day finally broke the long winter of New England. The Boston Marathon was underway. With courage, persistence and lightning speed from all runners, fans and family watched in excitement along the crowded streets to cheer on inspired athletes from all over the world. Part of the event this year was dedicated to the children, teachers and staff, who perished in the Sandy Hook, Newtown, CT school shooting. Families from Connecticut traveled to Boston, to show their strength during grief, and honor their loved ones with every mile. Other runners were there for the challenge of a life long dream to complete this historic race, some of them making the trip of a lifetime. Community, support, family fun and inspiration, are forever ingrained in any marathon. People come together for a purpose. On April 15th, 2013, the people of Boston were strong for their marathon. And, in the blink of an eye, as the runners were completing the race, the sun did not fade, but bombs broke out near the finish line.

"They think they can keep us down? They can ... dream on..." Steven Tyler, Boston Strong.

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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!