Album Reviews

Sofia - Left To The Clouds

sofiadonavan

 

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

erjalyytinen

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 

 

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

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There 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".

Read more: Descendants Of Hill Country - Cedric Burnside Project

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

PRESS RELEASE:

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

Out On The Tiles

Bonnie Raitt Brings A Blues Legacy to Mountain Park

June 8, 2012 thumb bonnieraittweb

Mountain Park, Holyoke, MA

Review by Bluebird

~With Special Thanks to Valerie Jensen Lefevre

Press photo provided with permission.

Respectfully submitted to The Boston Blues Society. Keep The Blues Alive!

Bonnie Raitt, with opening act, Mavis Staples, brought legendary rock and blues to Mountain Park, kicking off the 2012 summer series of concerts. With her fabulous band and loyal crew, she also welcomed NRBQ member, Terry Adams, to top off the evening, for a stellar performance.

Raitt's warmth toward the crowd and her band members radiated across the field, as the cool pre-summer evening turned dark. Highlighted with a beautiful landscape, and occasional flashes of lightening, the atmosphere was laid back and friendly, but literally super charged, with an impromptu grass dance floor started up right on the hills.

Read more...

 

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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!