Album Reviews

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

jjgrey

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

GOV'T Mule (Feat. JOHN SCHOFIELD) SCO-MULE released by PROVOGUE/MASCOT 26/01/15

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

Gomez's Ben Ottewell releases RATTLEBAG

 

Anticipating the delivery of Ben Ottewells new record was as much because I had no idea what his music sounded like, and equally because I was hoping to be swept off my feet. Being unfamiliar with the music of the band he is a member of, Britain's 'GOMEZ", my intention is there would be no comparisons with Gomez's music. As soon as I heard the first song, 'Rattlebag', I knew this was just the surprise I was hoping for.

Read more: Gomez's Ben Ottewell releases RATTLEBAG

Paul Gilbert - Stone Pushing Uphill Man - The Review

Let's clear something straight away; I think Paul Gilbert's absolute best always comes from his enormous talent on guitar and very rarely through his singing voice. Nevertheless, the album is a delightful pastiche of different music tempos and genres, in which Gilbert's signature playing style take the listeners into a fancy flight into worldwide music at 360 degrees.

Despite clocking off at approximately 42 minutes, the album offers a fabulous package of 8 covers and 3 originals, all played superbly by Gilbert. From pop classics such as Elton John's "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" to The Beatles' "Why Don't We Do It In The Road," to more stomping rock- tempo charged tunes such as Loverboy's "Working For The Weekend" or The Police's "Murder By Numbers," the American guitarist never ceased to amaze through his eclecticism and infinite class.

The record reaches its peak on the originals, though. The album's title track that closes is the only tune sang by Gilbert and what a treat it is! The lyrics are very intimate, almost sounding personal and the sound goes into a crescendo from acoustic to electric like a rising sun. "Shock Absorber" has almost got some Zeppelin-esque echoes, while the slow number "Purple Without All The Red," is a great exercise of simplicity on guitar. It takes the listeners on an imaginary stroll throughon a South-American sea shore, lulled by the sweetness that the melody of the tune carries.

Thirteen solo albums in - and Paul Gilbert always finds the way to amaze anybody by engaging the listeners on a music path that surely, this extraordinary musician will continue to successfully follow for many years to come.

 

gioAbout Our Author: Giovanni "Gio" Pilato is Italian music writer, who has been living in UK since 2002. With an enormous passion for music, and life in general, his interest in the communications began at 11 years old. He worked briefly for local radios in his youth and did a one-off radio show on 2007 on the glorious BBC 6 Music Radio station. Gio started his freelance journalist career in 2012, with Italian artists, and is now mainly focusing on blues artists. To follow Gio Pilato and his all cool radio show, Visit: (RTL 102.5 Cool (Webradio)): http://www.rtl.it/Cool

 

Ray Goren: Save My Soul

 

Artist: Ray Goren

Album: Save My Soul

Label: RJRay Entertainment, Inc.

Release Date: September 23, 2014 

Ray Goren on iTunes

 

14 year old Ray Goren is the definition of the word Prodigy. By the age of five, Goren was already playing his favorite tunes by Thelonious Monk, J.J. Johnson, Miles Davis, and Oscar Peterson on a keyboard. Later, while searching Youtube, Goren stumbled on a clip of BB King, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Buddy Guy and Albert Collins playing together. Before the day was over, with the Internet at his disposal, Goren discovered many other blues and rock greats including Albert King, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and Otis Rush. After talking his parents into getting him a guitar, Goren found his calling, according to the artist's biography.

A few years later, Goren started to write his own original music which draws from a wide range of influences in all musical genres. Subsequently, Goren penned five songs on the EP, LA Sessions, which was released to critical acclaim in June 2014.

"From first to last note, LA Sessions, is a hit parade, with Goren strumming to his own beat, as the young composer cleverly integrates jazz, rock, pop, rhythm, and blues elements into one distinctly modern soundtrack," writes Bluebirdreviews.

Read more: Ray Goren: Save My Soul

Joe Bonamassa - Different Shades Of Blue

One cannot certainly deny two things about Joe Bonamassa: he is one of the most talented guitarists around and one of the hardest working bluesmen ever.

Different Shades Of Blue is an all-original record of 11 tracks co-written with a team of veteran Nashville songwriters, except for the opening track "Hey Baby," an obscure Hendrix cover. Superbly produced, as always, by Kevin Shirley, the album title maintains exactly the promises made by its title. Bonamassa manages successfully to experiment even further his tried-and-tested formula based on solid blues-rock, in tracks such as the powerful centrepiece of the record "Oh Beautiful," which is a crossover between a Delta Blues lament and a psychedelic-rock anthem.

Read more: Joe Bonamassa - Different Shades Of Blue

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers: Hypnotic Eye

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers: Hypnotic EyeHypnotic Eye, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

Reprise Records/Warner Bros.

Released: July 29, 2014

Produced by: Ryan Ulyate, Tom Petty, Mike Campbell

This is a really exciting release from Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers and we are honored to preview it. Early press from Rolling Stone and others have said this record was a revisit to Petty's first two albums, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers  (1976) and You’re Gonna Get It (1978). Just a look at the cover art and it is reminiscent of long running LP's that we classic rockers cherish. Album rock is back. However, Petty continues to take this history and move it forward, bringing all of the writing experience, independent attitude and new inspirations right along with him.

Singles were available last month and fans grabbed on to the solid foundation of classic rock that continues to be Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers. His vocals sound as solid as they did back in the 1970's, with the warm textures and unique tones that are signature Tom Petty. The Heartbreakers rock out in this 13th release, the 2nd album in the last 12 years. Petty told the LA Times, (who now consider TPATH an LA BAND!)  that they worked on the record between tours and were newly inspired by young rock bands. This new album is not as thick with blues as Mojo, but there are some gems that go right to not only blues, but roots. Tom Petty fans can be reassured, the Mud Crutch days are still in our midst.

Read more: Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers: Hypnotic Eye

Ray Goren: LA Sessions

Artist: Ray Goren

Album: LA Sessions

Label: RJRay Entertainment, Inc.

Release Date: June 24, 2014

Don't let his bashful, adolescent expression mislead you. Ray Goren, a 14 year-old guitar prodigy from California, has the potential to reinvent any genre he explores.

"By the age of five, Goren was already playing his favorite tunes by Thelonious Monk, JJ Johnson, Miles Davis, and Oscar Peterson on a keyboard.

A few years later, while searching Youtube, Goren stumbled on a clip of BB King, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Buddy Guy and Albert Collins playing together," reads Goren's press biography. "After talking his parents into getting him a guitar, Goren found his calling."

What's more, the young artist has played all around the United States since he was 10 years-old, performing in front of thousands of music go-ers at big draw events like Detroit Jazz Festival (2011) and Doheny Blues Festival (2012).

Read more: Ray Goren: LA Sessions

Out On The Tiles

Mary J. Blige, March 20, 2010

Mary J. Blige, March 20, 2010, Miami Gardens

dsc07062-150wAttended by Melissa Sacco and Amanda Bilancione. Great show !
Review By Melissa Sacco.

I had the pleasure of seeing the one and only Mary J.Blige on March 20, 2010 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Mary was the headliner for the annual Jazz in the Gardens Festival that salutes Jazz and R&B musicians for an entire weekend of music, food, and fun.

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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!
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