Philadelphia's Jefferson Berry has lived a varied, interesting life. He is a member of the PFS Musician's Co-Op, is a mainstay at Philadelphia Folksong Society Events, and has played the Philadelphia Folk Festival numerous times. When he's not performing on the stage, he is performing in the classroom, as a history and government teacher in the Philadelphia School District. He even taught Lil Uzi Vert. His group -- Jefferson Berry and the Urban Acoustic Coalition -- has just released their third full-length LP, Double Deadbolt Logic. The folk/rock group consists of a revolving door of musicians, anywhere from three to
Jefferson Berry & The UAC's third album delivers strong musicianship and songwriting.
Justin Hayward returns with two excellent new tracks
While touring and the music industry in general have ground to a halt in the midst of the global pandemic, it hasn't stopped talented artists from pursuing their creative muse. Legendary Moody Blues singer-songwriter Justin Hayward has taken this opportunity to release a new EP, a two-song collection featuring the tracks "One Summer Day" and "My Juliette." Warm and inviting, with fine lyrics, vocals, and playing, the songs demonstrate Hayward has lost none of his melodic gifts, more than 50 years into his phenomenal career. The EP leads off with "One Summer Day," a hopeful love song about living in
Former CCR drummer Doug "Cosmo" Clifford discovers a strong 1985 solo album in his garage.
For most people, cleaning out the garage might mean getting rid of old paint cans and rusted out tools, but not for former Creedence Clearwater Revival drummer, Doug "Cosmo" Clifford. Clifford discovered loads of master tapes he had forgotten about with over 100 songs on them and had them baked and transferred to digital. The result is a "new" solo album from the drummer, Magic Window, his first since 1972's Cosmo. While the album features some modern overdubs and production choices from Clifford and his guitarist/coproducer Russell DaShiell (who was the album's original engineer), the bulk of the material was
Diane and the Gentle Men offer up some 1960s-inspired garage rock and power pop on their latest release.
The year 2018 was to be a banner one for singer-songwriter Diane Gentile and her band, Diane and the Gentle Men. They had completed recording their new album, The White Sea, and Gentile had appeared live on The Garden Sessions, filmed from Adam Duritz of The Counting Crows fame's home. The group had booked a short tour of Italy when Gentile was in a bad car accident, forcing her to have major reconstructive surgery on her face. Gentile's friends urged her to release an EP while she recovered and she did, dropping Little Things, which featured songs that would ultimately
Rachel Garlin shows off her intricate lyrics and song craft on Mondegreens.
Rachel Garlin has lived an interesting and varied life, one that she has applied to the lyrics of her songs. The former Harvard basketball player and schoolteacher has made a name for herself as a singer-songwriter with a keen eye for observation about the world around her. Her latest album, Mondegreens, blends folk, country, rock, and a touch of blues, along with warm production and Garlin's evocative lyrics and voice, making for a compelling listen. Produced by Julie Wolf, who has worked as a side musician alongside the likes of Ani DiFranco, Carly Simon, and the Indigo Girls, Mondegreens features
Alex Dixon keeps his family's blues tradition alive on The Real McCoy.
It's only natural that Alex Dixon would become a blues musician. After all, his grandfather was the legendary blues artist, Willie Dixon. Dixon's new album, The Real McCoy, mixes tracks written by Alex Dixon along with a handful of numbers penned by his famous grandfather. Keeping in the family tradition, Alex's 13-year-old daughter, Leila, makes her vocal debut singing backup on "Nothing New Under The Sun." It all adds up to a strong album steeped in the electric Chicago blues tradition. Dixon's band is top notch as well. Vocalist Lewis "Big Lew" Powell is a powerhouse and Steve Bell is
Jackson Price delivers a strong blues-rock record.
Blues-rock artist, Jackson Price, got his start in a different form of performing arts -- acting. For 15 years, Price appeared in commercials, TV shows, and movies, though he eventually became burned out on acting. Price was always a guitarist, having learned blues licks in his youth, and soon he found himself fronting the Los Angeles-based blues band, The Mighty Mojo Prophets. Eventually, Price grew tired of Los Angeles and moved to Taos, New Mexico, forming Big Swing Theory. The group's local success prompted Price to form a side band to perform and record his original material and Jackson Price
Matt Lande delivers a strong cover of an 80s new wave classic.
Portland-based alt rock/electro pop artist, Matt Lande, has been compared to the likes of Savage Garden and Snow Patrol and has made a name for himself, both as a solo artist and as the principal force behind bands such as StorySide: B and Heaven Is Where. For his latest single, he pays tribute to his 1980s new wave roots by covering the Simple Minds classic, "Don't You (Forget About Me)." The track, which features Lande on guitar, bass, and keyboard, and Joey McAllister on drums was mastered by Andy Walter at London's famed Abbey Road Studios. Lande's version is a
Fifty years on, ZZ Top continues to put Texas boogie on the map.
For more than 50 years there has been only one ZZ Top. No band before or since really sounds -- or looks -- like them. They play the blues, but they aren't a blues band. ZZ Top's brand of music takes a page from the blues and adds a healthy dose of rock 'n roll, Texas boogie and, perhaps most importantly, a sense of humor. They're consistent, too, featuring the same lineup of Frank Beard on drums, Dusty Hill on bass, and Billy Gibbons on guitar this entire time. A new documentary, That Little Ol' Band From Texas, takes a
Sébastien Laloue has created a strong batch of tunes on Scarred.
Brainsqueezed has been compared to the likes of Guns 'n Roses, A Perfect Circle, and Steven Wilson -- lofty company to be sure -- but on the group's second album, Scarred, the group's mastermind, Sébastien Laloue, has crafted a group of songs that live up to the billing. Influenced by the likes of Queen, Pink Floyd and Peter Gabriel, Laloue builds upon those mentors' work, creating a sound that is at once both modern and classic. The album opens with the fast, acoustic strumming of "Sailors." One immediately notices the striking, rich quality of vocalist Marcello Vieira's voice. The band
Rob Alexander delivers a 15-track album that sounds like an old friend musically.
Rob Alexander has been a busy guy. When not working as a physician anesthesiologist in South Florida, he has been busy crafting well-made pop albums. His first album, 2018's Long Road Coming Home, featured five singles and much praise from critics. Now, he is back with Being Myself, a 15-song collection of well-written tunes that sound like old, familiar friends. Alexander's music is the sort of pop that dominated the charts from the 1970s until the 1990s. His voice bears a strong resemblance to that of Elton John's and, indeed there are three current members of John's touring band on
Magical Beasts offer a laid back, richly orchestrated new EP
On their latest release, Yes, My Love, I Am Reaching, Chicago folk group Magical Beasts have crafted a laid back EP, filled with lush orchestrations and sophisticated lyrics. Led by Nathan Paulus on vocals and guitar, and featuring John Herbst on vocals, banjo and ukulele, and Josh Miller on vocals and bass, the group recruits like-minded Chicago musicians on their recordings, fostering a sense of collaboration. Opening track "Come To Me" begins with some gentle acoustic guitar picking accented by pedal steel courtesy of Ethan Pikas. The song is a duet between Paulus and Katie Stimpson and both singers give
Resurrection Fern delivers an intimate new EP.
Singer-songwriter, Resurrection Fern, is back with a new EP, simply titled Fern. Like her previous, full-length album, Beyond The Trees, Fern is a community-funded effort. Unlike that full-length release, however, Fern is a more stripped down recording, focusing on the singer's voice and acoustic guitar, making for a more intimate recording, one that feels like the listener is in the room with her. Like many musicians in this era, Fern has taken to the Internet as a main vehicle to spread her music. She has run a twitch.tv channel for the past three years, where fans can watch her give
Erich Mrak offers up a video EP for his two new singles
Toronto hip hop/electronic artist, Erich Mrak, is back with a visual EP of sorts. See You In September is an intense music video that combines two of his songs, "Navigate" and "Riptide." The video features a man seemingly lost in the jungle, in the water, on the ledge of a building, and in the city. He mirrors the lyrics to the songs of that of someone who is confused, trying to find his way, possibly hopeless. The video is not long, but the message is powerful. As "Navigate" fades out, the visuals continue before "Riptide" begins. As for the songs,
It was another great year for music. Need proof? Start with these albums!
Was 2019 a good or bad year for music? That is always an easy question for me and it may surprise some friends and readers: every year is a great year for music! I never fail to find albums that capture and inspire me. There is great music all around us and it comes from new and veteran artists every year if you are willing to look for and be found by it. So yes, 2019 was a great year for music and here are just some of the albums - listed alphabetically -- that spent considerable time with me
Two friends walk into a wine bar where I am introduced to delicious flavors and the delicious sounds of Charlotte Day Wilson and Khruangbin...
I am frequently asked how I come across so much new music each year and I understand why they do because the vehicles that took my generation to new soundscapes have died in the case of MTV and radically changed as far as radio. And yet, the question also confuses me because most of the time I don't feel like I discover new music so much as it finds me. So how does that happen? Allow me to share my favorite new music discoveries of 2019 - music that was new to me this past year, regardless of when the
More musical discoveries for 2019: Madison Cunningham, Black Pumas, Michaela Anne, and The Messthetics!
Wine bars weren't the only way I discovered new music in 2019 (although they might be my favorite method). Other paths to great music include friends, reading, and friends who read. Mark Saleski turned me on to several other new artists this year, two of whom he discovered via the good people who write for venerable roots music magazine No Depression. Mark and I crossed figurative paths and swords at Blogcritics a decade ago. It's an open debate as to which of us is the grumpier man on any given day but he is clearly the older. Our friendship has
Chotto Ghetto delivers a challenging, fun concept album on their latest release.
In their 14 years together, Chotto Ghetto has been compared to the likes of Bad Brains, Faith No More and The Mars Volta. With such a diverse range of influences, it's no surprise that their third (and latest) album, WILDFIRE, is a challenging, yet fun listen that combines numerous different styles and forces the listener to think. WILDFIRE is a concept album about a found black box recording and science experiments gone awry. Several tracks include voiceovers with actors delivering the storyline while some tracks are purely news clips. The record is political and covers topics as wide ranging as
Toto celebrates its 40th anniversary in style with a killer concert.
Toto has experienced a recent resurgence with Weezer's cover of "Africa" making the classic song a hit once again. The band never really went anywhere though. In fact, they have been traveling the globe in celebration of their 40th anniversary. The group filmed a March 2018 show before a capacity crowd at the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam and that performance makes up the new DVD Toto - 40 Tours Around The Sun. After some brief footage of the city, the show begins with a moody synth intro before giving way to "Alone," a new song from the band's greatest hits
The Rolling Stones deliver a memorable show on the Bridges To Babylon Tour
In April 1998, The Rolling Stones took their Bridges To Babylon tour to Buenos Aires, Argentina, for a series of massive stadium performances. Being the Stones, the band didn't just do one show, but rather five, at the famed River Plate Stadium. The band was in top form, mixing songs from their virtually untouchable back catalog -- including some rare cuts -- with several songs from the then new Bridges To Babylon. Add in a guest appearance by Bob Dylan and it made for a memorable night, a night that, fortunately for Stones fans, was filmed and makes up the