March 2013 Archives

Joshua Redman Preps Ballads Album 'Walking Shadows' For May 7 Release on Nonesuch

Redman covers Bach, The Beatles, and more on latest project...
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Jazz saxophonist Joshua Redman will release a new solo album Walking Shadows on May 7, following his exciting collaboration with Aaron Parks, Matt Penman, and Eric Harland under the James Farm moniker. The set was produced by frequent collaborator Brad Mehldau and is the first album of Redman's career to include an orchestral enseble. Redman is also joined by Mehldau, Larry Grenadier, and another longtime collaborator in Brian Blade. He penned a few of the songs on the 12-track record and also performs songs by Lennon-McCartney (actually more of a McCartney thing as the song in question is "Let It
In 1996, at an age when no one should be making life-changing decisions, I packed my bags and moved from the USA to the UK. It had been a longtime dream to live there and surprisingly easy to trick a Brit into marrying me. Thus it was so, until 2011 when I returned to the states. My obsession with the land of tea bags and dysfunctional royalty began in the 1980s with the arrival on our fair shores of their New Romantics. Posters of Duran Duran, Culture Club, Spandau Ballet and ABC served as bedroom wallpaper and from there it

Fuzztones: Snake Oil CD Review

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With the benefit of hindsight, it is easy to see that 1985 was not one of the greatest years in musical history. It was a year of change; punk had morphed into hardcore, hair metal was on the rise, and the dulcet tones of Whitney Houston were everywhere. There also seemed to be a psychedelic revival of sorts just beginning. This would be fully explored a few years later by bands such as the Screaming Trees, but the first great shot was fired by the Fuzztones, with their album Lysergic Emanations (1985). The record was not a hit by any
After UHF and the soundtrack, Weird Al took a few years before getting to his next album. This makes sense. After all, co-writing and starring in a movie, while also having to write songs for it and adding more songs to the album bearing its name, is probably fairly time consuming. Plus, who knows how the fact that UHF was a box office failure may have impacted the process of generating a new album. Unlike pretty much every sports writer even, I'm not going to try and pretend like I know what's going on in somebody else's head. However, eventually

Duke Robillard - Independently Blue

Robillard's latest is a bit of a mixed bag
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The ever-prolific Duke Robillard typically veers from themed collections - whether collaborations, tributes, or periodic 'back to the blues' outings - to more eclectic outings that find him exploring his various musical interests and influences. Independently Blue, Robillard's 30th recording as leader (he has far too many sideman and producer credits to count), falls somewhere in the middle. Everything's rooted in blues, but Duke and friends - this time including guitarist Monster Mike Welch in addition to Robillard's regular band - are doggedly determined to find the freshness in it all rather than simply reheat things yet again. Robillard's taste
Victory can be overrated, kids. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis have been dethroned as the most streamed track at Spotify in the US! Huzzah! By Justin Timberlake. Piece of damn it! What is wrong with you people? Timberlake has logged massive sales of his The 20/20 Experience this week and people are streaming several tracks from it, two of which are in the US Top 10 and two in the UK Top 10. Macklemore and Lewis are still strong presences on the US and UK charts. It's worth noting that while Pink has the top-selling song in the US at iTunes,

Pink's "Just Give Me A Reason," Timberlake's '20/20' Tops at iTunes

iTunes' Official Music Charts for the week ending March 25, 2013...
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Be careful what you wish for, kids, because you just might get it. I've been whinging for weeks about Mackelmore and Ryan Lewis being the #1 song on the charts at radio as well at iTunes and Spotify and now we have a new #1 song, at least at iTunes: "Just Give Me A Reason" by Pink. I guess I'm going to have to be more clear next time when I talk about wanting a change on the charts. This was not what I had in mind. The aforementioned dunderhead duo fall from #1 to #2, followed by Rihanna,

Review: The Slide Brothers - Robert Randolph Presents The Slide Brothers

Robert Randolph opens the door for some friends...
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Robert Randolph has ushered the Sacred steel tradition into the mainstream through his work with his Family Band and continues his work to introduce this tradition by lending his name and cameo to a new album from The Slide Brothers on Robert Randolph Presents The Slide Brothers. The "Brothers" -- Calvin Cooke, Aubrey Ghent, Chuck Campbell, Darick Campbell -- are an ad hoc family connected through the tradition of using lap steel guitar in church services through The Church of God. They now perform together and on this album bring their exceptional playing talents to the music of The Allman

DeepSoul: Michael Jackson - "Got To Be There"

Think Michael Jackson did not record a solo album until 1979? Think again.
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This week marks the 30th anniversary of Michael Jackson's historic "Billie Jean" performance on the Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, and Forever TV special. Since DeepSoul looks at lesser-known tracks, we will mark the occasion in a different way by going back further than three decades. Many believe Off the Wall was Jackson's first solo album; in actuality, his 1972 album Got to be There marked his debut as a solo artist. While he continued recording with the Jackson 5, this early album hinted at his ability to carry a song solely on his shoulders. Few tunes exemplify this gift better
New Music Tuesday for this week brings us a new album from '80s stalwarts Depeche Mode, Delta Machine, and indie outfit Wavves with their LP Afraid Of Heights. It gets a bit sketchy after that on the roster this week but we'll highlight a couple more. We've got a new album from country star Blake Shelton and American Idol runner up Crystal Bowersox follows up her Farmer's Daughter LP with All That For This. Another former Idol contestant, David Archuleta, has new music out this week as well. Rock/blues guitarist Joe Bonamassa has another record out, An Acoustic Evening At

Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters - Just For Today

Earl's guitar work is both spiritual and sublime
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His is hardly a household name, but most blues fans will have encountered Ronnie Earl by now. As an instrumental purist who seldom tours, though, it seems unlikely his profile will extend much beyond the blue end of the spectrum anytime soon. Which is a pity. Celebrating the twenty-fifth year of Earl's Broadcasters, Just For Today, Earl's seventh recording for Edmonton-based Stony Plain records, is so much more than a blues album. True, there are a bunch of blues songs, along with a bit of jazz and a healthy dose of gospel. But Earl's playing is of a level and

Review: The Lone Bellow Create Timeless Treasure On Debut

A timeless treasure...
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There has been a movement over the past few years bringing folk-based, Americana bands to a place of prominence they haven't enjoyed since the '60s, capped by Mumford & Sons winning this year's Album Of The Year Grammy. Other bands in that vein -- Avett Brothers, The Civil Wars -- have enjoyed critical and commercial success that couldn't have been predicted. It's cool again to have an acoustic guitar and harmonies, singing songs about something. No one is more surprised by this than me. The upside to these fads when the music or style is good, the music machine champions

Ben Harper, Charlie Musselwhite Remain #1; Sons Of Legends Dominate Blues Radio Chart

Top 20 albums at blues radio for week of March 22, 2013...
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Blues is in the blood, kids. That's the story for this week. Take a look at the names on these albums, the Top 20 albums at blues radio this past week: Shemekia Copeland (daughter of Johnny Copeland), Devon Allman (son of Gregg), Big Bill Morganfield (son of Muddy Waters), and John Lee Hooker Jr. (do I have to explain?). It's a family tradition. In the non-offspring division, we've got records from Otis Taylor, The Slide Brothers, Buddy Guy, Eric Clapton, and Robert Cray among the Top 10. The record among these I have to check out next is Big Bill's,

CD Review: Thom Chacon

The singer-songwriter tackles real American characters in this strong set of songs
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On Thom Chacon's self-titled new CD, he delivers a gritty dose of Americana that betrays his age. Channeling his inner Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan, Chacon sounds as if he's lived every one of these tales himself. Chacon even plays with Dylan's rhythm section, Tony Garnier and George Receli on the disc, which was cut live in an all-analog setting, which suits these songs well. The CD opens with "Innocent Man," a story of a man wrongly convicted and placed on death row. Chacon gives a haunting vocal performance, transporting the listener to his prison cell. Chacon accompanies himself on
David Bowie has been the epitome of cool for decades and has issued the first new evidence of his majesty in a decade with The Next Day, an album offering more of his unique brand of intelligence and wit in the form of songs offering his ideas in narratives and impressionist word play and fantastical soundscapes. Bowie surprisingly makes it impossible to ignore his history with this new album before we've heard a note. What are we to make of the cover art? It's the cover of his 1977 classic "Heroes" with the words "The Next Day" superimposed over it.
It's a cruel and stupid world we live in when a new record from Justin Timberlake can top a new album from David Bowie and that, boys and girls, is where we are in the here and now. Timberlake's The 20/20 Experience debuts at #1 despite mixed reviews and Bowie's The Next Day comes in at #4 at the iTunes Music Store, with Luke Bryan and Imagine Dragons separating them and Bon Jovi's What About Now rounding out the Top 5. I hate you all just a little more right now than I did before. My review of the new

More Macklemore & Lewis? Duo Holds #1, Adds Another Top 10 Song At Spotify

Most streamed tracks at Spotify in the US and UK for the Week of March 11-17
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Some people cannot admit when they are wrong. It is with anguish and horror I admit I am not one of them. I was wrong. I wrote Macklemore & Ryan Lewis off as one-hit wonders with their insufferable "Thrift Shop" and while it was as much wishful thinking as anything else, my prediction was wrong as these two now have "Can't Hold Us" in the Top 10 of most streamed tracks at Spotify this week. Why, oh why, do you all insist on punishing me this way? I can't bring myself to complain and grouse about the rest of what

The National Announce 6th LP 'Trouble Will Find Me' Tracklisting, May 21 Release

The National unveil details about their sixth studio record...
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The National will release their sixth full-length album Trouble Will Find Me, a surefire contender for album of the year, on May 21 and have revealed the song titles for the 13-track LP that follows up their critically acclaimed and most commercially successful album to date, High Violet. The band have been working on the record for some time and previewed several songs for possible inclusion much as they did with High Violet following Boxer. Some of those songs have made the album, notedly "I Need My Girl." It is believed some of the other songs on Trouble were played

The Lone Bellow - Angel From Montgomery

The Lone Bellow cover John Prine's Angel From Montgomery
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Remember that one time that we here at BlindedBySound couldn't shut up about Gary Clark Jr.? Well, I believe The Lone Bellow might be the new GCJ....and the gushing continues now. Josh already gave you the gift that is their Tiny Desk Concert and for that...well, you're welcome. But the gorgeous three part harmonies don't stop there folks. We've got the trio covering the John Prine classic "Angel From Montgomery" - a tune famously covered by Dave Matthews, Brandi Carlile, Old Crow Medicine Show, Susan Tedeschi, Ben Harper, and many more. Aside from the fact that the Prine tune is
The thing about Miles Davis that stands in most contrast to most of today's jazz musicians is his fierce insistence on forward motion. As George Cole writes in the liner notes to Live at Montreux 1991, "Miles Davis never went back." In many of discussions about "today's music," it isn't long before some wiseass decries modernity. This grand tradition exists in every generation, as the music of the contemporary never can quite capture the glory of the past. But with Davis: "If anybody wants to keep creating, they have to be about change." Not all change is good, but acceptance

Review: Scott Hamilton - Remembering Billie

Elegant and effervescent, Hamilton's Remembering Billie is a quiet masterpiece.
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The saxophone has something of a split personality - soothing and romantic on one hand, raunchy and raw - think honking R&B - on the other. In the magical hands of Scott Hamilton, it's the personification of musical elegance, the aural equivalent of candlelight and wine. Here Hamilton, a veteran with over forty recordings on the venerable Concord label, including fifteen in fifteen years with Rosemary Clooney, turns his attention to songs associated with Billie Holiday. Produced by guitarist extraordinaire Duke Robillard (who contributes acoustic archtop to a pair), the focus is primarily on Holiday's earlier years when there was

Check Out The Lone Bellow On NPR's Tiny Concert

An appetizer before my full review of the album... with video!
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I've been obsessively listening to the self-titled debut from The Lone Bellow ever since BlindedBySound contributor and good friend Stephanie raved about them to me last month. I should just pause right now to talk about what great friends and contributors we have here as Melinda turned me on to Vintage Trouble, Heather hipped me to The Lumineers, and now Stephanie gifts me The Lone Bellow. I have great friends who know me well enough to act as personal curators. Back to The Lone Bellow and the business at hand... I haven't finished -- okay, technically haven't started -- my

DeepSoul: The Spinners - "I'll be Around"

Singer Bobbie Smith's unique vocal style served as an essential ingredient to the Spinners' success.
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Over the weekend the R&B world lost yet another vital voice--Bobbie Smith, the lead singer of the 1970s group the Spinners. The band scored an impressive number of hits, often anchored by Smith's distinctive vocals: "Could It Be I'm Falling in Love," "One of a Kind (Love Affair)," "Then Came You" (a duet with Dionne Warwick), and "Games People Play," just to name a few. Few songs encapsulate the Spinners' knack for recording R&B songs with widespread appeal like "I'll Be Around," a hit that succeeds in large part due to Smith's lead vocal. Originally from Detroit, Michigan, original members

Garbage To Release Live DVD/Blu-ray "One Mile High...Live" May 28

First-ever live DVD from Garbage following first tour in seven years...
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Garbage is chronicling their Not Your Kind Of People world tour with their first ever live Blu-ray/DVD package due in stores May 28. The band -- Shirley Manson, Butch Vig, Stever Marker, Duke Erikson, and guest bassist Eric Avery (Jane's Addiction) -- took nearly a decade off to pursue separate interests before reuniting to record Not Your Kind Of People, a fantastic return to form, and performing these new songs alongside classics from their prior albums. The 21-song show was filmed at their Denver, CO show in 2012 and features a cross-section of songs from their stunning self-titled debut, Version

Big Bill Morganfield - Blues With A Mood

An old-school masterpiece from the son of a giant ...
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If Big Bill Morganfield's last name sounds familiar, there's a reason; his father, McKinley Morganfield - better known to the world as Muddy Waters - is one of the leading architects of post-war blues, a true titan of twentieth century music. Big shoes to fill indeed, but Big Bill has, since his Blind Pig debut in 1999, consistently delivered well-crafted recordings that do his dad's legacy proud while showing ongoing growth as an artist in his own right. His latest, Blues With A Mood, on his own Black Shuck label, is nothing less than an old-school masterpiece. The territory is
I lost a lot more money on last week's new releases but there are some great, great albums coming out this week sure to leave me further bankrupted in my pursuit of the ultimate music collection. First up is the set I desire beyond imagination but that I'm having to wait to pick up and that's the 7-CD box set Skydog, featuring the legendary talents of the immortal Duane Allman. The Allman Brothers Band tragically lost arguably the most important part of their sound only a few records into their career but the Duane Allman was a slide virtuoso whose

Review: Swamp Dogg 'Rat On!', 'Total Destruction To Your Mind' Re-Issues

These albums should have been re-released years ago!
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"I am very proud of the fact that this album cover has been considered and nominated as one of the top ten 'Worst Album Covers' in the history of album covers. The left-handed accolade has helped this masterpiece to sell and avoid obscurity." Those are the opening words of Swamp Dogg's a.k.a. Jerry Williams Jr.'s liner notes to the Alive Records reissue of his second album, Rat On! (1971) In reading his statement, the first thing I thought about was his great sense of humor, but he is also quite correct. I have been aware of Swamp Dogg for years,

Cloud Cult: Love CD Review

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Some of the greatest music I have heard comes from the DIY (do it yourself) underground. The DIY spirit dates back (at least) to the mid-'70s, when the music industry had become a bloated beast. Kids in garages could never hope to be Pink Floyd or Led Zeppelin, so they just bashed it out. While the music of Cloud Cult has very little to do with that of the Ramones or Sex Pistols, the motivations are certainly similar. Do it yourself, or die trying. Cloud Cult are an eight-piece "experimental chamber rock band from the Midwest," as their press release

Nick Moss Band Torches Callahan's With Killer Cover Of Otis Rush's "Right Place, Wrong Time"

Nick Moss and Michael Ledbetter prove up to the task of covering one of Otis Rush's best...
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Historians will one day ask what my favorite blues album of all time is and when they do, kindly direct them to this post because the answer is Right Place, Wrong Time by Otis Rush. Nick Moss is one of my favorite blues artists and guitarists and he and his amazing band took on the title track from that classic album at their recent appearance at Callahan's. Moss' rhythm guitarist Michael Ledbetter takes lead vocals on the track and gives such a soulful performance on this amazing song. Moss is at the peak of his game with his blazing lead

Grand General: Grand General CD Review

A wild debut from Norway's Grand General
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For 15 years now, the Rune Grammofon label have been releasing some of the most adventurous music around. The new, self-titled debut from Grand General upholds this legacy in every way. Grand General is a powerful set, stuffed with monster riffs, psychotic prog, and wild jazz-filled flights of fury. There are so many elements to this band that I hardly know where to begin. The opening 12:20 tour de force "Antics" is a hell of a start. Guitarist Even Helte Hermansen's metallic guitar is the first sound we hear, and when it gives way to the searing violin of Ola
This week's Top 20 at Blues Radio is again headed up by the collaboration between Blues Hall of Famer Charlie Musselwhite and Ben Harper. The two first teamed up while guesting on an album by the late John Lee Hooker and now have a joint project for the reborn Stax label and it's been heating up the charts since its release. The new album from blues/roots master Otis Taylor, My World Is Gone comes in at #2 followed by Harry Manx, The Slide Brothers (great album, by the way, review forthcoming) and Shemekia Copeland's 33 1/3. I've listened to four

The Weird Al Chronicles Part VI: UHF

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When I began this project of going through the entire Weird Al Yankovic discography, it did not occur to me that the soundtrack to UHF would show up. However, the album is listed within his discography, and it is indeed a full album of Weird Al songs. Well, it's an album of Weird Al songs and a couple of bits from the movie of the same name. So, it shall be covered. Plus, this way I get to talk about the movie UHF, which is even more up my alley. While my writing on music has been largely limited to

Friday We're In Love (With The Cure): Memories Of Lust, Loneliness From Masterpiece Album 'Disintegration'

"Disintegration" and "Fascination Street" take us back...
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It's purely coincidental that this week's edition of Friday We're In Love (With The Cure) finds us both mining the masterpice Disintegration, each of us finding our own memories attached to the magic of its songs. This week, Heather responds to the title track while I go strolling down "Fascination Street." HEATHER It had to be done and I finally did it for this week's Friday We're In Love (With The Cure) installment. I went with most everyone's first and favorite Cure album, Disintegration and the song by the same name. A bit of an obvious choice but, I'm in

Review: Johnny Marr Is Masterful On 'The Messenger'

The first indispensable listen of 2013 comes from Godlike Genius Johnny Marr...
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Johnny Marr will forever be known as TheGuitarist for The Smiths no matter what he does but everything about The Messenger feels so right, from the sound to the sequencing. It's easy to imagine these shimmering riffs, melodies, and music beds he would hand over to Morrissey if The Smiths still made records. It's intriguing to imagine where Moz would take have taken these songs but Marr's own sense of direction is impeccable and he proves a more than capable vocalist and lyricist. The record is so good it makes you wonder what took him so long to finally make
Old Yellow Moon is every ounce a classic country record, a gleeful nod to times passed and memories fading. Yet it's also decidedly modern, a vigorous and sometimes boisterous take on classics and new tunes that feels as organic as a young band testing its weight on the road. These platitudes might wave around in the air for some time were it not for the fact that Old Yellow Moon is a collaborative record from Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell. It is a piece some 30 or so years in the making, an album that has its roots in the

DeepSoul Extra: Happy Birthday, Sly Stone!

The great funk and soul innovator turns 70, and his influence still permeates modern music.
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Soul visionary Sly Stone turns 70 today; while he and his band the Family Stone no longer perform together, their groundbreaking contributions to R&B can be heard in today's music. I remember hearing Stone while growing up in the 1970s and 1980s. My parents were fans, and I still recall hearing "Everyday People" around the house. Thus Sly and the Family Stone served as one of my earliest introductions to soul music, and that initial exposure helped shaped my taste (and deep love) for R&B. Their brand of joyful music encompassed everyone's experiences, such as Stone's celebration of "Everyday People."
It's time to once again look into the world of digital music. We looked at the most-streamed tracks at Spotify for the week in the US and UK and now we have the most downloaded songs and albums at iTunes Music Store, the #1 music retailer in the US. I mentioned in that post that I just don't get this whole "Thrift Store" thing and here it is, once again, at #1 on a music chart. I didn't think we'd have what amounts to another novelty song so soon after Psy's kitschy little "Gangnam Style" pandemonium but here it is.

Review: Chris Antonik - Better For You

Antonik's sophomore outing is an early contender for the year's best lists
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Toronto-based Chris Antonik seemed to come out of nowhere with his remarkably assured 2010 debut. Now he's back with a follow up that's nothing short of an amazing artistic leap. Better For You retains the blue core that informed his earlier effort, but here Antonik expands his palette significantly. Things start out impressively enough with "Long Way To Go," a bluesy number with Antonik's gruff vocals over a chunky rhythm accented with squalling harp and punchy horns. But "Turn To Shine," the second track, is southern rock with a hint of Memphis soul and a whiff of gospel, not too
We took a brief hiatus at BlindedBySound to migrate servers and platforms and it was my deepest desire by the time we resumed you'd be tired of that dumbass song "Thrift Shop" but alas, it remains the most streamed track in the US at Spotify. I get that my listening habits tend to differ from the mass (and younger) audience. I get that a novelty song can catch on Gangnam Style and it will hold the attention of the collective for awhile. I don't get this. The Lumineers continue to hold their own at Spotify with "Hey Ho" still in

Kevin Breit & The Upper York Mandolin Orchestra - Field Recording

A quirky but endlessly fascinating collection
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Guitarist extraordinaire Kevin Breit has a reputation for the quirky and cerebral. As an in-demand session player he's recorded with the likes of Norah Jones, Roseanne Cash, and k. d. lang. As a member of various groups of his own (Sisters Euclid, Folk Alarm) he's got well over a dozen recordings under his belt, as well as three solo outings under his own name. In short, Breit is widely regarded as a guitarist's guitarist, the kind who can utterly dazzle and confound while making it all seem effortless. So his latest project comes as that much more of a surprise.

CD Review: Justin Hayward - Spirits Of The Western Sky

Justin Hayward's first solo album since 1996 finds him exploring new musical avenues
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Throughout his four-decade-plus career, both as a singer/guitarist in The Moody Blues and as a solo artist, Justin Hayward has not only had commercial success with songs such as "Nights In Wight Satin" and "Your Wildest Dreams," but has also been at the forefront of the psychedelic and progressive rock movements. In addition, the Moody Blues pushed the envelope in terms of mixing classical and pop music on albums such as Days Of Future Passed. On Spirits Of The Western Sky, his first solo record since 1996's The View From The Hill, Hayward mixes his strong pop sensibilities with dreamy

Review: 4 Jacks - Deal With It

A master class in supple, simmering blues
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As blues recordings go, this one's pretty much the equivalent of a superstar session. The 4 Jacks are guitarist Anson Funderburgh, drummer/vocalist Big Joe Maher, pianist/organist Kevin McKendree, and bassist Steve Mackey. The names will be familiar to most blues fans. Funderburgh, the lean and laconic Texan, has led his Rockets for over 30 years. D.C.-based Big Joe Maher has numerous recordings with his Dynaflows, and Kevin McKendree has served as Delbert McClinton's band leader for years. Steve Mackey, an in-demand session player based in Nashville, has also worked with McClinton as well as countless others. Recorded at McKendree's studio

New Music Tuesday: Bowie, Bon Jovi, Clapton, Sound City, Jellyfish, Cash Box Kings

A slew of great new CDs (and also one from Bon Jovi) hit stores March 12, 2013...
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There are so many interesting new releases this week but we must begin with The Return Of The Thin White Duke. It's been 10 years since David Bowie released a studio album and it was beginning to look as though Reality would be the final chapter but we rejoice because The Next Day is out today and Bowie is sounding as good as ever- at least from what I've heard from the two singles he's already released ("Where Are We Now?" and "The Stars (Are Out Tonight)"). There is a standard and deluxe edition of the record, the deluxe including

DeepSoul: Edwin Starr - "25 Miles"

"War" may be the soul singer's biggest hit, but this 1969 classic ranks among the best Motown singles.
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Say the name "Edwin Starr," and most music fans will respond with one of his most famous lyrics: "War! Huh! Good Gawd, y'all!" In addition to its initial success in 1970, "War" was revived in 1986, when Bruce Springsteen's live rendition cracked the top ten. While "War" stands as one of the best protest songs ever written, Starr recorded a number of other outstanding tracks, most notably the funky "25 Miles." The 1969 hit showcases Starr's blues and gospel-tinged delivery and a relentless beat, a surprisingly gritty track issued by the usually pop-oriented Motown. While Starr claimed Southern roots--he was
Welcome to the new, improved and relaunched BlindedBySound and the resumption of our weekly series Friday We're In Love (With The Cure), a weekly devotional to one of our all-time favorite bands! HEATHER For this week's installment of "Friday We're In Love (With The Cure)" I picked my song quickly, wrote it up deftly. and was quite pleased with myself until my ride home from work last night and the song I ultimately chose came on my Spotify and I knew the other song was getting the back shelf treatment. It's no secret that I love, adore, worship and idolize

Gold Fields Deliver Fine Electronic Pop on Latest 'Black Sun'

Black Sun is filled with excellent electronic pop from the Australian band Gold Fields.
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Once in a while a song will come along that is so captivating as to become an instant classic. "Dark Again" from Australia's Gold Fields is just such a tune. The song is filled with hooks, soaring harmonies, and intelligent lyrics. It provides a marvelous introduction to the band's full-length debut album, Black SunThe Astralwerks label have been responsible for some of the finest electronic music of the past 20 years. Their signing of Gold Fields just adds to this very strong legacy. The band is a five-piece outfit, featuring Mark Robert Fuller (vocals), Vin Andanar (guitar/vocals), Rob Clifton (keys/percussion),

All-Star Band The Healers Release 'Live At Knuckleheads' Benefit CD/DVD For Blue Star Connection

Members of Stevie Ray Vaughan's Double Trouble, Trampled Under Foot among the special ensemble who played BSC Benefit, now available on CD/DVD...
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Blue Star Connection, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing access and ownership of musical instruments for children and young adults with cancer and other serious challenges as well as providing music therapy departments with instruments, is taking pre-orders of 'The Healers - Live At Knuckleheads,' a live CD/DVD with proceeds raising money for their ongoing efforts. The ad hoc ensemble The Healers -- Jimmy Hall, former Double Trouble keyboardist Reese Winans, Blues Music Award-winner Samantha Fish, Kate Moss, and Trampled Under Foot members Kris and Danielle Schnebelen -- took the stage in November 2012 to raise money for BSC, playing
British quartet Everything Everything have released a second video from their second album this week as American fans wait for the album to receive proper US distribution. The first video from the record, "Cough Cough," was issued earlier this year and tied to the release of an EP of the same name. This latest video is for my favorite track from the album (yeah, I went ahead and paid for the import version because I'm not patient enough to wait for a US label to get this in stores), "Duet." Everything Everything has a charming weirdness in their music that

Stax Re-Issues Expanded Version of Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Albert King's 'Born Under A Bad Sign' April 5

Blues legend Albert King's definitive work gets remastered and re-issued before his posthumous induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame...
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Albert King's landmark Stax effort Born Under A Bad Sign is getting remastered and reissued on April 5, the latest in a line of the famed Memphis' label's campaign, just in time for the late blues legend to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame. The album has been remastered and several previously unreleased tracks from those sessions -- some alternate takes and a previously unheard instrumental -- have been appended to an album that stands as the pinnacle of King's illustrious career. King was backed on these songs by several Stax luminaries including members of Booker

CD Review: Glenn Hughes - Live In Wolverhampton

Glenn Hughes tackles his extensive catalog in this live set.
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Glenn Hughes' career has seen many highs and lows, both on and off the stage. From his promising beginnings in Trapeze to a choice spot in Deep Purple to over a decade of substance abuse followed by more than two decades (and counting) of sobriety, he has seen and done it all, both musically and otherwise. After more than 40 years, Hughes is showing no signs of slowing down. In recent years, he has released three critically acclaimed albums with Black Country Communion, as well as his own strong solo albums. While on tour in 2009 for his album, First

Duke Robillard To Release 'Independently Blue' On April 9

Robillard's latest album comes out April 9; rumors of possible gig with Dylan circulate...
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Blues guitar maestro Duke Robillard's latest solo album Indpendently Blue has been tapped for an April 9 release through his longtime label Stony Plain Records. Independently Blue follows up the co-founder of the venerable Roomful Of Blues band's 2011 release Low Down & Tore Up, a collection of some of his favorite blues covers. Robillard is joined on this latest record by several longtime collaborators including Bruce Bears *piano/Hammond organ), Brad Hallen (bass) and Mark Teixeira (drums) and also has Doug Woolverton on trumpet and Bill Novick on clarinet. He also gets cameos from trumpeter Al Basile and guitarist "Monster"
Green may be R.E.M.'s most underrated and underappreciated album and I'd appreciate it a whole lot more if it were being re-issued for a reason other than turning 25 years old. That's right, kids, Green is 25 and on May 14 it will be released as a 2-CD package (as well as on vinyl). The album has been remastered and the second disc features a nearly complete live show from their 1989 tour in support of the album (more on this in just a moment). Twenty-one songs from the Nov. 10 show in Greensboro, NC are included in the set
When last we left Weird Al Yankovic, he was releasing Polka Party to limited response critically and commercially. He needed to bounce back, and with his fifth album, Even Worse, he managed to do so. The album is bringing the comedy, and the parody, before you even open the cover. The title is a play off of Michael Jackson's Bad, and the picture on Al's cover is of him aping Jackson's attire and pose from his own cover art. This is the first time Al extended his parody humor to his albums title and artwork, but it's not the last

JJ Grey & Mofro Set April 16 Release For 'This River'

It's album six for Florida native JJ Grey and Mofro...
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Southern soul rockers JJ Grey and Mofro will release their sixth studio album This River on April 16, the follow-up to their 2010 album Georgia Warhorse and 2011 live CD/DVD Brighter Days. The 10-track effort was recorded in Florida and produced by Grey and Dan Prothero, with some work being done at Grey's own home studio. He and the band -- Andrew Trube (guitar), Anthony Farrell (organ/piano), Todd Smallie (bass), Anthony Cole (drums), Art Edmaiston (saxophone), Dennis Marion (trombone) -- cut chunks of the record live, an attempt to capture the feel of the live shows. Grey is again in

Bobby Rush At His Down Home, Funky Best on 'Down in Louisiana'

The Blues Hall of Famer shows no signs of slowing down...
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Blues Hall of Famer Bobby Rush continues to defy Father Time, releasing quality records at a prodigious rate at age 72. It's a blessing for Rush to still be with us at all, let alone performing and working. Down In Louisiana is a refreshing example of what happens when a veteran talent is given creative control. He releases his records through his own imprint, meaning he's not been relegated to a novelty act, forced into contrived album concepts or ill-advised duets. The highlight of the record is the brilliant "Raining In My Heart," embodying the imagery of the album's cover

Review: Long Tall Deb - Raise Your Hands

A rising star?
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Raise Your Hands is the VizzTone Records debut for newcomer Long Tall Deb, capitalizing on her success in Memphis with the Blues Foundation's International Blues Challenge. Raise Your Hands is a brash and brassy collection featuring 10 originals and two covers (Tom Waits' "New Coat of Paint" and Ian Moore's "Muddy Jesus") that finds the vocalist working with bandmates John Popovich on piano and organ, bassist Melvin Powe, guitarists Sean Carney -- a successful solo artist in his own right -- and Dave Clo, and drummer Jan Roll. She also enlists the help of blues heavyweights Jimmy Thackery, Reese Wynans,

Review: Ultraísta - Ultraísta

Before there was Atoms for Peace, Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich and percussionist Joey Waronker collaborated on Ultraísta...
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I learned of the self-titled debut from Ultraísta as a result of my excitement for the recently released debut from "supergroup" Atoms For Peace. Atoms consists of Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke, longtime Radiohead producer and collaborator Nigel Godrich, Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea, drummer/producer Joey Waronker (Beck, R.E.M.), and Mauro Refosco. I don't know if Atoms For Peace spawned Ultraísta or the other way around but last year Godrich, Waronker, and Laura Bettinson released their self-titled debut under the Ultraísta moninker and I've been listening to it in anticipation of Atoms' Amok (an album we'll discuss in the coming

Rocket City Rocks! My Hometown Playlist

Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home...
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"Everybody here comes from somewhere..." Some cities have had their stories told in song. How many songs have been written about New York and Chicago? Hell, those are playlists in and of themselves! Los Angeles, Memphis, and Kansas City have been immortalized as has just about every city in Texas. Detroit and Nashville are both music capitols and have countless songs that namecheck them. I live in Huntsville, Alabama, and if that doesn't sound exciting, well, you're not wrong. There aren't any famous songs about here but my city has a story of its own and it can be put

The Weird Al Chronicles Part IV: Polka Party!

A footnote in the Weird Al discography...
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Polka Party!, Weird Al Yankovic's fourth album, sort of has disappeared into the muck and the mire of Al's long, storied musical career. When VH1 decided to do a Behind the Music on Weird Al, and as far as I can recall it is the only episode of that show I have ever seen (I did watch The Simpsons episode "Behind the Laughter," but that is neither here nor there), one of the down moments of his story was the relative failure of this album. That's what happens when you have somebody on your show that hasn't had torrid love

Hit Parade: Baauer - "Harlem Shake"

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Man, how about that internet? It is becoming increasingly clear as I indulge in this process how much the internet is responsible for what reaches the top of the Billboard Hot 100. More than that, it's about the YouTube it would seem. Psy's "Gangnam Style" never made it to number one, but I get the feeling people loving that video on YouTube is a bit part of its rise to number two. Macklemore feels like an internet phenomenon as well. Now, a song that isn't even all that new is the top song in the land, and I can guarantee

DeepSoul: The Blackbyrds - "Rock Creek Park"

Jazz trumpeter Donald Byrd left his mark in the jazz and funk worlds, as evident in this 1975 track.
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Few jazz musicians have crossed over to other musical genres and experienced commercial success. Yet trumpet player Donald Byrd, who passed away recently at age 80, managed to straddle several worlds: academic and commercial, jazz and funk. From his beginnings as a member of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers to a creator of splinter fusion groups, Byrd retained his hard bop roots while incorporating contemporary R&B music. While difficult to choose only one track, "Rock Creek Park" may best represent his spanning of jazz and soul, just one of many songs he produced with the Blackbyrds. As previously mentioned, Byrd initially