Three years ago, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Ricky Byrd released his acclaimed album, Clean Getaway, a record aimed at helping people struggling with addiction as he once did. The former Joan Jett and the Blackhearts guitarist has been sober for over 30 years and dedicates much of his time working as a recovery coach for other addicts. The response was so positive to Clean Getaway that Byrd decided to have a go at it again with his new release, Sobering Times, an album rich in classic rock hooks but, more importantly, rich with a message of hope
Recently in Reviews
Ricky Byrd offers hope to those struggling with addiction, and a killer set of songs, on Sobering Times.
The Rolling Stones deliver a killer concert from 1989 with some very special guests.
In 1989, The Rolling Stones took to the road for their first tour since their widely successful Still Life tour of 1981-82. While the band had released two studio albums in the interim -- 1983's Undercover and 1986's Dirty Work-- they did not tour for either, instead focusing on solo works from singer Mick Jagger and guitarist Keith Richards. These solo projects led to squabbling between the so-called Glimmer Twins and left the future of The World's Greatest Rock and Roll Band up in the air, so when the group announced not only a new album in Steel Wheels, but
Shawna Virago returns with a rocking new single.
Transgender singer-songwriter, Shawna Virago, is back with a new single, an electric version of her song "Heaven Sent Delinquent." Virago is something of a pioneer. While transgender people are typically more accepted today, she has been an "out" performer since the early 1990s, long before social media and celebrities made it "cool." The song deals with some of the struggles she faced coming from an oppressive town. While Virago has been called anti-folk and punk, this song has more of a mid-tempo, almost Rolling Stones vibe to it, with its laid-back vocal and Keith Richards-esque chord changes. The video is
Eric Anders and Mark O'Bitz have crafted a fine new album in American Bardo.
For their third full-length album, American Bardo, singer-songwriter duo, Eric Anders and Mark O'Bitz found inspiration in Greg Saunders' award winning novel, Lincoln In The Bardo. Each song in the 12-song collection, or "readers", as vocalist Anders refers to them, is about one or more characters in the story. The resulting album is a collection of warm, often haunting, well-written songs filled with strong lyrics, vocals, and musicianship. The album leads off with the swampy guitar and electronic drums of "Matterbloomlight." Drenched in echo, the song is at once melodic and melancholy, with a fine guitar solo courtesy of "O'Bitz.
Mark Vickness takes acoustic fusion to the next level on Interconnected.
Three years after releasing his debut solo album, Places, Mark Vickness is back with Interconnected, an instrumental album that best can be described as acoustic fusion. Four of the album's eight tracks are in a modern, finger picked style, while the other four feature Vickness' talented group, which includes two-time Grammy Award winning Mads Tolling on violin, Joseph Hebert on cello, Dan Feiszli on both upright and electric bass and Ty Burhoe on tabla. Heavy with rhythmic elements, the music blends elements of folk, jazz, classical, and world music, making for a unique sound that is at once familiar and
Vast Caldera combines the best of electronic music and classic rock on their debut EP
When Justin Weiss was growing up, he and his family went on a road trip. It was there he discovered, via his father's iPod, a love for classic rock music - music he spent years practicing on guitar. When Weiss was in college, he discovered electronic music and quickly wanted to absorb that the same way he did with classic rock all those years ago. Finally, he decided, "Why not do both?" Weiss has done just that with Vast Caldera 1, the debut EP from his group, Vast Caldera. Produced by Abe Duque, the five instrumental tracks mix elements of
Cosmopolis drops a strong new single.
Cosmopolis, a new band with members hailing from Brisbane, Australia; Brussels, Belgium; and Canterbury, England; have released a strong set of new tracks -- "Sécheresse" and "God Hotel." The tracks are modern sounding, with elements that would make fans of Radiohead, David Bowie, and even U2 happy, but not derivative. The group has channeled these influences into something new and exciting. "Sécheresse" mixes ominous keyboards with an edgy, monotonous vocal. The song gives a real sense of paranoia with a bit of a Bowie vibe in the vocals. The guitars swell, giving way to a spacey sound with potent drums.
Grapefruit Sound Lab drops another killer preview of their forthcoming full-length release
New York Native Robert Cotnoir has parlayed his success as a Hollywood movie music editor into a musical project. Grapefruit Sound Lab is his blend of freestyle, electro, house, and classic rock, among other genres. Working with a number of collaborators, including vocalist Amuka (who has worked with artists as diverse as George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, John Mellencamp, and Rick James), the group is set to release their first album, and their new single, "Love Cards," is a potent preview of things to come. Beginning with an eerie, almost flute sounding keyboard, the track soon gives way to Amuka's powerful
Les Techno molds sounds of the past and present for an exciting debut album.
After winning favor with critics on a number of singles, New York musician Les Techno has dropped his debut album, Flowers For Dystopia. The record is an edgy, often cynical, often satirical look at the world we live in today and mixes sounds new and old to bring a sound at once familiar and fresh. Imagine guitar rock, but in a nontraditional way. There are flourishes here and there, but also dissonant stabs over melodic keyboards. Add in some hip-hop rhythms and a healthy dose of 1980s keyboards and one might have a good idea of what Flowers sounds like.
Patrick Ames finds his groove on his danceable new single.
Patrick Ames had spent the past year writing about serious issues, politics, and the state of the country. That, combined with pandemic, understandably got him down. His solution was to use his music for less serious pursuits -- in short, he wanted to dance, and his latest single, "You Make Me Scream," is certainly conducive to that. Beginning with a descending organ and bass lick that sounds like a bomb dropping, the song moves into a slinky, Stones-inspired riff with a funky bass line from producer Jon Ireson, who also played lead guitar on the track. Ames gives a gritty
Lara Taubman evokes music of the past, while embracing the present on her strong debut.
When Lara Taubman was growing up, she had a serious interest in art -- painting to be specific -- and, envisioning a career in visual arts, went to college to pursue that dream. She eventually became an art critic and curator and studied cultural theory in graduate school, but she heard a call when she was cleaning of all things that said, "If you don't have children, you will probably be OK with that, but if you don't sing in a serious, committed way, you will regret it on your deathbed." Taubman heeded the call. Music had always been a
Deep Purple's 21st album finds the band showing off some deep grooves
Legendary rockers, Deep Purple, are back with their 21st album, Whoosh! The album is the band's third release produced by the equally legendary Bob Ezrin. If Whoosh! Could be described in one word, it would be groove, and few bands are able to lock into grooves as tight as Deep Purple. While many groups that have been around more than 50 years might sound their age, Deep Purple sounds fresh and vital and, most importantly, one can hear the fun they are having still making great music. The album leads off with "Throw My Bones," which begins with a funky
Mighty Joe Castro & The Gravamen look to the past with their strong new album.
Take the best elements of 1950s rock and roll and rockabilly -- strong harmonies, tight musicianship, and excellent song craft -- and mix them with some modern lyrical and production elements and you would likely come up with the sounds present on Mighty Joe Castro & The Gravamen's first full-length album, Come On Angels! Formed in Philadelphia, the band consists of Castro, bassist HOOV3R, drummer Dallas, and lead guitarist Michael Stingle. The sound blends elements of Sun Records rockabilly with the Stray Cats and has a real punk energy in places, which is not surprising considering the punk pedigree of
Chris Ianuzzi takes listeners on a wild ride in his latest release.
Chris Ianuzzi's music career has been decorated to say the least. He has performed for the American Society of University Composers, composed music for the Olympics in Japan, won an award for theme and music creation for The Crime and Investigation Channel, and composed music for the HBO series Earth to Moon. It is no surprise then that the music contained on his latest release, Planeteria, sounds like it could be the soundtrack to a futuristic movie. Opening with the title track, Ianuzzi quickly takes the listener on a journey that forgoes conventional song structure in place of atmospheric sounds
Geoff Gibbons ponders the possibilities if one takes chances in his strong new single.
Geoff Gibbons may hail from Vancouver, BC, but his sound is pure California Americana. Influenced by the likes of The Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers, Gibbons' music blends pop, country, rock, and a heavy dose of roots music. For his latest single, "Keep On Driving," he uses the car metaphor to illustrate the good things that can happen if one is willing to take chances in life. He himself pondered what would happen if we didn't turn into his driveway one day and just kept driving on. It's a chance not many are willing to take. The song blends
Patrick Ames reworks his political track "Reawakened" for the times.
Patrick Ames wrote his gospel-infused political track, "Reawakened," after President Trump's inauguration in 2017. Needless to say, he was not happy about the results of the previous year's election. Now, in 2020, the song has taken on new meaning. It It is an election year, but with the Covid outbreak and all the protests and unrest around the country, Ames thought it could use a reworking. Ames had been recording versions of his songs for a best-of collection, but felt a solo acoustic version would not suit "Reawakened." He enlisted Jon Ireson, who remixed the track -- keeping the original
A Killer's Confession are back with a strong new single "Last Chance."
A Killer's Confession, a band led by former Mushroomhead front man Waylon Reavis, is back with a strong new single, "Last Chance." The song is an emotional one that moves between poppier quiet sections with Reavis' vocals over finger snaps and melodic keyboards and driving, yet still melodic, heavy sections with both melodic and guttural vocals. The track is a nice slice of modern, melodic hard rock, with strong musicianship and vocals to match. For the song's video, the band chose to follow current social distancing orders and shoot each of their parts individually at home. Shot in black and
The Harmed Brothers deliver ten smartly written tracks on their strong new album.
It's been over a decade since singer/songwriter Ray Vietti and songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Alex Salcido discovered they shared a bond in music. They decided to offer it up to the world as The Harmed Brothers, putting out four albums, touring constantly and evolving their sound from a banjo/guitar duo to a full-on band along the way. For their fifth album, Across The Waves, the songwriters have settled in the river town of Ludlow, Kentucky, just outside of Cincinnati. The small town feel resonates throughout Across The Waves' ten tracks. The album opens with "Skyline Over," a driving rocker with smart lyrics and
Def Leppard deliver hit after hit in two great concerts.
For over four decades, Def Leppard has brought their brand of melodic hard rock to the masses. With a killer catalog, killer harmonies, and killer musicianship, the band's concerts celebrate rock's bygone era and play out like a classic rock radio jukebox. In 2018, the band took to the stage in London's famed O2 Arena to deliver their classic album, Hysteria, in its entirety. Six months later, the group did a residency in Las Vegas, playing lengthy sets filled with seldom heard, choice cuts. The band filmed the shows in both venues and those concerts make up the excellent Blu-ray,
Jefferson Berry & The UAC's third album delivers strong musicianship and songwriting.
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
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