Saturday, September 16, 2017

John Brownlow - The Summertime

John Brownlow - The Summertime 

There’s a real sense of cathartic musical independence here via this latest work from this Ontario based musical act and screenwriter John Brownlow. 
While everything on his latest work entitled “The Summertime” is, shall I say, exceptionally entertaining, and it also manages to cover a pretty wide range of musical styles as well. A few tracks notably stand out for me in particular. “Kingdom Come” and “Sunshine On The Radio” are 2 strong songs that deliver pure grooved magic and an impressive vocal tandem. While the movement presents dynamic beats, hooky horns, smooth Guitar lines, classic driven vocals and lyrics that let it all hang out. Despite this somehow the music has a more of an organic feel as the CD hits solid stride.  
This album serves as a great example of a musical genius who isn't afraid to take any risks and grow as a musician. The musicianship is very commanding and fully entertaining, as former Spice Girl and current AGT judge Mel B would say – off the chain. The vocals and lyrics: equally as clairvoyant and fascinating. Brownlow really draws you in. Another highlight for me is “Radiation” and “The Pink Raincoat” which to me exemplifies Brownlow core sound to the hilt. The more I listened to Brownlow, the more interested I became. As I mentioned earlier, he's not afraid of playing with other styles and genres and even though the Britpop seems to feel more comfortable around this particular realm of music, he also proves he can dig into Jazz, Country and Post-punk with the same ease. Something not all musical acts and bands can achieve.

The Summertime by John Brownlow offers a mix of music and emotions that bursts to life via a bittersweet voice which ties it all together. Brownlow demonstrates his individual musical talent and abilities without being to over the top about it all. I get the impression he fun to see in a live setting. So are you thinking what I’m thinking? Somehow all the above is not compatible with the superficial musical times we live in. John Brownlow is well-suited for audiences that enjoy this flash back style of music that simply refuses to die.  

Brittany May

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Barbara Jo Kammer - One Song at a Time

Barbara Jo Kammer - One Song at a Time 

This collection of covers includes one original from Barbara Jo Kammer, but these covers aren’t your ordinary garden variety riffs on other songwriter’s material. One Song at a Time feels patiently curated to best represent Kammer’s experiences as a recovering addict and it’s accompanied by lights out playing that shows great command over the material as well as superb instincts for entertaining its target audience. This is certainly a retro themed collection, in some respects, but it’s presented in the best possible modern light and listeners will never get the sense that its invocation of old tyme music is some sort of empty vehicle for Kammer to claim musical authenticity. Instead, her musical partners on this trip are every bit as key to realizing the potential of the material as Kammer’s vocals are and they come together with great energy and imagination.  
The energy and imagination is evident from the beginning. “I Can See Clearly” is a song many listeners are going to be familiar with, but Kammer rebuilds it in a way much more sympathetic to her designs for One Song at a Time. It’s a solid bluegrass number in this incarnation and she puts it over with all the exuberance that an opener demands. “Choices” requires a different sort of energy, one that behooves Kammer to dig deeper, and she plumbs deep into her personal experience to give this lyric about addiction the gravitas it deserves. Fiddle player Jake Simpson acquits himself quite well here as he does throughout the entirety of the release. “Hard Promises to Keep”, like “Choices”, comes from the traditional country school of song craft and makes a strong impression thanks to the merits of a duet between Kammer and second vocalist Greg Blake. Blake contributes backing vocals elsewhere on the album, but he’s particularly effective as an equal partner for Kammer and they recall past glories in the genre with their turn here. 
“Medicine Wheel” and “The Winning Side” are a little different fare than the album’s other tracks, more grounded in a singer/songwriter folk tradition than outright country, but many of the same instruments appear and the musicians bring every bit of their talent to full use on both performances. We go back to the deep south for the performance of “New Shoes” and the instrumental breaks alone are worth the price of purchase. “Bluegrass Melodies”, the album’s penultimate tune, comes from the musical imagination of one of The Statler Brothers and hits its mark from the outset. Kammer does a remarkable job of making listeners see every line of the song and the musicians complement what she’s doing quite nicely. One Song at a Time concludes with “Mule Skinner Blues”, a Jimmie Rodgers cover, but if Kammer has any butterflies tackling a song from one of the Kings of country music, she doesn’t show it. This uptempo final curtain for the album puts a definite end to one of the best Americana themed releases of 2017. 

Stephen Bailey

Friday, September 8, 2017

The Sighs – Wait on Another Day


The Sighs – Wait on Another Day


Musical energy and the exchange between audience and a song or band can be such a crucial lifeblood for a composer -or a band as a whole- gathered in the name of fulfilling exhilarating music for music fans. Some of this applies to Pop and Rock. Massachusetts based The Sighs seems to have a firm hold on energy with their melting pot of fun sounds and beats that will warp many into musical submission without even trying. One of the industry’s rising and greatest bands are back with their latest 11 track collection called “Wait On Another Day”.
The Sighs brings a great variety of influences and experience to the table with each and every track. Cited influences are: The Beach Boys, The Cranberries, The Beatles, Bruce Springsteen & The Smashing Pumpkins, among others.We start off with the intro banger “It's Real”, a brilliant melodic intro piece full of heavy riffs and vocals that make a real connection with the listener. Things does easily slow down (though are still incredible catchy) in the following songs, starting with “Wonder of Love” and the title track.  In any other case, this loud to low abrupt progression  would have bother me and bore me to death, but this band has had enough time to chop their skills and that shows on this album, as not only does it feel appropriate and much needed (almost like the half time after a very heat sports game) but it shows the band isn't just one pony trick. The Sighs are amazing constant throughout the whole experience that Classic Rock, Power Ballad and Pop fans will love. LaRoche vocals are to die for, they effortlessly dive between the melodies he's given on each song and knows how to elevate the already great music to higher grounds. The CD ends with what sounds like a live track, "Thinking About Soul" that brings back the same excitement and energy the album kicked off with. The guitar solo and pretty much everything feels as an rock arena anthem and you can easily picture yourself and other people around just jumping around, headbanging and raising those horns up in the air.
The Sighs shakes the tree with this CD entitled “Wait On Another Day.” These 11 tracks have a little something for everyone under and is well worth the listen. At the least it will be sure to get your legs and ass shaking along.

Julie Griffey

Bunny Sigler is back

Bunny Sigler is back 

World renowned, Philly-based R&B singer/songwriter Walter "Bunny" Sigler is excited to announce the lyric video for his latest single entitled “Angel Eyes” is now available. The single is also out now on iTunes and all major digital outlets. “Angel Eyes” is the second single from Sigler’s upcoming album Young at Heart – an album that bridges the gap between Sigler’s classic R&B sound and the world of jazz. This is the second single of an album that promises to be everything they’re made of and more, as it bridges the gap between R&B and jazz, both of which he proves to be excellent at.

The song video is a glance into the past, showcasing the glory days of 
jazz, the American songbook, and the Rat Pack while featuring Sigler’s silhouette in various scenes throughout. The black-and-white look of the video compliments the song’s melancholic tone and draws viewers in with its vintage style. The second you hear it though, is where it all begins and the images just enhance the sensational audio experience. It’s a gifted voice that Bunny possesses, just as Ella Fitzgerald, Sinatra and anyone who’s able to even sing this piece of beauty. Because that is what it takes to pull it off without failing miserably.

Not just any song can have the power to be larger than the players, but this is one of them, so it isn’t everyone’s job to tackle. You have-to have the chops and the soul for it or it’s not going to put any hook on such a classic to be covering. The lyrics are marvelous and the backing strings terrific as well. Not to mention the piano playing in which an awesome effort was made. The first thing I wanted to do was look for the first single to go with this and await the album. That’s how much I enjoyed it, and although I’ve known plenty of his work I’m happy to know more. 

You don’t get this everyday but you can listen to the original track by Ella Fitzgerald and the Frank Sinatra cover anytime. The good thing is this adds to them all compliments and no disgrace. The soulful sounds of his voice, is the first thing you notice any time you hear it, and on this he makes no exception to that rule. Get to know them if you don’t and get the best of three worlds, because you’ll just want the song in your life more, if you’ve never heard this record before. It comes recommended for its respect to the original, as it dare I say rivals it with every good intention to bring something of his own to it.

Writing for tracks like Instant Funk's "I Got My Mind Made Up", Patti Labelle's "Somebody Loves You Baby," The Whispers' "Bingo", Jackie Moore's "Sweet Charlie Babe" and The O'Jays "Sunshine" are what put him on the musical map. These are some deep funk and soul roots to be having, back in the era where everything sounded fantastic or it never made the shelves. It’s no surprise that level of quality sound is kept in-tact, because any fan can spot a signature sound as the years go by. It also checks out for the effort to embed an authentic sound that holds up and lasts in your head. You can’t beat it, it resets his own bar. 

Jeff Turner 

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Here's the Riot - 'Love Makes Me Crazy'

Here's the Riot - 'Love Makes Me Crazy' 

The year 2017 has shown a rapid gain in musical momentum as a number of efficient and skillful musicians go on a roll craving the desire of creative music. “Here's the Riot” is one of a kind which has proficiently established its place as one of the best rock bands in this era after they released their first album “Tonight We're Alive” on 24th of July 2017 under the label of Full Bleed Records.

The band is masterminded by guitarist and singer Paris Tompkins who has also written all the songs in the EP. Eric Reymond supports him with bass and Victor Singer beats the drums, forming an exceptionally talented trio.  

Paris moved from Houston to Los Angeles to seek his career in music at the young age of 17. Later he formed the band “Slamhound” with singer Josh Todd of Buck Cherry where he was the backup singer and guitarist. Later Paris joined the alternative band “Church of Mars” as their lead singer.   

Taking inspirations from the well-known rock bands like Alice in Chains, Nirvana and Guns & Roses, Paris has shown his genuine creativity in all the five songs of this album. The words are heartwarming and emotional, strongly based on love, anger, heartbreak, hope, freedom and being human.  

Among the five songs, the first single song released was “Love Makes Me Crazy”, which is also featured on the hit television show “One Mississippi”. The song creates the best power chord symphony of a relatively hard rock record taking the band to great heights.  

Beginning with a powerful and balanced rhythmic instrumental section, the song “Love Make Me Crazy” increases the notch of a listener's experience quite high. By the time Paris mouths the first few lyrics, the alternative rock structure is already created.  

Paris has kept the lyrics simple yet catchy, amusing his audience by provoking their emotional thoughts on love and despair.  

The audience would promptly relate to the emotions in each of the lines that he has so perfectly versed in the song. 

The chorus gives the feel of yearning for freedom from an emotionally draining relationship which keeps provoking the anger and helplessness within. Truly inspired by his own life, Paris has effectively entwined his talent and experience in various astonishing moments with each verse.

The chorus is cleverly linked for maintaining the flow of emotions from pain to hurt and then anger. The impressive vocal and engaging instrumental score gives a shallow dip before taking the high notes with the next high intensified verse which enkindles the vulnerable state of a broken heart. 

“My heart is gone but my blood still pumps”, another stance which slowly fades into a painfully defeated state as the song takes a clumsy turn clustering the mind with stories of love and betrayal.

“Love Makes Me Crazy” has the power to engage its listener into a distinctively engaging tale of insane love and heartbreak and the way everything falls apart as the pain engulfs every hope and imposes an unbeatable craziness.  

Stephanie Smith



Few debuts sound so assured as Weatherboy’s self-titled debut. This ten song release is a collaboration between Icelandic multi-instrumentalist Rangar Rosinkranz and Los Angeles based artist John Walquist will find favor with anyone enjoying Bon Iver, The Beach Boys, or The Beatles. Weatherboy cover many stylistic bases and their art pop leanings, replete with horns, balances quite well with their explorations through evocative post modern folk landscapes with vocals that cover a wide sonic range and ache with genuine emotion. The production handles the challenging material with great skill and never fumbles with the wide array of sounds and melodies their work explores. The album feels very constructed, but never in a way that feels overly-plotted out or belabored. Even the most cluttered songs on this album come across in a very natural way as if its just a band following their own wayward muse. Rosinkranz and Walquist have released something quite unique and viable here,
They indulge their wont for big, boisterous pop music on the first two songs and both attempts come off with real verve. These songs and later tracks alike establish Weatherboy as a duo willing to pursue any vocal approach to make their vision work and possessing the talents to pull it off. It isn’t all about high stepping pop music, however, as songs like “Riding on the Wind” and “Eva” show how good Weatherboy are at reining in their energies and focusing more on atmospherics. The first track leans more in a pop rock direction and features some vivid guitar playing courtesy of Phil Keaggy while the second skirts much deeper into acoustic folk territory. The vocals and general poise of the music on both tracks never veer off course; instead, discerning listeners will notice how such different textures nonetheless sound like they are born from the same musical imaginations. It’s all part of the excellence inherent to this project.
Two of the strongest songs on the album’s second half, “Bennett” and “All Your Fault”, also ask a great deal from listeners thanks to how they restlessly move from one section to the next. Weatherboy, with a few exceptions, come off as a duo loathe to linger for long in any particular groove. They are always shifting moods, tempos, and looking for new angles to leave an impression on the listener. “All Your Fault” is, likely, a more lyrically accessible number than “Bennett”, but it’s also a clearly unsettled number that wants to keep a listener’s head spinning. The final two songs couldn’t be more different. Both “Home Fire” and “Full Bloom” are the leanest, bare bones affairs since the song “Eva” and conclude the band’s debut with a reflective point of view. Weatherboy has the sound of duo inspired to explore musical and personal territory they haven’t yet broached and the result is one of the best albums to emerge in 2017. We can only hope they will reconvene soon for a second effort as the promise exhibited here is clearly boundless.  

Clyde Phillips