This Is Your Life Is Not Just Another Throw-Away Tribute Album

Courtesy:  Rhino Records

Courtesy: Rhino Records

Tribute albums are a dime a dozen. So many tribute albums are released each year that one can’t help but feel that the labels that release them care more about their bottom line than about actually celebrating said artists being given tribute. That being the case, one can’t help but wonder why This Is Your Life, the new tribute album to iconic rock front man Ronnie James Dio, would be any different from those records. The answer to that is not a simple one. One reason that this tribute album stands out is the list of performers and bands that recorded songs for the compilation. It’s a who’s who of hard rock from the past, present, and even future of the genre. Another reason that this compilation stands out is its track listing. This record boasts some of the most beloved songs of RJD’s career. And last but definitely not least important to consider in this record is the fact that it isn’t just a means for the label distributing it to make money. It actually doubles as a fundraiser for RJD’s Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund. So it’s actually a record crafted to essentially help give back. How many bands, artists, groups, etc. can say that they have crafted an entire album simply to raise funds for charity? That–along with the list of songs and performers, bands, etc. on this album–makes This Is Your Life an album that stands well above the rest of the otherwise throw-away albums claiming to be tribute albums.

Courtesy:  Rhino Records

Courtesy: Rhino Records

The primary aspect of This Is Your Life that makes it stand out against all of the other tribute albums out there is the list of performers drafted to record songs for the record. The list of performers drafted for this record is a who’s who of hard rock’s past, present, and even future. It wasn’t just a mish-mash of bands, artists and groups tossed together. Everybody tapped to record for this tribute record is either a counterpart to RJD or someone that grew up idolizing him and his talents. Veterans such as Anthrax, Motorhead, Scorpions, Biff Byford, and Rob Halford perform alongside younger acts such as Adrenaline Mob, Killswitch Engage, and Halestorm over the course of the record’s fourteen total tracks. That collection of bands and artists singing Dio’s hits is in itself a musical history lesson. It introduces younger audiences that might be more familiar with the latter grouping of bands and artists to the veterans and to the music of Dio. To that extent, This Is Your Life quickly earns major points. Even more points come from the sampling of Dio’s music in question chosen for this compilation.

The list of bands, artists, and groups tapped to record RJD’s music for This Is Your Life is in itself a major boon for the record. As noted, it isn’t just a mish-mash of bands, artists, and groups. It is a collection of bands, group, and artists that played alongside Dio during his career, and those that have come since, growing up with the music of Ronnie James Dio. In short, it’s a collection of individuals that have the utmost respect for Dio and his music. Speaking of that music, the songs chosen to be included on this record are another part of the whole that makes it so enjoyable for listeners. Every song on this record is a classic in its own way. From the more well-known pieces such as ‘The Mob Rules’, ‘Neon Knights’ and ‘Holy Diver’ to slightly lesser known songs such as ‘Straight Through The Heart’, Egypt (The Chains Are On’, and ‘Temple of the King’ This Is Your Life does quite the job of chronicling the career of a man that was and is still even in death, one of the greatest vocalists and performers in the history of hard rock.

The music and performers chosen for This Is Your Life are both key components of the success of the album. As important as they are to the success of the record, there is still one central aspect of the recording that makes it so worth picking up. That aspect is the fact that a certain portion of the sales of the album will go to benefit Dio’s Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund, which was established by Dio’s wife Wendy Dio. Bands, groups and artists go out on tour every year or they take part in fundraising concerts. How many artists can say they were part of a recording project that was also meant as a way to pay tribute to one of their own, too? It’s just like bringing home a hard rock festival without having to pay the exorbitant prices for tickets, souvenirs, sodas and more. And at the same time, audiences that purchase the album will actually be helping to fund an organization that works to research and promote awareness of cancer, as well as educate people about early detection in hopes of one day stopping it.

This Is Your Life is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered online via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Ronnie-James-Dio-This-Your/dp/B00IACUO8S/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1396440364&sr=1-1&keywords=dio+this+is+your+life and can be downloaded via iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/ronnie-james-dio-this-is-your/id829325064.

More information on Ronnie James Dio, This Is Your Life and other RJD releases is available online at http://www.facebook.com/OfficialRonnieJamesDio and http://www.ronniejamesdio.com. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Lineup Change Announced For 2014 Carolina Rebellion Festival

Courtesy: Ashton-Magnuson Media

Courtesy: Ashton-Magnuson Media

The organizers of the Carolina Rebellion Festival have announced a change to the weekend of the annual concert festival. It has been announced that Motorhead will no longer be on the lineup for this year’s festival.

Organizers released the following statement regarding the lineup change: “Due to circumstances beyond our control, we have learned that Motorhead will be unable to perform at Monster Energy’s Carolina Rebellion in Concord, NC May 3rd. We are working hard to find a replacement artist, so stay tuned to http://www.CarolinaRebellion.com for further updates.”

The Carolina Rebellion Festival is the mid-Atlantic region’s biggest annual rock festival. It will return to Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, NC May 3rd and 4th, 2014. The current band lineup for this year’s edition of the Carolina Rebellion Festival is listed below.

Saturday, May 3
Avenged Sevenfold, Rob Zombie, Seether, Volbeat, Black Label Society, Killswitch Engage, Black Stone Cherry, Fozzy, Adelitas Way, Thousand Foot Krutch, KYNG, Nothing More, Devour The Day and Truckfighters

Sunday, May 4
Kid Rock, Five Finger Death Punch, 311, Staind, A Day To Remember, Alter Bridge, Theory of a Deadman, Fuel, Hellyeah, Of Mice & Men, Trivium, Redlight King, Twelve Foot Ninja and Gemini Syndrome

Bands announced for the festival will perform on one of three separate stages throughout the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Those stages are the: Carolina Stage, Rebellion Stage, and Jagermeister Stage.

Tickets for the 2014 edition of the Carolina Rebellion Festival are on sale now. This includes Camping, Hotel, VIP Packages, and Weekend 4-packs and upgrades. All camping and hotel packages include access to the Friday Night Campground Party. Active military members can purchase tickets once again at a discount. More information for all ticketing, including military discounts, is available online at http://www.CarolinaRebellion.com.

The Carolina Rebellion Festival was created in partnership by AEG Live and Danny Wimmer Presents. It is sponsored by Monster Energy, Jagermeister, Ernie Ball, Jack Daniels, Bud Light, F.Y.E. and Pabst Blue Ribbon. More information on the Carolina Rebellion Festival is available online at http://www.CarolinaRebellion.com and http://www.facebook.com/carolinarebellion. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Rocklahoma Organizers Announce New Ticket Package

Courtesy:  Ashton Magnuson Media

Courtesy: Ashton Magnuson Media

Organizers of the annual Rocklahoma concert festival announced this week that they will make available a new ticket package for audiences.

The new Zippo Encore Fan Package For Two will be available beginning next Tuesday, March 18th at 1pm ET/12pm CT.  The package includes:

  • Two (2) Weekend General Admission Tickets (inclusive of all service charges and fees)
  • Meal vouchers (two per day)
  • Two (2) Official Festival Zippo Lighters
  • One (1) one-year subscription to Revolver Magazine.

Tickets can be ordered online at the official Rocklahoma website, http://www.rocklahoma.com.

Also on March 18th, ticket prices both for general admission tickets and general admission 4-packs will increase.  General admission tickets currently are available for a price of $109 plus fees.  Beginning March 18th, that price will increase to $129 plus fees.  Weekend 4-pack General Admission packs will increase from $349 plus fees to $399 plus fees.  This takes effect beginning at 1pm ET/12pm CT.

Members of the military can get discounted tickets for the Rocklahoma festival online at http://www.govx.com.  Prices for those tickets will also increase March 18th at 1pm ET/12pm CT.

The new ticket package and price increases are not all that organizers announced this week for the annual festival.  Organizers also announced the return of the “Miss Rocklahoma” contest.  The contest runs through April 18th.  Ten finalists will be announced in late April online at http://www.rocklahoma.com.  Contestants and fans can register and vote online at http://www.rocklahoma.com.

The complete lineup for this year’s edition of the Rocklahoma Festival is:  Kid Rock, Five Finger Death Punch, Staind, Twisted Sister, Deftones, Seether, Motörhead, Jackyl, Filter, Black Label Society, Theory of a Deadman, Killswitch Engage, Skid Row, Tom Keifer of Cinderella, Hellyeah, Kix, Down, Pop Evil, Adelitas Way, Black Stone Cherry, Trivium, Texas Hippie Coalition, The Pretty Reckless, Thousand Foot Krutch, Redlight King, Skindred, KYNG, We As Human, Nothing More, Devour the Day, Heaven’s Basement, Gemini Syndrome, Butcher Babies, Eve to Adam, Truckfighters, Scorpion Child, Twelve Foot Ninja, Kill Devil Hill, Killer Dwarfs, Mandy Lion, Bai Bang, Lynam, ASKA, Black Tora, Firstryke, Mystery, Nasty Habit, Sleepy Hollow, Wicked, Down & Dirty, Loveblast, Ruff Justice, Ratchet Dolls, Ragdoll, Dellacoma, Chaotic Resemblance, Scattered Hamlet, Siren, Mach22, Tempt, London’s Dungeon, Mine Enemies Fall, Station, The Chimpz, Sleepwalking Home, Well Hung Heart, Framing The Red, Blackwater Rebellion, Dryvr, Jet West and Dirty Crush.

The annual Rocklahoma Festival is sponsored by Bud Light, U.S. Cellular, Jagermeister, Monster Energy, Hard Rock Casino, Route 66 RVs, and Jack Daniels.

More information on the annual Rocklahoma Festival is available online at http://www.rocklahoma.com, http://www.facebook.com/rocklahoma and http://twitter.com/rocklahoma.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Details Released For Annual Carolina Rebellion Festival

Courtesy: Ashton-Magnuson Media

Courtesy: Ashton-Magnuson Media

The weather is cold across much of the country.  But don’t tell organizers of the annual Summer concert festival series.  Details for the annual Monster Energy Carolina Rebellion Festival have been made official.  This year’s Carolina Rebellion Festival—the third of four events that comprise “The 2014 World’s Loudest Month–will be held at the Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday and Sunday, May 3rd and 4th.  Avenged Sevenfold and Kid Rock will share headlining duties at this year’s festival.  They will be joined by Rob Zombie, Five Rob ZomFinger Death Punch, 311, Motorhead, Staind, Seether, Volbeat and more.  Avenged Sevenfold (also known by its fans as AX7) also performed at last year’s inaugural Carolina Rebellion Festival, which sold out.  The current performance schedule for this year’s festival is listed below.

Saturday, May 3

Avenged Sevenfold, Rob Zombie, Motörhead, Seether, Volbeat, Black Label Society, Killswitch Engage, Black Stone Cherry, Fozzy, Adelitas Way, Thousand Foot Krutch, KYNG, Nothing More, Devour The Day and Truckfighters

Sunday, May 4

Kid Rock, Five Finger Death Punch, 311, Staind, A Day To Remember, Alter Bridge, Theory of a Deadman, Fuel, Hellyeah, Of Mice & Men, Trivium, Redlight King, Twelve Foot Ninja and Gemini Syndrome

Bands announced for the festival will perform on one of three separate stages throughout the Charlotte Motor Speedway.  Those stages are the: Carolina Stage, Rebellion Stage, and Jagermeister Stage.

Tickets for the 2014 edition of the Carolina Rebellion Festival go on sale this Friday, January 31st at 10am ET.  This includes Camping, Hotel, VIP Packages, and Weekend 4-packs and upgrades.  All camping and hotel packages include access to the Friday Night Campground Party. Active military members can purchase tickets once again at a discount.  More information for all ticketing, including military discounts, is available online at http://www.CarolinaRebellion.com.

The Carolina Rebellion Festival was created in partnership by AEG Live and Danny Wimmer Presents.  It is sponsored by Monster Energy, Jagermeister, Ernie Ball, Jack Daniels, Bud Light, F.Y.E. and Pabst Blue Ribbon.  More information on the Carolina Rebellion Festival is available online at http://www.CarolinaRebellion.com and http://www.facebook.com/carolinarebellion.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ROTR Organizers Announce Early Details For 2014 Festival

Rock on the Range 2014 Logo

Courtesy: MSO PR

The 2013 edition of the annual Rock on the Range festival was one of the biggest that organizers of the annual event have ever experienced.  2013 saw the annual event completely sell out.  Seeing the success that the festival had in 2013, festival organizers have announced that the festival will now expand to three full days this year. The festival, which will run from May 16th – May 18th this year, will be headlined by three very big name acts.  Those acts are Guns N’ Roses, Avenged Sevenfold, and Kid Rock.

While the trio of aforementioned bands will headline the once again expanded festival (last year saw the festival expand to three nights) are big names in themselves, they won’t be the only bands to perform at this year’s show.  Also scheduled to perform this year are: Seether, Five Finger Death Punch, Slayer, Staind, Motorhead, Chevelle, Alter Bridge, Mastodon, Black Label Society and Killswitch Engage among many others.  The complete lineup of bands scheduled to perform at this year’s ROTR Festival is listed below.

2014 ROCK ON THE RANGE BAND LINEUP

Guns N’ Roses, Avenged Sevenfold, Kid Rock, Five Finger Death Punch, Slayer, Staind, Motorhead, Seether, Chevelle, Alter Bridge, Mastodon, Black Label Society, Killswitch Engage, Bring Me The Horizon, Theory of a Deadman, Down, Black Stone Cherry, Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience, Pop Evil, Of Mice & Men, Adelitas Way, Trivium, Gojira, Suicidal Tendencies, The Pretty Reckless, We Came as Romans, Fuel, Redlight King, Miss May I, Reignwolf, Thousand Foot Krutch, Texas Hippie Coalition, Rev Theory, Skindred, Kyng, Fozzy, Heaven’s Basement, Butcher Babies, Nothing More, Exodus, King 810, Devour the Day, We As Human, We Are Harlot, Kvelertak, Jim Breuer Band, One OK Rock, Twelve Foot Ninja, Avatar, WERM, Monster Truck, Wilson, Crobot and Truckfighters with comedians Jim Breuer, Jim Florentine and more.

Audiences will note that along with the lineup up some of the biggest names in the rock world, this year’s festival also boasts the return of the ROTR Comedy Tent.  Jim Breuer, Jim Florentine, and a number of up-and-coming comedians will perform at the ROTR Comedy Tent.

Weekend passes including Field General Admission, Stadium General Admission, hotel and VIP packages and a stadium four-pack go on sale Friday, January 24th at 10am ET.  More ticket information is available online at http://www.RockOnTheRange.com.  Additional information and updates on this year’s festival is available online at http://www.facebook.com/rockontherange and http://twitter.com/rockontherange.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Atlanta Based Hard Rock Band As Raucous And Irreverent As Ever On Its Latest LP

Courtesy:  Steamhammer/SPV Records

Courtesy: Steamhammer/SPV Records

Nashville Pussy front man Blaine Cartwright and his wife Ruyter Suys (pronounced Rider Sighs) have spent nearly two decades making hard rock for the masses.  While the husband and wife duo have largely stayed just under the radar that whole time.  That hasn’t deterred them, either.  The pair (with their latest band mates) is set to release the band’s sixth full length studio release later this month. Up The Dosage is scheduled to be released Tuesday, January 21st via Steamhammer/SPV Records.  And it goes without saying that this new record shows Cartwright and company have not lost any steam over the course of their careers.

It goes without saying that Up The Dosage is a fitting title for the latest release from Blaine Cartwright and company.  The band has continued on this record, its long-standing tradition of crafting some of the most raucous and irreverent rock songs that the music world has ever heard.  The album’s opener, ‘Everybody’s Fault But Mine’ is a prime example of this.  Musically speaking, its sound is similar to bands the likes of Fireball Ministry, Black Stone Cherry and others of that ilk.  Its lyrical side makes it even more enjoyable.  It comes across lyrically as a proverbial middle finger to all those that would want to blame others for their problems.  Imagine Hatebreed’s ‘Defeatist’ only aimed in a different musical direction.  Audiences will hear that for themselves as Cartwright sings, “If you see me coming/You’d best get out of my way/Cause I don’t wanna know you/You’ll just lead me astray/If the world comes crashing down/I’ve left it far behind/If I don’t make it to the top/It’s everybody’s fault but mine.”  If indeed Cartwright and company were intending a certain sharp commentary with this song, then message well received.  There are people everywhere like the individual portrayed in this song.  They are the typical “oh-woe-is-me” type that refuses to stand up and take responsibility for their own actions and the results of said actions.  Considering the history of Nashville Pussy, this is the perfect re-introduction for fans of the band that are more familiar with its material.  On the other hand, it is just as welcome an introduction for anyone that might be less familiar with the band’s catalogue.  And it’s only one of so many stand out songs that the band shares on this record.

If ‘Everybody’s Fault But Mine’ doesn’t grab audiences right off the bat, then the adrenaline-fueled song that follows definitely will prove the band’s reputation.  That song is ‘Rub it to Death.’  Musically speaking, this is a song that bears quite the Motorhead style influence.  Lyrically, it is everything that has made certain groups hate rock and roll since its early days. There is mention of both sex and drugs throughout the song that comes in at just under three minutes.  Of course so much of said material is so explicit that it can’t be reprinted here.  That content aside, ‘Rub it to Death’ is still another great addition to this record when one puts the song’s high-energy musical side next to the more adult lyrical themes.  Simply put, it’s a good fit for anyone that is a fan of Hank III.

The energy and themes established early on in Up The Dosage barely lets up as the band makes its way through the course of the thirteen tracks that comprise the album’s standard edition.  On a side note, the album will also be available in an extended edition that includes two bonus tracks.  The one time when things take a different direction–albeit a slight one at best–is on the album’s shortest song, ‘Taking It Easy.’  The song comes in at just under a single minute.  To be more precise, it clocks in at just forty-seven seconds long.  Things take a different turn here primarily in that Cartwright’s wife takes over vocal duties.  And instead of singing about sex, drugs, and rock and roll, she sings about taking a break from said topics.  She sings, “What are y’all doing on a Saturday night/I’d rather be sleeping than getting in a fight…you rock it all over like a heavy metal beast/You know you got’s to/takin’ it/takin’ it easy.”  The real irony of the song is that for a song that is about…well…taking it easy, it is quite the adrenaline-fueled anthem.  That juxtaposition alone makes it well worth the listen.  Add in the fact that it is able to say so much and make such a hard-hitting impact in such a short span of time, and audiences get a song that is far less simple than it seems on the surface.  It’s one more of so many songs that audiences new and old will appreciate on this album.

Fans overseas will get to hear even more of the band’s music beginning at the end of the month when it kicks off its European tour.  The first date on that tour is Thursday, January 30th at Le Forum in Vauxreal, France.  The latest list of the band’s tour dates is available on the band’s official website, http://www.nashvillepussy.com.  Fans can also keep up with the band via Facebook and Twitter at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Nashville-Pussy/13091707669 and http://twitter.com/bashfulpuppy.

Ford Is As Ferocious As Ever On Her New Live Recording

Courtesy:  SPV/Steamhammer Records

Courtesy: SPV/Steamhammer Records

Lita Ford’s new live recording, The Bitch Is Back, is a good introduction to the veteran rocker’s music.  Ford, who started her career decades ago as a member of the famed Runaways, proves with this latest live release that she still has plenty left to offer her audiences.  From the show’s set list to the audio mix to her general presence, there is much to like about this new live recording.  All things considered, Ford should have titled this recording, The Bitch Is Here instead of its given title.  Regardless, it proves in the end to be one of the year’s top live CDs.

The set list chosen for Ford’s 2013 show at California’s famed Canyon Club is the first part of what makes The Bitch Is Back so enjoyable for audiences.  Most of the songs chosen for this show come from her 2012 album, Livin’ Like a Runaway.  However, there are some older tracks included in the set list presented on this recording.  One of the best of the songs included in this recording is ‘Can’t Catch Me.’ She explains to the audience in attendance that the song was spawned after a chance meeting at the Rainbow Room.  Who would have ever thought that Lita Ford and Lemmy Kilmister would collaborate?  Regardless, the result is a fun, high octane piece that bears all the trademarks of classic Motorhead.  It’s little tidbits such as this that Ford shares through her set that makes this recording even more fun.  But that will be discussed later.  Ford’s collaboration with Lemmy Kilmister is just one of the high points that fans will take away from The Bitch is Back.  She also includes ‘Hate’, which is just one of the songs that she pulled from Livin’ Like a Runaway.  The song’s lyrical side is a powerful social commentary about society’s seemingly growing obsession with violence and hate.  It’s not such a stretch.  One need just look at the content of today’s TV shows and movies and one will agree that Ford is right on the mark here.  Her driving guitar riffs expertly compliment the song’s lyrics, making it one more high point of the show.  There is so much more that could be discussed concerning the show’s set list.  Allegedly, there were even a number of songs from the show not included in this recording.  If that is indeed the case, then maybe fans will get the remainder of those songs in a future live release.  To that extent, one could argue that by not including all of the songs from her show, Ford has left fans wanting more in the best possible way.  Again, that just makes this recording all the more worth hearing.

The set list included in this recording is the center of what makes it so enjoyable.  However, it isn’t the only part of what makes it so enjoyable.  The recording and mastering work done by Bill Gall and Fernando Cavasos respectively makes the record all the more worth the listen.  Indoor venues always present their own set of challenges when recording live performances.  This is the case regardless of whether one is recording a pop star, rock band, rapper, or some other act.  So it goes without saying that Gall and Cavasos did an impressive job in making sure that Ford’s fans were presented with the best product possible.

The final audio mix presented in The Bitch is Back works in tandem with the recording’s set list to make it a record that is a good introduction to first time fans.  The final product is just as good for those fans that are more knowledgeable of Ford’s body of work.   For everything already noted, there is still one more piece to this recording that can’t be ignored.  That piece is Ford’s own performance.  As with the set list, so much could be noted.  There just isn’t enough space or time for it all.  While this recording is only the concert’s audio portion, one can tell simply by listening, that even after so many decades, Ford has not lost a single bit of steam.  As a matter of fact, the level of energy that she exhibits throughout the performance echoes the energy and stage presence of her fellow veteran rockers in their heyday.  That stage presence is the final proverbial nail for this recording.  Alongside the expert audio mix and equally impressive set list, it makes this record that much more of a must hear for any Lita Ford fan old and new alike.  It is available now in stores and online.  After fans pick up her new live release, they can also make plans to see her live once she hits the road again in the new year.  She is currently taking some much needed rest and relaxation in order to get recharged before hitting the road again.  She is currently slated to kick off 2014 with a live performance on January 9th at the world famous Whiskey A Go Go in West Hollywood, California.  That show will be followed by performances in Nevada and more dates in California.  Fans can get the latest tour updates, news and more from Lita Ford online at http://www.facebook.com/litaofficial and http://www.LitaFordOnline.com.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.