‘Blues And Beyond’ Is An Interesting New Musical Moore Profile

Courtesy: BMG

Early this month, BMG Music and Sanctuary Records partnered to pay tribute to the late great blues guitarist Gary Moore with a new compilation of Moore’s music. The collection, Blues and Beyond was released on a two-disc standard edition and a deluxe four-disc collection that also features two discs of live material and a book written by author Harry Shapiro. For the sake of this review, the focus will be on the standard two-disc collection. That collection is an interesting new presentation. That is due in part to the collection’s featured songs. They will be discussed shortly. The songs’ sequencing is just as important to discuss in examining this recording as the collection’s featured songs. The songs’ arrangements round out its most important elements. Each element is important in its own right to its whole. All things considered, the noted elements make Blues and Beyond a presentation that is certain to interest Moore’s fans as well as blues fans in general.

BMG Music and Sanctuary Records’ new Gary Moore compilation Blues And Beyond is an interesting new collection of Moore’s music. It is a record that gives audiences what can only be described as a small snapshot of the late great guitarist’s extensive and successful career. That snapshot is presented through a 28-song collection that includes Moore’s 2001 album Back to the Blues and his 2004 album Power of the Blues in full along with a small portion of A Different Beat (1999) and almost half of his 2002 album Scars. For those who might be less familiar with Moore’s body of work, it wasn’t until about 2001 that Moore, who was also known early in his career for rock compositions with Thin Lizzy and Skid Row, really started to focus solidly on his blues chops. A Different Beat was an experimental record for Moore that really started his transition back to the blues in more focused fashion. Keeping that in mind, it makes sense why BMG and Sanctuary opted to present two of Moore’s biggest blues records for this collection. In the same vein, the inclusion of songs from A Different Beat also explains the & Beyond portion of the collection’s title. The songs taken from that record, as few as they are, give audiences an interesting look into Moore’s attempts to branch out beyond the standard 12-bar blues, and in turn makes this collection that much more interesting. When those experimental songs are joined with the collection’s more standard blues works, the whole of the collection insures listeners’ maintained engagement and entertainment. Keeping this in mind, the collection’s featured songs are themselves only part of what makes this collection of interest. Its sequencing is just as important to note as its songs.

While this compilation focuses only on one specific period in Gary Moore’s career, audiences will note the compilation never once sits too long on one of the featured albums. Over the course of just the collection’s first five songs, the collection switches back and forth constantly between Back to the Blues and Power of the Blues. From there on out, that variety continues, with selections from Scars and A Different Beat thrown in to keep things fresh and to keep audiences engaged. The variety doesn’t end when the collection’s first disc ends, either. Rather, it continues solidly throughout the whole of the compilation’s second disc. The maintained engagement insured through the compilation’s variety also insures listeners’ continued entertainment. Keeping that in mind, it becomes clear why the collection’s sequencing is just as important to its presentation as its songs. Even with all of this in mind, the set’s sequencing is not the last of its most important elements. The arrangements presented throughout the course of this collection play their own key part to its presentation, too.

The arrangements that are presented in this collection’s featured songs are so important to note because of the range of influences that they exhibit. throughout the course of the set’s two discs and 28 songs, audiences are treated to songs that clearly boast influence from the likes of Stevie Ray Vaughn, B.B. King, John Mayall and others. The 12-minute-plus ‘Ball and Chain’ is just one of the featured songs that conjures thoughts of Vaughn. That’s thanks not just because of the arrangement itself but also because of Moore’s own vocal delivery here. Moore actually sounds eerily like Vaughn here; so much so that it would be easy to mistake the two for one another. The collection’s opener, ‘Enough of the Blues’ conjures thoughts of King’s work with Eric Clapton on Riding With The King while ‘You Upset Me Baby’ is full on B.b. King style work. ‘Bring My Baby Back’ is more akin to works from John Mayall. ‘Evil,’ on the other hand could just as easily likened to works from Albert King, another of Moore’s contemporaries. Between these songs and the others included in Blues and Beyond, it becomes clear how important each influence and arrangement is to the collection’s whole. They show Moore’s expert ability to emulate the noted musicians while also paying tribute to them with his own works. It is a telling statement, needless to say. When this is kept in mind along with the collection’s featured songs and their sequencing, the whole of those elements makes the recording in whole one that, again, is sure to interest Moore’s fans as well as blues fans in general.

BMG and Sanctuary’s new Gary Moore compilation Blues and Beyond is a collection that is certain to interest Moore’s fans and blues aficionados alike. That is due in part to a set of songs that focuses primarily on a period in which Moore was devoted in his blues compositions. It also adds in a touch of his more experimental material for additional interest. The collection’s sequencing is just as certain to keep listeners engaged as the songs themselves. Much the same can be said of the songs’ arrangements. Each noted element is important in its own right to the whole of the collection’s presentation. All things considered, they make the collection in whole one that is as welcome an introduction to Moore’s work as a continuation for those fans already familiar with the famed guitarist. With that in mind, it is an interesting new collection that any blues fan will appreciate. It is available now in stores and online. More information on Blues and Beyond is available online now along with all of the latest Gary Moore news at:

Website: http://www.gary-moore.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/gmooreofficial

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Black Sabbath’s Final Concert Proves Its Legacy Will Never “End”

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Black Sabbath is easily one of the most important and influential acts in the modern history of rock. For almost half a century, the British hard rock outfit entertained audiences the world over and influenced countless other acts. That is even with the band’s numerous lineup change throughout the years. This past February, the band — with 3/4 of its original lineup sans drummer BIll Ward — brought that hugely successful decades-long career to an end when it performed its last live concert ever. Recorded Feb. 4, 2017 in Birmingham, England, the city where the band originally formed in 1968, this concert insures that while Black Sabbath may have finally reached its end, its legacy will never end. Now thanks to Eagle Rock Entertainment, that concert has been made available to the masses on a number of platforms in the form of Black Sabbath: The End. Released Nov. 17, 2017 — a little more than nine months after the concert was originally recorded (yes, there’s a bad joke there) — this final recording from one of rock’s most important names is a lasting statement from the band. That is due in part to the concert’s set list, which will be discussed shortly. The concert’s collective cinematography and editing play into that statement just as much as the concert’s set list. They will be discussed later. The concert’s bonus material rounds out its most important elements. Each element is important in its own right to the recording’s whole. All things considered, Black Sabbath: The End proves to be a powerful and enjoyable final statement from Black Sabbath should it in fact mark the true final end for this landmark band.

Black Sabbath’s last ever concert together (or so the band claims, considering that it has broken up and re-formed so many times over nearly 50 years) is an important piece of music history for Black Sabbath fans and rock fans alike. That is especially the case if in fact it truly does mark “the end” for what is one of the most important and influential acts in rock’s modern history. The recording offers audiences plenty to appreciate beginning with its extensive set list. The 19-song set list pulls from the band’s first seven albums. Paranoid, the band’s sophomore album, gets the most nods in this set with six of its songs included in the show. The band’s fourth album, the fittingly titled Vol. 4, gets the second most nods with four songs while Master of Reality and its self-titled 1970 debut are represented with three songs each. Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, Sabotage and Technical Ecstasy each got one nod in this set, again totaling the set list at 19 songs. It’s interesting to note that the band didn’t reach back into its eighth studio album Never Say Die for this set considering it was the last time that the original lineup recorded together and the last time that Ozzy would record with the band until 2013’s 13. That album was iconic if only for those elements, not to mention the songs themselves. Regardless, the set list that is presented here is a solid representation of the original Black Sabbath’s initial run together and is certain to impress audiences of all ages due to that fact alone.

Just as important to note of the set as the songs is their sequencing. Audiences will note in examining the set list a little bit deeper that the band never stays on one album for too long throughout the show. The set list opens by reaching back to the band’s debut album before moving into its second and fourth album for its first four songs. That fourth album (Vol. 4) makes up the set’s third and fourth song. The band goes backward to its third album, Master of Reality for a couple of songs from there before moving back to Vol. 4 again and then back again to Paranoid and Black Sabbath again. The band’s later albums don’t come along until later in the set. Simply put, throughout the course of the show’s set list, the band does an admirable job of keeping things moving instead of just sticking to one album. That constant variety in the songs strengthens the set list even more, and showing even more in turn the importance of the concert’s set list. Of course the set list is only one part of what makes this recording so impressive. The recording’s collective cinematography and editing add another touch to its presentation.

The collective cinematography and editing displayed throughout The End are so important to note in examining the concert’s overall presentation because of how much they add to the experience. Thanks to the work of those behind the cameras and computers, audiences get an experience that is not just another run-of-the-mill concert experience. It truly is a cinematic concert experience complete with triple monitor shots, impressive visual effects — including mix effects that take viewers from one camera to another — and camera angles that take audiences on stage with the band and deep into the crowd. The crowd shots let home viewers see what those in attendance saw, making the experience feel even more real while the on-stage shots take audiences up close and personal with the band. The cuts are handled expertly throughout the show, serving even more to illustrate the songs’ varied energies and in turn, heighten the experience even more. Given, those cuts are at time dizzying in their speed and angles, but they still go a long way toward enhancing the experience even more.

The result of the concert’s editing in post is an audio mix that that sounds just as great with a standard monitor set to “music” as with a home theater system. No one part ever overpowers the other at any point. That includes even the crowd noise. That attention to balance does so much to fully capture the immensity of the venue while also capturing just as well the concert’s sound. As has been noted so many times before, understanding and appreciating that work can only happen when audiences buy this recording and experiencing it for themselves. Audiences who see the show for themselves will agree in noting these elements that the concert’s cinematography and editing go a long way toward making it such an impressive presentation along with the set list. Even as important as both elements are to the concert, they still are not the last of its most important elements. The bonus in-studio footage included in the recording rounds out its most important elements.

The in-studio footage included in the recording’s presentation takes audiences into the intimate setting as Ozzy and company re-record some of the band’s most well-known hits, including the rare b-side ‘Wicked World’ and the beautifully pained ballad ‘Changes,’ which allegedly was about former drummer Bill Ward’s divorce from his first wife. ‘Wicked World’ was a b-side from the band’s 1970 eponymous debut that was only included in the album’s American edition, but not European edition. European fans would eventually get that song though, when the album was re-issued in 1996 and again in 2009. ‘Sweet Leaf,’ which is a pretty self-explanatory song, ‘The Wizard’ and ‘Tomorrow’s Dream’ are all enjoyable to experience in-studio, too. When these performances are coupled with the recording’s main feature, they bring the recording’s total song count to 24. So not only do audiences get two dozen Black Sabbath songs in this recording, but they get an extensive live experience (the band’s possibly last ever) and a more intimate in-studio experience. That duality coupled with the extensive overall set list, makes for an experience overall that is a powerful final statement from Black Sabbath. Add in the expert cinematography and editing, and audiences get in this recording, a work that will make certain while Black Sabbath has met its end, it will never fully be the end for this band’s legacy.

Black Sabbath’s last-ever live performance recorded this past February in Birmingham, England marked the end of an era for the rock and music community in whole. The concert’s home release via Eagle Rock Entertainment makes certain though, that the band’s legacy will never end. That is proven through an extensive set list that covers nearly every one of the original Black Sabbath’s original albums. The concert’s expert cinematography and editing strengthen its presentation even more. The bonus in-studio recordings expand the recording’s set list even more while also giving audiences an in-studio experience that is enjoyable in its own right alongside the recording’s live side. One really would be remiss to ignore the recording’s liner notes, written by Rolling Stone magazine writer Kory Grow as the recording’s presentation. Grow’s liner notes add their own special touch to the whole of the recording, too. When all of these items are set alongside one another, the end result is a powerful new recording from Black Sabbath and an equally powerful possibly last statement from one of the music community’s most important acts. It is available now in stores and online. More information on The End is available along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

Website: http://www.blacksabbath.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/BlackSabbath

Twitter: http://twitter.com/officialsabbath

More information on this and other titles from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online now at:

Website: http://www.eagle-rock.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/EagleRockEnt

Twitter: http://twitter.com/EagleRockNews

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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Audiences Will Say “Yes” To Shout! Factory’s ‘Yes Virginia’ BD Re-Issue

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Paradigm Entertainment

Believing in those things that cannot be seen is one of the hardest things that we as humans can do. That is because the need to see in order to believe is something that is seemingly ingrained in mankind. Yet sometimes, just sometimes, believing in those things unseen without actually seeing them can and does make us and our lives better. That is the message at the center of the 1991 ABC holiday special Yes Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus, which was re-issued this past October via Shout! Factory. It is also one part of what makes the 142-minute (two hours, 22-minutes) movie such a worthwhile watch this and any holiday season. It will be discussed shortly. The work of the movie’s cast is just as important to discuss in examining this movie as its central message (and by direct connection, the movie’s story). The bonus interview with Andrew J. Fenaday, the movie’s Executive Producer and co-writer rounds out the movie’s most important elements. When it is set alongside the other noted elements, all three combine to make Yes Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus a touching, memorable holiday standard that should be in any family’s holiday movie collection.

Shout! Factory’s recent Blu-ray re-issue of ABC’s classic 1991 holiday special Yes Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus is a must have for any family’s holiday movie collection. That is proven in part through the movie’s central message, which is tied directly to the movie’s story. The movie’s central message is one of hope and faith. It says to audiences that sometimes, just sometimes, believing in those things unseen without actually seeing them can and does make us and our lives better. Given it’s not the first time that such a message has been presented in any movie or TV special (E.g. The Year Without A Santa Claus, It’s A Wonderful Life, The Polar Express), but it is no less impacting here as in those presentations. The world needs those occasional reminders, especially considering the world’s current state. The way in which that message is delivered here (the movie’s story) illustrates that message quite well, too. It does so through a two-part story that sees not only Virginia (Katharine Isabelle — Insomnia, Freddy vs. Jason, Ginger Snaps) looking for something in which to believe but also her father James (Richard Thomas — The Waltons, It (1990), Wonder Boys). While Virginia’s desire for truth about Santa is simple on the surface, that need for something positive to believe in is far deeper, especially with her being in her formative years. James’ need for something in which to believe is so important because he is an immigrant, and he just wants to be able to give his family a better life. Having so much trouble trying to find stable work makes believing things can get better makes difficult that ability to believe things will get better.

Even newsman Francis Church (Charles Bronson — The Great Escape, Deathwish, The Maginificent Seven) finds himself in need of something in which to believe having lost his wife and daughter as the story opens. It is Virginia’s letter that gives him something in which to believe and ultimately emotionally heal. It kind of makes Church’s very name rather ironic in the long run. Of course everyone gets their happy ending. Given, life does not necessarily always have a happy ending, not believing in something doesn’t make us or life any better either. That being the case, it proves the importance of this story’s message for its presentation along with the story itself. That message (and the story through which the message is delivered) is only part of what makes this recent re-issue so enjoyable. The work of the movie’s cast is just as notable as the movie’s story and message.

In regards to the cast’s work, both the main and supporting cast deserves credit for their part in the movie’s presentation. Richard Thomas and Richard Bronson are the movie’s real stars, despite the movie’s title, story and message. One can’t help but root for James and Francis as they struggle with their situations — James as he tries to be that provider for his family and Francis as he tries to come to terms with the loss of his family. While the men’s situations are so different, it is clear in the performances that each actor fully embraced his character’s role and situation. Richard’s reaction as James is harassed by his former co-workers is spot on, and makes one feel so strongly for him. In the same breath, when he brings home the Christmas surprise for his family at the story’s end (that surprise won’t be given away here) leaves one wanting to stand up and cheer for him. On Bronson’s side, audiences will applaud him just as much as they will Thomas for his acting. Both men really come across as method actors in their roles, fully embracing the men and their situations. That embracing is, perhaps, what keeps either from going over the top in their respective performances, and in turn keeping audiences fully engaged and entertained throughout the story.

In regards to the supporting cast of Ed Asner (as Church’s editor, Edward P. Mitchell), Tamsin Kelsey (as James’ wife Evie O’Hanlan) and Colleen Winton (as Francis’ co-worker), their work is just as impressive to note as that of Bronson and Thomas. Asner, already having racked up plenty of accomplishments and accolades years ahead of this movie (including his time on Mary Tyler Moore, Roots and Route 66) plays the editor/semi-father figure to Francis expertly. Asner showed each time he was on camera that he knew his was a supporting role, yet still made Edward a strong foil to Francis. While Winton’s resume was not as extensive as those of her cast mates at the time this movie was released (who was best known by then for her work on the 1988 movie Watchers), she still played her part expertly, too as Andrea worked to bring Francis back to his old self. In the same vein, Kelsey’s work as Mrs. O’Hanlan makes Evie such a warm character even as little as she is on-screen. Yet even as little as she is on-screen, her chemistry with Thomas makes her so believable and entertaining. She is that loving mother who works hard even as a housewife to be the best she can be, which is fully admirable. Between her work, that of her fellow supporting actors and that of Thomas, Bronson and Isabelle, it becomes clear in examining each why each actor’s work on camera is so important and impressive here. Each actor put his or her best foot forward throughout, not trying to outdo anyone else, but rather playing off of his or her cast mates. The end result is a group of performances that collectively does just as much for this movie as the movie’s story and its connected message. Those collected performances are not the last of the movie’s most important elements, either. The bonus interview with Andrew J. Fenaday, the movie’s Executive Producer and Co-Writer rounds out the movie’s most important elements.

C. Courtney Joyner’s interview with Fenaday adds its own special touch to the movie’s home presentation because of the insight and entertainment that it offers audiences. One of the key insights offered through the interview comes as Fenaday talks about casting Bronson as Francis Church. He reveals that Bronson had in fact had his own tragedies not long before taking on the role of the famed reporter — both his wife and his agent had died not too long before he took the role — who had lost his wife and daughter before receiving Virginia’s letter. On a lighter note, Fenaday also jokes about his work on so many action flicks and how it played into this movie’s fight scenes being added to its presentation. That moment is one of the interview’s most memorable of its light-hearted moments. There are also discussions about how Fenaday came to take part in this TV special’s creation, its life as a stage play and so much more. The whole interview proves to be a fully in-depth presentation that audiences of all ages will enjoy and appreciate. When it is set alongside the main feature’s story (and message) and the work of the movie’s cast, the whole of those elements makes this movie truly a special holiday presentation — one that should be in every family’s holiday collection.

Shout! Factory’s recent Blu-ray re-issue of ABC’s 1991 holiday special Yes Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus is a release that deserves a spot in any family’s holiday collection. As has already been noted above, that is due in no small part to the movie’s story and the powerful message contained therein. The cast’s work on camera adds its own special to the movie’s presentation. The bonus interview with the movie’s Executive Producer and Co-Writer Andrew J. Fenaday puts the finishing touch on the movie’s home presentation. Each element is important in its own right to the movie’s presentation. All things considered, they make this re-issue of the holiday standard a must have for every family’s holiday collection. It is available now in stores and online. More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Shout! Factory, GKids Partner For Indie Flick’s Home Release

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/GKids

One of the most accalaimed independent animated films of 2017 will officially make its way home next month thanks to Shout! Factory and GKids.

My Entire High School Sinking Into The Sea will be released on Blu-ray/DVD combo pack Tuesday, Jan. 23 via Shout! Factory and GKids. Described by IndieWire as “John Huges for the Adult Swim generation,” this roughly 75-minute movie follows high school friends Dash (Jason Schwartzman — Moonrise Kingdom, Rushmore, The Darjeeling Limited) and Assaf (Reggie Watts — Pitch Perfect 2, Creative Control, Fort Tilden) as the pair try to survive after an earthquake causes their high school to fall into the ocean.

The pair is joined by popular know-it-all Mary (Lena Dunham — Girls, This Is 40, Tiny Furniture) and lunch lady Lorraine (Susan Sarandon — Rocky Horror Picture Show, Bull Durham, Thelma & Louise) along the way.

The group’s adventure presents a story about how high school forms our identities, even in the most unexpected situations. The story presents that story by mixing elements of the disaster genre with teen dramas and so many blackbuster cliches for a work that stands far and apart from its counterparts.

As an additional bonus for audiences, the movie also includes an audio commentary track from its writer/director (and acclaimed graphic novelist) Dash Shaw. There is also a group of short films and spotlight on the film’s animation style.

More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

More information on this and other titles from GKids is available online now at:

Website: http://www.gkids.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/GKIDSfilms

Twitter: http://twitter.com/GKIDSfilms

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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

The Verve Pipe Announces New Live Dates

Photo Credit: Derek Ketchum

The Verve Pipe is hitting the road again.

The multi-platinum alt-rock band, which rose to prominence in the late 1990s, announced this week that it will embark on a new slate of live dates beginning Jan. 11 in Homer, NY. The nearly month-long headlining tour, which consists mainly of East Coast dates, is currently scheduled to run through Feb. 10 in Grand Rapids, MI and also includes performances in Columbus, OH; Ardmore, PA; Vienna, VA and others. The tour’s current schedule is noted below.

Catch THE VERVE PIPE in the following cities:
DATE
CITY VENUE
Thu 1/11 Homer, NY Center for the Arts
Fri 1/12 Asbury Park, NJ Light of Day Foundation @ The Stone Pony
Sat 1/13 New York, NY City Winery
Sun 1/14 Boston, MA City Winery
Wed 1/17 Fairfield, CT Fairfield Theatre – StageOne
Thu 1/18 Ardmore, PA Ardmore Music Hall
Fri 1/19 Vienna, VA The Barns at Wolf Trap
Sat 1/20 Columbus, OH Hollywood Casino
Thu 2/1 Fort Lauderdale, FL Abdo New River Room at Broward Center
Sat 2/3 Tampa, FL The Attic
Sun 2/4 St. Augustine, FL The Original Café Eleven
Sat 2/10 Grand Rapids, MI 20 Monroe Live

Each of the band’s shows will feature a different sort of set –acoustic, electric and pared down hybrid electric/acoustic — depending on the date. There will even be an acoustic performance in full of the band’s 1996 major label debut Villains.

The band’s latest tour schedule is in support of its latest album Parachute — its sixth full-length studio recording — which was released Feb. 17, 2017. It is also in support of the band’s first-ever live recording Villains: Live and Acoustic.

Along with writing commercial efforts, the band has also tried its hand in the world of children’s music with 2009’s A Family Album and 2013’s Are We There Yet? More information on those releases, the band’s new album, its new tour schedule and more is available online now at:

Website: http://www.thevervepipe.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/thevervepipe

Twitter: http://twitter.com/thevervepipe

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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Young Fox Takes The “Gold” On Phil’s Picks’ 2017 Top 10 New Independent Albums List

Courtesy: Spartan Records

Independent recordings are the backbone of the music industry.  Regardless of whether the band is a major name releasing an album on its own, through an independent record label or a lesser-known band doing one or the other, those albums tend to have just as much substance as their more well-known counterparts, if not more.  Keeping that in mind, independent albums (whether released independently or through indie labels) are just as important to the industry as major releases.  That being the case, they deserve their own year-ender list annually just as much as their more commercially-known releases, so Phil’s Picks is giving those recordings their due credit and coverage.  Presented here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks’ 2017 Top 10 New Independent Albums.  The list features the year’s 10 best new independent recordings plus five honorable mention titles for a total of 15 titles, as in years past.

Topping this year’s list of best new independent albums is the new release from underground rock band Young Fox.  The band’s new album Sky Beats Gold proved this year to stand out brightly with its equally deep lyrical content and musical arrangements.  The pairing of those two elements made this album from start to finish a surprisingly powerful effort from the Pittsburgh, PA-based band.  Also included in this year’s list are new albums from the likes of Blacktop Mojo, Hell or Highwater, KXM and others.  Again, many of these bands and albums are such that they are not as well-known as perhaps other bands.  But their albums prove to be just as worthwhile as anything released by their more well-known counterparts.  Without any further ado, here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks 2017 Top 10 New Independent Albums.

PHIL’S PICKS 2017 TOP 10 NEW INDEPENDENT ALBUMS

  1. Young Fox — Sky Beats Gold
  2. Mike Mangioni & The Kin — But I’ve Seen The Stars
  3. Blacktop Mojo — Burn The Ships
  4. Pimps of Joytime — Third Wall Chronicles
  5. Corroded — Defcon Zero
  6. KXM — Scatterbrain
  7. At The Wayside — The Breakdown & The Fall
  8. Hank, Pattie & the Current — Hold Your Head Up High
  9. Mipso — Coming Down The Mountain
  10. All out Street Jam — Living Free
  11. Hell or Highwater — Vistas
  12. Spiral Crush — Electric Life
  13. Eve To Adam — Odyssey
  14. Galactic Empire — Galactic Empire
  15. Satan Takes A Holiday — Aliens

That’s it for this year’s list of top new independent albums.  It should be re-iterated that this was not an easy list to establish as there were so many quality independent albums this year.  Lyrical content and musical arrangements alike had to be considered.  There was no bad lyrical or musical content from any noted album.  Every act on this list should be proud of its album as there is so much to appreciate in each.  Next up from Phil’s Picks as the days tick to the year’s end is Phil’s Picks’ 2017 Top 10 New Country/Bluegrass/Folk/Americana albums.  Since each genre shares so much similarity with the others, it is easiest to combine them into one category rather than try to spread them out.  Stay tuned, and congratulations again to this year’s Top New Independent Albums winners.

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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

John 5 And The Creatures To Open 2018 With New Live Recording

Courtesy: Adrenaline PR

John 5 and the Creatures will open the new year with a new live recording.

the former Marilyn Manson guitarist and his fellow musicians will releae It’s Alive! in stores and online on Thursday, Jan. 28 according to a news release about the recording. That’s a day earlier than the normal Friday release date on which music releases are typically made available.

Pre-orders are open now. The recording’s track listing is noted below.

It’s Alive! track listing:
1. Guitars, Tits and Monsters
2. Flight of The Vulcan Kelly
3. Six Hundred and Sixty Six Pickers In Hell, CA
4. Here’s to the Crazy Ones
5. This is my Rifle
6. Jiffy Jam
7. Hall Haw
8. Season Of The Witch
9. The Nightmare Unravels
10. Portrait of Sydney Sloan
11. Triple D
12. Black Grass Plague
13. Behind The Nut Love
14. Making Monsters
15. Beat It
16. Now Fear This
17. Medley

John 5 said of the recording’s creation in a recent interview that it came to being on a whim.

“I remember pulling up to a beautiful venue that we played in Sellersville, Pennsylvania, and before we were unloading the equipment, the soundman said, “Hey guys, would you like to record the show?,” the guitarist said. “We said, “sure that would be amazing!” I always wanted to have a really great recording of the show. We were a few weeks into the show, so we were really well-rehearsed, so I said, “Alright guys, let’s not jump around. Let’s just really try to get a great performance because we only have one shot – no other shows if we mess up!” So, we explained to the crowd that we would be recording. You can hear that on the recording of the album, which makes it very magical. It came out amazingly! That’s the magic of live albums to me – capturing the performance.”

He added he was so impressed by the end result that he wanted to release the recording and tour in support of the offering.

“I’m so proud of it that I wanted to put it out and also tour it like bands used to tour live albums back in the 70s,” John 5 said. “I thought that was so cool! I’ve put out a lot of records, so I thought – g********, I’m going to do it!”

The tour in support of It’s Alive is currently scheduled to start Feb. 1 in Orlando, Florida and to run through April 21 in Tacoma, Washington. The tour also includes performances in Los Angeles, California; Greensboro, North Carolina; Chicago, Illinois and other cities. The full schedule is noted below.

JOHN 5 and The Creatures It’s Alive! tour dates:
2/1 – Orlando, FL @ The Social
2/2 – Jacksonville, FL @ 1904 Music Hall
2/3 – Atlanta, GA @ Drunken Unicorn
2/5 – Asheville, NC @ Orange Peel
2/6 – Greensboro, NC @ Blind Tiger
2/7 – Virginia Beach, VA @ Shaka’s
2/8 – Richmond, VA @ Broadberry
2/9 – College Park, MD @ Milkboy
2/10 – Sellersville, PA @ Sellersville Theater
2/11 – Stanhope, NJ @ Stanhope Theater
2/12 – New York, NY @ Highline Ballroom
2/13 – Boston, MA @ Middle East
2/14 – Syracuse, NY @ Lost Horizon
2/15 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Hard Rock
2/16 – Cleveland, OH @ Beachland
2/17 – Westland, MI @ Token Lounge
2/18 – Chicago, IL @ Reggies
2/20 – Des Moines, IA @ Vaudeville Mews
2/21 – Indianapolis, IN @ Vogue
2/22 – Newport, KY @ Southgate House
2/23 – Lexington, KY @ Manchester Music Hall
2/24 – Chattanooga, TN @ Songbirds
3/29 – San Antonio, TX @ Rock Box
3/30 – Dallas, TX @ Trees
3/31 – Houston, TX @ Scout Bar
4/2 – Albuquerque, NM @ Launchpad
4/3 – Tucson, AZ @ 191 Toole
4/4 – Mesa, AZ @ Club Red
4/5 – San Diego, CA @ Brick by Brick
4/6 – Los Angeles, CA @ Whisky A Go Go
4/7 – Las Vegas, NV @ Vamp’d
4/8 – Fullerton, CA @ SlideBar
4/11 – Ventura, CA @ Discovery
4/12 – San Jose, CA @ Ritz
4/13 – San Francisco, CA @ DNA Lounge
4/14 – Fresno, CA @ Full Circle Brewery
4/15 – Sacramento, CA @ Harlows
4/17 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The Complex
4/18 – Boise, ID @ Neurolux
4/19 – Bend, OR @ Volacanic Pub
4/20 – Portland, OR @ Hard Rock PDX
4/21 – Tacoma, WA @ Tacoma Dome – Tacoma Guitar Festival

More information on It’s Alive, John 5 and The Creatures’ tour and more is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

Website: http://www.john-5.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/John5official

Twitter: http://twitter.com/john5guitarist

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