Lamb Of God Takes No Prisoners As It Storms This Year’s Hard Rock And Metal Field

Courtesy:  Epic Records

Courtesy: Epic Records

It’s official. Lamb of God is back. The veteran metal band, which was once tapped as part of the so-called New Wave of American Heavy Metal, released its latest full-length studio effort on July 24th. The album, the band’s seventh, is one that almost didn’t happen. That is because of front man Randy Blythe’s 2012 court case stemming from the death of one of the band’s fans in 2010 at one of the band’s live shows in Prague. Blythe faced the possibility of spending quite a bit of time behind bars as a result of the fan’s death as he was implicated in sad fan’s death. Thankfully that didn’t happen. And because it didn’t fans now have an album in VII: Sturm Und Drang that is both one of the band’s best albums to date and that is one of the best of this year’s hard rock and metal albums. The record is anchored by the trademark musical and lyrical intensity that the band’s fans have come to know so well over the years as is evident in ‘#512′ and ‘Engage The Fear Machine.’ Though, for its familiar sound and feel, the band does throw a proverbial wrench in the works, branching out slightly in regards to its musical content in ‘Overlord.’ All three songs show in their own way that Lamb of God is indeed back. They are hardly the only songs that could be cited in making that argument. The standard edition features seven other songs that could just as easily be used for that argument. The deluxe extended edition no fewer than nine other tracks as fodder for that argument as it includes a pair of bonus recordings. All things considered, VII: Sturm Und Drang (storm and penetrated, roughly translated) proves both in its standard and deluxe editions to be an album that is, again, one of Lamb of God’s best recordings yet and one of this year’s best new hard rock and metal recordings.

Lamb of God’s latest full-length album VII: Sturm Und Drang is one of the band’s best recordings to date and one of the best of this year’s crop of new hard rock and metal albums. It is an especially welcome recording from one of the members of the so-called New Wave of American Heavy Metal considering that it almost didn’t happen. From beginning to end, fans will note the band’s trademark musical and lyrical intensity in every song including one of its highest moments, ‘#512.’ Considering the song’s lyrical content, one can’t help but think that it must be one of the two songs included in this record that were centered on the case in question. He writes in the song, “Six bars laid across the sky/Four empty walls to fill the time/One careless word, you lose your life/A grave new world awaits inside.” He goes on to write in the song’s chorus, “My hands are painted red/My future’s painted black/I can’t recognize myself/I’ve become someone else/My hands are painted red” The content contained in the song’s second and third verse strengthens the argument even more that this song is referencing the events of Blythe’s case. Both verses, when coupled with the intensity of the song’s musical content, illustrates the emotion that Blythe must have felt when he originally wrote this song. That is, again, if the song is indeed making reference to the case.

Regardless of whether or not #512 is indeed making reference to Randy Blythe’s case stemming from the death of one of LOG’s fans some five years ago, it is still one of the best moments of this already outstanding return for one of metal’s top acts. It is hardly the only positive that can be taken from the band’s new album. ‘Engage The Fear Machine’ is yet another positive from this outstanding work. Coming from a musical vantage point, ‘Engage The Fear Machine’ shows another familiar sound. The band’s technical expertise in this death metal style song. Drummer Chris Adler’s time keeping is without flaw. Mark Morton and Will Adler are just as tight together in the song’s dual-part approach to the songs. And the fire in Blythe’s voice as he screams will remind long-time fans just as much of the band’s previous works. Speaking in terms of the song’s lyrical content, the song hits just as hard as Blythe comments on the steady stream of fear, death, and destruction being fed to Americans from the media and other sources. He screams, “Here we go again/The world is coming to an end/Engage the fear machine and collect the dividends/That’s it, you filthy monkeys/Keep your eyes on the bright and shiny/Just for you/A brand new-and-improved catastrophe/Pure-bred Pavlov/Prime time apocalypse/Hit the panic button and reap the bloody benefits.” This is made even clearer as he screams in the song’s closing verse, “Stream the latest threat from the limelight economists/Fabricated peri from contagion to communists/Fear delivered to your door by racketeers and strategists/Another advertisement war sold by the media terrorists.” If there was any doubt before, then that doubt is completely eliminated here. The fear machine is the media. It is politicians. It is everybody in any sense of power that willingly drives people into submission through the use of fear. That reminder to not give in to the fear machine set alongside the song’s familiar powerhouse musical content makes even clearer why this song is one of the best of the band’s new album. While it is another of the album’s best moments, it is not the last of said moments. ‘Overlord’ is one of the album’s representative singles and justifiably so. It is yet another of the album’s most notable works.

‘#512′ and ‘Engage The Fear Machine’ are both key additions to Lamb of God’s new album. Both songs harken back to the band’s previous albums with their musical content. The songs’ lyrical content will impress just as much with their hard-hitting and thought-provoking lyrical content. While both songs show in their own way to be key additions to VII: Sturm Und Drang they are just a small collective glimpse into what makes this record such a welcome return for Lamb of God. The album’s latest single ‘Overlord’ is one more example of what makes this record a welcome return. It is perhaps the single most notable of the album’s songs because it is such a drastic departure for the band. The band’s signature speed and ferocity are both there. However, listeners are treated to more than just that familiar sound. The song starts out with a much slower hybrid Crowbar/Alice in Chains sort of sound that runs nearly three and a half minutes into the song’s six and a half-minute run time. Throughout that initial run, audiences actually get to hear for themselves that the band’s members can in fact do more than just play really fast and really loud. All five men show that they can play in a slow, controlled fashion just as much as they can fast and loud. Even Blythe’s vocals have a different sound in that run. It’s an interesting change of pace overall. It is just part of what makes this song such an interesting addition to the record, too. The song’s lyrical content, written by Blythe add even more interest. Blythe noted in an interview that lyrically speaking, the song is a commentary about how the world’s people have become completely self-obsessed and that the end result of that obsession can only be bad. He notes of the song that, “I wrote the song about the dangers of self-obsession in our distressingly myopic and increasingly entitled “me-now/now-me” culture; just like the couple in the video, many people can’t seem to look past their own relatively small problems to see the bigger picture: the world is in serious trouble. Having a bad day at work, or a fight with your significant other, or getting a crappy haircut or table service does not in any way shape or form constitute an emergency. Sometimes things just don’t work out the way we want them to deal with it. People who only see their own problems eventually wind up alone because no one wants to hear their crap anymore- we all know someone like that, always whining and complaining about some inconsequential setback as if it were the apocalypse. This song is for those people.” That statement is made clear as he screams, “A new time of declaration of distress/Strife, misery, and the pursuit of unhappiness/Endless complaining/No accountability/No reek of privilege and weightless tragedy.” It is made even clearer as he screams later in the song, “All the world’s a stage/But you are the only player/A black hole in the center of the universe/A dark cloud of despair/Caught in an endless rut/A Crisis without solution/Someone should stitch your mouth shut/And solve your f***ing problem.” This is a rather sharp indictment of those people. But again, everybody knows someone like the individual(s) noted here. That being the case, the fire in these words along with Blythe’s delivery style and the musical approach of his band mates combine to make ‘Overlord’ one of the album’s strongest songs if not the single strongest songs. Audiences can check out the song for themselves now along with its companion video via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNRsvFsY9qk. Together with the likes of ‘#512′ and ‘Engage The Fear Machine’ all three songs show together clearly why VII: Sturm Und Drang is a welcome return for Lamb of God. Those songs combined with the remaining tracks not noted here result in an album that is justifiably one of the best of this year’s hard rock and metal crop.

VII: Sturm Und Drang shows from beginning to end to be a welcome return for Lamb of God. Audiences will agree that regardless of whether they pick up the deluxe twelve-track edition or the standard ten-track record, it proves to be one of the best of this year’s crop of new hard rock and metal albums. This is thanks both to the musical talent displayed time and again throughout the body of the record and the commentary contained within each of the album’s songs. Whether for one of the tracks noted here or for any of the many others that could just as easily be noted, fans will agree that this applies in every one of the album’s songs. VII: Sturm Und Drang is available now in stores and online. The band is currently touring in support of the new record. It will be in Boston, MA tomorrow, August 4th and then in Holmdel, New Jersey on Wednesday. The band’s current tour schedule is listed below.

NORTH AMERICAN TOUR:

LAMB OF GOD W/ Slipknot, Bullet For My Valentine & Motionless In White

8/4 – Boston, MA @ XFINITY Center

8/5 – Holmdel, NJ @ PNC Bank Arts Center

8/6 – Pittsburgh, PA @ First Niagara Pavilion

8/8 – Toronto, ON @ Molson Canadian Amphitheatre

8/9 – Montreal, QC @ Parc Jean-Drapeau – Heavy Montreal

8/11 – Washington, DC @ Jiffy Lube Live

8/12 – Virginia Beach, VA @ Farm Bureau Live at Virginia Beach

8/14 – Indianapolis, IN @ Klipsch Music Center

8/15 – Chicago, IL @ First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre

8/16 – St. Louis, MO @ Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre

8/19 – Denver, CO @ Red Rocks Amphitheatre

8/21 – Salt Lake City, UT @ USANA Amphitheatre

8/22 – Garden City, ID @ Revolution Center – NO SLIPKNOT *New Show*

8/23 – Auburn, WA @ White River Amphitheater

8/24 – Vancouver, BC @ Rogers Arena

8/26 – Concord, CA @ Concord Pavilion

8/28 – Las Vegas, NV @ MGM Resort Festival Grounds

8/29 – Phoenix, AZ @ AK-Chin Pavilion

8/30 – Albuquerque, NM @ Isleta Amphitheater

9/2 – Austin, TX @ Austin360 Amphitheater

9/4 – Houston, TX @ The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion

9/5 – Dallas, TX @ Gexa Energy Pavilion

More information on Lamb of God’s tour is available online along with all of the latest updates on its new album and all of the latest news from the band at:

Website: http://www.lamb-of-god.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/lambofgod

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.

Lethal Seas Will Fully Immerse Audiences

Courtesy:  PBS/PBS Distribution

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

Our world is in peril.  Those five simple words opened every episode of the once –popular animated, eco-friendly animated series Captain Planet and the Planeteers.  As preachy as that series was, it made a clear and valid argument.  The argument in question was that mankind is killing Earth.  People around the world are finally beginning to see and admit this, too.  Yet there are still those they want to deny that the world is indeed in peril even today, more than two decades since Captain Planet and the Planeteers first debuted and nearly two decades since it went off the air.  Now thanks to Lethal Seas, the latest installment of PBS’ hit science-based series NOVA, the network has shown in its own way once again just how much peril the Earth is facing even today.  It does so by showing the effects of the rising acidity levels in Earth’s oceans.  The presentation centers on the effects of the oceans’ rising acidity levels both on a micro scale and a macro scale (an oyster-fishing operation and major coral reefs respectively).  That is just one aspect of this episode that makes it worth the watch.  The episode uses science to explain what exactly is happening to the oceans as a result of greenhouse gases being trapped inside the Earth’s atmosphere, going all the way down the atomic level in order to do so.  That is another way in which this episode proves to be so enlightening and entertaining—especially considering that the science doesn’t get too in depth for general audiences.  The graphic illustrations and footage used to illustrate the scientific discussions go hand in hand with those discussions and round out the ways in which the program proves itself so interesting for audiences.  Both elements together with the topic itself make Lethal Seas even more proof of why NOVA remains today the best science-based series on television and why PBS in whole is the last remaining bastion of truly worthwhile programming on television today.

NOVA: Lethal Seas a rather interesting new edition of PBS’ hit science-based series.  Watching through the nearly hour-long program, it makes clear yet again why NOVA remains today the top science-based series on television today.  That is made clear primarily through the topic at the episode’s center.  The topic in question is that of the increasingly clear effect of pollution on the world’s oceans and their ecosystems.  Audiences will appreciate in watching this episode that those behind the lens didn’t approach its topic in the fashion of so many ecological activist pieces out there.  Rather it presents the problem, but approaches it in a purely scientific fashion.  It presents the effects of carbon dioxide on the earth’s various marine ecosystems both on a micro and macro level.  The micro level presentation centers on a family’s oyster farm and the effect of the rising acidity level of the water on the family’s oysters.  Viewers see in this segment that the rising acidity prevents young oysters from fully developing their shells.  This in turn leads many of them to die.  The resultant effect here is much smaller yields for the family in question.  What’s more, it means that this very same scenario could be playing out across the country for other oyster farmers and even potentially for those running farms for other maritime life.  One the larger scale, the program examines the effects of carbon dioxide and in turn increased acidity in the oceans on the world’s coral reefs.  Audiences will be interested to learn and see for themselves the impact of those rising levels on the ability of coral reefs to spawn and grow.  Viewers are actually presented here with a side by side comparison of a healthy coral and one that has been affected by the noted pollution.  That will be discussed a little more at length later.  But it is an interesting sight that helps establish the basis of the program and in turn makes the program in whole that much more worth the watch.

The topic presented in NOVA’s latest new-to-DVD episode Lethal Seas and the program’s stylistic approach to discussing the problem is in itself plenty of reason for viewers to see the program at least once.  Viewers see both on a micro and on a macro level the effects of rising acidity levels in the world’s waters.  They see the potential effect of those rising levels (brought on by pollution) both on those that use the world’s waters to maintain a living and on those that live in the world’s waters, giving a completely clear and thorough look at the stated problem.  It is just one part of what makes this edition of NOVA worth the watch.  On a deeper level, the program’s overall approach to the problem makes it even more worth the watch.  Viewers will note in watching this episode that while it does present an alarming problem facing the world’s peoples, It doesn’t take the standard environmentalist take used by so many similar programs put out by other networks and studios.  Rather, it walks that line but still manages to maintain its objective and scientific edge over the preachy nature of so many similar programs put out by other networks and studios.  It’s a breath of fresh air to see those behind the lens maintain that objective stance especially considering the program’s subject matter.  It makes for even more reason for viewers to see Lethal Seas at least once.

The topic presented in NOVA: Lethal Seas and the clear, thorough presentation thereof makes it a presentation well worth at least one watch.  The same can be said of the fully objective and scientific approach taken by those behind the lens here.  While both elements are of equal importance to the program, there is still one more element worth noting in the program’s general effect.  That element is the program’s use of graphic illustrations and footage to illustrate the discussion at the program’s center.  The program utilizes a graphic illustration of certain atomic makeups interacting with one another as well as with the organisms living in the world’s waters as this part of the program is handled.  There is also actual footage showing the effect of said the pollution in question presented as researchers examine a coral reef. The footage in question is quite surprising. That is because viewers will see a clear difference between those corals that were healthy and those that had been so drastically affected by the increased acidity in the noted regions. These are just a couple examples of why the graphic illustrations and footage incorporated into NOVA: Lethal Seas is so important to the program in its own right. Those two elements together with the topic itself, and its noted objective approach collectively show why NOVA: Lethal Seas is well worth the watch.

 

NOVA: Lethal Seas is another interesting addition the ongoing success of television’s leading science-based program. That is thanks to the subject at the center of the program. The approach taken to the program makes it even more worth the watch. The elements incorporated into the program round out the presentation showing together with the aforementioned elements why this presentation is another success for NOVA and why in larger part both NOVA and PBS remain at the top of their respective fields. NOVA: Lethal Seas is available now on DVD and can be ordered direct from PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=62105326&cp=&kw=lethal+seas&origkw=Lethal+Seas&sr=1. More information on this and other episodes of NOVA is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova

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

 

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.

Saxon Debuts New Single; Announces Details For New Album, Tour

Saxon Battering Ram Cover Art

Courtesy: UDR Music

This fall, legendary metal act Saxon returns with its twenty-first full-length studio album. Battering Ram will be released in stores and online on Friday, October 16th via UDR Music. In anticipation of the album’s release, the band has debuted the video for the album’s lead single and announced a handful of North American tour dates that kick off Wednesday, August 19th in Riverside, California. The band will join fellow veteran metal acts Motorhead and Armored Saint for the twenty-three-date tour. Audiences can check out the video for ‘Battering Ram’ online now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2oLC0nOfWGc&feature=youtu.be. The video splices together footage of the band recording the song at Backstage Studios in Derbyshire, UK and vintage footage of crash test dummies in action, a place crashing, a boxing match, a football game and more.  The current schedule for the band’s upcoming tour is listed below.

SAXON US Tour Dates:

August 19 – Riverside, CA @ Riverside Municipal Auditorium w/ Motörhead

August 20 – San Diego, CA @ Brick By Brick w/ Armored Saint

August 21 – Las Vegas, NV @ House Of Blues w/ Motörhead

August 22 – Los Angeles, CA @ Shrine w/ Motörhead

August 23 – Sacramento, CA @ Ace Of Spades

August 24 – San Francisco, CA @ Warfield Theatre w/ Motörhead

August 27 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The Complex w/ Motörhead

August 28 – Boise, ID @ Knitting Factory

September 1 – Austin, TX @ Cedar Park Center w/ Motörhead

September 2 – San Antonio, TX @ Aztec Theatre w/ Motörhead

September 3 – El Paso, TX @ Speaking Rock Entertainment Center

September 4 – Dallas, TX @ Bomb Factory w/ Motörhead

September 5 – Houston, TX @ House Of Blues w/ Motörhead

September 6 – St. Louis, MO @ Pageant Theater w/ Motörhead

September 9 – Indianapolis, IN @ Murat Theater w/ Motörhead

September 10 – Atlanta, GA @ Center Stage – Prog Power

September 12 – Stafford, CT @ Palace Theater w/ Armored Saint

September 13 – Portland, ME @ Asylum w/ Armored Saint

September 15 – Washington, DC @ Howard Theater w/ Armored Saint

September 16 – Westland, MI @ Token Lounge w/ Armored Saint

September 17 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Altar Bar w/ Armored Saint

September 18 – Cleveland, OH @ Agora Ballroom w/ Armored Saint

September 20 – St. Charles, IL @ Arcada Theater w/ Armored Saint

Battering Ram will be available Friday, October 16th in stores and online. It is currently available for pre-orders online via iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/battering-ram-deluxe-edition/id1023693104?app=itunes. Those that pre-order Battering Ram now via iTunes will get the album’s title track as an Instant Grat track. Pre-orders via Amazon and other outlets will be available soon. They will include the CD in Ecolbook, 180 gram Vinyl, Limited Edition Boxset (containing CD, Vinyl and a Bonus CD with the band performance of their Denim & Leather Tour “Saxon Over Sweden 2011” – 18 tracks). More information on Battering Ram is available online now along with all of the latest news and updates from Saxon at:

Website: http://www.saxon747.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/SaxonOfficial

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.

I Love Lucy: The Ultimate Season Two More Than Lives Up To Its Title

Courtesy:  Paramount/CBS DVD

Courtesy: Paramount/CBS DVD

Next Tuesday, Paramount and CBS DVD will release the second season of CBS’ classic sitcom I Love Lucy on Blu-ray. It comes a little more than a year after the release of the series’ first season on Blu-ray. Its release marks the first time ever that Season Two has been released in this format. Now, it is easy to question the importance of the show’s fans having this collection in their home collections considering the number of networks on which it currently airs–TV Land, Hallmark Channel, Me-TV, and possibly others. That is a lot of coverage. However, not everybody out there has access to each of the noted networks for one reason or another. That being the case and that it’s not always that easy to find the DVD box sets at the likes of Wal-Mart or Target (one has to be lucky enough to find them at either retail outlet), it increases the importance of this latest collection by quite a bit. It is just one element worth noting in regards to why audiences will appreciate this latest release even despite the one major issue of its price. The writing behind each of the set’s thirty-one episodes is one more reason and by relation the work of the series’ cast within each episode. Last but most definitely not least worth noting to the set’s positives is the massive amount of bonus material included throughout the five-disc set. From the episode-specific commentaries to the multiple viewing options of the set’s timeless season premiere “Switching Jobs” to the multiple viewing options of each episode overall, these bonuses and many more complete the positive viewing experience of I Love Lucy: The Ultimate Season Two. Each element in its own makes this collection well worth the addition to any I Love Lucy fan’s home collection. Collectively, they make it an ultimate tribute to a series and the series’ fans even despite its rather high price tag.

Paramount and CBS DVD’s upcoming release of I Love Lucy: The Ultimate Season Two marks the first time ever that the series’ second season has seen the light of day on Blu-ray (say that two times fast). Being that the series has already been released both in a full-series set and in its own standalone season sets, one can’t help but wonder why one would want to add this new standalone season set to one’s home collection. The answer is simple. It is the first of a number of reasons that it is worth the purchase even despite the relatively high price tag. While the noted DVD sets are currently available for purchase, one must get lucky to find any of the sets in question in any retail outlet. This means that it is easier for audiences to purchase said sets online. Here’s the problem with that. Not everybody shops online. Whether it be for concerns of security, which are fully justified especially in this day and age, or simply for lack of internet access, shopping online is not for everybody. The next argument is one of the show’s coverage on television today. Currently, I Love Lucy runs on no fewer than three networks–Hallmark Channel, TV Land, and Me-TV–on television. That could be argued to be plenty of reason for audiences to not pick up this set. The rebuttal here is that as with the online shopping option, not everybody has access to one or more of said networks. In some regions, issues with certain carriers has eliminated access to Viacom’s networks, thus eliminating TV Land. In others, a network such as Hallmark Channel is considered a premium channel available only via a digital tier. And in regards to Me-TV, it is growing every day in its reach. However still not every household in America has access to Me-TV. Considering all of this, it makes the presentation of Season Two in its complete all the more important for fans of all ages. Add in the fact that not everybody shops online and its upcoming release in stores makes it all the more important while it is available. These issues are in themselves strong arguments in favor of adding I Love Lucy: The Ultimate Season Two to fans’ collections. It is hardly the only argument in favor of the brand new box set. The work of the series’ writers in Season Two adds even more fire to the argument in its favor.

The issues with the access to I Love Lucy’s DVD box sets both in stores and online make a solid argument in favor of adding I Love Lucy: The Ultimate Season Two to audiences’ personal home libraries. Those issues are only the tip of the iceberg in the argument in favor of the brand new box set. The work of the series’ writers this season and by correlation the series’ cast adds even more strength to that argument. Season Two sees some of the most memorable episodes of the series’ entire six-season run including the beloved, timeless season premiere “Job Switching” and the multi-part story arc that follows Lucy’s pregnancy. “Job Switching” is one of the most beloved of I Love Lucy’s one hundred and eighty episodes if not its single-most beloved and timeless episodes. It is a clear example of why the work of the show’s writers is just as pivotal in Season Two as any of the series’ other seasons. This classic battle-of-the-sexes episode sees Ricky and Fred change places with Lucy and Ethel. The prior become the stay-at-home figures while the latter go out to find work. While Lucy and Ethel’s scenes trying their hands as candy makers are the episode’s most memorable of the episode, they are just part of what makes this episode such a laugh riot. The writers’ ability to make Ricky and Fred into just as much a pair of bumblers keeps the men and women on the same level. Audiences will be left in stitches as they see Fred completely char a cake he was trying to bake and Ricky completely losing track and control of a pot of rice. In the same vein, Ricky trying to clean the chickens (yes, he actually tries to clean them) makes for just as many laughs. On the other side of the proverbial coin, watching Lucy and Ethel sitting at the employment agency, trying to get a job in the first place is well worth its share of laughs, too. On another level, the manner in which the writers switched up the couples’ gender roles even before everything unravels (both literally and figuratively) will have viewers laughing just as uproariously. Fred and Ricky both sporting frilly aprons is hilarious in itself. Lucy reading the paper, drinking her coffee and ignoring Ricky is even funnier. And then there is Fred’s comment about Ethel not kissing him goodbye as she and Lucy leave. This is yet another great moment. The commentary about this moment and so many others throughout the episode show even more why the efforts of the show’s writers make this episode such a laugh riot. Said commentary will be discussed later. Getting back on topic, this episode is just one, rich example of how the work of the show’s writers makes this season of I Love Lucy well worth the watch. The multi-part story arc following Lucy’s real life pregnancy is another pivotal example of the importance of the writers’ work.

“Job Switching” is in itself a clear example of why the work of I Love Lucy’s writers is so important to the show’s overall success and enjoyment. It is just one example of why their work is so important, too. The multi-part story arc that follows Lucy’s pregnancy is another prime example of the importance of their work. Lucy’s real life pregnancy marked the first time ever that a TV series’ heads had allowed an actress’ pregnancy to be played out on television. Discussing pregnancy in general at the time was considered a major taboo for TV. Men and women at the time couldn’t even sleep in the same bed on television thanks to the censors. So to have her pregnancy directly addressed and even tied into the series is in itself is hugely important. The manner in which the writers handled her pregnancy makes these episodes even more key. Audiences will find themselves laughing just as much in the arc’s lead episode “Lucy Is Enceinte” as they will any of the arc’s others. There is a lot of truth even today in “Pregnant Women Are Unpredictable.” Lucy gets mad at Ricky here because she thinks he loves their baby more than her only to turn and get mad at the episode’s end because he had made no mention of the baby. The setting in which this moment happens makes for its own share of laughs even today. Men and women both will laugh because, again, they know that there is a lot of truth here. Even more to the positive is the fact that the writers handled the issue with such tact and playfulness. Much as with “Job Switching” the writers poked fun at both the mood swings that many women experience in pregnancy and the general inability of men to comprehend or even handle them. It is yet another example of everything that was once great about comic writing, proving again why the work of the show’s writers is so important to the overall enjoyment and success of I Love Lucy: The Ultimate Season Two. It is not the last example of the importance of their work, either. “Lucy Becomes A Sculptress” is yet another example of what makes Season Two such a hit.

“Lucy Becomes A Sculptress” is another prime example of the importance of the work of I Love Lucy’s writers for not just one reason but two. The first reason is that it is actually a two-part episode in itself. It is part of that multi-part story arc that followed Lucy’s pregnancy. But it is also its own standalone episode that put Lucy into one of so many outrageous situations. In the case of this episode, Lucy decides to try her hand at sculpting art and even goes so far as to get an art critic to come in and judge her *ahem* work. As any fan knows, she becomes her work, leading to what is one of the all-time greatest episodes in the history of both “I Love Lucy” and of television in whole. Lucy’s initial attempts at creating art are in themselves worthy of more than their share of laughs, again putting the talents of the series’ writers on full display. It is just one more of so many ways throughout Season Two’s thirty-one total episodes in which the writers’ talents are put on full display. All thirty-one episodes considered together, they show with the fullest clarity why the writing behind the second season of I Love Lucy is so important to its general effect. Even with all of the laughs that the writing brings in each episode, the work of the writers is just one element that is worth noting. The work of the show’s cast is just as worth noting.

The work of I Love Lucy’s writers in the show’s second season led to what are considered today to be largely some of the series’ best episodes and some of the most timeless episodes in television’s history in whole. Of course, as impressive as the writing proves to be , it would have been nothing without the work of the show’s cast yet again. The work of the cast–Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance, and William Frawley–is perfect from the season’s premiere to its finale. That is obvious in the season premiere when Lucy and Ethel struggle to keep the chocolates from getting past them on the conveyor belt. It is just as evident in this episode when Lucy and Ricky switch their household gender roles. Lucy is spot on as she sits at the table reading the paper and drinking her coffee, not paying any attention to Ricky as he talks. There is a lot of truth to that scene even today some six decades plus later. The truth is on both sides. The back and forth between Ball and Vance as Lucy and Ethel vie for head of the Wednesday Afternoon Fine Arts League is another example of the importance of the cast’s work. The lengths that the pair reaches in its attempts to obtain that elusive leadership position is so hilarious not so much because it is this pair in question but because it is a situation that could apply both to women and men alike. It just so happened that in the case of this episode it was Lucy and Ethel that went toe to toe over the group’s position of leadership. Another example of the importance of the cast’s work this season comes early on in Lucy’s pregnancy as Lucy wants to initially tell Ricky that they are going to be parents. His reaction after learning he has to sing a song to an expecting couple is wonderful. He goes from table to table, singing happy birthday, becoming increasingly nervous as he tries to find out who the lucky couple is. The ultimate reveal that it is in fact him and Lucy will put a smile on any viewer’s face both from joy and the laughter at his reaction as he tries to solve the riddle so to speak. It is one more way that the work of the show’s cast throughout this season makes the season so enjoyable and a must have for any of the series’ fans.

Everything noted already in regards to I Love Lucy: The Ultimate Season Two makes a solid argument why fans of this timeless sitcom should have the brand new Season Two standalone box set in their own home libraries. For all of the importance of each already noted element, there is still one more element worth noting in regards to this set. That final element is the massive amount of bonus material included with the set. As with the previously released Season One box set, Season Two includes among its bonus features: multiple episode-specific commentaries for starters. One of the commentaries in question centers on the season premiere. Audiences will be interested to learn in this episode that Ricky’s bumbling around in the kitchen was just an act. He was, as is revealed, in fact quite the accomplished chef. Just as interesting is the scene in which Lucy and Ethel prepare to leave and look for a job. Fred tells Ethel that she forgot to kiss him goodbye here. It is a great switching of gender roles. Even more interesting is the revelation in the commentary is that this moment was actually wiped from the episode. According to the commentary, it was not the censors that had it eliminated. Rather it is inferred that it might have been Vivian Vance herself who had it removed. If in fact it was her who had it removed, one can’t help but wonder why. Perhaps there was tension off camera between her and co-star William Frawley. It’s anyone’s guess. Regardless, it is definitely an intriguing tidbit to learn. These are just a couple of extras that make the work of the series’ writers so enjoyable this season. It is just one more reason that the commentary included in this episode proves to be a bonus in every sense of the word. It is not the only episode that receives the bonus commentary treatment, either. There are others throughout the season’s run that get their own commentary, too. The commentaries are only the tip of the iceberg in regards to the bonus material included in this box set. Audiences get to see “Job Switching” both in their own standalone black-and-white presentation and color presentation. There is also an option to watch the episode with its own French-Canadian presentation, which included its own special opening and closing graphics, and French-Canadian audio track. This is just the tip of the iceberg in regards to the set’s bonus material. There is far more to discuss including other episode viewing options.

The multiple viewing options offered for Season Two’s premiere are bonuses in their own right and fully deserving of being called bonuses. They are however anything but the only bonuses included in this set. Audiences are also treated to the option of watching every episode with or without their original opening and closing sponsor segments from Phillip Morris. The Phillip Morris segments even include a clear disclaimer noting the now known dangers of smoking and that neither Paramount nor CBS DVD advocate smoking in any form. Both companies are to be highly commended for taking this measure along with giving viewers the season’s run in its original presentation. On the same note, audiences can watch each episode with or without their original “heart” openings. As if all of this isn’t enough, Paramount and CBS DVD have also included with this set, the entire story arc involving Lucy’s pregnancy in the special Lucy movie I Love Lucy: The Movie as well as even more installments of the beloved radio series My Favorite Husband. Audiences will note in the select commentaries included throughout this season that it was My Favorite Husband that led to many of its episodes as well as episodes from other seasons of I Love Lucy. There is much more to note, including a sketch from the Red Skelton Show, guest profiles, an episode guide printed on the indie front and back of the set’s case, and so much more. But to go into each one would take far more time and space than is available. Considering that and everything already noted, it is safe to say that the bonus material included in I Love Lucy: The Ultimate Season Two more than lives up to its title and in turn shows yet again why this season in whole also lives up to its name even despite its rather high price tag.

I Love Lucy: The Ultimate Season Two shows in so many ways why it lives up to its title. Its very availability versus that of the series’ previous DVD releases lies at the heart of the ways in which it lives up to its name. The collective work of the show’s writers and cast once again makes for so many laughs and even heartfelt moments from beginning to end. The material included in the set as bonuses more than lives up to its title, too. The end result of all of these factors together is a box set that is in fact the ultimate Season Two experience for any fan of I Love Lucy. I Love Lucy: The Ultimate Season Two will be available in stores and online Tuesday, August 4th. More information on this and other titles from Paramount and CBS DVD is available online now at:

CBS HOME ENTERTAINMENT

Website: http://www.cbshomeentertainment.com

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

PARAMOUNT STUDIOS HOME ENTERTAINMENT

Website: http://www.ParamountMovies.com

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

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.

Rubikon’s Third Album Was Well Worth The Rather Long Wait

Courtesy:  Round Hill Records

Courtesy: Round Hill Records

Roughly eleven years have passed since the up-and-coming blues/rock band Rubikon released its debut album The Hollow Men. Being that so much time has passed since that album was released fans couldn’t help but figure that the band would just be another that tried its hand only to fold soon after. However recently announced that it has in fact not gone away. As a matter of fact, it will release its third full-length studio recording Delta next month. The album, which will be released via independent record label Round Hill Records, boasts nine tracks of blues-based rock that will impress fans of Clutch, Deep Purple, COC, and even Zodiac to a slightly lesser degree. While the album boasts only nine tracks and comes in at a grand total of thirty-seven minutes, that does not take away anything from the whole of the record. Speaking of the whole of the record, the record is anchored by the full-on blues rock opus ‘Sermon.’ The song starts out slowly in its first few bars before really launching full force into a rather heavy piece that fans of both Clutch and COC will enjoy. The album’s opener ‘Live That Lie’ is another solid addition to this record. As is noted of the song, it is a work that is centered on the personal journey of the band’s members. Its heavy, blues-infused musical backing adds even more enjoyment to the song in whole. For all of the heaviness displayed throughout this record it isn’t without its softer side as is evident in the more reserved sound of ‘Wasting Time.’ This song starts off softly enough. But it doesn’t take long for the song to pick up even if only slightly in comparison to the album’s other songs. It’s just one more example of how worth the wait Delta proves itself to be . That is not to ignore the album’s other tracks. All nine of the tracks that make up Delta’s body each show in their own respective way what made the wait for this record worth it. All things considered Delta proves in the end to be a piece that any blues/rock aficionado will appreciate regardless of their familiarity with the band’s body of work.

Rubikon’s upcoming album Delta is only the third full-length recording that the band has crafted since forming in its nearly fourteen years together. Roughly eleven years have passed since the band released its debut album The Hollow Men. This new record proves quite well over the course of its nine tracks and thirty-seven total minutes that the decade-plus wait for this album was well worth it. That is most clearly evident in the album’s anchor ‘Sermon.’ The song’s bluesy/southern sludge rock sound instantly grabs listeners by the ear and refuses to let go. That is especially thanks to the transition of its slow, bluesy opening bars to the much harder, heavier riffs that make up the body of the song. The overall content presented in the body of this song in itself makes for plenty of enjoyment. The lyrical content incorporated into the song gives it even more enjoyment. Drummer/vocalist Diggs sings in this song, “I’m already dead/So long gone away/Lay my body down/Old-fashioned way/Old heart won’t last a day/Tryin’ to get back home/Sit here in them clouds/Watch over me.” Listening to this single opening verse, listeners would swear that they were hearing Clutch front man Neil Fallon singing instead of Rubikon’s drummer/vocalist Diggs. The similarity in the pair’s vocal delivery styles is striking. The similarity is just as striking as the song progresses through its near six-minute run time. That powerhouse delivery coupled with the song’s outstanding guitar work makes this song a solid anchor on which Delta can rest and a work that every listener will enjoy.

‘Sermon’ is a solid anchor for Rubikon’s new album. Drummer/vocalist Diggs’ delivery style partnered with the song’s musical content makes it a song that rivals anything ever crafted by the likes of Clutch or COC. It is just one example of what has made the decade-plus wait for Delta worth it. The album’s lead track ‘Live That Lie’ is just as solid an example of what makes the record so impressive. This mid-tempo rocker wastes no time grabbing listeners by the ear and holding tight. According to the band, the song is meant to be a commentary on the personal journey of the band’s members from who they were before to who they have become now. The song’s musical makeup does an impressive job of expressing that message. The contrast of the fiery energy exuded through most of the song to the more reserved sound of the song’s bridge, which comes nearly three minutes in, exemplifies that. That is of course not to ignore the song’s lyrical content. Diggs sings, “Well I’ve been knocked down in chains and lied to/That’s what you get when you don’t play the game/When I step out of line/You’ll follow.” These few lines in themselves paint a clear picture in regards to the comments of the song’s basis. The same can be said of the rest of the song’s lyrical content. What is present here is just a glimpse into the lyrical content’s ability to translate the song’s message. That content set alongside the song’s musical content makes this song an even more solid addition to this record and even more proof of why Delta was worth the wait both for the band’s long-time fans and for those that are less familiar with Rubikon’s body of work.

‘Sermon’ and ‘Live That Lie’ are both clear examples in their own right of why Delta was well worth the wait regardless of listeners’ familiarity with Rubikon’s body of work. While both songs exhibit in their own right plenty of enjoyment, they are hardly the only examples of what makes it so enjoyable. The band shows that for all of the heaviness and power exhibited, it also has a softer side of sorts, too. That is exhibited in the form of the slightly more reserved ‘Wasting Time.’ The song starts off as a fully acoustic piece that is just as certain to hold listeners’ ears as the album’s heavier material. Even at its highest points it still doesn’t get anywhere near as heavy as any of the record’s other songs. That is only one part of what makes this song so enjoyable, too. The manner in which the song’s lyrical content was handled adds even more enjoyment to the song. Because the vocal delivery style here is just as reserved as the music itself, it requires just as close of a listen. What can be deciphered from such an examination is that there is a lot of introspection here. The delivery style is a perfect match for that introspection, too just as with the song’s musical content. All three of the song’s elements connected, they show clearly why this song is just as key to Delta’s enjoyment as ‘Sermon,’ ‘Live That Lie’ and the rest of the album’s songs. All things considered Delta proves that while it was more than ten years in the works, it is an album that was well worth the wait whether or not fans are familiar with the band’s body of work.

Rubikon’s third full-length LP has been more than ten years in the making. Considering how long the wait has been for this record, it has proven with its nine tracks and thirty-seven minutes that the wait was well worth it. Whether for ‘Sermon,’ ‘Live That Lie,’ ‘Wasting Time,’ or any of the remaining half-dozen tracks that make up the body of the album, every element–both musical and lyrical–of this record proves itself important to the whole of the album. All things considered, Delta proves in the end to be an album that is a potential candidate for this year’s list of the best new independent recordings and best new rock records. It will be available Friday, August 21st via Round Hill Records. More information on Delta is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Website: http://www.rubikonmusic.com

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

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.

Nation Beat Releases Carnival Caravan Today

Courtesy:  Nation Beat Music

Courtesy: Nation Beat Music

Multi-cultural music group Nation Beat releases its new EP today. Carnival Caravan will be released today in stores and online. The Brooklyn, NY-based collective’s five-track EP feature performances by not only Nation Beat but also from the Mardi Gras Indian/funk group Cha Wa. Carnival Caravan’s complete track listing is noted below.

Carnival Caravan Track Listing

  1. Casa Diamante / Sew Sew Sew (feat. Cha Wa)
  2. Vou Cantar Esse Coco (feat. Silverio Pessoa)
  3. Golden Crown (feat. Cha Wa)
  4. Canto da Ema / All On a Mardi Gras Day (feat. Cha Wa)
  5. Liza Jane (feat. Cha Wa)

‘Cantar Esse Coco (ft. Silverio Pessoa)’ and the disc’s opener ‘Casa Diamante /Sew Sew Sew,’ which also features the music of Cha Wa, are both Latin-tinged works that will have listeners instantly on their feet. There is also a Dixieland-style piece included in the record that comes in the form of the group’s cover of ‘Liza Jane (ft. Cha Wa).’ Nation Beat is currently touring in support of Carnival Caravan. Its current schedule takes it through September 17th in Hartford, CT.  The group’s current tour schedule is listed below.

Courtesy:  Nation Beat Music

Courtesy: Nation Beat Music

DATE                                               CITY                                          VENUE

August 1                                       Queens, NY                                  Queens Library

August 2                                       New York, NY                    Central Park Summer Stage

August 8                                       Bethlehem, PA                                  Musikfest

Sept. 17                                        Hartford, CT                                  Real Art Ways

Audiences can keep up with the latest updates on Carnival Caravan and Nation Beat’s tour schedule online now along with all of the group’s latest news at:

Website: http://www.nationbeat.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Nation-Beat/10175932771

Twitter: http://twitter.com/nationbeat

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.

Blanchard’s New Album Will Leave Listeners Breathless

Courtesy:  Blue Note Records

Courtesy: Blue Note Records

Famed trumpet player Terence Blanchard has seemingly done it all since first becoming a household name some thirty-five years ago with the Lionel Hampton Orchestra. He has remained one of the most influential musicians in the music industry throughout that time. He has also composed and arranged some of the most beloved songs that music lovers and moviegoers have ever heard. He has also become a well-respected educator. Considering this, one would think that Blanchard would be happy doing everything that he does. Apparently he is not one to rest easily on his laurels, having released countless studio recordings and movie soundtracks throughout his career. This past May, Blanchard added to his already extensive catalogue of recordings when he released his latest studio effort Breathless. Released May 26th via Blue Note Records, Breathless is an aptly titled record. That is because it will in fact leave listeners breathless with awe with its thirteen total tracks. The songs that make up the body of the record will leave audiences so in awe primarily because of their diversity. Blanchard doesn’t stick solely to the realm of jazz in this album. Rather he expands out into other musical avenues throughout the course of the record, presenting pieces that audiences of all tastes will appreciate. The structure of the songs is also of note. That is especially the case in regards to the more jazz and fusion oriented pieces. The attention to detail in regards to those songs’ structures will keep listeners entirely engaged even despite the length of some of said compositions. Last but not least worth noting of Breathless that makes it an aptly titled album is the sequencing of the album’s songs. Just as much attention was paid to the general effect of the album in its sequencing as to the creation of the songs themselves. That element, when set alongside the structure of the songs, and their diverse nature, completes the album and shows in full why Breathless will indeed leave listeners breathless in the best possible way.

Terence Blanchard’s latest full-length studio release Breathless is an aptly titled album. As noted already, that is because it will in fact leave listeners breathless in the best possible way. The main way in which it leaves audiences so in awe is in its selection of songs. Throughout the course of the album’s thirteen tracks, Blanchard and his fellow musicians–Oscar Seaton (drums), Donald Ramsey (bass), Charles Altura (guitar), Fabian Almazan (keyboards, electronics), and P.J. Morton (vocals)–do not stick solely to one style of music. Blanchard’s jazz roots are there in the form of the Miles Davis-esque ‘See Me As I Am’ and the more smooth jazz style ‘Everglades.’ ‘Shutting Down’ exhibits blatant R&B sounds, and ‘Compared to What,’ the album’s opener, exhibits a clear funk style vibe. There is even a song in ‘Cosmic Warrior’ that could be argued to have something of a rock influence. That obviously doesn’t even cover all of the songs featured throughout the course of the album’s seventy-eight minute run time. Along with everything else already noted, Blanchard and company have also included a pair of semi-spoken word pieces of sorts in the form of ‘Samadhi’ and the album’s title track. Those wanting something with a little more energy will enjoy the fusion style of ‘Confident Selflessness.’ If all of that isn’t enough, the funk/hip hop hybrid sound of ‘Soldiers’ will impress listeners. That sound combines with that of the other noted songs and that of the compositions not noted to display a variety of sounds that will impress listeners of all ages and in turn keep said listeners engaged from start to finish. That variety is within itself plenty of reason for listeners of all ages to take in Breathless. In giving it a chance, those listeners that do will agree that such a swath of sounds in itself will leave them breathless and in awe. It is just the tip of the iceberg in what makes Breathless such an aptly titled record, too. The structure of many of the songs is just as certain to leave listeners breathless.

The diverse range of sounds displayed throughout the course of Breathless’ thirteen tracks is within itself certain to leave listeners breathless and in awe by the time the record ends. Of course as key as this is to the record’s enjoyment, the structure of the songs is just as important to note. ‘Everglades,’ the album’s third track is proof positive of the importance of the songs’ structures. ‘Everglades’ runs a total of fourteen minutes and thirty-four seconds. For many listeners, that may seem like a rather long run time. However those that allow themselves to be immersed in the song will hear for themselves just why the song’s structure is so important in relation to its run time. The song is split clearly into a definitive ABC pattern over the course of its run time. Throughout the course of those three sections, the song doesn’t just switch from one section to the next. Rather it evolves as it progresses, starting softly and growing until it reaches its climax roughly halfway through. From there, it switches very quickly, gradually descending in intensity straight through to the song’s closing seconds. The song’s balance as it rises and falls makes its fourteen-minute plus run time feel much less. Simply put, it makes that run time feel like little more than a background note for lack of better wording.

The well thought out structure of ‘Everglades’ is within itself solid proof of the importance of the overall structure of Breathless’ songs in its enjoyment. It’s just one example of the importance of the songs’ structure in the record’s overall impact. ‘See Me As I Am,’ the album’s second song is another example of the importance of song structure to the album’s enjoyment. This song is in part a direct throwback to Miles Davis’ legendary album Kind of Blue thanks to Blanchard’s smooth work on the trumpet alongside the talents of his band mates. The song comes in at nearly nine minutes (8:53 to be exact). Yet its structure (its arrangement) makes that run time just as inconsequential as that of ‘Everglades.’ Its arrangement encourages listeners to close their eyes and take in the music. Those listeners that do take it in will note how time seems to simply slip by as the song progresses. That is again thanks to the attention paid to the song’s structure as it was being composed and performed. Understanding this, audiences will once again agree why the structure (arrangement) of the songs is just as pivotal to leaving listeners breathless and in awe by the album’s end as the diversity of the songs themselves.

‘Everglades’ and ‘See Me As I Am’ are both solid examples of why the arrangements, or structures, of Breathless’ songs are so important to the album’s enjoyment overall. ‘Compared To What’ is one more example of the importance of the structure of the songs in the bigger picture of the album’s enjoyment. At five minutes and forty-nine seconds, it is not the album’s shortest song. Nor is it the album’s longest. But it does exceed the standard three to five-minute run time of most mainstream songs. Audiences will note in regards to this song’s arrangement that it keeps the energy flowing from start to finish. At no one point from start to finish does it let up. Its sustained energy makes it a perfect choice to open the album and an equally solid lead-in to the more reserved sound of ‘See Me As I Am’ before the rest of the album progresses. Speaking of the rest of the album, this composition is just one more of so many included in Breathless that could be used to exemplify the importance of the songs’ structure in the enjoyment of the record in whole. The structure of those other songs together with that of the pieces noted here shows in whole why together with the choice of songs, Breathless will leave listeners breathless and in total awe of the talents of Blanchard and his band mates.

The structure, or arrangement, of each of Breathless’ songs taken into consideration along with the choice of songs featured throughout the record show clearly why this record will leave listeners breathless in the best way possible. While both elements together play an important, collective role in the success and enjoyment of Breathless, they are not all that should be noted in that success and enjoyment. The sequencing of the songs is noteworthy, too. Listeners will note that from its high-energy opener to the laid back grooves of its title track to the deeper, and at times heavier sound of ‘Cosmic Warrior’ to the gentle tones of the album’s closer ‘Midnight,’ the sequencing of each of the album’s songs proves quite important in its own right to the enjoyment and success of this standout album. The energy level of each song in relation to the other makes the album’s near eighty-minute run time pass by in the best way possible, leaving. By the end, listeners will feel completely satisfied knowing that they have just heard an album that once again will leave them breathless in the best way possible.

Terence Blanchard’s latest full-length LP is a surprisingly enjoyable new release. From start to finish, the thirteen-track record shows in a number of ways just what makes it such an enjoyable collection of songs. The ways in which it does so include: its diverse selection of songs, the structure, or arrangement of said songs, and the overall sequencing of those songs. All three elements prove to be of equal importance in the enjoyment of this album. Collectively, they prove with the fullest clarity why Breathless will leave listeners breathless in the best way possible. Breathless is available now in stores and online and can be ordered direct from Blue Note Records’ online store at http://bluenote.shop.bravadousa.com/Product.aspx?cp=60921&pc=BGCDBU37. More information on Breathless is available now online along with all of the latest news and more from Terence Blanchard at:

Website: http://www.terenceblanchard.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/T_Blanchard

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.