Songs, Sequencing Are Saving Graces For Steve Cole’s Latest LP

Courtesy: Artistry Music/Mack Avenue Music Group

Jazz saxophonist Steve Cole is scheduled to release his latest album this week.  Smoke + Mirrors is scheduled for release Friday through Artistry Music and Mack Avenue Music Group.  His 10th album, the 10-song collection will appeal to Cole’s established audiences.  That is due in no small part to the record’s featured arrangements.  They will be discussed shortly.  While the arrangements do plenty to engage and entertain the noted audiences, the lack of any background on the songs in the record’s packaging detracts notably from that appeal.  It will be discussed a little later.  The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements and will be discussed later, too.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the album.  All things considered, they make Smoke + Mirrors a still mostly solid new album from Steve Cole.

Steve Cole’s latest album, Smoke + Mirrors is a mostly successful new offering from the veteran saxophonist.  The 41-minute record will appeal to its audiences largely because of its featured musical arrangements.  From beginning to end, Cole offers audiences more of his familiar late 80s/early 90s style, saxophone driven jazz.  Right off the bat, the celebratory ‘Living Out Loud’ gets things moving with that familiar, upbeat style.  Cole’s performance on the sax alongside bassist Mel Brown, drummer Brian Dunne and the rest of the other musicians (three others in whole) creates a positive sense of happiness and joy.  According to information provided about the song, the late great NBA star-turned-bassist Waman Tisdale played a role in the song’s arrangement years ago before his passing.  Little else is offered in the way of background, nor is that background offered in the packaging in any liner notes.  This will be addressed later.  Keeping that all in mind, only assumptions can be made as to the overall role that Tisdale played in the song’s creation.  Regardless, the positive vibes that the arrangement evokes are certain to have audiences on their feet and smiling.

Of course, for all of the familiarity that Cole offers audiences in this record (as shown in the album’s opener), he also makes sure to switch things up along the way.  Case in point is one of the album’s later entries, ‘It’s a House Party.’  This song stands separate from the rest of the album’s works because it blends Cole’s more familiar approach (and its resultant sound) with an infectious, funky song that will appeal to fans of Parliament Funkadelic, Sly & The Family Stone, and even Stevie Wonder.  That is made clear through the balance of the guitar, keyboards, drums, horns, the bass, and saxophone.  Again, no liner notes are available to offer any background on the arrangement, but considering the song’s title, one can assume at least somewhat safely that this celebratory song is meant to echo the joy of…well…a house party back in the day.  Ironically, the arrangement would fit just as well for any house party today.  The way in which Cole’s familiar style and sound is balanced with the more funky elements makes the song a great break point for the record and more proof of the importance of the album’s arrangements.

On a completely opposite note, ‘Justice,’ the record’s closer, does its own part to show the importance of the album’s featured arrangements.  This subtle, subdued arrangement is so rich in its simplicity.  Cole’s own work on the saxophone pairs perfectly with the performance of keyboardist David Mann and bassist Mark Egan to make the whole so rich.  The layering and balancing of this instrumentation and the rest of the song’s instrumentation makes the whole such a powerful work.  It lends itself so easily to comparison to works from the likes of Yellowjackets.  Not ironically, Yellowjackets is a label mate to Cole on Mack Avenue Music Group and Artistry Music.  Information provided in a press release about this arrangement is that it was meant as a reflection of the killing of George Floyd only miles from Cole’s home last year in Minneapolis, MN.  Considering all of the outrage and fury that followed Floyd’s death at the hands of law enforcement, the subdued, contemplative nature of this arrangement makes for so much engagement.  It really serves to show another side of the reaction to Floyd’s death, making for even more interest.  When this arrangement and the others examined here are considered along with the rest of the album’s songs, the variety that they collectively show makes clear, the importance of the album’s musical content to its presentation.  It forms a strong foundation for the record.

While the musical content that makes up the main body of Smoke + Mirrors does much to make the record appealing, the lack of background information on the songs anywhere in the album’s packaging does just as much to detract from the record’s presentation.  It has already been noted in the discussion about the songs that the only background provided was in a press release for the media.  That background information, even brief, would have helped enhance the listening experience even more for audiences.  Again, media personnel can vouch for that, considering everything noted in the addressed press release.  The notes in the press release about ‘Covent Garden’ are even more support for that argument.  While very brief – they explain that Cole wrote the song in response to the lockdowns brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic – the notes would have helped audiences understand and better appreciate such song.  The album’s midpoint, ‘Coven Garden’ is an old school laced song that also incorporates Cole’s familiar stylistic approach.  AS difficult as life under lockdown was, understanding that the song was meant to convey a sense of hope and optimism throughout it all would help listeners (again) better appreciate the arrangement.  Much the same can be said of the brief notes on ‘Trust,’ another of the album’s late entries.  According to the notes in the provided press release, the R&B-infused work is meant to present a sense of gratitude for those closest to Cole throughout everything in life.  Without that information available, audiences would be so easily led to think this song is just some slow jam for lovers.  That is because the arrangement is that style composition.  To that end, it is more proof of the importance of the liner notes.  It is just too bad that all of this information was not provided in the packaging.  Now the lack thereof is not enough to make the album a failure, but it certainly would have helped add to the listening experience.

Considering the overall impact of its arrangements and lack of background information, Smoke + Mirrors still proves to be worth hearing at least once.  The sequencing of the record’s featured songs adds to the album’s appeal when it is considered along with the songs.  That is because the sequencing takes into account, the energies in each of the album’s songs to keep the album moving fluidly from one song to the next.  From start to end, audiences’ engagement and entertainment is ensured because of that fluid progression.  This is especially important to address because of the placement of the album’s slower and more upbeat works.  All things considered here, the album’s sequencing brings everything full circle and completes the record’s presentation.  When the sequencing is considered along with the songs, the two elements join to give audiences plenty of reason to hear Smoke + Mirrors.

Steve Cole’s latest album, Smoke + Mirrors, is a positive addition to this year’s field of new jazz albums.  Additionally, it is a welcome addition to Cole’s own already extensive catalog.  That is proven in part through its featured songs.  The songs give audiences plenty of familiarity in their sounds and stylistic approaches.  At the same time, they also offer audiences a little something new.  That balance of old and new ensures audiences’ engagement and entertainment in its own way.  While the songs featured in this record make a strong foundation for the album, the lack of any background information on the songs noticeably detracts from the album’s appeal.  That is because it can so easily lead to misinterpretation of the messages that the songs are working to translate.  Luckily this shortcoming is not enough to make the record a failure, but it certainly would have been nice to have had that element for audiences.  The sequencing of the songs featured in the record works with those songs to complete the album’s presentation.  It ensures the songs’ moods and energies are stable from beginning to end.  The result is that the album leaves listeners fulfilled.  It ends before audiences realize, but in the best way possible.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the album.  All things considered, they make the album a positive addition to this year’s field of new jazz albums.

Smoke + Mirrors is scheduled for release Friday through Mack Avenue Music Group and Artistry Music.  More information on the album is available along with all of Steve Cole’s latest news at:

Website: https://stevecole.net

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stevecolemusicpage

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.  

Alpha Rhythm Kings’ Debut LP Is A Successful Covers Collection

Courtesy: Dehlinger Productions

Keeping the music of days gone by alive in any age is key to any culture. The problem is that in the mainstream music industry, it seems increasingly that acts — regardless of genre — are trying less to keep that part of America’s culture alive than just trying to make a quick buck off of that music when they release covers compilations.  There are so many coves compilations out there across the musical universe that in reality, they have become nearly irrelevant as a format.   Keeping that in mind, it makes Alpha Rhythm Kings’ debut record, Sharp Dressed Men, an intriguing addition to this year’s field of new covers compilations.  That is not to say that the 10-song record, scheduled for release through Dehlinger Productions, is a failure.  Quite the opposite is the case, actually.  It is worth hearing at least once.  That is due in large part to its featured songs.  This will be discussed shortly.  The performances of those songs adds its own appeal to the presentation.  They will be discussed a little later.  The songs’ sequencing rounds out the most important of the record’s elements and brings everything full circle, completing the compilation’s presentation.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the record.  All things considered, they make the collection a unique addition to this year’s field of new compilations and new jazz compilations.

Alpha Rhythm Kings’ debut record is an interesting way for the collective, which got its start in 2017, to really launch its professional recording career.  That is because instead of being a profile of the band’s own talents, it is a covers collection. In other words, it is a presentation of the band’s talents in relation to others’ work.  It is not necessarily the best way for any act – regardless of genre – to launch its career, since it is a presentation of said act performing another act’s music instead of its own work.  To that end, the record must be examined for what it is, a covers collection.  Keeping that in mind, the covers are important because of their diversity.  From well-known to lesser-known, the songs touch on a wide range of acts and songs.  Case in point is the collection’s closer, ‘That’s Life.’  The song, originally composed in 1963 by Dean Kay and Kelly Gordon, was first recorded by Marion Montgomery.  However, it was not until 1966 when Frank Sinatra took on the song that it really became famous.  The song has since gone on to be a timeless work.  By comparison, the band also takes on ZZ Top’s equally classic ‘Sharp Dressed Man.’  So in these two tracks alone, audiences get a touch of jazz and rock, two completely different genres that are handled quite well through the arrangements and their performances.  That aspect will be discussed a little later.  On yet another note, the band brings renewed focus to Roy Milton, a lesser-known figure in the jazz community through its performance of ‘Short, Sweet and Snappy.’  In the same vein, fellow lesser-known jazz artist Julia Lee gets her own attention through this compilation in the band’s performance of her song, ‘Snatch and Grab It (Opportunity Knocks But Once),’ giving new attention to her and her work, too.  Once more, audiences see the wide range of artists and music that Alpha Rhythm Kings covers in its debut record.  Between these noted songs and artists, and others featured throughout the record, the whole of the record’s featured musical selections makes for reason enough in itself to give this record a chance.  It is just a part of what makes the record worth the chance.  The arrangements and performances thereof make for their own interest.

The arrangements and performances featured thereof in this record are unique in their own way.  Case in point is the collective’s take on the 1921 song ‘The Sheik of Araby.’  The variance between the group’s swinging, up-tempo rendition and that made a century ago from inspiration from the movie The Sheik is stark needless to say.  The original composition has some light jazz overtones as it progresses, but also boasts a clear string arrangement that breaks things up even more.  ARK’s take on the song is more along the lines of something one might expect from the likes of the Brian Setzer Orchestra than the composition presented in that original work, right down to the vocals.  At the same time, the group still manages to make the song its own and still enjoyable.

The group’s performance of King Perry’s ‘Keep A Dollar in Your Pocket’ is another example of the importance of the songs and performances featured in this record.  Perry’s original composition is a relatively simple composition. It features Perry alongside a basic blues type piano/bass line.  That line is countered effectively by Perry’s own work on saxophone here.  The composition is relatively simple, but is still so enjoyable even in that simple approach.  That same noted bass/piano foundation is just as evident in ARK’s take of the song.  As a matter of fact, the band stays largely true to the song’s source material here with the slightest of alterations.  The end result is a song and performance that not only brings new light to another lesser-known jazz figure, but to an equally enjoyable song from said artist.  It is just one more example of the importance of the songs and performances featured in this record.  The band’s take on the 1907 Will D. Cobb/Gus Edwards song ‘School Days’ is yet another example of the importance of the songs and performances featured here. 

Everybody knows ‘School Days.’  It is a timeless tune.  What must be kept in mind here is that allegedly, the original composition centered on a married couple that is looking back on its younger days together in elementary school.  That would explain the simple wind ensemble arrangement made so popular in 1907 by Byron G. Harlon.  The simplicity and innocence in the arrangement reflects the innocence that the couple felt in reminiscing those early days.  There is also a piano-centered arrangement that is just as simple and endearing that conjures those thoughts of innocence and happiness.  ARK’s rendition on the other hand is starkly unlike the original.  The general composition is the same, but instead of the softer, simpler take of the song all those ages ago, the band opts again here for more of a Brian Setzer Orchestra type approach here.  It is quite the energetic song and adds in some extra lyrics.  The lyrics in question are old nursery rhymes to enhance the update even more.  That lyrical and musical update makes this song its own unique presentation that audiences will enjoy in their own right.  When it is considered along with the other covers examined here and the rest of the record’s songs, the whole makes fully clear the role that the arrangements and performances thereof play into the bigger picture of the record.  Together with the diversity in the songs, the collective songs, their arrangements and performances make for plenty of reason for audiences to hear this collection.  They are only a portion of what makes the record stand out among this year’s new covers sets.  The sequencing of the works brings everything full circle and completes the record’s presentation.

The sequencing of the content in this record is important to examine because in this case, it plays directly into the collection’s pacing.  As noted already, approximately 10 songs make up the record’s body.  Those songs bring the record’s run time to only 28 minutes.  That is not very long.  Yet thanks to the record’s sequencing, audiences are actually left feeling fulfilled by the noted content.  The songs’ energies run fluidly from one song to the next as a result of the noted sequencing.  That means that audiences will never feel overwhelmed or bored at any point.  To that end, the sequencing of this collection plays its own integral part to the overall presentation.  It does just as much to keep audiences engaged and entertained as the record’s content and performance thereof.  Considering all of this together, the record in whole proves to be an enjoyable compilation even if not the best way for Alpha Rhythm Kings to launch its professional recording career.

Alpha Rhythm Kings’ debut record is an interesting addition to this year’s field of new compilation records.  While more a display of the band’s talents in relation to others’ works, it still serves its own purpose.  That purpose is to bring renewed attention to a variety of well- and lesser-known jazz acts through its featured songs.  The arrangements and performances thereof featured throughout this record add their own appeal to the presentation.  That is because of the balance of the original compositions and updated takes in the songs.  That balance makes each song unique in its own right.  The sequencing of the total content brings everything full circle and completes the record’s presentation.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the record.  All things considered, they make the compilation an interesting covers collection from Alpha Rhythm Kings.  Sharp Dressed Man is scheduled for release Friday through Dehlinger Productions.  More information on Sharp Dressed Men is available along with all of ARK’s latest news at:

Website: https://alpharhythmkings.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AlphaRhythmKings

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.  

P.O.D. Announces ‘Satellite’ Re-Issue Release Date, Specs; Premieres Previously Unreleased Demo; Announces New Live Dates

Courtesy: Atlantic Records

P.O.D. will bring the music to the masses in more ways than one this year.

The band will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the release of its album, Satellite with a re-issue of that album Sept. 3. The re-issue will feature a total of 27 songs. Among those songs are rarities, re-mixes, previously unreleased demos and a full remastered presentation of Satellite.

The band premiered the previously unreleased demo of ‘Alive‘ Tuesday. The demo is a semi-acoustic take of the hit single. Among the rarities featured in the re-issue are the b-sides ‘Critic’ and ‘Sabbath’ that were previously available only in Europe. Re-mixes of ‘Boom’ and ‘Youth of the Nation’ are also featured as part of the extensive re-issue.

Courtesy: Atom Splitter PR

In other news, P.O.D. is scheduled to launch a new tour Aug. 14 in support of the album’s re-issue. The tour is scheduled to run through Oct. 7 in San Diego, CA. It features performances in cities, such as Columbia, SC; Louisville, KY and Minneapolis, MN.

Front man Sonny Sandoval said he and his band mates were looking forward to getting back out on the road in a recent interview.

“We’ve been touring and working hard for almost 30 years now,” said Sandoval. “It’s all we know. This past year has really made me realize how much I love what I do and how much I appreciate that I am still able to make music and play live for all of those who are still listening. Thank you to all of you who still love live music and can’t wait to be a part of the P.O.D. experience. We can’t wait to see all of your beautiful faces out on the road.”

Guitarist Marcos Curiel expanded on Sandoval’s thoughts with his own comments.

“It’s been way too long,” said Curiel. “We are beyond excited to get back to the stage — where we provide the rock and you provide the roll. From familiar faces to new ones, let’s get back to what we’ve all been waiting for. We are ready as a band to create new memories with you all. Let’s do this! Peace, love, light, and rock ‘n’ roll.”

The tour’s schedule is noted below. Tickets are available here. Sleep Signals, All Good Things, and From Ashes To New are scheduled to serve as support for the tour.

P.O.D. ON TOUR:
WITH FROM ASHES TO NEW, ALL GOOD THINGS, + SLEEP SIGNALS:

8/14 — Sturgis, SD – Buffalo Chip*
8/16 — Denver, CO — Gothic Theatre
8/17 — Omaha, NE — The Waiting Room
8/19 — Sioux Falls, SD — The District
8/20 — Des Moines, IA — Wooly’s
8/21 — Glen Flora, WI – Northwoods Rock Rally^
8/22 — Minneapolis, MN — First Ave
8/25 — Louisville, KY – KY State Fair#
8/26 — Fort Wayne, IN — Piere’s
8/27 — Belvidere, IL — The Apollo Theater
8/28 — Joliet, IL — The Forge
8/29 — Detroit, MI — St. Andrew’s Hall
8/31 — Pittsburgh, PA — Roxian Theater
9/4 —   Houston, TX – BuzzFest (Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion – KBTZ Show)~
9/5 —   Dallas, TX – BFD21 (Dos Equis Pavilion – KEGL Show)~
9/9 —   Danville, VA – Blue Ridge Rock Festival^
9/10 — New Haven, CT — Toad’s Place
9/11 — Laconia, NH — Granite State Music Hall
9/12 — Worcester, MA — The Palladium
9/14 — New York, NY — The Gramercy Theatre
9/15 — Huntington, NY — The Paramount
9/16 — Baltimore, MD — Ram’s Head Live
9/18 — Atlanta, GA — Center Stage
9/19 — Mobile, AL — Soul Kitchen
9/21 — Birmingham, AL — Zydeco
9/22 — Savannah, GA — Victory North
9/23 — Orlando, FL – Rebel Rock Fest (Pre—Party)~
9/25 — Columbia, SC — The Senate
9/28 — Cleveland, OH — House of Blues
9/29 — St. Louis, MO — Pop’s
10/1 — Tulsa, OK — Tulsa State Fair
10/2 — San Antonio, TX — The Rock Box
10/3 — Lubbock, TX — Jake’s Backroom
10/6 — Santa Ana, CA — The Observatory
10/7 — San Diego, CA — House of Blues 
*With From Ashes to New
^With From Ashes to New & All Good Things
#With All Good Things
~P.O.D. Only

More information on P.O.D.’s upcoming Satellite re-issue and tour is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Website: https://www.payableondeath.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/POD

Twitter: https://twitter.com/POD

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Blacktop Mojo Announces New LP Specs; Debuts Album’s Lead Single, Companion Video; Announces New Live Dates

Courtesy: Atom Splitter PR

Blacktop Mojo’s calendar for 2021 got very busy this week.

The band revealed the title, release date and cover art for its forthcoming album. The group also unveiled the album’s lead single and its companion video while also announcing the act’s upcoming live dates.

Blacktop Mojo is scheduled for release Aug. 13. The 12-song record is the band’s fourth record and will come approximately two years after the release of the band’s third album, Under The Sun. Additionally, it will come more than a year after the release of the band’s EP, Static.

In anticipation of the album’s release, the band premiered the album’s lead single, ‘Tail Lights,’ and its companion video Wednesday. The musical arrangement featured in the new song is a stirring rock ballad. The emotional depth in the arrangement matches the lyrical theme featured alongside that content. The song’s lyrical theme is that of the all-too-familiar broken relationship topic.

The video that accompanies the song presents the band performing the single, each man by himself, on a stage as what is supposed to be rain falls behind each musician. the presentation is meant to remind audiences in part of what the band looks and sounds like on stage.

Speaking of on stage, the band is scheduled to return to America’s stages beginning July 10 in Tulsa, OK. The band’s upcoming tour in support of its forthcoming album is scheduled to run through Aug. 22 in Lubbock, TX. It will feature performances in cities, such as Atlanta, GA; Des Moines, IA and Cleveland, OH.

The tour’s schedule is noted below. Tickets and VIP packages are available here.

BLACKTOP MOJO ON TOUR:
7/10 — Tulsa, OK — The Shrine
7/11 — Columbia, MO — Rose Music Hall
7/13 — Omaha, NE — Reverb Lounge
7/14 — Watertown, SD — The Goss Opera House
7/16 — Cadott, WI — Rock Fest
7/17 — Grand Rapids, MI — Upheaval Festival
7/19 — Pittsburgh, PA — Crafthouse
7/20 — Richmond, VA — Canal Club 
7/22 — Johnson City, TN — Capones
7/23 — Spartanburg, SC — Ground Zero
7/24 — Atlanta, GA — Masquerade (Purgatory)
7/25 — Huntsville, AL — Sidetracks Music Hall 
7/27 — Jackson, MS — Hal & Mal’s Red Room
7/28 — Leesville, LA — Shooters Bar & Billiards
7/30 — Chickasha, OK — Legends Pub House
7/31 — Kansas City, MO — Headlights Bar & Grill
8/1 — Des Moines, IA — Leftys 
8/3 — Minot, ND — The ‘O’ Riginal Bar & Nightclub
8/4 — Minneapolis, MN — Cabooze 
8/6 — Sheboygan, WI — Kiwanis Park
8/7 — Fort Madison, IA — RiverfestFM
8/8 — Madison, WI — The Annex   
8/10 — Cleveland, OH — The Winchester
8/11 — Columbus, OH — Woodlands Tavern   
8/13 — Port Byron, IL — Port Byron Great River Tug Fest
8/14 — Bristol, IN — Abate SummerFest
8/15 — Joliet, IL — The Forge 
8/17 — Nashville, TN — The End
8/18 — Memphis, TN — Growlers
8/20 — St. Louis, MO — Red Flag
8/21 — Hutchinson, KS — The Red Shed
8/22 — Lubbock, TX — Jakes

More information on Blacktop Mojo’s new album, single, video, and tour is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.blacktopmojo.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/BlacktopMojo

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/blacktopmojo

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Judas Priest Announces Rescheduled Tour Plans

Courtesy: Chipster PR

Now that COVID-19 restrictions are being eased around the world, Judas Priest has rescheduled its 50th anniversary tour.

The band made the announcement in a press release distributed Monday. The updated tour — presented by LiveNation — is scheduled to launch Aug. 8 in Reading, PA and to run through Nov. 5 in Hamilton, Ontario. It features performances in cities, such as Raleigh, NC; Las Vegas, NV and Rosemont, IL.

The tour’s schedule is noted below. Tickets are available here. Sabaton will serve as support for the tour.

CONFIRMED TOUR DATES: 
 
9/8/2021 Reading  PA                      Santander Arena* 
9/9/2021 Virginia Beach VA             Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater*+ 
9/11/2021 Orlando FL                      Central Florida Fairgrounds^# 
9/13/2021 Charlotte NC                   PNC Music Pavilion 
9/14/2021 Raleigh NC                      Red Hat Amphitheater* 
9/16/2021 Grand Rapids MI             Van Andel Arena* 
9/17/2021 Youngstown OH              Covelli Centre^ 
9/19/2021 Detroit MI                         Fox Theatre* 
9/20/2021 Rosemont IL                    Rosemont Theatre* 
9/22/2021 Milwaukee WI                  Miller High Life Theatre^ 
9/23/2021 Minneapolis MN              The Armory* 
9/25/2021 Maryland Heights MO     Saint Louis Music Park 
9/26/2021 Louisville KY                    Louder Than Life Festival^# 
9/29/2021 Denver CO                      The Mission Ballroom^ 
9/30/2021 West Valley City UT         Maverik Center* 
10/2/2021 Everett WA                       Angel Of The Winds Arena* 
10/3/2021 Portland OR                     Moda Center* 
10/5/2021 Oakland CA                      Fox Theater^ 
10/6/2021 Los Angeles CA                Microsoft Theater^ 
10/8/2021 Las Vegas NV                   Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood 
10/9/2021 Phoenix AZ                       Arizona Federal Theatre 
10/12/2021 San Antonio TX              Freeman Coliseum^ 
10/13/2021 Cedar Park TX                HEB Center Cedar Park^ 
10/15/2021 Irving TX                         The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory 
10/16/2021 Oklahoma City OK          The Zoo Amphitheatre^ 
10/19/2021 Independence MO          Cable Dahmer Arena* 
10/21/2021 Nashville TN                    Nashville Municipal Auditorium* 
10/22/2021 Alpharetta GA                  Ameris Bank Amphitheatre* 
10/24/2021 Charleston WV                Charleston Civic Center Coliseum* 
10/25/2021 Philadelphia PA               The Met* 
10/27/2021 Newark NJ                       Prudential Center* 
10/28/2021 Oxon Hill MD                   The Theater at MGM National Harbor 
10/30/2021 Mashantucket CT            Foxwoods Resort Casino – Grand Theater^ 
10/31/2021 Lowell MA                       Tsongas Center At UMass Lowell* 
11/2/2021 Halifax NS                         Scotiabank Centre* 
11/4/2021 Laval , QC                         Place Bell* 
11/5/2021 Hamilton ONT                   First Ontario Centre*

* new show
^ not a Live Nation event
# festival date
+ Sabaton not support on this date; support is TBD

More information on Judas Priest’s new tour schedule is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

Websitehttps://www.JudasPriest.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/OfficialJudasPriest

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/judaspriest

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Face The Fire Debuts New Single, ‘Remember What You’re Made Of’

Courtesy: O’Donnell Media Group

Independent rock band Face the Fire debuted its latest single this week.

The band premiered its new single, ‘Remember What You’re Made Of’ Friday. The song is available to stream and download through Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon.

The musical arrangement featured in FTF’s new single presents a hybrid pop-emo punk style approach. The song’s bridge adds the smallest touch of metalcore what with the breakdown.

According to front man Brandon Hammond, the lyrical theme that accompanies the song’s musical arrangement is meant to deliver a positive, uplifting message.

“Remember What You’re Made Of’ is about remembering your strength when you don’t think you have anything left to give,” he said.

More information on Face The Fire’s new single is available along with all of the band’s latest news at https://www.facebook.com/facethefireband.

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

John 5 Announces Summer 2021 Tour Schedule

Courtesy: Cosa Nostra PR

John 5 will hit the road this summer.

The guitarist (a.k.a. John William Lowery) made the announcement in a press release distributed Wednesday. The tour is scheduled to launch Aug. 10 in Iowa City IA and to run through Sept. 3 in Pryor, OR. The nearly month-long tour will feature performances in cities, such as Nashville, TN; Birmingham, AL and Leesburg, VA.

The tour’s schedule is noted below. Tickets are available here.

Tue 10 Aug              Iowa City, IA            Wildwood

Wed 11 Aug            Des Moines, IA        Lefty’s

Thu 12 Aug              Sioux Falls, SD         Bigs Bar

Fri 13 Aug                Sioux City, IA           The Marquee

Sat 14 Aug               Lincoln, NE              Royal Grove

Sun 15 Aug              Lawrence, KS           The Bottleneck

Tue 17 Aug              St. Louis, MO           Red Flag

Wed 18 Aug            Ft. Wayne, IN          Piere’s Event Center

Thu 19 Aug              Hobart, IN               The Art Theater

Fri 20 Aug                Marietta, OH           Adelphia Music Hall

Sat 21 Aug               Leesburg, VA           Tally Ho Theater

Sun 22 Aug              Stroudsburg, PA      Sherman Theater

Tue 24 Aug              Nashville, TN           Basement East

Wed 25 Aug            Chattanooga, TN     Songbirds

Thu 26 Aug              Johnson City, TN     Capone’s

Fri 27 Aug                Pipestem, WV         Metal In The Mountains

Sat 28 Aug               Birmingham, AL      Saturn

Sun 29 Aug              Miramar Beach, FL  Village Door

Tue 31 Aug              Huntsville, AL          Sidetracks

Wed 01 Sep             Jackson, MS            Martin’s

Thu 02 Sep              Memphis, TN          Growlers

Fri 03 Sep                Pryor, OR               Rocklahoma

Jared James Nichols, Black Satellite, and Sarah Longfield will serve as support for the tour.

More information on John 5’s upcoming live dates is available online now along with all of the group’s latest news and more at:

Websitehttps://john-5.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/John5official

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/john5guitarist

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://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.

Goo Goo Dolls Announces 2022 North American Tour Schedule

Courtesy: Warner Records

Goo Goo Dolls’ American audiences will have to wait until next year to see the band live.

The band announced through a news release Friday, that it will launch its next tour July 26, 2022 in Salt Lake City, UT. The tour is scheduled to run through Sept. 2 in Los Angeles, CA. The tour features performances in cities nationwide, such as Raleigh, NC; Cleveland, OH and Houston, TX.

The tour’s schedule is noted below. Ticket information is available here.

GOO GOO DOLLS – SUMMER 2022 TOUR DATES

July 26, 2022 – Salt Lake City, UT – USANA Amphitheatre

July 27, 2022 – Denver, CO – Red Rocks Amphitheatre

July 29, 2022 – St. Louis, MO – St. Louis Music Park

July 30, 2022 – Lincoln, NE – Pinewood Bowl Amphitheatre

August 1, 2022 – Kansas City, MO – Starlight Theatre

August 3, 2022 – Huber Heights, OH – Rose Music Center at The Heights

August 4, 2022 – Chicago, IL – Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island

August 5, 2022 – Indianapolis, IN – TCU Amphitheater at White River State Park

August 7, 2022 – Detroit, MI – Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre at Freedom Hill

August 8, 2022 – Toronto, ON – Budweiser Stage

August 10, 2022 – Cleveland, OH – Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica

August 13, 2022 – Holmdel, NJ – PNC Bank Arts Pavilion

August 14, 2022 – Gilford, NH – Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion

August 16, 2022 – Boston, MA – Rockland Trust Bank Pavilion

August 19, 2022 – Saratoga Springs, NY – Saratoga Performing Arts Center 

August 21, 2022 – Philadelphia, PA – Mann Center for the Performing Arts

August 23, 2022 – Raleigh, NC – Red Hat Amphitheatre

August 24, 2022 – Jacksonville, FL – Daily’s Place

August 26, 2022 – Charlotte, NC – Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre

August 27, 2022 – Nashville, TN – Ascend Amphitheatre

August 28, 2022 – Atlanta, GA – Cadence Bank Amphitheatre at Chastain Park

August 30, 2022 – Houston, TX – Smart Financial Centre

August 31, 2022 – Irving, TX – The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory

September 2, 2022 – Los Angeles, CA – The Greek Theatre

In other news, Goo Goo Dolls has unveiled a live clip of its cover of ‘Nothing Can Change You.’ The song was originally composed and recorded by Tommy Keene and is featured in Goo Goo Dolls’ forthcoming record, Rarities. The record is scheduled for release June 25 through Warner Records.

Along with the Tommy Keene cover, Rarities also features a live cover of INXS’ ‘Don’t Change‘ and an in-studio performance of Live’s ‘Let Love In.’

Rarities‘ track listing is noted below.

“RARITIES” DIGITAL/CD TRACK-LISTING

  1. Hit or Miss
  2. Nothing Can Change You 
  3. Long Way Down (Chris Lord Alge Remix)
  4. Name (Live Acoustic)
  5. Don’t Change (Live)
  6. Girl Right Next to Me (Live Acoustic)
  7. Another Second Time Around (Live Acoustic)
  8. Iris (Acoustic)
  9. Slide (Acoustic)
  10. Naked (Remix)
  11. Black Balloon (Live)
  12. Naked (Live)
  13. Black Balloon (Live from Sessions@AOL)
  14. Broadway (Live from Sessions@AOL)
  15. We’ll Be Here (When You’re Gone) (Acoustic)
  16. Better Days (Acoustic)
  17. Let Love In (Live)
  18. Listen (Live)
  19. Feel The Silence (Live)
  20. Take Me Out to the Ball Game

“RARITIES” VINYL TRACK-LISTING

SIDE ONE

  1. Hit or Miss
  2. Nothing Can Change You
  3. Long Way Down (Chris Lord Alge Remix)
  4. Name (Live Acoustic)
  5. Don’t Change (Live)

SIDE TWO

  1. Girl Right Next to Me (Live Acoustic)
  2. Another Second Time Around (Live Acoustic)
  3. Iris (Acoustic)
  4. Slide (Acoustic)
  5. Naked (Remix)

SIDE THREE

  1. Black Balloon (Live)
  2. Naked (Live)
  3. Black Balloon (Live from Sessions@AOL)
  4. Broadway (Live from Sessions@AOL)
  5. We’ll Be Here (When You’re Gone) (Acoustic)

SIDE FOUR

  1. Better Days (Acoustic)
  2. Let Love In (Live)
  3. Listen (Live)
  4. Feel The Silence (Live)
  5. Take Me Out To The Ball Game

In other news, Goo Goo Dolls is working on its 13th album. More information on that as-yet-untitled album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.googoodolls.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/googoodolls

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/googoodolls

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://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.

‘Introducing Kendall Carter’ Is A Moderately Positive First Impression For The Up-And-Coming Jazz Organist

Courtesy: Lladnek Music

Up-and-coming jazz artist Kendall Carter is doing his part to bring a new attention and respect for the role of the organ in mainstream music.  That effort comes in the form of his debut album, Introducing Kendall Carter.  Released March 30 through Lladnek Music, the 11-song record is an intriguing way in which to do so.  That is because the record is in large part, a covers compilation.  Typically, using a covers compilation as one’s debut record is not the best start.  That is because it fails to really display the artist/act’s talents.  Luckily, the record does have at least two original compositions here against the either covers that make up the rest of the record’s body.  While the original compositions are themselves a positive, their placement leads to one negative, that being the sequencing.  This will be discussed a little later.  While the record’s sequencing poses a little bit of a problem, the production of each song adds its own positive touch to the presentation.  It will be discussed later, too.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the record.  All things considered, they make the record in whole maybe not the strongest start to Carter’s career, but still a record worth hearing at least once.

Kendall Carter’s debut record, Introducing Kendall Carter is an interesting way for the up-and-coming jazz organist to start his professional recording career.  That is because the record is in fact, largely a covers collection.  Carter takes on standards from the likes of Bill Withers, Sam Rivers, and Carla Bley.  Some of the songs are more well-known than others and vice versa.  The fact of the matter though, is that most of the songs featured in this record are covers.  That is not necessarily a way to fully display one’s talents and abilities, taking on others’ works.  Typically such records are saved for later on in an act’s career, when said act(s) have/had better established themselves.  For all of the covers featured in the record, there are at least two originals, though only one was composed by Carter, while the other was composed by jazz guitarist Dave Stryker with Carter performing.  The one song composed by Carter is ‘Punjabi Affair.’  It comes late in the record’s almost hour-long run time.  The nearly five-minute opus is an enjoyable work that puts Carter and his talents on the organ front and center.  It serves well to give organs more credibility as lead instruments in the mainstream music community.  That is proven through the control and subtlety that Carter displays throughout the song.  Since no liner notes are featured win the record’s packaging, it has to be assumed that the guitar line in this arrangement was performed by Stryker.  His equally controlled performance gives the song a nice easy listening style touch to the work, making for quite the interesting dichotomy of styles between his own line and that of Carter.  Kenny Phelp’s control and focus as he keeps time is just as applause worthy in this song.  The light cymbal tones, rim clicks on the snare and ghost notes all work so well here to add their own touch to the whole.  All things considered, the overall performance, and the way in which it progresses, makes for such an interesting presentation in itself.  It is just too bad that this exhibition is placed so late in the album’s sequencing.  This aspect will be addressed a little later.

The other original featured in Introducing Kendall Carter is a song composed by Dave Stryker (who released his own new album this year titled Baker’s Circle).  The song is fittingly titled ‘Blues For Kendall.’  This song closes out the album, again going back to the noted issue of the sequencing, which will come into play later.  While the song in question was composed by Stryker, Carter does get a starring role alongside Stryker here.  The light, staccato notes and the clear differences in the dynamics pair with the infectious Kansas City style blues approach that he and Stryker take here makes this song another great way for Carter to really introduce himself.  That is especially the case considering how different this composition is from ‘Punjabi Affair.’  Phelps’ steady time keeping is right there with any blues drummer, giving just enough flare with the cymbals and snare.  The whole makes this another great original composition and performance thereof.  Keeping this in mind, the song pairs with ‘Punjabi Affair’ to show even more why Introducing Kendall Carter deserves to be heard at least once.

While ‘Punjabi Affair’ and ‘Blues For Kendall’ are both strong ways for Carter to introduce himself to audiences, their placement in the record’s overall sequencing proves somewhat problematic.  That is considering that the album’s title is in fact Introducing Kendall Carter, not Introducing A Bunch of Covers.  If Carter and all involved with this record wanted to properly introduce him and his talents, it would have made more sense to have made ‘Punjabi Affair’ – one of the record’s two original compositions – the record’s opener.  ‘Blues for Kendall’ could (and probably should have) been placed right around the record’s midpoint as a reminder of his talents in this case as a performer.  The use of the covers in between would have been a good balance since they make up the majority of the record.  This would have helped the album better live up to its title than the sequencing featured in the final product.  Now even with this in mind, the existing sequencing is not enough to make the record a failure, though it certainly would have helped with the record’s general presentation.

Moving on from the concerns raised by the record’s sequencing, the production rounds out its most important elements.  The production is important because each song bears a different sound and style throughout the record.  That means the utmost attention had to be paid to each musician’s performance from song to song.  From the dynamic balances between the musicians’ performances to the control in terms of added elements within the songs, each arrangement clearly required lots of attention.  That attention paid off in each song.  That is because each song’s general effect ensures listeners’ engagement and entertainment, even with the songs mostly being covers.  Keeping this in mind, this element brings everything full circle and completes the record’s presentation.  When it is considered along with the record’s songs and sequencing, the whole makes this debut from Kendall Carter worth hearing at least once.

Kendall Carter’s debut record, Introducing Kendall Carter is a moderately successful first impression from the up-and-coming jazz artist.  That is proven in part through the record’s featured songs.  The songs featured in the record are for the most part covers.  There are two original compositions that offset those covers at least somewhat.  This leads to the record’s most notable concern, that being its sequencing.  Those two originals would have done better being placed far earlier in the record’s sequencing than they are.  This concern is not enough to doom the record, but certainly would have helped the record’s general effect.  The record’s production rounds out its most important elements.  That is because the attention that was paid to each arrangement resulted in presentations whose sound is expertly balanced throughout.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of this record.  All things considered, they make the record a moderately successful introduction for Carter. 

Introducing Kendall Carter is available now.  More information on the record is available along with all of Carter’s latest news at:

Website: https://www.kendallcartermusic.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Kendall-Carter-100522175416296

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.  

Black Label Society Announces New Live Dates

Courtesy: eOne

Black Label Society is heading out on the road.

The band made the announcement in a news release distributed Friday. The band’s forthcoming tour is scheduled to launch Oct. 1 in Sacramento, CA and to run through Nov. 28 in Albuquerque, NM. The nearly two-month run features performances in cities, such as Asheville, NC; Dothan, AL and Houston, TX.

Prong and Obituary will share time as support for the tour, dubbed the “Doom Trooping Over North America Tour.” Tickets are available now. The tour’s schedule is noted below.

Oct. 01 – Sacramento, CA – Ace of Spades
Oct. 02 – Ventura, CA – Ventura Theater 
Oct. 04 – Boise, ID – Knitting Factory
Oct. 05 – Spokane, WA – Knitting Factory 
Oct. 07 – Seattle, WA – Showbox SoDo 
Oct. 08 – Portland, OR – Roseland Theater
Oct. 12 – West Des Moines, IA – Val Air Ballroom
Oct. 13 – Lincoln, NE – Bourbon Theatre
Oct. 15 – Bowler, WI – Mohican North Star Gaming & Resort
Oct. 16 – Milwaukee, WI – Eagles Club Stage
Oct. 17 – Chicago, IL – House Of Blues
Oct. 18 – Minneapolis, MN – The Fillmore
Oct. 19 – Kansas City, MO – Uptown Theater 
Oct. 21 – Biloxi, MS – Hard Rock Live Hotel & Casino
Oct. 22 – Athens, GA – Georgia Theater 
Oct. 23 – Dothan, AL – The Plant
Oct. 24 – Lake Buena Vista, FL – House Of Blues
Oct. 26 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL – Revolution Live
Oct. 28 – Huntsville, AL – Mars Music Hall
Oct. 29 – Asheville, NC – Orange Peel 
Oct. 30 – Cincinnati, OH – Bogart’s
Oct. 31 – Nashville, TN – Marathon Music Works
Nov. 02 – Philadelphia, PA – Franklin Music Hall 
Nov. 04 – Worcester, MA – The Palladium
Nov. 05 – Albany, NY – Empire Live
Nov. 06 – Stroudsburg, PA – Sherman Theater
Nov. 07 – New York, NY – Irving Plaza
Nov. 09 – Hartford, CT – Webster Theater
Nov. 10 – Montclair, NJ – The Wellmont Theater
Nov. 11 – Rochester, NY – Main Street Armory
Nov. 13 – Sault Ste. Marie, MI – Kewadin Casino
Nov. 14 – Detroit, MI – The Fillmore Detroit
Nov. 15 – Cleveland, OH – House Of Blues 
Nov. 16 – Fort Wayne, IN – Piere’s Entertainment Center
Nov. 18 – Oklahoma City, OK – Diamond Ballroom 
Nov. 19 – San Antonio, TX – The Aztec Theatre
Nov. 20 – Grand Prairie, TX – Texas Trust CU Theatre
Nov. 21 – Houston, TX – Warehouse Live
Nov. 23 – Tucson, AZ – Rialto Theater 
Nov. 24 – Las Vegas, NV – House Of Blues
Nov. 26 – Salt Lake City, UT – The Complex 
Nov. 27 – Denver, CO – Summit Theater 
Nov. 28 – Albuquerque, NM – Sunshine Theater 

Black Label Society’s latest release, the None More Black vinyl box set April 21 through eOne. The collection boasts all 12 of BLS’ albums on vinyl along with a 32-page hardcover book, None More Black bottle opener and back patch.

The full album and track listing for Black Label Society’s new vinyl box set is noted below.

Vinyl Selections in Boxset:
Grimmest Hits 2LP
Stronger Than Death 2LP
1919 Eternal 2LP
The Blessed Hellride LP
Hangover Music Vol. VI 2LP
Mafia 2LP
Shot To Hell LP
Order Of The Black 2LP
Catacombs Of The Black Vatican 2LP
Nuns And Roaches LP
Sonic Brew 2LP
Song Remains Not The Same II 3LP
  
Bonus Tracks:
Song Remains Not The Same Vol. II
1. My Dying Time 
2. Blind Man
3. Graveyard Disciples
4. The Nomad 
5. Scars
6. House of Doom
7. A Love Unreal
8. We Live No More 
9. Cry Me A River
10. The Chosen One
11. Empty Promises
12. Lead Me To Your Door

More information on Black Label Society’s new tour dates and box set is available along with all of the band’s latest news is available online now at:

Websitehttps://www.blacklabelsociety.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/blacklabelsociety

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://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.