A Life In Song Will Resonate Loud And Clear With Bacharach’s Fans

Burt Bacharach A Life in Song BD Box ArtBurt Bacharach is one of the most revered figures in the music industry today.  Over the course of his more than three-decade long career, Bacharach composed some of the industry’s most popular songs.  Those songs include the likes of: ‘What The World Needs Now,’ ‘What’s New Pussycat,’ ‘Alfie,’ and so many others.  His songs have been featured on the radio, in movies, and even on Broadway.  Needless to say that considering all of this, his successes are far more than could potentially be listed in one sitting.  Last year Bacharach was honored for his numerous contributions to the world with a special tribute concert on the BBC.  The concert featured artists such as Joss Stone, Justin Hayward, Rebecca Ferguson, and others performing Bacharach’s biggest hits and some slightly lesser-known pieces all while Bacharach watched.  It was a momentous occasion that Bacharach’s fans will get to enjoy for themselves thanks to the BBC and Eagle Rock Entertainment in the form of the new live recording Burt Bacharach: A Life in Song.  The performance of Bacharach’s hit songs is by itself just one part of what makes this recording a must have for his fans.  It is just one part of what makes this recording so interesting.  Between songs, Bacharach is interviewed by the BBC’s Michael Grade.  So not only do audiences get to hear some of Bacharach’s greatest hits but they also get to hear from Bacharach as he discusses the inspiration behind his songs and other topics.  Last but hardly least of note with this concert is its production values.  The concert looks and sounds wonderful especially considering the size of the venue.  Each element plays its own important part in the recording’s overall presentation.  Altogether they make Burt Bacharach: A Life in Song a recording that anyone familiar with Bacharach’s songs should experience at least once.

Burt Bacharach: A Life In Song is one of the most complete collections of songs from the legendary songwriter to be presented in any format in recent memory.  The twenty-four song set (that is including its two bonus songs) is a recording that anyone familiar with Bacharach’s work should experience at least once.  The performances that are featured throughout the recording make up the central reason for it being worth the watch.  Moody Blues front man Justin Hayward and famed singer Joss Stone are joined by the likes of Alfie Bow, Rebecca Ferguson, Michael Kiwanuka, and a number of others as they perform Bacharach’s beloved compositions.  Those songs include the likes of: ‘That’s What Friends Are For,’ ‘What The World Needs Now,’ ‘I’ll Never Fall In Love Again,’ and so many others.  Staying on the topic of the performers, most American audiences likely will only recognize Stone and Hayward whereas audiences overseas will likely be more familiar with the other noted performers.  This is a good thing all the way around.  Audiences that are familiar with the noted artists will appreciate their inclusion in the concert and their performances.  Those that are less familiar with the featured artists will appreciate their performances because they serve as an introduction to those artists, and an impressive introduction at that.  The performance on the part of the featured artists is just as much to note.  In watching each of the concert’s featured artists, their reverence and respect for Bacharach’s work is obvious.  It shows in turn a real reverence and respect for Bacharach and for his legacy.  It is a respect that translates so well on screen and in turn makes the experience all the more enjoyable for audiences at home.

The performances that are presented in Eagle Rock Entertainment’s new Burt Bacharach tribute concert are in themselves hugely important to the recording’s overall presentation.  That is because the artists that present each performance are likely more well-known among UK audiences than American audiences.  Though, Joss Stone and Justin Hayward are relatively known by American audiences.  That means that American audiences will be introduced to these artists that they otherwise would not have known about all while even being introduced to some of the most beloved compositions in the American songbook.  While this proves to be of the utmost importance to the recording it is just one element that is worth noting in the recording’s overall presentation.  The interviews conducted by host Michael Grade are just as important to the recording’s presentation as its performances.  That is because audiences are treated to Bacharach’s own insights into the songs and other topics throughout the concert.  Audiences learn early on that had Bacharach not given up playing soccer (football) he might never have taken on becoming a songwriter.  It’s a heck of a change.  But as popular and respected as he has become throughout his career it goes without saying that he made the right choice.  Audiences also learn that the inspiration behind another of the concert’s featured songs was in fact from a personal experience with a young lady in his younger years.  The song’s inspiration is actually rather funny to be honest.  Even Bacharach himself laughs as he recalls what led to the song’s creation.  There is even a technical discussion of sorts in which Bacharach discusses the structure of another song in regards to it being played in one key versus another.  That discussion leads Bacharach to take to the piano and play said song himself.  The song won’t be revealed here so as to not spoil the experience for those that have yet to see the concert.  It’s just one more way in which the discussions held between Bacharach and Grade make the overall experience in Bacharach’s new live recording so enjoyable for his fans. It makes the concert not just a concert but a clinic of sorts, too. It all makes for an experience that will keep Bacharach’s fans fully engaged from beginning to end. It still is not the last element worth noting in this recording. The recording’s production values are just as important to its presentation as any of its other elements.

Both the performances presented in Burt Bacharach: A Life in Song and Bacharach’s interview segments are key in their own way to the recording’s overall presentation. While both elements are equally important to the recording they would not be worth mentioning without mention of the recording’s production values—its video and audio mix. Those that perhaps have never had the pleasure of visiting London’s Royal Festival Hall will be amazed at the venue’s spaciousness. While not as immensely large as say the Royal Albert Hall it is still a rather large venue in its own right. Being such a spacious concert hall it would have been easy for the sound to echo quite a bit. This is even with the featured songs being so soft and gentle. Yet those behind the audio boards and in post-production handled their duties with the utmost expertise. They captured the full emotion of each song as it fills the hall. The echoes are there but they are fully controlled from start to finish. The video mix is just as impressive as the concert’s audio mix. That is because it captures just as expertly the juxtaposition of the performers on stage to the size of the venue. Seeing that juxtaposition it makes for even more appreciation for the work put in to balancing the concert’s audio. It also creates a certain appreciation of the construction of the Royal Festival Hall and by direct connection the control that each of the invited artists exhibit in the concert. It all ties together in one complete presentation that in whole will impress any of Bacharach’s fans. All things considered Burt Bacharach: A Life in Song proves in the end to be a concert that any of the legendary songwriter’s fans should experience at least once if not more times.

Eagle Rock Entertainment’s new BBC tribute to Burt Bacharach is a recording that any of Bacharach’s fans should experience at least once if not more times. That is proven through a variety of elements not the least of which being the performances presented by the concert’s featured artists. Bacharach’s one-on-one interview segments with host Michael Grade are just as important to the recording as its performances. That is because it allows Bacharach to explain in his own right the inspiration behind many of his biggest hits and other topics. The expert work done in the concert’s recording and its post-production round out the recording’s presentation. It ties the presentation together. Each element is important in its own right. Altogether they make Burt Bacharach: A Life in Song a presentation that Bacharach’s fans should experience at least once if not more times. It will be available Friday, February 26th in stores and online. It will be presented on DVD and Blu-ray. More information on this and other titles from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online now at:

 

 

 

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

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/EagleRockNews

 

 

 

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ESPN Networks Focus On Conference Rivalries In This Week’s NBA Coverage

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

The ESPN networks have another busy week of basketball for this week. And it all begins this afternoon on ESPN.

ESPN and its family of networks have another week of extensive NBA coverage for fans this week. It all begins this afternoon on ESPN with another new episode of The Jump. Host Rachel Nichols will have all of the latest NBA headlines. She will be joined by Tracy McGrady and Zach Lowe for insight and commentary into each headline. That is at 3pm ET on ESPN. Doris Burke, Jalen Rose, and Chauncey Billups pick things up at 7:30pm ET on ESPN’s NBA Countdown charged by Mountain Dew. The half-hour pre-game show will come ahead of tonight’s Eastern Conference match between the Wizards and Bulls. Chicago is in last place in the Eastern Conference’s playoff race while Washington is currently out of the hunt for a spot in the post season. So both teams will be playing hard albeit for different reasons. The Spurs and Kings round out the days’ coverage in the late game. Tipoff for the game is scheduled for 10:30pm ET on ESPN. Mark Jones and Mark Jackson will have the call for the game. Sacramento is well out of the playoff race. San Antonio on the other hand currently sits second in the Western Conference behind Golden State, which currently leads the conference at 50 – 5 so far on the season.

The ESPN networks’ NBA Coverage continues Thursday night on ESPN Radio as the Thunder host the Warriors in another Western Conference matchup with major playoff implications. Oklahoma City currently sits third in the Western Conference at 40 – 16, which is well back from the conference and league–leading Warriors (50 – 5). Rachel Nichols will have a preview of Thursday night’s game on Thursday afternoon’s edition of The Jump. Raja Bell and Zach Lowe will join Nichols for the 3:30pm ET broadcast on ESPN.

ESPN’s NBA coverage returns to television Friday evening in a double header schedule. First up on the schedule is an Eastern Conference matchup between the Bulls and Hawks. Both teams will be playing for their playoff lives in Friday night’s game. Atlanta currently sits sixth overall in the Eastern Conference, two games back from the conference-leading Cavaliers. Chicago meanwhile sits last in the conference’s playoff race eleven games back from Cleveland. Mark Jones will have the call for the game. He will be joined by Doris Burke for additional commentary. Later Friday night the Grizzlies and Lakers face off in the night’s Western Conference showdown. The Lakers (11 – 47) are at the bottom of the Western conference and completely out of the playoff picture. Memphis is still in the playoff picture, sitting fifth in the conference fourteen and a half games back from Golden State. Tipoff for that game is scheduled for 10:30pm ET on ESPN. Dave Pash will have the call for the game. He will be joined by Jon Barry for additional commentary. Sage Steele, Jalen Rose, and Doug Collins will lead off the evening on ESPN’s NBA Countdown at 7:30pm ET. Earlier in the afternoon Rachel Nichols, Raja Bell, and Zach Lowe will preview both of the evening’s games on The Jump. That will be at 3:30pm ET on ESPN.

Golden State and Oklahoma round out the week’s NBA coverage on the ESPN networks Saturday on NBA Primetime on ABC. The game will be simulcast on ABC and ESPN Radio with tipoff scheduled for 8:30pm ET on ABC. Mike Breen will have the call for Saturday night’s game on television. On the radio side Kevin Calabro will have the call. Breen will be joined on ABC by Jeff Van Gundy, Mark Jackson and reporter Lisa Salters. PJ Carlesimo will join Kevin Calabro on ESPN Radio’s broadcast of Saturday night’s game.  Sage Steel, Jalen Rose, and Doug Collins will preview the game on NBA Countdown at 8 pm ET live on ABC.  The complete schedule for this week’s NBA coverage across the ESPN networks is noted below.

Date Time (ET) Telecast/Commentators Network (s)
 Wed, Feb 24 3:30 p.m. The Jump presented by State FarmRachel Nichols, Tracy McGrady, Zach Lowe ESPN
  7:30 p.m. NBA Countdown charged by Mountain DewDoris Burke, Jalen Rose, Chauncey Billups ESPN
  8 p.m. Washington Wizards at Chicago Bulls presented by State FarmMike Breen, Jon Barry ESPN
  10:30 p.m. San Antonio Spurs at Sacramento Kings presented by State FarmMark Jones, Mark Jackson ESPN
Thu, Feb 25 1 a.m. NBA TonightCassidy Hubbarth, Brad Daugherty ESPN2
  3:30 p.m. The Jump presented by State FarmRachel Nichols, Raja Bell, Zach Lowe ESPN
  7:30 p.m. Golden State Warriors at Oklahoma City ThunderRadio: Kevin Calabro & PJ Carlesimo ESPN Radio
Fri, Feb 26 1 a.m. NBA TonightCassidy Hubbarth, Bruce Bowen ESPN2
  3:30 p.m. The Jump presented by State FarmRachel Nichols, Raja Bell, Zach Lowe ESPN
  7:30 p.m. NBA CountdownSage Steele, Jalen Rose, Doug Collins ESPN
  8 p.m. Chicago Bulls at Atlanta Hawks presented by State FarmMark Jones, Doris Burke ESPN
  10:30 p.m. Memphis Grizzlies at Los Angeles Lakers presented by State FarmDave Pasch, Jon Barry ESPN
Sat, Feb 27 1 a.m. NBA TonightCassidy Hubbarth, Jorge Sedano ESPN2
  8 p.m. NBA CountdownSage Steele, Jalen Rose, Doug Collins ABC
8:30 p.m. Golden State Warriors at Oklahoma City Thunder presented by La QuintaMike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy, Mark Jackson, Lisa Salters

Radio: Kevin Calabro, P.J. Carlesimo

 

More information on this week’s NBA coverage across the ESPN networks is available online now along with all of the latest NBA headlines at:

 

Website: http://espn.go.com/nba

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

 

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.

Holy Grail Announces More Live Dates

Holy Grail Devildriver Tour PosterHoly Grail just kicked off its latest tour yesterday and already the California-based five-piece has announced plans for even more dates.

Holy Grail announced this week that it will join Devildriver on the road this spring.  This comes as the band has just embarked on a thirty-seven date tour alongside Black Tusk and The Well.  The band’s upcoming tour will see it serve as support act for Devildriver.  The tour launches Wednesday, April 27th in Las Vegas, NV and runs through Saturday, June 18th in San Diego, California.  It also includes dates in Colorado, Tennessee, Ohio, Missouri, and a number of other cities.  Incite and Hemlock are also scheduled to serve as support acts to Devildriver for the upcoming tour.  Holy Grail’s upcoming dates and current tour schedule are listed in whole below.

 

TOUR DATES

2/24 Richmond, VA – 25 Watt #

2/25 Philadelphia, PA – Kung Fu Necktie #

2/26 Boston, MA – Once Ballroom #

2/27 Brooklyn, NY – Saint Vitus #

2/29 Burlington, VT – Nectars #

3/1 Quebec City, QC – Le Cercle #

3/2 Montreal, QC – Foufounes Electriques #

3/3 Toronto, ON – Hard Luck #

3/4 Detroit, MI – Berserker Fest @ The Masonic Temple #

3/5 Chicago, IL – Reggies #

3/6 Madison, WI – High Noon Saloon #

3/7 Minneapolis, MN – Triple Rock #

3/8 Fargo, ND – The Aquarium #

3/9 Winnipeg, MB – The Windsor Hotel #

3/11 Saskatoon, SK – Amigos Cantina #

3/12 Edmonton, AB – Brixx #

3/13 Calgary, AB – Palomino #

3/14 Kamloops, BC – The Office #

3/16 Vancouver, BC – The Biltmore #

3/19 Portland, OR – Panic Room #

3/20 Bend, OR – Volcanic Theatre Pub #

3/22 Santa Cruz, CA – Catalyst #

3/23 San Francisco, CA – DNA Lounge #

3/24 Los Angeles, CA – Viper Room #

4/27 Las Vegas, NV – Vinyl &

4/29 Boise,  ID – Knitting Factory &

4/30 Seattle, WA – Studio Seven &

5/1 Spokane, WA – Knitting Factory &

5/3 Grand Junction, CO – Mesa Theatre &

5/5 Kansas City, MO – Riot Room &

5/6 Milwaukee, WI – The Rave &

5/8 Flint, MI – Machine Shop &

5/9 Cincinnati, OH – Bogarts &

5/10 Nashville, TN – Exit/In &

5/11 Grand Rapids, MI  – The Stache &

6/13 Columbus, OH – Park Street Saloon &

6/14 St. Louis, MO – Fubar &

6/16 Albuquerque, NM – Sunshine Theater &

6/17 Window Rock, AZ – Window Rock Sports Center &

6/18 San Diego, CA – Brick by Brick &

# with Black Tusk

& with DevilDriver, Incite & Hemlock

 

Courtesy:  Prosthetic Records

Courtesy: Prosthetic Records

The newly announced dates for Holy Grail’s upcoming tour are just the latest in the band’s ongoing efforts to promote its latest full-length studio recording Times of Pride and Peril.  The band also toured with Night Demon late last year and performed at Death Angel’s 2nd Annual Christmas Show last December.  And as noted, the band just hit the road for a late winter/spring tour in support of Times of Pride and Peril on February 23rdTimes of Pride and Peril debuted at #9 on Billboard’s New Artists Chart in its release earlier this month.  It also landed at #14 in the magazine’s Hard Music Chart, and #35 in the Independent Artist Chart.  It sold more than 1,500 copies within its first week of release.  It is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered online via iTunes, Amazon, Bandcamp, and Prosthetic Records’ online store.  More information on Holy Grail’s tour schedule is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

Website: http://www.holygrailofficial.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/holygrailband

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.

Children and Children Of The 80s Will Enjoy Liz DeRoche’s Latest Children’s LP

Courtesy:  AlphaBeat Records

Courtesy: AlphaBeat Records

Six years ago Liz DeRoche (a.k.a. The Singing Lizard) launched her professional music career in the nation’s capital. In the years since then she has kept herself quite busy, founding a record label–AlphaBeat Records–performing both solo and with other acts–The Pushovers (since 2009) Cane and The Sticks (since 2011), and Tom Goss (since 2013). She has also recorded with Gross on his latest record, 2014’s Wait. She also toured with Goss in support of his new LP. As if all of that isn’t enough, her efforts garnered her the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities Young Artist Grants (2010 and 2011) as well as the #1 spot in Nickelodeon Parents’ Pick Awards “Party Entertainer” category. And since 2009 she has worked with Girls Rock, a non-profit for girls to help them develop self confidence, build community, and make music. One can only wonder considering all that the now San Francisco Bay area-based children’s entertainer has done and is doing, how does she do it all? The answer is anybody’s guess. But somehow she has. And somehow she continues to do so as is evidenced in her upcoming album Club Called Awesome. The thirteen-song record is a testament to DeRoche’s drive and love for her craft. That is thanks in large part to its musical content. Comparisons to the likes of Regina Spektor and Daft Punk are (in this critic’s view) incorrect in regards to the album’s musical content. It sounds more akin to R&B from the 80s and early 90s That’s just one aspect of this thirty-seven minute record that makes it so interesting. Its varied lyrical themes are just as notable as its musical content. Last but hardly least of note in this album is its companion booklet. That will be discussed later. Each element is in its own right an important part of the album’s whole. Altogether all three elements make Club Called Awesome an album that the entire family will truly enjoy.

Liz DeRoche’s new children’s album Club Called Awesome is one of the most standout recordings to be turned out so far this year in the children’s music world. It is an album that the entire family truly will enjoy from beginning to end. That is thanks in large part to the album’s throwback musical content. DeRoche’s sound has been likened over the years to the likes of Regina Spektor and Daft Punk. But in the case of this album DeRoche’s sound is anything but. Instead she has presented here a sound that is (in the ears of this critic) more of a throwback to the R&B sound of the 80s and early 90s. It comes complete with synthesizers, and other standard R&B elements that made the sound what it was in that era. It’s a sound that is very rare both in today’s mainstream R&B realm and even in the realm of children’s music. There are poppy songs out there. There are even more uptempo rock style compositions out there. Heck, there are even rap/hip-hop albums for children. But the sound presented in this record is seemingly rare in the world of children’s music. To that extent it makes the album stand out against its counterparts both past and present. What’s more, being a sound that will be familiar to so many older audiences, it is just as accessible for said listeners, too. It all feels entirely natural, too. Keeping all of this in mind the album’s musical content proves in itself to be a highly important element in the album’s overall presentation. It is of course not the only important part of the album’s presentation. The album’s varied lyrical themes are just as important to the album as its vintage musical sound.

The vintage R&B sound that populates the body of Liz DeRoche’s new album is in itself a hugely important part of the album’s overall presentation. However it is not the only key element in the album’s presentation. The varied lyrical themes that are presented throughout the course of the album’s thirteen tracks. In regards to those themes, audiences will especially appreciate the message of self-confidence despite the country’s gender roles and mores in ‘Be Yourself.’ Hers is not the first song to ever buck America’s established gender roles in her music. But she does present the message in her own original fashion. The result is a song that when coupled with its musical content becomes the album’s lead anchor. ‘Peace Sign’ closes out the album. And while it is the album’s closer its message of peace is just as important to note as the messages presented in any of the album’s other songs. It isn’t one of those preachy songs that one might expect. Rather it is just a song about making a peace sign with one’s hands. She sings here, “Let me see your hand/Raise it high in the sky/Make a peace sign/Point around the middle/Fly/Peace sign altogether/Enjoying one another/Show me your peace sign.” It’s pretty basic content since that is all she sings throughout the course of the (once again) throwback style song. The thing is that even with these being the song’s only lyrics they become surprisingly infectious thanks to them being coupled with the song’s musical content. Being so infectious the message presented will get stuck in listeners’ heads and in turn perhaps grow and stay there throughout the years. For all of the heavy and serious themes tackled in the album’s lyrical content, they are not the only themes that are presented here. There is some more light-hearted fare in ‘Beat Bot The Robot.’ While the robot does play a part in the song, its part in the song is minimal at best. That is because in the song’s story DeRoche’s characters don’t meet the robot until they are well on their way in their trip through the cosmos. The robot is a fun companion for the subjects to have, too. But it is really the journey that is central to the song. And young listeners will enjoy going on that journey with DeRoche’s subjects. The song’s musical content set against that fun journey makes the journey just as fun for grown-ups with its own original throwback sound. The combination of the two elements together makes the song just one more example of the importance of this album’s lyrical content. It is hardly the last example, too. Each of the ten remaining songs exemplify in their own way what makes the album’s lyrical content so important to the album’s presentation. Together with the album’s musical content both elements come together to show why this album is a wonderful collection of songs not just for children but for grown-ups, too. Of course they still are not the only important elements to note in the overall picture of the album’s presentation. The album’s companion booklet is just as important as its musical and lyrical content.

The musical and lyrical content that is presented throughout Liz DeRoche’s new children’s album is unquestionably important in its overall presentation. They work together to make the album one that adults will enjoy just as much as their younger counterparts. They aren’t the album’s only important elements, though. The album’s companion booklet is just as important to the album’s presentation as its primary content. It is presented in a comic book fashion complete with separate panels. Those that pay close attention with note that each of the 4-panel pages directly connects to each of the album’s thirteen songs. They tell their own very short stories. But they also present lyrics from each of the album’s songs throughout. It’s a fun and wholly original way to get young listeners interested in said content and in turn get those same listeners even more engaged in the album. DeRoche is to be applauded for using this avenue to connect to her younger audiences. It is ingenious. It solidly bridges the album’s primary content to this, its secondary content, resulting in the end in an album that the whole family truly will enjoy from beginning to end.

Club Called Awesome is a rare album in the realm of children’s music. That is because it can be said with full certainty that it is one of those very rare offerings that the whole family truly can and will enjoy together. Parents will enjoy the album’s throwback to the 80s and early 90s in its musical presentation. It varied lyrical themes play their own pivotal part in the album’s enjoyment. They range from the serious (E.g. ‘Peace Sign’ and ‘Be Yourself’) to the much more easygoing (E.g. ‘Beat Bot The Robot,’ ‘Club Called Awesome,’ ‘My Balloon’) throughout. The album’s companion booklet presents an original and solid bridge between the album’s primary content and its secondary (the booklet). It is a presentation in itself that is just as certain to engage and entertain younger listeners. It is the finishing touch to an album that the whole family truly will enjoy from beginning to end and in turn will agree is one of the best of this year’s crop of children’s musical offerings so far. It will be available Friday, March 25th. While audiences wait for it to drop they can enjoy the video for another of the album’s songs, ‘Show Me Your Happy.’ The video sets DeRoche’s song against the backdrop of an animated video in which a young child shows what seems to be a group of abominable snowmen (and women) how to be happy. The video’s animation style is wholly original and will impress audiences just as much as the song, which gets audiences to show others their own happy. The video is streaming online now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5R4ufdFzIvk&feature=youtu.be. More information on the video is available online along with all of DeRoche’s latest news and more at:

Website: http://thesinginglizard.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/SingingLizard

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.

Hell or Highwater Announces New Record Deal; New Album On The Way

Courtesy:  Spinefarm/Search & Destroy Records

Courtesy: Spinefarm/Search & Destroy Records

There’s good news for Hell or Highwater and its fans.

Three years after the release of its debut album Begin Again (Pavement Entertainment) the band has signed with Search & Destroy/Spinefarm Records. The new deal means that the band’s sophomore album Vista will be released this year via Search & Destroy/Spinefarm. Audiences can check out a video announcing the band’s new deal online now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nn-wPiJqWT8&index=1&list=PLfF_OpPMyx7Zsk3BAlznsfbgXSsO38oyw.

 

Courtesy:  Spinefarm/Search & Destroy Records

Courtesy: Spinefarm/Search & Destroy Records

 

The band’s addition to the Spinefarm/Search & Destroy family comes as little surprise as front man Brandon Saller’s other band Atreyu is also a member of the Spinefarm/Search & Destroy roster. It is just one of the veteran acts that is part of the Spinefarm roster, too. Fellow veterans Nonpoint, Venom, and Anti-Flag are all part of the Spinefarm family as are up-and-coming acts such as Royal Thunder, Santa Cruz, and Ember Falls among others.

Saller recently discussed the Spinefarm/Search & Destroy roster in discussing signing with Spinefarm/Search & Destroy. “We’re so incredibly excited to be a part of the Spinefarm/Search & Destroy family,” he said. He went on to note the band’s anticipation for the release in the discussion saying, “We’ve been crafting this album for two years and can’t wait to share it with the world.”

Hell or Highwater’s new deal and album have been a long time coming. Ever since the release of its debut album more than three years ago the band has seen lineup changes, van wrecks, and a number of other challenges. And while audiences wait for the band’s long-awaited new album they can check out the video for the band’s new song I’ll Be Waiting’ via the band’s official website at http://www.hellorhighwaterofficial.com/.

 

Courtesy:  Spinefarm/Search & Destroy Records

Courtesy: Spinefarm/Search & Destroy Records

 

More information on Hell or Highwater’s signing is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news at:

 

Website: http://www.hellorhighwaterofficial.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/hell0rhighwater

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.

Logan Richardson Releases His Latest LP This Week

Courtesy:  Blue Note Records

Courtesy: Blue Note Records

Saxophonist Logan Richardson will release his latest full-length studio recording this week.

Logan Richardson will release Shift, his latest full-length studio recording this week. The album is Richardson’s first for Blue Note Records and his third overall full-length studio recording. It comes a little more than six years after his most recent album, 2008’s Ethos. That album was released via Inner Circle Music. Richardson brought enlisted one of the biggest names in the jazz industry today for the record in guitarist Pat Metheny for the record. In discussing joining Richardson for Shift Metheny noted Richardson’s talent and his overall vision that impressed him most about working with him. “While he is unquestionably one of the best new alto players to emerge of his generation, it is his overall artistic vision that impresses the most,” he said. Also on board for the project are pianist Jason Moran, bassist Harish Raghavan, and drummer Nasheet Waits.

Shift will be available in stores and online this Friday, February 26th. It can be pre-ordered online now via Amazon and iTunes. It boasts ten original compositions from Richardson and a cover of Bruno Mars’ ‘Locked Out Of Heaven.’ Audiences that pre-order the album now will get the album’s lead track ‘Mind Free’ immediately. The song is also streaming in full online now via YouTube and other streaming services. Audiences can also check out the album’s trailer online now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbieGieGfGk&feature=youtu.be.

Richardson will tour in support of Shift beginning March 12th in Vincennes, France. His current tour takes him to a handful of venues throughout Europe in March and April. There is also a planned date in New York, NY on May 20th at Dizzy’s Coca Cola Club. All of the latest updates on Richardson’s tour is available online now along with all of his latest news and more at:

 

Website: http://www.loganrichardson.global

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

 

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Soul Of The Elephant Is An “Unforgettable” Episode Of PBS’ Nature

Courtesy:  PBS/PBS Distribution

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

The elephant is one of nature’s most amazing and majestic creatures.  For eons elephants and their mammoth ancestors have roamed the planet.  Sadly the number of elephants around the world has been dramatically impacted throughout the ages because of poaching and other human activity.  From Africa to Asia elephants’ numbers over the past half century or so have been decimated.  However in recent years efforts to protect elephants have proven at least somewhat fruitful in at least some regions of the world.  One of those regions—Botswana—has the highest population of elephants in Africa thanks to efforts taken to protect them.  Now thanks to PBS’ partnering with filmmakers Dereck and Beverly Joubert audiences get to see the effects of those efforts in Nature: Soul of the Elephant.  Released late last November this nearly hour-long episode of PBS’ hit wildlife series takes audiences along for a ride with the Jouberts as they follow a group of elephants in its journey along one of the country’s major rivers.  The program itself lies at the core of the program.  That is thanks in large part to the program’s overall content.  There is quite a bit to say here so that will be discussed more extensively shortly.  The program’s cinematography is just as pivotal to its enjoyment as its overall story.  That will be discussed at more length a bit later.  Last but hardly least of note in this program is its collective editing and pacing.  While the elephants’ journey and their own gait may be slow, the pacing moves just fast enough to keep viewers engaged and moved.  That is thanks at least in some part to the episode’s editing.  It rounds out the program’s most important elements.  Together with the previously noted elements, all three make Nature: Soul of the Elephant one of the best episodes of Nature that PBS has turned out in recent memory.

Nature: Soul of the Elephant is one of the best episodes of Nature that PBS has turned out in recent memory.  It is yet more proof of why the network remains today the last bastion of truly worthwhile programming on television.  This is exhibited centrally through the episode’s main “story.”  The story in question follows filmmakers Dereck and Beverly Joubert as the couple joins a group of elephants on its migratory path along one of Botswana’s major rivers.  Audiences will be amazed at the change in attitude toward the Jouberts by the elephants as the couple slowly paddles down the river alongside group.  At first the elephants are anything but happy about the Jouberts being in their presence.  They are even charged a number of times by bull elephants in the herd.  Yet as the elephants’ journey continues they become increasingly welcoming of the couple, even allowing Dereck Joubert to get quite close to them at one point in order to record them.  It really is an intriguing process to behold.  That is because it is just one way in which the elephants display their high level of intelligence in this episode of Nature.  Audiences also see something truly extraordinary in the elephants’ journey as they mourn for elephants that had died long ago.  This is exhibited as they pass by the skeletal remains of different elephants.  The elephants’ body language clearly displays a mourning behavior on the part of the elephants that pass by the remains.  It is an incredible sight to behold.  Yet again here audiences see in this episode of Nature a truly high level of intelligence and even emotional comprehension rarely seen in the animal kingdom.  The reverence that the elephants display towards the remains of their own is just jaw dropping even for those that have perhaps seen such behavior before.  Once again it exhibits just how little we as humans know about other animals, especially the gentle giants that elephants prove to be here.  There are at least two more behaviors exhibited by the elephants in this program that will surprise audiences.  They will be left for audiences to see for themselves when they order this episode of Nature.  On a related note, many of the behavioral exhibitions displayed in this program are thanks in large part to the program’s cinematography.  It is another important element that plays into the episode’s success.

The “story” at the center of Nature: Soul of the Elephant is a hugely important part of the program’s overall presentation.  That is because of both the information shared throughout the course of its nearly hour-long run time, and the collective depth and impact of said information.  They work together to make this episode of Nature one of the series’ best in recent memory.  As important as the story proves to be to the program’s presentation it is just one important part of the episode’s whole.  The cinematography is directly linked to the program’s information because the cinematography is the reason that audiences are able to capture some of the elephants’ eye-opening behaviors.  In the same vein, there is other footage captured by those that came along with the Jouberts that are impressive in their own right.  One of those moments comes as the couple is flying over the African plains to its destination.  Their plane is filmed from above.  In capturing the plane flying below, the beauty of the land and waters below is captured, too.  It is a truly beautiful sight that must be seen in order to be fully appreciated.  In regards to the footage captured by the Jouberts the elephants’ growing acceptance of the couple allows for some equally incredible footage.  That footage includes that of the elephants as they mourn one of their own, long dead during their journey.  The couple is able to get a camera right up with the skull of the elephant that captures the elephants’ reverence for the long-deceased animal.  It is such a touching yet heartbreaking moment that is certain to move any viewer just because of how close audiences get.  In another moment, the elephants are so comfortable with the couple that Dereck is able to hold his (obviously waterproof) camera at the waterline and capture the elephants as they make their way through one of the many bodies of water that they encounter on their journey.  It is the kind of shot that has rarely been presented in any previous episode of Nature. And it is just one more of so many shots throughout the program that makes it such a moving and powerful presentation. There is so much more footage that could be discussed as examples of what makes the cinematography so important in this episode of Nature. Simply put, the cinematography displayed in this episode of Nature, while not entirely unlike that of other episodes of PBS’ wildlife series, does still stand tall among the extensive list of episodes that has come before because of its cinematography. It really tells the Jouberts’ story in a way that really immerses audiences into the presentation at a level that few other episodes do and have done. That being the case it shows exactly why the cinematography is just as important to Soul of the Elephant as the episode’s central “story.”   It still is not the finishing touch to this standout episode of Nature. The episode’s combined editing and pacing round out its most important elements.

Both the “story” at the heart of Nature: Soul of the Elephant and its cinematography are important in their own right to the episode’s overall presentation. While both elements are equally important in their own right to the episode’s presentation, one would be remiss to ignore the program’s combined editing and pacing. Whether the final edit was done by the Jouberts or by someone else (or potentially by both parties) the end result is a presentation that expertly captures elephants’ journey and the respect that the Jouberts had for their subjects. What’s more it does just as much of an expert job of capturing the expansive journey that the elephants undertake. It also serves to really drive home the cinematography’s emotional impact. Keeping all of this in mind, everything is all edited so well together that while the elephants’ journey is a long one, it is one that feels like it flies right by but in the best possible manner. In other words thanks to the editing, the program’s pacing will keep audiences fully engaged and immersed from the beginning of the elephants’ journey to its end. The program’s pacing coupled with its deeply moving and insightful “story” and cinematography ensures this even more. In the end all three elements come together to present Nature: Soul of the Elephant as one of PBS’ best episodes of Nature in recent memory and one that audiences likely won’t forget after watching it.

Nature: Soul of the Elephant is one of the best episodes of PBS’ wildlife series to be turned out in recent memory. It is one that after watching it, audiences likely won’t forget anytime soon. That is thanks in large part to the “story” at the heart of the episode. The cinematography is directly linked in to the story as it actually helps tell the story and give the story real depth and emotion. The combined editing and pacing behind the presentation makes it whole. It ties the whole thing together and ensures that audiences will remained fully immersed and engaged in the elephants’ story from beginning to end. In watching it so intently audiences will agree that this program is indeed one of Nature’s best episodes in recent memory and an episode that they will not soon forget. It is available now and can be ordered direct via PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=71368906&cp=&kw=soul+of+the+elephant&origkw=Soul+of+the+elephant&sr=1. More information on this and other episodes of Nature is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature

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

 

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Shout! Factory Kids Gets “Wild” Again Next Month

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/Shout! Factory Kids/Discovery Family

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Shout! Factory Kids/Discovery Family

Blythe and her furry friends at the Littlest Pet Shop return next month with another new collection of episodes.

Shout! Factory Kids will release its latest collection of episodes from Discovery Family’s animated series Littlest Pet Shop next month. Littlest Pet Shop: Pet Tales will be released Tuesday, March 8th in stores and online. The DVD features five more episodes from the hit series, most of which are pulled from the series’ third season. One of its episodes, “So Interesting,” is lifted from the series’ second season. That episode sees Penny Ling come up with a completely outlandish story during a creative session among the pets. It is just one of the fun stories included in this collection of episodes that audiences will enjoy. In “Feud For Thought” things get kind of “wild” when a pair of arguing koalas causes chaos for the pets. And in “”Proud as a…Peacock?” it’s up to the pets to help a shy peacock prepare for its debut at the agricultural gardens. These are just some of the stories presented in this collection. Blythe faces her own challenge in “Fish Out Of Water” when she has to keep Josh Sharp from working for the Biskit twins. The pets even have their own adventure in that episode, too. That and so much more is in this collection. The DVD’s complete episode listing is noted below.

 

 

Episodes

Episode Episode Title
1 Littlest Pet Shop: So Interesting
2 Littlest Pet Shop: What’s So Scary About the Jungle? Everything!
3 Littlest Pet Shop: Feud For Thought
4 Littlest Pet Shop: Fish Out Of Water
5 Littlest Pet Shop: Proud As A… Peacock?

 

Littlest Pet Shop: Pet Tales will be available in stores and online Tuesday, March 8th. It will retail for MSRP of $14.93. It can be pre-ordered online now at a discounted price of $13.93 via Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/kids/kids-animation/littlest-pet-shop-pet-tales. More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com//ShoutFactory

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment 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.

Cavs-Heels Matchup The Focus Of This Week’s College GameDay Broadcast

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN’s College GameDay Covered by State Farm is coming back to Virginia this weekend.

College GameDay Covered by State Farm will broadcast live from the campus of No. 7 Virginia this Saturday, February 27th. The network’s flagship college basketball program will air live from the home of the Cavaliers ahead of the team’s matchup with No. No. 5 UNC Saturday night. The game is ESPN’s spotlight game this week on Saturday Primetime presented by DIRECTV. It will air live on ESPN at 6:30pm ET. Saturday morning’s edition of College GameDay Covered by State Farm will air live at 11am ET. There will also be an evening edition of the broadcast leading up to Saturday night’s game.

Rece Davis anchors College GameDay Covered by State Farm. He is joined by analysts Jay Bilas, Seth Greenberg, and Jay Williams. Bilas will join Dan Shulman for the game’s coverage. Reporter Shannon Spake will also be on hand for additional commentary and news throughout the game.

Saturday’s matchup between the Cavs and Tarheels marks the tenth time overall that UNC has been the road team at the site of a GameDay broadcast. That is a record for the team. It also marks the second time this season that UNC has been the road team at a GameDay site.

Along with the details for Saturday’s broadcasts, the times for ESPN’s netflex games have been announced. They are as follows: Texas Tech at No. 2 Kansas (ESPN, Noon); Rhode Island at No. 15 Dayton (ESPN2, Noon); No. 12 Arizona at Utah (ESPN, 2 p.m.); Illinois State at Wichita State (ESPN2, 2 p.m.); No. 6 Maryland at No. 17 Purdue (ESPN, 4 p.m.); No. 19 Notre Dame at Florida State (ESPN2, 4 p.m.); Kansas State at No. 13 Iowa State (ESPN2, 6 p.m.); Florida at LSU (ESPN, 8:30 p.m.); Gonzaga at BYU (ESPN2, 8 p.m.); Fresno State at New Mexico (ESPN2, 10 p.m.) and UC Irvine at UC Davis (ESPN2, Midnight).

Each week, the site for College GameDay Covered by State Farm will be announced one week ahead of the given games. This ensures visits to the sites of top college basketball storylines and games that appear on the ESPN networks. More information on this weekend’s edition of College GameDay Covered by State Farm is available online now along with all of the latest college basketball headlines at:

 

Website: http://espn.go.com/mens-college-basketball

http://espn.go.com/womens-basketball

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

 

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.

Rocker’s Debut LP “Hard To Bleed” Is Hard To Hate

Courtesy:  Phill Rocker

Courtesy: Phill Rocker

Late last month Phill Rocker (yes, that’s really his name) released his debut album Hard To Bleed. The independently released album boasts fifteen tracks all of which are a good fit for any fan of big riffs and even bigger hair. From start to finish Rocker exhibits influences from the likes of Judas Priest, Poison, Ozzy Osbourne, and so many others from that bygone era of rock. There are even some old school style power ballads thrown in for good measure to round out the record. The combination of those ballads and the album’s more up-tempo pieces makes Hard To Bleed a record that is hard to hate.

Phill Rocker’s debut album Hard To Bleed is a record that is hard to hate. Yes, that bad pun was fully intended. The fifteen-song record (there is also a deluxe edition that includes two bonus songs) is so hard to hate because over the course of its roughly sixty-seven minute run time it offers rock purists plenty to appreciate what with its classic rock sound and equally interesting lyrical content. The album is anchored by the album’s up-tempo, near mid-point ‘Burning in the Fire.’ It has already been noted that the songs featured in this record boast a noticeably old school rock sound. The sound in question takes listeners back to the days of big riffs and even bigger hair. That is no different in the case of ‘Burning in the Fire.’ Rocker and company waste no time getting things moving in this song. They jump into it right from its opening measures. Drummer Brian Tichy (Something Unto Nothing, Velvet Revolver, Ozzy Osbourne) is on point in his time keeping here. The dual guitar attack of Ricardo Fernandes and Miguel Aguiar adds even more impact to the song. That is because it instantly conjures thoughts of classic Ozzy Osbourne, Scorpions, and even Judas Priest. Rocker’s own vocal delivery here boasts just as much power as those that have come before. The song’s musical side is just one part of what makes the song a solid anchor for Rocker’s new album. Rocker wrote the song’s lyrics as well as handling vocal duties. Rocker’s lyrics come across as a commentary of sorts as he sings in the song’s lead verse, “Can somebody hear this scream of mine/Is the world goin’ blind/Hard to carry on/Without wiseman guidance/Can’t see/Nothing but dreams of foregone times/Facing the final frontier/I’ve faced this road before/Innocence calms down/Before the storm/The hurt I know is true.” Later in the song’s run Rocker asks, “Will I/Who else can I call/What’s done is done/It’s written in the stars.” In examining the song in whole Rocker comes across as making a statement about staying strong even in the most uncertain times with such lyrics. Of course that is just this critic’s own interpretation. It could be completely off the mark. Hopefully it isn’t. but the possibility is there. When that possibility is coupled with the song’s forward-driving musical content, the two together really build their own fire that will spread to listeners when they hear the song for themselves. Keeping that in mind, it is clear in the end why ‘Burning in the Fire’ is this record’s anchor. It is just one of the many songs in this album that can be cited as an example of what makes Rocker’s debut album hard to hate. The ballads that are included in this album do just as much to make it worth at least one listen. That is exemplified even later in the album’s run in the form of the bass-driven ballad ‘How Does It Feel.’

‘Burning in the Fire’ is a solid anchor for Phil Rocker’s debut album. That is thanks to the combination of its classic rock-influenced sound and its equally thought-provoking lyrical content. As solid as it is in the grand scheme of the record it is only one example of what makes it a *rock* solid record. ‘How Does It Feel’ is another good example of what makes Rocker’s new album worth hearing. Unlike ‘Burning in the Fire’ this song is a classic ballad style composition. From Rocker’s own vocal delivery to Ricardo Fernandes’ gentler melody to [Brian] Tichy’s own work behind the kit, this song is a direct throw back to the power ballads of the late 80s and early 90s. In regards to its lyrical content, the song’s lyrics will have listeners just as engaged. Rocker writes in this song, “This conspiracy doesn’t help to see my destiny/Fighting this battle/I’m more than you can be/Psycho maniacs/Rule what you can/Ask for what you need/That’s where I begin/Straight to the unknown.” This comes across as someone dealing with some inner personal issues. And the song’s chorus would seem to hint even more at that as Rocker writes, “Paranoia/In a troubled mind/Agonized by a wounded heart/Self-inflicted victim/In this unfair world/Is it real/What’s going on/How does it feel to walk away/How does it feel to taste the pain/How does it feel to go away/One more day.” The song’s final verse is just as intriguing as Rocker writes about a figure suffering from a number of emotional issues that have essentially crippled said figure. It is definitely an interesting piece that is certain to leave listeners talking just as much as ‘Burning in the Fire.’ Audiences can hear the song for themselves now via Rocker’s official website at http://www.phillrocker.com. It’s just one more example of what makes this record a record worth hearing at least once. It still is not the final example of what makes the album stand out. The album’s opener, ‘Wasted Generation (In Me) is one more example of what makes Hard To Bleed hard to hate.

Phil Rocker offers quite a bit for rock purists in his debut album; so much so that the album proves rather hard to hate. That is obvious in the album’s hard rock anchor ‘Burning in the Fire’ and its polar opposite ‘How Does It Feel.’ While both songs are clear examples of what makes this record worth hearing they are not the only songs that could be cited as examples of the record’s strengths. ‘Wasted Generation (In Me),’ the album’s opener, is one more of the album’s strengths. Much like ‘Burning in the Fire’ Rocker and his fellow musicians waste little time getting things going here. There is a little bit more set up here but very little at the most. Luckily for listeners it isn’t one of those “slow boil” setups that takes its time building up to the song’s real body. Far too many bands today take that route. And it is anything but original or enjoyable. Keeping that in mind, the overall musical composition of ‘Wasted Generation (In Me),’ by itself makes the song both an enjoyable work in itself and an equally solid first impression for Rocker. The song’s lyrical content is just as important to its overall composition as its musical side. Rocker writes in the song’s second verse, “Confused and alone/Left on my own/I can’t find a place to rest/My mind’s so stressed/In between now and then/Yeah, here I am/I feel that I am always somewhere.” He goes on to write, “Come and have a look/Seek what you want/Come and have a look/Seek what you need/Come and have a look/You will find/A wasted generation in me.” The song feels, at least in regards to its lyrical content, as if it comes from the point of someone in a difficult emotional spot. It is almost as if the figure in this song is looking back on certain events of the past and comparing those events to the present, thus leading to the revelations presented here. What is really interesting about all of this is that when set against the song’s musical content there is quite a separation between the two. One would expect considering the song’s lyrical content that this song’s musical content would not have as much fire as it does. Yet somehow in its own way it proves to work just as well alongside that content. Because it does (and surprisingly so) it proves in the end why it is yet another solid first impression for Rocker and another example of what makes his debut worth the listen. Together with the previously noted songs, all three offerings show collectively that not only is this record just worth the listen but they also make this record hard to hate. They are not the only songs that could be used to prove that argument either. There are twelve other songs include in this record that could be cited in making both arguments. Audiences can hear every one of those songs for themselves when they order Hard To Bleed for themselves.

Hard To Bleed is a good first effort from Phill Rocker. The album proves this time and again throughout the course of its fifteen songs and sixty-seven minutes. From the hard rocking anchor that is ‘Burning in the Fire’ to the more melodic classic ballad style ‘How Does It Feel’ to the equally solid opener ‘Wasted Generation (In Me)’ there is plenty for any purist rocker to enjoy. That includes the other dozen songs not directly noted here. All things considered Hard To Bleed proves in the end to be a good first effort from Phill Rocker and an album that is both worth hearing at least once and in turn hard to hate. It can be ordered online now via Rocker’s official Bandcamp website at http://phillrocker.bandcamp.com/releases. More information on Hard To Bleed is available online now along with music videos, news, and more at:

Website: http://www.phillrocker.com

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

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.