‘Still Woman Enough’ Is A Solid Reminder Of Why Loretta Lynn Remains Today, The “Queen Of Country Music”

Courtesy: Sony Legacy

Country music legend Loretta Lynn has been known (justifiably) as the “Queen of Country Music” throughout the better part of her professional career.  That is because the music that she has crafted has remained some of the genre’s most memorable work.  This past March, Lynn continued to solidify her place in the echelons of country music when she released her new record, Still Woman Enough.  The 13-song compilation culls takes on some of her own songs along with covers of some other equally memorable songs with her own touch on the songs.  Those songs and their performances are the most important of the collection’s presentation.  One of the most notable of the songs is her new original song and title track, which opens the record.  It will be discussed shortly.  ‘Coal Miner’s Daughter (Recitation)’ is another standout addition to the record.  It will be discussed a little later.  Lynn’s take on ‘I’ll Be All Smiles Tonight’ is yet another example of what makes this collection worth hearing.  It will be discussed later, too.  All three presentations are important in their own right to the whole of this compilation.  When then are considered along with the rest of the record’s entries, the whole makes this song more proof of why Loretta Lynn remains to this day, the one and only Queen of Country Music.

Loretta Lynn’s recently released compilation record, Still Woman Enough is an impressive new presentation from the Queen of Country Music that will appeal widely to country music purists.  The originals and covers alike more than support those statements.  The most notable of the originals is the album’s title track/opener.  The song, which features guest appearances from two other well-known country music figures – Reba McEntire and Carrie Underwood – is a sequel of sorts to her timeless song, ‘You Ain’t Woman Enough.’  In the case of this song though, it is a reaffirmation of a woman’s strength and femininity to handle any situation in life.  This is nothing new for Lynn, who really has made a career of being a self-confident woman on and off stage.  She sings here alongside McEntire and Underwood, “The Earth may come and go/But for me it’s just time/’Cause without a doubt I know/It ain’t your age/It’s a state of mind/I’m still woman enough/Still got what it takes inside/I know how to love/Lose and survive/Ain’t much I ain’t see/I ain’t tried/I’ve been nknocked down/But never out of the fight/I’m strong but I’m tender/Wise but I’m tough/And when it comes to love/Let me tell you/I’m still woman enough.”  That verse alone (the song’s second verse) is example enough as to the song’s strength.  When it is paired with the rest of the song’s lyrical content, the whole makes the song a solid start for the collection and more proof of why Lynn remains country music royalty.

The lyrical content featured in ‘Still Woman Enough’ is engaging and entertaining in its own right.  That goes without saying.  It is just one part of what makes the song stand out.  The musical arrangement that accompanies the lyrical theme adds to the song’s enjoyment.  The arrangement is a pure classic country style work that one might expect to hear in walking into one of those old honky tonk joints of days gone by.  The strong twang from the guitars pairs with the harmonies produced by the teaming of Lynn, McEntire, and Underwood to make the upbeat arrangement even stronger.  At the same time, there is also a sense of some modern country added to the mix to make things interesting, too.  The positive is that said modern influence is not the pop country sound that has so polluted the country music realm since about the early 2000s.  Rather, it still has a balance of vintage influence even in itself.  The whole makes this arrangement in whole that much more appealing.  When the arrangement is considered with the full confidence in the song’s lyrical theme, the whole makes clear why this song is so important to Lynn’s new album.  It is just one of the songs that shows what makes Still Woman Enough worth hearing.  Lynn’s updated take on her timeless classic ‘Coal Miner’s Daughter’ is another key addition to this record.

Lynn’s updated take on ‘Coal Miner’s Daughter’ is notable because of the dramatic difference between it and its source material.  Lynn’s original take of ‘Coal Miner’s Daughter’ is a happy, upbeat song that really celebrates her parents and the sacrifices that they made so that she and her siblings could have at least something in life, despite their socioeconomic status.  Even as sad as the situation was for the family, Lynn’s recollection in the original was so upbeat as she remembers all her family had despite everything.  By comparison, the updated take presented in this compilation is the exact opposite. Instead of singing, Lynn opted for a spoken word approach, reading the song’s lyrics over the so subtle backing of a banjo that gently strums the original song’s guitar line.  The pairing creates such a bittersweet sense in listeners’ minds by comparison.  It is such a beautifully tragic story the way it is told here.  Any listener who is not moved by this updated rendition either has no heart or is simply not human.  It is that beautiful and powerful.  It is just one more of the songs that makes this compilation a strong presentation.  Lynn’s cover of the classic T.B. Ransom song ‘I’ll Be All Smiles Tonight’ is one more example of what makes the compilation so enjoyable.

Lynn’s take on ‘I’ll Be All Smiles Tonight’ is just one of so many recorded since Ransom first published the song more than a century ago in 1897.  The Original Chuckwagon Gang, The Carter Family, and Kitty Wells are just some of the most notable country music acts to cover the song in that time.  It shows the song’s popularity and timelessness.  From the sounds crafted through their takes to the richness of Johnny cash’s rendition (yes, even the Man in Black himself has covered the song), every version has maintained the vintage honky tonk sensibility of the original.  Lynn’s rendition also maintains that sound and stylistic approach.  What makes her version so interesting is the sound of her vocal delivery here.  The way in which Lynn delivers the song’s message about getting through a broken relationship exhibits a certain, touching vulnerability from the song’s subject.  It is so subtle in comparison to other renditions, but when caught, really proves so powerful.  That is especially the case when her delivery is set alongside the equally gentle mandolin and guitar accompaniment.  The simplicity in the approach is the epitome of the adage that less is more.  When this cover is considered along with the other songs examined here and the rest of the record’s songs, the whole makes the collection overall a presentation that even being just another compilation, a compilation that is actually worth hearing.

Loretta Lynn’s recently released compilation record Still Woman Enough is a presentation that country music purists everywhere will enjoy.  That is because of the mix of originals and covers that make up the record’s body.  From her new original song that opens the record, to her updated, bittersweet spoken word take of her own song, ‘Coal Miner’s Daughter,’ to her take on ‘I’ll Be All Smiles Tonight’ and more, the record offers audiences much to appreciate.  Her renditions stay true to their source material while also giving each work a unique touch of her own from start to end.  All three of the songs examined here support those statements.  Keeping that in mind, this record continues to show why Lynn is the unquestioned “Queen of Country Music.”  Still Woman Enough is available now through Sony Legacy.  More information on the collection is available along with all of Lynn’s latest news at:

Website: https://lorettalynn.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LorettaLynn

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 in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.  

Punk Purists Will Enjoy Steadfast’s Latest LP

Courtesy: Pine Box Derby

Almost a year ago to the day, independent punk rock outfit Steadfast released its then latest album, Transmitters through Pine Box Derby.  The problem is that because of the COVID-19 pandemic, its release never really got the distribution and coverage that it otherwise could have had.  To that end, Pine Box Derby is giving the album a new push to punk rock fans worldwide.  Those audiences are certain to appreciate this new record in part because of the record’s featured musical arrangements.  They will be discussed shortly.  The lyrical themes that accompany the album’s featured musical arrangements add their own appeal to the album, so they 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 is important in its own way to the whole of the record.  All things considered, they make Transmitters a record that will send a strong signal of its own to any punk rock fans.

Steadfast’s most recent album Transmitters was released July 10, 2020, but as noted, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic negatively impacted its distribution and coverage.  Had it received the distribution and coverage that it deserved last year, it no doubt would have become one of the year’s top new independent and punk rock albums.  That is proven in part through its featured arrangements.  The arrangements in question are punk rock at its purest.  Throughout the course of the album’s 11 songs, the arrangements immediately lend themselves to works from the likes of Rancid, Dropkick Murphys, and to a lesser extent, Green Day.  As a matter of fact, if audiences were to hear any part of this album without knowing it was Steadfast, the vocals alone would lead listeners to believe they were hearing DKM co-vocalist Al Barr or even Rancid front man Tim Armstrong.  The addition of the catchy guitars, driving time keeping, and rich bass line does just as much in each song to make the arrangements bear such a close similarity.  Even with all of this in mind, the arrangements do still bear their own identity separate from those of the aforementioned bands.  That is revealed through a close listen.  It is just that the similarities are that close between Steadfast and its more well-known counterparts.  All in all, the arrangements featured in Transmitters prove to be reason enough in themselves for audiences to hear the album.  They are collectively just one part of what makes Transmitters successful.  The lyrical themes that accompany the album’s musical arrangements add another layer of enjoyment to the album.

The lyrical themes featured in Transmitters are fully accessible in their own right.  Right from the record’s outset, the band offers up a song in its title track that celebrates independent music and the pirate (independent) radio stations that help spread the word about that music.  This is made clear right from the song’s lead verse, which states, “I heard the needle on the record drop while the DJ said “this ain’t the top of the charts/The music’s fast and it’s f****** loud/This is your pirate radio!”/Hear the sounds from the underground/Beaming their waves all over town/It’s a radio riot and it won’t settle down it’s a force they can’t control/Turn it all the way up – to the limit/Gonna watch the speakers explode/Turn it all the way up – to the limit on Revolution Radio/Revolution Radio/Turn it all the way up for the world to know/That it’s a force that they can’t control (whoa oh) Revolution Radio.”  The song’s second verse continues that celebration of all things independent as it states, “Transmitters to receivers hidden around the town for the disbelievers/To hear the truths from the rebel youths on the pirate radio!/Tune it in, turn it loud, sing along until you’re falling down/It belongs to me and you so be proud that it’s a force they can’t control.”  So right here, audiences clearly understand the accessibility of the album’s lyrical themes.  That simple, accessible theme, paired with the song’s equally infectious musical arrangement, makes the song in whole a powerful whole for the album.

As much as ‘Transmitters’ does to show the importance of the album’s fully accessible lyrical themes, it is just one example of that impact.  ‘Integrity,’ one of the album’s late entries, is accessible in its own right even as it presents a familiar political commentary throughout its three-and-a-half-minute presentation.  Front man Jason Bancroft takes no sides here, instead indicting politicians really on both sides of the aisle.  This is made clear as he sings in the song’s lead verse and chorus, “You’re a career politician with nothing to say/A puppet of a party who’s pulling the strings/With everything you do and everything your say/It proves that you have no f****** integrity/Now we’re sick and tired of the same old s***/How can you ignore the truth with no regrets?/The passions of the people will not calm lightly/You’re adding fuel to the fire of the next uprising/Don’t tell us lies just tell us the truth/See people suffer from your indecision/Don’t tell us lies just tell us the truth/Are you ready for the inquisition?/It’s defiance not reliance that we need/Because the system that’s controlling us is making us bleed.”  The song’s second verse continues the indictment of the political elite on both sides as it attacks both sides for “Giving to the rich/While robbing from the poor/Getting what you want by giving empty promises.”  Such lyrical content is familiar territory for any punk band.  Keeping that in mind, it is yet another clear, accessible theme that because of that clarity and connection, shows once more, the importance of the album’s lyrical themes.  It is just one more of the songs that serves to show the noted importance.  ‘Just Disbelievers’ is yet another example of that importance.

‘Just Disbelievers’ is, lyrically, a familiar anthem for a disenfranchised generation.  It is an anthem of proud defiance against those who would otherwise just discount said individuals.  As with the other themes addressed here, it is an all-too-familiar lyrical theme in the punk realm.  The anthem opens with Bancroft singing in the song’s lead verse and chorus, “We may seem young and hopeless – we may seem all the same/You might think that you know about us – but you don’t even know our name/You might think that you can stop us – put our backs up against a wall/It will take much more to stop us – because you’ll have to stop us all/We won’t go down without a fight/We might not win but that’s alright/We won’t go down without a fight/We won’t give in – no!”  that proud defiance continues in the song’s second verse in which Bancroft sings, “We are all saints and sinners – losers and sometimes winners/We are not king and queens/or followers/Just Disbelievers!/We will not be forgotten – won’t be content just to move along/Didn’t say we weren’t contradictions/But when we’re not right we’re still not wrong.”  Such content goes back a long way through the history of punk (and rock/metal in general).  That the band presented such a familiar theme in such an easily accessible fashion, reminding a whole new generation of listeners to stand up to those who would just toss them aside, is even more proof of the importance of the album’s lyrical themes.  When it and the other lyrical themes examined here are considered along with the album’s other lyrical themes, the whole leaves no doubt as to the importance of the album’s lyrical content.  When that overall content is paired with the album’s equally accessible punk sounds, the whole of that content forms a solid foundation for the album.  Taking all of that into account, the sequencing of that content rounds out the album’s most important elements.

Transmitters’ sequencing is important in part because in considering the album’s content, it ensures the album’s lyrical themes change from one song to the next.  From the fun to the more serious to the generally contemplative, the themes change throughout the course of the record’s 40-minute run time.  That in itself ensures listeners’ engagement and entertainment.  Additionally, the sequencing keeps the record’s energy high from one arrangement to the next.  The DIY, garage punk stylistic approach stays largely the same throughout with the changes in the arrangements remaining subtle from one to the next.  A close listen to the songs reveals those subtle changes from one song to the next.  That and the constant energy does its own part to keep listeners engaged, too.  When it and the engagement and entertainment ensured through the album’s lyrical variety are considered together, it shows clearly the role of the album’s sequencing to its presentation, too.  All things considered, these three elements make Transmitters an impressive offering from Steadfast that deserves its own share of attention among punk purists.

Steadfast’s most recent album, Transmitters is a positive offering from the independent punk rock band.  The album’s success comes in part through its featured musical arrangements.  The arrangements are all high-energy compositions whose melodies and general presentations lend themselves to comparison to works from the likes of Rancid, Dropkick Murphys and even Green Day.  They are infectious works that even with the comparisons in mind still have their own identities, making for reason enough to hear the album.  The album’s lyrical themes are just as accessible as their musical counterparts.  They are varied from one to the next, ranging from the silly to the serious.  When they are considered along with the album’s musical arrangements, the collective gives audiences even more reason for audiences to hear the album.  The record’s sequencing brings all of that content together and keeps the album’s energy high from start to end.  At the same time, it ensures listeners remain engaged and entertained by changing up the record’s lyrical themes throughout its 40-minute run time.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the album.  All things considered, they make Transmitters a presentation that any punk purist will enjoy.

Transmitters is available now through Pine Box Derby.  More information on the album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Website: https://www.steadfasthtx.com

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

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.  

Crack The Sky’s Sixth Compilation Is As Successful As Its Predecessors

Courtesy: Carry On Music

Veteran prog rock band Crack The Sky is keeping itself busy this year.  The band opened the year with the release of its latest album, Tribes, Jan. 15.  The band also re-issued its 1994 compilation Crack Attic in January.  That record compiled songs pulled from the band’s first five albums.  Now Friday, audiences will see the release of another, new compilation from Crack The Sky in the form of Between The Cracks.  The 12-song collection is a presentation that the band’s established audiences will find interesting.  That is due in large part to its featured songs, which will be addressed shortly.  The songs’ sequencing adds its own interest to the record and will be discussed a little later.   The songs’ production rounds out the most important of the record’s items.  It will also be addressed later.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the compilation’s presentation.  All things considered, they make the collection one more presentation that Crack The Sky’s most devoted audiences will appreciate.

Crack The Sky’s forthcoming compilation record Between The Cracks is a presentation that the band’s most devoted audiences will enjoy.  That is due in large part to its featured songs.  The songs in question are deep cuts from the band’s albums which spanned the years 1983 and 2015.  None of the songs featured in this compilation are singles.  Nor are they featured in the band’s five (yes, five) other compilations.  That adds to these songs’ importance.  When these songs are set alongside the songs featured in those records – Classic CrackRare!Crack AtticThe Best of the Rest (And Then Some), and Crackology – that overall body of work gives audiences quite the rich cross section of CTS’ catalog.  Far too often, bands and groups release multiple hits/singles compilations – and do so clearly as nothing more than contractually obligated space fillers – using many of the same songs over and over again in the process.  It is nice to see that Crack The Sky did not go that route this time (and in its other compilations).  Considering everything noted here, the songs featured in this album are reason enough in themselves for CTS’ most devoted audiences to add this compilation to their libraries.  They are just a portion of what makes the record appealing for the noted audiences.  The songs’ sequencing adds its own interest to the presentation. 

Between The Cracks’ sequencing is important to address largely because it is clear that there was an intended obvious chronological order here, beginning in 1983 with World in Motion I and progressing to 2015’s The Beauty of Nothing.  In all, seven of the band’s albums are represented here, including GhostOstrichMachineThe Sale, and The End.  What audiences get in the end is a record that takes audiences through a very specific portion of its catalog.  It would have been so easy for the band to just toss the songs together in some random order, but instead, the band makes it clear that it wanted to take listeners on a journey through its life and catalog.  That in itself adds even more appeal to the compilation’s presentation. It makes the listening experience that much more special for the noted audiences, even with some of the noted albums already having been represented in previous compilations from Crack the Sky.  That is because while some of the albums were already represented, they were not represented by the songs featured, here, reaching back to that element.  Keeping both elements in mind, the whole makes all the clearer why the collection will appeal to Crack The Sky’s noted audiences.  Even with all of this in mind, there is still one more item to address in examining the album’s overall presentation.  That item is the record’s production.

The production that went into each of the record’s songs is important to examine because of its role in the collection’s general effect.  It has already been noted that the songs featured here are lifted from a handful of the band’s existing albums.  The band handled the songs’ remastering itself.  The band’s attention to every minute detail of the songs resulted in 12 songs that sound just as good in this presentation as in their original recordings if not somewhat better.  That includes items, such as echo effects, vocal effects, and the balance in the instrumentations.  Every detail received equal attention.  The result is a record that will appeal to CTS’ fans just as much for its general effect as for its content and the content’s sequencing.  When all three elements are considered together, they make the presentation in whole a record that will appeal mostly to Crack The Sky’s most devoted audiences.

Crack The Sky’s forthcoming compilation record, Between The Cracks is a collection of songs from the band that the group’s most devoted audiences will appreciate.  That is due in part to its featured the songs.  The songs featured in this compilation are not featured in the band’s five other collections of its music.  The songs’ sequencing is just as important as the songs themselves.  That is because it essentially takes audiences on a journey through a specific portion of the band’s catalog.  That element, while maybe secondary, is still important because of its role in the listening experience.  Speaking of the listening experience, the record’s production puts the final touch on that experience.  That is because it ensures the songs sound just as good in this case as in the songs’ original presentations.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of Between the Cracks.  All things considered, they make Between the Cracks a unique addition to this year’s field of new compilations that Crack The Sky’s most devoted audiences will appreciate. 

Between the Cracks is scheduled for release Friday through Carry On Music.  More information on the compilation is available along with all of Crack The Sky’s latest news at https://www.facebook.com/officialcrackthesky.

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.

Marc Ribler Debuts New Single, ‘Fly Away’

Courtesy: Wicked Cool Records

Singer/songwriter/guitarist Marc Ribler offered audiences another preview of this new album over the weekend.

Ribler, who has worked with legendary music acts, such as Steven Van Zant, Bruce Springsteen, and Paul McCartney, premiered his new single, ‘Fly Away’ Friday. The song is the third from Ribler’s forthcoming album, The Whole World Awaits You, which is scheduled for release July 16 through Van Zant’s Wicked Cool Records. The song’s premiere follows that of ‘Who Could Ask For Anything More‘ and its video, and of the album’s lead single, ‘Shattered.’

The musical arrangement featured in ‘Fly Away’ is a gentle, semi-acoustic ballad. Its sound and stylistic approach bears a blend of southern rock with elements of Eagles, Tom Petty, and Bruce Springsteen. The blending of those influences and sounds makes this composition interesting if only for this reason.

No information about the song’s lyrical theme was provided in the press release distributed about the song’s premiere. A close listen leads to the inference that the song centers on the all-too-familiar topic of a broken relationship. That is only this critic’s interpretation.

The full track listing for ‘The Whole World Awaits You‘ is noted below.

Track Listing:

1 The Whole World Awaits You

2 I’m Comin’ Aound

3 The Only Truth

4 War on Peace

Shattered

6 Fly Away

7 Manzanillo

8 Torn Apart

9 Without You

10 Who Could Ask for Anything More

11 History

12 This is How the Song Goes

More information on Marc Ribler’s new single and album is available along with all of his latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.marcribler.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/marcribler

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.

Dark Station Premieres ‘Misery’ Acoustic Take, Companion Video

Courtesy: O’Donnell Media Group

Dark Station revisited one of its songs over the weekend.

The band released a reworked take of its song ‘Misery‘ and debuted a video for the song Friday. The band’s forthcoming EP, Afterlight, will feature the song and reworked versions of four other songs from the band’s 2019 debut album Down in the Dark. The EP’s release date and track listing was not announced in the distributed press release announcing the debut of the song and its video.

While ‘Misery’ was not one of the original singles from Down in the Dark, the album produced four other singles: ‘Villain,’ ‘No Life,’ ‘Obvious,’ and ‘Heroes.’

The musical arrangement featured in the reworked take of ‘Misery’ is a stripped down, acoustic take of the song, which is featured in full in Down in the Dark. That take is a heavier, emo/metalcore style composition.

The song’s lyrical theme centers on a serious topic, according to guitarist Kyle Ort.

“Nathan wrote this song about the relationship between Harley Quinn and The Joker, but I think anyone who has been in a toxic relationship will identify with the lyrics.” he said. “Instrumentally, we put everything together with Jeremy and Brandon Wolfe at Wolfe Studios. I really love how this version of the song turned out. I think it shows a different side of the band and I think a lot of people will appreciate that” said Ort.

The video for the acoustic take of ‘Misery’ features Ort, front man Nathan Spades and fellow guitarist David Bruno sitting in a candle-lit studio setting and around a fire pit late in the evening, performing the stripped down take of the song.

Of the song’s video, Ort had the following to say.

“We wanted the video to feel like a live performance, almost like the viewer was in the room with us, so we did the entire video in 2 shots with minimal editing. The film location was Big Bear, California and I remember the temperature dropped to around 20 degrees while we were filming the outside shot. I could barely feel my hands as I was playing guitar. It definitely wasn’t an ideal situation, but we did it!

More information about Dark Station’s new single and video is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

Websitehttps://www.darkstationband.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/wearedarkstation

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/darkstationband

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.

Ovtlier Takes On The Establishment In New Single

Courtesy: O’Donnell Media Group

Ovtlier premiered its latest single over the weekend.

The band premiered its new single, ‘Bulletproof‘ Friday. The song’s premiere came more than seven months after the band debuted the lyric video for its then latest single, ‘Who We Are.’ The band premiered the single’s official video three months prior to that.

The musical arrangement featured in ‘Bulletproof’ immediately lends itself to comparison to works from Dry Kill Logic. That is evidenced through the heavy, aggro-rock/metal style approach and sound to the song. The balance of the screams and clean vocals add to that comparison just as much. At the same time, there is a certain element to the song that also lends it to comparison to certain works from Mushroomhead.

According to a statement from front man Joey Arena, the song’s lyrical theme is a sociopolitical commentary about the current state of the world.

“We live in an age where everything has become politicized; from image to virus,” he said. “I have watched both bands and people label and segregate one another solely based on a difference of not character but opinion. We are force-fed so much false information by the media, although many are aware, we still have lost some humanity. I have grown impatient with the amount of ignorance and hypocrisy that spews from the puppets of this world. Anger would be an understatement. I look forward to the day people can look to grey area and realize there’s more to it all.”

Added Arenas, “‘Bulletproof’ is a call to my fellow man to remove the veils and look into the grey. These corrupt politicians are playing you. I don’t care what side you stand on or what bias feelings you hold to your “party”. I’m not left or right, up or down. I look at character and could care less about the empty promises and b******* they are selling to your emotions only to gain a vote. I refuse to be a pawn in their game.”

Arenas concluded, “We will never divide our audience based on age, sex, identity or politics, for our goal is to bring love and light together. Our “leaders” don’t want unity for that becomes a threat to agenda. I’m fed up. I want the old model to fall so we can build within its stead. It’s time for change and that starts with us.”

Courtesy: O’Donnell Media Group

In other news, Ovtlier will serve as support for Gemini Syndrome’s upcoming headlining tour this summer. The tour, which runs more than a month, is scheduled to launch July 9 in Salt Lake City, UT and to run through Aug. 15 in Albuquerque, NM. It features performances in cities, such as Joliet, IL; Nashville, TN and Akron, OH.

The tour’s schedule is noted below. A Killer’s Confession, and Pushing Veronica will also serve as support for the tour. Additionally, Fozzy will join the tour for one date in place of Pushing Veronica. Eva Under Fire will take Ovtlier’s place on at least two dates.

Jul 09 | Salt Lake City, UT – Royal Bar
Jul 10 | Grand Junction, CO – Mesa Theatre
Jul 11 | Colorado Springs, CO – Sunshine Studios
Jul 13 | Lincoln, NE – Royal Grove
Jul 14 | Iowa City, IA – Wildwood Saloon †
Jul 16 | Grand Rapids, MI – Upheaval Festival ‡
Jul 17 | Cadott, WI – Rock Fest ‡
Jul 18 | Belividere, IL – Apollo Theatre
Jul 20 | Des Moines, IA – Leftys
Jul 21 | Joliet, IL – The Forge
Jul 23 | Westland, MI – Token Lounge
Jul 24 | Marietta, OH – Adelphia Music Hall
Jul 25 | Rochester, NY – Montage Music Hall
Jul 27 | Clifton, NJ – Dingbatz #
Jul 28 | Pittsburgh, PA – Crafthouse #
Jul 30 | Stroudsburg, PA – Sherman Theatre
Jul 31 | Harrisburg, PA – Stage On Herr
Aug 01 | Baltimore, MD – Baltimore Soundstage
Aug 03 | Ft Wayne, IN – Ft. Wayne Entertainment Center
Aug 05 | Columbus, OH – King Of Clubs
Aug 06 | Akron, OH – Empire Concert Club
Aug 07 | Louisville, KY – Diamond Ballroom
Aug 08 | Nashville, TN – Basement East
Aug 10 | Tusla, OK – The Shrine
Aug 11 | Oklahoma City, OK – 89th Street Collective
Aug 12 | Lawrence, KS – Bottleneck
Aug 14 | Denver, CO – Oriental Theater
Aug 15 | Albuquerque, NM – Launchpad

w/ Fozzy (No Pushing Veronica) †
Rock Fest + Upheaval Feativals (No Supporting Bands) ‡
w/ Eva Under Fire *direct support (No Ovtlier) #

More information on the band’s new single and tour dates is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/ovtlier

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/OvtlierBand

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Punk Rock Factory To Release Classic TV Themes Covers Collection Later This Month

Art Courtesy: @whoisrebeccaj

Independent punk rock act Punk Rock Factory is taking on another group of classic theme songs.

The band will take on a bunch of classic TV theme songs July 30 in its new covers collection, Masters of the Uniwurst. The band’s third album, it takes on theme songs from classic cartoons, such as Animaniacs, Darkwing Duck, and The Flintstones. Additionally, the group takes on the theme songs from Might Morphin’ Power Rangers and Saved By The Bell.

Pre-orders are open for Masters of the Uniwurst. The compilation is just the latest from the band. The group took on songs from various Disney movies, such as ‘Let It Go’ (from Frozen) and ‘How Far I’ll Go’ (from Moana) in its sophomore record, A Whole New Wurst. A trailer for Masters of the Uniwurst is streaming here.

The band spoke at length about its forthcoming compilation in a prepared statement, stressing they are proud of the presentation.

“All these TV themes hold a special place in our hearts as we grew up watching them all, and to get the chance to give them the PRF treatment is something really special for us, so grab your cereal, sit down in front of the TV and lets get strapped in… The adventure begins 30th July,” the statement read.  “After the success of the last Disney album, we wanted to work on songs that really meant something to us.  We grew up watching all these shows, so this was a big honour and a huge nostalgia trip for us.”

“Just like A Whole New Wurst, we have stayed as faithful as we possibly could with all these songs,” the statement adds. “We wanted to do them as you remember them. This means we didn’t extend them, or change them, unless it really worked in the song’s favour.”

The statement concluds, “We had so many suggestions and requests, and honestly, we looked at them all, but we’re only human, and we couldn’t fit them all in!  We hope you love each and every one of these tracks as much as we loved making them.”

The track listing for Masters of the Uniwurst is noted below.

‘Masters Of The Uniwurst’

Track List:

The Adventure Begins

Thundercats

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers

Arthur

Goof Troop

Animaniacs

The Flintstones

Bucky O’Hare

The Powerpuff Girls

Darkwing Duck

Gummi Bears

Pokémon

Alvin and the Chipmunks

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Denver the Last Dinosaur

Captain Planet

M.A.S.K.

Round the Twist

Saved by the Bell

Scooby Doo

Fun House

He-Man

More information on Punk Rock Factory’s new compilation record is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Website: https://www.punkrockfactory.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/punkrockfactory

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 at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Curt Ramm’s Latest LP Proves Surprisingly Enjoyable Through Its Mix Of Reggae, Jazz, Blues

Courtesy: Rocktorium Records

When the COVID-19 pandemic made its way across the United States (and world) in 2019 and 2020), its effects were felt in every avenue of life to say the very least.  For all of the negatives impacts caused by the pandemic, one positive came about as a result.  That positive is the massive increase in new music created by artists and acts throughout the musical universe.  Even now as 2021 continues to progress, audiences continue to receive new music spawned during the pandemic.  That includes horn player Curt Ramm’s new album, Rogue Island.  The 11-song album is scheduled for release Friday through Rocktorium Records.  It is a unique addition to this year’s field of new reggae records to say the least.  That is due to its featured arrangements, which blend Ramm’s own expansive influences – including his reggae influences – to make its whole.  One of the most notable of the songs that serves to support the noted statements comes late in the record’s 44-minute run in the form of ‘Everyday Beach.’  It will be discussed shortly. ‘Ripped’ is another example of how Ramm has blended his diverse influences to make this record notable.  It will be discussed a little later.  The same can be said of ‘Pontchartrain,’ which will also be addressed later.  All three of the songs noted here do their own part to show what makes Rogue Island an interesting new offering from Curt Ramm.  When they are considered along with the rest of the album’s arrangements, the whole makes Rogue Island one of the best of this year’s field of new reggae albums.

Curt Ramm’s forthcoming album Rogue Island is an impressive addition to this year’s field of new reggae albums.  The appeal that it offers is not limited to just reggae fans.  Rather, it expands to fans of jazz and the blues.  The styles are distinctly unlike one another, but Ramm balances them expertly at points throughout the album to make the record in whole work surprisingly well.  ‘Everyday Beach,’ which comes late in the album’s run, is a prime example of how that balance of genres makes this album so interesting.  Clocking in at four minutes, 21 seconds, this composition blends Ramm’s reggae influences along with what is comparable to works from the one and only Chuck Mangione for a solid, relaxing whole.  The two wholly opposite sounds and genres work together so surprisingly well here.  Yes, there is reggae out there that uses brass instrumentations in its bigger picture.  The thing is that in the case of this song, that brass instrumentation is more bluesy and jazzy.  It makes this arrangement stand out so much more starkly from those works.  That is even despite the abrupt way in which the song ends.  The whole, smooth composition creates a rich, vivid picture of the tropics – palm trees, clear blue waters, and all related items.  The song just one clear example of what makes this record surprisingly engaging and entertaining.  It is just one of the works that shows how that balance of genres makes the album a success.  ‘Ripped’ is another strong example of what makes Rogue Island a success.

‘Ripped’ finds Ramm going in a completely different direction than that featured in ‘Everyday Beach.’  Yes, the reggae influence is clearly there once again.  However, this time Ramm and his fellow musicians pair that influence with a distinct bluesy sound and stylistic approach.  In this case, that bluesy arrangement is centered around Ramm’s work on the trombone.  Instead of the beachy sense exuded by ‘Everyday Beach,’ the whole in this case actually is dominated by the jazz and blues elements, making for just a unique work in its own part.  That is not meant in a negative sense, either.  Rather, the jazz and blues influence in this song are so strong that one cannot help but think of maybe a well-lit jazz club perhaps somewhere in the Caribbean.  It really is a unique presentation in itself.  Again, because of that uniqueness, it becomes another clear example of what makes Rogue Island such a surprisingly interesting album.

‘Ripped’ and ‘Everyday Beach’ are each strong examples of what Rogue Island deserves so much attention.  They are only a portion of what shows the album’s ability to engage and entertain audiences.  ‘Pontchartrain’ is yet another example of what makes the album interesting.  ‘Pontchartrain’ stands out among Rogue Island’s most notable songs because of the balance of its own reggae influence along with the gentle melody from Ramm’s performance on what again sounds like a flugelhorn.  Yes, the Chuck Mangione comparison is there yet again.  At the same time though, the arrangement still boasts its own identity separate from, say, the likes of ‘Everyday Beach.’  In the case of this song, that Mangione style influence leans more in a modern jazz direction than easy listening.  That is especially evidenced as the song progresses and a muted trumpet starts blowing.  The heavy, accented approach and the addition of the backing horns (and apparently even accordion) really adds a subtle big band approach here.  Again, the whole makes the song so unique in its own right separate from the album’s other songs.  Keeping that in mind as well as the sounds of the other songs examined here and the rest of the album’s entries, the whole makes Rogue Island unquestionably a record that will appeal to a wide range of audiences.

Curt Ramm’s new album, Rogue Island is an interesting addition to this year’s field of new reggae offerings.  That is because it is not just another run-of-the-mill reggae albums.  Rather it brings together the best of two (and sometimes three) worlds for its whole.  That blending of influences and sounds makes Rogue Island a surprisingly enjoyable offering that reggae fans will appreciate just as much as those of jazz and the blues.  Rogue Island is scheduled for release Friday through Rocktorium Records.  More information on Rogue Island is available along with all of Curt Ramm’s latest news at:

Website: https://curtramm.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/curt.ramm.1

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.  

Between The Buried And Me Announces New Album Release Date, Specs; New Live Dates Planned

Courtesy: Sumerian Records

Between The Buried and Me will release its next album this summer.

The band is scheduled to release its new album Colors II Aug. 20 through Sumerian Records. It will come more than three years after the release of the band’s then most recent albums, Automata I and Automata II. Those albums were also release through Sumerian Records.

Colors II is the follow-up to the band’s 2007 album, Colors. Pre-orders are open now.

Guitarist Paul Waggoner said the decision to make Colors II a “sequel” to Colors was intentional on the part of the band.

Colors was very much our attempt at a do-or-die statement,” he said. “We had to establish our identity and be who we really wanted to be in order to have a career. This time around, our industry was shutdown for a year. Once tours were cancelled due to the pandemic, we were like, ‘We’ve got to write a record, and it’s got to be good’. We had to do something next level.”

Front man Tommy Rogers echoed Waggoner’s comments in his own statements.

“Especially with 2020, we really wanted to give it all we could and show the world we’re still here,” said Rogers. “That’s part of the reason we named it Colors II. We were in a similar spot when we did the first Colors. Back then, we had just gotten done with Ozzfest. We were wondering, ‘Where do we belong in this music scene?’ We still struggle with that. At both of these moments in our career, we decided to just be ourselves and write the best album we can. We came out guns blazing, and I feel like it’s some of our most creative material in a long time.”

In anticipation of the release of Colors II, BTBAM premiered the album’s lead single, ‘Fix The Error‘ Friday. The single is a unique presentation that is completely unlike anything else that the band has ever crafted. Instead of the heavy, progressive/death metal hybrid sound for which it has come to be known over the years, the band instead opted for something in this arrangement more akin to works from Devin Townsend. That is evidenced in the use of the keyboards vintage shredding alongside Rogers’ more familiar guttural screams. At points, there is a hint of some progressive metal in the guitars, but it is nowhere near as pronounced as in the band’s existing works.

As an added bonus, Mike Portnoy (Sons of Apollo, Transatlantic, Winery Dogs, ex-Dream Theater) makes a guest appearance on the band’s new single.

No information on the song’s lyrical content was provided in the information provided to the press.

The track listing for Colors II is noted below.

Between The Buried And Me

Colors II

1. Monochrome

2. The Double Helix of Extinction

3. Revolution In Limbo

4. Fix The Error

5. Never Seen/Future Shock

6. Stare Into The Abyss

7. Prehistory

8. Bad Habits

9. The Future Is Behind Us

10. Turbulent

11. Sfumato

12. Human Is Hell (Another One With Love)

Courtesy: Sumerian Records

In other news, Between The Buried and Me has announced a new tour in support of its new album. The tour is scheduled to launch Aug. 3 in Atlanta, GA and to run through Sept. 17 in Charlotte, NC. It features performances in cities, such as Denver, CO; Hartford, CT and Las Vegas, NV.

The tour’s schedule is noted below. Tickets and VIP Packages are available now.

Aug 3 Atlanta, Ga At Masquerade

Aug 4 Richmond, Va At Canal Club

Aug 5 Philadelphia, Pa At Tla

Aug 6 Washington, Dc At Black Cat

Aug 8 Nyc, Ny At Gramercy

Aug 9 Nyc, Ny At Gramercy

Aug 10 Worcester, Ma At Palladium

Aug 11 Hartford, Ct At Webster Theater

Aug 13 Poughkeepsie, Ny At The Chance

Aug 14 Rochester, Ny At Anthology

Aug 15 Pittsburgh, Pa At Mr. Smalls

Aug 16 Cleveland, Oh At Beachland Ballroom

Aug 17 Detroit, Mi At Magic Stick

Aug 19 St. Louis, Mo At Old Rock House

Aug 20 Chicago, Il At House Of Blues

Aug 21 Minneapolis, Mn At Lyric Theater

Aug 22 Lawrence, Ks At Granada

Aug 23 Denver, Co At Summit

Aug 25 Salt Lake City, Ut At The Complex

Aug 26 Boise, Id At Knitting Factory

Aug 28 Seattle, Wa At El Corazon

Aug 29 Portland, Or At Bossanova Ballroom

Aug 31 Sacramento, Ca At Ace Of Spades

Sep 1 Garden Grove, Ca At Garden Grove Amp.

Sep 2 Los Angeles, Ca At Teragram

Sep 3 Las Vegas, Nv At Fremont Country Club

Sep 4 Phoenix, Az At Crescent

Sep 6 Dallas, Tx At Trees

Sep 7 San Antonio, Tx At Rock Box

Sep 8 Houston, Tx At Rise

Sep 10 Pensacola, Fl At Vinyl

Sep 11 Tampa, Fl At Orpheum

Sep 12 Fort Lauderdale, Fl At The Culture Room

Sep 15 Nashville, Tn At Marathon Music Works

Sep 16 Charlotte, Nc At Underground

Sep 17 Charlotte, Nc At Underground

More information on Between The Buried and Me’s new album, single, and tour dates is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.betweentheburiedandme.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/BTBAMofficial

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/btbamofficial

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

Father Before Me Debuts ‘Behind The Veil’ Video

Courtesy: Infecting Cells PR

Independent rock band Father Before kicked off the weekend with some new music.

The band opened the weekend by releasing its new EP Ruby and the video for the EP’s new single, ‘Behind The Veil.’ The song is the second single from the EP, following the premiere of the EP’s lead single, ‘Until Lambs Become Lions‘ in February. the band premiered its new video through Ghost Cult magazine.

The musical arrangement featured in ‘Behind The Veil’ continues the punk style approach displayed in ‘Until Lambs Become Lions.’  The distinct drumming and guitar styles exhibited throughout the nearly three-and-a-half-minute opus make that clear.  The quick, sharp beat in the chorus and the chords that are used in the guitar line pair with Catrone’s vocal delivery style to make that even clearer.  The whole gives this song a sound and sense that lends itself to comparison to works from the likes of Avenged Sevendfold.  The sense of frustration and anger exuded by the minor chords and the force in the overall arrangement helps the song connect with listeners especially when it is considered along with the song’s lyrical theme.

According to information provided to the media about the song, its lyrical theme takes on the familiar topic of what the average working person thinks and feels everyday.  This is made clear right from the song’s outset as Catrone sings, “Wake up/Work yourself to the bone/They sit comfortably upon their throne/Minutes go by/For you, it’s the entire day/Trying to speak/But you are put up on display/Hiding behind the veil/You’ve run out of options/You’re set up to fail/Take a break and exhale/Your mind’s not for auction/Your soul’s not for sale.’  This statement is a reminder to everyone of our self worth and that we need to remind ourselves of that worth, rather than just work ourselves to the bone and just constantly feel unappreciated in work and in life in general.  The message is continued in the song’s second verse, which states, “You give up yourself/They still want more/A tip of the hat/You’re kicked to the floor/Patience runs dry/This can’t be all that we deserve/They judge/They laugh/While all they do is observe.”  This is a straight forward message that will certainly connect with any listener.  It again reminds listeners to give themselves more credit and respect, because those above will never do either one.  It is another message that when combined with the song’s musical arrangement shows why this record succeeds.  The song ends with its subject reaching that calm, singing, “Now that I can finally breathe/It’s easier just to see/What has been in front of me all along.”  Once again, here is that reminder that once we take better care of ourselves and respect ourselves, it will help us to make it through our daily lives.  This is, overall, a familiar theme, but the accessibility – that straight forward delivery – makes it so strong.  All things considered here, it makes the song just one more example of what makes Ruby a successful new offering from Father Before Me.

The animated video for ‘Behind The Veil’ features its main character in a variety of situations, from riding on a subway train, to laying in bed clearly feeling stressed about something, to going into space. The whole thing finishes with a surprise ending that will be left for audiences to discover for themselves.

In other news, Father Before Me is streaming Ruby in its entirety for free through Metal-Rules.

More information on Father Before Me’s new video, single, and EP is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/fatherbeforeme

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/fatherbeforeme

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.