Symphony X Announces 25th Anniversary Tour Schedule

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records/InsideOut Music

Symphony X will celebrate its 25th anniversary as a band next spring.

The band made the announcement through a news release distributed Monday. The band is scheduled to embark on a tour to mark the occasion starting May 10 in New York, NY. The tour, which will feature Haken as a special guest, is scheduled to run through June 12 in Montclair, NJ. The tour also features performances scheduled in cities nationwide, such as Cleveland, OH; Mesa, AZ and Carrboro, NC.

Guitarist Michael Romeo talked about the upcoming tour during a recent interview.

“After the past year and a half of tours and festivals being canceled, it looks like things are finally moving along and getting back rolling,” he said. “We are SO looking forward to the upcoming tour and getting back out there playing again! We can’t wait and we’ll see you all soon!”

Front man Russell Allen echoed his band mate’s sentiments.

“The wait is over! We are really looking forward to getting back on the road and sharing the live music experience with all of you. See you on the road my friends!”

The members of Haken spoke highly of Symphony X in a prepared statement, additionally expressing their anticipation for getting out on the road together.

“We are so excited to get out on the road again at all, but having the honour to do it alongside Symphony X will make it that much more special,” the statement reads. “We have nothing but the utmost respect for them as progressive metal pioneers and when we were starting out, Symphony X was one of the bands who inspired us to practice our instruments and strive to be better musicians – and still do! We’ve really missed the USA and the fans over there so much over the lockdown period. Getting back over there to see some familiar faces as well as meeting new friends will be an emotional ride. We can’t wait for this Odyssey to begin!”

The schedule for the upcoming tour is noted below. Tickets are scheduled to go on sale at 10 a.m. local time Friday.

Confirmed dates for the SYMPHONY X25th Anniversary North American Tour” with HAKEN and TROPE are:
May 10 – New York, NY – Irving Plaza
May 11 – Glenside, PA – Keswick Theatre
May 12 – Worcester, MA – The Palladium
May 13 – Quebec City, QC – Imperial Bell
May 14 – Montreal, QC – Corona Theatre
May 15 – Toronto, ON – The Danforth Music Hall
May 17 – Cleveland, OH – Agora Theatre
May 18 – Detroit, MI – Majestic Theatre
May 19 – Chicago, IL – Park West
May 20 – St. Louis, MO – Red Flag
May 21 – Minneapolis, MN – Varsity Theater
May 23 – Denver, CO – The Oriental Theater
May 24 – Salt Lake City, UT – The Complex
May 26 – Seattle, WA – The Showbox
May 27 – Vancouver, BC – The Rickshaw Theatre
May 28 – Portland, OR – Hawthorne Theatre
May 29 – San Francisco, CA – The Regency Ballroom
May 31 – Santa Ana, CA – The Observatory
Jun 1 – Los Angeles, CA – The Belasco Theater
Jun 2 – Mesa, AZ – Nile Theater
Jun 4 – Austin, TX – Empire Garage
Jun 5 – Dallas, TX – Amplified Live
Jun 7 – Atlanta, GA – Heaven At The Masquerade
Jun 8 – Orlando, FL – The Plaza Live
Jun 10 – Carrboro, NC – Cat’s Cradle
Jun 11 – Baltimore, MD – Baltimore Soundstage
Jun 12 – Montclair, NJ – The Wellmont Theater

More information on Symphony X’s upcoming tour is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:




More information on Haken’s tour with Symphony X is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:




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ESPN Carrying Three Games To Celebrate Opening Night Of NHL’s 2021-22 Season

Courtesy: ESPN

The National Hockey League opens its 2021-22 season tonight and ESPN will be along for the ride.

The ESPN networks will carry three games to celebrate the season’s start. Two of the games will air as part of a double header on ESPN. Up first in the double header schedule is a matchup of the defending NHL Champion Tampa Bay Lightning and Pittsburgh Penguins at 7:30 p.m. ET. The expansion Seattle Kraken and the Las Vegas Golden Knights follow at 10:15 p.m.

The Anaheim Ducks and Minnesota Wild are also scheduled to play tonight. That game’s start time is scheduled for 10:15 p.m. ET. It will stream online through ESPN+

Sean McDonough will have the call for the Lightning-Penguins game. Analyst Ray Ferraro will join him for additional commentary while reporter Emily Kaplan will have all of the latest in-game news and interviews.

John Buccigross will anchor coverage of the Kraken-Golden Knights game. Brian Boucher will provide additional commentary while reporter A.J. Mlezcko will have the game’s latest news and interviews.

Over on ESPN+, Leah Hextall will anchor the streaming coverage of the Ducks and Wild. Boucher will join her in the analyst role while Linda Cohn will have all of that game’s latest news and interviews.

Arda Ocal, Ryan Callahan, and John Tortorella will provide mid-game discussion and analysis during intermissions.

More information on the ESPN networks’ NHL coverage is available along with all of the latest NHL headlines at

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ESPN Returning To University Of Georgia Again For Key SEC Matchup Preview

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN will focus on a key SEC conference matchup on this weekend’s edition of College GameDay Built by The Home Depot.

Saturday’s edition of College GameDay Built by The Home Depot will air live from Athens, GA. The broadcast will showcase the showdown between undefeated SEC foes Georgia and Kentucky. The broadcast is in partner with SEC Nation Presented by Johnsonville.

Saturday’s broadcast is scheduled to start at 9 a.m. ET in the Myers Quad on the University of Georgia campus and to run through noon on ESPN. SEC Nation meanwhile, is scheduled to air from 10 a.m. – noon ET on SEC Network.

Saturday’s showcase of the Wildcats and Bulldogs (both of which are 6-0) will mark the second time in three weeks that ESPN has visited Athens for its weekly flagship college football program. It is the show’s seventh time overall that it has visited the university for a broadcast. The most recent broadcast took place earlier in the season ahead of the Bulldogs’ Top 10 matchup against Arkansas.

Rece Davis will anchor Saturday’s broadcast. Analysts Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard and David Pollack (a former All-American from the University of Georgia) will also be on hand for additionally commentary. Joining them will be research producer and sports betting analyst Chris “The Bear” Fallica and reporters Jen Lada and Gene Wojciechowski.

Laura Rutledge will anchor SEC Network’s SEC Nation broadcast. Paul Finebaum, Roman Harper, Jordan Rodgers and Tim Tebow will join Rutledge for the broadcast.

Additionally, Marty Smith and Ryan McGee will be live from 9-10 a.m. Saturday on their weekly show, Marty & McGee Presented by Old Trapper, previewing Saturday’s key SEC matchup.

More information on Saturday’s broadcast is available along with all of the latest college football headlines at:




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Joe Farnsworth’s ‘City Of Sounds’ Is A Unique, Enjoyable Addition To This Year’s Field Of New Live Music Offerings

Courtesy: Smoke Sessions Records

Veteran jazz drummer Joe Farnsworth is scheduled to release his latest record, City of Sounds, Friday through Smoke Sessions Records.  The eight-song record – his second with the label and third as a band leader (he has worked with a variety of other acts on other albums throughout his career) — is a fully successful new offering from Farnsworth.  If one did not know otherwise, one would not even realize that this recording is in fact a live set that, according to information provided to the media, was recorded over the weekend of Farnsworth’s birthday, Feb. 19-21 2021.  The liner notes, penned by George Cables, do not even point out this bit of information even as rich as they are.  Those rich liner notes will be addressed shortly, as they are their own key to the presentation’s success.  The set list featured in this unique live recording is the most notable of the presentation’s items.  It will be discussed shortly.    By connection, the concert’s production is also important to examined, so it will be addressed a little later.  All three noted items are important in their own way to the whole of this presentation.  All things considered, they make the recording a work that is among the best of this year’s new live CDs.

Joe Farnsworth’s forthcoming record, City of Sounds is a unique live recording that will appeal just as much to citizens of the city to which it pays tribute (New York) as to jazz fans in general.  The record’s success comes in part through its featured set list.  The 54-minute set list features a mix of covers and originals performed by Farnsworth and his fellow musicians, Kenny Barron and Peter Washington.  The set opens with a catchy, upbeat original composed by Barron in the form of ‘New York Attitude.’  The nearly six-minute composition expertly captures the energy of people making their way up and down the city’s streets.  This is evidenced just as much through the light way in which Barron makes his way across the piano’s keys and in which Farnsworth keeps time, adding just enough flare here and there with subtle cymbal crashes and solos.  Speaking of the solos, his is not the only one featured here.  As Cables’ notes point out about the song, “Everyone has solo space here as they get their feet wet for what promises to be a fun set.”  Fun is an understatement about the set, too.  From here the trio takes on what is one of only two covers featured in the set in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s ‘The Surrey with the Fridge on Top.’  The song is one of only three covers featured in the set.  The next cover comes much later in the set in the form of Carl Suessdorf and John Blackburn’s ‘Moonlight in Vermont.’  Sigmund Romberg and Oscar Hammerstein’s ‘Softly As In A Morning Sunrise’ rounds out the covers and the album.  The trio’s performance of each work pays full tribute to its source material, too.  Barron’s relaxed performance on piano in ‘Moonlight in Vermont’ paints a picture that is just as rich as that painted by any other act’s take on the song.  Many other acts have taken on the song, too, including the duo of Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong.  Washington’s equally relaxed bass line pair serves as a wonderful counterpoint to Barron’s performance and an equally welcome companion to Farnsworth’s own subtle, subdued time keeping.  Taking into account the mix of originals and covers featured here, and the performances thereof, the whole makes this aspect of City of Sounds its own success.  It is just one part of what makes the recording overall a success.  The production thereof builds on the success of the set list and its performance to enhance the presentation even more.

The production that went into City of Sounds is so important to note because of its impact on the general effect.  Keeping in mind that this recording is apparently a live recording, the production belies that element.  If an audience was in fact present for the recording over the course of the noted three-day span, then the production does not make any of that crowd noise audible.  That is not necessarily a bad thing, though.  There is a certain airy sense about the sound that does in fact hint at the performance being live or even semi-live (as in a live in-studio recording).  To that end, the subtlety in the production expertly balances each musician’s performance within the confines of the room to create a sound that even being live sounds like it was recorded in a studio.  It is that impressive.  Keeping that in mind, the production and the content together give audiences so much to appreciate here.  All of this is still just a portion of what makes the recording unique and enjoyable.  The information in the liner notes rounds out the recording’s most important elements.

As pointed out already here, George Cables’ notes do not make outright clear that this recording is in fact a live presentation.  That was information provided to media outlets.  That aside the liner notes still offer plenty to appreciate in their own right.  Case in point is Cables’ note that Farnsworth’s playing “is a testament to the vibrancy, diversity and musical history of New York City.”  That brief statement speaks volumes in setting the scene for the trio’s performance contained herein.  From there, Cables pays tribute to all three musicians, pointing out what makes each figure great.  He even goes so far as to compare Barron to Duke Ellington, calling him “Duke Elegant.”  As to Farnsworth, Cables writes that from the vantage point of a pianist (Cables is a pianist), “hooking up” with the drums “tightens the music” and that doing so with Farnsworth is “easy, because he’s always listening.”  That is a shining tribute to Farnsworth as a person and musician.  In writing about Washington, he speaks just as highly, stating, “He’s always present, always lyrical, always creative, and always in the groove.”  Everything that Cables writes of Washington is true, as audiences will hear for themselves in every one of his performances here.  After spending plenty of time praising Farnsworth and company, Cables changes gears and offers a brief, concise setup for each song featured in the set.  The whole of all of this content does so much to help set the stage (no pun intended) for the concert featured in this recording.  To that end, audiences would do well to take in Cables’ notes before even sitting down to take in the featured performance.  They will be glad they did.    When the notes that set up the featured concert are considered along with the content featured in the concert and the concert’s production, the whole comes together to make this presentation a complete success for Joe Farnsworth and company.

Joe Farnsworth’s new live recording, City of Sounds is a positive new offering from the veteran jazz drummer and his fellow musicians.  That is due in part to its featured set list.  The set list is composed primarily of original arrangements crafted by Farnsworth and his fellow musicians.  Only three of the set’s eight total songs are covers.  Even in the case of the covers, they are relatively well-known works.  All eight songs are well-performed, too.  The production that went into the recording works with the set list to enhance the presentation even more.  That is because of the positive impact that it has on the recording’s general effect.  The liner notes that accompany the recording do well to set up the performance featured in the recording.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the recording.  All things considered, they make the recording one of the best of this year’s new live CDs.

City of Sounds is scheduled for release Friday through Smoke Sessions Records.  More information on the recording is available along with all of Joe Farnsworth’s latest news at:



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BBC’s ‘The Watch’ Is A Success In Hopefully The First Of Many Seasons To Come

Courtesy: BBC Studios/BBC America

More than six years ago when the British television network itv premiered its short-lived action series, Jekyll & Hyde, that series proved a big hit among many audiences.  Even with its popularity, the series ended up getting canceled after just one season.  The decision by the network’s heads to cancel the series due to pressure from certain group was a terrible decision.  That is because the series really could have been something great had it been given more of a chance.  Now years later, fans of BBC’s The Watch are hoping executives at that network do not make the same mistake with that series.  The show, which is an adaptation of Sir Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels, ran for eight episodes from January to February of this year and was released to Blu-ray and DVD over the summer.  For those who have yet to watch this hopefully inaugural (and not only) season, it is a surprisingly enjoyable presentation.  That is even with the deviations from Pratchett’s original novels.  Speaking of which, the story at the heart of the show forms a strong foundation for the show.  It will be discussed shortly.  The cast’s work on camera adds to the show’s appeal and will be discussed a little later.  The bonus content that accompanies the show’s home release rounds out its most important elements and will also be examined later.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the show’s home release.  All things considered, they make the hopefully first of many seasons to come a success from beginning to end.

BBC’s The Watch is a surprisingly enjoyable presentation from which so many American network executives could take a hint.  That is because of how bland and boring so much American television programming is today in comparison to this and so many other shows from “the old country.”  The show’s success comes in large part through its story.  The story centers on a group of misfit law enforcement officers in an alternate dimension who for years had done little to nothing in the way of law enforcement.  That is because crime in the city that they “watch” has become largely legal.  The Watch’s officers – Capt. Sam Vimes (Richard Dormer – Fortitude), Cpl. Cherry (Jo Eaton-Kent – Lessons, Don’t Forget The Driver), Cpl. Angua von Uberwald (Marama Corlett – Guardians of the Galaxy, Blood Drive, Sick Note) and Sgt. Detritus (Craig Macrae – Avengers: Age of Ultron, Mad Max: Fury Road, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter) spend most of their time just sitting in their office until one day when the young, naïve Constable Carrot Ironfoundersson (Adam Hugill – 1917, The Banishing, Sherwodd) comes along and shakes things up.  He and the re-emergence of Vimes’ former friend turned villain – Carcer Dunn (Samuel Adewunmi – Angela Black, You Don’t Know Me, Prime Suspect: Tennison) lead the officers to start returning to what The Watch once did.  It also leads the outcasts to grow personally and as a family of sorts as they work to try and prevent Carcer from achieving his evil goal.

Speaking of Carcer and his goal, he and his plan actually are just part of a bigger plot.  Not to give away too much here, but as the series continues, it turns out that Carcer is really just a pawn in a bigger plan by a group of unseen beings.  Many viewers might have missed this, but those beings really are a sort of updated take on the Gods in The Odyssey.  Just like they caused so much trouble for Odysseus in that timeless epic tale, these “gods” have their own plan for Vimes and company.  Keeping that in mind, that link between this show and such classical literature makes for its own appeal within the story.

As the story progresses, the character development that takes place within each of The Watch’s officers also plays into the story’s appeal.  Audiences will enjoy watching the growing relationship between Carrot and Angua in its subtleties, as well as Vimes’ own development.  Seeing him go from a “bottomed out” alcoholic police officer back to his former confidence is engaging and entertaining in its own right.  In the same vein, watching Cherry come into his/her own identity makes for its own interest, too. 

Getting back to the story itself, another big part of the story’s success comes in its overall execution.  Yes, it is a serialized show here.  However, the show’s writers somehow managed to make it feel episodic within the bigger picture of the serialized nature of the overall series.  The stories all connect but are their own from one to the next.  Now full discretion (and again, not to give away too much), the last episode does feel like it runs longer than it should have.  It seems like it could have wrapped itself up at many points, but then keeps going.  It makes one wonder how many hands were in the proverbial pot, considering this problem.  Thankfully it does finally end, and when it does, it leaves the door wide open for a second season that again BBC’s officials will hopefully provide.  That is because that second seasons is not only needed but deserved.

While the story featured in the hopefully inaugural season of The Watch does a lot to make it so enjoyable (even with the deviations from the source material in mind), it is just one part of what makes the show so enjoyable.  The cast’s work on camera does its own part to make the presentation engaging and entertaining.  Right from the top is Dormer’s work.  His take of Vimes throughout the show is the most notable.  The subtle way in which Dormer takes Vimes from a hopeless, alcoholic bum to a more self-assured, confident leader makes for so much appeal in itself.  That character development alongside his comedic timing throughout the show adds to the appeal in his acting, too.  Similarly, Eaton-Kent’s almost deadpan persona against the edgier presence of Corlett and the naivety of Ironfoundersson presented by Hugill makes for such a welcome contrast among the cast.  The cast members each make their characters’ personalities so rich yet controlled at the same time.  It shows such professionalism and in turn engagement and entertainment from each cast member.  Of course, one cannot ignore the work of Lara Rossi opposite Dormer.  Her matter of fact, “straight woman” persona opposite Dormer’s Vimes crates its own interesting character contrast that entertains and engages in its own right, too.

On yet another note, Wendell Pierce’s performance as Death is just as worth noting as the other cast members’ work.  The same can be said of Adewunmi’s work as Carcer.  Pierce’s performance, his very persona is so laugh-inspiring in the best way possible.  Instead of being this dark, evil character, he is just laid back, wishing he could be like any human whose soul he has to take upon their dying.  He even complains about it so often, stating, “No one ever listens, no one ever pays attention.”  He declarations and general presence makes Pierce’s work such a wonderful addition even being a supporting role.

Adewunmi does everything right that so many American actors get wrong in the way of playing an overly obsessed megalomaniac.  The subtle control in his anger is so gripping thanks to Adewunmi’s work.  The way in which he emotes, gives him an almost scary calm as he talks about bringing down the dragon to destroy the city and the whole world.  Even as he faces Wonse (Bianca Simone Mannie – Homeland, Vagrant Queen, Our Girl) in the final episode (again not too much will be given away here), accepting his fate, audiences cannot help but be gripped by that reaction.  It is just one more example of the importance of the cast’s work.  Keeping the cast’s overall work in mind here along with the impact of the story, the presentation becomes that much more engaging and entertaining.  Those items are just a part of what makes the show so appealing.  The bonus content that accompanies the show in its home release rounds out its most important items.

The bonus content that accompanies the show runs in a range of directions.  The lead, “Making of” feature takes audiences behind the scenes and shows how some of the program’s key scenes and characters were handled.  The discussion, for instance, on the determination of the show’s creative heads to avoid using CG at all costs really instills more respect for those efforts and the show.  The discussion in question comes as the costume and makeup officials talk about how they created the costume for Sgt. Detritus.  Watching the amount of work that went into the costume’s creation is awe-inspiring.  On another note, there is also a separate discussion in another feature that acknowledges the difficulty in staying true to Pratchett’s novels in creating this show.  The respect that is shown by all involved will hopefully encourage the show’s critics to change their minds about the program.  As if that is not enough, the character profiles do their own share to also show the importance of the cast’s work.  It compliments the other bonuses noted here and the rest of the bonus content to make the overall bonus content just as important to the presentation here as the cast’s work and the story.  When all three items are considered together, they make the overall presentation that is The Watch well worth the watch.

BBC’s The Watch is a surprisingly engaging and entertaining presentation.  Despite what many of its critics would have people believe, it is engaging and entertaining.  That is due in part to the show’s central story.  Yes, there are deviations from the source material, but few TV shows and/or movies based on books have ever been 100 percent true to its source material.  That is just sadly how it is.  Even with that in mind, the story here is still its own entertaining presentation.  From its ability to solidly balance episodic and serialized writing, to its very presentation, the story offers plenty for audiences to appreciate in itself.  The cast’s work joins with the story to make the presentation even more engaging and entertaining.  That is because each cast member’s work is so believable.  From one to the next, each performance is unique and bounces off the others just as well.  The bonus content that accompanies the show in its recent home release puts the finishing touch to the presentation.  It adds just enough background to enhance the viewing experience even more enjoyable.  Each item examined is important in its own way to The Watch.  All things considered, they make this show one of the best of this year’s new home DVD/BD releases for grown-up audiences.  One can only hope at this point that it will get a second season and that the BBC will not make the same mistake that itv made with Jekyll & Hyde.

The Watch is available now.  More information on The Watch is available along with all of the show’s latest news at:



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Louder Than Life Lineup Finalized

Courtesy: Danny Wimmer Presents/Ashton-Magnuson Media

The 2021 Louder Than Life festival will go on.

The event’s organizers announced the lineup and performance times for the festival Tuesday through a news release. The event, now in its sixth year, has expanded to four days from three — Sept. 23-26 — and will feature performances from approximately 70 acts. Single-day and weekend tickets/passes are available here.

Metallica is one of the most notable acts for this year’s festival. The band is scheduled to perform two separate acts on two of the festival’s nights. Also scheduled to take one of the festival’s four stages at this year’s event are acts, such as Another Day Dawns, Disturbed, Korn, Mudvayne, Cypress Hill, and Pennywise.

Along with lots of music, this year’s festival will also feature lots of food and drunk. The Kroger Big Bourbon Bar is the most notable of the features of this year’s food and drink options. It will have more than a dozen hand-selected bourbons from top distilleries nationwide.

Food and drink from a variety and local and regional restaurants (all of which are noted below) will also be available for festival attendees.

502 Café, Angry Bird Grill, Bangarang Bahn Mi, Barrett’s BBQ, Barrett’s Burgers, Bistro Italiano, Blackbeard Espresso, Bru Bros Coffee, Burger Factory, Cheese Louise, Dank Nugs, Ehrler’s Ice Cream, Eli’s BBQ, Gary’s Philly Cheesesteaks, Gelato Gilberto, Hole Mole Tacos, Island Noodles, Jammin Concessions, Longshot Lobsta, Mac Attack, Merle’s Whiskey Kitchen, Mike’s Kentucky Kitchen, My Olympus Greek Food, Overloaded, Phat Daddy’s Creole, Pie Baby Wood Fired Pizza, Pizza Lupo, Potato Tornado, Ramiro’s Cantina, Shady Grove Wraps, Spicy Pie, Strawberry Field, The Cookie Lady, Tica’s Tacos, Tickle Pickle, and Tumbleweed.

Additional bourbon, food & beverage, and other experiences available onsite include:

·       Caduceus Wine Garden

·       The Blackened Bar

·       Jack Daniel’s No. 7 Sports Bar, where guests can enjoy NFL and college football games

·       Heavy Tiki Bar presented by Jim Beam

·       Budweiser Beer Garden

·       Jim Beam Garden

·       The Well– IV hydration, juice bar and overall wellness lounge to recharge all weekend long

·       Silver Dollar Hunter’s Club- featuring vintage bourbons dating as far back as the 1930s, as well as contemporary selections

·       Mortus Viventi – Live Tarot Card Readings

·       Jack’s Char Housepresented by Jack Daniel’s

·       Milagro Cantina Bar

·       Larceny Trailer Lounge

·       Tito’s Handmade Vodka VIP Airstream

·       The Speakeasy

·       Fxck Cancer / Dyin 2 Live Dreams Program

·       Pegasus Experiences Louisville’s Finest Distillery Experiences

·       Take Me Home

·       The Music Experience

Louder Than Life is put on by Danny Wimmer Presents. The festival’s partners are noted below:

Bud Light, Bud Light Seltzer, Kroger, Marriott, Crowne Plaza, Jack Daniel’s, Jim Beam, Elijah Craig, Bulleit Bourbon, Angel’s Envy, Larceny, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Evan Williams, Milagro Tequila, Sailor Jerry, Pegasus, ESP, Mortus Viventi, The Music Experience, Louisville Tourism, Kentucky Venues, Ehrler’s Ice Cream, The Well, TickPick, Fxck Cancer, Revolver, Inked, Blackcraft, Fanatics, Headcount, TWOLA and Take Me Home.

Vintage Country Music Fans Will Find Gary Hector’s ‘National Trash’ A Real Treasure

Courtesy: Cowgirlzen Entertainment

Early this month, independent singer-songwriter Gary Hector released his debut solo album, National Trash. The 13-song record is a presentation that will appeal to any classic country purist This is proven through its musical and lyrical content, each of which will be discussed by itself here. The record’s production works with its overall content to make for even more appeal. All things considered, these items make National Trash a sleeper hit among this year’s field of new country music albums.

Gary Hector’s debut solo album, National Trash is anything but trash. Rather, it is a work that any vintage country purist will find a treasure. Yes, that awful pun was intended. The album’s appeal comes in part through its musical arrangements, which serve as the foundation for that appeal for that classic country audience group. The arrangements featured throughout the record are all classic country to the core. From the ever-present pedal steel with its slide and twang, to the standard twang of the guitars, to Hector’s own vocal delivery style, which shows rich similarity to that of Bob Dylan (and to a lesser extent John Fogerty), the whole makes the album’s musical side so engaging and entertaining. Making for just as much appreciation here is the subtle way in which each arrangement changes from its predecessor. Those subtle variances in the sounds and stylistic approaches from song to song will cut through for those who actively (and closely) listen to the album. When those subtle variances are considered along with the very structure of each work, the whole makes the arrangements a strong foundation for the record and just one part of what makes it successful. The lyrical themes that accompany the album’s musical arrangements make for their own appeal.

The lyrical themes that fill out National Trash is so appealing because it is just as pure in its country roots as the record’s musical content. The album’s lead single, ‘I Ride Alone’ proves that without a doubt.This is a cowboy type song that harkens back to, again, days long gone. It is sung from the vantage point of one of those cowboys who embraces the solitude of the plains. It is just a great throwback to that old style country music that is stil so much better than today’s pop country. ‘Baby, This One’s For You’ is yet another example of the appeal in the album’s lyrical themes. Thi one is also a pure, vintage country theme. It is about a man coming home to his woman and just wanting to dance with her and be with her. It is a man who just wants to be with his woman, point blank. ‘Nashville Dreaming’ is yet another example of the importance of the lyrical themes featured in the album. This song comes across as a tribue to Nashville. That is inferred as Hector sings about ending up in the “Music City” no matter where he is. He even sings that he would spend 24 hours “if I can” in Nashville. Considering that Nashville is the mecca of country music (and Hector’s mentions of Hank Williams, the Grand Ole Opry, Oakridge Boys, etc.) shows even more, that this song is that noted tribute to Nashville and its rich musical history. Again, this is a theme that is certain to appeal to any longtime vintage country music lover. When this theme, the others examined here and the rest of the album’s themes are considered together, the whole leaves no doubt as to the importance of the album’s lyrical themes. Those themes are just one more part of what makes National Trash so enjoyable. Its production rounds out its most important elements.

The production that went into National Treasure is important to discuss because of its role in the album’s general effect. All of the songs featured in this album are very subtle, controlled compositions. There is no boisterousness about any of the songs. They are all just so reserved, but rich in that controlled presence. That is thanks to the album’s production. Hector’s vocal delivery is so well-balanced with the equally simple instrumentation in each song. Even in a moment, such as in ‘Nashville Dreaming’ in which he sings alongside a female vocalist (whose identity is unknown to this critic), the harmony that the pair creates is so appealing. Again that is because those responsible for the production ensured that each vocal line came through clearly. The impact makes it one of the clearesst sign of the positive impact of the production. Taking everything noted here into consideration, the production used in this record is just as impressive as the album’s overall content. When the content and production is considered together, the whole makes the album a successful addition to this year’s field of new country albums and independent albums.

Gary Hector’s debut solo album, National Trash is a strong start to the vocalist’s solo career, after having spent much of his career working with other acts. The album’s success comes in part through its musical arrangements. The arrangements will appeal easily to any vintage country music fan. The lyrical themes that accompany the album’s musical arrangements are vintage country in their own right. From a tribute to “Music City” to a man just wanting to be with his woman and more, the themes throw back to country music of days gone by throughout. The record’s production ensures every single subtle composition brings out its best, even being so controlled. The result is that the record’s general effect proves just as positive as its content. All three items examined are important in their own way to the whole of the album. All things considered, they make National Trash a treasure for any vintage country music fans.

National Treasure is available now. More information on the album is available along with all of Gary Hector’s latest news at:



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‘Human: The World Within’ Is A Fully Accessible Look At How Our Bodies Work

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

The human body is such an interesting structure.  That is because it is so contradictory in itself.  It is made of thousands of miles of nerves, veins, and full of fluids and organs (at least two of which – tonsils and the appendix – are not even needed).  For all of its immense complexity, the human body is so frail and fragile.  As the past year-plus has shown, it is so simple for humans to fall sick and worse.  All it takes is one virus for the human body to fail, even being so complex.  PBS examines that contradicting duality of the human body in its recently released documentary, Human: The World Within, showing just how deep it runs.  Having originally aired May 5, the six-part program was released on DVD June 22 through PBS Distribution.  This five and a half hour documentary will appeal widely to medical students, those of the biological sciences, and anyone with any interest in said topics.  That is due in no small part to its content, which will be discussed shortly.  The presentation of said content adds to the documentary’s appeal and will be discussed a little later.  The set’s packaging rounds out its most important elements and will also be addressed later.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of this presentation.  All things considered, they make the documentary just as appealing to the noted audiences in its home release as in its recent TV presentation.

PBS and PBS Distribution’s Human: The World Within is a presentation that will appeal to a wide range of audiences.  That is due in large part to its topic.  As the documentary’s title suggests, it focuses on all of the inner workings of the human body.  More specifically, it examines each of the body’s systems – circulatory, reproductive, digestive, immune, nervous, and sensory – and how each does its own part to make the human body work.  One of the most interesting of the segments focuses on the circulatory system.  Viewers will find interesting, that the circulatory system can actually be “trained” in a manner of speaking.  This is explained through a profile of a woman living in Colorado who spends her free time scaling ice walls.  It is explained here that because of her choice of free-time activity, her circulatory system works differently than that of most other people.  It can handle environments in which oxygen levels are lower, whereas more “normal” people would have far less chance of survival in such situations.  As another example of the interest in the segments, “Birth” — which focuses on the reproductive system — is more than just a refresher on how the system works.  It explains that sometimes the body’s reproductive system can and does fail, leading to an issue, such as a miscarriage.  It is an emotionally difficult incident, but understanding it from a biological aspect might help some families make better sense of those sad events, leading to more ability to cope.  “React,” which opens the documentary, presents its own interesting explanations of how the body’s nervous system works.  It helps understand how back pain is connected to the nervous system, for instance, and how the so-called funny bone is also connected to the body’s nervous system.  It is just one more way in which the content proves so important to the documentary’s presentation.

Staying on the matter of the content, it is delivered through a mix of narration, discussion from medical professionals, and average, everyday people.  From a cell phone technician, to a distance runner, to a boxer, to the noted ice climber and more, the discussions from these noted everyday figures will connect with viewers.  That is because viewers will see themselves in these figures even more than the medical professionals. The medical professionals who are also featured here present their discussion in simple terms, rather than trying to use complex language.  This ensures viewers’ engagement and entertainment even more.  Making for even more engagement and entertainment is the general fashion in which the documentary is presented.

The documentary is presented through six separate segments.  Each segment runs just under an hour.  The separation of the segments encourages audiences to watch the documentary at their own pace.  This means that as audiences do watch each segment, they are more inclined to remain engaged in each discussion.  The segments’ run times create their own psychological impact.  The impact in question is that audiences will be more comfortable take the time to watch.  That overall encouragement to watch will ensure viewers will catch everything discussed in each, especially considering the segments’ pacing.  Taking that into account along with the content itself, this proves even more, just how much the program has to offer viewers.

The content featured in Human: The World Within and its overall delivery style does much to make this documentary appealing.  It is, collectively just a portion of what makes the program so appealing.  The documentary’s packaging in its home release rounds out its most important elements.  The packaging finds the documentary split into two discs, with three segments each on each disc.  The discs are placed on their own spindle separate from one another inside the standard size DVD case.  The separation of the discs inside the case ensures the discs will not get marred in any way since they cannot touch one another at any point.  The use of a standard size DVD case saves space on viewers’ DVD/BD racks.  This creates its own appeal.  These two items are each positive aesthetic elements.  When they are considered along with the documentary’s content and its overall presentation, the documentary in whole proves a complete success.

PBS and PBS Distribution’s recently released documentary Human: The World Within is a program that proves a successful presentation that its targeted audiences will enjoy.  Its appeal comes in large part through its content.  The content in question focuses on the body’s systems and how they make the body work in their various ways.  The relatively simple way in which each is examined makes that content accessible for any viewer.  The separation of the content into segments – each of which runs less than an hour – adds to the appeal.  That is because it will encourage audiences to watch each portion that much more.  The documentary’s packaging will appeal to audiences because of its aesthetic value.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the documentary.  All things considered, they make the documentary just as appealing on DVD as in its TV premiere.  Human: The World Within is available now.  More information on this and other titles from PBS and PBS Distribution is available at:




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Summer Years Offers Message Of Hope In New Single, Video

Courtesy: ENCI Records

Pop punk band Summer Years is offering a message of hope in its new single.

The band premiered its new single, ‘This Light‘ and its companion video last month through ENCI Records. The song is the lead single from the band’s forthcoming EP, You Can’t Live There Forever. The EP’s official release date is under consideration.

Front man Nick Lanari talked about the the EP’s creation during a recent interview.

“Moving forward with a project like this was intimidating because there was no clear future set before us, no shows or tours to work towards or any inkling of what the future of the music industry will be like,” said Lanari. “It was just us in there getting it done with a lot of uncertainty in our future. It was really cathartic at the same time because we felt really fortunate to be able to do what we love during these times and to be able to be creative and expressive is a healing force.  The word perseverance really comes to mind with this EP, and it’s really fitting for walking through the last year and a half.”

The song’s musical arrangement is a catchy, upbeat composition whose melodies and vocal delivery style lend themselves to comparison to works from bands, such as All Time Low, New Found Glory, and others of that ilk.

The lyrical theme that accompanies the song’s musical arrangement reminds audiences that they can make good things happen in their lives and to not give up, no matter what.

Lanari additionally discussed this detail during the noted interview.

‘This Light’ is about the idea that it’s not too late to pursue what you have always dreamed of, and battling the idea of ‘I’ll start working toward it tomorrow’ but tomorrow never seems to come,” he said. “Live your best life now. Today. Find your way to thrive. Failure is not eternal, pain is not eternal, your past doesn’t define you, you can’t live there forever.”

The video for ‘This Light’ pairs footage of the band performing its new single in what resembles a rehearsal space and footage of people (including the band) enjoying some time on a beach and its boardwalk.

Lanari also talked about the video during his interview.

“We filmed some drone shots at the very end of the day, and none other than Tom Delonge drove by us in his big Ford Raptor in Encinitas,” he said. “It was epic. A good omen even. We just wanted to kind of say, “Hey this is who we are, and this is what our world is like. This is Summer Years.” and I think we captured that really well.”

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



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Foghat’s Latest Live Recording Is Enjoyable Despite One Imperfection

Courtesy: Foghat Records/Select-O-Hits

Veteran rock band Foghat is an interesting band.  The band is celebrating half a century of making music this year.  In the course of that expansive run, the band has released approximately 17 albums, no less than 10 compilation records (counting 2018’s, Slow Ride), but only four (yes four) live recordings.  Those recordings come in the form of Foghat Live (1977), Road Cases (1998), Foghat Live II (2007), and Live at the Belly Up (2017).  One would have thought that over the course of 50 years, the band would have released far more live material, but clearly it hasn’t.  Looking at how much time passed between the band’s existing live recordings, audiences had to wait a long time for those recordings – 21 years between Foghat Live and Road Cases; Nine years between Road Cases and Foghat Live II, and another decade between Foghat Live II and Live at the Belly Up.  Now Friday, after only four years (the shortest wait between live recordings), the band will release what is only its fifth live recording in the form of 8 Days on the Road.  The 14-song concert was recorded pre-pandemic on Nov. 17, 2019 at Daryl’s House Club in Pawling, NY.  It was intended as a celebration of the band’s 50th anniversary.  However, the concert’s set list seems to hint otherwise.  This will be discussed a little later.  To its positive, the recording’s production largely proves positive.  It will be discussed shortly.  The band’s performance of the noted set list rounds out the recording’s most important elements.  It will also be discussed later.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the recording.  All things considered, the recording proves to be a presentation that most Foghat fans will enjoy.

Foghat’s forthcoming live recording, 8 Days on the Road is an interesting new offering from the veteran rock band.  Being only the band’s fifth live recording in its 50 year life, the recording offers a certain amount of appeal beginning with its production.  For the case of this review, the audio production will receive the most attention since only an audio link was provided.  The concert will release on CD/DVD combo pack and vinyl pressings.  The audio production presented in 8 Days on the Road is its own positive.  Daryl’s House Club is not a large venue.  That means that plenty of attention had to be paid to the concert’s audio.  That is because of how easy it would have been for the audio to become muddied.  Thankfully, that did not happen, thanks again to the painstaking efforts to balance all of the audio.  Each performer’s part was expertly balanced with those of his band mates.  The result of the attention to detail is that the concert’s audio deserves its own share of applause.  While the audio production featured in Foghat’s new live recording is deserving of applause, the concert’s set list is slightly questionable.

The set list featured in 8 Days on the Road is questionable in large part because this recording is being marketed widely as a celebration of the band’s 50th anniversary.  As already noted, Foghat has released 17 albums over the course of its half century in existence.  By comparison, this 83-minute concert’s set list pulls from a very limited portion of that expansive catalog.  To be precise, it pulls from seven of the band’s albums.  Now on the surface that might sound like a lot, considering it is almost half of the band’s catalog.  The reality is that those seven albums run from its 1972 self-titled debut album to its 1978 album, Stone Blue.  That is a small percentage of the band’s catalog, considering that another 10 albums followed in the years to come, including its most recent album, 2016’s Under The Influence.  In short, what the band offers audiences in this latest live recording is a span of only six years of the band’s life rather than a career-spanning set list that could have otherwise featured at least one song each from most of its albums.  To that end, the set list is entertaining.  That is not to be mistaken.  Regardless, the limitation of the set list’s content still detracts from the concert’s presentation.  Luckily it is not enough to doom the recording.  The band’s performance of the set list does its share to keep audiences engaged and entertained.

Foghat’s performance of its set list is important to note because of how much enjoyment it brings to the recording even despite the set list’s limitations.  Front man Charlie Huhn presents a certain swagger throughout his performance for instance.  This can be inferred even in the recording’s audio-only presentation through the relaxed nature in the way he sings each song.  He and fellow guitarist Bryan Bassett pair with bassist Rodney O’Quinn to add to the relaxed sense in the performance in each song.  Drummer Roger Earl (the only original member in the band’s current lineup) is equally relaxed in his performance.  At the same time, he misses not even a single beat throughout the course of the concert, as he keeps the band moving in each song.  The band spends little time between songs bantering with the audience.  Rather, it lets its performance of each song do the talking.  The collective keeps the energy flowing throughout the concert, keeping the energy high from start to finish.  The result of all of this is that audiences at home will remain just as engaged and entertained as those who were in attendance at the concert.  When this aspect and the recording’s production quality are considered together, the pairing makes for reason enough for audiences to take in this concert, even despite the shortcoming that is the show’s set list.  All things considered, the recording still proves itself a presentation that any Foghat fan will welcome into his or her music library.

Foghat’s forthcoming fifth live recording, 8 Days on the Road is an intriguing new presentation from the veteran rock band.  Its interest stems in part from its production values.  The concert’s audio production specifically deserves applause.  That is because of how well it balances everything, considering the intimacy of the venue in which the concert was held.  The show’s set list is somewhat problematic, considering that this concert recording is being marketed as part of a celebration of the band reaching the half-century mark in its life.  Even being so problematic, it is not enough to make the recording a failure, but at the same time still cannot be ignored.  The band’s performance of the concert’s set list is another positive, and makes up for the concerns raised by that element.  That is because collectively, the band puts its best foot forward throughout the concert.  The band lets its performance do the talking instead of wasting time between songs, filling space with banter.  The band’s performance ensures audiences at home will remain just as engaged and entertained as those who attended the 2019 concert.  When this aspect is considered with the positive presented through the recording’s production, those two elements make for reason enough for audiences to take in the concert.  They work with the set list to make the recording overall, a presentation that while maybe imperfect, will still find itself welcome in most Foghat fans’ libraries.  8 Days on the Road is scheduled for release Friday through its own label, Foghat Records, and Select-O-Hits.

More information on Foghat’s new live recording and live dates is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:




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