Collie, Country Fans Alike Will Appreciate ‘Alive At Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary’ Re-Issue

Courtesy: 101 Ranch Records

Courtesy: 101 Ranch Records

Late this past October, 101 Ranch Records re-issued country artist Mark Collie’s 2012 live recording Alive at Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary on CD. The recording, originally released in 2012 is an important piece of the singer’s catalogue.  That is because it is a recording that almost didn’t happen as is pointed out in the recording’s companion booklet.  The booklet, by the way, is the recording’s key element.  That is rare for a live recording and will be discussed shortly.  The show’s set list, by connection, is just as important to discuss as the recording’s companion booklet.  The band’s performance of the show’s set list rounds out its most important elements.  Each element is important in its own right to the recording’s presentation.  All things considered, Alive at Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary is a piece that Mark Collie’s fans will appreciate just as much as country music fans.

Eagle Rock Entertainment’s recent re-issue of Mark Collie’s Alive at Brushy Mount State Penitentiary is a work that Mark Collie’s fans and country music fans alike will appreciate.  That statement is supported primarily through the recording’s companion booklet.  It is pretty rare for a live recording’s companion booklet to take precedence over its set list or even the band’s performance of said set list.  But this recording proves that a recording’s booklet can be its most important element.  The booklet is so important because of the history lesson that it presents.  It reveals the set list, save for just one song—‘Rose Covered Garden’—was new material at the time of the concert’s recording.  Speaking of the concert’s original recording, audiences will learn through the booklet that the concert was originally recorded on October 17, 2001 and it almost didn’t see the light of day. That was due to legal reasons.  But luckily it did finally see release in 2012 through an independent source.  That’s just some of the important material presented in the recording’s companion booklet.  Audiences will also be interested to learn that it was Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison performance that influenced Collie to eventually hold his performance at Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary.  There is also a relatively in-depth history of the prison itself, including the revelation that it once held James Earl Ray, the man responsible for the death of Martin Luther King, Jr., and in The Silence of the Lambs, it was the prison that held the story’s villainous antagonist, Hannibal Lecter.  This and so much more presented throughout the booklet proves why it is so important to the overall presentation of Alive at Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary.  Whether one is a seasoned Mark Collie fan or new to the veteran musician’s work, it is highly recommended that audiences in general read through the recording’s companion booklet before even taking in the concert itself.

Alive at Bushy Mountain State Penitentiary’s companion booklet is clearly an important piece of the recording’s overall presentation.  Regardless of audiences’ familiarity with Collie’s body of work, it is recommended that every listener read through the recording’s companion booklet before taking in the concert.  It is that important to the recording’s overall presentation.  While the recording’s booklet is highly important to the whole of Live at Bushy Mountain State Penitentiary, it is not the recording’s only important element.  The set list is important in its own right to the recording’s presentation.  It has already been noted that the material presented in this concert was largely original save for just two of its songs.  Those songs are ‘Rose Covered Garden’ and the group’s cover of Johnny Cash’s ‘Folsom Prison Blues.’  That is extremely important considering that the show’s “new” songs were not included in any of Collie’s prior recordings or recordings put out since.  ‘Rose Covered Garden’ was included in one of Collie’s previous albums while ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ is one of Johnny Cash’s songs, and audiences won’t find it on any of Collie’s previous albums, just as with the “new”  songs.  That makes this set list extremely special.  That’s just part of what makes the set list so important to note.  Audiences will also be surprised to learn through the concert’s interludes that at least one of the songs included in the set was written by one of the inmates housed at the prison at the time of the concert.  It is impressive to learn that Collie would show such interest in his audience as to put one of their songs on display.  As simple of an action as it was, it was an action that had to have meant a lot to that inmate and the others.  It’s the type of action that can truly establish a connection between performer and audience.  No doubt it did just that and more.  Taking into consideration the largely original set list and that Collie and company would even use one of the inmates’ songs for the set, it becomes fully clear why the recording’s set list is just as important to note as its booklet.  It is just one more item that makes this recording shine, too.  The band’s performance of the set list rounds out the recording’s most important elements.

Both the companion booklet included in Alive at Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary and the recording’s set list are key to the recording’s presentation in their own right.  The booklet is key as it presents an in-depth introduction to the concert and the prison.  The set list is important to the recording because save for just one of its songs, none of its songs are presented in any of Collie’s previous studio recordings.  They haven’t been included in any recording since.  It even includes at least one song crafted by one of the inmates housed at the prison at the time of the concert.  Both of the elements noted within the show’s set list makes it just as important as the recording’s booklet to the concert’s overall presentation in its new re-issue.  While both elements are clearly important in their own right to the recording, they are not its only important elements.  The band’s performance of the set list is important in its own right.  The concert is currently available only on CD, but the band’s performance is so easy to visualize because it feels so genuine.  Between the group’s performance of the song’s and Collie’s rapport with the inmates, the whole performance feels so genuine.  At one point, he even jokes with the inmates about something he’s drinking not tasting like a certain kind of beverage.  What kind will be left for audiences to discover for themselves.  It is a wonderfully entertaining moment, though.  The group’s performance of ‘On The Day I Die’ is another example of what makes the groups performance so powerful.  This song comes across in such a heartfelt manner that it will bring tears to any listener’s eyes.  It is that moving.  It’s one of those performances that absolutely must be experienced for one’s self in order to fully understand and appreciate the emotion in the performance.  Of course one can’t ignore the group’s take on Johnny Cash’s famed ‘Folsom Prison Blues.’  One can’t help but wonder what Mr. Cash might have thought if he were to have had the opportunity to hear the group’s take on the performance.  It likely would have made him proud.  It is that solid, even being played at a different prison.  Between these moments and so many others, throughout the concert, it is clear that the group’s performance (both in terms of the songs and in terms of its interaction with the inmates) completely entertained the inmates and the guards.  It will entertain listeners just as much, too.  When it is set alongside the show’s set list and its companion booklet (and even the liner notes printed inside the case), the whole of this recording proves to be an outstanding recording.  If it had been a new release, it would have made this critic’s list of the year’s top new live recordings.  Even being a re-issue, it is still a recording that country fans across the board will appreciate regardless of their familiarity with Collie’s body of work.

Mark Collie’s recently re-issued live recording Alive at Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary is not a new offering from the veteran country musician.  That aside, it is still a work that country music fans across the board will appreciate.  This is regardless of audiences’ familiarity with Collie’s body of work.  That is thanks in large part to the liner notes and booklet included with the recording.  The information provided through the liner notes and booklet create a wonderful, in-depth introduction to the concert and its historical significance.  The set list itself is important to the recording’s presentation, too.  That is because it is the only place—save for just two of the show’s songs—that audiences will find the “new” featured songs.  ‘Rose Covered Garden’ is available on one of Collie’s previous albums and ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ has been included in a number of Johnny Cash recordings ever since its original release.  But the set’s other songs cannot be found on any of Collie’s other recordings.  This shows, again, why the show’s set list is so important.  It is still not the last of the recording’s most important elements, either.  The group’s performance here is just as important to note as the other noted elements.  The concert is currently only available on CD.  But even on CD, the group’s connection with the inmates is so clear.  That is made clear through the passion put into each song’s performance.  The connection that Collie makes during the concert’s interludes is just as important to note in the group’s performance.  Audiences will be able to tell just as easily as the inmates Collie’s genuine interaction.  It gives the show even more of a special touch.  When this is joined with the rest of the group’s performance, the show’s set list and the concert’s provided historical background, the whole of this concert makes it a concert that Collie’s fans will appreciate just as much as any country music fan in general.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on Alive at Brushy Mount State Penitentiary online now along with all of Mark Collie’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://markcollie.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/TheMarkCollie

 

 

 

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PBS’ New Tesla Profile Is An “Electrifying” New Episode Of ‘American Experience”

Courtesy: Public Media Distribution

Courtesy: Public Media Distribution

Nikola Tesla is one of the greatest minds of the 20th century.  It was thanks to his genius that the world enjoys the benefits of alternating current every single day.  That was his greatest accomplishment and certainly not his only accomplishment.  He was a brilliant person.  There is no doubt about that. But for all of his brilliance, he was also a troubled man, as is revealed in a recently released episode of PBS’ hit biography-based program American Experience.  PBS Distribution released American Experience: Tesla on DVD late last month.  The program follows the rise and eventual fall of one of the modern world’s greatest minds.  That story is the most important of the program’s elements.  It will be discussed shortly.  The information presented throughout the program is just as important to note as the program itself.  The interviews used alongside the story’s information round out the most important of the program’s elements.  That is because they further illustrate Tesla’s story even more richly.  Each element is important in its own way to the program’s overall presentation.  All things considered, American Experience: Tesla proves to be one more of this year’s top new documentaries.

American Experience: Tesla is one more of this year’s top new documentaries.  That should come as no surprise being that it is a product of PBS.  Quality programming is exactly what PBS is known for producing, and this program is no exception to that rule.  That is proven in part through its story.  The story takes audiences deeper into Tesla’s life and career than most have likely ever been.  It presents Tesla as the great mind that everyone has come to know him as being through their history classes at every level.  It also presents another side of Tesla that likely few have ever known or been taught about.  That side of Tesla is a man who was extremely naïve.  If he hadn’t torn up his royalty contract with George Westinghouse, he might have been remembered in a much different light today than he is remembered.  At the same time, though that might not be the case.  That is because, as is revealed in this new biography, he apparently suffered from at least one major mental disability—obsessive compulsive disorder—if not others that went undiagnosed.  It’s anyone’s guess if his many obsessive tendencies ultimately played into his downfall.  But considering how many tendencies he had, one can’t help but wonder if there might have been a connection between those tendencies and his ultimate failure.  Those tendencies will be discussed later in the discussion on the program’s information.  Connection or not, the story presented in this episode of AE is one that likely few have ever learned about one of America’s (and the world’s) most important figures.

The story that is presented at the center of American Experience: Tesla is a fully engaging presentation for audiences of all types.  It will interest anyone studying the history of electricity and electrical appliances.  It will also interest students and teachers from middle school on through college level classes as well as history buffs in general.  That is because it shows a side of Tesla that is rarely taught at any level.  While the story itself is so important to the overall presentation of this episode of AE, it is not the program’s only important element.  The information that is presented throughout the hour-long program is just as important to note as the story itself.  That’s because the information presented in the story is what keeps the story interesting.  One of the most interesting pieces of information presented in this story is the revelation of how Tesla first became interested in electricity. The program reveals that Tesla first became interested in electricity as a child one day as he was petting his cat.  That story in itself is certain to surprise audiences.  Just as surprising is the revelation of Tesla’s naivety.  Viewers will learn here that Tesla died penniless of his own doing.  This is despite his genius.  Tesla allegedly, in his short sight, tore up a contract for royalties for his AC patent that could have made him rich beyond belief.  But because of that immaturity and naivety, he would eventually enter a downward spiral from which he would never escape.  Also of interest is the revelation that Tesla suffered from obsessive compulsive disorder.  He didn’t suffer from just one obsessive tendency, either.  Those tendencies included things like staying only in rooms divisible by three when he stayed at hotels (no, that’s not a joke), avoiding human touch and having issues with germs among other issues.  There is no way to definitively connect that issue to his eventual downfall.  Though, making claims late in his life that he had received communication from Mars likely didn’t help any.  It also might have pointed to other potential mental issues along with things like sending packages to Mark Twain after Twain’s death and something having to do with feeding pigeons (yes, feeding pigeons).  Taking all of this into consideration, one still might not be able to definitively connect his obvious mental issues with his downfall.  But it definitely gives ground to a theory that there could have been a connection between his mental issues and his downfall.  One has to wonder at the same time, if OCD had been officially diagnosed during Tesla’s life, and that aside, what could have potentially led to those problems.  Those are definitely matters for another episode of AE that could focus on Tesla.  Hopefully the people at PBS will take that less than subtle hint and look into doing just that.  That aside, it should be clear by now just how important the information presented in American Experience: Tesla is to its story.  It paints a picture in this story, of a man that few people know about or about which few have ever known.  Even with that in mind, it should be clear why this program’s story and its information are both so important to its presentation.  They are just two of its key elements to note, too.  The interviews included in the story add even more insight to the program, and in turn depth and enjoyment.

The story at the center of American Experience: Tesla and the information presented therein are both important in their own right to the program’s overall presentation.  That is because both by themselves and collectively, they present a picture of Tesla that is and has been rarely presented at any level.  They combine to present Tesla both as a brilliant figure, but also as a man with a troubled mind.  It is very possible that troubled mind could have played a part in Tesla’s downfall.  While it can’t be definitely proven, the number of tendencies that he presented in his adult life form a solid base for a theoretical connection between those tendencies and his downfall.  Keeping all of this in mind, the story presented in American Experience: Tesla and its information are both clearly important to its presentation.  However, they are not its only important elements.  The interviews included in the program are just as important as the program’s story and its information.  That is due to the extra depth that they add to the story.  Viewers get to hear from academics and scientists who have deep knowledge of Tesla and his life throughout the program.  Their personal insight into Tesla and his legacy is so important because they explain much of what is in the program in layman’s terms.  This makes the noted information more accessible, and in turn enjoyable, to everyday audiences.  That accessibility is the finishing touch to a program that is already interesting just because it presents one of the world’s greatest minds in a rarely presented portrait.  When this added, easily accessible insight is joined alongside the program’s story and its information, the end result is a program that for many will prove both engaging and shocking (bad pun fully intended).  They also collectively support the statement that this episode of AE is one of this year’s top new documentaries.

American Experience: Tesla is one of 2016’s top new documentaries.  It is also more proof of why PBS remains the last bastion of truly worthwhile programming on television.  That is evidenced primarily through the program’s story.  It is not the standard Tesla story with which most audiences might be familiar.  It presents Tesla both as a man with a brilliant mind and a troubled mind.  Considering all of the information about that troubled mind—which is another one of the program’s key elements—it can at least be theorized that his troubled mind could have played a part in his downfall.  While the story presented in this episode of AE and its information are both key to the program’s presentation, they are not its only important elements.  The interviews included in the program are just as important to note.  That is because they make the program more accessible for everyday audiences through their layman’s explanations of the story’s information.  Each element is clearly important in its own right to the program’s presentation.  All things considered, American Experience: Tesla proves to be one of 2016’s top new documentaries and a truly “shocking” presentation.  It is available now and can be ordered online direct via PBS’ online store.  More information on this and other episodes of American Experience is available online now at:

 

 

 

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

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/AmExperiencePBS

 

 

 

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Dropkick Murphys Offering New Single Download Now With Album Pre-Orders

Courtesy: Dropkick Murphys

Courtesy: Dropkick Murphys

Dropkick Murphys is offering its fans an early Christmas present.

The band had made available its cover of the classic song ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ for those who pre-order the band’s new album 11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory.  The album will be released Friday, January 6, 2017 through the band’s own label, Born & Bred Records.

‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ is best known for its use in the beloved Rogers & Hammerstein musical Carousel.  Also covered by Gerry and the Pacemakers, this latest reworking of the song gives it a whole new identity as a message of hope for, and solidarity with, people suffering with opiate addiction.  It is one of the 11 powerful stories presented in the band’s upcoming album, too.

Bassist and band founder Ken Casey explained that the inspiration for the band’s new take on the song came about after he left a wake for front man Al Barr’s brother-in-law, who had died from an overdose.

“Between Al’s loss and all the friends and people that I know, I’d say I’ve been to 50 wakes in the last three years,” Casey said. “I was leaving another overdose wake and the song came on in the car.  My music was on shuffle and ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ randomly played.  As I heard the chorus, “Walk on, walk on with hope in your heart, and you’ll never walk alone,” it struck me how powerfully the song related to the struggle and how you don’t have to do it alone.”

The song went on to become the first piece recorded for the band’s new album.  Audiences can get an instant download of the song now when they pre-order 11 Songs of Pain & Glory online via iTunes.  Limited edition CD and vinyl pressings of the album can be pre-ordered via the band’s official webstore.  Audiences can stream the band’s cover of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ online now here.

Courtesy: Born & Bred Records

Courtesy: Born & Bred Records

Dropkick Murphys will launch a tour in support of its new album beginning February 21, 2017.  The tour currently runs through March 19, 2017 and includes a string of hometown shows from March 15 – 19 at Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day Week.  Audiences can get tickets for the band’s shows now here.  More information on Dropkick Murphys’ new single, album, tour and more is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more is available online at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.dropkickmurphys.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/DropkickMurphys

 

 

 

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Horisont Reveals ‘About Time’ Release Date, Track Listing

Courtesy: Century Media Records

Courtesy: Century Media Records

Horisont has announced the release date and track listing for its next album.

The band announced this week it will release About Time Friday, February 3, 2017 via Century Media Records.  The album will be the band’s fifth full-length studio recording.  It runs a little more than 35 minutes across 10 tracks.  The record’s track listing is noted below.

“About Time” track-listing:
01. The Hive                 00:03:34
02. Electrical                00:03:30
03. Without Warning     00:03:24
04. Letare                     00:03:41
05. Night Line               00:03:28
06. Point of Return        00:03:52
07. Boston Gold            00:03:02
08. Hungry Love           00:03:41
09. Dark Sides              00:02:51
10. About Time             00:06:26

Along with its standard CD packaging, it will also be available in a special edition digipack exclusively in the EU and jewel case CD in the United States.  It will also be available worldwide on gatefold LP and digital platform.

The album’s gatefold vinyl presentation will be released in a variety of pressings, with each being available in very limited quantities.  Its vinyl pressings and quantities are listed below.

Black vinyl – unlimited
Lilac vinyl – limited to 200 copies/exclusively available at Bengans
Clear vinyl – limited to 100 copies/exclusively available at CMDistro
Silver vinyl – limited to 200 copies/exclusively available at Green Hell
Transparent Green vinyl – limited to 200 copies/exclusively available at Nuclear Blast
Yellow vinyl – limited to 300 copies / US only

The band recently unveiled the video for About Time’s lead single ‘Electrical.’  Audiences can view the video online now here.

 

Courtesy: Century Media Records

Courtesy: Century Media Records

 

More information on About Time is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.horisontmusic.com

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

 

 

 

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Theory Of A Deadman Unveils Video For Its ‘Hallelujah’ Cover

Courtesy: Roadrunner Records

Courtesy: Roadrunner Records

Theory of a Deadman has released a touching new video for its cover of Leonard Cohen’s timeless hit ‘Hallelujah in celebration of the holiday season.

The video presents the story of front man Tyler Connolly’s adoption of an orphan kitten at Christmas time.  It follows the pair’s friendship from the kitten’s youth right up to it’s adult life, with both showing great love for the other.

There are no sad moments anywhere in this story, either.  It is all happiness and will leave not a single eye dry.  Audiences can check out the video here.

Courtesy: Roadrunner Records

Courtesy: Roadrunner Records

Fans can get the song now online via iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, Spotify and Apple Music. More information on the band’s cover of ‘Hallelujah’ is available now online along with all of the band’s latest news at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.theoryofadeadman.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/TOADM

 

 

 

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Hannah Williams’ Second LP Takes First On Phil’s Picks’ 2016 Top 10 New Independent Albums List

Courtesy: Record Kicks

Courtesy: Record Kicks

The countdown to the year’s end continue today with yet another addition to Phil’s Picks’ 2016 “Best Of” lists.  This time, Phil’s Picks offers its list of the year’s top new independent albums.  This list was just as difficult as any assembled.  Readers should understand independent doesn’t necessarily mean unsigned.  Rather it encompasses unsigned bands and bands signed to independent labels, thus the title “Independent Albums.”  Included in this year’s list are new releases from Cage9, All Hail The Yeti, Hannah Williams and the Affirmations among many others.  As always, the list includes the year’s Top 10 new albums on the list as well as five honorable mention titles, bringing the total album count to 15.  So, without further ado, here are Phil’s Picks 2016 Top 10 New Independent Albums.

 

2016 Top 10 New Independent Albums

 

1) Hannah Williams and the Affirmations – Late Nights and Heartbreak

 

2) All Hail the Yeti – Screams From A Black Wilderness

 

3) Love and a .38 – Nomad

 

4) Buffalo Summer – Second Sun

 

5) Cage9 – Illuminator

 

6) Apollo Under Fire – Apollo Under Fire

 

7) The Heavy – Hurt and the Merciless

 

8) Celeb Car Crash – People Are The Best Show

 

9) Radio Exile – Soulfire

 

10) Ray Rocket – Do You Wanna Go To Tijuana

 

11) Another Lost Year – Alien Architect

 

12) Alexis Taylor – Piano

 

13) Garrett Klahn – Garrett Klahn

 

14) Pareidolia – Denied Truths

 

15) Phill Rocker – Hard To Bleed

 

 

 

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The Empire Will Rise This Winter

Courtesy: Rise Records/Velocity Records

Courtesy: Rise Records/Velocity Records

The empire will rise this winter.

Cosplay rock outfit Galactic Empire will release its debut album Friday, February 3, 2017.  The 11-song, self-titled record will be released via Rise Records.  It will feature the band’s own take on a number of songs featured in LucasFilms’s Star Wars movies.  Those movies are not limited to just the original trilogy of films.  The franchise’s latest installment, The Force Awakens gets a nod on this record in ‘Ben’s Death: Tie Fighter Attack.’

Also included in the band’s upcoming album are ‘Imperial March,’ ‘The Asteroid Field,’ and other re-imagined songs from the famed franchise.

The band recently released a joint statement announcing the album’s upcoming album in a manner only the Empire could.

“AT LONG LAST!  Our preparations are complete.  The mighty Galactic Empire will unleash our ultimate weapon in the battle to bring heavy metal to your galaxy,” the band said. “The puny humans at Velocity and Rise Records have succumbed to the crushing power of the Dark Side and will release out debut full-length album on which we pay tribute to Supreme Sith Overlord John Williams with 11 tracks of pure sonic devastation.  Join us, and together, we can rule the galaxy!”

The full track listing for the band’s upcoming album is noted below.

 

Track Listing:
01. Main Theme
02. Imperial March
03. Duel of the Fates
04. The Force Theme
05. The Asteroid Field
06. Battle of the Heroes
07. Cantina Band
08. Ben’s Death: Tie Fighter Attack
09. Across the Stars
10. The Forest Battle
11. The Throne Room: End Title

 

Velocity and Rise Records released videos for ‘The Imperial March’ and ‘Main Theme’ earlier this year.  The band has also been keeping audiences updated on the album through its own YouTube Channel.

Pre-orders are available for Galactic Empire now via iTunes and the band’s official website.

More information on Galactic Empire’s upcoming debut album is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/GalacticEmpire8

 

 

 

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