Santana Shines Again In Phil’s Picks’ 2016 Top 10 New Live DVDs/BDs List

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

The weather outside is definitely looking frightful this time of year.  That means rather than going outside to get out and about, people are going to be looking more for ways to have fun while they stay indoors and stay warm.  That is just one of so many reasons that record labels churn out so many live recordings each year.  The problem with all of those recordings is that while some are truly standout offerings, others are otherwise forgettable space fillers used to fulfill contractual obligations for the given acts.  Presented today are some of the best of this year’s new live recordings.

Whereas Phil’s Picks already presented the year’s top new live CD recordings, this time Phil’s Picks is presenting the year’s top new live DVDs and Blu-rays.  A lot of thought and consideration went into this list.  The concerts’ set lists, the bands’ performances, the cinematography and audio mix all went into consideration for this list as did the recordings’ companion booklets or lack thereof.  So it goes without saying that it wasn’t an easy list to assemble.  But this critic tried.
As always, the list presented here includes not just this critic’s list of the year’s top new live DVDs and BDs but five honorable mention titles for a total of 15 recordings.  Without any further ado, here for you, is Phil’s Picks 2016 Top 10 New Live DVDs/BDs.
PHIL’S PICKS 2016 TOP 10 NEW LIVE DVDs/BDs
 
1. SantanaSantana IV Live at the House of Blues Las Vegas
2. KISSKISS Rocks Vegas
 
3. Joe BonamassaLive at the Greek Theatre
4. Judas PriestBattle Cry
5. Motley CrueThe End Live in Los Angeles
6. The Rolling StonesHavana Moon
7. Deep PurpleLive at the NEC
8. Melody GardotLive in Paris
9. Gregory PorterLive in Berlin
10. ScorpionsLive in Munich
11. Alan JacksonLive at Red Rocks
12. Michael Schenker’s Temple of RockRock on a MissionLive in Madrid
13. SaxonFeel Your Power
14. Imagine DragonsSmoke + Mirrors Live
15. Fall Out BoyThe Boys of Zummer TourLive in Chicago
To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.
Advertisements

Jackson’s New Live Recording Is As Solid As A “Rock”

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Late last year Alana Jackson released his latest full-length studio recording Angels and Alcohol.  Ahead of its release, the country music legend launched a tour in support of his first album since 2012’s Thirty Miles West.  The “25th Anniversary Keepin’ It Country” tour launched January 8th, 2015 in Fort Meyers, Florida and ran through the better part of the year.  It included a performance at Colorado’s famed Red Rocks Amphitheatre on May 17th, 2015.  That performance serves as the basis for Jackson’s new live recording Keepin’ It CountryLive at Red Rocks.  Keepin’ It CountryLive at Red Rocks will be released in stores and online this Friday, May 6th on DVD and digital.  There is a lot to like about this latest offering from the veteran performer beginning with its set list.  The show’s choice of songs and its ordering are both important to note in regards to its overall presentation.  That’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.  Jackson and company’s stage presence throughout the concert is just as important to note.  And as with every one of Eagle Rock Entertainment’s live recordings, the concert’s production values (I.E. its audio and video mix).  This is one of those concerts that looks and sounds just as great on a standard HD monitor as it does with a home theater system.  Together with the concert’s set list and the musicians’ performance of said set list all three elements come together to make the recording in whole one that country fans of all ages will enjoy and that proves yet again why Eagle Rock Entertainment is still to this day the leader in live recordings.

Alan Jackson’s new live recording Keepin’ It CountryLive at Red Rocks is a concert recording that country fans of all ages and tastes will enjoy.  That is thanks in large part to the show’s selected set list and its order.  The show’s extensive twenty-six song set runs a total of an hour and forty-six minutes.  That’s just under the two hour mark.  Though, because of the set’s order and the group’s stage presence, which will be discussed later, that time feels like even more.  That is meant in the best way possible, too. The set list itself pulls from a rather healthy portion of his lengthy career.  It represents no less than ten of his albums and indeed his twenty-five year career.  Given, not every album is represented here.  But a good compliment of his albums is represented.  It goes all the way back to his U.S. debut record, 1990’s Here In The Real World.  There are even some numbers that he recorded with others such as ‘As She’s Walking Away,’ which was included in the Zac Brown Band album You Get What You Give.  Perhaps the only con to the whole set list (to this critic alone) is the omission of ‘Summertime Blues.’  That song is one of this critic’s favorite songs from Alan Jackson.  Of course everybody has his or her favorite song(s).  So in the end, the set list still proves at least in terms of its featured songs, to be an impressive, important part of this recording.  The set list’s order is just as important to note as its featured songs.  Audiences will appreciate the attention to detail in regards to the set list’s order.  It balances the songs’ energy expertly from one song to the next right to the show’s end.  From the show’s up-tempo opener ‘Gone Country’ to the equally playful and energetic ‘I Don’t Even Know Your Name’ to the more laid back ‘Livin’ On Love’ and beyond, the show’s energy will keep home viewers just as entertained and engaged as those that were in attendance at the concert.  Keeping this in mind, both the show’s set list and its order prove to be equally important to the recording’s presentation if not the most important of its elements.

The set list and its order are both key elements in the overall presentation of Alan Jackson’s new live recording.  The set list is itself quite extensive, going back indeed a quarter of a century to his debut album and even up to his latest album.  The set list’s order is just as important as the set itself as it maintains a solid balance of energy from beginning to end.  While both elements are undeniably important to the recording’s presentation, they are not its only important element.  The band’s stage presence (especially that of Jackson) is another pivotal element in the recording’s presentation.  Audiences will be pleased to see and hear how natural the performance feels in experiencing it for themselves.  Considering Jackson’s two decades-plus long career it should come as no surprise that he acts right at home on stage.  What’s more there is still a certain sense of humility from him throughout his performance.  Even despite being considered one of the modern legends of country music, he shows in his performance that he hasn’t let such a label go to his head.  Between songs, he spends ample time interacting with the audience in an almost Storytellers sort of vibe.  He takes time to joke with the audience at some points.  At others, he takes some time to discuss the roots of certain songs.  The laughter and the insight offered in these moments, coupled with the professionalism of Jackson’s fellow musicians makes for a performance that, again, audiences at home will enjoy just as much as those that were there in attendance.  It is not the last of the recording’s most important elements, either.  The recording’s production values round out the whole thing.

The set list and its order are important in their own right to Keepin’ It Country: Live at Red Rocks.  They serve in their own fashion to keep viewers entertained and engaged.  The same can be said of Jackson’s stage presence and that of his fellow musicians.  The talent and professionalism of all involved proves this just as much as the totally natural feel of the performances.  For all of the importance of these elements, they are not the only important elements to note in this recording’s presentation.  The recording’s production values (I.E. its audio and video) are just as important to note as the other mentioned elements.  Just as with so many of its previous live recordings, Eagle Rock Entertainment has given audiences the absolute best seat in the house.  That is even with the fame and notoriety of the Red Rocks Amphitheatre.  The concert’s camera crew and director capture the concert from every one of its best angles.  This includes shots from all around the stage, from the vast sea of fans, and from even other spots that would seem to most impossible to get.  All in all, the shots captured by the camera crew and their director heighten the viewing experience even more for audiences.  As impressive as their work was, the editors charged with assembling the final product are to be applauded just as much.  The combined efforts of all involved results in a visual experience that is just as enjoyable as being there in person, if not more so.  Of course that is not to overlook the work of those manning the audio boards.  This is very important to note.  Thanks to those behind the boards, this concert is one that sounds just as good on a standard high definition monitor as a full home theater system.  This is important to note because believe it or not there are some recordings out there whose audio mix is best experienced on a home theater system.  There are others that are best served on just a standard monitor.  This concert is neither of those.  Its audio is so well balanced that it works just as well on a standard monitor as on a home theater system.  Audiences that listen to it on a standard monitor won’t be losing out on anything.  Both audiences will get the same enjoyable experience.  Considering this, the audio—thanks both to those that manned the boards and those that handled it in post production—proves to be just as important to this recording as its video.  It and the show’s video mix round out the recording, showing one more time exactly why every country music fan and every Alan Jackson fan will enjoy this recording.  They also combine to, again, show why Eagle Rock is still today the leading name in live recordings.

Alan Jackson’s new live recording Keepin’ It Country: Live at Red Rocks is a recording that both country fans and fans of his of all ages will enjoy.  It also shows once more why Eagle Rock Entertainment still stands today as the leader in live recordings.  This is evident in the show’s extensive and obviously well thought out set it.  It is a set list that will keep audiences both entertained and engaged from beginning to end.  The same an be said of the band’s stage presence, including that of Jackson.  The performance in whole feels completely natural.   And Jackson himself even comes across as being so personable as he interacts with the audience between almost every song, sharing both laughs and insight.  The recording’s production values round out its presentation.  Each element is important in its own way to the recording’s presentation.  Altogether, they make this recording, once more, one that country music fans and Alan Jackson fans of all ages will enjoy.  It also serves to show once more why Eagle Rock Entertainment remains today the leading name in live recordings.  It will be available this Friday, May 6th in stores and online.  More information on this and other titles from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online now at:

 

 

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

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/EagleRockNews

 

 

More information on this and other recordings from Alan Jackson is available online now along with all of Jackson’s latest news and more at:

 

 

Website: http://www.alanjackson.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/OfficialJackson

 

 

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

Eagle Rock Entertainment, Alan Jackson Partner For New Live Recording

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Country legend Alan Jackson has a new live recording due out this spring.

Alan Jackson will release his new live recording Keepin’ It Country: Live at Red Rocks this spring.  The concert will be released in stores and online Friday, May 6th.  It will be released on DVD and digital outlets.  The concert was originally recorded at Jackson’s performance at the famed Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, CO on May 17th, 2015 and features a twenty-six song set from the veteran performer.  The set list features a number of Jackson’s biggest hits including but not limited to: ‘Don’t Rock The Jukebox,’ ‘Chattahoochee,’ ‘Gone Country,’ ‘Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning),’ and a number of others.  The concert’s full set list is noted below.

Track Listing:

1.)    Gone Country

2.)    I Don’t Even Know Your Name

3.)    Livin’ On Love

4.)    Good Time

5.)    Small Town Southern Man

6.)    The Blues Man

7.)    Who’s Cheatin’ Who

8.)    Little Bitty

9.)    Country Boy

10.) Drive (For Daddy Gene)

11.) Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning)

12.) Don’t Rock The Jukebox

13.) Here In The Real World

14.) Wanted

15.) Chasin’ That Neon Rainbow

16.) It Must Be Love

17.) Song For The Life

18.) Pop A Top

19.) Angels and Alcohol

20.) You Never Know

21.) As She’s Walking Away

22.) Remember When

23.) It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere

24.) Chattahoochee

25.) Where I Come From

26.) Mercury Blues

 

Over the course of his now twenty-three year career, Alan Jackson has sold nearly sixty-million albums worldwide.  He is a member of the Grand Ole Opry, has received more than 150 industry awards, including 18 ACM awards, 16 CMA Awards, 2 Grammys, and ASCAP’s Founders and Golden Note Awards.  In 2014 he became the first person to be awarded ASCAP’s Heritage Award.  This made him the most performed country music songwriter-artist of ASCAP’s first century.  He has also released more than sixty singles.  Fifty of those singles have gone on to be Top 10 singles.  Thirty five of said singles have gone on to become #1 songs.  That puts him in very elite company alongside the likes of Paul McCartney and John Lennon.  More than twenty of their songs have gone on to become #1 songs.

 

Keepin’ It Country: Live at Red Rocks will be released Friday, May 6th in stores and online.  It will be available on DVD and digital video.  The DVD will retail for MSRP of $14.98.  More information on this and other titles from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online now at:

 

 

 

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

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/EagleRockNews

 

 

 

More information on the recording is available now along with all of Jackson’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.alanjackson.com

 

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/OfficialJackson

 

 

 

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

Lots Of Options Offered By 2015’s Top New Country, Folk, Bluegrass, And Americana Albums

Country music and its related genres (I.E. americana, bluegrass, and folk) are big business in the music world. Just look at all of the karaoke competitions on television today and the number of country singers that go on those shows, trying to make a name for themselves. Look at the reach that it has on radio in general. Artists such as Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood have bridged the gap between pop and country alongside the likes of Rascal Flatts, Eric Church, and so many others. In the same breath, true-blooded country music remains just as much of a driving force today within the realm of country music as its more cross-genre counterparts that have become so popular over the last ten years or more. The dichotomy of the two worls is really intriguing to examine as well as the fan base of both sides of the country music world. Keeping that in mind, country and its offshoots can be said to have just as much importance to the music industry today as any other genre. So having covered the realm of children’s music, independent music, and world music, it seems only fair to offer up a listing of the year’s top new records in the worlds of country, folk, bluegrass, and Americana within their own collective year-ender. This was one of the more difficult lists to assemble because of the sheer variety of sounds and titles available to listeners this year. North Carolina-based Delta Rae makes the list once again with its new album After It All. Americana artists Buzz Cason is on this list, too with his new album Record Machine as are Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard with their new record Django and Jimmie. Of course Geoge Strait, “The King of Country,” couldn’t be ignored in this list. His new album Cold Beer Conversation is on the Phil’s Picks list of 2015’s top new Country, folks, bluegrass, and Americana records, too. They’re just a handful of the acts to make the list this year. There are plenty of others veteran and otherwise alike on this year’s list. Without any further ado, I offer to you, dear readers, the best new country, folk, bluegrass, and americana albums of 2015. As always the top 10 albums are…well…the top 10. the bottom five each get honorable mention. That is not a stab against them by any means. It was just that tough to compile the list and do it fairly because there were so many great new records in this realm just as with the other lists. Enough rambling. Here are the Best New Country, Folk, Bluegrass, and Americana albums of 2015 from Phil’s Picks.

2015 BEST NEW COUNTRY, FOLK, BLUEGRASS, & AMERICANA ALBUMS

1. Willie Nelson & Merle Haggard — Django and Jimmie

2. George Strait — Cold Beer Conversation

3. Blackberry Smoke — Holding All The Roses

4. Delta Rae — After It All

5. Sugarcane Jane — Dirt Road’s End

6. Alan Jackson — Angels and Alcohol

7. Alabama — Southern Drawl

8. Tim McGraw — Damn Country Music

9. Buzz Cason — Record Machine

10. Darius Rucker — Southern Style

11. Gloriana — Three

12. Luke Bryan — Kill The Lights

13. Chris Stapleton — Traveller

14. Dwight Yokam — Second Hand Heart

15. Zac Brown Band — Jekyll and Hyde

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

Strait Rides Away In Style In His Final Live Performance

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Legendary country musician George Strait’s days on the road are officially over. On June 7, 2014, the man known lovingly within the country music world as “The King of Country” wrapped the final leg of his tour fittingly dubbed “The Cowboy Rides Away Tour.” The tour wrapped at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. It should be noted that while the show marked the end of his days on the road, it didn’t mark the end of his recording career. Of course Judas Priest’s members said the same thing some years ago and look how that turned out. So time will tell if he has indeed parked his tour bus for the last time. Regardless, Strait’s fans and country music fans in general can now own that landmark concert for themselves thanks to the people at Eagle Rock Entertainment. The leading name in live recordings, Eagle Rock Entertainment released The Cowboy Rides Away: Live From AT&T Stadium late this summer exclusively on DVD and digital formats. It goes without saying that whether one is a fan of the country music royalty, a fan of real country music or a little of both, this recording is a must for each. The central reason for that is the show’s extensive forty-song set list, which runs just short of three hours. Strait’s stage presence and that of his fellow country artists is another reason that fans will enjoy this recording. Last but hardly least worth noting is the concert’s production values. Even on DVD its production values are top-notch. They make the show’s near three-hour run time well worth it both in regards to the show’s set list and the performers’ stage presence. All things told, The Cowboy Rides Away Live From AT&T Stadium proves in the end to be a recording that every George Strait fan will enjoy just as much as any fan of real country music.

The Cowboy Rides Away Live from AT&T Stadium is a must have for any George Strait fan and any fan of real country music. So much can be said as to why this is the case. Jumping right in, the central reason for its success is its extensive forty-song set list. Covering so much ground it can be said of the near three-hour performance that it is one of those rare live shows released in recent years that is truly deserving of being called career-spanning. What’s more the very fact that Strait opted for such a rich set list is in itself groundbreaking. That is because few if any other acts out there past or present have ever released single performance recordings with so many songs. Even acts such as The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, The Who, and others have never released such an expansive single-show recording. That in itself speaks volumes about this recording. That every featured song is a fan favorite says even more. One of the bet of the show’s best is ‘Murder on Music Row,’ which he performs here with fellow veteran artist Alan Jackson. There’s a lot of truth in that song. Real country music is hard to find nowadays. There seems to be more southern rock and pop country out there today than real, pure country. On a different note (no pun intended) ‘I Saw God Today’ is another of the show’s best moments. The tender ballad sung from the vantage point of a new parent will bring a smile (and tears) to every fan’s face. The all-star performance of his classic hit ‘All My Ex’s Live In Texas’ is one more of the show’s best moments. It’s obvious that the performers had just as much fun performing the song as did the audience singing along. What’s more seeing so many great names representing country’s past, present, and future on one stage essentially honoring one of country’s greatest names of all time gives this performance even more of a special meaning. It’s just one of so many examples of the importance of the show’s songs in the big picture of the show’s set list. Of course the songs chosen for this show are just one part of what makes the set list in whole so important to the recording’s overall positive impact. The ordering of the songs is just as important as the songs themselves.

The songs that make up the concert’s set list make more than enough reason for Strait’s fans and real country fans alike to watch this recording. However, they are only one part of the set list that makes it so important to the whole of the recording. The ordering of the songs is just as pivotal to the show’s enjoyment as the songs themselves. Audiences will be quite impressed in taking in this concert to note the balance of its more upbeat moments with its softer, more emotional moments. From one song to the next Strait and company build the show’s energy and pull it back at just the right points from beginning to end. The end result is a near three-hour performance that will keep fans at home just as engaged as those that were in attendance at the concert’s taping. The mix of that smart sequencing with song after song that every fan will enjoy makes this concert one that even being Strait’s last live show potentially ever is one that fans will want to watch again and again.

The set list chosen for Strait’s final show and its sequencing make for more than enough reason for any George Strait fan and real country music fan alike to watch this recording. They are just a small part of the whole that makes the concert so enjoyable. Strait’s stage performance (and that of his guests) plays its own important role in the concert’s overall effect. Throughout the course of the concert, Strait maintains an almost unassuming demeanor. It could be argued that it actually presents Strait as having this full sense of humility. He doesn’t try to run around the stage and put on a certain kind of persona. it is more along the lines of a what-you-see-is-what-you-get persona. It’s nice to see such a humble persona. Believe it or not it adds quite a bit to the concert’s overall effect on fans. By contrast, his guests–of whom includes the likes of Alan Jackson, Vince Gill, Sheryl Crow, Eric Church, Martina McBride and others–are more energetic by and large. The juxtaposition of Strait’s stage presence to those of his fellow musicians makes for even more enjoyment. And when coupled with the show’s set list, both elements solidify the reason for fans to add this recording to their own home DVD libraries even more so. The combination of both elements would mean little, though without proper production values–the last of the recording’s positives.

Both the set list chosen for George Strait’s “final” live performance and the stage presence of Strait and his fellow musicians are equally important to the overall effect of this recording. Of course neither would be of any importance without proper production values. Luckily for fans the production values presented in the concert contained herein are of the utmost expertise. Even presented on DVD, it looks and sounds just as good as being there if not better. That could be chalked up just as much to the equipment at Strait’s disposal as those charged with manning the boards for the show. The same can be said of those charged with the show’s audio in post-production. On the side of the show’s video mix, having a slowly circulating stage could not have hurt the camera crew. On the one hand it offered the camera crew and co-directors Danny O’Bryen and Brian Lockwood plenty of options for good shots. That is because the stage was set dead center in the stadium as if it was set up for the Super Bowl’s half time show. The camera crew could shoot from on stage, from the crowd (especially since the stage wasn’t that high above the stadium floor), and from so many other angles. Having so many options and so much talent, the result of the production crew’s work is a concert that gives home viewers an even better seat than those in attendance from beginning to end. And coupled with an audio mix that is just as impressive, Strait’s performance (and that of his guests) coupled with the show’s rich, expansive set list proves to be a concert experience that is a wonderful final performance from a legendary artist should it in fact prove to be his last.

George Strait’s performance from June 7th, 2014 at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas is largely believed to be the legendary country musician’s final live performance. If indeed it proves years down the road to be his final live performance, then it is a wonderful way for Strait to go out. That is even with Strait claiming that he will still continue to record new music while no longer touring. The show’s rich set list will please every one of his fans as it more than lives up to the honor of being called a career-spanning show. The sequencing of the show’s songs, Strait’s performance (and that of his guests), and the show’s expert production values come together to make the concert whole and one that fans of all ages will enjoy with every watch. It is a wonderful final performance from a legendary artist that even if it is his last, will hopefully not be his last recorded concert to ever be released. The Cowboy Rides Away Live From AT&T Stadium is available now in stores and online. More information on this and other titles from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online now at:

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

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/EagleRockNews

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

Fogerty’s New LP Is An Album For Everyone

Courtesy:  Vanguard Records

Courtesy: Vanguard Records

John Fogerty’s first full length studio release in over six years isn’t exactly a new album.  But it is still a fun collection of songs, nonetheless.  Wrote a Song For Everyone takes fourteen of Fogerty’s most famous and beloved songs and updates them for a new generation.  It goes without saying that the classics collected for this compilation didn’t necessarily need an update.  But the updates do admittedly give listeners a new take on the classics.  It’s actually a good thing.  And that will be discussed later.  The song selection itself is just part of what makes this collection of classics a hit in and of itself.  Fogerty was joined by some of the biggest names in the music industry in re-recording the songs for this work.  And some of the names included on the “guest list” might surprise some listeners.  That’s one more reason for fans to pick up this record.  The compilation’s bonus booklet is the extra spice that makes Wrote a Song For Everyone quite the musical dish.  The bonus booklet includes a back story on each of the songs included on the record.  Together with the guest appearances and the song choices themselves, it all combines to make this compilation one that music lovers of ages will love no less with each listen.

The songs collected for Wrote a Song For Everyone are some of John Fogerty’s best known and beloved songs.  The natural reaction to these songs by those more familiar with them is to question if they really needed an update.  The end result after having listened through the compilation is one of pleasant surprise.  Listeners that are more familiar with the original songs will agree that needed or not, these updates are fun new takes on Fogerty’s classics.  It all starts with an update of what is perhaps his most beloved songs, ‘Fortunate Son.’  Fogerty is joined by Dave Grohl and his band mates in Foo Fighters on this update, with Fogerty and Grohl sharing vocal duties on the song.  It’s a great way to open the compilation because it largely sticks to Fogerty’s original song.  At the same time, it gives the song new life because it amps up the song and keeps it fresh for a whole new generation that can relate to it just as easily as that generation that originally related to it.  Fogerty is joined later by Zac Brown Band on the update of another of his hits in ‘Bad Moon Rising.’  The band’s update on this song is just as fun as Fogerty’s original take on the song.  Unlike the update of ‘Fortunate Son’, the update of ‘Bad Moon Rising’ doesn’t stick strictly to the original song.  That aside, it’s still a pretty interesting take on the song.  Brown and his band mates put their own signature semi-tropical spin on the song.  There’s even a little guitar solo added to the song on this take.  It’s another of the compilation’s pieces that fans of the original song will enjoy just as much as younger listeners.  Fogerty’s new take on ‘Who’ll Stop The Rain’ is one of the most interesting on this new release.  He is joined by fellow veteran rocker Bob Seeger on the song.  The pair took the original mid-tempo country-rock piece and gave it more of a pure country vibe.  It comes across as being more reserved on this take than on the original.  That’s not a bad thing, either.  It is just a new and equally enjoyable take on the song.  It’s just one of many more songs from this compilation from which listeners have to choose as their favorite.  Also included on this record are updates of ‘Have You Ever Seen The Rain’, ‘Born on the Bayou’, and ‘Hot Rod Heat’ just to name a few.  Again whether one is familiar with these songs or not, they all comprise a record that Fogerty fans of all ages will enjoy.

Fogerty fans of all ages will enjoy this compilation primarily because of the songs that comprise the record.  The songs themselves aren’t all that listeners will appreciate.  The record’s “guest list” is another of its selling points.  As already noted, Fogerty is joined by the likes of Zac Brown Band, Bob Seeger, and Foo Fighters on some of the record’s updates.  Also along for the ride are: Brad Paisley, Alan Jackson, Miranda Lambert, Tom Morello (Rage Against The Machine, Audioslave), and Kid Rock.  Even former American Idol contestant and award-winning singer Jennifer Hudson makes an appearance among many others.  On the surface, one might look at the record’s “guest list” and shrug, asking why any of this is significant.  It’s significant in that it shows the influence that John Fogerty has had on both his fellow veteran musicians and even younger musicians.  It’s an example of actions speaking louder than words.  And it’s a statement that speaks very loudly with this release.

The sequencing and “guest list” chosen for Wrote a Song For Everyone both are critical factors in the album’s success.  They both play important roles in the album’s overall presentation.  Just as important is the album’s bonus booklet.  The booklet included with the album is such an important addition to the overall presentation because it offers a back story to each song.  Those stories come from Fogerty’s own words, too.  Many audiences will be amazed to learn that ‘Fortunate Son’ was written as a result of his own time serving in the Army Reserve during Vietnam.  He writes in the song’s liner notes, that ‘Fortunate Son’ was the result of his person feelings about states using the term ‘Favorite Son’ for their politicians.  He explains in the liner notes that he took that term and changed it to “Fortunate Son” to reflect his negative thoughts on the original term.  Just as interesting to learn is that he felt so strongly about what was going on at the time and ended up writing the song in just twenty minutes.  This after he and the band had originally rehearsed the song without any lyrics at all.  His story behind ‘Bad Moon Rising’ is just as eye and ear opening as it is being read.  He explains how the song originally was the result of a famous movie titled The Devil and Daniel Webster.  He expands on this, explaining how the movie got him to thinking about the impact that music can have on people, and how that links back to the song.  His anecdote is one that will move any fan.  His somewhat cryptic explanation of ‘Who’ll Stop The Rain’ is sure to get fans discussing, too.  He closes his explanation stating that the song is about “seeking the truth.”  He links this to his experience at the very first Woodstock festival.  Those that know the history of the original Woodstock will perhaps understand this better than anyone, especially if said individuals were actually there in person.  It’s just one more story that makes the album’s booklet more a bonus for fans than just a bunch of liner notes.  And together with everything already mentioned, it makes this record even more worth picking up whether for one’s own self or as a gift this holiday season.  It is available now in stores and online.

John Fogerty recently wrapped up a massive tour in support of his new album.  Fans can check in for more tour dates and news from John Fogerty online at http://www.johnfogerty.com and http://www.facebook.com/johnfogerty.  Fans can also get his album online via either site.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.