Time Travelers & Bonfires Boasts Some Of Sevendust’s Best Music To Date

Courtesy:  7Bros Records/Asylum

Courtesy: 7Bros Records/Asylum/In De Goot Entertainment/Alternative Distribution Alliance

Veteran hard rock band Sevendust is one of the most highly revered bands in the world of rock and hard rock. That is because every one of its now ten full length studio albums has exhibited the band’s growth while maintaining a certain familiar heavy vibe throughout each record. The band’s latest album Time Travelers & Bonfires is no exception to that rule. Even being a largely acoustic release (there are some non-acoustic elements spaced throughout the record), the band has somehow managed to maintain that familiar heaviness that is a trademark for Sevendust’s albums. That is evident right from the album’s opener, ‘Come Down.’ It’s just as evident late in the album with the band’s re-worked acoustic take on ‘Denial.’ This re-worked classic is especially interesting as it presents a whole new emotional vibe in its acoustic state. It makes the song even heavier in an emotional manner of speaking. And then there is the album’s closer, ‘Black,’ which is also the band’s first major hit. This song is just as heavy in its acoustic form as it is in its original take. What’s more it’s just as heavy as the other acoustic re-works that populate this album. Together with the other noted songs (and those not noted for reasons of space), it completes an album that any diehard Sevendust fan will enjoy no less with each listen.

The members of Sevendust have managed to make each of the band’s now ten albums sound different from the previous release all while maintaining a certain heaviness throughout each record. The band’s latest release is no different in that aspect. Even on an album that is mostly acoustic, the band has managed to maintain that heaviness while creating something different, both on its new songs and those that have been re-worked. This is evident right from the album’s opener, ‘Come Down.’ This piece could have fit on any of the band’s previous albums comfortably. Lyrically, it’s such a bold statement. Front man Lajon Witherspoon sings defiantly in the song’s opening verse, “I guess for now/I’m gonna up and run away/My mind’s made up/I’m not the flaw/I’m not gonna fall in the grave/Just to prove you wrong.” The verse here is pretty cut and dry. It’s stating that some things just aren’t worth the fight and all the trouble. That’s made even more clear in the song’s chorus, as Witherspoon sings “You know you’re wrong/So come down/You must be out of your mind/We’re staying here forever, yeah/Until we’re all done throwing life away.” It’s such a bold statement. Yet, the balance of power and gentility in both Witherspoon’s vocals and the song’s musical side make it such a heavy song in its own right. Yet again it shows the band’s continued ability to make a song that has its own identity from previous works yet still has that familiar musical and lyrical heaviness; This, even though it’s not one of the band’s full-on pieces.

‘Come Down’ is one of six new tracks included on Time Travelers & Bonfires. Audiences will find that just as with ‘Come Down’, the other five new tracks included on this record also manage in their own way to build a different sound while maintaining Sevendust’s trademark heavy vibe. ‘Under It All’, the second of the new tracks proves that as it starts off with a short, but foreboding piano riff that conjures thoughts of Nine Inch Nails circa 1994. It’s just one more example of how the album’s new tracks each continue to exhibit the creativity and talent of Sevendust as a whole. Of course the band’s re-worked classics do their own part in making this album enjoyable, too. One prime example of that is the re-worked acoustic take on ‘Denial.’ The song, which was originally part of the band’s 1999 album Home, takes on a whole new life in its acoustic format here. The song’s original take is heavy and defiant. This take on the song is totally different. The mix of the acoustic guitars and Witherspoon’s vocals maintain the song’s anger. But there’s a certain increased emotional depth to the song with that mix. It gives the image of a man feeling anger and sadness all at the same time as he sings, “You never say what you mean/All I hear is scream/Never say that to me/Never say that to me/Wipe that s&*% off your face/Let’s not stop till we bleed/The more you spit out your mouth/The less I believe/Denial seems it had to come/Relied on me to say it all/Denial has left you all alone.” The song really does develop its own identity separate from its original take in this format. It could almost be considered a whole new song because of that wholly different emotion exhibited here. Once more, it shows the creativity and talent of the band. It is definitely one more of this album’s highest of points. It’s not the last of the album’s high points, either.

Sevendust exhibits so much creativity and talent throughout the course of the songs that make up Time Travelers & Bonfires. That has been shown already in the band’s re-worked acoustic take on ‘Denial’ and its new song ‘Come Down.’ Fittingly, Sevendust closes out its new album with the song that started it all in a re-worked acoustic take on ‘Black.’ There was no better final touch to this album than the band’s first hit. Whereas ‘Denial’ and other re-worked songs included on Time Travelers & Bonfires develop a whole new identity in their acoustic versions, this song is much the same in its acoustic take as in its original heavier take. That’s actually a good thing in the case of this song. One can’t help but wonder if it could in fact be better than the original take. It has just as much ferocity as the song’s original take. But there’s a certain different punch about it that puts it over the top in this setting. That punch makes it the perfect last impression for this record. It leaves the album feeling complete in every sense of the word. And in turn, listeners will feel after having heard this last dose of acoustic heaviness just why Time Travelers & Bonfires is one of Sevendust’s best albums to date.

Time Travelers & Bonfires is available now in stores and online. Audiences can even purchase the band’s new album at its live shows. Fans might even get to hear these acoustic recordings live as Sevendust makes its way across the country in support of its new album. The band is scheduled to perform live May 24th in El Paso, Texas. It wraps up May with dates in Illinois, Michigan, and Indiana before to Council Bluffs, Iowa to start off the month of June. The band’s most current tour schedule is available online now at http://www.facebook.com/sevendustofficial and http://www.sevendust.com. All of the latest news and more from the band is available on both websites. 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.

The “Sky’s” The Limit For Blue Sky Riders

Courtesy:  3 Dream Records/Alternative Distribution Alliance

Courtesy: 3 Dream Records

Pop-country trio Blue Sky Riders’ debut album, Finally Home, is a good first effort from the band.  The trio—Kenny Loggins, Georgia Middleman, and Gary Burn—have crafted a record that may surprise fans on both the pop side and that of the country music world.  The album is dominated in large part by songs of love lost, gained, and hoped for.  Of course the songs don’t’ necessarily go exactly in that order in the grand scheme of things.  The recurring themes aside, what really makes the songs successful is the trio’s ability to interpret the lyrics and add a musical backing to each that really helps to illustrate each song’s emotion.  

Finally Home is a surprisingly solid pop-country record on its musical side. The album kicks off with a song that is best described as homage to classic country in ‘I’m a Rider (Finally Home).’  It’s driving music both in its lyrical and musical side.  The combination of the song’s lyrics and its driving (no pun intended) music conjures images of someone on the open road, much in the style of so many classic country songs.  Loggins and company sing in the song’s chorus, “I’m a rider/across the great unknown/That horizon/Don’t need to get no closer/Let the wheels keep runnin’/Cause wherever I go/Across the blue/Across the sky/I know why/I’m finally home.”  The combination of the song’s up-tempo music and its equally positive lyrics is sure to make this song a fan favorite. 

Just as interesting as the album’s opener is the third entry in its set list, ‘Little Victories.’  Georgia Middleman takes the reins on this song.  Somehow, the gentility of her voice brings about thoughts of Stevie Nicks.  She sings about the hope of life after losing love, which actually goes against the grain of so much country.  The song’s chorus is that counter to the pains of lost love.  She sings, “Take it from me/These little victories/Are all the heart needs.”  The victories in question are outlined through the song.  They are important to note.  But just as important to note is the ability of Middleman and the others to interpret these lyrics and craft a musical backing that does quite the job of heightening the song’s bittersweet emotion.  The music is sad as Middleman sings about a person being surrounded by torn photos and other negative memories.  Yet when she reaches the song’s more hopeful sections, its musical side does a good job of reflecting that more optimistic view, too. 

Finally Home offers its share of entertaining and enjoyable material for its audiences through its mix of music and lyrics, as already evidenced.  It pays homage to classic country road music in its opener.  It also offers some very emotional takes on the pains of love lost throughout its fifteen total tracks.  That’s not all that it offers listeners.  It also offers brighter moments in songs of love gained.  One of the best of that bunch comes in the record’s closing minutes in the song, ‘You Took The Words (Right Outta My Mouth).’  The song clocks in at less than three minutes.  But in those three minutes, the Reckless Kelly style song will get any listener moving and smiling.  It’s one of the album’s songs of love gained.  There’s a certain energy to the song that really gets across to listeners the vibe of a young couple in love for the very first time.  It’s one of those feelings to which anyone can relate.  And it’s that ability to relate both to the song’s positive music and lyrics that makes it one more nice addition to an album that any pop-country fan will enjoy.

Fans will get their chance to hear the songs mentioned here and more when the band takes the stage at the annual SXSW Music Festival in Austin, TX.  After this week’s performances, the band has tour dates scheduled in Oregon, Colorado, and California.  Fans can get a full tour rundown and even order its new album at its official website, http://blueskyriders.com.  Fans can also get the latest on the ban on its official Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/BlueSkyRiders.

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.