Pixies Announce New Tour Dates, Music Video

Photo Credit:  Michael Halsband

Photo Credit: Michael Halsband

The road rolls on for veteran rock group, The Pixies.  The Boston based quartet has announced that it has added a new North American leg to its current worldwide tour.  The thirty-three date tour will kick off on January 15th in Toronto, Ontario Canada.  From there, the band will hit a number of dates in the Northeast before heading south to finish off the month of January.  It will close out January with a performance at the famed Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC) in Durham, North Carolina on January 31st.  It will kick off the month of February by heading west to the mountains of North Carolina and a performance in Asheville, NC on February 1st.  That performance will be at Asheville’s Thomas Wolfe Auditorium.  Cults will provide support for both performances.

The remainder of February will see the Pixies perform at dates in the Midwest, West Coast, and Southwest.  It all wraps up on March 1st with a performance at the Austin Music Hall in Austin, TX.  Tickets for this and other shows are available online at http://www.pixiesmusic.com.

Along with the upcoming U.S. tour, Pixies fans have a new video from the band to check out, too.  The band has debuted the video for ‘Andro Queen’, the opening track from the band’s new EP, EP-1.  The video was created and directed by filmmaker Ondi Timoner through her Interloper Films production company.  Timoner’s resume is quite extensive.  She has won the Grand Jury prize for documentaries at the Sundance Film Festival twice and has work permanently displayed at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.  She was also the creative force behind VH-1’s series, Sound Effects.  These aren’t her only credentials.  She also crafted the opening film for President Clinton’s 2011 birthday/fundraiser at the Hollywood Bowl.  That even featured celebrities such as: Steven Spielberg, Barbara Streisand, Jay-Z, and President Clinton himself.  She even has her hands in the online world.  She is the founder and director of the web-channel, “A Total Disruption.”  This channel features the works of other ingenious individuals and business people that use technology to transform lives, the economy, and the path of mankind.

More information on the band’s upcoming U.S. tour and its new EP, EP-1, is available online at http://www.pixiesmusic.com, http://www.facebook.com/pixiesofficial, http://www.myspace.com/pixies, and http://twitter.com/pixies.  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.

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.

Jennings’ New Album More “Solid Country Gold”

Courtesy:  Entertainment One Music

Courtesy: Entertainment One Music

The year is still young.  But this critic’s list of candidates for the year’s best albums is already beginning to fill up quickly.  The Slide Brothers and Experience Hendrix, Inc. have already made the case to be candidates with their new releases.  Now another album has made the case to be not just on the list of the year’s best albums, but also the year’s best Country Music albums.  It’s Shooter Jennings’ new album, The Other Life

The Other Life is proof that one should never judge a book (or a CD) by its cover.  At first glance, one glance at the artwork for Shooter’s new album might lead some to believe that this album is going to be much like that of Black Ribbons, which he recorded with the members of Hierophant.  The artwork used throughout the album’s packaging is quite similar to images used throughout albums released by Tool.  But one listen through this album reveals something quite different.  What listeners get in this latest release from one of Outlaw Country’s best is eleven radio ready and easily accessible country songs. Every listener will find something especially entertaining from this album’s song list.  Every song carries a familiar vibe from Shooter’s previous LPs.  But they don’t sound like the songs from his previous releases.  In simple terms, each song on this album is an original work similar to his previous songs in feeling only.  One of the album’s brightest shining moments comes halfway through the album in the song, ‘Outlaw You.’ 

‘Outlaw You’ is bound to become a fan favorite both on the record and at live shows.  It is a defiant stance against so much pop country that tries to call itself pure country.  Jennings sings loud and proud in this song, “Hey pretty boy/With the baseball hat/Couldn’t hit country with a baseball bat/Country ain’t just about where you’re at/It’s about being true/To what’s inside of you/You say you’re an outlaw/With the perfect boots/That you got from the record label’s image group/Sing another man’s song/With a big drum loop/Listen, son/You ain’t got a clue/You can’t buy true/I’ll tell you what they should do/They should outlaw you!”  This echoes the sentiment of Jennings’ fellow Outlaw Country artist, Hank III.  Hank III wrote a similar song some time ago about how so much pop country tries to masquerade as real country.  This song is one more that any country purist will surely appreciate and enjoy as it has the exact same true emotion.

While it may not seem like it at first listen, but another high point of this LP is its penultimate track, ’15 Million Light Years Away (featuring Jim Dandy).  Dandy’s vocals are so rich and vibrant here.  They make for an excellent counterpart to that of Jennings.  And the guitar solos thrown in will almost sure lead to thoughts of Lynyrd Skynyrd.  Lyrically, it comes across as a social commentary of sorts, with the duo singing about the legal system being perverted and of everything in the world being in a state contrary to what it should be.  The musical backing helps to set the song’s mood, too with its slower, minor sound.  It stands out unlike anything else on the record.

Perhaps the most intriguing song on The Other Life is its closer, ‘The Gunslinger.’  What makes it so intriguing is its musical side.  It starts out like any pure country song, with an acoustic guitar and soft, gentle vocals.  From there, it proceeds to crescendo to something totally different with its mix of electronics and sax part eventually ending the song.  Forget the lyrical side here.  This is a song that simply must be experienced solely for its musical side.  It’s an unlikely candidate to be one of the album’s high points.  But because it is also so different from anything else on the record, it is one of those songs that will lead to discussion for its ingenuity.  In turn, the discussions that it is sure to raise will prove why it is one of the so many high points of this album.  Put simply, every song on this album will appeal to country purists and country music fans in general.  There is not one bad moment throughout the course of this record.  Every song creates a wholly different feel within itself and its listeners with every listen.  And that is something rare at this point in the music industry.  The album will be available in stores, Tuesday, March 12th.  Before it drops though, Jennings will hit the road in support of the new album, beginning March 6th in Miami Florida on the Kid Rock Cruise.  From there, he will perform at the annual SXSW Festival in Austin, TX on March 12th and 13th.  Fans in North Carolina will also get their chance to see Shooter live.  He will be performing at Ziggy’s in Winston-Salem on Tuesday, April 16th and on Friday, May 24th at Gus’ Bar in Jacksonville, NC.  Audiences can get a full tour rundown and all the latest news and more from Jennings on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ShooterJennings and http://www.ShooterJennings.com

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.