Verve’s New Coltrane LP Is The Cream Of 2018’s New Albums Crop

Courtesy: Verve RecordsVer

From the mainstream to the underground, from the worlds of jazz and blues to the worlds of pop and rock, audiophiles have been given quite a bit this year to appreciate.  Up-and-coming blues-rock band The Record Company and veteran jazz outfit Yellowjackets joined World Music act Yiddish Glory to prove to be some of this year’s best new music.

Experience Hendrix, LLC’s new Jimi Hendrix album Both Sides of the Sun, composer Klaus Schultz and veteran performers Elvis Costello & The Imposters also provided some memorable new music along with Ben Harper & Charlie Musselwhite, Ry Cooder and Femi Kuti.

Considering how many top notch records were released this year, developing this year’s list was not easy by any means.  The acts noted previously all turned out some very impressive offerings.

After much analysis and consideration, this critic has placed atop the year’s top new albums list is the long-lost album from John Coltrane, Both Directions At Once.  The record stands out as a shining beacon that music lovers across the board should hear at least once, regardless of their familiarity with Coltrane and his body of work.

Second in this year’s list is taken by Yiddish Glory’s new album The Lost Songs of WWII.  Listeners learn some very important history about Jewish music, culture and history through this album that should be in so many listeners’ libraries.

Third place in this year’s list goes to composer Klaus Schultz and his new album Silhouettes.  The otherworldly compositions featured in this record are stunning in their presentation.  They conjure thoughts of some of Nine Inch Nails master mind Trent Reznor’s most powerful instrumental works crossed with just a touch of John Williams sensibility.  It really is a powerful presentation that crosses genres and deserves so much attention.

The remainder of this year’s list features new albums from the likes of Ben Harper & Charlie Musselwhite, Femi Kuti and The Record Company just to name a few acts.  As always, the list’s top 10 titles are the best while the five that follow are honorable mention titles.  Without any further ado, here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks 2018 Top 10 Albums of the Year.

PHIL’S PICKS 2018 TOP 10 NEW ALBUMS

  1. John Coltrane — Both Directions At Once
  2. Yiddish Glory — The Lost Songs of WWII
  3. Klaus Shultz — Silhouettes
  4. Ben Harper & Charlie Musselwhite — No Mercy in this Land
  5. The Jamie Lawrence Sextet — New York Suite
  6. Jimi Hendrix — Both Sides of the Sky
  7. Femi Kuti — One PeopleOne World
  8. Ry Cooder — Prodigal Son
  9. Yellowjackets — Raising Our Voice
  10. The Record Company — All Of this Life
  11. Billy Gibbons — The Big Bad Blues
  12. Elvis Costello & The Imposters — Look Now
  13. Onyx Collective — Lower East Suite Part Three
  14. Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats — Tearing at the Seams
  15. Joe Bonamassa — Redemption

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Gibbons’ New Solo LP Is 2018’s “Baddest” Rock Album

Courtesy: Concord Records

This year was a very productive span for the rock realm.  New offerings from well-known acts, such as Joe Satriani, Billy Gibbons and Stone Temple Pilots were joined by some enjoyable offerings from some lesser-known acts, such as The Magpie Salute, The Marcus King Band and Black Coffee to make for quite the selection of new offerings.

Simply put, the mainstream and the independent offerings turned out this year gave audiences plenty to appreciate. Many of those offerings made their way into Phil’s Picks list of the year’s top new rock albums, including and not limited to the offerings from the acts already noted here.

Topping off this critic’s list this year is Billy Gibbons’ new album The Big Bad Blues.  The ZZ Top star’s latest solo offering features some impressive covers of classic blues and blues rock tunes, while also offering some equally entertaining originals to round out the record’s body.  The whole is a record that is a solid listen from start to finish.

Taking second spot in this year’s list of the year’s top new rock albums is legendary guitarist Joe Satriani’s latest offering What Happens Next.  The full-on instrumental offering is everything that fans have come to expect from Satch, with touches of his past and present.

Third spot in this year’s list goes to Slash, Alter bridge front man Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators.  The group’s new offering Living The Dream is a well-produced and engineered album with plenty of radio ready singles that go a long way toward displaying the group’s collective talents.  The lyrical themes are just as easily accessible as the record’s arrangements.  While not a perfect record, it is still enjoyable in its own right.

The remainder of this year’s list is noted below.  Also featured in this year’s list are new efforts from Black Coffee, Pop Evil and P.O.D.  As always, the list’s top 10 titles are the best while the five that follow are all honorable mention titles.  Without any further ado, here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks 2018 Top 10 New Rock Albums.

PHIL’S PICKS 2018 TOP 10 NEW ROCK ALBUMS

  1. Billy Gibbons — The Big Bad Blues
  2. Joe Satriani — What Happens Next
  3. Slash ft. Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators — Living The Dream
  4. Clutch — The Book of Bad Ideas
  5. Michael Schenker Fest — Resurrection
  6. Black Coffee — Take One
  7. Black Stone Cherry — Family Tree
  8. Pompeii — The Secret Sessions
  9. P.O.D. — Circles
  10. The Marcus King Band — Carolina Confessions
  11. The Zealots — Only Rocks Live Forever
  12. Roine Stolt’s Flower King — Manifesto of an Alchemist
  13. The Magpie Salute — Highwater I
  14. Royal Tusk — Tusk II
  15. Stone Temple Pilots — Stone Temple Pilots

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Gibbons’ Sophomore LP Is One “Bad” Blues Rock Record

Courtesy: Concord Records

ZZ Top front man Billy F. Gibbons is set to release his sophomore solo album The Big Bad Blues next month via Concord Records.  A little more than three years will have passed between the release of his debut solo record Perfectamundo and The Big Bad Blues when the latter is released.  The 11-song collection of originals and covers is a welcome new offering from Gibbons.  That is evidenced in part through the original composition ‘Let The Left Hand Know…’  It will be discussed shortly.  ‘My Baby She Rocks’ is another of the album’s entries that supports that statement.  It will be discussed a little later.  ‘Hollywood 151,’ yet another of Gibbons’ originals included in this album, is still more support for the noted statement.  When it is considered alongside the other noted songs and those not noted here, the whole of The Big Bad Blues proves to be a bad record in the best way possible.

Billy Gibbons’ sophomore solo album The Big Bad Blues is a bad record in the best way possible for those who understand the terminology.  It is a work that will appeal easily to fans of Gibbons’ work with ZZ Top and his own solo work as well as to blues purists.  That is saying a lot.  This is proven in part through the song ‘Let The Left Hand Know…’  The song, which comes almost midway through the record, is one of a handful of Gibbons’ original works included in the record.  In regards to its musical arrangement, it is a gritty, Texas style 12-bar blues work that moves so smoothly and creates a certain happiness in any listener.  It almost instantly conjures thoughts, again, of Gibbons’ work with ZZ Top while also lending itself to comparisons to some of the best works from Stevie Ray Vaughan.  That is even with the addition of the harmonica line.  Lyrically, it is just as upbeat, as it obviously centers on a man trying to get a woman to dance with him.  The man sings to the woman, “Just ease across the floor/Do it a little more/Let the left hand know where the right hand goes.”  He goes on to sing, “Just when you think you know/When everything gets a little slow/Gotta take a trip/Gotta shake that hip for sure/Just ease to the floor/And do a little more/Let the left hand know where the right hand goes.”  Plain and simple, this is a man trying to be smooth and get a lady to the dance floor.  Later in the song, the man even gets so bold as to say, “I wanna be your man/You know I can, for sure/Just ease across the floor/Just slid a little more/Let the left hand know where the right hand goes.”  Again, this is a guy who wants to dance with a woman and show her what he’s got, talent-wise.  It’s a quite relatable scenario…maybe less so today because courtship methods seem to be so different today than in the past, but still at least somewhat relatable.  That accessibility, in terms of the song’s lyrics, coupled with the upbeat, feel good musical arrangement makes this song easily one of the record’s best entries and one of the best of Gibbons’ originals included in the record.  That being the case, the song proves to be just one example of why the Big Bad Blues is such a good record.  Earlier in the record’s run, another similar lyrically formatted original titled ‘My Baby, She Rocks’ also serves to support that statement.

‘My Baby She Rocks’ is another work that instantly conjures thoughts of Stevie Ray Vaughan just by its title alone.  That’s because of its close similarity to SRV’s ‘Pride and Joy.’  Musically speaking, it does bear some semblance to said song, too, though maybe only loosely.  If anything, its arrangement is more akin to that of ‘Let The Left Hand Know…’ than ‘Pride and Joy’ thanks to its gritty, mid-tempo vibe.  Lyrically, it is far more akin to ‘Pride and Joy’ as Gibbons sings, ‘My baby she rocks/My baby she rocks/My baby she/My baby she rocks/My baby she rocks right to me/Rocks me all night long.”  He goes on to sing, “My baby she shakes/My baby she shakes/My baby she rocks/My baby she shakes/My baby shakes/Shakes me all night long.”  No explanation is needed here if any at all.  This is a man who is proud of his woman and is making it clear in no uncertain terms.  What’s really interesting here is that laid back vibe presented in the song’s musical arrangement as he sings the noted lines.  This is some one who’s secure in his relationship with his woman and is totally content.  Again, this is a fully relatable scenario.  That ability of listeners to relate to the song’s lyrics and to feel so good in the process makes this song stand on its own merits just as much as ‘Let The Left Hand Know…’  Keeping that in mind, ‘My Baby She Rocks’ is yet another example of what makes The Big Bad Blues such a big “Bad” record.  It still isn’t the last example of what makes this album stand out.  ‘Hollywood 151’ is yet another example of what makes Gibbons’ latest solo record work so well.

Whereas the previously discussed songs were slower in their arrangements, ‘Hollywood 151’ is a more upbeat song.  What’s more even with its familiar 12-bar blues approach, it doesn’t try to repeat the arrangements already performed in the other noted compositions.  It’s just a fun, feel good work.  As with the other songs, this is another one centered on a man who’s crazy for a woman.  This time, it’s a guy telling a woman that he’ll do this and that for a woman on Hollywood 151, including taking her around the world, etc.  He sings, “I’m all about you/Having fun/I’m gonna take you/With my gun/I’m gonna follow you out of town/I’m gonna get you upside down…you know you got me/Left and right/You know me/Clear out of sight/You got me girl/I know you know it…cause you’re Hollywood 151.”  It’s doubtful there’s any ill intent in the mention of the gun, so that should not be taken verbatim.  It likely has another meaning, especially considering everything else noted in this song.  That’s the case considering he sings about buying the woman a big new Cadillac and taking her around the world.  This is just a man who wants to woo a woman and win her over, once again.  The song’s musical arrangement does a good job of illustrating the positive energy being exuded by the man as he tries to win her over, too.  That understanding adds so much to the song.  When one keeps that in mind in considering this song and the enjoyment raised through the other songs (and those not noted here) the whole of the record’s songs makes the album in whole one “bad” blues rock record and a strong second solo effort from Gibbons.

Billy Gibbons’ sophomore solo record The Big Bad Blues is a “bad” album that blues purists and ZZ Top fans alike will appreciate.  It is chock full of arrangements and lyrics that will put a smile on the faces of any of the noted audiences.  That is evidenced in part through the easygoing, blues-rock of ‘Let The Left Hand Know…’ and its lyrical content.  The same can be said of ‘My Baby She Rocks’ and even ‘Hollywood 151.’  Between those songs and the others included in the record, but not noted here, the whole of this record proves to be a fun record for a wide range of audiences.  That includes, again, fans of ZZ Top and blues purists alike.  The album will be available September 21 via Concord Records.  More information on The Big Bad Blues is available online now along with all of Billy Gibbons’ latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.billygibbons.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/billyfgibbons

 

 

 

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.

Billy Gibbons Announces ‘The Big Bad Blues’ Tour Dates

Courtesy: Concord Records

Billy Gibbons is headed out on the road this fall.

The ZZ Top front man will launch a five-week North American tour this October in support of his new forthcoming solo album The Big Bad Blues, which will be released Sept. 21 via Concord Records.  The tour is currently scheduled to launch October 13, roughly three weeks after his sophomore solo record is set to drop. It includes performances in Cleveland, Ohio; Washington, D.C.; Fort Worth, Texas and a number of other cities before winding down November 18 at the famed Troubadour in West Hollywood, California.

The tour’s current schedule is noted below.

Billy F Gibbons – The Big Bad Blues Tour 2018

Oct-13  Riverside, IA  Riverside Casino and Golf Resort

Oct-14  Prior Lake, MN  Mystic Lake Casino – Showroom

Oct-16  Chicago, IL  House of Blues

Oct-17  Columbus, OH The Bluestone

Oct-18  St. Louis, MO The Pageant

Oct-20  Wabash, IN  Honeywell Center

Oct-21  Cleveland, OH  Agora Ballroom

Oct-23  Kitchener, ON  Centre in the Square

Oct-25  Derry, NH  Tupelo Music Hall

Oct-26  Beverly, MA  The Cabot Theater

Oct-28  Huntington, NY  The Paramount

Oct-30  New York, NY  Iridium Jazz Club

Oct-31  New York, NY  Iridium Jazz Club

Nov-01  Washington, DC  Pearl Street Warehouse

Nov-03  Pompano Beach, FL  Pompano Beach Amphitheatre

Nov-05  Clearwater, FL  Ruth Eckerd Hall

Nov-06  Lake Buena Vista, FL  House of Blues – Orlando

Nov-07  Atlanta, GA  Variety Playhouse

Nov-09  Houston, TX   Revention Music Center

Nov-10  Fort Worth, TX   Billy Bob’s Texas

Nov-11  San Antonio, TX  Aztec Theater

Nov-15  Solana Beach, CA  Belly Up Tavern

Nov-16  Las Vegas, NV  Brooklyn Bowl

Nov-18  West Hollywood, CA  Troubadour

In anticipation of The Big Bad Blues‘ release, Gibbons debuted the lyric video for the album’s latest single — his cover of Gilly Stillwater’s hit song ‘Missin’ Yo Kissin’ — on August 9.  It follows the debut of the lyric video for his cover of Muddy Waters’ ‘Rollin’ and Tumblin’ on July 20.  Also included in the record are covers of Bo Didlley’s ‘Crackin’ Up’ and Jerome Green’s ‘Bring It To Jerome.’

Also included in the 11-song record are six original songs. The album’s track listing is noted below.

Track list (all songs by Billy F Gibbons except where noted):

1)         Missin’ Yo’ Kissin’ (Gilly Stillwater)

2)         My Baby She Rocks

3)         Second Line

4)         Standing Around Crying (Muddy Waters)

5)         Let The Left Hand Know… 

6)         Bring It To Jerome (Jerome Green)

7)         That’s What She Said

8)         Mo’ Slower Blues

9)         Hollywood 151

10)       Rollin’ and Tumblin’ (Muddy Waters)

11)       Crackin’ Up (Bo Diddley)

The Big Bad Blues‘ release will come almost three years after the release of Gibbons’ solo debut Perfectamundo, which was released November 6, 2015.  It is a tribute to Gibbons’ love of the blues and rock & roll. Gibbons said in a recent interview that his new album stands separate from Perfectamundo and offers plenty for audiences to appreciate.

“We successfully made our way through those uncharted waters with the Cubano falvor of Perfectamundo and completed the journey,” Gibbons said.  “The shift back to the blues is natural.  It’s something which our followers can enjoy with the satisfaction of experiencing the roots tradition, and, at the same time, feeling the richness of stretching the art form.”

He expanded on the blues as an art form, saying it’s something special.

“There’s something very primordial within the art form,” Gibbons said. “Nobody gets away from the infectious allure of those straight ahead licks.”

Joining Gibbons on his latest album are Mike Flanigan (keyboards), Joe Hardy (bass), Matt Sorum (ex-Guns N’ Roses) and Greg Morrow (drums), Austin Hank (guitar) and James Harman (harmonica). Pre-orders for The Big Bad Blues are open now.  Signed and exclusive bundles are available here.

More information on The Big Bad Blues is available online now along with all of Gibbons’ latest tour schedule updates, news and more at:

 

Website: http://www.billygibbons.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/billyfgibbons

 

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.

Billy Gibbons Announces Release Date, Specs For His Sophomore Solo Album

Courtesy: Concord Records

Billy Gibbons has a new solo record on the way.

The ZZ Top guitarist/vocalist announced this week that his new, sophomore solo album The Big Bad Blues is currently scheduled to be released Sept. 21 via Concord Records. It will come almost three years after the release of his debut solo record, Perfectamundo, which was released Nov. 6, 2015.

The 11-song record is a tribute to Gibbons’ lifelong love of the blues and rock & roll, and features a number of Gibbons’ original works alongside covers of tunes such as ‘Rollin’ and Tumblin” and ‘Standing Around Crying.’ In anticipation of the album’s release, a lyric video of ‘Rollin’ and Tumblin‘ is streaming now.

Gibbons said in a recent interview that his new album stands separate from Perfectamundo and offers plenty for audiences to appreciate.

“We successfully made our way through those uncharted waters with the Cubano flavor of Perfectamundo and completed the journey,” Gibbons said.  “the shift back to the blues is natural.  It’s something which our followers can enjoy with the satisfaction of experiencing the roots tradition, and, at the same time, feeling the richness of stretching the art form.”

Gibbons expanded on the blues as an art form, saying it’s something special.

“There’s something very primordial within the art form,” Gibbbons said.  “Nobody gets away from the infectious allure of those straight ahead licks.”

Joining Gibbons on his new record to round out the personnel are: Mike Flanigin (keyboards), Joe Hardy (bass), Matt Sorum (ex-Guns N’ Roses) and Greg Morrow (drums), Austin Hanks (guitar) and James Harman (harmonica).

The album’s full track listing is noted below.

Track list (all songs by Billy F Gibbons except where noted):

1)         Missin’ Yo’ Kissin’ (Gilly Stillwater)

2)         My Baby She Rocks

3)         Second Line

4)         Standing Around Crying (Muddy Waters)

5)         Let The Left Hand Know… 

6)         Bring It To Jerome (Jerome Green)

7)         That’s What She Said

8)         Mo’ Slower Blues

9)         Hollywood 151

10)       Rollin’ and Tumblin’ (Muddy Waters)

11)       Crackin’ Up (Bo Diddley)

Pre-orders are open now.  Signed and exclusive bundles are available here.  Tour dates in support of The Big Bad Blues will be announced soon.

More information on the Big Bad Blues is available online now along with all of Billy Gibbons’ latest news and more at:

 

Website: http://www.billygibbons.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/billyfgibbons

 

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.

 

ZZ Top To Release New Live Recording This Summer

Courtesy: Suretone Records/Merlis For Hire

Courtesy: Suretone Records/Merlis For Hire

ZZ Top has a new live recording on the way.

The veteran rock trio has announced that it will release a new live recording this summer.  Greatest Hits Live will be released Friday, August 12th via Suretone Records.  The record will feature live performances of some of the band’s biggest hits from its decades-long career.  They include the band’s breakthrough hit ‘La Grange,’ ‘Gimme All Your Lovin’,’ Sharp Dressed Man,’ ‘Legs,’ and even a special cover of Tennessee Ernie Ford’s ‘Sixteen Tons.’  The performances in question are taken from a number of the band’s tours rather than just one tour.  Billy Gibbons, the band’s front man, said of the recording that it is the live record for fans from the band.  “We spend the biggest stretch of every year out on the road, whippin’ wire, poundin’ skin, and rockin’ it way up,” he said.  “This is the true document of life de la ZZ.  In an abstract surrealism style, this collection is a definitive chronicle of the band hangin’ together for four plus deluxe decades, getting down to do what we get to do. Enjoy and listen to loudness!”

Greatest Hits Live will be released on a variety of platforms including: CD, gatefold vinyl, and digital through all streaming and download stores.  Pre-orders for th record are open now via Amazon (CD: http://smarturl.it/CD_LGHFATW, vinyl: http://smarturl.it/LP_LGHFATW) and via iTunes (http://smarturl.it/iT-LGHFATW).  Fans can download the song ‘Rough Boy’ now via iTunes (http://smarturl.it/iT-RoughBoyLive) and Spotify (http://smarturl.it/SP_RoughBoyLive).  It is also streaming free online now via Youtube.  The recording’s full track listing is noted below.

Greatest Hits Live tracklisting with location of each track’s recording

  1. Got Me Under Pressure                  New York
  2. Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers          Las Vegas
  3. Cheap Sunglasses                          Paris
  4. Waitin’ For The Bus                         Chicago
  5. Jesus Just Left Chicago                  Chicago
  6. Legs                                                SãoPaolo
  7. Sharp Dressed Man                        Los Angeles
  8. Rough Boy (with Jeff Beck)             London
  9. Pincushion                                       Berlin
  10. La Grange                                        Dallas
  11. I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide                    Vancouver
  12. Tube Snake Boogie                          Rome
  13. Gimme All Your Lovin’                      Houston
  14. Tush                                                 Nashville
  15. Sixteen Tons (with Jeff Beck)           London

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

 

 

Website: http://www.zztop.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/zztop

 

 

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.

ZZ Top Live @ Montreux Is One Of 2014’s Top New Live Recordings

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Vision

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Vision

Eagle Rock Entertainment has, over the years, earned the title from this critic of being the “Leader in Live Recordings.” Eagle Rock has long been the gold standard for live recordings with releases from the likes of Paul McCartney, The Raconteurs, Elton John, Stone Temple Pilots, Slipknot, and so many others across the board. Now yet again, Eagle Rock has proven yet again why it is that gold standard thanks to the brand new release of ZZ Top Live at Montreux 2013. This latest release in Eagle Rock’s ongoing partnership with Montreux Sounds is one more of this year’s top live recordings. It offers audiences a concert loaded with all of the Texas-based trio’s greatest hits and some lesser-known pieces, among which is a fitting tribute to the famed festival’s late founder Claude nobs. The concert’s combined audio and video mix make taking in each of those songs even more of a joy for audiences of all ages. And rounding out the whole thing is a pair of interviews that while relatively short, provide so much insight into the band’s respect for the Montreux festival, music in general and more. All three of these factors together show once again why Eagle Rock remains to this day, the “Leader in Live Recordings,” and why every classic rock and rock fan in general, will enjoy this concert.

The central point of enjoyment in ZZ Top Live at Montreux 2013 is the show’s set list, point blank. The veteran trio—Dusty Hill (bass), Billy Gibbons (guitar), and Frank Beard (drums)—churns out hit after hit throughout the course of the concert’s seventeen-song, eighty-minute show. Among those hits are the likes of ‘Sharp Dressed Man,’ ‘Gimme All your Lovin’,’ and ‘Tush’ just to name a few. As much as audiences will enjoy those favorites, they will also enjoy the band’s cover of Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Foxey Lady’ and the trio’s tribute to late Montreux Jazz Festival founder Claude Knobs in the bluesy/jazzy ‘Kiko.’ The band even brings in a pair of special guest musicians to join in on this number and one other song. The band’s live take of ‘I Gotsta Get Paid’ is another wonderful highlight from this concert. Throughout it all, the trio’s unassuming demeanor set against such solid, driving songs makes for such an interesting experience. It goes to show that a band doesn’t need pyro and loads of special effects and more to make a concert memorable. As long as the band can get the audience moving with its music, that’s the most important factor to the show. And that’s exactly what the members of ZZ Top do in this case. That factor alone makes this recording more than worth the watch.

The set list that makes up ZZ Top’s by itself more than makes this recording worth the watch. It makes it well worth buying for the band’s fans of all ages. Just as worth noting is the concert’s combined audio and video mix. The sound and video are both crystal clear throughout the show’s roughly eighty-minute run time. This is one of those standards that has for the longest time, made Eagle Rock the gold standard in live recordings. Those with home theater systems will especially appreciate the painstaking efforts that went in to bringing this concert to audiences. From the soaring shots above the crowd to the close ups of the band to those of the audience happily singing along, the camerawork in this concert is on par with every concert that Eagle Rock has released in recent years. And the audio mix is just as solid. Again, those with a home theater system will hear this for themselves. That expert audio and visual work together with the show’s set list pushes this recording even more to the top. Putting the recording at the top is the addition of a pair of interviews with Billy Gibbons and Dusty Hill in which the pair discuss what the Montreux Festival means to them, their thoughts on Claude Nobs and more.

The finishing touch to ZZ Top’s new live recording is the inclusion of a pair of backstage interviews with Billy Gibbons and Dusty Hill. The interviews are short. They run about three minutes or a little more each. But even within their short run times, the thoughts shared by the pair speak volumes. They discuss the festival itself and its history and how much it meant to have been invited to perform. They also discuss their relationship with the festival’s late founder Claude Nobs. They spoke very fondly of nobs and how those positive vibes led to the band’s musical tribute to the man. Just as eye and ear opening is the pair’s discussion on how the festival really brought together so many people of different musical backgrounds. It shows a love for music and respect for all different kinds of people. And that sentiment, as short as it may be, makes one look back through the concert once again, gaining a whole new appreciation not just for this recording, but for the members of ZZ Top as people. All things considered, this latest live recording from Eagle Rock Entertainment proves to be one more in this critic’s list of the year’s best new live recordings. It will be the favorite of any other music lover, too when they purchase the Blu-ray or DVD for themselves.

More information on this and other releases from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online at http://www.facebook.com/EagleRockEnt and http://www.eagle-rock.com. And for the latest on ZZ Top’s updated tour schedule and more, fans can follow the band online at http://www.facebook.com/ZZTop and http://www.zztop.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.