Blacktop Mojo Front Man Matt James Talks With Phil’s Picks About Touring, BTM’s New Album

Courtesy: Blacktop Mojo/TAG Publicity/Atom Splitter PR

Independent hard rock band Blacktop Mojo recently released its fourth album. The band is on the road in support of the new, self-titled record. Amid it all, front man Matt James was nice enough to sit down and talk with Phil’s Picks about the album, as well as the band’s tour. The full interview is available below to read.

PP: First off, congratulations on the new album.  How does it feel to finally have the album released?

Matt: It’s an exciting time. It’s a lot of work that goes into writing and recording. I think this particular album took us around 2 years from when we started writing until now, so we are elated to have it out.

PP: Your new album has already produced two singles, ‘Tail Light’ and ‘Wicked Woman.’  What is it about those two songs that really stood out to you to make them singles?

 Matt: We chose those particular two songs because they bookend the album and we felt like sonically, they offered two extremes of the various sounds that are found on this record.

PP: With two singles already out, do you have plans for a set number of singles to promote the album or is just sort of going to be what it’s going to be?  The reason I ask is that many of the artists and acts that I’ve had the honor to interview recently have offered some interesting takes on releasing albums versus singles.  There seems to be a growing focus on singles instead of crafting albums, yet here you guys have made an album, and it’s obviously not your first.  You’ve even put out an EP.  So where do you sit on the discussion about whether we live today in more of a single or album driven music culture?

 Matt: We enjoy crafting and making albums and releasing singles to promote those albums. That’s not to say that we wouldn’t ever release a stand alone single. We live in a very cool time where you can pretty much do creatively whatever you want as an artist. It’s cool you can put out new music in whatever format you want, whenever you want.

PP: Changing gears, you guys are now touring in support of your new album.  How does it feel to be back in front of audiences after being away from the stage for such a long time last year and this year?

Matt: It is an amazing release to be back out in front of crowds. I feel like every band and everyone out in the crowds had a lot of pent up energy from everything being shutdown. It’s nice to feel that sense of community again.

PP: Staying on the matter of touring, you guys have three consecutive dates in North Carolina set for October (Oct. 7 at Amos Southend in Charlotte, Oct. 8 at the Blind Tiger in Greensboro, and Oct. 9 at Hooligans Music Hall in Jacksonville, NC)  All three venues are very well-known and respected to say the least.  Now this tour will hardly mark your first time visiting North Carolina.  So, what is it about North Carolina that you all like so much?  You clearly have an audience here, otherwise you wouldn’t be making stops here.  So, talk to me about that.

Matt: We go where people want to hear us play. North Carolina seems to be one of those places.

PP: There’s been a lot of talk already this year about tours getting postponed because of the impact of the COVID-19 delta variant’s spread.  Stevie Nicks just recently announced she was postponing her tour because of those concerns.  Deftones has postponed theirs, too.  There have also been reports of more than 300 cases of COVID following Lollapalooza.  Now considering how many thousands of people attended, that’s a drop in the bucket, but it is still worth noting.  Keeping all of that in mind, do you all have any concerns in the backs of your minds about live music getting shut down all over again because of this latest outbreak?

Matt: We’re always wary of things getting shut down again and are thankful for every show we get to play while things are open and people feel safe to come to shows.

PP: Staying somewhat on that topic, a lot of acts resorted to doing paid livestream events in 2020 as a result of shows being shut down, including yourselves.  What is your take on doing livestreams versus performing live in person with an audience there?

Matt: Livestreams were a great option for when everything was shut down for us to stay connected to everyone in a way and keep our playing sharp for when we finally got to come back. I don’t think there is anything quite like truly live music though.

PP: Getting back to your new album, there is a clear distinction in style and sound between this record and your then most recent record, Static.  Did the band sit down and map out this new album going into the record, with a direct intention to change the sound or did this new record just take shape as you all went along?

Matt: All of our records sort of take shape as we go along. We wrote the songs and then ideas for arrangements and instrumentation, etc usually come later when we start recording.

PP Sticking to the album, one of the songs that caught my attention came early in the album’s run in the form of ‘Rewind.’  This song, to me, really exemplifies the mainstream appeal of so much of your sophomore album, Burn The Ships.  I can hear hints of Theory of a Deadman again here.  Interestingly though, I can also hear a weird similarity to music from Creed in the song’s chorus.  Talk to me about that.  Am I just crazy in hearing those two clearly distinct sounds and styles?  And lyrically, it sounds like this song focuses on the all too familiar topic of a broken relationship.  Is that the correct interpretation?  If so, then the song really gets more interesting because you could have gone the moody, brooding, ‘oh woe is me’ route with the music, but you didn’t.  So, yeah, talk to me about that.

Matt: Those are both very talented bands, so to be compared to them is a huge compliment. Thank you. The song really focuses on that bittersweet moment of when you love someone, but you know it’s not right. The “woe is me” route didn’t really fit with that feeling.

PP: ‘Do It For The Money’ is another interesting addition to your new album.  This song is, musically, such a heavy song.  That line in the chorus, “Do you do it for the love/Or do you do it for the money” is really interesting.  There is also that line about the rich get lucky and the poor dying young.”  The whole thing comes across at least to me as a commentary about the divide between the 1 percent the other 99 percent.  Talk about all that if you will, especially if my interpretation is wrong.

Matt: It’s a bit about that. It’s more just about that divide we all face as humans where a lot of the times you have to choose between your dreams and making a living.

PP: Staying on that song, there are points here, as in many others, Matt, where your vocal style really is so similar to that of Scott Stapp.  That is only coming from my own observational standpoint.  As a matter of fact, audiences can really hear that comparison in so much of the band’s work.  Has that comparison ever been made by anyone else?  It just comes across in some of those moments when your vocals get really raspy, I can hear it.  Talk to me about that.

Matt: Haven’t really heard that comparison very much to be honest. Scott is a talented vocalist though, so I do appreciate the compliment.

PP: I know I’ve asked a lot of questions.  I’ll ask just a couple more.  Every act eventually gets to the point of just settling on self-titled for their albums.  So, were there other considerations for your new album’s title or was it always going to be self-titled?

Matt: It was self-titled from the get go.

PP: Last question for you guys.  Thank you again for your time.  Talk to me about how the new album’s cover art came about.  What was the inspiration behind the design?

Matt: Since it was a self-titled record, I had the image of all of us as Greek/Roman style statues. Something that would stand the test of time. Having actual busts of us made was a bit out of our price range, so I ended up creating the statues in photoshop.

The band is in the midst of the tour’s first leg of its tour. The band’s upcoming dates, including those for the second leg of the tour, are noted below.

BLACK TOP MOJO ON TOUR         
8/20 — St. Louis, MO — Red Flag
8/21 — Hutchinson, KS — The Red Shed
8/22 — Lubbock, TX — Jakes
9/24 — Fort Worth, TX — Rail Club
9/25 — Enid, OK — Fling At The Springs
9/26 — Fort Smith, AR — Temple Live
9/30 — Biloxi, MS — The Cannery Bar & Grill
10/2 — Destin, FL — Club LA w/ Nonpoint
10/3 — Lake City, FL — Halpatter Brewing Company
10/5 — Orlando, FL — Soundbar
10/7 — Charlotte, NC — Amos
10/8 — Greensboro, NC — Blind Tiger
10/9 — Jacksonville, NC — Hooligans Music Hall
10/10 — Virginia Beach, VA — Elevation 27
10/12 — Brooklyn, NY — Kingsland
10/13 — Syracuse, NY — Lost Horizon
10/15 — Marietta, OH — Adelphia Music Hall
10/16 — Harrisburg, PA — HMAC
10/21 — Providence, RI — Alchemy
10/22 — Hampton Beach, NH — Wallys
10/23 — Hartford, CT — Webster Underground
10/24 — Albany, NY — Empire Underground
10/26 — Buffalo, NY — Mohawk Place
10/28 — Flint, MI — Machine Shop
10/29 — Indianapolis, IN — Emerson Theater
10/30 — Battle Creek, MI — Music Factory
10/31 — Ft Wayne, IN — Pieres
11/3 — West Dundee, IL — Rockhaus
11/4 — Peoria, IL — Crusens
11/5 — Wichita, KS — Temple Live
11/6 — Texarkana, AR — Crossties

More information on Blacktop Mojo’s new album and tour is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.blacktopmojo.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/BlacktopMojo

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/blacktopmojo

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

Blacktop Mojo’s Ongoing Success Continues With Its New Self-Titled Album

Courtesy: TAG Publicity

Things have picked up lately for Blacktop Mojo.  The band recently launched its latest tour and its new self-titled album.  Released Friday, the 12-song self-titled record is another successful offering from the independent hard rock band.  According to information provided, the album is already at #5 on the iTunes Rock Albums chart and at #30 on iTunes’ Top 100 Albums Chart.  No doubt the two singles that the album has already produced – ‘Tail Light’s and ‘Wicked Woman,’ which close and open the album respectively do their own part to help with that success.  Those two songs are only a part of what shows the album’s strength.  ‘Do It For The Money,’ one of the album’s later entries, does well in itself to support the noted statements.  It will be discussed shortly.  ‘Rewind,’ which comes early in the album’s run, is another example of what makes this album worth hearing.  It will be examined a little later.  Much the same can be said of ‘Stratus Melancholia,’ the album’s penultimate entry.  It will also be examined later.  Each song noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the album.  When they are considered along with the rest of the album’s songs, the whole proves to be one more of this year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.

Blacktop Mojo’s new self-titled record (its fourth overall album) is another successful new offering from the independent hard rock band.  That is proven in part through the late entry, ‘Do It For The Money.’  The song features a heavy, crunching guitar line and equally heavy, rich bass and drum line that is instantly comparable to some of the best works from Black Label Society.  The fullness and richness in the arrangement (including the vocals) makes the arrangement so engaging and entertaining.  It is just one part of what makes the song stand out.  The seeming commentary about understanding what is important in life featured in the song’s lyrical content adds to the song’s impact.

The noted inferred theme is presented right from the song’s outset as James sings in the song’s lead verse and chorus, “How much for your soul?/Is it for sale to anyone?/What’s the price of being loved?/Which bank do you owe?/Is it worth its weight in/Is it worth its weight in/Is it worth its weight in gold?/Do you do it for the love/Or do you do it for the money?/The poor die young and the rich get lucky/Cash is king and you’re the jester honey/Do you do it for the love/Or do you do it for the money?”  The song’s second verse continues that inferred theme as James sings, “He left you in the hole/Did you know the deal was wrong?/Did you sell it for a song?/It’s your blood on the note/Oh he cleaned you out/What will you pay with/What will you pay with/What will you pay with now?”  All of this seems to really infer a discussion on the familiar topic of deciding what is really important in life, money or our pride and simply more important matters in life.  The infectious nature of the song’s musical arrangement will ensure even more that audiences get that seeming message.  The two elements collectively make clear why this song is such a strong addition to the album.  It is just one of the many songs that make Blacktop Mojo’s new self-titled album such an impressive new offering from the band.  ‘Rewind,’ one of the album’s early entries, is another example of the record’s strength.

‘Rewind,’ like ‘Do It For The Money,’ stands out in part because of its arrangement.  This song’s arrangement is another work that tends to stray from Blacktop Mojo’s more familiar heavy, southern rock approach.  Rather in this case, what audiences get is a song that exhibits influence from Creed and (interestingly enough) Lifehouse.  The guitar-centered composition really comes across as a hybrid of songs from those two bands.  That is exhibited through the harmonies that it and the bass line create.  The addition of the vocals (which here really conjure thoughts of none other than Scott Stapp) adds even more to that sense.  Of course the song’s musical content is just one part of what makes it stand out.  The song’s lyrical content ensures its own appeal.

The lyrical content featured in this song seems to take on the all too familiar topic of a relationship matter.  This is inferred through the song’s extensive lead verse and chorus, in which James sings, “Rewind/To yesterday morning when/We were fine/Before we knew the world would end/If I told you/We could go back to that moment again/Would you drop everything/Take my hand, and follow?/Would you choose yesterday or tomorrow?/Sunshine/Morning light creeping in/White Lies/I don’t know what to say again/Is illusion/Better than the promise we give/When I love you for some reason seems hollow/Would you choose yesterday or tomorrow?/Don’t speak now live in the moment babe/One wrong word and everything’s changed/The second hand could tick and we lose everything we know/Fight back tears as the tape plays/It comes unwound and goes in and out of phase/The stereo is screaming and the song don’t sound the same anymore/Rewind the track to way back before we knew the words.”  The song’s second verse infers even more that the song’s theme is that of a potentially broken relationship as James sings, “Inside/I think I know the answer you’ll give/In your eyes/I can tell you’re barely holding it in/When I met you/We radiated light from within/But we chewed that up and now it’s time to swallow/Would you choose yesterday or tomorrow?”  The heartfelt feeling in the song’s arrangement, while thankfully not the typical oh woe is me approach, still does well to complete the picture of this seeming theme.  It adds even more to the song’s overall emotional impact.  Together, the two elements show clearly why this song is another positive addition to Blacktop Mojo.  It is just one more of the songs that makes the album in whole prove so enjoyable, too.  ‘Stratus Melancholia,’ the album’s penultimate entry, is yet another way in which Blacktop Mojo proves its success.

Right off the bat, the musical arrangement featured in ‘Stratus Melancholia’ evokes thoughts of the grunge sounds of the 90s.  Speaking more specifically, the song’s heavy, plodding arrangement likens itself to works from Soundgarden and Alice in Chains through the downtuned guitars, bass, almost mournful vocal delivery style and heavy drums.  At the same time, BTM’s own familiar influence is present, too.  It is just blended well with the other noted influences here to make the arrangement in whole such a unique addition to the album.  That arrangement does not work alone here, either.  The lyrical content that accompanies the song’s musical arrangement makes for its own interest.

The almost nihilistic approach to the song’s lyrical content adds even more to that noted grunge approach.  The song opens with James singing, “Black sun burn a hole in the clouds/The world goes cold the grass turns brown/Heart turning inside out/Open up and swallow me down//Blind darkness closing in/Whisper nothings, sweet as sin/Echoes now were they a dream/In the end they don’t mean a thing/Love won’t keep you safe/Love will slip away/Love won’t keep you safe/Love will slip away.”  The song’s second verse is just as brooding as it states, “All alone in my own head/Rotten smell/Is something dead?/Crawling on my hands and knees/Beg the darkness/Let me breathe.”  This comes across as someone in a dark place.  It is a fully relatable situation for every listener.  That ability to connect with listeners lyrically as well as musically (the song’s musical arrangement does very well to enhance the mood set by the song’s lyrical theme, too) shows even more why this song stands out.  The whole makes even clearer why this album is such an impressive new offering from Blacktop Mojo.  When it is considered along with the other songs examined here and the rest of the album’s songs, the whole makes the album in whole a fully successful new offering from Blacktop Mojo that continues to help cement the band’s place among the current generation of young rock acts.

Blacktop Mojo’s fourth album, Blacktop Mojo, is yet another strong offering from the band.  Its musical and lyrical content alike does well throughout to make it fully engaging and entertaining.  Each of the songs examined here serve in their own way to support that statement.  They and the rest of the album’s songs show a continued growth from the band.  When they are considered along with the album’s existing singles and the rest of the album’s songs, the whole makes the album overall one more of this year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.  Furthermore, it continues to cement the band’s place among the current generation of young rock and hard rock bands.  Blacktop Mojo is available now.

The band is in the midst of the tour’s first leg of its tour. The band’s upcoming dates, including those for the second leg of the tour, are noted below.

BLACK TOP MOJO ON TOUR        
8/15 — Joliet, IL — The Forge 
8/17 — Nashville, TN — The End
8/18 — Memphis, TN — Growlers
8/20 — St. Louis, MO — Red Flag
8/21 — Hutchinson, KS — The Red Shed
8/22 — Lubbock, TX — Jakes
9/24 — Fort Worth, TX — Rail Club
9/25 — Enid, OK — Fling At The Springs
9/26 — Fort Smith, AR — Temple Live
9/30 — Biloxi, MS — The Cannery Bar & Grill
10/2 — Destin, FL — Club LA w/ Nonpoint
10/3 — Lake City, FL — Halpatter Brewing Company
10/5 — Orlando, FL — Soundbar
10/7 — Charlotte, NC — Amos
10/8 — Greensboro, NC — Blind Tiger
10/9 — Jacksonville, NC — Hooligans Music Hall
10/10 — Virginia Beach, VA — Elevation 27
10/12 — Brooklyn, NY — Kingsland
10/13 — Syracuse, NY — Lost Horizon
10/15 — Marietta, OH — Adelphia Music Hall
10/16 — Harrisburg, PA — HMAC
10/21 — Providence, RI — Alchemy
10/22 — Hampton Beach, NH — Wallys
10/23 — Hartford, CT — Webster Underground
10/24 — Albany, NY — Empire Underground
10/26 — Buffalo, NY — Mohawk Place
10/28 — Flint, MI — Machine Shop
10/29 — Indianapolis, IN — Emerson Theater
10/30 — Battle Creek, MI — Music Factory
10/31 — Ft Wayne, IN — Pieres
11/3 — West Dundee, IL — Rockhaus
11/4 — Peoria, IL — Crusens
11/5 — Wichita, KS — Temple Live
11/6 — Texarkana, AR — Crossties

More information on Blacktop Mojo’s new album and tour is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.blacktopmojo.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/BlacktopMojo

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/blacktopmojo

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

Blacktop Mojo Debuts ‘Wicked Woman’ Video; Announces New Live Dates

Courtesy: Atom Splitter PR

Blacktop Mojo is continuing to build anticipation for its next album.

The band premiered the video for its latest single, ‘Wicked Woman’ Wednesday. The song is the second single from the band’s forthcoming self-titled album, which is scheduled for release Aug. 13. Pre-orders are open.

The 12-song record is the band’s fourth record and will come approximately two years after the release of the band’s third album, Under The Sun. Additionally, it will come more than a year after the release of the band’s EP, Static.

The premiere of ‘Wicked Woman’ was preceded by that of the album’s lead single, ‘Tail Light‘ and its video.

The musical arrangement featured in ‘Wicked Woman’ is the polar opposite of that featured in ‘Tail Light.’ Where ‘Tail Light’ is a gentle, contemplative composition, ‘Wicked Woman’ is a heavy, bluesy work that even incorporates a little bit of metal influence in the song’s bridge.

No information about the song’s lyrical theme was presented in the press release distributed about the video’s premiere. However, the song’s title, lyrical content and video makes clear that the song is about a man trying to get away from a very bad woman.

In the case of the video, one of the band members is trying to get away from a couple of the men who have been put under the evil woman’s spell. It should be stressed here that due to some visual content and language this video is borderline NSFW.

In related news, Blacktop Mojo announced this week, the dates for the next leg of its tour in support of its new album. The second leg of the band’s tour is scheduled to launch Sept. 24 in Ft. Worth, TX and to run through Nov. 6 in Texarkana, AR. The second leg features performances in cities, such as Jacksonville, NC; Marietta, OH and Syracuse, NY.

The band is in the midst of the tour’s first leg of its tour. The band’s upcoming dates, including those for the second leg of the tour, are noted below.

BLACK TOP MOJO ON TOUR:
7/24 — Atlanta, GA — Masquerade (Purgatory)
7/25 — Huntsville, AL — Sidetracks Music Hall 
7/27 — Jackson, MS — Hal & Mal’s Red Room
7/28 — Leesville, LA — Shooters Bar & Billiards
7/30 — Chickasha, OK — Legends Pub House
7/31 — Kansas City, MO — Headlights Bar & Grill
8/1 — Des Moines, IA — Leftys 
8/3 — Minot, ND — The ‘O’ Riginal Bar & Nightclub
8/4 — Minneapolis, MN — Cabooze 
8/6 — Sheboygan, WI — Kiwanis Park
8/7 — Fort Madison, IA — RiverfestFM
8/8 — Madison, WI — The Annex   
8/10 — Cleveland, OH — The Winchester
8/11 — Columbus, OH — Woodlands Tavern   
8/13 — Port Byron, IL — Port Byron Great River Tug Fest
8/14 — Bristol, IN — Abate SummerFest
8/15 — Joliet, IL — The Forge 
8/17 — Nashville, TN — The End
8/18 — Memphis, TN — Growlers
8/20 — St. Louis, MO — Red Flag
8/21 — Hutchinson, KS — The Red Shed
8/22 — Lubbock, TX — Jakes
9/24 — Fort Worth, TX — Rail Club
9/25 — Enid, OK — Fling At The Springs
9/26 — Fort Smith, AR — Temple Live
9/30 — Biloxi, MS — The Cannery Bar & Grill
10/2 — Destin, FL — Club LA w/ Nonpoint
10/3 — Lake City, FL — Halpatter Brewing Company
10/5 — Orlando, FL — Soundbar
10/7 — Charlotte, NC — Amos
10/8 — Greensboro, NC — Blind Tiger
10/9 — Jacksonville, NC — Hooligans Music Hall
10/10 — Virginia Beach, VA — Elevation 27
10/12 — Brooklyn, NY — Kingsland
10/13 — Syracuse, NY — Lost Horizon
10/15 — Marietta, OH — Adelphia Music Hall
10/16 — Harrisburg, PA — HMAC
10/21 — Providence, RI — Alchemy
10/22 — Hampton Beach, NH — Wallys
10/23 — Hartford, CT — Webster Underground
10/24 — Albany, NY — Empire Underground
10/26 — Buffalo, NY — Mohawk Place
10/28 — Flint, MI — Machine Shop
10/29 — Indianapolis, IN — Emerson Theater
10/30 — Battle Creek, MI — Music Factory
10/31 — Ft Wayne, IN — Pieres
11/3 — West Dundee, IL — Rockhaus
11/4 — Peoria, IL — Crusens
11/5 — Wichita, KS — Temple Live
11/6 — Texarkana, AR — Crossties

In other news, Blacktop Mojo’s album will feature in NASCAR’s annual Brickyard 400 race this year. The race is scheduled to broadcast live at 1 p.m. ET Aug 15 on NBC with pre-race coverage scheduled to start at 11:05 a.m. ET. The No. 78 Live Fast Motorsports car, driven by Kyle Tilley, will feature the cover art for the band’s new album.

More information on Blacktop Mojo’s new album, single, video, and tour is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.blacktopmojo.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/BlacktopMojo

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/blacktopmojo

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

Blacktop Mojo Announces New LP Specs; Debuts Album’s Lead Single, Companion Video; Announces New Live Dates

Courtesy: Atom Splitter PR

Blacktop Mojo’s calendar for 2021 got very busy this week.

The band revealed the title, release date and cover art for its forthcoming album. The group also unveiled the album’s lead single and its companion video while also announcing the act’s upcoming live dates.

Blacktop Mojo is scheduled for release Aug. 13. The 12-song record is the band’s fourth record and will come approximately two years after the release of the band’s third album, Under The Sun. Additionally, it will come more than a year after the release of the band’s EP, Static.

In anticipation of the album’s release, the band premiered the album’s lead single, ‘Tail Lights,’ and its companion video Wednesday. The musical arrangement featured in the new song is a stirring rock ballad. The emotional depth in the arrangement matches the lyrical theme featured alongside that content. The song’s lyrical theme is that of the all-too-familiar broken relationship topic.

The video that accompanies the song presents the band performing the single, each man by himself, on a stage as what is supposed to be rain falls behind each musician. the presentation is meant to remind audiences in part of what the band looks and sounds like on stage.

Speaking of on stage, the band is scheduled to return to America’s stages beginning July 10 in Tulsa, OK. The band’s upcoming tour in support of its forthcoming album is scheduled to run through Aug. 22 in Lubbock, TX. It will feature performances in cities, such as Atlanta, GA; Des Moines, IA and Cleveland, OH.

The tour’s schedule is noted below. Tickets and VIP packages are available here.

BLACKTOP MOJO ON TOUR:
7/10 — Tulsa, OK — The Shrine
7/11 — Columbia, MO — Rose Music Hall
7/13 — Omaha, NE — Reverb Lounge
7/14 — Watertown, SD — The Goss Opera House
7/16 — Cadott, WI — Rock Fest
7/17 — Grand Rapids, MI — Upheaval Festival
7/19 — Pittsburgh, PA — Crafthouse
7/20 — Richmond, VA — Canal Club 
7/22 — Johnson City, TN — Capones
7/23 — Spartanburg, SC — Ground Zero
7/24 — Atlanta, GA — Masquerade (Purgatory)
7/25 — Huntsville, AL — Sidetracks Music Hall 
7/27 — Jackson, MS — Hal & Mal’s Red Room
7/28 — Leesville, LA — Shooters Bar & Billiards
7/30 — Chickasha, OK — Legends Pub House
7/31 — Kansas City, MO — Headlights Bar & Grill
8/1 — Des Moines, IA — Leftys 
8/3 — Minot, ND — The ‘O’ Riginal Bar & Nightclub
8/4 — Minneapolis, MN — Cabooze 
8/6 — Sheboygan, WI — Kiwanis Park
8/7 — Fort Madison, IA — RiverfestFM
8/8 — Madison, WI — The Annex   
8/10 — Cleveland, OH — The Winchester
8/11 — Columbus, OH — Woodlands Tavern   
8/13 — Port Byron, IL — Port Byron Great River Tug Fest
8/14 — Bristol, IN — Abate SummerFest
8/15 — Joliet, IL — The Forge 
8/17 — Nashville, TN — The End
8/18 — Memphis, TN — Growlers
8/20 — St. Louis, MO — Red Flag
8/21 — Hutchinson, KS — The Red Shed
8/22 — Lubbock, TX — Jakes

More information on Blacktop Mojo’s new album, single, video, and tour is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.blacktopmojo.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/BlacktopMojo

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/blacktopmojo

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

Blacktop Mojo Debuts ‘Signal’s Gone’ Video

Courtesy: Sand Hill Records

Blacktop Mojo is encouraging listeners to have the difficult conversations that they would rather not have with its latest single and video.

The band debuted the video for its latest single ‘Signal’s Gone’ Sept. 8.  The song is the latest single from the band’s 2020 EP Static.

The video finds front man Matt James watching images of himself and his romantic interest (wife?/girlfriend?) in Las Vegas, recalling the happy memories with the woman.  As the videos play on a TV that he is watching in the middle of the desert, it becomes clear that he is having some inner struggles.

Those struggles were explained by James in a recent interview.

“All too often today, people have the option of not having the hard conversations with the people in their lives because we no longer have to do it face to face. It is much easier to “ghost” someone, and let a relationship fade in time with no real closure than it is to look that person in the eye and say, ‘This isn’t working.'”

The song’s musical  arrangement is everything that audiences have come to expect from Blacktop Mojo.  The guitar-driven composition features a subdued bluesy, country/southern rock style sound.

Courtesy: Atom Splitter PR

In other Blacktop Mojo news, the band is scheduled to hold a live streaming acoustic performance at 4 p.m. on Sept. 30.

The concert will feature acoustic performances of songs from all three of the band’s albums — I AmBurn The Ships, and Under The Sun — as well as a selection of cover tunes.

American Merit, RavenEye, Like Machines, and Nathan Bergman will provide support for the concert.

Tickets are $7.  A variety of bundles is available here.

More information on Blacktop Mojo’s new single, video and concert is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

 

 

 

Websitehttp://www.blacktopmojo.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/BlacktopMojo

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/blacktopmojo

 

 

 

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

Blacktop Mojo Announces Details For Upcoming Live Stream Concert

Courtesy: Atom Splitter PR

Blacktop Mojo announced the details for its next live streaming event this week.

The band announced Thursday, it will hold an acoustic concert at 4 p.m. ET on Sept. 30.  The concert will feature acoustic performances of songs from all three of the band’s albums — I AmBurn The Ships, and Under The Sun — as well as a selection of cover tunes.

American Merit, RavenEye, Like Machines, and Nathan Bergman will provide support for the concert.

Tickets are $7.  A variety of bundles is available here.

More information on the EP is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

 

 

 

Websitehttp://www.blacktopmojo.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/BlacktopMojo

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/blacktopmojo

 

 

 

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

Clutch Announces Second “Live From The Doom Saloon” Streaming Show; Band Wants Fans To Form Show’s Setlist

Courtesy: New Ocean Media

Clutch wants fans to help decide the set list for its next streaming show.

The band is scheduled to perform its streaming show live at 5 p.m., Aug. 7.  The band has dubbed the performance “Live From The Doom Saloon — Volume II.”  Tickets for the online show are available here.

The set list for the band’s forthcoming concert will consist of 14 songs.  Fans can cast their votes for their favorite songs here.

The band talked about letting fans decide the set list for their show in a prepared statement.

“The thing that makes this stream unique is that Clutch fans will have the opportunity to create their dream setlist from our entire catalog,” the statement reads. “This means fans can pick from every release starting from our 1991 Pitchfork 7” all the way thru Book of Bad Decisions and the songs from our Vault Series.”

The band will choose one fan’s set list for the show.  The winner will receive a prize pack that features a TremLord 30 combo amplifier from Orange Amps, A stompbox from Creepy Fingers, Jim Dunlop Way Crybaby pedal, a case of Liquid Death mountain water, and Clutch merchandise.  The winner of the prize pack will be announced during the streaming show.

Fans who miss the band’s live streaming show on Aug. 7 can still stream it on-demand up until 11:59 p.m. EST on Aug 9.

Clutch’s “Live From The Doom Saloon — Volume 1” performance took place in May, and also featured performances from Blacktop Mojo, Saul, and Crowbar.  Proceeds from ticket sales for the event benefited Angel Flight West.  Angel Flight West is a network of volunteer pilots that free air transportation for people in need of medical treatment far from their homes, but who cannot afford the flights.

More information on Clutch’s upcoming concert is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

 

Websitehttp://www.pro-rock.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/clutchband

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/clutchofficial

 

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

Blacktop Mojo’s ‘Static’ Holds Its Own Against Its EP Counterparts

Courtesy: Sand Hill Records

Blacktop Mojo is scheduled to hold a live streaming performance Wednesday afternoon.  The concert, scheduled to take place from 4:35 p.m. – 5:05 p.m., is part of a bigger event headlined b Clutch.  The event in question is a fundraiser that is meant to benefit the nonprofit agencies MusiCares and Angel Flight West.  It will be available to watch until May 30.  Tickets are available for the May 27 show here.  The ticket price — $9 — will remain the same for the concert’s On Demand stream as for its live stream.  Blacktop Mojo’s performance will be in support of its forthcoming EP Static, which is scheduled for release May 29.  The four-song record, which will come less than a year after the release of the band’s third album Under The Sun, is an interesting offering from the group.  That is because over the course of its 18-minute run time, it proves to be a rather brooding presentation.  That is not entirely a negative, though.  It’s not like it’s some goth/emo type of work that relies so much on lyrical themes of “oh-woe-is-me.”  It is pretty heavy, though, in both its lyrical and music content.  ‘Watch Me Drown,’ the EP’s second single proves the brooding is not all bad.  It will be addressed shortly.  The record’s opener, ‘The End’ (How’s hat for irony, the record’s opener is called ‘The End’).  ‘Leave It Alone,’ the EP’s third entry, is one more example of what makes the EP engaging.  It will also be addressed later.  All three of these songs and the EP’s closer, ‘Signal’s Gone’ work together to make the record in while a presentation that is worth hearing at least once.

Blacktop Mojo’s forthcoming EP Static is an engaging presentation that is worth hearing at least once thanks to its heavy musical arrangements and equally heavy lyrical content.  That is proven in part through the EP’s second single ‘Watch Me Drown.’  The song’s brooding nature will keep listeners engaged throughout the course of its nearly four-minute run time.  The verses present a soft, yet very contemplative sense, while the choruses are far more fiery, creating a strong emotional impact through that dichotomy.  The juxtaposition of sounds also serves to help translate the song’s lyrical theme, adding even more to the song’s impact.

The song’s lyrical theme in question seems to center on someone addressing one of those false individuals who claim to be a friend, but in the end proves to be anything but.  This is inferred as front man Matt James sings, “Call for help/I’m going under/I need you to keep me alive/In my head I had to wonder/What was going through your mind/When you watched me drown/You watched me drown/Drown.”  He continues in the song’s second verse and chorus reprise, “You’ve go the rope in hand/Won’t you please throw me a line/You could have pulled me back to shore/But you ha that look in your eye/When you watched me drown/You watched me drown/Drown/Don’t you dare to chicken out now/You know you can’t turn around now.”  This obviously isn’t actually about someone physically drowning in the water.  It is metaphorical writing that is meant to make the song an allegory about someone who thought he/she knew another person, only to find out that same person wasn’t quite who he/she was believed to have been.  Everyone has been in that proverbial boat at some point, thinking they knew someone, only to find out that person was just a wolf in sheep’s clothing.  Considering this, it strengthens the song’s presentation even more in the song’s ability to connect with listeners through this message.  The well-crafted musical arrangement that accompanies the song’s lyrical content adds to that ability of the song to connect with listeners.  The two elements make the song a work that while brooding, is still powerful and will connect with listeners.  It is just one of the songs featured in Blacktop Mojo’s new EP that makes the record stand out.  ‘The End,’ the record’s opener, is another notable addition to the EP.

Much as is the case with ‘Watch Me Drown,’ the musical arrangement at the center of ‘The End’ is very brooding.  Again, the song’s verses find James and his band mates contemplating while the chorus is a stark contrast to that sound, adding to the impact of the arrangement and song in whole.  On a side note, James’ vocal delivery is comparable to that of former Creed front man turned solo artist Scott Stapp while the work of his band mates – Nathan Gillis (drums), Ryan Keifer (guitar), Chck Wepfer (guitar) and Matt Curtis (bass) – create a sound that is akin to so many songs from Alter Bridge.  That is meant in the most complimentary fashion possible.  The emotion exhibited through the song’s musical arrangement does well in its own right to make the song engaging in its own right.  The addition of the lyrical content to the mix strengthens the song’s presentation even more.

The song’s lyrical content comes across as a story about a relationship of some sort that has reached…well…its end.  The lyrics do not signify whether this is a romantic or plutonic relationship, but it leaves little doubt as to the fact that it is about a personal relationship of some sort coming to a difficult end.  This is inferred as James sings in the song’s lead verse and chorus, “Do you feel like you’re dying/Did you know that I was lying/What was I supposed to do/I always run away from you/Well I know you don’t like surprises.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “But I’m tired of compromises/There’s nothing left that I can do/Cry today/Tomorrow live.”  He adds to the song’s chorus in its refrain, “I don’t know how we got here.”  That final statement is interesting to note.  It’s the song’s subject looking back and pointing out he/she had no other choice considering everything.  Again, this is content to which listeners will have an easy time relating.  That person is saying to the other individual that person knew the end was coming, but was essentially in denial, so he/she should not be surprised by what has transpired.  It, again, is something that will connect with listeners.  In turn, that ability to relate to the song’s lyrics makes the song that much more notable, especially when it is accompanied by its musical arrangement.  All things considered, the song is another example of the EP’s strength, despite being an overwhelmingly brooding presentation.  It is just one more of the record’s most notable works.  ‘Leave It Alone’ does its own job to show the EP’s strength.

‘Leave It Alone’ is contemplative in its own right in its musical arrangement, and sounds even more like something akin to works from Creed like the record’s other songs.  Again, that is due in part to each musician’s own contribution to the song.  The emotional impact of the song’s musical arrangement couples with its equally thought provoking lyrical content to make the song stand out in whole even more.

The lyrical content presented in ‘Leave It Alone’ is just as engaging as that in the other two songs noted here and of ‘Signal’s Gone,’ the EP’s closer.  This time out, the song seems to come across as someone who has gone through quite a bit telling someone much younger that he needs to “slow his role” so to speak, and realize his place.  That is inferred right from the song’s outset, “Hard eyes swallow whole/Body full of foreign soil/Stare down 1,000 miles/Let that be boy/Leave it alone/Don’t speak no more/Hold your tongue/That ain’t for you/It’s mine to hold/Let that be/Leave it alone.”  The song’s subject continues addressing that other person in the song’s second verse, telling that person, “Heart pounds with bygone rage/Keep it locked there in its cage/Weathered hands can’t let go/Pain captured in kodachrome.”  This hints even more at the song’s subject being someone older who is telling that younger person who perhaps thinks he/she knows more than the subject in no uncertain terms, “you don’t know anything” and to know his/her place.  That is of course this critic’s interpretation.  Hopefully it is close to being the correct interpretation.  If in fact that is the song’s story, then it is one that will put a smile on listeners’ faces, too.  That is because everyone can relate to this situation, too. We have all been in a position in which we have had to remind someone of his/her place.  This is just one of those cases.  That ability of the song’s lyrical content to connect with listeners along with the ability of the song’s musical arrangement to engage and entertain listeners adds to the song’s impact.  All things considered here, the song shows once more why this record, despite having a very distinct overall musical sound and sense, is still worth hearing at least once.  That argument is strengthened even more as the other songs noted here are considered along with this work and the EP’s closer, ‘Signal’s Gone.’  When all four songs are assembled and examined together, they make Static a record that deserves its own share of applause.

Blacktop Mojo’s forthcoming EP Static is a work that is deserving of its own share of attention and applause.  There is a lot of heavy lyrical content and some equally heavy musical content throughout the course of its 18-minute run time.  What is interesting, as has been pointed out here, is that even with all that of that musical and lyrical heaviness, the record still is able to connect with listeners.  All three of the songs addressed here serve to support that statement.  When they are considered along with the record’s closer, the whole of the record proves itself to be another positive offering from Blacktop Mojo that deserves its own share of attention and applause.  Static is scheduled for release Friday.  More information on the EP is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.blacktopmojo.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/blacktopmojo

 

 

 

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

Clutch To Hold Fundraiser Concert Next Week

Courtesy: New Ocean Media

Clutch will hold a special new streaming live event next week.

The band will perform a streamed concert May 27 titled “Live From The Doom Saloon Volume 1.  The concert, which will raise money for the nonprofit agencies MusiCares and Angel Flight, has been produced in conjunction with Sound Talent Group and LiveFrom Events.

Clutch’s concert, which is on the back of its new Weathermaker Series and its 2018 album Book of Bad Decsisions, will be available for On Demand viewing starting at 4 p.m. EST on May 28.  It will be available to watch until May 30.  Tickets are available for the May 27 show here.  The ticket price — $9 — will remain the same for the concert’s On Demand stream as for its live stream.

Crowbar, Blacktop Mojo and Saul will join Clutch as support for the concert.  Their performances will be held remotely.

Blacktop Mojo’s performance will be in support of its forthcoming EP Static, which is scheduled for release May 29.  Crowbar front man Kirk Windstein released his new solo album Dream in Motion Jan. 24 through eOne, while Crowbar’s most recent album The Serpent Only Lies was released Oct. 28 through eOne.  Saul’s performance is in support of its debut EP Aeons, which was released in March 2019.

MusiCares is a nonprofit that provides financial assistance to musicians for items, such as medical bills, rehabilitation resources and general financial aid.

Angel Flight is a network of volunteer pilots that free air transportation for people in need of medical treatment far from their homes, but who cannot afford the flights.

More information on Clutch’s upcoming concert is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

 

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

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/clutchofficial

 

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

Hannah Williams & The Affirmations Stand Tall Among 2019’s New Independent Albums

Courtesy: Record Kicks

The old year is almost gone and the new year is on the way.  With the countdown to the calendar change nearing its annual end, critics are preparing their annual year-ender lists or have already posted said “Best Of” lists.  This critic has waited a while to make sure as many albums and EPs have been considered, and now with less than two weeks left in the year, the time is right to offer the first of many “Best Of” lists.

Opening this year’s multitude of year end “Best Of” lists from Phil’s Picks is the year’s top new independent albums.  Independent can mean acts signed to independent labels — of which there are many — and those who are straight up unsigned.  This year’s list presents a variety of acts and sounds, not the least of which is Hannah Williams & The Affirmations’ new album 50 Foot Woman.  Also featured in this year’s list is the surprisingly enjoyable self-titled album from Am I Dead Yet.  Its mix of David Bowie, Pink Floyd and other similar acts makes its musical content strong in its own right.  The addition of its lyrical content adds even more interest to its whole.  Hard rock band Bad Blood is also featured in this year’s list with its self-titled debut.  These are just some of the acts featured in Phil’s Picks 2019 Top 10 New Independent Albums.  It should be noted that while the list is the “Top 10,” it features five additional honorable mention titles for a grand total of 15 albums, as in every past year.

It should be noted that the choices featured on this list were not easy.  The honorable mention titles are not bad albums.  They are all good in their own way.  It was just that difficult to choose, as every listed album had its own positives. Some had more positives than others. Now with all that said here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks 2019 Top 10 New Independent Albums.

 

PHIL’S PICKS 2019 TOP 10 NEW INDEPENDENT ALBUMS

1.Hannah Williams & The Affirmations — 50 Foot Woman

2. Am I Dead Yet? — Am I Dead Yet?

3. Bad Blood — Bad Blood

4. The Sh-Booms — The Blurred Odyssey

5. Aree And The Pure Hearts — Never Gonna Die

6. Wargirl — Wargirl

7. Lullwater — Voodoo

8. Sara Potenza — Road To Rome

9. Corroded — Bitter

10. Awake At Last — The Change

11. Blacktop Mojo — Under The Sun

12. Stone Leaders — Stone Leaders

13. Dark Station — Down in The Dark

14. Them Guns — From The Shadows

15. Damn Your Eyes — Kill The Outside

 

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