Steve Conte Debuts New Single, ‘Overnight Smash’

Courtesy: Wicked Cool Records

Steve Conte premiered the latest single from his new album this week.

Conte debuted his new single, ‘Overnight Smash‘ Thursday. The song is the fourth single from Conte’s forthcoming album,  Bronx Cheer, which is scheduled for release Nov. 5 through Wicked Cool Records. Conte premiered the album’s third single, ‘Dog Days of Summer‘ last month. Its premiere was preceded by that of the singles,  ‘Recovery Doll‘ and ‘Gimme Gimme Rockaway.’

The musical arrangement featured in ‘Overnight Smash’ is a classic rock-infused composition. There are hints of Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty and others interspersed throughout the course of the approximately three-minute opus. Listeners can even argue there is a slight influence from The Rolling Stones in the mix, too. The energy in the straight-driving composition is certain to keep audiences engaged and entertained in its own right.

The lyrical theme that accompanies the new song takes on a rarely discussed matter, but one that is relevant to everyone, and Conte talked about that topic during a recent interview.

“‘Overnight Smash’ is about professional jealousy,” he said. “Once somebody starts ‘getting somewhere’ in their career, there is always that crowd that, for whatever reason, got left behind in the dust, and then they like to s***-talk about ya.”

More information on Steve Conte’s new single and album is available along with all of his latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.stevecontenyc.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/SteveConteNYC

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/SteveConteNYC

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://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.

Ribler’s New Album Is Awaiting And Deserves Attention From Audiences, Radio Stations Nationwide

Courtesy: Wicked Cool Records

Singer/songwriter/guitarist Marc Ribler has made quite the name for himself over the course of his career, having worked with the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Steven Van Zant, and Paul McCartney.  Now this Friday, Ribler is poised to take a big step forward in his career, going from a supporting role to that of front man with his new solo album, The Whole World Awaits You.  The record, which has already produced three successful singles, could make Ribler a star in his own right given the right support as those singles show.  They are just a few of the songs that serve to support the noted statements.  ‘Without You,’ one of the album’s late entries, serves in its own way to show the album’s strength.  It will be discussed shortly.  ‘Manzanillo,’ which comes just past the album’s midpoint, is another example of how much the record has to offer.  It will be examined a little later.  ‘This Is How The Song Goes,’ the album’s finale, is another example of the album’s appeal. It will also be discussed later.  Each of the songs noted here does its own part to show why The Whole World Awaits You is appealing.  When they are considered with the album’s existing trio of singles and the rest of the album’s entries, the whole makes the album a “whole” win for Marc Ribler and audiences alike.

Marc Ribler’s forthcoming solo album The Whole World Awaits You is a wholly successful new offering from the veteran singer/songwriter/guitarist.  The album’s existing trio of singles goes a long way to support that statement.  They are only some of the songs that show how much the album has to offer audiences.  ‘Without You,’ which comes late in the album’s 12-song run, is also of note.  The song’s musical arrangement is an instantly infectious composition that lends itself to comparison to works from Train just as much as from Tom Petty.  Yes, those are two completely opposing acts, but are more alike than not, as this song shows.  That is evidenced through the light use of the organ alongside the vocals and the equally subtle guitar, percussion and drums.  The whole is a composition that is one of the album’s most radio ready works. 

The musical arrangement featured in ‘Without You’ does a lot to make the song appealing, and is just part of what makes it engaging and entertaining.  The lyrical theme that accompanies the musical arrangement builds on that appeal even more.  While the song’s title and some of its lyrics make it seem like a love song, the rest of the song proves to be more than just that.  It also presents a social commentary of sorts in the song’s chorus that shames people on both sides of the aisle so to speak.  That is evidenced as Ribler sings, “I don’t want to live in a world where everyone has an empty heart/I don’t want to live in a world where it still matters what color you are/I don’t want to live in a place where they watch every thing you say and do/I don’t want to live in a world without you.”  On the one hand, yes, the romance aspect is there.  At the same time, Ribler uses the opportunity to comment on the negative place that the world has reached; that place where we have to be so careful about every single thing that we say and do, and where our skin color still sadly matters so much.  The romance aspect becomes more pronounced in the song’s lead verse, in which the song’s subject pronounces his/her love for that other person.  This is made clear as Ribler sings, “Your love runs deep for me/Shows up in most everything/You lose your way and you fall down/I’ll be the one that you can count on/Help you understand/I’ll always be right there/You can let your feelings flow.”  This is Ribler’s subject saying that things are bad in the world, but he/she will be there for that other person.  It is a familiar lyrical topic in pop music, and is just as familiar in this case.  The adoration for that other person continues in the song’s second verse and bridge, as the song’s subject praises and thanks that other person for being there.  That accessible lyrical them and equally accessible musical arrangement is just as much of a positive addition to this album as the record’s singles.  It is just one of so many examples of how much the album has to offer audiences, too.  ‘Manzanillo,’ which comes just past the album’s midpoint, is another example of the album’s strength.

The musical arrangement featured in ‘Manzanillo’ makes the song stand out because it stands out in itself.  Whereas so much of the music featured in The Whole World Awaits You blurs the line between neo-classical, Americana, pop and rock, this song’s arrangement is a distinctly Latin-tinged composition.  The dual guitar line, horns, and drums work with the claves to take listeners to Cuba from years ago.  Meanwhile, Ribler’s vocal delivery maintains a more American pop sound and stylistic approach.  The whole here is so infectious in its own right.  When it pairs with the song’s lyrical theme, the two elements make the song even more engaging and entertaining.

The lyrical theme featured in ‘Manzanillo’ itself comes across as a tribute to the history of the Latin culture.  This is inferred as Ribler makes mention of the ancient Mesoamerican peoples and their culture.  He even makes mention of history repeating itself if we are not careful, perhaps making reference to how those cultures were wiped out and how our current world is doing itself in, too.  This is all this critic’s own interpretation of course.  His mention of his mother coming to him in a dream and warning about thing happening “in this land” lends itself even more to that inference.  Considering all of this, the song’s lyrical theme definitely stands out from its counterparts in this album.  That originality and identity pairs with the unique presence of the song’s musical arrangement to make the song stand out even more, as a key addition to the album.  It is just one more way in which the album shows its strength.  ‘This Is How The Song Goes,’ which closes out the album, is yet another example of what makes Ribler’s new album stand out.

The musical arrangement in ‘This Is How The Song Goes’ is just as unique as those in the songs addressed here and the rest of the album’s songs.  To a certain point, the blues, almost psychedelic approach and sound here conjures thoughts of The Doors.  At the same time, listeners can also argue that there is a hint of influence from The Beatles in the song’s arrangement, considering the strings and vocal harmonies.  Once again, it is completely unlike anything else featured in this record, making even clearer the importance of the album’s musical content.  The song’s musical arrangement is just one part of its identity.  Its lyrical theme is just as unique.

The lyrical theme featured in ‘This Is How The Song Goes’ is just as thought-provoking as the song’s musical arrangement.  It opens with Ribler singing, “A tree fell in the forest with no sound/Some things go up/But don’t come down/Tomorrow’s just a day we’ll leave behind/Only precious time…” What follows is difficult to decipher sans lyrics to reference considering the overly subtle way in which Ribler sings here, but what is understandable shows the deep metaphorical language that Ribler uses here.  The mention of things being “in your dreams” in the song’s chorus is just as metaphorical even when the song’s lyrics can be deciphered.  That what little can be deciphered is itself cryptic is interesting enough.  When the rest of the song can be deciphered, the whole proves just as cryptic, ensuring even more engagement and discussion.  That engagement and discussion pairs with the song’s equally interesting musical arrangement to make the song in whole yet another clear example of why The Whole World Awaits You deserves so much attention.  When the song in whole is considered with the other songs examined here, the album’s singles, and the rest of its works, the whole makes the album a powerful new outing for Marc Ribler that could be the start of a very big career for him, given the right support.

Marc Ribler’s forthcoming solo album, The Whole World Awaits You is a presentation that is awaiting and deserves attention from audiences and radio stations nationwide.  It is a unique presentation that shows Ribler, who has spent so much of his career as a supporting musician to bigger names, is ready to take his own place in the limelight.  That is proven through each of the album’s singles and the songs examined here.  The album’s remaining songs serve just as much to support the noted statements.  Between the record’s unique (and accessible) musical arrangements and equally accessible lyrical content, the whole offers audiences much to appreciate.  All things considered, the album proves itself to be among the best of this year’s new independent albums.  It is scheduled for release Friday through Wicked Cool Records.

More information on Marc Ribler’s new album is available along with all of his latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.marcribler.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/marcribler

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://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.

‘Exit Wounds’ Will Appeal Mostly To The Wallflowers’ Established Audiences

Courtesy: New West Records

Veteran rock/Americana rock band The Wallflowers released its latest album Friday to kick off the weekend.  The band’s seventh album, it ends a nearly nine year wait for new music from the band.  The band’s established audiences are the most likely to find the record appealing.  That is due in part to its featured musical arrangements, which will be discussed shortly.  The album’s lyrical themes are also certain to appeal to a very targeted audience.  They will be discussed a little later.  The album’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements and will also be examined later.  Each item noted here is key in its own way to the album’s presentation.  All things considered, they make the album a work that will find most of its appeal among The Wallflower’s established audience base.

The Wallflowers’ latest album Exit Wounds is a presentation that will appeal to a very targeted audience.  That audience in question is the band’s established audience base.  More casual listeners will find the album more appealing only in hearing it only occasionally.  That is proven in part through the album’s featured musical arrangements.  The arrangements are largely everything that audiences have come to expect from the band throughout its life.  The same folksy/rock hybrid style sounds and arrangements are just as evident here as in the band’s existing catalog.  The thing is that most of the songs, which are also easily comparable to works from Bruce Springsteen, are also noticeably melancholy in their sound and approach.  That is also something that is normal from the band.  However, there are some variants, such as the more pop rock style ‘The Dive bAr in My Heart’ (one can easily infer what this song is about just from that title) and in the much more Rolling Stones-esque ‘Who’s That Man Walking ‘Round My Garden?’  Of course the prior, with its more pop style sound and approach, is still akin to existing works from The Wallflowers in its own right, too.  For the most part though, the record’s musical arrangements are mostly everything that audiences have come to expect.  The surprises are few here.  That is not to say that the record’s musical arrangements are a fail, but rather that they will appeal to the noted targeted audience.

Just as the musical portion of Exit Wounds will appeal to a specific audience base, so will its lyrical themes.  The songs’ titles make relatively clear that the majority of those themes center on the topic of relationships.  Case in point is the title ‘Darlin’ Hold On’ and another title, ‘The Daylight Between Us.’  Titles are just one thing, of course.  A deeper look into the songs’ lyrics make this even clearer.  The very lead verse of the album’s opener serves even more to support the noted statements.  The song opens with front man Jakob Dylan singing, “There’s no fire beneath the smoke/No one’s got you up by the coat/Not a razor up to your throat/You can go anytime through the door/Maybe your heart’s not in it no more.”  This is a clear, straight forward message.  It is one person telling another that no one is making that second person do anything, and it just looks like that second person just doesn’t want to make the relationship work.  The song’s second verse adds to the statement as Dylan sings, “It’s gone quiet/It’s gone cold/Acting like someone you don’t know/Used to rumble/Used to roar/Whatever it’s doing, it didn’t before/Maybe your heart’s not in it no more.”  This is simple in its own way, too.  The subject is saying things just aren’t what they were anymore.  The song’s third verse follows in similar fashion, making even clearer, the song’s lyrical theme.  That revelation serves even more to prove the statement that this record generally presents one specific theme. 

As if that is not proof enough, a song, such as ‘Wrong End of the Spear’ hints at the theme of a relationship, too.  Without a lyrics sheet to reference some of the content is difficult to decipher.  However, just enough can be understood in this country-western style song  that it can be inferred that the song is also centered on that noted topic.  Dylan sings here about a person who apparently runs away at the first sign of trouble, leaving the song’s subject “on the wrong end of the spear.”  In the song’s finale, the subject even mournfully makes note of that second person being gone, nowhere to be found.  All of this again points to someone who is in a relationship that is anything but healthy.

Even in the aforementioned Rolling Stones-esque ‘Who’s That Man Walking ‘Round in My Garden?’ audiences get a song that seems to be about a relationship.  In this case, the song’s subject sings in the lead verse about coming home after a long day, doesn’t expect any complaints, but he has to wonder “who’s that man walking ‘round in my garden?”  This is a man who is seemingly wondering if his woman is cheating on him.  He even adds in the song’s second verse, “under my nose/The lock is undone/Who is that man walking ‘round in my garden?”  Again, this certainly comes across as a song about a man who suspects his woman is not being faithful.  This after he mentions, “taking names.”  This sure doesn’t seem like anything about anything but a relationship near its end.  It is one more way in which the album’s lyrical themes show that they are apparently mostly about relationships.  This is, again, something that will appeal more to the band’s established audiences more than casual listeners.

The musical and lyrical content featured throughout Exit Wounds’ body makes clear why it will appeal to a specific audience.  Even with all of that examined, it is just part of the record that deserves examination.  The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements.  The sequencing is important to examine because of the noted general sense established through the arrangements.  The arrangements are, again, mostly very melancholy in their sound and approach.  This means that those behind the boards had to pay special attention to each work so that audiences would not be left feeling completely depressed by the album’s end.  Luckily, that painstaking effort paid off for the most part.  The song starts off in quite melancholy fashion in ‘Maybe Your Heart’s Not In It No More’ but then picks up noticeably in the decidedly Tom Petty-influenced ‘Roots and Wings.’  This is important to note because lyrically, even this song focuses on a relationship that has reached its end.  That energy continues on even into the obvious breakup song that is ‘The Dive Bar in My Heart.’  It is not until ‘Darlin’ Hold On,’ the album’s midpoint, that the album pulls its energy back again.  Things pick right back up from there in ‘Move The River’ but then pulls right back again in ‘I’ll Let You Down (But I Won’t Give Up).’  The ups and downs of the album’s energy continues from there right to the album’s finale, ‘The Daylight Between Us.’  Looking back through all of this, is obvious that much time and thought was put into the album’s sequencing.  The changes in the songs’ moods (and energies) is just subtle enough from one to the next to keep things interesting for the noted audiences.  This aesthetic element works with the album’s content to even further solidify the album’s appeal among those listeners as a result.  Keeping all of this in mind, the album proves worth hearing at least once among the band’s established audiences and more casual listeners.

The Wallflowers’ latest album, Exit Wounds, is a presentation that the band’s established will appreciate.  That is proven in part through its featured musical arrangements.  The arrangements in question largely display a familiar sound and stylistic approach that is evident in the band’s existing catalog.  The lyrical content that accompanies the album’s musical arrangements seems to follow one central topic, that of relationships.  That centrality ensures even more, appeal among a very set audience.  The record’s sequencing ensures that even with all of this in mind, its mood and energy remains as stable as possible.  This even considering the melancholy nature of so much of the album’s content.  The changes in the moods and energies are just subtle enough from one to the next that it keeps audiences just engaged enough.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of this record.  All things considered, they make the album worth hearing at least once, but sadly not much more, unless one is among the band’s established audience base.  Exit Wounds is available now through New West Records.  More information on the album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Website: https://wallflowersmusic.com  

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thewallflowersmusic

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheWallflowers

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.  

Marc Ribler Debuts New Single, ‘Fly Away’

Courtesy: Wicked Cool Records

Singer/songwriter/guitarist Marc Ribler offered audiences another preview of this new album over the weekend.

Ribler, who has worked with legendary music acts, such as Steven Van Zant, Bruce Springsteen, and Paul McCartney, premiered his new single, ‘Fly Away’ Friday. The song is the third from Ribler’s forthcoming album, The Whole World Awaits You, which is scheduled for release July 16 through Van Zant’s Wicked Cool Records. The song’s premiere follows that of ‘Who Could Ask For Anything More‘ and its video, and of the album’s lead single, ‘Shattered.’

The musical arrangement featured in ‘Fly Away’ is a gentle, semi-acoustic ballad. Its sound and stylistic approach bears a blend of southern rock with elements of Eagles, Tom Petty, and Bruce Springsteen. The blending of those influences and sounds makes this composition interesting if only for this reason.

No information about the song’s lyrical theme was provided in the press release distributed about the song’s premiere. A close listen leads to the inference that the song centers on the all-too-familiar topic of a broken relationship. That is only this critic’s interpretation.

The full track listing for ‘The Whole World Awaits You‘ is noted below.

Track Listing:

1 The Whole World Awaits You

2 I’m Comin’ Aound

3 The Only Truth

4 War on Peace

Shattered

6 Fly Away

7 Manzanillo

8 Torn Apart

9 Without You

10 Who Could Ask for Anything More

11 History

12 This is How the Song Goes

More information on Marc Ribler’s new single and album is available along with all of his latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.marcribler.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/marcribler

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://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.

‘A Modern Man’s Way To Improve’ Is A Promising Start For Royal Horses

Courtesy: TAG Publicity

Early this month, independent music collective Royal Horses released its debut album A Modern Man’s Way To Improve to the masses.  The 10-song record is a strong start for the band.  It is a presentation that makes this band one of the next big names in the country and southern rock communities.  That is proven in no small part to through the musical arrangements that make up the album’s 37-minute body.  They will be addressed shortly.  The lyrical content that accompanies the record’s musical content adds to the album’s appeal.  It will be addressed a little later.  The record’s production puts the finishing touch to its presentation and will be addressed later, too.  Each item noted here is important in its own right to the whole of the album.  All things considered, they make the album a positive start for the up-and-coming outfit that is certain to appeal to a wide range of audiences.

Royal Horses’ debut album A Modern Man’s Way To Improve is a powerful start for the collective.  It is a presentation whose appeal is far-reaching.  This is proven in part through its musical arrangements.  From start to end of the album, the band refuses to stick to just one sound and stylistic approach.  There is some rock influence, such as in ‘Rattlesnake Smoking a Cigar,’ which comes late in the albums run.  The song’s arrangement and sound is psychedelic.  There are times in this four-and-a-half-minute opus that conjure thoughts of Jimi Hendrix while at others, there are hints of Clutch.  Yes, it’s one heck of a combination, but it is balanced surprisingly well here and works just as well.  On a completely different note, ‘Leave A Light’ presents an old school country music approach that will appeal to fans of Hank Williams, what with its vintage honky ton sound and style.  On yet another note, a song, such as ‘Valley of the New’ will appeal to fans of the modern country rock band Reckless Kelly.  There is even a welcome bluegrass element in ‘Call It War’ and an equally enjoyable blues-based rock presentation in ‘Who Do You Know’ that will appeal to fans of Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band.  ‘Ruby Do’ gives audiences a sort of rockabilly approach that fans of Rev. Horton Heat and the Legendary Shack Shakers will enjoy.  Between these noted arrangements and the others featured throughout the album, the whole of the record’s musical content shows great diversity.  That in itself ensures the album’s noted wide appeal.  It is just one aspect of what audiences will enjoy about the album.  The lyrical content that accompanies the album’s diverse range of musical arrangements adds to the record’s appeal even more.

The lyrical content that is presented throughout A Modern Man’s Way To Improve adds to the album’s success because it is just as accessible as the album’s musical arrangements.  Case in point is the lyrical content featured in ‘Valley of the New.’  Front man Shelby Kemp sings here, “give me a reason to be here/Give me something to lose/Sing me a riddle/And I’ll give you a good answer/And I’ll hold you ‘til the sun comes shining through.”  From there he sings later, “If I die here/There is something you must do/March me down/In a field of golden roses/March me down/to the tune of something blue/hang my hat/On a yonder mountain/Lay my heart/In the valley of the new.”  This is as old school country as a song can get.  On another note, the addition of the claves to the song’s arrangement gives the work a little bit of a Jimmy Buffet influence.  Getting back on track, the song follows lyrically in similar fashion as that presented in its lead verse and chorus.  Simply put, this is vintage country in which someone is singing about life gone by and what is to come.  It’s one of those classic introspective songs that one could so easily hear in an old, dimly lit honky tonk bar.  Its introspective lyrical content and equally moving musical arrangement makes for so much enjoyment.

‘Valley of the New’ is just one of songs whose lyrical theme shows the overall importance of the album’s lyrical content.  ‘Rattlesnake Smoking A Cigar’ presents its own interesting lyrical content.  It is just as psychedelic as the song’s musical arrangement.  The subject sings here about going for a drive with his dad.  The duo meets a group of women *allegedly* and one turned out to be not quite what she appeared.  It is the most unique lyrical presentations featured in this album and will certainly have listeners talking. 

‘Bottom of the Chart’ presents another unique lyrical theme that is worth noting.  This song finds the song’s subject singing about being there for someone else when all of life’s negativities happen.  From everything dying to “mother earth closing her eyes”, to even rivers being dammed up by trees, the song’s subject says he will be there for that person “at the bottom of your chart.”  This is just this critic’s interpretation, but it comes across as someone saying, even when I’m the last on your list, the least important to you, I’ll be there.  If in fact that is what the song’s subject is saying, then it is powerful.  Most people who realize they are at the bottom of someone else’s priorities will do something to change things and perhaps just walk away from that situation.  For this song’s subject to seemingly say he will be there, devoted as ever, no matter what, is a powerful statement.  On one hand, it is moving.  On another, some might say not so smart.  The seeming lyrical theme in itself is certain to generate plenty of discussion.  Building on the noted discussion, if in fact this critic’s interpretation is right then it takes listeners in yet another distinct direction.  It shows even more, the record’s lyrical diversity.  The result is that it shows even more, the importance of the album’s lyrical content in whole.  The rest of the record’s lyrical content supports the noted statements just as much as that examined here.  Between all of that and the album’s musical content, all of this more than makes this record worth hearing.  All of that content is just a part of what makes A Modern Man’s Way Of Improving such a strong start for Royal Horses.  The production of the noted collective content rounds out the record’s most important elements.

The production of A Modern Man’s Way of Improving is important to note because of how much is going on in some of the album’s entries, and how little is going on in others.  ‘BLD’ for instance, which closes out the album, is one of the entries that has very little going on.  It is grounded in a very simple, light guitar line.  The echoing effect in the guitar’s melancholy approach is a credit to the production.  It really serves to help set the mood in this song.  The lyrical content is very limited here, which means the music takes center stage.  Those behind the boards are to be credited for their work here.  That noted echo effect and just the simplicity in the guitar line here supports the old adage that it is possible for a song to be heavy without being heavy. 

By comparison, the album’s title track, which comes very early in its sequence, has a little bit more going on.  The poppy approach and sound in the song again lends itself to comparisons to works from Reckless Kelly, but in this case, also to works from Pearl Jam and Bruce Springsteen.  That’s one heck of a collection of influences, but it works so well here.  It is also a credit to those responsible for the album’s production.  That upbeat but still light guitar line works so well with the song’s solid time keeping and catchy vocal delivery style to make for so much enjoyment.  On another level, the subtlety in the lead guitar line against the lighter rhythm guitar line adds its own richness to the presentation.    The bass line pairs with that aspect to fill out the arrangement even more.  As the song progresses, an increasing amount of action takes place.  Each element within the song is expertly balanced throughout, to the end that the song offers listeners full enjoyment and engagement from start to end.  It is just one more way in which the album’s production proves so important and hardly the last.  ‘Call It War’ is another example of the importance of the album’s production.

‘Call It War’ crosses elements of bluegrass with southern rock and country into one whole for its foundation.  The very crossing of the elements into one whole makes for an interesting presentation.  That the banjo and electric guitar get equal attention here thanks to the production enriches the song’s arrangement in its own right.  That the drums are used to tastefully here to add accents in all of the right points adds even more to the song’s enjoyment and engagement.  The whole conjures thoughts of the Jerry Reed/Dick Feller hit song ‘Eastbound and Down’ from the timeless Burt Reynolds movie Smokey & The Bandit.  That the whole can conjure such a comparison and that everything is so well-balanced here is one more example of the impact and importance of the album’s production.  The production clearly brings out the best aspects of each song, in turn making each song so enjoyable and engaging.  When this is considered along with the album’s musical and lyrical content, the whole of these elements makes the album in whole a successful first outing for Royal Horses.

Royal Horses’ debut album A Modern Man’s Way To Improve is a positive first outing for the up-and-coming band.  It is a presentation that is sure to appeal to a wide range of listeners.  That is proven in large part through its musical arrangements.  The record’s musical arrangements offer elements of southern rock, country, bluegrass, and even blues-based rock.  The arrangements never stay on one track for too long a period of time, either.  That ensures in its own way, listeners’ enjoyment and engagement.  The lyrical content that accompanies the album’s musical arrangements is just as diverse as the album’s musical arrangements.  It ensures even more that enjoyment and engagement.  The production that went into the album’s presentation brings out the best elements of each arrangement, making the album even richer in its presentation.  Each item noted here is important in its own right to the album’s presentation.  Al things considered, they make the album a promising first outing for Royal Horses.  The album is available now. 

More information on A Modern Man’s Way To Improve is available along with all of Royal Horses’ latest news at:

Website: http://royalhorseband.com

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

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.  

Veterans, Newcomers Among Those In Phil’s Picks 2020 Top 10 New Country/Bluegrass/Folk/Americana Albums

Courtesy: Mercury Nashville

Country music, bluegrass, folk, and Americana fans have had a lot to be happy bout in 2020.  That is because the genres, which are so closely related to one another, have seen a lot of enjoyable new albums released.  Bluegrass fans saw Steep Canyon Rangers release its new album Arm in Arm.  The country music world saw Chris Stapleton’s new album Starting Over, which is some of his best work to date in his still young career.  Steve Earle and his fellow musicians The Dukes released a new album that audiences can easily put into the Americana category while the folk world while Delta Rae’s new album The Light can just as easily be added to the folk/neo-folk category just as much as the Americana category.  All three albums are featured in this year’s Phil’s Picks 2020 Top 10 New Country/Bluegrass/Folk/Americana Albums list along with lots of others, including Chatham County Line’s new album Strange Fascination and the recently released independent band Royal Horses’ new album A Modern Man’s Way To Improve.  That album crosses the border of country, bluegrass and Americana. 

As with each year’s past lists, this year features the year’s Top 10 best new albums from the noted genres along with five additional honorable mentions for a total of 15 albums.  Without any further ado, here is PHIL’S PICKS 2020 TOP 10 NEW COUNTRY/BLUEGRASS/FOLK/AMERICANA ALBUMS.

PHIL’S PICKS 2020 TOP 10 NEW COUNTRY/BLUEGRASS/FOLK/AMERICANA ALBUMS

  1. Chris Stapleton – Starting Over
  2. The Okee Dokee Brothers – Songs For Singin
  3. Josh Turner – Country State of Mind
  4. Delta Rae – The Light
  5. Reckless Kelly – American Girls/American Jackpot
  6. Steve Earle & The Dukes – The Ghosts of West Virginia
  7. Chatham County Line – Strange Fascination
  8. Jack The Radio – Creatures
  9. Royal Horses – A Modern Man’s Way To Improve
  10. Steep Canyon Rangers – Arm in Arm
  11. Brothers Osborne – Skeletons
  12. Bruce Springsteen – Letter To You
  13. Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit – Reunions
  14. Mile Twelve – Roll The Tapes All Night Long
  15. Special Consensus – Chicago Barn Dance

Next up from Phil’s Picks is 2020’s Top 10 New Rap & Hip-Hop Albums.  Stay tuned for that. 

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.   

Nehoda’s New LP Gives Promise For The Band’s Future

Courtesy: Dewar PR

Independent rock band Nehoda is scheduled to release its new album But Anyways… Friday.  The nine-song record is an interesting presentation from the band.  That is due to in part to its musical arrangements, which will be discussed shortly.  The 39-minute album’s lyrical content also plays into its presentation.  It will be discussed a little later.  The sequencing of that collective content rounds out the album’s most important elements.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the album’s presentation.  All things considered, they make But Anyways… a work that shows promise for Nehoda.

Nehoda’s forthcoming album But Anyways…is a presentation that is worth hearing at least once.  That is proven in part through its musical arrangements.  The arrangements in question are of interest because while they do an impressive job of exhibiting the band’s wide range of influences and talents.  From the plodding, Animals-eque ‘Lies’ and ‘Devil’s Bitch’ to the more Bruce Springsteen style approach of ‘Please Don’t Go’ to the Pearl Jam-esque ‘Afterglow’ to the more grunge stoner vibe of ‘I Don’t Know,’ the album’s opener to the more alt-rock approach of ‘Shakey Pop,’ this record takes audiences in a variety of directions.  On the surface, this is a good thing.  That is because again, it shows the wide range of the band’s influences and talents.  It shows that the band is not just some one-trick pony so to speak, which will appeal to plenty of listeners.  This is just one aspect of the record that will appeal to listeners.  The arrangements’ companion lyrical content works with that content to make for even more appeal.

The lyrical content that is featured throughout Nehoda’s new album is key to discuss because it is so simple and accessible for listeners.  The album opens with a clear sociopolitical commentary that goes after a variety of institutions.  Band namesake and founder Patrick Nehoda opens the song by addressing those who would attack anyone who might want to speak their minds as he writes, “Try to find your voice/It ain’t f****** correct/Try to make a choice/Cut you off at the neck.”  That second line in the song’s lead verse comes across as a statement of how people are just as apt to attack one another for standing on one side of an issue or another.  The short and simple here is that he is seemingly making a statement about how divided America has become.  In the song’s second verse, Nehoda seems to address the government sending people off to war and the fact that when American forces go overseas, innocent people (including children) are killed.  It is a lot of metaphorical language, but it would seem to make sense at least in this critic’s mind.  This is inferred as Nehoda sings, “Governments killing babies/Children for hire/It’s no wonder the youth of the world/Want to set this place on fire.”  That line about “children for hire” maybe hints at people as young as 18 (basically children) are hired by the military to go to war and “kill babies.”  Again, this is all just this critic’s interpretation and should not be taken as gospel.  That aside, it certainly seems to be somewhere in that proverbial ballpark.  Sociopolitical commentary is anything but new to the rock realm, but is no less impacting here as it is in those other instances.  From here, things take a noticeable change, focusing more on the topic of relationships and inner struggles.  Case in point are songs, such as ‘Devil’s Bitch,’ ‘Lies,’ and ‘Just Another Season.’  ‘Afterglow’ meanwhile takes a slightly different, more upbeat tone.  ‘Shakey Pop’ does center on a personal relationship, but comes across more as a song whose story is more of a coming-of-age presentation than the standard work about relationships of any kind.  Simply put, the lyrical themes featured throughout this record will connect with listeners just as much as its wide range of musical arrangements if not more so.  Now keeping that in mind, it is still just one more of the elements that warrants examination.  The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements.

The sequencing of Nehoda’s new album is important to examine not so much just because of the songs’ energies, but rather the ability of this element to connect the album’s distinct musical styles.  Case in point are the transitions between the record’s first three songs.  The stoner rock opener that is ‘I Don’t Know’ dies off and fades out slow enough that when the equally slow, introspective ‘Lies’ opens up, the transition is fluid.  The same can be said of the transition between that song and its follow-up, ‘Devil’s Bitch.’  Now while the transitions between the album’s first three songs are solid, that is also because the songs’ arrangements are so similar.  From there, things change notably.  ‘Shakey Pop,’ which immediately follows ‘Devil’s Bitch’ is more of a Foo Fighters type work in comparison to the gritty blues rock sound and approach of ‘Devil’s Bitch.’  Yet somehow the transition works even in this case.  Maybe it is again the amount of time given between songs and the fashion in which the prior ends and the latter begins.  The two are clearly different, but each has a certain heavy fuzz about them, giving at least some connection.  The relaxed finale of ‘Shakey Pop’ is what makes its transition into the even more reserved ‘Walk Away’ work as well as it does.  Much the same can be said of the transition between ‘Walk Away’ and the album’s title track.  Interestingly enough, that song gradually builds to a very heavy arrangement.  The heavy opening bar of the otherwise contemplative ‘Just Another Season’ is what makes the transition there work as well as it does.  The record’s final two songs move just as fluidly as the rest of the album’s entries.  The end result is a presentation that shows despite having so many distinct musical influences and styles throughout, those behind the glass put in a lot of time and thought to ensure this aesthetic aspect strengthened the album’s presentation just as much as its content.  When it is considered along with the collective content, the whole of the album becomes even more worth hearing.  As a matter of fact, they combine to make the album a presentation that in hearing, listeners will agree shows some promise for Nehoda.

Nehoda’s new album But Anyways… is a work that will leave audiences saying anything but But Anyways…  Rather, it will keep them engaged and focused on its presentation throughout.  That is proven through its diverse musical arrangements and its accessible lyrical content.  When that content is joined with the album’s sequencing, the whole of the album proves itself a presentation that shows some promise for Nehoda’s future.  But Anyways… is scheduled for release Friday.  More information on the album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

 

 

Website: http://www.nehodamusic.com

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

 

 

 

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.

Ryan Hamilton & The Harlequin Ghosts Debuts ‘Oh No (ft. Kay Hanley)’ Video

Courtesy: Wicked Cool Records

Ryan Hamilton & The Harlequin Ghosts debuted the video for its latest single this week.

The group debuted the lyric video for its new single ‘Oh No (ft. Kay Hanley)‘ Thursday.  The song is the second single from the group’s forthcoming album Nowhere To Go But Everywhere. Hamilton debuted the album’s lead single, ‘Jesus & John Lennon‘ July 17.  ‘Jesus & John Lennon’ is available to stream and download here.

The album is scheduled for release Sept. 18 through Wicked Cool Records.  Pre-orders are open now.

The ‘Oh No (ft. Kay Hanley)’ video places the song’s lyrics over a continuous stream of Hamilton in a variety of positions in front of a blue drop cloth backdrop.  The song’s musical arrangement is an upbeat, poppy composition that will get stuck in listeners’ heads.  Its lyrical theme is just a celebration of mainstream music that features tributes to acts, such as Prince, Beck, and Bruce Springsteen.

Speaking of Bruce Springsteen, Wicked Cool Records is owned by Steven Van Zant, who is a member of Springsteen’s E Street Band.

Hamilton offered a brief statement about the song’s lyrical concept.

“I’m super proud of the concept of this song. Flipping all those classic songs on their heads. Plus, I got to sing it with my friend Kay,” he said.

In other news, Hamilton recently recorded a documentary during a cross-country trip across America.  The trip was a result of his divorce from his ex-wife.  Hamilton took America’s famed Route 66 for his trip.  The documentary — “Communique” — saw its first segment debut Wednesday through Glide magazine.

Hamilton said of his journey, “While it was magical to take that storied route, it was more like driving through a graveyard version of what once was,” said Hamilton. “Though ominous, it was still darkly beautiful.”

More information on the group’s new single and video is available along with its latest news at:

Websitehttp://ryanhamiltonmusic.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/RyanHamiltonandTheHarlequinGhosts

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/TheRyanHamilton

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.

Mark Morton’s Solo Debut LP Will Leave Listeners Anything But Numb

Courtesy: Spinefarm Records

It’s hard to do the same thing over and over for years at a time.  Everybody knows that.  It’s why people change jobs.  It is also why members of musical acts across the musical universe decide at one point or another to branch out and try their hands at something new (I.E. solo albums). Lamb of God guitarist Mark Morton joined those ranks in March with his debut solo album Anasthetic.  The 10-song, 42 minute record shows Morton as not just a metal guitarist, but rather a multi-talented musician who has the capability to succeed in any musical genre.  This is proven in part late in the album’s run in the form of ‘Reveal.’  It will be addressed shortly.  The surprisingly subdued ‘Axis,’ which comes early in the album’s run, is another way in which Morton’s wide range of talent is exhibited in this record.  ‘Save Defiance,’ the album’s mid-point is yet another way in which Morton’s full talents are put on display and will also be addressed later.  Each song noted here is important in its own way in proving Mark Morton is more than just another metal shredder.  When they are examined along with the rest of the record’s entries, the whole of the album creates a new and deserved respect for Morton and his abilities.

Mark Morton’s debut self-titled album Anasthetic is a strong first solo outing for the Lamb of God guitarist.  That is because it allowed Morton to fully put on display, his talents as a guitarist.  It allowed him to show he is talented at doing more than just churning out heavy, shredding riffs.  Rather, it shows he can handle his own in almost any genre of music.  ‘Reveal,’ which comes late in the album’s run is just one of the album’s entries that supports those statements.  The song, recorded with singer/songwriter Naeemah Maddox, is the polar opposite of anything that Morton has ever done as a member of LoG.  The work presented by Morton here, is gentle and bluesy.  It expertly compliments the Philadelphia-born vocalist’s delivery and the work of their fellow musicians.  His bluesy guitar solo lends itself so easily to comparisons to the best work of Derek Trucks and Carlos Santana.  It is a true, full departure from everything that fans of Morton’s work have ever known, and it is so in the best way possible.

The song’s musical arrangement is just one part of what makes it stand out.  Its positive lyrical content couples with its musical to make the song in whole even more interesting.  Maddox sings in the song’s lead verse, “Could be all for sale/Or could be smoke and mirrors/The end is growing near/Or could be smoke and mirrors/Say who you are/Go set your truth/Don’t be the rude in another’s fair/See how you feel/And the nreveal/You may not be who you are/Right at this moment in time.”  She continues in the song’s second verse, “Go and dig a well/And hide as you abide/See, I’m fragile as a shell/And echo like a bell.”  She adds in the song’s third and final verse, “Willing, you have your own mind/You can think for yourself.”  She is saying here that things aren’t always just black and white.  There are shades of grey, so be you and be the best you can be.  That is at least this critic’s own town on this.  It is just one interpretation.  Hopefully it is somewhere close to being right as it certainly seems to send a rather positive message to listeners.  That, taken into consideration with the song’s musical arrangement, makes the song just one of Anasthetic’s most notable tracks and just one of the most notable examples of Morton’s wide range of talent.  ‘Axis,’ which comes much earlier in the album’s run, is another key example of Morton’s abilities and, in turn, most notable additions.

‘Axis’ is another key example of Morton’s talents and by connection another of this record’s most notable entries.  Crafted with vocalist Mark Lanegan (ex-Screaming Trees), the song’s subdued arrangement lends itself to comparisons to works from the likes of Tom Waitts and Bruce Springsteen.  That is most evident in Lanegan’s vocals and Morton’s guitar work.  Again, this is a stark departure for Morton from the intensity of the work that he has done over the years with Lamb of God.  It shows he can do so much more than jus play fast and loud, but rather also slower and with great dynamic control.  It makes for that much more respect for Morton and his abilities.  The song’s musical arrangement does a lot to make this work stand out, and is just one part of what makes it stand out.  The song’s lyrical content adds its own share of interest to the song’s whole.

Lanegan sings seemingly in this song, about someone who has been through quite a bit of adversity in life and is struggling to get through it.  What’s interesting here is that for all the adversity, the song doesn’t come across as some sort of emo type song.  Rather, it harkens back to the great blues songs of days long ago through its lyrical delivery.  He sings in the song’s lead verse, “I came down with a fever/The catacombs, they were filled/Lucifer within my larynx/Clothing a sarcophagus/Baby, set my head on fire/Every man is born to die/The Captain called me out on a carpet, boys/You know I got a tear in my eye/”  he continues in the song’s second verse, “I have been lost and wandering/A wanderer I remain/Met Judas in West Texas/Tried to take my name/Now I am lost and wandering/And wandering, I am blind/Will the moon come off its axis/Before I lose my mind/I came down with a sickness/Pouring down just like rain/Red, red sun in the evening/Red, red heart full of pain.”  He adds a touch more in the song’s third and final verse, but the song in whole is pretty clear.  Again, this is someone who has gone through so much.  It is just a classic, retro style country blues type work even in its lyrical presentation.  That content, coupled with the song’s musical arrangement, makes it a piece that is sure to appeal to plenty of listeners.  It will appeal so widely because of that aspect and because, again, it shows that Morton is not just a one-trick pony.  It shows he can do quite a bit more than just metal, and can do so quite well at that.  It still is not the last of the songs featured in this record that serves to exhibit that talent and interest.  ‘Save Defiance,’ the record’s mid-point, is one more example of Morton’s broad range of talent.

‘Save Defiance’ was recorded with Alter Bridge front man Myles Kennedy.  Fittingly, this song’s arrangement presents Morton as an able mainstream hard rock driver just as much as a metal guitarist.  What is truly interesting here is that the grouping of Morton, Kennedy and the rest of the song’s featured musicians immediately leads to comparisons to some of Alter Bridge’s best works.  Again, this is a good thing because it shows how much more Morton can do than just shred really fast and hard.  It shows here that he can create some really heavy, melodic riffs, too.  Morton’s ability to so easily liken himself to Mark Tremonti shows yet again just why he is such an important figure not just in the rock community, but in the music community in whole.  As much as Morton’s abilities do for himself and for the song, they are just one part of what makes the song stand out.  The song’s lyrical content plays its own important part to the whole of the song.

Kennedy sings in the song’s lead verse, “Into the last refrain/As your empire falls/World in decay/Our backs against the wall/Tell me, now/Is it too late/Tell me, now/Who’ll pay the cost/For all the times you’ve disengaged/Tomorrow could be lost/Stop what you started/Open your eyes/The truth is the hardest thing to deny.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “Save defiance/And hope you’ve got one last shot/Blood of tyrants running cold/They will never stop/Save defiance/You alone will resist in time/Break alliance to behold shifting paradigms/There is no time to waste/This you can’t deny/The truth you embrace was only just a lie/Now do you see you’re betrayed/now you must keep your resolved/Or everything you sacrifice to keep/Will forever be dissolved/Stop what they started/Open your eyes/They’re reaping a harvest/And bleeding you dry.”  He reminds listeners in the song’s third verse, “This is your season/Take it and rise/The battle’s drawing/Fight for your lives.”  This is a call to action, point blank.  This is a socio-political commentary that is urging people everywhere to not sit idly by and allow those who do bad in the world to continue their heinous acts.  He is telling listeners to stand up and do something and make a difference.  That is at least this critic’s own take on this content.  The power and urgency in the song’s musical arrangement works to make this seem the case, so hopefully it is at least somewhere in the proverbial ballpark.  Thinking about the power of the song’s combined musical and lyrical content along with that of the power of the other discussed songs’ power and variety, they show clearly together just how talented Mark Morton really is.  When the variety and power in the songs discussed here is considered along with that of the rest of the album’s songs, the whole of the record becomes a strong solo debut for Morton.  It serves to show regardless of where his future takes him, Morton can and will be successful.

Mark Morton’s debut solo album Anesthetic is a strong first effort from the Lamb of God guitarist.  That is because while it does continue to display his metal chops throughout, it does more than that.  It also shows his abilities in other regions of the musical universe.  That, combined with lyrical content that is just as certain as the record’s musical content to keep listeners engaged, makes the record a positive offering from Morton and all involved.  All things considered, the album proves to be a presentation that will leave listeners anything but numb.  More information on Anasthetic is available online now along with all of Mark Morton’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://markmortonmusic.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/MarkDuaneMorton

 

 

 

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 in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Mike Mangione & The Kin’s New LP “Shines”

Courtesy: RODZINKA Records

Mike Mangione and The Kin is scheduled to release its new album But I’ve Seen the Stars on Oct. 20 via RODZINKA Records.  The 10-song, 44-minute record is just the latest effort from band founder Mangione, and the first for Mangione and his new group, The Kin. Its musical arrangements will appeal to any fan of Delta Rae, Mumford & Sons, The Dunwells, Marc Broussard and other similar acts while its lyrical content boasts an equally wide appeal if not wider.  That is exemplified right from the album’s outset in ‘Three Days,’ which will be discussed shortly.  ‘Riding Down,’ which comes later in the album’s run is another example of the album’s wide-reaching musical and lyrical appeal.  It will be discussed later.  ‘The Question & The Cure’ is yet another example of how far-reaching this album proves to be, and is hardly the last of the record’s songs that can be cited to support that statement.  From start to finish, this record is nothing but positive.  Considering all of this, it proves to be not only one of the year’s top new independent records but potentially one of the year’s top new Americana/folk records and even top new albums overall.

Mike Mangione and The Kin’s new record But I’ve Seen The Stars is a shining new effort from the veteran singer/songwriter and his new group of musicians. That is thanks in no small part to the album’s musical and lyrical content.  The combination of those two elements makes this record a work that will reach an innumerable audience.  This statement is supported right from the album’s outset through the song ‘Three Days.’  The song’s gentle, flowing acoustic guitar line and harmonies instantly conjure thoughts of Delta Rae.  The string arrangements and barely there percussion serve to strengthen that comparison even more.  The balance in those elements easily evokes powerful emotions in any listener’s heart and mind.  The song’s lyrics will move listeners just as much as the song’s musical arrangement as Mangione sings, “Three more days/I’m coming home/Leave the candle by the door/Three more days/Will you be there, too/Please be gentle, I’ll be true to you/Every day” right off the top.  From there Mangione goes on to sing in seeming introspection, “Had no feeling and no main/I had a story to arrange/The birds sang in missionary prose/Good intentions can impose/So I headed on my own/To seek the origin alone/Headed on my own/I sought the elders/Heard them speak/And I saw forever and the meek/And with fear they focused on my eyes/Fear was hatred in disguise/But the heart is lined with gold/And in there the story’s being told.” Mangione’s introspection continues in the song’s second verse just as much as the song’s lead verse as he sings about accepting mortality, personal emotions and other items.  Simply put, there is a lot of lyrical ground covered in a small space, and Mangione does a truly good job of making listeners think considering the seeming introspection presented in the song’s lyrics.  When the emotions and thought generated through that introspection is coupled with the song’s equally moving musical arrangement, the end result is an opus that will touch any listener deeply, proving right from the beginning the record’s impact and reach. It is just one of the songs included in this album that serves to show that impact and reach.  ‘Riding Down’ serves just as much as ‘Three Days’ to show why this album is such a success.

‘Riding Down’ is an important piece to discuss in examining this album because it is completely unlike ‘Three Days’ both musically and lyrically.  Its pure 12-bar blues arrangement will move audiences not by tugging at their heartstrings but by putting a smile on their faces and getting their feet tapping.  While the song is nearly four-minutes long, its arrangement makes it feel like that time passes by so much faster, which in this case is a good thing.  The arrangement is so enjoyable that listeners won’t even realize how much time has passed by its end, easily leaving them wanting more.  The song’s lyrical content is just as fun with its own classic blues approach.  He sings in the song’s lead verse, “In the midnight hour/Of the seventh day/There was a light around my window/Heard I couldn’t stay/I’m gone/I’m gone/When the hellhounds call with the whistle blowin’ baby/I’ll be riding down.”  He goes on to sing in the song’s second verse, “Go and tell my mama/Tell my sister I’m gone/I’m gonna hitch the black snake/A hundred-thirty strong.”  One is lead to think Mangione is singing here about that fabled long black train that has been noted in so many blues (and gospel) songs so many times before.  Mangione’s approach to the subject in this case is an original approach, yet still as enjoyable as that in those other songs.  When it is joined with the song’s infectious blues arrangement, the result is a song that quickly becomes one of this album’s best songs, if not its best.  It is yet another example of what makes this record such a surprising hit, and not the last.  ‘The Question & The Cure’ is yet another example of what makes this record stand out.

‘The Question & The Cure’ is yet another critical addition to But I’ve Seen The Stars because it stands on its own merits just as much as the previously discussed songs (and those not mentioned here).  The combination of Mangione’s vocal delivery style and the song’s gentle, flowing arrangement makes the song yet another emotionally powerful work.  The whole of those elements lends the song to comparisons to Bruce Springsteen and Mumford & Sons.  The same can be said of the song’s lyrical content, which sees Mangione singing, “And the halo/Of the living/Lies the ancient and the dead/The broken/We don’t read too good/Cause we can’t spell too good/So I’ve read/God bless the innocent/They’re just waiting on a home/And the course is wide and heavy/And the winter’s bite is cold/No way/Will my family lie/We’re the downcast cry/In the soil/they’re hungry…and the tears just change to blood and oil/But god bless the broken-hearted/They’re just waiting on the day/When they’re free from falling victim/When they can give it all away.  Yet again listeners have here an example of true lyrical depth that will tug at listeners’ heartstrings and leave them thinking and talking.  Even more impressive is the fact that Mangione and company did not just rehash the lyrical content or arrangements used in the album’s other works to have that powerful impact here.  Considering that, the song shows in whole why it is such an important part of this new record.  When it is joined with the previously discussed songs and those not noted here, the end result is a record that proves to be a truly shining success.

Mike Mangione and The Kin’s new album But I’ve Seen The Stars is a record reaches the stars without even trying.  Its musical arrangements and lyrical content together can leave listeners feeling such deep emotions at times while bringing great joy at others as well as emotions in between at yet others.  That is evidenced through the songs noted here and those not noted.  All things considered, this record shines just as bright as the stars seen, proving to be one of the year’s top new independent albums and potentially even one of the year’s top new albums overall.  But I’ve Seen The Stars will be released Oct. 20 via RODZINKA Records.  More information on the album is available online along with Mangione’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.mikemangione.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/mikemangione

 

 

 

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.