‘Africa Speaks’ Speaks Volumes About Carlos Santana’s Place In The Music Industry

Courtesy: Concord Records

Ten days.  That is how long it took veteran musician Carlos Santana and his fellow musicians to record their latest recording Africa Speaks.  The album — produced by Rick Rubin — was released June 7 through Concord Records, less than three months after Santana and company released the group’s three-song EP In Search of Mona Lisa.  In the mere weeks that have passed since the record’s release, it has already caused a division among listeners, with fans either loving or hating the recording.  Those who love the record, do so for the same reasons that its detractors have decried the album — the change in the group’s sound this time out.  The traditional Latin percussion sound to which listeners have become so familiar is replaced in large part by more African style drums (which is part of that African theme) and the arrangements are more complex than with past Santana compositions.  Santana himself even takes even more of a backseat than ever to his fellow musicians and guest vocalist Concha Buika, who provides vocals for the majority of the album’s 12 total songs.  The combination of Buika’s vocal talents with the talents of Santana and his fellow musicians goes a long way toward making the album in whole a strong, interesting new offering from the group.  The record’s lead single, ‘Breaking Down The Door.’  It will be discussed shortly.  ‘Los Invisibles,’ does just as much as ‘Breaking Down The Door’ to show the impact of Buika’s talents with those of Santana and company for this record.  It will be addressed a little later.  ‘Blue Skies’ is yet another example of how the combined talents of Concha Buika, Santana and his fellow musicians come together to create an engaging and entertaining recording in Africa Speaks.  When it is considered alongside ‘Breaking Down the Door,’ ‘Los Invisibles’ and the rest of the record’s entries, the album in whole becomes a work that listeners will agree speaks volumes about Carlos Santana and company in the best way possible.

Carlos Santana’s latest full-length studio recording Africa Speaks is a solid new offering from the veteran guitarist and his fellow musicians.  It is a record that speaks volumes about Santana’s place in the grand picture of the music community today.  That is proven in part through the record’s lead single ‘Breaking Down The Door.’  ‘Breaking Down The Door (ft. Buika)’ is a positive first impression from Carlos Santana’s forthcoming album Africa Speaks.  It is everything that audiences have come to expect from the veteran performer and his fellow musicians with its Latin-tinged sound.  The horns, bongos, congas, cabasa, drums and guitar and accordion are expertly balanced throughout the song thanks to the work of famed producer Rick Rubin (Johnny Cash, Run DMC, The Dixie Chicks), who helmed the album.  The song’s early bars create visions of nights in Havana which does somewhat go against the album’s theme of following African influences, but even with that in mind, still sets the song’s stage quite well.  The rest of the composition is certain to keep listeners engaged and entertained as the noted instruments join together for a work in whole that is quite easy on the ears.  It is just one of the song’s notable elements.

The song’s lyrical content is just as worth noting in examining the song as its musical content.  It is sung by famed Grammy®-nominated and Latin Grammy® Spanish artist Concha Buika (pronounced BWEE-KA), who comes in as a guest performer on this track.  Some of the lyrics are slightly difficult to decipher sans lyrics sheet, but enough is understood to realize the story in the song centers on a group of individuals’ relationships.  Buika starts out singing about a woman named Tina.  “Tina was no deceiver/Few were inclined to believe her/She was lucky to marry a rich, rich man/Handsome like Harry/Harry was a charmer/No one believed he would harm her.”  She continues in the song’s second verse, “The wedding was the talk of the town/The girl went down in a long white gown/They said she wanted to marry above her/All she wante was someone to love her/News came first/They called her a liar/Had no sound/Mouth full of wire.”

The story seemingly does not have a happy ending, as Buika sings, “In the end, Tina was buried/By the church where she got married/Tina should have outlived us/Now we pray that she will forgive us/Tina was no deceiver/Few were inclined to believe her.”  It would seem that in hindsight, this is a story about a young woman whose desire to be loved led to her being involved with someone who was not so nice.  It is inferred through the line stating Harry was a charmer and that no one thought he would hurt her, that likely he did in fact hurt her.  He apparently hurt Tina fatally.  One could almost argue that with this in mind, this song is a reminder for people to make sure they know who that other person is before getting completely involved with that person.  It’s hardly the first time that a song, such as this one has ever been presented.  Aerosmith, Garth Brooks and Nickelback are among the many acts who have crafted songs centered on the matter of domestic abuse.  The way in which it has seemingly been tackled here though, is a fresh new take on the topic, and just as certain to resonate with listeners.  That is thanks not just to the story, but the song’s arrangement, too.  Keeping all of this in mind, this song is a positive addition to Africa Speaks and just one of the record’s most notable entries.  ‘Los Invisibles,’ which immediately follows ‘Breaking Down The Door,’ is another example of the impact of Buika’s talents combined with those of Santana and company, and the overall impact of the album.

‘Los Invisibles’ stands out in part because of its musical arrangement.  Unlike ‘Breaking Down The Door,’ this song’s arrangement boasts much more of that African influence in its percussion elements.  At the same time, the use of the guitars and bass adds a bit of a funk vibe to the arrangement.  One could even argue there is a bit of a jazz influence in the song’s arrangement to boot.  That is a lot of different musical genres and styles, but Santana and company being the consummate professionals that they are, the group made those elements join together to make a whole that is undeniably one of the record’s best musical moments.  It is just one part of what makes the song in whole stand out.  The song’s lyrical content couples with its musical arrangement to make the song in whole stand out even more.

According to the English translation provided with the song posted to Santana’s official YouTube channel, the song focuses, lyrically, on a young man talking to his lady love about their forbidden love.  The translation shows the man sings to the woman, “Mari, Mari, Mari, don’t cry/When your mother found out about us/Said that she could not consent our love/Because I don’t have much money.”  The lyrics become rather redundant from here until the song’s finale in which the man sings to the woman, “Good night, miss/We are free like the wind.”  That finale line seems to be a statement of happiness, as if the man does not care what the woman’s mother thinks.  He sings “we are free like the wind,” as if to say “We can do what we want.”  This seeming statement would seem to add more clarity to the feeling in the song’s arrangement.  There is a certain sense of confidence in the arrangement, and considering the subject’s statements, it works well.  While it is another song that seems centered on relationships, it is the exact opposite of the story at the center of ‘Breaking Down The Door.’  In other words, it gives listeners something different to take in both lyrically and musically.  It is just one more of the songs featured in Africa Speaks that shows the record’s strength.  ‘Blue Skies’ is yet another example of the strength of Africa Speaks.

‘Blue Skies’ stands out in part because of its own arrangement, which is a stark contrast to the album’s other songs and even the pair already discussed here.  This song’s arrangement is more of a pure blues piece that also mixes in a touch of jazz.  The addition of Buika’s vocals adds that African element to the song, making the whole yet another of the record’s most notable entries if only for its musical side.  Its musical side is just one part of what makes it stand out, of course.  Its lyrical side adds even more interest to its whole.

The song’s lyrical content presents a message of clarity of mind and positivity.  That is made clear right from the song’s outset as Buika sings, “Don’t call me ‘lost’/That’s not my name/I got my feet on the ground and I see many colors and others/I burn all my loneliness under the ocean/Wash away fears and I/Burn all my loneliness under the ocean.”  She goes on in the song’s second verse, “I’m sending all my love to the blue skies/When light is raining over me/And then I remember the smile of my mama/When she thinks in the eyes of my grandma/When I feel that I’m lost/Don’t’ know where I belong/When a rose make my tears fall down/Nothing better than a blue skies/To cry over my memories.”  She adds, “Oh now there’s a magical shine in the moonlight/that reminds me those mystical moments/I remember that night when we’ve crossed far/that red line.”  She goes on in similar fashion through the rest of the song.  The end result is a song that is loaded with hope and positive vibes.  Those vibes are enhanced through the group’s musical arrangement, which exhibits so much emotion in its own right.  When the whole of the song is considered alongside the whole of the other songs discussed here, the trio proves solidly what makes this record a work that will in fact speak to listeners in the best way possible.  That is even more the case when they are considered alongside the rest of the album’s entries.  All things considered, the album becomes a work that is unquestionably one more of this year’s top new albums overall.

Carlos Santana’s latest full-length studio recording Africa Speaks is a record that speaks loud and clear about Santana’s place (and that of his fellow musicians) in the music industry today.  That is because it is yet another change of pace for the band that mixes elements of the group’s past works while also adding in a new element previously unused in the band’s past works.  The album’s lead single ‘Breaking Down The Door’ uses the band’s more familiar sound to create its own identity while ‘Los Invisibles’ adds more of the noted African element previously unused in Santana’s past records.  At the same time, it tells its own interesting story through its lyrical content.  ‘Blue Skies’ continues to present the positive vibes for which the band has been known throughout its life.  That is both in the song’s musical arrangement and its lyrical content.  Keeping this in considering along with the positives of the other noted songs and the rest of the album’s entries, the end result is a record that is just as strong as anything that Santana and company have ever released previously.  It is a record that says loud and clear, Carlos Santana and company are still among the music industry’s elite acts.  Africa Speaks is available now.  More information on Africa Speaks is available online now along with all of the latest news and more from Carlos Santana at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.santana.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/SantanaCarlos

 

 

 

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Carlos Santana Speaks Volumes With His New LP’s Latest Single

Courtesy: Concord Records

Early this year, famed guitarist Carlos Santana and his band released a new EP to the world in the form of In Search of Mona Lisa.  While an enjoyable record in its own right, that five song (technically three-song, since two of its songs are just radio edits of two of the three originals) sadly was not as timeless as the famed painting, which was reportedly the inspiration for the EP’s originals.  That is because of those radio edits.  This summer, Santana will follow-up the release of In Search of Mona Lisa with a new full-length studio recording titled Africa Speaks.  Research into the 11-song record reveals its release date as June 7.  In anticipation of the album’s release, its debut single and album opener, ‘Breaking Down the Door (ft. Buika)’ is set to hit radio stations nationwide May 5.  The song is everything that audiences have come to expect from Santana and company in terms of its musical arrangement, which will be addressed shortly.  The song’s lyrical content is just as easily accessible as the song’s musical content, and will be addressed a little later.  Each item noted here plays its own important part to the whole of ‘Breaking Down The Door (ft. Buika).’  All things considered, they make the song a strong first impression for Santana’s new LP, and hopefully not the only positive part of the forthcoming album.

‘Breaking Down The Door (ft. Buika)’ is a positive first impression from Carlos Santana’s forthcoming album Africa Speaks.  It is everything that audiences have come to expect from the veteran performer and his fellow musicians with its Latin-tinged sound.  The horns, bongos, congas, cabasa, drums and guitar and accordion are expertly balanced throughout the song thanks to the work of famed producer Rick Rubin (Johnny Cash, Run DMC, The Dixie Chicks), who helmed the album.  The song’s early bars create visions of nights in Havana which does somewhat go against the album’s theme of following African influences, but even with that in mind, still sets the song’s stage quite well.  The rest of the composition is certain to keep listeners engaged and entertained as the noted instruments join together for a work in whole that is quite easy on the ears.  It is just one of the song’s notable elements.  The song’s lyrical content is just as worth noting in examining the song as its musical content.

The song’s lyrical content is sung by famed Grammy®-nominated and Latin Grammy® Spanish artist Buika (pronounced BWEE-KA), who comes in as a guest performer on this track.  Some of the lyrics are slightly difficult to decipher sans lyrics sheet, but enough is understood to realize the story in the song centers on a group of individuals’ relationships.  Buika starts out singing about a woman named Tina.  “Tina was no deceiver/Few were inclined to believe her/She was lucky to marry a rich, rich man/Handsome like Harry/Harry was a charmer/No one believed he would harm her.”  She continues in the song’s second verse, “The wedding was the talk of the town/The girl went down in a long white gown/They said she wanted to marry above her/All she wante was someone to love her/News came first/They called her a liar/Had no sound/Mouth full of wire.”

The story seemingly does not have a happy ending, as Buika sings, “In the end, Tina was buried/By the church where she got married/Tina should have outlived us/Now we pray that she will forgive us/Tina was no deceiver/Few were inclined to believe her.”  It would seem that in hindsight, this is a story about a young woman whose desire to be loved led to her being involved with someone who was not so nice.  It is inferred through the line stating Harry was a charmer and that no one thought he would hurt her, that likely he did in fact hurt her.  He apparently hurt Tina fatally.  One could almost argue that with this in mind, this song is a reminder for people to make sure they know who that other person is before getting completely involved with that person.  It’s hardly the first time that a song, such as this one has ever been presented.  Aerosmith, Garth Brooks and Nickelback are among the many acts who have crafted songs centered on the matter of domestic abuse.  The way in which it has seemingly been tackled here though, is a fresh new take on the topic, and just as certain to resonate with listeners.  That is thanks not just to the story, but the song’s arrangement, too.  Keeping all of this in mind, this song is a positive first impression for Africa Speaks and hopefully just one of many more positive impressions to come from the album.

Carlos Santana is set to launch a tour in support of Africa Speaks April 22 in Nashville, TN.  The tour is set to run through Nov. 10 and will include an extensive residency in Las Vegas, NV as well as performances in cities, such as Charlotte, NC; Phoenix, AZ and Los Angeles, CA.  The tour’s schedule is available online now along with another of the Africa Speaks‘ singles, ‘Los Invisibles’ and all of Carlos Santana’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.santana.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/SantanaCarlos

 

 

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.

‘In Search Of Mona Lisa’ Is Enjoyable, But Leaves Listeners In Search Of More

Courtesy: Concord Records

It goes without saying that Carlos Santana is one of the greatest musicians in the modern history of music.  He has crafted countless hit songs that have led to just as many awards and garnered just as many fans around the world.  Late last month, Santana continued that ongoing success – sort of — with the release of his new EP In Search of Mona Lisa.  The record is enjoyable, but honestly, it does leaving one wanting for more, and not in a good way.  That is not to say that the record is a complete loss.  It does have some positives, one of which being the three original tracks that make up the majority of the 27-minute record.  They will be discussed shortly.  The other two songs featured on the record’s back side are the record’s most prominent negative.  They will be discussed a little bit later.  The EP’s other positive is its sequencing.  It will also be discussed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of In Search of Mona Lisa.  All things considered, they make this record its own enjoyable work of musical art, but not his most memorable work of musical art.

In Search of Mona Lisa is an interesting new offering from veteran guitarist and composer Carlos Santana.  While not his greatest work to date, it is not an entirely forgettable work.  That is thanks in part to the three original songs that make up the majority of the EP’s body.  Those three songs are ‘Do You Remember Me,’ ‘In Search of Mona Lisa’ and ‘Leaves From Another Time.’  What makes this trio of compositions stand out more than anything is their arrangements.  The first work is classic Carlos Santana.  It is a nine-minute-plus opus that while yes it conjures thoughts of the classic work ‘Guantanamera’ in its guitar line, the song’s overall composition is what makes it stand out.  It starts out so gently and relaxed, gradually adding in an extra layer approximately five minutes into the song with vocals and plenty of familiar Latin percussion (cabasa, bongos, congas, timbales and shaker) and subtle piano line.  Vocals and a bass line join in gradually, too, to make the song in whole a work that will have any listener dancing along happily.

The EP’s title track follows, and is quite different stylistically from ‘Do You Remember Me.’ This track, which barely tops the five-minute mark, sounds more akin to something that belongs on a Joe Bonamassa record than Santana.  That is evident through Santana’s infectious bluesy guitar line and the gritty vocal performance presented this time out.  Not having liner notes to reference, this critic cannot say for certain who the vocalist is, though it is certain that it is not Joe Bonamassa.  That aside, the distinctly different approach to this song’s arrangement versus that of ‘Do You Remember Me’ makes for a welcome change of pace that is certain to keep listeners engaged and entertained.  The song’s lyrical content is just as certain to keep listeners engaged, as the vocalist sings, “All the women of the world/Ain’t got nothin’ on her/When I stood in front of her/Lookin’ eye to eye/She said to me/Do you remember/When we were lovers/In another time/Here we are again/I can feel you heart/Deep in time with mine/Oh, it’s eternal love/I was searching/My Mona Lisa/My Mona Lisa.”  While it is said that this EP was centered on Santana’s interaction with the famed Mona Lisa portrait in Paris, this song obviously is about another Mona Lisa.  That adds even more interest to the song, and in turn shows even more why the EP’s main songs are so important to its whole.

While ‘Do You Remember Me’ and ‘In Search of Mona Lisa’ are both clear examples of why this EP’s primary songs are so important to the record’s overall presentation, they are not its only key compositions.  ‘Lovers From Another Time,’ the third and final original offering featured in In Search of Mona Lisa stands out in large part because of its own arrangement.  This work takes Santana’s familiar Latin sound and crosses it with an old-school 1960s lounge jazz style arrangement for a whole that is quite the surprisingly interesting work.  On the surface, one might not think such a hybrid composition would work, but it certainly does work here.  That is evidenced in the juxtaposition of Santana’s fiery guitar work and the subtlety of the piano and strings.  The drumming here is just as fiery as Santana’s work, with strong fills and solid time keeping throughout.  The result of the whole presents a sound that one could argue is a sort of fusion jazz arrangement.  Again, it is a change-up that keeps the record interesting and engaging for listeners.  When this work is considered along with its predecessors, the whole of these three songs creates a strong foundation for In Search of Mona Lisa.

While the three primary songs featured in In Search of Mona Lisa give the record a strong foundation, the two songs that follow make that same foundation a little bit shaky.  That is because despite the marketing from the people at Concord Records they are not original works.  Rather, they are essentially just radio edits of the EP’s first two songs.  The edit of ‘Do You Remember Me’ is a time-edited piece that opens where the vocals kick in during the original work.  In other words, the instrumental portion of the original is completely omitted here in this edit.  The edit of ‘In Search of Mona Lisa’ is more subtle, with the variances more difficult to notice, but it is cut back by almost a minute and a half in terms of its run time.  That means that plenty of content has been omitted from this cut in comparison to the final presentation.  Now on the one hand, it can be argued that adding these two edits to the EP is good because it creates more appreciation for the “final cuts.”  At the same time though, the variances between the edits and the originals are so minute that in reality, the edits become inconsequential, and in turn unnecessary.  Audiences have already spoken out, and correctly so, that it would have been better to have had two more original songs featured in the record than the two edits.  At least the people in Santana’s camp have finally stopped alleging the EP has five new songs, and pointed out that it only has three new songs.  Either way, at least audiences have the edits for the sake of comparison, if nothing more.  To that end, the record still could have gone just as easily without the edits as with.

While the songs featured in In Search of Mona Lisa are clearly key in their own way to the whole of the EP, they are just part of the record that should be examined.  The record’s sequencing plays into its presentation, too.  As already noted, the three primary songs that make up the bulk of this record are each stylistically different from one another.  That alone keeps the EP interesting.  Keeping in mind the songs’ stylistic variances, their energies are just as varied.  ‘Do You Remember Me’ is a relaxed, casual piece that moves along smoothly from start to finish of the more than nine-minute opus.  The relaxed vibe of that arrangement gives way immediately to the more upbeat vibe of the EP’s title track, which is just as danceable as the EP’s opener.  From there, the EP’s energy pulls back again with ‘Lovers From Another Time.’  This song’s arrangement returns the record’s energy back to that smooth, subtle feel presented in the record’s opener, letting listeners relax yet again.  The up and down of the energies here shows clearly that certain time and thought was put into the record’s sequencing.  It shows that the EP’s creative forces wanted to insure listeners’ engagement and entertainment.  That attention to detail paid off, too.  Keeping that in mind along with the songs’ arrangements, the two elements do plenty to make the EP a welcome offering from Carlos Santana, but certainly a work that leaves listeners wanting for more.

Carlos Santana’s latest studio recording, the five-song EP In Search of Mona Lisa is an enjoyable new offering from the veteran musician and composer.  However, it is also a record that leaves listeners in search of more from the world-renowned guitarist.  That is due to the two edits that are featured alongside the EP’s three original works.  Those original works, and their sequencing go collectively a long way toward the EP’s enjoyment.  Considered along with the issue of the edits, the EP in whole proves to be enjoyable, but not one of his greatest works of musical art.  In Search of Mona Lisa is available now.  More information on the record is available online now along with all of Santana’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.santana.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/SantanaCarlos

 

 

 

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.

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

Courtesy: Concord Records

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Website: http://www.billygibbons.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/billyfgibbons

 

 

 

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

Billy Gibbons Announces ‘The Big Bad Blues’ Tour Dates

Courtesy: Concord Records

Billy Gibbons is headed out on the road this fall.

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

The tour’s current schedule is noted below.

Billy F Gibbons – The Big Bad Blues Tour 2018

Oct-13  Riverside, IA  Riverside Casino and Golf Resort

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

Oct-16  Chicago, IL  House of Blues

Oct-17  Columbus, OH The Bluestone

Oct-18  St. Louis, MO The Pageant

Oct-20  Wabash, IN  Honeywell Center

Oct-21  Cleveland, OH  Agora Ballroom

Oct-23  Kitchener, ON  Centre in the Square

Oct-25  Derry, NH  Tupelo Music Hall

Oct-26  Beverly, MA  The Cabot Theater

Oct-28  Huntington, NY  The Paramount

Oct-30  New York, NY  Iridium Jazz Club

Oct-31  New York, NY  Iridium Jazz Club

Nov-01  Washington, DC  Pearl Street Warehouse

Nov-03  Pompano Beach, FL  Pompano Beach Amphitheatre

Nov-05  Clearwater, FL  Ruth Eckerd Hall

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

Nov-07  Atlanta, GA  Variety Playhouse

Nov-09  Houston, TX   Revention Music Center

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

Nov-11  San Antonio, TX  Aztec Theater

Nov-15  Solana Beach, CA  Belly Up Tavern

Nov-16  Las Vegas, NV  Brooklyn Bowl

Nov-18  West Hollywood, CA  Troubadour

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

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

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

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

2)         My Baby She Rocks

3)         Second Line

4)         Standing Around Crying (Muddy Waters)

5)         Let The Left Hand Know… 

6)         Bring It To Jerome (Jerome Green)

7)         That’s What She Said

8)         Mo’ Slower Blues

9)         Hollywood 151

10)       Rollin’ and Tumblin’ (Muddy Waters)

11)       Crackin’ Up (Bo Diddley)

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Website: http://www.billygibbons.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/billyfgibbons

 

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

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

Courtesy: Concord Records

Billy Gibbons has a new solo record on the way.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The album’s full track listing is noted below.

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

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

2)         My Baby She Rocks

3)         Second Line

4)         Standing Around Crying (Muddy Waters)

5)         Let The Left Hand Know… 

6)         Bring It To Jerome (Jerome Green)

7)         That’s What She Said

8)         Mo’ Slower Blues

9)         Hollywood 151

10)       Rollin’ and Tumblin’ (Muddy Waters)

11)       Crackin’ Up (Bo Diddley)

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

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

 

Website: http://www.billygibbons.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/billyfgibbons

 

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

 

Simon’s New LP Should Be No Stranger To His Fans

Courtesy:  Concord Records

Courtesy: Concord Records

Paul Simon is one of the most iconic figures in modern music history.  He has been making music and making his own way in the industry for more than five decades.  And now some fifty-two years since he and former partner Art Garfunkel first formed he is still going strong having recently released his latest album.  Stranger To Stranger, his thirteenth album, is his thirteenth full-length solo recording.  It was released earlier this month in stores and online.  And it is an album that is well worth the listen.  That is because yet again Simon has offered up a collection of songs in this record that proudly takes chances, offering up both musical arrangements and lyrics that stand out from almost everything else currently out there.  That is obvious in the album’s lead single ‘Wristband.’  It is just one example of what makes this record such an interesting listen.  ‘In A Parade’ is another of the album’s more standout moments, exemplifying just as much what makes this record stand out.  “The Riverbank’ can be cited just as much as ‘Wristband’ and ‘In A Parade’ in exhibiting what makes Stranger To Stranger such an interesting new offering from one of music’s greatest names.  That is not to ignore any of the album’s remaining compositions, either.  All things considered, Stranger To Stranger proves to be a record that should be no stranger to any of Simon’s fans.

Paul Simon’s new record Stranger To Stranger is a record that should be no stranger to any of Simon’s fans.  That is because as with each of his previous albums, it proudly takes chances, offering up a collection of songs that stand out from almost anything else out there today if not everything.  The album’s lead single ‘Wristband’ is just one of the album’s songs that makes it stand out so much.  The song’s bass-driven musical arrangement, electronics, and clapping conjure thoughts of a modern-day hipster poetry club; like a cross between something that one might see in Mad Men and one of its modern-day descendants.  The same applies to Simon’s own vocal delivery.  The combination of each of those elements in this song makes its arrangement one that audiences will most definitely struggle to compare to any of today’s major To 40 hits.  That is a very good thing.  It’s not the song’s only positive, either.  The song’s lyrical content, speaking of Simon’s vocal delivery, is just as important to note here as its musical content.  Simon is apparently singing here of a performer who apparently accidentally got himself locked out of the venue where he was set to perform, and the trouble he faced trying to get back in.  This can be concluded as he sings in the song’s opening verse, “I stepped outside the backstage door to breathe some nicotine/And maybe check my mailbox/See if I can read the screen/And I heard a click/The stage door lock/I’m gonna have to walk around the block if I wanna get in.”  He goes on to sing in the song’s second verse about the performer having to face security at the door, who apparently doesn’t recognize him, and thus refusing to let him in. “I can’t explain it/I don’t know why my heart beats like a fist/When I meet some dude with an attitude saying, “Hey you can’t do that. Hold this/And the man was large/A well-dressed 6 foot 8/And he’s actin’ like St. Peter standing guard at the Pearly Gates/Sayin’ you got to have a wristband.”  The story gets even funnier as Simon goes on to present the performer trying to explain that he was with the band.  The story goes on here to seemingly change subjects about the haves and have-nots interestingly enough.  The whole of the story presented in the song’s lyrical content is in itself more than enough reason for audiences to hear this song.  It stands out quite noticeably to say the very least.  Together with the song’s musical arrangement both elements make ‘Wristband’ clearly one of Stranger to Stranger’s most notable compositions.  It is just one of the songs included in this album that shows why STS (as it will henceforth be called) is a record that should be no stranger to any of Simon’s fans.  ‘Clock’ is another standout inclusion in this record.

STS offers audiences plenty to appreciate both musically and lyrically.  That is exhibited clearly in the album’s lead single ‘Wristband.’  That song is just one example of what makes STS stand out in this year’s field of major music releases.  ‘In A Parade’ is yet another example of what makes this record so notable.  That is due in part to the song’s musical content.  Its samba style arrangement instantly conjures thoughts of Rio de Janeiro’s famed Carnival festivities, including its associated parades.  It is an infectious arrangement that is certain to have listeners on their feet.  The song’s lyrical content will catch listeners’ ears just as much as its musical arrangement.  That is because of just how abstract the song’s lyrical content proves to be.  The verses are presented in a sort of spoken word style while the chorus is sung.  In the song’s lead verse, the song’s subject is noting that “Some nights the ER is as quiet as an EKG” and that “tonight it feels like every broke bone/Tonight it feels like every wounded soul/Is filling out a form or on the phone.”  He later notes in the song’s second verse, “I drank some orange soda then I drank some grape/I’m aware I couldn’t now/To cover my mistake/My head is a lollipop, my head is a lollipop/My head is a lollipop and everyone wants to lick it/I wear a hoodie now so I won’t get a ticket/I write my verse for the universe/That’s who I am.”  To say that these lines are abstract would be an understatement.  Even the song’s chorus, in which Simon makes note of “Diagnosis: schizophrenia/Occupation: Street Angel” don’t offer a lot of clarity for listeners.  As wildly out there as all of this seems, it actually is a good thing in its own right.  That is because of the certainty that it will generate discussion among listeners.  That is especially the case when the song’s lyrical content is set against the infectious grooves of the song’s musical arrangement.  When the two elements are combined, they show clearly why this song is yet another of the most stand out compositions included in Simon’s new album.  It still is not the last of the album’s most notable songs, either.  ‘The Riverbank’ is one more example of what makes STS such a notable new album both from Paul Simon and among this year’s new musical offerings overall.

‘Wristband’ and ‘In A Parade’ are both key examples of what makes Paul Simon’s new album stand out both in its own right and among the rest of this year’s new albums so far.  They are not the only compositions included in this record that exemplify its notoriety.  ‘The Riverbank’ is yet another example of what makes STS stand out.  As with the previously noted compositions this is in part due to the song’s musical arrangement.  This song’s musical arrangement stands out just as much from its counterparts on the record as they do from one another.  It is founded largely in a slightly blues-style guitar riff that stays steady throughout the song’s four-minute plus run time (4:12 to be exact).  That riff is complimented by the gentle drive of a shaker and hand clapping in the background along with the occasional inclusion of a triangle at points.  Each piece makes the song’s musical arrangement one that is just infectious in its own right as the arrangement presented in ‘In A Parade.’  The same applies in comparing it to other arrangements presented throughout the record.  It is just one part of what makes the song stand out, though.  The song’s lyrical content is just as important to its presentation as its musical arrangement.  That is because it is just as certain to create its own share of discussion among audiences.  He sings in the song’s lead verse, “Frightened by the tone of a phone in the dead of night/Then staring into darkness and praying to the morning light…now the sorrowful parade to the riverbed/Must be half the county come down to the riverbed/Ask who lives close save for the local police/Shall we tearfully embrace/Shall we sing amazing grace…army dude only saw nowhere to run/Only turns to the gun/It’s a cross/It’s a stone/It’s a fragment of bone/It’s a long walk home from the riverbed.”  That’s just the song’s lead verse, too.  There’s a lot going on here.  The song’s second verse will leave audiences listening just as closely as its lead verse.  When it’s all said and done one can’t help but wonder if Simon is trying to make a certain socio-political commentary since the chorus mentions the soldier and his predicament in each reprise.  Whether or not that is the case, the song’s lyrical content is still certain to create its own share of discussion among audiences.  That being the case, that discussion, coupled with the enjoyment of the song’s musical arrangement, makes this song stand out just as much ‘Wristband,’ ‘In A Parade’ and any of the album’s other songs not noted here.  All things considered, Stranger To Stranger proves in whole to be a record that should be no stranger to Paul Simon’s fans.

Stranger To Stranger is a record that should be no stranger to Paul Simon’s fans.  That is evident in all three of the songs noted here.  Each song stands out from the others both musically and lyrically.  The same applies just as much to the album’s songs as the compositions noted here.  That is just the beginning of what makes the album stand out.  The album stands out in comparison both to his own previous records and the rest of this year’s new albums.  That is because it proudly takes chances yet again.  That is something rare to see in today’s mainstream records but far more familiar with Simon’s records.  Keeping that in mind, this record offers plenty for audiences to appreciate.  In turn it becomes a record that, again, should be no stranger to Paul Simon’s fans.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on Stranger To Stranger is available online now along with all of Paul Simon’s latest news at:

 

 

Website: http://www.paulsimon.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/PaulSimonMusic

 

 

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.