‘Deep Blues’ Re-Issue Will Appeal To Audiences Across The Musical Universe

Courtesy: Dave Stewart Entertainment/Film Movement Classics/Bay Street Records

Director Robert Mugge has made quite the name for himself over the years heading documentaries that tell the history of America’s music.  More specifically, they present the roots of music, such as zydeco and the blues.  The most recent of those docs came in 2018 the form of Ship to Shore: Launching the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Review, which focused on the famed cross country music tour.  Now Tuesday, one of his even older docs — 1991’s Deep Blues — will get renewed attention when it is re-issued through Dave Stewart Entertainment/Film Movement Classics/Bay Street Records.  The documentary will appeal to a wide range of audiences in part through its main feature, which will be discussed shortly.  The bonus content that accompanies the doc adds even more to the record’s appeal.  That all taken into account, it makes the re-issue’s pricing important in its own right.  That item will also be examined later.  Each item noted is key in its own way to the whole of the re-issue’s presentation.  All things considered, they make this doc a welcome addition to the library of any blues aficionado who might not already own it or any of Mugge’s music docs.

The forthcoming Blu-ray re-issue of the Robert Mugge-helmed 1991 documentary, Deep Blues is a presentation that any blues aficionado will find entertaining.  Set for release Tuesday through Dave Stewart Entertainment/Film Movement Classics/Bay Street Records, the 91-minute documentary (which is actually adapted from journalist Robert Palmer’s book, Deep Blues: A Musical and Cultural History of the Mississippi Delta) focuses on the music of the Mississippi Delta and deep south.  It follows the same format of so many of Mugge’s documentaries in its main feature, which audiences will especially appreciate.  For those maybe less familiar with Mugge’s work, he does not present his docs as some slow, extended lecture about the music’s history, but rather, he immerses audiences in that history with first hand interviews and performances with and by the figures who helped make said music great.  Here, audiences hear from the likes of R.L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, and Big Jack Johnson along with so many other greats.  The humility and genuine personality that each figure presents both just talking and performing is so enthralling.  The simple, humble venues where the performances take place adds to that sense of humility.  It and the almost guerilla style cinematography and editing (again for which Mugge is known) further immerses audiences in the history, really making for even more engagement and entertainment.  The overall feature here is a great half and half of history and entertainment that, again, follows a familiar format from Robert Mugge.  That familiarity will appeal just as much to those who are familiar with his documentaries and those who are new to his works.  It makes this presentation just as much a history lesson about the blues as it is a love letter to the genre.  To that end, it is reason enough in itself for audiences to take in the documentary.  It is only one part of what makes the documentary so engaging and entertaining in its new re-issue, too.  The bonus content that accompanies the documentary adds even more to that noted appeal.

The bonus content that accompanies the documentary is not necessarily expansive per se.  It consists mainly of a feature-length audio commentary provided by Mugge, as well as some bonus performances that did not make the final cut for the main feature.  Additionally, the essay penned by Rolling Stone magazine contributing editor Anthony DeCurtis serves as its own bonus content through the background that it provides, too.  Mugge offers quite a bit of insight throughout the course of the documentary’s 91-minute run time.  Right from the feature’s outset, he reveals that Eurythmics star Dave Stewart did not want to appear in the documentary, but that he [Mugge] convinced Stewart to appear as a means to broaden the documentary’s audience.  He points out in his commentary here that Stewart’s appearances in the film would help pull in more than just the typical blues devotees.  That was a wise move on Mugge’s part. Another interesting revelation made by Mugge during his commentary is that when now legend R.L. Burnside was originally interviewed and featured in this documentary, he was not the star that he would go on to be.  He points out that a documentary that Mugge did about famed blues label Fat Possum Records actually played into Burnside’s rise to fame.  It is an unintended pat on the back, but really helps audiences to understand why Burnside was living in such a humble setting at the time that his performance and interview was filmed.  This is, again, something that longtime blues fans will especially appreciate in their understanding, and yet more proof of the importance of Mugge’s commentary.  In yet another interesting note, Palmer (who serves as a semi-host of sorts throughout the documentary) sits in a hotel room at one point, singing a note in the hotel about why the water there was brown.  What he has to say afterward versus what Mugge reveals is somewhat troubling to be honest.  Mugee reveals the real reason that the water in the hotel (and town in which the hotel sat) was dark brown.  The revelation is enough to make anyone second guess drinking it despite Palmer’s light hearted joke.  Between these discussions that Mugge brings up, and his multitude of discussions on the filming for the performances, audiences get so much insight throughout the documentary that was not available in the doc’s original presentation.  That in-depth background offered by Mugge builds on the appeal established through the main feature to make the presentation that much more engaging and entertaining.

The bonus performances noted here build even more on that engagement and entertainment.  The sound is expertly produced (just as with the performances that made the final cut).  That they are so intimate adds even more to their appeal.  It leaves one wondering why they were not added to the final cut.  Regardless, that they were included here completes the original presentation and in turn makes the presentation truly complete.

DeCurtis’ notes add their own appeal to the whole by building even more on everything discussed by Palmer and Mugge in the main feature and audio commentary.  At one point in his essay, for instance, DeCurtis points out the roots of the blues really go back to the days of slavery.  He additionally sets the stage for the experience that audiences will have as they watch, painting such a rich picture through his written tapestry.  What’s more, DeCurtis also points out that the majority of the figures featured in this documentary all went on to some level of stardom as the years went on, not just R.L. Burnside, adding that at the time though, none of the featured performers were stars. This is interesting to note because audiences never get a sense of ego from any of them.  It is all pure humility; Humility that would continue on through their respective careers.  It really serves to strength Palmer’s statement at one point that at the time of the documentary’s debut, blues was still not a major genre, but that it was beginning to see a rebirth of sorts in that popularity.  One can only imagine then, that the documentary served to help bring more attention to each figure and to the blues and its importance as a major form of American music.  Considering everything noted here and so much more, it should be clear at this point that the bonus content featured with Deep Blues is just as important to its presentation in its re-issue as the documentary itself.  Keeping in mind the overall impact of the documentary’s main and secondary content, it makes the Blu-ray’s pricing positive in its own right.

The average price point of Deep Blues – using prices listed through Amazon, Walmart, Target, and Best Buy – is $29.12.  It was not listed through Barnes & Noble Booksellers and Books-A-Million.  However, Barnes & Noble Booksellers did list the documentary on DVD along with Walmart and Best Buy at an average price of $26.63.  Again, considering the breadth and depth of the content discussed here, those averages are not that bad, especially being that this is an independent release.  In the case of the re-issue’s DVD listings, Best Buy lives up to its name, giving audiences the best buy with a listing of $22.99.  Barnes & Noble Booksellers has the most expensive of the DVD’s listings at $29.99 while Walmart’s listing of $26.92 is the middle ground here.

In the case of the documentary’s Blu-ray platform, Target offers the least expensive listing, at $26.59.  Amazon, Walmart and Best Buy each list the documentary’s Blu-ray presentation at $29.99, so it is more expensive overall than the doc’s DVD presentation.  At the same time though, that noted listing through Target is still less than $30, and that really brings this discussion to its crux.  The point of all of this is that while the averages are a bit high, the separate listings do have some relatively affordable price points that will not break anyone’s budget.  Adding that realization to the amount of content featured in the re-issue and that content’s impact, the whole makes this overall presentation such a positive new take of one of Robert Mugge’s many music documentaries.

Dave Stewart Entertainment/Film Movement Classics/Bay Street Records’ upcoming re-issue of Deep Blues is a wonderful new take of the 1991 documentary from director Robert Mugge.  It will resonate with audiences in part through its main feature.  That is because just like with all of Mugge’s other music docs, it immerses audiences in the music and its history, rather than just presenting it as some long-winded lecture.  This is the kind of presentation that is certain to keep audiences engaged and entertained.  The breadth of the content in the main feature builds on that appeal and ensures even more, viewers’ maintained engagement and entertainment.  The secondary (bonus) content that accompanies the documentary this time builds on the appeal ensured through the main feature.  That is because of the added background and other information that it provides through each bonus feature and item.  Keeping in mind the noted overall content and its impact, it makes the documentary’s pricing its own understandable positive, even looking at the slightly higher averages.  The separate listings are, by comparison, mostly affordable and will not break any viewer’s budget.  Each item examined here is important in its own way to the whole of the documentary’s new re-issue.  All things considered, they make this re-issue a work that will appeal to audiences across the musical universe.

Deep Blues is scheduled for re-issue Tuesday through Dave Stewart Entertainment/Film Movement Classics/Bay Street Records. More information on this and other titles from Film Movement is available at:

Websitehttps://www.filmmovement.com

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Stewart Re-Invents Himself Yet Again On His Third Country Outing

Courtesy:  Weapons of Mass Entertainment

Courtesy: Weapons of Mass Entertainment

Dave Stewart has done it again.  The former Eurythmics star has re-invented himself once again on his latest record, Lucky Numbers.  The third of his Nashville records, this record comes across as the culmination of Stewart’s journey into the country music world.  And it goes without saying that if this is the last of his country records, it is his best yet.  The record offers a little of something for everybody over the course of eleven tracks.  The album’s opener, ‘Every Single Night’ is quite the interesting way to kick off this album.  That’s because while it does boast a country element, it’s also slightly tinged with an 80s sound, too.  The addition of country superstar Martina McBride doesn’t hurt the record, either.  And its radio edit, is little different.  It’s just one of the songs that listeners will enjoy on this record.  Just as enjoyable is the semi-bluesy ‘Drugs Taught Me a Lesson.’  This song doesn’t necessarily have a country vibe about it.  But its theme of past drug use set alongside its mid-tempo musical side make it another of the album’s high points.  Speaking of high points, the album’s third track, ‘How To Ruin A Romance’ is one more of those high points.  Its playful energy and equally comical yet true lyrical side will most assuredly have anyone smiling as they sing along.  These are just a few of the most notable of the songs from Stewart’s new album.  For those that want something a little softer, Stewart has a relatively good offering of softer material, too.  Along with the more up-tempo songs, they put Dave Stewart into this critic’s list of the year’s best new records again.’

‘Every Single Night’ opens Lucky Numbers.  This mid-tempo pop country tune is a good re-introduction for Stewart.  It’s quite the interesting opener, too.  It’s light pop/rock vibe conjures thoughts of Phil Collins and certain other well-known acts from the 80s.  That’s thanks to the keyboard and drums that largely drive the song.  Ironically, it’s that same solid drumming that is sure to have audiences at Stewart’s live shows raising their hands and clapping together in time to the song.  Guest star Martina McBride actually serves to make the song feel even more like a pop song straight from the late 80s with her vocal prowess.  It adds a certain charm as the pair sings, “That’s why the rain came/Every single night/Every single night/Like a ball and chain/Every single night/Every single night/I’m never gonna cry again/Every single night/Every single night/Don’t ask me why again/Every single night/Every single night.”  The charm of the duo singing together along with the song’s musical side makes it so easy to close one’s eyes and actually see them singing.  Even images of the pair singing together will come across to some just like a music video from the 80s.  Is that bad?  Not necessarily.  It’s actually somewhat endearing.  And that endearing feeling is the heart of the song.  Stewart and McBride have hit an emotional nerve with listeners that will lead to the above mentioned reactions.

After the feel good vibes created in ‘Every Single Night’, one might wonder how Stewart could possibly follow up that song.  He follows it up by changing things up in every sense of the term.  Instead of offering more of that endearing classic rock vibe, Stewart turns bluesy on the album’s next song, ‘Drugs Taught Me A Lesson.’  He was joined by Vanessa Amorosi and The Ringmaster Chorus on this song.  This is another of those songs that make it so easy for audiences to envision Stewart live on stage, performing the song.  It’s so easy to see the Ringmaster’s Chorus behind Stewart, swaying back and forth, smiling as they sing and clap in time.  The song’s laid back piano riff mixed with its infectious groove laid down by Stewart’s bassist make the song even more fun.  And one can’t forget the incredible guitar work in this track, either.  All three elements together make the song’s lyrical side hit even harder, believe it or not.  That’s because Stewart is singing from the vantage point of someone having gotten past drug addiction.  He sings, “Drugs taught me a lesson/How to lose control/Drugs taught me a lesson/Just how I lose my soul/And that’s one hard lesson to learn.”  It would have been so easy to take a more somber road on this song.  Stewart took chose otherwise.  And it paid off, too.  It shows that there is hope for those struggling to get past drug addiction, and the joy that can result in living a clean life.  So for that, kudos is in order for Stewart and company.

Stewart and his band mates maintain the light hearted vibe established in the album’s second song with the very next piece, ‘How To Ruin A Romance.’  This song just cries country.  It is really the first pure country style song on this record.  Stewart and guest musician Vanessa Amorosi sing playfully about all the ways that people—particularly men—ruin a romance.  From not taking a cue from a woman to passing up the chance to talk to a woman or even kiss her, he and Amorosi outline rather well all the things to not do.  They offer up even more ways that a romance can be romance can be ruined.  And there are a lot of ways to ruin a romance, too, as listeners will find out.  Add in some nice guitar solos and solid drumming, and listeners get yet another enjoyable song from Stewart’s new album.

As one can hopefully tell by now, there is plenty of reason for audiences to applaud Dave Stewart on his latest LP.  He offers much more from which listeners can choose as their own favorite songs.  There is more light hearted material throughout the record as well as more heartfelt material for those wanting to hear Stewart’s softer side.  Altogether, it works to make Lucky Numbers another hit from Dave Stewart, and another album from Stewart that makes this critic’s list of the year’s best new albums.  Fans will get to hear these songs and even more of his material in just a couple of months when he performs at “VaVoom…A Rock and Roll Circus” in Los Angeles, California on Thursday, January 30th.  Tickets for that show are available now and can be ordered online at http://goldenvoice.com/shows/details/?id=245809.  All of the latest information on more upcoming shows and news from Dave Stewart is available online at http://www.facebook.com/davestewart and http://davestewart.com.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Dave Stewart Set To Release Eighth Solo Album This Fall

Courtesy:  Kobalt Label Services

Courtesy: Kobalt Label Services

Dave Stewart’s new album, Lucky Numbers, will be released this Fall, just over a year since the release of his most recent album, Ringmaster General.   It is the third release from Stewart in as many years, and will be the eighth full length solo release for Stewart, who is most well-known for his role of half of the 80s pop act, Eurythmics alongside Annie Lennox.

The first single from Lucky Numbers, ‘Every Single Night’ is currently playing at radio stations nationwide.  It can be downloaded via iTunes now at

Courtesy:  Kobalt Label Services

Courtesy: Kobalt Label Services

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/every-single-night-feat.-martina/id681124293?ign-mpt=uo%3D4.

A lyric video for the single is set to debut Monday, August 19th.  Fans can expect more of the 60s infused rock sound that permeated Stewart’s previous pair of releases on Lucky Numbers.  Stewart was joined by guitarist Tom Bukovac, drummer Chad Cromwell, bassist Michael Rhodes, pianist Mike Rojas, pedal steel guitarist Dan Dugmore and multi-talented musician Kieran Kiely on Lucky Numbers.  Kiely’s talents included songs featuring her on accordion, flute, and the Irish bodhran drum, which can be heard on the album’s lead single.

Stewart pulled in some big names to provide their talents to his latest album.  One of the biggest of those guests was none other than Martina McBride.  She provided guest vocals on the album’s lead single.  Also joining Stewart this time out were:  Karen Elson (‘Nashville Snow’), Australian pop star Vanessa Amorosi (‘What’s Wrong With Me’), famed Broadway actress Laura Michelle Kelly and violinist Ann Marie Calhoun (‘You and I’), and Lynn Mabry joined by a gospel choir (Drugs Taught Me a Lesson’ and ‘What’s Wrong with Me’).

Stewart shared his insights on Lucky Numbers in a recent interview about the upcoming album.  “The two worlds collide in the most beautiful way,” he said.  “I’m singing one thing in my mind, and they’re playing something completely different, but it works.”

The track listing for Lucky Numbers is listed below.

Lucky Numbers Track Listing

Every Single Night
Drugs Taught Me A Lesson
How To Ruin A Romance
What’s Wrong With Me
Satellite
Why Can’t We Be Friends
You and I
Nashville Snow
Never Met A Woman Like You
One Step Too Far
Lucky Numbers

Stewart will kick off a tour in support of Lucky Numbers on Thursday, September 12th at the famed Troubador in West Hollywood, California.  From there, Stewart will head overseas to tour Europe beginning Saturday, September 28th in Cologne, Germany.  The most current slate of tour dates is available online now at http://www.facebook.com/davestewart and http://davestewart.com 

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Stewart Impresses Yet Again On New LP

Courtesy: Weapons of Mass Entertainment/Surf Dog

Dave Stewart still has it.  Every time that the former Eurythmics member has released a new album, he has reinvented himself to great success.  His new album, “The Ringmaster General” is no exception.  While his most recent album, “The Blackbird Diaries” (2011) had a touch of country in it, this new album seems more focused on country, even going so far as to include a song titled, ‘A New Song For Nashville.’  Of course, country isn’t the only style that Stewart covers on this release.  The album opens with the semi-psychedelic radio ready rock song, ‘I Got Love.’  He pairs up with Joss Stone for this song.  The pairing is no coincidence as the pair recently toured together.  And it makes for a fun start to the album.  They sing on this song, “I got love/but I feel so bad.”  The lyrics don’t seem like they’d go with the jamming, up-tempo music.  But all together, it works very well.  The addition of the sax part on this song adds an extra little flare, too.

‘I Got Love’ is followed up with a more mellow song in ‘Just Another Fall.’  Stewart is joined on this song by singer/songwriter Diane Burch.  And just as [Joss] Stone’s vocals were a welcome addition to ‘I Got Love’, Birch’s vocals make ‘Just Another Fall’ work just as well.  This song comes off lyrically as one centered on the topic of relationships as the pair sings to one another, “I could hardly believe it when you said you had an open mind/I was so excited/I was in love/I was so blind/cracks appeared in the ice/ but they were pretty/just like Venice lace/I could see what was gonna happen/as the lines/they appeared on your face.” 

“The Ringmaster General” has its share of fun up-tempo songs.  But it also has more deeply emotional songs such as his duet with country star Alison Krauss on ‘Drowning in the Blues.’  Krauss’ voice is as beautiful and powerful as ever even in its gentility.  Stewart expertly matches her take on the song, too.  The song’s music is a perfect emotional match for the pair’s sound.  It catches every nuance of the song, all while adding its own extra emotion, making it one of the album’s best songs.  It would be no surprise if this song becomes one of the album’s many singles.

‘Drowning in The Blues’, ‘Just Another Fall’ and ‘I Got Love’ are just a few of the songs that make Dave Stewart’s “The Ringmaster General” another great album.  The whole album is loaded with songs that every listener will find to be their own favorite.  Fans will also be excited to know that Dave will be running a UK tour in September.  And as part of that tour, he is giving fans the chance to be his opening act on the tour.  All the information on the contest can be found on his website, http://davestewart.com.  More information on his upcoming tour, his new album and more is also available online at http://www.facebook.com/davestewart, http://www.youtube.com/user/DaveStewartOfficial, http://www.myspace.com/thedavestewart, and http://twitter.com/davestewart.

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Dave Stewart Celebrating new release with mini-tour

British music legend Dave Stewart (Eurythmics) will release his new album, “The Ringmaster General” this Fall.  In celebration, Stewart will be performing four shows in the United Kingdom.  The mini-tour kicks off witha homecoming concert at the Empire Theatre in Sunderland.  That date will be followed by dates in Birmingham, Manchester, and London. 

“The Ringmaster General” was recorded and mixed by John McBride, who also had a hand in his previous album, “The Blackbird Diaries.”  It will feature thirteen brand new songs.  Among those new songs will be duets with Alison Krauss, Diane Birch, and Joss Stone. 

Stewart said of “The Ringmaster General”, “I called my trusted buddy and co-producer Mike Bradford and warned him we were going back into the vortex armed with nothing but a brand new guitar.”  He added, “All the appropriate circus rascals were summoned and thus began the five- day marathon madness that aptly describes a DAVE STEWART solo album/party.”

Fans can keep up with all the latest from Dave Stewart online at http://www.davestewart.com, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/davestewart, and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/davestewart.

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The Business Playground is Child’s Play in a good way

Dave Stewart is most commonly known for his role as one half of the pop group, Eurythmics.  But what a lot of people probably don’t know about Mr. Stewart is that he is quite the intelligent businessman.  And his recent book, The Business Playground:  Where Creativity and Commerce Collide shows just how smart he is.  Stewart partnered with Mark Simmons to write what comes across as a textbook, but is easy enough for even a casual reader or even a business student to understand.  From the colors and cartoony characters, and simple writing style (and associated short chapters), it’s likely to become one of the next standards for understanding business success.  It will help businesses succeed both at the employee level, and that of the CEO. 

The Business Playground:  Where Creativity and Commerce Collide has a lot going for itself.  It’s written in the simplest possible terms for its readers.  The writing style used for the book is so simple that it would be no surprise if at least some colleges and universities across the globe were using it in their business management classes.  If not, they should be.  It even includes pre-highlighted sections that point out some important and semi-important facts.  Among those highlighted sections is one statement that expertly sums up the entire book.  It reads, “It’s likely that some people are in fact more creative than other people, but we all have the ability to think creatively and certain activities can bring out that ability”.  Stewart and Simmons attempt to bring out that ability by writing the book in layman’s terms, instead of business legalese that only a select group can grasp.

This may come across as odd, but the book’s simple terms are only a small part of what makes The Business Playground the innovation that it is.  Most books about businesses are as cold as the businesses about which they are written.  This work, on the other hand, is much warmer and more welcoming.  It’s not a standard hardback book with lots of big words in tiny print.  Instead, it’s a paperback book.  It’s not stiff and rigid, like said businesses, and their descriptive text books.  The chapters are relatively short.  And they’re explained in a way that not only students and businesses can understand, but that average readers can grasp. 

Still not enough?  Well how about the fact that it uses bright colors and cartoonish figures throughout.  Yes that’s right.  It incorporates lots of bright colors and cartoonish figures to grasp the rearder’s attention.  One would think it was written for children.  But adults are nothing but grown up children.  Most casual readers don’t want something overly difficult.  And if ever there was something difficult to understand, it’s how to get one’s innovations to be used in business.  By using the bright colors, and cartoony figures, the book is easier on the reader’s eyes.    In turn readers are more inclined to not immediately toss the book aside.

The Business Playground:  Where Creativity and Commerce Collide is one of the best books about the business world written in recent history.  Because of its ease in reading, and general assembly, it could become the model for businesses and business schools alike for many years to come.  And it could make Stewart and Simmons themselves leaders of the business world.