Deep Purple’s First Ever Covers Collection Shows In Its Case, ‘Crime’ Does Pay

Courtesy: earMusic

Deep Purple has, over the course of its life, released 21 albums, 45 (yes, 45) live recordings, and earned countless awards while seeing its albums go gold and platinum (some multiple times platinum for that matter).  For all that the band has done over its life, there is one thing that it has not done.  That one thing that the band has not done is release a covers collection.  That is until this week.  The band released its first ever covers collection, Turning to Crime Friday through earMusic.  The 12-song (technically about 16 because of the medley that makes up the record’s finale track) record is an interesting new presentation from the band.  Its interest is due in large part to its featured covers, which will be discussed shortly.  The band’s performances thereof are of their own interest and will be discussed a little later.  The songs’ sequencing rounds out its most important elements and will also be examined later.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the collection’s presentation.  All things considered, they make the compilation another interesting addition to this year’s field of new covers sets and an equally interesting first ever covers set from Deep Purple.

Deep Purple’s first ever covers collection, Turning to Crime, is a unique new offering from the band, especially considering that it is the first time in the band’s more than 50-year life that it has released a covers set.  The record stands out in part because of its featured songs.  The songs are of note because of their diversity.  The band takes audiences all the way back to 1946 in this collection with a cover of Louis Jordan and His Tympani Five’s hit single, ‘Let The Good Times Roll’ and all the way up to 1973 with a take on Little Feat’s fan favorite song, ‘Dixie Chicken.’  Along the way, there are also covers of songs from the likes of Fleetwood Mac (‘Oh Well’), Jimmy Driftwood (‘The Battle of New Orleans’), and Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels (‘Jenny Take A Ride’).  Also featured in this collection are covers of Bob Seger’s ‘Lucifer,’ Cream’s ‘White Room,’ and Bob Dylan’s ‘Watching The River Flow.’  The song styles are so different from one to the next.  Case in point is ‘The Battle of New Orleans.’  This song was originally considered a country music song.  ‘Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu’ by Huey ‘Piano’ Smith is…well…a boogie woogie type composition.  Little Feat’s ‘Dixie Chicken’ meanwhile is more of a roots rock type work while yet another song, ‘Lucifer’ is more rock oriented.  Simply put, the songs that are featured throughout this record show a wide range of styles and sounds from one to the next.  It makes for its own appeal. 

What’s more some of the songs are more well-known than others and vice versa.  They are not all major hits/standards that so many other acts might cover and have covered.  Case in point is Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Oh Well.’  According to research, the song was not a major hit for the band here in the U.S. but fared much better in the U.K. and around the world.  It peaked at #55 in the U.S. and #2 in the U.K.   ‘Dixie Chicken’ is another example of the record’s lesser-known songs.  It was never actually used as a single for the band’s album by the same name, but has been considered a fan favorite among the band’s most devoted audiences.  ‘Jenny Take A Ride,’ on another note, peaked at #10 in the U.S. following its debut in 1965, and #44 in the U.K.  So again what audiences get here in terms of the songs is a collection of compositions that is diverse not only in its sounds and styles, but also in its overall familiarity and popularity among audiences.  That the band clearly put some thought into this aspect of the record is to be highly commended.  The band’s performances thereof are of just as much applause as the songs themselves.

One of the most notable of the performances featured in this record is of ‘Shapes of Things.’  Originally crafted by The Yardbirds in 1966, the song peaked in the U.S. at #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart.  Meanwhile in the U.K, it peaked even higher at #3 on the country’s Singles Chart.  Deep Purple’s take on the song stays pretty much true to its source material.  The only real notable difference is that instead of the production that was so familiar of bands of that era, Deep Purple instead put its own more familiar stamp on the sound here.  Now, Deep Purple’s cover is longer than the original by more than a minute, clocking in at three minutes, 40 seconds versus the original’s run time of two minutes, 26 seconds.  That is because Deep Purple adds in a guitar solo after the song’s initial break.  By comparison the original song’s break is only momentary and does not feature the solo used here.  Regardless, the solo – which is almost prog in its approach – is a nice touch to the whole.  The keyboard solo added to the mix here also plays into the extended run time, but is also enjoyable in its own right.  Overall, the whole of the cover is just as enjoyable as the original, just with a slightly new identity.

On another note, the band’s performance of Bob Dylan’s ‘Watching The River Flow’ is another example of the importance of the band’s performances here.  Dylan’s original composition is a very distinct 12-bar blues style composition that is driven by its guitar and piano line.  It conjures thoughts of so many vintage Mississippi blues songs through its three minute, 35 second run time.  Deep Purple’s take on the song is slightly shorter, coming in at three minutes, five seconds.  It is much different in its overall presentation, too.  Instead of the 12 bar blues approach that Dylan took on his original work, the band took more of a blues based rock approach, if that makes any sense.  The blues influence is there, in other words, but is more of a supporting role than the main star here.  Instead, the band opted for more of a rock approach here.  The band’s take is different from its source material, needless to say, but is still interesting considering that the band decided not to just copy and paste so to speak.  It is yet another important example of the importance of the band’s performances throughout the collection.

‘Caught in The Act,’ which closes out the record, is yet another example of the noted importance of the band’s performances.  This song is a medley of covers of ‘Going Down,’ ‘Green Onions,’ ‘Hot ‘Lanta,’ ‘Dazed and Confused,’ and ‘Gimme Some Lovin’.’  Again, the band puts its own unique touch to each song here.  Case in point is the cover of ‘Green Onions.’  Rather than taking the subdued, cool approach used in the original, the band’s take on this song is more akin to something that one might expect from ZZ Top, what with the rich bass and guitar lines.  The covers of ‘Dazed and Confused’ and ‘Gimme Some Lovin’’ are just as unique in their approach as they clearly show Deep Purple’s trademark hard rock stamp. Yes, the original compositions are obvious in the mix, but Deep Purple’s trademark keyboards, guitars, etc. really amp up the songs and make them interesting in their own right.  When these covers are all considered along with the other covers examined here and with the rest of the record’s featured performances, the importance of the band’s takes on the featured songs shows its importance just as much as the diversity in the songs themselves.  This is still not the last of the record’s most important elements.  The collection’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements.

As noted already, the songs that are featured in this collection are diverse throughout the record.  While they re diverse, their sequencing keeps the record’s energy stable from beginning to end.  This is the case even as the songs’ sounds and stylistic approaches change from one to the next.  The up-tempo works move so fluidly and solidly, ensuring listeners’ maintained engagement, again, because of that smart sequencing.  It basically doubly keeps things interesting for audiences and brings everything full circle to complete the record’s presentation.  When the appeal that is ensured through the record’s sequencing is considered along with the featured songs and the band’s performances thereof, the whole makes Turning to Crime rare proof that in this case, crime does pay.  Yes, that awful pun was intended.

Deep Purple’s first ever covers collection, Turning to Crime, is an interesting offering from the band.  It proves itself worth hearing at least once in part because of its featured songs.  The songs are important to the presentation because they are diverse in their styles, sounds and notoriety.  The band’s performances of the songs are just as important to the record because they give the songs unique new presentations while staying mostly true to the original compositions.  That gives audiences even more reason to remain engaged and entertained.  The songs’ sequencing rounds out the record’s most important elements.  That is because it ensures the songs’ diversity is fully audible while also keeping the record moving fluidly from one song to the next, thus keeping the energy stable throughout.  Each item examined here is important in its own way to the whole of the record.  All things considered, they make the collection an enjoyable new offering from Deep Purple even being its first ever covers set.

Turning To Crime is available now.

More information on Turning To Crime is available online along with all of Deep Purple’s latest news and more at:

Websitehttps://www.deep-purple.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/officialdeeppurple

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/_DeepPurple

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.

Blackmore’s Night’s ‘Winter Carols’ Re-Issue Is A Positive Addition To 2021’s Holiday Music Offerings Field

Courtesy: earMUSIC

Veteran guitarist Ritchie Blackmore (Deep Purple, Rainbow) and singer Candice Night are doing their part to help audiences get into the holiday spirit.  The duo is doing so by re-issuing its 2006 holiday music compilation, Winter Carols.  The two-disc collection is scheduled for re-issue Friday through earMUSIC.  The record’s re-issue, which will come less than a year after the release of the act’s latest album, Nature’s Light, is anchored by the addition of four previously unreleased songs, all of which are covers of well-known holiday standards – ‘It Came Upon a Midnight Clear,’ ‘Here We Come A-Caroling,’ ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem,’ and ‘Silent Night.’  Additionally, a remastered take of the duo’s Christmas single, ‘Christmas Eve’ is featured as part of this record’s new presentation.  That song in question is one of the most notable of the re-issue’s additions and will be examined shortly.  The duo’s take of ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’ is also of note.  It will be examined a little later.  The duo’s take of ‘Silent Night’ is just as notable as the other songs noted here and will also be discussed later.  When it and those noted songs are considered along with the rest of the record’s featured songs, the whole makes Winter Carols another holiday music collection that lovers of the noted genre will enjoy.

Blackmore’s Night’s forthcoming re-issue of its 2006 compilation record, Winter Carols, is a presentation that audiences will agree is just as interesting in its new presentation as in its original release.  Its interest comes in part through the addition of the duo’s original song, ‘Christmas Eve.’  Originally released in 2013, there is a clear difference between the song’s new, updated take and its original take.  The most notable difference comes in the inclusion of a distinct electronic element to the updated take not originally featured in the original song.  The synthesized bells alongside the upbeat danceable beat added to the mix give the song something of an 80s new wave vibe.  By comparison, the song’s 2013 take has more of a pure, celebratory, holiday sense what with the use of the horns and tambourine alongside the layered vocals.  It really gives the song a full, holiday sense.  Needless to say, the comparison of the two takes is certain to divide audiences, again making clear why this addition to the record is so important to examine.  It is just one of the notable additions to the compilation’s new presentation, too.  The duo’s take of ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’ is another interesting added work.

Blackmore and Night’s take of ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’ is important to note because of its differences from the renditions that audiences know.  When audiences think of this song, they think of a gentle, quiet song.  That arrangement is meant to reflect the happiness and serenity of that Christmas night when Jesus Christ was born.  It really echoes the child’s innocence and that of that night.  Night and Blackmore’s take on the song is starkly different.  It is a far more upbeat take by comparison.  In place of the lullabye-esque approach of the original song is a guitar-driven composition accompanied by layered vocals and tambourine that runs somewhere in the range of about 125 beats per minute if not faster.  What’s more, the noted combination and production gives the song a decidedly almost pop type sense while also conjuring thoughts of another timeless song – ‘Simple Gifts’ – than anything Christmas related.  It is a completely different take on the song, simply put, that is just as certain to divide audiences as the duo’s updated take of its own original song, ‘Christmas Eve.’  That the duo took the road clearly far less traveled here was brave.  It gives audiences something new apart from that run of the mill approach that so many artists out there churn out in the sense of this song.  So again, regardless of which side audiences take on this one (and audiences are certain to take sides just as much in this case as in the other examined song), Blackmore and Night are to be commended for taking the chance and giving audiences something unique from such a well-known song.  It is just one more of the most notable of the new additions to the collection’s re-issue.  Blackmore and Night’s take of the equally well-known carol, ‘Silent Night’ is just as worth discussing as the other songs already examined here.

Blackmore and Night’s take on ‘Silent Night’ starts out just as gentle and flowing as the original song and so many of the multitude of its covers from across the musical universe.  Night’s vocals against the airy effect in the keyboards and choral/layered backing vocals makes the song so moving in the simplicity and richness therein.  As the song progresses though, things change and get more interesting.  Blackmore joins in with a light, simple guitar line that enhances the arrangement even more.  The subtle ‘Jingle Bells’ tribute that Blackmore adds in the song’s final bar helps the song leave listeners with even more of a smile on their faces.  What is so interesting about this rendition is that it is actually fitting, considering that the very first arrangement, composed by Franz Gruber in 1818, was guitar based, as per the request of Father Joseph Mohr, who actually penned the original poem, ‘Stille Nacht’ (or ‘Silent Night’).  Given, Gruber’s rendition is likely a far cry from what audiences get in Blackmore and Night’s take on the song, but the duo’s performance here is still at least somewhat true to its source material, just picked up a little bit in the approach here.  On a side note, there is a wonderful documentary from PBS titled, The First Silent Night that tells the history of how the original song came to be.  It is well worth watching.  It is that in-depth and moving.  Getting back on the subject at hand, this rendition of ‘Silent Night,’ that of ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem,’ and the updated take of the duo’s original song, ‘Christmas Eve,’ are all key additions to the new re-issue of Winter Carols.  When they are considered along with the rest of the record’s entries, the whole becomes a work that audiences will agree is a welcome re-issue of Winter Carols and an equally interesting addition to this year’s field of holiday music releases, even being a re-issue.

Blackmore’s Night’s forthcoming re-issue of its 2006 holiday music collection, Winter Carols, is an interesting presentation.  Its interest comes mainly through the new additions to the record this time out.  The added songs are definitely unique from their source material from one to the next.  That they are so unique is what makes them interesting.  Yes, they will divide audiences between purists and others, but that Blackmore and Night took the chance and made such unique takes on the examined songs is to be applauded.  The same applies with the rest of the record’s songs.  All things considered, the record proves itself a welcome addition to any holiday music fans’ library of the noted style sounds.

Winter Carols is scheduled for release Friday. More information on the re-issue is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.Blackmoresnight.com

Facbeookhttps://www.facebook.com/blackmoresnightofficial

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/TruCandiceNight

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.

Deep Purple Debuts Second Single From New Covers Record

Courtesy: earMusic

Deep Purple is kicking off the weekend by giving audiences another preview of its new covers collection, Turning to Crime.

The band debuted its new single, a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Oh Well‘ and its companion video Friday. The song is the record’s second single behind the band’s cover of ‘7 and 7 Is,’ which the band premiered Oct. 13. Deep Purple’s take on ‘Oh Well’ stays mostly true to its source material, which will please fans of both bands.

The band’s video for ‘Oh Well’ tells an interesting story with the band members playing the part of a group of criminals so to speak. The group meets with an unidentified figure known just as “Scribble Face” before convening to perform the single in a warehouse before being apprehended by authorities in the video’s finale.

Bassist Roger Glover talked about the band’s cover of ‘Oh Well’ in a prepared statement.

“Everyone knows ‘Oh Well’ is a great song,” said Glover. “[Guitarist] Steve [Morse] did the demo for that one. You never quite know where it‘s gonna go with Steve because he is very inventive. Right up until the point, with a couple of verses in, it was pretty much the same as the original. And then, all of a sudden, it took off like a rocket… in some other space.”

Turning to Crime is Deep Purple’s first ever covers collection.

The record’s track listing is noted below.

TRACK LISTING

1) 7 And 7 Is

2) Rockin’ Pneumonia And The Boogie Woogie Flu

3) Oh Well

4) Jenny Take A Ride!

5) Watching The River Flow

6) Let The Good Times Roll

7) Dixie Chicken

8) Shapes Of Things

9) The Battle Of New Orleans

10) Lucifer

11) White Room

12) Caught In The Act [Medley: Going Down /Green Onions / Hot ‘Lanta /Dazed and Confused / Gimme Some Lovin’ ]

More information on Turning To Crime is available online along with all of Deep Purple’s latest news and more at:

Websitehttps://www.deep-purple.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/officialdeeppurple

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/_DeepPurple

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.

Deep Purple To Release First Ever Covers Set Next Month

Courtesy: earMUSIC

Apparently, it looks like the members of Deep Purple are not ready to call it a career just yet.

There was speculation last year that the band was going to call it a career after releasing its album, Whoosh! A news release distributed Wednesday seems to hint otherwise, though. The document states the band is scheduled to release a new album, titled Turning to Crime Nov. 26 through earMUSIC.

The record is the band’s first ever covers collection. Its first single, ‘7 and 7’ released Wednesday. The record’s track listing is noted below.

TRACK LISTING

1) 7 And 7 Is

2) Rockin’ Pneumonia And The Boogie Woogie Flu

3) Oh Well

4) Jenny Take A Ride!

5) Watching The River Flow

6) Let The Good Times Roll

7) Dixie Chicken

8) Shapes Of Things

9) The Battle Of New Orleans

10) Lucifer

11) White Room

12) Caught In The Act [Medley: Going Down /Green Onions / Hot ‘Lanta /Dazed and Confused / Gimme Some Lovin’ ]

More information on Whoosh! is available online along with all of Deep Purple’s latest news and more at:

Websitehttps://www.deep-purple.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/officialdeeppurple

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/_DeepPurple

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.

‘Rainbow In The Dark’ Leaves Readers Wanting More In The Best Way Possible

Courtesy: Permuted Press

Ronnie James Dio is one of the most prolific figures in the modern history of music.  That goes without saying.  Dio fronted not one, not two, but three of the most famous and respected acts in the history of rock in Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, and his own band.  While not a physically large figure on stage, his persona more than made up for that.  As his forthcoming autobiography, Rainbow in the Dark shows, his time with those bands are only a thumbnail of what is a much bigger overall career and life.  Set for release July 27 through Permuted Press, the 244-page autobiography is a rich look at the first part of Dio’s life.  The story featured therein serves as the book’s foundation and will be discussed shortly.  The story’s transitions add to the story’s appeal and will be addressed a little later.  The pictures that are incorporated into the story add a nice aesthetic element to the whole and round out the book’s most important elements.  Each item noted is important in its own right to the whole of the book.  All things considered, they make this book a welcome personal recounting of Ronnie James Dio’s life.  It will leave audiences hoping that his widow, who compiled Dio’s writings for the book, will eventually release a follow-up that completes his story.

Permuted Press’ forthcoming Ronnie James Dio biography, Rainbow in the Dark is a book that every rock and hard rock fan will enjoy.  Given, it is hardly the only biography or even autobiography ever released from any rock act, but is still fully enjoyable in its own right.  Its engagement and entertainment comes in large part through its story.  The story is told through Dio’s own words and starts in his childhood living in upstate New York.  Right from the outset, audiences learn that ultimately, Dio’s grandparents are really to thank for him becoming a musician and performer.  As he reveals here early on, they made Dio’s father and his siblings learn to play an instrument.  His own father did the same to him, too, repeating history.  If not for that, it is possible that Dio might have otherwise pursued a career in baseball.  It was this fateful event that would set Dio on a lifelong course that would eventually see him and his band mates in Elf record for Deep Purple’s own Purple Records.  Those recordings and tours with Deep Purple would eventually lead to the biggest part of his career.  The stories that Dio shares along the way are, at times laugh-inspiring in the best way possible, and at other times so dramatic.  Case in point is Dio’s recollection of the fateful night in which a crash involving a drunk driver claimed the life of one of his then band mates in Ronnie Dio and the Prophets and put his own life and that of another in jeopardy.    One of the funnier recollections shared along the way comes as Dio shares how he used his stage name (as it turns out, Dio is not his real name.  This will be left for audiences to learn for themselves.  He was in fact Italian by direct descent) at a gig during his formative years and almost got himself tied up in the mob.  Even later in the story, Dio shares another funny and albeit short anecdote about how he and Wendy Dio got used to living out of their suitcases while Dio was a member of Rainbow.  Again it is only a short statement, but still will leave plenty of people laughing.  Speaking of Wendy, she points out in the books preface that the story presented here culminates in her late, great husband debuting with his own band at Madison Square Garden in 1987.  It also opens at that point before going back to Ronnie’s childhood.  The whole story is so easy to read from start to finish because at no point do Ronnie’s notes try to be flowery.  He uses simple language that is accessible to everybody.  The result is that the story, which again spans 244 pages, can be finished in a day or two at the most.  That accessibility and the equally engaging and entertaining stories do a lot to make this (hopefully first) part of RJD’s life and career so enthralling.  The transitions that are used in telling his story play their own part in the story’s appeal.

The transitions that are used to help tell Ronnie James Dio’s story are so important because they are so clear and solid throughout the book.  That is thanks to the way that Ronnie started and ended each of his writings.  Those points perfectly connect the chapters.  Add in clear division points that involve blank pages and pictures, and the whole makes the story progress that much more smoothly.  Those blank pages and pictures are important because they feel almost like virtual commercial breaks within the story.  They, together with the solid wording connecting the stories, completely ensure readers’ maintained engagement and entertainment, showing completely, the importance of the story’s transitions.  Keeping all of this in mind, there is a lot for readers to alike about this story of Ronnie James Dio’s life and career.  It still is just a portion of what makes the story so appealing.  The noted pictures used between the chapters round out the story’s most important elements.

The pictures that are presented throughout Rainbow in the Dark are important because they honestly help to tell the story in their own right.  Case in point is an early picture of Ronnie as a boy with his parents.  Readers will note that Ronnie’s father is in a military uniform.  That might help to explain the sense that Ronnie explains he got of his father.  That sense in question is a determination to make sure one is one’s best self possible.  That is a value that the military does in fact instill in its personnel young and old alike.  A later picture of Ronnie with his band mates in Elf during the 1970s made them comparable to the look of bands, such as Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Allman Brothers Band, and others.  Ronnie explains in the story that follows the story, a laugh-inducing anecdote about not wanting to cut those long locks, but seemingly having to in order to help market the band.  It is another way in which the pictures tie in to the story to help enrich the reading experience.  On another note, there is also a picture of Ronnie with Ritchie Blackmore in the early days of Rainbow backstage before a show.  It helps to bridge two other chapters in which Ronnie talks about that part of his career.  It is such a casual picture, clearly not staged.  Together with his own words, it showed how happy Ronnie was at that time.  Between these pictures and so many others, the pictures prove to tell the story here just as much as the story itself.  Keeping this in mind along with the impact of the smooth transitions, the whole of these noted items makes Rainbow in the Dark a fully immersive, engaging and entertaining story of one of rock’s greatest figures.

Permuted Press’ forthcoming presentation of Rainbow in the Dark is a wonderfully engaging and entertaining look into the life and career of Ronnie James Dio.  The story itself is told through Ronnie’s own words on pages up on pages of collected notes.  The stories are at times laugh-inspiring and at others heartbreaking.  Through it all, the stories are told simply, making the story fully accessible for readers.  This is in itself, reason enough for audiences to read this story.  The transitions that are used between the story[s chapters build on the appeal established by the story.  That is because of their fluidity.  The manner in which Ronnie ends and begins each story is the biggest part of that fluidity.  The blank pages and pictures used between the chapters also play into that fluidity.  That is because they allow readers a moment to take in everything before moving on to each chapter.  Speaking of the pictures, they do well as visual aids, helping to tell the story just as much as Ronnie’s own words.  In some cases, they add even more to the story.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of this book.  All things considered, they make Rainbow in the Dark a story that will appeal to a wide range of readers.  The book is scheduled for release next Friday, July 27, through Permute Press.  More information on the book is available along with all of Dio’s latest news at:

Website: https://ronniejamesdio.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/OfficialRJDio

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.  

Heaven & Earth’s Latest LP Is Imperfect, But Still Enjoyable

Courtesy: Frontiers Music s.r.l.

More than two decades have passed since Heaven & Earth released its debut album, Windows to the World.  In the time since its release, the band has released four more albums, spending four years at the least and nine at the most between their releases.  The band will match the lesser of those spans Friday when it releases it fifth album, the aptly titled V.  Set for release through Frontiers Music s.r.l., this 12-song album is imperfect but enjoyable nonetheless.  To its positive is its overall musical content, which will be discussed shortly.  The record’s production on the other hand proves somewhat problematic, but not so much so that it dooms the record.  This will be discussed a little later.  The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements and will be discussed later, too.  Each item noted here is key in its own way to the whole of the record’s production.  All things considered, V is not a complete success, but nor is it a failure.

Heaven & Earth’s aptly titled fifth album, V is an interesting new offering from the band, which has spent more than two decades establishing itself.  The album proves itself worth hearing in large part through its musical arrangements.  The arrangements exhibit a wide range of sounds and influences.  From hard rock to prog to general rock and even some 80s influence, the band offers audiences a wide range of content.  ‘Never Dream of Dying’ for instance, takes the band in a distinct prog direction.  The whole thing opens with some ominous keyboards and drums, belying that note, but as front man Gianluca Petralia’s vocals join the mix along with the guitars, the whole really develops that noted stylistic approach and sound.  Speaking in precise terms, the whole lends itself to comparison to works from Dream Theater’s early 90s albums, Images and Words and Awake.  On a completely different note, ‘Little Black Dress’ with its upbeat, bluesy arrangement, is more of an early 90s blues rock composition.  The staccato notes from the guitar, the equally tight time keeping, and pronounced bass line do well to make that clear.  It is the polar opposite of the arrangement featured in ‘Never Dream of Dying.’  This is proven even more as the song progresses and a catchy little keyboard line is added to the mix.  On yet another note, ‘Running From The Shadows’ – an even later entry in the record – lends itself to comparison to works from Deep Purple right from its outset.  It is just a solid rock composition, centered around its keyboards and drums in this case, again, just like so many works from Deep Purple.  Even the sound here is so similar to works from Deep Purple.  At the same time it still boasts its own unique identity.  Between these songs and all of the record’s other works, the whole makes clear that the musical content featured in the record is of the utmost importance to its presentation.

While the musical content plays an unquestionably important role in the album’s presentation, the album is not perfect.  There are some occasional issues with the record in terms of its production.  The issues stem from the balance of the vocals and the instrumentations.  Case in point is ‘At The End of the Day.’  The song’s arrangement features a lot of activity throughout its six-minute-plus run time.  The thing is that there is so much going on even in the softer, more contemplative verses, that the vocals sound washed out to a point.  To be more precise, there is a certain airy sense about the vocals throughout, requiring an even closer listen.  The more active moments require even more of an increase in that attention.  Much the same can be said of its predecessor, ‘Nothing To Me,’ the album’s penultimate track.  That slight issue with the imbalance is just as pronounced here.  Maybe it is just the speakers on this critic’s playback system, maybe not.  If not, then this is still something of a concern, especially being that is evidenced in the album’s opener, ‘Drive,’ and to a lesser extent, ‘One In A Million Man.’  So it is not like this is a confined concern.  It seems to happen at various points in the album, enough so that it is noticeable.  Again, maybe the issue stems from the speakers on this critic’s playback device.  However, that it only seems to happen at those given points says otherwise.  Even with this in mind, it still is not enough to make the album a failure.  The record’s sequencing works with the diversity in its musical arrangements to make the record even more appealing.

This record’s sequencing is important to its presentation because it keeps the album’s energy flowing throughout for the most part.  Even in slightly more relaxed moments, such as in the bluesy ‘Poverty’ and the funky Chickenfoot-esque ‘Flim Flam Man’ the album’s energy still remains stable as the songs are still moving even despite being slower.  The only point at which the record really pulls back is in ‘At The End of the Day.’  The reserved feel and tone of this song is in direct contrast to everything else featured in the record.  It honestly might have been better placed somewhere else in the album, considering this.  More specifically, it might have been better suited somewhere closer to the record’s midpoint, in order to break up the album, especially considering the general pacing.  It would have provided audiences more moment to catch their breath.  Either way, the sequencing is still relatively strong here even with this in mind.  Keeping that in mind along with the diversity in the songs’ arrangements, the album in whole still has much to offer audiences.  All things considered, these aspects and the mixed production makes V imperfect, but still enjoyable.

Heaven & Earth’s forthcoming album V is a valiant new offering from the band.  It does offer plenty for audiences to appreciate, such as the diversity in its musical arrangements.  That diversity includes arrangements that exhibit prog influence, as well as blues and pure guitar rock.  It is spread out throughout the album, ensuring that this aspect alone keeps audiences engaged and entertained.  While the diversity in the album’s arrangements offers plenty for audiences to appreciate, the songs’ production is slightly problematic.  There are points throughout the album when the vocals seem somewhat washed out by the instrumentation.  Thankfully this does not happen so much that it dooms the album, though it cannot be ignored.  The record’s sequencing works with the arrangements to add even more appeal.  That is because it keeps the album’s energy fluid throughout.  The only negative to the sequencing comes at its end, with the much more reserved closer.  It is the only truly misplaced addition to the record in regards to the sequencing, so it is also not enough to doom the album.  Keeping all of this in mind, the pros and cons present throughout the album make it imperfect but still enjoyable in its own right.  V is scheduled for release Friday through Frontiers Records s.r.l.

More information on V is available online now along with all of Heaven & Earth’s latest news and more at:

Websitehttps://www.heavenandearthband.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/officialheavenandearth

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/heavenearthband

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

Longtime, Casual Fans Alike Will Enjoy The Latest LP From Blackmore’s Night

Courtesy: earMusic/BFD/The Orchard

Ritchie Blackmore and Candice Night are scheduled to release their latest album Friday under the Blackmore’s Night moniker.  The release of the record, dubbed Nature’s Light, will come more than six years after the release of the band’s then latest album, All Our Yesterdays.  The 10-song record is certain to appeal primarily to the band’s established fan base and slightly to guitar rock purists, thanks in part to its musical arrangements.  This will be addressed shortly.  The readily accessible lyrical content featured throughout the album add to the record’s appeal.  It will be discussed a little later.  Rounding out the record’s most important elements is its production, which will also be discussed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the album’s presentation.  All things considered, they make the record in whole a work that will appeal to Blackmore’s Night’s established fan base.

Nature’s Light, the latest album from Blackmore’s Night, is a presentation that will find wide appeal among the act’s established fan base.  That is proven primarily through the recording’s musical arrangements.  The medieval style approach and sound exhibited in each of the record’s songs are everything that audiences have come to expect from the band throughout its catalog.  At the same time, the instrumental tracks ‘Darker Shade of Black’ and ‘Der Letzte Musketier’ offer audiences a more modern approach and sound.  The latter is a subtle, catchy, blues-based work that will appeal to fans of the likes of Joe Bonamassa and Joe Satriani.  To a lesser degree, listeners can even make a comparison to works from the likes of ZZ Top.  The prior track on the other hand, is its own unique presentation.  The organ, bass, and cello pair with the choral element and guitar to give this song a unique blend of classic rock and classical elements that will resonate with a wide range of listeners.  The more renaissance style works meanwhile, will connect with audiences who prefer that familiar sound from the band.  Night’s vocals are equally impressive in the more upbeat moments, such as in ‘Four Winds,’ and ‘Feather in the Wind’ and in the lighter moments, such as the tambourine-laden album opener/lead single, ‘Once Upon A December’ and the mournful ballad ‘Wish You Were Here.’  Blackmore’s own performance alongside that of Night makes for its own engagement and entertainment throughout, as do those of the duo’s accompanists this time around.  All things considered, the musical content featured in this album clearly offers plenty for any listener.  The familiar renaissance style and sound exhibited here will appeal to the band’s established audience base while the instrumentals will appeal to more casual audiences.  Considering all of this, the musical content featured in Nature’s Light assures its success just in its musical content.  It is just a portion of what makes the record work, too.  The record’s overall lyrical content does its own part to ensure listeners’ engagement and entertainment. 

The lyrical content that is featured along with the album’s musical arrangements is important to address because of its diversity and introspective nature.  Given, the topic of relationships permeates the record, with three songs – ‘Nature’s Light,’ ‘Wish You Were Here’ and ‘Second Element’ – touching on the topic.  Even with that abundance of songs that take on the all-too-familiar topic, it is not the record’s only lyrical topic.  ‘Once Upon A Christmas’ for instance is its own unique story about Jesus’ birth.  ‘Four Winds,’ on the other hand, is a deeply moving story about a young woman finding her place in the world.  It is essentially an allegorical tale.  ‘The Twisted Oak’ is yet another example of the diversity in the album’s lyrical themes.  This song is a deeply introspective work that finds its subject just looking for “The peace of mind I’ve left behind.”  The whole song finds its subject alone in a quiet, calm space in the forest, searching for that mental and emotional clarity.  This is a work that will resonate with a wide range of listeners, considering everyone searches for that clarity on a daily basis.  To that end, it is one more example of the importance of Nature’s Light’s lyrical themes.  When it is considered along with the other themes noted here and those not directly addressed, that whole leaves no doubt as to the role that said content plays in the album.  When the record’s lyrical and musical content join, the whole makes even clearer why Nature’s Light will appeal to Blackmore’s Night’s established audience base and even more casual listeners.  That collective content is, overall, just part of what make it a successful record.  The record’s production brings everything together to complete the record’s presentation.

The production that went into Nature’s Light is important because that element brought out the tiniest of nuances from the record’s renaissance style works and even its more modern works.  For instance, the balance between Night’s smooth vocal delivery style and sound with the ancient instruments in ‘Feather in the Wind’ gives this song a wonderful old almost Celtic sound.  That is attributed to the work of those behind the glass.  There is so much happening here, but thanks to the expert production, not one part overpowers another here.  It all balances to make the song one of the album’s most surprisingly enjoyable arrangements.  The more modern style of ‘Der Letzte Muketier’ required its own attention in terms of the production.  That is due to the subtleties in the guitar line and even the organ line that opens the song.  The dynamics and balance in the notes as they are played is its own tribute to the balance in the sound levels there.  The result is that that line alone creates such depth.  It conjures thoughts of Deep Purple for the most brief of moments.  It’s yet another moment that shows the role of the record’s production.  When the production overall is considered along with the song’s musical and lyrical content, that whole makes the album in whole certain to succeed among longtime fans of Blackmore’s Night and even more casual fans.

Blackmore’s Night’s latest full-length studio recording is a presentation that will find wide-ranging success among the band’s established audience base and even casual fans.  That is proven in part through the record’s musical arrangements, which are largely everything that the band’s longtime fans have come to expect from the group.  They and the band’s more casual fans will also enjoy the more modern style instrumental tracks that accompany the more familiar renaissance style works.  The lyrical themes that accompany the record’s musical arrangements are important because of their depth and slight diversity.  The record’s production rounds out its most important of the record’s elements.  It ensures that every nuance of every arrangement is attended to throughout.  That attention to detail paid off, too.  When this element is considered along with the album’s overall content, all things considered make the album a work that will appeal widely to longtime fans of Blackmore’s Night.  What’s more, casual listeners will find it worth hearing at least once.  The record is scheduled for release Friday through earMusic.

More information on Blackmore’s Night’s new album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttp://www.Blackmoresnight.com

Facbeookhttp://www.facebook.com/blackmoresnightofficial

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/TruCandiceNight

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.

Saxon Takes On A Classic From The Beatles For Its Latest Single

Courtesy: Silver Linings Music

Saxon is giving audiences yet another preview of its forthcoming covers compilation.

The band debuted its take on The Beatles’ ‘Paperback Writer’ Friday, along with the cover’s companion lyric video. The cover is the third single from Saxon’s forthcoming covers compilation, Inspirations, which is scheduled for release March 19 through Silver Linings Music. The collection also features covers of Deep Purple’s ‘Speed King‘ and The Rolling Stones’ ‘Paint it Black.’

Saxon front man Biff Byford noted during a recent interview, his appreciation for The Beatles is far-reaching.

“I saw The Beatles on TV for the first time in 1963,” he said. “It was a very inspirational moment for me to think maybe I could be in a band!”

Saxon’s take on ‘Paperback Writer’ stays true to its source material, but amps it up considerably. The song takes on more of an arena rock type work here versus the more pop rock approach taken in The Beatles’ original.

The track listing for Inspirations is noted below.  Pre-orders are open.

Track Listing:

  1. Paint It Black
  2. Immigrant Song
  3. Paperback Writer
  4. Evil Woman
  5. Stone Free
  6. Bomber
  7. Speed King
  8. The Rocker
  9. Hold The Line
  10. Problem Child
  11. See My Friends

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

Websitehttps://www.saxon747.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/saxon

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/SaxonOfficial

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

Saxon Debuts Video For ‘Speed King’ Cover

Courtesy: Silver Linings Music

Saxon is taking on a Deep Purple classic for its latest single.

The band debuted its cover of Deep Purple’s song ‘Speed King‘ and its companion video Friday. The song is the second single from Saxon’s forthcoming covers compilation record Inspiration, which is scheduled for release March 19 through Silver Linings Music. It follows the premiere of the record’s lead single, a cover of The Rolling Stones’ ‘Painted Black.’

Saxon’s take on ‘Speed King’ is slightly different from its source material. The frenetic guitar solo that opens the original is absent in Saxon’s cover. The band instead opts to jump right into the song’s primary section. It should also be noted that the more laid back bridge in the original song is nixed in Saxon’s update, too. Saxon’s take opts instead to keep the energy high throughout.

The video for Saxon’s cover of ‘Speed King’ is just as energetic as the band’s cover, presenting various clips of rally cars racing on different backroads courses.

Front man Biff Byford, who released his own solo record School of Hard Knocks last year, talked about the band’s cover of ‘Speed King.’

“Without ‘Speed King’ there would be no ‘Motorcycle Man,’ he said. “I love the attitude, energy, an driving speed of this song, not to mention those screaming vocals! I’d never sung it before, and I had great fun with it!”

The track listing for Inspirations is noted below.  Pre-orders are open.

Track Listing:

  1. Paint It Black
  2. Immigrant Song
  3. Paperback Writer
  4. Evil Woman
  5. Stone Free
  6. Bomber
  7. Speed King
  8. The Rocker
  9. Hold The Line
  10. Problem Child
  11. See My Friends

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

Websitehttp://www.saxon747.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/saxon

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/SaxonOfficial

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.

Joe Satriani Launching New Comic Book

Courtesy: Incendium/Heavy Metal

One of Joe Satriani’s classic albums is getting a comic book adaptation.

Heavy Metal magazine and Incendiary are set to release the new Crystal Planet comic book. Co-created by Satriani and Ned Evett, the new title is centered on lead character Satchel Walker.

Walker is caught between two factions vying for resources from a dying star. It is up to him to end the conflict and bring peace to the universe and time stream. The only way he can achieve the noted goals is through the use of music.

The comic book will start as a five-issue limited series. The first issue of each print will release as a prestige format limited edition collectible comic book, featuring cardstock covers, specialty foil treatments, glossy pages and individual numbering. each first printing will be limited to 1,998 copies at $19.98. Orders are open here, with the first issues scheduled for shipping March 21.

The credits for the comic book are noted below.

CREDITS:
CREATED BY: Joe Satriani, Ned Evett
SCRIPT: Tony Lee
PENCILS/INKS: Richard Friend
COLOR: Carlos Cabrera
LETTERS: Jacob Bascle
EDITOR: Llexi Leon

According to a statement from Satriani, the creation of the new comic book is more than two decades in making.

“Funny how things get their start” said Satriani “July 1994 I’m on tour with Deep Purple and I’m warming up with my guitar backstage in a bull’s isolation cell at the Plaza de Toros in Gjion, Spain. Then and there I start writing the opening riff to a song that will become “Crystal Planet” and a few years later it’s the title track for my ’98 album release.” 

He continues “Fast forward to 2013, friend and fellow guitarist Ned Evett makes an animated sci-fi video for my song “Lies and Truths” using artwork from my “Joe’s Art 2013” book. We projected that video on a 30ft. screen every night of the Unstoppable Momentum Tour. It was a hit with the fans which got us thinking we could expand the clip into a “Crystal Planet” sci-fi epic. Ned and I formed Satchtoons, a company focused on creating animated content, and we got to work on scripts and demos for the “Crystal Planet” pilot. Seven years later, thanks to Llexi Leon and Heavy Metal, here we are with our first comic book series! Llexi and I had worked together on his awesome “Eternal Descent” comics, and by coincidence we met again when Heavy Metal published a short excerpt of “Crystal Planet” adapted by Brendon Small for the magazine’s 2019 music issue. Both Ned and I love working with Llexi and the Incendium creative team, they bring so much artistry and expertise to our time-traveling adventure. I am thrilled to finally offer our fans the first full issue of what will ultimately be a three novel trilogy.”

Llexi Leon made reference to a pair of well-known science-fiction movies as he explained the approach taken for Crystal Planet.

 “Crystal Planet is a thrilling rollercoaster through space and time, it’s Mad Max Vs TRON – with guitars!,” he said. “This has been an incredibly rewarding project to bring to fruition, digging deep into the lore behind one of the greatest instrumental rock records. Working with Joe has always been a pleasure, having collaborated in comics with Eternal Descent years ago his love of the medium is well known. There was a treasure trove of concepts and character exploration compiled over decades by Joe and his writing partner Ned that formed the basis of this project, with the ultimate goal to take fans on a journey to Crystal Planet for the first time. Tony, Richard, Carlos, and Jacob have done a tremendous job realizing an incredible world and telling it’s story. It’s fitting that our publishing venture with Heavy Metal would begin with a space faring time travel adventure!” 

Satriani’s new comic book will also feature a companion collectible figure of Satriani himself as an added bonus. The action figure features Satriani in a Tri-Driver suit from the comic book, along with his signature Ibanez guitar. The figure will retail for MSRP of $29.95. Pre-orders for the action figure are open.

More information on Crystal Planet is available online now along with all of Satriani’s tour dates in support of Shapeshifting is available online now at:

Websitehttp://www.satriani.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/joesatriani

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/chickenfootjoe

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.