The Maple Blues Band released its latest album, Let’s Go Friday through Cordova Bay Records.
In anticipation of the record’s release, the band recently premiered the video for the album’s latest single, ‘Hey Nola.’ The full-on instrumental composition is a fitting tribute to “The Big Easy” what with its Dixieland approach and sound. Its energy and overall presentation immediately lends itself to so many equally enjoyable works from the likes of Dr. John.
The video for this composition is definitely a uniquely engaging and entertaining presentation in its own right. That is because of its semi-stop motion approach and the visuals used in the presentation. From sea life to plants to amphibians to much more, the overall visualization is an intriguing companion to the song.
More information on The Maple Blues Band’s new single, video and album is available along with all of the group’s latest news at https://maplebluesband.com.
Family entertainer Brady Rymer is keeping himself busy this year. Rymer released his latest album Songs Across The Pond over the summer. The record was a collaboration with fellow family entertainer David Gibb. Later this month he will host a free livestream concert. The performance is scheduled to take place noon ET on Dec. 19 through Rymer’s official Facebook page. Additionally, Rymer and his fellow musicians The Little Band That Could debuted their latest single, ‘Angels in The Snow’ Friday. The song is the lead single from the group’s new holiday compilation by the same name, which was released Nov. 6 through Bumblin’ Bee Records. The record is among the most unique of this year’s new holiday music compilations if not the year’s most unique. That is due in no small part to the record’s featured songs, which will be discussed shortly. The musical arrangements that are featured within the four song EP add their own share of interest to the record, and will be discussed a little later. The songs’ sequencing rounds out the most important of the EP’s elements. When it is considered with the noted other items, the whole of those items makes Angels in the Snow a holiday music compilation that the whole family will enjoy.
Angels in the Snow, the new holiday music compilation from Brady Rymer & The Little Band That Could, is presentation that holds is own against its counterparts in this year’s field of new holiday music compilations. That is due in no small part to the record’s featured songs. Of the four songs that make up the record’s body, three are originals. Only one – ‘My Favorite Things’ – is a cover. The album’s lead single and title track does incorporate the traditional holiday song ‘Angels We Have Heard on High,’ but its use in that song is minimal at best. It is more of a “supporting element” to the bigger composition than its focus. Even the lyrical themes in the songs are largely original, making the songs even more engaging and entertaining. ‘Why, Daddy, Why’ for instance is something to which every parent and child can relate. It finds a young child asking his/her dad why he/she has to wait to open his/her presents on Christmas morning. The anticipation is so difficult for the child as he/she has to wait for his/her parents to get coffee first and do other things.
While ‘My Favorite Things’ is at its heart, a cover of the timeless classic from The Sound of Music, this version presents the “favorite things” of a dog. Among those favorite things are: hanging the dog’s head out the window of a moving vehicle, feeling snowflakes fall on its nose, and “naps in the cool shade.” So even while they have covered a classic here, Rymer and company still give the song a new, unique touch that adds even more to the appeal to its presentation and that of the EP.
‘Writing A Letter to Santa Claus’ is another way in which the EP’s songs show their own importance. This song is straight forward. It is told from the vantage point of a child who is writing that letter to Santa with all of his/her wishes for Christmas. What is really interesting about the song’s lyrical theme is that while yes, there are wishes for certain toys and other items, the letter also tells Santa that the child wants to ride in his sleigh, etc. So it’s not just about the toys. That adds even more appeal to the song. In turn, it adds even more appeal to the EP overall. Keeping that in mind along with the content in the other noted songs and their overall originality, no doubt is left at this point as to the importance of the songs featured in Rymer and company’s new EP to its presentation. They are just a portion of what makes the record stand out. The musical arrangements featured within the songs add their own touch to the EP’s presentation, too.
The arrangements that are featured within Angels in the Snow are just as original as the songs themselves. They are also diverse. The EP’s closer, ‘Writing A Letter to Santa’ presents a vintage country/western style arrangement, complete with the slide guitar twang that is so trademark to the genre and the just as audible twang in Rymer’s vocal delivery. The subtle addition of the organ (likely a Hammond B3) and the gentle snare drum rolls enriches the song’s arrangement even more. Much the same can be said of the addition of the sleigh bells just as Rymer mentions the reindeer.
The simple arrangement featured in the EP’s title track/opener lends itself ever so slightly to works from Soul Asylum, giving listeners even more musical variety. As a matter of fact, one could argue that Rymer’s vocal delivery here lends itself just as slightly to not just Soul Asylum front man Dave Pirner, but also to The Rolling Stones front man Mick Jagger. The Jagger comparison is especially audible in the song’s choruses while the comparison to Pirner is more noticeable in the verses. The stylistic approach to the song’s instrumentation, what with the use of the drums, keyboards, and guitar add to the comparison to Soul Asylum works. The equally subtle use of the bells adds its own special touch to the song’s arrangement. The whole of this arrangement is just one more exhibition of how the record’s musical content makes the record’s musical side so important. The arrangement featured in ‘Why, Daddy, Why’ is yet another example of what makes the record’s musical presentation so important.
The musical arrangement featured in ‘Why, Daddy, Why’ takes listeners back to the 1960s. This arrangement is one that will especially appeal to parents (and even grandparents). That is thanks to the use of the horns, piano, and drums. The immediate comparison that comes to this critic’s mind is that of Dr. John. Such comparison is due more to the song’s instrumentation here than Rymer’s performance. The energy is there, but is also just controlled enough to paint a rich of that child on the stairs, head in hands, waiting so patiently yet anxiously. At the same time, the overall sound conjures those thoughts of those night clubs from days gone by. It is an arrangement in whole that has so much substance, in other words, and is certain to appeal to listeners of all ages. When this is considered along with the appeal in the other songs addressed here and with that of Rymer’s updated take of ‘My Favorite Things,’ the arrangements in whole prove to be just as important to the EP’s presentation as its songs. Together, these two elements more than ensure listeners’ engagement and enjoyment, and are just a portion of what makes the record stand out. The songs’ sequencing rounds out the EP’s most important elements.
In listening through the course of Angels in Snow, listeners will note that the 13-minute record is mostly a gentle, relaxed presentation. Its mid-tempo opener, more relaxed take of ‘My Favorite Things’ and reserved energy in its closer collectively keep its mood relatively relaxed without being too slow. ‘Why, Daddy, Why’ meanwhile breaks up that more relaxed sense that populates most of the song, what with its more excited energy and lyrical content. In breaking up the album and changing things up even momentarily, that variance helps to make the record’s sequencing just as impacting as the EP’s overall content. Keeping this in mind, the positive result of the EP’s sequencing shows its importance just as much as the EP’s songs and their musical arrangements. All things considered, they make the record in whole a surprisingly welcome musical gift that the whole family will enjoy.
Brady Rymer & The Little Band The Could have released in its new EP Angels in the Snow, a work that is among the best of this year’s new holiday music compilations if not the year’s best overall. That is proven in part through the songs that make up the record’s body. They are largely original compositions instead of covers. Their lyrical content is original, too, even in the cover of ‘My Favorite Things.’ The arrangements that accompany the songs and their lyrical content are original in their own right. This adds even more pleasure to the listening experience in the case of this EP. The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements. It ensures listeners’ engagement and enjoyment just as much as the record’s content because of how it balances the EP’s energy. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the record. All things considered they make Angels in the Snow a record that will find plenty of plays any holiday season.
Angels in the Snow is available now. More information on the album is available along with Brady Rymer’s latest news at:
Covers albums, like greatest hits albums, are among the most overly used records in the music industry. Regardless of genre, there are almost as many covers and hits albums in stores and online every year as there are albums of new music from artists across the genres. The problem with these albums is that it’s obvious that they are nothing more than fillers used for the purpose of contractual obligations. One listen through their track listings proves this. For all of the forgettable covers and hits albums that pollute store shelves and online outlets each year, there are thankfully those diamonds in the rough that actually stand out among the masses. Those hidden gems show that for all of the space fillers that are out there, there are those artists that take covers albums, hits albums and tribute records with at least a certain amount of seriousness. One of those hidden gems that has been revealed in 2014 comes from veteran performer Dr. John in the form of his Louis Armstrong covers/tribute album Ske-Dat-De-Dat: The Spirit of Satch. This thirteen-track record is more than just a collection of covers from one of the greatest names in the industry. The covers included on this record exhibit not only the spirit of Satchmo, but also the very creative spirit of music itself. While the songs on this record are largely full-blown re-imaginings of Armstrong’s original works, the creativity used in each song will lead this record to grow on even the most hardline of Louis Armstrong fans. And it all starts right off the top with Dr. John’s re-imagining of Armstrong’s greatest hit, ‘What A Wonderful World.’ Dr. John’s jazzy cover of ‘I’ve Got The World on a String’ will most certainly impress audiences as it’s one of the few songs on this record that stays close to the original work. The addition of blues great Bonnie Raitt doesn’t hurt the song, either. And his collaboration with the famed Dirty Dozen Brass Band on ‘When You’re Smiling (The Whole World Smiles With You’ is the perfect closer for this record. As impressive as these songs prove to be in the long run, they’re only part of what makes Ske-Dat-De-Dat: The Spirit of Satch such a rare release. The album’s other ten tracks are worth their own listen, too. And in hearing all thirteen tracks on this disc, any listener will agree that this record definitely stands out as one of this year’s truly rare covers/tribute albums worth hearing.
Dr. John’s new Louis Armstrong covers/tribute album Ske-Dat-De-Dat: The Spirit of Satch is one of 2014’s rare covers/tribute albums that is actually worth audiences’ attention. And it isn’t just because it is from one of the most respected names in the music industry today. That is proven right off the top with his cover of Armstrong’s most beloved of songs, ‘What A Wonderful World.’ Dr. John collaborated on this cover with gospel greats The Blind Boys of Alabama and fellow New Orleans native Nicholas Paton. At first listen, the song will most certainly leave some audiences scratching their heads. That is because it is a completely re-imagined take on the classic tune. Rather than taking the safe route here, Dr. John and company give the song a decidedly upbeat almost gospel-style turn, making it into more of a celebratory song than the more reserved piece which audiences have come to know. Of course that is thanks to the inclusion of The Blind Boys of Alabama on this take. It may not grab some audiences at first. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. That’s because it will grow on said audiences that give the song more than one chance. Those audiences will realize that the more celebratory tone, as different as it may be, actually works when one takes into consideration the song’s lyrics. Armstrong once sang on this song of all of the things that make the world so, well, wonderful. Audiences that take that into consideration will in turn appreciate this rendition for the surprisingly positive re-working that it proves to be in the long run. And in doing so, it will lead audiences to give this album’s other songs just as much of a chance, too.
If the re-imagining of ‘What A Wonderful World’ doesn’t win over listeners, then perhaps his duet with fellow blues legend Bonnie Raitt on ‘I’ve Got The World on a String’ will. This hybrid jazzy/bluesy cover comes as close to the original as possible without actual mirroring said song. Raitt and John both pay proper tribute to Armstrong in this take. Audiences that are familiar with both artists’ style will be pleasantly surprised by their ability to balance the song’s jazz roots with their own bluesy addition to the composition. Audiences that have heard Tony Bennett and k.d. Lang’s Armstrong covers album won’t be able to ignore the comparison to their covers here. That’s because both Raitt and John exhibit a true reverence for Armstrong’s work here more than anywhere else on the album. That reverence will most certainly have purist Armstrong fans dancing arm in arm and *ahem* cheek to cheek (bad pun fully intended here).
Dr. John’s duet with Bonnie Raitt on his cover of ‘I’ve Got The World on a String’ is without a doubt this record’s peak moment. Coming in a close second is the cover of ‘When You’re Smiling (The Whole World Smiles With You).’ The song, which features Dr. John’s fellow New Orleans musicians in The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, closes out the album. And such a song proves to be the perfect way to close out such an imaginative collection of covers. The song’s run time comes in at just under three minutes. To be exact, it clocks in at two minutes and forty-two seconds. Dr. John takes a back seat throughout most of the song, letting the members of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band have the spotlight instead. For those audiences that are less familiar with the work of the band, this song is a wonderful first impression from its members. Those that are more familiar with the band’s body of work will be just as impressed with the ability of the band members to mix its trademark Dixieland sound with a more Latin-tinged sound. The end result is one more truly creative and original cover of one more of Armstrong’s most beloved works.
The collaboration with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band as the final number for Ske-Dat-De-Dat: The Spirit of Satch proves to be the perfect way to close this record. That is because it once more exhibits Dr. John’s respect for Louis Armstrong’s legacy and Armstrong himself. Just as with all of the songs that come before it, it pays homage to Armstrong’s legacy by balancing the song’s original sound with something of a more original arrangement. In this case, it doesn’t stray too far from the original tune. Because it doesn’t, it is sure to leave listeners with that warm, happy feeling of nostalgia. And what better way to go out after such an intriguing musical ride than with that warm, happy feeling? By the song’s end, audiences will agree that having heard it and the album’s other songs, Ske-Dat-De-Dat is anything but another run-of-the-mill covers album. It is one of the most creative covers/tribute albums released by any artist to date.
Ske-Dat-De-Dat: The Spirit of Satch is available now online and in stores everywhere. Fans can order it online now direct from Dr. John’s official Facebook page and website at http://www.facebook.com/DrJohn and http://www.nitetripper.com. Audiences can also purchase Dr. John’s new album at any of his upcoming live performances. Fans can check out Dr. John’s tour itinerary now on both sites as well. They can also keep up with all of the latest news and updates from the man himself on both sites. 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.