ESPN Reaches New TV Deal With C-USA

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

College Football fans are going to get more of their favorite sport this fall.  That is because ESPN has signed a new television deal with Conference USA.

Beginning this fall ESPN will air five C-USA football games and the C-USA Conference Championship game.  The deal currently runs through the 2017 season.  Three of those five games will feature C-USA teams hosting non-conference teams in the early portion of the season.  The last week of the regular season will be comprised of two conference matchups.  The C-USA Conference Championship is currently scheduled to be played Saturday, December 3rd.

The 2016 schedule opens with Indiana at Florida International University on Thursday, September 1st.  It is scheduled to air at 7:30pm ET on ESPNU.  Two more games will be played Friday, September 16th.  Rice will host No. 7 Baylor at 8pm on ESPN in the night’s first game.  The second, UTSA hosting Arizona State, will be at 9:30pm ET on ESPN2. ESPN’s C-USA football schedule winds down with Louisiana Tech at Southern Miss on Friday, November 25th and Western Kentucky University on the road against Marshall on Saturday, November 26th.  Times for those two games and the conference championship will be announced at a later date.  The ESPN networks’ current C-USA football broadcast schedule is noted below.

 

ESPN Network’s Conference USA Television Schedule for 2016

Date

Time (ET)

Game

Network

Thu, Sept. 1

7:30 p.m.

Indiana at FIU

ESPNU

Fri, Sept. 16

8 p.m.

No. 7 Baylor at Rice

ESPN

9:30 p.m.

Arizona State at UTSA

ESPN2

Fri, Nov. 25

TBD

Louisiana Tech at Southern Miss

TBD

Sat, Nov. 26

TBD

WKU at Marshall

TBD

Sat, Dec. 3

TBD

C-USA Football Championship Game

TBD

Rankings are per ESPN.com’s “way too early top 25” (May 10)

 

More information on the ESPN networks’ coverage of C-USA football is available online along with all of the latest college football headlines at:

 

 

Website: http://espn.go.com/college-football

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

 

 

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

Five Finger Death Punch Signs New Deal With Rise Records

Courtesy:  Rise Records

Courtesy: Rise Records

Rise Records added a major name to its roster this week.

Officials with Rise Records announced this week that the label has added Five Finger Death Punch to its roster.  The  new deal will see the band release its albums domestically through Rise Records once it completes its obligations with its current label, Prospect Park.

Five Finger Death Punch originally formed in 2005 and have since released six hugely successful albums, five of which have gone on to be certified gold, another certified platinum, and another on the way.  The band’s current lineup is made up of Ivan Moody (vocals), Zoltan Bathory (guitar), Jason Hook (guitar), Jeremy Spencer (drums), and Chris Kael (bass).  Bathory discussed the band’s addition to Rise Records’ roster in a recent interview.  He didn’t hold back about the band’s motivation for its decision to move forward either.  “We are looking forward to the next phase of our recording career,” he said.  “We have had great success with our current label, Prospect Park, and will continue to enjoy further success with our next and final album (subject to surmounting the label’s court action to prevent us from recording it), after which we will commence a new and exciting label partnership with the people at Rise and BMG.”

The band will join an already stacked roster when it begins its stint with Rise Records.  The label’s roster currently includes: Of Mice and Men, PVRIS, Crown The Empire, Memphis May Fire, Tiger Army, Hot Water Music, and many others.

More information on Five Finger Death Punch’s signing with Rise Records is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

 

Website: http://www.fivefingerdeathpunch.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/FFDP

 

 

Additional information on the band’s signing is available online at:

 

 

Website: http://www.riserecords.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/riserecords

 

 

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

The Winery Dogs Announce New Live Dates; Debut New Video

Mike Portnoy, Richie Kotzen, and Billy Sheehan, also known as the Winery Dogs, have announced a new string of live dates for this summer.

The band announced this week that it has added a new 10-date North American tour set to kick off Saturday, June 25th in Hinckley, Minnesota.  The band’s current schedule takes it largely through the Midwest and southwest with dates also in Wisconsin, Michigan, Kentucky, and Texas.  As of right now no additional dates are known.  However, fans can always keep up with any new dates through the band’s official website and social media.  The band’s current tour schedule is noted below.

 

Check out THE WINERY DOGS at any of the following stops:

 

DATE               CITY                             VENUE

 

Sat 6/25            Hinckley, MN                 Grand Casino Amphitheatre

Tue 6/28            Eau Claire, WI               State Theater

Wed 6/29          Ashwaubenon, WI          Green Bay Distillery

Thu 6/30            St. Charles, IL               Arcadia Theater

Sat 7/2              Hazard, KY                   The Forum

Sun 7/3             Sterling Heights, MI       Stars & Stripes Festival

Tue 7/5             Buffalo, NY                   Taft Music Hall

Fri 7/8               Houston, TX                  Warehouse Live

Sat 7/9              Dallas, TX                     Gas Monkey Live

Sun 7/10           San Antonio, TX            Alamo

 

In anticipation of its new tour announcement the band has unveiled the video for its latest single ‘Captain Love.’  The song will start hitting radio stations nationwide June 3rd.  It is taken from the band’s latest album Hot Streak.  The Vicente Cordero-directed video is currently streaming online at Guitar World. The band discussed the video recently in an interview which can be seen here now.

 

Courtesy:  Loud and Proud Records

Courtesy: Loud and Proud Records

 

Hot Streak has proven to be an apt title for The Winery Dogs’ new album.  Ever since its release on October 2nd, 2015, the album has been on its own hot streak.  It reached the top spot on Amazon’s Best Sellers/Hard Rock chart and its Pre-orders/Hard Rock chart.  In comparison to the band’s 2013 debut album Hot Streak sold 30% more copies than that record.  It topped out at the #2 spot on Billboard’s Top Current Alternative Albums Chart and #30 on the Top 200 Albums Chart.  That is just the top of the proverbial iceberg.  The numbers listed below are its other accolades from Billboard.

 

#5                     “Top Current Hard Music”

 

#5                     “Top Hard Music Albums”

 

#6                     “Top Current Rock Albums”

 

#6                     “Album Core / Genre Rock”

 

#15                   “Top Current Physical Albums”

 

#16                   “Top Current Albums”

 

 

More information on The Winery Dogs’ new tour dates, single, album and more is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news at:

 

 

Website: http://www.TheWineryDogs.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/TheWineryDogs

 

 

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

Local Blackout Lifted For 100th Indianapolis 500; Race Officially Sold Out

Indianapolis, IN - May 24, 2015 - Indianapolis Motor Speedway: Will Power (1) and Simon Pagenaud (22) competing in the 99th Indianapolis 500 (Photo by Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images)

Indianapolis, IN – May 24, 2015 – Indianapolis Motor Speedway: Will Power (1) and Simon Pagenaud (22) competing in the 99th Indianapolis 500
(Photo by Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images)

There’s some good news today racing fans in Indiana.

It was announced today that the local TV blackout of the 100th Indianapolis 500 has officially been lifted.  ABC’s broadcast of the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” will now air live across America.  The announcement comes alongside this morning’s announcement that this year’s race is officially sold out.  It is the first time that the race has been completely sold out in its now 100 year history.

The lifting of the local blackout means that Indianapolis ABC affiliate WRTV-TV will have full coverage of the race.  Along with this, the station will also run its traditional re-broadcast of the race beginning at 7pm ET.  This year’s local broadcast marks only the third time that the race will have been broadcast live in Central Indiana and the first time since 1950.

2016 marks the 52nd consecutive year that ABC will broadcast the Indianapolis 500.  It first aired on ABC’s Wide World of Sports in 1965.  The first time that it aired live was in 1986.  Anyone not near a television during the race can still catch it live online via WatchESPN beginning at 11am ET.  The green flag is set to fly at 12:17pm ET.  More information on this year’s broadcast of the Indianapolis 500 is available online along with all of the latest auto racing news at:

 

 

Website: http://espn.go.com/racing

 

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

 

 

 

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

Hank, Pattie & The Current Is A Solid Debut For Smith, Kinlaw, And Company

Courtesy:  Robust Records

Courtesy: Robust Records

Six years ago The Morning After released its debut album Starless Nights.  The eleven-song record was an impressive first effort from the Raleigh, North Carolina-based sextet.  After extensive touring and writing, the band finally released its sophomore album Wonder & Fury four years later.  Sadly it looks as though that album would also be the band’s last as the band has apparently gone on an indefinite hiatus.  In its place former members Hank Smith and Pattie Hawkins Kinlaw joined forces to start a new band, Hank, Pattie, and The Current.  The band recently released its debut album on the Chapel Hill, NC-based label Robust Records.  The fourteen-song, fifty-two minute record is a welcome return for the duo and its new band mates.  Largely gone are the poppier sounds crafted by The Morning After.  They have been replaced here by a mix of pure folk and bluegrass.  Kinlaw’s vocals are just as powerful as ever.  And Smith’s own work on the banjo is just as impressive.  The added talents of the duo’s fellow musicians enrich the album even more.  The end result is an album that gives great hope that Smith and Kinlaw have finally hit on something and are finally on the right path.  It is one of the year’s top new offerings in the combined fields of folk, bluegrass, country, and Americana.

Hank, Pattie, and The Current is a good new start for Hank Smith and Pattie Hopkins Kinlaw.  Unlike the duo’s work in their previous band the songs featured in this record present an album that comes across as being far more focused.  That is evident as the “poppy” sounds so common in that work have been replaced by a purer combination of bluegrass, folk, and Americana.  One of the songs that best exemplifies the noted bluegrass sound is ‘Travelin’ Man.’ The song comes almost halfway through the album’s fifty-two minute run time.  In regards to its musical content, this is as pure as bluegrass can get.  It is very much akin to the work that Smith composed on his 2014 album Impulse alongside Lindsay Tims.  Even in a supporting role here Smith is impressive in his picking.  Mrs. Kinlaw is just as deserving of credit thanks to her work on the fiddle.  Of course vocalist Benjamin Parker can’t be ignored either as he sings about…well…a traveling man.  He is a man with no roots and apparently just can’t settle down no matter how hard he tries.  Parker’s subject notes this as he sings, “I’ve been in and out of places/And it’s always hard to stay/Try to tell the ladies I’m broken/Try to fend them all away/When they see that handsome stranger/Their hearts are sure to cave/And as far back as I can remember/I’ve traveled ‘cross this land/So baby/Try not to be tempted/’Cause I’m a travelin’ man.”  He even goes so far as to note his efforts to settle down, singing, “Try to do some changes/Make my habits like the rest/Settle down and make a living/But that didn’t pass the test/So rev up the engines/And let’s go someplace fine/But keep that tank full, baby/Cause I’ll be leavin’ in your time.”  Simply put this is a man who cannot sit still no matter how hard he tries.  It just isn’t in his nature.  It is a timeless lyrical theme used throughout the history of bluegrass and country.  And it works just as well here as in the countless cases in which it has been used before.  The energy exhibited in the song’s musical content couples with Parker’s lyrics and his vocal swagger to show clearly why this song is one of this record’s highest points.  They also collectively help to exhibit the previously noted focus present throughout this record.  In whole it is just one song that serves to show that focus.  ‘Better Life’ is another of the record’s offerings that shows said focus.

‘Travelin’ Man’ is an excellent example of the focus presented throughout the course of Hank, Pattie & The Current.  The song’s hybrid country/bluegrass sound and its timeless lyrical theme couple with the swagger in vocalist Benjamin Parker’s delivery to make it a song that every bluegrass and country fan should hear and will want to hear.  It is as pure as country and bluegrass can get.  It is just one of the songs included in this record that exhibits the group’s focus.  ‘Better Life’ is another song that exhibits that focus.  The Americana style sound of the song’s musical arrangement forms the song’s foundation.  Between Smith and Kinlaw’s own work and that of their fellow musicians, the arrangement in question presents itself as a beautiful and moving composition.  It is a gentle, flowing piece that will touch listeners at their deepest points even without the song’s lyrical content.  What is interesting is the song’s choice of lyrical content.  It delivers a handful of stories that are classic country through and through.  They are stories of life’s difficult situations beginning with a story of a person helping friends move away after trying so hard to keep the situation from happening.  There is also a short little story about a person working hard, trying to make a life for himself and his family.  It all ends with a person sitting at a bar, drinking his sorrows away after having lost his woman.  From one story to the next Kinlaw and Parker tug so hard at listeners’ heart strings as they present the stories.  This is so important to note because in reality, without the addition of those stories, this song honestly would have been a completely different composition had it been just an instrumental piece.  Its musical arrangement alone gives the song a completely different, more optimistic vibe.  Keeping in mind all of this it becomes clear why ‘Better Life’ is another important addition to Hank, Pattie & The Current.  It shows a real, clear focus among the musicians.  It still is not the last song that exemplifies that focus, either.  ‘Wilkesboro Waltz’ is yet another wonderful example of that focus.

‘Travelin’ Man’ and ‘Better Life’ are both wonderful examples of the focus presented by Smith, Kinlaw, and their fellow musicians in the group’s debut self-titled LP.  The prior is a pure bluegrass piece that also presents a hint of country both in its musical arrangement and its lyrical theme.  The latter is a beautiful, moving piece that will touch listeners in so many ways thanks to its lyrical and musical content.  The musical content alone presents a moving piece that presents a rather positive vibe.  However, that vibe completely changes with the addition of its lyrical content.  That dual presentation makes this song one of the album’s highest points and most important additions.  As important as both songs are to the album’s presentation they are not the album’s only important songs.  ‘Wilkesboro Waltz’ is one more example of the focus presented throughout this record.  The song is a completely instrumental composition.  Its gentle, flowing melody, conjures images of warm summer sunrises in the North Carolina mountains, the dew drying on the plants, and fog from the night before gently lifting as the hours pass.  From the melody to the two-part harmony the song boasts a pure folk sound that even harkens back to the European roots of the style.  It is a sound that every lover of folk, Americana, bluegrass, and country will appreciate.  It is just one more prime example of what makes this record such an impressive debut from Hank, Pattie & The Current.  Together with the album’s other offerings it proves in the end to be a solid new beginning for Smith, Kinlaw, and their new band mates, and hopefully one that will lead to a long and fruitful career for years to come.

Hank, Pattie & The Current is only the first full-length offering from Hank Smith, Pattie Hopkins Kinlaw, and their new band mates.  Even being their first, there is a wholly noticeable difference between this group and The Morning After, Smith and Kinlaw’s previous band.  This record is so much more focused than those of The Morning After.  Its sound is more directed and pure.  Its lyrical content adds to that focus.  The songs noted here are prime examples of that focus.  The songs not noted here could just as easily be cited in that argument.  All things considered Hank, Patti & The Current proves in the end to be a solid new beginning for Smith, Kinlaw, and their new band mates.  Hopefully it is only the beginning in a long and fruitful career for the band.  More information on Hank, Pattie & The Current is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news, tour updates and more at:

 

 

Website: http://www.hankandpattie.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/hankandpattie

 

 

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.

PBS Releasing New Episodes of Secrets of the Dead, NOVA In July

PBS Distribution has new episodes of PBS’ Secrets of the Dead and NOVA on the way this summer.

Courtesy:  PBS/Public Media Distribution

Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution

On Tuesday, July 5th PBS Distribution will release new episodes of Secrets of the Dead and NOVA on DVD.  Up first is Secrets of the Dead: Cleopatra’s Lost Tomb.  Everybody knows the story of Cleopatra and Marc Antony.  Her story has eve been made into a major motion picture starring legendary actress Elizabeth Taylor in the movie’s starring role.  For all that people know about Cleopatra (both fact and fiction) one thing still remains unknown—the actual place where she is buried.  This episode of Secrets of the Dead follows lawyer turned archaeologist Kathleen Martinez as she endeavors to find the famed queen’s final resting place.  What happens over the course of the program is quite intriguing to say the least.  This latest episode of Secrets of the Dead is a must have for any living room and classroom.  It will be available Tuesday, July 5th.  It will retail for MSRP of $24.99 but can be pre-ordered online now at a discounted price of $19.99 via PBS’ online store.

Courtesy:  PBS/Public Media Distribution

Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution

The second of PBS Distribution’s July 5th titles is NOVA: Vikings Unearthed.  It is not the first of PBS’ programs ever centered on the infamous Norsemen.  But it is just as interesting as the network’s previous offerings centered on the Vikings.  This episode of NOVA follows researchers as they examine what may be the first new North American Viking site to be uncovered in half a century.  The last site to be discovered was in Newfoundland in the 1960s.  Now researchers have found another site in Newfoundland that they believe may be another Viking settlement.  The researchers–space archaeologist Dr. Sarah Parcak (National Geographic Fellow, University of Alabama at Birmingham, and winner of the TED 2016 prize), archaeologist Douglas Bolender (University of Massachusetts, Boston), and historian Dan Snow—is joined by a number of other experts from around the globe as they excavate and examine the site at Point Rosee in southern Newfoundland.  Satellite imagery, CGI recreations, and more is used throughout the investigation.

The investigation of the site is just part of the program’s story.  Also included in this episode of NOVA is an examination of the Vikings’ history, from their expertise in sailing and trading to the myths surrounding their culture and more.  The program runs roughly one hour, counting opening and end credits.  It will retail for MSRP of $24.99 but can be pre-ordered online direct now at a discounted price of $19.99 via PBS’ online store.  Audiences can view a trailer for NOVA: Vikings Unearthed online now here.

 

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

 

More information on these and other episodes of Secrets of the Dead and NOVA is available online now at:

 

 

Website: http://pbs.org/secrets, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SecretsofTheDead, http://www.facebook.com/NOVAonline

Twitter: http://twitter.com/SecretsPBS, http://twitter.com/novapbs

 

 

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

The Rescue Bots Roll To The Rescue Again Next Month

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/Shout! Factory Kids/Discovery Family/Hasbro Studios

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Shout! Factory Kids/Discovery Family/Hasbro Studios

Shout! Factory is teaming up with Hasbro Studios once again this summer to release yet another installment of episodes from Discovery Family’s hit animated series Transformers Rescue Bots this summer.

Transformers Rescue Bots: Heroes of Tech will be released in stores and online on Tuesday, Jun 21st.  Levar Burton’s (Reading Rainbow, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Captain Planet and the Planeteers) character Doc Greene gets the spotlight in most of the collection’s episodes.  Case in point “One For The Ages.”  This Season 2 episode sees Cody turned into an adult by Doc Greene’s stasis machine while Kade has to take over Griffin Rock Emergency while Chief Burns falls ill.  In Season 3’s “Too Many Kades” Doc Greene’s Imaging Chamber stars making clones of Kade.  Each one has its own personality.  This leads to its own share of problems for Cody and the Rescue Bots.  Meanwhile Kade learns a valuable lesson about teamwork when gas leak at the Natural Gas Reserve.  And in another Season 3 episode, “I have Heard The Robots Singing,” Doc Greene’s inventions cause even more chaos.  This time Doc Greene’s Tone-O-Tuner is the culprit.  Priscilla Pynch originally got her hands on it in one of her devious plots.  But when Huxley Prescott accidentally runs into it with his van, it leads to everyone in Griffin Rock singing everything that they say instead of just speaking.  Of course Doc Greene’s tech isn’t the only cause of problems for the people of Griffin Rock.  In “The Island of Misfit Tech” (obviously an homage to Rudolph The Red-Nose Reindeer’s Island of Misfit Toys) an out of control mechanical bull sends Cody and the Rescue Bots to the mysterious Island via the “Beam Box.”  Even Doc Greene isn’t sure who built the box.  As they explore the island, Cody and company discover that it is populated by the world’s most dangerous technology is stored.  “Space Bots” is another episode proving that Doc Greene isn’t always at the heart of the Rescue Bots’ adventures.  Though, Doc Greene himself is at the center of the episode as he and Graham have to be saved when an experiment with a space elevator called the Asgard goes horribly wrong.  It’s up to Cody and the Rescue Bots to save them.

The five episodes that are featured in Transformers Rescue Bots: Heroes of Tech all feature the same theme.  They are lifted from the series’ second and third season.  The DVD will be available in stores and online Tuesday, January 21st.  It will retail for MSRP of $14.93 but can be pre-ordered online now at the discounted price of $13.93 via Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/kids/kids-animation/transformers-rescue-bots-heroes-of-tech.  More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

 

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

 

 

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