The Movement’s Latest LP Lives Up To Its Name

Courtesy:  Rootfire Cooperative

Courtesy: Rootfire Cooperative

A little more than twelve years ago a little band that went by the name of The Movement made its first impact in the reggae community when it released its debut full-length studio recording On Your Feet.  The fourteen-song record established the South Carolina-based band as one of the leaders in the next generation of reggae.  That is because it broke the mold used by seemingly nearly every other reggae act out there at the time.  Fast forward back to today.  The band has maintained its place at the forefront of the genre since 2004 with the release of its sixth full-length album GoldenGolden was released Friday, April 8th via Rootfire Cooperative.  The album’s twelve total songs are everything that fans have come to expect from the veteran reggae outfit.  In many cases, a band doing the same thing for so long would be a death sentence for said act.  However that has not been the case for The Movement in this case because its sound, while familiar, doesn’t just repeat the band’s previous work.  Instead, the band has taken its familiar sound and used it to craft an album of wholly new tunes that any listener will enjoy.

The Movement’s latest full-length studio recording Golden is a fittingly titled new effort from the veteran reggae act.  That is because while the album’s overall sound is familiar to the band’s longtime fans, that familiar sound has not equaled to the same old songs as before.  Rather, the band has managed to re-invent itself once again (so to speak) on this, its sixth new album.  The end result is an album that is yet again more than just another run-of-the-mill reggae record.  It is a reggae record that leads the way within its community.  This is evident early on in the album’s title track.  The song, which features Elliot Martin, mixes the band’s familiar reggae sound with EDM elements for what is one of the album’s most standout offerings.  What’s truly interesting here is the group’s ability to balance both musical elements.  Neither one overpowers the other at any point.  That balance forms a solid foundation for the song.  It is just one part of what makes the song stand out.  Its lyrical content makes it stand out just as much.  Vocalist Joshua Swain sends some positive vibes through the song’s lyrical content.  He sings in the song’s lead verse, “Frost say nothing gold can stay/I guess you can’t measure how much a soul can weigh/And I’ll never let this love unfold and fray/So my heart will stay golden after I’m old and grey/Frost say Eden-ya know it sank to grief/Don’t mean to offend you but it’s not my belief/Wanna scream to the world/There’s only hope and peace/When you have a gold heart and give away the gold leaf.”  This message of optimism and is echoed in the song’s second verse, in which Swain sings, “Frost say nature’s first green is gold/But depending on whether the prior scene is told/It’s a cycle/Forever infinity remolds the heavens/Relax and let the dream unfold/And why is it so hard for us to see/I’m thinking we’re all just in a rush to be somebody/But first ya know we must be free/And in time you will say first I must be free.”  Swain comes across as saying to listeners that they should have love for others, not for themselves.  That is hinted even more in the song’s closing verse in which Swain notes that the fighting among men worldwide will be overcome by that love for one another.  That positive vibe is commonplace in reggae.  But its wording is original in its own right.  And when it is set against the song’s EDM musical arrangement the song stands out even more.  It is just one of the album’s most standout compositions.  ‘On Top (ft. Leilani Wolf)’ is another prime example of what makes Golden live up to its title.

Golden’s title track shows easily in itself why this new record from The Movement stands out.  That is thanks to the combination of its hybrid reggae/EDM sound and the positive message presented in its lyrical content.  It is just one of the songs that shows why Golden lives up to its name, though.  ‘On Top (ft. Leilani Wolf)’ is another of song that proves the importance of this album among this year’s crop of new reggae albums.  Whereas the album’s title track mixed the band’s familiar reggae sound with EDM elements, this song mixes that reggae sound with a hip-hop sound for yet another original composition unlike any presented by the band’s many counterparts.  Also as with ‘Golden,’ the song’s musical content is just part of what makes it stand out.  Its lyrical content will keep listeners just as engaged.  Swain spits rhymes here with the fluidity of a river as he raps, “Pickkin’ up pieces – pardon the prime alliteration/Apparently people notice and perk with participation/But life is a puzzle – Put it together with pride/And you’ll probably find purpose if you put your ego aside.”  This harkens right back to the message presented in the album’s title track.  And it’s just one verse buried within the song, too.  He goes on noting in the song’s final verse “I hate to see my people/Like a flower with the root gone/Drenched like they took a shower with their suit on/Benched – sit or you sleep – Life ain’t a futon/Time to strap ya boots on/Hike a million miles a week to get ya move on/Party like it won’t ever peak/To get ya groove on/Wig out with ya locks/Or be sleek and rock a buffoon/Doesn’t really matter – Just be – And get ya truth on/Dready speak the truth mon.”  It’s just this critic’s own interpretation but Swain comes across here as saying that people should be the most that they can be and do the most possible with life.  Don’t just be weak and sit around and let things happen.  Get out there and make things happen.  That could be totally off the mark, again, being that it is just one interpretation.  What everyone will agree on here is the depth of these lyrics.  That depth, when considered along with the song’s equally enjoyable musical content, shows why the song in whole is yet another of this record’s most notable compositions.  Together with the album’s title track, both songs show even more clearly why Golden is indeed golden.  They are not the only songs that can be cited in making that argument either.  The album’s poppy, guitar-driven closer is one more piece proving why Golden lives up to its name.

‘Golden’ and ‘’On Top (ft. Leilani)’ are both key examples of what makes Golden live up to its title.  They are both stark contrasts from one another stylistically speaking.  And even while their lyrical messages differ, too, they are still similar in that both present positive messages in said content.  While both prove in the end to be key examples of what makes Golden shine (pun fully intended) they are not the only of the album’s songs that can be cited in making that argument.  The song’s poppy, guitar-driven closer ‘Wild Time’ is one more example of what makes this record stand out in whole.  Musically speaking Swain’s work on guitar and his vocal delivery conjure thoughts of Jack Johnson, and to a lesser degree Ben Harper.  Drummer Gary Jackson’s work behind the kit adds even more depth to the song with cymbal crashes in all of the right places and a gentle backbeat.  The song’s touching tribute to Swain’s family and friends back home partners with the song’s musical content to make it all the deeper and more emotional.  Swain sings in a bittersweet manner, “To all my friends up in Philly/And to my family down in Charleston, too/For all my faults/Please forgive me/Didn’t mean to be so rude/I miss my sister out in Rainbow City/I miss my mom and dad out in Columbia, too/I only pray that you believe me/God only knows my words are true.”  This is a deep and moving passage that will leave not a single eye dry in hearing it.  The emotion doesn’t let up at all from here as Swain continues on, singing, “My eyes water as I scan the night sky/And I dream of everything that we might do/I fall asleep praying, “please just let me wake up”/I need another day to make it come true/It’s been a wild time loving you.”  Again, Swain tugs at listeners’ heart strings here, presenting so much truly heartfelt emotion and wording.  And one again, the combination of those moving words and equally moving musical content makes this song stand out just as much as ‘Golden’ and ‘On Top’ if not more.  Regardless it can be easily said of this piece that thanks to its combination of deeply moving musical and lyrical content, it is indeed one more piece proving why The Movement’s new album is in fact musical gold.

The Movement might not be one of the biggest names in the musical universe or maybe even the reggae community.  But it can be said in hearing the group’s sixth full-length album that it should be.  That is because this record does indeed live up to its name.  It lives up to its name as it once again mixes the band’s familiar reggae sound with a mix of sounds from other genres within the musical universe for a record that is in whole another original release from the veteran band.  The hybrid EDM/reggae sound of the album’s title track, the mix of hip-hop and reggae in ‘On Top’ and the poppy, almost Jack Johnson/Ben Harper style sound of the album’s closer all prove this in their own way.  Together with the album’s purer reggae compositions, the album in whole proves to be a record that definitely lives up to its name.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on Golden is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

 

Website: http://www.themovementvibe.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/TheMovementVibe

 

 

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Caillou’s Latest Collection Will Entertain Audiences Of All Ages

Courtesy:  PBS/PBS Kids/PBS Distribution

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Kids/PBS Distribution

Caillou is officially on DVD again.  PBS Distribution and PBS Kids released the latest collection of Caillou’s episodes last week.  The DVD features thirteen more episodes from the Canadian import.  And in looking at those episodes in whole the episodes are just part of the collection’s presentation.  The writing within the featured episodes are just as important to note in this collection as the episodes themselves.  Last but not least of note is the work of the series’ voice cast.  More specifically, the work of the actors behind Caillou’s parents is especially of note.  Each element is important to the DVD’s presentation.  Altogether, all three elements make this DVD another welcome addition to any family’s home DVD library.

PBS Kids’ latest collection of Caillou episodes is another welcome addition to any family’s home DVD library.  This is thanks at least in part to the episodes that are featured in the collection.  It might not seem all that important.  But a closer examination and comparison to many other children’s compilation DVDs reveals that it is in fact quite important to the DVD’s presentation.  Older audiences with children will agree that there is any number of children’s DVDs out there whose titles hardly match their titles.  The compilations in question may bear a specific title.  But of its given episodes (regardless of how many) perhaps one or two might match up with the theme presented in the compilation’s title.  Viewers of all ages will be happy to know that in the case of this DVD, that is not the case.  All thirteen of the compilation’s featured episodes match up precisely and near precisely with the set’s title.  Each one is in fact centered on animals and how Caillou and his friends handle different animal situations.  There is no deviation from those central themes unlike so many other random children’s compilation DVDs out there.  Considering how rare this is (at least for children’s DVDs). it shows why the DVD’s featured episodes are in fact far more important to the set than audiences might think.  The episodes themselves are collectively just one of the DVD’s most important elements.  The writing within the episodes is just as important as the episodes.

The episodes that are featured in PBS Kids’ new Caillou DVD are important to the collection in their own right.  Unlike so many children’s DVDs before its thirteen total episodes actually remain largely in line with the theme presented in the DVD’s title.  This bears its own importance in the DVD’s overall presentation.  But it is not the DVD’s only important element.  The writing within the episodes is just as important as the episodes themselves.  What audiences get in terms of the episodes’ writing are very real situations to which children and adults alike will be able to relate in terms of children’s interactions with animals.  “Caillou is Scared of Dogs” is a prime example of that.  This episode presents Caillou in one of his early meetings with a dog.  Many children, in their first interactions with given animals, can be very cautious and even scared of said animals.  This is commonly the case with dogs for some odd reason.  The situation was presented very much as it would indeed happen in the real world.  This includes how the situation was handled, too.  “Follow That Sound” is another good example of the importance of the episodes’ writing.  This episode does center on an animal (which won’t be revealed here).  But in the bigger picture of the episode, it presents a situation in which Caillou has to use problem solving so to speak.  That is because he is searching for a mystery sound in his house.  He has to follow the sound throughout his house until he finally discovers the source of the sound.  So what audiences get here is a story not only centered on an animal but an episode that is also educational and helps promote children’s personal growth.  There is even a story that teaches an important lesson about responsibility in “Leo’s Hamster.”  The lesson here is taught as Caillou takes care of his friend Leo’s hamster “Buddy” over the weekend.   After accidentally letting Buddy loose in his house Caillou has to get his parents to help him catch Buddy and get him back in his habitat.  Caillou’s parents remind him that it is his responsibility to look after Buddy and keep him safe.  Once again this is a very real scenario that plays out every day across the country.  And the manner in which the whole situation unfolded is just as realistic.  It shows even more why the writing behind this episode is so crucial to the DVD’s overall presentation.  It is hardly the only remaining example of the importance of the episodes’ writing.  “Caillou Goes Birdwatching” sees Caillou going to the park with his grandmother to feed birds.  He learns about patience and even about respecting animals in this episode.  This is another important part of every child’s personal development.  Once more it is presented in a wholly realistic fashion, making it all the more believable and in turn engaging.  As if that isn’t enough for audiences, “Caillou Walks A Dog” teaches young audiences an important lesson about appreciating what they have rather than just being reactionary.  The lesson is taught as Caillou is walking a dog that belongs to Grandma’s friend.  He enjoys walking the dog so much that later he bugs his own parents about getting a dog.  But they remind him that he already has his cat Gilbert.  Parents will be able to relate to this situation all too well.  IT doesn’t have to necessarily be a pet in the situation.  It can be a child begging for a toy at the store even though he or she might already have loads of toys that he or she probably barely even plays with.  Children need to learn that they can’t always have everything that they want.  They need to learn that lesson about appreciating the things that they already have before just replacing them with more stuff.  It’s just one more example of how the writing proves so crucial to the overall presentation of Caillou’s new episode compilation.  Even with these episodes noted there are still plenty of other episodes that could be cited in proving the importance of the show’s writing here.  All things considered, the writing proves, regardless of the episode, to be just as important to this DVD’s presentation as the episodes themselves.  Even with its undeniable importance, it still is not the last remaining element that should be noted in examining this latest collection of episodes from Caillou.  The work of the show’s voice cast is just as worth noting.

The episodes that make up the body of Caillou’s Pet Parade and their writing are both key elements in the DVD’s presentation.  From start to finish each of the DVD’s thirteen total episodes never stray from the theme presented in the DVD’s title.  The writing is just as important because it presents real life scenarios.  What’s more, it does so in a fashion that makes it accessible to audiences of all ages.  While both elements are important in their own right to the DVD’s presentation, they are not the collection’s only notable elements.  The work of the show’s voice cast is just as important to note.  More specifically, the work of those behind Caillou and his parents is important to note.  Pat Fry and Jennifer Seguin voice the roles of Caillou’s parents while Annie Bovaird fills the role of the precocious preschooler after whom the series is named.  Fry and Seguin are impressive throughout each episode as they take a gentle approach with Bovaird’s Caillou every time.  It doesn’t even matter if Caillou has gotten himself in a really tight spot or done something really bad.  His parents are still completely calm with him.  It might not seem important on the surface.  But in this day and age it is an approach that so many parents should learn to take with their children rather than certain other methods.  In the same vein, Bovaird is just as engaging as Caillou.  There is a little bit of over the top here and there.  But in large part she presents Caillou in a fashion that most adult audiences will agree is pretty spot on.  Maybe that’s why so many parents can’t stand Caillou; Bovaird’s portrayal is just that precise.  Regardless, it can be said that between the three of them, their work in bringing to life Caillou and his parents will keep viewers just as engaged as the episodes’ stories and the episodes themselves.  Keeping all of this in mind, each element proves to be important in its own right, again, to the overall presentation of Caillou’s Pet Parade.  Collectively, they show the collection to be another welcome addition to any family’s home DVD library.  That is especially the case for those families whose children are fans of the series.

Caillou’s Pet Parade is yet another good addition to any family’s home DVD library.  This is especially the case for families whose children are fans of the series.  It proves to be such a welcome addition to families’ libraries in part due to its episodes.  The episodes stay in line with the theme of the collection’s title.  The stories contained within the episodes are just as certain to keep audiences engaged because of the fact that they are so real in their situations.  The work of the series’ core voice cast is just as important.  That is because it shows how parents should at least strive to handle their children.  In the same vein, Annie Bovaird’s portrayal of Caillou is just as precise as that of her cast mates.  Each element proves to be important in its own right to this latest collection of Caillou episodes.  Altogether they show clearly why it is another welcome addition to any family’s home DVD library; especially families whose children are fans of the series.  It is available now exclusively on DVD and can be ordered online direct via PBS’ online store.  More information on this and other Caillou compilation DVDs is available online now along with more information on the series, games, activities, and more at:

 

Website: http://PBSKIDS.org/caillou

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/cailloudhx

 

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PBS Investigates One Of America’s Greatest Mysteries In New Episode Of ‘Secrets Of The Dead’

Secrets of the Dead - The Alccatraz Escape Box ArtNext month, PBS and PBS Distribution will release another episode of its history-based series Secrets of the Dead to DVD.

Secrets of the Dead: The Alcatraz Escape will be released Tuesday, June 7th on DVD.  Ironically, its release will come almost fifty-four years to the day that Frank Morris and brothers Clarence and John Anglin broke out of Alcatraz Prison.  That was June 11th, 1962.  The men broke out of what was supposed to be an inescapable fortress of a prison and then floated away on a raft made of raincoats that they had personally assembled during their incarceration.  In the five-plus decades that have passed since the men escaped, one thing has remained a mystery—the fates of the men.  Now in this new episode of Secrets of the Dead a trio f Dutch scientists has assembled to try and solve once and for all the lingering mystery.

The story of the men’s escape is told via interviews with just some of those close to the cold case and others.  Among those close to the case featured in the program are: Jolene Babyak, US Marshal Michael Dyke, and Patrick Mahoney.  Babyak is the daughter of one of Alcatraz’s associate wardens, thus leading her to spend much of her youth at the prison.  She was present at Alcatraz the night of the men’s escape.  Dyke is the Marshal currently in charge of the still-open cold case.  Mahoney was a guard at Alcatraz from 1956 – 1963.

The scientists tapped to try and solve the mystery of the escapees—Olivier Hoes, Rolf Hut, and Fedor Baart—use maps, charts, 3D computer modeling, and even a makeshift mockup of the raft crafted by the inmates to determine if they could have survived the cold waters of the San Francisco Bay after their initial jailbreak.

Secrets of the Dead: The Alcatraz Escape will be available Tuesday, June 7th.  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.  More information on this and other episodes of Secrets of the Dead is available online now at:

 

 

Website: http://pbs.org/secrets

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/SecretsPBS

 

 

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ESPN, Vice Media Reach New Broadcast Agreement

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

Only months after its launch, Vice Media is branching out again.

The fledgling network, which is part of the A&E Networks family, launched this past November.  And now roughly six months after its launch, has reached a new broadcast deal with ESPN.  The deal will allow Vice Sports to broadcast select ESPN programs and will also see it produce special content for ESPN across its many platforms.  Vice Media Co-Founder and CEO Shane Smith discussed the partnership with the media noting the impact of ESPN’s programming on himself in his youth and the importance of that impact on establishing Vice Media’s deal with ESPN.  “Growing up watching ESPN I came to love the brand and their content. Maybe a little too much. The amount of manly tears shed over various 30 for 30’s throughout the years has been nothing short of embarrassing,” he said.  “To be teaming up with ESPN, creating brand new sports shows for them, and then showing 30 for 30’s on VICELAND is perhaps one of the favorite moments in my professional life. I can now die a happy man. No, wait, we have to take over the world first! Here it comes baby, VICE WORLD OF SPORTS!!”

John Skipper, ESPN President and Co-Chairman of Disney Media Networks, responded to Smith’s comments saying, “Evoking manly tears from Shane Smith is no small task, and I take immense pride in that.  He went on to note the professionalism of both Smith and everyone at Vive Media in relation to the deal.  “Shane and the team at VICE do an extraordinary job presenting stories through their own, very unique lens – and working with them will help to bring a new perspective to our storytelling,” he said.  I am confident that the content borne out of this collaboration will be a win for fans of ESPN, VICE and storytelling in general. And I applaud Shane for understanding that television is the smartest path to worldwide leadership.”

The specifics of the brand new agreement between Vice Media and ESPN include:

 

  • The re-broadcast of ESPN’s 30 for 30 episodes

 

  • Digital cutdowns of Viceland’s original program Vice World of Sports on ESPN after their first run on Viceland.  Full episodes of Vice World of Sports will air on ESPN’s family of networks.

 

  • Re-broadcast of Vice Media’s The Clubhouse on ESPN’s linear and digital channels, including WatchESPN.

 

  • Creation of new content by VICE Sports and ESPN Films across both properties including a new short-form animated series.

 

 

More information on this deal is available online at:

 

 

Website: http://espn.go.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/espn

 

 

Additional information on the new agreement is also available online at:

 

 

Website: http://www.vice.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/vice

 

 

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 Okee Dokee Brothers’ New LP Is Another Great New Musical Adventure

Courtesy:  Okee Dokee Music

Courtesy: Okee Dokee Music

First, they canoed the length of the Mississippi River.  Then they hiked the entire Appalachian Trail.  Now The Okee Dokee Brothers have returned with yet another new adventure and collection of songs to boot in the form of their new album Saddle Up.  The album, the duo’s third full-length release, will be available in stores and online next Friday, May 13th via the duo’s own label Okee Dokee Music.  Regardless of audiences’ familiarity with the Okee Dokee Brothers audiences of all ages will find themselves getting hooked on the music made by these musical “brothers” on their latest LP.  That is because Lansing and Mailander have once again given audiences something familiar without repeating themselves musically and lyrically.  They will also find themselves just as riveted by the pair’s adventure along the length of the Great Divide presented in the album’s companion DVD.   The album’s companion booklet plays just as much of a part in the album’s presentation as its DVD and its new offering of songs.  It is presented in the same journal style format as the booklets that were included in the duo’s previous albums.  While it is nothing new for the Okee Dokee Brothers, it is still a fun, welcome sight and addition to the album’s presentation.  Together with the album’s DVD and its music, all three elements combine to make this album one of the year’s best family records, one of the best of the year’s new country, bluegrass, folk, and Americana, and one of the year’s best new albums overall.

Saddle Up is one of 2016’s top new albums overall.  It is also one of the year’s top new family albums and one of the best among the ranks of the year’s new country, bluegrass, folk and Americana offerings.  One reason for this is the fact that Mailander and Lansing have managed to craft another original record that boasts the duo’s familiar mix of said genres without repeating themselves once again.  This applies not only to the album’s musical content but that of its lyrical themes, too.  The album’s lead single ‘Jackalope’ is a prime example of how Lansing and Mailander have managed to keep things familiar yet fresh on this album.  In regards to its musical content, the song boasts a clear Johnny Cash influence thanks to the pair’s guitar work.  That simple two-chord progression that serves as this song’s foundation also served as the base for nearly every single song that Johnny Cash ever recorded over the course of his career.  Given, there were songs that didn’t utilize it.  But by and large, those familiar with Cash’s work will agree just how commonplace it was in his work.  It is a sound that the dup had not presented in its previous efforts.  So to that end, the music here shows why it is an important part of the album’s presentation.  In terms of the song’s lyrical content, it is original to say the least.  Who but the Okee Dokee Brothers could write a song about a mythical (or is it?) creature and actually succeed in doing so in the process?  The song itself is just one part of what makes the song’s lyrical content so important.  The secondary message of having something to believe in makes the song even richer in terms of its lyrics.

‘Jackalope’ is just one example of what makes Saddle Up’s general content so important to its presentation.  It is just one example for that matter.  ‘Somos Amigos’ can also be cited as an example of the importance of the album’s content.  Mailander and Lansing delve into the world of Mexican music in this piece.  The guys are joined by Carlos Medina and his friends for the song which mixes Mailander and Lansing ’s own sound with that of the traditional accordion-driven sound of so much Mexican music.  Yet again these are waters that The Okee Dokee Brothers have never actually waded into before.  They succeeded just as much here as with the case of ‘Jackalope.’  And again that success shows at least musically why this album is so enjoyable.  Moving on to the song’s lyrical content, the song is centered on the message of friendship.  The group presents the Spanish word for friend—Amigo—and even have Medina and company join in to sing of the importance of friendship.  It isn’t the pair’s first time presenting a message of friendship in its music.  It is, however, the first time that Mailander and Lansing have presented the familiar message in the format used here.  Considering this, the combination of the two elements here makes this song yet another example of what makes Saddle Up’s general content so important to its presentation.  It still is not the last example of what makes the album’s presentation overall so enjoyable either.  ‘Cow Cow Yippee’ is one more example of what makes this album’s musical and lyrical content so important to its presentation.

‘Jackalope’ and ‘Somos Amigos’ are both clear examples of what makes Saddle Up another album from The Okee Dokee Brothers that will make listeners of all ages want to saddle up with the guys for this musical adventure.  They are hardly the only songs that could be cited in showing what makes this album’s musical and lyrical content so important to its presentation.  ‘Cow Cow Yippee’ is one more example of the importance of the album’s lyrical and musical content.  In regards to its musical content, this song stands out from every one of the album’s other offerings.  Musically, it mixes Dixieland elements with a classic country western sound for a song that stands out just as much as anything else on this record.  As a matter of fact, those that are familiar with American Public Media’s beloved radio variety program A Prairie Home Companion will find this musical mix to be very similar to much of the music presented on said program.  The same can be said of the song’s silly lyrics and the duo’s delivery of said lyrics.  Lyrically, the song is just a fun, nonsensical work about cattlemen (not cowboys) and life on the range.  The half sung, half spoken delivery of the song’s family friendly lyrics makes one think of APC’s beloved cowhands Dusty and Lefty.  Whether or not this was intentional is anyone’s guess.  But the similarity is there and it is undeniable.  It is a great comparison, too.  Once again keeping this in mind, it shows yet again why the general musical and lyrical content presented in Saddle Up is so important to the album’s overall presentation.  It shows the duo’s ability yet again to write serious songs, silly, songs, and songs somewhere in between both musically and lyrically.  That is clear not just in this song and the previously noted compositions but in every one of the album’s offerings.  Now, keeping this in mind, the musical and lyrical content is just one part of what makes Saddle Up such a fun family record.  The record’s companion DVD is just as important to its presentation as its general content.

The musical and lyrical content that makes up the main body of Saddle Up is in its own right extremely important to the album’s overall presentation.  Even as important as it is to the album’s presentation its fifteen total tracks are just a portion of what makes the album so enjoyable.  The album’s companion DVD proves to be just as important to the album’s presentation as its musical and lyrical content.  That is because of its own content.  Over the course of the DVD’s run time viewers are taken along with The Okee Dokee Brothers on their horseback journey up the Great Divide.  Viewers get to see many of the sights that they saw.  They get to see some of the people that they interviewed and with whom they recorded songs.  For that matter viewers even get to see Mailander and Lansing as they write and work up their own songs along the way.  It’s all in rain and shine.  The journey in itself is so enjoyable to watch because audiences actually see that Mailander and Lansing did indeed make the trip.  On another level it serves as a reminder of the beauty of America ’s national parks.  So one could actually argue to that extent that the DVD serves not only as a way for audiences to join The Okee Dokee Brothers on their voyage but also as a video postcard of sorts showing people all of the great places that they can visit with their families.  This dual purpose (intentional or not) approach in the album’s DVD shows in full why it is just as important to the album as the album’s general content.  It is still not the last important element to note of the album.  The album’s companion booklet rounds out the album’s presentation.

The songs that make up the body of Saddle Up and the album’s companion DVD are both key elements in the album’s overall presentation.  The songs present yet another healthy mix of country, bluegrass, folk, and Americana that thankfully doesn’t repeat the songs from the Okee Dokee Brothers’ previous albums.  Their lyrical content is just as entertaining and engaging with topics that range from the serious to the downright silly and all points in-between.  The album’s companion takes viewers along for the ride with Mailander and Lansing.  It also serves as a video postcard of sorts for viewers, reminding viewers of the beauty of America’s national parks.  For all of the value that the DVD and the songs present to this new album, they are not the only important pieces of the album’s whole.  The album’s companion booklet proves to be just as important to its presentation as the previously noted elements.  Just as with the duo’s previous albums, this album’s companion booklet is presented (and even titled) in the format of a Field Journal.  The whole thing opens with a note from the guys that it presents excepts from the pair’s journals that they kept during their trip.  Each excerpt is entertaining in its own right; just as entertaining as the songs themselves.  Case in point the excerpt for ‘Good Old Times.’  The excerpt shares a number of flashes from their lives growing up such as: Joe eating a worm, Justin falling off of a sled, and Joe’s wedding.  The pair notes at the end of the passage the joy of reliving those memories as adults, which is exactly what the song is about.  ‘One Horsepower’ presents another great excerpt in the booklet.  One of the guys notes in this passage that, “Grandpa always said, “Who needs a 200 horsepower engine when you can just have the horse!””  Yet again it is a simplistic explanation of the song’s topic.  But again that simplicity and light hearted approach makes this excerpt so fun to read.  The same can be said of any of the other passages presented in the booklet.  Regardless of which one audiences choose, every one of the passes will put a smile on audiences’ faces  in its own way.  That smile will grow even more when audiences take in the album’s featured songs and the adventure presented in the album’s companion DVD.  All things considered Saddle Up proves in the long run to be a musical adventure that audiences will want to take time and again.

The Okee Dokee Brothers’ new album Saddle Up is a musical adventure that listeners of all ages will want to take time and again, just as with the “brothers’” previous pair of recordings.  That is thanks in part to the mix of musical and lyrical material presented throughout the album’s fifteen total songs.  The music presents a wide mix of country, bluegrass, folk, and Americana from beginning to end.  The songs’ lyrical themes range from the serious to the downright silly.  The album’s companion DVD takes audiences along with the “brothers” for their latest adventure.  It also serves as a video postcard of sorts for audiences, reminding audiences of the beauty that lies across America.  The album’s companion booklet adds even more enjoyment to the album with its passages lifted directly from the field journals that Mailander and Lansing kept during their journey.  Each element proves to be truly important in its own right to the whole of Saddle Up’s presentation.  Altogether, they make this album yet another solid offering from The Okee Dokee Brothers and a musical adventure that every listener will want to take himself or herself time and again.  It will be available in stores and online next Friday, May 13th.  More information on Saddle Up is available online along with all of The Okee Dokee Brothers’ latest news and more at:

 

 

Website: http://www.okeedokee.org

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/OkeeDokeeBros

 

 

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TesseracT Joining Gojira For Upcoming North American Tour

Courtesy: Roadrunner Records/eOne

Courtesy: Roadrunner Records/eOne

TesseracT is returning to the U.S. this fall.

The U.K.-based progressive metal band has announced that it will serve as support for Gojira on its upcoming U.S. tour.  The tour is in support of Gojira’s upcoming album Magma, due out Friday June 17th via Roadrunner Records.  As TesseracT front man Dan Tomkins noted in a recent interview, the tour will be the band’s last in support of Polaris, its latest full-length studio recording.  Polaris was released September 18th, 2015.  He also discussed touring with Gojira, noting, “We are thrilled to announce that we will be back in the U.S. and Canada throughout September and October.”  He went on to say, “This will be the final tour of the ‘Polaris’ cycle and we couldn’t think of a better way to do it! This will be our first support tour in a long time and we are very excited to be touring with such a groundbreaking and unique band; it will be an honour to share the stage with them. Gojira have a great and loyal fanbase and we look forward to presenting our live show to them and of course for our own dedicated fans and friends. We will again be running our VIP meet and greets, which are always so much fun, so we hope to shake hands and chat with even more new faces this time around!”

This fall’s upcoming North American tour will mark the first time since last year’s run with The Contortionist, Erra, and Skyharbor.  Tickets for the band’s upcoming live dates go on sale this Friday, May 6th.  They can be purchased online here at each venue’s ticket office.  Special bundle packs can be purchased online here.  Full album streams of Polaris are currently available online now via YouTube at the band’s official website.  Audiences can also view the video for the song ‘Survival’ online via Kscope’s official YouTube channel now.

More information on TesseracT’s upcoming tour is available now online along with the band’s latest news, links to purchase Polaris and more at:

 

Website: http://www.tesseractband.uk.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/tesseractband

 

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 Kingdom Of Zydeco Is One Of 2016’s Top new DVD/Blu-Ray Re-issues

Courtesy: MVD Visual/Mug Shot PRoductions

Courtesy: MVD Visual/Mug Shot PRoductions

Documentarian Robert Mugge’s recently re-issued presentation The Kingdom of Zydeco is an intriguing glance into the realm of the genre which is noted in its title.  The roughly hour-plus documentary is a stark contrast to his more recent zydeco documentary Zydeco Crossroads.  But that is not necessarily a bad thing.  As a matter of fact its story, in comparison to that of Zydeco Crossroads proves itself to be its own hugely important part of the program’s whole.  Its central story (so to speak) is just one of its key elements.  The archived performance footage that is used to tell the program’s story is another important element that should be noted.  The program’s bonus material rounds out its presentation, connecting everything together.  More specifically one of the bonuses in particular ties everything together.  That is not to discount the other material included as bonuses.  It is just that the one item in particular ties itself to the program’s central story and its footage more so than the other featured bonuses.  That aside, the combination of the bonus material, the program’s central story, and its featured performances, makes this presentation in whole one that–together with Zydeco Crossroads—a whole that music lovers and fans of zydeco alike should experience at least once.

MVD Visual’s recently re-issued presentation of The Kingdom of Zydeco is a presentation that, together with Zydeco Crossroads, should be experienced at least once by both music lovers and zydeco fans alike.  The main reason for this is the story at the heart of the roughly hour-plus program. In comparison to the story at the heart of its counterpart the story at the center of The Kingdom of Zydeco isn’t really a story in the purest sense.  What it really is, is a glance into the genre that is zydeco.  At the heart of it all is a competition between the “old guard” and the “new guard.”  The “old guard” is represented by Boozoo Chavis.  The “new guard” is represented by Beau Jocque.  Viewers get to see in their musical battle two totally different styles of zydeco music—the pure, old school (Chavis) and the newer, more heterogeneous style (Jocque).  The difference in the two styles is quite clear when one pays close attention to both.  To that end, it could be said that Mugge (MUG-EE) presenting both sides (and in turn both styles) of the “battle” serves as a good starting point in discussions on the roots of zydeco music and its evolution over time.  There are also interviews with both men that are included with the presentation.  Hearing the passion in Chavis’ voice about the music juxtaposed by Jocque’s more laid back persona makes for even more discussion believe it not.  That is because that contrast could generate just as much discussion among audiences about the mindset of the performers then and now.  One could ask do today’s zydeco players have the fire that Chavis clearly had or could they be more laid back yet still have that passion?  Regardless, seeing the love that those in the “Kingdom of Zydeco” have for the music and its performers, viewers will see that “new school” or “old school,” zydeco is the musical lifeblood of so many.  Understanding this, audiences will gain a certain appreciation for the “story” at the center of The Kingdom of Zydeco.    It shows that while not necessarily a conventional story, it is one that serves as a good starting point on any lesson(s) about the genre and its rich history.  It is just one part of what makes this documentary worth the watch.  The noted performances by Chavis and Jocque are just as important to the program as its “story.”

The non-traditional story that lies at the center of The Kingdom of Zydeco is in itself an important part of this recently re-issued documentary.  That is because while non-traditional, it does serve as a good starting point for any lesson(s) on zydeco music and its rich history.  For all of the importance that it presents it is just one part of what makes this program worth experiencing.  The performances that are presented within the program are just as important to the program as the program’s central “story.”  The performances are of central figures Boozoo Chavis and Beau Jocque.  It has been noted already but is worth noting again that between the pair there are clearly noticeable differences in their styles.  Chavis’ sound is decidedly pure in its instrumentation and arrangement.  While Chavis’ band does include guitar and bass, the band’s musical arrangements do not make them the key instruments.  Rather they are centered more on the accordion and washboard.  In the same vein, the arrangements in question much purer than those of the more modern zydeco sound.  The funk and rock elements that are so prevalent in today’s zydeco are nowhere to be found in the older music made so famous by Chavis and his counterparts.  Instead it is more of the creole-rooted sound.  Jocque’s sound on the other hand exhibits more of those funk and rock (I.E. more modern) influences.  It tends to make the guitars and drums more the stars of the music than the accordion and washboard.  Regardless of audiences’ thoughts on both styles the presentation of both styles adds even more to that introduction of zydeco’s history.  It deepens even more the discussion on the changes through which the genre has gone over the time since its formation.  Not only that, but the performances themselves can be considered important because of their archival value.  They are pieces of musical history that had otherwise laid unseen for decades.  If not for the footage, those discussions on zydeco’s evolution might not have even happened.  Keeping this in mind, the performances that are featured over the course of this program prove to be indeed important in their own right to the overall presentation of The Kingdom of Zydeco.  Even with their importance in mind, they still are not the last of the program’s most notable elements.  The material that has been included in the recording as bonus material is just as important to the program as the program’s “story” and its featured performances.

Both the “story” at the center of Kingdom of Zydeco and its featured performances are important in their own right to the program’s overall presentation.  That is because of the historical value that they present.  While both elements are undeniably important to the documentary, they are not its only important elements.  The material that has been included this time as bonus material is just important to the program as its story and performances.  The “Introduction To The Kingdom with Robert Mugge” is the most important of the program’s bonuses.  It only runs ten minutes. But in the course of that time viewers are presented with quite a bit of important information about the program.  Viewers learn how the competition between Jocque and Chavis ended up at a masonic temple (hint: the suggestion came from the performers).  Viewers also learn that the very creation of this program stemmed from other documentaries that Mugge had worked on.  The documentaries in question centered on Alligator Records and another label.  And just as notable is Mugge’s own discussion on what held up the original release of Kingdom of Zydeco.  That discussion is truly interesting.  These are just a few of the topics covered over the course of the program’s bonus “Introduction.”  There is far more for audiences to take in over the short course of its ten-minute run time.  The very amount of information, and clarity in its delivery over that time makes this feature the most important of the program’s bonuses.  “Iguanas in the House” is another of the program’s bonus features.  It presents a full performance by a zydeco group called The Iguanas spliced with interviews with the band’s members.  The band’s members discuss how they came to join the band, their love for zydeco and more in their interviews.  It runs twenty-seven minutes.  And just as with the program’s bonus “introduction” it will keep viewers just as entertained and engaged.  “A Royal Title” is the last of the program’s bonus features.  This short three-minute segment focuses on the late great Boozoo Chavis and features an interview with Chavis that was lifted from the program’s main feature.  It’s short.  But it exhibits Chavis’ deep love and respect for zydeco and will in turn have audiences once again discussing who is the real king of zydeco.  No matter one’s opinion on this topic, viewers will all agree that its inclusion in the program, that of the program’s “introduction,” and bonus performance by The Iguanas all come together to prove once and for all why this program’s bonus material is so important to its overall presentation.  And the bonus material, together with the program’s central “story” and performances joins together to make the program in whole one that—together with Zydeco Crossroads—every music lover and zydeco fan alike should experience.  It proves just as much to be in whole one of 2016’s top new DVD and Blu-ray re-issues.

The Kingdom of Zydeco is one of 2016’s top new DVD and Blu-ray re-issues.  It is also a program that should be experienced at least once by music lovers and fans of zydeco at least once.  That is especially the case when it is put alongside Mugge’s latest documentary Zydeco Crossroads.  This is thanks in part to the history presented in its central “story” of sorts and the performances that come along with that story.  The material that is included with the program as bonus material adds its own amount of interest to the program.  Each element is important to the program in its own right.  Altogether they make the Kingdom of Zydeco a program that is just as valuable in the classroom as the living room.  It is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered online direct via MVD Visual’s online store at http://mvdb2b.com/s/TheKingdomOfZydeco/MVD7500D.  More information on this and other titles from MVD Visual is available online now at:

 

 

Website: http://www.mvdvisual.com

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

 

 

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.