Derek Sherinian And Company Make It Easy To Get Pulled Into His New Album, ‘Vortex’

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

Famed keyboardist Derek Sherinian released his latest album, Vortex last week.  Released July 1 through InsideOut Music, the eight-song record came less than two years after the release of his then latest album, The Phoenix, which was released Sept. 18, 2020 through InsideOut Music.  The 46-minute record is another strong offering from Sherinian, who has etched out his own place in the music community through his work with the likes of Dream Theater, Alice Cooper, Sons of Apollo, and Platypus.  Its latest single, ‘Scorpion,’ is just one of the songs that serves to support that statement.  It will be discussed shortly.  ‘Key Lime Blues,’ which comes just past the record’s midpoint, is another prime example of what makes this new album so engaging and entertaining.  It will be discussed a little later.  ‘Nomad’s Land,’ the album’s penultimate entry, is yet another example of what makes Vortex so enjoyable.  It will be discussed later, too.  All three songs noted here do their own share to make Vortex engaging and entertaining.  When they are considered along with the rest of the record’s works, the whole makes the album in full one of the year’s top new albums overall.

Vortex, the latest album from Derek Sherinian (and his second in less than two years) is another strong offering from the renowned keyboardist.  One of the songs featured in the record that serves to make that clear is its latest single, ‘Scorpion.’  Much as with ‘Dragonfly,’ which was featured in this album’s predecessor, The Phoenix, the song easily lends itself stylistically to comparison to works from Trioscapes.  It is a moving, fusion-style composition that features Sherinian on keyboard, Tony Franklin on bass, and Simon Phillips on drums.  Sherinian does not miss a beat as he works his way through the polyrhythmic patterns.  Phillips and Williams meanwhile keep steady as they partner, keeping time and providing the song’s low-end.  William’s subtlety when he gets the spotlight adds such a nice touch to the whole, giving him the ability to really display his talent.

That ‘Scorpion’ is just as comparable to works from Trioscapes as ‘Dragonfly’ is no coincidence.  Sherinian said in a recent interview about the single, the response to ‘Dragonfly’ led him and Phillips to craft this composition.

“Don’t be surprised if you see me going more in this direction in the future,” Sherinian said as he talked about ‘Scorpion.’

‘Scorpion’ is just one of the notable additions to the album.  ‘Key Lime Blues,’ which comes just past the album’s midpoint, is another standout addition to the record.  The funky beat that Phillips lays down right from the song’s introduction pairs with Sherinian’s work on the keyboard and the addition of the bass and guitar is so similar in sound and style to works from the likes of Steve Vai and Joe Satriani.  The light, positive vibe that the whole presents is so infectious throughout the course of its nearly five-minute run time.  The little driving guitar lines in the song’s “chorus” sections adds its own punch to the whole while the more playful “verse” sections are just as light and fun.  The whole is completely unlike anything else on the album, just as ‘Scorpion’ is, too.  The positive energy and variance that the composition in whole presents is certain to make it a fan favorite and easily shows even more why the album in whole is so successful.  It is just one more of the songs that shows how much the album has to offer, too.  ‘Nomad’s Land’ is yet another prime example of what makes Vortex so enjoyable.

The penultimate entry in Vortex, ‘Nomad’s Land’ is just as unique as the other compositions examined here and as the rest of the album’s entries.  Sherinian’s performance on the keyboard’s serves as the song’s foundation.  Again, the polyrhythmic patterns that he turns out present a sense of some odd time signatures.  Even with that being the case, he and Phillips easily keep the song moving steadily from beginning to end without missing a step.  What is really interesting about the sound and style presented in this case is that it seems to throw back to some of the fusion-rock sounds of the late 70s yet still manages to do so in a modern sense.  That ability of Sherinian and company to create that vintage sound and still balance it with a touch of modern style and sound makes the song all the more engaging and entertaining for certain.  When it is considered along with the other songs examined here and with the rest of the album’s entries, the whole leaves no doubt that Vortex is another strong, successful offering from Derek Sherinian.

Vortex, the latest solo album from Derek Sherinian, is another impressive offering from the renowned veteran keyboardist.  From start to end, the diversity in the record’s compositions and the creativity in each work gives audiences plenty to appreciate.  The songs examined here each do well to support the noted statements.  When they are considered along with the rest of the album’s offerings, the whole makes the album overall easily one of the year’s top new albums overall.

Vortex is available now through InsideOut Music. More information on Derek Sherinian’s new album is available along with all of his latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.dereksherinian.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/Derek-Sherinian-Official-361589234010473/

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/DerekSherinian

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

Ryo Okumoto Debuts ‘The Watchmaker’ Lyric Video

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

Spock’s Beard keyboardist Ryo Okumoto debuted the video for his latest single this week.

Okumoto premiered the lyric video for his new single, ‘The Watchmaker’ Thursday. The single is featured in his forthcoming solo album, The Myth of Mostrophus, which is scheduled for release July 29 through InsideOut Music. Pre-orders are open.

The video features the song’s lyrics over a variety of semi-psychedelic imagery, such as a bunch of clocks, Earth as a clock face, and random laser lights. The song plays over the visualization as the whole progresses.

The song’s musical arrangement is everything that audiences have come to expect from Okumoto and his Spock’s Beard band mates past and present. It has all of the trademarks of so many Spock’s Beard songs, what with the distinct sound and style from the keyboard and equally familiar guitar lines.

Okumoto said the lyrical content featured in the song tells a concept story of sorts.

“Immerse yourself in the tale of “The Watchmaker”, wherein our eponymous character sets off on an odyssey through past, present and future,” he said. “Time is literally on his side, as the watch on his workbench allows him the opportunity to try his hand at setting things right again.” 

The album’s track listing is noted below.

Tracklisting:

1.Mirror Mirror (9:27)
2.Turning Point (6:53)
3.The Watchmaker (Time On His Side) (6:25)
4.Maximum Velocity (8:11)
5.Chrysalis (7:35)
6.The Myth Of The Mostrophus (22:14)

Okumoto’s new album will come more than 20 years after the release of his then latest solo album, 2002’s Coming Home.

More information on Okumoto’s new album is available along with all of his latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.ryookumoto.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/RyoOkumotoMusic

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/RyoOkumoto

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

Devin Townsend Announces ‘Lightwork’ Release Date, Cover Art, Live Dates

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

Devin Townsend is scheduled to release his latest album this fall.

Lightwork is scheduled for release Oct. 28 through InsideOut Music and will be accompanied by a companion record, Nightwork in the record’s deluxe version. The record’s cover art was designed by Townsend’s longtime friend and album cover designer, Travis Smith.

In support of the record’s release, Townsend has announced a series of live European and United Kingdom dates for 2023 starting Feb. 21 in Oslo, Norway. The full schedule for the dates is noted below. Tickets are available here.

Feb 21st  –  Oslo, Sentrum Scene
Feb 27th  – Stockholm, Cirkus
Feb 28th –  Gothenburg, Pustervik
March 1st – Copenhagen, Amager Bio
March 3rd – Tilburg, 013
March 4th  – Cologne, Carlswerk Victoria
March 5th – Lille, Le Splendid
March 7th – Leipzig, WERK 2
March 8th– Frankfurt, Batschkapp
March 10th – Zurich, X-tra
March 11th  –  Munich, Backstage Werk
March 13th – Dornbirn, Conrad Sohm
March 14th – Milan, Live Club
March 16th – Barcelona, Razzmatazz
March 17th – Madrid, La Riviera
March 18th – Lisbon, Cineteatro Capitólio
March 20th – Toulouse, Le Bikini
March 21st  – Marseille, Le Moulin
March 22nd – Clermont Ferrand, La Coopérative De Mai
March 24th – Brussels, Ancienne Belgique
March 25th – Stuttgart, LKA-Longhorn
March 26th – Paris, L’Olympia

March 28th – Bexhill-on-Sea, De La Warr Pavilion
March 29th – Bristol, Academy
March 31st – Manchester, Academy
April 1st – Nottingham, Rock City
April 2nd – Newcastle, University
April 4th – Wolves, KK’s Steel Mill
April 5th – Norwich, UEA

More information on Devin Townsend’s new album and tour is available online along with all of his latest news at:

Websitehttp://www.hevydevy.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/dvntownsend

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/dvntownsend

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

Leprous Announces North American Fall 2022 Tour Schedule with Apocalyptica

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

Leprous will return to the United States this fall for a new North American live run.

The band announced the schedule for the upcoming tour Monday. The tour, which is scheduled to launch Sept. 6 in Athens, GA , will see the band serving as support for Apocalyptica for its headlining tour. The tour is scheduled to run through Oct. 7 in Sacramento, CA and features performances in cities nationwide, such as Charlotte, NC; Louisville, KY and Tucson, AZ.

The tour’s schedule is noted below.

LEPROUS – North American Tour with Apocalyptica & Wheel:
9/6/22 Athens, GA – Georgia Theatre
9/7/22 Charlotte, NC – Underground
9/8/22 Asheville, NC – Orange Peel
9/9/22 Baltimore, MD – Soundstage
9/13/22 Portland, ME – State Theatre 
9/14/22 Long Island, NY – Paramount Theatre
9/15/22 Montclair, NJ – Wellmount Theatre
9/16/22 Philadelphia, PA – TLA
9/17/22 Buffalo, NY – Town Ballroom
9/18/22 Cleveland, OH – House Of Blues
9/20/22 Fort Wayne, IN – Pierres
9/21/22 Grand Rapids, MI – Intersection
9/23/22 Nashville, TN – Brooklyn Bowl
9/24/22 Indianapolis, IN – Vogue
9/25/22 Milwaukee, WI – Eagles
9/26/22 Sauget, IL – Pops
9/27/22 Lawrence, KS – Liberty Hall
9/28/22 Denver, CO – Summit
9/30/22 Tucson, AZ – Rialto Theatre
10/1/22 San Diego, CA – Observatory
10/2/22 Santa Ana, CA – Observatory
10/4/22 Las Vegas, NV – Brooklyn Bowl
10/5/22 Ventura, CA – Ventura Theatre
10/6/22 Santa Cruz, CA – Catalyst

Leprous’ latest North American run, which will follow a European run the winds down Aug. 27 in Poland, is in support of the band’s latest album, Aphelion, which was released in August 2021. The band previously toured North America in support of the album early this year.

Aphelion produced the singles, ‘Nighttime Disguise,’  ‘The Silent Revolution,’  ‘Running Low,’ and ‘Castaway Angels.’

More information on Leprous’ new single, and video is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.leprous.net

Facebookhttps//www.facebook.com/leprousband

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/leprousband

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

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Derek Sherinian Debuts New LP’s Latest Single, ‘Scorpion’

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

Derek Sherinian gave audiences another preview of his new album this week.

The preview came in the form of Sherinian’s new single, ‘Scorpion.’ The piano-driven composition is the second single from Sherinian’s forthcoming album, Vortex. Sherinian premiered the album’s lead single, its title track, April 29.

Scorpion is a moving fusion style composition that features Sherinian on a full-size piano, Simon Phillips on drums, and Tony Franklin on bass. Each musician gets his own moment in the sun so to speak. The group’s collective work easily lends the whole to comparison to works from Trioscapes.

Sherinian talked about the song in a prepared statement.

“After the great response to “Dragonfly” on my last album, Simon and I wanted to do another piano trio song,” Sherinian said. “Don’t be surprised if you see me going more in this direction in the future.”

The track listing for Vortex is noted below.

Tracklisting:
1 The Vortex feat. Steve Stevens
2 Fire Horse feat. Nuno Bettencourt
3 Scorpion
4 Seven Seas feat. Steve Stevens
5 Key Lime Blues feat. Joe Bonamassa, Steve Lukather
6 Die Kobra feat. Michael Schenker, Zakk Wylde
7 Nomad’s Land feat. Mike Stern
8 Aurora Australis feat. Bumblefoot

More information on Derek Sherinian’s new album is available along with all of his latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.dereksherinian.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/Derek-Sherinian-Official-361589234010473/

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/DerekSherinian

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

Spock’s Beard Keyboardist Announces Details For New Solo LP

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

Spock’s Beard keyboardist Ryo Okumoto will release his new solo album this summer.

The Myth of Mostrophus is scheduled for release July 29 through InsideOut Music. The six-song record will feature guest appearances from past and present members of Spock’s Beard including and not limited to Nick D’Virgilio, Al Morse, and Mike Keneally.

The album’s track listing is noted below. Pre-orders are open.

Tracklisting:

1.Mirror Mirror (9:27)
2.Turning Point (6:53)
3.The Watchmaker (Time On His Side) (6:25)
4.Maximum Velocity (8:11)
5.Chrysalis (7:35)
6.The Myth Of The Mostrophus (22:14)

Okumoto’s new album will come more than 20 years after the release of his then latest solo album, 2002’s Coming Home.

More information on Okumoto’s new album is available along with all of his latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.ryookumoto.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/RyoOkumotoMusic

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/RyoOkumoto

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

Jordan Rudess Announces Details For Summer Tour

Photo Credit: Rayon Richards

Dream Theater keyboardist Jordan Rudess is planning to launch a solo tour this summer.

Rudess’ tour, dubbed “An Evening With Jordan Rudess,” is a two-month run that is scheduled to launch June 7 in Seattle, WA and to run through Aug. 6 in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. The tour also features performances planned in cities, such as Charlotte, NC; Kent, OH and Rockport, MA.

The tour’s schedule is noted below. Ticket information is available through Rudess’ official website and Facebook page.

JORDAN RUDESS – 2022 SUMMER SOLO TOUR
 
June 7 – Triple Door, Seattle WA
June 12 – The Old Church Concert Hall – Portland, OR
June 25-  Lulu’s Downstairs – Colorado Springs, CO
June 26 – The Armory – Ft. Collins, CO
July 6 – Dakota – Minneapolis, MN
July 8 – City Winery – Chicago, IL
July 9 – Kent Stage – Kent, OH
July 10 – The Ludlow Garage – Cincinnati, OH
July 11 – Tin Pan, Richmond, VA
July 13 – City Winery – Washington, DC
July 14 – Rams Head On Stage – Anapolis, MD
July 16 – City Winery – New York City, NY
July 17 – Ardmore Music Hall – Ardmore, PA
July 21 – Katherine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center – Old Saybrook, CT
July 22 – Center for the Arts – Natick, MA
July 23 – Shalin Liu – Rockport, MA
July 24 – Ridgefield Playhouse – Ridgefield, CT
July 28 – Neighborhood Theatre – Charlotte, NC
July 31 – State Theatre – Austin, TX
Aug 3 – City Winery – Nashville, TN
Aug 4 – City Winery – Atlanta, GA
Aug 6- Broward Center for the Performing Arts – Fort Lauderdale, FL

More information on Rudess’ tour is available along with all of his latest news at:

Website: https://jordanrudess.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Jcrudess

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

Release Date, Details Announced For New Fates Warning Biography

Courtesy: FYI Press/Radical Research

A new biography of Fates Warning is planned for release this summer.

Destination Onward — The Story of Fates Warning is scheduled for release July 15 through FYI Press and Radical Research. The 400 page biography was assembled by author/journalist Jeff Wagner and will feature 176 black-and-white photos and 56 color pictures to accompany the band’s story.

The biography was crafted through interviews with members of the band past and present and overs the band’s infancy, going all the way back to its infancy as the band Misfit in 1983 and goes right through to the release of the band’s opus, ‘The Last Song.’ The interviews featured throughout the book include and are not limited to those with members of Dream Theater, Steel Prophet, While Heaven Wept, Metal Blade Records head Brian Slagel, and InsideOut Music head Thomas Waber.

“This book was a total labor of love,” said Wagner. “I tried to construct the kind of document that I, as a massive Fates fan, would want to read. As with my other books, I labored over every detail, no matter how tiny, to ensure everything is as high quality as possible, from research to printing materials and everything in between. It was a pure pleasure to have the cooperation of the guys in Fates Warning, from the last lineup to all the enthusiastic ex-members too. I’m proud that this book will stand as a document of the band’s legacy, celebrating the artistic achievements all us Fates freaks hold dear.”

More information on Wagner’s new Fates Warning biography is available online now along with all of Fates Warning’s latest news at:

Websitehttp://www.fateswarning.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/FatesWarning

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/fateswarning

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.

James LaBrie Debuts New Single, ‘Am I Right,’ Companion Video

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

Dream Theater front man James LaBrie kicked off the week by premiering another new single from his new album.

LaBrie premiered his new single, ‘Am I Right‘ and its video Monday. The song is the third single from his new album, Beautiful Shade of Grey, which is scheduled for release May 20 through InsideOut Music. The album has already produced the singles, ‘Give and Take‘ and ‘Devil In Drag‘ and its video. ‘Am I Right’ is the last single from the album ahead of its release Friday.

‘Am I Right’ is the softest of the songs that LaBrie has released from the album so far. It is centered largely on LaBrie’s vocals and semi-acoustic guitar line. The subtle addition of the bongos as a supporting element adds even more to the song’s musical dept, as do the gospel style backing vocals that join in as the song progresses.

LaBrie talked about the new single in a prepared statement.

“The anthemic song of the album with gorgeous chordal picking and progressions,” LaBrie said. “A perfect marriage between melody and music. Extremely dynamic throughout with an epic and glorious ending.”

No information was provided about the song’s lyrical theme. No lyrics are provided with the video, either. A close listen reveals the song’s lyrical content likely centers around the all too familiar topic of a relationship and the troubles connected therein.

The video for ‘Am I Right’ is a familiar style presentation in its own right. It features LaBrie and company in studio, working on the new album. Other various imagery is incorporated into the visualization to complete the video.

The track listing for Beautiful Shade of Grey is noted below.

The full track-listing is as follows:

1.Devil In Drag
2.SuperNova Girl
3.Give And Take
4.Sunset Ruin
5.Hit Me Like A Brick
6.Wildflower
7.Conscience Calling
8.What I Missed
9.Am I Right
10.Ramble On
11.Devil In Drag (Electric Version)

More information on James LaBrie’s new single, video, and album is available along with all of his latest news at:

Websitehttps://jameslabrie.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/officialjameslabrie

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/piratecjs

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

King’s X Announces New Record Deal, Album Details

Photo Credit: Derek Soto
l-r: Ty Tabor, Jerry Gaskill, dUg Pinnick

Kings X is back in the headlines for the first time in a while.

The band announced Thursday, it has signed a new record deal with InsideOut Music. The deal will see the band release its new album this fall. The as yet untitled album will be the band’s 13th record.

The band shared its thoughts on the new developments, beginning with bassist/vocalist dUg Pinnick.

“I feel like it’s been forever since we put out a new album, and I’m ready for the world to hear our latest offering, hopefully there’s a little bit of everything that you love about Kings X, three sides of one is the best way to describe it,” Pinnick said. “The groove is with us!”

Drummer Jerry Gaskill was enthusiastic not only about the new album, but the band’s new record deal, too.

“It’s really gonna happen!,” Gaskill said. “The new record is coming out soon. I’m happy to be working with the team at InsideOut/Sony Music. I’m happy with the record. I’m happy everybody gets to hear it. It’s a happy day. Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself. Hope you enjoy it!!!”

Gutiarist Ty Tabor, who released his latest solo album, Shades in March through Rat Pak Records, also commented on the band’s new record deal.

“I have a long standing relationship with InsideOut and am so pleased that InsideOut/Sony is releasing the new King’s X album,” said Tabor.

InsideOut Music head Thomas Waber echoed Tabor’s statement.

“We have known the guys since forever and have been fans even before then,” he said. “We are really looking forward to adding another album to their impressive legacy. Working on a King’s X album is always a highlight and an honour!”

In other news, King’s X has announced a new series of live dates this summer and fall in Europe, the United Kingdom, and North America in support of the new album. The tour’s schedule is noted below.

Europe & UK

1st September – Backstage Halle, Munich, Germany

2nd September – Veruno Musica Festival, Veruno, Italy

3rd September – Old  Capitol, Langenthal, Switzerland

6th September – Hirsch, Nürnberg, Germany

7th September – Colos-Saal – Aschaffenburg, Germany

9th September – Boerderij, Zoetermeer, Netherlands

10th September – Fabrik, Hamburg, Germany

12th September – Spirit of 66, Verviers, Belgium

13th September – Kantine, Cologne, Germany

14th September – Le Forum, Vaureal (Paris), France

16th September – The Brook, Southampton, UK

17th September – Picturedrome, Holmfirth, UK

18th September – Wylam Brewery, Newcastle, UK

20th September – Garage, Glasgow, UK

22nd September – Rescue Rooms, Nottingham, UK

23rd September – Junction, Cambridge, UK

24th September – KK’s Steel Mill, Wolverhampton, UK

26th September – Islington Assembly Hall, London, UK

27th September – Academy 2, Manchester, UK

28th September – Tramshed, Cardiff, UK

30th September – Biebob, Vosselaar, Belgium

1st October – Hypothalamus, Rheine, Germany

North America

28th July – Gramercy Theatre, NYC, NY, USA

29th July – Sellersville Theatre, Sellersville, PA, USA

30th July – Spyglass Ridge Winery, Sunbury, PA, USA

19th October – Amos’ Southend, Charlotte, NC, USA

20th October – The Concourse, Knoxville, TN, USA

21st October – The Forum, Hazard, KY, USA

23rd October – Brooklyn Bowl, Nashville, TN, USA

25th October – The Howlin’ Wolf, New Orleans, LA, USA

27th October – Come and Take It Live, Austin, TX, USA

28th October – Trees, Dallas, TX, USA

29th October – Warehouse Live, Houston, TX, USA

More information on King’s X’s new record deal and album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Website: https://www.kingsxrocks.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kingsx

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