Satriani Leaves Listeners Asking “What Happens Next?” In The Best Way With His New LP

Courtesy Epic Records

Guitar great Joe Satriani has done seemingly everything that can be done by an artist of his caliber and experience. He has built quite the successful solo career. He has served as a member of the famed rock band Deep Purple and as the rock super group Chicken Foot as well as so much more. Considering how much Satriani has done and how much success he has had throughout the course of his decades-long career, one is left asking after each of his releases, “what happens next?” Thus we get the title of his latest album, What Happens Next. Released Jan. 12 via Epic Records, this 16th full-length studio recording from the virtuoso guitarist is everything that audiences have come to expect from Satriani. That is due to the continued growth exhibited throughout the album’s 51-minute run time. That growth is exhibited both in the songs that throw back to Satriani’s established albums and to those that show his continued abilities. That growth is just one part of what makes this album stand out Its sequencing plays its own important part in the album’s overall presentation, too. This element will be discussed later. The record’s production rounds out its most important elements. When it is set alongside the record’s sequencing and clear growth exhibited within the songs’ arrangements, the whole of the elements noted here makes this record a work that will leave listeners asking once again, “What happens next?” in the very best way.

Joe Satriani’s latest full-length studio recording What Happens Next is easily one of this year’s top new rock records. The 12-song record shows yet again over the course of its 51-minute run time why Satriani remains today one of rock’s elite musicians. This is due to the continued growth exhibited throughout the course of the album’s run. Right from the outset, fans familiar with Satriani’s body of work are transported to his 2004 album Is There Love In Space? in ‘Energy.’ the aptly titled song is a straight-forward, up-tempo piece that harkens back to ‘Hands In The Air,’ the third of the album’s offerings. What’s really interesting to note here is that while the songs bear a stylistic similarity in their sounds and energies, it’s obvious that Satriani didn’t just rehash that earlier song. This completely contradicts the statements of so many who have claimed that this album is more of the same from Satriani. One could argue that the album’s second song, ‘Catbot’ also throws back to some of his older works, too. Even with that comparison possible, one has to admit that the song’s arrangement, with its fuzz effect on the guitar bears more similarity to recent works from Royal Blood than anything that Satriani has composed before. The album’s third song, ‘Thunder High on the Mountain’ presents a run that would make Zakk Wylde and Tom Morello proud. It’s the kind of run that Satriani has not composed before, but instantly conjures thoughts of his aforementioned counterparts. Again, it shows that continued growth that has been mentioned so many times already. That display of growth doesn’t end here, either. Rather it continues on throughout the rest of the album. ‘Cherry Blossoms,’ with its contrasting “A” and “B” sections also takes listeners back in time, conjuring thoughts of perhaps works from Satriani’s 1998 album Crystal Planet while also changing things up considerably. The changes come in the form of the string arrangements in the “A” sections and the more reserved guitar line in the “B” section. The song gets even more lively in its bridge, with Satriani just letting go. ‘Headrush,’ with its uptemp guitar lick instantly conjures thoughts of ‘Satch Boogie,’ from Satriani’s 1987 album Surfing With The Alien. Deep Purple bassist Glenn Hughes’ walking bass line in this song adds a nice bluesy touch that helps in its own way the growth, as does Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith with his polyrhythmic patterns. It’s yet another way in which this record reaches back in time while also looking clearly forward. As if that wasn’t example enough, ‘Super Funky Badass’ reaches back to Satriani’s ’06 record Super Colossal thanks to its arrangement. Yet again though, as much as it bears similarities to songs from that record, it also establishes its own identity, thanks again to its arrangement. There is some material here that is slightly more intense than the music on Super Colossal. That contrast and comparison once more proves that this record is in fact not just more of the same from Satriani. It shows that while yes, there are some similarities between songs here and his established works, there is just as much new to appreciate from start to finish. Much the same could be argued of every one of the other songs not noted here. That being the case, when those songs are joined with the works directly discussed here, the arrangements featured here form a solid foundation for the record’s presentation. They are not the album’s only important collective element either. Its sequencing is important to discuss, too.

The sequencing at the heart of What Happens Next is important to its whole because of the general effect that it creates through the song’s energies. The album starts off rather upbeat, as has already been noted. Even with the momentary reservation in energy in ‘Thunder High on The Mountain,’ that decline is only momentary. The same can be said of the energy in the album’s fourth track, ‘Cherry Blossoms.’ The song’s energy feels slightly reserved at times, but even in that reservation, it doesn’t necessarily slow down per se. It’s something that must be heard to be fully understood and appreciated. It’s just a nice solid balanced up and down of energies within the very context of the one song. That balance is just as evident in ‘Righteous.’ As the album enters its midpoint in ‘Smooth Soul,’ the album does markedly slow down, but it’s in a good way. That pullback gives listeners just enough time to breath before Satriani launches into the much more up-tempo ‘Headrush,’ which again is another throwback composition that shows a certain growth from the professor. The album’s energies vary even more as the album makes its way through its second half from contemplative to playful to gentle and reserved to close things out. Simply put, from one song to the next, the album’s energies remain stable without fault. That being the case, it shows plenty of thought was put into the album’s sequencing, proving once and for all why the album’s sequencing is so important to the album’s whole. It is not the last of the album’s important elements, either. The album’s production rounds out its most important elements.

The production at the center of What Happens Next is important to discuss because of the general effect that it has on the album’s overall presentation. Just as the album’s energy is balanced from start to finish in this record, ensuring listeners’ maintained engagement, so are each of the trio’s parts in each song. Satriani, Hughes and Smith each shine throughout the record thanks to producer Mike Fraser’s work. This should come as no surprise considering that Fraser has worked with Satriani for so many years. The pair’s friendship and understanding of one another comes across clearly throughout this record as not only Satch gets plenty of time, but he also gladly gives up the spotlight so many times in favor of teamwork from his fellow musicians. Because each member of the group gets his own time to shine (and plenty of it at that), the end result is a record that sounds great and new from beginning to end even with its comparisons to its predecessors. When this is considered alongside the expertly balanced energies exhibited throughout the record’s sequencing and the impressive and enjoyable arrangements at the heart of each song, the whole of those elements shows without doubt why this record will indeed leave listeners asking “What happens next?” in the best way possible.

Joe Satriani’s 16th full-length studio recording What Happens Next is, while maybe not one of his landmark offerings, still an enjoyable record that is certain to leave listeners asking “What happens next?” in the best possible way. That statement is proven in part through 12 musical arrangements that take listeners through Satriani’s past, present and even future. The sequencing of those songs strengthens the record even more thanks to the balance of energy from one song to the next. The record’s production puts the final touch to its presentation. Each element is important in its own right, as has been pointed out. All things considered, this record is another impressive and enjoyable offering from one of the true masters. It is a work that once more will leave listeners asking “what happens next?” in all of the best ways possible. More information on What Happens Next is available online now along with all of Satriani’s latest news and more at:

Website: http://www.satriani.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/chickenfootjoe

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.

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Audiences Will Enjoy John 5’s New LP In Every “Season”

Courtesy: 60 cycle hum records

Early this past March, guitarist John 5 released his new solo recording Season of the Witch.  The famed guitarist’s now ninth overall solo instrumental recording, Season of the Witch proves from start to finish that it belongs on any critic’s list of the year’s top new rock albums.  That is due in part to the album’s songs.  This will be discussed shortly.  The arrangements at the center of each song are just as important to note as the songs themselves in examining the album’s overall presentation.  The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements.  Each element is important in its own right to the album’s overall presentation.  All things considered, Season of the Witch proves to be a record that rock fans will enjoy in every season.

John 5’s latest solo instrumental record Season of the Witch is a record that rock fans will enjoy in every season.  That is due in part to the songs that are featured in this recording.  While the guitarist, whose real name is John William Lowery, is known largely for his work with the likes of Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie and David Lee Roth, this record displays his versatility as a musician once again.  Lowery reaches liberally into the rock realm throughout the course of the record’s 13-song, 39-minute run time.  But it is not the only realm into which he reaches as is proven in the likes of ‘Behind The Nut Love,’ ‘Hell Haw’ and ‘Ode To Jasper.’  The first of the group is a country-western style song while the second is a fun, up-tempo bluegrass/rockabilly style work that even incorporates a touch of jazz at the same time.  ‘Ode to Jasper’ is a beautifully tragic work that will tug at any listener’s heart strings even while it clocks in at not even two minutes.  Getting back on the matter of the album’s rich rock reachings, listeners will be impressed at the amount of ground Lowery covers in that realm.  From the industrial leanings of the album’s title track/closer to the almost Joe Satriani/Living Colour-esque sound of ‘Now Fear This’ to the prog-rock sound of ‘Here’s To The Crazy Ones’ and beyond, this record displays great diverse talent from Lowery and his fellow musicians.  That diversity forms a solid foundation for this new offering from the famed guitarist.  The arrangements at the center of the songs build onto that foundation, strengthening it even more.

The arrangements at the center of the record’s featured songs are so important to note in examining the album’s presentation because they exhibit just as much diversity as the songs themselves.  Yes, there is a lot of high-velocity guitar playing throughout the record.  However, Lowery also proves that he can play just as expertly in more contemplative moments as he can in wilder moments.  That is proven throughout the record as he goes from full-on riffs to other elements and back time and again.  ‘Guitars, T**s, and Monsters’ is one of the songs that supports this statement.  This song mixes Jimi Hendrix-esque riffs with a touch of Eddie Van Halen fluidly for a song that clearly exhibits his (and his band mates’) ability to handle such quick shifts in style.  The whole thing winds down with a rather reserved arrangement that gently places listeners, albeit breathless, on another musical shore.  ‘Hell Haw’ is another example of  the diversity presented in the songs’s arrangements.  This song takes the classic jazz tune ‘Who Could Ask For Anything More’ and crosses it with a touch of rockabilly and bluegrass, clearly showing Lowery’s ability to handle all three genres in one whole. The same can be said of his fellow musicians.  It is, in fact, one of the moments that allows them to really put their talents on display.  Very much the same can be said of the simplistic arrangement in ‘Ode To Jasper.’  This song’s arrangement only calls for a small handful of notes to be played throughout.  Yet even with so few notes being played by any of the band members, the gentility in those notes and their gentle flowing nature creates a massive emotional impact.  Considering this it is one more arrangement that proves the arrangements in the album’s featured songs are collectively just as diverse as the songs themselves.  Keeping that in mind, that diversity—which is shown just as much through the album’s other arrangements not noted here—proves to be just as important to this record’s presentation as its songs.  It is not the last of the record’s most important elements either.  The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements.

The diversity in SOTW’s songs and their arrangements are both key pieces of the record’s whole.  Each element ensures in its own way listeners’ engagement. They are not the record’s only important elements.  Its sequencing rounds out its most important elements.  The record opens and closes with a nod to Lowery’s industrial roots.  In between, Lowery and company take listeners on quite the musical ride.  The transition from ‘Black Grass Plague’ and ‘Guitars, T***, and Monsters’ eventually makes way for the more controlled riffs of ‘Now Fear This’ before the band really pulls back in the country-western ‘Behind The Nut Love.’  From there, the energy picks back up shortly in ‘Making Monsters’ and ‘Here’s To The Crazy Ones’ before pulling back again in ‘The Macabre,’ which despite its name, sounds anything but macabre.  If anything the harmonics incorporated into the mid-tempo ballad style song makes for an interesting emotional impact.  The record’s energy rises again from there before reaching that already noted deeply emotional ballad that is ‘Ode To Jasper.’  The final powerful punch of the record’s title song makes for the ideal ending to the album.  When it is considered along with the rest of the record’s crests and troughs, the whole picture is one is even more certain to keep listeners engaged.  When this consideration is joined with the notes on the record’s songs and their arrangements, it becomes clear that much time and thought was put into crafting this album.  That time and thought resulted in a record that deserves a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new rock records.

John 5’s new instrumental solo record Season of the Witch is a work that deserves a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new rock records.  That is evidenced through the diversity in the record’s songs and their arrangements.  The record’s sequencing provides its own share of diversity, too.  That diversity across the board makes this record one that is certain to entertain not just rock loyalists but music lovers in whole.  It shows that this record deserves a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new rock records and potentially the year’s top new albums overall.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on Season of the Witch is available online now along with all of John 5’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.john-5.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/john5official

Twitter: http://twitter.com/john5guitarist

 

 

 

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Red Reign’s New EP Will Appeal To Classic Rock Fans Of All Ages

Courtesy: Chipster PR

Early last December, Red Reign released its latest studio recording, a five-song self-titled EP.  The self-released record is a work that will appeal to any fan of the songs that made up rock’s mainstream during the late 1980s and early 1990s.  This applies both in regards to the record’s musical arrangements and its lyrical content.  The record’s opener ‘Not That Way’ solidly serves to support that statement.  ‘Chains,’ the record’s third entry, is another of its songs which supports that statement.  It will be discussed later.  The same can be said of the record’s title track.  Each song is important in its own right in showing why fans of rock from that bridge between the 1980s and 90s will enjoy this record.  The other two songs not noted here are just as important in their own right, too.  All things considered, Red Reign proves to be a record that any classic rock fan will appreciate. That is the case even with Red Reign being a more modern act.

Red Reign’s new self-titled, five-song EP is a work that any “classic rock” fan will appreciate.  That is exhibited in no small part through the record’s opener ‘Not That Way.’  The song’s guitar-driven musical arrangement takes listeners back to rock’s early 90s era, conjuring thoughts of Queensryche, Joe Satriani, Van Halen and other similar acts.  Drummer Sam Bendheim’s time keeping on the song provides the song even more depth as he keeps the song moving solidly forward.  Front man and guitarist Carlton McMichael even conjures thoughts of former Queensryche front man Geoff Tate through his vocal delivery.  The song’s musical arrangement is clearly an important part of its whole, but is just one key part of that presentation.  Its lyrical content is just as important to discuss as its musical arrangement.

The lyrical content comes across as an anti-break-up song of sorts.  That is especially inferred as McMichael sings in the song’s chorus, “How things have changed/But it’s not the same/No it’s not that way/You had your chance/And you let it slip away.”  If there was any doubt left about the song’s upbeat message, the song’s second verse alleviates that doubt almost instantly as McMichael sings, “All these years have passed/And I’ve found somebody new/I never ever, ever think of you/Then you come around/Cause you thought you could/But I broke those chains so long ago/And it feels so good.”  The song’s subject goes on to sing in the verse’s back end about being heartbroken long ago and having moved on.  It is a rare message sent in songs centered on relationship break-ups.  Keeping that in mind, that positive, upbeat message does plenty to make ‘Not That Way’ stand out.  When it is coupled with the song’s equally upbeat musical arrangement, the two elements show clearly in themselves why Red Reign will appeal to “classic rock” fans.  It is just one of the songs that serves to support that statement.  ‘Chains’ serves as just as much of an example of why classic rock fans will appreciate the record.

‘Not That Way’ is a clear example of what makes Red Reign’s new self-titled EP a work that any classic rock fan will appreciate.  That is due in no small part to the song’s upbeat and uplifting lyrics and its equally positive musical arrangement.  It is of course just one of the songs that serves to show why this record will appeal to the already noted audience.  ‘Chains’ is another example of why that audience will enjoy this new offering from the Richmond, Virginia-based rock act.  Its musical arrangement sits at the base of its notoriety.  As with the record’s opener, there is an obvious influence from Queensryche in this song’s arrangement.  That is obvious right from the song’s outset through Larry Moore’s bass line and McMichael’s bombastic guitar line.  The combination of those elements and Bendheim’s work behind the drum kit conjures thoughts of something from Queensryche circa 1986 (Rage For Order’s release year).  While the song’s musical arrangement shows a direct influence from Queensryche, its lyrical content is different yet still just as thought-provoking as the lyrical themes presented in RFO.

Whereas Red Reign’s opener was an upbeat anti-breakup song, this piece is much deeper with what seems like introspective commentary centered on someone’s efforts to move forward in life and forget the past.  That is inferred as McMichael sings in the song’s lead verse, “Black and pouring rain/I’m running through these streets where no one knows my name/Free/I won’t look back/On all these things that kept me fear/For all these years/I’m gonna break these chains/I’ll break these chains/I’ll breathe again/I’ll breathe again.”  The song’s second verse continues in similar fashion as the song’s subject sings about overcoming certain difficult situations.  Considering this and the power in the song’s musical arrangement, one can’t help but imagine the song is meant to convey a message of overcoming and moving on in life.  That is of course only this critic’s own interpretation of the song and should not necessarily be taken as gospel.  It would be interesting to learn the exact message delivered in the song.  One can only hope the message interpreted here is somewhere in the proverbial ballpark.  Regardless, the power in the song’s musical arrangement and its lyrical content combines to show in whole why it, too plays such an important part in Red Reign’s enjoyment by its target audiences.  It still is not the last song that serves to show why classic rock fans will appreciate this modern rock act’s new EP.  The record’s title track is one more example of what makes this record an effort that will appeal to fans of rock’s biggest age.

‘Not That Way’ and ‘Chains’ are both key compositions showing what makes Red Reign a record that any classic rock fan will appreciate.  That is due to musical arrangements that harken back to the late 1980s and early 90s and lyrical themes that will both uplift and leave listeners thinking.  They are not its only key compositions.  The record’s title track proves to be just as important to its presentation as the previously discussed songs.  As with those songs, the discussion here begins with the song’s musical arrangement.  This time out, the song’s musical arrangement is more directly related to music from the early 90s. It hints at influences from Stone Temple Pilots, Brother Cane, and other slightly harder-edged bands from that era.  One could even argue that there is a hint of Van Halen circa 1994 (Balance) in this song’s arrangement thanks to its heavy guitar riffs, bass line and equally heavy vocal delivery from McMichael.  That overall arrangement is just one part of what makes this song stand out.  Its lyrical content will leave listeners thinking just as much as that presented in ‘Chains.’

The lyrical content presented in ‘Red Reign’ will leave listeners thinking (and talking) because of McMichael’s metaphorical language used throughout the song. He sings in the song’s lead verse, “Like a flash of lightning/I burn throughout the sky/Out of the way, I’m running high/I feel the evil coursing through my body and veins/Are you ready to rock this place/Lower the bridge I’m coming through/Red reign down on you.”  One can’t help but wonder what exactly McMichael is saying here.  The song’s second verse is just as intriguing as McMichael sings, “In this house of pain the storm looms large and black/My sanity is off the tracks/You know I’ve got no more home…I’ve come from grace and I can’t go back/Lower the bridge I’m coming through.”  McMichael definitely leaves listeners guessing at his message here.  It would definitely be interesting to learn that message and the story behind the song considering that uncertainty.  The very fact that the song’s lyrical content can generate just as much discussion as its musical content shows why this song is so important to Red Reign’s overall presentation.  When this is all set alongside the musical and lyrical content presented in the previously noted songs the picture painted through the songs is one of a record that, again, any classic rock fan will appreciate.  That is even though the band is a more modern rock act.

Red Reign’s recently released self-titled EP is a work that classic rock fans of any age will appreciate.  It shows with its arrangements–which bridge the sounds of the late 80s and early 90s—and its thoughtful lyrical themes that a lot of time and effort was put into its creation.  That time and effort, audiences will agree, paid off.  It resulted in a record that takes audiences back to a specific era without simply being a carbon copy of songs from that era.  The end result is a record that modern record that classic rock fans will appreciate as much as any original classic rock record.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on Red Reign is available online now along with all of Red Reign’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.redreignband.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/redreignband

 

 

 

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.

Chickenfoot To Release Its First Hits Compilation Next Month

Courtesy: eOne Music

Courtesy: eOne Music

Chickenfoot will release its first-ever hits collection this spring.

The rock super group announced this week it will release its new hits collection Best + Live on March 10, 2017.  The compilation includes ‘Get It Up,’ ‘Soap On A Rope,’ ‘Dubai Blues’ and eight other Chickenfoot favorites.

It also includes a “new” song, ‘Divine Termination,’ which the band performed live last May.  The song was performed during a performance at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe.  The performance was from one of two one-off shows performed at the famed casino.

The band’s hits and its new songs are just some of what audiences have to look forward to on Chickenfoot’s new compilation record.  It will also feature three live performances included in that main disc.

To sweeten the deal for fans, the collection will also include a second disc that features 11 live performances from Chickenfoot. The songs featured on the bonus live disc were originally included in the band’s 2010 Live DVD/BD Get Your Buzz On.

The full track listing for Best + Live is noted below.

Tracklist “BEST+LIVE”
CD1 – BEST OF
01. Divine Termination (BRAND NEW SONG)
02. Soap On A Rope
03. Sexy Little Thing
04. Oh Yeah
05. Get It Up
06. Future In The Past
07. Big Foot
08. Different Devil
09. Lighten Up
10. Dubai Blues
11. Something Going Wrong

Bonus LIVE TRACKS:
12. Highway Star
13. Bad Motor Scooter
14. My Generation

CD2 – LIVE
01. Avenida Revolution
02. Sexy Little Thing
03. Soap On A Rope
04. My Kinda Girl
05. Down The Drain
06. Bitten By The Wolf
07. Oh Yeah
08. Learning To Fall
09. Get It Up
10. Turnin’ Left
11. Future In The Past

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

 

 

 

Website: http://www.chickenfoot.us

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/chickenfoot

 

 

 

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.

Every Deep Purple Fan Will Welcome ‘Live At The NEC’

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

This coming Friday, August 26th, Deep Purple will release its latest live recording Live at the NEC.  Originally recorded September 14th, 2002 at The NEC in Birmingham, England, the DVD recording comes about a year after the release of the band’s 2015 dual live recordings From The Setting Sunin Wacken and To The Rising Sunin Tokyo. Being that so little time has passed between those records and this recording’s upcoming release one might wonder what makes it stand out from its predecessors.  The first element that makes it stand out is its set list.  This will be discussed shortly.  The band’s stage presence over the course of the show’s nearly two-hour run time is just as important to note as the set list. The bonus interviews that are included with the recording round out the recording’s most important elements.  Each element is important in making this live recording stand out from Deep Purple’s previous live recordings. All things considered they make this latest offering another welcome addition to any Deep Purple fan’s music library.

Deep Purple’s new live recording Live at the NEC is another welcome offering in any Deep Purple fan’s music library.  This is the case even with the recording coming only a little more than a year after the release of the band’s most recent dual live recording set—From The Setting Sun…in Wacken and To The Rising Sun…in Tokyo.  That is due in part to the recording’s set list.  The sixteen (technically fourteen not counting the show’s keyboard solo from then new keyboardist Don Airey and guitarist Steve Morse) song set pulls largely from the band’s early years. It even goes all the way back to the band’s 1968 debut album Shades of Deep Purple with the inclusion of its cover of ‘Hush’ and all the way to 1996’s Perpendicular with the inclusion of ‘Vavoom: Ted The Mechanic’ in the show’s set list.  The band even went so far as to include some slightly lesser-known pieces in the recording in the form of ‘When A Blind Man Cries’ and ‘Black Night.’  The prior was the b-side to the song ‘Never Before,’ which was itself originally included in 1984’s Perfect Strangers.  The latter was included as a b-side for ‘Speed King, from the band’s 1970 album Deep Purple in Rock.  Those songs couple with the band’s much bigger hits—‘Highway Star,’ ‘Space Truckin’,’ ‘Smoke on the Water,’ ‘Woman From Tokyo’—and the rest of the set’s featured songs to make the set in whole one that will keep audiences engaged and entertained throughout the course of the concert’s near two-hour run time.

The set list that is featured in this recording is undeniably important to the recording’s presentation. That is because while it does feature some of the band’s biggest hits, it also features some lesser known songs.  It comes across as a very focused set list.  Even with the show being the last at the time for founding member and keyboardist Jon Lord, Lord did not play a creative role in every one of the featured songs.  This leads to plenty of discussion on the reasoning behind the set list.  Even with that in mind the show’s set list is just one part of what makes the recording in whole welcome in any Deep Purple fan’s music library.  The band’s stage presence throughout the course of the concert is just as important to note as the songs that the band performs.  The songs that make up the concert’s set are largely upbeat.  They have plenty of energy.  Of course there are some slower, more reserved moments.  Through it all the band’s members keep the audience completely entertained.  The band shows that an act doesn’t necessarily have to rely on pyrotechnics and other gimmicks in order to entertain audiences.  Rather, the band shows in whole that sometimes all a band needs to keep audiences entertained in a live setting is that presence.  And presence is exactly what the band has here.  Front man Ian Gillan commands the stage with ease as guitarist Steve Morse and drummer Ian Paice drive each song.  Speaking of Morse, his interaction with his band mates during his extended guitar solo shows the chemistry between the musicians.  Keyboardists Don Airey and Jon Lord are just as entertaining to watch as they perform both solo and in tandem.  Airey shows his vast musical background with some playful pieces and even some equally impressive classical snippets in his keyboard solo.  Lord is just as entertaining to watch as he works his way through the second half of the set list.  All things considered each man does his own part to entertain audiences throughout the concert.  Home viewers will agree with this when they see the concert for themselves.  Their presence, when considered together, makes the concert’s overall experience just as enjoyable to watch as the show’s set list.  When both element are set against one another, they come together to show even more clearly why this concert is another welcome addition to any Deep Purple fan’s music library.  They are not the only elements to consider in the concert’s new home release.  The bonus interviews that are included in the concert are just as important to note here as the show’s set list and the band’s performance of said set list.

The set list that is featured in Live at the NEC and the band’s performance of said set list are both key elements in the recording’s overall presentation.  As important as they prove to be to the recording’s presentation, they are hardly its only positives.  The interviews that are included in the recording are just as important to its presentation as the set list and the band’s performance thereof.  One of the interviews—with Gillan and Glover—is included as bonus companion material that stands separate from the concert.  It is an extensive interview that touches on a number of topics including the story behind ‘Smoke on the Water.’ Roger Glover’s thoughts on rock versus metal, his thoughts on rock versus pop, and how famed veteran guitarist Joe Satriani came to work with Deep Purple for a period of time among much more.  The main concert feature includes a post concert interview with Jon Lord in which Lord talks about his feelings of performing for the last time.  Audiences will be moved both to smiles and tears as Lord talks about discovering after the show that he had broken down crying after leaving the stage and hadn’t even realized it at first.  His ruminations will keep audiences just as engaged as his performance on stage.  When it’s all said and done, audiences will agree that the two interview segments prove to be just as invaluable to this recording as the recording’s main feature and the band’s performance of the set list.  All things considered there is a lot to say to the positive for Live at the NEC; so much so that the recording proves with full clarity why it is another welcome addition to any Deep Purple fan’s music library.

Live at the NEC is hardly Deep Purple’s first live recording.  It is though, a completely welcome new live recording to any Deep Purple fan’s music library.  That is proven through the show’s focused, sixteen-song set list.  The set list, which comes in at just under two hours features a collection of songs that come largely from the band’s early days.  The band’s performance of that set is just as important to the recording’s presentation as the set list itself.  The band keeps audiences completely engaged and entertained just with its own performance.  It shows through its performance that a band doesn’t always need big showy elements and other gimmicks in order to entertain audiences.  It just needs good music and good stage presence.  The interviews that are included in the recording play just as much of a part in its presentation as the band’s performance and the concert’s set list.  That is because of the insight and entertainment that they offer in their own right.  As if all of this isn’t enough, one can’t (and shouldn’t) ignore the recording’s packaging.  Audiences will notice that the recording is packaged in what is essentially a Blu-ray box.  It is not the first time that Eagle Rock has packaged its live DVDs in such packaging.  It is good to see this packaging used yet again, too.  It shows that DVD packaging can be the exact same size as Blu-ray packaging, thus saving even more space on audiences’ DVD racks.  It is an approach that sets Eagle Rock Entertainment ahead of every other home entertainment company, and in turn shows once more why Eagle Rock Entertainment remains to this day the lading name in live recordings.  With any luck the rest of the home entertainment realm will use this packaging as a model and eventually catch up to Eagle Rock Entertainment in this avenue.  Regardless of whether or not that ever happens, this element couples with all of the previously noted elements to, again, show why Live at the NEC is another welcome addition to any Deep Purple fan’s music library and why Eagle Rock Entertainment remains today the leading name in live recordings.

Live at the NEC will be available this Friday, August 26th.  More information on Live at the NEC is available online now along with all of Deep Purple’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.deeppurple-nowwhat.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/_DeepPurple

 

 

 

More information on Live at the NEC and other title from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.eagle-rock.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/EagleRockNews

 

 

 

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2015’s Top New Albums Come From Across The Musical Universe

The countdown is near, folks. And with the end of the year nearly here, the end of Phil’s Picks’ year-enders is officially here. We have finally come down to the last of this year’s “Best Of” lists. To close out this year’s group of year-enders we come full circle and finish where we started; back in the music world. To close out 2015, Phil’s Picks offers up its list of the year’s top new albums overall. This list was anything but easy to compile. That is because the top 10 albums and five honorable mention titles really represent so many galaxies within the musical universe. There’s some blues in this list courtesy of The Rev.Shawn Amos in this list. Salvador Santana, Carlos Santana’s son is also on this list, along with Pimps of Joytime and Fort Knox Five representing the rap and hip-hop galaxies. George Strait, The King of Country himself, is also here as are Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard. Even jazz great Terence Blanchard gets a nod as do Joe Satriani and electro-rock duo NYVES. There are others included here. And they are noted in the list below. Being that each album comes from a different part of the musical universe, figuring each album’s place in this list was what really made assembling this list so tough. The ability of listeners to take in the album without skipping tracks was taken into account as was each album’s production values and combined lyrical and musical content. That goes back to the albums’ ability to keep listeners fully engaged from start to finish. So no offense was meant to any act in its placement on this list. EVERY one of the albums included in this list was far more than deserving of being included in this list. That taken into consideration the following is the final list of this year’s top overall albums from Phil’s Picks. And as always, the top 10 albums make up the main body of the list while the bottom five each receive honorable mention. Without any further ado here for your reading pleasure dear readers, is the Phil’s Picks 2015 Top 10 New Albums. Happy New Year!

PHIL’S PICKS 2015 TOP 10 NEW ALBUMS

1. BOARDWALK EMPIRE: BOARDWALK EMPIRE VOLUME 3

2. JUDITH HALL: BACK IN TIME

3. SALVADOR SANTANA: FANTASY REALITY

4. GEORGE STRAIT: COLD BEER CONVERSATION

5. WILLIE NELSON & MERLE HAGGARD: DJANGO & JIMMIE

6. SCALE THE SUMMIT: V

7. JOE SATRIANI: SHOCKWAVE SUPERNOVA

8. BLACKBERRY SMOKE: HOLDING ALL THE ROSES

9. FORT KNOX FIVE: PRESSURIZE THE CABIN

10. PIMPS OF JOYTIME: JUKESTONE PARADISE

11. NYVES: ANXIETY

12. DELTA RAE: AFTER IT ALL

13. THE REV. SHAWN AMOS: THE REV. SHAWN AMOS LOVES YOU

14. SUGARCANE JANE: DIRT ROAD’S END

15. TERENCE BLANCHARD: BREATHLESS

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2015 Saw A Number Of Great Rock Records Released

2015 has been a great year for the rock community. That is because so many standout albums have been released this year. This includes new rock albums both in the underground and the mainstream. There have been so many outstanding rock albums released so far this year that there was just not enough room for all of them on just one list (that is unless one were to make a list of the year’s top 100 new rock albums). Keeping that in mind, it couldn’t have been easy for any critic to develop a year-ender for the year’s best new rock records. It definitely wasn’t easy for this critic. This critic’s list of the year’s best new rock records presents albums from some relatively well-known bands and some that might not be so widely-known. Regardless of how well-known said acts (and albums) are, it can be said that each wholly deserves its spot on this list thanks to musical and lyrical content that is more apt to keep listeners engaged from beginning to end than any other band or album. Enough rambling. Without any further ado here is the list of those bands and their respective albums. This is the Phil’s Picks ‘ 2015 Top 10 New Rock Albums. As with every other list, the main body of the list is made up of the year’s Top 10 Best new records. The bottom five receive honorable mention for a total of fifteen albums.

 

PHIL’S PICKS 2015 TOP 10 NEW ROCK ALBUMS

  1. BACHMAN – HEAVY BLUES 
  2. MICHEAL SCHENKER’S TEMPLE OF ROCK – SPIRIT ON A MISSION 
  3. THE WINERY DOGS – HOT STREAK 
  4. FINGER ELEVEN – FIVE CROOKED LINES 
  5. JOE SATRIANI – SHOCKWAVE SUPERNOVA 
  6. BLACKBERRY SMOKE – HOLDING ALL THE ROSES 
  7. EVERCLEAR – BLACK IS THE NEW BLACK 
  8. SPOCK’S BEARD – THE OBLIVION PARTICLE 
  9. QUEENSRYCHE – CONDITION HUMAN 
  10. DEVIL CITY ANGELS – DEVIL CITY ANGELS 
  11. RUSSKAJA – PEACE, LOVE, AND RUSSIAN ROLL 
  12. BARENAKED LADIES – SILVERBALL 
  13. POP EVIL – UP 
  14. UFO – A CONSPIRACY OF STARS 
  15. TEENAGE BOTTLEROCKET – TALES FROM WISCONSIN

 

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