Tilston’s New LP Is One Of 2021’s Sleeper Hits

Courtesy: Riverboat Records

Independent veteran singer-songwriter Steve Tilston is scheduled to release his latest album Such Times Friday through Riverboat Records.  Its release will come on the 50th anniversary of the release of his debut album An Acoustic Confusion (1971).  The 15-song record is an interesting presentation whose mix of folk and blues arrangements and lyrical themes will appeal to a wide range of audiences.  The album’s title track, which comes almost halfway through the album’s 64-minute run time, is just one example of what makes the album so interesting.  It will be discussed shortly.  The album’s bluesy/rockabilly penultimate composition, ‘My Mystery Train’ is another way in which the album’s collective content comes together to make the album worth hearing.  ‘Daylight Rising,’ which opens the album, is yet another example of how the album’s collective content comes together to make for an interesting listen.  When it is considered along with the rest of the album’s entries, noted and not, the whole makes the record an intriguing work in that folk and blues fans alike will find entertaining and engaging.

Steve Tilston’s forthcoming album Such Times – his 18th album — is a presentation that many audiences will find a welcome return and equally positive introduction to Tilston’s body of work.  That is proven collectively through the album’s musical and lyrical content.  That is proven to some point in the album’s title track.   The nearly four-and-a-half minute composition is just one of the songs featured in this record that serves to support the noted statements.  The song’s musical arrangement is a simple composition.  That should be noted right off the bat.  It features just Tilston singing and picking his guitar as he sings.  At some points, his performance conjures thoughts of Eric Clapton and others of The Moody Blues front man Justin Hayward.  That pairing of sounds, together with the Renaissance type vibe that the flute brings to the mix, makes for even more engagement and entertainment.  That musical whole makes for plenty of entertainment and engagement in its own right.  Together with the song’s lyrical content, the whole there makes for even more appeal.

The lyrical content featured in ‘Such Times’ comes across as a commentary about the state of the world.  Given it is hardly the first time any artist has taken that familiar lyrical path.  It is a unique take on that familiar theme, though.  Tilston opens the song, singing, “What comes down/From hallowed halls/The day is night/Now the day is night…wrong is right/Now wrong is right/Silver tongues sing  their  siren chill…shivered words…The hungry child/Whispers…oh to live in such times as these.”  Some of the lyrics in this verse are difficult to decipher sans a lyrics sheet to reference.    That aside, enough is still understandable enough that the general message can be interpreted.    He is making a statement here about everything that is going on.  His use of metaphorical language plays into that statement well enough here to make that evident.   He continues in the song’s second verse, “Words cascade like a poison rain/Wade away through the light/Even though it’s all too plain/Turn our eye/We must deny our eyes/The self serve righteous use false charm/To oil the wheels and the grease the bar/At the temple gates/The homeless freeze/Oh to live in such times as these.”  If the noted message in this song was not clear enough already in the song’s lead verse, then this second verse makes the theme crystal clear.  He even goes so far as to note in the song’s third verse, “I can remember/A landscape much fairer” before continuing to comment on how ne’er do wells were not as prominent.  It all comes together to make for an original approach to an all too familiar lyrical topic.  When these statements are made alongside the bittersweet folk/Celtic style musical arrangement, the whole becomes a strong example of what makes the album worth hearing.  It is just one of the album’s most notable works.  ‘My Mystery Train’ does its own part to show the album’s interest.

‘My Mystery Train,’ which is essentially a cover of Junior Parker’s original, takes a musical path that is completely opposite of that of the album’s title track.  This composition lends itself more to comparisons to the country/rockabilly style songs of Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and even perhaps the greatest country bluesman of all time, Jimmie Rodgers.  Yes, the brakeman himself.  The bluesy/country twang in the song, including in Tilston’s own vocal delivery makes this song an assured hit.  That is just one part of the song that throws back to the classic country blues songs of days long gone.  The song’s lyrical content does much the same, adding to the appeal here.

Tilston sings in the song’s lead verse, “The train that rumbled/All through my younger days/Way off in the distance/All through my younger days/One day that train might come carry me away.”  If that is not vintage country blues, it is not clear what is, then.  Tilston continues in the song’s second verse, “There’s a man in the station/Got a pad/And he’s takin’ down names/Well he’s there on the platform/And he’s takin’ down names/Well he knows when my train’s gonna come/But he just ain’t sayin’/I’m waiting for that mystery train/I’m just waiting for my mystery train.”  The full on country blues bridge that follows that verse and chorus makes the strong even more enjoyment.  He closes out the song singing, “There’s a train and a river/Runnin’ side-by-side/Train and reflection/Runnin’ side-by-side/I’m gonna make that connection/Take that train and ride.”  Once more, this is classic country blues all the way.  It’s a simple song about someone just jumping a train and taking it wherever it may go.  This is a classic theme from the noted genre, and is just as entertaining to hear Tilston sing about today as when it was sung by so many who have come before him.  It is just one more example of what makes this record so worth hearing.  ‘Daylight Rising,’ the album’s opener, is one more example of the interest that Tilston’s new album generates.

‘Daylight Rising’ presents audiences with another unique musical style, changing things up even more for listeners.  This nearly four-and-a-half minute opus presents a sort of soulful country/folk style composition.  The upbeat composition is just as much unlike the other two songs already addressed here as they are from the rest of the album’s entries.  It is a bright, uplifting work that is equal parts strong opener for the album and standalone musical composition.  The joy that the song’s musical arrangement brings listeners pairs with the song’s equally uplifting lyrical theme to make the song even more notable.

The lyrical theme featured in ‘Daylight Rising’ is an uplifting statement that reminds listeners that things will get better.  Tilston points that out right from the song’s outset as he sings, “Daylight/Will come rising/With a long night/A last goodbye/Daylight/Will come  risin’/And an ill wind will lay down tonight/There will come a time to open wide the windows/get u out the bed and weave across the floor/Leave behind the shadows/Take your aching bones outside the door/Daylight will come rising/Bid the long night a last goodbye.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “There will come a time to shun all the false faces…Knowing that their way was always wrong.  There is a section in this verse that is slightly difficult to decipher without a lyrics sheet, but that is beside the point.  The fact of the matter is that enough is understandable here to know for certain that this song is in fact meant to lift up listeners.  It succeeds in that goal, too.  Everyone needs that occasional reminder that things will in fact get better, and this song does just that, and does so in impressive fashion.  When it is considered along with the other songs noted here and the rest of the album’s entries, the whole of the album proves itself a presentation that is one of this year’s sleeper hits.

Steve Tilston’s latest full-length studio recording Such Times is a surprising, unassuming record that is well worth hearing.  That is proven through its musical arrangements and its lyrical themes.  As shown here, the record features a respectable range of styles in its body.  There is a touch of folk music, some blues, and even some country music.  At times the genres stand alone and other others, they meld together.  The whole of those arrangements makes the overall musical presentation reason enough to hear this record.  The lyrical themes that accompany the record’s musical content guarantee its own appeal.  That is proven here, too.  All things considered, the album will likely fly just below the mainstream radar, but deserves its own share of attention.  It all comes together to make the album one of this year’s sure sleeper hits.  Such Times is scheduled for release Friday through Riverboat Records.  More information on the album is available along with all of Steve Tilston’s latest news at https://stevetilston.com.

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

Justin Hayward’s New EP Proves Big Things Can Come From Small Packages

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

The Moody Blues front man Justin Hayward has a new musical treat for his fans.

Hayward released his new EP One Summer Day / My Juliette March 27 through Eagle Rock Entertainment through all digital platforms.  The two-song record is brief, clearly, but still is entertaining even in its brevity.  That is proven through the musical and lyrical content featured in each of the songs featured in this recording, beginning with the gentle, flowing arrangement at the center of the record’s first song, ‘One Summer Day.’

The musical arrangement at the center of ‘One Summer Day’ is a very simple composition that features Hayward singing and playing his guitar.  The soft, acoustic performance also features what might be a second musician using a cajon drum alongside a very subtle string arrangement.  The overall opus is a composition that, especially with summer right around the corner, elicits such positive thoughts in listeners’ minds.  Together with the song’s lyrical content, the song becomes even more engaging and entertaining.

According to information presented in a news release about Hayward’s new EP, the lyrical theme of ‘One Summer Day’ tells “the story of unexpected events taking place one day in the summer.”  Those unexpected events are not exactly explained away as Hayward sings, but from what he does sing, it can be inferred that it has something to do with those unexpected events have to do with two people perhaps meeting unexpectedly.  That is inferred as Hayward sings in what is apparently the song’s lone verse and chorus, “Maybe it’s just time for us/To treat each other well/I hope it’s not just fantasy/Only time will tell/I loved you from the very start/Deep inside of me/But sometimes it’s impossible/That three-part harmony/Even though the songbird had to leave us for a while/And the summer sun is tempting you away/here you are before me/Like a presence in my dreams/You put your hand upon my face/Say ‘Darling, hold me please’/Well don’t you worry/It’s okay/I’ll be here for you/No more tears from yesterday/Tomorrow’s coming soon/So let’s be lovers one more time/The years will melt away/’Cause if not now, then when for us/There’s no day like today.” Looking back over this, those “unexpected events” would seem to be the meeting of two people who perhaps were in a relationship at one time, but who grew apart over time.  The pair apparently ran into one another one summer day, and the flame that was once there was ever so gently reignited between the pair.  The gentility in the song’s musical arrangement does well to illustrate the happy, but reserved emotions expressed through the song’s lyrical theme.  Together, each element makes the song its own work worth hearing.

While ‘One Summer Day’ is undeniably worth the listen, its companion work here, ‘My Juliette’ proves itself worth hearing, too, through its musical and lyrical content.  The song’s musical arrangement is more upbeat than that featured in ‘One Summer Day.’  It is slightly more upbeat in its tempo, but just as simple in its approach.  Hayward sings here alongside a guitar line, that sounds like perhaps it was layered to add to the composition’s depth.  It sounds like Hayward’s own vocals were layered, too, to create a nice, rich harmony.  It sounds as if a string arrangement was added ever so slightly to add to the general effect.  It could be argued that the arrangement in whole lends itself to some of the works from The Beatles’ landmark album Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band.  That is meant in the most positive fashion possible.  Together with its accompanying lyrical content, the song proves even more, its value to the EP’s presentation.

The news release distributed about Hayward’s new EP states that the lyrical inspiration for the song came from his own childhood.  The release points out that Hayward’s mother played piano for a theater group when he was young, and that he played guitar for the group.  “I was entranced and I still treasure every moment of that theater life,” he said.  “I had the song for years before I was sure I wanted to actually finish or record it because I enjoyed just playing around with it.”  In other words, this is essentially a rarity of sorts from Hayward that his most devoted fans will appreciate both for its musical and lyrical content.  Hayward sings in the song’s lead verse, “Tell me a story of lands far away/Where princes and maidens lived/Show me the forest where lovers would stray/their hearts to each other give/It’s so clear/It’s so bright/It’s so true/It’s in your voice tonight.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “Just when you thought your chances were gone/You’re out in the world and free/Remember the words that sweet…once sang/It’s such a lot of world to see/It’s so clear/It’s so bright/It’s so true/It’s in your smile tonight/Seems our changing stage is set/Please be our Juliette/We’ll make our entrance bold and strong…”  the last line of the second verse is difficult to decipher sans lyrics (even sites, such as azlyrics.com, metrolyrics.com and genius.com do not have the lyrics available), but that is beside the point.  This is just a good, fun song that, as noted, pays tribute to Hayward’s upbringing in the theater environment.  The song boasts a third and final verse, but these two verses alone are more than enough proof of why this song will engage and entertain audiences.  Keeping that in mind, the combination of this enjoyable tribute to Hayward’s own childhood, and the musical accompaniment, which itself does throw back to music from that age ever so slightly, makes the song in whole its own positive mark for Hayward’s new EP.  When this song is considered alongside the whole of ‘One Summer Day,’ the two works together make Hayward’s new EP a presentation that despite its brevity is still a work that Moody Blues fans will appreciate just as much as Hayward’s fans.

Justin Hayward’s new EP One Summer Day / My Juliette is a rather short presentation, boasting just two songs whose total run time is approximately six minutes.  Despite that shortness of content, it is still a positive work that will appeal equally to Hayward’s fans and those of The Moody Blues.  The EP is available now on all digital platforms.  More information on the EP is available online along with all of Hayward’s latest news at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.justinhayward.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/haywardmusic

 

 

 

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

Hayward’s Fans Will Enjoy His New Solo Career Compilation “All The Way”

Courtesy: Eagle Records/Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Records/Eagle Rock Entertainment

Justin Hayward has made quite the name for himself throughout the years as the front man for the legendary rock outfit the Moody Blues.  For all of his success with the veteran outfit, he has gained just as much success and respect for his solo work as for his work with The Moody Blues.  Late this past October, Eagle Rock Entertainment released a new retrospective on Hayward’s solo career in the form of the new compilation record All The Way.  The 15 songs that make up the body of the record are the most important piece of the record’s presentation.  This will be discussed shortly.  They are, collectively speaking, not the record’s only important element.  The record’s companion booklet is just as important to note as its songs.  That will be discussed later.  The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements.  Together with the record’s songs and its companion booklet, all three elements come together to make All The Way a compilation that all of Hayward’s fans will enjoy “all the way” through.

Justin Hayward’s new solo career retrospective record All The Way is a record that all of his fans will enjoy “all the way through.”  This includes fans of his work with The Moody Blues and fans of his solo recordings.  That is due in no small part to the 15 songs that make up the body of the record.  Hayward has released nine solo albums to date.  That is a lot of music.  So it goes without saying that yes, each album could have been represented through the record’s songs.  The problem however, is that mathematically speaking there is no way each album could have been equally represented here.  If each album had been represented by at least two songs, that would have pushed the record’s total tracks to 18.  Three tracks each would have pushed the album’s song count to 27.  So no, it wasn’t necessarily a good idea to have included each one of Hayward’s albums covers on this compilation’s cover art.  That aside, the songs included in the record’s body are still a collectively respectable group of songs.  Of course it does serve as even more reason for audiences to order the collection’s new digital presentation, which includes 15 additional songs, bringing the record’s total count to 30 exclusively through that digital release.  On that side note, the record’s digital re-issue can be ordered when more copies are available at https://shop.justinhayward.com/products/justin-hayward-all-the-way.  Keeping in mind all of this information, audiences will agree that for the uninitiated, All The Way’s song listing is a key component of the record’s presentation.  New fans will appreciate the physical record’s 15-song body while more devoted fans will appreciate the limited 2-disc, 30-song presentation.  Regardless of which platform one chooses, everyone will agree the record’s featured songs are collectively its most important element.  The record’s track listing is just one of its key elements, too.  The companion booklet that comes with the record is just as important to note as the record’s track listing.

The track listing featured in Justin Hayward’s new solo retrospective is in its own right, a key component of the record’s presentation.  The recording’s single-disc, 15-song presentation is a good start for those less familiar with Hayward’s solo career.  Its double-disc, 30-song presentation will appeal more to Hayward’s more devout fan base.  At the time of this review, the record’s double-disc presentation is sold out.  Hopefully more copies will become available for those more devout fans.  As important as the record’s track listing is to its overall presentation, it is only one key piece of the record’s presentation.  The companion booklet that comes with the record is just as important to note as the record’s songs.  The booklet is so important to note because of the history lesson that it provides audiences.  The lesson in question begins with Hayward’s beginnings with The Moody Blues in 1966.  From there the story, presented by Mark Howell—a close friend of Hayward’s—follows Hayward’s journey both with The Moody Blues and on his own.  Howell’s narrative touches on some of Hayward’s most well-known albums and at least one of the songs featured in this recording, ‘Blue Guitar.’  The story presented here also discusses how Hayward had to balance working alone and with his band mates in The Moody Blues, and how he managed to do so successfully to this very day.  It would have been nice to have had a discussion on the songs featured in the record.  But the history lesson presented here is still interesting in its own right, again, for fans less familiar with Hayward’s body of work.  Just as with the songs themselves, the history lesson presented here makes for its own good starting point for audiences new to Hayward’s work.  Even with this in mind, the record’s companion booklet is just one more important piece of the record’s presentation and not the last worth noting.  The record’s overall sequencing is just as important to note as its songs and its companion booklet.

The songs featured in Justin Hayward’s new solo compilation and its companion booklet are both key in their own right to the record’s overall presentation.  That is because of the role that they play collectively for audiences less familiar with Hayward’s solo career.  The songs featured in the record’s double-disc, 30-song compilation is more fitting for Hayward’s more devout fan base.  Getting back on topic, the sequencing for the 15-song collection’s body is just as important as the songs themselves and the record’s companion booklet.  The record’s sequencing doesn’t run chronologically in regards to the album’s represented. It opens with ‘Blue Guitar,’ which was included in re-issues of Hayward’s 1975 debut album Blue Jays.  From there though, the record reaches all the way to his fifth album, 1989’s Classic Blue for its second offering, ‘Forever Autumn.’  ‘Broken Dream’ and ‘Troubador’—the record’s third and fourth songs respectively—both come from Hayward’s seventh album, 1996’s The View From The Hill.  Needless to say, there is no specific order to the songs in relations to their albums here.  That means the attention should shift to the energy transfer from one song to the next.  It is visible through the songs’ respective energies (and emotions) that they were more the focus of the album’s sequencing than the song’s respective albums.  The easygoing, laid back feel of ‘Blue Guitar’ is a clear distinction from the more semi-psychedelic vibe of Forever Autumn’ and the more contemplative sound of ‘Broken Dream.’  In the same vein, the moving melodies presented in the record’s closer, ‘The Wind of Heaven’ stands out just as much from the gentle strains of ‘The Western Sky,’ which in themselves paint quite the beautiful picture.  That sound stands out just as starkly against the Beatles-esque arrangement presented in ‘The Story in Your Eyes.’  Needless to say, the contrast in each of the noted songs from one another clearly shows how much thought and time was put into arranging the record’s songs.  The remainder of the songs and their arrangements serve just as clearly to support that statement.  From one song to the next, the record’s energies never stay the same too long.  That in itself will keep listeners just as engaged in the record as the songs themselves and the history lesson provided through the record’s companion booklet.  When all three elements are joined, they present All The Way as a record that both in its single disc and double disc presentation, audiences will appreciate “all the way.”

Justin Hayward’s new solo career retrospective is a work that his fans will appreciate “all the way.”  That is due in no small part to its track listing.  The record’s single-disc presentation features 15 of Hayward’s most important songs from his solo career.  The double-disc collection doubles that number to 30.  It also touches on more of his albums than the 15-song collection.  In other words, the track listing presented in each of the record’s platforms will entertain and educate Hayward’s fans, both those familiar with his work and those less familiar.  The record’s companion booklet is just as important to note as its songs because it presents a solid introduction for Hayward’s less familiar fans.  Even those more familiar with his body of work might benefit from the lesson as they might not be so familiar with the background provided here.  Again, it proves that the record could be beneficial to a wide range of listeners.  The album’s sequencing is just as important to note here as the songs themselves and the record’s companion booklet.  That is because the energy exhibited from one song to the next will keep listeners engaged, too.  It never stays the same too long.  Keeping that in mind, the record’s sequencing proves to be just as important to its presentation as its featured songs and its companion booklet.  Each element is important in its own right to the record’s presentation, as should be clear by now.  All things considered, this record is a work that all of Hayward’s fans will appreciate “all the way.”  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on All The Way is available online now along with all of Justin Hayward’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.justinhayward.com

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

 

 

 

More information on this and other titles 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

 

 

 

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.

Justin Hayward Announces Schedule For Upcoming U.S. Summer Tour

Justin Hayward will perform at a handful of U.S. dates this summer.

Hayward, who is known best for his work with legendary band The Moody Blues, will embark on an eight-date solo tour of the Northeast beginning August 20th in Salisbury, Massachusetts. It will come on the heels of a UK run in July. Hayward said of the upcoming tour, “We are so looking forward to this tour,” noting that fans’ reaction to the live shows put on by Hayward and his band mates—Julie Ragins (keyboards, backing vocals) and Mike Dawes (acoustic guitar)—played a role in the decision to bring the music to the fans again. “Julie Ragins [keyboardist/background vocalist], Mike Dawes [acoustic guitar], and I have been overwhelmed by the reception of our live shows during this last year in the USA,” he said. To hear every nuance of my acoustic guitars (they are on the road for the first time) and our voices in these venues is a joy. And the USA, like me, is discovering what a fabulous guitar player Mike Dawes is, and I look forward to hearing him play every night too.”

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Hayward’s most recent live recording, Spirits…Live – Live at the Buckhead Theatre, Atlanta was released via Eagle Rock Entertainment on August 19th, 2014. It would go on to reach the top spot on Billboard’s Video Chart and premiered on PBS this March. It has been airing on PBS during its stations’ fundraising periods. Hayward was deeply appreciative of PBS’ support in discussing the network’s carriage of his recording. “It is a privilege and honor that PBS is broadcasting my live show as part of their pledge drives,” he said. He also discussed his own support of and respect for PBS, stating, “PBS has always meant a lot to me – not only for the quality of its programming but for its news, independence, and integrity…a true great comfort to me while I’m on the road.”

Justin Hayward has recorded and performed with The Moody Blues for more than four decades. He has penned some of the band’s most beloved hits including: ‘Nights in White Satin,’ ‘Tuesday Afternoon,’ ‘Question,’ ‘The Voice,’ and ‘Your Wildest Dream’ among many others. During his time with The Moody Blues, the band gone on to sell more than 60 million albums.

Audiences can check out a clip of Hayward performing ‘Nights in White Satin’ online now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffyHZ556ncE. The performance is taken from Spirits…Live – Live at the Buckhead Theatre. Hayward’s current U.S. tour schedule is listed below.

Justin Hayward will perform at the following venues:

August 20 – Salisbury, MA – Blue Ocean Music Hall

August 21 – Boston, MA – Wilbur Theatre

August 22 – Hartford, CT – Infinity Hall Hartford

August 25 – Harrisburg, PA – Whitaker Center-Sunoco

August 26 – Bethlehem, PA – ArtsQuest Center

August 27 – Alexandria, VA – Birchmere Music Hall

August 29 – Annapolis, MD – Rams Head On Stage

August 30 – Morristown, NJ – Mayo Performing Arts Center

All of the latest news from Justin Hayward is available online now at:

Website: http://www.justinhayward.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/haywardmusic

More information on Spirits…Live – Live at the Buckhead Theatre, Atlanta and other titles 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

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.

Hayward “Spirits” Listeners Away On New LP

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Justin Hayward’s new solo release, Spirits of the Western Sky is a good record for any true classic rock fan.  The Moody Blues vocalist/guitarist’s new album takes listeners on a musical time travelling trip right from its opener, ‘In Your Blue Eyes.’  It’s an easy-going opus that both musically and lyrically makes for a solid opener.  Hayward obviously sings of his love and devotion to a woman in this song.  “Then I see your face appearing/And your blue eyes/I touch your skin/So soft, so tender/Touch your mouth as you let go/And then I watch/As you surrender…the stars exploding in the sky,” he sings.  He’s singing of a very intimate and tender moment.  And the music does quite the job of mirroring that positive feeling expressed through the song’s lyrics.  It’s just the start for Hayward, too.

The songs on this album follow much the same lyrical pattern as its opener, going back and forth between themes of love gained, lost, and hoped for throughout its track listing.  Though there is at least a pair of songs that strays from those themes.  Keeping this in mind, one would do well to examine the album from more of a musical angle.  The music does a good job expressing the different emotions of each song included here.  It does more than that though.  It really has its own identity from one song to the next over the course of the album’s track list.  Some songs include subtle string accompaniments.  Another includes a touch of electronics.  And then there is the album’s closer, a remix of ‘Out There Somewhere.’  Considering where the album started and where it has turned by this point that evolution of sorts in the album’s musical style makes for even more discussion about the album.  Whether or not one likes the drastically opposite sound, the very fact that it generates discussion makes the song and the album that much more worth the listen and that much more interesting. 

Spirits of the Western Sky is available now in stores and online.  Those who want to see Hayward perform live, he has a pair of dates confirmed for this Summer.  He will be performing Saturday, August 3rd in Baltimore, Maryland and Wednesday, August 14th in Alexandria, Virginia.  To keep up with the latest tour information and all the latest news from Justin Hayward, go to his official Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/justinhaywardmusic or his official website, http://www.justinhayward.com

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.