The Rolling Stones Offer Audiences Another Fully Enjoyable Live Recording In ‘GRRR LIVE!’

Courtesy: Mercury Studios/Universal Music Group

Few bands or even musical acts across the musical universe can say they have been around (and even relevant) for 50 years, but in 2012, The Rolling Stones managed to say just that.  In celebration of the anniversary, the band launched its “50 & Counting Tour” Oct. 25 in Paris, France.  The tour, which ran just short of a year, took the band from Paris to London and all the way across the United States before bringing the band back home to London in July 2013.  The tour grossed in excess of $87 million for the band, proving it a resounding success.  Now thanks to Mercury Studios and Universal Music Group, the band’s fans worldwide can enjoy one of the concerts – its Dec. 15, 2012 show at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ – in the comfort of their homes and cars thanks to the band’s latest live recording, GRRR Live!  Released Feb. 10, the recording is another welcome addition to the home library of any of The Rolling Stones’ fans and rock fans in general.  That is due in no small part to the concert’s extensive set list, which will be discussed shortly.  The band’s performance thereof adds its own share of engagement and entertainment to the recording and will be addressed a little later.  The companion booklet that accompanies the recording rounds out its most important elements and will also be discussed later.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the recording’s presentation.  All things considered they make the recording easily among the best of this year’s new live recordings.

GRRR Live!, the latest live recording from The Rolling Stones, is a presentation that every one of The Rolling Stones’ fans will welcome in their home libraries.  Along with so many of the live shows that the band has released over the course of the past five years or so, it is more proof of why The Rolling Stones is among the rock world’s top acts, not only in the studio but on the stage, too.  The recording’s appeal is due in no small part to its featured set list.  The set list runs 23 songs deep and features a number of well-known hits from The Rolling Stones, such as ‘Paint It Black,’ ‘Honky Tonk Women,’ and ‘Brown Sugar’ while also including some lesser-performed gems, such as ‘Get Off My Cloud,’ ‘Happy’ and ‘Respectable’ to add even more interest.  There are even some other interesting non-Rolling Stones tracks, such as Freddie King’s ‘I’m Going Down’ and Bo Didley’s equally timeless 1956 hit, ‘Who Do You Love?’  Simply put, the set list offers audiences plenty of familiarity along with a peppering of something less performed and some other extras to really keep listeners engaged and entertained.

As if the primary set list is not enough for audiences, the collection features three songs – ‘Respectable,’ ‘Around and Around’ (a Chuck Berry hit) and ‘Gimme Shelter’ — as bonus performances on the recording’s Blu-ray.  The songs, which bring the set list’s song count to 26 songs, were recorded during the first of the band’s two shows at the Prudential Center on Dec. 13, 2012.  So not only do audiences get a taste of that concert, but the entirety of the band’s Dec. 15, 2012 show.  What audiences get, in other words, is really the best of both worlds all the way around in the overall set list.

As much as the set list does to make this recording so enjoyable, the band’s performance thereof is of its own appeal.  From Mick Jagger’s familiar swagger throughout the show and his ability to work the crowd, to the band’s very performance of the songs themselves, audiences get so much out of the performances in general.  One of the most notable of the performances is that of the band’s timeless classic ‘Paint It Black.’  Unlike so many other takes of the song, this one has a unique, almost stripped down approach.  The use of the keyboards and sitar here feels more prominent than ever.  Charlie Watts’ performance on the drums is even different here than in so many takes of the song that the band has ever produced.  It is a surprise, but a welcome surprise. 

Speaking of surprise, the surprise appearance of Lady Gaga with the band on its performance of ‘Gimme Shelter’ makes for its own engagement and entertainment, too.  Her vocals, together with those of Jagger make for such an interesting pairing.  That is because of the power in her vocal performance.  There is so much soul and fire in her delivery.  The juxtaposition of her fire to Jagger’s subtle swagger in his vocals makes for such an interesting blend that even the least of Gaga’s fans will actually appreciate her work in this case.

The band’s performance of ‘Who Do You Love’ with The Black Keys (yes, The Black Keys) is yet another example of the importance of the performances featured here.  The decidedly rockabilly approach that the two bands give the song is so unique in its own right, especially in comparison to Bo Didley’s original song.  The coordination between Watts and The Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney is spot on throughout the performance, with the two keeping perfect time throughout and really helps keep the song moving.  Jagger’s familiar dancing alongside Black Keys front man Dan Auerbach’s easygoing vibe makes for its own special contrast that is so enjoyable, too.  Between this performance, the others examined here and the rest of the performances that make up the whole of this presentation, there is no doubt whatsoever about the important role of the set’s performance to the overall presentation.  It ensures audiences’ engagement and entertainment just as much as the show’s set list. 

As much as the band’s performance does to make this recording so enjoyable, it is still just one more part of what makes this concert so fun.  The liner notes in the recording’s companion booklet add even more to the enjoyment.  Penned by author Paul Sexton, the liner notes featured in the companion booklet start out by outlining the story of the break the band took in 2007 following the end of its “A Bigger Bang” tour.  From there Sexton tells the story of the band’s preparation for its next tour that would become “The 50 & Counting Tour.”  From a recording session in Paris, France in 2012 that led to the creation of two new songs – ‘Doom & Gloom’ and ‘One More Shot’ – to rehearsals for the tour to the tour’s launch, to the outline of the performance featured here, Sexton paints a rich picture of what was to come and what came of the tour and performance.  That picture is painted additionally through the words of the band members themselves, which personalizes the story all the more for audiences.  When the overall story laid out in the liner notes is considered alongside the set list featured here and with the band’s performance thereof, the whole makes GRRR LIVE! Yet another fully enjoyable performance from The Rolling Stones proving yet again why this band is among the greatest bands in the world if not the greatest.

GRRR LIVE!, the latest live recording from The Rolling Stones, is another enjoyable offering from the band.  The concert, which was part of the celebration of the band’s 50th anniversary, proves appealing in part because of its set list.  The set list offers audiences plenty of familiar hits from the band’s catalog while also including some lesser performed pieces.  The set list also throws in some covers that are just as entertaining in their own right.  Speaking of entertaining, the band’s performance of the set list is definitely entertaining from beginning to end.  The band’s performance is everything audiences have come to expect from the group throughout its historic career.  The liner notes included in the recording’s companion booklet add their own engagement and enjoyment to the mix as they lay out the story of the concert featured here.  Each item examined is important in its own way to the whole of the presentation.  All things considered they make GRR LIVE! Another fully enjoyable live offering from one of the greatest rock bands in the world if not the greatest in the land.

GRR LIVE! Is available now through Mercury Studios and Universal Music Group.  More information on the recording is available along with the band’s latest news at:




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Twinkle’s Latest Album Succeeds Through Its Content And General Presentation

Courtesy: Twinkle Time Records

Approximately four years after the release of her then latest album, Just Dance, veteran thespian, dancer, singer, and family music entertainer Twinkle will release her fourth album, It’s OK to Be Me Friday.  Audiences of varying ages and backgrounds will find Twinkle’s forthcoming album interesting in large part because of its general presentation.  This will be discussed shortly.  In examining the album a little deeper, those audiences will find the record’s musical arrangements just as appealing as the album’s general presentation.  They will be examined a little later.  The lyrical themes that accompany the album’s musical arrangements round out the album’s most important elements and will also be discussed later.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the album.  All things considered, they make the album a unique addition to this year’s field of new family music albums.

Twinkle’s forthcoming album It’s OK to Be Me is a presentation that will appeal widely to audiences of varying ages and backgrounds.  That is due in no small part to its general presentation.  The presentation is important to address because Twinkle presents the album not once but twice over.  The first time, it is presented in English and the second in her native language, Spanish.  This is so important to note because it shows a clear effort on the part of Twinkle to yes, reach audiences who speak each language, but also a recognition that even here in the United States, there are so many people who speak some Spanish dialect.  So it shows a conscious effort by Twinkle to show respect toward that diversity.  Twinkle and all involved in the album’s presentation are to be commended for that directed effort to promote and respect cultural diversity in this aspect.  Speaking of that diversity, it plays into the album’s lyrical themes, which will be discussed later.  Before moving on to the album’s lyrical content though, the attention must first be turned to the album’s musical arrangements.

The musical arrangements featured in It’s OK to Be Me are important because they in themselves are diverse.  The diversity comes in their sounds and stylistic approaches.  Staying on that note, Twinkle has been and is being marketed as the children’s answer to Lady Gaga.  However, in listening to the diversity in the album’s musical arrangements such comparison is not fully telling.  Yes, there is some pop style music featured in these arrangements here.  However, there are also many more pop rock style compositions here than pure pop style works.  To that end, audiences can just as easily make comparison to works from the likes of Pink as to Lady Gaga.  That comparison is made obvious right from the outset of the 23-minute record (each 14-song run of the album is 23 minutes, so that is the run time being used here) in the form of the album’s title track.  The use of the rock style instrumentation, the electronics, and Twinkle’s vocal delivery makes that clear.  It is even clearer in the slightly later entry, ‘Keep It Movin’.  In reality, the closest that Twinkle comes to a Lady Gaga comparison in this record comes even later in ‘Love.’  Even that song is a stretch in terms of such comparison.  ‘Mask It Up’ takes audiences back to the golden age of funk and R&B in its arrangement, meanwhile, while ‘Together’ presents its own unique presentation.  There is a certain 80s pop sensibility to this song’s arrangement.  So again, there is plenty of variety and diversity in the album’s musical arrangements.  That variety and diversity is certain to engage and entertain audiences in itself, but to call Twinkle the Lady Gaga of family music is really incorrect.  That is, again in listening to this record, which even includes some rapping to enhance some of the songs.  Keeping all of this in mind, the album’s musical arrangement prove to do more than enough to make the record successful, too.  Keeping them in mind with the impact of the record’s dual presentation, the album proves even more of a success.  They are, collectively, still just a part of what makes the album work so well.  The lyrical themes that accompany the record’s musical arrangements are important to the presentation, too.

The lyrical themes that are featured alongside the album’s musical arrangements are important to examine because they are diverse in their own right.  For the most part, the record’s overarching theme is that of self-confidence.  Right from the album’s outset, she reminds listeners that they should take pride and confidence in themselves, no matter what others might think.  She makes that especially clear in the interlude, “Be The Flamingo,” in which she openly tells her audiences, “Always march to the beat of your own drum…celebrate your individuality, your uniqueness, and most importantly, accept all humankind for their differences.”  If only humans would heed this familiar commentary.  Speaking of the interlude, Twinkle follows each song with a spoken word style presentation that openly speaks on the lyrical content of its preceding companion work.  Getting back on the topic at hand, Twinkle reminds her listeners to always do what we do in life with love in ‘Love’ and its companion interlude, ‘One Word,’  This shows again, that noted variety and diversity in the album’s lyrical themes.  On yet another note, Twinkle encourages young listeners to wear their face coverings in ‘Mask Up’ and ‘For Humanity.’  So not only is Twinkle encouraging listeners to be proud of themselves in her new album, but she is also working to promote the greater good of the world in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  That is respectable in itself.  It also shows once more, that noted variety and diversity in the album’s lyrical content.  When all of this and the rest of the album’s lyrical content is considered together, no doubt is left as to the noted variety and diversity in said content.  It does just as much to make the album successful as the album’s musical content and its general presentation.  All things considered, they make the album a positive new offering from Twinkle.

Twinkle’s forthcoming album, It’s OK to Be Me is a presentation that is more than OK.  It is a presentation that audiences of all ages and backgrounds will find appealing.  That is proven in part through its general presentation.  The general presentation is important to address because it shows a conscious effort on the part of Twinkle and all involved in the album’s creation, to reach out to as many audiences as possible.  That effort in itself shows a respect for the diverse range of people who listen to her music.  That in itself is well-deserving of applause.  Speaking of diversity, the musical arrangements featured throughout the album are themselves diverse in sound and style.  They are mostly more comparable to works from Pink than Lady Gaga, though.  The lyrical content that accompanies the album’s musical arrangements is also diverse, touching on the diversity which the album (and Twinkle) respects, the nation’s current health situation, and more.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of this record.  All things considered, they make the album one of the best of this year’s new family music offerings.

It’s OK to Be Me is scheduled for release Friday through Twinkle’s own Twinkle Time Records.  More information on the album is available along with all of Twinkle’s latest news at:




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Le Coq Records Launches, Announces First Releases

Courtesy: Le Coq Records

Fledgling record label Le Coq Records announced its initial slate of new releases for 2021.

Starting the label was a personal decision by its founder Piero Pata and his partner, according to information about the label’s launch. The information states Pata wanted an outlet for her to return to jazz singing after spending much of her career as a Flamenco dancer.

Pata said in his own statement that the decision to launch the label also led to the decision to help other musical artists.

“As we embarked on this process, we met so many wonderful players,” said Pata. “We soon realized that Le Coq could be an ideal avenue to get their music out to the world.”

Keyboardist Bill Cunliffe, one of many artists already signed to Le Coq Records, spoke warmly of Pata when asked about joining the upstart label.

“Piero is great to work with because he’s all about the music,” said Cunliffe. “He shares that quality with all the great jazz producers. He’s also an artist himself, so he knows good from bad and he gives me the freedom to do what I need to do things right. No one can ask for a better producer than that.”

Le Coq Records Engineer Josh Connolly (Lady Gaga, Kendrick Lamar), echoed Cunliffe’s comments.

“Piero has a vision for quality,” said Connolly. “That’s true in everything that he does. He gives the artists complete creative freedom when it comes to the music, but he brings great ideas to the table. He likes to create situations that take people a little out of their comfort zones, but that can lead to something new. He provides an environment that is very nurturing and fruitful, which honestly doesn’t happen too often.”

Along with Cunliffe, Le Coq Records already boasts a roster that includes but is not limited to acts, such as keyboardist John Beasley, bassist John Pattituci, and famed drummer Marvin “Smitty” Smith and his fellow drummer Vinnie Colaiuta. Also on the label’s roster are vocalist Andy James, percussionist Alex Acuna, saxophonist Ralph Moore, and trumpeter Terell Stafford.

Many of the noted artists will feature on Le Coq Records’ forthcoming compilation record Le Coq Records presents The Jazz All Stars Vol. 1. The compilation is scheduled for release Jan. 8. James’ own record Tu Amor will follow on Jan. 22.

Saxophonist Rick Rick Margitza’s new record Sacred Hearts is set for release Feb. 5. A new, as yet untitled collaboration between Cunliffe, Pattituci, and Colaiuta is scheduled for release Feb. 19.

More information on Le Coq Records is available along with all of the label’s latest news at:



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Twinkle Debuts ‘Together’ Video

Courtesy: Waldmania PR

Family entertainer Twinkle wants people around the world to come “together.”

The kindie-pop star, who has been called the Lady Gaga of family music, debuted the video for her latest single ‘Together‘ May 22 through her official YouTube channel.  The song, which also features guest performances by MC Magic and saxophonist Izzi Def, boasts a guitar-driven pop sound that will appeal just as much to adults as it will to children.

The song’s lyrical theme will also connect widely to audiences as Twinkle urges everyone to come together rather than divide.  MC Magic adds his own touch to the song as he addresses the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, even going so far as to say, “I think we all gotta reach deep inside/And send a message to the king in the sky/Let him know next time we gon’ be better/Let him know that we gon’ stand  together/Hold each other up/Make the world a better place/Unite like a family/All one race.”  This is a message that will resonate with listeners of all ages.

Along with recording the song in English, Twinkle, who is Peruvian-American, also recorded her latest single in Spanish for her Spanish-speaking friends, family and audiences.  The song’s Spanish take is available to take in here.

More information on Twinkle’s new song and video is available along with all of her latest news at:






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Breaking Benjamin Guitarist Debuts ‘Shallow’ Cover

Courtesy: FM Management

Breaking Benjamin rhythm guitarist Keith Wallen has released a cover of the Lady Gaga/Bradley Cooper song ‘Shallow.’

The original song was included in the duo’s recent update of the classic movie A Star Is Born.  Wallen premiered the video of his performance of the song on Feb. 4.  His cover of the song is available now via Spotify and iTunes.

Wallen talked about how he came to cover the song during a recent interview.

“While on tour (as guitarist for Breaking Benjamin) I had the opportunity to see A Star is Born,” Wallen said.  “I was so inspired by the movie and the performance Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper gave in this film.  I love the song they sang together called ‘Shallow’ and thought it’d be fun to cover it!  Hope you guys like it.”

More information on Wallen’s take on ‘Shallow’ is available online now along with all of his latest news at:






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Don Jamieson Is As Irreverent And Funny As Ever On His New Comedy Album

Courtesy:  Metal Blade Records

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Don Jamieson, co-host of VH1’s hit show That Metal Show will release his new full length comedy album Tuesday, March 18thHell Bent For Laughter, Jamieson’s second full length comedy album, was recorded in December 2013 at Uncle Vinnie’s Comedy Club in Pleasant Beach, New Jersey.  Despite recording his show close to the new home that he tells his audience that he and his wife had bought, neither The Garden State nor its embattled governor are off limits to Jamieson in his show.  It’s just part of what will have audiences laughing uproariously.  Jamieson also goes after politicians, certain pop acts, and even some of his favorite rock bands of all time in his act just to note a little of what audiences can expect in this performance.  Regardless of whether it be for any of the noted material or that not noted, there is enough in this recording to have anyone laughing, even when they know they should be ashamed to be doing so.  It is a laugh riot and a must hear for anyone that needs a good laugh.

Don Jamieson covers so much ground in the show recorded for Hell Bent For Laughter.  He obviously has plenty of music related jokes and jokes related to That Metal Show.  But that’s not all he hits in his show.  Jamieson also justifiably gets plenty of laughs when he tells his audience about having bought a house in New Jersey with his wife.  Those laughs are thanks to jokes about his bad luck in the timing of having bought the house and about the cost of mortgage payments.  He laughs as he tells his audience that anyone that’s renting should keep doing so.  From there, he goes on to make jokes about embattled New Jersey governor Chris Christie, Christie’s potential run for the presidency, and of course his weight and weight loss.  It’s just one of a handful of moments throughout the show when Jamieson really shines in this show.  Audiences will agree when they hear his jokes for themselves.

Gov. Christie isn’t the only politician that Jamieson goes after in his latest comedy release.  He also goes after Vice President Joe Biden and how little people actually see him versus how much people see President Obama.  He makes a sharp joke about how much Biden spent on room service in one night at a hotel room at one point.  He really shows with both this joke and those aimed at Christie his ability to branch out and cover more than just music.  It shows his abilities as apolitical satirist as well as media personality, which bodes well if he ever decides to step away from his day job.  On an even deeper level, the fact that he would go after both a Republican and Democrat means that no one can even begin to accuse Jamieson of supporting one side or the other.  He gives equal time to both sides.  Anyone with any knowledge of how the media works will appreciate that reference.

The laughs that Jamieson gets with his political pot shots don’t stop there.  He also goes after some of the biggest names in pop culture as part of his act.  Those names include the likes of Lady Gaga, Whitney Houston, and even One Direction.  He basically accuses Lady Gaga of being a cross-dressing male.  And in terms of Whitney Houston, he shows just how irreverent he can be.  Some might even call his joke at Houston’s expense walking a very fine line.  It’s not the only time at which he walks that line, either.  Audiences will find he walks that line quite a bit throughout this set.  Getting back on topic, in going after One Direction, that joke is so off color that this critic would get in a lot of trouble for even beginning to repeat it.  It is something that audiences will have to hear for themselves to appreciate.   They’re not the only acts to taste Jamieson’s comedic venom so to speak, either.  He spreads the love, even making jabs at some of the biggest names in the rock industry.  Metallica, Motley Crue, Judas Priest, KISS, and Guns N’ Roses all get their moment in Jamieson’s set.  From calling Motley Crue Motley Karaoke thanks to how Vince Neil handles live shows to a crack about Metallica working with Lou Reed to jokes about songs from KISS and Judas Priest, Jamieson leaves no stone unturned.  He shows that he can get audiences laughing even in making jokes related to his regular day job even on these topics.  It shows that whether it be music, pop culture, politics, or even more blue material, Don Jamieson can entertain any audience.  And audiences will agree on this when they pick up Hell Bent For Laughter Tuesday, March 18th.  It is definitely a recording that will have anyone laughing nonstop.

Jamieson will hit the road beginning next Friday March, 14th for a stand-up tour to support Hell Bent For Laughter.  Audiences will get to hear some of his material when he kicks off his tour at the New Hope Cinema Grill in New Hope, Minnesota.  He will be joined by his co-hosts of That Metal Show on a handful of his upcoming live dates.  Fans can get a full rundown of Jamieson’s upcoming live appearances online now at,,, and  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at