Veteran Acts Dominate 2015’s Top New Live DVD/BD Recordings List

This week marks the last full week of 2015. It’s a little tough to grasp that there are only eleven days left in the year. But it’s almost time to bid a fond farewell to this year. And even as the year’s final days tick away, there is still plenty of work left to do in turns of examining the top titles from the entertainment world. Phil’s Picks has already done quite a bit of that, delving into the top titles of the music world’s top titles. There’s still some ground to cover in that realm while beginning to transfer over into the year’s top new DVDs and Blu-rays in each of their different own areas. Keeping that in mind, what better way to start making that transfer than to look today at the year’s best new live DVDs and Blu-rays. The year’s best new live CDs have already been tackled. And as previously explained, in many cases, some DVDs and Blu-rays are actually released separate from their audio-only counterparts even today, and vice versa. That justifies a separate category for the year’s top new live DVDs and Blu-rays. That being the case, here, for your reading pleasure dear readers, is the Phil’s Picks 2015 Top 10 New Live DVDs and Blu-rays. As always, the Top 10 titles make up the main body of the list while the bottom five are no less important. They each receive honorable mention for a total of fifteen titles. Enough rambling. Here, again, is the Phil’s Picks 2015 Top 10 New Live DVDs and Blu-rays.

 

PHIL’S PICKS 2015 TOP 10 NEW LIVE DVDS AND BLU-RAYS

  1. SLASH FT. MYLES KENNEDY AND THE CONSPIRATORS – LIVE AT THE ROXY 09.25.14

 

  1. TESSERACT – SCALA

 

  1. AEROSMITH – AEROSMITH ROCKS DONINGTON

 

  1. GEORGE STRAIT – THE COWBOY RIDES AWAY

 

  1. THE WHO – LIVE AT HYDE PARK

 

  1. SHANIA TWAIN – STILL THE ONE: LIVE IN VEGAS

 

  1. ERIC CLAPTON – SLOWHAND AT 70: LIVE AT THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL

 

  1. THE ROLLING STONES – LIVE IN LEEDS 1982

 

  1. THE ROLLING STONES – LIVE AT THE TOKYO DOME 1990

 

  1. LYNYRD SKYNYRD – PRONOUNCED L LEH-NERD SKIN-NERD & SECOND HELPING

 

  1. PAT METHENY – UNITY SESSIONS

 

  1. WHITECHAPEL – BROTHERHOOD OF THE BLADE

 

  1. TASTE – WHAT’S GOING ON: LIVE AT THE ISLE OF WIGHT

 

  1. RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE – LIVE AT FINSBURY PARK

 

  1. DARYL HALL & JOHN OATES – LIVE IN DUBLIN

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.

Music’s Past, Present, And Future Come Together In 2015’s Best New Live CDs List

Going to see live shows is anything but cheap. Anyone that has ever been to one will attest to that. Regardless of whether the show is close by or a long drive, it seems going to see shows nowadays is anything but cheap. Not to mention it’s not always easy because of time constraints. Weekday and weeknight shows are anything but easy just because of scheduling regardless of whether or not one has a family. So that leaves the question what is one to do in place of going to see a show? The answer: Pick up one’s favorite live recording on CD or DVD/Blu-ray. Both formats offer their own pros and cons. And in many cases, what is available on CD might not necessarily be available on DVD/Blu-ray or vice versa. That leads to the need for a list both for the year’s best new live CDs and new live DVDs/BDs. For the sake of this list the attention will go to the year’s best new live CDs. This year’s list includes a number of live CDs that were not accompanied by live DVDs and Blu-rays. Legendary guitarist Jeff Beck’s new live CD Live + is one of those that only received the CD treatment. It topped this year’s list. Saxon’s The Saxon Chronicles is another live CD that didn’t get the companion DVD/BD treatment. It’s on the list, too as is Birth of Joy’s Live at UBU, Jimi Hendrix’s Atlanta Pop Festival performance, and Zodiac’s The Road Tapes Volume 1. In other cases such as The Rolling Stones’ “From The Vault” recordings, audiences were lucky enough to get the recordings in complete packages. The same applies with Whitechapel’s Brotherhood of the Blade. These are just some of the titles that made the cut for this year’s list of the year’s best new live CD recordings. This was by no means an easy list to assemble. So no offense is meant against any recording that was left off the list. Set lists had to be taken into account as well as production values and also the acts’ stage presence. Taking all of that into account the following is the final list. Without any further ado I offer to you, dear readers, 2015’s Top New Live CDs.

2015 TOP NEW LIVE CDS

1. JEFF BECK — LIVE +

2. CARLOS SANTANA/JOHN MCLAUGHLIN — LIVE AT MONTREUX 2011

3. LYNYRD SKYNYRD — SWEET HOME ALABAMA

4. DARYLL HALL AND JOHN OATES — LIVE IN DUBLIN

5. TESSERACT — ODYSSEY

6. JIMI HENDRIX — ATLANTA POP FESTIVAL

7. ZODIAC — THE ROAD TAPES VOLUME 1

8. WHITECHAPEL — BROTHERHOOD OF THE BLADE

9. THE ROLLING STONES — FROM THE VAULT: LIVE AT THE TOKYO DOME

10. THE ROLLING STONES — FROM THE VAULT: LIVE IN LEEDS

11. THE ROLLING STONES — FROM THE VAULT: THE MARQUEE CLUB LIVE IN 1971

12. EUROPE — WAR OF KINGS (SPECIAL EDITION WITH WACKEN OPEN AIR 2015 CONCERT)

13. SAXON — THE SAXON CHRONICLES

14. EMERSON, LAKE, & PALMER — LIVE AT MONTREUX 2011

15. BIRTH OF JOY — LIVE AT UBU

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.

Audiences Will Want Seconds, Thirds, And More Of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s New Live Recording

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

A little more than four decades ago, a little band named Lynyrd Skynyrd released its debut album (Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin-nerd). At the time of its release, no one would have known that said album would go on to become one of the band’s biggest and most beloved. Surprise, surprise. That album has long since gone platinum at least twice over if not more, and has produced some of the band’s biggest hits of all time including: ‘Tuesday’s Gone,’ ‘Gimme Three Steps,’ ‘Simple Man,’ and perhaps its biggest hit of all ‘Freebird.’ With the quick success that that album saw, the band followed it up the very next year in 1974 with the release of Second Helping. That album proved to be just as successful if not more so. Earlier this year, the current Lynyrd Skynyrd lineup celebrated the ongoing success of both albums when it performed both albums in their entirety over the course of two nights at the Florida Theatre in Jacksonville, Florida. Now thanks to the people at Eagle Rock Entertainment, audiences can see both performances in one package in the band’s new live recording Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin nerd & Second Helping Live From Jacksonville at the Florida Theatre. There is a lot for audiences to appreciate about this presentation beginning with the noted two-album set list. It’s just one part of what makes te recording so impressive. The band’s stage presence throughout both sets is just as important as the complete album set lists. Last but hardly least of note is the shows’ production values. Considering the venue’s high ceilings and open space, balancing acoustics was obviously quite the task. But both the band’s production crew and those behind the mics did a superb job of balancing the concerts’ levels from start to finish. The camera work is just as impressive with shots from multiple angles, capturing the theater’s surprising size. The shows’ variety of shots and their equally impressive audio mixes partner with the band’s stage presence and the shows’ complete album set lists to make Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin nerd & Second Helping Live From Jacksonville at the Florida Theatre a show that every Lynyrd Skynyrd fan will want to have in his or her own home DVD/Blu-ray library and Lynyrd Skynyrd collection.

Lynyrd Skynyrd’s brand new live recording Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin nerd & Second Helping Live From Jacksonville at the Florida Theatre is one that every Lynyrd Skynyrd fan will want to have in his or her own home DVD/Blu-ray library and Lynyrd Skynyrd collection. The main reason for this is its sixteen song set list. The set list in question comes from the band’s 1973 debut album (Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin-nerd) and its followup, 1974’s Second Helping. Both albums are presented in their entirety over the course of a two-night stint at the Florida Theatre in the band’s hometown of Jacksonville, Florida. This means that not only are all of the album’s major hits there, so are the lesser known yet still enjoyable songs such as ‘Mississippi Kid,’ ‘Poison Whiskey,’ ‘The Needle and the Spoon’ and ‘I Need You.’ Front man Johnny Van Zant even points out ahead of ‘I Need You’ that the band very rarely performs that song in a live setting. That makes its inclusion in this performance all the more special. It is a truly touching work, too; one that will move any viewer regardless of his or her familiarity with the song. It is more proof–along with the inclusion of the other lesser known songs–why this live two night recording is so special and why the “hits” are not always the only hits. Just because a record label says “X” or “Y” song is a hit doesn’t mean that fans will agree. On another level, the presentation of both albums in whole gives audiences of all ages a much richer picture of Lynyrd Skynnyrd in more than one way. The performance of both albums presents a full picture of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s original lineup creatively. The performance of those albums by the band’s current lineup is almost a side-by-side portrait in a manner of speaking. It’s like experiencing the “old” Lynyrd Skynyrd and the current Lynyrd Skynyrd all at the same time for lack of better wording. All things considered here, the dual set list that makes up the body of the recording shows in full why it is such an important part of the recording’s whole. it is just one part of what makes Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin nerd & Second Helping Live From Jacksonville at the Florida Theatre such a proud success. The band’s stage presence over the course of both nights’ sets adds even more enjoyment to the recording.

The dual album set list that makes up the body of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s new live recording is in itself plenty of reason for fans to add it to their home DVD/Blu-ray libraries and Lynyrd Skynyrd collections. It is just one part of the recording’s whole that makes it so impressive. The band’s stage presence adds even more enjoyment to the concert in whole. That is because the band shows throughout both performances that the k.i.s.s. formula still works perfectly to this day. There was no need for on-stage antics, pyro or anything else. The band let the music do the talking. And it talked loud and clear, too. The energy exhibited by the band in each night’s set proves that. It showed that the band wasn’t just phoning it in at any point. Rather, it showed that the band intended to give its audiences the best show that it possibly could on both nights. Even when Van Zant did take some time between songs to interact with the audience, he didn’t just say a couple of things and go into the next song. He really interacted with the audience and made them feel that they were part of the show. As minor of an element as it may seem to be, it is just as important as the songs themselves. Together with the band’s overall stage presence and the set lists, both the set lists and the band’s presence together make for even more enjoyment for fans throughout the band’s shows. Even with their importance they are still not all that make this pair of performances so impressive. The concerts’ production values are just as important as the set lists and the band’s performance of said set lists.

The set lists that make up the body of Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin nerd & Second Helping Live From Jacksonville at the Florida Theatre, when combined with the band’s performance of both set lists makes for plenty of enjoyment throughout the course of the recording. While both elements are of equal importance to the overall viewing experience here, they are not the only important elements worth noting. The shows’ overall production values are just as important to note as anything else. Without proper production values none of the recorded material would be worth the watch. Luckily for fans the production values incorporated into this concert are of the highest caliber. Of course that is to be expected from Eagle Rock Entertainment being that the label is the leader in live recordings. Those that have never been inside the Florida Theatre will be surprised to see the concert hall’s immensity. This critic is among those masses. Its ceilings come across as being quite high. And the overall space feels just as open. This means that sound will spread out everywhere. It also means more space for echoing. That can be a very bad thing when recording an indoor performance. Those that handled the mics and the boards for the shows’ original recordings did so with the utmost expertise. Thanks to their work audiences really get the full feel of the theatre’s size without getting any of the echoing, feedback or other issues. It shows the talents of those charged with handling the concerts’ audio and makes those individuals all the more deserving of praise. The same can be said of those behind the cameras. The venue being so large and open, the camera crew was given plenty of options for camera shots. And they used every one of those options, too providing audiences at home not only great footage of the band’s performance but of the theatre and the audience in attendance. Those shots include shots from the theatre’s upper balcony, looking up at said balcony from the stage, looking at the stage from amidst the audience and so much more. In whole the work of those behind the cameras gives audiences the best seat in the house and the fullest experience. It rounds out the ways in which Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin nerd & Second Helping Live From Jacksonville at the Florida Theatre proves itself such an impressive experience for any Lynyrd Skynyrd fan and shows once more why Eagle Rock Entertainment remains once more the leading name in live recordings.

Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin nerd & Second Helping Live From Jacksonville at the Florida Theatre is yet another impressive live recording released by Eagle Rock Entertainment. It is just as much a must have for Lynyrd Skynyrd fans of all ages. That is thanks in large part to the set lists which present the band’s first two albums in whole. The band’s performance of each set list adds even more enjoyment to the recording’s whole. And thanks to the work of those behind the cameras and audio boards, both concerts look and sound great. Each element is important in its own right to the whole of the recording. That goes without saying. When combined, they make Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin nerd & Second Helping Live From Jacksonville at the Florida Theatre a must have for Lynyrd Skynyrd fans of all ages and more proof of why Eagle Rock Entertainment remains to this day the leading name in live recordings. It is available now in stores and online. 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.

Eagle Rock Entertainment To Release Another Classic Lynyrd Skynyrd Concert This Fall

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Earlier this summer Eagle Rock Entertainment unearthed a couple of Lynyrd Synyrd’s classic live performances for fans for the band’s new live archived recording Sweet Home Alabama. That recording contained the band’s 1997 performance at the famed Rockpalast Festival as well as a handful of songs from its 1974 performance at the festival. The double-disc CD recording was a companion to the concert’s 2008 DVD release. Now officials with the leader in live recordings have announced that the label will release yet another classic Lynyrd Skynyrd concert this fall in the form of Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin nerd & Second Helping Live From Jacksonville at the Florida Theatre.

Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin nerd & Second Helping Live From Jacksonville at the Florida Theatre will be released nationwide on Friday, October 23rd. It will be available on DVD, Blu-ray, and digital formats. Wal-Mart will also carry an exclusive DVD + 2CD combo pack presentation of the concert. The concert presented in this presentation was recorded earlier this year. It marked the first time ever that the band in any of its incarnations had ever performed its first two albums live in their entirety. It was so popular that it spanned two nights in the band’s home town of Jacksonville, Florida. Audiences can check out the band’s performance of ‘Gimme Three Steps’ from the concert online now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OcDT-0XkUCc&feature=youtu.be.

Lynyrd Skynyrd is currently making its way across America, performing for audiences around the country. Its next scheduled live date is Friday, September 4th in Alton, Illinois. The band’s current tour schedule is listed below.

Catch LYNYRD SKYNYRD on tour this fall:

September 3 – St. Paul, MN – Minnesota State Fair

September 4 – Alton, IL – Liberty Bank Amphitheater

September 5 – New Lenox, IL – Village Of New Lenox

September 6 – Wauseon, OH – Fulton County Fair

September 11 and 12– Lincoln City, OR – Chinook Winds Casino

September 15 – Saratoga, CA – The Mountain Winery

September 17 – Jackson, CA – Jackson Rancheria Casino & Hotel

September 18 – Pomona, CA – La County Fairgrounds

September 19 – Tucson, AZ – Anselmo Valencia Amphitheater

September 20 – Scottsdale, AZ – Talking Stick Resort & Casino

September 25 – Lewisville, TX – 2015 Western Days

September 26 – Houston, TX – Sam Houston Race Park

October 1 – Seviersville, TN – Smokes Stadium

October 2 – Nashville, TN – Ascend Amphitheater

October 3 – Muncie, IN – Emens Auditorium

October 4 – Louisville, KY – Louder Than Life Music Festival

November 7 – Montgomery, AL – Alabama National Fair

December 5 – Mescalero, NM – Inn Of The Mountain Gods Casino

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

More information on Lynyrd Skynyrd’s current tour is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Website: http://www.lynyrdskynyrd.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/skynyrd

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.

Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Latest Live Recording Is Another Great Addition To Any Fan’s Music Library

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Next month, Lynyrd Skynyrd will release its new archived concert recording Sweet Home Alabama. The double disc recording is the first of a handful of archived recordings to be released by the band this year. And it is also the best of said recordings. The main way in which it impresses so easily is the list of songs included on both discs. The set list featured in the main concert (Disc 1) features mostly music from the original LS lineup. The only more recent song included in the main set is the song ‘Down South Jukin,’ which is included on the band’s 1994 compilation record Endangered Species. Other than that one song, the rest of the concert’s set list is pure, classic Lynyrd Skynyrd. The recording’s second disc features its own share of classic Lynyrd Skynyrd tunes, too. For that matter, it includes what are perhaps two of the biggest of the band’s many hits. It does so twice over, too which leads to another of the recording’s positives. Not only do fans get a complete set from the then current Lynyrd Skynyrd lineup in this recording but they also get a few songs from the original Lynyrd Skynyrd lineup from its 1974 performance at the famed Rockpalast festival. Last but not least of all worth noting of this recording is its audio mix. The audio mix stands out in a subtle yet important way in this recording. This will be discussed later. Being taken into consideration with the recording’s set lists and its presentation of Skynyrd from two eras, the whole of Sweet Home Alabama proves to be another great addition to any Skynyrd fan’s music library. What’s more it proves yet again why Eagle Rock Entertainment is the leader in live recordings.

Eagle Rock Entertainment’s upcoming archived Lynyrd Skynyrd performance Sweet Home Alabama is a great addition to any Lynyrd Skynyrd fan’s music library. The double disc CD set is a follow-up of sorts to the concert’s DVD presentation, which was originally released in 2008. It hasn’t been until now that the concert’s CD presentation will have seen the light of day. For those that have not had the pleasure of seeing the original DVD presentation of Sweet Home Alabama its 2-CD platform is just as welcome as the DVD. The main reason that it is such a welcome addition to any LS fan’s music library is its set lists. Presented here are two set lists from two completely different eras of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s life. By and large, both set lists are composed of classic LS songs. The only “newer” song featured in the whole of the presentation is ‘Down South Jukin.’ That song was taken from the band’s 1994 album Endangered Species. Other than that one song, the rest of the recording is made up of nothing but classic LS dating all theway back to the band’s debut 1973 record (Pronounced leh-nerd Skin-nerd). It includes some of the band’s biggest hits including ‘Saturday Night Special,’ ‘Workin’ For MCA,’ ‘Swamp Music’ and of course perhaps the biggest of the band’s many hits ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ and ‘Free Bird.’ In regards to ‘Free Bird,’ audiences will be happy to know that both in the band’s 1996 performance and that from 1974, it is featured in its entirety. The only real surprise of the whole recording is that there’s no sign of ‘Tuesday’s Gone’ or ‘The Ballad of Curtis Loew.’ Beggars can’t be choosers, though. Even with the absence of either song, audiences still get quite the impressive collection of songs considering the makeup of these two shows. It’s just one way in which Sweet Home Alabama proves itself a welcome addition to any LS fan’s music library.

The songs that make up Sweet Home Alabama’s two set lists more than make for a great concert for fans. They are tied directly in to another way in which it proves itself a great addition to any LS fan’s music library–its presentation of LS in two different lineups and eras. Audiences get in the main concert LS in its then present lineup featuring former front man Ronnie Van Zant’s brother Johnny on vocals. He is joined by many of Ronnie’s old band mates and some new members including: Rickey Medlocke, Hughie Thomasson, Dale Krantz-Rossington, and Carol Chase. The bonus 1974 concert features a handful of performances by the original LS lineup of Ronnie Van Zant, Gary Rossington, Allen Collins, Ed King, Billy Powell, Leon Wilkeson, Owen Hale, and Bob Burns. Listening to both lineups, it is amazing to hear the strength and fire that still burned bright under the band in 1996, nearly two decades after one of the music world’s worst tragedies. Of course that could be chalked up to the fact that the surviving band members did in fact take some time away for themselves after that fateful plane crash in 1977. Considering the band’s strength and stage presence in its 1974 show, it makes that plane crash all the more tragic. That is because the ’74 show presented a band at the top of its game. One can only imagine what the original LS lineup would have sounded like if not for that horrible tragedy only three years later. Sadly the world will never know. Regardless, it is clear that LS was obviously back on top of its game in its ’96 show. Considering the band’s strength and stage performance in both shows, it paints a vivid picture of the band’s bond both in its old era and its then new era. That picture of strength in both lineups makes even more clear what makes Sweet Home Alabama a welcome addition to any LS fan’s music library.

The set lists that make up Lynyrd Skynyrd’s 1996 and 1974 Rockpalast performances make for plenty of reason that any of the band’s fans will want to add this recording to their music libraries. The strength and solid stage presence presented by both lineups adds even more interest to the recording. That is because it puts on exhibit LS before the tragedy that would forever change it and the band years after that tragic crash. Both elements are important in their own way to the whole of Sweet Home Alabama. They are not all that makes it another impressive live recording from LS and Eagle Rock Entertainment. The concerts’ production values should be taken into consideration in examining the recording, too. Every part within the songs is expertly balanced. Even with recording technology having changed a lot since 1974 that recording sounds just as good as the band’s ’96 show. On another, more subtle level, those charged with handling the shows’ audio mixes both at the concerts and in post production are to be commended for their efforts. They are especially worthy of praise for balancing the audio levels both during the band’s performances of its songs and in the interludes in which the Van Zant brothers each interact with the audiences. This means that audiences don’t have to constantly turn up and down the volume on their radios from one song to the next. It’s an aspect of live recordings that far too few audio engineers take into account when preparing live shows for purchase. Thankfully those handling these concerts’ audio did. The end result of their efforts is two concerts that are just as enjoyable for their expert audio production as for the shows’ set lists and the band’s stage presence. It is one more way in which Sweet Home Alabama shows itself one more welcome addition to any LS fan’s music library and why once again Eagle Rock Entertainment has proven itself the leader in live recordings.

Staying on the element of the recording’s audio mix, the clarity of the concerts’ interludes reveals some language that older audiences might find objectionable for some younger listeners. This includes both the performances of the songs and the interludes. Being that this is not noted anywhere on the packaging for the dual-disc set, it should at least be noted here. It means that audiences should use their discretion in listening and letting younger listeners hear this recording. That aside, it is still a recording that at least older LS fans will enjoy. That’s not to say that younger audiences can’t enjoy these two concerts. But older audiences should use their discretion in letting younger listeners hear certain parts of the concerts.

Sweet Home Alabama is not the only live Lynyrd Skynyrd recording to be released this year. It is however the best live Lynyrd Skynyrd live recording to be released so far. When comparing it to the others planned for release this year, it proves in the end to be potentially the best of the band’s planned live releases. That is thanks first and foremost to the set lists that make up both concerts. The set lists are composed mainly of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s classics save for just one song. Getting to hear Lynyrd Skynyrd both before and after its untimely tragedy paints a vivid picture of a band that has proven just as strong both before and after. Each element by itself shows why Sweet Home Alabama is another welcome addition to any LS fan’s library. All three elements together show it not only to be a great addition to any LS fan’s personal music collection but yet another reason that Eagle Rock Entertainment remains to this day the leader in live recordings. It will be available Tuesday, June 2nd in a double-disc presentation and will retail for MSRP of $17.98. A 2-LP is also scheduled for release later this year. More information on this and other titles from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online 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.

Blackberry Smoke Holds All The Roses Among So Many Other Albums With Its Latest LP

Courtesy:  Rounder Records

Courtesy: Rounder Records

Atlanta, Georgia has been known for decades as one of America’s major hotbeds for musical talent. Much like Austin, Seattle, and Los Angeles it has produced some of the biggest names in the industry over the years. Those names come from nearly every genre of the music world. They include the likes of: Sevendust, Stuck Mojo, Collective Soul, Zac Brown Band, Black Crowes, and so many others. The list goes on and on. It could take days or even weeks to name them all. For the case of this review, the focus is set on the Southern Rock Band Blackberry Smoke. For roughly fifteen years now, the members of Blackberry Smoke–Charlie Starr (vocals/guitar), Richard Turner (bass/vocals), Brit Turner (drums), Paul Jackson (guitar/vocals), and Brandon Still (keyboards)–have been making music and touring. Of those roughly fifteen years together, Blackberry Smoke has released three full-length albums, the most recent of which–The Whippoorwill–was released on Zac Brown Band’s own Southern Ground Records in 2012. This past February, the band released its fourth full length album titled Holding All The Roses. The album was released via Rounder Records. For those that might not be so familiar with the band’s body of work, Holding All The Roses serves as a good introduction to the band. And it is just as enjoyable for those that are more familiar with its work up to this point. The sound spread across the album’s dozen tracks shows influences from some of the greatest southern rock bands of the 20th Century including: The Marshall Tucker Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Black Crowes, Doobie Brothers, and others of that ilk. While the influence of said bands is there from start to finish on this record, Blackberry Smoke still maintains its own identity in each song. That is evident right from the album’s opener ‘Let Me Help You (Find The Door).’ The same can be said of the album’s title track and the somewhat sexually charged ‘Rock and Roll Again.’ These three works in themselves more than exemplify what makes Holding All The Roses such a joy. By themselves they are just a minute fraction of what makes it such an enjoyable record, too. There are nine other tracks from which audiences will find their own favorite(s) on this record. Those songs, coupled with the trio noted here, prove Holding All The Roses in the end to be one of the best new rock and country records of 2015.

Blackberry Smoke’s fourth full length album Holding All The Roses is one of this year’s best new rock and country records. There are some issues here and there throughout the record in terms of its production values. But they are not enough to make HATR unworthy of being heard. From the album’s opener to its end, the songs that make up this album make it one of those rare records that audiences will actually want to listen to without skipping even one song. That is evident right from the album’s opener ‘Let Me Help You (Find The Door).’ On the song’s musical side, audiences will hear a clear influence from famed classic rock band Black Crowes throughout the song. It could even be argued that the song’s bridge, which features quite the guitar solo, bears a rather noticeable Lynyrd Skynyrd influence. Lyrically, it offers audiences just as much of a punch with front man Charlie Starr seemingly addressing certain types who simply don’t want to change their ways. Whether it be those musical acts that refuse to change and those that push said albums or the sheep that give in to everything that is fed to them whether in terms of music, politics, etc.–as front man Charlie Starr sings about in both the song’s first and second verse– it is a clear statement that hits quite a few chords, no pun intended. One could even argue that it even indirectly addresses those audiences that expected this album to be just like the band’s previous released. As Starr sings in the song’s opening verse, “Why’s it got to be the same damn thing/Same damn song and everybody wants to sing/Same sons of b****** still riggin’ the game/They sell the same old faces with brand new names/No matter if I’m wrong or right/I ain’t losin’ sleep tonight/I’ve heard it all before/I can’t take it anymore/If that’s all you got/Let me help you find the door.” The song’s second verse seems to address those sheep that believe everything that is fed to them, from music to news, to politics and more with Starr singing, “Here we go diggin’ the same damn ditch/Just line ’em up/Can’t tell you which one’s which/Standin’ in the back with a s***-eating grin/They were buyin’ it once/I bet they’ll buy it again.” Starr hits on so many subjects with so few words in this song. And he hits the nail right on the head, too. It’s a sharp, yet in an odd way, slightly lighthearted indictment of said subjects that ironically will in fact have Blackberry Smoke’s own fans singing along. One can only hope that in singing along, the band’s own fans will catch the message being presented by Starr and his band mates here rather than just taking the song for its musical side. Those that take both the song’s musical and lyrical side into full consideration will agree just how important it is both in itself and to the album in whole.

‘Let Me Help You (Find The Door) is a solid opener for Blackberry Smoke’s latest full-length record. Its statement urging people and bands who refuse to change to go away is sharp yet witty at the same time. And it ironically will have the band’s own fans singing along every time. One can only hope that said fans will catch the message embedded within the song and take it to heart in catching it. Those fans that do catch the message in question, coupled with the song’s infectious musical side will agree that it is just one part of the whole that makes HATR one of this year’s best new rock and country records. The album’s title track is just as important to the whole of the record. Much like the album’s opener, it boasts its own classic rock influences yet still continues to maintain the band’s own identity, too. The song’s driving, 2/4 tempo will instantly have audiences dancing and clapping along. Having hooked audiences with it musical side, Starr and company–Richard Turner (bass, vocals), Brit Turner (drums), Paul Jackson (guitar, vocals), and Brandon Still (keyboards) make just as powerful a statement with the song’s lyrical side. Starr sings in the song’s first verse about a subject overcoming all of his or her odds and coming out on top, fittingly “holding all the roses” just as a winner would. Starr Sings, “You look like you’ve seen a ghost/I don’t think it’s even gonna be close/Your rabbit’s foot and your four-leaf clover/Throw them all away and start all over/Here I am see me coming around/Swinging out wide with the hammer down/There I go watch me leave you behind/Holding all the roses on the other side.” The subject here is addressing those that called the odds against him or her, proving all those people wrong as he or she holds the proverbial roses of a winner. Speaking of those odds, Starr goes on to sing of overcoming the odds as he sings, “The odds against me were 20 to 1/Carry that weight like it weighs a ton/Ain’t no luck in a gasoline rainbow/Come on, drop that rag/Away we go.” He comes across as saying his subject is using the weight of those odds as motivation to keep pushing on to the very end. Such lyrics are words that will reach so many listeners and potentially have quite the impact. It will leave listeners saying if Starr’s subject can press on against all odds then so can the band’s fans. The song’s driving musical side added to the mix, the song in whole shows once more exactly why it is one more enjoyable and equally important part of the whole that leaves Holding All The Roses in fact holding all the roses on any critic’s list come year’s end.

For all of the seriousness of HATR’s opener and its title track, Blackberry Smoke isn’t all work and no play on its new album. It also boasts some fun moments, too. One example of that lies in the song ‘Rock and Roll Again.’ The song’s musical side shows obvious influence from The Marshall Tucker Band, The Allman Brothers Band and others of that ilk yet once again maintain’s Blackberry Smoke’s own identity along the way. Lyrically, it will put just as much of a smile on listeners’ faces as the music alone. Starr sings about a woman who definitely gets the subject going in all the right ways so to speak. He writes of said woman, “She knows me well and never fails/She knows just how to put the wind back in my sails/She’s got the key to set me free/It’s just so easy to see/The way she makes me rock and roll again/Put the dirty in my mind again/Ain’t nothin’ to it/But she pulls me back in/My baby made me rock and roll again/Yes, she made me rock and roll again.” The rest of the song goes on in much the same fashion, lyrically speaking, with Starr noting of that same woman putting a swagger back in the subject’s step, and gets him moving. The song’s musical side boasts its own swagger, which perfectly complements Starr’s lyrics. Both sides of the song taken into full consideration, they show that Blackberry Smoke can be just as fun as it can be serious. Because of this, it proves to be one more example of what makes HATR such an enjoyable work for every rock and country fan. Taken into consideration with the likes of the album’s title track, its opener, and those pieces not noted here, it proves to be one more piece of an album that again, holds all of its own roses among the masses so far this year.

Blackberry Smoke is currently touring in support of HATR. It is in the last leg of the North American leg of its tour, which wraps up May 24th in Monteagle, Tennessee. The band will take a few days off to rest and recharge after before heading overseas for the European leg of its tour, which kicks off May 29th in Munchen, Germany. After finishing off that leg, the band will return stateside again on June 19th in Alpharetta, Georgia. Fans will be able to pick up HATR at any of the band’s upcoming live dates. In hearing the band live and on its new album, audiences that haven’t yet heard the band’s music will agree, too that HATR more than deserves a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s best new rock and country albums come December. Fans can check out Blackberry Smoke’s latest tour dates online now, along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Website: http://blackberrysmoke.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/blackberrysmoke

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.

Kelakos’ New Hits Compilation Is One Of 2015’s Top New Music Re-Issues

Courtesy:  Kelakos/EricPHILLIPEdesign

Courtesy: Kelakos/EricPHILLIPEdesign

The 1970s is one of the single greatest decades in the history of popular music. It was during this decade that someof the greatest songs of all time were written. Those songs in question came from bands that were themselves equally great. Among the bands in question that crafted those timeless tunes were the likes of: The Grateful Dead, The Rolling Stones, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and The Allman Brothers Band among so many others. For all of the great songs and acts that came to fame in the 1970s, there were just as many that given the chance could have been just as great and might even have gone on to be equally legendary. One of those bands that could have gone on to be so well-known and respected goes by the name of Kelakos. Named after founding member George Michael Kelakos Haberstroh, the band mixed elements of its more well-known counterparts in the from the era with a distinct jazz flare and even a touch of an R&B influence for a sound that helped it to stand out from those bigger bands, proving that it is just as good as them if not better. That still holds true today. Thanks to the recent release of its new compilation record Uncorked: Rare Tracks From A Vintage 70s Band earlier this year, Kelakos is getting the chance once more to prove that argument.

Kelakos’ new compilation Uncorked: Rare Tracks From A Vintage 70s Band is one of this year’s best new re-issues. If the fifteen tracks that make up its body had never been released until now, it would have just as easily found itself on this critic’s year-end list of the year’s best new albums. Regardless of which list it ends up on, every rock purist will agree in hearing this collection that Kelakos is a band that deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as its more well-known counterparts from the era. This is obvious right off the top in the record’s hybrid jazzy/bluesy tune ‘Boogie Bad Express.’ ‘Boogie Bad Express’ was a great choice for the record’s opener. Interestingly enough it is also one of the record’s shortest songs, clocking in at just under the two-minute mark. Both musically and lyrically it is just a fun, feel-good record that will every listener dancing along as Kelakos Haberstroh sings, “The place is packed and its time to relax/And part hearty with the music/When the perspiration drips and the girls shaking hips/You know you’re in the boogie bad music.” Carl Canedy’s expert work behind the kit adds a certain extra something to these lyrics. His ability to mix his jazz and rock chops without losing himself along the way does so much to make this song so enjoyable. The balance of Haberstroh’s jazzy riffs and Mark Sisson’s more rock oriented riffs adds its own touch to the song, too. Together with the talents of bassist Linc Bloomfield and fellow musician Shane French, the band collectively crafts a sound that is a perfect match for its celebratory lyrics. The combination of those celebratory lyrics and equally upbeat music shows why ‘Boogie Bad Express’ was chosen to open Kelako’s new compilation and why this band deserves a new listen and a new listen again by those that might be at least somewhat familiar with the band. It’s one of so many examples of why Uncorked: Rare Tracks From A Vintage 70s Band is one of this year’s best new re-issues.

‘Big Bad Boogie’ is a great opener for Kelakos’ new compilation record. This is clearly exhibited through the mix of the song’s upbeat music and equally celebratory lyrics. It also shows why this record is one of the year’s best new re-issues and why Kelakos deserves just as much respect as its more well-known counterparts. It isn’t the only song that song on this record that so clearly exhibits why Kelakos and the record in whole are so deserving of respect. The full-on instrumental that is ‘Persephone’s Poison’ is another excellent example of why Kelakos and its new compilation both deserve equal respect. Drummer Carl Canedy shines again in this song. As a matter of fact, it can be argued that he is the star of the song as he displays his talents both on the kit and as a percussionist. It would be a surprise if it turned out Canedy was not a properly trained musician considering his chops and his ability to so solidly keep time with such difficult polyrhythmic patterns. The ability of Kelakos Haberstroh and Mark Sisson to improv so cleanly in their respective guitar lines is just as noteworthy. There’s almost a sort of Frank Zappa feel to their combined sound. Keyboardist Chip Smith even deserves a nod for laying down the song’s non-rhythmic base. All things considered here, the combined talents of Kelakos’ members make ‘Persephone’s Poison’ one more of this collection’s highest points and even more proof of why Uncorked: Rare Tracks From A Vintage 70s Band is such an enjoyable record and one that given the right support could be the start of Kelakos getting the attention that it has so rightly deserved for so many decades.

Both ‘Big Bad Boogie’ and ‘Persephone’s Poison’ display in their own way why Uncorked: Rare Tracks From A Vintage 70s Band is such an enjoyable collection of songs. They both show the band’s versatility, musically and lyrically speaking. One is a full on jazz-fusion style piece while the other has a definitive southern rock sound. They are just a couple of examples of the band’s talents, too. Each of the record’s fifteen total tracks displays a different side of the band and its musical reach. There is even a hybrid southern rock/R&B-influenced piece in the form of ‘Lovin’ So Fine.’ Kelakos Haberstroh’s laid back guitar work set alongside Chip Smith’s piano line and Carl Canedy’s expert timekeeping make for a song that musically is one of this record’s highest of points. It is just as interesting in its lyrical content, with Kelakos Haberstroh singing, “You may have seen me blowin’ past Mars/Or caught me floatin’ in space/One thing’s for sure now baby/You were watching’, feelin’ my face/It was sending love to you/Messages all the time/Now here’s your chance to receive me/All at one time.” He goes on to sing in the song’s chorus, “With lovin’ so fine/I think I’m gonna lose my mind,” The band leaves little doubt as to what is being said here. It would be quite the surprise to find out the subject of the song isn’t quite what one might think, too. But more than likely it is. Considering this and the song’s musical content, the combination of both elements proves shows exactly why this song stands out so brightly among the record’s other songs and why it stands among them as one more part of the whole that makes the record so enjoyable for any listener.

Uncorked: Rare Tracks From A Vintage 70s Band is an apt title for Kelakos’ newly re-issued compilation of songs as evidenced by the songs presented here. The songs noted here are just part of the whole that makes this record so enjoyable for listeners, too. There are a dozen other tracks that prove the album’s value and enjoyment just as much thanks to the talents of the band’s members and the songs’ lyrical content. In hearing those other tracks, every listener that gives this compilation a chance will agree with this critic that this record could be just what Kelakos needed to finally earn the acclaim that it has so rightly deserved for so long. With the right support, that could finally happen. Uncorked: Rare Tracks From A Vintage 70s Band is available now and can be ordered via CD Baby via the band’s official website at http://www.kelakosband.com. More information on Kelakos’ new album is available online now along with all of the latest news from the band at:

Website: http://www.kelakosband.com

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

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.