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.

Lynyrd Skynyrd To Release Classic Concert Recording This Summer

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

This summer, veteran southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd will release a new archived live recording to its fans via the leader in live recordings, Eagle Rock Entertainment.

Lynyrd Skynyrd will release Sweet Home Alabama on Tuesday, June 2nd.  The double-disc CD set features the band’s classic Rockpalast concert from 1996.  It marks the first time that the recording has ever been released for purchase.  The show’s set list includes some of the band’s biggest hits including: ‘Freebird,’ ‘Working For MCA,’ ‘Saturday Night Special, ‘Gimme Three Steps,’ ‘I Ain’t The One,’ and of course the recording’s title track and fan favorite ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ among many other songs.

The show’s set list is a big part of this recording’s success.  But it isn’t all that make the recording great.  As a bonus for true fans, Eagle Rock Entertainment has included a handful of rare performances featuring the original Lynyrd Skynyrd lineup of Ronnie Van Zant, Gary Rossington, Allen Collins, Ed King, Billy Powell, Leon Wilkeson, Owen Hale, and Bob Burns.  The lineup for the 1996 show features Ronnie’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 complete track listing for Sweet Home Alabama is listed below.

TRACK LISTING:
Disc 1: 
  1.  Workin’ For MCA
  2.  I Ain’t The One
  3.  Down South Junkin’
  4.  Double Trouble
  5.  I Know A Little   
  6.  Saturday Night Special**   
  7.  Swamp Music   
  8.  What’s Your Name   
  9. That Smell   
  10. Simple Man***   
  11. Gimme Three Steps   
  12. Call Me The Breeze
Disc 2:
  1. Sweet Home Alabama****   
  2. Free Bird
CD Bonus Tracks From Hamburg 1974: 
3) Workin’ For MCA
4) Free Bird
5) Sweet Home Alabama

Sweet Home Alabama 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.

Blues Virtuoso’s Debut EP One Of The Year’s Best

Courtesy:  Swing House Quality Recordings

Courtesy: Swing House Quality Recordings

Jared James Nichols’ new EP, Old Glory and the Wild Revival, is one of the best new EPS of the year, and one of the best rock records of the year overall.  It only boasts five tracks.  But if those five tracks are any hint, then the future is very bright for this young guitar virtuoso.  The EP’s opener, ‘Blackfoot’, is a powerful first impression for Nichols and his band mates.  This blues-rock infused song will have any listener moving right from the first notes.  Nichols himself sounds almost like fellow blues guitarist Johnny Lang in his vocal style on this song.  The solos are blistering to say the least.  And considering that Nichols is only in his twenties and is able to smoke the strings in such impressive fashion is mind blowing.  Together with his band mates, Nichols will have audiences instantly comparing him not just to Johnny Lang, but even to the likes of Kenny Wayne Shepherd and even Derek Trucks if not the master himself, Stevie Ray Vaughn.

The fun bluesy guitar licks don’t end with the EP’s opener.  Listeners will instant get thoughts of Foghat, Ted Nugent and so many other famed guitarists of days gone by when Nichols and company launch into ‘Can You Feel It.’  This up-tempo rocker is just as certain as ‘Blackfoot’ to get audiences moving whether in their homes or even in their cars.  It’s a nice piece for those Summer road trips.  It’s just as great for a weekend party in the warmer months of the year.  Its energy is evident not just in the musical side of things, but also in the lyrical side.  Nichols and company come across as singing about a woman here.  The chorus singing together late in the song, “Don’t you need it/Babe can’t you feel it” will most certainly have listeners singing along happily.  It would be so easy to see this song being performed live if only because of that.  And that’s a good thing.  It’s one more element that makes it such a fun song.

Things let up only slightly after ‘Can You Feel It’ in the EP’s penultimate song, ‘Sometimes.’  This song is slower than ‘Can You Feel It’ or ‘Blackfoot.’ But it is still another nice, heavy blues based rock song that is just as certain to become a favorite with its solid musicianship from Nichols and his band mates.  It is a straight up blues influenced song all the way through, from its music to its lyrics.  Nichols writes about overcoming life’s tough times as he writes, “Take the backseat baby/Cause I found my way/Gonna ride into/A brand new day/Gotta  hold on tight/to the things I love/Kiss the ground/And thank the lord above/Don’t think you’re the only one/Your day don’t end/When darkness comes/ Sometimes you cry/Sometimes you lie/Sometimes you gotta reach up for the sky/And look for the full moon/To carry you home.”  That positive sentiment mixed with the influences from the likes of Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Lynyrd Skynyrd makes this one more impressive piece of the overall puzzle that is Nichols’ new EP.

Jared James Nichols takes his listeners on quite the trip with his ne EP over the course of the record’s first four songs.  It ends just as solidly as it began on ‘Take My Hand.’  The song starts off slow and gentle with just Nichols singing and picking a steel guitar.  That slow open eventually builds into another blues based song that rocks just as hard as the other songs on this record.  The control that he and his band mates have throughout the song absolutely demands this song be part of Nichols’ live set.  One need only close one’s eyes, and one can see the lights shining bright on stage, highlighting every single note as audiences pump their fists in the air.  Simply put, this song could not have been better placed in this record.  It leaves audiences wanting more in the best possible fashion by the time it hits its final notes. Nichols’ new EP is available now, and it can be ordered online at http://www.facebook.com/jaredjamesnichols and http://www.reverbation.com/jaredjamesnichols.  Fans can also check out both websites to check out Jared James Nichols’ latest tour dates.  Audiences will have their chance to experience this outstanding new EP live as Nichols will be performing live tonight in Sturgis South Dakota at the Sturgis Buffalo Chip Festival.  And then on the 8th and 9th, he will be in Salt Lake City, Utah before moving on to Boise, ID on his way to the West Coast.

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.

Performance Times Released For Annual Festival

Courtesy:  Ashton-Magnuson Media

Courtesy: Ashton-Magnuson Media

Organizers of the annual “Welcome To Rockville” Festival presented by Monster Energy have released more information on this year’s festival.  2013 is the festival’s third year being held.  Performance times for bands on each stage have officially been released.  The “Monster Energy Main Stage East” opens with a performance by Pop Evil at 12:40pm.  Pop Evil will be followed by All That Remains, Halestorm, Papa Roach, Stone Sour, and headliners Alice in Chains.  Alice in Chains takes the “Monster Energy Main Stage East” at 9:45pm.  The “Monster Energy Main Stage West” is just one of the many stages from which audiences have to choose during the festival.  A full listing of bands and performance times is available below.

Saturday, April 27

Monster Energy Main Stage East

12:40 PM         Pop Evil

2:05 PM           All That Remains

3:35 PM           Halestorm

5:25 PM           Papa Roach

7:25 PM           Stone Sour

9:45 PM           Alice In Chains

 

Monster Energy Main Stage West

12:05 PM         Young Guns

1:20 PM           In This Moment

2:50 PM           Asking Alexandria

4:30 PM           Bullet For My Valentine

6:20 PM           Three Days Grace

8:30 PM           Limp Bizkit

 

Emerging Artist Stage

Noon                Rockville Rumble Winner

1:00 PM           Hell Or Highwater

2:10 PM           Gemini Syndrome

3:20 PM           Whitechapel

4:45 PM           Otherwise

6:20 PM           Escape The Fate

 

Jax Live Stage

11:30 AM         Rockville Rumble Winner

12:30 PM         Edens Fill       

1:40 PM           Rockville Rumble Winner

2:50 PM           Rockville Rumble Winner

4:05 PM           Stars In Stereo

5:35 PM           MonstrO

7:25 PM           Rockville Rumble Winner

 

Sunday, April 28

Monster Energy Main Stage East

11:45 AM         Red

12:55 PM         Saving Abel

2:30 PM           Filter

4:10 PM           Skillet

6:05 PM           3 Doors Down

8:35 PM           Lynyrd Skynyrd

 

Monster Energy Main Stage West

11:15 AM         Farewell 2 Fear

12:20 PM         Nonpoint

1:40 PM           Steel Panther

3:20 PM           Hollywood Undead

5:05 PM           Buckcherry

7:15 PM           Shinedown

 

Emerging Artist Stage

11:20 AM         Nebraska Bricks

12:20 PM         Soulswitch

1:25 PM           Girl On Fire

2:35 PM           Saliva

3:45 PM           Motionless In White

5:10 PM           Device

6:50 PM           Nothing More

 

Jax Live Stage

11:50 AM         (N)ception

12:55 PM         The Apprehended

2:05 PM           Rockville Rumble Winner

3:15 PM           Rockville Rumble Winner

4:40 PM           Rockville Rumble Winner

6:15 PM           Rockville Rumble Winner

 

The whole party will be preceded by the “Rockville Downtown Experience presented by Corona Light” pre-party on Friday, April 26th.  Two post-show parties will be held Saturday, April 27th.  Admission to these parties is FREE.  Friday’s show will feature Saliva, Evergreen Terrace, and Victr as entertainment.  The bands will perform live at the Underbelly in Jacksonville, FL.  More information on this party is available online at http://www.jaxunderbelly.com.  Saturday’s after-parties will feature performances by DJ Monk and Robert Goodman at 1904 Music Hall in Jacksonville, FL (http://www.facebook.com/1904MusicHall, http://www.1904MusicHall.com) and Icey at the Underbelly.

Fans that attend the festival will have plenty of opportunities to get their CDs, shirts, and more signed by their favorite band(s) at the f.y.e. tent and other onsite locations.  There will also be interactive experiences such as a gaming area and Dave’s Crazy Music Experience.  This experience lets fans find out for themselves what it’s like to make music in a studio environment.  It includes actual guitars, drums, basses, and all the gear used by today’s top acts.

Tickets are still available for this year’s festival.  Prices are listed below.

Single Day General Admission – $59.50 plus fees

Single Day VIP – $134.50 plus fees
2-Day General Admission – $107 plus fees
2-Day VIP – $219 plus fees
2-Day Party Pack (4 weekend tickets) – $357 plus fees

Along with the listed ticket prices, “no service fee tickets” are available at specific Metro PCS locations.  More information on this is available online at http://www.welcometorockvillefestival.com/tickets.html.  A limited number of VIP tickets and hotel packages are still available.  They can be purchased online at http://www.WelcomeToRockvilleFestival.com.  VIP tickets include entrance to all concerts through a VIP entrance, access to VIP lounge featuring dedicated bar, beverage and food service, viewing of the Monster Main Stage (both seated and standing areas), a seated area with shade for dining, private bathrooms and laminated VIP guest pass.    

More information on the “Welcome to Rockville” Festival is available online at http://www.WelcomeToRockvilleFestival.com, http://www.facebook.com/welcometorockville, and on Twitter at @RockvilleFest.

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.

Jennings’ New Album More “Solid Country Gold”

Courtesy:  Entertainment One Music

Courtesy: Entertainment One Music

The year is still young.  But this critic’s list of candidates for the year’s best albums is already beginning to fill up quickly.  The Slide Brothers and Experience Hendrix, Inc. have already made the case to be candidates with their new releases.  Now another album has made the case to be not just on the list of the year’s best albums, but also the year’s best Country Music albums.  It’s Shooter Jennings’ new album, The Other Life

The Other Life is proof that one should never judge a book (or a CD) by its cover.  At first glance, one glance at the artwork for Shooter’s new album might lead some to believe that this album is going to be much like that of Black Ribbons, which he recorded with the members of Hierophant.  The artwork used throughout the album’s packaging is quite similar to images used throughout albums released by Tool.  But one listen through this album reveals something quite different.  What listeners get in this latest release from one of Outlaw Country’s best is eleven radio ready and easily accessible country songs. Every listener will find something especially entertaining from this album’s song list.  Every song carries a familiar vibe from Shooter’s previous LPs.  But they don’t sound like the songs from his previous releases.  In simple terms, each song on this album is an original work similar to his previous songs in feeling only.  One of the album’s brightest shining moments comes halfway through the album in the song, ‘Outlaw You.’ 

‘Outlaw You’ is bound to become a fan favorite both on the record and at live shows.  It is a defiant stance against so much pop country that tries to call itself pure country.  Jennings sings loud and proud in this song, “Hey pretty boy/With the baseball hat/Couldn’t hit country with a baseball bat/Country ain’t just about where you’re at/It’s about being true/To what’s inside of you/You say you’re an outlaw/With the perfect boots/That you got from the record label’s image group/Sing another man’s song/With a big drum loop/Listen, son/You ain’t got a clue/You can’t buy true/I’ll tell you what they should do/They should outlaw you!”  This echoes the sentiment of Jennings’ fellow Outlaw Country artist, Hank III.  Hank III wrote a similar song some time ago about how so much pop country tries to masquerade as real country.  This song is one more that any country purist will surely appreciate and enjoy as it has the exact same true emotion.

While it may not seem like it at first listen, but another high point of this LP is its penultimate track, ’15 Million Light Years Away (featuring Jim Dandy).  Dandy’s vocals are so rich and vibrant here.  They make for an excellent counterpart to that of Jennings.  And the guitar solos thrown in will almost sure lead to thoughts of Lynyrd Skynyrd.  Lyrically, it comes across as a social commentary of sorts, with the duo singing about the legal system being perverted and of everything in the world being in a state contrary to what it should be.  The musical backing helps to set the song’s mood, too with its slower, minor sound.  It stands out unlike anything else on the record.

Perhaps the most intriguing song on The Other Life is its closer, ‘The Gunslinger.’  What makes it so intriguing is its musical side.  It starts out like any pure country song, with an acoustic guitar and soft, gentle vocals.  From there, it proceeds to crescendo to something totally different with its mix of electronics and sax part eventually ending the song.  Forget the lyrical side here.  This is a song that simply must be experienced solely for its musical side.  It’s an unlikely candidate to be one of the album’s high points.  But because it is also so different from anything else on the record, it is one of those songs that will lead to discussion for its ingenuity.  In turn, the discussions that it is sure to raise will prove why it is one of the so many high points of this album.  Put simply, every song on this album will appeal to country purists and country music fans in general.  There is not one bad moment throughout the course of this record.  Every song creates a wholly different feel within itself and its listeners with every listen.  And that is something rare at this point in the music industry.  The album will be available in stores, Tuesday, March 12th.  Before it drops though, Jennings will hit the road in support of the new album, beginning March 6th in Miami Florida on the Kid Rock Cruise.  From there, he will perform at the annual SXSW Festival in Austin, TX on March 12th and 13th.  Fans in North Carolina will also get their chance to see Shooter live.  He will be performing at Ziggy’s in Winston-Salem on Tuesday, April 16th and on Friday, May 24th at Gus’ Bar in Jacksonville, NC.  Audiences can get a full tour rundown and all the latest news and more from Jennings on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ShooterJennings and http://www.ShooterJennings.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.