Marcus King’s Solo Debut Is Almost As Good As Gold

Courtesy: Fantasy Records

Singer-songwriter Marcus is one of the next big names in the music industry.  Only 23 years-old, King has done more in his life so far than most people his age.  A fourth-generation musician – his grandfather was a country music guitarist and father an active musician — he started performing at the tender age of 11.  He has recorded and performed with some of the biggest names in the music industry by the time he became an adult, and has released three full-length studio recordings with The Marcus King Band – Soul Insight, The Marcus King Band and Carolina Confessions.  Late last month, he released his solo debut record, El Dorado.  The 12-song album has been met largely with praise from audiences and critics alike, and justifiably so, too.  The record boasts easily accessible lyrical content centered on the matters of life and love. The LP’s musical content offers just as much to appreciate.  The combination of those elements makes for lots for listeners to like.  ‘Too Much Whiskey’ is just one of the songs that serves to show how that combined content positively impacts the album.  It will be discussed shortly.  ‘The Well,’ the album’s lead single is another example of the power of the album’s combined musical and lyrical content.  It will be discussed a little later.  The same cane be said of the slow blues composition ‘Wildflowers & Wine.’  When these songs are considered along with the likes of ‘Turn It Up,’ ‘Say You Will’ and the subdued ‘Love Song,’ as well as the rest of the album’s works, the album in whole proves a positive debut for King that while maybe not solid gold is still solid in its own right.

Marcus King’s solo debut album El Dorado is a solid start for the singer-songwriter, who has accomplished so much so early in his still young life.  Its combined lyrical and musical content gives audiences plenty to appreciate, despite some questionable sequencing.  This is proven in part late in the album’s run in the form of ‘Too Much Whiskey.’  The song’s musical arrangement is an old school country music composition that shows clearly, the influence of King’s grandfather, who was himself a country music guitarist.  The arrangement easily lends itself to comparisons to the best works of Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton, just to name a couple of key similarities.  It boasts that infectious, old school honky tonk sounds that made country music during the 1970s and 80s.  That arrangement alone was enough to make this song one of El Dorado’s best offerings, if not its best work.  Of course it is just one part of what makes the song stand out.  As noted already, its lyrical content adds its own share of enjoyment to the work’s whole.

King sings in his trademark gritty style in the song’s lead verse, “To much of that old whiskey river/Leaves a young man feeling old/That old love you still remember/Cuts you deep down in your soul.  He continues in the song’s second verse, “Lost that girl down in New Orleans/Chasing some old voodoo dream/Levee broke on Whiskey River/Got me trying to swim upstream.”  As he reaches the song’s final verse, King sings, “Shotgun Willie on the stereo/Words are speaking right to my heart/If I keep reaching for that bottle/It’s gonna tear my world apart.  He adds in the song’s chorus, “Getting tired of going crazy/Headed back to Tennessee/I gotta crawl on out of this river/’Fore it drowns me in the sea.”  Quite simply, this is a song about someone dealing with alcohol addiction.  The thing is that it is presented lyrically in a fashion that is classic country in every way.  That taken into consideration alongside the song’s musical content, which is equally infectious  classic country, makes the song in whole the record’s most standout offering and just one of the clear examples of what makes El Dorado such a strong new offering from Marcus King.

It goes without saying that ‘Too Much Whiskey’ is a key addition to Marcus King’s debut album, as has been noted.  It is just one of the songs featured in this recording that makes the album so appealing.  ‘The Well,’ the LP’s lead single is another way in which El Dorado proves itself a musical treasure in its own right.  This song’s musical arrangement is a distinct change of pace from that of ‘Too Much Whiskey.’  This arrangement boasts more of a straight forward blues-based rock sound than any country music influences.  This is important to note in that it is another way in which they record’s musical diversity is displayed.  There are hints here of influences from Led Zeppelin, Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Allman Brothers Band just to name a few acts with similar sounds.  The dual-layered guitar approach forms the arrangement’s foundation while the drums couple with the bass and King’s vocals to flesh out the arrangement even more.  The end result of those lines combined, is an arrangement that is just as enjoyable in its own right as that at the center of ‘Too Much Whiskey.’

The musical arrangement at the heart of ‘The Well’ goes a long way toward making the song appealing to listeners.  When it couples with the song’s lyrical content, the two together make even more appealing to said audiences.  King sings in the song’s lead verse, “When I was just a youngin’/Bouncin’ on my mama’s knee/Said, “Son, there’s only one thing that sets your soul free/There wasn’t no sleep until the work was done.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “Papa was a-preachin’/’Bout the fires of hell/If you want a drink of water/Got to go to the well/The Cornerstone Chuch tried to curse my soul/But the good Lord gave me that rock and roll.”  He adds in the song’s third and finale verse, “Let the spirit pull me under/To the bottom of the well/You wanna live forever/But you can never tell/So, one for the money/Two, another show/Three for the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.”  What audiences get here is what comes across as a story about perhaps King’s upbringing and perhaps a commentary about his division from established religion.  It’s a unique approach, to say the least, if in fact that is what is happening here. Keeping that in mind, when it is considered alongside a musical arrangement that is fiery (no pun intended), but not in the fashion that one might think from a song that seemingly takes on the establishment of religion, the whole of the song becomes a work that stands uniquely among others of its ilk.  That whole becomes a work that shows again why this album is such an important addition to King’s catalog.  It is just one more of the album’s important additions.  ‘Wildflowers & Wine’ is yet another example of what makes El Dorado one of the year’s early most notable albums.

‘Wildflowers & Wine’ stands out as its musical arrangement boasts its own unique musical arrangement.  This time, King and his fellow musicians opt for a distinct, direct bluesy arrangement that lends itself easily to some of the best works of Mavis Staples and BB King.  The gentle, subtle keyboards couple with King’s vocal delivery and the equally subtle percussion element and bass to make the whole a work that takes listeners back to a greater era of music.  The effect there is such a positive impact that if only for this element, the song becomes another favorite for listeners.

The musical arrangement at the center of ‘Wildflowers & Wine’ does more than its share to make the song a key addition to El Dorado, and is just one part of what makes the song stand out.  Its lyrical content, which comes across as a love song of sorts, adds to its appeal.  The song’s subject sings in the song’s lead verse, “Wildflowers and wine/An old scratchy record plays in the background of our lives/We’re still here dancing after all this time/Wildflowers and wine.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “I walk through the fields of evergreen/A golden sun like I’ve never seen/I picked them one at a time/Wildflowers and wine.”  He adds in the song’s chorus, “No, I can’t help it/Feeling the way I do/I know you feel it/Feel it the same way, too/No I can’t help it/You’re all I need tonight/You know I mean it/When I look/Look in your eyes.”  Again, this is a love song.  Fittingly, Valentine’s Day is almost here, so this would make for a fitting mood-setter for any lovers out there as the big day nears.  When these deeply emotional lyrics are set alongside the song’s gentle melody, the whole becomes a powerful work in its subtlety and simplicity.  When the song in whole is considered along with the other songs discussed here, the likes of ‘Turn It Up,’ ‘Say You Will,’ the subdued ‘Love Song,’ and the rest of the album’s entries, the album in whole proves to be a strong solo debut for King.

While the musical and lyrical content that makes up the body of El Dorado does a lot to make the album a positive new offering from Marcus King, the album is not without at least one negative – its sequencing.  Being that slower, more reserved songs outnumber the album’s more upbeat works, there is a lot of that music here.  The problem with that is that in examining the album’s sequencing, the album spends a lot more time focused on that slower, more reserved music than its more infectious, energetic work.  It would have made more sense to have spaced the album’s slower, reserved music out more than was done here instead of just sequencing those songs one after another for such a long time.  Sadly though, that didn’t happen here.  To that end, it is a concern that cannot and should not be ignored.  Even with that in mind, it is not enough to make the album “unlistenable.”  It is just something that hopefully King and those behind the boards will take into consideration when and if he releases another solo effort.  Even with this in mind, El Dorado still proves in the long run to be a positive new offering from Marcus King that deserves at least one listen.  It is available now.

Marcus King is in the midst of a tour in support of El Dorado.  King is scheduled to perform life Feb. 6 in Sacramento, CA as part of the tour. More information on El Dorado is available online now along with all of Marcus King’s tour dates, latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://marcuskingband.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/Marcuskingband

 

 

 

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Foghat Shows Real Rock and Roll Is Still Alive And Well On Its New LP

Courtesy:  Foghat Records

Courtesy: Foghat Records

2016 has been quite the year for the rock community.  Over the nearly eight months that have already pass, the rock community has seen a number of impressive new releases with plenty more on the way.  Those impressive releases have come from both independent acts such as Buffalo Summer, Love and a .38, and Resurrection Kings and from more well-known acts the likes of Santana, Rich Robinson, and the focus of today’s review, Foghat.  The veteran rock band released its latest album Under The Influence late last month.  The album, the band’s seventeenth full-length studio recording, is also one of the year’s top new rock records so far.  From beginning to end, this twelve-song record presents everything that is right with rock.  That includes both the musical arrangements that form the foundation of each song and their lyrical content.  One of the songs that best exemplifies this is ‘The Upside of Lonely.’  It is the antithesis of the breakup song.  ‘Knock It Off’ exemplifies it just as much.  Much the same can be said of ‘Hot Mama.’  Each song shows in its own way what makes Under The Influence everything right about rock.  Those songs join with the album’s other nine offerings to make the album in whole, one of 2016s top new rock records so far and one of the year’s top new albums overall, too.

Being considered “under the influence” is typically considered a bad thing.  It means that someone has in his or system something that he or she shouldn’t have.  However in the case of Foghat’s new album, being “under the influence” of the band’s music is a good thing.  It is in fact a very good thing.  That is because over the course of its twelve total songs, the only high that listeners will get is a musical high.  That is because this record exhibits over that span everything that is right with rock and roll today.  It proves that true blue-collar rock and roll is still alive and well.  This is exhibited clearly in the form of ‘The Upside of Lonely.’  The playful, blues-infused tune is the complete antithesis of the breakup song.  Charlie Huhn’s bluesy licks and Scott Holt’s vocal delivery couple with Craig MacGregor’s bass line to form a solid foundation for the song.  Their work conjures thoughts of an upscale jazz and blues club.  Drummer Roger Earl’s equally solid timekeeping strengthens that foundation even more.  The combination of these elements instantly makes the arrangement in whole infectious and a favorite among the album’s overall arrangements.  It is just one part of what makes the song stand out.  The song’s lyrical content is just as important.  Lyrically speaking, the song is the total antithesis of the breakup song.  Holt sings here about all the positives of being alone versus being in a relationship.  He sings, “The good thing about you being gone/I can watch the game all day long/I can stretch my legs out in the bed/Extra pillows underneath my head/Don’t know why nobody told me about the upside of lonely/I got a lot more room for all my stuff/And I only have to wash one cup/I can stay up late and play my guitar/And the groceries go twice as far/Don’t know why nobody told me about the upside of lonely/You girlfriends ain’t ringin’ the phone off the wall/And I never have to hear from my mothering-law/I ain’t cut the grass since the middle of June/I smoke a big cigar in my living room/I don’t know why nobody told me about the upside of lonely.”  What man won’t smile and pump his first in the air in agreement with this sentiment?  Listeners should keep in mind that Holt sings these lines with his tongue planted firmly in cheek.  There’s not a single hint of animosity as he sings these lines or the lines that follow.  Keeping that in mind, the song’s Stevie Ray Vaughan style musical arrangement and its playful lyrical content couple here to make this song a clear example of why Foghat’s new album its own collective example of all that is right with rock and roll today and why the album is also one of the year’s top new rock and overall records.  It is just one of the album’s key compositions, too.  ‘Knock It off’ also serves to help UTI (as it will henceforth be known) stand out in whole.

‘Upside of Lonely’ is a clear example of what makes UTI stand out among its counterparts in the rock community this year.  That is due to its bluesy, Stevie Ray Vaughan style musical arrangement and its playful lyrical content.  It is just one of the record’s key compositions.  ‘Knock It Off’ serves to show what makes UTI stand out just as much as ‘Upside of Lonely.’  Only it does so in a different way.  In listening to this song, listeners that know their music history will instantly note the stylistic similarity to AC/DC in terms of the song’s musical arrangement.  It is a driving, straight-forward 4/4 rocker that is infectious in its very own way.  It does plenty to make the song stand out among the rest of the album’s offerings.  It is just one part of what makes the song stand out, too.  The song’s lyrical content is just as important to note here as its musical content.  Huhn makes no bones about the song’s message here.  He (or the song’s subject) is addressing someone whose sole intent in life seems solely to be making trouble and making others miserable.  He sings to that person in a very matter of fact fashion, “Don’t need no excuses/You like stirrin’ my cup/And pullin’ my strings/You keep winding me up/You think I’m overreacting/There’s a line you cross over/Just give me a reason/I got a chip on my shoulder/So knock it off/Knock it off/You’d better knock it off/I’ve got a chip on my shoulder…so knock it off.”  He goes on to sing in the song’s second verse, “You keep pushin’ and pushin’/You just won’t let up/We gotta settle this quickly/And get out of this rut/I see you lookin’ for trouble/Well I desire some, too/Well just give me a reason/Double dare you to knock it off.”  Who out there hasn’t dealt with someone such as the subject being addressed here?  Exactly.  Considering this, the song becomes a great way to blow off some steam in dealing with such individuals instead of risk losing their jobs or safety over those people.  Keeping this in mind, it serves even more to show why this song is so important to the overall presentation of UTI.  It is still not the last example of what makes UTI stand out, either.  ‘Hot Mama’ serves to show what makes UTI such an important new offering from Foghat just as much as ‘Knock It Off’ and ‘Upside of Lonely.’

‘Upside of Lonely’ and ‘Knock It Off’ are both key examples of what makes Foghat’s new album such an important new offering in this year’s field of new rock albums.  Both songs’ musical arrangements harken back to a better age of rock; an age when rock was great because of its simplicity.  The songs’ lyrical content is just as important to note because of their clear, simple messages.  The prior is the antithesis of the breakup song and the other is a loud, confident statement defying those that would make others’ lives miserable.  The combination of each song’s musical arrangement and lyrical content make each song in whole important in its own right to the album’s overall presentation.  They are, again, just two key compositions included in the body of UTI, though.  ‘Hot Mama’ is just as important to note in examining the album’s body as ‘Upside of Lonely’ and ‘Knock It Off.’  That is because it stands apart from those songs (and the rest of the album’s offerings’) just as much as they do from one another and the rest of the album’s songs.  This song’s musical arrangement helps it stand out with its pure, old school southern rock and roll sound.  It conjures thoughts of Lynyrd Skynyrd and others of that ilk with its riffs.  That is just one part of what makes this record stand out.  The song’s lyrical content is just as notable here as its musical arrangement.  It is so important to note because it is in direct contrast to that of ‘Upside of Lonely.’  Whereas that song touted the positives of bachelorhood this song is more of a fun little piece about a man who has found quite the woman.  There is even a bit of innuendo so to speak in the song’s lyrical content as Huhns subject sings to that woman, “Hot mama/Who’s gonna fan your flame/Hey hot mama/Let me be your fireman” in the song’s chorus.  Whether or not that innuendo was intentionally inserted is anyone’s guess.  But one can’t deny that it is there unintentional or not.  The woman in question is obviously attractive, though.  Huhn’s subject makes that clear as he says to her, You give me a fever/When I’m standing next to you/You’re gonna burn down the house/Lookin’ like you do/Hot mama/Who’s gonna fan your flames/Hey hot mama/Let me be your fireman.”  If this doesn’t get any couple in the mood for a *ahem* busy night then nothing will.  That is because between its “fiery” musical energy and equally notable lyrical content, it will definitely light some flames of passion.  Considering this, it shows once more why this song stands out so loud and proud among the rest of the album’s offerings.  When it is considered along with ‘Upside of Lonely’ and ‘Knock It Off’ all three songs make rather clear why UTI is such an impressive new effort from Foghat.  When listeners hear them, and the rest of the album’s songs, they will agree that every rock purist will want to be under its influence.

Foghat’s new album Under The Influence is a record that is one of 2016’s top new rock records and top new albums overall.  That is because from beginning to end it exemplifies everything that is right with rock and roll today.  It shows that rock is thankfully still alive and well.  Between the album’s overall musical content and its lyrical content, there is plenty to appreciate about the record.  This is evident not just in the songs directly discussed here but in each of the album’s offerings.  In considering this listeners will agree that every rock purist will want to be under its influence.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on Under The Influence is available online now along with all of Foghat’s news at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.foghat.net

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/FOGHAT

 

 

 

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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

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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

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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.