KidEyes Delivers Positive New Song in ‘Don’t Hold Back’

Courtesy: Earshot Media

Independent pop rock act KidEyes is sending a message of hope and optimism with its new single.

The band — Greg Cahn and Ben Epand — debuted its new single ‘Don’t Hold Back‘ and its companion lyric video Oct. 8. The video features the song’s lyrics placed against the backdrop of a high school football field. The sun looks to be slowly setting in the distance as the lyrics appear and fade and the song plays.

The musical arrangement in question is a composition that will appeal to fans of Mumford & Sons, and to a slightly lesser degree, Counting Crows. Its lyrical accompaniment, as noted, delivers a positive message.

Chan explained that positive message in a recent interview.

“Given the weight of the world right now, music can certainly heal, and as artists, this song is our way to help do just that,” he said.

‘Don’t Hold Back’ is the lead single from KidEyes’ forthcoming, as-yet-untitled EP, which is expected for release in Spring 2021.

In connection with the debut of its new single and lyric video, KidEyes recently launched what is has dubbed the #Don’tHoldBackChallenge. The challenge encourages everyone to post a video daily, explaining that for which they are thankful. Those who take part explain what they are thankful for by sharing a specific experience and tag a person in the post, which can be no longer than one minute.

‘Don’t Hold Back’ is available to stream and download here.

More information on KidEyes’ new single, companion video and #Don’tHoldBackChallenge is available along with all of KidEyes’ latest news at:




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Sherman’s Studio’ “Concert” Is A Performance Of A Lifetime

Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution

This year was another strong one for live recordings.  Between recordings released in bundles and those released either as standalone CDs or DVDs/BDs, the recordings that serve audiences who might have otherwise not been able to take in a live show, proved on both fronts to be largely solid offerings.  Given, there were some disappointments including Jane’s Addiction’s latest live recording Alive at Twenty-Five and the archived Les Paul tribute concert Live From Universal Studios Hollywood.  For the most part though, this year’s field of new live recordings — both on CD and DVD/BD — has proven to be quite impressive as has already been noted in the previous live recordings lists.  Keeping that in mind, it is only fair, having noted the best live CDs and best new live DVDs and Blu-rays to present one list of the year’s best new overall live recordings.

This year’s best overall live recordings pull from both audio and audio-visual fields, proving that recordings can be enjoyable in both arenas.  Topping this year’s list of best live overall recordings is PBS’ in studio “concert” from Richard Sherman, one half of the famed Sherman Brothers creative team, Songs of A Lifetime.  Slipknot’s new live recording Day of the Gusano is on this list, too thanks to the combined impact of its CD and Blu-ray presentation.  Of course while Alter Bridge, Jon Cleary and Experience Hendrix, LLC all released new recordings that were CD only, they deserve their own spot on the overall list.  Eagles of Death Metal’s new live recording Live at the Olympia Paris also deserves to be on that list along with The Rolling Stones’ new From The Vault offering Sticky Fingers Live at the Fonda Theatre 2015 — again because of the overall impact of its audio and audio/visual sides.  It’s just one more on that list.

As with every previous list, this entry offers this critic’s 10 best new titles in the category along with five additional honorable mention titles for a total of 15 titles.  Enough rambling.  Without any further ado, here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks 2017 Top 10 New Live Recordings.


  1. Richard ShermanSongs of a Lifetime
  2. Slipknot — Day of the Gusano
  3. Mumford & Sons — Live in South Africa
  4. Between The Buried & Me — Coma Ecliptic Live
  5. Jon Cleary — Live at Chickie Wah Wah
  6. Curtis Knight presents Jimi Hendrix — Live at George’s Club 1965 & 1966
  7. Eagles of Death Metal — Live at Olympia Paris
  8. The Rolling Stones — From The VaultSticky Fingers Live at The Fonda Theatre 2015
  9. Foghat — Live at the Belly Up
  10. Black Sabbath — The End
  11. Jeff Beck — Live at the Hollywood Bowl
  12. The Who — Live at the Isle of Wight 2014
  13. The Winery Dogs — Dog Years — Live at Santiago & Beyond 2013 – 2016
  14. The Who — Tommy Live at Royal Albert Hall
  15. The Dead Daisies — Live & Louder

That’s it finally for the live recordings categories.  Up next will be the year’s top new albums overall.  It’s going to be an interesting list, needless to say as it may well change before it even gets posted up in the next day or so, so stay tuned!  Also on the way is a handful of lists for the year’s new DVD and Blu-ray titles including box sets for families and for grown-ups as well as family DVDs and Blu-rays.  Stay tuned!

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Mike Mangione & The Kin’s New LP “Shines”

Courtesy: RODZINKA Records

Mike Mangione and The Kin is scheduled to release its new album But I’ve Seen the Stars on Oct. 20 via RODZINKA Records.  The 10-song, 44-minute record is just the latest effort from band founder Mangione, and the first for Mangione and his new group, The Kin. Its musical arrangements will appeal to any fan of Delta Rae, Mumford & Sons, The Dunwells, Marc Broussard and other similar acts while its lyrical content boasts an equally wide appeal if not wider.  That is exemplified right from the album’s outset in ‘Three Days,’ which will be discussed shortly.  ‘Riding Down,’ which comes later in the album’s run is another example of the album’s wide-reaching musical and lyrical appeal.  It will be discussed later.  ‘The Question & The Cure’ is yet another example of how far-reaching this album proves to be, and is hardly the last of the record’s songs that can be cited to support that statement.  From start to finish, this record is nothing but positive.  Considering all of this, it proves to be not only one of the year’s top new independent records but potentially one of the year’s top new Americana/folk records and even top new albums overall.

Mike Mangione and The Kin’s new record But I’ve Seen The Stars is a shining new effort from the veteran singer/songwriter and his new group of musicians. That is thanks in no small part to the album’s musical and lyrical content.  The combination of those two elements makes this record a work that will reach an innumerable audience.  This statement is supported right from the album’s outset through the song ‘Three Days.’  The song’s gentle, flowing acoustic guitar line and harmonies instantly conjure thoughts of Delta Rae.  The string arrangements and barely there percussion serve to strengthen that comparison even more.  The balance in those elements easily evokes powerful emotions in any listener’s heart and mind.  The song’s lyrics will move listeners just as much as the song’s musical arrangement as Mangione sings, “Three more days/I’m coming home/Leave the candle by the door/Three more days/Will you be there, too/Please be gentle, I’ll be true to you/Every day” right off the top.  From there Mangione goes on to sing in seeming introspection, “Had no feeling and no main/I had a story to arrange/The birds sang in missionary prose/Good intentions can impose/So I headed on my own/To seek the origin alone/Headed on my own/I sought the elders/Heard them speak/And I saw forever and the meek/And with fear they focused on my eyes/Fear was hatred in disguise/But the heart is lined with gold/And in there the story’s being told.” Mangione’s introspection continues in the song’s second verse just as much as the song’s lead verse as he sings about accepting mortality, personal emotions and other items.  Simply put, there is a lot of lyrical ground covered in a small space, and Mangione does a truly good job of making listeners think considering the seeming introspection presented in the song’s lyrics.  When the emotions and thought generated through that introspection is coupled with the song’s equally moving musical arrangement, the end result is an opus that will touch any listener deeply, proving right from the beginning the record’s impact and reach. It is just one of the songs included in this album that serves to show that impact and reach.  ‘Riding Down’ serves just as much as ‘Three Days’ to show why this album is such a success.

‘Riding Down’ is an important piece to discuss in examining this album because it is completely unlike ‘Three Days’ both musically and lyrically.  Its pure 12-bar blues arrangement will move audiences not by tugging at their heartstrings but by putting a smile on their faces and getting their feet tapping.  While the song is nearly four-minutes long, its arrangement makes it feel like that time passes by so much faster, which in this case is a good thing.  The arrangement is so enjoyable that listeners won’t even realize how much time has passed by its end, easily leaving them wanting more.  The song’s lyrical content is just as fun with its own classic blues approach.  He sings in the song’s lead verse, “In the midnight hour/Of the seventh day/There was a light around my window/Heard I couldn’t stay/I’m gone/I’m gone/When the hellhounds call with the whistle blowin’ baby/I’ll be riding down.”  He goes on to sing in the song’s second verse, “Go and tell my mama/Tell my sister I’m gone/I’m gonna hitch the black snake/A hundred-thirty strong.”  One is lead to think Mangione is singing here about that fabled long black train that has been noted in so many blues (and gospel) songs so many times before.  Mangione’s approach to the subject in this case is an original approach, yet still as enjoyable as that in those other songs.  When it is joined with the song’s infectious blues arrangement, the result is a song that quickly becomes one of this album’s best songs, if not its best.  It is yet another example of what makes this record such a surprising hit, and not the last.  ‘The Question & The Cure’ is yet another example of what makes this record stand out.

‘The Question & The Cure’ is yet another critical addition to But I’ve Seen The Stars because it stands on its own merits just as much as the previously discussed songs (and those not mentioned here).  The combination of Mangione’s vocal delivery style and the song’s gentle, flowing arrangement makes the song yet another emotionally powerful work.  The whole of those elements lends the song to comparisons to Bruce Springsteen and Mumford & Sons.  The same can be said of the song’s lyrical content, which sees Mangione singing, “And the halo/Of the living/Lies the ancient and the dead/The broken/We don’t read too good/Cause we can’t spell too good/So I’ve read/God bless the innocent/They’re just waiting on a home/And the course is wide and heavy/And the winter’s bite is cold/No way/Will my family lie/We’re the downcast cry/In the soil/they’re hungry…and the tears just change to blood and oil/But god bless the broken-hearted/They’re just waiting on the day/When they’re free from falling victim/When they can give it all away.  Yet again listeners have here an example of true lyrical depth that will tug at listeners’ heartstrings and leave them thinking and talking.  Even more impressive is the fact that Mangione and company did not just rehash the lyrical content or arrangements used in the album’s other works to have that powerful impact here.  Considering that, the song shows in whole why it is such an important part of this new record.  When it is joined with the previously discussed songs and those not noted here, the end result is a record that proves to be a truly shining success.

Mike Mangione and The Kin’s new album But I’ve Seen The Stars is a record reaches the stars without even trying.  Its musical arrangements and lyrical content together can leave listeners feeling such deep emotions at times while bringing great joy at others as well as emotions in between at yet others.  That is evidenced through the songs noted here and those not noted.  All things considered, this record shines just as bright as the stars seen, proving to be one of the year’s top new independent albums and potentially even one of the year’s top new albums overall.  But I’ve Seen The Stars will be released Oct. 20 via RODZINKA Records.  More information on the album is available online along with Mangione’s latest news and more at:










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Mumford & Sons’ New Live Recording Won’t Collect Any “Dust” In Audiences’ Collections

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/Universal Music Group

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/Universal Music Group

Mumford & Sons is one of the biggest bands in the world right now.  Ever since its inception in 2007, the London-based neo-folk outfit has released three albums, selling millions of copies of each along the way.  Even with only three records under its members’ collective belts, the band has gained just as many fans around the world as it has sold albums if not more. Now a decade after the band first formed, it has added to its already impressive resume with its latest full-length live recording–a recording that all audiences will appreciate—in the form of Live From South Africa: Dust and Thunder.  This latest live offering from Mumford & Sons—it’s last live recording was included in the 2010 re-issue of its 2009 debut album Sigh No More—will impress audiences first and foremost in its presented set list.  That will be discussed shortly.  The band’s performance of said set list is just as important to note in this recording as the set list itself.  It will be discussed later.  The concert’s collective cinematography and editing round out its most important elements.  That is not to say it isn’t the last element to note in examining its presentation.  The various platforms on which it has been made available can easily be examined, too.  When this is set alongside the concert’s collective cinematography and editing, the band’s performance, and the show’s set list, the whole of this recording proves to be a work that all audiences will appreciate.

Mumford & Sons’s new live recording Live From South Africa: Dust and Thunder is a recording that all audiences will appreciate.  This includes fans and fans in passing.  That is made evident through the time and effort that was clearly put into the recording’s presentation beginning with its set list.  The concert’s 17-song, 94-minute set list pulls from all three of the band’s albums almost equally. It pulls four songs from the band’s debut and sophomore record while its third record is only slightly more heavily represented with six songs.  There is also a pair of performances with veteran Senegalese artist Baaba Maal included in the set list.  One of that pair—that of ‘Lampenda’—pulls from Maal’s 2016 album Traveller.  The other song that the two acts perform together—‘Wonda’—comes from the groups’ 2016 collaborative record Johannesburg.  The five-song recording was released June 17, 2016 via Glassnote.  Keeping this in mind, it is clear that a lot of thought was put into this concert’s set list.  The set list does technically favor the band’s latest recording the most.  But even with that in mind, it doesn’t favor that album too much more than the band’s first two recordings.  The addition of the set’s additional songs from Baaba Maal adds even more depth to the set list.  All things considered, the songs that are featured in this recording’s set list make clear why the set list is so important to the recording’s presentation.  The set list is just one of the most important elements to note of the recording’s overall presentation, too.  The band’s performance of the set list is just as important to note as the set list itself in examining the recording’s presentation.

The set list at the center of Mumford & Sons’ new live recording is in itself a pivotal piece of the recording’s presentation.  That is because it balances representation of each of the band’s albums so well.  While it is clearly an important part of the recording’s presentation, it is only one important part of that presentation.  The band’s performance of the featured set list is just as important to note in examining the recording’s presentation as the set list itself.  The most notable aspect of the band’s performance here is that it really lets the music do the talking for its members.  Front man Marcus Mumford spend the better part of the concert getting the audience worked into a frenzy with the energy and enthusiasm put into every one of the show’s songs.  Mumford and company give each performance its all, and the audience shows its appreciation for that effort with its own energy from start to finish.  It isn’t until late in the concert that Mumford starts to really get into the show and start interacting with the audience more actively.  When he does, that serves to work the audience even more into a frenzy.  That is especially noticeable late in the concert as Mumford joins the audience during one performance.  He doesn’t just walk the safe aisle areas of the audience, either.  He actually mixes in with the audience, becoming one with the concertgoers.  Between that moment and the overall performance put on by the band throughout the course of the 94-minute show, the band’s performance overall will keep audiences engaged and entertained just as much as the show’s set list if not more so.  The band members’ performances—both alone and collectively—display such energy and enthusiasm.  Those performances show that a band doesn’t always need pyro and other special effects to entertain audiences.  Sometimes all an act needs is talent and heart, and that is exactly what the band presents throughout its performance of each song, showing in whole why the band’s overall performance is just as important to note in examining this concert’s presentation as the show’s set list.  It still is not the recording’s last important element.  The recording’s collective cinematography and editing round out its most important elements.

Live From South Africa: Dust and Thunder’s set list and the band’s performance thereof are both key pieces of the recording’s overall presentation. As important as they are to the recording’s overall presentation, they are not its only key elements.  Its collective cinematography and editing are just as important as those elements to the recording’s presentation.  The recording’s cinematography and editing are so pivotal to the recording’s presentation because they make this concert feel like so much more than just another run-of-the-mill concert recording.  Audiences will note a very specific frame rate was used in capturing the concert.  The recording’s bonus insert (at least in its Blu-ray presentation) does not note the cameras’ frame rates in their shooting.  But it is obvious it was not a standard shooting rate.  The angles and shot transitions were just as expertly handled in post production.  The wide shots captured from high above the stage that expertly capture the immensity of the audience in attendance of the concert will leave audiences in awe.  The same can be said of the dolly shots from just below the stage and the wide shots from amidst the audience.  The transitions between these and so many other angles and shots add even more depth to the work of those behind the lens (and editing stations).  From one song to the next, the transitions just as expertly capture the songs’ energy, the energy in the band’s performance and the audience’s appreciation for the band’s efforts.  Between those expert transitions developed in the recording’s post production, the shots captured by the camera crew at the concert and even the concert’s sound engineers (speaking of which this concert’s audio is another that absolutely begs for a surround sound home theater system for optimum experience), the recording’s camera work and associated editing proves to be just as important to its presentation as its set list and the band’s performance thereof.  When all three elements are set alongside one another, they make this concert an experience that all audiences will appreciate.  That includes audiences who might just be casual fans.  Add in the multiple platforms on which the recording has been made available, and audiences have in this recording what is one of the year’s first great new live recordings.

Mumford & Sons’ new live recording Live From South Africa: Dust and Thunder is one of 2017’s first great new live recordings.  A thorough examination of the recording’s set list, the band’s performance thereof, the recording’s collective production values (both in production and in post production) and its platforms supports that statement.  That has already been noted above.  Each element is clearly important in its own right.  All things considered, Live From South Africa: Dust and Thunder proves to be one of this year’s first great live recordings.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on Live From South Africa: Dust and Thunder is available online now along with all of Mumford & Sons’ latest news and more at:









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Carnival Of Madness Band Line-Up Announced

Courtesy:  abc-pr

Courtesy: abc-pr

With the unofficial start of Summer come and gone, that means that lots of people will be hitting the roads very soon for their annual Summer vacations.  It also means that the annual rush of Summer music festivals will also be hitting the road.  One of those festivals is the annual Carnival of Madness tour.  The festival tour begins Sunday, August 11th.  A full list of tour dates will be made available on the official Carnival of Madness website next Monday, June 3rd.  Tickets will go on sale next Friday, June 7th.

The tour—sponsored by Monster Energy—will feature Shinedown, Papa Roach, Skillet, In This Moment, and We As Human on the bill.  This year’s tour is not the first time on the festival’s lineup for Shinedown.  The band headlined the festival tour in its inaugural run in 2010.  When it hits the road, the band will be touring in support of its new EP, The Live Room. The EP features five songs from the band’s most recent full length LP, Amaryllis.  Also included in the new EP are performances of Carole King’s classic hit, ‘I Feel The Earth Move’ and audio and video performances of the band’s latest single, ‘I’ll Follow You’, as well as its megahit, ‘Bully.’ 

 Skillet will be touring on the heels of its most recent full length studio release, Awake.  The album was one of only three rock albums that went platinum in 2012.  The only other rock albums to reach Platinum status in 2012 were El Camino from The Black Keys and Babel from Mumford & Sons.  That was just one of the many honors for Awake.  The album debuted at #2 on Billboard’s “top 200 Albums Chart” and #1 on its “Top Modern Rock/Alternative Albums” chart.  Also, it reached #1 on iTunes’ “Top Album” chart.  It garnered the band three Billboard Music Awards and four hit singles, including the Gold-Certified #1 single, ‘Awake & Alive’, the Gold-Certified ‘Hero’, ‘It’s Not Me It’s You’ and the Platinum-Certified ‘Monster.’  The companion video to ‘Monster’ earned more than 52 million views on YouTube.  NBC used ‘Hero’ for broadcasts of its weekly NFL Sunday Night Football.  It also served as the theme song for WWE’s 2012 Royal Rumble broadcast.  On June 25th, the band will release the follow-up to Awake  with its new full length album, Rise.  The band already has released two songs from the album, ‘Sick of It’ and ‘American Noise.’  Both songs have already hit #1 on the iTunes Rock Chart.

All of the accolades received by Skillet have potentially helped another band on the bill for this year’s tour.  That band is We As Human.  The band was signed to Atlantic Records in 2011 via Hear It Loud, a partnership formed partially by Skillet’s John Cooper along with manager Zach Kelm and Todd Rubenstein after Cooper had discovered the band.  The band’s self-titled debut album will be available June 25th

In This Moment joins this year’s tour on the heels of the release of its latest album, Blood, which was released in August 2012.  Blood debuted at #15 on the Billboard “Top 200 Albums” Chart and has sold over 150,000 copies since its release.  The album spawned two hits, ‘Adrenalize’ and its title track.  The band’s 2007 debut record, Beautiful Tragedy earned the band a spot on both the 2007 and 2008 Ozzfest.  And 2008’s The Dream landed the band a slot on the 2009 Warped Tour.  2010’s A Star-Crossed Wasteland was the band’s highest-charting album until the release of Blood

Papa Roach’s most recently released single, ‘Where Did The Angels Go’ reached #1 on the Active Rock Radio Chart from BDS/Billboard.  The single comes from the band’s most recent full length release, The Connection, released via Eleven Seven Music.  The album was released in October 2012 and debuted as iTunes’ #2 Rock album.  It’s just one of ten Top 10 rock hits and seven Top 10 alternative hits.  The band also has two Grammy nominations and an MTV VMA nomination.

For more information on each band and the upcoming tour, fans can go online to the festival’s official website, or its official Facebook page,  Audiences can also get the latest updates on the tour via Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube at,, and

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