Up-And-Coming Acts, Veteran Bands Alike Made 2021 Another Great Year For Rock

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

The rock community turned out a whole bunch of great new content in 2021.  From established acts to the up-and-comers, to the veterans, acts from across the rock community gave audiences plenty of reason to be happy this year.  Now with only 21 days left in the year, that flow of new releases has slowed, though there is already lots of rock to look forward to in 2022, beginning early in the year.  Until then though, Phil’s Picks has its annual list of this year’s top new rock albums to share. 

As was the case with all of the other lists, this one was not easy to craft, either.  Pop Evil returned this year with its powerful new album, Versatile.  Liquid Tension Experiment (which is essentially the side project of three of Dream Theater’s members) returned for the first time in some years with its third record, too.  Up-and-coming neo-classic rock band Greta Van Fleet worked hard this year with its new album to show that it wants to be known as its own act, not just a Led Zeppelin knockoff.  Between this record, the others noted here and so many others, this year’s list of top new rock albums is diverse.

As with every other list presented by Phil’s Picks, it consists of the year’s top 10 new albums and five honorable mentions for a total of 15.  Without any further ado, here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks’ 2021 Top 10 New Rock Albums.

PHIL’S PICKS 2021 TOP 10 NEW ROCK ALBUMS

  1. Liquid Tension Experiment – 3
  1. John 5 – Sinner
  1. Billy F. Gibbons – Hardware
  1. The Dead Daisies – Holy Ground
  1. Mason Hill – Against The Wall
  1. Candlebox – Wolves
  1. Marc Ribler – The Whole World Awaits You
  1. Myles Kennedy – The Ides of March
  1. Pop Evil – Versatile
  1. Dropkick Murphys – Turn Up That Dial
  1. L.A. Guns – Checkered Past
  1. Foo Fighters – Medicine at Midnight
  1. Grand Royale – Carry On
  1. Styx – Crash of the Crown
  1. Greta Van Fleet – The Battle at Garden’s Gate

That’s it for this list, but wait, there’s more!  Yes, there are still two more music lists to go before the attention turns to the best of the year’s new movie and TV categories.  Stay tuned!

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.  

Slash ft. Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators Premieres New Album’s Second Single

Courtesy: GIbson Records

Audiences are getting another preview of 4, the next album from Slash ft. Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators.

The group debuted the record’s second single, ‘Fill My World‘ Friday. The song is the album’s second single behind ‘The River is Rising.’ The band premiered the song’s video Oct. 22.

The track listing for 4 is noted below.

The musical arrangement featured in ‘Fill My World’ is a neo-classic rock type composition. The steady time keeping and the vocals pair well with the bass line to make for even more enjoyment.

Slash talked about the song’s musical and lyrical content in a prepared statement.

“Musically, I came up with it at my studio,” he said. “It was just the opening riff, and then the underlying chord changes started to come out in my mind. I wasn’t sure if I was going to pursue it or not, but I had to record it and make a demo. I thought, I don’t know what the guys are going to think… Because it has a certain sentimental kind of feel to it. But I sent it to Myles, and he came back with these heartfelt lyrics. I thought it was about the loss we’ve all been suffering during this dark period, and then he told me it was about his dog. [laughs] I said, ‘Well, you know, everybody has had somebody that they love affected by this, so…”

Kennedy expanded on Slash’s comments.

So, I have this little Shih Tzu named Mozart – he tries to act all tough, but he’s really not,” said Kennedy.” “And on one occasion we couldn’t get home, our flight was delayed and there was a really intense storm over our house. We have one of those little camera systems to keep an eye on the dog when we can’t be there, and we saw him just freaking out. It was heartbreaking to watch. It terrified the little guy. So, the narrative of the song is inspired by what I imagined he might have been thinking as it all went down. And his plea to us to come home.”

Added Kennedy, “When you listen to it, it could apply to a relationship between humans. But I thought it was interesting, at least for me, to sing it from Mozart’s perspective. And to be really honest, as I was singing the song in the studio, at one point you can hear my voice crack a little bit. It was getting to me. So, it’s definitely sung from the heart. And I’m man enough to admit it!”

The track listing for 4 is noted below.

1.   “The River is Rising”

2.   “Whatever Gets You By”

3.   “C’est La Vie”

4.   “The Path Less Followed”

5.   “Actions Speak Louder Than Words”

6.   “Spirit Love”

7.   “Fill My World”

8.   “April Fool”

9.   “Call Off the Dogs”

10. “Fall Back to Earth”

In related news, Gibson will commemorate the release of 4, the band’s first record with Gibson Records, with the release of a first-ever, limited edition Slash Les Paul album 4 package on Feb. 11. Only 250 of these packages, which include a Slash Les Paul guitars will be available. They will be available here and through select Gibson dealers. Along with the guitar, the package also features a vinyl copy of the album, guitar pick, signed band picture, and album decal sticker.

In other news, the band is scheduled to launch a tour in support of its new album Feb. 8 in Portland, OR. The tour is scheduled to run through March 26 in Orlando, FL and features planned performances in cities nationwide, such as Milwaukee, WI; Seattle, WA and Waterloo, NY. Tickets and the tour’s schedule are available here.

More information on Slash ft. Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators’ new tour, single, video, and album is available along with all of the group’s latest news at:

Website:  https://www.slashonline.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/Slash

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/Slash

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://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.

Slash Ft. Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators Announces New Album Title, Release Date; Debuts Video For Album’s Lead Single; Announces New Tour Dates

Courtesy: Gibson Records/Prime PR Group

Slash ft. Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators will release their new album in the new year.

The band is scheduled to release its simply-titled album, 4, Feb. 4 through Gibson Records. In anticipation of the album’s release, the band premiered the video for the album’s lead single, ‘The River is Rising’ Friday.

Shot in downtown Los Angeles with Gibson TV and directed by Todd Harapiak, the video features Slash, Kennedy and the rest of the band in a large warehouse/studio setting performing the new catchy, upbeat rocker.

Slash talked about the song’s musical arrangement during a recent interview.

“There’s two or three songs on the record that were written during the pandemic; everything else was written before,” he said. “‘The River is Rising’ was one of the last songs I wrote before we started pre-production, and because it was so fresh and has a certain groove and energy to it, it was the first thing we really attacked. It’s the newest song on the record, and as for the double-time part, that was something that I came up with and tagged onto the end of the arrangement. Then when we were over at RCA, Dave Cobb suggested we do it right after the breakdown. So, we went straight into the fast part, and I just started doing the guitar solo over it. It was one of those things where we were jamming around, trying to fish out the arrangement, and it just happened.”

Kennedy expanded on Slash’s comments, explaining the the message in the song’s lyrical theme.

“The lyric ultimately explores how humans can be brainwashed or indoctrinated by some sort of dangerous idea. Once we shot the demo back and forth a few times, I personally felt confident that we had the album opener. To me, it’s an important track.”

In related news, Gibson will commemorate the release of 4, the band’s first record with Gibson Records, with the release of a first-ever, limited edition Slash Les Paul album 4 package on Feb. 11. Only 250 of these packages, which include a Slash Les Paul guitars will be available. They will be available here and through select Gibson dealers. Along with the guitar, the package also features a vinyl copy of the album, guitar pick, signed band picture, and album decal sticker.

In related news, the band is scheduled to launch a tour in support of its new album Feb. 8 in Portland, OR. The tour is scheduled to run through March 26 in Orlando, FL and features planned performances in cities nationwide, such as Milwaukee, WI; Seattle, WA and Waterloo, NY.

Spotify fans will have early access to tickets at 10 a.m. local time Tuesday. American Express card holders can get tickets at 10 a.m. local time Wednesday 10 p.m. local time Thursday. General sale tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. local time Friday.

The tour’s schedule is noted below.

Courtesy: Prime PR Group

More information on Slash ft. Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators’ new tour, single, video, and album is available along with all of the group’s latest news at:

Website:  https://www.slashonline.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/Slash

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/Slash

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://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.

Myles Kennedy Debuts ‘A Thousand Words’ Video

Courtesy: Napalm Records

Myles Kennedy premiered the video for his latest single this week.

Kennedy debuted the video for his latest single, ‘A Thousand Words’ Tuesday. The song is the fifth single from his latest album, The Ides of March, which was released in May through Napalm Records. The album has also produced the singles, ‘In Stride,’ Get Along,’ The Ides of March,’ and ‘Love Rain Down.’

The video for ‘A Thousand Words’ is presented stylistically in the same fashion as that of Alter Bridge’s single, ‘Native Son.’ It is presented with each aspect in paper, opening with people standing at a graveside as Kennedy sings about the importance of learning about and appreciating life in every facet. As the song progresses, Kennedy, also presented as a paper figure of sorts, rides on a roller coaster as he performs his new single. The visualization further translates the song’s apparent message of making the most of life while we have it in our hands.

The musical arrangement featured in ‘A Thousand Words’ is everything that audiences have come to expect from Kennedy both as a solo artist and as a member of Alter Bridge. That is evidenced through the arrangement’s straight forward melodic rock approach. It is an easy fit for any active rock radio programmer’s play list.

Courtesy: Napalm Records

In other news, Kennedy is scheduled to launch “The Ides of March Tour” today in St. Petersburg, FL. The almost month-long tour is in support of The Ides of March.

The tour is scheduled to run through Oct. 2 in Baltimore, MD and features scheduled performances in cities, such as Flint, MI; Atlanta, GA and St. Louis, MO. The tour’s schedule is noted below. Tickets are available here.

MYLES KENNEDY – The Ides Of March Tour
7-Sep – St. Petersburg, FL @ Floridian Social Club
8-Sep – Orlando, FL @ The Plaza Live
10-Sep – Atlanta, GA @ Buckhead Theatre
13-Sep – St. Louis, MO @ Red Flag
14-Sep – Des Moines, IA @ Wooly’s
17-Sep – Racine, WI @ Route 20
20-Sep – Flint, MI @ The Machine Shop
22-Sep – Chattanooga, TN @ The Signal
23-Sep – Nashville, TN @ Marathon Music Works
25-Sep – Pittsburgh, PA @ Enclave
26-Sep – Red Bank, NJ @ The Vogel
28-Sep – New York, NY @ Irving Plaza
29-Sep – Philadelphia, PA @ Underground Arts
1-Oct – Marietta, OH @ “The Adelphia Music Hall (Summer Concert Series)”
2-Oct – Baltimore, MD @ Baltimore Sound Stage

More information on Myles Kenndy’s upcoming tour is available along with all of Kennedy’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://myleskennedy.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/OfficialMylesKennedy

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/MylesKennedy

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.  

Myles Kennedy Announces New Live Dates

Courtesy: Napalm Records

Myles Kennedy will head out on the road next month.

The Alter Bridge front man is scheduled to launch “The Ides of March Tour” Sept. 9 in St. Petersburg, FL. The almost month-long tour is in support of Kennedy’s sophomore solo album, The Ides of March, which was released in May through Napalm Records.

The tour is scheduled to run through Oct. 2 in Baltimore, MD and features scheduled performances in cities, such as Flint, MI; Atlanta, GA and St. Louis, MO. The tour’s schedule is noted below. Tickets are available here.

MYLES KENNEDY – The Ides Of March Tour
7-Sep – St. Petersburg, FL @ Floridian Social Club
8-Sep – Orlando, FL @ The Plaza Live
10-Sep – Atlanta, GA @ Buckhead Theatre
13-Sep – St. Louis, MO @ Red Flag
14-Sep – Des Moines, IA @ Wooly’s
17-Sep – Racine, WI @ Route 20
20-Sep – Flint, MI @ The Machine Shop
22-Sep – Chattanooga, TN @ The Signal
23-Sep – Nashville, TN @ Marathon Music Works
25-Sep – Pittsburgh, PA @ Enclave
26-Sep – Red Bank, NJ @ The Vogel
28-Sep – New York, NY @ Irving Plaza
29-Sep – Philadelphia, PA @ Underground Arts
1-Oct – Marietta, OH @ “The Adelphia Music Hall (Summer Concert Series)”
2-Oct – Baltimore, MD @ Baltimore Sound Stage

More information on Myles Kenndy’s upcoming tour is available along with all of Kennedy’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://myleskennedy.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/OfficialMylesKennedy

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/MylesKennedy

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.  

Forget Fear, Audiences Will Welcome Myles Kennedy’s Latest Solo LP

Courtesy: Napalm Records

Myles Kennedy either is the type who refuses to rest easy on his laurels or just cannot stand to be idle.  Between his work with Alter Bridge, his recordings with Slash, and his own solo work, Kennedy has released no less than 10 albums.  Alter Bridge’s latest album Walk The Sky was his latest record with that act, in 2019.  He released two records in 2018, one with Slash (Living the Dream), and the other being his then latest solo record, Year of the Tiger.  Alter Bridge followed up Walk the Sky with the live EP, Walk The Sky 2.0 in 2019.  Now Friday, Kennedy will follow up all of that content with the release of another record, his latest solo record, Ides of March.  The 11-song record is a presentation that shows despite Kennedy being so busy, he has not lost his step.  The record has already produced a handful of singles, each of which are impressive in their own right.  They are just a portion of what makes Kennedy’s new album so strong.  The album’s closer, ‘Worried Mind,’ is another example of what makes Ides of March succeed.  It will be discussed shortly.  ‘Moonshot,’ a late entry to the record, is also a prime example of what makes Kennedy’s new album work so well.  It will be discussed a little later.  ‘In Stride,’ which comes early in the album’s 53-minute run, is one more example of what audiences have to expect from Ides of March.  When these songs are considered along with the album’s already released singles and the rest of the record’s songs, the whole makes Ides of March well-deserving of its own spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new rock albums.

Myles Kennedy’s latest solo record (only his second solo record), is a sign that the Alter Bridge front man has not lost a single step.  That is despite keeping himself so busy over the years.  This record’s musical and lyrical content is just as strong as anything that he has crafted as a member of Alter Bridge and alongside Slash.  As a matter of fact, the singles that the album has already released show this record to be quite the departure for Kennedy in comparison to those works.  They are just some of the songs that show the album’s strength.  ‘Worried Mind,’ which closes out the album, is another way in which the album shows the album’s strength.  The song’s arrangement – like those in the rest of the album – is unlike anything that Alter Bridge has crafted.  Not to be confused with the version made so popular by George Jones and Ray Charles, it is a bluesy ballad that starts off gently before moving in more of a Mississippi Delta Blues style composition tinged with some rock influence added for good measure.  The whole sounds like it would be an odd combination, but is in fact quite the interesting, subtle composition that is sure to engage and entertain listeners in its own right.  It is just part of what makes the song stand out.  The message of reassurance that the song’s lyrical content delivers is pure blues and rock, and will move listeners in its own right.

The positive message in the song’s lyrical content is delivered right from the song’s outset as Kennedy sings, “Don’t be scared/Do not cry/Things will get better/Just give it time/Let me hold you/Let me ease your worried mind/Let your fears/Drift and die/If for a moment/If for the night/Let me show you/Let me ease your worried mind.”  Increasingly, this sounds more like a love song, which would make sense considering the ballad-esque approach to the song’s arrangement.  Kennedy continues in the song’s second verse, “You can run/You can hide/But please remember/If you give it time…Let it ease your worried mind.”  There is one line in that verse that is difficult to decipher sans lyrics.  That aside, the central message is still clear.  This is a man who wants to be there for his woman and help her.  It is a love song and a blues song in one that assures listeners’ engagement and entertainment in its own powerful way.  Together with the song’s infectious blues-rock hybrid arrangement, the song in whole proves in its own way why Ides of March is a strong new offering from Myles Kennedy.  It is just one of the songs not yet used as a single that accomplishes that goal, either.  ‘Moonshot’ is another example of how much audiences have to anticipate from Kennedy’s new album.

‘Moonshot’ takes Kennedy in a direction completely opposite of ‘Worried Mind’ in its musical arrangement.  Right from the opening bars of the song, which barely tops the five-minute mark, audiences get a clear country-western vibe.  That country western sound remains throughout the song, making itself mostly known in the song’s choruses.  That sound and stylistic approach, against Kennedy’s more rock style sound here, makes for another standout musical work.  That is especially the case as Kennedy’s vocal delivery is added to the mix.  When the song’s fully immersive musical arrangement pairs with the composition’s equally powerful lyrical content, the whole becomes even more memorable.

Kennedy opens the song, singing, “I remember when/We were suiting up again/Before the end of time/We were/Living in a dream/That never seemed to cease/Never asking why/Over and over again/We took so much for granted/Still we refused to give in to the fate we’d been handed/And now it’s a moonshot/We can’t stop/Until we get back to the stars/If it’s the last chance/Then take my hand/If there’s a miracle left in your heart/It can’t be that far.”  This comes across as a sort of introspective statement that finds the song’s subject looking warmly on the past and just as optimistically to the future in terms of life in general.  The seeming statement continues in the song’s second verse as Kennedy sings, “There is joy beyond your tears/Take comfort/I am here/Let me show the way/There’s no purpose/There’s no plane/But I don’t give a damn/As long as you’re okay/Over and over again/WE took so much for granted/But still I refuse to give in/To the fate that we’ve been handed/Yes, it’s a moonshot/WE can’t stop/Until we get back to the stars/If it’s the last chance/Then take my hand/If there’s a miracle left to be found/It’s a matter of time.”  Overall, this song seems to be one of those songs that reminisces about the past and friendships more than any romantic story line.  This is even though it could be construed to be just another love song.  This story and its unique delivery works with the song’s equally powerful musical arrangement to make the song in whole yet another example of what makes Ides of March such an enjoyable work in whole.  It is just one more example of what audiences have to anticipate from the album. 

‘In Stride’ stands out in part because of its musical arrangements.  As with the other songs examined here, this song’s musical arrangement stands out separate from those works and from the rest of the album’s arrangements.  In the case of ‘In Stride,’ the arrangement is a distinct southern rock presentation that will appeal just as much to fans of that genre as to Alter Bridge fans.  It is a catchy, mid-tempo composition.  The catchy nature of the song’s musical arrangement works with its lyrical content to make it even more appealing.

The lyrical theme featured in ‘In Stride’ needs little explanation because it is such a straight forward statement.  It is a statement that, as the title infers, encourages people to just take life as it comes and not stress the little things.  This is pointed out right in the song’s chorus, in which Kennedy sings, “Cool down, baby…Sometimes you’ve gotta just let go and open your mind/Just take it all in stride.”  That is the heart of the song’s message and makes that message clear, again.  For those who might disagree, Kennedy adds to the statement in the song’s lead verse as he sings, “You can panic…impending doom is always all it takes/One day you wake up/It’ll be too late/You didn’t take it all in stride/You can tremble as you fear for your life/You can bitch about the sign of the times/But the truth is that you gotta decide/If you’re only wasting your life.”  This makes fully clear, the message here.  It continues in similar fashion in the song’s second verse, too, so there is no need to proceed there.  This is a song that tells all those worrywarts and panic freaks out there to just calm down and take life as it comes.  The events that have happened this week are proof that there are a lot of people who need to learn to take life in stride, too.  One can only hope that those nutjobs will take this overall statement to heart.  When this accessible message pairs with the song’s equally infectious musical arrangement, the song in whole proves even more why it stands out.  When the song works with the other songs examined here and the rest of the album’s songs (including its existing singles), the whole makes Ides of March a presentation that audiences will have no reason to fear.

Myles Kennedy’s sophomore solo album, Ides of March is a strong new offering from the Alter Bridge front man.  It is a work that is certain to expand Kennedy’s audience base.  That is proven through its musical arrangements and lyrical themes.  Each song’s arrangement shows a different side of Kennedy and collectively shows the reach of his influences and abilities.  The songs’ lyrical themes are just as accessible because they touch on topics to which any listener will relate.  All three of the songs examined here do plenty to support the noted statements just as much as the album’s singles and the rest of the album’s works.  All things considered, they make the album one of this year’s best new rock albums.  Ides of March is scheduled for release Friday through Napalm Records.  More information on the album is available along with all of Kennedy’s latest news at:

Website: https://myleskennedy.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OfficialMylesKennedy

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MylesKennedy

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.  

Mark Morton Shines Again On His Second Solo Record

Courtesy: Rise Records

When Lamb of God guitarist Mark Morton released his debut solo album Anasthetic last March through Spinefarm Records, he more than showed the expanse of his musical abilities and interests.  The record, which joined Morton with a number of well-known names, such as the late Linkin Park front man Chester Bennington, Alter Bridge front man Myles Kennedy and ex Screaming Trees front man Mark Lanegan, showed Morton as a truly original and creative musician, not just one of the members of Lamb of God.  He followed up that successful offering this past January with his debut solo EP Ether.  The five-song EP, released through Rise Records, will get a second life of sorts June 19 when it is released on vinyl through Rise Records.  Regardless of whether one prefers vinyl, CD or even digital, the fact of the matter remains that Ether is a positive follow-up to Anasthetic.  That is due to the record’s musical and lyrical content.  Its penultimate song ‘Love My Enemy’ is one of the songs that serves to support the noted statement.  It will be addressed shortly.  The EP’s opener ‘All I Had to Lose’ is another way in which Ether shows its strength.  It will be addressed a little later.  Its follow-up ‘The Fight’ is one more way in which Ether shows its strength.  Together with the covers of The Black Crowes’ ‘She Talks To Angels’ and of Pearl Jam’s ‘Black,’ ‘The Fight’ and the other noted songs make Ether a wholly enjoyable follow-up to Anasthetic and one more of this year’s top new EPs.

Mark Morton’s debut EP Ether is a strong follow-up to his debut 2019 album Anasthetic.  Much with that album, this EP shows once again why he is more than just a member of Lamb of God, but rather a talented, creative musician in his own right.  That is evidenced in part through the EP’s penultimate song, ‘Love My Enemy.’  The song, which features vocals by Howard Jones (Killswitch Engage, Blood Has Been Shed, Light The Torch), presents an interesting musical arrangement.  The verses conjure thoughts of Alice in Chains, what with the layered vocal effect and the subdued guitar and drum lines.  The chorus however, boasts more of an Alter Bridge type of sound as the guitars and vocals step up.  The song’s bass line adds its own touch to the whole to make the work’s composition quite engaging and entertaining in its own right.  What is important to note here is the pairing of that duality in the song’s arrangement and its connection to the emotion and message in the song’s lyrical theme.  The song’s lyrical theme serves to make that reason for that juxtaposition clear.

Jones sings in the song’s lead verse, “Open wounds before the start/This is where we fall apart/It’s alright/Eternity can die today/It’s alright/It’s okay.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “We can greet the end alone/Sorrow needs an empty home/It’s alright/Years and pain can fade away/It’s alright/It’s okay.”  In the song’s third and final verse, “Jones sings, “There’s no replacing/The time we’re wasting.”  These verses are deeply introspective, needless to say.  That final verse is relatively clear, as it makes a statement about making the most of the time that we have.  The first and second verses meanwhile will generate their own hare of interest.  Maybe the lead statement of “open wounds before the start/This is where we fall apart” is a statement connected to the note of the wasted time.  It’s as if it is making a note about open wounds being a failure from the beginning.  The statement in the second verse years and pain being able to fade away seems to perhaps be a statement of hope, that the past can be just that.  This is of course all this critic’s own interpretation.  The song’s chorus adds even more impact to the song, as it comes across as perhaps someone battling with him/herself.  The chorus states, “I can’t live on memories/I can’ love my enemy/We cannot repair the past/A broken heart is made of glass/No, I can’t live on memories.”  This seems like someone who is torn with trying to overcome the thoughts of the past and look to the future.  It would explain why the song’s musical arrangement is so much more powerful in the chorus than the verses.  It would serve to illustrate the subject’s heightened emotion in this moment.  This leads the song’s more contemplative counter to those heightened emotions to make more sense along with its musical accompaniment.  Again this is all this critic’s own interpretation and should not be taken as gospel.  Hopefully it is somewhere close to being correct, though.  Keeping all of this in mind, the song’s lyrical content proves just as important as its musical content.  All things considered, the song in whole, with its engaging musical and lyrical content shows well on its own, why Ether is another strong offering from Mark Morton.  It is just one of the songs that serves to exhibit that strength.  ‘All I Had to Lose’ does its own part to keep listeners’ ears and minds.

‘All I Had to Lose’ is important to note because it presents its own unique identity separate from that of ‘Love My Enemy’ and the EP’s other songs.  The song’s fully acoustic arrangement is a radio ready composition that will connect easily to audiences.  The addition of Sons of Texas front man Mark Morales’ vocal delivery adds to that commercial viability for the opus.  The combination of those elements makes the song in whole a work that is comparable to works from so many mainstream rock bands.  The appeal created through the song’s musical arrangement will keep listeners engaged, and in turn, paying attention to the song’s equally engaging lyrical content.

The lyrical content featured in ‘All I Had to Lose’ generates its own engagement because of its own contemplative nature.  Morales sings in the song’s lead verse, “We were reckless for a season, now/Restless with a reason/I can’t tell/If we were victims of the vices/Or addicted to the crisis/Lived through hell.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “We laid with it/Dead and dying/Told ‘em all we were just trying/To be alive/Closed our eyes/I know that we could leave/The lies we didn’t want to leave behind.”  He adds in the song’s third and final verse, “Watched the colors fade away/Reached out by the sun/left her for another day/Prayed it would never come.”  The precise concept here is not clear at least to this critic.  It comes across as something of a statement about perhaps someone taking things for granted in life.  Whether that is in relation to a personal relationship or something else is up for discussion.  It would be interesting to learn the exact relation of that seeming message.  That Morales sings in the song’s chorus, “And when you came up for breath/I knew there wasn’t nothing left to do but choose/And everything I lost/Wasn’t much compared to all I had to lose” adds to the argument that the song’s lyrical theme is a personal message about taking for granted what one has in life.  Again, what exactly was being taken for granted – whether it be a personal relationship or something else – is something that is left for interpretation.  Either way, the fact that this seems to be the message makes the song’s musical content couple well with this half of the song’s content.  Taking everything noted here into account, the whole of the song shows even more why Ether will keep listeners engaged from start to end.  It is just one more way in which Ether proves its appeal.  ‘The Fight’ is one more way in which the EP shows its strength.

‘The Fight’ is an interesting addition to Ether.  That is due in part to its overall musical arrangement.  This composition is so starkly opposite of any of the other songs featured in this record.  The verses are distinctly subtle, but not necessarily reserved per say.  There is a certain Sevendust-esque sense to the song from the band’s more recent works, in listening closely to the arrangement.  The chorus meanwhile pack a little bit more of a punch, but it’s not a knockout punch.  Even in this case, there is a certain amount of control.  It makes for a very interesting listen.  It is not necessarily a radio ready work, but still is worth hearing.  That unique arrangement couples well with the song’s equally engaging lyrical theme, which comes across as one of those songs about someone driving along and having enough time to contemplate a lot of life matters.

Moontooth front man John Carbone provides the vocals for this song.  His vocal delivery is comparable to that of Sevendust front man Lajon Witherspoon as he sings in the song’s lead verse, “Thundering down the cold, dark desert road/It ain’t the miles you’re looking at/Ain’t the pavement you see/But its ghost/And all the trials that lay ahead/Yeah, it becomes your only friend.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “Rumbling ground/It shakes from the load/the burden that you live to bear/Deafening sound, it rings in your soul/Make you forget what brought you here/Now the ending ain’t so clear.”  While the song’s musical arrangement doesn’t quite do so, this portion of the song leaves one making comparisons to Bob Seger’s hit song ‘Turn The Page.’  It seems to have that same kind of lyrical approach; someone on the road, lots of thoughts on the mind, etc. etc. etc.  It is an interesting sort of update, although it likely was not intended.  The comparison is strengthened even more as Carbone sings in the song’s chorus, “When you live for the fight for too long/You burn for the bloody way out/But the only hope for a victory/Is to learn to lay it down.”  It’s as if he is saying, even with all the thinking and things on a person’s mind, a person may want a certain outcome, but the outcome we want may not always be the best outcome.  Again, this is all this critic’s interpretation.   Hopefully it is in the proverbial ballpark.  That aside, all of this is sure to generate its own share of discussion among listeners.  Together with its accompanying musical content, the engagement and entertainment ensured through the song’s musical and lyrical content shows once more why Ether succeeds overall.  Together with the two covers that join this work and the EP’s two other originals, the record overall proves itself to be a complete work and a complete success for Morton and company.

Mark Morton’s recently released EP Ether is a strong follow-up to his debut solo album Anasthetic (2019).  That is because it continues to exhibit Morton’s talents as more than just another metal guitarist, but a widely-versed musician and songwriter.  That is evidenced through all three of the record’s original works and its two covers.  The musical and lyrical content in each original as well as the adaptation of the covers do well to support those statements.  All things considered, Ether can be considered in whole, to be one of this year’s top new EPs.

More information on Ether is available online now along with all of Mark Morton’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Websitehttp://markmortonmusic.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/markmortonmusic

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/MarkDuaneMorton

 

 

 

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 in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Psycle Debuts ‘Changing Tide’ Lyric Video

Courtesy: O’Donnell Media Group

Rock band Psycle debuted the video for its new single this week.

The band debuted the lyric video for its new single ‘Changing Tide‘ Tuesday. the song is the second single from the band’s forthcoming album Kill The Machine, which is scheduled for release June 12.  The band debuted the lyric video for the album’s title track — also the album’s lead single — March 24.

The musical arrangement at the center of ‘Changing Tide’ immediately lends itself to comparisons to works from Creed and Alter Bridge with its guitar work and front man Seth Salois’ vocal delivery.  Salois’ vocal talents are right up there with Alter Bridge front man Myles Kennedy.  His band mates’ — Jay Spyne (drums, vocals), Mike Kaz (bass, vocals) and Joe Nicolazzo (guitar) — talents are equal to those of Kennedy’s band mates here, too.

In discussing the song’s musical arrangement, the band said in a collective statement that the decision to follow up ‘Kill The Machine’ with ‘Changing Tide’ was mad with a specific intent in mind.

“For our second single ‘Changing Tide,’ we wanted to show the diversity within the album and offer a glimpse into the journey we hope the album creates,” the statement reads.  “‘Kill The Machine’ is raw, unforgiving and pointed, where ‘Changing Tide’ is sweeping, emotional and accepting.”

The lyrical them at the heart of the song delivers a theme of optimism, according to the noted statement.

“‘Changing Tide’ is about believing in your individuality, accepting the hand that you are dealt and persevering through whatever stands in your way,” the statement reads.

‘Changing Tide’ is available to stream and download here.

More information on Psycle’s new single and video is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

 

Websitehttp://www.psyclemusic.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/psyclemusic

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/psycle22

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

 

‘Living The Dream Tour’ Is A “Dream” Come True For All Rock Fans

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Slash and his fellow musicians Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators made quite the impact on the music community last year when they released their latest album Living The Dream.  The tour in support of the album – Slash’s third solo record with Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators and his fourth overall solo record – proved just as successful selling out venue after venue.  That tour proved so successful, that the group partnered with Eagle Rock Entertainment to release one performance from that hit tour last week in the form of Living The Dream Tour.  Originally recorded Feb. 20, 2019 at the Hammersmith Apollo Theatre in London, the 22-song, two-and-a-half-hour set is a performance that the group’s longtime fans will enjoy just as much as its newer audiences.  That is due in part to the noted expansive set list, which will be discussed shortly.  The band’s performance of said set plays into the recording’s performance just as much as its actual set.  It will be addressed a little later.  The bonus content featured with the recording rounds out the recording’s most notable elements.  It will also be addressed later.  When it is considered along with the recording’s set list and the band’s performance thereof, the whole of the elements makes Living The Dream Tour a dream come true for all rock fans.

Living The Dream Tour, the latest live recording from Slash ft. Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators, is another positive new live offering from the rock collective that rock aficionados everywhere will enjoy.  That is due in part to the recording’s expansive set list.  The 22-song, two-and-a-half-hour set pulls tracks from all four of Slash’s solo albums.  It should be noted in advance that while some of the songs featured in this recording are also featured in the band’s 2015 live recording – also from Eagle Rock Entertainment – Live At The Roxy 9.25.14, (seven songs to be exact), that leaves exactly 15 songs not featured in said recording.  The band’s 2018 album Living The Dream appropriately makes up the majority of this recording’s set list, with seven total nods.  Slash’s 2010 self-titled solo debut is represented with six songs while Apocalyptic Love and World on Fire each receive four nods.  In other words, the group reaches liberally into its overall catalog to give listeners a wide range of material.  This is important to note because as most people know, there are acts that might tour in support of one album, but their set lists are more focused on anything but.  It has and does happen to this day.  To that end, this set list proves to be entertaining for all of the band’s fans.

The set list stands out not just because of the fact that it reaches into all of the group’s albums, but also because of its sequencing.  The set list opens with one of the seven noted songs from Living The Dream, but wastes no time switching things up, with the next two songs coming from the group’s 2012 album Apocalyptic Love.  The group reaches even farther back from there, with the next two songs taking listeners back to Slash’s 2010 self-titled debut album.  The band turns the attention back to Living The Dream again briefly from here before going back to 2014’s World on Fire.  The variations continue from there to the show’s end, with an homage to Guns N’ Roses in the band’s performance of ‘Nighttrain.’  That song is the only GNR song featured in this set list, whereas the band’s aforementioned 2015 recording featured two GNR songs.  Simply put, the band keeps things original from start to end for listeners in this set list, ensuring audiences’ engagement and entertainment.  That is helped even more through the energy in the set’s sequencing.  The only time in which the set slows down at all comes late in the concert’s run.  The “slower” songs that are featured at other points in the set are still heavy in their own right.  Keeping that in mind, the sequencing of the set proves that much more important to the whole of this recording.  It is just one part of what makes the recording stand out.  The band’s performance of the set list adds its own value to the recording.

The band’s performance of the concert’s set list is important to discuss because it plays into the concert’s noted overall energy.  As noted, the set’s sequencing ensures that the show’s energy remains high from beginning to end.  The “slower” songs are slow, but are still heavy blues-based compositions that will keep audiences entertained and engaged.  Only one in the show do things really pull back all the way around.  The band helps maintain the energy by wasting little to no time doing any audience interaction at any point.  That is not to say that the group doesn’t interact with the audience.  It is to say that the interactions are rare.  The band, instead, uses the most of the concert to give audiences as much music and entertainment as possible.  Even the standard band introductions are reserved for a point closer to the show’s end, and are brief at best.  As each song ends, the down time between each song’s performance is minimal at best.  That ensures even more, audiences’ engagement and entertainment.  The energy that each of the band’s members puts into his respective performance adds even more to that general effect.  All things considered, the band’s performance adds to much to the recording that coupled with the set list itself, the two together make for more than enough for audiences to enjoy.

The set list featured in Living The Dream Tour and the band’s performance thereof are both key to the recording’s whole presentation.  They are not, however, its only key elements.  The brief bonus behind-the-scenes featurette that comes with the recording adds its own slight touch to the recording’s presentation.  Audience get to hear from Slash and from Myles Kennedy in the roughly 10 minute featurette as they sit back stage pre-concert.  The performers talk, in separate interviews, about topics, such as the band members’ connection as a unit, the band’s routine and also making music in general.  Kennedy talks frankly about how the group’s pre- and post-concert routines might be surprising, noting that the band doesn’t party and do all the things one might think a band does.  That in itself is a surprise.  He and Slash echo one another’s statements about the friendships between the band members and how that helps make the performances so fun.  They even discuss performing at the Hammersmith, noting their love for the venue.  Again, the overall presentation here is brief, but even with that brevity, the discussions are still in-depth in their own right, offering audiences that much more entertainment and engagement.  When this is considered along with the concert’s set list and the band’s performance thereof, all three elements make the recording’s overall presentation one that rock fans across the board will enjoy and a welcome new live offering from Slash ft. Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators.

Slash ft. Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators’ new live recording Living The Dream Tour is only the second live recording that the rock collective has released since the group released its first studio recording roughly seven years ago.  Considering it is only the group’s second live recording, it is an impressive new offering that serves to show the group’s strength.  The recording offers audiences plenty to appreciate, beginning with its expansive set list.  The set list pulls from each of the group’s studio recordings and Slash’s self-titled 2010 album.  The band’s performance of the show’s set list adds even more for audiences to enjoy.  The bonus behind-the-scenes featurette is brief, but still offers its own share of entertainment and engagement.  Each item is important in its own right to the whole of Living The Dream Tour’s whole in its own way.  All things considered, they make the recording a “dream” come true for every rock fan.  More information on the recording is available online now along with all of the group’s latest news at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.slashonline.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/Slash

 

 

 

Go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it to get more entertainment and sports reviews and news.

Mark Morton’s Solo Debut LP Will Leave Listeners Anything But Numb

Courtesy: Spinefarm Records

It’s hard to do the same thing over and over for years at a time.  Everybody knows that.  It’s why people change jobs.  It is also why members of musical acts across the musical universe decide at one point or another to branch out and try their hands at something new (I.E. solo albums). Lamb of God guitarist Mark Morton joined those ranks in March with his debut solo album Anasthetic.  The 10-song, 42 minute record shows Morton as not just a metal guitarist, but rather a multi-talented musician who has the capability to succeed in any musical genre.  This is proven in part late in the album’s run in the form of ‘Reveal.’  It will be addressed shortly.  The surprisingly subdued ‘Axis,’ which comes early in the album’s run, is another way in which Morton’s wide range of talent is exhibited in this record.  ‘Save Defiance,’ the album’s mid-point is yet another way in which Morton’s full talents are put on display and will also be addressed later.  Each song noted here is important in its own way in proving Mark Morton is more than just another metal shredder.  When they are examined along with the rest of the record’s entries, the whole of the album creates a new and deserved respect for Morton and his abilities.

Mark Morton’s debut self-titled album Anasthetic is a strong first solo outing for the Lamb of God guitarist.  That is because it allowed Morton to fully put on display, his talents as a guitarist.  It allowed him to show he is talented at doing more than just churning out heavy, shredding riffs.  Rather, it shows he can handle his own in almost any genre of music.  ‘Reveal,’ which comes late in the album’s run is just one of the album’s entries that supports those statements.  The song, recorded with singer/songwriter Naeemah Maddox, is the polar opposite of anything that Morton has ever done as a member of LoG.  The work presented by Morton here, is gentle and bluesy.  It expertly compliments the Philadelphia-born vocalist’s delivery and the work of their fellow musicians.  His bluesy guitar solo lends itself so easily to comparisons to the best work of Derek Trucks and Carlos Santana.  It is a true, full departure from everything that fans of Morton’s work have ever known, and it is so in the best way possible.

The song’s musical arrangement is just one part of what makes it stand out.  Its positive lyrical content couples with its musical to make the song in whole even more interesting.  Maddox sings in the song’s lead verse, “Could be all for sale/Or could be smoke and mirrors/The end is growing near/Or could be smoke and mirrors/Say who you are/Go set your truth/Don’t be the rude in another’s fair/See how you feel/And the nreveal/You may not be who you are/Right at this moment in time.”  She continues in the song’s second verse, “Go and dig a well/And hide as you abide/See, I’m fragile as a shell/And echo like a bell.”  She adds in the song’s third and final verse, “Willing, you have your own mind/You can think for yourself.”  She is saying here that things aren’t always just black and white.  There are shades of grey, so be you and be the best you can be.  That is at least this critic’s own town on this.  It is just one interpretation.  Hopefully it is somewhere close to being right as it certainly seems to send a rather positive message to listeners.  That, taken into consideration with the song’s musical arrangement, makes the song just one of Anasthetic’s most notable tracks and just one of the most notable examples of Morton’s wide range of talent.  ‘Axis,’ which comes much earlier in the album’s run, is another key example of Morton’s abilities and, in turn, most notable additions.

‘Axis’ is another key example of Morton’s talents and by connection another of this record’s most notable entries.  Crafted with vocalist Mark Lanegan (ex-Screaming Trees), the song’s subdued arrangement lends itself to comparisons to works from the likes of Tom Waitts and Bruce Springsteen.  That is most evident in Lanegan’s vocals and Morton’s guitar work.  Again, this is a stark departure for Morton from the intensity of the work that he has done over the years with Lamb of God.  It shows he can do so much more than jus play fast and loud, but rather also slower and with great dynamic control.  It makes for that much more respect for Morton and his abilities.  The song’s musical arrangement does a lot to make this work stand out, and is just one part of what makes it stand out.  The song’s lyrical content adds its own share of interest to the song’s whole.

Lanegan sings seemingly in this song, about someone who has been through quite a bit of adversity in life and is struggling to get through it.  What’s interesting here is that for all the adversity, the song doesn’t come across as some sort of emo type song.  Rather, it harkens back to the great blues songs of days long ago through its lyrical delivery.  He sings in the song’s lead verse, “I came down with a fever/The catacombs, they were filled/Lucifer within my larynx/Clothing a sarcophagus/Baby, set my head on fire/Every man is born to die/The Captain called me out on a carpet, boys/You know I got a tear in my eye/”  he continues in the song’s second verse, “I have been lost and wandering/A wanderer I remain/Met Judas in West Texas/Tried to take my name/Now I am lost and wandering/And wandering, I am blind/Will the moon come off its axis/Before I lose my mind/I came down with a sickness/Pouring down just like rain/Red, red sun in the evening/Red, red heart full of pain.”  He adds a touch more in the song’s third and final verse, but the song in whole is pretty clear.  Again, this is someone who has gone through so much.  It is just a classic, retro style country blues type work even in its lyrical presentation.  That content, coupled with the song’s musical arrangement, makes it a piece that is sure to appeal to plenty of listeners.  It will appeal so widely because of that aspect and because, again, it shows that Morton is not just a one-trick pony.  It shows he can do quite a bit more than just metal, and can do so quite well at that.  It still is not the last of the songs featured in this record that serves to exhibit that talent and interest.  ‘Save Defiance,’ the record’s mid-point, is one more example of Morton’s broad range of talent.

‘Save Defiance’ was recorded with Alter Bridge front man Myles Kennedy.  Fittingly, this song’s arrangement presents Morton as an able mainstream hard rock driver just as much as a metal guitarist.  What is truly interesting here is that the grouping of Morton, Kennedy and the rest of the song’s featured musicians immediately leads to comparisons to some of Alter Bridge’s best works.  Again, this is a good thing because it shows how much more Morton can do than just shred really fast and hard.  It shows here that he can create some really heavy, melodic riffs, too.  Morton’s ability to so easily liken himself to Mark Tremonti shows yet again just why he is such an important figure not just in the rock community, but in the music community in whole.  As much as Morton’s abilities do for himself and for the song, they are just one part of what makes the song stand out.  The song’s lyrical content plays its own important part to the whole of the song.

Kennedy sings in the song’s lead verse, “Into the last refrain/As your empire falls/World in decay/Our backs against the wall/Tell me, now/Is it too late/Tell me, now/Who’ll pay the cost/For all the times you’ve disengaged/Tomorrow could be lost/Stop what you started/Open your eyes/The truth is the hardest thing to deny.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “Save defiance/And hope you’ve got one last shot/Blood of tyrants running cold/They will never stop/Save defiance/You alone will resist in time/Break alliance to behold shifting paradigms/There is no time to waste/This you can’t deny/The truth you embrace was only just a lie/Now do you see you’re betrayed/now you must keep your resolved/Or everything you sacrifice to keep/Will forever be dissolved/Stop what they started/Open your eyes/They’re reaping a harvest/And bleeding you dry.”  He reminds listeners in the song’s third verse, “This is your season/Take it and rise/The battle’s drawing/Fight for your lives.”  This is a call to action, point blank.  This is a socio-political commentary that is urging people everywhere to not sit idly by and allow those who do bad in the world to continue their heinous acts.  He is telling listeners to stand up and do something and make a difference.  That is at least this critic’s own take on this content.  The power and urgency in the song’s musical arrangement works to make this seem the case, so hopefully it is at least somewhere in the proverbial ballpark.  Thinking about the power of the song’s combined musical and lyrical content along with that of the power of the other discussed songs’ power and variety, they show clearly together just how talented Mark Morton really is.  When the variety and power in the songs discussed here is considered along with that of the rest of the album’s songs, the whole of the record becomes a strong solo debut for Morton.  It serves to show regardless of where his future takes him, Morton can and will be successful.

Mark Morton’s debut solo album Anesthetic is a strong first effort from the Lamb of God guitarist.  That is because while it does continue to display his metal chops throughout, it does more than that.  It also shows his abilities in other regions of the musical universe.  That, combined with lyrical content that is just as certain as the record’s musical content to keep listeners engaged, makes the record a positive offering from Morton and all involved.  All things considered, the album proves to be a presentation that will leave listeners anything but numb.  More information on Anasthetic is available online now along with all of Mark Morton’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://markmortonmusic.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/MarkDuaneMorton

 

 

 

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 in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.