Veteran musician Ricky Byrd opened the weekend with the premiere of his latest single.
Byrd, who is most well-known for his work with Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, premiered his new single, ‘Alien‘ Friday. Its release came a month after Byrd debuted his then latest single, ‘Glandemic Blues.’
The classic rock leanings expressed through ‘Glandemic Blues’ are just as presented in Alien, but the arrangement in this latest single gives the song its own identity separate from its counterpart. The song’s opening bars present a 4/4/ style beat and sound that was familiar to so much music in the 1950s, and that quickly gives way to more of a Beatles-esque 1960s style and sound.
The arrangement overall is infectious in its own right in regards to its musical arrangement. The song’s lyrical theme adds to the overall interest with its commentary about the fate of mankind.
Byrd said himself, the theme and song overall came about as the result of a dream that he had.
“I had a dream I was at a sit down with a group of Aliens (yeah [Wicked Cool Records Founder Steven] Van Zandt was there too as mediator : ) , and I was trying to buy the human race some more time. Woke up and wrote the tune!”
Along with working with Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Ricky Byrd has also spent time on the road with other equally well-known acts, such as Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Smokey Robinson, Steve Miller, Elvis Costello, Graham Nash, Sam Moore, Jimmy Page, Joe Walsh, Alice Cooper, Steven Van Zandt, Mavis Staples, Ian Hunter, and Brian Wilson.
Additionally, he has composed and recorded songs with the likes of The Who front man Roger Daltry.
More information on Byrd’s new single is available along with all of his latest news at:
Rock band The Bayonets premiered its debut lyric video this week.
The band — Brain Ray (Paul McCartney, Etta James), Oliver Leiber (son of famed song writer Jerry Leiber), and Lucrecia Lopez Sanz (Nube 9) — unveiled the lyric video for its new single, ‘Argentina‘ Friday.
The video features imagery, such as dancing skeletons, a woman covered in reflective plates meant to look like a human mirrorball, and a woman whose face is covered in glitter. The song’s lyrics are shown over the imagery as the song’s catchy, infectious musical arrangement plays over the presentation.
Speaking of the musical arrangement, it makes for a great introduction for those not yet familiar with the band and its existing body of work. That is because of the pop rock sensibility exhibited throughout the song. One could almost argue that there is the slightest stylistic comparison to works from the likes of The B-52s here in the most positive fashion. At the same time, listeners could also makes a comparison to works from the likes of The Knack, again, in a positive fashion. The whole is a musical exhibition that audiences are certain to enjoy.
The lyrical theme featured in The Bayonets’ new single is just as accessible as the song’s musical arrangement. That is because it is so familiar. In this case, the theme is clearly a story of a man who is overwhelmed for how he feels about a woman.
While Ray, Leiber and Sanz are the primary makeup of The Bayonets, they were not the only musicians who contributed to the group’s new single. Davey Faragher (Elvis Costello) provided the song’s bass line while Adam MacDougall (The Black Crowes) added keyboards to the mix. Scott Shriner (Weezer) also had a hand in the track, according to Ray.
More information on The Bayonets’ new lyric video and single is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:
Veteran jazz saxophonist Marco Pignataro opened April with the release of a new live recording in the form of Marco Pignataro’s Dream Alliance: Awakening. Recorded in July 2021 at Boston’s GBH Fraser Studio with his fellow musicians, Kenny Werner (piano, vocals), Nadia Washington (vocals, guitar), and Devon Gates (bass, vocals), the performance was a virtual concert. Now nine months after it was captured, that concert has come home on CD through Zoho Music. It is certain to appeal to Pignataro’s established audiences and very targeted jazz audiences. That is due in part to the concert’s set list, which will be discussed shortly. The concert’s production is just as noteworthy as its set list, and will be examined a little later. The concert’s packaging rounds out its most important elements and will also be examined later. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the recording. All things considered, they make the concert a presentation that jazz fans will find worth hearing at least once.
Marco Pignataro’s Dream Alliance: Awakening, the new live recording from Marco Pignataro, is a unique live presentation from the veteran jazz saxophonist and his fellow musicians. That is proven in part through its featured set list. The set list is composed of a variety of originals, covers and even spoken word pieces whose run times bring the record’s run time to more than 50 minutes. The spoken word songs are performed by Washington with poems that were crafted by Pignataro. Pignataro and company meanwhile, offer light, subtle, original musical backings for each performance. The whole of those moments will lead audiences to conjure thoughts of those hipster night clubs where just such performances would take place. The only difference is that the bongos and people with black berets would be replaced with people of much higher class. Just as interesting to note is that the spoken word performances are short, the longest clocking in at only two minutes, eight seconds. So in reality, they are their own performances, but at the same time, serve double duty as interludes, so to speak, within the concert’s bigger picture. Their addition within the record, to that end, makes them their own interesting aspect.
The covers featured in the set list meanwhile, are important in their own right. Their number is limited to just four, but they are quite well-known works in themselves. One of the covers, that of Stevie Wonder’s ‘Send One Your Love’ opens the record. The group’s performance here is even more relaxed than Wonder’s original, which itself is subdued in its own approach. Washington’s R&B-tinged vocal approach does so well in the place of Wonder, while the omission of any drums in this case actually improves on the original. The subtle use of the guitar alongside her vocal delivery is a clear illustration that less can be and is so much more. Even the occasional accents from Pignataro on the soprano sax makes for its own touch. The whole makes for an interesting presentation in its own right.
Touching on the recording’s originals, ‘Farfallina’ is among the most notable tracks. It is notable in part because while it is centered on one of Pignataro’s poems, it is not presented as one of the concert’s spoken word performances. Washington actually sings the lines composed by Pignataro, singing about a butterfly, which of course is a metaphorical term here. The pairing of Pignataro’s performance on the saxophone and that of Werner on the piano along with the vocal layering incorporated at times — which makes for an interesting call and response effect — makes the overall performance quite unique in its own right. When it and the other originals are considered along with the covers and the spoken word tracks, the whole of the concert’s set list gives audiences reason enough in itself to take in the virtual concert. Of course the set list is just part of what makes the recording worth hearing. The concert’s production adds its own touch to the appeal of its presentation.
The production that went into Awakenings is of note because again, the concert was recorded and presented sans audience. That means those responsible for the sound mix did not have that crowd noise to balance with the musicians. In its absence, those responsible for the production still had to ensure that the musicians’ performances were balanced within the confines of the performance space and the acoustics therein. The utmost attention was clearly paid to balancing each instrument with its counterpart. The painstaking work that went into balancing that audio paid off, as the noted audiences will find this aspect just as positive as the mix of content in the concert’s set list.
Awakenings‘ packaging rounds out its most important elements. The packaging refers here, to the overall content provided with the recording. On the back of the package, the covers and originals are denoted with credit for the covers give to their original acts. The originals are credited to the group, and those within the group. Case in point, Werner composed the late entry, ‘Inspiration,’ and is given his due credit. The Beatles (specifically, John Lennon and Paul McCartney) composed ‘Because,’ one of the concert’s featured covered. They receive their own credit. Giving credit where due not only is a legal issue, but also ensures audiences know which songs are originals and which are covers right off the bat.
Also within the packaging are liner notes pointing out that each of the featured works (musical and spoken word alike) follow one theme, that of love in each form. From romantic to familial and other, the liner notes within the package let audiences know that the songs’ focus was intentional from one to the next. The liner notes also explain the use of the poems in the spoken word performances, making for appreciation for those moments, too. Speaking of the poems that Pignataro wrote, they are presented as part of the overall packaging, too. Keeping that in mind along with the rest of the information provided in the packaging, the whole of this element clearly shows this element’s importance to the recording’s presentation, too. When this element is considered along with the rest of the recording’s items, the whole makes Awakenings a unique addition to this year’s field of new live recordings.
Marco Paignataro’s Dream Alliance’s Awakening is an intriguing live recording. Its interest comes in part through its set list. The set list features a combination of originals, covers, and spoken word songs. The combination of songs is unique in itself. The production that went into the virtual performance ensures the concert’s sound is just as appealing to the noted targeted audiences as the songs themselves. The packaging puts the final touch to the recording, rounding out its most important elements. Each item examined is important in its own right to the whole of the recording. All things considered, they make Awakening a presentation that Pignataro’s audiences and specific jazz audiences will find appealing.
Awakening is available through Zoho Music. More information on the record is available along with all of Marco Pignataro’s latest news at:
Singer/songwriter/guitarist Marc Ribler has made quite the name for himself over the course of his career, having worked with the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Steven Van Zant, and Paul McCartney. Now this Friday, Ribler is poised to take a big step forward in his career, going from a supporting role to that of front man with his new solo album, The Whole World Awaits You. The record, which has already produced three successful singles, could make Ribler a star in his own right given the right support as those singles show. They are just a few of the songs that serve to support the noted statements. ‘Without You,’ one of the album’s late entries, serves in its own way to show the album’s strength. It will be discussed shortly. ‘Manzanillo,’ which comes just past the album’s midpoint, is another example of how much the record has to offer. It will be examined a little later. ‘This Is How The Song Goes,’ the album’s finale, is another example of the album’s appeal. It will also be discussed later. Each of the songs noted here does its own part to show why The Whole World Awaits You is appealing. When they are considered with the album’s existing trio of singles and the rest of the album’s entries, the whole makes the album a “whole” win for Marc Ribler and audiences alike.
Marc Ribler’s forthcoming solo album The Whole World Awaits You is a wholly successful new offering from the veteran singer/songwriter/guitarist. The album’s existing trio of singles goes a long way to support that statement. They are only some of the songs that show how much the album has to offer audiences. ‘Without You,’ which comes late in the album’s 12-song run, is also of note. The song’s musical arrangement is an instantly infectious composition that lends itself to comparison to works from Train just as much as from Tom Petty. Yes, those are two completely opposing acts, but are more alike than not, as this song shows. That is evidenced through the light use of the organ alongside the vocals and the equally subtle guitar, percussion and drums. The whole is a composition that is one of the album’s most radio ready works.
The musical arrangement featured in ‘Without You’ does a lot to make the song appealing, and is just part of what makes it engaging and entertaining. The lyrical theme that accompanies the musical arrangement builds on that appeal even more. While the song’s title and some of its lyrics make it seem like a love song, the rest of the song proves to be more than just that. It also presents a social commentary of sorts in the song’s chorus that shames people on both sides of the aisle so to speak. That is evidenced as Ribler sings, “I don’t want to live in a world where everyone has an empty heart/I don’t want to live in a world where it still matters what color you are/I don’t want to live in a place where they watch every thing you say and do/I don’t want to live in a world without you.” On the one hand, yes, the romance aspect is there. At the same time, Ribler uses the opportunity to comment on the negative place that the world has reached; that place where we have to be so careful about every single thing that we say and do, and where our skin color still sadly matters so much. The romance aspect becomes more pronounced in the song’s lead verse, in which the song’s subject pronounces his/her love for that other person. This is made clear as Ribler sings, “Your love runs deep for me/Shows up in most everything/You lose your way and you fall down/I’ll be the one that you can count on/Help you understand/I’ll always be right there/You can let your feelings flow.” This is Ribler’s subject saying that things are bad in the world, but he/she will be there for that other person. It is a familiar lyrical topic in pop music, and is just as familiar in this case. The adoration for that other person continues in the song’s second verse and bridge, as the song’s subject praises and thanks that other person for being there. That accessible lyrical them and equally accessible musical arrangement is just as much of a positive addition to this album as the record’s singles. It is just one of so many examples of how much the album has to offer audiences, too. ‘Manzanillo,’ which comes just past the album’s midpoint, is another example of the album’s strength.
The musical arrangement featured in ‘Manzanillo’ makes the song stand out because it stands out in itself. Whereas so much of the music featured in The Whole World Awaits You blurs the line between neo-classical, Americana, pop and rock, this song’s arrangement is a distinctly Latin-tinged composition. The dual guitar line, horns, and drums work with the claves to take listeners to Cuba from years ago. Meanwhile, Ribler’s vocal delivery maintains a more American pop sound and stylistic approach. The whole here is so infectious in its own right. When it pairs with the song’s lyrical theme, the two elements make the song even more engaging and entertaining.
The lyrical theme featured in ‘Manzanillo’ itself comes across as a tribute to the history of the Latin culture. This is inferred as Ribler makes mention of the ancient Mesoamerican peoples and their culture. He even makes mention of history repeating itself if we are not careful, perhaps making reference to how those cultures were wiped out and how our current world is doing itself in, too. This is all this critic’s own interpretation of course. His mention of his mother coming to him in a dream and warning about thing happening “in this land” lends itself even more to that inference. Considering all of this, the song’s lyrical theme definitely stands out from its counterparts in this album. That originality and identity pairs with the unique presence of the song’s musical arrangement to make the song stand out even more, as a key addition to the album. It is just one more way in which the album shows its strength. ‘This Is How The Song Goes,’ which closes out the album, is yet another example of what makes Ribler’s new album stand out.
The musical arrangement in ‘This Is How The Song Goes’ is just as unique as those in the songs addressed here and the rest of the album’s songs. To a certain point, the blues, almost psychedelic approach and sound here conjures thoughts of The Doors. At the same time, listeners can also argue that there is a hint of influence from The Beatles in the song’s arrangement, considering the strings and vocal harmonies. Once again, it is completely unlike anything else featured in this record, making even clearer the importance of the album’s musical content. The song’s musical arrangement is just one part of its identity. Its lyrical theme is just as unique.
The lyrical theme featured in ‘This Is How The Song Goes’ is just as thought-provoking as the song’s musical arrangement. It opens with Ribler singing, “A tree fell in the forest with no sound/Some things go up/But don’t come down/Tomorrow’s just a day we’ll leave behind/Only precious time…” What follows is difficult to decipher sans lyrics to reference considering the overly subtle way in which Ribler sings here, but what is understandable shows the deep metaphorical language that Ribler uses here. The mention of things being “in your dreams” in the song’s chorus is just as metaphorical even when the song’s lyrics can be deciphered. That what little can be deciphered is itself cryptic is interesting enough. When the rest of the song can be deciphered, the whole proves just as cryptic, ensuring even more engagement and discussion. That engagement and discussion pairs with the song’s equally interesting musical arrangement to make the song in whole yet another clear example of why The Whole World Awaits You deserves so much attention. When the song in whole is considered with the other songs examined here, the album’s singles, and the rest of its works, the whole makes the album a powerful new outing for Marc Ribler that could be the start of a very big career for him, given the right support.
Marc Ribler’s forthcoming solo album, The Whole World Awaits You is a presentation that is awaiting and deserves attention from audiences and radio stations nationwide. It is a unique presentation that shows Ribler, who has spent so much of his career as a supporting musician to bigger names, is ready to take his own place in the limelight. That is proven through each of the album’s singles and the songs examined here. The album’s remaining songs serve just as much to support the noted statements. Between the record’s unique (and accessible) musical arrangements and equally accessible lyrical content, the whole offers audiences much to appreciate. All things considered, the album proves itself to be among the best of this year’s new independent albums. It is scheduled for release Friday through Wicked Cool Records.
More information on Marc Ribler’s new album is available along with all of his latest news at:
Singer/songwriter/guitarist Marc Ribler offered audiences another preview of this new album over the weekend.
Ribler, who has worked with legendary music acts, such as Steven Van Zant, Bruce Springsteen, and Paul McCartney, premiered his new single, ‘Fly Away’ Friday. The song is the third from Ribler’s forthcoming album, The Whole World Awaits You, which is scheduled for release July 16 through Van Zant’s Wicked Cool Records. The song’s premiere follows that of ‘Who Could Ask For Anything More‘ and its video, and of the album’s lead single, ‘Shattered.’
The musical arrangement featured in ‘Fly Away’ is a gentle, semi-acoustic ballad. Its sound and stylistic approach bears a blend of southern rock with elements of Eagles, Tom Petty, and Bruce Springsteen. The blending of those influences and sounds makes this composition interesting if only for this reason.
No information about the song’s lyrical theme was provided in the press release distributed about the song’s premiere. A close listen leads to the inference that the song centers on the all-too-familiar topic of a broken relationship. That is only this critic’s interpretation.
The full track listing for ‘The Whole World Awaits You‘ is noted below.
The three-minute, 37-second composition presents a light arrangement whose guitars, vocals and piano conjure thoughts of compositions that Beatles legend Paul McCartney has crafted during the course of his solo career. The lyrical content featured with the song’s musical arrangement comes from a personal story from Gaylard’s family.
Garylard discussed the story in question in a prepared statement.
“Jeannie was my grandmother, she was the youngest daughter in her family in Wagga Wagga, country Australia, growing up in the early 20th century!,” he said. “Australia was a very different country then, still growing and developing, and finding its feet as a nation. Conditions were not easy and everyone in the family had to contribute to the family. Jeannie was a very strong and stoic woman who served in the Medical Women’s Service in the Pacific during the Second World War. For 4 years she was apart from her fiancé Guy, who during that time was a POW. So she had no idea as to his whereabouts and how he was doing. I think a lot about their strength and example today, and how resilient and strong they were.”
“She was a wonderful nurse, and a loving and caring grandmother, a friend who supported the community and family through good times and bad,” he added. “She was always there with a kind and wise word, and sometimes an extraordinary sense of the future. She taught us to appreciate the beauty in nature, a starry sky or a robin in the garden and was always encouraging and inspiring. She loved music and was a fan of Elvis, Pavarotti, The Beatles and The Nomadic!!”
More information on The Nomadic’s new single and upcoming music is available online along with all of the group’s latest news at:
Greta Van Fleet is scheduled to be on television tonight.
The band is scheduled to perform its new single ‘My Way, Soon’ on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. The song is the lead single from the band’s forthcoming album The Battle at Garden’s Gate, which is scheduled for release April 16 through Lava/Republic Records.
In anticipation of the album’s pending release, the band debuted its second single, ‘Age Of Machines‘ Dec. 3. The single’s premiere last week came less than two months after the band debuted the album’s lead single ‘My Way, Soon’ and its companion video.
The ‘My Way, Soon’ video’s production is most of note in that its production is meant to make the presentation look like something right from the 1960s and 70s, as if it was shot on an 8mm camera. The effect plays into the continued neo-classic sound that has defined the band since its rise to fame more than three years ago.
Speaking of musical content, the song’s musical arrangement helps the band expand away from the Led Zeppelin comparisons that audiences made early on. While the comparisons between front man Joshua Kiszka and Led Zeppelin front man Robert Plant are unavoidable, the song’s overall sound is less comparable. The song’s arrangement is grounded in the pairing of its guitar and bass line, whose juxtaposition makes for its own memorable impact. The production even gives the drums a fuller, richer vintage sound than the tight, spit shined sound of so much modern music.
The result of the noted elements is that the song’s arrangement boasts its own unique neo-classic rock sound while also exhibiting the band’s growth as a unit.
The lyrical content featured in ‘My Way Soon’ came from a personal point, according to Kiszka.
“This song was inspired by what three years of touring did by opening so many doorways,” he said. “ This is my truth, how I feel about all of our travels, but I know it echoes the experiences and changes of perspectives for Jake, Sam, and Danny as well.”
Greg Kurstin (Adele, Foo Fighters, Paul McCartney) produced The Battle at Garden’s Gate.
More information on Greta Van Fleet’s new singles and videos is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:
Greta Van Fleet’s next album will come in the new year.
The band announced it will release its new album The Battle at Garden’s Gate on April 16 through Lava/Republic Records. Pre-orders are open.
In anticipation of the album’s pending release, the band debuted its second single, ‘Age Of Machines‘ Thursday. The single’s premiere comes less than two months after the band debuted the album’s lead single ‘My Way, Soon’ and its companion video.
While ‘My Way, Soon’ continues the lend itself to comparison to Led Zeppelin, GVF’s latest single is a stark stylistic contrast to its existing body of work. The song’s arrangement sets a decidedly brooding atmosphere through the use of its guitars, bass, and heavy drums. Yes, front man Joshua Kiszka is still easily likened to Led Zeppelin front man Robert Plant here, but that is the closes comparison that one can make.
The production that is used in the song gives the sound from the band in whole a certain echo effect. The guitar riffs throw back to the golden age of rock thanks to that production and their own approach. The drums and bass collectively sound so full, too, while the use of the choral vocal element adds its own touch to the song.
The lyrical content that accompanies the song’s musical arrangement touches on a familiar topic. According to information provided about the song, its lyrics center on “the influence of technology on modern life; the role conflict plays in the global sphere; the deceptive fulfillment of tangible riches; and philosophical questions about life, love and power.”
Kiszka addressed the song’s lyrical content, albeit indirectly, during a recent interview.
“There was a lot of self-evolution happening during the writing of this album that was prompted by experiences I had, experiences we all had, so a lot of contemplation occurred,” he said.
Kaje Jiszka expanded on Josh’s comments.
“It’s reflecting a lot of the world that we’ve seen, and I think that it’s reflecting a lot of personal truth. What Josh does very well with the lyrics is telling ancient tales with a contemporary application,” said Jake.
Drummer Danny Wagner built on his band mates’ comments with his own thoughts, discussing not just the band’s new single, but the group’s forthcoming album, too.
“We realized that while growing up, we had been shielded by many things, and we were unaware of a lot of things,” said Wagner. “And then we were thrown out into this huge world, and it was a bit of a culture shock at first. But as we started to travel a lot, meet new and different people and experience different cultures, our definition of ‘normal’ changed.”
Bassist Sam Kiszka also shared his thoughts on the band’s new material.
“I suppose that everything has changed except what got us here in the first place,” added Sam. “Everything – our perception of the world, perception of life itself, what it means to be an artist, what it means to be part of a beautiful, gorgeous society. We’ve gained a larger understanding of why we’re all here.”
Greg Kurstin (Adele, Foo Fighters, Paul McCartney) produced The Battle at Garden’s Gate.
More information on Greta Van Fleet’s new single and video is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:
Veteran singer-songwriter Ricky Byrd has made quite the name for himself throughout his professional life. He has worked with some of the most well-known and respected artists and acts in the music industry, not the least of which being Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. He also has worked with Bruce Springsteen, Mavis Staples, Ian Hunter (Deep Purple), Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Elvis Costello, and so many other well-respected figures in the music industry. During his extensive stint as a member of The Blackhearts, Byrd battled drug and alcohol addiction, eventually leading to him getting clean in sober in 1987. That battle and recovery led him to take on the topic in 2017 in his third album Clean Getaway. Now more than three years after its release, Byrd is addressing the issue again in his latest album Sobering Times. Scheduled for release Friday, the 12-song record is a strong companion piece and follow-up to Sobering Times. That is due to its musical and lyrical content, which clearly build on the foundation formed in Clean Getaway. ‘I Come Back Stronger,’ which comes just ahead of the album’s midpoint, is one way in which the album shows how that musical and lyrical content makes this record such a strong presentation. It will be discussed shortly. ‘Ain’t Gonna Live Like That’ is another way in which the album’s combined musical and lyrical content come together to engage and entertain audiences. It will be discussed a little later. ‘Together’ is one more way in which the album’s overall content shines. When it is considered along with the other songs noted here and the rest of this record, the album in whole becomes one of those rare records that is worth hearing start to end without stopping.
Ricky Byrd’s fourth full-length studio recording Sobering Times is a positive new offering from the veteran singer-songwriter-guitarist. That is proven through the record’s musical and lyrical content. ‘I Come Back Stronger’ is one of the songs that serves to support the noted statements. That is proven in part through the song’s musical arrangement. The arrangement is a gentle, acoustic work that lends itself partially to thoughts of works from Bruce Springsteen. At the same time, there is also a touch of country music incorporated into the song. The way that the song slowly builds from its early bars through the first half to its climax and progresses to its confident second half serves well to translate the message and emotion in the song’s lyrical content. Speaking of that lyrical content, it is engaging in its own right.
As noted, the songs featured in Byrd’s new album focus on the topic of addition, just as with the album’s predecessor. While the song’s lyrical theme centers on the matter of overcoming addiction, it is also about taking on the issues that come with overcoming addiction. Interestingly enough in this case, this song’s lyrical content could just as easily be about facing life’s difficulties, not just because of the battle to overcome addiction. To that end, the song’s lyrical content adds to its impact. The manner in which Byrd delivers his message here also adds to the impact. Byrd sings in the song’s lead verse, “Life is a lesson we all live and learn/All the ups and the downs/And the roadblocks that get in the way/Trying to find myself/I got bruised and hurt/But I survived it all/And it made me the person I am today/Every time I fall/I come back stronger/I was broken once/But not any longer.” The energy in the arrangement as the song reaches that climax in the chorus and the intensity with which Byrd states, “I come back stronger” is a defining moment for the song. The impact in the message remains as strong as ever from there as Byrd enters the song’s second verse. He sings in this verse, “When life hands you keys/That just won’t open up any doors/And you’re stuck in a rut/Feeling desperate/Down to the core/It’s the faith you find along the way/That always gets you through/I face my fears a thousand times/Every time I do/I come back stronger.” Looking back at all of this, the message and story presented in this song is a powerful presentation of why the song is such an important addition to Byrd’s new album. It is just one of the songs that shows what makes Byrd’s new album such a success. ‘Ain’t’ Gonna Live Like That’ is another notable way in which the album shows its strength.
‘Ain’t Gonna Live Like That’ adds to the presentation of Sobering Times because its musical arrangement stands apart from those of the album’s other works. This time Byrd offers audiences a powerful 12-bar blues work in the style of John Lee Hooker, B.B. King, and Stevie Ray Vaughan. The addition of the gospel style choral accompaniment to the arrangement adds eve more to the song’s impact, as does the light, subtle addition of the piano line at points. The whole is a presentation that any true music lover will appreciate and that shows in its own way, the diversity in the album’s musical presentation. The song’s lyrical content, will appeal to blues fans just as much as the musical arrangement. That is especially the case considering that much blues lyrical content in fact centers on the matter of dealing with a matter such as addiction and the negative influences in life, just like this song.
The lyrical content featured in this song comes from the vantage point of someone who has been down the troubled road and has learned from the experiences of that journey. He sings in the song’s lead verse, “lady or the tiger/What’s behind the door/I know one just might kill me/But I just got to get some more/The Devil’s dealin’ aces/’Cause he knows just what you need/To keep you in the alley/Beggin’ bargains on your knees/But I ain’t gonna live that/No more, no more/Hell is living for the need and the score” He continues in the song’s second verse, “Workin’ hard ain’t nothin’/Just fixin’ for a hit/Crawlin’ from the consequences/Swearin’ this is it/Lie beges a lie/And truth is layin’ low/My bull****’s thick with every trick/To get me where I got to go/But I ain’t gonna live like that/No more, no more/Hell is living for the need and the score/But I ain’t gonna live like that no more.” He adds in the song’s third and final verse, “Comin’ to it’s 5 p.m./I woke up three times today…Cold, tired and need some strength to get me off the ground/I pray you help me turn this down/And turn ths life around/’Cause I ain’t gonna live like that/No more, no more/Hell is livin’ for the need and the score/And I ain’t gonna live like that/No more, no more.” Again, the topic of fighting drug addiction is nothing new to the blues, so to have such a familiar topic coupled with an equally familiar musical style makes for even more enjoyment. Taking that into consideration, the song becomes that much clearer an example of what makes Sobering Times an enjoyable record. It is just one more of the songs that shows why this record deserves attention. ‘Together’ does its own share to show the album’s appeal, too.
‘Together’ takes audiences back to the 1960s with its Beatles-esque arrangement, complete with scratchy vocals, steady floor tom beat and snare, and vocal melodies. At the same time, the song features its own bluesy influence alongside that classic rock sound. The whole is a unique musical presentation that once again, shows the diversity in this album’s musical content. It is just one part of what makes the song stand out. The song’s lyrical positive lyrical content adds even more interest to the song.
The lyrical theme featured in ‘Together’ is clear. It delivers and promotes a message of unity for audiences. That is made clear right from the song’s outset as Byrd sings, “Have you ever found yourself desperate for salvation/Prayin’ in the dark/For the light to guide you away/Searchin’ for answers/That just lead to more questions/You might need a little help…I used to keep my pain well-hidden/As far as you know/I’m fine as fine can be/I never let the world know/I was hurtin’/That kind of thinking was almost the death of me/We’re in this together/No need to go it alone/A helping hand when you can’t get there on your own/A body needs somebody/We can always use a friend/A little bit of loving/When the ice is getting’ thin.” The message is made just as clear in the song’s second verse as Byrd sings, “You might think you’re the only one feeling what you’re feeling/There’s a whole lot of people out there hitting that same wall/Crawling from the wreckage/But going back for seconds/You run that…til you just can’t run anymore/I learned the hard way/ There’s strength in numbers/’Cause I tried to win a war all by myself/Side-by-sde and shoulder to shoulder/We’ll beat that devil right back to hell/We’re in this together/ No need to go it alone/A helping hand when you can’t get there on your own/A body needs somebody/We can always use a friend/A little bit of loving/When the ice is getting’ thin.” This is a message that America and the world needs right now more than ever. Sure it applies, again, with the matter of fighting addiction, but it also works in addressing the current state of the nation and world. To that end, that duality in this message strengthens the song’s lyrical presentation even more. When this is considered along with the strength created through the duality in the other songs noted here and the rest of the album’s songs, the whole of the album’s lyrical content proves that much more critical to its presentation. When the lyrical content is considered with the diverse musical content featured throughout the album, that whole makes completely clear why Sobering Times is a record that everymusic lover will appreciate. In turn, it becomes one more of this year’s top new overall albums.
Ricky Byrd’s latest album Sobering Times is a powerful new presentation from the veteran singer-songwriter-musician. That is proven in part through the record’s diverse musical content. That content will appeal to fans of the blues, classic rock and rock in general. The album’s lyrical themes present their own importance through their duality. On one hand, they address battles with addiction and the recovered from said concern. On the other hand, they can just as easily be related to life in general. All of the songs addressed here serve to support the noted statements. When they are considered along with all of the album’s other songs, the whole of that content unites to make the album in whole a strong new offering from Byrd that is also one more of this year’s top new albums overall and top new rock albums. Sobering Times is scheduled for release Friday through Kayos Records. More information on the album is available along with all of Byrd’s latest news at:
Almost two years ago, the rock world lost one of its great icons when Motorhead front man Lemmy Kilmister died from cancer. When he died, that effectively put an end to one of the musical universe’s greatest acts. That meant no more new Motorhead music. Earlier this month though, Motorhead Music–the band’s own label–released a new collection of covers from the band to satiate audiences in the form of Under Cover. The 11-song record presents a rarely heard side of Motorhead that itself is certain to entertain listeners. This is just one of the compilation’s key elements and will be discussed later. The acts whose songs are featured here are collectively just as important to discuss as the songs themselves and will be discussed later. The album’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements. Each element is important in its own right to this compilation’s overall presentation. All things considered, Under Cover proves to be a record that is an entertaining new offering for Motorhead’s most devout fans.
Motorhead, with the passing of front man Lemmy Kilmister almost two years ago, may not be actively recording new music anymore. With the release earlier this month of the band’s new covers compilation Under Cover, the band’s most devout fans were given an entertaining new release from Motorhead even if it is not a collection of new Motorhead music. That statement is supported in part through the songs that make up the collection. Considering that Motorhead, throughout the course of its life, was known for up-tempo blues-based rock that was tinged with some punk elements, the songs featured in this compilation show that the band was just as talented handling other styles of rock as its own brand. That is proven clearly in the band’s cover of David Bowie’s hit song ‘Heroes,’ which comes early in the record’s run. Bowie’s original work bears more similarity to works from perhaps Paul McCartmey than Motorhead. Yet, even in its slightly amped up take on the classic tune, Motorhead does Bowie’s classic justice while adding its own rock touch that is certain to get praise even from Bowie’s most devout fans. The band’s take on The Rolling Stones’ ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’ is yet another song featured in this record that shows the real reach of the band’s abilities. Once again, the band largely stays true to its source material, while also adding its own respectable hard rock elements. The expert balance of those two elements here will put a smile on any longtime Rolling Stones fan just as much as any Motorhead fan. Much the same can also be said in examining the band’s take of another Rolling Stones standard, ‘Sympathy For The Devil.’ Those three songs alone show clearly the band’s reach. Of course that is not to discount the band’s covers of Ted Nugent’s ‘Cat Scratch Fever,’ Rainbow’s ‘Starstruck,’ and The Ramones’ ‘Rockaway Beach’ as well as the album’s other songs. Those covers show in their own way the band’s reach, though they are much closer to Motorhead’s style than the previously noted works. Keeping this in mind, the bands whose works are featured here are just as important to note as the songs themselves.
Listeners will note that of the album’s 11 total songs, seven were crafted by British acts—Judas Priest, The Sex Pistols, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Rainbow and Ozzy Osbourne. The other four songs come from American acts—Ted Nugent, Metallica, Twisted Sister and The Ramones. That in itself is certain to create its own share of discussion. Obviously Motorhead was itself a British outfit, but it could easily be argued that such an emphasis on its counterparts presents its own history lesson to listeners. It shows the reach of the British hard rock scene between the 1960s and 1990s versus that of the American hard rock scene. To that end, the acts featured here in themselves serve as a starting point on rock’s history on both sides of the Atlantic. That might not have been the manifest intent with such a lineup, but it definitely will create those discussions. On another level, it shows the band’s interest in so many different parts of the rock community at the time. Judas Priest was hard rock while the Sex Pistols were more punk (again, showing Motorhead’s roots). Rainbow was more of a progressive style hard rock while The Rolling Stones were that blues-based influence that Motorhead always added to its own music, too. In the same breath, Metallica’s Whiplash shows where Motorhead perhaps got its harder almost thrash elements. When this is all taken into account along with the influences from the other featured bands, Motorhead’s roots become even more evident. In other words, the bands and songs featured in this compilation form a solid foundation for the record. They collectively serve as a starting point for discussions about music history and about Motorhead’s history. Both by themselves and together, they do plenty to make this record enjoyable and are not the record’s only key elements. The album’s sequencing adds its own enjoyment to its presentation.
Under Cover’s sequencing is an important to note in examining this record because of its ability to maintain the album’s energy from beginning to end. The album starts out full throttle with the band’s cover of Judas Priest’s ‘Breakin’ The Law’ and keeps the energy flowing just as highly as it launches into its cover of The Sex Pistols’ ‘God Save The Queen.’ Even as the album progresses into the band’s cover of ‘Heroes,’ the energy still maintains itself even here. Given, it isn’t as high as in the album’s first two entries, but still keeps moving. The energy picks right back up as the album takes listeners through the band’s covers of Rainbow’s Starstruck’ and Ted Nugent’s ‘Cat Scratch Fever’ before pulling back again with two straight Rolling Stones covers. From there on out, the energy picks right back and stays stable right to the album’s end even with the change in the songs’ styles. Keeping this in mind, it is clear that plenty of time and thought was put into the record’s sequencing. That time and thought ensures listeners’ engagement from beginning to end here. That is because the record’s energy never lets up too much at any one point or even gets too high. When this is taken into account along with the collective value of the record’s songs and their associated bands, it adds that much more depth to the collection. That being the case, the whole of those elements make Under Cover a collection that will appeal not only to Motorhead’s fans from start to finish but to rock fans in general.
Motrhead’s recently released compilation record Under Cover is a collection of songs that will appeal both to Motorhead’s fans and to rock fans in general. This is the case even though being a compilation record, it does not necessarily break any new ground in the way of compilation records. The songs and bands featured on this record serve collectively as a solid starting point for plenty of discussions both on Motorhead’s history and on rock history. They also do plenty to ensure listeners’ maintained engagement and entertainment. The record’s sequencing does much the same. All things considered, these elements make Under Cover a collection that while not exactly new to the compilation realm, is still entertaining in its own right. It is available now in stores and online. More information on Under Cover is available online now along with all of the latest Motorhead news at: