Nonpoint Asks Fans To Help Choose Band’s Next Cover Song

Nonpoint wants its fans to choose the next song that it covers.

The band has launched a new campaign that gives audiences the chance to choose the band’s next cover.  The first round of the contest consisted of 64 songs, reduced that number to 32 and now has whittled the list to 16 songs.

The current list of contenders for covers includes, but is not limited to: Jay Z, Metallica, and Genesis.  Speaking of Genesis, Nonpoint covered Phil Collins’ hit song ‘In The Air Tonight’ on its album Recoil (2004).  The band’s major label debut Statement (2000) featured a cover of Busta Rhymes’ hit song ‘Woo-Hah!! Got You All In Check’ and Wu-Tang Clan’s song ‘Method Man.’  The two songs were culled in one song.

The band issued a statement that notes the decision to curate the list came from its fans’ requests for more covers.

“Over the years we have asked this question time and time again on our socials,” the statement reads. “Accumulating answers both traditional and nontraditional, from ages as young as 8 to as old as 80. Seeing how many of you discovered us years ago in this very fashion makes this campaign very special. We have always said that our fans are our lifeblood and always come to bat for us when we need them most. So with this campaign we wanted to show our fans the power they have being a member of the 361 family and Nonpoint Nation”

Nonpoint’s list of contenders for its next cover song is featured below.


Courtesy: Nonpoint/O’Donnell Media Group


Fans can vote for their favorite song through the band’s social media channels.

More information on Nonpoint’s new campaign is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:





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Opus’ New Covers Collection Will Appeal To A Wide Range Of Rock Fans

Courtesy: O’Donnell Media Group

Rock drummer Christian F. Lawrence released a new collection of cover songs titled The Corona Covers Friday through his official Bandcamp page.  Lawrence — who goes by the stage name Opus — works with independent hard rock/metal band Dead By Wednesday and with Megadeth bassist David Ellefson on his solo work.  The eight-song recording features songs that are a far cry from the work for which he has come to be known.  That is due to the songs that make up the body of the new compilation.  They will be discussed shortly.  Lawrence’s performance of said songs plays its own role in the overall presentation of this record.  They will be discussed a little later.  The price point for this covers collection is also important to discuss.  Together with the noted elements of the songs and their performances, all three elements make The Corona Covers a positive display of Lawrence’s talents and potential as a solo artist.

The Corona Covers is a positive new offering for drummer Christian F. Lawrence.  That is because it is a work that puts on display, Lawence’s talents as a singer, guitarist and solo artist.  It does this in part through the songs that make up its body.  The songs are not metal songs.  Rather, they are works that come from a relatively wide range of musical genres.  The collection opens with a cover of Alice in Chains’ hit song ‘Rooster.’  The band, as most audiences know, was part of the Seattle grunge sound back in the early and mid 1990s.  From there, Lawrence takes audiences back in time with his own performance of Pink Floyd’s timeless song ‘Mother.’  ‘Mother’ and ‘Rooster’ could not be any farther apart as two songs can be in terms of genres.  He continues to branch out even more in the collection’s third song, ‘Blackbird.’  ‘Where Do The Children Play?,’ which was the product of Cat Stevens, follows that work.  From there, Lawrence moves to the southern rock realm with a cover of the Marshall Tucker Band’s song ‘Can’t You See.’  He doesn’t stick to that sound for long as the collection continues progressing, offering next, a cover of Phil Collins’ timeless hit ‘In The Air Tonight.’  KISS’ song ‘Beth’ follows that work, again keeping things interesting for listeners.  ‘Itsy Bitsy,’ by Mike and Peggy Seeger, closes out the collection.  Yet again, here is another change of style and pace for listeners.  What’s more, it’s another example of the diversity in Lawrence’s own musical influences.  That far-reaching range of influences in itself will establish respect for Lawrence by listeners while also keeping audiences engaged and entertained.  Keeping that in mind, this collection’s featured songs clearly are important in their own right to the whole of the compilation’s presentation.  As important as they are to the collection’s presentation, Lawrence’s presentation thereof is just as important to address.

Each performance by Lawrence in this collection stays true to its source material as best it can.  That is obvious throughout the compilation. That in itself is noteworthy.  What’s more, Lawrence’s actual performance of each song does its own part to honor each song’s roots.  The most notable of his performances come in his takes on ‘Rooster’ and ‘Mother.’  From the “rubbery” effect of the guitar to the control and balance in the layering of the vocals, this performance is right up there with the best acoustic performances that Alice in Chains held at its MTV Unplugged performance so many years ago.  Lawrence’s performance of ‘Mother’ is just as powerful, as that crafted by Pink Floyd.  That same melancholy is there in the instrumentation and Lawrence’s vocal delivery.  It has that same ethereal vibe of its source material, leading it to tug so strongly at listeners’ emotions.  Lawrence is to be commended for this performance which mirrors almost exactly its source material.  Much the same can be said of his performance of The Marshall Tucker Band’s song ‘Can’t You See’ and The Beatles’ ‘Blackbird.’  Lawrence strives to stay as true as possible to the source material in those performances, as well as those of the other noted songs and those not directly addressed here.  All things considered, Lawence’s performance of the compilation’s featured songs adds even more engagement and entertainment to the set as the songs themselves.  Together with the songs, the two elements give fans plenty of encouragement to purchase the record.

Speaking of buying, the price of Lawrence’s new covers collection is $8.  Considering the breadth of content and the Lawrence’s also already noted performances, that price is actually relatively affordable.  So many records with the same amount of content can range from that price and go up from there, so paying only that price is not bad.  Add in the fact that Lawrence will add new songs to the collection each week without raising the price, and audiences get even more motivation to purchase this compilation.  When this is considered along with the impact of the set’s songs and performances thereof, the set in whole proves to be a work that Lawrence’s fans will appreciate just as much as Dead By Wednesday fans and those of David Ellefson.

Christian F. Lawrence’s new covers collection The Corona Covers is hardly the first covers collection to ever be released by any musical act.  It is however, one that rock fans in general will find entertaining.  That is proven in part through the songs that make up the body of the record.  They show Lawrence’s wide range of musical tastes while also providing a wide range of listeners something to enjoy.  Lawence’s performance of the noted songs adds even more to appreciate here, as does the collection’s law price.  Each item noted here is important in its own right to the whole of The Corona Covers.  All things considered, they make The Corona Covers a presentation that will appeal to any rock fan.

More information on The Corona Covers is available online along with all of Lawrence’s latest news and more at:



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Blacktop Mojo Announces New Album Release, Tour Dates; Premieres Album’s Lead Single, Video

Courtesy: TAG Publicity

Blacktop Mojo announced this week, the release date for its new album.

The band announced it will release Under The Sun, its third full-length studio recording, on Sept. 13.  Pre-orders for Under The Sun are open now.  The band debuted the music video for the album’s lead single ‘Can’t Sleep‘ on Wednesday.

The dark, breeding song presents a musical arrangement whose choruses lend themselves to comparisons to Nonpoint’s cover of Phil Collins’ ‘In The Air Tonight’ while the verses are more akin to so many songs from Breaking Benjamin.  The video is just as dark as the song’s arrangement, finding the band’s front man Matt James carrying a shovel through a forested backdrop at night.  The revelation as to why he is carrying the shovel is even darker.


Courtesy: TAG Publicity

Blacktop Mojo will tour in support of Under The Sun this summer.  The band’s tour is scheduled to launch July 12 in Dallas, TX and to run through Sept. 24 in Quapaw, OK.  The tour’s schedule is noted below.

Catch BLACKTOP MOJO Live on the 2019 CAN’T SLEEP TOUR w/Special Guests LULLWATER

07/12 @ The Blue Lights – Dallas, TX
07/13 @ Aftershock – Kansas City, MO
07/14 @ Apollo Theatre – Rockford, IL *
07/16 @ Spicolis – Waterloo, IA +
07/18 @ Durty Nellies – Palatine, IL
07/19 @ Rock USA – Oshkosh, WI
07/20 @ Kentucky Bike Rally – Sturgis, KY
07/21 @ Exit/In – Nashville, TN ^
07/23 @ Winchester Music Tavern – Cleveland, OH
07/25 @ Hard Times Cafe – Four Mile Fork @ Fredericksburg, VA
07/26 @ Muddy Creek Saloon – Heath, OH
07/27 @ Cotter Pin – La Crosse, WI
07/28 @ Q and Z – Ringle, Wi
07/31 @ Token Lounge – Detroit, MI
08/01 @ Manchester Music Hall – Lexington, KY
08/02 @ Madam Caroll Boat – Monticello, IN
08/03 @ Moefest – Monticello, IN
08/04 @ Madison Theater – Covington, KY +
08/06 @ Hard Rock Café – Pittsburgh, PA +
08/07 @ The Chance – Poughkeepsie, NY
08/08 @ Wally’s – Manchester, NH +
08/09 @ Alchemy – Providence, RI +
08/10 @ Spook Hill Bar & Grill – Adams Center, NY
08/11 @ Woodbury Brewing Company – Woodbury, CT
08/14 @ Eclectic Room – Angola, IN +
08/15 @ Illinois State Fair – Grand Central – Springfield, IL
08/16 @ Rose Music Hall – Columbia, MO
08/17 @ ABATE Summerfest 2019 – Bristol, IN
08/18 @ The Warehouse – Clarksville, TN
08/20 @ Sidetracks – Huntsville, AL +
08/21 @ 1884 Lounge – Memphis, TN +
08/22 @ Temple Live Commandry – Ft. Smith, AR
08/23 @ City Limits – Oklahoma City, OK
08/24 @ Downstream Casino – Quapaw, OK

+ w/ Lullwater
* Supporting Nonpoint
^ w/ The Georgia Thunderbolts

Tickets are available here while VIP packages are available here.


More information on the album is available online now along with all of Blacktop Mojo’s latest news at:






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Santana-McLaughlin Montreux Re-Issue Is Another Shining Beacon From Eagle Rock

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Forty-eight years ago a man named Claude Knobs founded the Montreux Jazz Festival. In the decades since its founding, the once jazz-only festival has grown to become one of the world’s most renowned festivals featuring acts from every one of the music industry’s genres. Sadly, Knobs passed away two years ago. But even in his absence, the festival has continued on and remained one of the world’s elite music festivals. And thanks to the efforts of the people at Eagle Rock Entertainment that reputation has been held strong due to the label’s partnership with Montreux Sounds. The companies’ partnership has resulted in a number of performances from the festival’s history being released in recent years. That list includes performances from the likes of: Stan Getz, Phil Collins, Etta James, ZZ Top, and The Raconteurs among so many others. Last week, that list grew just a little more when the companies revisited Carlos Santana and John McLaughlin’s 2011 Invitation to Illumination performance and re-issued the concert in a double-disc CD presentation. Originally released on DVD and Blu-ray in 2013, this latest release is just as enjoyable for those that might not already own the concert’s original DVD and/or BD presentation. Of course it is just as enjoyable for anyone that already owns said presentations, too. The main reason that it is so enjoyable is its set list. Just as with Eagle Rock’s 2012 Santana live release, Greatest Hits Live at Montreux 2011, this show’s set list feels more like one giant jam session than a specifically structured set list. By direct connection, the stage presence of the musicians on stage is just as noteworthy in the recording’s enjoyment and success. Last of note in this recording is the concert’s audio mix. Those with surround sound home theater systems will especially appreciate that clarity of the recording’s audio mix. Together with the set list and the band’s stage presence, that expert audio mix is one more factor that reminds audiences why Eagle Rock Entertainment is the leader of the pack in live recordings. Collectively, all three elements show why this recording is one of the best of this year’s crop of re-issues.

Eagle Rock Entertainment’s new double-disc presentation of Carlos Santana & John Mclaughlin’s performance at the 2011 Montreux Jazz Festival is not the first time that the recording has been released. Despite that, this audio-only presentation is just as enjoyable as the concert’s 2013 DVD and Blu-ray presentation of the concert. This applies both for those that already own the concert’s DVD and/or Blu-ray presentation and for those that have neither. The main reason that it is so enjoyable for all involved is its set list. The nearly two and a half hour performance (two hours and fourteen minutes to be exact) is composed of sixteen tracks that touch on quite a few different genres. There is a tribute to Led Zeppelin early on as Santana and company cover the legendary rock band’s hit single ‘Stairway to Heaven.’ There are also tributes to Miles Davis and John Coletrane later in the performance in the form of ‘Black Satin’ and ‘A Love Supreme’ respectively. There is also another tribute to Coletrane earlier in the show in the form of ‘Naima,’ which is another of the legendary sax player’s greatest hits. As if these numbers aren’t enough, there are also of plenty of other original pieces performed by Santana and his fellow musicians pulled from Santana and McLaughlin’s 1973 album Love Devotion Surrender. The combination of the artists’ covers and original compositions results in a set list that is rich and completely engaging. Being so rich and engaging, audiences won’t even realize that so much time has passed by the time they reach the concert’s finale performance. That in itself is the mark of a truly talented group of musicians. Speaking of the musicians’ collective talents, their talents are another reason that audiences will enjoy this latest release of Invitation to Illumination.

The extensive set list compiled for Invitation to Illumination is in itself plenty of reason for fans of Carlos Santana and John McLaughlin to pick up this newly re-issued concert recording. It runs nearly two and a half hours and spans some sixteen songs. At no point in that time will audiences ever find themselves checking the time as the concert progresses. Rather, they will find themselves becoming lost in the concert in the best way possible. That says quite a bit within itself. Of course the concert’s chosen set list is only part of what makes it so enjoyable. The stage presence of Santana and his fellow musicians is another reason that audiences will enjoy the show. Taking in a performance by Carlos Santana and his band mates is more than simply taking in a performance from the highly talented musicians. Taking in a performance of these individuals is taking in a full musical experience. This is just as true in Santana & McLaughlin: Invitation to Illumination as it was on Carlos Santana: Greatest Hits Live at Montreux 2011. It is incredible to hear Santana and his band mates sharing the stage throughout the two-hour plus performance. Unlike so many other acts out there today, Santana steps back on multiple occasions, allowing his band mates to get their fair share of time in the limelight. Simply put, he not only talks the talk, but walks the walk, too. Such humility, willingness to share the spotlight, and talent shows why Santana is still one of the greatest guitarists in modern music history. Audiences will be in awe at the talent of both Dennis Chambers and Santana’s own wife, Cyndi Blackman Santana as they work behind their kits. Blackman Santana’s skill with the sticks is unparalleled. Watching her perform whether with the rest of the band or by herself on her drum solo is like watching controlled chaos. By contrast, Chambers’ own performance behind his kit is the picture of talent and composure. Chambers’ body language is one of someone that is entirely relaxed. Yet his playing would seem otherwise. It’s an amazing juxtaposition. The band overall presents such talent throughout its performance. It’s yet another way in which the band’s stage presence shows itself to be an important part of the recording’s whole. Together with the show’s extensive set list, both elements show once again why Invitation to Illumination is a brightly shining live recording from Eagle Rock Entertainment.

The set list assembled for Invitation to Illumination and the stage presence of the assembled musicians are both key reasons that the recording is so entertaining for audiences. They are just part of the whole of the recording’s enjoyment in its new double-disc CD presentation. The concert’s final audio mix rounds out the reasons that the concert shines so brightly. Those with surround sound home theater systems will especially appreciate that clarity of the recording’s audio mix. That is not to say that those without a home theater system will be left out in the cold per se. Rather it is just to say that the audio mix really lends itself to a home theater system even having been recorded at an indoor venue. There is something about the combined talents of the musicians on stage that just gives the performance that much power. This includes both the concert’s more raucous moments and even its more reserved moments. Audiences will agree with this sentiment when they pick up this recording for themselves. Together with the concert’s set list and the performers’ stage presence, it becomes the finishing touch on a recording that is one more brightly shining recording from Eagle Rock Entertainment even having been previously released.

While it is not the first time that Eagle Rock Entertainment has released the concert, the company’s new double-disc CD presentation of Invitation to Illumination still shines just as brightly as the concert’s previous DVD and Blu-ray presentation. This is the case both for those that already own one or both of the previously released presentations and for those that don’t already own either. The show’s set list coupled with the stage presence and talents of the performers makes for plenty of enjoyment in its new re-issue. The concert’s expert audio mix makes it even more of a joy for audiences. All three elements taken together make Invitation to Illumination a concert that is just as enjoyable the second time around as the first. Santana & McLaughlin: Invitation to Illumination Live at Montreux 2011 is available now in stores and online. More information on this and other titles from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online now at:




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Eagle Rock Entertainment Releasing Classic All-Star Benefit Concert This Spring

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Eagle Rock Entertainment will release what is one of its biggest recordings to date this spring when it releases on SD Blu-ray Live at Knebworth.

Billed as “The Best British Concert Of All Time,” Live at Knebworth will be released Tuesday, March 17th on SD Blu-ray. It is presented in upscaled standard definition with uncompressed stereo and DTS-HD Master Audio. The concert was originally recorded on June 30th, 1990. It was held as a benefit concert for Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy and The Brit School for Performing Arts. Its lineup included some of the most well-known and respected musicians and acts from the UK. Many if not all of the acts in question had each themselves received the Nordoff-Robbins Silver Clef Award. They included: Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, Pink Floyd, Robert Plant, Elton John, Phil Collins, Genesis, Dire Straits, Tears for Fears, Cliff Richards and the Shadows, and Status Quo. Most incredible of all was that of these performers, each one performed free of charge to support the cause.

McCartney offered up renditions of ‘Hey Jude,’ ‘Birthday,’ and ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ for his performance. When Clapton took to the stage, he gave audiences ‘Tearin’ Us Apart’ and ‘before You Accuse Me.’ Elton John moved audiences in his own way with performances of ‘Sad Songs (Say So Much’ and ‘Sacrifice.’ Genesis gave one of the most interesting performances of the concert with a medley of ‘Somebody to Love,’ ‘Pinball Wizard,’ and ‘Turn It On Again.’ Robert Plant was joined on-stage by his Led Zeppelin band mate Jimmy Page for performances of ‘Wearin’ and Tearin,’ and ‘Rock and Roll.’ Pink Floyd’s performances of ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond’ and ‘Run Like Hell’ were some of the concert’s most memorable moments. And they were just some of the key moments that make up the concert’s thirty-two song concert. The concert’s complete track listing is noted below.


Tears For Fears:

1) Change

2) Badman’s Song

3) Everybody Wants To Rule The World

Cliff Richard & The Shadows:

4) On The Beach

5) Good Golly Miss Molly

6) We Don’t Talk Anymore

Phil Collins & The Serious Band:

7) In The Air Tonight

8) Sussudio

Paul McCartney:

9) Coming Up

10) Birthday

11) Hey Jude

12) Can’t Buy Me Love

Status Quo:

13) Whatever You Want

14) Rockin’ All Over The World

15) Dirty Water

16) In The Army Now

Eric Clapton:

17) Before You Accuse Me

18) Tearin’ Us Apart

Dire Straits:

19) Solid Rock

20) Think I Love You Too Much

21) Money For Nothing

Elton John:

22) Sacrifice

23) Sad Songs (Say So Much)

Robert Plant:

24) Hurting Kind

25) Tall Cool One

26) Wearing And Tearing (with Jimmy Page)

27) Rock And Roll (with Jimmy Page)


28) Mama

29) Throwing It All Away

30) Turn It On Again Medley: Turn It On Again / Somebody To Love /  Reach Out, I’ll Be There / Pinball Wizard / In The Midnight Hour / Turn It On Again (reprise)

Pink Floyd:

31) Shine On You Crazy Diamond

32) Run Like Hell


Proceeds from the sale of Live at Knebworth will continue to raise funds for Nordoff-Robbins Therapy and the Brit School for Performing Arts. More information on this and other releases from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online at:






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Eagle Rock Announces Upcoming Re-Issue Of Classic Genesis Concert Recording

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

2014 is slowly winding its way down. But don’t tell that to the people at Eagle Rock Entertainment. That’s because the company that rightfully wears the crown as the leader in live recordings has announced that it has yet another new release on the way before the year is out.

Officials with Eagle Rock Entertainment announced Monday that the company will release Genesis: Live Three Sides on Tuesday, November 4th. The concert was recorded originally in November of 1981 on the band’s North American “Abacab” tour. It has previously been released on VHS to coincide with the audio portion of the concert and as part of the band’s limited edition box set The Movie Box 1981 2007. That means that the upcoming DVD and Blu-ray release of this concert will be the first time that it has ever been released as a stand-alone DVD and Blu-ray. The DVD will retail for SRP of $14.98 while the Blu-ray will retail for SRP of $19.98.

Genesis: Live Three Sides was originally recorded on 16mm film. The concert itself focuses primarily on songs from the band’s 1980 album Duke and its follow-up Abacab (1981). The concert features the lineup of Tony Banks (keyboard/backing vocals), Phil Collins (drums/Lead vocals), and Mike Rutherford (guitar/bass/backing vocals). Also on board for the show during this tour were Daryl Stuermer (guitar/bass) and Chester Thompson (drums). The track listing for this recording is included below.


1) Behind The Lines

2) Duchess

3) Misunderstanding

4) Dodo / Lurker

5) Abacab

6) No Reply At All

7) Who Dunnit?

8) Medley: In The Cage / The Cinema Show  / The Colony Of Slippermen

9) Afterglow

10) Me & Sarah Jane

11) Man On The Corner

12) Turn It On Again


More information on this and other releases from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online at and To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at

Stewart Re-Invents Himself Yet Again On His Third Country Outing

Courtesy:  Weapons of Mass Entertainment

Courtesy: Weapons of Mass Entertainment

Dave Stewart has done it again.  The former Eurythmics star has re-invented himself once again on his latest record, Lucky Numbers.  The third of his Nashville records, this record comes across as the culmination of Stewart’s journey into the country music world.  And it goes without saying that if this is the last of his country records, it is his best yet.  The record offers a little of something for everybody over the course of eleven tracks.  The album’s opener, ‘Every Single Night’ is quite the interesting way to kick off this album.  That’s because while it does boast a country element, it’s also slightly tinged with an 80s sound, too.  The addition of country superstar Martina McBride doesn’t hurt the record, either.  And its radio edit, is little different.  It’s just one of the songs that listeners will enjoy on this record.  Just as enjoyable is the semi-bluesy ‘Drugs Taught Me a Lesson.’  This song doesn’t necessarily have a country vibe about it.  But its theme of past drug use set alongside its mid-tempo musical side make it another of the album’s high points.  Speaking of high points, the album’s third track, ‘How To Ruin A Romance’ is one more of those high points.  Its playful energy and equally comical yet true lyrical side will most assuredly have anyone smiling as they sing along.  These are just a few of the most notable of the songs from Stewart’s new album.  For those that want something a little softer, Stewart has a relatively good offering of softer material, too.  Along with the more up-tempo songs, they put Dave Stewart into this critic’s list of the year’s best new records again.’

‘Every Single Night’ opens Lucky Numbers.  This mid-tempo pop country tune is a good re-introduction for Stewart.  It’s quite the interesting opener, too.  It’s light pop/rock vibe conjures thoughts of Phil Collins and certain other well-known acts from the 80s.  That’s thanks to the keyboard and drums that largely drive the song.  Ironically, it’s that same solid drumming that is sure to have audiences at Stewart’s live shows raising their hands and clapping together in time to the song.  Guest star Martina McBride actually serves to make the song feel even more like a pop song straight from the late 80s with her vocal prowess.  It adds a certain charm as the pair sings, “That’s why the rain came/Every single night/Every single night/Like a ball and chain/Every single night/Every single night/I’m never gonna cry again/Every single night/Every single night/Don’t ask me why again/Every single night/Every single night.”  The charm of the duo singing together along with the song’s musical side makes it so easy to close one’s eyes and actually see them singing.  Even images of the pair singing together will come across to some just like a music video from the 80s.  Is that bad?  Not necessarily.  It’s actually somewhat endearing.  And that endearing feeling is the heart of the song.  Stewart and McBride have hit an emotional nerve with listeners that will lead to the above mentioned reactions.

After the feel good vibes created in ‘Every Single Night’, one might wonder how Stewart could possibly follow up that song.  He follows it up by changing things up in every sense of the term.  Instead of offering more of that endearing classic rock vibe, Stewart turns bluesy on the album’s next song, ‘Drugs Taught Me A Lesson.’  He was joined by Vanessa Amorosi and The Ringmaster Chorus on this song.  This is another of those songs that make it so easy for audiences to envision Stewart live on stage, performing the song.  It’s so easy to see the Ringmaster’s Chorus behind Stewart, swaying back and forth, smiling as they sing and clap in time.  The song’s laid back piano riff mixed with its infectious groove laid down by Stewart’s bassist make the song even more fun.  And one can’t forget the incredible guitar work in this track, either.  All three elements together make the song’s lyrical side hit even harder, believe it or not.  That’s because Stewart is singing from the vantage point of someone having gotten past drug addiction.  He sings, “Drugs taught me a lesson/How to lose control/Drugs taught me a lesson/Just how I lose my soul/And that’s one hard lesson to learn.”  It would have been so easy to take a more somber road on this song.  Stewart took chose otherwise.  And it paid off, too.  It shows that there is hope for those struggling to get past drug addiction, and the joy that can result in living a clean life.  So for that, kudos is in order for Stewart and company.

Stewart and his band mates maintain the light hearted vibe established in the album’s second song with the very next piece, ‘How To Ruin A Romance.’  This song just cries country.  It is really the first pure country style song on this record.  Stewart and guest musician Vanessa Amorosi sing playfully about all the ways that people—particularly men—ruin a romance.  From not taking a cue from a woman to passing up the chance to talk to a woman or even kiss her, he and Amorosi outline rather well all the things to not do.  They offer up even more ways that a romance can be romance can be ruined.  And there are a lot of ways to ruin a romance, too, as listeners will find out.  Add in some nice guitar solos and solid drumming, and listeners get yet another enjoyable song from Stewart’s new album.

As one can hopefully tell by now, there is plenty of reason for audiences to applaud Dave Stewart on his latest LP.  He offers much more from which listeners can choose as their own favorite songs.  There is more light hearted material throughout the record as well as more heartfelt material for those wanting to hear Stewart’s softer side.  Altogether, it works to make Lucky Numbers another hit from Dave Stewart, and another album from Stewart that makes this critic’s list of the year’s best new albums.  Fans will get to hear these songs and even more of his material in just a couple of months when he performs at “VaVoom…A Rock and Roll Circus” in Los Angeles, California on Thursday, January 30th.  Tickets for that show are available now and can be ordered online at  All of the latest information on more upcoming shows and news from Dave Stewart is available online at and  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at

Hackett Announces New Live Box Set, Tour Details

Courtesy:  InsideOut Music

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

Veteran musician Steve Hackett will release a new live box set this Fall.  The new live set, Genesis Revisited: Live at Hammersmith will be released on Monday, October 21st worldwide, and Tuesday, October 29th in the United States via InsideOut Music.  It will be comprised of three compact discs and two DVDs.  The full set was recorded at London’s Hammersmith Apollo on May 10th, 2013.  The recording of the sold out performance features guest performances from Nik Kershaw, John Wetton, Jakko Jakszyk, and Steve Rothery.  It is being released in connection with the return of Hackett’s Genesis Revisited Tour to Europe and the UK for a second run.  The second run is thanks to critical acclaim from critics and audiences alike.

Hackett shared his thoughts on the upcoming live box set in an interview about the release.  He talked about the 5.1 surround sound audio mix on the performance’s DVD portion and the equally impressive audio mix on the companion CD’s in his interview.  “The 5.1 DVD with stereo CD out on 21st October including the whole show from Hammersmith Apollo is a feast for all the senses,” he said.  I was blown away by the fantastic response to those May UK gigs. The autumn Genesis Revisited shows will include different Genesis material to before as well as all the big faves that bring the house down…See you all soon!”

The full track listing for Genesis Revisited: Live at Hammersmith is available below.

1. Watcher of the Skies
2. The Chamber of 32 Doors
3. Dancing with the Moonlit Knight
4. Fly on a Windshield
5. Broadway Melody of 1974
6. The Lamia
7. The Musical Box
8. Shadow of the Hierophant
9. Blood on the Rooftops

1. Unquiet Slumbers for the Sleepers
2. In That Quiet Earth
3. Afterglow
4. I Know What I Like
5. Dance on a Volcano
6. Entangled
7. Eleventh Earl of Mar
8. Supper’s Ready

1. Firth of Fifth
2. Los Endos

Full live show

Behind the scenes featurette

A full listing of Hackett’s most current tour dates is available online at his official Facebook page at and at his official website at  Fans can also stay up to date with all of the latest Steve Hackett news via Twitter at

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Collins’ New Project An Impressive New Prog-Rock Record

Courtesy:  InsideOut Music

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

First impressions are everything in this world.  Whether it be a first date, that first job interview, or a band’s first album, that first impression makes all the difference in said person(s) future successes.  In the case of prog-rock trio Sound of Contact, the band’s first impression in Dimensionaut is quite the first impression.  Fronted by second generation rocker Simon Collins—son of Phil Collins—the band’s twelve-track concept album is one of the year’s most intriguing records.  Being released via InsideOut Music, it also qualifies as one of the year’s best independent releases.  Throughout the album’s sequencing, listeners are treated to a record that obviously draws from a number of influences.  Those influences include the likes of: Porcupine Tree, Pink Floyd, and even his own dad’s former band, Genesis just to name a few.  The thing of it is that the trio has taken those influences and made a record that improves on the sounds crafted by those bands.  In turn, it becomes an album that stands out as a fully original and enjoyable listen from start to finish.

Dimensionaut offers listeners more interesting moments than can be listed in one sitting.  So one will try to pinpoint just a sampling of what makes this album a success.  Right off the bat, the band impresses on its short, acoustic opener, ‘Sound of Contact.’  The harmonies between Collins and band mates Dave Kerzner (keyboards, acoustic guitar, backing vocals) and Matt Dorsey (guitars, bass, backing vocals) are spot on.  And the gentility of this opener makes it s perfect opener, as it leads to the surprise heaviness of ‘Cosmic Distance Ladder.’  Having gone from the gentility of the album’s opener, it serves a double purpose.  On one hand, it makes for a solid transition within the context of this album.  And keeping in mind the album’s overall concept, the song’s very title makes it all the more well-placed in the grand scheme of things.  On another hand, it proves how effortlessly the band’s members can switch from the softer side of the prog world to the much heavier side of things.

‘Pale Blue Dot’, the album’s third song, is another highlight to Dimensionaut.  This is one of those songs that openly draw from earlier prog bands, including that of Collins’ father.  Strangely enough, if one allows one’s self to fully be immersed in this song, nowhere does he sound more like his legendary father.  If one were listening to this song without knowing it was Simon Collins, one would very easily be led to believe that it was indeed Phil Collins.  That is how close the father and son sound to one another.  In terms of the song itself, it’s another well placed piece in the album’s overall layout.  The album as a whole is about a being that can travel between time and space.  The being’s journey is one meant to broaden the human experience.  So it is only natural that early on in the being realizes how insignificant we are in the universe.  The metaphor is used, comparing mankind to a “pale blue dot.”  It’s a relatively good visual.  And in partnership with the almost ethereal musical style, it stands out as one of the most incredible moments on this album.  It is so easy to close one’s eyes, take in the music and really be able to visualize what the being in question must be experiencing at this point in the story. 

The whole journey culminates in what can only be described as prog-rock at its best in the near twenty-minute epic, ‘Mobius Slip.’  The four-movement opus offers its share of heavy and soft from start to finish.  Its ability to mix its more mainstream elements with material more appealing to prog-rock purists makes it the perfect ending to this musical and lyrically existential journey.  Collins’ drumming is just as solid as his father’s, if not better.  The musicianship of his band mates is just as expert as the epic eventually leads to a conclusion that wonderfully book ends the album, closing it just as it opened.  By the time that the song ends, listeners will have realized that they have just experienced an album unlike anything that they have ever heard.  And they will realize, too, that this is an album that proves the promise of Sound of Contact for the future.  In the meantime, audiences will get to experience this journey live when the band hits the road in support of its debut.  The band will perform at the famed Whiskey A Go Go in West Hollywood, California on Wednesday, August 21st.  The trio will also be playing dates in San Diego, California, Birmingham, Alabama, Atlanta, Georgia and more.  Fans can get the band’s most current tour listings online at and the band’s official website,

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“Satchurated: Live in Montreal” one of 2012’s top 3 live releases

Courtesy: Epic Records/cine musica

Summer is here.  And that means that the annual tours are making their way across the country fast and furious.  The problem is that with all the tours out there, who has the money or the means to even try to make them all?  For that matter, what are fans to do when their favorite band and/or artist doesn’t make a stop in their city?  This is where the importance of live recordings comes in to play.  Anyone out there who is like this reviewer has seen their favorite act(s) shun their city in favor of other markets time and again.  So live recordings become that much more important to being able to experience given acts live.  And one of the best of this year’s live recordings is Joe Satriani’s recently released live blu-ray “Satchurated:  Live in Montreal.”

“Satchurated:  Live in Montreal” is not Joe Satriani’s first live recording.  But it is one of his best yet, if not his best yet.  This live show is as close as fans will come to a career retrospective from Satriani.  The show clocks in at just under two and a half hours long.  And it lifts from nearly every one of the fourteen albums that this guitar legend has released in the twenty plus years that he has been making music.  That includes more than half of the songs from his most recent album, “Black Swans and Wormhole Wizards.”  The whole show kicks off with the hit, ‘Ice 9’ from his album, “Surfing With The Alien.”  All the hits are there, including:  ‘Satch Boogie’, ‘Summer Song’, ‘Crowd Chant’, ‘The Mystical Potato Head Groove Thing’ and so many more.

The mega set list on this performance is just one part of the whole that makes “Satchurated:  Live in Montreal” the standout live recording that it is.  The songs are great.  And thanks to Mike Fraser (Aerosmith, AC/DC, Sliipknot, etc.) and everyone behind the scenes of the show, the finished product came out just as impressive as the set list itself.  The audio mix is spot on even for those who might not have a surround sound home theater system.  Though as impressive as the audio mix was, it’s enough to make a person want to buy a home theater system if only for the one show.  It should come as no surprise that the final mix was so impressive.  This show wasn’t the first time that Satriani and Fraser have worked together.  They also teamed up for Satriani’s albums, “Crystal Planet” and “Super Colossal.” 

The finished video presentation was just as impressive as the audio mix.  Even those who don’t have a 3-D TV get stunning clarity with the concert’s blu-ray presentation.  On top of that, the general shooting, helmed by the brothers Lamoureux–Pierre and Francois–will make audiences feel as if they’re right there in Montreal with the rest of the audience.  The brothers took the emotion of every one of Satch’s songs, and somehow adapted that energy to the filming, giving shots at just the right pacing to keep audiences hooked.  Combine the filming with the show’s setlist, and audiences will be pulled right into the show.  they won’t even realize that nearly two and a half hours have passed until the show is over.  That is the sign of a truly impressive live recording.

Joe Satriani has been making music for over two decades.  He has released fourteen albums, and earned numerous honors as a result of those albums.  Now, he can add one more honor to that already long list with the release of “Satchurated:  Live in Montreal.”  That honor is of having one of the top live recordings of 2012.  From the superior audio mix and video presentation to the career spanning set list, Joe Satriani has never looked or sounded better.

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