AT&T Audience Network’s Weekly Concert To Feature Darius Rucker Tonight

Courtesy: Liberty Records/Capitol Records Nashville

AT&T Audience Network’s weekly live concert series has another big name for this week’s show.

Darius Rucker is this week’s featured artist. The broadcast, set to air at 9 p.m. ET/PT will be available on DIRECTV Channel 239, AT&T U-Verse Channel 1114 and on-demand through DIRECTV NOW. The hour-long concert, which is part of Rucker’s current tour in support of his latest album When Was The Last Time, was recorded at the Apollo Theater in New York City and features a set list that reaches back to Rucker’s solo debut album and all the way to his most recent album When Was The Last Time. It also features some fan favorites from his days as front man of Hootie & The Blowfish.

As if the songs themselves are not enough for audiences, the concert also features a guest appearance by Robert Randolph (front man of Robert Randolph and the Family Band) for performances of ‘Love What You Do’ and ‘Hold My Hand’ alongside Rucker.

Ted Stryker, host of AT&T Audience Network’s weekly concert series kicks off tonight’s broadcast with an on-stage interview with Rucker ahead of the concert’s broadcast.

More information on AT&T Audience Network’s weekly concert series is available online now along with all of the series’ latest news at:

Website: http://www.directv.com/premiums/audience

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/audiencemusic

More information on Darius Rucker is available online now along with all of his latest news and more at:

Website: http://www.dariusrucker.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/dariusrucker

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

Randy Bachman’s Latest LP Is A Whole Different And Enjoyable Kind Of Heavy

Courtesy:  Linus Entertainment/Paquin Entertainment Group/Ontario Media Development Corporation

Courtesy: Linus Entertainment/Paquin Entertainment Group/Ontario Media Development Corporation

Veteran musician Randy Bachman has spent the better part of his adult life crafting songs that are known today as some of the rock realm’s greatest compositions. Whether as a member of Bachman Turner Overdrive, The Guess Who, or as a solo musician, Randy Bachman’s music is considered by rockers of all ages to be some of rock’s greatest even to this day. And with his latest solo effort Heavy Blues Bachman continues to justify that reputation even more. Heavy Blues will hit store shelves on Tuesday, April 14th. it is an aptly titled record considering the blues-based rock that makes up most of the album’s eleven total tracks. Perhaps the only exception to that rule is the album’s deeply emotional closer ‘We Need To Talk.’ That song aside, Heavy Blues still stands as a record that every rock purist should add to his or her own music library. From its straight forward, seemingly Steve Miller/The Who-inspired opener ‘The Edge,’ to the gospel and blues-infused ‘Oh My Lord’ to that much deeper, more moving closer, there is plenty for rock purists to appreciate in this album. That includes the pieces not noted here, either. All eleven tracks taken fully into consideration, Heavy Blues proves itself to be a record that is a full breath of fresh air and reminder of all that once made rock great and always will.

Randy Bachman’s latest full length effort Heavy Blues is, as already noted, a breath of fresh air in an age in which rock seems continually dominated by cookie cutter bands dominating mainstream rock radio stations and equally sound-alike acts dominating the heavier side of the rock realm; bands whose songs consist of indecipherable, cookie monster-like growls, machine-gun speed drumming, and crunching, down-tuned guitars. It is a reminder of all that once made rock great and always will regardless of which bands dominate the airwaves and the underground. This is exhibited right off the top in the album’s bombastic opener ‘The Edge.’ The song boasts quite the similarity to works from the likes of both The Who and The Steve Miller Band among others stylistically speaking. Whether or not that was intentional is known only by Bachman himself. Regardless, the combination of those influences in this song serve to make it the perfect choice for Heavy Blues’ opener and a great addition to the album overall. That bombastic style is an equally fitting match for the song’s lyrical side. Lyrically speaking, the song presents a figure that is looking at the world with eyes wide open and a bright spirit. He is someone that is ready to break out and explore the big, wide world with so much gusto. He sings to his mother, “Goodbye mama/I ain’t comin’ home/There’s a big world out there/I’m goin’ it alone/Leave behind the knockers/I just gotta chase the dream/I wanna be somebody and I gotta be free.” He goes on to sing in the song’s closing verse, “I might be wrong/But I’ll take that chance/Falling down and getting up/Is part of the dance/Wanderin’ in circles/Trying to find a place to be/I wanna be somebody and I gotta be free.” Whether male or female, such mindset and energy is something to which even today’s youths can relate. The song’s ability to reach across the generations with such lyrics and musical power makes it a great opener for Heavy Blues and just one of many examples of why every rock purist should have Heavy Blues in their music library.

‘The Edge’ is a great start for Randy Bachman’s new album. It is a song that stretches across generations both with its music and its equally positive and explosive lyrics. It isn’t the only positive boasted by Heavy Blues, either. The hybrid blues/gospel-infused ‘Oh My Lord’ is another great example of what makes this record such a standout opus. Fellow veteran musician Robert Randolph (Robert Randolph and the Family Band) joins Bachman on this song to make for a piece that is one of the highest of the album’s highs. While Randolph provides no vocals for the song, his added talents on the steel pedal add quite a bit of spice to the song. Lyrically, it offers just as much depth for listeners. It notes that for all the bad times in life, a person has to endure and push through, no matter what. As Bachman sings, “Young and restless, outta control/You gotta let the bad times roll/Be careful what you wish for, diamonds or gold/You gotta let the bad times roll/Life is just a gamble, you gotta take control/You gotta face the storm and let the four winds blow/When you roll the dice, it’s all about the throw/You gotta let the bad times roll.” Bachman comes across as saying that people have to take the bad with the good and just face it all rather than try to run and hide from it. Hiding from the bad times only makes things worse. Facing the bad times is tough, but it makes a person stronger for having done it. As with ‘The Edge,’ these are lyrics that cross generations. They are words that are just as relevant to today’s youths as to those that were youths when Bachman was himself younger. Once more, that combination of infectious blues and gospel-infused music coupled with equally substantive lyrics shows why Heavy Blues is such an enjoyable record for rock purists of every age and why it in whole proves to be potentially one of this year’s best new rock records.

Both ‘The Edge’ and Oh My Lord’ serve in their own way as prime examples of why every rock purist should hear Heavy Blues if not have it in his or her own music library. Both songs present wholly different sounds yet sounds that will impress rock fans of all ages. The lyrical content of each song makes each one even more enjoyable and impactful. While both songs provide a certain amount of substance to the album in whole, they certainly are not all that make Heavy Blues so impressive. The album’s closer ‘We Need To Talk’ stands out completely from the rest of the album’s compositions. Yet it shows in its own way one more way that this album shines. Given it probably should not have served as the album’s closer considering the energy exuded by the rest of the album’s songs. But stylistically and lyrically speaking, it is a powerful and moving song in its own right. The song’s musical side presents a figure going through the sadness and uncertainty that comes with an impending breakup. The gentility in Bachman’s voice coupled with the song’s reserved sound set against its 3/4 time signature makes it a song that will tug at listeners’ heart strings like no other. The song’s lyrical side will tug at listeners’ emotions just as powerfully as Bachman sings, “I braced myself for the worst/Whenever you hear those words/Something don’t fit/Something went wrong/Something don’t work and something’s all gone/That’s just the way it is, we need to talk, she said.” Just as with ‘The Edge’ and ‘Oh My Lord,’ the lyrical content presented here is content that transcends generations. Bachman paints a vivid picture of a young woman trying not to hurt a man as she tells him that their relationship has come to its end. There are thousands of songs about breakups that have been crafted by acts across music’s many genres throughout the modern history of music. But few tell the actual story of the breakup. And just as few tell the story of that moment with such clarity and emotion. Because of that, ‘We Need To Talk’ proves itself to be one more of the most important moments of Heavy Blues even as much as it stands out from the rest of the album’s songs. It isn’t heavy in the traditional sense. But its combination of moving lyrics and music make it a heavy song in its own right. And it makes it one more great examples of what makes Heavy Blues such an important addition to any rock purist’s music collection regardless of said listeners’ age. Together with the likes of ‘The Edge’ and ‘Oh My Lord,’ the combination of all three songs( and those not noted here) shows exactly why this record could potentially be one of the year’s best new rock records.

Randy Bachman has proven time and again throughout his career why he remains one of the most respected figures in the rock community decades after he first rose to fame. And as the songs noted here show, he has proven yet again exactly why he is held on one of those pedestals of rock’s greatest icons. The songs not noted here prove that just as much, not to ignore them, either. The combination of those songs with the compositions noted here show Heavy Blues as an example of how rock can be heavy without being heavy metal. It shows why this record is one that every rock purist should have in his or her music library. And it shows why it is potentially one of the best new rock records of the year. Randy Bachman will tour in support of Heavy Blues beginning April 1st in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The tour includes a stint on the 2016 installment of the Rock Legends Cruise. His current tour schedule is available online now along with all of his latest news at:

Website: http://randybachman.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Randy-Bachman/186355994906457

Twitter: http://twitter.com/randysvinyltap

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

Lickety Split Rocks Its Way Into The Year’s Best New Records List

Courtesy:  Blue Note Records

Courtesy: Blue Note Records

Robert Randolph and the Family Band are back.  And they are back in grand fashion on their first album in three years.  The new record, Lickety Split is one of the best new records of 2013, hands down.  This twelve-song musical masterpiece mixes lots of fun anthems with some more subdued pieces and tosses in a pair of covers and a famous guest spot to make it an album that audiences will find themselves enjoying even more with each listen. 

Among the best of the album’s more full on songs is its opener, ‘Amped Up.’  This was the perfect choice with which to open the album.  It wastes no time at all getting listeners moving.  The energy kicks right into gear at one thousand percent, making listeners want to pump the volume on their stereos and iPods to eleven.  It’s just a fun, full on song that anyone will enjoy.  Randolph sings cheerfully, You’ve only got one life to live/So give it everything you’ve got to give/If anybody asks you why/Look ‘em in the eye and say/I’m about to get amped up/Everybody throw your hands up/Come on and get cranked up/Everybody get amped up.”  The energy from the lyrics mixes with the song’s music to easily achieve its goal at getting audiences amped up and moving.  Once the song ends, Randolph and company pull back, but not too much, in the bluesy/gospel hybrid ‘Born Again.’ 

‘Born Again’ isn’t as high energy as ‘Amped Up.’  But, it still has its own energy.  The song’s bluesy/gospel hybrid sound is just like something that one might actually hear in a church.  Ironically enough Randolph himself stated of the song that this song was originally a love song.  “It’s about finding the joy again,” he said.  “At first, it was more of a love song, about the sense you get when you find the right person.  Then as we were recording this new music with a whole new sense of direction and feeling free again it all came together.  It’s not a religious thing, it’s just new energy—which is really the old energy that I had at the beginning of my career.”   It’s interesting that he notes that it not only started out as a love song, but that it was also not a religious thing.  That’s because with its hybrid sound, it could just as easily pass for a song one might hear in a church.  Regardless, it’s a song that any listener will enjoy.  Vocalist Lenesha Randolph’s vocals are so strong throughout the song.  And the addition of a choir to back the band serves to make the song that much better.  It’s such an impressive follow-up to the album’s opener that by its end, some listeners might even find themselves out of breath and energy having danced their way through both songs.  Thankfully, the band pulls back just a little more on the next song, ‘New Orleans.’

New Orleans is even more pulled back than the first two songs on Lickety Split.  After all of the energy carried by those two songs, this seeming love letter to one of America’s greatest cities is perfectly placed in the album’s overall sequencing.  Again, Lenesha Randolph takes center stage, her vocals so gentle and calming.  Set again Robert Randolph’s slightly more upbeat sections, the two make for a wonderful juxtaposition celebrating Nola.  Lenesha sings fondly of the city, “I heard a sound/Sweet soulful sound/And a happy song/In my dreams/A marching band/Piano man/And that soul…/So sad and sweet.”  The tone in her singing instantly creates such a sense of nostalgia among listeners.  This includes even listeners who have maybe never been to New Orleans.  One can almost see images in sepia tone in their minds, everything of which she sings.  Robert Randolph’s counterpoint, on the other hand, brings everything into full color.  It helps to paint a massive, happy picture of a city that has done and meant so much to America.  It’s one more wonderful addition to an album that boasts so many high points. 

The joy of this album doesn’t end with its first trio of songs.  As soon as ‘New Orleans’ fades gently away, the party gets moving again with the aptly titled, ‘Take The Party.’  This piece brings back the energy of the album’s opener before easing into the more old school funk influenced ‘Brand New Wayo.’  The fun doesn’t end here, either.  Randolph and company keep listeners’ ears throughout the rest of this album. This is thanks in large part to the band’s continued talent and skill as musicians.  Credit will be given where credit is due here.  The people behind the boards are also to thank for this album’s fun factor, as well as guest guitarist Carlos Santana and trombone player, Trombone Shorty. 

Engineer Eddie Kramer (Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin) and mixer Jim Scott (Tedeschi Trucks Band) deserve their own credit for the work behind the boards on this record.  It’s no wonder that Lickety Split bears significance to the Tedeschi Trucks Band with Scott on board.  If one didn’t know any better, one would think that one of the husband/wife duo of Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks was in fact guesting, hearing the guitar work throughout the record.  Though having fellow legend Carlos Santana on board, helping with guitar duties doesn’t hurt, either.  That bonus, and the work of everybody else involved on this record makes Lickety Split a must hear for any long-time Robert Randolph fan and for anyone that is new to the work of this highly accomplished musician and his family.  It will be available tomorrow, July 16th in stores and online. Audiences can keep an eye out for it in the official Robert Randolph online store at http://www.robertrandolph.net.  Fans can also go here and the band’s official Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/rrtfb and “Like” it to keep up with all of the latest news and tour information from the band.

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

Robert Randolph Announces New Record Deal, Tour

Courtesy:  Merlis For Hire

Courtesy: Merlis For Hire

Robert Randolph and the Family Band are back.  The band has signed a new deal with legendary jazz label, Blue Note Records.  This news comes along with the announcement of a new upcoming album due out this Summer.  The long anticipated new release will be the first from Randolph since 2010’s We Walk This Road.  Blue Note president Don Was recently commented on the signing, expressing his joy at having Randolph as the label’s newest signee.  “Robert Randolph is an American original…he has mastered what is, arguably, the most complex instrument in the world and developed a unique voice that is equal parts street-corner church and Bonnaroo,” he said.  “Robert’s new studio album finally captures the energy and excitement of his legendary live performances…we are honored that he has chosen Blue Note Records as his new home.” 

Randolph also shared his thoughts on having signed with Blue Note, expressing just as much excitement at this next step in his career.  “Blue note is a true music label with a 75-year history of working with great musicians like John Coletrane, Miles Davis and Al Green and the head of the label is a real musician and songwriter,” he explained.  Randolph will self produce the album, which will also feature members of his own family once again.  It will be engineered by Eddie Kramer (Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin) and mixed by Jim Scott (Tedeschi Trucks Band).

Randolph will hit the road this Spring and Summer in support of his as yet untitled album.  His tour is currently slated to kick off April 6th at the River Run Rocks Series in Keystone, CO.  It’s set to run through August 16th and will include a pair of performances in North Carolina.  The first of those dates is Friday, May 10th at Wilmington, NC’s Greenfield Lake Amphitheater.  The second of his North Carolina dates is Saturday, May 11th in Beaufort, NC at the Beaufort Music Festival.  Fans can get a full list of tour dates online at http://www.facebook.com/rrtfb, http://www.robertrandolph.net, http://www.myspace.com/robertrandolph and http://twitter.com/rrtfb.

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