Leeds’ Latest LP Succeeds Through Musical, Lyrical Variety

Courtesy: Waldmania PR

Kindie rock stars Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights are scheduled to release their latest full-length album next month.  Brooklyn Baby! is scheduled to be released May 19, 2017 in stores and online. The group’s sixth full-length studio recording and Leeds’ eighth overall full-length studio recording, this latest offering from Leeds and company is another enjoyable offering for audiences of all ages.  That is due in part to the record’s varied musical styles.  This will be discussed shortly.  The album’s equally varied lyrical themes are just as important to discuss in examining this album as its musical arrangements.  The album’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements.  Each element is important in its own right to the recording’s whole.  All things considered, they make Brooklyn Baby! a record that proves to be one of this year’s top new children’s albums.

Brooklyn Baby! is one of this year’s top new children’s albums.  That is due in part to the varied musical arrangements presented throughout the course of its 13-song body.  From one song to the next, Leeds and her band mates—Ian Baggette (bass/vocals), Dan Barman (drums/percussion), Jeff Litman (guitar) and Scott Stein (keyboards)—take listeners through a constantly varying array of genres.  The arrangement in the album’s opener for instance is the type of work that would appeal to fans of Sheryl Crow Shania Twain with its pop-country-esque sound and Leeds’ vocal delivery.  By contrast, ‘Rainbow Bagels From Outer Space’ boasts an arrangement that is just as *ahem* out of this world as its title.  The arrangement in question is a punk-style composition that clearly pays homage to famed New York-based punk forefathers The Ramones.  The fact that the song’s run time is only 1:49 hints at that tribute even more.  Anyone who is familiar with The Ramones music will understand that reference.  On a completely different note (yes, that bad pun was intended) ‘Apples in My Apples’ presents an arrangement that will appeal to fans of John Fogerty.  This proven diversity is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg in exhibiting the album’s overall musical diversity.  ‘Subway,’ the album’s second song exhibits a light, jazzy arrangement that is driven by a pair of maracas and an organ.  ‘Pizza,’ by contrast, is an up-tempo, keyboard-driven pop composition that will put a smile on any listener’s face.  The guitar-driven arrangement exhibited in ‘Shayne Punim’ is just as fun for listeners of all ages.  One could ramble on aimlessly for much longer about each arrangement presented in this record.  All things considered, the arrangements presented here are quite varied.  That maintained variance is certain to keep listeners engaged and entertained.  It is just one of the elements that ensures listeners’ maintained engagement.  The record’s lyrical topics are just as varied as its musical arrangements.

The varied musical arrangements presented throughout the course of Brooklyn Baby!’s 43-minute run time do plenty to keep listeners fully engaged in the record.  It is just one of the items that ensures listeners’ engagement.  The record’s lyrical themes are just as varied as its musical arrangements.  By and large, this record’s lyrical themes are love letters to Brooklyn.  That is obvious in ‘Ferry Nice,’ ‘Subway,’ and ‘Stoop,’ all of which come early in the album’s run.  They aren’t the only songs that pay homage to one of New York’s great five boroughs.  ‘Pizza,’ ‘Hipster in the Making’ and the album’s title track show even more that this album is a virtual love letter to Brooklyn.  However, that love for Brooklyn is just one of the themes woven into the record.  Leeds ties her love for not just Brooklyn but New York in whole into a much bigger theme of unity in ‘Love is Love.’  She writes here, “It doesn’t matter if your house is big or small/It doesn’t matter if you live in New York or Nepal/It doesn’t matter if you’re short or if you’re tall/It shouldn’t matter at all/Cause love makes us family.”  She goes on from here to sing about the irrelevance of people’s religious differences, their cultural differences and their home nations, adding those differences are what should bring everyone together.  This is an important message to which especially adults should listen considering the nation’s current political climate (not to get too political).  ‘Apples in my Apples’ comes across as a commentary about issues with produce and other foods provided to the nation’s grocery stores.  That can be inferred as she sings in the song’s chorus, “You don’t know what you’re getting that the grocery store/It ain’t like what it used to be/When everything was pure.”  Her comments about non-GMO corn, grass-fed cows, free-range chickens and other related matters make even clearer the message in this music.  There’s no denying that at times, it feels a bit preachy.  But she does make a valid point.  On a less controversial note, Leeds also pens a love letter to libraries in ‘Library Book.’  This song sees Leeds singing about the joys of going to the library, finding so many books and simply learning.  In an age when so much of what people consume (including books) has gone digital, having such a lyrical topic pointing out the importance of the printed word and the buildings that house it.  Between these songs and those that profess Leeds’ love to Brooklyn, the whole of the record’s lyrical themes proves to be just as diverse as the record’s musical arrangements.  Keeping that in mind, it becomes clear why those diverse lyrical themes are so important to the record’s whole.  They still are not the last important element to consider.  The record’s overall sequencing is just as important to discuss here as the record’s musical and lyrical content.

The musical and lyrical content presented throughout Brooklyn Baby! are both key elements to its presentation.  That is because of the diversity exhibited in each.  While they are clearly important elements, they are not the record’s only important elements.  The record’s overall sequencing is just as important to discuss as its music and lyrics.  For the most part, the arrangements presented throughout this record are mid-tempo works.  What is interesting is that the tempos and their associated energies vary just as much as the arrangements and lyrics within each work.  Case in point is the record’s first three songs. The dreamy vibe of ‘Ferry Nice’ set against the more light-hearted, playful vibe of ‘Subway’ and the gentle flowing energy of ‘By Myself’ offers up such a wide variety of energies right off the bat.  The energies exhibited throughout the next three songs varies just as much right up to the album’s midway point that is ‘Pizza.’  That song stands out perhaps more than any others here because of the infectious groove established through its arrangement.  The laid back, almost beachy Jack Johnson style energy exhibited in ‘Shayne Punim’ set against the wild energy of ‘Rainbow Bagels From Outer Space’ and the flowing ballad behind ‘Love is Love’ creates just as much contrast as that presented between the record’s other songs. The energies exhibited in the record’s final set of songs contrast one another just as blatantly as those of the other noted works, too.  All things considered, much thought and time was put into Brooklyn Baby!’s sequencing.  The songs’ arrangements present just as much variety in their energies from one to the next as there is in themselves and their lyrical themes.  Keeping all of this in mind, the whole of this record proves to be yet another enjoyable offering from Joanie Leeds & The Nightlights, and one more of the year’s top new children’s albums.

Brooklyn Baby!, the latest full-length studio recording from Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights, offers plenty for listeners of all ages to appreciate.  From its musical arrangements to its equally varied lyrical themes and its smart sequencing, it will certainly impress fans new and old alike.  Simply put, variance serves as this album’s strongest point.  That variance, in its musical arrangements and energies and in its lyrical themes, makes this record enjoyable from start to finish.  It ultimately makes this album another enjoyable offering from Joanie Leeds & The Nightlights, and one of the year’s top new children’s albums.  It will be available May 19 via Limbostar.  More information on this album is available online now along with all of the group’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.joanieleeds.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/joanieleeds

 

 

 

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Strait Rides Away In Style In His Final Live Performance

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Legendary country musician George Strait’s days on the road are officially over. On June 7, 2014, the man known lovingly within the country music world as “The King of Country” wrapped the final leg of his tour fittingly dubbed “The Cowboy Rides Away Tour.” The tour wrapped at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. It should be noted that while the show marked the end of his days on the road, it didn’t mark the end of his recording career. Of course Judas Priest’s members said the same thing some years ago and look how that turned out. So time will tell if he has indeed parked his tour bus for the last time. Regardless, Strait’s fans and country music fans in general can now own that landmark concert for themselves thanks to the people at Eagle Rock Entertainment. The leading name in live recordings, Eagle Rock Entertainment released The Cowboy Rides Away: Live From AT&T Stadium late this summer exclusively on DVD and digital formats. It goes without saying that whether one is a fan of the country music royalty, a fan of real country music or a little of both, this recording is a must for each. The central reason for that is the show’s extensive forty-song set list, which runs just short of three hours. Strait’s stage presence and that of his fellow country artists is another reason that fans will enjoy this recording. Last but hardly least worth noting is the concert’s production values. Even on DVD its production values are top-notch. They make the show’s near three-hour run time well worth it both in regards to the show’s set list and the performers’ stage presence. All things told, The Cowboy Rides Away Live From AT&T Stadium proves in the end to be a recording that every George Strait fan will enjoy just as much as any fan of real country music.

The Cowboy Rides Away Live from AT&T Stadium is a must have for any George Strait fan and any fan of real country music. So much can be said as to why this is the case. Jumping right in, the central reason for its success is its extensive forty-song set list. Covering so much ground it can be said of the near three-hour performance that it is one of those rare live shows released in recent years that is truly deserving of being called career-spanning. What’s more the very fact that Strait opted for such a rich set list is in itself groundbreaking. That is because few if any other acts out there past or present have ever released single performance recordings with so many songs. Even acts such as The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, The Who, and others have never released such an expansive single-show recording. That in itself speaks volumes about this recording. That every featured song is a fan favorite says even more. One of the bet of the show’s best is ‘Murder on Music Row,’ which he performs here with fellow veteran artist Alan Jackson. There’s a lot of truth in that song. Real country music is hard to find nowadays. There seems to be more southern rock and pop country out there today than real, pure country. On a different note (no pun intended) ‘I Saw God Today’ is another of the show’s best moments. The tender ballad sung from the vantage point of a new parent will bring a smile (and tears) to every fan’s face. The all-star performance of his classic hit ‘All My Ex’s Live In Texas’ is one more of the show’s best moments. It’s obvious that the performers had just as much fun performing the song as did the audience singing along. What’s more seeing so many great names representing country’s past, present, and future on one stage essentially honoring one of country’s greatest names of all time gives this performance even more of a special meaning. It’s just one of so many examples of the importance of the show’s songs in the big picture of the show’s set list. Of course the songs chosen for this show are just one part of what makes the set list in whole so important to the recording’s overall positive impact. The ordering of the songs is just as important as the songs themselves.

The songs that make up the concert’s set list make more than enough reason for Strait’s fans and real country fans alike to watch this recording. However, they are only one part of the set list that makes it so important to the whole of the recording. The ordering of the songs is just as pivotal to the show’s enjoyment as the songs themselves. Audiences will be quite impressed in taking in this concert to note the balance of its more upbeat moments with its softer, more emotional moments. From one song to the next Strait and company build the show’s energy and pull it back at just the right points from beginning to end. The end result is a near three-hour performance that will keep fans at home just as engaged as those that were in attendance at the concert’s taping. The mix of that smart sequencing with song after song that every fan will enjoy makes this concert one that even being Strait’s last live show potentially ever is one that fans will want to watch again and again.

The set list chosen for Strait’s final show and its sequencing make for more than enough reason for any George Strait fan and real country music fan alike to watch this recording. They are just a small part of the whole that makes the concert so enjoyable. Strait’s stage performance (and that of his guests) plays its own important role in the concert’s overall effect. Throughout the course of the concert, Strait maintains an almost unassuming demeanor. It could be argued that it actually presents Strait as having this full sense of humility. He doesn’t try to run around the stage and put on a certain kind of persona. it is more along the lines of a what-you-see-is-what-you-get persona. It’s nice to see such a humble persona. Believe it or not it adds quite a bit to the concert’s overall effect on fans. By contrast, his guests–of whom includes the likes of Alan Jackson, Vince Gill, Sheryl Crow, Eric Church, Martina McBride and others–are more energetic by and large. The juxtaposition of Strait’s stage presence to those of his fellow musicians makes for even more enjoyment. And when coupled with the show’s set list, both elements solidify the reason for fans to add this recording to their own home DVD libraries even more so. The combination of both elements would mean little, though without proper production values–the last of the recording’s positives.

Both the set list chosen for George Strait’s “final” live performance and the stage presence of Strait and his fellow musicians are equally important to the overall effect of this recording. Of course neither would be of any importance without proper production values. Luckily for fans the production values presented in the concert contained herein are of the utmost expertise. Even presented on DVD, it looks and sounds just as good as being there if not better. That could be chalked up just as much to the equipment at Strait’s disposal as those charged with manning the boards for the show. The same can be said of those charged with the show’s audio in post-production. On the side of the show’s video mix, having a slowly circulating stage could not have hurt the camera crew. On the one hand it offered the camera crew and co-directors Danny O’Bryen and Brian Lockwood plenty of options for good shots. That is because the stage was set dead center in the stadium as if it was set up for the Super Bowl’s half time show. The camera crew could shoot from on stage, from the crowd (especially since the stage wasn’t that high above the stadium floor), and from so many other angles. Having so many options and so much talent, the result of the production crew’s work is a concert that gives home viewers an even better seat than those in attendance from beginning to end. And coupled with an audio mix that is just as impressive, Strait’s performance (and that of his guests) coupled with the show’s rich, expansive set list proves to be a concert experience that is a wonderful final performance from a legendary artist should it in fact prove to be his last.

George Strait’s performance from June 7th, 2014 at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas is largely believed to be the legendary country musician’s final live performance. If indeed it proves years down the road to be his final live performance, then it is a wonderful way for Strait to go out. That is even with Strait claiming that he will still continue to record new music while no longer touring. The show’s rich set list will please every one of his fans as it more than lives up to the honor of being called a career-spanning show. The sequencing of the show’s songs, Strait’s performance (and that of his guests), and the show’s expert production values come together to make the concert whole and one that fans of all ages will enjoy with every watch. It is a wonderful final performance from a legendary artist that even if it is his last, will hopefully not be his last recorded concert to ever be released. The Cowboy Rides Away Live From AT&T Stadium is available now in stores and online. More information on this and other titles from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online now at:

Website: http://www.eagle-rock.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/EagleRockNews

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.

The Bullhounds’ Debut Re-Issue Is One Of This Year’s Best

Courtesy:  MVD Entertainment Group

Courtesy: MVD Entertainment Group

Rock is not dead.  To quote AC/DC front man Brian Johnson, “rock and roll will never die.”  And the upcoming re-issue of rock and roll super group The Bullhounds’ 2014 album Protector is proof of that. The band, whose members have recorded and performed with the likes of Sheryl Crow, Georgia Satellites, and Izzy Stradlin, released the band’s debut album overseas last year.  And on March 10th it will finally get a proper U.S. courtesy of MVD Entertainment Group.  The album’s title is quite fitting considering the musical and lyrical content that makes up the album’s twelve tracks.  From start to finish, this record is pure old school rock and roll.  It reminds listeners of everything that once made rock great and still does today, even among all of the down-tuned, crunching guitars and indecipherable cookie monster growls, and oh-woe-is-me lyrics that are out there.  It shows that even among all of those cookie cutter acts that make up the rock and metal communities, real, pure rock and roll is still very much alive and well.  Among the album’s dozen songs and forty-five minutes, there is not one bad moment.  The bluesy ‘If You Got No One’ is one of the strongest of the album’s moments thanks both to its music and to its uplifting lyrics.  Right after that song is the contemplative ‘What Makes A Man.’  This track is just as rich in its blues roots musically speaking.  Lyrically speaking, it is just as interesting as it makes its own statement without being overly preachy unlike so many of today’s younger bands.  And then there is the even deeper ‘Moments.’  This song is one of the most surprising of the album’s songs.  That is because it is the total antithesis of anything else on this record.  By its lyrics and the album’s overall musical style, one would expect it to be a huge ballad.  But it is not even that.  It is an emotional piece that offers so much both musically and lyrically.  It is just one more example of what makes Protector an early, clear candidate for both the year’s best new rock records and best new independent records.  That isn’t to take away anything from the album’s other songs, either.  Pieces such as ‘Mean, Mean Girl,’ ‘Little Lady,’ and ‘Drunk Tired’ are just as noteworthy as are the six songs that remain  after all of those.  Collectively, all twelve songs make Protector an album that any rock and roll purist should hear at least once.

The Bullhounds’ debut record Protector is an easy candidate for a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s best new rock records and independent records, too.  Every one of the album’s twelve tracks offers its own argument as to why the album is deserving of this honor.  Between the old school blues/rock sound that dominates most of the album and its softer moments, there is more than enough material on this record to put a smile on the face of any rock and roll purist.  One of the best examples of what makes this record so enjoyable comes in the form of ‘If You Got No One.’  ‘If You Got No One’ comes in just after the album’s midway point.  It is a fun, solid, straight forward blues-rock piece that offers just as much enjoyment from its musical side as its lyrical side.  Drummer Mauro Magellan’s solid, driving tempo teams with guitarist Rick Richards to create the song’s musical foundation.  Front man Erling Daell adds his own touch to the song with his positive lyrics.  Daell sings “Life can be really tough I know/But you gotta hang in there/Although things don’t always turn out the way you want/But don’t ever let that get to you/I know it can be hard/But all you gotta do/Is always look on the bright side of life.”  From there, Daell returns to the refrains of the song’s lead verse singing, “If you got no one to lean on/If you got no one to turn to/If you got no one to tell your troubles to/Yeah, if you got a whole lotta trouble/If you can’t make nobody see/You know my friend you can always lean on me.”  Daell’s almost Mike Neff style vocals add even more to the song, making it even more enjoyable and a prime example of why this album is well worth the listen.

‘If You Got No One’ is a great example of what makes The Bullhounds debut album one of the best new rock records and best new independent releases of 2015.  As impressive as the song proves to be against Protector’s other songs, it is just one of the album’s high points.  The band shows in ‘What Makes A Man’ that it doesn’t rest easily on its laurels.  ‘What Makes A Man’ slows things down considerably without losing any of the album’s musical or lyrical punch.  Daell sings in this song, “Customers of God!/File out of the churches/Casting me glances/With eyes that are sold on thinly veiled curses/They cut holes where my heart is/And I’m left asking/What makes a man/What makes a man/Is it logic/Is it faith/Is it skin and bones/What makes a man/What makes a man/Is it saying I don’t know when I don’t know/Well I don’t know.”  One would think that considering these lyrics, ‘What Makes A Man’ would be a much softer ballad-style piece in terms of its music.  But instead it holds the blues roots exhibited throughout the album’s other songs.  Its tempo is slower than that of many of the album’s other songs.  But it doesn’t let itself become the stereotypical introspective ballad that it easily could have become.  It’s yet another way in which Protector proves to be such an impressive record both as a rock record and an independent record.

The members of The Bullhounds go well beyond proving on Protector that it is indeed possible to teach old dogs some new tricks. And yes, that bad pun was fully intended. That is exhibited both in ‘If You Got No One’ and ‘What Makes A Man.’ It is exhibited in every one of the album’s other songs, too. One more new trick that the veteran musicians show off on this record is the album’s only real ballad, ‘Moments.’ What is truly intriguing about this song is that while it is a ballad, it is not necessarily the sort of song one typically thinks of when one thinks of ballads in the typical sense. It is very much a gentle, controlled song. But it isn’t the sappy, over-the-top sort of song that one typically associates with the term “ballad.” It is actually a very moving piece, musically speaking. And that coupled with its lyrics validates it even more. Daell reminds listeners in this song to not take any moment for granted no matter how big or small as he sings, “Feel it now/Feel for the moment/It will not allow/Any lingering/First it comes/And then it’s gone/And even memories will fade/So feel the moment/Before it slips away.” That is illustrated even more as he sings, “Let it go you fool/Cause you don’t know/When a precious moment passes on/A new one’s born.” He then goes on to sing in the song’s closing verse, “All you get/A string of moments/That is all you get/But you will find/That what you got/Is quite a lot/And that is all you need to know/So feel the moment/And let it go.” The band’s musical approach to the song coupled with its lyrical take make a perfect match. The emotional impact of the partnering is one that will hopefully keep in listeners’ minds to find something special in every moment every day. Such positive lyrics and touching music is difficult to find in today’s mainstream musical universe. That general lack of musical and lyrical positivity makes even clearer why this song is another welcome addition to Protector. It shows yet again, too why Protector is one of this year’s early candidates for a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s best new rock and independent records lists.

‘If You Got No One,’ ‘What Makes A Man,’ and ‘Moments’ are all prime examples of why Protector is one of this year’s best new rock and independent records. That is not to take away from the album’s other songs, either. Whether for the old school rock sound of ‘Fugitive,’ the swagger of ‘Little Lady,’ the Americana-infused ‘Drunk Tired,’ or any of the album’s other songs not noted here, audiences will find something to like about Protector. Speaking of ‘Drunk Tired,’ any fans of Hank III will appreciate that song as it definitely mirrors some of his work to some extent. But that’s a story for another time. All of those songs and the pieces directly noted here show without a doubt why any rock and roll purist should give Protector at least one listen. One listen may very well lead to more and a new favorite rock and roll record this year.

Protector will be available for every rock and roll purist to hear Tuesday, March 10th. More information on Protector and all of the latest news from The Bullhounds is available online now at:

Website: http://www.thebullhounds.com

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

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.

Rock Super Group’s 2014 Debut Getting Proper U.S. Release This Spring

Courtesy:  MVD Entertainment Group

Courtesy: MVD Entertainment Group

It may only be January. But rock collective The Bullhounds is officially giving American audiences good reason to think warm. That is because the band will release its debut album Protector this spring via MVD Entertainment Group.

The members of The Bullhounds are no strangers to the music business. Guitarist Peter Stroud has performed and recorded with both Sheryl Crow and Pete Droge & The Sinners. Drummer Mauro Magellan and guitarist Rick Richards both spent time with the famed Southern rock band Georgia Satellites. Richards also spent time alongside Guns N’ Roses founding member Izzy Stradlin in his own solo career. Magellan also joined bassist Keith Christopher as part of Keith & The Satellites. Singer Erling Daell rounds out the band’s lineup.

Protector was originally released overseas in May 2014. The album’s U.S. release can be pre-ordered online from MVD Entertainment Group’s website at http://mvdb2b.com/s/TheBullhoundsProtector/BASTARD001?utm_source=The+Bullhounds+%22Protector%22+will+be+one+of+the+purest+rock%27n%27roll+records+in+2015&utm_campaign=Bullhounds&utm_medium=email. And while audiences wait for the album’s U.S. release date, they can check out the video for the album’s lead single ‘Make It’ online now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3oGabJotw8 to get a feel for what the band has to offer audiences. More information on The Bullhounds is available online along with any tour schedule updates at:

Website: http://www.thebullhounds.com

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

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.

ACL Celebrates 40 Years Is A Wonderful Celebration Of A Show And Of Music Itself

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

PBS and its hit concert series Austin City Limits celebrated two major landmarks for the series this fall. This past October Austin City Limits celebrated forty years on the air. That landmark makes the concert series the longest-running concert series on television to date. Making the anniversary even more special is the fact that this October, the show’s original studio was added to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s tenth Rock and Roll landmark. Both of these marks are big honors for ACL and for PBS. In honor of these honors, PBS released on DVD today the brand new concert recording Austin City Limits 40 Years. There is a lot to like about this concert recording starting with the show’s all-star lineup. Featured in the concert is a who’s who of the music industry. It features legendary names such as: Willie Nelson, Buddy guy, Bonnie Raitt, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Foo Fighters, and even the original members of Double Trouble among so many others. There are even performances from up-and-coming blues/rock band Alabama Shakes. It’s a display in its own way of how many generations this series has reached over the course of its four decades on the air. Making the set even better is the concert’s set list. Emmylou Harris covers Willie Nelson’s hit ‘Crazy.’ There’s also an all-star tribute to Sam & Dave with a performance of ‘Wrap It Up.’ And just as enjoyable is the multi-song, all-star tribute to blues legend and Austin native, the late great Stevie Ray Vaughan. These are just some of the examples of what makes the show’s set list so important to the presentation in whole. Last but hardly least noteworthy regarding the recording’s success is its bonus material. Included as bonus material, is forty-five minutes of bonus performances. There is also a bonus behind-the-scenes look at the work that went in to making Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years a reality. It’s all set against a great performance of SRV’s hit song ‘Texas Flood.’ These bonuses, partnered with the show’s all-star list of performers and its equally wonderful set list, serve to help make Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years one of this year’s surprise best new live recordings of 2014. It also serves to show yet again why PBS is the last bastion of worthwhile programming on television today.

Austin City Limits has been on television for forty years this year. That is a huge landmark for PBS’ concert series. It has outlived MTV’s Unplugged Series. It has also outlived VH1’s Storytellers and CMT’s Crossroads. In the four decades since it made its debut, ACL has gone from focusing on just one or two genres of music to being one of the preeminent destinations for some of the music industry’s biggest names. Elvis Costello has been on the show. Kings of Leon appeared just last year. And even none other than Nine Inch Nails appeared this year. It just goes to show how much this show has grown since its earliest days as has its importance in the music industry. That is shown just as much in the list of performers tapped to appear on Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years. The list of performers tapped to appear on this recording is a who’s who of the music industry from past, present, and even the future. It includes the likes of Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, Buddy Guy, Foo Fighters, Sheryl Crow, Guy Clarke, Jr., Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Emmylou Harris, and up-and-coming blues/rock band Alabama Shakes and so many others. With such a wide swatch of performers, that list becomes for all intents and purposes a music history lesson live on stage. It shows not only where ACL has been and where it is going but where music itself started and to where it has come today. And every act tapped to perform is an excellent example of both histories. It’s just one of plenty of reasons that audiences will enjoy this DVD.

The list of performers tapped to perform on Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years is itself plenty of reason for audiences to pick up this brand new release from PBS. That list is itself a music history lesson and a lesson on the history of ACL. The performers themselves serve as plenty of reason for any music lover to check out this DVD. The songs that they perform make the recording just as enjoyable if not more so. Audiences will love Willie Nelson’s performance of the classic song ‘On The Road Again,’ and Emmylou Harris’ cover of Willie Nelson’s ‘Crazy.’ If that’s not enough, there is a star-studded, multi-song tribute to Austin, Texas’ own Stevie Ray Vaughan. That tribute features performances from Buddy Guy, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, and almost every member of the a-list cast of performers. There is also a special tribute to Sam & Dave in the performance of ‘Wrap It Up.’ That song is handled by Bonnie Raitt, Jimmie Vaughan, Gary Clark, Jr. and Brittany Howard from Alabama Shakes. As if all of that wasn’t enough, the star-studded tribute to SRV is complemented with an equally gran tribute to Buddy Holly. These are just some of the performances included in the concert that audiences will enjoy in watching this recording. There are plenty of other great performances along the way that audiences will enjoy just as much. Collectively, all of those performances make for yet another wonderful reason for every music lover to see this concert.

If the who’s who list of performers tapped for this concert and their performances aren’t enough for audiences, the bonus material included on the DVD will convince audiences. PBS has included forty-five minutes of performance footage as bonus material on this DVD. That forty-five minutes includes a performance of ‘Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die’ from Willie Nelson and ‘Freight Train’ from Gary Clark, Jr. and Sheryl Crow among the bonus performances. Robert Earl Keen handles ‘I Gotta Go’ and Joe Ely covers ‘All Just To Get To You’ as part of the bonus performances, too. Partnered with that is a special behind-the-scenes look at the concert set against a performance of SRV’s hit song ‘Texas Flood’ by Buddy Guy, Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, Robert Randolph, and others. It’s a double whammy for audiences. Not only does it give audiences a behind-the-scenes look at the concert from pre-pro to show but it also offers audiences a bonus performance. Audiences are given another bonus performance by Bonnie Raitt and company in their rehearsal for their performance of ‘Wrap it Up.’ It’s a nice finisher to a concert recording has already more than proven itself one of this year’s best. Together with the aforementioned list of performers and set list, it pushes this recording over the top, once again proving why ACL has run so successfully for forty years and why its original studio is now part of music history thanks to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It shows once more why PBS is the last bastion of truly worthwhile programming.

So much can be said of what makes Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years a success and a total enjoyment. And so much has been said, obviously. It goes without saying that the show’s production values are just as impressive as everything else already noted here. Whether one is taking in the concert on a regular TV or one with a high-priced surround sound home theater system, every viewer will agree that all of the other positives noted here would be nothing without those top notch production values. The concert looks and sounds just as good as other performances recorded over the years. It is that proverbial cherry on top of the musical sundae that is this recording. It is that last part that makes this recording well worth the listen by music lovers of every age.

Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years is available now on DVD. It can be ordered direct online via PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=50214636&cp=&sr=1&kw=austin+city+limits&origkw=Austin+City+Limits&parentPage=search. More information on this and other recordings from Austin City Limits over the years is available online at:

Website: http://acltv.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/acltv

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.

PBS Celebrates Four Decades Of ACL With Special Anniversary Concert

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

PBS’ Austin City Limits hit a major milestone this year.  The network’s hit music series celebrated forty-years with PBS.  In celebration, PBS is releasing a special DVD celebrating the long-running series next month.

PBS will release Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years on Tuesday, December 2nd.  Austin City Limits’ four-decade long run on PBS is especially important to both the network and to music lovers alike.  In the four decades that Austin City Limits has been on PBS, it remains the only TV series to be awarded the Medal of Arts.  Also in that time, MTV’s Unplugged and VH1’s Storytellers have gone by the wayside.  And even CMT’s on Crossroads series has failed to maintain the stability and reputation of ACL.  Throughout its now forty-years on television, ACL has seen and continues to see some of the industry’s biggest names take to the stage.  Those names include the likes of Elvis Costello, Foo Fighters, Nine Inch Nails, and so many others.  Many more names are sure to be added to that list as there appears to be no end to this landmark series.

In honor of the series’ fortieth anniversary, many of those same big names have come on board for this celebratory concert.  Bonnie Raitt joins Jimmie Vaughan, Gary Clark, Jr and Brittany Howard from Alabama Shakes for a performance of the Sam & Dave classic ‘Wrap It Up’ to open the concert.  Howard returns later in the show alongside Gary Clark, Jr. for a special performance.  Willie Nelson, the red-headed stranger himself, joins Emmylou Harris for a performance of Nelson’s ‘Crazy.’  Singer/actor Kris Kristofferson and Sheryl Crow team up for a performance of Kristofferson’s ‘Me and Bobby McGee.  Foo Fighters even make an appearance to perform Roky Erickson’s ‘Two-Headed Dog.’  That performance was recorded at the original ACL television studio especially for the concert.  Actor Jeff Bridges hosts the night’s festivities.  He also performs a special rendition of ‘What A Little Bit Of Love Can Do’ from the late singer-songwriter Stephen Bruton.  Bruton was a big influence on Bridges’ Oscar-winning role in the movie ‘Crazy Heart.’  As if all of this isn’t enough, Joe Ely and fellow local legend Robert Earl Keen make an appearance.  Blues legend Buddy Guy rounds out the show with a performance of ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb.’  And finishing off the whole thing is a star-studded tribute to Buddy Holly and the one and only Stevie Ray Vaughan.  A who’s who of guitarists performs Holly’s ‘Not Fade Away’ and SRV’s ‘Texas Flood’ for the night’s biggest finish.

Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years was taped live at the ACL Live at the Moody Theater and the show’s original studio, Austin PBS affiliate KLRU’s Studio 6A.  The complete list of performers is: Alabama Shakes, Doyle Bramhall II, Jeff Bridges, Gary Clark Jr., Sheryl Crow, Double Trouble, Joe Ely, Mike Farris, Foo Fighters, Grupo Fantasma, Buddy Guy, Emmylou Harris, Robert Earl Keen, Kris Kristofferson, Lyle Lovett, Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, Robert Randolph, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Jimmie Vaughan.

Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years will be available Tuesday, December 2nd.  It will retail for MSRP of $24.99.  It can be ordered online direct from PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=50214636&cp=&sr=1&kw=austin+city+limits&origkw=Austin+City+Limits&parentPage=search.  More information on Austin City Limits is available online at

Website: http://acltv.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/acltv

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.