TTB’s New Album Is A Positive “Sign” For The Band

Courtesy: Fantasy Records

Tedeschi Trucks band is coming to North Carolina this summer.  The band’s stops in “The Old North State” are in support if its latest full-length studio recording, Signs.  Released Feb. 15 through Fantasy Records, the 11-song record is a change of pace for the band in comparison to its previous album, 2016’s Let Me Get By.  Even with the change of pace that is notable throughout the course of the album’s 46 minute run time, it is still a positive effort from the group, which is fronted by its namesakes, the husband and wife team of Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks.  This is proven right from the album’s outset in its opener, ‘Signs, High Times.’  It will be addressed shortly.  ‘Still Your Mind,’ which comes a little later in the album’s run, is another of the album’s additions that proves the record to be a positive new effort from the band.  It is hardly the last of the songs that shows Signs’ strengths.  ‘All The World’ is yet another work featured in Signs that shows the record’s strength.  When it is considered along with the other two songs noted here and the records eight remaining songs, the whole of Signs proves to be another successful offering from Tedeschi Trucks Band.

Tedeschi Trucks Band’s fourth full-length studio recording Signs is another welcome new offering from the band, which is made up of a number of veteran musicians and performers.  While maybe not the band’s best work to date, it is still a good effort from the band.  That is proven right from the album’s outset in ‘Signs, High Times.’  The song’s funky, bluesy southern rock musical arrangement instantly conjures thoughts of The Allman Brothers Band, with whom Trucks also records and performs.  The keyboards, guitars, percussion and choral elements create a wonderful, welcome vintage vibe that is certain to appeal to a wide range of listeners.  That upbeat arrangement couples with the song’s seeming social commentary for a whole that is certain to engage and entertain audiences.

The seeming social commentary comes as Tedeschi, who has been the lead voice of TTB since its inception nine years ago, sings in the song’s second verse, “Might ain’t right…Everything’s in black and white.”  She goes on from there to sing in the song’s third verse, “Just realized there’s hatred in their eyes/can’t fool around with darkness for fun/Something tells me/Some people just ain’t worth saving/Got turned around/Following the sound/Of a heartbeat that’s been getting heavy/We’ve been here before/We were just getting ready.”  The seeming commentary is illustrated even more as she sings later in the song, “Better make up your mind/’Cause we gotta get it right this time/So much good at stake/Don’t give into the lies they make/Oh lord, how did we get here again?”  Yet again, here we have an example of what would certainly seem to be a specific statement from Tedeschi and company.  That is especially the case as she sings in the song’s final moments, “People, how long till your hand’s called?”  It’s as if she’s saying throughout that we as a people need to make sure that we know which side of the line we are on before our time is up.  That is of course just this critic’s own interpretation of these lyrics.  It could be completely wrong.  Hopefully it is somewhere in the proverbial ballpark, though.  If it is, then when it is considered alongside the feeling established through the song’s musical arrangement, the song in whole becomes a strong start for the album and a standout addition to the album.  It is just one of the album’s most notable entries.  ‘Still Your Mind’ is another of the record’s most notable works.

‘Still Your Mind’ stands out in the bigger picture of Signs in part because of its musical arrangement.  The song opens simply in its first few bars, with a gentle, flowing piano line that one can argue presents a light jazz feel, and even a certain modern classical element.  From there, the song takes a decidedly modern turn that actually, one could argue bears a mix of both modern and old school rock.  That mix is well-balanced throughout the course of the song’s almost five-minute run time.  Adding to the song’s interest is the song’s lyrical content, which couples very nicely with the gentility in the song’s arrangement.

The lyrical content presented in ‘Still Your Mind’ centers on the issue of self-pride and confidence.  Little doubt is left about that, as Tedeschi sings in the song’s lead verse, “Some days are grey for us all/Don’t wanna live or stay here for long/I say ain’t it good to know/That you’re not alone/So many people feel that low/But I’ll help you grow.”  She goes on from here to sing in the song’s chorus, “Still your mind and breathe/Close your eyes and see/Fill your hands and drink with me/Be here now/Lay your troubles down.”  This all comes across as a certain sort of reassurance for listeners who maybe are going through difficult situations.  That sense of reassurance continues as she sings, “Before the growth, the leaves have to fall/And I’ll lit you up so you can tear down the wall/Don’t let the darkness of the world enter your soul/You know the light of your smile is what makes me whole.”  Once again, here listeners have a subject who is sharing some very comforting words.  What is really interesting here is that when the lyrics and music are coupled, they really come across as a sort of lullaby.  It sounds odd, yes, but one could argue that sense when listening closely to the song.  That in itself justifiably makes this work another one of Signs’ most notable additions.  It is not the last of the album’s most notable entries, however.  ‘All The World’ is yet another of the LP’s strongest songs.

‘All The World,’ like ‘Signs, High Times,’ comes across as another contemplative social statement.  The difference between the two songs is that the prior song’s musical arrangement is more upbeat than that of this composition.  This work is a deeply contemplative piece, even in its musical arrangement.  It flows so gently, with its keyboard and guitar lines serving as its collective backbone.  The noted approach to the song’s musical arrangement makes the song’s almost three-and-a-half-minute run time feel longer, but in a positive fashion.  It also serves to help illustrate quite well, the emotion in the song’s lyrical content.

Speaking of the song’s lyrical content, Tedeschi sings here, “So many times I lay here thinking/We may never stand up and rise again/Then I hear the voices singing/Everything must burn before hope can live again/All the world is bleeding/I can feel it/And I’ve seen it/But while our hearts are beating/We can heal it/If we mean it.”  There is such a melancholy about this verse, that carries on through the song’s second verse.  Tedeschi sings in that second verse, “So many places I have gone/But the song remains the same/So if we could please listen to what they say/The walls could crumble and wash away.”  Again, there is such a bittersweet emotion here.  That feeling is enhanced even more as Tedeschi returns to the chorus along with the equally bittersweet emotion in the song’s arrangement.  When that emotion is coupled with the emotion exuded in Tedeschi’s words and vocal delivery, the whole therein creates a powerful impact for listeners.  In turn, the song proves without doubt why it is another important addition to Signs.  When it is considered along with ‘Signs, High Times,’ ‘Still Your Mind’ and the eight other songs not directly noted here, the end result is a record that in whole is another welcome new offering from Tedeschi Trucks Band.

Tedeschi Trucks Band’s fourth full-length studio recording Signs is a positive new offering from the collective of veteran musicians and performers.  That is evidenced musically and lyrically throughout the course of the almost 50-minute record.  The songs’ musical and lyrical content make that obvious from the record’s opening to its end.  Between the lullaby-esque work that is ‘Still Your Mind’ to the celebratory ‘Walk Through This Life,’ which is an upbeat song about the power of love, to the personal, introspective ‘Shame’ to the contemplative ‘All The World’ and beyond, this record offers plenty for audiences to appreciate.  All things considered, the musical and lyrical content presented throughout the record makes it the year’s first great overall album.  Audiences in North Carolina will get to hear plenty of songs from Signs on July 7 and 9 in Charlotte and Raleigh respectively.  Fans can purchase tickets for those and the rest of the band’s current tour dates online now while also getting updates on the band’s latest news at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.tedeschitrucksband.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/DerekandSusan

 

 

 

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PBS’ Richard Sherman Studio “Concert” Hits All The Right Notes For Phil’s Picks’ 2017 Top 10 New Live DVDs/BDs List

Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution

Experiencing a live performance by one’s favorite acts is a special experience.  The sights and sounds — from the performance itself to the enjoyment and excitement experienced alongside other fans — come together to make the live experience something almost as magical as it is memorable.  Of course it’s not always that easy to have that experience because of work, family or maybe other items.  Enter the live DVD and Blu-ray.  These recordings are pivotal for audiences the world over because people don’t always get to see their favorite acts.  They also often prove to give audiences an experience that is at least slightly different from that offered in their CD counterparts.  Keeping that in mind, it is fully justifiable for critics to present lists of the year’s top new live DVDs and Blu-rays as well as live CDs.  That is exactly what this critic is doing here.

This year, as with so many years past, Eagle Rock Entertainment has proven to have the majority of the year’s top new live DVDs and Blu-rays, once again proving why it is the leader in live recordings.  Of course it is not the only label represented in this critic’s list this year.  Live recordings from The Winery Dogs, The Dead Daisies, and even famed songwriter Richard Sherman (one half of the famed Sherman Brothers creative team) are all on the list, too alongside new material from Between The Buried and Me and Michael Schenker.  Those noted recordings are all from other labels.  In other words, this year saw a healthy range of new live DVDs and Blu-rays.  With that in mind, here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks’ 2017 Top 10 New Live DVDs and Blu-rays.  As always, the list includes this critic’s Top 10 choices as well as five additional honorable mention titles, for a total of 15 titles.  Let’s go!

PHIL’S PICKS 2017 TOP 10 NEW LIVE DVDS/BDs

  1. Richard ShermanSongs of a Lifetime
  2. Tedeschi Trucks Band — Live From The Fox Oakland
  3. Slipknot — Day of the Gusano
  4. Mumford & Sons — Live From South Africa
  5. Between The Buried and Me — Coma Ecliptic
  6. Black Sabbath — The End
  7. Jeff Beck — Live at the Hollywood Bowl
  8. The Rolling Stones — Sticky Fingers Live at the Fonda Theatre 2015
  9. The Who — Tommy Live at the Royal Albert Hall
  10. The Winery Dogs — Dog YearsLive in Santiago and Beyond 2013 – 2016
  11. Eagles of Death Metal — I Love You All The Time — Live at the Olympia Paris
  12. Sting — Live at the Olympia Paris
  13. Spock’s Beard — Snow Live
  14. The Dead Daisies — Live & Louder
  15. Michael Schenker — Michael Schenker Fest Live Tokyo International Forum Hall

That’s all for this list and still not all for the live recordings.  Still to consider is the whole of the combo packs and the standalone recordings.  In other words, there is still a list of the year’s top new live recordings overall to consider.  Also still on the way are the year’s top new albums as well as a handful of DVD and Blu-ray lists.  As many as possible will be covered before the year lets out, so stay tuned for all of that.

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Franti’s Latest LP “Rocks” Phil’s PIcks 2016 Albums Of The Year List

Michael Franti and Spearhead Soulrocker Cover Art

Courtesy: Fantasy Records

The time has come.  Today is New Year’s Eve eve.  That means 2016 is nearly in the books.  With that year right at it’s end, it’s time for the last two of this year’s Phil’s Picks best of lists.

Rounding out this year’s lists are the year’s top new albums overall and the year’s top new overall movies.  The year’s top new albums list is up first.  It was not an easy list to assemble either as there were so many stand out records released from across the musical universe’s many genres.

This year’s top albums list is represented by music from the jazz community, the world of children’s music, rock, blues, and even reggae in the form of Michael Franti and Spearhead’s new album Soulrocker.

As with every previous Phil’s Picks list, this list features Phil’s Picks’ top 10 new titles plus five honorable mention titles, bringing the total count to 15.  Having noted that here for you is Phil’s Picks 2016 Top 10 new albums.

 

PHIL’S PICKS 2016 TOP 10 NEW ALBUMS

 

  1. Michael Franti & SpearheadSoulrocker

 

  1. Santana IV

 

  1. Joe BonamassaBlues of Desperation

 

  1. YellowjacketsCohearance

 

  1. FoghatUnder The Influence

 

  1. The Okee Dokee BrothersSaddle Up

 

  1. Songs of the Night: Dance Recordings by the Joseph C. Smith Orchestra 1916 – 1925

 

  1. Marian HillAct I

 

  1. Love and a .38Nomad

 

  1. Red Hot Chili PeppersThe Getaway

 

  1. Rich RobinsonFlux

 

  1. Charles Lloyd and the MarvelsI Long To See You

 

  1. Logan Richardson Shift

 

  1. Tedeschi Trucks BandLet Me Get By

 

  1. Mountain HeartBlue Sky

 

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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.    

Black Crowes, Tedeschi Trucks Band Team Up For Summer Tour

The Black Crowes and Tedeschi Trucks Band are hitting the road together this Summer.  The bands will hit the road beginning July 19th.  The upcoming tour doesn’t give the members of The Black Crowes much time to relax as the band is currently on its “Lay Down With The Number 13” tour.  It’s the first tour for the band since ending its two-year long hiatus.  This current tour takes the band across the U.S.  It runs through June 2nd.  From there, the band will head overseas for the European leg of its tour.  The European leg of the tour will run from June 18th – July 6th.  It will include headlining shows, festivals, and a pair of stadium shows with “The Boss” himself, Bruce Springsteen.

The upcoming tour dates are in support of The Black Crowes most recent release, Wiser for the Time.  This release is a four-disc, eight-side gatefold vinyl release.  It contains 26 songs—15 acoustic and 11 electric—from the band’s 2010 five-night stint in New York City.

The Tedeschi Trucks Band is currently touring in support of its most recent album, Revelator (2011).  The album won a Grammy for best Blues Album at the 2012 Grammys.  That album was followed up the live album, Everybody’s Talkin’ in May 2012.  The band’s next LP is expected to be released in Summer 2013.

The bands’ current slate of tour dates is available below:

Fri-Jul-19 Nashville, TN The Woods Amphitheatre at Fontanel Friday, April 26 10:00am
Sat-Jul-20 Alpharetta, GA Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre Friday, April 12 10:00am
Sun-Jul-21 Charlotte, NC Time Warner Cable Amphitheatre Friday, April 12 10:00am
Tue-Jul-23 Raleigh, NC Red Hat Amphitheatre Friday, April 12 10:00am
Wed-Jul-24 Columbus, OH LC Pavilion Friday, April 12 10:00am
Sat-Jul-27 Gilford, NH Meadowbrook Friday, April 12 10:00am
Tue-Jul-30 Boston, MA Bank of America Pavilion Friday, April 12 10:00am
Wed-Jul-31 Canadaigua, NY CMAC Friday, April 12 10:00am
Wed-Aug-07 Pittsburgh, PA Stage AE Friday, April 12 10:00am
Fri-Aug-09 Holmdel, NJ PNC Bank Arts Center Friday, April 12 10:00am
Sat-Aug-10 Wantagh, NY Nikon at Jones Beach Friday, April 12 10:00am
Sun-Aug-11 Philadelphia, PA Mann Center Friday, April 12 10:00am
Tue-Aug-13 Indianapolis, IN Farm Bureau Insurance Lawn @ White River Friday, April 12 10:00am
Wed-Aug-14 Chicago, IL Charter One Pavilion Friday, April 12 12:00pm
Thu-Aug-15 Rochester Hills, MI Meadow Brook Friday, April 12 10:00am

 

To keep up with all the latest tour updates and news from The Black Crowes, fans can go online to http://www.blackcrowes.com or http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Black-Crowes/8333596474.  And for all the latest from the Tedeschi Trucks Band, fans can go online to http://www.tedeschitrucksband.com or http://www.facebook.com/DerekAndSusan

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.