Blackberry Smoke Holds All The Roses Among So Many Other Albums With Its Latest LP

Courtesy:  Rounder Records

Courtesy: Rounder Records

Atlanta, Georgia has been known for decades as one of America’s major hotbeds for musical talent. Much like Austin, Seattle, and Los Angeles it has produced some of the biggest names in the industry over the years. Those names come from nearly every genre of the music world. They include the likes of: Sevendust, Stuck Mojo, Collective Soul, Zac Brown Band, Black Crowes, and so many others. The list goes on and on. It could take days or even weeks to name them all. For the case of this review, the focus is set on the Southern Rock Band Blackberry Smoke. For roughly fifteen years now, the members of Blackberry Smoke–Charlie Starr (vocals/guitar), Richard Turner (bass/vocals), Brit Turner (drums), Paul Jackson (guitar/vocals), and Brandon Still (keyboards)–have been making music and touring. Of those roughly fifteen years together, Blackberry Smoke has released three full-length albums, the most recent of which–The Whippoorwill–was released on Zac Brown Band’s own Southern Ground Records in 2012. This past February, the band released its fourth full length album titled Holding All The Roses. The album was released via Rounder Records. For those that might not be so familiar with the band’s body of work, Holding All The Roses serves as a good introduction to the band. And it is just as enjoyable for those that are more familiar with its work up to this point. The sound spread across the album’s dozen tracks shows influences from some of the greatest southern rock bands of the 20th Century including: The Marshall Tucker Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Black Crowes, Doobie Brothers, and others of that ilk. While the influence of said bands is there from start to finish on this record, Blackberry Smoke still maintains its own identity in each song. That is evident right from the album’s opener ‘Let Me Help You (Find The Door).’ The same can be said of the album’s title track and the somewhat sexually charged ‘Rock and Roll Again.’ These three works in themselves more than exemplify what makes Holding All The Roses such a joy. By themselves they are just a minute fraction of what makes it such an enjoyable record, too. There are nine other tracks from which audiences will find their own favorite(s) on this record. Those songs, coupled with the trio noted here, prove Holding All The Roses in the end to be one of the best new rock and country records of 2015.

Blackberry Smoke’s fourth full length album Holding All The Roses is one of this year’s best new rock and country records. There are some issues here and there throughout the record in terms of its production values. But they are not enough to make HATR unworthy of being heard. From the album’s opener to its end, the songs that make up this album make it one of those rare records that audiences will actually want to listen to without skipping even one song. That is evident right from the album’s opener ‘Let Me Help You (Find The Door).’ On the song’s musical side, audiences will hear a clear influence from famed classic rock band Black Crowes throughout the song. It could even be argued that the song’s bridge, which features quite the guitar solo, bears a rather noticeable Lynyrd Skynyrd influence. Lyrically, it offers audiences just as much of a punch with front man Charlie Starr seemingly addressing certain types who simply don’t want to change their ways. Whether it be those musical acts that refuse to change and those that push said albums or the sheep that give in to everything that is fed to them whether in terms of music, politics, etc.–as front man Charlie Starr sings about in both the song’s first and second verse– it is a clear statement that hits quite a few chords, no pun intended. One could even argue that it even indirectly addresses those audiences that expected this album to be just like the band’s previous released. As Starr sings in the song’s opening verse, “Why’s it got to be the same damn thing/Same damn song and everybody wants to sing/Same sons of b****** still riggin’ the game/They sell the same old faces with brand new names/No matter if I’m wrong or right/I ain’t losin’ sleep tonight/I’ve heard it all before/I can’t take it anymore/If that’s all you got/Let me help you find the door.” The song’s second verse seems to address those sheep that believe everything that is fed to them, from music to news, to politics and more with Starr singing, “Here we go diggin’ the same damn ditch/Just line ’em up/Can’t tell you which one’s which/Standin’ in the back with a s***-eating grin/They were buyin’ it once/I bet they’ll buy it again.” Starr hits on so many subjects with so few words in this song. And he hits the nail right on the head, too. It’s a sharp, yet in an odd way, slightly lighthearted indictment of said subjects that ironically will in fact have Blackberry Smoke’s own fans singing along. One can only hope that in singing along, the band’s own fans will catch the message being presented by Starr and his band mates here rather than just taking the song for its musical side. Those that take both the song’s musical and lyrical side into full consideration will agree just how important it is both in itself and to the album in whole.

‘Let Me Help You (Find The Door) is a solid opener for Blackberry Smoke’s latest full-length record. Its statement urging people and bands who refuse to change to go away is sharp yet witty at the same time. And it ironically will have the band’s own fans singing along every time. One can only hope that said fans will catch the message embedded within the song and take it to heart in catching it. Those fans that do catch the message in question, coupled with the song’s infectious musical side will agree that it is just one part of the whole that makes HATR one of this year’s best new rock and country records. The album’s title track is just as important to the whole of the record. Much like the album’s opener, it boasts its own classic rock influences yet still continues to maintain the band’s own identity, too. The song’s driving, 2/4 tempo will instantly have audiences dancing and clapping along. Having hooked audiences with it musical side, Starr and company–Richard Turner (bass, vocals), Brit Turner (drums), Paul Jackson (guitar, vocals), and Brandon Still (keyboards) make just as powerful a statement with the song’s lyrical side. Starr sings in the song’s first verse about a subject overcoming all of his or her odds and coming out on top, fittingly “holding all the roses” just as a winner would. Starr Sings, “You look like you’ve seen a ghost/I don’t think it’s even gonna be close/Your rabbit’s foot and your four-leaf clover/Throw them all away and start all over/Here I am see me coming around/Swinging out wide with the hammer down/There I go watch me leave you behind/Holding all the roses on the other side.” The subject here is addressing those that called the odds against him or her, proving all those people wrong as he or she holds the proverbial roses of a winner. Speaking of those odds, Starr goes on to sing of overcoming the odds as he sings, “The odds against me were 20 to 1/Carry that weight like it weighs a ton/Ain’t no luck in a gasoline rainbow/Come on, drop that rag/Away we go.” He comes across as saying his subject is using the weight of those odds as motivation to keep pushing on to the very end. Such lyrics are words that will reach so many listeners and potentially have quite the impact. It will leave listeners saying if Starr’s subject can press on against all odds then so can the band’s fans. The song’s driving musical side added to the mix, the song in whole shows once more exactly why it is one more enjoyable and equally important part of the whole that leaves Holding All The Roses in fact holding all the roses on any critic’s list come year’s end.

For all of the seriousness of HATR’s opener and its title track, Blackberry Smoke isn’t all work and no play on its new album. It also boasts some fun moments, too. One example of that lies in the song ‘Rock and Roll Again.’ The song’s musical side shows obvious influence from The Marshall Tucker Band, The Allman Brothers Band and others of that ilk yet once again maintain’s Blackberry Smoke’s own identity along the way. Lyrically, it will put just as much of a smile on listeners’ faces as the music alone. Starr sings about a woman who definitely gets the subject going in all the right ways so to speak. He writes of said woman, “She knows me well and never fails/She knows just how to put the wind back in my sails/She’s got the key to set me free/It’s just so easy to see/The way she makes me rock and roll again/Put the dirty in my mind again/Ain’t nothin’ to it/But she pulls me back in/My baby made me rock and roll again/Yes, she made me rock and roll again.” The rest of the song goes on in much the same fashion, lyrically speaking, with Starr noting of that same woman putting a swagger back in the subject’s step, and gets him moving. The song’s musical side boasts its own swagger, which perfectly complements Starr’s lyrics. Both sides of the song taken into full consideration, they show that Blackberry Smoke can be just as fun as it can be serious. Because of this, it proves to be one more example of what makes HATR such an enjoyable work for every rock and country fan. Taken into consideration with the likes of the album’s title track, its opener, and those pieces not noted here, it proves to be one more piece of an album that again, holds all of its own roses among the masses so far this year.

Blackberry Smoke is currently touring in support of HATR. It is in the last leg of the North American leg of its tour, which wraps up May 24th in Monteagle, Tennessee. The band will take a few days off to rest and recharge after before heading overseas for the European leg of its tour, which kicks off May 29th in Munchen, Germany. After finishing off that leg, the band will return stateside again on June 19th in Alpharetta, Georgia. Fans will be able to pick up HATR at any of the band’s upcoming live dates. In hearing the band live and on its new album, audiences that haven’t yet heard the band’s music will agree, too that HATR more than deserves a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s best new rock and country albums come December. Fans can check out Blackberry Smoke’s latest tour dates online now, along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Website: http://blackberrysmoke.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/blackberrysmoke

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Kelakos’ New Hits Compilation Is One Of 2015’s Top New Music Re-Issues

Courtesy:  Kelakos/EricPHILLIPEdesign

Courtesy: Kelakos/EricPHILLIPEdesign

The 1970s is one of the single greatest decades in the history of popular music. It was during this decade that someof the greatest songs of all time were written. Those songs in question came from bands that were themselves equally great. Among the bands in question that crafted those timeless tunes were the likes of: The Grateful Dead, The Rolling Stones, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and The Allman Brothers Band among so many others. For all of the great songs and acts that came to fame in the 1970s, there were just as many that given the chance could have been just as great and might even have gone on to be equally legendary. One of those bands that could have gone on to be so well-known and respected goes by the name of Kelakos. Named after founding member George Michael Kelakos Haberstroh, the band mixed elements of its more well-known counterparts in the from the era with a distinct jazz flare and even a touch of an R&B influence for a sound that helped it to stand out from those bigger bands, proving that it is just as good as them if not better. That still holds true today. Thanks to the recent release of its new compilation record Uncorked: Rare Tracks From A Vintage 70s Band earlier this year, Kelakos is getting the chance once more to prove that argument.

Kelakos’ new compilation Uncorked: Rare Tracks From A Vintage 70s Band is one of this year’s best new re-issues. If the fifteen tracks that make up its body had never been released until now, it would have just as easily found itself on this critic’s year-end list of the year’s best new albums. Regardless of which list it ends up on, every rock purist will agree in hearing this collection that Kelakos is a band that deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as its more well-known counterparts from the era. This is obvious right off the top in the record’s hybrid jazzy/bluesy tune ‘Boogie Bad Express.’ ‘Boogie Bad Express’ was a great choice for the record’s opener. Interestingly enough it is also one of the record’s shortest songs, clocking in at just under the two-minute mark. Both musically and lyrically it is just a fun, feel-good record that will every listener dancing along as Kelakos Haberstroh sings, “The place is packed and its time to relax/And part hearty with the music/When the perspiration drips and the girls shaking hips/You know you’re in the boogie bad music.” Carl Canedy’s expert work behind the kit adds a certain extra something to these lyrics. His ability to mix his jazz and rock chops without losing himself along the way does so much to make this song so enjoyable. The balance of Haberstroh’s jazzy riffs and Mark Sisson’s more rock oriented riffs adds its own touch to the song, too. Together with the talents of bassist Linc Bloomfield and fellow musician Shane French, the band collectively crafts a sound that is a perfect match for its celebratory lyrics. The combination of those celebratory lyrics and equally upbeat music shows why ‘Boogie Bad Express’ was chosen to open Kelako’s new compilation and why this band deserves a new listen and a new listen again by those that might be at least somewhat familiar with the band. It’s one of so many examples of why Uncorked: Rare Tracks From A Vintage 70s Band is one of this year’s best new re-issues.

‘Big Bad Boogie’ is a great opener for Kelakos’ new compilation record. This is clearly exhibited through the mix of the song’s upbeat music and equally celebratory lyrics. It also shows why this record is one of the year’s best new re-issues and why Kelakos deserves just as much respect as its more well-known counterparts. It isn’t the only song that song on this record that so clearly exhibits why Kelakos and the record in whole are so deserving of respect. The full-on instrumental that is ‘Persephone’s Poison’ is another excellent example of why Kelakos and its new compilation both deserve equal respect. Drummer Carl Canedy shines again in this song. As a matter of fact, it can be argued that he is the star of the song as he displays his talents both on the kit and as a percussionist. It would be a surprise if it turned out Canedy was not a properly trained musician considering his chops and his ability to so solidly keep time with such difficult polyrhythmic patterns. The ability of Kelakos Haberstroh and Mark Sisson to improv so cleanly in their respective guitar lines is just as noteworthy. There’s almost a sort of Frank Zappa feel to their combined sound. Keyboardist Chip Smith even deserves a nod for laying down the song’s non-rhythmic base. All things considered here, the combined talents of Kelakos’ members make ‘Persephone’s Poison’ one more of this collection’s highest points and even more proof of why Uncorked: Rare Tracks From A Vintage 70s Band is such an enjoyable record and one that given the right support could be the start of Kelakos getting the attention that it has so rightly deserved for so many decades.

Both ‘Big Bad Boogie’ and ‘Persephone’s Poison’ display in their own way why Uncorked: Rare Tracks From A Vintage 70s Band is such an enjoyable collection of songs. They both show the band’s versatility, musically and lyrically speaking. One is a full on jazz-fusion style piece while the other has a definitive southern rock sound. They are just a couple of examples of the band’s talents, too. Each of the record’s fifteen total tracks displays a different side of the band and its musical reach. There is even a hybrid southern rock/R&B-influenced piece in the form of ‘Lovin’ So Fine.’ Kelakos Haberstroh’s laid back guitar work set alongside Chip Smith’s piano line and Carl Canedy’s expert timekeeping make for a song that musically is one of this record’s highest of points. It is just as interesting in its lyrical content, with Kelakos Haberstroh singing, “You may have seen me blowin’ past Mars/Or caught me floatin’ in space/One thing’s for sure now baby/You were watching’, feelin’ my face/It was sending love to you/Messages all the time/Now here’s your chance to receive me/All at one time.” He goes on to sing in the song’s chorus, “With lovin’ so fine/I think I’m gonna lose my mind,” The band leaves little doubt as to what is being said here. It would be quite the surprise to find out the subject of the song isn’t quite what one might think, too. But more than likely it is. Considering this and the song’s musical content, the combination of both elements proves shows exactly why this song stands out so brightly among the record’s other songs and why it stands among them as one more part of the whole that makes the record so enjoyable for any listener.

Uncorked: Rare Tracks From A Vintage 70s Band is an apt title for Kelakos’ newly re-issued compilation of songs as evidenced by the songs presented here. The songs noted here are just part of the whole that makes this record so enjoyable for listeners, too. There are a dozen other tracks that prove the album’s value and enjoyment just as much thanks to the talents of the band’s members and the songs’ lyrical content. In hearing those other tracks, every listener that gives this compilation a chance will agree with this critic that this record could be just what Kelakos needed to finally earn the acclaim that it has so rightly deserved for so long. With the right support, that could finally happen. Uncorked: Rare Tracks From A Vintage 70s Band is available now and can be ordered via CD Baby via the band’s official website at http://www.kelakosband.com. More information on Kelakos’ new album is available online now along with all of the latest news from the band at:

Website: http://www.kelakosband.com

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

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“Irish Tour ’74” Is An Excellent Re-Introduction To Rory Gallagher

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Rory Gallagher is probably not the first name that most people would come up with when they are asked to name some of the most well-known guitarists in music’s modern history. While he may not be one of the most well-known musicians to have ever picked up a guitar, the artists with whom he recorded and performed in his short career are legendary. Muddy Waters and Jerry Lee Lewis were just a couple of acts that he recorded with during his career. He also performed and recorded with former members of the famed Yardbirds after that band’s initial disbanding. And that is just a small sampling of his achievements from his career. Now thanks to Eagle Rock Entertainment, a whole new generation of rock purists is being introduced to Gallagher’s talents thanks to the recent release of his Irish Tour ’74 archived live recording. The archived concert was released in a special deluxe 2-CD edition on October 21st. And it goes without saying that there is a lot to like about this recording especially for those that might not be so familiar with Gallagher and his body of work. The most obvious thing to like about the recording is the recording’s set list. The special double-disc CD set focuses primarily on Gallagher’s shows from Cork, Ireland on January 5th, 1974. It is a great piece of music history especially for those that aren’t so familiar with Gallagher and his body of work. The concert’s audio mix in this presentation is another aspect that audiences will like. Four decades have passed since the shows from Gallagher’s ’74 tour. And the audio has stood the test of time quite well, as audiences will note here. Rounding out the package is its companion booklet. The companion booklet comes with never before published pictures and new liner notes. Each factor noted here makes Irish Tour ’74 enjoyable in its own right. Together, they make this recording a welcome and important piece of music history.

Irish-born blues-rock guitarist Rory Gallagher was one of the most well-kept secrets in the music industry during the course of his short life. He recorded roughly twelve studio albums over the course of his career. Those albums have sold well over thirty million copies worldwide. For such impressive numbers, Gallagher never gained the international super stardom of his British and American counterparts at the time. But as audiences will hear in the set list contained on Eagle Rock’s double-disc release Irish Tour ’74 Gallagher was and still is deserving of far more credit and acclaim than he has ever received. The blues rock sounds presented in the show’s set list echo hints of Led Zeppelin, The Allman Brothers Band, The Doobie Brothers, and so many other great names within rock’s blues-based sub-genre. One could even argue that there are hints of Jimi Hendrix in his playing. That is evident right off the top in his performance of ‘Messin’ With The Kid.’ Audiences can hear both Hendrix and Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page in this song. Lou Martin’s frantic work on the keyboards and Rod De’ath’s drumming set against Gallagher’s guitar playing make this song an explosive opener and an equally explosive first impression for those that are hearing Gallagher’s music for the first time. Audiences will also appreciate the comparison to George Thorogood (and to a lesser extent Lynyrd Skynrd) that can be made in ‘Hands Off.’ The song’s straight forward 4/4 blues-rock vibe will have any listener jamming out regardless of their familiarity with Gallagher’s music. The mini-tribute to the Andrews Sisters in the opening of ‘Who’s That Coming’ is by itself a great touch. The song’s simple stylistic comparison to The Allman Brothers Band and even The Doors makes the song even more enjoyable for audiences. Yes, one could even make a comparison between Gallagher and The Doors. That says quite a bit about Gallagher’s talents. Listening to the rest of the songs that make up this two-disc recording, audiences will find other comparisons. In making such comparisons, it reveals even more Gallagher’s level of talent. One can only hope that the end result will be a resurgence in the popularity of his music.

The set list that makes up Irish Tour ’74 presents Gallagher as a truly talented musician. The same can be said of his band mates in these concerts. It makes one wonder why he never gained the level of fame as his counterparts despite his albums selling some thirty million copies worldwide. Perhaps this recording will help push him to that stratosphere on which his counterparts in question rest to this day. The set list itself more than makes this recording a great re-introduction to Gallagher’s works. Without a solid audio mix the recording would be nothing. Luckily though, the tapes on which these shows were originally recorded have stood the test of time quite well. The audio levels are expertly balanced in their re-mastering. The end result there is that no one part overpowers the other at any one point throughout the course of the recording. Yet again, it is proof of why Eagle Rock Entertainment remains to this day the leader in live recordings. Whether the recording be from a world renowned superstar or someone lesser known such as Gallagher, Eagle Rock Entertainment releases only the best possible recordings. It does not release recordings with inferior production values. Such expertly handled production values will make taking in Gallagher’s music all the more enjoyable and play even more of a role in re-igniting his fame.

The production values of Irish Tour ’74 and the recording’s set list are both key to the overall success of this latest archived concert. The two elements together make this recording an excellent way to re-introduce Rory Gallagher to the world. The recording is rounded out with the inclusion of a companion booklet loaded with extras. The companion booklet boasts sixteen pages of previously unpublished photos from Gallagher’s Irish tour and new liner notes outlining the tour’s highlights. Among the most interesting of the liner notes are notes concerning his performance in the worn torn region of Belfast. There are notes about his impact on that region and his influence as a musician overall during his career and much more included in the liner notes. It is one more important piece of the whole that makes Irish Tour ’74 such a wonderful re-introduction for Gallagher to the world. Together with the show’s set list and its exception production values, it becomes all the more valuable for any rock and roll purist and fan of classic rock. It becomes a recording that regardless of one’s familiarity with Gallagher and his body of work, any rock purist will enjoy. It could even lead said purists to become new fans or new fans again of Rory Gallagher.

Irish Tour ’74 is available now in stores and online. Along with its double-disc CD presentation, it is also available as a special eight-disc box set containing all four of Gallagher’s performances on his 1974 tour of Ireland and even more bonuses and even a triple gate fold vinyl for all the vintage rock fans. The triple gate fold vinyl re-issue can be ordered online at http://www.recordstore.co.uk/recordstore/recordstore/Irish-Tour-74-Expanded/3JHU0000000. More information on this and other releases from Rory Gallagher, as well as the latest news from Rory Gallagher, is available online at:

Website: http://www.rorygallagher.com

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

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Zodiac’s “Sonic Child” Is Another One Of 2014’s Most Surprisingly Enjoyable Pure Rock Records

Courtesy:  Prosthetic Records/Napalm Records

Courtesy: Prosthetic Records/Napalm Records

When Prosthetic Records added Zodiac to its roster two years ago, it went without saying that doing so was something of a gamble for the label.  It was such a gamble because much like Century Media, Metal Blade, Roadrunner, and others, Prosthetic is known more for the “extreme metal” bands that make up its roster than for the likes of the Munster, Germany-based band.  That’s not to say that Prosthetic sticks primarily to that more extreme sound.  Acts such as Niacin and Felix Martin both stand out among Prosthetic’s other acts.  Zodiac however has become the label’s most commercially viable band since Lamb of God was signed on with the company.  Zodiac’s mix of blues-based and neo-stoner rock has helped the band to stand out among its label mates ever since the release of its 2012 Prosthetic Records debut A Bit of Devil.  Now with its third full-length studio effort, Zodiac has one again set itself apart from its label mates and grown just as much musically.  From the slow blues-based opener ‘A Penny & A Dead Horse’ to the more up-tempo neo stoner rocker that is ‘Holding On’ to the equally catchy closer ‘Swinging on the Run,’ this record proves to have not one bad moment.  It proves to be one of the year’s most surprisingly enjoyable rock records and one that any rock purist should hear at least once.

Sonc Child, Zodiac’s third full-length studio effort, is by and large the band’s best work to date.  With its mix of blues-based and neo-stoner rock sounds, this record proves to be one that every rock purist should hear at least once.  Right off the top, the band grabs listeners without really trying in the album’s opener ‘A Penny and a Dead Horse.’  The twelve-bar blues churned out in the song’s “A” section conjures thoughts of Robert Johnson, Mississippi John Hurt, and so many of the forefathers of the blues.  Anyone that is a fan of Fireball Ministry, Black Stone Cherry, and other bands of that ilk will enjoy the more straight forward neo-stoner rock sound of the song’s “B” and “C” sections.  Lyrically, the song is just as enjoyable.  Vocalist Nick van Delft sings about an unnamed woman that has left a man, and left him with basically nothing.  Thus the song’s title.  van Delft sings of the woman, “Oh, woman/Where have you gone with that/Pot of gold/Oh, woman/Where have you gone/You had to leave me/Before the break of dawn/Somebody been haunting you/Somebody run you down/Over the yonder/Beyond the fields/Someone call your name/Oh, woman/Where have you gone/Sweet darlin’/You left me to die alone/With a penny and a dead horse.”  van Delft paints such a vivid picture thanks to the way in which he sings these lines.  The gradual tempo increase as the song progresses makes that picture just as vivid.  The picture goes from a man sitting alone in the darkness, perhaps drinking from a bottle of cheap whiskey to someone who feels something stronger as he and his band mates sing, “So long, so long” in the chorus.  The song’s final strains exhibit perhaps the man’s collapse.  This is of course just this critic’s own interpretation on the song.  Audiences can check out the song’s official video online now at the Prosthetic Records website at http://store.prostheticrecords.com/products/531769-zodiac-sonic-child-cd.  While there, audiences can also order Sonic Child, which was just recently released at the end of September.

‘A Penny & A Dead Horse’ is a wonderful addition to Sonic Child. It is also just one excellent example of what makes this album such a surprisingly enjoyable record.  ‘Holding On’ is another solid example of why this record proves to be such a surprisingly enjoyable rock record.  Where the album’s opener almost tells its own story, ‘Holding On’ is more of a straight-forward rock song.  It harkens back to rock and roll’s golden era much like Black Stone Cherry, Fireball Ministry, and others of that ilk.  van Delft sings against drummer Janosch Rathmer’s solid timekeeping and fellow guitarist Stephen Gall’s own work, “What is the point of your life/Your life/All covered up in those eyes/Those eyes/So now free mind/You’re one of a kind/Take a hold of the good things/And give sight to the blind/Tell me the one thing you see/Tell me the one thing you know/Show me the one thing you live for/Holding on.”  This set against the song’s opening verse in which van Delft sings, “Time keeps on ticking/Revealing your patience/It’s only a matter of self-defense/Eager to please/Your only disease/It’s just the weight on your mind/A day of your life/A step on your way to return” makes the song especially interesting.  There is a seeming message about each one of us having a meaning in life and it being just a matter of finding that meaning.  Again, that could be completely wrong.  Hopefully it is right, though.  Regardless, the very fact that it could lead to such deep thought serves to make this song all the more enjoyable.  The guitar solo in the song’s final movement adds even more enjoyment to the whole work.  Between that impressive guitar work, the deep, thoughtful lyrics and the overall talent displayed here, ‘Holding On’ shows again why any rock and roll purist should give this record at least one listen.

Zodiac shows throughout the course of its latest full-length release why this record is just as good as any album released by its bigger-named counterparts.  That is evidenced in the songs previously noted here.  From its more blues-tinged rock to its more neo-stoner sound, there is not one moment that disappoints on this record.  There is almost something of a more modern rock and roll influence in the album’s closer ‘Swinging on the Run.’  Much like the album’s opener and other tracks on this disc, ‘Swinging on the Run’ is not one for anyone with a short attention span.  This track clocks in at just over six minutes.  It’s not the album’s longest work.  that honor belongs to the aptly titled ‘Rock Bottom Blues.’  That song comes in at just over the nine minute mark.  And anyone that is a fan of the likes of The Allman Brothers Band will especially enjoy this piece with its smoky, old school blues-rock sound.  Getting back to ‘Swinging on the Run,’ audiences can clearly hear influences from the likes of The Allman Brothers Band, Cream, The Doobie Brothers, and so many others that have come before as the song progresses.  It shows a good song doesn’t necessarily always need lyrics to be enjoyable.  that being the case, it makes perfect sense why it was chosen as the band’s final statement on this record.  It leaves audiences knowing that they have experienced something very special.  It leaves listeners knowing that along with those tracks noted here, and the remaining seven not noted, they have in Sonic Child an album that is just as deserving of respect from rock purists as any album released by the band’s more well-known counterparts.  And given the right support from listeners and radio programmers alike, it could become just as big a record as those released by said bands.

Sonic Child is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered direct from the Prosthetic Records online store at http://store.prostheticrecords.com/products/531769-zodiac-sonic-child-cd.  More information on Sonic Child and all of the latest updates from Zodiac is available online at:

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

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Zodiac.Rock

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The Allman Brothers Band To Release New Live DVD

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The Allman Brothers Band will release a special live DVD this Spring.

The band’s new live DVD 40 will be released Tuesday, April 30th via EOne Entertainment. The concert was recorded March 26th, 2009. That day was the fortieth anniversary of the first performance of the band’s original lineup. It was on March 26th, 1969 that the band’s original lineup—Duane Allman, Gregg Allman, Dickey Betts, Butch Trucks, Jaimoe Oakley, and Berry Oakley—performed together in Macon, Georgia.

In related news, the current lineup of The Allman Brothers Band will be back on stage, performing live this weekend. The band will perform live in Live Oak, Florida this Saturday, April 11th at the 10th annual Wanee Festival. The band’s previous four performances at the Beacon Theatre had to be postponed as singer Gregg Allman had recently been suffering from bronchitis. Allman spoke to reporters concerning the progress of his recovery, stating that he felt he was almost back to full strength and was optimistic about the band’s upcoming live performances. “I feel almost 100% following my bout with Bronchitis,” he said. “I look forward to seeing the Allman Brothers Band fans at the Wanee Festival April 10-12, as well as I cannot wait for my first trip to Australia with my solo band to meet my down under fans.”

The band’s most current live schedule is listed below.

DATE

CITY VENUE
Fri 4/11 Live Oak, FL Wanee Music Festival
Sat 4/12 Live Oak, FL Wanee Music Festival
Thu-Sun 6/5-6/8 Hunter Mountain, NY Mountain Jam
Thu-Sun 8/14-8/17 Scranton, PA Peach Music Festival
Thu-Sun 9/4-9/7 Arrington, VA Lockn’ Music Festival

 

More information on The Allman Brothers Band, its upcoming live DVD, performances and more is available online at http://allmanbrothersband.com, http://www.hittinthenote.com, http://www.waneefestival.com, and http://www.facebook.com/allmanbrothersband. 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.

Allman Brothers Band Celebrates 45th Anniversary With Live Shows, New Live Releases

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2014 marks a major milestone for the Allman Brothers Band.  This year marks the forty-fifth anniversary of the band’s formation.  In celebration of the anniversary, the band will release new live CD and DVD recordings for its fans.  It also has announced the schedule for its annual stint at the Beacon Theater.  It all begins next month with the release of the new two-CD set, Play All Night: Live at the Beacon Theatre 1992 and the new live DVD, Live at Great Woods.  This recording was originally recorded in 1991.  The band will also release via its own label, Allman Brothers Band Recording Company, another live DVD titled Boston Common 8/17/71.  Topping it all off, the band is set to return to its original home base of Florida this Spring for the annual Wanee Festival.

Play All Night: Live at the Beacon Theatre 1992 presents the band’s first time ever performing such an extended run at the famed theatre.  The band performed ten shows at the Beacon Theatre in 1992.  Only two of those ten shows were ever taped.  Very little material from those recordings has ever been made publicly available for fans up until now.  The double-discset will be released via Epic/Legacy Recordings on Tuesday, February 18th.  Epic/Legacy Recordings is a division of Sony Music Entertainment.

The upcoming double-CD live release is just half of the band’s celebratory releases.  The band will release alongside Play All Night: Live at the Beacon Theatre 1992 a new live DVD titled Live at Great Woods.  The recording, which was originally filmed in September 1991, presents the band performing in front of nearly twenty-thousand fans at the Great Woods Center for the Performing Arts in Massachusetts.  The new re-issue of the concert recording marks the first time that it has ever been released on DVD.  It features for fans the band’s original long-form video version of the performance.  There are no interviews spliced into the recording here.  It will also be released via Epic/Legacy Recordings.

Finishing of the band’s list of celebratory live recordings will be the release of Boston Common 8/17/71.  John Lynskey—publisher of the ABB’s magazine, Hittin’ The Note—explains the recording and the band’s relationship with the people of Boston in the recording’s liner notes.  Boston Common 8/17/71 is also scheduled for a February release.  No official date has been confirmed yet.

“1971 was a watershed year for the Allman Brothers Band – they recorded their seminal live album, At Fillmore East, in March, and continued to tour relentlessly. By this point, their performances had reached a level of musicianship and intensity that other groups could only dream of. At Fillmore East was released in July to massive critical acclaim, and a month later, they rolled back into Boston to once again jam in the Common, playing two shows on August 17th. Boston Common 8/17/71 manages to capture the loose and engaging early set, with the band clearly enjoying themselves – Berry [Oakley]’s stage banter is particularly engaging as he comments on the group’s relationship with Boston and their friendship with the J. Geils Band. As for the music, Duane’s slide guitar is blistering on ‘Statesboro Blues’ and ‘Don’t Keep Me Wonderin’’; his interplay with Dickey [Betts] on ‘You Don’t Love Me’ is a complex masterpiece, and their dual melody line on ‘In Memory of Elizabeth Reed’ is flawless. Gregg’s vocal work is stellar throughout, and his growl on ‘Trouble No More’ clearly justifies his reputation as one of the best blues singers of all time. Berry, Butch and Jaimoe lay down a rhythm foundation that is a mile wide – the thumping bass line and syncopated drum patterns turn the ‘Whipping Post’ finale into a musical maelstrom.”

Following the release of its upcoming live CD and DVDs, the band will continue celebrating its forty-fifth anniversary with its annual stay at the famed Beacon Theatre and a return engagement at the annual Wanee Festival in Live Oaks, Florida.  2014 marks the tenth anniversary of the Wanee Festival.  The band’s performances at the Beacon Theatre mark its only live performances in the metro NYC region this year.  The complete schedule of performances dates is listed below.

DATE

CITY

VENUE

Fri

3/7

New York, NY

Beacon Theatre

Sat

3/8

New York, NY

Beacon Theatre

Tue

3/11

New York, NY

Beacon Theatre

Wed

3/12

New York, NY

Beacon Theatre

Fri

3/14

New York, NY

Beacon Theatre

Sat

3/15

New York, NY

Beacon Theatre

Tue

3/18

New York, NY

Beacon Theatre

Wed

3/19

New York, NY

Beacon Theatre

Fri

3/21

New York, NY

Beacon Theatre

Sat

3/22

New York, NY

Beacon Theatre

Fri

4/11

Live Oak, FL

Wanee Music Festival

Sat

4/12

Live Oak, FL

Wanee Music Festival

 

Tickets for the band’s Beacon Theatre shows go on sale this Friday, January 10th at 10am. They can be purchased online via the official Ticketmaster website, http://www.ticketmaster.com and the official Beacon Theatre website, http://www.beacontheatre.com.  They can also be purchased via phone at 1-800-745-3000.  Any unsold tickets will be sold at the venue box office beginning this Sunday, January 12th at the Beacon Theatre box office.  Tickets for American Express card holders are available now and can be purchased through this Thursday, January 9th at 10pm.

More information on the Allman Brothers Band, its releases, concerts and more is available online at http://www.allmanbrothersband.com, http://www.hittinthenote.com, http://www.waneefestival.com, and http://www.facebook.com/allmanbrothersband.  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.

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.