‘1221’ Marks Another Success For Singer-Songwriter-Musician Ryan Hamilton

Courtesy: Wicked Cool Records

Independent singer-songwriter Ryan Hamilton made a big splash last year with his album, Nowhere To Go But Everywhere alongside his band, The Harlequin Ghosts.  Now more than a year after the record’s release, Hamilton is scheduled to return Friday with its follow-up, his new solo record, 1221.  With barely more than a month left in the quickly aging year, most critics will agree the 12-song record has shaken up their lists of the year’s top new independent albums.  That is proven from the beginning to end of the 42-minute presentation through its musical and lyrical content alike.  ‘Déjà Vu I Love You’ is a prime example of the strength of that collective content.  It will be discussed shortly.  ‘Babies’ is another way in which the record’s overall content shows the album’s appeal.  It will be discussed a little later.  ‘Ready To Love Again,’ is yet another example of how much this record has to offer audiences.  It will also be discussed later.  When it is considered along with the other two songs noted her and with the rest of the album’s entries, the whole shows the record to be unquestionably one more of the year’s top new independent albums.

More than a year after the release of his then latest album, Nowhere To Go But Everywhere (which made its way to this critic’s list of 2020’s top new independent albums), Ryan Hamilton is set to go two for two with his new solo record, 1221.  Composed of singles that he released over the course of 2021, the record is yet another example of Hamilton’s talent as a singer, songwriter, and musician.  This is proven from beginning to end of this nearly 45-minute presentation from early on in its run.  ‘Déjà vu I Love You’ is a prime way in which this is proven.  The song’s appeal comes in part through its musical arrangement, which takes audiences back to the 90s right from its outset.  The combination of Hamilton’s vocals and the song’s instrumentation immediately lends the arrangement to comparison to works from the likes of Weezer, Marcy Playground, and so many other pop rock acts that rose to fame during the mid-90s.  The vocal harmonies and those crated by the bass and guitar are infectious from the song’s opening notes to its end.  The production that went into the song gives the whole, including the work on drums and bass, such a rich presentation.  Again, the whole is certain to completely engage and entertain audiences throughout the song’s three minute-plus run time.  The upbeat energy and positive vibes established through the arrangement work well with the song’s lyrical theme, which is the familiar topic of love found.

The theme of love found is obvious in ‘Déjà Vu I Love You’ right in the song’s title.  It is even more so as Hamilton sings in the song’s lead verse and chorus, “A slow dance/In the fast lane/The romance/The pleasure and the pain/You put your heart up/But then it fell/Because it feels right/Man, it’s heaven/But it’s how you make a promise/And you keep it/You wanna shout it/But it’s a secret/Hey, you got it wrong, man/But it’s right now/You can’t help it/You’re gonna shout it out loud/Baby, I love you/Baby, I love you/You give me déjà vu/Baby, I love you.”  If that is not proof enough of this song’s theme, then nothing is.  The rest of the song follows similarly in its lyrical theme, so there is really no need to continue from there.  Again, this so excited mood that is exemplified here matches so well with the energy and mood in the song’s arrangement.  When all of this is paired together, it makes the song a clear example of how much the album overall has to offer through its content.  ‘Babies’ is another example of the impact of the album’s content on its appeal.

‘Babies’ is quite opposite of ‘Déjà Vu I Love You’ both musically and lyrically.  Where the prior song is so optimistic and happy, this song’s musical arrangement is more of a folk-pop style composition in its musical arrangement.  In listening to this song’s arrangement, one can’t help but wonder if Hamilton perhaps took some influence from John Lennon and/or The Beatles or maybe even some from Bob Dylan and/or Bruce Springsteen here.  The arrangement has that sort of neo pop-folk approach in its light, contemplative mood and mid-tempo energy.  There is a sense of melancholy here, but it is not so strong that it will bring anyone down.  Rather, it is a contemplative melancholy that matches its lyrical counterpart well in its own right.

The lyrical theme featured in ‘Babies’ is a social commentary, despite what its title might infer.  It is a commentary about the state of the world today.  This is made clear right from the song’s outset as Hamilton sings, “Little babies/In bathrooms/Getting high/Little babies/In little cars/Flying by/Geneation X/Generation Y/The world’s so hard sometimes/It makes me cry/And where we are/That’s where we will be/Everything changes as far as I can see/But one thing stays the same/Everybody’s always looking for someone to blame.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “Little babies holding whips/Sinking boats and building ships/And bright, blue buildings in the sky/And never wondering/Why/God made it all to be destroyed/Every baby girl and every baby boy/Everything you do is safe/The only thing you’ll ever have is today.”  The added notes of “little babies looking for flags to burn” and everybody being afraid adds even more to that commentary. The fully, straight forward fashion in which Hamilton delivers the commentary avoids any preachy nature while still presenting so much depth.  It makes the song so much more accessible even with the theme being so familiar across the musical universe.  That, considered along with the song’s arrangement, makes for even more accessibility and in turn shows that much more what makes 1221 in whole such an enjoyable presentation.  It is hardly the last of the record’s most notable songs.  ‘Ready To Love Again,’ the record’s closer is yet another of the most notable of the album’s songs.

‘Ready To Love Again’ is notable because as with the other songs examined here, its arrangement does so well to engage and entertain audiences.  The arrangement’s sound and instrumentation does just as well to help translate the mood and wording in the song’s lyrical theme.  As the song’s title infers, this is a song about someone who is apparently coming off of the heartbreak of a breakup.  Everybody who has ever been through a breakup knows the emotional difficulty of opening his/her heart back to love.  The somber tone exhibited by the simplicity of Hamilton’s vocals and the piano here does so well to translate those mixed emotions that one feels when they “might be ready to love again.”  The gentle tone from the cello alongside the piano adds even more emotional depth to the arrangement and translates that mood and mindset that so many people feel in this situation.  Kudos to Hamilton and all involved for their work here.  It made this arrangement so beautiful and powerful in its simplicity.

As noted, the lyrical theme that accompanies the musical arrangement in ‘Ready To Love Again’ is in fact about that very topic, being at that point of being cautiously ready to give love a chance again.  He translates that moment so well here lyrically, too as he sings in the song’s lead verse and chorus, “Built a big wall/One that won’t fall/I hope you’re real strong/Good luck getting’ through here/I’ve got a big heart/It’s covered in big scars/We’ve all got our reasons/And sad stories to tell/I think I might be ready/Think I might be ready to love again/I think I might be ready/Think I might be ready to love again.  He continues in the song’s second verse, “No more small talk/Let’s go for a long walk/Take my hand/And hold on tight/Broken hearted/But just getting started/I know you’ve got questions/And to tell you the truth/I think I might be ready/Think I might be ready to love again/I think I might be ready/Think I might be ready to love again.”  The cautious optimism that Hamilton’s subject expresses here will connect with any listener.  The manner in which he delivered that optimism through the song’s lyrical presentation is just so moving, along with the song’s musical arrangement.  When the two items are joined, they show even more clearly at this point why this song stands out among the album’s entries.  When it is considered along with the other songs examined here and with the rest of the album’s songs, the whole of 1221 becomes a work that is a complete joy and success from start to end.  It is a presentation that as with its predecessor, is among the best of the year’s new independent albums.

Ryan Hamilton’s new, forthcoming album 1221 is another strong new offering from the singer-songwriter-musician.   It has much to offer audiences both in its musical and lyrical content.  The songs examined here do well to support the noted statements.  They openly exemplify the accessibility of that content and the entertainment that said accessibility generates, too.  The same applies to the record’s other songs, too.  All things considered, the content examined here and that which makes up the rest of this album makes the record another successful offering from Hamilton that is among the best of this year’s new independent albums.

1221 is scheduled for release Friday through Wicked Cool Records. More information on the album is available along with all of Ryan Hamilton’s latest news at:

Websitehttp://ryanhamiltonmusic.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/RyanHamiltonandTheHarlequinGhosts

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/TheRyanHamilton

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

Jon Snodgrass Releases New, Free, Live Recording; Announces New Live Dates

Courtesy: A-F Records

Jon Snodgrass’ new live recording is available now.

The recording, Tace – Live at the Social Sanctuary released Friday through all major digital outlets. It is available free for everyone and follows last October’s release of Snodgrass’ latest album, Tace. The record is a compilation of covers that pays tributes to Snodgrass’ influences, such as The Beatles, Husker Du, and Cheap Trick.

Snodgrass was joined by a variety of well-known and respected figures for the recording of Tace. Among those who joined Snodgrass for the compilation were Tim McIlrath (Rise Against), Joey Cape (Lagwagon, Bad Astronaut), and Stephen Egerton (Descendants, ALL).

TaceLive at the Social Sanctuary comes from Snodgrass’ October 2020 performance at the noted venue in Los Angeles, CA. The concert’s audio was mixed and mastered over the course of this summer.

Said Snodgrass of the recording’s free release, “We’re basically putting this live album out for free so folks know what to expect this fall and are stoked and tell their friends. Also, this was the only rock show that we played last year.”

Courtesy: Night Owl PR

In other news, Snodgrass is scheduled to take his album out on the road starting Sept. 2 in San Diego, CA. The tour is scheduled to run through Oct. 31 in Gainesville, FL. It features performances in cities, such as Atlanta, GA; Minneapolis, MN and Santa Cruz, CA.

More information on Tace is available along with all of Jon Snodgrass’ latest news and more at:

Websitehttps://www.jonsnodgrass.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/JonSnodgrassMusic

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

Ribler’s New Album Is Awaiting And Deserves Attention From Audiences, Radio Stations Nationwide

Courtesy: Wicked Cool Records

Singer/songwriter/guitarist Marc Ribler has made quite the name for himself over the course of his career, having worked with the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Steven Van Zant, and Paul McCartney.  Now this Friday, Ribler is poised to take a big step forward in his career, going from a supporting role to that of front man with his new solo album, The Whole World Awaits You.  The record, which has already produced three successful singles, could make Ribler a star in his own right given the right support as those singles show.  They are just a few of the songs that serve to support the noted statements.  ‘Without You,’ one of the album’s late entries, serves in its own way to show the album’s strength.  It will be discussed shortly.  ‘Manzanillo,’ which comes just past the album’s midpoint, is another example of how much the record has to offer.  It will be examined a little later.  ‘This Is How The Song Goes,’ the album’s finale, is another example of the album’s appeal. It will also be discussed later.  Each of the songs noted here does its own part to show why The Whole World Awaits You is appealing.  When they are considered with the album’s existing trio of singles and the rest of the album’s entries, the whole makes the album a “whole” win for Marc Ribler and audiences alike.

Marc Ribler’s forthcoming solo album The Whole World Awaits You is a wholly successful new offering from the veteran singer/songwriter/guitarist.  The album’s existing trio of singles goes a long way to support that statement.  They are only some of the songs that show how much the album has to offer audiences.  ‘Without You,’ which comes late in the album’s 12-song run, is also of note.  The song’s musical arrangement is an instantly infectious composition that lends itself to comparison to works from Train just as much as from Tom Petty.  Yes, those are two completely opposing acts, but are more alike than not, as this song shows.  That is evidenced through the light use of the organ alongside the vocals and the equally subtle guitar, percussion and drums.  The whole is a composition that is one of the album’s most radio ready works. 

The musical arrangement featured in ‘Without You’ does a lot to make the song appealing, and is just part of what makes it engaging and entertaining.  The lyrical theme that accompanies the musical arrangement builds on that appeal even more.  While the song’s title and some of its lyrics make it seem like a love song, the rest of the song proves to be more than just that.  It also presents a social commentary of sorts in the song’s chorus that shames people on both sides of the aisle so to speak.  That is evidenced as Ribler sings, “I don’t want to live in a world where everyone has an empty heart/I don’t want to live in a world where it still matters what color you are/I don’t want to live in a place where they watch every thing you say and do/I don’t want to live in a world without you.”  On the one hand, yes, the romance aspect is there.  At the same time, Ribler uses the opportunity to comment on the negative place that the world has reached; that place where we have to be so careful about every single thing that we say and do, and where our skin color still sadly matters so much.  The romance aspect becomes more pronounced in the song’s lead verse, in which the song’s subject pronounces his/her love for that other person.  This is made clear as Ribler sings, “Your love runs deep for me/Shows up in most everything/You lose your way and you fall down/I’ll be the one that you can count on/Help you understand/I’ll always be right there/You can let your feelings flow.”  This is Ribler’s subject saying that things are bad in the world, but he/she will be there for that other person.  It is a familiar lyrical topic in pop music, and is just as familiar in this case.  The adoration for that other person continues in the song’s second verse and bridge, as the song’s subject praises and thanks that other person for being there.  That accessible lyrical them and equally accessible musical arrangement is just as much of a positive addition to this album as the record’s singles.  It is just one of so many examples of how much the album has to offer audiences, too.  ‘Manzanillo,’ which comes just past the album’s midpoint, is another example of the album’s strength.

The musical arrangement featured in ‘Manzanillo’ makes the song stand out because it stands out in itself.  Whereas so much of the music featured in The Whole World Awaits You blurs the line between neo-classical, Americana, pop and rock, this song’s arrangement is a distinctly Latin-tinged composition.  The dual guitar line, horns, and drums work with the claves to take listeners to Cuba from years ago.  Meanwhile, Ribler’s vocal delivery maintains a more American pop sound and stylistic approach.  The whole here is so infectious in its own right.  When it pairs with the song’s lyrical theme, the two elements make the song even more engaging and entertaining.

The lyrical theme featured in ‘Manzanillo’ itself comes across as a tribute to the history of the Latin culture.  This is inferred as Ribler makes mention of the ancient Mesoamerican peoples and their culture.  He even makes mention of history repeating itself if we are not careful, perhaps making reference to how those cultures were wiped out and how our current world is doing itself in, too.  This is all this critic’s own interpretation of course.  His mention of his mother coming to him in a dream and warning about thing happening “in this land” lends itself even more to that inference.  Considering all of this, the song’s lyrical theme definitely stands out from its counterparts in this album.  That originality and identity pairs with the unique presence of the song’s musical arrangement to make the song stand out even more, as a key addition to the album.  It is just one more way in which the album shows its strength.  ‘This Is How The Song Goes,’ which closes out the album, is yet another example of what makes Ribler’s new album stand out.

The musical arrangement in ‘This Is How The Song Goes’ is just as unique as those in the songs addressed here and the rest of the album’s songs.  To a certain point, the blues, almost psychedelic approach and sound here conjures thoughts of The Doors.  At the same time, listeners can also argue that there is a hint of influence from The Beatles in the song’s arrangement, considering the strings and vocal harmonies.  Once again, it is completely unlike anything else featured in this record, making even clearer the importance of the album’s musical content.  The song’s musical arrangement is just one part of its identity.  Its lyrical theme is just as unique.

The lyrical theme featured in ‘This Is How The Song Goes’ is just as thought-provoking as the song’s musical arrangement.  It opens with Ribler singing, “A tree fell in the forest with no sound/Some things go up/But don’t come down/Tomorrow’s just a day we’ll leave behind/Only precious time…” What follows is difficult to decipher sans lyrics to reference considering the overly subtle way in which Ribler sings here, but what is understandable shows the deep metaphorical language that Ribler uses here.  The mention of things being “in your dreams” in the song’s chorus is just as metaphorical even when the song’s lyrics can be deciphered.  That what little can be deciphered is itself cryptic is interesting enough.  When the rest of the song can be deciphered, the whole proves just as cryptic, ensuring even more engagement and discussion.  That engagement and discussion pairs with the song’s equally interesting musical arrangement to make the song in whole yet another clear example of why The Whole World Awaits You deserves so much attention.  When the song in whole is considered with the other songs examined here, the album’s singles, and the rest of its works, the whole makes the album a powerful new outing for Marc Ribler that could be the start of a very big career for him, given the right support.

Marc Ribler’s forthcoming solo album, The Whole World Awaits You is a presentation that is awaiting and deserves attention from audiences and radio stations nationwide.  It is a unique presentation that shows Ribler, who has spent so much of his career as a supporting musician to bigger names, is ready to take his own place in the limelight.  That is proven through each of the album’s singles and the songs examined here.  The album’s remaining songs serve just as much to support the noted statements.  Between the record’s unique (and accessible) musical arrangements and equally accessible lyrical content, the whole offers audiences much to appreciate.  All things considered, the album proves itself to be among the best of this year’s new independent albums.  It is scheduled for release Friday through Wicked Cool Records.

More information on Marc Ribler’s new album is available along with all of his latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.marcribler.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/marcribler

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

Grown-Ups Will Enjoy The Story Pirates’ New Album As Much As Children

Courtesy: Face Cake Records

Whether one is a parent, educator, or just music lover, one cannot deny that family music albums are constantly some great entertainment. That is due to the musical diversity that so many of those albums offer, as well as oftentimes, the records’ lyrical content.  This critic has proven this time and again over the years, even as recent as this year.  The Story Pirates’ new album The Strawberry Band is no exception to that rule.  Scheduled for release Friday through Face Cake Records, the 12-song record will entertain audiences of all ages just as much as the band’s existing albums and just as much as any family music act’s offerings past and present.  That is due in no small part to the overall approach to this record.  It will be discussed shortly.  The record’s featured musical arrangements add their own appeal to the album and will be discussed a little later.  The lyrical content that accompanies the album’s musical content puts the finishing touch to the album’s presentation and will be discussed later, too.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the album.  All things considered, they make the album one more candidate for a spot on this year’s top new family music albums.

The Story Pirates’ forthcoming album The Strawberry Band is an outstanding addition to this year’s field of new family music albums.  It stands out among this year’s field of new releases in part because of the approach that the band took to the record, making it a fun, family friendly concept album.  Yes, it is a concept album.  Few children’s albums out there can say they are concept works, considering that such works are saved more for grown-up albums.  The closest that any family music act’s work comes to being concept are Doctor Noize’s stories of Phineas McBoof, who is a musical monkey.  Getting back to The Story Pirates’ new album, the story featured in this record centers on a Beatles-esque band called….well…The Strawberry Band.  The set-up story, which opens the album, was developed by one of the band’s 5 year-old fans.  The rest of the songs that feature throughout were allegedly developed through story ideas presented to the band by its many young fans.  That the band would so openly and warmly develop a record – and a concept record no less – that was essentially made by and for its fans makes this approach especially unique and appealing.  The work that the band did to connect the overall concept is just as unique.  So all in all, the approach that the band took to this its fourth album is something special in its own right.  It in itself makes this record well worth hearing.  It is just one part of what makes the album so appealing.  The musical arrangements that make up the record’s body add their own appeal to the presentation.

The musical arrangements featured throughout The Strawberry Band are so important to note because of their diversity.  Right from the record’s outset, listeners are treat to a work in ‘The Strawberry Band’ that is a catchy, funky, bass-driven work that sounds like it came right out of the  1960s and 70s.  That this Beatles-inspired band is basically supposed to be performing the work adds to the special touch.  It will put a smile on any listener’s face.  Parents and older listeners in general will especially love the little tribute to The Beatles’ ‘Hold Your Hand’ that is incorporated into the song.  The hip-hop/vintage R&B sound of its immediate follow-up, ‘The Case of the Musical Cinnamon Buns’ will appeal just as much to audiences of all ages while the silly story of…well…musical cinnamon buns will entertain younger listeners.  That musical approach is so infectious.  It will introduce younger listeners to such a great genre while also offering something equally entertaining for older audiences.  As if that is not enough, those familiar with pop music from recent years will recognize a comparison to Taio Cruz’s hit song ‘Dynamite’ in ‘Hedgie in the Cloud Kingdom,’ which comes a little later in the album’s 42-minute run time.  The similarity is not a mirror image, but it is close enough that audiences will easily make the connection.  On yet another note, ‘Glowy and the Friend Adventure,’ the album’s mid-point, is just as easily comparable to Jason Mraz’s hit song ‘I’m Yours.’  Again, it is not an exact copy, what with the use of the muted trombone and overall approach.  However, the general, overall sound makes no doubt, the influence.  To that end, it will entertain older listeners just as much as any of the album’s other musical arrangements.  On yet another note, there is even a comparison to Alanis Morisette’s classic rock hit ‘You Oughta Know’ in ‘The Night I Started Sharing a Room With My Sister.’  Once again, the comparison is not precise, but the vocals, drums, bass, and guitar still make that comparison relatively obvious.  So yet again, here is a way for the album’s musical content to appeal to older audiences just as much as children.  The tributes to classic music do not end there.  The brief ‘The Strawberry Band (Reprise)’ pays tribute to George Harrison’s ‘Got My Mind Set On You,’  adding even more to the record’s musical appeal.   Those songs (and others featured here) will also serve as a starting point for those older audiences to introduce their own children to their music and bond with them even more in the process.  Keeping all of this in mind, it should be clear why the musical arrangements featured throughout this album are so important to its presentation.  When they are considered along with the album’s very approach, that whole more than makes the band’s new forthcoming album a pleasure to hear.  They are just a portion of what makes the album enjoyable.  The lyrical themes that accompany the album’s musical content and story put the finishing touch to the presentation.

The lyrical content that is featured in The Strawberry Band is important to note because it is just as diverse as the record’s musical content.  As already noted, one of the album’s early entries – ‘The Case of the Musical Cinnamon Buns – is about a bunch of musical cinnamon buns. It is just a fun, random story.  There is also a story about a fairy that lacked wings featured here.  The song delivers a message to listeners about taking pride in one’s self even if one might not look like others or have the same abilities as others.  This is a message that again, listeners of all ages will appreciate.  It adds even more enjoyment and importance to the album’s lyrical content overall.  The band also promotes making friends with a diverse range of individuals because of their diversity through ‘Glowy and the Friend Adventure.’  This is (sadly) a message that grown-ups should heed just as much as children.  That is especially the case today considering the world’s current social climate.  These noted songs and the album’s others were from the band’s young listeners, making them all the more impacting, when one takes the silly and serious all fully into account.  It all comes together to show without any doubt, just how important the album’s lyrical content is to its presentation.  When all of this is considered along with the importance and impact of the album’s musical content and overall approach, the whole makes The Strawberry Band a “sweet” new offering from The Story Pirates.


The Story Pirates forthcoming album The Strawberry Band is a presentation that will appeal just as much to grown-ups as it will to children.  That is proven in part through the record’s approach.  The approach in question is that of a concept album.  Few other family music albums make and have ever made concept albums for the whole family.  The record’s featured story is itself unique, making for even more appeal.  The musical arrangements that are presented throughout the story offer plenty for children and grown-ups alike plenty to enjoy.  They will in turn, make for a great way for families to bond just over this aspect.  The lyrical themes, which are presented from stories sent to the band by its young fans, add even more diversity to the album.  Some are silly.  Some are serious.  They are all accessible for listeners of all ages and presented in equally accessible fashion.  They put the finishing touch the album.  When they are considered along with the album’s approach, its story, and its musical arrangements, that whole makes The Strawberry Band an easy candidate for a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new family music albums.  It is scheduled for release Friday through Face Cake Records

More information on The Story Pirates’ new album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://storypirates.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/storypirates

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/storypirates

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

Saxon Takes On A Classic From The Beatles For Its Latest Single

Courtesy: Silver Linings Music

Saxon is giving audiences yet another preview of its forthcoming covers compilation.

The band debuted its take on The Beatles’ ‘Paperback Writer’ Friday, along with the cover’s companion lyric video. The cover is the third single from Saxon’s forthcoming covers compilation, Inspirations, which is scheduled for release March 19 through Silver Linings Music. The collection also features covers of Deep Purple’s ‘Speed King‘ and The Rolling Stones’ ‘Paint it Black.’

Saxon front man Biff Byford noted during a recent interview, his appreciation for The Beatles is far-reaching.

“I saw The Beatles on TV for the first time in 1963,” he said. “It was a very inspirational moment for me to think maybe I could be in a band!”

Saxon’s take on ‘Paperback Writer’ stays true to its source material, but amps it up considerably. The song takes on more of an arena rock type work here versus the more pop rock approach taken in The Beatles’ original.

The track listing for Inspirations is noted below.  Pre-orders are open.

Track Listing:

  1. Paint It Black
  2. Immigrant Song
  3. Paperback Writer
  4. Evil Woman
  5. Stone Free
  6. Bomber
  7. Speed King
  8. The Rocker
  9. Hold The Line
  10. Problem Child
  11. See My Friends

 More information on Inspirations is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

Websitehttps://www.saxon747.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/saxon

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/SaxonOfficial

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://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.

The Story Pirates Debuts Video For New LP’s Lead Single; Announces Podast’s Mid-Season Premiere Date, Return Of Band’s ‘SPTV’ Series

Courtesy: Sugar Mountain PR

Family entertainment group The Story Pirates will release its new album this spring.

The group is scheduled to release its next album The Strawberry Band April 2. In anticipation of the album’s release, the band debuted the video for the album’s lead single this week. The band debuted the video for the song ‘Fun Crazy Weird Hair Store‘ Friday through Geekdad and the “Absolutely Mindy” show on Sirius XM Kids Place Live.

The song is a light, kindie-pop style composition. Its easygoing guitar, piano, vocals, and simple time keeping makes it an infectious work. The song’s lyrical content is based on a short story crafted by a 9 year-old Story Pirates fan. It is one of a handful of stories crafted by children that make up the album, which itself is a tribute to concept albums.

The story behind is considered a “Beatles-esque” story that itself was crafted by a 5 year-old fan of The Story Pirates. According to information about the album, the band has dreams of stardom, but turns into strawberries every time it hits the stage. Throughout the album, the band, which created its own concept album, shows up as it tries to evade a strawberry-eating shark. The other stories that appear in this concept album about The Strawberry Band feature items, such as cinnamon buns, a wingless fairy, and a hedgehog.

The Strawberry Band is The Story Pirates’ fourth album.

In other news, The Story Pirates is scheduled to resume the fourth season of its podcast the same day as the release of its new album. It will feature 20 more episodes that will run through July,

Season Four opens with a Johnny Cash-style song that is based on a story titled ‘I’m Toast, Man!’ The song is based on a story written by a 6 year-old fan of The Story Pirates.

Season Four also features a new story, “The Adventures of Harold Jordan.” The story was adapted from a story crafted by one of The Story Pirates’ 9 year-old fans.

New music and stories are just a portion of what audiences have to look forward to from The Story Pirates when its fourth season resumes. Actor Maulik Pancholy (30 Rock, Phineas & Ferb) will join The Story Pirates for its mid-season premiere.

In even more news, The Story Pirates’ Los Angeles-based audiences can look forward to new episodes of its SPTV soon. The series runs on the region’s PBS affiliate, KLCS. The series encourages young viewers to use their imaginations to write original stories. It does this by taking viewers into stories written by other young viewers.

Story Pirates Creator Club members have full access to the show. Sample episodes of SPTV are streaming through YouTube.

More information on The Story Pirates’ new album, podcasts and SPTV episodes is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Website: https://storypirates.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/storypirates

Twitter: https://twitter.com/storypirates

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

L.A. Guns Debuts New Single, ‘You Can’t Walk Away’

Courtesy: Golden Robot Records

L.A. Guns debuted its latest single this week.

The band debuted its new single ‘You Can’t Walk Away‘ Thursday. The song is the fifth single from its album Renegades, which was released Nov. 13 through Golden Robot Records. Its debut follows that of the album’s current singles, ‘Crawl,’ ‘Well Oiled Machine,’ ‘All That You Are‘ and the album’s title track.

‘You Can’t Walk Away’ is an interesting addition to Renegades because it really defies everything that audiences have come to expect from L.A. Guns throughout its life.  Yes, there is a little bit of a ballad type of approach here.  At the same time though, the production, the choruses, and the instrumentation really throws back to the 1960s and some very distinct influence of The Beatles.  It really is the album’s most surprising and engaging work because of that approach.  That musical aspect, with all of is production and emotion works with the song’s familiar lyrical content about a relationship, to make the song even more appealing.

The noted lyrical theme is mad clear right from the song’s outset as front man Kurt Frohlich sings, “Nothing’s right/Gonna be a long way home tonight/A lover’s fight/I’ve been away too long/Another day rolls by/And it feels like an old friend/But nobody wants to do it/No one seems to care/And nobody wants to listen anyway/You can’t walk away/Something inside is telling you/Why is it so hard to do/You can’t walk away/When it all falls apart/Leave with your heart.”  The theme is made even clearer in the second verse, in which Frohlich sings, “Nobody pays your precious way/Thought it was an easy thing to do/But when you turned around something told you/Go back to where they know you/You can walk away/Something inside is telling you/Why is it so hard to do/You can walk away/Still it all falls apart/Leave with your heart.”  Keeping all of this in mind, the song’s lyrical theme remains relatively clear.  This deals with the emotional difficulties that come with a breakup.  The addition of the song’s subdued musical arrangement adds even more to the song’s overall impact.  The two elements jointly make this song one of this album’s most notable and important works.

Drummer Steve Riley talked about the song during a recent interview.

“This is a song I wrote with a friend, Tommy Holland, over 35 years ago in Chicago,” said Riley. “I brought it to pre-production for the Renegades album and the band finished it with a new chorus and some other minor changes. We are very proud of it and hope it follows in the footsteps of Ballad of Jayne.”

More information on L.A. Guns’ new album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.laguns.net

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/officiallaguns

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

‘Royal Tea’ Is Royalty Among Joe Bonamassa’s Extensive Catalog

Courtesy: JR-Adventures

Joe Bonamassa has made a career of playing the blues, covering the classics and handling his own originals.  From one album to the next, he has shown why he is one of the leading names in the blues community.  Now with the release of his latest album Royal Tea on Oct. 23, Bonamassa has completely cemented his place not only in the upper echelon of the blues community, but the music community in whole.  That is because Bonamassa has branched out so much in this record, opting to offer so much more than his standard blues compositions.  This is well worth discussing in itself.  The record’s production adds its own touch to the presentation and will also be addressed here.  The sequencing puts the final touch to this album’s presentation.  When it is considered along with the noted production and musical arrangements, the whole make Royal Tea a work that proves Joe Bonamassa is music royalty.

Joe Bonamassa’s latest album Royal Tea is without question, one of his greatest albums to date if not his greatest work yet.  It is a presentation that shows so much growth from the famed blues rock guitarist/singer.  That is proven throughout the course of the 10-song record’s 53-minute run time.  Rather than just sticking with the standard blues style works for which he has come to be known, Bonamassa opted this time to branch out.  That is evidenced right off the top in the album’s opener, ‘When One Door Opens.’  This nearly eight-minute epic composition opens with a broad, symphonic arrangement, complete with strings, crash cymbals, and horns.  That bombastic opening gradually gives way to a very contemplative, introspective stylistic approach whose chromatic scales and vocal harmonies are more rock ballad-esque than blues.  As the song progresses into its “third movement” (the very fact that the song is so in-depth displaying so many styles is itself impressive.  That me blends them together so well is even more worthy of applause) things change over to Bonamassa’s more bluesy style before switching back to the noted contemplative ballad-style approach to close out the song.    There is even a hint of Holst’s ‘Mars: The Bringer of War’ mixed in for good measure.  Whether that was intentional is anyone’s guess.  Regardless, the subtle addition of that element adds so much to the song in its own right.  The whole of this composition shows clearly that it is anything but what audiences have come to expect from Joe Bonamassa.  It is just one of the works that exhibits his growth in this album.  Just as interesting to note as this song is the clear influence of certain other equally well-known acts in other songs.

Listening to the album’s title song, the Beatles influence is undeniable, especially as the song opens.  From there, there is a touch of Jimi Hendrix influence.  Considering that Bonamassa recorded this album at the legendary Abbey Road Studios, none of this should come as a surprise.  Hendrix rose first to fame in England before the United States.  And of course, The Beatles are synonymous with Abbey Road Studios.  ‘High Class Girl’ meanwhile immediately lends itself to comparisons to Booker T and the MGs’ famous hit ‘Green Onions’ what with the combination of its guitar, bass, drums and keyboards.  The side-by-side is a near mirror image, yet even with that in mind, Bonamassa still manages to make this song about a man who is crazy for a woman who is out of his league into its own composition.  On yet another note, ‘Lonely Boy’ echoes influences of Brian Setzer and Stray Cats with its rockabilly style arrangement.  That Bonamassa was able to take influences from his equally well-known contemporaries and still create his own unique compositions is just one more way in which this record’s musical content proves so important to its whole.  He also branches out into some other realms, and in the process makes his own unique compositions.

Case in point of the noted statement about Bonamassa branching out even more is ‘Savannah,’ which closes out the album.  This song is a distinctly country/bluegrass work that will appeal widely to fans of acts, such as Steep Canyon Rangers and Zac Brown Band.  The subtle use of the keyboards against the vocal harmonies, drums, mandolin and guitar makes the song such an enjoyable work.  By contrast, ‘Lookout Man!’ is a bass heavy modern rock style composition whose heavy guitars, bass, and rums will appeal to fans of acts, such as Audioslave and Small Town Titans.  The addition of Bonamassa’s gritty vocal delivery and the harmonica to the mix adds even appeal more to the arrangement.  ‘A Conversation With Alice,’ the album’s lead single, throws lends itself to similarities to works from the likes of maybe Foreigner if not other veteran rock acts.  Simply put, these songs in themselves show even more the breadth of Joe Bonamassa’s talents and abilities.  They show, along with the other noted arrangements, that he is not just a one trick pony whose bread and butter is just the blues.  It shows that he can play any style of music any time.  Hopefully with that in mind, audiences will hear him take that into account even more when he releases his next album.  Now taking all of this into account, the wide range of styles of music exhibited throughout Royal Tea make up collectively just one part of what makes the album so enjoyable.  The album’s production adds another positive touch to its presentation.

The production that went into Royal Tea’s presentation is so pivotal because, again, Joe Bonamassa branched out so much throughout this album.  ‘Why Does It Take So Long To Say Goodbye’ is a good example of the impact of the production.  This slow, bluesy work, is clearly a work about a broken relationship.  The song’s arrangement adds so much to its impact.  Listeners will note the subtlety in the guitar and bass balance and the way the drums cut through here when they listen closely.  The way each element is balanced in the song’s verses versus the more bombastic choruses serves well to translate the emotion in each moment as the song’s subject is going through so many thoughts.

‘When One Door Opens’ is another example of what makes the album’s production so important.  That is due in part to the symphonic element in the song’s opening bars.  This is something that Bonamassa has done rarely if ever.  That means that a subtle backing element, such as a cymbal crash had to be really controlled.  Even in the song’s more subtle moments, the vocals and drums had to be balanced with the equally subtle string arrangement and bells (yes, bells) to make sure the fullest impact was achieved, which it was.

‘Beyond The Silence’ is one more example of what makes this album’s production so important.  The song, whose arrangement is a very western style work, conjures thoughts of Bon Jovi’s hit song ‘Blaze of Glory’ and Blues Saraceno’s ‘Evil Ways.’  The song stars and ends in very brooding fashion, with thunder setting the stage.  The subtle way in which that thunder rumbles “in the distance” is powerful in its subtlety.  The equally subtle use of the organ, drums, piano, guitar, bass and vocals makes for such high levels of engagement.  As the song enters its chorus, the more energetic approach makes for a stark contrast to the more subdued verses.  That contrast adds even more impact to the song.  The work that clearly went in to balance the two moods paid off, maximizing the impact.  When this is considered along with the examined production in the other songs noted here and the rest of the album’s entries, the whole of the production clearly plays an important part to the album’s presentation.  It is still not the last of the record’s most important elements.  The sequencing rounds out the album’s most important elements.

The sequencing of Royal Tea is important to examine because it ensures the energies in the album are balanced.  Audiences will be glad to know that the record’s sequencing is just as successful as its production and songs in general.  The record starts so strongly in the multi-movement ‘When One Door Opens.’  The energy stays high even as the stylistic approach changes in the album’s title track.  From there, things pull back noticeably in ‘Why Does It Take So Long To Say Goodbye’ before picking right back up in ‘Lookout Man!’ and carrying through to ‘Beyond The Silence.’  That song in question has already been addressed.  ‘Lonely Boy’ considerably changes things again, picking up the fun and energy once more before the album sets listeners gently on another shore in ‘Savannah.’  This simple, laid back country/bluegrass track is, again, so unlike anything that Bonamassa has ever composed.  It is a wonderful finale for the album, especially considering the musical journey on which audiences embark in listening to the album.  Simply put, the album’s energy rises and falls at all of the right points throughout the course of this album.  This is a tribute to the time and thought that went into the album’s sequencing.  It assures listeners will remain just as engaged and entertained for this aspect as for the rest of the album’s aspects.  Keeping all of that in mind, Royal Tea proves itself to be a solid new offering from Joe Bonamassa and potentially his best work to date.

Joe Bonamassa’s new album Royal Tea is an impressive new offering from the veteran blues-rock guitarist/singer.  It is a record that is largely unlike anything that he has ever presented.  That is presented in part through its musical arrangements, which toss aside the standard blues songs for which he has come to be known in favor of a more diverse selection of styles.  The production of those works and their sequencing puts the final touch to the record, collectively speaking.  They ensure listeners will remain engaged and entertained through the presentation of the arrangements and the balance in their energies.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the album.  All things considered, they make Royal Tea royalty among Joe Bonamassa’s catalog. Royal Tea is available now. More information on the album is available along with all of Joe Bonamassa’s latest news at:

Website: http://www.jbonamassa.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/JBONAMASSA

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

Gunship Debuts Cover Of The Beatles’ ‘Eleanor Rigby’

Courtesy: Reybee, Inc.

Independent electronic music act Gunship is taking on a Beatles classic for its latest single.

The band premiered its cover of The Beatles’ ‘Eleanor Rigby‘ Wednesday. The band’s take on the song crosses its trademark electronic/80s synth-driven sounds with The Beatles’ original arrangement for a unique new take on the song that will engage and entertain a wide range of listeners.

Gunship bassist/co-founder Dan Haigh talked in a recent interview, about the band’s decision to cover the timeless song, noting its relevance to the current state of the world.

“The song ‘Eleanor Rigby’ really is a sad and extremely poignant song, dealing with issues of disillusionment, loneliness, and isolation in society,” said Haigh. “‘Look at all the lonely people‘ is a lyric that has stuck with us forever. We wondered about a modern day Eleanor Rigby, and what it would be like if a character like her was alive today and experiencing 2020.”

“We felt some of the song’s themes dovetailed closely with the contemporary negative revelations surrounding the mass adoption of social media, phone addiction and the proliferation of the ‘pseudo-connections’ these platforms provide,” added Haigh. “The artwork for our cover version shows a young ‘Eleanor Rigby’, illuminated by her device, dependent on it, manipulated by it, and totally in the clutches of addiction to it. Given the current situation we felt the song would make a suitable cover for Halloween.”

More information on Gunship’s cover of ‘Eleanor Rigby’ is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Website: http://www.gunshipmusic.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/gunshipmusic

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

Ace Frehley’s New Record Is The Exception To The Rule About Covers Compilations

Courtesy: eOne

Covers collections are a dime a dozen.  From one genre within the bigger musical universe to the next, they are overly abundant offerings.  There is no denying that in the bigger picture of things, covers collections are little more than space fillers used by acts for the purpose of fulfilling contractual obligations between new albums.  Many of those albums are that and little more.  However, every now and then at least one rarity rises above the rest to do at least a little more, and actually show some value.  Ace Frehley’s latest covers compilation is one of those rarities.  Released Friday through eOne, the 12-song record stands out in part because of its featured covers.  This will be discussed shortly.  The performances of the songs play their own part in the album’s presentation and will be discussed a little later.  The production that went into the record rounds out its most important elements and will be addressed later, too.  Each noted item is important in its own right to the whole of the collection.  All things considered, they make Frehley’s latest space filler a work that will appeal to plenty of classic rock fans.

Ace Frehley’s latest covers compilation, released Friday through eOne, is an interesting addition to this year’s field of new space fillers.  That is because unlike its counterparts, it actually proves itself to actually be worth at least some value.  That is due in part to the record’s featured songs.  While there are some notable works featured in the record from some very well-known bands, there are also some lesser-known deep cuts from those bands, too.  Mountain’s ‘Never in my Life’ is an example of one of those deep cuts.  The band is well-known, and while Climbing!, the album in which the song is featured, is considered a hit for Mountain, the song itself was never considered to be one of the album’s biggest hits.  ‘I’m Down,’ which was a b-side to The Beatles’ hit song ‘Help!,’ is another example of Frehley including a lesser-known work from a big name band in this record.  Cream’s ‘Politician’ is yet another example of the noted lesser-known songs featuring in this record.  While the album in which the song is featured – Wheels of Fire – is the world’s first platinum-selling double album, the song was never used as a single.  To that end, it is more of a deep cut.

On the other end of the spectrum, works, such as The Rolling Stones’ ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash,’ The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s ‘Manic Depression’ and Deep Purple’s ‘Space Truckin’’ (whose lyrics Frehley changes slightly here when he sings, “we’re space ace truckin’) are examples of the more well-known works featured in the album.  Between these songs and the lesser-known pieces is in reality a little bit of a rock music history lesson.  Audiences get to learn about some big name bands (I.E. The Rolling Stones, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin) and those who were more mid-level (Mountain, Paul Revere & The Raiders) while also getting a starting point on discussions on the acts and their catalogs.  What’s more, being that those lesser-known works are rarely if ever played on corporate terrestrial radio and are just as rarely presented in other acts’ covers compilations, their inclusion adds to their importance.  Keeping all of this in mind, the compilation’s featured songs actually prove at least some value to its presentation.

While the songs featured in Frehley’s new covers set present at least some value, the performances of said songs plays just as much importance if not more.  That is because while Frehley and his fellow musicians do stay at least somewhat true to their source material throughout the record, they  also give the songs a new updated sound.  Case in point is the group’s performance of The Rolling Stones’ hit song ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash.’  The Rolling Stones’ original composition is energetic in its own right, and the band’s live performances of the song step things up in the song even more.  Frehley and company’s version here however really amps things up.  Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards’ guitars are replaced in this case by that of Frehley and guitar goddess Lita Ford.  The duo also takes on Mick Jagger’s vocals jointly and definitely take things collectively in a whole new direction.  It should be noted that Ford does drop some f-bombs here, so some listener discretion is advised.  Honestly, its disappointing that Ford would work blue here since the original song did not need any foul language in order to be enjoyable.  Charlie Watts’ steady, subtle time keeping has even been replaced by an equally heavy drum line here.  Simply put, the performance in whole does stay true to the source material in terms of sound, but in terms of style it is a completely different song.  So that is certain to generate its own share of interest and discussion among listeners.

The group’s take on The Animals’ ‘We Gotta Get Outta Here’ is another example of the importance of the performances of the featured songs here.  The Animals’ original rendition of the song was grounded in its bass line and vocals.  In the case of Frehley and company’s take on the song, Frehley takes on the bass line, using the guitar instead for that famous line.  Between that, the semi-operatic vocal delivery and the bombastic drumming, the whole of the song takes on a distinctly 80s hair metal vibe that echoe the sounds of KISS (no surprise there) instead of presenting the song in its more subdued original presentation.  At the same time, considering that the song’s lyrical content focuses on a relationship matter and “needing to get out of this place,” the song’s energy in this presentation does seem to work in its own right.  To that end, it is sure to generate its own share of interest and engagement.

On another hand, the performance of The Beatles’ I’m Down’ stays almost true stylistically to its source material.  Yes, it’s amped up compared to the original, but compared to let’s say The Beatles’ performance on The Ed Sullivan Show, this performance actually echoes that performance relatively well, even despite being so amped up.  As a matter of fact, this performance is actually a step up from the Beatles’ original song.  That is not to say that The Beatles’ original is bad by any means.  That should not be misconstrued.  Rather, Frehley and company took a song that was great to begin with and stepped it up, improving upon it even more.  Between this performance, the others noted here and the rest of the collection’s performances, it can be said that the performances pose their own importance to the record’s presentation just as much as the songs themselves.  The performances are just one more part of what makes the collection worth hearing, too.  Its production rounds out its most important elements.

The production of Origins Volume 2 is important to note for the very reason that has already been raised in examining the performance of the record’s featured songs:  the performances take the original songs from decades ago and really amp them up.  This is important because in so many of the songs, there is a lot more going on than in these works than the originals.  In other words, there is more need to balance all of the elements to ensure each song presents the fullest performance.  Those behind the record’s production are to be applauded for their efforts, too.  For all that is going on in each song, the guitars, bass, vocals, and drums are quite well balanced.  The energy is transmitted just as well because of that expert work that went into balancing each element within each song.  The end result is an album that works just as well for its aesthetics as for its content.  When this is considered along with the record’s content and the performances therein, the result is a covers collection that while it is a covers set, actually proves itself worth hearing at least once if not more.

Ace Frehley’s new covers compilation Origins Volume 2 is an interesting follow-up to his 2016 set Origins Volume 1.  That is due in part to its featured songs.  The songs are a balance of well-known works and deep cuts.  They and the bands that performed them can actually serve as a starting point on discussions about rock’s modern history.  That is actually a positive in its own right.  The performances of the featured songs is important to this record because they stay true to their source material in terms of sound, but stylistically, they clearly show Frehley’s own influence, what with the overly bombastic nature of each performance.  That is certain to generate its own share of discussion among audiences.  The record’s production puts the finishing touch to its presentation.  That is because it ensures for all of the elements going on in each song, those elements are well-balanced, making the record just as worth hearing for this aesthetic element as for its content.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the album.  All things considered, they make the compilation a presentation that is the exception to the rule for covers compilations.  It is available now.  More information on the set is available along with all of Ace Frehley’s latest news at:

Websitehttp://www.acefrehley.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/officialacefrehley

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/Ace_Frehley

 

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.