Nick Phoenix’s New LP Is A Welcome Addition To 2022’s Field Of New Americana Albums

Courtesy: Downtown Music

Singer-songwriter Nick Phoenix released his new album, Wide World late this past Spring through independent record label Downtown Music.  The 11-song record is a mostly successful new collection of neo-Americana works with some very deeply emotional lyrical themes.  One of the most notable of the record’s songs comes late in its run in the form of ‘Which Side You’re On.’  This track will be examined shortly.  ‘Always On,’ which comes early in the album, is another notable addition to the presentation and will be examined a little later.  ‘Tumblin’ Down,’ which comes just past the record’s midpoint, is another notable entry here.  It will also be examined later.  Each song noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the album.  When they are considered along with the rest of the album’s entries, the whole makes the album overall a work that any Americana fan will appreciate.

Wide World, the new album from independent singer-songwriter Nick Phoenix, is a record that will find wide appeal among Americana fans.  Yes, that awful pun was intended.  The record will appeal to his targeted fans from beginning to end with each of its 11 total songs, not the least of which is the late entry, ‘Which Side You’re On.’  The song’s musical arrangement is one part of what makes it so notable.  The pairing of the guitar and piano along with Phoenix’s distinct smoky sounding vocal delivery makes the arrangement so rich in its semi-brooding sense.  Audiences can argue that there’s a sense of melancholy, to be more specific, about the arrangement.  That applies even in the equally rich solos that are exhibited more than once in the four minute-plus composition. 

The sense of melancholy established through the song’s musical arrangement is of note because it helps to enhance the impact of the song’s lyrical theme.  The theme in this case comes across as that of taking pride in who one is, not letting one’s self let external factors shape who one is.  That is inferred right from the song’s lead verse and chorus in which Phoenix sings, “I know it’s providence/I know your ships won’t burn…It’s just a war of words/No one ever said that/You were alone/You’re coming back twice as strong/Doesn’t really matter which side you’re on/I covered the facts/You were wrong/Doesn’t really matter which side you’re on.”  There is one point in that lead verse that is difficult to decipher sans lyrics, but enough is understandable that this comes across as a subject who is trying to encourage someone else, telling that person that he/she will be okay and will come back, grown from facing adversity.  Phoenix continues in the song’s second verse, “You’ve been the bad wolf/You ate the chickens…you’re gonna try for that/You can’t invent the rules/No one ever said that/You were alone/You’re coming back/Twice as strong/Doesn’t really matter/Which side you’re on/I covered the facts/ You were wrong/Doesn’t really matter which side you’re on.”  Yet again, this seems like a commentary of sorts about people being people and simply ignoring those people and living life.  That is, again, just this critic’s interpretation.  If in fact it is the correct interpretation, then it goes without saying it is an original way to address a familiar topic.  The mention of getting in a lifeboat and being “a sidenote”, reminding the listener that despite that “you’ll come back twice as strong” is even more of that seeming motivation.  Again, this is all this critic’s interpretation.  The melancholy mood set through the song’s arrangement helps to put listeners in the shoes of the person to whom the subject is speaking, making for even more connection for listeners.  To that end, the song in whole proves itself a strong addition to the album and just one of the record’s most notable works.  ‘Always On’ is yet another notable entry in this presentation.

‘Always On’ presents a musical arrangement that is subdued and contemplative in its nature.  The melancholy mood that it sets through its dual guitar approach and familiar rhythmic pattern from the drums.  The guitar solo that comes late in the song’s run is a full-on classic rock performance even in its subtlety that will certainly engage and entertain audiences.  The mood set here works well with the song’s seeming lyrical theme.

The seeming lyrical theme features here is that of someone who knows that he worries constantly, yet through it all has that someone there to help him get through it all and put up with his nonstop negativity.  The mood in the song’s musical arrangement serves to illustrate the feelings going through the subject’s mind as he is saying those words to that other person.  It makes for its own share of interest and in turn makes the song stand out even more.  It is just one more of the songs that makes Wide World appealing.  ‘Tumblin’ Down’ is yet another notable addition to the album.

‘Tumblin’ Down’ presents an arrangement that is completely unlike those of its counterparts throughout the album.  Right from the opening, the simple guitar line, vocals, and drums present something of a neo-classic rock vibe that shows influences of The Beatles while still boasting its own identity.  On another hand, audiences can just as easily argue that there is an influence from Tom Petty here, too.  Those listeners would be right, too.  Having influence from two of the greatest and most respected acts in modern music history says a lot.  That Phoenix uses those influences to craft a song that stands on its own merits in the process makes for even more respect for him and this arrangement.  It works with the song’s lyrical content to make for even more overall engagement and entertainment.

The lyrical content here is sure to generate its own share of interest.  Phoenix sings early on of seeing how good it is outside, but not being able to manage, and basically feeling like everything around is “tumbling down.”  The declaration that “You wanted to win/So you wagered it all/Now you’ve gotta make it up” adds to the message here.  It almost comes across as Phoenix saying here that people put themselves into negative situations.  That is, of course, just this critic’s interpretation of the bigger picture here.  If in fact that is the case with the theme here, then the contrast of that to the mood set through the arrangement makes for even more interest.  To that end, it becomes another clear example of what makes Wide World worth hearing.  When this song is considered along with the others examined here and with the rest of the album’s entries, the whole makes Wide World a welcome addition to this year’s field of new Americana records.

Wide World, the new album from Nick Phoenix, is a work that most Americana finds will agree is worth hearing.  That is proven from start to end thanks to its musical and lyrical content alike.  All three of the songs examined here make that clear.  When they are considered along with the rest of the album’s songs, the whole makes the album overall a work that will appeal to a wide range of audiences.

Wide World is available now.  More information on the album is available along with all of Nick Phoenix’s latest news at:

Website: https://nickphoenix.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/nickphoenix10

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

Mickey Leigh’s Mutated Music Presents 2022’s First Great New Indie Album In ‘Variants Of Vibe’

Courtesy: Wicked Cool Records

Musician/author Mickey Leigh and his band mates in Mickey Leigh’s Mutated Music are scheduled to release the group’s new album, Vairants of Vibe next week through Wicked Cool Records.  Set for release Feb. 18, the 14-song record has already shown great potential through the singles that it has already produced.  They have shown greatly, how the record’s musical arrangements and lyrical content make the record so enjoyable.  They are just a small sample of how that content makes the record engaging and entertaining, too.  The record boasts plenty of other songs that do just that, too.  ‘Brave Old World,’ which comes late in the album’s 40-minute run, is another solid example of the record’s strength.  It will be discussed shortly.  ‘Loneliness,’ which comes a little earlier in the album, is another good example of what makes the album worth hearing.  It will be discussed a little later.  Much the same can be said of ‘Spanish Eyes,’ which comes even earlier in the record.  It will also be examined later.  Each song noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the album’s presentation.  When they are considered along with the album’s singles and with the rest of the album’s other songs, the whole makes the album overall the first truly great new independent album.

Variants of Vibe, the new album from Mickey Leigh’s Mutated Music, is a truly promising offering from the group.  That is thanks to its featured musical arrangements, as its current singles have already shown.  They are just a sample of how that content makes the album so engaging and entertaining.  The record is full of interesting entries, not the least of which is the late entry, ‘Brave Old World.’  The musical arrangement featured in ‘Brave Old World’ is a great, catchy composition.  Leigh’s vocal delivery alone conjures thoughts of Tom Petty and Billy Joel.  Yes, that sounds like quite the odd pairing, but it really is evident here.  The Billy Joel comparison builds even more with the introduction of the saxophones and the way in which the rhythm section is accented here.  The subtle use of the piano alongside those elements builds even more on that comparison.  The thing is that even with such comparison, the less than two minute arrangement still boasts its own identity.  What’s more, even clocking in at less than two minutes, Leigh and company somehow manage to make the song feel more along the lines of a standard three-minute-plus work in the best way possible.  The group really makes the song last, which is certain to leave any listener fulfilled.  When the engagement and entertainment guaranteed by the arrangement pairs with the song’s lyrical theme, the song gains even more traction.

It is just this critic’s interpretation that the lyrical theme featured in ‘Brave Old World’ is that of someone just appreciating the world.  This is especially inferred as Leigh sings that “Nothing ever changes/But something changes every day/So I ain’t seen nothing like this/Brave old world.”  That brief statement speaks volumes.  It comes across as that old adage that the more things change, the more they stay the same.  Even as much as that is the case, the subject still seems to wonder at how much changes even as things stay the same.  It is a positive viewpoint that will resonate with audiences.  He continues, “Nothing’s here to stay/Except yesterday/And the day before that/Maybe true/But it’s not a fact/Still my heart/While you take another beat/Now don’t you feel smart/You better stand up/While you take your seat/They say that time is….But it never went away/I see the setting sun around me/In a brave old world.”  All of this collectively, with that final statement, paints a picture of someone who just seems to appreciate being alive, despite everything.  He is reminding others to make the most of each day.  Again, this is just this critic’s own interpretation.  When this seeming theme pairs with the equally upbeat, positive energy in the song’s musical arrangement, the whole makes the song a clear example of why the record’s musical and lyrical content makes it so enjoyable. 

‘Brave Old World’ is just one of the many songs that shows the album’s strength.  ‘Loneliness’ which comes a little earlier in the album’s run, is another example of how much that content has to offer audiences.  The song’s musical arrangement is a stark departure from that of ‘Brave Old World’ and the album’s other entries.  Where ‘Brave Old World’ presented a blend of influences from the likes of Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty, ‘Loneliness’ presents clear influence from Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen.  Leigh himself even somehow manages to make his voice morph into a blend of the two what with the drawl and gritty delivery style.  That, paired with the reserved guitar line and steady, plodding tempo points the finger to the noted influences even more.  When considered alongside the arrangement in ‘Brave Old World’ and in the album’s current singles, it is one more example of the diversity in sounds and styles in the album’s musical arrangements.  It is fully engaging and entertaining, too because of its richness.  When the depth in the arrangement pairs with the song’s lyrical theme, the song in whole becomes that much more engaging and entertaining.

The lyrical theme featured in ‘Loneliness’ is about exactly that.  It is sung from the standpoint of someone who is all alone.  Thanks to the drawl that Leigh incorporates into his vocal delivery, some of the lyrics are difficult to decipher sans lyrics to reference.  However, enough can be understood that listeners can infer this is literally about someone who is alone.  There is no direct reference about a broken relationship or anything of the sort.  It is, plain and simple, about being alone and the mental and emotional impact thereof.  The way in which Leigh delivers the seeming theme paints a picture of someone sitting alone at a table, glass and bottle in hand at one point.  At others, images of people just being alone in various situations arise.  It is all so rich, it makes for a perfect chance for a single and video.  Yes, that is a blatant recommendation to Leigh and everyone at Wicked Cool Records.  When the song’s lyrical theme and musical arrangement are combined, they make the song in whole yet another key example of what makes the album so enjoyable, and hardly the last, too.  ‘Spanish Fly,’ another of the album’s early entries, continues to show the album’s strength.

The musical arrangement featured in ‘Spanish Fly’ is another change in sound and style for the album.  The arrangement, in this case, finds Leigh morphing his vocals yet again, this time making himself sound like none other than Billy Idol.  The production and the instrumentation adds to that comparison to works from the famed rocker, especially the pairing of the bass and drums with Leigh’s vocals.  The mid-tempo composition is another change in style, too.  It further adds to the arrangement’s overall uniqueness and in turn interest.  When the engagement and entertainment ensured through the song’s arrangement pairs with the song’s accessible lyrical theme, the whole becomes that much more enjoyable.


The lyrical theme featured in ‘Spanish Fly’ comes across as being sung by a man who is rather entranced by a woman.  This is inferred as Leigh sings, about the woman looking at him “with those Spanish eyes”.  He even sings in this song about the woman being his first love and being breathless from that first kiss.  In other words, this song is a love song.  It is just presented musically in a unique way that makes the all too familiar theme bearable.  When the song’s musical arrangement and lyrical theme are paired together, they make the song yet another example of just how much the song has to offer.  What’s more, when the song is considered along with the other songs examined here and with the album’s singles and other songs, the whole makes Variants of Vibe in whole a complete success.

Variants of Vibe, the new album from Mickey Leigh’s Mutated Music is a solid new offering of rock for fans of said genre. The album’s success is due to its musical and lyrical content.  All thee of the songs examined here do well to make that clear.  When they are considered along with the album’s current singles and with the rest of its songs, the whole makes the whole makes this record the first truly great new independent album of 2022.

Variants of Vibe is scheduled for release Feb. 18 through Wicked Cool Records.  More information on the album is available along with all of the latest news from Mickey Leigh’s Mutated Music at:

Websitehttp://mickeyleigh.com

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

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.

Mickey Leigh’s Mutated Music Debuts New Single, ‘Standing In The Dark’

Courtesy: Wicked Cool Records

Musician/author Mickey Leigh and his band mates in Mutated Music debuted their latest single this week.

The group debuted the new single, ‘Standing in the Dark‘ Thursday. The song is the latest single from the group’s forthcoming album, Variants of Vibe, which is scheduled for release Feb. 18. ‘Standing in the Dark is the eighth (yes, eighth) single from the 14-song record. Audiences can pre-order the album here.

The musical arrangement featured in ‘Standing in the Dark’ is an instantly infectious composition. The upbeat tempo and harmonies immediately lend themselves to comparison to some of the best works from Tom Petty. At the same time, the song manages to maintain its own identity along the way.

No information was provided about the song’s lyrical theme in the press release announcing its debut. No lyrics are provided with the song on YouTube, either. What can be inferred from what can be deciphered without lyrics is that the song’s lyrical theme seems to focus on someone trying to find direction in life. That is just this critic’s interpretation.

More information on Mickey Leigh and Mutated Music’s new single is available along with all of the group’s latest news at:

Websitehttp://mickeyleigh.com

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

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.

Steve Conte Debuts New Single, ‘Overnight Smash’

Courtesy: Wicked Cool Records

Steve Conte premiered the latest single from his new album this week.

Conte debuted his new single, ‘Overnight Smash‘ Thursday. The song is the fourth single from Conte’s forthcoming album,  Bronx Cheer, which is scheduled for release Nov. 5 through Wicked Cool Records. Conte premiered the album’s third single, ‘Dog Days of Summer‘ last month. Its premiere was preceded by that of the singles,  ‘Recovery Doll‘ and ‘Gimme Gimme Rockaway.’

The musical arrangement featured in ‘Overnight Smash’ is a classic rock-infused composition. There are hints of Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty and others interspersed throughout the course of the approximately three-minute opus. Listeners can even argue there is a slight influence from The Rolling Stones in the mix, too. The energy in the straight-driving composition is certain to keep audiences engaged and entertained in its own right.

The lyrical theme that accompanies the new song takes on a rarely discussed matter, but one that is relevant to everyone, and Conte talked about that topic during a recent interview.

“‘Overnight Smash’ is about professional jealousy,” he said. “Once somebody starts ‘getting somewhere’ in their career, there is always that crowd that, for whatever reason, got left behind in the dust, and then they like to s***-talk about ya.”

More information on Steve Conte’s new single and album is available along with all of his latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.stevecontenyc.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/SteveConteNYC

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/SteveConteNYC

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.

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.

‘Exit Wounds’ Will Appeal Mostly To The Wallflowers’ Established Audiences

Courtesy: New West Records

Veteran rock/Americana rock band The Wallflowers released its latest album Friday to kick off the weekend.  The band’s seventh album, it ends a nearly nine year wait for new music from the band.  The band’s established audiences are the most likely to find the record appealing.  That is due in part to its featured musical arrangements, which will be discussed shortly.  The album’s lyrical themes are also certain to appeal to a very targeted audience.  They will be discussed a little later.  The album’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements and will also be examined later.  Each item noted here is key in its own way to the album’s presentation.  All things considered, they make the album a work that will find most of its appeal among The Wallflower’s established audience base.

The Wallflowers’ latest album Exit Wounds is a presentation that will appeal to a very targeted audience.  That audience in question is the band’s established audience base.  More casual listeners will find the album more appealing only in hearing it only occasionally.  That is proven in part through the album’s featured musical arrangements.  The arrangements are largely everything that audiences have come to expect from the band throughout its life.  The same folksy/rock hybrid style sounds and arrangements are just as evident here as in the band’s existing catalog.  The thing is that most of the songs, which are also easily comparable to works from Bruce Springsteen, are also noticeably melancholy in their sound and approach.  That is also something that is normal from the band.  However, there are some variants, such as the more pop rock style ‘The Dive bAr in My Heart’ (one can easily infer what this song is about just from that title) and in the much more Rolling Stones-esque ‘Who’s That Man Walking ‘Round My Garden?’  Of course the prior, with its more pop style sound and approach, is still akin to existing works from The Wallflowers in its own right, too.  For the most part though, the record’s musical arrangements are mostly everything that audiences have come to expect.  The surprises are few here.  That is not to say that the record’s musical arrangements are a fail, but rather that they will appeal to the noted targeted audience.

Just as the musical portion of Exit Wounds will appeal to a specific audience base, so will its lyrical themes.  The songs’ titles make relatively clear that the majority of those themes center on the topic of relationships.  Case in point is the title ‘Darlin’ Hold On’ and another title, ‘The Daylight Between Us.’  Titles are just one thing, of course.  A deeper look into the songs’ lyrics make this even clearer.  The very lead verse of the album’s opener serves even more to support the noted statements.  The song opens with front man Jakob Dylan singing, “There’s no fire beneath the smoke/No one’s got you up by the coat/Not a razor up to your throat/You can go anytime through the door/Maybe your heart’s not in it no more.”  This is a clear, straight forward message.  It is one person telling another that no one is making that second person do anything, and it just looks like that second person just doesn’t want to make the relationship work.  The song’s second verse adds to the statement as Dylan sings, “It’s gone quiet/It’s gone cold/Acting like someone you don’t know/Used to rumble/Used to roar/Whatever it’s doing, it didn’t before/Maybe your heart’s not in it no more.”  This is simple in its own way, too.  The subject is saying things just aren’t what they were anymore.  The song’s third verse follows in similar fashion, making even clearer, the song’s lyrical theme.  That revelation serves even more to prove the statement that this record generally presents one specific theme. 

As if that is not proof enough, a song, such as ‘Wrong End of the Spear’ hints at the theme of a relationship, too.  Without a lyrics sheet to reference some of the content is difficult to decipher.  However, just enough can be understood in this country-western style song  that it can be inferred that the song is also centered on that noted topic.  Dylan sings here about a person who apparently runs away at the first sign of trouble, leaving the song’s subject “on the wrong end of the spear.”  In the song’s finale, the subject even mournfully makes note of that second person being gone, nowhere to be found.  All of this again points to someone who is in a relationship that is anything but healthy.

Even in the aforementioned Rolling Stones-esque ‘Who’s That Man Walking ‘Round in My Garden?’ audiences get a song that seems to be about a relationship.  In this case, the song’s subject sings in the lead verse about coming home after a long day, doesn’t expect any complaints, but he has to wonder “who’s that man walking ‘round in my garden?”  This is a man who is seemingly wondering if his woman is cheating on him.  He even adds in the song’s second verse, “under my nose/The lock is undone/Who is that man walking ‘round in my garden?”  Again, this certainly comes across as a song about a man who suspects his woman is not being faithful.  This after he mentions, “taking names.”  This sure doesn’t seem like anything about anything but a relationship near its end.  It is one more way in which the album’s lyrical themes show that they are apparently mostly about relationships.  This is, again, something that will appeal more to the band’s established audiences more than casual listeners.

The musical and lyrical content featured throughout Exit Wounds’ body makes clear why it will appeal to a specific audience.  Even with all of that examined, it is just part of the record that deserves examination.  The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements.  The sequencing is important to examine because of the noted general sense established through the arrangements.  The arrangements are, again, mostly very melancholy in their sound and approach.  This means that those behind the boards had to pay special attention to each work so that audiences would not be left feeling completely depressed by the album’s end.  Luckily, that painstaking effort paid off for the most part.  The song starts off in quite melancholy fashion in ‘Maybe Your Heart’s Not In It No More’ but then picks up noticeably in the decidedly Tom Petty-influenced ‘Roots and Wings.’  This is important to note because lyrically, even this song focuses on a relationship that has reached its end.  That energy continues on even into the obvious breakup song that is ‘The Dive Bar in My Heart.’  It is not until ‘Darlin’ Hold On,’ the album’s midpoint, that the album pulls its energy back again.  Things pick right back up from there in ‘Move The River’ but then pulls right back again in ‘I’ll Let You Down (But I Won’t Give Up).’  The ups and downs of the album’s energy continues from there right to the album’s finale, ‘The Daylight Between Us.’  Looking back through all of this, is obvious that much time and thought was put into the album’s sequencing.  The changes in the songs’ moods (and energies) is just subtle enough from one to the next to keep things interesting for the noted audiences.  This aesthetic element works with the album’s content to even further solidify the album’s appeal among those listeners as a result.  Keeping all of this in mind, the album proves worth hearing at least once among the band’s established audiences and more casual listeners.

The Wallflowers’ latest album, Exit Wounds, is a presentation that the band’s established will appreciate.  That is proven in part through its featured musical arrangements.  The arrangements in question largely display a familiar sound and stylistic approach that is evident in the band’s existing catalog.  The lyrical content that accompanies the album’s musical arrangements seems to follow one central topic, that of relationships.  That centrality ensures even more, appeal among a very set audience.  The record’s sequencing ensures that even with all of this in mind, its mood and energy remains as stable as possible.  This even considering the melancholy nature of so much of the album’s content.  The changes in the moods and energies are just subtle enough from one to the next that it keeps audiences just engaged enough.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of this record.  All things considered, they make the album worth hearing at least once, but sadly not much more, unless one is among the band’s established audience base.  Exit Wounds is available now through New West Records.  More information on the album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Website: https://wallflowersmusic.com  

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheWallflowers

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

Marc Ribler Debuts ‘Shattered’ Video

Courtesy: Wicked Cool Records

Singer-songwriter-guitarist Marc Ribler debuted the video for his latest single this month.

Ribler debuted the video for his single, ‘Shattered‘ April 10. The video’s premiere comes more than a month after Ribler debuted the song by itself. The video features Ribler and his band mates performing the song in what looks like an empty apartment type setting as the woman about whom Ribler and company sings sits on a couch ignoring the vocalized pleas.

The musical arrangement featured in ‘Shattered’ features a light, Tom Petty style approach and sound. The lyrical theme that accompanies the song’s musical content touches on the all too familiar topic of a broken relationship.

Ribler talked about the song’s lyrical theme in a prepared statement.

“(It’s) a song about that unattainable person who twists you up, breaks you down and yet you still keep coming back for more with the hopes that you could actually make it work,” he said. “Delusion and desire are very powerful drugs.”

‘Shattered’ is featured in Ribler’s forthcoming album The World Awaits You, which is scheduled for release in June through Steven Van Zant’s Wicked Cool Records. The album’s exact release date is under consideration.

The World Awaits You is Ribler’s third album. It is preceded by his first two albums, This Life and Life Is But A Dream. Both albums are available to order here along with ‘Shattered.’

Ribler, who is musical director for Van Zant’s group Little Steven and the Disciples, co-produced his new single along with Van Zant. Ribler mixed the song.

More information on Marc Ribler’s new video and 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.

The Nomadic Debuts New Single, ‘Skaterpark’

Courtesy: O’Donnell Media Group

Alt-rock act The Nomadic debuted its new single this week.

The act, founded by Robert Gaylard, debuted the single ‘Skaterpark‘ Friday. The song is the latest single from the act’s forthcoming album Beyond Blue. The album, who release date is under consideration, has also produced the singles, ‘Manhattan View,’ ‘Beyond Blue,’ ‘Waiting,’ and ‘Drifting.’

Gaylard talked about the creation of ‘Skaterpark’ during a recent interview.

“It’s a little different from the songs we have released so far!,” he said. “For a start, it is co-written by my brilliant Nephew Guy Stonor, who at 17 years old is already an incredibly talented bass player, song writer, and producer! We were rooming together on a family holiday in Australia in Dec 2018, and he turned to me and said “Hey Rob, let’s write a song!”; at first I was a little doubtful, skeptical even, because I have always written my own songs! However very quickly I realized we would work very easily together! Guy is such a natural- kids these days!! He was like “let’s try this lyric? Why don’t you come in a little earlier on the vocals there? Etc etc. a born producer/ songwriter I would say!”

Gaylard added that his nephew is just one of his talented family members.

“There really is so much talent in that family!,’ said Gaylard. “I keep telling them they should be forming a band! My brother in law Pete is a great lead guitarist, my sister Pep is extremely creative, younger nephew Alex is brilliant at anything he turns his hand to (including being an amazing soccer player!) and niece Libby at 11 years old is already writing and producing her own songs! The dog Cookie might need a bit of musical training, but she’s also very enthusiastic!! I can’t wait to get them all over to NY post COVID-19 to work on some new material!”

The musical arrangement featured in ‘Skatepark’ is a light, guitar-driven work. Its airy guitar line pairs with Gaylard’s vocals to generate a sound and stylistic approach that lends the work — albeit slightly — to comparison to works from Tom Petty. At the same time, listeners can also make a comparison to works from the likes of Gin Blossoms.

The song’s lyrical theme is meant to deliver a positive message, according to Gaylard.

“For the story behind the song- I would encourage all listeners to think back to childhood, adolescence and/or early adulthood!,” he said. “Can you think back to your earliest, best friend? Perhaps reminisce on the times you spent together, the fun you had, the memories you shared! Are you still in contact today? if not, would you consider reaching out to see how they are doing?!”

More information on The Nomadic’s new single is available online along with all of the group’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://thenomadic.band

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/TheNomadicBand

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.

Live In Hyde Park Is A Must Have For Every ELO Fan

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment/Universal Music Group

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/Universal Music Group

Next month, ELO, now known as Jeff Lyne’s ELO will release its fourteenth full-length studio recording. The album, Alone in the Universe, will be released on Friday, November 13th via Columbia Records. That is just under a month away at the time of this review’s posting. The announcement of the album’s impending release was made just last month, a day before the release of the group’s new live recording Live in Hyde Park. Released on September 11th, Live in Hyde Park is a good addition to any ELO fan’s personal music library. The main reason that it proves to be such a worthwhile addition to fans’ collections is its set list. It should be noted right up front that the recording’s U.S. presentation allegedly is lacking the group’s performance of ‘Roll Over Beethoven,’ which was the band’s cover of Chuck Berry’s classic hit. Even if it is indeed lacking that one encore performance, the lack of that performance, at least in this critic’s own view, does not take away anything from the positive impact of the show’s overall set list. That will be discussed shortly. Another positive to the recording is of course Lynne’s stage presence and that of his fellow musicians. That presence makes for just as much enjoyment as the show’s set list and gives fans even more reason to add this recording to their personal ELO collections and music libraries in whole. Last but hardly least worth noting of the recording is its bonus material. The bonus interview with Lynne is quite insightful in its own right while the “bio” “Mr. Blue Sky: The Story Of Jeff Lynne and ELO adds even more insight into the importance of this legendary act. The two bonuses come together to round out the recording’s overall viewing experience and show once and for all why fans will both enjoy and appreciate once they add it to their own personal ELO collections and music libraries in whole.

Live at Hyde Park, the new live recording from Jeff Lynne’s ELO is a good addition to any ELO fan’s personal music library and ELO collection. It proves first and foremost through its set list. While not a completely career-spanning performance for Lynne and company, the sixteen song set list touches on a rather healthy sampling of the band’s body of work even going all the way back to the band’s 1971 debut record The Electric Light Orchestra. Its 1977 album Out Of The Blue appears to be the most well-represented of the albums represented in this concert. Of the album’s sixteen songs, no fewer than three are taken from that album while The Electric Light Orchestra, On The Third Day, Eldorado, and Face The Music are each represented by one song. A New World Record is represented twice over, while Discovery, the Xanadu soundtrack, and Secret Messages each boast a single track. That still leaves four songs that audiences both familiar with ELO’s body of work and those not so familiar work to find for themselves. In finding themselves, audiences will agree that once again, while the sentiment that the set list featured in this concert recording, while not necessarily career-spanning, is still a solid representation of ELO’s body of work. On another note, there are those that have complained about the U.S. presentation of Live at Hyde Park not including the encore performance of ‘Roll Over Beethoven’ at he very end of the recording. Given, that track is not there. There is no denying this. But considering that it is just one song, it still takes away very little if anything from the overall viewing experience of this recording. To that extent, the set list presented in Live in Hyde Park proves in the end to still be just as important to the recording’s viewing experience as any of the recording’s key talking points.

The set list featured in this recording is within itself plenty of reason for ELO fans to add it to their personal collections and music libraries in whole. That is even with the alleged omission of one song in the recording’s U.S. release. Lynne’s stage presence and that of his fellow musicians is just as important as the songs themselves. It goes without saying that the group’s stage presence makes for its own share of enjoyment. Lynne exudes a certain confidence for lack of better wording as he makes his way from one song to the next in the show’s set. It proves that a performer doesn’t necessarily have to run around stage and do all kinds of antics in order to be entertaining. All a performer needs is that confidence and the love of being on stage, entertaining the masses in order to be entertaining. That is what makes his stage presence so solid throughout the show. He commands the stage just by being there and doing so little other than deliver the songs. Lynne’s fellow musicians–many of whom are members of the BBC Orchestra, as Lynne directly notes–show just as much confidence throughout the concert. They also show just how much they enjoy performing with Lynne and his band. It shows through the energy and concentration put into each song’s performance and through their facial gestures. Audiences can see smiles on the faces of the BBC Orchestra members’ faces throughout, showing just how much they enjoyed being a part of the show. The enjoyment leads back to the energy put into each performance from start to finish. In turn it makes the overall stage presence of the group in whole–including Lynne and his band–that much more powerful and important to the whole of Live in Hyde Park. Together with the show’s set list and its sequencing, both elements together go a long way toward making this recording such an enjoyable experience for any long-time ELO fan. For all of their importance to the recording’s overall viewing experience they are not all that make the recording so enjoyable. The bonus interview with Jeff Lynne and the “bio” Mr. Blue Sky: The Story of Jeff Lynne and ELO round out the recording. The two bonuses together not only paint a rich picture of Jeff Lynne and his importance to the music industry, but on the legacy that he has created throughout his professional career.

The performance that lies at the center of Live in Hyde Park is in itself the most important element of the recording. It is after all the central focus point of the recording. However, the bonus material that is included with the recording proves just as important to the whole of the recording as the concert. That is because the bonus material paints such a rich, vivid picture of who Jeff Lynne is and why he is today one of the most important figures in the music industry. The one-on-one interview with Lynne paints its own picture, showing perhaps why Lynne is such a stickler for detail in terms of composing songs. He notes in his interview that despite being essentially a manual laborer, his father had a deep love and respect for classical music. And classical music requires a deep love for and attention to the music. Any lover of classical music will agree with that. Perhaps growing up in a household filled with such beautiful music led to his own attention to detail in composing his songs. He perhaps gained the same love for his music and attention to detail in composing his songs through his musical upbringing, in other words. Lynne also shares a funny anecdote about ELO opening for Deep Purple in the band’s first major tour and his surprise at how well it went down considering the stark contrast of sounds between the two acts. That anecdote will have viewers laughing just as Lynne himself. It’s just another example of what makes his interview so enjoyable for audiences, regardless of audiences’ familiarity with Lynne’s body of work and his contributions to the music industry. Speaking of those contributions to the music world, the bonus “bio/documentary” Mr. Blue Sky: The Story of Jeff Lynne and ELO offers even more insight into the importance of his contributions to the music industry.

Mr. Blue Sky: The Story of Jeff Lynne and ELO takes the foundation established in Lynne’s bonus one-on-one interview and builds even more on it. It does so by going into even more depth about his own achievements and contributions over the course of his professional career. It isn’t just some short, ten-minute presentation unlike so many other career retrospectives out there that call themselves bonuses on other acts’ recordings. Rather, it is a deep, extensive presentation that will keep viewers just as engaged as the presentation’s central concert recording. Viewers will learn that Lynne started his professional musical career early on in life and that his mom couldn’t even believe that he was making money as a musician. It’s another great light-hearted moment for audiences and fans alike. He also echoes his father’s love of classical music as an influence behind his love of music and his own method in composing his music. There are insights from the likes of Tom Petty, Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, and even the widows of George Harrison and Roy Orbison that paint such a deeply vivid picture of a musical genius. Even the most well-versed ELO fan might be surprised to learn through this documentary that Lynne was actually at least partially responsible for Tom Petty’s hit song ‘Free Falling,’ some of George Harrison’s most beloved compositions, and even one of The Beatles’ records post John Lennon’s passing. There is also an in-depth history presented by Petty, Lynne, and both Roy Orbison and George Harrison’s widows about The Traveling Wilburys included as part of the documentary. For those that might not know, Lynne was a member of The Traveling Wilburys alongside Orbison, Petty, Harrison, and Bob Dylan. It was a supergroup before supergroups became a thing. That part of Lynne’s story alone makes the “bio” well worth the watch. And it is hardly all that makes the documentary such an important presentation. There is so much more that long-time fans and audiences in general will appreciate throughout the program. Together with Lynne’s sit-down interview, Live in Hyde Park’s main feature concert, and Lynne’s performance alongside his fellow musician throughout the show, Live at Hyde Park in whole proves to be a recording that every ELO fan should have in their own home DVD library. Period.

Live In Hyde Park is a recording that every ELO fan should have in his or her own home DVD library. Whether for its set list, the performance of Lynne and his fellow musicians throughout the concert, or for the recording’s bonus material, there is so much to enjoy about this recording. It presents a band and a performer that remain today among the most influential and important names in the music industry. Each noted element is important to the whole of the presentation in its own right. Collectively, they make Live in Hyde Park a must have for any ELO fan and potentially one more of this year’s best new live DVDs and Blu-rays. It is available now on DVD and Blu-ray in stores and online. More information on this and other titles from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online now at:

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

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/EagleRockNews

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

Loner’s Society Impresses On Autumn + Colour Debut

Courtesy: Autumn + Colour

Courtesy: Autumn + Colour

The Charleston, South Carolina based indie band Loner’s Society is set to release its new live EP King City Sessions next month. The five-track recording is a good introduction for those that might be less familiar with the band and just as enjoyable for those that are more familiar with its works. What’s most interesting about the band’s new release is the sound of the songs included in the recording. The songs are interesting in their own right because of their musical and emotional depth. But they don’t exactly sound like the description of the band’s sound on its official Facebook page. According to the band’s official Facebook page, the band is “comparable to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers if The Heartbreakers had been comprised from members of: Pearl Jam, Rancid, and The Temptations.” That wording comes verbatim from the band’s Facebook page. And it’s quite a mix of influences. But as listeners will notice right from the recording’s outset, its sound is more comparable to Bob Dylan and certain classic Country Western acts than any of the acts noted on the band’s Facebook page. Where Loner’s Society does finally start to bear more of the Pearl Jam meets Rancid sound is on the recording’s fourth song, ‘Autum Breeze.’ These two songs (and the recording’s remaining trio of live tracks) make King City Sessions quite the live recording even as short as it is.

Loner’s Society opens its upcoming live EP with the song ‘LaGrange.’ This song is an interesting introduction because of the throwback vibe that it conjures up among listeners. Vocalist/guitarist Matt Megrue openly states in the song in almost Lou Reed style, “And we recorded a record/Then we loaded the van/The last thing the world needed was another punk rock band/So I spent the next five years just barely getting’ by/Cause as time goes by it’s certain/That certain things’ll change/And you can spend your whole life working/Trying to stay the same/But plan on doin’ doubles till you die/At that diner in LaGrange. The line about the last thing the world needing was another punk rock band is very telling. It goes back to the previously noted difference in the sound of the songs included on this recording versus the band’s own description of its sound. This song sounds anything like a punk rock band. It’s more of a Country Western style piece interestingly enough. Even that first verse’s remaining lines line up more with old school Country Western than punk, Pearl Jam, and especially The Temptations. For all of its deep introspection, there is one funny moment in this song in which Megrue sings about things he’s seen in his life. He sings “I’ve seen marriages, divorces, babies, and divorces.” That must be one heck of a lot of divorces. Whether or not it was meant to be joking, it’s such a subtle joke that one can’t help but laugh a little bit hearing the emphasis on divorces that have been seen. That subtlety set alongside the song’s more heartfelt introspective musical and lyrical elements make it an excellent introduction for the band in every sense of the word.

‘LaGrange’ is a solid opener for the band’s new upcoming live recording.  It’s just one of the recording’s most interesting of points.  The recording’s penultimate performance of ‘Autumn Breeze’ is another of those high points.  It is more along the lines of the band’s described sound.  It starts off gently enough, but eventually picks up and bears more of an indie-folk/rock sound.  Listeners can feel such emotion as Megrue sings, “I can feel that Autumn breeze/Blowing in from Tennessee/It soaks my nights in whiskey dreams/Old cruel winds just speak to me.”  There’s a certain pain in Megue’s voice as he sings this verse that tugs at the heart.  The song takes a more driving feel from there.  Even with that more up-tempo feel, the song doesn’t lose the pained emotional state established early on in its near five-minute run time.  It all makes for what is easily one of the highest of this live EP’s performances.

‘Autumn Breeze’ and ‘LaGrange’ are both great additions to King City Sessions.  Regardless of whether or not audiences are familiar with these songs or the others included in this new EP, every listener will agree that they and the EP’s other trio of songs make this recording a welcome new release from the band.  If the five songs contained on this EP aren’t enough for some, then fans need not worry as they’ll get their chance to hear the band live in person, too.  Loner’s Society is currently scheduled to perform at the Deep South Bar in Raleigh, North Carolina this Saturday, January 18th.  The performance is an 18+ show.  Tickets are $5.  They can be  purchased online at http://www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/428839?__utmx=-&__utmv=-&__utmk=206623635&__utmz=1.1387914625.3.3.utmcsr%3Dgoogle%7Cutmccn%3D%28organic%29%7Cutmcmd%3Dorganic%7Cutmctr%3D%28not+provided%29&__utma=1.1393594094.1385825001.1387914625.1387926374.4&__utmc=1&__utmb=1.1.10.1387926374&wrKey=28A0D047C3315AD262485FE7F569EDFE.  The show is currently scheduled to begin at 6pm.  Fans of Loner’s Society can find out about all of the band’s tour updates, news and more online at http://www.lonerssociety.com, http://www.facebook.com/lonerssociety and http://twitter.com/lonerssociety.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.