Monday, April 19, 2021

Female Jazz Vocalists Amber Weekes, Jeanine Otis and Jacqui Naylor Release New Music

Coming May 1st is the new album from jazz vocalist Amber Weekes titled "'Round Midnight Re-Imagined." This is Amber's homage to New York and the stories that her family and her father would tell her. She remembers her father, who was a jazz musician, talking about his parents luncheonette which saw some special guests like Duke Ellington, Sarah Vaughan and Harry Belafonte. This twelve song tribute begins with the upbeat, swinging rhythm of "Hazel's Hips" and the lush ballad "Summer Samba." She combines the classic sounds of Gershwin's "Summertime" with the bluesy touch of Sting's "Sister Moon" to give us a perfect soundtrack to a New York evening. Amber's vocals take center stage on the sultry flirtation of "Don't You Feel My Leg," before delivering "The Bar Suite," a three-piece opus to her late father. It features the smooth, laid-back jazz ballad "Something Cool," the closing number for the jazz clubs "One For My Baby" and the final plea of "The Man That Got Away." Amber Weekes finishes her new album with the elegance of the title-track "'Round Midnight" and the uplifting tale of "More Than You Know." To find out more about Amber Weekes and her latest release "'Round Midnight Re-Imagined," please visit amberweekes.com.

Fellow jazz vocalist Jeanine Otis recently released her new album titled "Into My Heart." It is a nine-track love story that finds Jeanine showing off her singing skills for the first time in eight years. The album begins with the gentle, Latin sway of "Mood For Lovin'," highlighted by Stanton Davis' trumpet solo. The energy picks up with the modern-sounding island flair of "Brazilian Jam," which puts you right in the middle of Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. The blues come on strong with the simple touch of "Sweet Sad Guitar" and "Lover Man," before Jeanine wraps up her new album with the inspirational touch of "Joy Of Life" and the soulful, gospel-like delivery of the title track "Into My Heart." To find out more about Jeanine Otis and her latest release "Into My Heart," please visit facebook.com/jeannine.otis.7.

Lastly, we arrive at the 11th studio album "The Long Game" from acclaimed jazz vocalist Jacqui Naylor, which was released back in February on Ruby Star Records. It features fourteen tracks, beginning with the upbeat rhythm of "Like Someone In Love," led by the stellar piano work of Art Khu. One of the new original tracks on her new album is the modern, R&B ballad "Give Me One More Chance," before the re-imagined version of Coldplay's "Fix You," which touches upon the original melody, as Jacqui accentuates the vocals. The energy and rhythm picks back up with the swinging melody of "I'll Be Loving You," while Charlie Chaplin's "Smile" gets simplified into a mellow jazz piece. Jacqui Naylor and her band rework David Bowie's "Space Oddity" into a lush ballad and gives Peter Gabriel's "Don't Give Up" into an inspirational song about achieving your goals. She finishes her new album with the Latin flair of "Speak Low" and the beautiful original "All My Life." To find out more about Jacqui Naylor and her latest release "The Long Game," please visit jacquinaylor.com.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Judy Collins And Mary Wilson, Two Iconic Ladies Of Music Release New Albums

Folk legend Judy Collins is preparing a collection of her favorite songs titled "White Bird: Anthology of Favorites" on May 7th, through Cleopatra Records. It includes many, many memories that she can recall first hearing these songs and how they have inspired some part of her 60 year career in music. The album also includes some special guests, like Willie Nelson, Joan Baez and Stephen Stills. Beginning with the It's A Beautiful Day original "White Bird," the way Judy Collins performs the song feels as if it was her song to begin with, as she make each lyric feel extra special. Another classic is Collins' version of Joni Mitchell's "Chelsea Morning," which actually fit in perfectly to Judy Collins repertoire when she first recorded it back in 1969. She gives more meaning to the words as she sings a cover of The Byrds' "Turn, Turn, Turn," and then finds the perfect partner in Willie Nelson for the duet of the folk ballad "When I Go." Next, Judy Collins harmonizes with Stephen Stills on their duet of Tom Paxton's "Last Thing On My Mind" and shows her love of the writing of Paul McCartney and The Beatles with a soaring rendition of "Blackbird." Her duet with Joan Baez on "Diamonds & Rust" sounds like two patriarchs of folk music movement sharing their love and appreciation for each other. The album finishes with her signature stark, emotional version of "Send In The Clowns." To find out more about Judy Collins new release "White Bird: Anthology of Favorites," please visit cleorecs.com.

Another songstress, Mary Wilson recently had her 1979 debut solo album reissued with bonus tracks through UMe. The original Motown release has been doubled in size, from its seven-song line-up to fifteen tracks, featuring a trio of versions of her hit single "Red Hot," along with songs from her sessions with producer Gus Dudgeon. This is the digital debut of this release, to co-inside with the untimely passing of Mary Wilson, who was also one of the founding members of the iconic girl group, The Supremes. The album was heavily into the disco movement, which was coming to a close at the end of the seventies and affected the commercial success of the singles released. Three of the new bonus tracks center around the single "Red Hot," which was expanded to a seven-minute disc remix and an alternate funky B-side version. The Gus Dudgeon session features four tracks that were being prepped for Wilson's follow-up album, which would not happen until 1992. These three of the four songs ("Love Talk," "Save Me," "Green River") have never been previously released and show that Mary Wilson was ready to deliver another soulful album filled with emotional ballads and energetic club hits. This new expanded edition closes with the previously unreleased track "Why Can't We All Get Along," as Wilson expressed her feelings on the political unrest of this country, which still resonates in today's world. To find out more about this new expanded edition of Mary Wilson's self-titled debut solo album, please visit marywilson.com.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Discover Classic Metal From Kikimora, Amazing Instrumental Guitar Work From Stephan Thelen & Rising Thrash Metal From Newcomers Texas Taliban

European metal band, Kikimora began a decade ago when lead guitarist Nicolo Kotzev return to his native country of Bulgaria. The band was inspired by the works of AC/DC and Deep Purple, but Kotzev wanted to write lyrics in his own native language. On May 14th, Kikimora return with their new studio album "Dirty Nails," which is being released through Escape Music Ltd. The eleven songs are sung in English, beginning with the high-powered "Bogeyman," which carries a nostalgic heavy metal sound. The album continues with the mystical opening of "The Chosen One," which then explodes to showcase the stellar vocals of Nikola Zdravkiv. Kikimora display a softer rock sound with the acoustics of "Free," as they balance their music with the high-powered blast of "The Hustler." The band's stellar musicianship shines on the nearly seven-minute progressive-rock feel of "The Endless Song." The energy picks back up with the classic metal delivery of "King Of Rock N Roll," before Kikimora close out their new album with the steady, heavy pounding of "Cry Baby Cry" and the mainstream metal appeal of "Liar." To find out more about Kikimora and their latest release "Dirty Nails," please visit escape-music.com.

World-renown guitarist Stephan Thelen recently released the follow-up to his critically acclaimed instrumental album "Fractal Guitar"(review: jpsmusicblog.com). The successor, "Fractal Guitar 2" features only six tracks, but each one is a sonic journey, beginning with the fourteen-minute "Cosmic Krautrock." The layers of sound and melody on this opening song demands multi-listens, in order to peel back the different textures and techniques that were used during the recording. The album continues with the title-track "Fractal Guitar 2," which has a gentle flowing feel to the music as it just glides along, led by Thelen's stellar guitar work. The intensity of "Mercury Transit" rises and falls, as you are brought along this twelve-minute sonic adventure. Stephan Thelen finishes up his new album with the raw, progressive rock approach of "Celestial Navigation" and the exciting beats and rhythms of "Point Of Inflection," as Thelen is joined by an all-star cast of musicians on this track. To find out more about Stephan Thelen and his latest release "Fractal Guitar 2," please visit stephanthelen-moonjune.bandcamp.com.

More new metal music has arrived from the El Paso, TX band, Texas Taliban. Their debut album "Runs On Hate" features only five tracks, but it looks to solidify the band's title of "Texas Thrash Kings." The album kicks off with the aggressive growling vocals of the title track "Runs On Hate," as Texas Taliban flex their metal muscle on this chaotic opening track. The energy continues to roll on with the hard-hitting, sonic blast of "Expect No Mercy" and the speed of "Supremacy," before closing out their debut album with a total 180 degrees, displaying a softer side with the first verse of "Tu Rey Muerto," which then explodes with screaming vocals. To find out more about newcomers, Texas Taliban and their latest release "Runs On Hate," please visit pavementmusic.com/artistspartnerships/texas-taliban.

Friday, April 16, 2021

The Beach Boys Family "Add Some Music" & James Holvay Plays Us A "Sweet Soul Song"

Arriving April 23rd is a new release titled "Add Some Music To Your Day," which features not only original members of The Beach Boys on a new recording, but also the next generation of Beach Boys family members. Beach Boys historian David Beard had the idea of combining the generational voices of the Beach Boys family for a new recording of their classic 1970 track "Add Some Music To Your Day" for the "Feeding America" charity. The idea went over so well, that an entire album was recorded, arranged and produced by long-time Brian Wilson Band touring member (and husband to Carnie Wilson) Rob Bonfiglio. Omnivore Recordings will release "California Music Presents Add Some Music," which features ten tracks, beginning with "Add Some Music To Your Day." The song features the amazing harmonies of the Beach Boys family, as sons and daughters of original members sing together for the first time on an album. There is also an a capella and an instrumental version of the song, which allows you to focus on the different aspects that went into this amazing performance.

The other seven tracks that make up this new album are re-recordings of some songs from the Beach Boys members solo albums, like "Ram Raj" by Mike Love and "Jenny Clover" from Al Jardine. David Marks takes on the task of recreating "Long Promised Road" into a soft, melodic, mostly instrumental track, as he performs all the instruments himself. The hidden gem on this new album is the re-recording of the Beach Boys' classic "Friends," which features the next generation of Beach Boys family which includes Carnie and Wendy Wilson, Christian Love, Matt Jardine, Justyn Wilson, Ambha Love, Adam Jardine and Carl B. Wilson. Also included are a couple of songs performed by long-time Beach Boys associate Jeffrey Foskett and Rob Bonfiglio, which fit in perfectly with the rest of the Beach Boys catalog. To find out more about "California Music Presents Add Some Music," please visit omnivorerecordings.com.

Moving from California to Chicago, we have the new "Sweet Soul Song EP" from rhythm & blues vet and chart-topping songwriter James Holvay. After being away from the music limelight for nearly four decades, working in sales, the urge was always there to get back into music. After hearing the music of Amy Winehouse and Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings, Holvay was inspired to start writing his own music again, but it would still be a few years before James Holvay stepped back into a studio. Once he did, the music found that classic soul and style that he fell in love with. The short five-song release begins with the toe-tapping rhythm of "Working On It," which carries that nostalgic soul sound. Holvay's songwriting shines bright on the beautiful ballad "Still The Fool," while "Love Has Found A Way" brings back the energy of swinging sixties R&B vibe. James Holvay finishes his new album with the simple clap beat of "Talkin' About," which allows you to focus on Holvay's vocals and harmonies. To find out more about James Holvay and his latest release "Sweet Soul Song EP," please visit jamesholvay.com.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Mick Fleetwood & Friends Celebrate The Music Of Peter Green and Fleetwood Mac With New Concert Release

Original founding member of Fleetwood Mac and legendary guitarist Peter Green has been part of the music industry for almost 60 years, until his passing in July 2020. His performance on the guitar influenced a huge number of players, including Marc Knopfler, Joe Perry, Billy Gibbons, Jonny Lang, Kirk Hammett and many, many more. In celebration of the life and music of Peter Green, fellow Fleetwood Mac founding member assembled many of his friends and fellow musicians to pay homage to the immortal Peter Green at a concert, which took place on February 25, 2020. On April 30th, BMG will release the show as a four-LP vinyl set, as well as 2CD/Blu-ray set which includes the film of the show.

The 23-song audio version of the show start off with Rick Vito strutting his stuff with the blues of "Rolling Man" and Jonny Lang blasting down the door with his roaring rendition of "Homework." The beautiful slide-guitar work and iconic vocals of Billy Gibbons draw out the Texas side of the British blues of "Doctor Brown," before Steven Tyler joins him for the classic "Rattlesnake Shake." Long-time Fleetwood Mac member Christine McVie puts her stamp on some of the band's early songs "Stop Messin' Round" and "Looking For Somebody," as she shows off her bluesy side. Noel Gallagher (Oasis) steps up to the mic for the stark, acoustic strumming of "The World Keep Turning" and the uplifting, sing-along of "Like Crying."

The second half of the show starts off with fellow legendary guitarist Peter Townshend performing another one of Fleetwood Mac's earlier songs "Station Man," which still carries that Peter Green vibe, even after leaving the band in early 1970. Gibbons and Tyler return to the stage for rocking version of the timeless Peter Green classic "Oh Well, Pt. 1," while "Oh Well, Pt. 2" includes another legendary name, Mr. David Gilmour. Metallica's Kirk Hammett works his magic (performing with one of Peter Green's original guitars) along side Billy Gibbons on the one of the greatest early Peter Green-penned, Fleetwood Mac recordings "The Green Manalishi (With The Two Prong Crown)." The night comes to a close with David Gilmour returning for the beautiful instrumental "Albatross," before the entire all-star cast appears on stage for the nearly eight-minute jam of "Shake Your Money Maker." To find out more about the new Mick Fleetwood & Friends release "Celebrate The Music Of Peter Green and The Early Years Of Fleetwood Mac," please visit mickfleetwoodandfriends.com.