Thursday, December 22, 2016

Metallica Hardwired on the third try

The past 13 years haven't been great for the god's of Metal , the band Metallica.  I will start with Death Magnetic, I won't mention the album that shouldn't be named St. Something or other, it was not a great album.  Death Magnetic was on the level of the Reload release, kind of there but not awful. It took 13 years since the departure of Jason Newsted to get it right, but with Hardwired... to Self Destruct, Metallica sounds like the gods of metal again.

8 years is a long time in between releases and I have heard many times during the past years that this album was coming.  After too many years of false starts the release has been worth the wait.

To start,  I have to say I am impressed with the full court press of media on this release.  A full week of a single channel of Metallica on Sirus/XM and appearances on Jimmy Kimmel. There are also at least 8 videos for the album on You Tube.This is a statement. The band knows that this album is getting them back to the top of the Metal Mountain.

A few months ago, thanks to ITunes music, I listened to the first three released tracks: Hardwired, Atlas, Rise! and Moth into Flame. I was hooked just from theses tracks.  Finally,when the rest of the album came out I feel the fans' patience was rewarded.

The best thing about the album is that its a great gumbo of Pre and Post Black sounds.  Atlas, Rise! and Spit out the Bone sounds early, Now that We're Dead and Hardwired sounds like Black era.  I have really enjoyed every track on the release and the sound should satisfy all Metallica fans.

If you want to listen to one of the gods of Metal reawaken to their Greatness listen to Hardwired,,,To Self Destruct.

Til next time listen to the best your ears deserve it. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A7X Stages a reaching release

As mentioned in an earlier post (The Best Metal Band of 2000) I think Avenged Sevenfold is the best Hard Rock/Metal band of this generation.  And with three years since their release of the Monster album Hail to The King the band was due for some new music.  What was odd was on how they released the new stuff, no fanfair.  Just a quiet here's our title track released on Itunes, Amazon, Spotify oh and next few weeks the rest will be out.  Hey when you are the biggest band out there you can have the luxury of people finding you.

So after a few weeks of listing to the album The Stage I am still mixed on my review of it.  Let me start by saying Avenged Sevenfold has not stepped back musically or creatively.  Truly it is the opposite the band is reaching for much more on this release, and my reaction is did they Overreach?   The title track and first release The Stage is grand.  The song clocks in at an epic 8:32 time wise and it isn't even the longest song on the album.  Musically and lyricly it is ambitious and is very much worth the longer time.

Honestly all the songs on The Stage deal with deep issues and are richly layered  with amazing guitar and pounding double bass drums. The final track on the album is the epic Exist,  The song clocks in at an 15:41 and even has Neil deGrasse Tyson speaking on the track.  So yes the songs are almost like orchestral movements on The Stage.

I loved Hail to The King and think the band reached the top of the Hard Rock world with its release.  So if there is a time for a band to stretch out and go beyond their musical limits why not try when you are at the pinnacle?   I am mixed on my review but I can say I have really enjoyed getting lost on The Stage.  So if you want to hear a band at its height musically and popularity wise see how fat they can go you need to go listen to The Stage.

Til next time listen to the best your ears deserve it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Alter Bridges the gap from Pretentious to Perfect Lead Singer

My praise for Myles Kennedy has been noted on this blog several times.  Even a few posts back I was writing on how he is an incredible lead singer.  As I mentioned, in the Louder Than Life post,  his band Alter Bridge is incredible and not to be missed live.  With the bands new album titled The Last Hero I had to give a good listen and review, so here we go.

I knew about Myles and heard some of Alter Bridge on SXM's Octane but that was the amount of knowledge I had on the band before this release.  The album is great and I decided to dig into the band.  Surprise, surprise the band behind Myles is the critics favorite Creed.  (Yes,  that is sarcasm,the critics Hated Creed and I agreed with the Critics somewhat)   So with this knowledge it might explain my instant enjoyment of Alter Bridge.  Follow me here , Creed was a great 90's band with a talented but Self Absorbed Pretentious lead singer in Scott Stapp.  I really liked the band but I couldn't get past Scott.  So for the second time  (see my review of Slash's solo album) Myles has stepped in and brought a band to where I can really dig them.

The release is solid melodic heavy hard rock.  The band lays down tasty hard rock groves and Myles delivery soars with them.  One of the great things about the band is that they are Hard Rock but with many more musical layers that sets this band apart.  The first release Show Me a Hero is a soaring rock anthem that has a message not missed on this listener during the Campaign season.  My Champion has some outstanding guitar tracks. The title track drives home the dark theme of the release and ends a gem of an album.

Myles Kennedy with his band Alter Bridge delivers a great CD which is almost as good as they are live.  The Last Hero is diffidently to be listened to.

Til next time , listen to the best - your ears deserve it.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Mellencamp ages fine like a great wine

For my birthday my dearest got us tickets to see John Mellencamp in concert.  There were a couple of reasons we really wanted to see him preform.  First off, John Mellencamp hasn't visited the Bluegrass since 1988 so this is the first time we have been able to see him in a very long time.  Second, not to sound too grim, we want to see John Mellencamp preform before he dies.  Really with the year we have been having with performers,  it is time to see this artist.

I always loved John Cougar Mellencamp, as he was known then.  I remember how huge the album Uh Huh was when I was in Jr High, the  artistry in Scarecrow for my High School years and the insights of Lonesome Juliblee for my College years. The great things about John Mellencamp's songs is that he revels in the rebelliousness of youth but with the tone of enjoy it now cause it will be gone. What makes him a great artist is that you can enjoy and see yourself in his songs in anytime of life.

As for the concert,  John Mellencamp showed that he has been preforming for over 40 years. He commanded the stage with an ease that only comes with time. He preformed all his major hits with a touching treatment of Jack and Diane. The song was just him and his guitar with the audience doing most of the singing. I was surprised he closed with Cherry Bomb, not Pink Houses, but it was a great closer.

If you get a chance, don't miss this great artist preform. With the year 2016 has been it might be your last chance.

Till next time,  listen to the best  - your ears deserve it.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Kansas: Progressive for the 21 century

So Kansas, the USA's best progressive rock band, has come out with a release that harkens back to their Signature style. Two things:, first I can't say America's best example of Progressive Rock due to Rush from Canada. The next thing is the USA has great bands that are almost Progressive Rock like, Journey, Styx, Boston and early REO Speedwagon, but mostly they are Arena Rock. If the USA had to showcase its Progressive Rock band it would be Kansas.

Unfortunately, it is the 80's Kansas that went to the Arena rock stage, but with this new release,The Prelude Implicit,  the band has returned to its Progressive Rock roots. The first thing I noticed is that the violin is back. I always thought the violin was a great touch and depth to their earlier music. Unfortunately the vocal sounds of Steve Walsh are not here, but Ronnie Platt is a wonderful addition. The two vocalist are different but both can carry the right sound, and can even sing the phone book and grab my attention. The complex melodies and layers that are a staple of Progressive Rock bands are on nearly every track on the release

For the new release, The Prelude Implicit, there are 10 tracks. Eight of them I really enjoy. One I love and One I just don't care for. The first two tracks the band released, With This Heart and Visiblilty Zero are classic Kansas and got me really excited about the the bands return to form. Rhythm in the Spirit and The Voyage of Eight Eighteen are truly wonderful examples of what the USA can offer for Progressive Rock. The one track The Unsung Heroes leaves me flat, it's not awful, it is just filler. Refugee is the track that really made me stop and listen. It's haunting and the subject matter is hard but delivered in such a powerful way that it really grabs you.

The Prelude Implicit is not Leftoverture or Point of No Return but that's a good thing. No great band should step back; they need to take their music forward. Even so with different band members you can't catch that sound or chemistry again. No, The Prelude Implicit is a Progressive sound for this time from these members of the band and can be enjoyed for it.

Til next time, listen to the best -  your ears deserve it.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Louder Than Life Gets the Festival Right

Louder Than Life invited the Bluegrass Mixer to cover their festival last weekend.  It was great to be invited as the press.  Honestly it has been a few years since my last music festival,  Never been a big fan of them, but Louder Than Life changed my mind.

With Music Festivals you get at most 30 minutes of the band playing a few hits then you get an hour of roadies changing the stage and checking the mics.  Not exciting and worth the payoff for the wait. So the clever people at Louder Than Life had three stages.  Two main stages for the headliners and a third separate stage for the smaller acts.  At the music festivals in the past you sit very compact and crowded and bored through the sound check.  Louder Than Life had plenty of room to wander around in between acts.  The best thing Louder Than Life did was have all types of food trucks everywhere. The only change would be having charging stations for your phones.

If you chose to go next year, spring for the VIP pass.  As members of the press, the Bluegrass Blog Mixer had access and it was a great set up.  A separate tent with plenty of seating and their own food trucks and bar.  It was nice to be part of the press.

Due to prior commitments, (Scarefest in Lexington), we only got to go to the Sunday line up.  There was a great line up for both days and I do really regret not getting to see Avenged Sevenfold.  The line up for Sunday was awesome and had a cool assortment of Hard Rock and Metal.  The bands that surprised me were  Crobot and Skindred.  Crobot is a much tighter sounding band live and is a shame they can't catch the same sound in the studio.  Skinred is a band not to be missed live.  Hard and funny at the same time they drove the crowd hard in the early afternoon.  Doing reading on the band, Skindred are known for kicking ass live.

The biggest surprise was Ghost.  A very controversial band, I won't even get into the whole Satan worship thing.  What I will say is that the band is charismatic and spot on musicians.  Skillet was just as good live as on their records and a fun show.  Myles Kennedy and Alter Bridge were amazing to hear and his voice was even better live.

The two headlines  were Korn and Disturbed.  Both have dominated the Hard Rock and Nu Metal scene for decades and after seeing them live I can say they deserve their place at the top of the heap.

Thank you Louder Than Life for allowing us to cover your event and showing us on how a Rock Festival can be done right

Monday, September 19, 2016

Fire From The Gods: An American Blended Metal Band

Too many of these posts start out with me saying "As heard on Sirius XM Octane", but I listen to the station every day. Truly the station does a great job of promoting new and different bands. The band I'm going to write about today is one of their Accelerators bands.

Let me say this is a blog about music; not politics, but you would have to be living in a cave not to know about the unrest in our country. What this has to do with this band is that the group shows what's great about our country while singing about where we need to be better.

Fire From The Gods is a Hardcore/Metal band from Austin, Texas. Hardcore is not a style of Metal many Purists enjoy. I happen to enjoy it and there are some things that separate Fire From The Gods from the pack. First is what the songs are about and the singer delivering the messages.

AJ Ventor was born in the Bronx to a single mother from Jamaica. AJ's life has taken him around the world to settle in Texas. His voice, story and perspective is new to the Metal world. This is a great American blending of voices and styles that is one of great things our country had to offer.  AJ sings about what is still needed to bring the Promise of our great Nation to be.

For the music itself, the band is good. It is solid Hardcore with a great blending of Rap and even Reggae tones. The Accelerator single Excuse Me is a going to a hit on the Metal charts and a strong single to introduce the band.   Fire From The Gods is a band to check out

Til next time, listen to the best - your ears deserve it

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Still Ruling: Hard Rock House of Lords

This past week I fell done a Wikipedia hole. This happens every now and then. I was looking at an earlier post about Greg Giuffria of the band Giuffria, and remembered he had a follow up band House of Lords. My surprise was that this band from the late 80's was not only around but still recording. So off to ITunes I go.

The first thing I noticed is no Greg Giuffria. The amazing keyboard player is off and on in the lineup and is never a featured member.  Honestly, Greg's amazing keyboard playing was not featured as much on the first two releases as I would have liked. I guess the goal was sales and keyboards in a hard rock band is sometimes a hard sell. I enjoy the great keyboardist like Jon Lord of Deep Purple and would put Greg Giuffria on his level.

The next thing I noticed is that the sound is straight Arena Hard Rock. Very similar sounding to Joe Lynn Turner and Sunstorm. The lead singer James Christian has been the one constant in the band. A top notch vocalist that still delivers the growl and bombast that is needed for the arena Rock sound.

To find the band was still around and sounding like a Arena band was a great surprise. The 2015 release Indestructible is an appropriate title given the way the band has lasted the decades. If you are a fan of the late 80's Hard Rock sound it is a great listen.

Til next time listen to the best your ears deserve it.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Pearl Jam's Ten plus 15 years adds perspective

It's hard to believe that it has been 25 years since Pearl Jam released their Juggernaut of a first release that was named 10.  I have to start this post off by saying I was never a huge fan.  I  went with my college girlfriend (who reads these posts so please forgive me) to see Pearl Jam in concert when they visited Louisville but still didn't fully buy in.

I think my problem with fully jumping on the band wagon was two fold.  Firs, at the time of the release Grnge was sooo in, that it was just in your face all of the time.  I guess too much hype in the media for me. The other reason is Eddie Vedder.  Eddie Vedder has a very unique vocal sound, of which I don't care for.

With my confession being said, I haven't listened to the album 10 in probably a decade or more and wanted to refresh myself on the sound.  With my first listen I kind of have the same reaction I had 25 years and was not overly impressed,. Then once I got past Eddie Vedder there is some good Hard Rock here. The guitar playing and the musical sound is terrific Rock,  Mike McCredy and Stone Gossard as the dual guitarist in the band are spot on and deliver timeless Hard Rock guitar riffs.  To my surprise on my 2nd listening I was really getting into the sound.

I still don't buy into the hype about the band, and Eddie Vedder's delivery still leaves me flat.  Is Ten good Hard Rock? Musically sure, is it worth the worship and the idea that they changed Rock and Roll, I leave those ideas to others.  10 is a fun trip down memory lane. I will leave it at that.

Til next time,  listen to the best;  your ears deserve it.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

BabyMetal Globalized Hard Rock and Metal

So I was was playing Song Pop 2 on my I Pa, a new app version of Name That Tune.. It is a fun game if you like music and competition.   The game puts up the titles or artist of the song clips and you see if you can guess correctly the quickest.   I was competing in the Metal category and I missed on the band called BabyMetal.  That name caught my attention and I was off to the handy I Tunes.  Sure enough, there is a band called BabyMetal and I have to admit I love their sound.

Before I get too far into the review, most people will not like this group.  You must first enjoy Hard Rock and Metal, next you need to like or at least appreciate Anime.  If you do not meet either of these categories this band Is Not For You.

The band describes themselves as Kawii Metal, i.e. Cute Metal.  I can see that as a far description. The thing I first noticed is that the band behind the singers is solid Metal.  The double bass drum play and guitars bring the sound.  Then the singers come in.  This is where if you don't appreciate Japanese influence it will throw you.  I do, so I find it very cool that they blend a good Metal sound with Japanese Idol singing.

Now this band isn't just a cute novelty act, they have been on stage with the Metal god Rob Halford. The have played Wembley Arena and the Tokyo Dome. Metal Hammer readers in July voted their debut album as the best album of the 21st Century.

So the globalization of music is working in Hard Rock and Metal.  Time to embrace the new sounds and look forward to what is next.

Til next time, listen to the best - your ears deserve it.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Smooth Sounds for Summer Yacht Rock

I'm going a little different on this post. Recently a smooth sound has come back into vogue, The smooth sounds of Yacht Rock. What's Yacht Rock you ask?  It is the mellow classics from the late 70's and early 80's. It's also the sounds of my childhood and early teens, also known as Soft Rock, Blue Eye Soul, and Smooth Jazz.

For the summer, Sirius/XM (Channel 18) has been  devoted to the sounds of Yacht Rock. If you get a chance also check out the live comedy of Yacht Rock on You Tube.

What I like most about the sounds coming out of the channel is that they are a perfect sound track for summer.Yacht Rock also features some of my favorite artists, Steeley Dan, Michael McDonald, Boz Scaggs.  Is it corporate, well (not over) produced, and slick? Yes, yes it is, but on a warm summer evening drinking a mixed beverage and having Ambrosia playing in the background is a great thing.

Truly my love for the style of music comes from my youth and that some of the bands are really great.  When this music was popular, it was what the hip young adults listened to and I wanted to be cool like them.  So affection for the smooth sounds has hung on through the years.

So before the summer comes to an end,get a mixed drink and tune in your music to the smooth sounds of Yacht Rock. Then enjoy the night.

Til next time listen, to the best -  your ears deserve it.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Skillet sizzles the hard rock and christian music scene

I have heard the band Skillet for the past few years.  I have enjoyed listening to them on the modern hard rock channels.  What stood out is that the DJs said they were a Christian Rock band.  I listened to their songs and didn't hear anything overtly Christian.  At most I heard maybe a positive message in some solid Hard Rock anthems.

So after a few years I decided to dig a little deeper on Skillet, cause I still didn't hear the Christian in their hard rock.  It turns out unless you buy the albums or listen to the Christian Rock stations you won't hear the obvious Christian message in Skillet's music.

Amy Grant is a Christian Artist from the 80's and 90's who started the trend of having secular tracks released but having Christian tracks on her albums. Skillet and many other Christian Rock bands are using the same formula.  It seems to work and draw in fans.

What I like about Skillet is that their releases for the mainstream are great hard rock anthems.  If you need a sound track to work out t,o bring up Awake and Alive, Feel Invincible or Hero.  Jen Cooper is a good drummer and I love her vocals with the lead singer John Cooper.

So, are they a Christian Rock band or Hard Rock mainstream? Yes they are.  I have to give the band, respect they are bridging the two worlds very well.

Til next time, listen to the best - your ears deserve it.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Emarosa Kentucky's Alternative to Country Music

Listening to Octane on Sirius/XM a few months ago and my ears perked up at where this band started. Right in my current town Lexington KY.  I have to admit I am not in the local music scene at all.  I just don't stay out to 2 AM to listen to the bands at the local clubs and I don't care for music festivals; festival seating is annoying to me.  So my first listen of a local band made good is on National radio.

Emarosa started in 2006 and have had several albums before they came on my radar.  The band has also very much changed music styles as the albums progressed.  They started Post Punk/Hardcore with sounds of Alternative Rock and now sound mainly Alternative Rock.

If I had to describe their new release's sound it would be a rougher edge to Fall Out Boy.  The new release is called 131.  After several hearings of the album it is very listenable.  I enjoy their sound and the tracks they have released Cloud 9 and Helpless are solid.  Do I think this is music that will change the face of Rock, no.  Do I know this is a great listen that 5 years from now you can put on and still enjoy yes.  I think what critics focus in on is off point.  That being said some times bands put out music that they know people will enjoy and it means something to the band.  This is the kind of music that becomes the soundtrack to our lives.  The songs that are on in the background when our moments happen that can take us back to those moments when we hear the songs again.

Its great to hear that a local band is making moves on the music scene especially in the Rock area that Kentucky has not been known for.

Til next time listen to the best your ears deserve it.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Loose lips are click bait. The Case for Linkin Park

I heard on Octane about some great click bate quote from Chester Bemnington from Linkin Park. Chester Benninton said that Linkin Park kept hard rock and metal alive.  Okay if I had a sight that needed traffic I would lead with that comment too.

But hey hard core fans, take a breath and think about what he really said.  In 2003 Hard Rock and Metal weren't the focus of popular culture.  True fans loved Metal and Hard Rock but the general population didn't.  There has always been waves of when different genres of music are popular, right now Metal and Hard Rock are close to the front. In five years I am sure it will be another type of music.

There are always the bands from each genre that stand out even when that genre isn't the most popular.  In 2003 Linkin Park crossed into the popular culture even when Metal and Hard Rock weren't on top. If you take that to the next logical step, the band's influence lead to fans who weren't hard core to be more open when it was Hard Rock and Metals time to be in the forefront.

Hard core fans/haters who don't want to reason continue to post your nonsense, I am sure it makes you feel better.  Those who can think and be open to all the best that All music has to offer keep an open mind and think before you click on the click bait.

Till next time, keep your ears and mind open to the best - they deserve it,

Monday, July 11, 2016

Al Yankovic still Weird after all these years

Genius is a very over used term, but how else can you describe an artist who has constantly for the past 36 years put out quality work.  We also need to mention that this artist has successfully used every popular music style out there. I know it will come as a surprise that I am talking about Weird Al.

But by the numbers and cultural impact how else, other than Genius, can you describe Weird Al's career?

Numbers alone put Weird Al in very limited company.  There are few acts who have put out as many chart topping works for 3 decades. In fact there are only three artists who have had a top 40 single every decade since 1980, Madonna, Michael Jackson and Weird Al.

As for cultural impact, I am not sure other than Prince there has been a more versatile artist than Weird Al. Weird Al has parodied pop, boy band, punk, soul, rock and all styles in between. On top of the parodies, Weird Al has written many of his own songs in the style of the above mentioned styles. For many years you knew that you had arrived as an artist when Weird Al parodied your song. As for his own creations, after hearing Weird Al's song written in the style of Devo; Mark Mothersbaugh founder of Devo hated him for writing a better Devo song than he did.

I have to admit it took me way too long to finally see Weird Al in concert. He puts on a one of a kind performance that reflects his amazing career. Weird Al is a genius and deserves the respect that any artist with his history of chart topping success would.

Til next time, listen to the best, even if it's silly, you ears deserve it.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Don Felder's Fingers still fly without the Eagles

I recently watched the Eagles documentary The History of the Eagles.  What an interesting story and great characters.  What hit me the most was the dynamic between Glenn Frey and Don Felder.  It's not good to speak ill of the dead, but I felt more for Don Felder after watching the documentary.  So I looked up Don Felder  on ITunes and found a newer release from 2012.  Don Felder has been on tour with Styx and Foreigner (sort of foreigner not any real original members) and after seeing some of the tour on AXIS TV I do regret not seeing it in person.

I have always liked Don Felder's guitar playing with the Eagles. Some neat back story on Don Felder; He is from Gainesville Florida and taught Tom Petty how to play guitar and learned slide guitar from Duane Allman. Don Felder did great work with Crosby & Nash and support with Neil Young before adding a needed Rock edge to the Eagles.  His post Eagles work had some great stand outs, like two tracks on the Heavy Metal sound track.  My love for the Heavy Metal soundtrack is well known and I thought his two tracks were great. So I really looked forward to listening to the new release and I was not disappointed.

Road to Forever was released in 2012 and has 16 tracks of wonderful classic rock.  The first released track You Don't Have Me is a solid classic rock track that is timeless.  Don Felder's guitar work on the album is wonderful as always he shows us on how he earned his nickname Fingers and his vocals are strong.  I guess that is my take away from this album is that the tracks are a rock sound that could have been released any era and sound right at home.

If you want to listen to some timeless rock I would give Don Felder's Road to Forever album a listen.

Til next time, listen to the best - your ears deserve it!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

I Don't Care Anymore, a track so awesome it got two covers

As I have mentioned many times on this blog I love the fact that the new Metal and Hard Rock bands give love and respect to the artist who came through earlier by doing some great covers.  For this post I am going to look at two bands who within months covered a great song. Neither are as good as the original but one comes close.

For the original and best version of this song I give you Phil Collins, again.  I know I just reviewed one of Phil's albums just a few weeks ago  but give me a break.  The song covered is from Phil's next release in 82.  The track is I Don't Care Anymore.  There are very few artists who can do a better pissed off, I am Over it, F you song.  The track starts off with pounding drums light synch and Phil's lyrics.  Like his similar dark  work on In The Air Tonight,  the tone is ominous and awesome.  I Don't Care Anymore is either 1 or 1A of my favorite Phil Collin's songs.

The tribute that is almost as good, in my opinion, is from the Metal Band Hell Yeah.  Hell Yeah is a newer Metal supergroup with the drummer Vinnie Paul from Pantera.  The cool thing about this cover is some of the guitar tracks are from the late Dimebag Darrell.  For those who don't know Dimebag was wastefully  killed by a crazed fanatic in 2004 on stage during a concert.  It is a awful thing to happen and we are lucky that at least some of Dimebag's music can live on.  Even without the cool feature with Dimebag I prefer this cover.  I feel it is edger.  The way the lyrics are delivered to start the track which are half sung and half growled leads to a feeling of hinted violence and deep rage.  The guitars are played up more on this version and it is rawer.  I like the fact that Hell Yeah decided to add their flavor to the song, sometimes that can go back but fortunately it works on this track.

Oddly enough the next version was released only a month earlier from the Hell Yeah version.  Saint Ansonia is a Hard Rock band out of Canada.  I heard this release earlier on Sirius XM's Octane channel and thought it was great.  Upon the more I listen to the track and the release of Hell Yeah's version I don't think it is so great anymore.  Don't get me wrong I still like Saint Ansonia's take but it doesn't add anything.  Saint Ansonia's version is very faithful to Phil Collin's, almost too faithful.  You don't have to reinvent the wheel but give me something new, cause if you don't why should I listen to anything you have to say if it isn't at least a little different.

Clearly the best version of I Don't Care Anymore is the Phil Collin's version, but it is great to know that new bands are giving respect to the great artists who came before.

Til next time, listen to the best  - your ears deserve it.

Monday, June 6, 2016

How the Wilson sisters stole my Heart

I still remember the moment like it was yesterday. 16 years old and on a trip for the youth group hanging at the hotel watching MTV. The video for What About Love is on and out comes Nancy Wilson poured from liquid steel holding her Les Paul guitar, ahh young lust.  Even odder this wasn't the first time I had seen the band Heart. For some god knows why reason the band was in a commercial for coffee in the early 80's. It was coffee helps drive Heart to their next album or some crap like that.

I learned of Heart from their release Heart in 85. The album was a slick well produced hit maker. The catchy riffs with major exposure on MTV thrust the Wilson sisters to popularity that the band only dreamed of in the 70's.

Now the Heart of the 70's was a great rock band. The Wilson sisters compared their sound to a female Led Zeppelin, a fair accessment.   Heart of the 80's was driven and written into a band that was taylored for videos and pop rock crossover. To be fair the Heart of the 70's would not be known near as well with the cards exposure so it was a risk well worth taking with their sound.

All the criticism aside, I loved Heart 85 release. The album had 4 top Ten hits and the group's first #1 hit with These Dreams. The filler tracks are great too. All Eyes, What He Don't Know and Nobody Home are solid rock songs.

Are the songs on Heart 85 as good as Majic Man or Baraduda, no they are not. Would as many people know of those great songs without the exposure on MTV probably not. Even more so without Ann and Nancy showing that Women can Rock hard would we have as many great Women who are Rocking now?

Til next time, listen to the best -  your ears deserve it.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Face it Phil Collins has great musical Value

It was nice to be a teenager when Miami Vice was on network TV.  Miami Vice was a great prep on Friday nights before going out.  The best thing was the music.  The soundtrack was dark and modern noir.  A song that goes hand in hand with the mystique of Miami Vice was Phil Collins' smash In the Air Tonight.  The song is a brooding sparse masterpiece whose wildly interpreted lyrics only add .to the legendary status of the song.  Also there isn't a person alive who hasn't played Air Drums during the drum solo.

The album that In the Air Tonight was on was released in 1981 so still a little early for me to have gotten into when it was released.  If any of Phil Collins' CDs I listened to it was No Jacket Required, the monster that was released later in the 80's

So let's give the Face Value CD a listen.  My first reaction to the CD was to come to Phil Collins' defense.  When Peter Gabriel left Genesis there was a huge knock on Phil Collins.  There was feeling that he took the band too pop and less progressive rock.  This CD is very stripped down and other than the track I Missed Again not a pop album at all.  On many tracks you can tell Phil Collins is a drummer first and on others you hear the horns that will be all over the smash CD No Jacket Required.  Any one who thinks Phil Collins doesn't write serious music needs to give this CD a listen.

Unfortunately upon repeated listening to the CD I came away not fully happy with it.  It's very dark and disjointed. The breaks between the happy and the very painful slow tracks are uneven and sudden.  You can tell Phil Collins was not in a good place, going through a divorce with his first wife, when writing this album.  Even the upbeat pop song I Missed Again upon deeper listening is not a happy subject mater.

If you are a fan of Phil Collins this is a great release, but for the casual listener be forewarned the first track on the Album is In The Air Tonight.  That track alone tells you what mood you should get into for rest of the release.

Til next time listen to the best your ears deserve it.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Alan' Progessive Project keeps an Eye out

As I posted last week, I am reviewing albums that were hits when I was growing up but I listened to the whole release. Unlike last week,  I don't know if any of my friends had this album. Other than the first two tracks ,I know until last week I haven't heard this release.

The album I am talking about is Eye In The Sky from The Alan Parsons Project. The title track was huge when I was a young teenager. If you have ever watched a Laker game or many other sports you have heard the other sort of hit, Sirius.  I knew the two tracks were kinda linked due to the fact many classic rock DJs play them back to back for a long break.

As for the rest of the Album it is really good but very progressive rock. I think as a 13 year old I might not have gotten it. It also explains why my other friends at the time didn't have it, just too deep for us. But listening to it now there are several great tracks on this album, besides the title track. The first five tracks are great including Children of the Moon, Gemini and Silence and I.

Alan Parsons is a legendary producer and worked with some very influential artists. What amazes me is the number of albums that this Project had with so few real hits. It shows how record companies have changed. Artists were given much more time to develop before they were cut and I am sure the fact Alan Parsons worked with the Beattles and Pink Floyd didn't hurt.

I recommend this album as a great example of early 80's progessive rock that I am happy I listened to a few decades later.

Til next time, listen to the best your ears deserve it.

Monday, May 16, 2016

What an Unusual First Release

Well back to the 80's music for the next few posts.  I want to look at some artists I really enjoyed their first hits but never listened to the rest of the album.

Lady's first and what a first release for Cyndi Lauper.  She's So Unusual was a monster in the early 80's  Bright. different and well Unusual Cyndi Lauper stood out.  I remember a close friend of mine at the time was really into Cyndi Lauper.  Mike was different and I as learned more as I got older Mike was also gay.  

I am still surprised by my reaction even back then was, So What your Gay and a bit of oh Mike things are going to be tough.  Raised by a single mother who was very cool but we lost way too soon to cancer Mike did not have an easy go of it.  I wish we had a happy ending here but Mike decided that it all was too much and decided to take his own life. It was good that he did find some comfort in the differences of Cyndi Lauper.

Now the release She's So Unusual was played around me often and I can feel comfortable  that I might have listened to the whole album back then.  The problem I find with the release is one that many artists had back in the 80's, it was a great half of an album.  

Before ITunes and even CD's cassette tapes ruled the music scene.  Was the sound great? No, but they were very portable and shareable.  The cassette had two sides and normally 4-5 songs on each side. The problem some times came that Side 1 had the released hits and Side 2 had the other tracks.  So on reviewing the track working of She's So Unusual I am sure I listened to Side 1 many times.  

Cyndi Lauper burst on the scene with Girl's Just Want To Have Fun.  It is a wonderful party anthem to women everywhere.  The great thing about the album is that it shows Cyndi's flexibility as an Artist.  Time After Time is a classic ballad that would be a hit in any era and shows great debt of music and lyric that I am still amazed when I listen to it.  Then, She Bop is about keeping one's self happy and is a fun yet very bold statement.  Finally, All Through the Night shows great vocal range and tenderness.  

Unfortunately, there are misses on the release,  I didn't care for her Prince cover of When you Where Mine, and I appreciate the music on the rest of the tracks but they didn't speak to me.  Cyndi had a great band on the release, basically the act The Hooters.

Either way the whole Album/CD/Cassette deserves a listen and it is terrific for a first release.  

Til next time, listen to the best -your ears deserve it.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Monster Truck Crushes It

So I am wondering what to blog about next when once again Sirius/XM Octane comes to  the rescue with a great new band. Rolling down the road and crushing it to Monster Truck.

Now I am old enough to remember the height of Southern Rock., 38 Special, Molly Hatchet and of course Lynrd Skynyrd. Odd enough I have been to a Hatchet concert, some great rock music and even better people watching. With Monster Truck's Sittin Heavy release those Southern Rock sounds are back. The first released track Don't Tell Me How To Live hooked me in so off to ITUNES I went. The rest of the album is just swampy and fried as you expect. 

The kicker is that this is a Candian rock band. I guess it shows you how music can cross borders. Sittin Heavy is Monster Truck's third release and it is slightly different from the first two. The earlier releases were more of  Deep Purple and Bad Company sound of bluesy of rock. 

I have listened to Sittin Heavy many times after my first find and it still pleases the ears. It is refreshing to listen to a new take of a great Southern Rock sound from our friends on the North side of the boarder. 

Till next time, listen to the best  - your ears deserve it. 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

For Van Halen the Third time isn't a charm

I haven't always been Van Halen's biggest fan on this blog. The Roth era of the band did a lot for hard rock and the Hagar era brought the band into true across the board acceptability. Few know there was a third lead singer.

In the late 90's Eddy Van Halen going through another of his issues with lead singers. The jury is still out on whether Hagar quit or was fired. Either way Van Halen needed a lead singer. The problem was, according to industry experts, no one wanted to join. You can't trash two legendary front men and expect people to beat down your door. So the band added Gary Cherone the lead singer from the band Extreme. The only album this version of the group did was Van Halen 3.

I remember hearing and watching the video for the single released from the album, it was underwhelming. With that I, and it turned out the world, was through with Van Halen 3. Stumbling upon the album I decided to give it a listen

Bands should challenge their formula every now and then. It keeps the sound from getting stale. But there are risks you take and many times you push away your fans. Also it helps to be ahead of the curve musically not behind it.

Upon trying to listen to Van Halen 3, I am not sure what the band was going for but it was way too far from any thing Van Halen ever did. If anything, it sounded like they were trying to bring back the early 90's sounds of the Spin Doctors. Ye, I said trying. I couldn't finish the release about three quarters of it I quit. My advice is to do what the rest of the world did and forget this ever happened.  I love finding lost jems but this album ain't that.

Till next time, listen to the best - your ears deserve it.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Baby Hit Me and Dance your A$& Off

So my wife and I went to Las Vegas for our 17th anniversary a few weeks ago. We decided to take in a show. Who we chose was a perfect performer for Vegas. I must say upfront that Britney Spears is not my typical artist for review on this blog, but on review of her performance she's a quality entertainer.

Britney Spears came to national attention in 99 with a bubble gum pop sound and very catchy hooks. The fact that she was/is an attractive blond also helped keep her in the spotlight. This is where it gets tough for me. Although not a fan, I have to say a few things. First off, she is still popular , if you didn't have some talent an artist couldn't have lasted this long and she had charisma like few other artists. Is she a great singer or musician? No, not really, but a dinomite performer.

The show was amazing. Britney Spears can dance and hold your attention when she is on stage. The sets and effects were great. One moment that made me smile and cringe is Britney's cover of I Love Rock and Roll. I don't know if I have the right words to describe Britney riding a oversized Guitar in the middle of the stage. I don't know if Joan Jett would hit or make out with Britney, either way it was a moment. She preformed her hits but each song had a slightly new arrangement to keep it fresh. The crowd was almost as entertaining as Britney. Mainly 30 something women enjoying the show, alcohol and dancing badly.

While I will never list Britney in my top musicians I have to say she is an amazing performer and I would say don't miss her show.

Til next time,  listen to the best - your ears deserve it.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Now I what it sounds like when Doves Cry

For anyone who has read my posts is is pretty clear that Prince is one of my favorite artist.  With the news of his untimely passing I had to put together a few wards out of my respect for The Artist.

Prince has been a part of my musical world as long as I can remember.  As a teenager I remember seeing the early videos on MTV of I Want to be Your Lover, 1999 and Little Red Corvette.  At the time still a bit too young to fully get the artist but I was still taken with him.

As I grew and learned more about what music can be Prince seemed to flex his creative muscles.  The vision and depth of Purple Rain then going psychedelic with Around the World, then combining all of his art into the double album masterpiece which is Sign O The Times.

Granted I think Sign is his finest work but Prince continued to put out great work and many of them I have reviewed.

Prince let me explore with him, Sex, Love, Race Relations, and Family issues.  All were done with such insight and a musical chameleon ability that we might never see again.

One request I have of anyone that reads this blog when it comes to Prince, don't just stick to the Hits.  In my opinion the man wrote very few bad songs and even the filler tracks on all of his releases were great listens.

So Rest in Peace great Purple One, Prince Rodgers Nelson, I count myself lucky that I could share in your musical vision.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Bryan Adam's Reckless a timeless Album

So a few weeks Sheryl and I were hanging in my Man Cave and nothing was good on the TV.  I pulled out the record albums and found Reckless from Bryan Adams and we listened to it.  Wow, I forgot what a great album it was.  Now I have listened to it much more often and wanted to add it to this blog.

I remember the first time I heard/saw Bryan Adams was on MTV at my grandparent's house.  We didn't have MTV at that time so I would watch for hours when I got time to visit.  I remember the video for Cuts Like a Knife and really thought it was a great song, but that was just a preview to the monster album that is Reckless.

Reckless was one of those 80's monster albums that just kept on the charts and had hit after hit released from it.  Now it was not Purple Rain, Born in the USA or Thriller level, I would say it was just a next step behind those albums.  It was released in 84 and it had 6 releases hit the top 15 of the charts.

Of the 6 releases, Somebody, Heaven, One Night Love Affair, and It's Only Love, the releases Run To You and Summer of 69 have special places in my heart.  I was in high school when Run To You was released and I had a great girlfriend, but I also had a crush on a girl that was slightly out of my league.  Now my crush started paying more attention once the girlfriend showed up and when I heard Run To You I felt like Bryan Adams was singing about me.  The Summer of 69 was the year I was born.  It is a fun coming of age song that all kids have felt about, the title is what is funny.  We all knew when Bryan Adams was born and we knew he wasn't old enough for the time frame to fit.  So the title was hinting at a naughty side.

The best thing about this album is that it is timeless.  Unlike a lot of hits from the 80's it isn't dated. The release is just solid Rock songs that could be released now and still be fresh hits.  So if you want to hear some great songs listen to this album.

Til next time, listen to the best -  your ears deserve it.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Across The Great Divide a Rocker plays some great Bluegrass

Now I have to say I am a bit ashamed to be doing this post now.  As a good fan of STYX, I should have reviewed this five years ago when this album was released. However, what is done is done.  I am very happy to have come back after these years and found this bluegrass gem.

No STYX hasn't released a new album but their rocker Tommy Shaw has released a solid bluegrass album.  The embarrassing part for me is that I didn't review this release when I saw Tommy Shaw on the broadcast of the Grand Ole Opry back in 2011.  I enjoyed what I heard then but didn't follow up. Then when I noticed on Face Book that is was the five year anniversary for the release, I realized it was time for a listen.

For one of the Rockers of the group, Tommy Shaw has always shined on his acoustic guitar work. From Fooling Yourself from Grand Illusion to the little known Diamond Boat on the River from Cornerstone, Tommy Shaw's acoustic guitar work has stood out.  I remember reading an interview from Damn Yankees and Uncle Ted Nugent said Tommy Shaw was one of the great acoustic and 12 string players out there.  And for any one doubting why a rock star from the 80's would have any connection to bluegrass please know that Tommy Shaw was raised in Alabama. Heaven knows he heard some country music down there.

The Great Divide is a very good bluegrass and mountain music release.  To be honest, even though I live in Kentucky and know of Bluegrass and mountain music I can't speak to any expertise.  I know I like what I have heard off the release and it sounds like music I have from this genre.  There are several tracks that stand out on this album.  Back in your Kitchen and Saw Mill are great fun and gets your toes a tapping.  The Great Divide is a tender release and if you really listen it is hard to keep from getting a little misty. Quick side note on this track, one of the living voices of an angel is singing background, yes the tones of Alison Krauss are here.  The best track on the release is Shadows in the Moonlight.  It is a traditional country ballad dealing with class, loss and love.  For an artist who has never released a country/bluegrass song I would put it up against any of the BRO country that is on the radio these days.   I have to mention that there is one miss on this release, I don't get the song Give Em Hell Henry and just don't think it fits well is this album.

If you want to listen to bluegrass and hear what traditional country music can sound like give The Great Divide a listen.

Til next time, listen to the best - your ears deserve it.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Five Finger Death Punch Knocks it Out

One thing I really like I about the new Hard Rock and Metal is that the artists give credit and love to the past. Disturbed got me by the Land of Confusion cover and Five Finger Death Punch first got my interest by their cover of Bad Company's Bad Company. Five Finger then released a good cover of House of the Rising Sun.

What I enjoy about Five Finger Death Punch is that they are really raw. The guitarist lays down a thunderous sound and the vocals switch between roughly delivered singing to just growling.  The band's songs are just angry and filled with unbridled rage.  If you ever need to get up in the morning or it a pick me up they are the band to look to.

The cover that really blew me away wasn't released but I found on their newest double album. Mama Said Knock You Out was a raw powerful rap/hip hop track from LL Cool J from 1990. To be honest the rap/hip hop was one of the most driven and hard edged of its time that just made sense to turn the track into a hard rock song.  The cover shows its love and respect for the original but takes it even gritter and angrier.  The track is almost prefect, the one thing it is missing is that the guest rapper isn't LL.   Even so, it is a shame to bury this amazing track in the Album and not release it.  If you need an example of how the anger in rap and metal can work this track is it.

Til next time, listen to the best - your ears deserve it.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Caves of Altamira everyone wants to leave a mark

I am a big fan of Steely Dan.  On a recent podcast of the Bluegrass Blog Mixer (check it out) we discussed the great works of the Dan and one member, we will call him JH, just didn't get the band. The other members of the podcast were surprised , not really we knew JH didn't like the Dan.  JH asked for examples on why we thought they are such a great band.  My example was the song The Caves of Altamira.

The track is off of Steely Dan's The Royal Scam album.  The album was released in 76, never mind that I was 7 when it came out, as mentioned in many other blogs I listened to my parents AM radio on which Steely Dan were kings.

My love of this song is the great story it tells and the amazing music that supports it.  In the song a young man who has never felt part of the Normal world retreats to a cave to find refuge.  In the cave he discovers ancient paintings.  Through the paintings of long lost people the young man regains his attachment to the world. There are many levels on which this song speaks to people and me.  First of, like in many Dan songs, the main character feels like an outcast and just of sync with the accepted world.  I think most of us can fit this mold at one time or another.  The other level is knowing that as mankind we have always wanted to leave our mark.  Even cavemen who didn't have any other form of communication left their mark on the walls of their caves, "Hey I was here and this is what it was like".  I don't want to meet the person who can't identify with cry of humanity, please remember I was here.

The other part is the music is great and the sax solo cuts right through you.  The layering of the horns, the electric piano and the syncopation of the delivery helps bring you along into the story.  No, the song is Well produced not Over, take that Haters!

If you want to introduce yourself to why Steely Dan is a great band The Cave of Altamira is a great place to start.

Til next time listen to the best your ears deserve it.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Master of Puppets Masters the test of time

Listening to Ozzy's Boneyard, yeah not Octane this time, the DJ said that it was the 30th anniversary of Metallica's Master of Puppets.  Really?  I guess it is so. My earliest members of band are from high school.

Now I wasn't one of the Burn Out Metal Heads back then, but I did appreciate the music so I knew some of Metallica.  I even remember when Cliff Burton died, it was a sad time and shame to lose a great bass player.  So that being said I never bought a Metallica CD until the Black Album, but I did hear the songs at friends houses.

So I revisited Master of Puppets.  I can see how this release started their march to rule the Metal and Hard Rock world.  The songs are both still showing their Trash Metal roots but at the same time showing the complex arrangements that would lead to their godlike status in the Metal world.

Master of Puppets the title track of the release keeps its anger and edge still 30 years later, the other track that still rings true in this age is Disposable Hero's.  Hero's is a track showing the unfairness and class differences in who has to pay the real price in war.  Leaper Messiah could be at a few politician's rallys lately.  Listening with headphones is the only way to really get into the Cthulhu anthem The Thing that Should not Be.  Finally I have heard the roots of my beloved Dethklok in the masterpiece Orion.

It's hard not to compare Master of Puppets to what the band has put out lately, so I won't because the new pales strongly.  What I can say is that 30 years later this release still standout for how great Metal can be.

Til next time, listen to the best -  your ears deserve it.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

American Chess gets Checkmated

An earlier post I discussed the concept album for Chess.  On a recent trip to Asheville NC I found the American version of the show on Vinyl on sale so I picked it up.  After a quick listen I won't say I'm not happy I got the American Version but it pales in comparison to the original concept album.

I saw this version when they toured it in 89, even then I was not fully happy with it.  First of,f the songs are in the wrong order, left out or new ones added.  The performances lack the passion and bite that the concept album had.  On One Night in Bangkok don't get me started on the neutering that this song got in the American version.  The redeeming of the American version of the Musical is the production value.  The technology on this stage show was great.  At times action of the other side of the stage is seen on TVs on the other side.  The feel was really in tune with that the spectacle of this event was.  The problem is none of this comes out on the Album.

If you are looking to listen to this great musical just totally miss the stage of the development.  I say listen to the original or the PBS version with Idina Menzel and Josh Groban.

Til next time listen to the best your ears deserve it.  

Saturday, February 27, 2016

The Best Metal Band of the 2000's

I am very surprised it took me this long to review this band/release.  I have enjoyed their music on Octane for years and their latest release is a few years old.  I guess it has been out so long I didn't want to review as something new, but the more I choose to keep on playing the release I just had to review the band.

The band is Avenged Sevenfold they are a heavy metal/ hard rock band out of California.  A7X (the slang name for the band) started in 99 but I didn't know of them until 06 with their release Bat Country.  The track is incendiary with shredding guitar work and pounding double bass drums.  The next big release Nightmare got me fully into the fold.  A dark metal tune perfectly balanced with dominating metal rifs and haunting lyrics.

So in 13 when Avenged Sevenfold released Hail to the King I was primed and boy does the release exceed my expectations.  First off there are no filler tracks.  Each song on the release could be a hit.  I guess what I like most about this band and this release is that it is kind of timeless.  Truly I could see me listening to this in the 80's, or 90's with thinking it was fresh and the greatest Metal.  The guitar work is on fire and once again with great Metal bands the lyrics take you with them on the story they tell for each song.

Do I have a hard time calling them the best, yeah my love of Disturbed has been mentioned on this blog many times but if you want the purist Metal band that I feel will really stand the test of time you need to check out Avenged Sevenfold and their release Hail to the King.

Til next time, listen to the best your ears deserve it.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

An improperly named Solo Release

I grew up listening to ELO.  I remember the sounds from AM radio.  The band even did a great soundtrack to a very bad movie Xanadu.  ELO was a very textured diverse group.   They took what the Beattles did with strings and added synthesizers and created a unique sound.

One of the founding members and main song writers of the band was Jeff Lynne.  Jeff Lynne led the band and wrote their hits.  He was also a very successful producer and worked with Tom Petty, George Harrison, Roy Orbison and was part of the supergroup The Traveling Wilburys.  I have always liked and enjoyed Jeff Lynne's work.

Listening to XM I was excited to hear that Jeff Lynne was back with the group ELO.  There have been no new releases in over a decade.  I found the release on Itunes and was surprised at the title, Jeff Lynne's ELO.  What this means is Jeff Lynne wrote and preformed all the music tracks by himself.  I really like Jeff Lynne but felt a little cheated, it isn't ELO.  The Band ELO had incredibly talented musicians who brought their own feel to tracks written by Jeff Lynne.

Now the release is a very good solo album.  As I wrote before I really like Jeff Lynne.  A few tracks that stand out after a listen are Love and Rain, Dirty to the Bone, I'm Leaving You and One Step at a Time.  This is a great headphone album, which means you can plug or bluetooth in and zone out to the music.  I enjoyed the release, it just isn't ELO.

Til next time, listen to the best -  your ears deserve it.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Dorothy Brings back the blues

I've noticed a great trend listening to XM/Sirius Octane.  There are more women in Hard Rock and Metal then ever.  I have already discussed two of them, Halestorm a straight Hard Rock band and In This Moment the Shock and Industrial Metal. Now the ladies are taking on a bluesy style with Dorothy. 

The band Dorothy released their first EP in 2014 and it is a solid collection of five songs. The two songs that were released were After Midnight and Raise Hell. Both are rich with distortion and a roadhouse feel. The video for Raise Hell is very clever and a fun way to promote the band. The stand out track on the EP is Gun In My Hand. No this song isn't sung at the Roadhouse it should come out of the gin joint from way over beyond the wrong side of the tracks. Not quite Janis rough but the closest I have heard in awhile. 

I love the trend in Hard Rock and think it is well overdue. So give Dorothy a listen. I am looking forward to their first full release. 

Till next time, listen to the best:your ears deserve it.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Sun Storm and Joe Lynn Turner Keeping Arena Rock Alive

I was talking with my friend Spencer about Deep Purple finally going into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and I asked if all of the members of the band would go in with them.  We both agreed that it is a shame that Jon Lord wasn't alive for this moment, but I said Joe Lynn Turner should go in with them.  Now I know that Spencer knows who Joe Lynn Turner is but most don't which is a shame. After all he only was the one time lead singer for Deep Purple, Rainbow and for Yngwie Malmsteen.

Joe Lynn Turner has a voice everyone who has listened to Arena and Hard Rock will recognize.  The sound of his voice is raspy, strong and tough but tender on the ballads.  I first heard him as the lead singer of Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow.  He brought the group back to mainstream rock with the songs, Stone Cold, Death Alley Driver, and Street of Dreams.  After Rainbow he sang for Yngwie Malmsteen for a few great CDs,  His final trip to the mainstream charts was back with Blackmoore for a Deep Purple release Slaves and Masters.  Unfortunately the Deep Purple sounded more like Rainbow, which I was fine with but Deep Purple fans weren't.  Then Arena and Hard rock passed out of the mainstream and so did Joe Lynn Turner.

Why do more people not know of this great lead singer?  I think two big reasons.  First he never really fronted his own band, it was Balckmoore or Malmsteen's project that he sang on not his.  The other is he sounds like Ian Gillian and Lou Gramm, they were much more popular bands and Joe Lynn Turner got lost in the shuffle.

Fortunately, Joe Lynn Turner never stopped working and in doing some digging around I found his latest project Sunstorm.  For the past nine years he has been putting out releases with this new line up. The latest Emotional Fire is incredible!  I listened to the first track and I was taken back to my car driving to college. The sound is straight out of the Arena Rock era and the great thing is I haven't heard the songs played to death on radio.

I strongly suggest to all who love the Arena and Hard Rock area pick up this fresh but familiar sound of Joe Lynn Turner and Sun Storm you will be happy you did.

Till next time, listen to the best  - your ears deserve it !