Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Holiday Review: Frank Sinatra-The Classic Christmas Album


Release Date: October 7, 2014
Label: Legacy Recordings
Website

Frank Sinatra is one of the best known crooners of his time and this year Sony Legacy has brought together a fourteen track album of his best loved holiday hits with two previously unreleased tracks."Baby It's Cold Outside" with singer Dorothy Kirsten and an alternate version of "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!" with the Page Cavanaugh Trio. Another version of “Let It Snow” is also on the second track of the album with The B. Swanson Quartet and the two pieces are very different indeed. One is bright and shiny and the other more subdued, but both invoke the magic of the season.

As I sit at my writing desk and listen to this master performer belt out songs from my childhood and beyond, I can’t help but be reminded of a simpler time. That, to me, is the magic of Sinatra’s voice. You can here “Let It Snow” a million different ways, but when Sinatra does it, I always stop a moment and sigh.

“Adeste Fideles” or “Oh Come All Ye Faithful” is another classic that brings a sense of nostalgia. The bells and ornate instrumentation have an attention to musical detail that is often lost in modern performances. It made me feel like I did after watching a favorite old black and white holiday movie with my husband. Happy and dreaming of days when mangers were seen in front lawns and churches and Christmas trees were celebrated on main street and in our hearts. Not just the retail rush, but the rush of love for friends and family in this hectic time of year.

“Baby It’s Cold Outside” is from the MGM performance of “Neptune’s Daughter” and is one of two tracks previously unreleased until now. This track alone is worth getting the album. Joyful and full of the magic of young love, this song has always made me smile. This recording brings to life the visage of old Hollywood and lets us visit the sweet playfulness of yesteryear.

Frank Sinatra is the epitome of a music legend. His voice invokes the magic of the holidays and brings us back to simpler times in our lives we have only momentarily forgotten. For those who haven’t heard his magnificent voice, this album with two rare songs is a perfect one to start with. Chock full of the magic of the season, it will warm your heart.

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Adeste Fideles, Baby It’s Cold Outside, Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!


Tracks:

01. Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town
Frank Sinatra

02. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
Frank Sinatra with The B. Swanson Quartet

03. It Came Upon the Midnight Clear
Frank Sinatra with the Ken Lane Singers

04. I've Got a Home in That Rock
Frank Sinatra with the Charioteers

05. Adeste Fideles (O Come All Ye Faithful)
Frank Sinatra with the Ken Lane Singers

06. Christmas Dreaming
Frank Sinatra

07. Jingle Bells
Frank Sinatra with the Ken Lane Singers

08. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
Frank Sinatra

09. O Little Town of Bethlehem
Frank Sinatra with the Ken Lane Singers

10. Jesus Is a Rock in the Weary Land
Frank Sinatra with the Charioteers

11. Silent Night, Holy Night
Frank Sinatra with the Ken Lane Singers

12. White Christmas
Frank Sinatra

13. Baby, It's Cold Outside (From the MGM Film, "Neptune's Daughter")
Frank Sinatra with Dorothy Kirsten

14. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! (From the CBS Radio Broadcast, "Songs by Sinatra") Frank Sinatra with the Page Cavanaugh Trio


Dana Wright, Sr. Staff Writer

November 25, 2014

Review Provided By Write A Music Review

 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Concert Reviews: Johnny Winter Remembrance Concert In Woodstock NY


The Johnny Winter Remembrance At The Bearsville Theater
Woodstock, NY
November 22, 2014
All Photographs Provided By Lois Dysard



We lost one of the great blues brothers the world has ever known in July this year, Johnny Winter.

His music will live on for eternity and his guitar player/producer and protégée Paul Nelson, is making sure that music fans are still getting the opportunity to hear Johnny’s music played in a live setting.

The band consists of Paul Nelson on guitar, Scott Spray on bass, Tommy Curiale on Drums, and Jay Stollman on vocals. With the exception of Stollman, this was Winter’s band. Also special guest Ronnie Baker Brooks (Lonnie Brooks’ son) added some gusto to the show with his excellent guitar playing and vocals.

The night kicked off with a screening of Down and Dirty, an account of Johnny’s life and recent footage of him touring around the world. The film was a very up close and personal view into the blues legend’s life and something most fans probably never had a chance to see. The DVD is due out in January and there are some high expectations as would be expected.

I had a conversation with Paul and found out Step Back, Johnny’s album released in September, is up for Grammy consideration  In addition to that Paul is up for consideration for Producer of The Year. All of this recognition is well deserved and I do hope there is some hardware to display on their mantels once all the voting and ceremonies are over.

This was the first time I had the opportunity to see Paul play live on his own for every song when I attended concerts. He is quite the guitar player and he knows how to electrify the songs with some killer rockin’ riffs. I can see why Johnny had this band behind him all these years as they all sound terrific live. They obviously have the necessary chemistry to mesh on stage and in the studio. I don’t want to wait another five years this time before I see Paul Nelson again and enjoy all of this great music. Paul does have a new solo album coming out early next year so I am looking forward to that. He is quite the guitar player and he knows how to electrify the songs with some killer rockin’ riffs. 

After the film viewing (which is 90 minutes) there is a short break then the band comes on stage. They started of full steam ahead with a rousing version of “Bony Maronie.”  From that point the band took the appreciative audience through some of Johnny’s favorite tracks including some from the new album Step Back. One song certainly that is very special for Paul is “Killing Floor,” where he did a duet with Johnny on the new album. 

Another highlight of the evening was “Don't Take Advantage of Me,” featuring Ronnie Baker Brooks on guitar and vocals. Musically I think it was the best song of the evening and it was great to discover another up and coming blues artist. I mentioned to Paul after the show it would nice to see him as a permanent member of the band at some point. Brooks’ on stage energy and performance certainly added another dimension to the music and presentation.


If you are ever in upstate New York make sure you check out the charming little town of Woodstock and the beautiful Bearsville Theater. The venue is a converted 1800’s barn and right next door is the Woodstock Radio Station , 100.1 on the dial.

I would like to thank Paul Nelson for making this night happen, all the cordial folks at the venue and Lois Dysard for all the great photos.

I hope to catch another show again sometime very soon!

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
November 24, 2014
Write A Music Review, Prog Rock Music Talk, New Age Music Reviews and Rate The Tracks Founder

(Paul Nelson and Keith)

Set List:
Bony Moronie
School Girl
Mojo Working
Don't Want No Woman
Black Jack
Killing Floor
Don't Take Advantage of Me
Jumping Jack Flash
Rock & Roll Hoochie Koo
All Over Now
Dust My Broom
She's 19
Johnny Be Goode

Featured Track: John Otott-Tesoro

John Otott, instrumental new age artist, has just released his new album titled Colors. One of the tracks that I felt stood out was "Tesoro." Its elegance and beauty will take frazzled nerves and tried spirits and change those feelings to peace and joy.

Otott's excellence with the ivory keys will deliver a slice of heaven to your ears. With music like this it's not so much about the journey but about the destination - where it can take you.

"Tesoro" and many other tracks on the new album will provide instant stress relief. Find out for your self and listen to the stream provided.

MuzikMan Rating 5/5


More About John Otott: 

http://www.johnotott.com


A multi-instrumentalist and composer, John started playing piano at a young age. Taking up the bass guitar in high school, John went on to play in a series of rock bands and regularly performed at such Hollywood hot spots as The Whiskey A Go-Go, the Troubadour and the Roxy. He then transitioned into an instrumental jazz/rock band that performed with such artists as Lyle Mays (of Pat Metheny fame), Latin star Tania Maria, Grammy award winning sax player Gato Barbieri and Thelonious Monk Jr. However, he always maintained his love for piano music composition.

COLORS is John’s latest release (November 2014). The CD contains a collection of piano-based instrumentals interwoven with emotional and often dramatic string and keyboard arrangements. Many of the songs are inspired by his life events, conveying a true sense of meaning through music.

John is a voting member of the Recording Academy, the organization that, in addition to producing The Grammy Awards, supports music industry professionals through advocacy, outreach programs and student initiatives.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Holiday/Country Review: Classic Christmas Country Album-Various Artists

Release Date: October 27, 2014
Label: RLG/Legacy

Christmas songs come in every flavor and this year its colorful twinkle lights wrapped around a pair of boots. Sixteen well-loved holiday tracks from artists throughout their careers are showcased in this Walmart exclusive album just in time for the holiday season. From the ever popular “Mele Kalikimaka” from Christmas Vacation to “Jingle Bell Rock,” there are classics abundant.

The first song in this merry little lineup is “Christmas Time’s a Comin’” performed by Patty Loveless. With jingle bells and a plucky little guitar number the song ramps up and starts jamming. Full of country twang, images of a country holiday celebration filled with family and friends appear. Food, candles, hearts yearning for home and snow pack this powerhouse of a song. 

“Rockin’ Little Christmas” starts off with a sexy saxophone solo and on come the jingle bells and the sweet and sexy voice of Deborah Allen. A cross between country and rock, this song is a go getter. No wall flowers need apply. Only delicious love scenes allowed! Slip on those boots and get ready to do the boot scootin boogie all night long. Love and longing under the Christmas tree with a passel of mistletoe to bring down the house. This song smokes trials through the snow and that Frosty had better watch out!

“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” is the last song on the album. Sung by Martina McBride with a mellow multi-instrumentation providing a snowy backdrop of holiday bliss, this song is a fine end to an album filled with holiday songs and memories from years gone by. Her voice is crisp and pure, giving voice to all of our hopes and dreams for a Christmas filled with love and laughter.

This Walmart exclusive is a great compilation of songs from many country performers spanning many years in the industry. I found several favorites on this album and discovered a couple of new ones. So have yourself a Merry Christmas and if you get the chance to pick up this album, do. And please, pass the eggnog.

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Christmas Time’s A Comin’, Rockin’ Little Christmas, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Tracks: 
01. Christmas Time's a Comin' Patty Loveless
02. Christmas Time John Anderson
03. Pretty Paper Kenny Chesney
04. Rockin' Little Christmas Deborah Allen
05. Santa Baby Kellie Pickler
06. Blue Christmas K.T. Oslin
07. Please Come Home for Christmas Lonestar
08. I'll Be Home for Christmas Sara Evans
09. Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree Alabama
10. Jingle Bell Rock Sweethearts Of The Rodeo
11. Mele Kalikimaka Jake Owen
12. Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow (Single Version) Ricochet
13. Winter Wonderland Brad Paisley
14. White Christmas Lari White
15. The Christmas Song Brooks & Dunn
16. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas Martina McBride

 
Dana Wright, Sr. Staff Writer
November 21, 2014
Review Provided By Write A Music Review

Thursday, November 20, 2014

World New Age Review: James Asher and Sandeep Raval-Drum Travel

Release Date: Nov 11, 2014
Label: Starfield Records

James Asher and Sandeep Raval are two incredibly talented men with the gift of knowledge that encompasses a multitude of instruments, mainly percussive so it is no surprise that the title of their recent release is Drum Travel.

There is a bit more to this than just the title Drum Travel. The artists refer to this recording as the Tipi Experience. The image on the cover is a pyramid with a swirling gateway or rhythm portal, as it is referred to on the CD cover, all brought to you by their Global Percussion. If you notice however there is a city on the water that the beautiful image is overlaid on. There is a message here and you are cordially invited to  find the meaning in the music and what is beyond the portal awaiting your discovery. It all makes more sense once you start off on your journey with Asher and Ravel.

These two amazing artisans are assisted by Simon Brewin (bass, guitar, Wit,The Discerning Don) and Carolina Maggio (vocals, charrango, painting, creativity and enthusiasm) and several other talented folks. These gents have a marvelous sense of purpose but also maintain a good sense of humor. After all, James plays a ton of instruments but gets credit for “Kitchen” so I am assuming he provided sustenance in the form of food and drink for his musical warriors whilst recording this endeavor.

Drum Travel is a two CD set comprising 13 tracks on disc one and 7 tracks on disc two, both clocking in at over 70 minutes. The very first track “Fugira” kicks things off in a marvelous way with splendid percussion, amazing rhythmic vocal styling’s (in Italian) and some fluid guitar lines. This music is a worldly blend; there is new age, world, jazz, blues and rock. Everything blends together superbly into a musical melting pot that will bring joy to your soul and aural beauty to your ears.

The instrumental tracks are a literal omnibus of musical delights. When Asher and Raval combine their efforts it’s like a wall of drums that envelopes you. It does not encapsulate you in a power driven sphere and take you away; it is like being swept away by a gentle wave then feeling the warmth of the sun on your skin and the best part is the wave never ends. You can respect the awesome power it commands but feel grateful for the retreat that it affords you into audio bliss.

“Bring on Brasil” is just that, you feel like you have arrived in that beautiful country and are suddenly taking in all the breathtaking landscapes and walking the city streets. It’s like world travel by osmosis. Then to change things again, “Beside The Blues,” delivers the blues and jazz sensations via the right percussion, keyboards and guitar flourishes. To say that this recording offers diversity is an understatement, you simply do not know what is coming next and that is what makes the listen so intriguing.

Chili Pickle Chaser” is a great example of the percussion collaboration of Asher, Raval and friends. It has an interesting name but let me tell you it is nothing but pure excitement that builds as the track plays out. 

“If The Earth Could Speak” is the first track I heard and was so taken with it I featured it on RateThe Tracks and to no surprise it jumped to the #1 position on the charts within a day and it continues to get plays. The title is quite prolific and so is the music. Everything that is good about what these people do when making music comes flowing forth like a river with a definite path to the ocean. It has meaning, beauty and first and foremost touches your spirit in a way that is most memorable.

Now if all of that was not enough they end the set with “On the Outbreath,” which is one minute short of 30 minutes. If there is one song that takes everything to another level it’s this one. There are some amazing creative juices flowing throughout this mix. This time frame made up an entire album in years past yet it is one song out of 20 that make up this implausible gathering of sound, elements and textures that capture your attention and engage your senses.

There is something true and natural about drums particularly when used in such a manner. It calls to you and invites you into their special rhythm portal. Listen, take the journey, you will not have any regrets.

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Fugira, Bring on Brasil, If The Earth Could Speak, On the Outbreath

Tracks:
Disc: 1
 

01. Fugira
02. Takita
03. How it Feels
04. Bring on Brasil
05. Beside the Blues
06. Drums for the Dragon
07. Chili Pickle Chaser
08. Rhythm Network of Sparks
09. Neptune Skank
10. Percussive Kitchen
11. Pappadoms form Persia
12. Breaking Good
13. Seven Veils


Disc: 2
 

1. African Angel
2. Los Cuentos
3. Hey Wanaina
4. If the Earth Could Speak
5. Accelerando
6. The Great Transition
7. On the Outbreath
 
Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder
November 20, 2014
Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Granddaughter of Legendary Dionne Warwick, Cheyenne Elliott to Release Narada Michael Walden Produced Singles and an EP in 2015


New York, NY – A brand new star has appeared on the US music scene; her name is Cheyenne Elliott. Cheyenne is the granddaughter of iconic singer Dionne Warwick, and a cousin of the late superstar Whitney Houston. In early 2014, producer Narada Michael Walden discovered her exemplary vocal talent and invited her out to Tarpan Studios in San Rafael, California, where Whitney, Aretha Franklin, Mariah Carey and many other artists recorded some of their biggest hits. The young New Yorker was signed to Narada’s Tarpan Records. She will initially release a string of dance music mixes in the winter of 2014-15. Her debut EP is slated for release in early 2015.

Cheyenne’s talent was recognized at the tender age of 9 years old, at which time she started singing in public. Her grandmother, Dionne Warwick, called her to the stage to sing during a performance of her massive worldwide hit “That’s What Friends Are For” in Coney Island, New York. Even as a child she wowed the audience. Cheyenne learned her craft and drew innately from being born into a family of music royalty, including her grandmother, her father David Elliott - who co-wrote Luther Vandross’ massive hit “Here and Now,” and her late superstar cousin Whitney Houston. Dionne would play an instrumental role in Cheyenne’s development as a performer.

By the time Cheyenne was 10 years old, she demonstrated her immense talent while visiting recording studios in the Los Angeles area. She made subsequent appearances with Dionne at renowned venues throughout her youth. The audience’s appreciation of her vocal prowess led to summers traveling with her “Grammy,” performing in dozens of countries all around the world. She made a very special appearance celebrating Dionne’s 45th anniversary of recording at the Hollywood Palladium. Another performance honor included her Carnegie Hall debut at age 12, opening for legendary singer Gladys Knight. At 12 years old, Cheyenne also appeared on Dionne’s My Friends & Me album. She lent her vocals to a duet entitled “Love Will Find A Way,” a song that Dionne had previously recorded with Whitney. Cheyenne later joined Dionne, David, Whitney, Cissy Houston, Dee Dee Warwick, Bobbi Kristina Brown, Felicia Moss and others from the family on the recording of “Family First,” which appeared in the Tyler Perry movie Daddy’s Little Girls.

Cheyenne is following in the socially conscious footsteps of her grandmother, whose 1985 charitable recording of “That’s What Friends Are For” raised awareness and funds all over the world to help people suffering from the plight of AIDS. Cheyenne is featured on Dionne’s brand new release, Feels So Good. Narada produced a touching duet of the dynamic grandmother and granddaughter, entitled “Let There Be Love”.

The song happens to be written by Narada along with Shannon Rubicam & George Merrill, who wrote two of Whitney’s biggest hit songs: “How Will I Know” and “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me).” On the Feels So Good album, she joins the company of other luminaries such as Gladys Knight, Cyndi Lauper, Ne-Yo, Cee Lo Green, Jamie Foxx, Billy Ray Cyrus and many other greats.

Tarpan Records, in association with dance music powerhouse Dauman Records, is releasing a series of dance mixes of Cheyenne’s song “With You”. “With You,” which she co-wrote, is intentionally reminiscent of the classic disco era. The mixes are destined to heat up dance floors throughout the winter of 2014-15.

Cheyenne will be making many appearances over the next few months, including some major performances with Dionne Warwick in support of Feels So Good and their duet “Let There Be Love.” Cheyenne currently performs in nightclubs in and around New York City fine-tuning her craft, most often including Ashford & Simpson’s Sugar Bar.

View Dionne Warwick introducing Cheyenne to her audience in Atlantic City, New Jersey earlier in 2014. Cheyenne then performs her original song “Saltwater Tears”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Axx2Ny66GZY

Cheyenne’s duet with Dionne Warwick titled “Let There Be Love” is available now on iTunes:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/let-there-be-love-feat.-dionne/id933306159

Listen to Cheyenne’s cover of Ed Sheeran’s “Lego House”: https://soundcloud.com/tarpan-studios/01-lego-house

View Cheyenne Elliott’s Video EPK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SefmE2_sQso ;

For more information, please visit Cheyenne’s website: www.cheyenneelliott.com or her social networking sites:
www.Facebook.com/OfficialCheyenneElliott
www.Instagram.com/TheCheyElliott
www.Twitter.com/TheCheyElliott (@TheCheyElliott)

For information about her new single, EP and dance mixes, please visit: www.tarpanrecords.com

Press and Radio Inquiries: Billy James, Glass Onyon PR, at 828-350-8158; glassonyonpr@gmail.com

Bookings: Jason Abrams, Cheyenne Elliott Entertainment, at 917.576.2835; jeapublicity@aol.com

Track Evaluation: Ides of Gemini-The Adversary

The Ides of Gemini was a quite a find! They make some very powerful music inspired by the doom metal kings Black Sabbath. 

The featured track is “The Adversary,” which is a fine example of their talents on display. I am excited to discover this band and look forward to what they will bring to the table in the future!

MuzikMan Rating: 5/5

More About The Ides of Gemini:

http://idesofgemini.com



The debut EP from Ides Of Gemini
credits: released 14 November 2010

Sera Timms: vocals, bass, drum programming, design
J. Bennett: guitar, backing vocals, photography


Ides of Gemini - The Adversary (New Song 2014) from Hard & Heavy Old on Vimeo.