Monthly Archives: January 2015

TW3 – Week 4

Well it’s time for another TW3, That Was The Week That Was, we’re now onto  TW3 -Week 4. So what happened last week on the music front?

I’ll start off with Brand X. I ordered their Nuclear Burn boxed set from Burning Shed records a couple of weeks ago, and it arrived last Thursday. It’s a four CD set, featuring their first five studio albums and first live album , plus 4 tracks from a couple of BBC sessions they did.

Brand X - Nuclear Burn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The five studio albums being Unorthodox Behavior,Morrocan Roll,Masques,Product and Do They Hurt. The live album being Livestock. I already own Product on vinyl, and I’ve been meaning to get some more of their releases for years, so when the Nuclear Burn boxed set came out, it was a no brainer. Having listened to the CDs a few times now, Product is my favorite, but I think that’s more down to familiarity then anything else. Have I ever told you, I’ve seen Brand X live? No, well that will be remedied soon enough, when I start a page going through my past gigs & concerts! Anyway here’s And So to F… from Product by Brand X

At the weekend I downloaded another sampler from Noisetrade, this time from Forty Below Records

Forty Below Records - Vol.1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There were a couple of familiar names on the sampler, John Mayall and Walter Trout, but the stand out tracks for me were Bright Light of Day by Anne McCue, Sure Thing by Sam Morrow and The Weight of Changing Everything by Tim Easton.

I checked out Anne McCue on Soundcloud and found this great track.

Check out her website as well, it’s got a cool video on the homepage!

I found this on Tim Easton‘s Soundcloud account, which brings back memories of a few festivals!

And here’s Sam Morrow with a live version of Sure Thing.

 

I got another free download at the weekend, again courtesy of Noisetrade, from Slospeak Records

Slospeak - Slospeak in the Sky with Diamonds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s a four track sampler of live acoustic recordings, called Slospeak in the Sky with Diamonds. Apparently all four tracks will be on American Airlines in-flight audio, which is pretty neat. All four songs are good, but it’s the first of the four, Hypnotized by Fever Fever which is my favorite. And even better, they’re from Ohio! And here they are:

 

On Sunday, I had the pleasure of attending the American Originals concert, celebrating the works of Stephen Foster, at Cincinnati Music Hall. You can read my review here.

 

Earlier in the week I heard of the death of Demis Roussos. Most Brits remember him for numerous cheesy pop songs in 1970s and 1980s, but prior to that he was a founder member of Aphrodite’s Child, a progressive rock group, who also had a keyboard player by the name of Vangelis. Here’s a great track, The Four Horsemen, from their third album 666: Apocalypse of St John.

Finally, I’ve got to mention the trailer for the new Lord Huron album. I’m a big fan of Lord Huron, so I was well excited when news of this trailer appeared on my Facebook feed. Check it out, I defy you not to be the slightest bit intrigued! If you subscribe to the StrangeTrails.com website, you can download The Night We Met, which I assume is from their next album.

Lord Huron - The Night We Met

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So TW3 Week 4, That Was The Week That Was my week in music!

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American Originals at Cincinnati Music Hall – What a show!

Well I was right to be a “tad excited”, as I said in one of my earlier posts. The American Originals concert at Cincinnati Music Hall more than lived up to my expectations.

American Originals

 

First of all a word about the venue, what a building Cincinnati Music Hall is!

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We arrived there for the doors opening at 1 pm, which gave us a little time to have a wander round the building, and it’s magnificent. We’ll definitely be returning for a tour of the building. We had a look at the timeline, which was fascinating, particularly the list of artists who have performed there.

Another reason for arriving early was to catch Hickory Robot, who were playing in the foyer as we arrived. We caught them towards the end of their set performing a great version of The Band‘s classic, The Weight.

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Our seats were up in the Gallery,and I was somewhat worried about the view when I purchased the tickets, but my fears were unfounded, we had a great view. The set was interesting with a carpet, with a chair and a lamp at each end, with a bust of Stephen Collins Foster, in the middle.

Looking around the audience, it was interesting to see that at the age of 53, I was one of the younger members of the audience! I’m not sure whether that was due to the show being on a Sunday afternoon or whether the American Originals didn’t appeal to the younger generation, which would be a great shame. I have to say this is the first concert I’ve been to where I’ve heard an oxygen tank, three rows behind, being used throughout the performance! Fortunately, it was only noticeable during the interval and the breaks between the songs. I  would have hated to ask the user to turn it off!

As for the show itself, where do I begin, it was excellent from start to finish.

The first half opened with a rousing version of the Battle Cry of Freedom. There were many highlights in the first half of the show ,Over the Rhine‘s take on ,Why No One to Love,was beautiful, with Karen Berquist sounding lovely. Dom Flemons performing Old Folks Home was wonderful. Mind you I’m a big fan of Dom Flemons, so there maybe a slight bit of favoritism there!. Rosanne Cash just blew me away with Beautiful Dreamer, she also performed one of her father’s songs, which for the life of me I can’t remember the title of! The first half finished with another highlight,  Aoife O’Donovan singing Amazing Grace, ably supported by the Comet Bluegrass Allstars.

The second half had even more high spots! Dom Flemons performing Ring, Ring de Banjo was superb. Joe Henry, reclaiming the Love me Tender tune, for Aura Lee, was another high spot. But for me, Rosanne Cash, singing My Old Kentucky Home was the highlight of the old show. I had a tear in my eye and lump in my throat at the end of this and I’m a Brit who’s only just moved to Cincinnati, god know’s what it did for the Kentuckians in the audience!

The show ended with a rip-roaring version of Camptown Races, with all the performers on stage, contributing to a fitting finale. In fact, they performed it again for the encore.

It was an absolutely superb afternoon’s entertainment. I’m no musical expert, but the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, aka Cincy Pops, sounded incredible. I’m afraid I can’t remember the names of all the soloists, only the conductor, John Morris Russell, who did a fine job, not only of conducting the orchestra, but also of hosting the event. One thing’s for sure, this won’t be my last visit to Cincinnati Music Hall and I definitely want to see the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra again!

One last comment, and this will do my “street cred” no good whatsoever, there were buses outside waiting to take people back to their old folks home! That never happens at the Southgate House Revival!

 

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All the Girls are Complicated!

I came across a great video on my Facebook feed on Friday. It’s the first ever video by one my favorite female singers, Laura Cantrell. The video is of Laura’s All the Girls are Complicated song from her No Way There From Here album. It features Laura herself and her daughter, Isabella. Check this out, it’s great!

I’ve got two of Laura Cantrell‘s albums in my collection. I downloaded the No Way There From Here album last year. It’s a great album which opens with the All the Girls are Complicated, but it’s the second song, Starry Skies which is my favorite. Having said that, all the songs are great! It’s one of those albums which I play in it’s entirety from start to finish, which in these days of the iTunes shuffle is a bit of a rarity! I’m just listening to the album as I type this, and another favorite as just come on, Can’t Wait. Now that’s an ideal song to type to, I’m sure my typing speed tripled as that song was playing!

Laura Cantrell - No Way There From Here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The other Laura Cantrell album I have is Kitty Wells Dresses – Songs of the Queen of Country Music, which I have on CD.

Laura Cantrell - Kitty Wells Dresses

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This holds a cherished place in my collection, as I purchased it after seeing Laura Cantrell and her band live at the legendary Ernest Tubbs Record Shop in Nashville, Tennessee.

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My wife, Tara, and I, were in Nashville for the Americana Music Festival and came across this gig by accident. I’m so glad we did, as it was one of the highlights of the festival, which is saying something, as there were so many great performances that week.

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Tangerine Dream – Tangram

My two previous vinyl selections have been random, but my third, Tangram by Tangerine Dream, I picked out deliberately. The reason being that last night, Edgar Froese, one of Tangerine Dream‘s founders died at the age of 70. Like so much of the music I bought in the 1970’s, I first heard Tangerine Dream on Tommy Vance‘s Friday Night Rock Show. The track he played was Cloudburst Flight from their Force Majeure album, released in 1979. That’s one of my favorite instrumental tracks of all time.

Much as I like Cloudburst Flight, I prefer the album Tangram, released a year later, over Force Majeure. Listening to it now, Tangram still sounds fresh and original. This was their fifth best selling album of all time and actually made it to the UK’s top 40 album chart for five weeks.

Tangerine Dream - Tangram

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tangerine Dream were formed in 1967,Edgar Froese was a founding member and only constant member throughout it’s nearly sixty year existence. The band released in excess of 100 albums, together with quite a few movies soundtracks, and most recently the soundtrack to Grand Theft Auto V.

Edgar Froese – 1944 to 2015 – RIP

 

 

 

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American Originals at Cincinnati Music Hall

Okay, I have to confess, I’m just a tad excited. Yesterday I got tickets for the Sunday afternoon performance of American Originals at Cincinnati Music Hall.

American Originals

 

So why so excited? I hear you say

Well, how about this for a line-up:

Rosanne Cash – One of my favorite artists, who’s album The River and the Thread was one of my top ten albums of 2014. I briefly saw her on stage at the end of the Americana Awards show at the Ryman Auditorium  in September 2013 and have been wanting to see her ever since.

 

Americana Awards 2013

Dom Flemons – Formerly with the Carolina Chocolate Drops, who I saw when he was still a member, at the City Varieties Music Hall, Leeds, England in October 2012.  I also saw Dom Flemons late last year when he compered Pokey Lafarge‘s Central Time Tour, which was one of my top ten gigs of last year.

Pokey Lafarge Central Time poster

Over The Rhine – I’ve not yet seen Over The Rhine, but I understand they’re a Cincinnati institution, so it’ll be cool to catch one of my new home town bands.

Aoife O’Donovan – I’ve heard her a few times on Bob Harris‘s Radio 2 show and I’ve been wanting to see her live for quite a while now.

The other two acts on the bill are the Comet Bluegrass Allstars and Joe Henry. I’ve not heard of either of these, so a bit of research is required.

All these acts are going to be performing with the world-famous Cincinnati Pops Orchestra.

The show will be based around the songs of Stephen Foster, who reputedly was America’s first great songwriter. Being a Brit, who’s only been living in the States for just over a year, and in Cincinnati for four months, I’m not fully au fait with Stephen Foster, but being a music fan, I’m obviously aware of the Great American Songbook. I’m also aware of the black face minstrel tradition for which Stephen Foster is known for, as during my childhood back in the UK, there used to be a light entertainment program, on the BBC, called the Black and White Minstrel Show. The show was very popular and ran for 20 year and won a Golden Rose at Montreux for Best Light Entertainment program. However, after numerous complaints it finally was pulled in 1978.

This show introduced me to many of Stephen Foster‘s songs, including Oh Susanna!,Camptown Races,Swanee River & My Old Kentucky Home amongst others. So whilst the manner used, on the Black and White Minstrel Show, of showcasing the songs was abhorrent, it did contribute greatly to my love of music, and Americana in particular.

One added bonus of going on Sunday is that I get to see Hickory Robot again, as they’re providing the pre-concert entertainment. I saw them at the CincyGroove Music Festival last year, where they were excellent, so it will be good to see them again.

Another reason for the excitement is that this will be my first visit to the Cincinnati Music Hall. I’ve been in Cincinnati for four months and have been waiting for the right concert before making my first visit, and the American Originals fits the bill perfectly!

 

 

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TW3 – Week 3

Tempus Fugit – Time Flies. That’s me showing off my CSE Latin! We’re now three weeks into 2015, so time for another review of my week in music, TW3 – Week 3

Firstly, we’ll take a trip down to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. A colleague of my wife’s hails from New Orleans and went back home to New Orleans. On returning to work, he brought Tara, my wife, and her colleagues, a “King of Carnival King Cake Package” from Haydels Bakery, which apparently is one of the top bakeries in New Orleans. Anyway, as well as containing a delicious King Cake and loads of other carnival goodies, there was also a Mardi Gras 2015 CD, featuring a band called Bag of Donuts! And it’s pretty damned good too!

On Saturday I downloaded a sampler from Mishara Music, which was excellent. You can find out more about it in my earlier post here.

My favorite track on the Mishara Music sampler was There’s a Rumor by The August Empire. So on Monday I downloaded their album Before the Hereafter and to say I like it would be an understatement. I love it! From start to finish there’s not a bad track on the album.  I’m so glad I took the plunge and bought this album. I must have listened to it seven or eight times already and I’m finding something new every time. The August Empire consist of Liz Constantine & Dante Marchi. Apparently the album was released back in August 2013, how did I miss it!?

The August Empire - Before the Hereafter

 

 

 

 

 

There are loads of great performances on the album, but their version of Pink Floyd‘s classic Comfortably Numb is superb. This is a cover that’s as good as, if not better than the original. Yes, it’s that good!

 

 

I’ve tweeted about this album a couple of times now and on both occasions, The August Empire and Liz Constantine, have re tweeted and favorited my tweet, which is cool. Even cooler was Liz Constantine replying to one of the tweets!

I still need to find out if the Trevor Rabin mentioned on their website is THE Trevor Rabin. So if you read this Liz Constantine, please let me know!

And sticking with Twitter, Ken Yates, another artist on the Mishara Music label also followed me. I also got a follower from Stone Mountain, Georgia, Kelley Swindall, who’s well worth a listen. Check this video out, and see what you think

Moving away from the States to Europe, in particular, Germany, I got an Alternative Progressive Rock band, Fire on Dawson following me on twitter. I’ve not listened to all their music on Soundcloud yet, but I did like this track:

While we’re talking Prog Rock, I forgot to mention last week, that Yes, one of the original Prog Rock bands, are now following me on twitter. How cool is that?

Revelry Magazine is my most recent follower, this is a weekly music and entertainment magazine, based in Lexington, Kentucky. I don’t think I’m too far away from Lexington, so hopefully I’ll find out about any decent gigs and festivals in Kentucky.

One more new Twitter follower I’ve got to mention is my wife’s cousin Tobie, who, with her husband Jerome, bought us the book, “All the Songs, The Story Behind Every Beatles Release“, as a Wedding present. That’s what I call a wicked Wedding present!

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Talking of our wedding, we compiled a CD of tracks by our favorite acts who we’d seen live since we started courting. One of the tracks was by Ellen and the Escapades, and earlier this week, I came across this video of them performing their version of Fleetwood Mac‘s Dreams. It was done as part of Bob Harris‘s Under the Apple Tree Sessions. Check this out, it’s a brilliant version of a classic song…

 

Finally, I’ve got to show you this trailer from one of my favorite bands, Lord Huron.  Watch this, and I defy you not to be a least a little bit curious!

So, as far as my music is concerned, that was the week that was! TW3 Week 3

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Van Morrison – Into the Music

The album I’ve pulled out today to transfer to my computer is Into The Music by Van Morrison. This was the first album I bought by Van Morrison. I bought it after hearing a track off side two “And the Healing has begun” on the Friday Night Rock Show. The Friday Rock Show was presented by the late Tommy Vance and was on BBC Radio One between 10pm and midnight. This track stuck out like a sore thumb as it was like nothing else on the show.

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Side one kicks off with, what have become,  a couple of my favourite Van Morrison tracks, Bright Side of the Road and Full Force Gale. The fourth song on side one, The Troubadours, takes me back to a novel I was reading around the time I bought this album in the early 1990s.  The book was A Song for Arbonne by Guy Gavriel Kay, it’s based on the troubadour culture that rose in Provence in the High Middle Ages. The song and book just seemed an ideal match.

And the Healing has begun is my favourite track on side two, and still sounds just as good as when I first heard it.  He follows this with It’s All in the Game, and I can remember my mother hearing this, and being used to a version by Cliff Richard, used those immortal words “Well he’s ruining that!’

Looking at the credits on the album sleeve, there’s a few names I recognize. Peter Van Hooke is on drums, who if my memory serves me right, appeared on the first Mike & the Mechanics album and Ry Cooder plays slide guitar on Full Force Gale.

I’ve played the album a few times since uploading onto my computer and I still think it’s a great album.

As for My Imaginary JukeBox, Van Morrison‘s Bright Side of the Road is my next selection.

 

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Mishara Music – Artist Sampler 5

One of my favorite labels is Mishara Music I’ve been following them for a few years. Every now and again they release an Artist Sampler, featuring various artists on their label. Their latest Facebook post drew my attention to their latest sampler, Artist Sampler 5.
Mishara Music - Artist Sampler 5

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve listened to the album a couple of times now, and although there’s not a bad song amongst the 15 tracks, there are three that stand out for me.

Firstly, there’s the second song on the album, In the Middle of Heaven and Here by Ken Yates. This is one of the songs featured on his new album, Twenty Three. His album Twenty Three features a track called The One That Got Away, which won the Colleen Peterson Songwriting Award last year, awarded by the Ontario Arts Council. I’ve just done a quick Google search on Colleen Peterson and I think I need to check out her music too. The One That Got Away is also available as a free download on the Mishara Music site. Apparently John Mayer, one of my favorite artists, is a big fan. Not a bad endorsement!

The second stand out track is by Connor Garvey, entitled Old House, which I just love! His website describes him as “Acoustic Funky-Folk-Rock for the Good Hearted”, which pretty much sums it up! He reminds me of Jason Mraz, another favorite of mine,particularly on Backroads the other song of his on the sampler.

My third and final stand out track is There’s a Rumor by The August Empire. This is probably my favorite track on the album. There’s a great description on their website,from Pitchfork, which pretty much sums up their music “ryan adams meets bryan adams..kate bush meets anhauser busch” . Whilst browsing on their website, I noticed that one of the tracks on their album, Before the Hereafter, is Comfortably Numb. Not sure if this is a cover of the Pink Floyd classic, so I’ll be checking that out. Also Trevor Rabin gets a mention in the credits for the album, on the website. I have an old 7 inch single by Trevor Rabin from the late 70s or early 80s. Again not sure if it’s the same guy, so something else to check out.

Here’s a YouTube video of There’s a Rumor

I usually buy an album from one of the artists whenever I download from Mishara Music, and I think Before the Hereafter by The August Empire could well be my next purchase!

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TW3 – Week 2

Another week has passed, and it’s time for a review of what I’ve been up to on the music front. So here’s TW3 Week 2. No major purchases of music this week, bit a few downloads.

At the weekend, I downloaded a winter sampler from SideOneDummy Records, the standout track being You and I Alone by Chuck Ragan. I came across this winter sampler following a notification from NoiseTrade.

 

Side One Dummy - Winter-Sampler

 

 

 

 

 

NoiseTrade is where I came across Zach Winters and his Monarch Album. It’s an excellent album, reminiscent of Bon Iver’s debut album, For Emma, Forever Ago. That’s one of my favourite albums of the last few years, and Zach WintersMonarch album is just as good, in my humble opinion.

 

Zach Winters - Monarch

 

 

 

 

 

 

My other download this week is by We Are Kin, I downloaded their single Home Sweet Home, from their forthcoming album, Pandora. Check this out, it’s well worth a listen. They’re on the Bad Elephant Music label, which is a label I’ve now started following on the strength of this release.

 

And fair play to the band, they replied to one of my tweets on twitter, which is always welcome.

 

Talking of twitter I gained a few new followers this week, in addition to We Are Kin. After checking out Grand Tour‘s music on their website and following them, they returned the favour. I’m looking forward to their debut album, Heavy on the Beach, which is due for release at the start of February. Grand Tour are a progressive rock project from Scotland.  Another new follower was Jen Levinsa singer/songwriter based in Princeton, New Jersey. She’s got a new EP out, called Hand Made, check it out. Again well worth a listen.

 

Finally, I came across this great instrumental, Fading Silently, by NoSound from their Sense of Loss album.

 

And that was TW3 Week 2, my week in music.

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SideOneDummy Records

I’ve just come across SideOneDummy Records courtesy of NoiseTrade and their Weekend Edition which featured a Winter Sampler by SideOneDummy Records.

Side One Dummy - Winter-Sampler

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve just downloaded it, you can download it for free, but I like to leave a tip.Here’s the link  I was initially drawn to the sampler as it had a track by Chuck Ragan on it. I saw Chuck Ragan as part of the Revival Tour in 2011, when he was excellent, so thought I’d check this out.

The Revival Tour 2011

 

 

 

 

 

His track on this sampler, You and I Alone, was worth the price of the tip alone, it’s brilliant! And I’ve just found out that Chuck Ragan is playing the Southgate House Revival next Friday, so I could well be seeing him live

Just listening to the rest of the sampler and there’s a track called Gold by Jaws which I’m drawn to, together with a track by Superheaven called In On It.

I’ve just signed up for the SideOneDummy Records newsletter, so I’m sure I’ll be posting more about it. In the meantime, here’s a youtube video of Chuck Ragan

 

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