The Gibb Collective: “Please Don’t Turn Out the Lights” – perfectly cut gems!

October marks the 45th anniversary of the Bee Gees song “Please Don’t Turn Out the Lights,” and fans of the musical super group of the 1970s, have reason to be excited. The Gibb Collective is a musical tribute, and a family legacy.  On the input of Maurice’s daughter, Samantha, the children of Andy, Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb have found a way to honor their fathers by infusing new lymph  into the more than memorable Bee Gee classics of the 60’s and 70’s. And what better title for the 10-track album, than “Please Don’t Turn Out The Lights”. Though I

John-Marc Lucid: “Judas” ft. Fyah Sthar – breathes down-to-earth authenticity

Music is a very powerful and mystical force. It speaks to people on a much deeper level than conversation. It really reaches the soul. With his new track “Judas” ft. Fyah Sthar, John-Marc Lucid hits us with music that indeed does reach our souls, an intriguing melody, piercing lyrics and outstanding musicianship included. The new release by the Texas based Dancehall and Reggae artist is a joint venture with Fyah Sthar, and together they breathe down-to-earth authenticity, making for an airy, buoyant listening experience. Lucid is a creative mind that doesn’t bother about drawers or labels – his music explores

Innocent Bystanders: “Attractive Nuisance” – a roller coaster of emotion and excitement

Based in Kensington and Mission Hills, Innocent Bystanders was founded by musicians who played regularly in various bands in high school and college, who got together to form a band to play fundraising events for a local law school. They perform a wide-range of rock and soul, focused on the music of the 1960s and 1970s. The band is made up of Steve Berenson (Drums), Steve Semeraro (Electric Guitar, Vocals), Kaimi Wenger (Keyboards, Vocals), Jessica LaFave (Saxophone), Ben Nieberg (Acoustic Guitar, Vocals) Kath Rogers (Vocals) and Donny Samporna (Bass guitar). Their “Attractive Nuisance” EP of original music was recorded at

Roger Cole & Paul Barrere: “Let It Go” combines musical inspiration and travelling emotions

Meaningful lyrics, amazing songwriting, superb heart-warming yet angry sound, musical teamwork, everything is so perfect in this track. Such a gorgeous and refined melody and philosophical lyrics is worth being remembered for all of the current generation. The guitarist uses swampy resonating sound so beautifully and the drummer plays simple but tight groove, with every drum fill-in is on the sweet musical spots. The bassist backs up the music stably as the boys sing the vocals with conviction. This is one of my current desert Island #1’s in the Roger Cole & Paul Barrere catalog. Yes, the track “Let It

Markus Scott: “Live Life With No Regrets” – confidence is sky high on this project

Born in New York City, Markus Scott grew up in humble surroundings, and his family were always on the move resulting in him constantly transferring schools. He excelled at reading and writing poetry, before discovering that he could rap when he won a freestyle battle with a signed artist at a house party in Harlem. He soon learned to DJ too, and with his first check from summer youth, Markus went to a pawn shop and brought a laptop. He then brought a DAW, and microphone from Guitar Center and began researching how to mix and edit his vocals. He

Christopher Rapkin: “Focus In” – substance over style!

Composer, arranger, producer, multi-instrumentalist and singer. Christopher Rapkin is many things, including founding member of Digital Composers Guild, and a music industry consultant. During September Rapkin released his 10 track heavy guitar album, entitled “Focus In”. Listening to Rapkin on this album it also becomes clear that he could be known as a great guitar virtuoso and a perfectionist. Christopher is the guitarist who sings and he does it quite well, in my opinion even better than Steve Vai. Also he is a good composer, all of his albums are full of songs of different styles. So he’s the man

Ziggy: “Breathe” – music for a new generation of kids

Zachary Raul Reyes aka Ziggy was born in Arcadia, California, but spent a lot of time moving around since his dad was in military service, ending up in a town in Ohio called Middletown where he spent most of my elementary and high school career. Growing up, music was his life. At 13 he received his first guitar, as a gift from his mom. He took two lessons before teaching himself how to write tabs and understanding harmony. From there Reyes ventured into listening to Hip hop and metal before discovering Dubstep, which represented a complete change of direction. Suddenly

Lynne Taylor Donovan: “Sooner or Later” – a swirling pool of rich technique and tender ability

“Sooner or Later”, the new release by independent Canadian Country songstress, Lynne Taylor Donovan, is the third single from the Nashville sessions that produced her hugely successful Euro-UK #1 hit “Strong One” and the follow-up European #2 hit “Am I Dreaming”. The reigning queen of indie country music has a knack for finding a way into the hearts of her global fan base. “Sooner or Later” has a warm and deep intention, reflecting Donovan’s eloquent and versatile tidings, showcasing her country gravitas, and a swirling pool of rich technique and tender ability. A careful sensory indulgence is heard in the

Odd-Arne Jacobsen: “While I Was Crossing The Bridge” – a gift to the world

Musician, songwriter and guitarist extraordinaire, Odd-Arne Jacobsen has worked with most of the leading artists in his home country of Norway, in both theatre and music, and has also presented his craft internationally. He has had his own television show in Russia, as well as a solo concert at the Moscow International Jazz Festival, and has toured the USA, Mexico, Russia, France, China, Kuwait, Scotland, and Japan. In 1990 he undertook a solo concert of his own compositions in New York, becoming the first Norwegian guitar player ever to hold a solo concert in Weil Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall.

Jennifer Hope Releases “My December” for Music for Relief’s One More Light Fund in memory of Chester Bennington

JENNIFER HOPE LAUNCHES DOWNLOAD TO DONATE FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN TO BENEFIT LINKIN PARK’S MUSIC FOR RELIEF CHARITY Singer-Songwriter Jennifer Hope, has released her cover version of Linkin Park’s “My December” to raise awareness, and contributions for Music for Relief’s One More Light Fund in memory of Chester Bennington. The track is available for download until October 27, 2017 at GoFundfMe. A one dollar donation is all that is required to receive a download code, but any additional amount is appreciated and your extended generosity can further help many in their time of need. All donations go to the charity through the

Grant Maloy Smith: “DUST BOWL – AMERICAN STORIES” – musical snapshots of real life

When we listen to award-winning Americana singer-songwriter, Grant Maloy Smith, we often hear a shrug, a battered heart, and the steely reason of hard-earned wisdom all bundled into a single powerfully ragged voice that resonates rather extraordinarily with the plight of mankind. Smith has a gift for articulating the predicament of the downtrodden and misunderstood. A knack for stepping inside his fellow man’s shoes and feeling the wear on the sole, the dirt between the treads, and the awkwardness of the fit. Explaining the making of the album “DUST BOWL – AMERICAN STORIES”, Smith stated: “The songs spell out an arc from the pastoral beginning, when wheat prices were high and times were good, through the darkest days of suffering and struggle, and ultimately to redemption – when finally the rain came down.  Dust Bowl has been a labor of love for most of three years now. As much as I created these songs, they have changed me, too.” 

I’m beginning to think Grant Maloy Smith is a genius. It’s one of the ironies of the music business that he is not hugely, enormously, grandiosely big. Smith is every bit as talented a songwriter as any latter-half-of-the-20th-century roots music composers I can think of.

Smith is one of the few who makes you understand, appreciate and enjoy the undeniable link between music, people and nature. “DUST BOWL – AMERICAN STORIES” makes a clear case for this link without ever sounding like any other singer-songwriter I know of; another testament to his outstanding songwriting and performing talents.

Grant Maloy Smith’s songs are like musical snapshots of real life. The songs run the gauntlet of emotions, from anger to joy, from melancholy to heartened, from love to loss. “DUST BOWL – AMERICAN STORIES” has it all.

It amazes me how Smith can blend the various song styles into a recording that flows so effortlessly, as he moves though Bluegrass, Country and Folk themes – All naturally held together by his extraordinary voice and range.

From the moment I put on the first cut, “Old Black Roller”, I couldn’t believe how the music saturated me, and how I wanted to hear it again, catching the words, and the intonations before going on to the second cut, “Lily Of The Valley”, which was even more addictive than the first.

Though Grant Maloy Smith is brilliant on just about everything he does on this album, to my mind, he is exceptional when it comes to the slower songs. His voice has that heartrending broken tone that squeezes every bit of emotion out of the lyrics.

Hence my fervent attraction to songs like “Isht A Lhampko (Have Strength)” – probably one of the most captivating tunes on the entire album for me.  But he is just as moving on “All The Long Way”, “Daddy, If You Have To Go” and “And The Rain Comes Down”. It helps of course that the list of instrumentation and players on this album is almost endless. Injecting a warm luscious sound into the recordings.

If you have a predilection for rhythmic, upbeat numbers to stomp to, then “So Far Away”, “Me Time” and “I Come From America”, will do nicely for you. All the songs on “DUST BOWL – AMERICAN STORIES”, however, are skillfully written and instrumented, crossing roots genres and throwing a healthy bite of social commentary in your face to remind you that Smith is nobody’s top 40 wimp.

There are only a small handful of artists on this planet at any given time worth listening to musically. Grant Maloy Smith is definitely one of them.

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