Archive for February, 2012

24
Feb
12

PLANTS AND ANIMALS-THE END OF THAT-“BEAUTIFUL DESTRUCTION TO REDEMPTION” CD REVIEW BY JOHN EMMS

 

The bridge from the internal soul of songs to where the artists make the connection with the public is not a given. Yet on Plants and Animals new album The End of That the trio manages to perfectly expand their song palette while still retaining their integrity.

In fact, the journey from the first track titled Before with the lyric “Forget about me and everything that came before” to the  last track Runaways with lyrics such as  ” I never dreamed we’d make it  this far”  or “Were almost there but so is the end” can be seen by some, as how all of us go through our life with our blinders on,  removing them from time to time to get a taste of our own life.

Musically, their is a  gorgeous alt/country Decemberists feel to the title track,  Lightshow has a more layered sound, very expanded while Why & Why and Control Me have a rock sound that shows P & A could easily adopt a bass player or even keyboard player on a live tour format much like The Black Keys have done.

Elsewhere, No Idea may be the most poignant song the band has ever recorded. 

In the end,  P & A can be a band all over the place style wise but their sound has grown. What were once sketches now reveal a band built on beautiful destruction headed for redemption. Excellent Album!

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, singer-songwriter www.johnemms.com radio show host http://emms.podbean.com/ and rocker www.theshaftmen.com

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13
Feb
12

CHRIS MURPHY-HOTWIRED-“GROOVE LADEN SAX REVIVAL” -BY JOHN EMMS

 

People forget that songs like Lowell Fulson’s Reconsider Baby, George Benson’s Breezin’ and  Willie Mitchell’s Soul Serenade were blues songs, smooth jazz songs  and instrumentals that were hits on the pop charts .

Chris Murphy’s sound on his latest album Hotwired reminds me of that era, although with Murphy there is a touch more blues in the mix

Murphy writes his own stuff but also does solid versions of Big Joe Williams/Eddie Cleanhead Vinson’s Hold It Right There which also features Jack De Keyzer.  Murphy also lends a “Grazing In The Grass” groove to the classic Just My Imagination

Vocally Murphy is not a classic blues/R& B vocalist in the vein of  someone like Tony Flaim but he can get by well on his tracks especially Something Else and the jump groove of She’s Always Buzzin’ Me

Murphy’s real power comes through on the exceptional instrumentals like the catchy title track, Dr. John’s Funkalishus and Burnin’ Rubber where he trades licks with guitarist Teddy Leonard and organ man Lance Anderson who also produces the cd.

Very earthy mix to the cd via Nick Blagona. Your going to like this cd and I’m going to make a point of featuring some of these tracks on my radio show

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, online radio host http://emms.podbean.com/ and singer-songwriter with blues rockers The Shaftmen www.theshaftmen.com and his own roots solo work www.johnemms.com

12
Feb
12

HOUSTON, JACKSON, WINEHOUSE, COBAIN-WHAT IS “TOO HIGH”-BY JOHN EMMS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are all of us taking too much medication, prescription drugs or even drinking too much?

The answer is probably yes.

How high is to high?

Whitney Houston is just the latest

Sports stars, musicians, everyday soocer moms and dads and even the elderly. WOW.

Did you ever see the bags of drugs for over prescribed seniors?  It’s ridiculous

The list of celebrity people dead from drug related use, interactions, or accidental overdose is legendary.

It’s sad when you think of all the people that loved these people.

But it never stops people from taking chances

And let’s be honest, a lot of us take prescription drugs .

On bad days (there are a lot of those) when I’m in daily pain I take Tylenol, or sometimes take medication to help me sleep at night, because my joints are killing me.

Problem is,  in most cases your life, your art, your relationships, and your family suffers.

Cocaine,  alcohol, anti-depressants, heroin, morphine, cholesterol medication, high blood pressure medication, and if all else fails suicide because your just too screwed up.

The world is too fast. People need to slow down. Yet all of us try. Hell, I could be doing something besides writing this blog.

Besides, I need a drink of wine to cleanse my arteries!

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, online radio host http://emms.podbean.com/ and long time musician www.johnemms.com

10
Feb
12

MILEY CYRUS GETS SOUFUL RESPECT WITH DYLAN/BILLY RAY SHOULD TAP RICK RUBIN TO PRODUCE-BY JOHN EMMS

 

If you have not heard Miley Cyrus’ soulful country version of Bob Dylan’s Your Going To Make Me Lonesome When You Go, your misssing out big time.

The song is available on Chimes of Freedom

the Amnesty International fundraising cd.

Sounding like a cross between a young Lucinda Williams and with a hint of early Dolly Partons’s  high register Cyrus transforms the track into one of the best Dylan covers on the disc.

Cyrus has said she wants to concentrate on her music in 2012 and if this is any indication watch out. Bravo Miley.

If that was not enough you may have missed some of her father’s nuggets on his Back To Tennesse cd in 2009. The album sold really bad and was over produced.

But I’m saying there is light at the end of the tunnel for Billy Ray just on the strength of a few killer tracks.

Love Is a Lesson is a grungy stomper that Billy Ray just sings his butt off on.

It’s personal and he nails it with a searing guitar solo by Tom Bukovac 

On Somebody Said A Prayer, you could hear this track possibly pared down to  acoustic guitars or a small Ryan Adams combo and Cyrus could wail out the lyric.

When I hear Cyrus I hear a Rick Rubin makeover in the vein of Ryan Adams and it could be a career changing situation for Billy Ray.

 

Next up look for my blu-ray review of Carlos Santana and his band Greatest Hits Live From Montreux 2011

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, songwriter/musician www.johnemms.com John’s  radio show has an international following. Check it out here  http://emms.podbean.com/

07
Feb
12

DO YOUR PARENTS GET YOUR MUSIC OBSESSION-THE DOORS/BIEBER COMPARISON-BY JOHN EMMS

Sometimes a certain album will trigger memories. Recently I watched  the L.A. Woman 40th Anniversary doc/ blu-ray and The Doors debut classic album series back to back and it brought back memories of my mom and dad who have now passed away.

I remember buying The Doors first album on vinyl (that’s all we had folks) and listening to it cranked on this tiny record player in my bedroom. I’m pretty sure I was one of the few who had the album in our tiny town.

It was after school, and I think  my mom was preparing supper. We had a small house on Front Street in South Porcupine. My dad worked long hours at the Big Dome Mine and was pretty much a straight shooter.

I would say Beatle albums and American pop (The Turtles, Beach Boys)  were for the first 3 or 4 years safe to play. However, when I brought home The Doors debut and had played it about 3 or 4 times my mom asked me straight up what is that man singing about?

The man in question was of course Jim Morrison. I had just finished playing the album and of course the album concludes with the 11 minute plus song titled The End.

As plain as day, even through a bedroom door you could hear the lines “The killer awoke before dawn, he got his boots on” and later the lyric “Father, yes son? I want to kill you, Mother i want to …aaaaarrrrrrrh..screaming and moaning.

I don’t think your father is going to approve of this music, my mom said. I shrugged my shoulders and said they are just like the other bands I play.

I don’t know who I was kidding.

I had never, ever heard music as intense, counter culture, sexual or thought provoking 

Now kids grow up with Justin Bieber’s debut cd wrapped up in Auto tune. 

Bieber seems like a really well balanced young man. I’m kind of glad Jim Morrison was not.

My mom hid a lot of  things I did from my dad. Thanks mom.

JOHN EMMS  is a long time music journalist and has found time to make his own music www.johnemms.com and host his own radio show http://emms.podbean.com/

07
Feb
12

THE DOORS-MR MOJO RISIN-BLU-RAY REVIEW-THE STORY OF L.A. WOMAN-BY JOHN EMMS

The longer The Doors are in the public eye, the more you realize just how special their music was.

With this in mind, readers should check out Ray Manzareks’ new album with slide guitarist Roy Rogers titled Transclucent Blues. It is killer. In fact, I picked that disc as one of my top ten blues albums of 2011.

Okay, the first 15 minutes of this blu-ray is a recap of the band’s history. In fact most of these clips at the start you have seen many many times. That is going to irritate some, but not all people.

But hold on! Despite the lack of actual perfomance footage, fans will have to have this in their collection.

The reason.

Getting the low down on what went into making songs like  Riders on The Storm, the title track and Love Her Madly  just to name three tracks is an insightful journey.

Let’s put it this way. If you heard The Beatles discuss the White Album or The Stones discuss Sticky Fingers you are going to dive in. Ditto for this classic.

Some of my fave parts are actually interviews with manager Bill Siddons, recording engineer Bruce Botnick and producer Paul Rothschild. These interviews provide space and some clarity to what actually happened during the time of the album’s release.

More on the technical side, the surviving members demonstrate techniques, how the songs came to be, and various insights on Jim Morrison’s gift for poetry, prose, and lyrical content . Morrison’s death in Paris and how it affected the bandmembers is also discussed in some detail

Excepting for the overview recap at the start, this blu-ray with some very hip extras is going to fascinate fans of the band.  

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, international radio host  http://emms.podbean.com/ and musician www.johnemms.com

01
Feb
12

STYX..REVIEW BLU-RAY THE GRAND ILLUSION/PIECES OF EIGHT-LIVE-“RESPECTING THE LEGACY”

STYX  The Grand Illusion/Pieces of Eight LIVE

Competing with the classic lineup of Styx when these albums were originally released is something the “new” version of Styx do very well.

The reason is simple.

The new guys Lawrence Gowan (lead vocals, keys, 13 years with the band) Ricky Phillips (bass, vocals) and drummer Todd Sucherman are all exceptional players. They play with feel, and respect for the material.

JY Young is Styx’s secret weapon. His guitar sound now legendary and his vocal work is the glue that holds the band’s legacy of hard rock. A fact often overlooked.

Tommy Shaw the band’s chief songwriter, guitarist and leader seems to be playing at a level higher than even the glory days.

I have sat down with other players, fans,wives and friends and the general consenus is “wow this guy just smokes!  It’s true, Shaw is not just a survivor but he is a commanding presence.

The biggest elephant in the room is of course Dennis De Young. One thing will remain, De Young could write great material. Chuck Panozzo is still with band, gigging on bass on special occasions.

This  show is BIG on feel, the band plays very well.  Gowan sounds a lot like De Young, but always maintains an edge and that becomes defining over the course of the entire production.

Sucherman let’s face it is a monster of a drummer and Phillips bass work brings a modern edge to Panozzo’s original work.

Unexpected highlights are Fooling Yourself and Man in the Wilderness both from Shaw, and the band’s overall plunge into De Young’s title track Pieces of Eight.  JY Young rips through Miss America, and The Great White Hope and nails it to the floor with Gowan on Queen of Spades.

Aku-Aku fades out to a standing ovation.

Although Styx now sells coffee and jewellery on their official website they do remain in performance, vital to their own legacy. 

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, musician and online international radio host http://emms.podbean.com/




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