Music

Music

Fri
31
May

Laurie Berkner: Victor Vito 25th Anniversary Edition, Where Every Song is Happiness

Victor Vito

Wow, it's been 25 years since this album was first released and 19 years since I first heard its songs on Jack’s Big Music Show on Nickelodeon's channel “Noggin” with my daughter. We fell in love with these songs back then and still love them to this day.

When I was a wee lad many, many years ago, I did not have the luxury of kids' music being so widely available. What little there was, I treasured. Very little was played on the radio back then, and music geared toward kids was not overly common on records that I remember. My mother always made sure she bought me a music album whenever she went shopping and could find something. I still have the very first album she ever bought me, and yes, I still play it to this day. Why, you might ask? Because of the wonderful memories that are forever tied to it.

Sun
28
Apr

Mel and Friends "Swingset Serenade" -- a Swing Set for the Swingset

Swingset Serenade

Swingset Serenade,” a family album conceived, written, and performed by Melanie Dill and Tom Johnson, accompanied by the talents of a whole slew of musicians and kids, brings an excitingly different take on children’s music. So much so that calling it just a children’s album doesn’t do it justice. This is an album that the whole family can get into, and to quote an age-old saying and allow them to “swing and sway like Sammy Kaye!” And that’s no stretch of the imagination. This album is a multicultural swing fest from the first song to the last!

Fri
29
Mar

Lejonklou Entity: Follow-Up

In my recent review of the Lejonklou Entity Moving Coil-only Phono Stage, I extolled the virtues of how much more musical and natural it made my records sound.

In that review, I also mentioned how Frederick Lejonklou, the designer of the Entity, created and voiced the phono stage using Linn Silver Cables. Other reviewers of the Entity, who used these cables instead of their personal choices, preferred the sound with the Linn Cables. Even someone I trust unequivocally, Charlie Schnyder of Stereo Haven, who doesn’t normally use Linn Cables in anything else and was skeptical at first, assured me of how wonderful the sound was using the Linn cables over the Auditorium A23 cables (which were the cables I originally used to listen to the Entity and which made beautiful music together).

Tue
19
Mar

The Rolling Stones: Live At The Wiltern

Live at the Wiltern: The Rolling Stones

Not a Greatest Hits Live Album, But a Live Great Hits Album!

Sat
09
Mar

The Who: Live at Shea Stadium 1982

The Who Live at Shea Stadium

The Who: Live From Shea Stadium 1982 is reviewed here as a 3-album vinyl set from Mercury Studios that captures The Who on tour supporting the release of their then-new album “It’s Hard”.

This concert strikes a chord with me because I remember trying to get tickets to the concert but not being able to... Alas, now some 42 years (sigh) later, I'm at last able to say I was there... Thanks in part to the wonderful job Mercury Studios did bringing this album to market.

There are 23 songs in total that capture the energy of the band live, consisting of both new (at the time) and old songs, classic staples, and rare numbers as well that even a Who fan might say they haven't heard or listened to in years.

Recorded on October 13th, 1982, this tour would be the last full-scale tour The Who would do for 7 years and also marks the last with drummer Kenny Jones of The Faces, who was hired in 1979 to fill the shoes of Keith Moon after Keith's passing in 1978.

Sat
17
Feb

The Lejonklou Entity 1.1 Indeed an entity All in Itself

Lejonklou Entity 1.1

I first became aware of Lejonklou at the first Axpona show several years back BC (before Covid) when I heard the SINGularity Phono, which in all of its polished copper glory stood out both in sight and sound.

The Lejonklou Entity phono stage here, manufactured in Sweden and imported into the U.S by Nokturne Audio out of Michigan, is descended from that cost-no-object beauty and as such also comes directly from the mind, to the desk, to the ears of Fredrik Lejonklou himself. It is a moving coil-only phono stage that, to my ears, tells me that not only does it share the same lineage as the SINGularity but that it is aptly named as well.

One of the Merriam-Webster dictionary definitions of the word "Entity" is “Something that has separate and distinct existence and objective or conceptual reality”…the Entity, although similar in many ways, is in its own self different from the other.

Fri
03
Nov

Michelle Berting Brett: Jazz, Torch & Ancient Pop

Jazz Torch Ancient Pop

I have often said that one of the greatest enjoyments of listening to music is when I discover the talents of an artist I hadn't heard of before, performing so wonderfully to my ears that it actually makes me angry at myself for not having enjoyed their music sooner.

This album, "Jazz, Torch, and Ancient Pop," is one such album, and Canadian songstress Michelle Berting Brett is one such artist. As I have learned, Michelle has been best known for touring the country since 2013, performing a highly successful show called "We've Only Just Begun: Carpenters Remembered" because the quality of her voice has been repeatedly compared to Karen Carpenter.

Fri
13
Oct

Anticipation Worth the Wait: Carly Simon's "These are the Good Old Days" on Vinyl

Carly Simon, "These Are The Good Old Days"

This double-album set is from Rhino Records, sequenced and curated by Elektra Founder Jac Holzman with Ted Olson. “These are the Good Old Days” is a selection of songs that mostly cover the music from Simon’s first 3 albums: “Carly Simon”, “Anticipation”, and “No Secrets”, along with an outtake of John Prine’s “Angel From Montgomery” and a previously unreleased demo of “Alone.” The set covers the unique partnership between Carly and Jac, who signed her (along with many famous others) to Elektra and became a lifelong friend whom Carly credits for her becoming a performer.

Carly Simon, to me growing up, was the double whammy. Not only was she one of the most beautiful women I’d had ever seen, but she also possessed one of the most beautiful voices I’d ever heard. And while the vinyl discs within conveyed the one, her album covers were always the stuff dreams were made of.

 

Sun
24
Sep

"Bring Me My Broadsword and Clear Understanding!"

Jethro Tull 40th

Jethro Tull Releases 40th Anniversary Vinyl Edition of "The Broadsword and the Beast"

As a fan of Ian Anderson and Jethro Tull for over 50 years, I was eager to see and hear what this new 40th Anniversary edition of the “The Broadsword and the Beast” album would contain. I’ve always found anything like this that the “band” put out in the past to be full of goodies and musical gems. Happily this set is no exception.

 

 

Wed
19
Jul

Hot Tuna: Live At Sweetwater 1, Live At Sweetwater 2, & Live In Japan

Hot Tuna

Okay… try to remain calm, I said to myself… don’t get your hopes blown out of proportion… remember your dignity (what little you have of it)… yes, this is a 3-CD Set of Hot Tuna music live… yes, it's from 3 different shows… yes, the songs have been remastered… yes, it's from Mercury Studios… but stay reserved… it might not be that good… WRONG! WRONG! WRONG! … This set is freakin' off the charts awesome!

Well, that threw decorum out the window!

So, if you couldn't tell by that first paragraph, I am a huge “Tuna” fan…

Tue
04
Jul

Nevāda Nevada: Past Life

Past Life

“Past Life” on Rocks In Your Head Records from Nevāda Nevada was my first foray into the music by this group and the artists that comprise it, although most seem to have been involved with various other bands in the past.

Comprised of Kathryn Musilek, Andrew Gerhan, Adam Arcuragi, David Olson, and Alicia Berbenick, their album here was both an eye and an ear opener.

Not knowing what to expect when listening to a new album from a band I’m unfamiliar with is one of the joys of sitting down and listening to music. I found it quite eye-opening and exciting that when I put the stylus on the grooves of the striking fuchsia colored vinyl LP that the first six words that emanated from my speakers were “Fuck your country, fuck your guns.”

It was instantly apparent this was not going to be some formulaic run-of-the mill album.

 

Thu
08
Jun

How to Get Your Recording Studio Set Up in 2023

Studio Set Up

Getting a recording studio set up in 2023 can be a challenge. With the cost of living going up, the availability of studio spaces, and everything else going on in the world at the moment, it can be just another added stress to what should be an exciting experience.

That said, there are so many ways that you can still find some fun in making your studio a fantastic space that inspires artists and gets your production rolling. However, you need to plan carefully to ensure you go about it the right way. 

Getting new equipment

Getting a new recording studio means a lot of new equipment. This can be exciting, especially if you are currently just using the backroom in your flat to get recordings done. So, you should make sure that you are getting your hands on some great new tech and making sure that you are getting your money's worth out of your old. You should be ensuring that you are getting this stage right to get the most out of it later on.

Mon
24
Apr

Niall Horan Releases New Single "Meltdown" This Friday

Niall Horan is prepared to release his second single “Meltdown”, this Friday, off of his highly anticipated, third album: THE SHOW. His first single, “Heaven”, was played by fans everywhere and it soared into the Top-100 upon its release and is currently over 65 million streams on Spotify.

 

Sun
02
Apr

Eva Cassidy with the London Symphony Orchestra: I Can Only Be Me

Eva Cassidy

So let me start this review off by finishing it: If you are an Eva Cassidy fan, a fan of the female voice, a fan of beauty and the human spirit, then you need to have this album “Eva Cassidy with the London Symphony Orchestra: I Can Only Be Me” from Blix Street Records. Period. End of story.

Now that you know you need this, here’s why.

If you are familiar with Eva then you know the story behind her, her music, her sad passing, her posthumous success, and, most importantly, her beautiful voice and unequalled style. If not, this album will whet your appetite and set you on a course to obtain everything this young lady recorded in her brief career before passing away at 33 in 1996 from melanoma. I doubt anyone who has heard her, hasn’t been changed in some way by listening to her music.

Sun
26
Mar

MonaLisa Twins, "Why?" Why? Because They're Fantastic, That's Why!

MonaLisa Twins WHY?

The MonaLisa Twins are singer/songwriting, multi-instrumentalist duo of twin sisters, Mona Wagner and Lisa Wagner, who hail from Austria. They have their own website (www.monalisa-twins.com) where you can find out all about them, get news and updates from them, buy albums, merchandise, join their own subscription “club” (which helps fund their ability to make music independently without big record companies or labels), among other things.

I must confess that before reviewing this CD from the duo, I had only heard of them by name and not yet by music, even though they have several albums out.

But, having said that and having now experienced what they make and are capable of making, shame on me, as I could kick myself in the pants for not having listened to them sooner!

Mon
20
Mar

The Rolling Stones, GRRR Live: GRRR8!

GRRR Live!

The Rolling Stones GRRR Live DVD/2CD set showcases the Stone’s 50th anniversary tour billed as the “50 and Counting” Tour. How apropos considering where they are now! This particular concert took place on the last of four nights in Newark N.J. on December 15th, 2012. With guest appearances by The Black Keys, Mick Taylor, Lady Gaga, John Mayer, Gary Clark Jr., and Bruce Springsteen, the concert was quite the star-studded show.

Originally recorded and aired on Pay-Per-View, and not available to be for fans since, this set has been re-edited and the audio re-mixed, beautifully showcasing the Stones at this point in their career, and, undoubtedly, one of the most memorable shows in their history.

Sun
05
Feb

The Jorgensens: Americana Soul

The Joregensens Americana Soul

The Jorgensens latest release, Americana Soul on Paramour Records, is an aptly titled collection of ten original songs by the husband and wife team of Kurt and Brianna Jorgensen.

I say ‘aptly titled’ because this exceptionally talented duo and collective of equally talented supporting musicians have created a collection of songs with a sound that is both comfortable and relatable as Americana, and new and bold and full of soul.

Is this possible? Can such a blend of old and new be possible and not considered, say “New Country” music? The answer for me is a resounding yes!

From the moment the first beats from the title track “Old Black Crow” play, you realize right away this is not country music; and as you listen to the words and how they are sung, you realize this is story telling as it once was, and without the twangy nasality that sends chills up my spine like nails on a chalk board.

Wed
16
Nov

Diana Panton's "Blue" Will Have You Feel Anything But

Diana Panton, "Blue"

Have you ever had one of those moments where you were just settling into you chair, just about all set to start listening to music. You’ve hit the play button on your CD player, but you’re still a moment or two from being truly situated and focused. All of a sudden, the first words and notes are sung and played, and you jerk your head up, stop what you’re doing, and shoot your eyes straight to the space between your speakers -- because what you just heard is recorded so well and the vocals so pure and lifelike that you forget finishing settling in and just stop and listen.

That’s what happened to me just now when I cued up the new CD from Diana Panton, “Blue.”

I confess, I had not heard Diana before this album, and was instantly blown away by her beautiful voice and singing style. This has only happened to me twice before, once with Eva Cassidy and the other with Julie London.

Tue
19
Jul

Thin Lizzy: Live at the Sydney Opera House, October 1978

Thin Lizzy

For those who only know of Phil Lynott and Thin Lizzy from either “Whisky In The Jar” or “The Boys Are Back In Town,” having heard them played on a classic rock station, let me tell you: you don’t know either, nor do you know the impact they had on hard rock specifically, and rock and roll in general.

Fortunately for those people, and those of us who have grown up listening to them and owning their records, there is a new release out from Mercury Studios that will not only offer an insight into just how powerful a rock band they were, but also give us a deeper look into the band and their leader, Phil Lynott.

This new set is comprised of a music CD of Thin Lizzy’s October 1978 concert performed at the Sydney Opera House, along with a DVD of the concert and a second DVD from 2020 entitled “Phil Lynott Songs For While I’m Away.”

Both the audio and video have been remixed and remastered by Mercury Studios.

Tue
28
Jun

Paul Winter Consort: Concert in the Barn

Paul Winter Consort

What the first morning of summer sounds like.

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