AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: GUIDED BY VOICES/SPACE GUN

Remember back in the mid ‘80s when practically every R&B and Pop record released seemed to be performed or written by Prince? From his own albums and singles to songs by The Bangles, The Times, Cyndi Lauper, Vanity 6, The Three O’Clock, Sheena Easton and Sinead O’Connor, Prince was everywhere. It seemed as if he was the most prolific musician and songwriter in the world for at least the second half of the ‘80s… Well, folks, indie singer/songwriter Robert Pollard’s mega prolific output over the years makes Prince look like a lazy bastard!  But unlike Prince, the fruits of Pollard’s insane work ethic is not locked up in a dark vault somewhere, never to be heard by the public. In fact, just the opposite – Pollard has released hundreds of songs under his own name as well as under the names of the many side projects he’s been involved with including Circus Devils, Boston Spaceships, Ricked Wicky, Phantom Tollbooth, Teenage Guitar, and, most importantly, Guided By Voices.

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AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: CASEY ABRAMS/PUT A SPELL ON YOU

Casey Abrams was born in Austin, Texas and eventually made his way to Idyllwild, California. This multi-instrumentalist initially made a name for himself on the 10th season of American Idol – he finished in sixth place – and judging by his 2018 album PUT A SPELL ON YOU, he’s certainly learned a lot during his long and exciting journey. Unlike many other artists who are content to find a niche or genre they feel comfortable in, Abrams mixes and matches genres as he sees fit. This is not a former American Idol contestant that is going to fall in line and churn out a variation on today’s Top 40. Nope. Casey Adams is going to do whatever he damn well pleases!

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AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: ALTAN/THE GAP OF DREAMS

When a dream is born from love and passion, it will never fade away.  Altan, the traditional Irish outfit, is that dream come to life.  Formed three decades ago by Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh (vocals/fiddle) and her husband Frankie Kennedy (flute/tin whistle), their shared musical vision became reality on a few duo recordings before forming a full-fledged band – Altan. Even though Kennedy passed away in 1994, Mairéad and her bandmates have continued to keep the musical dream alive. In 2018, they release the beautiful and inspiring THE GAP OF DREAMS.

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AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: AUDREY ASSAD/EVERGREEN

While many Contemporary Christian Music artists are largely overlooked by the secular market, there are those artists who manage to make that breakthrough and touch the lives of listeners who would not normally tune into any type of praise music. Audrey Assad is one of those artists. Since her 2010 full-length debut, THE HOUSE YOU’RE BUILDING, she has released a series of albums that balance the joy of her faith with the trials of being human. EVERGREEN, her 2018 album, continues that musical journey in the most pure and honest way.

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: LEE DEWYZE/PARANOIA

 PARANOIA is the seventh album from singer/songwriter Lee DeWyze, best known as the winner of the ninth season of AMERICAN IDOL. Paranoia is an atmospheric and highly passionate album that blends the warmth of acoustic instrumentation with cold yet emotional electronic textures, creating something that is unique yet still very commercial. PARANOIA is a highly emotional concept album that details the many facets of a romantic Relationship – a subject that all of us can relate to. 

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AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: RUBY BOOTS/DON’T TALK ABOUT IT

Born in Australia and now  residing in Nashville, TN, singer/songwriter Bex Chilcott – better known as Ruby Boots – creates music that slightly betrays both her homeland and her adopted city. In fact, she manages to cross genres with ease, rarely standing still long enough to adopt any genre as her own. Her 2018 album DON’T TALK ABOUT IT that supports that claim.

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AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: BERNARD ALLISON/LET IT GO

Bernard Allison made his recording debut on GONNA BE A LIVE ONE IN HERE TONIGHT, a 1979 live album by his father Luther Allison. Recorded live in Peoria, IL when Bernard was only 13, this set was an auspicious debut for an artist that has continued to mine the soul of the Blues for over forty years. In the early ‘80s, the young guitar slinger became a member of Koko Taylor’s band as well as continuing to work with is father. While it took another 11 years before he released his first official solo album (1990’s THE NEXT GENERATION), Bernard has certainly made each release count. He may have inherited his father’s talents but Bernard has taken the Blues in new and exciting directions.

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: STRANGE ANGELS/IN FLIGHT WITH ELMORE JAMES

 

Although he passed away 55 years ago, Blues musician Elmore James remains an influential musical force today. Often referred to as ‘The King of the Slide Guitar,’ Elmore’s music still resonates in the hearts of fans and musicians alike. While the names Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf might be more familiar to the casual music fan, James’s musical output is just as important as those esteemed musicians’ respected back catalogs. In fact, Elmore’s “Dust My Broom” is one of the most familiar – and most covered – Blues songs in Rock history.

 

In celebration of what would have been his 100th birthday, Elmore James gets the tribute treatment on STRANGE ANGELS: IN FLIGHT WITH ELMORE JAMES courtesy of Sylvan Songs. This collection brings Rock, Americana and Blues artists together to pay homage to Elmore and his music.  From Rodney Crowell to Chuck E. WeissBettye LaVette to Deborah Bonham, the performances on STRANGE ANGELS: IN FLIGHT WITH ELMORE JAMES are just as inspiring as the man himself.

Here’s the full tracklist:

  1. Can’t Stop Loving You– Elayna Boynton
  2. Person To Person –Bettye LaVette
  3. Shake Your Money Maker –Rodney Crowell
  4. Done Somebody Wrong –Tom Jones
  5. Mean Mistreatin’ Mama –Warren Haynes w/Billy Gibbons & Mickey Raphael
  6. Dust My Broom –Deborah Bonham
  7. It Hurts Me Too –Jamey Johnson
  8. Strange Angels –Shelby Lynne & Allison Moorer
  9. Look On Yonder Wall –Keb Mo’
  10. My Bleeding Heart –Mollie Marriott
  11. Hawaiian Boogie –Chuck E. Weiss
  12. Dark And Dreary –Addi McDaniel
  13. Bobby’s Rock –Elmore’s Latest Broomdusters

One of the creative forces behind this tribute album is drummer/producer Marco Giovino, the Boston-born musician who has worked with a wide array of artists including Tom Jones, Don Henley, Buddy Miller, Bobby Bare, Loretta Lynn, Norah Jones, John Cale, Patty Griffin and many others. Marco was also a member of Robert Plant’s Band Of Joy and played with the former Led Zeppelin vocalist in 2010 and 2011. Marco himself was responsible for securing many of the artists that played on this collection.

Marco says: “Elmore is what they would call today the ‘Triple Threat’. He could write, sing and play. My intention with this record was to find artists who could help highlight all three of those areas that he excelled at. Not just one. I mentioned a few artists we could ask and Tom Siering suggested donating all proceeds to charity.  Without Tom, by my side in support of this project and the recipient charities, none of this would have been possible. His love and passion for the music and respect for the musicians and artists involved easily lifted this album to the level that Elmore’s music rightfully deserves.”

STRANGE ANGELS: IN FLIGHT WITH ELMORE JAMES is an electrifying collection that pays respect to the original recordings while introducing the music of the Blues great to a whole new generation.

VARIOUS ARTISTS

STRANGE ANGELS: 

IN FLIGHT WITH ELMORE JAMES

Available NOW! 

ALTERED IMAGES: The Epic Years (4CDs) reviewed!

Regardless of what the naysayers think, the ‘80s was an extremely exciting decade for music. From Punkto Post-Punk, Power Pop to Synthpop, New Wave to New Romantic, there was so much creativity in the air. Punk had come along in 1976 and levelled the playing field, allowing bands to create new musical genres, of which there were many. On any given week, you could buy new releases from artists like A Flock Of Seagulls, Gang Of Four, The Icicle Works, Peter & The Test Tube Babies, Spandau Ballet, XTC, Squeeze, Culture Club, Split Enz, Madness, Blancmange, PiL, The Clash, The Human League, The Jam, Siouxsie & The Banshees and so many other remarkably talented bands. Sure, there were second and third tier bands that seemed to jump on whatever bandwagon was the most popular at the time but by and large, there were many unique bands that really stood out from the pack. Altered Images was one of those bands and THE EPIC YEARS (4CD) is all the proof you need! This box set contains the band’s three studio albums (with bonus tracks) plus an additional CD containing nine extended remixes. THE EPIC YEARS is the definitive Altered Images collection and should be a part of any serious music fan’s collection. Ahem, that means YOU, the reader!