Friday, July 29, 2016

Album Spotlight: Jennifer Westwood and the Handsome Devils: Greetings from This Town

Doing this as a hobby, sometimes stuff slips past me. I try to keep as current as possible, but life happens. Greetings from This Town by Jennifer Westwood and the Handsome Devils was released in May of 2015. I just found it earlier this month. But, as the saying goes, good music never goes out of style.

Jennifer Westwood and the Handsome Devils are a bluesy country rock outfit from Detroit. Or maybe a country blues rock band. Or maybe a rockin' country blues band. Whatever you want to call them, their music is good.

From the blues rock opener "Bad Luck Charm" to the foot stompin' high energy country of "Divorcee" to the the straight-up country of "Sinner Part Time" to the smoky, bluesy swamp of "Wade in the Water" Westwood and her band can bring it.

Here are a couple of my favorite tracks.
"Bad Luck Charm"

"Sinner Part Time"

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Album Spotlight: The Temperance Movement: White Bear

Southern psychedelic grunge rock. It took me a while to find the right descriptors for The Temperance Movement's new album White Bear. This is another in my quest to prove that rock is indeed not dead.

Living on the harder edge of Southern Rock (yes, I know they from the UK, but Southern Rock has been around for 40+ years and is a fairly ubiquitous term that can be applied regardless of locale of origin), White Bear takes you on a psychedelic rock journey that makes a lengthy stop in Seattle for some Soundgarden/Alice in Chains inspired 90s rock.

Here is the song "White Bear" from the album:

While the album is chock full of rockers like "White Bear", when you get to last song the nuance and depth increases dramatically. "Time Won't Leave" reminds me of a song that would not be out of place on any of the Eagles iconic records. Have a listen to this live acoustic version.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

More Substance Than Bro Country, More Country Than Sam Hunt

On Sirius the other day I heard the d.j. say that she had heard The Eagles would be considered “country” today. Which is funny ’cause I have recently been thinking about that. I loved The Eagles. They’ve dabbled in country for years. The truth: they would NOT get played today because they are “too traditional.”
 That quote came from the comments section on an article on the website Saving Country Music from a user identified only as Justin.

It got me to thinking that a lot of 80's hair metal power ballads are more country than what you hear on mainstream country radio today. So of course I went down that rabbit hole. And then I got stuck on Cinderella. At their core, Cinderella was really more of a blues rock/Southern rock band than a hair metal band. But they had the look and played the part. But the music told a different story.

I could mine ten songs from the Cinderella catalog that would make a more country album than you could get from taking ten songs from eight hours worth of mainstream country radio.

But I digress from the main point. Taking individual songs (and yes I know, that's cherry picking) from artists such as Cinderella, Motley Crue, Poison, Warrant, Faster Pussycat, Guns n' Roses, and L.A. Guns, just to name a few, you can find songs more country than anything Sam Hunt has done.

And here's the real kicker. While the demise of the glam/sleaze rock scene was mired in misogyny and shallowness, there is more substance to be found there than in the bro country scene. Want proof? Glad you asked. I made a Spotify playlist of songs with more substance than bro country and more country than Sam Hunt.

Granted, none of these songs are really country in the true sense of country music. It's more of an exercise than anything else. And yes, I have an affinity for 80's hard rock, what I grew up with.  And yeah, I took some liberties including KISS and a Lita Ford cover of an Alice Cooper song. It's my playlist.

If you Spotify, enjoy:

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Album Spotlight: The Wild Feathers: Lonely Is A Lifetime

Sometimes I'll hear a new album that inspires me so that I have to get an "Album Spotlight" out as soon as possible. Sometimes it takes time for an album to grow on me. Sometimes I find something a few months after its releases. And sometimes life just happens and you forget.

The latter was what happened with the Wild Feathers' Lonely Is A Lifetime, released in March of 2016. I fully expected to have a piece written three plus months ago, then life happened and then I forgot out it (I don't take very good notes).

Nashville's The Wild Feathers is... a rock band? Probably, but when I think rock, I think AC/DC. Pop? Pop tendencies, sure, but you can't have an eight minute song and be pop. Americana? Not really, though you could make an argument for that on some songs. And those of you who read regularly know I really don't care about genre anyway.

Lonely Is A Lifetime is a collection of eleven really good, fairly diverse songs. While you can hear influences ranging from Tom Petty to Pink Floyd, The Wild Feathers definitely have their own distinct sound highlighted by three vocalists, each taking their turn on lead with Eagles-inspired harmonies. Oh, and there is the definite Gram Parsons vibe on a few songs.

Lonely Is A Lifetime seems like a natural progression from The Wild Feathers self-titled 2013 debut album. While the debut record is good, it's more in the straight up Southern Rock/Country/Americana vein. The new album is more experimental in nature. And the experiments turned out well.

Here is "Overnight" from Lonely Is A Lifetime:

And because there is a shortage of good eight-plus minute songs in the world right now, here is "Goodbye Song":

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Album Spotlight: The Amorettes: White Hot Heat

The Amorettes second album White Hot Heat is a lot like their previous album Game On. And that is not a bad thing. When you hit upon something that works, why deviate? AC/DC has been doing it for years.

The Amorettes are a trio from Scotland that has stripped everything down to guitar, bass and drums. And attitude. Straight up, no-frills, punch-you-in-the-face rock.

For anyone old enough to remember, think Fastway. It's got that kind of vibe.

Here is "Let The Neighbors Call The Cops":

Friday, July 8, 2016

Album Spotlight: Rylie Bourne: Rylie Bourne

Turn off your mainstream radio station. Get plugged into some music blogs that feature music you like. Then go support the artists you find that you like.

Rylie Bourne was a name I never heard until yesterday. Then I saw a review of her debut album at Country Music Minds. Read it, if you want a good review. Better than I could do.

Bourne does justice to traditional country without sounding dated. Think Kacey Musgraves and Sunny Sweeney with a bit of Dolly Parton sprinkled in.

And she's got swamp, that sultry, bluesy, organic thing that can only be described as swampy.

Here is "Mary Ann" from an NPR Tiny Desk session.


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

New Video: Heart: Beautiful Broken

The lead video for Heart's new album features Metallica's James Hetfield joining Ann and Nancy Wilson. It's good to see Classic Rock legends still putting out new music that won't get played on radio. And the Wilson sisters still have it. Here is "Beautiful Broken":

Friday, July 1, 2016

Free For All Friday: Joe Lynn Turner

Joe Lynn Turner has always been one of my favorite singers in rock, most notably during his stint in Rainbow and collaborating with super shredder Yngwie Malmsteen.

Turner's band Sunstorm put out an album, Edge of Tomorrow, in May of 2016. I'll have to say, it has that classic hard rock sound. Here is the title track from the album:

Inarguably, the height of guitarist Malmsteen's popularity and appeal came when Turner was his vocalist. While Yngwie is an incredible guitarist, it took a collaboration with Joe Lynn Turner for him to be known outside of musician circles. Here is Heaven Tonight from Odyssey, Malsmsteens highest charting album ever.

The first I became aware of Joe Lynn Turner was when he was in Rainbow with Ritchie Blackmore. While "Street of Dreams" was more popular, I was always partial to more of the album cuts and this one, "Stone Cold", with Blackmore looking particularly disinterested, as he is prone to do: