Monday, April 9, 2018

Album Spotlight: The Amorettes - Born to Break

We all listen to music for different reasons at different times because of different circumstances or moods. Maybe something takes you back to a distant memory that you don't want to forget. Maybe a song or album is something you really relate to and helps you get through a difficult time. Maybe the lyrics speak to you and make you think. Maybe it's a gloomy February day and some mood music is what you need. Maybe it's a sunny spring day and you want something light and peppy. Music can inspire, music can heal, music can fit any situation you find yourself in. That is the beauty and power and magic of music.

Why did I waste so many words on that? Because sometimes music just needs to be fun. And enjoyable.

The Amorettes' latest album Born to Break is fun. It's, to me, AC/DC meets the Go-Go's. That sounds fun, right?

This Scottish trio is unapologetically rock. And they tug at my heartstrings because they do it late 70s/early 80s style. Guitar, bass and drums. No frills. Straight up hard rock.

Don't look for any deep meaning in the lyrics. As Eric Church once penned "that's damn rock n roll".

There is not much variety on Born to Break. It's twelve in your face songs rock songs. That's not a bad thing. AC/DC made a hell of a career out of doing just that. I respect artists who know who they are/want to be and just go for it.

And, just a head's up, with newish bands like the Amorettes making killer rock music, rock ain't dead in reality, it's just dead on mainstream American radio. It's alive and well and flourishing elsewhere.

Enough words, here is "Everything I Learned - I Learned From Rock and Roll":

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Album Spotlight: Ashley McBryde - Girl Going Nowhere

Ashley McBryde's latest album Girl Going Nowhere has a lot to like. There is some straight up country, some Americana (however the hell you want to define that), some heartland rock (mid 80s style) and some swamp.

The lyrics on the album are chock full of personal stories, imagery, and nostalgia. Lyrics are for each listener to interpret for themself, which is why I rarely go in depth on that front. For me, the lyrics are irrelevant until the music grabs me.

Speaking of the music, Girl Going Nowhere is a collection of 11 very well crafted songs, both instrumentally and lyrically. "Radioland" is a fun. nostalgic, John Mellencamp-type heartland rocker. "Southern Babylon" is dark and swampy and something I'm sure prime Tanya Tucker would have been eager to record. If I did "Song of the Year" type stuff, this song would be the early frontrunner.

There is a cool Tom Petty vibe on "The Jacket", which is another nostalgia song. I don't know, but I hope "Livin' Next To Leroy" is based on a true story, even if not McBryde personally. This song is also the closest McBryde comes to Southern rock. Especially that guitar solo, which I'll get back to later.

"A Little Dive Bar in Dahlonega" is simply a great country song. As is "Tired of Being Happy", which has the added bonus of a great play on words. Self-deprecating and clever lyrics.

The songs and songwriting on this album are exquisite. I need to see Ashley McBryde live, because I think all the songs would pop. My thing on this blog is to promote stuff I like, so you won't see very much criticism here, but there is one element on this album that warrants it.

While I appreciate that the vocals are up in the mix (I hate when I can't understand the vocals), the instrumentation is buried on this album. That solo on "Livin' Next To Leroy" should have been brought way up in the mix. And that's not the only one.

I don't know who in the camp was scared, but someone was and it hurts the album as a listening experience. Fortunately, the quality of the songs overcome the poor mixing judgement.

Anyway, here is my favorite song:

Friday, April 6, 2018

Album Spotlight: Blackberry Smoke - Find a Light

There are going to be a lot of words written about Blackberry Smoke's new album Find a Light. I'm going to save some bandwidth.

If you're a fan of Blackberry Smoke, you'll be pleased. If you've never heard Blackberry Smoke and you like Southern Rock, you'll be pleased. If you don't like Southern Rock, skip.

It's really that simple. Go buy the album, download or pay for your streaming.

So here's some pirate metal from Alestorm:

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Album Spotlight: Danielle Nicole - Cry No More

Danielle Nicole's sophomore solo album Cry No More is a sweaty, sultry blues rock album that is the epitome of my definition of "swamp". The Kansas City native would be right at home in the blues scene of her hometown as well as as the Mississippi Delta, or Memphis, or Texas.

Pulling double duty as not only lead vocalist but also bassist for her band, you know the music is going to feature the bass prominently, and that's a good thing. Too often, the bass gets buried in the mix, not here.

Danielle Nicole started playing bass in order to keep her former band, Trampled Under Foot, a family affair. When she ventured out on her own, no way she was giving up the bass, for the betterment of us all as fans of music.

Is there anything particularly innovative or unique on Cry No More? Not necessarily. But that's not a bad thing. There is absolutely nothing wrong with knowing your wheelhouse and going with it and making kickass music. In fact, that's what I love about the album. It knows what it is and it's going to be as good as or better than anything else you hear.

Her voice is not going to blow you away. It has some Bonnie Raitt qualities, maybe some Melissa Etheridge. However, her voice is perfect for the type of music she plays. It just fits like a glove.

If you start listening and don't like the first song, "Crawl", then stop. But if you do, you're in for a treat. Not a bad song on the album.

I'm going to post a live version of the song "Save Me", because as good as the studio version is, this is better. Which I think every song would be.