Welcome to another edition of my Rockstar series. Please have a browse through my world of articulate sentences and broad vocabulary to read the latest reviews on the hottest rock and contemporary musicians around.
BlackWaterGreed is an exciting new Alternative Rock act from Lancaster, Pennsylvania in The US. The band describes their sound as " Classy Rock", which is " A marriage between the '70s and 80's classic rock". The band cite such luminaries as Grand Funk Railroad and Shinedown as influences and have already supported Kix & Adrenaline Mob.on tour.
The band- Tyson ( Drums), Michael Mundy ( Vocals) and Los (Andy) Paltzer ( Guitars- now are ready to unleash their much-anticipated debut album Circle of Sin,. The first single from that album " Walk Away", amassed over a million views on YouTube upon its release. This statistic comes as no surprise as the band's easy listening ballads format works comfortably for the listener.
The opening sequence of " Walk Away" is a carefully plucked melody that opens the doors for the pain staked vocals,- easily recognized in many radio-friendly American rock acts- that are reflective with lyrics that feel personal.
The difference here is the string arrangements that come as a welcoming addition as they help focus the raw emotions of the song's content. The heavy distorted guitar bridges then come into force as the chorus becomes an outpour of emotions as the singer reveals introspective lyrics that leave this song feeling like the listener has gone on an emotional journey with the band.
Words are written, and published by Anselm Anderson
Blind Lemon Peel is the alter ego of the charismatic David Dot Hale from Southern California. A bluesman from a bygone era, his style of New Orleans blues, funk and Jjzz combined leads the listener to feel like they have been transported back in time to the great blues of Howlin' Wolf and Johnny Guitar Watson. BLP has acquired some of the most sought after session musicians from Los Angeles and New York. BLP are David Dot Hale ( vocals) Joel Diamond (keys), Bobby Hurricane Spencer(sax), Lucky Lloyd (guitar), Ray Brundidge(bass), David Odom (drums), Tadg Galleran (harp).
Hale has been described as ", An old black bluesman trapped in an even older white man’s body". The energy and verve the band bring to the studio conjure images of said aforementioned stars enjoying themselves in a smoke-filled blues bar in downtown LA. One listens and the listener feels instantly hooked to this husky growl and good time blues. I will be looking at a few tracks of BLP , as a guide to better understanding the band themselves.
Wear What I Please is a fun blues number that looks at the finest things in life. The combination of Hale's booming voice, a talented backup choral, and a tight rhythm section work well to create contemporary styles of New Orleans blues. The slow tempo and basic structures feel accessible to listeners not schooled on old school blues itself. The tracks begin with the casual tapping of bass before the tinkering piano keys add a layer, and the unmistakable range of Hale's trajectory lifts the tempo to more upbeat one that is compound with the sassy vocals of the accompanying back up singers that playoff Hale's vocals. No Time Off (for Good Behaviour) is a blues slow burner with that extra twinkle of charm and panache that is enjoyable listen about A promiscuous woman The patter of drums introduce a more rounded track that fits in several differing textures. Spencer's saxophone is in more prominent play here as the tones reflect the vocalist's dilemma. The thing I enjoy about listening to this band is the chemistry they have together, especially within the instrumentation. Hale's vocal passages can fluctuate between husky growls or low melodic singing that help dictates the tempo of the music. Lloyd's guitar play also deserves a mention with the mix in dynamic his riffs adds to the overlay of the music.
I'm So Horny This is a more countrified track. The subject matter contributes to a more raucous and fun orientated track that will leave your toes tapping to the reverb-drenched squeal of frenetic guitar opens this boogie blues number. The piano lines provide a grand accompaniment throughout as Diamond's fingers dance along the keys to Hale's cheerful roar, and Lloyd's blistering guitar work. This combination proves a lasting relationship as the homophonic sounds interlaces with Hale's always impressive vocal lines. This is one of the more rambunctious tracks that feels like a nod to the more country rock acts.
Don't Tear My Clothes is a more soulful take that explores Hale's scat passages and phrasing. The laid back attitude of this track oozes all the sophistication and coolness of a well-produced blues song. The slow temp intro and simplistic rhythm patterns can't help feel like you are drifting away. The horn section, scintillating blues licks and the purrs of choral vocals ushers in Hale's introduction as the protagonist of the piece. Hale's vocals are more gospel-like as he intersects with his backing vocalists. The rich array of instruments are introduced separately like musicians arriving at different times to reflect. I enjoy how each track has this skill and is testament once again to how Blind Lemon Peel grasps the essence of the blues.
Blind Lemon Peel will be opening up the Alligator Records Titans Of The Blues Tour with Tinsley Ellis and Coco Montoya at The Rose Theater in Pasadena on February 28th. click. here for more information.
Blind lemon Peel is currently recording a new album " Too Much Sax, Too Little Jesus" featuring the legendary Saxophonist Bobby Hurricane Spencer, due out later this year.
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The trio has been creating a buzz with several appearances at major festivals and touring regularly, which includes Download and Camden Rocks that has resulted in them gaining major exposure in national newspapers and radio stations too. The Kut released debut album Valley Of the Thorns last April via Cargo Records to critical acclaim, reaching number 7 on the UK Rock Charts. I had the pleasure to review the first track off that album " Hollywood Rock 'N' Roll" last year, which you can read at the bottom of this article. " I Am Vain" is the new single from it.
The track starts off with the typical raunchy distorted riffs the band tends to produce. The high tempo energy of the trio's sound resonates within the ears to create a sound that comes as no surprise why the band has been so successful. The punky edge and pop-laden hooks feel confrontational as they snarl relentlessly in your face. The lyrical content and attitude is a throwback to 90's grunge bands, with nasal vocals and crunchy guitar riffs. The excellent drumming and guitar solos underlie the band's collective talents as a unit described as " a neat twist of grunge pop"
" Valley Of Thorns" is available now via Cargo records and all good Music Platforms.
The track is a self- reflection after the breakup of a toxic relationship, it has been described as "an anthem of empowerment for building strength and moving on "
I feel this is testament upon first listen of this powerful track. Abbie Roses' voice is rich with warmth and raw emotion as she takes centre stage in this personal performance of moving on.
Her voice grows with the music as the listener can identify with the pain she feels. The upbeats in acoustic guitar and electronic beats accentuates this sentiment. I feel the track picks up gradually through a talented rhythm section that gives Rose the freedom to explore those painful memories.
This is a catchy pop track that I can hear those influences of Fleetwood Mac more due to the songwriting and r' n' b stylings that give this a 70's edge in its polished production values. I expect this to become a hit on radio stations nationwide and beyond if it isn't already.
Rose explains the meaning of this track as "This song is so close to my heart, and despite its sad backstory I always feel strength with a sense of hope when I hear it; I hope you will too. I’m so proud of the hard work we’ve all put in and beyond excited to share it with the world. To the first of many…” I expect there to be more from Abbie and The Roses.....
If you want to find out more about this artist, you can follow them via ;
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As the author of Rockstarblogs, I always felt it was an assumption to just write reviews from the best in unsigned music today. However, every blog and writer needs to evolve, so I'm very privileged to introduce my first interview to this ever-evolving music blog. The recipient of this award is Dee Jazazz a talented Jazz/blues singer-songwriter from New Zealand. Dee has previously released an EP " Moment of Love" and is set to release her follow up " Loves Me, Loves Me Not" later this year. I was first intrigued when I listened to Dee's latest singleLose My Number, a powerful and emotional soul song that has similarities to great singers like Janis Joplin and Ella Fitzgerald.
I spoke to Dee about her new album, life as a vocal coach, who her key influences are, what makes a good singer, and her Bachelor's degree in Contemporary Music.
1)Good morning Dee, could you introduce yourself to readers, who may be unfamiliar with your work?
Hi everyone, I’m so happy to be here, thank you for having me. I am a New Zealand singer-songwriter and music teacher.
I write predominantly Blues and Jazz, however, I do help other musicians with their work and that could be anything from Pop to Disco to RnB, lol and anything in between.
2) You have a warm and impactful voice that I believe has similarities to Janis Joplin and Patsy Cline, who are your influences in the industry?
Funny, you’re not the first person to mention Janis Joplin! I love Janis too, her grit, growl, and honesty in her performance are unmatched IMHO.
My Jazz influences would be Ella Fitzgerald for sure- I mean, who doesn’t like Ella- that voice has so much emotion.
I also love Joss Stone and Nina Simone. Joss Stone has a way of expressing the blues with physical emotion, the way she carries herself and that impacts her timbre. And Nina Simone, oh my, her low notes are mouthwatering. 3) What do you believe are the key influences on your writing?
Emotion, emotion, oh and emotion! Of course, I like to tell a story, I mean what is a song if it’s not a story, but without emotion implied in the music and lyrics- it might as well just be a short story.
For me, I try and keep the lyrics positive and empowering. I believe everything we hear and see impacts how we act in our lives and it’s important to me that I don’t generate negative situations for my listeners- This is really important to me. I f you want to change your life or your attitude- start there! Ask yourself what you’re watching and what is it exactly that you’re feeding your brain. I mean, don’t be fooled into thinking just because you’re an adult that you have a choice- your brain still absorbs and reacts to what you see and hear every minute of every day. As an adult, you get to choose what you absorb! So choose! 4) You have a Bachelors and Graduate Diploma in Contemporary Music for Performance, Vocal, Education, Jazz, and Keyboard, -I hope I am correct there- Could you explain a little about that, and how this has impacted on your music?
My studies made a huge difference in my life and my music- it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made. Some people are hobby musicians and that’s ok, but for me, I wanted to know how to do it all- sing, play, write, perform- the whole kit and kaboodle! Before I did my degree I was writing lyrics and trying (without success) how to write music.
There were a couple of online music creation studios that I tried out, but without the music theory knowledge or genre knowledge for that fact, I realized I was limited. This is what prompted my studies. Interestingly enough, I never saw myself as a teacher, growing up I would not have been picked as being a teacher, I would have been last in that group; I was picked as a singer. When studying it was my classmates and tutors that would constantly comment- ‘oh, you’re such a teacher’. I had a choice of taking Education or the Songwriting paper, and I don’t mind admitting I struggled with that choice. I chose education because I knew I would need an income source at the end of my degree and I trusted that others were seeing something I didn’t. It was the love of songwriting that prompted my studies, but I knew I was a natural songwriter and with other musical knowledge, I could develop it with other musicians. I it's amazing what you can learn about a topic just by being around those who are studying it! I did the education paper, and the first semester I wasn’t sold, but something in me told me to keep going and I’m so glad I did. I have to say that when you teach a student something- a vocal technique for example and they get it- I mean, wow, what a moment. There are times I have had tears when my students succeed at a technique- it's so special! And that is priceless. 5) You seem to be a very multi-talented musician, I understand you are also a vocal and piano coach for your community, what are the key attributes you look for in a student, especially ones that harbor aspirations to become musicians themselves?
Wow, good question. Probably work ethic and the ability to trust. Students come into my class and they don’t know me from a bar of soap, so there is an element of trust involved; I think people forget that sometimes.
The students who come to me with an existing belief that they are already amazing are usually some of the laziest- because they think they don’t have to work at it. They’ve been told they’re talented- pff- talent isn't skilled without work, it’s just a natural ability that undeveloped and probably laden with technical failures. Anyone can play or sing, but few master their instrument to the point its part of their being. People think that singing happens just by opening your mouth and letting out a note- so not true. I had a drummer student that took voice for 6 months, he was astounded at how much was involved in using the ‘whole’ body to sing. I’ve had students come to me who couldn’t pitch a note, and now they pitch in the right key and melody line.
When I interview potential students I make them aware that this is just like taking an extra school class with homework etc. Children are built for learning- that’s their job, to learn and I think sometimes we underestimate what they’re capable of! I’m a holistic teacher, I teach the whole student. I pay attention to their moods, their diet, their posture, and their fitness. It all affects how they learn their instrument- no matter what that instrument is.
6) You have recently released a song “Lose my number”, Could you explain a bit about that track?
I love this track, it’s empowering and I hope it engages people to stand up to a person who is taking them for granted. When I wrote it I wanted it to empower and help strengthen a person’s resolve into realizing they deserve not just better- but the best for themselves, in love. But, haha, this track makes me laugh.
When I listen to it I’m taken straight back to the situation that inspired it. I even remember opening the window and yelling at him ‘Lose My Number, don’t phone, don’t come knockin' on my door’ He didn’t believe me at first, he rang me the following day to see if I’d cooled off. I just hung up. I haven’t spoken or seen him for over thirty years. What was ironic, was the day the song was released onto major platforms he was being interviewed on local tv about his trade- and he’d never been on tv before. I thought that was hilarious, OMG, I mean what are the odds!
7) That track is off your upcoming blues EP, “ Loves me, loves me not” Could you explain to viewers what to expect?
There will be 10 songs on this blues album. There are some standard twelve-bar blues, some cross-genre with Jazz and Funk, some ballads, chill songs and a couple of songs that make you stand up and yell- ‘hell yeah’!
The journey is about how when you think someone loves you, well they say they do, but then they do something that makes you question that. We all know love hurts- even the ones that last the test of time, but sometimes your partner will do or say something that makes you question their love for you. Most of the time it’s about yours or their baggage, from growing up or other relationships. Most the lyrics are about that, the questions that run around in your head and maybe some of the answers discovered in that journey. 8) what was the recording process like behind the album?
Like juggling raw eggs and balloons all at the same time. haha. The art of compromise and balance with the study, work, relationships, commitments, and performances is the standard for all working musicians, add recording to that and well, its a real balancing act. It’s why the need for skilled reliable musicians is so important.
Lose my number was recorded with session musicians in an hour; Nataleea Murphy on Bass, Sol Radley on Drums, Josh Hansen on guitar, Hollie Longman (co-owner of Music South) on keys and me on vocals. It was quick because my musicians were rehearsed, warmed up and ready to go- professionals. I prefer to record using live musicians, If I can’t there are plenty of other options available in this world of technology. I’m in the process of building a band, which takes time. I have a local recording studio engineer who is amazing, he has done all of my songs. Shout out to Aaron Ives of Music South in Invercargill for he is my audio wizard. I don’t know the technical terms of audio, I know a bit, but not a lot.
I remember on Lose My Number there was a particular part that didn’t have the ‘colour’ I wanted, so I said to him - can we make that part ‘thicker’. It didn’t need much, but enough to make it a little more present and added texture in the mix. He knew exactly what I was talking about. Having a great engineer can make all the difference.
As I’m the songwriter, I’m also the producer because I know exactly how I hear the creation in my head. Relaying that can be difficult sometimes- even with a degree, but without a degree even more so- near impossible I’d say and very frustrating to the professional musicians you’re working with.
9) Did you find the transition to writing a blues album difficult in comparison to your earlier work?
Not really, it’s a feel thing. Blues is about strong emotion, honest emotion and doing your best to get that across. So is Jazz, but Jazz is ‘sweeter’, ‘easier listening’. For me, Blues is grit, growl, and music that makes your body want to fibrillate. The style of the story is different. Each story can lean itself towards ‘a genre’ and then you add the natural timbre of a singer, this is what leans a creation towards a genre.
I’ve written lyrics and then tried to add it to a Jazz creation or Blues and realized it ‘sounds’ ridiculous because for me the story ‘sounds’ pop or reggae. I hope that makes sense. Shifting from genre to genre for me is like changing my underwear, neither present that much of a challenge, and that is down to my degree and being exposed to all mix of contemporary genres for sure!
10) And what are your thoughts on musicians like yourself trying to gain exposure for their music with the emergence of platforms like Spotify?
Music platforms have their place and they do make it easier to be ‘on the web’, but they also make it harder. Imagine if you will- ‘You’re in the desert, standing in a 5-foot hole, just enough for your shoulders and head to be above ground. You’re surrounded by people in the same situation, all you can see is sand, dirt and musician’s heads. This mass of people spans the size of the Mojave Desert- 124,000km2.
But all the listeners and music agents are in a big circle around the outside of the desert, every musician needs to not only yell loud enough to be heard but loud enough to be heard over the top of everyone else. Therefore it’s important to gather ‘your’ musician community, where you all help each other be heard and who can and are willing to carry the message through. It's a virtual sandstorm to get noticed these days.
The best way to get noticed today is in real life, grassroots, gigging on the ground. Which is no different to old. Music platforms are for the convenience of fans, where the bands that they hear at grassroots they can now listen to any time, anywhere. Music platforms are a resource for fans and a tool for musicians to help their existing fanbase find them. It is incredibly hard to gain new followers on music platforms like Spotify if you are a virtual unknown. The right marketing helps, but you really need a marketing degree to understand it. All a band can do is create, gig and build a following- that’s it!
11) Do you feel it is hard for a musician to break into the industry these days?
Hell yes! The truth is, we know our music is good, people tell us this and there is a part of you that would like to make it without the big corporates- because most of them are leeches (that might come and bite me in the backside), but you want to make it, not just for you, but for your existing and potential fans- they have earned the right to know they were part of your successful journey because they supported you through it- its a real buzz knowing you’ve helped your local favourites make it global. Take six60 and Tomorrow People, for example, we are all so proud of them. Tomorrow People are not just a band anymore, they’re a brand and that’s exciting. We have so many exciting bands coming up from grassroots in Southland likeMurgatroyd, - Sweaty Pits, a local metal band, and Nation a Soul Funk band. Another one very new to the scene worth mentioning is Mistress Molly- buckets of skill! I feel blessed to be surrounded by so many incredible musicians.
12) Do you plan to play any forthcoming shows?
Absolutely- once we have the band together and have rehearsed enough covers to add to the originals to gig it, we will be on it like a tyre grabs the road.
13) And finally, what are the future goals for Dee Jazazz?
I want to perform my originals at Wellington Jazzfest and New York’s Blue Note. They’re my medium goals. Of course, I want to write a full Jazz album, of which I have a few songs up my sleeve.
But the ultimate goal is of course for my music to be known globally! There are so many people I want to reach with my message- Pay attention to what you’re listening to, what type of person is this making you?
Thank you for talking to Rockstarblogs, It has been a pleasure.
It’s been a blast.. cheers.
" Loves Me, Loves Me Not" will be released later this year,
If you'd like to follow the artist on Social media, you can do so by accessing the following links;
The Michael Mills band are a Blues based unit from Huntington Beach, California that has developed a sound that combines r'n' b soul, funk, and blues to create the ingredients for a cocktail of emotional lyrics and heartwarming music. Mills is joined in the band with some of the best musicians he could find, which include the talents of drummer Ron Ravicchio, bassist Scott Campbell and guitarist Jesse Godoy.
Meanwhile, I'll whet the appetite of any blues aficionados that may be reading this article with a review of a few tracks they have previously recorded. The idea is to introduce you ( the reader) to a new band and let you have an idea what they are about.
Dream a Dream- A powerful blues number that underlies the band's ability to write hook-laden choruses and thoughtful lyrics all entangled in the structured rhythm of good old fashioned electric blues that share similarities to the influential Stevie Ray Vaughan. This track begins with percussive upbeats that ignites one of many electrifying guitar lines that lift off like the warm glow of summer. The rhythm section remains tight, as the guitar harmonics remain crisp. Mills' timbre is warm and infectious, which is easier to attain a connection to the music.
Fade Away- This showcases a more jazz-influenced side to the band packed full of that raw emotion and power experienced in the previous track. A strong horn section is the setting for this ballad about realizing the time to leave in a relationship. Mills' vocal range is on full display as the broken-hearted narrator of this piece.
Baby, I'm Your Man- This is another beautiful love ballad by The Mike Mills Band. One that is entrenched in pure soul et al Marvyn Gaye. The track is a feelgood one that could be suitable for those long drives home from work. The simple chord progressions and strumming patterns are accommodated by the harmonic textures of dual vocals that are nicely wrapped up with one of those signature solos that seem to constantly paint the picture for the music.
Trying To Forget you Baby - I felt this was another example of the band's versatility to adapt to whatever genre the band are useful in playing, This is a more contemporary blues number steeped with more outpourings from the lead vocalist; each syllable dripping with heartache and emotion The rhythm section deserves another mention for complementing the music with some rigid displays of craftsmanship and timings. The bass seems to always be the platform for another squealing guitar solo . each track thus far delivers on its promise of digging into every song. I can see how the band are masterful songwriters, prepared to create beautiful music for the listeners to enjoy.
The Mike Mills band will be releasing an album in February 2019.
Please find links to their websites and music provided within the article.