CD Review: Michael Stanley “The Ride”

Cleveland, Ohio’s Michael Stanley is probably best known for his time as the frontman for the Michael Stanley Band, a rock band that was active back during the years of 1971-1983. During that time, the Michael Stanley Band created its share of noise in the music industry with several albums of rock ’n’ roll music that ended up putting the Michael Stanley Band on the music charts.

During their time, the Michael Stanley Band released songs like “Lover,” "He Can’t Love You,” and “My Town,” which are all still very recognizable songs. Stanley even had a little more success as fellow Clevelander Joe Walsh included Stanley’s “Rosewood Bitters” on his album The Confessor. These and other songs, like a personal favorite of mine, “Falling in Love Again,” are still making Cleveland fans happy all these years later. In fact, 16 Michael Stanley Band songs have been compiled back in 1992 by the Razor and Tie label for the Right Back at Ya release, a sort of “Greatest Hits” for those who were looking for just a slice of the history of the band.

While it’s been 30 years since the era of the Michael Stanley Band (MSB), Stanley himself has never slowed down. Having continued to write and record under his own name, Michael Stanley has created a total of over 20 albums of original music, including 2000’s Eighteen Down. And now, in 2013, Michael Stanley has just released his newest album entitled The Ride.

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CD Review: Chris Allen “Acetate”

Every city has their version of the singer-songwriter that should be bigger than they are. In Cleveland, we call this singer-songwriter Chris Allen. This musician who has made a lot of music history in the city of Cleveland, whether he is backing up some of Cleveland’s other talented musicians or playing his own library of music with his band The Guilty Hearts. In 2010, Chris Allen added to his catalog of albums with his newest release, Acetate. Continue reading

CD Review: Shady Cats Claw Their Way To The Top

Shady Cats – Love Callin’

Right off the bat, one look at the liner notes for this release tells the story of an interesting dichotomy to this album, the debut from the band Shady Cats. Though there’s no mistaking that guitarist/multi-instrumentalist/singer/songwriter Grady Crumpler is the de facto leader of the band, on certain songs he almost seems like a guest artist on his own band’s album. Take for example the guest lead vocal from the esteemed popster Don Dixon, he of the ’70’s pop/rock band Arrogance and the early ’80’s MTV hit Praying Mantis fame. How often have you heard of a band calling in a better vocalist than the leader to take the helm on a song? I can’t speak for every album ever released but one would guess….never! It’s almost an unspoken rule never to show up the regular singer as he’s the one the band’s gotta live and die with from song to song and gig to gig but it happens here with Dixon. And not only with Dixon. A singer by the name of Phil Spence takes a lead vocal on the album as well. Not sure if he’s a “name” vocalist of not (as you can never, I’ve not heard of him before) but he sings better than Crumpler and better than Dixon as well, though that might be the fault of the song or the production. Then again, Dixon singing the phone book would be okay by me so maybe Spence is just killer.

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