Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: White Collar Crime “30 Years in the NY Rain”

What do you do when you spend part of your life in a court of law and other parts of your life performing music? If you’re like members of New York City- based White Collar Crime, you create a band with like-minded individuals and play music when you’re not in front of a bench. Since forming, White Collar Crime has performed countless amounts of concerts that feature the band’s original songs.

In the time that has passed since the beginning of the band White Collar Crime some thirty years ago, many musicians have come and gone through the New York City-based group. In fact, only guitarist/vocalist Matt King and drummer Alan Sanders are original to the band. Today, King and Sanders are joined today by other musicians, the majority of which have a considerable amount of time in the band themselves. David Gelman joined on keys in 1995, bassist Kevin Mackall and vocalist Andrea Urban came aboard in 2011, and guitarist Jon Bendis joined the rest of the group in 2016.

As a band, White Collar Crime has put out several albums of original material. The band’s most recent album, entitled Floor Aisle Room, was released back in 2012. Time has passed since the release of that album, but White Collar Crime recently released their first album in seven years. The reason for the time between the previous album and the one currently being promoted is simple: With some of the band members of White Collar Crime being busy in and out of the courtroom, it’s difficult to find the time to create new music as a band. But the band is now currently celebrating a new album of material called 30 Years in the NY Rain.

White Collar Crime’s 30 Years in the NY Rain begins with the track entitled “To Be Real”. The first few seconds of this track is based around the sound of the piano. Pianist David Gelman lays down fifteen seconds of quiet piano with a laidback feel to it. But after those fifteen seconds, the rest of the band joins in and picks up the pace and the energy level of the music. The piano which had been so prominent at the beginning of the song ends up falling into the background and blends with the rest of the instrumentation. The music of the track feels as if it came from the eighties and it brings to mind the writing style of singer-songwriter Don Henley. The lead vocals of the track are handled by Matt King with vocalist Andrea Urban adding texture to the background of the track as those lyrics find King looking for something in the relationship to reinforce his feelings towards the one he loves. The track’s lyrical content as well as the musical approach would fit well alongside Henley’s music, as well as other songs from the eighties.

The band continues their latest release with the track “Reason”. Where the previous track features music that would fit well into the eighties, this track’s musical approach is a lot more timeless, basically fitting into any musical period from the last thirty years to today. The previous song of “To Be Real” featured lyrics about looking for the positive in the relationship. But with this song, the outlook looks a little bleaker as King sings of not having cause to stick around. While the lyrics may not be all that positive, this song is far from being depressing as the music is just as upbeat as the track before it.

Yet another track from White Collar Crime’s 30 Years in the NY Rain release is the song “Dream the Dream”. The guitar-driven song features a strong Rock and Roll vibe that could be described as timeless. The music of the track would fall somewhere within the late seventies and early eighties, creating what many would consider the very sound of Rock and Roll music. The track brings to mind music from the likes of Dire Straits and/or Bruce Springsteen. “Dream the Dream” features lyrics about a relationship that could be a lot more passionate in nature than it is. While containing a strong Rock and Roll vibe in the music, “Dream the Dream” is basically a duet as guitarist/vocalist Matt King and vocalist Andrea Urban take turns singing about their roles in the relationship. While the track contains a light, upbeat musical delivery, the lyrics contain some sadness as the two voices don’t quite see the relationship the same way.

With the next track called “Letter to You,” the band changes directions slightly as the track features not only Matt King on vocals, but also features Andrea Urban as the two vocalists share the spotlight on this track. The running theme of relationships returns once again on this track as both King and Urban sing about writing down how they feel about the other person. Much like each of the songs that have come before on this release, “Letter to You” contains a strong, driving Rock and Roll feel to the music instead of a more laidback, romantic feel that one would associate with the lyrical content found within this song. That being said, this song still finds the band in fine form.

The first four songs on the 30 Years in the NY Rain release from White Collar Crime find the band creating tracks that feature straight-out Rock and Roll approaches with fully electric sounds. But with the track “Just a Song,” the band changes things up. This sound features an acoustic guitar as the main musical focal point, creating a slightly softer feel to the band’s sound. What results is a track that contains a musical delivery that is somewhat reminiscent of The Eagles. That approach sets the track more into the seventies time frame rather than the eighties era like the earlier tracks.

While many of the songs contained within the 30 Years in the NY Rain album from White Collar Crime contain a throwback feel to their musical deliveries, the “title track” for the release puts the band’s music squarely into a much more modern timeframe. “New York Rain” contains a Pop-Rock feel to the music. The song contains guitars and keyboards that create a style in the music that would fit right in with bands like The Goo Goo Dolls, or The Gin Blossoms. What results is a track that would be right at home on any modern-day Top 40 radio format. “New York Rain” is easily one of the most commercial tracks of the entire 12-song album.

Another song on the newest release from White Collar Crime that is rather commercial in nature is the song “Just Like Me”. Where the previous song recalls bands such as The Goo Goo Dolls or The Gin Blossoms, this song finds the band drawing inspiration from the likes of Kid Rock. The reason for that comparison comes from the laidback feel of the guitars on the track and the Country-tinged Pop-Rock music that results.

While several the band members of this group have a very serious side that shows up in each of their court appearances, the 30 Years in the NY Rain album from White Collar Crime shows off the various other talents of each of the band members of the group. It also shows off the various musical elements that act as influences to the band’s music. When combined, the resulting music on this album indicates that there is always more to a person than the one side people usually see on a daily basis.

For a taste of the 30 Years in the NY Rain album from White Collar Crime, check out the “title track” from the release, “New York Rain”.

To check out the 30 Years in the NY Rain album from White Collar Crime, click on the album cover below: 

Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Angela Perley “4:30”

Singer-songwriter Angela Perley grew up in Central Ohio near Columbus. In the city of Hilliard, Perley started playing guitar while in her teens and was in her first band while still in high school. As she moved from one level of education to the next, music was always part of Perley’s life as she joined and created bands. Perley started truly making a name for herself when she was part of the band Angela Perley and the Howlin’ Moons. After putting out several EP’s of music, Angela Perley and the Howlin’ Moons released their first album Hey Kid in 2014. That band would release one more album (2016’s Homemade Visions) before Perley would decide to go on her own as a solo artist. As a solo artist, Angela Perley draws upon the same type of musical blend that she had created while a part of the band Angela Perley and the Howlin’ Moons: Country, Indie, Rock, and Folk. This blend creates one form of Americana, shifting through the various musical influences from one song to the next. That shifting of genres is a large apart of the music contained within the debut solo release from Angela Perley called 4:30. The album called 4:30 from Angela Perley begins with the title track of the release. “4:30” finds Perley creating a song about being home for a change and not being able to sleep. The track begins with a rather laidback Folk-inspired feel that brings to mind something from the Sixties music scene. When the track continues, that Folk feel is added to with some easy Rock and Roll influence. The track quickly morphs into an Indie Rock feel which continues until the track ends. With the track “4:30,” Angela Perley draws the listener in right from the start. Angela Perley’s new release continues with the track “Let Go”. This track leaves the easy feel of the last track far behind. Instead of an easy Folk-Rock blend, this song finds Perley unleashing her inner rock star. While the first track was largely inspired by the likes of Joan Baez or Carole King, “Let Go” draws its inspiration from the likes of Suzi Quatro or Pat Benetar, putting the track somewhere between the Hard Rock of the Eighties and the early days of Alternative Rock. Anyone looking for a good Hard Rockin’ Rock and Roll song, “Let Go” with its strong electric guitars and driving pace to the music will easily satisfy that desire. Perley continues her 4:30 album with the track “Back in Town”. As the musician had just finished a track with a strong Rock and Roll vibe to it, she continued that direction with another such track in “Back in Town”. Where the previous track falls somewhere between Alternative Rock and Hard Rock of the Eighties, this song takes Perley’s music into a stronger Seventies/Eighties Rock and Roll direction. Falling somewhere between Joan Jett and Lita Fold, “Back in Town” easily would have been right at home on the radio in the Eighties on Power Rock radio formats. The feel of the music changes again with the next track called “He Rides High”. With this track, Angela Perley creates a more relaxed song with a style and pace of Classic Rock from the late Sixties/early Seventies. This track blends together Rock and Roll, Jazz and some Folk influence. Together, the musical influences of the track seem to recall some of the style of the band The Doors in their less psychedelic stages. On this track, Angela Perley’s voice also contains a similar vocal quality to that of Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane or Christine McVie of Fleetwood Mac. While this is a new song, the track definitely contains a classic feel to it. Staying in a rather laidback mood, the next track of “Don’t Look Back Mary” slows the pace of the music down. While “He Rides High” already contains a relaxed feel, with “Don’t Look Back Mary,” the slow pace of the music intensifies. Folk Rock and a hint of Country influence combine to create a track that appears to have a little pain in the lyrical content as the title character of Mary seems to have a hard time letting go of the past and moving on. The slow pace to the song and that lyrical content combine to create one of the most emotional tracks on the release. After several slow-paced tracks, Angela Perley brings some of the energy back to her music on the track “Dangerous Love”. This track has a strong Pop-Rock feel to the music, creating a rather timeless feel to the music. The song brings to mind female Rock stars from the Eighties, such as Eighties-era Madonna or even The Bangles. In fact, you could imagine this track being played right after a track such as “If She Knew What She Wants” from Susanna Hoffs and the rest of the band. “Dangerous Love” is one of the most commercial tracks on the 4:30 album from Angela Perley. “Walk With Me,” the final track of Angela Perley’s solo debut finds Perley bringing back a little of the Sixties flavor that had been found on the song “He Rides High”. Again, with this track, Perley seems to be drawing influence from Grace Slick and Jefferson Airplane. The wah-wah pedal near the end of the track adds a nice retro feel to the song. The retro feel to the Rock and Roll on this track adds a nice amount of energy to the end of the release, and brings the album called 4:30 to a close on an energetic note. 4:30 from Angela Perley is an album with many different angles as the singer-songwriter and musician draws inspiration from many different artists and eras. That ever-changing direction creates a release that may very well find a rather diverse audience.     To experience some of the music from Angela Perley, check out the song “Let Go”.  To hear the entire 4:30 release from Angela Perley, click on the album cover below:   
Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Dave Vargo “Spaces in Between”

New Jersey Singer-songwriter Dave Vargo began his career as a musician in the music industry after he graduated from Berklee College of Music. Since then he has shared the stage with notable artists such as Phoebe Snow, Vanda Sheppard and even the late Whitney Houston. As a singer-songwriter, Dave Vargo is creating a sound that feels rather timeless as it could fit any decade from the eighties forward and would fit right in on any Pop/Rock radio formats. With his own music, Vargo released one album of music called Burning Through back in 2016. Now, Vargo returns with an entirely new album. The 2019 release from Dave Vargo is entitled Spaces in Between

Spaces in Between from Dave Vargo begins with the track “This Moment On”. The track features a driving feel to the pace of the music and a strong drumbeat to add to that pace. On top of those drums, bass and acoustic guitar combine to create music that has an acoustic approach but also has a rather energetic delivery to it. Add in some electric guitar with a bit of a twang to it and you get a track that contains a Pop/Rock feel that would have been right at home on the radio in the eighties or could be right at home on modern-day Country music formats right now. “This Moment On” kicks off the Spaces in Between release with a very commercial to the music.

Dave Vargo continues his newest album with the track “Without a Fight”. Where the previous track featured the acoustic guitar, this track brings the electric guitar into the spotlight. The addition of that electric guitar gives the song a harder musical approach than the previous track, although it’s quite a bit slower. The song once again features a strong 80s vibe to the music. In fact, the guitars and Vargo’s vocal delivery bring to mind the musical stylings of Richard Marx from that time period. “Without a Fight” is perfect for those looking for strong Rock and Roll.

The acoustic feel of the music returns on the song “This Time Around”. In fact, there seems to be more than just a little familiarity to the music as that music sounds a lot like the first track of “This Moment On”. To be fair, the two tracks are not carbon copies of each other. However, the arrangements of the music mixed with the same basic instrument mixture makes the songs feel very similar. One thing that is different between the songs “This Moment On” and “This Time Around” is that “This Time Around” doesn’t come with the twang that is there in the earlier song. With similar styles, “This Time Around” and “This Moment On” help to solidify the Spaces in Between release to make it seem like one album.

As the new release from Dave Vargo continues, he returns to a stronger, harder feel to the music with the song entitled “Rewrites”. Right from the beginning of the track, the electric guitar creates a solo that sets the pace for the rest of the track. Just like with the earlier song of “Without a Fight,” Vargo adds some extra energy to the music. With this track, Vargo seems to be rather reflective as he sings about rewriting a few things. The lyrics seem to suggest trying to make things right by editing, much like in a story or a movie script.

After four songs that alternate between strong Rock and Roll with an eighties vibe and songs that contain a slightly easier feel to the music, Dave Vargo creates a track that features a much different sound. The track “Nowhere Else” contains a slower pace and an easier approach to the music. On this track, Vargo seems to be channeling Canadian songwriter Gordon Lightfoot as the song “Nowhere Else” blends together some Pop influence with a generous amount of Folk flavor. The inclusion of some female vocals helps give the song a little depth. All of the various elements, including a strong electric guitar solo in the middle, create a track that deserves to be included on any Pop/Rock, Lite Adult Contemporary radio format. This song is one of the shining moments on the album.

With the track “Someday,” Dave Vargo creates a moment of simplicity. While many of the songs on the Spaces in Between release come with complete arrangements and full instrumentation, “Someday” features mainly Vargo and his acoustic guitar. The track focuses on the singer-songwriter and his guitar, allowing the vocals from Vargo to shine. An electric guitar is added into the background as a way of adding depth to the song. The electric guitar is there for texture, not for power. Sometimes, it’s good to allow the singer-songwriter to shine on their own. “Someday” gives Vargo the chance to do just that.

Like with most of the Spaces in Between release, Dave Vargo returns to an eighties frame of mind on the “title track” of the album. “In Between” has a sound that is rather reminiscent of songs from the likes of Don Henley. In fact, you can hear a lot of Henley’s influence in the track. The track of “In Between” has a strong, driving pace to the music, much like the track of “This Moment On” at the very beginning of this album. “In Between” would have been right at home on the radio back in the eighties, but it still has a fresh approach to the music that would be welcome on any Hot Adult Contemporary station today.

Spaces in Between from Dave Vargo starts off strong and never lets up. Throughout the eleven tracks that make up the Spaces in Between album, Dave Vargo stays pretty much within a style that draws influence from music from the eighties. And while that does mean that the album is very retro in its sound, it’s also very timeless in its sound at the same time since music from the eighties always seems to be welcome.

For more information, check out Dave Vargo’s PR firm of Whiplash PR & Management by clicking on the logo for the company.




To discover the music of Dave Vargo, check out his song “This Time Around”.

To check out the Spaces in Between release from Dave Vargo, click on the album cover below:  

Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Marc Lee Shannon “Walk This Road”

Marc Lee Shannon has spent more than thirty years in the music industry. A large part of that time was spent outside of the Northern Ohio area as Shannon once lived out in Los Angeles having moved out there at the age of 19 to attend college.  And while out that way, Shannon began playing with some of the biggest names in the industry.

Time passed and Marc Lee Shannon has now been living back in the Northern Ohio area for years. And just like when he was out West, Shannon can be found performing with some of the biggest names in this area. You can find Shannon onstage helping to shape the music of artists such as The Midlife Chryslers, as well as being part of Michael Stanley & The Resonators, as well as many other artists from the region.

Marc Lee Shannon released his first release of Any Ordinary Man, back in 2006. That album was produced by Local Hero (as well as multi-talented musical artist) Michael Stanley and was released digitally on Line Level Music. And now, Shannon is back with his latest release. The 2018 album from Marc Lee Shannon is entitled Walk This Road. And much like with Shannon’s time as a musician, this album was created with the help of some of the biggest and most well-known names in the Northern Ohio region. Among those who helped bring the album to life is Ryan Humbert, a singer-songwriter in his own right. Along with adding guitars and vocals, Humbert helped to produce the album.

Walk This Road begins with the song “Carousel”. This track features a strong bassline and strong electric guitars that combine to create a track with a Classic Rock feel to the music, with a slight Native American vibe running through the music itself. The lyrics deal with living your life and dealing with the ups and downs of life as you go around the sun, which may very well explain the title of “Carousel”. The track starts slow and somewhat low-key, but soon picks up. The track continues with a strong Blues/Rock blend that is very energetic. This strong Blues-Rock track from Marc Lee Shannon and the rest of the musicians gives the listener something strong right from the start.

The Blues/Rock blend from “Carousel” is replaced with a straight-out Rock and Roll musical approach on the second track of the album. The title track of the release finds Marc Lee Shannon and band creating a track that would have been right at home on the radio during the late eighties/early nineties. The music of the song “Walk This Road” finds the band creating some of the best straight-out Rock and Roll that has been produced in a long time.  Fans of Rock and Roll from the late eighties/early nineties will enjoy this track.

Marc Lee Shannon’s Walk This Road continues with the song entitled “Back Door to My Heart”. The track features a slow pace to the music and influences like Jimi Hendrix-influenced guitars in the early moments of the track and Tom Petty-influenced music in the later moments. The two influences come in spurts as they alternate throughout the track. These influences help to create a track that feels somewhat timeless in its musical approach. And the lyrics of the track are given some extra body as Bri & Jon Bryant add background vocals to the song, giving a slight Gospel Choir influence to the lyrics.

As the first few track of Walk This Road come with guitar-based musical approaches that feeling changes with the track “Count Me In” as it is the piano from Russell Flanagan that help give the track a much different musical direction than the previous songs. As Russell Flanagan handles the piano, the track’s piano part will easily remind some of Billy Joel. And when the background vocals from Emily Bates and producer Ryan Humbert join in, the track ends up feeling like a 1980’s anthem in the style of “We Are The World”. The lyrics for “Count Me In” even give off positive vibes of being there for someone.

With the song “Since You Been Around,” Marc Lee Shannon and band create a track that once again changes the direction of the music. With this track, the musicians all join together to create a track that features music and vocals that bring to mind those of singer-songwriter Randy Newman. In fact, the way the band and Shannon combine their talents, what results is a track that feels rather reminiscent of “You’ve Got a Friend In Me” from Newman. The main reasons for this being the piano from Russell Flanagan and the rather smoky vocals from Shannon.

The sound of the electric guitar returns for the track “All I Want”. Along with the electric guitar, Marc Lee Shannon and the rest of the musicians bring back the feel of Eighties Rock and Roll.  The music of the track brings to mind the style of one Bryan Adams and other artists from that time. “All I Want” from Marc Lee Shannon is guitar-driven and will instantly remind the listener of music from Top 40 radio from the eighties. When the instruments on this track combine about halfway through the song, they create a sound that will remind some of the E. Street Band… minus the sax from Clarence Clemons.

For the last track of the release, Marc Lee Shannon draws upon several different artists to help flavor his music. It is the likes of Harry Nillson who influences the music of the track “So Long My Friend” while Shannon calls upon an artist who is rather close to his heart to help with the lyrics to this track. By the lyrics and the vocal delivery on this track all but scream Michael Stanley, a singer-songwriter who was best known for the songs “My Town,” “Lover” and “He Can’t Love You,” three tracks that made their way onto the music charts back in the eighties. In fact, you can almost hear this track appearing on one of Stanley’s twenty-plus studio albums.  

Having released his latest album of Walk This Road  back in 2108, Marc Lee Shannon has continued writing music. Currently, the singer-songwriter is celebrating the release of his most current single entitled “Friends Like You”. The track features a strong acoustic guitar and an equally strong organ setting the tone for the track. Once the rest of the instruments join in, the track takes on a Pop-Rock feel that would fit in alongside bands like Goo Goo Dolls and/or The Gin Blossoms while also containing a slight Bruce Springsteen influence to the music and especially in the vocals on the track. Like a lot of the music created by Marc Lee Shannon, “Friends Like You” contains a musical delivery that is rather timeless. While the track would feel right at home on the radio today, “Friends Like You” would have fit in on radio during the eighties and/or the nineties without any problems. 

Whether on his latest album of Walk This Road or his latest single of “Friends Like You,” Marc Lee Shannon shows off not only his ability as a singer-songwriter, but also his ability as a musician. And with the help of the various musicians who helped bring the album to life, Marc Lee Shannon has created a release that has a very timeless feel to it. For those longing for music that contains a strong timeless feel to it, Marc Lee Shannon’s Walk This Road is the album for you. 

To check out the music from Marc Lee Shannon, check out the latest single from the singer-songwriter, “Friends Like You”:

To hear the entire album of Walk This Road from Marc Lee Shannon, click on the album cover below: 

Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Jeff McMullen “Pain Management”

Having performed in several bands over the years, Texas-based singer-songwriter Jeff McMullen is now writing his own music. In fact, a new EP has just been completed by the singer-songwriter that makes use of all of Jeff McMullen’s various influences. The release also finds him switching from his two main instruments- the keyboards and the guitar. The new EP from Jeff McMullen is entitled Pain Management.

Jeff McMullen begins his Pain Management EP with the track “Shyne On”. The first few seconds of the track feature harmonic a’cappella vocals created by McMullen. Those vocals feature a feel that reminds the listener of R&B music. And while those initial vocals have a strong R&B vibe to them, that’s somewhat of a fooler as what follows is nothing like what one would expect. The R&B flavored vocals segue into guitar-driven Hard Rock. That approach comes with Hip-Hop influenced drumbeats as well as some Funk flavor. The entire combination creates a beginning to the track that encapsulates the entire music industry at one time, and all within forty seconds or so.  As the track finally starts, what goes forward is a track that includes a strong reference to Michael Jackson as you can almost definitely hear elements of “Thriller” in the music of “Shyne On”. Combined together, all of the various elements create a song that would have fit solidly in radio formats back in the eighties.

Pain Management continues with “The Unmailed Letter”. Where “Shyne On” was guitar-driven, this track features McMullen on the keyboards. Those keyboards create a soft, gentle feel to the music. Add some strings to those keys and the track contains an emotional feel even before McMullen starts to sing.  As McMullen’s vocals join the keyboards, there is a slight indication of Bruce Springsteen in his voice. The lyrics of the song find McMullen singing a ballad about a relationship that came to an end a long time ago. The song’s lyrics also hint at the regrets that have been left behind as he questions what could have been. As McMullen sings, it becomes clear this letter will never be sent as he knows not where to even start looking in order to reach his love interest from so long ago. The simple piano and occasional strings mixed with the lyrics of lost love create a track with a strong emotional pull to it.

The track “Evidence” continues the Pain Management EP from Jeff McMullen. Once again, McMullen calls upon the guitar to help create the music for the song. This time, however, it is the acoustic guitar that is the focus. With the acoustic guitar, Jeff McMullen creates a Folk-Rock track that combines elements of Soft Rock, Folk and some Jazz flavor together. This musical mix and McMullen’s vocals create a track that fits somewhere within the mid-to-late eighties and the early nineties. Altogether, the track brings to mind the Pop-Rock stylings of someone like Bruce Hornsby & the Range and/or Steve Winwood. This comparison is evident because of the relaxed nature of the track. Like the previous songs, “Evidence” is a song that contains a very commercial feel to the music. This song could easily find its way onto Adult Contemporary radio formats because of its somewhat timeless musical approach.

The Pain Management EP continues with yet another piano-based track from Jeff McMullen. And like with the song that comes before it, this track called “Someday” has a laidback feel to the music. This time, McMullen seems to be calling upon the influence from the one and only Phil Collins as the piano-based track of “Someday” contains another Pop-Rock/Lite Rock approach to the music. In fact, you can hear the same type of musical approach in McMullen’s track as you can hear in, say, “Take a Look at Me Now” from Collins. Much like the track of “The Unmailed Letter” which came earlier in the EP, McMullen writes a song about a chance to find love once again. With only the sound of the piano, it makes the track seem a little sparse. But that simplistic feel gives the listener a chance to experience McMullen up close.

Jeff McMullen brings his Pain Management EP to a close with the track “It’s Only Rain”. After the couple of songs that feature very minimalistic musical approaches, McMullen finishes off the release with a song with a full musical feel to the music. Along with his vocals, the track features a full band with guitar, drums, bass and keys. The result is a song with Lite Rock qualities to it. And like songs that came before it, influences from artists like Bruce Hornsby, Steve Winwood or others from the eighties and/or nineties come through in the music. Like with most of the other tracks, this song has a strong commercial feel to it and would fit rather well on Adult Contemporary radio formats. After the previous songs “Evidence” and “Someday,” the stronger, fuller “It’s Only Rain” feels almost perfect as the final track of the release.

The short Pain Management EP from Jeff McMullen finds the singer-songwriter creating music that falls squarely in the era of the seventies and eighties. With the numerous influences that appear on the release, this EP transitions between Soft Rock, Adult Contemporary and Pop-Rock. The music that the listener experiences comes with a strong timeless feel to it. While it doesn’t really push the boundaries of music, this release is solid.    

For more information, check out Jeff McMullen’s PR firm of Whiplash PR & Management by clicking on the logo for the company.





For a taste of the Pain Management EP from Jeff McMullen, check out the song “Shyne On”.

To check out the entire Pain Management EP from Jeff McMullen, click on the album cover below: 

Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Falling Stars “Let it All Go”

Falling Stars is a Cleveland, Ohio-based Rock and Roll band. The main backbone of the band, Chris Allen and Tim Parnin have been creating music within the Greater Cleveland area for around fifty years of combined experience. That experience came from time that both musicians spent in other bands that had existed in the Cleveland area music scene.

While Chris Allen and Tim Parnin have been kicking around the area for years, it was only when the two artists decided to collaborate that they actually played together. And once Chris Allen and Tim Parnin decided to create music together, they called upon Dave Padrutt and Gary Porter for their new band. And in 2017, the band put out their initial release called Stranded in the Future, an album that found the band drawing from several different styles and time periods of Rock and Roll in order to bring their songs to life. What resulted was a release that was the perfect addition to any Rock and Roll lover’s music collection.

Two years have passed since Chris Allen, Tim Parnin and the rest released the band’s first album. In that time, they have written more music and have since created four new songs that are about to be released as the band’s second release, an EP called Let It All Go. And just like with the band’s previous release, Let It All Go features the talents of Christopher Allen and Tim Parnin on guitars, Dave Padrutt on bass, backing vocals, percussion & keys and Gerry Porter on percussion.

Let It All Go from Falling Stars begins with the track called “We Are the Future”. While much of the music that Falling Stars has created contains a sound or feel that draws from current musical trends, this track features a slight throwback feel to the music. The track contains a strong guitar-driven feel that takes the listener back to the solid Rock and Roll music that was around during the seventies and early eighties. The musical direction on “We Are the Future” brings to mind bands like T-Rex and others who were around during the New Wave/Glam Rock era.

Falling Stars continues their newest release with the track “Neptune Baby”. The track features a strong Power Pop sound. Taking that Power Pop base, the track’s sound seems to borrow a lot from the likes of the band The White Stripes. The track’s rather bouncy musical feel features a strong drumbeat and guitar sound that brings to mind the playing of Jack and Meg White’s musical approach. While there is a slight sparseness to the music at the beginning of the track, the sound fills out as the track proceeds. “Neptune Baby” is the type of track that would be very popular on Alternative Rock radio formats.

The newest release from Falling Stars continues with the title track of the EP. The song “Let It All Go”. While the track “Neptune Baby” features a sound that is reminiscent of The White Stripes, “Let It All Go” contains a musical approach that features a strong, driving pace that is helped along with some Pop-Rock influence on the music. This song is one track on the release that easily contains musical influences from previous bands that Chris Allen and Tim Parnin have been a part of over the years. “Let It All Go” contains a Pop-Rock sound that brings to mind the same type of music that had been produced by Parnin’s band from the early 2000’s called Uptown Sinclair. While this track has its own style, the influence from Uptown Sinclair seems to have snuck in somehow. “Let It All Go” is easily the strongest track on the release.

The first three tracks of the Let It All Go release from Falling Stars have a certain sound to them thanks to Gary Rhamy. However, that production quality is replaced with a much different feel on the final track of the Let It All Go EP. The reason for that is because this final song was produced with the help of Don Dixon, a musician and music producer who works and performs alongside Chris Allen in the Christmas-themed band called The Ohio City Singers. With Dixon at the helm for the song “Downstream,” the track contains a slightly acoustic feel to the music with the addition of some acoustic guitar. It’s that acoustic guitar feel that changes the musical direction. A slightly lighter approach on the music puts more of a Pop-Rock feel on the track. While it feels very different from the rest of the tracks, “Downstream” allows the listener to get a much different view of the talent of the band members in Falling Stars.

Let It All Go, the newest release from Falling Stars, is rather short with only four tracks. And those four tracks contain only about eleven minutes of music as each of the four songs lasts for just over two-and-a-half minutes a piece. But no matter how short the EP happens to be, each track shows off the various musical influences that help to shape the sound of the band. Whether it is the genres of music that the band draws from, or the person behind the production board who helps to shape the sound of the tracks, the four songs contained within Let It All Go from Falling Stars combine to create an EP that shows off the progression of the four band mates of Chris Allen, Tim Parnin, Dave Padrutt and Gerry Porter as a group.

To check out the music of Falling Stars, check out the video to the song “Let It All Go”.

To check out the Let It All Go EP from Falling Stars, click on the album cover below:







Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: UniversalDice “birth, love, hate, death”

Within the era of Rock and Roll, there have been bands that have taken the idea of the album and made it so much stronger as they created tracks that segue between each other as those tracks combine to create what has been called a Rock Opera. And while the Rock Opera is an idea that has been around for a while, there have only been a relatively few examples of the artform through the era of Rock and Roll when compared to the vast number of releases that have been put out. One band that has taken it upon itself to explore the concept of the Rock Opera is UniversalDice.

A group that calls Long Island, New York home, the band of UniversalDice consists of: Gerry Dantone – vocals, guitars, programming; Bob Barcus – lead guitar; Ed Canova – bass; Walt Sargent – keyboards; Vin Crica – keyboards. These and other musicians who appear on a few of the tracks help to bring the music of UniversalDice to life. Having already releasing four previous albums, the group is celebrating the release of their fifth album, a 2018 album entitled birth, love, hate, death.

UniversalDice’s birth, love, hate, death is a 16-track album that deals with love as it survives even after someone dies. While vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Gerald Dantone had the biggest part in writing the album, the entire band helped in many ways to bring the album to life.

As the birth, love, hate, death album from UniversalDice begins, the track called “Welcome to the World” “welcomes” the listener to the release just as the narrator of the track welcomes the newest addition to the family to the world. The track finds the band creating a song that falls solidly into the Rock and Roll genre. The track features 70s-era Rock and Roll that is reminiscent of bands like Badfinger or The Raspberries. While the track begins the 16-track album, the sound of the music and the lyrics contained within are so universal that you could easily imagine the track as the lead-off single for the release.

The next track of “I Wish I Could Tell You This” slows the pace of the music down while still pushing the storyline forward. The track’s lyrics deal with a mother figure as she looks down on her newborn child and the thoughts that go through her mind. “I Wish I Could Tell You This” is a rather sad tale as the mother reveals her innermost feelings and regrets.

With the very next track on the release, the band produces an answer to the previous song as the child explains to his mother the way he is feeling in the same type of song that reveals the growing worry in his mind. “Your Son” is a letter set to music. Like the previous track, Gerry Dantone and the rest of UniversalDice create a track with a gentle pace to the music that seems to go rather well with the somber tone of the lyrics.

The various tracks that make up the birth, love, hate, death album deal with all different areas of life. With the track “I Like It When They Hate It,” the band deals with how people are perceived as they make choices in their lives. On this track, the band takes their music in the direction of eighties pop-rock. The track has a nearly timeless feel to it as it would have easily fit on Top 40 radio back in the eighties as easily as it would fit on radio today. 

With “Better Man,” UniversalDice creates a song that brings to mind the music of someone like The Allman Brothers as the track features Rock and Roll with a bit of a Southern Rock feel to it. The lyrics deal with a man who looks inside himself and decides he can do better. While the slower pace to the track slows things down a little, the song shows a slightly different side to the music from UniversalDice.

As the listener puts this album on, they experience all sorts of different aspects to life within the lyrics of the songs that make up the album. Separately, the various songs create a strong release of well-written tracks that make use of the band’s various musical influences. The creation of songs using different sounds from the Classic Rock era of Rock and Roll means that lovers of that style of Rock will find something to enjoy throughout the entire length of the album. And with the lyrics creating a storyline that tie each song together, the album does something that few very albums today can do: entertain the listener while keeping them wanting to listener all the way through the release. For those who enjoy finding albums that entertain while also tell a story, the Rock Opera of UniversalDice’s birth, love, hate, death is one album to add to your music collection.

To check out the music from UniversalDice’s birth, love, hate, death release, check out the first track of the album, “Welcome to the World“. To check out the entire album on spotify










For more information, check out UniversalDice’s PR firm of Whiplash PR & Management by clicking on the logo for the company. 

Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: The Fairest and Best “When I Feel Like This”

Robert Graham is a Canadian singer-songwriter who makes his home up in Ontario. Having spent time as a solo act, he took his music and created one album with the title of Storm in a Teacup. With the release being a solo venture, he needed a complete ensemble to bring his music to life on stage. Soon, the band called The Fairest and Best came to be.

The Fairest and Best is a band that consists of: Robert Graham (lead vocals and keyboard), Nigel Maynard (drums), Darryl Wood (bass guitar and vocals), Gerry Williams (bass and vocals), Brant Garratt (guitar and vocals) and Caitlin Holland (vocals). The ensemble takes several different genres of music and blends it together to create their ever-changing style. Together, the sextet not only performs the ten tracks that make up the 2009 release, they also perform songs that appear on their own EP that is entitled When I Feel like This.

Robert Graham and the rest of The Fairest and Best begin their 2015 release of with the title track of the EP. Of the three tracks that make up the When I Feel like This release, this song is the one that is the most unusual of those on the EP as the band takes the track in a direction that combines equal parts Reggae and Rock and Roll. The lyrics find the singer in a rather nostalgic mood as he thinks about what he once had and no matter where he turns, he is always reminded about days gone by. The Reggae/Latin combination made by the members of the band on the song “When I Feel like This” creates a track that feels as if Carlos Santana had taken his 1999 release of Supernatural one track further.   

The piano from Robert Graham begins the next track on the album. The piano-led music for the song “One Little Sign” sets itself apart from the previous track as the band brings their sound more into something that combines elements of Billy Joel and Elton John while combining a very strong presence from the electric guitar. The resulting feel of this song feels more like pop-rock than the previous song did. In fact, the music of the track feels as if it could have been right at home on Top 40/Hot Adult Contemporary radio formats back in the eighties. “One Little Sign’s” lyrics seem to continue the same mindset from “When I Feel Like This” as Robert Graham sings of wanting just one sign that shows him that everything will be alright. On the track, Graham is joined by singer Caitlin Holland who adds the female vocals to the duet. And just as Graham does, Holland sings wishful lyrics about regaining what was once lost in the relationship.

When I Feel like This from The Fairest and Best comes to a close with the track “I Won’t Cry for You”. Just like “One Little Sign” feels very different from “When I Feel like This,” “I Won’t Cry for You” has a very different feel than “One Little Sign”. In fact, with this track, Graham and the rest of The Fairest and Best take their music in a direction that is very reminiscent of the pop-rock music that was found on the radio back in the nineties. The electric guitar-led track brings to mind the style of bands like Gin Blossoms and/or The Goo Goo Dolls. While all three of the tracks on the When I Feel like This release have very commercial sounds to them, it is the track of “When I Cry for You” that would easily by the best bet for radio airplay.

While the 2015 release When I Feel like This contains only three tracks, Robert Graham and The Fairest and Best are currently promoting a new single called “Celebrity”. With this track, the band seems to combine several different musical feelings all at once. The largest influence to the song’s music seems to be the more upbeat and harder-edged pop-rock music that was created back in the seventies. Add to that just a little pop-rock flavor from the eighties and a generous dose of influence from Carlos Santana in the form of the electric guitar that is present in the track and you have some idea of what the track sounds like. “Celebrity” features the lyrics sung by Caitlin Holland who steps out from behind the microphone to provide the vocals for this track. Altogether, the track “Celebrity” is one of the more upbeat tracks currently available from The Fairest and Best.

Robert Graham and his band The Fairest and Best allow their musical influences to shine on their 2015 album entitled When I Feel like This. The short but entertaining three-song EP gives the listener plenty of variety in that short timespan. And the band’s newest track of “Celebrity” proves that they still have plenty to prove yet!

The Fairest and Best is currently promoting their latest single called “Celebrity”. Check it out below: