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CD Review: Fanny Walks the Earth

It was back in the seventies that four young women came together to form a band that would help to create a style of Rock and Roll now known by the phrase Chick Rock. The band in question was known as Fanny. The band consisted of Jean Millington (today known as Jean Millington Adamian) – bass / vocals, June Millington – guitar / vocals, Alice de Buhr: drums, vocals (later to be replaced by Brie Darling – drums/vocals), and Nickey Barclay on keyboards. What resulted was a band unlike anything ever conceived by anyone before- a band where every note was written and performed by women. A band that would go on to influence plenty of bands like Bananarama, The Go-Gos, The Bangles and others.

As a group, Fanny would leave their mark on the music industry by initially releasing five albums including: Fanny (1970)Charity Ball (1971)[43]Fanny Hill (1972)[45] (No. 135)[44,] Mother’s Pride (1973)[6] and Rock and Roll Survivors (1974)[46]. Several decades later, the band would release a few albums that would include a live release as well as a box set of their music.

Fanny, now a trio consisting of Jean Millington Adamian) – bass / vocals, June Millington – guitar / vocals, Brie Darling – drums/vocals), has recently returned with a brand new album of music. With the smaller lineup, however, comes a new moniker. The band now calls itself Fanny Walks the Earth. And it is under this moniker that band has released their latest album. The band put out their self-titled album in mid-2018.

The self-titled album from Fanny Walks the Earth begins with the leadoff single of the album, “Lured Away”. The track features a strong Classic Rock vibe that, of course, comes from being in the industry long enough to see the style of the band move from the Modern Rock genre to Classic Rock simply because of the passage of time. To give the listener some point of reference, the music for “Lured Away” seems to feel influenced by the likes of seventies-era Aerosmith with some modern influence as well. The vocals on the track bring to mind the style of Kim Carnes. “Lured Away” is the type of track that would feel as much at home on Modern Rock radio as it would on Classic Rock stations.

Fanny Walks the Earth’s new album continues with the song “When We Need Her”. The track sings of women who answer the call when things need to be done in order to keep the momentum going in the fight for equality. “When We Need Her” is an anthem of sorts that brings to mind the early days of Fanny’s existence when the band was grouped in with the feminist movement mainly because of the fact that the band was strictly female. While the first track of the album feels rather retro in its Classic Rock musical delivery, this track feels more like something from the nineties as the track recalls artists like Sheryl Crow and/or Michelle Branch. In fact, “When We Need Her” sort of recalls Carlos Santana’s “Game of Love” with Branch.

With the next track on the release, the band of Fanny Walks the Earth creates a theme song of sorts. The lyrics to “Walk the Earth” seem to suggest the various accomplishments of the band and the women in it. Truth be told, maybe the song is simply about the feminist movement. Either way, the lyrics of the track tell of what has been done as women have walked the Earth, making waves as they went. The music of the track recall the style of band such as Redbone (of “Come and Get Your Love” fame) as the song has a slight Native influence to the music. The track also seems to recall “Witchy Woman” from The Eagles.

Staying in the same sort of vein as the previous track, “Girls on the Road” is yet another track that deals with the history and past of the band that had been known as Fanny. This track finds the ladies reminiscing about the early days of the band and how the band had come to be. The lyrics also recall everything that was going on around them in the era of the Vietnam War and the anti-war movement.

As the original band of Fanny had its origins within the sixties, it should come as no surprise that the current version of Fanny Walks the Earth would keep with many of the same ideals that the original version of the band had. With the track “One,” the band creates a track that features lyrics about unity for all. The track brings the spirit of the sixties into modern times. One of the most interesting parts of the track is the “One Heart, One Mind, One Love, One is the Number” chant that happens in the song.

One of the more unusual moments of the self-titled release from Fanny Walks the Earth is the track “Not My Monkey”. Taken from the Polish proverb “Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys,” the band comments on the sad state of human nature today as there are a lot of people who don’t seem to know what they’re doing. While the band creates a stinging statement with this track, it also creates one of the more entertaining moments on the release.

Things change directions on the very next track. The song “Cool Girl” features a Soft Rock approach to the music that would have been right at home on AM radio back in the seventies. The vocals on the track bring to mind vocalists such as Helen Reddy or Carly Simon. For those who miss the easy sounds of the seventies, “Cool Girl” is just what you’re looking for.

Fanny Walks the Earth’s self-titled album contains eleven tracks that ultimately feel like a throwback to yesterday. While some of the songs on the release have a more modern feel to them, most of the songs contain a strong retro vibe to them. But that retro vibe is not necessarily a bad thing as the vibe the music contains comes from an era where the music had creativity to it. Having been around since the late sixties, the ladies in Fanny Walks the Earth prove they still have it on this new release.  

 

For more information, check out the band’s record label, Blue Elan Records.

To purchase a copy of Fanny Walks the Earth’s self-titled album, click on the album cover below:

Fanny Walked The Earth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Released in 2018, the self-titled album Fanny Walks the Earth has already been making a lot of noise in the music industry. Since it’s release, the band has released two singles. The first single from the release was “Lured Away”. The band’s current single is “When We Need Her”.  

 

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CD Review: Branik “Why Not?”

Singer-songwriter Hillary Branyik had a dream of completing her studies at Berklee School of Music where she was studying Voice. However, that dream was put on hold when she needed to have surgery on her vocal cords. Eventually, she would change directions but not her goals and she began writing her own music that was largely influenced by the likes of Third Eye Blind, Stevie Nicks, Michelle Branch, Mazzy Star. Today, Hillary Branyik (who performs under just her last name of Branik) is acknowledging what she has accomplished despite some setbacks as she celebrates the release of her first EP, a four-song release entitled Why Not?

Along with her talents as a singer, Hillary Branyik also plays the guitar. That instrument gives her music some shape, but it is only part of what gives her music life.

To help bring out the full potential of what her music could be Hillary Branyik is joined by several other musicians. To fill out the sound of Branyik’s music, the rest of the instrumentation was provided by: Electric Guitar by Marton Bisits, Drums by Matt Musty, Bass & Acoustic Guitars by Benjamin Kopf, with Piano by Hillary Reynolds and Cello by Trevor Jarvis. Along with providing Piano and Cello to the release, Hillary Reynolds and Trevor Jarvis of the band Peridot (which also contains electric guitarist Marton Bisits) also helped to produce the release. Together, Branik and the rest of the musicians have combined their talents to create the Why Not? EP. 

Why Not? by Branik begins with the track “Still”. The track features a Pop/Rock feel to the music with more of a stressing on the Rock part of the style. In fact, the track seems to bring to mind some influence from Michelle Branch as both the music and the lyrical content recalls that artist’s style. But no matter what, the track would fit right in on today’s Top 40, Hot A/C radio formats. With the electric guitars on the track even give the song a musical approach that would also have been right at home on Pop/Rock or Top 40 radio back in the eighties. The lead-off track of “Still” is just the thing to begin the EP as it will give fans of commercial Rock music just what they’re looking for.

The underlying eighties influence on the track “Still” returns even stronger on the second track of the release. The second track on the EP is called “Nine Nineteen” and the song brings the influence from the eighties out even more. In fact, the track would be right at home among such eighties staples such as Heart, Cyndi Lauper, Belinda Carlisle even Susanna Hoffs of The Bangles. “Nine Nineteen” has slower and easier pace to the music. The extremely commercial feel to the music of the track mixed with the slower pace to the song brings to mind a love ballad from the eighties that would have been featured in the background of a movie such as “Pretty In Pink” “Sixteen Candles” or any other movie that had a light-hearted feel to the comedy. The track’s playtime of less than three minutes makes it perfect for inclusion on any Rock-based radio format.

For the next track, Hillary Branyik and the rest of the musicians who help to bring her music to life slow things down. The track “Pray For You” contains the same type of passionate feel to the music as was found on the previous track of “Nine Nineteen” but with a little less of the romantic feel to the lyrics. Where “Still” shows a romantic side to the singer-songwriter, the song contains more of a caring side to her as she states that she will pray for the person in question. The slow, easy feel to the music also contains a slight orchestral feel because of the inclusion of the cello in the background as well as the electric guitar which add to that orchestral approach.

Why Not? by Branik comes to a close with the track “Nightmare”. For this track, Hillary Branyik and the rest of the musicians bring the energy level of the music up just a little. The result is a track with a Folk-Rock feel to the music that brings to mind the music of Avril Lavigne. Much like “Pray for You” before it, the track contains a rather laidback approach to the music, but at the same time has a more energetic delivery than “Pray for You”. The track’s easy feel makes for the perfect musical approach to bring the four-song release to a close.

For a first release, the four-song release of Why Not? release by Branik finds the singer-songwriter creating a very commercial release and it shows off the singer-songwriter’s various influences rather well. It also gives the listener a strong indication that future releases from the artist should be just as entertaining.  

For a taste of the music from Hillary Branyik and her onstage personality of Branik, check out the acoustic version of the song “Still” HERE  

The Why Not? release by Branik can be found on Soundcloud. She can also be found on Spotify