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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Erica Blinn “Better Than Gold”

Currently calling the city of Nashville, Tennessee home, Erica Blinn is a singer-songwriter from Columbus, Ohio. Performing for the musician started rather young as she was only a teenager when she started playing the harmonica which would lead to her exploration of other instruments which includes the guitar, the instrument that she plays on stage when in concert. As a songwriter, Erica Blinn has released three albums: 2011’s self-titled EP, 2014’s Lovers in the Dust, and her most current album, 2018’s Better than Gold. It is that last album on which Blinn is currently touring.

The album of Better than Gold from Erica Blinn begins with the current single off the album called “Softer Side”. Right from the beginning Erica Blinn seems to be inviting the listener in with the song. The track has a very Pop-like approach to the Rock and Roll on the track. There is a rather strong presence from the keyboards on the track that help to add a bit of funkiness to the music. Together, the Funk influence and the Pop-Rock approach to the music combine to create a rather listener (as well as radio) friendly feel to the track.

Blinn continues her newest album with the track “Dance with the One (Who Brought You Here)”. While “Softer Side” contained a bit of funkiness to the music, this track finds Blinn drawing inspiration from the Blues. The track features a strong Blues/Rock blend that is helped along by the harmonica playing of Blinn. The harmonica adds the Bluesy feel to the music while the track already has a strong, driving pace. What results is a track that picks you up and seems to carry you along throughout the length of the track. With the Blues/Rock blend on the track as well as the harmonica that gives the track that bluesy feel, the track brings to mind a different Ohio native, Stacie Collins who creates music in much the same vein.

With the track “Dreamer’s Heart,” Erica Blinn writes a song that has a clear message to follow your passion, do what you like and don’t worry so much about what others think. The upbeat message is timeless in nature as it works no matter what year it is. The music to the track seems to be based in the Classic Rock genre and draws inspiration from the likes of Creedence Clearwater Revival and other bands from the late seventies/early eighties. And much like the message in the track, the music has a very uplifting quality to it, as well.

Many different musical influences are drawn from when Erica Blinn writing her songs. For the track “A Little Rain,” you easily hear some Country influence in the music as well as a bit of a drawl in Blinn’s vocal delivery. The Country twang even shows up in the music of the track. Together, the musical blend of Rock and Roll and some twang to the music creates a track that would be right at home on any Contemporary Country radio format. Especially since the lyrical content about taking the bad with the good would definitely be right at home on those formats.

Things slow down quite a bit on the track “Suitcases and Truck Stops”. On this track, Erica Blinn brings back a little of the sentiment that appeared in the song “Dreamer’s Heart” a little earlier in the release. On this track, Blinn sings about getting out there and experiencing the world. Sure, it comes after the breakup of a relationship, but sometimes that’s the best way to get over the heartache. The track features a strong guitar-based feel to the music. The slow-paced track allows for the electric guitar to create a definite groove in the music and allow for the listening to simply fall into the music as the song moves slowly along. It also allows for Blinn to stretch her vocal cords as she delivers some of the strongest notes on the Better than Gold album.

On the title track of the release, Erica Blinn creates a track that feels like it came directly off of the radio back in the eighties. The straight-out Rock and Roll delivery of the music on the track “Better than Gold” feels like something that could have been produced by the likes of either Susanna Hoffs and/or the band she was famous for creating with sisters Vicki Peterson and Debbi Peterson which would go on to be rather famous- The Bangles. “Better than Gold” is guitar-driven Rock and Roll that would fit right at home on today’s Rock and Roll formats just as much as it would have felt at home back in the eighties. In fact, you could image this track being the next single off of the release.

Speaking of singles off of the release, along with the aforementioned track “Softer Side,” another track off of the Better than Gold album that has been made into a video is the track “When I’m With Suzie (I Do What I Want)”. The track features lyrics about two women who are best friends going out on the town and, basically, raising a little hell. This track once again brings a lot of Rock and Roll feel to the music. And with the subject matter being what it is, you could easily see this song having been influenced by the likes of Shania Twain, shades of “I Feel like a Woman”. In fact, you could imagine Twain making this song her own. For those ladies who have a very independent spirit, this could be the Rock anthem you’ve been looking for.

With a title such as “Loving You,” one might imagine a track with a soft, gentle musical delivery with a romantic side to the lyrics. And while the final track of the Better than Gold album from Erica Blinn does contain that romantic feel in the lyrics, the music is anything but soft and gentle. The strong guitars, heavy bass and pounding drums on the track create a straight-out Rock and Roll song that happens to have romantic lyrics. With this song, Blinn seems to have decided not to be subtle with her feelings as she comes right out and says how she’s feeling. “Loving You” brings the album to a close on an upbeat and strong note.

The Better than Gold album Erica Blinn finds her creating songs that contain many different styles of music. From straight-out Rock and Roll to Pop-Rock with some funkiness to it, the various tracks on the album help give the album depth. And with those various musical elements, Erica Blinn’s abilities as a singer-songwriter comes through rather well. The album ends up being strong from beginning to end.

For a taste of the music from Erica Blinn, check out the song “Softer Side”.

 

To check out the entire Better than Gold album from Erica Blinn, click on the album cover below:

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Artists & Bands

CD Review: The Aces “When My Heart Felt Volcanic”

All-girl bands have been around for several decades and have included the likes of Bananarama, The Bangles, even the band Fanny who most recently released a new album under the moniker Fanny Walked the Earth. One of the most recent all-girl bands is called The Aces.

The Aces (a name that was shortened from the original name of The Blue Aces) is a Utah-based pop-rock quartet composed of Singer and guitarist Cristal Ramirez, guitarist Katie Henderson, bass player McKenna Petty, and drummer Alisa Ramirez (Cristal’s sister); the members of the group came together to create the band after having known each other for most of their lives. Together, the resulting band creates Alternative Rock music with a strong Pop-Rock edge. That musical combination is featured on the band’s 2018 release entitled When My Heart Felt Volcanic. The album was released under the record label of Red Bull Records, one part of the energy drink company Red Bull GmbH.

When My Heart Felt Volcanic from The Aces begins with the “title track” of the release, “Volcanic Love”. The first thing that the listener will notice is that the feel of the track. The guitar-driven Pop/R&B blend of the song takes the listener back to the decade of the eighties as the music as well as the instrumentation itself has a rather retro feel to it. The next thing that you will notice is the vocals from Cristal Ramirez bring to mind artists like Kim Wilde or Susanna Hoffs of The Bangles. Take all of that and blend it together, you end up with a track that has a strong Pop-Rock feel that is ready-made for radio airplay.

The next track on the release is the song “Stuck”. Having been released on the band’s 2017 EP entitled I Don’t Like Being Honest, the band includes it here on their newest album. While the previous track featured a musical direction that felt rather familiar because of earlier musical influences, this track takes a more modern approach to the music. The track’s much stronger Alternative Rock direction makes the song “Stuck” feel like it fits into the Indie Rock category. And while there is an Indie feel to the track, the song still feels like it would fit on any Top 40/Hot Adult Contemporary radio format.

With the next track of the album, the quartet continues their blending of the old and the new with the track “Fake Nice”. The band creates a track with a very current feel to the lyrical content while the music of the track finds the band once again drawing inspiration from music of the eighties with a little of the seventies thrown in for good measure. The lyrical content on “Fake Nice” finds the band creating a track that is very current. Having to do with being someone you’re not, the track should register well with today’s music fans.

As the band continues their release, they create a track called “Lovin’ is Bible”. The track features a strong musical feel that is equal parts R&B and Rock and Roll. The blend creates a sound that is rather reminiscent of the Scottish band Wet Wet Wet, the band that made a name for themselves back in the eighties when they created their sound blending together equal parts R&B and Rock and Roll. “Lovin’ is Bible” from The Aces feels as modern as it does retro because of the musical blend contained within the track. At the same time, it’s easy to imagine the track being featured on today’s Hot Adult Contemporary radio formats.

One of the songs off of the When My Heart Felt Volcanic release from The Aces that is getting the band some positive attention is the song “Last One”. Like the track “Lovin’ is Bible,” the track blends together equal parts R&B and Rock and Roll. Along with the strong groove created by the four members of the band, the call-and-response that happens throughout the track adds an interesting element to the song, as does the inclusion of gang vocals on the refrain where the band mates all lend their vocals to the track. The strong groove on the track, as well as the other previously mentioned elements in the song, help to create one of the strongest moments on the release. “Last One” is easily the standout track on the album.

The Aces return to the eighties on the track “Strong Enough”. The guitars and the keyboards as well as the production on the drums on the track transport the listener back in time with a style that screams eighties. Add on the vocals from singer and guitarist Cristal Ramirez, and you get a track that will make you reminisce about that period in music.  

Most of the new album from The Aces comes with a strong Pop-Rock feel to the music with plenty of energy to the music. All of that changes, however, on the track “Hurricane”. A track that comes rather late in the album, “Hurricane” features a much slower pace to the music as well as a piano comes in to create a completely different feel to the track. That piano mixes well with vocals from singer Cristal Ramirez as well as Katie Henderson who adds plenty of harmony to the track. The song about a relationship that keeps the singer spinning as she tries to figure things out adds plenty of beauty and emotion to the release.

As you make your way through the dozen or so tracks on the When My Heart Felt Volcanic release from the all-girl band The Aces, one of the main things you notice is the quick pace at which the songs go by. With the majority of the tracks being under three and-a-half minutes, the resulting album is one that is very listener-friendly. That quick playtime on the tracks goes along well with the pop-rock music that is produced by the quartet that is The Aces. With the help of Red Bull Records, this album has already begun to garner some well-deserved praise for the band. Keep an eye out for The Aces as they make their way through the music industry. 

For more information, check out the band’s record label, Red Bull Records

For a taste of the music from The Aces, check out their video to the track “The Last One”. 

To check out the When My Heart Felt Volcanic release from the all-girl band The Aces, click on the album cover below:

 

 

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Reviews and Suggestions

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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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Magneta Lane “Gambling With God”

Even though all-girl bands are few and far between, you will find one that is very impressive every once-in-a-while. Three of the most famous all-girl bands would be Bananarama, The Runaways and The Bangles. One of the most impressive all-girl bands that are in existence right now is the band Magneta Lane.

Magneta Lane is a trio out of Toronto, Ontario. The trio is made up of family members- Lexi Valentine (vocals & guitar), Nadia King (drums), and French (bass). The three ladies have created a rock outfit that has a solid sound and style that is very impressive, especially for only being in existence since 2004.  Since that first year of the band’s history, the group has amassed a collection of three albums- The Constant Lover and Dancing With Daggers, which were released on Paper Bag Records, and 2009’s Gambling With God, which was released on Last Gang Records.