Reviews and Suggestions

CD Jerry Maniscalco “Bold Enough To Try”

Jerry Maniscalco is a singer-songwriter who lives in Jacksonville, Florida. His musical background comes from his time in musical theater in high school and then, later on, in the military where he a member of the United States Naval Academy Men’s Glee Club from 2003-2007. He also was a founding member of the group The Anchormen that came out of that larger outfit.   

After his time in the military, Jerry Maniscalaco would go on to pursue his musical dreams with the help of the organization known as Operation: Encore, an organization that helps former military personnel realize their full potential through training. Operation: Encore then helps those individuals (such as Maniscalco) with opportunities and networking to truly begin living their dreams as real musicians.

As a live performer, Jerry Maniscalaco covers a wide array of artists in the cover songs that he plays. Among the artists he plays are: Led Zeppelin, Matchbox 20, Dave Matthews, John Mayer, Oasis, Tom Petty, John Prine , Ed Sheeran, just to name a few. With this kind of musical blend, it should come as no surprise that Maniscalco’s music contains a lot of variety in the styles that are incorporated within it.

Through his time as a musician, Jerry Maniscalaco has created two releases. They include 2011’s Take What’s Left and Make it Right, 2014’s One (a four-song EP) and the newest four-song release from Maniscalaco called Bold Enough to Try.

2018’s Bold Enough to Try from Jerry Maniscalco begins with the singer-songwriter revisiting an older tune. The track “Gypsy Blood” came off of the artist’s 2011 release of Take What’s Left and Make it Right. With that album, Maniscalco created an entire album of acoustic tracks which included “Gypsy Blood”. So when the new release of Bold Enough to Try came around, it was the perfect opportunity to give the song the treatment it deserved. The new version of the track features a strong Rock and Roll feel to the track. The track finds Maniscalco creating a track that would easily have fit on any 1980s Rock and Roll station. This gives the new release from Maniscalco a strong track to begin the EP.

The newest release from Jerry Maniscalco continues with the track “Riverside”. This track features a Pop-Rock feel to the music as Maniscalco slows things down and lightens the mood. What results is a track that features a style very reminiscent of songs created by John Mayer. In fact, the vocals from Maniscalco on this track also seem to suggest Mayer. The doubling of Maniscalco’s vocals during the refrain of the song even suggests Mayer’s style. The Pop-Rock track contains a timeless feel to the music as it would have been right at home on Top 40 radio during the thirty-five to forty years.

Jerry Maniscalco has the perfect voice for doing Pop-Rock music as it has a rather commercial feel to it. And while his vocals on the previous track suggested Phil Collins, you can almost imagine Bruce Hornsby on the next track of “Don’t Kill the Messenger”.  While the previous track found  Maniscalco bringing the intensity of his music down quite a bit, this track brings the energy level back up if only just a bit. “Don’t Kill the Messenger” may very well be the most commercial track on the Bold Enough to Try release.

The final two tracks off of the Bold Enough to Try release are “Wake Up” and “We Are”. For those familiar with Operation: Encore, you should recognize those song titles. These two tracks were featured on the organization’s first release called Operation Encore: A Veteran Music Project. For this five-song EP, the tracks appear in their original recordings having just been remastered for the EP.

“Wake Up” is a track that features an Acoustic Rock feel to the music. While this is an original song, the track feels very much like something from the Live Stages era from the band Vertical Horizon. You can almost imagine this track playing alongside such Vertical Horizon’s songs such as “It’s Only Me” or “On the Sea”. “Wake Up” from Jerry Maniscalco has the same style and would be the perfect companion to the collection from a fan of Vertical Horizon.

Maniscalco once again takes some inspiration from Vertical Horizon on the music of the track “We Are”. Very much like “Wake Up,” the track features a laidback feel to the music. The track’s lyrics describe people going through their lives doing the same thing every day. As you listen, you can almost imagine yourself playing out one of the scenarios mentioned in the song. The song is so relatable, in fact that the organization Maniscalco belongs to, Operation: Encore has started using it as its theme song of sorts.

The Bold Enough to Try release from Jerry Maniscalco is short but sweet. And while the EP contains only five tracks, all five songs are strong.    


For a taste of the music from Jerry Maniscalco, check out the song “We Are,” which is also the theme song for Operation Encore.

To check out the music of Jerry Maniscalco, click on the album cover below:









For more reading about Operation Encore, check out the review for the first album, the second release of Monuments,the first review for Rachel Harvey Hill, the review for Andrew Wiscombe, the review of Steve D. Wilson, the review for The Real Doug Lane, the review for Stephen Covell, and the review for Unknown Rider by clicking on the links that are highlighted.  

Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Michael McDermott “Willow Springs”

Singer-songwriter Michael McDermott has been busy as of late. Within only a few months, McDermott released an album under the moniker of The Westies, a band that included Heather Horton, McDermott’s wife. The resulting music from that band sounds like a combination of Springsteen mixed with a little Eddie and the Cruisers thrown in for good measure. The rock and roll release from The Westies is called Six on the Out.

Right around the same time that McDermott was recording music for the Six on the Out release, he was also recording other songs that were to be used for his newest solo release. And since the same group of musicians were used for both the Six on the Out album and the new Willow Springs release from Michael McDermott, the two albums have the same basic musical approach in their songs, but the tracks used for each album had their own feel to them. With Six on the Out, the tracks stuck to a more rockin’ feel to the music while the tracks for Willow Springs stick more to a singer-songwriter approach.

Willow Springs from Michael McDermott begins with the title track of the release. “Willow Springs” features an acoustic guitar-based feel to the folk-rock music. The six-minute track shows off the Bob Dylan influence that appears in some of McDermott’s music. The lyrics of the track contain a very deep Bob Dylan feel as they come across as something that Dylan would have created.

Michael McDermott and company pick up the pace and the energy of the music on the song “These Last Few Days”. While the folk-rock track sides more with the folk influence, it’s the unforgiving beat to the track that gives the listener the illusion that there is much more energy than the folk influence will allow. “These Last Few Days” is a strong track that will get you clapping along with the music.

Having already released the Six on the Out album as part of The Westies, Michael McDermott had penned an entire album of songs that had to do with the subject matter of the tough and grimy side of life where the criminal element can be found. The track of “Getaway Car” from the Willow Springs release is yet another track that has that same type of subject matter. Since the track seems to have a slightly easier pace to the music, McDermott included it on this album.

One of the most powerful moments on the Willow Springs release from Michael McDermott has to belong to the track “Butterfly”. Like many of the tracks that can be found on the album Six on the Out, “Butterfly” is a track that focuses on a moment in time and what happens afterward. The track is about the pain of what happens when you love someone, even when that person may not be the best person to fall in love with. “Butterfly” is a bittersweet track that all but drags you into the moment as you experience the same pain the singer feels.

In much the same way that “Butterfly” features lyrics about loving someone who may not be the best person, “One Minus One” is a track that also deals with the pain sometimes found in relationships; more specifically, relationships that come to an end. The slow-paced track features piano and acoustic guitar as the basis for the backing music on the track. The track features a duet-like approach to the lyrics as McDermott is joined on the track by his wife Heather Horton. Together, the duo create one of the most touching moments on the entire Willow Springs as they sing about two people going their separate ways.

After almost an entire album of songs that feature a laidback approach to their music, Michael McDermott completely changes the pace with the track “Let a Little Light In”. While the previous tracks on the album feature a folk/folk-rock style, “Let a Little Light In” finds McDermott and the band taking a lot amount of Soul influence to create the track. The music on the track comes complete with a horn section that adds a hefty amount of energy to the music. “Let a Little Light In” ends up being the strongest track on the album, as far as the energy level of the music are concerned.

After returning to an easier pace to the music after the more upbeat track of “Let a Little Light In,” Michael McDermott finishes out his newest album with the track “What Dreams May Come”. The track features an easy pace to the music and a very reflective nature to the lyrics as McDermott sings about the different types of dreams and where they take you. The track is a very strong moment on the album and a really nice way to wrap up the newest release from Michael McDermott.

Willow Springs, the newest solo album from Michael McDermott, shows a slightly different side to McDermott than his previous album of Six on the Out, the album released under the moniker of The Westies. The singer-songwriter side of McDermott shines through on Willow Springs and the album contains many moments that the listener will enjoy.

Click HERE to check out the video to “What Dreams May Come,” a track from Michael McDermott.  

Click HERE to check out Michael J. Media, the PR firm for Michael McDermott.

Click on the album cover to purchase a copy of Willow Springs from Michael McDermott.

Willow Springs

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Bernie Tormé Blackheart album review plus album tour and competition details

Hot on the heels of a second highly successful crowd funding campaign via which achieved its goal in little more than a week, Irish Guitarist Bernie Tormé announces a New Album titled BLACKHEART, and a New UK Tour!

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Upside Down World by Doris Brendel and Lee Dunham

 Life is a funny old thing, when at its best it usually throws some stunning surprises at you. I have been awaiting news of the next release by Doris Brendel and Lee Dunham for some time now. This incredibly creative pair has already made a strong mark in the music world. Once again, Doris is collaborating with producer and multi-instrumentalist Lee Dunham, guitarist of rock/metal band Primary Slave, this time using an array of musicians to contribute to the progressive sound. Doris is the daughter of famed classical pianist Alfred Brendel, her distinctive vocals were the driving force behind 1990s alt-rockers The Violet Hour, who were signed to Sony when they released their now revered, classic album ‘The Fire Sermon’ in 1991. Combine all of this with the delightfully driven husky vocals delivered with true inimitable style and then you may get an inkling of what to expect. Do not be fooled and expect the unexpected as Upside Down World will take you on a sumptuous journey through a musical kaleidoscope lasting about 48 minutes. This album both explores and showcases a plethora of musical facets, Upside Down World is a thrilling ride.

Doris Brendel And Lee Dunham

From the start of this album, beginning with the outstanding cover art by surrealist Igor Morski, this album nails you down and spins you around. Upside Down World kicks off with a deliciously raunchy track, “The Devil Closed The Door On Me” which pushes Doz’s incredible vocals to a variety of limits and is a hard hitting dynamically delightful tongue in cheek rock track. Every time that I hit the play button this album stops me in my tracks, it is beyond belief and utterly irresistible. “The Devil Closed The Door On Me” is a magnificent introduction to Upside Down World. Release date April 20th.

Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: The Essex Lights “Fast Love California”







The Essex Lights is a band composed singer/guitarist/songwriter Michael Brawer, guitarist Grady Axton Davis and drummer Ben Nelson. Together, these three musicians create a band that makes rock music that is hard rockin’ and passionate. This powerful combination comes together in the music that is found on the band’s new release entitled Fast Love California.

Fast Love California from The Essex Lights begins with the song “Pride of Worchester”. Featuring lyrics of “Head west, child,” the song is sort of autobiographical for Michael Brawer as he did just that to follow his dreams of working in the entertainment industry. The song features a strong acoustic sound, as the track is built around the acoustic guitar of Brawer with Grady Axton Davis adding just enough electric guitar to give the song real depth and create an anthem-like feel to the track.