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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Miles Maxwell “Red Ghost”

Miles Baltrusaitis had, at one time, a desire for creating music. But that desire had been put on hold. But after not writing anything for almost a decade, he called upon a few college roommates to help create a band that would bring his songs to life. Soon enough, Miles Baltrusaitis began working on an album but chose to use a different moniker. The name chosen by Baltrusaitis was a result of his first name and his middle name. The resulting name is Miles Maxwell and the resulting album under the Miles Maxwell moniker is entitled Red Ghost. Along with writing the songs that appear on the album Red Ghost, Miles Baltrusaitis provides Vocals and Guitars to the release.  

Of course, Miles Baltrusaitis is not alone on his new album. Together with Miles Maxwell Baltrusaitis, the rest of the ensemble consists of: Steve Kingwell on the Bass along with Dan Stankiewicz on Keys as well as Dan’s brother Matt Stankiewicz on the Drums. Baltrusaitis brought the Stankiewicz Brothers into his ensemble because of the fact that both of the brothers had already been veterans of the Chicago Music Scene as they had spent time in the band My Blue Valentine. The result is an ensemble that helps to bring the Red Ghost release from Miles Maxwell to life.

Red Ghost from Miles Maxwell begins with the song “Snapdragon”. The track features a Rock and Roll feel that revolves around the piano and acoustic guitar that blend together to create a track that would have been right at home in the seventies. With the piano and acoustic guitar blend, there are hints at influences such as Elton John or Billy Joel, but mostly, the track feels like something from Todd Rundgren. And while the track does feel a tad dated in its musical delivery, fans of music from the seventies will much to enjoy with this track.

The new album from Miles Maxwell continues with the song “I Can’t Be Myself,” a definite anti-love song. The lyrics about hiding one’s true feelings so the one you’re with doesn’t know what you’re actually thinking are matched up with music that contains a Folk-Rock feel to it. Because of the light feel of the track, it matches up well with the previous song on the album as “Snapdragon” comes across as laidback, just like “I Can’t Be Myself” does.

For the next track, Miles Baltrusaitis and the rest of the band changes musical directions and creates a song that contains a funky feel to the keys on the track. The slightly funky feel to the song “She Says (Whiskey Down at 4AM)” gives the music a Pop-Rock style that works well with the lyrics to the track. When listening to the lyrics of the track, you can hear a hint of Barenaked Ladies influence that would have come from that band’s song of “Hello City” in the vocal delivery from Miles Baltrusaitis while at the same, there is also a slight hint of an influence from The Band in the actual music of the song.

The band changes the direction their music is taking with the next track entitled “Something New,” a title that seems to describe that change of direction. With “Something New,” the band shifts gears and takes on a rather strong Country influence to the music. The definite twang in the music and the energetic pace to the music brings to mind something that would have been created back in the seventies or eighties when the age of Classic Country was in full swing. The timeless feel of the Country music on the track will surely please fans of the Classic Country style of music.

In a real change of pace, the quartet creates an instrumental track on the song “Jenever (In Acquia)”. The track that barely lasts longer than two minutes is a Bluegrass/Folk-Rock hybrid that brings to mind the style of the song “Jessica” from the Allman Brothers. As this track contains no lyrics, the listener gets to experience the true talent of the quartet of musicians since there are no lyrics to get in the way of the music on the track.

On the song entitled “Terrible Song,” the band once again changes directions, this time to create a song with a straight-out Rock and Roll approach. And while the track solidly into the Rock and Roll genre; it contains a gentle feeling to the music, creating a song that would be more than welcome on an Adult Contemporary radio format. “Terrible Song’s” lyrics seem to add a hint of humor to the album as the lyrics describe the way the song has turned out since it supposedly was written (according to the lyrics) after some bad things had taken place, creating a situation for which the lyrics help to describe.

The album of Red Ghost from Miles Maxwell comes to a close with the title track of the release. “Red Ghost” finds Miles and the rest of the band creating a song based around the idea of what is left behind when a relationship comes to an end. The slow-paced Folk-Rock infused track deals with a man who is looking back at what has come to pass as the memories in his head seem to create visions of a woman who once was in his life. The sad lyrics and slow pace of the music combine to create a track that brings the album to a close on a soft note.

Red Ghost from Miles Maxwell is a solid Americana release. The nine tracks that make up the album all combine to create an album that changes directions multiple times. With the various tracks, the listener gets to hear many different sides to the band’s personality as a whole. For those who like variety in the music, you won’t do better than with the Red Ghost album from Miles Maxwell.

For a taste of the new album from Miles Maxwell, check out a “live” performance of the title track of “Red Ghost” 

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

 

 

 

 

 

To purchase a copy of Red Ghost from Miles Maxwell, click on the album cover below: 


Categories
Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Rugby Road “III”

Rugby Road is a Modern Rock band from Philadelphia. Together, Kenny Kearns (vocals, keyboards, bass, guitar, etc.), Rich Pruett (drums, percussion and vocals) and Derek Smith ((aka “Smalls”) on guitars and vocals) create a group that is currently celebrating the fact that they have just passed the Quarter-Century mark as far as being a band is concerned. The trio lists bands like the Allman Brothers, Rusted Root, Phish as well as other artists like Peter Frampton as influences. As a result, the band’s musical quality includes styles like Rock, Jazz, Soul and even Funk. Together, Kearns, Pruett and Smith are celebrating 25 years of Rugby Road’s existence by releasing the band’s newest release called Rugby Road III.

The newest release from Rugby Road begins with the track “Back to You”. The track finds the band combining two different styles into one track. The underlying sound of the track contains a piano base like something from Billy Joel while the inclusion of a strong electric guitar that gives the song a completely different Rock and Roll feel that fits on top of the piano-based Pop. “Back to You” builds and builds throughout the song’s nearly six-minute play time. The electric guitar Rock and Roll and piano-based Pop combine to create one track that contains plenty of energy. Add in some Soul influence in the form of background singers that sound like a Gospel chorus near the end of the track and the song gets slightly overwhelming. But the music comes to an end before the track goes too far. “Back to You” kicks the new release from Rugby Road off with plenty of energy.

With the next track of “Nobody (Needs to Know),” Rugby Road combines plenty of Rock and Roll with a ton of Soul influence to create a track that feels like something that would have been right at home on Commercial Radio back in the mid to late eighties. As a matter of fact, the track’s sound brings to mind something from Steve Winwood as the song of “Nobody (Needs to Know)” could easily have fit right in on any of Winwood’s albums from that time period. “Nobody (Needs to Know),” the second track on the new release from Rugby Road, feels like a hit single.

For the third track on the Rugby Road III release, the band slows things down quite a bit. “Spoken For” finds the band blending together a generous amount of Jazz and Rock & Roll. The results are a song that feel like it could have come from Steve Winwood, Bruce Hornsby or maybe even Sting. The track contains plenty of Rock & Roll feel with enough Jazz influence to soften the energy of the music. The track is yet another moment on the latest release from Rugby Road that shows that the band can handle plenty of different styles of music at one time.

For the last track on their latest release, Rugby Road creates a track in “Give it Away” that is straight-out Rock and Roll. Like some of the previous tracks on the four-song EP, the band brings a style that borrows a lot from artists like Steve Winwood or Bruce Hornsby as the track features a lot of Rock & Roll that is reminiscent to their styles. With this track, however, the keyboards in the song also seem to bring to mind the sound and style of Manfred Mann; especially during the one solo in the song that focuses on the keyboard. After spending time focused on the keyboards, the guitar takes over as the focal point of the track. With this track, the band lets their improvising skills out as they take the song in a direction that is more “jam band” than it is straight Rock & Roll. “Give it Away” is one track that easily allows the talent of the trio of Kenny Kearns, Rich Pruett and Derek Smith to shine through. While the band of Rugby Road had not put out a new release in fifteen years, the trio seems to have kept their skills as musicians.

The four tracks that make up Rugby Road’s new EP called Rugby Road III are all solid songs. With only four songs on this release from 2016, fans of this band, new and old alike, were given just a hint of what the band had been like. The four tracks are a good indication of what the band is capable of if and when they decide to release something more.

To hear music from Rugby Road, click the link for the video to the song “Back to You“.

For more information, check out the band’s PR firm, The RMG Media Group.

Click on the album cover below to purchase a copy of the new album from Rugby Road:

Rugby Road cover

 

Categories
Features

The Quick & Easy Boys talk Red Light Rabbit, destroying the universe, and crazy, salacious women

Oregon’s The Quick & Easy Boys are back with their second full-length album, Red Light Rabbit, which fuses many musical styles, including country and rock. The result is a high energy album that is fun to listen to and will definitely get you up and dancing. Red Light Rabbit blasts open with “Foster I…,” a fast tempo track that immediately draws the listener into the mood of the album with menacing guitar and exploding drums. “Black Panther” is a mid-tempo track with bouncy drum work and a mid-song guitar solo that demands attention. Kicking in at full speed, the title track combines edgy guitar and confronting lyrics.

By the middle of the album, with songs like “The Letter” and “Senorita,” you begin to hear a theme running through the lyrics; crazy, salacious women. Bassist and co-frontman Sean Badders explained the reason behind the theme and allowed us a brief glimpse into the band’s creative process.

Categories
Artists and Bands

I Loves My Country…..

Blue Roder - Things We Left Behind

I have decided to gather together some of the best country and roots rock releases received over the past few weeks and tell you all about them in the hopes you’ll want to check them out. Remember, good rootsy rock and hardcore country is hard to find these days so if you’ve got a hankerin’ for this kind of stuff, well, here it is:

Blue Rodeo – The Things We Left Behind
Warner Bros

I would be remiss if I didn’t offer an apology to Blue Rodeo and to their label for not getting to this review of the new two-CD set by Canada’s greatest band (next to Sloan, anyways) a lot sooner. Truth is, I took it out to my car a few months ago as I wanted listening material for an upcoming road trip and just got so used to having it close at hand during long drives (and short ones too) I totally forgot I needed to review it and let you, faithful readers, know about the album I have been listening to almost non-stop since I received it. I guess I also owe you an apology as well because if you didn’t know about this album, you’ve been missing out on one of the most impressive albums this year and one that (at this point anyway) is definitely going to be on my top ten for the year.

Yeah, I said it. It’s that good. But it’s no surprise really, as this band’s been putting out great albums for about thirty years now.

Categories
Features Record Labels

Rock and Roll is Alive! Part 1 – An Alive Records Natural Sound’s Round-Up

Let me tell you, I get a decent bit of music in the mail thanks to this gig right here and although every day brings a package with a little bit of melodic lovin’ inside, there are days where the bounty is just so fucking cool it makes me glad I decided to become a music writer. The day I received this fat package of music from the Alive label was one of those great days.

Alive is one of the few labels left which is dedicated to keeping rock and roll…ahem…alive in many ways, but most importantly in spirit. The label is a throwback to the days when substance meant more than anything else and sticking by your bands while they grew and matured was more important than milking them for one monster hit. I mean, while I am sure Alive would love to sell a ton of records and have a huge fat hit on their hands, they seem incredibly loyal to their bands and are nurturing their roster as each band builds their own reps and fan-bases which will eventually help the label as a whole. As it is, the label has one of the best young rosters out there and will soon be able to compete with any other label out there is the discs contained in this package is any clue. Since they sent me so many wonderful releases, I am splitting this article into two parts so I don’t hit you with too much good stuff at one time.