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Matheson Kamin’s Best of List for 2019

The year of 2019 is coming to a close. That means it’s time for everyone who reviews music to put together their Best Of lists. This one is mine. And like with many of the Best Of lists I have done through the years, this one comes in several parts.

The first part of the list consists of ten albums of original music that I had reviewed in 2019. The ten releases in the main section of the article are those releases that need to be mentioned one last time before the year comes to an end. Most of the reviews come from this site for the Rock and Roll Report. However, two of the reviews were originally posted in my own WordPress site called Matheson’s Entertainment Blog

The second part of the list consists of only two releases, but they still have great meaning to me. And coincidentally, both albums are from singer-songwriters that have the same first name.
The first album in this section,
Emily Mure’s Sad Songs and Waltzes, is a release that features Mure re-imaging some very good songs from days gone by. As it is a release of only cover tracks, I did not want to include it in the main portion of the list. Instead, I am placing it in the second portion of the article.
And with Emily Strand’s
Delay in the Connection, I had found a review from a long time ago that had never been published for one reason or another. I had given the singer-songwriter and this release some coverage around the time that it was out but had never actually created a full review that would appear online. Finishing and publishing what should have been the 2005 review of this strong release in early March of this year, I wanted to include it in the list for 2019, even if it is not from the same decade much less the same year. So I placed the 2004 release in this section. 

The third and final section of my Best of List for 2019 features some of the best songs that have remained with me throughout the entire year. These songs deserve to be promoted one last time before the year comes to an end.

With all of that in mind, may I present Matheson Kamin’s Best of 2019 List:

 

1 Benny Bassett “Words For Yesterday”

It was back in 2014 that the band Vintage Blue released their EP called No Going Back. That release would prove to be the band’s last release. Shortly afterward, lead singer Benny Bassett would take the next step and go on his own as a solo artist. And as such, Bassett has created releases that have stayed in a relatively close musical frame of mind as what had been created by his former band. To date, Bassett has released one album and one EP of original music of his own since the members of the band went their separate ways. Having just recently put out the acoustic EP called Rosemont Sessions – Volume One which finds Bassett segueing from older material to the newer songs, he has just released his newest EP called Words for Yesterday. Words for Yesterday from Benny Bassett finds the singer-songwriter in fine form. The new EP is perfect for any fan of Adult Contemporary music. The release gives the listener a good cross section of what Bassett can do. The EP comes with a lot of the same kind of Adult Contemporary flavor that was present in his music with his former band of Vintage Blue while it also shows off his ability to stretch as an artist. 

Read the entire article HERE

 

2 The Good Morning Nags “Hard Hope” 

Six-piece NYC based ensemble The Good Morning Nags dates back almost a decade as they formed back in 2010. Today’s version of the band consists of Tim Hassler (fiddle, vocals), Ben Quinn (mandolin, guitar, harmonium, and vocals), Titus Tompkins (percussion, mandolin, vocals) and Britt Reagan (guitar, dulcimer, vocals) as well as Mark Spitznagel (banjo, vocals) and Pete O’Neill (bass, vocals). This ensemble of musicians takes their various musical influences and creates a style that revolves around a Folk-Rock/Country-Rock style of music. Having already released seven-song self-titled EP back in 2017, the band recently returned with a new album of music. That 2019 album is entitled Hard Hope. The Hard Hope release from The Good Morning Nags finds the band building upon that earlier release. While most of this release falls into the Americana category, this is a solid album of music that actually outshines the earlier release, which indicates that the band is growing as a unit. 

Read the entire article HERE

 

3 Bird Streets S/T

John Brodeur is a New York-based singer-songwriter who has spent the last twenty years as basically a one-man band, creating several albums of Indie Rock. The last release to come from Brodeur came out in 2013 and that album was called Little Hopes. Cut to five years later and a new album from Brodeur was created. But this particular release was slightly different from what had come before. Right around the time he was wrapping up production on the Little Hopes album, John Brodeur found himself looking to create something new. This time, however, he decided not to go it alone. Brodeur got in contact with multi-faceted artist Jason Faulkner and talked Faulkner into helping him produce the music for a new venture. The result is a musical project known as Bird Streets, a moniker that came from a section of the area known as the Hollywood Hills. Brodeur spent time in both 2014 and 2016 working alongside Faulkner during which time they created the debut album for Bird Streets. The self-titled debut release from Bird Streets was released in 2018. As you make your way through the various tracks that make up the self-titled debut release from Bird Streets, there is plenty on the album to keep fans of John Brodeur happy. Plus, the inclusion of Jason Faulkner helps add new dimensions to his music that weren’t there before. Together, John Brodeur and Jason Faulkner create an album that fans of the eighties, nineties and today will truly enjoy as influences from all of those decades help to shape the music of this release.

Read the entire article HERE

4 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. 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. They called upon Dave Padrutt and Gary Porter for their new band. In 2017, Falling Stars 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 song 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. Chris Allen, Tim Parnin and the rest released the band released as their second release, an EP called Let It All Go. Let It All Go 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.

Read the entire article HERE

 

5 Griffin House “Rising Star”

Griffin House is a musician and singer-songwriter who went in the direction of music when he could have taken a much different path in life. He was offered a golf scholarship to Ohio University but chose Miami University in Oxford, Ohio instead. While there, he focused his free time on learning to play guitar and write songs. Griffin House has released a number of albums and other releases that contain his version of Americana music, which contains a strong, underlying Rock and Roll flavor to the music as well as other musical influences. The most current album from the singer-songwriter, released earlier this year, is entitled Rising Star. Like other albums in Griffin House’s discography, the ever-changing feel of the music within the Rising Star album keeps the album interesting. Much of the new release from Griffin House blends together, creating a loose storyline throughout the tracks. But since the album was created at the same time a documentary film starring House was being created, that’s understandable. And with the loose storyline running through the tracks, this ends up being one of the more interesting albums produced by the singer-songwriter.   

Read the entire article HERE

 

6 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 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.

Read the entire article HERE

 

7 The Motels “The Last Few Beautiful Days”

The band known as The Motels has been creating music for almost fifty years. While the band has had a few hit singles over the years (which included “Only The Lonely,” “Suddenly Last Summer” and a few others), the band has been rather low-key. Between 1971 and today, the band has gone through several different versions, used several different names and has even gone through periods where there wasn’t a version of the band at all when lead singer Martha Davis was recording and touring under her own music. After an extended period where The Motels were not a thing, Martha Davis and others formed a version of the band. This band created the album Clean Modern and Reasonable in September 2007, the first album from The Motels in 22 years. The current version of The Motels consists of: Martha Davis, Clint Walsh Guitar, Nic Johns Bass, Marty Jourard Keyboards and Sax and Eric Gardner Drums. This version of The Motels have created the newest album under the moniker of The Motels, 2018’s The Last Few Beautiful Days. For those who have enjoyed songs like “Suddenly Last Summer,” “Remember the Nights,” and “Only The Lonely” from The Motels over the last forty years, then the band’s newest release of The Last Few Beautiful Days should be an album you will enjoy. The reason for that is because the new release from The Motels feels like much of the band’s previous albums as the music of this album find Martha Davis and band drawing inspiration from the past.   

Read the entire article HERE

 

8 The Persian Leaps “Electrical Living”

Drew Forsberg is the driving force behind the St. Paul, Minnesota-based band called The Persian Leaps. Having been created by Forsberg back in the early days of this decade, the band was mainly a musical outlet for Forsberg who used the moniker of The Persian Leaps to release his solo music. Eventually, however, it became necessary to create a real band to perform the music. And through the lifetime of The Persian Leaps, the musical outfit has gone through several stages, from the solo project to a full band, changing sizes depending on how many people were in the band at the time. Throughout the time that The Persian Leaps have existed, the musical outfit has released a generous amount of 5-song EPs. Then the band released its first full-length album, Pop That Goes Crunch, last year. And having already released one album of music, The Persian Leaps returns in 2019 with yet another one. This time, the new release from the band is entitled Electrical Living. Throughout the release entitled Electrical Living, The Persian Leaps create an album that alternates between Power Pop and Alternative Rock. When combined together, the eleven songs on the release create one solid album that features many radio-friendly tracks for those who like the music of the late eighties/early nineties. And while this particular album is a break from the norm for The Persian Leaps founder Drew Forsberg, the choice to go in a different direction resulted in a strong release that is absolutely worth checking out.

Read the entire article HERE

 

9 Gretchen Pleuss “Daughter of the Broader Skies”

Gretchen Pleuss is an Ohio-bred singer-songwriter who makes her home in Akron and performs regularly around the Northeastern Ohio region. Not only does she perform her own music in venues around the area, she also hosts an Open-mic night at the Uncorked Wine Bar. As a singer-songwriter, Pleuss creates music that is strongly based in Folk-Rock. And it is that style of music that can be found on Pleuss’ albums Out of Dreams (2013) and From Birth, To Breath, To Bone (2016). Pleuss recently added to that discography with her latest album, 2019’s Daughter of the Broader Skies. As a musician, Gretchen Pleuss is a guitarist that has developed a rather jazzy style to her playing. That jazzy playing style from Pleuss helps to shape the feel of her Folk-Rock music, which is very evident in her latest album of Daughter of the Broader Skies.  Pleuss’ new release contains many songs that have a light, bouncy feel to them. But the songs on the album that come with a message keep the release from getting too light and easy. The dozen tracks on the release show off the talent of Gretchen Pleuss as a singer-songwriter as well as musician.   
 
Read the entire article HERE

 

10 Hadley Kennary “Habits”

Chicago, Illinois native Hadley Kennary is a singer-songwriter who, like many trying to make it in the music industry, has moved to Nashville to be part of the vibrant music scene in that town. And being in Nashville, Kennary is starting to get noticed. That has to do with her strong vocals and her writing ability. Both of those qualities have led to many accolades such as winning second place in the Telluride Bluegrass Festival Troubadour Songwriting Competition, as well as being included in several other contests. To date, Hadley Kennary released a self-titled release in 2011, the In Fall album in 2013 and the Momentum EP in 2016. Just recently, Kennary released her newest EP of music. The 2019 release from the singer-songwriter is titled Habits. Habits from Hadley Kennary is a strong five–song release. And with the Pop-Rock, Alternative Rock, even Top 40 influences in the songs, the album gives the listener a short, but accurate indication of the talents of Kennary. Whether you are a fan of Pop-Rock, Alternative Rock, even Top 40 music, there’s something here for any lover of Rock and Roll music.  

Read the entire article HERE

 

Extra #1: Emily Mure “Sad Songs and Waltzes”

Having been classically-trained as an oboist, New York City’s singer-songwriter Emily Mure would later move to the guitar with which she would find her true calling as a Folk musician. Emily Mure has released three albums of original Contemporary Folk music. But now, the most current release from the singer-songwriter finds her exploring a much different idea. Mure’s newest release, entitled Sad Songs & Waltzes, is a short five-track release where Mure reinvents some of the songs that helped influence her, even if those songs don’t actually fall into the same musical category that she is classified under. The Sad Songs & Waltzes release from Emily Mure is a well-named release as all of the tracks (“Gone for Good” from the band The Shins, the album’s title track of “Sad Songs and Waltzes” written by Willie Nelson, The Cranberries’ song “When You’re Gone,” Wilco’s “The Lonely 1,” “No Surprises,” by Radiohead, and “Yellow” from Coldplay) contain rather sad lyrics to them. Together with the Folk-inspired arrangements, the six resulting cover tracks create a solid release that is familiar and intriguing at the same time. And although each track falls into the Folk category because of the arrangements of the songs, the release also belongs within the Rock and Roll music category because of the songs and the artists who created them originally being of the Rock and Roll style.

Read the entire article HERE

Extra #2: Emily Strand “Delay in the Connection”

Dayton-based Emily Strand is a musician who is currently creating music that is largely based in the Folk music genre. Her style of music blends together a large amount of Folk influence with an equal amount of Rock and Roll. That Folk/Rock blend created by Strand is matched up with her vocal talent to create a sound that is easily reminiscent of earlier female Folk artists like Joni Mitchell or Carly Simon. And while Strand does have a sound that is very similar to the likes of Joni Mitchell, her sound is slightly more commercial. Taking all of that into consideration it is not surprising that Strand’s music is as catchy as it is. Emily Strand has already released her own music. The singer-songwriter (and guitarist) released her debut release entitled Evansville. Strand added to her music collection with her latest release entitled Delay in the Connection. Delay in the Connection from Emily Strand is a solid release throughout the ten tracks that are included on it. The base of Folk music threads its way through the album, but the release has plenty of moments that contain a lot of energy.  And several of the tracks on the album contain plenty of promise as they feel like hit singles yet to be released. If you are a fan of artists like Ani Difranco, Joni Mitchell, Sheryl Crow or even Alanis Morissette, Emily Strand is one artist you need to add to your music collection. And you should start off with this album of Delay in the Connection. 

Read the entire article HERE


Top 5 Songs from 2019 (in no real order):

1 Bird Streets “Betting on the Sun”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJGftkNgaik

2 Hadley Kennary “Casual”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=63&v=-fZaqMRNrqE&feature=emb_logo

3 The Good Morning Nags “Birmingham”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4fCTfClEy-4

4 The Motels “Punchline”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=x5ycH5rtMA4&feature=emb_logo

5 Falling Stars “Let it All Go”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4WL5h5wrWo&feature=emb_logo

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The Rock and Roll Report’s “Best Of” List For 2018

And so ends yet another year. For this writer, a lot of music came into my life. I ended up listening to and reviewing more music than any previous year. The amount of music made it both a lot easier to choose the best albums and harder to choose those albums. It was easier than any previous year to put together the list because of the sheer amount of music to pick through. But because of the amount to pick through, there were several albums that had to be left out of the list. While I had to pass some of the best releases I had heard by, I am rather pleased with the resulting albums and singles that made their way onto this list. I hope you will take the time to read the condensed reviews that follow and then will click on the link to finish reading the entire review. Enjoy. 


1. Bryan Banks “Sound of Urgency”
 

Bryan Banks is one of those musicians who took it upon himself to create his music on his own. When you have a musician who does everything on his own, the results could either be good or bad, depending on the talent of the individual. There is definite talent within the music of Bryan Banks as he seems to take many different flavors of Rock and Roll when creating his music. His music takes some Rock and Roll, Funk, and Grunge with a large hint of Heavy Metal thrown in and mixes all those styles together in the sound that makes up his music. And with the fact that everything on the album was created by Banks himself, the multi-talented musician has created an album of music that ends up being rather well-rounded. His debut album is entitled The Sound of Urgency. The Sound of Urgency from Bryan Banks was put together by Banks one song at a time over the course of several years. And while that time period created a rather long wait between the first single release and the final album packing, Bryan Banks has proved that sometimes it is worth the wait if you’re looking for quality. The Sound of Urgency turns out to be a very solid album of Rock and Roll that any fan of the music style will enjoy.

http://rockandrollreport.com/cd-review-bryan-banks-sudden-sounds-urgency/


2 Micah Olsan “Open Space” 

Milwaukee-based singer-songwriter Micah Olsan has gone through several stages in his musical career. And with those stages came different musical influences that helped flavor his music. Throughout his career, Olsan has performed with a band called The Many and he has performed on his own as a solo artist. But with each stage comes a different style and sound to Olsan’s music. And currently, Micah Olsan is in the middle of promoting a new EP of music that features a solo sound and style largely influenced by Folk music. The new 4-song EP from Micah Olsan is entitled Open Space. During his time as a singer-songwriter, Micah Olsan keeps evolving and changing his style. With his latest folk-based EP, Olsan takes his music in a much different direction than it’s ever been in before. And the softer, gentler side of Olsan shows off a very different side of the artist. The five tracks on the album are nicely varied while keeping that lighter approach on the music. 

https://matheson12.wordpress.com/2018/01/26/cd-review-micah-olsan-open-space/

 

3 The James Emmett Band “Bet Against Me” 

Ever since the band The Outsiders had their first taste of celebrity status when they released the song “Time Won’t Let Me,” the last name of Geraci has meant something in the city of Cleveland as Emmett Peter “Sonny” Geraci was part of that band. And although Sonny Geraci passed away back in early February of 2017, the name is still being mentioned in association with music in Greater Cleveland. But this time, it’s the next generation of the family that is making the noise, so to speak.
Sonny Geraci’s sons Justin James and Mathew Emmett have picked up the music bug and are currently making music just like their father used to do. In fact, they have been creating their own music for years. However, it’s just recently that the two brothers have been doing so together. And together, the brothers have created their own band; a band that features their middle names to form the band’s moniker. The group is called The James Emmett Band. As sons of Rock and Roller Sonny Geraci, Justin James Geraci and Mathew Emmett Geraci have created a band that proves that they have, indeed, inherited the music gene from their father. Bet Against Me from their band The James Emmett Band is a solid effort that comes complete with five songs that show off their various musical influences. The release features plenty of tracks that are just screaming to be played on the radio. If a five-song release is this good, then a full-length is surely welcomed.   

 

4 Falling Stars “Stranded in the Future” 

In Cleveland, there are many artists and bands that have been making names for themselves for years. One band that just recently came into being has a history in the Greater Cleveland area that reaches back years before it came into being. Together, two separate songwriters based in Cleveland named Chris Allen and Tim Parnin’s musical histories combine for more than 40 years of experience. That experience was put to good use when the two musicians decided to create a new band together. The resulting musical outfit featuring Chris Allen and Tim Parnin is called Falling Stars. Throughout the tracks that make up the album Stranded in the Future from Falling Stars, Chris Allen and Tim Parnin create songs that feature different Rock and Roll styles. Together, those various styles of Rock and Roll combine to create one release that feels ultimately timeless. The resulting release of Stranded in the Future from Falling Stars is one album that any love of Rock and Roll should search out and add to their music collection.

http://rockandrollreport.com/cd-review-falling-stars-stranded-future/ 

5 Stone Diamond “Don’t Believe What You Think”  

It was back in 2013 that Stone Diamond released their debut album entitled We Stole the Stars from the Black NightThat particular album was so strong and was such a breath of fresh air as far as Rock and Roll was concerned that it made quite an impression on those who were lucky enough to have been exposed to it. They would then go on to add the album Phoenix to their discography. Now, five years after the release of the original album, the ensemble (now a little larger than before) returns with their third album. That album is entitled Don’t Believe What You Think. The Don’t Believe What You Think release from Stone Diamond is a solid release from beginning to end. And with the inclusion of many different elements and influences, the Classic Rock from the band changes from one track to the next. For those music lovers who enjoy Classic Rock, Stone Diamond creates a release that will surely be something you’d want to experience first and then add to your own music library.

http://rockandrollreport.com/cd-review-stone-diamond-dont-believe-think/

6A The Whiskey Hollow “Greenhouse”  

Back in 2016, singer-songwriter Madeline Finn took songs she had been writing, and after putting together a band, started performing under the moniker of The Whiskey Hollow. With that loosely-bound group of musicians, she took seven of her songs and created a very strong debut release under The Whiskey Hollow moniker. That release was called X Waters. X Waters was a very solid release that found the group blending together a few different genres of music to create a unique sound that put Finn and her band far apart from the rest of the Cleveland, Ohio music scene. Today’s version of The Whiskey Hollow has recently put out a new EP of material. While the previous release contained a total of seven tracks, this new EP is a six-track EP. The new EP from Cleveland’s band The Whiskey Hollow is entitled Greenhouse. Greenhouse from The Whiskey Hollow is a solid release from the first track. While it does not truly feel like the band’s previous release of X Waters, the new EP from the band shows the creative process at work as Madeline Finn and the rest of the band show how they have gelled as a unit. The new sound for the band may be different than the previous direction, but the group is still solid and the Greenhouse EP proves that with the six tracks of Rock and Roll.

http://rockandrollreport.com/cd-review-whiskey-hollow-greenhouse/

6B Madeline Finn “Colerain Mansion” 

From the first time when I was in the audience for a three-song performance of Cleveland-based singer-songwriter Madeline Finn, I knew that the singer/guitarist had talent. She would release her first CD entitled X Waters not that long after that performance. X Waters and the follow-up entitled Greenhouse show off not only her musical abilities, but also the abilities of those musicians who helped to create the band The Whiskey Hollow. It was The Whiskey Hollow that was responsible for creating the music found on the two EPs of music. And with X Waters and Greenhouse, the Greater Cleveland area would come to know the true talent of the musical artist known as Madeline Finn. The Colerain Mansion EP from Madeline Finn continues the singer-songwriter’s string of releases that show off her musical abilities and her talent as a singer-songwriter, as well. While the previous releases of X Waters and Greenhouse gave the listener a good idea of what Finn could do with a band, the six tracks that make up the release show what she can do on her own. But as those of us who have seen her perform within a group and by herself can tell you, that’s not a surprise. The Colerain Mansion EP from Madeline Finn may be the most laidback of the three releases she has created, but the music contained within it will easily leave you stunned by the beauty it contains.

 http://rockandrollreport.com/cd-review-madeline-finn-colerain-mansion/

7 Joal Rush “Kaleidoscope Emotions” 

It was back in 2004 that singer-songwriter Joal Rush released his first EP. That EP, entitled Delightful Things, introduced the world to a musician whose straight-out Rock and Roll sound was very reminiscent to that of Jack Johnson. And given that the two artists create their songs using several different genres of music as influences such as Folk, Pop, Rock and Soul, it is a safe comparison to be made when describing the sound of Joal Rush. Almost fifteen years later, Joal Rush has been through a lot, including moving from Charleston, South Carolina to Music City, Nashville, Tennessee where he currently lives. And within that city, Rush created his latest album of music. The current release from Joal Rush is a twelve-song release entitled Kaleidoscope Emotions. While there are many people in the music industry being played on the radio today who deserved to be signed to a major label, there are just as many out there right now who are not signed to a major label and deserve to be. One such artist who deserves to be on a major label is Joal Rush. And his newest album entitled Kaleidoscope Emotions proves that point rather well.

http://rockandrollreport.com/cd-review-joal-rush-kaleidoscope-emotions/

8 Sister Speak “The Stand” 

Sherri Anne was born in Canada but currently splits her time between The United States and Canada in Los Angeles and British Columbia. The singer-songwriter has a voice and a style to her songs that bring to mind artists like Tori Amos and most obviously, Sarah McLachlin because of the style of both artists’ vocal sound. Given the piano or acoustic guitar nature to her songs, Sherri Anne’s music has a Folk flavor to it with a slight Alternative Rock flavor. Recently, Sherri Anne created a new six-song release under the moniker of Sister Speak. That release is called The Stand. To bring the EP to life, she was joined by Sarven Manguiat (Electric Guitar) and Avli Avliav (keys, moog bass and programming) along with several others who added touches to several tunes on the release. Starting from the very beginning track, Sister Speak’s The Stand EP hits the listener with Pop-rock music that is sure to satisfy. The five “album tracks” and the bonus track that completes the release combine to create a pop-rock release that feels so solid that each of the songs contained within should be allowed to find their way onto radio on their own merits. As it is though, the lead-off single of the title track of the release is a great place to begin. Hopefully, more tracks will be featured. Through it all, Sherri Anne and the rest of the musicians who helped to create the release under the Sister Speak moniker combined their efforts to make a solid debut that should be only the beginning of something special.

http://rockandrollreport.com/cd-review-sister-speak-stand/

9 Jann Klose “In Tandem”

Jann Klose is an internationally known singer-songwriter. The German-born artist discovered the world at a young age when he came to the United States as a young child as part of a foreign exchange program. It was in the city of Cleveland, Ohio that he discovered what another part of the world was like. And while in Cleveland, he also discovered and nurtured the musical side of his personality. But after a while, that musical side needed more than what Cleveland could offered and he made his way to New York City where he resides today.During his time as a musician as well as singer-songwriter, Jann Klose has created and released several EPs and albums of music that feature his musical blend that incorporates jazz, pop, and other musical styles. That blended style creates a sound that has helped him gain an audience not only in Cleveland, New York and Germany as a whole, but also in other parts of the world. Because of that, his music is and has always been well-rounded as far as its sound and appeal. You can find that well-rounded sound on Jann Klose’s aforementioned releases, which includes his latest album. The newest album from Jann Klose is entitled In Tandem. The In Tandem album from Jann Klose is a strong release with many moments in its thirteen tracks that fans of pop-rock will find very enticing. If you are one who enjoys Rock and Roll with a strong Pop influence as well as and international flair to the songs, Jann Klose’s In Tandem is the album for you.

http://rockandrollreport.com/cd-review-jann-klose-tandem/

10 The Weight Band “World Gone Mad”

Having created a band around musicians that spent time within The Band and The Levon Helm Band as well as The Midnight Ramble Band, a musical outfit put together as a Tribute Band of sorts to Helm, it should come as no surprise that the resulting sound that is created by The Weight Band can be described as being “picking up where The Band left off”. That truly does describe the sound and feel of World Gone Mad, the first official album from the supergroup. After spending a few years on the road touring, The Weight Band released their first album. That album is entitled World Gone Mad. And “picking up where The Band left off” is quite possibly the best way of describing the feel of the album. On their new album entitled World Gone Mad, the individual members of The Weight Band each show off their individual influences. And since many of the players in the band can claim to have played with The Band’s Levon Helm in one band or another, it is easy to see why the influence from Helm has made such an impression on the music of The Weight Band. And with that being said, if you have ever been a fan of the music from The Band, this collection of songs from musicians who used to play with him in one manner or another help to expand upon what has come before. While this is not a tribute album in any way, the influence from Helm is more than apparent.

http://rockandrollreport.com/cd-review-weight-band-world-gone-mad/

11 The Alarm “Equals”

Every so often there comes a band that should be a lot larger popularity-wise than they are. This is a band that has been around a long time but has not gained the popularity they truly deserve. One particular band out there right now that could be described this is the Welsh Rock and Roll band called The Alarm.In total, The Alarm has released in excess of fifteen albums. They have also released several versions of a Greatest Hits collection from the band that adds to the number of releases in the band’s discography. In fact, the band just recently added yet another album to their impressive discography of music. The newest album from The Alarm is entitled Equals. Mike Peters has really picked up a lot of different musical influences over the years. Those influences have helped to shape Equals from The Alarm. The ever-changing sound and feel of each of the tracks as well as the talents from the rest of the band have combined to create a release that features a musical sound that never really stays in one place. That ever-changing style on the album is sure to please any lover of Rock and Roll music.

http://rockandrollreport.com/cd-review-alarm-equals/

12 Pale Hollow “Pilots”

When Michael Allen took his music, he looked for musicians who wanted to form a new band. What resulted was a musical outfit by the name of Black Amps, which would exist for a while before changing their name to Pale Hollow and in 2007; a self-titled album was released under the Pale Hollow moniker. That self-titled release from Pale Hollow saw the band create a sound that combined elements of The Kinks, The Verve and many other British influences as well as American bands such as The Byrds, The Verve Pipe, even The Raspberries into one sound. Because of the various different elements, what resulted was a sound that was very retro in nature. But that retro feel to the band’s Americana music ended up allowing the band to gain a rather large following within the Greater Cleveland area. Years would pass after the band’s first release. The band would change members during that time. And the band would change the feel of its music just a little because of the shifting of the band members. The current version of Pale Hollow includes: Michael Allen – Vocals/Rhythm Guitar, Kirk “Nemo” Nemerovsky – Drums, Jeff Ritchie – Bass, and Scott Steinbrick – Lead Guitar. It is this lineup that is featured on the newly-released second album from Pale Hollow. That second release is entitled Pilots. For those who enjoy a more relaxed feel to their Rock and Roll while also enjoy having some orchestral flavor to that music, the sound of Cleveland, Ohio’s Pale Hollow may just be what you are looking for. The band’s 2018 release of Pilots is one of the most commercial albums that are not available from a major label. It’s also one of the strongest albums of 2018. If you happen to be a fan over rather commercial Rock and Roll but are tired of the same bands on commercial radio, Pale Hollow and the band’s 2018 release of Pilots may just be what you are looking for.  

http://rockandrollreport.com/cd-review-pale-hollow-pilots/

 

TOP SINGLES OF 2018

1 Reina Mora “Passenger” 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6TuJeFZjYhI

 

2 Sister Speak “New York Sunrise”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXi7H8KnIEY

 

3 The Alarm “Beautiful” 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgXrHpduUjQ

 

4 Madeline Finn “Win the Girl”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yo86u8tcmD0&fbclid=IwAR0di4a6l5mWI-oHyRRAn-hVFbeex6ikCC3lK7qB1ng7l7sOBunL32TlKTU

 

5 Jann Klose “Love High” 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fX6R03ZMEbY 

Bonus Track: 

Jaclyn Bradley Palmer “Winter Night”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0Zs2ua6Gxs

 

 

Categories
Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Falling Stars “Stranded in the Future”

In Cleveland, there are many artists and bands that have been making names for themselves for years. One band that just recently came into being has a history in the Greater Cleveland area that reaches back years before it came into being. The band in question is Falling Stars.

For more than 25 years, the music of Chris Allen has been filling the ears of Clevelanders, whether it’s when he is performing on his own or in the various musical acts like the band he is most known for- Rosavelt; a band that has spent plenty of time entertaining fans in the Greater Cleveland area with music from their several albums of music. At other times, Allen can be found on stage with acts that feature mainly cover versions of popular songs. With a few of his musician friends, Allen performs several times a week within the city of Cleveland and has done so for years.

Just like with Chris Allen, Tim Parnin has been a big part of the Cleveland music scene. And just like Allen, Parnin has a long history in the music scene. In fact, Clevelanders may remember Parnin from back in the early 2000s when he was part of the Alternative Rock band called Uptown Sinclair, a group that he performed in with comedian Dave Hill. The self-titled album from Uptown Sinclair was one of the more memorable local albums from the last 20 years. And just like with Chris Allen and the band Rosavelt, Uptown Sinclair was only a small part of Tim Parnin’s musical history, as he also can claim to be a part of the band Sweet Apple, a band that features other famous musicians that have their own histories like J Mascis from the band Dinosaur Jr.

Together, Chris Allen and Tim Parnin’s musical histories combine for more than 40 years of experience. That experience was put to good use when the two musicians decided to create a new band together. The resulting musical outfit featuring Chris Allen and Tim Parnin is called Falling Stars.

When forming the band Falling Stars, Chris Allen and Tim Parnin called upon Dave Padrutt and Gary Porter to provide the bass and drums for the band. Together with Producer Don Dixon, the band’s music was created. The result is an album entitled Stranded in the Future.

With both Tim Parnin and Chris Allen creating music for the recent version of the band Rosavelt, you would imagine that the music for Falling Stars would have somewhat the same type of vibe. However, that is only somewhat true. The resulting musical combination contains a just little of the Alt-Country feel of Rosavelt but contains a much stronger Rock and Roll influence.

Falling Stars’ new release of Stranded in the Future begins with the track “Down and Out in Ohio”. The track features a Rock and Roll feel that feels rather timeless. The guitars on the track help to create that timeless feel as both Allen and Parnin create a style that would feel right at home in the eighties or the nineties. While the subject matter isn’t the most positive, the track features very strong Rock and Roll.

While only Tim Parnin was part of the band Uptown Sinclair, that group’s sound somehow made its way into the music of Parnin’s new group of Falling Stars. In fact, the song “Another Wrong Way Out” has an Alternative Rock feel that seems to bring to mind the style of Parnin’s old band. “Another Wrong Way Out” would have fit right alongside tunes like “Girlfriend” and “First Thing in the Morning” from Uptown Sinclair’s self-titled album.

With the next track, Chris Allen and Tim Parnin show off their talents as guitarists with a song that contains one of the simplest musical approaches. The track “Morning Divide” features only Allen, Parnin and their two guitars creating the music to the track while Allen’s distinct voice provides the vocals to the song. The easy pace to the song and the gentle strumming from both guitarists create a song that ends up being rather catchy despite the relatively simple musical approach. The track ends up being one of the best moments of the first half of the release.

The track “The Lonely Keep in Touch” is one song on the album Stranded in the Future that makes good use of the talents of Chris Allen. The music and the lyrics are so infused with Allen’s style that you would swear you were actually listening to a solo track. In fact, the song features his style so strongly that it actually it would feel right at home on one of Allen’s solo albums.

On the song “Vacancy Signs,” Falling Stars creates a track that seems to bring out a little influence from sixties. The track’s straight-out Rock and Roll approach and slightly psychedelic sound and feel to the music gives the song a definite different feel than the rest of the release. And even with that slightly unique musical approach to the track, “Vacancy Signs” ends up being one of the strongest tracks on the release.

Speaking of “a definite different feel” to the music, the song “Losing Without You” is one track on the new album from Falling Stars that comes to life with plenty of help from album producer Don Dixon. The track includes percussion and a production quality that sets the track apart from every single other track on the release. “Losing Without You” is easily one of the strongest moments on the Stranded in the Future album and is a track that begs for multiple listenings.

Throughout the tracks that make up the album Stranded in the Future from Falling Stars, Chris Allen and Tim Parnin create songs that feature different Rock and Roll styles. Together, those various styles of Rock and Roll combine to create one release that feels ultimately timeless. The resulting release of Stranded in the Future is one album that any love of Rock and Roll should search out and add to their music collection.

To check out the music of Falling Stars, click HERE for the song “Another Wrong Way Out”. 

To purchase a copy of the album Stranded in the Future from Falling Stars, click on the album cover below: