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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: 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. And to help Hadley bring her music to life on that release, she’s joined by Collin Pastore on pedal steel, Austin Webb on guitar, Andrew Brown on Bass, and Jake Finch on drums and background vocals. While Hadley Kennary won that Second Place finish in the aforementioned Bluegrass Songwriting contest, together, Kennary and company create a release that blends together a generous amount of Pop and Rock influences.

Habits from Hadley Kennary begins with the track “First Love”. The track begins with the sound of the guitar and some light percussion as Kennary adds soft vocals to the provided music. Before long, the song changes from the light musical approach to a track with a full-on Pop-Rock musical feel. In fact, the track feels like something from Shania Twain except with a much stronger Rock and Roll influence to the music as Hadley and band create a track that would feel right at home alongside Twain’s “I’m Gonna Getcha Good,” especially since both tracks contain an upbeat delivery on the music as well as containing lyrics about pursing your love interest. The commercial feel of the track ensures a strong showing on the charts if the song gets a chance.

With the next track, Hadley Kennary takes her music in a much different direction. The track “Right by You” is a track that contains a sound that will remind the listener of something from the mid-eighties. In fact, the musical Pop-Rock approach of “Right by You” contains a sound that places the track next to songs from artists like Kim Wilde, Sheena Easton and/or Kim Carnes. The musical vibe of the track comes courtesy of the bassline from Andrew Brown as well as the guitar playing from Austin Webb. As the track continues, the addition of the drums just helps to reinforce that approach. Together, the musicians help create that musical vibe that places the song musically into the eighties. For those who enjoy the sound of that era, “Right by You” will satisfy the craving for music from that decade.

Hadley Kennary and band slow things down on the next track of the EP. The song “Accountability” once again features a Pop-Rock feel to the music as the song begins with the sound of the acoustic guitar and Kennary’s vocals. The simplicity of that combination creates the basis of the track and that simplicity lasts throughout the three minutes of the song, creating a track with a gentle feeling to the music. The inclusion of electric guitar, slide guitar and other instrumentation in the background adds depth to the track. However, that added instrumentation stays rather low-key throughout, allowing the vocals of Kennery to shine as harmonies add even more to the track. Altogether, the soft gentle music of the song brings to mind the musical stylings of someone like Sarah McLaughlin, Tori Amos or other singer-songwriters who stay on the softer side of Pop-Rock.

The harder side of Hadley Kennary and her music returns on the track called “Casual”. The beginning of the track starts with the light sound of the bass before the electric guitar joins in to create a Rock and Roll feel to the music. In fact, it is the electric guitar that stands out on this song, adding power to the music while creating a sound that would fit squarely on the today’s radio airwaves. The full sound of the guitar and the strength of the music creates an Alternative Rock feel to the track. At the beginning of the song, the electric guitar and Alternative Rock feel of the music brings to mind someone like Alanis Morrissett. However, the track changes slightly as some Pop influence is added to the music. The track ultimately feels like a blend of Alanis Morrissett and the more Rock and Roll side of No Doubt. “Casual” ends up being one of the strongest tracks on the release, as well as one of the most commercial. And with that in mind, it’s easy to see why the track is one of the singles on the EP.

It is with the track “Potential” that Hadley Kennary brings her new Habits EP to a close. Much like with the previous track of “Casual,” Kennary creates a track with a strong Rock and Roll backbone to it. But the song also contains a Pop feel to the music at the same time. The track is one of the more energetic of the songs on the release as it contains a driving feel to the music. As far as style is concerned, the music falls somewhere between the nineties and today, creating a very modern feel to the song. You can imagine the track fitting on any Alternative Rock, Modern Rock or even Top 40/Hot A/C radio formats. The energetic feel to the music as well as its commercial vibe makes “Potential” a very listener-friendly track. It also makes the inclusion of the track at the very end of the release a good move as it brings Habits from Hadley Kennary to a close on a strong note.

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.  

For a taste of the music from Hadley Kennary, check out the single “Casual”.

To check out the Habits release from Hadley Kennary, click on the album cover below: 

Categories
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:

 

 

Categories
Rock News Uncategorized

April press release round-up

CLUTCH TO SHAKE UP JULY WITH UK HEADLINE SHOWS
 
Back in January this year Maryland maestros Clutch played a one off, twice upgraded sell out gig in London in order to promote their stunning new album Earthrocker. Sadly I was not able to get to this gig, but I have heard Earthrocker which is the tenth stupendously good album from Clutch. The press release which I recieved states that 'The much-loved Maryland four-piece have been honing their live chops for more than two decades. There is no question that seeing Clutch perform is a revelatory experience not to be missed'. This is such a valid statement which I can personally vouch for as I have been blessed by seeing Clutch play live on a couple of occassions. They ARE simply magnificent…..
 
Clutch have just announced four more UK dates that will be shaking the following venues,
 
Mon 8th Jul –                NORWICH Waterfront
Tue 9th Jul –                 NOTTINGHAM Rock City
Wed 10th Jul –              MANCHESTER Academy 2
Thu 11th Jul –               LONDON Forum
 
Expect all shows to be packed full of heart, soul, and badass riffery! Tickets are priced £15 regionally / £16 London (subject to booking fee) and will go on sale on Friday 5th April at 10am. Tickets for Manchester & London are available from www.livenation.co.uk or www.ticketmaster.co.uk.
 
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