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CD Review: Marc Lee Shannon “Walk This Road”

Marc Lee Shannon has spent more than thirty years in the music industry. A large part of that time was spent outside of the Northern Ohio area as Shannon once lived out in Los Angeles having moved out there at the age of 19 to attend college.  And while out that way, Shannon began playing with some of the biggest names in the industry.

Time passed and Marc Lee Shannon has now been living back in the Northern Ohio area for years. And just like when he was out West, Shannon can be found performing with some of the biggest names in this area. You can find Shannon onstage helping to shape the music of artists such as The Midlife Chryslers, as well as being part of Michael Stanley & The Resonators, as well as many other artists from the region.

Marc Lee Shannon released his first release of Any Ordinary Man, back in 2006. That album was produced by Local Hero (as well as multi-talented musical artist) Michael Stanley and was released digitally on Line Level Music. And now, Shannon is back with his latest release. The 2018 album from Marc Lee Shannon is entitled Walk This Road. And much like with Shannon’s time as a musician, this album was created with the help of some of the biggest and most well-known names in the Northern Ohio region. Among those who helped bring the album to life is Ryan Humbert, a singer-songwriter in his own right. Along with adding guitars and vocals, Humbert helped to produce the album.

Walk This Road begins with the song “Carousel”. This track features a strong bassline and strong electric guitars that combine to create a track with a Classic Rock feel to the music, with a slight Native American vibe running through the music itself. The lyrics deal with living your life and dealing with the ups and downs of life as you go around the sun, which may very well explain the title of “Carousel”. The track starts slow and somewhat low-key, but soon picks up. The track continues with a strong Blues/Rock blend that is very energetic. This strong Blues-Rock track from Marc Lee Shannon and the rest of the musicians gives the listener something strong right from the start.

The Blues/Rock blend from “Carousel” is replaced with a straight-out Rock and Roll musical approach on the second track of the album. The title track of the release finds Marc Lee Shannon and band creating a track that would have been right at home on the radio during the late eighties/early nineties. The music of the song “Walk This Road” finds the band creating some of the best straight-out Rock and Roll that has been produced in a long time.  Fans of Rock and Roll from the late eighties/early nineties will enjoy this track.

Marc Lee Shannon’s Walk This Road continues with the song entitled “Back Door to My Heart”. The track features a slow pace to the music and influences like Jimi Hendrix-influenced guitars in the early moments of the track and Tom Petty-influenced music in the later moments. The two influences come in spurts as they alternate throughout the track. These influences help to create a track that feels somewhat timeless in its musical approach. And the lyrics of the track are given some extra body as Bri & Jon Bryant add background vocals to the song, giving a slight Gospel Choir influence to the lyrics.

As the first few track of Walk This Road come with guitar-based musical approaches that feeling changes with the track “Count Me In” as it is the piano from Russell Flanagan that help give the track a much different musical direction than the previous songs. As Russell Flanagan handles the piano, the track’s piano part will easily remind some of Billy Joel. And when the background vocals from Emily Bates and producer Ryan Humbert join in, the track ends up feeling like a 1980’s anthem in the style of “We Are The World”. The lyrics for “Count Me In” even give off positive vibes of being there for someone.

With the song “Since You Been Around,” Marc Lee Shannon and band create a track that once again changes the direction of the music. With this track, the musicians all join together to create a track that features music and vocals that bring to mind those of singer-songwriter Randy Newman. In fact, the way the band and Shannon combine their talents, what results is a track that feels rather reminiscent of “You’ve Got a Friend In Me” from Newman. The main reasons for this being the piano from Russell Flanagan and the rather smoky vocals from Shannon.

The sound of the electric guitar returns for the track “All I Want”. Along with the electric guitar, Marc Lee Shannon and the rest of the musicians bring back the feel of Eighties Rock and Roll.  The music of the track brings to mind the style of one Bryan Adams and other artists from that time. “All I Want” from Marc Lee Shannon is guitar-driven and will instantly remind the listener of music from Top 40 radio from the eighties. When the instruments on this track combine about halfway through the song, they create a sound that will remind some of the E. Street Band… minus the sax from Clarence Clemons.

For the last track of the release, Marc Lee Shannon draws upon several different artists to help flavor his music. It is the likes of Harry Nillson who influences the music of the track “So Long My Friend” while Shannon calls upon an artist who is rather close to his heart to help with the lyrics to this track. By the lyrics and the vocal delivery on this track all but scream Michael Stanley, a singer-songwriter who was best known for the songs “My Town,” “Lover” and “He Can’t Love You,” three tracks that made their way onto the music charts back in the eighties. In fact, you can almost hear this track appearing on one of Stanley’s twenty-plus studio albums.  

Having released his latest album of Walk This Road  back in 2108, Marc Lee Shannon has continued writing music. Currently, the singer-songwriter is celebrating the release of his most current single entitled “Friends Like You”. The track features a strong acoustic guitar and an equally strong organ setting the tone for the track. Once the rest of the instruments join in, the track takes on a Pop-Rock feel that would fit in alongside bands like Goo Goo Dolls and/or The Gin Blossoms while also containing a slight Bruce Springsteen influence to the music and especially in the vocals on the track. Like a lot of the music created by Marc Lee Shannon, “Friends Like You” contains a musical delivery that is rather timeless. While the track would feel right at home on the radio today, “Friends Like You” would have fit in on radio during the eighties and/or the nineties without any problems. 

Whether on his latest album of Walk This Road or his latest single of “Friends Like You,” Marc Lee Shannon shows off not only his ability as a singer-songwriter, but also his ability as a musician. And with the help of the various musicians who helped bring the album to life, Marc Lee Shannon has created a release that has a very timeless feel to it. For those longing for music that contains a strong timeless feel to it, Marc Lee Shannon’s Walk This Road is the album for you. 

To check out the music from Marc Lee Shannon, check out the latest single from the singer-songwriter, “Friends Like You”:

To hear the entire album of Walk This Road from Marc Lee Shannon, click on the album cover below: 

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CD Review: Stone Diamond “Don’t Believe What You Think”

Back when the band Stone Diamond first formed, the Rock and Roll ensemble was a trio consisting of: Cy on vocals/bass, Josh on vocals/guitar and The Tongue on drums. Today, the band has expanded to a quartet and now consists of: Cy on bass, Pete on drums, Marc on guitar/vocals and Zaki on guitars/backings. And while the band went from the trio setting to a band consisting of four members, not much has changed as far as talent is concerned. Just like before, the Rock and Roll music created by the band is strong and very listener-friendly.  

It was back in 2013 that Stone Diamond released their debut album entitled We Stole the Stars from the Black Night. That 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 first track off of the Don’t Believe What You Think release from Stone Diamond is the track “Amy Van Dango”. The track takes the listener straight back into the eighties. The song features a Rock and Roll feel to the music that blends a lot of Soul elements into the music. It also seems to feature a generous amount of Hall and Oates feel to the music and the lyrics. This track would fit right in with any song on Top 40 Radio back in the eighties. But that doesn’t mean that it would be out of place on today’s radio. With all of the retro artists out there like Bruno Mars creating tracks like “24k Magic” currently blowing up commercial radio, there is plenty of room out there for Stone Diamond’s “Amy Van Dango”. And with this track as the first single, the band has begun to promote the Don’t Believe What You Think release. Of course, the single version of the song is much shorter than the original seven minute-plus album track.  

Stone Diamond’s newest release continues with the track “The Art of Breaking Hearts”. The track begins with a guitar riff that is rather reminiscent of something from Jimi Hendrix; especially if you consider that the riff sounds as if it had been inspired by Hendrix’s song “The Wind Cries Mary”. That Hendrix-inspired riff soon blends into a slow-paced track that features an easy pace to the music. The relaxed feel to “The Art of Breaking Hearts” adds a bit of emotional feeling to the track’s lyrics about a relationship that has its ups and downs. As the listener makes their way through the track, they notice a strong Classic Rock vibe that revolves around that Hendrix-inspired musical approach. While the track contains more than just the Hendrix influence, it’s hard to ignore that influence in the track.

On the very next track, the band dramatically changes the direction of the Rock and Roll that they create. While the first two tracks contain a Classic Rock approach, the song “Mine” finds the band blending together two different eras of music. In fact, the opening riff on the bass will remind listeners of something reminiscent of the bassline from “Come as You Are” from Nirvana. But the track also contains a feel that brings images of music from the sixties. The lyrical feel to the track especially conjures up visions of that time period. The blending of the two elements create a track that feels as much out of place with any time period as it reminds people of two different eras. A rather strange blend of styles creates a track that ends up feeling as out of place with today’s music as it also feels as if it belongs with today’s music.

While the next track continues the Classic Rock feel of the music on Don’t Believe What You Think, the new release from Stone Diamond, the song “1000 Suns” takes the band’s music in a direction that would feel right at home on any Power Rock radio format. As a matter of fact, “1000 Suns” brings the band’s music into the eighties with a sound that blends influences from Aerosmith and other such Rock and Roll bands together to form a track that would have been right at home on any Power Rock radio format back during the eighties. The track alternates between a strong Power Rock feel and a more laidback approach that would be closer to a power ballad than anything else. But the strong guitar riff that brings to mind something from the likes of someone like Joe Perry from Aerosmith keeps the track from getting too laidback.

With the track entitled “No Sleep,” Stone Diamond adds a bit of Country Music twang to their sound. While there is still plenty of Classic Rock feeling to the music on “No Sleep,” the slight twang in the music gives the band’s song more Americana flair to it than the rest of the tracks on the album. With the inclusion of the twang in the music, “No Sleep” feels as if it would fit right in with Country Music radio formats just as easily as Classic Rock formats. The song ends up being a perfect crossover track.

Stone Diamond returns to more of a straight-out Rock and Roll approach to their music on the next track of “Let’s Go”. With this track, the band creates music that has a musical feel that could have come from any of the last four decades. The undeniably timeless feel of the music as well as the simple lyrical content of the track helps to create a song that feels very timeless.

Just as the track “No Sleep” stands out because of the inclusion of a slight Country Music twang in the track’s musical content, the final track on the release also stands out…for very much the same reason. The song “Misty Eyes” finds a band that creates songs with a strong Classic Rock direction changing that direction for a very different feel to their music. Instead of that Classic Rock/Power Rock vibe, “Misty Eyes” finds Stone Diamond creating a track with a Pop-Rock approach. Like much of the music that can be found on the Don’t Believe What You Think release, “Misty Eyes” contains a sound and feel that would fit right in with much of the music that was around during the eighties.

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.

To experience a little of the music from Stone Diamond, check out the band’s current single of “Amy Van Dango”. 

To check the newest album from Stone Diamond entitled Don’t Believe What You Think, click on the album cover below: 

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CD Review: UniversalDice “birth, love, hate, death”

Within the era of Rock and Roll, there have been bands that have taken the idea of the album and made it so much stronger as they created tracks that segue between each other as those tracks combine to create what has been called a Rock Opera. And while the Rock Opera is an idea that has been around for a while, there have only been a relatively few examples of the artform through the era of Rock and Roll when compared to the vast number of releases that have been put out. One band that has taken it upon itself to explore the concept of the Rock Opera is UniversalDice.

A group that calls Long Island, New York home, the band of UniversalDice consists of: Gerry Dantone – vocals, guitars, programming; Bob Barcus – lead guitar; Ed Canova – bass; Walt Sargent – keyboards; Vin Crica – keyboards. These and other musicians who appear on a few of the tracks help to bring the music of UniversalDice to life. Having already releasing four previous albums, the group is celebrating the release of their fifth album, a 2018 album entitled birth, love, hate, death.

UniversalDice’s birth, love, hate, death is a 16-track album that deals with love as it survives even after someone dies. While vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Gerald Dantone had the biggest part in writing the album, the entire band helped in many ways to bring the album to life.

As the birth, love, hate, death album from UniversalDice begins, the track called “Welcome to the World” “welcomes” the listener to the release just as the narrator of the track welcomes the newest addition to the family to the world. The track finds the band creating a song that falls solidly into the Rock and Roll genre. The track features 70s-era Rock and Roll that is reminiscent of bands like Badfinger or The Raspberries. While the track begins the 16-track album, the sound of the music and the lyrics contained within are so universal that you could easily imagine the track as the lead-off single for the release.

The next track of “I Wish I Could Tell You This” slows the pace of the music down while still pushing the storyline forward. The track’s lyrics deal with a mother figure as she looks down on her newborn child and the thoughts that go through her mind. “I Wish I Could Tell You This” is a rather sad tale as the mother reveals her innermost feelings and regrets.

With the very next track on the release, the band produces an answer to the previous song as the child explains to his mother the way he is feeling in the same type of song that reveals the growing worry in his mind. “Your Son” is a letter set to music. Like the previous track, Gerry Dantone and the rest of UniversalDice create a track with a gentle pace to the music that seems to go rather well with the somber tone of the lyrics.

The various tracks that make up the birth, love, hate, death album deal with all different areas of life. With the track “I Like It When They Hate It,” the band deals with how people are perceived as they make choices in their lives. On this track, the band takes their music in the direction of eighties pop-rock. The track has a nearly timeless feel to it as it would have easily fit on Top 40 radio back in the eighties as easily as it would fit on radio today. 

With “Better Man,” UniversalDice creates a song that brings to mind the music of someone like The Allman Brothers as the track features Rock and Roll with a bit of a Southern Rock feel to it. The lyrics deal with a man who looks inside himself and decides he can do better. While the slower pace to the track slows things down a little, the song shows a slightly different side to the music from UniversalDice.

As the listener puts this album on, they experience all sorts of different aspects to life within the lyrics of the songs that make up the album. Separately, the various songs create a strong release of well-written tracks that make use of the band’s various musical influences. The creation of songs using different sounds from the Classic Rock era of Rock and Roll means that lovers of that style of Rock will find something to enjoy throughout the entire length of the album. And with the lyrics creating a storyline that tie each song together, the album does something that few very albums today can do: entertain the listener while keeping them wanting to listener all the way through the release. For those who enjoy finding albums that entertain while also tell a story, the Rock Opera of UniversalDice’s birth, love, hate, death is one album to add to your music collection.

To check out the music from UniversalDice’s birth, love, hate, death release, check out the first track of the album, “Welcome to the World“. To check out the entire album on spotify

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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CD Review: Rocket “Get Huge”

Los Angeles-based band Rocket is an Rock band that is keeping the spirit of true Rock and Roll alive with a sound that brings back the influences of the music that was alive and well back in the nineties or earlier. Together, this band has been creating their style of music for more than five years now. The band known as Rocket consists of: Janelle Barreto (Lead Vocals), Eric Wibbelsmann (Guitar), Steve Kilcullen (Guitar), Jordan Lawson (Bass), and Paul DePatie (Drums). The band just celebrated the release of their newest EP containing five tracks of all original music. The new release from Rocket is entitled Get Huge.  

Get Huge from Rocket starts off with the first single off of the EP called “Giants”. The track begins with a rather strong bass riff from bassist Jordan Lawson before the rest of the band joins in. Because of that beginning riff, the bassline from Lawson continues to appear to be in the foreground more than the EP’s remaining tracks. The bassline is joined by the rest of the band to create a track that feels more like something from the Glam Rock era of Rock and Roll than from the Alternative era. One of the reasons for the Glam Rock feel to the track is singer Janelle Barreto’s lyrical delivery that contains a strong influence from singers like Joan Jett who made her name during the Glam Rock era of Rock and Roll. Plus, the track’s musical delivery falls somewhere between Glam Rock and Rock and Roll from the eighties. That throwback feel to the music creates a track that will give fans of older styles of Rock and Roll something to enjoy. 

The new release from the band Rocket continues with the track “Hey Baby”. Like the first track, the band draws from earlier musical influences to create the music for this track. The straight-out Rock and Roll feel on this track takes the listener back in time to the seventies/eighties. “Hey Baby” contains a Rock and Roll sound that draws its influences from Classic Rock bands from that time period. The guitars in the track from Eric Wibbelsmann and Steve Kilcullen as well as the vocals from Barreto help to create a timeless Rock and Roll track.  

With the next track on the EP, Rocket changes their sound just a little by adding a little more Punk feel to their song “Fading Out”. Part of that influence comes from the band and part of that once again comes from the vocals from Janelle Barreto as she seems to be drawing her vocal influences from singers like the aforementioned Joan Jett and/or Wendy O. Williams. The Punk/Rock combination on the track makes the track feel both fresh and a little bit retro at the same time. The result is a track that would have fit on the radio back a few decades but is still fresh enough to fit on today’s Rock and Roll formats.

Rocket’s Get Huge release continues with perhaps the most radio-friendly track of the EP. With the track entitled “Remain,” the band takes their music in a rather commercial direction. Instead of staying with a straight-out Rock and Roll approach, the band takes their music in a direction that features a large amount of Pop-rock influence. Where the earlier tracks would easily fit on Hard Rock/Classic Rock radio formats, the more listener-friendly Pop-Rock style of “Remain” would be more welcome on straight-out Rock and Roll radio formats. While the track is definitely different from the tracks that came before it on the Get Huge EP, the most commercial direction of the song shows off the band’s ability to create something for everyone.

Get Huge from Rocket comes to an end with the track “Fever”. With this track, the band takes the listener back to a more solid Rock and Roll sound to their music. The resulting track finds the band creating a song that would easily fit within music from the late seventies/early eighties and therefore would fit on any Classic Rock radio format.

When listening to the Get Huge EP from the Los Angeles-based band Rocket, the listener gets a release that is a Rock and Roll lover’s dream come true: As the band draws its influences from many different styles and eras of Rock and Roll, it’s that constant change throughout the five tracks on the EP that helps to create a rather solid release that never fades and keeps the listener entertained. While the Rock and Roll contained on this release may draw from earlier eras of music, fans of true Rock and Roll will truly enjoy this release.

To check out the music from Rocket, click on the LINK for the band’s song “Giant”. 

Find the Get Huge EP from Rocket on Spotify. 

To purchase a copy of the Get Huge EP from Rocket, click on the album cover below:

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CD Review: 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.

To bring The James Emmett Band together, guitarist/singer Justin James Geraci and drummer/background vocalist Mathew Emmett Geraci called upon other musicians to complete the lineup. Along with the two brothers, the rest of the group consists of: Chris Heltzel on Background Vocals/Guitar, Creston Heltzel on Guitar and John Kovacic on Bass.

Just like Sonny Geraci and his various musical outfits created music were known for making music that was current with that era’s styles, so too do his sons. The band’s music features a large amount of Rock and Roll influence with other current influences thrown into the mix. The resulting feel of the band’s music would easily fit onto today’s Hot 100 radio formats as well as any Hot A/C formats. Together, the group is currently celebrating the release of a new five-song EP. The new release from The James Emmett Band is entitled Bet Against Me.

Bet Against Me from The James Emmett Band begins with the track “Back of My Hand”. On the track, the brothers seem to say that they don’t take themselves too seriously as the lyrics to this song state: “I know the back of my hand like the back of my hand”. Once the listener gets past the somewhat humorous line (or “groaner,” depending on how you look at it), the track features a slow pace to the music that initially brings to mind the style of Jack Johnson. The track then picks up a slightly orchestral feel to the music and the song feels ready-made for Top 40 radio.

The new five-song release from The James Emmett Band continues with the track “Crawl”. Just like the previous track, “Crawl” feels ready-made for commercial radio airplay. The gentle beat laid down by Mathew Emmett Geraci and John Kovacic on Bass creates an easy pace to the music and the vocals from Justin James Geraci seem very reminiscent of John Mayer on this track. The lyrics on the track come across as rather familiar; so much so that the listener may find themselves singing along before the song is halfway through. The familiar feel to the track makes “Crawl” one of the standout tracks on the Bet Against Me release.

Up next on the release is the title track. The song “Bet Against Me” is perhaps the most “current” track of the EP as the band shows off their various musical influences that are found in today’s music scene. The underlying sound of the music of the track contains a pop/rock feel. That pop/rock influence comes complete with a slight hip-hop style as singer Justin James Geraci performs a strong rap within the track as he comments about the current state of the world and where he stands within that world. This track contains a very infectious feel to the music and would instantly become a favorite among the youth who follow the band.

Much of the music contained within the Bet Against Me release from The James Emmett Band contains a relatively modern feel to the music. However, with the track of “Fall Apart,” the band’s style changes to incorporate a rather throwback style. While the track “Fall Apart” would easily fit alongside Indie Rock from today, the track contains a musical style that brings to mind the music of the eighties; moreover, the feel of the music is reminiscent of the Rock and Roll that had been played on college radio that had not been classified as New Wave.

The Bet Against Me release comes to a close with the track “Havin’ Fun”. Like the majority of the band’s release, this track incorporates a very modern feel in the music. You can feel a little U2 influence in the music. But because the song contains a large keyboard feel, there is also a strong eighties vibe as the track brings to mind several of the New Wave bands like Ultravox or Visage who were largely keyboard-based. The track contains a strong slow, steady beat that goes along with the strong keyboard presence. When added together, both elements create a track that will, once again, fit in well with modern Top 40 radio.

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.   

To discover the music from The James Emmett Band, check out their song “Fall Apart“.

To check out the Bet Against Me release from The James Emmett Band, click on the album cover below: