It’s time for another installment of Sights and Sounds of Note! This month we get to memorialize all the great releases that have stuffed our electronic and physical in-boxes in recent weeks. There are rookies, rock legends and one band paying tribute to the greatest group of all time – enjoy!
If you enjoy the music of the early Beatles than its time you Meet The Weeklings – (www.weeklings.com) a talented quartet whose new album Monophonic echoes of that magical era. As the title implies the songs which were all played on vintage instruments were recorded in mono. Best of all is that half of the tunes on Monophonic were penned but not recorded by The Fab Four themselves. The remaining tracks written by The Weeklings were crafted to sound as if they were by the Beatles – a nod to the past yet perfect for the present age.
The CD opens with the up-tempo “Little Tease” that showcases simple yet strong songcraft paired with spirited harmonies. This teaser sets the tone for the rest of this record in which every tune is a gem. Other highlights include the catchy “One & One Is Two”, a masterful “Mona Lisa” and the witty wordplay found on “If You’ve Got Trouble”. Monophonic is a delightful dozen of songs reflecting the essence of the early Beatles.
Young For A Long Time is the new album from Grammy-nominated country cross-overs Little Texas (www.littletexasonline.com). The album is equal parts reminiscing and rollicking heartland rock that has a strong pull on the heartstrings. The title track recalls the time when the group was paving the way for the multi-million dollar country music industry we see today. By citing both the Beatles and the Boss it’s clear that rock is firmly in the roots of this Nashville-based band.
“Can’t Get In A Hurry Here” drops down the tempo but ups the emotional impact as guitarist and vocalist Dwayne O’Brien delivers the goods on this feel good number. “Slow Ride Home” is the haunting and tear-jerking true story told from the perspective of a deceased American soldier returning to his home turf as his community pays tribute to his ultimate sacrifice in a foreign war. “Why I Brought My Boots” affirms the group’s country roots with a rockin’ pace. “What Might Have Been” is an acoustic love song that takes a realistic and rational approach to matters of the heart complete with string section and big harmonies. Little Texas scores big with Young For A Long Time!
The award winning Cash Box Kings (www.cashboxkings.com) are Holding Court with their latest Blind Pig release. This 13-track CD of covers and originals blends the best of old school blues (Chicago, The Delta & Memphis) within a modern context. The Cash Box Kings are fronted by singer/songwriter Joe Nosek who channels the spirits of Little Walter along with Slim Harpo when he plays harmonica. Singer Oscar Wilson has been described as a Muddy Waters type with the rest of The Cash Box Kings ruling on their instruments of choice.
On Holding Court there is a focus on stripped-down ensemble playing yet the sound is clean and crisp. The Cash Box Kings kick things off with an animated version of “I Ain’t Gonna Be No Monkey Man”. Next, the insightful “Download Blues” and the gritty “Gotta Move Out To The Suburbs” tackles current issues in the context of the blues. The album continues to build on these essentials as it explores more elements of the genre. The Cash Box Kings reign in the realm of classic/contemporary blues.
Victor Wainwright (www.victorwainwright.com) and The Wildroots takes folks on a boogie-woogie journey with Boom Town (drop date 05/26/15). The opening/title track has a down home feel propelled by Victor’s vibrant piano playing paired with his earthy vocals that reminds one of Dr. John or Leon Russell. Wainwright is backed by an able crew including player/producer/writer Stephen Dees who explores a range of styles on this 13-track album.
Southern life, sin and salvation are prevailing themes in Boom Town. “Genuine Southern Hospitality” and the slow simmering “Wildroot Farm” are fine examples of Southern flavored tunes filled with visual images. The spirited “Saturday Night Sunday Morning”, the dark, swampy “When the Day is Done” along with the stark warning about “The Devil’s Bite” are rooted in religion. This all originals CD closes with a galloping jam with the harmonica, horns and all rocking out on “Wildroot Rumble”.
EVEN MORE NOTABLE RELEASES! Finding Solace (www.findingsolacemusic.com) is the new musical project from South Carolina-based producer and prodigy Cory Plaugh. Long Live Regret is a powerful 10-track collection that is anchored with a heavy modern alternative rock approach. The strong first single “Save Me” is an explosive and introspective introduction to Plaugh’s finely crafted and skillfully honed new musical direction. Finding Solace is sonic comfort for these current times. It might have taken Cory and Co a while to get here, but no regrets, it was worth the wait! …
John Lodge (www.johnlodge.com) is best known as the bassist and one of the voices in The Moody Blues. 10,000 Light Years Ago is an appropriate title for his latest solo effort. The 8-track CD opens and closes with spacey rockers. In between are diverse songs that echo of the past lyrically and musically. 10,000 Light Years Ago is a solid record from a legendary artist …
Elevation 13 by Louie Ludwig and The Moss Pickers (www.loulost.com) will lift you up even though this 10 track CD has its dark moments. Their sound has been described as “the land where the Appalachians meet Bayou Blues”. It is an album of fine picking including plenty of banjo blended with philosophy – starting with the observational opener (Why Do) Crows (Always Seem to Come Out on Cloudy Days). The edgy yet still countrified “Nobody” and “Snake” are crafty – as is the rest of the record …
Legendary British rockers UFO (www.ufo-music.info) have been sighted again! This time, they’re hawking the 11-track A Conspiracy of Stars expertly produced and mixed by Chris Tsangarides (Judas Priest, Thin Lizzy, Gary Moore). The collection features hard hitting hooks, riveting riffs and probing lyrics proving that this UFO is real and still rocking more than four decades since their first sighting. “Devils In The Detail” and “Messiah Of Love” are two tracks from this critically-acclaimed comeback that are sure to beam you up.
See ya next month!
About Sights and Sounds of Note: SSON column editors Richard J. Lynch and Laura Turner Lynch are the founders of SoundPress.net, an Internet-based music industry magazine and review site, online since 1999. Laura is a published author of the inspirational Positive Power Secrets From A to Z (www.positivepowersecrets.net). Rich regularly interviews famous rock stars for the site’s radio show and he has recently launched his own recording career at (www.richlynchband.com).