Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

It was back in 2014 that the organization known as Operation Encore was founded. Operation Encore is an organization that helps give former soldiers from all branches of the American military a new lease on life through the music that they are already creating on their own. And since the advent of the organization, two compilations have been created that feature music from those former soldiers.

Along with those compilations, several albums that were created by some of the artists are also being promoted by the organization. Artists such as Andrew Wiscombe, Steve Wilson, The Real Doug Lane, Steve Covell have put out albums that are being promoted with the help of Operation Encore. Rachel Harvey Hill, a wife of military personnel, has also released music that is being promoted by the organization. Now, former Coast Guard pilot Brian Boland has joined the “ranks” of former military personnel who are now a part of Operation Encore.

Brian Boland, the former Coast Guard pilot, joined the Operation Encore organization just recently and has just released his first EP entitled Rtb, a short-hand military term meaning “return to base”. On the Rtb EP, Boland has been joined by Ryan Johnson on guitar, Whit Wright on steel and piano, Kevin Mcclain on percussion, and Bill Corbin on Bass. Together,  Boland and these musicians combine their talents to bring Boland’s new release to life. 

For his music, Brian Boland performs under the moniker of Unknown Rider. It is with this moniker that he has just released his first album entitled Rtb, a short-hand military term meaning “return to base”. And to help shape his music, Boland has called upon the following musicians: Ryan Johnson on guitar, Whit Wright on steel and piano, Kevin Mcclain on percussion,and Bill Corbin on Bass. These men were also a part of the band known as American Aquarium. Together, Brian Boland and the four aforementioned men helped to bring the music of Unknown Rider to life.

As you make your way through the Rtb release, you notice a connecting theme between the tracks. That theme is movement. Many of the songs created by Unknown Rider deal with spending time in one specific place or another, and with the fact that Brian Boland spent much of his time in the military on the move,that really should not be that much of a surprise.

The Rtb release from Unknown Rider begins with the track “Hatteras”. This is the first of many songs on the album that deal with the theme of traveling. With this song, the lyrics find Brian Boland spending some time reflecting on a past relationship; a relationship that, apparently, took place on the beaches of North Carolina. The track features a Pop-Rock feel to the music. That Pop-Rock influence seems to take the listener back to the time of the nineties as the track’s musical approach brings to mind bands like Third Eye Blind or Goo Goo Dolls.

Unknown Rider’s new release continues with the track “Reykjavik”. With this track, the travelling theme continues. The lyrical content in the song deals with Brian Boland’s time as a pilot in the military as the song follows Boland on one of his many adventures with the men he served alongside. While the previous track of “Hatteras” contained a Pop-Rock feel to the music, “Reykjavik” has a strong Country vibe to it. That Country flavor comes courtesy of the inclusion of things like a slide guitar.

Just as fast as Unknown Rider’s sound changed with the track “Reykjavik,” the feel of the music changes again on the song “Mexico”. While you might expect a song with a title such as “Mexico” to have a Latin flavor, nothing could be further from the truth with this track. In fact, the music of “Mexico” actually brings to mind a combination of The White Stripes and Tom Petty. The sing-song style of the lyrics on the track actually brings to mind an influence of Tom Waits in both style and delivery. And once again, the lyrical content of “Mexico” deals with Brian Boland’s time on the road in the military.

Since many of the songs on the Rtb album from Unknown Rider deal with Brian Boland’s past, it should come as no surprise thata song or two would deal with the mental side of things. One song that deals with that side of things is “Searchin’”. And while the lyrics on the track do not go very deep into that, Boland does sing about considering what might have been, what has been and what happened to others who were around him as he goes in search of answers to questions he now has. As far as the music to the track is concerned, the five-plus minute song contains and Rock and Roll feel that features the sound of the organ Whit Wright as the main instrument.

The pace of the music slows way down on the song “The Shakes”. Just like with the earlier track son the album the lyrical content of this song deal with things that have taken place in past. On “The Shakes,” a combination of too much coffee and too many memories combine to create the shakes. The slow, steady pace to the music adds a bit of tension to the already tense feeling of the words to the track. It’s almost like you can feel the way Boland feels as he sings.

One of the most unique tracks the Rtb album from Unknown Rider has to be “Kerosene”. The slow pace that was featured on “The Shakes” returns on “Kerosene”. With this track, creates a song that combines several different elements into one track. The music of the track contains a musical combination of Rock and Roll and Soul. The result is something that is rather reminiscent of a track from The Band. Along with the Influence from The Band, the lyrics contain two distinct flavors at once. You can hear in Brian Boland’s voice a touch of Bob Dylan. That Dylan influence also appears in the lyrics.But the lyrics also seem to contain some Tom Waits influence to them.Altogether, the song of “Kerosene” is one of the standout tracks on the entire ten-song release.

After nine tracks that find Brian Boland writing about travelling from one place to another, he brings the album from Unknown Rider to a close with the title track. It is with the final track “RTB” that the term “return to base” seems to make sense as Boland sings of finally being able to go back to where he started off; or, being able to “return to base”. The final track of the release finds Boland and the rest of the musicians who helped him put the album together creating a track with one of the strongest musical directions on the release. The music of the track contains a strong guitar-driven Rock and Roll feel that would fit right with tracks from the seventies, early eighties. For a final track, the song “RTB” actually brings the album to a close with a strong feeling as opposed to most albums that feature a more laidback track for the final song.

Throughout the entire Rtb album from Unknown Rider, the listener is treated to songs that feature many different musical approaches. As a matter of fact, no two tracks feel the same. The album proves that, as a writer, Brian Boland has a lot of talent. The ever-changing feel of the debut release from The Unknown Rider offers some for nearly everyone. 


To hear some of the music from Unknown Rider, check out the live version of the track “Searchin‘” as performed by Brian Boland as part of the Sofar concept. 

You can find the rtb album from Unknown Rider on spotify. Also find him on Instagram under @unknownridermusic. 

In addition to recording under Unknown Rider, Brain Boland is a published author. You can find him under the penname Cole Williams


For more reading about Operation Encore, check out the review for the first album, the second release of Monuments,the review for Rachel Harvey Hill, the review for Andrew Wiscombe, the review of Steve D. Wilson, the review for The Real Doug Lane, and the review for Stephen Covell by clicking on the links that are highlighted.  

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Wild Side

The very definition of the musical genre called Americana is: “a genre of American music having roots in early folk and country music”. But every so often, someone from outside of America comes along who adds their flavor to the music. That outside influence from the likes of someone like New Zealander Keith Urban helps to keep the music fresh as that artist helps to push the boundaries of the music. You can now add yet another outsider influence to the Americana music genre as the band Hometown Marie is currently ripping up the Country charts over in their country of Sweden.


Sweden’s Hometown Marie takes the Americana genre and makes it their own. In fact, if you were not aware of just where the band comes from, you would swear they were just your average American Country band. The Swedish band consists of: Oskar Östman, Singer, songwriter, guitarist; Gabriel Carlsson, Bass, vocals; Simon Peterson, Drummer; and Accel  Ramberg, Lead guitarist. Together, the quartet has released one four-song EP in 2016 entitled Wild Side and two new singles that were added to the band’s musical output in 2018. 


Hometown Marie’s Wild Side EP begins with the track “Like We Used To”. Right from the very beginning, the track screams Top 40 Country radio as the track features a strong current Country music feeling. In fact, the song feels as if it was recorded down in Nashville with some of the best professionals in that town. “Like We Used To” features strong mandolin playing and plenty of Country twang. The mid-tempo pace of the track gives it an easy feeling as the song plays out. That tempo works well for the song as the lyrics describe a couple in the middle of a dance that takes them back in time to when they met each other. Being the first track off of the Wild Side EP, “Like We Used To” lets the listener know that the band is serious about creating music in the Country vein. 


The band picks things up a bit with the track “Yours Tonight”. With“Yours Tonight,” the band ventures into a sound where the band combines elements of Folk music with Country. The result is a slightly lighter feel to the music. But that lighter feel comes with a quicker tempo to the music and a slightly heavier groove than what was present on “Like We Used To”. The inclusion of the mandolin at the very beginning of the track helps to set the song in motion. It is that mandolin that truly brings the Folk influence in the song to the forefront. The quicker pace and stronger groove to the song creates a moment on the EP that would fit right in with anything on today’s Country music radio formats.


Just as fast as Hometown Marie changed the pace of the music with a faster tempo on “Yours Tonight,” the band tones things down again on the next track of“Run to You”. The tempo for that song is much slower but the track also comes with a very steady, yet strong beat provided by drummer Simon Peterson. The slow pace and steady beat of the song carry the track throughout its four-minute playtime with no changing of the pace or delivery of that beat. Along with the slow, steady beat from Simon Peterson that is present on the track,the rest of Hometown Marie adds to the track with instrumental deliveries that are rather sparse in nature. The limited amount of playing from the band members on the song help to create a track that rather simple in nature yet somehow also seems full-bodied at the same time.


The Wild Side EP from Hometown Marie comes to an end with the album’s title track. “Wild Side” is easily the hardest rockin’ track of the four songs that make up the 2016 release. The harder guitars and stronger beat on the track blend together to create a track that is perfect for fans of today’s Country music. And the mention of a “Hollywood Smile”in the lyrics adds even more of an “American” feel to the music, which just helps to put the band further into the Americana music genre. For those fans of today’s Country music, “Wild Side” is one track that will fill your need for Contemporary Country music.


While the four tracks that make up the Wild Side EP from Hometown Marie are solid, there is more to the band than just that EP. The band has just recently added two more tracks to their musical library. Those new tracks are “Stay The Night” and “Take Me Back”.


Right from the beginning of the track, “Stay the Night” from Hometown Marie hits the listener with a sound that places the Rock and Roll influence of the band atop the band’s Country influence. While both genres are solidly present in the song, the track contains more of a Rock and Roll influence than Country twang. The track also seems to also contain other influences to the music as well. For instance, the entire track is rather reminiscent of a song from the Scottish rock band Big Country from 1988 called “King of Emotion”. Whether there is a connection between that song and Hometown Marie remains to be seen. However, the resulting track by Hometown Marie would have fit on American radio airwaves back in the eighties just as easily as it would on today’s radio.


The second track that the band just recently released is called “Take Me Back”. The introduction to the track finds the band slowly leading into the track as the track builds. As the song builds, what is revealed is a song that contains a strong influence from eighties-era Rock and Roll with just a little Country twang. The lyrical content about a man asking for forgiveness has a universal appeal to it and the musical approach of the track combine to create a track that fans of Rock and Roll of the eighties and fans of today’s Country music will both enjoy.


Swedish band Hometown Marie may not have an album of music available, but the Wild Side EP and the band’s two newest singles of “Take Me Back” and “Stay the Night” provide the listener with six tracks of strong music with plenty of crossover appeal for those who enjoy Rock and Roll from the eighties and/or fans of Country music. Whichever side of the aisle you find yourself on, Hometown Marie creates music that appeals to a lot of people. 



To hear the music of Hometown Marie, check out the music video to the band’s newest single, “Stay the Night“.

You can find Hometown Marie and their music over on the band’s Spotify account.

  

Folk duo of Maria Quiles and Rory Cloud are two singer/songwriters that create a folk music sound in the songs they create.Those songs are rather simplistic in nature as they draw upon only the guitars and vocals from Quiles and Cloud. That simplistic writing approach is more than apparent on the duo’s 2012 release entitled Long Time Coming.

Having already released Long Time Coming, Maria Quiles and Rory Cloud (now known simply as Quiles and Cloud) went about adding other musical components to their music to expand their sound. To bring their current musical vision to life, the duo called upon upright bassist Oscar Westesson, vocalist/pianist Julian Muller and Irene Sazer on violin. While the duo’s current sound is richer and fuller, it still has a simplistic approach and still makes use of their folk background. That expanded sound is found on the recently released 2014 Quiles and Cloud album called Seminole Star.

To help bring Seminole Star to life, the participating musicians gathered in the OTR Studios. That “live” feeling is definitely present as you listen to the release.

Seminole Star from Quiles and Cloud begins with the track “All My Trouble Gone”. No place on the album is it more apparent that this release is a “live in the studio” release than on this track as the beginning of the track starts with a beat being established only to be quickly replaced by a faster beat once Maria Quiles begins to sing the lyrics to the song. While that beginning seems a tad awkward, the track soon becomes one of the strongest tracks on the release as the guitars; bass and violin all combine to create a track that is unmistakably folk-like. One of the fun elements of the track is violinist Irene Sazer’s use of her violin to create bird sounds to go along with the lyrics of being able to fly. While the track has a relatively slow tempo that tempo increases about halfway in and the resulting faster pace of the song gives the track a nice amount of energy and it is that fast pace that brings the song to its end.

The quick pace established during “All My Trouble Gone” helps to lead into the next track of “Fool to Run”. Like the song before, “Fool to Run” has a strong pace to it. Like the song before it, “Fool to Run” has a strong pace to it. The track features both Maria Quiles and Rory Cloud on vocals. While Maria handles the majority of the lyrics, Rory joins her on the refrains and the two create a duet-like feel to the lyrics. While “All My Troubles Gone” contained music from Maria, Rory, bassist Oscar Westesson and violin Irene Sazer, it was in an ensemble setting. With “Fool to Run,” the musicians get a little opportunity to show off as both Westesson and Sazer help to create some very strong moments on the track.

If any one song on Seminole Star could be released as a single, it would easily be “Pass”. The song features music that feels as much like the Blues as it does like Folk. The lyrics to the song incorporate such as “baby, it’s cold outside” and “stop and stay a while”. The vocals delivered by Maria Quiles bring to mind artists such as Shawn Colvin and Paula Cole. The track feels very commercial and ready-made for the radio.

On Seminole Star’s title track, Quiles and Cloud revert backto a simple folk approach to their music. The music on the track is createdmainly by the guitars from the two. In fact, while the song does containbassist Oscar Westesson and violinist Irene Sazer, the two are part of the songto more or less just add a little texture to the track. As you listen to MariaQuiles sing the lyrics, the melody in the part of the main body of the song hasa hauntingly-familiar sound to it (Neil Young’s “Ohio,” anyone?).

One of the prettiest moments on the Seminole Star release belongs to the song “Empty Handed”. The trio of Maria Quiles, Rory Cloud and bassist Oscar Westesson create a track with an easy feel to the music. One of the elements that give the track such a beautiful sound is Westesson’s bowing technique on the standup bass. That bowing technique adds both beauty and depth to the feeling of the song.

With Quiles and Cloud having released Seminole Star only mere days before the end of 2014, the album helped the year come to an end on a very strong note. But since many fans of the duo will actually discover the release in 2015, it can also be said that it will help start the year off with a bang.

Check out the full-band version of “Pass,” a track off of Seminole Star from Quiles and Cloud.

Also check out the duo’s YouTubeChannel for downloads of all of the tracks on the release.


(Post script: What you are reading is a re-post of a review that had originally been published back in 2015. Because of a few problems (which started with a simple trying to redo the album cover which had somehow disappeared from the review), the review needed to be redone. 
Since the original publication of this review, the project of Quiles & Cloud disbanded. But they left behind three good albums that are still worth checking out.) 



Dawg Gone DavisWhile the musical style of Rap/Hip Hop has become extremely popular over the years and has become a lot more serious as that popularity has grown, there are still artists out there today who choose to create new Rap music with a less-than-serious side. One artist out there right now making a name for herself as she creates somewhat humorous (or at least light-hearted) rap music is Kansas City-based Rebecca Davis, better known under her stage name as Dawg Gone Davis.

As herself, Rebecca Davis splits her time between working an office job and writing as an author. It is the creative side of the author in her that led Davis to explore the musical side of her personality. And that musical side led to Dawg Gone Davis. As Dawg Gone Davis, Rebecca Davis is currently creating and releasing one song at a time. At this point, Davis has released four light-hearted Rap tracks which she has released as part of the four-song EP called In the Dawg Pound.

Currently, Dawg Gone Davis is promoting In the Dawg Pound with the first track that she has released as a single, “Middle Age Woman – Hip Hop Style”. “Middle Age Woman – Hip Hop Style” begins with a rather laidback backing track that contains a relatively jazzy feel to it. Once Dawg Gone Davis begins rapping, she raps about being the age she is and making music. The lyrics deal with growing old and not doing it lying down. The easy feel of the music along with the laidback pace to that music allow for Davis to take her time going through the message she wants to convey. This track proves that Dawg Gone Davis definitely can hang with the best of ‘em. And the fact that the track already gained notoriety having reached the top spot on the charts in Europe, Asia (including Russia) and South America doesn’t hurt.

Another track from In the Dawg Pound from Dawg Gone Davis is the track “Forever Music”. Just like the track before it, “Forever Music” contains a strong jazz-like feel to the music. And for the lyrical delivery on the track, Dawg Gone Davis takes a more straight-out “rapping” approach, keeping one thing in mind- “rapping” once simply meant “talking”. Davis’s vocals are simply her reciting the lyrics to the track. With that straight-out talking feel to the lyrics, “Forever Music’s” approach helps to show off Davis’ voice as it would normally be. “Forever Music” also shows off Davis’ sense of humor.  Lines like “Bach is not getting royalties…because he’s dead” show off that humor rather well. Just like “Middle Age Woman – Hip Hop Style” before it, the listener of In the Dawg Pound from Dawg Gone Davis gets to experience “Forever Music” after it already made its presence known over it Europe having already reached its peak position of #11.

Dawg Gone Davis continues her In the Dawg Pound EP with the track “Anthem Pandemonium”. The music for the track will remind many of pop-rock found on today’s Top 40 pop radio, in the style of someone like Ricky Martin (especially for the “pop” quality). For the lyrical content of the track, Davis creates lyrics that would fit with any Hip Hop/Pop icon who talks about their successes in the music field.  And like those she is following in the footsteps of, Dawg Gone Davis has the credentials to back up her boasts on the track; without going overboard with the bragging, that is. The track even has a refrain that is easily one of the most infectious moments on the EP.

For the final track that helps to make up the In the Dawg Pound EP, Dawg Gone Davis concludes with the track “Butt On Fiya”. While the track’s title may seem rather amusing, the track features a rather somber lyrical content as the lyrics deal with Davis’ real-life bout with cancer. Of course, the track isn’t all that serious as Davis talks about replacing the breasts she lost because the cancer that went through her body with an augmentation to her butt, hence the title of the track.  “I’m a pancake for sure. Nothing way up high. Oh yeah, baby. This Butt is On Fiya”. As far as the music of the track goes, the track features music that seems to fit more into Alternative Rock than anything else. It even contains a strong saxophone solo.

While Dawg Gone Davis may not seem like the type to grab the spotlight away from artist like J-Lo, Jay-Z or Kanye, she has already had her share of success. And that success that has come from both her music and the books she has written as an author has helped others as all proceeds from Rebecca’s book and music sales go to Operation Breakthrough’s neediest and most challenged babies and children. She is currently gearing up to release her fifth single to go along with the four that make up the In the Dawg Pound EP.

The In the Dawg Pound EP from Dawg Gone Davis can be found on the Bandcamp profile for the artist. Go there for each and every one of the four singles that make up the EP. You can also find her on i-tunes

For more information, check out the band’s PR Firm, Whiplash PR. Click on the logo below to visit their site.

Whiplash 

Just Like MedicineA.J. Croce is a singer-songwriter that was born to another singer-songwriter that had his time on Earth cut short due to a plane crash. That singer-songwriter was, of course, Jim Croce. Jim Croce was known for such songs as “Time in a Bottle,” “Roller Derby Queen,” “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown,” and others. And although Jim Croce died in a plane crash when A.J. Croce was only two, A.J. was largely influenced by his father. In fact, A.J. was so influenced by his father that he started writing his own music. To date, Adrian James “A.J.” Croce has a musical discography that includes ten albums of music. The latest album from the younger Croce is 2017’s Just Like Medicine.

The Just Like Medicine album finds A.J. Croce creating an album that seems to have been influenced by many of the same people that would have been contemporaries to his father, Jim Croce. And while some of his father’s influence does come through, the other influences help to create an album that feels like it would be welcomed by them, the older crowd and the current market of music buyers all at the same time.

While the new album from A.J. Croce features A.J’s songs, it also comes complete with a few songs that had been written by other musicians. The combination of original compositions from Croce and the few cover tunes he chose to include create an album with a straight-out Rock and Roll soul to it; especially given the fact that the tracks borrow from several different musical directions at once. Here are just a few of the highlights to the Just Like Medicine album:

Just Like Medicine begins with one of A.J’s original songs called “Gotta Get Outta My Head”. While Croce has followed in his father’s musical footsteps, he also has gone in his own direction as far as his writing style is concerned. Nowhere is that more apparent than on this first track of the album. The track feels more like a song that Dr. John would have composed. The track’s musical approach combines elements of Rock and Roll with some Funk to create a track with a rather strong groove to it.

A.J. Croce’s latest release continues with a track that was written by Steve Cropper of Booker T & the MG’s fame. Because of Cropper’s musical background and with the various people he played with, the track “The Heart That Makes Me Whole” contains a strong musical feel that would have felt right at home with the tracks that appeared on the albums produced by The Blues Brothers.  A.J’s version of the track brings that Blues Brothers influence to life.

The other track on A.J. Croce’s latest release of Just Like Medicine that isn’t his is the track “Name of the Game”. This song was written by Jim Croce but was never released because Jim passed away before the release it was to be included on went unfinished. Right from the beginning few notes of the track, it is absolutely clear that “Name of the Game” is Jim Croce’s song. The guitar-driven track would have been right at home next to a song such as “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown”. In fact, the two tracks feel as if they could have been together on the same album.

For the title track of the release, A.J. Croce creates a track in “Cures Just Like Medicine” that brings to mind a style that seems to have been largely influenced by the like of Harry Connick Jr. “Cures Just Like Medicine” features a Jazzy, Connick-like musical approach. The somewhat raspy voice of A.J. Croce and the musical approach once again brings to mind the sound and feel of Dr. John but with more of a jazzy feel.

Staying in a jazzy state of mind, the next track entitled “Move On” features A.J. Croce continues with the Connick influence but with a stronger stressing of jazz to the music. On this track, what ends up coming across is an “American Songbook” era track that would have come from Rod Stewart. The easy feel to the music and the lyrical delivery that is unmistakably Stewart creates a track that transcends age as the track feels both timeless and retro at the same time.

With the song “The Other Side of Love,” A.J. Croce creates a track with a rather soulful feel to the music. That soulful approach comes from the laidback feel to the pace of the music as well as the quiet feel of the vocal delivery from Croce and the piano that is featured on the track. Together, the various elements in the music create a track that feels as if it belongs on the radio back a few decades. But as there are just as many people who are creating music with a retro feel to it, “The Other Side of Love” fits in with other artists today that also bring the older styles of music alive in their current music.

As the album of Just Like Medicine from A.J. Croce continues, the track “Full Up” finds Croce creating a track that features a piano part and vocal delivery that brings to mind the style of Randy Newman. But there’s more to the track than just that Randy Newman influence which proves that A.J. was influenced by the same people who created music at the same time that his father had been creating music. While the delivery and musical approach bring Newman to mind, the music also contains a little influence by a more contemporary artist- Jack Johnson. Together, the two influences blend to create a track with inter-generational appeal.

On the track “Hold You,” A.J. Croce seems to be channeling the musical approach of Van Morrison. Both the music of the track and Croce’s vocal approach to the track bring to mind the sound and style of Morrison. In fact, “Hold You” has such a strong Morrison feel to the music that it would fit right in with the likes of “The Mystic” or “Crazy Love”. “Hold You” is just another track on the album of Just Like Medicine from A.J. Croce that shows off the various influences that give A.J. Croce’s music its appeal.

As you make your way through the ten tracks that make up the Just Like Medicine album from A.J. Croce, it’s hard to ignore the various influences that wind their way through Croce’s music. But those influences aren’t a bad thing. The various influences that Croce draws upon help give his music depth. As a result, his 2017 album is an album that will satisfy any Rock and Roll lover’s desire for something new.

To hear the music from Just Like Medicine from A.J. Croce, check out the Spotify account for the album. 

Also check out the “title track” to the release, “Cures Just like Medicine“. 

To purchase a copy of Just Like Medicine from A.J. Croce, click HERE

Click HERE for A.J. Croce’s version of “Operator” from Jim Croce. 

 

 

 

 

Pick Me UpShane Palko is a singer-songwriter who is also a world traveler. The reason for that is because of the time he has spent on the road traveling from one country to the next performing music from the many albums he has recorded over the years. With how many miles he has amassed while traveling on his own and with the band that helps back him up, it comes as no surprise that Palko’s music contains a great deal of songs that have to do with the idea of traveling.

For his new album entitled Pick Me Up, Shane Palko’s latest release comes complete with cover art (courtesy of artist Hannah Kelleher) that represents various modes of transportation used to get from one location to the next. The newest album from Palko even begins with a track that deals with that very topic.

Along with the ever-present idea of travel that exists within the lyrical content of many of Shane Palko’s songs, another thing that exists within much of Palko’s songs is the Folk/Folk-Rock approach to the music. This inclusion of a lighter approach to the music gives the songs from Shane Palko a rather strong laidback feel. That laidback feeling to the music gives Pick Me Up, the latest album from Shane Palko, a solid direction that lasts for the entire release.

Pick Me Up, the new album from Shane Palko, begins with the track “Traveling/Wandering”. The track contains a light, easy feel to the music. As a result of the light approach, the track would easily desacribe as being Indie Rock. The easy feel of the music on the track also seems to be perfect for using the song itself as a track in a roadtrip soundtrack. The easy musical approach of the Indie Rock music in “Traveling/Wandering” brings to mind the lighter music that had been produced back in the seventies. In fact, “Traveling/Wandering” would have been right at home being included in AM radio pop/rock formats in the seventies.

Shane Palko continues the traveling concept with the next track of “Circus Dog”. While the lyrics of the track deal with walking over to a neighbor’s hose instead of traveling halfway around the world, there is still the idea of moving. And much like with the previous track, “Circus Dog” also contains a light, easy quality to the music of the track. While the previous track would have felt at home in AM pop radio formats from the seventies, “Circus Dog” feels as if it would be right at home in a current radio format within the Pop/Rock genre.

As the listener makes their way through the tracks that make up the Pick Me Up album from Shane Palko, it becomes rather apparent that the album contains a certain theme of movement threading its way throughout the songs. And right along with the feeling of travel that winds its way through the lyrical content of Palko’s songs, the continuing feeling of Easy Listening music also winds its way through the tracks.

While many of the songs on Shane Palko’s release deal with travel, no matter how far that trip is, there is one track on Pick Me Up album that deals with a slightly different takes on travel.

With the track “Starship,” Palko gives the idea of travel a different spin. “Starship” is a track that features lyrics that deal with a person being seemingly all alone in the world and trying to survive as the rest of the universe goes on around you, whether you’re in a starship or you just think you are. The music of the track features a Light Rock feel that brings to mind the lighter fare created by the likes of Seals & Crofts.

While the vast majority of the tracks on Shane Palko’s latest album are songs that deal with some sort of travel, the album does contain a few tracks that do not deal with travel. One of those tracks is the third track of the release entitled “Better”. The track’s lyrics deal with the singer talking to a friend he has not seen for a while. Palko sings about being glad to catch up. The music of the track contains one of the strongest deliveries. The music even contains a driving feel to it; however much of a driving feel a Light Rock song can have, that is. “Better” ends up being perhaps the best track on the new album from Palko.

Shane Palko’s latest album contains one other track that does not deal with travel. In fact, the song “For Juniper” is a track that contains no lyrical content at all. Taking the Light Rock music that has filled up the rest of the album, Palko created one track that strictly dealt with the sound of the acoustic guitar and the rest of the instruments that were used to bring Palko’s Acoustic Rock to life. Like the rest of the album, the music “For Juniper” contains a smooth, easy feeling to the music. But without words to get in the way, what results is a track that comes across as a Jazz-like track with a laidback approach. The song of “For Juniper” would easily fit on any Smooth Jazz radio format.

With Shane Palko’s choice of subject matter on the album being traveling, the tracks blend together to create a release that feels more unified than most other albums. And for those who like their music on the softer side of things, the Pick Me Up album from Shane Palko is just what you’re looking for.

 

For the music of  Shane Palko, check out the track “Better” HERE

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

Whiplash

 

Matt KjeldsenAustin-based singer-songwriter Matt Kjeldsen spent the year 2015 releasing two albums of original music. Released together at the same time, the albums Consequence and Renaissance plus Clouds and Cages contained a total of twenty-two tracks. But in reality, those twenty-two tracks were just a small sample of the songs that Kjeldsen had written at that time.

The reason why twenty-two songs is only a small amount for Kjeldsen is because he makes his living as a composer who works on supplying instrumental music for music libraries where those songs can and may well eventually be used for something or other. The resulting concept ended up being numerous song ideas that eventually lead him to create full-blown songs. And many of those ideas ended up being extended into songs that became the two albums entitled Consequence and Renaissance plus Clouds and Cages.

Now, three years later, Matt Kjeldsen returns with another release. This time, the singer-songwriter has produced a five-song EP called Last Days.

Matt Kjeldsen’s Last Days EP begins with the track called “Closer to Texas”. To start his new release off, Kjeldsen creates a track with a definite Americana feel to it. While the track features a strong Folk feel to the music in the form of a guitar and mandolin, there is also a Country background to the music if the form of the addition of the banjo that gives the track a feel that falls somewhere between the two styles. Because of the dual feel, “Closer to Texas” would fall firmly into the Americana genre. To go along with the feel of the music, the lyrical content finds Kjeldsen singing about finding his way back to the woman he once fell in love with.

With the song “I Should Know Me Better than That by Now,” Matt Kjeldsen creates a track that falls into the Folk-Rock category. The first thing the listener will notice is the lighter feel of the music. The more laidback feel to the music results in a track that feels as if it would have felt right at home back in the seventies. The acoustic guitar drives the feel of the music which contains a similarly easy feel that the previous track had. The difference between the two songs is that “I Should Know Me Better than That by Now” would have fit right in the middle of an MOR (Middle of the Road) radio format back in the seventies. While the track does have a laidback approach, the song feels as if it would have easily been a successful track at the time.

Last Days from Matt Kjeldsen continues with the title track of the EP. With this track, Kjeldsen creates another laidback tune with a Folk flavor to it. The title track of “Last Days” brings back some of the Americana feel that came from “Closer to Texas” as there is more to the feel of the music than just Folk influence. While the majority of the music falls into Folk, the addition of strings also gives the song a bit of Classical music influence. While the previous two tracks contain the aforementioned laidback feeling, the addition of the strings makes “Last Days” the most laidback of the tracks thus far. The track comes complete with a storytelling feel to the lyrics as Kjeldsen tells of a civilization that fell apart because of bad choices. It’s actually hard not to see some parallels between that time in history and what is currently going on. That may very well be what Kjeldsen is trying to get across with this track.

The first three tracks on Matt Kjeldsen’s newest release contain a certain amount of feeling that connects the tracks together in a similar fashion. But with the fourth song on the EP called “What Once Was,” Kjeldsen changes things up. Gone is the Folk feeling. What replaces it in this track is a much stronger Rock and Roll approach. And in particular, the feel of the music and the delivery of the lyrics on the track bring to mind the music of Tom Petty. As opposed to some tracks from Petty, the track of “What Once Was” has a very current feel to it, as if Petty himself would have recorded it not that long ago.

The latest EP from Matt Kjeldsen called Last Days comes to a close with the track “Ghosts and Shadows”. With this final track, Kjeldsen creates the strongest, hardest-rocking track of the five songs that appear on the EP. Gone away is the feeling of Folk…anything. Instead, what Kjeldsen creates is a Rock and Roll track that contains a strong, driving feel to the music. The track contains a feeling that feels like a combination of late sixties Psychedelic Rock and Rock and Roll from the late eighties. The track also contains lyrics that seem to suggest a time not unlike the days of Halloween. The track’s lyrical content also suggests something of a darker nature, like a haunting or something like that. With that combination, “Ghosts and Shadows” stands out as perhaps the most unusual of the five tracks that make up the Last Days release.

While only five songs long, Last Days from Matt Kjeldsen seems to present two different sides to the singer-songwriter. The first three tracks show off the more Folky side of his personality while the final two tracks help to bring out his more rocking’ side. That division creates an EP with a split feeling in its music. That isn’t a bad thing, however. It just means that there different influences that feed Kjeldsen’s writing. As it is, the five-song EP is a good place to start if you are unfamiliar with the music from Matt Kjeldsen.

For more on Matt Kjeldsen and his music, check out his website called Matt’s Music Box.

For a taste of Kjeldsen’s music, check out the title track off of the Last Days release. 

To hear the Last Days EP, click on the album cover below:
Kjeldsen