Posts Tagged ‘Bruce Springsteen’

Based outside of San Francisco, singer/songwriter Josef McManus creates a style of music that uses plenty of Folk influence to flavor his songs. Of course, with San Francisco’s history with that music, it comes as no surprise that McManus would end up picking up that influence in his writing. And because of that, some of the songs that McManus creates are rather deeply steeped in political meaning. To bring his music to life, Josef McManus performs and records under the moniker of White Owl Red. Having already created quite a bit of noise with the success of his previous albums, especially 2019’s Existential Frontiers which is still making noise in the music industry, McManus is currently working on the follow-up to that release. And to give his audience (both new and established alike) a taste of the upcoming album, McManus (as White Owl Red) has released the track “Working Class Heroes” as a way to promote the new release. With “Working Class Heroes,” a title that refers to the title of John Lennon’s song called “Working Class Hero,” McManus’ political side comes through loud and strong. And although “Working Class Heroes” from White Owl Red finds Josef McManus creating a song around the idea of the men and women who help keep America strong and moving, the song is more about the facts of the situation and not so much about preaching. While there have been plenty of positive moments in the history of the American worker, there have been moments that proved to be challenges to those workers. The lyrics of “Working Class Heroes” speak of the pride and determination of those men and women trying to work around those challenges to try and make a living for themselves. The music to the track itself blends together Folk music and some Rock and Roll influence to create a track that contains a driving feel to the music while still being laidback. What results is a track that brings to mind a combination of Bob Dylan-like lyrics with music inspired by the likes of John Mellencamp or Bruce Springsteen, an artist himself who has written songs with rather strong messages within their lyrics. “Working Class Heroes” keeps the momentum of White Owl Red’s last release Existential Frontiers going and gives the listener just a glimpse of what it to come. Stay tuned for more Josef McManus and his band called White Owl Red in the near future.

For more information, check out White Owl Red’s PR firm, Whiplash/ Whizkid Management by clicking on the logo.

Check out the song of “Working Class Heroes” from White Owl Red.

You can also find the “Working Class Heroes” single from White Owl Red on spotify.

Over the years, there have been many people who have gone in the direction of reinventing songs from different eras. Artists like Rod Stewart, Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra even Pat Boone with his In a Metal Mood release have all created albums that pay tribute to other time periods while bringing that era’s music into the present day. Granted, they have given the songs new life by doing jazz interpretations of those songs, but the music lives again because of those reinterpretations.

Portand, Oregon’s Barbara Lusch is the latest artist to create a Songbook-style release of older tracks. Having already released several albums of music before, Lusch kept to the jazz music of certain time periods and simply recorded new versions of those tunes. This time, she went in the same direction as Stewart, Bennett and Sinatra and created an album of reinterpretations. The music being reinterpreted on the new release is songs from the 1980s. Each and every track on Lusch’s new release of Rock Me Sweet brings back memories of the eighties while taking each track in a much more jazzy direction.

While Barbara Lusch is the main focal point of the release, the Rock Me Sweet album from Barbara Lusch comes to life with the help of Earl Rose who adds the strings to the music on the release. Rose also gives the release its magic through his production quality. Throughout the eleven tracks that make up the album, the music maintains a certain amount of jazzy feel.

Rock Me Sweet by Barbara Lusch begins with the Bruce Springsteen song “Dancing in the Dark”. The piano-based version of the song slows the pace of the song down quite a bit. The slower tempo may not be the greatest for Rock fans but it is great for slow dances. The vocal delivery from Lusch gives the lyrics the sensual feeling that they should have had all along. This new arrangement of the song feels just as natural as the original version from The Boss himself.

The new album from Barbara Lusch continues with the song “Hot Blooded”. Originally recorded by the band Foreigner, the track was one of the heaviest rockin’ songs of the eighties. With Lusch’s version of the song, she takes the track and turns into a great jazz track. The song feels as if it had been written specifically for the Middle of the Road music fans. The soulful delivery to the lyrics by Lusch feels like the vocal equivalent of a wink and a flexing of the finger to entice the listener.

While many of the tracks included on Rock Me Sweet by Barbara Lusch are instantly recognizable, perhaps the most unusual song on the release is the David Bowie song “Cat People”. Having been taken from the soundtrack to the movie of the same name, “Cat People” the track once had a strong New Wave feel. Now the version by features a lot of strings to help create a musical approach that features a lot of classical feeling and the strings on the song give the song a lot of emotion.

One of the most beautiful arrangements on the album belongs to the U2 song “Where the Streets Have No Names”. The unusually slow pace of the music mixed with the strings that add a nice orchestral sound to the track. The arrangement of the music takes the song in a different direction than the original version and still keeps a certain familiarity to the song. The song ends up being easily one of the best tracks on Rock Me Sweet.

Rock Me Sweet by Barbara Lusch is one of the best and most original cover albums to be created in a long time. After listening to the entire album, you will find a new appreciation for jazz arrangements as the song included in this release sound very good having been done in a jazz setting. You will also long to hear the original songs once again…for old time’s sake.

Reviewer: Matheson Kamin Rating: **** (four stars)

Bobby Stevens makes his home in the city of Oberlin, Ohio. The singer-songwriter has been making music for several years now. The first thing that becomes obvious when listening to Bobby Stevens are his coarse vocals that would remind you of Bruce Springsteen. That coarseness in his vocals makes Stevens sound like he was born to perform Rock And Roll music. And with his Roots Rock/Rhythm & Blues style of music, Stevens sounds like he should be from the early era of Rock & Roll. It is this roots rock style of that appears on Stevens’ newest release called Come One, Come All.

To bring Bobby Stevens’ music to life, Stevens brought together several musicians that helped shape that roots rock sound. Together with people like vocalist Haley Antell, guitarist/drummer Andy Cook, Guitarist Ben Ryant, bassist Garyn Jones, keys player Matt Umland and drummer Matt O’Conke, Bobby Stevens brings to life his rock and roll music.

Come One, Come All from Bobby Stevens begins with the song “Alive”. This song has a sound that might remind you of a combination of early Bruce Springsteen and The Lovin’ Spoonful. The combination comes with Springsteen- style lyrics and vocals and Lovin’ Spoonful music.

The roots rock sound really comes alive on the track “Rain on My Wheels”. The barely two-minute song brings back the early days of the “rock singles” that were created to allow more music to be played per hour. Take equal parts equal parts Buddy Holly, Eddie Cochran, Jerry Lee Lewis and you get some idea of what this track sounds like.

With the track “Stone Cold Habits,” the sound of the music changes directions. While the preceding tracks have a more rockin’ feel, “Stone Cold Habits” bring to mind the country music that existed back at the time of the first roots rock singers. And while this track features Bobby Stevens on the lead vocals (with Haley Antell in the supporting singer role); the song sounds as if it would have been perfect for the likes of Patsy Cline.

The album slows down on the track “Uncle Walt”. Taking a simple approach to the song, Stevens performs the slow-paced song with just his guitar. The song has a very intimate feel as you get to hear Stevens and his guitar without any other instruments adding to the music of the track.

“State Route 58 (Revisited)” is a track that mixes Rock and Roll and Folk to create a track that is just as rockin’ as it is laidback in its style. This track features a full band that helps to bring a little bit of John Mellencamp to the music of Bobby Stevens’ music. The song also has a feel that brings to mind that of a hit single. “State Route 58 (Revisited)” is one of the strongest tracks on the Come One, Come All album.

“Circles” once again slows the Come One, Come All album down. The song feels as if it were the “lost track” from The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle from Bruce Springsteen; in fact, Stevens and the rest of the musicians on that track seem to emulate the E Street Band at that point in their careers.

Come One, Come All from Bobby Stevens comes to an end with the final track of “Travelin’ Show”. The final song of the album pairs Bobby Stevens with singer Haley Antell in a duet as they sing a song that seems like the continuation of Springsteen’s song “Wild Billy’s Circus Story” from The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle. The pairing of the two voices of Stevens and Antell with only a guitar creates a quiet and simple track that brings the album to a close on a soft note.

Bobby Stevens created an album that keeps the memory of roots rock alive with his new release Come One, Come All. The different styles that make up the release fit together well and show that Stevens is a talented singer-songwriter. This new album is just a glimpse at his talent.