Kansas – “The Prelude Implicit” Album Review

kansas-the-prelude-implicit

The Prelude Implicit

Released: September 23, 2016
Genre: Progressive Rock/Hard Rock
Label: Inside Out Music

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 OVERVIEW

It has been 16 years since the American rock band Kansas released their last album – “Somewhere to Elsewhere” (2000). Now, finally, after the longest wait in history, we get to enjoy their latest effort titled “The Prelude Implicit”. There’s a catch, though – Steve Walsh, a founding member, lead vocalist and keyboardist of Kansas is no longer with the band as he retired back in 2014. His absence is compensated by the elevating strong voice of new singer Ronnie Platt who absolutely kills it on this record. David Ragsdale’s heated violin playing was definitely another highly anticipated moment and he delivers quite the performance, I must say. The exciting race between the thrilling guitar riffs, the emotional violin, the distinctive drum sound, the mighty organs and keyboards create the perfect experience. The rebirth of Kansas, one of the most essential progressive rock bands that came out of the United States is definitely a must-listen!

Kansas surely came a long way since the 1970s and dealt with so many line-up changes along the way, however the important thing is that they are here and what they did with this new project is absolutely stunning. “The Prelude Implicit” is everything but monotonous. There’s an obvious variety and a little something for every die-hard Kansas or progressive rock fan (or as a matter of fact every person who understands and appreciates good music). The soft but charming opening rocker “With this Heart” sets the tone quite low but that’s also a good thing – I really appreciate it when bands choose a rather mid-tempo, calming track as an opening one, instead of rocking hard right from the beginning. The absolute finest point of the record is the progressive 8-minute bliss “The Voyage of Eight Eighteen”. “Camouflage” quickly became my personal favorite from the album. The haunting intro, the captivating vocals and the catchy tasteful chorus are what impressed me so much. The lyrics are also beautiful, needless to say. “Camouflage”, along with “Crowded Isolation”, are bringing us back to the classic Kansas years. “Rhythm in the Spirit” is the exciting hard rocker from the album – definitely hit the jackpot with that one. “Unsung Heroes” is a delicate ballad that may not leave such a lasting impression on you but it’s rather pleasing, definitely. The album wraps things up with a spectacular instrumental – “Section 60”.

It took so long for “The Prelude Implicit” to be realized but I must say that it was totally worth the wait. Fantastic production, superb arrangements and excellent choice of songs which really explore every little angle of your little rocker heart! …And of course, there’s that terrific violin which completely conquered me.

Kansas are back so enjoy it, guys!
Cheers

Tracklist

“With This Heart” – 4:13
“Visibility Zero” – 4:27
“The Unsung Heroes” – 5:02
“Rhythm in the Spirit” – 5:58
“Refugee” – 4:23
“The Voyage of Eight Eighteen” – 8:18
“Camouflage” – 6:42
“Summer” – 4:07
“Crowded Isolation” – 6:10
“Section 60” – 3:59

KANSAS Prelude Implicit Album Teaser

With This Heart


References:
“The Prelude Implicit” Official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Prelude_Implicit
P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
Cheers~
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.

Steven Tyler – “We’re All Somebody From Somewhere” Album Review

SteveTyler

We’re All Somebody From Somewhere

Released: July 15, 2016
Genre: Country
Duration: 54:29
Label: Dot
Singles: “Love is Your Name”, “Red, White & You”, “We’re All Somebody from Somewhere”

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OVERVIEW:

 

Steven Tyler is here with his first solo album and the project is definitely not sounding like anything you ever thought would come out from Aerosmith’s frontman. We’re All Somebody from Somewhere is a pleasantly surprising country album, recorded with local musicians from Nashville. His usual rock and blues music style is once again at present, but the beautiful country flavours, side guitars, slower paced tunes and the dreamy lyrics are definitely adding a lot of colour! From the first second you hear him sing, you could easily feel how confident and passionate he is about this record. Aerosmith’s legacy aside, this is Steven Tyler making a stand and being a true opportunist. On top of that, his vocal capabilities can absolutely fulfil each and every little desire or project he decides to go for. Such is the case with We’re All Somebody from Somewhere”. If you are looking for some old-school Steven Tyler, rocking and rolling all the way, you cannot find him on this album. However, what you can find is almost one hour of extreme enjoyment, perfect for your afternoon relaxation time.

One of the finest moments of the album is definitely the cheery “I Make My Own Sunshine” – a track capable of instantly bringing a smile on your face. The title song – We’re All Somebody from Somewhere is a beautiful mess, combining elements of country music and typical Aerosmith rockstar vibes. It also reminds us a little bit of Cage the Elephant’s “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked” but with a little something more there. “Red, White & You”, “The Good, The Bad, The Ugly And Me” and “Somebody New” also fall under the same “half country, half rock ’n’ roll” category. It seems like Steven was not 100% sure what he wanted to say with this album or which particular direction to take, but he never actually followed any kinds of rules, so there’s that. A lot of songs on this record don’t really stand out or leave any deep or lasting impression but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a charm.

Overall, the record is cheery, carefree and very “sunny”. Leave your reservations aside and let yourself enjoy the pleasing tunes. Don’t worry, our rock ‘n’ roll hero is still here – he has just turned into a cowboy for the time-being!

Cheers

 

Tracklist:

“My Own Worst Enemy”
“We’re All Somebody from Somewhere”
“Hold On (Won’t Let Go)”
“It Ain’t Easy”
“Love is Your Name”
“I Make My Own Sunshine”
“Gypsy Girl”
“Somebody New”
“Only Heaven”
“The Good, The Bad, The Ugly And Me”
“Red, White & You”
“Sweet Louisiana”
“What am I Doin’ Right?”
“Janie’s Got a Gun”
“Piece of my Heart” (with The Loving Mary Band”)

Red, White & You

Love Is Your Name

 


 

References:
“We’re All Somebody from Somewhere” official Wikipedia webpage: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/We%27re_All_Somebody_from_Somewhere
P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
Cheers~

Heart – “Beautiful Broken” Album Review

heart - beautifulbroken

Beautiful Broken

Released: July 8, 2016
Genre: Hard Rock, Folk Rock
Duration: 40:18

Label: Concord Bicycle Music
Producer(s): Dan Rothchild and Nancy Wilson

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OVERVIEW:

 

After a four year break, sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson are back with “Beautiful Broken” – their sixteenth album and their first on Concord Records. What they did on this record is definitely not something we have never seen or something other similar old-school rockers haven’t done yet – Heart are simply offering an intriguing selection of seven re-imagined and re-recorded cherry picks from their early career. Fortunately, the band left out the classics. In addition, we get the chance to hear three new exciting additions to their catalogue. Co-produced by Nancy Wilson and long-time bassist Dan Rothchild, “Beautiful Broken” is a thrilling record that deserves to be played from start to finish.  

Ann definitely falls into the category of rock vocalists who still got it! Her strong and expressive vocals are definitely the best thing in “Beautiful Broken”. The record kicks off with a heavy blast – the dynamic title track features the roaring vocals of none-other than Metallica’s James Hetfield. There’s absolutely no tension or any sort of disconnection between the voices of those two – on the contrary, their voices are working together quite well.  Exquisite string sweeps and powerful vocals – both Metallica and Heart fans will definitely be pleased with the result. “Two” is actually a cover of a new song by Ne-Yo, performed by Nancy Wilson. The piano-driven dreamy ballad leaves you with an open heart and a strong thirst for romance. Led Zeppelin’s huge influence on Heart could easily be felt, especially in the new and heavy orchestral “I Jump”. It sets a soft and rather creamy mood at the beginning till the surprising Led Zeppelin-inspired riffs captivate your ear in the refrain. “Heaven” is psychedelic masterpiece that sends us on a trip to East-India with its magical opening. Quickly, though, we are attacked by the thunderous drums, electric guitars and Ann’s deafening vocals. Unfortunately, the new versions of songs such as “Johnny Moon”, “Language of Love” and “City’s Burning”, couldn’t match or beat their old arrangements and compositions. Some tracks should definitely be left untouched otherwise they might get completely messed up. “Language of Love” (from “Passionworks”, 1983) is a clear example of unfocused and confused new format that just doesn’t work. Also, wrapping things up with this song might not have been the best idea ever.

If you are used to rocking hard with Heart and love Ann Wilson’s clear and soulful voice, this might be the record for you. Many of the fans out there, including myself, are quite sentimental and prefer the original classics, however “Beautiful Broken” definitely deserves a chance – if not for the old-new songs, than for the three gorgeous new additions to their music library. With this glorious musical journey, the sisters prove that they still have a lot more to offer. Listen, jump and rock all day and night with “Beautiful Broken”.

 

Tracklist:

  1. “Beautiful Broken” (original version on Fanatic deluxe edition)
  2. “Two”
  3. “Sweet Darlin'” (original version on Bébé le Strange)
  4. “I Jump”
  5. “Johnny Moon” (original version on Passionworks)
  6. “Heaven” (original version on Alive in Seattle)
  7. “City’s Burning” (original version on Private Audition)
  8. “Down on Me” (original version on Bébé le Strange)
  9. “One Word” (original version on Private Audition)
  10. “Language of Love” (original version on Passionworks)

 

 


 

Beautiful Broken

Two (Teaser)

I Jump (Teaser + LIVE)


 

References:
“Beautiful Broken” official Wikipedia webpage: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beautiful_Broken
P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
Cheers~

Eric Clapton – “I Still Do” Album Review

Eric Clapton - I Still Do (2016)

Music legend and guitar God Eric Clapton is back with his twenty-third solo album titled “I Still Do”. The new album was officially released today (May 20) through the independent Bushbranch Records/Surfdog Records label. “I Still Do” is produced by the famous Glyn Johns who is also responsible for Clapton’s iconic “Slowhand” album which became an international success and is certified 3x-platinum by the RIAA.

“This was a long and overdue opportunity to work with Glyn Johns again, and also, incidentally, the fortieth anniversary of ‘Slowhand’!” said Eric Clapton in a statement announcing the upcoming release of I Still Do.

The 12 track record features new original songs, written by Eric Clapton and cover versions of classic songs by artists such as Robert Johnson and Bob Dylan. “I Still Do” follows up to Clapton’s hit album “The Breeze: An Appreciation of JJ Cale” released in 2014 and the commercially successful compilation album “Forever Man” and concert film and live album “Slowhand at 70 – Live at the Royal Albert Hall” released in 2015.

The distinguishable Eric Clapton artwork was painted by Sir Peter Blake who has previously worked with Clapton on his live album “24 Nights” (1991) and is famous for co-designing The Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album art.


 

I STILL DO

333369-empReleased: May 20, 2016
Recorded: British Grove Studios
Genre: Blues, Rock, Pop Rock
Length: 54:07
Label: Bushbranch/Surfdog
Producer(s): Glyn Johns

 

TRACKLIST:

Alabama Woman Blues
Can’t Let You Do It
I Will Be There
Spiral
Catch The Blues
Cypress Grove
Little Man, You’ve Had a Busy Day
Stones In My Passway
I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine
I’ll Be Alright
Somebody’s Knockin’
I’ll Be Seeing You

-Limited Edition “Denim Box” version – Bonus Tracks

Lonesome
Freight Train

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OVERVIEW

The ultimate goal of “I Still Do” is to provide variety and we can clearly see it in the smart selection of songs and the wide range of artists he chose to cover, including folk icon Bob Dylan (I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine) and blues singer Leroy Carr (Alabama Woman Blues). In addition, original compositions (Spiral, Catch the Blues) also make an appearance and add the final ingredient to the long-awaited blues blast called “I Still Do”.

The result is a consistently delightful, although quite expected, collection from Clapton that features his stimulating guitar solos, raspy vocal delivery and a dozen other credited musicians who play alongside him. Positively laidback, the album definitely grabs your attention with its bluesy easy-going and breezy aura that creates the perfect mood. The songs are rather homogeneous and once again perfectly aligned with Eric Clapton’s standards and practices of reviving and exploring old ways and meanings of music.

Some of the album’s finest moments of the record include the carelessly improvised “Spiral” on which he sings, “You don’t know how much this means to have this music in meI just keep playing these blues’hoping that I don’t lose”. In the gentle lullaby “Little Man, You’ve Had A Busy Day” we can enjoy his husky and calming vocal delivery that can’t but warm our hearts. The more upbeat spirit of the album is captured in Robert Johnson’s “Stones in My Passway” and JJ Cale’s “Somebody’s Knocking” on which Clapton handsomely portrays his confidence in playing and singing the blues. The dozy “I Will Be There” and “I’ll Be Alright” may slow down the enthusiasm of some people; however the album wraps things up in a very classy and fanciful, though a but nostalgic way. “I’ll Be Seeing You” portrays Clapton’s passion for jazz music and captivates with its dreamy lyrics.

“I Still Do” is a reflection of Clapton’s current, assured and calmed spirit – the days of chasing trends, looking for new ways to reach the public and focus on making smashing hit albums are over. At this point in his career, he is finally ready to do his own music in his own way. He sounds confident, genuine and most importantly he is finally comfortable in his own skin. “I Still Do” is definitely a reason enough to celebrate and acknowledge the dying breed of musicians like Eric Clapton who do everything with style and class. Thank you for being 71 and still creating such beautiful music, Eric!


 

 

“Can’t Let You Do It” (Official Lyric Video)

“SPIRAL”


 

Credits:
“Eric Clapton Announces Upcoming Release Of New Studio Album” by Scott Bernstein, retrieved from http://www.jambase.com/article/eric-clapton-announces-upcoming-release-of-new-studio-album
 “I Still Do” Official Wikipedia Page : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Still_Do_%28album%29