Albums of the Year 2017

1  CATS IN SPACE Scarecrow
Their debut was pretty damn fine, so high expectations and they delivered! A marvellous mix of 70s’ rock, pomp, pop and more melodies than you can shake a stick at.

2  THRESHOLD Legends of the Shires
Returning vocalist Glynn Morgan helps the band to make one of the finest albums to date. A real return to form.

3  LONELY ROBOT The Big Dream
Part two of the trilogy and another fine set of musical adventures. No name guests this time as John Mitchell does it all bar the drums and some backing vocals.

4  BOULEVARD IV
Finally we get a new album from Boulevard. Fantastic tunes and production, deserves a place in every melodic rock/AOR fans collection.

5  THE YOUNG ‘UNS Strangers
Folk acapella from this talented three piece. Each song is based on a true story and the songs are all positive and uplifting.

6 STEVE WALSH Black Butterfly former Kansas vocalist returns with an album chock full of melodic rock treats.

7 SONS OF APOLLO supergroup featuring Jeff Scott Soto, Mike Portnoy, Derek Sherinan and Billy Sheenhan. Fantastic joining of music talents and the music lives up to expectations.

8 LIONHEART only 20 odd years since their last album…with Lee Small (Shy/Phenomena) on vocals, Lionheart deserve a place in any melodic rock fans collection.

9 IT Home thought provoking and timely progressive rock backed by oodles of melody.

10= H.E.A.T. Into The Great Unknown they have changed their sound a bit which may upset some fans, but for me they are heading onwards and upwards.

10= PUGWASH Silverlake the power pop album of the year. If you like ELO, Duckworth Lewis grab a copy of this.

10= BARENAKED LADIES Fake Nudes another set of memorable melodies and lyrics that don’t always take themselves too seriously…

Honorable mentions…

HAREM SCAREM United they keep on churning out classy melodic hard rock and long may that continue.

THE BITERS plenty of retro on this one, with the T Rex sounding songs

JEFF SCOTT SOTO Retribution not as instant but stick with it

BIGFOOT one of the debuts of the year. Modern hard rock and the singer doesn’t half sound like Tyketto’s Danny Vaughn at times!

THE NIGHTS more classy Scandi melodic rock with hook filled choruses big enough to land a whale.

THE NEW ROSES One More For The Road good time hard rock, no frills and plenty of riffs.

NIGHT RANGER Don’t Let Up they show no sign of letting up quality wise, another ‘must have’ for fans.

DANKO JONES Wild Cat if you like 70’s rock, Thin Lizzy and foot tapping tunes look no further.

THE NIGHT FLIGHT ORCHESTRA Amber Galactic like Brother Firetribe their ‘day bands’ are heavy yet here they show their love of 80’s melodic rock and AOR.

Fellow GRTR! reviewers choices can be found here

Advertisements

It’s Wilde!  Hard Rock Harmonica Hero Announces His New Album and Video

Will Wilde is announcing his much-anticipated new album, ‘Bring It On Home’, to be released on March 9th 2018. He’s also premiering his new single and video ‘Parisienne Walkways’: a classic track by the legendary Gary Moore and Phil Lynott, given the Will Wilde treatment.

Wilde takes the harmonica and touches it like Midas, transforming it from its customary bluesy niche into a full-on rock powerhouse. In his skilful hands, the now not-so-humble instrument becomes a diamond-hard, razor-edged lead that knocks the guitar off its pedestal and steals the limelight.

Wilde first picked up his first harmonica at 16, at a house party. “I basically nicked it,” he admits, “It was a cheap plastic thing, just lying about amongst the drink bottles and cigarette butts, but I was drawn to it.”

At first, his music was steeped in Chicago Blues: “I used to play along to old Muddy Waters’ records for hours at a time,” Will recalls, “Sometimes, I played so much my lips bled.” However, mastering his craft, he wanted to push the instrument to its limits. “I wanted to know everything it could do; every sound it could make. After a while, it became an extension of me.”

As an extension of Will Wilde, the harmonica became a lead instrument for hard rock as he developed his own, more aggressive style. Wilde has gone the extra mile and created his own signature harmonica tunings, so he can hit notes that simply weren’t possible before. “The Wilde tunings help me take things to the next level,” Will explains, “I can hold my own with any rock guitarist.”

‘Bring It On Home’ is a covers album: a passionate tribute to British and Irish blues-rock legends: “It’s my way of repaying the originators of British rock: bands like Free, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin,” as Will put it himself.

The 11-track album was recorded at Brighton Road Studios, mixed and engineered by Ali Gavan, and produced by Will’s bandmate and virtuoso guitarist, Danny Giles.

‘Parisienne Walkways’, the track and video Will is premiering, shows the raw power and expressive range of his chosen instrument, not merely echoing the sound of Gary Moore’s amazing guitar style, but making the song Wilde’s own.

For more information visit Will’s website at https://www.willharmonicawilde.com and find out why Thomas Ruf (of Ruf Records) called this man ‘The Hendrix of the Harmonica’.

Track listing :

  1. Bad Penny — Rory Gallagher
  2. Lazy — Deep Purple
  3. I’m Your Witchdoctor -—John Mayall
  4. Locomotive Breath — Jethro Tull
  5. Love That Burns — Fleetwood Mac
  6. Politician — Cream
  7. The Wizard — Black Sabbath
  8. Yer Blues — The Beatles
  9. My Brother Jake — Free
  10. Bring it on Home — Sonny Boy Williamson/Led Zeppelin
  11. Parisienne Walkways — Gary Moore/Phil Lynott

Fifty Gigs In A Day – SHAWN JAMES & THE SHAPESHIFTERS

Delighted that Shawn James and the Shapeshifters will be kindly using social media to plug Fifty Gigs In A Day and the work of Nordoff Robbins. Check out the song below, superb bit of blues…
shawnjamesmusic.com  
facebook.com/ShawnJamesSoul  
twitter.com/ShawnJamesMusic  
youtube.com/ShawnJamesSoul  
ShawnJamesSoul.bandcamp.com  

Fifty Gigs A Day – Spotify playlist :)

Click here for a Spotify playlist – one song each from the artists kindly supporting my fundraising efforts. A truly eclectic playlist showing the wide variety of great music out there.

50 gigs in a day

Albums of the Year 2017…to date!

I am going to keep a rolling top 10 – no more as otherwise I end up with at least a top 40! So up to June (and including Cats In Space’s ‘Scarecrow’ which I have ben luckily enough to have a promo for review) here are my top 10 albums of 2017 to date:

  1. CATS IN SPACE ‘Scarecrow’
  2. NIGHT RANGER ‘Don’t Let Up’ Frontiers
  3. BIG BIG TRAIN ‘Grimspound’
  4. NIGHT FLIGHT ORCHESTRA ‘Amber Galactic’ Nuclear Blast
  5. BITERS ‘The Future Ain’t What It Used To be’ Earache Records
  6. HAREM SCAREM ‘United’ Frontiers
  7. ORDEN OGEN ‘Gunmen’ AFM Records
  8. DON BARNES ‘Ride The Storm’ MelodicRock Records
  9. LONELY ROBOT ‘The Big Dream’ Inside Out
  10. IT ‘We’re All In This Together’ Progressive Gears Records

I have yet to hear fully the new Styx and Cheap Trick albums which based on reviews could challenge for a top 10 spot once I have listened to them.

BAD TOUCH & CATS IN SPACE UK tour dates

Two great bands touring later this year and Cats In Space release their second album ‘Scarecrow’ in August 🙂

cis

BAD TOUCH + MOLLIE MARRIOTT
9/11 Plug, Sheffield
10/11 Foxlowe Arts Centre, Leek
16/11 The Tunnels Bristol
17/11 The Ruby Lounge, Manchester
18/11 The Cluny, Newcastle
19/11 The Bodega, Nottingham
23/11 Stereo Glasgow
24/11 Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
25/11 The Empire Coventry
26/11 O2 Academy Islington London
1/12 The Waterfront Norwich
2/12 The Talking Heads, Southampton

CATS IN SPACE
September
Weds 06 The Borderline, London
Tues 12 The Globe, Cardiff
Weds 13 The Borderline, London
Fri 15 Rock City Basement, Nottingham
Sat 16 O2 Academy 2, Birmingham
Sun 17 The Fleece, Bristol
Tues 19 The Haunt, Brighton
Mon 25 G2, Glasgow
Tues 26 O2 Academy 3, Manchester
Weds 27 The Borderline, London
3/12 Planet Rockstock 2017

 

Gig review: MATT ANDERSEN – Borderline, London, May 25 May 2017

My first time at the Borderline since its recent refurbishment and it was looking impressive, with trendy seating and bar. Luckily it keeps the same atmosphere for live gigs with the audience crowded round the small stage area.

William the Conqueror was the support act and he took to the stage with his acoustic guitar and bass drum. He did mention he normally toured with a full band but tonight he joked they were replaced by said bass drum. He had an easy going style, both in the music – a mix of blues and Americana – and between song chat – he thought the revamped venue looked like the set of ‘Blake’s Seven’ (I’d wager this refit cost more than that creaky old set!). His new album is due out on August 4 and will be one to investigate further based on tonight’s impressive performance which went down well with the crowd.

Matt Andersen is a Juno Awards nominated Canadian blues guitarist/singer, and tonight’s gig was his final date on his UK leg of his current European tour. Where to start? Let’s just say you need to see Matt Andersen live to fully appreciate him as his acoustic guitar playing is stunning and then there is his voice. I have rarely seen a singer pour so much passion into his singing, a real joy to behold and reinforces why live music is good for your soul and well-being. Take ‘Make You Stay’, he was all over his guitar, his head thrown back, eyes closed as he got into his own groove and took the audience along with him. Amazing to watch and hear.

He has a very laid back, friendly on stage presence and can even slip in some unexpected fun as could be heard on ‘Have You Got The Blues’, where midway through he started playing the theme tune ‘The Pink Panther’. There was audience participation on his version of the classic ‘People Get Ready’, as he has the “guys and gals” singing different backing parts and it made for a one of the evening’s highlights. Needless to say Matt had the audience on his side from the moment he walked onto the stage. Interestingly the audience was made up of a younger crowd than I expected with a few hardened blues fans dotted around the crowd, proof that good blues music and musicians, like folk and country, has the timeless sound and appeal to carry on through generations.

Go see Matt Andersen play when he is town near you as you won’t be disappointed.

Review by Jason Ritchie