Monday, April 25, 2016

Baby Hit Me and Dance your A$& Off

So my wife and I went to Las Vegas for our 17th anniversary a few weeks ago. We decided to take in a show. Who we chose was a perfect performer for Vegas. I must say upfront that Britney Spears is not my typical artist for review on this blog, but on review of her performance she's a quality entertainer.

Britney Spears came to national attention in 99 with a bubble gum pop sound and very catchy hooks. The fact that she was/is an attractive blond also helped keep her in the spotlight. This is where it gets tough for me. Although not a fan, I have to say a few things. First off, she is still popular , if you didn't have some talent an artist couldn't have lasted this long and she had charisma like few other artists. Is she a great singer or musician? No, not really, but a dinomite performer.

The show was amazing. Britney Spears can dance and hold your attention when she is on stage. The sets and effects were great. One moment that made me smile and cringe is Britney's cover of I Love Rock and Roll. I don't know if I have the right words to describe Britney riding a oversized Guitar in the middle of the stage. I don't know if Joan Jett would hit or make out with Britney, either way it was a moment. She preformed her hits but each song had a slightly new arrangement to keep it fresh. The crowd was almost as entertaining as Britney. Mainly 30 something women enjoying the show, alcohol and dancing badly.

While I will never list Britney in my top musicians I have to say she is an amazing performer and I would say don't miss her show.

Til next time,  listen to the best - your ears deserve it.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Now I what it sounds like when Doves Cry

For anyone who has read my posts is is pretty clear that Prince is one of my favorite artist.  With the news of his untimely passing I had to put together a few wards out of my respect for The Artist.

Prince has been a part of my musical world as long as I can remember.  As a teenager I remember seeing the early videos on MTV of I Want to be Your Lover, 1999 and Little Red Corvette.  At the time still a bit too young to fully get the artist but I was still taken with him.

As I grew and learned more about what music can be Prince seemed to flex his creative muscles.  The vision and depth of Purple Rain then going psychedelic with Around the World, then combining all of his art into the double album masterpiece which is Sign O The Times.

Granted I think Sign is his finest work but Prince continued to put out great work and many of them I have reviewed.

Prince let me explore with him, Sex, Love, Race Relations, and Family issues.  All were done with such insight and a musical chameleon ability that we might never see again.

One request I have of anyone that reads this blog when it comes to Prince, don't just stick to the Hits.  In my opinion the man wrote very few bad songs and even the filler tracks on all of his releases were great listens.

So Rest in Peace great Purple One, Prince Rodgers Nelson, I count myself lucky that I could share in your musical vision.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Bryan Adam's Reckless a timeless Album

So a few weeks Sheryl and I were hanging in my Man Cave and nothing was good on the TV.  I pulled out the record albums and found Reckless from Bryan Adams and we listened to it.  Wow, I forgot what a great album it was.  Now I have listened to it much more often and wanted to add it to this blog.

I remember the first time I heard/saw Bryan Adams was on MTV at my grandparent's house.  We didn't have MTV at that time so I would watch for hours when I got time to visit.  I remember the video for Cuts Like a Knife and really thought it was a great song, but that was just a preview to the monster album that is Reckless.

Reckless was one of those 80's monster albums that just kept on the charts and had hit after hit released from it.  Now it was not Purple Rain, Born in the USA or Thriller level, I would say it was just a next step behind those albums.  It was released in 84 and it had 6 releases hit the top 15 of the charts.

Of the 6 releases, Somebody, Heaven, One Night Love Affair, and It's Only Love, the releases Run To You and Summer of 69 have special places in my heart.  I was in high school when Run To You was released and I had a great girlfriend, but I also had a crush on a girl that was slightly out of my league.  Now my crush started paying more attention once the girlfriend showed up and when I heard Run To You I felt like Bryan Adams was singing about me.  The Summer of 69 was the year I was born.  It is a fun coming of age song that all kids have felt about, the title is what is funny.  We all knew when Bryan Adams was born and we knew he wasn't old enough for the time frame to fit.  So the title was hinting at a naughty side.

The best thing about this album is that it is timeless.  Unlike a lot of hits from the 80's it isn't dated. The release is just solid Rock songs that could be released now and still be fresh hits.  So if you want to hear some great songs listen to this album.

Til next time, listen to the best -  your ears deserve it.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Across The Great Divide a Rocker plays some great Bluegrass

Now I have to say I am a bit ashamed to be doing this post now.  As a good fan of STYX, I should have reviewed this five years ago when this album was released. However, what is done is done.  I am very happy to have come back after these years and found this bluegrass gem.

No STYX hasn't released a new album but their rocker Tommy Shaw has released a solid bluegrass album.  The embarrassing part for me is that I didn't review this release when I saw Tommy Shaw on the broadcast of the Grand Ole Opry back in 2011.  I enjoyed what I heard then but didn't follow up. Then when I noticed on Face Book that is was the five year anniversary for the release, I realized it was time for a listen.

For one of the Rockers of the group, Tommy Shaw has always shined on his acoustic guitar work. From Fooling Yourself from Grand Illusion to the little known Diamond Boat on the River from Cornerstone, Tommy Shaw's acoustic guitar work has stood out.  I remember reading an interview from Damn Yankees and Uncle Ted Nugent said Tommy Shaw was one of the great acoustic and 12 string players out there.  And for any one doubting why a rock star from the 80's would have any connection to bluegrass please know that Tommy Shaw was raised in Alabama. Heaven knows he heard some country music down there.

The Great Divide is a very good bluegrass and mountain music release.  To be honest, even though I live in Kentucky and know of Bluegrass and mountain music I can't speak to any expertise.  I know I like what I have heard off the release and it sounds like music I have from this genre.  There are several tracks that stand out on this album.  Back in your Kitchen and Saw Mill are great fun and gets your toes a tapping.  The Great Divide is a tender release and if you really listen it is hard to keep from getting a little misty. Quick side note on this track, one of the living voices of an angel is singing background, yes the tones of Alison Krauss are here.  The best track on the release is Shadows in the Moonlight.  It is a traditional country ballad dealing with class, loss and love.  For an artist who has never released a country/bluegrass song I would put it up against any of the BRO country that is on the radio these days.   I have to mention that there is one miss on this release, I don't get the song Give Em Hell Henry and just don't think it fits well is this album.

If you want to listen to bluegrass and hear what traditional country music can sound like give The Great Divide a listen.

Til next time, listen to the best - your ears deserve it.