Frontiers [Release date 13.05.16]

Phantom 5 is a new band/project featuring the familiar names of Michael Voss (Casanova/Silver/Bonfire/Mad Max), vocalist Claus Lessmann (ex-Bonfire), guitarist Robby Boebel (Frontline), drummer Axel Kruse (drums) and on bass Francis Buchholz (MS Temple Of Rock/ex-Scorpions). An impressive line-up and with Michael Voss involved you know it won’t be a clunker, plus Claus Lessmann is in fine voice still.

The album has some really good melodic rockers like ‘All The Way’ and the rockier refrain of ‘How Long’.  ‘Blue Dog’ will appeal to lovers of keyboards led 80′s melodic rock, but then a song like ‘Don’t Touch The Night’ is okay, just not as good as you’d expect given the personnel involved.

It comes as no surprise that overall the album has a Bonfire feel to it, however despite a handful of good melodic rockers it lacks that sparkle to really make it stand out from the crowd. ***1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie

LUKE ELLIOT Dressed for the Occasion
[Release date 03.06.16]

Luke Elliot hails from the US, however he is based in Norway where his music is a big hit and listening to this album you can see why. He has a great way of storytelling in a lyric, transporting the listener to another era, say for example the title track with its deep guitar twang, it could be lifted from a 60′s film soundtrack.

On ‘This Gun Of Mine’ he breaks the Americana/crooner field and with the addition of female backing vocals on the chorus, creates a plaintive rock song. The driving drums and slide guitar beef the sound up a lot.

The piano led ‘Let It Rain On Me’ highlights his vocals and skillful playing, plus the mini-gospel outro shows the attention to detail he gives to each facet of the songs.

Luke Elliot has the broody looks and chic style – you only need to look at the album cover – to get him noticed and what a wonderful voice and storytelling style he possesses. He deserves to be noticed much more and let’s stop the Norwegians hogging his glorious music. ****

Review by Jason Ritchie

Rod Hot Records [Release date 08.07.16]

Headline Maniac formed when 3/5ths of the current Eddie & the Hot Rods line-up formed a support band to support the original Eddie & the Hot Rods on that band’s 40th anniversary tour last year. They enjoyed it so much that here we are with the band’s debut release, which features Ian ‘Dipster’ Dean (bass/lead vocals), Chris Taylor (guitars/vocals) and Simon Bowley (drums/vocals).

The music is a decent mix of blues based rock with a pop rock sensibility, especially in catchy numbers like ‘Idiot Me’ and ‘Someone Like You’. They show their classic rock influences on ‘Hero’ which has a Hendrix riff in the mix. Chris Taylor has a knack from switching from a big blues riff to a fast and furious punk style. Heck a tune like ‘Millionaire’ sounds like the Manics jamming with the Foo Fighters, great stuff.

With Eddie & the Hot Rids seemingly a touring only unit now, Headline Maniac are an ideal way for this talented trio to get their songs out there. Will appeal to fans of classic rock, blues rock and the more punky end of pop rock. ***1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie

Suitcase Town [Release date 10.06.16]

Gregory Alan Isakov has chosen songs from his previous three albums to re-work with the Colorado Symphony – a full 70-piece orchestra. An ambitious project and one that works. Isakov has a quiet, melodious voice that builds to a crescendo when a song hits its peak and the orchestra also reach their peak at the same time. This is simply glorious at times on a song like ‘Dandelion Wine’ or the opening song ‘Liars’.

It is the quieter songs that amaze you – ‘Master and a Hound’, is just Isakov’s vocal and a gentle, swirling string arrangement.

Music that draws you in and has a cinematic scope. It takes you back to when you actually listened to an album all the way through, which is lot harder in this day and age of downloads, streaming and music all around. Give this a try you won’t be disappointed. ***1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie

David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 30 August 2020.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 8 September 2020.

Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
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Featured Albums w/c 14 September (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 PERFECT PLAN Time For A Miracle (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 OVERLAND Scandalous (Escape Music)
14:00-16:00 ANNIE DRESSNER Coffee At The Corner Bar (indie)

Power Plays w/c 14 September (Mon-Fri)

GALLOWS CIRCUS Medicine Man (indie)
ROY ZIV Currents (indie)
NOVATINES Honey (indie)
KILFEATHER Never Stop (indie)
VANILLA FUDGE Immigrant Song (Golden Robot Records)
BROKEN MACHINE Sweet Mary Jane (indie)

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