JIM SHEPARD Jaded MelodicRock Records [Release date 10.08.18]

This is the third solo album by US musician Jim Shepard who has been on the music scene for some years including a band called Taxi, who had some success in their local area. Jim plays most of the instruments on here and utilises three vocalists, namely Rusty Ammerman, Mike Meadows and Ron Hanchar (who also adds a mighty fine bit of sax on ‘My Heart Is Mine’).

For the most part the album is standard melodic rock meets AOR similar to the likes of Bon Jovi (‘What I See’) and Journey (‘Destiny’). The sax break on ‘My Heart Is Mine’ adds some variety, as it can lack spark elsewhere such as on the chugging ‘I Still Think About You’.

An album of enjoyable melodic rock, not essential by any means, however songs like ‘Destiny’ and ‘My Heart Is Mine’ certainly warrant a listen. ***

Review by Jason Ritchie

PHILLIP HENRY True North Dragonfly Records [Release date 05.10.18]

Phillip Henry has made his name through his slide guitar and beatbox harmonica playing, as well as working with singer songwriter Hannah Martin. These eleven songs on ‘True North’ are a result of his travels across the glob in the past ten years, where along the way he picked up various musical influences and instruments along the way, including the 22 stringed, sitar-like chaturangui.

His playing is simply wonderful on the ears, be it the gentle dobro on ‘Little Bird’ or the intricate playing on ‘The Road To Tofino’, the listener is drawn into the musical soundscapes created by Phillip Henry. The aforementioned 22 string beast that is the chaturangui is used on three songs, with the closing two songs drawing on traditional Indian classical music and these are an album highlight.

It has taken ten years of journeying to create this solo album and it is one that will stand the test of time. Music to draw you in and his playing is amazing, plus for fellow guitarists he adds the musical annotations required to replicate the music. ****

Review by Jason Ritchie

SIR REG The Underdogs

SIR REG The Underdogs Despotz Records [Release date 21.09.18]

The feisty folk punks Sir Reg are back with another set of catchy tunes played at breakneck speed. Despite the band being located in Sweden, in Irish born singer Brendan Sheehy they have someone who adds the convincing tone to the songs.

Songs like ‘Don’t Let Go’ and the title track grab the listener by the scruff of their neck and don’t let go. Even an instrumental like ‘Cairbre’ rattles along at some pace driven by a flute. They do stop to draw breath midway through the album on the humorous ‘The Stopover’, although normal service is resumed on the tongue in cheek ‘Stereotypical Drunken Feckin Irish Song’, which as you can imagine has a rousing, sing-a-long chorus – perfect for a festival or pub crowd.

‘Sinner Of The Century’ closes the album and it is a ballad! When I reviewed their last album I thought a slower number would be good and this ballad does that nicely.

Sir Reg put a smile on your face and beat in your stride. If you enjoy bands like Flogging Molly and the Pogues, this album should be on your radar. ****

Review by Jason Ritchie

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In this two hour special David Randall plays a selection of the GRTR! reviewer choices for ‘Best of 2019′ and announces the results of the popular poll. First broadcast Sunday 22 December 2019.

Featured Albums w/c 20 January (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 AUTUMN’S CHILD Autumn’s Child (AOR Heaven)
12:00-13:00 THE RAGGED SAINTS Sonic Playground Revisited (AOR Heaven)
14:00-16:00 AMBERLY CHALBERG Hi-Line (indie)

Power Plays w/c 20 January (Mon-Fri)

THUNDERSTICK Go Sleep With The Enemy (Roulette Records)
BUFFALO SUMMER Everybody’s Out For No.1 (Silver Lining Music)
ANCHOR LANE Dead Run (R7 Records)
MOLLY KARLOFF She Said (indie)
H.E.A.T. Come Clean (Frontiers)
THE KENDALL COLLECTION Staring Back At Me (indie)
VOODOO RAMBLE Midnight Train (indie)

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