Album review: BOREALIS – The Offering

AFM Records [Release date 23.03.18]

Borealis started out in 2005 as a female fronted symphonic metal band before guitarist Matt Marinelli took over vocal duties in 2007. They have changed bassists since their last album with Trevor McBride replacing original bassist Jamie Smith. Their last album 2015′s ‘Purgatory’ was well received and they re-recorded their debut album ‘World Of Silence’, which was released last year (re-recorded as it was originally funded and released by the band themselves).

‘The Offering’ is a concept, based on Matt Marinelli’s interest in cults sparked by his fascination for horror movies. He said “The album follows the creation, rise and ultimate demise of a cult who practices human, more specifically child sacrifice. They believe this method of belief, sacrifice and devotion will bring an end to the suffering of humanity, as well as bring back the innocence of mankind that was lost to greed and industrialism. However, due to their lack of respect to powers greater than themselves, they unwittingly create a deity out of the sacrificed kid, whom ultimately delivers punishment due to their injustice. The men in the cult are too self-consumed with their righteous quest, they’ve completely overlooked the fact that children are the true key to restoring and preserving lost innocence.”

A different concept for sure and one that the band go at with gusto, from the opener ‘The Fire Between Us’ and the next song, ‘Sign Of Return’ is simply magnificent. The overall sound reminds you of Evergrey (who Borealis have supported in the past), as the crisp guitars and keys back the impressive vocals of Matt Marinelli.

‘The Devil’s Hand’ and ‘Into The Light’ both illustrate the band’s ability to switch from light to heavy in a flick of a riff (Ken Fobert is the other guitarist in the band). Both contain plenty of heavy moments – drummer Sean Dowell keeps a steady double bass drum beat throughout the album. They save their epic song until last, where Sean Werlick’s piano ushers in ‘The Ghosts Of Innocence’ before the vocals and then the rest of the band join in. The chorus is a rousing one and again the guitars blend well with the piano/rhythm section.

Borealis are a new band on my metal radar and they should be on yours, if not already, especially if you enjoy Evergrey, Symphony X et al. Very impressive from start to finish and an early contender for one of the metal albums of the year. ****

Review by Jason Ritchie


Get Ready to ROCK! Radio

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Power Plays w/c 19 February


THUNDERMOTHER Revival (Despotz Records)
THE TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT There’s Still Time (Earache)
TAX THE HEAT The Last Time (Nuclear Blast)
DOOMSDAY OUTLAW Spirit That Made Me (Frontiers)
BAD WOLVES Zombie (Eleven Seven Music)
ALL THAT REMAINS The Thunder Rolls (Eleven Seven Music)


Featured Albums w/c 19 February (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 TOTO Greatest Hits: 40 Trips Around The Sun (Sony Legacy)
12:00-13:00 SHIRAZ LANE Carnival Days (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 THE LYNNES Heartsong For The Radio (indie)



Album review: VOODOO CIRCLE – Raised On Rock

AFM Records [Release date 09.02.18]

Inspired by the likes of Rainbow and Deep Purple, Germany’s Voodoo Circle have been delivering melodic hard rock for a decade now. Recently, Voodoo Circle underwent a metamorphosis that both of those aforementioned bands have had considerable experience of, namely a change in vocalist.

Herbie Langhans replaces David Readman as lead singer for this latest album – Raised On Rock. “I feel that the band sounds even more autonomous, a little less bluesy and much meatier with Herbie at the mic,” Alex Beyrodt, the band’s guitarist, founder and lead composer, enthuses. “This allowed me to work on ideas which would probably not really have suited his predecessor David Readman but are absolutely perfect for Herbie’s powerful voice.”

Virtuoso guitar combined with accessible melodies and unforgettable hooks is, as Ritchie Blackmore discovered long ago, an irresistible combination and there’s some good song-writing and quality musicianship on this album. ‘Running Away From Love’ deploys all of those tricks and opens the album in style.

‘Where Is The World We Love’ and ‘Chase Me Away’ show a slower, more reflective side of the band but, again, strong melodies, memorable choruses and passionate, soulful guitar solos leave their mark on the listener. The Blackmore-esque epic ‘Dreamchaser’ dates back to the earliest days of the band. Originally written for Voodoo Circle’s debut album Beyrodt wasn’t quite happy with the result but, finally, it takes its place on this album. “The arrangement of the number was changed and overhauled repeatedly over the years, now it’s matured to the point where it was ready for recording,” says Beyrodt.

Langhans has a voice perfectly suited for this type of material and long-term fans of the band should have no worries at all about accepting him into the fold. Meanwhile, for those who may be less familiar with Voodoo Circle but have an abiding love of beautifully-played melodic hard rock this is an album well worth checking out. ***

Review by Darren Johnson


Get Ready to ROCK! Radio

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Power Plays w/c 19 February


THUNDERMOTHER Revival (Despotz Records)
THE TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT There’s Still Time (Earache)
TAX THE HEAT The Last Time (Nuclear Blast)
DOOMSDAY OUTLAW Spirit That Made Me (Frontiers)
BAD WOLVES Zombie (Eleven Seven Music)
ALL THAT REMAINS The Thunder Rolls (Eleven Seven Music)


Featured Albums w/c 19 February (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 TOTO Greatest Hits: 40 Trips Around The Sun (Sony Legacy)
12:00-13:00 SHIRAZ LANE Carnival Days (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 THE LYNNES Heartsong For The Radio (indie)



Quick plays: VARVARA, I’M WITH HER

VARVARA Go [Release date 23.02.18]

Hailing from Finland (the most exciting thing to come out of Finland since fromer Liverpool player Jari Litmanen according to one previous review), are based around guitarist/vocalist Mikko Kari. This is the band’s fourth album and is one for those who like a bit of indie rock with a punk edge.

‘Gone’ and ‘Fly Far’ are top notch indie rockers with a punk beat, whilst ‘Up To The Top’ recalls the Foo Fighters in their 90′s period. If there’s one slight drawback the album tails off slightly after the impressive first five songs on the album.

Varvara deserve to get more known outside of their native Finland and Mikko Kari’s melodic vocals ensure their songs are airplay/playlist friendly. ***1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie

I’M WITH HER See You Around

I’m With Her is a trio consisting of Crooked Still’s Aoife O’Donovan (piano/synth), Sarah Jarosz (mandolin/banjo) and Nickel Creek’s Sara Watkins (fiddle/ukulele) and they are a bit of a modern folk ‘super group’.

The trio produce some stunning harmony vocals throughout the whole album, never sounding to twee and listening to say the title track, you can see why I’m With Her will attract rave reviews and fans. ‘I 89′ has a rock base, whilst ‘Game To Lose’ features more of their uplifting harmony vocals. Shades of Joni Mitchell is some of the songs, yet I’m With Her have their own distinct sound and all bar one of the songs on this album were composed by the band.

The super group tag can be the undoing of many, luckily that’s not the case here and hopefully we will get more from I’m With Her in due course. Until then, dive in the musical treat that awaits you here. ***1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie


Get Ready to ROCK! Radio

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Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
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Power Plays w/c 19 February


THUNDERMOTHER Revival (Despotz Records)
THE TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT There’s Still Time (Earache)
TAX THE HEAT The Last Time (Nuclear Blast)
DOOMSDAY OUTLAW Spirit That Made Me (Frontiers)
BAD WOLVES Zombie (Eleven Seven Music)
ALL THAT REMAINS The Thunder Rolls (Eleven Seven Music)


Featured Albums w/c 19 February (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 TOTO Greatest Hits: 40 Trips Around The Sun (Sony Legacy)
12:00-13:00 SHIRAZ LANE Carnival Days (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 THE LYNNES Heartsong For The Radio (indie)



Album review: CATS IN SPACE – Cats Alive!

CATS IN SPACE – Cats Alive!

Harmony Factory [Release date 23.02.18]

Cats In Space had a busy 2017 live-wise, supporting the likes of Thunder (where this show was recorded at Cardiff Motorpoint Arena in March), Deep Purple and Status Quo, along with festival appearances at Cropredy and Phil Collins at Hyde Park. This seven song live album gives those who have yet to see them live a chance to hear how good live they are.

The set is reliant on their debut album ‘Too Many Gods’ as their latest album ‘Scarecrow’ had yet to be released. The band’s first single ‘Mr. Heartache’ a stand out, along with the epic ‘Greatest Story Never Told’. The latter shows how confident the band are in the strength of their songs as not many support acts would be keen to do this.

Paul Manzi is spot on vocally, whilst Greg Hart and Dean Howard are a perfect guitar duo, riffing when required and both capable of playing tasty solos when required. ‘Mad Hatter’s Tea Party’ is made for the live stage, a fast paced tune and ‘Only In Vegas’ clearly shows the bands love of 70’s music be it rock, pop or even a little soul.

Cats In Space continue on their upward trajectory with this live album here to keep their fans satisfied until a new album and more live shows (they would be a perfect support for Jeff Lynne’s ELO). Only one downside is that being a support slot you only get a seven song set.  ****

Review by Jason Ritchie


Get Ready to ROCK! Radio

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Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
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Power Plays w/c 19 February


THUNDERMOTHER Revival (Despotz Records)
THE TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT There’s Still Time (Earache)
TAX THE HEAT The Last Time (Nuclear Blast)
DOOMSDAY OUTLAW Spirit That Made Me (Frontiers)
BAD WOLVES Zombie (Eleven Seven Music)
ALL THAT REMAINS The Thunder Rolls (Eleven Seven Music)


Featured Albums w/c 19 February (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 TOTO Greatest Hits: 40 Trips Around The Sun (Sony Legacy)
12:00-13:00 SHIRAZ LANE Carnival Days (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 THE LYNNES Heartsong For The Radio (indie)



Album review: THE TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT – A Deeper Cut

THE TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT - A Deeper Cut

Earache [Release date 16.02.18]

Where to begin when all the superlatives have been exhausted? Widely and justifiably-touted as Britain’s Best New Band since……that “Classic Rock Best New Band 2013″ award still sits on their shoulders like your trusty old college scarf. “A Deeper Cut” – the third offering from The Temperance Movement sees the band progressing relentlessly and very satisfyingly on the trajectory set by the s/t and White Bear albums – mature, exciting, progressive and astonishingly good.

I never saw The Black Crowes circa “Shake Your Money Maker” but I imagine this is what they must have been like – raw, vibrant and hungry. The Temperance Movement really has it all – kaftans, afghans and Laura Ashley jackets, wide-brimmed floppy hats and an attitude that lifts you up by the armpit hairs and demands that you groove and dig it. Combine all that with shit-kicking songs and a stage presence suggesting they’ve been doing this nightly since the ’60s and you have the cream of British Rock music in 2018.

Many of these new songs were previewed to those of us fortunate enough to snag tickets for the recent “Small Rooms and New Tunes” tour and they had immediate appeal – never an easy thing to achieve live on the first hearing. Since they closed the set last November debuting “Backwater Zoo” from this new record, I’ve been absolutely gagging for the album…and it has not disappointed.

Equal parts swagger and sweetness but 100% Temperance Movement, the band has produced a body of work which draws on all that was excellent about the first two offerings but they have taken their songwriting craft to the next level with “A Deeper Cut” – the title track of which is itself a masterpiece.

And that’s what makes this band great (already!); their ability to write phenomenal tunes – weaving heart-rending melodies (“There’s Still Time”, “The Wonders We’ve Seen” and “Another Spiral”) and pelvis-shifting, balls-out rockers (“Built In Forgetter”, “Caught In The Middle” and “Love and Devotion”). And then there’s the magic sauce which is that, three albums in, The Temperance Movement have now stamped their own unique signature on contemporary rock – that point where you say “hang on, that’s sounds like the Temperance Movement”…..yep, that distinctive.

Vocalist and front man, Phil Campbell, oozes “cool” – if Janis Joplin and Joe Cocker had a son and employed Chris Robinson and Mick Jagger as nannies, that baby would have grown up to be Phil Campbell. He really is a remarkable (and a little spooky) amalgamation of all those icons and yet he’s very individual – commanding an exquisite, compelling connection with his audience and, of course, a rock-and-roll middle finger to the fashion police with the goofy outfits.A proper rock singer’s set of pipes too !

The back line of bassist Nick Fyffe (ex-Jamiroquai) and tub-thumper Simon Lea provide the taught canvas backdrop upon which the band creates their sonic landscapes. Guitarists Paul Sayer and Matt White just look too damn young to be able to understand and convey, let alone trade, those kinds of licks that well but they interact beautifully. Like a darn good roll in the sheets – the band as a whole is, at various times throughout this album tender, caressing, boisterous, thrusting and…..well…..very, very sexy.

In a world of abundance of everything, The Temperance Movement shine like a beacon and stand head and shoulders above the crowd for their sheer creative genius and their intense, high energy live performances. Lots to love and admire on this their strongest album to-date.

Cocksure, confident, contemporary British rock music at its very best.  *****

Review by Mark ‘Mad Dog’ Shaw


Get Ready to ROCK! Radio

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Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.


Power Plays w/c 19 February


THUNDERMOTHER Revival (Despotz Records)
THE TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT There’s Still Time (Earache)
TAX THE HEAT The Last Time (Nuclear Blast)
DOOMSDAY OUTLAW Spirit That Made Me (Frontiers)
BAD WOLVES Zombie (Eleven Seven Music)
ALL THAT REMAINS The Thunder Rolls (Eleven Seven Music)


Featured Albums w/c 19 February (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 TOTO Greatest Hits: 40 Trips Around The Sun (Sony Legacy)
12:00-13:00 SHIRAZ LANE Carnival Days (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 THE LYNNES Heartsong For The Radio (indie)



Album review: STYX – Caught In The Act

STYX – Caught In The Act

BGO Records [Release date 09.02.18]

BGO Records are re-issuing ‘Caught In The Act’, Styx’s live album originally released in 1984, as a double CD in a slip case, remastered and with sleeve notes from Neil Daniels.

‘Caught In The Act’ marked a live swansong for Styx as they split-up in 1984, following the lukewarm reception to the previous year’s ‘Kilroy Was Here’ album and band tensions which would see Tommy Shaw bow out of the short-lived 1990 reunion and subsequent album ‘Edge Of The Century’.

The tour it was recorded on had the band adopt various characters from the ‘Kilroy Was Here’ concept album, although the original video release has more of the songs of that album than the live album has.

The live version of ‘Mr. Roboto’ is suitable rocking, whilst the second disc (sides 3 and 4 on the original vinyl release), feature plenty of classics including ‘Come Sail Away’, ‘Blue Collar Man’ and ‘Rockin’ The Paradise’. With three vocalists in the band – Dennis De Young, Tommy Shaw and for the gruffer, rockier songs James Young – Styx were always able to re-create their harmony filled songs to match the studio originals.

There was one new song, ‘Music Time’ sounding like a mash-up of Saga and the Cars, which made number 40 in the Billboard singles charts. I am with Tommy Shaw on this one who was not a fan and it hasn’t aged very well.

‘Caught In The Act’ is a fitting capture of the classic Styx line-up in action – the only official live album to do so – and many of the songs on here still feature in the band’s setlist today.  ***1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie


Get Ready to ROCK! Radio

More information
Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.


Power Plays w/c 19 February


THUNDERMOTHER Revival (Despotz Records)
THE TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT There’s Still Time (Earache)
TAX THE HEAT The Last Time (Nuclear Blast)
DOOMSDAY OUTLAW Spirit That Made Me (Frontiers)
BAD WOLVES Zombie (Eleven Seven Music)
ALL THAT REMAINS The Thunder Rolls (Eleven Seven Music)


Featured Albums w/c 19 February (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 TOTO Greatest Hits: 40 Trips Around The Sun (Sony Legacy)
12:00-13:00 SHIRAZ LANE Carnival Days (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 THE LYNNES Heartsong For The Radio (indie)



Gig review: TOWERS OF LONDON – New Cross Inn, London 14 February 2018

TOWERS OF LONDON - New Cross Inn, London 14 February 2018

A decade or so ago glam punk outfit the Towers Of London were steadily building up a reputation. Tours supporting the likes of the Pogues and the New York Dolls. Festival slots at Reading and Leeds and Download.

But then came lead singer Donny Tourette’s appearance on Celebrity Big Brother. Pissed, bratish and annoying, the Sex Pistols with Bill Grundy this was not. It was more like a bad episode of Grange Hill. An equally ill-chosen appearance on Never Mind The Buzzcocks only made things worse and though the band soldiered on for another couple of years it was pretty much all over.

Fast forward to 2018, however and they are back. “I’ve been following these guys for a while – they’ve now grown up, sorted their shit out but importantly they still retain their bite. This album blows the shit out of what they’ve done in the past!” says former Oasis manager/Creation Records boss, Alan McGee, in the publicity blurb.

So I popped along to the New Cross Inn, south-east London, to see for myself what these guys are up to nowadays. And the verdict? Yes – the band deliver a great energetic set and have, indeed, got their shit together.

New single ‘Send In The Roses’ is a superb slice of anthemic, catchy glam-punk meets indie disco. Their new material is sounding great and, of course, there’s a few songs from their early days, too – raucous punky work-outs like ‘Air Guitar’ and ‘Fuck It Up’ and campy New York Dolls-esque ditties like ‘How Rude She Was’. The world needs a few more bands like this and it’s good to see them back in business.

The Towers forthcoming new album ‘Super Sounds Of K-Town’ will be released in spring this year. We all deserve a second chance at times. I genuinely hope this band do well and, hopefully, stay around for a little longer this time.

Review by Darren Johnson


Get Ready to ROCK! Radio

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Power Plays w/c 19 February


THUNDERMOTHER Revival (Despotz Records)
THE TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT There’s Still Time (Earache)
TAX THE HEAT The Last Time (Nuclear Blast)
DOOMSDAY OUTLAW Spirit That Made Me (Frontiers)
BAD WOLVES Zombie (Eleven Seven Music)
ALL THAT REMAINS The Thunder Rolls (Eleven Seven Music)


Featured Albums w/c 19 February (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 TOTO Greatest Hits: 40 Trips Around The Sun (Sony Legacy)
12:00-13:00 SHIRAZ LANE Carnival Days (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 THE LYNNES Heartsong For The Radio (indie)



Album review: RICHIE KOTZEN, IAN GILLAN (reissues)

RICHIE KOTZEN - Telecasters & Stratocasters - Klassic Kotzen

The Store For Music [Release date 17.11.17/23.02.18]

A welcome outing for three late-1990s solo albums from the underrated Richie Kotzen, repackaged as Telecasters & Stratocasters: Klassic Kotzen.  Kotzen might be best known for his stints in Poison and Mr.Big and as a solo artist he’s consistently produced excellent releases but never quite breaking into the mainstream.  This  might be due to his eclectic approach, straddling fusion flavours and R&B as much as rock.

From Something To Say (1997) and What Is (1998) to 1999′s Break It All Down all showcase Kotzen’s meld of soulful rock, frequently funky but always tuneful.   In truth there is consistency but a paucity of true killer tracks such as ‘Cross The Line’ from the 1999 album.

The 9 bonus tracks spread across the three discs actually come from the 1996 release ‘Wave Of Emotion’.  Why on earth couldn’t Store For Music have squeezed all 11 tracks on to this collection (across the three discs) ?  ****

In the same series, Ian Gillan gets a 3-disc set The Voice Of Deep Purple focusing on two solo albums Accidentally On Purpose (1988) and Naked Thunder (1990) and the 1977 Ian Gillan Band album Scarabus.  The sub-title ‘The Gillan Years’ is somewhat erroneous.

The Ian Gillan Band was quite a diversion for Gillan who, in the late-seventies following his split from Purple, produced a series of jazz rock/fusion albums including ‘Scarabus’ with the redoubtable Ray Fenwick on guitar and Colin Towns on keys.

The two solo albums were released after Gillan had reunited with Purple for the Perfect Strangers album.  Accidentally On Purpose was a joint project with Roger Glover and is more pop-orientated and synth heavy.

On the other hand Naked Thunder (with his band Garth Rockett and the Moonshiners) is more rock inclined with an early 1990s sheen.  ‘Love Gun’ might hark back to ‘Fireball’ and therefore somewhat out of place but the excellent ‘No Good Luck’, ‘Sweet Lolita’ and ‘Nothing To Lose’ more than compensate.  The album was co-written with long-time collaborator Steve Morris who has also worked more recently with Steve Overland.

The  6 live bonus tracks are all previously released and feature Ian Gillan Band and Gillan (including a Japanese tour interview) performing a bunch of Purple classics and ‘Restless’.  ***1/2

Both releases include a very basic, somewhat lazy, liner note and – in the case of Ian Gillan – a bio lifted straight from Wikipedia.

Review by David Randall

David Randall presents ‘Assume The Position’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Sunday at 22:00 GMT.


Get Ready to ROCK! Radio

More information
Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.


Power Plays w/c 19 February


THUNDERMOTHER Revival (Despotz Records)
THE TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT There’s Still Time (Earache)
TAX THE HEAT The Last Time (Nuclear Blast)
DOOMSDAY OUTLAW Spirit That Made Me (Frontiers)
BAD WOLVES Zombie (Eleven Seven Music)
ALL THAT REMAINS The Thunder Rolls (Eleven Seven Music)


Featured Albums w/c 19 February (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 TOTO Greatest Hits: 40 Trips Around The Sun (Sony Legacy)
12:00-13:00 SHIRAZ LANE Carnival Days (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 THE LYNNES Heartsong For The Radio (indie)



Album review: DEAD CITY RUINS – Never Say Die

DEAD CITY RUINS - Never Say Die

AFM Records [Release date 13.04.18]

Now here’s something of a novelty, a rock band from Australia who actually don’t sound like AC/DC – meet Dead City Ruins from Melbourne and their third offering Never Say Die.

Built on very solid riffage and the monster vocals of lead throat Jake Wiffen, Dead City Ruins are pouring everything – body, soul and every last dollar – into breaking out of Australia and achieving significance in a very crowded marketplace.

Certainly the PR function of the band has done a great job of getting them exposed as the band can so far claim support slots to the likes of Skid Row, Ugly Kid Joe, Fozzy, Orange Goblin, Wolfmother and Mastodon.

Often straddled somewhere between Glenn Hughes/BCC and Budgie on the riffmeter, stand-out tracks include the excellent, heavy-blues lament “Rust and Ruin” and the full-on “We Are One” which features a rolling Maiden-esque mish mash and a chorus ready-made for when and if they get to playing arenas.

“Devil Man” immediately signals the band’s furious intent to ruffle rock’s feathers with a nice tip of the hat to Thin Lizy’s twin guitar assault in the solo. A gorgeous rumbling bass kicks off “Bones” where Black Stone Cherry meets Monster Truck and ask Nickelback to kick in with the chorus.

You can’t help notice the similarity with Ozzy’s trademark nasal whine on the likes of “Rust and Ruin”, “Dirty Water” and “The River Song” (hell, check out the tassles on Wiffen’s sleeve

in the promo video for “Bones” – Sharon could have picked that shirt out of a thrift store in the ‘90s).

The album is a bit of a slow burn and does dip a bit in parts before the band goes for the epic album closer “Lake of Fire” with some success I have to say….feeling initially a bit like a Dio-era Rainbow track before crashing to thunderous coda – belting track this one.

There is all the thrusting power and in-yer-face energy that you’d expect from a bunch of hard-touring and harder-drinking Aussie’s who tour in a bus called the “Blue Bastard” – there isn’t a song about that on the album but if it pulls up in your town, tie down any loose belongings and prepare to have your ear wax re-arranged.  ***1/2

Review by Mark “Mad Dog” Shaw


Get Ready to ROCK! Radio

More information
Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.


Power Plays w/c 19 February


THUNDERMOTHER Revival (Despotz Records)
THE TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT There’s Still Time (Earache)
TAX THE HEAT The Last Time (Nuclear Blast)
DOOMSDAY OUTLAW Spirit That Made Me (Frontiers)
BAD WOLVES Zombie (Eleven Seven Music)
ALL THAT REMAINS The Thunder Rolls (Eleven Seven Music)


Featured Albums w/c 19 February (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 TOTO Greatest Hits: 40 Trips Around The Sun (Sony Legacy)
12:00-13:00 SHIRAZ LANE Carnival Days (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 THE LYNNES Heartsong For The Radio (indie)



Album review: GEOFF EVERETT – Night Patrol

GEOFF EVERETT - Night Patrol

www.geoffeverett.co.uk

A couple of years ago, GRTR! reviewed a very tasty trio of albums by The Geoff Everett Band – “Adult Show” (2011), “The Quick and the Dead” (2014) and “Cut and Run” (2015). Geoff is one of Britain’s finest and longest-standing purveyors of country/rock/blues originals and interpretations and it’s great to hear him back in fearsome flow with his newly-released album, “Night Patrol”.

It’s truly a testament to Everett’s standing in the wider blues community that “Night Patrol” features legendary harp-blower, Alan Glen (The Yardbirds, 9 Below Zero, BB King, John Mayall, Peter Green, etc.) and sax-player extraordinaire, Gary Barnacle (Tina Turner, Level 42, Elvis Costello and Jamiroquai – the list goes on !).

Add those to his impressive career collaboration list of Lord Sutch, Alan Lancaster, Jim Russell (Stretch/Scotty Moore), Carl Palmer (ELP), Gerry McAvoy and Brendan O’Neill (Rory Gallagher/Nine Below Zero) and Ian Paice amongst many others and it’s clear that if Everett ever did start dropping names, there’d be some very deep holes in the ground outside his recording studio in Kent.

There’s a real cool-factor to Geoff’s new output, evidence of the fact that he is both a respectful student and classy creator of the country/blues/rock genre. Legendary broadcaster, John Peel, once described Everett’s music as “exciting, belligerent and articulate” – he also has a keen ear for a tune and should be on a poster in Denmark

Street, perhaps on a Fender ad which simply says “how your Strat should be played”. I’d be happy listening to him tune up.

“Night Patrol” blends a straightforward and very satisfying driving country rock vibe (on tracks like “Where Did She Get The Money” and “Much Worse Than I Thought”) with sultry blues on “Walking With Dead Men”, which delivers a glorious “brass- kicking”….just wicked guitar/sax interplay on this one.

“Fallen Star” sees Everett working out his pop sensibilities on a lovely tune which Ray Davies would have strangled his brother for. And that’s the thing I find with Everett’s work – there is a palpable Britishness to the way he adheres to the well-established tenets of country/pop/blues rock but still manages to take it all to the next level, weaving faithful interpretations which don’t drift far from the essentials but still sound fresh and vibrant. Check out the song “The Writing’s On The Wall” which encapsulates everything that’s good about this album – superb piece of music all round.

There is plenty of deliciously swampy slide and jangling, twangy, razor sharp guitar work throughout the album – on “Woman That I’ve Never Met”, Everett somehow manages to channel Knopfler and Petty in the same room to great effect whilst “Stitched Up Again” is not so much “a tip of the hat”, but more the “actual brim of Keef’s fedora” in its Stonesy feel. Anyone know if Muscle Shoals is twinned with Kent? It should be – with Everett installed as Mayor.

This is top quality stuff from one of our own – a sense of humour too….listen to him “out-Who” The Who on “Mod Love” – thank goodness Pete Townsend isn’t as litigious as some – had to smile at that one.  Cracking, consistent, brilliant stuff.  *****

Review by Mark “Mad Dog’ Shaw


Get Ready to ROCK! Radio

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Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
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Power Plays w/c 19 February


THUNDERMOTHER Revival (Despotz Records)
THE TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT There’s Still Time (Earache)
TAX THE HEAT The Last Time (Nuclear Blast)
DOOMSDAY OUTLAW Spirit That Made Me (Frontiers)
BAD WOLVES Zombie (Eleven Seven Music)
ALL THAT REMAINS The Thunder Rolls (Eleven Seven Music)


Featured Albums w/c 19 February (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 TOTO Greatest Hits: 40 Trips Around The Sun (Sony Legacy)
12:00-13:00 SHIRAZ LANE Carnival Days (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 THE LYNNES Heartsong For The Radio (indie)



Album review: DANNY BRYANT – Revelation

DANNY BRYANT – Revelation

Jazzhaus Records [Release date 20.04.18]

For an album that Danny Bryant tells us features songs that: “confront memories and emotions I didn’t really want to face”, and material with: “dark subject matter”, it might have made sense to include a full lyric sheet to help us share his emotions.

As it is, he extends the dark lyrical themes into the CD’s black and white noirish art work, though quite what the two inner pages of sky scrapers represent is not readily apparent.

As it is, Bryant’s songs usually have a slow build leading to a big hook and a musical and lyrical resolution that leaves us in no doubt as to his feelings.

The album might also have been called ‘Salvation’, rather than ‘Revelation’. The thematic title refers to the cyclical nature of historic mistakes, while the album is glued together by the more encompassing personal theme of finding salvation through music.

In that respect, ‘Revelation’ digs deep for lyrical meaning and a consistent emotional connection. Producer and keyboard player Richard Hammerton is a significant catalyst who doubles on keyboards to smooth out the edges, emphasize the melodies, big up the solos and direct the flow.

Surprisingly, his big musical vision doesn’t always leave enough sonic space for the big band horns. On the rocking ‘Truth Or Dare’ their purpose might only be as accompanists to fatten out the sound, but some punchier horn stabs could surely have created a sharper dynamic.

On the riff driven single  ‘Sister Decline’, they sound almost muted, though they do provide the perfect foil for Bryant’s tension breaking solo on ‘Liars Testament’.

Hammerton also contributes  3 co-writes of which ‘Shouting At The Moon’ is the highlight. The soulful big production number is a moving ode to Danny’s late bass playing dad and effectively anchors the album in a sea of emotional turmoil.

His use of falsetto works perfectly on a track that balances his musical heft with real feel. It’s surely destined to be a live favourite and a defining career anthem.

‘Revelation’ takes us on a coherent emotional journey of mid-tempo blues related material full of contrasting guitar tones that are explored in duo to nonet formats.

The opening title track gallops along into a big chorus, via an unexpected mariachi trumpet line, before a synth string drop-down and a wah-wah led guitar finish.

‘Isolate’ is a superb guitar-led rock ballad that features double line vocal and guitar and separate double tracked vocals, as both his guitar squalls and Richard Hammerton’s drifting piano fills rise over Dave Raeburn’s big drum pattern.

And if Danny has a penchant for rock balladry, he also not averse to filling the role of an interpretive singer, as on the acoustic duo with Hammerton on John Mellencamp’s ‘Someday The Rains Will Fall’.

His second cover on the album finds him covering Stevie Ray Vaughan’s arrangement of Howlin’ Wolf’ s ‘May I Have A Talk With You’. He forges his own big tone style on a well paced piece with cool dynamics. And somewhere deep in the mix is a big horn section struggling to be heard. Bryant builds the tension, but then opts for a slow fade rather than a climatic finish more in keeping with the lyrical meaning.

Perhaps he had one eye on the closing ‘Yours For A Song’, which moves from rock balladry to a frenetic Skynyd style finale. Either way the track provides him with the kind of big finish that he eschews elsewhere on this album.

‘Revelation’ stirs the deep waters of Danny Bryant’s soul. If his previous ‘Hurricane’, ‘Temperature Rising’ and ‘Blood Money’ CD’s felt like a defining triumvirate of his abilities, then ‘Revelation’ conjoins emotional honesty with musical diversity to suggest there’s plenty more good stuff to come.  ****

Review by Pete Feenstra

Pete Feenstra presents his Rock & Blues Show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Tuesday at 19:00 GMT, and “The Pete Feenstra Feature” on Sundays at 20:00


Get Ready to ROCK! Radio

More information
Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
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Power Plays w/c 19 February


THUNDERMOTHER Revival (Despotz Records)
THE TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT There’s Still Time (Earache)
TAX THE HEAT The Last Time (Nuclear Blast)
DOOMSDAY OUTLAW Spirit That Made Me (Frontiers)
BAD WOLVES Zombie (Eleven Seven Music)
ALL THAT REMAINS The Thunder Rolls (Eleven Seven Music)


Featured Albums w/c 19 February (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 TOTO Greatest Hits: 40 Trips Around The Sun (Sony Legacy)
12:00-13:00 SHIRAZ LANE Carnival Days (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 THE LYNNES Heartsong For The Radio (indie)



Album review: TINSLEY ELLIS – Winning Hand

TINSLEY ELLIS – Winning Hand

Alligator Records [Release date 12.01.18]

Tinsley Ellis has long been a dependable roadhouse rocke who is equally happy tearing things up as he is searching for an emotive connection. Following in the slipstream of his last CD the soulful ‘Red Clay Soul’ – ‘Winning Hand’ is a return to his early career bluster on a guitar driven album.

But while the emphasis is on a wide array of tones and contrasting solos – his song titles helpfully tell us what guitars were used on which track – ‘Winning Hand’ celebrates the primacy of his songs.

There’s never a note wasted on 9 originals and one cover, (Leon Russell’s ‘Dixie Lullaby’), which showcase his ability to get inside a song and then invite the listener into a melange of melodies, tones, expressive vocals and subtle dynamics.

Ellis’s world weary vocal style leaves us in no doubt as to the emotional charge of his material.

‘Winning Hand’ is also a milestone album. It’s dedicated to his late dad and it also marks the 30th anniversary of his on-off relationship with Alligator records. It’s also an album he probably couldn’t have made all those years ago, as his touch, tone and lyrical wistfulness is that of a mature blues player who has the ability to dig deep for real intensity and emotional honesty.

The fact that he effortlessly does so, goes a long way to explaining his career durability.

His incendiary wah-wah playing cuts a swathe through the opening deep funky groove of  ‘Sound Of A Broken Man’. Only the fact that he fails to extend the intensity to a climactic finish robs the album of a career highlight.

He prefers to explore a groove, make a statement with a solo and then get out.

His different guitar tones evoke the different emotions of each track. He employs a taut edgy tone on ‘Kiss The World’, but counter-weights it with double tracked vocals to achieve a contrasting fatter sound.

There’s similar contrast on the celebratory ‘Nothing But Fine’, as slips into a sharp toned solo over a muscular drum pattern to great effect.

‘Gamblin’ Man’ is a drifting blues with keyboard accompaniment from producer Kevin McKendree. It showcases Ellis’s judicious use of sustain and vibrato, while the laid back groove of ‘Don’t Turn Off The Light’ features an aching Peter Green style solo over nuanced synths, as he frames his limited vocals within an arrangement to emphasize lyrical meaning.

‘I Got Mine’ shifts from a BB King intro to Robert Cray style groove and ‘Autumn Run’ is an outstanding funky keyboard driven groove with gently expressive vocals. He lets his intricate solo gently drift on a wonderful exercise in space, time and meaningful notes.

You can feel the pull of the sequencing as it draw us into the subsequent rocker ‘Satisfied’.

He saves his best for last on the Robin Trower influenced ‘Saving Grace’. The head-on meeting of an enveloping tone with a vulnerable emotive narrative could only be Tinsley Ellis.

‘Winning Hand’ is an understated, but compelling blues album that invites the listener to dig deep to enjoy its riches. There’s plenty to savour, from the heartfelt songs to the sultry string bends, the aching tone, the occasional dirt sounding wah-wah and Ellis’s subtle phrasing.

Tinsley Ellis is sometimes cast in the role as the torchbearer for old school blues players, but ‘Winning Hand’ is a mature slice of contemporary blues at its finest and you should seek it out.  ****

Review Pete Feenstra

Pete Feenstra presents his Rock & Blues Show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Tuesday at 19:00 GMT, and “The Pete Feenstra Feature” on Sundays at 20:00


Get Ready to ROCK! Radio

More information
Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
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Power Plays w/c 19 February


THUNDERMOTHER Revival (Despotz Records)
THE TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT There’s Still Time (Earache)
TAX THE HEAT The Last Time (Nuclear Blast)
DOOMSDAY OUTLAW Spirit That Made Me (Frontiers)
BAD WOLVES Zombie (Eleven Seven Music)
ALL THAT REMAINS The Thunder Rolls (Eleven Seven Music)


Featured Albums w/c 19 February (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 TOTO Greatest Hits: 40 Trips Around The Sun (Sony Legacy)
12:00-13:00 SHIRAZ LANE Carnival Days (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 THE LYNNES Heartsong For The Radio (indie)



Album review: MITCH WOODS – Friends Along The Way

MITCH WOODS – Friends Along The Way

eOne Music [Release date 29.09.17]

It takes a brave musician to oversee a mostly unplugged, all star duo and trio compilation album spanning over 30 years.  But West coast pianist Mitch Woods is as fearless as he is musically talented on an album of career highlights from 1984 onwards.

His own presence shines like beacon on ‘Friends Along The Way’, an all star affair, with guests including John Hammond, Van Morrison, John Lee Hooker, James Cotton, Ruthie Foster, Taj Mahal Joe Louis Walker, Marcia Ball,  Charlie Musselwhite and more.

Woods is a multi-style piano player, equally at home playing boogie woogie, blues, jump blues and jazz. He radiates positivity, bonhomie and a real love of the blues.

He’s a lighting conductor of the blues who when not busy illuminating a track with dexterity and feel, is an equally attentive accompanist who brings out the best in his guests.

Listen for example, to the joyous interplay with James Cotton on ‘Chicago Express’, a piece that ebbs and flows as the duo unravel the dynamics of the song, but never once overplay.

It’s Mitch’s consistent musical presence over decades that gives the album its signature touch, as evidenced by his call and response exchange with John Lee Hooker on ‘Never Get Out Of These Blues Alive’. Hookers exclamatory ‘hey’ in the middle of the track is effectively an appreciative acknowledgment of his musical partner.

‘Friends Along The Way’ finds Woods equally happy as a band leader, soloist, accompanist and blues catalyst, as he celebrates the joy of communicating through the blues.

His pairing with Cyril Neville, and Taj Mahal on the simply titled ‘The Blues’ is essentially a mission statement for the genre and the project as a whole:  “The blues is the gospel of the common man.”

It’s his pivotal role as pianist and catalyst that glues the album together. He sparkles on down-home tracks such as the ‘Mother In Law Blues’ duet with John Hammond. The combination of rolling piano and national steel riffling is raw blues at its best.

Then there’s the unrefined beauty of the way his deliberate notes wrap themselves round Charlie Musselwhite’s earthy harp and close to the mic vocal, before the duo enjoy a drifting interplay on the most delicate of endings. Marvellous stuff.

There’s no pandering to cliché and each artist rises to the occasion by playing to their to their strengths as they bounce off Woods’s piano playing.

Listen to the opening brace of cuts with Van Morrison and Taj Mahal, as the trio indulge themselves in a master class of feel, space and time.

On ‘Take This Hammer’ Morrison exemplifies the joy of phrasing, before the guest duo stretch out on a vocal duet on ‘C.C. Rider’. Taj’s husk is offset by Van’s unfettered timbre, as Mitch tinkles the ivories.

The great Elvin Bishop adds humorous phrasing to the Jump feel of ‘Keep A Dollar In Your Pocket’. His spindly guitar line perfect straddles both vulnerability and edge, while by Woods’ solo gives the song its drive.

Ruthie Foster brings poise, a hint of reggae and perfect phrasing to Woods’s delightful fills on ‘Singin’ The Blues’, before Mitch reverts to his boogie persona with Joe Louis Walker’s steely guitar on Champion Jack Dupree’s ‘Nasty Boogie’.

Kenny Neal also adds a triple vocal, harp and guitar input on the seamless shuffle ‘Blues Mobile’, as Woods plays the bass part before an eloquently solo.

Each guest brings a different colour to 16 tracks that are rounded off by a two hander with Marcia Ball, who adds a fun vocal duet, on a track that fades all too soon.

This album is an absolute delight and thoroughly recommended. ****

Review by Pete Feenstra

Pete Feenstra presents his Rock & Blues Show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Tuesday at 19:00 GMT, and “The Pete Feenstra Feature” on Sundays at 20:00


Get Ready to ROCK! Radio

More information
Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.


Power Plays w/c 19 February


THUNDERMOTHER Revival (Despotz Records)
THE TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT There’s Still Time (Earache)
TAX THE HEAT The Last Time (Nuclear Blast)
DOOMSDAY OUTLAW Spirit That Made Me (Frontiers)
BAD WOLVES Zombie (Eleven Seven Music)
ALL THAT REMAINS The Thunder Rolls (Eleven Seven Music)


Featured Albums w/c 19 February (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 TOTO Greatest Hits: 40 Trips Around The Sun (Sony Legacy)
12:00-13:00 SHIRAZ LANE Carnival Days (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 THE LYNNES Heartsong For The Radio (indie)



Album review: KRIS BARRAS – The Divine And Dirty

Kris Barras - The Devine And Dirty

Provogue [Release date 23.03.18]

If there’s a dichotomy at the heart of  ’The Divine & Dirty’ – Kris Barras’s debut album for Provogue – it’s probably a reference to his first hand knowledge of what to takes to make it.

The British former cage fighter has already been part of rock & roll firmament before. And having announced his return to the rock scene with the promising ‘Lucky 13′, ‘The Devine And Dirty’ is a bigger, more ambitious affair befitting his move to a bigger label.

In short, the album trims the fat and goes for the throat. It’s fuelled by a batch of significant resolving guitar solo’s and the well written songs are framed by glistening harmony heavy hooks .

It’s a booming rock album with undoubted commercial appeal, particularly when it fleetingly reveals its Black Stone Cherry and Nickelback influences.

There’s an emphasis on potent riffs, bulldozer hooks and a fiery vocal with enough versatility to shift from the laid opening lines of the Julian Sas influenced ‘Lovers Or Losers’ into a chanted hook.

When coupled with songs such as ‘She’s More Than Enough’, Barras reveals a penchant for hair metal hooks, but there’s nothing wrong with his strong song structures and big pay-offs, even though they are sometimes telegraphed.

Curiously though, for an album with big rock ambitions, the production doesn’t always deliver consistently. The opening ‘Kick Me Down’ lays down the essential sonic template and quickly leads us to an album highlight, the a cappella-led ‘Hail Mary’, on which Barras combines hot riffing with a voluminous harmony hook.

He’s equally good on ‘Blood On Your Hands’, on which the  opening riff sounds like a cross between Walter Trout and Steely Dan, topped by a booming vocal and visceral solo.

‘Propane’ however, initially sound too compressed and has an annoying drum sound, before the balance is redressed with the kind of accessible and familiar sounding hook favoured by latter day Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Black Stone Cherry.

On the shuffle ‘Wrong Place, Wrong Time’, he adds an edgier guitar tone almost as if trying to bring more sonic presence.

Overall, ‘The Devine And Dirty’ is a very American sounding album on which Kris works hard to forge his own style through occasional autobiographical songs.

The self affirming and self explanatory ‘I Don’t Owe Nobody Nothing’ finds him combining a real life story with the kind of unison vocal and guitar favoured by Gwyn Ashton, before he restates his mantra on the hook.

Then there’s the emotive and gospel laden rock-blues ballad ‘Hold On For Tomorrow’ and the closing heavy-duty blues of ‘Watching Over Me’, a heartfelt ode to his late dad. Both are the kind of meaningful songs that give him the potential to carve out his own niche.

‘The Devine And Dirty’ ticks all the right boxes. It rocks hard on a coherent set of songs while drawing on several bluesy influences. The radio friendly hooks and bristling solo’s give the album its drive, and Barras’s fine vocal range adds fervour and passion.

‘The Divine and Dirty’ is a significant step-up in terms of song-writing and performance. It just remains to be seen if there’s room for another blues rocker with an eye on the main chance in already heavily populated market.

In the meantime, press play and enjoy this impressive slice of contemporary rock-blues. ****

Review by Pete Feenstra

Pete Feenstra presents his Rock & Blues Show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Tuesday at 19:00 GMT, and “The Pete Feenstra Feature” on Sundays at 20:00


Get Ready to ROCK! Radio

More information
Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.


Power Plays w/c 19 February


THUNDERMOTHER Revival (Despotz Records)
THE TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT There’s Still Time (Earache)
TAX THE HEAT The Last Time (Nuclear Blast)
DOOMSDAY OUTLAW Spirit That Made Me (Frontiers)
BAD WOLVES Zombie (Eleven Seven Music)
ALL THAT REMAINS The Thunder Rolls (Eleven Seven Music)


Featured Albums w/c 19 February (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 TOTO Greatest Hits: 40 Trips Around The Sun (Sony Legacy)
12:00-13:00 SHIRAZ LANE Carnival Days (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 THE LYNNES Heartsong For The Radio (indie)



Album review: TOM TOOMEY – Turquoise

TOM TOOMEY – Turquoise

Giant Records [Release date 06.01.18]

Tom Toomey is best known as the guitarist with The Zombies, though as a session musician he’s also played with the likes of Jon Anderson, Colin Blunstone and Paul Young. And it’s perhaps his diverse musical background that goes some way to explaining this hugely accomplished album with a broad musical sweep.

Rooted in fusion, ‘Turquoise’ also embraces pop, jazz, Latino, rock, blues and world music. It’s a refreshingly upbeat album that builds from its fusion foundations to revel in the art of song craft.

The ten tracks include a radio single and alternate between deep grooves, uplifting songs, intricate dynamics and fine band interplay, all of which serves to showcase Toomey’s acoustic-into-electric solo’s.

There’s barely a note wasted here, on a coherent set of songs that flow beautifully and subtly ushers the listener into a musical journey that you would quickly want to revisit.

Given the fact there’s a roster of some 19 musicians, including 5 keyboard contributions, 2 bass players and 5 vocal parts, it’s obviously an album with a lot of pre-prep. And it’s that attention to detail that gives ‘Turquoise ‘ its depth, while Tom’s own bristling contributions brings verve, vision and vitality.

There’s no sense of joining the dots, as it’s an uplifting album with an organic feel that strikes a deft balance between a warm production and visceral interplay.

It opens with the very 70′s sounding fusiony synth and guitar work of ‘Sozan’.  There’s lovely contrast between the instrumental freneticism (perhaps reflecting one translation of the song title as  ”passion” or “fervour”) and crisp percussive work, before Melissa Kaplan’s voice evokes Flora Purim on an air brushed piece with a splendid unexpected coda.

Toomey quickly transform the musical landscape to evoke Pat Metheny’s melodic bent and focus on the gentle title track, while on his first vocal outing on ‘Whatever The Time’, he slips to a whispered conversational Knopfler style phrasing with angelic bv’s over a Latino influenced shuffle-beat rhythm with dappled piano.

It’s Toomey’s willingness to explore a broad array of musical influences and fashion them to his own ends that gives this album its unique feel.

Listen to the big choral arrangement of ‘Sanctus’ with opera singer William Purefoy, as it moves into the resolving guitar solo, or the clever use of Melissa Kaplan’s voice and the subtle tonal colour (John Devine features on Uillean pipes) of ‘Feather, Bone And Ash’, for confirmation of Toomey’s ability as an arranger with real vision.

The cool jazz undertones of ‘Innocent Love ‘ is another highlight, as a melange of cool brushstrokes, yearning bass, drifting piano and uplifting harmonies lead to a dirt-toned guitar solo. It could almost be Steely Dan meets Zappa on a triumph of space, time and dynamics.

And as if to emphasize  the album’s linear flow, Toomey finishes with the synth-driven dance track ‘World To Life’, which is an ode to David Bowie.

The track is notable for the way it suddenly leaps from a hypnotic groove into an uplifting hook to finish with the cryptic Bowie reference: “‘The Man who sold the World’ to’ Major Tom’.”

Such in the pull of the song that the repeated track – a closing edited single – perfectly book-ends an album you can’t wait to hear again.

‘Turquoise’ , beguiles, sparkles and is an early contender for one of the best albums of the year so far. ****½

Review by Pete Feenstra


Get Ready to ROCK! Radio

More information
Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
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Power Plays w/c 19 February


THUNDERMOTHER Revival (Despotz Records)
THE TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT There’s Still Time (Earache)
TAX THE HEAT The Last Time (Nuclear Blast)
DOOMSDAY OUTLAW Spirit That Made Me (Frontiers)
BAD WOLVES Zombie (Eleven Seven Music)
ALL THAT REMAINS The Thunder Rolls (Eleven Seven Music)


Featured Albums w/c 19 February (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 TOTO Greatest Hits: 40 Trips Around The Sun (Sony Legacy)
12:00-13:00 SHIRAZ LANE Carnival Days (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 THE LYNNES Heartsong For The Radio (indie)



Album review: JOHN MAYALL – Three For The Road – A 2017 Live Recording

JOHN MAYALL - Three For The Road - A 2017 Live Recording

Forty Below Records [Release date 23.02.18]

Now here’s a British blues legend of ever there was one. A noted vocalist, pianist and guitarist, John Mayall is probably best known for his band The Blues Breakers, part of the 60s blues boom who at various times featured Eric Clapton, Mick Taylor and Peter Green (all blues and rock’n’roll legends in their own right). Along the way he’s also worked with bassists Jack Bruce, Andy Fraser and John McVie, and drummers Mick Fleetwood, Aynsley Dunbar and Jon Hiseman – now THAT’s a CV.

So good is his brand of blues, and his keyboard playing, he’s been out on the road as a three piece, no guitar. And this live album is just a wonderful sounding slab of blues.

The three piece are tighter than a camel’s bum in a sandstorm, the sound fuller than Eric Pickles at an all-you-eat buffet, with Mayall’s harmonica adding an extra dimension. There’s some serious ivory tickling going on, especially on ‘The Sum Of Something’ and ‘Feel So Bad’, the latter much bluesier than Foghat’s more r’n’b interpretation. Mayall’s own ‘Tears Came Rollin’ Down’ gets a nine minute workout, and ‘Congo Square’ runs to over 11.

The atmosphere of both the music and the recording is marvellous, not something to just dip in and out of but to play beginning to end, and relish. If you have ever listened to artists like Nicky Moore (which I insist you do as a matter of course), you can hear elements of John Mayall’s brand of blues. ****

Review by Joe Geesin


Get Ready to ROCK! Radio

More information
Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
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Power Plays w/c 19 February


THUNDERMOTHER Revival (Despotz Records)
THE TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT There’s Still Time (Earache)
TAX THE HEAT The Last Time (Nuclear Blast)
DOOMSDAY OUTLAW Spirit That Made Me (Frontiers)
BAD WOLVES Zombie (Eleven Seven Music)
ALL THAT REMAINS The Thunder Rolls (Eleven Seven Music)


Featured Albums w/c 19 February (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 TOTO Greatest Hits: 40 Trips Around The Sun (Sony Legacy)
12:00-13:00 SHIRAZ LANE Carnival Days (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 THE LYNNES Heartsong For The Radio (indie)



Album review: KEN HENSLEY – Rare & Timeless

KEN HENSLEY - Rare & Timeless

BMG [Release date 30.03.18]

Hensley’s name will forever be associated with Uriah Heep, with whom he found fame as a keyboard player, occasional guitarist and vocalist, and primary song writer, during the 70s. A member of pre-Heep bands The Gods and Toe Fat, he performed on and wrote or co-wrote many of the bands biggest hits, including ‘Free Me’, ‘Lady In Black’, ‘Look At Yourself’ and ‘Easy Livin’.

Post Heep, solo work aside, he has also worked with Blackfoot, John Lawton and WASP, amongst others.

This new album collects a some of Hensley’s best solo work, some previously unreleased work, and re-workings of a Uriah Heep classic or two.

Here the emphasis is on the songwriting and production more than rocking out, as opener ‘Free Me’ shows – the sweeping strings are a nice touch and go well with the strumming. The vocals are big (but will never match Byron or Lawton), and the track has some wonderful melodic moments. ‘Send Me An Angel’ starts more atmospheric and even when it builds and gets heavier, it has that drifting by feel, even as a power-ballad.

There are some great piano and guitar moments, ‘If I Had The Time’ a classic example. The reworkings of the Heep tracks are interesting and in places take quite a different angle, but the rest of the work is of more interest to fans of his solo work and completists.

Some of the tracks, no matter how good the guitar and keyboards, were just a little too whimsical for me, even when powered/heavied up by the production. Even so, it’s really enjoyable and the Heep connection adds a bonus. Lovely package with digipak and Ken annotated booklet. ***1/2

Review by Joe Geesin


Get Ready to ROCK! Radio

More information
Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.


Power Plays w/c 19 February


THUNDERMOTHER Revival (Despotz Records)
THE TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT There’s Still Time (Earache)
TAX THE HEAT The Last Time (Nuclear Blast)
DOOMSDAY OUTLAW Spirit That Made Me (Frontiers)
BAD WOLVES Zombie (Eleven Seven Music)
ALL THAT REMAINS The Thunder Rolls (Eleven Seven Music)


Featured Albums w/c 19 February (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 TOTO Greatest Hits: 40 Trips Around The Sun (Sony Legacy)
12:00-13:00 SHIRAZ LANE Carnival Days (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 THE LYNNES Heartsong For The Radio (indie)



Album review: STERLING BALL, JOHN FERRARO, JIM COX – The Mutual Admiration Society

STERLING BALL, JOHN FERRARO, JIM COX  – The Mutual Admiration Society

Mascot [Release date 19.01.18]

Guitarist Sterling Ball, bassist John Ferraro and drummer Jim Cox explore a musical lineage which their label tells us, is: “A celebration of up to forty years of friends making music together.”

The label in this case is Mascot records with some A&R and musical help from Steve Vai and his Favored Nations label.

The result is an album with stellar musicianship, but one that lacks a stylistic driving force and a thematic focus to give it an identity.

‘The Mutual Admiration Society’ is in effect a nostalgic journey through some of the music that has influenced the core trio and their special guests, Steve Morse, Steve Lukather, Steve Vai, Albert Lee, John Petrucci and Jay Grayson.

And while the grooves do percolate – Dobie Gray’s ‘The In Crowd’ finds Steve Morse weaving in and out of a big groove, and an exemplary arrangement of The Jackson 5′s ‘I Want You Back’, complete with hand claps and mandolin, are highlights – the album fails to build on its early momentum.

Sparks do occasionally fly, as on Vai’s conversational solo on ‘Sugar Shack’ and Albert Lee’s hot picking on ‘Hey Good Lookin’, but a mix of disparate covers and contrasting playing styles, denudes the album of an essential flow.

The main problem appears to be the material, which at times simply isn’t weighty enough for the calibre of the players. On ‘Baby Please Don’t Go’, some slick band interplay comes to a perfunctory rest as the band eschews the opportunity to jam.

There is plenty of good stuff, but this album might be unfairly overlooked in a musical scene top heavy with special guest albums with original material. And if you are exploring your musical past, surely the objective is to bring something new and interesting to the party. The problem here is that with the exception of a few juicy solo’s everyone plays within themselves.

Murray Head’s ‘Treat Her Right’ for example, is given an almost languid treatment on a piece that originally made its impact through dynamics. And while Albert Lee reveals some of his special guitar talents on ‘Hey Good Lookin’, his laid back country twang on ‘Cryin Time’ is a wasted opportunity.

Then there’s the problematic ‘Disney Medley’, on which the band members sound as if they are playing for themselves.

It’s a potpourri of themes on which John Petrucci adds some tonal presence and mangled shredding on material that isn’t suited to him. The fact that the medley belatedly slips into a Celtic jig tells you all that you need to know.

All that said, there are some pleasing moments, as evidenced by Steve Lukather teasing out “the innocence and charm” of ‘Baby Please Don’t Go’, by contrasting his guitar heft with a stripped down 60′s feel.

The supple rhythm section also fits the project perfectly, as drummer John Ferraro drives the grooves imperiously and adds some crisp cymbal work, while bassist Jim Cox supports the song seamlessly throughout, and even manages a short solo on ‘Treat Her Right.’

All the guests colour the album with their  respective playing styles and different tones. Ironically enough in an industry often blighted by egos, what the project really lacks is a leader, a fact inadvertently amplified by the apt album title ‘The Mutual Admiration Society.’ ***

Review by Pete Feenstra

Pete Feenstra presents his Rock & Blues Show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Tuesday at 19:00 GMT, and “The Pete Feenstra Feature” on Sundays at 20:00


Get Ready to ROCK! Radio

More information
Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.


Power Plays w/c 19 February


THUNDERMOTHER Revival (Despotz Records)
THE TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT There’s Still Time (Earache)
TAX THE HEAT The Last Time (Nuclear Blast)
DOOMSDAY OUTLAW Spirit That Made Me (Frontiers)
BAD WOLVES Zombie (Eleven Seven Music)
ALL THAT REMAINS The Thunder Rolls (Eleven Seven Music)


Featured Albums w/c 19 February (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 TOTO Greatest Hits: 40 Trips Around The Sun (Sony Legacy)
12:00-13:00 SHIRAZ LANE Carnival Days (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 THE LYNNES Heartsong For The Radio (indie)



Album review: KATHRYN ROBERTS & SEAN LAKEMAN – Personae

KATHRYN ROBERTS & SEAN LAKEMAN - Personae

IScream Records [Release date 09.03.18]

Husband and wife duo Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman have been recording and performing for over two decades, during which time they have won twice Best Duo at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.

Their latest album ‘Personae’, is a mix of self-penned songs and traditional songs given the Roberts/Lakeman musical makeover, plus a cover of Sandy Denny’s ‘Solo’.

Sam Kelly guests on the opening song ‘The Knight’s Ghost’, a traditional lyric with the musical arrangement by Roberts and Lakeman. ‘Independence’ is a beautifully written and performed song about the relationship between a parent and child.

Roberts’ vocals are reminiscent of Kate Bush and the piano and guitar weave in and out of the vocals to great effect. ‘Tribute Of Hands’ is a jaunty tune, whilst ‘Old, Old, Old’ is a jolly song based on Jonathan, a giant tortoise thought to be the world’s oldest living land animal. Sean’s brother Seth guests on fiddle on this one.

The cover of Sandy Denny’s ‘Solo’ is simply sublime and connects the dots musically as Kathyrn Roberts appeared in the Fotheringay reunion shows in 2015, the band which was formed by Sandy Denny. Interestingly the version on here sounds less folk than Fish’s cover on his ‘Songs From The Mirror’ album. Both versions are a fine testament to Denny’s song writing talent.

Listening to ‘Personae’ you can see why Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman win the awards they have and with this album I wouldn’t be surprised if they win more awards. An accomplished album which is a delight to listen from start to finish.  ****

Review by Jason Ritchie


Get Ready to ROCK! Radio

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Power Plays w/c 19 February


THUNDERMOTHER Revival (Despotz Records)
THE TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT There’s Still Time (Earache)
TAX THE HEAT The Last Time (Nuclear Blast)
DOOMSDAY OUTLAW Spirit That Made Me (Frontiers)
BAD WOLVES Zombie (Eleven Seven Music)
ALL THAT REMAINS The Thunder Rolls (Eleven Seven Music)


Featured Albums w/c 19 February (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 TOTO Greatest Hits: 40 Trips Around The Sun (Sony Legacy)
12:00-13:00 SHIRAZ LANE Carnival Days (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 THE LYNNES Heartsong For The Radio (indie)



Album review: JON BUTCHER AXIS

 JON BUTCHER AXIS

Escape Music [Release date 19.01.18]

If like me you were one of those who spent every fortnight reading Kerrang! and the Wimpwire column by Derek Oliver, Jon Butcher’s name came up quite often and indeed he got a feature in the AOR/melodic rock edition of ‘Mega Metal Kerrang!’

This debut album was released back in 1983 and is only getting a full CD release now – an event eagerly anticipated judging by the comments on Amazon asking why this album and the follow-up, ‘Stare At The Sun’, are not on CD.

This album reached No. 91 in the Billboard album charts on its original releases and the video ‘Life Takes a Life’ became one of the first videos by a black artist to receive airtime on MTV. It has an 80′s sound in the drums and effects, heck there is even a song called ‘Fairlight’, which uses lots of programmed percussion presumably on a Fairlight synth. ‘We Will Be As One’ uses programmed percussion, coupled with nimble acoustic guitar on the intro before the guitar crashes in and it is another classy piece of melodic hard rock.

‘Life Takes A Life’ and ‘Ocean In Motion’ (not unlike the solo work of Jude Cole) are sublime melodic rock, with Jon Butcher’s melodic vocals soaring above the music. ’Send One Care Of’ is a lost gem of a melodic rock classic, this should have been a hit and then some, with a strong guitar riff and a passionate guitar solo. Along with ‘Ocean In Motion’ one of the album’s stand out songs.

After the Axis disbanded in 1991 Jon Butcher followed a blues musical path and today is a member of Chris Pearce’s band. To finally have this album on CD will please many and it is an enjoyable piece of 80′s melodic rock, plus you get sleeve notes from Dave Reynolds, once of Kerrang!  ****

Review by Jason Ritchie


Get Ready to ROCK! Radio

More information
Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.


Power Plays w/c 19 February


THUNDERMOTHER Revival (Despotz Records)
THE TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT There’s Still Time (Earache)
TAX THE HEAT The Last Time (Nuclear Blast)
DOOMSDAY OUTLAW Spirit That Made Me (Frontiers)
BAD WOLVES Zombie (Eleven Seven Music)
ALL THAT REMAINS The Thunder Rolls (Eleven Seven Music)


Featured Albums w/c 19 February (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 TOTO Greatest Hits: 40 Trips Around The Sun (Sony Legacy)
12:00-13:00 SHIRAZ LANE Carnival Days (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 THE LYNNES Heartsong For The Radio (indie)



Album review: BOREALIS – The Offering

AFM Records [Release date 23.03.18] Borealis started out in 2005 as a female fronted symphonic metal band before guitarist Matt Marinelli took over vocal duties in 2007. They have changed bassists since their last album with Trevor McBride replacing original … Continue reading

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Album review: VOODOO CIRCLE – Raised On Rock

AFM Records [Release date 09.02.18] Inspired by the likes of Rainbow and Deep Purple, Germany’s Voodoo Circle have been delivering melodic hard rock for a decade now. Recently, Voodoo Circle underwent a metamorphosis that both of those aforementioned bands have had … Continue reading

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Quick plays: VARVARA, I’M WITH HER

VARVARA Go [Release date 23.02.18] Hailing from Finland (the most exciting thing to come out of Finland since fromer Liverpool player Jari Litmanen according to one previous review), are based around guitarist/vocalist Mikko Kari. This is the band’s fourth album and is one for … Continue reading

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Album review: CATS IN SPACE – Cats Alive!

CATS IN SPACE – Cats Alive!

Harmony Factory [Release date 23.02.18] Cats In Space had a busy 2017 live-wise, supporting the likes of Thunder (where this show was recorded at Cardiff Motorpoint Arena in March), Deep Purple and Status Quo, along with festival appearances at Cropredy … Continue reading

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Album review: THE TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT – A Deeper Cut

THE TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT - A Deeper Cut

Earache [Release date 16.02.18] Where to begin when all the superlatives have been exhausted? Widely and justifiably-touted as Britain’s Best New Band since……that “Classic Rock Best New Band 2013″ award still sits on their shoulders like your trusty old college … Continue reading

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Album review: STYX – Caught In The Act

STYX – Caught In The Act

BGO Records [Release date 09.02.18] BGO Records are re-issuing ‘Caught In The Act’, Styx’s live album originally released in 1984, as a double CD in a slip case, remastered and with sleeve notes from Neil Daniels. ‘Caught In The Act’ … Continue reading

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Gig review: TOWERS OF LONDON – New Cross Inn, London 14 February 2018

TOWERS OF LONDON - New Cross Inn, London 14 February 2018

A decade or so ago glam punk outfit the Towers Of London were steadily building up a reputation. Tours supporting the likes of the Pogues and the New York Dolls. Festival slots at Reading and Leeds and Download. But then … Continue reading

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Album review: DEAD CITY RUINS – Never Say Die

DEAD CITY RUINS - Never Say Die

AFM Records [Release date 13.04.18] Now here’s something of a novelty, a rock band from Australia who actually don’t sound like AC/DC – meet Dead City Ruins from Melbourne and their third offering Never Say Die. Built on very solid … Continue reading

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Album review: GEOFF EVERETT – Night Patrol

GEOFF EVERETT - Night Patrol

www.geoffeverett.co.uk A couple of years ago, GRTR! reviewed a very tasty trio of albums by The Geoff Everett Band – “Adult Show” (2011), “The Quick and the Dead” (2014) and “Cut and Run” (2015). Geoff is one of Britain’s finest … Continue reading

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Album review: DANNY BRYANT – Revelation

DANNY BRYANT – Revelation

Jazzhaus Records [Release date 20.04.18] For an album that Danny Bryant tells us features songs that: “confront memories and emotions I didn’t really want to face”, and material with: “dark subject matter”, it might have made sense to include a … Continue reading

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Album review: TINSLEY ELLIS – Winning Hand

TINSLEY ELLIS – Winning Hand

Alligator Records [Release date 12.01.18] Tinsley Ellis has long been a dependable roadhouse rocke who is equally happy tearing things up as he is searching for an emotive connection. Following in the slipstream of his last CD the soulful ‘Red … Continue reading

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Album review: MITCH WOODS – Friends Along The Way

MITCH WOODS – Friends Along The Way

eOne Music [Release date 29.09.17] It takes a brave musician to oversee a mostly unplugged, all star duo and trio compilation album spanning over 30 years.  But West coast pianist Mitch Woods is as fearless as he is musically talented … Continue reading

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Album review: KRIS BARRAS – The Divine And Dirty

Kris Barras - The Devine And Dirty

Provogue [Release date 23.03.18] If there’s a dichotomy at the heart of  ’The Divine & Dirty’ – Kris Barras’s debut album for Provogue – it’s probably a reference to his first hand knowledge of what to takes to make it. … Continue reading

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Album review: TOM TOOMEY – Turquoise

TOM TOOMEY – Turquoise

Giant Records [Release date 06.01.18] Tom Toomey is best known as the guitarist with The Zombies, though as a session musician he’s also played with the likes of Jon Anderson, Colin Blunstone and Paul Young. And it’s perhaps his diverse … Continue reading

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Album review: JOHN MAYALL – Three For The Road – A 2017 Live Recording

JOHN MAYALL - Three For The Road - A 2017 Live Recording

Forty Below Records [Release date 23.02.18] Now here’s a British blues legend of ever there was one. A noted vocalist, pianist and guitarist, John Mayall is probably best known for his band The Blues Breakers, part of the 60s blues … Continue reading

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Album review: KEN HENSLEY – Rare & Timeless

KEN HENSLEY - Rare & Timeless

BMG [Release date 30.03.18] Hensley’s name will forever be associated with Uriah Heep, with whom he found fame as a keyboard player, occasional guitarist and vocalist, and primary song writer, during the 70s. A member of pre-Heep bands The Gods … Continue reading

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Album review: STERLING BALL, JOHN FERRARO, JIM COX – The Mutual Admiration Society

STERLING BALL, JOHN FERRARO, JIM COX  – The Mutual Admiration Society

Mascot [Release date 19.01.18] Guitarist Sterling Ball, bassist John Ferraro and drummer Jim Cox explore a musical lineage which their label tells us, is: “A celebration of up to forty years of friends making music together.” The label in this … Continue reading

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Album review: KATHRYN ROBERTS & SEAN LAKEMAN – Personae

KATHRYN ROBERTS & SEAN LAKEMAN - Personae

IScream Records [Release date 09.03.18] Husband and wife duo Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman have been recording and performing for over two decades, during which time they have won twice Best Duo at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. Their … Continue reading

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Album review: JON BUTCHER AXIS

 JON BUTCHER AXIS

Escape Music [Release date 19.01.18] If like me you were one of those who spent every fortnight reading Kerrang! and the Wimpwire column by Derek Oliver, Jon Butcher’s name came up quite often and indeed he got a feature in the AOR/melodic … Continue reading

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Album review: DRIVE, SHE SAID – Real Life

DRIVE, SHE SAID - Real Life

Escape Music [Release date  23.03.18] ‘Real Life’ was originally released back in 2003 by Drive, She Said the band who featured vocalist/guitarist/bassist Al Fritsch and keyboards wizard Mark Mangold. This album has been re-mixed in 2017 by Brian Anthony and Mark … Continue reading

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