Errols Weekly Music Update.

December 10, 2010

Weekly Update – 12/10/2010

Elton John at Madison Square Garden on Wed. Mar. 16, 2011. Pre-sale tickets available now for Amercian Express cardholders until Thurs. Dec. 16 at 10:00 p.m. General public on sale this Fri. Dec. 17 at 10:00 a.m. $48.45, $96.55 and $177.40.

Rush at Madison Square Garden on Sun. Apr. 10, 2011. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $62.90, $83.40, $116.65 and $197.45.

Prince at Madison Square Garden on Tues. Jan. 18, 2011. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $31.40, $92.25, $114.75 and $200.70.

Jeff Beck & Imelda May at the Beacon Theater on Mon. Mar. 28. Tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. $61.80 – $115.

Linkin Park at Madison Square Garden on Fri. Feb. 4, 2011. Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 11:00 a.m. $56.65 – $87.40.

Disturbed with Korn & Sevendust at the Hammerstein Ballroom (which they now call the Manhattan Center Grand Ballroom) on Fri. Jan 21, 2011. Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 11:00 a.m. $73.75

Buckcherry with Hell Yeah and others at the Best Buy Theater in NY on Tues. Feb. 15 and at Mohegan Sun on Wed. Feb. 16. Tickets on sale today at noon. (If you have an American Express card you can purchase pre-sale up until 10:00 a.m. this morning). Best Buy: $37.50; Mohegan: $33.40.

Kenny Chesney with the Zac Brown Band at new Meadowlands Stadium on Sat. Aug. 13, 2011 at 4:30 p.m. Pre-sale tickets on sale now and the password is Access or Lines. General public tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. $53.20, $117.20, $156 and $269.35. Billy Currington and Uncle Cracker are the openers.

The Decemberists at the Beacon Theater on Mon. Jan. 24. Tickets on sale today at 11:00 a.m. $51.55.

New Kids on the Block with the Backstreet Boys at the Mohegan Sun on Sat. June 4, 2011. Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. $89.85 – $110.35.

Celtic Woman at The Oakdale Theater in Wallingford CT on Wed. Mar. 16, 2011. Pre-sale tickets for Citi card members only on now through midnight Sunday. General public tickets on sale Mon. Dec. 13 at 10:00 a.m. $59.60 – $91.75.

Cake at Terminal 5 on Thurs. Apr. 21, 2011. Tickets on sale today at noon. (If you have an American Express card you can purchase pre-sale up until 11:00 a.m. this morning). $41.30

Flogging Molly at Terminal 5 on Wed. Mar. 2, 2011. Tickets on sale today at noon. $33.50 ($35 day of show).

Over Kill at Best Buy Theater on Sat. Apr. 16. Tickets on sale tomorrow at noon. $30 ($34 day of show).

For Parents: Miranda Cosgrove at the Beacon Theater on Sat. Feb. 5. Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m. $51.55 – $115.50.

Other items:

Thoughts and prayers go out to the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, as she recovers from her recent surgery. There has been no official word on her illness but whatever it is, there are many of us who will hope and pray that she is well.

Judas Priest has announced that they will have their last tour ever in 2011. Eight shows have been announced so far and they are all in Europe. I will keep you posted on the U.S. Tour. Now I’m hoping I don’t go to this show by myself. Who’s going to step up?

It’s still hard to believe that John Lennon was murdered but even harder to believe that it was 30 years ago. It is hard to think of someone who made a bigger impact on so many people’s lives. Again the age old question: What if?

Ok folks here is a perfect stocking stuffer for the upcoming holiday-“Coal Miner’s DaughterA Tribute to Loretta Lynn”-this is an absolute stunner. The performances are all fantastic and I don’t care if you are not a Country fan-the way the songs are arranged is brilliant and there is no way you will not like this. Gretchen Wilson kicks it off with “Don’t Come Home a Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind”) which is a perfect “do-see-do” song with a whole bunch of people dancing around a big room with hay on the floor. Lee Ann Womack smacks the cover off the ball with her amazing rendition of “I’m a Honky Tonk Girl.” The White Stripes are just the White Stripes pulling off a dazzling cover of “Rated X.’ Totally cool. Carrie Underwood is flawless and again every time I hear her sing my jaw just drops in amazement, her take on “You’re Looking at Country” has to put a smile on Loretta’s face. Paramore-yes Paramore- takes an acoustic guitar and blazes through-“You Ain’t Woman Enough (To Take My Man)”-this Hayley can sing, take notice folks. Faith Hill will mesmerize you on “Love is the Foundation” while Mr. Kid Rock will rock your socks off with his rocking version of “I Know How.” And if course you have the national treasure herself, Ms. Loretta Lynn joined by Sheryl Crow and Miranda Lambert performing her most popular song-“Coal Miner’s Daughter.” Folks, this could be the best stocking stuffer this year. Get your boots on!!

I don’t know about you but I am starting to become addicted to “Glee” as the show is really good and whenever you throw Christmas into the mix, it is just that much better. You know you were almost crying when Arty was able to get out of his wheel chair and walk with those “transformer” type crutches. The singing is quite spectacular and I find myself downloading the songs from I-Tunes.

Back on Nov. 30, I went to see Straight No Chaser at the Beacon Theater and didn’t know what to expect but by the end of the show I was totally blown away on how great these guys are and I will be taking all my family and friends next year for their next holiday tour. I would even see them at any point of the year but the way they sing the holiday classics is incredible-they mix up the classics like no other band or group out there today. These ten gentlemen were loose, calm and just having a blast up on stage that I knew that my Dad would love the show because a cappella is what he is all about. The best thing about this group is how they take today’s best known songs and make it a “throw-back” but at the same time make it sound so contemporary. The highlight of the show for me was when they started to sing the “Theme from New York, New York” by Frank Sinatra and then mixed in “Empire State of Mind” by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys. They also did a cool montage of “cartoon” songs (like the ones we’d wake up early Saturday morning “back in the day” as they keenly pointed out). Folks, I’m telling you know-this is a show that everyone from Grandma down to the grandkids would enjoy- and you need to make it your business to see these guys when they come to your town. Simply put-Phenomenal.

Back on Nov. 19, I went to see Shinedown again, this time on their acoustic tour and since the only Tri-State area appearance was at the Wellmont Theater in Montclair N.J. –yes I trekked from Connecticut to New Jersey (by way of Staten Island N.Y. with my brother) to see the best band out there today. Folks-what are you waiting for? How come I didn’t see you at the show? Brent Smith is the best rock and roll singer out there today and their brilliant cover of “Simple Man” makes me agree with my boys that their version is better than Lynyrd Skynyrd’s. (Sorry boys, your version is fantastic too but there is something about Brent that makes you speechless). When I’m out shows I always look around to see how people are affected by a band and when you go to a Shinedown show, you are guaranteed to see someone standing up (even if no one else is) singing word for word with such passion that they think they are the only ones in the theater. When they played “Call Me” I spotted this woman singing so passionately that it immediately put a smile on my face because I felt the same way. Brent emotes such enthusiasm internally and he is so infectious that he makes you feel like you can do most anything. He talks a lot but he has such poignant things to say that you don’t mind that it takes time away from doing what he does best-and that is sing. One of the totally cool parts of the show was when they performed a cover of the Foo Fighters “Times Like These” as the audience found out that they are friends with Dave Grohl. (Grohl has now become the new Kevin Bacon). They pummeled the crowd with chest thumping version of “Sound of Madness” which brought the faithful out of their seats. One of the highlights of the show was their take on the Lennon/McCartney classic-“With a Little Help from My Friends”-but they did the Joe Cocker version with help from Will Hoge & his band. The musicianship was flawless and put a huge smile on the faces of the older members of the audience. And of course the other highlight was watching the entire audience on its feet singing word for word on the last song of the night-“Second Chance.” You had to feel the fervor from everyone in that audience, it makes me speechless. This band seems to be flying under the radar and I for one will never understand-everyone needs to stand up and take notice-this is the best band out there!

Back on Nov. 5, I went to see the Black Crowes at the Best Buy Theater right smack in the middle of Times Square in NYC on a Friday night-you want to talk about a crowded place? It was like it was New Year’s Eve but Andy and I found each other and took in the show with the many faithful who know that this may be the last time to catch the boys before they take their self imposed exile for who knows how long. How cool is Chris Robinson?-you know I have always said that I would love to be him for one tour. He seemed to be out there but completely nailed every note, grunt and his pipes are clean as a whistle as he belted out more popular songs on this tour which sounded exactly like the original recording-and his harmonica playing was awesome-who knew he could play so good? Talk about musicianship? You’d be hard pressed to find a more talented band. Like I said they pulled out the better known classics and the show totally rocked the house. This is one of the most unheralded bands in my opinion but their talent has made them last this long and hopefully they will be back soon enough for you to see what I am talking about.

Have you bought “Dio At Donington UK: Live 1983 & 1987” yet? What are you waiting for? Ok, you can ask for it as a stocking stuffer. I will use the line that one of the guys on “That Metal Show” said: “If you don’t like “Children of the Sea,” “Rainbow in the Dark,” “Holy Diver,” “Stargazer,” “Man on the Silver Mountain”- then you don’t like metal.” Folks, even my oldest son-who is not the biggest metal fan- was impressed with these songs. He wanted to know who the singer was, you see that’s how good Ronnie James Dio was. “Man on the Silver Mountain” is my favorite song of the month, never mind week. You NEED to own this! \m/ \m/

“Fall to Pieces”- the book written by Mary Foresburg Weiland (ex-wife of Scott Weiland)- will be released this coming Tuesday Dec. 14 in papaerback form. It details her life with Scott and his drug issues as well as her own troubles with addiction.

“Born Free” by Kid Rock released on November 16, 2010

Born Free

(As I posted this review, I read somewhere that many professional musicians were brought in by producer Rick Rubin to help record this album-so keep that in mind when you read this-I assumed it was the Twisted Brown Trucker Band, which is his band).

If you have been following along, you would have to think that this is the album that I have been waiting for from Kid Rock. For the past few years, we the public, have been getting glimpses of the Kid doing things that I would say leads him down the roadway to adulthood. Sometimes it may take longer for some to get there but eventually most of us get there…but you always have to have a little “Kid” in you. There was a recent article on Kid Rock and it highlighted the humanitarian side of him that may have been in him all along but for me up until this point, I was unaware of- I knew he would jump at the chance to go play for the U.S. troops and give those men and women a chance to forget about life for a while and just enjoy some music. But I did not know that he went into business in his local town of Detroit and bought into a brewery that put some back into the workforce who had lost their jobs when the U.S. auto industry hit the skids. Then there were stories of him helping people that he didn’t even know who have come into hardships. And then coincidentally, he releases “Born Free” and when I listened to the entire album the first time through, I was thinking- “Wow, is this Kid Rock?” After this mature release, he may just have to remove the “Kid” and add the “Mr.” If he is like me, there is no way he wants to be known as “Mister” but in a weird way I think he knows he has arrived at the crossroad in his career (and maybe life) and it appears he has chosen the road that will feature his own style of Detroit home cookin’. It takes some people a while to get to their “calling”-there are various paths that may take us in different directions-but in the end, once you get there it is such a natural fit that others will be amazed at your fortitude and intelligence. Mr. Rock has always shown such great respect for the artists and bands that he revered while he was growing up and in another strange twist where we always say we are not going to be like our elders, we often end up becoming that same type of personality that embodies professionalism and leadership. Now when I look at Kid Rock, I think to myself- “hey this guy is a throw-back to those great 1970’s sounds-rock, country, R&B and blues” but the one big difference is that he is the only one (that I know of) that can do all four genres as one artist and yes even throw in some rap-which wasn’t that what he was known for? Now many of you out there may wonder what happened to Kid Rock after listening to this album because there are no really loud guitars, not much cursing, no “Bawitdaba” or “Sugar” going on here but I say this is what I have been waiting for. Is it mellow? Yes-I can’t believe I am saying that but yes this album is perfect for hanging out on the back porch with family and friends while-forgive me-“chillin’.” The song writing is heartfelt; his singing is a pure & natural as ever while the musicianship of his band is such that they now have to be considered one of the most talented bands in the music world today. Who knows what the future Kid Rock albums will be like but if this is any indication of where that road leads, count me in as a passenger on his “band wagon.”

The album starts off with the title track and it is a throw-back to the 1970’s rock anthems that everyone can sing along to and I can picture a “Springsteen”-like response to this song on his upcoming tour as everyone from your uncle to your niece will be hugging and singing along to this American tune. It is a catchy hook and conjures up a feeling of pride and joy of being “Born Free.” Everyone will join in at the end and scream-“Oh…Oh woo woo woo woo.” Track # 2-“Slow My Roll” is another great sing along song, and I can picture riding down Route 66 with the windows rolled down, volume cranked up high while bopping my head back and forth while making believe I am playing the piano. It is a “chillin’” song that moves a bit and the guitar playing is super sweet. Think Bob Seger (he helps out a little later) jamming with The Eagles. “Care”- (featuring Martina McBride and T.I.)- will be the monster hit on this album the way that “All Night Long” was for “Rock and Roll Jesus.” This is an easy going country song with rap spliced in perfectly. T.I. is perfect with his rapping while Martina adds those sweet high vocals which are a wonderful blend with Mr. Rock’s singing. Everyone from Grandma to the youngest in your family will love this song and the words have to hit you right in your heart. (By the way when the song begins you won’t believe that is Kid Rock is singing-totally ‘70’s R&B like). “Purple Sky” is one of my favorite tracks on the album; he makes me want to pick up an acoustic guitar and start taking lessons. Scream out this song when the request comes out over the speakers for what song you want to hear next from the entertainer up on stage at your local pub. “I just want to drink ‘till I’m not thirsty…I just want to sleep ‘till I’m not tired…” (Amen to that). Track #5-“When It Rains”-is an easy going song that conjures up memories of a gentler and easier times but like we all know-“when it rains…it pours.” One can tell that this economy has affected almost everyone and you can feel the pain in Rock’s words as my assumption is he is writing about his hometown of Detroit. (I know-“Times like These”- is the signature “Detroit” song but this my belief that it is also in other songs). “God Bless Saturday” is the “heaviest” song on the album and you have to turn up the volume on this bad boy. This is the new “vintage” Kid Rock with a slamming groove that will have you foot stomping in no time. I can just picture Rock with headphones over his long hair in recording studio singing up into the hanging microphone above his head with the passion that bleeds through your speakers. There is a nice guitar solo in the middle. This is knee slapping, dancing country rock song that has to get you out of your seat.

Track #7-“Collide” (featuring Sheryl Crow & Bob Seger) will surely be a hit on the radio in the near future. These two are made for each other and at some point I wouldn’t be surprised if T. Bone Burnett gives Crow and Rock a call to do a total duet album a la Robert Plant & Alison Krauss. This is a perfect “love” style song which will melt the hearts of couples everywhere. Kid Rock’s vocals are spectacular and you won’t believe this is Kid Rock, Sheryl Crow gives it that sweet touch and they definitely have a whole album in them in the future. “Flyin’ High” (featuring Zac Brown) is also another one of my favorite songs on the album. This is pure country with a perfect twang that it makes me want to chew on a blade of grass with my ten gallon hat-there is a righteous guitar solo that will lift you off your feet. And what else can be said about Mr. Brown-this guy is the real deal. If you are not familiar with his stuff-listen to this song and then go find his solo stuff. This is a fantastic collaboration with such a natural fit. I love the way they shoot the breeze while the song is still playing behind them. I believe they will see each other down the road at some point. “Times like These” is probably the most important song that Kid Rock has ever written and if you are honest with your feelings, you will get a lump in your throat when he says “I won’t leave because this is my hometown.” I read somewhere that Kid wasn’t sure if such a “local” song would work but the producer, Rick Rubin, told him to go with it because he knew that it would be a song that everyone could relate to. I envy him because he has never left Detroit the way that I left Brooklyn. My heart will always be in Brooklyn but I left, his heart has always been in Detroit and he is still there and trying to make it better. This song lets you know that there are tough times now and ahead in the near future but at some point there has to be hope that it will turn around. People like him will be able to tell their grandkids that things can sometimes get tough but with love and determination it will get better. I can’t wait for that day. “Rock On” is another slow track but what keeps you standing at attention are Kid Rock’s vocals, simply put-amazing. It’s hard to believe where he is now with his singing and song writing ability compared to just five to ten years ago. Track #12-“Rock Bottom Blues” is the best song on this album and accordingly my favorite. This could be the best song Kid Rock has ever recorded-yes he takes the similar groove as in “New Orleans” on the “Rock & Roll Jesus” album- but the blues laden jam is almost too much for me to take. I can’t help but raise the volume to the loudest my car radio, computer and my I-Pod player can take. This is a hand clapping, knee slammin’ rock and roll blues song that has to get you out of your seat and dance around the room in circles-if this doesn’t make you move, then you don’t like music. It sort of has that Aerosmith “Honkin’ on Bobo” feel to it and at points the Kid sounds like Steven Tyler, (I know Kid made some disparaging comments towards Tyler about Steven’s new gig with “American Idol”), especially with scowls and squeals. The last song on the album-“For the First Time (In a Long Time)”- starts off with an unidentified voice but as the song rolls on you begin to realize that it actually the Kid singing-I can’t even describe the pitch of his voice-you have to listen for yourself. Like I said this man has come a long way in the vocal department-a far cry from his early rapping days-and who knows maybe he could always sing but I still believe he has become a better singer as he “matures.” By the time I arrived at this song in the car, my two boys told me to turn it off because they seem to think that it was too mellow and predictable-now tell me folks-did you ever think you would hear thoughts like that about Kid Rock? In a way, they speak the truth a little but for me at this stage in my life I come to appreciate the more mellow things in life and have more patience now than I ever did in my younger days. I knew what they were saying but as I listen to the song by myself I have to say I am very impressed by the composition of the song along with the musicianship and the almost 6 minute song for me breezes by. (By the way, there is a “demo” version of “Care” at the end of the CD and even this is good).

So here it is Kid Rock has made an album in the vain of Bob Seger and the Eagles with a Country feel throughout the entire work and this is what I have been waiting for. My belief is that this is will be the first of many great albums to follow from this man as I think he has a lot left in the tank, now that he has made the turn down that long highway road with no curves seemingly in front of him. Now I know many of his earlier fans are left wondering what happened to their rap hero and my response is that he is still in there and can always perform those great songs in concert. In addition, with the Kid you never know he could sprinkle those types of songs in future albums but like I said I think he has found his “path” and this rock, country, blues genre which fits him like a glove. His band is getting better with each album while the composition and arrangement of his songs continue to flourish as well as the lyrics which now make you listen with your heart-who would’ve “thunk?” Folks-I don’t care what anyone else says or writes (I saw it written somewhere that stated that Kid Rock is now the poor man’s John Mellencamp-please spare me)-“Born Free”- is an incredible piece of work from Kid Rock. It may take you more than a few turns to get to this opinion but the more you listen, the more you will recognize that the Kid has more talent than we all realized.

My Top Ten Songs of 2010

10.     ImpossibleShontelle– Nothing short of a mesmerizing song, her vocals make you stand up and take notice. This is a finger snapping song that you just sit back and listen to her vocals as you drift off into another stratosphere. I don’t much about her but I love this song. “Shout it from the roof top”-this is one of the best songs in 2010

9.       DynamiteTaio Cruz– Normally I don’t go for the pop/dance genre (as many of you know) but you also know that I often give any genre a chance especially moves me (“move” can have many different meanings). I guess I have to give credit to my youngest son as he has a handle on the latest “hits” out there on the radio and he introduced me to this song. We listened to it on our trip to Cape Cod this past summer. It has an addictive groove and you can’t but help to sing and dance along to it.

8.       Love-Hate-Sex-PainGodsmack– Mr. Sully Erna makes my list twice this year-once with his regular band, Godsmack and one for his solo effort. Their latest album-“Oracle”- is nothing short of spectacular and has, in my opinion, spawned one of their best songs and this is it. Is it heavy?-Yes but so what? Every once in a while you need loud guitars with a crushing groove so look no further than this song. My oldest son-who is not into “metal” as much even has this song on his I-Tunes library, so you know it is a good song.

7.       Front Porch Swing AfternoonJamey Johnson– Is it laid back and slow? Yes but what does that mean? When he starts singing you just become still and don’t even move. He is a throw back to the classic country that I grew up listening to in my house-remember my mother was the country part of my life. My dad had the doo-wops and Elvis (which my mother also liked) but it was my mom’s influence with Country music that I have really come to appreciate as I move on in years. This is a perfect song to listen to with the fire place going while the snow falls outside-even though it is a warm weather title song. Pure beauty-you need to own this song. (He will be touring with Kid Rock in 2011).

6.       My Best TheoryJimmy Eat World– Doing their best Linkin’ Park imitation or is it that Linkin’ Park has copied Jimmy? Either way, this song will grow on you as it did on me and became one of the most listened songs in 2010 for me. It has a catchy hook and the chorus is infectious, it has some heavy moments but mostly sounds like “What I’ve Done” by LP. Again it doesn’t matter who it sounds like, this is a really good song so check it out.

5.       AirplanesB.o.B. featuring Hayley Williams– At first when I heard this, I easily dismissed it because it sounded like everything else but the more I heard the song, the more I started to like it. I guess what made me like it so much is due to the fact that I can picture my youngest son and our “adopted” daughter-Angelina-sitting in the back seat of our car singing this song word for word. There was so much enjoyment on their faces and I was laughing as they were moving their hands over their face while lip syncing B.o.B. rap parts-hysterical. Very cool song with a nice beat!!

4.       Kiss GoodbyeLittle Big Town– You all know that this is by far my most favorite “Country” band out there today and I still stand by my statement that this is the best harmonizing set of men and women since the Mama’s & Papa’s. This is a sad song but you feel good because their vocals meshed together is like being on a cloud with your arms around the back of your head as you drift off to outer space. The words cut to the bone and if you have recently broke up with your partner you may not want to listen to this because you will be crying in no time. The video for this song just came out and it is fantastic. This band never ceases to amaze me, this song is off their most recent release-“The Reason Why.”

3.      7 YearsSully Erna– Now I know I am going to catch a lot of grief here but that’s because most of you out there don’t know who Sully Erna is and probably are unfamiliar with his first solo release-“Avalon”-and if you do know who he is-you are probably going to complain that the song is way too long-8:41 to be exact. But you know what? I’m will have none of it and am sticking to my guns on this one. This album is nothing short of spectacular and this could be the best track on the album. It is an epic journey of sorts as the arrangement shifts and changes throughout. Again the more you listen, the more you will be drawn in. It makes me feel like I am on a massive boat cruising the ocean waters (and for those who know me well, you know I want nothing to do with boats and water) on a journey for the meaning of life. Sully’s vocals are astonishing as well as the female artist he has helping him.

2.       Rocking My Life AwayJerry Lee Lewis featuring Kid Rock and Slash– Again I know I am going to catch a lot of flak for putting this one here but I can’t help myself because when I hear great rock and roll like this song, I just lose it. Jerry is the “real deal” (as Mr. Rock exclaims at the end of the song) as his piano playing is slamming and it has to get you out of your seat and just start twisting everywhere. Slash’s guitar solo is smoking and I can just picture Kid Rock jamming out while Slash is whaling away. And what else can I say about Kid Rock?-the man is so talented and this fits him like a glove. This song is freaking phenomenal!!! Buy it now!!!

1.       Back to CaliSlash featuring Myles Kennedy– Wow is all I have to say-when I hear the opening licks to the best song in 2010 (by far). I can’t explain how psyched I get, it’s almost like an outer body experience (not that I have experienced one but I would assume it would feel like this). Talk about “air-guitaring?” I’m out of mind right now as I need to make believe I’m Slash right now and play that guitar solo-excuse me while I stop typing….I’m back-how great is that high pitch vocal singing in the shadow of Myles vocals? (who knows it may be him). This is pure rock and roll and who knew Myles Kennedy was the perfect rock and roll singer for this one? I guess Slash knew and if I were him I would try to steal him away from Alter Bridge-if they could make an entire album with songs like this-it would go down as one of the most classic albums ever. This song is stunningly breathtaking-how’s that for the best song of 2010?

Top Five Albums of 2010

Just like it was last year, I did not buy enough new albums to pick ten albums, so I will stay with my top five. Now I know there are other genres and artists that I may miss and I do not profess to know everything that is out there-that is impossible, so take it from the world that I live in and these are my top five favorite albums from 2010:

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5.     Court Yard HoundsCourt Yard Hounds– Who knew that the other two thirds of the Dixie Chicks could sing like this? Sisters Martie McGuire and Emily Robison decided to make some new songs and since Natalie Maines was not ready to “get back into the ring” at that point, they became the Court Yard Hounds. Take a listen to “It Didn’t Make a Sound” and tell me this is not good stuff? It is folk and Country with a breath of fresh air and the musicianship is top notch. There are also some very poignant tunes that will grab you by the throat and won’t let go as you have to listen to the beauty of their vocals (“Fear of Wasted Time” for example). At some point the Dixie Chicks will record again but for me I hope this is not a “one and done” sort of project-this album is too good to not move on with some more material at a later time in the future. I look forward to it.

Key Tracks: The Coast;  Ain’t No Son;  Then Again;  Fairytale

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4.     Midnight SouvenirsPeter Wolf– Folks you need to have this album in your library. This is the perfect “hang-out” album when you are hosting a party with friends. I will make another bet that before the end of that party your friends will want to know who that is-they will recognize the voice but not the new kind of melodies that exist on this super solid CD. The party kicks off with the rocking blues song-“Tragedy”-with help from Shelby Lynn-it is a finger snapping event throughout the album.Then it shifts to the rocking “I Don’t Want to Know” and from that point onwards just sit back and enjoy the ride. He also gets some help from Neko Case and the living legend Merle Haggard. This is totally different from his days spent with J. Geils, so do yourself a favor-either you buy it as a stocking stuffer (and then ask to borrow it) or let your family and friends know that you want this album as a stocking stuffer.

Key Tracks: It’s Too Late for Me;  The Green Fields of Summer;  Watch Her Move;  Always Asking for You

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3.     Born FreeKid Rock– Well how much more can I write about this album? (The review is up above). Don’t think that just because this was just released and is fresh in my mind that this would not have been on my list if it were released in the spring or summer-it would. This isn’t like when they nominate movies that come out around the holidays and earlier film releases seem to be ignored. (check out the rest of my top 5-all earlier this year). Anyways-yes I am partial to Kid Rock I admit it-but I am telling you folks this is another perfect album to play when you are hanging out with your friends hosting a house party. Yes “Born Free” can be played in its entirety and your family and friends will be amazed on how far Mr. Rock has come.

Key Tracks: Rock Bottom Blues;  Purple Sky;  Times Like These;  God Bless Saturday

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2.     SlashSlash– In my opinion, it was a total injustice that this massive solo album seemed to be ignored by many in the music review industry and this took longer to release than Axl’s “Chinese Democracy”- remember this is his first solo album-so where was all the hoopla surrounding this release? I usually don’t like to compare but this solo effort is ten times better than “Chinese”-I’m sorry it has to be said. Does anyone think that this man is not talented and that it took a massive effort to work with all the various artists on this album?-probably harder than working with the same set of people in a band-I would think so-but then again, what do I know? What I love best is that he did not try to change the artists’ strength’s, no Slash conformed and morphed into their style. One minute he is rocking and the next he is “metal-ing” and then he is “popping” out with Adam Levine, c’mon folks this is good stuff right here. I say from top to bottom one can listen to every track and not skip over any of them. Slash you will not be ignored here-Thank you for this massive effort-you get a solid “A.”

Key Tracks: By the Sword;  Back to Cali;  Saint is a Sinner Too;  Nothing to Say

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1.     AvalonSully Erna– For those of you that are scratching your head out there, do me one favor and listen to “Broken Road” from this fantastic solo effort by the front man of Godsmack and tell me this is not good music right here??!!! This is the ultimate “hang-out” album when you just want to relax and let the music take you to another place-you will not believe how much you will like this album. The thing is though-you need to buy it and give it a chance. Even my wife likes this album (she has no clue that he is the lead singer of a heavy metal band-she doesn’t need to know that-neither do you) and did not tell me to turn one song off on a recent drive to relative’s house, so you know that is a good sign. She especially likes the song-“Sinner’s Prayer.” No she wouldn’t know the name of the song if asked but if I played it for her, she would say “yeah that is the song.” My boys liked some of the songs, especially-“My Light.” Folks if you only want to follow the solo career of Sully that is OK as well because after this release, there has to be more coming down the road. I know I am looking forward to more in the future. This album is by far the best in 2010. Mellow yes but also incredible.

Key Tracks: 7 Years;  Broken Road; Eyes of a Child; My Light

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week:

1.     Susan Tedeschi

2.     Living Colour

3.     Edie Brickell

4.     Joe Walsh

This week’s trivia (Random)-

1.     Now that it is the holiday season, my rendition of a classic written by Mr. Berlin has sold the most copies of any single released in the history of music. Who am I and what is the name of the song?

2.     I was an accomplished singer, movie actor and stage actor and starred in one of the greatest movie’s ever made-“Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”- but am probably best known as the narrator of the most watched children’s Christmas show every year. By the way, I sang the entire soundtrack which contains one of the most recognizable holiday songs’ ever. Who am I?

3.     My singing voice has been compared to the likes of Dean Martin and Roy Orbison. I made my mark as a Maverick but am now doing my own thing. The author of this page has stated that the Christmas album that I made a few years back is the best one to be released in the past 25 years. Who am I?

4.     Our band has made its mark as a mostly holiday band and we tour every year towards the end of the year. Each tour our popularity has grown, almost to a cult status. Funny thing is, we don’t sing. Who are we?

Name That Tune

Answers from last week:

1.     Got to Be There – The Jackson 5

2.     Taking It To The Streets-Doobie Brothers

3.     A Change is Gonna Come- Sam Cooke

4.     Higher Ground– Stevie Wonder

Can you guess the title from the following lyrics from part of the song?

1.     “…she shadows me in the mirror…she never leaves on the light…some things that I say to her…they just don’t seem to bite…”

2.     “…Hey don’t let it go to waste…I love it but I hate that taste…weight keeping me down…Hey don’t let it go to waste…”

3.     “…and I really never knew how to love…I just hope somehow I’d see…ask for a little help from above…send that angel down to me …”

4.     “…run for your life…you’re moving on and on the art of survival…isn’t turning me on…and I’ve been chasing it…”

Back on this Day

Sadly back on this day in 1967, Otis Redding and three members of the Bar-Kays died in a plane crash near Madison Wisconsin. The question is always: What if?

Sadly back on this day in 1999, Rick Danko-the bassist for The Band- passed away in his sleep at the very young age of 56.

Back on this day in 1955, Johnny Cash made his first appearance on the “Louisiana Hayride” show and met his future wife-June Carter.

Back on this day in 1966, The Beach Boys hit the top of the Billboard charts with their smash hit-“Good Vibrations.” (Thanks Chris!)

Back on this day in 1967, The Steve Miller Blues Band signed with Capitol Records for $750,000. The “Blues” portion of the name was dropped shortly after signing.

Back on this day in 1971, Frank Zappa was pushed off a stage while performing in London by a jealous boyfriend and suffered 9 months worth of injuries.

Back on this day in 1976, Generation X made its live debut in London with Billy Idol as the lead vocalist.

Back on this day in 1983, Paul McCartney had his last number one hit with “Say, Say, Say”-a duet with Michael Jackson.

Back on this day in 2007, the Mighty Led Zeppelin reunited with Jason Bonham on drums to play a benefit show for Ahmet Ertegun. Robert Plant said it one of the most stressful nights for him and I recently saw Jason Bonham on “That Metal Show” and he was asked what reunion would happen first-Zep or Guns & Roses- he said Guns-wow??!!!

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