Archive for roots

ERIK SITBON-Taking Care Of Elvis

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 21, 2016 by TheManicBlogger

erik sitbon1I generally don’t review tribute albums, but Erik Sitbon And The Ghost Band‘s “Taking Care Of Elvis” is an exception. The album contains an assortment of songs, some lesser known than others, that never try to emulate Elvis, but rather honor him. Sitbon gives us a wonderfully Roots/Americana flavor, with dynamite arrangements, cool vocals, great harmonies, and a unique sound that includes steel guitar and violin. Even if you are not an Elvis fan, this album will capture your heart, and your mind. Favorite tracks: ‘Moody Blue‘, ‘Early Morning Rain‘, and ‘Burning Love‘. Without a doubt, the best damn Elvis tribute album I have heard. Check it out here., and head over to the band’s facebook page to see what else they have going on.

 

 

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VAGABONDS & THIEVES

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 28, 2015 by TheManicBlogger

 

v&t1There is some incredible indie music coming out of Ireland. Recently, I discovered Vagabonds & Thieves, who put together a 4 track demo in May, 2015. At first I didn’t know what to make of this Kildare band, but, after several listens, it all made sense.

I heard great beats, wonderful melodies, sweet harmonies, and some way cool changes.  There are great riffs, a wonderfully choppy rhythm on ‘Devil’s Beat‘, and a killer bass line on ‘Uncle Sam‘. I heard some nice harmonics, exceptional vocal arrangements, and an insane blues vibe on “Off To La‘. And the up tempo roots meets pop feel to ‘Stay With Me“, just rocks. This is foot stomping, thigh slapping music,  unique, and distinctly Irish. Incorporating the bouzouki is a wonderful touch. The sound is entertaining and exciting, and it will keep you moving, however hard you try not to. This is wonderfully melodic, Irish folk-pop.  Check it out and get yourself a free download of ‘Uncle Sam‘. And keep your earz open-an album will be out in March 2016. Get one for yourself and get one for your friends as well. Really. Vagabonds & Thieves are that good.

 

 

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GAR FRANCIS-The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 19, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

I am not sure if there is anything Gar Francis cannot do. The Guru Of Garage has swung his guitar into The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same. Released in 2010 to the European market only, the 12 track album of Americana has finally hit North American shores and has been released by New Jersey’s Bongo Boy Records.

gf3The opening track, “Midnight In Rome“, delivers a great melody, with wonderful changes. The guitar picking is cool as hell, while the keys smolder under a hot vocal track. “How Its Supposed To Be” has an insanely powerful chorus but it takes nothing away from the licks and riff, and the dynamite organ. The Latin feel of “Palaces”  is wonderfully created by bongos, acoustic guitar, strings and organ. The effects on the harmonies are brilliant, and I dig the ‘Mexicali” themed guitar solo! “Down At The Ocean Gate” offers a great acoustic guitar solo, and way cool harmonies amid multi-tracked guitars. I like the mandolin and bongos on “Bank Of The River“, the way cool reverb of the almost rockabilly “Ole Tom’s River“, and the wonderfully Dylanesque feel to “Another Cowboy Rides” , with its great organ, guitar solo, cool riffs, and a dynamite vocal track.

 

 

The jug band vibe of “She’s Still Blue” proves once and for all that Gar Francis can write and play anything! The washboard and concertina are amazing, and the melody, so sweet. Gar’s vocals are spectacular on “Raise A Hand“, and the song’s socio-political gf4message resonates, at least,with me. The melody and harmonies highlight some way cool changes and incredibly melodic instrumentation. “The Sun Will Never Go Down” offers cool changes, a great chorus, a wonderful bass run, and beautiful choral style harmonies. I like this track. The acoustic guitar solo in “Adeline” shines amid the mandolin and bongos. The song is beautifully simple yet manages a great bridge, a dynamite chorus, and a wonderful ending. And, that leaves “Oh Annie“, my favorite track on the album. The wonderful chorus, dynamite guitar, including a way cool riff, an amazing melody, and some great organ, make this the standout track. A wonderful song with a way cool blues-rock-folk-country thing going on, that is reminiscent of Levon Helm and The Band. “Oh Annie, someone’s got to settle you down“. Indeed.

gf54This album demonstrates just how talented Gar Francis is. As a song writer; as a producer; as a musician, and a performer. I hear rockabilly, jug band, Latin, roots, blues, folk, and rock. I listened to bongos, banjo, mandolin, and organ. I heard a washboard, a concertina, and I think an upright bass. There are vocal and guitar effects. But most importantly, there are 12 incredible tracks that will hold you from beginning to end. I have been a Gar Francis fan for years, and this album has me wondering, why isn’t everybody? Get it as soon as you can. Then, put on your cowboy boots, grab your honey and have a blast. The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same is a must have album. Get yours here:  http://www.bongoboyrecords.com/Albums.html.  You can stream some of Gar’s other music here:  

 

 

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ELLIOTT BROOD:Days Into Years

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 13, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

eb1 Since their inception in 2002, Elliott Brood has defined their style with Tin Type (2004), Ambassador (2005), and Mountain Meadows (2008).  Following their signing with Paper Bag Records in 2011, Days Into Years was released.

The album opens with “Lindsay“, a simple song that seems complex with the exceptional musicality of the band, a classic rock guitar riff and beautifully arranged pop harmonies. “Lines“, with its railroad sounds, blues/rock guitar and acoustic opening captures the theme of the song and has me wondering why wasn’t this on Mellancamp’s Scarecrow? “If I Get Old”  has a blues/rock feel, and a rock guitar riff all supporting Casey’s vocals with  Arlo Guthrie inflections. The banjo focus on “Hold You” coupled with Marc’s country styled vocals and the use of brushes on the drums, give this song a creative, rustic feel. The rock beat of  “Will They Bury Us” opens up this song for heavier vocals, repeating guitar riffs, harmonies, tempo changes and piano that seems to slow the song down briefly until it winds up again. An amazing piece of music.  “West End Sky” is a mellow song, played with acoustic guitar, banjo and brushes on a suitcase. “Northern Air” delivers great harmonies, an amazing bridge and harmonica to create the transitions. The harmonized vocals, ukulele and pedals used to create some amazing sounds, make “Owen Sound“. The eb3haunting intro of “Their Will“, which slowly builds into great melodic guitar sounds,almost  turns this  into a rock song. This is Elliott Brood rock; with great harmonies, distortion and special effects guitar. “My Mother’s Side” is a blues/rock song, utilizing slide guitar effects, guitar changes and drum shots, powerful vocals and the use of power chords throughout. The subtle guitar faintly playing in the background just puts this over the top. By far, the best track on the album.

With 10 solid tracks, Days Into Years is a must have album. The instrumentation is simple, yet the music is as creative as any I have heard. The songs are wonderful, personal narratives that invite you into the world of Elliott Brood. The music is addictive. It both soothes and excites at the same time. Not surprising that the album won the 2013 Juno for Roots and Traditional Album Of The Year.  Days Into Years is a classic piece of Canadianna that blows me away with every listen.

To listen to Elliott Brood, use the link below.

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JANE’S PARTY: Hot Noise

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 3, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

Home grown Toronto band, and Cameron House regulars Jane’s Party have recently completed their album, “Hot Noise” as the follow up to their 2009  debut, “The Garage Sessions” and the 2011 EP, “Jane’s Party EP“.  Released on Cameron House Records, this Indie band  reminds us what 1960’s pop-rock sounds like.

jane's partyThe opening track, “Palm Reading“, is a wonderful summer patio sitting or driving with the top down song. The light, willowy keys and emphatic drum shots highlight this track. . “Dutch Blue Sky” has a subtle country feel, with twangy vocals and guitars that conjure images of the railroad. The Young Rascals could have recorded “Loose Ends” in a 1960’s New York session. The bluesy tone and carnival feel of “Miles Away” and the subtle funk of “Reds and Blues” demonstrates the band’s ability to write in different genres while staying true to their roots. “Anytime Now” is a classic pop song, encouraging you to clap your hands and tap your feet. “Seasons” has  time signature changes, ethereal keyboards and a very heavy guitar riff, and asks the question, When did The Kinks meet The Beach Boys?  “Meet Me Halfway” shines as the best track on the album. This tune embraces a guitar solo that should be on a Lovin’ Spoonful album, excitingly simple drumming, basic production values and a Beatlesque ending .  What more could anyone want in an album? Every song has wonderfully full and simple harmonies. Not a bad one to be found here.

jane's party1I don’t know where I have been for the past four years and why I was not invited, but Jane’s Party is the event of the season. These guys can write songs with intricate melodies and sophisticated harmonies and make it seem simple. They understand that less is more. They value the song.They have an innate sense of classic pop and have a whole lot of fun making music. With influences such as The Beatles, The Band and The Kinks, what else should we have been expecting?

You can see Jane’s Party playing everywhere as they head out to promote their album. To listen to them, follow the link below:

http://music.cbc.ca/#/artists/Janes-Party

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