Review by East Chapman chrisross

I met Chris Ross briefly after a benefit concert in Bangor, Maine, on the Fourth of July 2012.  It was well worth the wait in a hard seat and enduring the other acts to see him play.  Suffice it to say, that my first listen made me want to hear more. 

Ross is a singer-songwriter from Coastal Maine with a voice made for acoustic guitar, more dirt road than gravel,  never sliding off to twang, and sharply honest .  The studio arrangements on The Steady Stumble are often sparse, showcasing his writing talent.  In a very informal email exchange, I asked Ross how he writes.  He shared, “I've done almost all of my writing in the winter months, after dark, by the woodstove.  I wrote The Steady Stumble in a 3 month period in the winter of 09/10 after an extra shitty breakup.”  I had to smile – all that heartache was over one breakup? 

When asked about musical influences, he listed several, including Springsteen, The Band, James Taylor, Gregg Allman, as well as contemporaries Jason Isbell and Dawes.   Often compared to Ray LaMontange, Ross shared “Ray LaMontagne changed my life the first time I heard him. I was already a lifetime fan before I ever knew he had Maine connections. He's my John Lennon.”

I saved the CDs Ross gave me for a few days until I could sit down and really listen and let them seep in.   I knew I’d want to squeeze the ache out of them. If you like an artist capable of singing to your memories, your sensibilities, and taking you along a journey of vignettes, listen up.  

Co-written by Carolyn Bryant.

Paul Simon: The Graceland 25th Anniversary Collector's Edition Box Set cover

The long history of Paul Simon's music career continues. From Queens, NY, there is no other singer-songwriter like him. His warm smooth voice has been unique and recognizable since the 1950's. With his friend Art Garfunkel, they took on the music world at age 16. From note one in "Hey Schoolgirl," (1957), to the lyrical hymn, "Bridge Over Troubled Water," (1970), and the street anthem, "Me and Julio Down By The Schoolyard," Simon and Garfunkel became icons of folk-rock music world.

My first listen to this band was live, when they opened for the Spin Doctors at Pearl Street in Northampton, MA this May (2012). This group of musicians were loud, proud and dynamic. Bigger than life, they made the small club stage flash into arena rock. I knew nothing about them when I first caught their show, but after I saw them, I started asking my music friends and colleagues, 'Do You Know Doug Ratner?' Their performance energy was the height of AC/DC. The tradition of nuance and originality, spiced with a rebellious spirit, was that of the Who. And the impact of their show was definitely quality classic rock.
Hearing Lessons Well Learned, and watching them on video however, brings to mind a more punk style and influence. On researching this band, their sense of social justice and willingness to get into some trouble to get people to stop and pay attention to their points, brings their work to a whole different level. They are not just singing about teenage love and heartache, they are speaking to the lives of youth on a broader, yet deeper, scale. Taking on topics such as bullying, rage and societal destruction, their music message is positioned to be startling.
Do You Know Doug Ratner?

Counting Crows

Album Review: Underwater Sunshinecountingcrows

Berkeley, CA

Underwater Sunshine is a timeless record that connects current and past music history through the favorite listens of the band. The Counting Crows are so skilled that they've made good song choices to evolve these tracks into their own. They've also challenged themselves and raised the bar a bit on some attempts, which is great for an experienced Counting Crows listener, and a fun jaunt for a newcomer. With tracks originally from The Faces, The Pure Prairie League, Gram Parsons, Bob Dylan, Big Star and others, this is a great addition to any acoustic rock fans' collection and an interesting walk down obscure memory lane for a record collector. ~Bluebird

From Austin Texas, Kent "Omar" Dykes grew up in McComb, Mississippi, which is local to Bo Didley. "The Essential Collection," includes two CD's, with thirty songs total, for a blues education and in depth reflection.  The first of which is a "best of" set of tracks from Omar's discography of songs. The second CD is "Omar's picks," which is the collection of Omar's favorite songs, played with a select group of musicians. There are no fillers here, folks. With multiple talents and tributes to blues legends, each song brings with it a story, that was either told, is being told, or should be told. Spend some quality time with this record, pay it a visit. And be sure to take a good long drink of Omar's "Alligator Wine." You'll never be the same again.

Jason Anderson

I came across Jason Anderson's music three years ago. My best music friend made me a mix tape of his favorite indie and pop songs for that year. I was driving from NYC to New England, and it started snowing along the NYS Thruway. On this January day, I was listening to the CD, track by track, when suddenly the opening riffs of Jason Anderson's, July 4, 2004 (From The Hopeful and The Unafraid) came on. The song's direct guitar work, descriptive imagery in the lyrics, and real to life story evolution was nothing like I'd ever heard. I kept replaying the song, bellowing loudly to "Oh Ja-son are you still wai-ting..." and "WHOA-Oh-Oh!" Three listens via repeat and I was skidding toward the guardrail ...


The Bigfoot Legend Rocks On: bigfootwildman1

From their Biography ~

"Bigfoot is described in reports as a large, ape-like, and legendary creature, determined to change the face of music. With the help of singer/guitarist Benjamin Douglas Butt, lead guitarist Darren Michael Butt, bassist Mikey Lee, and drummer Jeremy Burton, this Toronto based band is dedicated to continue spreading the enduring legacy of Bigfoot. By combining elements of punk, hard rock and alternative metal into a sludgy, aggressive sound, Bigfoot will be heard. Bigfoot will be seen."

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