AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: YOKO ONO/WARZONE

     Much has been written about Yoko Ono over the years and, sadly, not all of it positive. However, if you look back over the 50 years that she has been in the public consciousness, she has always been a force for good. A superhero of sorts. From being a positive light that guided John Lennon out of his darkness to being an outspoken advocate against gun violence, Yoko has lent her name, her money and her time to many great causes over the years. Yet, the press has dragged her name through the mud so many times that their personal agendas have been adopted by the public as facts. While I’m sure it has been hurtful and confusing to Yoko, she has stood tall and continues to be a strong force in activism and art. […]

By | October 19th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |0 Comments

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: THE BOTTLE ROCKETS/BIT LOGIC

So, what do you do if you create music that is completely in step with what should be popular but is apparently out of step with what is actually popular? Playing great music that reaches a specific audience is definitely admirable but it can be frustrating – for the band and their fans – if a talented act continually releases outstanding albums that don’t immediately race to the top of the charts. Sadly, this type of situation is quite common. For example, for nearly 30 years, St. Louis’ The Bottle Rockets have released a series of albums that embrace the heart of American music while reinterpreting it in fresh, new ways. BIT LOGIC is their 13th album and might be the album that finally connects them with a larger audience. […]

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: J.P. HARRIS/SOMETIMES DOGS BARK AT NOTHING

If you go to Wikipedia and look up ‘Honky Tonk’, you’ll find the following description: “A Honky Tonk is both a bar that provides country music for the entertainment of its patrons and the style of music played in such establishments. In the 1950s, Honky Tonk entered its golden age, with the popularity of Webb Pierce, Hank Locklin, Lefty Frizzell, Ray Price, Faron Young, George Jones, and Hank Williams.” So, given that description, it’s no wonder that singer/songwriter J.P. Harris is often referred to as one of the finest purveyors of Honky Tonk music in America today. As ‘modern’ Country takes up space on the charts, it is refreshing – and dare I say it, exhilarating – to experience an artist so in tune with the roots of the genre’s pioneering artists. Harris ain’t no Americana bandwagoneer – he is as Country as Country Music gets. […]

By | October 4th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: J.P. HARRIS/SOMETIMES DOGS BARK AT NOTHING

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: AMY RAY/HOLLER

Amy Ray is best known as one-half of Indigo Girls, the Grammy-winning Folk duo she formed with Emily Saliers. Formed in 1985, the duo released an EP before signing with Epic Records and becoming one of the most popular Folk-Rock duos of all time. Although they have remained active for over three decades, Amy would use her downtime between projects to follow her own path. Beginning with her 2001 solo debut, STAG, Amy has pursued a slightly different path than that of Indigo Girls. Her voice may be instantly identifiable but her solo releases tend to travel down different musical paths that eventually converge onto the same road that she travels down with Indigo Girls. HOLLER, her 2018 album, is no exception… […]

By | September 28th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: AMY RAY/HOLLER

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: BLAZE – ORIGINAL CAST RECORDING

The YouTube stars of today don’t understand the meaning of ‘paying your dues.’ Before American Idol and YouTube became the springboards for success, the artists of yesteryear rehearsed, played nightly in smelly clubs, and drove from city to city in a rickety van to build their audience. They wrote songs from the heart. They lived those songs before they even laid them down on tape. And the chance of them getting a record deal and achieving any level of success was slim to none. For many of them, sharing their music and baring their soul was the reason they created music. Fame was just a reward for their hard work. However, hard work doesn’t guarantee success without a little bit of luck thrown into the mix. Then again, there’s a long list of talented artists that never caught a break and have sadly faded into obscurity. Country/Americana singer/songwriter Blaze Foley spent many decades in in that sea of obscurity but now, nearly three decades after his death, this underground legend is finally getting the attention he has deserved since his humble beginnings in the mid- ‘70s. […]

By | September 21st, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: BLAZE – ORIGINAL CAST RECORDING

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: STEVE FORBERT/THE MAGIC TREE

Forty years since the release of his debut album, ALIVE ON ARRIVAL, Steve Forbert remains one of the most honest and warm singer/songwriters in Folk, Rock and Americana. Unfairly declared ‘the new Dylan’ for a brief moment in the ‘70s thanks to that debut, Forbert proved himself to be more than just a guy strumming an acoustic guitar at the front of the stage. His hit single “Romeo’s Tune” (1979) became a Top 40 hit thanks to Forbert’s earnest performance, great songwriting and that incessant piano riff. But Forbert was not one to crank out formulaic Pop or Folk – he was always moving forward while still paying tribute to his past. With more than two dozen studio, live, and fan-club albums in his back pocket, Steve Forbert still remains a songwriter that finds inspiration in the every day. His Mississippi soul may have moved to New Jersey but this is one cat that understands and connects with every inch of America. […]

By | September 14th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: STEVE FORBERT/THE MAGIC TREE

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: MIKE FARRIS/SILVER & STONE

There’s just something about Soul music. It has a different effect on every listener. Where one person can hear joy and jubilation, another may sense a feeling of loss and sadness while listening to the very same recording. The listener’s differing opinions revolve around just how deeply they immerse themselves in the music. On the surface, Soul and R&B is engaging and powerful but once you allow yourself to be surrounded by the music, you feel the emotional depth and intensity that went into creating the music. Mike Farris’ SILVER & STONE album is one of those releases that shows both sides at the same time, offering up layers of powerful music that is both engaging and engrossing. […]

By | September 7th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: MIKE FARRIS/SILVER & STONE

STEVE FORBERT: An EXCLUSIVE interview!

  STEPHEN SPAZ SCHNEE: THE MAGIC TREE is about to be released. How are you feeling about the way it turned out and the reaction you’ve had to it so far? STEVE FORBERT: I feel pretty good about it. We got the cat ears and legs and tail and whiskers – I think we got the cat in the bag. It’s hard to do. […]

By | September 6th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on STEVE FORBERT: An EXCLUSIVE interview!

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: COURTNEY HARTMAN & TAYLOR ASHTON/BEEN ON YOUR SIDE

Courtney Hartman and Taylor Ashton were already successful in their respective outfits before coming together as a duo. Hartman, the singer, songwriter and guitarist for Nashville-based Americana outfit Della Mae, met Canadian singer, songwriter and clawhammer banjo player Taylor Ashton when her band crossed paths with his band, Fish & Bird, while out on the road. The two began writing songs together and within four years, they decided that they had enough material for an album. Named after one of the first songs they wrote together, the duo is now releasing BEEN ON YOUR SIDE, their debut album as a duo. On paper, their collaboration may sound like a perfect match but, in reality, it is so much better than that. […]

By | August 31st, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: COURTNEY HARTMAN & TAYLOR ASHTON/BEEN ON YOUR SIDE

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: MURDER BY DEATH/THE OTHER SHORE

Americana is a modern name for a genre that has existed for decades. Back in the day, many artists were too hard to categorize because they were too Rock for Country, too Country for Folk or too Folk for Rock (or a mix of the three). While many artists today remain difficult to pigeonhole, at least there is the term Americana, which acts as an umbrella genre for bands that fall outside the Country, Rock and Folk guidelines. However, for a band like Murder By Death, it is best to toss any genre label out the window and start from scratch. Yes, they certainly fit comfortably into the Americana genre but they can also be filed in Rock, Country and Folk just as easily. Their latest album, THE OTHER SHORE, is proof of that… […]

By | August 24th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , , , , |Comments Off on AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: MURDER BY DEATH/THE OTHER SHORE