AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: BLOODSHOT RECORDS’ 13 DAYS OF XMAS!

     I’m either the right guy to be writing a review of a ‘new’ Christmas release… or I’m the wrong guy. You see, I’m a connoisseur of Christmas music and I’m extremely picky about the holiday music that I listen to.  I don’t care who performs the song or in what style – I’m looking for the FEELING of the season in the song. And for someone who loves Christmas music, there’s very little that has tickled my fancy since the ‘70s. There are exceptions but my favorites tend to be random singles (XTC, Band Aid, Status Quo, etc.) and very few albums. Sure, I appreciate the attempts to create a new classic Christmas album but it is very obvious to me when it is merely a cash-grab by the artist or the label. Or almost as worse – when an artist is only interested in celebrating their own voice and not the holiday they sing so joyfully about. So, sadly, I now approach every Christmas album with trepidation and fear. And suddenly, Bloodshot Records’ 13 DAYS OF XMAS landed in my lap and I needed to take some anxiety medication before I could even listen to it….

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By |November 17th, 2017|News|Comments Off on AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: BLOODSHOT RECORDS’ 13 DAYS OF XMAS!

THE COUNTRY SIDE OF HARMONICA SAM: Introducing The Band

When one listens to contemporary Country Music these days, it bears little resemblance to the traditional sound that helped define the genre decades ago. When Hank Williams, Faron Young, Patsy Cline, George Jones and Johnny Cash sang, you could almost smell the beer-soaked wooden floorboards of the old honky tonks coming through your radio. Nowadays, when you listen to contemporary Country Music, all you can smell is the mall. For better or worse, Country Music has gone through many changes over the years and remains one of the most consistently popular – and profitable – genres of music in the U.S. However, while it has been pushed out of the limelight in the States, the traditional Country sound of the ’50s and ’60s remains hugely popular in Europe. Many iconic Country & Western artists that have long since been forgotten in their homeland are revered in countries they probably never set foot in. Ray Price, Marty Robbins, Don Gibson, Marvin Rainwater, Stonewall Jackson and Hank Snow are just a few of the pioneering artists that are seldom remembered by a generation of Americans who were born after the Urban Cowboy-inspired Country resurgence in the ’80s. We must now look to these European countries if we want deluxe reissues and box sets from these Trad Country acts, who seldom have more than a single disc ’hits’ collection available here in the U.S. of A.

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By |November 15th, 2017|News|Comments Off on THE COUNTRY SIDE OF HARMONICA SAM: Introducing The Band

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: BIG HEAD TODD & THE MONSTERS/NEW WORLD ARISIN’

In the world of Rock ‘n’ Roll, it is rare for a band to hit the 31-year mark with all original members intact. Big Head Todd & The Monsters is one of those rare beasts. Formed in Boulder, Colorado in 1986, Todd Park Mohr, Rob Squires and Brian Nevin (along with longtime member Jeremy Lawton, who joined the original trio in 2003) have achieved commercial and critical success, sold boatloads of albums, traveled the world and built up a huge, devoted following. And on their 2017 album NEW WORLD ARISIN’, they prove that they still have something to say.

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By |November 3rd, 2017|News, Uncategorized|Comments Off on AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: BIG HEAD TODD & THE MONSTERS/NEW WORLD ARISIN’

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: THE WAILIN’ JENNYS/FIFTEEN


From the haunting a capella opening track, “Old Churchyard,” you can tell that there’s something special happening on FIFTEEN, the fourth full length studio album from Canadian Folk trio The Wailin’ Jennys. Celebrating their 15th anniversary – hence the album’s title – the three hugely talented ladies that make up the band create a sound that is both intimate and spacious. Nicky Mehta, Ruth Moody and Heather Mass have recorded an album of covers that they have most definitely made their own. It is a delectable treat for the ears and the soul.

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By |October 27th, 2017|News|Comments Off on AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: THE WAILIN’ JENNYS/FIFTEEN

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: EVEN A TREE CAN SHED TEARS

 

This compilation offers a fascinating peek into the Japanese Folk and Rock movement of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. Though influenced by Western music, the music contained on EVEN A TREE CAN SHED TEARS: JAPANESE FOLK & ROCK 1969-1973 is undeniably infused with a deep connection to their very own Japanese culture.

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By |October 19th, 2017|News|Comments Off on AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: EVEN A TREE CAN SHED TEARS

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: NEIL FINN/OUT OF SILENCE

It has been forty years since Neil Finn made his recorded debut on Split Enz’s 1977 album DIZRHYTHMIA. Although he only provided guitar and backing vocals to that album, he certainly
made his presence known. His own compositions started showing up in 1979 on the band’s FRENZY album. While his big brother Tim handled a bulk of the Enz’s material, it was Neil who penned their first global hit, “I Got You,” which was released in 1980 on the TRUE COLOURS album. Over the course of the next few Enz albums, Neil wrote more highlights including “One Step
Ahead” and “Message To My Girl.”

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By |October 13th, 2017|News|Comments Off on AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: NEIL FINN/OUT OF SILENCE

ERIC STEWART: An EXCLUSIVE interview with the former 10cc member and Rock icon!

A SILLY PHASE I’M GOING THROUGH:

     It is quite possible that you have something by Eric Stewart in your music collection at this very moment without even realizing it. Eric was a member of Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders, eventually singing lead on their 1966 hit “Groovy Kind Of Love” after Fontana had left the fold. By 1969, with the Mindbenders in his rear view mirror, Stewart was recording backing tracks for Bubblegum hits at his Strawberry Studios facilities. His recording mates included hit songwriter Graham Gouldman and multi-instrumentalists Lol Creme and Kevin Godley. In 1970, Stewart, Creme and Godley released the surprise hit “Neanderthal Man” under the group name Hotlegs. Two years later, American singer/songwriter Neil Sedaka arrived in the UK in hopes of recording new material and making a comeback. His backing band featured Stewart, Gouldman, Godley and Creme. Sedaka and this quartet of talented musicians recorded two albums together, both directly responsible for the enormous success that Sedaka and 10cc would achieve within a few short years.

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By |October 11th, 2017|News|Comments Off on ERIC STEWART: An EXCLUSIVE interview with the former 10cc member and Rock icon!

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: ALBERT CASTIGLIA/UP ALL NIGHT

      While he may be classified as a Blues artist, Albert Castiglia will certainly appeal to more than just that genre’s enthusiasts. Fans of Alt-Country, Roots Rock and Americana will most certainly fall under the spell of Castiglia and his 2017 album UP ALL NIGHT, which hits stores on October 6. His name may not be familiar to some but he’s been raising the roof since 1990 when he joined Miami Blues Authority. Discovered six years later by Blues legend Junior Wells, Albert became his sideman until Wells’ death in 1998. Working as a sideman for a variety of other artists, Castiglia didn’t step into the solo spotlight until he released his debut album in 2004.

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By |October 5th, 2017|News|Comments Off on AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: ALBERT CASTIGLIA/UP ALL NIGHT

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: ZARA McFARLANE/ARISE

British Jazz/Soul vocalist and songwriter Zara McFarlane returns to the scene with her third album, ARISE, the follow-up to her 2014 album IF YOU KNEW HER. Like her first two albums, ARISE is available on the beloved Brownswood Recordings label. Brownswood was founded by Gilles Peterson, the respected French-born British DJ who was also responsible for the Acid Jazz and Talkin’ Loud labels. Anyone familiar with Brownswood’s eclectic roster and Zara’s first two albums will already know that she is a musical force to be reckoned with and that ARISE does not disappoint on any level.

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By |September 28th, 2017|News|Comments Off on AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: ZARA McFARLANE/ARISE

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: JON LANGFORD/FOUR LOST SOULS

Jon Langford is a rarity in the music business. I can’t think of another artist that can be called a pioneer of British Post-Punk (with The Mekons and The Three Johns) AND a beloved Americana singer/songwriter.  But don’t misunderstand the man: this is NOT a case of an artist changing musical styles to chase fame and fortune! In fact, one can find traces of the American musical landscape in the early Mekons releases although they are buried amongst the many shadows that the band were prone to throw during their inspiring career. Over the years, Langford traveled many different musical roads, all of which lead to the glory that is FOUR LOST SOULS.

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By |September 21st, 2017|News|Comments Off on AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: JON LANGFORD/FOUR LOST SOULS