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Music Review - `Deluge Of Hurt ` by Tornado Sky (gb)

Tornado Sky- Deluge Of Hurt (click on image to watch video)

3 November 2022

 

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Although they named their band after one of nature's most dire warnings of impending doom, the husband and wife duo Tornado Sky come across more as a mellow breeze than an out of control blowdown. Its an impressive debut for the couple, LA natives Jerry Careaga and Stephanie Gladhart. Careaga is a seasoned songwriter who has written for artists including the Bellamy Brothers( co-writer on '77's “Crossfire”) Michael Martin Murphy (co-write on '83's “Don't Count The Rainy Days,” also covered by John Conlee,) and Tommy Roe(co-writer on '87's '“Back When It Really Mattered.”) Gladhart, a relative novice to songwriting, is proving to be an insightful co-writer, often sketching the bare bones of the lyrical content.

Careaga comes across like Whispering Bill Anderson doing a George Jones impression, while Gladhart sounds like a more urban version of Dolly Parton blended with a dollop of Shania Twain.

The soundscape is hurtin' country, but nobody's killed or seriously injured from the romantic field of fire sprayed around here.

“Two Beat up Hearts” sounds like a Tammy Wynette vehicle, a bar encounter that actually comes off well for both wounded parties. Gladhart's heartsick protagonist finds herself in a downtown bar knowin' that whiskey wont set her free but willing to give it a shot to ease the pain: “Two hearts beatin' as one/workin' through the hard part/beating for a fresh start.” Gladhart shows off impressive songwriting skills and reveals some insider experience as well: “Some heartbreaks move on fast/some hang around like a ghost/ Reminding you of the things you hate about yourself the most.”

The title track uses the tornado theme , with Careaga doing his Anderson/Jones clone persona to recount what could have been a real life heartbreak situation between George and Tammy, love swept away by angry words as the whirling. destructive force, leaving only rubble in its wake.

“Am I Mighty” is Gladhart's search for self confidence: “ I'm searching every day to find me/Am I a sapling or a mighty tree?” From the sound of things here, I'd vote for the mighty tree option. Grab a branch while it's still low enough to reach and rise up with her.

 

Music Reviewer - Grant Britt
Grant Britt ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) has been writing about music since the earth cooled a while back. A staff writer for No Depression, his work also appears in BluesMusic Mag and the Greensboro News and Record

 

To Read All of Grant B's Reviews, Click Here

 

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Music Review - `By the Risin' of the Sea` by James Kahn (gb)

James Kahn- By the Risin' of the Sea (click on image to watch video)

28 April 2022

 

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James Kahn is going boldly where few men have ever gone before. After a successful career writing the novelizations of movies including Return of the Jedi , he branched out into television writing for shows including Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek:Voyager and William Shatner's TekWar.

For his latest project, Kahn is exploring stuff at the opposite end of the planet, releasing a collection of original sea shanties. Although the music sounds old timey, the lyrics address current problems including global warming, immigration, Covid, and whale endangerment.

“The whale is the water master of all she surveys,” Kahn proclaims on “No More A-Whalin,'”adding that “we never stopped to listen to the beauty of their tunes/we were too wrapped up in the romance of the sail and the harpoon.”

The mellow four part harmonies with fellow shipmates David West, Glen Phillips, and Wee Dougie Clegg on the title cut are as warm as a fireside gathering at an Irish pub. But the offering here is not meant to lull you into a false sense of ease. The song takes on the myriad crises threatening the world with a dire warning that all mankind's hopes and dreams are in danger of being washed away if all of us don't take action soon.

“In the Covid Times” recalls the year 2020 “when the fucking world ran out of luck, the hinges broke on the gates of hell, the year when Covid ran amuck.” Kahn manages to name check most of the hellacious events of the year on a stripped down presentation, harmonizing with West backed only by handclaps and ominous thumping of the bodhran.

In spite of the cataclysmic nature of the material, Kahn doesn't come across as a doom-spewing naysayer, but more like a prophet giving it to you straight up delivered in a package you can hum along with. But make no mistake- the former Emergency Medicine specialist who helped create the residency program in Emergency Medicine at UCLA is as serious as a heart attack, warning us fellow shipmates to quit floating around aimlessly and row cause this ship's a-sinkin'.

 

 

Music Reviewer - Grant Britt
Grant Britt ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) has been writing about music since the earth cooled a while back. A staff writer for No Depression, his work also appears in BluesMusic Mag and the Greensboro News and Record

 

To Read All of Grant B's Reviews, Click Here

 

 

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Music Review - `True is Beautiful ` by Raveis Kole (gb)

Raveis Kole - True is Beautiful  (click on image to watch video)

18 August 2021

 

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As Raveis Kole, Bellingham Washington duo Laurie Raveis on lead vocals with partner Dennis Kole on guitar and harmony vocals conjure up lush, dreamy folk rock embedded with homespun philosophies on managing life, love and world domination.

Appointing herself as the head groundskeeper in the Garden of Eden on the band's latest single, “True Is Beautiful,” Raveis rejects the serpent's suggestions and plants her own crops with seeds of truth. The presentation is very Fleetwood Mac-y, with Dennis Cole's guitar contributions as eclectic as Lindsey Buckingham's flights of fancy, Raveis channeling Stevie Nicks' swirly vocal emanations.

Former attorney Kole and Emerson College Marketing Professor Raveis forsook their previous careers for a meandering global musical stroll that produced two volumes of the Electric Blue Dandelion projects beginning in 2016, incorporating jazz, folk, reggae and rock with an eclectic array of world-class instruments and performers.

This offering from the couple is more Americana/pop oriented, a sinuous stroll as swirly as Nicks' scarves propped up by Matthew Burgess' stiff percussive backbone and Boyd LeFan's fluid bassline seasoned with John Philip Shenale's vintage synths.

Even though the duo's sound easily fills out larger concert venues, Raveis Kole perfected their output in more intimate settings, working up close and personal in house concerts, eyeball to eyeball with their audience to gauge the impact of their music. You can feel that intensity here pulling you into the Garden to swing a shovel and help out with the planting.

It's powerful stuff, testimony to what a truth-seeking gardener can accomplish if you're not afraid to get your hands dirty.

     

 

Music Reviewer - Grant Britt
Grant Britt ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) has been writing about music since the earth cooled a while back. A staff writer for No Depression, his work also appears in BluesMusic Mag and the Greensboro News and Record

 

To Read All of Grant B's Reviews, Click Here

 

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Music Review - `Kieran Ridge & the Moonrackers ` by Kieran Ridge (gb)

Kieran Ridge and the Moonrakers -  

8 November 2021

 

Black   Kieran Ridge has sprung some leaks. His folky acoustic country-flavored bluegrassy old-time framework has some rock and soul leaching in as well. The Boston-based singer/songwriter/ guitarist's eponymous latest release wobbles all over the place, but in a good way, dragging rocky tendrils along as it meanders along the Americana pathway. Ridge has be en at this stuff for a while, knocking out four albums since his debut in 2003, three with the Kieran Ridge band and this latest one with the Moonrakers: Hannah Rose Baker on fiddle, Liam Dailey on banjo and mandolin, with bassist Michael Doughty and drummer Pat Hannafin.

Ridge earned his blue collar creds the hard way, working as a laborer on Boston's decades-spanning "Big Dig" bridge and tunnel project. “Three Sheets To The Wind” sounds like John Prine channeling John Mellencamp.It's an isle-hopper, shuffling from foot to foot trying to decide which direction to go. Dailey's banjo and Baker's fiddle keep it out of the rock arena, if just barely. \

“Wasted” resides and thrives in Steve Earle country, a gritty, rough and tumble invitation to bring on whatever you got at your own peril. Ridge travels into country music territory for “Last One To Know.” But the country sounds like it's located somewhere in the Middle East. This time out, Dailey's banjo is majoring in minor chords that sound plucked more from an oud than an Earl Scruggs vehicle. Although the title sounds like it might have sprung from Hank Williams tortured soul, “Your Drifting Heart” comes across as punky, muscular Mellancamp fodder. The Dylanesque “Close Your Eyes” is a rough-hewn lullaby, banjo clucking gently clucking in the background as Ridge gruffly puts this baby to bed.

Ridge's mountain top-hopping rocky travelogue digs deep in the roots to unearth some gritty treasures you can take home and enjoy.

 

 

Music Reviewer - Grant Britt
Grant Britt ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) has been writing about music since the earth cooled a while back. A staff writer for No Depression, his work also appears in BluesMusic Mag and the Greensboro News and Record

 

To Read All of Grant B's Reviews, Click Here

 

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Music Review - `Then and One More Day ` by Westley Dennis (gb)

Westley Dennis - Then and One More Day  (click on image to watch video)

30 June 2021

 

 

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     In Wesley Dennis country, Alan Jackson looms large. The Alabama native's 1995 eponymous debut  on Mercury Nashville records got him a tour with Jackson, charting three singles from his first release.    

    But as many aspiring artists before him have  experienced, the  label dumped him after that first release, and a string of labels who offered support down the road also failed to deliver on their promises, causing Dennis to take a decade long hiatus from the business in '02, returning in 2012 when a Canadian label picked him up and a former record owner released a trove of 1999's Country to the Core CDs he had discovered while cleaning out his garage and gave to Dennis to sell. 

  Dennis released the critically acclaimed Country Enough on Dirt Road records in 2012, and has been back on the circuit since then, now out promoting his latest, Then and One More Day.  

   Dennis' sound owes a lot to Jackson. On “Hey Pretty Baby” Dennis scrapes the bottom end of the vocal spectrum in fine Alan Jackson-fashion.. Sweetened with buckets of weepy fiddle, Dennis channels Randy Travis on the title cut, with a George Jones end-of-time loving scenario similar to “He Stopped Loving Her Today.” 

 Although  Dennis penned most of the tunes on the release, he chose to lead off with a cover of Dallas Frazier/doodle Owens' "(I'm So) Afraid of Losing You Again," Charlie Pride's second number one hit in  1969. Dennis cover is more countrified than Pride's pop/country version, roughing up the ballad a bit with some weepy, honky-tonk pedal steel, borrowing  George Jones tonsils to  polish it off.    

    His original, “Halo and Horns,” is a mellow country rocker as comfortable as an old saddle, Dennis trotting along a  well worn track that still rocks the jukebox.  “Love The Tired Out of You” could be big deal for Dennis, the kind of sneak up on you  hit that wont get out of your head,  a song along anthem that should be a juke box staple for any cowboy looking to lasso his soon to be beloved or just his beloved for the evening.

     This is  big league material, proof that Dennis deserves another at-bat in the big show.  

     

 

Music Reviewer - Grant Britt
Grant Britt ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) has been writing about music since the earth cooled a while back. A staff writer for No Depression, his work also appears in BluesMusic Mag and the Greensboro News and Record

 

To Read All of Grant B's Reviews, Click Here

 

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