Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Creed brings reunion "Full Circle" tour to DVD

Photo credit: Donna Marshall

Fans of multi-platinum power rockers Creed are in for a special treat this holiday season as CREED LIVE, the first-ever DVD from one of the most successful bands of the past decade, hits stores and all major online retailers on Dec. 8, 2009, the day after its nationwide theatrical screening in movie theaters.

CREED LIVE, captured during the band's recent "Full Circle" reunion tour, includes every favorite track from the band, including "Higher," "My Sacrifice," "With Arms Wide Open" and "Bullets" plus new songs such as the powerful "Overcome" and "A Thousand Faces" from Full Circle, the band's first studio effort in seven years. The DVD also includes a revealing documentary that follows Creed throughout the "Full Circle" tour with exclusive band interviews and behind-the-scenes, and a photo gallery with more than 100 photos from the summer 2009 trek.

To preview clips of CREED LIVE, go to or

Monday, November 16, 2009

Joe Bonamassa gets it right

This review was originally posted on the Orange County Register's Soundcheck Blog on Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2009. I took the photo seen here at the show that night.

Joe Bonamassa impresses at The Coach House

Back in February, increasingly acclaimed singer-guitarist Joe Bonamassa released the seventh and strongest album of his burgeoning career, the aptly-titled The Ballad of John Henry.

Featuring a mix of slow, soulful blues (a version of Tom Waits' "Jockey Full of Bourbon," his own "Happier Times"), classic-sounding British blues-rock ("Feelin' Good," "The Great Flood"), the disc's dozen tracks explore the struggles and contributions of real-life working-class heroes.

But performing before a fervent, capacity crowd on Tuesday night, Nov. 10, 2009 at The Coach House in San Juan Capistrano, Bonamassa was another kind of hero altogether - the consummate guitar hero - who gave those everyday Joes he profiles on his latest studio effort a two-hour breather from the uncertain times that have marked the latter half of this decade.

Anyone who has seen Bonamassa, 32, knows the Upstate New York native can shred on six strings. Watching his 15-song performance on Tuesday, it was clear his approach is about much more than the speed and number of notes he played - it's about his bond with the guitar and his band, as well as the emotional depths he reaches with his music.

Kicking off this first of two Coach House gigs by belting his latest title track, Bonamassa's powerful vocals at times recalled Bad Company frontman Paul Rodgers, showcasing just how many skills this long-gestating new star has in his impressive sonic arsenal. And no matter the song, Bonamassa's fretwork lent artful shading to his arrangements.

Although Bonamassa generally let his music making do the talking, he did take a break in the set to note that Nov. 10 marked the 20th anniversary of his first professional show (he has been playing guitar since age 5). He and his band - bassist Carmine Rojas, keyboardist Rick Melick and incredible drummer Bogie Bowles - celebrated the occasion with memorable performances of some of his greatest material, including the fast rocker "Lonesome Road Blues" (akin to primo Eric Clapton) and the beautiful "Happier Times," during which his vocals took center stage.

Whether in a club or outdoors at a festival, something magnetic happens when Bonamassa steps to the front of the stage, leans his head back and simply lets loose. Now that the virtuoso guitarist has teamed that astonishing gift with his vocals and songcraft, best watch out - he might finally get recognized as the next Stevie Ray Vaughan after all.

Shawn Jones, a Southern California-based singer-songwriter-guitarist, displayed many of the same instincts as Bonamassa throughout his 45-minute performance. Armed with an authentic, emotive voice, Jones used every verse, chorus and guitar break to share real feeling with the receptive crowd. His eight-song set here was highlighted by the Delta blues-ish "Glorybound," an upbeat and crowd-pleasing "I Can't Help Myself" and a beautiful ballad titled "Heaven's Daughter" that showcased his dazzling guitar playing and strong vocals.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Reprise Records to release re-mastered Neil Young classics

Reprise Records to release re-mastered versions of Neil Young's classic first four solo albums on Nov. 23, 2009

Nov. 6, 2009 - As part of its ongoing Archives reissue campaign with legendary singer-songwriter Neil Young, Reprise Records will release re-mastered versions of the first four of Young's classic solo albums, 1969's Neil Young and Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, 1970's After the Gold Rush and 1972's Harvest. These very special reissues, which will be available on Nov. 23, have each been re-mastered from the original analog master tapes by Chris Bellman at Bernie Grundman Mastering Studios in Hollywood, CA.

The albums are being reissued on both vinyl and compact disc.

For more information on these releases, visit or

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

'The Village' celebrates music of Greenwich Village

Today marks the official release date for an exciting and eclectic release from 429 Records.
"The Village - A Celebration of the Music of Greenwich Village" features a number of acclaimed artists who might not typically perform together, but whose collective talents are the perfect fit on this fascinating compilation disc.
The 13 songs on the disc are a celebration of the early-mid 1960s, when the Greenwich Village area of New York City was suddenly the center of a "musical, political and social evolution" that gave birth to a movement that stretched from the Big Apple (Bob Dylan) to Orange County, California (Tim Buckley). The artists who emerged out of this scene created groundbreaking folk music that gave voice to a young generation grappling with everything from the Vietnam War to the civil rights movement.
Fast forward to 2009 and more than a dozen artists pay musical tribute with renditions of popular songs of the day, as well as traditional gems that captured the youthful spirit of those turbulent times. Many compilations have a great song or two, with the others worth nothing more than a single listen. Not "The Village." This collection is especially strong, with Rickie Lee Jones kicking things off with a funky "Subterranean Homesick Blues" that is loose and infectious. Lucinda Williams also tackles a Bob Dylan classic, but her emotive delivery of "Positively 4th Street" is hushed and haunting.
Anyone who wonders whatever happened to Sixpence None the Richer will hear that the appeal of the reunited group is intact. Covering the traditional "Wayfaring Stranger," singer Leigh Nash's beautiful soprano floats over an artfully-arranged soundscape highlighted by Matt Slocum's wonderful guitar work.
Shelby Lynne also tackles a Dylan classic, using her strong vocal and a simple backdrop of guitars in "Don't Think Twice It's Alright." Other highlights on this ambitous collection include John Oates Americana-styled "He Was a Friend of Mine," Los Lobos' "Guantanamera," and Rachael Yamagata's "Both Sides Now."
Priced at only $11.99 at, I really recommend this set to everyone who is a fan of folk music, the '60s music scene or any of the artists featured on the collection.

The Bravery delivers in energetic show at House of Blues

This article was first posted on the Orange County Register Web site on Monday, Nov. 2, 2009.

The Bravery preview new songs at vibrant Mouse House show

While the Bravery may continue to sound like a hybrid born out of early Cure and War-era U2, the quintet's strong concert on Sunday night (Nov. 1) at House of Blues Anaheim was certainly no tribute act.

Under the charismatic leadership of singer Sam Endicott, the group's thrilling 70-minute show celebrated the New York band's blend of post-punk, new-wave and alt rock with 18 songs pulled from the past as well as its coming release, Stir the Blood, a self-described angry album due Dec. 1, 2009.

The Bravery had several things going in its favor at the Mouse House: a large and enthusiastic crowd in tune with the outfit's approach plus a set list showcasing the band's songwriting and live skills at their best.

Whether performing its best-known material ("Unconditional," "Believe," "An Honest Mistake," "The Ocean") or new songs ("I Have Seen the Future," "Jack O' Lantern Man"), the Bravery's cohesive sound blended with artful projections of lights and films shown behind and over them. Endicott, lead guitarist Michael Zakarin, bassist Mike Hindert, drummer Anthony Burulcich and keyboardist John Conway didn't use the visuals so they could scale back their own musical attack, but rather to enhance the show.

Among the strong new sneak peeks in the mix were "Slow Poison," bolstered by both a driving dance beat and a layered guitar sound (Zakarin used a violin bow to play his electric guitar, evoking Sigur Ros), and "Red Hands and White Knuckles," which Endicott described as his love song to New York City.

The Bravery has a potent one-two attack with a lineup that features both a commanding lead singer and a skillful lead guitarist. Endicott used his outgoing personality and striking vocals to lead the proceedings with Zakarin fitting in comfortably nearby, before suddenly unleashing memorable fretwork that provided extra zing throughout the set.

A true bonus for those who caught the Bravery on Sunday night was the inclusion of two strong opening acts. Although the Dustys and Living Things each performed for only about 30 minutes, both acts made the most of their brief turns. The former, from Arlington, Va., recall England's Doves, offering up alluring indie-rock; the latter, out of St. Louis, creates retro rock that's an unlikely sonic cross between the Ramones and '70s Rolling Stones, punched up by raw, in-your-face lyrics.