Friday, April 19, 2019

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: JADE BIRD/JADE BIRD!


JADE BIRD
JADE BIRD
(Glassnote)

4.19.19


The definition of a solo singer/songwriter has gone through many transformations throughout the years. Typically, one might think of a singer/songwriter as a lone troubadour/trobairitz armed with nothing more than an acoustic guitar and a catalog of sensitive, self-penned Folk-influenced songs that he/she is eager to share with their audience. From Woody Guthrie to Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, singer/songwriters were proof that you could converse with your audience through music and teach them something in the process. As music has evolved, we have come to realize that a singer/songwriter cannot be defined by a genre… or an instrument. Thanks to social media, singer/songwriters can reach well beyond their local coffeehouse. From South Korea to North Carolina, anyone with a computer or smart phone can have instant access to musical messages that just might change their lives forever.

Monday, April 15, 2019

REO SPEEDWAGON/The Classic Years (9CDs) reviewed!

REO SPEEDWAGON
THE CLASSIC YEARS (1978-19990)
(Cherry Red Records)

Available NOW!

Back in when I was a teenager, I thought I knew the difference between good and bad music. In my twisted late ‘70s teenage way of thinking, I thought that bands with skinny ties and Rickenbackers were the good guys and bands with moustaches and mullets were messengers of the devil. Yeah, like any 14 or 15 year old, I thought I had a clue. It wasn’t until I was 18 that I realized that I had been wrong about a lot of things – especially music. And since 1981, I’ve tried to make up for my discretions by choosing to search for the lost chord, investigating new artists and styles while revisiting the bands I once scoffed at.  For example, I once thought that AOR (AKA Stadium Rock and/or Melodic Rock) was predictable and repetitious. I thought it was simply rock-by-numbers and that none of those bands could write an original song or riff to save their lives. But then, I took a hard look at the New Wave and Power Pop that I was listening to and realized that many of my favorite bands were at least partially guilty of the same thing. And then I looked at Country, Jazz, Folk and every other genre and was overwhelmed by the fact that what I had initially heard as derivative was actually just updating and carrying the music forward for a new generation. And with that breakthrough in my thought process, I was able to enjoy – and often love – bands like Journey, Foreigner, Survivor and REO Speedwagon. But don't get me wrong - I'm still fully devoted to the Power Pop and New Wave I've loved since 1977. I just like to think that my tastes are much more varied than the casual music fan. OK, I'll admit it - I'm a 'music nerd'. Whatever that is...

BREAKIN' soundtracks revisited and reviewed!

BREAKDANCE and 
BREAKDANCE 2: ELECTRIC BOOGALOO
(Cherry Pop)

Available NOW!



Nobody expected the 1983 motion picture BREAKIN’ to be a hit. At the time, breakdancing was quickly becoming a worldwide craze, rising from the urban neighborhoods and spilling into white-bread suburbia. Since Hollywood always loves to capitalize on current trends, TV commercials suddenly incorporated breakdancing and movies like BREAKIN’ and BEAT STREET (amongst others) were quickly put into production. BREAKIN’ was first out of the gate. The film was a commercial – and financial -success and was followed a year later by BREAKIN’ 2: ELECTRIC BOOGALOO. Highly entertaining some 35 years later, both films were light on plot and acting ability but heavy on music and fun. Regardless of how lightweight the films were, the soundtracks served up a healthy selection of R&B, Soul, and Funk music that was surprisingly light on the more dangerous sounds of Rap/Hip Hop. Regardless, the music introduced young movie goers to a sound and culture that they may not have experienced otherwise. The BREAKIN’ films were like extended versions of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” video – every problem can be solved by a dance-off! And what is wrong with that?

Friday, April 12, 2019

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: JACKIE EVANCHO/THE DEBUT

JACKIE EVANCHO
THE DEBUT

4.12.19



Being a ‘child star’ is a blessing and a curse. Initially, the ‘blessing’ offers the young performer early stardom and adulation. However, the ‘curse’ revolves around the child star growing older and losing their innocent charm. Sadly, the pressures of maintaining your popularity AND experiencing the trials and tribulations of your teenage years and young adulthood is a very difficult task. Some child stars cannot handle the pressure and spend a good portion of their lives drowning in a sea of drugs and alcohol. Thankfully, there are exceptions to the rule and some of those ‘former child stars’ manage to grow older gracefully while staying out of the tabloids. Some of them leave the business while others turn their attention to other aspects of entertainment (directing, writing, etc.). And then there’s Jackie Evancho. Not only has she survived child stardom, she has succeeded beyond all imagination.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

To RECORD STORE DAY, With Love...



RECORD STORE DAY 2019 
is Saturday, April 13th. 

You may not see it written on a calendar or talked about all that much in mainstream media, but Record Store Day is an international holiday. OK, it is not technically a ‘legal’ holiday, but any time that a record store throws a party and invites EVERYONE to attend, that is a day to celebrate! Record stores – and comic book shops for that matter – are places where like-minded people gather together and communicate face to face. They are where friendships are born. They are places we escape to, places where we discover and learn. Record stores are where magic and music unite. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

BILL EVANS/Evans In England - Available April 19th!

BILL EVANS
Evans In England
(Resonance Records)

4.19.19

WES MONTGOMERY/Back On Indiana Avenue: The Carroll DeCamp Recordings


WES MONTGOMERY
Back On Indiana Avenue: 
The Carroll DeCamp Recordings 
(Resonance Records)

4.19.19