World Church Unites – Maker Of The Heavens

World Church Unites – Maker Of The Heavens
Ever since Marty Paris shifted his musical talents from the secular world to praising God with his music, you can tell he reaches into the furthest depths of his passion when he writes songs. His latest effort “Maker Of The Heavens” under the praise band moniker World Church Unites exemplifies those passions on wonderful fashion, with reverent, touching songs that also carry a subtle potency. Joining Marty once again is long time cohort Parker Sipes, another secular musician impassioned by a higher calling. Amber-Lee Garcia adds further vocal intensity and reverence to the music. From the first strains of “It Is Finished” you can tell where the songwriters’ hearts are at, as the harmonic potency goes straight to your soul. “Spirit Breath” is a bit mellower, kissed by luscious piano passages, but infused with the power of Amber-Lee’s vocals. You are also treated to a wonderful reworking of Marty’s earlier hit “To Be Saved.” Any fans of praise artists such as Chris Tomlin and Matt Redman will no doubt thoroughly enjoy the unbridled soul bearing love that pours out from this music, but there is more to this CD than just the music itself.  “Love Eternally” ends the CD showcasing Marty’s vocal prowess with a sort of quiet dignity, before his spoken words explain how this latest music effort was created to uphold the very noble cause of Third World Vision, a non-profit foundation striving to bring clean water technologies to the impoverished areas of the globe. Those who donate to this cause will receive a free physical copy of this album. Beautiful music created with reverent passion and the ability to help those less fortunate definitely helps to exemplify what true worship music is all about. – MW
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7 Miles To Pittsburgh

7 Miles to Pittsburgh
A67/Bertus/Suburban
Something very potent is brewing in the Netherlands. Elegy bassist Martin Helmantel and Komatsu guitarist Joris Lindner enlisted sonic rock vocalist Andrew Elt, known from his days with Atlantic recording artists Sleeze Beez and indie acts The Moon and Gin On The Rocks, to write some evocative tunes. Collectively called 7 Miles To Pittsburgh, this exciting music will hit you with the force of a nuclear-fueled Saturn V. “Same Size” kicks off the disc with an edgy fire that screams “power trio” in a very fervent fashion. “Earth Dance” has a heady juxtaposition of gritty crunch and melodic flourishes. Even the mellow songs seethe with power – or in the case of “Lost And Found” – will blow away any preconceived notions you have about the term “power ballad.” “Grams” is the mellowest track, but it is intriguingly catchy, soothing, and intense. The music has an overall progressive feel with touches of grunge, blues, and just good old hard rock. Andrew’s voice is in excellent form, still possessing the powerful pyrotechnics from his aforementioned bands, adeptly conveying all lyrics as thought-provoking to topical to home-spun. Joris pulls double-duty on the CD, tearing loose with his prodigious guitar chops (anyone who misses REAL guitar soloing needs to hear this guy) as he joins Martin to drive the tornadic rhythm machine. This is an excellent marriage of songwriting prowess, vocal and musical talent. And there is an obvious unbridled passion to create music that pushes the envelope, yet can still have a comfortingly familiar element to it. Hopefully, we will hear much more from these musicians in the near future. – MW

 

Review Capsules by Mark Waterbury

Michael Packer – “I Am The Blues” My Story Vol. 3
IMG Records
A bright light in the blues chandelier burned out in May when Michael Packer lost his tenacious fight with cancer. He left behind an incredible musical legacy, punctuated by this excellent final collection. Introducing each track with a verbal story of what inspired the track, Michael’s perspectives translate wonderfully into songs with influential ranges from bare bones blues to hip-hop, country to jazz. This final gift is a wonderful reminder of how talented Michael is and how much his activism-fueled blues will be missed.
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Gerry Spehar – I Hold Gravity
Before going into a non-music profession, Gerry Spehar opened for the likes of Merle Haggard, Townes Van Zandt, and Boz Scaggs. Now, once again, turning his passion to music, it is obvious that Gerry has drawn influences from those legends while still pouring his own heart and soul into his writing. Twisting in a subtle portion of blues along with a road-map of Americana vibes, this is a delectable, ear-opening journey of music that is rootsy, gritty, powerful yet soothing. With the rebirth of more roots-oriented country, Gerry has picked the perfect time to make a comeback – and his love for music obviously never left him.

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Mike Younger – Little Folks Like You And Me

Mike Younger – Little Folks Like You And Me
With his fourth album, Mike Younger proves why he is highly respected as a singer-songwriter and performer. Mike never holds back on unleashing his talents and passions, weaving his heady blend of roots folk, country, blues, and Americana into songs that touch your soul and grip you with their subtle intensity. From the haunting croon of “Poisoned Rivers” to the potent honky tonk kick of “Never Was A Dancer,” Mike’s versatile, emotive voice tells life-brimming stories that are both enjoyable and thought-provoking. He can snarl at you with the gutsy rock edge of “Walk In The Mud” or coerce a lump in your throat with “How To Tell A Friend Goodby.” As Nashville finally heads back to its roots, you would have to think that would bode well for Mike Younger, a not yet hugely famous hard-working songsmith who really deserves to have wider spread attention to his wonderful music. – MW

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Capsule Reviews by Mark E. Waterbury

Davis Coen – These Things Shall Pass
Soundview – SP1008
Veteran Mississippi blues songsmith Davis Coen casts his heart and soul wide open on this latest effort. The entire CD is spiritual music, mixing classic Gospel songs with more contemporary covers as well as his originals. The result is no less than phenomenal on all levels, especially the sparkling fervency of Davis’s vocals. The music is a bit bare-bones, but still features excellent musicianship and is the perfect augmentation for the words. Like an old fashioned Sunday that you can experience any time.
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Hurricane Ruth – Ain’t Ready For The Grave
Not only is veteran blues belter Hurricane Ruth not ready for the grave, she could get the dead dancing in their coffins. She cannot do the blues without unleashing every ounce of passion she has, whether kicking fat-chorded rockers into gear or jolting a ballad with her searing croon. Backed by top notch blues and country sidemen, Ruth not only reminds you of what the blues are all about, she makes sure you never forget it. Trust me, you will NOT want to forget it after just one listen.
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Bobby Messano – Bad Movie
The Prince Frog Record Company – BM1-41517
Bobby Messano is another blues rock veteran who keeps finding inventive ways to keep writing blistering entertaining songs. Perhaps it is his lyric writing that can be highly thought-provoking even when he is stick close to typical blues subjects. His uniquely powerful vocal warble intertwined with lighting-bolt guitar work and earth-shattering rhythms drives the words right into your soul. His potency even extends to the ballads.
Better strap in when you listen to this one.
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Vin Mott – Quit The Woman For The Blues
Blind Racoon
With his first solo effort, blues harmonica maestro Vin Mott shows he will be a force to be reckoned with. With a surprisingly full sound for a quartet, the music sprinkles bits of country and jazz over the stoic traditional blues backdrop. The lyrics are quirky and sometimes caustically humorous, but what you really come to hear is Vin’s harp work and it is wickedly delectable. Somewhere in the afterlife, Frank Frost, Junior Wells, and Paul Butterfield are having a jam session listening to this guy.
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Thorbjørn Risager & The Black Tornado- Change My Game
Ruf Records – RUF1240
This Danish singer/guitarist proves again that you don’t have to live in the U,S, to live and breath American blues. With his latest effort, Thorbjørn and his talented cohorts rip through a road map of styles from haunting Delta scorchers to heartland rockers and neon jazz-fueled fusion, with other tasty twists and turns. Along with the musical mosaic, Thorbjørn’s powerfully soulful growl will blow you away.
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Jack Spann – Beautiful Man from Mars
Big Boo Music – AZ51701
New York vocalist/keyboardist Jack Spann is carving his own unique perspective on music. Simultaneously understated and intense, you feel vestiges of Pink Floyd, Bowie with a waft of the quirkier side of the Beatles, and even a touch of Vaudeville. His talents are on full display and while you could call this progressive rock, it stretches the envelope enough to really avoid being pigeon-holed. If you enjoy music that can mesmerize you, grasp your soul, get you dancing or laughing at various instances…in other words, if you have an open mind, this is right up your alley.
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Jared Tyler – Dirt On My Hands
The third solo record from longtime side-man and Dobro player Jared Tyler is another wonderful showcase of his musical tastes and talents. Entwining various tendrils of country with touches of blue, jam and Americana, Jared leaves a trail of thoughtful words, vocals dripping with emotion and non-pretentious, but, nonetheless, stunning musical prowess. Juxtaposing classic and modern styles, this Okie is another artist more than ready to tear through the mainstream country maelstrom.
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Vintage #18 – Grit
You need to go a million miles with this new band from Virginia. I say that as the first three songs on the debut of this blues/R&B/funk act are solid, but the eight-plus-minute power blues ballad “Million Miles” really lets loose and tells you how good these folks are. They are not reinventing the wheel, but they find their own comfortable niche and the result is songs that have a serious pulse, avoiding an overblown sound in favor of subtle intensities from all the players. Keep an ear out for them
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By musicmorsels Posted in Music

Jackie Brown Band – Life’s A Party 

Milwaukee’s Jackie Brown is honing her talents and it is very obvious with her new release. The six new tracks and remixed versions of her debut EP display some seriously entertaining music, toeing the country/rock line, but with much more depth. The title track is a hard-punching rocker melded with touches of reggae and hip-hop, definitely backing up the song’s title. “Crae Crae” has a nice folksy groove with a subtle potency, and “Time Wasted” cuts loose with a funky, country-blues grit. Jackie can handle ballads with emotive grace, as she does in the powerful “With Out You.” I previously stated that Jackie’s robust, bluesy voice reminds me somewhat of Bonnie Raitt, and while I still feel that way, she has so many vocal pyrotechnics with stunning control that are undeniably in her own style. The songwriting is sharp both lyrically and musically, and the veteran Cream City players in the band are top notch. Jackie is still young, and if her early works are any indication, she is definitely going to be a force to be reckoned with. – MW
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Sara Petite – Road Less Traveled

Many male purveyors of country music are getting back to their roots lately, and if the latest release by San Diego’s Sara Petite is any indication, the women in country music have something to say about their roots, too. The fun and sassy title track gets the party started and it doesn’t end throughout the twelve tracks. Sara is like an encyclopedia of classic country styles, as she flows effortlessly from the haunting west Texas groove of “Blackbird” and the hooky pop edged “It Was Just A Kiss” to the emotive ballad “Getting Over You.” “Monkey On My Back” starts off with a traditional swing style before kicking into a high-octane honky-tonk foot-stomper. Sara has no problems letting the talented players on this CD showcase their capabilities, particularly in the over-nine-minute jam fueled “Sweet Pea Patch” – yes, you heard that right, a NINE MINUTE country song, but it really kicks throughout! Not lost at all is Sara’s knack for great storytelling that is both homey and thought-provoking. Check out tunes like “Patchwork Quilt” and “Good 2 B Me” if you want to really experience her talents in this regard. Sara is a Plains tornado of fresh air in the country scene and  lovers of any era of country really need to check her out.  – MW
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Mark McKinney – World In Between

Mark McKinney – World In Between
Mark McKinney has been slugging it out in the Texas country music scene for years. With this his fifth recording, he proves he can duke it out with anything Nashville has to offer. He shows his meddle by staying away from the typified sound, and obviously putting his heart and soul into his music. He is a storyteller first and foremost, following the trails blazed years ago by Waylon, Willie, and Johnny, eventually resurrected by Chris Stapleton and others. His music does have a certain catchiness, but is also a bit edgy and walks that Americana/country barbed-wire tight rope with musical poise. Songs like the snappy “Bacon & Eggs,” potent ballad “Yours,” and heartland grooving “Monday” showcase the various subtle edges of of his songwriting envelope, pushed adeptly to present his heart-felt, intelligent stories. McKinney exhibits excellent vocal pitch and control throughout, not trying to do anything that may detract from the words, but still catching your ear with the emotive timbres. A track like “Rainy Day Monday” is a good showcase of his vocal capabilities. Mark McKinney could be another of those (yes, I know it sounds cliche), but another of those storytellers that offers Nashville an opportunity to travel back to the good old days when the music had more of a raw feel to it, before everything became so glossy and corporatized. – MW
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Capsule Reviews by Mark E. Waterbury

Dave Fields – Unleashed
FMI Records
Highly regarded blues guitarist Dave Fields rips loose a masterful collection of live tracks, originals, and cover songs in this excellent release. Dave’s arsenal of talents is on full display here, from the jazzy licks of “Anticipating You” to the gut-busting barrelhouse romp of “My Mama’s Got The Blues” to his explosively unique take on “Hey Joe.” Featuring a who’s who of talented musical partners in crime, this is a must if you are a fan of Dave’s, and a phenomenal introduction if you have not experienced his guitar and vocal prowess yet. 
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John Ginty feat. Aster Pheonyx – Rockers
American Showplace Music
John Ginty is highly respected for his sublime organ work with artists ranging from the Dixie Chicks to Santana to Robert Randolph. After releasing several solo CDs, he enlisted fellow New Jerseyan Aster Pheonyx for his latest project. They are definitely rockers…with flourishes of blues and funk, but mostly this is a smoking mesh of John’s potent keyboard licks and Aster’s sultry vocals. Even the mellower songs have intensity and the “rockers” flat out blister. Hopefully, these two will decide to do more musical collaborations as the chemistry is positively electric. 
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Joe Goodkin – Record of Loss
Quell Records – QR-1011
Chicago’s Joe Goodkin is making serious efforts to redefine “singer-songwriter.” With a mesmerizing voice and delectable guitarwork from his uniquely tuned 1960’s era Gibson, Joe clutches at your heart and soul from the first strains. Mostly bare-bones but also full-sounding, the music is hypnotic and entices you to experience his emotive stories. As the middle child of a three EP set, “Record Of Loss” is stunningly beautiful and undeniably real. 
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Peter Karp – Alabama Town
Rose Cottage Records
Veteran singer-songwriter multi-instrumentalist Peter Karp has never forgotten his roots.  His eighth CD takes you back to his home state of Alabama weaving the homespun tales and varied musical styles into a wonderful Americana mosaic. The overall vibe explores various tendrils of the blues, but also wanders into paths of jazz, bounce, country, and good ol’ rock and roll. Featuring many prominent guests including long time cohort Mick Taylor, this CD is a songwriters and blues lovers’ delight.
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Kathy and the Kilowatts – Let’s Do This Thing
Lectro Fine Records – 022017
Some musicians from music mecca Austin, TX feel they have to be eclectic for eclecticism’s sake. Kathy Murray draws from her Texas roots, and unleashes a rocking blues machine that is both comforting in its simplicity and ear-catching due to the talent and passion fused into it. Not ground-breaking, but done very well, this music just feels Texas real – as real as a pasture of long horn steers or the star on a Dallas Cowboys helmet. Kathy’s robust vocal croon and the wicked guitar pyrotechnics of her husband Bill “Monster” Jones make music that is entertainment in its purest form. 
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David M’ore – Passion, Soul & Fire
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Those three words that mark the third release of Argentina-born blues artist David M’ore are not mere hyperbole. From the first blistering guitar licks and the emotive chortles of his throaty voice, you know he possesses all three. He is also unafraid to be a bit unique with his songwriting, particularly with the microcosmic ten minute “You Said You Love Me” showcasing his deep talent well. David definitely feels “it” – that particular “it” that true masters of the blues always feel, and when he feels “it” he slams the throttles forward and doesn’t let go. 
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Patty Reese – Let In The Sun
Azalea City Recordings – ACCD-1602
If any place should personify the blues at anytime, it should be Washington DC. Patty Reese though would personify the blues if she lived on the moon, because she obviously lives, breathes, and sweats it. From traditional back porch stompers to rollicking funk-fueled neon-splashed dancers, Patty lets loose, gracing every track with her provocative vocal power and heart-felt storytelling. Her music will grasp you and not let you go from start to finish…but you won’t want to go as all the songs are strong and enjoyable in their own ways. 
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Capsule Reviews by Mark E. Waterbury

Popa Chubby – The Catfish
PCP – 54321
A lot of people rock the blues, but if you want it bold, brash, and loud, you know that NYC’s Popa Chubby never disappoints. His latest scorcher throws even serious power into the ballads and, hey, he tributes Motorhead – let that sink in, Clarksdale, MS. But those who know big Popa’s music and love it, know that they will get fiery guitar riffs, gut-busting vocals, power rhythms and whole new round of in-your-face stories. Not much more to say except Popa kicks it in the tail with a steel-pointed boot again.
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Telamor – Good Bad Love
Olex Music
If you took say Tom Petty, Jello Biafra, and Keith Richards, and spun them around in one of those cylindrical carnival rides, you could get Telamor. Telamor is the actual creation of one Tom Hauck, and this is pretty fresh sounds from this Massachusetts singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist. A bit raw at times, but that adds to the vibe with driving hooks twisted by snakes of snarling guitar edginess and piercing gripping vocals. Could be something really intriguing brewing here.
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Wick – Wick
This San Diego band packs a serious amount of power into this five song EP. With elements of post-grunge, hard rock and, in some cases, flat out metal, there are plenty of raging guitars, thunderstorm rhythms and – thankfully – mostly melodic albeit sonic vocals instead of the too typical growling voices. The music is a bit retro, but in a good way because you know these guys are just saying, “to hell with it, we just want to rock really hard”. Sometimes that is enough and it surely is here.
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