Dominic Gaudious – The Dominic Didgeridoo Express

Dominic Gaudious – The Dominic Didgeridoo Express
Dominic Gaudious has established himself over the years as being a highly talented and eclectic musician, known for his guitar prowess ranging from new age to rock and about every main drag and side road in between. Dominic is also very well-versed in playing the exotic Australian didgeridoo, often playing both the “didge” and guitar at the same time. While this latest release is not the first time Dominic has brought the didge to a higher prominence in one of his recordings, he does push the songwriting envelope even further here than he has done in the past. “Wild Man” for example has some absolutely smoking guitar riffs interspersed with various tonal pyrotechnics on the didge. Dominic delves into various world music in songs such as “Italy To France,” “Rubber Tree”  and “Northern Territory” although other world embellishments subtly appear in many of the songs. There is definitely a more rock vibe that permeates this recording as well, from the psychedelic touches in “Hippie Dance Music” to the gritty drive of “Adrenal Fatigue.” Despite Dominic mostly being known for instrumental work, the CD includes vocal songs with Michelle Amato from Yanni and Kelly Keeling from the band Baton Rouge, two noted guests who have contributed their talents. The guest list does not stop there however. Legendary session drummer Gregg Bissonette drives the beats on most of the tracks, with Stu Hamm (Joe Satriani), Dave Weiner (Steve Vai), and Tony Franklin (The Firm) all lending their prodigious musicianship on many of the tunes as well. Dominic shows us something more with this CD drawn his deep pool of talents. This is a recording created by someone with an extreme passion for music who loves what he is doing right now – a gift to his loyal fans and a refreshing new experience to those who may not be familiar with the musical talent of Dominic Gaudious.  – MW

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Irinushka – Roads Travelled

Irinushka – Roads Travelled
Sometimes the term “singer-songwriter” provokes a certain image of what the voice should sound like, particular for female performers. The voice of Australian born Irina Kuzminsky stuns you immediately with the wonderful intensity created by her unique operatic voice. It is a good type of stunning, because the music she creates stands on its own merit beyond the uniqueness of bringing an opera-tinged voice to folksy music. It does blend very well with the Celtic influences, with songs such as “Genie In the Bottle” and “A Kept Woman” really getting deep into your soul. She also interjects a bit of spoken word at times, adding to the intrigue of the songs. The music portrays lush landscapes and soothing pastorals, finding a way to caress the words in a way that really enhances the enjoyment in a sort of new age vein. The stories Irina conveys come from the heart and life experiences, told in a poetic way that entices the listener to actually experience what she went through, not merely listening to what happened. Vibrant, mesmerizing and emotive, this is a lovely musical effort that touches you in so many ways that it will leave an impression on you long after the note of the last song “I Listen to The Silence” fades into silence.- MW


Sex With Strangers – You Know Something We Don’t

Sex With Strangers – You Know Something We Don’t
When a band is labeled as “dance rock”, you have a certain idea of what to expect. DO NOT expect that from this Vancouver, BC group, who defies specific labels with this innovative, ear-opening latest release. Yes, it has a sort of drive and rhythm you can dance to, but there is this gritty rock edge that adds subtleties of industrial, punk, alt and synth-pop driving a machine where the listenability nearly trumps the danceability. When you can hear influences as diverse as the B-52’s, Ministry, Bowie, Portishead and Radiohead, but none so prominent that they are riding coattails, you have something special. And while some of the production tends toward a prodigious use of effects, there is still this feel that the songs are recorded live, with a exuberant feeling that really moves you. These are also very talented musicians, and the lyrics are edgy and thought-provoking. Sex With Strangers has that sound that just makes you feel that they can hit the music world like a nuclear fueled steamroller, and if you are caught it its path, watch out. You will want to hold on for dear life on what will be an intense, but viscerally enjoyable ride.


Carmen Grillo – A Different World

Carmen Grillo – A Different World
Veteran guitarist, producer and sideman Carmen Grillo continues on  his solo career with an excellent sophomore effort. Known for his days with the legendary Tower of Power and Sons of Camplin, Carmen’s six string prowess is more than obvious. The music he creates is a vibrant blend of rock, blues, jazz, funk and other styles creating a lip smacking stew of delectable music. His vocal work is also stellar, with just the right touch of bluesy emotion and barrel house rasp to add further spice to the songs. “Come and Gone” kicks the CD into overdrive with a horn-fueled fusion foot-stomper. “Nature of the Beast” has a swamp rock feel that really snags you with its down and dirty hooks. “Sad State Of Affairs” shows that Carmen can handle heart-wrenching blues both just the right touch of emotion. Several wonderful instrumentals such as “Prototype” and  “Transatlantic Boogie” display not only Carmen’s guitar capabilities, but the excellent chops of his fellow players as well. Anyone who is a fan of various avenues of jazz-rock fusion that Tower of Power and similar bands were famous for will no doubt wear this disc out as the songs are the type you will want to listen to over and over again.


Gann Brewer – Peddlers & Ghosts

Gann Brewer – Peddlers & Ghosts
So much world-weary experience and folksy story telling capabilities and you would think it would have come from one of the veteran singer-songwriters out there. Surprisingly “Peddlers & Ghosts” is only the second CD from Mississippi born Gann Brewer, who not only already seems to have a full lifetime of stories to craft songs around, but knows how to convey his stories in incredibly honest fashion. You can think anyone from Woody Guthrie to Townes Van Zandt to Hank Sr. when you hear Gann’s emotions pouring forth; from the tongue-in-cheek humor of “Dogrunner” to the soul-bearing pain of “Bad, Bad Tennessee” and the subtle uplifting joy of “You Make Me Fly.” This is simple music, too, with acoustic guitar and a few other musical embellishments that help enhance the songs, but allow Gann’s hauntingly nuanced vocal intensity and heart-touching stories shine through. When I compared him to the likes of Guthrie, Van Zandt and Williams Sr, I was not being hyperbolic in the least. To be compared to those legends, you have to have something special in my book, and Gann definitely has that. Singer-Songwriter is such an overused and often glutted and misunderstood genre, but Gann shows what the purest form of singer-songwriters are capable of in wonderful fashion that can make you laugh, cry, or just sit and nod in pathos appreciation at various times. – MW