Jackie Brown – Reawakened

Jackie Brown – Reawakened
Milwaukee native Jackie Brown has one of those infectious voices that really nails you right out of the gate. Her emotive, often blistering vocal chops reside in company with the great country/blues powerhouses like Janis Joplin and Bonnie Raitt. She is far from one dimensional though, as she effortlessly flows from shaking the house, belting out the lead track “Music Gets Me High,” to the sweet Island-pop tinged “Jealous Fool.” “Bet Me” has a more classic country edge, with simple, honest feelings.  Her talent also extends to the lyric writing, ranging from whimsical storytelling to lively introspection. Her back up band features the cream of the crop of veteran players from the Cream City, including bassist Tim Zylka, guitarist Ben Barels, and drummer Roger Gower Jr. The music they provide is the perfect vehicle for Jackie’s wonderful voice, enhancing her vocals for the most part while flashing their chops in just the right places and doses. When the the EP closes out all to quickly with the delectable ditty “Gotta Love Me Right,” you know you are listening to a lady with limitless potential. – MW


Carmine & Vinny Appice – Drum Wars Live!

Carmine & Vinny Appice – Drum Wars Live!
Rocker Records/Cleopatra Records – B00O2FIKCE
Many rock music fans probably cannot name the drummers of even their favorite bands, but it is doubtful there are many rockers out there who do not know who Carmine & Vinny Appice are. These hard-rocking brothers have bashed the skins for decades, recording and/or touring with such legendary acts as Vanilla Fudge, Black Sabbath. Rod Stewart, Ronnie James Dio, Ozzy, and multiple others. For several years now, the brothers have been touring with their act Drum Wars, playing the most beloved songs from their storied past while thrilling their audiences with both individual and dueling solos. For those who have not seen this act live yet (and if they play in your town, you really need to go!), they have now released a new live CD. The CD a very well done representation where you can actually feel the power behind Carmine and Vinny’s drumming. Backed by their highly talented band of vocalist Jim Crean, guitarist Ethan Brosh and bassist James Caputo, they rip through an hour plus of hard rock standards and thundering solos. Smoke will come out of your speakers when they roar into the lead track of Sabbath’s “The Mob Rules” followed by the first of the “Drum Wars” battles. You will no doubt get dizzy from banging your heads along to songs such as Dio’s “We Rock” and “Holy Diver,” Ozzy’s “Bark At the Moon,” and a heavy rocking version of the classic “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?” which Carmine co-penned with Rod Stewart  And while the songs are great with killer vocal work and musicianship, you are treated to astounding drumming throughout with two “Drum Wars” dueling solos, separate solos by both Carmine and Vinny, and their slamming drum-only version of “The Flinstones” theme song. This concert CD will drive home an understanding of why the Appice brothers have been two of the most sought after drummers in history. And after so many tours, recording projects, clinics, and other performances, they have not skipped a beat and still obviously maintain a high passion for drumming. – MW


Marty Paris – To Be Saved (Single and Video)

Marty Paris – To Be Saved (Single and Video)
CCM recording artist Marty Paris cut his teeth writing, recording and performing with several secular artists including some noted national artists. His musical maturity and talents are showcased on this wonderful effort. Marty obviously has deep passions for his Lord and Creator, as “To Be Saved” practically bursts at the seems with his feelings. His talent shines through even fbrighter in the fact that while his emotion is pouring forth, he does it in a non-pretentious fashion, letting his words of faith and the subtle power of his music caress and comfort the listener. Musically, the song is very strong and stands up to anything CCM artists such as Newsboys, Casting Crowns, and David Crowder can produce. The accompanying video beautifully produced by fellow Christian Ian Maphet at Apologia Productions is done very tastefully with honest, homey imagery that entices the viewer to feel the passion of the song. This is music that gives people hope and we all hope Marty continues to grace us with his inspirational words and music.  – MW


Rocket Scientists – Refuel

Rocket Scientists – Refuel
Think Tank Media
It has been seven years since the last full-length CD by the Rocket Scientists. They gave us a tasty little snack earlier this year with “Supernatural Highways,” but to now say that not only was the wait well worth it and that the new release “Refuel” is a veritable feast of delectable prog rock flavors is not in the very least cliche or hyperbolic, because it is so true. The founding trio of keyboard maestro Erik Norlander, proficiently talented guitarist/vocalist Mark McCrite, and NS/Chapman stick/bass wizard Don Schiff brings their A+ game here, evident in both the songwriting and the musical prowess on display. The title track which is also the lead track explodes with tempered power, a perfect instrumental appetizer for what is to come. “She’s Getting Hysterical,” the first single off the CD has a hooky quality interspersed with edgier passages, with slightly tongue-in-cheek lyrics and wonderful vocals by Mark. “Martial” has a haunting vibe with pulsing rhythms highlighting Don’s talents, while “The World Waits For You” is a mesmerizing and musically intricate ballad. “Galilieo” is space rock at its pinnacle, something Erik has always been highly adept at creating. “It’s Over/Regenerate” is perhaps a microcosm of the astounding capabilities of this band with multiple musical twists and turns that leave you in rapt anticipation of what is around the next bend. Several noted guests add to the flavor of the CD including Erik’s wife – prog “diva” Lana Lane; drummer extraordinaire Gregg Bissonette; and vocal powerhouse Kelly Keeling who lends his skills to the horn section graced “Cheshire Cat Smile.” Rocket Scientists have on every occasion of recording projects proved that they deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as highly regarded prog rock acts such as Spock’s Beard, Dream Theater, and Porcupine Tree. This band has paid their dues and definitely has the talent to back that statement with this highly anticipated new release.   – MW