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Album Review: Shining On By Ron Littlejohn & The Funk Embassy

Album Review: Shining On By Ron Littlejohn & The Funk Embassy

Nov 11, 2013

Fans of funk pay attention, Toronto and Montreal’s funk and soul greats Ron Littlejohn & The Funk Embassy have released a full-length album, Shining On. This is an album that will get you up and moving, but tracks like “Shining On” and “Seems Like Yesterday” are emotional and unique. The songs really draw you in. According to Littlejohn and the band, the album was inspired by the Golden Age of 70s music, when so many timeless songs were written by wonderful artists. Shining On is diverse, and it’s no wonder since the album was inspired by so many of the greats including Stevie Wonder, Curtis Mayfield, Al Green, Isaac Hayes, Rolling Stones, Herbie Hancock, James Brown, John Lennon, Sly & The Family Stone, Little Richard,  Muddy Waters, and Marvin Gaye. About the inspiration for the title track “Shining On”, Ron says, “When I was about to become a father, some friends actually became resentful at the idea of me having new priorities. This hurt me like a bitch. I wrote this song to my unborn daughter trying to tell her no matter how mean the bastards get, keep on shining. I think it’s the best song I’ve ever written. So I thank those negative folks for the inspiration.” Ron Littlejohn & the Funk Embassy is a funk collective founded by main songwriters Thierry Matrat and Ron Littlejohn. The project features Ron Littlejohn on vocals, Thierry Matrat on keyboards, Alana Bridgewater on vocals, Olivier Babaz on bass, Joe Hackl on guitar, Moise Matey on percussion, Dwight Chase on drums, and many other talented musicians contributing to individual tracks. Listen on Bandcamp: https://funkembassy.bandcamp.com/ Listen on SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/funk-embassy       Ron Littlejohn & The Funk Embassy – Shining On ( HQ Music Video )      ...

Bear Creek Music and Art Festival

Bear Creek Music and Art Festival

Nov 4, 2013

This time of year is perfect. The leaves are changing, the weather is beautiful, and the Bear Creek Music and Art Festival is almost here. This year’s lineup is impressive, and Bear Creekers will not be disappointed. Starting on Wednesday, November 13, a benefit concert for the Michael A’s Children’s Fund will kick off the festival. Each night will have a costume theme with Friday being “Warm and Fuzzy: Get Your Inner Animal On“, Saturday being “Space Is The Place…Sun Ra Afro Power Freak Dance Royal Funk Theme“, and Sunday being “The Color Purple“. I know I can’t wait to hear some good music with some good people and enjoy the beautiful Spirit of Suwanne Music Park. All Bear Creek Music and Art Festival weekend tickets include primitive camping. The Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park is over 700 acres of spacious and shaded camping areas. Primitive camping is on a first come, first served system. There is plenty of room for your car at your campsite. (Photo credit: Groovelive; Shea Jarman)   Click HERE for tickets. Click HERE to donate to the Michael A’s Children’s Fund. Lineup By Day Wednesday, November 13 Freddy’s Finest ArtOfficial Toubab Krewe The Revivalists The New Mastersounds Thursday, November 14 FSU Blues Band Jason Lamar and the Rig Ron Haynes Gamechangers Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes The Malah Brownout Space Capone Kung Fu Pimps of Joytime Toubab Krewe The Motet The New Mastersounds Friday, November 15 Profit Ron Haynes Gamechangers Flow Tribe Greenhouse Lounge Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes Jennifer Hartswick Band The Malah Brownout Monophonics Space Capone The Werks Toubab Krewe The Revivalists Kung Fu Pimps of Joytime Robert Walter’s 20th Congress The Motet Lee Fields and the Expressions Antibalas Zach Deputy Bonobo Live Band Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe Galactic Saturday, November 16 Lucky Costello The Resolvers Chris McCarty and the Underground Movement Sounduo Suenalo Cope Ghost Owl The Nth Power Mike Dillon Band Robert Walter’s 20th Congress Bernie Worrell Orchestra George Porter’s Runnin Pardners Dopapod Chali 2’Na and the House of Vibe The New Mastersounds Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe Galactic Dumpstaphunk Bootsy Collins and the Funk Unity Band The Roots Bear Creek All-Stars featuring Lettuce...

Album Review: The Remedy By Keyser Soze

Album Review: The Remedy By Keyser Soze

Oct 2, 2013

By Lindsey Jo Hand Being a lover of reggae and ska, it’s hard not to enjoy The Remedy by Keyser Soze. Yes, that’s Keyser Soze the band, not to be confused with the maniacal Keyser Soze of The Usual Suspects. The album is energetic and everything you could want in a reggae/ska album. The songs are distinct and original, but stay true to the genres. What truly makes the album so interesting is that it’s not strictly reggae, ska, or soul. The Remedy imposes elements of each sound blending the best of ska, reggae, and soul. The band’s strong jazz background also comes through making The Remedy quite unique and incredibly enjoyable to listen to from start to finish. Also a real treat is Chris Williams on the trumpet whose sound is solid, smooth, and strong, especially on songs such as “Soul Ska” and “Happy Ending”. To put the cherry on top, the album features many guest artists including The Aggrolites‘ Roger Rivas and the incomparable Lauren Nagel, formerly of The Soul Captives. From Reno, Nevada, Keyser Soze was formed in 1998 by Jammal Tarkington and Rodney Teague, and their sound is evident of a band that has been writing and playing together for a considerable amount of time. The sextet has made a strong presence for themselves by regular regional touring and by being in the position to share the stage with some impressive headliners including Michael Franti, The English Beat, The Wailers, The Aggrolites, Steel Pulse, and The Skatalites. The band completed its inaugural tour of Europe in May and June of 2013, where they established a strong presence and plan to return on an annual basis. In the meantime, singles and videos from The Remedy will be released and touring will continue throughout North America. Members/Instruments: Jammal Tarkington – lead & backing vocals, saxophones Rodney Teague – lead & backing vocals, trombone Chris Williams – trumpet Ryan Hall – guitar, electronics Mike Mayhall – bass Jon Hall – drums                     Official Website: www.keysersozeband.com ReverbNation: www.reverbnation.com/keysersoze Facebook: www.facebook.com/keysersoze101 Twitter: @keysersozeska “Catch Your Breath” Official Video Collosseum Music Pub–Full Live Concert      ...

Fevers – No Room For Light

Fevers – No Room For Light

Sep 26, 2013

‘FEVERS’ RISE WITH THEIR DEBUT RELEASE NO ROOM FOR LIGHT OUT AUGUST 27, 2013     POP Montreal Show September 27th Launch New Video ‘Pray For Sound’   FIRST SINGLE DANCE CRY DANCE OUT NOW “Ottawa natives Fevers embraces new disco and displays a youthful exuberance that will have you oscillating wildly on the dance floor…” Shawconnect.ca “The tight five-piece band from Ottawa packs a whalloping punch of indie-electro-dance-pop that should turn any bar into a whirling, frenzied, sweaty dance party. Think along the lines of Mother Mother mixed with Metric with some Yeah Yeah Yeahs thrown in to balance everything out…” Thelittleredumbrella.com     Ottawa, ON – September 17, 2013 – FEVERS are ready to get our temperatures rising this year with the release of their debut LP No Room For Light. The album dropped August 27th in Canada, the US and Europe and is available online, in stores and side stage. A few days shy of the release, the band celebrated in Ottawa with their take on a 24-hour fever on August 23rd. These 24 hours saw the band playing a variety of shows in their hometown from an acoustic set (Mugshots Bar), followed by an all-night party with a DJ Set by FEVERS and special guest DJ’s (Mugshots Bar), and a full electric show at Mavericks on the Saturday. Following the launch of the album, FEVERS debuted the video for ‘Pray For Sound’ on AUX.tv, directed by their long time collaborator, Shooter McNally.   Produced in Ottawa and Toronto by acclaimed producer Laurence Currie (Sloan, Wintersleep, Hey Rosetta!), No Room For Light is an exciting follow-up to the electro-indie-rock band’s first EP, Passion Is Dead. The debut full length features 11 new songs penned by FEVERS and opens with Autumn’s Dead, a beautiful sparse intro featuring Sarah Bradley’s powerful vocals, and piano building up to their electro pop sound with driving drums and synth. The album also features the first single Dance Cry Dance, and catchy electro tunes that are sure to get you moving on the dance floor such as ENFP and Pray For Sound.   Since the bands’ inception in 2011 they have covered some serious ground with media...

Album Review: Arc & Stones’ Self-titled Debut Album

Album Review: Arc & Stones’ Self-titled Debut Album

Sep 12, 2013

By Lindsey Jo Hand Arc & Stones‘ self-titled debut album is quite impressive, especially considering the band has only been together for about a year. The album has a solid, interesting sound that will appeal to most indie rock fans. I think they have a pretty unique sound, but if I had to compare them to anyone I would say their overall sound is like a mix between Kings of Leon and Kenny Wayne Shepard. Dan Pellarin, the lead vocalist, has an incredibly clear and strong voice that exudes emotion and passion. His range and vocal talent is comparable to that of Chris Robinson or Caleb Followill.  A few of the songs on the album like “Say Goodbye” and “Let Me Down” have a hint of piano, which contrasts but blends nicely with the heavy guitar and solid drums. The lyrics are heartfelt and will appeal to true music lovers who value songs with meaning. This is the kind of album perfect for driving down the highway with your windows down and volume up. The only gripe I have about this album is it’s too short, but luckily, Arc & Stones are already getting ready to record a new album, which is being crowdfunded. Arc & Stones hail from New York, and while meeting in 2010 in college, have only been together as a band since 2012. Over the past six months, the band has created quite a buzz and is even currently on a national tour in support of their self-titled debut album and three music videos. Honestly, most bands have to work for years to get their sound as sophisticated as Arc & Stones’, and I suspect we’ll be hearing a lot more from them. Interested in contributing to Arc & Stones 2nd Album? Click here. Listen to Arc & Stones here on SoundCloud. Members/Instruments: Eddy Bays – Bass Guitar Ben Cramer – Lead Guitar Joey Doino – Drums Dan Pellarin – Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar Tour Dates: 09/27/2013: 7 – 7:45 pm, H. Ric Luhrs Performing Arts Center,  Shippensburg, PA w/KANSAS 09/28/2013: 7 – 7:45 pm, The Royal Palace Theatre, Roanoke Rapids, NC w/KANSAS 10/25/2013: 7-10:30 pm, Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown,...

Album Review: SPEAK Deluxe by Marla Mase

Album Review: SPEAK Deluxe by Marla Mase

Aug 13, 2013

by Lindsey Jo Hand I have to admit, upon first listening to Marla Mase’s new album SPEAK Deluxe, I wasn’t sure what to think. There’s a lot going on, and it’s a lot to take in. Probably most impressive and endearing about the album is Mase’s passion and raw energy. These days, it’s hard to find a female performer who stays true to her artistic integrity, and there is no question that with SPEAK Deluxe, Marla Mase is saying exactly what she needs and wants to say. With tracks like “AnnaRexia”, “Scream”, and “Kill Love”, this is an album that makes a statement and is the quintessential album for feminists and human rights activists. With that said, SPEAK Deluxe isn’t something I would normally find myself listening to on a daily basis. Marla is backed by the Tomás Doncker Band, which is the best aspect of this album. The sound is a mix of funk, punk, R&B, rock, and even some reggae. It’s solid and gets you up and moving. However, Mase’s vocals are lacking and at times irritating. She has a strong, guttural voice, but it gets old quickly. Although each song is provocative and meaningful, the lyrics are at times a bit simplistic and unimaginative. While SPEAK Deluxe isn’t really my style, I have to give Marla Mase some credit. Through her music, she clearly aims to educate and encourage women to embrace and love who we are and not fall prey to the pressures mainstream media have put on us to have the perfect face and perfect body. “AnnaRexia” , the one reggae track on SPEAK Deluxe featuring Garrison Hawk, is spearheading the StayImperfect Project or Love Your Butt Campaign, which Marla created to empower women to love themselves and their bodies. Proceeds from “AnnaRexia” go towards Project HEAL, a nonprofit founded by two teenage eating disorder survivors, that raises funds for girls whose families cannot afford to send them to treatment. To learn more about Marla Mase click here. To listen to SPEAK Deluxe on ReverbNation, click here.  ...