So tell me folks, do believe the end of the world is about to happen, really?
Many folks are doing a whole bunch of scare tactics and sadly following last weeks tragic school shooting, people have been threatening that there's going to be further school shootings ... What is wrong with people?!
If you do believe the world is going to end, think smart, spend that time with your family ...
If you don't believe it's going to end, 'hey' it's that time of year folks ..., so why not spend it with family!
We all work way too much and just don't give our families enough attention, as it's Christmas, why not make a change folks and love the ones you're with, because even if the world ISN'T going to end soon, someone's life may be ending soon and you and I just don't know it yet ... So seriously, love those that you care about, I do and I will!
OK, soap box session over folks!
I hope to bring further news updates and more reviews before the end of the year, but clearly it's got so crazy lately I just don't know how my days are going to go ... Sorry.
This updates consists of some I've just received, plus some from last week that I didn't get to post, that I thought you may still be interested in ...
If I don't though and I seriously hope that is not the case, have a fantastic Christmas and holiday time off!
Merry Christmas whether or not I update the site again or not!
Heaven + Earth - Something New!
Stuart told his days are just so busy - Boy, can I relate to that mate! - but the album is recorded but it is now in the mixing process!
Stuart is really stoked about this release and tells me that there are some serious people involved in supporting this latest version of Heaven and Earth.
I obviously can't give too much away just yet and even more so, I wish I could give you a little insight into some of the music to give a few pointers, but ... I've heard nothing!
I am still small fry in the big scheme of things, but when Stuart tells me that when the album is released early next year, the band have got people behind them that come from the camps of both Aerosmith and Bon Jovi, so those that have heard some of the music are certainly behind Stuart Smith's latest Heaven and Earth project.
Read on ... I just cannot wait to hear the album or even just one song!
Spirits are halfway between God and man. They are envoys and interpreters that ply between Heaven and Earth, flying upward with our worship… and descending with heavenly answer… they merge both sides into one great whole… ~Plato
Taking up from where iconic bands like Deep Purple and Bad Company have left off, Heaven & Earth is on a mission to resurrect the sanctity of classic rock to its purist, most accessible form. Heaven & Earth fuses elements of hard rock, blues, even bits of classical, to create a potent blend of high-powered anthems, melodic rockers and introspective ballads that evoke the spirit of a magical era.
Tapping into the methodology and madness of old-school rock with a new-school attitude, Heaven & Earth are shaking their classic rock roots down to the very core on their newest effort, 'Dig' (Quarto Valley Records). The album, produced by Dave Jenkins — who’s turned the knobs for everyone from Metallica to Tower of Power — and scheduled for an early 2013 release, features guitarist Stuart Smith, singer Joe Retta, bassist Chuck Wright, drummer Richie Onori and keyboardist Arlan Schierbaum, along with special guests Howard Leese (Heart, Paul Rodgers, Bad Company) and David Paich (Toto).
As the band’s founder and visionary, Smith says Dig is “the best thing I’ve ever done in my life.”
The origins of Heaven & Earth align the guitarist with a rich lineage of rock’s most celebrated musicians. Kelly Hansen (Foreigner), Joe Lynn Turner (Rainbow, Deep Purple, Yngwie Malnsteen) and Kelly Keeling (King Kobra) have all fronted the band at various junctures. Guitarist Richie Sambora (Bon Jovi), singer and bassist Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple, Black Country Communion), and drummer Camine Appice (Vanilla Fudge) have each contributed their extraordinary talents to the music of Heaven & Earth.
Early in his career, Smith distinguished himself by making the acquaintance of Deep Purple’s Ritchie Blackmore, who mentored the up-and-coming musician. “I’m probably one of the few people in the world who grew up with a poster of someone on their wall, ended up meeting them, becoming friends with them, and getting mentored by them,” Smith notes. “I feel I owe everything I do to Ritchie. He taught me a lot about the guitar.”
Heeding Blackmore’s advice, he migrated to New York and after three years jamming around Manhattan and Long Island, headed west to Los Angeles, where he’s been ever since. Smith established himself as an in-demand guitarist in L.A., playing countless sessions and joining up with other British expats like Keith Emerson and Sweet. Around the same time, Heaven & Earth was conceived as a side project, something to cultivate Smith’s creative juices between stints working with others.
A few false starts and random gigs in, he recruited Richie Onori and singer Kelly Hansen to record the first album, 'Heaven & Earth Featuring Stuart Smith.' He also invited along a few heavy friends like Richie Sambora, Joe Lynn Turner, Glenn Hughes, Camine Appice, Howard Leese, Chuck Wright, Arlan Schierbaum, Robbie Wykoff and many more to appear on the record.
'Windows to the World,' produced by Howard Leese, followed in 2000 and featured Onori, Wright, Schierbaum and singer Kelly Keeling. Four years later, when Smith and Onori started their own label, Black Star Records, to reissue the first Heaven & Earth CD, they recorded a four-song EP called 'A Taste of Heaven' with Paul Shortino handling the vocals.
Joe Retta entered the picture when he joined Sweet in 2008. “I wanted to write and record new music and so did Stuart,” the singer recalls. “We discovered eventually that Sweet did not.”
Smith adds, “After touring with him in Sweet and recording with him in the studio, there was no other choice. Everyone else was second best.”
In the summer of 2012, the guitarist tendered his resignation to Sweet bassist Steve Priest and set out to mold Heaven & Earth into a world-class recording and touring band. Having Retta, Onori, Wright and Schierbaum committed and on board, Smith says Heaven & Earth is now a “real band,” ready to unleash its unique brand of classic rock upon an unsuspecting public.
'Dig' is very much a collaborative effort. Quarto Valley Records has been integral in allowing the band to develop and nurture the album without pressure.
“We are incredibly lucky to have Quarto Valley Records president, Bruce Quarto behind this project,” Smith says. “He told us from the very beginning that he didn’t care how long it took or how much it cost. If we come out of the studio and feel we could have done better, he wants us to go back in and do it again. We’ve been able to take our time crafting the songs. It’s very rare to have that kind of support and belief in what you’re doing.”
A good portion of the music on 'Dig' was brought to the band by Smith. He came up with riffs and the band worked up songs as Retta wrote vocal melodies and lyrics. On one occasion, Smith and Retta went on a hike and discussed the idea of putting together a song in the vein of a Rainbow classic co-written by their friend Ronnie James Dio (RIP).
“We both played at his memorial service,” Smith recalls. “I thought we needed a song like ‘Long Live Rock N’ Roll.’ But instead of saying society hasn’t saved me, the church hasn’t saved me, school hasn’t saved me, religion and politics haven’t saved me… rock and roll has. So we wrote a song called ‘Rock ‘n Roll Does.’ That was a turning point of the album.”
The music just kept coming. Smith might throw out a title or a concept for Retta to run with, or the singer might have an idea to develop on his own. Or they may turn to the other band members for input — especially Wright, whom Smith describes as a “great part writer.” The bassist, who has held down the bottom end for Quiet Riot for the past decade concurs, “Stuart brought in a riff that had a real Middle Eastern flavor, and I jumped right in with a lot of parts that basically rounded out the song.”
That song is “Victorious,” one of the more intense and heavier tracks on 'Dig' — mightily driven by a surly, dominant guitar line, magnificently sustained by Schierbaum’s inimitable swipes at the keys. “He’s the most amazing Hammond player I’ve ever seen in my life,” Smith raves. Quite an impressive endorsement from someone who was in a band with Keith Emerson.
Where does the inspiration come for such an epic piece? Retta says “Victorious” was originally called “Arabia.” He and Smith decided the lyrics should appeal to a wider audience, so they went back to the drawing board and recast the song. “The music feels violent to me,” the singer explains. “The ‘Arabia’ version gave me visions of men at war on horseback in the desert. It was already about battle. So a transition to the pre-battle scenario that you hear now is more natural.”
According to Smith, when work began on 'Dig,' he had just gone through a nasty breakup, which set a dark tone for the first few tunes. “Back In Anger,” “No Money No Love” and “I Don’t Know What Love Is Anymore” all reflect the emotions the guitarist was experiencing.
As work progressed, Smith’s mood started to lighten, which affected the direction of the music. For the final number, the uplifting “Live As One,” a choir was added to sweeten the melody, ending the record on an extremely high and positive note.
Dark to light, hair-raising rockers to intense ballads and all things in between — Smith believes the diversity of material on 'Dig' is inherent even in the Heaven & Earth moniker. “I think it sums up the music,” he says.
“'Dig' is very different from the first album I was involved with,” Wright adds. “That first album was more of a Stuart Smith solo record. This one is truly a band effort.”
All the backing tracks on 'Dig' were recorded at Ocean Studios in Burbank, California, and all the overdubs were done at the band’s own Wine Cellar Studios in Woodland Hills, California. To further refine the record’s sonic reach, Jenkins used a Closed Loop Analog Signal Processor (CLASP), a device that integrates real analog tape recording into digital tools like Pro Tools to create a warm and vintage sound. Both Van Halen and Aerosmith enlisted a CLASP on their most recent albums.
In the same tradition, Heaven & Earth brought in photographer/creative director Glen Wexler to create the cover art for 'Dig.' Wexler has shot and designed over 300 album covers, including records by Van Halen, Black Sabbath and ZZ Top. He’s also directing the music videos for 'Dig,' planned for release in January 2013.
The future has never looked brighter for Heaven & Earth. After years of stopping and starting, adjusting and shifting, Smith feels his time has come. “Everything sort of fell into place for this — the songs, the players, even the old-school approach to recording. I couldn’t be more excited.”
Heaven + Earth are:
CLASSIC POP ROCKERS PLAYER TO RELEASE FIRST NEW ALBUM IN NEARLY 20 YEARS: "TOO MANY REASONS" DUE OUT IN NORTH AMERICA FEBRUARY 26TH VIA
(New York, NY) - Frontiers Records is proud to announce the return of classic pop rockers, Player. The band will release its first new album in nearly 20 years with TOO MANY REASONS due out in North America on February 26th. TOO MANY REASONS, written and produced by Peter Beckett, features twelve brand new tracks, as well as a new acoustic version of the band's chart-topping smash hit radio staple, "Baby Come Back."
Founding member/bassist Ronn Moss commented, "It's wonderful to have our new music out in the world again. Our sound, our vocals, are stronger than they've ever been. I also believe there's a huge market waiting for this kind of music, a market in which lyric and strong melody are still valued."
Founding member Peter Beckett added, "I am very happy that Player is on the Frontiers label, it feels like we have found a home again. I am also thrilled with the way the CD turned out. There's a little bit of everything on there, rock, r&b, pop ballads...something for everyone."
Please see below for the track listing for TOO MANY REASONS.
Photo left-to-right: Peter Beckett, Ronn Moss
Photo credit: Devin DeVasquez-Moss
Player was formed in 1977 when Englishman Peter Beckett met J.C. Crowley at a Hollywood party. Beckett had come to the United States after the demise of his popular English band Paladin.
The band was completed by Ronn and John Friesen and the four became the founding members. After many rehearsals and songwriting sessions, Player was born. In 1978, the band had an international number one hit with first single "Baby Come Back", which was co-written by Beckett and J.C. Crowley and sung by Beckett.
The first album entitled simply PLAYER went platinum and the band toured extensively, including support stints with Boz Scaggs, Eric Clapton, Heart and Kenny Loggins, consistently playing to sold out arena audiences. Four albums followed spawning four more hit singles, including "This Time I'm In It For Love", which reached number eleven on Billboard's chart. Player "redux" consists of founding members Peter Beckett (guitars/lead vocals/keyboards) and Ronn Moss (bass/lead vocals).
Peter Beckett has written hit songs for such artists as Heart, Olivia Newton-John, Kenny Rogers, The Temptations, Poco, Janet Jackson, The Commodores, Cliff Richards, Survivor, Grace Slick, and most recently Vanessa Hudgens.
He has numerous movie credits as artist, producer and/or writer, including "The Karate Kid", "Two of a Kind", "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure", "Major League", "St Elmo's Fire" (Grammy nomination), "Frankie and Johnny", "Rock Star", "Terminator 3", "Basic Instinct", "Beyond Borders", "Life or Something Like It", "Dirty Dancing 2", and "Transformers".
From 1989-1997, Peter was a featured member of Little River Band and has written several singles for them.
Since the mid '80s, Ronn Moss has also gained worldwide stardom with his other career: 25 years as Ridge Forrester, the male lead in the CBS television series "The Bold And The Beautiful," a role from which Moss recently elected to depart to allow him time to devote to Player and other film and TV roles. "B&B" consistently ranked as the most watched television series in the world, averaging more than 26 million viewers per day, and garnered more than 500,000 Twitter followers for Moss. He has also appeared in numerous feature films and television commercials, and took second place on the Italian version of "Dancing With The Stars".
TOO MANY REASONS track listing:
1. Man On Fire
3. I Will
4. Tell Me
5. The Sins Of Yesterday
6. My Addiction
7. Too May Reasons
8. To The Extreme
9. The Words You Say
10. Life In Color
11. A Part Of Me
12. Nothin' Like You
13. Baby Come Back
For more information, please visit:
ASIA forced to cancel 30th Anniversary UK Tour
Supergroup ASIA, featuring the original line-up of Geoff Downes (keyboards), Steve Howe (guitar), Carl Palmer (drums) and John Wetton (Lead Vocal, bass), were recently forced to cancel their 30th Anniversary UK Tour due to drummer Carl Palmer being struck down with a severe case of E. coli.
Tickets are refundable from the point of purchase.
The cancelled dates were as follows:
Already passed dates - Sorry! - Late with this update ...
Tavistock The Wharf (Dec 15)
Holmfirth Picturedrome (Dec 16)
Edinburgh Queen’s Hall (Dec 17)
Salisbury City Hall (Dec 19)
Previously planned - Now cancelled:
Birmingham Town Hall (Dec 20)
Manchester Royal Northern College of Music (Dec 21)
London o2 Shepherds Bush Empire (Dec 22)
Get well soon Carl, loved the show here in Detroit at the beginning of last month.
Review link of that show here:
“Symphonic” is not a proper new album, but rather a selection of tracks taken from JORN’s previous studio releases, which have been carefully selected by the Norwegian singer himself and painstakingly remixed in order to add a grandiose classical orchestra arrangement to the existing Hard Rock structure.
“I hope you will enjoy the album and maybe you will even rediscover some songs you had forgotten…” concludes Jorn.
“Symphonic” tracklisting includes:
I Came To Rock; Rock And Roll Children; The World I See; Burn Your Flame; Man Of The Dark; My Road; Time To Be King; Black Morning; Like Stone In Water; Vision Eyes; War Of The World; Behind The Clown; A Thousand Cuts; The Mob Rules.
Tune in at www.frontiers.it/webradio
INTERNATIONAL POWERHOUSE ROCK GROUP W.E.T.
TO RELEASE SOPHOMORE ALBUM "RISE UP" IN NORTH AMERICA FEBRUARY 26TH VIA FRONTIERS RECORDS
(New York, NY) Frontiers Records is excited to announce the release of the new studio album from international rock group W.E.T.; their sophomore effort RISE UP will hit streets in North America on February 26th. W.E.T. is the union (and corresponding acronym) of some of the world's most accomplished musicians. W.E.T. is Robert Säll ("W" = the keyboardist/guitarist from Swedish melodic rockers Work of Art), Erik Mårtensson ("E" = from Swedish pop-metallers Eclipse; Mårtensson plays guitars, bass, keyboards and lends vocals) and Jeff Scott Soto ("T" = from Talisman, the highly-celebrated American vocalist, also known for his work with Yngwie Malmsteen, Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Journey), along with members Magnus Henriksson (guitars) and Robban Bäck (drums), also from Eclipse. W.E.T.'s self-titled debut album in 2009 was one of the rare occasions when a band created by the vision of Frontiers Records President/Founder Serafino Perugino managed to create such a wave of enthusiasm and interest from fans and the media alike that it went beyond the band's own expectations.
Jeff Scott Soto commented, "To me this album sounds more like a band versus the first album. The first album was great as it had a lot of great songs, but this one has great songs and a band personality which shows growth as far as I'm concerned."
Erik Mårtensson added, "We took what we all loved about the first album and built the songwriting and sound from that. We wanted to give the band more of an identity and tried to find 'our' own sound.
I really think we achieved it with this album. It's melodic rock for a new century!"
RISE UP's release will be preceded by the first single from the album, "Learn to Live Again" on December 17th, which features for the first time ever a vocal duet between Mårtensson and Soto.
Video sample here:
The new songs will be showcased live for the first time at a special show at the Debaser club in Stockholm, Sweden on January 17th.
An audio sample of "Learn To Live Again" can be heard here.
RISE UP track listing:
1. Walk Away
2. Learn To Live Again
3. Rise Up
4. Love Heals
5. What You Want
6. The Moment
7. Bad Boy
8. On The Run
9. Broken Wings
11. Still Believe In Us
12. Still Unbroken
For more information, please visit:
A Free Gift From Liberty N' Justice and new CD info
LNJ Records and Roxx Records have joined forces just in time for the holidays to bring you Liberty N' Justice's massive double CD, "The Cigar Chronicles" (26 songs/ over 70 guest artists).
"The Cigar Chronicles" will be the "LAST" all-star CD as LNJ stops being a project band and becomes a real band. With an official release date of 2-26-13, Liberty N' Justice's official website (www.libertynjustice.net), Roxx's online store(http://www.roxxproductions.com), and some online stores will be releasing the CD early. Anyone ordering, LNJ Records and Roxx Records have joined forces just in time for the holidays to bring you Liberty N' Justice's massive double CD, "The Cigar Chronicles" (26 songs/ over 70 guest artists).
Roxx will all so be selling an exclusive autographed copy for the first 100 purchasers plus a special package with a new Roxx LNJ release "Before The Revolution: Best of LNJ the early years". (http://roxxproductions.storenvy.com/collections/1982-preorders)
Here is what people are already saying about "The Cigar Chronicles" ...
"buying 'The Cigar Chronicle' is a must! It is definitely one of the best albums of 2012! No fillers, all killers!" - Kurt Morgan Skjæringrud, http://www.metal-metropolis.com
"The Cigar Chronicles is one of the musical highpoints of 2012...CRANK IT UP (9 out of 10)" Keven Crothers, White Throne Metal Reviews
"Murr and the LnJ project are going out big (4.5 out of 5)" - Craig Hartranft, DangerDog
"my overall opinion of The Cigar Chronicles is… GET IT… GET IT NOW! This is so good" (5 out of 5) - Tom Johns, Dead To Self Radio
"Best Christian Rock/Metal Album of 2012 -The Cigar Chronicles by Liberty N Justice." - Mark Lewis, Rock Over America
"What we have in the original material is perhaps the best collection of LNJ songs to date (90% originals/80% covers)" - Andrew Rockwell, Angelic Warlord
"must check out for any fan of Hard Rock (8 out of 10)" - Deny, MyGlobalMind
"On his latest musical project, ‘The Cigar Chronicles,’ Justin Murr once again uses his skills to put together an all star cast of musicians and pounds out a collection of 26 both original and cover songs that really rock it out." - C.W. Ross, Let God Rock Your World