December 2017

August Burns Red Ring In the Holidays With Last Christmas

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

Two-time Grammy nominees, August Burns Red, are excited to kick off the holiday season with their reimagined version of the classic Christmas song by Wham!, Last Christmas. August Burns Red have made a highly-anticipated annual tradition of releasing Christmas covers, with last year's being, What Child Is This? (Greensleeves), and the beloved Home Alone theme song the year prior.

Bassist Dustin Davidson from the band explains, “ This year I sat down with the intention of writing something upbeat, melodic, and shredtastic. When we decided to cover Last Christmas I kept in mind that most people only know the chorus of the song. We didn't want to recreate something word for word, or note by note, so I took the main hook and built a bunch of original ideas around it. The lyrics to Wham's Last Christmas are very sad, so if you're feeling lonely this holiday season, I hope this cover finds you well .”

This week, August Burns Red were announced as nominees for the 60th Annual GRAMMY Awards in the Best Metal Performance category for their song, Invisible Enemy, taken from the band's latest full-length album, Phantom Anthem. This marks the second Grammy nod for Lancaster, PA's August Burns Red, as they were nominated in the same category in the 58th GRAMMY Awards for their song, Identity, from 2015's, Found In Far Away Places.

Stony Plain Records Signs Acclaimed Roots/Guitarist/Singer Sue Foley

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada
Photo Credit Scott Doubt

Stony Plain Records announces the signing of acclaimed roots guitarist/singer Sue Foley and will release her label debut CD, The Ice Queen, on March 2, 2018.

Produced by Mike Flanigin, who also plays organ on the new disc, The Ice Queen was recorded at Firestation Studios in San Marcos, Texas. Joining Sue Foley as special guests is a trio of legendary Texas guitarslingers – Jimmie Vaughan, Z.Z.Top’s Billy F Gibbons and Charlie Sexton - as well as a host of other Lone Star State all-stars, including Chris “Whipper” Layton (formerly of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble) and George Rains (drums), Derek O’Brien (guitar), Chris Maresh and Billy Horton (bass) and The Texas Horns: John Mills, Al Gomez, Jimmy Shortell, Randy Zimmerman and Mark “Kaz” Kazanoff.

“I’m extremely excited to be working with Holger Petersen and Stony Plain Records,” Sue Foley says about the new CD. “Holger is one of the most knowledgeable ‘real music’ people in the business. Stony Plain is known to put out great music and I know The Ice Queen has found her home.”

Kevin Fisher Beer Me

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Submitted by Pamela Bellmore

The dozen songs on Kevin Fisher’s debut 'Beer Me' have outstanding confidence in the way they come across despite being clearly comical in nature. He’s recruited a first-class cast of collaborators to bring the music to life and they come through on each of the twelve cuts with hard-edged gravitas that acts as a counterbalance of sorts to the comedic elements Fisher brings to bear through the words and vocal delivery. His extensive experience writing successfully for acts like Uncle Kracker and Sara Evans proves he can write every kind of tune you would imagine and it’s freeing to hear Fisher take the listener through twelve essentially silly songs without a moment of self-consciousness and just reveling in the moment. Beer Me is a fun ride from the start and we’re in good hands from the first song with an album that has no audible lulls.

Kelly McGrath O Holy Night

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Submitted by Laura Dodero

The wont of popular music performers to produce seasonal material celebrating the Christmas season is a tradition reaching back several decades and, typically, works as a ploy to print money by preying on people’s sentiments. Some offerings strike us as self-consciously crafted confections playing on popular tropes, but there are some efforts that come along each year notable for their musical creativity and unbridled honesty. Kelly McGrath’s latest single “O Holy Night” joins the ranks of the latter thanks to its pure-hearted theatricality that highlights the scale of McGrath’s vocal talents and the wise arrangement she chooses to move this tune along. Rather than tossing a bunch of needless musical tinsel onto the recording, McGrath chooses to take a much more minimalist approach certain to connect with audiences and the sparse musical accompaniment adorning the song is expertly applied and doesn’t betray even a hint of self-indulgence.

Jonathan Cavier Blue Room Remix

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Submitted by Jason Hillenburg

Jonathan Cavier’s 2017 album Blue Room will likely finish out the year surrounded by the same atmosphere greeting its initial release – as one of the year’s best all-around effort regardless of genre. This likelihood, however, doesn’t persuade Cavier to stand pat. Great albums are never finished, only released, and Cavier has opted for revisiting his album in collaboration with engineer Nico Essig for a full remix that casts his sophomore effort in a different light through adding previously unreleased songs, reworking his already fine vocals, and twisting the overall sound in another direction. Essig, with a CV including artists Katy Perry and Paul McCartney, has wreathed Cavier’s material in a robust and thoroughly modern sound that accentuates his musical and vocal strengths. The new material doesn’t upset the original album’s balance but, instead, ratchets up the intensity of the release and allows different sides of Cavier’s musical character to get their day in the sun.