May 2018

Jake Allen: Deviant Motions

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Submitted by Mitchell Sauls

Who looks like a young Ralph Macchio and sings like a cross between Richard Marx and Christopher Cross? Who rocks harder than guitarist Andy McKee and puts you in the same headspace as Aphex Twin or Air?

The answer: Michigan’s Jake Allen.

Okay, those comparisons are a bit unfair, as Allen is truly in a world of his own. In a good way. Allen’s album, Deviant Motions, is a likeable blend of pop-rock, acoustic guitar and glossy musical waves. There are 14 tracks on the album, and while it’s heavy on quantity, Allen’s quality holds up to the challenge.

Starting off the album is “The Picture.” It’s an interesting choice to come out of the gate, but nonetheless a wise decision. Even if you were to stumble across this song, you will be grabbed by its cool layering and ethereal/progressive rock mood. Allen’s voice is really likeable and is radio-friendly. You can understand what he’s singing about, and he’s dreamy.

The second track “Bridges” has a bit of a stutter-step start. You’re ready to get going, and the music bed is still building up its momentum. Allen really belts it out in this song – I imagine him writing this while overlooking Lake Superior or even Lake Huron. He makes you feel like you’re part of something. I suppose this would be a great track one, but I’m glad it’s in the top three.

Rory Block Debuts New "Power Women of the Blues" Album Series with Bessie Smith Tribute

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

Five-time Blues Music Award winner Rory Block will debut her new "Power Women of the Blues" album series with the July 6 release of A Woman's Soul, a dynamic new CD tribute to the legendary Bessie Smith, on Stony Plain Records.

"Power Women of the Blues is a project that has been simmering in my imagination for 54 years," Rory says. "It has been my longstanding mission to identify, celebrate and honor the early founders-men and women of the blues. This series is dedicated to the music of some of my all-time favorite iconic female blues artists, many of whom were shrouded in mystery during the sixties blues revival, while the recordings of others had simply disappeared."

Rory Block first heard Bessie Smith's life-changing voice in 1964 as a teenager living in New York City. "Filled with grit and incredible vocal prowess, it was the ultimate soulful wail," she recalls. "'I'm wild about his turnip tops, I like the way he warms my chops, and I can't do without my kitchen man …Stay away from my door Mr. Landlord, 'cause I'm down in the dumps!... That's the reason I, got those weepin' willow blues.' So compelling, so honest, so rich with meaning and information about the female soul."

Parker Longbough: Left On Tri

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Submitted by James Olsen

Left On Tri, by Parker Longbough, is the new album on Wilderhood Music, featuring the songwriting of former Uncle Jesse band member Matthew Witthoeft. After leaving that band, he began to perform with various band members under the name Parker Longbough. And the name sticks as is, and the third album has culminated into the best collection of songs PL have recorded to date. There's no denying the chops Witthoeft, from Alaska possesses and these songs are all living proof of his talents. The songs on Left On Tri were written in an Alaskan cabin, which no secret is made of when you hear them.

"RNC 2000"
hits home with any current or former college student any day of the week, making it a must hear for students as much or more as anyone else. But it's easy to relate to if you're educated enough to follow the wisdom and wit of Witthoeft which often goes into some country flavor to mix it up with the other forms of music he sings over.

The lyrics get more attention-worthy on the next track, " Jack Ryan" and you start to see what gas Parker Longbough are cooking with. If you like stories of stars and cocaine, this suits the bill just fine with a track to commemorate it with some deep curiosity covered.

Jake Allen: Deviant Motions

Jake Allen.jpg

Submitted by Mitchell Sauls

Who looks like a young Ralph Macchio and sings like a cross between Richard Marx and Christopher Cross? Who rocks harder than guitarist Andy McKee and puts you in the same headspace as Aphex Twin or Air?

The answer: Michigan's Jake Allen.

Okay, those comparisons are a bit unfair, as Allen is truly in a world of his own. In a good way. Allen's album, Deviant Motions, is a likable blend of pop-rock, acoustic guitar and glossy musical waves. There are 14 tracks on the album, and while it's heavy on quantity, Allen's quality holds up to the challenge.

Starting off the album is "The Picture." It's an interesting choice to come out of the gate, but nonetheless a wise decision. Even if you were to stumble across this song, you will be grabbed by its cool layering and ethereal/progressive rock mood. Allen's voice is really likable and is radio-friendly. You can understand what he's singing about, and he's dreamy.

The second track "Bridges" has a bit of a stutter-step start. You're ready to get going, and the music bed is still building up its momentum. Allen really belts it out in this song - I imagine him writing this while overlooking Lake Superior or even Lake Huron. He makes you feel like you're part of something. I suppose this would be a great track one, but I'm glad it's in the top three.

Leona's Sister Is All Grown Up

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 Submitted By Lenny Stoute

Music is this organic thing which doesn't necessarily need permission or even encouragement to evolve. Check the opus of artists like Eric Satie, John Coltrane, Miles Davis or Brian Eno and you can almost hear passages evolving as they go, eventually tumbling into the mainstream, therein to exert another set of evolutionary influences. Nor is it confined to elite artists. It can happen to any music and any music makers.

In the case of Toronto's Leona's Sister, the initial evolution was from a bluesy, Seventies hard rock style, more riff-oriented to a more inclusive retro rock sound. It was originally formed as a recording project created in 1998 by vocalist/songwriter JT and bassist Barry (Bazman) Twohig, the intent being to get JT's original lyrics put to music and recorded. With a few friends, she went into Studio92 and recorded the first CD, Almost Alive. In 1999, the project developed into a more regular pattern and the band Leona's Sister was started. More songs, new players, another visit to Studio92 and the second CD, Out Of The Basement, was born. Things were looking up and the revolving door of players had stopped to let off a reliable core. Then early in the spring of 1999, JT was struck by falling ice and hospitalized. This brought the band side of the project to a screeching halt but she continued to write songs.