Saturday, July 22, 2017

Evan Michaels - "Ain't No Stopping This" - EP Review


Not that there is anything wrong with "Ain't No Stopping This," it's a genuine six song EP in the Texas/Red Dirt genre. But the EP, produced by Stillwater, OK singer/songwriter Evan Michaels and his keyboard player (Andrew) Bair, somehow isn't inciting enough to light a fire. Their current radio single "Bet On A Backroad," sounds too much like Nashville Bro-Country song with all its cliches forefront and is currently bubbling right outside the Top 100 of the Texas Regional Radio Report and can't be found in the CDX Traction Texas Chart. This is songwriting lite, I normally don't expect from great Red Dirt music.

I bet it's on a backroad
In the middle of nowhere
We take the shortcuts
to get us there

I love the idea behind "Too Big For The Both Of Us" which stipulates that a relationship may only survive in a small town as it is predestined to fail in the big city. But the contemporary, almost Nashville-like arrangement kills that song for me. A nice change of rhythm, with a jingle-jangly feel, gives us the mid-tempo reflection of an ex-girlfriend; but "Like It Should" seems like it was copied out of Reckless Kelly's songbook.

The only outstanding track is the opener and title song "Ain't No Stopping This" with a great Chris-LeDoux feel to it. Even though knowing that an encounter is doomed from the beginning, there is nothing that can stop it from happening. Temptation is bigger than reason.

As to "Must Have Been Drinking" and "Tomorrow Today," there are some good approaches, but in the end, both songs fail to grab me. Most likely, even after multiple listens, because nothing new is offered. The arrangements sound like run-of-the-mill country-rock fare a 70s cover band would cover.

With just one song really grasping my attention it will be difficult for Evan Michaels to really stand out from an ever increasing crowd of Red Dirt singer/songwriters and bands. There are some great ideas on this EP, but better songwriting and having an own sound are recommended. This six sampler still sounds as he would be trying to find his own self, lyrical-wise as well as musically - I miss an edge that sets Evan Michaels apart from the mediocrity that now seems to sweep through the Texas/Red Dirt scene. As to Evan's voice, it's pleasant and strong enough to sing hits. Unfortunately, there are some blocks on the road, and his way to the top may take a little longer than he wished for with "Ain't No Stopping This."

★★(★)/★★★★★ (2 ½ out of 5)


Sources: RPR Media, evanmichaaelsmusic.com

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Queen Of Soul - Aretha Franklin - Retires


Aretha Franklin calls it quits, well kinda. The almost 75 year old (in March) Queen of Soul, will only perform select shows about once a month. Still in the works though, a new album to be released later this year. In a phone interview with Detroit TV station "WDIV Local 4" Aretha told the news  "I will be recording, but this will be my last year in concert. This is it."

She also shared that Stevie Wonder will be producing her quite versatile new, not yet titled album:   "Of course, several of the songs are going to be produced by Stevie," she said. "There's only one Stevie, right?"

Singer Aretha Franklin: 'I am retiring this year' after release of new album

Currently touring on her 2014 release "ARETHA FRANKLIN SINGS THE GREAT DIVA CLASSICS," that has quite a modern pop/R&B feel to it, the collaboration with Stevie Wonder hopefully lets her shine in a more "old school" way.

Celebrating a secular career that is over 56 years old, if you include her gospel album from 1956 a career that is in its 7th decade. Her early releases on Columbia got her mostly Top Thirty Hits in the R&B Charts, only after switching to Atlantic in 1967 began her star to illuminate many. By the end of that year with big hits like the Otis Redding penned "Respect," Don Covay's "Chain Of Fools" and the self-written "Baby I Love You" she was crowned the Queen of Soul.

In 1967 she had another Top Ten Hit with the Gerry Goffin and Carole King co-write "Natural Woman," a song Aretha sang in 2015 to Carol King as she was bestowed the Kennedy Center Honors, a prize Ms. Franklin herself received as well in 1994. David Remnick, editor of the New Yorker and many others - including President Obama, who had to squish a tear - were so taken by her powerful version, that in a later portrait about Ms. Franklin, titled "Soul Survivor" he built his article around that performance. But watch for yourself.



And who could forget her performance as Mrs. Murphy in the 1980 "Blues Brothers" movie with her own composition "Think," a song she originally published in 1968 from her "ARETHA NOW" album. For the movie they recorded a longer version with a sax-riff by Blues Brothers band member, Lou Marini with backing vocals by Elwood & Jake, as well as Aretha's sisters.



Sources: Local 4 Detroit, The New Yorker, Aretha Franklin's webpage

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Moby - Rare 360° Live Video - Lost In The World


When Moby came out with his new album "These Systems Are Failing" in October and had the single "Are You Lost In The World Like Me" released with a brilliant video, I wrote about it, here in a MMM - Music Blog "Moby - Lost In The World."

I also mentioned, that on October 23rd, he will have his only live performance of the year at his own vegan charity event, Circle V at the Fonda Teatre in Los Angeles benefiting animal rights organisation "Mercy For Animals." From that show he now released a rare 360° live video of his current single. (move your mouse to change the viewing angle.)



Kinda ironic (if you stay on the concert goers in the video) on how they use their smart phones to "capture the action." Not sure, if they actually got the true message of the song in its video.

Sources: Video (YouTube), Image - Moby at Decibel Festival 5 in 2013 (moby.com)

Blog originally released on Niume (12/03/16) - Moby - Rare 360° Live Video - Lost In The World