Rock or Bust AC/DC
Columbia

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

"Rock or Bust" is ac/dc's first album of new material in six years. But it
was in the mid-70s when the band first appeared on the heavy metal scene.
When I became the editor of hit parader magazine, metal's first print
worshipper, the death of original lead singer, Bon Scott, when "highway to
hell" was released, was a traumatic event. But fortunately, Brian Johnson took bon's place. The lyrics continued to make plain the boys' locker-room conception of sexuality. The band continued as shameless, sexist panderers with Brian’s shrieking depictions of hormonal surges. But it was Angus Young, dressed in shorts, and bringing gargantuan riffs, equipped with thundering musical charges, which swept you up like a riptide. They can still be so raucous and loud on one song, and then break your heart with subtlety and finesse the next. As raw as they are there's a great intelligence and wisdom to the music of ac/dc.

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Stories From the Steeples Mary Black
Blix Street

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

Mary Black is a performer equally at home singing Irish folk tunes and
contemporary music, including blues, rock, jazz, country and soul. There are
songs on "stories from the steeples" about searching for enlightenment in the wrong places that suggests an angel of mercy, which is what she is.

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Hearts Like Ours Ricky Skaggs/ Sharon White
Skaggs Family

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

The one and only legend, Ricky Skaggs, has been married to Sharon White (of
the whites) for 33 years. Yet they never released a studio album until now. "Hearts like ours" is a dream comes true for Sharon and I," Ricky says.
She’s lovely, and he's very much a gentleman. He doesn't walk off the path
too far, but what a path he's walked. It doesn't hurt that, for me, he's up
there as a musician with the best of them. What a treat this album is.

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Numbers Nicholas Payton
CD Baby

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

Nicholas Payton leaves space for you to find yourself in the music you hear
on "numbers." in the New Orleans tradition collective interplay is the key.
Don’t get fooled by his understatement. As beautiful as the sound is,
there's nothing mellow about his performance. The music is about a man who has experienced highs and lows.

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Heartless Woman Laura Benitez and the Heartache
Copperhead Records

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

With the sound of western swing, early blues, rockabilly, roots and country
"heartless woman" is a record that is ready to take the band to a higher
ground. Laura Benitez and the heartache is the ultimate country gang. Her
voice is a steamroller filled with brass and sass.

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Live! Englishtown, Nj Sept. 3, 1977 The Marshall Tucker Band
Ramblin' Records

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

Marshall Tucker's lead singer and founding member Doug Gray notes, "the
Englishtown concert was one of the biggest shows in the history of our band.
looking back, this concert was just unbelievable." they left their mark on the history of rock, blues, folk and soul as well as several genres that only exist on their records.

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The Way I'm Livin' Lee Ann Womack
Sugar Hill Records

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

"I wanted songs that talked about how life really is, the raw spots, the
tough places, the meltdowns and messy parts, hard, sad, rough" Lee Ann says.
She is the most painterly of vocalists, a master of unexpected phrasing whose voice can transform lyrics into something abstract and mystical.

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Good for Sumthin' Eric Gales
Cleopatra Records

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

Acclaimed musician Eric Gale’s latest release, "good for sumthin,'" is an
autobiographical journey from his Memphis roots to his current status as one
of the most influential guitarists on the blues rock scene. When somebody
becomes as important as he is, you lose sight of how Avant Garde and
revolutionary they are. But he pushed, and keeps pushing, the boundaries of pop and soul.

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Gravity Big & Rich
Kobalt

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

Big & Rich is an American country music duo composed of Big Kenny and John
Rich, both of whom are songwriters, vocalists and guitarists. They are
perfect storms of innate talent and training. One of the key elements of their style is how they use their voices as instruments.

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Save Your Love for Me Cynthia Felton
Felton Entertainment

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

Cynthia Felton shares some characteristics with her forbears--a nearly
4-octave range like Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald’s enjoyment of scat singing and Nancy Wilson’s love of storytelling. She is a risk-taking, soul belter who is recording Nancy Wilson classics here. She is the best kind of artist to record great classics, a fully committed one.

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Cryin' Mercy Altered Five Blues Band
OmniVibe Records

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

Altered five, formed in 2002, explodes with "cryin' mercy," sensational
blues-powered originals. There is no auto-tuned gloss here. The voice of Jeff Taylor sounds like it was run through a sharp 1950s stage mic rather than a digital noveau computer. At the same time the roof-raising music pegs the band squarely as a glorious child of the blues.

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Live Studio Concert in Philadelphia 1997 Annie Haslam
Voiceprint UK

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

Annie Haslam has a soaring three octave voice and was the lead singer of
the progressive art rock band, renaissance. More than anything, here, there's a palpable teenage restlessness coursing through the set of "live studio concert."

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Wood, Wire & Words Norman Blake
Western Jubilee Recording Company/Plectrafone Records

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

"Wood, wire & words" is the first recording of original Blake songs in over
30 years by the USA's old time country musician. At times, he is singing
with a fire-tongued sound. Elsewhere, he drops admissions evincing bold
honesty that only deepens the all too human achievement of his empowered shredding.

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2014 Forest Hills Drive J. Cole
Roc Nation /Columbia Records

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

The third album in a row to go #1. Made what could've been an assaulting
overload feel contained and of a piece. Cole deploys a less-is-less strategy, making sure that every contusive hit has maximum impact. His lyrics are pretty focused, too, rendering his classic themes as petulant as primal screams. He is a real artist who is crazy fully-formed, stepping into a journey that is well-worth following. No exclusive raps about sex, about how much he's getting. The cat is an heir, not an impersonator what a joy.

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Money Sucks, Friends Rule Dillon Francis
Columbia

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

I had the joy of seeing the next superstar dj, Dillon Francis, in Oakland.
The man's album is dark and extreme, extravagantly abrasive, full of
grinding electro, pummeling minimalist hip-hop, drone-y wooz and industrial gear grind. You gotta check it out.

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Periscope Katey Laurel
CD Baby

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

"Periscope" represents Laurel’s most poignant and mature work to date. She
makes artisanal folk rock with whole food ambition. On a table sagging with
big box pop it's a glorious revelation.

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Infernal Piano Plot...HATCHED! The Claudettes
Yellow Dog Records

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

The Claudette’s create their own fanatical fusion of blues, jazz, soul,
space-echo and punk energy. Rock & roll starts here, they pile Hollywood hell on top of electric twang. Like it or not real rock is here to stay.

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Projection Room Sleepy Kitty
Euclid Records...records

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

"Projection Room" is a gorgeous art-punk achievement by sleepy kitty, while
still including flagrant waves to their pop culture influences. What we
receive is an SOS from their heart of darkness howled through a catalogue of
disasters, both real and imagined.

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Feels Like Carolina Parmalee
Broken Bow

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

Parmalee is a family band from North Carolina, where they practiced in a
small tin-roofed barn every single evening for a long, long time. The lead
singer, Matt Thomas, sure sounds like a man who's lost his mind. He’s as
convincing as the passion dripping from his lighter-than-air voice.

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That's the Way We Roll Soul Circus Cowboys
Smg Records

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

Billy McKnight, the lead singer, sings in a transcendent style. When I hear
"that's the way we roll" I sing the tunes over and over again. I just
can't stop.

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Barricade Tina and the B-Sides
Movement Recording Co.

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

Formed in the 1980s, during the height of the new wave scene, Tina and the
b-sides bucked convention by focusing on roadhouse rock & roll. There is so
much feeling in the voice of Tina Schlieske you don't have to speak English
to know what these songs are about.

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