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Under the Lights

Mother Road-not Route 66

This man was a founding member  of the German powerhouse “Soul Doctor” which I happened upon, back in 2007, via an assignment to interview and review the band’s then latest release “Blood Runs Cold”.  I was so excited to have this assignment, as “Soul Doctor” was everything that the 1970’s Hard Rock movement promised-Rock & Blues

polished to the hilt, exploding the borders of both styles.  At the end of 2011, Chris Lyne left “Soul Doctor” to pursue other musical adventures. but not until the group released their excellent live document and another studio album…”Back To The Bone”.   

In 2012, Chris indicated on his own web page, that he was working on another project…but not saying too much about exactly what, and really nothing about his departure from “Soul Doctor”.

Happily, Chris has joined forces with Keith Slack, the ex-vocalist of “Steelhouse Lane”-another excellent group out of America.  Together they are a formidable song writing force, and the result is another pure Hard-Rock outfit called “Mother Road”!  Both are joined by the legendary Keyboardist, Alessandro Del Vecchio, (whom seems to be on everyone’s album lately), and Zacky Tsoukas on drums, and founding member Frank Binke on bass, whom played for Kingdom Come.  Now, their debut is ready—“Drive”, an album full of Blues-Rock that you are used to hearing from the likes of Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, early Aerosmith, etc.   Alessandro’s keys of choice are Hammond Organs, and what soul shaking flavour he brings to each and every composition from the main songwriters.  Keith Slack, at times, sounds like a young David Coverdale-again elevating the music to the higher echelons of energised Blues-Rock.  Together this five piece forges everything to a razor edge, what with a dynamic rhythm section to the precise and soaring guitar work of Chris. “Drive” is also a wide-ranging collection of music, from the down right dirty Rock sounds to more subtle Blues infused up-tempo numbers—however everything is delivered with a unadulterated ‘groove’.  Yes, a powerful debut, but one with extreme depth—showcasing each member’s talents and the superb harmony that each produces!

 This new group of seasoned musicians is most worthy of your attention…”Mother Road”…now available in the finest of record stores.  Now, let’s hope they decide to tour—it’ll be 1978 all over again!!


Under The Lights

Upcoming Club/Concert Highlights:

The Blue Gator:  Hank Stallion:  Sept. 11th    The Goods:  Sept. 12th  & 13th    Zamboni Brothers:  Sept. 18th   Jimmy LeGuilloux:   Sept. 19th & 20th   Hank Stallion:  Sept. 25th  Zamboni Brothers:  Sept. 26th & 27th

Checkers Bar & Grill (Vernon):  Colt 45: Sept. 12th & 13th

Doc Willoughby’s Downtown Pub:    The Steadies:  Sept. 19th

The Green:   HogWild:   Sept. 12th  & 13th

O'Flannigan's Pub:   (Live Music every Tuesday with Riaz and Friends)   We Are Live:  Sept. 12th & 13th  Floyd Vedan Band:  Sept. 19th & 20th   Linus:  Sept. 26th

Notable Concerts:    

Minstrel Café:  Maria Muldaur:  September 11th

Prospera  Place:    Alan Jackson  Sept. 25th   Sarah McLachlan:   Oct. 24th   

Kelowna Community Theatre:  Gordon Lightfoot:   Oct. 28th 

South Okanagan Events Centre:  John Fogerty:  November 27th 

              

   …if you have a musical story or news and would like me to write something… drop me a line at:  [email protected]  and let’s celebrate Kelowna’s rich and varied music community together!!.....

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Unfinished Business

 

We are about…to hear brand new material from this iconic West Coast band!  “Unfinished Business” is the latest from Canada’s own “Loverboy”!!  Comprised of material the group has written over their career, but for one reason or another never quite completed, until now!  These songs are hot and ready to be consumed by us!  Some of the material on “Unfinished Business” harkens back to the beginnings of “Loverboy” and some even further back.  

 

Although this album is not being released by Frontiers, the making of this album was an inspiration from the recording sessions that gave us the “Rock N’ Roll Revival” album—which was released by Frontiers.  With three brand new songs on that album, and new versions of classic “Loverboy” material—the group went on to look through their catalogue of material and found some gems, that were in various states of completion.  Some of what we hear on “Unfinished Business” may sound familiar only because at the group’s early concerts—they may have ‘road tested’ some of this material—but then for whatever reason put it back on the shelf.  Now, having said all of the above-“Unfinished Business” isn’t just a throw back—these songs are as fresh as when we first heard “The Kid Is Hot Tonight”, “When It’s Over”…aahh! you get the idea!  “Loverboy”—“Unfinished Business” available now at all fine record shops!  

Exploding...out of Calgary, we shall soon feel the impact from this thunderous four piece!  Keep your eyes on "These Raven Skies"...a funk fuelled straight up rock band that is about to release their self titled debut. The lads are not just a fantastic rock group, they are savvy business men as well!  They formed their own label, secured a major distribution deal with Universal Music Group and are putting the pieces in place for a full scale attack on the nation!

The group did record under the name of "Dreams Of Reason", however their music  was taking on a different direction, so much so that the four decided to change their name as well.  "These Raven Skies"  display some Progressive elements, but rooted in Rock and Blues, with a healthy dose of some, what I call, "Hardened Folk".  Jeff Martin of "The Tea Party" heard what these amazing four were up to and was quick to offer his help!  Assisting with the production, and finding a harmonious relationship with the group's song writing team, Jeff ended up co-writing several songs on the self-titled debut!  Working from their hard-rock background, "These Raven Skies" have expanded their playing with some very interesting use of differing instruments, and building up their songs with a funky rock groove that actually opens up everything!  One listen of their new album, and you will surely hear a depth seldom heard, an expertise in playing that would be attributed to a much older band!  The structure of each song shows a musical maturity, but a freshness as well.  Plus, there is nothing on this album that cannot be performed live--promising us that their live shows will be thunderous, yet intimate!

An album that is varied, yet united in that the group have successfully developed a "Signature Sound"--there is no mistaking "These Raven Skies"!


Under the Lights

Upcoming Club/Concert Highlights:

The Blue Gator:  The Young ‘Uns:   Sept. 5th & 6th  Hank Stallion:  Sept. 11th    The Goods:  Sept. 12th  & 13th   Zamboni Brothers:  Sept. 18th   Jimmy LeGuilloux:   Sept. 19th & 20th  Zamboni Brothers:  Sept. 26th & 27th 

Checkers Bar & Grill (Vernon):  Colt 45: Sept. 12th & 13th 

Doc Willoughby’s Downtown Pub:    The Fangles:  Sept. 5th   The Steadies:  Sept. 19th 

O'Flannigan's Pub:   (Live Music every Tuesday with Riaz and Friends)   Papa Wheely:  Sept. 5th & Sept. 6th   Floyd Vedan Band:  Sept. 19th & 20th 


Notable Concerts:    

Minstrel Café:  Maria Muldaur:  September 11th 

Prospera  Place:    Alan Jackson  Sept. 25th   Sarah McLachlan:   Oct. 24th   

Kelowna Community Theatre:  Gordon Lightfoot:   Oct. 28th  

South Okanagan Events Centre:  John Fogerty:  November 27th  

              
   …if you have a musical story or news and would like me to write something… drop me a line at:  [email protected]  and let’s celebrate Kelowna’s rich and varied music community together!!.....

 



In Review

YES - Heaven & Earth (Frontiers Records)
As I wrote in another column: “Heaven & Earth” is as fresh as a Spring morning! This is the latest offering from that veteran ensemble of musical talent that we have been saying “Yes” to for over forty years! What we have here, are eight absolutely stunning pieces of swirling-symphonic musical progressions that will lighten the heaviest of hearts amongst us! A literal and musical masterpiece!  “Heaven & Earth” may just be the album that re-invents “Yes” and introduces them to a whole new generation! Teaming up with legendary producer Roy Thomas Baker, “Yes” have delivered a complete musical statement that retains all the high marks this group have become known for. Yet, they have also breathed new life in their musical creations, finding new nuggets in their quest of musical expression. There is so much creativity within each track, and from each musician, that it truly boggles the mind! In a few words, “Heaven & Earth” is nothing short of beautiful and unique, just nothing quite like this in all of Heaven or on Earth!! Bruce Atkinson (90/100) 

 

They are back! Tesla are giving us the simple goods! “Simplicity” is all new and it is a no nonsense slice of Hard Rock from this musical force! Yes, guitar dominant still, the Tesla sound is just as hard and just as full of unique signatures as they were from the beginning. Melody? This quintet pulls melody out of the air and lay it all down effortlessly. Listening to “Simplicity” one could be forgiven for mistakenly thinking that this five piece must be brand new Rock Heroes and not the thirty year veterans that Tesla is. That is the energy level you are about to experience. Each and every track is a musical statement in of itself, no matter what Jeff is singing about or what musical emotion is being played out. Dave, Troy, Frank, and Brian just keep giving it and the combination is amazing! Each song builds in to the next, combining to give us one heck of a wild ride! Stand-out tracks? Well, all of them in fact, however a few of my favorites? “Cross My Heart”, MP3”, “Life Is A
River” and “Flip Side”. Tesla: simply enjoy! Bruce Atkinson (91/100)

This veteran Swiss group are about to close another chapter in their long and storied career. Yet, they are also readying for a brand new, exciting chapter to be added! “33 The Best Of” Shakra is a very ambitious release. Yes, this one is thirty-three tracks on two cd’s and contains three brand new heavenly pieces of Hard Rock! Unfortunately, just last month, John Prakesh announced that he was leaving the band-however Thom, Thomas and Roger and Dominik are pushing forward. But, we shouldn’t worry-as “33…” shows us that “Shakra” are not ready to throw in the towel! All stand out tracks, with thirty of them taken from the group’s nine albums… When you come upon the three brand new tracks, don’t be surprised that their next full-length album will hit that magic spot as well! “33 The Best Of” shows off every great piece of Hard Rock this five piece have created. Their attention to melody, dramatic lyrics and constant high energy is overflowing here. There are some rare pieces on
this release as well… So, this scribes advice? Embrace this release… Treasure it, as “33...” is full of gems from this top drawer Hard Rock five piece! Bruce Atkinson (90/100)

RIK PRIEM - Rik Priem’s Prime (Avenue of Allies)
For this young guitarist “Prime” is a very ambitious debut. Helped by musical mate Carsten Schulz of “Frozen Rain”, Rik’s dreams of a guitar-driven musical soundscape has been realised. Bringing in some of Europe’s finest musical craftsmen has also helped. Of course there is Carsten on vocals, Greet Margodt on keyboards, with Ramy Ali providing the pounding rhythms, with Vincent De Laat keeping pace on the bass and all four producing such solid material that Rik can soar from! “Prime” of course is a guitar album, and a guitar lover’s album! Rik’s talents on the fret board is just unbelievable!  Displaying a wide spectrum of style and influences, his skill blossoms, as does each other member of the band. A collection of thirteen tracks that offer up a variety and depth that will astound. Upon one listen it is hard to believe that this is Rik’s debut. Rik Priem is a rising star and “Prime” is his rocket, the line-up on this record are set to bring these tasteful explorations of sonic brilliance to the stage… So get ready for a rocket ride this Summer!! Bruce Atkinson (89/100)



Under The Lights

Upcoming Club/Concert Highlights:

The Blue Gator:   Zamboni Brothers:  Aug. 21st & 22nd 23rd  & Aug. 29th                                                           
Crosstown Bus:  Aug. 29th  & Aug. 30th 

Barking Parrot (Penticton):  Paul Gibbons:   Aug 29th  
Checkers Bar & Grill (Vernon):  The Keys:  Aug. 29th & Aug. 30th 
Doc Willoughby’s Downtown Pub:   Frankie McQueen:  Aug. 30th The Fangles:  Sept. 5th 
O'Flannigan's Pub:   (Live Music every Tuesday with Riaz and Friends)   Rockaholicks:   Aug 29th/30th     
Papa Wheely:  Sept. 5th & Sept. 6th 


Notable Concerts:    

Prospera  Place:    Alan Jackson  Sept. 25th   Sarah McLachlan:   Oct. 24th   
Kelowna Community Theatre:  Gordon Lightfoot:   Oct. 28th  
South Okanagan Events Centre:  John Fogerty:  November 27th  
Minstrel Café:  Maria Muldaur:  September 11th 

 

...if you have a musical story or news and would like me to write something… drop me a line at:  [email protected]  and let’s celebrate Kelowna’s rich and varied music community together!!.....



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Shorts & Sides

As Summer wanes…here are some interesting notes:         

Although Dan McCafferty has retired from live performances, he hasn’t given up singing.  The latest recorded Work from Nazareth is testament to that!  “Rock N’ Roll Telephone” sees Dan up there with his best offerings.  The album is very muscular, and harkens back to another era of Nazareth.  These may be Mr. McCafferty’s swan songs—but what a song it is!!

The lead guitarist of Germany’s premiere Hard-rock outfit “Soul Doctor” has teamed up with the distinct Vocalist Keith Slack of “Steelhouse Lane” to bring us “Mother Road”.  This band is steeped in the late seventies hard rock sound, and delivers each performance with enough energy to power a small sized city.  If you happen across this release; “Mother Road” ‘Drive’…don’t hesitate to pick it up—you won’t be disappointed.

Officially, the “London Quireboys”—now simply “The Quireboys” are thirty years revitalised.  The group are celebrating their thirtieth anniversary with the release of “Black Eyed Sons”, and it is a rocker!  Seek out the deluxe package, as it contains two live performances—with one on DVD, and see for yourself why this group are considered to be the ‘unsung heroes’ of the UK!

Reaching in to hearts of music critics worldwide is the latest release from “Uriah Heep”!  Amazing that after all these years, and many line-up changes—this group is still cutting edge!  “Outsider” is the group’s latest and each composition goes from strength to strength.  With this record we are back to 1973, and that’s a good thing!

 

 


Under The Lights

Upcoming Club/Concert Highlights:

The Blue Gator:   Zamboni Brothers:  Aug. 21st & 22nd 23rd  & Aug. 29th                                                           Crosstown Bus:  Aug. 29th  & Aug. 30th

Barking Parrot (Penticton):  Steve Jones & the Patio Bandits:   Aug 22nd (5:30pm)    Paul Gibbons:   Aug 29th  

Checkers Bar & Grill (Vernon):  The Keys:  Aug. 29th & Aug. 30th

Doc Willoughby’s Downtown Pub:   Frankie McQueen:  Aug. 30th The Fangles:  Sept. 5th

O'Flannigan's Pub:   (Live Music every Tuesday with Riaz and Friends)   Radio Lifeline:  Aug. 22nd/Aug. 23rd    Rockaholicks:   Aug 29th/30th     Papa Wheely:  Sept. 5th & Sept. 6th

Prospera  Place:    Alan Jackson  Sept. 25th   Sarah McLachlan:   Oct. 24th   

Kelowna Community Theatre:  Gordon Lightfoot:   Oct. 28th 

South Okanagan Events Centre:  John Fogerty:  November 27th 

Minstrel Café:  Maria Muldaur:  September 11th

                 …if you have a musical story or news and would like me to write something… drop me a line at:  [email protected]  and let’s celebrate Kelowna’s rich and varied music community together!!.....



Read more Under the Lights articles

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About the Author

We call him the Professor of Rock: With a career in music, television and media arts spanning 30 years, Atkinson knows music. He's traveled as a professional musician and he loves Rock 'N Roll. He is a music journalist who writes internationally for Frontier Records' Melodic Rock magazine and he owns FBA International a multifaceted management, consulting, promotional entity.






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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet presents its columns "as is" and does not warrant the contents.


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