Sunday, August 2nd27.8°C
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Under the Lights

Gypsy souls

Four years or so ago, I was honoured to have the opportunity to review this unique album release from the very down to earth and talented English group “The Quireboys:

The Quireboys “Halfpenny Dancer” Vol I
JCPL Recording
Review by: Bruce E.J. Atkinson

For the life of me, I do not know why Spike and The Quireboys are not a household name around the musical world!  The expanse of talent seems to know no bounds.  The Quireboys are simply a top drawer group and ‘Halfpenny Dancer’ cements that notion.

This release sees the group rework some of their finest compositions and breathe in to them some fresh air.  Coupled with some new gems, ‘Halfpenny Dancer’ is certainly a ‘must have’ for any serious music lover.  Now, being that this cd is subtitled ‘Volume One’, we should expect more from the lads along this stunning vein of musical expression.

Exploring the acoustic side of the Quireboys allows us to further appreciate the high talent of Spike’s song writing and the poignant slant of his lyrics…and his interpretation of others.  Everything this group writes about is genuine---they have lived through every moment.

Let the Quireboys take you on a musical voyage that will tear at your heartstrings…and let you in, just a little, to their world of musical adventures and halfpenny dancers!

 

Now, as the musical voyage continues, with the group releasing critically acclaimed albums in 2013, “Beautiful Curse”, and in 2014: “Black Eyed Sons”, it seems like they have got their second wind, or maybe it is their third!  2015 sees “The Quireboys” releasing their most ambitious project yet!  “St. Cecilia And The Gypsy Soul” is a four disc set, including “Halfpenny Dancer”—long out of print, in its original form—with two discs featuring live performances of these special versions.  The fourth disc?  It is the actual “St. Cecilia…” disc, with brand new material from these veteran English blues-rockers!  With titles like; “Land Of My Father”, “The Hurting Kind”, and “Out Of Your Mind”, we can only expect an exceptional and deep musical experience from ‘Spike’ and the boys!

So, what is the point of this project?  Well, “Halfpenny Dancer” in its first go round, saw the group lay down the electrics and take up acoustical instruments—including banjo, fiddles and such!  The live discs capture the same in exclusive shows the group did in ‘09 and 2010.  The actual “St. Cecilia…” set is more of the acoustic direction, and utilising some interesting acoustic instruments—the vocals being more powerful and all in all…a side of “The Quireboys” we really haven’t heard or seen!  Of course there are some rockers on this set, set in the traditional Rock n’ Blues that this group is famous for.  The band totally believes in this new direction, as they are currently on the road delivering a killer combination of hard hitting electrics with deepening acoustic explorations that will leave you breathless!

Truly a band of gypsy souls, “The Quireboys”…where the rivers of sound run pure and deep!


Under The Lights
Upcoming Club/Concert Highlights:

The Blue Gator:   Zamboni Brothers:  July 24th & 25th  July 30th & 31st – Aug. 1st

Barley Mill Brew Pub & Bistro (Penticton): -Every Sunday-Blues/Rock Jam & Showcase hosted by TR2 (7pm-10pm)    Surf Cats:  August 8th  Boom Chicken:  August 15th

Dream Café:  Devin Cuddy Band:  August 6th

Doc Willoughby’s Downtown Pub:  Michael Wood Band:  Aug. 2nd  Devon Coyote:  August 7th

Fernando’s Pub:  Tanner James:  July 29th  The Fallers:  July 30th

The Naked Pig (Vernon):  Local talent highlighted every Sunday Afternoon!!

Memphis Blues:   Poppa Dawg:   July 23rd & July 30th

O’Flannigan’s Pub:   Young’Uns  July 31st & Aug. 1st   Rockaholicks:  August 7th & 8th plus August 14th  Radio Lifeline:  August 14th & 15th   Rockaholicks:  August 15th 

Whiski-jack’s Pub:  Jimmy LeGuilloux Band:  August 7th & 8th

Notable Concerts:   

Penticton Peach Festival (68th) Music Highlights:  Judy Rowe…Aiden Mayes & Mandy Cole…Gypsy And The Rose…Marty Edwards & the Revival…Barney Bentall & The Legendary Hearts: August 5th    Nikita Afonso…Cosmic Brew…54-40:  August 6th   13 Broken Bones…Dale Seaman & Hwy 97…King & Cash…George Canyon: August 7th   Halfway To Hollywood…Legg ZZ…High voltage: August 8th   Yard Katz…The Legendary Lake Monster…The Phonix: August 9th (for complete line-up please click on www.peachfest.com for a list of all events and talent!! Annual Peach Festival-Penticton August 5th to 9th

   …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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Rock solid

They are celebrating fifteen years, hard to believe that these Irish upstarts began their musical journey at the turn of the century!  Paul Mahon, Cormac Neeson, Mickey Waters and James Heatley are collectively known as “The Answer”.  Since their first release “Rise” these four have had the answer to what makes Hard Rock and Blues the best form of Rock music ever!

The group released four albums since their formation, not very many-some will say-but it takes time to create timeless music!  “The Answer” have done so with each musical journey.  They hit the scene in a powerful way, turning ears that were young, fresh and some that were jaded.  It was those jaded ears that were turned the most!  What was heard on the group’s debut was also heard on stages throughout the UK, and later the rest of Europe.  A traditional Hard Rock/Blues approach that touched upon past Masters, such as Led Zeppelin…exploring that same expansive musical plateau and finding new gems along the way.  “Rise” wasn’t a fluke, yes, it garnered the group recognition and accolades from music business veterans, (jaded ears), and veteran musicians as well!  “Rise” was just the beginning, as more musical gems were uncovered by these four with the 2009 release of “Everyday Demons”, followed by “Revival” in 2011.  The group toured incessantly, opening up for the greats and near greats, and doing some small  headline tours on their own.  Two years ago, the group released “New Horizon”, which saw them cement their reputation of being the new century’s Rock/Blues Masters!  Also, rumours started to fly that they were struggling, unhappy with their progress and thinking of packing it in.  Now, how much of that was true—I really don’t know, but obviously “The Answer” have found new energy and maybe a new mission. 

2015 marks the release of their fifth album, and this time the group has outdone themselves!  “Raise A Little Hell” does just that—the group are exploring a new section of that tried and true musical plateau, and have found brand new jewels!  This album bristles with renewed energy, new twists and that masterfully executed power rock that they began with!  2015 also sees this group recommit to a lengthy road schedule, finding them visiting North America, after a lengthy absence.  As well as their more traditional areas of the UK and Europe.  “The Answer” are certainly making another impact upon the world of music; hopefully this time around they will rise to the upper echelons, where they richly deserve to be!  Here is just an example of that renewed power in “The Answer”

 


Under The Lights

Upcoming Club/Concert Highlights:

The Blue Gator:   Linus:  July 23rd  Zamboni Brothers:  July 24th & 25th  July 30th & 31st – Aug. 1st

Barley Mill Brew Pub & Bistro (Penticton): -Every Sunday-Blues/Rock Jam & Showcase hosted by TR2 (7pm-10pm)   TR-2 Band:  July 18th   Our Sons:  July 25th

Doc Willoughby’s Downtown Pub:  Michael Wood Band:  Aug. 2nd

Fernando’s Pub:  Karate Kids:  July 23rd Tanner James:  July 29th  The Fallers:  July 30th

The Green (Vernon):  Good Fellas:  July 24th & 25th

The Naked Pig (Vernon):  Local talent highlighted every Sunday Afternoon!!

Memphis Blues:   Poppa Dawg:   July 23rd & July 30th

 Music In The Park (Riverside Park)   Highlighted Events— Sherman Doucette: July 25th (complete line-up under Castanet Events: Concerts)

O’Flannigan’s Pub:   Colt 45:  July 24th & 25th   Young’Uns  July 31st & Aug. 1st

Notable Concerts:   

Cedar Creek Estate Winery:  Tom Cochrane:  August 26th & 27th

Prospera  Place:  Dean Brody/Paul Brandt:  September 26th  Bare Naked Ladies:  October 25th  Shania Twain:  October 27th   Three Days Grace:  November 24th

South Okanagan Events Centre:   Brit Floyd:  (it is the closet to the real thing)   August 12th    “Weird Al” Yankovic:  September 9th    Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band-(featuring Todd Rundgren, Steve Lukather, Gregg Rolie plus others!!)   October 10th  

Vernon & District Performing Arts Centre:  The Tea Party:   September 29th

   …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!!



The voice of angel

The voice of Angel… Frank Dimino has re-surfaced with a strong stripped down slice of rock in “Old Habits Die Hard”!  That distinctive voice is still intact, however hovering around a lower register than when he fronted the symphonic American iconic group Angel.  The rhythms and inflections are also still there, and as you get deeper into this album, Frank’s vocal style becomes more recognisable. 

Frank has gathered some heavy weights to help him with “Old Habits…”, including Oz Fox of “Stryper”, Eddie Ojeda of “Twisted Sister” and former bandmate Punky Meadows.  Midway through this excellent effort, Frank opens up his voice for “Even Now”, an emotional ballad that only he could have written and performed.  Actually, he co-wrote this song with another of his former bandmates…Barry Brandt!  “Old Habits Die Hard” displays that vast talent of this underrated musician…one that never really left the scene, but in recent years was overshadowed by the legacy of “Angel”.  This album marks his coming out of the shadows and back, hopefully, in the limelight.

  This album is now on the streets, what with an early July release and is worthy of looking out for.  Although that symphonic trademark sound of “Angel” stays with “Angel”, this effort shows Frank exploring a harder approach.  There is some serious rock on this album!  Some, of course, will be quite surprised as what they will hear, however—a pleasant surprise at that!  Now, Frank hasn’t just released a ‘one-off’…he is going on the road with “Dimino”, to showcase this music plus some even newer pieces!  Of course, he is going to concentrate on North America first—but there are plans for International dates as well.  We can also expect some newer versions of “Angel” material—but the focus is on the new material—as well it should be.  “Old Habits Die Hard” is such a strong musical statement, from a veteran that has found renewed energy, and enough of it that Frank Dimino is back—and here to stay!  It is very good to see that the wings of this “Angel” have spread but once again and who knows, may even touch down in the Kelowna area—and if he does be prepared for an awesome performance!


Under The Lights
Upcoming Club/Concert Highlights:

The Blue Gator:    Jimmy LeGuilloux Band:  July 17th & 18th  Linus:  July 23rd                                                    Zamboni Brothers:  July 24th & 25th

Barley Mill Brew Pub & Bistro (Penticton): -Every Sunday-Blues/Rock Jam & Showcase hosted by TR2 (7pm-10pm)   TR-2 Band:  July 18th   Our Sons:  July 25th

Doc Willoughby’s Downtown Pub:  Devon Coyote:  July 17th

Fernando’s Pub:  Floyd Meets Brown:  July 17th   Karate Kids:  July 23rd

The Green (Vernon):  The Goods:  July 17th & July 18th

The Naked Pig (Vernon):  Local talent highlighted every Sunday Afternoon!!

Memphis Blues:   Poppa Dawg:   July 23rd

 Music In The Park (Riverside Park)   Highlighted Events— Cod Gone Wild: July 22nd  Sherman Doucette: July 25th (complete line-up under Castanet Events: Concerts)

O’Flannigan’s Pub:   Linus:  July 18th   Colt 45:  July 24th & 25th

Notable Concerts:   

Cedar Creek Estate Winery:  Tom Cochrane:  August 26th & 27th

Prospera  Place:  Dean Brody/Paul Brandt:  September 26th  Bare Naked Ladies:  October 25th  Shania Twain:  October 27th   Three Days Grace:  November 24th

South Okanagan Events Centre:   Brit Floyd:  (it is the closet to the real thing)   August 12th    “Weird Al” Yankovic:  September 9th    Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band-(featuring Todd Rundgren, Steve Lukather, Gregg Rolie plus others!!)   October 10th  

Vernon & District Performing Arts Centre:  The Tea Party:   September 29th

   …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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Summer reviews

The Vintage Caravan “Arrival”
Nuclear Blast Records
Review by: Bruce E.J. Atkinson

First—kudos to Nuclear Blast for seeing the vast talent in this young Power trio!  Secondly—be prepared to be totally amazed by “The Vintage Caravan”!

Three young musicians from the unlikely country of Iceland: “The Vintage Caravan” are: Oskar Logi Agustsson on guitar & vocals, Alexander Orn Numason on bass, and drummer Guojon Reynisson.  The group is a power trio worthy of the name and a style that goes back to the late sixties.  A three piece that could be likened to the great “Cream”!

Amazing-yes! in the music and depth of composition.  Unbelievable: certainly!, especially when you realize their age and that this album, “Arrival” is their third!  The group had its start in 2005 with Oskar only in his pre-teens.  “The Vintage Caravan” solidified the membership around 2012—and all through this period they were honing their skills and exploring musical plateaus that would normally be reserved to a handful of more mature musicians!  “Arrival” is a heavy, pulsating bottomed out slice of Heavy Rock and Blues.  Complete with blistering guitar work, haunting vocals, and grooved out rivers of sound.  Tuned down chords accentuates their heaviness, very similar to early ‘Sabbath’ and obviously “Cream”.  Each performance is simply a ‘groove-fest’!

Creations such as “Monolith”, “Eclipsed” and “Last Day Of Light” are some of the epic performances that you will be carried away by.  The three musicians are enormously talented, and this is apparent on each cut of the album.

“The Vintage Caravan”—‘Arrival’, this may be the start of world domination!! 


Thomas Bergsten’s Fantasy “Nightwalker”
7Chords
Review by: Bruce E.J.Atkinson

Based upon the excellent Swedish band “Fantasy” of the early 80’s to early 90’s, Thomas Bergsten’s Fantasy is a revival of the music created at that time.  “Nightwalker” is the second of three releases planned from Thomas.  On this outing, Thomas has re-arranged some of the material and updated some of the lyrical content…giving new interpretations to most of what we hear.

Thomas is joined by several musical guests, including Robin Beck and others, performing with such excellence, that at times the music is breathless!  A strong musical statement, “Nightwalker” consistently displays the skills of Thomas, as a guitarist and song-writer, as well as a vocalist.  The Fantasy band consists of equally talented musicians: Per Schelander on bass, Jorgen Schelander on keys, and Tobias Bergsten on drums.  All four continually weave musical threads that form deep & colorful tapestries that excite the senses!  Music compositions that were powerful upon first release and are now bristling with energy and tasteful melodies that will linger for a long time.

A vibrant sound, coupled by an intensity of performance will make this musical project one of note.  The music is actually well ahead of its time, and if “Fantasy” came and went without much notice, then this time around Thomas Bergsten’s Fantasy will certainly make an impact upon the music world!  Seek out the first of this trilogy, and explore “Nightwalker”—if only to glimpse at sides of “Fantasy” that you didn’t know existed. 


Cain’s Offering  “Stormcrow”
Frontiers Records
Review by: Bruce E.J. Atkinson  

Founded by Finnish guitarist/songwriter Jani Liimatainen, “Cain’s Offering” is the closet one can be to a true Metal Supergroup out of Finland.

“Stormcrow”-the second musical statement from this powerful Finnish five piece. is a virtual who’s who in the metal music scene from this country.

Joining Jani on this effort is Timo Kotipelto; (vocals), Jani Hurula; (drums), Jonas Kuhlberg; (bass), and Jens Johansson; (keyboards).  A fierce line-up, highly talented—and one that matches what we hear on “Stormcrow”!

Opening with the title track, “Stormcrow” sets the musical stage for what is to come.  A brawny track with thought provoking lyrics—this cut paints a huge music scape that continues throughout the record.  “A Night To Forget” is a ‘building’ track, telling a compelling story with a strong but melodic bed of music that just marches on.  The energy just keeps increasing as we are marched along in ‘quick-step’ fashion from one piece to another.  Some of the songs are full of hope, some with tenderness and some showing naked aspirations—all flowing into one another creating a stellar musical journey!  The whole album shows how varied Jani’s song writing is and how he has developed the art.  Here, in “Stormcrow” we have eleven heroic journeys, unfolding for all to hear—the magnificent talents of each member musician.  “Power Metal”?—yes! indeed, and also very symphonic in places!

“Cain’s Offering” – “Stormcrow” –immense in sound—off the scale in Talent—but what else would we expect from a Supergroup such as this! 


Under The Lights
Upcoming Club/Concert Highlights:

The Blue Gator:    Uptown 10:  July 10th & July 11th   Zamboni Brothers:  July 16th                                    Jimmy LeGuilloux Band:  July 17th & 18th

Barley Mill Brew Pub & Bistro (Penticton): -Every Sunday-Blues/Rock Jam & Showcase hosted by TR2 (7pm-10pm)

Dream Café:  Jim Byrnes:  July 10th & July 11th

Doc Willoughby’s Downtown Pub:  Devon Coyote:  July 17th

Fernando’s Pub:  Drew Rouse:  July 11th       Blackberry Wood:  July 10th   Surf Dads:  July 14th

Flashback’s Nite Club:  My Kind Of Karma/The Bonsais:  July 10th

The Green (Vernon):  Bender:  July 10th & 11th

 Music In The Park (Riverside Park)   Highlighted Events— Wild T & The Spirit Blues:  July 14th (complete line-up under Castanet Events: Concerts)

O’Flannigan’s Pub:  Radio Lifeline:  July 10th  Linus:  July 18th

Riley’s Pub:  Jimmy LeGuilloux Band:  July 9th & 10th & 11th

Notable Concerts:   

Prospera  Place:  Aerosmith:   July 13th  Dean Brody/Paul Brandt:  September 26th

South Okanagan Events Centre:   Journey:   July 10th   Brit Floyd:  (it is the closet to the real thing)   August 12th    “Weird Al” Yankovic:  September 9th    Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band-(featuring Todd Rundgren, Steve Lukather, Gregg Rolie plus others!!)   October 10th

   …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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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.









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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