Rock And Blues International - November 2021

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NOVEMBER 2021

Rock And Blues International SHAWN PITTMAN ALSO IN THIS ISSUE

Groove City & Daria Biancardi Jools Holland Madonna Blake Rose Night Cobra Blondie and more!



Rock And Blues International November 2021 Hello Rock And Blues International readers. I hope everybody had a great October. I am so happy to see that Concerts are proceeding in full force. I was lucky enough to get out and see several of them including Dead & Co, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Vaughan, Alice Cooper, James Taylor, Joe Bonnamassa and a couple more. As I reported last month, there are a lot of great concert tours going out on the road now and I want to share those again with you. Among the festivals and bands announced are Walter Trout, Danielle Nicole, Sepultura, Inferno Metal Festival, Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise, Black Lael Society, Circle Jerks, Gwar, Jinjer California Deathfest VI, and Exhorder, just to name a few. ShipRocked 2022 has even been announced. There’s going to be a lot of live music hitting the road before the end of the year. Be sure to check out all the tour announcements and ads in this issue. If you’re a publicist and your act doesn’t have a tour announcement in here, then you’re client is really missing out. Don’t leave them by the wayside. And now on to the November issue of Rock And Blues International. In this issue you can read stories about Shawn Pittman, Groove City & Daria Biancardi, Rusty Gear, Stengah , Tusse, Jools Holland, Mirei, Saya, The Shining Tongues, Koffee, Fauness, Yeule, Of Monsters And Men, Madonna, Blake Rose, Night Cobra and more! As you can see, there are a lot of varied genres of music here for you to check out, or as we like to say, there’s a little of something for everyone here. We have even included the current installment of the novella, “The Biker”. Chapter 7 is being presented here this month and we are looking forward to your feedback on it. Read it and than email us back with your thoughts on this. Should we continue it or should we scrap it? I sincerely hope that everybody reading this publication finds something here that they like and I would like to encourage you to let your friends and colleagues know about us. Just look for us every month at http://www.rockandbluesinternational.com. I would also like to encourage you to email us for a free subscription to Rock And Blues International as well. Just email us at rockandbluesinternational@gmail.com and in the subject line simply put “Sign Me Up” and we’ll email you a link to the magazine each month when it is published.

Kevin Wildman Kevin Wildman Editor and Publisher

Rock And Blues International Kevin Wildman Editor and Publisher

Web Address Http://www.rockandbluesinternational.com Mailing Address Box 1162, League City, TX 77573 Phone 281-650-1953

For Advertising email us at rockandbluesinternational@gmail.com or call 281-650-1953 For A Free Subscription email us at rockandblues international@gmail.com and in the subject line put “Sign Me Up Now” November 2021 • Rock and Blues International

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Contents

VOL. 2 NO. 4

NOVEMBER 2021

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ISSUE NO. 16

SHAWN PITTMAN Shawn Pittman talks about the music business and his new album

18 DARIA BIANCARDI & GROOVE CITY

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Edoardo Fassio talks about Groove City and Daria Biancardi

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RUSTY GEAR Meet Rusty Gear, the prolific storyteller

28 JOOLS HOLLAND

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Jools Holland Announces New Album, Pianola. Piano & Friends

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MADONNA Madonna’s Madame X Concert Film And Album Is Out Now!

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Rock and Blues International • November 2021


Contents

VOL. 2 NO.43

NOVEMBER 2021

ISSUE NO. 16

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Blake Rose Blake Rose Unveils Debut EP, A World Gone By

NIGHT COBRA

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Houston’s Night Cobra Unleashed New Song, The Serpent’s Kiss

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THE BIKER LIMITED EDITION SHORT STORY EMAIL US AND LET US KNOW WHAT YOU THINK OF THIS ONE AND IF YOU WANT MORE OF THIS SERIES.

In This Issue: 6 Shawn Pittman 18 Groove City & Daria Biancardi (English) 19 Groove City & Daria Biancardi (Italian) 20 Rusty Gear 24 Stengah 26 Tusse 28 Jools Holland

30 32 34 36 38 40 42 44 50

Mirei Saya The Shining Tongues Koffee Fauness Yeule Of Monsters And Men Chickpee Madonna

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Blake Rose Dijon Night Cobra Aftershock Festival Unleashed Sweet Justice Blondie Billy Preston The Biker

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Shawn Pittman 6

Rock and Blues International • November 2021


Meet Shawn Pittman Texas Bluesman Makes His Mark On The Lone Star State By Kevin Wildman Being a musician isn’t the easiest job on this planet. It comes with its ups and downs, the good and the bad. There are always obstacles to overcome, especially in this new era of Covid. It’s made touring and recording problematic, and it hasn’t really let up that much. However, there are some musicians out there that have battled this and more to come back swinging and taking control of their own destiny. One such musician is Bluesman Shawn Pittman. Shawn has his own story to tell as he has slipped in and out of the music business several times, always returning stronger than when he left. The Oklahoma native likes to call Texas his home as he has found a lot of his musical roots here. Born in Oklahoma, Pittman first moved to Texas in the early 90s. Little did he know that when he was taking piano lessons at the age of 8 that he would go on to becoming a top notch guitarist and make the Blues his way of life. At one point in his early youth, young Shawn discovered his brother’s drum set and stared sneaking into his room to try his hand at that, but by the age of 14 all that changed when he discovered a love for the guitar. Soon he was introduced to a particular kind of music by his good friend from high school, Bracken Hale. Bracken turned him on to the sounds of Muddy Waters and Lightnin’ Hopkins, just to name a couple. Soon Shawn discovered a love for the Blues that continues to this day. Another friend, Ben Bigsby further enhanced Pittman’s thirst for the Blues with songs from Jimmy Reed, Elmore James, and Albert King and advised him that his next step besides playing guitar was to also learn to sing. A

good Bluesman not only plays guitar, but he also sings as well. By 1992 Shawn had become a Dallas transplant and spent seven years there honing his skill and performing around Dallas as well as other parts of Texas until 1999. From there he moved to the music capital of Texas, Austin. He spent a good 14 years there furthering his career and making a name for himself around the Lone Star State, eventually moving back to Oklahoma where his family was around 2013. During that time he also returned to school to earn a degree in Information Technology. By that time he had about 10 albums under his belt and had found himself in and out of the music business a couple of times. When 2015 rolled around, Shawn was back recording again and released his 11th album, Backslidin’ Again, followed by his 12th release in 2018, Everyone Wants To Know with his longtime friend and drummer Jay Moeller. Pittman’s most recent releases are Make It Right, which was released in 2020 in partnership with the Netherlands-based Continental Record Services (CRS) and 2021’s all acoustic solo album, Stompin’ Solo. 2021 also finds Shawn relocating from Oklahoma back to his old stomping grounds in Dallas’ Oak Cliff area where Stevie Ray and Jimmie Vaughan grew up. Now Shawn is starting back up again with a new attitude and a new goal. He’s definitely going to make the music business work in his favor. In November of this year he plans on recording a new album in Austin at Wire Recording with owner and engineer Stuart Sullivan at the helm. Pittman has worked with Sullivan continued on next page November 2021 • Rock and Blues International

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Shawn Pittman continued from previous page before and know that he will get the best out of Shawn on these recordings. Recording and touring with Pittman on these new recordings will be longtime friend and bandmate, Jason Crisp. Rounding out the rhythm section will be drummer Mike King. Recently we had a chance to sit down with Shawn and discuss the ups and downs, as well as the new album and the road along the way. Rock And Blues International: Before we get too buried in this conversation Shawn, what is Information Technology and what did you get out of it? Is it something that is going to help out with your career in Music? Shawn Pittman: It’s the broadest version of nothing that you can study that won’t get you any job. It’ll land you in a call center, but that’s about it. When I went to community college that’s the major that I took and I asked the teacher one day, ‘what is this exactly’. He said, ‘you’re taking the Information Technology… We’ve been trying to get that one.’ So evidently, I took one that is a little bit of everything, and not enough of anything. It’s a little bit of networking… a little bit of everything that we do with computers, but it was just an Associates in Applied Science, so it really wasn’t something that was going to help me enough. That’s why I’m playing (music) again. Rock And Blues International: Well, I figured that what you learned out of Information Technology was that you needed to go back and play music to really satisfy yourself and make yourself happy and productive. Shawn Pittman: Pretty much (laughs). But you know, anytime I’ve ever…. Like, there’s been many times over the years where I had to stop playing for one reason or another. It’s usually been my mental health, my spiritual health, and my financial health. A lot of times, when the financial health goes, the other two seem to follow, so I have had to get some other jobs from time to time and I’ve always used what I learned to go back to music. It always makes me more excited when I do go back to music because I feel I learned a life skill or tool that can help me. The thing with the I.T. stuff is that it helped me because I learned a little bit about how computers work and now I manage my own website. I just do it for myself. It helps me to save some money and not hire a web guy. Rock And Blues International: I can relate to that. I handle my own website myself. I wish I could hire one of these professionals to do it for me, but it’s just more convenient and cost effective to manage it myself. Shawn Pittman: Yeah, it’s so expensive, Rock And Blues International: You’ve really had a fantastic career so far and have worked with a ‘who’s who’ of 8 Rock and Blues International • November 2021

great Texas musicians. Shawn Pittman: Yeah, but sometimes it doesn’t really seem to help me very much when it comes to talent buyers. I don’t know if they don’t take the time to look me up and a lot of people don’t take the time to, but I’m basically starting from scratch. They’re kind of like, ‘who are you.’ I can tell them who I’ve played with, but they’re more concerned with how many people I can bring into the bar. I’ve had to deal with some of that. I’m pretty much starting over and I’m 47 years old. It seems like I’ve been pretty much saying the same thing forever, because I seem to hear, ‘how come we’ve never heard of you.’ (laughs again) Yeah, I have played with a lot of famous Texas musicians. That’s something you can’t really put a price value on or anything like that. Rock And Blues International: You really have worked with a lot of famous Texas musicians. Let’s name a few here… Preston Hubbard from The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Tommy Shannon from Stevie Ray Vaughan’s band as well as from Johnny Winter, The Bramhall Brothers… Doyle Bramhall II was just out on the road with Eric Clapton this year. From Dallas you played with Mike Morgan from Mike Morgan and continued on page 10


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Shawn Pittman continued from previous page The Crawl. If you’re from Texas, you’ve heard of Mike Morgan. You’ve also performed with Cricket Taylor, another familiar Texas artist. When it comes to Texas musicians, this is the cream of the crop. Shawn Pittman: I think so. This is why I came down here to begin with. I wanted to learn how to play with those folks. I’ve also played with Anson Funderburgh. I’ve played a lot with Mike Morgan, especially being based in Dallas. He’s going to be with me on the next gig coming up this Friday in Dallas as a special guest. We did a gig with me, Anson, and Mike called ‘The Texas Blues Guitar Summit’. We did real good. We did real well there in Dallas. I don’t put it on my bio because people always ask me about it and I don’t like talking about it too much. I did play with Susan Tedeschi as well back in 1999. At the time she was up for The Grammy for her second album, Just Won’t Burn. I don’t put it on there, because I didn’t really play with her all that long. I got to open up for BB King down in Houston at the House Of Blues. That was pretty cool. I opened up for a lot of folks. I got to play with a lot of my heroes. I can think back on those times and it keeps me going. Rock And Blues International: Being in the music business is a hard gig, no matter what aspect you take, performing, writing, recording, even doing a music publication. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart. It’s a very demanding profession. Not everybody has the success of Elton John, Eric Clapton, or even BB King. Even they have had tough moments. Shawn Pittman: I can relate to that. There’s always someone telling them that they’re not doing enough. Even if it were Gary Clark Jr., I would imagine he’s got pressure on him from someone too. It’s really hard. You can do it as long as you can do it and then when it’s not fun, you just have to stop for awhile. Sometimes I’ve had too. If you’re not having fun doing it, then you’re just kind of wasting your time and everybody else’s. If you can manage to do the work and have fun doing it, then heck, I can’t imagine why I’d ever stop. Hopefully this time around, I plan on sticking around as long as I can and making it happen one way or another. I know there’s some level of success out there waiting for me. I’m just going to keep working for it and have fun while I’m doing it. Rock And Blues International: That’s right, you just can’t give up. It’s a very fickle business. They say you’re only as good as your last album. It’s the same with my magazine. I’m only as good as the last issue of my magazine. ‘Well Kevin, that last issue sucked…. What are you going to do with the next one?’ Shawn Pittman: Oh yeah, I certainly understand all that. A lot of people haven’t heard any of my records, and I’ve recorded a lot of records. Some of them I’ve just self-released. 10 Rock and Blues International • November 2021

I just keep doing them. I get knocked down and I slowly get back up. You’ve got to keep yourself motivated. Rock And Blues International: Well, when you get into the Music business, you’ve just got to keep yourself happy. That’s the main thing. Shawn Pittman: Right! Rock And Blues International: If you’re happy, it will reflect on what you’re doing. If you’re miserable with it, that will reflect on it too. Shawn Pittman: Yeah! Exactly. That’s why whenever I realize, ‘okay, the way I’m doing this, I’m not having that much fun, so I’d better stop’, because you never want to be in front of people and entertain them when you’re miserable. I’ve had times where I just had to stop playing just for my own well being. I had to figure out why I wasn’t having fun and reflect on it, learn from it, and then when I was ready to come back again, take that knowledge and do it differently. Rock And Blues International: When was your last album? Shawn Pittman: I stopped doing records between 2014 and 2017, then I did one in 2018 with my friend Jay Moeller and it went out on a German label. No one around here really continued on page 12


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Shawn Pittman continued from previous page heard it. Then I did another one in 2019. I did that one in Denmark and that one went out on a label from Holland. Then the pandemic hit, so I really didn’t get to tour behind that. And then in 2020 I was in Oklahoma and I did an acoustic album, so that was my latest. It was just acoustic because I couldn’t play with anybody because of the pandemic. So, I’ve done albums in ’18, ‘19’, and ’20. Those are kind of the circumstances there. Rock And Blues International: I listened to your last two albums, the acoustic one and the electric one and I really enjoyed them. The acoustic one was very traditional sounding. Shawn Pittman: Thank you, I used the pandemic to learn how to play by myself without a band, because I didn’t know when things were going to open up again. It forced me to study some guys like Lightnin’ Hopkins and Mance Lipscomb, two of my favorites and I’ve always enjoyed playing acoustic, but I wanted to challenge myself to go into the studio and record a full acoustic record. People have been giving me some good feedback on it. Rock And Blues International: Well, when you perform a solo acoustic show, at the end of the night it’s a lot easier to divide up the money. Shawn Pittman: Amen to that! Rock And Blues International: Some of these solo acoustic musicians make far more money that if they had been in a band with four other guys. Shawn Pittman: That’s true. Rock And Blues International: But I really did enjoy both albums immensely, the electric one and the acoustic one, and I understand that now you are working on a new one. Shawn Pittman: I am. In November of this year I’m going to go into a studio in Austin for a few days and I’m using the band that I have now. I came back to Dallas in April of this year and I wanted to start over from scratch, and do it just like I did it in the old days. The way everybody used to do, get a band together and play and record with the same guys that I use at every gig and go through the good and the bad together. I’ve got a good group of guys. It’s the same trio. I just play with a bass player and a drummer, and I plan on recording that way as well, just kind of making it a honest, live recording, just getting that sound back out there. It’s pretty much a grassroots project from the ground up. I’m hoping to get it done by the end of the year and then I can use that as my most updated release to pitch to festivals and things like that for next Spring and Summer.

Shawn Pittman: Oh yeah! I’ve never booked studio time until I’ve had my material ready, so we’re good. We’ve played the songs a bit, but yeah. Some of the songs I’m re-recording because on some of those other releases, they’re basically demos, because nobody ever heard them. I think there’s good songs on a lot of those, so there’s some that I’m re-recording because I never felt they really got heard. It’s all original material. I might throw a cover on there, but I haven’t decided on that one yet. Right now I’m planning on putting around 11 or 12 songs on there of original material. It’s got that Texas sound. It’s kind of what I do, that three-piece power trio sound, but I’m marginally traditional. I’m not heavy on the rock side of things. I look at myself as a Blues player that can play Rock and Roll, rather than a guy that started out started out as a Rock and Roll player and later decided he wanted to play Blues. Some people might not understand that, but I’m more traditional in some ways.

Laura Tate Releases Her New “Live” album Live From El Paso

Rock And Blues International: Are very many of the songs written already. 12 Rock Rockand andBlues BluesInternational International • August November 2021 2021

Rock And Blues International: I understand that perfectly. You can tell the people that were raised on Blues from the people that are just trying to imitate it. Shawn Pittman: Yeah, you can hear their influences when they really start playing. That’s why I think I still had a place continued on page 14


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Shawn Pittman continued from previous page in the music universe. I felt that there was some kind of music that I had inside of me there’s a place for. I keep coming back. Even when I try to quit, it keeps calling me…. It keeps calling me back, so I don’t think I could quite even if I wanted to. Rock And Blues International: Well, you’re acoustic album was a dead giveaway on your influences. There’s no way to hide it. Obviously you weren’t influenced by Led Zeppelin first. Shawn Pittman: (Laughs) Well I do like them, I admire their stuff. Rock And Blues International: Right, but I’m listening to the stuff you’re doing on the acoustic album, and it’s very traditional Blues sounding. It doesn’t sound like you started out as a heavy metal guitarist and then switched to the Blues. You’re definitely a Blues guitarist. The feeling is there, the chord structure is there, and every thing is just there and in place. It’s a dead giveaway. Shawn Pittman: Well, I appreciate that. It’s a compliment. Yeah, I still study those guys. A lot of people cross over. They look at it like it’s too simple and too old or whatever. I just still enjoy it. I can play along with a Jimmy Reed record or a Lightnin’ Hopkins record or Eddie Taylor record, any of those guys… Muddy Waters, Jimmy Rogers. I enjoy that still and I still feel I have a lot to learn from those things. I’ll probably never stop learning from them. I’m proud of that. It bugs me a little bit when I see some players overlook those guys because it’s fundamental. Rock And Blues International: When you perform one of your shows, what can we expect to see and hear from you and the band? Shawn Pittman: Well, I’ll be playing electric with my bass player and drummer. One interesting thing about what we do is that my bass player also plays guitar. When we do the trio and he’s on bass, we can do the traditional Texas Blues sounds, for lack of a good word, would be that Anson Funderburgh Blues or that T-Birds Blues… that Lightnin’ Hopkins kind of stuff. And then I have some things that are more in the Soul type of arena as well. And then when the bass player switches to guitar, it enables me to do a lot of Junior Kimbrough or an R.L Burnside type of Blues… a Hound Dog Taylor or a Mississippi Blues kind of sound, or even a Chicago Blues. We can do an Elmore James kind of sound as well. So you get a lot of the different kind of styles of Blues. There are so many cool styles of Blues, so I pride myself in being able to do the ones that I attempt as correctly as possible. We’ll play a Bobby Blue Bland song and then we’ll play a Hound Dog Taylor song, or Elmore James, so you get a lot of the different styles as well as some Rock and Roll. At least, what I call Rock and Roll… that Chuck Berry kind of grooves and things 14 Rock and Blues International • November 2021

like that. Yeah, you can hear lots of different kinds of styles. Some of the feedback I’ve been getting is that people really like that we go through many different style of Blues. Rock And Blues International: How much of your sets is original, and for lack of a better term, how much will be cover material. I know you dedicate a fair amount of your performance to some of the Blues traditionalists. Shawn Pittman: Well, I’ve written so many songs, that I forget to do them all some of the times. Sometimes I just play a song that I like. Really, it’s about fifty-fifty. It kind of depends on the night. If I wanted to, I could play a whole night of original music. I like Jerry McCain a lot. I’ll throw in some of his stuff… Lightnin’ Hopkins, Elmore James, and Jimmy Reed. I’ve written a lot of songs, so it kind of depends on the night. You’ll get a little bit of both, original and covers. I think mostly 75 percent original and 25 percent cover. Rock And Blues International: Are there any songs in particular that you feel that you have to include in just about every performance that you do? Are there some favorites that you just have to play because you love performing them? Shawn Pittman: Yeah, I love that old Jerry McCain stuff. He’s got this song called “Next Door Neighbor” that I just love. It’s fun to perform and it’s a funny song. He’s also got one called “Turn Your Damper Down” that’s got this raw type of rhythm guitar. I love it, so I’ll always throw that in there. As far as my own songs, there’s a few that I always perform, and one of them is “Something’s Got To Give.” That’s one of mine. I always start with “Almost Good.” That’s an original tune that I wrote with a friend of mine that’s actually from Houston. He grew up with Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top… across the street or in the same neighborhood. He ended up becoming a lawyer. Don’t hold it against him (laughs). He’s a partner with Dick DeGuerin, I guess. His name is Lewis Dickson. He’s a good friend and a patron. He would tell me stories about him and Billy in High School and some of the jokes they would tell each other, some of the slang they used and stuff. He sent me some lyrics and “Almost Good” is one of them. He’s been a big part of my songwriting, so I include a lot of his stuff. There’s one song that I do that’s called “Lean and Low”. Evidently BB King went over to Billy’s house one day and while he was there he saw a big, emerald green Cadillac. I wrote a song about that and it’s called “Lean and Low.” He said that’s what they called those big Cadillac’s back then, lean and low. He said every time he walked by Billy in school and asked him how he was doing, Billy replied, “Just trying to maintain.” So I figured the Houston aspect to that song was an interesting one. It’s a big part of what I do, as far as Louis and I have written a lot of songs together. He lives in Austin now. Rock And Blues International: What kind of an image do you think you project on stage? Shawn Pittman: You know what, I just try to be myself. I’m pretty much just a regular guy. I don’t know as far as image goes… just fun, a guy that likes to have fun but takes continued on next page


Shawn Pittman continued from previous page this seriously. I keep things pretty clean. I don’t really try to make any statements outside of musical statements. I stay away from political things. I learned my lesson on that. I don’t say nothing about that. Really, I just be myself. I’m kind of a fun guy. I like to joke around and make fun of myself. Some of these songs are kind of funny, even if they’re about something that sounds serious. That’s really what I want to portray… fun. Something that people can all get together behind. Everybody wants to have fun and listen to fun music. Rock And Blues International: Well, what’s your funniest song? Shawn Pittman: The funniest song… let’s see… Here’s a good example. On the latest album I did a song called “Fly Swat Woman.” It’s a true story. My wife had just let the dogs out and she’d leave the door open and no matter what time of the year, but especially in the warm time of the year, she’d always make sure all my amps were turned off. Every time she’d walk by my amp, if it were turned on, she’d turn it off. But when it came to the dogs, she’d leave the door wide open and all the flies would come right in. So, I’m sitting right there on the couch watching TV or something and I’m starting to get disconcerted by her walking around with this flyswatter and these flies are starting to land on me. The next thing I know, she’s looking up at me and she’s telling me to stay still because she has a fly she want to kill on my head or my arm. I think it was funny to her. So I thought, I’ll just make a song out of this, “Fly Swat Woman.” That’s one of them, Or maybe the one about the time I moved back to Oklahoma and had to trade in my Texas driver’s license for an Oklahoma driver’s license. That was too symbolic for me man. It depressed the hell out of me. I wanted to keep my Texas license, so I went and wrote a song about how I wanted to be back in Texas. To me, the humorous aspects are pretty much everything. You kind of make fun of yourself sometimes and I think it makes life kind of easier. Rock And Blues International: What’s your most serious song? Shawn Pittman: On the 2019 album, “Make It Right.” It’s a positive song. You know, when you’re in one of those depressed moods, and sometimes these depressed kind of moods last… Sometimes these moods can last a long time, sometimes even a week and then you just find yourself in this rut. Sometimes they can last months. I think at this point, I had just been… nothing was going my way, and so I was just writing this song about being mad. So I’m writing the verses and talking about nobody’s there for me, I don’t have enough money, no place to play, no job, angry. And by the time I got to the third verse and I was reading over it and it was ‘damn man, I sure am complaining a lot.’ I thought, ‘how do I stop this, what do I do to make this better’ and that’s when I decided to put a positive spin in there. What’s my solution to this stuff?

And not only that, ‘what is my part in it? How did I get to this point, and why? What decisions did I make in life? What judgement did I use that may or may not have been the best?’ So, at that moment I realized I was responsible for my actions and I need to own up to that. Now, what do I do about it? How do I make it right? How do I dig myself out of this hole? That may not be what you call a serious song, but it surely is a self-reflective song where you take responsibility for your actions and do what you can to make it positive and to do better in life. That’s why I call it “Make It Right.” What can I do to make this right, and where’s my part in al this and how can I improve myself and my decision making so I can go where I want to go and where I need to go. Rock And Blues International: What is it that you want people to come away with when they see you perform or come away from one of your performances? Shawn Pittman: I want people to know that there’s somebody out there that’s still hold to their heart the true fun and essence of the Blues, that they can walk away and say, “Dad gum, that guy does the real stuff. I want people to say that. I want people to hear all the stuff that they’ve been longing to hear, and I hope that I can deliver that, the real deal kind of Blues that people want to see and hear. The kind of stuff that people don’t get to experience much these days. I may be kind of a throw back, you know, but I want people to know that there’s somebody out there that still holds true to it, has fun with it, and sings their own songs, and has stories behind their songs. I guess that, mainly. It’s fun and the Shawn Pittman Band plays good Blues! It’s real. As you can tell, Shawn Pittman is a very interesting man who has learned a lot of life lessons along the way. Despite the few setbacks that he has experienced over the years he has definitely not given up on his goal of bringing the sound of traditional Blues back to his fans and future audiences. He is a man with a mission and nothing is going to stop him this time around. Currently Shawn is on tour in Texas and you can catch him at Katie’s in Bacliff on November 4th, The Big Easy in Houston on November 5th, Green Oaks Tavern in Humble on November 6th, Antone’s in Austin on November 9th, Poor David’s Pub in Dallas on November 12th, and the Gateway Bar in Yantis on November 20th. If you live in Texas, or are visiting the Lone Star State during this month, you might want to put one of these dates on your calendar to go and check out one of the finest Bluesmen you’ve ever heard. As Shawn looks to the future and reflects on what he’s done and plans to do, he tells us: “I have had many obstacles on my road just like anybody that has embarked on this lifestyle, some self-inflicted, but through my failures I have learned invaluable lessons about life and people, and my strengths as well as my weaknesses. As an artist I feel like I am just beginning. The one constant I have had is the desire to be great at what I do. The late Clifford Antone told me “it’s all about making friends.” I combine that piece of advice with something BB King told me when I asked him his secret for longevity: “Treat people how you want to be treated, and remember everybody has a boss.” November 2021 • Rock and Blues International 15


16 Rock and Blues International • July 2021


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Groove City & Daria Biancardi: Italy’s got Soul By Edoardo Fassio

If Italy is one of the European countries where soul music has rooted most strongly, it is also thanks to the Porretta Soul Festival. For a third of a century Porretta Terme, a quiet spa town between Bologna and Florence, welcomes the key figures in classic rhythm & blues. The shows, which take place in a natural amphitheater called Rufus Thomas Park, hosted Rufus himself and his daughters Carla and Vaneese Thomas, as well as Irma Thomas (no relations, except in the powerful stylistic vein), Eddie Hinton, Howard Tate, Millie Jackson, Solomon Burke, Wilson Pickett and scores of other legends. Not only a showcase for the prime movers, over the years Porretta has been a training ground for new musicians, including Italian ones. This is where one of the most competent combos of the last generations has emerged: Groove City. Founded in Bologna by organist Fabio Ziveri and saxophonist Andrea Scorzoni, the little big band was destined to the Road to Memphis (a route that provided the title for their first album). Even in an literal sense: its members, inspired by the classic Memphis sound of Stax, Hi and Goldwax records, regularly visit the soul capital of the Mid-South, whenever commitments at home make it possible. Groove City, which has performed and recorded with overseas stars such as Sax Gordon, Toni Green, David Hudson and Wee Willie Walker, found their ideal voice in Daria Biancardi, a singer from Palermo who has black America flowing in her veins. Grown artistically in local gospel and spiritual vocal ensembles, she commands the scene with the warmth, the sense of drama, the joyfulness, the impetus and the spontaneity of the best rhythm & blues divas. Her maturity as a solo artist took a leap forward when, in 2001, at the age of 19, she passed an audition at the famed Apollo Theater in Harlem, NY, the undisputed temple of soul music. A frequent flyer to international arenas and festivals, Daria reached the semifinals of “The Voice of Italy”, where she sang with Ricky Martin and Kylie Minogue. On the strength of Respect, a proud tribute to Aretha Franklin that hit the stages in several European countries, on 12 and 13 November 2021 Biancardi and Groove City will appear at the prestigious Blues Heaven Festival in Frederikshavn, Denmark, sharing a top bill with Bobby Rush, John Primer, Rick Estrin, Gaye Adegbalola and Nora Jean Wallace. Not only an act of “Respect” to the great black music tradition of the twentieth century, but also a strong sign of recovery from the emergency of the pandemic. http://www.groovecity.it 18

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Groove City e Daria Biancardi: il Soul abita qui By Edoardo Fassio Se l’Italia è tra i paesi europei dove la soul music ha attecchito con più forza, è anche merito del Porretta Soul Festival. È l’evento musicale che, in una tranquilla cittadina termale tra Bologna e Firenze, da un terzo di secolo schiera i personaggi chiave del rhythm & blues di ieri e di oggi. I concerti, che si svolgono in un anfiteatro naturale chiamato Rufus Thomas Park, hanno ospitato lo stesso Rufus e le sue figlie Carla e Vaneese Thomas, oltre a Irma Thomas (nessuna parentela, se non nella potente vena stilistica), Eddie Hinton, Howard Tate, Millie Jackson, Solomon Burke, Wilson Pickett e uno stuolo di altri giganti. Non solo vetrina per le leggende degli anni d’oro, negli anni la rassegna è stata palestra per nuovi artisti, anche italiani. È qui che si è imposta una delle orchestrine più preparate delle ultime generazioni: Groove City. Bolognese di residenza, la piccola big band fondata dall’organista Fabio Ziveri e dal sassofonista Andrea Scorzoni è stata folgorata sulla strada per Memphis (un percorso che ha fornito il titolo per il loro primo album). Anche in senso letterale: i suoi componenti, ispirati dal classico Memphis Sound targato Stax, Hi e Goldwax, visitano la Soul City del Mid-South ogni volta che gli impegni in patria lo rendono possibile. Groove City, che si è esibita e ha inciso con star di oltre oceano come Sax Gordon, Toni Green, David Hudson e Wee Willie Walker, ha trovato la voce ideale in Daria Biancardi, una cantante di Palermo. Anche lei ha Memphis nelle corde. Cresciuta artisticamente in formazioni gospel e spiritual della Sicilia, possiede la presenza scenica, il calore, il senso del dramma, l’allegria, l’impeto e la spontaneità delle migliori interpreti di rhythm & blues. La sua maturità come solista ha avuto un balzo in avanti quando, nel 2001, all’età di 19 anni, fu ammessa a un provino all’Apollo Theatre di Harlem, indiscusso tempio della soul music. Frequente vedette in teatri e festival internazionali, Daria ha raggiunto le semifinali di “The Voice of Italy”, dove ha cantato con Ricky Martin e Kylie Minogue. Forti dello spettacolo Respect, un fiero omaggio ad Aretha Franklin applaudito in diversi paesi d’Europa, il 12 e 13 novembre 2021 Biancardi e Groove City saranno ospiti del prestigioso Blues Heaven Festival di Frederikshavn, Danimarca, a condividere un cartellone di lusso con Bobby Rush, John Primer, Rick Estrin, Gaye Adegbalola e Nora Jean Wallace. Non soltanto un atto di rispetto alla grande tradizione di black music del Novecento, ma anche un coraggioso segnale di ripresa dall’emergenza della pandemia. http://www.groovecity.it November 2021 • Rock and Blues International 19


Meet Songwriter Artist Rusty Gear The Prolific Storyteller Rusty Gear is a versatile songwriter and recording artist whose records have been spun by radio internationally and charted on Roots Music Reports in the blues, Americana and country categories. His most recent release, Against the Grain (featuring Bekka Bramlett), is gaining recognition, including the blues single Ashes of Desire with an accompanying video. Rusty’s first blues single was a song titled “Sorry Excuses”. On this track the songwriter teamed with the extremely talented, soulful blues singer Bekka Bramlett - a vocalist that has appeared on stage with literally a who’s who in both rock and blues. The songs catchy melody and hard hitting lyrics, combined with Bekka’s delivery, skyrocketed the release to number two on the Roots Chicago Blues chart almost immediately after it was released. Rusty’s creations have even topped the well regarded European Hot Disc Top 40 country chart on several occasions, most recently with Gold on the Horizon at #2 for six weeks. So what propels this man’s work to such heights? Meet songwriter/artist Rusty Gear. A soft spoken gentleman with a quick mind armed with a writer’s pen that never runs out of ink. His secret? He writes about life, about the ups and downs that people around the world go through within their lifetime. He wrote about the U.S.S. Arizona, which infamously was sunk in the attack on Pearl Harbor, after hearing that many of the remaining survivors asked to have their ashes placed at the memorial. To say that the song touched listeners would be an under statement. In fact the song was produced into a marvelous storytelling video released on You Tube and has been played on radio in Memorial Day playlists. Rusty even wrote a song about the process of songwriting, The Writer, which counts many songwriters and authors among its fans. Rusty has also created a unique collection of videos to highlight his music and add a distinctive visual experience, whether it’s compelling historical footage on Rest in Arizona or dancing skeletons in Tequila Won’t Solve Your Problems. To date each video has received tens of thousands of views on You Tube. It’s this rather unique ability to get next to a good story and develop it through music, lyrics and video, that creates a memorable experience for his fans. His themes have included out and running around songs, drinking songs, songs of rejection and pain and songs of the road, with many of them spiraling upward on the charts. Rusty’s newest EP Against the Grain (featuring Bekka Bramlett) includes his latest blues single, Ashes of Desire, and if you haven’t heard the track or seen the new video produced by Relaxing Blues Music it’s really good. Currently Rusty is in production on another collection for his upcoming record and don’t be surprised if you see them tracking on the charts as well. Rusty Gear is a humble individual that just happens to really pay attention to what people are saying and when he envisions a story line the lyrics come alive and the music takes shape. You can take in a Rusty Gear performance mainly in Northeast America and you can find his music on all streaming platforms (with over 1,725,000 streams on Spotify) and at rustygearmusic.com. 20 Rock and Blues International • November 2021


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November 2021 • Rock and Blues International

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New Metal From France

they say, “Above Inhumanity is a gloomy reverie, a suspended time, where you reach what’s beyond the irrational. A tired mind abandoned to madness, vision and wisdom reduced to the merest fears, struggling with the darkest version of yourself.” The video for “Above Inhumanity” acts out the story of a young woman haunted by the childish depiction of a ghost - herself in a parallel dimension. Trapped in a time loop, she awakes again to find a filmstrip containing a disturbing video of a ghost following her. The video projector turns out to be a gateway between both realms. The foreboding tale sees her awake where everything appears as it really is…

Stengah Post Live Performance Clip of “Above Inhumanity” To view live performance video of Above Inhumanity: https://youtu.be/wV1G369oDrc Official video of “Above Inhumanity”: https:// youtu.be/WtY1pn3u7Uc Pre-order here: https://smarturl.it/Stengah Band Quote: “This live version of our first single ‘Above Inhumanity’ is a fragment of a full set we called ‘The Mosaic Session’. A premiere band performance in this wonderful and rare Art Deco place – Le Buffet de la Gare – in SaintQuentin, France, courtesy of the city council.

and Thomas Jankowski for the acoustical engineering. The result offers a unique intimate and immersive live show with a very massive sound carried by the breathtaking echo of the room and the band in a state of trance.

With this project we wanted to go further than just a live performance. We wanted the venue to be part of the show. The improbable fusion of a room entirely made of mosaic with our own musical mosaic ; the wide diversity of our tones and the myriad of musical genres that influence the band.

With the world in chaos, exhilarating new music has become more important than ever before. As a result, the emergence of tech-metal mavericks STENGAH could hardly be better timed. One of the most exciting new bands on the planet, the French quintet have spent the last few years in a state of perpetual evolution, armed with some of the most visceral and forward-thinking riffs and refrains in recent memory.

This one of a kind session was an awesome and very challenging capture made possible thanks to our epic team directed by Samuel Petit for the video

Both thrillingly primal and ferociously intelligent, this is music that aspires to enlighten and brutalise in equal measure. Talking about the song

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They add, “It’s a dreamlike narrative that makes spiritual and physical realms collapse. A story where a hunter may be a prey, and the prey a monster…”

Founded by drummer Eliott Williame, STENGAH have the sound, the smarts and the ambition to push heavy music ever further into the future. After years of steady evolution and meticulous attention to detail, the band – completed by bassist Benoit Creteur, lead guitarist Maxime Delassus, rhythm guitarist Alex Orta and powerhouse frontman Nicolas Queste - have honed their sound to a state of cutting-edge perfection. “The music is about (re)connecting with yourself,” says Eliott. “It’s about people, their fears, their faiths and their philosophies. How sometimes those things can guide them, and how sometimes they can blind them. It asks, with no judgement, about how odd and how strange the social and emotional behaviours of human beings are. It’s all about the power to believe, in creativity, and in consciousness.” STENGAH bring riffs that speak of unstoppable momentum and insidious hooks that will penetrate your heart and your head. “Above Inhumanity” is just the beginning.


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New Music From Sweden

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“Grow,” which is written by Tusse in collaboration with Amanda Cygnaeus, Petter Tarland, Pär Westerlund and produced by Paro, is a song about finding yourself and growing as a person. The track is accompanied by a children’s choir from Class 5B in Kyrkskolan Täby. “It’s not easy being young today with all the challenges kids face. Not only do you have to find yourself and try to fit in, you also have to worry about the climate, the environment and what the future will look like. On top of that, you have to fight mental illness, pandemics, racism, sexism, homophobia and so much more. This is our fight song,” says Tusse on the song. With over 3 million votes, Tusse broke the record when he won Melodifestivalen 2021 with his song “Voices” and got to represent Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam, where he came in 14th place. In 2021, Tusse made history after winning the song contest Melodifestivalen 2021, making him the only artist to win both famous song contest TV shows Idol and Melodifestivalen. His platinum-selling song “Voices” went straight to number one on Spotify, top ten on Swedish radio and iTunes in Sweden. The song also made it into the Top 200 on the Global Spotify chart and in eight other countries during the Eurovision final. During the year, Tusse hosted the biggest radio shows, such as “Summer P1” and performed live at the biggest TV shows in Sweden. The Kongo-Kinshasa born pop artist Tusse came to Sweden as a fiveyear-old and has since managed to make his mark in the Swedish music sphere. In 2018, Tusse participated in Swedish Idol where he not only showed the most artistic progression throughout the course of the show but won the whole competition after an absolutely mindblowing, live broadcasted arena performance. This year, two years after his exploit in Idol, Tusse made his debut in Melodifestivalen with his song “Voices.”

Swedish Artist Tusse Releases New Track “Grow” Melodifestivalen 2021 winner Tusse releases his new song ”Grow” via Universal Music Sweden/Republic Records. Listen to ”Grow”: Here At https://tusse.lnk.to/growTusse’s thoughts on the songs message: “For me, this song is for the ones who need a reminder that everyone is equal worth. We have more in common than what keeps us apart.” Not only did he win the whole thing, which gave him a spot in Eurovision Song Contest, but he also made history by receiving the highest number of votes ever to be seen

in the Swedish finals, alongside being the first one to ever have won both Idol and Melodifestivalen. There seem to be no limit to the promising pop artist Tusse. His journey to influence and empower people through his music and warm and exuberant personality has merely just begun.

Follow Tusse Instagram @ https://www.instagram.com/tusseofc/?hl=en Spotify @ https://open.spotify.com/artist/1BwDWgdDJe3TJXLZkBkpsI YouTube @ https://republicrecords.us5.list-manage.com/track/click?u=3051269687d98ad95ab882a80&id=d16f6e0c44&e=8c586f3e2f November 2021 • Rock and Blues International

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New Music From The U.K.

Jools Holland Announces Star-Studded Album ‘PIANOLA, PIANO & FRIENDS’ Featuring Lang Lang, Herbie Hancock, David Gilmour, Tom Jones, Gregory Porter, Moses Boyd, Trombone Shorty, Joe Bonamassa, Rick Wakeman and many more Listen To First Single “Do The Boogie feat. Mousse T and The Rhythm & Blues Orchestra Horn Section” at https://joolsholland.lnk.to/DoTheBoogie Celebrated musician, bandleader and television host Jools Holland has amassed an almighty line-up of musicians, each a master of their individual instrument, for his new album PIANOLA. PIANO & FRIENDS. A loving tribute to the black and white keys that have become synonymous with Holland and his show-stopping stylings. PIANOLA. PIANO & FRIENDS, available for pre-order now, is set for release on Friday, November 19 via Warner Music on CD, double LP and all major streaming services. Today, Holland shares the first single “Do The Boogie”, featuring Mousse T (Mustafa Gündogdu), the effervescent club music producer known for many worldwide hits, and Holland’s own Rhythm & Blues Orchestra horn section. 28

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Jools Holland’s forthcoming PIANOLA. PIANO & FRIENDS celebrates the community and conviviality that the piano inspires. At the core of the album is the eponymous pianola that was once owned by his grandmother Rosie. A sturdy self-playing stand-up, Grandmother Rosie’s war-torn pianola once entertained guests in her little front room before a young Holland began learning to play on it, sparking his love of music and this very album. With seven tracks written by Holland himself, the album has been produced by multi-instrumentalist Nitin Sawhney, who received the Ivor Novello’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017 and whose distinctive creative vision profoundly continued on next page


Jools Holland

continued from previous page shaped the album, as well as Jools’ longtime producer Laurie Latham with one track co-written and produced by Mousse T. After a brief introduction by Jools himself, the inimitable Trombone Shorty together with the Rhythm & Blues Orchestra get into full swing on “Morris Dance” while Holland jams alongside the effortless charm of Booker T. in “Rockin’ Lockin”. Two true musical titans also make an appearance on PIANOLA. PIANO & FRIENDS with Tom Jones giving a beautiful, heart-wrenching performance on “Forgive Me”, backed by the London Contemporary Voices choir and The Rhythm & Blues Orchestra, while David Gilmour showcases his guitar prowess on the soaring “Blues For The End Of Time”, framed by Dhani Harrison’s interesting sonic touches. Mercury Prize nominee Moses Boyd makes two appearances, firstly alongside YolanDa Brown on the reggae inflected “Surfin” and then with certified legend Herbie Hancock on “St Louis Blues”. Another piano maestro, Lang Lang, flexes his fingers on the perfectly poised “Love Letter to Groningen” while Gregory Porter gives a powerful performance of the classic song “Mona Lisa”, recorded at The Royal Albert Hall for Later with…Jools Holland’s 25th Anniversary show in September 2017. Alongside regular star collaborators such as Ruby Turner, Jamie Cullum and Nitin Sawhney, other musical stars featured on PIANOLA. PIANO & FRIENDS include blues maestro Joe Bonamassa, German house pioneer and producer Mousse T., YES’ Rick Wakeman and towering talent Ayanna WitterJohnson. In a very special moment in the album, Holland plays tribute to his dear friend Dr. John with the posthumous release of ‘Boogie Woogie Twins’. A fiendishly difficult duet written by Jools and Dr. John, the pair astonished the studio audience in New York, in October 1988, as they performed the piece live for US TV show Night Music. PIANOLA. PIANO & FRIENDS was principally recorded at Helicon Mountain, Greenwich, and The Dairy Studios, Brixton, with additional recording at Buckjump Studio, New Orleans, USA, Shanghai Vocational School of Contemporary Music, China, and Peppermint Pavillon, Hannover, Germany. Commenting on the release of PIANOLA. PIANO & FRIENDS, Jools Holland said, “I’m humbled to have made this record with the greatest instrumental and vocal artists of our day. And so grateful to my lifelong friend the piano for making it possible.”

PRE-ORDER PIANOLA. PIANO & FRIENDS NOW AT https://joolsholland.lnk.to/PianolaPianoFriends OUT FRIDAY 19 NOVEMBER PIANOLA. PIANO & FRIENDS Tracklisting: 1. Instructions* 2. “Morris Dance feat. Trombone Shorty and The Rhythm & Blues Orchestra”* - Jools Holland 3. “Rockin’ Lock-in feat. George Latham”* - Booker T. 4. “Forgive Me feat. London Contemporary Voices and The Rhythm & Blues Orchestra”* - Tom Jones 5. “Blues For The End Of Time feat. sonic space design by Dhani Harrison”* - David Gilmour 6. “Hard Times feat. David Sanborn and The Rhythm & Blues Orchestra” - Jools Holland 7. “Surfin’ feat. Moses Boyd and The Rhythm & Blues Orchestra Horn Section” - YolanDa Brown 8. “Love Letter To Groningen” - Lang Lang 9. “St. Louis Blues feat. Moses Boyd” - Herbie Hancock 10. “Mona Lisa” - Gregory Porter 11. “Requiem feat. Gilson Lavis and Pino Palladino” - Joe Bonamassa 12.“Boogie Woogie Twins feat. Omar Hakim and Marcus Miller” - Dr. John 13. “Prelude No 1 in C Major feat. The Rhythm & Blues Orchestra” Jools Holland 14. “Ghost In The Piano” - Jamie Cullum 15. “To Whom It May Concern” - Ayanna Witter-Johnson 16. “Etude 53”* - Jools Holland 17. “Do The Boogie feat. The Rhythm & Blues Orchestra Horn Section” - Mousse T. 18. “Abide With Me” - Moses Boyd 19. “Rockin’ The Boogie feat. The Rhythm & Blues Orchestra” - Rick Wakeman 20. “Worst Man In London’ feat. Anna Phoebe and London Contemporary Voices” - Nitin Sawhney 21. “The Piano feat. Nan’s pianola”* - Ruby Turner *Written by Jools Holland

WWW.JOOLSHOLLAND.COM www.facebook.com/joolsholland * www.instagram.com/jools.holland.official https://www.youtube.com/c/JoolsHolland November 2021 • Rock and Blues International

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New Music From Japan

From Mixtapes To Playlists, Tamagotchis To Iphones, Millenials To Gen Z-ers: Mirei Searches For Where She Belongs On “1998” Listen @ https://orcd.co/mireinyc1998 Watch @ https://youtu.be/Rx_3XrkzL90 Pop, R&B, and chill electronicinfluenced Japanese artist MIREI returns with a lush video for new jazzlaced single “1998” out now via Cool Japan Music.

juxtapositions of the two age groups, the lyrics mention the shift from handmade mixtapes to Spotify’s algorithmically generated playlists, hand-rolled car windows to self-driving cars, watching celebrity tabloid relationships to swiping left on dating apps. It’ll have you in your feels as MIREI goes down memory lane and reflects on how things have changed over the years.

Named after MIREI’s birth year, the track explores her feelings about being stuck between two generations. Split between Millennials and Gen-Zers, she struggles to find which one is most relatable to her and where she belongs. On the track, MIREI says, “While She asks on the chorus, “am I young, or looking back at the culture I grew up am I old?” The lyrics are filled with with, I reflected on who I am and where I 30 Rock and Blues International • November 2021

belong… Britney Spears with Justin Timberlake in the all denim outfit still brings me back to my sweet childhood memories, and makes me feel like I’m a ’90s Baby. But on the other hand, I love Olivia Rodrigo, and I am so hooked on TikTok, so I feel like I’m much younger. I feel like my birth year, 1998, is a limbo year in between it all.” The sound of “1998” is an entrancing, lowkey vaporwave groove. continued on next page


Mirei continued from previous page Produced and co-written with DJ Shiftee (a two-time DMC World Champion) and Zak Leever (a classically trained musician who’s earned support from industry heavyweights like Diplo), the sonics mirror the lyrics with stark contrasts. The gentle vibraphone chords are like a soft lullaby against moving drums like a distant club beat. You’ll hear phone chimes from her current life, but also a VCR or tape player rewinding as a warm and familiar sound from her childhood. This soundscape is jazzy and nostalgic but very much of the present, as MIREI pulls inspiration from current pop and R&B. With MIREI in Tokyo, Zak in SoCal, and Shiftee in Brooklyn, NY, the track was recorded via remote sessions, made possible with internet applications like Zoom and Audio Movers. The corresponding visual mines at our sentimental sensibilities with aesthetic similarities to the classic “Take On Me” music video from a-ha. In a minimal setting with several everchanging animated styles, MIREI sings of simpler times when she was just playing Super Smash Bros. and on her Tamagotchi. Stemming from her experiences living in both Japan and the United States, MIREI’s music is a melting pot of worldwide musical genres. The rising artist uniquely blends elements of pop, Jpop, R&B, electronic and house to create a global sound which has attracted the attention of listeners all over the world by-way-of social media. Through her music, MIREI often speaks up on issues in the Asian music scene that are often swept under the rug, or unrecognized overseas, as well as cultural topics and social issues—making her an idiosyncratic talent and voice of this generation, both musically and lyrically. Teen Vogue says, “MIREI tackles modern-day Japan, shining a light on issues like depression, sexual harassment, and the cultural pressures of conformity that are affecting the country’s youth...” MIREI’s English-language debut album Take Me Away finds her collaborating with Queens-based rapper Dai Burger (a dancer-turned-singer who’s toured with rappers like Lil Mama),

Jersey club king DJ Sliink, as well as producer/songwriters DJ Shiftee and Zak Leever—a direct reflection of the diverse global effort and impact on the project. With the power of the internet, MIREI’s courageous messages were heard and embraced beyond borders as her streams skyrocketed to over 11 million total across all platforms. Additionally, she has released “In The Night Time” (inspired by her love for Daft Punk and Chill House music) the cover of “No Ordinary Love” by Sade (with proceeds going to the NAACP, a non-profit organization which MIREI aligns with not only in their actions regarding Asian Americans responding to COVID-19 but also their #WeAreDoneDying campaign). Not only showcasing her fearless honesty, Take Me Away endlessly reveals the tremendous musical passion that MIREI has pursued for almost her entire life. “When I was really young, like

three-years-old, my parents used to bring me to karaoke and sing all night long,” she recalls. In kindergarten she began taking dance lessons, which immediately sparked a fascination with pop divas like Rihanna, Lady Gaga, and Britney Spears. Soon enough, MIREI added singing to her repertoire and with the help of Garage Band began making music on her own when she was just 12years-old. By age 13, MIREI had caught the attention of a major record label, her first step toward global stardom. While spending her eighth-grade year in New York City, she performed in the prestigious choir Gospel For Teens, and took home the top prize at the legendary Amateur Night at the Apollo. Since releasing music in English internationally in 2019, MIREI has garnered positive critical praise from the likes of ATWOOD, CelebMix, Earmilk, Girls Are Awesome, HollywoodLife, Ladygunn, PopMatters, PopularTV,

Keep up with MIREI online: Website @ https://mireinyc.com Instagram @ https://www.instagram.com/MIREInyc/ Twitter @ https://twitter.com/MIREInyc Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/MIREInyc November 2021 • Rock and Blues International

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New Music From Canada

Toronto’s resident alternative popstar Saya returns with single “SICK,” her first musical output since 2018. “SICK,” the first single off of her upcoming EP READY TO BURN, is a pulsing, immersive, and sultry dark dancefloor anthem. Layered over infectious beats and pristine electropop production, Saya’s lyrics explore the emotions of frustration, vulnerability, pain, and desire. “SICK” tells a story of an intoxicating yet chaotic romance: the verses are intimate and fragile, as she express hurt that builds up into the hook that feels like a burst of frustration and anger. After parting ways with a major label, music became a challenge for Saya. She felt discouraged and uninspired. After a year of trial and error, taking time to herself, finding a new producer (Damian Birdsey), and teaming up with long-time friend/writing partner Alexandra Soumalias, “SICK” was created. On the track, Saya says, ‘“‘SICK’ was written in 2019 and it was a really quick session - the song came to us all so naturally. Hearing the song come to life that day made me fall back in love with making music. I hadn’t written something that honest in a very long time. “SICK” became the driving force of the entire project. To me “SICK” expresses a range of emotions that are more deeply explored throughout the entire EP.” A triumphant return to music, “SICK” sees Saya more confident than ever. READY TO BURN is due out 2022 and continues the themes of Saya reclaiming her power, pushing the boundaries of genre, and breaking out of the projections previously placed upon her. After everything she’s been through, one thing remains clear: Saya is here to stay.

Saya Announces New EP, Shares “SICK”, New EP ‘Ready To Burn’ Out 2022 Shares Single “SICK” at https://tellallyourfriendspr.us10.list-manage.com/track/click

Toronto’s Saya exudes confidence. She first impressed listeners with her inescapable 2016 debut single “Wet Dreams”, which shot straight to the top of Spotify’s Viral Global Chart racking up over 5 million streams and counting. This set the groundwork for her unconventional approach to music which blends sultry R&B, with trappings of alternative pop. Following up with an aesthetically

LISTEN & SHARE: Saya - “SICK” Soundcloud @ https://tellallyourfriendspr.us10.list-manage.com/track/click Spotify @ https://open.spotify.com/track/1vuNMMrJKt2l3oaUgre2rC?si=bea470939bdf47dc Youtube @ https://youtu.be/WyetbyEXk50 32

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Saya continued from previous page killer video for her viral hit “Wet Dreams”, she invites fans to become a part of her fantasies. Her sexually empowered self yet chillingly dark allure arises once again with her 2017 epic debut single and video Cold Fire, which landed her, her very own Spotify billboard towering over Toronto’s Yonge and Dundas core, and on the cover of playlists like New Music Now and Indie Pop. That summer she was set to play North By North East Music Festivals Main-stage and her debut Los Angeles show School Night LA . 2018 was full of high notes as Saya released her neatly packaged debut EP Chills & Thrills. Packed with sensual pop vocals and deliciously explicit word play, Saya takes us on a journey of intimacy paired with a series of vivid and striking visuals. To kick off this milestone Red Bull Music invited fans to Join Saya for an intimate listening party and performance in her hometown of Toronto. It wasn’t long before the project was featured on the home pages of Spotify and Apple Music, as New Artist of The Week, following up with being titled one of Apple’s 2018 Favourite New Artists. Saya carried on her streak with two retro-chic music videos to accompany her Sophomore EP Sugarcoated. She showcases her versatility, while her sleek, unapologetic demeanour blazes through with hard hitting lyricism, paired with stylish vocals and brimming with luscious trap-pop production. She explores the emotional impact of a break up and the many facets associated with it. Saya was later invited to Live Nation’s Ones to Watch North Side Sessions for a live showcase of the EP .

film.

Saya’s artistic influence extends beyond music and she showcases that through her various music videos and photographs, all consistent with her fascination with vintage glamour. She continues to fuse sound and image inspired by various mediums across fashion, art and

With a staggering count of over 12 million streams across various music outlets, radio support from Beats1 (DJ Ebro), BBC Radio 1Xtra and CBC Here and Now, two exceptional projects down in the span of a single year, Saya shows absolutely no signs of slowing down as she

continues to rapidly grow her audience. It is evident the Toronto upstart has already left a lasting impression. Continuing to push the boundaries of pop, Saya is set to release her next project in early 2022. As one of Toronto’s most promising new voices, fans look forward to seeing what Saya has up her sleeve next.

LINKS VEVO @ https://tellallyourfriendspr.us10.list-manage.com/track/click Twitter @ https://twitter.com/sayaslayaa Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/sayaslaya/ Instagram @ https://www.instagram.com/sayaslaya/ SoundCloud @ https://tellallyourfriendspr.us10.list-manage.com/track/click November 2021 • Rock and Blues International

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New Music From The U.K.

The Shining Tongues (ex-Infinite Three) drop 2 tracks from forthcoming debut (FFO: The Veils, Angels of Light, Spiritualized) Hear/share “Annihilation” & “Rice” https://theshiningtongues.bandcamp.com/album/milk-of-god Watch/share “It Is Fear” video - https://youtu.be/7aaCDxXnAVU 40 34

Rock and Blues International •• November November2020 2021


The Shining Tongues continued from previous page London, UK band The Shining Tongues share two new songs from their forthcoming debut album Milk of God and “Rice”. Hear both at Bandcamp @ https://theshiningtongues.bandcamp.com.

The new expansive collaborative project picks up where their former band The Infinite Three left off. When that trio’s drummer Paul Middleton passed away suddenly in October 2019, the surviving members Daniel Knowler and Sam McLaughlin decided the band couldn’t carry on with a replacement. But the grieving process brought about a flood of beautiful new music and soon The Shining Tongues were born. The album was written as an open collaboration with numerous players contributing remotely to the recordings throughout 2020. Taking their previous band’s postpunk experimentalism and adding an atmospheric gothic folkiness, this is a new beginning and a lush, melodic work of intensity, love, noir pop, gothic folk, drone and more. Milk Of God displays the fruits of The Shining Tongues’ labour and features contributions from Robin Jax (RobinPlaysChords), Andrea Kerr (LWED), Orlando Harrison (Alabama 3), Lilith Firechild, Doug Shearer (Scow) and Simone Bozzato. Daniel Says of the album, “Milk Of God is the culmination of the first phase of The Shining Tongues’ work and after a decade of The Infinite three coming to an end, this album feels like a rebirth of sorts.” Milk Of God draws on themes of dream imagery, life cycles, religion and the body. Eleven songs that drift from earthy rhythms to elegiac beauty and weave together influences from drone, psychedelic rock, nocturnal folk and soundtrack music. Milk of God will be available on CD and download on October 15th, 2021

via Actual Size Music. Pre-orders are available here at https:// theshiningtongues.bandcamp.com. The Shining Tongues is the new project from The Infinite Three’s Daniel Knowler. In March 2020 Daniel reconnected with Infinite Three bassist Sam Mclaughlin to begin a new collaborative project. Taking their previous band’s post-punk urgency and adding an atmospheric gothic folkiness along with elements of drone-rock, psychedelia, spiritual jazz and soundtrack music. Recording for a collection of singles and a debut album is taking place with contributions from Orlando Harrison (of Alabama 3), Robin Jax (of RobinPlaysChords), Ben Mclees (of This Is Radio Silence), Andrea Kerr (of

Living With Eating Disorders), Artur Hajdasz (of Made In Poland, Tilt, Homo Twist and others), Maria Vellanz (of Bent Husbands) and Den Liberator (longtime Infinite Three co-producer and collaborator). Artist: The Shining Tongues Album: Milk of God Record Label: Actual Size Music Release Date: October 15, 2021 01. The Idiot Skin 02. Buildings 03. It Is Fear 04. Eating Bread 05. Rice 06. Natural Slab 07. Annihilation 08. Swallow Heaven 09. Humming/Dissolving 10. The Undefiled Absorption of Supreme Bliss 11. Make Us Eat

On The Web: theshiningtongues.com theshiningtongues.bandcamp.com instagram.com/theshiningtongues twitter.com/ShiningTongues November 2021 • Rock and Blues International

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New Music From Jamaica

Since bursting onto the global scene with her 2019 crossover anthem “Toast”, 21 year old Koffee has been at the forefront of a whole new generation of Jamaican musical talent whose influence now resonates around the world. Today, October 7th, she releases a brand new single and video, “West Indies”, the first song to be revealed from her highly anticipated debut album which is due early 2022 via RCA Records. Produced by Iotosh, another of Jamaica’s young breakout stars, “West Indies” is a joyful celebration of Koffee’s West Indian heritage and a personal ode to the islands, full of her trademark messages of hope and positivity. The single launches as Clara Amfo’s “Hottest Record” on BBC Radio 1 and DJ Target’s “Target Embargo” on BBCRadio 1Xtra and is accompanied by a video co-directed by Meji Alabi & Koffee herself that finds her crew and a host of inspiring local faces partying against a stunning backdrop of the cliffs of West End, Negril. You can also watch the music video for “West Indies” mixed in Sony’s immersive 360 Reality Audio. Put headphones on for a simulated 360 Reality Audio experience.

Koffee by Savannah Baker

Koffee Shares New Song & Video “West Indies” THE FIRST SONG FROM HER HIGHLY ANTICIPATED ALBUM “West Indies” Snice Watch/Listen: https://koffee.lnk.to/west-indies Connect with Koffee: Spotify @ https://open.spotify.com/artist/1gWjcmBsveEYMxOZ0VRi32?si=rzteZ-iSTHaSbGpgin8QgA Instagram @ https://www.instagram.com/originalkoffee/?hl=en Twitter @ https://twitter.com/originalkoffee?lang=en Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/originalkoffee/ Website @ https://www.originalkoffee.com

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“West Indies” is the latest musical statement from an artist that has reshaped, modernized and revitalized reggae, bringing it to a whole new audience. It comes on the back of an incredible few years for the Spanish Town-born artist, who made history in 2020 by becoming the first female and youngest ever artist to win the Best Reggae Album award at the GRAMMYS for her Rapture project. Alongside a string of high profile musical collaborations (including J Hus, Gunna, Daniel Ceasar), Koffee also recently collaborated on campaigns with the likes of Nike Air Jordan and Clarks.


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December 2020 • Rock and Blues International

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New Music From London

Fauness by Bob Foster

Fauness Releases ‘Maiden No More’ EP Maiden No More - Listen: https://fauness.lnk.to/MaidenNoMore Fauness has released the EP Maiden No More via Cascine. The four-track EP coproduced by Jam City is a polished and thoughtful pop exploration into the emotional cascades of womanhood. Maiden No More features the previously released tracks “It Gets Better” and “Dragonfly,” which The FADER described as “a glittering, joyful thing, much like it’s namesake.” Fauness speaks of her singular pop as if it were a patchwork quilt crafted from an array of different fabrics: velvet anxieties, silky satin dreams, memories of acid-washed denim. While her melodies and lyrics grab attention with their guitar-laced immediacy, there is a deceptive complexity behind the raw emotion. As she concedes, “I’m a hybrid person with many sides.” Her EP serves as both summit and statement, polishing her eclectically confessional songcraft into 12 dazzling minutes. Named after the second section of Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy’s tragic late 19th-century odyssey about a young woman caught between worlds, Maiden No More is willful and wildhearted, loyal to its own emancipatory muse: “cut the cord / cut the cord from me / set your girl / set your girl free...” The collection captures the moment at which the spring

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flowers of her previous EPs, Toxic Femininity, Lashes in a Landfill, and Dreamcatcher, have passed into the late summer, fruitbearing phase. Each song is co-produced by Jam City, whose Earthly imprint issued the previous releases. Raised between the lonely, leafy suburbs of New England and their opposite, Finsbury Park, London, her creative spirit grew steadily, fueled by American R&B and pop country alongside doses of UK club culture, folk and classical music, and an archetypal 2000s teenhood. It wasn’t until a few years later, working as a writer and visual artist in London, that she gained the courage to release her own songs. This decision was guided by a chance encounter on a train the day after playing keyboards on stage for Jam City at a London gig; a girl (“an angel with lilac hair”) recognised and approached her, asking where she could hear some of her own solo music. Perfectly timed, that question was the magical pixie dust, the final and key ingredient that brought Fauness into being. From the release of Toxic Femininity in 2018, Fauness’ vision has crystallized. Her day job writing about classical art seeps subtly into certain lyrical themes: beauty,

Rock and Blues International • November 2021

idealized images of the female form, the pressures of achievement, longing for selfrealization. But ultimately Fauness manifests a world unto itself, wounded but wondrous, open to the unknown and holding on to treads of hope. Fauness - Maiden No More EP 1. Arduous Journeys Undertaken Alone 2. Dragonfly 3. Arrow 4. It Gets Better


June 2021 • Rock and Blues International 45


New Music From Singapore via London

Singapore-born, London-based artist Nat Cmiel, a.k.a yeule, announced her new album Glitch Princess due February 4th, 2022 via Bayonet Records. Glitch Princess opens a channel to the in-between spaces: error messages and broken computer code, what it is to be conceptually manifested and the curation of the aesthete. Glitch Princess is the undiluted excerpt of a downpour of emotions following ?miel’s experiences with sobriety - a redirection of chaotic energy into verse and the opportunity to confront their own vices. Along with the album announcement, yeule shares the lead single and video “Don’t Be So Hard On Your Own Beauty.” Directed by Joy Song, the video sees yeule flexing their skills as an artist of many mediums, dancing through a labyrinth of saturated pink, purple and green landscapes. To capture the off-kilter nature of the video, yeule learned to sing the lyrics to the song backwards as part of the choreography. On Glitch Princess soothing unmelodies rest comfortably among the jagged edges of feedback loops. Video game scores, experimental shoegaze sounds, alien-like pitched vocals, and ethereal whispers come together to build a complex underworld with the occasional erratic dance beat to guide users deeper into the fever dream. It is an album of inbetween spaces, straddling sweetness and death, with the understanding that the two will always be tied to each other.

yeule by Ethan Lai

Yeule Announces New Album ‘Glitch Princess’ And Shares Lead Single and Video ”Don’t Be So Hard On Your Own Beauty” GLITCH PRINCESS DUE FEB 4th VIA BAYONET RECORDS “Don’t Be So Hard On Your Own Beauty” LISTEN at https://bayonet.nyc/beauty WATCH at https://youtu.be/dKXD9ifn7y8 Glitch Princess Pre-order and save at https://bayonet.nyc/glitch 40

Rock and Blues International • November 2021

yeule is a multifaceted artist across music, visual arts, acting and dance and Glitch Princess follows their recent four hour and forty-four minute sonic collaboration with Danny L Harle “The Things They Did For Me Out Of Love” and their celebrated debut album Serotonin II praised by Dazed as “mesmerizing”. The yeule project was fabricated by ?miel to act as a portal or rift, which allows them to communicate their art to the outside world, while still being protected within their inner shell. yeule was constructed as a manifesto of Cmiel’s own identity, where they have always had access to multiple avatars and the freedom to change or contort at will — solace through embodying mutable, chameleon-like multiplicities. The yeule project exists to store fragments of their reality, dreams, and inner state — an external memory device, a brain or emotional center that exists independently of its creator. yeule is inviting us to transcend into a post-human world where expression is no longer bound by identity, but rather we are free to assemble ourselves along lines of affinity. A future where our assigned gender is no longer relevant, where we can congregate with whoever we are drawn to, regardless of our prior designations. continued on next page


Yeule Announces New Album ‘Glitch Princess’ continued from previous page yeule will be performing a headline show at Southbank Centre in London on March 5th 2022 and before then a prerecorded capsule performance will debut online for Sónar CCCB October 29th. yeule will also feature in a new film titled Lipstick on The Glass, the latest film from Polish director Kuba Czekaj, that will premiere in 2022. Listen to and watch “Don’t Be So Hard On Your Own Beauty” and pre-order Glitch Princess above. The Glitch Princess, Nat Cmiel, was born December 16, 1997 in Singapore, Singapore. They are a non-binary, Londonbased painter, musician, performance artist, and cyborg entity. In Cmiel’s adolescent years, they developed an intensely deep connection to the internet, where Cmiel found people who understood them more than their real life peers. The powerful nature of empathy was solidified when Cmiel’s life experiences and unusual interests lead them to connect to a niche community of like-minded cyborgs who found each other on both the dark web and through MMORPG gaming. Cmiel began to develop traits of a “hikikomori” in the winter of 2012. While abstracted from their contemporaries, online personas allowed for neon, spectral dreams and overflowing imagination. Other times the digital sphere left them stifled, blurring the lines between fabricated reality and corporeal life. Their digital immersion and social isolation from a young age led to an interest in augmented realities, the dystopian aesthete, and a fascination with the psychology behind digital intimacies. This predisposition fueledCmiel’s inclination towards the digital in lieu of reality, an inclination particularly visible in the conceptual aesthete of “Pixel Affection.” Via an affinity to noise music and its subculture, Cmiel created a genre-specific style which yeule is known for — glitch and distortion. During this period they wrote their first EP, “yeule” (2014). The pixel dimension was a portal of escape for Cmiel, and these online spaces created a false sense of security. At university, Cmiel was accepted to Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London, United Kingdom. Their programme of study included a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts— specialising in painting, video, coding, and sonic installation pieces. Because of the social nature of academia, Cmiel struggled to deconstruct the hikikomori mentality and started re-learning skills to socialise and integrate back into 3D life. During this period, the push and pull between a digital vs. enfleshed self resulted in a friction that bore some of their deepest works— including the visual performance series titled ‘Nuclear War Post X’, noise and distortion works, as well as writing Serotonin II. Cmiel graduated in 2020. The yeule project was fabricated by Cmiel to act as a portal or rift which allows them to communicate their art to the outside world, while still being protected within their inner shell. yeule was constructed as a manifesto of Cmiel’s own identity, where they have always had access to multiple avatars and the freedom to change or contort at will — solace through embodying mutable, chameleon-like multiplicities. The yeule project exists to store fragments of their reality, dreams, and inner state — an external memory device, a brain or emotional center that exists independently of its creator. yeule is inviting us to transcend into a posthuman world where expression is no longer bound by identity, but rather we are free to assemble ourselves along lines of affinity. A future where our assigned gender is no longer relevant, where we can congregate with whoever we are drawn to, regardless of our

Glitch Princess album cover art by Neil Krug prior designations. Glitch Princess opens a channel to the in-between spaces: error messages and broken computer code, what it is to be conceptually manifested and the curation of the aesthete. Cmiel’s experiences with sobriety resulted in a flood of emotions and Glitch Princess is the undiluted excerpt of this downpour, a redirection of chaotic energy into verse and the opportunity to confront their own vices. Soothing un-melodies rest comfortably among the jagged edges of feedback loops. Video game scores, experimental shoegaze sounds, alien-like pitched vocals, and ethereal whispers come together to build a complex underworld with the occasional erratic dance beat to guide users deeper into the fever dream. It is an album of in-between spaces, straddling sweetness and death, with the understanding that the two will always be tied to each other. yeule Glitch Princess Bayonet Records February 4, 2022 1. My Name Is Nat Çmiel 2. Electric 3. Flowers are Dead 4. Eyes 5. Perfect Blue feat. Tohji 6. Don’t Be So Hard on Your Own Beauty 7. Fragments 8. Too Dead Inside 9. Bites on My Neck 10. I <3 U 11. Friendly Machine 12. Mandy Connect with yeule: Instagram @ https://www.instagram.com/yeule/?hl=en Twitter @ https://twitter.com/yeul_e?s=20 YouTube @ https://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp November 2021 • Rock and Blues International 41


New Music From Iceland

Photo Credit: Cameron Stewart

Of Monsters And Men Announce The 10th Anniversary Release of My Head Is An Animal This Album Features Two Never Before Released Songs Including Their New Single “Phantom” BAND ANNOUNCES INTIMATE ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION SHOWS IN REYKJAVIK, ICELAND NOVEMBER 9th & 10th Pre-order/Pre-save My Head Is An Animal (10th Anniversary Edition) album and view exclusive merchandise here at https://omam.lnk.to/MHIAATAE Watch the trailer for new single “Phantom” here at https://youtu.be/ezBaw9Y47GA. To celebrate a decade since the arrival of their platinum-certified debut My Head Is An Animal, the group is releasing a version of the album as it was when it was released in Iceland in 2011. This version has a total of four tracks that were not on the 2012 US Rock and Blues International • November 2021

Marking an important milestone, multiplatinum Icelandic collective Of Monsters and Men announce My Head Is An Animal (10th Anniversary Edition) to be released on October 29th.

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release, including two never-before-released songs: “Phantom” and “Sugar In A Bowl.” The anniversary album will also be accompanied by commemorative merchandise and a continued on next page


limited-edition vinyl as a special thank you for fans. Regarding this moment, the band commented: “It’s been 10 years since the original edition of MHIAA was released in Iceland and because of that we wanted to do something special so we’re releasing a 10th anniversary edition of the album as well as performing some fun live, intimate anniversary shows from Iceland from the venue where we played our first album release party ever. The track list matches the one from that first edition of the album that came out in Iceland in 2011 plus two unreleased bonus tracks that sort of got left behind when making the record. This album is how most of you got to know us and how we got to know you and for that we are forever grateful. Thank you to everyone that listened to and supported us this past decade. Here is to another 10 years! Love, OMAM” While “Phantom” and “Sugar In A Bowl” are newly recorded songs, they are not new to the band. “Phantom” was first performed by Of Monsters and Men in 2010 at the renowned Músíktilraunir music competition. It was one of the two songs performed when they took home first place in the competition helping to jumpstart their career. The album features another unreleased track entitled “Sugar In A Bowl”—also composed and conceptualized over decade ago but never recorded. Continuing the celebration of their anniversary the band also announce their first and only live shows of 2021: Of Monsters and Men: The 10 Year Anniversary Celebration of My Head Is An Animal where they will be performing two intimate shows at Gamla Bíó (the venue where they held the album release party for the album in 2011) on November 9th and 10th. The band will play the album in its entirety as well as other OMAM favorites both older and newer. Pre-sale for Of Monsters and Men: The 10 Year Anniversary Celebration of My Head Is An Animal starts October 13th at 10am GMT and general on sale begins on October 14th at 10am GMT. Fans can head to http:// ofmonstersandmen.com for more details. Upon release in 2011, My Head Is An Animal scaled the Billboard Top 200, bowing at #6. It also boasted the quintupleplatinum “Little Talks,” which became “the first song by an Icelandic band to cross 1 billion streams on Spotify,” and the goldselling “Dirty Paws.” To date the album has been streamed nearly 5 billion times globally and was the starting point for the band’s long career. Since the start of the pandemic, the band has been keeping busy in Iceland. They

released a cover of Post Malone’s “Circles,” in April 2020 that the band performed on The Ellen DeGeneres Show (see performance here). Last Fall they released new original track “Visitor,” which generated over 14 million streams worldwide and performed on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. The performance was shot in Iceland in the landmark theater I_NO in central Reykjavik. See the incredible performance here. The track was also remixed by indie darlings MUNA who gave new life to the track (listen here at https://omam.lnk.to/ VisitorMUNARmxPR). In 2019, the group welcomed listeners into the embrace of their critically acclaimed third full-length album, FEVER DREAM. Not only did the record tally 80 million-plus total streams to date, but it also attracted acclaim from Billboard, NPR, The Line of Best Fit, Independent, Paste, and more. Clash Magazine claimed, “The songs also have an emotional content to them that is hard to ignore.” Q Magazine praised it as “a dizzying rush of exuberance and emotion…their transformation into an arena-ready pop beast is complete.” Notably, the single “Alligator” made history by completing “their quickest climb to #1 on the Adult Alternative Songs Airplay Chart,” as reported by Billboard. In addition to selling out dates coast-to-coast on the FEVER DREAM Tour, the group delivered rapturous television performances on Jimmy Kimmel LIVE! ,The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and Ellen.

OF MONSTERS AND MEN went from the talk of Iceland to the top of the global conversation on their 2011 debut, My Head Is An Animal which landed the band a performance on Saturday Night Live. The group appeared on official soundtracks for franchises such as The Hunger Games, The Walking Dead, and Beat Bugs, to name a few. In addition to performing at festivals such as Coachella, Lollapalooza, Firefly, and beyond, they supported Florence + the Machine on a high-profile arena tour. In the midst of this rapid rise, 2015’s Beneath The Skin bowed in the Top 3 of the Billboard Top 200 and the band had a coveted cameo in an episode of HBO’s Game of Thrones in the same year. My Head Is An Animal (10th Anniversary Edition) Tracklist: 1.) Dirty Paws 2.) King and Lionheart 3.) Numb Bears 4.) Sloom 5.) Little Talks 6.) From Finner 7.) Six Weeks 8.) Love Love Love 9.) Your Bones 10.) Lakehouse 11.) Yellow Light 12.) Sinking Man 13.) Phantom* 14.) Sugar In A Bowl* *Never before released song

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New Music From Italy

chickpee is the solo project of Italian musician, Chiara D’Anzieri. She began a professional classical career as a cellist at the age of 13, a child prodigy that spent her teen years traveling from city to city in Italy performing with various orchestras and quartets but eventually decided to take a hiatus from her classical life for sake of her own mental health and wanting to explore other kinds of music and instruments. She then spent many years as a producer/ studio musician/songwriter at a major studio near her hometown of Ravenna, IT. In June 2018, her and her partner, American musician Ron Gallo, met at a beach venue in Ravenna and have been together and making music ever since. On Linguini Western, an instrumental EP released October 8th, 2021, D’Anzieri explores her love and fascination with the American west by soundtracking and playing the role of the mysterious “cowboy” in a series of ironic short western films shot this summer in Italy.

Photo credit: Miles Kalchik

chickpee Shares Linguini Western Instrumental EP Debut Album IMPORTED Out 2022 CHICKPEE LINKS Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/chickpeemusic/ Twitter @ https://twitter.com/chickpee2 Website @ https://www.chickpeemusic.com Spotify @ https://open.spotify.com/artist/ 14Y1pEHcrGD3ik4prG7ZdZ

IMPORTED, coming early 2022, is her debut album as well as her first time ever writing songs and singing in English. She produced and played most of the instruments on the album herself with a little assistance from drummer and engineer, Dominic Billett and her partner, Ron Gallo. The album was written in real-time about her experience leaving her country for the first time to move across the world, navigating the U.S. immigration process and loss of freedom and existential crisis all in the name of love. Linguini Western - Tracklisting 01. Italia, TX 02. Straniera in Riviera 03. Bufala

LISTEN/WATCH & SHARE: chickpee - Linguini Western YouTube @ https://youtu.be/0URvza8A9yw?list=OLAK5uy_luVbk8lQYDhLzu3Gt_rb_ieejUe6H_SoM Spotify @ https://open.spotify.com/album/23UweRMHTZGIQGg8BshLwi?si=VuOqysmMRlGfUHGPLLQPFQ&dl_branch=1 LISTEN/WATCH & SHARE: chickpee - “would you like some tea?” YouTube @ https://youtu.be/pMKIfmDedfg Spotify @ https://open.spotify.com/track/4jRCHUDIA0Ij6KTKL5GW82?si=-CU4JXpXTRaErSh5UBJN_ghttps://open.spotify.com/ track/4jRCHUDIA0Ij6KTKL5GW82?si=-CU4JXpXTRaErSh5UBJN_g LISTEN/WATCH & SHARE: chickpee - “two trees” YouTube @ https://youtu.be/LlD4x5_tF34 Spotify @ https://open.spotify.com/track/7ezg6OJMpSQ9BYS77MB598?si=Wicyp20GREqFBgAGE4QNrg 44

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Madonna’s Madame X Concert Film And Album Is Out Now! MUSIC FROM THE THEATER XPERIENCE ALSO AVAILABLE NOW Watch @ https://www.paramountplus.com Listen @ https://m.lnk.to/MadameXperience Trailer @ https://youtu.be/Re4t_hXS0xk

Photo Credits: Travis Shinn

The concept film to Madonna’s acclaimed Madame X Tour debuts today in the U.S., Latin America, Australia, the Nordics, and Canada, exclusively on Paramount+, the streaming service from ViacomCBS. Fans outside these markets can watch the documentary on MTV. To coincide with the film’s debut, Warner Records has released the digital soundtrack, which showcases 20 powerful live performances that touch on different eras of Madonna’s celebrated

career, including her ninth #1 album, Madame X. MADAME X – MUSIC FROM THE THEATER XPERIENCE is available now on all digital download and streaming platforms. The concept film and companion soundtrack were recorded in January 2020 in Lisbon, Portugal during Madonna’s all-theater Madame X Tour. It was the first time Madonna performed live in smaller venues since her 1985 Virgin Tour. Her 2008 Sticky & Sweet

Rockand andBlues BluesInternational International •• November October 2021 50 Rock 2021

Tour continues to hold the record for the highest-grossing concert tour ever by a female artist. MADAME X was directed by Ricardo Gomes and SKNX. It captures the icon’s rare and rapturous tour performance, hailed by sold-out theatrical audiences worldwide. The unprecedented intimate streaming experience will take viewers on a journey as compelling and audacious as Madonna’s continued on next page


MADONNA MADAME X – MUSIC FROM THE THEATRE XPERIENCE Track Listing “Intro” “God Control” “Dark Ballet” “Human Nature” “Vogue” “I Don’t Search I Find” “American Life” “Batuka” “Fado Pechincha” (featuring Gaspar Varela) “Killers Who Are Partying” “Crazy” “Welcome To My Fado Club” “Medellin” “Extreme Occident” “Breathwork” “Frozen” “Come Alive” “Future” “Like A Prayer” “I Rise” fearless persona, Madame X, a secret agent traveling around the world, changing identities, fighting for freedom, and bringing light to dark places. On stage during the production, Madonna is joined by a cast of nearly 50 performers, including her children, musicians, and dancers from around the globe, along with the all-female Orquestra Batukadeiras. The feature-length concept film and soundtrack feature tracks from Madonna’s 14th studio album, Madame X, including “Dark Ballet,” “I Rise,” and “I Don’t Search I Find,” which topped the Hot Dance Club Songs chart in 2020 to become her 50th #1 hit. The concert film also features live versions of global hits including “Vogue,” “Human Nature,” “Like A Prayer,” and “Frozen.” MADAME X is available to stream

exclusively on Paramount+ in the U.S., Latin America, Australia, the Nordics, and Canada. Fans outside of these markets can watch it on MTV. With global sales of over 300 million records, Madonna is the bestselling female artist of all time, with countless accolades that include seven Grammy Awards, 24 ASCAP Pop Music Awards, and numerous international trophies, including BRIT, Bravo Otto, Danish Music, Edison, GAFFA, International Dance Music, Ivor Novello, Juno, MTV, and World Music Awards, among many others across the globe. She was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2008. With a career spanning almost 40 years, Madonna is indisputably one of the greatest icons of the 21st century and remains the best-selling female artist of

all time. The seven-time Grammy Award-winning musician, actress, director, author, philanthropist, and entrepreneur continues to defy expectations and push boundaries with her music and live shows. Her highly anticipated documentary film, MADAME X, debuts on October 8 exclusively on Paramount+ and follows her critically acclaimed 14th studio album, Madame X, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. Madonna is currently developing her biopic, which she will direct. The film will follow Madonna’s rise to prominence as the culture-defining artist she is today. Beyond her music career, Madonna is the co-founder of Raising Malawi, a nonprofit that is dedicated to helping with the extreme poverty and hardship endured by Malawi’s one million orphans, primarily through health and education programming.

OFFICIAL WEBSITE @ https://www.madonna.com INSTAGRAM @ https://www.instagram.com/madonna/ YOUTUBE @ https://highrisepr.us14.list-manage.com/track/click?u=e1881ce6fa06ce0191b442b67&id=44c0c8d047&e=0f5e3131ed FACEBOOK @ https://www.facebook.com/madonna TWITTER @ https://twitter.com/madonna November 2021 • Rock and Blues International

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Musician and songwriter on the rise, Blake Rose returns with the release of his debut EP, ‘A World Gone By,’ via AWAL Recordings. The 7-track collection of songs features previously released tracks, “Casanova,” “Movie” and “Ordinary People,” as well as the current EP focus track “Rollerblades.” Listen to “A World Gone By,” the debut EP from Blake Rose here at https://blakerose.ffm.to/aworldgoneby Speaking about the new EP, Blake reveals, “My debut EP ‘A World Gone By’ is a coming of age project for me. It touches on my experiences so far with childhood, love, truma and growing up in the age of social media. I put my heart and soul into it and I hope you enjoy!” ‘A World Gone By’ arrives alongside an official music video for “Rollerblades,” which was directed by Brent Campanelli and filmed on location in Venice, CA. Talking about the new video, Blake explains “Rollerblades is about how our current digestion of social media can cause us to have warped, negative perception of reality that we can’t avoid.” Watch the official music video for “Rollerblades” here at https://youtu.be/YwV-9dLYARM

Blake Rose Unveils Debut EP, ‘A World Gone By’ Out Now (AWAL Recordings) RELEASES MUSIC VIDEO FOR “ROLLERBLADES” Listen To “A WORLD GONE BY” EP @ https://blakerose.ffm.to/aworldgoneby Watch “ROLLERBLADES” @ https://youtu.be/VKY6R5_IbcA 52

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This past summer, Blake teased the new EP with a new single, “Casanova” ( https://youtu.be/kkQwCol5PP8 ), which was praised by V Magazine for bringing a “tried-and-tested recipe for power, pump, and grit” and Billboard, who proclaimed “Blake Rose may very well take off soon,” hailing “Rose’s crisp vocal” and calling it “a pure pop single about playing the game of love.” This was followed with another stellar cut, “Movie”, alongside an official music video ( https://youtu.be/4xx4ncXUQto ), directed by Sean Hollihan (who previously worked with Blake on the “Casanova” video). Speaking about “Movie,” Blake revealed, “Movie is about putting your life into perspective and questioning your current situation by imagining yourself on your deathbed. For me, it’s about trying to show someone you care about that the relationship they’re in is toxic,” he explained. “Sometimes we tend to wallow in familiarity even if it’s hurtful. It feels too scary to venture outside of that because it’s uncomfortable but ironically that’s exactly what we’re trying to escape. You don’t have to settle for the life you think you deserve, you deserve so much more.” The EP follows a series of official remixes for his hit single “Lost” ( https://youtu.be/0cHxa4wfp80 ) , including fresh takes on the track from Lucian, Sarcastic Soundsand NASAYA. The original version of “Lost” has accrued more than 60 million combined global streams to date. continued on next page


Blake Rose is also hitting the road this month, joining American singer-songwriter Noah Kahan on his upcoming North American I Was/I Am Tour. The 38-city tour kicks off in St. Louis on October 14 before concluding December 19 in Phoenix. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit www.blakerosemusic.com. Blake has amassed over 150 million combined global streams across his entire catalogue, which include the singles “Lost,” “Ordinary People,” “Rest Of Us” and “Gone,” which was accompanied by a stunning live rendition, taped in Los Angeles, pre-lock-down, that has already surpassed half a million views. Complete with string arrangements, the video showcases the young Australian artist, songwriter and producer’s effortless ability to perform live; with his Buckley-esque vocals, luscious electricguitar-driven melodies, and knack for writing insanely infectious alternative pop songs. “I try to give listeners an experience,” he reveals. “I take a lot of time with every element to make sure I’m creating a world people can immerse themselves into. Whether the narrative is precise or ambiguous I try to attain a certain level of depth with each song that I hope people can latch onto and let it be as much a part of their own story as it is mine.” Watch the video for “Gone” here at https://youtu.be/YwV-9dLYARM. Born in Australia and based in Los Angeles, Blake Rose’s sound is anchored in luminous and lush six-string conjurations, offset by sparse beat-craft, off-kilter plugins, in-the-box wizardry, and soulful intonation. “The guitar is generally the driving link between the songs,” he goes on. “It’s how I typically write. Everything starts there.” In just over a year, Blake Rose has gone from busking in the streets of Perth to becoming one of the most exciting new artists to emerge in recent years. He catapulted into the spotlight in 2019 with self-penned, selfproduced gems such as his debut ‘Hotel Room,’ which Spotify touted on New Music Friday, with the follow-up track, “Lost,” further igniting a buzz. Now, with the addition of the “A World Gone By” EP to his arsenal, Blake further solidifies his potential as a global force in music. Blake’s “A World Gone By” EP is available everywhere now. Watch the video for “Rollerblades” here at https://youtu.be/VKY6R5_IbcA. ‘A World Gone By’ Tracklist Casanova Rollerblades A World Gone By Sweet Caledonia Ordinary People Movie Hearts A Mess

CONFIRMED TO JOIN NOAH KAHAN ON NORTH AMERICAN TOUR, OCTOBER THROUGH DECEMBER NORTH AMERICAN TOUR DATES with NOAH KAHA 11/04 – House of Blues – Boston, MA 11/05 – Theatre of Living Arts – Philadelphia, PA 11/06 – Pearl Street Nightclub – Northampton, MA 11/07 – College Street Music Hall – New Haven, CT 11/09 – Westcott Theater – Syracuse, NY 11/11 – Webster Hall – New York, NY 11/12 – Webster Hall – New York, NY 11/13 – 9:30 Club – Washington, DC 11/14 – The Underground – Charlotte, NC 11/16 – Orange Peel – Asheville, NC 11/17 – Brooklyn Bowl Nashville – Nashville, TN 11/19 – Saturn – Birmingham, AL 11/20 – Variety Playhouse – Atlanta, GA 11/30 – The Truman – Kansas City, MO 12/02 – Ogden Theatre – Denver, CO 12/04 – The Commonwealth Room – Salt Lake City, UT 12/05 – The Commonwealth Room – Salt Lake City, UT 12/07 – Knitting Factory Concert House – Boise, ID 12/09 – Crystal Ballroom – Portland, OR 12/10 – The Showbox – Seattle, WA 12/11 – Knitting Factory Concert House – Spokane, WA 12/12 – Commodore Ballroom – Vancouver, BC 12/14 – Ace of Spades – Sacramento, CA 12/16 – The Fillmore – San Francisco, CA 12/17 – Fonda Theatre – Los Angeles, CA 12/18 – House of Blues – San Diego, CA 12/19 – Crescent Ballroom – Phoenix, AZ

FACEBOOK @ https://www.facebook.com/BlakeRoseMusic/ INSTAGRAM @ https://www.instagram.com/blakerosemusic/ TWITTER @ https://twitter.com/blakerosemusic YOUTUBE @ https://highrisepr.us14.list-manage.com/track/click?u=e1881ce6fa06ce0191b442b67&id=cd72261241&e=0f5e3131ed SOUNDCLOUD @ https://highrisepr.us14.list-manage.com/track/click?u=e1881ce6fa06ce0191b442b67&id=1ea9de4468&e=0f5e3131ed November 2021 • Rock and Blues International 53


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Dijon Announces Debut Album Absolutely Out November 5 and Shares New Live Performance Video WATCH - https://youtu.be/TiGhRcruIJY Dijon has announced that his debut album Absolutely, will be out November 5th. The highly-anticipated album was recorded over the course of a few fervent weeks whilst in tight confines with a close-knit group of collaborators and friends. The album channels the unfettered emotion of Dijon’s live show, which has become a “you had to be there” topic of conversation in the music community with his performance entrancing any witnesses over the last several years. ?To coincide with the album announcement, Dijon shares a video of him perfoming the opening track to his forthcoming debut full length, showcasing the energy and passion pumped into the recording process of Absolutely. As the song builds, more members of the band are revealed in the rustic, country dining room. Absolutely will also feature the previously released single “Many Times” ( https://youtu.be/F8NeBYucGcw ), which arrived with a frantic music video portraying Dijon’s writing process in the same environment as the latest live performance video. Last year saw the release of Dijon’s critically-acclaimed EP, How Do You Feel About Getting Married? ( https:// dijon.lnk.to/Married ), which included “Jesse” ( https://youtu.be/a2d2FD3hBcY ),Vice’s #15 pick on their 100 Best Songs of 2020 list. How Do You Feel About Getting Married? is built from the Americana-tinged, R&B palate Dijon introduced on his 2019 debut EP Sci Fi 1 ( https://dijon.lnk.to/SciFi1 ), and NPR declared the project “a new peak in cerebral, soul-slicing honesty.” Dijon rounded out the year with his highly praised and star-studded collaboration “The Stranger” ( https://youtu.be/J8CUuL_Fgr8 ), featuring John C. Reilly, Tobias Jesso Jr., Sachi, Dan Reeder, and Becky and the Birds, which Rolling Stone said, “feels as if it contains a sprawling, occasionally strange, but ultimately cohesive little universe inside of it.” Watch the video above and stay tuned for more from Dijon coming soon. ?FOLLOW DIJON: Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/DijonOfficial/ Instagram @ https://www.instagram.com/dijondijon_/?hl=en Twitter @ https://twitter.com/dijondijon_ YouTube @ https://youtu.be/F8NeBYucGcw 56

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photo: Violeta Alvarez

Houston’s Night Cobra Unleashes New Song “The Serpent’s Kiss” Houston Metalpunk Quintet to Release Highly Anticipated Full-Length Debut, ‘Dawn of the Serpent’, February 11 Houston heavy metal band Night Cobra will release its debut full length LP, ‘Dawn of the Serpent’ on February 11, 2022. Featuring current and former members of Necrofier, Eternal Champion, Venomous Maximus, and more, Night Cobra plays a fiery blend of scorching rock ‘n’ roll and blistering metal. Today, Night Cobra releases the new song, “The Serpent’s Kiss” which is available for streaming at thttps:// youtu.be/WkPpGQr6a5s

own path,” says frontman Christian Larson. Larson also doubles as guitarist/ vocalist for the fast-rising Texas melodic black metal band Necrofier. With ‘Dawn of the Serpent’, Night Cobra delivers dynamic, fiery music forged in the concrete and steel of punk and heavy metal. Ominous cover artwork by Adam Burke (Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats) portends the calamity that the record promises. ‘Dawn of the Serpent’ will see a U.S. release via Irongrip Records with High Roller handling for the rest of the world.

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“With our upcoming LP, ‘Dawn of the Serpent’, Night Cobra dives deeper into the underbelly of this depraved world,” adds Larson. “Many things are happening that align with the tech noir reality that we seem to be living in. All these moments will be lost in time.” Night Cobra plays uncaged music for an age of discontent as heard on its celebrated debut EP, ‘In Praise of the Shadow’. The EP found immediate favor continued on next page


Night Cobra continued from previous page ‘Dawn of the Serpent’ track listing: 1.) Run the Blade 2.) The Serpent’s Kiss 3.) Lost in Time 4.) Black Venom Dreams 5.) The Neuromancer’s Curse 6.) For Those Who Walk the Night 7.) In Mortal Danger 8.) Acid Rain 9.) Electric Rite in underground music circles, making ‘In Praise of the Shadow’ one of Bandcamp’s all-time best selling NWOTHM releases and earning the group glowing praise for its “End Times energy befitting a trying year” (Houston Chronicle) and “searing metal with punk rock’s grit” (Houston Press). Night Cobra then unveiled the five and a half minute mini-film, “Escape From Earth”, a fun flick that takes inspiration from the shelved John Carpenter film of the same name (and the proposed second sequel to ‘Escape From New York’) that would have starred Kurt Russell reprising his famous role as former Special Forces operator/ war hero turned criminal Snake Plissken. “Escape From Earth” premiered via Decibel, who winkingly notes, “It’s the survival of the human race. Something Night Cobra don’t give a shit about.”

Watch Night Cobra’s epic “Escape From Earth” video at https://youtu.be/cSNnLPyznY In additional news, Night Cobra will perform live at the 2022 Hell’s Heroes Festival, set for Saturday, April 22 and Sunday, April 23 at Houston’s White Oak Music Hall. Presented by Pegstar Concerts, the two day music fest will showcase a hand-picked selection of international underground metal bands that includes both seminal, genrepioneers, highly regarded modern day

groups and more, in a can’t-miss concert event. Night Cobra will share the stage with Grammy-nominated Swedish doom metal legends Candlemass, California thrash metal kings Dark Angel, NYC metal mavens Riot, trad-metal titans Cirith Ungol and more in what promises to be a headbanger’s heaven. Night Cobra features Christian Larson (vocals), Bill Fool and Brandon Barger (guitars), Trevi Biles (bass) and The Mighty Cheech (drums).

Night Cobra tour dates: November 22 November 23 November 24

Dallas, TX Amplified Live (w/ Unto Others & Bloodstar) Austin, TX Mohawk (w/ Unto Others & Bloodstar) Houston, TX White Oak Music Hall (w/ Unto Others & Bloodstar)

Follow Night Cobra on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/NightCobra and Instagram https://www.instagram.com/nightcobraband/. November 2021 • Rock and Blues International

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Sold-Out Aftershock Festival Welcomes 145,000 Fans Over Four Days In Record-Setting Event That Remains The West Coast’s Biggest Rock Festival; 2022 Passes On Sale Now Held October 7-10 At Discovery Park In Sacramento, California, The Largest Event In The Region In Two Years Brings In $30 Million To Local Economy Performances Included Metallica Who Delivered Two Unique Sets Over Two Nights Including Playing Metallica (The Black Album) In Full For 30th Anniversary Plus Headlining Appearance From The Original Misfits, As Well As Cypress Hill, Rancid, Social Distortion, The Offspring, Anthrax, Machine Gun Kelly, Rise Against, Volbeat, Testament, Gojira, Mastodon, Seether, Mudvayne & Many More 2022 Dates Announced For October 6-9 Weekend Passes Are On Sale Now For $10 Down For A Limited Time One of the largest events to be held in Sacramento, California in two years, Aftershock returned to Discovery Park October 710 with a memorable four-day weekend for the first time in the event’s history, welcoming a recordsetting attendance of 145,000 fans and retaining its title of the West Coast’s Biggest Rock Festival. Aftershock has also announced dates for 2022, to be held the weekend of October 6-9, once again returning to Discovery Park. Passes are available now for just $10 down for a limited time at https:// aftershock2022.frontgatetickets.com.

on Friday, October 8 as well as playing Metallica (The Black Album) in full from back to front in honor of the record’s 30th anniversary.

Metallica by Steve Thrasher festivalgoers this year arrived with proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID test – and others were able to receive convenient rapid testing onsite in order to access the event without delay. Metal giants Metallica continued their partnership with DWP at Aftershock, delivering an incredible two unique sets over two nights including hits from the band’s 40-year catalogue

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Other memorable moments at the 9th edition of Aftershock included a headlining appearance from The Original Misfits on Saturday, October 9 who helped usher in the Halloween season with a rousing horror-punk performance as well as a Thursday closing set from Cypress Hill. Earlier that day, the festival offered a not-to-bemissed Bay Area thrash metal showdown with Testament, Exodus (reuniting with drummer Tom Hunting) and Death Angel providing an apt preview for fellow locals, Metallica. A recently reunited continued on next page


Aftershock Festival continued from previous page Mudvayne also appeared on Saturday, October 9. Some sets also featured guest stars such as Tye Trujillo (son of Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo) appearing with his dad’s former band Suicidal Tendencies; Rise Against’s Tim McIlrath joining Pennywise to cover Minor Threat; and Dropkick Murphys on stage with Rancid. Aftershock also honed in on rising talent including the first major festival appearance for Mammoth WVH, the project of Wolfgang Van Halen, son of the late Eddie Van Halen. East Bay Express and Mercury News said Aftershock was “shaping up to be a tremendously successful festival,” adding, “While some festivals try to be everything to everybody, booking a diverse lineup that will hopefully appeal to the broadest amount of listeners, Aftershock goes the other direction and keeps a tight focus on all things heavy — mostly metal and hard rock, sprinkled with a bit of punk and hip-hop. In that

Metallica crowd by Sam Shapiro sense, it’s a niche festival, but one that is also able to draw 30,000-plus fans per day. It’s become the place to be for headbangers over the years, annually offering up the best that these heavy music genres have to offer.” As well, Sacramento Bee said, “The return of the Aftershock Festival following a 2020 hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic is one of the country’s most anticipated hard rock events this year. With a combined attendance of about 150,000 from the festival’s opening night on Thursday to a show closing set from Metallica on Sunday,

Rise Against by Steve Thrasher

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Aftershock Festival continued from previous page Aftershock is also music to the ears of civic and tourism officials who are eager for a much needed economic boost.” The event (sold out for the fifth consecutive year) is estimated to have brought in $30 million to the local economy with 75% of the attendees traveling to Aftershock from outside the region, according to Mike Testa, CEO of Visit Sacramento. In addition to the 60 music acts over 4 days, with performances on three stages, festivalgoers were able to enjoy some of the best food and drinks that the Sacramento area has to offer, as well as various sponsor activations and experiences. As well, all weekend long, festival fans were treated to exclusive interviews with bands playing Aftershock courtesy of the crew behind “That Space Zebra Show,” including Cypress Hill, Rise Against, Seether, Steel Panther, Body Count and dozens more. Interviews can be watched now on DWPresents Twitch channel: https://www.twitch.tv/ dwpresents. As well, Metal Ambassador and SiriusXM host Jose Mangin was a

Social Distortion by Steve Thrasher part of the weekend, introducing various acts ahead of their performances. Danny Wimmer Presents will wrap up the 2021 festival season with Welcome To Rockville in Daytona Beach, Florida November 11-14 with two unique sets over two nights from Metallica, as well as Slipknot and Disturbed in headlining performances, plus Rob Zombie, Lynyrd Skynyrd, A Day To Remember, The Offspring and many more. Tickets are on sale now at https://welcometorockvillefestival.com/. Aftershock partners included: Blackcraft, California’s Finest CBD, Clown Cannabis, Coors Light, Deep Eddy Vodka, Dr. Greenthumb’s, ESP,

Fearless Records, FC Cancer, Heavy Grass, Hellflower Soap Company, Helpful Hemp, It’s Ronz World, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey, KOLAS, Mortus Viventi, Musician’s Institute, Revolver & Inked Magazine, Sammy’s Beach Bar Cocktails, Space Zebra, The Pretty Cult, Thunder Valley Casino Resort, TickPick, TWLOHA and weedmaps. Aftershock also celebrated many non-profits including Animal Place, FC Cancer, Headcount, Rock Against Racism and Take Me Home. Aftershock is produced by Danny Wimmer Presents, one of the largest independent producers of destination music festivals in America. Additional DWP events include Bourbon & Beyond, Epicenter, Hometown Rising, Inkcarceration Music & Tattoo Festival, Louder Than Life, Sonic Temple Art + Music Festival, and Welcome To Rockville. For more information on Aftershock please visit: Website: www.AftershockFestival.com Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ AftershockFestival Twitter: http://twitter.com/AftershockSac Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ AftershockConcert/ Hashtag: #Aftershock

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New Metal From Sweden

Swedish Death Metal Legends Unleashed Release New Single & Video “Where Can You Flee?” New Album, No Sign of Life, Out November 12, 2021 via Napalm Records | Pre-Order now at https://www.napalmrecordsamerica.com/unleashed Watch/Listen here at https://youtu.be/HO8VIaL7d04 Just recently, Swedish death metal legends UNLEASHED announced their new studio album, No Sign of Life, along with the release of their first single, “The King Lost His Crown”. Now, the Einherjar legions of Asgard return with their second single, “Where Can You Flee?”, offering another uncompromising musical weapon that transfers Viking values and traditions into modernity.

burned village after village, raped and killed women and children on their way as they fled. Now, as the once so holy city of Jorsala has fallen, the Midgard Warriors pressed on in persecution of those responsible, and the hunt continues into the great Sinai peninsula. Whatever sacred mission lay behind it all, the Midgard Warriors are determined to find the answers. So “Where can you flee?” Where can you go?”

“Where Can You Flee?” offers hard guitar riffs, blasting drums and rough growls full of anger. The track unravels as an unstoppable war battalion that causes its listeners to lapse into a raving madness and builds up upon UNLEASHED’s wellestablished trademark sound of true death metal!

Watch the new video for “Where Can You Flee?” here at https://youtu.be/HO8VIaL7d04

Johnny on the new single: “The Midgard Warriors will never forget nor forgive, the atrocities that occured in Svithiod as the armies of White Christ 74

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UNLEASHED is led by founding frontman Johnny Hedlund, and features drummer Anders Schultz and two guitarists Tomas Måsgard and Fredrik Folkare – delivering and defining supreme death metal for over 32 years. On No Sign of continued on next page


Unleashed continued from previous page Life, the band formed of Viking descendants transports the listener straight into an outraging battle with 11 forceful tracks that revive the essentials of death metal, facing the sheer brutality of war. UNLEASHED are back to defend their throne, forging another wrecking machine that continues the marvelous legacy of Vikings. The silence gets crushed right within the first notes of the album opener “The King Lost His Crown” and invents a paving rage that leaves you no time to catch your breath during its entire playing time. Bare boned screams are accompanied by epic shouts praising Odin and heavy guitar riffs as the journey of clashes continues in “The Highest Ideal”, until the album reaches its glorious peak with “Here at the End of the World” as a fading hymn for the victorious march that leaves the battlefield behind in ashes. The Chief Vikings of Swedish death metal leave no doubt that they are still true to their roots after 32 years of existence. UNLEASHED proves that they indeed are and will stay the unchallenged leaders of Sweden’s death metal forefathers! UNLEASHED on the album: “It is our hope that our warriors all over the world will enjoy the new album just like they have our previous ones. We have, as always, tried to stick to our roots while testing our steel to

photo credit: Jens Rydén

develop the genre of Viking Death Metal even further.” Hail Odin! Johnny & The Boys“ Pre-order your copy of No Sign of Life now at https:// www.napalmrecordsamerica.com/ unleashed! No Sign Of Life track listing: 1. The King Lost His Crown 2. The Shepherd Has Left the Flock 3. Where Can You Flee? 4. You Are the Warrior! 5. No Sign of Life 6. The Highest Ideal 7. Midgard Warriors for Life

8. Did You Struggle with God? 9. Tyr Wields the Sword 10. It is Finished 11. Here at the End of the World No Sign of Life will be available in the following formats: LTD Wooden Box Edition Digipak 1LP DieHard Gatefold GOLD 1LP Gatefold MARBLED RED WHITE 1LP Gatefold CLEAR GREEN 1LP Gatefold BLACK Digital Full Length Album [Wooden Box Edition (incl. Digipak belt-buckle, thor hammer patch, album cover flag, logo pin – limited to 400 copies worldwide)] UNLEASHED are: Johnny Hedlund – bass, vocals Anders Schultz – drums Tomas Måsgard – rhythm guitar Fredrik Folkare – lead guitar

UNLEASHED online: Website @ http://www.unleashed.se/web/index.php Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/unleashed Instagram@ https://www.instagram.com/unleashed_official/ Napalm Records @ https://label.napalmrecords.com/unleashed November 2021 • Rock and Blues International 75


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“I think both Frank and I have evolved a great deal as producers since the first Sweet Justice record which was one of the very first LPs we produced as a team,” notes Duff. “Applying all of that combined experience to these songs was a blast; that, and plugging in all the crazy fuzztones we’ve acquired in the past 15 years!”

L to R: Bruce Duff, Frank Meyer, Mike Sessa Photo credit: Jason Valdez

Sweet Justice Delivers ‘Redline’ EP, First New Music In A Decade Sweet Justice Fully Embraces Modern Rock And Creates Redline, An 8-song EP Set For Release On November 9, 2021 Redline Marks A 10-year Return For The LAbased Fiery Three-Piece Rock Outfit Los Angeles-based rock trio Sweet Justice is readying Redline, the band’s first album release in over a decade on November 9, 2021, via Eternal Music Group subsidiary ARKIVAL, which serves as the long-overdue follow-up to their 2004 critically-acclaimed self-titled debut. Featuring the founding members Frank Meyer (vocals, guitar) and Bruce Duff (vocals, bass, guitar) of indie punk vets The Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs with drummer Mike Sessa of Rosie Flores, Cracker, The Joneses, and Cheetahs fame joining in for the fun, Sweet Justice delivers consistently strong and pure modern blues rock that follows the stylistic paths of Gary Clarke Jr, Rival Sons, and the Black Crowes.

Stripes-style stomp-clap (“Tell the Preacher”), swampy pop (“Sunny Daze”), Texas blues (“Medicine Show”), glam-boogie (“I Get More”), and the Robert Johnson-by-way-of-AC/ DC strut (“Redline”). “Aww Shucks,” “Feeling Fine,” and “Gotta Get That” round out this hot ‘n’ juicy classic rock swagger platter. “These songs are a little harderedged than the first album and a lot catchier,” explains Meyer. “We got inspired by all the great blues-rock acts happening these days and wondered if our first album wasn’t a bit ahead of its time. It seemed like the time was right to revisit the Sweet Justice sound, but we gave it a modern twist on this one. This new album is less traditional than our earlier work and fits much comfortably in the modern rock landscape.”

Produced and written by Duff and Meyer The Redline EP tackles a White 78 Rock and Blues International • November 2021

All three Sweet Justice members arose as underground emissaries from the real rock world, as well as also playing in The Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs, though each member has their own impressive pedigree. Meyer is also the frontman for Iggy & The Stooges guitarist James Williamson, a member of Long Beach supergroup Blind House, and bandmate of Eddie Spaghetti (Supersuckers) in their side project Spaghetti & Frank. Duff is an established music producer and manager who cut his teeth in 45 Grave, ADZ, Jeff Dahl, and plays in Jesters of Destiny, The Magnificent, and Scared Cowboys. Meanwhile, Sessa has toured with everyone from Cracker, Rosie Flores, The Joneses, and Wayne Kramer. Sweet Justice will be promoting the release of the Redline EP with soonto-be-released music videos and live appearances. Pre-save link here at https:/ /lnk.to/SweetJusticeRedlineEP. REDLINE Tracklisting Redline Sunny Daze Tell the Preacher I Get More Medicine Show Aww Shucks Gotta Get That Money Feelin’ Fine


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Blondie to Release Yuletide Throwdown Featuring Rare, Original 1981 Recording Alongside New Cut Chemist Remix out November 5th on Limited Edition Vinyl

known for his previous work as a member of both Ozmalti and Jurassic 5) to put his spin on the track, thus rounding out the Yuletide Throwdown EP project. Cut Chemist (Lucas MacFadden) explains: “Blondie and Fab 5 Freddy are two giants in their respective cultures. “Yuletide Throwdown” is a perfect example of those worlds coming together. Chris Stein’s music and Debbie trading raps with Fab created something entirely new sounding. It was an honor to work on this project as I have been a fan of their work for my entire life.” The new 2021 mix of the original track, which appears on the EP, was produced by 4x Grammy® winner Steve Rosenthal and mixed from the original analog tapes by Grammy® winner Tom Camuso on his vintage Neve console at Studio E in Brooklyn. The limited edition vinyl, available in both magenta and black versions, will come packaged in a die-cut bespoke ‘disco-bag’ style sleeve with exclusive artwork by New York graffiti artist ‘Hugogyrl.’ Yuletide Throwdown is available to pre-order and stream at: https://blondie.lnk.to/YuletideThrowdownSR Undeniably one of the most trailblazing and influential bands of our time, Blondie is pioneering frontwoman/songwriter Debbie Harry, guitarist/conceptual mastermind Chris Stein and powerhouse drummer Clem Burke, along with now long-standing bandmates bassist Leigh Foxx, guitarist Tommy Kessler and keyboardist Matt Katz-Bohen.

Photo by Bobby Grossman As the summer months come to a close, one can’t help but look ahead and begin daydreaming about the holidays to come. And this year, legendary New York rock band Blondie are bringing a little more fun to the holiday season with the release of their EP: Yuletide Throwdown. The 3-track EP, released digitally today, October 8th, and on 12” limited edition vinyl in both magenta and black, on November 5th (via UMe-Capitol/Numero Group) features the ultra-rare 80’s Christmas-inspired track “Yuletide Throwdown,” co-written and performed with Fab 5 Freddy, along with a new, exclusive remix of the song by Cut Chemist. The ultra-rare 1981 holiday flexi-disc, now being reissued for the first time on 180gram vinyl, was originally given away by the U.K. magazine Flexipop and then rediscovered as the band was researching and reviewing material from their personal archive for their forthcoming box set, to be released in August of 2022. If it sounds familiar, here’s why: the track was actually the original recording for what would later become one of Blondie’s biggest hits, “Rapture.” After shelving this version because the tempo was recorded too slowly (it was later recut into what became the global hit song), Chris Stein decided to go back into the studio a year later with the original track to record Debbie Harry and Freddy’s “Throwdown” vocals for this cheeky, holiday masterpiece. “It has been an impossible amount of time since I believed in Santa Claus, but I could very well believe again if he was Freddy Brathwaite!! Some of my best times have been making music with Chris Stein and Freddy B,” notes Debbie Harry, with Chris Stein adding: “Freddy has done as much as any multi-platinum selling HipHop star to promote rap culture.” Fab 5 Freddy expands: “In the beginning of my journey into pop culture, Chris & Debbie were among the first to take me and my ideas about hip hop culture seriously and were like mentors to me shining a light along the road and assisting my quest. I’m happy after all this time the world can now hear this fun holiday tune we did way back then!” Flash forward 40 years - as the band sought to re-release the original recording, they engaged DJ and producer Cut Chemist (also 80 Rock and Blues International • November 2021

Among their hits is the groundbreaking rock-disco hybrid “Heart of Glass,” the equally influential hip-hop fantasia “Rapture,” the stalker-love song “One Way Or Another,” and the lilting calypso “The Tide Is High.” It’s a thrilling journey back to when Blondie pushed punk onto the dance floor and introduced a wider audience to hip-hop sounds, all the while building a catalog of enduring hits along the way. For the last four decades, Blondie has become and still remains a true global icon, one whose influence both shaped and continues to inform the worlds of music, fashion and art. From an irreverent Lower East Side punk outfit to bona fide international ambassadors of New York cool, Blondie will forever be synonymous with that punk spirit that lives somewhere in all of us. Their chart-topping success, fearless spirit and rare longevity led to an induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2006 and more than 40 million albums sold worldwide to date. As we look back at the band’s storied career, it makes Blondie’s current vibrancy that much more stunning after 40 years of entertaining all of us. And the band shows no signs of slowing down - Blondie’s latest release BLONDIE: VIVIR EN LA HABANA (Limited edition blue vinyl) is out now: https://blondie.lnk.to/vivrenlahabanaPR. The new soundtrack comes from the short film capturing the band’s 2019 live debut performance in Havana, Cuba. The film already has growing recognition from the industry with a string of film festival premieres around the world, including its U.K. premiere at the Sheffield Doc/Fest and U.S. premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in June. Track list: SIDE A 1. Yuletide Throwdown (Cut Chemist Remix) SIDE B 1. Yuletide Throwdown (Cut Chemist Radio Edit) 2. Yuletide Throwdown


Billy Preston’s ‘Encouraging Words’ Vinyl Album Release ‘Encouraging Words,’ Billy Preston’s Second Album For Apple Records, Includes Three Gospel-Funk Inspired Covers: The Beatles’ “I’ve Got A Feeling” Plus George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord” And “All Things Must Pass”

Strange.” As a child prodigy, Billy played the organ for the gospel great Mahalia Jackson, and in 1957 at the age of 10, he performed a vocal and organ duet with Nat King Cole on his US television show. In 1962, at 16, Billy joined Little Richard’s touring band with live dates including a performance in Liverpool, with The Beatles as the opening act. In 1969, Billy worked with The Beatles once more, playing Hammond organ on the Abbey Road album songs “Something” and “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” and on their final studio album Let It Be, which has been remixed and expanded for a new Special Edition to be released October 15 by Apple Corps Ltd./Capitol/UMe. For Let It Be, Billy played on “Dig A Pony,” “I’ve Got A Feeling,” “One After 909,” “The Long And Winding Road,” “Dig It,” “Let It Be” and “Get Back.” In April 1969, The Beatles rush-released their worldwide number one single “Get Back”/“Don’t Let Me Down.” Both sides of the disc were credited to “The Beatles with Billy Preston.” “The greatest surprise was when the record came out,” Billy remembered in 2002. “They didn’t tell me they were going to put my name on it! The guys were really kind to me.” On January 30, 1969, Billy performed with The Beatles at their famous rooftop concert atop the Apple Corps headquarters in London. The event was filmed for the 1970 documentary film “Let It Be.” When “The Beatles: Get Back,” the hotly anticipated documentary series directed by three-time Oscar®-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson, debuts on Disney+ on November 25, 26 and 27, Billy Preston will be seen lifting The Beatles’ sessions with his boundless talent and buoyant bonhomie.

From rock ‘n’ roll jams to rousing gospel to electrifying blues, Encouraging Words exemplifies the wide-ranging talent that Billy Preston was revered for by fans, critics and peers. Revisiting this 1970 album — Preston’s second of two recorded for the iconic Apple Records label — underscores why his legacy as one of the most talented and versatile artists endures. Showcasing the songwriting, singing and musicianship honored with his induction this year into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for musical excellence, Encouraging Words is set for release as a vinyl reissue on October 29 via Apple Corps Ltd./Capitol/UMe. Preorder Encouraging Words here. First released in the UK on September 11, 1970, Encouraging Words was co-produced by Billy Preston and George Harrison. Preston recorded two of Harrison’s songs, “All Things Must Pass” and “My Sweet Lord,” for Encouraging Words. Both of Preston’s album cuts were available two months before the versions recorded by George Harrison appeared on his own triple album masterpiece All Things Must Pass, which was recently reissued. In 2010 Record Collector magazine described Encouraging Words as “one of the finest titles in the Apple Records catalogue,” while virtuoso keyboard player Rick Wakeman told BBC Radio 4’s John Wilson he considered Preston’s two Apple albums “absolute gems — a perfect combination of gospel and funk.” The opener “Right Now” sets that gospel-funk vibe to lyrics about yearning and impatience while the spiritually infused “Little Girl” takes a somber look at love lost. “Use What You Got” has the honky-tonk feel its name suggests and the title track “Encouraging Words,” offers universal wisdom about truth-telling and living the golden rule. With a dramatic classical music intro, Billy immediately shifts gears on “Sing One For The Lord,” which he co-wrote with George Harrison, to a heartfelt and inspirational plea. He takes The Beatles’ classic “I’ve Got A Feeling” into funky territory. Throughout Encouraging Words, impassioned lyrics are bolstered by jam-band energy and Billy’s incredible work on the keys including “Let The Music Play,” “When You Are Mine” and closer “You’ve Been Acting

Billy’s career began at age nine when he portrayed young W.C. Handy in the movie “St. Louis Blues.” He dueted with Nat King Cole on Nat’s TV show at 11. By 15, he was on the road with Mahalia Jackson, as well as Little Richard and Sam Cooke. In 1962, while backing Little Richard in Hamburg Germany, Billy forged a friendship with Richard’s opening act, four chaps named John, Paul, George and Ringo. That friendship evolved, finding Billy participating on the last two albums The Beatles ever recorded and joining them for the last concert they performed on the rooftop of Apple Corps’ London headquarters in January 1969. Prior to recording with The Beatles, Preston was a Capitol Records artist, a regular performer on the ABC-TV series Shindig!, and toured as a featured guest with Ray Charles. Following his Beatles stint, he was on the road with The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton and numerous others. Preston enjoyed considerable success as a solo artist. A twotime GRAMMY® winner, his massive hits include “Outa Space,” “Nothing From Nothing,” “Will It Go Round In Circles,” “With You I’m Born Again” (with Syreeta), and more. “You Are So Beautiful,” written by Billy Preston and Bruce Fisher to honor Billy’s mother, was covered by Joe Cocker. The only GRAMMY®-nominated version of the song was the duet by Billy Preston and Sam Moore recorded in 2005, which was then nominated for the Best R&B Duo or Group after the 2006 release of Sam’s Overnight Sensational album. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame states of the 2021 inductee for Musical Excellence, “Billy Preston blazed a path through the history of rock & roll with the smoking sounds of his B3 organ, the funky rhythms of his clavinet, and the exciting tones of his gospel-inspired vocals and piano...Billy Preston is an essential part of the fabric of rock & roll, the magic ingredient that could take a song from ‘good’ to ‘legendary.’” BILLY PRESTON — ENCOURAGING WORDS [VINYL] SIDE B SIDE A 1. I’ve Got A Feeling 1. Right Now 2. Sing One For The Lord 2. Little Girl 3. When You Are Mine 3. Use What You Got 4. I Don’t Want You To Pretend 4. My Sweet Lord 5. Encouraging Words 5. Let The Music Play 6. All Things Must Pass 6. The Same Thing Again 7. You’ve Been Acting Strange November 2021 • Rock and Blues International 81


The Biker, The Blues, And The Priest The day started with a phone call back home, no answer, just voice mail. I didn’t leave a message I thought I would just call later. You see I was about ready to leave Rockford, Illinois and when I hit the road moving east toward Chi-town. The weather was warm for an Autumn day, the sun was shining, and traffic was ok. I had memories of a waitress with scrambled yellow hair, marmalade thighs, and blue eyes. So there I was tooling along at about seventy miles per hour enjoying the ride. It was then that I saw the lights on the squad cars ahead. Something had happened, most likely an accident. Sure enough nobody was moving east anymore. Right there on the side of the road laid a man of about twenty-five I would guess. My curiosity got the best of me so I pulled off to the side and besides, no sense wasting gas. I made my way up to the small crowd standing around. A priest was kneeling beside the young man’s body giving him last rights right there in front of us. Sobering sight for sure. I heard one of state troopers say the man was dead and I could see a young woman crying her eyes out. The priest was making the sign of the cross and putting an ointment of some kind on the young man’s forehead. Someone said they knew the priest and said he is known as the healing priest. That seemed odd, a little late I would say. Then it happened I could swear I saw the body move and one of the ambulance men called out for oxygen and some kind of drug. Now the young man was definitely moving. The eyes of some of the bystanders there with me began to well up, some were actually shaking. I was standing there with that look on my face like a deer staring into the headlights of an oncoming car. The priest stood up and the small crowd made way for him to go and sit in a patrol car. He seemed blown away too. Some things in life you just can’t explain and if you tried to, who knows, most folks probably would not believe you. It didn’t change my life but it did remind me that there are things in my lifetime that are above my pay grade. The young lady that was crying so hard she finally fainted and the paramedics were administering smelling salts. She came back around and just stared at the ground in front of her. Traffic started to move and I went to crank up the shovel but it wasn’t going to roar at that moment in time. So I turned the peddle out on the kicker and did my thing luckily on the first kick no less it turned over and I was in business. I scooted for about sixty or seventy miles. The weather was turning a bit brisk, maybe time for some leathers, so I stopped at a truck stop and began to unroll my sleeping bag. A huge man with a bushy red beard approached me and asked me if I was at the wreck back up the interstate and I said yes. He said, me too. He went on to say he drove a bread truck daily from Chicago to Rockford and he had never seen anything like this before. I didn’t know what to say to him. Had we witnessed a miracle or maybe the guy wasn’t dead as we had heard. I put on my jacket and looked up and saw a sign flashing the words cold beer inside. Yep time to rest a bit. Once inside another man and a woman asked me the same question, Was I at continued on next page

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Continued: The Biker, The Blues, And The Priest the accident? Same answer, yes, but again without much to add to it nor did they have much to say. I came away with a major curiosity that stays with me to this day: I wonder where that young man’s life has gone since that day on Interstate 90? Time for some blues rock music for sure, it’s that kind of day. Just sitting there remembering traveling east from Rockford to Chitown thinking about a gal with scrambled yellow hair, marmalade thighs, and beautiful blue eyes. Life on the open road - you just never know what’s ahead, it’s exciting as hell. Lynyrd Skynyrd - “Ooh-ooh that smell, can’t ya smell that smell, ooh-ooh that smell, the smell of death’s around you” They drink a beer in greater Chicago land named Old Style it’s brewed in Wisconsin and distributed throughout the Midwest, pretty good stuff actually. It now seemed like I was going to get stuck in Chicago’s rush hour traffic and I asked the bar keep when it normally started and he replied with one word “always”. So I guessed it didn’t matter much what time I got going so I paid up and went outside, checked my fuel level, and this time she fired right up. My next stop was going to be Frankfort, Illinois which is south of Chicago. There’s a biker friendly bar there named New Image and some motels close by. So I headed east and then south. When I got near O’Hare Airport it was definitely getting backed up. I made a turn onto Route 83 and headed south which was cool because I was going to go right by a haunted bar in Willowbrook. Could be a good place for some grub and a story or two and of course another Old Style. Today the place is known as The Irish Legend Pub. However, years ago it is said that it was a speakeasy belonging to Al Capone. Today, supposedly it’s haunted. I was thinking you know after witnessing something weird with the living why not cap the daylight hours off with something not of the living. I arrived, nice place, friendly, and already I could hear someone asking about the hauntings. I sat close by. Indeed they were saying it was not only years ago that unexplained things happened but to this day. Their conversation was good as it was about glasses being moved and cold spots that come up on employees in the basement. I dialed in on the menu and ordered some bar food and a beer. Time to move on now probably about thirty miles to go. I headed south until I crossed over I-55 and turn right onto La Grange Road, passed through Orland Park and down to Route 30. Turned left onto 30 and headed to the New Image. Spotted a sort of no tell motel looking place and decided to call it home for the night. Lucked out and got a room, room thirteen, go figure - what a strange eerie day for sure. Went inside, turned on the tube, and turned the shower on. Now I was ready to explore The New Image Bar. Definitely biker friendly and home continued on next page October 2021 • Rock and Blues International

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Continued: The Biker, The Blues, And The Priest of Ricky’s Ride an annual charity ride. It’s clean, the music is at the right level, and yep they sell this famous Old Style beer. Nice looking gal came up to me asked what would I like, I ordered and off to jukebox. Time for some kick ass blues rock as this is the right joint for kicking back and being with your own. Punched up some Skynyrd, “You Got That Right” and the place came alive, I was home baby. Sweet things playing the machines, dudes shooting pool, and the sound of more scooters pulling up. Next something sexy to get those sisters on the machines swaying. “Lady Marmalade” should do it and oh it did….we now had miles of smiles. One gal stood up and began dancing in place as she was still intent on the screen in front of her but definitely connecting with the music. Next up I wanted to show some respect for Chicago blues and punched up Willie Dixon’s “Spoonful” talk about a kick ass harp part, we were off and running. I went back to the bar to take a swig of beer and there was a shot of tequila sitting there. I told that good looking gal behind the bar that it wasn’t mine and she said oh yes it is and pointed to a liquor rep passing out free shots. Well in Rome do as the Romans do so bottoms up. It was good, went down way too easy. Yes, great ending to a peculiar day, life go figure….. But it wasn’t over yet. Bar keep another beer please. Couldn’t help sticking with Willie Dixon and selected “You Shook Me” and while I was there I nailed down Rare Earth’s “I Just Want To Celebrate” The place was up for grabs. Some of the best times you will ever find will come with good folks in dive bars and here I hit the payload. What a day! Time to dish up some old time sax and rhythm so I chose Little Eva’s “The Loco-motion”. Oh yes this fit right in. I went back to the bar and the bar maid said I ought to come in more often and I told her I was visiting from Texas. She said, “Well cowboy you are a long way from home.” I replied by saying that I wasn’t a cowboy although I do ride an iron horse. She smiled and went to fix a drink for a thirsty patron. I started to scan the menu and someone yelled out, “Mister play some more music” and I didn’t need anymore encouragement than that and extended hands offered me dollars for the juke as I passed by. I decided to hit them with some Jr. Walker And The All Stars “I Am A Roadrunner Baby” and there’s another track, rather mellow, on that same release “Cleo’s Mood” a slow blues bump and grind which I added to the list. So many more tracks would add to that late afternoon early night poor man’s rendezvous. We be humming Jack. People are the same where ever you go and usually with one thing in common with strangers, music. I don’t write music and if I sing in the shower the water stops running so my appreciation for what touches me is deep. I remember when Randy Crawford took the lead vocal part for a cut named “Street Life”. The lyrics combined with her marvelous delivery on top of the music supplied by The Crusaders was above the norm, it was telling. Someone wrote that tune obviously that had been there and done that. The song shot up the charts and today is a classic glimpse of what the real streets are all about. AM radio couldn’t play its eleven-minute spin but FM was nailing it big time. Once the song gets going Ms. Crawford’s performance isn’t a performance anymore, it’s so much more. It’s gut level communication. I am on the road seeing life unfold all around me, not from fancy uptown restaurants, but from the belly of the beast, from the streets. “I still hang around neither lost nor found, Hear the lonely sound, Of Music in the night, Nights are always bright, That’s all that’s left for me, yeah” - until next time…... 84 Rock and Blues International • November 2021


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