Sunday, 1 March 2015

Theo - The Game Of Ouroboros


                            Video: Theo - These Are The Simple Days                                

                               
              Theo - The Game Of Ouroboros (2015 Big O Records)


                               Classic Rock Radio (Dot CO Dot UK)

                                          01 March 2015

                         classicrockradio.co.uk NEW MUSIC REVIEW



For those fans of classic rock that I sit here and type for from time to time, I know those more seriously into music are as excited as I am when a new band comes around that is worth checking out.

ATTENTION: Progressive Rock Aficionados

Wait...you know...the common everyday Joe or Jane just might dig this as well. Know why? Because odds are they already groove to mainstream prog-rock, and have been for some time now. Bands like Genesis, or Pink Floyd. Both have sold out stadiums when touring. The two iconic bands very popular within their fan bases, and with everyday average music listeners as well. Those without a personal music collection, and who just enjoy playing the radio, from time to time.

Theo is a new modern day prog-rock band out of the USA. Features renowned keyboardist Jim Alfredson.

I am well established as being more than a casual rock listener. At times while playing Theo's debut record called The Game Of Ouroboros, I became reminded of many an outstanding act in the history of progressive rock. We can say without argument that prog-rock itself, has been around since the 1960's. Musicians / bands who back then displayed not only a talent for their craft, but extreme creativity as well. Reminiscent of when old school prog-rock was introduced and later ruled on the FM airwaves. Others might refer to this period of time as simply the nineteen seventies. When rock bands like Yes or Emerson, Lake, & Palmer were allowed by their record company to just go off and spend wads of cash, doing whatever they felt was needed in the studio to create a new million seller. On a sidenote...wish it was that easy, right?

That was then. It's not really like that for musicians and rock groups in 2015. Most record companies have a reputation nowadays for being dictating. The twenty-first century is a whole new ball of wax in the music industry. And in the year 2015, new people first getting into music and going to concerts say how they have come to appreciate the musicianship that goes with certain styles of music, like progressive rock. Newer heavy hitters like Muse are solid prog to the above average music follower. Any band or musician playing more than three chords in a song, or more then one long continuous boring beat with the drums, is thought of sometimes as being too much out of the box. Labeled a 'serious musician' like it's a bad thing. So complicated their music that the average Joe or Jane won't bother getting into it. I had a DJ from a Houston radio station tell me that. Educating me like the dude was doing me a favor. Bullshit! Think if Beethoven was alive and composing today, that he'd be seen out getting Starbucks, and wearing a Transatlantic tee shirt? I do. I also think that somewhere in California, right now as we speak, a twelve year old boy is doing air guitar to Steve Howe's guitar parts on 'South Side Of The Sky'. And that, my friends, is a very cool thing.

I adore concept records. Lots of rock acts have used this approach as a way to get people's attention and boost fan bases. Not all successful. Be it some kind of story, fiction or nonfiction. Could be new, or based on an already published work. Rick Wakeman did wonderfully with his interpretation of the Jules Verne literary classic, Journey To The Center Of The Earth (1974). Decades later, Judas Priest would educate their fans all about Nostradamus (2008) in a double CD named after the seemingly clairvoyant one of centuries gone by. Oh, and if a fan of hard rock, Alice Cooper's 1994 album entitled The Last Temptation will blow your socks off. An original story, that even had a comic book accompaniment, in which I'm happy to report is part of my own personal library. And get this...signed by The Coop!

An excellent sound texture to a musical piece when used properly in my opinion, are sound bites. Kevin Moore, original keyboardist with Dream Theater, is a genius at this. Theo's debut work begins with the listener hearing the familiarity of a telephone. So now the fun can begin. The voice on the phone now kicking in the first song, 'The Game Of Ouroboros', sounds like the computer from ELP's Karn Evil # 9 'Third Impression' that received a few upgrades over time. The artificial intelligence knows your name, and EVERYTHING about you, thanks to something I imagine is injected into a citizen's body, called a "Selfi-Chip". By the third song, 'Creatures Of Our Comfort', Theo, our main character, is now seriously screwed as Conglobocorp (those in charge) has ordered Theo to wait for the squad to arrive. Started off innocent enough. It was Theo that initiated the call. For yours truly, being a fly on the wall and sharing the experience, could not be any cooler.

I find the music and lyrical content found on Theo - The Game Of Ouroboros, captivating from start to finish. Its story held my attention, as did the sounds carrying it. The composer is one of the best professional Hammond organists working today, Jim Alfredson. I already mentioned him. Known for jazz more than rock, Jim's keyboard playing is so good on The Game Of Ouroboros, that like the twelve year old I mentioned playing air guitar to Steve Howe, his friend, another twelve year old wanting to be a keyboardist...digging on Theo. Package includes a sci-fi story that describes life to almost being a creature in a zoo. The government enforcers owning the shit (food) being eaten, and easily amused by watching those they protect, grow fat and lifeless. Goodbye personal freedoms. So long being an individual. At least everyone sounds safe. Who would have thought that ever a problem? And along for the ride with Jim who also takes on vocals, Gary Devenport on bass, Kevin DePree on drums (also backing vocals), and Jake Reichbart on guitar. Two special guest musicians as well; Zach Zunis (guitar), and Greg Nagy (guitar and backing vocals on track six, a song entitled, Exile.

Rating: Using the one to five star rating system, whereas one star means it blows chunks, to five stars which means it's cool to spend your hard earned money on it, Uncle G rates Theo - The Game Of Ouroboros, 5 stars! So much so, I'm going to try to catch up with these guy's past endeavors. Keyboard lovers will love Jim's playing. From here on out, call me a follower of everything Theo. It took three albums for the now legendary progressive rock band Yes to really catch on. With Theo, The Game Of Ouroboros is all it will take. Like ELP's self titled debut in 1969, I expect Theo to really catch fire after this. According to Jim Alfredson, three years in the making. A long labor, but now a new prog band is born. Free by the way, to go forth and while doing so, passing along what inspired, and thus inspiring others.

Long live Theo & PROG-ROCK!

For more information, visit the official Theo website

www.theoHQ.com

Gary Brown

American Correspondent for classicrockradio.co.uk

Twitter @GBrown0816

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

The Quireboys
Realise Swede Dream With Album Number Nine

St Cecilia And The Gypsy Soul
4CD Deluxe Edition Available March 30 2015

Gracie B EP Released March 16 2015

Unplugged & Personal UK Headline Tour Kicks Off Feb 27 2015

Locked away for a week in the Swedish outpost of Klippan, the Quireboys couldn’t have imagined what would emerge from the most intensive recording process of their careers.
“It was the bleakest place I’ve ever seen,” said guitarist Paul Guerin, following his stay in the town whose name translates as Cliff’s Edge. “I felt like I was in the Big Brother house,” added Spike. “I never stepped out of the studio – not once. We could have gone stir crazy but we came out of there with a record we never knew was possible.”
Inspired by the success of 2009’s critically acclaimed acoustic album Halfpenny Dancer, the band entered Lemon Studios fully intending to repeat that winning formula. However, an Aladdin’s Cave of intriguing instruments and eerie samples inspired the Quireboys to push the boundaries and shift the focus. “The plan was always to record some new acoustic songs and rework some originals,” added Spike. “But the plan changed. There was something about that place – the vibe got better and better and we just went with the flow.”
Spike, Paul Guerin, Guy Griffin (guitar) and Keith Weir (keyboards) flew home with 10 new songs and a brand new sound. Fans can hear the fruits of the Quireboys’ labours this spring when 'St Cecilia And The Gypsy Soul' is released as part of a luxurious 4CD set – featuring buried treasure and bonus cuts.
The new album will be packaged alongside Halfpenny Dancer – finally available again – and two discs covering the previously unreleased 2010 Halfpenny Dancer live show featuring fiddles, pedal steel, mandolin, banjo and more! “This side of the band needs to heard,” added Spike. “And we’ll be taking the new music out on the road with our most intimate tour yet.”
The new album’s title might hark back to the Quireboys’ rootsy legacy but the quality of its music reaffirms a desire to break new ground and grow their sound. The 30th anniversary celebrations might be over – but the party’s still in full swing!
 St Cecilia And The Gypsy Soul is released worldwide via Off Yer Rocka on March 30 2015 but will be preceded by the Gracie B EP which features 4 bonus tracks & a lyrics video on the 16th March. 
Produced by The Quireboys and Martin Ekelund
OYR 021
Album Title: St Cecilia & the Gypsy Soul
Release Date: 30th March 2015
Pre order Date: 27th Feb 2015

To See The Quireboys Live click here: 




Track listing
 
Disc 1
1)    Gracie B.
2)    Land  of my father.
3)    St Cecilia.
4)    The promise.
5)    Can't hide it anymore.
6)    Out of your mind.
7)    The Hurting Kind.
8)    Adaline.
9)    The Best are not Forgotten.
10)   Why did it take so long.

Disc 2 – Halfpenny Dancer
1)     There she goes again
2)     Devil of a Man
3)     Love to Love
4)     Mona Lisa Smiled
5)     I cant stop loving you
6)     Roses & Rings
7)     Baby its you
8)     Hello
9)     Pretty Girls
10)  He’ll Have To Go
11)  Long Time Comin’
12)  Hates to please
13)  King of New York

Disc 3 – Halfpenny Live (Part I)
1)     There she goes again
2)     Devil of a man
3)     Mona Lisa Smiled
4)     Love to Love
5)     Roses & Rings
6)     Pretty Girls
7)     Cant stop loving you
8)     One for the road
9)     Hello

Disc 4 – Halfpenny Live (Part II)
1)     Hates to please
2)     Long time comin’
3)     Have a drink with me
4)     Late Night Saturday call
5)     Misled
6)     I love this dirty town
7)     7 o’clock
8)     I don’t love you anymore


The Quireboys will be on their Unplugged & Personal Tour which commences in the UK on 27th Feb

27 Feb: The Railway, Bolton
28 Feb: The Railway, Winchester
1 Mar: Zephyr Lounge, Leamington Spa
6 Mar: The Live Rooms, Chester
7 Mar: The Attic @ Rushden Athletic Club, Rushden
8 Mar: The Musician, Leicester
9 Mar: The Robin2, Bilston
11 Mar: The Iron Road Rock Bar, Evesham
12 Mar: Static Rock Bar, Swansea
13 Mar: Fuel, Cardiff
15 Mar: The Brickmakers, Norwich
19 Mar: Warehouse 23, Wakefield
20 Mar: Yardbirds Rock Club, Grimsby
21 Mar: The Arts Centre, Bingley
22 Mar: The Diamond Live Lounge, Doncaster
26 Mar: Bannermans, Edinburgh
28 Mar: The Diamond Rock Club, Ballymena, Ireland
Ian  Paice's Sunflower Superjam-
Live At The Royal Albert Hall 2012
CD/DVD Released 2nd March


Following the release of the Sunflower Jam ‘Celebrating Jon Lord’ in September 2014 (No.1 in the DVD/Blu-Ray Charts in five European territories), another great once-in-a-lifetime event is going to be released on 2 March 2015 on earMUSIC.   ‘Ian Paice’s Sunflower Superjam – Live At The Royal Albert Hall 2012’ will be available as a CD+DVD and DVD+CD set.

This spectacular live document is a feast for the eyes and ears capturing the second of the Sunflower Jams in the most prestigious of all London venues: The Royal Albert Hall.  Before this show, which was open to any rock fan, “the Jam” was a private charity event, organised by Deep Purple’s Ian Paice and his wife Jacky Paice, where the biggest stars would jam and perform classic songs to raise money for charity.

‘Ian Paice’s Sunflower Superjam – Live At The Royal Albert Hall 2012’ couldn´t have turned more powerful, thanks to the contribution of Mark King (Level 42), delivering groovy renditions of two of his greatest hits with a legend of the Hammond organ: Brian Auger, who also plays on almost the whole show; Iron Maiden´s Bruce Dickinson, who lends his explosive voice for Thin Lizzy´s ‘Emerald’ and The Who´s ‘Behind Blue Eyes’, Alice Cooper playing with Ian Paice and Brian May his classics ‘Elected’ and ‘School´s Out’, or Bruce Dickinson, Brian May, John Paul Jones and Ian Paice teaming up for a rendition of Deep Purple’s ‘Black Night’.

For British Blues Rockers The Temperance Movement at the time this was their biggest show yet, while Steve Balsamo paid tribute to Jon Lord with ‘Pictured Within’, anticipating the great homage the Sunflower Jam would dedicate to Lord two years later with ‘Celebrating Jon Lord’.  Just when the Royal Albert Hall audience thought it simply couldn’t get any better, the final ‘Smoke on The Water’ literally caused an explosion of joy and celebration - A feeling that is present on each song of this exciting recording.

The DVD contains the whole show plus further bonus tracks by Brian May & Kerry Ellis, The Temperance Movement and Alfie Boe.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Classic Rock Legends Wishbone Ash To Undertake Pilgrimage North America Tour!

Tour to span West Coast, South in April/May 2015

Wishbone Ash, one of the most influential guitar bands in the history of rock, returns to these shores in April 2015 for the first leg of their Pilgrimage North America Tour. Following spring and fall tours in 2014 that featured the group's best-selling “Live Dates” album, this year Wishbone Ash will present classics spanning their 46-year career and showcase selections from their latest release, “Blue Horizon.”

After logging more than 20,000 miles touring North America last year, the group will begin their 2015 spring tour in Vancouver, British Columbia, winding down the West Coast of the US and then heading across the South – hitting cities that include Portland, Seattle, Oakland, San Juan Capistrano, Ramona, Phoenix, Austin and Dallas. Visit www.wishboneash.com/tourdates for the complete schedule.

“The 'Live Dates Tour' went just great,” says bandleader and founding member Andy Powell. “To play Texas and California out West, and Mississippi in the Deep South, for example, was really nice. You realize just how popular guitar-based rock is in these places. We aim to repeat the experience and build on it this year.”

The title of the 2015 tour is a nod to the Wishbone Ash's beloved “Pilgrimage” album, but it's also a fitting way to describe what has become an annual journey filled with familiar faces and places. “Each year when we tour countries on our world circuit, these visits feel like pilgrimages to all our old haunts,” says Powell. “We visit venues we've performed in multiple times over the years. We know the staff there, we often stay in the same hotels, visit the same restaurants, we see the same folks thousands of miles apart. The fans, of course, are the major component. We catch up on their stories and their lives.”

In 2014, Wishbone Ash released “Blue Horizon” (Solid Rockhouse Records) to international acclaim. Praised for its stylistic variety and masterful performances, the album features guest artist, Ireland's Pat McManus, on fiddle for two tracks. “Blue Horizon” also includes two songs written by Aynsley Powell (Andy Powell's son) and one by former Wishbone Ash guitarist Roger Filgate.



According to Powell, the album's diversity reflects the culmination of several factors. “The band basically lives together year-round, so we have a very strong level of communication that translates in our performances and recordings,” he says. “We've come to an era where the industry has to pigeonhole a band as Classic Rock, Prog Rock, Heritage Rock and so on. The truth is that we have always kept our options open and always relied on the musicianship of the players to lead the way. It's fun to be stylistically diverse and this has, in its way, contributed to our longevity.”

While they're making pilgrimages to various parts of the globe, Wishbone Ash will undertake some live recording projects, as well: one a vinyl-only limited release direct from Metropolis Studios in Chiswick, London; another to be recorded over a three-day residency at Le Triton in Paris for a DVD release.

Powell also plans to publish his autobiography this fall. “It's quite an undertaking to put 45 years of being a touring musician in this one band into book form,” he says.

Formed in 1969, Wishbone Ash has to its credit 24 original studio recordings, 10 live albums and four live DVDs along with a DVD rockumentary (“This is Wishbone Ash”). The band is led by founding member Andy Powell on guitar and vocals, trading licks with Finland’s guitar wizard Muddy Manninen. Bassist Bob Skeat, an 18-year veteran of the band and in-demand studio musician, sets the pace with Joe Crabtree, one of the best of Britain’s new breed of drummers whose performance credits include Pendragon and David Cross of King Crimson.

Lynyrd Skynyrd cites Wishbone Ash as a primary influence on their style along with Thin Lizzy, Iron Maiden and, more recently, heavyweights like Opeth. All have been transformed by the original, legendary twin-guitar approach of Wishbone Ash. There is no other rock band in history that has done more with the twin guitar concept than The Ash.

Longtime fans and new converts will find that Wishbone Ash offers an undeniable concert experience.


Roger Hodgson, Formerly of Supertramp 

Royal Albert Hall April 29th, 2016



Roger Hodgson, the legendary songwriter and singer, formerly of Supertramp, returns for another magical evening at the Royal Albert Hall on 29 April 2016, 8pm.  Tickets go on sale on Friday 27 February, 9am and are available from the venue box offices, select authorised ticket agencies and the tour 24 hr Hotline 0844 338 0000 or on line at BookingsDirect.com (subject to fees).
Hodgson said, “There are many wonderful venues in the world but there’s only one Albert Hall.  I’m delighted to be returning to my home country to play for everyone next year.”
Roger Hodgson co-founded Supertramp in 1969 and was the band’s innovator and driving force through what fans call the golden years of Supertramp. He helped define a generation of progressive rock and was the composer and singer of most of Supertramp’s universally enduring anthems - “Breakfast in America,” Give a Little Bit,” Take the Long Way Home,” The Logical Song,” Dreamer,” Its Raining Again,”School,” Fools Overture,” Child of Vision,” Hide in Your Shell,”  songs that became the soundtrack for so many lives; classic hits that helped the band sell well over 60 million albums.
Hodgson, who won the Ivor Novello Award for The Logical Song in 1980, is one of the most gifted composers, lyricists and performers of our time. Hodgson is the soulful musical genius who put the ‘Super’ in Supertramp and is still bringing those songs to life onstage around the world for those who love them.  As Rolling Stone said, “All these years I thought I was a Supertramp fan when actually I was and am a Roger Hodgson fan. What a show! ‘WOW' is all I can say.” 
THE BRITISH ROCK LEGENDS THAT ARE THE PRETTY THINGS HAVE THEIR CRITICALLY-ACCLAIMED, FIFTY-YEAR CAREER RETROSPECTIVE

MULTI-DISC BOX SET BOUQUETS FROM A CLOUDY SKY RELEASED TODAY!

VISIT THE FOLLOWING PAGE FOR MORE INFORMATION, RARE VIDEO FOOTAGE AND PHIL MAY AND DICK TAYLOR OF THE BAND ‘UNBOXING’ THE SET!


Bouquets From A Cloudy Sky
The Complete Pretty Things Collection
 LAVISH BOXSET FOR  FEBRUARY 2015 RELEASE!

Limited to 2000 copies

For over fifty years, The Pretty Things have proudly, unapologetically and righteously scorched their own, unique trail through contemporary music. A half-century (plus) of the raunchiest white-boy rhythm and blues, of punch-ups, dazzling highs and epic struggles, of innovation and exultation, lauded by their peers, vilified by authority, a crucial influence on successive generations of acts, The Pretty Things make it to the mid twenty teens with mojo intact and edge unblunted.
It is with great pleasure that the career of this epochal British rock ’n’ roll band is justly celebrated by way of Bouquets From A Cloudy Sky, a lavish multi-media Box Set that contains the following:
                   ELEVEN STUDIO ALBUMS ON CD – housed in gatefold digi-sleeves, including FORTY-TWO bonus tracks
                   TWO BONUS CDs with FORTY-FIVE previously unreleased demos, alternate versions, live recordings and outtakes
                   TWO DVDs with new documentary Midnight to Six 1965-1970, by acclaimed producers REELIN’ IN THE YEARS, plus SF Sorrow Live At Abbey Road, The Pretty Things On Film, plus promo videos and interviews
                   10-INCH VINYL REPLICA ‘ACETATE’, featuring Defecting Grey full length demo and Turn My Head (studio version), plus 2 previously unreleased tracks
                   LAVISHLY ILLUSTRATED 100-PAGE HARDBACK BOOK, featuring a comprehensive band history penned by Mike Stax (editor of Ugly Things magazine), with rare photos and memorabilia
                   FAMILY TREE & TESTIMONIAL POSTERS – tracing the band from Little Boy Blue & The Blue Boys and The Rolling Stones to the present day, and featuring hand-written messages from Pretty Things past and present
                   COURT CASE HISTORY – excerpts from confidential legal files from the band’s ground-breaking battles to retrieve their rights and songs
                   BRAND NEW ART PRINT BY PHIL MAY – the original of which will be randomly placed in one lucky set!
BOUQUETS FROM A CLOUDY SKY will be released on Monday, February 23rd 2015 on the Madfish label (www.madfishmusic.com). 

Available to pre-order now at www.theprettythings.com / www.theprettythings.net
JOHN MAYALL’S BLUESBREAKERS LIVE IN 1967 - 
ALBUM RELEASED 20TH APRIL 2015

John Mayall’s Bluebreakers – Live in 1967, an ultra rare collection of, never-before-heard, live recordings featuring John MayallPeter GreenJohn McVie and Mick Fleetwood, will be released on 20th April, on Forty Below Records.

In 1967, before there was a Fleetwood MacPeter Green, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood were John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers.  The four musicians were only together for three months, which makes it even more remarkable that a staunch fan from Holland was able to sneak a one channel reel-to-reel tape recorder into five London clubs and capture this exciting glimpse into musical history.

For almost fifty years these tapes have remained unheard until Mayall recently got them and began restoring them with the technical assistance of Eric Corne of Forty Below Records.  Corne adds “While the source recording was very rough and the final result is certainly not hi-fidelity, it does succeed in allowing us to hear how spectacular these performances are.”

The significant discovery of these live recordings will surely thrill Mayall fans around the world but, moreover, it has enabled the creation of an historical document, which captures a very special moment in the evolution of British Blues music.