Category: REVIEWS

CD and DVD reviews

Bongo Boy Records Backroom Blues Vol 4

Delivering a soulful piece is Jim Labos’ opening “The Blues Never Die”. From the organ to the nimble guitar, everything simply works. Tying it all together are the carefully crafted lyrics whose impassioned delivery works wonders. On “Searching For the Truth” Devin Leigh neatly brings classic rock and country into a satisfying whole. Anchored by…

Maiah Wynne – ‘Lights and Shadows’

Maiah Wynne’s “Lights and Shadows” displays a phenomenal range from the darkest of shadows to the brightest light. Stylistically Maiah Wynne runs the gamut from chamber pop to country to even elements of industrial. Tying all of this together is Maiah Wynne’s emotive voice whose expressiveness shines throughout the collection. Attention to detail is of…

Righteous Hillbillies – ‘Two Wheels Down a Lost Highway’

The crucial third and fourth albums. People like to trumpet the all-consuming importance of sophomore albums and they have a point. Bands and performers, after particularly scintillating debuts, can often find themselves groping in darkness attempting to create a worthy follow-up. It’s the third and fourth album, however, that often determines staying power. Once a…

Emish – ‘This Light’

Self described as “high powered rock with an Irish heart”, the four piece Emish stands as one of the most individual and inspired acts working in roots music today. The idea of labeling them, however, will make discerning listeners hesitant. The music transcends labels manifesting a spirit that has nothing to do with genre and,…

Sound of Curves – ‘Gone Gatsby’

San Antonio based four piece Sound of Curves’ third album, Gone Gatsby, should solidify their standing as one of the vanguard bands working in alternative rock today. The melting pot of influences, however, encompasses much more than recasting rock music’s premier form of the 1990’s and beyond in their image. Southern styled rock guitar with…

Angie and the Deserters – ’17 Days’

It’s difficult to imagine how the luscious blues-soaked yowl of Angie Bruyere’s voice hailing from upstate New York, but this Southern California transplant and her band the Deserters play gutsy and rough-hewn blues rock with the skill and sincerity needed to make it work in 2017. Her latest single from the album You, “17 Days”,…

Tony Levitas & the Levitations – “Feel Good Now”

With a true sense of the blues, Tony Levita’s sound has a rambunctious timeless quality to them. Opting for such a classic approach works wonders for the songs as the way they unfold is quite compelling. The heart and soul of the approach comes from Tony Levitas’ stylish vocals alongside the insightful lyricism that permeates…

Michel Griffin – ‘Feel my Love: Bob Dylan’s Finest Lovesongs’

Michel Griffin treats Bob Dylan’s vast body of work with the utmost of care on the tender “Feel my Love: Bob Dylan’s Finest Lovesongs”. With careful delicate arrangements, the songs positively shimmer and shine. Vocals serve front and center as they should, with Michel Griffin’s voice imbuing the songs with a sense of intimacy. The…

Amery Rey Tuesta – ‘Latinoameryca’

Fiery passionate reigns supreme on Amery Rey Tuesta’s “Latinoameryca”. Tapping into classic rock’s strong and steady roots, the songs are absolute blasts of sound. Stylistically Amery Rey Tuesta goes for a full-on sound, one that represents the power of community. Over the course of the album they bring together a wide variety of flourishes into…

Doc La – ‘Look What They Did’

This is a star-making moment. Doc La’s single “Look What They Did” is charting in Billboard at a number four position already and announces the arrival of an astonishing presence on the rap/hip hop scene. This is a laudable feat for any performer, any genre, but for a debut artist to chart so high marks…

Mark Reitenga – ‘Unsung’

Sung with a sense of intimacy Mark Reitenga’s “Unsung” rings with truth. Over the course of the collection Mark Reitenga touches upon relationships, passion, and social issues that have no easy answers. Arrangements possess a delicate nature to them with every nuance delivered with great vigor. By far the heart and soul of the songs…

Marty McKay – “New York City Dreams”

Marty McKay sings for all those searching for freedom and meaning on the celebratory spirit of “New York City Dreams”. Downright glorious the songs are pure pop perfection. Volume reigns supreme for these songs are meant to be felt. Every song adds to the album’s narrative, one that embodies the hope that many pin to…

Les Fradkin – ‘Reflections Of Love’

New Age is a type of genre, that has been heard of but maybe only heard once or twice for its genre. When it comes to Les Fradkin whose new song turned single “Reflections Of Love” off his new album “The New Age” set for release sometime this Spring, via Bongo Boy Records, Les Fradkin’s…

Dave’s Neck – ‘The Girl with the Neck Tattoo’

With a furious fiery attitude Dave’s Neck “The Girl with the Neck Tattoo” goes for the jugular. Colossal in scope these are songs that deserve to be blasted. Physicality reigns supreme over the collection as drums have almost a tribal quality to them. Rhythms sprawl themselves out moving as fast as they possibly can. The…

Charles Parker – ‘Bring Back The Sun’

Sunny and optimistic Charles Parker’s “Bring Back the Sun” is an absolute delightful. Offering the best of alternative rock the songs are full of catchy hooks and infectious rhythms. Arrangements are downright exuberant while they help support the impassioned vocals that grace the sound. Lyrics serve as the front and center of the sound for…

Daisy Jopling – ‘The Awakening’

Daisy Jopling’s “The Awakening” offers a sense of hope throughout these finely tailored eclectic arrangements. With strong roots in chamber pop, Daisy Jopling incorporates a wide variety of stylistic choices throughout the album. Classical, rock, pop, infused with a clear love of the theatrical make their way into the mix. Attention to detail is profound…

Tripp Denom – ‘Coupe Life’

Tripp Denom’s “Coupe Life” glides by on chill vibes. With an all-encompassing lush sound the arrangement feels perfect. Percussion hits all the right notes, kept stripped down but still fully in force. Synthesizers sprawl out into luxurious textures letting the multi-layered kaleidoscopic rush of color. By far the heart and soul of the sound comes…

Nick Black – ‘Deep Blue’

The second full length album from Nick Black, Deep Blue, is a ten song collection following up his 2012 debut The Soul Diaries. It combines the same incendiary guitar work, vocal excellence, and polished songwriting distinguishing the first album while exhibiting growing maturity. Delving into a longstanding musical genres like soul and blues music isn’t…

Richard Scott – ‘Keeper of My Heart’

A veteran’s touch is always distinctive. There’s a certainty and understated swagger surrounding their songwriting that never beats its chest or ballyhoos its presence. Instead, the fundamentals just come through, confidence never wavers, and the artist’s command of their particular skill set is steady. Richard Scott has been involved with music throughout his adult life…

Brian Lee Robinson – ‘The Texas Side Of Nashville’

Brian Lee Robinson sings the tried and truest of country on the Americana blues of “The Texas Side Of Nashville”. Arrangements are done just right with the perfect twang, a gentle kind of rhythm that helps to guide the songs forward. Easily the highlight of the collection are the highly articulate lyrics which show off…

Satellite Gods – ‘Marker 7-58’

Passionate and pure, Satellite Gods creates compelling finely crafted stories on the adventurous “Marker 7-58”. Lyrics rest front and center of each piece. Stories, mere snapshots of a life lived fully, are told with the utmost poignancy. Arrangements add to this power ranging from full-on rock with influences of folk, country, and even elements of…

Jonathan Cavier – ‘Comes a Moment’

The latest single from Jonathan Cavier’s album Premier, “Comes a Moment”, delivers another musically and lyrically satisfying platter for listeners. His compositional slant, as a songwriter, leans towards layered tracks heavy on dynamics while never sacrificing melody The lyrical sophistication he shows off on songs like this is easy to underestimate – it might be…

Dave Vargo – ‘Burning Through’

Burning Through, the first solo album from Dave Vargo, a longtime live and session guitarist for artists as varied as Whitney Houston and Rupert Holmes, is an eleven song collection leaning more towards the acoustic side of the ledger but incorporating enough edginess and rock and roll attitude that it never sounds one note or…

Downie Streahl – ‘Run Away With You’

Grand Rapids, Michigan based singer/songwriter Downie Streahl has returned with her latest single, “Run Away With You”. It follows up on the success of earlier charting singles like “Now” and “Unavailable” with the same dynamic style that allows her to freely move between multiple genres without losing anything off her presentation. There’s a lot of…

Poetically Contagious – ‘Toss Him Aside’

Hailing from the Binghamton, New York area, Poetically Contagious formed in the early months of 2010 as a performance group who made early appearances at university shows in the area before transitioning into a recording act. The quality of the duo’s material vaulted them into the finals of New York City recording and performances contests…

West of Mabou – ‘West of Mabou’

Delivered with the utmost of passion is the spirited performance of West of Mabou’s self-titled album. With a distinctly Celtic flair the songs teem with life and vigor. Fiddles, bagpipes, and guitars come together to create such a compelling perfectly formed sound. The way the songs ebb and flow gives them a naturalistic hue. By…

Fellow American – ‘From Me to Shore’

Fellow American creates a bright summery sound with the optimistic pop of “From Me to Shore”. Sung with a sense of play and tenderness the vocals are by far the highlight of the collection. Quite honeyed in scope the choral arrangements at times recall the joy that marks the best of the Beach Boys. The…

Rev Peter Unger – ‘Love Is What I’ll Do’

Rev Peter Unger’s “Love Is What I’ll Do” is an uplifting love ballad full of joy and wonder with the world. The arrangements are simple yet effective. Shimmering acoustic guitar serves as a second singer of sorts, as it appears to nicely emphasize his strong message. Far off in the distance is the twang of…

Natalie Jean – “Red Room” – The Remix

Positively giddy with energy is the EDM remix of Natalie Jean’s “Red Room”. The remix keeps Natalie Jean’s sultry vocals intact. With every additional layer the sound grows ever more mysterious. Lyrics allude to this cryptic quality. Over the course of the song the sound grows in scope. Building up the entirety of the sound…

Brent Daniels – ‘Every Road Has A Turn’

Brent Daniels, like many great musicians, fell in love with music at an early age. Subsequent turns in his journey led him away from music for many years, but his debut album Every Road Has a Turn burns with the same passion to perform powering his youthful desires. Respected producer Robyn Robins heard Daniels through…

Nick Dakota – ‘Vision’

The debut album from Michigan native Nick Dakota, entitled Vision, is a fun and often quite soulful collection. He’s drafted some of Nashville’s elite sidemen to contribute to the twelve songs on Vision and the wide skill set possessed by talented professionals like Steve Hinson, longtime steel guitarist for Randy Travis, and Eric Church’s bass…

J-Anthony – “It’s Official”

Sung with true love and compassion is the spirited performance of JAnthony’s “It’s Official”. Offering a nice mixture of R&B, funk, and alt rock the song absolutely astounds. By far the highlight of the piece are the lyrics which focus on the concept of relationships. The encouragement of bringing a relationship to the next level,…

Quinn Hedges – ‘Slightly South of Stormy Clouds’

Quinn Hedges delivers an ornate arrangement of chamber pop on the cautiously optimistic “Slightly South of Stormy Clouds”. Instrumentations glistens over the course of the album with each piece playing off the last. Possessing a true knack for lyricism Quinn Hedges tells a story throughout the album. Over the course of the album Quinn Hedges…

Gar Francis – “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35”

Bob Dylan, if you have not heard of this namesake before, then as of right now, you have, because Bob Dylan wrote and recorded a single way back when, and in 1966 that said single and song titled “Rainy Day Women ♯12 & 35”, was released. It reached high numbers on the charts, Number 7…

Kyla – “Don’t Ya Worry about Me”

Canadian singer/song writer Kyla Lynn Vezina or “Kyla” as her stage namesake portrays her as, has gone forth to write and record all new material, in the form of a new song turned single called “Don’t Ya Worry ‘about Me”. This song released through record label Bongo Boy Records, produced by John Lovaghy, with song…

D Clak – ‘Trap Again’

Pittsburgh born D Clak’s music speaks about life on the streets of a major American city in an idiosyncratic way that doesn’t smack of anyone else working on the scene today. The lyrics for “Trap Again”, the first single from his debut album The Dime Piece, are individualistic and make no apologies for their point…

Shallow Side – ‘One’

Shallow Side’s “One” is a fiery tour de force of rock at its most anthemic. Deserving to be absolutely blasted volume works wonders for their expansive expressive sound. The rebellious rollicking nature feels perfectly suited for them as the vocals positively soar above the busy blistering arrangements. Vocals serve front and center of each piece…

The PondHawks – ‘Blue Light’

The PondHawks delve into a classic psychedelic pop sound on the spirited “Blue Light”. Attention to detail is of the utmost importance as these songs positively teem with life. Possessing a great ear for melody these songs are filled with infectious hooks. Vocals serve front and center of each of the arrangements. Playfulness defines the…

Bongo Boy Rock n’ Roll Season 6 Episode 1

Bongo Boy Rock n Roll TV Show series Season 6 episode 1 “Chosen” airing January 2017 on National TV across The USA. Music Video Television for Indie Musicians. Opening things up with a sense of the theatrical is Kristine Mirelle’s “Freakin’ Mess”. Sung with true grace and style the song has a playful quality to…

Stephen Wrench – ‘Sex, Drugs, and Rock n Roll’

  Stephen Wrench has done it all in a long musical career that’s seen him work with a wildly diverse group of performers like Lynyrd Skynyrd, Molly Hatchet, Rick Springfield and Tommy Tutone , Missing Persons among many, many others. He’s carved out a respected reputation as one of the most naturally gifted songwriters working…