– Rock Formats Music Reviews (11.19.10)

By: Michael D. Vogel  

© November 19, 2010. Michael D. Vogel.  All Rights Reserved. 

Published in:

Free GothamDecember 26, 2010

Examiner.comDecember 20, 2010


 Elton John & Leon Russell

Song: “If It Wasn’t For Bad

From the release: The Union

Label: Decca

Members: Leon Russell (piano, vocals), Elton John (vocals), Jay Bellerose (drums, percussion), Dennis Crouch (acoustic bass), Marc Ribot (guitar), Booker T. Jones (hammond B3), Keefus Pardini (keyboards) and Darrell Leonard (trumpet)

Producer: T Bone Burnett

Origin: Pinner, Middlesex, England (Elton John) and Lawton, OK (Leon Russell)

Website: www.eltonjohn.com and www.leonrussellrecords.com

What you should know: – Leon Russell and Elton John are hardly strangers to Rock radio. Their long standing friendship began in 1970, when Russell attended the debut performance by Elton John at the world renowned Troubadour in Hollywood. “In the later 60’s and early 70’s, the one piano player and vocalist who influenced me more than anybody else was Leon Russell-he was my idol”, Elton John has endearingly professed about his hero. That is a pretty grand statement from the man who was easily one of the most popular musical figures of the seventies. Tulsa native, Leon Russell is American rock legend, who has inspired countless musicians over the decades with his song writing ability, soul searching voice and iconoclastic musical instincts. 40 years in the making, these two mutual admirers have given their respective fans an album that is long over-due. The end result is The Union, produced by T Bone Burnett, who has helped this eclectic duo craft an incredibly tender chapter of music. With so much emphasis on guitar these days, it is the piano oriented sound that makes this pair such a unique presence on the radio. As such, “If It Wasn’t For Bad”, the first release from The Union, is a gorgeous piano ballad featuring Russell’s penchant for crafting clever and thoughtful lyrics combined with the vocal interplay of the duo, that is a prime example of music that transcends easy categorization.

 Rolling Stones

Song: “Following The River

From the release: Exile On Main Street Deluxe Edition

Label: Universal Republic

Members: Mick Jagger (vocals, guitar, tambourine), Keith Richards (guitars), Charlie Watts (drums), Bill Wyman (bass), Nicky Hopkins (piano), Lisa Fischer and Cindy Mizelle (background vocals) and David Campbell (string arrangement)

Producer: Jimmy Miller, Don Was & The Glimmer Twins

Origin: London, England 

Website: www.rollingstones.com

What you should know: – If you’ve been jonesin’ for new classic sounding Rolling Stones music, now is the time for your fix. From the album that brought us such classic’s as “Happy,” “Tumbling Dice” & “Torn and Frayed” comes “Following The River”, one of ten previously unreleased tracks from the Exile On Main Street Deluxe Edition release, a reissue of the 1972 Stone’s classic, and in some circles regarded as their finest album and one of the greatest in rock and roll history. The piano-fueled ballad was an instrumental backing track languishing in the Rolling Stones’ archives, but was pulled from the band’s vault and re-recorded with an entirely new lyric for release on the 2010 update of their 1972 album. This soon-to-be classic gem, reflects a much simpler time in music, showcasing the early blues influences of the Stones, while highlighting an incredible maturity and a level understanding of life. As such, this song is really a special moment in time. “Following The River” has that unique, indefinable thing that conveys that love really isn’t fair, easy or always fun – it is what it is and therefore we need just accept it. Recorded in Paris, “Following The River” is highlighted by Nicky Hopkins’ haunting piano, while Jagger sings about the pain of love slipping away. If you like this rediscovered track, you’ll also greatly enjoy the nine others included on the Deluxe Edition. By “Following The River,” you’ll be reminded why you have that irresistible urge to get your fix of the Stones on a daily basis.

 Plain White T’s

Song: “Rhythm Of Love

From the release: The Wonders of the Younger

Label: Hollywood 

Members: Tom Higgenson (vocals), Ken Fletcher (bass) and Dave Tirio (drums)

Producer: Ian Kirkpatrick

Origin: Chicago, IL

Website: http://plainwhitets.ning.com

What you should know: – The Plain White T’s live in a unique sonic universe. One that is quite different from our own. The fact that they can paint such vivid pictures with lucid lyrics, thick swirling melodies and dense rhythms make the Plain White T’s a celebration of sensation. These five guys from the windy city are an over-night sensation, ten years in the making – literally! With their first release near the turn of the century, Plain White T’s have been quietly building a grass-roots fan-base, all the while honing their unique sound. Their reward, a Grammy nomination! Not resting on these accomplishments, these Chicago natives went back into the studio only to emerge with their sixth and most accomplished record to date. “Rhythm Of Love” continues down the musical pathway that the Plain White T’s garnered a Grammy nomination for when we were introduced to the mega pop-alt. acoustic smash “Hey There Delilah.” With lead vocals from guitarist Tim Lopez, “Rhythm of Love” is melodic yet uniquely textured, a laid back multi-demo, cross-format beauty that will serve as a fine inclusion to their impressive decade old body of work. ^m^


Dwight Twilley

From the release: Green Blimp

Label: Big Oak

Members: Dwight Twilley (vocals, guitars), James Barth (string arrangements, strings,) Rocky Burnette (vocals), John Cooper (mandolin), Susan Cowsill (vocals), Brandon McGovern (guitar and vocals), Bill Padgett (conga, percussion, Michael Webb (accordion on “Green Blimp”) and Bill Pitcock IV (bass, guitar, horns)

Producer: Dwight Twilley

Origin: Tulsa, OK

Website: www.dwighttwilley.com

What you should know: – Get your boarding passes now, Captain Dwight is coming to take you for a rock & roll ride – Twilley style! Dwight Twilley is a living legend of rock music. Coming of age during the MTV revolution, Dwight has built a name for himself, over his 35+ year career, by producing and performing his own blend of pop-rock music that has always defied the norm. This is no exception with Twilley’s latest CD, Green Blimp; produced and recorded in Dwight’s personal Big Oak studios. Never shy on showcasing his 60’s and 70’s roots, the 12 pop and rock infused tracks are filled with strong melodies and progressive arrangements. The songs are alternatively barbed, ironic, deeply felt and consummately crafted yet completely honest. The end result, Green Blimp is every bit as adventurous in execution as it is in form and content – the distinctive work of an authentic musical poet. The album as a whole is lushly produced and overflowing with rollicking guitars, multi-layered vocals, a steady beat and textured feel that melds perfectly with Dwight’s magnetic voice.  The lyrics of each song are extremely well crafted and perceptive, capturing a sense of urgency and ultimately creating a feeling of immediacy. As such, the Green Blimp will undoubtedly delight Dwight Twilley fans everywhere.

From the opening track, “Get Up”, a straight-ahead, rocking tune accentuated by a driving guitar to “Me and Melanie,” a song that showcases the influences of  the Beatle’s White album, Dwight modernizes his classic sound for a new generation. Even the title track, a lazy melody combining the strumming of a  singular guitar, with an accordion, an instrument seldom heard in rock circles, where Dwight sings of simpler times when you could shed the shackles of reality and get caught up in the music. The album also features Rocky Burnette and Susan Cowsill, of the legendary 1960’s band The Cowsills, who was a member of Dwight Twilley’s band in the mid 80’s. The final track on Green Blimp, “It Ends, ” brings to a close the album much in the same fashion it began, a catchy pop rock infused track with a consistent guitar riff and what will surely become a classic rock & roll lyric – “Just like it begins, the ice is so thin, it ends.”

Album Tracks: “Get Up”, “Speed of Light” “Me and Melanie”, “Let It Rain”; “Doctor”, “Green Blimp”, “You Were Always There”, “It’s Never Coming Back”, “Stop”, “Ten Times”, “Witches In The Sky” and “It Ends” ^m^

Sweet Psychosis

From the release: Tranquilsizer

Label: Unsigned

Members: Maury Zeller (vocals), Tommy Wood (rhythm guitars), Marc Laspina (lead guitars), Dave Sawley (bass) and Jimi Leonard (drums)

Producer: Sweet Psychosis

Origin: San Francisco, CA

Website: www.sweetpsychosis.com

What you should know: –Keep your eyes on Sweet Psychosis! This bay-area quintet is TCB (takin’ care of business!). A Top 100 Unsigned Band – as voted by Music Connection magazine, Sweet Psychosis is building a solid following with their 4 track EP Tranquilisizer. Complimenting this effort, over the past year, Sweet Psychosis have had a consistent string of exemplary SRO only live shows, highlighted by a coveted invitation to play at SXSW. Maury Zeller has a big league voice, complimented by the dual interplay of rippin’ guitars from Tommy Wood and Marc Laspina, that makes for a striking center-piece for Sweet Psychosis’ industrial, hard-rock sound. The EP features big and boldly produced songs that feature sizzling guitar solos and biting vocals. Each of the four songs has a driving beat and an engaging hook that will have your head rockin’ for sure!

From San Francisco to Australia, and all points in between – Sweet Psychosis has been building their star one piece at a time, making believers out of rockers the world over. In so doing they have garnered airplay from some of rock radio’s biggest stations across the country. From the opening riffs,, Tranquilsizer rocks with spirit and a high degree of energy that captures the excitement of each song, taking you on a rollercoaster ride of rock ‘n’ roll intensity. Mixing well with the mainstays of both Aggressive and Modern Rock radio, Sweet Psychosis segues well with bands like Metallica, Gorillaz, Radiohead, T-Rex, Bad Religion, Muse and Guns N Roses. Remember the name Sweet Psychosis – they are the kind of band that will seduce the legions of radio programmers who are looking for quality rock that provides style and lands a great big punch! 

Album Tracks: “Sweetest Addiction”, Skoolhouse Rock”, “Pornstar” and “Wayoutosphere” ^m^


© November 19, 2010. Michael D. Vogel.  All Rights Reserved. This originally appeared on the Vogelism blog at https://www.vogelism.com, authored by Michael D. Vogel. This article may be shared or reprinted as long as the entire copyright message, including the source location of this article, accompanies it.

No Responses so far.

  1. Alan Weil says:


    Congrats on a cool website and blog!


  2. Tommy Wood says:

    I’ve been a huge fan of Michael’s writing for some time, as his unique style always leaves me wanting more! His knack for cutting through the b.s. and getting straight to the meat is phenomenal…not to mention the fact that his writing is sexy and makes you want to read his articles all the way until the last word. Then you end up licking the plate afterwards!

  3. We have been very fortunate to have received so many great reviews of our new album “Green Blimp.” One would think that an Artist would just be happy to get a favorable write up in the Press. However, so many writers prove quickly their lack of real knowledge about the Artist. Some simply spout off cliché phrases and simply telegraph the same slant as all the other reviewers at the time. It is actually a real pleasure when a writer like Michael demonstrates that there is a craft to an honest and educated critique. A review that is not 100% favorable to the Artist but is well written and from the heart is a breath of fresh air and too often a rarity.

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