Author: Michael D. Vogel Genre:

– Rock Formats Music Reviews (7.5.11)

By: Michael D. Vogel

© July 5, 2011. Michael D. Vogel. All Rights Reserved.

Published in:

Free Gotham July 7, 2011 July 6, 2011


The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band

Song: “Never Lookin’ Back

From the release: How I Go

Label: Roadrunner Records/Loud & Proud Records/RRP

Members: Kenny Wayne Shepherd – guitar, vocals; Noah Hunt – vocals; Chris Layton – drums; Scott Nelson – bass; Riley Osbourne – hammond b3, keyboards

Producer: Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Jerry Harrison

Origin: Los Angeles, CA via Shreveport, LA

Website: and



What you should know: – Whenever Kenny Wayne Shepherd plays, a buzz emanates among those who know of his talents. So, it would be an understatement to say that not since players like Stevie Ray Vaughan and a guy named Jimi, has someone been idolized and influential to nearly everyone who has ever touched (or ever wanted to play) a guitar. Hence, what can be said about guitar virtuoso Kenny Wayne Shepherd that hasn’t already been said?

Kenny burst onto the scene with his debut album, ‘Ledbetter Heights,’ and hasn’t looked back since. Along the way, he has racked up two Platinum and one Gold album to his credit, in addition to six Top 10 singles. Over the course of his (still young) career, Kenny has amassed numerous awards and adulations including five Grammy nominations and two Billboard Music Awards. His sophomore album, ‘Trouble Is’ holds the illustrious distinction of being the longest running album on Billboard’s Blues chart, surpassing the two year mark. Not bad for someone who released his first album at 17 years of age!

Following on the heels of the Grammy nominated ‘Live! In Chicago,’ is Kenny’s seventh album – ‘How I Go,’ in stores August 2nd, is the first studio album from the band after signing with Roadrunner/Loud & Proud Records last year. As is his customary style, the tornado from Shreveport burns up the fret-board, giving us another modern blues classic to die for. Simply put, “Never Lookin’ Back”, is one more fine example of the KWS Band at their smokin’est, all-the-while showcasing the guitarist’s awe-inspiring six-string play! You can virtually see the sparks fly from Kenny’s self-taught fingertips as he rips through this ball-bustin’ scorcher. Combining the ear-opening soulful vocal delivery of Noah Hunt, with an all-star rhythm section featuring Riley Osbourne and Scott Nelson, plus former Double Trouble/Arc Angels drummer Chris Layton laying down the killer grooves, makes “Never Lookin’ Back” a very radio friendly track. Debuting at #26 on Billboard’s Heritage Rock chart, “Never Lookin’ Back” has already jumped to #9 with no signs of slowing down, proving once again that Kenny Wayne is THE premiere guitarist in the modern blues universe.

This is the ear-candy that your blues-rock audience has been longing for – you have been warned; there will be no excuses accepted! ^m^

Foo Fighters

Song: “Walk

From the release: Wasting Light

Label: RCA Music Group

Members: Dave Grohl – lead vocals, rhythm and lead guitar, drums, bass, piano, percussion; Nate Mendel – bass guitar; Taylor Hawkins – drums, percussion, backing vocals; Chris Shiflett – lead guitar, backing vocals; Pat Smear – rhythm and lead guitar

Producer: Butch Vig

Origin: United States



Video: Foo Fighters – “Walk”

What you should know: – You know how some songs just sound great on the radio? The kind of song with melodies and guitar riffs to die for – those that make you want to instinctively reach for the volume knob. The type of tune that implores you to play it for others so that they may also appreciate and enjoy this little nugget of music too. Such is the case with each morsel of ear-candy crafted by Foo Fighters.

Some bands just have ‘IT’, the ability to write hit songs that appeal to the rock & roll intellectual and hedonist alike. Dave Grohl, Nate Mendel, Taylor Hawkins, Chris Shiflett and Pat Smear do exactly that, as the band’s track record speaks for itself: numerous Top 10 songs, platinum selling records, sold-out concerts and multiple Grammy awards.

The second song from the Foo’s latest release ‘Wasting Light,’ is already on the fast track for commercial success. The hook alone is so blatant; you should be able to hear it just by reading this! A pure power pop song with just enough edge to appeal to the die-hard alternative and rock fan alike, “Walk” is proving to be a strong follow-up to the album’s first single, the #1 rock track, “Rope.”

A bon-a-fide hit in every way, “Walk” is already marching up Billboard’s Alternative, Heritage and Active Rock airplay charts as we speak. Remaining true to their core audience, the melodic structure of the song infuses large doses of power, volume and dirtiness – the same qualities that helped make Nirvana so appealing. With a riveting guitar groove and loosely veiled pop melodies, “Walk” is a thoroughly captivating piece of music – catering to both their new and old fans that have a taste for rockin’ power pop!

Hard and raw, like a buzz saw, yet very poppish in nature, “Walk” is exactly the kind of electrically charged rock & roll that rock radio has been flocking to as of late. One quick listen for yourself and you’ll agree this is a track that is meant to on the radio, and played at maximum volume! ^m^

The Cars

Song: “Sad Song

From the release: Move Like This

Label: Hear Music

Members: Ric Ocasek – rhythm guitar, lead and background vocals, synthesizer; Greg Hawkes – keyboards, synthesizer, percussion, saxophone, bass, background vocals; Elliot Easton – lead guitar, background vocals; David Robinson – drums, percussion, background vocals

Producer: Jacknife Lee

Origin: Boston, MA

Website: and


Video: The Cars – “Sad Song”

What you should know: – That familiar beat, that familiar voice – it has been a while since new music from the Cars have rocked the airwaves. Officially breaking up in 1988, the original members all moved on to work on solo projects, with Elliot Easton joining Creedance Clearwater Revisted for a bit and Ric Ocasek, in addition to his solo efforts, also became a much sought after alt-rock producer with bands like Hole, Bad Religion, Weezer and No Doubt. Sadly, in 2000, original bassist Benjamin Orr, lost his battle to pancreatic cancer.

Since then, many fans have anxiously awaited their return, all the while burning grooves into their library of Cars album classics, chomping at the bit for any news about the band that provided much of the soundtrack for the 80’s. Sure, there were the New Cars, original members Greg Hawkes and Elliot Easton, who decided to revive the band with the legendary Todd Rundgren taking over for Ric Ocasek– a super-group on its own accord! Performing Rundgren and Cars classics in addition to a few new songs, the New Cars toured in support of a new album before the members returned to solo efforts and various other projects.

In 1997, Ric Ocasek put any hopes of a reunion to rest telling one interviewer, “I’m saying never and you can count on that.” But, as in life, things have a strange way of changing. After placing a photo of the four remaining members and a snippet of a new song on their Facebook page, rumors began to swirl of a potential reunion and new album from the surviving original members. As the saying goes, “good things come to those who wait” as Ric Ocasek, Elliot Easton Greg Hawkes and David Robinson are finally back on the radio race track with a new album, ‘Move Like This.’ And with the immediate response from Rock radio to the initial single, “Sad Song,” the Cars return is more than welcomed!

A groovy guitar pop tune, “Sad Song” is a winner in typical Cars fashion! Ear-candy that harkens back to days gone by yet is firmly rooted in the present, “Sad Song” is a tasty little pop song with a rock steady beat. Full of hooks and melodies, this immediately recognizable gem is everything you’d expect to hear from the Cars, with Ocasek delivering the track in his trademark confident yet playful nature – and wait until you see the striking new video!

The Cars are out on tour now in support of ‘Move Like This.’ ^m^


Black Stone Cherry

Current Single at Radio: “White Trash Millionaire

From the release: Between The Devil and The Deep Blue Sea

Label: Roadrunner Records/RRP

Members: Chris Robertson – lead vocals, rhythm guitar; Ben Wells – lead guitar, backing vocals; Jon Lawhon – bass guitar, backing vocals; John Fred Young – drums, percussion, backing vocals

Producer: Howard Benson

Origin: Edmonton, KY


Twitter: and


Video: Black Stone Cherry – YouTube channel

What you should know: – It was almost six years ago that Roadrunner Records unveiled the hard rockin’ southern sounds of Black Stone Cherry’s self-titled debut album. Since that time, the band has raised the bar for themselves with each subsequent BSC release – musical growth that can be measured not by tiny steps, but by quantum leaps and bounds.

The litmus test is always the most current release; a snapshot of where the band is at that particular moment of their musical journey! This can be measured by a simple listen to each of the band’s three studio albums. For Black Stone Cherry, ‘Between The Devil and The Deep Blue Sea’ is the bands most devastating project to date, both lyrical and sonically, showing an extreme amount of maturation as individual musicians and as a cohesive unit – artist development and maturity, the way it is supposed to happen!

The three years of sonic expansion between their sophomore release ‘Folklore and Superstition’ and ‘Between The Devil and The Deep Blue Sea’ is evidenced by the virtual treasure trove of rock and cross-format hits present on the album. The first nine songs alone could provide the soundtrack for the summer and fall, covering both the rock and pop genres. But make no mistake about it; BSC is a 100% modern southern rock band! And the many tracks on ‘Between The Devil and The Deep Blue Sea’ showcase exactly why we’ll be hearing many-a-tune from these Kentucky natives before the year is out. Songs like “Let Me See You Shake” and “Blame It On The Boom Boom” are down and dirty, while “Won’t Let Go” is more introspective, “Such A Shame” pulls at the heart-strings and “Change” implores their legions of fans in a call to action. The album is complimented by a modernized version of the southern-rock classic “Can’t You See,” originally written and recorded by the Marshall Tucker Band in 1973 and later made famous by country superstar Waylon Jennings a few years after!

The first taste to wet your appetite of the 12 tracks to come on ‘Between The Devil and The Deep Blue Sea’ is the lead single “White Trash Millionaire” a prime example of the bands growth and maturity. From the first notes of the fuzzy guitar, the song rocks with enough swagger to move your soul yet hard enough to get your head bangin’! Lead singer Chris Robertson’s dynamic vocal range wails with an intensity that can shake the heavens while guitarist Ben Wells rips off one mean guitar lick after another!

The sound of Black Stone Cherry is the real rockin’ thing – and rock radio whole-heartedly agrees, as “White Trash Millionaire” has just broken through to the illustrious Top 10 on Billboard’s Heritage Rock chart and rests just a few positions below on Billboard’s Active Rock chart! As such, with such a strong embrace from rock radio’s various formats for the lead single, BSC’s third album is sure to increase the recognition they have worked hard for and rightfully earned over the past half-dozen years!

In other words – this is one band rock radio can identify with, hang their hat on and claim as their own!

Favorite Tracks: “White Trash Millionaire,” “Blame It On The Boom Boom,” “Let Me See You Shake,” “Like I Roll” and “Such A Shame” ^m^

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Current Single at Radio: “I Should Have Known It

From the release: Mojo

Label: Reprise

Members: Tom Petty – rhythm guitar, lead vocals; Mike Campbell – lead guitar, mandolin; Benmont Tench – piano, organ, backing vocals; Ron Blair – bass guitar, backing vocals; Scott Thurston – rhythm guitar, harmonica, synthesizer, backing vocals; Steve Ferrone – drums

Producer: Tom Petty, Mike Campbell, Ryan Ulyate

Origin: Gainesville, FL




Video: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – YouTube channel

What you should know: – TP & the HB’s career has spanned more than 35 years and has yielded sales in excess of 30+ million records and countless Top 10 radio tracks. With perennial rock radio favorites like “The Waiting,” “Breakdown” and “Refugee” to name a few, Petty and company have firmly planted themselves in the books of rock & roll history. The songs are always classics; containing that unique Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers sound and feel. A sound that is just as fresh today as it was when they cut their first album back in 1976.

It is because of this that each album release is met with great anticipation by radio, retail and the hordes of fans across the globe. Hallowed ground reserved for only a few in rock royalty. Their music has grown and matured with their audience yet is fresh and new and pulls in the younger demographic that are “discovering” TP for the first time.

This time out, for their twelfth studio album, Petty and the Heartbreaker gang combine their patented no frills garage rock with that of the Chicagoblues sound of the 1950’s. ‘Mojo’ is filled with 15 new soon-to-be-timeless Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers songs, highlighted by Mike Campbell’s slide guitar playing abilities and Petty’s trademark vocals. In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Petty described the album as “…blues-based. Some of the tunes are longer, more jammy kind of music. A couple of tracks really sound like the Allman Brothers — not the songs but the atmosphere of the band.” The album begins with “Jefferson Jericho Blues” a song more about love lost than a social commentary on the affairs of one of our most revered founding fathers. Some of the other foot stompin’ and infectious rockin’ tunes from Petty and company include “I Should Have Known It,” “High In The Morning” and “Good Enough.”

With sales over 125,000 in its first week alone, ‘Mojo,’ Petty’s first album of new material since the 2006 solo release ‘Highway Companion’ and 2002’s ‘The Last DJ’ with the Heartbreakers, debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200 and #1 on the Billboard Rock album charts.

Want more? Several videos from ‘Mojo’ are now available on the Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers YouTube channel including: “Good Enough” and “First Flash of Freedom.” Since this is the kind of music that is best enjoyed in a live setting, the last three videos were shot inside Petty’s new studio: “I Should Have Known It,” “Something Good Coming” and “Jefferson Jericho Blues”.

Favorite Tracks:I Should Have Known It,” “High In The Morning,“Jefferson Jericho Blues,” “Good Enough” and “Something Good Coming” ^m^

On Deck:

– Song Reviews

Stevie Nicks– “Secret Love”

Lenny Kravitz– “Stand”

12 Stones– “Bulletproof”

-Album Reviews

Heart– Red Velvet Car

Syd Barrett– An Introduction To…

For more artist interviews, features and music reviews – go here.

© July 5, 2011. Michael D. Vogel. All Rights Reserved. This originally appeared on the Vogelism blog at, 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.

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