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L.A. Beat

CD Reviews


The Night Crew show what they can do on debut CD

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“ Introducing the Night Crew” is a good introduction to the  London/ Ontario  ’60s/’70s inspired rock trio featuring frontman Tommy “Solo” Carriere.
The eight song CD is reminiscent of bands like CCR and the Doobie Brothers on songs like “ Baby Turns Me On.”

Click here to hear the Night Crew They come by their ’70s influence naturally as Tommy Solo was a familiar face in  the ’70s playing with numerous bands all over Ontario.

. Solo evened turned down the lead guitar spot in a band that was to become Honeymoon Suite.

 But they begin with a more of a roots rock feel on  “We Were Young” which they revisit  the catchy “ When I Call.” which reminds me of British rockers Sweet. “ Without You” combines the riffs along with touches of blues and soul, especially on  the big guitar solo, which really does step right out of the ’70s.
“Turn on the Light”  is a big riffed’70s style rocker but Carriere also shows some prodigious acoustic  guitar chops on “Lisa’s Song,” which is reminiscent of Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide.”
They also have a Can con ’70s feel along the lines of a more groovy Trooper.
To add to the ’70s feel they cover the BJ Thomas/ Blue Swede’s  hit  “Hooked on a Feeling.”
 So the eight songs really do provide an introduction to what the band can do and the different styles they can play.

—By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat editor
 CD: Introducing the Night Crew
Band: the Night Crew
Genre: rock/ blues

The Y Brothers “rise” to the occasion with new name and new CD

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Popular Calgary blues rock trio the Y Brothers, formerly known as Bluesmyth, are “rising” with their new CD “Rise.”Click here to hear the Y Brothers
The Y Brothers aka bassist/ vocalist Jason Yaholkoski, guitarist/ lead vocalist Chris Yaholkoski and drummer/ vocalsit Celene Yohemas bring out a little bit of funk and a whole lot of groove on their new CD “Rise.”

 It is chock full of big, loud, chunky riffs beginning with the the title track and they get lost in a massive groove on“Crashing Down.”  They are immediately reminiscent of bands like Govt Mule and David Gogo with just a touch of Clutch and quite a bit of ZZ Top thanks to that blues rock groove and thick, Texas style guitar sound and gravelly voice of guitarist/ lead vocalist Chris Yaholkoski.

 They have a more  laid back groove in the middle of the CD on a couple of tracks including the very soulful  “Not the Way the World is.”

They show a more groovy and jazz tinged, more funk powered “Rise (Revisited)” featuring a gorgeous guitar solo. The slower feel continues on“ Til The End” and “ Nothings Going To Change Us.”
 But they pick things up and add some more solid groove on one of the more David Gogo style blues rockers  “Back To You” which features a hot solo as well as a beautiful chordal bass groove.
 They end the CD on a couple of higher notes with another rocker “Blink of an Eye” and another groovy rocker “Puppet on a String” which sounds like a more bluesy Pearl Jam.

— by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
CD: Rise
Band: The Y Brothers
Genre: Blues rock

Bottle Rockets celebrate the simple things on South Broadway Athletic Club

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For me , a new record from St. Louis are based  roots rock/ alt country band the Bottle Rockets is a cause for celebration.Click Here to hear the Bottle Rockets
 They must have crowd funded for it as the liner notes are dominated by a huge list of “executive producers,” which goes to show I’m not the only one who loves the Festus, St. Louis roots rockers who were there at the beginning of the alt-country/ roots rock /No Depression movement of the ’90s which spawned the likes of Whiskeytown later Ryan Adams, Wilco, Son Volt, Uncle Tupelo, the Old ’97s and many more. But the Bottle Rockets are still going as strong as ever with this new CD.

 They have long been the champion of the working poor in the mid-west. They can weave a gritty tale of rural, white trash discontent that will raise the hair on your arms.
 But South Broadway Athletic Club is the picture of contentment. It is the story of a man, presumably frontman Brian Henneman who wrote most of these 11 songs on his own, who takes pleasure in the simple things of life like a good dog, a good woman, simple blissful ignorance,  a happy weekend or just spending the day lazing around the house.
In addition to loving the simple things in life, Henneman also loves his electric 12 string guitar which takes centre stage on the CD as much as his whiskey soaked croak does.

That jangling 12 string grabs the listener by the earlobes from the first track “ Monday Morning (Every time I Turn Around.)”
 “Big Fat Nothing” is about the joys of doing absolutely nothing after a hard week’s work. But “Dog” cuts the meaning of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to it’s essence.
“I love my dog, if you don’t love my dog, that’s okay, I wouldn’t want you to, He’s my dog. Sometimes life is simple, sometimes life really is that simple,“ Henneman croons.

Ain’t that the truth. It’s why the CD has barely left my CD player since I got it. It even has a gorgeous, straight to the point, perfect guitar solo. All in just over two minutes.
 The new, happier Henneman might be a little disconcerting for fans used to the more serious, gritty Bottle Rockets who brought us harrowing, blood curdling tales like “Kerosene, “ Wave that Flag” “Dead Dog Memories” and “Indianapolis,” so to remind listeners of their glorious past, they redo an earlier song “Building Chryslers,” by turning it into a louder, darker, more grungy number which is an anomaly on a CD of bright, cheerful, jangling rockers. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
To quote another band, the polar opposite of the Bottle Rockets “ It ain’t a crime to be good To yourself.”
 Long live the Bottle Rockets.

— by Richard Amery, L.A. beat Editor
CD: South Broadway athletic Club
Band: The Bottle Rockets
Genre: rock/ roots rock

Sweet Alibi sound even more sweet singing together on third CD

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It is a beautiful thing to hear  lovely ladies sing together, so it is a pleasure to hear Winnipeg based folk/ pop trio Sweet Alibi’s  new CD “ Walking in The Dark.”
While I remember them as more of a folk trio, they show their pop side on their third CD.Click here to hear Sweet Alibi
 They remind me of The Indigo Girls in places and  Serena Ryder before she went pop in other places with just a touch of the Supremes and just a little bit of Taylor Swift.
The multi-instrumentalist trio Jess Rae Ayre, Amber Quesnel and Michelle Anderson along with bassist Alasdair Dunlop, keyboardist Alex Campbell and drummer Emmett Van Etten provide 10 slices of purely beautiful pop and folk music with plenty of gorgeous vocal harmonies and catchy lyrical and musical hooks that just make you want to listen to the CD over and over again.

They drag the listener into their music  from the first track “ Keep Showing You” and keep the listener listening intently on the gripping  “One Chance.” After three songs, their stunning vocal harmonies will have you falling in love with them.

 All three all have their individual voices, which you can hear on each song, but meld perfectly when they sing together.
 Juno award winning producer Murray Pulver (Crash Test Dummies/ Doc Walker) bring out the best in the ladies.
 The result is simultaneously heartfelt, impassioned and pop filled.

“ Walking In the Dark“ is dedicated to Quesnel’s mother Becky who passed away from pancreatic cancer a year ago, which released a lot of strong emotions, which the trio share with their listeners especially on tracks like “Dark Train” which showcase’s the trio’s haunting harmonies. Overall the CD has a pretty optimistic feel especially on tracks like “Move to the Country” which has a beautiful vocal hook.
 They share that and other serious emotions throughout the CD exploring issues of sobriety on some track and parental relationships like “Daddy.”
 But in addition to darker, more mournful fare, there are also a lot of more upbeat, yet introspective material. Like the bright and catchy look into the past of my favourite “Pick Up Truck,” which ends the CD with an ear worm of an arpeggiated guitar hook.
They bring out a touch of the funk and a while lot of soulful groove on “ My Love.”
“Walking In the Dark” ends up being a very laid back and very enjoyable listen.

CD: Walking In The Dark
Artist: Sweet Alibi
Genre: folk/ pop


Leeroy Stagger shows maturity and diversity on “Dream It All Away’

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Lethbridge folk roots musician Leeroy Stagger shows new maturity and introspection on his tenth CD “Dream it All Away.”Click Here to hear Dream it All Away
He keeps getting better with age as the CD features plenty of catchy hooks plus some really pretty guitar and piano playing. Lyrically the CD explores a variety of real world topics, not to mention a few different musical styles.

  The fantastic sounding CD is full of bright sounding roots rock throughout. The lyrics are real, earnest but tinged with darkness.
The CD begins with the hook filled “Something Beautiful. Three perfect chords played together.
“ Happy Too” is a highlight because of the melody and chiming electric 12 string guitar.

 One of my favourite tracks is “Living In America” which has some of the most vivid and impassioned lyrics about homelessness and some really beautiful violin playing.
 He picks up the tempo from more pop influenced roots rock to touch on his inner punk rocker on a couple of uptempo tracks like the  Dylanesque country foot stomper “New Music Biz Blues” about life in the music business which in addition  to the Bob Dylan influence also is reminiscent of Corb Lund.

 The other dark rocker is“ Poison the Well” a swamp blues number reminding me a little of Todd Snider.
 It also has a beautifully overdriven, ’60s ish guitar solo.
 “Dream” on the other hand his a sombre piano driven minor key number. It is one of  the more mellower moments on the CD  including the sombre ballad “Feel it All.”
 “Ten Long Years” is another mellow number winding down the CD with some moving fiddle  playing.
The CD ends with another slower more introspective number “ Angry Young Man,” as Stagger reflects on his past.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. beat editor

 CD: Dream It All Away
 Artist: Leeroy Stagger

Genre: Roots rock/ country

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