Canada’s Steve Hill, the acclaimed singer-songwriter recently celebrated his 25th year as a recording artist with his 12th albumDear Illusion,by No Label Records on Friday November 11, 2022. Three years in the making, the new album is available from https://ffm.to/dearillusion.
Following the release of the album, Hill released the official music video “Don’t let The Truth Get In The Way (Of A Good Story)” .
“It took me a long time to finish “Don’t Let The Truth Get In The Way (Of A Good Story),” recollects Steve. “I started working on it six years ago after the Trump election. It’s about alternate truth, but it’s also about social media and our addiction to it. It’s also about pretending that everything is alright when it’s not. It’s about choosing to pretend because it’s easier than facing the truth when the truth doesn’t matter anymore.”
But that’s not all. To make the new album an even bigger means for celebration, Steve will release the limited edition “Dear Illusion” comic book. Physical copies of the comic are available HERE and the digital edition HERE.
“I’ve been dreaming doing a comic book for a long time,” reflects Steve. “Before I got into music, drawing was my passion. I wanted to write comics. I’ve collected them sporadically all my life until five years ago when it became an obsession. I think that comics are a great artform. It’s like song writing, in that tell a story in a short period of time. I get feelings out of some comics the same way that I get feelings from music. If you’ve read Alan Moore, Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, or Ed Brubaker, you know what I’m talking about.”
“I got in touch with comic book artist Rob Cannon through a mutual connection. He seemed like a good candidate to draw the cover of my previous album, “Desert Trip.” He did a fantastic job. I love that album cover. When the time came for “Dear Illusion,” it was obvious he was the go-to guy. What he did was even better than the one before. From there, the next logical step was the comic. He took the themes from the album, the visual landscape from “Desert Trip” and made it a metaphoric science fiction story that I could never have thought of, while retaining the essence and the meaning of the songs. That’s art.”
Known over the last ten years as a one-man band, on Dear Illusion, the multi-instrumentalist shares the spotlight with a horn section, The Devil Horns, as well as 7-time UK Blues Awards Drummer of the Year, Wayne Proctor (A.A. Williams, Oli Brown, King King, Ben Poole). Proctor also mixed and mastered the upcoming record.
“I had a version finished right before the pandemic started,” says Steve. “It was slated for release in April 2020. There was no point in releasing it then, so I decided to wait. The sad context of the pandemic resulted in additional time for me to offer my fans the album I’m sure will meet their expectations for my 25th anniversary as a recording artist. I am proud of the work.”
“Ultimately, the results that we collectively achieved with the album, ended up reflecting both maturity and introspection. Overall, I feel like the album is telling that no matter what happens, you should give it everything you got and move on, be the best person you can be, and no matter what, the sun will rise again. Don’t dwell on suffering, and don’t forget about it, either. Even treat misfortune as a friend, slap it on the back and say, Thanks for teaching me.”
Dear Illusion – Track Listing
01 – All About The Love 02 – Keep It Together 03 – Everything You Got 04 – Dear Illusion 05 – Steal The Light From You 06 – Don’t Let The Truth Get In The Way (Of A Good Story) 07 – Follow Your Heart 08 – So It Goes 09 – She Gives Lessons In Blues 10 – Until The Next Time
Singer, songwriter, guitarist, and Gibson brand ambassador Jared James Nichols has announced his self-titled new album will be released on January 13th via Black Hill Records. Jared James Nichols, his third full-length offering, features the new single “Down The Drain” as well as the previously released “Hard Wired.” The forthcoming collection showcases every side of the Nashville-based multi-talent and the various genres he grew up listening to, whether it was grunge or blues, that have influenced his authentic sound. Jared James Nichols is available now to pre-save or pre-add on all digital music platforms and pre-order on CD –PRESS HERE.
“I made a record to serve as the menu for the live show,” Nichols shares. “There’s an element of excitement and danger. It’s my version of rock ‘n’ roll with a little more humanity. The album is a day in the life with the ups and downs, but it musically rings true to who I am as an artist. I’m not trying to be anybody but myself and play the music I love for today. I’m giving you loud ass guitars and no fucks given rock ‘n’ roll, and I’m loving it.”
Ahead of today’s official album announcement, Nichols released the lead single “Down The Drain” in late October. The hard-hitting track has already been praised by Guitar World and Loudwire, among others, and has been featured across DSP playlists with placements on Tidal’s Guitar Gods (as the cover artist) and Rising: Indie/Rock, Spotify’s Modern Blues Rock, and Apple Music’s New In Rock and Breaking Hard Rock.
Jared James Nichols was produced, engineered, and mixed by Eddie Spear (Zach Bryan, Slash, Rival Sons) and recorded live in the studio at Blackbird Studios and Sienna Studios, reflecting the spirit of his electrifying live show on tape like never before. The recording sessions occurred at a pivotal moment for Nichols, who almost never performed again as he had been sidelined only a few months earlier with a broken arm. After surgery, which left him with a plate and 16 screws in his right arm, he pushed himself with diligence and determination to regain use of his arm and his storied guitar proficiency. Nichols soon paved the way for the record with the hypnotic and hyper-charged “Hard Wired,” released in the spring of 2022. Born from a jam session with Tyler Bryant and Graham Whitford, the single bulldozed a path for Jared James Nichols with no shortage of raw and raucous six-string bravado. From the jump, the album kicks into high gear with the bluesy wallop of “My Delusion.”
Elsewhere on the 12-track collection is the Black Sabbath-inspired “Hallelujah,” where a flurry of drums gives way to a thick and heavy battering ram ofa blues riff only to crash into a rickety bass line and atomic shredding, and the party homage “Good Time Girl.” Jared James Nichols culminates on the emotionally charged “Out Of Time,” his heartfelt and tearful tribute to his late father. See below for full track listing.
With nothing more than a Gibson Les Paul slung over his shoulder, a warm amp turned all the way up, and a hot microphone on and ready, Jared James Nichols churns out the kind of rock that rips, roars, and rolls without filter or apology. Nichols, who stands at a staggering 6 foot 5 inches tall, delivers a one-two punch of gritty vocals straight from the gut and incendiary fret fireworks. Jared first emerged onto the scene in 2015 with his debut Old Glory & The Wild Revival and followed that up with Black Magic in 2018, which yielded the fan favorite “Honey Forgive Me.” More recently, he issued the Shadow Dancer EP (2021) and collaborated earlier this year with both Maggie Rose and Joe Bonamassa for revised versions of his song “Threw Me To The Wolves.” Gibson also formally welcomed Nichols as an official ambassador, plotting the release of several signature Jared James Nichols guitars. Since his debut, Nichols has racked up millions of streams and critical acclaim and, in between show-stopping solo shows, has performed alongside icons such as Slash, Billy Gibbons, Zakk Wylde, and even the late Leslie West, to name a few. Guitar World has attested, “If you’ve never witnessed Jared James Nichols onstage, let us say right now: you’re missing out, big time.” By keeping it simple, Jared remains primed to leave his imprint on rock ‘n’ roll forever.
1. My Delusion 2. Easy Come, Easy Go 3. Down The Drain 4. Hard Wired 5. Bad Roots 6. Skin ‘n Bone 7. Long Way to Go 8. Shadow Dancer 9. Good Time Girl 10. Hallelujah 11. Saint or Fool 12. Out Of Time
Hot off from winning Hard Rock Hell’s “Blues Artist of the Year” award and following hot on the heals of his recent singles Come On, Gasoline, and Sweet Carolina, Troy Redfern will release the fourth single Mercy from his critically acclaimed album The Wings of Salvation on Wednesday November 16, 2022.
The new single can be streamed, and the new album The Wings of Salvation can be ordered digitally, on CD or limited edition yellow & red splatter vinyl from https://linktr.ee/TroyRedfern.
The album is available on CD and limited edition yellow and red splatter vinyl formats, plus various bundles from the official Troy Redfern shop – https://troyredfern.com/shop.
Kicking off with a vintage slide riff that sounds like it came straight off a beat-up 45 rpm single, Mercy explodes into a Technicolor soundscape of rock ‘n’ roll euphoria.
“Mercy” is expertly laid down by drummer Paul Stewart (The Feeling) and bass guitarist Dave Marks, creating a pulverizing backdrop for Troy’s grinding, Les Paul guitar fretboard fireworks. Themes of love gone bad permeates this haunting blues rocker, building up to one of Troy’s most explosively intricate guitar solos to date.
“My goal was to make a record that was a true representation of where I am right now as an artist,” says Redfern. “I wanted to create something in the spirit of the old school classic rock albums that I grew up listening to.”
“I felt like the time was right to head back into the studio as the creative juices were flowing,” says Redfern. “On the new album, I wanted to approach the recording process by starting with a completely clean slate.”
Jared James Nichols is from Wisconsin, a heavy blues/blues-rock player, with his own power-trio. I’ve seen him on a couple of occasions (opening for UFO), and he puts on a killer high energy performance. Definitely influenced by the likes of Cream and Mountain (seen him do a great cover of “Mississippi Queen” – search for a clip on youtube). So, if you get a chance to see this guy, do it! He’s got a brand new single & video out, check it out, along with the press release below.
Jared James Nichols just released his new single “Down The Drain” via Black Hill Records. On the hard-hitting track – produced, engineered, and mixed by Eddie Spear (Zach Bryan, Slash, Rival Sons) – vulnerable vocals snake around melodic guitar in ominous fashion.
Baring its fangs, “Down The Drain” snaps into a chantable chorus punctuated by a wailing lead. Click here to listen to the single, and click here to watch the official music video, directed by Tom Flynn and Mike Watts (Lamb of God, All That Remains).
“If I were to pick just one record to encapsulate my sound it would be ‘Down The Drain,’” shares Nichols. “From a whisper to a scream, this song has it all. Lyrically, it stems from a familiar place that can hit home for all of us, feelings of despair and pain, but constantly searching to find love each day. Musically, ‘Down The Drain’ cuts like a knife and moves like a freight train. This song hits hard and is brutally honest in all aspects. Turn it up and rock it out!”
Nichols, known for his electrifying live performance, teased the release of “Down The Drain” earlier this month in front of a live audience at the Aftershock Festival in Sacramento and again this past Monday night in New York City, where he headlined the Mercury Lounge.
“Down The Drain” follows Nichols’s recent single “Hard Wired.” The hypnotic and hyper-charged song was born from a jam session with Tyler Bryant and Graham Whitford.
Click here to listen to “Hard Wired” and watch the official music video.
With nothing more than a Gibson Les Paul slung over his shoulder, a warm amp turned all the way up, and a hot microphone on and ready, Jared James Nichols churns out the kind of rock that rips, roars, and rolls without filter or apology. The Nashville-based multi-talent, who stands at a staggering 6 foot 5 inches tall, delivers a one-two punch of gritty vocals straight from the gut and incendiary fret fireworks.
Since emerging in 2015, Nichols has racked up millions of streams and acclaim from the likes of American Songwriter, Guitar World, Relix, and many more, and has performed alongside icons such as Slash, Billy Gibbons, Zakk Wylde, Joe Bonamassa, and even the late Leslie West, to name a few.
*More from Jared James Nichols coming soon!
Jared James Nicholls – Tour Dates
Thursday November 10 – Little Rock, AR @ Stickyz Rock’n’Roll Chicken Shack Saturday November 12 – Kyle, Texas @ Skunkfest
More hard-hitting, kick-ass blues based British rock. Plenty of heavy guitar rockers, with harmonica, great riffs and vocals. Check out tracks like “666 At The Crossroads”, “Rebel With A Cause”, …”Jealous Woman”. *Check out the press info and title track below.
CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED HARMONICA PLAYER, WILL WILDE, ANNOUNCES LAUNCH OF NEW BLUES ROCK BAND, BAD LUCK FRIDAY
Bad Luck Friday’s self-titled debut album was released by Wilde Fire Records on Friday 2 September 2022. This is one of the most highly anticipated debut albums from a British rock band in years. The album is available from www.badluckfriday.com
The first single and title track, ‘Bad Luck Friday,’ was released July 1, 2022 and is available to buy and stream HERE.
The band has also just released their 2nd single “Banshee”, which is available to stream on Spotify HERE.
The official music video is available to watch on YouTube
Big guitars, wailing harp and a pounding rhythm section characterize this tune as a total anthem, making it the perfect track for Halloween. Scream if you want to go louder!
The band’s eponymous debut album, available on CD and colored vinyl, is available to order from www.badluckfriday.com.
Don’t be fooled by the harmonica. Bad Luck Friday is not your typical blues rock band. Will Wilde has a reputation in the blues world as a pioneer of the rock harp, but with Bad Luck Friday, he’s taken the music well beyond it’s traditional blues roots.
The band formed during the ashes of the pandemic when live music ground to a halt. Frustrated but still determined and highly creative, Wilde teamed up with guitarist, Steve Brook, and together they journeyed inward and developed their original style before bringing in Alan Taylor and Jack Turnbull to complete the line-up. Their fusion of bluesy classic rock and aggressive, contemporary hard rock encompasses anthemic choruses, catchy riffs, searing vocals, and Wilde’s blistering harmonica solos.
Will Wilde: Vocals, Harmonica
Steve “The Beak” Brook: Guitar, Backing Vocals
Jack Turnbull: Bass
Alan Taylor: Drums
Recorded at PA Studios and Brighton Road Studios, Brighton
Produced by Steve Brook
BAD LUCK FRIDAY – BIOGRAPHY
Bad Luck Friday is an exciting new rock band from Brighton, England. Formed in 2020, the band features Will Wilde (lead vocals, harmonica), Steve “The Beak” Brook (guitar, backing vocals), Jack Turnbull (bass) and Alan Taylor (drums).
Fronted by singer and world-renowned blues rock harmonica player, Will Wilde, their unique sound draws from an eclectic mix of influences, from classic rock bands such as Led Zeppelin and Free through to more aggressive contemporary bands like Black Stone Cherry, Halestorm and Alter Bridge.
Bad Luck Friday’s debut album is a blend of hard rock riffs and blues-infused melodies, big choruses with strong hooks, and face-melting harmonica solos that owe just as much to Slash or Angus Young as they to do Sonny Boy Williamson or Little Walter.
Erja Lyytinen’s new album Waiting For The Daylight is now out and it’s a great set of 9 songs from Finland’s ‘Queen of the slide guitar’. Known as a blues player, her new material includes more hard-rock with the single “Last Girl”, southern (a bit country) rock of the excellent lead off track “Bad Seed”, and a bit of heavy prog-ish rock with the album’s center piece and title track, with it’s riff & organ giving the intro a Deep Purple feel, before the song takes on a few changes. “Waiting For The Daylight” is a personal song dealing with losing someone, and an epic piece, check out the solo here.
Other favorites on this album have to be the re-working of “You Talk Dirty”, a much heavier rockin’ version of the blues song originally recorded for 2002’s Attention! album (w/ Dave’s Special); as well “Run Away” that features a big guitar driven chorus, softer verses, a sweet vocal, and the slow blues closing cut “The End Of Music”. A very eye-catching, colorful album cover as well. Available on CD & LP at Erja Lyytinen’s website.
*For more info check out the links below, as well as the press info on Erja Lyytinen’s new single (and 3rd from this album)
Erja Lyytinen is pleased to release the third single and title track from her ninth studio album Waiting For The Daylight. The single was released the same day as her highly anticipated new album Waiting For The Daylight, which is available – https://erjalyytinen.com/waiting-for-the-daylight
To support the release of the new album, Erja will embark on a co-headline UK tour with the award-winning Belfast-based blues guitarist Dom Martin from November 7-10. Dates include Southampton, The 1865 (Nov 7), Bilston, The Robin (Nov 8), London, The Grace (Nov 9) and Grimsby, Yardbirds Club (Nov 10). Erja will be also playing with her band at Dudley, The Lamb (Nov 11) and Sittingbourne, The Bourne Music Club (Nov 13).
“Waiting For The Daylight” starts with a big guitar riff,” says Erja. “The intro leads to an airy verse and the choruses are quite heavy and dramatic. The heavy guitar riff that repeats throughout the song. I played two guitar solos on the end of the song in the style of Tony Iommi to create tension towards the end.
Continues Erja, “Recording this song was emotional experience for me. I was playing the solo for my friend who died because of a long-term illness. I also poured a lot of the pandemic frustration on this one, so the track became very passionate. In the lyrics, this beautiful creature comes to you on your last day to release you from your earthy pains. The story has a bit of that chivalry romance in some way. We filmed the music video also on the beautiful castle of Raasepori in Finland.”
“My band does an amazing job on the track, with Tatu Back on bass, Iiro Laitinen on drums and Harri Taittonen on Hammond,” concludes Erja. “I also dusted off my violin and played violin tracks to the end of the song. There´s a lot of layers in this blues-rock piece!”
Troy Redfern has become well known as Great Britian’s ‘King of the slide guitar’. The blues rocker has a new album titled The Wings of Salvation and is currently on tour in the UK with British rockers Dare. The Wings of Salvation is Redfern’s most accessible and talked about album yet, so if you’re not familiar – check out his latest singles/videos “Come On”, “Gasoline” and “Sweet Carolina”! You can also order The Wings of Salvation in various formats from his website, as well as previous albums, t-shirts, and art prints (Redfern has also created his latest few albums covers, among other pieces). In this interview Troy Redfern talks about his influences, favorite albums, his past recordings, and plenty about his new album. *Check out the links below for ordering and more info on Troy Redfern.
Can you give me a bit of background as far as where you hail from and how you came about to take up the guitar and blues direction?
I grew up on the Welsh border, near Hergest Ridge, which was made famous by Mike Oldfield – who recorded an album by the same name. It’s quite a rural area, and that’s probably one of the things that sort of lead me to play guitar. I was into soul music from an early age, from about the age of 5.
I think one of the most important things was I first saw the film Back To The Future – that really sort of solidified my desire to want to play the guitar, and my parents got me a guitar when I was about 12, I think. And I started getting in guitar music, from Back ToThe Future I heard Van Halen, and then I got into Jimi Hendrix, and the Beatles and all those kinds of bands. And then a friend lent me a Son House album on vinyl, and that was my introduction to early blues music, and that was kind of a game changer in discovering that, because this was pre-internet days. So yeah, that album really got me into blues and slide
I’ve read some of your favorite guitar players, a wide range of rock, fusion, and blues players. Could you give me a ‘top 10’ list of your favorite/influential guitar rock or blues albums?
My top 10 would probably be – Son House – Library of Congress recordings Zappa – Shut Up ‘N’ Play Yer guitar, box set. Allan Holdsworth’s – Road Games Steve Vai’s Flex-able Queen 2 Aerosmith’s Toys In The Attic Deep Purple In Rock Frank Zappa’s Overnight Sensation R.L. Burnside’s A Ass Pocket of Whiskey
You’ve made a name as ‘king of the slide guitar’. Can you tell me a bit about your attraction to this style and sound?
Like I said hearing Son House when I was really young got me interested in that style of music, but i really started getting into it probably when i was about 18 or 19. A girlfriend, her dad showed me how to tune a guitar to open tunings, and sort of module tunings, and major-minor, and from that point on I just kind of started experimenting with tunings and finding my way around the fret board and obviously because it’s completely different to standard tunings, so you have to re-learn everything. It’s just kind of something that’s developed over the years, I’ve put a lot of time into that style and found that to be one of the most natural ways for me to play. It’s just completely comfortable, and when you enjoy something, and you feel like you connect with something that’s that
You also sing – did this come about naturally or out of necessity? How do you feel about (or see yourself as) singing? Any favorite singers that either influenced you or you like in blues / blues-rock?
As far as singing goes, I enjoy singing, but it’s sort of one of those things – it’s a necessity thing. When I started going out under my own name, I just felt that it was right to not only have a voice on my guitar but to use my voice to sing. I think Elmore James was sort of one of my biggest influences
Your latest album is a great set of blues rock, and I think very accessible for those that aren’t familiar to your previous work. So, with that being said – can you give me some background on your pre-lockdown recordings? Personal favorites and highlights, successes…(?)
Background on my previous Lockdown recordings. the one I released in 2017 was called Dirt Blues Ritual, and that was maybe a bit less rock orientated, obviously still slide playing, but probably had more of a rockabilly-blues sound. It’s still identifiable with what I do now, but just the production I did was slightly different, and I was producing that stuff myself. Most of that stuff is on Bandcamp. And there’s an album I released through a Belgian label called Blues Boulevard Records; it was called Back Door HooDoo. And that was sort of a collection of material that I’d released digitally, the first album being Werewolf Etiquette, the second one being Mother Tongue and the third one being Playing with Fire – those were all released on Bandcamp. So that was like a collection of material, all the ‘best of’ from those albums, but they’re still available on Bandcamp. And like I said I was producing that stuff myself and it was sort of a free sort of time where I just learned, over the years, to record myself, and I got my home studio, so I was free to put stuff out without being self-conscious about what I was writing and just enjoying it. I think Werewolf Etiquette is one of my favorites
You made 6 (!?) albums during covid lockdown — what inspired so much writing & recording? And (again), can you give me a round-up in brief or those albums – their direction, how they varied, personal favorite tracks or highlights?
Yeah, I made 6 albums during lockdown, released that many. Well, it was actually 6 albums across that time period, one was actually released before lockdown – that was called This Raging Heart. And then as soon as lockdown happened, I decided I wanted to record something slightly more acoustic and little more experimental, and that became the album that was called Island. And then we realized lockdown was carrying on, so I decided to release more material that was on my hard drive, because you know I’ve recorded lots of material over the years, and I archived that stuff. And then I put (out) a leftovers album called Deep Cuts, which was stuff that didn’t make it onto This Raging Heart. I put out a resonating improvisation album called Improvisations Part 1. And then I put out an instrumental album called Thunder Moon – that’s one of my favorites, because that’s non-genre specific, really. It’s all instrumental music; it shows just different aspects of my creative output that isn’t sometimes released on the official releases, you know. So that’s really why I like Thunder Moon – because it’s so free. I enjoy that one!
Did you approach your latest album any differently to your previous few albums? Any changes in writing, recording,?
Yeah, normally I take quite a while to write stuff, and I’ll make a lot of demos over a long period. The Fire Cosmic I think took probably almost a year to sort of put that together before recording it, but this one was the complete opposite where we wrote and recorded everything from scratch in just over 4 weeks. So, it was a completely different way of approaching it; it was a lot more compressed. We sort of gave ourselves a deadline, which I think really helped you know – it really drew out ideas and it got them from the initial idea to being a fully developed song very quickly, which I think really helped keep the inspired part of the song in there. And I also worked with a producer named Dave Marks who really helped with different aspects. we talked about arrangements, and sort of stylistic choices we were going to make. So that was great – working with someone like that, working with someone closely crafting an album. And like I said, when I was producing all the stuff myself, you’re doing that in isolation, in a bubble, and this was a completely different process where you’re sort of bouncing off of someone and getting things done super-quickly, you know!?
Can you give us a bit of insight (with reference to the new album’s tracks) how you come up with songs – musically and lyrically?
As far as I come up with songs, and lyrics and what-not – usually all the ideas would’ve started with an acoustic guitar or a resonator – I use a 1929 National Triolian Resonator. So, we sketch the ideas, and they would just be non-conscious stream of thought kind of whatever comes out ideas, which is how I like to work because I feel that that’s the most inspired way of getting something – because you’re not actually consciously trying to force something out, you’re just playing and seeing what happens. Let’s take an example – “Gasoline” – I just started playing a riff, which happened to be in 7/8, and I would just play that riff and see where it went, and then just sort of take different turns you know – where the chorus would go and just feel my way through those changes. And as far as lyrics go, that was the hardest part of the album because I had 10 songs to write lyrics for in a very short space of time. There were thematic ideas and narratives that I wanted to get in this time. “Navajo” is about the great walk of the native Americans in 1865, a thing sort of about loss of freedoms, and just trying to tie those 2 things together with that sort of modern loss of personal freedoms and tying it back to that narrative. And “Dark Religion” is the combination of 2 different themes – one personal of the loss of a friend who died of an overdose, all stemming back to a strict Christian upbringing, but then also wrapping that story in a narrative about a woman leaving this country in the 1800s to go to America and set up a new life and realizing that the grass isn’t greener – that kind of narrative, which is basically the same character I used a song called “Ghosts” off The Fire Cosmic and “The Line” from Dirt Blues Ritual. So, I was pleased with the lyrics on that one because they felt like little self-contained stories instead of being too abstract
There is a wide range of guitar sounds, feel, and solos on this album – can you talk a bit about the different sounds and guitars you used on this?
On this album a big part of the album was the Dobro, I’ve got a 1935 Dobro M32, so a lot of the ideas were sort of recorded on that, using a Magnatone Twilighter stereo amp, and also the National Triolian- a 1929 National Triolian, I used that one. A couple of Danelectric guitars made appearances, and an old 1962 Silvertone Jupiter. So, it was mainly vintage guitars that I was using because I think they have unique characteristics that I kind of wanted to get tonally into the tracks, so the stuff’s still quite ‘rock’ but with those kinds of nuanced sounds that has some character that you wouldn’t get with just a standard Humbucker, maybe.
Can you tell me a bit about the album’s cover art/shot? Whose idea and who put it together? (Influences in creating that look?)
On the The Fire Cosmic, the last album, I did the artwork which is kind of in a Jack Kirby comic style. And I was really pleased with that – people seemed to like it, you know. So, I thought well on this one I need to do the same sort of thing. I enjoy making the complete package – where it’s not just the music, it’s the artwork as well. When I was speaking to Dave about needing to do the artwork, we’re both comic book and Star Wars geeks, and he said to me “this album is more Tatooine than it is Jack Kirby”, and I knew exactly what he meant – the sort of browns and reds of that kind of ‘desert’ environment. So, one afternoon I just decided to get some paper, and I managed to find some sort of sandy colored textured paper and I found some charcoals and pastels. And there was a photo that my daughter took, maybe 7 or 8 years ago, and just always loved the lighting on that. So, one of the original ideas was to use the photo and recreate that lighting, but instead I decided to have a go at charcoals and pastels, and I just worked on it, worked it up. And I was kind of pleased because it has that kind of slats of desert-y rough feel to it, texturally, and for me that seems to tie in with the music really well.
Any personal favorite tracks, solos, performances on the new album?
I really like “Dark Religion”, because that’s a style I’ve not written anything – I don’t think, in 3/4, and it has just a completely different vibe to anything I’ve done. And the solo section – I was really pleased with that, the chord progression under that kind of really octave of waves and sea which is sort of what the story’s about. And “Gasoline”, I was really pleased to get that one in there because that one’s in 7/8, and like I said before that’s something you don’t generally get in blues-rock and southern music, so it was nice to get a 7/8 in there that doesn’t throw you around and feel like jarring. And I really enjoyed the solo on “Mercy” because that’s actually not a slide solo, that’s just a standard tuning guitar solo, and I think that was just kind of nice to put it on there because it gives a different aspect, again, to just the slide thing that I’m kind of generally known for.
Have you played in North America as of yet? And when might we see you in Canada?
No – I’ve not played in North America – I’d love to. But it’s just one of those things, you know if the opportunity comes then I’ll be there like a shot because it’s somewhere … you know I’ve played in Europe, Russia, but have not been to the US or Canada yet, but I’d absolutely love to!
British singer/guitarist John Verity (ex Argent, Phoenix) has recently released a 4 track disc of acoustic tracks. The songs, previously released, are all stripped down and re-done along with guests Max Milligan (acoustic/slide guitar) and Roger Inniss (bass). These are excellent new ‘unplugged & unhinged’ versions, particularly “Broken Heart”, a favorite from 2020’s Passion album.
Finnish blues rock slide guitarist and singer songwriter Erja Lyytinen is pleased to announce the release of “Last Girl”, the second single taken from her upcoming ninth studio album Waiting For The Daylight.
The single, released Wednesday September 7th, is available to stream and buy on Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, and Amazon Music via https://ffm.to/ylyrxan. Watch the Last Girl music video
In November, Erja heads out on a co-headline UK tour with the award-winning Belfast-based blues guitarist Dom Martin. Tickets are available from https://erjalyytinen.com/tour and www.dommart.in/tour. Dates include Southampton, The 1865 (Nov 7), Bilston, The Robin (Nov 8), London, The Grace (Nov 9) and Grimsby, Yardbirds (Nov 10).
“Last Girldeals with the subject of bullying in schools and the feeling of being left out of a friendship group, says Erja. “This song is for those who feel as if they are outsiders, which is a current topic as the new school year is about to start. A lot is happening in the song, and it is quite intense and energetic, just like the school world is.”
“Continues Erja, “Making the music video for ‘Last Girl’ felt essential because it’s such an important topic to me. A young girl features in the music video, and at the end, she is playing an electric guitar with me as part of the group and having a good time. The song speaks out on many levels.”
“It was fascinating to create guitar parts for ‘Last Girl’. It has some vibes from rock bands like Iron Maiden, but I also wrote twin-part guitar harmonies to the C – part in the style of an Allman Brothers Band. I wanted to create a song with an old classic rock feel but executed with modern sounds and techniques.”
“The intro has pull-offs and some fast licks and flute notes combined which creates the main guitar theme for the whole song. This song has probably one of the most challenging guitar parts I have written so far.”
For musicians, the last two years have been a period of reflection and soul searching. What to do with oneself in the absence of life on the road? And would live music ever be able to return to the way it was pre-pandemic? Artists and music fans alike waited for that glimmer of hope and the return of some semblance of normality. Written largely during the pandemic era Erja Lyytinen’s new studio album Waiting For The Daylight encapsulates these emotions.
With time on her hands, Lyytinen was able to pause, dig deep and fully process her feelings. Some of which she had been carrying for a long time. This journey of self-exploration proved to be a source of inspiration for the artist’s latest offering. Carrying on from the gifted guitarist’s last two studio albums, Stolen Hearts, and Another World, respectively, Lyytinen continues to explore themes such as love, loss, heartbreak, and sometimes even revenge. Events transpiring around the world occasionally fed into the storyboard of Lyytinen’s songwriting.
The album was recorded during the first half of 2022, between Erja’s hectic touring schedule, with the bulk of the sessions taking place at The Hollywood House in Helsinki, Finland. Lyytinen was joined in the studio by long-standing bass player Tatu Back and drummer Iiro Laitinen. Having played on every one of Lyytinen’s albums since 2008, Harri Taittonen features once again on Hammond and keyboard. Waiting For The Daylight illustrates a new chapter in Erja’s musical and artistic trajectory. The album was proudly produced by Lyytinen herself. Subsequently, Erja simultaneously explored sounds on the periphery of the blues-rock genre. She fearlessly pushed herself and the band further than previously before.
During her formative years, Erja was schooled on the sounds of the ’60s and 7’0s by her mother, and with her latest offering, she pays homage to rock greats such as Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, and Uriah Heap. With its heavy groove, atmospheric textures, and passionate delivery the title track is a testament to this. The song Waiting For The Daylight also features perhaps one of the artist’s most mesmerizing and emotive solos to date. Lyytinen further showcases her chops during the album’s hook-laden opening number and lead single, “Bad Seed”.
The artist pours her heart and soul into the cathartic number “Last Girl”. Erja describes the latter a cross between Satriani meets Iron Maiden. Says Erja, “The song talks about bullying in schools and how you can be left out of a friendship group. I always put something of my own in the songs as well, so it became a very important song on many levels.”
Just as the title dictates, at approximately seven minutes long, “The End of Music”concludes the release to great effect. “The song talks about missing being back on stage and the audience, as many of us musicians did during the pandemic,” explains Erja.
For Erja and her fans alike, the new studio album and her return to touring the UK is worth the wait.
Bad Seed (5:13) Last Girl (5:28) Run Away (5:00) Waiting For The Daylight (6:12) Never Really Had You (5:15) Diamonds On The Road (4:25) You Talk Dirty (6:17) Love Bites (3:58) The End of Music (6:55)
Erja Lyytinen – Vocals, Guitars, Violin, Keyboards Harri Taittonen – Keyboards, Hammond Tatu Back – Bass Iiro Laitinen – Drums
Recorded and mixed by Matias Kiiveri at Hollywood House in Helsinki Finland 2022 .
Produced by Erja Lyytinen Executive producer Erja Lyytinen for Bluesland Productions Photographer and digital design by Antti Karppinen, Alias Creative Graphic design by Jan Yrlund, Darkgrove Design . All songs, lyrics, and music by Erja Lyytinen
Canadian classic roots and blues rock band The Commoners release “Too Much”, the second single from the forthcoming album Find A Better Way on Friday August 26th. The single is available to buy and stream from https://lnk.fu.ga/thecommoners_toomuch. The “Too Much” music video can be streamed on You Tube .
The band describe the Too Much single as follows – “Erupting with the growling vigour of an old Beaumont, Too Much drives The Commoners to the brink of surrendering their dreams for the comforts of home. A high horsepower performance peels out with rowdy riffs and lively organ in tow, delivering a relatable sentiment that never proves to be too much.”
Possessing a sound tapped from the oaken belly of a whiskey barrel, The Commoners are a four-piece Roots/Blues Rock band from Toronto, Canada.
Described as “a classic rock and roll affair,” the nine songs take the listener on a sonic voyage through the lives of the band, from the dusty back roads of rural Ontario to the bright lights of the big city. Offering their own blend of rock and roll, southern blues, and roots music, the Toronto-based four-piece band are known for their high-energy riffs, soulful vocals, and rich harmonies. The result is an authentic Southern-style rock experience.
The group was cobbled together over the course of a decade, adapting through numerous obstacles to form the unit as it exists today: Chris Medhurst (vocals/guitar), Ben Spiller (bass), Ross Hayes Citrullo (lead guitar), and Adam Cannon (drums). Often joined by their friend, organist Miles Evans-Branagh, The Commoners unite under a shared dream: to write, perform, and share music that is an authentic nod to the greats who paved the way before them.
“The new album authentically embodies the rock and roll, soul, and blues rock experience,” says the band’s lead singer, Chris Medhurst. “That’s something we really wanted to bring back. That’s the roots. That’s what we listen to.”
“The Black Crowes are a considerable influence for us,” says Medhurst. “Derek Trucks, Marcus King, Led Zeppelin, and The Allman Brothers Band, too. These are the bands that we wear on our sleeves as we aspire to create our own music and sound.”
Find A Better Way is an album that demands attention from the first note. The opening lines “If I scream at the top of my lungs, and stamp my feet, ’til the floor comes undone,” immediately inform that a wild ride lies ahead. The album was recorded and produced at RHC Music in Toronto by the band’s guitarist Ross Hayes Citrullo. Ross collaborated with executive producer Renan Yildizdogan to strike the perfect balance of new and old recording treatments. The goal was to create something that felt new and original, yet still familiar to their target classic roots rock and blues rock audience.
“The vision from the beginning was to marry old and new southern rock together in a way that was unique to the band’s Canadian roots,” explains Citrullo. “By adding the soul and rock elements of the Black Crowes, and the southern blues rock undertones of the Allman Brothers to a production style akin to Blackberry Smoke and Rival Sons, I think we developed an authentic sound that compares sonically to some of our favorite records across all of those music genres.”
The album’s lyrical themes drill into the essence of humanity: love, regret, ambition, and fear. Circling the forever challenge of doubt vs. desire, The Commoners place themselves into the shoes of the everyman. The result? Nine tracks that function as a comfort and companion through all of life’s trials and tribulations, with melodic solos, soaring organ, and a punchy rhythm section to drive the messages home.
Drummer Adam Cannon says – “Music, like so much in life, is about the exchange of energy.” and The Commoners make more than a fair trade. Striving to present an impactful, memorable, and downright exhilarating live experience that accurately represents their recorded works, the band carries the listener over spirited choruses and group chants, before returning them back to earth in need of a shot of something smooth. You can expect to leave fully satisfied, sweat drenched, and heart racing, a good time guaranteed—just what we all need.
The Commoners enlisted a handful of Toronto’s finest musicians to help bring their record to life. On the title track Find A Better Way, the band brought on keyboardist Jeff Heisholt (The Trews) to lay down an iconic organ track. For the rest of the album, keyboardist Miles Evans-Branagh performed organ, piano, and Rhodes.
To accompany Ben and Adam on backup vocals, The Commoners called upon three of Canada’s top backup singers. Tash Lorayne and Shezelle Weekes (The Arkells), and Chantal Williams joined in to arrange vocal parts and enliven the mix with their vivacious voices resulting in a spine-tingling performance.
The Commoners also invited local legend Michael Eckert to lend his pedal steel talents on I Won’t and Alive. Adding the final cherry on top, renowned multi-instrumentalist Ben Healey treated Deadlines to a guitar solo worthy of the world’s greatest stadiums. Though these songs were all written by The Commoners, the contributions of these amazing guest musicians make the album something special.
“Every time we brought an outside player into the studio, they would offer their own unique instincts and interpretations of each song. This helped the album grow into a collaborative art piece that continues to surprise us with every listen.”
A rock anthem to its core, the title track, “Find A Better Way” carries a message that encapsulates the entirety of the record. With growing uncertainties, society faces challenges previously unseen, leaving the collective in a perpetual state of questioning, with doubt directed towards governments, public leaders, and our neighbors. From the aftermath of COVID-19, the increasing mental health crisis in North America, war crimes in Ukraine, and the explosion of social movements and protests, one thought unites us all—we need to find a better way to co-exist on this planet. Find A Better Way takes an inward look at confronting our tumultuous past and accepting personal accountabilities to uncover the strength needed to seek a solution.
“Find a Better Way” is the only track on the record to mixed outside of Canada. The band worked with legend Producer/Mixer Kevin Shirley (the Black Crowes, Joe Bonamassa, Led Zeppelin) at Caveman Studios in Sydney, Australia. Kevin’s mix helped set the perfect tone for the album, which Ross Hayes Citrullo was then able to follow for the rest of the record. Kevin’s involvement set The Commoners on the right path with this epic title track.
Mastering was also an important consideration for the band and their label. For this stage, the team sent their record all the way to Nashville, Tennessee toPete Lyman (Tedeschi Trucks, Blackberry Smoke, Chris Stapleton, Rival Sons) at Infrasonic Sound. Pete’s specialty for mastering southern rock made the mixes come alive, making them sonically competitive to the band’s influences.
As a collective, we find ourselves emerging into a changed society, with uncertainty looming and shadowing the future. In their upcoming release The Commoners remind us that music has a unique ability to heal, a medicine of extraordinary merit, and balm for the soul during dark times. Every major movement in history gave rise to change makers, and The Commoners are taking their stand, here to lead and inspire us all to Find a Better Way.
FIND A BETTER WAY FILL MY CUP MORE THAN MISTAKES TOO MUCH NATURLLY I WON’T DEADLINES HANGIN’ ON AGAIN ALIVE
Chris Medhurst – Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar Ross Hayes Citrullo – Lead Guitar Ben Spiller – Bass, Vocals, Piano (5, 9) Adam Cannon – Drums, Percussion, Vocals
Miles Evans-Branagh – Organ, Rhodes, Piano | Jeff Heisholt – Organ (1) Michael Ekhart – Pedal Steel (6, 9) | Ben Healey – Lead Guitar (7) Chantal Williams, Shezelle Weekes, Tash Lorayne – Backing Vocals
All songs written by The Commoners Produced by Ross Hayes Citrullo and The Commoners Executive Producer – Renan Yildizdogan Recorded at RHC Music, Toronto ON
Album Photography by Lindsay White Album Design by Emily Goguen
THE COMMONERS 2022 Tour Dates:
12/08/22 Toronto-Canada @ The Horseshoe Tavern 23/09/22 London-Canada @ Eastsides 12/10/22 Norderstedt-Germany @ Music Star 13/10/22 Hoganas-Sweden @ Garage Bar TBC 14/10/22 Varberg-Sweden @ Maja’s 15/10/22 Avesta-Sweden @ Kulturgaraget 16/10/22 Stockholm TBC 18/10/22 Malmo-Sweden @ Folk & Rock 19&20/10/22 Hamburg-Germany @ Cowboy und Indianer TBC 21/10/22 Asendorf-Germany @ Break Out 22/10/22 Singwitz-Germany @ Kesselhaus 23/10/22 Burglengenfeld-Germany @ RockStürbl 24/10/22 Bratislava-Slovakia @ Muzeum Ochbodu 26/10/22 Bremen-Germany @ Meisenfrei 27/10/22 Köln-Germany TBC 28/10/22 Rimsting-Germany TBC 29/10/22 Fiesch-Switzerland @ Inch Bar 30/10/22 Switzerland TBC 31/10/22 Solothurn-Switzerland TBC 03/11/22 Barcelona-Spain @ Sala Textil 04/11/22 Castellon-Spain @ Sala Because 05/11/22 Orihuela-Spain @ La Gramola 06/11/22 Valladollid-Spain @ Puerta Caeli 07/11/22 Leon-Spain @ Babylon 08/11/22 Ourense-Spain @ Cafe Auriense 10/11/22 A Coruna-Spain @ Sala Mardi Gras 11/11/22 Cangas-Spain @ Salason 12/11/22 Valles-Spain @ Bocanegra 13/11/22 Vitoria-Spain @ Urban Rock 15/11/22 Chambery-France @ Brin de Zinc 16/11/22 Besançon-France @ Bar De L’U 17/11/22 Metz-France TBC 18/11/22 Krefeld-Germany @ Kulturrampe 19/11/22 Ostend-Belgium TBC