Showing posts with label Indie Music Reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Indie Music Reviews. Show all posts


Blues-Rock-Country Review: Dion-Girl Friends

Release Date: March 8, 2024



Dion has been making music for a mighty long time. He is one of the few who recorded music in the 50s and 60s that is still alive and relevant. That point alone should tell you something about the man's resilience and determination. It tells me a lot.


Girl Friends is another winner, his most recent release with an all-star cast. As you can see by the CD cover, all his guests are the ladies accompanying him on twelve tracks of blues, rock, and country-flavored tunes. I enjoyed it from start to finish, and Dion is in fine form musically and vocally.


Track one begins "Soul Force," an excellent way to kick off things with the fiery Susan Tedeschi. They both rock the house as Dion sings, "Superpower stronger by the hour."


"I Aim to Please" with Danielle Nicole is a country-inflected mover! This one has a great call answer from the duo and is a real toe-tapper. 


"Stop Drop and Roll" with Valerie Tyson features a strumming acoustic guitar with lots of rhythm and harmonizing. It is a country pop tune with banjo and excellent electric six-string licks. Some foot-stompin' country, y'all!


"Do Ladies Get the Blues" with Christine Ohlman & Debbie Davies asks the question. By all accounts, it is true. The ladies and Dion bring it home to make you a believer as some stinging electric guitar heats things to a boil and the bottom end cooks right along with it.


"An American Hero" with Carlene Carter is my favorite track because of its meaning. Dion sings, "We need an American hero to stand up for everyone." Never was there a time in our history was that truer. Carlene Carter was a great choice with her voice, and they punctuated every word, which gave me chills.


"Don't You Want a Man Like Me" with the soulful Rory Block and some acoustic slide guitar to get those embers of passion burning. The rhythm section is rock solid; hard rockin' blues burn the fuel as they sing "Some Like It Hot."


"Sugar Daddy" with Christine Ohlman's breathy vocals and steady rhythms merge for another rockin' blues workout. Acoustic and electric guitars soar!


"Endless Highway" with Randi Fishenfeld features exceptional bass, with the track deep in Americana roots and country twang. Dion is in great form.


"I Got Wise," with Maggie Rose starting the vocals, is the first on the album without Dion leading off. Dion comes in to answer her at a slow and emotional pace—a very atmospheric track.


"Hey, Suzy" with Sue Foley is a kind of old-fashioned love song. The duo combination is perfect, with Dion showing that he still has some range in his vocals. The country and blues-varied guitar lines hit the bullseye.


"Mama Said" with Shemekia Copeland is soulful, with Shemekia singing "Listen boy"…as Dion responds. It was another strong and well-rounded effort by the duo.


"Just Like That" with Joanne Shaw Taylor is a great closer with smokin' hot guitar lines as they cross the finishing line with conviction.


Girl Friends is an eclectic range of artists providing music and vocals that keep it a satisfying listen from beginning to end. The booklet accompanying the CD has an excellent write-up from Dion about the "feminine genius" and how it has surrounded his life. Also, he adds comments about each artist.


Dion proves once again that age has nothing to do with a great musician and a singer's capabilities as long as you have the experience, confidence, and belief in your craft. It is a solid release, and everyone involved should be proud.


Keith “MuzikMan” Founder

February 27, 2024


01. Soul Force with Susan Tedeschi

02. I Aim to Please with Danielle Nicole

03. Stop Drop and Roll with Valerie Tyson

04. Do Ladies Get the Blues with Christine Ohlman & Debbie Davies

05. An American Hero with Carlene Carter

06. Don't You Want a Man Like Me with Rory Block

07. Sugar Daddy with Christine Ohlman

08. Endless Highway with Randi Fishenfeld

09. I Got Wise with Maggie Rose

10. Hey Suzy with Sue Foley

11. Mama Said with Shemekia Copeland

12. Just Like That with Joanne Shaw Taylor


Rock-Progressive Review: 6 Turning 4 Burning-6T4B

Release Date: August 26, 2023

Label: Bomber Records


Those Hellraisers From Cleveland, Ohio, 6 Turning 4 Burning, have released a rock album for all true music lovers to give a spin or to blare from your vehicle while cruising down the roads of America. Listen to 6T4B, and I will tell you why track by track.

Indicative of the cover art, they will appeal to those who believe in the freedom of the U.S. and the open roads to travel anywhere. Their music is very eclectic, bordering or launching into full-on progressive.

"Crazy Peace" is an instant satisfying rocker, and the lyrics are a riot! It is about the lady friend or wife, as it may, having their crazy "time of the month." It is a great way to kick off the album. Also, you will hear some exemplary musicianship on the recording. It is bound to click when you assemble a group of seasoned players. The second track, which clocks in at 7:02, is a tribute to their all-around talents and a tight band exhibiting all their skills within one track. It is a killer track featuring all aspects of the band at each position. Notably, the vocals are outstanding.

"So Deep" was a famous track that got thousands of views. It is a rocking love song, a slow cooker, and a tremendous vocal performance. It serves as another dimension of the band to be admired and appreciated.

"Help Me Through This" differs significantly from the previous tracks for 8:29. The guitar playing is bluesy, which fits the lyrics nicely. I am getting more impressed the further I get into the album. The diversification is quite impressive. And because of that, it keeps things interesting. Also, with extensive songs, it is essential not to lose the listener. That never happens because of all the changes. This one is a progressive rocker.

"Something's Wrong" keeps up with the pattern of change. The track starts with a soft acoustic guitar as the bass and drums come in. The vocals are heartfelt and expressing the lyrics beautifully. If you like blues-country tracks, this one is a nice change from the previous track. They sound like a different band on this one.

"It's Over" starts with a funky bass line accompanied by a driving guitar line, then it changes into a slower pace to emphasize the lyrics about the abuse of drugs and all the struggles it can bring. It doesn't sound like any fun, and it should discourage those wanting to take drugs. I think that was the point. As the song lumbers along, the words hit you like a brick wall at 90 mph, saying, "Cocaine's got me down, rest in peace." About halfway through, the song turns into the fast line as the bottom end pushes it along. The guitar plays some fat chords and nice cutting lines to show off their chops. It is another excellent track with 8:44 of fantastic changes and music to keep you wondering what is coming next. Then, at the end, you can hear someone snorting coke.

"Karma" is another long one coming in at 9:34, so I am amazed at how they can keep pumping out all these impressive tracks with such length and complexities. It starts with some definitive chicken pickin', rapid drumming, and a big bass sound. It all changes as it goes back and forth with different paces and styles of playing. It's like a country-fried rocker with hints of the blues for extra color. You may wonder when the vocals will come in, but they finally arrive well into 3+ minutes. And in this case, that is a good thing, as I enjoyed the long instrumental intro. The vocals add their sentiments with lines like "Karma speaks to you all alone." Those words change how we can relate to and experience karma. Which, of course, works if you believe in it. I believe in it without question, so I found the lyrics relatable.

"Take a Hike" is their magnum opus, dialing in at 11:24. I did not know what to expect with a track this long; it had to be progressive. At least, that was my first thought. It starts epically with a hard-driving metallic power; then they start reciting lines from the bible to help save them from the dark master himself, the Devil. It is an incredible track with magnificent music. It is reflective, opaque, and anticipatory. This one convinced me what a superior group of players this band is. Fans of Black Sabbath would love this one for sure. It is most certainly a hike to the darker side of life. In typical fashion, at 4+ minutes, it completes changes in pace and sound. This bass is prolific here. The vocals reminded me of Ian Gillan of Deep Purple. It is so soulful and passionate, and if anyone wants to know how good this band can play, it should be your first track. It's a must! And remember what they say in the song "Don't listen to Devil!" "Take a hike, Devil, disappear!" All instruments are superb throughout the run of the song.

So, if all of that wasn't enough, they test their abilities by covering the ELP classic 'Lucky Man" within 10:07. Could they once again prove themselves as a legitimate force in music? It starts differently than the original, then changes to the more familiar melody you are used to hearing in 2+ minutes. The vocals are excellent, and the music from start to finish is outstanding. It was risky to close out such a superior recording like that, but they pulled it off like the five-star band they are.

6T4B is a title that may give people a different idea of what this band is all about, including the cover art. Trust me on this one; you are in for a treat for the senses with 6 Turning 4 Burning. Every track is entertaining and well-played, and you will be sorry it all ends, so play it again.

Keith “MuzikMan” Founder

December 6, 2023


1. Crazy Peace 5:26

2. Release Me 7:02

3. So Deep 5:28

4. Help Me Through This 8:29

5. Something's Wrong 4:25

6. It's Over 8:44

7. Karma 9:34

8. Take a Hike 11:24

9. Lucky Man 10:07


Rock Review: Dreamstreet-2.0

Release Date: September 23, 2023

Label: Red Fields Entertainment LLC


Dreamstreet version 2.0 harkens back to the '70s and the popularity of AOR (album-oriented rock). I was one of those people who would tune into a radio station out of Boston or Hartford to hear this type of music. Sometimes, they would play an entire album. It's an early version of streaming, just over the radio waves. History can repeat itself and look different while using the same concepts.

The track "You Got Me Rockin" says it all for content, a simple message with great vocals and musicianship to drive it down that road of the excitement of days gone by or, if you are new to the genre, a discovery worth experiencing. I am sure this band is a blast in a live setting.


Tracks like "Heartzone" are classic rock ballads, and the longest track clocks in at 5:21. The bass and drums are critical to making this rock clock tick along. Three-quarters in the lead guitar takes off to give you a taste of what they can do within one song. They change the pace and intensity, and the vocals are perfect. It reminded me of the powerful vocals of Kansas at their height.


A surprise is the cover of Gary Wright's "Love Is Alive." It is one of my favorites of the time, so this was a big test of how good this band could be. Musically, it is a sound cover, and the vocals would be the most challenging thing to emulate. The vocals were average compared to the music provided. But you expect a vocalist to sound like the original, so I am being critical; however, I liked the way they ended it.


"On The Edge" is another excellent example of the AOR genre and how to present it. The keys, bass, drums, and supporting guitar leads that bite and make the song powerful and expressive. 

If you are a guitar enthusiast and like hook-filled songs, Dreamstreet will be the band for you. Find out for yourself and stream the album with the Spotify player provided. If you're a rocker, you will find value and enjoy listening to Dreamstreet.


Keith “MuzikMan” Founder

December 5, 2023


1. Money 

2. Power of Love 

3. Forever Yours 

4. Head Troubles 

5. Love Is Alive 

6. Heartzone 

7. On The Edge 

8. Time To Go Home 

9. You Got Me Rockin


Instrumental Holiday Jazz Review: Mads Tolling - Featuring The Mads Men & Sonny Fredie-Pedersen-Cool Yule

Release Date: December 8, 2023

Label: Madsman Records


Mads Tolling grew up in Denmark with a strong tradition of the Christmas season as an essential part of his upbringing. His heartfelt tribute to that time and the meaning it holds for him is preserved forever in his heart. With all that emotion and memory, he decided to record some of his family's favorite songs on Cool Yule.

Remember that the songs selected were from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Iceland. So, some tracks may only seem traditional if you have never been exposed to that country's holiday music. 

It's cool because the tracks are performed in the style of holiday music via the jazz idiom and are all instrumental, except for the title track with special guest Sonny Fredie-Pederson. Jazz music always works well with traditional and nontraditional wintertime holiday music. However, I don't recall covering a recording with the violin as the lead instrument in this type of music. 

The first question that will likely come up in your mind is, will it sound close enough to the originals? How will the violin sound as a lead instrument? Well, Jean-Luc Ponty proved it could work in the complicated music of progressive rock and beyond, so why can't Mads Tolling do the same within jazz? It is not an easy task, but I am here to tell you it works out wonderfully. One is because they keep it fresh, and the second is because the improvisation is brilliant while maintaining the true spirit of the music and its original concept and base sound. 

I, for one, have had a love for jazz for over thirty years now. That love and appreciation have grown more robust with each passing year. So, with that thought in mind and my passion for the ability of jazz to stretch out, this is an entirely enjoyable listen. 

A few good examples of the tracks taking things down a different improvisational path because of the violin are "My Favorite Things," of course, Coltrane comes to mind right away when you mention that if you are a jazz enthusiast. "Pa Loftet Sidder Nissen (The Gnome's Attic)" was extraordinary, with superb violin, bass lines, and piano. Then, there is a complete switch when you will immediately recognize "Santa Baby." One of my most unique favorites was "Jolakotturinn (The Christmas Cat)," which sounded very Celtic-influenced or something one may have heard during medieval times.

There are many reasons to appreciate and enjoy a recording like Cool Yule. Mainly because the violin takes the lead and factors like the jazz interpretations and how much ground the band covers worldwide regarding countries. All of that adds up to a unique holiday album that is suitable for listening any time of the year, and that is because eclecticism overrides all the other factors and can keep a listener engaged from start to finish. After all, isn't that what drives a musician to create in the first place? And then, to produce something so unique and significant is another surprise to find in your Christmas stocking this year.

Keith “MuzikMan” Founder

December 2, 2023


01. The Christmas Song 5:29

02. My Favorite Things 6:10

03. Pa Loftet Sidder Nissen (The Gnome's Attic) 5:04

04. Santa Baby 3:18

05. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus 3:16

06. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town 3:28

07. Jolakotturinn (The Christmas Cat) 5:00

08. Let It Go 5:25

09. Cool Yule 3:56

10. Sankta Lucia 5:32

11. The Little Mermaid/Wonderful, Wonderful Copenhagen 4:46

12. I Am So Glad Each Christmas Eve 5:22


Featured Track Review: Paul Adams-Moon Over Prairie

"Moon Over Prairie" is an acoustic guitar track from Paul Adams. He describes it as a painting of the prairie. It is an organic spacial fingerstyle piece in the mood of John Fahey, Leo Kottke, or Will Ackerman.

After listening to the track and watching the video, I agree with that assessment. The spatial reference applies to the track and the beautiful video accompanying it.

Paul is a challenging artist to pin down. He is too eclectic to do so. His acoustic guitar playing is outstanding, with flavorings from blues (albeit some excellent slide playing) to country. And he does it all to make it sound rooted in Americana, along with a touch of ethereal.

Paul Adams's track and video of "Moon Over Prairie" is picturesque enough without the video. However, the images presented help to complete the painting, and the moments he creates in the music tell the story. It is over 5 minutes of instrumental acoustic guitar that any music lover can appreciate.

Keith “MuzikMan” Founder

November 6, 2023

I wonder what it is that Paul Adams doesn't do? Working in multiple genres, his 13 critically acclaimed albums have over 128 million streams on Pandora and can be heard on Spotify, Sirius Radio The Spa, Music Choice, Amazon Radio, Echoes, Apple Radio, Tidal and other worldwide platforms...READ MORE...


Acoustic Instrumental Review: New Latitude-Nature of Things

Release Date: May 17, 2023

Label: Independent


New Latitude’s most recent release Nature of Things, is an acoustic instrumental five-track EP.

The Musicians are Dave Erickson (acoustic guitar), Jim Carr (acoustic guitar), Bob Strickland, Kim Stone (upright bass), and Steven Schumann (cello). 


Led to Believe” starts, and the sounds are like a warm summer breeze gently caressing your face. It is instrumental jazz, like the quiet storm of smooth jazz. 


“Invisible Frame” follows in the same manner. However, it is a more straight-ahead acoustic track with a soft rock touch. Some nice acoustic guitar and picking is the feature here. It ends with the sound of a cymbal closing it out elegantly as possible. 


“Tribute” continues to show the magnificent guitar duo of Dave Erickson and Jim Carr. The two gents form an irresistible groove like a breeze over the ocean as it cools the hot sun on the beach. I understand that the track’s title does not translate to my interpretation. However, that is what I felt and envisioned while listening. It’s my “Tribute” to their work.


“Circumstances Have Changed” reaches back to the jazz roots with a Latin flavor that is very pleasant to hear. These two men know how to create a beautiful and satisfying sound with their acoustic guitars. And I must say I enjoyed the diversity and changes within all the tracks. That is how you can showcase your talents appropriately and in good measure. They do it with such class and precision; this track exemplifies that.


“Softer Than Silence” closes out this gorgeous EP of instrumental mastery. It is simply acoustic guitars doing their dance with each other. I think that was a great choice; keep it straightforward to end it all with a gentleness you will remember. 


Their rhythm is exceptional and leaves you with a smile, knowing you can revisit it all and feel the same way. That is all any artist could ask for, an attentive and appreciative audience that knows their music will brighten and soothe their souls. 


Nature of Things delivers on all the most critical points, excellent musicianship, production, sound, and tastefulness for anyone to enjoy. It is diverse enough to catch the ear of any serious music listener, and it certainly has a crossover appeal that will serve them well.

Keith “MuzikMan” Founder

June 12, 2023

Track Listing:
1. Led to Believe (3:53)
2. Invisible Frame (3:38)
3. Tribute (4:19)
4. Circumstances Have Changed (3:45)
5. Softer Than Silence (3:11)


Instrumental Jazz Review: Manuel Muzzu-From T(h)ree To Four

Release Date: March 12, 2023

Label: Independent


From T(h)ree To Four is Manuel Muzzu's fourth studio album. It has been five years since I covered New Stories-Old Hands.


For those of you who may not be familiar with Manuel's story, he lost the use of his fingers on his right very early in life. His love for the bass and overcoming his disability is one of the miracles of his life. He endeavored to play as anyone else would typically and somehow adapt a style that worked for him.


You only record four albums if you can create palatable music and sound professional. For that matter, Manuel's talent is above average. Using the bass as a lead instrument is not uncommon but infrequent. With that fact in mind, it makes what he has accomplished more remarkable.


I have heard my share of the greats over the years and enjoyed the privilege of covering their music. Manuel's sense of rhythm and fluidity gives his instrument room to breathe and adjust to the music behind him. He has a host of additional musicians contributing, including synth, piano, trumpet, saxophone, flugelhorn, guitar, and drums. A complete ensemble to fill in the missing spaces to make each composition complete and allow his bass to lead the way.


What you will hear are various shades and colors of the jazz spectrum. "Punky Funky," my favorite track, is jazz-funk, while "Jeff's Style" is smooth jazz. Jumping from one style to another is impressive, and most importantly, you can keep your audience tuned in and waiting in anticipation for the next track. I like a wide range of jazz and subgenres. It holds many aspects that keep me engrossed in what I listen to. It creates a sense of wonderment about the talent you are hearing and how eclectic one genre can be. Jazz is a complex type of music that draws from many sources, including the blues. The ability to shape and mold those resources requires talent and patience to give birth to the varied tracks you will hear on this recording.


"Salsamba" is another instance of a complete change in direction to the energetic salsa and samba sound. Two different jazz styles merged, which is more challenging to create with a good flow. Manuel is exceptionally talented at diverting to any kind he desires. He does it all with a successful blend of his supporting instruments and an excellent bass command.


From T(h)ree To Four is an album that any jazz lover will appreciate because it crosses into many different styles. If you genuinely love jazz, you will understand this consummate representation of the genre. Anyone seeking exceptional instrumental jazz will find their way to this recording, not to mention those seeking a hero and an example of overcoming all the odds to do what he loved and shine brightly. Manuel Muzzu presents the miracle of a man's courage and persistence through twelve tracks you will thoroughly enjoy.


Keith “MuzikMan” Founder

June 6, 2023


01. LAST ONE (6:19)

02. ON MY SIDE (4:40)

03. PUNKY FUNKY (5:09)

04. LOST IN (8:25)

05. JEFF's STYLE (4:14)

06. SALSAMBA  (5:49)

07. RIGHT NOW (6:36)

08. URBANOISES  (4:56)


10. M'I ?  (4:15)


Featured Artist: Todd Mosby-Georgia's World Track Review

Artist: Todd Mosby

Title: Georgia's World Track Review

Genre: Jazz

Todd Mosby's "Georgia's World" is an excellent instrumental jazz tune. It brings me back to why I love this genre so much. And then the wordless female vocals reminded me of a few Al DiMeola recordings I was into back in the 80s—sweet memories of opening a new door of fascinating music.


The picturesque "Georgia's World" is a tribute to Georgia O' Keefe's life and times in New Mexico. This beautiful musical painting will speak to those with the soul of the artist making his interpretation of another legendary figure that put her thoughts and heart on canvas.


Now we have a musical canvas created by a talented guitar player with a vision and flair for creating colorful notes that you can float on like a billowing cloud.


"Georgia's World" takes you into another space in time, a different world or mindset that only music can deliver. That circle completes from one artist to another, and we, as listeners, enjoy the collaborations.

Keith “MuzikMan” Founder

April 6, 2023

More About Todd Mosby:


Instrumental composer, songwriter, and Imrat guitar innovator Todd Mosby is a storyteller and a landscape artist. He uses the guitar to whisk listeners away to a borderless realm where jazz, jazz fusion, North Indian classical, classical composition, bluegrass, bossa-nova, and folk-rock create transporting and transformative experiences...READ MORE...


Rock Instrumental/Vocal Review: Lance Reegan-Diehl-Maniacal Cavern

Release Date: March 8, 2023

Label: Independent


It has been 15 years since I covered a Lance Reegan-Diehl album. That is a mighty long stretch. When the man decides to release an album, which has been since 2011’s Uploaded, he makes it count.


So now Maniacal Cavern has arrived with a determined-looking guitar player staring at you on the front cover. Lance’s Cavern is his home studio, which has served him well for decades.


So off we go into another instrumental rock album? Well, not quite. After the lengthy break-out lead-off track “Crying Nut,” clocking in at a hearty 9:19 of some fine guitar lines (what I always would expect), the next track, “Don’t Look Back,” features some AC/DC-like vocals for a quick change of pace. The shortest track is 4:11, so there is no skimping on content.


“Friction” is another rocking vocal track. The rhythm section hums right along, and the pace shifts back and forth with odd time signatures. It is a genuine progressive rocker with some tough-edged vocals to express the meaning entirely. The shift from pop-rock to hard-edged progressive rock is interesting. It was like listening to three different songs in one.


“Luna Glow” continues with the vocal tracks. I am not used to this on an LRD album. So far, it’s working. The guitar playing is so good that he can’t go wrong. 8:05 is some time to stretch things out; Lance and the band utilize the time wisely. 


“Made of Wood” is an absolute cracker. It’s Lance doing what he does best, making love to those six strings. The guitar is finite and precise, and as we rock along, little funky piano changes the pace briefly, albeit very briefly, then back to the flat-out rocking we love to hear.


“Praise An Upper Lip” is another progressive track, instrumentally speaking. The time shifts can be dramatic at times. I am impressed with how Lance plays in many places (or different paces and styles) within one track. It takes guts to take a chance, and you must rely on your raw talent to get to the other side and do so successfully. It is one of my favorites for the variety and the challenges he pushes himself to reach. It always reaches an incredible apex with his guitar screaming. Love it.


“Seven Of 4” is one Metallica fans would enjoy as the shredding begins immediately and then morphs into more tasteful muted licks. Then they return to harder-edged fat chords and shredding; if you like six-string pyrotechnics, you will love this track. I did. I like the ode to Rush with that short burst of echoing guitar a little after 3 minutes. So many influences are flowering here. Epic.


“Sleepy Wheel” is a superb instrumental track. There is nothing here not to like. This probably is one of the best I have ever heard from Lance. Everything great about his playing is on display in this. There are tastefully done moments, get-down dirty points, and a funky backbeat. It’s all here for guitar enthusiasts to suck in and discuss in depth the transitions this player goes through.


“Slow Jam To Mars” is what it says it is, well, with some fast playing. It’s more of the bottom end that is slow jamming while Lance holds nothing back. This album continues to get stronger as you progress through the tracks. At times you get reminded of the power of Black Sabbath and the smooth, precise playing of David Gilmour. So good and fun to listen to.


“Take Off The ‘G’ String” continues with Lance on fire and in a completely focused groove. The jaw-dropping command of his instrument is truly a wonder to hear. This is a man I would love to see play live. It mainly displays as you will listen to this track. He makes that guitar sing and cry with joy. He owns this one. Maybe some memories of Eddie Van Halen in his prime will come to mind. Guitar and man take flight into the stratosphere.


“The One (Album Version)” brings back the vocals with fine guitar. It is a big step away from the previous tracks focused on the artist’s technical abilities as a player. This opens the door to new ventures with vocal tracks at a slower pace. It is so different that it sounds out of place after rocking your ass off track after track for a while, anyway. It was well done, though; a very tasteful guitar worth waiting for, then an apex at the end that is very satisfying. You can see it as a respite from the relentless attack on your senses presented prior (well, somewhat), which I loved.


So here we are at the end of this fantastic aural journey I thoroughly enjoyed. “What A Rush” indeed. And an acceptable way to close this excellent recording. Per usual, Lance gives it his all and lets his fingers do all the talking. The music is so melodic and beautiful. Some of his most vital work firmly closes the curtain, reminding me why I always loved his music.


If you have yet to hear Lance Reegan-Diehl, you are cheating yourself on a fantastic journey through the abilities of the guitar and how eclectic it can be (depending on who is playing). Now that you know who he is, check out this album and past releases; you will not be disappointed.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-TFOV Founder

March 8, 2023


01. Crying Nut

02. Don’t Look Back

03. Friction

04. Luna Glow

05. Made Of Wood

06. Praise An Upper Lip

07. Seven Of 4

08. Sleepy Wheel

09. Slow Jam To Mars

10. Take Off The ‘G’ String

11. The One (Album version)

12. What A Rush


Cinematic Instrumental Review: Christopher Caouette-Tale of the Oakenwish

Label: Independent

Release Date: October 18, 2022


If you have an imagination that is an open door, and all you need is the right music to set it free, I have the correct medicine for you to take. Tale of the Oakenwish from Christopher Caouette is the creator of this magical journey of sound and color.

My introduction to Christopher was this Did you know you’d be going to a movie theater today? No? Yes, yes, you are. Get ready to feel like you’ve fallen into the middle of a movie like Lord of the Rings or a show like Vikings! 

Well, it could not have been more accurate; this is like a soundtrack for a movie, perhaps the one already in your mind, just waiting to be animated by the right sounds. Or is it for a film you saw that you could never forget? It could be either of those or something entirely different; whatever it may be that you have trapped inside your mind or deep in your soul, this music will draw it out.

There is only one vocal on this recording featuring Lindsay Schoolcraft; all the other tracks are epic instrumentals. Although the basic tenets of the new age mindset may have been a foundation, I would define it as cinematic instrumental. Nor is this meditation music; it is much too exciting to fall into that category. 

The first nine tracks bring you to another world, a time a place only found in ancient tales, deep in the forest where the sprites and fairies hide where nobody can see them or discover them. It is the excitement of a journey into a lost civilization where all the secrets of humanity are waiting, with all the keyboards and wordless vocals pushing the music to the highest heights imaginable. 

Christopher is the magical wizard that pulls you into his storybook set to music. The production values are very high; hence, the sound will immerse you into the world found in the music. If you feel you need a getaway of fantasy to a place far away, then a Tale of the Oakenwish will get you there in a matter of minutes. It was one of the most entertaining listens I have had this year. By the time it is released, the special Holidays will be underway in a matter of weeks, and it will get you in the right mindset to pull away from this world into another.

Keith “MuzikMan” Founder

October 3, 2022


01. Flight Of Cedarsong

02. Forest Of Wishes

03. Oakenwish

04. Forest Of Mist

05. The Fae's Gift

06. Kisyra's Dream

07. I May Be One (Album Version Feat. Lindsay Schoolcraft)

08. Valor

09. Lament Of Cedarsong

10. Tale Of The Oakenwish Continuous Mix


Pop Rock Review: Jeff Fowler-Live At The Mint

Release Date: April 29, 2022

Label:  Get It! Records, LLC


Any artist that has success has a solid core group behind them. Rick Wakeman said when he met David Bowie, the best advice he could have given him was that you get musicians that believe in what you are doing. I think in the case of Jeff he was able to do that on Live At The Mint.

The voice and music need to mesh and have excellent production values to be fully realized when recorded then released to the public. Ok so another box is ticked, the production is very good and and nice and clear.

Jeff has a very smooth delivery, perfect for covering pop-rock tunes of his own and some covers with a tasty encore medley with many fan favorites. His vocal approach is very comforting and it suits the tracks he performs.

Tracks like “Firefly” provide a good example of that particular sound. Think of the soft touch of a Christopher Cross at his peak or hints of Sinatra in his delivery. Frank was one of the greatest and his range was limited, he did not belt out a song, he was smooth and purposeful. That is how I would look at the way he makes a song come alive on stage. Even when he raises the bar towards the end of “Goldfish Girl” he gets to a certain point, lets it go, then moves to the next phrasing.

The audience interaction is always a key component in any live performance and then if it’s recorded to be released as a live album, even more so. You can tell without being there that Jeff has the attention of his audience and is really enjoying mixing it up with them.

I have to hand it to the supporting band with the way the music is behind Jeff when he sang, it did not drown him out nor did he have to compete with an instrument hitting the needle in the red on VU meter. That is very important for the singer and obviously the person running the mixing board for sound had their act together.

When “True” started it brought back memories of the 80s. What a great tune that is and album. Spandau Ballet was a unique name for a band. I remember I had that album on cassette. The background vocals on this were excellent by Sharon Youngblood. It is was very well done and the musicianship was spot on. So, kudos for covering a classic track with proper representation. It makes me wonder now what it would sound like on vinyl. It takes some wherewithal to cover Paul Simon’s “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover.” I was surprised how well it was done.

My favorite track was “So Far,” the only rocker on the entire set. With such a fully capable band I think it would make sense to do more tracks like that. Just my thoughts and opinion of course.

Live At The Mint was team effort and that is why I felt it necessary to list all the contributors. Jeff Fowler is the not kind of artist that is going to rock the house but if you are in the mood for an evening of fun and some easy listening with pop and rock elements you will enjoy his music.

On a side note…Jeff since you are a lawyer how about doing a parody on a fictional court case with members of the circus as your jury and you sing your defense case to them? If anything, it would make a very entertaining video!

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder
April 29, 2022

Jeff Fowler: vocals, keys
Wes Styles: guitars, music director
Eli Hludzik: drums, percussion
Jesse Stern: bass
Ryan Brown: percussion, glockenspiel
Brad Snow: additional keys, guitars
Dennis Clark, Kitten Kuroi,
Sharon Youngblood: background vocals
Kitten Kuroi: background vocals

01. The “Fowler Vibrations”
02. I’ll Try
03. Intro – Shout out to yogis!
04. Here’s to You
05. Intro – The Englebert-Humperdink jacket move
06. Firefly
07. Goldfish Girl
08. Intro –Mr. Mason Man
09. Mr. Mason Man
10. You Have a Way
11. True
12. Intro
13. 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover
14. Intro
15. So Far
16. Encore Medley:
Turn It On Again
Is She Really Going Out with Him?
I’d Do Anything for Yo
Encore Medley Genesis, Joe Jackson, Rick Springfield (Live)


Featured Track-Sample The Cat-The Weather

Sample The Cat is a 3-piece American band from Berkshire County, Massachusetts, featuring the powerful soul vocalist Kendrah Bellevue, melodic rock guitarist Steve Dalton at lead and the prodigious Bryan Brophy on keys. Their latest release is a hauntingly beautiful track titled "The Weather." 

The music is a step away from the fusion of jazz, funk, and soul that they perform so well. They are gradually getting enough tracks together, all original, to release a full album.

The timing of this release is perfect for those feeling "The Weather." Not everyone is jolly this time of year, and the last two years have been challenging. The music speaks the truth and lifts your soul.

"The Weather" is a beautiful tapestry of sound and voice to bring the message home with conviction. Sample The Cat wants those suffering to know they are not alone. Music like this soothes you and gives you inner peace and a reprieve from the crazy world around us. As Kendrah sings from her heart and feels the song, her voice's strength and emotion permeate the equally outstanding music accompanying her.

So stop for a few minutes, listen to the words and music, and give in the spirit of humanity to help others less fortunate.

The track speaks volumes for those suffering from depression and the "Winter Blues." They ask you to donate anything you can here in support of mental health.

Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck 

December 10, 2021

Visit the Sample The Cat Website now. 

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