Toad the Wet Sprocket released their first LP, Bread & Circus, 25 years ago on their own, independent label, Abe’s Records. A quarter of a decade later, and they’ve just released their LP, New Constellation, on the same label and in the same spirit of unwavering independence, but this time with the help and enthusiastic support of their fans. Toad the Wet Sprocket (Glen Phillips on lead vocals and guitar, Dean Dinning on bass and vocals, Todd Nichols on lead guitar and vocals, and Randy Guss on the drums) share in the kind of musical chemistry that can only come from meeting in high school and writing, recording and touring on albums over the course of those 25 years. After Bread & Circus, they followed with Pale in 1990, fear in ’91, Dulcinea in 1994, and Coil in 1997, as well as some compilation and rarities compilations along the way. While most will feel the comforting familiarity of the Billboard-charting hits, “Walk on the Ocean”, “All I Want”, “Something’s Always Wrong”, and “Fall Down”, new fans will also be well familiar with their new hits such as “The Moment” which continues to climb the AAA charts as well. Even with a period of the band members weaving in and out of each other’s musical lives, the same creative curiosity that inspired the band to form in 1986 has brought them full circle to come back together again. It’s official: TOAD IS BACK.
Liebert’s incredible global success on a musical level often seems like a simple outgrowth of his cultural background and powerful wanderlust in his formative years. Born in Cologne, Germany to Chinese-German father and Hungarian mother, he began playing guitar at 11, and traveled extensively through Europe and Asia intent on fully absorbing each musical tradition he encountered. After pursuing his Rock and Roll dreams first in his native Germany and then in Boston, he abandoned the frustrations of the East coast and settled in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
By 1989, he had founded the first incarnation of his new band Luna Negra. Nouveau Flamenco began life as a self-produced local release called Marita: Shadows and Storms, copies of which local Indian artist Frank Howell distributed in his art galleries. When the record found its way to radio stations and began generating a buzz among programmers and an unprecedented response among listeners, Higher Octave Music picked it up and released a fully remastered version.
“I was honestly happy playing this music in hotels and restaurants in Santa Fe, and going in one year from doing that to opening for Miles Davis was a pretty intense jump,” he recalls. “Most shocking for me was to realize how many different people from so many diverse cultures embraced it. I still get letters from fans in Europe, South-America, Australia, and Asia...it’s been a really gratifying experience. I’ve had the opportunity to play in a wide variety of cultural settings with musicians from around the world, and that has been a great experience, too.”
Since its original conception by producer Aaron Levinson in 2000, the Grammy Award Winning Spanish Harlem Orchestra (SHO) has established itself as a standard bearer of contemporary Latin music. Directed by world-renowned pianist, arranger, and producer Oscar Hernández, the thirteen-member all-star ensemble has reintroduced the classic sounds of New York City Salsa to music lovers worldwide. The Grammy award-winning Viva la Tradicón, SHO’s fourth album, is a stunning follow-up to their 2007 Grammy nominated United We Swing, 2004 Grammy award-winning album Across 110th St., and their 2002 debut, Un Gran Día En El Barrio.
The 12-track collection marks the orchestra’s debut album for Concord Picante. Viva la Tradicón takes up where its three predecessors left off – stirring the pot of mid-20th century influences and keeping the salsa simmering for current and future generations.
Now in its tenth year, the Spanish Harlem Orchestra is one of the most formidable and authentic Latin jazz combos of today. Yet for all of its appeal with contemporary audiences, the group’s success is actually rooted in the past. A lively and energetic affair, Viva la Tradición draws on inspiration from the music’s history and enduring traditions. The collection is comprised largely of original compositions and arrangements of classic salsa tunes by bandleader/founder Oscar Hernandez as well as enlisting the support of veteran composer and arranger Gil Lopez on three of Lopez’s compositions (“Son De Corazon,” “Nuestra Cancion,” and “Regala De Dios).
The year is 2013 and revolution is calling once again for Queensryche front man Geoff Tate, who is leading the charge with the band's forthcoming studio effort titled, Frequency Unknown, due out April 23 on Deadline Music/Cleopatra Records.
Although "F.U." might be perceived as a fitting tribute and salutation, it is, without question, a no-holds barred album of new music featuring original Queensryche vocalist Geoff Tate along with an entirely new line-up consisting of bassist Rudy Sarzo (Quiet Riot/Ozzy Osbourne/Whitesnake/Dio/Blue Oyster Cult), guitarist Robert Sarzo (Hurricane), drummer Simon Wright (AC/DC/Dio), guitarist Kelly Gray (Queensryche 1998 - 2001) and keyboardist Randy Gane (Myth).
For Frequency Unknown, Tate and company invited a few of their friends to come join in on the recording "fun" for what will mark Queensryche's thirteenth studio album.
An album containing ten new hard-hitting, distinctively Queensryche songs, four newly-recorded Queensryche classics and an array of well-known guests including guitarists Chris Poland (Megadeth), Dave Meniketti (Y&T), Brad Gillis (Night Ranger), Ty Tabor (King's X), K.K. Downing (Judas Priest), Craig Locicero (Forbidden) and Chris Cannella along with drummers Paul Bostaph (Slayer/Testament) and Evan Bautista.
Jimmie Vaughan is far more than just one of the greatest and most respected guitarists in the world of popular music. As Guitar Player Magazine notes, “He is a virtual deity–a living legend.” After all, Vaughan provides a vital link between contemporary music and its proud heritage, as well as being a longtime avatar of retro cool.
Since releasing his first solo album in 1994, he has set the standard for quality modern roots music. Throughout his career, Vaughan has earned the esteem of his legendary guitar-playing heroes and superstar peers along with successive generations of young players. His musical ethos and personal style have had an impact on contemporary culture, from spearheading the current blues revival with The Fabulous Thunderbirds to his longtime, innate fashion sense of slicked-back hair and sharp vintage threads (now seen throughout the pages of contemporary fashion journals) to becoming a premier designer of classic custom cars. But for Jimmie Vaughan, none of it is part of a crusade or a career plan. It’s just his natural way of living his life and pursuing the interests that have captivated Vaughan since his youth.
Now, with his third solo release and Artemis Records debut, Do You Get The Blues?, Vaughan has fashioned his most compelling and appealing musical statement yet, creating a rich and variegated masterpiece of 21st Century rhythm and blues. From the first notes of the opening instrumental, “Dirty Girl,” it’s clear that Vaughan has created a contemporary classic. Driven by Vaughan’s lyrical guitar work, the skin-tight drumming of George Rains and the verdant Hammond B-3 work of the song’s writer, Bill Willis (whose long career includes work on the seminal R&B and blues sides issued by King Records as well as stints with Freddie King and Lavern Baker), the song speaks volumes without a single word, and sets a tone of distinctive and emotion-laden musical articulation that continues throughout the disc.