Friday, November 23, 2012



1. Keep On Swinging
2. Wild Animal
3. You Want To
4. Until The Sun Comes
5. Run From Revelation
6. Jordan
7. All The War
8. The Heist
9. Three Fingers
10. Nava
11. Manifest Destiny (Pt. 1)
12. Manifest Destiny (Pt. 2)
13. True
Release Date: 09/18/2012
When Rival Sons opened for Evanescence (Rock-it-Write~Rival Sons) on October 28, 2011, my first reaction was, “Holy Shit…this band ROCKS!”   Rival Sons is a non-stop, rock-n-roll experience oozing with slink, grit and attitude.  To say I was impressed with this bad-ass band from LA is an understatement; I had to hear more from them.
I put my hands on their then current CD, ‘Pressure and Time’ and found the music steeped in rich soul and swampy Blues.  Fusing shades of The Doors, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles and Creedence Clearwater Revival, the CD spun with a vintage sound from the late 60’s/early 70’s that was filled with unbridled energy.  Rival Sons entrenched their style of sound with rowdy swagger and boldness.  It was fresh, exhilarating and all attitude.  Their current CD, HEAD DOWN is even better.
The only thing missing from HEAD DOWN are the daisies, lava lamps and heady patchouli, but if you close your eyes and listen – it’s all there – along with peace symbols, bell bottoms and long hair.  HEAD DOWN by Rival Sons is psychedelic, head-bopping blues infused with foot-tapping, body-rocking soul and slicked back with bad ass, fist-pumping rock.
Jay Buchanan, Scott Holiday, Mike Miley and Robin Everhart are the quartet that is RIVAL SONS.   For the past year and a half they have been on the road strutting and playing their music and teaching audiences how to groove, and to do it with swagger. They opened for goth rockers, Evanescence then embarked on their own headlining tour of Europe. 
In 2011, I-Tunes named them “Best New Act” and just recently (11-13-2012) they were awarded, “Best New Breakthrough Artist of 2012” by Classic Rock Magazine.   Rival Sons are shooting stars, and with sheer tenacity and determination (that won’t quit) they are aiming for the moon and claiming the sun. 
Compared widely to Led Zeppelin, Rival Sons got a chance to hob-nob with guitar great, Jimmy Page, who was in attendance at one of their shows in London.  Even the music elite know an amazing group when they see it.   Getting a musical nod from Jimmy Page must’ve been both humbling and euphoric.
Jay Buchanan’s voice is stratospheric and exudes confidence and swagger, something rarely seen in bands today.  His vocal prowess rivals that of the great singers:  Plant, Morrison, Mercury and Rodgers.  Jay is the epitome of what a young, rock god should be.
Scott Holiday, a serious, dedicated guitarist who’s playing is electrifying.  He’s not Page, Beck, Clapton or Hendrix – he’s Holiday.  Scott takes from the masters and puts his spin to it.  Yes, similarities are there but no blatant rip-offs.  He’s just a fan paying homage to the guitar gods and doing it in his own way -- Holiday style.  Scott’s ability to shred and make notes scream is readily apparent.  As is his softer, acoustic side.  He’s tight but loose.
Mike Miley and Robin Everhart hold the rhythm section together and are the battering ram when needed.  Mike's heavy-hitting beat, and the playful ease at the drums, is amazing.  He makes it all look easy, though we know it's not.  Robin's playing is steady, and the glue that holds the Rival Sons sound in sync. Timing is everything - Mike and Robin nail it.
Overall, HEAD DOWN is a scintillating, smattering of melodious, cacophony of songs.   Rival Sons is, hands down, the Best New Act/Artist for sure.  This album is a necessity for your musical collection, and when the Sons roll into your town go see them.  This is a band that you “must” see live to truly complete their musical experience.  They are that good! 
Rival Sons is a band that knows absolutely no limits, they are balls-to-the-wall rock and roll…HEAD DOWN.


Music Review also posted here:   BlueBird Reviews

Read the 2011 performance review of the band here:  Rock-it-Write: Rival Sons 10/2011

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

BETH HART: An Introduction

It's the wind over the ocean. It's the secrets in the sand.
It's all trying to tell me something.
So I'm listening.
Life is Calling ~ Lyrics by Beth Hart

Beth Hart came into the world on January 24th and grew up in Los Angeles, California. At the tender age of 4 she was playing piano and at age 18 won 13 episodes in a row on Star Search (a competitive music show) where she went on to win the show’s final competition.

During her tumultuous childhood and young adult years, Beth battled the pain of drug and alcohol addiction, the loss of a loved one to drug abuse, and lost herself as well, from her fear and mistrust of people. At one point Beth even had a serious weight issue. With the steady and reliable help of one person, her road manager Scott Guetzkow, Beth went to rehab, lost the weight, then married Scott. Through it all, writing and recording music has been Beth’s therapeutic solace.

“Music is what life sounds like.” ~ Eric Olson

Beth’s mental and physical hurdles make up her musical DNA.  She guides us on her journey with soulful voice and heartfelt lyrics, Beth paints the setting with her intense powerful sound ~ all musical tapestries spun to heal the pained soul.

With a unique, raw voice Beth can croon ballads and yet belt out angry, angsty rock numbers with screams of animal savagery. With true grit and tenacity Beth Hart, like the greats: Etta James, Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, and Janis Joplin, sings from the belly of the beast. Reaching in deep she pulls out everything and smacks you upside the head, not with her heart, but with her soul.

"Music is an outburst of the soul.” ~ Frederick Delius

Beth Hart is no shrinking violet; her mesmerizing voice is a sultry growl sung with fierce ferocity backed by artistically creative musicianship. She is here and now.  A striking presence and a mighty force to be reckoned with.  Beth’s indomitable spirit gives no quarter and she expects none back.

Her band includes lead guitarist Jon Nichols, bassist Tom Lilly, and drummer Todd Wolf.

The Music:

In 1993 she recorded her first album, Beth Hart and the Ocean of Souls. Beth released her next album, Immortal with the Beth Hart Band in 1996.

Her next album, Screamin’ for My Supper, came out on Atlantic records in 1999. It featured the top 5 Adult Contemporary chart hit, "LA Song (Out of This Town).” Beth was also singing the lead role in the off-Broadway musical, "Love, Janis". A musical based on Janis Joplin's letters home to her mother.

In 2003, Leave the Light On was released and in 2005 Beth released Live at Paradiso. July 2007 found Beth releasing 37 Days in Europe July 2007. During this time Beth performed a song with Slash called "Mother Maria."

In 2011 Beth worked with guitar legend, Joe Bonamassa; first providing vocals for the track, "No Love On The Street" on his album Dust Bowl then collaborating on an entire album of blues classics entitled, Don’t Explain (See CD Review Here and Here) which was released on September 2011.

~ ~ ~

The following 5 songs are being re-released to fans in North America. The songs were originally released from two different albums: 37 Days and My California.

Liner Notes:

37 Days: The album name refers to how long it took to record the album.

My California: On this album Beth’s Danish producer, Rune Westberg wanted her not to rely on her impressive voice but to make the songs powerfully emotional and that is exactly what she did. My California is openly poignant and emotes Beth’s hard-won battles as well as her losses.
~ ~ ~

Good as it Gets - 37 Days: Music is upbeat and Beth gets into the groove and sings this song for all its worth.

“I have made you suffer, left you waiting in the rain
While I was chasing demons in the deserts of my pain
You know me better than the poison in my veins
So my love remember, when God forgets my name.”
My California ~ Lyrics by Beth Hart

My California – My California: I read that this song was written for her husband/manager, Scott. From the lyrics to the music, it’s hauntingly beautiful.

“...So forgive me for my weakness
I guess my faith is a little stoned
The angles cried on a Friday
The day that God walked you home.”
Sister Heroine ~ Lyrics by Beth Hart

Sister Heroine – My California: The 7th track, "Sister Heroine," is a sensitive, honest and moving tribute to her older sister who died of heroin abuse. It is an extremely powerful and sad ballad filled with much emotion, reflecting the pain, struggle and closure of losing someone. Beth honored the memory of her sister beautifully in the way she does best – with song.

NOTE: Slash, former guitarist of Guns N' Roses, guest performs on the track.

Soul Shine - 37 Days: This track is a cover of the song, "Soulshine", originally written by the Allman Brothers guitarist, Warren Haynes. While the Allman Brother’s version is fantastic, I prefer Beth’s style, the way she imbues her own brand of soul fire and sound; Beth took a well known song and made it her own,

Easy - 37 Days: A song that starts off easy but holds no punches as it gets moving. Stronvocals with telling lyrics.

Click here for: Beth Hart Website

Click here for: Beth Hart Facebook

Picture:  Copyright: Greg Watermann /

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

THE CULT: Choice of Weapon Tour 2012

The Casino Ballroom

Hampton Beach, NH

June 9, 2012

As the lights went down in the Casino Ballroom the cover from The Cult's latest CD, Choice of Weapon was projected onto the film screens on either side of the stage. In the darkness, sounds of tribal beats and chanting surrounded you. When the drumming stopped The Cult took the stage and we were off...running like a pack of wolves through the night stopping just long enough to do a chorus howl.

With opening acts, The Icarus Line and Against Me! raising the crowds’ energy into a splendid fervour, it was The Cult’s frenetic pace and intense, fiery spirit that sent the wild audience over the rock-n-roll edge.

Kicking the night off with an old fan favourite, Lil’ Devil, The Cult segued right into one of their newest, fist-pumping songs, Honey from a Knife. Switching gears they then played the beautiful, and artfully timeless, Rain. It was full steam ahead when they torpedoed into another amazing song from the new CD, Choice of Weapon, entitled Lucifer.

“I'm a wolf child, girl Howlin' for you. Wild flower You're the star of my dreams Most beautiful thing Wild flower.”  ~ Lyrics from Wild Flower
The set-list for the evening was a great mixture of new songs sprinkled in with the old and, with the next few songs, brought die-hard fans back through time as The Cult rifled through their musical repertoire, making their choice of weapon – music - and pushing play.

From the ever popular Fire Woman to the howling Wildflower and energizing Spiritwalker, Astbury and crew were ablaze. The ballroom was an inferno of intense energy as unchained forces between band and audience permeated the air.

Like Aladdin riding on a magical carpet, Ian was front and center dancing and holding court upon his multi-colored Indian rug; and instead of holding a lamp, he held a tambourine, which he shook so hard the cymbals flew off like silver birds fluttering overhead. Chris Wyse was amped up - very exuberant and smiling like the Cheshire cat with a story to tell. Mike Dimkitch was having a good ol time and interacted with Chris constantly. John Tempesta was a mad-man on the drums getting the crowd going and in the groove. Billy Duffy was on fire, sizzling on the guitar - relaxed yet tight. This band line-up works well together and it shows in the candor they have on-stage.

"It rained flowers when the music began Love all around when the music is loud. Every day, nirvana. Always this way, yeah, yeah, yeah" ~ Lyrics from Nirvana
The Cult came and conquered. The band had nothing to prove and all the more to gain from the love of their fans that came out on a warm summer evening to hear their music.  Within the lyrics there is innocence, beauty, purpose; a message within a message within a story. Behind and within the music there is intensity, glory, power, edge; sounds from a place around, beside and within the core. Music is the choice. It's omnipresent and universal, it has soul, fire, mystique, passion, is, The Cult.

The Cult continues their tribal dance through North America until August 19, 2012. If you get a chance to go see them…I will say one word: GO!!!

~ A Fan Story ~

Nobody left disappointed or empty-handed. John Tempesta threw out drum sticks and Ian Astbury tossed tambourines to the wild audience; making one attendee, an 18 yr-old named Tahlia Jacques, exquisitely happy. Ian saw her give up her tambourine to the woman behind her. With hand gestures Ian said he would give her another one when the next song was over. Ian kept his promise and rewarded her by walking to where she stood, leaning out and over the stage then handed Miss Jacques a tambourine.

After the show she met Billy Duffy and John Tempesta who signed the tambourine for her.  It made the night memorable and special to her, as this was her first ever rock concert and it was to see The Cult. Miss Jacques cut her teeth listening to The Cult music, as her mom is a big fan.  Now she is part of the next generation of Cult fans dancing to the tribal beat and loving it.

The Cult - Band Members 2012

Ian Astbury - vocals and percussion
Billy Duffy - lead guitar
Mike Dimkich - rhythm guitar
Chris Wyse - bass guitar
John Tempesta - drums

Set List from Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom, Hampton, NH 2012

Lil’ Devil
Honey from a Knife
Fire Woman
The Wolf
For the Animals
Spirit Walker
She Sells Sanctuary
        ~ ~  Encore  ~ ~
Rise (added - not on original set-list)
Love Removal Machine

Photographs taken by the author:  S. A. Hussey  to see more visit:  Author's Facebook Page

Visit the band website at:

For more on this band and others please visit:

Monday, May 21, 2012

CD REVIEW: Choice of Weapon ~ The Cult

It's Raw!

It Rocks!  It Rolls!

It’s a cataclysmic blast!

“My wild Indian heart was pounding, I was running so fast…”
Lyrics: “Honey from a Knife"

Choice of Weapon is the Cult’s ninth studio album. Released by Cooking Vinyl and produced by Chris Gross and Bob Rock, Choice of Weapon is a multi-faceted, musical journey that rocks on all levels.

Singer, Ian Astbury digs deep into his lyrical repartee, while Billy Duffy cranks the guitar repertoires. Backed by drummer John Tempesta and bassist Chris Wyse, Choice of Weapon is a musical joust.

The Cult’s straight-shooter opener, “Honey from a Knife” pulsates in a rhythmical beat that propels you forward and into the next beautiful song, “Elemental Light”. Fueled by Duffy’s eclectic guitar skill, every song vibrates with Ian’s haunting, shamanic voice - taking you on a magical ride - from the spell of “Lucifer” to the amazing “Wilderness Now” to the visional “The Night in the City Forever”.

Choice of Weapon is a perfect arrangement of musical craftiness that barrages the senses each and every time you listen. It’s an extraordinary showcase of the Cult’s long running span as a group that both diehard and casual Cult listeners will enjoy.  Your Choice of Weapon  ~  Push play and repeat.

Track Listing:

1.) Honey from a Knife

2.) Elemental Light

3.) The Wolf

4.) Life ~ Death

5.) For the Animals

6.) Amnesia

7.) Wilderness Now

8.) Lucifer

9.) A Pale Horse

10.) The Night in the City Forever

For further information about the Cult and other bands please visit BlueBirdReviews at:  Blue Bird Reviews

Band website:

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Cult

"You are the stars that mystify me and you are the wolf that frightens the thief and you are the voice that they disbelieve. We are not chained to the wheel.  And you are the spark that sets us all free…” ~~lyrics from Rise by The Cult

I saw the Cult several years ago at Hampton Beach Casino in New Hampshire during their tour promoting the CD, Beyond Good and Evil. The music on that CD was a wild, magical ride staying true to the Cult’s energetically spirited music. From the driving beat of American Gothic, to the hypnotic Rise, and the bad ass, hard hitting, spellbinding Ashes and Ghosts. The Cult’s music has always left an indelible impression.

It’s been a while since that performance but I still look back on that magical night with enthusiasm, much fondness and a smile. The Cult performed an acoustic version of a song rarely ever played in concert and it was (still is) one of my favorites - Star. To say I was ecstatic is an understatement. I was over the full moon that shone brightly in the evening sky and laid its spotlight against the dark ocean water that night.

The Cult played all the crowd favorites: Wild Hearted Son, Fire Woman, Evie, Sweet Soul Sister, The Witch…they performed to a wild, animated group of passionate Cult fans; the group gave it all and the crowd gave it right back. The energy soared and at times, was fervently primal. The band rocked it hard and we, the fans, rolled like wolves running through the night.

I was lucky enough to meet Billy Duffy, Chris Wyse and Matt Sorum after the show that night, unfortunately, Ian wasn’t feeling well so I did not get to meet him. All three were the perfect gentlemen. I expected to be greeted by full on rock star personas and was met with smiling, friendly faces willing to chat with fans about music, life and what they thought of Hampton Beach . They answered all questions jovially and signed autographs without question. It was definitely a night I will always remember.

On May 22nd The Cult will release their new CD, Weapon of Choice and kick-off a long-awaited tour starting May 25th in San Diego, CA and ending June 22nd in Tempe, AZ. Along the way they will perform at Hampton Beach Casino in Hampton Beach, NH as well as the House of Blues in Boston, MA. I for one cannot wait for the release of the CD and the tour. The Cult’s going to rock and I'll be there shamanically dancing with my war paint on and my weapon of choice - music.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Beth Hart and Joe Bonamassa

Record Label: J & R Adventures (Joe Bonamassa and Roy Weisman)

Release Date: September 26th UK and Europe, September 27th US

Beth Hart (vocals)
Joe Bonamassa (guitar, vocals on "Well, Well")
Blondie Chaplin (guitar)
Carmine Rosas (bass)
Arlan Scheirbaum (keyboards)
Anton Fig (drums, percussion)

There’s an old tale that musicians tell about how if you walk on down to the windswept crossroads at the junction of Highways 61 and 49 in Clarksdale, Mississippi right around the stroke of midnight, the devil himself may come and perfectly tune your guitar or give you that sensational voice you want – albeit for a price. I always wondered what would happen if two musicians showed up at those crossroads at the same time - what happens then. Well methinks they call the tune, ramble on and we get a CD filled with amazing cover songs recreated by the immense talents of Beth Hart and Joe Bonamassa, titled Don’t Explain.

Joe Bonamassa plays his instrument in an almost unearthly style. His fingers dance over the strings creating sounds of depth as he wrings you dry with spirited emotional finesse. When Beth Hart joins in and sings, the sounds fuse, complement, harmonize and become one. Beth can moan and wail expressing the deepest sorrows of a condemned sinner but just as easily grind with grit about love finding her. These two performers artfully blend their styles and sound giving us old songs, breathed with a new airy light and a touch of the old time sultry, slinky blues.

If Joe and Beth went to those cross roads I don’t think it was to make a pact with the devil but to sing and play, and see what the Mississippi winds blew their way. Also, I think after listening to Don’t Explain, that it was to show that old devil a new thing or two about the blues.

Sinner's Prayer
Chocolate Jesus
Your Heart Is As Black As Night
For My Friend
Don't Explain
I'd Rather Go Blind
Something's Got A Hold On Me
I'll Take Care Of You
Well, Well
Ain't No Way


Sinner’s Prayer: This song is crazy-wild and digs deep. The beat thumps hard and the slink-slank of the guitar meshes with Beth’s vocals creating that gritty groove this song requires. “…have mercy.”

Chocolate Jesus: This took a few plays in the player before I started grooving with it. It’s a bluesy gospel with an upswing tempo that I found after a few plays, you start humming and singing right along with it.

Your Heart is as Black as Night: Out of all the tracks on this CD this is my least favorite. Musically it’s great. It has a slow, slinky feel to it and Joe kicks it out of the park on his guitar solo. Beth’s voice on this is well done but it doesn’t have the same panache as the other songs.

For My Friend: I do like the lyrics and Beth’s voice is edgy/spastic on this song. Musically it’s well done, unfortunately the song as a whole really doesn’t do a lot for me.

Don’t Explain: Beth’s voice is sultry and very Billie Holiday-like. Her tone and inflections, the swoop and sway gives one the feeling of “old school” soul. Beth gives her all on this one and it is just beautiful. Joe’s guitar weeps and winds its way in and out throughout the song that is amazing and skillfully done. Perfection!

I’d Rather Go Blind: Another beautifully re-crafted song. Beth’s voice cracks, weeps and moans as she tells her story; then Joe retells the story with his guitar playing during the solo which leads back to Beth to finish it.

Something’s Got a Hold On Me: One of my favorites. I love how the deep soul digging opener segues into almost a gospel sound that appears to have been caught by the blues devil himself then shaken so hard that you feel compelled to shimmy and shake. Yes, IT IS THAT GOOD!

I’ll Take Care of You: Joe’s skills on the guitar really shine on this song. You feel the edge and pain of this song in every note that he sends flying through his fingertips – spellbinding playing.

Well, Well: I gotta say this one should be getting radio play on the stations. It has a phenomenal beat and a hook that just won’t quit. Everyone that I’ve played it for is tapping their foot and humming the song. SIDE NOTE: The opener of this reminded me a bit of Robert Plant’s Takamba – not sure why.

Ain’t No Way: Ok, I’ll admit it, this song made me cry. Joe’s opening guitar playing leading into Beth’s soulful voice is tender and sweet. The lyrics are heart-wrenching and Beth weaves and wraps her voice around them making you bleed with her. If the voice wasn’t enough Joe’s guitar notes silhouette’s, harmonizes and shoulder’s Beth’s voice, like a best friend listening and helping her carry the pain. Beth and Joe pour the emotion out in this song, so beautiful. Kudos! SIDE NOTE: The opening notes have shades of In the Light by Led Zeppelin in it

For another review on this CD go to: Blue Bird Reviews

For more music reviews visit my website: Rock-it-Write