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

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Casino Ballroom
Hampton Beach
Hampton, NH
August 31, 2011

Hot Chelle Rae opened for Big Time Rush at their sold out show in Hampton Beach, NH! Having only ever heard one song of theirs, and not knowing anything else of this band, I must say I was pleasantly surprised to see and hear this group perform.

I expected a clone of Big Time Rush but was so very wrong. This was not a dancing boy band -- Hot Chelle Rae ROCKED! RK Follese, the lead singer, has a dynamite voice to go with his effervescent personality. The drummer, Jamie Follese, kept a rocking beat and his constant smile lit up the room. The lead guitarist, Nash Overstreet, and bass player, Ian Keaggy, were equally brilliant and amazing.

Hot Chelle Rae started with a song called, Beautiful Freaks, then, I Like it Like That. They also performed a cover of Katy Perry’s, Teenage Dream, which was fantastic and ended with their Top 40 hit, Tonight Tonight.

Unfortunately, I did not get a copy of the set-list but Hot Chelle Rae performed approximately seven songs. Those few songs in between the above mentioned ones, I’d like to say were an eclectic mix of pop-punk-rock. Some had a Ramones-like feel to them, while others had more of a pulsating, pumping pop-rock grind to them

At one point RK strapped on an acoustic guitar and began to softly strum a beautiful melody then he stopped, looked to the audience and said, “C’mon people raise your cell phones up – let’s light this place up.” (Oh how times have changed. In my days it was a Bic lighter we held up.) With the audiences phones held high, the rest of the band joined RK as the song sped up then took on a new rockin life of its own, making us dance and smile.

I must say if you didn’t come to Hampton Beach a fan of Hot Chelle Rae then you definitely left as one.

At the end of the night Hot Chelle Rae stayed in the ballroom, taking pictures and signing autographs for fans.  I can’t say enough what an amazing group they were. They have staying power and I look forward to seeing and hearing a lot more from them in the near future.

If you get a chance to see them perform, GO… I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

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

Band Website: Hot Chelle Rae


Casino Ballroom
Hampton Beach, Hampton, NH

August 31, 2011

Screaming fans and their parents, some waiting several hours, were lined up all around and down the street four blocks, at the Casino Ballroom at Hampton Beach, NH to get a much coveted ‘standing-room-only’ spot inside the “sold out” show for the highly popular boy-band from Nickelodeon, Big Time Rush.

The ballroom was packed with all age groups: small children, teenagers and parents alike. Everywhere you looked you saw Big Time Rush t-shirts, posters, and wrist bands. The homemade t-shirts and posters were artsy and very creative and you felt the love and spirit of the fans for the band. (It brought back memories of my own tween days and doing exactly the same thing for my favorite bands.)

After the back-up bands and some very long waits in between, Big Time Rush finally hit the stage and the crowd went crazy wild. The piercing screams from these girls was so high it should’ve shattered the glass windows. The boys were quite energetic and synchronized in their dancing moves and connected well to their audience; waving, smiling, reaching out and touching hands with their fans. James and Logan even did their famous back flips.

In between performing their upbeat songs we learned Big Time Rush had a new CD coming out soon, were filming a movie, and Season 3 of their Nickelodeon show was being shot as well. All of this elicited excited squeals of delight from the fans.

The boys pulled out the stools for a sit down of an acoustic version of, Stuck, which showed Kendall’s prowess on the guitar. Next up was a cover of the Beatle’s song, I Want to Hold Your Hand. Then the group chose a young girl from the audience to serenade their popular song, Worldwide, to her – making this young girl’s night one she would never forget.

After a few more songs Kendall, James, Logan, and Carlos ended the night with confetti and the song, The City is Ours. (Which, for tonight it was.) After leaving the stage and with screams from their audience they returned to do one more number, Halfway There.

Big Time Rush arrived and conquered. It was a BIG TIME Awesome show!

For more music reviews visit my website: Musical Musings

Visit my facebook for pics: Big Time Rush pictures