2018 Music Reviews

Music Review Archives (since May 2010)

2017 Music Reviews

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Blind Lemon Pledge

(San Francisco, CA) Even a guy with the stage name Blind Lemon Pledge can't sing the blues all the time! After a nearly decade long discography exploring a multitude of blues-related styles, Blind Lemon Pledge (aka James Byfield) explores the Americana, Folk, and Country influences that are also an important part of his musical heritage on his new album Backwoods Glance. Releasing April 3, 2017, the new album will be distributed by CDBaby and available on Amazon, iTunes, Spotify and other major outlets.
Critically praised on his previous albums for his deft handling of diverse and eclectic musical styles, Pledge does not disappoint with this new collection. With styles ranging from line dance swing to Appalachian folk to Cajun stomp, with detours to romantic waltz, jug band hoot and Southern Country Gospel along the way, Blind Lemon Pledge proves once again that his skills as a songwriter, musician and producer know no bounds. Says Pledge "I had a batch of songs I wanted to record, but which I knew would never fit on a straight blues album. And having had good success in the Blues arena, I thought I would try my luck in the Americana market. I gathered some older material and wrote a few more songs specifically for the project. Although you can still hear my blues influence on a few of the tunes, my overall concept was to create a Folk and Americana feel to the album."

And we thought "Lemon Pledge" was a furniture polish! This musician really rocks and is a must see. Listen to him on his website.

Moaning Lisas

In the beginning, God created the poontang. Then He created the Tango. But only Big Al, the lead singer for The Moaning Lisas, could have put them together to create "The Poontango." This song is just one of the delicious items on The Moaning Lisas playlist menu. I had the pleasure of seeing The Moaning Lisas play in Virginia Beach one Friday night, but it turned out I did more than see them play. It actually became an experience. Big Al, the frontman, the "entertainer," does more than sing with enthusiasm. He gets the crowd involved, and, somehow, he even becomes part of the crowd. With a name like Big Al, one would think that would be hard to achieve, but not so. Apparently, bigger IS better, at whatever. Most bands don't have a way of letting you know they're getting ready to play, but the Sanford and Son theme.- "Poontango Makes Lisas Moan" By Zen Jedi - Splash Magazine

Well their discription of the music they play says it all - "Psychobilly Rock and Roll" Hear them on their YouTube channel.

Stephane Nestel

Stephane Nestel is an indie artist hailing from Tel Aviv, Israel.
Well known for his passionate and resonant vocals, dynamic performances and beautiful music, Stephane is a young emerging artists to keep an eye on.
His poignant lyricism is inspiring and captivating to listen to, and his persona is engaging for younger audiences who find him a positive role model and someone to look up to.
His music has a quirky and distinctive character that is reminiscent of artists such as Belle and Sebastian, but with a strong voice and deeply profound lyrics that embody the work of seminal songwriters such as Al Stewart.
Although Stephane is young, his music shows wisdom and talent beyond his years. He is already making waves in his community with his dedication, and it is exciting to see what this young star will do next.

A fantastic new emergence this artist; whose main influence was Al Stewart ("Old Admirals", "On The Border"); captures the story teller ethos in his "Above The Pain". His songs keeps you listening to hear every word. Listen to Stephane on his YouTube channel.

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Kolade Olamide Ayodeji

Kolade Olamide Ayodeji is a prolific songwriter, beat maker, music producer, lyricist, poet and rapper. He is schooled in Business Administration and Management with a Diploma in Software Application. Kolade writes his lyrics, makes his beat and masters his songs. He is truly unique and original with one of a kind production. Kolade produces Pop, Hip Hop, Dance, and Gospel. His unique hit making ability is extraordinary and well-known for composing songs with hooky melody and groundbreaking beats.
Kolade Olamide Ayodeji releases three remarkable new albums entitled ‘Best Moment of our Lives’, ‘Force of Desire’ and ‘It is Party Time’. The eclectic new collection of songs includes brand new tracks penned by Kolade that span an array of genres, primarily electronic, r&b, pop and dance.

Upbeat with inspired lyrics Kolade has laid down some great tracks we only wish he gave credit to the female vocal artist that sings (unless of course it's Kolade himself!) You gotta hear this dude on his YouTube channel.

Nate Sparks

Indie singer/songwriter Nate Sparks has released his fifth CD, Family Tree. Produced by Nashville veteran steel player and performer, Gary Carter, the new release features eight original songs about Nate's life growing up in southeastern Virginia. Nate has charted on station playlisting across the globe with earlier releases such as Carry On, It Takes a Fire, and Daddy's Shoes. Family Tree reunites Nate and Gary from his earlier 2005 release, From Where I Stand.
Nate is a traditional country renaissance artist whose songs will bring back memories of the golden age of country and win new fans with heartfelt lyrics and amazing production. He defies categorization as he moves smoothly from up-tempo songs to melodic ballads. Nate's writing is witty and meaningful and his music always moving to the soul.
Nate's music videos are artistic affairs using talent from across the globe to bring his music to life. His animated videos have been screened at international film festivals around the world.

Some great country sung in the style that reflects that pure country soul. Listen to Sparks on his YouTube channel.

Jordan Sleed

"Longing To Be Wrong" showcases Jordan Sleed's honest and unique sound, influenced by everybody from Donny Hathaway to The Beach Boys to John Mayer. These 6 songs have merited questions like "how did he write stuff like this when he was 17?" and comments like "I didn't know you couldl use an ukulele like that!" The music truly speaks for itself.

Jordan's music is rich with his mastery of skillful writing and artfull performance. Hear him on his YouTube channel.

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JAD is a young, driven, creative writer that carries a message for the world. Through clever lyrics and cheeky melodies, he ignites a smile to which all people can relate. He aims to further the awareness of individuality and expressive liberation.
He was born in South Carolina and currently lives in Memphis Tn, where he began a career in the fashion community as a runway show coordinator and model. After further diving into the local artistic community, he found a deep love for music. Passionate about his development in art, combined with an unyielding appetite for the visual beauty of Memphis, he has developed a unique sound and a memorable performance personality. To best describe, he resonates the theme of Comic Book meets Alternative Rock. Pulling inspiration from all forms of music and the aesthetic beauty of his hometown, he finds his place amongst the ever-changing current.
"The Trend agenda makes it fun for me as a writer and performer. The constant change keeps it fresh and progressive. It allows me become more enlightened of that before me, and that which is soon to follow."
With his roots in Rock 'n Roll and Show tunes, he offers an animated sound that leaves a contagious, upbeat feeling with the listener. Through visual creativity, direct writing, memorable music, and artistic modeling, he pioneers the local creative community forward with individuality, persistence, enthusiasm, dedication, and the power of gratitude.

Techno rock that creates a new wave of sound. Listen to Jad on his YouTube channel.


"Top of the World" featuring Tevin Campbell was cut earlier last year and had a limited release last fall. Since signing production deals and working on new music with Tevin in March, the group decided to re-release the music with a full length music video, produced by Plick's Flicks from Bellingham, WA and shot at the Mount baker Ski Resort.
DJ Justin Murta was based in South East Asia for over 6 years, where he became one of the top DJ's in the world (#50 Worldwide Reverbnation Charts) and has performed in 32 countries on thousands of stages internationally. He has recently joined King 5 News's "Party At The Plate" and is planning a South East Asian tour this year.
BUTTONPUSHERS have always designed their music for their epic DJ sets and live music festivals. Their most recent Heineken Open Your World celebrations saw them putting together 2 hour sets and integrating their music with other international DJ's for capacity crowds for several Asian Sports Stadiums. Now that they are back in America and they are focused on the WORLD!

Normally Hip-Hop is not a genre that we review at MA but "BUTTONPUSHERS" slipped past the somewhat stuck music reviewers and KA-POW! were happy it did. Listen to them for yourself on their website and you decide.

Jelsa Palao &
Emily Florence

A Canadian electronic/rock singer, a Canadian drummer, and an American Jazz legend singing some Bossa Novas from Los Angeles to Ottawa over Skype? Lets start at the beginning...
This project began as a small dream between friends Emily Florence, Allyson Rogers and Jelsa Palao.
Canadian singer/songwriter Emily Florence (of Los Angeles based Big Black Bugs) and Canadian musician Allyson Rogers had been childhood friends and had recently reconnected over possibly playing together on a project. At the same time, Los Angeles based grammy nominated singer and songwriter Jelsa Palao and Emily Florence had been discussing how wonderful it would be to sing together. Florence played Palao's "For the Love of Carmen" album for Rogers, and the path was set!
A Canadian/American collaboration exploring bossa novas & sambas, featuring Jelsa Palao & Emily Florence (vocals), Allyson Rogers (drums) & guests Robert Martin, Octavio Bailly, Frank Potenza, David Moscoe, Karen Rauh, Dave Schroder & Adrian Matte.

Singing some classic covers from George Harrison's "Hear Comes The Sun" to Lori Lieberman's "Killing Me Softly" these two Canadians and an American give a new sound to some old favorites. Listen to "Shades of Brazil" on their soundcloud page.

Shotgun Bill

Shotgun Bill's 2nd solo CD " Train Cars, Prison Bars...and a White Guitar" is a blend of coffee house country rock with an original singer / songwriter vibe.He perform his brand of Americana at coffee houses and venues playing a compilation of original songs at the Jersey Shore. By the sound of his music you might think you'd find Bill locked up somewhere, but thats just in his mind. His music is true to rock-a-billy roots.(all titles on Itunes, Amazon, CD Baby and Band Camp and Spotify.)

Shotgun Bill returns to Music Arts with some more country music that continues with pure country sound. Hear him on his website.

The James Carratt Project

The James Carratt Project is a compulation of 50 unsigned and signed session players performing songs written and produced by James Carratt. The album scheduled for release in October 2017 features Grammy nominated producer and steel guitarist, "Cowboy" Eddie Long, session player and Nashville's Chuck Ward currently on tour with Country Legend Craig Morgan. Also featured on the album, Matthew Lee, guitarist for Shooter Jennings.

"Picture On My Page" is a great start for this country-rock group, only wish we could hear more! Listen to this tune on their YouTube channel.

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Released on MRE Entertainment/Prime USA Records. San Francisco Bay Area Native. He has 5 Albums
Which "Dirty Sexy Thing" CD made headlines thoughout the nation. Has been really good reviews and charted the top 40 billboards.
Hunter (Mark) & Special Request Featuring Rey T.
His music playing on Airplay Direct, Radio Waves XM Radio, Spotify, Apple Music and FM radio stations around the world, Charting the Top 40 Charts and Pop Charts, reported by Music Registry. The title "Backyard" first day of release, went top of the charts.
Mark (Spark) Hunter California USA native start playing the guitar at the age of 10, and began playing Other instruments while becoming a complete vocalist. His very first song he wrote and recorded on his own, he enter a musical publishing contest. He won 2nd place out of 10,000 other artists. From that day forward he began writing his own music & co-writing with Rey T. on Special Request CD projects. He's also a member of Special Request and family with Prime USA Records. He Got the nick name "Spark" from his friends and his junior high schoolmates. He was performing a tribute to Martin Luther King JR. with other band members playing his guitar on stage when his amp got hot, sparks flying from his amp and started smoking. He finish the song turned off his amp walk away, the crowd went wild (Standing up applauding). The School gave him award for outstanding performance. He's now recording and on the road performing with Special Request, while working on his solo career and getting ready to release his fourth solo project.

Psychedelic rock if you only listen to his first offering but relax as the music becomes more complex and inviting. Listen to "Hunter" on his website.

Rough Puppies

"Trauma" is the Rough Puppies debut onslaught of rock anthems and infectious pop rock that will keep your body moving and your head banging all night!
Plus, check out the sneak preview of Selling Me! - "The Protest Song" on Jango Radio as the 'Puppies' begin to work on their 2nd album! Anyone who follows politics in America is going to want to sing, shout, or scream along with Selling Me!
Brian Lewis:
Vocals, Bass, Guitar, Lyrics.
Billy Cuyler:
Guitar, Lyrics, Keyboards on "Selling Me!"
Kevin Lewis:
Robert Clark:
Lead Guitar, Vocals, Bass, Lyrics.
Stephen Smith:
Keyboards, Lyrics.
And our friends...
Jon Lamoreaux:
Lead Guitar on Sugar White, Couldn't Care Less, Bombs Away, and The Changeling.
Lou Galvan:
Vocals on "Live!" in the Coachella Valley.
Gerry King: Lyrics.

Great lineup of what should be called "approved hits" or as they say: "catchy bar room bops and high energy arena rock that can become dangerous earworms!" Hear em on their YouTube channel.

Barley Station

Somewhere deep in the heart of the Midwest United States, is a well-polished gem known to the Music Industry as Barley Station. From it first inception in mid 2011, the band has written, produced, and launched two albums 'After All' (2012), and 'Damaged Goods' (2013) along with dozens of other singles after and in between and has toured regions of the US (see full discography below). Now about to release their third full-length album 'Back There Somewhere', the band is about to explode onto the music scene in a big way. They have recently been picked up by Spotify Playlist Curators and have positive press feedback from a myriad of credible publications, radio, and television media platforms.
Although the band pulls a distinctive Alternative vibe, in terms of genre, most reviewers, fans, and radio claim that the Barley Station signature is a genre crossover blend of Americana, Country, Pop, Folk, and even Rock/Alternative which is authentic and original.
The band will be releasing a new full-length album titled 'Back There Somewhere' in late summer of 2017 and already, radio in North America and Europe have begun anticipating its arrival by getting ready to launch interviews and special features in support.

Barley Station is garnering some rather top shelf reviews from music mags and reviewer throughout America and Europe so if you want to hear what the clamor is about go to their YouTube channel and give a listen.


Behind S.O.S is Sophie Debattista, a 22-year-old Anglo-Maltese singer, songwriter, producer and busker. She was originally born in Malta and it was there where she established her passion for music. Throughout her late teens, Sophie was a resident singer on Maltese national television and performed at numerous prestigious events on the Island. By the age of 18, the young songstress embraced her British routes and followed her love of music to the UK. Four years down the line, she now resides in Bedford and regularly performs around the live music circuit in London.
Towards the end of 2015, Sophie’s music took an exciting turn as she began to experiment with music production. This lead to the creation of her own distinct sound enhanced by her mechanically influenced productions, which today could be described as a mixture of; Ellie Goulding, Lorde, NAO and Halsey.
She was recently in the studio with her producers recording debut EP 'Edges of The Mind' due for release in late 2017. Her first 2 singles taken from the EP, titled 'Bittersweet' and 'Silent Witness', received support by several British Media including BBC Radio Introducing, BBC Radio 6 and Clash Music Magazine.
"Silent Witness" is the eagerly awaited 2nd single to be released by the Bedford-based, 22-year-old singer songwriter Sophie Debattista aka S.O.S, a first-class graduate from The Institute Of Contemporary Music Performance. The electro-pop tune will be accompanied by an edgy and intense music video created by up-and-coming director AJ Ullah and will be released on the 14th April via her independent label Sossy Music.

Don't miss hearing this rising new star as she takes on the UK and then the world! Hear her new offerings on her YouTube channel.

All the Seals lying at the Cove read
Music Arts Monthly They say.."It's Slick!"

By the Editor of Music Arts Magazine

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