2018 Music Reviews

Music Review Archives (since May 2010)

2017 Music Reviews

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Camera Soul

CAMERA SOUL is a powerful jazz-funk ensemble, produced by Mr. Marco Rossi of Azzurra Music (Verona) and released and marketed in the Americas by Kathryn Ballard Shut of TIMKAT Entertainment (Denver, Colorado). Inspired by legendary horn line, soul, R&B, and jazz-fusion artists such as Earth, Wind and Fire, The Commodores, Tower of Power, and Stevie Wonder, as well as neo-soul grooves by Incognito, Erykah Badu, and Jamiroquai, the group is based out of southern Italy (Bari), and led by veteran composer-arranger brothers Piero and Pippo Lombardo.
Camera Soul's distinctive sound is further defined by the sweet and soulful voice of lead vocalist Maria Enrica Lotesoriere (Dress Code – 2015 and Connections – 2017) and formerly by Serena Brancale on the group's first two albums (Words Don't Speak - 2011 and Not For Ordinary People – 2013).
The group features a world-class lineup of studio and live performance musicians, including Pippo Lombardo (piano), Beppe Sequestro (bass), Antonio Tosques (lead guitar, 2015-present), Francesco Palmitessa (lead guitar, 2011-2013), Gianluca Cardellichio (rhythm guitar, 2011-2014), Liviana Ferri (percussion), Fabio Delle Foglie (drums, 2014-present), Mimmo Campanale (drums, 2011-2013), Daniele Scannapieco and Bruno Tassone (tenor sax), Gianfranco Campagnoli and Alberto Di Leone (trumpet), and Piero Dotti and Elio Arcieri (background vocals).
Camera Soul has released four studio albums – Words Don't Speak (2011), Not For Ordinary People (2013), Dress Code (2015), and now, Connections (2017). Each album delivers powerful jazz-funk, neo-soul, progressive Jazz, and a mixture of genres that have earned the group international critical acclaim, as well as worldwide distribution in Europe, America, and Japan.

We enjoy Camera Soul's mantra "keep hope, love, and strength alive daily by unplugging from the black messages, even if just for one night." They are a jazz oriented musical inspiration. Take the time to hear them on their Bandcamp page.

OC Hit Factory

Tustin, Calif. - The Sony Music subsidiary record label, OC Hit Factory, releases an empowering single, "Born Free" this Friday, Feb. 17. The song voices the importance of unity and loving all types of people.
During an OCHF advanced songwriting camp in November 2016, Jessica Cabral, an "American Idol" top finalist and OC Hit Factory master vocal instructor and songwriter, wrote the "Born Free" lyrics to a piano track composed by Thomas Barsoe and Magnus Funemyr. Cabral had just returned from a trip to the Middle East to a country that was divided over the presidential elections. Many Americans were feeling hopeless and scared because of the color of their skin and religion. Inspired by all the racial issues rising to the surface, she felt compelled to create something that reflected and encompassed everything happening in our nation. "Born Free" calls people to take action and responsibility for their part in loving all kinds of people. Instead of blaming people or making a political statement, it focuses on the duty of human beings to do the right thing and stand up for personal beliefs. Cabral adds, "I believe that we can do it if we put ourselves in each other's shoes. It starts right here with you and me."

We are pleased to see the return to Music Arts more great music captured at the Orange County recording studios. The "Hit Factory" has band camps, one-on-one training and promotion of their talented artists. Facilities are open to all aspiring artists to lay down their perfected music tracks or get nurtured to develop their unique sound. Listen to some of the hits coming out of the studio on their YouTube Channel.

Freudz Couch

Freudz Couch originiated in 1992 recording and touring through to 2003 before disbanding with 3 albums and multiple indie singles released during that time. In late 2016 the band reunited to record and release a new EP titled 'Ego' in the Spring of 2017 with 2 new singles and videos already released for 'Martha' and 'Darkness'. The EP will also feature the first time the band has recorded a cover and currently shooting a video for the Phil Collins 80's hit 'I Don't Care Anymore'. The EP is being recorded and produced by world renowned engineer Nick Blagona whose credits include a wide range of artists from The Police and Deep Purple to Tom Jones and Cat Stevens,

This is straight-up "classic rock". There is no pretending just hard and heavy. Listen for yourself on their YouTube Channel.

Royal Kona Coffee


Miccoli are a British, Adult Alternative/Indie Pop band from Birmingham, England. The group consists of siblings: twin brothers Adriano (Vocal and Guitar) Alex (Piano, Vocal and Guitar) and their sister Francesca (Vocal and piano). They harmonise like no other, creating a mixture of haunting, melodic and eclectic sounds. Miccoli's new single 'Idle Stranger' is an epic slice of Indie Pop which showcases the band's vocal harmonies and ear for writing a catchy hook. Accompanied by a stunning video filmed in Venice, it's clear that Miccoli's artistic and musical vision is manifested through a rare and intense hypnotic beauty.

Miccoli's sound is unique with well blended harmonies and beautiful lyrics that capture the imagination. Savor their sweet sound on their YouTube Channel.

Third Sol

Rudy Ramos grew up in the 70's music scene, and as a teenager he performed with many talented West Coast artists, Coming from a musical background in Rock, Blues, Fusion, and Funk he soon discovered that music was his calling, and it all became second nature to him.
The San Jose, California native found that writing would be the outlet that he would use to express his life, trials, tribulations, that he had been through growing up as a child, teenager and adult. As the years past he developed a niche in his own type of genre, that mixes all styles, and at times, people have asked "what style is your music? and he always said "I'm not sure but it feels good".
As the years, have past He has developed a group of talented musicians that have been loyal to every one of his works, and in the local market Rudy has been well respected for his writing abilities, and continues to strive for only the best! Currently his musical act Third Sol has released three singles, a full-blown CD entitled "Latin Trance", and is currently in the studio working on the new project.
Stay tuned for the Third Sol up & coming single, "Nothing gonna stop us now" which will follow with a full-blown CD as well available in Early May 2017

Can't wait to hear the full CD as this group is groov'n. Hear what we mean on their YouTube Channel.

Jerry Jean

Jerry Jean's 2017 debut LP, Do We Reach Home, features 12 songs that explore the strains of modern living, human connection, and renewal. Cinematic and grand, the album contains honest vocals and an expansive piano-driven backdrop adorned with lush strings. Recorded with all live instruments for an organic, chamber pop sound, Do We Reach Home is an everyman's journey through longing, disillusionment, and hope.
Produced and arranged by Jerry Jean in NYC, mixed in Los Angeles by Bryan Cook (Train, One Republic), and mastered in Portland, Maine by Bob Ludwig. It is available on CD, vinyl, and in digital format.
Jerry draws from an eclectic mix of progressive pop, electronic, rock, and classical influences. Fighting for You, Jerry's self-produced and independently released EP broke into the iTunes Top Albums chart upon release. The title track of his second EP, Your Love, is a 2014 International Songwriting Competition winner, chosen from 18,000+ songs from 100+ countries. Enough, a song written in response to racial profiling, is a 2016 Global Peace Song Awards Finalist.
His 2017 debut LP, Do We Reach Home, features 12 songs that explore the strains of modern living, human connection, and renewal. Cinematic and grand, the album contains honest vocals and an expansive piano-driven backdrop adorned with lush strings. Recorded with all live instruments for an organic, chamber pop sound, Do We Reach Home is an everyman's journey through longing, disillusionment, and hope.
A multi-instrumentalist (piano, violin, laptop) and singer, Jerry has performed in venues as varied as Carnegie Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, MTV Unplugged, Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, the United Nations, and The Bitter End. Jerry has performed with artists spanning Florence + The Machine to Boyz II Men.

Great talent that blends his own style with an artistic interpretation that reflects wisdom set to poetry of a true master. Don't wait to hear his debut album "Do We Reach Home" on his YouTube Channel.

Anthony Baglino

Anthony Baglino was born in Miami Beach where he developed his colorful style of art amongst the Latin community and art deco architecture.
In Miami he attended the Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale and spent much of his time in painting and exhibiting. Anthony received his B.F.A from Jacksonville University and an MFA from Full Sail University. He also traveled to Europe, where he began fusing the mediums of art and music through live street performances. Upon returning to the U.S., Anthony created a Jazz fusion band. Through live performance he presented his fine art, video and animation to new audiences.Today, Jazz clubs, concerts and art galleries are popular venues for his work. From his studios in Hollywood, Florida, Mr. Baglino continues to devolop new projects and languages in multiple mediums.

Anthony's sax brings a fresh jazz sound to his stylizations. Visit his website to hear more and check out his original artwork.

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Brenda Burch

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Country Artist Wins Big at Awards Show and Releases New Music Video Newest EP, Sparks Will Fly, sparks attention in the USA and catches fire in Europe
"I am overwhelmed, excited and truly grateful to win these awards! Huge thanks to my family, friends and fans for your support and to Country radio for playing my music." (Brenda Burch, Singer/Songwriter)
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH (JANUARY 30, 2017) - Country artist, Brenda Burch, kicks off 2017 with a boom receiving two Hotdisc Country Music Awards on the heals of her newest EP, Sparks Will Fly. The only artist to take home two awards at the European-based show, the Utah native wins big as the recipient of the New Horizon Award for Most Successful International Newcomer and the winner of Best International Single for her #1 hit song, Sparks Will Fly. The hit single debuted at #1 on the Hotdisc Country Charts and stayed at #1 for 6 weeks straight. More excitement is underway with the release of her next single, Sugar Fix, and its accompanying music video.
Sugar Fix fills the 4th slot on her award winning EP, Sparks Will Fly. It's an upbeat tune with infectious energy and releases to radio on February 1, 2017. "I wrote Sugar Fix about loving someone so much, you just can't get enough," Brenda said. The music video is filled with tasty treats, bright colors, dancing kids, cartwheels, rodeo grounds and Utah's majestic mountains.
After a successful Kickstarter campaign where Brenda surpassed her initial goal at 125%, she headed for the hills of Tennessee joining forces with a talented team of songwriters, producers and musicians (artist credits include Jason Aldean, Shania Twain, Darius Rucker and Josh Turner) to create her 6 song EP, Sparks Will Fly. Letting her western roots shine through, it showcases her warm, powerful Country vocals backed by rockin' Country ryhthms and relatable stories. With its release, she hit the ground running and sparks have been flying ever since.

Now it's our turn at Music Arts to wish Brenda the best as her career as a rising country star take flight. Listen to her upbeat, catchy, award-winning songs on her YouTube Channel.

Patrick Ames

Patrick began writing songs in Toledo, Ohio in 1968 when he was 14 years old after inheriting a guitar and dozens of classic albums from his older brothers who went off to college. An avid songwriter and performer during his own college tenure, he went into book publishing after briefly attempting the music circuit as a songwriter in 1976. Now, in his early 60s, Ames has returned to songwriting armed with decades of wordsmithing, book publishing, and decades of practice.
Ames lives and works in the San Francisco Bay Area. During the day he is an editor in high-tech Silicon Valley, a career that over the years has taken him to Apple, Adobe, Palm, Nokia, and Juniper. His lives in Palo Alto with his wife, Elizabeth Ames.
As a songwriter, Ames performs at small venues around the SF Bay Area, and at wineries in Napa, prefering settings where he can be intimate with the audience, such as a recent songwriting residency at Freewheel in Redwood City, CA.

You will enjoy his new EP "FOUR FACES" Features the Rock/Gospel-driven Politically Charged "Reawakened" that you can listen to on his YouTube Channel.

Jeff Gutman

Jeff Gutman is a singer/songwriter from San Francisco. For the last seven years, he has been performing headlining shows at dozens of clubs all over the west coast. Jeff's songs are powerful statements with memorable stories and melodies.
Jeff released his first album "The Mindfire Tapes" in the Fall of 1999. The album was a collection of experimental songs and sound collages. The album went into second pressing after six months, and Jeff embarked on a tour of the Pacific Northwest. Songs from this album were featured on KUSF in the summer of 2000.
In the fall of 2000, Jeff recorded the controversial "Hellfire Vampire." The album was totally different from the first in that all of the songs were performed live with no overdubs. The instrumentation was sparse, with only an acoustic guitar and vocals. However, the songs were far from folk material. They were more raw and aggressive than the first album with some shocking subject matter.
Arrive is an album that was four years in the making. It spans multiple genres with songs containing full orchestral scores.
One of the overarching themes of the album deals with how we connect (or fail to connect) to each other in our current technology-driven world. The songs serve as a reminder that the world around us is not how it seems on our smartphone screens, and that we can easily spend so much time connecting online that our virtual life replaces our real one. The songs are a reflection of our modern world and all of its overly-connected yet somehow disconnected feelings.
The title track "Arrive" is a call to arms, an invitation to travel the world and see it for yourself. You can't know the world as it really looks through a screen. All around the world, people are waiting there for you to arrive.

We first reviewed Jeff in 2015 but now we think he has "Arrived". Listen for yourself on his website.


Look out - a new artist is on the scene with her debut album, Life is Unfair. In the words of Anastasija Ozueh, "Music is not just my life, it is the reason I live and the air I breathe". This view shines through in all of Anastasija's work, and is the reason she is rapidly gaining popularity across the globe. The album is a huge part of Anastasija's dreams and it takes her another step forward on the path to achieving them. After a 6 year break from songwriting, the Lithuanian native decided to write the album's songs herself rather than buy from other writers. She considers herself lucky to have gathered together a top-notch team, including Kristen Wilson on keys and Calvin Hsu on guitar. Anastasija is the sole songwriter, save for one bonus track - "Like A Dream", which was written by pianist Kristen Wilson. Life Is Unfair is filled with autobiographical songs, all inspired by Anastasija's life and experiences in one way or another. They encompass many different genres in one "flask", so to speak. Anastasija's work leans towards a pop/rock/dance style reminiscent of many successful pop artists of today. Anastasija gained fame on the online scene with demos of her songs "I Don’t Wanna Say Goodbye" and "Unforgivable". The album's heavier rock and electronic tones are balanced equally with soul-touching favourites such as "Big Black Hole" and "Daddy". Life is Unfair is a unique mixture of lyrical masterpieces which contain something for all tastes.

Bold strong vocals and clear lyrics we can see why this girls on her way to the top. Hear her yourself on her website.

Matthew Alexander

In his sixth full length album, independent artist Matthew Alexander offers his most accomplished work yet - Three Minute Movie – 14 songs that cover a broad scope of the human experience including themes such as betrayal, redemption, grief and love.
Raised in Manhattan by his classical composer father and poet mother, Alexander took lessons in acoustic style guitar from the late Artie Traum and Jack Baker. He was discovered at age 16 by Tin Pan Alley songwriter Lou Stallman who published his first twelve compositions. Early in his career, he opened for Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel and Tim Weissburg.
Alexander's songs have drawn comparisons to such acoustic pop artists as Jim Croce, Paul Simon and J.J. Cale. He is known for his unique finger picking style, expressive voice and powerful melodic sensibility.
Produced by Michael McGinnis, Three Minute Movie displays an array of acoustic and electric instruments that are tailored to the emotional heartbeat of each song. The title track bristles with country rock energy. Other songs, such as "Rainy Afternoon" and "Indigo and I", show a more laid-back jazz-folk style. Two folk-oriented cuts - "Lost in this World" and "If You Didn't Know Me" - tackle profound themes of alienation and caring for a mother with Alzheimer's Disease while two instrumentals - "Tagalong" and "Citizen Train" - showcase Alexander's mastery of Travis picking. Also included on the disc are two covers - "Beyond the Sea" and "Ramblin' Rose" - which demonstrate Alexander's talent for bringing a fresh approach to classic songs.

You will enjoy listening to Matthews' original songs and his covers as his style is unique and spot-on. Hear him on his website.

Dexter Wise

Atlanta jazz musician Dexter Wise has spent his life finding the melody of the world.
Born in North Carolina, this multi-instrumentalist spent much of his childhood traveling the state with his family band. These days Dexter has traded riding in the family van to driving to his own beat, swapping funk for modern jazz as he masterfully combines the soulful heart of gospel and the smooth flow of blues in his latest project "A Beautiful Day".
Since moving to Atlanta (Wise or Dexter Wise, your call) has serenaded venues from churches to jazz joints, blending the spiritual with the soulful.
Never far from his instruments of choice --- flute, alto, soprano, and tenor saxophones - this modern soul man is always prepared to make art and music at every stop.

A man of the wind Dexter's music comes alive through his flute or sax. You will enjoy his original melodies on his CDbaby page.


Two years after the release of Dead Love's Grave, Anilore returns with the Lull EP. The record features six songs recorded on 4 track cassette between 2002 - 2005. Taken from a couple of cassettes found while moving out of a practice space, the songs were treated with minimal overdubs and production. The resulting record has a more spacious, minimal, haunting, acoustic sound than its predecessors. Echoing the cover for Dead Love's Grave, Lull again features cover art by Anastasia Ugorskaya. The EP is available in a limited blue marble vinyl pressing of 200 copies and as a digital download.
Andy Cheng, Andrew Malenda, and Michael Worsa met at SUNY New Paltz in 1992. Their first album, Still Awake, was released in 1996. Recorded by Jacques Cohen, The album contained moments of epic shoegaze and darker post-punk.

Anilore keeps getting better with each new rendition of previous songs. Listen to hear vibrant new sounds on their YouTube Channel.

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Jean Kelley

A soulful Pop singer/songwriter and highly emotive artist with a resonant voice and diverse cross-genre musical influences, Jean Kelley broke onto the music scene as a breath of fresh air on season 7 of NBC's The Voice. Following The Voice, Jean was able to rally her fans and raise over $40,000 to fund the production of her debut EP. Jean Kelley takes influence from her past experiences to pave a new, unique sound for herself while looking to inspire hope and determination with her powerful lyrics. Keep up with Jean Kelley as she plans the release of her debut EP featuring her empowering single, "Stacking Stones."
The Nashville native’s sound draws inspiration from her Americana roots and pop music influences. In spite of a life of financial hardship and the tragic loss of her mother, Kelley held onto her childhood dream of becoming a singer. It wasn’t until she moved to Atlanta that she began to showcase her soulful, sultry vocals and began performing covers and angsty pop/rock originals, inspired by her own adversity, around the city. While searching for her niche in the music industry, Kelley took a chance on an audition for season 7 of The Voice in 2014. Attracting the attention of all four judges, Kelley ultimately made it to team Pharrell's Top 5.

Jean's voice is dynamic and powerful and commands center stage. Listen to her new video on her YouTube Channel.

Justin 3

A pop rock band from Lithuania formed by Justinas Stanislovaitis (vocals,guitar), lyricists, singer/songwriter, known for numerous performances on National TV and being an actor in international musical "Rent" production, directed by Georg Malvius and Derek Barnes. Justin 3 was active for more than 6 years under the name "Alive Way" and released five digital albums. Our songs are aired on almost all national and some international radio stations. We had numerous TV performances and played at the biggest Lithuania festivals such as "Rock Nights", "Granatos", "Vilnius Music Week", "Loftas Fest", "Biker Nights".
For many music projects what makes them stand apart from the crowd isn't just their talent, but also their passion for their craft. Lithuanian pop rock band Justin 3 certainly have that in droves and it shines through in everything they do, whether their original work, their cover songs or their live shows. In exciting news, the band recently expanded their reach, announcing the debut of their first high energy pop/rock E.P "Illusion".

Everyy song on their new EP "Streets Of Vilnius" is a hit. Listen and see what we mean on their Youtube Channel.

Chris Morris

The definition of Sophisticated Soul is often a phrase used to describe the San Diego based artist Chris Morris. As a keyboardist, songwriter, producer, mixer and vocalist, he has garnered a reputation as a season veteran who over the years has significantly seen his musical resume expand as a solo artist and collaborative on demand stage and studio presence.
Chris' latest release, "Recollection," compiles 12 handpicked soulfully inspiring songs that represent the style, soul and essence of Chris Morris. Though some of the songs have been previously released, each track was remixed and remastered from the ground up. The result is depth, clarity, punch and more importantly vibe. "Recollection," is a positively inspirational reminder of the road traveled while appreciating the journey on the pursuit of happiness.
Among the highlights on "Recollection," are "Higher," which is an energetic ode to his appreciation of the healing powers of music. "Let Your Hair Down," is instant vintage at its finest. An upbeat groove with a nostalgic yet currently accessible vibe that sounds like a cross between Curtis Mayfield and Justin Timberlake. "Another Day To Run," is a dramatically inspirational song which musically reflects his rekindled passion for reggae.
In 2016, Chris became a co-founder of the music school "Avant Garde Music Company." They are proud to be San Diego's premier location for Music Education and Recording. Chris' focus will be on teaching the art of recording, mixing and music business development. Though the school is enriched with some of the finest musicians teaching Piano, Guitar, Drums, etc.

We at Music Arts are pleased to have such talent and creativity so close to home and hope we get a chance to hear Chris live at one of his performances. Until then we can all listen to him on his YouTube Channel.

Oliver Sean

Leicester United Kingdom - 24th Jan 2017 - His last single and music video 'New York' was released worldwide last October with an exclusive music video on Vh1 International and various other channels, achieving an unprecedented 150,000 downloads in less than a week. MTV EMA Nominee Oliver Sean now announces the launch of another single titled 'First Move' exclusively to radio and broadcast media before the official iTunes release date of the single.
"This is a song that will make you feel like it is Summer" says the Vh1 Top 10 Singer Songwriter Oliver Sean, "It has a very happy sound, which I guess is turning out to be my signature and might be a good way to forget about the cold winter we are having"
The single, reminiscent of today's Acoustic Pop Rock sounds like Jack Johnson and Jason Mraz is scheduled to be officially released on iTunes, Amazon and other major stores on the 18th of February, which is also the opening ceremony of the 9th Annual WOA International Music Festival in Goa, where Oliver Sean and Band will be headlining this year.
First Move is the second single from Oliver Sean's upcoming album 'Devil in Blue Jeans' scheduled to be released on 11th April 2017, just before the globe trotting artist kicks off his American Heartland Tour with his Band from Leicester, UK.

Oliver's music is bright, cheerful and fun to listen to. Hear him on his YouTube Channel.

Brutus Begins

Brutus Begins is a solo project by Ricardo Temporao, a Portuguese-Canadian musician writer, and director currently based in Toronto. Elements of indie-folk are resampled and synthesized, creating a sonic landscape that blurs the lines between the real and the reconstructed. The songwriting and storytelling remain the heart of a world that mirrors our own - commenting on our vices, ambitions and ultimately our evolution.
Ricardo has fronted bands for over a decade from the New Low, General Staff and Skinny Bitches (which was featured on Alan Cross's blog). In 2005, he released an album under the name “Rick Temporao & the New Low” which received radio airplay across Canada and earned critical acclaim. He's also composed music for short film and television. Ricardo has directed and edited music videos for award-winning musicians Lily Frost, Cedar Park, and Fast Romantics.
"Indie Folk-Rock joins electronic new wave in a modern version of Steve Miller" ... "a juggernaut of a debut". Canadian Music Blog

CMB nailed the discription of this ecclectic style of a somewhat dark driving musical creations. Hear what we mean on Ricardo's YouTube Channel.

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