ZIGGY BLACKSTAR – A TRIBUTE TO DAVID BOWIE: Ten Jinn by Kev Rowland

It’s probably best to let singer and keyboard player John Paul Strauss describe the rationale behind this album. ‘During the time we were working on the most recent Ten Jinn release, ‘Sisyphus’, came the very sad news about the passing of David Bowie. At the time (though we were very busy with working on the album and dealing with the upcoming release in 2017) I suggested to the other Ten Jinn members that as soon as ‘Sisyphus’ was completed, we should record a David Bowie tribute record before preparing for live shows or recording the next Ten Jinn record, ‘Worlds (the Four Worlds of the Hopi)’. While I was very excited about the prospect of playing live again and getting on to ‘Worlds’ (I even completed the first draft of the score) I felt very strongly about taking this detour in order to pay my respects to an artist, who was probably the single most important influence in my development as a musician in general and vocalist in particular.

I can’t be the only person who never expected an album like this from Ten Jinn. Since their second album, 1999’s ‘As On A Darkling Plain’, they have cemented a reputation as one of the most interesting progressive rock bands around, so a Bowie tribute album isn’t exactly what one would expect. There haven’t been many progressive bands who have recorded whole albums of covers (Dream Theater of course taking it to the extreme by re-recording complete albums, often very well indeed), let alone of music that us so far away from what one would expect.

What I also found interesting was the track selection, as while of course there are many hits, there are also many missing which one may expect on a collection like this, such as ‘Ashes to Ashes’, ‘Space Oddity’, ‘Suffragette City’, ‘Rebel Rebel’, ‘Young Americans’ etc. There is the feeling that here is a very personal collection, one that has a collective cohesiveness which works incredibly well. What I really enjoyed about the album is that although they have stayed close to the originals, they have also allowed themselves to put their own stamp on the songs. They have played it fairly straight, and consequently it has worked exactly as it was supposed to, namely as a tribute.

One of the real stand outs has to be ‘Dead Man Walking’, which originally featured on the 1997 album ‘Earthling’. While much focus will be on the wonderful acoustic guitars, funky percussion or superb vocals, what really makes this such an essential song is the wonderful fretless bass which adds so much class, warmth and emotion to it. Strauss’s vocals throughout are exemplary, and the whole band sound as if they have been performing Bowie songs their whole lives, such is the skill and joy they bring to this collection. This is a must for any lover of Bowie, as rarely is his material treated with such care.

kev rowland | 5/5 |

Ten Jinn’s John Strauss Talks About Upcoming Release ZIGGY BLACKSTAR (A Tribute to David Bowie)

During the time we were working on the most recent Ten Jinn release, Sisyphus, came the very sad news about the passing of David Bowie.  At the time (though we were very busy with working on the album and dealing with the upcoming release in 2017) I suggested to the other Ten Jinn members that as soon as Sisyphus was completed, we should record a David Bowie tribute record before preparing for live shows or recording the next Ten Jinn Record, Worlds (the Four Worlds of the Hopi). While I was very excited about the prospect of playing live again and getting on to Worlds (I even completed the first draft of the score) I felt very strongly about taking this detour in order to pay my respects to an artist, who was probably the single most important influence in my development as a musician in general and vocalist in particular.


John and Ken in the studio mixing Sisyphus, October 3, 2016

Choosing the songs for the record was not an easy thing (as there are so many great Bowie tunes) but one thing we decided on right away was to avoid any of the major hits from the 1980s or things we thought a lot of other people might do. Since I was the one doing the lead vocals on the record, the band mostly supported me in the suggestions I made. At one point I thought it would be really cool to do a version of Blackstar, but since it was from Bowie’s last album, it seemed perhaps a bit disrespectful to do so soon after his death. In the end, we decided on material mostly from the 1970s with a couple of tunes from the late 1990s thrown in. All of the songs on this record have deep meaning for me and, in no particular order, include:

ZIGGY BLACKSTAR (A Tribute to David Bowie) Track List
1) Alladin Sane,
2) Future Legend
3) Diamond Dogs,
4) Life on Mars,
5) Fame,
6) I’m Afraid of Americans,
7) Dead Man Walking, and
8) Rock and Roll Suicide.

Ten Jinn have launched a snippet of Life on Mars from the upcoming album ZIGGY BLACKSTAR (A Tribute to David Bowie) on SoundCloud

Ten Jinn released their fourth album “Sisyphus on CD at the Majestic Theater in Gettysburg, PA during Rosfest: May 5th, 2018. 

Sisyphus was originally released in Europe as a digital-only album in 2017.

About The Album
Sisyphus is an eight-part programmatic work that tells the story of the founder and King of Corinth after whom it is named. Because of affronts to the gods while alive, Sisyphus was condemned in death to spend eternity in Hades rolling a boulder to the top of a mountain, only to have it roll back down each time he completed the task; this also speaks to the essay, “The Myth of Sisyphus,” by Albert Camus, who used the myth as a means to comment on the senseless, repetitive drudgery of modern life.

Originally written as a classical work (a symphonic poem for string orchestra and piano) the Ten Jinn production involved reworking the piece to include the addition of rock instrumentation. We got the idea to add vocals to make it more consistent with earlier Ten Jinn albums, and the plan was then to fill out the record with other new material; however, at one point during the process we decided to do an instrumental mix and use it as a “flip-side,” instead, because we wanted to include a version that was representative of the original idea, which had its own unique “flavor.”

The Band
John Paul Strauss: Lead and backing vocals, Keyboards
Mark Wickliffe: Drums, Bass & backing vocals
Ken Skoglund: Guitars & backing vocals
Mike Matier: Guitars

What the Critics are saying.
is it classical or prog? The answer is yes. All that’s missing is more of the same, which hopefully will come sooner than later from this seriously underrated act.
4 1/2 out of 5 Stars
– John Collinge, Progression Magazine

If you enjoy the band Enid, you will enjoy this one as well, and won’t get bored a minute here.
4 out of 5 Stars
– rdtprog, Prog Archives

Sisyphus is now available on all platforms and where all good music is sold!
Bandcamp: https://tenjinn.bandcamp.com/album/sisyphus
CD Baby: https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/tenjinn
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Ten-Jinn/e/B000APGCJI/digital
GardenShed Japan: http://www.gardenshedcd.com
iTunes:https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/sisyphus/1193004539

TAX THE HEAT – CHANGE YOUR POSITION – NUCLEAR BLAST

By Kev Rowland

Here we have the follow-up to the Bristol band’s debut album, 2016’s ‘Fed To The Lions’. That album established them as one of the most electrifying new bands around, and with ‘Change Your Position’ being released on Nuclear Blast Records, that reputation will surely grow. The line-up comprises Alex Veale (vocals, guitars), Antonio Angotti (bass, backing vocals), JP Jacyshyn (guitars, backing vocals) and Jack Taylor (drums, backing vocals), but they actually credit producer Evansson as the fifth member of the band as he contributes so much. “In my mind, this is what a modern guitar band would sound like,” says Alex. “We’re influenced by so many different genres. It’s no secret that guitar music is struggling generally. We’re on a mission to help keep it alive and well.”

They have drawn on influences as diverse as  Queens Of The Stone Age and White Denim through to David Bowie and Prince, then bring it all up to date. Actually, the single thing that distresses me most about this album is the cover photograph. I mean, it’s not exactly rock and roll is it? But, in many ways, it also sums up the band in their refusal to conform as they can move from music that has an obvious funk groove to something that is far darker and immensely heavy, yet all the time retaining their own identity. Each time I play “All That Medicine” I am reminded of Living Color, as the groove just drips through it all, but then they can lay it down and become a metallic monster. These guys just refuse to conform, and also can’t wait to get back out on tour. “The best part about music is seeing bands play live,” says Jack. “It’s what The Beatles and the Stones and those other great bands were doing back in the 60s. It’s what The Hives and The Bronx and other electrifying live bands which inspired us more recently were doing. We’re creating music for people who want to go and experience that.” Catch them if you can, both with this album and onstage, just don’t spend too long looking at the cover.

8/10

Boyfriend and girlfriend duo Rose Coyote share atmospheric cover album ‘Goddess Cloaked in Stars’

Rose Coyote is a boyfriend/girlfriend duo that has been building momentum with their third album ‘Goddess Cloaked in Stars’. Mostly covers, the duo cover a wide variety of bands and genres, adding their own outer space sounds mixed with ultra modern electronic production, Rose Coyote has created an atmosphere that cannot be understated.

‘Goddess Cloaked in Stars’ is a sonic exploration that delves into a number of styles showcasing that several different musical sounds can exist harmoniously with one another. With outer space sounds, atmospheric themes, and head-nodding percussion, the duo has crafted something highly individual and captivating.

Twelve tracks deep, ‘Goddess Cloaked in Stars’ is a mix of covers ranging from Queen and David Bowie’s ‘Under Pressure’, Cat Stevens ‘Father & Son to Blink 182’s ‘Easy Target’, the duo showcase a wide variety of covers including an original as the final track titled ’80s Night-Drive Through Hell (Mario’s Inferno). Rose Coyote has an excellent sense of balance with their production and they’ve created something truly memorable and engaging. For each track, there is a fanvid style music video created.

Bursting with a potent mix of atmospheric energy and a remarkable talent to add their own innovative style to these classic songs, Rose Coyote are pushing boundaries and setting themselves apart from their contemporaries. ‘Goddess Cloaked in Stars’ is a vibrant, brave and forward-thinking effort by a band that is worth paying close attention to. They are working on an all-originals album.

Tracklist for “Goddess Cloaked in Stars”:

1) Brandy, You’re a Fine Girl [Looking Glass]
2) Under Pressure [David Bowie & Queen]
3) Gypsies, Tramps, & Thieves [Cher]
4) So, You are a Star [the Hudson Brothers]
5) Saturday Night [Misfits]
6) Father & Son [Cat Stevens]
7) Hybrid Moments [Misfits]
8) How Do You Do? [Mouth & MacNeal]
9) Easy Target [blink-182]
10) Beautiful Sunday [Daniel Boone]
11) Should’ve Been a Space Cowboy [Toby Keith]
12) ’80s Night-Drive Trough Hell (Mario’s Inferno) [Rose Coyote]

Follow
https://www.facebook.com/rosecoyotemusic
https://soundcloud.com/RoseCoyote

Rick Wakeman To Release New Studio Album In 2017

Piano PortraitsMulti-million-selling keyboard icon returns with ‘Piano Portraits’ in 2017

Revered keyboardist, songwriter and broadcaster Rick Wakeman will release his new solo album Piano Portraits on January 13th 2017. Prompted by the unprecedented reaction to his performance of David Bowies ‘Life on Mars’ on BBC Radio 2 earlier on this year, Wakeman has recorded a full solo piano album featuring a varied selection of music including classic songs that he originally performed on.

Bucking the trend of orchestral projects, Piano Portraits captures both the technical virtuosity and lightness of touch that have become trademarks of Wakeman’s playing since he first made a name for himself in the 1970s. Recorded at The Old Granary in South Norfolk, the 15-track collection ranges from landmark David Bowie hits ‘Life on Mars’, which Wakeman recorded the original piano parts for, and ‘Space Oddity’ to which he contributed mellotron; through The BeatlesYes and Led Zeppelin; to classical pieces composed by Debussy and Tchaikovsky.

“I’ve been wanting to do a piano album for years and I spent quite a bit of time looking at everything from straight classical pieces to stuff that I’d played on in the past like ‘Morning Has Broken’ and ‘Life On Mars’,” Wakeman explains. “Plus pieces of music that I thought would work really well like Stairway to Heaven and classics like ‘Clair de Lune’. Nearly all of the tracks have a memory for me somewhere down the line and it just seemed to work.”

Rick Wakeman has carved out a fascinating, idiosyncratic career that has comfortably traversed multiple musical worlds. A classically trained pianist, he studied at the Royal College Of Music before going on to become a much in-demand session musician playing on a string of hit songs by the likes of Black SabbathElton JohnCat Stevens and David Bowie.

Also well known as a member of progressive rock band Yes and as a hugely successful solo artist, Wakeman is without doubt one of the most original, entertaining and groundbreaking performers of his generation.

Order the Piano Portraits album from the official UDiscover store to include a limited edition signed canvas print. https://RickWakeman.lnk.to/PianoPortraits

Digital pre-orders will receive an instant download of Rick’s interpretation of ‘Help’ by The Beatles.
https://RickWakeman.lnk.to/PianoPortraitsDigital

Tracklisting

01 Help
02 Stairway to Heaven
03 Life on Mars
04 I’m Not In Love
05 Wonderous Stories
06 Berceuse
07 Amazing Grace
08 Swan Lake
09 Morning Has Broken
10 Summertime
11 Space Oddity
12 Dance of the Damselflies
13 Clair de Lune
14 Vow To Thee My Country
15 Eleanor Rigby

 

CD + Vinyl