Showing posts with label Rock. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rock. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Johnny Cash died 15 years ago

Johnny Cash was one of the greatest songwriters that ever lived. He was also a guitarist, a singer, a performer, an actor and even an author. In 1932 on this day, Johnny Cash was born in the heart of Kingsland, Arkansas. In between 1957 and 2014, Johnny Cash has created and has been featured in a total of 70 studio albums. He has sold over 100 million of them total.

And as one of the best-selling artists of all time, I want to honor him by singing a song he actually covered. The song is called Ain't No Grave (Can Hold My Body Down). Written by Ely Claude, this song is featured on Cash's American VI: Ain't No Gave album which was released in February of 2010. The song is about strength and really embraces the empowerment concept.

I have recorded this song three times on Smule. One solo back in late 2017 and the other in a duet with Smule User: StevenM716. You can listen to these renditions by clicking here and here.

To hear my most recent rendition of the song, simply watch the video above. If you cannot hear it, simply click here right now. Listen with headphones.

Gone, but never forgotten. Rest in Peace, Johnny Cash. 1932-2003

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Harry Nilsson has been dead for 24 years

I remember being a very musically intrigued young girl listening to Harry Nilsson. I remember his beautiful voice and thinking I wished he would have lived a little longer, as he was just 52 years old when he died. In fact, he died when I was only 13 years old. Nilsson died of a sudden heart attack. 

It was quite tragic, as I remember hearing stories he tried to create more music shortly before his passing. One of things he did do was try to push his music label to release a special limited-edition box set. It was as if he knew he didn't have many years to live.

To honor his life and him, I decided to share my recording from Smule of his classic "Without You" a beautiful love ballad introduced in 1971 by the rock crooner. Written by Pete Ham and Tom Evans of Badfinger, this was Harry Nilsson's song. He recorded the song in a single take, which proves why I believe this was truly his song. Kind of like "I Will Always Love You" being Whitney Houston's.

To listen to my recording of Without You watch/listen to the video above. If it doesn't play, simply click here right now. 

Rest in Peace Harry Nilsson (June 15, 1941-January 15, 1994)

Friday, April 13, 2018

God Bless The USA by Jon featuring Sarah Afshar

I love joining jnbrdgs on Smule. There is something so amazing about his simple country voice. It's authentic and beautiful. So, when he invited me to join his duet of God Bless The USA this evening, I guess you could say I wasn't reluctant to join him. After all, I love this song and I am proud to be an American.

To listen my duet with Jon, simply watch the video above. If it doesn't play, just click here to listen now. I definitely want to re-record this one again. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Today Is Freddie Mercury's Birthday

Happy Birthday Farrokh Bulsara! In my opinion, there is no other artist in the world like Freddie. He had the voice, the artistry, the personality, and the charisma. His style and image was one thing, however, every time he opened his mouth, you knew it was him singing and as a result, he had unbelievable projection because he made you believe what he was singing about. Freddie delivered vocally through every single performance.
If I had to choose my top 10 favorite songs by Freddie Mercury/Queen, I really couldn't, however; my favorites right now include: 
In My Defence
Bohemian Rhapsody
Who Wants To Live Forever
The Show Must Go On
I Want To Break Free
There Must Be More To Life Than This
It's Late
Mr. Bad Guy
Thank God It's Christmas
The March Of The Black Queen
Princes Of the Universe
Living On My Own
Foolin' Around
Radio Ga Ga
Funny How Love Is
A Kind Of Magic
Save Me
Let's Turn It On
Somebody To Love
We Are The Champions
You And I
Don't Try Suicide
It's A Hard Life
Under Pressure
You may be gone, but you are never going to be forgotten in this life time. Happy Birthday Freddie!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Album Reviews: Sacrificium by Xandria

Sacrificium, Xandria's newest
album comes out
Friday, May 2, 2014.
If you can imagine a more polished and refined version of Evanescence, more than likely you will love Xandria because that is what they epitomize. Located in the heart of Germany, this symphonic metal band proves they are one of the greatest bands in the world today. Recently, I had the opportunity to listen to their new album Sacrificium which is due out soon. So, what did I think?

The first track is Sacrificium, which is very dark yet hauntingly beautiful. The instrumentals are absolutely stunning, as the vocals. The bridge is in the beginning and when you hear this amazingly polished tune, you feel as if you are being taken to another place. Everything from the vocal arrangement to the guitar parts, which have their amazing moments. Sacrificium starts out very slow and goes into raw metal, which I truly love.

I was so incredibly impressed with Sacrificium, as it was very beautifully moving. I actually wasn't sure what to expect for the second track on this album. Then, the second track Nightfall came on. Dianne's vocals are very beautiful in this tune and are perfect with the arrangement. The song itself is very Wish I Had An Angel (Nightwish) meets Cry For The Moon (Epica) and as good as both of those songs.

If you are looking to hear an angelic rock song, you will love the third track is Dreamkeeper. I love how Dianne has such perfect control of her voice and in this song, you can hear how amazingly good she is with the musical arrangement. The lyrical content is one thing that I truly love, but what stood out the most is how the instrumental here goes so well with the vocals.

What I love about the fourth track, which is called Stardust is the metal arrangement and the guitar parts. The bridge is in the beginning of the song, which makes it a song you will want to listen to the whole way through. I absolutely love the lyrical delivery of this song. The power in Dianne's voice is really showcased in the chorus parts of the tune.

The fifth track is The Undiscovered Land which is a stunning ballad that should be played on the radio. In fact, the instrumental reminds me of something you would hear in the movie Titanic. The lyrical content is incredible. It's effortlessly beautiful, as it tells a story. The vocal delivery is outstanding, as Dianne's voice is absolutely gorgeous in this song. This is one of the best songs you will hear this year.

I absolutely love the sixth track, Betrayer. It is one of the most exciting songs I have heard yet on the album, as it is one of the most exciting songs I have heard this year. The song delivers an exceptional story, which I really love. Marco and Dianne delivered quite a performance in this tune.

As I continue listening to Sacrificium, I am introduced to the seventh track, Until The End. The beginning reminds me of the theme music in Terminator, but then turns into raw, animalistic metal. When Dianne comes in, the song basically takes off from there. I also love how she really showcases her highs and lows, making it a memorable song.

Have you ever heard a song that made you believe you were stuck in a fairytale? The eighth track is Come With Me, which reminds me of a song that should be on the soundtrack to Maleficient. Absolutely beautiful. The best way to describe this song is that it is innocently dark.

When listening to the ninth track, Little Red Relish, I feel like I am listening to a real, bona-fide symphonic rock at it's finest. The beat is very catchy, as the drums take over this tune more so than any of the guitar parts do. And in collaboration with Dianne's vocals, this song truly embodies the essence of several genres. I love how you can also hear a darker side of Dianne in some parts of the song. This is one of my favorite songs on Sacrificium.

I have to admit, I am having a blast listening to this album. The tenth track is Our Neverworld which provides you with a stunning piano introduction. Slowly into the arrangement, Dianne's voice comes in. The message behind this song is just flawless. The guitar parts are amazing. I have to admit, I love this song and reminds me very much of Our Farewell (Within Temptation) but with it's unique originality.

Although the eleventh track is titled, Temple Of Hate, there is absolutely nothing to hate about this song. Everything about this song is beautiful. The instrumental in the beginning reminds me of bag pipes having a party. When Dianne comes in, the song takes off from there. The bridge is in the beginning which I love, however; the chorus really is catchy and stands out the most in this tune.

The twelfth track is Sweet Atonement, which is the final song on the album. The song starts out very cherubic. I am so amazed at the lyrics of this song and how well Dianne delivers them. I can hear this song played all over the place. The piano arrangement is quite a stand out, but I love the fact that this ballad still manages to have it's amazing moments all throughout the song.

I want to throw this out there now that I believe this is easily one of the greatest albums of 2014. And whether you love rock or classical or even pop music, you will love Sacrificium. Would I recommend this album to anyone? Yes. Especially those of you that love symphonic metal and enjoy the morphing of rock and classical music genres. If you love dark and haunting yet beautiful music and vocals, you will love Sacrificium. Will I purchase this album? Absolutely. What can I say? This is one of the best albums ever delivered by Xandria. In fact, this just may be their best yet. Sacrificium is available on Friday, May 2, 2014.

For more information, visit right now!

Music Talk: Exclusive Interview with Xandria

Xandria is one of my favorite bands. If you are a fan of symphonic metal, more than likely you know who they are. And if you are not...well, you will find out, as they are one of the hottest acts to come out of Europe.

Recently, I had the opportunity to catch up with the band about their new front woman Dianne van Giersbergen, as well as, the new album Sacrificium which comes out next month and here is what they had to say...

(Q) Tell me a little more about Xandria...

Marco: We are a symphonic metal band from Germany, and we combine the energy of metal and rock with the epic atmosphere of a movie soundtrack, a combination that is created to take the listener away into his own imaginary world. You can say we are making the soundtrack to that voyage…
The band exists for a while already, but it was on the last album "Neverworld´s End" we really improved our sound to be what we wanted it to be – big and epic – and this will be continued on the new one "Sacrificium".

(Q) Behind every amazing creator lies a source of influence. Tell me, who or what inspired you to create Xandria?

Marco: There was really one album that inspired me to have the vision of an atmospherically, very emotional kind of metal music, and that was the "Wildhoney" album by Swedish band Tiamat back in 1994. This has been when I made my first steps on my first electrical guitar, together with a friend of mine who was playing the drums. We often have been meeting at his parent´s garage to jam and develop songs for this idea of a sound. But it took me many years of learning and different personal constellations to finally really be able to do the music I wanted to. And with time a lot of new influences formed what Xandria is now, such as classic metal bands like Metallica, Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, and on the other hand film score composers like Hans Zimmer or Howard Shore, along with many other elements, like Celtic folk music for example.

(Q) A lot has changed with the band. Manuela Kraller left after three years and has been replaced by Dianne van Giersbergen. Steven Wussow is also new, as he has replaced Nils Middelhauve. The question everyone wants to know is, will the sound be the same?

Marco: The new album "Sacrificium" is following the way we have stepped on with "Neverworld´s End", and I am convinced that everyone who liked "Neverworld´s End" with its bombastic film score sound will also love the new album! See, this band follows a vision no matter if we have line-up changes. Of course this makes a new input in details, and we have carefully been looking for musicians who can only improve Xandria here, but the overall vision behind Xandria stays.

(Q) Your new album Sacrificium is scheduled to be released on Friday, May 2nd of this year. I am so excited and cannot wait! Tell me a little more about 'Sacrificium'...
Dianne: Like Marco already said our "Sacrificium" album is the follow up to the very successful "Neverworld’s End" album. It will be my debut album with Xandria and I for one am very excited about its release! When I joined the band the songs were already 98% finished but I found my way to contribute to them by making some minor changes to the vocal lines, to let them really match my voice, and I had the honor to write two of the lyrics on the album: "Little Red Relish" and "Sweet Atonement", the other lyrics are written by Marco.

When I heard the songs for the first time I was really impressed and I am sure all listeners will be too. They will be lured into the deep, dark, mystical world of "Sacrificium" where they will want to wander around forevermore.

(Q) What makes Sacrificium different from Kill The Sun, Ravenheart, India, Salom̩ РThe Seventh Veil, and Neverworld's End?

Marco: With "Neverworld´s End" we started a totally new chapter for Xandria, so you cannot really compare the new era with the old albums before. In the old era the music was much more simple, and we never really have been sure which way to go. So it was a little bit of this and a little bit of that, but never really going the whole way, doing something uncompromised and full belief in ourselves. Today Xandria is having a sound which is a strong statement for big, epic, cinematic music, for music that shows emotions so honestly that it doesn´t give in an inch for rules that say "you can´t do this cause it´s not cool" – we don´t care for that! Our music is for people who don´t care to be cool, but dare to show their emotions, and dare to take a step into an imaginary, other world.

(Q) Do you have any plans of touring the United States any time soon?

Dianne: Yes we have! We will be touring North America this fall, starting September 3rd in Teaneck, and have the pleasure to support Napalm Records colleagues Delain and headliner Sonata Artica. We are very excited about this opportunity and cannot wait for September to come and to get into the U.S. touring mode! I guess the performance on the 70.000 Tons of Metal Cruise this January made us hungry for more.

(Q) You have so many fans from around the world including myself. Like any other band or artist, you also have critics. What advice do you have for those bands and artists who have to endure critics? How do you handle your critics?

Marco: The best thing is always to be as honest as you can be to yourself with the music you are creating. If you are totally happy with what you created, then it doesn´t matter if someone doesn´t like it. In fact, when there are people who dislike you as much as there are people who love what you are doing, you know that you are doing something special, cause you can´t please everyone with something that is not indifferent and mainstream. Apart from that, the tastes are varying, and that´s a good thing.

(Q) I am interested in knowing what your present plans, as well as, future projects are. What is next for Xandria?

Dianne: Well let us first start off to promote our new album! The "Sacrificium"-tour will officially start on may 1st in Germany and it will lead us to and through many more countries, some of them are already on the calendar, others are yet to be announced. Of course we have plans, visions, hopes and dreams for the time after that, which will all lead to the follow up to "Sacrificium". But let us first enjoy the time to come and live the dream we now have within reach.

(Q) For your fans reading this interview, what would you like them to know?

Dianne: We would like to thank all of our fans and followers for their support and loyalty! We are able to be who we are, make and perform the music that is ours because of you. Thank you for this and we hope to meet and greet you at one of our shows!

For more information about Xandria, visit right now!