Reviews

Harriet Schock - Live From Faifax To Pasadena Artist: Harriet Schock
Title: Live From Fairfax To Pasadena
Genre: Pop
Label: Thunder Digital
You’ve heard the name, you know the music. Maybe you’ve never connected the two and maybe you don’t know the voice. That sometimes happens to great writers and it’s a tragedy. Harriet has written some of the all time classics that we all remember and dearly love. While great artists have recorded her music, there is something magical that happens when the parent of those great songs plays them. After all, she conceived it and understands the depths of its meaning beyond what anyone else can interpret no matter how intuitive they are.

"Live From Fairfax To Pasadena"  is more than the creator “doing her own thing” it is an intimate setting showcasing her best works with heartfelt conveyance. In other words, it’s as it should be. Harriet not only gives us her deepest self she interjects stories creating one continuous experience.

On a technical note, this ain’t no garage band demo from the living room. Some live albums leave you running for the studio version, none of that here. Play it - close your eyes, the hall and mix are so clean Harriet is playing in your living room with your best friends in attendance, again, it’s as it should be.

© Leslie Sallee
February 5, 2002

Read an additional review By:
Keith "The MuzikMan" Hannaleck

Harriet's listing on our site

Colleen Shanley - This Time Artist: Colleen Shanley
Title: This Time
Genre: Country Rock
Label: Independent
Colleen Shanley’s “This Time” is like a box of chocolates, you never know what your gonna get. What can I say? I love that line from the movie “Forrest Gump.” This CD truly is box of tasty delights. Colleen ranges from country rock, blues, and nightclub jazz sounds on this solid recording. No, this not a country album, I just wouldn’t have the ear nor the stomach for the slick pop country sounds of Garth Brooks or Shania Twain thank you very much. This is a very good production with stellar musicianship highlighted by versatile and flexible vocals.

This girl makes it through thick and thin of every groove her top-notch band lays down. At times I was reminded of the legendary Ms. Peggy Lee. Her voice made me think of Ms. Lee several times. There is just something about the way she delivers a song, particularly the jazz inflected tunes like ‘Who Will Be Your Next Fool’ and ‘Night Life.’ The rockin’ bouncy pop of ‘Calling Dr. Jekyll’ offers up some infectious country-rock-pop that will set your toes to tappin’ and your heart pumpin.’ ‘Better Of With Blues’ is an excellent venture into some emotionally drenched blues. I would like to hear more of that; Shanley is a natural blues singer if I ever heard one. The multitude of instruments that pushes her along allows the singer to go wherever her heart desires. There are dobros, pedal and lap steels, mandolins, fiddles, saxophones…by God its regular hootenanny going on here! So saddle up, move em’ out, and get ready for a fun ride with Colleen Shanley and her crackerjack band.

© Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck
January 15, 2002

Colleen's listing on our site

Marilyn Harris - Between The Lines Artist: Marilyn Harris
Title: Between The Lines
Genre: Pop
Label: Wrightwood Records
I am sitting here trying to figure why I haven't heard of this talented young lady Marilyn Harris yet. "Between The Lines" has fifteen exceptional tracks to present the listener that can appreciate nice and easy music with a good beat and fine vocals. Harris offers all of that. You would think with that many songs there would be at least one throw away, one song that you would just want to click over to the next one right? Wrong. Every song is first-rate. This woman's voice reminded me of Roberta Flack, although she has been compared to others, I heard Roberta more than once.

Her main staple is the pop tune that's injected with some rhythm and blues, soul, and hints of the blues. If you think about it, most pop music takes a little bit of everything and manages to make it sound like it really belongs in that specific genre. Are you still with me? It may not make a lot of sense to some people?when I listen to music I hear and see the whole picture that is being painted. She paints a colorful musical portrait that is a masterpiece on this album. Its just one great song after another, what else can I say? To sight one specific song would be unfair, they are all just too good. Need I say more? Just get this CD; it's laden with great music and terrific vocals.

© Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck
November 13, 2001

Marilyn's listing on our site

Sue Palmer - Soundtack to a B Movie Artist: Sue Palmer 
Title: Soundtrack to a B Movie
Genre: Jazz-Swing
Label: Sue Palmer Motel Swing Music
If you feel like taking a trip back in time to a smoke filled café in the 1930’s I think I have just the thing for you. Sue Palmer and Her Motel Swing Orchestra play you a “Soundtrack To A B Movie” to get you there, and it’s a one way trip. Palmer has played with so many great talents over the years, it’s no wonder she has developed into the star quality piano player and band leader that she has. She has close ties with Candye Kane. She played with Kane on a tour of Europe and also played and collaborated with her on her albums. Kane is a robust full of vim and vigor performer herself, and she is well known for her swinging jazz-blues music. After listening to this album it becomes clear that Palmer has those same qualities and attributes.

Deejah Marie does a standup job on vocals to support the bands strong arrangements. Let it be noted that the rhythm section of Sharon Shuffelt (drums) and Rob Thorsen (bass) do an out of this world job to keep everything on the upswing and in perfect time. Steve Wilcox injects some mighty impressive guitar licks to the mixture. I always seemed to raise an eyebrow and lend a more attentive ear when he went off on one of his rockin’ runs. The breathtaking horns of April West (trombone), Jonny Viau (baritone sax), Josh Welch (trumpet), Troy Jennings (baritone sax), Eric Hybertsen (clarinet), , Dia Silverstein (alto sax), and Gilbert Castellanos (trumpet),  keep it alive, genuine, effervescent, and bright. Todd Bryson (vibraphone), Tyler Buckley (percussion), Jimmy Woodard (guitar), and several backup singers, are also noted for their brilliant performances.

I am sitting here scratching my head wondering where to start with all of these great songs. The instrumental tunes show off the bands tight grip on their style, ‘Left Bank Boogie’ being the perfect example. Ms. Kane guest on the ‘Dragnet For Jesus’ track, which is a different kind of song in comparison to the rest of the album. I knew the tune at the beginning but I just couldn’t place it, and then when I heard the lyrics it all clicked. I got a big kick out of it. ‘Paris Metro Interlude’ seems so appropriate for the musical atmosphere, if you know how to speak French your in luck, although some words are quite clear, like boogie woogie. Let me tell you, Sue Palmer puts the boogie in the word woogie. This is an incredible album that will lighten your load and put a smile in your heart.

© Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck
January 01, 2002

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Candye Kane Artist: Candye Kane 
Title: Swango
Genre: Blues-Swing
Label: Sire Records
She big, she's beautiful and she can belt out a song and swing the night away, She is Candye Kane. The CD "Swango" is full of swing, jazz and blues to rock your soul. Candye has a crackerjack band to support of all her swingin' vocals. What a toe-tapping swing fest this CD is, folks. It all kicks off with "200 Lbs of Fun," letting everyone know she is living large and having a ball. This woman is an inspiration. Kane shows that you can love yourself, be successful and have fun no matter what your gender or physical appearance may be. She is very pretty isn't she? Living proof that with a positive attitude nothing is insurmountable and success is yours if you want it.

This is great music. Every track stands on it's own as a marvelous piece of swinging, bopping blues-jazz. The woman has the spirit of music in her heart and soul, and it burns with a passion and love for what she does. Fueled by emotion and stories of love, each tune is driven home with a knockout punch provided by Candye's strong delivery and the group's fiery and inspired jamming to make it all complete. The group is tight and together, and Kane is the sweet soul sister the makes it all happen. If you aren't compelled to cut a rug when you hear this you had better check and see if you are in the obituaries.

© Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck
January 30, 2000

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Cat Rood Artist: Cat Rood
Title: Guitar Play
Genre: Instrumental Rock-Blues
Label: Rudecat
Cat Rood is one cool cat guitar slinger on her all instrumental “Guitar Play” CD. The first track “Outwalking The Storm” is a smokin’ blues-rock number, and the storm is her guitar. After that she plays around for a while with her guitar experimenting with sounds and a genre melting pot. I wasn’t real impressed with some of the tracks as I felt they were really undirected and unfocused. It seems as though she was content adventuring into a flourish of instrumental progressions without any apparent rhyme or reason. It’s comparable to a mad scientist in a lab. She had fun I am sure, regardless of my opinion or anyone else’s, and that is what’s most important to any creative process. I admire her for her attitude and taking a chance. When she finally gets down to business and gets serious this woman really rocks. She sounds as if she could easily be regarded as one of the top instrumental guitarists with more fine-tuning. On tracks eight through ten she really gets down to business and struts her stuff. “No Vacancy” is the best song on the entire recording hands down. “Warp Drive” and “Finale” follow as a close second and third.

The man who really jumpstarted all of the six-string pyrotechnics in the eighties is Joe Satriani. I think artists like Cat owe him a lot for the attention and validity that this kind of style has been receiving for so many years.

Potential? This girl has oodles of it. If she could make an entire album with the consistency of the last three tracks I am sure that the recognition she desires will be coming her way in no time.

© Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck
August 1, 2001

Cat's listing on our site

Dorothy Wallace Artist: Dorothy Wallace 
Title: Hand Of God
Label: Proper Girl Music
"The Lord Is My Shepherd, I shall not want." Aren't those some of the most beautiful words ever spoken? I think so. Dorothy Wallace sings that song in a way that will have you singing the song to yourself all day long, in fact, for days afterwards. At least that's the way it impacted me. It's not her voice so much that impresses, it's the feeling and emotion felt behind each song. She does have a wonderful voice, just don't expect knock-your-socks off power-from-the-toes vocals. What is lacking in pure talent in the vocal department, is equalized in good measure with the strong belief that the love of god conquers all. This is religious, and it rocks. Actually, there is quite a variety of styles covered on this disc. A little r&b, funk, gospel, and rock enter the mix. Regardless of the style, it's all done extremely well.

When Wallace is singing from her heart in the light of the holy spirit, her voice gets new found bursts of energy that provide a wealth of range and versatility for the vocalist to adapt to each tune. I think that this artist has a lot of talent, and could develop into one of our best pop divas if given the opportunity and proper management. The unfortunate reality is that this rarely happens. Only the chosen few are given the opportunity of a lifetime, meanwhile important messages coming from the mouths of people like Dorothy Wallace are rarely heard. It's time we all woke up and listened to the message offered by those who seek the truth and a better path to follow in their lives.

You know... I listened to this a few times before walking into my office to go through the daily grind, filled with all the stress and obstacles that we all go through on a daily basis. The bottom line is we all need hope and inspiration. This music gave me all of that and more. It made me think just how precious life can be if we are willing to let life happen and enjoy it. Thanks for the wake up call Dorothy, your words and music made my day.

© Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck
July 30, 2000

Dorothy's listing on our site

Lisa Brigantino Artist: Lisa Brigantino
Title: A Brooklyn Night
Label: Independent
After I listened to this wonderful CD I flipped over the CD jewel case and there was a picture of Lisa Brigantino looking across the water at the Twin Towers. It was a weird looking at them knowing that they are gone forever. Things that we normally would take for granted can be snatched away and removed from our lives permanently at a moments notice. Now more than ever is a time to really dive into music and let it take you away, we need it in these tense and emotional times.

“A Brooklyn Night” is a splendid album. With the help of some stinging guitar work by her husband Tomi Millioto, Brigantino puts together a varied selection of tasty musical entrees. She sings with a lot of soul and grit, showing the spirit of a true New Yorker.  If it’s a strumming mover like the opener “Left Side Of The Street” or a bluesy rocker like “Blue Jeans”, Lisa gives it every ounce of energy and sweat on each song. She plays one mean acoustic guitar and sings like a woman that is full of life and plenty of it to share with her audience. I completely enjoyed this CD from start to finish. She has a way of being forceful and driven then the ability to change the mood and become soft and tender. All the emotions are harnessed and delivered right on time in every song. This is all very well done.

© Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck
September 19, 2001

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Mary Lou Newmark Artist: Mary Lou Newmark
Title: Green Angel
Genre: World-Instrumental
Label: Green Angel Music
Mary Lou Newmark is a new age world music purveyor. “Green Angel” is a distinctly eclectic blend of electric violin compositions. Her music is divergent, comparable to a healthy oak tree that grows below the earth as well as above it. Newmark uses sounds, voices, and at times it seems like synthesized violin, to make her compositions sound entirely original and unique. It is in fact a different experience to sit and listen to an album of instrumental electric violin music. The violin being so worldly as it were makes it a perfect vehicle for world music.

Some of this music is out there but in general it has substance and meaning, or at least its intended that way. Newmark is very talented, I think with a firmer ground on a focused concept rather than venturing off into the land of experimentation she will be serving her talents (and her audience) much better.  The off-the-beaten-path material is intriguing but inconsistent. That is where I think a stronger foothold on a particular concept or genre would give a clearer picture of what she really is capable of. The violin separates itself so strikingly from other instruments that all the idiosyncrasies and subtleties are recognized rather quickly. It is for those reasons I feel so strong in my opinions of what direction this artist may consider to go the next time she gets in the studio to record.

© Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck
November 2, 2001

Mary Lou's listing on our site

Red Betty Artist: Red Betty
Title: EP-Live To 2-Track 12/19/00 
Genre: Rock-Pop
Label: Independent
Red Betty already has two full-length albums to their credit but the group felt it was best that I heard a live free-for-all recording that was cut in a warehouse so I could get a good idea of what they sounded like now, not two albums ago. Now that was a very intelligent decision. You would be surprised how many people just send me e-mails like “Can I send you a CD?” Without any introduction or any indication of what kind of music they play. This group did their homework because I love this stuff! Just look at Yahz (female lead singer) with that intense look, would you want to mess with her? Her singing is as serious as her gaze.

Right out of the gate with the rockin’ and polished ‘You’re The Pill’ to the melodic country fried rocker ‘Hellhound’, this group covers some ground. This is a serious group with their eyes set on success. Watch out, this is a loaded gun that is ready to empty its chamber. This is no ‘Sad Souvenir’; it’s a bunch of songs that will be bouncing around inside your brain for days. Remember the name, Red Betty.

© Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck
November 5, 2001

Red Betty's listing on our site