Our top 10 albums of 2014

19 Dec

#1 – Tesla – Simplicity (Tesla Electric Co)

Tesla - Simplicty

Each year, our top album typically goes to a band that has completely outdone themselves and Tesla has raised the bar high with Simplicity. Jeff Keith’s vocals are spot on and the band is on fire, delivering 14 well-crafted songs that stand up with their best work. As the title of the album suggests, Tesla deliver unapologetic, straight forward rock and roll that just smokes. We love every second of this one and think you will as well! (Standout Tracks: “Time Bomb” & “Ricochet”)

#2 – Judas Priest- Redeemer of Souls (Columbia)

JP Reedemer

Judas Priest is one of the most consistent metal bands going today. With each release, you can always expect great metal songs and Redeemer of Souls is no different. This album seems to recapture some of the sounds from various periods of Priest’s history with some new twists along the way. New lead guitarist Richie Falkner fits in nicely and his solos only make this album better. Crank it up and let it rip! (Standout Tracks: “Redeemer of Souls” & “Battle Cry”)

#3 – Neil Diamond – Melody Road (Capitol)

Neil Diamond

After releasing two stellar albums with producer Rick Rubin, we were a little nervous when we found out he was working with Don Was. When the first single, “Nothing But A Heartache,” was released from Melody Road, our fears we quickly put aside. The album contains 12 tracks that are reminiscent of Diamond’s work in the late sixties and early seventies. He knows how to write and perform a great song and that hasn’t changed with age. This is an enjoyable listening experience from start to finish. (Standout Tracks: “Seoguah & Jimmy” & “Something Blue”)

#4 Michael Sweet – I’m Not Your Suicide (Big 3)

Michael Sweet

After Stryper released the best album of their career in 2013, front man Michael Sweet followed it up with a solo album that is the best of his solo career. What stands out about I’m Not Your Suicide is that Sweet isn’t afraid to experiment with a variety of styles. With songs that range from heavy rockers to ballads to some in the vein of country music, Sweet doesn’t disappoint. Every song stands on its own and the album is great from beginning to end. (Standout Tracks: “Taking On The World Tonight” & “Miles Away”)

#5 Primus – Primus and the Chocolate Factory (ATO Records)

Primus

While Primus and the Chocolate Factory seems to have polarized a lot of fans, it is actually very atmospheric and gives you the feel of the original “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” It’s also an album that grows on you with time. If you like your music sick and twisted, this is the album for you. (Standout Tracks: “Pure Imagination” & “Golden Ticket”)

#6 Godsmack – 1000hp (Universal Republic)

Godsmack 1000hp

Unlike many of their contemporaries, Godsmack has always been a consistent hard rock band who doesn’t change things around too much. On their sixth studio album, 1000hp, they have embraced their age with grace, while serving a blast of energy that never disappoints. Overall, another great Godsmack album. (Standout Tracks: “1000hp” & “Living In The Gray”)

#7 Linkin Park – The Hunting Party (Warner Bros)

Linkin Park - The Hauntin Party
After missing the mark on their last two studio albums, Linkin Park return to form on The Hunting Party with their best material since the underrated Minutes to Midnight. It recaptures the vibe and energy of Hybrid Theory while still sounding fresh at the same time. The angsty rap-metal that made the band popular is front and center and the songs are heavy and filled with adrenaline. If you’ve given up on the band, this album should bring you back to the fold. (Standout Tracks: :”Guilty All The Same” & “War”)

#8 Accept – Blind Rage (Nuclear Blast)

Accept

While not quite as heavy as their last two albums, Blind Rage continues on the quality level of its predecessors. It contains fantastic twin guitar attacks, fierce drumming, and lyrics that are meaningful. Andy Sneap’s production is once again stellar. This is a must have for any metal fan! (Standout Tracks: “Stampede” & “Fall of the Empire”)

#9 Hammerfall – (r)Evolution (Nuclear Blast)

Hammerfall

After shaking things up on their last album, Infected, this power metal band from Sweden returns with 10 tracks that easily stand up with their classics. If you like old school heavy metal with soaring vocals, astounding lead work and slick production, (r)Evolution is the album for you. (Standout Tracks: “Hector’s Hymn” & “Live Life Loud”)

#10 Stevie Nicks – 24 Karat Gold: Songs from the Vault (Reprise)

Steve Nicks
This collection of 14 never-before-released songs that were recently recorded is Nick’s finest solo work in years. Her voice is in fine form on 24 Karat Gold and the music delivers all the emotions you’d expect from her. This is the album her fans have wanted for a long time and Nicks has delivered. (Standout Tracks: “Mabel Normand” & “24 Karat Gold”)

Carlin Tripp’s travels inspires ‘Back to the Soil’

17 Dec
Carlin Tripp (Photo by Leah Astore)

Carlin Tripp (Photo by Leah Astore)

Singer-songwriter Carlin Tripp has been making a name for himself in the local music scene of New England. He recently released his major debut album Back to the Soil on PB and Jay Records which was the result of about two-and-a-half year’s worth of work and about eight months of songwriting. The songs on this album were inspired by Tripp’s travels across the country where he spent the majority of his time playing the acoustic guitar and writing songs. When he eventually recorded the album, each track was produced to the tone of the acoustic guitar, creating a vibe in the vein of Neil Young or Tom Petty’s Americana rock and roll albums. He is currently supporting the album with several tour dates, including an opening slot for guitarist Paul Bielatowicz and bassist Simon Fitzpatrick (both of Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy) at the Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River, Mass., on Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014 at 8 p.m. Since Tripp has a busy schedule, we’re grateful for the time he spent in answering our questions and we’re looking forward to what the future holds for him.

Limelight Magazine (LM): You released your first major album, Back to the Soil, in November. How long did it take you to record this album? Are you pleased with the finished product?
Carlin Tripp (CT): Back to the Soil was the result of about two-and-a-half year’s worth of work and about eight year’s worth of songwriting. And to be totally honest, I didn’t run into the folks I was actually going to record the album with until I had already invested a bunch of time in a different studio and burned through one Kickstarter budget. It was a big decision to scratch that first project and move on with Jay Psaros and PB and Jay Records, but one that I’m glad I made. So, from the end of 2013 and through 2014, we had different sessions at Mojo Studio in Franconia, NH, and at Jay’s studio in Rockland, MA, and that’s when the songs really started to come to life. The album is everything that I hoped it would be; it was recorded with sincerity and without an agenda, totally independently. All the money was raised through crowdfunding and out of pocket. It was great to be able to record it my own way and not have to answer to anyone.

LM: You mentioned on your Facebook page that you tried to “capture something true to the roots of American music” on Back to the Soil. Can you elaborate on this?
CT: I spent the majority of my twenties travelling around the country, driven by a desire to experience as much of the landscape as I possibly could, and to take advantage of the opportunities that came to me. I spent the majority of that time playing the acoustic guitar, writing songs, and working whatever kinds of jobs came my way. For me, the acoustic guitar was a means to travel, a way to meet people, a way to relate to the world and the experiences I was having. So, when we recorded the album, we produced each track to the tone of the acoustic, that being the root of everything. We jammed as a three-piece band. Tony on drums, Jay on bass, and myself on the acoustic guitar and we went from there. I was trying to record the album the way that seemed most natural, without a lot of overdubbing, without too much technology. I wanted to record a good old Americana rock and roll album in the way that Tom Petty, Neil Young or The Band might have done it.

LM: How long does it typically take you to write a song? Can you walk us through your own personal songwriting process?
CT: Songs are tough to predict in my world. I’ve never had much success writing songs by planning it out, sitting down with the intention to write. Most of my songs have been the result of constantly having a guitar in my hands, always searching for new sounds, new ideas to play with. So, the music always comes first for me, I will map out some chord progressions, and then play them over and over again until I am comfortable enough that I can begin to experiment with vocal melodies and song ideas. And even at that point I may have to write a couple of different songs to the same music until it hits just right. When that happens, the song will basically write itself in about a day, but it can take a long time to get to that day. I’m not one to get anxious about when I’m going to write that next song, I try to keep it as enjoyable as possible and not ruin it with a lot of unnecessary pressure or anxiety. If a song doesn’t feel natural to me, I can’t stand to try and play it in front of other people.

LM: The song “Hands of Love” features Hayley Sabella who we’ve previously featured in Limelight. How did this collaboration come about?
CT: I met Hayley shortly after the Boston Marathon bombings when a bunch of musicians were brought together for the One Voice “Dirty Water” recording, a benefit record for the victims. I met a bunch of great people that day, including Jay Psaros, and the three of us hit it off and spent most of the day hanging out. After that, there were some shows in New Bedford and I invited Hayley to come down and play, which she did, and it was awesome. She is an amazing songwriter and performer. At one of these shows I introduced “Hands of Love” to her, having had the idea of the song being a conversation between a man and woman, and she picked it up right away, and we played it live, and it went over quite well. She was such a willing collaborator. I feel quite lucky that she agreed to work with me on this one. Performing and recording with Hayley is a real treat.

LM: Do you have any favorite songs off Back to the Soil?
CT: “Deer in Headlights” is certainly one of my favorite songs on the album and one of my oldest songs. It was written during the winter when a friend of mine came to visit me from New Mexico and we had a brief romantic interlude, if you will. Something that I wanted to last, but really couldn’t hold on to. “Watching Me Fall” is another – a rowdy song about new love, always such an exhilarating experience. I really got to jam with the band on this one. It kind of has that folk pop feel to it, rock and roll drums and a bouncing bass line. And “Jack in the Night” will always be a song I use to reflect on a time when I was torn between finishing a college degree and wanting to live a life without constraints or institutional expectations. It’s a song that I wrote while camped out at home, in between colleges, not knowing what my next move was going to be.

LM: Looking back on your life, when did you decide that you wanted to become a musician?
CT: I honestly don’t know if I ever “decided” to be a musician, honestly. I just started playing the guitar, learning songs and writing songs, and it’s always been that one thing I’ve never had to force myself to do. I was 18 when I borrowed my first acoustic guitar and it quickly became a fixture in my life. I was always such a desperate music fan, so enchanted by the records I had grown up listening to. And when this opportunity to recreate these moments started to become real, with my own hands, and my own voice, I was all in. Being a musician is a dream that I am constantly trying to manifest into reality more and more all the time. It’s an amazing pursuit that will last my entire lifetime, and as I grow and change, so will my music and my performance. I feel so lucky that I get to do this and have met so many great new friends as a result.

LM: Who are some of the biggest influences on your music?
CT: I have always been a huge fan of jam bands and more recently the new rise of singer-songwriters. I grew up listening to classic rock and my mom’s record collection. I’ve gotten into so much music, but deep down at the core of my musical upbringing I remember Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles, the Dire Straits album Brothers in Arms, and Paul Simon’s Graceland. I was also a huge fan of the Phantom of the Opera record sung by the Broadway actors and actresses. After that, I got really into Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, and Michael Jackson tapes and then it was the Grateful Dead, Phish, Dave Matthews, Neil Young, Wilco and so on and so on. Nowadays, I get really inspired by my friends and contemporaries, such as Jake Hill, Jay Psaros, and Hayley Sabella, I love hearing the new stuff that these three are coming out with and they inspire me to write in a way that is much different than in the past, when it was just me on my own.

LM: You have a gig coming up this Saturday, Dec. 20th, at the Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River, MA, opening for Paul Bielatowicz and Simon Fitzpatrick who are members of Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy. Are you looking forward to this show and playing the Narrows for the first time?
CT: Paul and Simon are the kind of musicians that I really look up to in a different way. These guys are virtuosos and I admire their dedication and what surely must be an insane work ethic that has allowed them to become so technically on point. It’s quite an honor to open the show for them at the Narrows, a place where so many of my heroes have performed. This opportunity is definitely a pinnacle in my career as a singer-songwriter and I can’t thank the folks at Limelight Magazine enough for offering it to me.

LM: Besides music, what are some other things you like to do in your spare time?
CT: My spare time, which there seems to be less and less of these days, is spent in a couple different ways. Besides music, my other big hobby is rock climbing, which I have been into for about eight years now. I spent a ton of time working in a rock gym and climbing as much as I possibly could before my musical life really started getting busy. My good friend, George, and I have climbed some of the largest cliffs up in New Hampshire and I’ve climbed at some pretty amazing spots in Kentucky, Vegas, Wyoming and Colorado. During the summer, I try to spend my time in and around the water, mainly kayaking, swimming, and sailing. I love being outdoors in the peace and quiet of nature.

LM If anyone is interested in purchasing your music, where can they go to do so?
CT: My music is available on iTunes, Amazon and streaming on Spotify and Youtube. You can also order physical copies of my CD from my website, which is http://www.carlintripp.com.

LM: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
CT: George Harrison once said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road’ll take you there,” and that, to me, sums up my life as a musician. I love the excitement of the unknown and the what’s next. My experience has been an amazing sequence of doors opening and chance encounters and I’ve tried to treat every performance and opportunity with as much sincerity and passion as I possibly can. I can’t thank everyone enough for helping me carve out my own little life in the great big musical history of humanity; I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Advertisement - Click on the above image to purchase tickets!

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Comedian Jim Breuer of SNL and Half-Baked coming to the Narrows in Fall River

14 Dec
Jim Breuer (Photo by Greg Pallante)

Jim Breuer (Photo by Greg Pallante)

FALL RIVER – Popular stand-up comedian Jim Breuer, known best for his time on Saturday Night Live as “goat boy” in the 1990s and for his role in the movie Half Baked, will be at the Narrows Center for the Arts on Saturday, January 24, 2015. With over 20 years of stand-up comedy experience, Breuer remains one of today’s top entertainers and continues to win over audiences with his off-the-wall humor and lovable personality. Purchase tickets HERE.

Breuer is one of the most recognizable comedians in the business, known for his charismatic stage antics, dead-on impressions, and family-friendly stand-up. In addition to keeping busy on his current comedy tour, Breuer can be heard on his weekly Sirius/XM Radio show “Fridays with Breuer,” featuring guests such as Jerry Seinfeld, Bill Cosby and Jeff Foxworthy.

Following his success as “goat boy” on Saturday Night Live, Breuer starred alongside Dave Chappelle in the cult favorite Half Baked. He has since appeared in the popular films Zookeeper, Titan A.E., and Beer League. On the small screen, Breuer hosted MTV’s popular Beach House and VH1’s Web Junk 20 and appeared on countless TV shows. Breuer is also a frequent guest on The Howard Stern Show.

Breuer’s recent work is much different than his time on Saturday Night Live, focusing more on family and personal experiences, but equally as hysterical.

The Narrows Center for the Arts is located at 16 Anawan Street. Tickets to his show can be purchased online at http://www.narrowscenter.org or by calling the box office at 508-324-1926. For those wanting to purchase tickets in person, box office hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 12 noon to 5 p.m.

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Advertisement – Click to purchase tickets.

Paul Bielatowicz & Simon Fitzpatrick to perform mind blowing night of music

6 Dec

Photo - Paul & Simon

Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy Band guitarist Paul Bielatowicz, along with Legacy bandmate, bassist Simon Fitzpatrick, will bring their musical virtuosity to the Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River, Mass., on Saturday, Dec. 20th. They will be joined on stage by percussionist Matt Demick, of Barrington, R.I. Tickets can be purchased HERE for only $20.

The trio will perform many songs from Bielatowicz’s solo CD Preludes & Etudes, a representation of the electric guitar as a classical instrument, as well as many of classical music’s most challenging showpieces and some surprising classic rock songs.

Bielatowicz has toured the world as a member of both the Carl Palmer Band (Emerson, Lake & Palmer) and Neal Morse’s solo band (Spock’s Beard, Transatlantic), as well as appearing on recordings by Paul Gilbert, Mike Portnoy, Randy George and many others. Bielatowicz has also been a regular contributor for several music magazines, most notably writing a regular column for Guitarist Magazine and other UK based publications, where he has interviewed such amazing musicians as Steve Vai and Joe Satriani, among others, as well as providing transcriptions for Guitar Techniques magazine.

UK bassist Simon Fitzpatrick has toured and recorded with Jennifer Batten (Michael Jackson, Jeff Beck), Carl Palmer (Emerson, Lake & Palmer), Joe Lynn-Turner (Rainbow, Deep Purple), Kee Marcello (Europe) and Michael Hill (B.B. King) among others. Not content with simply being in the background, Fitzpatrick has always tried to take bass guitar playing as far as possible. Using all six strings of his extended range instrument, he performs as a lead player, a soloist or polyphonic accompanist. He has recently released his debut solo bass guitar album, Reflections, in which he uses his virtuoso technique to recreate a wide variety of pieces and styles, ranging from classical to classic rock, on one single instrument. You’ve never seen a bass guitar played like this before.

The Narrows Center for the Arts is located at 16 Anawan Street in Fall River, Mass. Tickets can be purchased online at http://www.narrowscenter.org, by calling the box office at 508-324-1926, or in person at the venue.

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Advertisement – Click on the image to purchase tickets.

Stryper front man to perform holiday concert in Plymouth

14 Nov
Michael Sweet: The Voice of Stryper

Michael Sweet: The Voice of Stryper

Michael Sweet, front man of the multi-platinum, Christian rock band Stryper, is performing a rare, Christmas concert at the Spire Center for Performing Arts in Plymouth, Mass., on Friday, Dec. 19, 2014, at 8 p.m. The concert will feature Stryper classics, songs from his solo career, and popular Christmas carols to get you ready for the holiday season. Tickets are on-sale now by clicking HERE.

With a career and repertoire spanning over three decades, Sweet has fronted one of the most trailblazing groups of the MTV generation, written a stable of Billboard charting singles, filled arenas all the world over, said goodbye at the peak of it all, took stock in a thriving solo career, got Stryper back together for yet another record breaking run and even took a stint co-leading one of the most legendary classic rock acts ever, Boston, from 2007 to 2011.

Musically speaking, Sweet is coming off yet another creative high in the Stryper camp thanks to its 2013’s return to form record No More Hell To Pay. Besides making an instantaneous Top 40 debut on the Billboard 200, it landed at #2 on the Top Christian Albums charts, #3 on Top Hard Rock Albums and #6 on Top Rock Albums. It’s certainly a testament to the band’s perseverance, whetting the public’s appetite all the more for Sweet’s I’m Not Your Suicide, which may technically be the follow-up to 2007’s individual offering Touched, but is actually the singer/songwriter’s first full-length original album since 2000’s Truth.

For this special intimate show at The Spire, Sweet will take you on a journey throughout his musical career, performing songs and sharing stories in an unforgettable evening of stellar musicianship.

The Spire is located at 25 ½ Court Street in Plymouth. The venue features superior acoustics, custom state of the art lighting and sound systems, and original period architectural details, offering patrons an exceptional performing arts experience.

Advance tickets are available through brownpapertickets.com or through the venue’s website, spirecenter.org.

JKB launches new publication; Win a pair of concert tickets for life!

7 Nov

JKB Entertainment Group, the publisher of Limelight Magazine, is launching a new online publication that will be based out of Los Angeles.

Press Pass Magazine will be your all access pass to pop culture and the entertainment world, covering everything from movies and television to video games, animation and more. It will feature interviews, spotlights, coverage of events, photo essays, and videos using state-of-the-art technology. Its content will be noticeably different from other entertainment publications and blogs.

“We’ve been hungry to do something new and exciting for quite some time,” said JKB co-owner Jay Kenney. “Over the past two years, we’ve attended several conventions across the country and made a few trips to Los Angeles in order to lay the groundwork for this publication. It’s exciting that we’re finally at the point of turning this idea into a reality.”

“As much as we love the music scene, we thought it was time to branch out,” added Katie Botelho, who also co-owns JKB. “We enjoy everything that has to do with entertainment and thought we should share our experiences with everyone else who enjoys it as well.”

Kenney said it would have been very easy to expand Limelight Magazine’s coverage to other areas but he said it didn’t feel right to change its focus.

“Limelight will always be about music and we don’t want to dilute that and turn it into something it’s not,” he said. “Press Pass will focus on aspects of the entertainment world other than music.”

The publication will be run by Limelight Magazine staff writer and videographer Leah Astore, along with Botelho and Kenney. Other staff members include: Jim Sass (videographer), Kristen Pierson (photographer), Dominic Mendez (videographer, blogger), and Gorette Sousa (graphic designer).

“Leah is one of the most talented people I know and she’s someone I truly believe in,” said Kenney. “I’m confident she’ll turn Press Pass into a success.”

“We’ve picked the perfect person to do the job,” said Botelho. “She’s talented in so many ways and just as passionate as we are about this project, I don’t think we could have found anyone better!”

“I was beyond excited when Jay and Katie came to me with this opportunity because it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time,” said Astore. “I am incredibly eager to get started and make some amazing content!”

Since it’s difficult to get advertisers for start-up publications, a rewards-based crowd funding campaign has been set up through Indiegogo where contributors will receive incentives for participating. Click HERE to visit the Indiegogo campaign.

One of the biggest incentives is a pair of tickets FOR LIFE to every show booked by JKB Entertainment Group. For each dollar contributed by a person, he or she will receive an equal number of chances matching their donation. For instance, if $10 is contributed, the person gets 10 chances. If $100 is contributed, the person gets 100 chances. On top of that, if the person is not interested in attending a specific show, he or she can transfer the tickets to someone else or even gift them. The drawing will be held on the day after the Indiegogo campaign ends.

Some of the past artists booked by the JKB Entertainment Group include Jon Anderson (formerly of YES), Crystal Bowersox, Jim Breuer, Dave Davies (of The Kinks), Howie Day, Jonathan Edwards, King’s X, Ed Kowalczyk (formerly of Live), Carl Palmer (of Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Asia), Tom Rush, Rusted Root, Michael Schenker, Stryper, UFO, Uriah Heep, John Waite, The Winery Dogs, Zebra, and The Zombies.

Cheryl Wheeler to perform at The Spire in Plymouth

23 Oct
Cheryl Wheeler

Cheryl Wheeler

As part of our publisher’s singer-songwriter series in Plymouth, Mass., Cheryl Wheeler, a folk icon who must be seen to be appreciated, will perform at The Spire Center for Performing Arts on Saturday, November 22, 2014, at 8 p.m. Tickets can be purchased HERE.

Wheeler is known for her gifted songwriting, beautiful voice, and entertaining stage presence.

Even if you are not already familiar with Wheeler, you’ve probably already heard her music. Mixing keen insight with humor and pathos, her songs have been covered by artists like Peter, Paul and Mary, Suzy Bogguss, Kenny Loggins, Garth Brooks, Bette Midler, and more.

From other people’s comments about her, you learn that she is a natural storyteller with a fantastic sense of humor. But until you see her in person, you never really believe what you’ve been told about her. Interestingly enough, almost half of the songs she performs during her shows have never been recorded!

Her first public performance was at a Hootenanny when she was 12. She started writing her own songs when she was 17. Her funny stories between songs reveal her talent for diversity. Each time she tells a story, it will be a little bit different, so even if you’ve heard it before, you still find yourself laughing.

The Spire is located at 25 ½ Court Street in Plymouth. The venue features superior acoustics, custom state of the art lighting and sound systems and original period architectural details, offering patrons an exceptional performing arts experience.

Advance tickets are available through brownpapertickets.com or through the venue’s website, spirecenter.org. Tickets will be also available at The Spire on the day of show.

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