Julia Cirignano releases compilation of poems

Julia Cirignano has released her first self-published book titled White Wine & Medical Marijuana: A Compilation of Poems. Cirignano recently graduated from Endicott College where she received a BA in English with a music minor. She has several articles published by Limelight Magazine and That Music Mag, and has poetry published in The Endicott Review, The Endicott Observer, Mad Swirl, The New York Literary Magazine, Red Wolf Journal, and The Somerville Times.

White Wine & Medical Marijuana is a book of poetry that explores themes such femininity, sexuality, weakness, strength, power, addiction, and profanity. It analyzes these themes, while keeping the language casual, simple, and accessible to all readers. Enjoy the power struggle between self criticism and self love, the raw life observations, and the relentless scrutinization of everyday life.

Cirignano released White Wine & Medical Marijuana on August 8th, and has already received rave reviews from NY Literary Magazine, Doug Holder of Ibbetson Street Press, and Ziggy Merrit of That Music Mag.

Check out Cirignano’s writing on her website http://www.juliacirignano.com, and follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and Linkedin. Also, feel free to contact Cirignano with any inquiries or review possibilities at jciri341@mail.endicott.edu.

Pick up your copy of White Wine & Medical Marijuana on Amazon by clicking HERE.

The Cassette Chronicles – John Waite’s ‘Rover’s Return’

BY JAY ROBERTS (SPECIAL TO LIMELIGHT MAGAZINE)

The Cassette Chronicles is a continuing series of mini reviews and reflections on albums from the 1980’s and 1990’s that I have acquired through Purchase Street Records in New Bedford, MA.

The aim of this series is to highlight both known and underappreciated albums from rock, pop and metal genres from the 1980’s through the cassette editions of their releases. Some of the albums I have known about and loved for years, while others are new to me and were music I’ve always wanted to hear. There will be some review analysis and my own personal stories about my connection with various albums.

These opinions are strictly my own and do not reflect the views of anyone else at Limelight Magazine.

JOHN WAITE – Rover’s Return (1987)

Back in the murky swamps of the distant past, I was slightly less grumpy and cranky than I am now. This would probably account for why in 1984, I absolutely loved the John Waite #1 smash hit ballad “Missing You” from his No Brakes album. It was a ballad but one that didn’t come with so much cheese as to bind up your insides beyond salvaging. As for the album it was on, No Brakes was fantastic from beginning to end. I really loved that album.

So, as I sat down to listen to Rover’s Return, I found myself wondering why I never really got into John Waite’s other solo albums. At least not to the point I did with No Brakes.

The ex-Babys singer Waite has always had a great voice that has shined with his original group, solo and with Bad English. However, on Rover’s Return there is ample evidence that a big reason why he never quite reached the continuing success peak with his solo career is because he just didn’t have the best songs to work with.

The album kicks off with the track that served as the big single attempt, “These Times Are Hard For Lovers.” Co-written by Desmond Child (who is also credited with backing vocals on the album), the uptempo number is quite catchy. However, the blending of backing vocals during the song’s chorus overpowers Waite’s main vocal track and feels like a bit of overkill. While I generally like the song, each time I hear the chorus I cringe.

The other single released from the album was “Don’t Lose Any Sleep,” which was written by another prolific hit songwriter, Diane Warren, but it did worse on the charts than “These Times…” I can understand why because the quality of the song changes from one moment to the next. I found myself wavering on this one because there were moments I liked in the song but they’d get swallowed up by the next moment which made me want to scream in agony.

Songs like “Act of Love,” a depressingly one note serving of blandness that makes white bread look edgy made me wonder who had the final say on picking the tracks for the release. Normally, a major complaint of mine centers on the ballad tracks on any given album, but in a somewhat refreshing yet odd change of pace, the faster rock paced song “Wild One” which closes out Side One is stunningly weak for a song that aims to get the blood pumping.

I know, I know. You are reading this and wondering if there was anything about this album that I liked without reservations because you don’t want to read just a diatribe of how mediocre I found Rover’s Return to be.

The answer is yes. There are some rather good tracks that deserved to be on a better cast album than this one. The song “Encircled” has an edgier musical score to it with Waite’s vocal performance more forceful. “Woman’s Touch” has a gritty guitar line in the song that caught my ear.

For my money, the last three songs on the album are where Waite’s abilities are demonstrated to their full potential. “Sometimes” is a ballad with some rather excellent storytelling in the lyrics. “Big Time For Love” closes things out with a racing rock crescendo and my personal favorite song on the album, “She’s The One,” melds rock aggressiveness with pop sensibilities for a song that I would’ve loved hearing as a big hit radio track all those years ago.

I’ve been a fan of John Waite’s voice ever since “Missing You” was released as a single, and that hasn’t changed regardless of where I heard his voice over the years. I’ve heard stuff from his time with The Babys and loved the first Bad English album. He’s just got something that endears his singing to the listener. But despite this, even though he wrote or co-wrote 7 out of the 9 cuts on this album, there are times when the songwriting is lacking and fails to capture the best of what he can do.

I find that to be a rather embarrassing thing to admit because I do claim an allegiance of fandom for him. But Rover’s Return is simply not more than an adequate release that leaves you feeling disappointed because the album could’ve been so much more.

Notes of Interest: Anton Fig, best known as the drummer for David Letterman’s house band The CBS Orchestra, is one of three credited drummers on this album. His name is spelled “Figg” in the liner notes. Meanwhile, singer Joe Lynn Turner (Rainbow, Deep Purple, Yngwie Malmsteen) is credited as providing backing vocals.

The Cassette Chronicles – Night Ranger’s ‘Man In Motion’

BY JAY ROBERTS (SPECIAL TO LIMELIGHT MAGAZINE)

The Cassette Chronicles is a continuing series of mini reviews and reflections on albums from the 1980’s and 1990’s that I have acquired through Purchase Street Records in New Bedford, MA.

The aim of this series is to highlight both known and underappreciated albums from rock, pop and metal genres from the I 1980’s through the cassette editions of their releases. Some of the albums I have known about and loved for years, while others are new to me and were music I’ve always wanted to hear. There will be some review analysis and my own personal stories about my connection with various albums.

These opinions are strictly my own and do not reflect the views of anyone else at Limelight Magazine.

NIGHT RANGER – MAN IN MOTION (1988)

I have to admit that while I was a big fan of Night Ranger during the two album stint where they hit the platinum sales level (Midnight Madness and 7 Wishes), my interest lapsed as the decade of the 80’s hit its latter stages. I didn’t really pay much attention to the gold selling Big Life beyond the soundtrack hit “Secret Of My Success” and by the time 1988’s Man In Motion album came out, it is safe to say that I was not much of a fan. In fact, the only thing I remember during this period was reading in the newspaper that keyboardist Alan Fitzgerald had left the band before the recording of the album. How about that, music news being reported in the newspaper!

In the case of this particular album, I probably should’ve been paying more attention. While the album isn’t a masterpiece of melodic hard rock, there are some rather decent gems here. The album is less laden with the keyboard sound that made the band famous. Instead, it is a more aggressively guitar oriented album.

The title track leads off the album and wastes no time showing off the change in musical direction. It has an edgier lead vocal take and there is a killer solo. “Right On You” also had an edgier vocal run through.

There are a couple of ballads on the album but one of them, “Restless Kind,” is really good and the most recognizable song of the eleven cuts. The other featured ballad, the mid-tempo “I Did It For Love” inspired nothing but a shrug of the shoulders on my part.

“Reason To Be” started off like it was going to be another slow declaration of some intended feeling but the middle section was more of an exhilaratingly paced rocker before it slowed back down at the fade out.

I found that the album did in fact shine best when the band’s sound cut loose and amped up the six string sound. Songs like “Love Shot Me Down,” “Halfway To The Sun” and the rather less than subtly titled “Kiss Me Where It Hurts” all feature fantastic guitar work with the latter song having a solo that I just loved.

In researching the album online for writing this article, it was interesting to note that it reached just #81 on the album chart. The album proved to be a bit of a breaking point for the band, at least for a while. Besides the departure of keyboardist Fitzgerald (who still had a co-writing credit on “Don’t Start Thinking (I’m Alone Tonight)”), singer/bassist Jack Blades left the band after the touring cycle for the album. It was at this point he went on to form Damn Yankees with Ted Nugent and Tommy Shaw.

Man in Motion was the last album for the band until 1995. It was largely ignored by fans but upon taking a look back nearly 30 years later, it is a surprisingly good record. It may lack the big commercial hit that the band likely (and the record company definitely) would have wanted but it shows more of a rocking edge and is an early look at the band’s sound as it is now.

I’ve really gotten into the band over the last three or four years. I saw them live in concert for the first time back in 2014 and their High Road album is mostly fantastic. Their latest album was released this year and is called Don’t Let Up.

NOTES OF INTEREST: Pop singer Michael Bolton co-wrote “Here She Comes Again.” While the band hired Jesse Bradman as their keyboardist for the tour, he was not one of the four keysman to have a credit on the Man In Motion album. Meanwhile, Alan Fitzgerald returned to the band’s lineup, recording the albums Neverland and Seven, but he left the group again in 2003.

Limelight Magazine debuts Analog Heart’s new single

Analog Heart, a vocal powerhouse, guitar-driven, genre-colliding rock and roll band, are pleased to release their new single “Not Good Enough” with Limelight Magazine. Click on the link below to listen.

Analog Heart seamlessly combines alt-rock, pop, blues, alt-country, and R+B, among many other musical styles with jaw-dropping live performances that will take you on an unforgettable hypnotizing musical journey.

In 2012, Analog Heart released their self-titled debut EP with Scott Riebling, who is best known for his work with Letters to Cleo, Weezer, Fall Out Boy, Metro Station, Nina Gordon and Tracy Bonham. The band steadily became a fixture on the New England scene, establishing a presence at many well-known venues such as the The Middle East, The Bull Run, T.T. The Bear’s, The Berklee Performance Center, Cafe 939 and also embarking on several northeastern tours.

Later that year Liz Bills competed in American Idol and placed in the top 30 females in Hollywood, sharing the stage with legendary icons Mariah Carey, Keith Urban, Randy Jackson and Nicki Minaj. Analog Heart has gone on to share the stage with such acts as Bon Jovi, Will Dailey, Zach Deputy, Ryan Montbleau Band, Gary Hoey, The Brew, Kellie Picklier, Danielle Bradbery, Angie Miller, and Saving Abel, among many others.

The band’s first full-length album, Sun Here I Come, co-produced and engineered by Chris Piquette formerly of The Trophy Wives, was released in 2016 with an array of music videos and live performances. Analog Heart competed in the prestigious WZLX’s 2016 Rock and Roll Rumble, reaching the semi-finals and in turn kickstarting a local buzz that’s still sizzling in the Boston community.

Analog Heart was previously featured in Limelight Magazine. Click HERE to read the story.

The band has a single release party tonight (July 29) at Koto’s Grille in Salem, MA, at 8 PM.

The Cassette Chronicles – Fifth Angel’s ‘Time Will Tell’

BY JAY ROBERTS (SPECIAL TO LIMELIGHT MAGAZINE)

The Cassette Chronicles is a continuing series of mini reviews and reflections on albums from the 1980’s and 1990’s that I have acquired through Purchase Street Records in New Bedford, MA.

The aim of this series is to highlight both known and underappreciated albums from rock, pop and metal genres from the 1980’s through the cassette editions of their releases. Some of the albums I have known about and loved for years, while others are new to me and were music I’ve always wanted to hear. There will be some review analysis and my own personal stories about my connection with various albums.

These opinions are strictly my own and do not reflect the views of anyone else at Limelight Magazine.

FIFTH ANGEL – TIME WILL TELL (1989)

The second and final album from the band Fifth Angel took the band’s sound in a decidedly more commercial direction than their self-titled debut album had.

Released in 1989, Time Will Tell was pretty much dead on arrival despite a rather impressive collection of very accessible sounding music. I know that we’re supposed to hate anything that sounds as if it is courting mega-success, but I can’t find my way to doing that with this particular album. According to various articles online, a lack of support from Epic Records and band turmoil doomed the band and this album upon release.

I’ve had this album in my own personal collection for years but the cassette finally wore out. Then I acquired a new cassette copy and got reminded just how much I enjoyed this album.

The majority of this 11-track album features fast paced rockers with hooks galore. There are a couple of ballads that slow things down a bit but they aren’t bad so I tend to like hearing those songs each time I play the album.

The song “Midnight Love” is the perfect song to showcase the album’s commercial appeal. In 1989, this song had the right combination of sound, pace, lyrics and overall balls out performance. It should’ve given Fifth Angel a hit song. The title track should also have been earmarked to raise the band’s profile.

But much like you’d probably expect, nothing seemed to quite fall in the band’s favor. Of course, what really shot the band in the foot was the fact that they never played live during the time they were together. In the late 1980’s, if you weren’t touring there was just no way to make inroads to success. Fifth Angel broke up in 1990 having played a grand total of ZERO live shows.

The best thing about listening to this album again was reminding myself that they had covered UFO’s “Lights Out”. You’d think I would have remembered that but you’d be wrong. Instead, when I was checking out the writing credits I “discovered” or rather rediscovered it was the UFO song. Don’t you just hate when the memory fades on certain things. By the way, while singer Ted Pilot, guitarist Ed Archer and drummer Ken Mary did the majority of the songwriting, all five members of the band saw at least one writing credit for the album.

For me, the best song on the album is “We Rule”, which is just an in your face all out aggressive track. It’s the song that would be akin to the band flexing their muscles for all to see.

The funny thing is that the band is actually back together. Since 2009, they’ve been an active band and have even played a handful of live concerts. Guitarists Ed Archer and Kendall Bechtel along with bassist John Macko have kept the band going with various singers and drummers. The band was rejoined by original drummer Ken Mary in 2017. There has even been talk of a new album at some point down the road.

Time Will Tell is a very underappreciated gem of an album that could’ve been a highlight of the 80’s metal era but instead, like the band itself, found it slipping into the cracks and being mostly forgotten.

Notes of Interest: Singer Lisa Dalbello appears on backing vocals for the songs “Broken Dreams” and “So Long”. The Canadian artist, aside from her own recording career, has been a successful writer and producer for a variety of other musicians.

Fifth Angel singer Ted Pilot has long since left the music business. When there was talk about the band performing live for the first time, he was initially on board to front the band. But it never came to fruition. He is an endodontist with a successful practice in Washington state.

King’s X bring the ‘Groove Machine’ to the Regent Theatre in Arlington, MA

Power rock trio King’s X return to the road for an exclusive date at the Regent Theatre in Arlington, MA, on October 12th.  This will be the band’s first performance in New England since 2015. Kings of Spade will open the show. Purchase tickets HERE.

Few hard rock bands are as widely respected yet overlooked as King’s X. The band, which combines progressive rock and soul with vocal arrangements influenced by gospel, blues and British Invasion groups, still features original members Doug Pinnick (vocals/bass), Ty Tabor (guitar) and Jerry Gaskill (drums). They were ranked #83 on VH1’s 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock and released over a dozen albums featuring the radio hits “Over My Head,” “It’s Love,” “Black Flag” and “Dogman.”

King’s X released their first studio album, “Out of the Silent Planet,” in 1988 and followed it up with the stellar “Gretchen Goes to Nebraska.” Their third album, “Faith, Hope, Love,” was the group’s first release to crack the US Top 100, with the help of the successful single “It’s Love”. The band landed a gig opening for AC/DC in the U.S. and Europe for the first half of 1991. They also toured with Living Colour and were nearing the peak of their popularity.

King’s X signed with major label Atlantic Records for their next self-titled release. After parting ways with their longtime manager, the band enlisted veteran producer Brendan O’Brien, who had previously produced albums for Stone Temple Pilots and Pearl Jam. The ensuing release, “Dogman,” performed respectfully on the charts. This success resulted in the band opening shows for Pearl Jam and a show-stopping performance on the opening night of the mammoth Woodstock ’94 festival

King’s X completed their contract with Atlantic Records with “Ear Candy” in 1996, before moving to Metal Blade Records where they released four studio albums and one live release. The band’s latest studio albums, “Ogre Tones” (2005) and “XV” (2008), were released on the InsideOut label. “XV” was their first album since “Ear Candy” to chart on the Billboard Top 200, ushering in a new wave of popularity for the band.

The Regent Theatre is located at 7 Medord Street in Arlington, MA. Tickets to the show can be purchased online HERE or by calling the box office at 781-646-4849. Tickets can also be purchased in person at the box office.

Girls Guns & Glory plot 10-date East Coast tour

The Boston-based band Girls Guns & Glory, who have been lauded by critics including Rolling Stone, has added 10 dates to its East Coast schedule. The dates include:

August 10 – Boot & Saddle in Philadelphia, PA (Visit page HERE)
August 11 – Gypsy Sally’s in Washington, DC (Visit HERE)
August 12 – Clementine Café in Harrisonburg, VA (Visit HERE)
August 14 – Purple Fiddle in Thomas, WV (Visit HERE)
August 15 – The Camel in Richmond, VA (Visit HERE)
August 16 – Local 506 in Chapel Hill, NC (Visit HERE)
August 17 – Evening Muse in Charlotte, NC (Visit HERE)
August 18 – Barrelhouse South in Savannah, GA (Visit HERE)
August 19 – Skipper’s Smokehouse in Tampa, FL (Visit HERE)
August 20 – Park Tavern in Atlanta, GA (Visit HERE)

From the start, Girls Guns & Glory has forged its sound from the raw materials of rockabilly, country and other American traditions, tempered by a unique musical and lyrical approach. With the release of their latest album Love And Protest, the road-hardened band digs deeper than ever before into its roots while also making its most personal statement to date.

“A lot of times I have difficulty naming our records,” says guitarist, lead vocalist and songwriter Ward Hayden. “With this one, I had the title almost immediately. When love isn’t happening, we protest its absence – that’s the overall idea this record captures.”

To highlight the ties binding ecstasy and heartache, Girls Guns & Glory made several critical decisions. One was to switch from digital to all-analog recording, with Drew Townson, a master of that medium, recruited to co-produce with them. Recording live, including the vocals, guaranteed that their legendary live energy would transfer intact to tape.

They further insured the success of Love And Protest by making it their first independent release. “We don’t worry about appeasing a label anymore,” Hayden says. “We’re creating music only for ourselves and our fans.”

And when needed, Hayden, drummer Josh Kiggans, and bassist/singer Paul Dilley added an extra ingredient, including steel guitar legend Buddy Cage from New Riders of the Purple Sage, who complements the urgent narrative of “Memories Don’t Die” and the saloon lament “Empty Bottles.”

GGG’s growing fan base has been filling venues from coast to coast since the band blasted out of Boston, graduated from the honky-tonk circuit to arena shows and began earning worldwide media acclaim. The group has been anointed Independent Artist of the Year at the French Country Music Awards and lauded by Rolling Stone as a “modern-day Buddy Holly plus Dwight Yoakum divided by the Mavericks.”

Hayden and his colleagues appreciate the attention but are a little less inclined to attach labels to themselves. “This is the most mature record we’ve ever done,” he insists. “I’ve written each of my songs on it from experience. At this point, we’re simply making the music we want to make. We’re not limiting it to any genre. We’re willing to do whatever feels right, which is why I wouldn’t call what we’re doing Americana or country or rock ‘n’ roll. Just say it’s rooted in what I would call American music.”

GGG will showcase its new songs, including the album’s emotionally compelling single “Rock ‘n’ Roll,” at their summer gigs.

For further information, visit GirlsGunsAndGlory.com

Girls Guns & Glory

Music and entertainment coverage since October 2006!