All posts by limelightmagazine

Fingers-Blazing Instrumental Guitarist R.D. King gears up for CD release on April 27

This Thursday, April 27, Boston-based acoustic guitarist R.D. King will celebrate the release of his debut album vs. Self with a special concert at 7:30 pm at the Rockwell Davis Square Theater in Somerville, Mass. He will be joined by Jenee Halstead, an award-winning local favorite known for her songwriting prowess and memorable vocals. Check out King’s new music video for the song “An End to Wandering” by clicking HERE.

In vs. Self, King blends guitar acrobatics with an emotional and intellectual sensitivity to craft a reflective journey that defies genres and expectations. Although you won’t find any vocals on this album (King is an instrumentalist only), that doesn’t detract from its cinematic imagery and vivid storytelling. Each of the nine original tracks feature nothing but solo guitar—something many listeners have difficulty believing, given the fullness of sound.

King’s use of fingerpicks (metal picks that wrap around the end of each finger) lend the guitar a distinct and unusual timbre. There’s a care for songwriting and melody that emulates pop; rhythms and ideas that more closely resemble rock; and a compositional intricacy reminiscent of classical music. Despite the music’s complexity, it retains a surprising accessibility.

King grew up in various towns in eastern Massachusetts before studying classical guitar at Ithaca College. After graduation, he returned to Boston to pursue music. King draws inspiration from literature, philosophy, psychology, and meditation. Born into a family of writers, artists, and musicians, King has always turned to creative process as the framework for introspection and growth. He currently teaches and performs out of Somerville.

vs. Self will be available for purchase at the concert and will be available on iTunes and Spotify on April 28. You can purchased tickets to the event HERE.

R. D. King (SUBMITTED PHOTO BY HAILEY MAGEE)

 

The Cassette Chronicles – John Norum’s ‘Total Control’

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 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 Norum’s Total Control (1988)

If I remember an article I read correctly, guitarist John Norum left Europe back in the 1980’s because he was unhappy over the more commercial bent of the group’s music. Given that he has been part of the lineup for years with the band’s turn towards a more classic rock sound these days, you can kind of see where he was coming from given the material that was included on this particular album.

With Norum singing lead on eight of the eleven tracks as well as playing guitar, the guitarist was clearly in as much “total control” as possible for the time. While the album’s production is clearly of the 80’s, the material does veer greatly into the heavier guitar driven sound. While keyboards do have a presence on the album, they don’t overwhelm the clearly more aggressive rocking vibe.

There are nine original songs on the album plus two covers. The cover of Thin Lizzy’s “Wild One” closes the album while Norum also covers the Vinnie Vincent Invasion song “Back on The Streets.”

The album does a nice job of keeping the blood flowing with great guitar work on tracks like “Eternal Flame” and “Law of Life,” but the downbeat and moody style employed on “Too Many Hearts” makes for a disappointing song.

When you think about it, the album is kind of a foretelling of what Europe is doing now, musically speaking. And it isn’t a bad thing either. This album is quite enjoyable and I think people will be surprised by what they hear.

Note of Interest: Swedish singer Goran Edman, who would go on to front Yngwie Malmsteen’s band for two albums (amongst many other projects), sings lead on the three tracks where Norum does not have the lead vocal.

The Cassette Chronicles – Eddie Money’s ‘Nothing To Lose’

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 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.

Eddie Money’s Nothing To Lose (1988)

In a previous installment of The Cassette Chronicles I wrote about Eddie Money’s Can’t Hold Back album and how beyond the two hit songs from the release, the album was otherwise lacking in high quality material.

Nothing To Lose was the follow up album to Can’t Hold Back and it is surprisingly much more of a cohesive album. This is in spite of the fact that it really only has one hit song, the solidly entertaining “Walk On Water.” Working in concert with guitarist Richie Zito (who played guitar on eight of the ten songs as well as co-producing and co-arranging), Money found a real solid groove here.

While the more commercially oriented material is the main component, there’s a couple of full on rocking tracks. “Forget About Love” and “Bad Boy” have a strong guitar that runs throughout each song. The solo on the latter song is electrifying while the more aggressive than expected guitar work on the former song at first surprised and then delighted.

The track “Let Me In” has kind of annoying build up in the chorus but the song was otherwise solid. And the atypically good but not sugary love song “Pull Together” was lyrically potent.

While this was pretty much the last Eddie Money album that I can say that I paid attention to, it did take me a little by surprise and I’m pretty happy that was the case. I’ve got a couple of online friends who rave about Eddie Money to this day and looking back on this album will likely mean I have to break down and check out some of the material that came later on.

Note of Interest: Guitarist Stevie Salas made a guest appearance on the track “Let Me In”.

Exclusive: Limelight Premiers Katie Dobbins Debut Single ‘More Love’

Katie Dobbins (PHOTO BY KRIS DOBBINS PHOTOGRAPHY, SUBMITTED BY KATIE DOBBINS)

Contemporary folk artist Katie Dobbins will release her debut album, She Is Free, at The Burren Backroom in Somerville, MA, on May 7, 2017, and Limelight Magazine is premiering the new single “More Love” off the album. Click HERE to give it a listen.

Coupling a contemporary folk foundation with new country embellishments, Dobbins’ music, though reminiscent of Jewel and Colbie Caillat, establishes itself solidly in a genre all its own. Her release show will feature supporting sets by Boston performers Hana Kahn and Age, artists who, in addition to bringing their own locally-renowned musicianship, also perform in the evening’s spirit of freedom, empowerment, and love.

Dobbins explains, “This album, She Is Free, is a collection of songs I created over time, and its release signifies my own personal freedom from any insecurities or fears I have held about myself or my music up to this point. The songs on the album pay tribute to certain people in my life who have empowered me along the way, and also tell stories of various real and imagined characters pursuing love and freedom.”

Dobbins works as a special education teacher in Lexington, MA and performs regularly as a solo artist in the Boston area and with the band at Storyheights Church. She Is Free is Dobbins’ debut release, its nine tracks touching on themes of love, self-empowerment, and setting yourself free. Following the release of her album, Dobbins plans to travel regionally and share her music with new audiences throughout New England.

She Is Free will be available on iTunes, Spotify, and Bandcamp. For additional information, please contact Dobbins at the information provided below.

Let The Music Set You Free

Katie Dobbins She Is Free album release show with Hana Kahn and Age on May 7, at 8 p.m. at The Burren, 247 Elm Street, Somerville, Mass.

Ticket Link: http://bit.ly/2mfOIMc

 

 

Kate Eppers finds ‘The Wishing Well’

BY JAY KENNEY

Kate Eppers is a singer, songwriter and actress from Salem, Mass., who just released her catchy debut album The Wishing Well. The album contains seven songs with each song telling a story of the stages Eppers was going through in the summer of 2014. It starts off sad, angry, confused, as she was going through something very traumatic at the time. Then, the songs change, transitioning to the soundtrack of a truly euphonic state, as she was falling madly in love. The album ends with an instrumental that is compilation of all the songs on the album. After listening to it from start to finish, we knew she was someone we wanted to feature in Limelight Magazine. What follows is our interview with Eppers where she candidly answered our questions about her album, acting career and some other interesting things.

Kate Eppers debut solo album is called “The Wishing Well” (PHOTO BY JEREMY DORSON PHOTOGRAPHY, SUBMITTED BY KATE EPPERS)

LIMELIGHT MAGAZINE (LM): You just released your debut studio album The Wishing Well on March 17th. You started the songwriting process in 2014 and it finally came to fruition three years later. How do you feel about the finished product?

KATE EPPERS: I feel the album came out completely different than I thought it would, better than I ever dreamed. Originally, I thought this was going to be a three song EP, but the songs just kept coming. They flew out of me in such a brief period, less than two months. I wrote most of the songs on my keyboard. I knew I would keep the piano in most of them but I never imagined what the songs would evolve into through the production process. “Burn This City to the Ground” was powerful enough in its organic state of piano and vocals, but once the guitars, strings, and toms were brought in, the song took an even darker turn. “Follow Me” was beautiful to me in its simplicity, but once flutes, drums and dreamy flowing strings were incorporated, it became almost unrecognizable. The results are very satisfying, reminiscent of Disney I’ve been told. The Wishing Well now as a completed album has surprised me as the songs took on a life of their own. I am surprised at what the evolution of the music produced, and I couldn’t be happier with the results.

LM: Your album has a theme to it, with each song telling a story of the stages you were going through in the summer of 2014. Can you elaborate on this for our readers because understating the order of songs and how the record flows adds a special dimension to it? 

KATE EPPERS: This album truly is a time stamp of my life during the summer of 2014, except for “Prove That You’re Real” which I wrote years prior. The songs were written as I was experiencing extreme pain and extreme happiness (mostly happiness). At times my feelings were simultaneous with the writing of the songs. Other times the writing took place after the fact when I was in a place, a state where I was better able to channel those emotions into the creation of a song. The songs were specifically placed in consecutive order of which they were written. “Silence” begins my story which is a somber song of betrayal and sorrow. Following this was “For Me There’s Only You” in which I crafted a song using my fantasy obsessed imagination. This was a tale of an immortal woman searching for her long dead lover. I had the chorus and melody in my head for years, but had never moved forward with bringing it life. “Burn This City to the Ground” was a poem I wrote to deal with the same trauma I was going through when I wrote “Silence”. The decision to turn this into a song was ultra-challenging, as I have never written words before music before. Upon completion of writing this song, I was elated as it turned out as I had hoped. [It’s] dark, dramatic, and melodic. The next two songs “Follow Me” and “The Wishing Well” flowed out of me in such a natural way as I fell in love again (intensely). I fell into a state of euphoria in which I had never experienced or knew possible! I hope this comes through in the album – a feeling of pure happiness, of dreams coming true.

LM: Of the seven songs on the album, do you have a particular favorite and why?

KATE EPPERS: An honorable mention would be “Follow me”. It was my way of asking the man I was falling in love with to be with me always, to never leave my side. However, I would say the title track “The Wishing Well” is my absolute favorite, mostly due to the severe emotionality and honesty it represents. I was falling so deeply in love, and existing in such a magical world when I wrote this. This song personifies the passion and intensity of that relationship, of that blessed moment in time. When I listen to it, I get intense chills as powerful images and feelings are awoken. It’s so overpowering that I cannot always listen.

LM: The final song on the album is an instrumental compilation of tracks called “Medley of the Melodies.” This adds a nice touch. Why did you decide to close the album like this? 

KATE EPPERS: About halfway through the recording process of this album, I started playing around on the piano attempting to see if any of the songs fit into each other. I imagined a medley would be a fun and creative way to wrap up the journey that these songs take you through. It’s a way to recap all the collective melodies which represent my words, my heart and my life. Originally, it was just going to be piano. Upon the completion of recording the medley, I longed to hear other instruments and plug-ins dancing around the keys. I also thought it would be a treat to hear the melodies from The Wishing Well come alive in another way. It was exciting to hear parts of “For Me There’s Only You” with dark undertones, an organ and a chorus! “Follow me” turned string heavy and classical, romantic. “Medley of the Melodies” was the very last song completed on the album.

LM: After listening to The Wishing Well, many of the songs have a Blackmore’s Night vibe making them very unique. You’re vocal style is also similar to their vocalist Candice Night. Were you familiar with Blackmore’s Night when you recorded the album? Has anyone else compared you to them?

KATE EPPERS: What’s funny is last week an actor I worked with on an independent film sent me a message asking if I had ever heard of Blackmore’s Night. He stated it strongly reminded him of my music. I was not familiar with them and now I am absolutely a fan. “Magical Night” sounds like a beautiful, medieval, Celtic fantasy come to life! Any comparison between me and them is a huge compliment that I’m happy to take. Candace Night has such a unique, sweet voice. Music that evokes fantastical imagery is something that I will be hooked on immediately.

LM: Who are some of your biggest influences in the music industry that impacted the recording of The Wishing Well or inspired you to be a singer-songwriter?

KATE EPPERS: I grew up adoring Mariah Carey, as well as obsessively singing and listening to all Disney music. (I still LOVE Disney and was in Disneyworld and Disneyland this year). As a tween, I went to a Tori Amos concert and was fortunate enough to meet her. I went with a good friend and her father was friends with the amazing Matt Chamberlain who at the time was Tori’s drummer. Tori was so sweet and kind and I became a super fan. She heavily influenced me with her beautiful, operatic voice flowing through her piano heavy, unique, experimental songs. She truly does not fit into one specific genre, and her songs can change their sound from album to album. My favorite album of hers, if I had to pick one, would be To Venus and Back. “Concertina” may be my favorite Tori Amos song of all time.

LM: Do you plan to do any touring to support your new album?

KATE EPPERS: I am hoping to have a CD release show sooner than later! I have to gather the pieces all together. Stay tuned for CD release show information as it’s scheduled. In the meantime, I play with my cover band (Teal Street Band) typically at weddings and private parties. We will be at Bunratty tavern in Reading, Mass., on Thursday, June 15, from 7 to 10pm.

LM: Along with the new album, you’ve recently updated your website, kateepers.com. Besides this site, what other ways can people access your music online?

KATE EPPERS: I am happy to announce kateeppers.com is live! In addition to this I have a very active YouTube page with the music video “For Me There’s Only You” from The Wishing Well. (Click HERE to view this video). This video was filmed in my hometown of Salem, Massachusetts, by Astropiano films. My music can be downloaded on iTunes and Amazon, or streamed  free on Spotify, SoundCloud and Reverbnation. My website also offers a few free downloads.

LM: Outside of music, you are also an actress. You have a cool demo reel on Vimeo. Do you have any acting or film related projects in the works?

KATE EPPERS: I had the pleasure of playing a lead in the upcoming film entitled The Chair from Bald Dog Productions. It was filmed in Boston at the end of 2016 and is now in post-production. This is a 1920s-themed period film. I have a song in the movie called “Show You A Good Time”. This was co-written by the insanely talented Boston rock band One Time Mountain! From writing and producing the song with OTM, all the way to filming my scenes, it was an unbelievable experience. I can’t wait for the film to be done. I am also just beginning to study a script for an upcoming horror movie in which I will be contributing music to as well.

LM: Do you have a preference for music or acting or do you like both equally?

KATE EPPERS: It’s hard to pick just one. I adore being part of a project which incorporates both of my favorite things, music and acting. I have found the act of completing an album to be so exciting and fulfilling. With that being said, there is nothing more fun than being part of a live musical theater show with an incredible cast dancing and singing all around you! Before having my own music video, I was featured in eight or so music videos for other artists, typically playing “the girl” in the video. Performing in music videos is crazy fun and addictive. It’s another example of incorporating acting and music together. It’s me completely in my element.

LM: Anything you’d like to add to this interview?

KATE EPPERS: Thank you so much to Limelight Magazine for taking the time to listen to my album and allow me to open up about something so personal and pivotal in my life. I appreciate it so very much! Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share.

Kate Eppers (PHOTO BY LEE MAC PHOTO, SUBMITTED BY KATE EPPERS)

Stryper front man Michael Sweet to film live DVD at Narrows Center

Michael Sweet, front man of the multi-platinum rock band Stryper, will record his first ever live DVD on Friday, June 2, 2017, at the intimate Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River, Mass. Click HERE for a special video message from Michael Sweet about this show.

The concert will feature Stryper classics, songs from his solo career and a few covers. Louis St. August and Gene D’Itria (of MASS) will open the show. Purchase tickets 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 return to form record No More Hell To Pay and its follow up Fallen. He also released the stellar solo album One Sided War in 2016 and is currently recording the sophomore Sweet & Lynch album (which features legendary guitarist George Lynch).

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

The Narrows Center is located at 16 Anawan Street in Fall River, Mass. Tickets to this show can be purchased online HERE 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.

The Cassette Chronicles – Lindsey Buckingham’s ‘Go Insane’

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 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.

Lindsey Buckingham’s Go Insane (1984)

When this album was originally released, I loved the title track. But in all honesty, I don’t think I’ve actually heard the song in the proceeding three decades. You can chalk this entire album up to the notion that sometimes feeling nostalgic or indulging yourself in it comes back and bites you in the butt rather than remind you of good times long past.

I’m not one that looks to go negative in a review or hope to be entirely positive. I just want to give my opinion on what I hear for the good or the bad. But since reviews should consist of more than “This Sucks!” here goes…

I’m not entirely sure what the point of the album was for Buckingham. The title track doesn’t live up to my memory of it at all. The vocals are entirely overproduced which leads them to seem either buried in the overall mix or treated as an afterthought throughout.

The “song” called “Play In The Rain” is the last song on the first side of the album and carries over to be the first song on side two. The only problem is that the track comes off more as a conceptual and/or experimental exercise rather than a real song. It’s a mostly existential wankfest. And that’s probably the kindest thing I can say about pretty much everything on this release. It is like the ability to write a quality song somehow deserted Buckingham here. The fact that I actually liked the title track when it was first release is kind of embarrassing now that I’ve looked back at it.

Even the most interesting song, “Loving Cup”, is ruined by the vocal production. I think if I ended up listening to this album again, I just might live up to its title and actually “go insane” for real.