Thursday, June 28, 2012

"Mindy Smith" - Mindy Smith - A Review

Mindy came out with her first CD on Vanguard Records back in 04. Seems like such a long time ago. I was crazy about her music, when I heard that CD. Mindy was a songwriter in Nashville working for a songwriting company, where she had access to recording studios to record her demos to give out to Producers and however that company worked. Mindy was originally from Long Island,New York. But she moved to Knoxville, Tennessee because of her Dad's job. In Knoxville, she became interested in playing guitar and singing and then in songwriting.

Smith moved to Nashville to be closer to where her dreams were, singing and writing songs. So,she continued to write and record her music. She had the opportunity to record "Jolene" on a compilation CD and then She started singing around Nashville, and She got together with Steve Buckingham and made her debut CD "One Moment More", which was to me ,an aural masterpiece with the beauty of her vocals and lyrics and the edge of hot electric guitars making her not unlike Lucinda Williams. Her voice had that ache in it from losing her mom, That is what "One Moment More" is all about. Vanguard records released her first four CDs and then Mindy kinda vanished.
I heard about this new Cd on her own label and had to hear it, because her last CD on Vanguard ended up not so good in my opinion. It was called "Stupid Love" and it was more like a pop record, the alt/country trappings were gone. In fact, there was so much distortion on the first 2 songs, you could not listen to them. There was some good songs on the CD , but the magic from her first three Cds was gone.

Well, with a new label and publicist, and a great recording, Mindy Smith is back, singing better than ever, this CD reminds me alot of her first CD. It has everything, from Beautiful ballads like "Tin Can","If I", "Everything Here Will Be Fine", "Devils Inside" to rockers like "Sober", and mid tempo tunes like "Cure For Love" to sad songs like "When You're Walking On My Grave". The music is very well done with Bryan Sutton on guitar and Dan Dugmore on pedal steel who played on her first CD.
Her first single "Closer" is a song that reminds me of "Come To Jesus" with it's loud guitars and mixture of other instruments in a collage of sound. Her vocals are strong and sweet, with some great hooks and lyrics. The flow of songs is great, where there is tension, she will relieve it in the next song with a pretty ballad.
And for something new, Mindy did the great artwork for the CD , and also has been doing a good bit of painting. There is one offer where you can buy some of her paintings. This is literally, a great work of art.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

"Still Standing" - The Roys - A Single Review

 The Roy's are just about ready to release a new Album. This is a review of their first single from the CD ,named "Still Standing". On this song, they take on a new type of sound, not as processed and country as their last CD. This song is an upbeat song, which sounds very much bluegrass, reminds me a bit of Rhonda Vincent and The Rage. There is lots of fiddle and Dobro. Elaine does the lead vocals and seems very comfortable with this stripped down bluegrass sound.

   The song is about perseverance, talking about identity and getting on with life. I find myself a little bit with mixed feelings, because I do love bluegrass like this, but The Roy's last CD was so Lush sounding and such a great country album with bluegrass influence. This does make me wonder what the rest of the CD will be like. I can't help but think it will be good, musicians follow their heart or ears ,I really like this, I have some other new surprises that I got recently in the mail. Keep your ears out for this one!!  It's a Good song, different, but real good.


The Wampler Ego Compressor Pedal - A Review

I have had 3 versions of this pedal by Brian Wampler. It is based on his design ,building a compressor for himself years ago, though he has tweaked the design. Very versatile,this compressor has 5 knobs to adjust your compression from full blown chicken pickin' to a much more subtle compression or to a separate clean boost channel.
    It is not parallel compression ,like The Barber Tone Press, It is more like 2 pedals in one, a clean boost and a Ross like compressor. Wampler uses only top grade parts in his compressor, and it is a very well built pedal. The blend knob gives you the choice of how much of each channel you want to use, boost or compression. The attack knob goes into action when the pedal has the blend knob on compression only, Honestly I have not found a setting of this compressor that I do not like. There is included in the compressor box, a very complete set of instructions.
    Finally, Wampler has a tone knob which can give you some bass to treble changes, going to clockwise. This was a request of customers, not the tone knob, it has been there, some customers wanted it's action to change in how it interacts with tone and presence and it is a little different than just a plain tone knob. All in all, it is a very good product at a fair price. I truly love it myself ,recently I turned on one of Philly's best guitarists, Jim Fogarty to it and He said it took his Pedalworx Squeeze Factor off his pedal board for the Wampler.  Listen to Brian's Demo on his website.         

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

"Up Here In The Saddle" - Todd Fritsch - A Review

Todd Fritsch had a very bad accident roping horses at the family ranch  three years ago. So ,He had to get away from what he loved best and help out at the family business, though the music dream never left his heart.

  I have a theory that the best music comes from a musician who has been through the fires. In Todd's case, I really think that this is true. His vocals sound better and more focused than ever. His sound is more Nashville, but country Nashville, not pop Nashville.

  He really has the privilege of being able to use a very good song catalog here. He has some really good writers at his disposal here. His sound goes from Jason Aldean to George Strait. These songs are my favorites. Todd really puts alot of emotion into this project.

  Some of my favorites are the opener, which is very upbeat,"My Kind Of Crowd", a Jason Aldean type song written by Bryan Simpson. An awesome slow ballad is "Calls I Haven't Made", which might be the best song on the disc.

  "In a Song" by Doug Johnson is a slow song with lyrics that are brilliant and a song that Todd does so well.

  "Horses He Can't Ride Anymore" - This is a Dean Dillon song about a cowboy near the end of his trail, very moving. Dean Dillon does alot of writing with George Strait.

  "That Girls Got A Cowboys Heart", (Dean Dillon) - this is another great song, a bit more upbeat, These Dillon songs sound like A list songs, not throwaways or B list material. Dillon makes a significant contribution to the mood of the whole project.  This CD will be released on June 26, so enjoy.


"Up Here In The Saddle" - Todd Fritsch - A Review

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Mindy Smith is Back, yes, BACK!!!

Welcome back Mindy Smith with an awesome new album and also some really neat artwork, Look for her on the road in a town near you.
      CD at website or Amazon.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

GraphTech - The Tusq Pick - A Review

I received a small package from Graph Tech about 10 days ago. It had the new Tusq picks I had requested to review. There are so many new cords, strings, pedals and picks out there today for the guitarist to shop for. The nice thing about picks is they are cheap, well unless you use The Blue Chip Pick which costs 35 bucks a pick ,but they are worth it. My most read review was on The Blue Chip Pick. They are a great pick, they are like synthetic tortoise. And they really improve your guitars tone.

    Well, that is the idea here and I think Tusq wins too. You remember when you first heard about Tusq, it was the saddle and nut on your new Taylor guitar. They are very good sounding, a very proprietary blend of some plastic like material. The Picks are cool, I am playing with my favorite right now. It is an ivory colored .88 pick. That one is best for me. The black  .68 didn't have enough mass for me though I could play with it fine. The medium sized Tusq pick is great. (Subjective here, for me it is great.) All sizes come in white,ivory and black. They cost a buck a pick, that really is not bad, They come in packets of 6 for 5.95. They are real stiff, so it is easy to strum or play lead, They are great for playing mandolin runs on a guitar. When you drop one , it has a musical ping to it. They look like they would last forever. I think they will be popular, they ought to be in your store pretty soon, if not, you can get them at Graphtech's website.
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