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Belgium Review: Lindsay Bellows “Wake To Dream”

12 Dec

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Belgium review translated:

http://rootstime.be/CD%20REVIEUW/2017/DEC1/CD12.html

Five self-composed songs that were recorded in a recording studio in Nevada City, California together with a number of local top instrumentalists. That is briefly summarized in what you can expect from the epic “Wake To Dream” by Californian singer-songwriter Lindsay Bellows from Grass Valley.

This young lady has soul music flowing through her veins, especially through the influence that her parents’ records have had on her youth and her musical development. They played all those beautiful R & B and soul songs by artists such as Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding and Smokey Robinson, in short songs from those artists who also still regularly ring through the living room with the undersigned.

It is her first roll on record, but it will certainly not be her last, because she will undoubtedly very quickly come up with a full-fledged studio album, we are firmly convinced after listening to “Wake To Dream”. Her sense of melody, vocal harmony and emotions in the songs is special and genuine.

We can already see that when we hear the groovy song “Slow Steady”, the first song on this cd and also to listen to via the video added here. Lindsay Bellows often makes use of her voice and a ‘loop pedal’ that takes care of the repetitive sounds. This is also the case with the songs “Wake Up” and “Wild And Free”. As a result, these songs are often sober and minimal instrumental, which makes them even more attractive. Hardly more orchestrated are the two songs “Part Life” and the cheerful sounding poppy closing “Simple Gifts”.

Lindsay Bellows had an ‘8 to 5’ office job as a management consultant for many years, but if she can sit down with her for a bit, she will spend her time on some stage just outside those ‘8 to 5’ hours in the following years. songs are allowed to sing. We may not need to clarify that an unlikely dream would come true for this young woman.

 

 

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US Review: Jennier Saran “Soulful Christmas”

12 Dec

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Jennifer Saran

Soulful Christmas

Review by Gary Hill
When it comes to jazzy, adult contemporary type music, Jennifer Saran’s vocals are just about the best around these days. She seems to have an affinity for Christmas music because I previously reviewed another holiday set from her (in addition to other music of hers I’ve reviewed). This is her brand new set of holiday music, and it is so strong. This will likely be part of my holiday festivities for years to come. The Temptations are featured on the opening song, Narada Michael Walden is a big part of this production, too.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2017  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Christmas Lover (featuring The Temptations)
This has a cool, slow soulful groove. It’s all class.
Sleigh Ride
I love the classy jazz arrangement on this tune. The holiday classic gets a great telling here, really.
Long Road Home for Christmas
This balladic number is interesting. It makes me think of some of the pop rock that was so popular in the 1960s. The harmonica adds a lot to the piece.
Swingin’ at Christmas Time
A bouncy and fun piece, this is another winner. It’s more modern in texture than a lot of the rest here.
Some Children See Him
Harp starts this cut. It works out with a slow moving and rather symphonic texture. The beautiful vocals are the real selling factor of this piece. There are mellow jazz elements at play.
Coventry Carol
Even more symphonic than the previous number, this is so pretty. It is a short instrumental.
Soulful Christmas
An old-styled soulful vibe really does shine brightly on this piece. This has a timeless, classic quality to it. It’s very effective. The horn soloing on this lends some magic to the number. It was a great move to make this the title track. It’s one of the strongest pieces here.
Soul Cake
This is so cool. It has a great Celtic folk vibe to it. Yet, it also has plenty of jazz in the mix. There are bits of traditional Christmas music added to the arrangement. This is another highlight of the set.
Where Are You Christmas
A particularly pretty song, this is another standout. It’s slow and a bit jazzy. It’s mellow and quite effective.
I Have My Own Reindeer
Jazz and adult contemporary music seem to merge on this. It’s a pretty cut that is entertaining. It’s just not on the same level of the last few.
Hark the Herald Angels Sing
Only a minute and a half long, this is an instrumental on classical strings. It’s a pretty interlude.
Come Home for Christmas
A piano based ballad at the start, this is another pretty song. It’s a slow moving number with a lot of jazz in mix.
Merry Christmas to You
Jazz, pop and more merge on this cut. It has a bit of an electronic edge to it, but not enough to take the more organic vibe from it. This is a fun cut with a lot of energy. It’s one of the standouts here, really.
One More Christmas Together
A pretty, jazzy piece, this is another winner. It has such a great classic vibe to it. It’s packed with emotion, too.
Christmas Delight
A bouncy and fun number, this has a great soulful vibe to it. It’s not one of my favorites, but it’s still very strong. There is a short rap mid-track on this.
You Are My Christmas Star
A bit more modern in texture, this has a real soaring kind of vibe to it.
Frosty the Snow Man
There is a cool haunting vibe to this short version of the holiday classic. Saran’s voice is accompanied by only the sounds of winter and some chiming bells. It is incredibly effective.

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Amanda Abizaid’s “Walking In Twos” featuring Stephen Stills is a GOLD MEDAL WINNER from GLOBAL MUSIC AWARDS for Female Vocalist and Lyrics/Songwriter

11 Dec

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Congratulations to AMANDA ABIZAID for her GLOBAL MUSIC AWARDS GOLD MEDAL in the Female Vocalist and Lyrics/Songwriter categories! This is a huge and much-deserved honor for an incredible Artist and Track!

 

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Walking In Twos, featuring the legendary Stephen Stills, is a 7-track EP including two diverse mixes of the titular song, which was inspired by Amanda’s experiences with the Aeta Filipino children.  The EP also features other original songs and released worldwide on all digital platforms March 3, 2017, along with a limited physical release.  The project’s goal is to create a self-sufficient revenue stream using proceeds from the song’s downloads and streams to buy school supplies for the Aeta children of the Philippines.

 

By making state-of-the art teaching technology available, while at the same time seeing to the need for proper food and clothing, HelpPhilippineSchools.org insures a prosperous, personal and professional future for young minds in the country. Amanda is a professional singer/songwriter living in Los Angeles, CA and she is the Cultural Ambassador to the organization. Their overall mission is to supply rural government elementary schools throughout the Philippines, beginning on Mindanao, with modern educational equipment, food and clothing. They do this by dedicating profits generated through AEGIS, and from donations by private individuals, businesses and/or institutional entities.

 

Amanda describes her music as “Neo-Soul meets World.” A gifted pianist, guitarist and flautist, Amanda Abizaid was born in Beirut, Lebanon to an American mother and Lebanese father. Upon relocating to Los Angeles in the 1990s, Amanda immediately began working with some of the best musicians on the scene. She gained major notoriety when she lent her voice to “A Place in Time,” the haunting theme song from Paramount’s TV series The 4400, which premiered in 2004. Amanda’s 2010 CD release This Life garnered rave reviews from fans and music press from around the world. Brian Ball of Woman’s Radio touted “This Life is the perfect half-hour escape from the boundaries of time and space altogether,” and Paul Fleck, former Executive Director of Marketing of Paramount Pictures Motion Picture Group praised, “This Life is unquestionably Amanda’s most accomplished work to date.” Tapping into her early musical influences from her childhood, Amanda infuses a sensual and seductive Middle East flair to her music.

 

The song “Walking In Twos” was inspired by Amanda Abizaid’s experiences with the Aeta Filipino children in Haduan Village when she was abroad in 2016. “I shook hands with every child and they told me their names,” Amanda recalls. “This is how the magic of this song began.” The village of Haduan is situated in the Southeastern foothills of the Pinatubo Volcano Range, across the Secovia Lahar River Basin. Visiting the village requires walking a few miles through rugged dirt paths, crossing a wide river, and a tropical wet dirt hike through the mountains. “When I arrived at their village,” says Amanda, “I entered their little stone classroom and soon began singing to my acoustic guitar instrumental of ‘Walking In Twos’ walking in between the tables and chairs. They smiled and their eyes lit up. In their indigenous language, they yelled out how much they loved the melody, clapping joyfully and asked what it meant. That’s when I knew I was on to something special.”

 

Amanda made a strong impression on the children, and on her way home, a barefoot little girl named Lilibeth walked by her side. “Together we hiked down the mountain, crossing the unstable wooden roped bridge high over the river to the other side. We walked until we reached the paved road—the main entry of their village to civilization.” The children also made a strong impression on Amanda, and when it came time to record the song she had them sing in their native language on the chorus. “For the Aeta to agree to perform on my song ‘Walking In Twos’ is a first time event for them, and for the world to hear these children’s voices.”

 

Amanda Abizaid wrote and produced the Walking In Twos EP, and sings and plays flute and piano as well. Stephen Stills is a legendary singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist best known for his work with Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. He plays guitar on the title track. “To have Stephen Stills performance on the project is an amazing honor,” says Amanda, “and together with the support of the Aeta children this project is a wonderful opportunity to share and help them through music.”

 

The new Walking In Twos EP features an electronica remix of Amanda’s original title track produced by Lindsay Gillis, a Los Angeles based musician and songwriter who has worked with Ron Fair, Dennis Dreith and Steve Deutsch. The Walking In Twos EP also includes five original songs: “One Love,” Amanda’s most recent acoustic reggae rock single, featuring bi-lingual lyrics; “Promises Of Love,” a trip hop World beat track featuring Egyptian oud player Ahmed Kamal (creative singer and composer) both co-produced with Raj Ramayya (Cowboy Bebop, Beautiful Losers, Pokemon, Strawberry Hill Music) and Théo Nogueira; “Set It Up,” a trip hop track featuring World flute melodies; “Lion’s Den,” an acoustic rock track with a touch of electronica; and “Release Me,” an ambient electronic bi-lingual track co-produced with Mixman Shawn.

 

Other featured musicians on this work are bassist Mike Mennell and acoustic guitarist Lindsay Gillis.  Mike Mennell is a bassist and singer in Southern California who has been friends with and worked alongside Amanda for the past 16 years. Lindsay Gillis is a Los Angeles based musician/songwriter, survivor of numerous Southern California gigs and sessions, and collaborates with Amanda on the songwriting project “Someday Girl.”

 

Other contributions of note include MI (Musicians Institute) students performing drums under Stewart Jean, a drummer and educator based in Los Angeles, California, currently the Program Chair for Drums at Musicians Institute in Hollywood. Also featured are local Buddhist children and the Aeta children from Village of Haduan, Philippines singing in their native language on the chorus, and Mark Stephen Weitz from ’60s legends Strawberry Alarm Clock performing Wurlitzer on the track. Bill Dasheill was the engineer.

 

“The hard work and dedication of Amanda Abizaid shows all over this new track ‘Walking In Twos’! Thank you for asking me to play on this new project. The addition of the Aeta Filipino children’s voices recorded ‘on site’ really brought even more life to an already upbeat and spiritually uplifting song. You are truly a SAINT!” – Mark Stephen Weitz

 

Download proceeds will go to www.helpphilippineschools.org

 

To purchase Amanda Abizaid’s Walking In Twos EP:

Pre-Order on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/walking-in-twos/id1201027283

 

For more information about Amanda or this release, please visit: www.AmandaAbizaid.com

US Review: Jennifer Saran “Wake Up”

11 Dec

http://www.seaoftranquility.org/reviews.php?op=showcontent&id=20478

Saran, Jennifer: Wake Up

Jennifer Saran is a Hong Kong based singer songwriter with a new album titled Wake Up, the follow up to her holiday album Merry Christmas, You Are Loved released in 2015. First things first. If you are solely into progressive rock you might as well stop reading this immediately as this is adult contemporary pop music with the occasional nod to jazz and soul. To prove my point the first time I put this in the player my wife replied, “this is nice.” She is not the biggest prog rock fan if you get my drift although she does like the occasional helping of Floyd and Rush. The album recording is top notch with the instruments and vocals very clear. On the plus side Saran does have a beautiful voice and she also gets help from the African vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo on three tracks including the lead off title tune which also includes lead guitar from Carlos Santana. Here is playing is reserved and mostly set back in the mix although it is always a treat to hear the man play. The rest of the songs are mostly slow to mid-tempo balladic fair with ear candy choruses and lush strings.

My favourite song is the Billy Paul tribute “Me and Mr. Jones”, a nicely crafted soulful ballad and a real throwback to a bygone era. The synth solo in the infectious “Look At Me Fly” is also quite nice. The heartwarming “Old Cape Cod” is another nod to old time pop music.Being that I mostly listen to much heavier music I probably won’t play this much but over the holiday season this just might hit the spot when wanting something light and airy. And hey, my better half will likely appreciate it.Track Listing:
1. Wake Up (4:36)
2. Jesus To A Child Tribute to George Michael (5:11)
3. Really (4:10)
4. Me and Mr. Jones – Tribute to Billy Paul (4:50)
5. You Are My Star (4:25)
6. Too Young To Know (4:16)
7. Better Than Me – ‘for anjali’ (3:23)
8. Look At Me Fly (4:02)
9. Old Cape Cod – Tribute to Patti Page (3:30)
10. Try To Forgive (But I Cannot Forget) (4:24)
11. Lean On Me – Tribute to Bill Withers (4:42)
12. Grace Is The Champion (3:32)
13. I Will Always Be Your Home (4:16)
14. My Love and Devotion – Tribute to Doris Day (4:18)
15. Aad Guray (5:42)

Added: November 27th 2017
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Score: 
Related Link: Artist’s Official Site
Hits: 28
Language: english

Narada Michael Walden’s 21st Annual Holiday Jam – Saturday, December 16 from 8 – 11 PM

8 Dec

Click image for tickets!

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https://www.facebook.com/events/704880383041384/

Belgium Review: Acting Natural “Acting Natural”

6 Dec

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http://www.keysandchords.com/album-review-blog/acting-natural-acting-natural-ep

Translated:

ACTING NATURAL: ACTING NATURAL EP
26/11/2017
1967 was the highlight of The Beatles. Exactly half a century later, from New York sounds the same sound over the ocean. What inspires a young trio from Tampa Florida to conquer the world from the big Apple with a nostalgic retrospective? Love for quality music of course.
Three Americans, dressed up with badgers, undeniably fan of the British super band and the London Led Zeppelin, released their first EP last month. Acting Natural shines on this with six authentic pop songs. (For the Americans, of course pure rock & roll.). Literally you should not take the group name ‘Natural Acting’ either. Even the haircut reminds us of John or George.
As you might suspect, Acting Natural catapults itself in the 60′-70 ‘past.
Opener ‘The One’ can be confused with a Beatles song for my part. In ‘Nicole’ they can not hide their American roots. Singing together, elongated end notes and a catchy melody à la Todd Rundgren point to their natural musical behavior. Also in ‘Missed The Train’ is that Liverpool ghost popping up. The later full album will show whether British DNA is ‘acting’.
Acting Natural delivers beautiful work that will delight both young and old. The trio leaves no opportunity to spread their sweet revival message. From hip-hop clubs to hardcore metal venues, positive reactions followed everywhere. Also mine!
Line up:
Eric Carnevale (Lead Vocals, Guitar, Piano, Organ)
James David Maney (Bass, Vocals)
Jesse Leonard (Drummer, Vocals)

 

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US Review: Lindsay Bellows “Wake to Dream”

5 Dec

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Arriving on November 17th is the debut release from singer/songwriter Lindsay Bellows titled “Wake To Dream.” The new 5-song release is a perfect introduction to this new independent artist as you are instantly draw into her sound on the smooth R&B pop of “Slow Steady.” Her voice grabs your attention on the playful delivery of “Wake Up” as the song’s rhythm has a jazz based groove. Her new short release finishes up with the slightly funkier beat of “Wild And Free” and the a capella feel of “Simple Gifts.” To find out more about Lindsay Bellows and her latest release “Wake To Dream,” please visit lindsaybellowsmusic.com.

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