Category Archives: Peter Coates

Album Review: Jen Mize & The Rough N’ Tumble

Review by Peter Coates – www.facebook.com/InsideEdgePhotography

JEN MIZE & THE ROUGH N’ TUMBLE
Released – May 19th
Pathfinder Records

The self-titled debut album from 8-piece Country / Blues / Soul / Funk big band, Jen Mize & The Rough N’ Tumble is a fantastic collection of soulful, swaggering entertainment.

Continue reading Album Review: Jen Mize & The Rough N’ Tumble

Album Review: Midnite City – In At The Deep End

Review by Peter Coates – www.facebook.com/InsideEdgePhotography

MIDNITE CITY
IN AT THE DEEP END
Released – June 23rd
Pride & Joy Music

Since bursting out onto the scene in Nottingham in 2017, Midnite City have toured, gigged, rehearsed and recorded as much as possible, despite the issues from the pandemic, taken on the world and are considered one of the top modern exponents of quality melodic rock.  

Continue reading Album Review: Midnite City – In At The Deep End

Album Review: Samantha Fish & Jesse Dayton – Death Wish Blues

Review by Peter Coates – www.facebook.com/InsideEdgePhotography

SAMANTHA FISH & JESSE DAYTON
DEATH WISH BLUES
Released – May 19th 2023
Rounder Records

Blues powerhouse Samantha Fish and crossover rock artist extraordinaire Jesse Dayton have just unveiled the latest material from their occasional collaboration, the album Death Wish Blues out May 19th on Rounder Records.  With gritty, dirty hooks alongside fierce vocals from both Fish and Dayton, the album, recorded over just 10 days, is a bold collision of blues, soul, punk, funk, and fantastically greasy rock-and-roll.

Continue reading Album Review: Samantha Fish & Jesse Dayton – Death Wish Blues

Album Review: Mike Ross – Third Eye Open

Review by Peter Coates – www.facebook.com/InsideEdgePhotography

MIKE ROSS
THIRD EYE OPEN
Released – 28th April 2023

Mike Ross may be familiar to some as one of the three guitarist components of powerhouse UK Blues band RHR (Redfern, Hutchinson, Ross) alongside slide guitar hero Troy Redfern, and heavy blues rocker Jack J Hutchinson (both of whom have been covered in LMM).

I have had this album on regular play since I got an early copy, and have struggled to put pen to paper with a review until now.  Third Eye Open is not a typical blues album – it is deeply angry, grungy and heavy, and the lyrics cover a number of social topics that Mike feels very strongly about. Most of all, it rocks!

After a number of releases over the COVID period, this album is the first record of original Mike Ross music since The Clovis Limit Pt 2 in 2020, and while it includes some old riffs and licks resurrected from his archive, including the lead track I Swear, which is discordant, intense, and opens up with some heavy powerchords and searing guitar breaks before the main riff kicks in.  Mike says he had “AC/DC plays Black Sabbath riffs” in mind for the feel of the record, and this certainly fits this one. The bass from Derek Randall is crushingly heavy, and Darren Lee provides an immense and solid drum pattern that just powers the track from start to finish. 

More in the same vein with Cool Water, with a chopping guitar riff over another thunderous backing, and a pre-chorus that is out of line with the hugely melodic chorus.  Mike’s voice is not pretty, but he really shows of the strength and range in this one, and adds some nice touches on the organ to add some warmth to the track.  

Title track Third Eye Open, all 8.18m of uncompromising lyrics over the heaviest of riffage, with the vocals delivered with real vitriol tackling some pretty decisive subjects such as sexual freedom, moral signalling and a suggestion that ‘not behaving like an asshole when you knew better’ could be the path to enlightenment!  After the first rounds of verse and chords, the track morphs into a Pink Floyd-like middle-eight segment, with soaring trippy guitar lines over a 60’s bass line, and some spoken-word chatter throughout.  Then we are back with the heavy riff and some distorted guitar soloing before an even more angst-ridden verse, and a final chorus with the lead guitar shredding over the top of it. Phew!

A brief pause for breath with Born To Me, which sees Jack J Hutchinson adding some vocals, and which rolls through a couple of mellow verses, always threatening to explode, but keeping a level of restraint with some cracking slide guitar providing a neat counterpoint to the monotone of the chorus melody. Just as you think the track is over, a feedback buzz leads into a frenetic return to the main riff, heavier and fizzier, and with some intense slide guitar thrashing that must be amazing to see live (I am really looking forward to June 11th in North London).

Mike played in a band called Taller Than, and Fallen Down was one of their tracks, so it stands out slightly here as being a bit ‘off-message’, however the guitar playing remains incandescent through the light and shade of the different dynamics of the various segments of the track.  There is a real old-school Delta blues grit to Face By The Window, all slide guitar, distorted voice, and a snare-driven backbeat, with the slide guitar solo over the broken-chord plucking of the main riff.

We stray into Black Crowes / Blackberry Smoke territory with The Preacher, with a hard-driving guitar riff over the off beat bass and drums.  Powerplay magazine described Mike’s work as “like Led Zep fronted by Charlie Starr” and this track epitomises those words.  A scintillating old-school guitar solo.  The track also has a similar feel to band-mate Jack J Hutchinson’s material, and I love the way the last couple of choruses are delivered with a whole host of extra harmonies (including JJH) and crowd-shouted vocals, while Mike lets rip on the guitar.

There is a southern rock feel too to Ugly Brain, which rumbles along driven by a solid cowbell that provides the straight-up beat, while the band plays around with circular riffs and patterns.  The pre-chorus has a huge hook, and again the chorus melody is a little off-key, but complements the basic sound of the track perfectly.  Eulogy is a return to the steamhammer riffing that by now we are sensing Mike Ross is so comfortable with, with a tension in the lead vocals, and some spaced out guitars, and an almost white-noise bridge of swirling guitars and voice.  This almost has a Talking Heads vibe to the structure and tone, but there is no doubt that it fits with the Mike Ross sound.

The odd-ball of the record – in that it is perhaps the most straight-up song, is (Be With You) Tonight, a duet with well-known London blues-rock singer Jess Hayes.  This adds some country to the southern rock feel, with clean and melodic vocals.  Mike delivers a powerful solo, and gets the chance to show off some subtlety in the longer solo section.  The third of the tracks that were part of a crowdfunder project in 2022 is Never No More, and this sees angry Mike bemoaning the lack of depth of so much modern music, and lambasting the faceless elite who control and manipulate public opinion to serve their own ends.    This is a fine slab of grungy southern rock, with a clean lead-break over sparse bass and drums (Brian Irwin on the kit for this one), before Mike ramps up the anger in both lyrics and delivery before the final chorus and a howl of feedback to close.

The record comes in at 72 minutes so you are getting value for money here, and it closed with the epic Kicks Like A Mule, which sees Mike produce something a bit more mainstream in terms of melody and structure, a driving 1980’s rocker, featuring twin-guitar harmonies, some superb accents in the pre-chorus, an extended solo that sees Mike really shine, and which then slides into a lengthy outro of chorus and guitar breaks that will no doubt be a feature of the live shows.

There is a darkness and an edge to much of the stuff on this record, and the lyrics are angry and harsh a times, but there is so much to like in Mike Ross’ work, honest, gritty and earthy, like all great “blues” artists.  This record will appeal to a whole range of listeners, from classic blues guitar fans, to grungier heavy rock and southern rock aficionados.  Most of all, if you enjoy loud heavy guitar-driven music then sit back, turn up the volume, and enjoy the power and passion of Third Eye Open.

Useful Links:
Website :
www.mikerossmusic.co.uk  

Facebook : 
https://www.facebook.com/themikerossband 

Instagram : 
https://www.instagram.com/mike_ross_music 

YouTube : https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzc67yK6bpnQMYHP7C4XLIQ 

UK Dates – 2023
May 13: Stockton Blues Festival (solo show)
May16: Broadstairs The Wrotham
May 20: St Austell Band Club (solo show)
May 24: Brighton The Greys
May 25: Bournemouth Poole Hill Brewery
May 26: Gillingham (Kent) Riverside Music Club
June 11: London Princess Alexandra, Crouch End (solo show)
June 23: Hastings, Black Box (solo show)
June 24: Sheffield Honey Bee Blues Club
June 25: Leicester HRH AOR Blues Crows

Full details and tickets available from www.mikerossmusic.co.uk   

Pic – Halek Gurer

Album Review: Davisson Brothers Band – Home Is Where The Heart Is

Review by Peter Coates – www.facebook.com/InsideEdgePhotography

DAVISSON BROTHER BAND
HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS
Released – May 5th 2023
Red Dog Recordings

These down-home, bluegrass / country / rock / stomping country boys from the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia first appeared on the Aussie radar when the often prescient Michael Chugg pulled them across for CMC Rocks in 2018, and then got them back for some headline shows in 2019, and they certainly attracted some positive attention here for The Fighter album that they toured.

Continue reading Album Review: Davisson Brothers Band – Home Is Where The Heart Is

Photo Gallery: The World Is A Vampire – Newcastle Entertainment Centre – 29 April 2023

Photos by Peter Coates – www.facebook.com/InsideEdgePhotography

featuring The Smashing Pumpkins Jane’s Addiction Amyl & The Sniffers Battlesnake NWA vs WAOA Wrestling

Presented by ONE WORLD ENTERTAINMENT

The Smashing Pumpkins

Continue reading Photo Gallery: The World Is A Vampire – Newcastle Entertainment Centre – 29 April 2023

Album Review: Winger – Seven

Review by Peter Coates – www.facebook.com/InsideEdgePhotography

WINGER – SEVEN
Released – 5th May 2023
Frontiers Records

This is the first album release from WINGER in more than 8 years, since the excellent Better Days Comin’ was released in 2014.

The band includes all four original members, Kip Winger himself on bass and lead vocals, virtuoso lead guitarist Reb Beach, Rod Morgenstein on drums and Paul Taylor on keys and guitar, plus John Roth who has been the additional guitarist for some time.

Continue reading Album Review: Winger – Seven

Album Review: Jim Kirkpatrick – Dead Man Walking

Review by Peter Coates – www.facebook.com/InsideEdgePhotography

JIM KIRKPATRICK
Dead Man Walking
Released – 21st April 2023

Songwriter, vocalist and guitar slinger Jim Kirkpatrick announces the release date of his latest, eagerly awaited, 10-track solo album Dead Man Walking, which impressively showcases Jim’s multiple rock and blues talents and expands his variety and range into pastures and prairies new. 

Dubbed “England’s equivalent to Joe Bonamassa” by Blues Matters, Jim has built up over a quarter-century’s experience in Blues and Rock and earned a tonne of respect from his fans, peers and critics alike. Not only is he a gifted songwriter (who’s written numerous nationally UK playlisted songs) but he’s also a deft-fingered, multi-skilled, guitarist who’s famed for possessing both Bonamassa-type energy and slide guitar and fingerstyle— worthy of the great Duane Allman — as well. 

Continue reading Album Review: Jim Kirkpatrick – Dead Man Walking

Live Review: MORGAN WALLEN + HARDY + ERNEST + BAILEY ZIMMERMAN at Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney – 21st March 2023

Review by Peter Coates – www.facebook.com/InsideEdgePhotography

BAILEY ZIMMERMAN opened up the show with a three-song acoustic set that was markedly different from his powerful performance at CMC Rocks, with two of his band accompanying on guitars he trotted out a couple of his better known songs, which due to traffic I missed, and then gave us an impressive performance of Rock And A Hard Place which came across really well in this stripped-back format.  He is a bit of a rough diamond in performance, but his association with the likes of HARDY and Morgan Wallen will not hurt his profile at all, and the more experience he gets of performing, the better he will get!

Continue reading Live Review: MORGAN WALLEN + HARDY + ERNEST + BAILEY ZIMMERMAN at Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney – 21st March 2023

Live Review: CMC Rocks 2023 Willowbank Raceway, Ipswich – Day 3

Review by Peter Coates – www.facebook.com/InsideEdgePhotography

https://www.facebook.com/cmcrocks

Well the energy levels may be flagging from the heat and the sheer immensity of the event, but Sunday promised to be something special at CMC Rocks, with current biggest music star Morgan Wallen as the headliner, and crowd (and writer’s) favourite HARDY as the main support for the night.  Kiwi singer Abby Christo was up first and provided a gentle upbeat intro to the day.  Hailey Whitters did her second show of the festival, this time on the main stage, and she gives off major Miranda Lambert vibes, and had lots of fun with her great fiddle player and the rest of the band.

Corey Kent was back for a second set, and he was on really good form – with his band of mates, and belying his youth with songs and style that Don Henley or James Taylor would be proud of!  He is a real talent and one to watch for the future.  First of the bigger names of the day was the larger than life Warren Zeiders who strutted onto the main stage like he owned it, and then proceeded to give the crowd a set of rocked-up versions of his mainly acoustic recorded material – Up To No Good and Dark Night brought the party, before he did a JD “Shoey” to be different!  Getting his initial exposure during COVID through TikTok and Social Media generally, and new release Pretty Little Poison was superb.  He knows how to play the crowd, and the singlet got torn off to make the ladies swoon!  His cracking set closed with Burn It Down and Ride The Lightning. 

Next up was another first-timer in ERNEST, who allegedly met HARDY on an FGL writers bus when he was a rapper known as Sno!  These two and Morgan Wallen are one of the hottest and tightest crews in Nashville right now, and they seem to travel as a package!  ERNEST comes onstage in Def Leppard T-Shirt and trucker cap, and then proceeds to deliver a smooth, west-coast mellow country rock set, including This Fire, Wild Wild West and Done In A Bar.  He also did the “Shoey” and took off his T-Shirt – noting that he was perhaps not quite as ripped as Warren Z – but the crowd loved it anyway, so topless he stayed.  Feet Wanna Run and the song written for Jellyroll in Son Of A Sinner, before the massive hit duet with Morgan Wallen, Flower Shops, which due to a guitar malfunction, saw ERNEST pick up an acoustic and deliver the song solo, to rapturous applause.   

Most impressive act of the weekend for me was Ashley McBryde, so it was fantastic to get a second set from her, and she changed it up with a beautiful solo version of Girl Going Nowhere to open the set, before the band kicked in.  Ashley is a woman totally confident in her own skin, and comes across as strong and mischievous at the same time.  One Night Standards was fantastic, and Brenda Put Your Bra On got all the girls kicking off.  She does a version of Boys of Summer that I reckon is no longer needed in her set of such great originals, and I love the southern rock Skynyrd sound of Livin’ Next Door to Leroy which motors along, until ash leaves the stage to let “her boys” show their stuff, with a medley of Superstition and solos, before merging into Midnight Rider to close a second superb set.

“Hardy Hardy Hardy” started to echo around Willowbank as the younger and rockier elements of the crowd jostled for space in front of the second stage, and the Stone Temple Pilots Creep boomed out of the PA, welcoming HARDY to the stage.  The band erupted into the massive crossover rock hit of Sold Out, and then we were on a rollercoaster ride for the next hour, with the raucous Kill Shit Till I Die up next, one of several redneck references of the night.

HARDY gave us Jack, Boots and Truck Bed, did the obligatory “Shoey” himself, before running through hit after hit with his heavier than normal band!

One Beer was the first monster hit, and then we got Red, 30.06 and Give Heaven Some Hell, before HARDY told us how he was told by the Nashville masters to give them a “radio song”.  So in his inimitable style, he gave them the monstrous Radio Song!  Blake Shelton had a huge hit with God’s Country, but HARDY wrote it, and he gave us his version, before closing the set with the latest album title track, The Mockingbird and The Crow.  That was perhaps the most intense set ever seen at CMC Rocks!

We media were banished from the pit for Morgan Wallen, so we struggled through the crowd to get to the sound desk area to shoot the headliner – the stage set was enormous and complex, with ramps and podiums and so many lights!  After some extended intro tapes, the band, made their way to their positions, and suddenly the man himself was onstage too in the spotlight!  Currently with 5 or 6 songs in the Billboard Top 10, and all 36 of his album tracks in the Top 100, this makes Morgan Wallen the hottest of properties, and the set opened with Up Down (which featured Florida Georgia Line) and I Wrote The Book, and we were in for 90 minutes of pure pop country.  Song after song of radio-friendly music rolled on, including Ain’t That Some and Dying Man, and a medley of Dangerous, 7 Summers, Silverado For Sale and Still Goin Down, in order to fit more songs into the set!  Highlight was the appearance of HARDY to duet on He Went To Jared, from one of HARDY’s Hixtape series, and then still more through to the climax of the set and the closing fireworks.

A triumph for Chugg and Frontier to have secured Morgan Wallen as headliner, and to have the foresight to get him at the pinnacle of his current fame, and a testament to their ability to pick some of the great stars of Country music before they really make it.

A faultless festival from my perspective…..with minor gripes about how high the stages were so that taking photos was a real challenge, but we got enough!

Full Photo Gallery Here

Photo Gallery: CMC Rocks 2023 Willowbank Raceway, Ipswich – Day 3

Photos by Peter Coates – www.facebook.com/InsideEdgePhotography

featuring Morgan Wallen – Ashley McBryde – Hardy – Corey Kent – Ernest – Warren Zeiders – Hailey Whitters – Abby Christo

https://www.facebook.com/cmcrocks

Morgan Wallen

Continue reading Photo Gallery: CMC Rocks 2023 Willowbank Raceway, Ipswich – Day 3

Live Review: CMC Rocks 2023 Willowbank Raceway, Ipswich – Day 2

Photos by Peter Coates – www.facebook.com/InsideEdgePhotography

https://www.cmcrocks.com/

Hailey Whitters is country through and through, as a writer for greats like Alan Jackson and Little Big Town, and released her own third album in 2022, and we got some old and news songs including her most recent Everything She Ain’t, and her perky voice and upbeat attitude was the perfect opener to Day 2 on the main stages.

Continue reading Live Review: CMC Rocks 2023 Willowbank Raceway, Ipswich – Day 2