Category Archives: Album Review

Album Review: Jayne Denham – Moonshine

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

JAYNE DENHAM 
MOONSHINE
Released – May 3rd 2024

This is Australian country music at its peak – superbly crafted and produced, but displaying raw emotions while evoking a gritty sense of the prohibition era through a set of great songs, sourced from a number of the world’s finest current country music artists and songwriters,  delivered by Jayne Denham in the next evolution of her era-inspired albums.

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Album Review: The Milk Men – Holy Cow

Review by Peter Coates

THE MILK MEN – HOLY COW
Released – 3rd May 2024

The Milk Men are: Adam Norsworthy (The Mustangs) on guitar, Jamie Smy on vocals, Lloyd Green (son of Mick Green – Johnny Kidd & The Pirates) on bass guitar, and Mike Roberts (from the excellent Pirates) on drums. The guys have been rocking around the UK for the past 14 years, with an exhilarating live show, and Holy Cow is their fifth studio album release.

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Album Review: Walter Trout – Broken

Review and live photos by Peter Coates – www.facebook.com/InsideEdgePhotography

WALTER TROUT – BROKEN 
PROVOGUE RECORDS / MASCOT LABEL GROUP
Release Date – 1st March 2024

All of us are broken. But no-one is beyond repair. It’s a philosophy that Walter Trout has lived by during seven volatile decades at the heart of America’s society and blues-rock scene. Even now, with the world more fractured than ever – by politics, economics, social media and culture wars – the fabled US bluesman’s latest album, Broken, chronicles the bitter schisms of modern life but refuses to succumb to them.

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Album Review: Bex Marshall – Fortuna

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

BEX MARSHALL – FORTUNA

Released – 1st March 2024
Dixie Frog Records

The long-awaited studio album from Bex Marshall, Fortuna, is a ten-track blues tapestry that bulges to the edges with addictive hooks and story lines. Bex is a writer of notability, she pushes the boundaries of blues and weaves the genre in and out of blues, funk, rock, and Americana.

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Album Review: Philip Sayce – The Wolves Are Coming

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

PHILIP SAYCE
THE WOLVES ARE COMING
Released – 23rd Feb 2024

Atomic Gemini/Forty Below Records

Rock and blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter Philip Sayce is excited to announce the release of his highly anticipated studio album The Wolves Are Coming.

Born in Wales and raised in Toronto, Philip’s love of the guitar started early.  As a teen, Philip was plucked from the Toronto blues scene by the legendary Jeff Healey, who took the young guitarist under his wing and showed him the ropes, touring the world and recording as a member of Healey’s band.  From 2004 to 2009, Philip toured internationally and recorded with Melissa Etheridge.

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Album Review: Jack J Hutchinson – Battles

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

JACK J HUTCHINSON
BATTLES
Release – 6th Feb 2024

London-based guitarist / vocalist Jack J Hutchinson has continued to develop his hard-hitting blues-laden hard rock style over the past 5 years, and has followed up the epic The Hammer Falls record from 2021 with an altogether classier collection – just as heavy, and with riffs to burn, but seemingly a little more polished around the rougher edges.

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Album Review: Palace Of The King – Friends In Low Places

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

PALACE OF THE KING
FRIENDS IN LOW PLACES

Released – 14th December
Reckless Records

Australian hard rockers, Palace Of The King, have marked the end of a triumphant decade filled with multiple European tours as headliners and guests with the mighty Airbourne, three visits to the USA, and relentless touring across Australia as headliners and alongside iconic acts such as Rose Tattoo, The Angels, The Screaming Jets, Baby Animals, The Tea Party, Endless Boogie, Kingswood, The Quireboys, and many more.

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Album Review: Cassidy Paris – New Sensation

Review and live photos by Peter Coates – www.facebook.com/InsideEdgePhotography

CASSIDY PARIS – NEW SENSATION
Released – December 8th 2023
Frontiers Music

Young Australian rocker, Cassidy Paris will release her debut album, New Sensation on December 8, as the high-profile follow up to her two sold out EPs – Broken Hearted and Flirt

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Album Review: Bernie Marsden -Working Man

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

BERNIE MARSDENWORKING MAN
Released – 24th Nov 2023
Conquest Records

There has been a huge outpouring of loving tributes to Bernie Marsden since he passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family on 24th August 2023 at the age of 72.  I was lucky enough to see Bernie as part of the classic Whitesnake line up in the late 1970s and early 80s, and also got to meet him a couple of times at shows, and he was the most un-pretentious person you could hope to meet.

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Live Review: Brad Cox at the Dalrymple Hotel Townsville Queensland – 2 July 2023

Review by Natasha Rachow
Photos by David Jackson – shotz by jackson

Brad Cox  Live at the Dalrymple Hotel Townsville Queensland – 2 July 2023

 I had an opportunistic chance to see Brad Cox’s show in Townsville on Sunday night. The venue, the Dalrymple Hotel, a pub in the centre of Townsville on a steamy night, was packed, yet another sellout on this national tour. Nearly 600 “Coxheads” packed the venue tonight to see what has quickly become the hottest act in Australian country music.  

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Album Review: Luke Morley – Songs From the Blue Room

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

LUKE MORLEY – SONGS FROM THE BLUE ROOM
Released – 23rd June 2023
Conquest Music

Luke Morley has stood at the very heart of UK rockers Thunder since 1989 as their guitarist, chief songwriter and producer. 

He’s been a lynchpin in their 14 albums’ success and served a crucial role in building up these rock heroes’ loyal fanbase and enduring popularity, helping Thunder enjoy 7 UK Top 10 albums and 18 Top 40 singles: impressive metrics, but there’s more to Luke than most know or expect, and his new solo album Songs From the Blue Room brings other less well-known aspects of his talents into the limelight.

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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.

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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.  

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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.

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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