Fresh off tours with such bands as Sevendust and the Pretty Reckless, Boston-area rockers Crash Midnight are preparing a new sonic assault for the new year. It begins with the release of their debut album, Lost in the City. Songs like "151" (which pays tribute to the notorious high-proof alcohol of the same name) and “Diamond Boulevard” have infectious energy and riffs that conjure memories of classic rock albums of old—but with a modern, 21st-century twist.
On January 27, Gov’t Mule will release Sco-Mule, spotlighting two 1999 shows that the original trio of Warren Haynes, Allen Woody and Matt Abts played with jazz guitarist John Scofield. The Atlanta performances, which also featured keyboardist Dr. Dan Matrazzo, have been widely traded, discussed and revered by Mule fans for 15 years.
Following several unsuccessful attempts at filling the guitarist slot, the band found Karl Cochran, who stepped in to provide some tastefully inspired shredding. With infectious songs like “This Is Who I Am” and “Fire And Ice," Rated X’s self-titled debut sounds like a band that’s worked together for years as a unit.
In 2013 came a remastered reissue of 1990’s Screaming Life/Fopp album, itself a compilation of two late-Eighties EPs. Then, earlier this year, in recognition of the 20th anniversary of 1994’s Superunknown, the band released updated versions of the landmark album, including a five-disc “Super Deluxe” edition that included demos, rehearsals, B-sides and more from the sessions.
Lead singer Ed Kowalczyk wanted to focus on a solo career while the band wanted to return to a more ensemble-based format. Unable to resolve their impasse, the band and Kowalczyk decided to go their separate ways. Enter vocalist Chris Shinn, who over the years had developed a strong rapport with members of Live. Now, after a therapeutic three-year soul search, Live are back with a new singer, album and perspective.
Saxophonist Jeff Watkins’ career includes a dozen years leading James Brown’s band; Willie Green drummed for the Neville Brothers for more than three decades; CR Gruver has played keys with Outformation and Leo Nocentelli; guitarist Jake Eckert laid it down funky for years with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band; and Reggie Scanlan’s bass provided the low-end wump for New Orleans’ beloved Radiators.
With a lot of talent and a little bit of luck, a new generation of acoustic guitar fingerstylists are blazing a new style of percussive, alternate-tuned shred. In the Eighties, radical fingerstylists like Michael Hedges and Preston Reed pioneered an acoustic guitar style based on an alternate-tuned, percussion-heavy, new age–tinged sound.
Together with a new band dedicated to preserving the legacy of his old one, DeYoung’s new DVD/Blu-ray package, Dennis DeYoung and the Music of Styx: Live In Los Angeles, quickly dispels any notion that he wasn’t a "rock guy" in Styx.