MUSIC DISCOVERY MONDAY – 11/6/17
Music Discovery Monday shines a light on artists that are not getting the radio attention that they deserve, while also showcasing new singles by established bands that are likely to get airplay in the future.
In addition to appearing on the embedded YouTube playlist below, all songs featured on Music Discovery Monday can be listened to individually by clicking on the hyper-linked song titles above each review.
ADAM WALDMAN – (Publisher/Editor, Hard Rock Daddy)
HEAVEN AND EARTH – “Hard To Kill'”
For most of my life, I thought that Ritchie Blackmore was influential, but no one ever really captured the magic of his sound. That was until I heard Heaven and Earth’s Stuart Smith, and realized that he may be the next great (underrated) guitarist, cut from the same cloth as Blackmore. Of course, not everyone can claim to have been mentored by Blackmore as Smith was.
Overall, Heaven And Earth feels the modern-day equivalent of Deep Purple and Rainbow. This is not to say that the band is a wannabe version of two of classic rock’s most important bands. Quite the contrary! They are what should have been the natural evolution of “Deep Rainbow,” if not for the revolving door policy that has always been Blackmore’s M.O.
The similarities between Smith and Blackmore do not end with their brilliant guitar playing. Both Smith and Blackmore hail from England. Just like the original incarnation of Rainbow with Ronnie James Dio, Joe Retta (the dynamic frontman of Heaven And Earth) hails from upstate New York.
As a diehard fan of both Rainbow and Deep Purple, Heaven And Earth has already soared to the upper echelon of my list of current hard rock acts, bypassing most of the bigger names in the genre today.
If you close your eyes and listen to “Hard To Kill,” you are instantly transported back in time to the ‘70s (the golden era of bluesy hard rock). I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again…music like this is not at all dated. IT’S TIMELESS!
Hard rock fans often bemoan the current state of the genre, but it may be time to take a step back and evaluate what role the actual music plays in it. While there is probably a higher quantity of talented bands putting out music than ever before, the number of bands that feel larger-than-life are incredibly few and far between. Heaven And Earth is the exception to the rule.
Neither the band, nor its individual members are household names, but based on talent and songwriting, they are as good as the legends that came before them. If this band broke onto the scene four decades ago, we’d hold them in the same regard as the bands that laid the foundation for hard rock and heavy metal.
RUXT – “Everytime Everywhere”
Because I come across so much music on any given day, it can be challenging to remember how I discovered certain artists. Ruxt is one of those bands. Truth be told, there isn’t much to learn about these Italian rockers from their bio, except that this a “supergroup” (of sorts) that is influenced by bands like Gotthard, Dio, and Whitesnake. As I listened to “Everytime Everywhere,” the bands that came to mind for me were Accept and Queensryche. There’s an Udo-esque grittiness to the vocals that are laid over the melodic style of Queensryche’s Mindcrime era. A guitar lead that will delight Yngwie Malmsteen fans is thrown in for good measure. Overall, the band reminds me of a German metal outfit called Surgeon that I’ve featured on the site before. Hopefully, Ruxt will gain more recognition than Surgeon, who very few people ever discovered.
KEVIN GRAYSON – HRD Music Scout
HANNAH WICKLUND AND THE STEPPIN STONES – “Bomb Through The Breeze”
Hannah Wicklund is everything that a rock star should be, albeit in a smaller package than usual. When you see her on stage, with her big hair and ‘60s outfits, standing barefoot on a rug, you’re carried back in time to the days of Janis Joplin. Wicklund is not about looks. This girl has serious pipes on her, with a soul-filled, bluesy voice that is so smooth and refined. She plays the guitar like she was born with one in her hand, and has some insane Talk Box skills to boot. The crazy part about it all is that she is only 18 yrs old, and a very accomplished musician that already has 1500 shows under her belt. Wicklund formed the Steppin Stones when she was just 9 years old. With influences that include the late Tom Petty and Jimi Hendrix, this young lady is putting the soul back in rock and roll. Check out Her first-ever video of her newest release “Bomb Through The Breeze” (from their upcoming fourth album). If you get lucky enough to catch Hannah Wicklund and The Steppin Stones, you will be amazed. Wicklund is as down to earth as they come. She goes out to meet with her fans, taking pictures and signing autographs before and after the shows.
BEAUTIFUL CREATURES – “Straight To Hell”
Beautiful Creatures – a band that some said had a sound that was ahead of their time – formed in 1999. I dug them right away. Why others may not have still leaves me a bit puzzled. I believe that Creatures was the beginning of a new sound at the time that should have been embraced with ears wide open because these guys rock. If you are a diehard ‘80s metal fan, you may recognize the singer’s unmistakable voice. His name is Joe Leste, the lead singer of Bang Tango. Beautiful Creatures features the distinct style of Alex Grossi (ex Quiet Riot) on lead guitar, Anthony Focx on rhythm guitar, Kenny Kweens’ solid, hard-driving bass riffs, Timmy Russell pounding the drums, giving the band a deep, thick sound. Check out their new video for the song “Straight To Hell” (off of their newly released album, Deuce Deluxe).
To be considered for Music Discovery Monday, please e-mail a link to the song being submitted on YouTube and an artist bio to – submissions@MusicDiscoveryMonday.com