MUSIC DISCOVERY MONDAY – 1/29/18
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)
RICHIE KOTZEN – “The Damned”
In recent years, Richie Kotzen has gotten more public attention than ever before because of his work with The Winery Dogs. What many may not realize is that Kotzen has been releasing solo material since 1989 with regularity.
Despite his guitar virtuosity, stunning vocal range, and versatility as a songwriter, Kotzen doesn’t get nearly the recognition that he deserves. There may be a reason for this. Unlike many lead vocalists and lead guitarists (both of which describe Kotzen), he is an unassuming, almost reserved, talent that lets his music do the talking.
In fact, whenever I’ve seen Kotzen perform live with The Winery Dogs, his bandmates (Mike Portnoy and Billy Sheehan) tend to grab the limelight with a more extroverted stage presence. All the while, this underappreciated talent shines as a dual threat on both guitar and vocals, albeit in a more introverted manner.
Kotzen’s guitar playing is right up there with the best blues rock guitarists in the genre, as are his vocals. The fact that he’s equally good on guitar and vocals speaks volumes about his immense talent.
On his latest single, “The Damned,” Kotzen showcases much of what you love about him with The Winery Dogs…soulful, rangy vocals, impressive bluesy guitar playing, and catchy songwriting. Although he has a distinct vocal style, you can hear influences of other legends in his vocals on “The Damned.” There is always a hint of Chris Cornell in his delivery, but on this song, you can also hear shades of Sammy Hagar.
This is the first time that I’ve reviewed music by Kotzen since the passing of Cornell. I don’t know if he has any acting aspirations, but if he does, there is simply no one on earth that would be able to play Cornell any better if there is every a story made about his life. Both artists have a similar look, and vocals that sound eerily similar at times.
What’s interesting about the release of “The Damned” is that Kotzen’s desire to get on the road with his band has taken precedence over recording a full album. In fact, he has stated that he may end up just releasing a series of singles that may or may not turn into an album at some point. With the current state of the music business, you have to think that Kotzen is ahead of his time, and others will likely follow suit with this approach in the near future.
LIVING COLOUR – “Come On”
Is it possible to have too many talented musicians in one band? Yes and no. There is no shame in having a plethora of talent, but when talent turns into near crippling perfectionism, it can be looked at as a negative. After many rumors about a new record from Living Colour, the band finally released their sixth studio album in 2017.
The album, entitled Shade, was four years in the making. Aside from their perfectionist ways – which I heard frontman Corey Glover discussing recently on the SDR Podcast with host Will Sutton – the band dealt with numerous problems with management changes and record companies while recording the album.
During the interview, Glover was asked to choose a song to play from the album. He chose “Come On.” The song grabs you from the first note, but not in the way that “Cult Of Personality” did years ago. At the onset, this song is more about a charismatic, soulful vibe and a nostalgic feel that reminds you of the theme to Shaft (from the early ‘70s). Those too young to remember the reference may be more familiar with a parody of the song that was featured on South Park.
As the song kicks into high gear, Glover dials up the energy to showcase vocals that range from intense to smooth. Though perfectionism may be a hindrance to progress at times, Living Colour has proven that it can also be a positive. Listening to “Come On” makes you feel that it was worth the wait to hear the latest from the band. Make sure to check out the rest of the album too. It takes some unexpected, thought-provoking turns.
KURT ARFT – HRD Music Scout
THE DEAD DAISIES – “Long Way To Go”
The Dead Daisies are absolutely one of my favorite newer bands to come out in quite some time. They are a throwback to rock and roll bands of the ‘70s like Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith. The band features great songwriting/musicians, memorable guitar solos/leads, a frontman with a commanding presence (and a voice to match), awesome lyrics and melodies, and hooks for days. Let’s not forget their rock and roll attitude!
The Dead Daisies have had several incarnations/member changes since its inception in 2012. Formed by original singer Jon Stevens and guitarist David Lowy, they have had a who’s who of members join/fill in through the years. It’s a roster filled with talented, big-name rock musicians coming from all backgrounds.
“Long Way to Go” – off of Make Some Noise – is one of many songs by The Dead Daisies that gets stuck in your head as soon as you hear it. The lineup for this release featured frontman John Corabi, guitarist David Lowy, bassist Marco Mendoza, drummer Brian Tichy, and guitarist Doug Alrich. Tichy has since departed, and has been replaced by another incredible drummer, Deen Castronovo (Journey, Bad English, Revolution Saints).
The Dead Daisies have recorded and released three studio albums and one live album to date, and will be releasing their fourth studio album this April.
With a mega talented group of musicians and songwriters, the sky’s the limit for The Dead Daisies. They have brought back a style, sound, and energy that has sadly been missing in rock and roll in recent years.
JARED JAMES NICHOLS – “The Gun”
I’ve been wondering who is in the next class of guitar gunslingers for the greats to pass the torch to. In my opinion, the head of that class is Jared James Nichols.
I have not seen someone play guitar with as much aggression, passion, feeling, and attack as Nichols. He squeezes every last ounce of sound out of his guitar as if his life depended on it. His vibrato is lethal, and he does it all without the use of a guitar pick, a la Jeff Beck.
Heavily influenced by blues and rock, Nichols draws from guitar heroes/icons such as Leslie West, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Eric Clapton, and Jeff Beck to craft his vicious and soulful guitar playing. He is definitely making a statement every time that he picks up his guitar, and people are starting to take notice.
Originally from my home state of Wisconsin, he relocated to Los Angeles, CA in 2010 to embark upon his musical journey. Nichols has toured with his power trio across America and Europe playing in support of Glenn Hughes, Zakk Wylde, Saxon, UFO, Walter Trout, and Blue Oyster Cult.
“The Gun” comes from his recently released album, Black Magic. It’s a meat and potatoes, stomping blues rock song with a little extra zing thrown in for flavor. You can feel the tone from his guitar peeling the paint off your walls. His pleasant lead vocals are solid, and are backed up with some big gang vocals that really add an overall thickness to it. The whole album is filled with tasty morsels that showcase Nichols’ talent. I highly recommend this one to guitar players and all music fans. It has something for everyone on it!
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