MUSIC DISCOVERY MONDAY – 3/26/18
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)
DOKKEN – “It’s Another Day”
It won’t receive the kind of attention that Guns N’ Roses has for their “reunion,” but for my money, hearing the first new Dokken material (from the original members) in two decades is more exciting than a GNR reunion that only brought back a portion of the band.
You can tell from the first moment of the video that there is still a playful spirit that once was the norm in the ‘80s, when drummer Mick Brown introduces the song by telling a “joke” to the camera…“here’s a good one, Dokken does a video” (followed by a sinister, cartoonish laugh).
“It’s Just Another Day” jumps out of the gate with a ferocious drum beat that kind of startles you for a moment, before George Lynch jumps in with a signature riff that takes you back in time to the Back For The Attack era. Jeff Pilson has always shined brightly in the band with his backing vocals, and he does here as well. What’s notable is that his bass playing is less of the in-the-pocket sound of the mainstream rock of yesteryear, and more in the realm of what Steve Harris does in Iron Maiden. And then there are the vocals of Don Dokken. With this much distance in the rear view mirror since the glory days of Dokken, vocals can be challenging, but not for Dokken, who sounds as good as he did over 30 years ago.
If you’re a fan of Dokken’s work in the ‘80s, you will absolutely love this song because it has all of the elements that made you a fan in the first place. The newer elements added are Pilson’s aforementioned bass playing and some nuanced leads from Lynch that are reminiscent of the technique that Eric Clapton used in “White Room.” That being said, longtime Lynch fans will be thrilled with the prevalent sound of his signature shredding.
Dokken comes from an era where songs about relationships were all the rage. “It’s Just Another Day” seems to fall into that category, but given the current state of the country, I feel like the song can also be an observation of the human condition. Perhaps that’s just me reading into things from a much different perspective than the one that I used to have when I listened to Dokken with regularity during the carefree days of my youth. Regardless of the meaning, “It’s Just Another Day” offers a welcomed nostalgic journey back to a time when life just seemed happier.
Sometimes the hype and promise of something new from a band that you loved sets expectations impossibly high, and there is a letdown when you finally hear it. Simply stated, “It’s Just Another Day” was worth the two decade wait! Here’s hoping that it inspires the band to put out more new material and tour together in the near future.
LITTLE CAESAR – “Time Enough For That”
Little Caesar is one of those bands that was a victim of circumstances beyond their control. In a sense, they got to the party just before last call (the grunge movement), and never had time to hoist one up with friends. The band broke onto the scene with an inspired rendition of Aretha Franklin’s classic, “Chain Of Fools” in 1990. The following year, they enjoyed some radio success once again with “In Your Arms.” By 1992, they were one of those bands that many lost track of.
To be honest, even though I dug their sound, I had no idea that they released studio albums in 1998, 2009, and 2012, in addition to a live album in 2015. The band only came back on my radar when I started seeing stories about their recently released album, Eight.
“Time Enough For That” is the lead single from the band’s first studio release in six years. Because the song has a slower intro that builds up as it goes along, there may be a temptation from some to call this a power ballad, but it’s not. I love a good power ballad as much as the next guy, but those songs have a distinct formula that you don’t hear with “Time Enough For That.”
What surprised me about this song (from a band that fell into the sleaze rock category back in the day) is how soulful it is, and how much Southern Rock flair it has. “Time Enough For That” is much more Lynyrd Skynyrd meets Joe Cocker than it is nostalgic hair band/sleaze rock. There’s a maturity to the sound that is refreshingly appealing, and a timeless quality to the song that makes it impossible to sound dated.
I’m happy to have rediscovered a band that I always thought would be bigger when they broke onto the scene, and am looking forward to digging deeper into what their latest release has to offer.
KURT ARFT – HRD Music Scout
OTIS – “Change”
If you’re a fan of Southern Rock, then you will definitely want to checkout Otis. They are a four-piece band out of Kentucky that consists of young men with some very old souls. It’s evident from their musical upbringing (and life in general) that they understand and embrace those elements, and have put out some pretty awesome music. “The Reverend” Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top endorses them, so you know that they are the real deal!
One thing I always like to do with new bands is start putting names with faces. As I am watching the band and each individual member do their thing, I want to know who they are, where they came from, influences, gear, etc. I think that you’re going to be hearing and seeing a lot more of them for years to come, so I’ll do a little band introduction here. On lead vocals and guitar: Boone Froggett, lead guitar: Steve Jewell, Bass: John Seeley, and drums: Andrew Gilpin.
Otis are disciples Southern Rock icons, The Allman Brothers. With their latest single, “Change” (from their album Eyes of the Sun), they have done a really good job of capturing that vibe and sound. You have the soulful, bluesy toned voice accompanied by dual guitars, slide lead guitar licks/solo, an amazing bass line, and female background singers. Takes me back to the summers of fast cars, fine women, cold brews, friends, and great rock n’ roll music.
The message in the song (combined with the imagery in the video) is a relevant and powerful one…“It’s time for change.” Lending their voices and talents to get out that message, Otis has crafted some amazing music. In a day and age where everyone has many concerns about the overall climate of the country and how that affects their families’ lives, I think that the young men in Otis have put it out there in a very strong and tasteful way. It’s easy to do when it’s coming from the heart.
BLACKBERRY SMOKE – “Best Seat In The House”
Once upon a time, you had Southern Rock champions in Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Allman Brothers, and now, in a changing of the guard, Blackberry Smoke has taken their rightful place in the #1 position. Out of Atlanta, GA, Blackberry Smoke have been road warriors going all over the world to spread their brand of southern country rock to the masses, and doing an incredible job at it.
They have played on some of the grandest stages with many of their mentors, idols, and musical inspirations. Having witnessed it several times myself, I can tell you that their live show is AMAZING! The southern gentlemen of Blackberry Smoke have spent many years perfecting their craft, and are now taking their rightful place on the throne as the kings of Southern Rock.
Their latest single, “Best Seat In The House,” is from their upcoming release, Find a Light, (dropping April 6th). Their message is clear…looking back on life and taking it all in, seeing the best and worst that life has to offer, and just trying to figure it out as you go along.
Collectively, Charlie Starr (Lead Vocals/Guitars), Richard Turner (Bass/Vocals), Brit Turner (Lead Drums), Paul Jackson (Guitars/Vocals), and Brandon Still (Keyboards), have delivered on all fronts. They continue to spread their gospel and words of wisdom through the music and experiences that have brought them to this point. Whether it be full electric or intimate acoustic performances, Blackberry Smoke has solidified their position in rock n’ roll with a lot of years of hard work, struggle, perseverance, and determination. Music fans across the world have fully embraced them with open arms and ears.
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