Monday, September 16, 2019

MOVIE REVIEW: Linda Ronstadt - The Sound of My Voice

MOVIE REVIEW
Linda Ronstadt
The Sound of My Voice 
PG-13 ‧ Documentary ‧ 1h 35m
Greenwich Entertainment
1091 / CNN Films
Release Date: September 6, 2019
__________

There I was, chatting with the gals
the other morning at my favorite
hometown salon. As I sat flipping
through the pages of a popular
show biz mag, draped in a goofy-
looking black salon cape, waiting
for the fresh, gooey hair color to
soak in sufficiently, I read of the
just-released Linda Ronstadt bio
pic. As an ever-faithful, drooling
45-year fan boy, it sounded like a
film I would have to see  pronto.
___________

Her voice was like that of an angel. Her records — equally magical, and now iconic. Simply put, she's a bona fide living legend — one who defined and defied musical genres from the late '60s into the early '90s. In the process, she blazed a trail for her contemporaries, as well as for aspiring future female artists. And with the new bio pic, The Sound of My Voice, the larger than life story of Linda Ronstadt finally has come to the big screen.

Directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey FriedmanThe Sound of My Voice opens with fabulous aerial footage shot over Mexico — the homeland of Ronstadt's ancestors. The marvelous-looking intro suggests the mighty scope of Ronstadt's amazing story — hooking the audience immediately, and keeping them reeled in for the next 95 minutes.

Linda Ronstadt circa 1969
(Photo courtesy of Greenwich Entertainment)
Most of Ronstadt's superstar achievements are known widely even by casual admirers — chart-busting singles, platinum-selling albums, sold-out concert tours, steamy magazine covers and captivating TV appearances — even a particular of high-profile romance. However, the film's biggest payoff comes through Ronstadt's less known back story — intimate accounts, shared by Ronstadt herself, of growing up in a home filled with eclectic music and an early desire to pursue her passion.

Ronstadt with Eagles co-found Glenn Frey circa 1975
(Photo courtesy of Greenwich Entertainment)
Based on Ronstadt's bestselling 2013 memoir, Simple Dreams, the film bursts with WOW factor. The rarely, if not never-before-seen vintage concert footage is absolutely heart-stopping — capturing all the fire and fury of Ronstadt live on stage during the apex of her career. Additional payoff is provided through the personal reflections offered from the friends and family members who know her best. And the list of Ronstadt's musical colleagues offering first-hand insights reads like a "Red Carpet" roll call from back in the day when rock was alive and well — legendary artists, including Dolly Parton, Karla Bonoff, Bonnie Raitt, Emmylou Harris, Ry Cooder, Jackson Browne and Don Henley, as well as record mogul David Geffen, celebrated songwriter J.D. Souther, renown producer Peter Asher, acclaimed journalist and filmmaker Cameron Crowe and so many more.

Ronstadt onstage with Emmylou Harris circa 1978
(Photo courtesy of Greenwich Entertainment)
The film opened in super-limited release on September 6, 2019. This past weekend (September 13, 2019) it opened in additional theaters across the country. Although it wasn't showing in my immediate area on Florida's sunny "Space Coast," it was showing at a multiplex, 40 minutes south in Vero Beach. Was it worth making the trek? You betcha! While I realize it's a totally tired term, the film truly is a "must see," especially for die hard enthusiasts. In fact, I would echo the Hollywood Reporter endorsement wholeheartedly — "The Sound of My Voice will make you fall in love with her all over again!" (A-)

-Christopher Long
(September 2019)

- LindaRonstadtMovie.com
- GreenwichEntertainment.com




SUPERSTAR -
__________

SHOUT IT OUT LOUD -
(2014)
__________

C'MON! -
(2012)

Thursday, September 12, 2019

RECORD REVIEW FLASHBACK: YYNOT – “YYNOT”

RECORD REVIEW FLASHBACK
YYNOT
YYNOT
__________

A popular entertainment news
site I wrote for extensively over
the last couple of years ceased
operations recently. As a result,
in the next few weeks, I will be
re-posting some of the best bits
contributed to the magazine.
Here's one of 'em  from the
spring of 2018.
__________

Many of today’s most promising and appealing young rock bands are smeared from ear-to-ear with the stylistic DNA of legendary artists from the past. While the celebrated British brigade, The Struts, appear to be a legit, modern-day recreation of Queen and U.S. darling, Greta Van Fleet, “barrows” in abundance from Led Zeppelin, the Illinois-based combo, The Fantastic Plastics, points to Devo for their quirky, pop-driven inspiration. As for YYNOT, the four-piece American alliance perhaps can be described best as “the classic Rush you get (and crave) when you no longer can get classic Rush.”

Although the popular bi-coastal outfit first came together online as a Rush tribute project, the band shines brightest as its own original music entity. Case in point, their stunningly brilliant self-titled debut record.

First and foremost, YYNOT’s musical badass-factor can NOT be denied. Typically brandishing a vintage ‘69 Gibson ES-335 and a ‘77 Rickenbacker, songwriter / producer / guitarist Billy Alexander and bassist Tim Starace are the “real deal,” through and through. Similarly, the drum work of studio players, Chris Moore and Tony Morra, as well as official full-time member, Joel Stevenett, is delivered with total Peart-like authenticity. As for 20-year-old vocalist, Rocky Kuner, the California native is a charming breath of fresh air — a delicate delight — a musical gift from God. Her Geddy-inspired vocals are honest and pure — passionate and exciting.

But, as they say, “If you ain’t got songs, you ain’t got jack.” And in that regard, this nine-song set delivers in spades — residing stylistically somewhere between A Farewell to Kings and Permanent Waves — peppered to perfection with zesty dashes of 2112. Steeped in prog-style precision, the songs also ooze infectious, sing-along likability and will also fit comfortably in a commercial radio format. Of the record’s many highlights, “Invisible Heart,” “Kingdom Come” and “The Curtain Falls” serve as the most powerful earworms.

In sum, for true classic rock aficionados, the debut from YYNOT just might be the most irresistible seduction of 2018 — emotional feedback on a timeless wavelength, to be sure.

-Christopher Long
(March 2018)




SUPERSTAR -
__________

SHOUT IT OUT LOUD -
(2014)
__________

C'MON! -
(2012)



Saturday, September 7, 2019

RECORD REVIEW FLASHBACK: Jimmy Buffett "Buried Treasure"

RECORD REVIEW FLASHBACK
Jimmy Buffett
Buried Treasure
(Mailboat Records)
__________

A popular entertainment news
site I wrote for extensively over
the last couple of years ceased
operations recently. As a result,
in the next few weeks, I will be
re-posting some of the best bits
contributed to the magazine.
Here's one of 'em from way
back in the fall of 2017.
__________

In a day when “icon” has become hackneyed to the point of impotence, the name Jimmy Buffett continues to define the term perfectly. An acclaimed singer, chart-busting musician and savvy businessman, Buffett’s greatest gift has always been his keen knack for storytelling  as a songwriter, entertainer and author. Through such classics as “He Went to Paris,” “A Pirate Looks at Forty,” “The Captain and the Kid,” “Tampico Trauma” and “African Friend,” Buffett has introduced us to fascinating people over the last 45 years, while also transporting us to exotic, faraway places. And it’s this master storytelling ability that makes Buffett’s latest release, Buried Treasure, such a uniquely enjoyable treat.

Produced by renowned Nashville-based musician, Will Kimbrough, Buried Treasure is much more than a mere collection of long-lost leftovers, packaged cleverly and fed to hungry fans. Discovered only recently, hidden away in a Tennessee studio “vault,” all 11 selections are culled from Buffett’s formative songwriting days during the late ‘60s when he traveled, recorded and performed in various Deep South locales  from “The Big Easy” to “Music City.” But despite being well-preserved and now glossed with studio TLC, what makes this set particularly compelling after all these years is the engaging song-by-song commentary woven between each track  narration offered by Buffett himself, in his candid, laid back signature style.

Available as a standard, single-CD with a 28-page collector’s booklet and as a deluxe CD / DVD combo with an expanded 40-page booklet, Buried Treasure truly is a “treasure” indeed  one that surely will delight both dedicated and casual parrotheads everywhere. MailboatRecords.com / margaritaville.com

-Christopher Long
(November 2017)




SUPERSTAR -
__________

SHOUT IT OUT LOUD -
(2014)
__________

C'MON! -
(2012)


Tuesday, September 3, 2019

RECORD REVIEW FLASHBACK: Barb Wire Dolls "Rub My Mind"

RECORD REVIEW FLASHBACK
Barb Wire Dolls
Rub My Mind
(Motörhead Music)
__________

A popular Internet entertainment
news site I wrote for extensively
over the last couple of years
ceased operations recently. As
a result, in the next few weeks,
I'll be re-posting some of the best
features and reviews I contributed
to that magazine. Here's one of
'em — from the summer of 2017.
___________

What makes the latest from Barb Wire Dolls such an intriguing seduction is that it’s not a light or catchy record  it’s dark and infectious. In fact, delving into this 13-song collection is similar to discovering the diary of "that" girl in chemistry class. You know, the unwashed “weird” girl who’s never been asked to the prom, despite “engaging” frequently with half the varsity football team. But as one tears through the deeply personal diary, page by disturbing page, it becomes clear that her real life revelations are far more fascinating than any confessions fabricated by the Homecoming Queen.

Produced by Jay Baumgardner (Bush, Sevendust, Papa Roach, Godsmack, Three Days Grace, New Found Glory) Rub My Mind oozes gloriously lo-fi grit and is packed with sweaty, dirty, streetwise anthems reminiscent of classic underground college radio. Frontchick, Isis Queen channels the authentic charm of Siouxsie Sioux successfully, while Pyn Doll creates plenty of Gene Loves Jezebel-style guitar zing.

BARB WIRE DOLLS
“Back in the USSA” is a clever, guitar-driven opening track  one that sticks with ya long after the record’s 50-minute running time. Residing stylistically somewhere between The Clash and Green Day, “If I Fall” is also one of the set’s irresistible highlights. Another standout, “Hole of Isolation,” is seemingly transparent, edgy and lil’ bit unsettling  Drowning eyes, my blood is soaked in tears. Shouting walls escape the grave that's near. Doggonit, man  that’s solid stuff!

Although the band certainly possesses a penchant for creating punk-fused street rock, the true strength of Rub My Mind lies actually with the more polished-sounding, song-based cuts  FM radio-friendly tracks, including the Bon Jovi-flavored, “Fire to Burn” and the record-closing epic, “Waiting to be Lost.”

One of the hardest-working bands on today’s rock scene, Barb Wire Dolls can be seen daily this summer, live on the Vans Warped Tour Skullcandy stage through August 6th. 


-Christopher Long
(July 2017)



SUPERSTAR -
__________

SHOUT IT OUT LOUD -
(2014)
__________

C'MON! -
(2012)

Sunday, September 1, 2019

RECORD REVIEW FLASHBACK: Queen "News of the World" (40th Anniversary Deluxe Box Set)

RECORD REVIEW FLASHBACK
Queen
News of the World
40th Anniversary Deluxe Box Set
Hollywood Records
__________

A popular Internet entertainment
news site I wrote for extensively
over the last couple of years
ceased operations recently. As
a result, in the next few weeks,
I'll be re-posting some of the best
features and reviews I contributed
to that magazine. Here's one of
'em — from the fall of 2017.
__________

It was 40 years ago this fall season when the legendary British band, Queen, dropped a landmark record. In those days, the rock LP format was truly special  honest and pure works presenting listeners with significant, relevant and deeply personal social and artistic statements. Along with other timeless collections of the day, including Dark Side of the Moon, Rumours, Hotel California, Destroyer, Physical Graffiti and others, News of the World hit hard and fast  like a super-sweet punch to the rib cage. Featuring the iconic double-sided hit single “We Will Rock You” / “We Are The Champions,” as well as the much-loved accompanying tracks “Sheer Heart Attack,” “Spread Your Wings” and “Get Down, Make Love,” Queen’s sixth studio effort is considered by many to represent the creative apex of Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon.



To commemorate the record’s 40th anniversary, Hollywood Records has just re-released this multi platinum masterpiece in a mind-boggling deluxe edition. The exhaustive set contains three-CDs, including the 2011 Rob Ludwig remaster, rough and raw outtakes and a host of live bonus tracks. The impressive presentation also boasts the original 12” vinyl picture disc, an exclusive 60-minute documentary DVD, a 60-page hardcover book, and loads of collectible posters, stickers and more. An amazing package, to be sure  one that’s certain to satisfy and delight the most fervent Queen fans. (QueenOnline.com)

-Christopher Long
(2017)



SUPERSTAR -
__________

SHOUT IT OUT LOUD -
(2014)
__________

C'MON! -
(2012)

Saturday, August 31, 2019

FLASHBACK FEATURE: Doll Skin "Frontchick Sydney Dolezal Gets Psyched About Sophomore Set"

FLASHBACK FEATURE
Doll Skin
Frontchick Sydney Dolezal Gets
Psyched About Sophomore Set
__________

A popular Internet entertainment
news site I wrote for extensively
over the last couple of years
ceased operations recently. As a
result, in the next few weeks,
I'll be re-posting some of the best
features and reviews I contributed
to that magazine. Here's one of
'em — from the summer of 2017.
__________

Not since Guns N’ Roses dropped Appetite for Destruction back in 1987 has a band delivered such an authentic and irresistible collection of rib-cracking, street-wise, arena-ready anthems. But while Sydney Dolezal seems genuinely bowled over by recent comparisons between Doll Skin and an array of rock icons, the 17-year-old frontchick also is clearly psyched about the release of her band’s 11-song sophomore set, Manic Pixie Dream Girl. In fact, during our recent hour-long conversation, there wasn’t mention of a single track from the new record that didn’t elicit her contagious enthusiasm.

“The ‘Manic Pixie Dream Girl’ is more of a concept than a person,” Dolezal stated, regarding the record’s intriguing title. Remaining humble and objective, she added that although MPDG represents an enormous musical progression from their 2015 debut, In Your Face (Again), she expects the band will cover even more ground with future efforts. Dolezal further revealed that musically, the songwriting process for the record was a group effort, while drummer Meghan Herring contributed the lion’s share of the lyrics. Of the many highlights, Dolezal counts the record’s opening track and lead-off video / single, “Shut Up (You Miss Me)” as one of her personal favorites.

Sydney Dolezal onstage with Doll Skin
(Photo courtesy of band management)
The guitar-driven ear worm, “Daughter” is a lyrical partnership between Dolezal and Herring  one inspired originally from Dolezal’s revelation of how “we’ve done so much damage to the planet.” However, by the end of the creative process, the tale of Mother Earth had developed into a compelling story of a real life “abusive mother” who is “never pleased, no matter what.”

According to Dolezal, the origin of the turbo-charged “Road Killa” stems from radio reports the band heard of an Interstate shooter one afternoon while en route to rehearsal. Within minutes of arriving at their destination, Herring already had completed and presented lyrics to the band  and another fist-pounding, blood-pumping anthem is born.

Regarding the gorgeous, heartfelt power ballad, “Sweet Pea,” Dolezal admits, “I’ve always loved the sweetness of that song.” Conversely, while discussing the mosh-worthy “Punch a Nazi,” she commented, “It’s SO fun. It’s SO  punk rock!”

The long-awaited sophomore set
from Doll Skin arrives June 2017
A recent high school graduate, Dolezal points to the close relationship she enjoys with her supportive parents as the foundation of her personal life. Professionally, she gushes gooey sentiments of love for her bandmates  Herring, bassist Nicole Rich and guitarist Alex Snowden. “Even when we don’t get along, we do,” she offered with a chuckle.

Dolezal further counts director Cameron Crowe’s acclaimed rock-based drama Almost Famous among her all-time favorite flicks. But when it comes to what’s truly important in her life, she confesses, “With Lucky Charms, I only ever eat the marshmallows. But with Cap'n Crunch, I’m gonna eat the entire boxful.”

Along with the new record also comes a massive promotional summer concert tour  one that will take the scrappy Phoenix-based combo all across the U.S. (again). And as for the 2017 Vans Warped Tour, Dolezal refers to Doll Skin’s upcoming string of dates on the sweat-soaked traveling rock festival as a “dream come true” opportunity. “We’re just happy to be in a band and out playing our music.” (DollSkinBand.com)

-Christopher Long
(June 2017)



SUPERSTAR -
__________

SHOUT IT OUT LOUD -
(2014)
__________

C'MON! -
(2012)