Welcome fellow time travelers !! This is U2 free zone!!

"BROTHERS AND SISTERS . . . the time has come for each and every one of you to decide, whether you are going to be the problem or whether you are going to be the solution!"

Monday, March 11, 2013

Alvin Lee (Dec 19 1944 – Mar 6 2013)

The Righteous Empire is back!  But unfortunately this is not a day for celebrating that, today I want to celebrate the life of one of my absolute favourite guitar iconoclasts, Mr Alvin Lee, of the solid band "Ten Years After" who passed away this week at the age of 68.  The first time I heard the violent guitar wielding of Lee, I was 19 years old, watching the Woodstock vhs at a friends house in Scarborough Ontario.  After listening to the repulsive, self-indulgent set by The Who, I was about ready to turn of the TV, when I heard the greatest 8 word intro in rock music, slightly slurred and cool as a cucumber, Lee humbly steps to the mic and utters... "this is a thing called.... I'm Goin' Home"  Then before I knew what was happening, Lee was in the middle of the lightning fast intro riff of the tune, and just when I caught back up to the song, the rest of the band explodes into the powerhouse jam of the aforementioned song.  For the entire 10 or 11 minutes of this menacing rollercoaster, with sudden bursts of energy, and cool calm reserve this song kept me glued to the screen and dead to my surroundings.  The heavy driving bass of Leo Lyons chugging in the back and grooving to the tune could be the best element of this footage if it wasn't for Lee commanding the immense crowd with his righteous fretwork, but still deserves honourable mention, especially in the current pop musics limp bass players who simply follow the four chord progression of the common pop tune, playing with their little pick- which is an abomination of bass work, but thats another post altogether!  So with Lee and Lyons controlling the front, there's Ric Lee on drums and Chick Churchill on the organ keeping the time and filling the air with the sweet tones of a Hammond B-3, all combined completes the quintessential rock sounds of that era, and does so with so much attitude that I actually felt cooler just listening to it!  
After the dust settled and I regained my equilibrium, I made it a point to get everything this man had put to tape.  Starting with "A Space In Time" was a pretty big misstep on my part, because nothing ever lived up to this record.  I've got the entire TYA collection, but that slice of history has been in heavy rotation in my playlists for years!  With an amazing legacy and a decadent contribution to the ranks of musical history, Alvin Lee has immortalized himself as a GUITAR GOD and is sure to leave his tones ringing in the ears of fans as long as the master tapes survive!  
To commemorate Alvin Lee and Ten Years After I'm going to post one of my personal favourites  "Live at the Filmore East 1970" that was recorded Feb 27-28 of that year, making it just over 43 years old, and just as relevant now, as they were then!  
Thanks for reading, and I hope you dig the righteousness of this music as much as I do!

And just for good measures, and in case you haven't seen it, here's a link to watch "I'm Going Home" live at Woodstock

Monday, July 30, 2012

Trampled By Turtles - Palomino (2010)

Marking the return of the Righteous Empire, I am going to spread a little slice of uber righteous bluegrass!  Now as much as I'd like to explain why there is a 6 month gap from my last post to now, let's just say I've had a rough year health wise, with Necrotizing Fasciitis to Crohn's disease, however I am alive and ready to return stuffing your cochlea's and ear drums with groovy tunes and awe inspiring righteousness!!

Trampled By Turtles - Palomino - 2010
Hailing from Duluth Minnesota, these five lads, and yes I do say lads as theses cats aren't the old timers such as Bill Monroe or Earl Scruggs, but hot damn are they on their way! So, we have a bearded dirtbag fiddle player who literally moves mountains with his prowess, and we've also got double bass, acoustic guitar, mandolin and of course the almighty Banjo, with a littles touch of harmonica here and there.  Leading this powerhouse, is the solid Dave Simonett, with a voice filled with heavy passion and and the songwriting  talent on par with many of the greats.  I guess what I am saying, is this guy is going to leave a permanent mark on the world of country and bluegrass, make NO mistake

Palomino, their fifth album released in 2010, showcases the cohesiveness and solidarity of a record seldom found in these days of pro-tools, auto-tune and horrific artists (calling these top 40 "artists" is actually a terrible description of what to me is sub-human atrocities committed by musical deviants).
So with a giant breath of fresh air, these bluegrass anti-heroes of the current state of music, come out with determination and direction, on the path to bring the beautiful music of the past back, and with force!  From the opening track "Wait So Long" which contains enough energy to make the Hoover Dam look like double A battery,  it sets the tone for this equilibrium shaking album! Lightning fast banjo and fiddle, sensational mandolin and bleeding soul drenched vocals combine to put together my favourite album of 2010!  The songs easily spread from one track to the next making the experience so damn smooth you can fall into a state of altered consciousness soaking up every note and tempo change  on this concrete triumph of an album!  So, without further adieu, I present to you "Palomino"!!
I'll say no more, the rest of this experience is yours to enjoy!
Righteous Empire is back!

"Wait So Long" Video

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Jericho Jones - Junkies, Monkeys & Donkeys (1971)

Where to begin with this rock solid gem from 1971!  I'm sure a few of you folk may be familiar with this obscure album from the most righteous era of music, but for those who don't, I've got a treat for you today!  A little history about these lads, they were originally called The Churchills, who were an Israeli  beat/psychedelic group that had a string of singles in the late 60's before relocating to England and changing their name and sound to the powerhouse that is JERICHO JONES!  This album really has every element you've come to love from the likes of Leafhound, Irish Coffee, and Three Man Army (also three highly recommended bands if you haven't listened!).  With whiskey drenched growling vocals, soaring vibrant guitar solos, and dominating bass lines, this album grabs you from the opening tone of "No School Today"(and just wait for the chaotic noise break around the 1:50 mark) to the driving riff of "Mona Mona" and the laid back space jam of "Junkies Monkeys & Donkeys", not to mention the twin lead guitars of "So Come On", this LP envelops you fully to the bitter end.  I must say though, beware before listening, as this album will find itself getting progressively louder on your stereo as the album moves forward!  Accompany with 6 pack and a tailgate party on your buddies El Camino!
Highlighted tracks include "Mona Mona" and "Man In The Crowd"

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Fred Eaglesmith - 6 Volts 2011

Righteous Empire music lovers!!  I must first and foremost apologize for the lack of posts in the latter part of 2011, but I've found a woman that has inspired me to take control of this Empire once again, and infuse all of our lives with the most emotional captivating tunage I can dig up from the corners of this little blue marble!  So, if I can, introduce to you, a veteran of therighteousempire.blogspot.com, Mr. Fred Eaglesmith and his latest prolific offering, "6 Volts"....
Now, for those of you righteous cats that are familiar with the raw country-esque intricacies of the blue collared, red blooded, black lunged stylings of our hero, this should be no shocker that Fred is back with yet another musical innovation that will vibrate your essence in every meaning of the term....
And, for those of you who aren't, I can't think of a better introduction to Mr Eaglesmith, (well... maybe than "lipstick, lies and gasoline") that will truly make your heart ache and your bones chill....
With fender amps and mandolins made of spiritual steel, combined with the broken-souled vocals of a man who has lost his will to live yet keeps on going, this album has reminded me of why I fell in love with music.  Not just music, sorry, the very essentials that make up the fundamentals of true, honest passion.  I know in earlier posts, said that "Josh T Pearson" was my favourite release of 2011, but Fred slipped in there at the tail end with a total game changer.  It saddens me that Toby Keith will be more recognized as a country artist at the Grammy awards next spring than Fred, but... than again... you gotta just love the little obscure soul-shakers that we call kin!!
So, my musical soul mates, please enjoy and make sure to check out Fred, as chances are, he will be playing a show near you in a tiny town in front of 45 people.... very soon!!!  MERRY CHRISTMAS!!
Highlighted track include "Katie" and "Cigarette Machine"

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Scott H. Biram - Bad Ingredients 2011

And man alive..... he's back in style!!  So lets get right down to the meat and potatoes from this album....
Scott has followed the formula of his last couple releases with a combination of tunes about whiskey, highways and broken hearts.... does this mean he's rehashing past glories?? Of course in a sense, but still do we really care??  I mean it's Scott doing what he does best, and kicking the mainstream music industry in the proverbial balls!  This guy can release an album of drunken voicemail messages and I'll buy it, and love it..... and SO WILL YOU!!  So my dearest RighteousEmpire followers, enjoy this album as much as I have been, and take this little slice of dirty cuts.... your ears will thank you..(and me)!
Highlighted cuts include "Open Road" and "Killed A Chicken Last Night"

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Hank William III - Ghost to a Ghost/Gutter Town 2011

Well Mr Hank Williams the third... I must say thank you for this release!!
His seventh solo record, and first release on his own label "Hank 3", this is 2 of 4 albums he released simultaneously in September of 2011... and what a pair of records they are!!  Filled with neotraditional, zydeco and outlaw country tones, and accompanied with guest appearances from the like of Tom Waits, Les Claypool, and Dave Sherman, Hank takes you back to the swamp and makes you long for an El Camino and a bottle of moonshine!  If this is to be the new direction of Hank, than we are all in store for one HELL of a righteous ride my friends!  So clear your schedule for the next couple hours, let your freak flag fly, and get into Hank 3's magnum opus!  Did I mention this little miracle was recorded in his home studio on "Haunted Ranch"...  I mean how cool must this guy be!  Between his DIY attitude and his 3 hour powerhouse live shows, this country antihero is THE REAL DEAL!