Category: Album Reviews

A Conversation With Blues Rock Artist Julia Alyce

Think Linda Ronstadt meets Patsy Cline & Bonnie Raitt.

That’s what you get from the debut EP of blues rock artist Julia Alyce. A collection of music that Julia co-wrote in collaboration with music producer Maia Sharp.

An album that any fan of the aforementioned artists should add to their collection.

Julia’s EP features the steel guitar work of music legend Greg Leisz, who’s played on many of Joni Mitchell’s albums. Other well-known musicians  featured include: Maia Sharp (Producer, Piano, & multiple instruments), Linda Taylor (Guitar), David J. Carpenter (Bass), and Brian Macleod (Drums).

Julia’s in it for the love of the entire music process. Not for any individual moments but for the entire ride. The whole production has a “cosmic” vibe to it as well.

While working with her vocal coach in Los Angeles prior to recording the album, Julia mentioned to him that some of her biggest influences were artists like Bonnie Raitt and the Dixie Chicks. Shortly after that exchange a friend connected her with Maia Sharp, who just so happened to have worked with…wait for it: Bonnie Raitt and the Dixie Chicks. If that’s not a sign then nothing is.

All three songs on the EP reflect different aspects of love.

“Love Me or Let Me Go” – Julia’s “baby”.  Written ten years ago at a time when she was frustrated in the moment. A story of a cat and mouse game of mixed messages being played out. Just when you think you’re at the point of being wanted they suddenly push you away. It’s back and forth drama until the conclusion is finally reached: Just love me, or let me go.

Do you need me, like I need you?
Do you want me, like I want you to?

“Since I Met You” – A song about the feeling you get when you’re not sure if you’ll ever find that special person and what its like when you finally do. Something so deep that everything looks new. Just letting go and how it feels.

And now I’m seeing everything, in a way I’ve never seen it

“Innocent”– A song written by M. Sharp, M. Daly, and L. Lucas. Julia chose this song even though she didn’t write it because she could honestly relate. Having been in that situation where someone is living in the past and trying to be with them in the present without baggage. All the while thinking, “Hey, I’m innocent!”

All that lying left you tender to the touch
She really did a number…on you

The song Love Me or Let Me Go also has taken on a life of its own and become Julia’s first music video. A fun video with universal appeal that’s a cross between Annie Lennox’s pop 80’s work and Robert Palmer’s “Simply Irresistible“.

Julia’s musical journey is actually a three-part plan. The first part was working with Maia and recording the EP the way she wanted to.

The second was creating the music video to give a visual representation of her and the music she represents.

The final piece of the puzzle is a music project Julia is immersed in now in Los Angeles. She’s putting together a specific sound by selecting a group of musicians who are not only passionate about the music, but also bring a special magical quality to the table to help take her show on a grassroots tour nationwide.

Julia says the timing of these artistic elements are key, but at the same time she’s not compromising her goal which is to be out there touring and interacting with her music fans for a long long time.

You may think that with a plan this ambitious it might be a bit challenging but not according to Julia.

“When you’re in the zone it’s a blast.” she says. “It’s not stressful at all.”

If her EP and music video are any indication, the future for Julia Alyce looks very bright indeed.

To book Julia Alyce contact her manager direct at:

Article first published as A Conversation With Blues Rock Artist Julia Alyce on Technorati.

Omertà : Album Review

What happens when you take elements of Dream Theatre, Symphony-X and Disturbed, throw them all into a blender and then add the blazing guitar of a true genius of his instrument?

You get: Adrenaline Mob.

Consisting of drummer Mike Portnoy, vocalist Russell Allen, guitarist Mike Orlando and newcomer, bassist John Moyer, Adrenaline Mob continues to build upon the success that started last summer with the release of their self-titled EP.

Fans who may have missed out before will be pleased to discover that four of the songs from that record also appear on the band’s soon to be released full-length album, Omertà.

Produced by the Mob themselves and mixed by Jay Ruston, well-known for his work with Anthrax and Steel Panther, Omertà disproves the old adage that metal albums are made to just melt faces (although, let’s face it, there’s nothing wrong with that). The truth is though, it’s always been the songwriting and the sound that matters most and on both counts Omertà delivers the goods.

From the first few bars of the in your face intro of “Undaunted” I found myself once again asking the question: “How the hell do these guys sound so damn good?” It’s inhuman. They make it look so easy. And the best part of it all is: it’s actually THEM playing and singing. Not just another studio trick that record companies have been spoon-feeding the masses for years.

I mean lets face it, these guys are real musicians. Ones who have spent years honing their craft. Musicians similar to the greats I idolized growing up and ones who will now carry the torch on to the next generation of metal heads.

In addition to the songs from the original EP, here are a few more highlights from Omertà:

Indifferent is a song about self-reflection. One that is radio ready and a song that I can already picture blaring from my car speakers on hot summer nights.

I never thought you’d hear me say, “I’m better now, so I don’t need your sympathy.”

All On The Line nicely mixes things up with Russell Allen’s crisp vocals and an acoustic guitar intro delivering the message before kicking things back up.

I don’t wanna wake up and make the same mistakes.
It happens to me all the time.

For the metal head purists, the groove on Feelin’ Me is infectious and will keep your fists pumping for a long time.

One of the real gems on Omertà is the band’s version of the song Come Undone. That’s right, you read that correctly: a Duran Duran cover!  Something die-hard metal fans might consider “blasphemy” but in reality is actually just another example of how music has universal appeal. The song also features a guest vocal performance by Lzzy Hale of Halestorm – Genius!

Omertà is the next chapter in the story of Adrenaline Mob and coincidentally ends with the blazing song Freight Train, a cacophony of guitars and drums complete with real engine sounds.

Which makes me so glad I’m along for the ride.

Check it out!

Omertà Track Listing:

1. Undaunted
2. Psychosane
3. Indifferent
4. All On The Line
5. Hit the Wall
6. Feelin’ Me
7. Come Undone
8. Believe Me
9. Down To The Floor
10. Angel Sky
11. Freight Train

For more information on Adrenaline Mob check out:

Julie Roberts: Still Alive

It was a half-dozen or so summers ago when I first met Julie Roberts. It was at a country music show in Reinholds, Pennsylvania and she was in the middle of a whirlwind tour supporting her self-titled debut album on Mercury Records.

Julie was riding high on the success of her mammoth hit “Break Down Here” when she pulled into the little Pennsylvania fair and I was fortunate enough to be part of the local band that performed as her opening act that night.

On this night, I had the opportunity to meet Julie backstage prior to showtime and exchange the usual pleasantries opening acts typically do with the headliner. You know, signing memorabilia, taking pictures and that sort of thing.

Already a huge fan of her music I remember that when our set was over I was standing alone backstage and watched as Julie was introduced and walked out onto the stage. A surreal moment for me to say the least.

The thing I’ve always loved most about Julie is her soulful voice. She sings with such emotion that its hard not to fall in love with it. It’s infectious. When she closes her eyes and starts to sing you don’t just hear the words but rather, you “feel” them.

After the show, I remember seeing Julie and her Mama manning the merchandise booth and meeting anyone and everyone who came up. It didn’t matter how long it took, she was going to stay and greet everyone who came to see her. And I always wished more artists would have that personal connection with their fans.

The years following that little Pennsylvania show weren’t easy for Julie. Although she would release a critically acclaimed follow-up record, “Men and Mascara” she soon found herself sidelined when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

To make matters worse, she was also released from her record contract with Mercury, Nashville and became a victim of the Nashville flooding that occurred in May of 2010.

But even in the face of all of this adversity she never lost faith. Julie still managed to do something that most other artists in her position wouldn’t have…. she pushed on. And the result of which is a record she can honestly call her own.

You make me feel so Alive.

Alive is the third album from Julie Roberts and has to be her most personal. Not only is Julie the artist and one of the principal songwriters on this record but she has also taken on the responsibility of many other aspects of the record as well including CD creation, marketing and distribution.

From the cover design on the CD right down to the little UPC labels that adorn them, she’s had her hand in everything. And where as most other bands and artists have the luxury of a record company for promotion and distribution, Julie personally fills all orders for her independently released album and mails them out.

Whether it’s the jazziness of “Let’s Fight“, the beautiful piano in “Carolina From My Soul” or the good time of “NASCAR Party” this record showcases everything I love about Julie and really delivers the goods. Country, Blues, Jazz  – it’s all here.

Alive is filled with the same soulful voice that I loved way back in Reinholds. One listen to “Whiskey and You” is all you need to feel that same connection.

That’s the difference between whiskey and you.

Julie Roberts is the epitome of what a true artist should be. She loves her faith, her family and her fans. She’s involved in every aspect of her music. From songwriting to recording to taking autographed CDs to the post office. She does it all. Not to mention the fact that she has a certified gold record in her arsenal and has also performed on some of the biggest stages in country music.

She’s back! She’s Alive – and I couldn’t be happier.