Welcome To Rate The Tracks

We are interested in providing a home for artists that want to have their tracks evaluated by seasoned professionals in the music business and fans alike. If it's a demo or the finished product we want to hear your tracks! This is intended to be interactive between the artists and listeners. Providing feedback to the artists will assist them in developing their music.

February 23, 2020

Blu-ray/DVD Review: ZZ Top-That Little Ol’ Band From Texas

Release Date: February 28, 2020
Label: Eagle Rock Entertainment

That Little Ol’ Band From Texas is a documentary of three men from Texas that grew up listening to the same radio stations. Billy Gibbons (guitar, vocals), Dusty Hill (bass, vocals) and Fran Beard (drums) eventually became the international superstars ZZ Top. This is their story from the beginning.

This Blu-ray/DVD set is a no-fluff story that gives you all the important facts that made ZZ Top who they are. And 50 years later the same three men are together as the longest-standing rock band in history. They never had any new members join or leave. I would have to say that they rate right up there with some of the best rock trios like The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Cream.

They took chances, experimented with their music and partnered with all the right people, and everything just fell together. Not to mention, of course, being around when MTV became a phenomenon and they released Eliminator with some very eye-catching colorful videos.

I learned so much watching this film, things I never knew before. It made me realize the long history and beginnings I never realized. I have always been a fan of the band, not a huge fan mind you, but enough to be curious enough to want to know more. My introduction to them was in the 70s when I heard Fandango for the first time then Tres Hombres. I was sold and those two releases remain my favorites to this day. It was in that period I should have caught them live but never did. Fortunately, they are still touring so maybe I can catch them live before they hang up their boots once and for all.

I enjoyed the up-close jam sessions presented in Gruene Hall with just them and the people shooing the videos. I also enjoyed the footage of the early years and the concert clips. Once I got to the bonus section the clips became the full performances.

50 years is a long time to do anything or be so close to anyone, regardless of what your profession is. Even though they are legends they still consider themselves blues interpreters and it looks as though any of their success has changed them much. They come across as down to earth men from Texas that have had a very successful career that genuinely appreciate everything they have gained over the years.

That Little Ol’ Band From Texas
gave blues a bigger name and more respect than it ever had. It was a joy to watch the film and it held my interest from beginning to end. That is a win any day of the week and if you appreciate the music of ZZ Top you’re going to love this Blu-ray/DVD set.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
February 22, 2020

Founder Of:



Review Provided By MuzikMan.net

Tracks:
Gruene Hall Bonus Performances (21 minutes):
Shuffle In C / Fannie Mae
La Grange
Brown Sugar
Blue Jean Blues
Ham Estate Archives Bonus Performances (22 minutes):
Thunderbird
Tush
Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers
I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide
Manic Mechanic

February 21, 2020

Instrumental Rock Review: Sammy Boller-Kingdom of The Sun

Release Date: March 20th, 2020
Label: Candyrat Records
Website


It takes a lot of talent and some good promotion to cut through all the noise of social media and the zillion other artists out there vying for your attention. If you do not have a hit on today’s radio stations and you play instrumental rock, well, let’s just say the chances of you becoming the next Joe Satriani are slim to none.

There are some exceptions to that rule and every once in a while, then some young six-string gunslinger gets my undivided attention. Let me introduce you to Sammy Boller. Never heard of him? Well, I didn’t either but now that has changed and it will for you too once you hear his killer new album Kingdom of The Sun.

Make no mistake, this guy is smokin’ hot people! He is one of the best I have heard in some time. The single and title track “Kingdom of the Sun” was released on January 17, 2020. It is an amazing track that rocks start to finish with some great melodicism albeit at lightning speed. The album drops on March 20th and a limited vinyl run will be available as well. It will sound amazing on vinyl, considering how great my digital copy sounds right now, I would not give it a second thought getting the 33rpm platter.

In one of the statements in his one sheet one person says “He is a state-of-the-art rock guitarist.” I would agree with that 100%. A lot is going on with those fingers and he sounds like two players going full tilt instead of one. The sound he creates is crisp, clean and it is always filled with rhythm, and every track offers something different with sound, emotion, color, and atmospheres. When I hear talent like this it sounds so pure, like the man was born to do this and nothing else. His gifts are obvious after one listen to Kingdom of The Sun. Sammy grew up wanting to be Randy Rhodes and Eddie Van Halen, well it sure looks as though he is showing a powerful combination of both of those influences.

Sammy also is a regular contributor with his article Secrets of Shred with Guitar World Magazine, which has a loyal following. So, he is willing to share his knowledge with his readers so they can learn how to play as he does. I wish you the best with that and you had better get a Metronome!

On 11 tracks of superb guitar virtuosity, Sammy takes a listener on an instrumental rocket ride. His playing is on a level few ever attain. I felt immediately turned on with his sound but also found familiarity with what I was hearing. I am a big Satch fan so it was easy for me to dive into this but it had to be exceptional right out the gate without it subsiding. The energy level of every track is top-notch, it just comes at you in many different paces with different spaces being filled in the most superlative way.

One of my favorite tracks and a great example of Sammy’s talent is “Temple of Time.” He coaxes some amazing sounds out of his well-worn electric six-string. The track exudes a power that is simply electric with pinpoint accuracy. If you enjoy guitar-oriented instrumental rock you will be playing Kingdom of The Sun a lot, I can guarantee it. Check out the stream provided of the title track single and video of Sammy playing “Cloak of Light.”

Kingdom of The Sun is an instant classic as far as I am concerned and you need to hear it if you like to rock, it is as simple as that.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck 

February 21, 2020

Review Provided By MuzikMan.net

Tracks: 
01. Kingdom of the Sun
02. Sunrise/Sunset
03. Cloak of Light
04. Iolite
05. For Madmen Only
06. Dark Night of the Soul
07. Illusions
08. The Empress
09. Mirror of the Heart
10. Temple of Time
11. Awakening From The Daydream

 









Founder of:


February 9, 2020

Instrumental Rock Review: Joe Satriani-Shapeshifting

Release Date: April 10, 2020

Label: Sony Music/Legacy Recordings

Website: http://www.satriani.com/

I always wonder what Satch will come up with next when he releases another album. You have to be a very creative guitar player to constantly come up with something new and exciting for your listeners. He manages to do that consistently. With Shapeshifting due out on April 10, 2020 he is sure not to disappoint.

There are thirteen tracks of instrumental ear candy to consume on this latest recording. Joe’s sound is distinct and very familiar to millions of rockers worldwide. I am among the longtime fans that stretch back to the 80s. When I was first turned on to his music, I could not forget it and wanted more. Joe has served us instrumental rock freaks well in his long and successful career.

Some notes from the press release FYI:
Shapeshifting was co-produced by Satriani and Jim Scott (Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers) with longtime associate John Cuniberti onboard handling the mastering duties. Satriani enlisted a wide range of collaborators, both old and new, to help him bring the songs to life. Legendary drummer Kenny Aronoff (John Fogerty), bassist Chris Chaney (Jane’s Addiction) and keyboardist Eric Caudieux were the core musicians on the new album with additional contributions coming from Lisa Coleman (The Revolution) and Christopher Guest.

So, there is no surprise that so many names in the industry are part of this. Just remember he is the guy that taught Steve Vai a few things, who is no slouch on the six-string either.

The production values of Shapeshifting are superb and what you would expect. Every song has a different style and pace to it, making sure every listener gets the variety they need to stay interested from beginning to end. Joe delivers the goods track to track. The album leads off with the title track and a high energy blast of some guitar magic that sets the right tone right from the start.

One of the more eclectic and interesting tracks is “Ali Farka, Dick Dale, an Alien and Me.” It gives thanks to those artists that Joe has admired and you certainly can hear the Dick Dale reference. Surf instrumental is so recognizable and Dale was one of the first innovators of the genre. I am not familiar with Farka’s work but because of that song I will have to do some investigating. If Joe likes him, chances are his work will be of great value to his listeners. As far as the Alien, I think it was that silver dude he was surfing with back in the early years of his career.

The first single “Nineteen Eighty” has some Eddie Van Halen types of riffs running through and it packs a punch through to the end, it is pure energy and excitement. After that explosion of six-string virtuosity, Joe slows things down a bit with “All My Friends Are Here.” It’s not slow but in terms of the way he plays, it is a few notches down from the previous track. It has some great hooks that are hard to ignore. It sounds like the kind of track you may hear sound bites of accompanying a sporting video, albeit in a sport that has plenty of movement.

All that energy and creativeness Joe has in his soul never subsides during this instrumental treasure trove of masterful six-string displays. This is vintage Satriani doing what he does best, just flat out jamming and bending those strings with a fluidness and command that few players can muster. He is and has been one of the premier rock guitarists for a long time and this recording takes its place alongside one of the great releases such as Surfing With The Alien for consistency of quality. I must reiterate, with the level of difficulty involved in putting out yet another all-instrumental album, this sets the bar extremely high for an artist like Joe. He is up for the challenge and plays like a man that is recording his swan song.

Diversity is the key to success. Tracks like the beautiful “Falling Stars” step away from the hard-charging rockers to show that he can do tasteful slower paced tracks with some funky licks interspersed between the rhythm section action. “Waiting” is even more expressive and a nice ballad that relates to the title with its slow start and pensive build-up that intimates some impatience but in a very nice way. It is one of the shorter jaunts clocking in at 2:37. Now if that wasn’t enough of a change, he kicks into high gear with some reggae chops on “Here The Blue River.” He also mixes in the rockin’ side of his playing to the blend with the reggae back beat which continues as the foundation. The multi-layered tracking is amazing with some great effects, making the track the most varied sounding on the entire album.

And just when you thought you heard just about every style imaginable he closes out with “Yesterday’s Yesterday,” a country-fried journey that rings true with the jangling strings and the old western atmosphere it hints at. In many ways, if you played this for long time fans, they may be hard-pressed to peg Joe as the artist.

In the end, the curtain closes and Joe Satriani wins you over again with the superior quality and all the incredible guitar playing on display on this fine album. His ongoing maturity is evident with each subsequent release and he surely is the ultimate Shapeshifting guitar man.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
February 8, 2020


Founder of:




Review Provided By MuzikMan.net

Tracks:
01. Shapeshifting
02. Big Distortion
03. All For Love
04. Ali Farka, Dick Dale, an Alien and Me
05. Teardrops
06. Perfect Dust
07. Nineteen Eighty
08. All My Friends Are Here
09. Spirits, Ghosts and Outlaws
10. Falling Stars
11. Waiting
12. Here The Blue River
13. Yesterday’s Yesterday




February 8, 2020

Pallas-An Alternative Arrive Alive

Let's Support This Incredible Band Via Bandcamp! You can name your price! 

February 7, 2020

The Final on Vinyl Podcast: Bluesman Billy Price

Thank you Billy for your time and discussing the new release Dog Eat Dog, complete with my dog barking in the background at one point!