Take Heart – Becky Crosby Chronicles Her Emotional Journey on ‘I Know,’ ‘Ghost’ Singles

Becky Crosby will release her debut EP later this year.

Becky Crosby poetically follows her heart.

The Purchase, N.Y., pop-rock singer-songwriter intuitively chronicles her emotional journey through young adulthood on two poignant, propulsive singles – “I Know” and “Ghost” – which dropped last year.

With vivid, frenzied guitar strums, radiating bass and intermittent drums, “I Know” beautifully captures a young woman’s unrequited love for someone who’s already taken. Crosby’s fiery vocals highlight that escalating intensity, “I’ll be here when you see that girl is nothing but trouble/Trouble for you and me/I’ll keep my mouth shut/Keep my eyes closed/Pretend this doesn’t hurt, baby.”

While “I Know” resembles a sudden emotional outburst, the melodic track actually simmered beneath the surface before erupting and lingering in listeners’ minds last fall. Crosby teamed up with New York guitarist Ethan Johnson to co-produce “I Know” in 2019.

“What I tend to do is write a song, and then I’ll leave it on my computer for a bit until I have an idea of how I want to pursue it,” said Crosby, 19, who attends the State University of New York (SUNY) at Purchase. “Now that I’m in college, I have a lot of friends who do production, and Ethan helped me with the writing music-wise on ‘I Know.’”

“I Know” single artwork by Lenore Hernandez

I Know” also appears on F**K THE CORONAVIRUS, a 15-track various artist project compiled by Joey Affatato, vocalist-guitarist for The Carousers, a New Jersey punk rock trio that also features Crosby’s older sister Cassidy.

Available on Bandcamp, all proceeds from the album will go directly to GlobalGiving, a large global crowdfunding community that connects nonprofits, donors and companies.

Before writing “I Know” and adding it to compilation album, Crosby penned the heartfelt, angst-filled “Ghost” as a young teen. The soaring track blends sorrowful acoustic strums with pounding percussion, vibrant electric guitars and rhythmic bass.

Again, Crosby beautifully sings about looking at life from the outside, “Part of me wishes we can turn back time/Back to when everything seemed just fine/And the leaves were falling down on the cold, soft grass/Everything was good then, but that’s why it’s the past.”

“I wrote that song when I was 14 or 15. I was going through changes that were happening in my life while starting high school,” said Crosby, who started writing songs at age 10. “When you’re that young, you’re going through changes friend-wise, and I think a lot of it was based on that.”

Continue reading “Take Heart – Becky Crosby Chronicles Her Emotional Journey on ‘I Know,’ ‘Ghost’ Singles”

Spring Fever – The Stratton Playlist April 2020 Edition Captures Carefree Spirit

This month, we’re springing forth with a new edition of “The Stratton Playlist.”

In this April Spotify compilation, you’ll feel rejuvenated with experimental jazz, timeless techno, heavy alt rock, spirited folk rock, uplifting Americana, imaginative Tom Petty renditions and bouncy hip-hop  from Michigan and other regional artists.

Featured artists include Project 206, Doogatron, Linen Ray, The Whiskey Charmers, Paddock, E-Man Bates, Mike & Joe and more. Enjoy this refreshing escape outside of daily quarantine life.

We’re also taking future submissions for upcoming editions of “The Stratton Playlist” at strattonsetlist@yahoo.com. All genres are welcome.

Acoustic Alternatives – John Bommarito Launches New Weekly YouTube Playlist on Sunday

“Acoustic Alternatives,” a new John Bommarito weekly playlist, will debut Sunday on YouTube.

As a longtime music curator, John Bommarito unearths rare acoustic gems.

The southeast Michigan radio personality will share those priceless discoveries through a new weekly YouTube playlist called “Acoustic Alternatives.”

Acoustic Alternatives” will debut this Sunday and feature Bommarito’s favorites from the local, national and international music scene. Featured artists will include Caitlyn Smith, Logan Ledger, Ruston Kelly, Chris DuPont, Amy Petty, Kylee Phillips and others.

“I will try to keep the spirit of the Sunday morning mix I’ve been providing for well over a decade on the radio waves alive with this weekly YouTube playlist,” said Bommarito, who’s also a well-known radio personality at ann arbor’s 107one (WQKL-FM). “I’m going to work on figuring out a way to post a video commentary to be included as a separate component of the show.”

John Bommarito

Bommarito’s foray into music curation started while working in metro Detroit record stores in the mid-‘80s and early ‘90s. He enjoyed discovering artists across a multitude of genres and sharing recommendations with customers who frequented the stores.

That musical discovery expanded immensely once Bommarito started his own music distribution company and later volunteered as an on-air personality at 89.3 (WHFR-FM), a Henry Ford College freeform radio station in Dearborn . By 2005, he joined ann arbor ’s 107one as a regular on-air personality and soon launched his weekly acoustic morning show, “Sunday Brunch.”

“‘Acoustic Alternatives’ was the name of a show I used to do when I was the Folk Music Director on WHFR. I described it at the time as a mix of modern folk, singer-songwriter and Celtic music,” Bommarito said. “In this new format, I can spread my wings a little bit more with only the limitations of what is available on YouTube.”

With a new incarnation of “Acoustic Alternatives,” Bommarito is eager to expand his musical ears and mind in the vast YouTube world. Artists can submit material directly to Bommarito for consideration at djjohnbom@gmail.com.

“It’s nice to hear something familiar mixed in, but ultimately I am happiest when someone discovers an artist because of my program. A typical playlist in the past has been inspired by the answer to the question, ‘Who is playing a concert in the near future that I want people to go to?’” Bommarito said.

“Now, it’s more about simply exposing people to good music that fits that Sunday morning vibe – setting a mood for the listener. I might get into theme shows at some point. I always enjoy doing that. I will also keep the tradition of ‘Radical Revisions,’ an all-covers edition of the show alive on the first Sunday of the month.”

For weekly playlist links and details, visit Bommarito’s blog.

Dark Reflections – Widetrack Creates Haunting Virtual Realm on ‘The Unwakening’ Album

Widetrack’s Ron Tippin and Zach Tippin

For Widetrack’s Ron Tippin, a new type of “mirror” reveals our hidden truths in a vast technological world.

That “mirror” doesn’t reflect our human faces, but instead displays our evolving digital personas on social media and the Interweb through multiple computer, tablet and phone screens. In a sense, we’re residing in a parallel world while interacting with one another in a dream-like state.

“The idea of The Unwakening is how we immerse ourselves in this digital landscape, and it just makes all our worst tendencies come out, and we just wallow in it. All of our wisdom just goes out the window and so does our better nature,” said Ron Tippin, Widetrack’s vocalist, guitarist and drummer.

Ron Tippin explores this haunting concept throughout Widetrack’s new otherworldly 12-track, alt-prog album, The Unwakening, which dropped yesterday. As part of a Waterford father-son duo with 16-year-old bassist-guitarist Zach Tippin, he travels through a dozen digital tales to uncover the conflicting dualities of our personal and online identities.

“I look at a show like ‘Black Mirror,’ and I’ve read the reviews, and people say, ‘Oh, I get it, digital media is bad.’ Well, it’s not that simple. It’s a fantastically great tool, it can connect us in ways it never could, and it’s the stuff of my childhood imagination,” said Ron Tippin, who released the album to coincide with his son’s 16th birthday.

Together, father and son plunge headfirst into a ‘Black Mirror-esque’ realm filled with an angry online influencer who trolls social media, online forums and discussion threads to create a polarizing digital culture. Each haunting track on The Unwakening chronicles the influencer’s rapid rise to power and eventual decline in a fickle virtual universe.

“I started thinking about if this person got everything he ever wanted, what would that world look like, and I got this idea that this guy ascends to power, and he gets so many followers, he becomes this huge demagogue, and he rises to a position of power, and the world just goes to hell,” Ron Tippin said. Continue reading “Dark Reflections – Widetrack Creates Haunting Virtual Realm on ‘The Unwakening’ Album”

Magic Moment – Chris DuPont Lives for the Present on New Heartfelt ‘Jawline/Visitor’ Singles

Chris DuPont has released two new singles, “Jawline” and “Visitor,” about living in the moment. Photo by Andrew Kanitz

Chris DuPont poignantly reminds us to live in the moment.

The Ypsilanti indie folk singer-songwriter magically captures that fleeting emotion through two new breathtaking singles, “Jawline” and “Visitor,” which dropped today via all streaming platforms.

“They’re about connecting with a human being in the moment and experiencing being apart from them and feeling like what Richard Rohr would call ‘that bright sadness of being apart.’ It kind of wrecks you, but there’s also joy in hoping for the return,” said DuPont, who’s also hosting a virtual release show tonight at 7 p.m.

“I loved the idea of taking the opportunity to put out that kind of work that isn’t actually talking about quarantine or isolation directly, but it talks about my experience of it and all the complicated things that come with it like isolation and desire. It just felt like my way of responding in a way that could be expressive instead of literal and head-on.”

“Jawline” and “Visitor” single artwork

DuPont directly tackles that emotional intensity on “Jawline,” a serene acoustic ballad about missing someone in the darkest of times. Sorrowful piano and weeping electric guitar simultaneously open the mind’s floodgates of loneliness while hope pumps freely through the heart and veins.

In response, DuPont tenderly sings, “There is a divot in my collarbone/From the cut of your jawline/There is this feeling of coming home/When you’re entwined.”

“I have a hard time being present right now. I’m always years into the future or obsessed with my past. My music tends to poke at that, like the fact that I’m really into memory and whatever isn’t right immediately now. ‘Jawline’ follows the trend that a lot of my writing is following now in that I’m really trying to be someone who’s actually present in my body,” said DuPont, who wrote the track last fall.

“A lot of the lyrics on Floodplains, too, are really a sort of reclaiming just being flesh and blood and being right here, right now, especially in myself, but also as it relates to another human being. ‘Jawline’ is a moment song about those visceral things like loving the way somebody’s bone is shaped and the way that it interacts with you when they come to embrace you.”

Continue reading “Magic Moment – Chris DuPont Lives for the Present on New Heartfelt ‘Jawline/Visitor’ Singles”

Divine Light – Neal Morse Explores Spirituality in ‘Jesus Christ The Exorcist’ Prog Rock Opera

Neil Morse revisits the timeless story of Jesus in his latest prog rock opera, “Jesus Christ The Exorcist.” Photo by Victor Peters

As a child, Neal Morse found a kindred spirit in Jesus Christ Superstar.

The Nashville progressive rock composer and multi-instrumentalist became instantly drawn to the 1970 Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice rock opera album turned Broadway musical.

“I got it when I was 11 or 12, and I lived that album for months. That’s the way I was when I was young, I only listened to one thing at time,” said Morse, the former Spock’s Beard frontman.

Nearly 40 years later, Morse decided to write a new rock opera showcasing the Gospel at the encouragement of his friend Michael Caplan. In 2008, he embarked on a 10-year creative journey to compose and record Jesus Christ The Exorcist: A Progressive Rock Musical, a refreshing take on the timeless story of Jesus.

“At first I thought, ‘It’s been done, doing a rock musical or rock opera based on the Gospel seems like a trite thing at first,’ and then the more I thought about it, I prayed about it, I felt like, ‘Yeah, I should take a stab at it,’” Morse said.

“I’m a little bit of a one-project-at-a time guy, and so when I worked on it in 2008, I didn’t work on anything else. I only did that until it was done, and I spent about two months on it back then, and then a month demoing it. It was pretty elaborate, I had friends come in and help me sing over stuff. We worked pretty hard on the original demos because we were going to shop it as a Broadway show.”

Unfortunately, Jesus Christ The Exorcist didn’t make it to Broadway, but Morse resurrected the project and debuted it live a decade later at Morsefest, his annual two-day music festival near Nashville. By 2018, the project’s revival led to a renewed interested in releasing it.

“Michael called me up and said, ‘You’re not going to believe this, I think I’ve got a record deal for this,’ and I’m like, ‘Whoa, that’s really interesting because I’m doing the rewrite now, that’s perfect,’” Morse said.

Frontiers Music srl, an independent Italian-American record label for classic rock, hard rock, prog rock and metal artists, released Jesus Christ The Exorcist as a double album for Morse last year.

With the label’s support, Morse assembled an impressive roster of vocalists and musicians for the project, including Ted Leonard (vocals), Eric Gillette (drums, guitars), Paul Bielatowicz (guitar), Nick D’Virgilio (vocals), Randy George (bass), Bill Hubauer (keys), Matt Smith (vocals), Rick Florian (vocals), Talon David (vocals) and others.

“They really brought their style to playing. There really wasn’t much that was brought to the table in the way of composition because the whole thing was already composed. It wasn’t like the collaborativeness of The Neal Morse Band, Flying Colors or Transatlantic. It was more of ‘OK, here’s the part, play it kind of thing,’ and there was a little bit of embellishing, but not a ton on this,” said Morse, who also released a new Flying Colors album, Third Degree, in October.

Continue reading “Divine Light – Neal Morse Explores Spirituality in ‘Jesus Christ The Exorcist’ Prog Rock Opera”

‘The Desmond Jones Show’ – Grand Rapids Quintet Drops New Truman-Inspired ‘Major Burbank’ Video

For Desmond Jones, authenticity reigns tried and true.

The Grand Rapids rock-funk-jazz quintet of John Nowak (drums, vocals, guitar), Isaac Berkowitz (guitar, vocals, drums), Chris Bota (guitar, vocals), George Falk (sax, vocals) and Taylor Watson (bass) embraces their holistic selves on “Major Burbank,” a new glistening, groovy video out today. It’s the first new studio material Desmond Jones has released since their Hello, Helou album last July.

The 10-minute slow, transformative jam pays tribute to Jim Carrey’s legendary performance in the 1998 Academy Award-nominated film, “The Truman Show.” As an authentic ode to Carrey, “Major Burbank” majestically combines sparkling guitars, velvety bass, dancy drums and sensuous sax as Berkowitz smoothly sings, “So come back in to/The old world you knew/And although it’s not true/We’re all here for you.”

“With a flawless Jim Carrey performance and the layered philosophical themes present throughout the movie, ‘The Truman Show,’ makes for an excellent flick. We here at Desmond Jones aim to not only remind the listener of these important themes and encourage them to think further and pull back the curtain, but to also gain financially from the film’s popularity as well,” said Berkowitz, who wrote the track.

“We’re really excited to get this song and video out for everyone to enjoy and boogie to. We also encourage anyone who knows Jim Carrey to pass this song along to him because we think he’d dig it.”

Filmed this past winter at Plymouth Rock Recording Company, the “Major Burbank” video beautifully depicts Desmond Jones wearing fun, glitzy outfits and colorful, glam-inspired makeup on a dark, smoky soundstage while vibrant spotlights glow behind them.

Videographers Nick Small, Ryan “Toby” Hyland and Wayne Small eloquently capture the band’s magical instrumentation and rich improvisation from several innovative camera angles.

“That’s one of our newer songs, and the only recording we have is the video we took at Plymouth Rock. We did probably three full live takes, and I think we took the second one. They filmed each one, and when we chose the take we liked most, they put it to film and mixed and mastered it afterward,” Nowak said.

Continue reading “‘The Desmond Jones Show’ – Grand Rapids Quintet Drops New Truman-Inspired ‘Major Burbank’ Video”