Highly Combustible – Heavy Metal Supergroup Spirits of Fire Releases Searing Self-titled Debut Album

Spirits of Fire’s Chris Caffery, Steve DiGiorgio, Tim “Ripper” Owens and Mark Zonder

Spirits of Fire knows how to rekindle a heavy metal flame.

The heavy metal supergroup is reigniting fans with the release of their highly combustible self-titled debut album today on Frontiers Music.

Together, Tim “Ripper” Owens (vocals), Chris Caffery (guitar), Steve DiGiorgio (bass) and Mark Zonder (drums) fuse 11 scorching tracks that blaze an invigorating musical trail heavily influenced by Judas Priest, Savatage, Testament and Fates Warning.

“To get a chance to do this record was really special to me, and to work with somebody like Roy Z., who I have always considered to be one of the good, really modern minds of heavy metal, it was just a win-win thing all the way around to have this going and to get a chance to make these songs,” Caffery said.

With the help of Frontiers Music, Caffery teamed up with longtime pal Owens and new friends DiGiorgio and Zonder to form Spirits of Fire in August 2016 and recorded their debut album with renowned Los Angeles-based producer Roy Z.

“I’d say there was about a year in the writing process before we went into the full recording process of it. Then, just because everybody’s on different schedules, it took about another six months to get everything finished, to get the guitars, bass and vocals and everything done, it was finished completely by the beginning of April 2018,” Caffery said.

Spirits of Fire album artwork

In November, Spirits of Fire released their first single, “Light Speed Marching,” a turbocharged heavy metal anthem featuring electrifying guitar solos, pounding drums and surging bass lines. The band also met in downtown Los Angeles last summer to film the video, which features a fast-paced performance in a hot industrial underground setting.

“I was the one who put my foot down to have ‘Light Speed’ as the one that was going to get the video because it’s got a longer guitar solo,” laughed Caffery, who also performs as a solo artist as well as with Savatage and Trans-Siberian Orchestra. “I thought it mixed together the instrumental music a little bit better, and it went through Ripper’s voice a little bit better.”

In response to the success of “Light Speed Marching” Spirits of Fire also has released two explosive follow-up singles, the victorious, ready-for-battle masterpiece, “Stand and Fight,” and the personal ode to darkness, “It’s Everywhere,” to spark attention from the heavy metal music community. The band also plans to release a video for “It’s Everywhere” soon.

“There’s a lot of different metal and a lot of different tones in the music on this record,” Caffery said. “I really like ‘Temple of the Soul’ because it comes together in way that I really enjoy the band musically, or when you look at something like ‘Light Speed Marching’ and listen to Ripper just using his full range, there’s a lot of different things that I like for a lot of different reasons.”

In addition to their three powerhouse singles, Caffery admits the band’s signature and self-titled track, “Spirits of Fire,” best captures the feeling, inspiration and approach behind their music. It beautifully weaves the album’s 11 tracks together and provides an intimate look into the band’s musical soul.

“I remember when I first wrote the ‘Spirits of Fire’ song, I took something and added a short description of a character into a thing that was talking about something in a positive way,” Caffery said. “The spirit of fire is the most powerful of the good spirits, so when people would be looking to summon spirits to get rid of evil, they would call for the spirits of fire. That was the most badass, powerful good spirit.”

Luckily, the band remains in good spirits with the release of their debut album and hopes to play festivals later this year to support it.

“I’m hoping this develops as a band so people will want to hear us more and turn around and say, ‘Hey, there’s a week of shows that this guy wants you to do in Brazil with Spirits of Fire,’” Caffery said. “That’s the type of thing I’m looking for, the main things I’m gonna find out or what’s going to happen once it gets out there.”

Float On – Honey Monsoon Release Atmospheric New Single ‘Cloud’ from Forthcoming ‘Opal Soul’ Album

Honey Monsoon has released a new single, “Cloud,” from their forthcoming album, “Opal Soul,” due out March 22.

With a vibrant new single and lineup, Honey Monsoon is floating in a new musical stratosphere.

Earlier this week, the metro Detroit jazz-fusion quintet dropped their latest single, “Cloud,” a five-and-a-half-minute peaceful sonic journey filled with funky guitars, bright synths, gentle cymbal crashes and slow grooves.

“It’s a dynamic love song about being in an amazing state, realizing that you’re there, being present and preserving that,” said Ana Gomulka, Honey Monsoon’s vocalist, guitarist and keyboardist. “It’s a complex song where I put myself in a character role and follow a floaty, vibey path that’s immediate and accessible.”

That uplifting musical path soars to the sky-high auditory intersection of jazz, disco, rock, funk, soul and R&B – think Stevie Wonder, Nile Rodgers, George Benson, Sade and Toro y Moi combining their signature styles into an atmospheric sound.

Honey Monsoon will release a new video soon for “Cloud” that features footage from some of their local favorite spots in Detroit, including the Fisher Building and the Renaissance Center. Additional footage was shot at a local church in Ypsilanti.

Cloud single artwork

“Cloud” is the first single from Honey Monsoon’s forthcoming album, “Opal Soul,” a follow-up to their 2017 jazzy, soulful debut, “Rose Gold,” due out March 22. It also features a fresh lineup with new members Sam Naples (guitar, vocals) and Binho “Alex” Manenti (bass, keys) along with Taylor Greenshields (drums), Leo Willer (paintbrushes) and Gomulka.

“We’ve been in the studio collaborating with so many incredible people in the area on horns, keys, strings and vibraphone,” said Gomulka, who started writing songs for “Opal Soul” in September. “We’ve been in the trenches putting together this eclectic production for ‘Opal Soul.’”

Produced, engineered and mixed by Greenshields and Naples at Fundamental Sound Co., “Opal Soul” will feature eight tracks and include former member Andrea Holther-Cruz on two to three songs written with the previous band’s lineup.

“Opal Soul” also will feature a more diverse sound that draws influences from pop, rock, Latin, funk, Afrobeat and world music. For “Rose Gold,” Honey Monsoon intertwined jazzy, soulful sonic textures against a rock-infused backdrop with bright vocals and saxophone solos.

“‘Opal Soul’ is based on a concept of reflection, and I was inspired by that while writing for this album,” Gomulka said. “It highlights the reflection and soulfulness that we put into the creative process.”

Honey Monsoon will celebrate the album’s release with a special show March 22 at The Loving Touch in Ferndale with Kesswa, White Bee and Sara Marie Barron.

“We’re excited to share our new organic sound, feel out the space and celebrate the moment with everyone,” Naples said.

Show Details:

Honey Monsoon “Opal Soul” Release Party with special guests Kesswa, White Bee and Sara Marie Barron

Friday, March 22

The Loving Touch, 22634 Woodward Ave. in Ferndale

Doors: 7 p.m.

Tickets: $10

The Way-Back Machine – Shon Jay Melds Vintage R&B with New School Pop on Debut EP ‘Nothing Is Forever’

Shon Jay drops his debut EP, “Nothing Is Forever,” today on major streaming sites.

Shon Jay knows how to create a groove-fueled musical time machine.

The Southfield indie artist mixes retro R&B with current pop-inspired textures on “Nothing Is Forever,” his eight-track debut EP that drops today. He magically transports listeners to a personal sonic world that fuses late ‘70s, early ‘80s vibes with catchy 21st century melodies.

Jay, aka Shon Johnson, teamed with his father Lamont Johnson, a renown electric bassist from the Detroit-based funk group Brainstorm and a solo artist, to record and produce the beautifully crafted EP.

“There’s a heavy old school element in the entire project, but then I’m bringing my youth and whatever naiveté I want to try to recapture as I hit a career path,” Jay said. “We worked together to go through his catalog of songs that I’ve known since I was four or five years old.”

Jay and Lamont Johnson recorded “Nothing Is Forever” from September to December with Todd Johnson at Throne Muzik in Southfield. Together, they weave a powerful relationship theme throughout the Lamont Johnson-penned project – it exquisitely captures the rollercoaster of emotion with falling in love, becoming a couple, drifting apart, breaking up and moving forward.

The EP’s latest single, “Dreamin’,” includes a laid-back Earth, Wind & Fire feel surrounded by soul grooves, electronic finger snaps and gleaming synths.

“It has such a mellow mood, and it has ups and downs in terms of delivery for the notes and the melody. It’s very intricate and smooth. To do both, I would say that was the most challenging song to record because of how all over the place it is with intonations,” Jay said.

“That song is supposed to make someone think about what they’re really looking for in life and what types of things they want and how easy it is to obtain, but they just really need to go out and get it.”

Continue reading “The Way-Back Machine – Shon Jay Melds Vintage R&B with New School Pop on Debut EP ‘Nothing Is Forever’”

Dynamic Duo — Jan Krist, Jim Bizer Bring Their Midwest Urban Folk for Farmington Civic Theater’s Friday Night Live

Jan Krist and Jim Bizer will perform Friday night at the Farmington Civic Theater.

Jan Krist and Jim Bizer will bring their Midwest urban folk songs to Farmington tomorrow night.

The folk singer-songwriter duo will perform as part of the “Friday Night Live” concert series at the Farmington Civic Theater, 33332 Grand River Ave. in Farmington, at 8 p.m. Friday with special guest Mark Reitenga.

“I think we’ll pull from all of our experiences of working together and songs that we’ve written together, songs that we’ve done solo, songs that are cover tunes, songs that we’ve performed and recorded, and maybe have some new stuff, too,” said Krist, who’s recovering from a broken shoulder. “I have a couple of new songs that I’m hoping we’ll be able to play.”

Together, Krist and Bizer will perform as part of a fun, formidable duo where the sum is greater than the already substantial parts. Their performances mesh and interlock with lyrics and melodies that interweave in surprising and intriguing ways.

Originally hailing from Detroit, the duo has played together for more than 40 years and first crossed musical paths as teens during the burgeoning singer-songwriter movement of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. Krist absorbed Joni Mitchell’s folk, rock, jazz and pop-inspired tunes while Bizer studied James Taylor’s catchy folk rock. They also developed an affinity for the Motown sound coming out of Detroit.

“Both of us had independent careers and achieved a bit of notoriety on our own, and then we decided it would be fun to tour together,” said Bizer, who started out playing cover songs in local bars and restaurants. “We’d perform as a duo and take turns performing each other’s songs. We got more and more developed into that kind of show, and we started writing together, and the songs became more crafted for a duo, which is where it really got fun.”

Continue reading “Dynamic Duo — Jan Krist, Jim Bizer Bring Their Midwest Urban Folk for Farmington Civic Theater’s Friday Night Live”

Motor City Homecoming – Science for Sociopaths Returns for Feb. 13 RAW Detroit Reflect Show at Saint Andrew’s Hall

Science for Sociopaths artwork by Taylor Ruffin

Science for Sociopaths will return to Detroit Feb. 13 for a one-night only show at Saint Andrew’s Hall.

The San Francisco indie pop-rock singer-songwriter, aka Maggie Cocco, will perform during RAW Detroit’s Reflect along with Honeybabe, Farrah Mechael and Dmack313rd for the event, which also will feature fashion, photography, and visual and performance art.

“Saint Andrew’s is a great venue, and I couldn’t pass up this opportunity,” said Cocco, who originally hails from Sterling Heights. “It’s a fun homecoming for me, and what I like about RAW is that it’s not just about music. I’ve always thought of Science for Sociopaths since its conception as a multimedia project. For each project that I’ve done, I’ve worked very closely with an artist.”

Maggie Cocco of Science for Sociopaths

Hosted by RAW Detroit, an international artist collective, Reflect will be the first show Cocco has played in the Motor City since relocating to the Bay area in September. She will reunite with Detroit bandmates Neil Eby (guitar), Alex Marshall (bass) and J Durrell Gibbs (drums) for her set.

“I’m bowled over by their willingness to play with me,” Cocco said. “I’m going to do some of the favorites from ‘Love & Life,’ and then I’m going to do a new song, ‘Where I Belong,’ that I’m going to release right before the show.”

“Where I Belong” will be Cocco’s first new Science for Sociopaths single since releasing her double EP “Love & Life” in June and the first of 10 new tunes she’ll be sharing throughout 2019 to her Patreon supporters. All 10 tracks will be released as part of an official album later this year.

“It’s a love song, just like ‘Love & Life,’ which I felt was very aptly named. My music compulsions are divided between philosophical shit that I’m figuring out in my brain for myself with how life works with boundaries and then my romantic life,” said Cocco, who’s influenced by Carole King, Brandi Carlile and Sheryl Crow. “I’m a very romantic person, it sort of overflows, and it’s always about half and half.”

Cocco recorded the untitled pop-rock project with Benjamin Warsaw, a Nashville-based producer and sound engineer, over four days in Ohio. She also worked with Warsaw on “Love & Life,” her heartfelt nine-song ode to the trials and tribulations of life and love.

Throughout 2018, Cocco released a new Science for Sociopaths song each week through Patreon, an online platform that allows artists to receive funds directly from their fans.

Her songs included covers of Rhiannon Gidden’s “Love (That) We Almost Had” and “City of Stars” and “Audition Song (The Fools Who Dream)” from “La La Land” as well as new tracks “Hey Sunshine” and “Hey Friend.”

“It was a very prolific year for me,” she said. “I think I grew a lot as a musician, but this year I’m trying to dedicate more time and resources to getting the music I already have in front of more people.”

Show Details:

RAW Detroit Reflect presents Science for Sociopaths

Wednesday, Feb. 13

Saint Andrew’s Hall, 431 E. Congress St. in Detroit

Event: 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Tickets: $22.50 for presale general admission

Three Times A Lady – Angela Predhomme, Kathy Wieland and Judy Banker Host “Songwriters in the Round” Show Saturday Night at Crazy Wisdom

Angela Predhomme, Kathy Wieland and Judy Banker will perform a “Songwriters in the Round” show Saturday night at Crazy Wisdom in Ann Arbor.

Three singer-songwriters will share two hours of acoustic tunes, tales and triumphs Saturday night at Ann Arbor’s Crazy Wisdom Bookstore and Tearoom.

Angela Predhomme, Kathy Wieland and Judy Banker will perform as part of the “Songwriters in the Round” series and take listeners on an intimate musical journey filled with creative lyrics, catchy melodies and compelling stories.

“It’s a really cool venue because it’s a listening room, almost like a mini Ark, where people come and pay attention,” Predhomme said. “It’s very appropriate for us to tell stories about the songs, talk between the songs and really interact with the people.”

As part of the show, each singer-songwriter will perform her own material, provide insights into her music and collaborate with one another. Together, they’ll offer an invigorating blend of Americana, country, folk, soft rock and pop to uplift the musical spirit on a warm winter’s night.

“It’s fun to be able to share the stories behind our songs with people who care about them,” said Predhomme, who performs regularly at Crazy Wisdom. “I’ll be doing a lot of newer songs, and we may do a song together at the end.”

Continue reading “Three Times A Lady – Angela Predhomme, Kathy Wieland and Judy Banker Host “Songwriters in the Round” Show Saturday Night at Crazy Wisdom”

‘The New Normal’ – Kane Roberts Steps Out of the Dark with Latest Cinematic Heavy Metal Solo Album

Kane Roberts — Photo by Mike Goedecke

For Kane Roberts, writing and recording “The New Normal,” his first new solo album in seven years, felt like taking a step in the dark.

“It was one of those situations where I’ve been off the grid for quite a while. I hadn’t been in the public jet stream of rock and roll and recording and playing live. I played it for my friend Kip Winger, and he said, ‘I can run this by Frontiers to see if they’re interested,’ and Serafino and Mario agreed to it,” Roberts said.

“It was like walking into a completely dark room because I hadn’t been in the studio and doing this exact type of thing, writing, guitar, making a record and singing so that I had to do stuff that was up to the proper standard.”

Out today on Frontiers Music, “The New Normal” more than surpasses the heavy metal standard with a bold cinematic, atmospheric sound filled with electrifying guitar solos, majestic drum beats and mesmerizing bass lines. In a sense, it’s akin to hearing Roberts’ personal soundtrack as his life plays out before listeners’ eyes.

Roberts, an iconic heavy metal singer and guitarist who’s worked with Alice Cooper, KISS, Guns N’ Roses, Rod Stewart and a host of other renowned artists, spent three years writing and recording 10 tracks for “The New Normal” with producer Alex Track. He opted to record “The New Normal” at Track’s studio and bust out of his comfort zone after releasing “Unsung Radio” in 2012.

“I ended up recording at his place from about 9 a.m. to four or five in the morning, five nights a week. It was a matter of discovery, I wasn’t sure how it would go, I knew that I wouldn’t quit until I got it done properly,” said Roberts, who’s also famous for his ‘80s machine-gun guitar and body-builder image.

“As time went on, the writing was really good, we started recording, and it sounded all great and everything. I would reinspect a vocal, and I would go, ‘I’m singing better now, so I should do some different choices with my guitar playing,’ even though I never stopped, it started to get more focused, and we started developing the cinematic approach to this whole project.”

Roberts built his robust cinematic sound with the help of several powerhouse heavy metal artists and musicians, including Alice Cooper, Kip Winger, Arch Enemy’s Alissa White-Gluz, Paul Taylor, Ken Mary, Nita Strauss, Babymetal’s Aoyama Hidecki, Shinedown’s Brent Smith and Halestorm’s Lzzy Hale.

Continue reading “‘The New Normal’ – Kane Roberts Steps Out of the Dark with Latest Cinematic Heavy Metal Solo Album”