Sunday, February 26, 2017

CD Review: John Mayall's Talk About That (2017)

John Mayall's Talk About That
Had John Mayall retired, say, twenty years ago, his status and legacy as one of the founding fathers of the British blues scene would still be etched in granite. As a bandleader and the guiding creative force behind such treasured recordings as Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton (1966), A Hard Road and Crusade (both 1967), and Blues From Laurel Canyon (1968), Mayall provided the blueprint for, and influenced a generation of British blues-rock bands. Later albums like Bare Wires (1968) and The Turning Point (1969) explored the possibilities of adding jazz and folk-inspired acoustic elements to the blues, expanding the boundaries of the genre and resulting in some great music.

Mayall also has an uncanny knack for bringing livewire guitarists to the roster, beginning with Eric Clapton and Peter Green and running through Mick Taylor, Walter Trout, Harvey Mandel, and Coco Montoya to his most recent fretburner, Rocky Athas. Heck, Mayall could have retired decades ago and his influence and musical innovations would still be recognized today. But Mayall just keeps on truckin’ like the Energizer bunny of the blues world, and his work in just the last ten years alone – albums like 2009’s Tough, 2014’s A Special Life, and 2015’s Find A Way To Care – are acclaimed, career-making efforts that belie the reality that the 83-year-old bluesman is arguably in the waning days of his lengthy career.

John Mayall’s Talk About That

Add Talk About That to the aforementioned list of recent accomplishments by the talented Mr. Mayall, OBE. Working at a breakneck pace (releasing three studio albums in a little over three years, as well as producing two live archival albums), Mayall is still bursting with musical ideas better than a half-century into his storied career. Unlike recent recordings by artists of a close-to-similar vintage (aside from Buddy Guy, Mayall has no contemporaries, really), Talk About That doesn’t offer a glut of cover songs, eight of its eleven tracks written or co-written by the artist and his band.

Witness the title track, a swaggering slab o’ funk-rock with a deep, bluesy groove (courtesy of bassist Greg Rzab and drummer Jay Davenport) that may be semi-autobiographical but it’s also a lot of fun, Mayall’s self-effacing lyrics less a meaningless boast than a positive message powerfully delivered in step with an undeniably foot-shuffling rhythm. “It’s Hard Going Up (But Twice As Hard Coming Down)” is a soul-tinged cover of a great song by obscure 1960s-era Detroit bluesman Little Sonny, the song driven by Mayall’s subtle piano playing and a full horn section that adds a not-inconsiderable amount of brassy shine to the performance.

The Devil Must Be Laughing

Mayall has always worked well with guitarists and – as mentioned above – he’s employed more than his share of talented string-benders through the years. As good as former Black Oak Arkansas guitarist Rocky Athas has been over the past few Mayall albums (Talk About That is his swansong with the band, Athas moving on to continue his solo career), the bandleader’s use of Joe Walsh (The James Gang, The Eagles) on the album’s signature song, “The Devil Must Be Laughing,” is sheer genius. The masterful interplay between Athas’s rhythm guitar and Walsh’s scorching solos is enough to mark the song as a masterwork, but Mayall’s haunting lyrics and appropriately haunted vocals (not to mention keyboards that smother the song like a burial shroud) provide an electrifying dynamic to the performance in the creation of a potent blues-rock dirge. No other performance on Talk About That is as devastating as “The Devil Must Be Laughing,” but that’s not to say that nothing else on the album rises to a high level of musical execution.

A cover of the Jimmy Rogers’ blues gem “Goin’ Away Baby” captures the song’s Chicago blues roots perfectly, Athas’s fluid guitar licks and Rzab’s nimble bass lines providing a strong undercurrent to Mayall’s soulful vocals and lively harp playing. Walsh returns for the more traditional “Cards On The Table,” a walking bass line and steady timekeeping laying the groundwork for some innovative guitarplay while the atmospheric “Blue Midnight” is a bluesy, jazz-flecked late-night tale of love lost that features Mayall’s stellar keyboards and a fine vocal performance as well as a simply stunning Rocky Athas guitar solo. The album-closing “You Never Know” takes the listener further into the early A.M. with a smoky, jazzy performance that’s heavy on piano and ennui with insightful lyrics, a throbbing bass line, and light-handed percussion.

The Reverend’s Bottom Line

Here’s an interesting question – why hasn’t John Mayall been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame? Surely his contributions to blues and blues-rock, his history in discovering talented guitarists and launching them into successful solo careers, and the dozens of creative and innovative albums he’s recorded over the past 55 years must count for something?

It’s a rhetorical question, really, because to his legion of worldwide fans, Mayall has long been a “hall of fame” talent. That he continues to make inspiring, influential music six decades into his career it is a testament to the man’s love of the blues and his joy in music-making. Talk About That continues Mayall’s creative romp in the new millennium, the album adorned with endless charm and creative spirit proving that John Mayall will not go quietly into that good night... Grade: A- (Forty Below Records, released January 27, 2017)

Previously on That Devil Music:
John Mayall's Bluesbreakers' Live In 1967 CD review
John Mayall's Bluesbreakers' Live In 1967, Volume 2 CD review

Buy the CD from John Mayall's Talk About That

Saturday, February 25, 2017

New Music Monthly: March 2017 Releases

March, they say, comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb but any month that begins with Dan Baird & Homemade Sin and goes out with Mastodon is roaring loudly for 30 days. Throw in reissues and anthologies of the Creation, Artful Dodger, and Southside Johnny and new releases by Colin Hay, R. Stevie Moore & Jason Falkner, Wire, and Rev. Peyton's Big Damn Band and there's a lot of great music to spend your coin on this month!

Artful Dodger's The Complete Columbia Recordings

Artful Dodger - The Complete Columbia Recordings   BUY!
Dan Baird & Homemade Sin - Rollercoaster   BUY!
Guy Clark - Best of the Dualtone Years   BUY!
Colin Hay - Fierce Mercy   BUY!
The Rascals - The Complete Singles A's & B's   BUY!
Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes - The Fever   BUY!
Temples - Volcano   BUY!

Temples' Volcano

Cindy Lee Berryhill - The Adventurist   BUY!
Greg Graffin - Millport   BUY!
R. Stevie Moore & Jason Falkner - Make It Be   BUY!
Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band - The Front Porch Sessions   BUY!
The Shins - Heartworms   BUY!

Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band's The Front Porch Sessions

Blackfield - Blackfield V   BUY!
The Creation - Action Painting   BUY!
Delta Moon - Cabbagetown   BUY!
Depeche Mode - Spirit   BUY!
Spoon - Hot Thoughts   BUY!

The Creation's Action Painting

Craig Finn - We All Want The Same Things   BUY!
Ruthie Foster - Joy Comes Back   BUY!
Girlschool - Hit & Run   BUY!
Jesus & Mary Chain - Damage and Joy   BUY!
Jethro Tull - The String Quartets   BUY!
Coco Montoya - Hard Truth   BUY!

Coco Montoya's Hard Truth

Mastodon - Emperor of Sand   BUY!
Wire - Silver/Lead   BUY!

(Album release dates are subject to change without notice and they don't always let me know, so there...)

Dan Baird & Homemade Sin's Rollercoaster

Album of the Month: Dan Baird & Homemade Sin's Rollercoaster, the latest blast of poop-puntin' Southern rock from former Georgia Satellites' frontman Dan Baird and his motley collection of rock 'n' roll lifers (including talented Jason & the Scorchers' guitarist Warner Hodges). A Homemade Sin album is always a treat, the grooves laden with red-hot git licks, foot-shufflin' rhythms, and strong songwriting from the underrated Baird. Rollercoaster marks the second album from the Baird camp this year; the singer/songwriter's SoLow solo disc was released in February and is equally worth of your time and money.  

Friday, February 24, 2017

Swans’ 1995 album The Great Annihilator to be reissued

Swans' The Great Annihilator
Michael Gira’s Swans are one of the most innovative, influential, and enduring bands in the American rock underground. Formed in 1982 by Gira, the music of Swans defies easy categorization or pigeonholing – is it art-rock? Avant-garde? Experimental noise rock or post-punk? It’s all of these things and much more but, most importantly, it’s the sonic weapon with which Gira explores his immense creativity. Swans’ music may not always be pretty, and it always defies expectations, but it’s never less than a challenging, thought-provoking experience.

On April 28th, 2017 Swans’ ninth studio album, The Great Annihilator, will be reissued stateside by Young God Records and worldwide by Mute Records. The 1995 album will be released as both a two-disc CD and double vinyl set, and will also include Gira’s debut solo album, Drainland, which was recorded at the same time (the vinyl version of The Great Annihilator includes a download code for Drainland). The Great Annihilator was re-mastered by Doug Henderson after Swans’ member Bill Rieflin tracked down DATs and cassettes containing un-mastered mixes from the original recording sessions.

The band line-up for The Great Annihilator features Gira on guitar and vocals; the ethereal vocals of Jarboe, who also plays keyboards; bassist Algis Kizys, drummer Ted Parsons, and guitarists Bill Rieflin, Clinton Steele, and Norman Westberg. “I have long been uneasy with the sound of the mastered version of The Great Annihilator (and its companion, contemporaneous solo album, Drainland),” says Gira on the Young Gods website. “For whatever reason, things drifted out of hand at the time, and there was never enough time or money to untangle the sonic knots created by the original unsatisfactory mastering that took place until now.”

Continuing, Gira says “it was with the utmost alacrity that I received the news recently from my friend Bill Rieflin that he had discovered the original (after much digging), unmastered mixes for both albums in his archives. We were able to proceed now with lovingly mastering both The Great Annihilator and Drainland from these virgin sources, with our right hand mastering man Doug Henderson in Berlin, Germany. I have to say I'm rather pleased with the result. It’s one of those instances where it's like hearing the thing for the first time again. I hope you enjoy the experience.”

The Great Annihilator is the latest in a series of re-mastered reissues of Swans’ music, the 1995 album following the first vinyl reissue of Swans’ debut, Filth, along with a deluxe three-disc version of Filth that includes the original album, Swans’ debut EP, vintage live recordings, and more. You can order The Great Annihilator and other Swans’ music from the Young Gods Records website, where you can also check out some rave period reviews of Swans albums.

DVD Preview: Black Metal Documentary Blackhearts

Blackhearts DVD
Blackhearts is a fascinating documentary film on a seldom-covered sub-genre of heavy metal – black metal. The shaggy, unloved dog of the rock ‘n’ roll world, heavy metal gets little love from critics, but over the decades the genre has built up a dedicated following of loyal fans. Birthed in Europe during the early ‘80s by bands like England’s Venom, Sweden’s Bathory, and Denmark’s Mercyful Fate, the aggressive sound of black metal found sympathetic ears with Norwegian fans, and the northern tundra soon became home to its very own brand of influential dark-hued heavy metal.

Differing from most music documentaries, Blackhearts tells the tale of three hardcore black metal fans from three very different parts of the world – Sina, Hector, and Kaiadas. The three young men journey to Norway, the home of their fascination; the film captures the three fans’ personal stories as they risk death or imprisonment to follow their dream. Sina is the only active black metal artist in the Moslem country of Iran, which carries severe risks, while Hector…a practicing Satanist…puts together a satanic ritual to help his cause. Kaiadas represents the far-right Golden Dawn political party in the Greek Parliament and fronts black metal band Naer Mataron; he is also facing a lengthy prison term after being arrested for association with a criminal organization.

Blackhearts still features a lot of black metal, including music by bands like Burzum, Gorgoroth, Naer Mataron, Luciferian, and others. The film’s unique perspective on the music has earned it widespread critical acclaim, including the “Best International Documentary” award at the 2016 Sound On Screen Film Festival. Blackhearts will be released on DVD, digitally, and on VOD on April 11th, 2017 by our friends at MVD Entertainment. Aside from the film itself, the DVD also includes bonus material like White Metal Ministry, a short documentary on Christian black metal, and interviews with Nocturno Culto of Darkthrone and Obsidian C of Keep of Kalessin.

Buy the DVD from Blackhearts

Thursday, February 16, 2017

CD Preview: John Lee Hooker’s Whiskey and Wimmen

John Lee Hooker's Whiskey & Wimmen
Blues legend John Lee Hooker was prolific to a fault, recording hundreds of albums during the 1940s and ‘50s under cover of various pseudonyms like John Lee Booker, Johnny Lee, Texas Slim, and others – all the better to take the money and run. Hooker also had years of stability during his career, however, recording a number of acclaimed singles and albums for the Chicago-based Vee-Jay Records label circa 1955-1964, interspersed with LPs created for labels like Specialty and Riverside Records during the late 1950s and into the ‘60s, finishing the decade with a 1969 release by Stax Records of material he put to tape back in 1961.

On March 31st, 2017 Vee-Jay Records, an imprint of Concord Bicycle Music, will release Whiskey & Wimmen: John Lee Hooker’s Finest, a sixteen-track compilation that spans several record labels and includes many of the blues giant’s most iconic songs. Widely known as the “King of Boogie” for the undeniable rhythm of his performances, Hooker’s career took off with the 1948 single “Boogie Chillun,” which sold better than a million copies and led to subsequent R&B chart hits like “Boom Boom” (#14), “I Love You Honey” (#29), and “I’m In The Mood” (#1), all of which influenced generations of blues and rock artists, from Canned Heat and the Rolling Stones to George Thorogood, Carlos Santana, and Tommy Castro. Before his death in 2001, Hooker had been inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame (1980) and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (1991) and received a Grammy™ Lifetime Achievement Award.

John Lee Hooker
Photo courtesy Concord Music
Whiskey & Wimmen: John Lee Hooker’s Finest includes the above-mentioned singles as well as great tunes like “Crawlin’ Kingsnake,” “Dimples,” and “It Serves Me Right To Suffer;” we’ve included the entire track list below. To be honest, much of this material is available on other compilations – there are literally dozens of ‘em, many long out of print – but collected here on one disc, it makes a perfect introduction to the charms of the ‘Hook.’

Once you’ve had a taste of Hooker’s classic early work, you can make your way to such 1970s-era delicacies as Hooker ‘n Heat (recorded in 1971 with acolytes Canned Heat) or 1972’s Never Get Out of These Blues Alive (recorded with Elvin Bishop, Steve Miller, Charlie Musselwhite, and others) before moving onto late-career triumphs like 1989’s Grammy™-winning The Healer (which includes collaborations with folks like Bonnie Raitt and Carlos Santana) and 1991’s Mr. Lucky (produced by Ry Cooder and including artists like Van Morrison, Johnny Winter, and Booker T. Jones). But Hooker’s legacy began with the material featured on Whiskey & Wimmen.

Buy the CD from John Lee Hooker's Whiskey & Wimmen  

Whiskey and Wimmen track list:
1. Boom Boom
2. Boogie Chillun
3. Dimples
4. I'm in the Mood
5. I Love You Honey
6. Whiskey and Wimmen
7. I Need Some Money
8. Grinder Man
9. I'm Going Upstairs
10. Big Legs, Tight Skirt
11. No More Doggin'
12. No Shoes
13. Crawlin’ Kingsnake
14. Frisco Blues
15. It Serve Me Right to Suffer
16. Time Is Marching

Video of the Week: Blackfield’s “From 44 to 48”

Blackfield's Blackfield V
Art-rockers Blackfield – a collaboration between prolific British prog-rock legend Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree) and Israeli songwriter/musician Aviv Geffen – have released a “lyric” video for their latest song, “From 44 to 48,” from their upcoming album Blackfield V, which will be released on March 17th, 2017 by Kscope Records.

In a press release for the new album, Wilson comments “even though I don’t really write songs with specific projects in mind, as soon as I wrote this one I knew it was for Blackfield.” Continuing, Wilson says, “‘From 44 to 48’ is a song about growing older and letting go of dreams.” The song’s insightful, timeless lyrics and ethereal soundtrack is made all the more otherworldly by Geffen’s winsome string arrangement as performed by the London Session Orchestra. It’s a subtle, but powerful performance captured perfectly by the video.

Blackfield V was written and recorded over eighteen months in both Israel and England, the album featuring thirteen conceptually-linked songs that form a single 45-minute ocean-themed song cycle. Wilson and Geffen provide the album’s vocals, guitars, and keyboards, the duo backed in the studio by drummer Tomer Z and keyboardist Eran Mitelman. Legendary musician, producer, and engineer Alan Parsons worked on three of the album’s tracks. Blackfield V will be released in a number of formats, including a two-disc CD/Blu-Ray deluxe set that offers the album in both high-rez stereo and 5.1 surround sound mix and includes a 36-page color booklet.

Blackfield V will also be available as a single CD and as a two-disc 180g heavyweight vinyl set cut at 45rpm for better sound and packaged in gatefold sleeve with a four page booklet and free mp3 download. A limited edition single 140g vinyl picture disc featuring Lasse Hoile artwork (and including a mp3 download) will also be released on March 17th; a digital download of the album is already available.

Buy the CD from Blackfield’s Blackfield V

Saturday, February 4, 2017

CD Review: Elvin Bishop - Elvin Bishop's Big Fun Trio (2017)

Elvin Bishop's Big Fun Trio
Venerable roots ‘n’ blues legend Elvin Bishop has long since passed the point where he could comfortably rest on his laurels and play out the string, wherever it leads. As shown by Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio, the follow-up to the singer, songwriter, and guitarist’s Grammy™-nominated 2014 album Can’t Even Do Wrong Right, there’s still a lot of joy in the music for Bishop, and he continues to look at fashionable new ways to dress up his tried-and-true signature sound.

Fear not, true believers, Mr. Bishop isn’t trying to reinvent the blues in, say, the same manner that Run the Jewels has challenged hip-hop traditions. Nor is he trying to appeal to younger listeners by radically changing his sound, attitude, or appearance…he’s still the same fun lovin’, happy-go-lucky Elvin that hundreds of thousands of fans around the world have come to love and respect as a sincere, talented Americana traditionalist.    

Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio

No, what Bishop has done with Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio is to alter the angle at which he approaches these songs. As he says in the album’s liner notes, he and a couple of buddies began jamming in the studio and it sounded so good and they were having such a good time that the ‘Big Fun Trio’ was formed with guitarist Bishop, singer and percussionist Willy Jordan, and pianist and guitarist Bob Welsh. The proof is in the grooves, as they say, and the album-opening “Keep On Rollin’” is a great example. A rollicking, humorous, mostly-spoken piece with Elvin and Willy trading verbal jabs, Welsh’s New Orleans-flavored piano runs are paired with a funky, foot-shuffling rhythm and Bishop’s jagged fretwork.

The fun continues with the scorching “Honey Babe,” a rockabilly-tinged romp that offers up some of Bishop’s finest guitar pickin’ and great tone. A solid reinvention of a song that originally appeared on Bishop’s 1974 album Let It Flow, it’s a fine showcase for the guitarist’s often-underrated talents. Jordan takes the microphone for the Chicago blues-styled rave-up “It’s You Baby,” his soulful vocals riding high atop Welsh’s juke-joint piano-pounding and guest Kim Wilson’s raging harp play. Bishop fills in with some red-hot licks, Jordan’s vox reaching Little Richard level intensity in a great performance that is certain to stomp listeners into submission in a club setting.

Bishop brings in another friend, harp wizard and Chicago blues legend Rick Estrin to blow some notes on the rockin’ “Delta Lowdown,” a spry instrumental that showcases Estrin’s immense skills and Welsh’s keyboard mastery. A cover of the Bobby Womack gem “It’s All Over Now” offers up Jordan’s lively vocals and a raucous, rhythmic arrangement that showcases Bishop’s stinging six-string  solos while Bishop’s rootsy sense of humor shines on the hilarious story-song “That’s What I’m Talkin’ About” as he and Jordan swap culinary-obsessed verses over a Southern-fried soundtrack. Friend and compatriot Charlie Musselwhite joins in on the biographical “100 Years of Blues,” a rowdy, low-slung history of the music that name-checks legends like Sonny Boy Williamson and Muddy Waters while Charlie blasts some mean harp and Bishop lays out some choice git licks above the shufflin’ rhythm.

The Reverend’s Bottom Line

Working in a stripped-down trio format, the song shorn of everything but the essence of the performance, what’s left is pure salt-of-the-earth roots ‘n’ blues. Bishop always sounds like he’s having fun in the studio, but with Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio, the three musicians play with reckless abandon, reveling in the sheer joy of making music. Bishop could have begun phoning it in years ago and fans would still enjoy his immense talents and charisma; that he is still looking for new ways to excite himself and his bandmates musically is both the key to Bishop’s longevity and a testament to the heart and soul that he brings to every performance. Grade: B+ (Alligator Records, released February 10, 2017)

Buy the CD from Elvin Bishop's Big Fun Trio

Friday, February 3, 2017

Sidemen: The Long Road To Glory Kickstarter Project

Sidemen: The Long Road To Glory

The Reverend doesn’t ask readers to donate to crowdfunding projects all that often, but I’m going to break with tradition and recommend…nay, demand that y’all offer up some coin for Sidemen: The Long Road To Glory. An award-winning documentary film about the lives, music, and legacies of blues guitarist Hubert Sumlin, pianist Pinetop Perkins, and drummer Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Sidemen: The Long Road To Glory premiered at the 2016 SxSW Film Festival and had an extremely successful festival run.

Now the producers are looking to take the film worldwide and although they have cleared the music and video footage rights for festival showings, they need to raise some cash to clear the rights for wider release of the film, and that’s where y’all come in. Directed by filmmaker Scott Rosenbaum and narrated by Marc Maron, Sidemen: The Long Road To Glory presents these three bluesmen as the important musicians they were, the three lending their talents to legends like Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf. The film includes testimonials from such musical heavyweights as Keith Richards, Bonnie Raitt, Gregg Allman, Derek Trucks, Warren Haynes, and many others. Filmed during the final years of the artists’ lives, Sidemen captures the late career triumph of Perkins and Smith upon winning a Grammy™ Award for their 2010 album Joined At The Hip.

The Kickstarter campaign for Sidemen is trying to raise $225,000 for wider distribution of the film. They have plenty of cool rewards for donors, such as digital downloads of the film, a copy of the cool movie poster seen to the right, a DVD of the film, buttons, t-shirts, and other memorabilia as well as a one-year subscription to Blues Music magazine. Check out the Sidemen Kickstarter page to find out more about this worthy project.

Odd Fellows: R. Stevie Moore & Jason Falkner's Make It Be

R. Stevie Moore & Jason Falkner's Make It Be
Here’s a match made in rock ‘n’ roll heaven: on March 10, 2017 Bar None Records will release Make It Be, a brilliant collaboration between underground rock legend R. Stevie Moore and power-pop icon Jason Falkner. The album was recorded by Falkner at his Rhetoric Studio in Hollywood, California and features a number of Moore originals as well as one co-write by Moore with longtime Nashville cohort Roger Ferguson and a song by Falkner.

R. Stevie Moore is a pioneer in lo-fi rock as well as the Godfather of Nashville rock ‘n’ roll. His classic 1976 album Phonography kick-started a nascent Music City scene that, until that time, had mostly consisted of Moore and his circle of friends playing original music, and a handful of horrible cover bands playing Top 40 tunes in local dive bars. Moore moved to New Jersey shortly after the release of Phonography and forged a reputation as an extremely prolific singer/songwriter, cranking out over 400 albums over the course of his lengthy career. Moore was also one of the original D.I.Y. artists, selling cassettes and CD-Rs via mail order, and making low-budget music videos that would become YouTube favorites. Moore moved back to Nashville a couple years ago and continues to make intriguing, creative music.

Jason Falkner came to prominence as a member of the L.A. “Paisley Underground” band the Three O’Clock, performing on their 1988 major label debut album Vermillion before the band broke up. He later joined neo-psychedelic rockers Jellyfish, working with the band on their classic 1990 album Bellybutton, his restless muse leading him to launch his solo career with the 1996 album Presents Author Unknown. In between Jellyfish and his solo debut, Falkner recorded the 1994 cult fave LP Ro Sham Bo with the Grays. Over the past 20 years, Falkner has earned a well-deserved reputation as a melodic songwriter and dynamic performer with four solo albums to his credit, the most recent being 2009’s All Quiet on the Noise Floor. Falkner has also lent his talents to recordings by artists like Beck, Brendan Benson, and Paul McCartney.

It’s an odd pairing – the power-popper and the lo-fi rocker – but it’s a collaboration that works. Moore is an exceptional songwriter and underrated guitarist, and his winsome vocals mesh perfectly with Falkner’s melodic tones. The two men put together exciting arrangements for the material that explore the boundaries of pop, rock, and avant-garde instrumental experimentation. Throw in a few spoken word passages and some spacey instrumentals alongside the pop/rock performances and the listener will find Make It Be to be an engaging, challenging, and entertaining collection of 21st century rock ‘n’ roll.

In a press release for the new album, Moore explains how the collaboration came together. “We unknowingly shared a mutual admiration bigtime and finally got in direct contact mid-2000s,” says Moore. “I think my friend Tim Burgess was the first one to turn him onto my stuff. Recording with him was a dream, totally incredible. We showed a similar sense of both crazed adventure and textbook pop discipline. The sessions moved fast, just gleefully piling on overdubs. I am grateful he allowed me to just dive into any left-field idea I felt. JF’s a marvelous producer and killer drummer, but I don't think he usually gets quite as much creative leeway to tinker with things as he did with me.”

If you’re unfamiliar with the brilliant – albeit unusual – talent that is R. Stevie Moore and have an hour to be entertained, check out the documentary film on the artist embedded below. Then get on over to and buy R. Stevie Moore and Jason Falkner’s Make It Be CD (also available on shiny black wax for you vinyl aficionados!)