LP Review: Guy North-Retreat

Words by Anselm Anderson

English singer/songwriter/guitarist Guy North is due to release his much-anticipated debut release Retreat today (August 30th).

The musician North, who originates from Wakefield in Northern England, incorporates a mix of blues and country music in his sound. He draws inspiration from a wide range of artists, including blues legend John Lee Hooker and folk singer Cat Stevens. 

Retreat, an album featuring several tracks from North's "One Song a Week" video blog, showcases his talent for acoustic instrumentation and poetic lyricism. North is also a member of The Thomas Wilby Band. 

Throughout the album's 10 tracks, North weaves together beautiful and uplifting melodies. The alt-country ballad "A Night Out" sets the tone with its simple strumming and powerful vocals. This leads to the feel-good anthem "I Have a Friend," which features a catchy chorus and pop influences. This track is sure to resonate with listeners and evoke strong emotions.

Despite this, North is still exploring his soft and warm vocal melodies in his soulful track "Smallest Things" and his folk-inspired track "Lady Luck", which is reminiscent of artists like Mumford & Sons and Paul Simon. His simple songwriting structure effectively touches the sensitive side of his audience.

The album continues to take the listener on a journey of self-discovery and awe on tracks like "Dust on the Breeze" " "Everything Comes Easy" and "Whispering Trees". And finally, "Fire That Burns" completes recordings. The track's uplifting burst of blues and country features fellow artists Stuart Brennan and Gavin Thomas.

Overall, Guy North treats new listeners to 45 minutes of raw, emotional folk, blues and country which will please fans of Tom Petty and Bob Dylan.

Rating: 4/5

Follow this link here to keep updated with all the latest news, interviews, and reviews from Rambling Man.

You can listen to "Retreat" in the link below via the Spotify player


LP Review: Tarja- Rocking Heels: Live at Metal Church

Words by Anselm Anderson

Tarja Turunen, also known as Tarja, gained popularity in the metal scene as the lead vocalist of Nightwish, a symphonic metal band, at the turn of the century. She captivated millions with her tenor vocals that included falsetto and octave-busting notes.

Tarja pays tribute to her contemporaries and idols with a live album recorded at the Metal Church in Wacken, Germany. 300 fans watched her perform covers from bands like Linkin Park, Slipknot, Metallica, and Megadeth in a special one-time event that opened the Wacken Air Festival in 2016.

EarMusic released Rocking Heels: Live at Metal Church last week. Tarja delivers powerful vocals and captivating melodies, accompanied by a string orchestra that breathes new life into these classics. 

The LP opens with an emotional rendition of the Joe Satriani track "Always with You, Always with Me". Tarja's mesmerizing warm vocals are beautifully layered with the enchanting, melancholic violin and piano. The song "Numb" by Linkin Park is reworked with Tarja delivering a sincere and melodic portrayal of depression. 

The singer, backed by a haunting string quartet, shines on In Flame's "Alias". She further excels with an uncanny version of "Vermillion PT 2" by Slipknot. Tarja adds compassion and solace to an already harrowing track by the masked ones. The LP shifts to darker tracks with eerie violin and piano, exemplified by Megadeth's "Trust". Tarja carefully selects each cover song to fit her musical style, including "Afterlife" by Avenged Sevenfold and "The Unforgiven" by Metallica. Usually, cover albums tend to be tricky subjects for an artist, but Tarja gets it right on 'Rocking Heels' in front of a placid audience.
 Finally, Tarja concludes her recording with two original tracks, "Ave Maria" and "I Walk Alone," showcasing her vocal talent. She finishes with a few personal compositions, which the audience respectfully enjoys. 

Overall, 'Rocking Heels' is a cover album that truly rocks with the artist's creative input.

Rating: 4.5/5

Follow this link here to keep updated with all the latest news, interviews, and reviews from Rambling Man.

Social Media Accounts

Alias (Official Music Video)

Afterlife (Official Music Video)


LP Review: Girlschool- WTFortyFive?

It is hard to believe NWOBHM Legends Girlschool is still going strong after forty-five years.
An interesting point about that statement is that they recently released 'WTForty Five?', their fourteenth studio album, this past Friday via Silver Lining Music.

The band is celebrating their forty-fifth anniversary with twelve tracks of energetic rock n' roll and punk attitude that fans have come to expect from them. The quartet was formed in 1978 and Lead singer Kim McAullife and drummer Denise Dufort are the only remaining original members. This upcoming release will be their first in ten years. I was excited about this release because I always have been a fan of NWOBHM, so this was an opportunity to listen to some fresh, new material from the all-female punk band.

The sleazy track "It Is What It Is" provides a graphic depiction of the band's history. The addictive charge of fuzz-fueled guitar and the infectious screech of Mcauliffe create a sound that is reminiscent of early Girlschool and longtime friends Motorhead. Following that is the gothic-inspired "Cold Black Heart," which begins with heavy, distorted riffs and introspective, hollow vocals. The momentum continues with the youthful, punk stomper 'Bump in the Night'. I believe this is where the album loses some of the previously mentioned momentum. The sense of originality, energy and infectious tracks are replaced by the commercial 'Barmy Army' and 'Invisible Killer', which sounds like early Girlschool attempting to rediscover their youth.

Nevertheless, Girlschool has been around for a while to understand its fanbase. In a rapidly changing world where music fans' tastes differ in a world of streaming platforms and YouTube, the band attempts to perk things up with more vibrant songs like 'Into the Night' and 'Believing in You', reminiscent of younger acts like Thundermother. Alcatrazz guitarist Joe Stump adds weight and spark to 'Are You Ready? a throwback to when the girls rocked. In addition, the no-holds-barred punk rock of 'Up to No Good and the anthemic 'Party' seems to take the band to where it all began. 

And, finally, the women do a rousing rendition of the Motorhead track 'Born to Raise Hell' with Saxon frontman Biff Byford and Guns 'N' Rose bassist Duff McKagan and Motorhead guitarist Phil Campbell.

Overall, Girlschool continues to rock out with no signs of slowing down. This may not be their best release during their tenure but still aim please avid fans eager to hear them one more time.

Rating: 3/5

Follow this link here to keep updated with all the latest news, interviews, and reviews from Rambling Man.

Girlschool are:

Kim McAuliffe - guitar/vocals
Denise Dufort - drums
Jackie Chambers - guitar/backing vocals
Tracey Lamb - bass

Follow Girlschool:

 Click below to watch the videos for the album via the Girlschool YouTube Channel below

'It is What It Is'

'Cold Dark Heart'

'Are You Ready? FT Joe Stump