Live From Music City Interview with Bryan Bellar of The Aristocrats

The Aristocrats
The Aristocrats

The Aristocrats

 

David Lowry interviews Bryan Bellar, bass player for The Aristocrats and former Nashville resident. The Aristocrats are currently touring across the US in support of their new CD Tres Callaberos. Bryan discusses the new CD, the current tour and show in Nashville and how to grow as a musician.

Interview Link: Live From Music City Aristocrats Interview 8/15/15

The Aristocrats have a show in Nashville on Aug 15th at The High Watt. Doors Open at 8:00pm.

Get tickets here: http://thehighwatt.com/calendar/venue/highwatt/2015/08/15/the-aristocrats-with-travis-larson-band-and-artilect/

www.the-aristocrats-band.com

https://twitter.com/acratsband

https://www.facebook.com/aristocratsband

 

Live From Music City Interview with Joel Hoekstra of Whitesnake

Joel Hoekstra

David Lowry got the chance to talk with the always busy Joel Hoekstra of Whitesnake in the middle of The Purple Tour to talk about the new guitar spot in Whitesnake, The Purple Album, VHF, Joel Hoekstra’s 13 project, his appearances on That Metal Show and how to make it in the music business. A big thank you to Joel Hoekstra for doing this interview on such short notice!

Joel Hoekstra

Joel Hoekstra

 

Interview Link:  Live From Music City Interview with Joel Hoekstra June 2015

 

www.joelhoekstra.com

www.whitesnake.com

Sponsored by the following:

The Lowry Agency

Pirate Studio

Heroes of the Colosseum is Now Available

Heroes of the Colosseum

 

 

Heroes of the Colosseum Now Available

Two Hour Wargames announces that Heroes of the Colosseum is now in stock and available to the public.

June 8th , 2015 – Lake Havasu, AZ. — ] Two Hour Wargames (http://twohourwargames.com/) in association with  Lock ’n Load Publishing (lnlpublishing.com) are excited to announce the release of “Heroes of the Colosseum.” Designed by Ed Teixeira, “Heroes of the Colosseum” brings the power of two games in one box as players battle it out as both gladiators in the historic Roman Colosseum era and also compete in all out chariot races providing furious action no matter which game players choose.

In the first game of Gladiatorial Combat, player may:

  • Rules to personalize your gladiators, making each truly unique.
  • A way to generate Non-Player Gladiators, opponents totally controlled by the game mechanics.
  • Two full color arenas, beautiful counters, and Roster Sheets to represent the gladiators and their equipment.
  • Quick to learn, but hard to master, combat rules that accurately reflect the gladiatorial way of combat.
  • An easy to use Campaign System, to track the success of your gladiators, as they rise in abilities.
  • Three different locales to fight in, from the Fringes of the Empire to Rome herself, where only the greatest gladiators can gain their freedom.

The second game of Chariot Racing allows player to:

  • Rules to personalize your charioteer, making each truly unique.
  • A full color Racing Oval, beautiful counters, and Roster Sheets to track your chariots.
  • A unique mechanic where, unlike other chariot games where you fall behind and out of the race, each player is always in the race, making critical decisions each and every turn.
  • An easy to use Campaign System, to track the success of your charioteers, as they rise in abilities.
  • A way to generate Non-Player Charioteers, totally controlled by the game mechanics.

Components:

  • 2 Game Manuals
  • 12 Player Cards
  • 2 – 11”x 17” Maps
  • 1 – 8.5”x11” Map
  • 2 Player Aid Cards
  • 112 – counters

One of the exciting things about “Heroes of the Colosseum” is the fact that it can be played as a stand-alone game, a solo game against the mechanics themselves or even as a long running campaign allowing for players to keep stats for a “circuit” type of game play and constantly improve on their characters so they grow as the campaign goes on.

Get more information or purchase Heroes of the Colosseum from its official product page (http://lnlpublishing.com/Heroes-of-the-Colosseum).

Check out the promotional video on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhHvEgCzCa8 and be sure to subscribe to the Two Hour Wargame channels to see more promo videos.  Box art and other art assets are available by contacting david@thelowryagency.com.

ABOUT TWO HOUR WARGAMES

THW Game Design, parent company of Two Hour Wargames, has published over 70 games. We have been in business since 1998 and have won an Origins Award for Best Miniatures Game of the Year 2006 – All Things Zombie as well as other awards.

ABOUT LOCK ’N LOAD PUBLISHING, LLC.

Lock ’n Load Publishing, LLC. are a leading developer-publisher in both the table-top and video games.  Since 2006 Lock ’n Load Publishing has developed and published 75+ of historical, strategy and fantasy games with many award-winning titles in their portfolio spanning both digital and table-top platforms.  Lock ’n Load Publishing’s mission is to provide new game designs and redefine how people play games.

Media Inquires for Two Hour Wargames:

Contact: David Lowry

david@thelowryagency.com

Official Press Release here:  http://www.prlog.org/12464163-heroes-of-the-colosseum-now-available.html

 

Falling Stars – War of Empires

Falling Stars - War of Empires

Falling Stars – War of Empires

4X strategy game available on Kickstarter and Steam’s Greenlight with a gameplay video, screen shots and plenty more on the way!

Feb. 26, 2015PUEBLO, Colo.Lock ’n Load Publishing (lnlpublishing.com(http://lnlpublishing.com/)) and Riveted Games, LLC. are thrilled to kick off Falling Stars – War of Empires Kickstarter (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/david-heath/falling-stars-war-of-empires) and Steam Greenlight(http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=387410923) campaigns. Falling Stars – War of Empires is a 4x turn-based strategy game where players vie for control of the galaxy through politics, space warfare, exploration and more.  The game will be available on Windows, Mac and Linux.  “We are very excited to be working with Riveted Games and to be bringing this game to the public“ said David Heath, President of Lock ’n Load Publishing.  Philip Devine, President of Riveted Games, commented “Lock ’n Load has been great at supporting our project. ”

Get more information on Falling Stars – War of Empires from its official product page (http://lnlpublishing.com/falling-stars-war-of-empires) and be sure to visit our developers forum area (http://forums.lnlpublishing.com/forums/falling-stars-war-…).

Check out the gameplay video on YouTube (http://youtu.be/5-3yodxE8Lw) and be sure to subscribe to the Lock ’n Load Publishing channels to see more great promo videos.  Box art and other art assets are available from our  Press Media Area or by contacting press@lnlpublishing.com(mailto:press@lnlpublishing.com).

ABOUT LOCK ’N LOAD PUBLISHING, LLC.

Lock ’n Load Publishing, LLC. are a leading developer-publisher in both the table top and video games.  Since 2006 Lock ’n Load Publishing has developed and published 75+ of historical, strategy and fantasy games with many award-winning titles in their portfolio spanning both digital and table top platforms.  Lock ’n Load Publishing’s mission is to provide new game designs and redefine how people play games.

Media Inquires for LnL Publishing:

Contact: David Lowry

press@lnlpublishing.com

Official Press Release here: http://www.prlog.org/12429740-falling-stars-war-of-empires.html

The New Video For Mage Wars by Arcane Wonders

Mage Wars

 

Mage Wars

This is our latest video that we did for Arcane Wonders and their amazing game Mage Wars. If you have any questions about how we can help you with your video product, voice over, music production or any other type of media please contact us here: Contact

Company Website: http://www.arcanewonders.com/

Company Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/arcanewonders

Company Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MageWars

Company Twitter: https://twitter.com/MageWars

Company Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/100746770073454853640/posts

Neil Zaza Live At Douglas Corner Nashville, TN

Neil Zaza
Neil Zaza

Neil Zaza

 

Last Friday night I was privileged to finally meet a guitar hero of mine, Neil Zaza. Granted, I have interviewed him and spoken with him a number of times and obviously I have been listening to his music for years, but it’s completely another thing to hear the brilliance of a musician live. Neil has a reputation of being one of the world’s finest guitar players and not just because he is a technically proficient player, but because he is an amazing song writer on top of it. Neil has the very rare ability to make his guitar “sing” as if a vocalist was always there and you never miss the vocalist. He is truly one of the most melodic players on the planet, especially in his guitar instrumentalist genre.

Friday night only confirmed what I already knew. Not only did Neil player flawlessly and effortlessly this night, but his songs take you away as the melodies sweep out from his fingers and take flight through the room and astound you that anyone can be so good at playing an instrument and writing music or songs that are so strong that you are literally transported to a soundscape of rich, melodic musings from an un assuming genius that unfortunately, not enough people have heard of. Neil epitomizes what it is to be an instrumental songwriter. I dare you to find one song that isn’t absolutely gorgeous in its composition and melodic content. He is surely up there in the echelons of Vai, Satriana, Timmons and Johnson in his composition, technical and performance skills.

Granted, Douglas Corner isn’t the venue I would have preferred to see Neil in for my first time. The sound check was half a song, the sound system was adequate but not amazing but mostly, the mix was a bit on the poor side. The drums were over powering in the small venue and Neil was a bit lost in the mix sometimes, but that being said, it was still an amazing and brilliant performance that can’t be wiped away but minor issues. Neil captivated from the stage as I sat there and watched audience reaction. One person in particular was literally getting the chills Neil would rip through a fast solo and cap it of with some melodic ending that brought shivers to the fan. I was a bit shocked actually at how well Neil owned the stage and really brought a strong and mesmerizing performance to Douglas Corner considering the small stage, lack of a decent sound check and quite honestly, most guitar instrumentalists put me to sleep while they perform on stage as they stare at their feet and hand but put on no show at all. Neil did not disappoint here. It was a truly awesome performance that Neil should be proud of.

This performance was almost a homecoming in a way even though Neil had never played there before. The place was full of friends and family or “framily” as Neil calls them. They rated his performance with smart phone rating cards, many times garnering a “10” from the locals. Neil was busy before and after the show greeting, sitting and talking with each and every person who came to see him play. He gets it. There was no aura of ego. No “rockstar” persona that acted like an ass. He was gracious, very appreciate of every person who came out and acknowledged it from the stage and in person. Neil Zaza is the real deal.

The one sad thing was the lack of local musicians who always go around complaining about supporting live music. For some reason when a talent like Neil comes to town, which is not often in Nashville, the musicians don’t show up to support let alone, learn anything or be inspired by a brilliant musician. I guess it’s just much easier to sit and complain on Facebook than actually put your money where your mouth is. Luckily, the place was full of Zazaniacs (my made up word) where more than happy to soak it all in and shower Neil with love and praise for his music.

At the end of the show Matthew and Gunnar Nelson of “Nelson” fame came up to perform with Neil. First was Gunner performing “I’m Alright,” a Zaza show piece as well as the National Anthem. Then the brothers played “Love and Affection with Neil on guitar, Matthew on bass, Gunner on drums and country singer Theresa Rose on bgv’s. Unfortunately, the drum microphone was having major issues so some of the harmonies or other vocal parts could not be heard. But it was still very cool none the less.

All in all, I came away with more respect, admiration and inspired by Neil Zaza. He is a very rare, very brilliant and talented musician and songwriter. He is exactly what this genre needs more of and hopefully those reading this review, will take a moment to check him out both on his site and a venue near you.

The opening spot was filled by an Italian artist named Marco Pinna who performed acoustically with his a brand of latin/mediterranean/gypsy jazz that was fun, hip and lively. Marco was joined on stage by Sean O’Bryan Smith on bass, drummer Glenn Williams (both played for Zaza as well,) Lee Shines on percussion and Kyle Natchtigal on acoustic guitar. It was a nice refreshing change to the Nashville norm and this town sorely needs more of this kind of music to be performed live all over. Marco just release a brand new CD named “Amigus” which you can get on his site and I recommend you do.

 

2/3 Goat Live Performance Review at Tootsies.

Every now and then I like to get out and see a band that has caught my attention over the years if they come to town. Luckily, I had seen a post on Facebook this morning that the Americana/Country band 2/3 Goat was playing at Tootsies (yes that Tootsies) in down town Nashville this morning. Since I was already down here for business, I stopped in to listen and see if they stood up to their music video for “Stream of Conscience” that originally caught my attention a year or so ago containing a serious message well crafted into a song with a great hook and harmonies.

The best time to catch a band really is when they are playing to a very small crowd. It’s let’s you see if they can really pull it off. It’s easy to play to a large crowd full of energy, but it’s a whole different story when playing at 11 am to 15 people in a venue you have never played before. So now I am going to go over the good, the bad and my final thoughts.

The Good

The lead vocalists Annalyse McCoy (descent of the Kentucky McCoy’s, yes those McCoy’s,) and Ryan Dunn have a theater background and moved to New York to make it on Broadway. Why is this relevant? Because it means they can actually sing, I mean really sing. Not like many of todays vocalists who are constantly straining their voice and coughing up hairballs live because they aren’t as good as on their CD.

Annalyse McCoy is a tiny power house of a vocalist. After listening to about an hours worth of singing, not one bad note came out of her mouth. She has great tone and no matter what register or what volume, she sounds full, clear and better than most anyone else I have listened to in Nashville. When behind her mandolin or guitar she is a bit timid and stoic in her body movement but her face is very expressive which really helps her performance. Once she steps out from behind her instruments, she is almost a different singer live. She is more sultry and expressive and adds a new energy to the stage. Annalyse is also very good with her eye contact which is crucial when performing. Annalyse sang a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Silver Springs” that honestly, I liked better than the original. While I love Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Nicks’ tight vibrato sometimes really gets on my nerves and with Annalyse’s version, it was much more personal and listenable to me.

Ryan Dunn is a solid singer who also stayed in key the whole time and  blends very well with Annalyse for harmonies. While a solid singer (again, more consistent than many I have seen here in Nashville,) Dunn needs to add a bit more character to his voice to really stand out from the pack and make his mark. This is not a knock, just an observation. Dunn can sing and sing well. Dunn is a bit more animated while singing with his instrument but not much.

The songs are well written but not all super hooky radio hits. 2/3 Goat write with much deeper messages and stories than most of todays artists. A lost art in my honest opinion. The band while sometimes consisting of fill in players for the sake of touring is solid and very tight. The violinist at todays show was really fun to watch as he looked the most excited to be there and it came through more in his performance, plus he is a good fiddle player. One thing Nashville has is great fiddle players on Broadway and this guy (sorry, not sure of his name) could hold his own with most of them.

The Bad (well not really)

The things I will list here are very nit picky, but things that possibly could make the difference. They are suggestions as honestly, I have only seen 2/3 Goat live this one time and a few videos so take this with a grain of salt.

First thing is energy on the stage. Being that both Dunn and McCoy have a background in theater, I’d like to see them apply that back ground to their live performance some how and much apply more energy into their act. While their performance is solid musically, it lacks the energy needed to get a crowd excited. This is where Annalyse could kick it up a notch or two with her performance especially without her instruments.  Sometimes bands get into the rut of what they are used to seeing live and honestly, Americana music isn’t full of energetic performers, but there is no reason for that at all. When you are trying to sell tickets, trying to get a crowd to stay and sell alcohol for the bar, you need to use every thing at your disposal. Supplying a great live energy to the crowd is the way to do it.

The second thing is image. If you look at the 2/3 Goat website, they have a specific image and maybe that was just for the video of “Stream of Conscience,” but it is what I am expecting when seeing them live. Not necessarily that same outfits, but at least the togetherness of the group. It was one thing I really liked about them when I first noticed them. In today’s performance and in other videos I have seen, it was basically the same old shopping at Wal-Mart clothes (except the fiddle player) that many alternative rock bands do. It is not something Country music does in general, but then again, all the guys dress like Kenney Chesney and the girls all look the same as well.

Finally I’d like to see them work on their transitions and stories in between the songs. While certainly not the worst I have seen, based on many their songs content, they could be very strong here and really draw in the audience to the music. Billy Joel is a master at this and this band could really benefit here.

Final Thoughts

2/3 Goat is a band with a very bright future. They are tour work horses. Most of the musicians I come across make every excuse in the book to not tour. They don’t have enough money, don’t want to play on a Monday night or what ever lame ass excuse they can come across. This is not 2/3 Goat’s motto. They have the DRIVE to get after it everyday. They understand what it takes to make it happen to some degree and will do everything possible to get their music to the public. They still deliver musically even when not with consistent members of their band in tow. They don’t complain on social media. They understand this is a business and they act like it. They are very professional and trust me, that is much appreciate by everyone in the business. Most of all, they have big vocals, talent and have worked in the side of entertainment where everyone actually has talent and drive, Broadway. This maybe the most important thing of all.

I have no doubt if 2/3 Goat doesn’t give up, they will make a big impact on the Americana scene. They love what they do, they walk the walk and they actually have the talent most people are looking for. If you ever get a chance to listen to 2/3 Goat or see them live, don’t deny yourself the opportunity. You will miss real musicians who actually work hard for the art and bring something to the table creatively that most don’t.

2/3 Goat Website: http: //twothirdsgoat.wix.com/twothirdsgoat

Facebook: https: //www.facebook.com/twothirdsgoat

Twitter:https: //twitter.com/TwoThirdsGoat

The Best Rock CD’s of 2013

I was going to do a Top 10 list but honestly even after two weeks of thinking about it, these CD’s are the only ones that stick with me. I feel these are the best rock releases in 2013 and what great releases they are! This won’t be a surprise to some of you as I have been posting about some of these since the day they came out. Yes, they are that good!

I am not going to gush over these as some of them I have done reviews for already and I want you to make your own judgements. Give them a listen and if you like, buy the music and spread the word. They all need your support.

1. Maragold

Maragold

The debut CD from Maragold is perhaps the freshest most original sound I have heard from a rock band and years if not the last decade. The band featuring world renown guitarist Greg Howe and company could be the scariest set of musicians this side of Dream Theater on one CD this year. Relative unknown singer Mehgan Krauss is the real deal and sings circles around just about everyone out there right now. She should be a household name and God willing, will be. Part of the reason this took the top spot is the absolute surprise at how good this CD was as a whole. Everything from songwriting, hooks, playing and production were top notch. I was not expecting this from a guitar hero as so many have not come out with strong band CD’s in their career with the exception of the gentleman in the number 2 spot.

You can read the rest of my thoughts in the CD review I posted in April here: http://lowryagency.wordpress.com/2013/04/03/cd-review-maragold-by-maragold/

 

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ornDuLHaeto&w=560&h=315]

 

2. The Winery Dogs

The Winery Dogs

The Winery Dogs CD is a masterpiece of blues rock featuring guitar virtuoso and underrated singer Richie Kotzen, former Mr. Big band mate and bass virtuoso Billy Sheehan and of course Mike Portnoy widely regarded as one the best drummers alive today. They only reason this wasn’t #1 on my list is because it is basically a Richie Kotzen solo album. It wasn’t different enough from I hear from his usual work. Not that that is a bad thing, it just wasn’t as suprising as our #1 placement. I won’t bore you with my thoughts twice as you can read them in this CD Review I did here: http://lowryagency.wordpress.com/2013/07/31/the-winery-dogs-cd-review-by-david-lowry/

 

 

 

3. Steve Lukather – Transition

Steve Lukather - Transition

Legendary studio guitarist and founding member of the band Toto, Steve Lukather released his 6th solo CD Transition in 2013 and it is brilliant. Well pretty much everything Steve touches is but this CD really hit home with solid songwriting, relevant topics and a more natural guitar sound. As always Steve’s playing was melodic and amazing and his ability to evoke many different moods with music is a rare thing from most bands these days. Here is my CD review for Transition: http://lowryagency.wordpress.com/2013/02/07/cd-review-transitions-by-steve-lukather/ 

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rG7xPJGfzwA&w=560&h=315]

 

 

4. Queensryche

Queensryche - Queensryche

After all the drama settled and the band Queensryche was able to get their music out, it was a treat to the ears and it felt like coming home! This is the Queensryche CD we have been waiting for since “Empire.” The band has returned with a strong singer, strong songs and a revived sound that takes us back to classic Queensryche and puts a smile on all our faces.

 

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fcGYjLLXIG8&w=560&h=315]

 

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_Eer13yWrU&w=560&h=315]

 

 

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_34YZaER70&w=560&h=315]

 

5. Dream Theater

Dream Theater - Dream Theater

Prog rock legends return in 2013 with the self-title “Dream Theater” and a return to a more melodic feel with less heaviness which isn’t a bad thing. Dream Theater broke through with 1992’s “Images and Words” one of my Top 3 CD’s of all time and this new CD has a bit of that in it. Dream Theater has come full circle with this project and the addition of Mike Mangini has fueled the creativity machine to bring forth the best Dream Theater effort in years. Don’t get me wrong, they have never put out a bad CD. This is just a touch above the more recent efforts.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RoVAUUFjl0I&w=560&h=315]

 

 

6. Stryper – No More Hell to Pay

Stryper - No More Hell To Pay

 

Stryper returns in full force on this CD! Their strongest effort since “To Hell With The Devil,” this is the CD we have been waiting for since the return of the band. Michael Sweet is in fine form vocally and the songs are hook laden and in your face at the same time. Stryper has always been a talented band and underrated musicians as well as excellent live performers. This CD just gives us reason to make sure and not the miss the tour!

 

 

7. Delana Steven & The Beggar Saints

DeLana Stevens and The Beggar Saints

This is the biggest surprise on this list as DeLana Stevens & The Beggar Saints are a local Nashville band that is trudging through this morass of a music business trying to make it. When they sent me this CD to listen to, I was blown away by how great the songs were. DeLana and her band learned what many do not, how to write a really, really good hook and rock song. It was so good, I did a review immediately. You can read that here: http://lowryagency.wordpress.com/2013/08/15/delana-stevens-and-the-beggar-saints-cd-review/. DeLana Stevens & company bring back a classic rock sound very much like Heart and Delana is one of the most powerful and accurate singers I have ever heard. Watch this band as I am hoping for big things to come for them.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IYfT5Ti4Q54&feature=share&list=PL5C78D31C61C1F24F&index=2

 

 

Club Fantasci 2013 Board Game Awards Program

Club Fantasci

Club Fantasci

 

Club Fantasci announces the release of a new awards program focusing on board and role-playing games.

David Lowry the board game column editor is announcing the release of their new Club Fantasci 2013 Board Game Awards Program to feature the very best in the board and role-playing games industry.

“The gaming industry has being growing at an amazing pace for over a decade but yet there are still so many people who are unfamiliar with all the new types of amazing games that are coming out. We want to introduce these games to the public at large and encourage more social activities between families and individuals” says Lowry.

Read more here: http://clubfantasci.wordpress.com/2013/11/25/7208club-fantasci-board-game-awards/

Previously the Geek Eccentric Board Game Awards.