#David Lowry

What Type of Board Games are Right For You?

In the board gaming world there are many different types of games to choose from. You have strategy, family, children’s, deck building, thematic, abstract, co-operative, war and party games. So how do you determine what type of board game is right for you? I am going to break down the different types and through in a few examples to help you understand the difference so maybe when shopping for a new board game, you can more easily identify the type of games you like and make the decision easier.

 

Tide of Iron Board Game
Tide of Iron

 

Obviously with strategy games you are in for a brain burner usually. These games can be classics like “Go” or more current ones like “Twilight Imperium 3rd Ed.” Many of these games can be all day games. Now granted there aren’t a lot of people who are into spending all day playing one game. I am, but only if it is a game that is able to hold my attention not only with game play, but strategy and theme. You can have to player games like “Tide of Iron” which is also a war game or a eurogame like “Caylus” (one of my personal favorites.) Luck plays almost no role and these games and many board game purists love that. Many people don’t like a luck factor like say a dice mechanic in the game. They feel it takes away from the strategy. You won’t find those here.

 

Family games are just that, great for family and friends who come over and want a more social gaming experience. These are great also for introducing new people to gaming until you figure out what they really like and can pull out board games more to their style. “Settlers of Catan,” “Ticket To Ride” or “Lords of Waterdeep” are great games for this type of experience. Games like “Lords of Waterdeep” can fit into many different areas but fits just as easily here. Easy to learn, understand and have amazing replay potential. I have played two of these games hundreds of times each. They never get old.

 

Children’s games are self-explanatory. Finding games suitable for a child can be challenging but then also finding games for the right age as well. My daughters favorite is “Catan Jr.” based on the popular “Settlers of Catan” series, this game is very easy to understand but fun and teaches how board game mechanics work so learning harder games later becomes much easier. Other great games here are “Gulo Gulo” and “Zooloretto.”

 

Marvel: Legendary Board Game
Marvel: Legendary

 

Deck building games are all the rage now in board gaming. Some people consider  “Magic: The Gathering” the Godfather of deck building games but it wasn’t until “Dominion” came out that these games took on a whole new audience. The object here are to develop a deck of cards that is efficient and allows you to win the game with as little clutter as possible in your hand. You will draw new cards every turn, typically 5 and try and strategize how best to use each hand each turn. Some deck building games have a board game component included as well. Publishers like Fantasy Flight Games have come up of a “Living Card Game (LCG)” system that allows you to purchase expansions separate packs but you always know what you are buying, unlike CCG’s in which you never new what you were getting. Some great games here are the new Marvel Superhero game “Legendary,” “Mage Wars,” “Android: Netrunner (LCG)” and “Sentinels of The Multiverse.” Realize there are many more great games, I am just throwing a few out there.

 

Thematic games are just that, thematic. They could be based on a show, book series, or a previous game. Some great thematic games are the Dungeons & Dragons “Castle Ravenloft based of their popular book series and RPG,” the popular TV sci-fi series “Star Trek: Fleet Captains,” the cyberpunk feeling “Android,” and the classic H.P. Lovecraft inspired “Arkham Horror.” Here the experience is in as much the theme itself as in the game play.

 

Co-operative games are basically a team of people working to achieve the same goals and not pitted against each other… usually. A few great games to play here and are also highly themed are the TV show themed”Battlestar Galactica,” a vampire deductive game “Fury of Dracula” hot on the heels of “The Walking Dead” “Zombicide” and the King Arthur inspired “Shadows of Camelot.” Three of these games have an antagonist in them, in both “Battlestar Galactica” and “Shadows of Camelot” there may or may not be one and you have to figure who they are. In “Fury of Dracula,” you know who it is but you have to find them on the board through revealing hidden location cards. All three are loads of fun and on my game table often.

 

Battlestar Galactica Board Game
Battlestar Galactica

 

Abstract games are low on luck and tend to be high on strategy. Games like “Chess,” Reversi,” or more recently “Tsuro.” Many of todays abstract games are classics that never grow old.

 

War games are always popular with a certain group and obviously usually very thematic. These can very on theme from the historical wars we have suffered as a world or through fictional wars from books or movies.  Games like the World War II themed “Memorior ’44,” “A Game of Thrones” literal battle scene “Battle of Westeros” or again the classic World War II inspired “Axis and Allies” are popular war style games that done a great amount of family and friend bonding. The aforementioned “Tide of Iron” fits in here as a great one as well.

 

And finally we have party games. The always fun and easy to get a crowd of people into especially if they are non-gamers type of board games. Some fun games here are the vegas-style bidding game “Wits & Wagers,” the fantasy themed “Dungeon Fighter,” the spy and co-operative “The Resistance” where there are a couple traitors and of course the often funny”Apples to Apples.”

 

All of these games are fun, provide a great gaming experience and would be a great addition to your game shelf. So if you are looking for a new game, or new type of game then start here, click on the links and see what piques your interest!

 

This article was originally posted on Geek Eccentric: http://www.geekeccentric.com/what-type-of-board-games-are-right-for-you/

A Game of Thrones The Board Game 2nd Ed. Review

Agot-283x300

Winter is Coming” – House Stark

 

With the Game of Thrones TV show at an all time high, I thought this would be a great time to introduce the A Game of Thrones The Board Game 2nd Ed. to those fans who many not know about it or who or not savvy with the latest rage of board games. A Game of Thrones The Board Game 2nd Ed. is put out by the board game publishing juggernaut Fantasy Flight Games located in Roseville, MN and is based on George R.R. Martins bestselling book series “A Song of Ice and Fire.”

 

A Game of Thrones The Board Game 2nd Ed. is set up to play three to six players. With rules to adjust for the amount of players in the game. The game itself is not for the casual gamer per sey. It’s a long game of strategy that can easily go over four hours but oh what a four hours it is! All the theme and feel you could ever want in a strategy game is locked in this incarnation. All the houses: Stark, Lannister, Baratheon, Tyrell, Greyjoy and Martell, are in this game as you battle for territory in Westeros with political intrigue, back stabbing and hard fought war campaigns.

 

First off let me tell you about the quality of the game itself. The components are outstanding. The board and artwork are top notch and to me really provide a rich, warm gaming experience which I love. I think it’s important to feel like you are a “part” of the game in the sense of actually being their and the new version does this a bit better than the original version released 10 years ago. The map is large and easy to grasp and gorgeous in imagery and laid out so no matter where you sit, everything is easy to reach and understand.

A Game of Thrones The Board Game 2nd Ed. Table View

A Game of Thrones The Board Game 2nd Ed. Table View

 

The rule book is pretty well laid out so that even though there is a lot in it, it is not real hard to understand. If you read it a couple times you should be able to get a good handle on the basic operation of the game and only need to refer for special situations hopefully. Also included in the game are two quick reference sheets help shorten the game by not needing to dig in the rule book. Each player gets a screen to hide their tokens with more quick reference tidbits which is another great help to keep gameplay time down.

 

You vie for control of the Iron Throne while trying to be the first to acquire a total of seven castles and strongholds before the 10th round ends. If no one has acquired seven castles by the end of the 10th round, then whomever has the most wins.

 

During the game you have phases that you go through that the player order is determined by who controls the Iron Throne and the order of players that follow down the influence track (which is bid upon during “The Clash of Kings”.) You have the Westeros Phase” (skipped in round one), the Planning Phase and the Action Phase.

 

The Westeros Phase concludes advancing the game round maker, drawing Westeros cards which may have to be resolved and advancing the Wildlings track. You may have to deal with the Wildlings in which the players secretly bid an amount of power tokens to stop them. There is a consequence to the players who bid the least if the threat is not beaten.

 

The Planning Phase is where you assign orders (in secret by placing them upside down on the board) such as raids, marches, defense, consolidate power or support tokens. Raid tokens allow you to possibly interrupt another players token, hence messing up their plans and causing a bit of frustration. Always a fun tactic in a game like this. March tokens allow to advance on another players position or empty position for combat and taking over that territory if successful. Defense tokens are self-explanatory and help bolster your defense from attack from opposing players. Consolidate Power tokens allow you to gain power tokens for bidding later in the game or to muster units (armies) into an assigned area.

 

The Action Phase begins with resolving raid orders based on the order of players on the Iron Throne Track. All moves in this phase are based on this order. Note this means that if you have a five player game, then the first player resolves one order, then the second player etc… in order and comes back around to the first player if any tokens are left to be resolved. March orders are next, again one battle at a time per player and finally Consolidate Power tokens. Then you clean up the board making sure armies and tokens are removed from the board.

 

Combat is resolved by first a call for support. Here you may ask for a players support and they may or may not help you. They may decide to help the other player instead. This gives said player a bonus based on the support played. You then calculate strength of both sides and include the “Valyrian Steel Blade” token (explained later). Then you choose a “House Card” from your hand to help you with a strength bonus and hopefully a text that will hurt the opponent. This is then calculated as the Final Combat Strength. Combat resolution is: Determine the victor, casualties, retreating and routing and clean up.

 

During the game you will have the opportunity to silent bid on the three tracks when the “Clash of Kings” card appears during the Westeros phase. The first track is the Iron Throne Track which determines the order players go in and allows who ever holds this token the ability to break ties outside of combat. The Fiefdoms Track allows whomever holds the “Valyrian Steel Blade” to win all combat times and add +1 to their combat strength. This may only be used once per turn. The King’s Court Track determines the amount of special order tokens available to each player. It also allows the holder of the “Messenger Raven” token to change on of his or her orders that was placed before the action phase begins and the order tokens are revealed.

 

You also have ports and ships in the game. This allow for unit movements over large areas and ship to ship battles as well. An extremely important part of the game and critical to winning in my opinion if done right. Obviously House Greyjoy starts off strong in this type of unit.

A Game of Thrones The Board Game 2nd Ed.

A Game of Thrones The Board Game 2nd Ed.

 

The units in this game are Footman (1 unit each), Knights (2 units each), Ships (1 unit each) and Seige Engines (2 points each.) Based on your Supply Track on the board determines how many units and the size of each army allowed per house. Taking over territories with barrels in them and holding them when a “Mustering” card comes up will allow you to increase your army of force you to decrease in the case of having more units than you can support with food.

 

Strongholds are the larger castles that allow of two points of mustering and castles allow for 1 point of mustering. Again this happens when the “Mustering” card appears during the Westeros Phase. If you control enough territories with barrels then new units will appear at these places.

 

The alliances you form in this game are a major part of the game play. You can try and align with a player but beware as there are no rules to the players actually doing what is agreed to. They may be secretly plotting with someone else at the same time. While you may align with someone, you are never allowed to show hidden order tokens or silent bids. You also may not bribe anyone with power tokens, dominance tokens, cards or any other type of piece of the game. This part is all about trust and not for the weak of heat.

 

I did warn you not to trust me.” – Littlefinger

 

There are other parts of the game that come into play such as Neutral Force or Garrison tokens. This stops you from just walking in someplace to take it over. You have to actually commit units to a battle to grab that territory.

 

In my opinion this is my favorite game of all time. The amount of political backstabbing, tension from the placing of orders and whether or not you just made a mistake based on alliances with other players provides so much atmosphere and incredible game play that is hard not to love. You don’t find that a lot in games these days.

 

Although there is a lot to it, the game is pretty easy to grasp after a couple of rounds. Don’t let the length of time dissuade you from trying it. It is well worth the time and money it costs ($59.95 retail). The theme is excellent, the game itself is well done in terms of art, components and rules.

 

I give it a 10 out 10 stars and highly recommend it to any board game fan and especially to Game of Thrones fans. [rating=10]

 

This review was originally posted on Geek Eccentrichttp://www.geekeccentric.com/a-game-of-thrones-2nd-ed-board-game-review/

 

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The Geek Eccentric Table Top Board Game Primer

Settlers of Catan

Settlers of Catan

Hello! I am David Lowry and welcome the first article written for the tabletop board game section of Geek Eccentric.

In this primer I hope to help educate those of you not familiar with the ever-growing popularity of designer board games and the types that there are. Most of us are familiar with American mass-market games like MonopolyScrabble or Pictionary. While these can be fun, they often suffer from fundamental design flaws and can create runaway winners making it not fun for the other players involved.

So let’s look at these other great options.

Over the last few years, the popularity of board games has grown dramatically with the release of a game called “Settlers of Catan” referred to by many as the new “Monopoly” or “board game of our time.” Released in 1995 it had sold over 15 million copies by 2009. It has since had many expansions, revisions and has even become a video game.

Many of the board games today are also available as apps for your smart phone or iPad. This is a great way to try board gaming out while not committing to a bigger investment. These board games will range in price from around $15 up to $100 dollars depending on the type and size. They can also go for several hundred dollars if they are out of print on eBay. We are passionate about our board games!

Today’s designer board games are usually classified in two basic ways, either Eurogames or Ameritrash, although there are of course other categories but for the purpose of this primer we will focus on these two different types.

Eurogames (aka German style board games) such as the aforementioned “Settlers of Catan,” focus on being well balanced and streamlined. With less of a focus on theme and more use of abstract games mechanics. In these types of games, players often compete for points or resources, rarely is there player to player combat involved and players are never eliminated. Eurogames can be heavily themed but that may have little to do with the game play.

Examples of games would include:

Caylus (my personal favorite)

Puerto Rico

El Grande

Princes of Florence

Carcassone

Power Grid

Popular publishers of this genre would be:

Rio Grande Games

Ystari

Mayfair Games

Ameritrash games tend to be heavily themed and dramatic in their game play style. There can be developed characters, factions or heroes. Player conflict is more likely and the games can feature a fair amount of luck involved.

Examples of Ameritrash games include:

Arkham Horror

Ticket to Ride

Battlestar Galactica

A Game of Thrones

Smallworld

Fury of Dracula

Popular publishers of this genre would include:

Fantasy Flight Games

Days of Wonder

Whiz Kids

There are many different types of board game classifications such as deck building games, war games, co-operative games, strategy games, family games, thematic games, abstract games, children’s games, customizable games and party games and I will be covering these in future articles.

Game designers themselves can achieve rock star status of sorts with game board aficionados. Some of the more popular ones are Reiner KniziaMartin WallaceAlan R. Moon and Bruno Faidutti.

Here are a couple of resources to help you learn more about tabletop board games:

Board Game Geek – Is probably the best resource on the web. You will find every board game you can think of and thousands you can’t here. Complete with videos, reviews, and game play blogs and news, this is the ultimate resource for checking out games and learning to play.

The Dice Tower – One of the more popular reviewers of board games and family friendly.

I hope this piques your interest in the wonderful world of tabletop board gaming! Make sure you check out your local hobby or game stores for these and other wonderful board games.

This primer was originally posted on Geek Eccentrichttp://www.geekeccentric.com/the-geek-eccentric-table-top-board-game-primer/

 

 

A-List Wardrobe Fashionista Gina Vincenza Van Epps Joins Live From Music City

Gina Vincenza Van Epps Psycho Seamstress

Gina Vincenza Van Epps

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gV9hOXdy194&w=420&h=315]

Tweet us @LFMCradio to join in on the conversation.

 

Joining Live From Music City on May 28th at 2:00pm CST on a Google+ hangout will be A-list celebrity wardrobe consultant Gina Vincenza Van Epps to talk about taking inventory of your band or artist image, how to pick your image and style as well as mistakes to avoid when branding your image. The link will be posted here on the day of the interview to watch live! Don’t miss this!

Gina Vincenza Van Epps, aka “Psycho Seamstress is a professional “A List” wardrobe seamstress out of Orlando, FL. Having started in the music business in the 90’s doing everything from guitar tech for Foghat to concert production for Megadeth, Gina has come full circle and is now an in demand staple in the music industry.

In 2009 Gina started her company “Psycho Seamstress” which has led to win a “Visionary Award” for costuming. Gina’s hard work and persistence have led her to work with AEG LIVE for the “So You Think You Can Dance?” tour in 2011 and by 2012, Gina had worked with the “Michael Jackson’s Immortal Cirque du Soliele Word Tour, Joan Rivers, Big Time Rush, Cody Simpson, Carrie Underwood and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

2013 has brought even more success as Gina has worked with Paul McCartney, Justin Beiber, Pink, Muse, Maroon 5, Alicia Keys, Taylor Swift and Rihanna. Gina has been brought to do full band image overhauls, make costumes for competitive figure skaters and also for Criss Angel’s Composer, Mickey James.

You can find out more about Gina Vincenza Van Epps here:

PsychoSeamstress@hotmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/ginavincenza

https://www.facebook.com/psychoseamstress#

Board Game Review Column by David Lowry Announced By Geek Eccentric

David Lowry
David Lowry Board Game Column

David Lowry

Geek Eccentric Announces New Board Game Review Column

Geek Eccentric announces the release of a new column focusing on board games in geek culture.

John Hattaway one of the founders of GeekEccentric.com is announcing the release of their new board game column (www.geekeccentric.com/category/gaming)  to feature articles and reviews on board games and their designers.

“Geek Eccentric is thrilled to have David Lowry come aboard as our table top gaming editor and look forward to the success of this feature. David’s series of articles will be an amazing addition to our lineup of original and unique geek content” says Hattaway

The column will be written by entertainment industry veteran David Lowry who is an admitted board game geek. David also writes for Metalholic Magazine (www.metalholic.com) and his own entertainment blog (www.lowryagency.wordpress.com). David is the President of The Lowry Agency, Founder and Host of the radio podcast “Live From Music City” and Founder and Host of the speculative fiction on-line book club “Club Fantasci.”

“I am very excited to write for Geek Eccentric! Being a board game fanatic for well over a decade, I get to write about one of my main passions and help build an awareness for a great hobby that is really taking off and help designers get their amazing work out there” remarks David Lowry of The Lowry Agency.

For press questions, board game reviews or interviews regarding Geek Eccentric and the board game column, please contact David Lowry at the information posted below.

The Lowry Agency is a full service artist management/development and promotions agency. Primarily they work with musicians, actors, speakers, voice over artists, entertainment companies as well as music coordination/supervision for film and TV.

More information about The Lowry Agency can be found at http://www.thelowryagency.com.

Media inquiries for David Lowry:

The Lowry Agency
www.thelowryagency.com
615-618-6906
Contact: David Lowry

Read the press release here: http://www.prlog.org/12118958-geek-eccentric-announces-new-board-game-review-column.html

Rock Band Maragold Talks New Self-Titled CD With Live From Music City

Maragold

Maragold

 

Rock band Maragold chats with Live From Music City about their new CD “Maragold”  to be release on April 23rd, songwriting and the music business!

Listen to the interview here! 

Bio

MARAGOLD…a band that started as an idea and grew into a long awaited reality.

Renowned guitarist Greg Howe, widely known for his rock / fusion instrumental recordings, had been considering doing an album featuring vocal-driven songs for quite a while. Long time friend, bassist Kevin Vecchione, had played on Greg’s “Five” album, as well as having toured with Greg previously.Through the years, over the course of their enduring friendship, Greg and Kevin had been discussing and mulling over the idea of being in a band together… They finally decided to stop talking and start acting, and the seeds of the band “Maragold” were sown. Drummer Gianluca Palmieri, who had also toured with Greg, and played on his recent album “Sound Proof”, was recruited to complete their dynamic rhythm section.

All they needed was “the voice”…

Originally, the band started working with a male singer, but due to other musical endeavors, he was unable to continue with the project. In the meantime, Kevin had discovered an amazing vocal talent while performing in the Tri-State area club circuit, and suggested the female singer as a replacement. Greg was initially hesitant, as the songs they had lined up were centered around a male vocalist.

However…

Kevin had Greg listen to some demos he had done with the new singer, Meghan Krauss. Greg enthusiastically agreed that she had “the voice”, but Meghan’s presence, personality, image, and especially her ability to inject herself into a song, truly made her the “total package” that they wanted in a vocalist. Meghan agreed to take on the duties as lead singer; Greg and Kevin immediately went to work writing songs befitting her vocal style.

The results are the ten amazing songs on the debut self-titled album, “MARAGOLD”. Combining exemplary musicianship and powerhouse vocals with provocative songwriting, the album represents a daring new direction for Greg Howe, which is sure to be an exciting experience for his fans, old and new.

You can find out more about Maragold here:

http://www.maragoldband.com/band.html

http://www.facebook.com/maragoldband

http://www.twitter.com/maragoldband

http://www.youtube.com/maragoldband

Maragold Has Something Most Bands Don’t.

Maragold

Earlier I was looking at my numbers for this blog and was completely amazed at how well it was doing the last couple days based on one CD review for the band Maragold. Yesterday when I released it it was already doing double it’s average daily but then around 11:00pm CST the band posted it on Facebook and holy crap did it explode. It his had more views by 10 times the amount of any other CD review or musician spotlight I have written. Here is the key, each one posted it pretty much on their personal and band page on Facebook. Most bands don’t do this. They maybe post it once on their band page and not on their personal pages and they interacted with their fans about it. When I released it in the morning two of the band members and the band twitter account RT’d it once and that was it. For further reference on this please read my blog “Creating The “Buzz,” It’s Your Responsibility.”

What does this mean? It means that Maragold has found a way to reach it’s audience like no other band I have reviewed for or spotlighted. It means “true” fans not Facebook likes are extremely excited about them. It means they have actually offered up something the public wants. They did this in spite of having never released a CD and the only member of the band with a real name is was co-founder Greg Howe who is a well known guitar instrumentalist. Well known being relative in the world of music. Yes most guitar players know who he is, but the world doesn’t. Please note that Maragold didn’t ask me for a review. I just did it because when I listened to the CD it was so good I really had no choice.

Everyday on Facebook I see bands complaining about how hard it is or how the industry keeps people down etc… That is complete bunk. Is it hard yes but most bands don’t work hard enough, give the public something they want to buy or shoot themselves in the foot with poor promotion and bad social media skills. Is it anyone else’s fault you can’t make it? No. For whatever reason, Maragold has touched an audience with no prior CD, no real history of gigging, nothing but the past success of guitar player Greg Howe and each other individuals past endeavors. They made it happen without anything other than hard work, determination, incredible talent and most importantly at this stage knowing how to build up a release. Now because of this, hopefully with continued hard work, the songs which are amazing,  will be the deciding factor in their long term success.

This audience interaction is what every band should be striving for, for without it, you have nothing.

Pre-order the Maragold CD here: http://www.maragoldband.com/

CD Review “Maragold” by Maragold

maragold_albumcover

Maragold

Maragold is a rock band founded by guitar virtuoso Greg Howe and bassist Kevin Vicchione. For those not in the guitar community, Greg is a world renown player  and has played with such artist as Justin Timberlake, N’Sync, Christina Aguilara, Michael Jackson, Rihana, Lady Antebellum, P Diddy, T-Pain, Salt and Peppa not to mention jazz fusion legends like Victor Wooton, Dennis Chambers and other world reknown players like Richie Kotzen and Stu Hamm. Actually Greg’s song “Jump Start” is my favorite guitar instrumental of all time. So needless to say I had high expectations when I heard about this project and holy shit does it deliver. Greg has the very rare ability to be a virtuoso and still play for the song. His solo’s are so amazing and vintage Greg but sound completely original in a sea of completely unoriginal players who all sound the same in today’s scene. You will never hear a “typical” lick or sound from Greg but you will be amazed and wonder why more players don’t strive for a unique voice like his.

First let me tell you about the other musicians on the project. Singer and relative newcomer Meghan Krauss is the best female rock singer to come out since Sass Jordan. This lady can sing with the best of them and evokes that excitement from inside you that you so rarely hear from singers anymore, as they are all canned and predictable. Meghan will knock you on your ass and remind you why you listen to rock in the first place.

Bass Player Kevin Vecchione is a SOLID player. Kevin is obviously capable of so much more and that is the beauty of his playing here. He plays exactly what is needed for the song, never anymore and drives the buss with drummer Gianluca Palmieri so that the pocket is strong and every song leads you like it should. I have a feeling we will be hearing a lot more about Kevin in the years to come as opportunities arise to showcase his immense talent.

Drummer Gianluca Palmieri is the epitome of a “pocket” player on this CD. It’s so great to hear players that know how to play for the song no matter how good a musician they are. It can be very tempting to play too much or show off and while Gianluca plays some incredibly fresh grooves to allow you to see his true talent without showing off, it’s never over stated and is truly a part of the songwriting as opposed to just being a drum track. The rhythm section of Vecchione and Palmieri is as good as it gets and something all players should listen to and learn from.

The single “Evergreen Is Golder” is a straight out knock you on your ass “Hello world I am Meghan Krauss and I am going to kick your ass!” statement. A great rock song with a blistering solo and incredible hook. Written by Greg, Kevin and Greg’s brother Al Howe, this song is a hit single through and through. I hope to God someone gets behind this for radio. Hell I’ll push it myself.

“Saturday Sun” and “Lullaby” are other rockers that shine, no pun intended. Another high point for me was “Paradigm Tsunami.” This CD is not your typical rock record by any means. It has blues, jazz, rhythmic displacement and all kinds of cool elements that really bring out the color and flavor of the songs. Meghan takes advantage of every opportunity is now in the “best singer you have never heard” of  category along with Richie Kotzen.

“Maragold” is a must buy CD and one of the top 2 CD releases of 2013 along with Steve Lukather’s new CD “Transition” and the best rock CD since “Forty Deuce” featuring Richie Kotzen. You can no longer say there aren’t any good rock bands anymore. Maragold may be just what the hurting rock genre needed, a good old shot of in your face, kicking your ass rock n’ roll. Thank God for Maragold.

Five out of Five ass kicking stars.

Go buy it now here:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/evergreen-is-golder-single/id619283574 NOW!

Guitar Great Hangout on Live From Music City with Carl Verheyen, Gretchen Menn, Neil Zazza, Jon Finn, Rob Balducci, Mike Martin and Chris Green

Join guitar virtuosos Carl Verheyen, Gretchen Menn, Neil Zaza, Jon Finn, Rob Balducci, Mike Martin and Chris Green as well talk all things guitar on a Google+ hangout! Covering everything from songwriting, marketing, touring and developing a fan base. Tweet us at @LFMCRadio to ask your questions and listen to some of music’s most prolific instrumentalists tell you how to beat the challenges of the music industry.

Date: TBD – Due to technical issues, this hangout is being rescheduled. Please check back for the new date and time!

Time 7:00pm – 8:30pm CST

Where: THIS PAGE

Carl Verheyen

Carl Verheyen

Carl Verheyen Biography

In his 40-plus years of playing the instrument, Carl has created a wildly successful, multi-faceted career. He is a critically-acclaimed musician, vocalist, songwriter, arranger, producer and educator with 11 CDs and two live DVDs released worldwide. Carl is commonly regarded as a guitar virtuoso capable of playing any style of music with remarkable mastery and conviction. He has been one of LA’s elite “first call” session players for the past 25 years, playing on hundreds of records, movie soundtracks and television shows. Carl has graced the pages of countless industry publications and been the subject of numerous articles chronicling his rise to the forefront of the modern day guitar scene. Carl has won numerous polls and musical honors in the US, Germany, France, Italy and the UK.

A member of the smash hit British rock group Supertramp since 1985, Carl has played to millions of enthusiastic fans in sold out arenas worldwide. As the creative force behind The Carl Verheyen Band, he has released an impressive and eclectic discography that showcases his endless talents across a wide array of musical genres.

A much sought after studio musician, Carl plays on other artists’ CDs whenever his busy schedule permits. He has recorded and played with a virtual who’s who of the music industry. His vast collection of movie soundtrack and television credits are enviable. Carl was heard by 67, 000,000 people as a featured soloist at the 2009 Academy Awards. He will also be heavily featured in the forthcoming film documentary about the electric guitar, Turn It Up!

On the educational front, Carl has produced two instructional videos called Intervallic Rock Guitar and Forward Motion as well as various on-line lessons. He also has a book/CD detailing his unique “intervallic” style called Improvising Without Scales. Another book entitled Studio City is a compilation of all the columns Carl wrote for Guitar Magazine between 1996 and 1999. He has written a monthly column for Chitarre, Italy’s #1 guitar publication as well as Guitar World and Guitar Jam Daily, a website devoted to serious guitarists. He currently writes a monthly column for Guitar Player, contributes to other guitar publications, and blogs regularly for GuitarPlayer.com and his own site. Carl also lectures and teaches at clinics regularly when not on the road.

Carl recently co-designed a signature guitar with LsL Instruments, the “CV Special,” combining the best elements Carl seeks in his ideal guitar; they are now available for purchase worldwide. As if that weren’t enough, working closely with Dean Markley, Carl developed a line of signature strings for the electric guitar that perfectly balance the tremolo bridge of the Fender Stratocaster, the Carl Verheyen Balanced Bridge Helix HD string set . Also working with Dean Markley, Carl helped develop a top-of-the-line guitar lubrication, Tuba Luba, in addition to his numerous existing endorsements.

Gretchen Menn

Gretchen Menn

Photo by: Max Crace

Gretchen Menn Bio

Rapidly gaining praise in the world of instrumental rock and beyond, Gretchen Menn isn’t your average guitar hero on the rise. She once flew regional jets to support her six-string habit. She has studied, in equal parts, the music of Mozart, Beethoven, Steve Morse, Frank Zappa, and Jimmy Page. (Regarding the latter composer, she performs the music of Led Zeppelin professionally all over the U.S. with Zepparella.) Perhaps Michael Molenda, Guitar Player Magazine’s editor-in-chief, described Gretchen’s solo music best when he said that she “seeks the unknown by blending disparate jazz, prog, and world-music influences into a tasty, guitaristic thrill ride.” Her first solo album, Hale Souls, released in July of 2011, is an instrumental album of original compositions that range from aggressive to celestial.

Apart from demolishing her mother’s violin with Pete Townshend-like vehemence at age three, Gretchen’s passion for all things guitar didn’t fully surface until her early teenage years. It was under the tutelage of classical guitarist Phillip de Fremery, a student of Andrés Segovia, that Gretchen began her path on the instrument. Her father, noted writer and former editor-in-chief of Guitar Player Magazine, Don Menn, was quick to point her in the direction of the greats as soon as she expressed interest in guitar.

While earning a degree in music at Smith College, Gretchen’s adventurous approach to her education would foreshadow her approach to the guitar. She convinced a professor to allow her to launch a special studies project on the intricate and unclassifiable music of Frank Zappa. Her analyses of “The Sheik Yerbouti Tango” and “The Girl in the Magnesium Dress” showed a love for epic, melodic, genre-shattering rock and roll composition that would manifest later in her original instrumentals.

After college, Gretchen began heavily incorporating her love of rock guitar into her daily regime, the only hitch being that the music of her rock gods, Steve Morse, Eric Johnson, and Frank Zappa, wasn’t exactly Guitar 101. She also began considering her career path, and how she might prevent a situation she sought to avoid: tainting her love of music with the necessity of paying rent.

The solution? She went directly from college to flight school, and two years later was flying regional jets for the airlines. Yet Gretchen was never without her guitar.

After a year in the jet, with the life of an airline pilot being more than a little incompatible with a career in music, Gretchen relinquished her position with the airlines, knowing that there was a pilot out there somewhere who would appreciate the opportunity. She decided to take a more direct approach to realizing her musical dreams.

Playing with tireless passion and constantly seeking out new challenges, Gretchen’s projects have spanned the genres of jazz, funk, rock, progressive, and metal. In 2003, she donned a schoolboy uniform and joined AC/DShe as “Agnes Young.” In 2005, she joined forces with drummer, Clementine, to form Zepparella, currently with singer Noelle Doughty and bassist Angeline Saris. In 2007, Gretchen formed Sticks and Stones, the high-energy, instrumental “bassless power trio” with guitarist Mickael Tremel and drummer Sam Adato. In 2010, she played in Lapdance Armageddon, an aggressive acoustic duo with Jude Gold. In 2011 she wrote, produced, and recorded her first solo album, Hale Souls, which features bassist Stu Hamm, drummer John Mader, violinist Emily Palen, and guest artists Angeline Saris (bass on “Scrap Metal”), Jude Gold (second acoustic guitar on “Fast Crowd”), and Gretchen’s sister, Kirsten Menn (soprano on “Fading.”) Gretchen’s solo project, a trio with Angeline Saris on bass and Thomas Perry on drums, played their first shows in November of 2011, and will be starting to tour more in 2012.

Neil Zaza

Neil Zaza

Neil Zaza Biography

His guitar playing has defined modern day instrumental guitar the world over. His melodic compositions have not only changed the way musicians play, but what audiences demand out of their guitar heroes. To see Ohio native Neil Zaza’s influential impact on guitar across the globe, merely tune into the legion of thousands of fanatical fans performing his international hit, “I’m Alright” on YouTube. Neil’s trademark “singing” and lyrical guitar style is easily recognizable and can only belong to one man: Neil Zaza.

“It’s always been about the song for me,” states Neil. “I remember all the tunes that really moved me when I was growing up and it wasn’t about the guitarist playing 128th notes. It was about an inexplicable connection I felt drawing me to wear out my records as I couldn’t get enough of that rush of the song itself! That’s what I try and do with my music today. It’s always about the song!”

Neil Zaza worldwide touring has cemented him as a true guitar phenomenon. He’s played alongside and shared the stage with such guitar luminaries as Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen, and Nuno Bettencourt. His recordings feature collaborations with Van Halen’s Michael Anthony, Dream Theater’s Jordan Rudess, drumming legend Steve Smith, Peter Frampton among others.

Neil Zaza’s mastery of the guitar amasses accolades from all sources. While he continues to transform the world of instrumental rock music one melody at a time, it’s his fiery interpretations of holiday repertoire fused with Classical melodies and classic Rock that is the basis for his One Silent Night… concert series. Neil, his band, and an orchestra/choir aren’t just performing holiday music with One Silent Night…-they are literally reinventing it!

Now, with his latest release entitled 212, Neil has set the melodic bar even higher with a project taking his melodic stylings to even greater heights. 212 boasts songs that put composition and melody on par with his stunning guitar prowess. The combination is deadly and sure to set the watermark for how expressive and emotive a guitarist can be.

This unique voice continues to evolve…

Jon Finn - Scream (small)

Jon Finn

Jon Finn Biography

A guitarist since age six, Jon Finn has been a professional musician for most of his life. Joining the guitar faculty at Berklee College of Music in Boston in 1988, he started the Jon Finn Group later that same year. To date, they have released three CDs internationally:

For over three years, Jon wrote a monthly instructional feature for a national magazine called Guitar. Jon has also authored several books for Mel Bay Publications:

In his freelance pursuits, he’s played guitar for the national touring companies of many contemporary musical theater productions such as Rent, Aida, Mamma Mia, Grease, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Copacabana, and many others. Today Jon frequently performs and records with the Boston Pops Orchestra, and has been involved in a plethora of concerts and recording sessions, including 6 CDs (two of which were Grammy nominated), 8 US concert tours, and one tour in Asia.

Rob Balducci

Rob Balducci

Rob Balducci Bio

A native of New York, Rob Balducci has defined himself as a guitarist, musician, composer and one of the most sought after instructors in New York. Balducci’s music is drenched in layers of sonic colors, each representing a tangible emotion, desire, depth, feeling, thought and mood. Rob said “There’s this cliche that instrumental guitar music has gotten to be too much of a vehicle for soloing and showing off technique. That’s completely the opposite of what I’m trying to do. My music is really like vocal songs with the guitar as the vocals.” Guitar World said after hearing Balducci’s debut CD “ Hum-able Shred! What a concept.”

“ Rob is an excellent guitarist… I’ve always had his CDs around and I am waiting for him to become the next big guitar player ” – Joe Satriani “

Rob is a great player and is as dedicated to his work as one can get and it shows in the construction of his audio emotions”- Steve Vai

Having played guitar for the past 24 years, Rob spent years dedicated to mastering his instrument. These well-spent years of woodshedding, and perfecting his technique would pay off handsomely. In 1990, Balducci would go on to win a local contest sponsored by Guitar For The Practicing Musician proclaiming him as New York’s best guitarist. Balducci also furthered his six-string education, earning a degree in music performance and theory from Five Towns College. Balducci’s debut CD, 1995’s BALANCE distributed through Sony Music reaped unanimous praise from press and guitar enthusiasts alike heralding this promising new talent.

After his debut CD Balance, Rob worked on new material and starting shopping his music to record companies. The new CD was sent to Steve Vai in hopes of Steve wanting to release it on his new record label Favored Nations Entertainment. “Favored Nations was created with the intent of bringing music that’s energetic and emotional, with performances by artists of the highest caliber. The artists signed to Favored Nations are a unique, dedicated breed that have attained the highest performance level on their chosen instruments – Steve Vai “ Vai signed Balducci to Favored Nations and released Mantra and The Color Of Light CDs worldwide. Balducci’s newest 2009 Favored Nations CD is titled Violet Horizon and features 15 new tracks of his best work to date with special guest appearances by Guthrie Govan and Dave Weiner.

2009 has been a busy year, not only has Balducci recorded Violet Horizon he also collaborated with Bassist Randy Coven and drummer John Macaluso on a new CD that will be coming out on BHP/NuGroove records. The CD features songs written by Randy, Rob and John and is produced by Emmy Award winning producer Brian Tarquin. Joining Rob on this CD is fellow guitar players Steve Vai, Leslie West and many more….

Rob is currently working on his debut instructional DVD which will be released through The Rock House Method company. His stellar guitar stylings can also be heard on “Rewired: A Tribute To Jeff Beck,” “Crushing Days: A Tribute To Joe Satriani” and a salute to Carlos Santana. Rob Balducci has the pleasure of working with and endorsing Ibanez Guitars, Cornford Amps, Intellitouch tuners, D’Addario Strings, Dimarzio Pick-ups, George L’s cables, Morley pedals, Keeley Pedals, Xotic pedals, Dunlop, Maxon and performs clinics around the world in support of these companies.

The musical community has also taken notice of this guitar giant, with scores of global publications loudly singing his praises (most notably Guitarist UK, Guitar World, Young Guitar, and Burn). What remains constant about Rob Balducci is his intoxicating cinematic scope of sounds, skin-tight arrangements and extraordinary six-string dexterity. Music is a highly personal experience for each and every listener, a uniquely exotic adventure conjuring up a kaleidoscope of different emotions and feelings. Like a master snake charmer, Balducci’s music seduces, inspires, challenges, and ultimately takes you onto a new dimension of light and shade and into the ” Violet Horizon

Mike Martin

Mike Martin

Mike Martin Biography

Mike “2 of 5” Martin began his life on stage. Literally. Mike’s mother was pregnant while she was in college studying and performing opera. He never had a chance! He began his formal study of music at the age of four, learning violin and singing in choir throughout elementary school. At nine, he started playing the piano. In 1985 he discovered the guitar and was given one that year for Christmas. Teaching himself to play by ear, Mike quickly developed a repertoire of popular rock music, learning every AC/DC riff he could.

In junior high, Mike began seeking out teachers who could help further him along as a player. After a short stint with music store lessons, Mike was accepted to study at The Concord Community Music School in Concord, New Hampshire, studying Classical Guitar with Christopher Kane and Jazz Guitar with David Tonkin.

Mike earned his first professional job as a musician playing 12-string guitar for the New Life Singers, a contemporary Christian folk ensemble based out of Concord, NH. At fifteen, Mike started a rock band and began performing music by Metallica, Queensryche, Anthrax, Guns N’ Roses, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden all over New Hampshire with musicians who were already out of school

Eager to learn as much as possible about the guitar, Mike took an opportunity to move to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, in 1990 to begin studying with Tom Yoder, a local guitar wizard that Mike credits for bringing out the discipline and skills he would need for a lifetime of music achievement. During this period, Mike continued performing in the Myrtle Beach area with local bands. He stayed under Tom’s tutelage until graduating from high school in 1992

After high school, Mike moved to Atlanta with the group Tunnel Vision in hopes of getting his performing career off the ground. The new Alternative and Grunge movements made it difficult for Mike to secure many opportunities, but he did make some acquaintances along the way. During a short stint at a Georgia landscaping company he met Rich Ward of Stuck Mojo, and Sean Delson and Doug Busbee of Salem Ash. Little did he realize then the significance of this brief encounter.

Discouraged by the trend in “anti-guitar-solo” music, Mike did the only thing he could think of: Go To College! Here he studied Music Theory and Composition with Dr. David Maves, ASCAP Composer of the Year 1995. He also continued his Classical guitar studies with Mark Regnier and Jazz studies with pianist Tommy Gill.

After graduating in 1999, Mike moved back to Atlanta to pick up where he had left off. He soon found work in the thriving Atlanta Blues Scene as a mercenary sideman for hire which gained him the honor of being included in a historic photo of GA blues musicians now on display in The Georgia Music Hall of Fame in Macon, GA. Mike also had great success performing with his Nuevo Gypsy/Flamenco duo with Ed Wier. Mike began showcasing his writing with the group The Hybrids in 2000, which ultimately lead to starting a group under his own name in 2002.

Mike was approached by Sean Delson in the summer of 2004 on behalf of Rich Ward and FOZZY to take over lead guitar responsibilities. They were in the process of dropping the joke gimmick to become a real band and beginning a world tour to support their record “All That Remains” featuring guitar solos by Hard Rock and Metal guitar heroes Zakk Wylde, Mark Tremonti and Marty Friedman. They were in need of a real guitar player to do the album justice on the road and Mike was more than up to the challenge, transcending “touring sideman” status to become a feature of the live shows. Since then Mike has toured worldwide with FOZZY and recorded The Duke’s (Ward’s) release on Spitfire Records, “My Kung Fu Is Good” (released worldwide May 2005). In 2006, Mike played lead guitar for FOZZY on the track “Metal Gods” for a tribute to Judas Priest CD featuring Motorhead, Vince Neil, Sepultura and Tim “Ripper” Owens among others.

Being in close association with the band Stuck Mojo, Mike was asked to perform on their long awaited album “Southern Born Killers”. After having toured with the band multiple times and appearing as a guest in the upcoming DVD release “Live at the London Underworld”, Mike joined the band as an official member and second guitarist to Rich Ward in 2007, appearing in the music video for “I’m American”. During Mike’s time with Stuck Mojo, they toured extensively throughout Europe with Vol Beat and Ektomorph, as well as signed with Napalm Records to release “The Great Revival” in January of 2009.

2009 also finally saw the release of the live CD which had been recorded in Australia on FOZZY’s 2005 “Remains Alive” tour. Mike’s final contribution to the band was to produce the track “Wormwood” for the January 2010 release “Chasing the Grail”. Chris Jericho penned the lyrics about the end of the world inspired by the book of Revelations. Mike turned those lyrics into a 14 minute progressive hard rock cinematic feast for the ears composing, arranging, engineering, playing all of the guitars, conducting the choir for the finale and co-mixing with Eric Frampton. This standout track was a complete musical departure for the band and it demonstrates Mike’s growth as an artist in his own right. “Wormwood” has been a very highly reviewed track on the album and a fan favorite
 but more importantly, it is a synergistic example of all that Mike has to offer and a tip of the hand as to what he will be up to on his next projects.

During his tours of duty with FOZZY, The Duke, and Stuck Mojo, Mike seized upon the opportunity to build a project studio at his home so he could begin to produce his solo projects. The first of which was the instrumental album “2 of 5”, originally released the Summer of 2006 independently on Serpa Records, and now available worldwide through Steve Vai’s Digital Nations Division of the Favored Nations record label. “The title is a reference to the Borg character ‘7 of 9’ on Star Trek,” says Mike. “I am the second of five children so I thought it was pretty clever.” With the new Vai DN partnership, and the critical acclaim and success of “Wormwood”, 2013 is poised to be the year Mike gets his band touring properly as well as working on a new music set to be released in 2013.

2011 – 2013
Mike worked with Atlanta projects Agent Cooper (featuring members of Fozzy, Stuck Mojo, The Duke and Salem Ash) and The Nominees (featuring members of doubleDrive and Speed X). Touring Europe opening for Tony MacAlpine in 2012.

Highlights for MIke’s solo project in 2012 include opening for Steve Vai at Center Stage in Atlanta, GA and The Aristocrats (featuring Guthrie Govan, Bryan Beller and Marco Minneman) in Nashville, TN

Mike’s foundations in Classical, Metal, Jazz, Folk, Rock and World music have allowed him dedicate his career to versatility and culture with the highest respect for art by any means necessary. Perhaps he is best described in the following way:

Art with a purpose is a force to be reckoned with.

Chris Green

Chris Green

Chris Green Biography

Guitarist Chris Green has had the pleasure of playing in a long list of powerful rock bands, including Furyon, Nelson, Scrap Metal, Defcon, Firehouse and Pride. In 2008, the UK band, “Furyon” recorded their debut album with platinum-selling producer Rick Beato. His most recent project is a collaboration with CJ Snare, “Rubicon Cross,” as well as writing an instrumental album yet to be released.

Maragold on Live From Music City May 9th!

Maragold

Rock band Maragold will be on Live From Music City Tuesday May 9th!

Bio

MARAGOLD…a band that started as an idea and grew into a long awaited reality.

Renowned guitarist Greg Howe, widely known for his rock / fusion instrumental recordings, had been considering doing an album featuring vocal-driven songs for quite a while. Long time friend, bassist Kevin Vecchione, had played on Greg’s “Five” album, as well as having toured with Greg previously.Through the years, over the course of their enduring friendship, Greg and Kevin had been discussing and mulling over the idea of being in a band together… They finally decided to stop talking and start acting, and the seeds of the band “Maragold” were sown. Drummer Gianluca Palmieri, who had also toured with Greg, and played on his recent album “Sound Proof”, was recruited to complete their dynamic rhythm section.

All they needed was “the voice”…

Originally, the band started working with a male singer, but due to other musical endeavors, he was unable to continue with the project. In the meantime, Kevin had discovered an amazing vocal talent while performing in the Tri-State area club circuit, and suggested the female singer as a replacement. Greg was initially hesitant, as the songs they had lined up were centered around a male vocalist.

However…

Kevin had Greg listen to some demos he had done with the new singer, Meghan Krauss. Greg enthusiastically agreed that she had “the voice”, but Meghan’s presence, personality, image, and especially her ability to inject herself into a song, truly made her the “total package” that they wanted in a vocalist. Meghan agreed to take on the duties as lead singer; Greg and Kevin immediately went to work writing songs befitting her vocal style.

The results are the ten amazing songs on the debut self-titled album, “MARAGOLD”. Combining exemplary musicianship and powerhouse vocals with provocative songwriting, the album represents a daring new direction for Greg Howe, which is sure to be an exciting experience for his fans, old and new.

You can find out more about Maragold here:

http://www.maragoldband.com/band.html

http://www.facebook.com/maragoldband

http://www.twitter.com/maragoldband

http://www.youtube.com/maragoldband