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Concert Review: Duo De Twang, (Featuring Les Claypool) Higher Ground, Burlington, Vermont 8/29/14

BURLINGTON, VERMONT - It’s not very often that someone gets the opportunity to see one of their musical heroes up close and personal. Sure, I’ve been to many concerts and have seen quite a few of my favorites, including the first time I saw Geddy Lee and Rush. I was utterly paralyzed; no fists in the air and no outward expressions of joy coming from me. It’s quite possible that I made it through the entire show without blinking... it was that good. Being a bass player myself, I have always naturally gravitated toward the bassists in my favorite bands.

Review by John Yake* Photo courtesy of Higher Ground

Of course, there have been exceptions but for the most part, it’s the guy that lays down the bottom end that gets most of my attention... and on this Friday night at Burlington Vermont's Higher Ground in late August, my undivided attention was on the one and only, Les Claypool, front-man of Primus. The first time I was exposed to primus over 20 years ago, I had never heard anything like it in my life and although I loved that it sounded so fresh, it did take a few months for me to realize the greatness of the band's energetic and enigmatic singer/bassist Claypool.

CD Review: The Ed Palermo Big Band "Oh No! Not Jazz!!"

Being a fan of both jazz and rock music, it is always cool when I can draw from both genres when writing a review or article and in the case of this two-disc, Ed Palermo Big Band CD, add in the fact that I am also a huge admirer of the late-great Frank Zappa and well, I shouldn’t ask for more... but I did, also having the opportunity to recently interview Mr. Palermo for a Standing Room Only cover story.

Review by Joe Milliken

With the release of Oh No! Not Jazz!! in February, the composer/band leader/sax player Palermo and his big band have now released two LPs of original material and four LPs of Zappa interpretations to date. Palermo’s impressive 18-piece band has essentially remained the same for 30+ years, including 20+ years of learning and performing Frank Zappa compositions… which is clearly evident when listening to this band performing the unique and often complicated Zappa catalog.

DVD Review: The Who’s “Quadrophenia Live in London”

Last year, to mark the 40th Anniversary of The Who’s classic album Quadrophenia, the band hit the road to play the album in its entirety, along with a handful of classic hits. The resulting live recording is an extraordinary show that - thanks to digital technology - feels like you’re right there in the front row. The sound is beautifully mastered in 5.1 surround and the video is top notch.

Review by Christopher Bergmann

The songs are performed with an amazing energy that make you quickly forget that the two remaining original members - Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey - are pushing 70 and the group of musician’s they assembled, including Townshend’s son Simon on guitar and vocals and legendary bassist Pino Palladino among others, do an impressive job capturing all of the energy of the original Who foursome.

CD Review – Ian Anderson’s “Homo Erraticus”

In recent years, Jethro Tull front-man Ian Anderson’s output has not always left his fans satisfied. Such as the strange Jethro Tull album, which like the technology he was allegorically criticizing, was lyrically dated almost as soon as it was released in 1999. Since then, he has released a handful of solo albums, none of which feature many of the elements Tull fans expect.

Review by Christopher Bergmann

In 2012, Anderson decided to re-explore themes first introduced on the classic Tull album Thick as a Brick with the release of TAAB2. Not a proper Tull album due to the departure of longtime lead guitarist Martin Barre, Ian treated it as a solo album and assembled a whole new band to record and tour. While musically a more progressive album, TAAB2 left fans including myself, still feeling somewhat unfulfilled.

Roots on the River Festival a Sun-Shining Success!

BELLOWS FALLS, VERMONT – Although a local resident for many years, this music writer had admittedly, never attended the Roots on th Riverfestival before last weekend’s 15th annual. Mostly, I suppose, because my musical tastes lean more towards multiple genres of rock, jazz and blues... as opposed to the mostly roots, folk and bluegrass genres featured at Roots.

Article and photos by Joe Milliken 1. Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band 2. JD McPherson 3. Poor Old Shine 4. Rev. Peyton and his cigar box guitar

Therefore, considering the artists I witnessed and enjoyed on this absolutely beautiful Saturday afternoon not only rocked, but also filled the air with jazzy and bluesy overtones all over the place, I am here to say damn, did I ever make a big mistake not coming to this wonderful event sooner... and I vow to not commit this shameful error again!

CD Review: Carol Ann Jones' "Super Charged!"

Singer, song writer and Georgia, Vermont-resident Carol Ann Jones releases her third CD, titled Super Charged! Fourteen original songs written over several years of song writing growth. “I actually wrote the songs on Super Charged! over a seven year period,” Jones recently told Standing Room Only. “Some of which while working part-time at the Georgia, Vermont Post Office.”

Review by Joe Milliken * Photos courtesy of Carol Ann Jones

The tracks were recorded at West Street Digital Recording studio in Fairfield, Vermont and produced by studio owner Andre Maquera, who also just so happens to be Carol Ann’s touring guitarist as well as providing lead guitar and backing vocals on Super Charged!. Jones and Maquera have worked together for several years now and have developed a good working chemistry.

CD Review: Boyan Hristov's "B11"

B11 is a guitar-driven, jazz trio led by Bulgarian-born Boyan Hristov, a blazing guitar player armed with a degree from Boston’s Berklee School of Music and a new CD that offers a half dozen of his compositions, as well as several well-chosen covers (15 tracks total) from such diverse artists as Henry Mancini, Stevie Wonder, Lou Donaldson and Big John Patton.

Review by Joe Milliken * Photos courtesy of Boyan Hristov

B11 also features Mike Levesque on drums, who has worked with such artists as David Bowie, Dave Navarro, Juliana Hatfield, Seven Mary Three and Susan Tedeschi… and Tom Appleman on bass, who has worked with Robbie Krieger of The Doors, Missing Persons and Gordon Gano of Violent Femmes to name but a few. Appleman is also a teacher at the aforementioned Boston Berklee School of Music. Additional contributing musicians also include Brian Holtz on bass, Eric German Rodriquez on congas and bongos and Ron Bayless on congas and guiro.

CD Review: Mad the Martian's "Blast Off"

After having the opportunity to interview the members of Mad the Martian (and no, they didn’t take me for a ride in their space ship) before listening to their debut CD and writing this review, I had the advantage of already knowing a little bit about the band and what they were trying to accomplish with Blast Off...and let me tell you folks, it works!

Article by Joe Milliken * CD cover courtesy of Mad the Martian

Featuring Cap’n Jack (AKA Jack Marsh) on keyboards and vocals, Ron E Raygun (Bob Marsh, Jr.) on guitars and vocals and Ajax Ray O Vaque (producer Anthony J.

CD Review: Free Spirit's "All the Shades of Darkened Light"

Hailing from Finland and ready to rock your ass off, Free Spirit’s second official release, titled All the Shades of Darkened Light, is a thick slab of authentic melodic rock; progressive melodies and edgy guitar riffs, bombastic keyboard flourishes, powerful vocals and compelling lyrics all wrapped up into a heavy wall of classic, AOR-style rock.

Review by * Photos courtesy of

Over time, Free Spirit’s sound has steadily developed into a relative melting pot of influences, fusing classic and melodic rock vibes into their own unique style. The much anticipated follow up to their debut release, 2009’s Pale Sister of Light, expands upon the band’s huge rock sound and pristine instrumentation.

Let's Groove With The Ken Clark Organ Trio

WINDHAM, NEW HAMPSHIRE - This music journalist last caught up with native-Vermonter Ken Clark all the way back in 2003, not long after he landed a record deal with Severn Record and had released his second Organ Trio CD.

Article by Joe Milliken * Photos courtesy of Ken Clark

Now over a decade later and after releasing his latest CD Dr. Organstein last May, Ken’s Hammond B-3 and guitar-fueled trio continues to perform throughout the Northeast, creating their unique brand of modern, funky-swing-jazz that’s reminiscent of old-school jazz masters such as Jimmy Smith and Big John Patton.

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