The name Tony MacAlpine is synonymous with modern musical virtuosity. Whether performing as a solo artist, band member, session player, touring hired-gun, or as a producer, Tony MacAlpine continues to prove that he truly is one of rocks most amazing and versatile musicians. He incorporates classical, jazz and fusion influences into the hard rock/metal genre on both guitar and keyboards.
In his 28 year career he has produced, written and arranged eleven solo instrumental studio albums. Tony has also released four albums with his jazz-fusion band CAB, three albums with his progressive rock band Planet X, and a number of other band projects. In addition, MacAlpine has contributed both guitar and keyboards to a long list of records by other artists.
Tony was born and raised in Springfield Massachusetts, and in his early years was a classically trained pianist and violinist. He began his musical education at age 5 as a piano major at the Springfield Conservatory of Music, where he studied under the direction of Marion Jensen for twelve years. Tony furthered his studies at HARTT College under the tutelage of Professor Raymond Hanson at the University of Hartford, Connecticut.
At age 12, Tony picked up the guitar. He was later discovered in the pages of Guitar Player magazine by Mike Varney in 1984, and soon became a leading figure in the neoclassical guitar virtuoso movement of the mid to late 80s. MacAlpine was possibly the first new rock guitar instrumental artist of the 80s to break 100,000 units in the USA. His debut album Edge Of Insanity (1986) and sophomore release Maximum Security (1987) are cited by countless guitarists as major influences. Tony performed guitar and keyboards on Edge Of Insanity (with Billy Sheehan on bass and Steve Smith on drums), and all instruments (with the exception of drums by Deen Castronovo and Atma Anur) on Maximum Security, highlighting his musical dexterity.
MacAlpine continued his extraordinary output into the 90s, with critically acclaimed releases Freedom to Fly (1992), Madness (1993), Premonition (1994) and Evolution (1995), which all remain among his discographys best sellers.
In the late 90s, Tony joined forces with Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater, Billy Idol) and Virgil Donati (Steve Vai, Allan Holdsworth) to form progressive rock band Planet X, regularly touring
Europe and South America. In 1999, bassist Bunny Brunel (Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock) tapped MacAlpine to join his jazz-fusion band CAB, along with drummer Dennis Chambers (John McLaughlin, Carlos Santana) and keyboardists Brian Auger (Tony Williams, Jimi Hendrix) and Patrice Rushen (GRAMMY-Awards Musical Director). This lead to the release of their self-titled album in 2000, and their GRAMMY-nominated CAB2 album in 2001. Two further CAB albums followed and the band toured the world, particularly Europe, Asia and Russia.
Shortly after, Tony was invited to join the band of fellow guitar virtuoso Steve Vai (along with Billy Sheehan on bass) where he played both guitar and keyboards, often doubling Vais formidable leads on both instruments. Tony performed and toured the world with Vai for seven years, playing to hundreds of thousands of people, and appearing on the certified double-platinum DVD Live At The Astoria, London, along with the G303 Live In Denver and G3 Live In Tokyo DVDs.
In 2006, Shrapnel Records celebrated Tonys 20 year career with Collection The Shrapnel Years an album containing some of his hottest musical moments comprised of aggressive rock and fusion compositions which highlight Tonys incredible technique and melodic flair. These tracks contain standout performances by some of the greatest musicians in progressive music, including drummers Steve Smith and Deen Castronovo as well as bassists Billy Sheehan and Tony Franklin and other world class players.
In 2007, Tony was the featured guitarist for French pop legend Michel Polnareffs highly successful comeback tour in France, playing to over half a million people during the tours three month run. A special performance of this event was televised across France. He also appeared in the 2008 award-winning motion picture Crazy: The Hank Garland Story making a cameo as Wes Montgomery.
In 2011, Tony made a highly anticipated return to solo work, with his self-titled album Tony MacAlpine released in the USA and Europe on June 21. It features 12 blistering tracks of MacAlpine on 7 and 8-stringed guitars, keyboards, bass and programming, along with appearances from drum legends Virgil Donati and Marco Minnemann. The album garnered widespread critical acclaim Premier Guitar magazine calling it one of the best instrumental records of 2011.
In 2012, Tony joined forces with Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater, Winery Dogs), Billy Sheehan (David Lee Roth, Mr. Big) and Derek Sherinian (Billy Idol, Joe Bonamassa) to form the super group PSMS. The band toured Europe and Asia and released the live CD, Blu-ray/DVD Live In Tokyo.
In 2015, Tony released Concrete Gardens, featuring Brazilian drum icon Aquiles Priester (Primal Fear, Hangar, Angra), bassist Pete Griffin (Zappa Plays Zappa, Dethklok, Shining) and a guest appearance by Jeff Loomis (Arch Enemy, Conquering Dystopia, Nevermore). The album included an accompanying DVD and EMGtv web series featuring Tony and band (Aquiles Priester, Pete Griffin, and guitarist Nili Brosh) performing the album live in the studio.
Unfortunately, shortly after the subsequent US tour, Tony was diagnosed with colon cancer, and was forced to cancel tours of Europe, Asia and Australia, and immediately undergo treatment. In a double blow, Tonys wife was diagnosed with breast cancer around the same time. In December 2015, his fellow musicians banded together for A Benefit for Tony MacAlpine at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles, featuring performances from Steve Vai, Mike Portnoy, Billy Sheehan, Derek Sherinian, John 5, Zakk Wylde, Paul Gilbert, Nuno Bettencourt, Tom Morello, Richie Kotzen, and hosted by Eddie Trunk. The show also combined with an auction featuring items donated from a whos who of rock royalty.
In the later stages of Tonys recovery in 2016, he supported Steve Vai on the west coast run of the Passion and Warfare 25th Anniversary Tour; and performed dates in France as the guitarist in Michel Polnareffs band.
On September 1, Tony released his 12th solo album Death of Roses. The 7-track album is the first of a 2-part release, and features Hungarian drum sensation Gergo Borlai, and Pete Griffin returns on bass. His North American tour in support of the album kicks off on September 1. Innovative Venezuelan 14 & 16-string guitarist Felix Martin will be supporting on all dates.
Tony endorses Ibanez guitars, Hughes & Kettner amplifiers, EMG pickups, Ernie Ball strings, Source Audio pedal, and Roland keyboards.
Tony likes motorcycles. He lives in Pasadena, CA.
Vance Gilberts BaD Dog Buffet
Can something be wry, aching, hysterical, evocative, provocative, fun, beautifully sung, and consummately played all at once? Can it?
Thatd be Vance Gilbert and his transcendent new album BaD Dog Buffet.
With the generous assistance from a varied list of super-respected guestsincluding Celtic harpist/singer Aine Minogue, bluegrass boys Darol Anger and Joe Walsh Jr., jazz sax player Grace Kelly, country rock hero Roy Sludge, and guitar mainstay Kevin Barrythis talented mans musical truth plays out shamelessly on BaD Dog Buffet.
Fully funded by his fans, the record has so far received raves reviews based solely on the material folks knew would be on it Those who know and love Vance have already enjoyed the life-loving capitulation of God Bless Everyone, the seething rocker Nothing from You, and the tonguein-cheek, happy break-up song, Out the Way We Came In. First Ring is a Vance classic, a banjo love story rooted in folk whimsy, while Kiss the Bad Boys sounds like what would happen if Bootsy Collins and Bruce Springsteen were trapped in an elevator and ended up writing a song together. Unfamiliar Moon, which some may know as Vances signature songa tune that landed him in the second round of auditions of TVs Americas Got Talentis revisited here in a pared down version with Anger on fiddle.
Like all great artists, Vance truly happens live. In fact he developed his reputation with his jawdropping, diverse, funny, devastating, and gorgeous live performances. Arlo Guthrie, Anita Baker, the late George Carlin have all requested Vance to be added to their bills.
Vance exploded onto the scene in the early 90s, with buzz spreading quickly. Who was this multicultural arts teacher knocking them dead at open mics? After opening Shawn Colvins 1992 Fat City tour, he took much of America by storm and by surprise. With the voice of an angel, the wit of a devil, and the guitar playing of a god, it was enough to earn him that rarity: an encore for an opener, wrote the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in its review of a show from the Colvin tour.
Vance followed with three acclaimed albums for the Rounder/Philo labelEdgewise (1994), Fugitives (1995), and Shaking Off Gravity (1998). Then, Somerville Live (2000), was lionized by the Boston Globe as the disc young songwriters should study the way law students cram for bar exams, and New Yorks Town and Village called One Thru Fourteen (2002), lively, eclectic, electrifying and transcending.
Gilbert then released a duo album with his friend Ellis Paul, entitled Side Of The Road (2003). The Boston Globe described it as the songwriters most compelling work; literate, heartfelt, rippling emotionally resonant. The Globe placed the album on its Top 10 list that year.
Gilbert only continued on with three more albums, Angels, Castles, Covers (2006) displaying his vocal virtuosity, with sounds of Motown, the R&B of Al Green, and classic Joni Mitchell. Up On Rockfield (2008) just after a year and a half as support for George Carlin, and Old White Men.
Which brings us full circle to BaD Dog Buffet, the latest in a growing, glowing oeuvre and an evocative catalog created by a cornerstone acoustic artist.
Mystic Braves might be rooted in the psychedelic scene of the 1960s, but the bands moment is happening right now.
Based in Echo Park, Los Angeleshome of a white-hot garage band revival of which the Braves are at the forefrontthis five-piece musical sensation started out as a hobby, but for the musicians involved has become much more.
And while the groupmade up ofJulian Ducatenzeiler on guitar and vocals,Tony Malacaraon bass and vocals, Shane Stotsenbergon guitar and vocals, Cameron Gartungon drums and Ignacio Gonzalezon organ and tambourineisnt straying far from what Ducatenzeiler describes as a a blend of influence and sound that is unprecedented in contemporary music, there are certainly some changes afoot.
Since theearly days, Mystic Braves have gone on to release two full-length recordsboth recorded at Lolipopand a single and have played extensively to ever-increasing crowds in Southern California and beyond. And thegoodwill that their first songs garnered has never gone away.
Lucy Spraggan is in a good place and wants to share it with you. She is happy in love, life and music: three things that are reflected in the anthemic, upbeat, and infectious sound of her new album. The past few years have been the best of times for the singer-songwriter and Today Was a Good Day sings that message loud. The UK has one of the highest youth suicide rates in the developed world and an ever-growing incidence of mental health difficulties across our population: Spraggans personal experience of dark days compels her to pass on the message of hope that forms the backbone of this album.
Its been seven years since Spraggan appeared on the X Factor in 2012 and shes open about the difficult times when she felt suicidal. I was a young person with fame and money in my pocket. I was dragged from club to club to play and given free booze, says Spraggan. Im not sure where I would be without it the experience, but it was just too much for my brain. I was drinking and partying and in a terrible place.
She reached her lowest moment driving down a motorway 2013. With her foot on the accelerator at 120mph, she closed her eyes. I was about to turn my wheel into the central reservation when my dog (her Boston Terrier, Steve) sneezed. I knew I couldnt do it to him and he saved me. I came straight home and started Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and my recovery started from there. It opened the door to hope.
Spraggan wants use her experiences to help others. Last year, she released Stick The Kettle On the first track on this the Today Was a Good Day album - in support of CALM - The Campaign Against Living Miserably. The track was written with Roy Stride (Scouting For Girls), and Stride and Spraggan decided work with CALM to help people who suffer with mental health issues.
Today Was a Good Day marks a new chapter for Spraggan musically. She signed a new record and publishing deal with Cooking Vinyl in 2018. The new album, produced by Jon Maquire showcases Spraggans voice in the structure of the songs. Overall she sounds at her most confident and accomplished, and ready to build on her 50 million views on YouTube and 25 million streams on Spotify. The most Googled musician of 2012, Spraggan was the first X Factor artist to play Glastonbury and will perform there again this year on the Avalon Stage after filling the Acoustic Tent in 2017.
Spraggans invitation to support Melissa Etheridge on tour across Europe and the UK will surely be one of the highlights of 2019, despite coming so early in the year.
As Spraggan announces headline shows across the UK, Europe, and the US in 2019 her thoughts are never far from juggling home life with that one on the road. The past few years have been the most important in my life. Settling down, getting married and planning a family - I just want to share my story and get out there and play.
Bombadil is a long-running folk-pop band from Durham, NC. The band has made fans at NPR, Rolling Stone and the New York Times, who called them "astonishing." Time Out New York said their music is bursting with irresistible melodies, unexpected lyrical gems, and moments of profound honesty, all anchored by expert songwriting skills."
As a teenager, Scott picked up the bass guitar on a whim. Natural talent and the lure of a challenge drove him to be the best musician he could and discover his love for singing, songwriting and the upright bass. With the encouragement of his teacher, he went on to study music in college.
Scott moved to Nashville after school, and he would meet American music icon Ricky Skaggs and join his Grammy winning band, Kentucky Thunder. He toured with Ricky for five years, and in that time, first started writing songs on his upright bass.
He has shared the stage with some of the greatest artists of modern music, such as: Alison Krauss, Barry Gibb of the BeeGees, Bruce Hornsby, Brad Paisley, Peter Frampton, Steven Curtis Chapman, Emmylou Harris, Dave Barnes, Ben Rector, and many more.
Scotts songs have received honors or been featured in NPRS Tiny Desk Contest, the International Songwriting Competition, John Lennon Songwriting Contest, and American Songwriter Magazines 30th Anniversary Contest, and he has had numerous cuts on other artists albums.
Hes currently touring in support of his September release, Top Of The Stairs(EP), which was produced by himself, Charlie Peacock (The Civil Wars, The Lone Bellow) Gary Paczosa (Alison Krauss, Sarah Jarosz), and Shani Ghandi (Sarah Jarosz).
Dylan LeBlanc knows second chances dont come around often. But, neither do voices like his.
Overwhelmed by the speed his gift would take him, from Applebees server to the new Neil Young in a matter of months, he walked away from an unlikely major label deal after releasing two critically acclaimed albums. He slipped into a blur of booze and self-doubt. Exhausted and damaged at just 23-years-old, Dylan came home to Muscle Shoals, Alabama to write a new life for himself.
In between the moments of clarity and a few familiar falls, he also wrote a new album, Cautionary Tale: a collection of shimmering, arresting songs with the same haunting vocals that caught the attention of Lucinda Williams and Bruce Springsteen, now with a sharpened edge honed by hastened maturity.
This record is about me getting honest with myself, says Dylan. I had to let the guilt about the past go and find a new truth within myself. This time, I felt like I really had something to say.
To help him say it, he sought out long-time friend Ben Tanner, the same guy who had secretly helped Dylan record his first songs after hours while working at fabled FAME Studios. (He also introduced a 16-year-old Dylan to Wilco, George Harrison, and Ryan Adams by way of an external hard drive). In between touring with Alabama Shakes, Ben was beginning to engineer records again at the label he started with another friend of Dylans, Grammy Award-winning musician John Paul White, formerly of the Civil Wars. The two both produced and played on Cautionary Tale.
They prevented me from burying my words, says Dylan. Doubt can often be my first instinct, and Ill try to cover things up with more elements to hide my voice, but I made up my mind to trust them. I heard Merle Haggard say once that the singer is secondary to the song, and they both helped me build a strong foundation for the emotions I was feeling.
The stripped down aesthetic that John Paul and Ben have made their labels calling card sets Dylans voice in a light bright enough to see the patina the last few years has left behind.
I spent a lot of time writing about programming and conditioning and the idea of ego, says Dylan. I dont want to rely on my circumstances or the past to say why I am the way I am anymore. A lot of my songs like Cautionary Tale and Look How Far Weve Come are about trying to break out of a vicious cycle. I was wondering if I could find my solutions from withinif I could believe in something beyond the present.
If Dylan was wandering through a cemetery with his first album Paupers Field (Songs are like headstones to me, he told The Guardian), Cautionary Tale is an abandoned desert town. He reflects on what once was, and if anything could be again. At times, he wonders if the signs of life he sees on the horizon are real or just a mirage. Phantasmic, warbling voices in the background rise to meet his own and fade into the ether; ghostly guitar riffs echo in the emptiness around him.
Finding the right arrangement and words was a more deliberate effort for Dylan this time. After feeling lost in the mania of recording his first two albums, he relied on Ben and John Paul to help him collect the pieces of his vision.
Ive definitely become more disciplined. I dont count on things like inspiration anymore, says Dylan. I learned so much from putting songs together with John Paul. Anything he does, its always going to be well-thought-out and well-placed. Im naturally an improv guy, but now I see how that can be more limiting than planning your next move.
That new-found discipline shows. Never one to write out parts, Dylan methodically scored the stunning string sections with violinist Kimi Samson and cellist Caleb Elliot. To form the polished rhythm section he wanted to drive songs like The Easy Way Out and Beyond the Veil, he paired drummer Jeremy Gibson with Alabama Shakes bassist Zac Cockrell (I wanted it to feel like a Bill Withers record or Al Greensoulful, but tight.)
While Dylan will be the first to admit he wasnt ready to stand on the stages he played early in his career, theres no doubting he is now. With a recalibrated compass, hes back on the road opening sold-out shows for British singer-songwriter George Ezra, another artist praised for a wizened voice beyond his years.
Dylan will continue to support George through September 2015, including a show at Nashvilles legendary Ryman Auditorium. Next, hell embark on his solo tour with dates throughout the South, Midwest, and New England.
After everything Ive gone through, I still love putting records out and singing for people, no matter how big or small the crowd, says Dylan. Its the only thing I want to do, and now I get to keep doing it as a more well-rounded person. I guess Im blessed or whatever the hell you want to call it.
Robyn Hitchcock is one of Englands most enduring contemporary singer/songwriters and live performers. A surrealist poet, talented guitarist, cult artist and musicians musician, Hitchcock is among alternative rocks father figures and is the closest thing the genre has to a Bob Dylan (not coincidentally his biggest musical inspiration).
Since founding the art-rock band The Soft Boys in 1976, Robyn has recorded more than 20 albums as well as starred in Storefront Hitchcock an in concert film recorded in New York and directed by Jonathan Demme.
Blending folk and psychedelia with a wry British nihilism, Robyn describes his songs as paintings you can listen to. His most recent album is self-titled and marks his 21st release as a solo artist. Out on April 21 2017, the album is produced by Brendan Benson (The Raconteurs). Hitchcock describes it as a ecstatic work of negativity with nary a dreary groove.
It has received rave reviews from UNCUT, Rolling Stone, Paste, Tidal and more.
A gifted melodist, Hitchcock nests engaging lyrics in some of the most bracing, rainbow-hued pop this side of Revolver. He wrests inspiration not from ordinary life but from extraordinary imaginings Rolling Stone
These 10 gems slither, rock, roll, glide and shapeshift, coalescing around Hitchcocks typically anxious, strained but striking and immediately identifiable vocals. American Songwriter
Beloved of everyone from Led Zeppelin to REM, Hitchcock has only enhanced his status with this wonderful outing. Hot Press
Witty, moving and seriously catchy, Robyn Hitchcock is a glorious return for a man who wasnt really gone in the first place. Paste Magazine
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