Friday, September 30, 2011

The Greatest Story Ever Sung

"Music Inspired by..." When I see a CD with this intro I know two things immediately.
  1. It isn't the official soundtrack
  2. It's probably not worth buying
So you can imagine my reaction when the homepage of New Release Tuesday sported a listening party for Music Inspired by The Story. Actually my first reaction was "What's The Story?" Come to find out it's not a movie, but a Bible. Yes a Bible. The Bible as a continuous story.

The Instrumental Overture kicks things off, and I kind of hope it was a movie, because the orchestral arrangement is definitely soundtrack worthy.

I have one big complaint. NRT should have broken the stream into two parts. Using my libraries account, I get 55 minutes, and that is just about the length of the first disc. However, there is no way to fast forward, so you have to start again at the beginning. So there is no way to just get to disc two. A shame.

This is a two disc CD, and like the Bible itself, Disc one is the Old Testament and Disc Two the new. One minor Biblical nitpick. Like I said, the concept is that the Bible is arranged as a continuous narrative story, but there is a chronological error. The Old Testament is as follows: Creation, Adam & Eve, Abraham & Sarah, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Ruth & Naomi, David, Daniel, Esther, Job. The error is the last song. Despite its position in the Bible, only Genesis-Esther is arranged in rough chronological order. Most Bible Scholars place Job somewhere between Abraham and Moses in time.

The Big Guns came out for this, and I think they will be having a Christmas Tour to support the album. That should be something to catch. Leigh Nash, Casting Crowns, Brandon Heath, Peter Furler, Mandisa, and Mac Powell among others. Actually, the only minor miscast here may be Mandisa. While I loved her Album, her casting as "Esther" was mistaken IMHO, considering the orchestration of the album. Overture and the filling orchestration sounds so much like Are You Ready? from Beckah Shae's album Destiny, that I think she should have been on it. Just Saying.

This is a majestic concept album, and it delivers. I'm a sucker for strings, and there are strings in spades here. I'm going to go out and give this album a full 5 Emeralds, and then figure out where I'm going to put it. Any thoughts, readers? I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Mission To Massachusetts: The Final Act

Chapter Four: Night of the Hawk

Hawk Nelson That is. In advance of this final posting on the MWAM Shrewsbury concert, we at The Night Beat express our regret if any Vancouver Canucks fans are offended by some of the Jokes that are contained within.

Perhaps as you have been reading the previous posts and looking at the photographs you have noticed in the background certain cloth covered obelisks. They have been hidden for this moment and now are ready to be revealed.

Presenting: Hawk Nelson
The second Canadian group in the lineup, and coincidentally, both are from Calgary. I mention this because, if you remember my mentioning about Kiros, you know that Flames fans also root for "whoever is playing the Canucks." Well the last one to do that was the Bruins in the Stanley Cup Finals, and the Bruins won. Woo-Hoo. Stanley Cup Champions has a really nice ring to it. It doesn't get old.

Anyway, instead of just saying stuff like "Any Bruins fans in here?", Lead singer Jason Dunn decided to tell Roberto Luongo jokes during the night. He told three, but I can only remember two at the moment. No for the non-hockey fans out there (probably most of my readers), Roberto Luongo was the Goalie for the Vancouver Canucks, and during the Cup Finals, when the game was in Vancouver, he was the rock of Gibraltar, stopping just about everything that came his way. When the game was in Boston, however, Bruins players found more holes in Goal than a colander. Considering that Game 7 was in Vancouver, Canucks fans were confident, but some Bruins Pranksters must have hung a TD Banknorth Garden Sign over the stadium, because Luongo acted like he was in Boston, leading to a joke like this.
It was sad to hear about Roberto Luongo. After the Game he tried to commit suicide. Yeah, he tried to get run over by a bus. But like everything else it went through his legs (drum roll)
Yeah, I know, pretty bad. We're Bruins Fans Here at The Night Beat and we ate it up.

Hawk Nelson's Jason Dunn
It was a great set, and included Songs From Letters to The President (California), Smile, It's The End of The World (Everything You Ever Wanted), Hawk Nelson is my Friend (Friend Like That, Let's Dance, Bring Em Out) and the Title Tracks of Live Life Loud and Crazy Love. And then there were the Canucks jokes.
Dunn: Knock Knock
Crowd: Who's There
Dunn: Roberto Luongo
Crowd: Roberto Luongo Who
Dunn: Exactly
Crazy love was the last song of the set, they said goodnight, and the lights went out. Then came the inevitable cheer of "One More Song", and here I think that it's not only God's Love that is crazy, but also Hawk Nelson, because for the encore, we were told:

Don't Stop Believing

As in the Journey Song. And they not only did the cover, but they did it in style. I'm not sure just any band could have pulled this off, and I've got the photos to prove it, so here we go.
Big Sound and Bigger Hair.

A Journey into the Mind of Hawk Nelson
I have enjoyed bringing you this multi-part tale of the Music With A Mission Concert Event in Shrewsbury, and I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Mission to Massachusetts: For Those Who Wait

Fireflight In Action
This Is For Those Who Wait. This is the second time I have head this screamed in concert, and it is by far one of the most dramatic openings for a band ever. The second time at the same venue in a year, Fireflight consistently puts out a top notch show. If you read my post of their visit last October as part of the For Those Who Wait Tour, you will recall that my biggest gripe was that whoever worked the sound board was falling down on the job because I couldn't hear lead singer Dawn Michele at all.

The Lovely and Talented Dawn Michele
Now the sound was improved this time. It wasn't perfect. There were a few times I couldn't pick up her words, but because I knew the song, I knew what they were. Those times were fewer and far between. Now apart from the backing of NRT, not much had changed. They did bring in a big time talent to work the sound board though -- none other than the Chick-fil-a cow. (There was a medium sized stuffed cow sitting on top of the board).
Part of "The Mission", and another excuse to post a picture of Dawn
I know some of you are thinking I've got a crush on Dawn Michele. No, I don't. I know a good looking girl when I see her though. Besides, I favor brunettes.

Even though Fireflight would be severely diminished without Dawn at lead, there is more to Fireflight than her. There has been a change in the lineup, and the job of maintaining the building shaking bass drums has been passed from Phee Shorb to Adam McMillion. The Building Still Shook, so the drumstick has been passed successfully.

A Picture is Worth a McMillion Words
And, like Skillet, Fireflight is a "Two Chick Band". See my previous post Chicks Who Rock for a video of For Those Who Wait. In addition to Dawn on Lead we have background vocalist and Bass Guitarist Wendy Drennen (wife of Lead Guitarist Glenn Drennen). Wendy is a good rock name (anybody heard of Wendy Kaiser of REZ).

Wendy Drennen Rockin the Bass Guitar
Fireflight Kept the Crowd Stomping Jumping and Screaming with a full set. Musically again we went from For Those Who Wait to Unbreakable with everything in between. The Ten song set once again made me think, "Why aren't they the final act?". It's hard to fathom how these guys could have gone five years without getting played on the radio. (Actually, when you think of the small mindedness of Christian Music Radio, maybe it's not). Could anything top this. It might take some Crazy Love. And I Do Mean CRAZY. To be continued...I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Mission To Massachusetts: Part Two

Intermission Finally ended, and we are back to the concert. NRT and newsound have arranged things so that there are a series of intro acts and then the headliner. In this case it is Intro, Into, Headline 1, Intermission, Intro, Intro, Intro, Headline 2, Headline 3. In my last post I handled everything up to and including the intermission.

The One That Got Away
 First Up was the new band from Minneapolis called Hyland. I had earlier reviewed their album Weights & Measures. I really enjoy this band, and they lived up to their albums potential in their live performance. They did A four song set of Jumping the Gun, The One That Got Away, Til Death, and Never. They are bound for good things in the future.

We are Children of The Light
 Time for a little Rap. The Featured Rapper was Benjah. Pretty much unknown to the CCM world as a rapper, he is better known as a Writer/Producer, having produced, among others, Lecrae, Tedashii, and Sho Baraka. His debut album The Breakup should be debuting soon.

Sitting In Mikeschair
 A Rock Worship Set finished the three lead in acts. Mikeschair was the final band here. It was a quick three song set of worship tunes and then we had to prepare the stage. As they say Good things come For those who wait. Stay tuned for the rest, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Mission To Massachusetts: Part One

MWAM: Shrewsbury Edition
Wow. What a Night. The Music With A Mission Tour Rolled Through Central Massachusetts Last Night. For CCM fans of all stripes, this was an event not to be missed, and I would have you know, right up until Friday afternoon, I thought I would have to miss it, but everything worked out in the end. In my Quick Post written just before I left I just used the promotional poster and listed all the bands for the tour. Chasen, Manafest, and according to my ticket at least, B. Reith wasn't at this stop. That's not to say it wasn't a rocking night. The lineup for the night (in order of appearance) was Samestate, Kiros, Superchick, Hyland, Benjah, Mikeschair, Fireflight, and Hawk Nelson. For those playing the International Game, That's USA 6 Canada 2. That would be a cool score for a hockey game. (More on the hockey reference later). If things look a little fuzzy or red, I apologize in advance. I think I got the auto-focus figured out, but concert light wreak havoc with lighting sensors.

One of the bands on this tour, Fireflight, was at this same Venue (Liberty Churches, Shrewsbury, MA) Last October as Part of the For those Who Wait Tour. That was a penny-ante production compared to MWAM. MWAM Was full of Glitz and glitter, due mostly to the fact that it was orchestrated by New Release Tuesday. Before each act there was a video speel announcing them as coming soon. The energy and anticipation was sky high.

In the Samestate, unless they're not
 Newcomers Samestate opened the evening. I had the chance to preview their EP earlier in the year and they're pretty good. Pretty much straight ahead Rock and Roll. As newcomers to the scene they did a quick three song set, and went off the stage. It was their job to get the mood going in both directions and they did a good job. They told the crowd they couldn't stay around long as the next day they were opening for Switchfoot. Now that struck me as unintentionally funny, Samestate-Different State.

Kiros Loves the Bruins
 Kiros Was Next. For those not in the know it's pronounced KEYE-ros.  They proceeded to endear themselves to the local audience by giving shoutouts to our Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins. Since these guys are from Clagary they are ostensibly Calgary Flames fans, but they say they "Also root for whoever is playing the Canucks." I mmust confess that, being a Bruins Fan, I was unaware of this anti-Canuck sentiment. We usually save our emotions for the Montreal Canadiens (or Les Habs). As to the music, I would probably classify Kiros as Heavy Metal, but in a 80's metal style, not the metal-core prevalent today.

After two opening acts it was time for the first headliner. I say first because the night had Three Legitimate Headline acts. Again, hats off to Soulfest and NRT for this scheduling miracle. Samestate and Kiros both played a 3-4 song set, and then Superchick took over for headline act #1. I'm trying to recollect things here afterward, but I would say we got seven songs from Superchick.

Tricia Brock: The Original Superchick
 What can I say about Superchick? Garage Band to Super Band, I became a fan right off the bat while working for Sparrow Records at Soulfest back in 2000. That was when Tricia was still singing through a megaphone. Seven Albums later, they are one of the best know supergroups out there. Tricia can belt out rock (One Girl Revolution, Rock What You Got) as easily as a haunting ballad (We Live, Stand in the Rain), and even does a good worship set as well (You are My Shepherd, Always, from The Road).

Hey, Hey! Melissa takes the lead
Though Tricia is the lead, Lead Vocals on a few songs were either shared or done outright by Tricia's sister Melissa (who is also Guitarist). After the worship set we were set for the first intermission, but first, co-sponsors Compassion International had a presentation. Melissa talked about her mission trip to Uganda, and her experience with real poverty. She talked of 10x10 "houses" which were "made literally of garbage". When you hear of things like this you realize we have no poor in The United States.

Tricia With a Fan during Intermission
 A short intermission was next, and there were still five more acts to come.

I was running back and forth through the auditorium during the concert and have plenty more photos to share. I think they thought I was a media photographer, and in one sense I am. Since I have a lot more to share I am making a multiple post effort of it, so stay with me. As always, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Music With A Mission

Just a quick post today. Your favorite blogger is heading to Shrewsbury tonite to catch the MWAM (Music With A Mission Tour). I have camera in hand, and batteries, so I should be able to do a review with photos this time. Hawk Nelson, Superchick, Fireflight, B.Reith, Mikeschair, Hyland, Chasen, Kiros, Benjah, and Samestate.

One other thing. (OR Just One More Thing, as S.J. Likes to say). An official night beat shoutout and congrats to The Devil Wears Prada for Cracking the Top 10 (they were at number 10. You Can read the press release at Jesusfreakhideout.

That's it for today. As I always say in closing I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Great Night Beat Affiliate Search...

(Or I'm-A-Gone Amazon). Actually as the voice on my currently on the fritz iBook likes to say "It's not my fault". I don't know if being a pawn in a great war for economic freedom is comforting or not, but it's a fact.

Let me fill in the blanks here. Over the past week I have been frustrated by the fact that my once ever present Amazon Affiliate widget wasn't working. Now since I started The Night Beat partially as a money making opportunity, being cut off from a major possible source of revenue is distressing. Oh Well, I still have google AdSense.

As to it not being my fault. From what I can gather, it all started when the State of California imposed an internet tax on all internet orders in California. Now Amazon is a California Company as well, so they took it extemely poorly and shut down the Amazon Associates accounts of all bloggers in California. Well Google, also in California, in a solidarity move with Amazon, has disabled the Amazon Associate Widgets on its Blogger Platform for all Bloggers. So, for those of us who were hoping for extra cash through Amazon, we're screwed.

I am looking for an Affiliate to replace Amazon. Right Now I am thinking of Christian Book Distributors. They're a Bay State Company, and right now Massachusetts hasn't imposed an internet Tax unless a business has a brick and mortar store in Massachusetts (So CBD, which is in Peabody, and L.L. Bean, which has a store in Burlington, get charged tax on taxable items). Thing is, looking over the affiliate program requirements, they want a guarantee that I can steer $250/yr in sales their way. Since the average CD there costs $10, that would only be 25 CD's a year, that's 2 a month.

What do you think. I would appreciate your help on this. Do you have any Ideas as to possible affiliates which would be a good fit for The Night Beat? As always, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

We Came As Romans...

And Left as Corinthians. Sorry. Couldn't resist the biblical pun there. Michigan Hard Rockers We Came as Romans released their second full length album Tuesday, and I doubt that anyone into CCM has ever heard of them.

The album, like TDWP, is hardcore, yet there are more clean vocals with these guys. The band doesn't consider itself a "Christian Band", yet fans of Christian music will find nothing to complain about. I know, wishful thinking.

The Track Listing:
  1. Mis // Understanding
  2. Everything As Named
  3. What I Wish I Never Had
  4. Cast The First Stone
  5. The Way That We Have Been
  6. A War Inside
  7. Stay Inspired
  8. Just Keep Breathing
  9. Views that Never Cease, To Keep Me From Myself
  10. What My Heart Held
  11. I Can't make Your Decisions for You
  12. Understanding What We've Grown To Be
Just going over the track titles tells you they've got more knowledge than the average band (ex. A War Inside, Cast The First Stone, I Can't Make Your Decisions for You). I like thesound of these guys. I'm going to give them 4.5 Emeralds for Understanding What We've Grown To Be. I still hope to have Amazon Links up soon for everybody, but right now it is more important for me to get out the reviews. I am convinced now that it is due to out of date browsers on the computer that I am using (Public Library right now until I get a new one for myself. I think the director is afraid to update his software).

September is just about up, and it never fails that the Record Labels decide to do a dump of releases just as the eligibility for the Platinum Vinyl Awards is coming to a close. That means more listening parties to enjoy. This Week you can enjoy parties from Needtobreathe, Jeremy Riddle (week 2), Matt Maher(hearitfirst), Matt Maher(jesusfreakhideout), Jamie Grace, Leeland(hearitfirst), Leeland(jesusfreakhideout),  Rush of Fools. That's a lot of listening, folks, and I'll try to at least get an opinion on all of them this week. I'll TRY. No Promises.

Until Next time. I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Fresh From The Zombie Apocalypse

Well that was fun. The Interview with a Character blog fest was a little something to stretch my writing muscles. I've known for a while that Melissa (the host) was doing a Zombie Apocalypse story, and while that wasn't what my forte was (One interview was historical fiction, and the other Sci-Fi/Action) we writers have to hang together, and it never hurts to get your work before as many eyes as possible.

What was amazing was how seamlessly my two works blended this time. Who woulda thunk it? CCM and Zombies. Never in a million years? How about a year. Metalcore band The Devil Wears Prada just released its latest Tuesday. Entitled Dead Throne, the album is a Vast improvement, at least in my opinion, over their last CD. That one, an EP Themed around a Zombie Apocalypse, was a bit to Thrash for my tastes, and it suffered therefor in my review. This time around there are an abundance of what is termed Clean Vocals, and for someone who grew up on 80's metal, I like it more. You can make out the words. Even the growls are less gravelly than I remember last time around.

Since I am continuing to have blogger bugs, this will be a relatively short post. As to the nature of the bug my Amazon Associates widget is not working in the old interface, and since the updated interface isn't truly "live", it doesn't appear there either. Right now my favorites on the CD are Mammoth, My Questions, Kansas (instrumental), Holdfast and Pretenders. I hope to have the links problem straightened out early next week.

I gave the aforementioned Zombie EP 3.75 Emeralds, and it just missed being in the Inaugural Platinum Vinyl Awards. This time around Prada is Platinum bound. Though I am not reall a thrash fan, this album rocks. I am giving it 4.75 Emeralds. Though it will have some tough competition, I think it fair to at least predict that it should be among the final seven in Hard Rock.

That's it for now. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Friday, September 16, 2011

A Historical Interview with John Lee Anderson, Minister of War

Note to Readers: This is the Second of two interviews I have prepared for the Interview with a Character Blog Fest. Enjoy.
  • NB: We at the Night Beat have access to some of the most cutting edge technology out there. Don't let it get around, but we have a Way-Back Machine. For this interview, we are going back to the "City" of Reno. I put that in quotes because ther's only six thousand or so in the Whole of Washoe County. Now this is a kind of scoop for bloggers everywhere. Getting a one on one interview with the Minister of War of the Republic of Ansdale during their War of Independence against The United States. Minister of War John Lee Anderson. General Anderson, thank you for having me here today.
  • JLA If an interview with an Eastern Newspaper will help put pressure on Washington to let us go our own way, then it is worth it (NOTE: I told him I worked for a newspaper. It's easier than explaining a blog to someone in the 19th Century.)
  • NB: How shall I describe you to my readers? Western Pioneer?, Mexican War Veteran?, Father of His Country?
  • JLA: I think that 'A Loyal Servant of His Country' would suffice.
  • NB: Some would think that strange coming from someone currently at war against his former country.
  • JLA: That would depend on your definition of country. Since 1855 I have considered my country to be Dakota, and by extension, the West.
  • NB: 1855, that would be President Pierce.
  • JLA: Correct.
  • NB: A review of your military career reveals only one gap, that of the civil war. Some would accuse you of disloyalty by sitting out the war when you were needed.
  • JLA: If President Lincoln had ordered Fort Ansdale to joint the fight, then I would have complied. Dakota was far outside the theatre of war, and I was not going to risk the lives of my men in a regional squabble that we had no cause to involve ourselves in. The Decision did make me many enemies, though.
  • NB: One of those enemies, George Armstrong Custer, recently met his untimely, though some would say not entirely unexpected end at Little Big Horn. Now History records the actions of Crazy Horse being responsible to the victory, but you have a different view.
  • JLA: Crazy Horse was involved, but I think it is unconscionable that the role of the Ansdale Native Cavalry was not recognized. Without their and various other Republican Troops, Custer and his troops would have triumphed, which would have been very bad for our cause. I know it is uncouth to feel no sorrow over the passing of a former soldier in arms. Perhaps if he was less of an ass I would.
  • NB: Back to the former Civil War. Since you are a native Kentuckian and having married a Southern Belle who was cousin to Jeff Davis himself, one might infer that your sympathies were with the South.
  • JLA: And they would be wrong. I am also brother to Robert Anderson of Fort Sumter fame. As to Susan, she was the loyal Army Wife and followed my choice. Sauf Asir was even used as a stop on the Underground Railroad, with the full approval of Mistress Davis (NOTE: Sauf Asir is the Davis Family Plantation near Mobile, Alabama)
  • NB: What is your personal view on Slavery?
  • JLA: I am glad it is gone, but I am still convinced that the price was too high. If we could have been just a bit more patient, I am convinced that agricultural machines such as the McCormick Reaper would have cause Slavery to wither and die in a couple of years.
  • NB: So your view on the Freedman's Bureau call for "40 Acres and a Mule"?
  • JLA: It is misguided. I am glad it has not been official policy for Lincoln, Johnson or Grant. You can not rectify a wrong by creating another wrong. We have already proved that with the so-called Reconstruction. The Rise of The Klan can be directly linked to the misguided attempts of the Radical Republicans to make the "South Pay" for the war.
  • NB: Some feel that the last war settled the issue of secession forever?
  • JLA: I disagree. All it settled was slavery. And the fact that the side with the most guns will most likely win. We only have a few States out west, mostly we have territories. Until war broke out, we had a desire to be admitted to the Union as a State. If we were not in the Union, how can we be faulted for leaving it?
  • NB: For the sake of my readers, what are your reasons for separation?
  • JLA: There are many, but I will mention the most eggregious. While the people of Alaska should have been admitted to all the rights and privileges afforded Citizens of The United States ten years ago, they had not even been afforded the most basic of civil laws. We had to act. Now we have war.
  • NB: The war is now entering its sixth year, already two years longer than The Confederacy held out. They say there is no end in sight. What is the secret to your success?
  • JLA: Success only comes with victory. The secret to our resistance lies in the fact that the Federals have been unable to control the field of battle. We are able to attack quickly and then withdraw into the frontier. It has been extremely disheartening to the Federals
  • NB: Is that all?
  • JLA: No? We have also gambled on new weapons. Our artillery has been assigned the Gatling Gun, and our navy has purchased a new invention which is called the torpedo. We are extremely pleased with the tests on this weapon and are eager to see how it performs in an engagement.
  • NB: It is interesting that you have used the word gamble, because I see that your middle son Robert is courting Leah Quantrill, who is quite the card shark.
  • JLA: And quite the Cavalry Officer. Yes, Yes, and the Daughter of Satan. Susan is still not quite sure how to act around her, but Robert is smitten with her, and she with him. One one of her trips through she gave me some plans for a series of gambling and music halls that she thinks would liven things up here. I admire her initiative, but I doubt that sort of business would amount to anything.
  • NB: In closing, I heard your daughter Katherine recently got married. Congratulations.
  • JLA: Susan and I are extremely proud. I think we'll have to wait a while for any grandchildren, because Katherine is happy at Fort Republic in Alaska and Major Morgan is commanding the First Cavalry at Wyoming. Susan did an extremely fine job transforming Fort Republic into Mobile, except for the weather.
  • NB: General Anderson, thank you for your time

An Interview With A Lioness

Introductory Note: I am writing this post as a participant in the "Interview With A Character" Blog fest put on by Melissa at The Undeveloped Story. I asked her if I could post two and she said it was okay. Here is number one.

  • NB: We at The Night Beat are primarily concerned with music, but sometimes an opportunity comes along that you just can't pass up, even if you have to stray outside your comfort zone. Talking to us today via Skype from her office in Split, Croatia is Susan Bradford, President and CEO of Thames Electronics. Miss Bradford, thank you for taking some of your time to talk to The Night Beat.
  • SB: My pleasure
  • NB: The Computer world, as well as the emerging world of Social Media is increasingly a youth movement. Being the CEO of a major corporation at 35, you must be fitting in quite well.
  • SB: It's 29, but, yes, I am doing quite well.
  • NB: Pardon me for correcting you, but my notes say that you were born on July 15, 1976. That would make you 35.
  • SB: Never press a Lady on her real age. As to your original question. The Social Media landscape is dominated by Facebook and Mark Zuckerburg is only 27, so even I feel like a fossil at times.
  • NB: Recently shock waves went through the tech community with the announcement by Steve Jobs that hew was stepping down as the CEO of Apple. Without sounding overly crass, let me ask "is this good news for Thames?"
  • SB: I should bloody well hope so. (Laughs). Seriously though, all of us at Thames Electronics wish Mister Jobs only good health. I'd be lost if it weren't for my iPhone or iPad. I only wish we had come up with them.
  • NB: But is it good news for Thames?
  • SB: I don't think it has any effect. Thames makes supercomputers, so I don't think we compete against each other. Still, I would like to have invented the iPod.
  • NB: On to another subject. From the mid 90' to September of 2009 the major cities of Europe were terrorized by a cat burglar...
  • SB: I think terrorized is highly prejudicial
  • NB: Your answer begs a follow up. Since Lioness' exploits seem to have ended around the same time as your auto accident. Are You Lioness?
  • SB: It is a remarkable coincidence, but that is all.
  • NB: On another topic, would it be appropriate to call you the Six Million Dollar Woman?
  • SB: I Bloody well hope not. I am worth 75 Million Pounds, that should be good in dollars as well.
  • NB: Actually it's over 100 Million Dollars. I was actually referring to a 1970's era Science Fiction Show about a man whose life was saved after a horrific accident by turning him into a cyborg.
  • SB: Simply preposterous, I don't know where you get your information.
  • NB: I talked to a General Jonathan Knox in Chicago.
  • SB: Since you talked to The General. It's closer to the Billion Dollar Woman when you figure in all the prototypes.
  • NB: Any Superhuman abilities?
  • SB: None that have appeared so far, but I haven't exactly tried to do anything special.
  • NB: Not trying to pull any semi's?
  • SB: No.
  • NB: No accidental revelations?
  • SB: Did I send my date flying through a plate glass window when all I wanted to do was slap his face? No. Sound's like fun though. Except for not needing glasses and not tiring as easy, things are kind of normal.
  • NB: On a final note, I see that now that Kate Middleton has married Prince William you have moved to the top of the Beautiful Brit List. Congratulations.
  • SB: Thanks. I don't want to seem to vain, but being a cyborg does have its privileges. Since the operation I went from a size 4 to a size 2. Daddy was on the phone from London as soon as the list came out. He's already got several dates lined up for me as soon as I hit British Soil. Suddenly I love Croatia.
  • NB: Miss Bradford, thank you for your time.
End of Interview.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

And Now For Something Completely Different

Just want to give my loyal readers a heads up. Your Favorite DJ is also a writer and aspiring author. Tomorrow this blog will publish two posts as part of the "Interview with a Character" blog fest hosted by Melissa at The Undeveloped Story. These Characters are as much part of me as my love for music. If you are also a writer and can crank out one of these interviews quickly enough, go to her blog and sign up, she would love to have more join up.

In the meantime I invite you to read the interviews that I have done with the most important man in the American West, General John Lee Anderson, and the most elusive cat burglar on the European Continent, Lioness.

I'm still staying up on tunes, and I am currently listening to the new releases of The Devil Wears Prada and We Came As Romans. I hope to have a review of both CD's up on site soon.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

This is What You Want

I Wanted to post this as soon as possible, and say Welcome Back Amy. Evanescence Self-Titled new release is coming out October 11, and the 2012 Platinum Vinyl Awards Eligibility Starts October 1. Based on the video, I'm just saying, you could be looking at the 2012 Rock Album of the Year. Enjoy. And once more, WELCOME BACK AMY.

Night Beat Rewind: August 2011

We are here at the Penultimate Edition of Night Beat Rewind for the 2011 Platinum Vinyl Awards. In case anyone is unclear on the word, that means next-to-last. Now remember my eligibility year is October 1-September 30, smack in the middle of the Grammy's (September 1, 2010-September 30,2011) and the Doves (November 1, 2010 -October 31, 2011).

Since I've been picking up new readers through Triberr and other sources, I think it's time to review my Emerald Rating System. As regards to regular music listening anything worth listening to on a regular basis will be scored 3 Emeralds or Higher. Now with regards to the Platinum Vinyl Awards, the bar is set slightly higher. PVA inclusion begins with 4 Emeralds, anything lower than that will not be considered (If you use a star rating, The numbers stay the same). At the end of the Year of Eligibility the entries in each genre will be cut down to get to a "Final Round" which, in a perfect world, would be Seven Nominees, but it will be how it will. Last year some categories only had Two nominees for the entire year. The Basics are as follows.
  • 5 Emeralds - In to the final round. (There will never be 7 5 Emerald albums in a year in any given category, trust me on this one).
  • 4.75 Emeralds - Great chance of making the final 7
  • 4.50 Emeralds - A Very Good Chance of Making the Finals
  • 4.25 Emeralds - Do You Believe in Miracles?
  • 4 Emeralds - The Lowest bar of inclusion in the original mix, but let's not get too giddy about your chances.
  • 3.75 to 3 Emeralds - These aren't Platinum, but Bronze Silver and Gold are still nice metals.
  • 2.75 Emeralds or Lower - Break out the Gong and the Shepherds Crook.
As always, we start with the ones that didn't make it and progress to the ones that did make the initial mix.
  • Blaze - Exposed 3.75 Emeralds
  • Patrick Ryan Clark - Where Would I Be 3.75 Emeralds
  • Bethany Dillon - Beautiful: The Hits Collection 3.75 Emeralds
  • Stellar Kart - A Whole New World EP 3.75 Emeralds
  • Lindsay McCaul - If it Leads Me Back 3.75 Emeralds
  • Brother's McClurg - Alive 3.75 Emeralds
  • Sandi Patty - The Best of Sandi Patty 3.5 Emeralds
  • Sainthood Reps - Monoculture 3.75 Emeralds
  • Aaron Shust - This is What We Believe 3.75 Emeralds
Yes I know it seems like a copout with all the 3.75's (and no complaints from the Sandi lovers out there). My opinion is that these just missed. Still not so sure on Stellar Kart. I know they're doing Disney Covers here but this might be a parody album. On to the best for the month of August.
  • Ashes Remain - What I've Become 4.5 Emeralds
  • Braille - Native Lungs 4.5 Emeralds
  • Steven Curtis Chapman - Re:Creation 4 Emeralds
  • Dorinda Clark-Cole - I Survived 4.75 Emeralds
  • Committed - Committed 4.25 Emeralds
  • DecembeRadio - The Southern Attic Sessions 4.25 Emeralds
  • Denver & The Mile High Orchestra - Groovy 5 Emeralds
  • Divided by Friday - Prove It EP 4.25 Emeralds
  • Downhere - On the Altar of Love 4.5 Emeralds
  • The Ember Days - Emergency 4.75 Emeralds
  • Southbound Fearing - Southbound Fearing 4.5 Emeralds
  • Shaun Groves - Third World Symphony 4.5 Emeralds
  • Deitrick Haddon - Anthology 4.25 Emeralds
  • Icon For Hire - Scripted 4.5 Emeralds
  • Jai - Culture Shock 4.5 Emeralds
  • Forever Jones - Get Ready (Deluxe Edition) **
  • Mat Kearney - Young Love 4 Emeralds
  • Donald Lawrence - YRM: Your Righteous Mind 4.5 Emeralds
  • Mikeschair - A Beautiful Life 4 Emeralds
  • Geoff Moore - Saying Grace 4.5 Emeralds
  • Matt Papa - This Changes Everything 4.25 Emeralds
  • Planetshakers - Nothing Is Impossible 4 Emeralds
  • Cindy Cruse Ratcliff - Twenty Three 4.25 Emeralds
  • V.Rose - V.Rose 4 Emeralds
  • Selah - Hope for the Broken World 4.25 Emeralds
  • Beckah Shae - Destiny 5 Emeralds
  • Veggie Tales (feat Moriah Peters) - Songs for a Princess 4.5 Emeralds
  • Warr Acres - Warr Acres 4.5 Emeralds
  • Your Chance to Die - Suscitatio Somnus 4.25 Emeralds
** Forever Jones is being passed along at the same rating as the original album Last Year.

Links in this post go to my original review. In the case of Cindy Cruse Ratcliff, scroll down to the bottom of the linked post, which is for Darlene Zschech.

Am I glad I finally got everything fixed. As always, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Band is a Terrible Thing To Waste

Pardon the ripoff of the UNCF Slogan, but it applies. You are never too much of an expert to learn something new. Never more could that be applied than to the Modern Worship genre. The lesson to be learned comes form the Gospel Genre "A Choir, Never Leave Home Without It." Whenever a Gospel album is released, though the Album title may not reveal it (John P. Kee, Fred Hammond, etc) the Choir (Love Fellowship Crusade Choir, etc.) is ALWAYS THERE, along with the orchestra. They know what people want and they give it to them.

You Are LoveModern Worship has forgotten that, evident by the trend in "Solo" albums that are coming out from famous worship leaders. The latest release comes from Hillsong Church Australia's Darlene Zschech called You Are Love. I reiterate here a problem I have with live concert albums which I posted in my previous review of such an album by The Rocket Summer. "There is something missing". Now it's not as bad as last years Simply Darlene. That one was missing a lot. I hated it just enough to not bother reviewing it, but if I had, I would have snarkilly called it something like "Simply Awful". As much as I complain that the modern worship genre has been "Hijacked by Hillsong" (I like the alliteration and apologize to all those offended via the proximity of the statement to 9/11). As much as anyone would like to protest, Darlene is Synonymous with Hillsong. That's just the way it is. I'm going to give it 3.75 Emeralds as a final review. Close, but as they say close only counts in Horseshoes and Hand grenades.

Twenty ThreeNight Beat Bonus: Also suffering from the same problem but a bit better is Cindy Cruse Ratcliff from Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church in Houston. Simply entitledTwenty-Three. It is just enough better on its own to go into the Platinum Vinyl mix for the genre, but I don't think that it will survive the judging. I'm giving it 4.25 Emeralds.

That will do it for this week. Tomorrow starts a whole new slew of releases, and keep it locked here to stay informed on them all. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Thief of Hearts

I thought I would do a few reviews for some Albums that have been out for a while. Sometimes these are only available via download. The Rocket Summer Bryce Avery: His Instruments, Your Voices is available free on his website. That's the entire album folks, not just a song or two. The Album is a live concert album that was done acoustic in small venues in what I can tell from verbal cues, in Hollywood and Salt Lake City. I am usually of mixed feelings when it comes to Live albums, but this one is very good.

His Instruments

Of Men And AngelsBryce is a multi-instrumentalist, which means he can be a one man band if he wants to, and in this case he does. Though he sticks to piano and guitar in this acoustic set, he does a "solo jam" which involves drums, guitar, electric guitar and some additional layering of instruments which would be impossible if not for a computer/synthesizer of some sort. Not that I'm complaining. I love techno. And all CCM one man-bands owe a lot to a man by the name of Leon Patillo. If you grew up in the 80's you may know who I am talking about.

I have two complaints about live albums, and both are addressed here. The first is that in a Live recording, "something is missing". The sound is never quite right, because it cannot be controlled. Bryce takes the K.I.S.S. Method here to achieve near perfection. Small Venue, Acoustic, not much can go wrong, and accept for an audience caused snafu (more on that in the second part), nothing does.

Your Voices

Hello, Good Friend.This is where the album really shines. In most live albums, when the artist/band asks for the audience to sing along is when things start to go bad. Maybe it's just that they don't have the audience miked, maybe it's the mix, and maybe we've got an audience of newbies who don't know the songs. The result is usually dead air. I liken it to those town hall meetings when they ask a question, you don't hear the question, and then you hear, that's a great question from the pol. (It doesn't matter your political persuasion, they're all equally bad.)

Such is not the case here. These fans are rabid. Not in stalker rabid, but they know all the words to every song and sing it loud and proud. This is a live experience at its finest. The fans are also responsible for a very funny moment during the show. After requesting Never Knew, they clap along at to quick a speed, throwing off Bryce's rhythm. After complaining playfully, he says "I can do this, I'm a professional" and continues the song. The energy is obvious.

Final Thoughts

I Thought I might not do this review, considering it is a free album, but it is that good, so I have to spill. In the Interest of the Night Beat making a buck, let me add that the full studio versions of the songs on the live set are on the albums Of Men and Angels, Hello Good Friend, Do You Feel, Calendar Days, and The Rocket Summer.

I played this for a family member, and after it concluded, the remark was "He stole their hearts". I agree. Now, I have a job for you the listener. As a live experience, this gets the full 5 Emerald treatment. Here is my question. Since it is a free download which may get limited circulation, should I include it in the PVA's this year? This could accomplish two things, getting more people to download and more comments for me. A Win-Win. I await your decision. As always, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

This Weeks Listening Parties

Just a quick post to keep everybody up on the availability of Some Full CD Listening Parties. New Release Tuesday has Jason Gray: A Way to See in The Dark (Out 9/13). This week has Two Listening parties at their site Darlene Zschech:You Are Loved (Out Today) and a debut release Jessa Anderson: Not Myself Anymore (Out 9/13). Nothing on or AOL Music.

One Other Note: Tonight is the Album Release Party for Ginny Owens, at least as far as is concerned. It is still scheduled for Tonight at 8:00 P.M. Eastern. If you haven't registered at for a previous Live Event, you'll have to do it before you can watch, so come a few minutes early. It's quick.

That's it for today. I promised a live post, and I delivered. Oh, One More Thing. The listening party for Jessa Anderson seems to be missing a song. Fireflies (Track #2) is there but is mislabeled as Everybody Has those Days. All the songs are one off (except for Track #1), so The Return appears to be the one missing (Track #10 at hearitfirst, actually Track #11). You've been warned. As always, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Mini Review: Committed

Committed  is a vocal band in the same vein as Take 6. They won one of the music talent shows out there today, this one NBC's The Sing Off. While it is not technically Christian, I have seen it promoted on Christian sites, so I am going to go with it.

CommittedTheir sound is definitely R&B/Motown, and consists of mostly love songs, and a lot of covers (Let's Stay Together: Al Green, Sweet Home Alabama: Lynyrd Skynyrd). There is a Gospel Song. It is a good album. Sorry for the short post.

I am going to give this CD 4.25 Emeralds. I usually go for stuff that makes me jump a bit more. But it is smooth Motown music. I recommend it highly.

That should do it for the weekend. I'll be back live with you on Tuesday. Have a great (Union) Labor Day Weekend to everyone in The States. As Always I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Mini Review: Dorinda Clark-Cole: I Survived

If you've read The Night Beat for any length of time you know that I only acknowledge the existence of one kind of Gospel Music, and that is Urban or Black Gospel. So called Southern Gospel triggers my retch reflex, and if anything deserved to be called "The Devil's Music" Southern Gospel qualifies in spades.

I SurvivedNo one is going to confuse Dorinda Clark-Cole's latest release, I Survived with Southern Gospel. This is an album that will get you Jumping in The House of God. Some of the Best Cuts are He Brought Me and For My Good.

This is a great album. I could go on with the great songs, but I'll refrain, because I'm trying to get out a few posts today. Suffice it to say this album doesn't survive, it thrives, with a near perfect 4.75 Emeralds. It is definitely going into the Gospel/R&B mix for this years PVA's. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Mini Review: Divided by Friday: Prove It

I am going to try to knock out a few posts today today to get me through the Labor Day weekday. In order to do that, I am going to have to cut my usual review length short.

Prove It (EP) [+video]First up is Divided by Friday. Due to the fact that they seem to like releasing EPs, this is their fifth album in 3 years. They have a Ivoryline feel. Most of the songs are Rock/Alternative, with Face to Face being the only ballad.

When a good band releases an EP my only disappointment is that it's too short, and such is the case again. As such I am going to give it only 4.25 Emeralds. It will go into the intial mix for this years PVA's, and we'll see how it goes from there. As the title says, they will have to Prove It.

One Down. Have you listened to the EP? Do You Like It? Please comment. As always, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Get In, I'm Driving

Good Music is Easy to Find

Get in I'm DrivingI don't know why that phrase terrifies me (Kidding). Maybe because the person who picked this title for her new CD, Ginny Owens, Is Legally Blind. Of course that doesn't mean that she can't sing. The girl can sing. In some respects the album reminds me of Lara Landon's Closer. There are some definite Torch Singer possibilities here, though not as many as Landon.

Still, this is an impressive album. Get In, I'm Driving is forty-two minutes of exquisite vocals. There are rock voices, soul voices, Gospel voices, but rarely is there an artist that can sing whatever he or she wants to sing and carry it off to perfection.  We are Blessed in today's market considering there are Three that I know (Landon, Owens, and Crystal Lewis) who can carry this off. Some of my favorites are Better That Waythe title cut, and The Song.  The Album doesn't come out until September 13, but you can Preorder Through The Night Beat.

The track listing:
  1. Get in I'm Driving
  2. Mystery of Grace
  3. Before You Fly
  4. Rain
  5. Joined at the Heart
  6. Better Off
  7. Lay it Down
  8. Higher Ground
  9. Daughter of Destiny
  10. Better That Way
  11. The Song

Quick Review and Listening Options

This week you can catch the entire album Streaming at New Release Tuesday. The Album fits in the Pop category for most of the songs, so that is where it will go. I really don't have a torch song category. I am giving the CD 4.75 Emeralds. It is near vocal perfection with minimal instrumentation. Mostly piano, and some strings. Next Tuesday Hearifirst is giving an Album Release Party. That's September 6 at 8 p.m. Eastern Time. Now they like to do things a little early since most lists have the album out the 13th.