rockford illinois entertainment guide
2006 Articles
It Is What It Is
Hip-hop draws a lot of criticism for glorifying drugs, violence and the degradation of women - among other things. Well, without getting into the rights and wrongs of that viewpoint, let's say upfront that Judah has produced a strong hip-hop disc with a positive message. While Rockford is not the Mecca of hip-hop, Judah The Lyrical Rev shows that there is definite talent in our hometown > More

In our fast paced stress filled days, we all need a little time to escape and enjoy the wonders that surround us.  Jim Brickman's newest CD release Escape takes you on a relaxing journey of soft melodies that are guaranteed to soothe your soul.

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Fear and Desire
His name may appear only in the bylines, but it's clear this jazz-infused pop album is wrought with award winning singer songwriter John Bishoff's lyrical and song styling. > More
Racin' the Devil

If you think of the Stray Cats when you hear this disc, the reason goes deeper than the fact that the Cats' trademark "Rock This Town" is included here. Actually, that cover is an obvious one as Lee Rocker was the bassist for that group. As one might guess this disc is a rockabilly and American roots rock fan's dream.

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Super Hits
While Greatest Hits type compilations are usually not the best disc by a band, they do serve as an excellent first taste. That is especially true when the music presented on the CD covers a wide range of their career. This one does that, and therefore would serve as an excellent means of getting ready for their upcoming On The Waterfront performance. > More
Big Bang Theory
There are those who don't give a second glance to albums where the artist take on other people's songs. Well, in this case that would be a big mistake. I would have to say, given the title of the album, that really this disc is meant to be more of an homage to some of the music that Styx holds dear. > More
The Unstruck Melody

I have to say, when I put this CD into the player I wasn't expecting to be blown away. Well, that's exactly what happened. This guy is an incredible guitarist, but also a good songwriter and so much more

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Love's Not A Tough Start
Andy Spitson's name might be an unfamiliar one for you, but I'm willing to bet you've probably heard of his bands. Between work with Spinderson and M28 (who just won the RAMI award for best contemporary Christian Artist of 2006) the odds are you've seen or heard him play. > More
Rockford's best-known band is back with a new studio album and this time they've named it after the Forest City. I've read reviews where some people have compared this CD to Trick's Dream Police, citing it as a return to the band's roots. > More
The Swell
CHETT's surging second full-length release "The Swell" is one heck of a ride. With it, they deliver a promising hard-hitting album that demonstrates how a band can take a distinct sound, as in their 2004 > More
Only A Dream
From the first few measures of this disc you might get the idea that you just popped in a new jazz album. However, as the music carries on it becomes pretty obvious that Ernie Hendrickson and The Make Believe are actually a jam band who just happen to incorporate large amounts of jazz into the mix that makes up their original sound. The opening title cut, in fact, contains more of that genre than just about anything else on the disc. > More
Here I Go Again

Tom Hunter's bio sheet sports endorsements from Eddie "The Chief" Clearwater and Hubert Sumlin. A true professional, Hunter performs at more than 300 gigs per year, and his experience shows on his third album of bouncing blues, Here I Go Again.

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Skeleton Key

David Gogo's Skeleton Key starts out with high-powered, driving-down-the-highway with-the-windows-down kind of  blues on "Jesse James."  The whine of the guitar and staunch vocals from Gogo and Melisa Devost ride over the top of the church organ and the constant tambourine. Driven by a powerful downbeat from Hicks', "Jesse James" is a strong opening for the CD.

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Watermelon Slim & The Workers
Watermelon Slim's interjected phrases and words are both homey and apt on the debut album of Watermelon Slim & The Workers (Northern Blues Music). The CD was a 2005 W.C. Handy Award nominee for Best New Artist Debut. Chip Eagle, publisher of Blues Review and BluesWax, says "This guy is the real deal!" > More
The Blues According to Zacariah
Zac Harmon's writing, playing and singing exemplify the meaning of blues music. On his debut studio album, The Blues According to Zacariah, Harmon's approach is up-front, bold and beautiful. With the resounding vibrations of a zealous gospel minister, the bluesman preaches his way through the album of originals with southern style and grace. > More
La Guitara: Gender Bending Strings

The brainchild of Patty Larkin (who will be playing in Rockford on February 4th), this compilation showcases women who excel at playing guitar. While there is no one particular style most of the music here is instrumental. As is generally the case with any various artists' compilation, some of the music is better than the other. The truth is, though, anyone who has an interest in hearing what is capable with guitar, in all sorts of varying types of music should really check this one out.  According to Larkin, "the goal of La Guitara is to better define the contribution of women to the history of modern guitar." That's an admirable goal and the disc does much to accomplish it. More importantly, though, it's a very enlightening and often entertaining listening experience. > More
Blues For Theresa

The latest release from Ditzell and Blue Lightning Band, this disc shows a very traditional blues style to their music. While in live appearances they sometimes wander more into the more hard rocking territory popularized by people like Stevie Ray Vaughn, this disc stays closer to its roots. Thatýs not to say that fans of the more hard rock guitar style will feel disappointed. There is certainly enough of Ditzell's fiery soloing to keep them happy.

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