Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Jess Chizuk - Buffalo, NY

Lehigh Valley Line review
The title track, Lehigh Valley Line, sets the mood for the rest of the music with a great roots rock sound. The style can be compared to Americana or Country. Jess' voice sounds polished and has a mature quality that defies her young age. A lead acoustic guitar fills the spaces between the verses perfectly. The lyrics convey a feeling of melancholy and hope for a brighter future.
Eyes On The Horizon continues in the same vein as the title track. The acoustic guitar track lets Jess' outstanding and melodic vocals shine through. The chorus has a strong hook and a uplifting sound.
Steady As The Rain features a single, percussive acoustic guitar track that allows Jess' vocals to float above the music like a rainbow floats above stormy weather. One of the best songs on this release.
China Plates has that special, timeless quality that great songs always have. The musical melody is provided by a well played piano and the lyrics contain words and feelings that everyone can relate to. China Plates is the best song on Lehigh Valley Line.
The Distance has a new country sound. The song has a great sound and Jess' vocals have a ton of soulful feeling. The background vocals and electric guitar add much to the overall sound.
Somber Is The Night has a slower tempo with a keyboard backing track. Jess' voice sounds beautiful on this track.
Guilty Pleasure has a rock and roll sound. The lyrics tell of a questionable, all consuming love affair.
August Carnival closes out Lehigh Valley Line in style.
In closing, Lehigh Valley Line is a strong release, full of great songs. Jess Chizuk is a very talented singer and songwriter who is sure to go far in the music industry.

I'm excited to introduce you to award-winning indie/folk songwriter Jess Chizuk. Jess is a young female artist that is making big waves in the Buffalo music scene. The immensely gifted 22 year old, whose voice has been favorably compared to legends such as Joni Mitchell and Jewel, is set to release her first full-length album Lehigh Valley Line on September 16. Check out her popular single "China Plates" here

Aside from supporting national artists like Howie Day, Davina and the Vagabonds, and Dylan Jakobsen, Jess was the recipient of the Best Original Solo Act award at the 2015 Buffalo Music Awards, the winner of the 2014 Yellen Foundation Songwriting Contest, winner of the Folk category at the Smoky Mountain Songwriting Festival Songwriting Contest, a semi-finalist in the 2015 Songwriter's Serenade Contest in Morovia TX, and a top five finalist in the singer/songwriter category of the Great American Song Contest – a contest receiving submissions from nearly 2000 songwriters worldwide. For fans of: The Lumineers, Ed Sheeran and Joni Mitchell.

Jess Chizuk Bio: Compelling, vivid stories from the heart told emphatically by graceful vocals, accompanied by little more than an acoustic guitar. These are the building blocks for most of Jess Chizuk’s songs. The young singer-songwriter has her musical roots firmly divided between both old folk tunes and new indie music, but the result of this combination is her truly captivating writing. It has been garnering the attention of audiences in her hometown of Buffalo NY and beyond. Drawing on life experiences, honest stories, and the city she calls home, her music is soulful and truly genuine. This award winning songwriter already has an impressive catalog of accomplishments at only 22 years old.

Jess’ first release, Shine A Light On, came out mid-2012, produced in Los Angeles by serious and talented industry professionals. “I had a blast really working in the studio for the first time, and that’ s when I got serious about making music,” she says. “But I knew within that year I had a different direction I wanted to take my songwriting and sound.” This began several years of thoroughly exploring her songwriting abilities, working towards creating something 100% self-driven.

China Plates was the first song to emerge from this practice. Winning the Yellen Foundation/Buffalo Music Hall of Fame Songwriting Contest in 2014 made her an award-winning songwriter at just 20 years old. “To this day, getting that phone call was one of the happiest moments of my life. It’ s amazing to be recognized for what you love,” she says. Released in March of 2015, Jess took China Plates across the country, picking up awards, nominations, and recognitions as she went. This, along with an incredible local reception to her new sound, spurred the idea of a sophomore release.

Now, scheduled for release in September of this year, Lehigh Valley Line is a true singer-songwriter record. It’s not over-produced, it’s not flashy, and it’s not even backed by a full band. The focus is all on the songs themselves, with each telling a unique tale of its own. Themes of love and longing are present throughout the extremely thoughtful and well-developed lyrics, as are a few homages to the Buffalo backdrop in which the songs were created. And as always, Jess’ smooth and airy vocals tie things together and tell the stories she’s penned with strong emotion. “This is my most favorite project,” she says. “I listen back to the tracks and say, ‘ This is who I am right now, put down in words and turned into songs. This is me."

Official Website:

Press contact: Joe Ballard (
Thank You Joe!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Michael Biddlecom - Buffalo, NY

Michael Biddlecom - Then Came Silence CD art. Thank You Cheryl!

Strange Therapy kicks off with "A Race Against The Sun". The sound of the track can be described as new wave hard rock. The feel of the intro is heavy and the verse music is keyboard driven. Mike's vocals sound like Geoff Tate on this track. The chorus music drives hard and the guitar solo is melodic, fitting in perfect within the melody of the song.
Youtube music video link
"A Miracle Of Life" shows off more of Mike's musical and vocal versatility and his guitar and bass playing talent. The track starts off with a very melodic musical figure played simultaneously by a keyboard and guitar. The music has an 80's sound and the chorus has a haunting quality that drew my listening ear in right away. After the second chorus the song takes a heavy twist with a powerful guitar riff which leads into a ripping, guitar solo. This is my fave song on Strange Therapy.
Youtube music video link
The third song, "Electro Plated Man", is a heavy rock song with a new wave, 80's sounding verse. Mike uses alot of different guitar sounds on this song and they all sound great. The chorus is heavy with some sweet, pinch harmonics. The guitar solo is Mike at his best, with blistering runs and double tracked harmonies that remind me of George Lynch. The guitar lead morphs into a cool, spooky, bass and keyboard dominated ending...
Youtube music video link
"When Should I?" seems pensive in lyrical content and the guitar figure is fairly clean in sound. The vocals and guitar have alot of reverb and digital delay which creates the mood for the song. The keyboard fills add color into the fairly sparse, musical, landscape of the song. A hard driving, guitar riff kicks in which leads into another great, sharp, guitar solo.
Youtube music video link
"Big Sky Fallin" reminded me of Queensryche. This song is Mike at his hard rockin' best, the guitar rhythm is hard and heavy and the song kicks ass. This song is sure to please any 80's hard rock fan.
"Passages In Time" highlights Mikes keyboard playing and song orchestration skills. The intro sounds like it would fit right in on any horror movie soundtrack.
"With Friends Like You (I Don't Need No Enemies)" has an 80's musical sound. The lead guitar on the intro is melodic and strong. I just figured out who's Mike's voice sounds similar to. Mike's voice can be compared to the vocalist from the Sisters Of Mercy. (great band, look them up on youtube) Mike sings in a higher range on this particular track. After listening to most of "Strange Therapy" it seems to me that one of Mike's main musical influences was the Sisters Of Mercy. The guitar solo on this track is one of the best on the "Strange Therapy".
The beginning of "Disconnected" is rather sparse and mellow, alot of the musical spaces are filled with percussion and clean guitar fills. This groove continues on for the first 3 and half minutes of the song then the music abruptly stops. A powerful, guitar dominated, groove kicks the song into high gear. The mood of the first few seconds of the song is shattered by the powerful, guitar part that follows and takes out the song.
"In The Clouds" has an 80's new wave feel and sound.
"Emeralds" is an instrumental track. The intro has a new age feel and sound. Once the multi-tracked, guitar melody kicks in the song takes on a rock/new age kind of sound. The guitar sound is similar to Gary Moore and Thin Lizzy. Once the guitar part is over the song switches into a new age sound only to switch into to a heavier type of rock sound with blistering, quick, guitar leads taking precedence. This is the Mike B sound that I enjoy the most.
Youtube music video link

Strange Therapy is a very impressive effort as Mike wrote, performed and recorded all the music parts and wrote all the lyrics himself.

Michael Biddlecom, Buffalo Guitarist and Songwriter

Michael Biddlecom is a very talented, accomplished rock and roll guitar player and songwriter. I've witnessed Michael's unique and diverse talents firsthand and I recognize and appreciate Mike and his music. Mike is an excellent guitar player and he has demonstrated his abilities live and on recordings in and around Buffalo for many years.
My first contact with Mike was during my audition for the bass position to complete the original metal band called Bad Blood. This band was formed in the early 90's and the other members included Chris Barron (Ezekial) on vocals and Ric Proctor on drums, Ric was formerly with a band called Actor, which featured Buffalo favorite Jesse Galante on vocals. I was brought on as the new bassist. After learning Bad Blood's original material, we went on to change the name to Vicious Circle. Vicious Circle went on to record and release 8 original songs.

Mike's recent return to the Buffalo music scene was with a CD of his own instrumental music songs. Mystic Compass was released in 2010. Mystic Compass has Mike playing in a different style highlighting his diversity and talents on the electric guitar. Mystic Compass has elements of trance, acid jazz, jazz, techno and rock music. I was pleasantly surprised by this CD because I am used to hearing Mike play the guitar in a upfront, aggressive metal style. The music on Mystic Compass has an ethereal quality to it, spiritually soothing and great for daydreaming. If you want to relax and forget about your daily toils and troubles, playing the Mystic Compass CD will do it for you. Listen, Breathe and Relax. All of these songs are melodically driven by celestial sounding guitars, jazzy lead guitar solos ebb and flow seamlessly throughout these compositions. The title track Mystic Compass has a jazzy, bluesy feel to it, the melodic guitar lines feature some great bended notes.
Here's the YouTube link
Sydonia contains some great bell-like tones throughout the song offsetting the guitar rhythm, a speedy guitar solo highlights Mike's skillful solo guitar playing.
Here's the YouTube link
Track 3, After The Rain is an acid jazz, bluesy composition that features some great bended, melodic guitar lines along with some more somewhat speedy solo guitar playing. Here's the YouTube link On What Does It Take Mike demonstrates his jazz guitar playing skills. Here's the YouTube link
The final track Sapphire Blues has a great, somewhat dissonant sounding guitar rhythm track but Mike somehow still manages to make it sound pleasant and soothing. This song also features some great guitar slides, harmonics and some more awesome bluesy, jazzy lead guitar playing. Add some volume and distortion to all the solos on Mystic Compass and you've got yourself some great rock guitar solos.
Here's the Youtube link to Sapphire Blues
I highly recommend Mystic Compass to any fan of instrumental guitar based music.
Mystic Compass is a tour de force of some excellent, well composed instrumental guitar-based music. Mystic Compass was mixed by Kyle Wierzba and produced at Audio Magic in Buffalo NY.

Mike has posted a few brand new compositions on YouTube. Mike posted the song Into The Nebula in 7/10, Into The Nebula continues in the trance, acid jazz, meditation musical vein. Into The Nebula features some very unique, cool, buzzing, distorted guitar sounds, along with some feedback driven lead guitar lines.
Here's the YouTube link
Lost As Love, which Mike posted in 9/10, has a very melancholy feel to it, this song highlights some cool volume knob swells and a piano track that mirrors the rhythm guitar. At exactly 3:36 Mike unleashes the metal guitar sounds that I've known him for all these years, Mike rips out an excellent, distorted guitar solo on this track, the song closes with the piano track and a bell-tone at the very end. Very Cool! Here's the YouTube link

Mike has most recently joined forces, once again, with Joe Cristofanilli of Ratt fame. Mike and Joe's debut song, The Enemy, was posted on YouTube in 12/10. The Enemy features a live action video of a blighted Buffalo landscape. This instrumental song is filled with some great musical sounds, the keys in the intro jump out of the mix, grabbing the listeners attention right away, a track that sounds like a helicopter keeps the listener interested and wondering what may come next. The Enemy starts out mellow but at 1:21 Mike lets loose with some metal chords and a killer, face melting solo. The songs continues on with a distorted, pulsing rhythm guitar and at 3:20 Joe lets loose on a sweet sounding electric bass solo. The songs closes with a jazzy wah-pedal driven guitar solo.
Here's the YouTube link
Mad Theater is Mike and Joe's most recent composition, this song has a distinct metal sound and feel, sounding like Judas Priest at times, the bass jumps out of the mix for a brief solo at 1:51. At about the halfway mark the song takes a twist as a bell-tone leads the listener into an acoustic guitar track. A thick, distorted guitar solo then takes over, after all that Mike once again shows his musical diversity taking a solo on the acoustic guitar which leads into another bass solo. Mad Theater closes out with the double tracked, melodic guitar line which was introduced earlier in the song.
Here's the YouTube link

Thank You Mike!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

In The Whale

WED - SEPTEMBER 28, 2016 - 7:30 PM
In The Whale  Verified-artist-flat
Studio at Waiting Room
334 Delaware Ave
Buffalo, NY
Electric Six

Monday, September 19, 2016

Sontag Shogun

The Brooklyn/Montreal based electro-acoustic trio Sontag Shogun is coming to Buffalo in a couple weeks with the Canadian kindred spirit of Christopher Bissonnette, whose landscape of tones is beautifully manifested on the modular synthesizer. Sontag Shogun's music  is unlike a lot of the solo piano composition out there right now by the likes of Hauschka, Nils Frahm and Olafur Arnalds in that this trio is able to use live digital processing and field recordings alongside analog sonic treatments such as tapes and contact mics to create an entire evolving world of sound custom fit to the melodies popping off the piano's ivory keys.

Join me in this unique, engaging live experience on Saturday, October 15 at
Dreamland Arts
387 Franklin St, Buffalo, New York 14202
8pm | $5

Sontag Shogun (Youngbloods)
Christopher Bissonnette (Kranky)
Bean Friend
Facebook event

Thank you Jeremy.

Friday, September 9, 2016

The Lost Riders Band - Buffalo/Niagara Falls, NY

 The Lost Riders do their best to give you a 'Classic Rock' show, with music from Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Bad Company, Robin Trower and much more...
Band Members include, left to right, Randy Barnard - Guitar, Randy California - Drums, Danny Manzella - Vocals, Dave Neumann - Bass and Fred Conlee - Keyboards.
Keep up to date with The Lost Riders Band by hitting up their Facebook page

Special thanks to Danny Manzella. 

Friday, September 2, 2016

Carina & The Six String Preacher - Buffalo, NY

Pics are from a recent performance in Williamsville.

Pics by Joe Tell.

Carina and the Six String Preacher will be performing at the Lewiston Jazz Festival on Saturday, August 27 at the Lewiston Peace Garden Courtyard from 7:15pm to 9:15pm. Complete schedule above. Newest youtube video below...

Carina & The Six String Preacher - Why You So Wild Crocodile? CD review by Joe Tell.

The first track, Forgot About Me, kicks off with a slow and sexy bossa nova/samba musical groove. A groove that's heavily infused with jazz. Carina's vocals send a strong message. She strongly suggest to forget about her, but her breathy delivery has the opposite effect, you are further drawn into her tender musical trappings. This song would fit in perfectly on any 50's B Movie soundtrack. The guitar lays back until the very end. A heavy guitar that sounds like a keyboard punctuates the music and takes the song out.
Youtube link
The guitar and drums of Cheap Perfume come in first and lay down a powerful groove. A perfect groove for Carina to sing along with and drop her unique vocal inflections on top of. Some perfectly timed stops really make the vocals pop as Carina delivers another standout performance.
Any Buffalonian who's been stuck in their house after a huge snow storm will relate to Cabin Fever. Cabin Fever delivers another jazz tour de force complete with a outstanding guitar solo by the Six String Preacher. Once again Carina's passionate and sensual vocal styling's really shine through on Cabin Fever.
A Man I Could Love combines rock, calypso and jazz styling's into a great and unique sounding song. This is my favorite song on Why You So Wild Crocodile? Drummer John Brady's performance on this song is outstanding. The opening lyric is haunting and it really has the tendency to stick inside your head. Once the opening line draws to a close the calypso beat kicks in and Carina displays her versatility by singing and scatting over the jumpy rhythm.
Cry Baby is a lesson in percussion. Carina's tick tock countdown and the Six String Preacher's percussive playing provide the rhythm. Carina's vocals glide over the music and provide the melody that flows through the song.
The enormous talents of Carina & The Six String Preacher come together to deliver a new and unique spin on traditional jazz stylings. Their take on jazz results in a sound that is very cool, sexy and hip.

Thank You Carina & The Six String Preacher!