Music Reviews

Get reviews on the newest music and singers. Tell us what you think of these latest songs, albums and singers. Are they sure to make it big or are they a total bust?

Cimorelli's New Album Might Be The Best Yet


 

Written by:  Jill Sheets

Cimorelli’s newest album has just been released. Even thought Alive is not their first album, it is their first pop/Christian album. The Cimorelli sisters wrote every song on it. (When you think they cannot get any better, they do!) Personally, I think Alive is their best album so far. It’s catchy and upbeat; it shows off their strong vocals and meaningful lyrics. They have worship songs, but they also tackle hard issues like worthlessness and addiction. These inspirational and uplifting songs will get stuck in your head, especially when you need a certain message.  It is hard to pick my favorite song, as I love them all. Each song speaks to me in a different way, and I’m sure they will for you too.

 

Track Listing:

  1.    Your Name Is Forever
  2.    One More Night
  3.    Alive
  4.    Never Let Me Fall
  5.    The Love Of A Man
  6.    My God Is Here
  7.    Hope For It
  8.    Kick The Habit
  9.    Find Me
  10.    Love Song (Over Me)

I had been waiting a while for this CD, and it was worth the wait. I cannot wait to see what Cimorelli does next. If you are interested in learning more about this sister group you can go to the links below.

https://www.cimorellimusic.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Cimorelliband/

https://www.instagram.com/cimorelliband/

https://www.youtube.com/user/cimorellitheband

 



Interview with Mason Ashley


It’s been several dry months for me, musically wise.  I’m listening and absorbing, but there hasn’t been much interest in writing about any of it.  So, the second an email piques my interest, I’m all over it, quick, before I lose the motivation.  Fortunately, though, I love “Paper Planes” so much, I am as excited to share this with you now as I was three weeks ago when I first heard Mason.  Straight up great lyrics and lovely voice with no flash and no gimmicks because there isn’t any needed.  Seriously, it’s so refreshing.  And this interview hints at a sense of humor that made me smile; I am as eager to share her responses as I am to tell everyone about her music.  Read on. And then go listen. I’m sure you’ll feel the same.

 

Relate:  First memory of music:

Mason:  I grew up watching the VH1 Top 20 Video countdown every Saturday since I was really little. I used to dance around the living room and reenact music videos and sing along with every song my parents would play in the house. The first song I wrote was on a hotel notepad when I was seven years old about being late for school…. I was homeschooled at the time. 

 

R:  Name one song you wish you had written and why?

M:  “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright” by Bob Dylan is a song I always wish I’d written. It is the greatest break up song of all time in my opinion. It totally encapsulates the feelings at the end of a relationship. Each verse takes you through the different emotions; the “who cares” somewhat sarcastic attitude, the feeling of giving up, and the hint of sadness in the last verse. It’s genius. 

 

R:  Favorite song of yours that you have written and what makes it special to you?

M:  I think my favorite song I’ve written is the title track of my new EP, “Strangers”. That song title was in my phone notes for about two years and I just never found lyrics that lived up to the title until last summer. The song just kind of poured out of me and it has some of my favorite and most personal lines in it. It’s about a very complicated relationship I was in last year that taught me a lot about myself and how I deal with different situations. “Strangers” is special to me because it is the song I had always wanted to write and it ended up exactly the way I wanted it to in production. It captures the feeling of getting to know someone, losing them, and realizing maybe you never really knew them at all… and in the end you end up exactly how you started: strangers. 

 

R:  I’ve read that you have traveled a lot. How has meeting new people and seeing different places helped you become a better songwriter and musician?

M:  I always get very inspired when I travel. Something about seeing parts of the world I’ve never seen before for the first time makes me want to capture that feeling in lyrics. Meeting new people is the same kind of inspiration for me.. it’s a reminder of how unique everyone is and how everyone has their own story. 

 

R:  Have you ever been afraid to share a song and did you get over that fear?  If so, how?  And if not, do you think you will always have songs that you keep to yourself?

M:  When I first started writing, I was terrified to share any of my songs. When I started performing my songs, I would hide all my feelings in metaphors in my lyrics to make sure nobody knew how I was feeling. I had been writing a few years when I finally realized that all the songs by other artists that I loved were songs that told a brutally honest story. From then on, I felt confident being honest in my writing…it’s much easier.  

 

R:  What goal do you have for yourself that is so big that it frightens you?

M:  My biggest, most terrifying goal is probably to have my song in a movie. It is a dream of mine and if it happened, I think I would freak out. 

 

R:  Best advice that you have ever been given?

M:  Growing up in church with my pastor being my grandfather, I always have great advice. One of my favorite pieces of advice is actually something my grandpa said about God and how He is in everything in our lives, even the rough times. “He’s the designer of the storm. He doesn’t just get you through it… He is in it.” Those words always calm me down and remind me that there is a plan for my life better than I could ever design for myself. 

 

R:  When you aren’t singing or writing music, what do you like to do?

M:   I’m in cosmetology school right now so when I’m not doing something music related I’m normally doing someone’s hair. I’m a coffee-addict so I’m also usually found in a coffee shop after or before school. And I’ve also started doing a lot of yoga lately. 

 

R:  Tell us about something that has made you laugh in the last twenty-four hours.

M:  Well… I was watching The Office earlier (for the billionth time) and laughing with every episode I watched. 

 

R:  Name one song on your iPod that your friends would be surprised you own.

M:  I normally have pop, rap, or indie music playing when my friends are with me so I think they’d be most surprised at the amount of Jackson 5 songs I have on my phone.. They are probably my guilty pleasure band. 

 

R:  Just for fun-choose one:  Beach or the mountains?

M:  Beach BY the mountains. 

 

R:  T-shirts and jeans or sweaters and skirts?

M:   T-shirts and jeans.

 

R:  Taylor Swift or Beyonce?

M:  T-swizzle.

 

R:  Pizza or Cheeseburgers and fries?

M:   Pizza! (Barbecue chicken pizza specifically)

 

R:  Chocolate or potato chips?

M:  Chocolate chips all the way.

 

For more information about Mason, please visit:  http://www.masonashley.com/

Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins

 



Interview with Amanda from Ray and Remora


Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins

amandaI have to be honest-I agreed to review the record Startle it Up simply for the reason that I liked it.  Surprising, I know.  I like to make things complicated and choose albums that have this overwhelming truth that I hadn’t realized before I listened, or it has to inspire me in some profound way.  And while this album may have the potential to do these things if I dissect it enough, I didn’t want to.  I just wanted to enjoy it.  And I did, every time it played.  It even had the chance to pass my “shuffle test:” if a song was randomly picked while I listened to my iPod, would I skip the song?  The answer was a resounding no-instead of hitting next, I turned it up, and I would smile as soon as I heard it.  With all the discord and the chaos in the world, we all need more things to make us smile, right?

Fresh and light without being pathetic and airy, Startle it Up addresses some tensions revolving around various statuses of relationships.  When Amanda begs to be listened to, she doesn’t sound whiny, when she sings “we just have to find it,” you believe that you will, and when the lyrics bleed transparency, there’s still just enough mystique that leave you wanting to hear more.  I adore this album for sounding different, yet familiar.  I love that this album isn’t fluff, yet it doesn’t make me feel burdened.  Startle it Up is an escape that I didn’t even know I needed until I heard it.  

Relate:  What is your first memory of music?

Amanda:  My first memory of music is probably my Grandpa singing lullabies. We moved to Portland shortly after I was born to live with him.  I don’t remember much from childhood, but I do remember him singing me to sleep, “I gave my love a cherry, that had no stone.”

R: 1994 was an EP of covers, and this album, Startle It Up, is a full-length of originals.  Which one was your favorite to create and which one was more challenging?

A:  Startle It Up is definitely my favorite, we really became the band “RAY & REMORA” with this one.

1994 was fun but it was like a “nice to meet you” project with Dan. We were just fooling around in the studio, recording Kazoos with lots of effects and since we weren’t a fully-fledged band yet, it was less serious. We were just two nerds in a basement playing with computers and instruments.

The “challenging stuff” for me isn’t the recording or music making; it’s all the business matters. After an album it’s a lot paper work and emails. That sucks the life out of me. If anyone wants to be my intern, I’m hiring!

R:  How soon did you know that you wanted to create a second album and that it would be your own creations?  Was it right away or did it take awhile for you to decide this?

A:  As soon as the EP was out and receiving some interest, we started playing live shows. Since the EP was only six songs we had to add some material from each of Dan and my prior songwriting repertoire. From then it was inevitable that we would make an album of originals.

R:  In twenty years a young band wants to cover one of your songs.  Which song do you hope they choose and why?

A:  I want to say “It’s Just” or “Soft Brown Heart”, these two are extra close to me, personally. But, as I will not be the young band member in 20 years… Whomever decided to cover one of our songs, I hope they choose whichever song(s) they connect to the most and that they make it their own.

R:  If you couldn’t be a musician, what would you want to be instead?

A:  I will never not be a musician! But if I had to have a side gig, which I do, it would be making art. I’m a collagist of objects and images.

R:  Best source of inspiration when you need to write a song? Do you use personal experiences or do you use what you see going on around you?

A:  I draw mostly from personal experience, which is sometimes outside actions happening around me, observing them and then trying to understand all the sides of what’s going on. A lot of the songs that I write are about understanding how people talk to and act towards each other. It’s hard to explain one’s self and actions perfectly all the time, where everyone’s coming from emotionally or physically. I struggle with it a lot, on both the understanding and acting side.

R:  How do you describe your music to someone who hasn’t heard you before?  

A:  I keep getting asked this and then I say, “ummm… it’s indie pop rock?” But I’ll let you listen and choose your own words.

R:  What is the biggest hope you have for your music?

A:  My biggest hope is that music will be able to support me and keep me happy till the end of time. If it doesn’t do that then I just may have to find something new. But, it hasn’t failed me yet and I don’t intend on letting it, so watch out world! Ray & Remora & Amanda & Glen are coming for you!



More Blog Posts

Cimorelli's New Album Might Be The Best Yet

Share This nbsp Written by Jill Sheets Cimorelli s newest album has just been released Even thought Alive is not ...


Interview with Mason Ashley

Share This It s been several dry months for me musically wise I m listening and absorbing but there hasn ...


Interview with Amanda from Ray and Remora

Share This Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins I have to be honest-I agreed to review the record Startle it Up ...


Willow Steps

Share This Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins A little longer than a minute ago I wrote a review for a ...


Hollis Creek Revival: In the River

Share This Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins I was drawn to Hollis Creek Revival immediately ten seconds into my first ...


Kina Grannis:  100 Days in Jakarta

Share This Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins While I haven t written a review for Kina since I ve remained ...


Jordy Searcy: Seasons

Share This Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins When I googled Jordy his Youtube channel was the first to pop up ...


Sister Singers to Keep an Eye On

Share This Written By Jill Sheets I would love to talk about a couple of new musicians that I have ...


Zeke Duhon: Zeke

Share This Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins The lyrics You want to move at the speed of light I ve ...


Jon McLaughlin: Like Us

Share This Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins I ve been a fan of Jon for over seven years but it ...


Playing The Guitar Doesn’t Have To Be A Pain In The Wrist

Share This Young and old novice and experienced there s one thing that unites all guitar players regardless of age ...


Tamara Laurel: Runaway

Share This Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins Country music generally isn t my thing While I will listen without complaint ...


Interview with Jon McLaughlin

Share This Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins Music sustains me in countless different ways Most of my favorite songs can ...


Interview with Dan Rodriguez

Share This Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins Come On Home the new album from Dan is all kinds of wonderful ...


Interview with Sofia

Share This Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins While some artists make a move to pursue their dreams Sofia is making ...


Manafest: The Moment

Share This Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins nbsp Carpe Diem seize the day I remember a foreign exchange student trying ...


Interview with Manafest

Share This Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins nbsp Manafest s latest release is called The Moment He describes the theme ...


Veridia: Inseparable EP

Share This Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins I love rock music I love the intensity in it that no other ...


Love and the Outcome: Ocean Way Sessions: Live

Share This Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins It s been a difficult couple of years for me I keep putting ...


Evan Andree: Sons and Daughters of the Revolution EP

Share This Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins So it was a couple of weeks before Christmas and instead of cleaning ...


Blanca: Who I Am EP

Share This Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins Blanca s new EP has all the components of an excellent Christian pop ...


Nicholas David: Make Hope EP

Share This Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins I love it when music has a color a feeling and a theme ...


Peter Furler Christmas (featuring David Ian)

Share This Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins This might be one of my shorter reviews but my wish this Christmas ...


Everfound: Resolution

Share This Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins I love that a resolution is the entering of new ways an adieu ...


Disciple: Attack

Share This Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins I love the military feel of this album I love the rhythm specifically ...


Ginny Owens: I Know A Secret

Share This Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins Ginny has had a rough couple of years and her trials have included ...


Thousand Foot Krutch: Oxygen: Inhale

Share This Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins In a favorite Gilmore Girls episode Loralei takes Rory on a road trip ...


for King and Country: Run Wild. Live Free. Love Strong

Share This Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins I m really late on jumping on the I love for King and ...


Tori Harris: Sweet Dolor-EP

Share This Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins I recently did an interview with Tori and I knew immediately I wanted ...


Bae Kuang: These Darling Wings

Share This Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins I loved Bae s voice from the very first moment one of those ...


About a Mile

Share This Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins The band s name About a Mile references the distance that Jesus traveled ...


Interview with Tori Harris

Share This Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins A year ago I did an interview with Tori a worship artist I ...


Rachel and The Kings: Edge of Me EP

Share This Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins When I did an interview with Rachel a few years back I said ...


Interview with Bae Kuang

Share This Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins Pursuing a passion is difficult enough Life financial obstacles the demands of other ...


Jeff Campbell: In Spite of Everything

Share This Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins Jeff has one of those voices that is so familiar to me I ...


Melissa Giges: Just When I Let Go

Share This Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins I m usually pretty selective about who I review I don t want ...


Francesca Battistelli: If We're Honest

Share This Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins nbsp If We re Honest Francesca s third release is a beautiful effort ...


Interview with Meredith O'Connor

Share This Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins It s the middle of May and hopefully you re thinking about your ...


The Iveys: Jenna's Song

Share This Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins It s a good day when I open my mail and an album ...


Margot MacDonald: Canvas

Share This Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins I hear terms like loop pedal and get introduced to an album by ...


Interview with Lindsey Cohen

Share This Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins I love when I read about an artist and instantly I feel like ...


Luminous City

Share This Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins I was recently chatting with a nine year old as a rehearsal took ...


Switchfoot: Fading West

Share This Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins Switchfoot has become my favorite band overall If I had an endless supply ...


Julia McKinnis: The Good Has Won

Share This Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins An album full of happy songs I write this on a rain pouring ...


Interview with Francesca Battistelli

Share This Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins nbsp Francesca has already won six Dove awards she s been nominated times ...


Girls of Grace Conference

Share This Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins The Girls of Grace Conference motto is Live Freely Love Fiercely Lead Fearlessly ...


Jake Hamilton: Beautiful Rider

Share This Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins There is no worship music like Jake Hamilton At least not for me ...


SPiN: Pushed Around EP

Share This Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins Any album that begins with catchy piano and the lyrics where there is ...


Roses Unread

Share This Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins The intro is chilling Sounds of running sirens knives I want to roll ...


Kelly Clarkson: Wrapped in Red

Share This Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins I m a ginormous Kelly Clarkson fan Secretly she is the standard to ...