SINGLE REVIEW: Time For Some Ink by Rob Georg


Rob Georg is a country singer and songwriter originally hailing from Tuebingen in Germany. He became interested in music as a child, taking up the piano and then switching to guitar. He bought his first guitar at just 14 and this led to writing his own material. In 2018, he released his first official song Push That Horn and in December of that year came his first full band release, This Ain’t My First Rodeo. That song made it into the US National Radio Hits AC Charts Top Ten and since then he has released Ghost, which I reviewed highly favourably (read here).

This track, Time For Some Ink, is a distinct contrast to the emotionally troubled epic balladry of Ghost and shows a whole other side to his musical persona. It’s a very upbeat, tongue in cheek ode to the joys of getting a tattoo, a subject which so many will relate to but not one I’ve encountered in a rock song before.

The song starts out as laid back as you can get, with low-end guitar melding with a slow roll on the snare drum. From the opening lines you know that this is going to be a fun, light hearted song: “I need to catch a buzz from a tattoo pen, got to get some pictures on my skin”. The bridge is short but effective (“Tell me I’m addicted, I don’t care what you think”) before exploding into the anthemic title hook that you can imagine the crowd singing along to with ‘devil horns’ aloft.

The second verse gives a little more lyrical depth as it describes how tattoos tell the story of his life on his body. After the second chorus the rock ‘n roll factor is turned up to eleven with a Slash-style, wah-drenched guitar solo. Indeed, the whole song wouldn’t have sounded out of place on Guns ‘n Roses classic album Appetite For Destruction.

Overall, this is a highly enjoyable, hugely entertaining track which shows the rockier side to Rob Georg. He shows his voice is just as adept at rock as at country ballads and, again, his gift for writing epic, singalong choruses. This song is guaranteed to be popular with his current fan base and should win over plenty more, especially the fellow tattoo lovers out there!


VERDICT= 8.7 out of 10 

Alex Faulkner


Listen here:

ARTIST REVIEW: Suzanne Gladstone


Suzanne Gladstone is a country/soul singer and songwriter from San Diego. She was born in Oceanside, California and was one of ten children. Her childhood was rather difficult, being raised by her aunt and grandparents after the age of five. She turned to music and poetry for solace and this led to her love of singing and songwriting.

She is self taught and somewhat of a natural, with her paternal grandmother being a jazz singer. Along the way she has found inspiration from such artists as Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Reba McEntire, Faith Hill and Garth Brooks amongst many others. Her voice has been compared to singers such as Shania Twain and Adele.

She has been steadily working on her debut album which so far consists of three completed original songs. In April this year she released the EP I Blew A Wish which has spawned two singles so far, the title track and Barely Felt The Fall, which was released May 21st. A third song, You Are The Reason (My Heart Beats), is yet to be released.

I Blew A Wish is a mid-paced country rock song that acts as a wonderful showcase for Suzanne’s powerful and versatile voice. Starting out with some bluesy harmonica that sets an authentic, rootsy vibe Suzanne then enters and delivers a knockout vocal performance. Holding back on the first verse she gets to unleash the Adele-esque power of her voice on the explosive, uplifting and memorable chorus.

Lyrically, the message is positive and empowering (“Leave those regrets behind”) but also expresses the harder side of life (“Another shot of whisky to get me through”) and Suzanne has the ability to convey strong emotion in her singing in a way that truly resonates in the listener, which is what separates the great singers from the good ones, in my opinion.

Barely Felt The Fall is another original song and has just been released as a single. This one is a poignant and melancholy country ballad that allows Suzanne to give another highly emotive and cathartic lead vocal performance. As with I Blew A Wish, the production and musicianship is exquisite, this one adorned with bursts of lonesome sounding slide guitar. Picked guitar and a melodic piano part are also instrumental highlights of this song.

Again, Suzanne displays her gift for emotional expression, running the gamut of emotions from sadness and regret (“I gave him my all, swept me off my feet”) to feisty anger (“You stomped on my heart“) on the second verse, as well as resignation.

The theme of the song is being heartbroken by a lover who has turned out to be unworthy of her, something many will be able to relate to. She really gets to express her considerable vocal range, especially during the soaring choruses where her singing is literally breathtaking. These two songs prove her both a highly gifted singer but also songwriter.

The other songs currently available on her website are well chosen cover versions which Suzanne interprets and performs in her own, uniquely emotive way. Perhaps aware that this is one of her biggest artistic strengths, she has chosen highly emotional songs that most will be familiar with.

Her version of Say Something by A Great Big World (ft. Christina Aguilera) is a very good reinterpretation that manages to convey a greater depth of feeling than the original. Suzanne’s passionate, heartfelt performance brought to mind Celine Dion and Adele, particularly her song Someone Like You.

Also superb is her cover of the modern classic Make You Feel My Love, originally written by the great Bob Dylan but made famous by Adele. Suzanne captures the poignancy in the lyrics and performs the haunting melody beautifully.

Another touching performance is her rendition of Sarah McLachlan’s Angel. By choosing songs that work well for just piano and vocal, it has allowed Suzanne’s voice to take the spotlight and centre stage where it belongs. So much modern pop music finds the singer competing against their overproduced musical backing, but not here.

Next comes a slight change of pace, a lovely version of the timeless jazzy classic Crazy by Patsy Cline. Suzanne delivers a suitably moving depiction of heartbreak and musically the arrangement is of the highest calibre.

After that is another contrast, a great cover of one of my all time favourite songs, the brooding country rock classic Black Velvet by Canada’s Alannah Myles. It’s a faithful rendition that captures all the sultry sensuality of the original, Suzanne getting to show a more edgy side to her musical persona.

The final cover is a real change of pace, an unexpected but very enjoyable version of Bob Marley’s wonderful song Three Little Birds. The light reggae groove and fine guitar work underpin a comparatively understated performance from Suzanne that suits the material perfectly. It shows she can pull off the more light hearted end of the recorded canon.

Overall, this is turning into a fantastic collection of songs for a debut album. Her original material is very well written and performed to an exceptional standard, managing to be both artistic and commercial. On the songs she’s chosen to cover she makes the songs her own through her ability to bring out hidden emotional depths via the power and beauty of her voice. Suzanne Gladstone has got the potential to be as big a star as the singers she idolized growing up.



VERDICT = 9 out of 10     

Alex Faulkner

Listen HERE



SINGLE REVIEW: Without You by Alex Costova


Alex Costova (a.k.a. The Pianist of Dreams) is an up and coming singer and songwriter hailing from Boston, Massachusetts. He is a self taught musician and singer, with piano being his primary instrument. He began playing music at the tender age of eight and has been writing songs ever since. In 2018, he released the song Dreamer and has since been busy working on his first studio EP, See You In My Dreams, which is soon to be released. He also has aspirations to write scores for movies and short films.

This song, Without You, is a summery sounding pop/EDM track with elements of dancehall. Starting with a beautifully constructed, melodic piano introduction, Alex’s distinctive vocals enter drenched in rich reverb and slick production effects. The track is lifted by a laid back, very danceable RnB style beat and it is at this point in the song that we hear the memorable title hook.

Lyrically, it’s on the timeless theme of loving someone so deeply that you don’t know how you’d emotionally survive without them, something most will relate to. That feeling is conveyed by lines like, “I’ve been waiting my whole life for you….” and brought home by the stirring final choruses featuring the title refrain.

Overall, this is an impressive single release from Alex Costova which highlights his gifts as a singer, songwriter and pianist. The production is very classy and contemporary in style, perfectly suitable for mainstream pop radio but with its EDM overtones it would be equally popular in the clubs. For fans of acts like The Weeknd and Major Lazer, as well as pop/EDM fans in general, I can highly recommend the music of Alex Cordova and I’m sure this is a name the world will be hearing plenty more of in the future.


VERDICT= 8.8 out of 10

Alex Faulkner

Listen here:

ALBUM REVIEW: Pack Up The Moon by D.C. Bloom

2019-03-06 00_53_35-cover-HIREZ.pdf - Foxit Reader.jpg

D.C. Bloom is a folk/country singer and songwriter based in Austin. Having released several solo albums, his recent years have been blighted by serious health problems including multiple strokes and open heart surgeries. Only days after his album Just Another Song And Dance Man had charted in the Top 30 on FolkDJ, he unfortunately suffered a triple stroke which tragically left him unable to walk, confining him to a wheelchair.

Remarkably, he’s been able to continue making music and has recorded his sixth album Pack Up The Moon with two of Austin’s finest musicians, Chip Dolan (keyboard, accordion) and Dave Scher (lead guitar). The album consists of thirteen songs essentially in the folk and country genres, and naturally many of the songs deal with the insights and wisdom gained through overcoming such health difficulties. There is a strong spiritual aspect throughout the album, and the importance of faith is a recurring theme.

From the gentle and moving opening track, Saint of All Lost Causes, it quickly becomes apparent that Bloom is a highly accomplished songwriter both musically and lyrically. He writes the kind of deep, poetic lyrics borne from a lifetime of experience that you simply don’t hear in mainstream music much these days.

There’s a playfulness and humour to the opening line, “My pencil’s got a flat tire, erasing where I’ve been” which is contrasted by the Dylanesque gravity of lines like, “I’ve been scarred and marred by you, stigmatised with grief, my stolen life’s been wasted by a lover and a thief….”.

Musically, it consists of gentle, fingerpicked acoustic guitar and Bloom’s plaintive lead vocals that fit the material perfectly. With a succinct and moving chorus, it gets the album off to a powerful and poignant start.

Braced For The Big One is a nice contrast, musically an upbeat country rock number but with far deeper lyrics than you’ll usually find in this genre. It’s about how people are powerless in the hands of fate and accepting it: “Go shiver in the darkness, hunker down and pray, with our wagons in a circle got to take it day to day…”. Dave Scher contributes a fine lead guitar solo.

Soft Landings is the albums gentle epic, a five minute acoustic ballad consisting of just delicate picked acoustic guitar, Bloom’s emotive and intimate vocals and suitably soft use of brushes. It’s another song that goes to the heart of the human condition, the need for safety and security amidst life’s slings and arrows: “With the sorrow and the suffering of each cross we’re asked to bear, we keep longing for soft landings and the loving hands that care”.

Fourth track Harbor is another song about dealing with hardship in its many forms, this one a soothing ballad with a memorable melody. This one features some superb piano and organ accompliment courtesy of Chip Dolan, which really enriches the sound. Again, the spiritual theme of redemption runs through the song like a thread: “There’s a byway for every prodigal who feels it’s time to make things right….”.

Gone With The Texas Wind is a well crafted traditional country song, instantly catchy and infectious. Cleverly, it depicts the sound of blowing wind through the use of a musical saw (played by another Austin musician, Guy Forsyth). It’s these subtle touches that show the craftsmanship of a true artist.

Blessing in Disguise is a fine ballad with a lyrical lesson about “a femme fatale who corralled me with her Charleston charms”. It’s about finding wisdom even in bad experiences and it’s a real showcase for Bloom’s gift for eloquent and inventive wordplay.

Gospel Plow is a more overt expression of Bloom’s strong Christian faith, featuring some bluesy piano. It’s another well written song whose sentiments will resonate with everyone, regardless of faith or belief. The following Outskirts Of Paris is a rather different song, given a real Gallic charm through the use of accordion throughout. The instrumental colour and variety across the album is one of its many strengths and this song contains some of his most poetic imagery: “Ivy vines wither in the desolate heat”.

Ninth track Falling Down is an interesting song, with a beautiful descending vocal melody that brought to mind early Simon and Garfunkel as well as The Beatle’s Eleanor Rigby. It’s another of Bloom’s profoundly contemplative and philosophical songs at which he excels, with powerful lines like, “Every wall is bound to crumble, every brick will find its pile, all that’s left behind are hints that it once stood….”.

Still Life Composition is another song with an exotic European sound, this one featuring some gorgeous Spanish acoustic guitar playing in harmony, reminiscent of ABBA’s classic track Chiquitita. A very charming, sweet love song with clever use of metaphors.

Upside Of Down returns is to more traditional country fare, replete with slide guitar and banjo. It’s one of his uplifting songs about trying to see the glass half full. Next comes the title track and it’s an unexpected diversion into jazz, with a swinging rhythm that gets the toe tapping instantly. It has a jaunty, Blue Suede Shoes feel but the lyrics are dry and downbeat, an effective contrast: “Haul off the stars, they won’t be shooting no more, they’ve lost the tug of war, no need to gas the car….”

The album ends with the poignant piano-led ballad Going, Coming Home, which blends spoken and sung sections, again adding a little variety. It’s a genuinely heartwarming piece of songwriting about life’s long journey that brought to mind the lines from T.S Eliot’s Four Quartets: “The end of our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” A perfect way to complete the album, an emotional journey in itself.

Overall, this is a superb collection of songs that are unified by their lyrical depth and profundity as well as the consistently high quality of the music. D.C. Bloom draws on a lifetime of experience and hard earned wisdom, and to carry on after several strokes is testament to his artistic spirit and tenacity. Hopefully, many will get to hear this fine songwriter’s work and will be both uplifted and comforted by it.


VERDICT = 9.1 out of 10           

Alex Faulkner


SINGLE REVIEW: Move by Glorious


Glorious is a pop singer-songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist from Washington, D.C. but now based in New York. Remarkably, by the age of three she started playing drums and is now a livetronica drummer. She combines this talent and her jazz background with her abilities as a songwriter and vocalist. Her influences are numerous, from fellow pop singers like Beyonce and Pink, EDM artists like Tiesto, David Guetta and Diplo as well as jazz legends like Miles Davis.

This track, Move, is a hugely infectious pop track that shows her self-belief and artistic potential. She has a magnificent voice, comparable to Beyonce and Christina Aguilera with a similarly huge vocal range. The song itself is actually about her skills as a drummer, however, and the power that rhythm has to make people dance. Naturally, it has a brilliant beat that gets your top tapping immediately, but the track also features a funky, driving bassline and a lead vocal from Glorious that is by turns smoky and sultry then exultant and powerful on the incendiary chorus.

The title hook is brief but incredibly catchy: “I make the whole room move….”. After the second chorus the song takes an unexpected left turn into a dreamy, blissed out middle eight section where she sings sincerely, “I know you feel it, deep in your soul….”. It then gradually builds back up for a couple more killer choruses, with some fantastic vocal extemporizations towards the end. The production is slick, inventive and modern, as good as anything you’ll hear in the Billboard Top 100.

Overall, Glorious has written, performed and produced a pop classic. As vocally gifted as her idols, her skills behind the kit only add to her appeal, but most importantly this is simply a great song. Equally suited to both radio and the dancefloor, this track will surely make a strong impact on the music world and make her legions of new fans. For my money, Glorious could well go on to become the next Beyonce.


VERDICT= 9.2 out of 10

Alex Faulkner

Listen here:


SINGLE REVIEW: Grey by Lunar

lunar Cover Image

Lunar is a rather enigmatic RnB/soul/dance singer and songwriter. Not much background information can be found about her but this element of intrigue and mysteriousness extends to her music. She has so far released two full length albums, 2016’s Gravitar and Theogony in 2017. Her music is difficult to categorize but, essentially, she combines the sassy RnB/dance style of an artist like Rihanna with the more, quirky eclectic style of St. Vincent.

This track, Grey, is taken from her four track EP Project. It starts with a haunting piano motif, then Lunar’s strong, distinctive voice enters along with a simple but effective 2/4 beat. The bridge breaks down to hi-hats and pulsing synths before building up to a captivating chorus driven along by a synth bass. Lyrically, it’s about a relationship that is both romantic and sexual: “Love, lust, craving for a safe place……luck, lost, they don’t think we’re the same….”.

After that chorus, the music veers off-piste dramatically. It breaks down to the haunting classical and jazz infused piano of the intro, moving through some beautiful minor key progressions. Then without blinking, it switches back into the second verse and chorus. It’s a stroke of genius that sounds like it shouldn’t work on paper, but it somehow fits the moody sensuality of the song. In the final chorus we also hear a swirl of synths before concluding on those poignant piano chords, once again.

Overall, this is a superb piece of modern pop that seamlessly combines RnB, dance, classical and jazz in under three minutes. Lunar is a highly intriguing artist with a style of her own and deserves to be recognized as an important female artist of the times. Although eclectic and unpredictable, this track is still very commercially appealing and has the potential to be the song that brings her to a much wider audience.


VERDICT = 9.1 out of 10

Alex Faulkner

Listen here:


SINGLE REVIEW: Flame Is Gone by Mallika Mehta



Mallika Mehta is a singer from Mumbai, India and has been singing for ten years, professionally for three. She can speak five languages, an ability which came to the fore when she performed her maiden concert in 2016. She performed a medley of fifty-one songs in five different languages to six hundred people.

Since then, she has performed to thousands, recorded many covers on YouTube, released her own material and generated much acclaim and interest in the media. Indeed, she has been dubbed the Mumbai Adele by both the Indian and international press. She has also been compared to Indian singers like Asha Bhosle, Usha Utthup, Sunidhi Chauhan and Shreya Ghoshal.

In January 2018, she performed her second concert to a packed house, performing 93 songs. This latest single, Flame Has Gone has already generated over fifty thousand YouTube views and is an Adele-style romantic ballad. It is a poignant song about a relationship that has lost its spark and is a perfect showcase for her magnificent voice.

It starts out in a similar way to Adele’s Someone Like You, with just vocals and piano. But it bursts into life during the memorable chorus, lifted by a simple but effective RnB groove. The languid pace is reminiscent of Lana Del Rey, though with greater emotional depth to the lyrics which are melancholic and highly poignant. It depicts a romantic situation that most will relate to.

Overall, this is an excellent single from a singer who has already proven she has the potential to become a worldwide star like her idol Adele. She has already amassed an army of fans online and this song will help her gain many more in both her native India and abroad. The sky is the limit for Mallika Mehta.



VERDICT: 8.6 out of 10


Alex Faulkner

Listen here:

E.P. REVIEW: Nashville Songwriting Sessions by Claudia Norris


Claudia Norris is a singer/songwriter currently residing in Edmonton, Alberta in Canada. She has been songwriting since 14 and sharing her music on YouTube since 2007. She has run her musical career in parallel with her career as a certified make-up artist, and regularly travels to Nashville and L.A. to write, perform and record.

Her Shine EP received airplay on over 100 radio stations and she was a finalist in the Great American Song Contest in 2015. She’s amassed a huge fanbase (30k+) online, her army of fans known as Claudiators! She regards her influences as Taylor Swift, Adele and Meghan Trainor, and these influences are in evidence on this 5 track EP, Nashville Recording Sessions.

Opening track Say Yes is a finely crafted piece of country-tinged pop that Taylor Swift would be proud to have written, and a showcase for Claudia’s crystal clear and powerful voice. Like Taylor and Adele, her music mostly deals with timeless emotional issues, though there is also the light-hearted exuberance of Meghan Trainor in the musical mix.

Second song Stronger is the standout on this EP, for me. It’s an emotive ballad about a trust and communication breakdown in a relationship, with Claudia delivering a vocal performance of both passion and restraint. Lyrically, it shows the empowering message behind her music with lines like, “Don’t blame me, I’m not changing, couldn’t be your Barbie doll“. With its radio friendly sound and memorable chorus, this sounds like it could become a huge worldwide hit.

Third track Heartbeat is a more upbeat and fun Meghan Trainor-style song which is based on classic 1950’s era chord changes and has the sweet innocence of that musical period. The chorus is ultra catchy, the whole track driven by propulsive, rhythmic piano and it also brought to mind the British pop group Scouting For Girls.

Stay is another Stronger-type ballad which is well written and performed, though perhaps a little too similar to Sam Smith’s massive hit Stay With Me, at least lyrically. Final track Love On Replay is the most modern sounding song here, with a Rihanna/RnB influence that adds another interesting facet to her music. It broadens her appeal and is, again, extremely catchy and packed with hooks.

Overall, this EP is first class evidence that Claudia Norris is a superb singer and songwriter. As an artist, she stands poised halfway between the two pop giants of this era, Taylor Swift and Adele. Her positive, empowering message is perfect for the times, and with Stronger, she has a song that could catapult her to the centre of the world stage and deservedly so.


VERDICT: 8.7 out of 10

 Alex Faulkner




Susan G is a singer and songwriter hailing from Seattle. She possesses an authentic, rich soul voice and you can hear the influence of classic soul singers like Etta James and Mavis Staples, along with modern pop singer/songwriters like Sia and Sara Bareilles. Musically, she fuses the retro-soul sound of Amy Winehouse with 90’s pop/RnB to create a unique synthesis.

In 2009, she released her first album The Way To Here and then the single No Room For You in 2014. This was followed by the Some Freedom EP in 2016, featuring the classic song A Better You, which became regularly featured on IHeartRadio. The same year she experimented with a more urban sound, releasing the single Need You Here featuring the rapper Redhead.

In terms of live performance she has shared the stage with Colbie Caillat, Sony artist Ryan Cummings, The Voice’s Austin Jenckes, Zarni de Wet, amongst many others as well as selling out venues all across Seattle. She is due to release another album later this year, and her YouTube Channel is helping her reach a wider audience, featuring a mix of original material and covers of well known songs.

Usually she performs with just vocals and keyboards, and I particularly enjoyed her interpretations of The Weeknd’s I Feel It Coming, her cover of I Fall Apart by Post Malone and a haunting rendition of the Amy Winehouse modern classic Back to Black. She also does excellent versions of well known hits like the ubiquitous Shape of You by Ed Sheeran and Look What You Made Me Do by the current Queen of Pop, Taylor Swift.

But it is her own original material that showcases what a great talent she is. The epic six minute ballad Push and Pull had me enthralled from start to finish and the lilting Unafraid, featuring the guitar talents of Skylar Mehal, is another fine piece of songwriting that could appeal to country audiences. Indeed, she has the potential to appeal right across the musical spectrum.

Overall, Susan G has everything it takes for major success in terms of singing ability and image. If her upcoming album is as strong as her previous work, there’s no reason why her fanbase won’t increase exponentially. Her soulful yet modern sound is perfect for the times. This could be a name you’ll be hearing plenty of in the future.

VERDICT: One To Watch!

Alex Faulkner 

ALBUM REVIEW: …And The Walls Of The City Will Shake by The Colored Parade (Released May 6 2014)


The Colored Parade is essentially the brainchild of singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Andrew Adkins. Having been in the critically eluded Mellow Down Easy and voted one of the top three songwriters in Nashville, this album finds Adkins blending a mélange of musical styles to create something refreshingly unique.

It would difficult to  pigeonhole the music into any existing genre, it’s a melting pot of country, rock and blues, with shades of gospel, folk and electronica thrown for good measure. And let’s not forget the colourful flourishes of brass and strings. If pressed, I’d call it psych-country, but best the listener decide for themselves. The title, however, is most apt, coming from Plato’s old adage, “When the mode of the music changes, the walls of the city will shake…”.

His original twist on country/blues could be compared to Beck’s Odelay though stylistically is much closer to the home-spun authentic charm of The Band (if maybe with a little acid slipped in their tea!). Adkins’ voice is reminiscent of a more guttural and ballsy Marc Bolan, though musically also brings to mind such disparate influences as Steve Earle, 60’s legends Love, Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd (especially the very trippy finale Out Of The Ether) and the melding of different styles and instrumentation also made me think of Mercury Rev’s seminal Deserters’ Songs.

The joy of this album is that you never quite know where things are heading. Opener ‘Please, Be Kind’ wrong foots the listener halfway through via a dreamy pedal-steel section and the album takes many delightful left turns like this. The short-but-sweet second track ‘When The World’s Against Me’ is a nice contrast, which is notable for its mariachi-style brass arrangement.

Over the next few songs, Adkins also shows his skill as a lyricist with a deft Dylan-esque turn of phrase and gift for imagery (‘when the stars fall like confetti down the drain’ , ‘like a lightning bolt through a heart of stone’). The gritty ‘I’m Indestructible’ brought to mind the retro-blues of The Black Keys, currently huge, which shows the album has commercial potential.

Other highlights for me were ‘Too Much Out of Line’, which features a mellifluous guitar solo, and my personal favourite ‘Let’s Set Fire To This World’, a five-minute long call-to-arms against apathy in the face of worldly corruption. It must be said though that there’s no weak links at all here, and across thirteen songs, that’s quite an achievement.

While the subtleties and sophistication may go over the heads of the masses, this album will undoubtedly find its place in the hearts of the musically literate and eventually find a large following.  Though it owes much to the past, its innovations and more modern touches place it very much as an album of the moment and you could easily see it topping critics’ lists at the end of the year. And the walls may well be shaking…


Verdict: 8.6 out of 10

Alex Faulkner