Tag Archives: UK

Breaking Out

Review of  Verity White’s album: Breaking Out

reviewed by Randy Wayne Belt
April 16, 2018

I remember how relieved a lot of people were when rock made a bit of a comeback in the 90s and I recall a lot of people saying how they felt they could listen to new music again instead of just regurgitated classics.

With rock’s decline in the late 90s and taking a backseat on major charts like Billboards, the dance and electro music chiefly took over pop radio and totally dominated by 2009. However, a pop/rock resurgence has occurred as led by the electro rock of groups like Imagine Dragons. It is almost like a cycle where pop/rock declines – then rock declines then pop/rock resurges – then rock resurges thereafter.

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Will rock make another comeback? Or will it stay almost as a cult following like when it first started? No one knows for sure. But there is one thing that is for sure – Rock is not dead  – and The UK’s own Verity White will be in the leading edge of a comeback!

Influenced by the 90s rock/grunge scene and adding her own twist of pure rock, some electronic, and a touch of progressive, Verity White’s debut full length album Breaking Out continues to do just that (break out). It is a strong debut album that should lodge her foot in the door and kick it in just enough for the next one to break it down.  And Verity isn’t waiting around for some pie in the sky big label to do the work for her.  She is dong it herself!

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Not only do the lyrics ring true from the heart of life’s experiences, Verity effectively delivers her vocal performance to match the moods on each song. Each song has its own character and each character is easily slipped into. And that shouldn’t be surprising considering her background in theater. Whether a song or component within a song requires the growl of a wild cat or the purr of a kitten, Verity delivers. Power and grit with fire and wit – Purr and claw, she’s got it all.

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As Indie Music Mag put it ” A powerful vocalist with a soulful streak that is truly compelling” (indie music mag, May 2017) I think they are onto something here.

If Verity is the wild cat of this album, then Alex, the guitarist, is the tom cat and shows no mercy to the helpless mice as they are shredded by claws of wound string fret to fret. The rest of the band fills right in with the necessary ingredients to cook up a perfect musical meal.

The extra rich crunchy electric guitars lift this album to a new level. The Hughes and Kettner head and Blackstar cab with a Les Paul Custom guitar run through provided the perfect warm and crunchy sound for this album. No wimpy guitars here!

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The textured layers of music on each track create a unique atmosphere for each song and relate to the lyrics in some way. Each song sounds like it was approached with a unique perspective of what that song needed production-wise. Each song was carefully crafted and attention to details are obvious to a scrutinizing listener.

The opening and title track, Breaking Out, with its meaty introduction to the listener of a real rock experience, kicks things off. It’s a musical “scotch on the rocks” and has a message that you can interpret for yourself in the video. (Watch recently released video for the song)

The second track, Zeroes and Ones, starts things off with a taste of keyboard driven verses showing the artists diversity in taste and style and ultimately lead into crunchy rock chorus pieces that flow easily together while following the emotion of the lyrics.

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Demonstrating an understanding of the importance of the bridge of a song as a great reset point, it is clear Verity and her production team have taken great pains to finely tune each track.

The keyboard driven sounds of track two continue into track three and then reset back to the harder edged guitar based riff rock with edgy and attitude oriented vocals. Carefully placed vocal effects further demonstrate that the production ideas of this album were no mere accidents but were carefully planned.

The rock attitude comes out fully in the song I Don’t Care which is a total pure rock song that Joan Jett would have been proud to have written and has the perfect bridge providing contrast to the rest of the song.  The fifth song, See Through It, demonstrates that Verity is capable of utilizing her obviously very trained voice and her sense of melody to give the album a break and slight detour into a bit of electronic pop/rock feel that gives the perfect reset point while it lyrically delves deeper into personal struggles that are ultimately given a sense of hope to overcome by the last track, (which is aptly titled Overcome).

That ability to handle any type of vocal is what led me to be ever more curious of her talent and how this album would turn out.

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So impressed was I with her handling of a number of vocal formats that I asked her to provide the leading harmony vocals on a remake by my own band, Barley Station, of the old dance/pop Madonna song “Borderline” (from 1983/1984) changing its format to a more rock-oriented tune but with a male/female lead vocal. And Verity indeed delivered! (view article on that)

One of my favorite tracks on this album is the song Exhale“. So I wasn’t surprised this was pushed as a single from the album. Like some of the other songs presented in this collection of original songs, “Exhale” combines the cleaner sounds of keyboards and weaves them through the song with the crunchy guitar sounds, creating textures

The album concludes with another of my favorites, the creative and hypnotic track “Overcome“. By now as the album is about to conclude, you understand and have a clearer picture of the concept behind the album of overcoming many of the things we struggle with in life. And especially so the struggles of an artist in a world that imagines perfection is achievable and projects unrealistic demands on its inhabitants. Overcoming the struggles of depression and using music as an outlet and healing mechanism seems to be an underlying theme that is effectively delivered in this album.

The set up is all there for a follow up album to demonstrate that Verity White will be an artist to watch and take notice of and as I said earlier, kick that door in the rest of the way. Verity is always interacting with her fans, has great stage presence, and works her tail off writing, recording, and touring. There’s no reason not to belief that she cannot achieve whatever she sets her mind to. Rumor has it a new single is in the works, so watch for that!

WEBSITE : www.veritywhite.com
SPOTIFY: https://open.spotify.com/album/7zF9Hwte3JZG8qLDZveCBM?si=V0ZITobGSDeBid2edOg75w
TWITTER : www.twitter.com/veebear
FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/VerityWhiteSinger
INSTAGRAM: www.instagram.com/Original_Verity
PATREON: www.patreon.com/VerityWhite

PR Contact
Email: veebear@me.com

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Announcing the release of Borderline by Barley Station

March 21, 2018

This is a Rock/Pop version of Madonna’s song that hit #10 on Billboards Top 100 in 1984. I was on the Billboards chart in various positions for a total of 30 weeks. This new version by Barley Station is more akin to the version of Madonna’s 2010 Stick and Sweet Tour and is a collaboration of vocals between Randy Wayne Belt (Barley Station) on lead vocal and Verity White (Verity White) on leading harmony (and both on backing vocals). It is an across the pond vocal collaboration between he U.S. and UK that will surprise many!

The old saying that a hit song is a hit song in any format bears true.  The new format for the song was achieved by removing the dance/pop elements from the song and stripping it all the way down to an acoustic guitar and vocal and rebuilding it with a rock/pop beat, crunchy guitars and somewhat gritty vocals.  It was with the help of Verity White on a leading harmony vocal that the song was able to be sung with a conviction and reflection of the new atmosphere that helped the song stay true to the integrity of the original underlying song written by Reggie Lucas and first performed by Madonna.

It was deemed by Randy, who produced the new version, that the piano/keyboard melody that opens the song was an important element that should be kept as closely as possible to the original and tastefully translated to the electric guitar. This was achieved by multi- layering various harmonics of the melodic phrases to achieve a thick and believable electric sound.  The rest of the song fell easily enough into place very naturally.

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So far, all those surveyed before the release, liked this version even better than the original.  That could be a matter of taste because the original was a brilliant mix of dance and pop. But at the least, this song works very well in a rockier format to be certain!

The photo for the cover is by Veronica Linge Phillips of Veronica Marie Photography.

You can find Borderline at most major digital retailers such as:

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/borderline/1352851105?i=1352851119

On Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/track/0vXxqupVurPDg7DMFtDK2Y?si=od48UVxjSMq4F-cGtbzkTA

And at CD Baby: https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/barleystation20

 

Review of ‘Shine’ by Josh Newell-Brown

Review of SHINE by Josh Newell-Brown
https://soundcloud.com/joshnewellbrown/shine-1

joshnewellbrown  Josh Newell-Brown is a folk/pop music artist from the beautiful coastal town of Saltburn-by-the-sea, UK

     I find a well crafted song here with a positive message.  In a setting of folky pop from the UK, this song starts out with a happy shuffle of a beat brought in by acoustic guitar, bass, and pleasant piano riffs – some instrumentation that grabs you right away.  There is a deviation away from the opening shuffle feel on the drums to a more straight beat leading into the chorus gives a lot of added interest and keeps the listener engaged.

And anything that blends genres a bit or is creative in this sense, gets my attention!  The song is well  structured and that is what stood out most to me.  With well delivered vocals and a voice that stands out as fairly unique and exceptional, the lyrics give a positive vibe to the listener and will leave you humming along. Experimenting around with sounds and the beat, this song shows the artist is capable of more than just one good tune.

The song does indeed “shine” with a chorus that hits you. It’s a good solid song that demonstrates that this artist bears watching for what he does next.  And what’s next?  indeed, this song is the first single from Josh’s upcoming EP Inner Treasure and follows right in line with his heart for the hurting, as it’s proceeds will be used to aid national charity Dreams Come True in their work.

Considering the artists heart for terminally and seriously ill children and young people, it’s no wonder that the hopeful message comes through the song.  Josh’s EP Inner Treasure is expected to be out May 29, 2015

Connect with Josh Newell-Brown at the following links:
https://soundcloud.com/joshnewellbrown
http://www.joshnewellbrown.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/joshnewellbrown

https://twitter.com/joshnewellbrown