· TONY SPINNER - Earth Music For Aliens (GYR111) ·
::T R A C K S::
01. BEST FRIEND
FORMAT: Audio CD / Digipack
Phenomenal ninth solo disc by this way-kool blues/rock strat-master from Arkansas featuring 13 tracks (59 mins.) of awesome, world-class, high-octane, soul-powered, dynamic, blues-based, guitar driven power trio rock that will make you a firm believer that Real music still exists in a world of musical mediocrity. Tony Spinner is an amazing, gifted guitarist who knows what time of day it is when it comes down to the riffage that matters. A true modern day guitar hero who is doing an awesome job at Keeping the Rock alive on his impressive new Grooveyard Records disc, Spinner's 5th killer effort for the label.
"Earth Music For Aliens" is a timeless, classic guitar rocker, an outstanding, high-quality, retro-sonic slice of blues/rock mojo full of depth, soul and blues power. Complete with a strong emphasis on Real songs and musical talent that include first-rate guitar playing, excellent soulful vox and a superb tight rhythm section who nails the groove down to solid ground. There is something here for everyone (including Aliens!!!) who digs top-shelf blues/rock heavy guitar music. Welcome to the world of Tony Spinner on the essential "Earth Music For Aliens" disc.
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TONY SPINNER BAND - "Let Her Go"
· reviews ·
You know how the Blues is a genre crammed with slow shuffles, stories of babes gone bad, women who did you wrong, bosses who work your fingers to the bone and a world that simply doesn't understand? Well Tony Spinner sure as hell doesn't - oh no! For right from the quirky cover art and album title, Earth Music For Aliens, this is one album that is fun, fun, fun - with a double dash of grinning and a foot stomping of Hell Yeah! It helps that the man can play - and like Stevie Ray Vaughn did at that, yet there's also a slice of the from the heart that Jeff Healey used to give us, yet not at the expense of easy on the ear commerciality that Aynsley Lister at his best can provide. Right from the kick off of "Best Friends" and "Dust And Ash" the vibe here is upbeat, full on, and almost a throw down of the gauntlet to see if you can smile as wide as Tony and his helpers - Michel Mulder on bass and Alex Steier on drums - obviously like to. "Let Her Go" adds a funkiness that bounces and pings, while reining in the early exuberance, replacing it instead with an atmospheric vibe and some ridiculously impressive vocals, also from Spinner.
Yet at this stage Tony is merely toying with us, "The Answer" digging a funky groove so deep that they'll need to drill down hundreds of miles to investigate it, "It's A Living" proves that you can throw out a Huey And The Lewis vibe, without the need to sell out. While "Missy Talk" gives a sparser, yet no less intricate take on Rock 'n' Roll with a dollop of Blues 'n' Strut - Steier positively hammering the beat to the floor through a deftness of touch and eye for precision.
Don't be put off by the kiddie drawing on the cover, nor the main man in this trio donning an antenna festooned colander in the digi-pack, for while Tony Spinner and his band of extremely merry men know how to deliver a fun packed, damn good time, they do so in a way that is so far from throwaway that it is a serious lesson in Blues based control. Just listen to the heartfelt "Free Now", or sliding "Good For Me" for proof.
Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Steven Reid / Sea Of Tranquility (April 2014)
Tony Spinner says it best on his web site – “Earth Music For Aliens is for those of you that feel like you are one of the few who care for real music played by real musicians. An outcast or Alien. This band don’t dance or lip sync. In this band the music comes first above all the nonsense involved in the music business.”
Tony’s early influences include Ray Charles, Jimi Hendrix, and Muddy Waters, but you can also hear definite SRV and Rory Gallagher influences. Tony Spinner hails from NW Arkansas area and has been playing his particular brand of blues rock for quite a while now. This is his ninth solo effort and the fifth release on Grooveyard Records. You can also hear his work on LA Blues Authority tribute compilations to SRV and Albert King, along with a few Paul Gilbert albums, and live Toto albums from the late 90s and early 2000s. This time he teams up with the superb rhythm section of Michel Mulder on bass and Alex Steier on drums who are his regular tour band when he visits Europe.
Tony toured with Toto not only because of his serious pyrotechnic guitar skills but also because of his excellent vocal abilities, which are showcased throughout this album. Tony can efficiently throw the notes off the fretboard as quickly as anyone can; and it does not sound like a finger exercise. Every one of them is well chosen and fits his clean, clear, piercing tone. Highlights on this one include the energetic testament to love on the track “Best Friend,” the funky jams of the relationship ending “Let Her Go,” the humorous “Hot Mess,” and soulful distorted “Low Down Dirty Shame.” There is also the rockin’ blues of “Stop” and straight ahead rock of “Got What I Wanted” and “Dust and Ash.” “The Answer” is a groovy jam featured on the BRR4 sampler that has an interesting dual guitar attack between the rhythm and the lead guitar when Tony finally lets fly with a superb solo. “Good For Me” is a slow blues that is actually about a relationship that wasn’t good while “Free Now” is a slower acoustic tribute to the end of a relationship. Being from Arkansas there are a couple of songs with a distinct country picking underlying feel like “Missy Talk” and the tribute to life on the road of “It’s a Living.” Closing everything out is the straight up 12 bars blues of “No Good.”
There is an underlying feeling when you listen to him that Tony is just up there to have fun. That he truly enjoys just digging deep for the listener when he’s playing and that passion and fun loving attitude to his music comes across loud and clear. If you are reading this then you most likely share that passion for good music and qualify under Tony’s definition of “Alien” in which case this is one definitely worth picking up.
The Review: 8.5/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
- The Answer
- Best Friend
- Low Down Dirty Shame
- Dust and Ash
- Good For Me
The Big Hit
- Low Down Dirty Shame
Kevin O'Rourke - Blues Rock Review (December 2013)
Veteran guitar god Tony Spinner takes listeners to a polydimensional blues-rock universe on his new CD: "Earth Music For Aliens." His six-string stylings are both tender and raunchy, as he rockets through a hard-hitting guitar cosmos full of both familiar territory and new terrain. The proverbial "Big Bang" takes on new meaning as his explosive guitar travels light years beyond his peers, pouring out delicious riffs and unimaginable solos into the known and unknown stratosphere. Tastefully executed, each song is a galaxy unto itself, leaving lesser musicians in the black hole of oblivion. If you're from planet earth and have a penchant for loud and aggressive blues-rock, gently land yourself on this one-of-a-kind CD. You won't regret it!
Steve Rosen (Author) (December 2013)
Tony Spinner was born half a century ago in Cape Girardeau , Missouri . On June 9, the guitarist celebrated his fiftieth birthday. His first introduction to music came on the radio, listening to Elvis Presley , Little Richard and Chuck Berry. The latter is still one of Tony's biggest idols . As he grew older he became more interested in the heavier music like Jimi Hendrix, Duane Allman, Rory Gallagher, Johnny Winter and Robin Trower . They still have a significant impact on the music that Tony Spinner makes now. Most people know Tony from his work as a singer / guitarist with Pat Travers, but even more as a member of the super band Toto from 1999 to 2009. But Tony was also working on a solo career during that period and, in 1993, he released his first solo album, "Saturn Blues." Now, in 2013, he is on his ninth album, "Earth Music For Aliens."
All of the thirteen songs on this new album were written by Tony Spinner and it may sound strange, but the album of this American is included in the Trinix Studio in Arnhem, Netherlands . Tony recorded this album with the two musicians who joined him on stage during his European shows . The Dutch bass player Michel Mulder and his Uzbek drummer Alex Steier currently lives in the Netherlands. According to Tony, Alex and Michel are great musicians and they have the same passion as he to make good music. Tony Spinner himself says this about his new album: "The new CD, 'Earth Music For Aliens' isfor those of you that feel like you are one of the few who care for real music played by real musicians, an outcast or alien. This band does not dance or lip sync. In this band the music comes first above all the nonsense involved in the music business. We do it because we love it. I am very proud of this CD and I know you will like it, too" And better I can not articulate . It has become an honest , straightforward album with splashing guitar .
Tony Spinner flies at once full of conviction, lots of energy. High and impressive rhythm guitar are the main components of "Best Friend." Also in "Dust And Ash" is the same passion . Hear how tightly Alex sets the pace and listen to Michel, his bass strings almost tortured by the huge groove and rhythm that is in the numbers. Tony and his guitar are as one. It's not for nothing that he was so sought after by Toto. Spinner is a superb guitarist who is not just doing some finger exercises on the neck of his guitar. No, every note , every tone is carefully chosen. The quick finger play on the guitar also comes in "Let Her Go." This song sounds more funky and slower than its two predecessors. Endless numbers with boundless knitting on the guitar you do not hear on a Tony Spinner album. All the songs are between three and five minutes, impressive and dazzling fireworks guitar on this album. Only here the guitar is always in the service of the song and not just to show what they can do on those six strings . "The Answer" is definitely one of the best songs on the album. Tony's guitar intersects the marrow and the bass lines of Michel Mulder are solid, no frills but all top. In spring Tony Spinner was still in the Netherlands and at the Blue Moose Fest gave us a preview of his new album with the next song, "Hot Mess." Even then we said it sounds like it will be a great CD. And yes , the song still sounds at home as well and strong as when in April on the meadow in Groesbeek . You should hear back from the bass lines here that really rumble in your gut. The short and tight percussion of drummer Alex Steier is complete. The rest of "Earth Music For Aliens" comes with the slow blues song "Good For Me." This song is about a bad relationship and you hear the sadness in Spinner's guitar. But all is not over. The listener is again drawn into the funky rock blues song "Stop."
We get pure uncomplicated retro rock about life on the road in "It's A Living." This is timeless music for young and old. Tony cooks up a greasy intense solo from his Gibson in "Low Down Dirty Shame." one of the weaker songs on the CD. Fortunately, that dip is but short-lived because, with "Got What I Wanted," the guitar splashes again as never before. The rhythm section supports the frontman in a grandiose manner. Smooth chorus is a fun sing-along. This kind of music makes a person like me very happy. The acoustic "Free Now" can not really appeal to me. It does not have to be rock or blues rock to be good Mister Spinner must have thought. To finish, he plays a really genuine 12 bar blues song "No Good." This is a feast . Beautifully sung, the masterful guitar wails, solid bass lines and tight drumming. Top song.
A wonderful mix of honest rock, blues and funk. Tony Spinner, Michel Mulder and Alex Steier will be in April and May 2014 on tour through Europe to promote "Earth Music For Aliens." So check Tony's website so you will not miss it because Tony Spinner live is always a must and the songs on this new album will certainly do well on stage.
Walter Vanheuckelom / ROOTSTIME.BE (December 2013)
About a week before first listening to Tony Spinner’s ninth solo release, Earth Music for Aliens, I had read about the recordings of 100 songs from around the world, placed on Voyager back in 1977. It was to be heard and enjoyed by whomever or whatever the Voyager makes its way to. Rock and Blues were sparsely represented. At least they included Chuck Berry’s “Johnny Be Good”, and Blind Willie Johnson’s “Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground”. Both nice tracks, but my selfish thoughts were that they should have added more Rock and Blues music, something more akin to songs found on this new disc from Spinner. Judging from the title and cover art from the new disc, I think Spinner may have had the same idea.
Returning to the studio with bassist Michel Mulder and drummer Alex Steier, Spinner takes the listener on a journey down several paths. I like the way “Best Friend” and “Got What I Wanted” can pump the listener up with its energetically charged, funk infused blues and hot guitar licks and then later, chill us out to a relaxing listen to “Free Now”, about letting go and forgiveness. Spinner’s vocals are very nice and calming on this track.
There seems to be a bit of Frank Zappa influence on “Let Her Go” because when I hear the intro and the hook, I am instantly reminded of the late great musical genius. This one gets weirdly fun and playful.
Spinner serves up some funky treats with “Hot Mess” and “Low Down Dirty Shame”. A funky rhythm along with Spinner’s teasing guitar licks makes “Hot Mess” a favorite, while “Low Down Dirty Shame” is like a bluesy Funkadelic song with its cool vocal harmonizing, rhythmic groove, and Eddie Hazel-like guitar playing.
A couple of rockabilly treats are worth noting as well. It’s a Living” revisits the sounds of the Fifties rock and roll, and peppers it with a heaping dash of roadhouse blues. And if that’s not enough, check out “Missy Talk”, a guitar centric answer to Jerry Lee Lewis’s “Honey Don’t”. This one has ‘Sun Records’ written all over it.
“Earth Music for Aliens” is so easy to listen to, I recommend it to all Earthlings, and those not of this world as well.
Phillip Smith / Philly Cheeze Blues Reviews (December 2013)
Anyone who knows Tony Spinner and wonders what is coming out next and will it be the quality of his previous releases will hardly be surprised that he is at it again with a blues-rock treat for all the guitar freaks and fans of Jimi Hendrix, Rory Gallagher and SRV, always with a heavy dose of funky feeling and often fondly evoking the blond from Missouri to the late Tommy Bolin.
The great advantage, in addition to his exquisite guitar playing that never even comes close to devolving into mere self-presentation or showing off, is comparatively great songs adorned with a vocal coloration, not just the typical knobby-edged blues-rock some other players embody, but rather carries a soulful, yes, sometimes jazzy undertone. Not for nothing , he worked for years as a touring guitarist and singer alongside the legendary TOTO on stage.
So Tony Spinner's new work, "Earth Music For Aliens", is not necessarily a surprise - which is probably because no one could expect - but a successful potpourri of classic blues-rock styles that settle between brick hard, soulful and funky to a savvy and trusted backing band and once again prove that there is next to high guru Joe Bonamassa and other players like Oli Brown, Simon McBride, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Philip Sayce, another representative of the imaginative, mature and well hung blues-rock group which is formally a trio but, by adding studio overdubs, allows one or the other fat and plump guitar track to make the musical and stylistic facets something more colorful and lively.
Frank Ipach / Hooked On Music (December 2013)
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