· UNIVERSAL HIPPIES - MOTHER NATURE BLUES (GYR159) ·

::T R A C K S::

01. REDEMPTION DAY
02. HOMO SAPIENS
03. MARINER'S DREAM
04. SACRED LAND
05. MOUNTAIN
06. HOLY SLAVE
07. MATALA
08. REINCARNATION
09. MERMAID
10. MOTHER NATURE BLUES


FORMAT: Audio CD / 4 PANEL WALLET
GYR159 - $13.99

Outstanding debut studio disc by this awesome instrumental heavy guitar rock band from the land of Greece featuring the excellent six string skills of axemaster Stavros Papadopoulos on guitar. Includes 10 tracks of impressive, creative, dynamic, way-kool, blues-based, heavy guitar power trio rock mojo of world-class proportions.

Universal Hippies is the musical brain-child and creation of the talented, prolific guitarist named Stavros Papadopoulos. Those of you in the know are familiar with Brother Stavros through his other various excellent Grooveyard Records bands: Super Vintage, Freerock Saints & Hard Driver. The man is a super-natural, six string freak of nature who has strong passion for the guitar and all that it stands for. On a Mission to Keep the Rock alive, this excellent Greek axeslinger has created his own original guitar rock voice with all the right influences on the brilliant Universal Hippies disc. Make no mistake, there is a new Guitar Hero in town and his name is Stavros Papadopoulos. Two other killer musicians round out the Universal Hippies line-up in the form of Jim Petridis on Bass & Chris Lagios on Drums. Both excellent, seasoned players who rock solid laying down the sonic foundation, bringing U.H. to musical life with their tight, powerful grooves. The Universal Hippies have arrived.

From the heart of Greece near the Aegean Sea, we experience true, deep, prolific, mind-altering, instrumental heavy guitar rock power trio music that encompasses depth, vision, passion & majesty. Welcome to the vast musical world of Universal Hippies on the essential "Mother Nature Blues" disc. An epic, monumental, timeless, instrumental guitar rock journey and sonic soundtrack of life that defines power trio rock mojo excellence and shines a bright musical light on the world around us.


MP3 Sample Clips

01. REDEMPTION DAY
02. HOMO SAPIENS
03. MARINER'S DREAM
04. SACRED LAND
05. MOUNTAIN
06. HOLY SLAVE
07. MATALA
08. REINCARNATION
09. MERMAID
10. MOTHER NATURE BLUES

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· reviews ·

Mother Nature Blues By Universal Hippies is a singular sonic document quite unlike most other fare you’re likely to hear this century. Most other lineups in the iconic power trio mold (guitar, bass, drums) seem to focus on pyrotechnic displays of technique (arpeggiated sweeps, taps, endless legato runs and other fancy tricks in the “most notes per second” sweepstakes), overproduced arrangements and songwriting that, while definitely competent, fails to reach the level of EPIC.

Make no mistake: this release is EPIC, and it is everything all that other stuff is NOT. This is seminal, first water old school riffage…born from a time when the focus was on serving the song from the “sacred octagon” of groove, feel, flow, chops, tone, melody, harmony and structure. It is a rare event indeed when all these elements come together in cohesive balance. EVERY track on Mother Nature Blues embodies this coalescence in an ongoing “harmonic convergence” that leaves the listener hypnotized, enthralled and…for lack of a better term…completely blown away. It’s truly a thing of six string beauty.

If I may, I want to speak as a guitar player and eternal music lover for a moment to bring in a perspective I think is really important where this music is concerned. Back in the ‘70s when I was coming up, the thing I – and my musical brothers – loved to do more than anything was JAM. Picking a key and just going off. Keeping your ears open. Creating musical art on the fly. Tension and release. Ebb and flow. Stepping up. Laying back. Screaming. Whispering. Individuals gratefully submitting to the group mind. Everyone being on the same wavelength, dancing with the Muse…and when it all came together, it was totally awesome: memorable, mind-blowing and transcendent. THAT’S what it was all about.

THAT’S where Universal Hippies is coming from. As you listen, you’ll be transported back to a time when The Art Of The Jam was everything; a place where it all works and nothing is forced or out of place. Everything. Fits. Perfectly. Actually, something strange and beautiful happened to me not once, but several times during my multiple listens to this CD. You know how sometimes you’ll be listening to something and think, “Hey, this sounds sort of like this” or “This is somewhat reminiscent of that”? Well, it’s because what you just heard is derivative of something that’s already been done before. I don’t know about you, but that happens to me a lot. Well, the feeling I got while listening to Universal Hippies was the exact opposite of that…I actually felt I was hearing the source of where everything else I’ve ever heard came from…for the first time. No shit. It was palpable, and it happened again. And again. Very weird. I was…and still am…flabbergasted. I don’t say this lightly. Is there an explanation for this experience? What the hell happened?

Here’s one explanation: a time-traveling musicologist was sent from the distant future to spend an entire decade (1966 through 1975, known to future historians as the “Golden Age Of Guitar Rock”) riffmining, groovesmelting & tonesmithing, meticulously sampling and exhaustingly cataloging the entire era with the rigor of a scientist, the completeness of a forensic analyst and the passion & reverence of a true believer, THEN went back to the future taking with him everything he learned, THEN meticulously distilled 10 instrumental tracks of perfectly balanced and immaculately conceived retro musical bliss as a definitive document of that “Golden Age”, THEN travelled back in time AGAIN to 2017 and dropped off the finished product at the doorstep of the premier boutique guitar rock record label in the world to share with the enlightened inhabitants of this timeline as a gift from the future.

Here’s another explanation: there’s this supremely talented guitar player from Greece by the name of Stavros Papadopoulos who…along with a rhythm section comprised of like-minded and equally talented musicians [Jim Petridis/bass & Chris Lagios/drums] …has created one of the most fully realized & sublime instrumental guitar CDs ever committed to permanence since instrumental guitar recordings were invented. He then dropped off the finished product at the doorstep of the premier boutique guitar rock record label in the world to share with the enlightened inhabitants of this timeline as a gift from the past.

Take your pick. Once you listen to the CD, you’ll be hard-pressed to tell which story is true and which is fiction.

Jimmy Ryan / Truth Squad / Flyin' Ryan Brothers / Ryanetics Music (July 2017)
 


Since teaming up with Grooveyard Records through his band Super Vintage, Greek guitarist Stavros Papadopoulos has become something of a six string go to man for the label. A new album from Super Vintage and compilation had already seen the light day when the guitarist threw his hat in the ring with front-woman Areti Valavanopoulou in the awesome Freerock Saints. Now we have not one but two new albums from Papadopoulos, that while both guitar heavy blues rock, couldn't be more different. Reviewed elsewhere is a new full force beast under the name Hard Driver, where the guitarist is joined by Jim Petridis on bass and Chris Lagios on drums. While the same trio of talent have also decided to offer up something completely different through "Mother Nature Blues", the debut instrumental album from Universal Hippies.

It's not difficult to hear that this trio started out as a jam band, the free flowing nature and ability to hit hard while staying easy and in the groove a real skill only earned by time, dedication and musical connection. I've no doubt this threesome have focused on the first two of those factors, while the third is clear to hear as the likes of "Homo Sapiens" takes flight; the natural build of atmosphere and mood never over egged, or delivered with too knowing a nod. The organic feel of what is created key in making it the engaging experience it is. With the mood staying true from track to track, Papadopoulos takes the chance to shine, his roaming fret work on "Sacred Land" smooth, easy and from the heart. While the deep, dirty groove of "Reincarnation" is almost Sabbath gone blues. Influences, or touching points, are plenty and elusive at the same time, the groove of Clutch, but never the heaviness, brought into play, while the tight looseness of Neil Young at his most intense can also be felt throughout. And yet these are mere markers in the ground for what grows into something that fans of jam bands will thoroughly appreciate, although this originates from a deeper, bluesier home. However it isn't all groove and mood, the six string brought to bare with precision for those who love expansive, yet considered soloing and cutting but never out of control riffs. There's a snatch of Hendrix here, a sniff of Gov't Mule there and a few reverential nods to blues greats of times gone by. Whether through the moody meander of "Mother Nature Blues", the more forceful "Redemption Day" or the toweringly blues ridden "Mountain", the trio locks in place, Petridis given room to roam with his bass, while still knowing when to pin everything in place, while Lagios, for the most part decides to keep his drumming simple, but hugely effective.

If you love the blues and you love great guitar playing, but are looking for something a little different, a little more worldly wise and, in a very good way, 'lived in', then "Mother Nature Blues" will make for a very welcome departure.

Steven Reid /Sea Of Tranquility (August 2017)
 


Stravos Papadopoulos proves once again that hard-to-pronounce names can lead to impossible-to-copy guitar licks! "Mother Nature Blues" sends listeners to instrumental guitar heaven, with equal parts melodic gentleness and rip-roaring blues-soaked madness. That being said, Papadopoulos’ new ensemble endeavor, “Universal Hippies,” is not what the name seems to indicate. Some people see Hippies as freewheeling, unrestricted, and having no direction. This CD is simply not that. The pieces on this disc are very carefully arranged and crafted...what we have here is not haphazard musical crazyness. Rather, these are virtuoso guitar compositions that show maturity and sophistication, not youthful meandering at Woodstock or some other music and art fair. Still, once the pieces are set in motion, there is considerable improvisation and freedom of expression, and Stravos is ably assisted in this by the more than competent rhythm section of Jim Petridis (bass) and Chris Lagios (drums)... musicians supreme. If there is any 'Hippiedom' associated with this disc, it is the spirit of 70s rock, where guitarists like Hendrix, Beck, Trower & Clapton reigned supreme, along with the 'art rock' of bands like Pink Floyd and Jethro Tull. Their mood and passion can be felt throughout this exceptionally glorious heavy guitar power trio disc.

Steven J. Rosen / Author + Journalist (July 2017)
 


Imagine a combination of Gov't Mule, Hendrix and Trower coming together to do an instrumental album. Mind blowing right? This is what your senses will experience with, 'Mother Nature Blues', the latest release from the blues power trio known as, Universal Hippies. Comprised of, prolific guitarist Stavros Papadopoulos (Super Vintage, Freerock Saints & Hard Driver). Along with Jim Petridis on bass and Chris Lagios on drums. These Universal Hippies manage to straddle the line between blues rock and fusion gracefully thanks to their incredible talent. All 10 songs are dynamic and mixed extremely well. Highlights include, "Redemption Day", "Homo Sapiens", "Mariner's Dream" and "Reincarnation". You can literally feel the energy in each song. Although these are complex arrangements it sounds effortless. A unique and powerful effort from this trio with solid production that gives equal sonic space to all of them. Mainly because they understand the most important thing. If you cannot incorporate feel into playing it is almost immediately boring. At least it is to me. It's amazing how good this music is. If you like music to be harmonically and rhythmically unique, or if you like bluesy fusion of the instrumental kind taken to a whole new level, this album is a no-brainer. Highly Recommended.

Tony Sison / The Dedicated Rocker Society (July 2017)
 


"Mother Nature Blues" is an album by Greek stoner rock group Universal Hippies. A very incredible record, with ostensibly beautiful and functional melodies, and very detailed and captivating guitar lines, "Mother Mature Blues" is the ultimate stoner rock album. With an interesting level of originality, lucid, free-flowing and masterly created, this is undoubtedly a major record, that has everything to please the enthusiasts of the genre, in each and every possible aspect.

Never tedious or monotonous, the calmer, solid, powerful and vivacious guitar lines evidently are the stronger aspect of the work. Nonetheless, all other instruments closely follow the poetic and gracious harmonies perfectly delineated by these delightful strings, that summarily rearranges in a very acid, but at the same time profoundly genuine sonorous narrative, the greatness of a creativity that really satisfy anyone’s appetite for excellent music.

The serene pace of the record has a very therapeutic element. Amazingly calibrated, you feel yourself at the height of some moments transported to another dimension, where you can listen to the serene soul that for so long has been lost in the hidden spheres of your heart. A marvelous instrumental album, that departs from a graceful synergy between mind, soul, sound and rhythm, the perfect convergence of musical elements testify the powerful capacities of a creativity of a band that knows no limits.

With a genuine intensity and a restless serenity amazingly combined to generate the sound of a new formula for the creation of a true, authentic and wonderful style of rock’n’roll, the sound of this album is so astoundingly impeccable, that you can literally feel the good old spirit of wild rock deeply inserted into the transcending, crude, rude and abrasive vibe transmitted by the ravenous guitars of the songs, flowing directly into your veins, and reviving everything that you thought had died with the good old school groups of the seventies.

"Mother Nature Blues" is a formidable album. A milestone into the history of stoner rock, that will certainly leave its trademark in the sphere of the underground scene. A marvelous product of the astounding regional scene that is abundantly flourishing in Greece – the place upon which the most amazing bands of the genre are coming from – Universal Hippies came as another excellent surprise. And I hope they came to stay. Evidently, such a wonderful group has everything in their power to leave their style deeply engraved into the genre.

Wagner / Merchants Of Air
 


A power trio, derived from the heart of Greece that is musical passion has arrived as instrumental heavy psychedelic blues rock by the name of Universal Hippies. The talented frontman/songwriter Stavros Papadopoulos began in 2016 with the Universal Hippies as a jam band. Meanwhile, he was in the studio to record his debut album "Mother Nature Blues". The result of his creativity is ten classic heavy blues/rock songs which prove the high class of Universal Hippies.

Through Grooveyard Records we already knew Stavros Papadopoulos from Super Vintage, which we previously reviewed the "Welcome to Mojo Land" & "Salavation Road" discs. Stravos is also part of the bands: Freerock Saints & Hard Driver. Together with Stravos, bassist Jim Petridis and drummer Chris Lagios recorded the Universal Hippies debut disc.

"Mother Nature Blues" is an epic, monumental, timeless instrumental journey of a guitar rock trio that "wants to shine a bright musical light around the world". Take the musical voyage of Stavros Papadopoulos and the Universal Hippies with promising songs like "Redemption Day", "Homo Sapiens", "Holy Slave" and "Reincarnation" that land as impressive, creative, dynamic, way-kool, rock mojo of world-class proportions.

The Universal Hippies prove with "Mother Nature Blues" that classic guitar rock still lives and that an instrumental album is definitely not boring! This is the answer if you are looking for unique psychedelic guitar-oriented blues rock power trio music!

Eric Schuurmans / Rootstime (July 2017)
 


Busy boy Stavros (Super Vintage, Freerock Saints, Hard Driver) is at it again. This time delivering a bunch of instrumental tracks under the Universal Hippies moniker. I'm not a huge fan of instrumental albums, I shall admit, but this is some pretty cool shit. Opener "Redemption Day" is a cool, melodic thing with highly tasteful guitar harmonies and great melodies. Enjoyable indeed! "Homo Sapiens" continues in the same vein and I get a feel of Wishbone Ash meets 70s Epitaph, with some bad ass riffing thrown in. Stavros plays outstandingly tasteful. No overplaying, no meaningless shredding, but melodic soloing, great feel, great arrangements and really great songs. There's not a bad track on the album and I must say I really love every part of it from the songs to the performances to the songs. Awesome!

Janne Stark / Stark Music Reviews (September 2017)
 



 


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