Tyler Hilton’s new album, Richard Barone’s new video, Roz Bell’s new song, and Billy Franks’ upcoming book

Tyler Hilton, Forget The Storm

Tyler Hilton rocks up a good time on some of the best songs on Forget The Storm and perhaps leaves behind the attractive whimsy that tickled many of us in 2004’s The Tracks Of Tyler Hilton.  But Forget The Storm seems to be a coming of age album in some ways, and in other ways weathering several different storms of sorts that the singer has been caught up in the interim between records, despite acting in One Tree Hill and acquiring thousands of new fans along the way.  But all things happen for a reason, and in turn there are many good reasons to buy Forget The Storm.

Forget The Storm ups Tyler’s rock music ante big time, starting with the opener “Kicking My Heels”, which gives a stylish grandiloquent start to the record.  “Loaded Gun” preceded the album’s release as a crackerjack free download, a song that grows big time with repeated listens with its clever wordplay.  “Ain’t Foolin’ Me” puts you in the middle of a big ol’ bar somewhere in the south for a rocking good time.  And “Jenny” (listen below) is an angry breakup song that drops a line “love is not some fucking movie” – not a lyric that you might have expected in a Tyler record, till now, but the shoe fits and it’s a great song that features lovely harmonies by Elizabeth Huett.

Whether it’s about love or other issues, the thoughtful side of Tyler is always worth hearing.  “Prince Of Nothing Charming” has already had that unassuming, yes charming effect, because it’s lovably understated.  And “Leave Him” and “Can’t Stop Now” tackle serious breakup issues directly with a softer pop or country flavour to change up the mix.  There’s also a redux of Tyler’s “You’ll Ask For Me” from a few years back to keep long-time fans happy.

Tyler is in the midst of a tour that’s going to take him to the UK, Ireland, and Europe starting in June.  Forget The Storm is an enjoyable and diverse way to try and catch our boy before his music blows up real big everywhere.

Richard Barone, “Hey, Can I Sleep On Your Futon?”

The talented New York-based singer who came back (but was never really away) with his thoroughly likeable album Glow (the title song is still my unofficial theme song for NYC 🙂 ) is one of several performers who appear on the upcoming Occupy This Album (including Willie Nelson, Jackson Browne, and many, many others).  He also celebrates his 25th anniversary of his debut solo album Cool Blue Halo.  I stay away from politics, and I don’t entirely agree with the “Occupy” movement, but will always support stellar music.  I think Richard’s latest, co-written with Matthew Billy, says a lot in both words and images:  Help the people that deserve it because the economy is preventing them from getting ahead.  I think the video for “Hey, Can I Sleep On Your Futon?” could reach new heights just like “Breathe” by Ryan Star in 2010 actually helped some of the people in the video get jobs.  The sentiment is genuine here and Richard’s performance is a delight.  Watch the video above (and take a look at “Breathe” again below while you’re at it).  EDIT:  Courtesy of Richard himself, also below is an interview video about the song, which is actually based on the classic “Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?”.

Ryan Star “Breathe”

Roz Bell, “Half A Man Down”

Toronto singer Roz Bell always writes songs that sink in more than just like a slice of life.  You know him from 2008’s The First Sunbeams, which featured the hits “Yesterday Man” and “Papercut”.  It was followed in late 2009 with a deeper and somewhat darker digital release October, and then the pensive and free The Gran Cavallo Mixtape.  According to his tweets, Roz has been doing a lot of writing in Nashville, and the brooding spirit of that city shows in “Half A Man Down”.  The song holds back no punches about the way the singer feels as a relationship crumbles away while he tries to keep his head straight.  It’s another generous free download from Roz – get it right here and watch for more music ahead from the talented singer.

Billy Franks’ upcoming book A Far Cry From Sunset

UK singer Billy Franks always has a place in my heart as one of the most underappreciated singers in the 80’s as a leader of the band The Faith Brothers, whose two stunning albums Eventide and A Human Sound I still play to this day quite regularly.  The singer is finding a new audience through writing, and the premise behind his book A Far Cry From Sunset is this:  Could 4 friends who travelled to America a few years back try to convince 10 superstar singers to appear on a tribute album to Billy?  So who did they try to approach?  Start big with McCartney, Springsteen, Rod Stewart, Bryan Adams, Jon Bon Jovi, and also try Elvis Costello, Huey Lewis, Aaron Neville, Tom Petty and Steve Earle.  The book  intends to explore how all of the approaches occurred and what happened in the midst of what is essentially a road trip.  You can find out much more about how you can get involved as well as purchase the book when it’s published at http://www.billyfranks.com/AFARCRYFROMSUNSET.   I’m sure this will be a once-in-a-lifetime and very telling story, and don’t plan on missing it.  What about you?  Listen to one of my favourite solo songs by Billy, “My Beautiful Heresy”, below.

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