For much of rock's illustrious history, a wide range of artists
has been anything but shy about using music as a framework to
discuss social, political and religious topics.
Orange County-based acts are no exception. Several local artists
have new releases that focus on issues outside the more commonplace
tales of romance lost and found.
Various Artists, "Make Me Your Voice II" (EMI/Spring Hill
Music Group, Inc.) — Orange County's Ken Tamplin is almost in a
musical league of his own, and like La Habra native Rusty Anderson
(lead guitarist for Paul McCartney on the former Beatle's current
tour), is one of the region's best-kept secrets.
A talented singer, guitarist, recording engineer and songwriter,
Tamplin has composed and produced numerous film scores and source
music for major films such as "The Perfect Storm," "Charlie's
Angels," "The Waterboy" and "Three Kings," as well as television
series such as "The X-Files" and "Spin City." In addition, Tamplin
has produced two Christian-themed modern music collections to raise
money and focus on the plight of black Africans living in the
southern part of Sudan, ruled by an Islamic-Arab government in the
northern part of the African nation. Although the violence there has
been condemned by the U.S. State Department, the United Nations and
various humanitarian groups, as many as 2 million people have been
killed over the past 20 years, with countless others dying from
malnutrition and other hardships.
"Make Me Your Voice II" features several tracks by Tamplin and
other contemporary artists offering songs of faith on a worthy
follow-up to the February 2001-issued "Make Me Your Voice." Although
the situation in Sudan might well lend itself to painful and joyless
songs, the Tamplin-produced collection of new material is aimed more
at providing straightforward songs of religious faith.
Habib Bardowell's "Praise" and Tamplin's spirited "Love and
Faithfulness" are among the many strong and involving songs on the
disc. For more information about how to purchase the CD, visit http://www.kentamplin.com/.
You might like if you enjoy: the first "Make Me Your
Sam Morrison Band, "Sam Morrison Band" (Convalian
Productions) — Not everything on the Sam Morrison Band's self-titled
debut relates to life's more serious issues. "Daylite's Burnin'" is
about enduring a thankless day job, while "I Gotta Ride" celebrates
the joys of having a Harley. However, "Peacekeepers" is one of the
few post 9/11 rockers that talk about the commitment of the young
men and women who serve in the U.S. military, even citing the Army,
Navy, Air Force and Marines by name in the song. The song ends with
the message: "Remember New York City and the day the buildings fell
/ We've got the best, they won't rest while terror casts its spell."
Singer-guitarist Sam Morrison, drummer Bart Robley,
guitarist-singer Steven Cenker and bassist Greg Kasparian are proud
of their label as a Southern rock band, even if they hail from
Fullerton. The band's remake of the Marshall Tucker Band staple
"Can't You See" is a wonderful nod to the Sam Morrison Band's
With an unapologetic style rooted in the sounds of Lynyrd Skynyrd
and classic Allman Brothers Band, it isn't likely that the Sam
Morrison Band will be getting airplay on KROQ any time soon. My
guess is that the band couldn't care less.
You might like if you enjoy: Allman Brothers Band, Lynyrd
The Fire Ants, "Human Windchime" (Fire Starter
Productions) — Even when turning down the volume, the Fire Ants
continue to be among the most original and adventuresome groups to
emerge from the local rock scene.
Indeed, on the Fountain Valley trio's coming "Windchime" (set for
release Dec. 3), the band continues to explore the depths of war,
death, survival and other gloomy subjects. The twist this time,
however, is that the normally loud band uses a variety of melodic
and sonic layers to augment the powerful efforts from singer-
lyricist-bassist Skie Bender, guitarist Kevin Jacobs and drummer
Kelly Busby. Songs like "Mudslide," "Last Breath" and "Expiration
Date" showcase the band's growing skills as musicians and performers
yet display the Fire Ants' thriving artistic determination and
intensity, which has defined their three previous full-length CD
The Fire Ants will celebrate the official release of "Human
Windchime" at Spaceland, 1717 Silverlake Blvd., Los Angeles, at 9
p.m. Dec. 3. For more information on the Fire Ants, visit the band's
official Web site (http://www.thefireants.com/)
or e-mail the band at email@example.com.
You might like if you enjoy: the Fire Ants' earlier
releases, Sonic Youth, Blonde Redhead