Keystone Rock Review publishes and promotes thorough, well-written reviews of albums and EPs professionally released by rock artists based in Pennsylvania, present and past.
November 20, 2022
At a time when many in the rock world were in the process of re-imaging from the slick 80’s hair band to the grungy 90s alternative, a young Pennsylvania band called The Badlees was forging their own path with a sound called “roots rock” with their first full length album.
December 13, 2021
In 2021, bluesman Clarence Spady released his third studio album entitled Surrender, an album decades in the making. It is comprised of new original studio recordings along with some live recording from a 1999 performance.
May 11, 2021
In 2001, The Cellerbirds may have put out one of the finer recordings by a Pennsylvania artist during the first decade of the 21st century. Perfect Smile is excellent through and through. It’s one of those albums that just gets better with each listen.
January 24, 2021
Although it was the dawn of his fourth decade of professionally performing, writing, recording, and producing, The Optimist was the debut solo effort by Eric Bazilian in 2000. This indy release is a pleasing assortment of well-crafted hard rock songs with a definite edge.
July 29, 2020
With the onset of the 1980s, Hall and Oates began migrating toward a more modern pop sound without totally abandoning their rock n’ soul roots. Released in the summer of 1980, Voices would become their creative and commercial breakthrough.
March 21, 2020
After a decade of fronting groups, Donnie Iris entered the 1980s by releasing his debut record, Back On the Streets. This collaboration with producer and co-writer Mark Avsec features a blend of traditional rock with new wave and power pop sensibilities.
October 22, 2019
You’ll Be All Right is the debut record by the duo Null & Void. This 12 song album combines the lyrics of Jason Peverett with the music and melodies of Chris Nelson.
July 9, 2019
After a long hiatus from the music business, Suzanne Lavine, a Pennsylvania based artist who formally fronted The Vines, has produced and released her 6-song debut EP, Crystal Clear.
June 5, 2019
Broken Strings is the debut recording by Wilkes-Barre based singer/songwriter Ellie Rose. The six songs on this EP were all written with a very specific overarching theme in mind, each track represents one of the various stages of grief.
April 25, 2019
On his sixth album, Tommy James was given their first opportunity to compose and produce independently. The result is Crimson and Clover, a 1969 collection of songs which seamlessly range from teen-oriented power pop to blue-eyed Soul to psychedelic experimentation.
April 4, 2019
The Badlees long struggle to release their long-anticipated major label follow-up came to a head in 1999 when the group made a brash decision to put the music itself ahead of the label concerns and independently produce and release a wholly separate full-length album.
November 2, 2018
The critically acclaimed second album by Daryl Hall and John Oates at once captures the best on this duo early in their career and the promise of their distinct rock n’ soul style that made them famous later. Although a very minor hit initially, Abandoned Luncheonette grew in stature through the decades.
August 25, 2018
In 1973 Jim Croce found the pinnacle of his career success with the release of two successful albums, Life and Times and I Got a Name. Tragically, Croce was killed in a plane crash in between the release of these two albums.
March 14, 2018
Vanessa Collier combines dynamic, passionate and entertaining performances with an authentic blending of R&B, soul, blues and Gospel on her 2017 sophomore LP, Meeting My Shadow, a work which offers a solid glimpse into her burgeoning talent.
November 7, 2017
Live HMAC and Mauch Chunk Opera House came about as sort of a happy accident by Bret Alexander & Nyke Van Wyk, as a few 2016 live performances were recorded for other purposes but the resulting works are reinterpreted songs with fresh, new musical arrangements that are performed differently from original versions.
April 2, 2017
Galaxies, the third solo record by seasoned rock veteran Aaron Fink, is a 2017 release which features rich and entertaining tunes presented with much diverse rock n’ roll flavoring.
March 19, 2017
As a composer, performer, multi-instrumentalist, an producer, Patrick Joseph defines the essence of an independent performer. His 2016 release, Hindsight features a mix of new music and re-interpretations of songs from his previous two LPs.
February 18, 2017
The third overall album by the York-based rock quartet Live, the 1997 release Secret Samadhi is named after a state of Hindu meditation and features a mix of mainstream rock and alternative Avant Garde. This original work draws influence from diverse musical influences from both contemporary and historical rock artists.
November 24, 2016
Although this major label debut never got its full measure of promotion, The Clarks 1996 release Someday Maybe is nonetheless a strong musical statement. The album is a solid and steady effort by the Pennsylvania quartet, full of steady rock/pop tracks crafted in multiple sub-genres.
November 10, 2016
Built on his one man live show, which includes guitar, banjo, mandolin, harmonica and a custom suitcase kick drum, the 2015 LP Where the Lore Began by Jeremiah Tall delivers strong and entertaining songs which make for a pleasant listen.
October 27, 2016
The third release by the Central PA rock trio Shift Seven, the 6-song EP Shift Seven III adds some sonic dimensions to the band’s base gritty, boogie-rock sound. The songs here feature rich textures and arrangements and explore more rock sub-genres than previous efforts.
September 14, 2016
A hard rock band from suburban Philadelphia, Winston’s Dog has been playing in one form or another since the late 1990s. On their latest album, Tactics 1-2, the group forges melodic, guitar-driven rock in a richly layered style of alternative with impressionistic lyrics.
July 19, 2016
No Rain Remain, the debut EP by Steve Wilkins, contains songs of diverse themes that somehow gel together as a cohesive whole with an underlying statement speaking of the struggle between balancing a responsible life and satisfying a wellspring of creative impulses.
March 17, 2016
The Badlees independently produced their mid-nineties masterpiece with the roots-rock inspired River Songs. With solid compositions that seamlessly glide from solid rock numbers to folk and Americana classics, this album shows the Pennsylvania-based quintet in top form.
November 2, 2015
For their second album, Jumping Out of Windows, Pittsburgh based Boulevard of the Allies forges an eclectic mix of styles which range from modern and new wave rock to an array of diverse classic genres like folk, jazz, ska, R&B and funk.
April 7, 2015
Led by the dynamic vocals of Shawan Rice, the five-song EP Catchin’ Feels blends R&B, folk, jazz, blues, and just the slightest bit rock n’ roll to forge an original musical experience by Shawan and the Wonton.
September 24, 2014
Dustin Douglas recorded his debut album, Black Skies and Starlight over the past two years, while he was an active member of The Badlees. With a mix of big guitars, pop-laced hooks and an alternative rock attitude, Douglas blends a diverse array of influenced to make a formidable record.
May 5, 2014
Live reached an early peak with their 1994 sophomore album Throwing Copper. With dynamic and dramatic songs laced by lyrical ambiguity and thought-provoking themes, the Pennsylvania group composed a cohesive and memorable record which captured the post-grunge sound of the middle nineties.
October 31, 2013
Seeds and Chains is an engaging new album by Philadelphia area folk artist Up the Chain. Led by front man and creator Reed Kendall, the album employs some of the most talented musicians in the Philly area for this entertaining and rewarding musical journey.
October 15, 2013
With their latest release, Epiphones and Empty Rooms, The Badlees have fully embraced the “two states” of their group. In fact, they have taken this concept to the extreme with a double album made of two discs which are intentionally distinct from each other.
July 5, 2013
Aside from being an accomplished blues guitarist, Tommy Conwell was keenly tuned into his audience and gave them his all at every live show. Rumble was his first major label record with his band The Young Rumblers and it did a fair job of capturing a bit of the live energy.
April 16, 2013
Out of Body was the fifth studio album by The Hooters, released in 1993, and would be the last before the band’s decade and a half hiatus from recording. As with all Hooters albums, the original material was mainly composed by the team of Eric Bazilian and Rob Hyman.
October 13, 2012
After two years of extensive touring in support of their first major label success, Nervous Night, the Philadelphia based group The Hooters returned to the studio to record One Way Home. Unlike its predecessor, this album was heavily folk and Americana influenced.
May 14, 2012
Originally planned to be The Hooters sixth studio album, Largo became a much larger and more complex project which became a a quasi-concept album and involved top-notch talent from across the rock spectrum in both musical styles and musical eras.
January 21, 2012
Pittsburgh’s Pete Bush made the radical transformation from stand-up bass to front man when he formed Pete Bush & the Hoi Polloi, which released their debut Idaho in May 2012, adding some nice sonic additions to the base live sound of the trio.
September 28, 2011
Hot Wing Jones has been described as a garage band for adults. While this may accurately describe this band’s public persona, it doesn’t aptly describe this band’s dedication to their musical pursuits as demonstrated in their latest album, Tanker A & Other Short Stories.
March 3, 2011
A deep and rich project of innovative and philosophical music, Imaginary Lines culminated with a triple-length, 33-song collection in 2009 called Imaginary Lines 33.
November 9, 2010
The Badlees returned from a seven year hiatus of recording as a group with Love Is Rain in 2009. With this unique album, the group embraced the two musical directions towards which they had evolved over recent years.
March 10, 2010
Darcie Miner‘s evolutionary album, Loneliness Anonymous, fuses her folk rock talents with melodic pop sensibilities and pairs her excellent vocal skills and songwriting with top-notch production techniques.
Other Album Reviews
|12/07/11||Miracle On Rock Street||Twelve Twenty-Four|
|11/20/11||Come Alive EP||Carmen Magro|
|09/24/11||The Battle Begins||Vessel|
|08/16/11||The Invisible Man||Chris Nelson|
|02/02/11||Broken Machines||Underground Saints|
|12/27/10||This Is Cabinet, Set 1||Cabinet|
|07/13/10||See That My Grave Is Kept Clean||Ed Randazzo & Bret Alexander|
|03/31/10||112 Beats Per Minute||Craig & Alex Bannon|
|02/07/10||Lucky 7’s||Ron Fleeger & the Stranger|
|01/24/10||Dollars for Diane Compilation||Various Artists|
|10/12/09||We the Broken||Pan.a.ce.a|
|05/24/09||Classics||The Ann Kerstetter Band|