A mixed bag of Christmas delights

Rik Emmett
Rik Emmett

This column contains audio and printed offerings from here at my house. Maybe you can obtain them at after-Christmas sale prices.

‘All The Way,’ Justin Hayward (Eagle Records, 1/2)

This Oct. 14 release has been here awhile, but since I’ve found Hayward’s non-Moody Blues output disappointingly AOR, this review is sneaking in at year’s end. The digital release contains 15 extra songs, which will be featured on a two-CD version. Justin’s songs are mostly self-composed, but one of the best here is “Forever Autumn,” which isn’t original. There’s also an extremely slow version of Don McLean’s “Vincent.”

Other favorites include Justin’s first solo hit “Blue Guitar,” a live version of “Nights In White Satin,” an all-strings version of “The Story In Your Eyes,” and the guitar-driven “Troubadour.”

Most of this music is too mellow for me, but some readers will enjoy it.

‘Three Miles From Avalon,’ Davy Knowles (Wyan Inc., )

This eight-song release is decidedly harder-hitting than the one above.

Guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Davy Knowles and his band (bassist/vocalist Bryan Doherty, keyboardist Andrew Toombs and drummer Michael Caskey) have put together a cool recording with fiery lead-guitar breaks and nifty arrangements.

My favorite tunes are the powerful “What You’re Made Of,” the organ-drenched “Oxford, MS,” the gut-wrenching “Falling Apart” and the thoughtful title song. The eighth song wouldn’t play, but the others sort of made up for it. Lovers of bluesy rock ’n’ roll will dig this recording, which is likely available in multiple formats.

‘RES 9,’ Rik Emmet & Resolution 9 (Provogue/Mascot Label Group, 1/2)

Rik Emmet also is a lead guitarist/vocalist and songwriter. His collaborators are guitarist/backing vocalist Dave Dunlop, bassist/keyboardist/backing vocalist Steve Skingley and drummer Paul Delong. This classic-rock flavored album features guest appearances from Rush’s Alex Lifeson, Dream Theater’s James Labrie and Triumph’s Gil Moore.

My favorite tunes are the organ-powered “My Cathedral,” the anthemic “Human Race,” the profound “End Of The Line” and the sugary “Sweet Tooth.”

Classic rock fans will dig this one.

‘Making Stuff and Doing Things: DIY Guides To Just About Everything,’ Edited by Kyle Bravo (Microcosm Books, )

Readers who want to learn the basics of everything from juggling to guitar-playing and other things in between will find methods to pick up skills with practice from this interesting compilation book released Dec. 13. The bottom line is this: there will be tons of stuff readers don’t wish to know as well as tons of desirable skills to dip into. Making a packing-tape wallet, block printing, silk-screening, gardening, composting, punk-rock touring and more are featured in this great collection.

Ricky Flake, a former punk rocker and current music fan, lives in Biloxi. Reach him at flakericky@gmail.com