Tag Archives: Review

D’Addario EXP17 review

Daddarioexp17Bit over a month back the good people at D’Addario sent me a set of their phosphor bronze coated EXP strings to try out. My weekly schedule puts any set of strings to test. So I thought it would be cool to put them to the test. So here’s how it went:

It was Monday morning, I’d say about 8.30am. I was sipping on my coffee and chancing the strings on my Musima, a German made solid wood guitar that is a real work horse. It has a cedar top and mahogany back and sides. It is a dreadnought body size with a chunky neck. It has warm and responsive tone. My usual choice of strings has been D’Addario EJ17. But I heard about D’Addario having their own steel mill, which allowed them to produce stronger and more stable string. This sounded like big promise, but I was willing to give it a go.

My first experience was that the strings felt small bit stiffer than what I was used to. Some of you might not like this, but I actually liked it. The strings had clear and responsive sound. I thought they sounded also louder. Flat picking and strumming they responded very well. Also fingerpicking was a pleasure, the stiffness actually assisted small bit with my accuracy. I spent the morning recording guitar takes, mainly finger picking and it felt great. They recorded very well. One of the tracks I recorded on the day is song of mine called “Silence” which you can check out HERE to hear the strings in action.

Later I played a session (three hours, sitting around a table in a pub, playing traditional Irish music and singing songs, all acoustic) and my fellow musicians feedback was similar to my own experience, clear loud and responsive.

So the strings sounded great and felt good. I’d like to point out that even though you can feel the coating on the strings, it is lot less obvious than in Elixir’s in my experience. After few minutes you actually forgot about it. So the next test was longevity. I proceeded to test the strings only using this guitar for all of my work. During the week I played three sessions, two mornings in studio ( about three hours each. I had two rehearsals, first one three hours the second five hours. I also had my regular shows with Sliotar in the Porterhouse during the weekend. This is three shows, first one two hours second four hours and the last three hours. The strings held up the whole week and still sounded great! At this point I was sold. They were the strongest strings I had tested so far.

Three days and three sessions down the line the G-string (no jokes please, I’ve heard them all…) finally gave in with a quite bang. At this point the strings had done about fourth hours of intensive playing. I changed the broken string but left the rest of the set on just to see how long the would last. To my surprise, three weeks later they finally had become dull enough, that I desired to change them, but none of the other strings had broken. Oh, did I mention I can be bit heavy-handed, strings never last more than a week with me. Also these are extremely stable strings! You put them on, give them a good pull and they are set to go. There was very minimal tuning required with these strings.

So I am impressed. D’Addario EXP17s have become my new string of choice, now I just need to convince my local music shop to stock enough of them 😉

For more info visit www.daddario.com


The author J.P. Kallio is a singer songwriter
To get EIGHT of his songs for free go HERE

“The Call” launch

ThecallshadowToday the 2nd of December, my fourth album “The Call” is out of the traps. I got few cool things here for you, but before we get into that lets check out some lovely quotes we got in already 🙂

“The Call” stretches J.P. Kallio’s songwriting and lyrics farther than he’s gone before. J.P. Kallio has what many other artists don’t have -depth and skill at songwriting.”
– JamSphere

“An ability to write material that has merit outside the trappings of glossy studio production”
– Soundlooks

“J.P. Kallio is back with his unique blend of country folk, and it’s just as inspiring as ever. There’s a real sense of being performed to with confidence by a true master of his craft.”
– Crossradar

“This 11 track album is fantastic and will take you on a ride through heartfelt songs that will draw out your emotions. J.P. has a very distinctive style that is raw and unfiltered. His songwriting is refined and each of the 11 songs will paint rich pictures in your mind.”
– VeryCoolTunes

Click here to download your copy of “The Call” right now!

So I also wanted to give you a new video, this was another late night video session and was a live version of the opening track of the album. Hope you like it and if you do, please leave a comment 🙂

Also I worked hard to make sure the album will be available not only from my website, iTunes, Amazon and all the usual download stores, but also on Spotify as I am fully aware many of you prefer this as your way of listening music. I’ll include here the new album playlist and if you are on Spotify, please follow me there 🙂

Thank you so much for the support, and don’t forget that a simple thing like sharing this page by hitting one of the social media links below really makes a big difference 🙂 And let me know what you think of the album as well.


Eamonn Dowd, Down A Hundred Crooked Roads

eamonndowdI met Eamonn Dowd good fourteen years ago on a rainy day in Dublin at the Ha’Penny Bridge Inn. Even back then it was hard to ignore the “coolness” around him when he walked into the pub. Eamonn is one of those solders of the music that has been here a long time. He never really fitted the mould of what would work with the major labels, so they probably just wished he would eventually go away. But as much as Eamonn could not give a damn about what the major labels thought, he was not going to go away. What Eamonn Dowd had and still has whether he is solo or with one of his bands, is timeless true rock n’ roll charm, mixed with a touch of outlaw country.

These days Eamonn is based in Gothenburg, in Sweden, when he is not on the road. He churns out albums and EP’s at his own pace, to the demand of his loyal fans. Eamonn’s latest instalment is a solid rock n’ roll album “Down a hundred crooked roads”. This is an intense album, nine songs in just 23 minutes which proves how albums are not made for their length, but their content. From the first two tracks of the album “Five Star Soul” and “She Went Out Gallivanting” you feel like you are at a live show. Raunchy electric guitar and a straight forward beat, is like a freight train chucking along. Eamonn is a crafter when it comes to song writing. Songs like “Fiery Frank” are the kind of songs that showcases his storytelling abilities and the regular readers of my blog know I rate that highly in songwriters.

But there are songs like “Lonesome Street” and “River’ Frozen til April” (duet with Ingrid Veernman) where the rock n’ roll machine changes gears and along side Eamonn’s electric he show’s us he is no stranger to acoustic guitar either.
There is something brilliantly refreshing about the album in these days when even country music is turning into overly polished production line products. Eamonn stands true to the songs and the raw sound of rock n’ roll



The author J.P. Kallio is a singer songwriter
To get three of his free songs go HERE and click Download

“Acoustic Classics” by Richard Thompson

richard_acousticcover_bigRichard Thompson is one of those road warriors you can’t help but to admire. From his early work with Fairport Convention to his expansive solo career, it seems like he is showing no signs of slowing. He traveled a road that never hit “the big time” even with some big record label backing. In 2001 Richard finally parted ways with the labels and decided to head the independent rout releasing his albums himself. Ironically the move resulted in a bigger promotional push and healthier album sales, proving once again you are better off fighting your own fight than being just a number in some big labels boardroom.

Richards Latest album “Acoustic Classics” was a collection of his earlier songs rercorded with just acoustic guitar and his voice. To me personally even thought Richard Thompson is a fantastic electric guitarist, his acoustic work is some of the finest around. This album is stripping the songs down to their basics, which I believe is the best way to hear the true talent of Richard Thompson. The Album was originally meant for his live acoustic shows, as Richard there was nothing there that represented the solo shows. Debuting no. 16 on UK album charts obviously the album has become more than that.

This is how I like my “best of” albums. I was never a big fan of collections of songs from artists previous albums released as a way to sell the tracks that true fans would already have. But if the artist is willing to do something else with the songs, then I am interested. There are many great songs on “Acoustic Classics”, like “Galway to Graceland”, “Beeswing”, “Valerie” and 1952 Vincent Black Lightning”. The songs spanning a career over 45 years, there is bound to be lot’s of treats, especially from an artist the caliber of Richard Thompson.

And just because the album was meant to be mainly sold as a merchandise at the live shows, don’t be in any doubt about the quality or the performance of this album. This is a must have album for any Acoustic guitarist and a songwriter. Richards acoustic guitar work on “Acoustic Classics” is a fantastic display of skill combined with dynamic play and emotion. He comfortably jumps from skilful finger picking to strumming his guitar to almost a roar. There are also few tasty guitar solos on tracks like “Wall off death” and “When the spell is broken” among others. Also Richards singing voice is in as good shape as ever. He has one of those voices you recognise in an instant.

“Acoustic Classics” is an album you should check out straight away. If you like good songs with stories and tasty acoustic guitar, you will not be disappointed.



The author J.P. Kallio is a singer songwriter
To get two of his free songs go HERE and click Download

William Fitzsimmons, Lions

album-lions-fullWilliam Fitzsimmons latest album “Lions” have been rocking in my iPhone a lot lately. I’ll be honest with you, it is easy for me to like him and if you know anything about his musical journey it is easy to understand why. William started his recording career at home, in his office (something I can relate to) by recording with just one microphone, his guitar and gentle voice.

His latest instalment is a bit higher end production with layers of instruments, but still all along this album his acoustic guitar and border lining on a whisper vocals are what carries the songs. MR Fitzsimmons is accomplished guitarist, talented fingerpicker, but at no stage does the guitar do anything more than is needed to set the mood for the songs.

He has very recognisable voice and style, oozing of emotion. Tracks like “Took” and “Fortune” where the production has been built much larger, you can see Fitzsimmons bridging the gap between acoustic folk and mainstream pop music. But William does all this without compromising his identity or sound.

Still for me the gems are the moments when you can hear his finger cares the strings of his guitar like “Blood/ chest” and the opening track “Well enough”.

It is by no means an easy digesting album. Instead you get little bit further into it with every listen. Those of you who have been reading my blog posts for some time know I don’t recommend music easily. It has to have a greater impact on me. William Fitzsimmons “Lions” is a strong candidate to be my favourite album of 2014. It has the meat, it has the bones and then more.

Visit: www.williamfitzsimmons.com


The author J.P. Kallio is a singer songwriter
To get two of his free songs go HERE and click Download

19th June Last weeks posts

Willie Nelson, Band Of BrothersThe sun is out in force here in Dublin, which is great 🙂 But the added side effect of hay fever season is not so great 🙁 But I am coping, I’m a fighter 😉

So the last weeks song Old Dog did quite nicely once again. I also got a lovely surprise in my mailbox, a version of the song that a new friend of mine Matthew Gillian had made in his home studio mixing my original track with some tasty backing. So we are looking in to possibly doing some more collaborations in the future 🙂 Here is the original post:

Old Dog

I also managed to churn out a new video, this time for the title track “Read Between The lines” Check it out here:

Read Between The Lines Video

On Tuesday I put my head down and decided to write a bit longer post on a subject that had been in my mind for a little while now, and it seemed to hit the spot with quite few of you. Thanks 🙂

Ethics in Independent Music Business

Also this week a new album from a living legend that is Willie Nelson came out. As I am a big fan, of course I shad to review it straight away 🙂

Willie Nelson, Band of Brothers

So that’s all this weeks commotion. I have few albums lined up for review, so keep an eye out for them. Also the final track from “Read Between The Lines” will be out tomorrow. Now I am going to rush off to enjoy the sunshine while it lasts 🙂


The author J.P. Kallio is a singer songwriter
To get two of his free songs go HERE and click Download

Willie Nelson, Band Of Brothers

Willie Nelson, Band Of BrothersWhen Willie Nelson sings, I listen. Throughout his career this living legend has dabbled in so many different types of music it is almost amazing that we still recognise him as an outlaw country legend. But that’s what he is and no one can never take that away from him. Willie’s new album Band of Brothers is a follow up to his last album that only came out eight months before. To all the girls… was an album of duets Willie sang with some of the most influential female country singers of our times. Even though it was a great album, it would be something you would expect from an eighty years of age artist, who has been there and done it all. But Willie was never one to do things the way others would expect, so only eight months later, he brings out the Band of Brothers that is largely written by him and his producer Buddy Cannon.

This album is nothing short of a masterpiece and far from showing any signs of the man “slowing down”. In the albums opening track Bring It On, he sings out “Bring it on, just another storm in the sea” Like he was ready for the doubters who would try to say it was a time to hang up the guitar and take it easy. Willie comes across as one of those characters who just could not imagine calling it a day. He is a road warrior in the truest sense of the word. Guitar In The Corner to me is a song for the one and only guitar “Trigger” (a Martin M-20) that Willie has played and plays beautifully through out this album. The albums first single The Wall, tells the story of his writing block, and how he got over it. Even though the songwriter in Willie is obviously on full swing again, he also is good at picking other artists’ songs to complete the album. Tracks like Whenever You Come Around, The Git Go (which also feature Jamey Johnson) Hard To Be An Outlaw, Crazy Like Me and The Songwriter shows how Willie can take a song and make is his own. Wives And Girlfriends and I Thought I Left You shows the man has not lost his wit and sense of humour. My personal favourites are The Git Go, Hard To Be An Outlaw and The Songwriters.

The album is very much a statement that Willie Nelson has not gone anywhere just yet. Band of Brothers is a mature album without a doubt. Willies singing voice and playing is in great form and the backing band lays that foot tapping rolling train sound that we have come to expect from Willie. And throughout the album there is still that rebel peaking his head out now and again.


The author J.P. Kallio is a singer songwriter
To get two of his free songs go HERE and click Download

Ben Reel, Darkness & The Light

Darkness & The Light, Ben Reel I met Ben Reel few years back at a festival in Germany. We ended up sitting up all night singing songs in a local bar, as you do from time to time 🙂 But what hit me during his show that night and while listening his latest album “Darkness & The Light” was the maturity of songwriting and the experience that shines through his music. Ben is one of those road warriors, who in the middle of all the turmoil of what’s been happening in the music business in the past decade and a half he just keeps churning out albums and touring.
Ben has very distinctive voice, but I love that you can still hear snippets of influences here and there. In “Watershed” you could for a second think it was Bruce Springsteen singing, but when Ben hits the chorus you can also hear the Neil Young influence. There is also great honesty in Ben’s approach to the Alt Country, Americana and country rock. Let’s face it, the origins of this type of music are in the States, but Ben keeps his music strongly rooted in Ireland. This album filled with songs from an experienced storyteller, a hidden voice of a nation that was hit hard by the economic downturn. And only from someone who has spent weeks if not even months at a time on the road and away from loved ones would you expect to hear such a heartfelt song as “Counting Down The Days”. Songs like these don’t just happen, you live through them. You’re Not Alone reminds me something Roy Orbison could have written, but even when the influences and names drop, Ben still does it his own way. Rather showing respect to his influences than trying to sound like them, a sign of a great artist. In “What Is Done” You can hear the amazing dynamic range in Ben’s voice, where he goes from a fragile gentle voice to almost an angry roar.
I don’t know if it is the result of the economic downturn, state of the music business or just simply people getting tired of the overproduced pop music, but I have noticed a lot more interest in Folk and Alt Country music and real singer-songwriters in the past few years. “Darkness & The Light” show’s that Ben Reel is ready for the times to come.



The author J.P. Kallio is a singer songwriter
To get two of his free songs go HERE and click Download

May 22nd last weeks posts

Listen.jpgIt’s been one of those weeks when my “todo list” just seems to grow even when I am working my backside off 😀 But never the less we are getting somewhere. Sun has shown us the first signs of the summer here on the green island, but as soon as we get our hopes up we get dumped with more rain… But I still got a feeling there is a great summer on the way 😉

Last weeks song was a real special one for me, and the response has been amazing! I asked you guys to share it, and thats just what you did 🙂 Thank you so much once again. It even made it’s way to the Dyslexia Association of Ireland’s page! If you didn’t get a chance to check it out, here it is:

Read Between the Lines, dyslexic songwriter

As I mentioned in a post few weeks back (You can check it HERE), there was a big Algorithm change that effected Facebook pages and their reach. I have been keeping an eye on what effect this might have on Facebook ads. But just as an experiment I also decided to run Facebook ads head to head with Twitter ad. Check out the results here:

Twitter v Facebook ads

I wrote a review of John Moreland’s wonderful album “In The Throes”. I’ve been writing few of these reviews now and you might think I’ve been very nice to the artists, but the thing is I only write about albums I like and would like to share with you. There are enough reviewers in this world slating the artists and that is not my intention at all. If I don’t like album, I won’t review it 🙂 Check out my review of “In The Throes” here:

John Moreland, In The Throes

And last, but definitely not least we have coffee related video and blog post 😉 You all know by now I love my coffee, so I decided to share with you how I make mine. I’d like to hear how you make yours.

Cup of Coffee my way

I have been working on some Video material during the week, but this seems to be taking it’s time. I’m sure we’ll get there soon enough though 😉 And don’t forget, new song out this Friday as well.


The author J.P. Kallio is a singer songwriter
To get two of his free songs go HERE and click Download

John Moreland, In The Throes

inthethroes Once again I got some music recommended to me through Twitter, keep ’em coming 😉 I was completely new to John Moreland’s music few weeks ago, so after checking out few tracks online, decided to purchase his latest album “In The Throes”. In my research for new music (and for the reviews) I usually listen to tracks online, check out few videos, visit the artist’s website and if they have Wikipedia page, I’ll read that through as well. This time I wanted to get in to the music before I learned about the artist. So I have had this album on my iPhone pretty much on full-time rotation for the past two weeks and only looked in to John and his career just before writing this review.

John’s ability as a songwriter is evident in every ounce of this album. The lyrics dig deep in to self discovery, lost love and even questioning the value we place in songs these days in “Nobody Gives a Damn About Songs Anymore”. The wordsmith in John Moreland comes out in full show in songs like “Blacklist” where he sing about the relationship between the man and his faith as the years in his life starts to question things. In fact this subject keeps creeping up in the album, and how John approaches it just grows my respect for him more. The way it comes across to me is a man not trying to dismiss others faith, but questioning his own. “Break My Heart Sweetly” is a beautiful love song, and again the imagery John use in this songs is nothing short of amazing. Also the gentle acoustic guitar and vocal approach almost transports you with the song. On my “research” in to John Moreland I learned that he is a bit of a jack of all trades. He plays most of the instruments on the album, apart from few quests. He’s had several releases in a year in the past, which is something I can relate to quite well 😉 Five albums and three E.P.s in the past six years, it seems like I have few more albums to purchase from him. Also his work method comes very much from the DIY punk world, where he puts out his own albums and deals with small independent labels. The album as a whole has very organic sound to it. You hear real instruments, not restricted by layers of compression and digital processing. I am a big fan of full acoustic guitar sound, and you will have plenty of it here. Also the drum sound really intrigued me, it has a great acoustic feel to it. Johns voice is somewhere between Bruce Springsteen and Tom Waits, but still definitely has his own tone, one of those you will recognise in an instant. When the last notes of the albums final track “Blues & Kudzu” die down, somehow the rooms sounds more quiet than before… This album is a must.



The author J.P. Kallio is a singer songwriter
To get two of his free songs go HERE and click Download