It may seem surprising that this is the first complete recording of Gluck's one-act opera (or, as he called it, serenata teatrale) La corona (The Crown) after more than 240 years. The work was never performed during Gluck's lifetime; written for the name day of Francis I, husband of Habsburg empress Maria Theresa, it was rendered irrelevant by the dedicatee's death in 1765. The listener will discover soon enough why no one has thought to revive the work since then.
It's hard to call the Georgia quartet Blackberry Smoke Southern Rock revivalists. Rather, they work in a tradition carved out by Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Allman Brothers Band back in the '70s. Gregg Allman sings on "Free on the Wing," the closing track on Like an Arrow, the band's first album for Thirty Tigers, and Skynyrd is often used as a comparison point for the band, but Like an Arrow makes it plain that Blackberry Smoke is a close cousin of the Black Crowes – a band that sifts through the past to pick its favorite rock, not necessarily pledging allegiance to sounds made south of the Mason-Dixie line.
Breaking more fresh new blues-rock ground than ever on their raucous and soulful new album Pierced Arrow, The Rides are letting their growing legion of fans know they’re in this for the long haul. Their ongoing freewheeling journey is all there in the name. When they came up with that clever moniker for what Stephen Stills calls “the blues band of my dreams,” the two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, five time Grammy nominated guitar great Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Chicago rock/blues keyboardist Barry Goldberg knew it was more than just a one time, multi-generational fusion of legendary musical souls. They envisioned – and have since set out upon – a dynamic, wide open road ahead.