Joe Retta


Glam Band SWEET Triumphs in Los Angeles Concert

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Tour News

By Gerry Gittelson Los Angeles correspondent

LOS ANGELES -- The American brand of classic glam band Sweet, featuring original bassist Steve Priest, plays just a handful of concerts per year, so it's a rare treat to catch 'em, especially in adopted hometown Los Angeles.

The group with a penchant for ultra-catchy songs performed on before a near-capacity crowd at the Canyon Club, and the performance was a rousing success.

Opening with a nice-and-loud rendition of "Action," Sweet stuck mostly to the hits, and that meant a whopping total of six selections from the band's iconic album "Desolation Boulevard," including "Fox on The Run" and "Ballroom Blitz," the two crowning jewels of the evening.

Singer Joe Retta was terrific. His vocals are about as close to the late Brian Connolly as you're going to get, and wow was the curly-haired American spot-on with "Love Is Like Oxygen" and "Sweet FA." Since joining seven years ago, Retta continues to gain confidence and charmisa, and he now has more panache than before.

Guitarist Mitch Perry joined just recently, replacing Stuart Smith (who has opted to focus only on his band Heaven & Earth), and Perry proved spectacular. He looks, he sounds great, and he's got the perfect rock and roll attitude that screams rockstar.

You've got to have Priest, of course, who will be 68 in February, and the stocky bassist still has a cool vibe in addition to playing well and also offering ocassional lead vocals.

And then there is drummer Richie Onori, among the best in the world. He was bashing for all he was worth on "Set Me Free," followed by "Blockbuster," and the crowd was going crazy.

Keyboardist Stevie Stewart was barefooted and wore a kilt -- which was a little weird -- and in case no would noticed, he continually pranced around the stage.

In all, an extraordinarily successful night for the kings of glam rock. May Sweet live on forever.

HEAVEN AND EARTH Head Into The Studio With New LineUp

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

HEAVEN & EARTH: Stuart Smith (Guitar), Joe Retta (Vocals), Lynn Sorensen (Bass/Vocals),
Ty Bailie (Keyboards) and Kenny Aronoff (Drums)
Coming off last year’s acclaimed album Dig and an enthusiastically received 17-date 2014 European concert tour, HEAVEN & EARTH--who masterfully fuse elements of hard rock, blues and bits of classical--are back in the studio working on a new album (produced by Dave Jenkins and available via Quarto Valley Records) for 2015 with a new lineup. The Los Angeles-based band’s heralded musicians Stuart Smith (band founder/guitarist) and Joe Retta (vocals) are now joined by Kenny Aronoff (drums), Lynn Sorensen of Paul Rogers/Bad Company (bass/vocals) and Ty Bailie (keyboards).
Stuart Smith, an England-raised protégé of Ritchie Blackmore, is excited to share this news about the new HEAVEN & EARTH album (title and release date are TBA) and line-up. He says: "Joe Retta and I couldn't be more excited that Quarto Valley Records are once again behind us and that we have Lynn, Kenny and Ty on the new album. The writing chemistry between us is great and we have about 20 good ideas in the pot so far which we're working on. I think it's going to be Heaven & Earth's best album yet."
HEAVEN & EARTH’s new line-up includes:
  • Kenny Aronoff, among the world’s most in-demand session drummers, will bring his tremendous drive, enthusiasm and creativity to HEAVEN & EARTH. In the mid-80s, Kenny began to develop an enormously successful career as a studio musician and went on to tour worldwide with artists including The Smashing Pumpkins, Bob Seger, John Fogerty, Melissa Etheridge, Joe Cocker, Willie Nelson, Styx, Goo Goo Dolls, Billy Gibbons, Ringo Starr, Dr. John, Gregg Allman, and many many more. 
  • Seasoned bassist/vocalist Lynn Sorensen--who’s been Paul Rodgers’ long time bass player and backing vocalist for over 10 years and moved over to Bad Company with Paul when he reformed Bad Company in 2008--is excited to join the band: "As a long time fan of Heaven & Earth it is an honor to have the opportunity to play with them. The Dig album simply blows my mind," says Lynn.
  • Established B3 player/first-class keyboardist and founding member of the award-winning progressive jazz duo Ego Band USA, Ty Bailie brings his exceptional talents to HEAVEN & EARTH. Ty’s diverse talent and love of all things music has lead to him performing with a myriad of musical icons including: Steve Cropper (Booker T. and the M.G.’s), Kenny Burrell, Peter Frampton, Robbie Robertson (Bob Dylan, the Band), Wanda Jackson, Duff McKagan (Guns N’ Roses), Mike McCready (Pearl Jam), Ann Wilson (Heart), Ace Frehley (KISS), Counting Crows, Soundgarden, Yes and Tool, among others.
HEAVEN & EARTH connected strongly with music audiences on their 17-date European tour, garnering strong reviews along the way. The band will return to Europe next year when they play the Vasby Festival in Stockholm, Sweden July 17-28, 2015.
  •  “Those in the venue witnessed a very special show in an intimate setting and such an opportunity won`t be available for long as the band are destined for much bigger venues.” (Metal Express Radio)
  • “What a Night!…On the evidence of this performance, you should move on Heaven & Earth, not to miss them!” (Rocktopia)
  • “Heaven & Earth may well have delivered one of the best shows of the year….A very special show by a hugely talented band” (The Newcastle Chronicle)
  • “The highly acclaimed quintet from Los Angeles have a created a fusion of Blues and Hard Rock with a touch of classical which contains everything you could wish for…power anthems, ballads and melodic rock rub shoulders in a rather potent mix” (The Bolton News)
HEAVEN & EARTH’s last album Dig (released this past April on Quarto Valley Records) was produced by Dave Jenkins--who’s turned the knobs for everyone from Metallica to Tower of Power---and features special guests Howard Leese (Heart, Paul Rodgers), Richie Sambora (Bon Jovi) and David Paich (Toto). HEAVEN & EARTH’s music comes together explosively on the album’s first single “No Money, No Love” and its controversial video which has logged over 500,000 view and can be viewed here: Click here to stream Dig.

The origins of HEAVEN & EARTH align the band’s founder and visionary, Stuart Smith, with a rich lineage of rock’s most celebrated musicians. Kelly Hansen (Foreigner), Joe Lynn Turner (Rainbow) and Kelly Keeling (King Kobra) all fronted the band at various junctures. Guitarists Richie Sambora (Bon Jovi) and Howard Leese (Heart, Paul Rodgers), singer and bassist Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple, Black Country Communion), bassist Steve Priest (Sweet) and drummer Carmine Appice (Jeff Beck Group/Vanilla Fudge/Rod Stewart), among others, have each contributed their extraordinary talents to HEAVEN & EARTH’s first two albums: Heaven & Earth Featuring Stuart Smith (1994) and Windows to the World (2000). HEAVEN & EARTH’s groundbreaking debut album, Heaven & Earth Featuring Stuart Smith, is considered a cult classic and brought Smith to the forefront of the guitar elite being compared in the press to Deep Purple’s Ritchie Blackmore, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page and garnering Smith the award for "Best Guitarist" and "Best New CD" for three years running at the Los Angeles All Access Music Awards. In the summer of 2012, the guitarist set out to mold HEAVEN & EARTH into a world-class recording and touring band which led to the recording of their new album Dig and now the future has never looked brighter for the band.
Critical acclaim for HEAVEN & EARTH’s 2013 studio album, Dig, here: 
“…the album does a fantastic job at showcasing every possible side of the music…a band can create.”
--Kristyn Clarke, POPCULTUREMADNESS.COM, March 12, 2013 
"The songs are utterly amazing with incredible vocals and hooks that lodge themselves on the brain and refuse to leave for days."
--Gerry Gittelson, METALSLUDGE.TV.COM, April 5, 2013
Heaven & Earth is a band that has the true spirit of real rock and roll running through their hearts and souls…Digwill have fans of guitar driven hard rock wetting their pants with excitement upon first listen.”
--Jeb Wright, CLASSICROCKREVISITED.COM, March 25, 2013
“Tapping into the methodology and madness of old-school rock with a new-school attitude, Heaven & Earth are shaking their classic rock roots down to the very core on their newest effort, Dig…”
-- Robert Cavuoto, GUITARINTERNATIONAL.COM, February 21, 2013
“…it has been quite some time anyone has heard a solid album’s worth of this particular style of music — majestic, triumphant, straight forward rock, without any of today's assembly line, paint-by-numbers blandness…Dig offers up 12 compositions, that will…satisfy…fans of solid musicianship, excellent songwriting skills, and music that stands above whatever is being passed off as rock music today…Retta's vocals are dynamic, and strong, an excellent choice to deliver these songs. He sings with confident conviction, a trait necessary for this style of hard rocking, but always melodic, rock and roll…Music of this caliber deserves to be heard.”
--Bruce Forrest, VINTAGEROCK.COM, April 8, 2013
“Dig truly is a ‘band’ album. The mix, with guitars audible, focuses on presenting all instruments on an equal level and provides the framework for Retta to lay down his vocals…The music on Dig is bold, deliberate and powerful.”
--John Kindred, HARDROCKHAVEN.NET, March 11, 2013
“Heaven & Earth re-instill the music industry with timeless tracks off of their upcoming album, ‘Dig’…‘Dig’ resurrects the era by emphasizing the instrumental and lyrical diversity of classic rock.”
--Lonnie Nemiroff, SHOCKYA.COM, March 7, 2013 
“This is an album that absolutely must be heard by any purist and old school rock fan. With those piercing and psychedelically hypnotizing riffs, licks and solos, the calming and chilling vocals and more, Heaven & Earth are one of those bands that make you say ‘where has this been?’”
--Reggie Edwards, THEFRONTROWREPORT.COM, March 4, 2013
“A new era has begun, folks. Or, should I say an old era has resurfaced...this new era has a fresh new face building a solid rock fortress upon that foundation. It’s Heaven & Earth.”
--Scott Itter, DRMUSIC.ORG, March 17, 2013
“If you’re a fan of classic rock, and you’re looking for a new band to get excited about, look no further than the melodic rock quintet - Heaven & Earth…This [Dig] 12 track, epic retro-rock masterpiece is an uncompromising throw back to the vintage sounds of the 1980’s versions of Rainbow and Bad Company, in sound, style and musicianship…Every song can stand on its own and sadly, that’s really not very common nowadays.
--Thomas Orwat Jr., ROCKMUSICSTAR.COM, March 22, 2013
“‘Dig’ is twelve songs deep with each and every offering creating another facet of classic rock and roll performance."
-- East Chapman, MAINEMUSICNEWS.COM, March 17, 2013
"Their new album ‘Dig’ sums up the last forty years of rock music. You can hear their influence from the seventies, but it has a very modern energy and attitude, but most importantly these guys know how to play their instruments. Singer Joe Retta's voice is a combination of Paul Rodgers and Chris Cornell."
--Bob Zerrull, ZOIKSONLINE.COM, April 2, 2013
“Heaven and Earth got it right…from the production, to the riffs, to the incredible keyboard sound, the propelling vocals, the concept, the artwork it all just fits and puts every classic rocker back in time where this music once rule the land…”
--Denys Jaime, MYGLOBALMIND.COM, April 12, 2013
“…Dig is clearly a strong candidate for album of the year.”
--Joseph Suto, ROCKSHOWCRITIQUE.COM, May 14, 2013
“The new Heaven And Earth release, Dig…is a future classic that will influence the bands of the future.  With its heavy guitar driven sound and thick Hammond organ, Dig is a masterpiece.”
-- Jeffrey Easton, METALEXILES.COM, May 21, 2013
“Heaven + Earth has created a masterpiece.”
            --Adam Waldman, HARDROCKDADDY.COM, June 5, 2012

Purchase Dig online here:
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