Blaze Of Glory (CD Expanded Edition) By Game Theory

February 16, 2015

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Scott Miller passed away April 15, 2013, closing out nearly a 40 year career in the music industry. He remains an underappreciated genius of American music. While he was successful as the front man of Alternative Learning and The Loud Family, it was his time as the leader of Game Theory that remains the highlight of his career.

He formed Game Theory in 1982 after the break-up of Alternative Learning. During the next nine years he would be the one constant member of the band. While it was at heart a power pop group, he added a psychedelic and experimental element to their sound, moving it in a number of non-traditional directions.

The Game Theory catalogue has been out of print for years but now Omnivore Recordings has begun a project of re-issuing their albums. Their debut album, Blaze Of Glory, is the first of the seven projected re-issues to be released.

The original 1982 tapes have been remastered to produce a quality sound. A 28 page booklet traces the albums history and contains thoughts by all of the living contributors. The original album contained 12 songs but now 15 bonus tracks have been added to bring the total to 27. While the quality of the extra material varies, they pretty much cover the early period of the band’s career.  Of special interest are the four tracks by Alternative Learning, which form a jumping off point for Miller’s work with Game Theory.

Game Theory was in its embryonic stage and consisted of guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Miller, bassist Fred Juhos, keyboardist Nancy Becker, and drummer Michael Irwin. The music is simpler and uncluttered than what would follow. The lyrics are also less edgy than what Miller would produce in the future.

The opening track is the laid back “Something To Show,” which is an inauspicious beginning and gives no clue as to what will follow. The key song is “Sleeping Through Heaven,” where Becker’s keyboard and Miller’s guitar run counterpoint to each other. There are also elements of the words competing with the music, which would be explored further in the future.

Blaze Of Glory was a breath of fresh air back in 1982. It was the beginning of Miller’s fusion of styles and sounds that may have been outside of the mainstream but were some of the more creative of their era. The album remains an interesting listen.


Blaze Of Glory by Marshall Chapman

July 3, 2013

Marshall Chapman is now over 40 years into her stellar music career and she has become more prolific with the passage of time. During the past three years she has had a book published (They Came to Nashville), seen her musical Good Ol’ Girls open off Broadway, acted in a movie with Gwyneth Paltrow (Country Strong), and released the well-received album, Big Lonesome. She has now returned with the 13th studio album of her career, Blaze Of Glory.

It is a comfortable release that picks up where her last one left off. She provides the lead vocals and rhythm guitar, supported by lead guitarist Will Kimbrough, drummer Casey Wood, keyboardist Mike Utley, and bassist Jim Mayer.

She has always been able been able to fuse her Americana lyrics with a pop rock sound and Blaze of Glory is no exception. If there is one area in which she has consistently improved, it is as a songwriter. She wrote eight of the 11 tracks and co-wrote one more. She is able to put her thoughts and stories into words and wrap them in memorable melodies.

The album starts out strong with “Love in the Wind,” which has a 1950s rock and roll vibe. She shares the lead vocal with Todd Snider as they explore her inner feelings. She then transitions to the power pop of “I Don’t Want Nobody.” Songs such as “Dreams & Memories,” the title track, and “Not Afraid to Die” reflect the personal side of her songwriting and life as they explore her philosophy and life journey.

The two cover songs were chosen well. Hoagy Carmichael’s “The Nearness of You” is delivered in a laid back style, while the Delmore Brothers’ old country classic, “Blues Stay Away From Me,” is moved over from its bluegrass roots to Chapman’s Americana style.

Marshall Chapman is now in her mid-60s and has carved out an impressive career. Blaze of Glory will add to her legacy as it is an album of mature music by an artist who is confident in her skills.


Blaze of Glory by Marshall Chapman

June 28, 2013

Marshall Chapman is now over 40 years into her stellar music career and she has become more prolific with the passage of time. During the past three years she has had a book published (They Came to Nashville), seen her musical Good Ol’ Girls open off Broadway, acted in a movie with Gwyneth Paltrow (Country Strong), and released the well-received album, Big Lonesome. She has now returned with the 13th studio album of her career, Blaze Of Glory.

It is a comfortable release that picks up where her last one left off. She provides the lead vocals and rhythm guitar, supported by lead guitarist Will Kimbrough, drummer Casey Wood, keyboardist Mike Utley, and bassist Jim Mayer.

She has always been able been able to fuse her Americana lyrics with a pop rock sound and Blaze of Glory is no exception. If there is one area in which she has consistently improved, it is as a songwriter. She wrote eight of the 11 tracks and co-wrote one more. She is able to put her thoughts and stories into words and wrap them in memorable melodies.

The album starts out strong with “Love in the Wind,” which has a 1950s rock and roll vibe. She shares the lead vocal with Todd Snider as they explore her inner feelings. She then transitions to the power pop of “I Don’t Want Nobody.” Songs such as “Dreams & Memories,” the title track, and “Not Afraid to Die” reflect the personal side of her songwriting and life as they explore her philosophy and life journey.

The two cover songs were chosen well. Hoagy Carmichael’s “The Nearness of You” is delivered in a laid back style, while the Delmore Brothers’ old country classic, “Blues Stay Away From Me,” is moved over from its bluegrass roots to Chapman’s Americana style.

Marshall Chapman is now in her mid-60s and has carved out an impressive career. Blaze of Glory will add to her legacy as it is an album of mature music by an artist who is confident in her skills.