Album Reviews

Heaven and Earth – Dig Review


Released by: Quarto Valley Records

Release Date: April 23rd, 2013

Genre: Melodic Hard Rock



Line Up:

Joe Retta : Vocals

Stuart Smith: Guitar

Chuck Wright : Bass

Richie Onori : Drums

Arlan Schierbaum : Hammond



1. Victorious

2. No Money, No Love

3. I Don’t Know What Love Is

4. Man & Machine

5. House of Blues

6. Back in Anger

7. Waiting for the End of The World

8. Sexual Insanity

9. Rock & Roll Does

10. A Day Like Today

11. Good Times

12. Live as One


The greatest pieces of work sometimes take time and are fully crafted over long periods of time, this applies to music sometimes as well. For some that follow rock in general you may recall around the year 2000 that Stuart Smith and his band Heaven and Earth released the album “Windows to the World”. It was very well received regardless of the obvious influences which crossed mix classic Deep Purple, vintage 70’s keyboards and organ play, as well as traditional Classic Rock hooks and Melodic goodness that was found everywhere. The band has had a cooperation from some of the best musicians in the rock business, including the likes of Kelly Hansen (Foreigner), Joe Lynn Turner (Rainbow) and Kelly Keeling (King Kobra) all fronted the band at one point.

Windows to the World was also produced by the great Howard Leese. The standard of musicianship is first class and as you forward to 2013 the guys are back with a new line up including vocalist Joe Retta from Sweet fame fronting the band. And holding all together are not only the great vocals of Retta, but the return of vintage  keyboard/hammond master Arlan Schierbaum, as well as the mastermind behind these classic hooks in Stuart Smith himself; a multi faceted player who was tutor by one of the all time best in the great Ritchie Blackmore.

“Dig” marks an eventful return of what started more as a Stuart Smith solo project to an actual recording band, and the synergetic force of all involved shows with passionate fruition and hard labor. While Smith brought forward the guitar riffs and the rest of the band ran away with the songs; Retta with it’s tremendous vocals wrote vocal melodies and lyrics. The sound featured on “Dig” is extremely polished and really displays all instruments in crystal clear sound, opening things up nicely for the band’s overall mix of modern and vintage melodic hard rock tones.

We kicked things off with some thick chord action opening the dark groove of “Victorious” with an added middle eastern vibe going on, this one quickly gives way to one  of the hardest song songs on the album, good unexpected riff keeps things interesting. Retta just explodes on the mic letting his banshee vocal operatic talent take helm and sound like a vocal god, and Schierbaum chords are majestic and bring a transfusion of art and transient vibe to the fold. “No Money, No Love” is an nod to the old school melodic rock/hard rock crowd, a nice driving rhythm brings shades of bands like Heartland, a little bit of Joe Lynn Turner solo work for good measure.

But the goodness doesn’t stop there, another great tune stands in the cross hairs is the ballad “I Don’t Know What Love Is” which has Retta moving the melodic chains with sway and smooth, some nice piano led rhythm gives way to some outstanding vocal harmonization by the band, great stuff. Sounding like Rainbow is no easy task, I’m sure it wasn’t there intention, but man if comparing is a bad thing, I don’t want to be right because listening to “House of Blues” is a pleasure, what a nice groove and addicting hook, a nice track midway through makes you bang your head in coolness. A strong half of the record doesn’t seem to loose steam at all, the next great track and one of my personal favorites pops in “Waiting for the End of The World” with it’s melodramatic entry, this well composed tune takes the cake; the anti climactic riff takes hold here, an Joe Retta just pushes the boundaries with another addictive chorus bringing memories of Kansas to my belated ears, and the drum work by Richie Onori is outstanding.

Could this be a hint into one of this years’s best albums? Yes folks I’m here to say that Heaven and Earth got it right, no matter how long it took to make it, they got it right everything 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. In a world where is all digital  full of ipads and mobile devices that can indulge your attention span and make you lazy, we need a kick in the ass; a wake up call. Well here’s one…. how about listening to some actual ROCK music? Heaven and Earth digs up the old time relic, Americas musical pastime and juices your ears full of kick ass groove and feeling. “Dig” is a collective effort from musicians to rock fans worldwide and one that is surely not to let down old school as well as young bloods. The great Elvis and I quote once said “Rock and roll music, if you like it, if you feel it, you can’t help but move to it. That’s what happens to me. I can’t help it.’ Thank you H&E for making feel this way!!!


Written by Denys

Ratings    Denys    9/10


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One thought on “Heaven and Earth – Dig Review

  1. you guy’s rock since the frist time that i seen your video i think it was two mnths ago i have trun on alot of my friends to it and the frist thing out of their mouths was hell yes and when will they be in IL. or WI. and all i was able to say is don’t know but since i do own a booking agency and promotion company i’ve bee once in a while able to speak to stuart on F/b if he is’nt busyi would really enjoy trying to book you here in the WISCONSIN, OR IN IL. WITH SOME DATES


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