New releases from Darro, Joe Barksdale, Mike Milan Dedic, and Phill Rocker

It’s not unusual for young artists to overcome hardship. In many cases, it’s character-building. But few will ever face obstacles quite as daunting as those that confronted Darro.

While studying music in Spain, the pop-punk singer-songwriter was diagnosed with a serious brain tumor. After surgery, treatment, and an arduous recovery, he’s made it out the other side, and he’s singing and playing as exuberantly as he ever has. But an experience like that leaves indelible marks on a person’s psyche. Some artists might run from that, or try to obscure it; Darro, forthright as he is, is determined to use his platform to inspire others to stand up to the challenges that confront them.


After gaining attention from his latest single release, “You’re Not Insane,” Darro has released yet another track born from the hardships of his brain tumor, this one titled “Paralyzed.” The track is a highlight of the upcoming Songs Of Recovery, a set of originals that address Darro’s journey in powerful, straightforward language that anyone can relate to. Against all odds, he’s come through his ordeal with his sense of self intact.

On “Paralyzed,” Darro stated, “I wrote this song after having my first panic attack in New York City. I had only been in the city for about two months, and I only had two friends in the entire city, and I just had brain surgery like less than six months ago. I definitely moved here way too soon because I was still dealing with PTSD from the whole tumor situation, and it was in the middle of winter.”

He continues, “I was doing something really boring, like walking to the grocery store, and I just remember seeing all of these faces in the street and no one was looking at me or noticing me, and it just felt like I didn’t exist. And I was really scared because I just left the comfort of my home after the surgery and decided to move to one of the biggest cities in the world, and I felt really small and alone. And then I felt really guilty because my mom wanted me to stay longer but I was too restless, and now I felt like I needed to prove to her that it was a good decision to come to New York. And I also felt anxious about failing, and having gone through all that trauma for nothing. This song sort of encompasses a lot of those feelings for me. I like to describe the track as the feeling of screaming at a wall but no one is around to hear you.”

Darro’s music is a reflection of the journey he’s endured.  His first EP, Nostalgia, was recorded/released in 2017, shortly after jaw surgery and reflected upon challenges he was having at the time. With poppy melodies and crafty guitars, he taps into a realm of progressive and pop rock, integrating anthemic elements from bands like Paramore and My Chemical Romance with emotionally-expressive guitar work inspired by John Mayer and wizards like Steve Vai.  The newer music, including “You’re Not Insane,” focuses on his struggles post brain surgery and how it has affected his  life. An inspirational figure for all his fans, Darro has conquered the unimaginable, including graduating from Berklee with a Bachelor’s in Guitar Performance and Music Production/Engineering; and a Master’s in Contemporary Guitar Performance.

For Darro, music has always been a part of his DNA — “I eat, sleep and breathe it,” he declares. Originally from York, PA, he was exposed to music as a child. His father performed in a Cambodian wedding band, which spurred his interest in guitar virtuosos like Steve Vai, Carlos Santana and Joe Satriani. Honing his skills early on, Darro attended Berklee College of Music and has worked with HOAX, Al Joseph, Daniel Yoong and Garry Willis.


Remember Joe Barksdale? The former former NFL player for the Oakland Raiders, Los Angeles Rams and San Diego Chargers? Now based in Austin, Texas, the indie rock/electric soul artist has released “Moonbeam.” The single is from his upcoming release, Sincerely, due out Sept. 4, 2020.

“When I was younger, I fell in love with space and science and one of the things that always fascinated me was the moon,” Barksdale stated. “Everyone marvels at the sun, but I never felt that people appreciated the moon. Things are easy to do in the daytime, but things get infinitely harder in the dark of night.”


“Life is the same way, on the good days it’s easy to find support and help from friends, but on the bad days (dark times) when you feel alone, it’s the moon that helps you find your way,” Barksdale continued. “We all have different moonbeams in our lives, the moonbeams that I am referring to in this song are my fans. This is a love letter to my fans who are a huge source of help during my dark times when I want to quit or feel like it isn’t worth it, they are a constant source of inspiration and motivation.”

He first fell in love with the guitar at the end of his 2013 season of football with the Rams.  Though always an avid music fan, it was not until he suffered a tragic loss that, in searching for a way to heal, he discovered a passion for playing guitar. Not too long after, he began playing with some of the best musicians at local blues jams in St. Louis, MO. 

Continuing to hone his musical skills, influenced by the blues, rock and soul genres, Barksdale announced his first project, Butterflies, Rainbows, & Moonbeams, in 2017. About the release, Blues Rock Review raved, “It’s an upbeat world, where funk and blues mingle, and where songs pop into existence, not because they fit within a certain genre, but because they’ll make the listener (and one suspects, the performer) happy.”  Subsequently, he released Electric Soul in 2019, produced by Grammy award-winning Narada Michael-Walden. Barksdale is determined to become a household name in the music world.


Mike Milan Dedic has released a new stand-alone single, “Run.”

“As an instrumental piece, I hope this song gives the listener a carefree outlet of escapism from the everyday rigor of things,” Dedic stated. “With no lyrics, the listener can interpret the song as they want to.”


The single can be purchased HERE.

In addition to Dedic, “Run” features Keyboardist Jeff Vidov and Drummer Brian Latimer.

Dedic, who grew up in the west end of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, started playing guitar at the age of 12 and is completely self-taught. While he said his influences are too numerous to mention, Dedic singled out main influences such as Uli Roth, Randy Rhodes, Eddie Van Halen, Ritchie Blackmore, and Yngwie Malmsteen.

“Run” is a follow-up to 2019s “Shall We Dance Too?”; 2018s “Launch (Re-Launch)”; and 2017s “Escape.” Milan has also released an album, Mike Milan Dedic, in 2014.


Lisbon, Portugal’s Phill Rocker has released “Keep on Riding.”

“It’s about strength, perseverance and hope – never give up,” Rocker stated. “No matter what, you gotta keep on riding. I wrote the song and then gathered the extraordinary cast of musicians!”

“Keep on Riding” also features Richard Fortus – Lead & rhythm guitars; James LoMenzo – Bass & backing vocals; Brian Tichy – Drums; Alessandro Del Vecchio – Piano & Keyboards.

Rocker released his debut album, Hard To Bleed, in 2015. Rocker’s music available at: Amazon; Anghami; Apple Music; MediaNet; Deezer; Instagram/Facebook; GooglePlay/ YouTube; iHeartRadio; ClaroMusica; iTunes; KKBox; Napster; NetEase (Beta); Pandora; Saavn; Spotify; Tidal; Tik Tok/ Resso & CD Baby.


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