Reviewed by Paul Liberatore (July 14, 2016)
"There isn’t a single misstep on "Rivertown," an album that deserves to be heard far beyond the borders of Marin and Sonoma counties." Read more...
Reviewed by Michael Buffalo Smith (June 1, 2011)
"There’s just something magical about the voice of lead singer Nicole Sutton, and Mark McGee once again delivers the goods on guitar." Read more...
Reviewed by Moonmama (November 8, 2010)
"Luvplanet, the Sonoma County, California band with a big heart and even bigger sound reaches out to me with messages of positivity, love and some serious shredding. Their 4th album, Luvolution, makes my heart thump with every song I listen to, making me smile and move my legs to the rhythm like I just can’t sit still." Read more...
Reviewed by RootJam (October 6, 2010)
"Nestled into the golden hills of Northern California, in the quaint Sonoma County town of Penngrove there dwells a band that is inspired by the truth of music and the heart-opening power of creation. Through a collaboration of spirit and sound comes the band Luvplanet." Read more...
Reviewed by North Bay Bohemian
Feature story in "Critic's Choice": (June 16, 2010)
"With Luvplanet's song "Lucky One" getting spins on rock station 97.7-FM the River, their fourth CD Luvolution coming out this fall and upcoming concerts all over the North Bay, the band should soon be a household name." Read more...
Reviewed by Petaluma360.com
Band of the week: (April 19, 2010)
"Singer-songwriters Nicole Sutton and Mark McGee formed Luvplanet in 2001. The Petaluma-based band's third and newest release, "Lucky One," marks the latest chapter of Luvplanet's melodic rock music." Read more...
Reviewed by the Marin Independent Journal
"On their third album, Nicole Sutton and Mark McGee continue to explore the nouveau classic rock style that has made their Petaluma-based band, Luvplanet, an enduring and sparkling presence in the North Bay musical universe." Read more...
Reviewed by St. Croix Music
"the real deal when it comes to classic rock influences mixed with modern day compositional innovations, superb instrumental chops, and cool catchy choruses that hook you like your favorite habit..." Read more!
|Luvplanet voted best band
in Petaluma Magazine 2005!
Reviewed by Talitha Straver from Metal-Experience.com (The Netherlands)
When I drop the name "Mark McGee", people awake with a start. Do I hear the name of Mark McGee and think of Luvplanet? Yes, THE Mark McGee, the sublime guitarist whom we know among other things from Vicious Rumors and whose name graces classics such as 'Digital Dictator' and 'Welcome To The Ball'.
[State Of Mind] consists of 12 excellent rock songs featuring the strong guitar work of guitar virtuoso Mark McGee and the emotional vocals of singer Nicole Sutton. Nicole has a deep, beautiful voice and Mark's powerful guitar work is represented on each track. The album opens with the powerful "Life Goes On", followed by the strong rock song "State of Mind". Next comes the quiet and modest "More Than I Do". Further spectacular tracks include "Luv You Madly", "You Are The One" and "Something's Waiting". During the number "Highway Song", Mark lets it be known that he can sing and his voice blends perfectly with the warm, clear voice of Nicole. It is really a pleasure to hear these two singing together. The album concludes with a finale lasting more than 12 minutes in the form of "Home", a perfect clincher. The band raises the bar for contemporary rock songs to a higher level.
With 'State Of Mind' the band has produced an outstanding and professional pop rock album and needs to take the next step in their career. This means the band is ready to be signed by a larger label and can in this way make the leap over to Europe. It is sometimes only with the support of a record label that a band is able reach to a broader public. Furthermore, the production [of this album] is outstanding and is the responsibility of Mark McGee, who had the vision behind the album's clear and fresh sound.
Luvplanet is one of the strongest bands in the Bay Area right now. What you have is no gimmicks. Great song writing delivered by seasoned musicians who know exactly how to craft a radio ready tune. With their second release, Luvplanet sounds more like a band with Nicole easily handling most of the lead vocals and Tommy and Scott sounding like a rhythm section that has spent a lot of time playing together! As for Mark, he's one of the strongest players I've ever been fortunate enough to record. The man can do it all! Buy this record, you won't be disappointed!
Brad Barth (Audio Voyage Recording)
State of Mind is what happens when talent meets heart! Great Songs, Great CD, Love the cover!
Steve Woolverton (Guitar Farm)
An extremely soulful piece of work. This thing rocks! Definitely one of the best albums to come out of Praire Sun...
Mooka Rennick (Praire Sun Studios)
Rock with acoustic guitars surrounded by the voice of Nicole Sutton. The songs on this CD are altogether first-class, so rock fans should cut a path to Luvplanet.
Stefan Glas from Underground Empire
Reviewed by Michael Buffalo Smith from Gritz Magazine
Mark McGee is a kick ass guitar player. If he weren't, he probably wouldn't [have been] the lead player for Gregg Allman and Friends [from 1995-2004]. Once again he rips some fine leads with his band Luvplanet, featuring the sultry Nicole Sutton on vocals, Tommy Sisco on bass and Scott McKenzie on drums. Very cool songs including "State of Mind," "Luv You Madly" and "Life Goes On". Good music, good band, great guitar.
Reviewed by Edwin van Hoof from Hardrock Haven
Comments: One of rock's finest and most under rated guitar players is perhaps former Vicious Rumors' shredder Mark McGee, whose playing gave classic melodic metal releases like Digital Dictator and the self titled CD a far better and melodic sound than any of the later outputs. Now McGee has been busy since he left behind metal to wander down new paths in life. With his current band Luvplanet, he definitely delivers a fine piece of melodic rock.
Luvplanet's State of Mind is like day and night from Mark's Rumors days. The band is playing mega melodic rock with acoustic guitars, fine harmonies, sugar-coated choirs, and an extraordinary fine tuned voice in the person of Nicole Sutton. McGee however still has the urge to swing the axe opening songs with a screaming solo, or a mega melodic riff. Well balanced and in measured doses, with sheer passion. Passion that is found all over State of Mind!
From mega melodic ear mingling tracks like the pumping title track, the pompous and pulsating "Girl" and the slow moving acoustic rocker "Something's Waiting", all the way to classic arena rockers like "Life Goes On," and leaving no doubt the best moments are those when Sutton and McGee team for vocal duties. Yes indeed: Mark is not only a gifted guitarist, he also is blessed with a nice warm voice that contrasts with Nicole's crystal clear vocal chords. "More Than I Do" is a perfect example of the excellent interaction between the two, as is the highlight "Last Chance," which is absolutely magnificent with its solo guitar opening. The semi-ballad "Gem," sung by Mark is a nice campfire track with acoustic guitars and passion all over it, where "You're the One" bears the mark of slow hand player Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits) with a recognisable guitar loop wandering through. Very soulful, moody and warm. Same goes for the last track on this disc "Home" with nice guitar harmonies and 'sticky' chorus again with great second voice party coming in. A track that could have been on any of the late eighties Heart releases, without labelling Luvplanet as a copy cat.
Nope: The key to success of this band is the vocal interaction between Sutton and McGee. That in combination with the magnificent guitar playing, great harmonies and excellent clear and high pitched solo-ing, over crusty layers of acoustic guitars, is an amazing combination which must attract a lot of fans in the genre.
From the 12 songs presented on this 69:12 (!!) clocking disc, most are simply gorgeous, some are exceptionally great and there a couple you need to listen to several times to grow on you. The only criticism here is the production. Though it fits the music, the band would be doing a lot better with a more pompous touch like Paul Sabu and Beau Hill are best known for. But that's only a wee note...
It would be far too easy to categorize this release as a thirteen in a dozen melodic rocker, because it simply blends to many styles and has too much to offer. The music is melodic, semi acoustic with full shred guitar harmonies all over, and wins in depth with the crystal clear (country rooted?) voice of Nicole Sutton and Mark's warmer and rougher vocals. Bands than come to mind are Boston, RTZ, Venice, Heart, Tone Norum, and more obscure acts like Band Central Station. A bit on the safe side … Classic rock? Contemporary rock? Well, perhaps … It's simply Sweet, Passionate and Luvely music on this CD!
Reviewed by Pablo Boschiazzo from Encrucijada Webzine in Argentina
(Translated by Kevin McGee)
Second album by the American quartet LUVPLANET, a band that is difficult to label. Greatly influenced by melodic rock, almost pop, and related to so-called arena rock. "State of Mind" was produced by [Luvplanet] guitarist Mark McGee (renowned guitarist of the band of the legendary Gregg Allman), who also does vocals on some songs, as well as [plays] mandolin. Accompanying McGee, the sweet voice of the beautiful Nicole Sutton (her face is on the cover) brings back fond memories of that mythical band formed by women by the name of HEART. [Also featured are] Tommy Sisco (bass) and Scott McKenzie (drums - percussion). "State of Mind" is a completely melodic disc, which will surely astonish some of those who used to know a more metallic side of this same Mark, although this boy is a master maker of riffs. All the songs are very pleasing to the ear, thanks to the great sound achieved in the recording process combined with the beautiful voice of Nicole. This all results in a fine, delicate piece of work, but without losing that rocker spirit, especially on songs like "Life Goes On", "State of Mind", "Luv You Madly" and "Girl". On the other hand, the disk also has a strong, almost completely acoustic orientation that reaches its more interesting high points in cuts such as "More Than I Do" (the best one on the disk, with Nicole being brilliant everywhere), the ballad "Last Chance" (with Mark on vocals), "You Are the One", "Highway Song" or the extensive "Home" (with very atmospheric riffs). The blues are also present in "Faded" (with riffs reminiscent of GARY MOORE). Extremely interesting.
Reviewed by Sajk Roks from Lords of Metal webzine
For all those of you who wondered what ever happened to ex-Vicious Rumors guitar player Mark McGee (who was responsible for 'Digital Dictator', in my opinion one of the best metal records of all time), I got the answer for you. Mark is nowadays guitarist (and part-time singer) in the melodic pop/rock band Luvplanet. Yes, he is, the previous metal animal is now busy making melodic pop/rock music.
In 1999 Mark came in contact with female singer Nicole Sutton who, besides the fact that she has got great looks, appeared to have a great voice. This was reason enough for Mark to start Luvplanet in 2001 together with Nicole and they released their debut album in the beginning of 2003. During 2003 Mark and Nicole got the company of Tommy Sisco (also ex-Vicious Rumors) and Scott McKenzie and the four of them recorded this 'State Of Mind'-album in the autumn of 2004.
What I hear on 'State Of Mind' is really to my liking. As mentioned earlier, you don't have to expect very heavy metal riffs, but more laidback songs which really showcases the vocal talent of Nicole. At times she reminds me very much of Ann Wilson (Heart) and also the song material can be placed in the Heart category (during their 'Dreamboat Annie' days). It is not the case that Mark has completely abandoned his metal past, because every song is even made more attractive by a great guitar solo. This combination of great vocals and mighty fine guitar work leads to a number of very enjoyable songs, like for instance 'State Of Mind', 'Girl', 'More Than I Do', 'Life Goes On' and 'Something's Waiting'. If this bands gets the right promotion, I'm convince that they will appeal to a large audience.
This record is for people who can really appreciate good (pop) rock music. In my opinion this is a very good album, which should be able to get record companies interested in the band.
Reviewed by Georg Lögler from CrossOver
(Translated by Kevin McGee)
An absolutely professional self-produced effort by the quartet from the San Francisco area.
Last year we reviewed the three-tracker of the same name and now here is the full CD. To jog your memory: Mark McGee and Tommy Sisco (two former VICIOUS RUMORS members and Tommy also still plays with the RUFFIANS) play in this group, so although most would assume that Luvplanet is another metal band, apart from several hard guitar parts this is not the case.
This disk refuses to be easily categorized--it quite simply offers truly good music. Whether one regards it as pop or rock, or a mixture of both (often supported with violent guitars), is for the listener to decide.
An absolute plus for the band is the pure clear singing of Nicole Sutton—her pleasant, warm voice really adds to the songs. It may surely be a tightrope walk (on the first impression of the sound), to hear pop songs enhanced by the noble riffs of Mark McGee, which I liked so very much on the old VICIOUS RUMORS disks (in particular "Welcome to the Ball" and "Vicious Rumors"). This makes the band, which stands for exceptional musicality, very good. And every word sung by Nicole can be clearly understood, even without a lyric sheet.
“Gem”, a song that starts out gently with vocals by Marks McGee, is initially reminiscent of bands from the 70's, but then, as the song continues to nearly eight minutes long, there appears a fascinating guitar solo. Mark, who also sings another song (the declaration of love "Girl"), has a fantastic voice—although one clearly not needed in the past when one had such an incredible [singer] as Carl Albert in that band [VR].
"You are the One", another optimistic song, features guitar work clearly inspired by DIRE STRAITS. "Something's Waiting" begins dreamy and calm and somehow also has a psychedelic impact, not however in the sense of the old [psychedelic] bands, but rather from the gentle instrumentation with a sort of Flageolet technique; and also here again towards the end there’s a break with a groovy [guitar] solo. A mandolin is employed in "Highway Song" and Mark sings background vocals, switching off with Nicole’s lead [vocals], and again the speed changes. This disk must definitely be heard more than once in order to grasp everything that is going on.
Will people give them this chance? One could say that it might be difficult to convince people overseas, despite the four highly talented individual musicians (Scott McKenzie is on drums), but it somehow seems to click. "Home", placed at the end [of the disk] and, would you believe it, no less than 12:21 minutes long, reiterates and unites all of the band’s strengths. All in all, the disk has a total running time of nearly 70 minutes.
Clean, crystal-clear production (by Mark himself) should be a further argument for the band. The entire package, from the very beautiful cover (a photo of Nicole adorned with the colors of the rainbow) to the lyrics, exudes a positive, life-affirming tendency. This is further emphasized by [the logo] --- a sash with the label Luvplanet spanning the Earth.
Luvplanet comes from United States and recently they sent us their latest self financed album with the title "State of Mind". In this album the band included twelve songs and offer us more than an hour of pure melodic rock music.
The band has female vocals and believe me Nicole did a very good job with the vocals, which are really melodic and they fit perfectly with the whole music arrangement. Definitely the compositions that Luvplanet have written are well developed with some interesting ideas inside them. For sure the fans of melodic rock will find many elements in this album in order to love it.
In conclusion, I can say that I catch myself a lot of times adoring the songs that I hear and I am sure that you will find a lot of things inside the album from Luvplanet. Believe in this band and you will see a new world through the music of Luvplanet.
SCORE out of 7.8/10
Antonis Maglaras from Power Play Records
Sensational female fronted Melodic Rock out of California is what this LUVPLANET is all about. This is one of those superstrong independent releases you love right from the start, because the 12 included songs are filled with lovely melodic vocalwork, catchy hooks, memorable super melodic choruses, terrific classic 80s inspired guitarwork of the THIN LIZZY/WHITESNAKE school, typical old school Californian harmonyvocals and this is all packed in some lovely songs which can easily be compared to HEART, PRIVATE LIFE, WITNESS, CHALLENGE… There’s a split between calmer semi-ballads/semi rockers and a few straight-forward melodic rock, all sounding very impressive and clearly 80s sounding, yet without sounding dated. The main core of the band is NICOLE SUTTON on vocals/acoustic guitar and MARK MCGEE on vocals and guitars, with both writing all the songs on the CD, where Mark produced the whole thing. Mark’s guitarwork is phenomenal and I am not sure but wasn’t he a member of the fantastic AOR band LONDON DRIVE once??? Without a doubt, this LUVPLANET CD is really a superb release, which is a must for any aor/melodic rockfan. Songs like the uptempo rockers "State of mind", "Luv U madly" and "Girl" and the calmer semi-ballad/rockers "More than I do", "Life goes on", "Last chance" and "Something’s waiting" are definitely high class and memorable. The only pity is that some more uptempo rockers would have fit the balance between calmer and rockier songs better, because now obviously the band most of the time is playing calmer semi-acoustic type of rock, which even has clear Westcoast influences in a song like "You are the one" (with a DIRE STRAITS guitar approach), but nevertheless it is a very strong melodic rock/aor ish album. Better check out this sensational CD a.s.a.p. at: www.luvplanet.net
Ouch! Stop that new Luvplanet CD State Of Mind, stop kicking my ass! Don't tempt me with your infectious melodies and tasty guitar licks! For this I must give you 10 out of 5 Diet RockStar Cans.
Last Chance is your hit single. I can't get it out of my frickin' head! The whole thing is just beautiful. It really feels like a cohesive band. Don't get me wrong, I love the first CD but with Tommy and Scotty it just feels right. Those 2 guys just play it right, play it for the song. Nicole's voice is so sweet but not too sweet. Just very heartfelt and straight ahead. Not over-singing at all, a very nice refreshing change from what's out there! Mark's voice really has found a great place too. He's always been awesome, as I can attest to, but on Gem he's just belting it out like he always should be! Dang dude! What can I say about his guitar playing, it just sounds like he's playing what feels right, and oh baby it feels so right. The production is just great too. Lots of fun little things going on in the background but not overproduced in the least. Nice dry tight sound so you can just hear the band. Also, the songs are catchy and feel just right, even with extra cool unpredictable changes n stuff. You Are The One: Oh hi Dire Straights meets The Wonders (That fictional band in That Thing You Do). Faded: Oh hi Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin' especially that total Neal Schon soloing over/under the vocals at the end. TOTALLY AWESOME, I love it! And the lighter is coming out for the mighty epic that is "Home".
Great production!! An album full of great vocals with rich harmonies and as always Mark McGee's beautiful guitar playing blows my mind. Check this album out!!
Karl Derfler - Producer/Engineer (No Doubt, Live, Nelly)
Hats off to great production on this feel-good answer to difficult times in our world. In a time of a seeming American dictatorship that endorses monopolized control of a dollar-dominated society, we need something real to relax with. In a time of ProTools-articulated severed and reconstructed electro-digital Frankenstein music, Luvplanet rouses the village!
This sounds like a band that has played together for years. The rhythm section Stu Hamm & Jeff Campitelli are a perfect
compliment to performances that aren't self-absorbed. Non-pretentious lyrics on a bed of guitar greatness express songs that aren't cliché-cluttered. I think all the greatest guitarists in the world would agree that Mark McGee stands among them as impressive and inspiring!
Nicole - where have you been? You deserve a high chart position, top radio rotation, personal roadies and chauffeur-driven rides to receive your grammies!
Roger Fisher (Heart)
Luvplanet makes a stellar debut on their first cd! Imagine a sound that's reminisent of Mama's and the Papa's (with only one papa), Heart, Dixie Chicks, Crosby Stills and Nash & Journey! Mark's guitar work has the feel and sound of Steve Lukather & Neal Schon! The vocal harmonies are rich and well thought-out and the instrumental passages really compliment the songs. I've known Mark for almost ten years and this is his best recorded and most mature work to date, not to mention his tasteful production on this project! Take a trip to a new universe - a trip to Luvplanet!!!
Jimmy Hall (Jeff Beck, Gregg Allman, Hank Williams Jr.)
I am hooked on the 'Luvplanet' CD right now - a fresh mix of well written material and the musicianship to deliver them. The whole thing is a great listen top to bottom.....
Danny Chauncey (38 Special)
You did a fine job! You're musical abilities are a gift from God!!!
Jack Pearson (Allman Brothers Band, Delbert McClinton)
The Luvplanet CD sounds great!! Good melodies, lyrics, vocals and great playing in a very well crafted CD.
Norton Buffalo (Steve Miller, Bonnie Raitt)