ROCK & REPRISE.NET
Few albums come down the pike with the attention to detail Maxine Dunn and Peter Hackett have given Edmund & Leo. They have, in just the right places, stacked voices and instruments to the ceiling to create some of the best arranged rock/pop of today. Dunn's voices are immaculate and Hackett's musicianship top flight. Add to the mix Dunn's exceptional songwriting and you have an album which should be on anyone's end of the year lists. Click here.....
Jeff Finlin recently moved from Fort Collins CO to Nashville. When I questioned the move, he explained that he is a native Nashvillain and was returning home. Just in time. Nashville has been drowning in that formula Modern Country crap for all too long a time. They need someone of Finlin's talent and depth to help right the ship. His latest, My Moby Dick, should help. It is a poetic musician's triumph. The man has talent, yes. Let us hope he has grit as well. It might take some to live amongst the musically dead. While we await the result, here is the review.....
You've heard of The Kings, right? Well, they started out as Whistleking, a typical though more talented version of every bar band we knew back in the seventies. When these guys scored a major label contract, they dropped the whistle and upped their game. Hardly no one in Canada does not know This Beat Goes On/Switchin' to Glide, the Canucks' version of every song released by REO and Journey in one nice package. They just incovered an old live tape from their Whistleking days and cleaned it up. This is the seventies in a nutshell. Live and honkin'. Like that? Well, read this.....
I don't know what these guys ate for breakfast, but it sounds like a heapin' helping of Moody Blues with a side of Pink Floyd. They play a softer, floating style of rock which can easily be compared to folk/psych bands such as The Winterpills, but they still pull that harder edge out for a run here and there. The music is melodious and the harmonies are abundant. This is, indeed, a decidedly refreshing step not into but just short of space. Nicely done, boys. Read more here.....
Cassie Taylor is the bass playin', blues singin' daughter of Otis Taylor, if you didn't know, but you couldn't tell it from this album. Blues influenced it may be, but it is not blues. It leans more to R&B and soul than anything and it's a beauty. Taylor has just the right voice to pull of a number of styles and she does just that here. Very well produced and smo-o-oth. The album is worth it for the backing band alone, but Cassie does just fine, thank you. Her voice puts it over the top, for sure. Read more.....
A little pickin', a little grinnin' and one whole lot of jammin' makes Innocent Man the odds-on favorite band to break out of Idaho. Not since Notary Sojac (and before that, the Idaho Spud--- it's a candy bar, sports fans)--- has a Boise band made as big an impact. They have paid (and are still paying) their dues, a big chunk of them taken care of by their brand new release, Home Grown, an intriguing and sometimes downright rollicking collection of rock styles which have made these guys hometown favorites. You think all that that state has is the Broncos and potatoes? Think again. Read on.....
You might want to call this blues like so many people do, but the music Teresa James & The Rhythm Tramps play is far beyond that. They reach out for anything which makes the music better, it seems, and they reached for R&B, soul and rock in great abundance on Come On Home. You know who else does that so well? Bonnie Raitt. While I don't want to say that they are sound-alikes, I can't help but draw certain comparisons. The voice. The feel. The grooves. Yes, most definitely the grooves. If you want to know more, click here.....
WHAT I DO
I listen. I write. But I do not listen to everything (no one can) nor do I write about everything. I write about the music which speaks to me and the artists I find worthy. I search for the hidden gems and lost treasure. Like Ralph J. Gleason, famed columnist for early Rolling Stone and the San Francisco Chronicle, I have neither the time nor inclination to write about things I do not like or understand, so you won't find negative reviews or comments here. The reviews and articles printed in these pages are reviews and articles I wanted to write in order to help fans find good music and artists find new fans. So don't read these pages expecting “fair and balanced”. Fox is already doing that. Like hell.
Eric Lichter, for those not in the know, is the drummer for the present day Green Pajamas, but he is so much more. He has dabbled with songwriting here and there, most recently on the Pajamas' Death By Misadventure, but dives in head first on ELKS. Ten beautifully written and performed songs in the Pop Rock vein. Add Ken Stringfellows instrumental and production expertise and you have a winner. When you finish reading the review, click on the link and experience a little ELKS in Paris for yourself, just to see if I'm right. Read more.....
JIM OF SEATTLE
Who the hell is this Jim of Seattle people are talking about and how the hell did he stay under the radar so goddamned long? That's the question you'll be asking yourself after hearing the opus that is We Are All Famous. Jim is all over the map style-wise, telling a story of epic proportions, or so it seems. No one has been able to lock down exactly what story it is, but there has to be one there somewhere. Musically, it is a study in obsessive compulsive disorder--- a time and place for every note and beat. Definitely for the musically adventurous. Good for others as well. Here's the review.....
Someone told me Ken Stringfellow now lives in Paris but he will always be one of those two guys from Bellingham to me because that's where he and Jon Auer were before they traveled south to Seattle to form The Posies. Stringfellow has crossed a number of bridges since then and has become a producer/engineer/sideman/genius of stature. It seems to me that it all was leading to Danzig in the Moonlight and probably beyond. It is an album of stunning proportions, drawing from any and all of Ken's lessons over the years. And it isn't, like any of The Posies' albums, a sit down and “get it” project. To get this one, you have to listen closely (but it's well worth it). After hearing this, I'm convinced Stringfellow will be “danzig” for years to come. Here's my take.....
SWEET TALK RADIO
Kathrin Shorr and Tim Burlingame are not strangers to a fairly large audience, even if the audience doesn't know it. They had a handful of songs placed in episodes of Sci-Fi Channel's Haven and for good reason. Not only were they great songs, they fit the scenes in which they were used to a T. They are only two, but when they record, they are an orchestra. Beautiful stuff. You can find out yourself by reading this and following the links.
I make the comment about Harry Partch in jest, but only partially in jest, for Knitting By Twilight's Orsi has more than a little of Partch's adventuresome spirit when it comes to recording. With Orsi, you get the feeling that the music is not a goal but an adventure and he obviously enjoys that adventure to the fullest with his latest release, A Room For the Night. It is filled with ambient sounds, percussive tap dances and just enough cohesiveness to hold it together. Not for the uninitiated or anyone immersed in the Top Forty and nothing else. Perfect, though, for serious musicians. Read more.....
Green Monkey's Tom Dyer announces this month's streaming album as The Colorplates' Agony and Ecstasy. It started long ago in a distant land, according to head monkey and The Colorplates' guitarist/vocalist Tom Dyer. See what you get to do when you own the label? Set yourself for some creative musickin'. Click on the link to stop by for a listen to some excellent PNW rock and remember to check with Green Monkey every month for something worth hearing and maybe even worth buying...
They're young and brash and having the time of their lives and yet too few have heard them or have heard of them and it's time to change that. You need to get to know them. And you need to get to know their music. They're out of Lake Charles, Louisiana and perform as two bands, Research Turtles and The Flamethrowers (the former for originals, the latter for covers) and have developed a hell of a following in The South. Here's your chance to find out what makes their music special and, more importantly, what makes them tick. Posted in six parts and not all are done, but be patient and you will be rewarded. Start here.....
There are only a handful of musicians who have been as close to the musical brass ring as has Wayne Berry. Several times. One recorded and unreleased album each for both Capitol Records and RCA and a handful of unreleased demos proves it. Somehow, Berry had this unwillingness to play the major label game and ended up cast aside--- or walking away, according to him. His story is a fascinating look at how the labels and the business functioned back in the seventies. Pretty much in his own words.....
The story of Steve Young had to be written and it looked like it wasn't, so here it is, as complete a history of Young's travels and travails through the music business, mostly in his own words. This exceptional musician has fought and scrapped his way through over four decades, guitar in hand and music in heart. While lesser talents went on to fame and fortune, Young bounced from town to town and sometimes barstool to barstool only to find himself tossed aside by a music industry intent upon its own destruction. If you want to know what it was like trying to break through in 1960's Los Angeles or 1970's Nashville, Young pulls no punches. And he's still plugging away. Read this, and if he's ever playing within driving distance, hop in the car and treat yourself to something very special.....
I'm old. I don't feel old, I just am, but when I find an old album I have searched for over the years, I feel like a kid at Christnas, and when I find an artist I have supported over the years and get a chance to talk, it is way beyond that. Not long ago, I found Nick Holmes through a now mutual friend, Brian Cullman, and got him to explain where he has been since the release of the only solo album of which I was aware, Soulful Crooner, in 1973. Not only was it a fascinating story, I found that he had albums released of which I was unaware--- solid albums, really good albums. Albums which I would qualify as genuine Nick Holmes, which to me equals great. You want to read about The Brecker Brothers? Tony Levin? Donald McDonald? Hugh McCracken? A whole string of incredible New York players who would become famous on the jazz scene shortly after Soulful Crooner was released? Here's your chance. I give you Nick Holmes, pretty much in his own words. Read this. As always, it isn't about the writing but about the music.
TOM MANK & SERA SMOLEN
Mank & Smolen are as rootsy as you can get. Mank has this sensitivity toward acoustic folk and blues which reminds me of the Golden Era of Modern Folk (think Tom Rush or Dave Van Ronk) and Smolen smooths the edges with some of the classiest cello around. It shouldn't take you long to get what they're doing when you hear them, but you might just want to read this first. It has been a long trip for them, and the journey has just begun.