Thursday, 24 Jul 2014

CD Reviews

Ginger Leigh - Amazing

ginger2Ginger Leigh

Amazing

Independent

 

 

 

 

Amazing is a fitting title for this album. Her latest release amounts to a wonderful, sensuous journey across 13 tracks that reveal a generous soul that has known levels of both dizzying highs and bone weary lows in emotional relationships and she is more than capable of putting them in a song. There are very few vocalists on the scene today that can match her power or imagination when she interprets a song.
In a world that was fair, she would already have Grammys and other music awards all over her shelves but, as we all know, the world is not a fair place. Maybe this album will change that. One thing that stands out on this album is the variety of styles that are incorporated in it. Power ballads, punchy, jazz influenced gems, there’s even one in Italian, she really covers a lot of territory on this one.
Production on the album is near perfect, everything is matched with her vocals and surprises linger around every corner. She works so well with percussionists with such critical timing and ability that she can stair step into a crescendo and make it sound effortless, no easy feat. With a range like hers, it allows her to genre-bend at will and it happens a lot in this album. She’s not locked in by a specific style nor limited in her ability to cross in and out of vocal spectrum allowing her to push boundaries out of her way.
And then there’s the writing, most of my favorite songs on this album are written by her, “Your Place”, “Better Than Well”, ”Driver’s Seat”, “My Dear”, “Jetstream”, just to name a few and all are keepers. She is definitely a triple threat, singer, writer and an excellent producer. She just flat kills. That’s all there is to it.
And finally, I want to mention the musicians and singers on this release because they definitely deserve kudos for the contributions they made, you can tell by listening that there was a lot of work and love put into this project, it shows.
John Pointer (Guitars/Vocals) Dave Madden (Keyboards) Nina Singh(Drums) Jeff Botta (Bass) Frank Favacho(Percussion) Wendy Colonna(Backing Vocals) Stewart Cochran(Keys) Jake Langely(Lead Guitar).
For more info on Ginger Leigh, check out www.gleigh.com.

 

Guy Clark - My Favorite Picture Of You

GuyGuy Clark 

My Favorite Picture Of You

Dualtone Records

 

 

Guy Clark's Age Old Laments

How much have we gained in this digital age of ours? We may have attained efficiency amongst modern gigabites and megapixels, but Guy Clark reminds us of the wholesome richness that can be found without the help of Photoshop or Autotune.

The country vet’s latest album, My Favorite Picture of You is all analog. The title track is comprised of nothing more than his weathered voice, guitar strums that creak like an arthritic knee, and motherly warm backup vocals— no flashy flourishes or studio trickery. Its lyrics are equally lean, with lines that describe “a faded polaroid” of his wife Susanna Clark—a fitting tribute, since this is the first album he has released since her death last year.

It may sound like laments for yesteryear, at least at first. But repeated listens reveal that Clark is singing about something far deeper than nostalgia. “Hell Bent on a Heartache,” quickly sways from past regrets to current missteps, as Clark sings: “Every time I turn around I make the same mistake… hell bent on a heartache.” That’s when the listener can clearly realize Clark is not only singing about getting old, but also about the parts of us that refuse to grow up at all. It’s a clever, gorgeously universal song. But its lyrics are cast in the kind of broad strokes that pale when compared to the intimately detailed (and often offbeat) couplets that have already been penned by Clark, and fellow alt-country vets like Townes Van Zandt, in the past.

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Shawn Nelson And the Good Buds - Enough

shawnnelsonalbum

 

Shawn Nelson And The Good Buds

Enough

Independent

 

 

The first thing to get my attention on this album was the same thing that got my attention on the last album from Shawn Nelson, the writing. The guy can very subtly take a verse, make you listen and before you know it, you have been poked in the eye by remarkable words that make you remember what they were intended to say. They used to call this “protest music” and at a time when there’s a similarity to the mood of the country back then, Nelson nails it on this album.

As a person who loves the honest truth and someone who can tell it in a song, I love this album. There’s no beating around the bush wondering what it is Nelson is trying to say. The very deep, critical meaning of his work is reflected in his music and it’s a culmination of a lot of hard work and thought. No bubble gum lyrics here. And to top off the importance of this album, it hasn't been overpowered by production that would rob the punch or poignancy of the material. It’s just enough to push the message along and keep it on top, though there is certainly some fine arrangements from all the musicians involved. Nothing is wasted on this CD and the sincere approach to the project is reflected in the efforts of everyone involved in it.
Though it’s not a lengthy album (4songs) it’s like a perfect music novella, sparse, meaningful, and a joy to listen to. This is music from an artist that cares, reflects, thinks and lives what’s on his mind. The songs are important, written from the soul and shared with you on a very personal level. “Enough”, “Come What May”, “One Day”, and “Yea Ya Right,” tough stuff and definitely worth the listen.
For more info on Shawn Nelson and the Good Buds, check out http://shawnnelsonmusic.com/

Woody's Rampage - On The Rays Of The Sun

woodysrampageWoody's Rampage

On The Rays Of The Sun

Independent

 

 

“The old lions shivered at the young lion’s roar for they knew the throne would soon pass.”

For the music business to survive there has to be a good pool of talent to replace the ones that are the rage of today and one of the chief complaints of many people is that young talent that is truly original and not a product of the idol and karaoke competitions is hard to find.  And on the musician side of things, artists that can really play their instrument and not be a total automaton that spits out copy cat riffs and runs like a parrot are fairly rare as well.

That’s why Ryan Hall and Woody’s Rampage is such a revelation. Out of Denton Texas, Hall is a relatively young man (19) who at first glance might fool you with the clean cut, all-American look but who is also capable of picking up his guitar and sawing your face completely off with licks that come screaming out of his amp like Tasmanian death. And it’s not just technically perfect; he also has the “feel” of a musician that has played much longer than he has. If it fits, he plays it and if it doesn’t, it’s gone.

Therein lies the secret, along with a scary songwriting and vocal ability that can mainly be captured with one word: fearless.  There’s not a subject that can’t be covered or a scale that can’t be reached to pull it all out into the open and make it fly. With a rhythm section that moves along like a twelve ton steamroller, the songs are delivered with an energumen-like energy and pace that keep your attention through the whole album.

Rock with a blues infusion and enough soul to flatten out a railroad track, Hall, along with fellow musicians Alex Browne on Bass and Dave Whitlock on drums have definitely put together a fine collection of original material.

“The World Went Away”, “New Order of the Digital Dawn”, “Ashamed”, “Circuitland”, “Blackboard” just to name a few. And there’s even one about the government that’s sure to attract a black helicopter or two. Great stuff.

For more info on Woody’s Rampage, check out https://www.facebook.com/#!/woodys.rampage and to listen or purchase music, go to http://www.amazon.com/On-Rays-Sun-Explicit/dp/B00BUL1Z02/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1365793507&sr=8-2&keywords=woody%27s+rampage

Emily Wolfe - Director's Notes

emilywolfeEmily Wolfe

Director's Notes

Independent

 

I don’t do as many reviews as I did at one time, mainly because I have decided to only review albums that impress me or move me in some way so that I’m motivated to do a review on it in the first place. With that in mind, here is a review on the latest release from Emily Wolfe.

Artists that enter into the world of writing and recording their songs in today’s atmosphere are faced with a daunting challenge. What can you do or say that hasn’t already been done or said in a way that separates you from the crowd and draws people to your material? While it is a major challenge, it can still be done and has been done on this album. “Director’s Notes” is filled with numerous gems that get your attention and hold it through the entire album.

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