Ribbon of Highway Endless Skyway: The Woody Guthrie Tribute

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Jul 302008

This is the companion CD for the Wooddy Guthrie Tribute Tour performed live at the Newport Folk Festival and various other stops along the way. Guthries songs are performed by Eliza Gilkyson, Slaid Cleaves, Joel Rafael, Jimmy LaFave, Kevin Welch, Sara Lee Guthrie and others. An educational and enjoyable CD for any Woody Guthrie fan.

Moses by Patrick Bloom

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Jul 302008

Patrick Bloom’s CD, Moses nails that Americana sound with poignant lyrics, wide open spaces guitar work, and foot tapping rhythms. With the help of producer Bo Ramsey, guitarist Eric Straumanis, and pianist David Zolo, this CD is a text book example of feel good music. Highlights for me include “Queen of Oklahoma,” “Heaven On The Radio,” and “Jerusalem.”

Lin McEwan

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Jul 302008

God I’m such a sucker for strong women singing old-school soul music and lin McEwan delivers on her self-titled CD with songs like the Rand Newman classic “You Can Leave Your Hat On.” Other highlights for me include “Over,” and “Can’t Get Near You.”

She Ain’t Me by Carrie Rodriguez

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Jul 302008

On her latest CD, She Ain’t Me, Carrie Rodriguez creates lush dramatic soundscapes full of cosmic rhythms, ethereal melodies, and plenty of twang both in her voice and in the banjos and fiddles, to keep it the music grounded. I’m reminded of some of Roseanne Cash’s work of Emmy Lou Harris’ work. but what stands out in Carrie Rodriguez music is a feminine, sexy voice that commands attention. Highlights for me are “Infinite Night,” “She Ain’t Me,” “El Salvador,” and “El Dorado.”

Live At Custer Street by The Kent McDaniels Band

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Jul 302008

Live At Custer Street is the latest incarnation of the Kent McDaniels musical exploration and this time he delves into blues numbers of all sorts. He covers old school blues like “Summertime” and does a bang up cover of “Stormy Monday” and “Boom Boom Boom.” He also does some more big stage Chicago style blues rock. My favorites are “Jimmy Stu,” “Boom Boom Boom,” “Stormy Monday,” and “On Your Street Someday.”

Nature Of The Blues by Eric Hisaw

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Jul 292008

On his latest release, Nature of The Blues, Eric Hisaw oozes a world-worn blues-rock vibe with direct, authentic, Joe Sixpack lyrics in the same vein as Todd Snider and Hayes Carl. Like the best blues music, the songs recharge you and give you the soul and backbone to get through your day. Lots of good tracks on this one, but my favorites are “Cheap Living,” “Nature of the Blues,” and “Jake.”

Eccentric Soul: The Tragar and Note Labels

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Jul 262008

The Numero Group continues its “Eccentric Soul” series of compilation CDs featuring the lost and obscure soul music from the 60s and 70s from record labels that have faded away. It’s always a joy to hear the variety of artists on these releases and it make you want to relive the 60’s and 70’s all oer again. This release features soul music from two Georgia based labels, Tragar and Note. Highlights for me include:

Down In The Country / Tee Fletcher I’ll Be There / Franciene Thomas What Can The Matter Be / Tokay Lewis
Love Is So Mean / Richard Cook
Somebody Got’A Help Me / Richard Cook
Strange Feeling / Nathan Wilkes
Talk Is Cheap / Sandy Gaye
That’s How Much I Love You / Eula Cooper

Arizona Hotel by The Hacienda Brothers

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Jul 262008

The Hacienda Brothers fronted by Chris Gaffney and Dave Gonzales and produced be legendary soul man Dan Penn named and claimed the “Western Soul” sound for themselves and got rave reviews and a huge following in a very short time. The Hacienda Brother’s ride to stardom was cut tragically short by the death of Chrs Gaffney from liver cancer. Arizona Hotel is the bands, last CD before Gaffney’s death, making the opening track “A Lot Of Days Are Gone” a bittersweet tribute to all that could have been and all that was for the band. The rest of the CD sticks to the western soul sound they have honed over the years and my favorites are “A Lot of Days Are Gone,” “Use To The Pain,” “Soul Mountain,” “When You’re Tired Of Breaking Other Hearts,” and “Big Town City.”

Jul 262008

The Woodbox Gang has reissued their semi-classic signature CD, Drunk As Dragons with a bunch of new songs which seal their fate as new contenders in the “New Grass” field. Think part Split Lip Rayfield and part Southern Culture On The Skids and you get a pretty good idea of what they are all about. Favorit tracks are “Drunk as Dragons,” “Trains Back To Texas,” and “Tough Guy Blues.”

Can You Deal With It? by Andre Williams and the New Orleans Hellhounds

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Jul 262008

On his CD, Can You Deal With It?, Chicago bluesman Andre Williams teams up with one of the sketchiest bar bands around, the New Orleans Hellhounds to crank out the best punk-blues I’ve heard in a good long while. In the spirit of The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Andre and the Hellhounds take some basic blues riffs, tear them up, stomp on them, and throw them across the room and the stitch together what’s left into a cathartic mess of blues. And sometimes that’s exactly what you need to hear. Highlight tracks for me include “Can You Deal With It?,” “Never Had A Problem,” “Rosalie,” and “If It Wasn’t For You.”