This week I listened to the mp3 player and the computer on shuffle a bit more than usual, so the whole album experience was a bit below average in quantity this week. But, the quality! Some good stuff heard this week beyond the CKUA, wdvx.com, XM, and individual songs heard here and there.
Various Artists- East Nashville Vol. 3: More Music from the Other Side– See review at The Lonesome Road Review; more than an our of OKOM. An excellent compilation of the likes I haven’t appreciated to a similar degree since the first Bloodshot insurgent country comps. More smoother edges certainly, but a much higher slugging percentage.
The John Hartford Stringband- Memories of John– I smile just thinking of John Hartford although I must say I was never a huge fan during his lifetime. I only delved deeply into his music after he died. This collection, which features John on select cuts, swings and sways and cuts across a wide spectrum.
Black Prairie- Feast of the Hunters’ Moon– A month ago, I had never heard The Decemberists. A friend from work lent me The Crane’s Wife and I came under their spell. A bit of clicking around the ‘net one day brought me to a stream of this album and a couple weeks later I purchased it from eMusic. It is a disc that I don’t want to analyze or review, just listen to. So I will. And I love Annalisa Tornfelt’s voice; Bearfoot can’t be the same band without her.
Lene Lovich- The Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver 1980. 02.18- I wish I had been there. I was too young to get in, not to mention too young to travel to Vancouver by Greyhound but I did try to swing it.
SpoonRiver- Kingdom of the Burned Canadian alt-country that sounds like alt-country. It’s 1997 all over again. An album that may make my Polaris Top 5 list.
Canteen Knockout- Broken Down Town The second of two excellent Canadian alt-country albums I heard this week; I review them both this week in my column.
Various Artists- Deal: The Tom T. Hall Project A masterpiece of a tribute. Introduced classic songs to new listeners by perfectly pairing performers to songs. I don’t listen to it very often but it is the only tribute on my mp3 player. R.B. Morris’s take of “Don’t Forget the Coffee, Billy Joe” and Iris Dement’s “I Miss A Lot of Trains” are stellar.
The Tony Rice Unit- Manzanita An album I thought I had listened to enough. Turns out, I hadn’t. Nice to hear again. Duh.
David Mosher- Sycamore Tree I heard David Mosher sing “Bringing Daddy Home” each of his sets during my first Blueberry Bluegrass Festival back in the late 90s. I could only afford the cassette that weekend, but the album was added to eMusic this past week so I bought it again. The album is a nice little listen- terrific picking and singing. And “Bringing Daddy Home” is still my favourite Bill Monroe tribute.
Mary Gauthier- The Foundling Still listening to it.
Various Artists- Preservation I know why I bought this album, but I’m still surprised I did. I hate jazz music. Hate it. Don’t get it, don’t want to. Jazz was ruined for me by a particular jazz snob back in my ROW Entertainment days, even though I did enjoy some Miles Davis and an album recorded by the same co-worker that turned me off the music. Watching the HBO series Treme has made me appreciate the New Orleans sound even more than I previously did, and when I saw this disc with its striking packaging this weekend while on Whyte Ave., I picked it up. Still, I was only looking- until I saw the artists performing with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band on this benefit album- Steve Earle (who appeared in last evening’s episode of Treme, by coincidence), Merle, Dr. John, Pete Seeger, Jason Isbell, and Del McCoury, among others. It is an excellent listen featuring a range of sounds, tempos, and styles. My #2 favourite album of the week. A jazz album. She-yt, as Wendell Pierce’s Bunk Moreland might have said.
Various Artists- Putumayo Presents Latin Party Lots of fun.