As my 6-month, free subscription to Sirius is soon expiring, I’ve been listening to it a little more this week than the previous few; need to get my fill while I can. I listened to only a couple CDs in the truck this week, but made up for it with pulling out the headphones on the home office-based stereo. Next to no radio listening. Quite a bit of variety this week; some for writing purposes, mostly just for enjoyment.
The Farewell Drifters- Yellow Tag Monday Finally get around to this one in the paper this coming week. Much like The Infamous Stringdusters, but- to my ears- with more of a pop foundation. An excellent album, in my opinion.
Junior Sisk and Ramblers Choice- Heartache and Dreams Not as immediately impressive as their 2008 release, but more than enjoyable.
Various Artists- Have You Heard- Spring ’09 A Starbucks sampler loaned to me by a friend from work; I think she lent me this same disc last year. Earnest, coffeehouse folk-pop. M. Ward’s “Jailbird” grabbed me this time, as did Fink. Reminds me to pull that Bell X1 disc off the shelf, and Vetiver’s Tight Knit. Most of it is a little too polished for my tastes, but I made it through. Solid drumming throughout.
Perhapst- Perhapst With a name one has to be intrigued by, this one had been sitting on my desk at work for awhile and I finally brought it home for a listen. A good album for a warm Sunday afternoon. I hear Decemberists connections.
Miranda Lambert- Revolution From the library. I’ve been trying to listen to a bit more commercial country because I’ve totally drifted from the field. This one wasn’t as interesting to me as Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, but it does have a Fred song, so… For that reason only, of marginal interest; just not enough memorable material.
Will White- Rise Above It has been a great few months for Alberta roots music, with outstanding releases from Ruth Purves Smith and Donna Durand. Add Will White to the list. Formerly of (sometimes still with?) Widowmaker, White’s debut effort sparkles with Byron Myhre’s fiddling. White’s songs are strong and focused- he uses more words than some might, creating narratives that are fully developed. I’ll continue to spend time with this album.
Dailey & Vincent- Sing the Statler Brothers I enjoyed this one more this time through than last.
Various Artists- Deadicated I picked up this tribute album for $6 a couple weeks back. I fell into the Grateful Dead through cover versions of their songs, including the Dwight Yoakam track contained herein- things like bluegrass renditions of “Friend of the Devil” and “Dire Wolf,” and David Grisman’s collaborations with Garcia. Slowly I overcame my baseless prejudice against the band and bought Workingman’s Dead, but haven’t ventured too far into their catalogue. Some nice stuff on this one.
Woodbend- Hank’s Old Mandolin An Edmonton-based bluegrass band I’m considering for a show this winter.
Fred Eaglesmith- Cha Cha Cha Still enjoying it, but not sure if I understand all of it.
The Besnard Lakes Are the Dark Horse Much like Cha Cha Cha; I’m not sure if I get it.
Kim Wilde- Kim Wilde The 80s were very, very good to me. Given a test last week, I would have been able to name three songs off of here- “Kids in American,” “Chequered Love,” and “26580.” Listening this week, I could sing-along to almost every song, including “Water of Glass,” which makes no sense as far as I can tell.
Kim Wilde- Select Even better than the first. “View From a Bridge” reminds me of a) Smash Hits, a glossy Brit-pop magazine; b) paying too much for import 12” singles; and c) how good Wilde was when she was at the top of her game. I’ll admit, some of her stuff is near unlistenable but her first three or four albums- for what they are- are stellar.
David Broza- Night Dawn: The Unpublished Poetry of Townes Van Zandt I purchased this one after reading about it in, I think, Paste. Only once through so far, but I’m liking it. It is nice to hear someone interpret unfamiliar Townes’ material. I don’t need to hear “If I Needed You” or “Pancho and Lefty” reinterpreted ever again- sorry, Steve. I do want to hear these pieces again.
Molly Hatchet- Flirtin’ with Disaster Sometimes, I can’t explain myself to myself.
Oliver Schroer & The Stewed Tomatoes- Freedom Road A beautiful package. Lovely music, pushing at the boundaries of roots music. I review it this Friday in the paper.
Mark Chesnutt- Outlaw Faded Nashville hitmakers don’t fade away, they just live in the past. In Chesnutt’s case, this is not a criticism. He might as well just done Waylon songs, as 67% of these cuts come from Jennings, either primarily or secondarily. At times, Chesnutt sounds so much like Waylon, you start to doubt your ears. Featured on one track is Amber Digby, whom I hadn’t noticed the first listens through, but her name popped at me this time as I heard a track from her collaboration with Justin Trevino this week on either Sirius 63 or the Willie channel. I downloaded that album last night.
Amber Digby & Justin Trevino- Keeping Up Appearances The way country was for a while in the late-sixties to mid-seventies. Somewhat overwrought ballads of couples in trouble- love, denial, accusation, and acceptance. I’ve never listened to Trevino before, and before this week I had never heard of Digby, so there was ‘risk’ in downloading this one from eMusic; no regrets. It is a wonderful album of what country once was and – in rare cases- still is.
Ian Gomm and Jeb Loy Nichols- Only Time Will Tell When I saw this one on eMusic, my heart pitter-pattered just a little. While I only have a passing listening acquaintance with Nichols, it was a favourable experience listening to Now Then a few years back. On the other hand, Ian Gomm is a favourite from way back; I’ve been listening to him for nearly thirty years. Only Time Will Tell, after only a single listen, is going to be a new fave. It is a Nick Lowe sounding album. I understand it has been out for a while, but it was just added to eMusic. I’ll spend more time with it. I’m not sure how anyone could ever complain about the selection on eMusic; I found three new albums to download within minutes of my downloads refreshing.
Tift Merritt- See You On the Moon Only two songs caught my attention, “Mixtape” and a cover of “Danny’s Song,” a song that wasn’t crying out to me for an update. Both are quite appealing and I’ll need to spend much more time with this album; first impression- I’m underwhelmed, but I was a bit distracted while listening. I didn’t notice the cover of “Live Till You Die” and will give that a spin tonight. Reminds me that I need to get her Austin City Limits DVD back from a friend; that one, I liked.
Jennie Arnau- Chasing Giants I wrote a review for Lonesome Road Review; not sure if Aaron will use it. It isn’t favourable. [Update: It is posted here: http://lonesomeroadreview.wordpress.com/]
Doug and the Slugs- Slugcology 101 One of the finest pop bands to get mixed up in the Canadian new wave; they never belonged there, but the songs hold up just fine.
Jack Williams- Live and In Good Company A favourite writer, singer, and songwriter. I don’t hear him often enough.
Jamey Johnson- That Lonesome Song I’m about two years late on this one. Read all the press, blah, blah, blah. Heard a song hear and there. Really listened to “Mowin’ Down the Roses” one day last week. I downloaded this the next day.
Madness- Total Madness: The Very Best of… In my 300-disc player, this album sits in position 260. Previous to this are five empty slots I use for ‘non-permanent’ jukebox listens. This week, after my review listening was done, this one popped on- I normally shut it off a song or two in, but this time- as I was lazing on the couch wearing headphones, I was much too comfortable to get up. A compact summation of the bands latter day (series one) hits, much more concise than the rambling, three-disc The Business which I’ve only listened to all the way through once. There is goes again…just finished playing the Starbucks album all the way through, and there’s “Our House” starting up. Once in a week is enough, I do believe.
Johnny Cash- Unearthed Disc 5 Which sits in slot 261.