Walkin’ Talkin’ Dancin’ Singin’- June 28, 2010

This week, my six-month Sirius freebie expired. Now that that distraction is gone- as much as I enjoyed listening to Chris Jones, Elizabeth Cook, Mojo, and even Kasey Kasem on Saturdays, I don’t really need the service; I know I am my own best dj- So, I can concentrate on whole-album listening a bit more. With the end of the school year approaching, my disc listening will likely increase. For this week, here is what crossed my path:

The album I most enjoyed this week.

Jason & the Scorchers- Halcyon Times The first Scorchers release in more than a decade, and for some reason it isn’t readily available on disc in Canada. After waiting for a couple months, I finally downloaded the album. I’ve listened to it twice so far, and am really enjoying it. Sounds like Jason and Warner haven’t missed a beat. It will become a favourite.

Marty Raybon- At His Best

Ian Hunter- Welcome to the Club Not as vital as it was in 1980, but a heck of a live album.

Oliver Schroer- Hymns and Hers and Camino Inspired by the recent release of Freedom Row, I started delving further into the Schroer catalogue. Hymns and Hers was a pleasant listen, but- for me- hardly essential. Camino is inspiring. While walking the Camino de Santiago through France and Spain, Schroer recorded himself playing his violin in churches along the route. The field recordings of birds, footsteps, and cowbells are as important to the recording as are the songs. The environments, the chambers, provide a depth to the instrumentals. This is where fiddle meets violin along a path carved by millions of footsteps over eleven hundred years. Special.

Mark Erelli- The Memorial Hall Recordings Likely my favourite folk singer that I haven’t seen live.

Marty Stuart- The Pilgrim Brought to mind by the new Dierks Bentley album, this concept album reminds one of how good Marty Stuart can be when commercial constraints are removed. Stands up to the Johnny Cash theme-albums that inspired it.

Kim Wilde- Kim Wilde

The Blue Shadows- On the Floor of Heaven To be reviewed in the paper this Friday. A wonderful reissue of an album everyone who loves roots rock should own.

Summertown Road- Summertown Road An uneven bluegrass recording that I’m reviewing for The Lonesome Road Review. Uneven is perhaps the wrong word- more like underwhelming. It is a fine disc, just not spectacular.

Andre Williams- That’s All I Need More listening needed.

Dierks Bentley- Up on the Ridge A wonderful collection of acoustiblue music. While it will sound entirely different, I was moved to download the Punch Brothers’ album of a couple years back.

Peter Case- Peter Case This one has spent too much time on the shelf.

Swamp Dogg- Total Destruction of Your Mind A find courtesy of an Oxford American music issue of a few years back. Memorable, if nothing else.

Phil Seymour- Phil Seymour While playing around on the ‘Net this week, I came across mention of this album and was inspired to pull it off the record shelf in the basement. I slapped it on the turntable, put on the headphones and was in a blissful power pop cloud for about 35-minutes. Side One- with “Precious to Me,” “I Found A Love,” “Love You So Much,” “Baby It’s You,” and “Let Her Dance” rivals The Cars’ debut album as the best first side in a recording career; of course, Seymour had done several projects with Twilley before this, so maybe it doesn’t count. Throw in “We Don’t Get Along” and it is a masterpiece.

Kevin Welch- A Patch of Blue Sky He can sing anything. A great voice. Welch has asked these questions before, has sung these same songs in other ways. Doesn’t matter; when someone sounds this good, captures himself this well with lyrics, it is to be admired.

The Feelies- The Good Earth The vocals are mixed so low, I found it impossible to sustain interest in any of the words. If this were an instrumental album I would have enjoyed it much more.

David Newberry- When We Learn the Things We Need to Learn A nice little listen.

Joe Strummer & the Mescalaroes- Rock Art and the X-Ray Style Only discovered last year. I love this one.

Larry Jon Wilson- New Beginnings and Let Me Sing My Song To You His songs may not have the depth of Townes’, but I enjoy his singing and guitar playing very much. I’ve never been near the “Ohoopee River Bottomland,” but Wilson makes me feel a connection to his world. I imagine I’ll listen again to his 2009 release this coming week. I hope he had a good life; never read too much about him. When I think of Eaglesmith, the term ‘cult artist’- so popular in the 70s and 80s- sometimes seem appropriate. With Wilson, it seems like a slight; this is a singer that should have been better compensated for his art.

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