This week’s listening-
Reckless Kelly- Somewhere in Time by Pinto Bennett Great songs with details that establish places and characters vividly; if they were in a book, they’d leap off the page. “Thelma,” sung by Pinto, drifts into Townes territory. Most of the songs have an edge, either in instrumentation or tone- songs of life’s other side, as they say. You know you’re somewhere special when characters quote “Bob Dylan and Geronimo” and where “the pool hall was the Moulin Rouge.” When someone cares “enough to lie,” you know you’re listening to real country music; doesn’t matter if it sounds like rock ‘n’ roll! I’ve been listening to bits and pieces of this album for about a month, but only gave it a true listen this weekend. Worth paying money for, no doubt. Good packaging.
Nora Jane Struthers- Nora Jane Struthers One of those albums that just appears in the mailbox. Very enjoyable. Bluegrass undertones with some western swing and pioneer jazz tossed in for colouring. Enjoyable voice and strong songs.
Kim Beggs- Blue Bones I’m not sure who I had Kim confused with, but I wasn’t expecting much when this one hit the player. In fairness, I’m the guy who- for about two seasons- thought Ryan Kessler and Phil Kessel were brothers! Obviously, I was mistaken and someone else had left a bitter taste in my ears, because it sure couldn’t have been this sweet voiced gal from the Yukon. She has more natural hillbilly twang in her voice than most of the singers on the country charts. I like how she has structured this collection. The original songs blast out of the gate, establishing her voice and perspective. It is only midway that she begins sprinkling in a few covers- Dylan’s “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight” being just the first of four. There is a spry loneliness filling Beggs’ songs, and this is appealing as it cuts to the bitterness that produces the finest art. This one will get many more listening.
The Golden Dogs- Coat of Arms In truth I only listened to the first side (yes, the disc is divided into Side A and B) before having to set it (temporarily) aside. But I liked what I heard. Some tracks have a Gaslight Anthem feel to them, with the ones sung by Jessica Grassia serving as foils. The cover art is attractive, and the package had some thought put into it. I’ll be back.
James Hand- Shadow on the Ground and The Truth Will Set You Free! I was inspired to search out these ones this weekend when I heard “Just an Old Man with an Old Song” on the radio Saturday morning. Shadows on the Ground isn’t nearly as powerful as the first album was; I just don’t believe the material is as strong. Still, The Truth Will Set You Free! Is a stone classic that all country fans should hear.
The Sadies- Darker Circles Still trying to write about this one; I have two pages of notes that aren’t hanging together. I really like it though.
Amelia Curran- Hunter, Hunter
Otis Gibbs- 2010 February 19 Downloaded from the Live Archive. I heard one of his songs- “Where Only the Graves Are Real” on Sirius a couple weeks back and made a note of it. I’ll buy one of his albums soon. He has the type of voice that communicates- accurately or not- that he has lived the songs and their emotions.
Larry Jon Wilson- Larry Jon Wilson His voice had smoothed out a bit- where as his earlier albums were drenched in the southern experience- whatever that is- by the time these recordings were made in 2007 his voice had mellowed. The ability to own a song remained.
Greg Brown- Dream City: Essential Recordings Vol. 2, 1997-2006 I never get tired of hearing his voice. Like Wilson and Gibbs, the voice conveys the honesty of experience.
The Light of East Ensemble- Beyond our Shores Mid-eastern music from London…Ontario.
The Punch Brothers- Punch Need to listen more.
King Wilkie- Low Country Suite By the time I first bought this album, about a year ago, the band had split. I haven’t listened to it before this week, and only put it on after hearing one of their earlier songs on a bluegrass radio show disc I was reminiscing with this weekend. I quite liked it.
Lainie Marsh- The Hills Will Cradle Thee A bit like Kim Beggs and Nora Jane Struthers, really. Didn’t expect anything and was blown away. The songs are a bit too deliberately retro for my tastes, but there is something here. I’ll figure it out the next time I listen. This is the kind of music I live for, I know that. Stuff I’ve never heard and couldn’t imagine.
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