Archive for the ‘Kathy Kallick Band’ Tag

Kathy Kallick Band- Horrible World review   Leave a comment

kallickKathy Kallick Band Horrible World Live Oak Records KathyKallick.com

I’ve been writing about Kathy Kallick almost as long as I’ve been writing about roots music.

With others, I produced a concert for the Kathy Kallick Band, have bought several CDs—and been afforded others— and spent time listening to her music at multiple festivals and various stages—I am positive both as a reformed Good Ol’ Persons (although I can locate no record of such) and as the KKB—while having a couple semi-private chats with her. She is undoubtedly one of my favourite bluegrass and Americana performers.

Kathy Kallick’s voice is always warm and inviting, even when singing songs with the coldest of themes: she knows her way around a murderin’ outlaw song as well as anyone, and yet can embrace the complexities of relationships and daily life with seeming ease. While she can and does perform in a range of situations, never is she so strong than when fronting a vibrant, driving bluegrass band, and over the past many years has been releasing complex and engaging albums with her band.

Warmer Shade of Blue reached a level few bands can ever achieve, and yet she built upon that with Between the Hollow & the High-Rise and FoxhoundsFoxhounds while never faltering. Her recording of a few years back with Laurie Lewis honouring Vern & Ray also deserves recognition.

Horrible World (countered both in song and on the back cover with “It’s A Beautiful World”) continues the Kathy Kallick Band’s streak of excellence. As always, her songs are deep and meaningful creations, ones that find a way to speak to innermost thoughts. She balances these heady moments with unconventional renditions of familiar songs, for example recreating “Cotton-Eyed Joe” as a pensive 3/4 time ballad, before shifting gears ala Monroe’s post-Presley “Blue Moon of Kentucky.”

Tom Bekeny (mandolin) has been part of the group since the start and Walkin’ In My Shoes, and is as central to the KKB sound as is its namesake. His interaction with bandmates during the extended instrumental break within the telling “Nothin’ So Bad (It Can’t Get Worse)” is notable. The lineup of the group remains consistent from Foxhounds: Annie Staninec (fiddle), Greg Booth (Dobro and banjo), and Cary Black (bass) along with Kallick (guitar) and Bekeny. As usual, everyone sings various bits and parts.

With a trio of instrumentals—one near-grass (“Cascade Blues”), one western swingin’ (“Boot Heel Drive”) and one bonafide ‘grass (Bekeny’s “Edale)”—and familiar songs including “My Honey Lou” and “Dark As The Night (Blue As The Day,)” which I swear I have heard Kallick sing previously, [ed.note: and I have, if not in concert at least on the live Good Ol’ Person’s release, Good ‘n’ Live; thanks Mr. Thompson] leading the way, Horrible World is a very accessible bluegrass release.  This interpretation of “Dark As The Night” is stellar, bluesy and pure yearnsome. “Pockets Full of Rain” is a hopeful (vaguely familiar sounding) new-folk song, and “Ride Away” is a spirited ‘bad guy’ tale, and Kallick goes hard—as she often does—to give voice to this spritely number. “Solid Gone” incorporates years of folk-country-and bluegrass tradition within its words and melody, and Staninec’s singing style is well-suited to this old-timey song.

The album closing “This Beautiful World,” a John Reischman-Kallick co-write is a gentle meditation for hope and faith, as is “The Sunday Road,” albeit with a bit more pep.

The Kathy Kallick Band is one of the strongest, most consistent and satisfying bluegrass bands going. That they never receive their due from the IBMA voting membership come awards time is a shame. An album like Horrible World could change that, should folks in positions of influence ever bleeding notice. But I’ve been saying similar for 15 years.

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Favourite Roots Albums of the Year, 2015.   3 comments

JWH-final-printtext-FULL-RED-BG-rev1lowresTime for the annual ‘best of’ list which I never title ‘best of.’ I always go with Favourites because that is all I can go by: which albums have I listened to the most this past year, which ones have I most appreciated, and which ones do I feel are of an exceptional quality?

In previous years, I’ve written at length, but this year I am restrained by time (hmmm…Christmas Eve/Christmas Morning) and energy (I am bleeding exhausted!) Instead of separating things into genres, reissues, compilations, and other categories, I am just going to present Fervor Coulee’s Favourite Roots Albums of the Year. I am limiting myself to 15 titles this time out—I started out with a comprehensive list of about 80 titles under consideration, but willowed that down to 12 fair quickly, and from there it seemed like 15 was the right number for this year.

What did I notice over the course of 2015? One, I am really tired of folks—and you know who you are—who do good work, who promote the music, and who seem to care about bluegrass and yet use that term to describe just about any and all mostly acoustic, Appalachian-reminiscent music not mainstream country. It can’t all be bluegrass, folks. It just isn’t. Sam Gleaves? Not bluegrass, although there are a couple bluegrass songs there: nice album, though. Dom Flemons? Not even close. Dave Rawlings Machine? Are you even listening? Here’s the measure: if it is on the front page of The Bluegrass Situation…it’s not bluegrass.

I also noticed that there were fewer exceptional bluegrass albums released this year—plenty of mighty fine ones, but not that many that will go down as classics.

I noticed that I am listening to more 60s and 70s R&B/soul music than ever before, and that does take away time from roots writing. But rabba bing bang, I am loving those sounds, from R.B. Greaves to Gladys Knight & the Pips: pure dynamite.

I’ve also noticed that it is increasingly difficult to find the music I like in even the finest music stores. A real drag, that.

I’m also including the source of the music, in the spirit of full disclosure: some folks do worry about the ethics around receiving music for review without cost. I’m not one of them.

Here we go, with Fervor Coulee’s (Donald Teplyske) Favourite Roots Albums of the Year, 2015.

  1. John Wort Hannam- Love Lives On (Rebel Tone Records) Still Alberta’s finest contemporary, male troubadour, John Wort Hannam continues to meet the rising expectations that come from a decade of exceptional folk-based releases. Love Lives On has not yet displaced Two Bit Suit and Queen’s Hotel at the top of my Hannam list, but both those albums were also year-end favourites, and I enjoy the textures of his rhymes and the subtleties of his insights more with each listen. Singing of universal pleasures (“Over the Moon,” “Love Lives On,” “Gonna See My Love”) as adeptly as he does of specific moments in time (“Labrador”) and place (“Good Nite Nova Scotia,”) Wort Hannam has become a master of storytelling and songwriting. This sixth album is highlighted by the devastating “Man of God,” the song that will follow the songwriter to the end of his time. A beautifully conceived and recorded album, Love Lives On is a masterpiece. (Purchased at Blackbyrd Myoozik.)
  2. Dale Ann Bradley- Pocket Full of Keys (Pinecastle Records) While she hasn’t garnered the IBMA Female Vocalist of the Year award for the past three years, there is no arguing the consistency and strength Dale Ann Bradley brings to both her live performances and recordings. This self-produced album is one that I have listened to regularly since its release this summer. As the finest country and bluegrass often does, Pocket Full of Keys’ songs reveal the hardships of others as a panacea to our challenges, either providing a path for enlightenment or a realization that one’s own issues are not completely overwhelming: it could always be worse. Dale Ann Bradley doesn’t churn out albums. Analyse her vast catalog and one doesn’t find many tracks that appear to have been recorded simply out of favor or as filler. She is a bluegrass vocalist and true artist of substance and vision, and mentions in the album’s notes that she has always wanted to do an album herself, her own way. She has done it! Pocket Full of Keys is another in a string of significant recordings from bluegrass music’s finest voice. (Acquired via publicist)

 

  1. The SteelDrivers- The Muscle Shoals Recordings (Rounder) The SteelDrivers remain a dynamic, driving bluegrass band, a five-piece with a sound and an approach completely their own. The Muscle Shoals Recordings is their fourth album and the group just keeps getting better. The SteelDrivers are a song band, meaning that their strength doesn’t come from fiery instrumental prowess or sweeping vocal harmonies—although they more than hold their own in both those areas—but from the strength of their material. When they choose a song, they have done so for a reason, and it comes through in the performance. Murder songs, drinking songs, love songs, Civil War songs—The SteelDrivers can do them all, and they do so like no other bluegrass band working the circuit. Excellent. (Acquired via publicist)

 

  1. Barnstar!- Sit Down! Get Up! Get Out! (Signature Sounds) This Massachusetts-collective does things differently, and as a result their music isn’t what you are likely to find populating the ‘most played’ bluegrass charts. But, if one is open to something a bit outside, perhaps a little less precise and polished, from a group every bit as talented and instrumentally adept as the ‘name’ bands within the genre, Barnstar! may have something of interest waiting for you within Sit Down! Get Up! Get Out! Comprised of songwriters all of whom have music careers outside the band, Barnstar! continues to define their unusual approach to bluegrass music. They ‘get’ the music and are in no way trading in irony, but their bluegrass has an entirely different feel than , say, the Gibson Brothers or Joe Mullins’ Radio Ramblers—their harmonies are irregular when compared to those premier bands that add just a touch of the modern to their otherwise orthodox approach. Barnstar! is certainly ‘in the pocket,’ but their favored cadence is atypical of mainstream bluegrass and thus doesn’t feel constrained by expectation. They have great songs, the best here perhaps “Cumberland Blue Line,” “Six Foot Pine Box,” and most definitely The Faces “Stay With Me.” Oh, and don’t forget Mark Erelli’s “Barnstable County.” And “Delta Rose.” Dang, it is a terrific bluegrass album; not for everyone, mind. If you are looking for Pretty Bluegrass, it isn’t here. (Acquired via publicist)

 

  1. Buffy Sainte-Marie- Power in the Blood (High Romance Music) The winner of this year’s Polaris Music Prize, Power in the Blood is the type of album that either hits you from first listen or completely misses. Without judgement, whichever happens is likely a reflection of the listener. This is a powerful album that speaks across generations and cultures, one that can be appreciated both as a creative production to be experienced as a complete album and individually song-by-song. “It’s My Way,” “Power in the Blood,” and “We Are Circling” start the album off with substance and energy, and things just keep developing. She even pulls in some UB40. A wonderful recording. (Purchased at Wal-Mart; hey, I couldn’t find it in an independent shop.)

 

  1. Chris Jones & the Night Drivers- Run Away Tonight (Mountain Home) With an immediately identifiable sound and a burgeoning catalog of stellar albums, Chris Jones & the Night Drivers are possibly bluegrass music’s most underrated band. With Run Away Tonight, that has to change. Front-loaded with six original songs—seldom seen in an industry still tied to the tried, tested, and true—Run Away Tonight is one of the finest bluegrass albums released this decade.

 

Reminding listeners of no one as much as the legendary Country Gentlemen, Chris Jones & the Night Drivers perform bluegrass music with heart and drive. The heart comes from the depth of intensity revealed in every phrase and note sung by Jones, the New York native who has as rounded a bluegrass resume as one might imagine—expert guitarist, sideman, bandleader, songwriter, producer, broadcaster, gently acerbic humorist, playful photographer. The drive begins with Jones’ strong rhythm and lead work, nicely featured in the mix here, and continues through Jon Weisberger’s propulsive bass rhythm playing off Ned Luberecki’s classic 5-string approach and Mark Stoffel’s exquisite mandolin touch. Kudos to Jones and his co-producer Tim Surrett (Balsam Range) and Scott Barnett for this excellent sounding bluegrass experience—listening to this recording on a solid system is a sonic treat.

 

With an emphasis on the deceptively upbeat aspect of bluegrass, Chris Jones & the Night Drivers kick things off with the court and spark of “Laurie,” from which the album takes its title. Similarly, “Tonight I’m Gonna Ride” feels lively and freewheeling, but is appears as much about failed aspirations and last chances as it is the fulfilment of a dream. Casey Driessen, a Jones colleague from long ago, contributes vigorous fiddle to these two songs. Every song is worthy of attention, not something I write lightly or often. I have long advocated that Chris Jones’ name needs to be inserted into the conversations around Male Vocalist of the Year. Perhaps next time up, the professional members of the IBMA will agree with me. The Night Drivers are as good a band as there is. (Acquired via publicist)

 

  1. Amy Black- The Muscle Shoals Sessions (Reuben) Amy Black has become someone to be counted on to provide balanced and lively collections of contemporary Americana, featuring a blend of influences: folk, country, blues, troubadours of all variety, and—way deep down—hints of southern-flavoured soul. Years ago, I wrote that Black reminded me of Kate Campbell and that she had a singing voice “as natural and welcome as lemonade on a sweltering summer’s day, with an amiable tartness lingering within its sweetness.”

 

The Muscle Shoals Sessions has that absolutely infectious deep soul groove permeating every song. Spooner Oldham brings emotional and historical depth to the proceedings, laying out funky Wurlitzer and organ. Will Kimbrough is back. Vocal certainty is provided by the McCrary sisters, Ann and Regina. Notable horn players are also present, with Charlie Rose taking the lead and playing trombone, while Steve Herrman (trumpet) and Jim Hoke (saxophone) are featured.

 

Recorded in the legendary FAME studios, Black compositions like “Get To Me” and “Woman On Fire” sizzle with energy, while “You Gotta Move” and “Bring It On Home” are more passionate and controlled. Classics abound with “You Left Your Water Running” and Arthur Alexander’s “You Better Move On” closing the disc with wisdom found only in the finest of songs.

 

When she laments, “I know I hurt you deep down inside,  I know you’re angry I understand why,” one could be forgiven for believing Black to be interpreting a long forgotten Otis Redding gem. She isn’t, of course—the song is a new one, and is as strong as anything else on the album. Black’s performance here proves all the evidence necessary, should one require it, that she is legitimately a country soul singer of the most significant variety. She smolders without seduction—there is nothing here but genuine, aching need—while the band explores rhythms of the finest order. Black pays tribute to Don Covey and Etta James with a blistering rendition of “Watch Dog,” while her interpretation of “Gotta Serve Somebody” further elevates the album by exploring the more spiritual side of soul music.

 

Amy Black ‘gets it’ and hopefully we do, too. The Muscle Shoals Sessions  deserves to be heard by all who appreciate the funkier, soulful side of roots music. Amy Black just keeps getting better.

 

  1. Pharis & Jason Romero- A Wanderer I’ll Stay (Lula Records) One of the most respected old-time duos currently recording, Pharis and Jason Romero create acoustic music in a vein not dissimilar to Gillian Welch and David Rawlings. Without drifting toward mimicry, this couple from Horsefly, British Columbia likewise captures within their finely crafted songs the richness that exists within seemingly uncomplicated songs and arrangements.

 

I can attest that everything I hear within this album is flat-out faultless. Within “Backstep Indi,” Jason Romero coaxes the gourd banjo to travel from southern traditions to East Indian experimentation, while the instrumental backing for “The Dying Soldier” is as beautifully mournful as anything recently heard. Pharis Romero is an expressive, generous vocalist and impressive songwriter. She has a strong voice that more than holds its own within the aural environment created by the duo and their co-producer David Travers-Smith. Like Welch, she asks universal questions (“Why do girls go steady, when their hearts are not inclined”) and makes stark declarations (“Your father he’s a merchant and a thief”) that immediately establishes perspective while sketching stories and characters that engage listeners’ imaginations. When she sings, “There’s no time, honey there’s no time,” you accept her assertion.

 

This time featuring Josh Rabie (fiddle), John Hurd (bass), Marc Jenkins (pedal steel), and Brent Morton (drums) on select tracks, A Wanderer I’ll Stay has a full sound although not significantly different from their previous Long Gone Out West Blues; the same intimacy is present and certainly their attention to detail has not wavered. As with that release, the packaging is beautifully executed with all practical considerations accounted. This is a stunning acoustic folk recording. (Acquired via publicist)

 

  1. Kathy Kallick Band- Foxhounds (KathyKallick.com) As is Tim O’Brien, Kathy Kallick is always a bit of an adventurer and you can never be sure what her next recorded outing might bring. When she has the band with her, you are assured high-quality, literate and respectful bluegrass music: they never take their audience for granted, never rest on their laurels. Such is the case with Foxhounds, an album that starts off with a new song in tribute to Bill Monroe and continues with an exciting exploration of the range and depth of the bluegrass tradition. There are old songs including  “Banjo Pickin’ Girl,” a lively rendition of the first Richard Thompson song I ever encountered (“Tear Stained Letter,”) and a bright and spirited take on a Monroe instrumental, “Kentucky Mandolin.” But the album’s greatest strengths lay within Kallick’s new songs including “So Danged Lonesome,” “Longest Day of the Year,” and “Snowflakes.” Especially enjoyable is the fiery “I’m Not Your Honey Baby Now,” a song to which I will continue to return. The band is top-notch throughout, and all members are featured in a variety of ways including vocally. (Acquired via publicist)

 

  1. Corb Lund- Things That Can’t Be Undone (New West Records) Corb Lund’s tenth album of (mostly) rural rooted, countryside music, Things That Can’t Be Undone shows Alberta’s favourite son writing even more concisely than previously while tackling subject matter both heady and impacting (“S Lazy H,” “Weight of the Gun,” and “Sadr City,”) heartfelt (“Goodbye Colorado” and “Sunbeam,”) and slightly frivolous (“Talk Too Much” and “Washed-Up Rock Star Factory Blues.”) While Lund has for years provided engaging music that was obviously influenced by folks like Tom Russell and Ian Tyson, he has increasingly infused his songs with his own individuality. This album continues that journey. (Legal download)

 

  1. Ron Block- Hogan’s House of Music (RonBlock.com) One of the most thoughtful minds in bluegrass, and a danged fine banjo and guitar player, Rob Block is best known as one-fifth of Alison Krauss & Union Station. He has recorded a series of well-received albums, in my opinion the first of which (Faraway Land) is a modern classic. Here he goes back to his roots and influences, recording an instrumental bluegrass album filled with classic (but not too overly familiar) songs. Having purchased digitally, I don’t know who is playing what or where, but I suppose I don’t really need to: it is completely wonderful. (Purchased via iTunes)

 

  1. Willie Thrasher- Spirit Child (Light in the Attic) Three of Willie Thrasher’s songs were featured on the groundbreaking triple album set of last year, Native North America (Vol. 1): Aboriginal Folk, Rock, and Country 1966–1985, a release that would have topped my chart last year had I heard it then. Spirit Child is a reissue of Thrasher’s 1981 album, and it spent a solid week in my car once I bought it. I may not understand everything on this album, but I think I get it. Folk, rock, and country influences abut to create a remarkable listening journey. (Purchased via eMusic)

 

  1. Jayme Stone- Jayme Stone’s Lomax Project (Borealis Records) With a multitude of collaborators, Jayme Stone cuts a wide swath through the legacy of Alan Lomax: it is much like putting a collection of Smithsonian Folkways albums on random, and one becomes increasingly overwhelmed by the intensity of the wide-ranging performances. There is mountain music here, island and African sounds, English and Scottish folk songs, and blues, ‘grass, and chants all performed to the highest levels of performance that retain the ‘authentic’ (whatever that means) and natural state of the songs. (Purchased via iTunes)

 

  1. Jerry Lawson- Just a Mortal Man (Red Beet) As I’ve headed further into the rabbit warren that is vintage R&B and soul, I have found few modern practitioners of the art that appeal to me: even the best seem to try just a little too hard. Not Jerry Lawson. It sounds like the music just flows from him, and when he launches into a song a deep as “Wine” or as sad as “Never Been to Memphis,” you know you are experiencing the real thing. (Purchased via eMusic)

 

  1. The Cox Family- Gone as the Cotton (Rounder) Forgive us for thinking we might never again hear new music from The Cox Family. It has been almost twenty years since Just When We’re Thinking It’s Over, and excepting an appearance in O Brother, Where Art Thou?, not much has been heard from Alison Krauss’s favourite Louisianans. Given the quality of the music contained on Gone Like the Cotton, an album started in 1998 and completed within the last year, it is surprising that Krauss and Rounder Records didn’t consider buying the project from Asylum and the Warner’s group at some point in the ensuing years. Eventually, and thankfully, the impedance to unveiling the album was removed, the recorded files were located and freshened with new vocals from the current lineup of the Cox Family siblings Evelyn, Sidney, and Suzanne complementing father Willard’s vocal takes from the late 90s.

 

The newest song and title track, written by Sidney and Suzanne, is a nearly-unadorned family biography. With only the minimalist of guitar accompaniment, the siblings sing of their grandparents, their parents, and their community with devotion and love. It is a stunning and appropriate closing to a heartfelt recording, one that captures in four minutes a lifetime of experience. The result is a type of country music that is seldom encountered in contemporary times. Beautifully executed with confidence that comes through on every song, Gone Like the Cotton is a masterful recording. (Acquired via publicist)

By limiting myself to 15 titles, I’ve not been able to include folks like Ryan Boldt, The Honey DewDrops, Big Country Bluegrass, Tim O’Brien (for his SOS Series), Rex Hobart, Anna and Elizabeth, Samantha Martin, Dar Williams, Donnie Fritts, Pop Staples, Gordie Tentrees, The Hillbenders, Norma MacDonald, and a whole lot of other very fine artists. A great deal of excellent roots music was released in 2015. Thanks for checking in at Fervor Coulee; hopefully we’ll see you in 2016. Donald

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kathy Kallick Band- Time   Leave a comment

Just doing some housekeeping to help out the search engines. My review of Kathy Kallick Band’s Time is at Fervor Coulee Bluegrass here.

As always, I appreciate your interest in FerTimevor Coulee. Donald

Five Great Bluegrass Albums I Didn’t Write About in 2012   Leave a comment

and one acoustiblue album, too.

Over at Fervor Coulee Bluegrass today, I have posted a lengthy piece in which I reflect on six albums released in the past year that I wish I had found time to write about. The link should get you there, as will this one.

niallThe albums are Scott Holstein’s Cold Coal Town, a 2011 album that I didn’t hear until early in 2012, the Kathy Kallick Band’s Time, Danny Paisley & the Southern Grass’ Road Into Town, Bo Isaac’s Dollar, recorded with The Rounders, Old Man Luedecke’s Tender is the Night, and Niall Toner’s Onwards & Upwards. Excellent stuff.

The Kathy Kallick Band- Between the Hollow and the High-Rise Review   1 comment

The Kathy Kallick Band     Between the Hollow and the High-Rise    Live Oak Records www.KathyKallick.com

Kathy Kallick never disappoints. Her voice conveys such warmth that it fair melts even the most stridently traditional bluegrass purist. For more years than many of us have been listening to the music, Kallick has not only been blazing a trail for females wanting to sing harmony-rich bluegrass but has been leading some of the strongest outfits the west coast has experienced.

                  While she can and does feature songs that drip with the traditional and beloved trappings of bluegrass- ‘Where Is My Little Cabin Home” and “(Get Along Home) Cindy” (sung by Dan Booth) being just two on this set- she isn’t afraid to take the music elsewhere. “Monobrow” (written by Greg Booth) is a lively instrumental that features some playfulness within its strings; it isn’t by accident that almost all the letters in Monroe are in the title. “Whistle Stop Town” is simply a masterfully written song- and Kallick has written more than a few of these in the past- with each word and note resonating emotions, challenges, and insight. “New White House Blues” captures the frustrations of (much of) a nation and continent.

The current crew comprising KKB is certainly talented, as they demonstrated a year ago in Red Deer. Not featured when they visited us, fiddler Annie Staninec provides lovely back-up accompaniment and- like all members of the band- shines when she is provided space for a solo; she even sings a little on “The Snow.”

I didn’t think I needed to hear “Panhandle Rag” again anytime soon, but a listen to Greg’s adaptation made me reconsider- do some YouTube Googling for video. While Kathy does some solo singing on this album- most impressively on her own “My House”- when joined in harmony by Tom Bekeny and the Booths, things become a little more special.

A nod toward the visual team of photographer Anne Hamersky and designer Lisa Berman is also in order. The art work and layout is visually pleasing, is functional and flows with a nice balance of colours, fonts, and shapes.

Like substituting pork for beef in a familiar recipe, Kathy Kallick and her band play bluegrass with a distinctive and fresh flavour. There is a bit of blues in a couple places, a touch of swing in others, and a smidgeon of folk mixed throughout. Put some drive behind all that, and you’ve got a winning bluegrass album. At a generous 47-minutes and 14 songs, Between the Hollow and the High-Rise is a great place to be!

Walkin’ Talkin’ Dancin’ Singin’- August 16, 2010   Leave a comment

The album I most enjoyed this week.

Danielle Doyle- The Cartographer’s Wife I’m getting closer to finding the words for this album. It is one of those discs that I discover something new to appreciate with every listen. Her voice is especially appealing, reminding me a little of one of the Be Good Tanyas. Seek out this one.

Red Horse- Red Horse Reviewed in the column this coming Friday, I’ve listened to this one several times and keep coming back to it. Listening just today with fresh ears, the depth of the voices and the mastery of the art are so appreciated. A stellar album.

Alejandro Escovedo- Street Songs of Love and The Alejandro Escovedo String Quartet  Room of Songs Two very different recordings that engage dissimilar elements of Escovedo’s talents. While I always enjoy hearing Escovedo kick it out, I most appreciate the gentler side that he occasionally reveals. I only just learned of and found the Quartet album and appreciate it a little more with every song and listen.

The Mountains & The Trees- I Made This For You

Kathy Kallick Band- Between the Hollow and the High-Rise A great bluegrass album.

Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice- Heartaches and Dreams

Will White- Rise Above

D.B. Rielly- Love Potions and Snake Oil Working on a review of this one; a wide range of sounds and approaches. Quite nice.

Black 47- Fire of Freedom Enjoyed this one’s spirit.

Jay Clark- Live at Jammin’ at Hippie Jack’s A two-disc collection from East Tennessee’s favourite modern songwriter- and if he isn’t, he should be- I am never disappointed by Jay Clark. Yes, I’ve heard these songs before and no, he doesn’t significantly alter them. But when I picture Jay sitting on a stool singing these songs to a collection of people who not only get him and appreciate his perspective, but who have lived his words, I feel that much more of a connection to his songs. If you haven’t heard Jay Clark, this is a great place to start.

Dave Carter with Tracy Grammer When I Go This album has been in my eMusic Saved for Later file simply because I was certain I already had it but couldn’t find it. Three years later, I accept that maybe I didn’t already have it. Makes me miss even more what I only caught live once. They had a special connection, but this album is- as the title implies- largely Carter and that is what I needed this week.

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band- London Calling: Live in Hyde Park Watched the DVD this past week. Let no one accuse Springsteen of not working for a living. By the time this three-hour journey is finished, Springsteen is drenched to the knees in sweat. Yes, the voice gets hoarse in places, maybe even flat, but the songs and energy carry the day.

Steve Forbert- Bang Contest EP Send in a cover of the oft repackaged Van Morrison Bang sessions, get a digital EP of recent live cuts. My offering is to be added as #21, but hasn’t made it yet.

Cowboy Junkies- The Radio One Sessions Has anyone ever heard an ‘off’ recording of the Cowboy Junkies? I haven’t.

Hugh Dillon- Works Well With Others Formerly the chief Headstone and now an actor, Dillon returned to the studio for this offering. It’s pretty good, but not essential.

The Cat Empire- Cinema

Badfinger- The Best of Badfinger Three great songs and some others that I can’t remember.

The Payola$- Hammer on a Drum Sounds as good if not as vital as when first heard. Need to pull out No Stranger to Danger.

Great American Taxi- Streets of Gold Gladly overpaid for this one at the Central Music Festival this weekend. As I had heard many of these songs live on various live recordings, nothing surprised me too much but I’m glad to have the set. “Lumpy Beanpole and Dirt” is a terrific number.

Tim O’Brien- Chicken & Egg Like just about every other Tim O’Brien album. Expertly played, fresh songs. More mainstream Americana rather than bluegrass .

Rolling Stones- Exile on Main Street Reissue, disc 2 I bought the single disc version when it was re-released but haven’t listened to it yet. I borrowed the 2-disc set from the library and gave the second disc a listen today. Sounds fine, but I’m not interested enough to listen to the bonus material again.

Continuing my way through the pile and onto the ‘B’ titles:

Dan Baird & Homemade Sin- self-titled An okay rock and roots album with a couple catchy songs, but doesn’t come close to having the staying power of his earlier album Love Songs for the Hearing Impaired.

David Ball- Heartaches By the Number I understand why Ball would want to make this album and the performances are more than solid. A fine listen with some great songs included, but I doubt I’ll listen to it again very soon.

The Banana Splits- We’re the Banana Splits A nice slice of history. I attempted to watch an episode the other day and realized that some fond memories of childhood should never be revisited. Having said that, it is hard to beat “The Tra La La Song!”

Bobby Bare & Skeeter Davis- Your Husband, My Wife I love the Internet for lots of reasons. This is one of them. Solid, mainstream 60s country.

Bobby Bare- I’m A Long Way From Home

Willie P. Bennett- Blackie and the Rodeo King and Hobo’s Lament Whenever I dig out a Willie P. album, I feel some kind of good. I saw something about Willie being honoured at the upcoming Canadian Country Music Awards, which is a good thing.