From the Archive
ALEXANDER ZONJIC/Doin’ the D: Detroit’s fave flute son takes a break from his multi tasking to grace us with another set that takes us on the spiritual path Herbie Mann took us on once he turned his attention to pop jazz. With a right touch and tone, Zonjic shows why he’s a first call sideman to the stars of Detroit jazz with one of his infrequent star turns of his own where everything clicks. Certainly a stellar showcase for the smart side of smooth jazz as it has the bite to make you welcome it over and over.
VAYO/Tango: He’s got grey hair but don’t let that fool you, Vayo is one of the cats working hard to keep tango from being historical and folkloric moving the form forward with new songs and an eye toward keep future ears interested in the sound and the fury as well as the vibe. A tasty new entry from the Grammy nominee, this set veers between world beat, vacation music, and the future while keep the sound from going techno or giving into gimmicks. With a voice reminiscent of Theo Bikel, Vayo certainly shakes it up for gringos looking for that something different and something extra.
ALECIA NUGENT/Hillbilly Goddess: Yeah, I mean, what else can I say but yeah. Probably a god damn as well, but yeah does it pretty well. Nugent is an undisputable country superstar, now everyone else just has to catch up. If you need more than teeny bop babes that don’t really bring any new listeners into the tent, this mature, satisfying and hard hitting date is what you are looking for. Certainly more contemporary than the Mountess Rushmores of country past, Nugent is a sterling vocalist that delivers in the classic feel without owing a debt to anyone. With a career affirming setting provided by producer Carl Jackson, this is simply a right on country date that has everything you want on the ball. Whoever major label Nashville is pushing this week could learn a thing or two about having the right stuff from Nugent. Hot!
RHONDA VINCENT/Destination Life: Rounder has no shortage of bench strength when it comes to having a full range of ladies you could call America’s bluegrass sweetheart and the bluegrass queen keeps a firm hold on her pre-eminent position. For all the whining and bitching about how hard it is to sell records these days, Vincent fully understands you need to make something someone wants to buy in order to get them to buy it. A hard charging set that hits the ground running from the first note and never lets up. With the vocals, playing and vibe all totally right on, Vincent hits it out of the park again with a bluegrass set you don’t even have to be a fan to love. A winner.
STEVE MARTIN/The Crow: When word of this first started leaking out, it was like, what is this, Martin’s version of “Return of Bruno”. The relationship between Martin and banjo goes back quite a away, but did you think there was really a need for a Steve Martin banjo album? Well, if you thought no, both you and I would be proven wrong. Surrounded by some of the top cats in organic music, Martin holds his own on all levels and, no joke, comes in with a set that is up there with “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” for organic music relevancy. A lovely album that Martin financed as a labor of love and will probably never recoup on, there’s a whole lot more going on here than the taste you might have gotten on “American Idol” as you may have watched him stand there wondering why he was there. This is clearly at the vortex where picking and grinning come together. Leave your too hip for the room attitude at the door and tell me this doesn’t get under your skin in a very good way in short order. Crack open the plastic on this one for a wonderful surprise.
NANCI GRIFFITH/Loving Kind: Griffith is a little too far along to find love at the five and dime again, and she’s found that a cover album differs from a trip to bountiful but she’s found her way back to the late night grande hotel, even if the décor and the clock have changed, the vibe remains the same. Not a return to form or an effort to reclaim the past, Griffith has simply found her voice and métier again and delivers the goods while pushing forward with a set that speaks to her fans in the language they want to hear again. A tasty set from an old friend that saw the light in the woods and followed the beam back home. Hey, Nanc, don’t make us wait for once in a very blue moon to have a set like this again. Wink. Love ya, keep ‘em coming.
Volume 32/Number 231
June 19, 2009
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
©2009 Midwest Record
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