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MELODIC INTERSECT/Looking Forward: I'd like to call this American/Indian fusion opium den music but that would make the players think I didn't give this a good listen. It's exotic and somewhat dusky but it isn't the soundtrack of hazy disorientation. This set really takes it's title seriously as it's more like the soundtrack for checking out the views of upper floor condos than it is murky, damp basements with sinister habitants. Are you up for the challenge of going modern? This is one of those sets that you can mistakenly think is ambient---but it really isn't. A real treat that will help you hear what well intentioned hippies and drug addicts were going for back in the 60s, this modern indigenous sound is a important piece of what stands as modern, sonic tapestry for the times we live in. Well done.

CAROL ALBERT/Fly Away Butterfly: In the 70s, the gals were doing a subgenre known as divorcee rock. That seems to have mutated in the 10s to healing music, a combination of jazz, world and spirituality that seems to be the soundtrack for recovery of various sorts whether from addiction, loss, upheaval---or divorce. Albert is rejuvenating from loss and letting it lead her to rebirth. Enlisting one of the great secret weapons of our times, Trammell Starks to help her on her journey, this is almost like next gen-nu new age as it comes out of the gate. An experienced performer coming back into the light, this is no mere well intentioned effort by a bored wannabe looking for an outlet, this is the kind of alt.adult listening that turns heads and ears. A deep, personal set that grabs your attention and holds on tight. Well done.

BRYANT FABIAN MARSALIS/Do For You?: It's a special kind of record that makes you feel like anything can happen even though you know you're listening to something in a fixed media. These three cats take you on a tour of after hours jazz sounds, often improvised, that make you feel like what it was to listen to something going on under the bridge. So old school that moldy figs will be the first to hit the buy button on Amazon, you can almost see them shoo-ing the hipsters away from their turf. All this set needs to be really complete is a waitress in tight, black clothes stacking the chairs on the table tops. Hot stuff.

GABE EVANS TRIO/Wrong Waltz: A jazzbo piano man that sowed his wild oats before settling down to a life of academe (without letting it go to his head), he leads his trio through a zesty date that sounds like what's playing down at your fave club where the piano man not only knows how to swing but is always full of surprises to keep your ears on their toes. Solid stuff that swings with a wink and a smile, Evans has loads of jazz at his command and he's not shy about rolling his chops out for you. Deceptively simple and thoroughly delectable, there's always room for some killer jazz piano playing standing out front and center. Hot stuff.

JASON BUIE/Driftin' Heart: This white boy with the blues is so proud of it that he's the co-founded of the White Rock Blues Society. What more can I say? While he doesn't record often, when he sets the bytes to flying, he plays with something to say---like he means it! A stinging, guitar slinging set with the growls in the right place as well, this is the quintessential set for frat boys of all ages that just don't get shoe gaze and whining. If this guy wasn't so down with originals, it wouldn't be hard to imagine his growling out "I'm a Main", Muddy style. Hot stuff from a hot cat that kicks ass and takes names.

JULIAN GERSTIN SEXTET/The One Who Makes You Happy: Granted this is a DIY release and should feel homespun, there's a certain homespun quality to this that makes the world beat mash up feel like musical comfort food no matter the twists and turns it takes. The percussionist mixes Africa with the Steppes with some good old jazz and the combination is mesmerizing. With like minded jazzbos loaded with left field experiences sharing his vision, the long burning, low fire of this date is infectious throughout. Tasty stuff the armchair traveler is sure to spread the word on.

HURDLE & ANDERSON/Highlands & Houston: Since all those Hatfield & McCoy hillbillies were originally from the British Isles, it should come as no shock that a cat from Virginia and a cat from Scotland should find each other and have the good fortune to have a bunch of Kickstarter connoisseurs toss a few bucks their way so they can make such an achingly beautiful album of instrumental music so pure and delightful that you thought you'd never hear anything this wonderful again. A genre proof, genre buster of a set, the esteemed fiddler and the religious music pro bring their pals to such a hallowed middle ground your ears can't feel anything but blessed when letting this sail through them. This is like the best of the 60s hippies trying this without the drugs and blowing themselves away. Killer stuff throughout.

SCOTT ELLISON/Good Morning Midnight: We've got no problem with a little recidivism when it isn't nostalgia for the sake of iconography. Ellison tears it up in Tulsa with a bunch of Tulsa vets that make this feel like something recorded when the tape was left running after Delaney and Bonnie finished for the night. Hard choogling blues rock Americana helmed by cats that know/knew what it's all about, getting down with this set could do more good for the future of the country than all the empty rhetoric flowing through the air. Hard hitting stuff that fights for your right to party, this is a killer jam that just doesn't quit!

BILL TOMS & Hard Rain/Good for My Soul: The kind of rocking road warrior that has stood toe to toe with all the modern era greats, none of that face time was ever lost on him. More than a bar band rocker, even if his roots are showing, Toms does the rock mash up, an often overlooked move, and shows what he learned from Stax, Springsteen, Dylan, Helm and the rest of the greats that unwittingly gave rise to Americana before anyone knew what it was. Wildly tasty stuff that feels spontaneous but where nothing is left to chance, this cat is a load of the real deal that time, tide and fashion can never push aside. Hot stuff.

ANDREW CHAPMAN/Well, It's About Time: I guess some things only take 50 years to get done. A cat that can round up pals like Tony Braunagel, Rabbit Bundrick, Shake Russell and a whole ton of others that were writing the history of rock from the back ground to help him out on a bunch of songs he meant to record 50 years ago before he got disgusted with the business must have some roots that you have to take seriously. None of this sounds like a disc of shoulda/woulda/coulda as it's loaded with a bunch of heartland rock that sounds like it probably would have sounded back when everyone was 50 years younger. When rock is in your soul, you eventually have to let it come roaring out for the enjoyment of all of us. Not just a set for the walker set, this is a sure cure for iron poor blood and more. This is rock that keeps rolling!.

STEVE EARLE/So You Wanna Be an Outlaw: A tribute to Townes Van Zandt is a different animal than a tribute to Waylon Jennings. Earle could have taken the easy way out and just tossed off a set of Waylon hits, but original Jennings recordings are more widely known and available than Van Zandt recordings and he knew he'd be held up to a pretty harsh light. Saying he's got bills to pay, it's a mighty good thing for all of us he marshaled his skills. This set is a tribute to the spirit of Waylon. He doesn't make the Dukes sound like the Waylors and the songs are all originals. And he can proudly stand on anyone's coffee table in his boots and proclaim Waylon the best goddamn outlaw ever. With the acknowledgment that it was a short time when the fire really burned bright, he brings that time back in to such sharp focus that anyone who was there will appreciate it and those who weren't will wish they were. This is a great way to get to heaven without having to d.i.e. Well done.

Volume 40/Number 269
July 28, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2017 Midwest Record

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