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FUGITIVES/Promise of Strangers: A contemporary folkie duo that seems to tend toward the dour side has a down home edge that seems to encapsulate some emo into along the way. Some college kid stuff is eternal.

CHRIS PLATT/Sky Glow: A jazz guitarist whose back liner pic makes him look like a classic guitar nerd should fly that flag proudly. You don't get this good by not giving up a lot of outside pursuits in the course of it. Taking the simplicity and elegance of jazz guitar trios to new heights, it's a sitting down listening date all the way---and it will keep you glued to your chair. Sonic perfection has added a new flavor to it's palette.

KATY GUILLEN & THE Girls/Remember What you Knew Before: The interesting subtext running through this release is that it's white girls with the blues making music for white girls with the blues. While they can easily compete with the big boys, this trio has mastered sound the boys can run with but it's really made for sitting on the couch with some wine while shopping on the phone. The modern blues equivalent of 70s divorcee rock? Anyone with ears will find this interesting and on the money but it's something new and different from girls that have taken the classic moves and reformed them. Quite a wild festivity. They put musicianship and chops head of imagery and posturing. What a great breeze to have blow through.

MYLES GOODWYN/and Friends of the Blues: Hey, Myles, if you see Kay---ah, never mind. Guitar slinger Goodwyn sounds like he could fill in on a BTO reunion tour, leaves his ego at the door as he makes room for a bunch of guitar slingers that know how to bend those notes. Worth it just for the guest list, this set is the blues album he always wanted to make. And if that's not enough, the cd version is the only place where you can get a killer Jesse Winchester cover. It might be left of center but it's a killer even non fans will find themselves in spite of themselves. Hot stuff.

MARSHALL LAWRENCE/Feeling Fine: The kick ass cat that's been around many musical blocks over the years returns with a new one that shows he's not done sharpening his musical edge yet. Rocking hard with an incredible array of stops along the way, Lawrence is a non stop party animal that has drawn a line in the sand that he's going to be one that goes down rocking with his ax strapped on. Hey kids, parents still like to party too.

JOSH LAWRENCE/Contrast: An outpouring of creativity in the wake of the untimely death of his brother in law, Lawrence lays it down from the first note that he's a daddio through and through and knows how to channel energy and grief into something beautiful and lasting as a remembrance. High octane throughout, his brother in law must have been one mighty cat to inspire this kind of writing and playing.

JAMBALAYA BRASS BAND/Habana to New Orleans: Oh, yeah. Here's a smoking set of second line funk so precise and on point that you won't believe your ears. It's almost worth dieing to have this played for you on the parade route. A sure fire treat for aficionados and newbies alike. Killer stuff!

TOM TEASLEY & SETH KIBEL/Tiny Planet: You can't expect Teasley to do everything all by himself all the time so this time around he enlisted a wind player that plays almost as many instruments as TT does. Organic without riding the back 40, this set of wily rhythms and careening good times takes you so many places at once that your head will be merrily spinning along with this set. The two DC aces joining forces is really an event for instrumental music fans that know and love it left of center.

JENNY VAN WEST./Happiness to Burn: A cheerful folkie/almost old timey date that merrily lopes along dripping almost hippie good vibes as it rolls along it's merry way. Easy going throughout, there's the rootsy equivalent of summer jazz going on here. Van west is certainly a new friend you'd like to hear from more often.

LONG TALL DEB & COLIN JOHN/Dragonfly: This duo has some mighty pals but they really sound like they should be an opening act for Ry Cooder, he of Americana before anyone knew what he was doing when he wasn't rocking. A set that grabs on and doesn't let go, even if they didn't have heavy pals on board, this duo would knock it out of the blues park all on their own. Almost like a stripped down version of Muddy Waters' industrial blues, these cats keep coming and coming hard. Killer stuff throughout.

Volume 41/Number 115
February 23, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2018 Midwest Record

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