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MELLOW MOOD/Large: Italian reggae? These white boys got bit by the bug while in high school and followed the age old dictate to do what you love and the money will follow. They certainly made an impact right out of the box. Without having to make you any offers you can't refuse, they deliver the goods on this nu polished set that makes it clear they are here to make everything irie. Yes mon, it might not be the real real deal, but it's certainly a fine taste of the nu real deal.

SCOTT L. MILLER/Raba: It's a little na´ve to say that everything moves forward, but New Focus is showing us that ambient electronic neo classical music is moving forward in the right hands. A long time practitioner with several decades under his belt is now the owner of a blossoming catalog that is well worth a retrospective look over, especially since too many ears outside the realm have probably never heard it. Not to slag the genre pioneers, but his isn't the coma inducing noodling that so much of it was back in the day. A main stream set for left leaning ears, don't be surprised if this is the basis of your kids version of EDM revival a few years down the road.

BLUE YONDER/Rough and Ready Heart: Unless somebody shows up real quick, this bunch is going to have to be crowned the new standard bearers of organic music. Folk, country, Americana, honky tonk? It's all here and done right. Singing, writing, playing, harmonizing? There's no corner you can look at with this bunch doesn't to it right and righteously. An utterly enjoyable trip down the blue highways, these are the sherpas that just won't steer you wrong. Killer stuff.

STEVE HOWELL/Good As I Been to You: There used to be an ad campaign that said Texas is a whole nother country and records like this prove that to be right. Adapting yet another style for yet another recording, finger picker Howell serves up a blues set that's not like anything you'd think of as blues. Digging deep into the indigenous songbook and coloring it with Brill Building pop, this down home back porch East Texas cat shows us how it's done in Texarkana by white boys looking to get some hell hounds on their tails. Deliciously different, this set is going to take you places you didn't expect and you will enjoy the ride.

OYTUN ERSAN/Fusiolicious: How can we be mad when the bass ace behind this nu fusion set comes up with a title that sounds like something we'd come up with---and it's totally appropriate. First we have to sit through the Brits taking our blues and selling it back to us, now we have to sit through a Turk taking our fusion and selling it back to us, with many of the cats that made it in the first place on board. A wildly tasty set that captures what was so cool and attractive abut fusion become consultants turned it into fuzak, this is how it would sound today if it hadn't been corrupted along the way and the only thing that will take you back to the day is you won't feel 30 years older listening to this. As hot as it gets, this is a solid dose of the real deal.

BROKEN BABY: Angry post punk for the #metoo generation, this duo keeps it minimalist but never lets up on the noize and dark visions.

BUDDY GUY/The Blues is Alive and Well: I don't know how you can do it in your 80s when you've been recording forever and already have a lifetime achievement award but it seems like Guy's latest is a career defining album. Electric blues for right now with a bunch of cats that love the blues subsuming their egos to be sidemen and add to the proceedings, this set is a stone killer that could have redefined Stax if it was still in it's glory. Killer stuff that's better heard than talked about, let's just give this a Grammy now and go home. HOT!

JOHN BAILEY/In Real Time: A trumpet ace with much admiration from his peers makes his overdue solo debut at 52 simply because it's time. A richly creative set that never strays that far from right down the middle, the gathered chops here say all that needs to be said. A most solid jazz outing that never fails to hit all the right notes and keep you on board throughout. Well done.

DORI RUBBICCO/Stage Door Live: A modern jazz vocalist with the smarts to have a crew (loaded with family members, no less) that earns the spotlight as much as she does, this set is integrated so well that it doesn't feel like she's putting on a show since there is so much heart and chops on display. Tasty without a doubt, this almost is a great after hours snapshot but it feels like it's more enjoyable at sunset. Solid stuff throughout, this set shows how there's no substitute for hard work and dedication. The live audience will reassure you of that.

WAYDOWN WAILERS/Backland Blues: Rollicking. With the dean of roots rock producers, Professor Louie, at the helm, this set gives this crew the rocket fuel to succeed without denting the charts. A modern, almost futuristic take on jam band, the band cooks making music for the people and will keep them in tow as the good times flow. Everything you could want from a left of center rocking set is onboard here. Well done.

Number 41/Number 227
June 15, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2018 Midwest Record

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