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SCOTT SHARRARD/Saving Grace: Gregg Allman's music director steps up to the mic on his own, as did so many of the Allman fellow travelers, in the good company of some of the Hi Rhythm section, some of the Swampers, Taj Mahal and Pretty Purdie. Not being a kid, he knows just what to do and how it handle it all. A wonderful, blazing mélange of everything about southern rock and soul, the legacy is in good hands and running on a new arc that has roots well earlier than the ones Capricorn set down. A real rouser for all fans of classic southern rock and it's jam band progeny, these are musos that know the score. Hot.
(We Save Music 1)

ALASTAIR GREENE/Live From the 805: Another trip to the meat and potatoes buffet is on deck here. The steak is choice because it's just as good as prime and there's less fat. This set has no fat, an impressive feat as it's a live two disc set that finds Greene and his blazing guitar leading his smoking blues rock power trio through 20 years worth of paces without a hint of boredom in the mix. Mostly original but leaving room to tip the cap to Junior Wells and Jimmy Reed, if this doesn't give geezers Fillmore flashbacks it's time to up their Alzheimer medicine doses. A victorious hot time in the old town tonight, this is a fist pumping, non stop, wild ride. Killer stuff throughout.
(Rip Cat 1805)

GEOFF ACHISON/Sovereign Town: Americana by way of Australia, this Albert King award winner goes Springsteen on us by looking around his home town and seeing how sucky small town life can be now. The album isn't a downer because he's got a sharp pen and good eye which lifts him about all too usual angry young man whining that doesn't wear well as the writer gets older. A clarion call to get out while you still can, there's a canon this entry will become a welcome member of for coming of age rebellion. Spot on.
(Jupiter 2 20)

CUONG VU 4-TET/Change in the Air: Reteaming with Bill Frisell, the duo and their pals keep it in an after hours, left leaning mode. Having the guts to put artistry first, this set charts it's own course as the first call cats are real jazzbos in their soul and want to be in touch with their modal selves delivering an out of the ordinary listening experience that feels comfortable but pushes the boundaries at the same time. Well paced, well played, this is a set that's going to find itself most welcome with discerning listeners that want to keep it real.
(Rare Noise 91)

TIKI COLLECTIVE/Muse: A new look at lounge from a crew that loves lounge/exotica but hates clichés and tropes that have been beaten to death. Mixing originals with the Bergmans, overlooked oldies and BOC, the gumbo is a low fire thing just right to heat up the frozen north this comes from. Nu lounge but not for the lounge on Mars, it's fun stuff you don't have to be a musical tourist to get charmed by. You don't even need martinis to enjoy it. Well done.

PETER NELSON/Ash, Dust and the Chalkboard Cinema: Talk about your test cases! This very personal set from the trombonist is a musical diary of his five your journey through physical hell that basically found his recovery rooted in a misdiagnosis related to how bone men are trained. Loaded with playing and writing from the heart, this is a different recovery experience than pop culture has primed us for but it's no less valid----and music sounds better than whining. Pretty much a victorious set of straight ahead jazz that couldn't be stopped.
(Outside In 1813)

CELSO SALIM BAND/Mama's Hometown: A well respected Brazilian guitarist moves to LA and plays blues instead of samba. Expect him to be cutting his swath in the blues world as well. A nice solid, straight ahead set that let's the chops speak for themselves rather than park them under a neon sign, this is what you listen to after work when you need something that just makes you involuntarily sway along with it. Fine stuff that hits all the right notes with ease.
(Wide Tracks 4)

STEPHANE SPIRA/New Playground: With that certain freshness that self taught musos seem to have in their bag of tricks, Spira who comes to a lot of this late in life, brings a wave a fresh air to the fore with his jazz sax that can best be described as sprightly. Buoyantly bouncing over the backing of his crew, this is summer jazz with a twist---the kind that can make an airport hotel bar feel like it's opening onto the beach. Nice work throughout.
(Jazzmax 80403)

KATE CAMPBELL/Damn Sure Blue: Taking it back to when country and folk were loaded with meat, blood and grit, Campbell's take on modern times was recorded at the oldest indie studio in Nashville with some Americana pros that feel her views intimately as well. Hard hitting stuff that doesn't make you want to gargle with razor blades when it's over, this on the mark throughout. A real ear opener, this set really tells it like it is.
(Large River)

OLIVIA FOSCHI/Fleeting Windows: She might be a world wise art chick but this jazz vocalist knows to surround herself with some first class jazzbos and pull from the song catalogs of some real hot shots whose work can be exposed to fans on her side of the ledger to good effect. Although a San Francisco native, her world travels gives this a definite Euro sensibility. Right stuff for the sophisticated set.

BROTHER REVEREND/Table Turn Too Often: Wonder what a modern version of Holy Modal Rounders would sound like? These goofy malcontents had to have been picking through Peter Stampfel's garbage for ideas. Grooving around on a psychedelic cloud, they were influenced by the punk side of Robert Johnson and probably know some Charley Poole and Riley Puckett without even knowing it. Not that this is old timey---I'm just giving you an idea where this madness came from. Ewe-for-e-ah!
(Muted Strings)

BOOK CLUB: We've had chick pics, we've had hen pics. What to do call it when one of the leading ladies publicly states she's too old to date anymore? That's what we have here, a pic for today's granny that ain't a damn thing like you're granny. A comedy pic well played for ladies of a certain age that no longer have the regulators on them, it thankfully isn't paced with the usual Nancy Myers pas de deux that sinks too many current rediscovery pics in this genre. A buoyant reminder that not everything has to be taken so seriously, it's part comfort food, part guide book/travelogue for those that have lived longer than they thought they would and found the rules no longer apply. Fun stuff, and guys will like having a night off from The Hallmark Chanel if they're on the couch with their sweetie.

Number 41/Number 288
August 15, 2018
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2018 Midwest Record

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