TIMBER/The Family: Achingly gorgeous singer/songwriter song poets that keep it organic with lilting melodies that disguise deep thoughts and meditations. Some stuff. Introspective without being whiny, this duo has a lot on the ball for coffeehouse college kids of all ages. Well done.
ANN LICATER/Quiet Spaces: Sincerity is important when you make music off the beaten path if you want to be told more than you have good intentions. Vet native American flautist Licater is sincere and real in her continued explorations of inner space. A solid new collection that doesn't retrace past victorious steps, this is the fine hand of a master at work in fields not so easily tilled. Well done throughout.
(Cul de Sac Mystic 6370)
MISTY MOUNTAIN STRING BAND/Kentucky Bound: One of those high octane, traditional bluegrass crews that had us at hello, this bunch shows why they can so easily shift gears from the back porch to the symphony stage, they are simply a bunch of crack players that have a sight that favors organics. The perfect set to play for people you turn up their noses at bluegrass, this crew will make converts with ease. Killer stuff throughout.
KENNY WERNER/The Space: One of the contemporary masters of piano, the jazzbo and more creates a totally personal solo set that's all about being in the moment. Playing in a way that lets you feel the passing time in real time, it's deceptively simple yet totally engrossing. This is some sitting down instrumental music that really goes someplace else.
AMIRA MEDUNJANIN & TRONDHEIMSOLISTENE/Ascending: I've got your deep world beat right here. Classical sounding world beat from the Artic Circle, this goes way beyond well intentioned ethnic music that opens your ears to new possibilities. Celebrating 15 years in the studio, Medunjanin revisits past glories that are theatrical in scope and mind blowing with their chops. A mighty, ethnic experience, she's one of those performers that'll make you a fan whether you know what she's singing about or not. Hot stuff.
(Town Hill Colony 1)
DAVE McKENNA/In Madison: Too many things have a way of getting forgotten. If you are unfortunate enough not to have experienced pianist McKenna, here's something to think about. I had been hired to start a jazz label. One of my first calls was to McKenna at a hotel in Boston. He was recording on a handshake with Concord at the time and expressed too much loyalty to Carl Jefferson to leave the stable. In coming hedge fund owners changed that dynamic around. The change led him to jazz fan Mat Domber while I was off in other directions. The sum total of all that is this live date recorded well away from his stomping grounds. It was never intended to be a record and it's nice to have it escape on a label that'll know what to do with it. Maybe the greatest saloon piano player of our times, this is him simply kicking it out, keeping the audience in the palm of his hand. Whether it was ever supposed to be a record or not, this is a master class of a master at work, doing it solo and swinging like he invented it. A winner throughout.
MARTA GOMEZ & Friends/Coloreando Dos: The Latin Grammy winner is here with the perfect antidote for gringo parents driving car pools. If the kids ever sing their fractured version of "La Bamba" again when they're acting out, you'll probably kill them. This set with disarm and divert them until mom can make it to the book club and some wine. A gentle, energetic performer, Gomez spreads Latin friendship easily and brightly and keeps it original enough that there's not a single pato waddling through here. Tasty fun stuff heightened by her recent experience in joining the ranks of motherhood, all kiddie albums should be this good and welcoming. Solid work throughout.
MURRAY KINSLEY & Wicked Grin/Murder Creek: This award winning bunch of Canadian hard rocking white boys with the blues are at it again and on the loose stopping just long enough to serve it up hot and steamy. Road warriors to the core, chops are always put before bombast and the goods never fail to be delivered. Killer stuff sure to enhance any party needing living up.
ERIC BIBB/Global Griot: An incredible mighty record that shows there wasn't a single lesson learned over the last 50 years that was lost on Bibb. A double cd, recorded all over the world with a host of killer players, this set pulls together world, roots, soul, politics and more into a theatrical journey that'll just blow your mind. As he's a known quantity, all this is no surprise but the way it's all pulled together is just mind boggling. Certainly sounding like nothing you'd expect, this something that has to be heard to be believed. A high octane, high quality experience throughout.
(Stony Plain 1402)
POPA CHUBBY/Prime Cuts: The inimitable Popa pulls 15 cuts from the last 30 years throwing himself a greatest hits party and showing why he's one of the most celebrated figures in the blues rock underground. A certified white boy with the blues that really defies category, this is one bad boy that raises the bar and burns bridges to make sure manqué can't follow the trail he's blazingly blazing. A killer set throughout.
Number 41/Number 357
October 23, 2018
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2018 Midwest Record
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