JENNY WHITELY/Forgive or Forget: Whitely came late to the folk singer game but she's been making up for lost time just like that other Canadian late bloomer, Leonard Cohen did, not that's she's working the same boards that he did. Sounding like an audio version of that girl you always had a great relationship even though the two of you never got busy, as her exposure and reputation grow, Whitely is going to be the old friend more and more of you never met. A delightful experience that hits you at a much deeper level than you realize on the first few playings, the awards she's won up to now are just a starter set. First class folk/roots from one of the legacy masters of tomorrow.
NICK MOSS/Privileged: One of the El Jefes of the nu white boy blues movement is cranking up the blues rock action as old skool meets nu in Chicago's western suburbs. Showing his dissatisfaction with the times as well as signaling a sea change in his work, Moss is rough and ready for the 10s as the new decade is here. A blazing set that today's frat boys will understand, this is the trail to the future. Well done.
KILBORN ALLEY BLUES BAND/Better Off Now: Here's a crew that knows how to let the good times roll. Kicking it off old skool, ala Paul Butterfield, no point in hiding your Chicago roots where there is so much good stuff to pull from, even for a bunch of white boys as Butterfield once proved. Firmly based in r&b, this is delightfully rollicking outing that doesn't require a trip to the roadhouse in your mind and is there for you to kick it out with any old time. A solid unit that just seems to let their roots and chops grow deeper with each new outing, contemporary blues fans will know this is the real deal right away. Hot stuff.
CASH BOX KINGS/I-94 Blues: This isn't about playing in the tradition, these cats have digested the tradition. Playing it old skool, ala Chess Records in the 50s and 60s, they know their Muddy Waters and the rest and can offer up solid covers as well as sparkling originals. A zesty, tasty big blues band, these cats love to howl and they certainly make the distinction between Chicago blues and blues from the rest of the country. Hard hitting throughout, these are more than cats on the prowl, they come ready to play and deliver the goods. Well done.
MATTHEW STUBBS/Medford & Main: The kid has been racking up the awards as a serious guitar slinger and it's all deserved. Not one to define himself by a single genre, he prefers to be a genre splicer keeping blues as his base and showing just how much can be done with it. Incorporating all your fave non-mainstream styles into the mix, we find the rising surf of Memphis throwing a wave over the groove. Smoking stuff from a cat that just doesn't know how to back down, if you want a hard core party animal that can keep it going all night, this is the place to start.
MICHAEL PAGAN TRIO/Three for the Ages: Kansas City used to be a hotbed of jazz and it still courses through the town's veins as this set was recorded in KC with two of the local jazz luminaries that can hold their own with any of the mainstays whose names roll of your tongues. A classic and classy piano trio working out on a lot of standards, even of Pagan did reserve the title track for one of his own compositions, these cats might be flying under the radar but it's time for you to pay attention. A tasty mainstream set that hits all the right notes, it's your fave piano bar right in your headphones. A winning set that has it all.
CARL FISCHER/Adverse Times: Now you know who's been adding the funk to Billy Joel the last few years. This trumpet cat is a jazzbo to the core and he loves funk and fusion as much as the classics. With a smoking horn leading a funky B3, you could easily call this a Bluenote legacy date as this is where the label would be going if EMI had any money and Bruce Lundvall hadn't retired and wanted to keep the iconography in shape. Tasty, hot set that is loaded with great twists, turns and playing that just doesn't quit. Open your ears in this direction if you need some hot stuff to fill them.
EVIE LADIN/Float Downstream: Whew, here's a high point for contemporary folk/lo-fi! When you have Mike Marshall and Lloyd Maines both on your team, this has got to be something special. As you listen to it, you'll think of a dozen things this reminds you of but strangely, you won't be able to put your finer on any of them. A sure winner for contemporary folk fans that have an affection for old timey vibes, this is no throwback and this is no desecration. It's contemporary down home music at the top of it's game. There's been a lot of entries in this genre lately, and many have had a lot on the ball, but this one simply hits it out of the park. Well done.
Volume 33/Number 100
February 9, 2010
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2010 Midwest Record
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