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CHRISTINE SMITH/Meet Me on the Far Side of a Star: You can be as indie, pomo or modern as you want to be, especially when your record is born in Austin and Brooklyn, but a mutual love of tunes almost 100 years old with a conspirator will find you right in the cabaret groove--even if it's a cabaret on Mars. An indie mainstay, Smith connects with herself here and serves it up from the soul, not from that place the producer is telling her to go. She's got some soul to her. A delightfully intimate set that connects with the listener in a big way.
(Foxy Loxy 1)

BISCUIT MILLER & the Mix/Chicken Grease: Miller easily proves that chicken grease is the blues/soul version of schmaltz, a concept he probably found out on the streets of Chicago as he worked his way toward being a recognized, blues award winner. Fun, funky stuff that we're glad to see come from the mic of a local. The good times are roiling here as this stew of blues, funk and soul is a gasser.
(American Showplace 7931)

FARM HANDS/Memories of Home: A nice, solid traditional bluegrass crew kick things off by taking Mac Davis back home in such a convincing way you just know you're in good hands here. A note perfect bunch that play with real feeling delivering all the goods a solid, mainstream bluegrass set should. Well done and right in the pocket.
(Pinecastle 1233)

GARRETT NEWTON BAND/Bluegrass Band: Mixing A.P. Carter and Thin Lizzy and singing about having to get home to see a dieing mother but having to finish the show first? This is great stuff. Subversive traditional bluegrass, you can tap your toe and enjoy the grooves but be sure to listen closely to what you're listening to. Trad bluegrass is running into the future and it's a nice mash up that works throughout. Hot stuff.
(Pinecastle 1227)

WILLIAMSON BRANCH/Classy Sassy Bluegrassy: Now you'd expect this family band to hit you over the head with a lot of Jesus---but they don't, even with solid family values at their core. Right in the pocket in playing, singing and writing, this bunch has an obvious telepathy going that really let's them soar. A very tasty mainstream outing that comes close to sailing past the genre limits and into new realms.
(Pinecastle 1234)

JESSE McREYNOLDS & Friends/Play The Bull Mountain Moonshiners Way: Coming in with the kind of mostly instrumental set that would have been perfectly at home on Rounder or Flying Fish a few decades back, this cat whose been at it over 70 years and is still vital, takes it back to when his grandfather was one of the fathers of modern country music. Talk about a legacy! Talk about living up to that legacy. A gold standard back porch/organic music date, even if there's no one hollering ‘do si do', the music is so visual, you can see the dancers doing it. Killer stuff for any true fan of true music from the earth.
(Pinecastle 1232)

Volume 43/Number 343
October 9, 2019
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2019 Midwest Record

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