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RUDRESH MAHANTHAPPA/Hero Trio: In which we find the inside photo showing that the sax man isn't content to let the girls have all the super hero fun these days. We also find him in the company of two old pals as they help him through his back pages in his first set of covers, paying tribute to his roots. Not wasting a progressive note if he doesn't have to, he finds a way to mix June Carter, Ira Gershwin and Charlie Parker together seamlessly. Those that know real skronk from wannabe skronk will know this is the real deal.
(Whirlwind 4760)

BASSEL & THE SUPERNATURALS/Smoke & Mirrors: No hocus pocus here, this is a solid set of modern funk that goes the distance. Hitting hard and often right out of the box, it's loaded with Chicago muscularity and knows how to keep punching. A first class party on a platter.

SARA SCHOENBECK-WAYNE HORVITZ/Cell Walk: Working together for a few decades before pairing down to this duo, this duo knows how to ply their jazzbo chops in an avant chamber way as opposed to just laying out an array of art jazz for you to pick through. Eggheaded without the usual snootiness that goes with so much of the genre, this comes across as a fine recital with a point of view that you can get behind. There's only two of them, but they know how to fill your head with sound.
(Songlines 1631)

FURIOUS SEASONS/La Fonda: Finding the fulcrum between folk, pop and roots, this trio isn't firmly any of them but they are sincere enough that you know they aren't just roots carpetbaggers. Right in the pocket for any folkie or singer/songwriter fan looking for that heart and soul in the bytes, this is the set sure to take them there. Often low key and a touch doleful, it will not depress you along the way.
(Stone Garden)

JACK RUSSELL'S GREAT WHITE/Once Bitten Acoustic Bytes: The babes that loved this as hair band music 35 years ago might be a touch older now, but bet you can reach in and find the little girls that still understand. Acoustic versions of the classic album's tracks show everyone might have slowed down a touch, but that's really ok. Now fans can really enjoy the music that was hiding in the music as they take their grand kids to the mall parking lot summer fests and talk about what was.
(Deadline 1598)

JOE LOUIS WALKER/Blues Comin' On: Perennial guitar slinging blues bad boy shows he has no limit on the jams he can kick out. Rounding up a crew of folkies, stoners, rockers, funksters and more, it all comes together in a modern sound powered by guitar crunch and smoking soul. In case you were wondering, music like this is how you get to be a perennial award winner for over 50 years. Hot stuff.
(Cleopatra Blues 171)

FRED RANDOLPH/Mood Walk: A solid jazzbo throughout, it took Randolph a while to settle on bass as his ax, but once he did, he unleashed some seriously furious jazzbo chops. A driving, straight ahead set, he's inspired by jaguars and even though this isn't an impressionistic set, you can pretty much feel it. Pure, straight up , high octane stuff that'll really put a tiger, er jaguar, in your tank.
(Creative Spirit 4)

DeFRANCE/No Longer a stranger in Town: Who knew where the Belfast Cowboy's influences would wind up once he scattered his seeds to the wind, but play this side by side with "Hymns to the Silence" and get back to me. The ‘fusion' worked then and it works now in the next generations' hands. If you like alt.country and Van Morrison, this is really an album you've been waiting for. Well done.

DARYL MOSLEY/Secret of Life: Looking more like a guy that you'd see eating by himself at Cracker Barrel than a cat that's won everything you can win from the back porch, and then some, he kicks it off here with a great song about looking back that's sure to resonate with everyone except the most narcissistic. And he goes on to do a great job from there. A back porch set all the way, there's enough deceptive genre splicing here to keep you from labeling it with easy descriptors. Killer stuff custom made of any fan of top shelf songwriting.
(Pinecastle 1241)

ROE FAMILY SINGERS/Roll Up the Rug: If you know what Elko is, why haven't you grabbed up this record yet? These certified shitkickers from Minnesota know how to write old timey sounding modern gospel songs, serve up Sons of the Pioneers sounds, honky tonk, classic country, uber classic country and more---all beautifully done with no dust on any of it. This is western culture on parade at it's finest.
(Bonfire 5016)

Volume 44/Number 197
May 15, 2020
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2020 Midwest Record

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