EMILY DUFF/Razor Blade Smile: Since this is all an illusion business anyway, if Duff isn't the tough broad she portends to be, sit back and enjoy the fantasy this hard core down home gal has to offer. Mixing her New York raising with Muscle Shoals living before coming back home to hang with Eric Ambel, this is a smoking dose of insurgent country the way it should be. Any of the genres you could pigeon hole this into subtracts the candy ass side of that genre from her ledger. With Emily and Eric pairing like Lucinda and Gurf, this set let's you look forward rather than backward. Hot.
MURRAY McLAUCHLAN/Hourglass: The gypsy boy really changes things up for his 20th album. A Canadian national treasure on the order of Gordon Lightfoot or Ian Tyson, he hasn't forsaken his folkie roots here but he is addressing social concerns. Not needing Western Union to send a message, the 73 year old addresses the politics his contemporaries did 50 years ago and he does it here with no dust on him, attacking contemporary problems. A bag breaker and mind blower of a set from an old pro far from going gently into that good night.
(True North 777)
TIFFANY POLLACK & CO./Bayou Liberty: A white gal with the blues is getting baptized in a swamp on the cover and that ought to tip you off on what to expect from this Nawlins mainstay that has earth mother written all over her. Hard hitting white blues that never strays far from the real tradition, Pollack took it to Memphis, like so many before, and comes out with the kind of classic that not so many before did. Hot stuff.
(Nola Blue 15)
ADAM SCHULTZ/Soulful Distancing: A white boy with the blues from Pennsylvania hies it off to the land of the real deal as he does his snaky, guitar slinging tyro best. Showing smart chops at turning in originals, he doesn't have to rely on frat party covers to make his point. A tasty set wise beyond it's years, this cat is totally a real mutha for ya. Check it out.
(Blue Heart 13)
MARK CAMERON/Back from the Edge: After recording a live set to show they mean business when they do business, Cameron and his bunch of white cats with the blues show there continues to be no dust on them as they choogle along through the night like a real night train. Distilling their live sound in the studio, they are here to party and that's their message. A antidote to the stuff that gives you the blues, this kicks it all in the ass on it's way to the curb. Well done.
FABIO BANEGAS/Bottirolo-Complete Piano Works 2-Nocturnes: The classical police continue to lose their grip on the taste monopoly as ‘new' repertoire continues to find it's way out of dusty libraries and into waiting ears. The solo pianist, a protégé of the composer, makes this recital inspired by the composer's night music a special treat. The playing is often light as filigree and deceptively simple, but once it weaves it's web---watch out. As an added bonus to bring newbies into the tent, Trekkie fans will enjoy George Takei doing some spoken word along the way. A nifty package of new directions powered by world premiere recordings..
(HNH/Grand Piano 871)
MIKE ZITO/Resurrection: Does it mean anything in particular when this white boy with the blues decides to do covers, he does both J.J. Cale and Eric Clapton? Hmmm. The first call guitar slinger shows why he's been setting the world on fire for several years as he cranks it up for a blues rock extravaganza that runs on high octane all the way. A real dazzler that can't be held back, this is a high water mark for the genre. Well done.
(Gulf Coast 9031)
WALTER EGAN/Fascination: An updated look at some classic yacht rock anyone? The "Magnet & Steel" cat that rubbed elbows with the masters of the genre back in the day hasn't lost his California boy edge as the years have gone by. The kids will probably say ‘meh' but the geezers will be glad to shake off 45 years as they shake it up to this.
(Red Steel 9269)
THOR/Alliance: It's not that Thor has gone soft, it's that he's rounded up a smoking crew of metal heads and together they make melodic hard rock acknowledging how tastes have changed over the years. Still a fount of head bang, if anyone can rouse today's disaffected youth, it's this aggregation with the know how. The core thunder thud is still mightily in tact.
MOURNING NOISE: Danzig drummer Steve Zing comes to grips with the fact that he doesn't have to compete with his younger self when all he has to do is reissue stuff from back in his pre-Danzig day. Mixing outtakes, with eps, unreleased material and live radio concerts, you get the real picture of what his DIY punk days were all about when he really was a DIY punk living the life. This stuff still makes it's point, hard core style.
ROBERT BILLARD & the Cold Calls/Stop: A debut recording from a geezer that's spent the last 30 years splitting his time between running away with the rock and roll circus and being a grown up. Music finally won out. He's got the sleeves, the attitude and great stentorian voice to power his songs. Blues rock with a modern edge, he's a lot more edgy that all that grey hair would leave you thinking. Racking up lots of positive notice in his ‘spare' time, he's conquered Canada and now has his sights set beyond. Engaging the listener in active participation, the guitar slinging, the story telling and the guest list on board here to fill out the sound make this a can't miss set. Easily hot stuff throughout.
ROY HARGROVE-MULGREW MILLER/In Harmony: Once again, we find Resonance Records treating us to a double cd that was never meant to be by some august cats playing with energy that needed to be captured. While both the players have departed, this is stuff that will never leave us. Pairing trumpet and piano over two nights, this is playing by pros with absolutely no dust on it or them. Reminiscent of the kind of live dates you could expect and enjoy from Fantasy's front line cats after they died, there's nothing to do here but put the discs on play and let them play. Stylish simplicity that makes you sad you weren't there, this is a set of memories you can enjoy over and over. Killer set.
Volume 45/Number 230
June 18, 2021
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL. 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2021 Midwest Record
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