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KIM ROBINS/Leave the Porch Light On: The plucky Hoosier didn't let the pandemic slow her down, in fact it amped her up as a lot of fellow bluegrass travelers that might not have been available otherwise had a little time on their hands. Voila, an all star, high octane date that really has more bounce to the ounce. Feeling very much like a career defining set, Robins and company take things over the top issuing a first rate set where the heart and emotion can't be contained. Totally the real deal.
(Pinecastle 1251)

LORRAINE JORDAN & Carolina Road/I Can Go to Them: Is it the Walmart parking lot effect? Hard core bluegrass gospel doesn't seem as scary as it used to. Ah, prairie poop, look what we've been through. Jordan and the gang play a note perfect religious set in which all the group members pick a gospel song that pays tribute to their mammas. It's something that really comes together nicely. The spirit is treated well here and this is what you want as your co-pilot on a back road late at night. It's a vibe you have to experience to understand. Check it out.
(Pinecastle 1257)

DEEPER SHADE OF BLUE/20: Celebrating 20 years of plying their trade, this mainstream bluegrass crew kicks things off in fine style. A perfect example of one of those bands you see unexpectedly at a roadside festival that grabs you by the lapels, politely, but refuses to let go. Pleasant and pleasing, their comfy sound is a welcome tonic for stressed out times.
(Pinecastle 1258)

DARYL MOSLEY/Small Town Dreamer: This bass player that writes ‘em as well as sings ‘em captures a low key peacefulness loaded with deceptive simplicity that so many modern folkies try for but can't reach in their quest to be uber hip. And that's why he keeps hitting it out of the park each time at bat. This is a magnificent way to present a trip through the good ol' days without being mawkish or falsely sentimental. A real winner that goes beyond the bluegrass fence post line into your heart.
(Pinecastle 1261)

ANDREW CRAWFORD/Lonesome Season: A back porch MVP that's shared stages with some of the best they have to offer south of the Mason-Dixon line, Crawford finally gets to step out with his solo debut. Powered by well burnished chops, this is like tripping over a first Stuart Duncan or Darrell Scott record. Super tasty and firing on all eight, he has the luxury of playing what he wants rather than worrying about pleasing consultants and this proves how heart wins most every time. Hot stuff.
(Bonfire 5021)

LIVINGSTON TAYLOR/The Middle Years (1978-1996) Semi-wryly calling these his grown up recordings because he had a mortgage and kids, the guileless Capricorn records that stood on charm were replaced by shiny pop that could pay the bills and draw favorable comparisons to brother James. Easily compatible with the roll off records Full Moon was putting by Eagles associates while waiting for the next Eagles record, this is some shiny soft rock that still stands the test of standing up well for after hours ease. Rubbing elbows with some top cats, Taylor proved he could be his own man and bring home his own bacon. Solid stuff.
(Whistling Dog 1008)

MARK ROGERS/Rhythm of the Roads: An 80s guitarist eventually driven mad and out of the biz by the wall of synth pop, Rogers found his footing again around 2015 and has taken this time to make a sweet folk rock set that could have easily descended into a bunch of bitching but something about being in Virginia has cleansed his soul and given him the goods to face what's left of the future head on. There's a lite message in the lite rock and it makes a great case of giving some enlightenment without hitting you in the head with it. Well done.

SUE FOLEY/Pinky's Blues: Maybe you shouldn't listen to the latest from one of Austin's hard core guitar slinging gals unless you do some razor toting on the way to hitting that play button. With the ambience of pandemic induced claustrophobia informing the sonics, this sounds like it came right from a border town road house made by blues soaked blues players way after hours. The amps sound like they were found in the back room of the Aristocrat Lounge and the smoke and sweat never stops coming. Because mama don't like no mess, count on her to clean up at the awards again with this outing. Smoking!
(Stony Plain 1430)

MANNY KELLOUGH/Speaking of Jazz: The long time jazzbo that's led his own band for the last 20 years pulls the sum total of his jazzy rocking years together on this trip mostly down memory lane rolled out in fine style. With the just right ambience that captures the past without reveling in it, this is a return to the high class sound the biz was trying to fill nascent suburban rec rooms with back in the day. Well played as well, this easy going, easily enjoyable date lets you sit back while it does all the work for you. Solid.

JAN DALEY/Home for Christmas: A classy lady of a certain age that doesn't feel the need to compete with her grand daughter delivers a straight up vocal tour de force on holiday staples played and presented in fine, grown up style. A welcome set that shines with it's simplicity and emphasis on chops, it has all the hallmarks of a holiday classic in the making. Killer stuff.

Volume 45/Number 338
October 9, 2021
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL. 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2021 Midwest Record

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