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GUY PENROD/Breathe Deep: Not since Jon Gibson wanted his label to pay him has there been such a seismic shift in gospel music until Penrod took flight as the lead voice of the Gaither Vocal Band, even if his records are still coming out on Gaither. Recorded in Nashville with a bunch of Nashville pickers that know the sound and their stuff, this comes across as an amiable Nashville record by a guy that looks a little too old to be a fresh starter but has as solid shot as long as his fan base comes along. Delightfully solid set that doesn't hit you over the head with a cross but has a load of nicely delivered spiritual messages regardless. A well done curve ball that comes right down the middle in the end. This guy knows his stuff and it's going to be an easy to blaze new trail in the end.

KERRY PATRICK CLARK/On the Road to Human Being: When a guy builds a real studio in his basement in this age of recording to a hard disc, you at least have to see if he's making real music. Very much an under the radar kind of neo-folkie, he's great at making personal, back porch kind of music that might not be hit bound but gets passed around almost reverently. A personable performer that has a good knack with a pen as well, Clark is almost the kind of act you like to keep secret and then chastise everyone for not knowing about him. Solid stuff for songwriter ears looking for that new kick.

MARC BLACK/Pictures of the Highway: So, does Sloan Wainwright show up here because Black is reminiscent of the great 70s quirky singer/songwriters that could have gone farther if they didn't manage to piss off their labels in headstrong power struggles? The kind of cat that's been cleaning up all kinds of under the radar awards because he richly deserves them, this is right in the pocket of the avalanche of great folk/rock-singer/songwriter stuff that was coming out before the disco eruption came along. A throwback only in it's vibe, this is an in the moment set otherwise that adult ears will get and love. Well done.

Volume 33/Number 267
July 27, 2010
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2010 Midwest Record

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