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DARRYL HOLTER/West Bank Gone: We dug his self released debut last year, but this time around, in addition to his compelling originals, he covers John Koerner in a tip of the hat to his Twin City folk/blues roots. Very much in the spirit of the scene that spawned Dylan, Koerner and others you never heard of but would have enjoyed, this crack singer/songwriter makes you wonder why he flew under the radar for so long. An accomplished set that will reassure you mature songwriting is alive and well, this is first class adult, contemporary pop that raises the bar and changes the game. A winner throughout.

CIRCE LINK/California Kid: Is Liz Phair nostalgia in the air? I thought this was Phair trying on a new skin as Link looks like her, poses naked behind her guitar like her, lets it all hang out from behind in the inside liner and certainly sounds like a riot grrl from the sound of things. Wild left leaning stuff and certainly more progressive than you would expect from someone that has recorded for Starbucks. Clearly a wild left field ride for those who like their ladies untamed and wild without repent. This will ride well on top of those charts.

CONRAD HERWIG/The Latin Side of Herbie Hancock: Herwig has really struck a nerve and a gold mine with his "Latin" series as the first three were all Grammy nominated and this new one is sure to stay on track. His band is so crack that you really don't have to give shout outs to the guest stars except for marketing reasons. Hancock and Latin are a natural in Herwig's hands and trombone making this snappy outing something you don't have to be a jazzbo to enjoy. Easily the kind of set that you might have to be dead or deaf not to enjoy. Dig it.

KENNY WERNER/No Beginning No End: Werner never had a problem with being an MVP that flew under the radar, but when you unexpectedly lose a teen age daughter, you can be sure that is going to stir emotions you hoped you never had to feel. A tribute to her life, this work is bringing Werner acclaim from his peers and Guggenheim awards as well as an outlet and a lasting memorial to an event that can only break a parent's heart. More like a classical work than a jazz collection, this is deeply moving, ear opening and simply an important work of major proportions. Sitting down jazz has a new standard to be measured against.

ELISABETH LOHNINGER/Songs of Love and Destruction: A chanteuse for the next wave, Lohninger tackles the oldies as well as her personal oldies that reach into Joni Mitchell's 40 year old song bag--and there's some originals as well. With a bunch of first call jazzbos bringing up the rear, this is a cooled out sound that any respectable down tempo lounge would know how to use to the fullest. Practically a theatrical listening experience, this is top drawing sitting down, left of center jazz vocalizing.

LUCKY TOMBLIN BAND/Honky Tonk Merry Go Round: The Austin All Stars are back in the saddle again with Lloyd Maines taking a break from his alt.country duties to take a turn in a producer's chair that fits him like a glove. Covering them goodle songs and adding originals that fit right in, this is a classic Texas dance hall Saturday night, without the chicken wire protecting the band between you and them. Gimme an ah-ha, a cold one and everything else it takes to make the good times roll. This crew started out at such a high level it's hard to imagine that they keep getting better, but this set has a slickness that works without seeming slick. This is a fine example of dead, solid perfect western swing and more that simply cooks throughout. Hot stuff served well done.

RAHIM ALHAJ/Little Earth: This 2 cd set is why we don't follow politics. Ajhaj is an asylum seeker from the war torn part of the world who wound up in New Mexico simply due to bureaucratic screw ups. Somehow from there, he has managed to attract the attention of a world class crew of musos from all musical spheres and call them to his side to create a killer world music session that might start out in his lost homeland but finishes up a million miles away from strife of any sort. World beat like you've never heard it before, it's mostly sitting down listening that doesn't come with any pretensions, just an open heart that will draw you in. First class all the way.

MISSISSIPPI SHEIKS TRIBUE CONCERT-LIVE IN VANCOUVER: Well, this is simply a no brainer. The great tribute album of last year also had a live concert to go with it, and this is the DVD memorializing the event. With a load of great players on stage, who might know each other but aren't often in the same room, kicking the joyous noise into gear, anyone that needs an audio/video reminder of it, or anyone that missed out on the audio only release, will have a special time here as these pros deliver the goods on some "classic" material. Seriously, this kind of stuff is a once in a lifetime thing and any real, adult music fan will have a grand time on this journey through the past, as lead by some old friends. Check this sweetie out.

Volume 33/Number 291
August 20, 2010
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2010 Midwest Record

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