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JONATHAN EDWARDS/My Love Will Keep: So, through the onslaught of disco, new wave, hair metal, grunge, alt and rhythmic, that guy that anyone under 30 probably thinks of as ‘that guy that had that song on some 70s anthology' continues to be the poster boy for doing what you love and letting the money follow. The perfect embodiment of a working musician, around the time of "Sailboat", Edwards probably knew his days as a rock star were over but that didn't stop him from continuing to be a leading light in acoustic music inspiring some and enchanting others. Still running with the heart of a kid while proudly wearing all the miles he's traveled on his face, Edwards is right on the money throughout with an upbeat, high octane acoustic music session that celebrates the genre in fine style. Folkie with a folk rock edge, Edwards brings the tonic for anyone that wants some real back porch music played from the heart. A winner throughout.

BEATA PATER/Blue: The Polish jazz vocalist changes it up for her second release by reinventing scat singing for the pomo/electronic age. Art hipsters will want to make this art chick one of their own although they can hold her but they can never have her as she knows how to evanescently slip and slide away when you think you are looking at her but are really looking in another direction. You probably won't get it but it's sure to catch your girl friend by surprise. Listen and learn.

RICHARD NELSON LARGE ENSEMBLE/Pursuit: The good professor slings his jazz guitar as leader of a big band charting a course for the future of big band toe to toe with the other contemporary luminaries that are moving the form forward. A solid sitting down session, if you prefer your jazz to mingle with art, you won't be disappointed here.

NY JAZZ INITIATIVE/Mad About Thad: One of the great big band movers and shakers, Thad Jones always tended to the cerebral side, even when he wasn't doing sitting down charts. The gang here doesn't want him to be forgotten and does a great job of capturing his spirit as well has buffing it up to be more mainstream so more can get in on the memories. A smart crew of players that know the ropes pull this together in fine fashion making a jazzbo tribute/remembrance that's a living, breathing set that really cooks. Pulled from his deep catalog, all we can say is thanks for the memories. Hot stuff.

LIGHTNIN' MALCOLM/Renegade: Minimalist blues/rock that doesn't seem as far out as it might have a few years ago. Stripping things down to a power duo, the guitarist and his drummer put it all into the songs and state their case nicely. This is the kind of set that the Black Keys are a jumping off point to go from. It certainly has a lot of renegade spirit.

SAMANTHA FISH-CASSIE TAYLOR-DANI WILDE/Girls With Guitars: Suppose The Runaways were for real and just a few years older. That's what these three guitar slinging ladies sound like, even though that sound never happened in the first place. Slinky, snaky and sexy, they might be daughters of the blues but thy know how to rock and it has real edge as opposed to a bunch of game show winners being told what to do by a hot shot producer. Fun stuff that really gets the blood flowing in a way Spice Girls couldn't. Well done.

35 YEARS OF STONY PLAIN/various: Stony Plain and Sugar Hill started around the same time, covering pretty much the same ground, both flying the in the face of Rounder and Flying Fish. All these years later, Stony Plain is the only one still standing as a feisty indie. Being in the right pace at the right time to pick up great acts cast aside by various recessions, the Plain celebrates the 25th anniversary of it's first pat on the back anthology with a double cd-one DVD package highlighting a bunch of great acts doing various forms of roots music, pretty much all with an organic bent. Simply a smashing collection that really makes your ears perk up and pay attention.

ELLEN CHERRY/(New) Years: Folkie singer/songwriter art chick that you think you'd like as your girl friend but want to get off the roller coaster once you realize she's not pulling any punches. Probably much more fun to relate to her over the digital divide, Cherry is no poseur as she's a hard working, working musician with the impressive resume to prove it, still...how many fun house rides can you handle in a life time. Certainly one of the ones to come closest to being the ‘next Joni Mitchell' than many others, this is a must for lo-fi aficionados that want the real deal. Solid all the way through.

Volume 34/Number 193
May 13, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2011 Midwest Record

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