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JOHN McCUTCHEON/This Land-Woody Guthrie's America: When you've lasted 35 years as a successful folkie, you have the right to call yourself an icon. So, one of our fave contemporary folk icons decides to step into some mighty big footprints by jumping the gun and putting out the first record to celebrate Woody Guthrie's 100th birthday, 60 years after he wrote his last song. With helping hands from other folk icons, stars and mvps, the new arrangements, the heartfelt emotion and the over all good vibes make this a must hear folk set. The invention and innovation alone are worth the price of admission and McCutcheon deserves high praise for taking some American classical music that could have languished in the dust and brought it home and brought it forward. Killer stuff throughout.

DANNY CLICK/Life is a Good Place: It's not derivative when it comes from your heart. A heartland rocker that grew up in a small town in Indiana and relocated to Austin with his shredding guitar licks, Click has learned while he earned. He now surrounds himself with the crème of the session and side cats that know how to rock it at the top. A worthy set to flow in the Mellencamp/Springsteen wake, Click has got an ear for the mainstream that people think no longer exists but has really been disenfranchised. If reality shows don't do it for you, this is the reality you've been waiting to check into. Well done.

EVAN COBB/Falling Up: A fairly recent Northwestern music grad packed his bags and headed from Chicago to Nashville where he's grabbed all kinds of musical chairs in and out of jazz, but this recording finds him returning to his jazz roots in take no prisoners/no holds barred style. Showing how downtown sounds when it's not in New York, Cobb and his pals, including Jeff Coffin, serve it up crisp, angular and heady. A delightful, left leaning jazzbo romp that opens the ears nicely.

TRIBECASTAN/New Deli: Strap on your sense of humor now or go home. A grand bunch of musical jokers, comprising some of the heavy duty jazz and world cats in New York, launch into another journey through a cosmos of their own making as they serve a kaleidoscopic run through a world jazz fusion of their own making. The kind of stuff many attempt but in a place where few succeed, this is sophisticated listening that borrows as much from Raymond Scott as it does Hossam Ramzy. It's a musical literacy that hip tastes hunger for. Fun stuff for the open eared looking for something they won't find on "X Factor". Check it out.

MIDNITE/Kings Bell: Back in the day when Island was really hitting it with Bob Markey, they did give back. They might not have thrown money around recklessly, but they were recording kids in the island pretty fiercely and there were loads of toaster records that white kids who said they liked reggae were baffled by when they tried digging into them. This pan island set is right in that back street tradition. Getting out the word like the early, political rappers, this is a contemporary crew that's still trying to curry the same message and let people know which end is up, away from the beaches and the rum drinks. Heady stuff that really bangs a Gong, this ain't stuff for good timing tourists. However, if you're the Occupy kind of person, you'll be sure to get it.

KG OMULO/Ayah Ye! Moving Train: Contemporary Arfofunketeer stirs up his own brand of world beat as he fuses and genre blends soul from across the world and across the times into his own funky, political, human blend that heats up the dance floor as well as the mind. The young and pissed off will appreciate this more than old Marley fans who have moved along the spectrum and down the line. High octane, hard core stuff that isn't shy about hitting hard and drawing blood. A wild ride.

AMY HART/Congratulations: Pomo blues rock? Moving from Chicago to Nashville with her warped little girl voice in tow, Hart spits and snarls just like the blues queens in Chicago she apprenticed under, but takes it out to the suburbs in a positively intriguing way. It's crazy stuff that blows open new doors to a fun house full of mirrors bending new directions. She sounds like a gal just daring you to get over on her because he knows you won't. Check it out.

LISA MILLS/Tempered in Fire: Couple of strange things. We've been walking around saying "La Booga Rooga" and wondering what happened to Andy Fairweather Low--and he turns up on this record. Other thing. Warner England just put out a five cd collection of Bonnie Raitt's later 70s albums. This album answers the question of what Raitt would have sounded like if she hadn't gone into a pop vein after her third album. Hell, even Junior Wells is on Mills' resume. So there you have it, if you want more of "Give It Up or Let Me Go", the wait was only 40 years but this bluesy Southern gal that writes them as well as sings them has delivered the goods for you. Everything you ever loved about Muscle Shoals and blue eyed soul is here on proud display. A great time throughout.

Volume 35/Number 13
November 13, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2011 Midwest Record

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