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MICHAEL KOPPY/Ashmore's Store: The test tube spawn of Hank Williams Jr and Bob Dylan, Koppy delivers a most ambitious multi media work about the South's return to glory, some day. A highly cinematic record, with one song clocking in a half an hour, this is drawn on a store house of living. At first blush, it might not seem that this is something that shouldn't be tackled by anyone but eggheads since it seems like a dissertation, it's history and the future distilled into a country/pop record. Like a professorial Johnny Cash, Koppy delves into something unexpected that just plain blows you away. Occupying a genre all on it's own, this is a view of America even Americana artists have forgotten/ignored.

CLINTON GREGORY/Too Much Ain't Enough: An unabashedly proud old line Nashvillian that's been away from the spotlight for almost 20 years comes back with a pre-Garth down-home country record that gets personal, goes to the honky tonk, laments the passing of the old days and hits all the right notes that country did before the mall developers discovered cheap land in tertiary markets. Toss out that sippy cup, grab a can coozie to fool the cop and fire this one up. Real country for real people.

MIGHTY SAM McCLAIN/Too Much Jesus (Not Enough Whiskey): A journeyman bluesman who came to controlling his own destiny a little late in the game continues to make up for lost time as he assumes his position as one of the few remaining elder statesmen of the blues. With a title that's inside out of what you'd expect it to mean, McClain is smack dab in the middle of his comfort zone turning out some soulful bluesy R&B that's friendly even in the middle of it's most messagy. Working it out on a set of al originals, giving up the juice and getting older haven't slowed him down a bit. A solid bet for real soul fans.

HOLUS-BOLUS/Pine Barrens: With members of the Hot Cup crew hanging around, this progressive jazzbo pays tribute to where he grew up and you can almost feel the Soprano's associates chasing that commie hunk through the woods in the opening track--in a weird way. Room clearing jazzbo hipsters, you know who you are and this stuff is for you.

KATHERINE YOUNG/After Party V. 2--Releasing Bound Water from Green material: Art chick minimalism made on an arts council dime. Gallery openings, anyone?

AMIKAEYLA/Being in Love: C'mon, this is a Hallmark movie, isn't it? Your pop played bass with James Brown while your mom was a doctor that worked on sickle cell. You wanted to be a singer and grew up to kick it off with a tribute to Eva Cassidy that leads you to recording with Trio Globo, the Escovedos and other top shelf luminaries. Because of your DIY nature, you're inspired by one of Ella Fitzgerald's one-for-me records that wasn't driven by hits but was inspired by quality causing the requisite ripples nonetheless. More jazz vocalist than chanteuse, Amikaeyla knows how to serve it up 60s style without the church basement overtones. A real treat for jazz vocal fans that like it with that undefined island/world vibe that's always a welcome harbor to pull into. Well done.

HOME-Gift of Music/various: New York based, Japanese born jazz impresario Rio Sakairi, touched by the travesty that hit her homeland last year, put the arm on a load of jazz talents in the big apple under her penumbra for a charity event album to help those whose lives were upended. With a strong art chick ethic, many of your fave up and coming and left of center jazzbos deliver the goods on set that has that kind of haiku feeling in the proceedings. Good stuff for a good cause that's decidedly left of center and should do quite well for the art/jazz fan.

Volume 35/Number 309
August 25, 2012
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2012 Midwest Record

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