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SHANYTOWN: Their last name might be Morris but they are the nephews of the various Van Zant brothers that wrote the book on southern rock a generation or two ago. With the bloodlines showing family and local pride, they take southern rock to the next, contemporary, level of the game. The roots are kept in tact but the branches are going where they will. With as much music in their blood as anyone whose last name is Ellington, Sturgis doesn't have to worry about finding headliners for a good long time. The south is rising again. Hot stuff.

GEORGE BOUCHARD GROUP/Listen to Your Dreams: A career music educator that didn't even pick up his sax until he was at a point in life where you are thought to know what you want to do with your life, Bouchard shows the last 4 decades since then have been well spent. With a sound that sounds like California jazz, but from a little farther up the coast, his appreciative audience on this live date makes it clear this is a name you should get to know and that's it's more than time for him to step out of the background. Utterly lovely sitting down, lyrical jazz, Bouchard's program of originals makes it clear that he's a jazzbo for all seasons and that he's been carrying around the right stuff in his old kit bag for way too long. Well done.

SUE MASKALERIS/Bring Nothing But Your Heart: If we weren't living in an indie world, Maskaleris would make you shake your head and wonder how she had been hidden for so long. A multi field threat, she writes/sings/leads and has this incredible ability to put it all out, front and center, in sterling fashion. Indulging in her love of Brazilian jazz, this set reminds you of a bunch of different ones but nothing you can really put your finger on. That's because it's all original. Keeping you on the edge of your seat just to hear what rabbit she'll put out of her hat next in the furtherance of Brazilian or jazz or both, this set is such a gasser you just won't believe it. Not wanting to be labeled as just another chick singer, she's endeavored hard and thorough to be so much more. And she has succeeded mightily. And if you really need some penumbra effect to pull you into the tent, she provides lot of that as well. Just a killer set with loads of heart that'll jump start yours. A winner.

SARA HICKMAN/Shine: Elektra treated Hickman like doody 20 years ago and now Hickman is the Texas music ambassador to the world and Elektra only exists when they trot out Jac Holzman to take a bow. Beware the Hickman curse! On this outing, we might be encountering a Hickman that 20 years older than who she was in the 1990's, but there's no dust on her. The sound and lyrics are a killer bag breaker that finds her more interested in being in the moment and there's nothing about the sound or fury that feels age inappropriate. The set was well planned but the execution feels spontaneous, loaded with a freshness that will carry well into next year. Hickman continues to be the good old gal we always loved and so much more. Killer stuff from a vet that shatters what the whole singer/songwriter thing is about and has loads of fun with the pieces.

BOMBAY DUB ORCHESTRA/Tales from the Grand Bazaar: Here's a nu world beat gasser for you. This duo loves all kind of stuff from all over the world and has shown this much in their past efforts whether for themselves or for others. This time out, they take Istanbul to Jamaica for an utterly sinister sounding sound that could exist in a shadowy world of ancient markets and drug dealers enticing you with opium and earthly delights. With a solo stringed instrument sounding strangely like a Bollywood version of lonesome Texas guitar kicking things off, the armchair traveler will be loaded with wild travelogues to retell by the time this set is done with him. Certainly not recommended for anyone wanting team written, 3 minute pop songs, this is something the adventurous listener will prothelize for quite a bit. One of the wildest rides you can take. Hot stuff.

BILLY THOMPSON/Friend: Smart and solidly played white boy, guitar slinging blues for fans of a certain age. With the deck stacked by loading it with players that helped create the sound for fans of a certain age, along with their versatile skills that compliment the proceedings, this high octane, high energy set is a must for getting the party started. Not content to fall into one particular groove and ride it to death, Thompson and company are pros and shaking it up. This stuff is a stone cold blaster by a real blaster.

PIERRE DE GAILLANDE/Bad Reputation V. 2: While everyone acknowledges Serge Gainsbourgh as the patron spiv of French pop, everyone except deGaillande has ignored Georges Brassens as the Bukowski of French pop, and now here comes volume two. Translating and adapting the original lyrics from French to English, deGaillande is more Mort Shuman than Rod McKuen, looking more at the spirit of the music than getting it on the pop charts. Darkly humorous throughout, this is a must for anyone that enjoys wicked humor, or even alt.comedy. A real palette cleanser of a trip through the back alleys, this wild ride will keep you not believing what you just heard. This stuff starts where classic Tom Waits ends. Check it out.

QUARTET SAN FRANCISCO/Pacific Premieres: Once again this string quartet shows they have much more in the way of balls than something you would ordinarily stereotype as wine and cheese music. Commissioning new works by Gordon Goodwin, Patrick Williams and Vince Mendoza, the crew attacks (actually, not the right word to use here) the works by a soundtrack pro, a big band jazzbo and disco tent pole bringing at all back to base by the time the close thing s out with a new work by the group's leader. Taking everything you ever loved about violin jazz and feeding it steroids, this is first class sitting down music of the future here now. A wicked killer date throughout.

Volume 37/Number 332
September 29, 2013
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2013 Midwest Record

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