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FABRIZIO POGGI & Chicken Mambo/Spaghetti Juke Joint: Too honkingly beautiful to be believed! There seems to be a growing cadre of Euro musos that have a killer knack for serving up Americana just right. Poggi, an award winner that has had no problem with jumping in with both feet with a lot of the Woodstock brigade of Americana, gives up amped up traditional blues with his hometown paisanni and the results are immaculate and soulful. Giving the whole thing a proper kick in the pants so everyone can join in on his version of Little Milton's ‘The Blues is Alright', there just has to be something wrong with you if you pass up an invitation to this party. Killer stuff throughout.

ASHLEY DANEMAN/Beauty Indestructible: I hate it when memory fails. In the wake of Joni Mitchell's turn to jazz, there was some schmatta queen that popped up doing jazz etc who was a real should have been. I don't remember the name but I remember the vibe and Daneman just nails it here. With the same kind of sounds that found the sweet spot between 50s jazz thrush and art chick, let's hope Daneman does a better job of taking it the distance. Charming and enchanting with it's offbeat/outside the lines sensibilities, this is killer stuff that's sure to resonate with the gypsy in your soul. Check it out.

LA LUCHA/Standards, Not Standards: Latin pals in Tampa with a Japanese vocalist let you know what Pink Martini would sound like if they were chasing a Latin jazz vibe coming from non-jazz backgrounds with props to piano trios. Out of the ordinary and a lot of fun, their song list is loaded with classics from modern pop and classic jazz that might not break any new ground but gives regular jazz a nice pomo twist that isn't just weird for the sake of weird. Now go find a sound peg of some of these songs and go fall in love with it. Well done.

TAS CRU/You Keep the Money: He might be a white boy with the blues but with dulcimer in the mix, you know he's not trying to be something he's not. Nicely rocked up blues, this is the kind of music that keeps you in the club all the night long with hopes the party never ends. Loaded with contemporary lyrical touches any white boy with the blues can relate to, Cru hits it out of the park on the back roads. Well done.

DAVID GOPOIAN/Sleeping in a Tree: As well loved as Frish and Dorough are, sales figures show us they are acquired tastes. Gopoian gets props for heading his musical career in their direction but you can tell he's coming to it naturally so give him his props for keeping that tangent alive and bringing it into the modern era with songs about apps and how annoying they are. Even if he is an acquired taste, maybe it's time you started adjusting your taste buds before he has to start doing kid's shows to strut his stuff. Check it out.

TERRA GUITARRA/Firelight: We loved this guitar duo before and we love them again. Playing with more flamenco than a duo from Wisconsin should be able to, this time out they pay tribute to the importance of the discovery of fire---something that has long been taken for granted. Playing with the inspiration of the free spirited hippies they are at their core, this is really music from the heart as you can feel their sincerity flowing from every fret. This is the head of the class for instrumental music like they used to make that they really don't make anymore. If names like Sunny McGrath, Robbie Basho and a few others ping some lost memory, here's a set you've got to check out. Well done.

GO BETTY GO/Reboot: The Latina punkettes that looked like they were going to go the distance straight from high school but broke up have ridden time and tide to give it another shot. Playing it older and wiser but still full of the original high school energy, they haven't lost any punk attitude and it sounds like they are picking up with where they left off. Just what you're looking for if you want a real dose of snap, crackle and pop.

BRAD ABSHER & Swamp Royale/Lucky Dog: A gulf coast white boy that's had the blues for over 30 years serves up a set that sounds inspired by the chitlin circuit cats that made their way north to let it fly at Stax. Making the left turn Tony Joe White didn't on the way north, Absher mixes Stax, Toussaint and more into his set of originals. With the choogling lope at the bottom of this that powers a lot of swamp sounds, this is a gasser for the latent frat boy lurking in the hearts of all white boys with the blues. Check it out.

JON DAVIS/Moving Right Along: A do it all cat with decades of accolades under his belt serves up another piano trio date that's so in the pocket you won't believe it. Mixing originals and covers with a tip of the cap to old pal Jaco along the way, Davis plays like a grand master just waiting for his NEA recognition. Groovy and swinging beyond belief and expectation, this set is a winner hit squarely out of the park that you better catch while you can. Hot stuff.

TIMOTHY WENZEL/Summon the Wind: All the hail the power of ‘keep it simple, stupid' as it works well in new age piano music just like it does in everything else. Wenzel's sounds aren't based in razzle dazzle, just solid, sound principles of involving the listener in something comforting and flowing that let's them get into the flow and ride along. With an impressionistic ear turned toward the power of the wind, Wenzel does a killer job of captivating the listener letting him set sail all within the space of his headphones. Tasty stuff that hits all the right notes.

Volume 38/Number 76
January 15, 2015
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2015 Midwest Record

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