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HANS THEESSINK & TERRY EVANS/True & Blue: Theessink is an amazing writer/picker/singer that has the kind of magic that lets him capture lightening in a bottle every time he steps up to the mic, and this new set where he gives his sidekick Evans more of an equal billing than on past duets just keeps the streak alive. Acoustic folk/blues that is cut from the center of the true vine, the audience at this live recording knows what they are cheering appreciatively for---pure hot stuff. A charming and amazing recording, it doesn't have to be complicated to make a point. Finding killer sets like this is the point. If you spent any time in a coffee house in college, you'll get this immediately. Well done.

NANCY WRIGHT/Putting Down Roots: With over 30 years as a pro under her belt, the saxsational Wright still has a light enough touch in her sound that she sounds like an after work Bonnie Raitt (the 5 to 9 set) rather than an after hours Raitt. A white girl that has an expert feel for uptown and commercial R&B, she's right in the pocket throughout and has nothing to prove other than how long she can keep the party going. It's just impossible to hear this as anything other than a good time that doesn't want to end. Well done.

RUSTY CRUTCHER/Romances Latinos: Are you up for some smooth jazz takes on classic Latin pop/love songs, all of which are sure to be older than you are? Don't go rolling your eyes at me, young listener! Some of these have been so nicely refashioned and updated that I didn't recognize them so don't run off thinking this is some archeology project. Absolutely a perfect album to mellow out with, Crutcher is putting the music before the business and showing all comers how it's supposed to be done. Tasty stuff throughout.

DELTA MOON/Low Down: A mostly original set of musical film noir, this crew with twin lead slide guitars keeps the heat on full for their tenth outing. Certainly looking older but no wiser, this is rollicking, suburban blues rock with folkie steeped lyrics that'll let mom and dad rock a Tuesday night away without paying the baby sitter over time. Insanely fun stuff that has just the right amount of choogle to let you know this party is for real. Well done.

IAN SIEGAL/Picnic Sessions: When a fiercely indie cat like Siegel catches the attention of Live Nation and award dispensing tastemakers, you know he's got something going on that let's him cut through the morass. Sometimes you need studio polish, sometimes you need nothing but pure heart and soul--especially when you're a white boy with the blues. Cutting this date in two afternoons with the Dickenson boys, Jimbo Mathus, Alvin Hart and a bunch of jelly jars full of nitro, the gang turns in the kind of off beat, ragged stuff that kept cats like Dave Van Ronk and others in gigs for a lot of years. Great stuff that couldn't be faked or overly prepared, this is a must for you if there's nothing Max Martin touched in any of your play lists. You can't listen to this and not say ‘whew!'.

PERRY BEEKMAN/S'Wonderful-Perry Beekman Sings & Plays Gershwin: The charmingly innocent and unaffected Beekman just can't leave the classics alone, and why should he? Keeping his trio in tact, the crew shows they know how to roll out a classic in fine form. A New Yorker with upstate sensibilities, he doesn't have the commercial edges more Manhattan based interpreters bring to the fore, but the lack of pretense and veneer (as well as not trying to be a Sinatra manqué) is engaging. Almost seeming to serve up a set of parlor Gershwin, you can't go wrong with this material and the playing brings just the right sparkle to the old gems. A solid set throughout.

BURTON-LEE-GARRETT-WILCOX/Guitar Heroes: A Canadian label puts out a set of four Telecaster masters tearing it up where the least known of the four stateside is a cat that's spent the last 40 years becoming a legend on his own native turf. There's no superlatives you can add to these proceedings that the one sheet doesn't already cover extensively. Yes, this is a slice of rock & roll heaven on earth. Yes, this is a once in a lifetime extravaganza. Yes, this is James Burton, Albert Lee, Amos Garrett and David Wilcox tearing it up on a bunch of classic rock as only the guys that wrote the book on it can do. A lot of the time, when summits like this come together, they tend to be over hyped and fall a little short. This set makes up for every super session that ever disappointed you. Guitar fans take note, this is the bomb, as if that could be a spoiler for you. Killer stuff throughout.

THOMAS BERGERON/Sacred Feast: Bergeron continues to take the jazz/classical mix to new levels of the game on his second album where he shakes off the DeBussy overcoat of his debut and draws from the Messiaen well this time around. When you can listen to arty jazz as a journey as opposed to a destination, sets like this show just how intriguing it all can be. The trumpet man uses his well honed chops to keep things from rolling off the rails in spots where lesser players would give up. This is certainly one of those times you can call something art jazz without being pejorative about it. Check it out.

FIONA JOY/Signature Solo: Dropping her last name Hawkins from the marquee since this is her first solo piano set and she probably doesn't want to confuse the audience, Joy (Hawkins) serves up one of those delightfully deceptive albums that bristles with the kind of energy that makes you think you could toss something like this off yourself in your spare time----but you can't! Dandy contemporary instrumental music, Hawkins can hold her own with any recital pianist and come out the winner. Certainly a set of well played music that's sure to take you away.

Volume 38/Number 168
April 17, 2015
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2015 Midwest Record

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