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DAROL ANGER-BARBARA HIGBIE/Tideline: Travel back 30 years in time with us as we marvel at the cusp of when the NAC stalwarts at Rounder were transformed in to new age super stars at Windham Hill. This piano/violin duo set sounds as fresh and groundbreaking now as it did back then. Released at a time when Windham Hill was reshaping acoustic music and no one really knew what to call it other than an American ECM or equal some such's, it was simply killer stuff played by bag breakers that didn't know and didn't care about the rules---they had something to prove and prove it they did. It's easy to hear how sets like this were quantified as contemporary classical chamber music but all it had to be called was outstanding. It still stands as real music for real listeners.

MIKE MARSHALL-DAROL ANGER/Chiaroscuro: You don't have to believe the hype because there is no hype. The modern remastering of this old piece of vinyl or brittle early cd let's you hear how much perfection there was in every byte. A classic recording that really did set the stage for much of the modern acoustic music of all genre that has followed in it's wake, if you could have seen this line up of Marshall, Anger, Higbie, Manring and Narell play together with Marshall and Higbie making faces at each other like kids and Marshall playing with his stuffed alligator, you would have a palpable understanding of the joie de vivre and passion that coursed through the music and the playing. You still can't classify this as anything other than killer stuff. Still.

BLACKHEART HONEYMOON/Mountains Speak: A Seattle roots crew that's doing the roots version of keeping it real, their bio doesn't make note of it so maybe they don't realize it but this is the follow up promise of cosmic American music that found hippies making their way into country where the red and the blue managed to put their differences aside in the name of twang and drugs---shared mutual passions. So many pretenders could learn so much from this indie/DIY session that the band ought to hold classes on Skype. Music like this isn't made for the masses, but oh the cults it can spin. Check it out.

THE CAINS: Here comes the latest bunch of southern sibs to harmonize together and catch your attention. They start out with what is essentially nice country flavored product but they add the kind of personality and chops to it that make thousands of people to come out to some hot field in the middle of summer to be packed together and somehow find a good time in it all. Certainly products of the modern era, these kids understand the value of well crafted entertainment and deliver it well. Solid stuff throughout.

DUBBEST/Light Flashes: How do a bunch of kids from Boston with Irish names sound so irie without sounding at all like Seth McFarlane? Sounding pretty much like you'd expect Beach Boys to sound like if they were recording 50 years later and not fighting all the time like in the movie, this is a set of sun and fun delivered in fine stylee. Tasty stuff to get toasted to that'll never harsh your mellow, playing it is the next best thing to bottling it so you can open it in the dead of winter and let the good times roll (and be rolled). Everything here is irie to the max.

THAYER SARRANO/Shaky: The art chick queen of shoe gaze that has made her presence known in the still vibrant Athens, GA scene tackles life's pain with all the modern southern gothic you'd expect from a latter day Somerset Maugham or someone like that. Fronting dreamland psych drone like it's in her blood, this is pretty much where you go after Leonard Cohen.

STEPHEN DUROS/AEAEA: The eclectic guitar virtuoso who's just as at home hanging out with Ottmar Liebert as he is Toto serves up his take on some Greek mythology that's nowhere near as dusty as they made it seem in high school. An exciting instrumental, sonic travelogue, we find Duros defying genre and simply delivering an incredible adult listening experience. Something out of the ordinary that's never precious or pretentious, this is the real deal for some high quality contemporary instrumental music that really takes you places. Check it out and fasten your seat belt.

ADVANCE BASE/Nephew in the Wild: Anyone who appreciates Washington Phillips can pretty much be expected to make outsider music. Using all the modern tools of the times to make the sound professional, the singing and the writing are deceptively outside the margins. We'll never be sure if prime mover Owen Ashworth is winking or laughing but he's ready to take you on a pomo tour of his world that lies somewhere out there off the grid.

ASHANEEN/Waves of Life: Suzanne Ciani only gave us seven waves. Ashaneen ups the ante by giving us ten as well as a new beginning. Impressionistic music that he composes by letting it flow through him, this is certainly music to clear your mind or get a deep tissue massage by. Falling into that bag of improv but disciplined, the music feels like waves rolling in and rolling out with the kind of randomness only the tides can provide. This is real new age music, old school.

BRAD ALLEN WILLIAMS/Lamar: The stellar jazz guitar sideman launches his solo debut on his own nickel with fun as his guide. A nice mix of hits and originals in the classic jazzbo style with Pat Bianchi on Hammond bringing up the rear, this date could have easily been a Verve or Bluenote classic back in the day. A thrilling mix of creative freedom and well honed chops, this set is a bar raiser for modern jazz guitar trio sessions. Hot stuff.

Volume 38/Number 239
June 27, 2015
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2015 Midwest Record

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