SOMMERS ROSENTHAL FAMILY BAND/Down the Road: Once again music proves to be the universal language. The back porch welcomes anyone that can makes the most of rootsy organic, family bluegrass bands even if the family in question is a bunch of Jews that should be more in tunes with the upper east side than eastern Kentucky. Well, one of this family was the lead singer of Seldom Scene and wrote for Johnny Cash, so... so there! Kind of a greatest hits/stroll through his back pages set for Phil Rosenthal, he's one of those cats that started out at the top of his game and stayed there when not raising the bar. An utterly sweet and charming set, the cherry on the sundae here is the audio quality that makes this feel like a house concert. It might be organic and have no preservatives but it's guaranteed not to rot. Killer stuff.
GINA SICILIA/Sunset Avenue: What is it? The demands of hitting on all eight have Sicilia making more eps than albums these days? C'mon, hit us with a full lengther, we can take it. Marking her territory once again right out of the box with a real scorcher, Sicilia is a white gal with the blues that sounds like she's getting impatient to fill Rory Block's shoes. With her ear cocked toward the mainstream, expect this award winner of the future to be the next blues babe that crosses over making sure you don't forget her name. Smoking hot throughout----just give us more already!
BOB LANZA BAND/Time to Let Go: Lanza shows us just how close the Jersey blues bar is to the Highway 10 honky tonk by opening this set with a blistering blues rock version of a Hank Williams classic. The blistering blues rock guitar slinging continues on from there with no abatement. A smoking hot set from a road warrior that know how to transfer it to the studio, this white boy is really feeling it and isn't shy about letting you know. Solid stuff that makes you feel the beer and sweat whether it's going four on the floor or easing up on the throttle. Killer stuff.
ANNA DANES/Find You Wings: Some people just don't let cancer get in their way. This is what it sounds like. Returning to singing after a life time away from it, Danes sold her car to finance these sessions recorded at Capitol studios using the same mics as her classic era inspirations. Whether queuing up on originals or covers, Danes lets the passion flow obviously giving her the confidence to look anything in the eye. Not having a drug problem but certainly having been through enough to give her a pain quotient equal to that of the silky voiced junkie thrushes she has vocal kinship to, Danes is well on her way to giving us a jazz vocal classic. Well done.
EARPRINT: Youngsters inspired as much by free jazz as by bebop band together for an art jazz set that finds them camping out in left leaning territory. With chops that define this as more than trust fund brats acting out, this is a sound that's right at home around clove ciggys and black clothes in basement jazz clubs where the proprietor is always arguing with the landlord.
ALYSSA ALLGOOD/Out of the Blue: It won't be much longer we'll be able to call her "Chicago's own". A smoking jazz vocalist still in her 20s she's got a real jones for Bluenote sounds that were made 35 years before she was born at the latest. So impassioned by the sound that she's even writing her own lyrics to the classic instrumentals (and doing it credibly), it's only a matter of time. Already setting the town's awards competitions on fire, it's only a matter of time before her torch is lighting up everything everywhere. Clearly a new star on the rise, this is your golden opportunity to say you were there first. Well done.
NO NETS/Bright Lights: So this is what happens when you grew up in the punk era, listening to music to annoy your parents and you grow up becoming parent yourself making music to annoy...? The strange sound of grown up punk and emo, it's kind of amazing how much of Byrds you can hear in the echoes of this. A sound in search of a fury?
PARKER ABBOTT TRIO/Elevation: For those that like their jazz piano trios to deliver flights of fantasy and fancy, this set ought to go a long way toward filling that particular sweet tooth. Genre busting in it's way, you can find echoes of prog rock, improv, modern jazz and more lurking in these grooves that knowingly manage to tie it all together in proper fashion. Not exactly egghead jazz and not party the night away jazz, this set charts it's own course in fine fashion letting it's chops and smarts lead the way. Well done and always full of surprises.
LAURIE BERKNER BAND/Superhero: So how many generations of kids have come and gone since Berkner's last original set 8 years ago? Unlike boomers, kids have no sense of nostalgia so the audiences she left behind won't really be noticing the difference, but the parents that have waited a few years before birthing some new little monsters....boy will they be glad to find a new set that's in step with the times. Call her the Springsteen of kiddie pop if you will, she continues to speak to kids on their own level without talking to them, and she does it with such nice backing--this time around even including a guest shot by Ziggy Marley. A genre set that defies categorization, there ain't no itsy bitsy spiders here to drive you down the water spout when you're chauffeuring the kids hither and yon. Please step up and claim your latest crown, Ms. Berkner. Hot stuff.
SNOWAPPLE/Tracks: Indie pop art chicks with an album called "Tracks" from Amsterdam and it isn't about heroin? It's about alienation and maybe there's some train spotting in the tracks if you listen closely. Contemporary music for the disaffected, here comes a new dose of alt.Euro.
Volume 39/Number 326
September 24, 2016
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2016 Midwest Record
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