RHIO/Blue Moods: A themed record that gives you a jazzy taste of various blues by a snazzy vocalist that obviously loves her work. There's a lot of mood and attitude amid the grooves and all of it good. A real taste treat, this set is comfortable and yummy at the same time. Solid stuff throughout.
ANTONIO ADOLFO/BruMa Celebrating Milton Nascimento: The always welcome Adolofo sets his sights on a tribute to Nascimento that finds the jazz at the heart of the singer's work and serves it up as only a real pro can do. Friends for over 50 years, the simpatico comes shining through as this record sparkles like sun on the water. A sure bet for everyone that already knows how awesome the piano man is. A welcome invitation for those who don't.
SMOKE WAGON BLUES BAND/Ballad of Albert Johnson: From the frozen north they came to clean up at international blues competitions with their honking how-how-how white boy rocking blues. Party animals that sound like they never met a sunrise they ever liked, close the curtains and live large while this blasts through the night. Hot stuff.
ERIC HUGHES BAND/Postcard from Beale Street: A contemporary set from Memphis that sounds like it came from back in the day. Dripping with Memphis from every edge, this set merrily rolls along leaving a party in it's wake where ever it goes. Expertly hitting all the right notes, this vet crew has too much on the ball to be missed. Well done.
(Endless Blues 22020)
GREG LATO/Create My Own World: An award winning power popper tried his hand at kiddie music in this debut and comes in with a bright set that could chase away the apprehension that these times are sneaking into the kid's Froot Loops. Engaging stuff for kids of all ages that will leave everyone feeling happy and satisfied.
JOE ELY/Love in the Midst of Mayhem: Finding himself stuck at home due to the pandemic, Ely sounds like he remembers who he was 40 years ago and puts that cat front and center. With a batch of heartfelt in the moment tunes, a new one by the Flatlanders and a borrowed Leonard Cohen muso on deck, this set is like nothing he's released before and it's a mind blowing mutha. Texas to the world, these hard core hard scrabble cats are unstoppable. Killer stuff.
(Rack Em 10)
TOM RANIER/This Way: The multi instrumentalist finally found the time to give us his first solo album in 14 years. Always busy due his super chops, he's one of those guys that the music just flows out of his finger tips and you never know where it's going to go. This set is tasty, easy rolling jazz that Friday afternoons were made for. Well done.
MARK HARVEY GROUP/Rite for All Souls: So what's changed in the last 50 years? People are still pissed off that things aren't all right with the world. This twofer is a load of improv, pissed off jazz that has a bunch of well meaning white boys sounding like they are letting fly from the church basement, not the one in the suburbs. Civil rights jazz direct from the real era to you now, it simply proves that people who care are people who care as the leader of this crew is still at it. Left leaning stuff from back in the day when freedoms were really being tested and heads were being smashed for it. So what's changed in the last 50 years?
(Americas Musicworks 1596)
LES NUBY/Clouded: This indie rock vet proves it from the opening chords, indie doesn't have to mean sloppy. Like a later day Todd Rundgren, Nuby hits all the axes himself and serves up a hook laden date that just reminds you it's ok to party and let loose (an especially good sentiment for these days). Fun stuff, first pumping anthems and lots of hot riffs and grooves. Let the good times roll.
(Cornelius Chapel 51)
SARO LYNCH-THOMASON & SAM GLEAVES/I Have Known Women: Suggested by Si Kahn to this duo who he has mentored, this is a collection of songs about women's struggles, many of which have never been recorded before, that have such an old school folk music vibe this could be a lost Folkways session. Released to co-incide with the 100th anniversary of women getting the right to vote, it's just the right bookend piece to these times of upheaval. Kahn has the gift for making you think without hitting you over the head until submission, even when the struggles he writes about aren't his own. This is a well done set throughout that's an organic, back porch date with a subversive edge.
(Strictly Country 83)
Volume 44/Number 228
June 13, 2020
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2020 Midwest Record
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