by: Hobart Taylor
The Blushin' Roulettes - Old Mill Sessions - Self Released
Angie Heimann is a wonderful song-writer with a powerful quaver in her pipes, and with her compadre Cas Sohacki they make jazzy folk and folky jazz. Recorded in beautiful Mendocino County (and performed live at the Caspar Inn (now sadly deceased), the coolest out of the way roadhouse I've ever seen), these songs all are genuine and gorgeous. The Roulettes have moved on to Western North Carolina (us old hippies have to keep moving to cheaper rent and land and communities that sustain our weirdness), but this record of their life among the pot farmers and loggers of Cali's great north woods remains. All the songs are just fine as they can be and "Shelter Cove" is a master work...Folk.
Jeremy Steding - My Own American Dream - Self Released
This starts out as generica america country lame and and tame but then by cut 4, "Four Hour Gig" it picks up both lyrically and musically..."Walker County Fair" (about a divorced dad spending "quality time" with his kid) is one of those story songs that seems authentic and redeems the whole project for me. Country.
Bim Skala Bim - Chet's Last Call - Self Released
Ska pop with rock instrumental cut # 2 "Summer of Ska" is nice. "Phoney" is like an English Beat parody. "Version Style" a remix of the first cut, is the only other interesting cut. Ska.
Bobby Joe Owens - Please Rise - Self Released
This is the second new release this month from Owens... a throwback to old country but not quite profound enough to be a true homage. He does a great take on Billy Earheart/Rusell (Amazing Rhythm Aces)Smith tune "Thangamalang" and like on his previous outing he writes one country classic...this one's called "Beauty's Only Skin Deep". Country.
James Hood - Ceremony - Self Released
A two CD exploration of the steel drum as new age/world music instrument. His drums look like flying saucers and he plays them with his hands. Recorded at Johua Tree this music is skillful, occasionally ethereal, occasionally boring, great for production and segues. Experimental.
Loreena McKennitt - The Journey So Far (The Best of..) - Universal
Long recognized as one of the leading Celtic performers, Canadian McKennitt adds her skill as a songwriter to the mix distinguishing her from the people who basically perform the traditional canon. Disc none is a selection from several of her alblms spanning over thirty years. Disc 2 is a live set from July 2012. Both are classics and classical in their reverence for the deep misty melodies of the Celts. World.
Uncle Tupelo No Depression (Re-issue) with demos - Legacy
Credited with popularizing alt/country and spawning from it's implosion both Son Volt and Wilco, Uncle Tupelo's No Depression is a golden moment in American music frozen in aspic looking Janus like back to the Carter Family and ahead to The Devil Makes Three. A no brainer add are the demo tape and live cuts on a second CD. Folk. Needs an OPI review if you're looking for hours. In the folk section.