by: Hobert Taylor
Gal Holiday - Last To Leave - HTRP Music
Tats and Boots and slinky Chinoise frock adorn this honky tonk chanteuse with twang on her tongue. Out of New Orleans, she has pretty good less than generic songs and a nice set of pipes. Nothing new happening with the arrangements, all of them are tried and true. Best cuts, "Teach me how to Two-Step" and The Ballad of Addie and Zack"...up tempo ditty, "She's a Killer" and there is a fine re-working of the pop tune "Love Is A Battlefield".
Mark Viator and Susan Maxey - Bottom of the Blues - Rambleheart Records.
Another Austin couple with great songwriting and picking skills providing earnest music from their good hearts. Records like this restore or enhance one's faith in the species. I like "Me and Gary Lee", "Before It's Time To Go" (an American song like Stephen Foster, not an Americana song), the instrumental "Wayne Perry Blues" and the hippie gospel tune "new Jerusalem". There is a nice cover of Townes Van Zandt's "no Place To Fall" here as well.
Michaela Anne - Ease My Mind - Self Released
With a gorgeous voice and great songs Micheala Anne is someone to watch out for. Coming from Brooklyn is a warm and sultry breeze devoid of the expected city stench. Like a young Emmylou she has heart, self-awareness, compassion, and mad musical skills. A 5 star add. "Is This What Mama Meant" is my first play but all the songs work for me.
Roy Orbison - Mystery Girl 25th Anniversary Expanded Edition with 5 New Songs - Legacy/Sony
If the sun were honey and the sea saliva then Roy Orbison's tongue would be the horizon. ...Mystery Girl and some neat demos.
Cookie and Paul Pederson Jr. - Lines on the Pines - Self Released
From south Jersey comes this spooky folk song cycle (think Jersey Devil). These songs are well crafted evocations of the ethereal world of the pine barrens.
Carrie Ann Carroll - You Should Know - Treehouse Records
Strong songwriting and classy arrangements from this Austin based performer. While on the surface this appears to be a generic country/American mid tempo snoozer then all of a sudden you realize there are meaningful lyrics and some subtleties in the arrangements. Especially powerful is a mid tempo ballad "Murder", and a cool cover of Sonny Bono's "A Cowboy's Work Is Never Done".
Compilation - Songs for Slim - New West
Benefit/Tribute Record for Replacements guitarist Slim Dunlop who suffered a stroke in 2012. Featuring The Replacements, Lucinda Williams Steve Earle, Joe Henry, Deer Tick, Jeff Tweedy, Frank Black, and more performing Dunlop's solo work. A great book-end to the re-release of "No Depression" by Uncle Tupelo on our folk shelves. Genius songs well performed. Focus cuts: "Busted Up", "Radio Hook Word Hit", "From The Git Go", "Partners In Crime" and Patterson Hood's profound reading of the song "Hate This Town".
Doghouse Flowers - Chasing The Sun - Self Released
A well rehearsed bar band writes country standards from a personal point of view. Strongest cuts , "Me and You", Puppet Strings" and "No Luck With You".
Liz Kennedy - Speed Bump - Self Released
In the idiosyncratic song writer tradition of Jacques Brel, Harry Nilson, Dory Previn, etc Orange County's Kennedy is both wry and earnest. She has a whiskey rasp and a grown woman's weariness, but still her songs are filled with hope and humor. "Raised By The Orange Trees" is a wonderful home movie reflecting Orange County' transition from the agricultural to the suburban. "Half Sad" and "How |Was Your Life" are like modern re-workings of the bittersweet tunes of say Peggy Lee or Edith Piaf.
David Krakauer - Hear The Big Picture - Table Pounding Records
Clarinetist Krakauer left of center art jazz interpretations of movie tunes (most obscure, some very familiar). All of it is pretty cool, even "Tradition" from Fiddler on the Roof and "Body and Soul" (again!).
Lau - Race The Loser - Revealrecords.UK
Scotland's answer to Eugene Meyer and Yo Yo Ma' semi-classical interpretations of folk music with a hipper sensibility. They incorporate electronica and any texture that's right for the music. Big in the UK and not a whisper here. Mainly instrumentals and based on folk tunes these songs are reels, jigs, airs, and meditations of the highest order. "The Bird That Winds The Spring", "Save The Bees" and "Far From Portland" are grand but the whole CD is grand.
Martin Green - Crow's Bones - Opera North Records
From Lau comes Martin Green who has written a song Cycle commissioned by Edinburgh's Opera North, an ambitious young company that is a mainstay of the Edinburgh Summer Festival and the Fringe festival. Sung by Becky Unthank, Inge Thomson, and Niklas Roswall these songs evoke ancient Scottish folklore tinged by Brecht/Weill and even Schoenberg. Basically a meditation on death in life, this is a beautiful work of art.