by: Hobert Taylor
Mary Gauthier - Trouble & Love - (In The Black Records)
This is a song cycle ostensibly about the totally irreconcilable dissolution of a love affair. While Gauthier soberly acknowledges just how completely she has been rejected, "When a Woman Goes Cold", she never belittles her former partner. Although she acknowledges her pain and anguish, physical, mental and spiritual alike, she is cool and precise in her rendering of it. These eight songs travel from a recounting of events and feelings to an acceptance and understanding of things as they are. There is no judgement. There are no excuses. In her words, "snow is falling on snow that fell on snow". We are lucky to live in the world with the likes of her.
La Santa Cecilia - Someday New - (Universal)
The house band of west side liberals (the Venice to BH KCRW crowd) who are seeking middle class Chicano street cred...but also really good musicians, La Santa Cecilia traverses various Latin and pop traditions on this outing.
Los Rakos - El Negrito Dun Dun y Ricardo - (Universal)
From Oakland come this Panamanian hip hop confab. They've played Snoop Lion's Smoke out festival and got a major label out of it, but they are still pretty street.
Jonah Tolchin - Clover Lane - (Yep Rock)
Strong songs from this relative newcomer on the new folk /Americana scene. Lots of references to the "American" genres, blues, twang country, folk ballads etc.
Kavita Shah - Visions - (Inner Circle Music)
This New Yorker calls on various traditions, Jazz, singer-songwriter, Brazilian, Indian etc. While this sometimes gets muddy, when it works it cooks. She has a very expressive voice with wonderful phrasing.
Laney Jones - Golden Road - (Self-Released)
This Floridian is a clawhammer banjoist and song-writer with a bucketful of chops. Her band provides traditional and Americana rock backings for some neat songs.
For The Love of the Music- featuring Tom Rush, Peter Rowan, David Amram, Ellis Paul, Jim Rooney, Meg Hutchison, et al - (Kingswood Records)
This is a soundtrack for a documentary about one of the country's earliest folk venues (Joan Baez was a founder while she attended Boston College). Tom Rush's 1 minute and 28 second rendition of "San Francisco Bay Blues" captures the Llewyn Davis vibe perfectly. Jim Rooney (Who managed Club 47 and booked the Newport Folk festival as well as producing Townes Van Zandt, Nanci Griffith, John Prine, etc.) shines here both as a solo and along with Peter Rowan (ex Seatrain, Old and In the Way" etc.).
Caterina Zapponi - Romantico - (Motema)
Standards sung in French mainly, from an expressive and graceful singer accompanied by and produced by virtuso pianist Monty Alexander and assisted by Bucky Pizzarelli and other European jazz all-stars.
Signal Problems - Signal Problems - (Mentum)
Like Chicago's Rob Mazurek Signal Problems goes into loft jazz Sam Rivers territory. Composer/trumpeter Danny Gouker, tenor saxophonist Eric Trudel, bassist Adam Hopkins, and drummer Nathan Ellman-Bell form a loose tight coalition of interests culminating as tonal explosions and serialism as surrealism.