CD Reviews

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Marshall Dane - One Of These Days

Take one look at Marshall Dane, and you might want to label him a Southern Rocker. That would be kind of interesting to do, as Dane is from Ontario. But, he definitely has that long-haired look and approaches his craft the uber-confidence. Rather, Dane has a pretty traditional sheen to his music - which shows on the opening cut "Take You Home To Mama," as well as the instrumentally sharp "Till I Get To You," which has...
 
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Thief – Closer EP

Back home and fresh off of his UK tour to celebrate the launch of EP Closer is Sydney-based solo act Thief. It’s strange to think that the man behind it all, PJ Wolf, originally intended his musical work under the guise of Thief to be part of just an experimental side-project. Well… I guess you could say that it turned out okay for PJ. Thief’s music sees an expert balance of infectious electronic sound paired with genuine emotion behind the lyrics.
 
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Tyler Barham - Don't Cage This Heart

Over the past few years, Montana native Tyler Barham has built one of the strongest social media followings out there. He YouTube video postings have all become huge hits, but the singer has reached a crossroad. With the release of this, his most recent EP - he demonstrates that he is just as good - if not better - doing his own material as opposed to that of other artists. Any of these five cuts on this sampler are worthy to get the...
 
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Charlie Gradon – Hiss EP

There was once a simpler time for the bleeding-heart bedroom poet. A time when guts were spilled into hiss-and-click tape recorders, crystalized on cassettes spangled with Sharpie hearts, and slipped like sacred contraband through ultimately indifferent mail slots. Something like a lovelorn poem posted from the frontline of emotional bedlam; a pebble on the windowpane and a message of yearning burned into the lawn. It was a...
 
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Balsam Range - Five

When Buddy Melton of Balsam Range gets cooking on an uptempo track, as he does on the thrilling "Moon Over Memphis," there's a definite sense of swagger about his vocal that brings to mind that confidence that John Cowan exuded as lead singer of New Grass Revival back in the 1980s. Melton leaves nothing to chance vocally, and you know at once you are dealing with a force of nature. But, it's not all uptempo...
 
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The Livesays - Faith, Hope, and Love

The Livesays are a Rock & Roll band from Miami that love to turn up the volume and the tempo. That being said, the group also has another strength - strong lyrics. So, not only do you get some eloquent melodies on this disc, but you also get some thought-provoking material that will no doubt make an impact on you as a listener. That is apparent from the start of Faith, Hope, and Love - with the Springsteen-ish "You Don't Know Me." Call it Rock Music for the Thinking Man. We just prefer to call it dang good. Other top-drawer moments include the blues-laden "Hit Parade," which will knock you right between the eyes with its' dramatic flair - and then, there's the poppy sheen of "Endless Summer," which
 
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Kohavi – Genuine

“The people who get more work are the people with classical chops. It’s more valuable to have a good classical background and then know how to do a few other things,” says Emily Kohavi when interviewed by her college alma mater. A world-class violinist and one-half of the pop duo Kohavi, she met her future husband/music partner Daniel while they studied at Cedarville University in Ohio, where he played basketball. After moving to Nashville, she began her master’s studies
 
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Gene Watson - My Heroes Have Always Been Country

Since Gene Watson broke onto the scene back in 1975 with the classic "Love In The Hot Afternoon," it's a safe bet that nobody has ever mistook him for a rock or pop singer. Simply put, he's one of Traditional Country's best friends, and his new disc shows his reverence and respect for many in the format with his take on eleven bonafide Country classics! He starts the set with a stunning version of Dottie West's "Here Comes...
 
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Flame – Royal Flush

“The metaphor for ‘Royal Flush’ is saying that God has given us the highest hand,” says St. Louis hip-hop artist Flame in his December 2013 interview with CCM Magazine about his seventh album “Royal Flush;” “He sets us up to win,” he writes in the liner notes of this Clear Sight Music label release. With contemporary beats and in-the-pocket raps, he delivers a strong Christian message that brings together the spiritual and the secular…the bible and the streets.
 
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Brad Wilson – Hands On The Wheel

“I have always been a musician as far back as the 8th grade. It’s all I ever wanted to do, year in and year out,” says blues rock guitarist Brad Wilson in a recent interview with Colorado Serenity Magazine. This kind of knowing one’s self comes through on his latest album, “Hands On The Wheel.” The Blues Boulevard Records release features 14 tracks written by the California artist, recorded piecemeal in ten studios from Redondo Beach to Hollywood to ...
 
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The Sea The Sea - Love We Are We Love

There's an old saying that "You Can't Judge A Book By It's Cover." Take a listen to this CD from Chuck e. Costa and Mira Stanley, and you will agree. With the cover art - and the unique name - I had this album pegged in my head as Alternative Pop. I have never been more wrong. Granted, the music isn't exactly easy to classify. There's some Bluegrass harmonies and instrumentation involved here, yet also some folk sensibilities...
 
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Brigitte DeMeyer - Savannah Road

If you read many of my reviews, one name that I cross-reference from time to time is that of 60s roots music queen Bobbie Gentry. There was something so fresh, so sexual but at the same time something so Gothic about her recordings - such as "Ode To Billie Joe" that struck a chord with many female singer-songwriters of the time - as well as those that have come along since. Now, Brigitte DeMeyer is not a copy cat of Gentry, mind...
 
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Christina Rubino - Alive From the Scrapheap

This CD (Alive From the Scrapheap) is the debut release from Christina Rubino. Brooklyn native and musician, Christina Rubino’s first full-length solo album Alive from the Scrapheap is set to release in early 2014. This powerful and eclectic album tells the story of a gifted artist who got lost trying to find herself and only found herself when she was lost. Her lyrics are intertwined with beautiful harmonies, rustic harmonicas, raw emotion and an acoustic twang.
 
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Woodland – Seikatsu

Let’s face it, chill Sunday drives aren’t complete without chill Sunday tracks. You know, those tunes that have you drifting off to la-la land as autopilot kicks in. Well, newbie psychedelic Sydney five-piece, Woodland have you covered right there. Described as making ‘chill Sunday drive epics’, their first single serves up 100% pure psychedelic bliss and makes for, well, pretty chill Sunday driving. In 2013, mates Andrew, Nick, Peter, Tom and Jackson came together...
 
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Darren Nicholson - Things Left Undone

If you study his resume, Darren Nicholson has enjoyed quite the career thus far. He has shared the stage with names like Vince Gill, George Jones, and Merle Haggard. He has won IBMA trophies and been nominated for a Grammy, and has played the stage of the legendary Grand Ole Opry. So, it's a safe bet that if you love Traditional Country or Bluegrass, you're going to love Darren Nicholson. The reason for that...
 
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