CD Reviews

kara-grainger

Kara Grainger - Shiver & Sigh

You know it feels when you walk into a jazz bar on any given night, and the female singer simply has the crowd eating of the palm of her hand? That's how I felt listening to the latest CD from Australian-born Kara Grainger. She has such a sultry and soulful vocal talent that you just can't help be drawn in. She sometimes goes straight for heart - or sometimes tickles the imagination just enough that you're on the hook - not that...
 
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Hugh Laurie - Didn't It Rain

It's likely you know Hugh Laurie best as Dr. Gregory House, the wise-cracking yet brilliant surgeon on the television show House. But what you might not know is that Laurie is also an exceptionally talented musician and singer who has just released his sophomore album, Didn't It Rain. And what an album it is! Oft times, actors use their income to fund vanity projects that would better be left in the dusty corners of their minds. However, Hugh Laurie is definitely an exception to that...
 
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Steff Mahan - Where I'm Coming From

One listen to "The Truth," a cut from the latest disc from acclaimed singer-songwriter Steff Mahan, and you know that's exactly what you're getting. The song is extremely painful and gut wrenching to listen to, and pulls no emotional punches. The relationship seems to be over, and all Mahan wants is to know is where she and her man are - and how in the world they got to the point they are at. The track is one of...
 
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Wooden Hez - The Hez Garage

Wooden Hez is back with their 2013 release “The Hez Garage.” Overall Internet presence is slowly taking shape as I learned a lot about them even before I hit play. The CD hits the deck running with a series of strong live songs “Reckoning” and “Rock Star”. I suspect these are strictly live recording rather than concert recording as I Head no audience present. Both pieces a re somewhat reminiscent of White Lies, The Wombats, Blur, Peter Murphy. The guitar / beat / voice combo are well ...
 
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Janet Ryan – Mama Soul

“Stream of consciousness…no editing,” says Janet Ryan about songwriting in a recent Blues Music Magazine interview, when asked to give advice to up-and-comers. The seasoned blues performer has paid her dues working clubs in Chicago and New England, and on her latest album, “Mama Soul,” eight of the thirteen tracks bear her own “no editing” stamp on the process. Produced by Jimmy Rogers and Paul Osborn, as well as the artist, in Texas and her home state of...
 
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Hannah Bethel - The Freedom

Northern Michigan might not be a center for aspiring Country singers, but then again, I wouldn't be surprised if the region wasn't. After all, Country Music seems to transcend all areas - inspiring artists from all over. One such performer is Hannah Bethel. After performing Amy Grant's "Tennessee Christmas" at her fourth grade Christmas recital, she knew that music was where she wanted to take her life -and she does a...
 
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Cassadee Pope - Frame By Frame

America fell in love with Cassadee Pope last year after her exposure on the popular series "The Voice." One listen to her, and you could not deny her immense talent and charisma. That same reaction could also be applied to her debut Country disc for Republic. Pope made her initial splash at radio with the powerful vocal showcase "Wasting All Your Tears." The song has proved to be a perfect fit on...
 
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Chris Janson - Est. 1986

When you hear him sing, Perryville, MO native Chris Janson genuinely sounds like he is having fun. The singer, who picked up considerable momentum with his "Better I Dont" single loves Country Music and it shows in his vocal approach. It's very contemporary - in the vein of Aldean and Bryan, but his twang is a little more pronounced. His latest single, "Cut Me Some Slack," is great evidence of...
 
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Love Jupiter – Self-Titled

As a music fans aficionado who’s strictly a voyeur, a writer who’s never played a lick or tried to fit different musical components together into a cohesive whole, I’m intrigued by the idea of a centerpiece member like Mark Goetz playing in this 5 piece band called Love Jupiter. This surging Brooklyn band is somewhat of a musical force. As if writing 9 compelling tracks isn’t enough, Matt Adamec - Vocals, Bass, Michael “Chickie” Ciulla - Vocals, Guitar, Bob DeRienzo - Drums, Mark Goetz...
 
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Donna Ulisse - Showin' My Roots

Donna Ulisse has always struck me as having the voice of an angel. That was long before her recent success in the Bluegrass field. As an artist with Atlantic back in the early 1990s, she totally won me over with a single called "Trouble At The Door," which showcased her stunning vocal approach. Over the past few years, the singer has had success with a more acoustic approach, as well as with the breathtaking holiday...
 
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Kendall Beard - All Around Girl

Just like with any Texan, Kendall Beard likes to do things in a big way. Her first professional performance was not in front of a school crowd or a local club - but rather the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo. How's that for a big start, huh? That Lone Star spirit shines brightly on Beard's debut disc. It's chock-full of a range of different styles and moods - all tailor made for her fiery singing style. You can really hear...
 
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Joey+Rory - Made To Last

The husband / wife duo of Joey+Rory have given us some down home magical musical moments since coming upon the scene with their "Cheater Cheater" hit from a few years back. The couple has a definite old-school approach to both their music and life, and it shows. This is music that will inspire you emotionally, yet also will get your toe tapping at times, but music you are better for hearing, there's no doubt. The disc kicks off with warm and homey nod to the Don...
 
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John Batdorf & James Lee Stanley – All Wood And Stones II

In 2004, veteran artists John Batdorf and James Lee Stanley joined forces on a good idea: an acoustic album of Rolling Stones’ covers. Here they are nine years later, with their second impression on classic songs from arguably the greatest rock ‘n’ roll band of all time, “All Wood And Stones II,” collaboratively released on Beachwood Recordings/Batmac Music. This time around, they’ve added drums and bass to their masterful acoustic guitar work for a fuller...
 
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Various Artists: Divided And United

The Civil War is an era of American history that has long captivated us as a nation. And, for some reason, it seems that music might have played more of a role in the war era than any other conflict we have gone through. This exquisite two-CD set pays tribute to that era with some stellar performances from the best in Country, Bluegrass, and Roots music. Starting off with the legendary Loretta Lynn on "Take Your Gun...
 
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Brad Davis - Walk On Faith

While one of Brad Davis's biggest claims to fame might very well be his "Double-Down-Up" guitar technique, there are two other things to note about Davis - he is not only a great picker, but quite the singer and songwriter. The Bluegrass Valley recording artist proves that on this exceptional disc that stands as one of the top Bluegrass Gospel albums I have heard in quite some time. The disc start off with the old-school...
 
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