CD Reviews


Granger Smith – Dirt Road Driveway

For the past few years, Granger Smith has been working steadily at his craft, getting seemingly better with each release, culminating with his last studio disc, 2011’s Poets & Prisoners, which brought him his greatest critical acclaim yet. That being said, I think the Texan is about to hit the proverbial motherlode with his latest release, which just might put him on the fast lane to mainstream success. Smith’s confidence as a singer...

Beth Hart – Bang Bang Boom Boom

“It’s like starting over again. It’s like the beginning of music for me. At 40 years old, I feel like I’m five,” says blues rocker Beth Hart about making her newest album, “Bang Bang Boom Boom.” She’s had a decade of a comeback since losing her major label deal and tour, starting with recovering from substance abuse and getting a handle on a bi-polar condition. Acclaim in Europe followed and now finally with the release of this special record by Mascot Label Group/Provogue, Hart ought to brace herself for America falling ...

Music Worth Buying: Quick Reviews Of The Fabulous Thunderbiords, David Bowie and More

Orange County Register (CA) music critic Robert Kinsler reviews CDs. This week, he does some quick reviews of The Fabulous Thunderbirds' On the Verge, David Bowie's The Next Day, Jimi Hendrix' People Hell and Angels, and Phillip Phillips World From The Side Of The Moon.

Terri Clark - Classic

Country Music has been a part of Terri Clark’s life since the very beginning. She has shared before that many of her earliest memories were of her mother and her singing various hits of the day around the house, and watching many of her favorite musical heroes on television – such as the legendary Barbara Mandrell, whom Clark cites as a major influence. Clark tips her famous hat to many of those songs on this new collection, which focuses...

B.J. Thomas – The Living Room Sessions

The career of the legendary B.J. Thomas definitely qualifies as one of the most unique in music history. He’s has record-breaking success in Country, Pop, Gospel, and AC. Any style of music that he has experimented with, he has knocked a home run out of the ballpark. After a few years away from the record world, the performer returns with an incredible new project that proves just how timeless his talent is – and no matter the genre, the song is the...

Hidden Gems Deserve to be Heard

The first new studio album from The Fabulous Thunderbirds highlights a crop of releases worth seeking out. Artist: The Fabulous Thunderbirds. Title: On The Verge (Severn Records) You might be interested if you like: Junior Parker, Los Lonely Boys, Ben Harper. Tell me more: “On The Verge” will likely surprise casual fans of the Fabulous Thunderbirds (best known for their ‘80s hits “Tuff Enuff” and “Wrap It Up”) with a collection of mostly-original tunes mining a blend of Stax Records-styled R&B and soul...

Steven Curtis Champman - Deep Roots

Growing up in the Bluegrass state, Steven Curtis Chapman grew up inspired by fiddles, banjos, mandolins, and all things acoustic. While he made a reputation as one of the top Contemporary Christian performers of all time, his earliest musical memories include the classic Gospel songs in their most simple form. Having always wanted to record an album in that vein, the singer has joined forces with Cracker Barrel for a collection that...

Ed DuBois – Pain And Gain – Retribution Song

Singer/songwriter and soon-to-be internationally known private investigator Ed Du Bois’s debut single is called “Pain And Gain;” just so happens to also be the title of the new Paramount Pictures release directed by Michael Bay. Based on newspaper articles written by Pete Collins in collaboration with Du Bois, “Pain And Gain” - both the song and movie – tell the real-life story of this no-nonsense Miami P.I.’s hair-raising case involving the violent Sun Gym Gang back in the mid-1990s. The film’s crew began shooting...

Kacey Musgraves - Same Trailer Different Park

Kacey Musgraves has turned the Country Music world upon its' ear as of late, thanks to the stark frankness of her top-10 hit "Merry Go 'Round. If you liked the honesty of the song, you are bound to love what you hear on the debut album. Just don't be fooled by the cover art. Wearing a form fitting skirt and cowboy boots, you might think that Musgraves is nothing more than a slick, record company-inspired pretty face - who lured you into checking...

Cave Women – Self-Titled

Sacramento, California all-girl band Cave Women are proving to be the ones to watch with the release of their promising self-titled debut record. The quintet boasts a smooth jazz blend with ethereal four-part madrigal harmonies, African/Latin rhythms and brief lyrical vignettes in all nine self-penned songs here. Band members swap clear and unforced vocals and share in the feminine energy, which is both beguiling and comforting. There’s a lightness to their work, an organic feel that’s appealing, offering a refreshing...

Old Man Markley - Downside Up

If you're bothered by your feet constantly tapping along to the music, don't buy this album. If you don't like upbeat, kick-ass newgrass, don't buy this album. If you're not a fan of killer musical talent and strong vocals, don't buy this album! However, if you like all of the above, then Old Man Markley's new album, Downside Up, is a MUST HAVE for your collection. Calling themselves a "punk bluegrass" band, Old Man Markley has taken the newgrass movement and pushed the boundaries just a little further...

Myshkin’S Ruby Warblers – That Diamond Lust

With a name right out of a 19th Century Dostoyevsky novel, Oregon-based artist Myshkin lives up to her exotic borrowed moniker in her latest release on DoubleSalt Records, “That Diamond Lust.” This seventh recording by her and the ever-evolving configuration of players that makes up Myshkin’s Ruby Warblers features ten tracks written by the artist and co-produced with Sugar Short Wave. Her warm sultry tones and loose phrasing of poetic lyrics are influenced by nearly a decade of living in New Orleans, but she peppers her...
Robert Kinsler & TJR

Music Worth Buying: Ben Harper, Charlie Musselwhite and Camper Van Beethoven

Orange County Register (CA) music critic Robert Kinsler and his co-host, TJR review new CDs. This Week Robert Looks at the latest by Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite entitled: Get Up and TJ looks at the latest by Camper Van Beethoven entitled: La Costa Perdida

Susie Glaze & The Hilonesome Band – White Swan

“The net has been cast wide,” says Susie Glaze of Susie Glaze & The Hilonesome Band, referring to the range of influences on their latest collaboration, “White Swan.” The West Coast quintet’s eleven-track project reflects a love for bluegrass, folk and Celtic music, with five originals written by various configurations of the band, plus well-picked covers by the likes of masters, such as Steve Earle (“Me And The Eagle”) and James Taylor (“Mill Worker”). These artists have a performance chemistry that works...

Music Heroes Return With Monumental Efforts

Former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr, Thom Yorke's Atoms For Peace, the Jeff Healey Band and Moody Blues singer-songwriter Justin Hayward make powerful impressions on their latest releases. Artist: Johnny Marr. Title: The Messenger (Sire / ADA). You might be interested if you like: The Smiths, Blur, New Order. Tell me more: More than 25 years after the Smiths disbanded, that legendary British quartet's phenomenal guitarist Johnny Marr has finally issued his first-ever solo album. Indeed, "The Messenger...