CD Reviews

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Hans Theessink & Terry Evans – Delta Time

It seems that lately our desk at Music News Nashville has seen an abundance of Blues-related discs. While each does have their strong points, I have to tell you that this is the best one I have heard in quite some time. You can feel the passion and power immediately on this disc on the title cut. The harmony that these two possess is a definite musical gift, as is their instrumental...
 
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The Departed – Adventus

I am going to be a little honest as I start this review. Some Texas music I just don’t get. It seems like the same themes – drinking, clubbing, and oh, yeah, armadillos (for some reason) tends to overload more than a few artists in the sub-genre. One of the most critically-acclaimed acts in that style was Cross Canadian Ragweed. While their music did not fall in the above description, and they...
 
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Lisa Matassa - Somebody's Baby

Though New York is not considered a hotbed for Country Music, there have been more than a few artists come from that area over the past few years. Lisa Matassa is the latest, but according to my ears - she's also one of the best. There's a bounce and a vitality to her vocal approach that is very warm and inviting. She lays it all on the line from the beginning strains of the title cut, which demonstrates her ability with an uptempo number. She keeps up the energy on "Wouldn't You Like To Know" and "Girl With A Rock & Roll Heart." The swagger is very much in...
 
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Amber Hayes - Any Day Is A Good Day

Over the past couple of years, Oklahoma native Amber Hayes has made quite a presence at secondary radio with songs like the energetic “C’Mon.” She has also appeared on the big screen in the film ‘Cowboys ‘N’ Angels,” and her star has been steadily on the rise. I think that trend is going to continue on this impressive collection, which showcases her rise as an artist and writer. Starting...
 
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Big Walker - Root Walking: Americana Blues & Roots

The biography of Big Walker mentions Oklahoma. It also mentions San Francisco, and also names Europe as a place the bluesman his lived. It doesn't list Mississippi, but after having listened to this disc a few times, it wouldn't surprise me to wander into a club alongside Highway 61 and hear this CD playing. Having played with such legendary acts in his genre a​s The Eddie Ray Rhythm...
 
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Steele - Self Titled

New Country artist Steele hails from Canada, a place that has brought us some of the top talent in Country Music history, such as Hank Snow and Shania Twain. From the sounds of his debut disc, I think there is a chance that another name could be added to that list. In the self-titled titled cut, he puts his personal history out there, and exudes a lot of confidence while doing so. And, it gets better. "Holding On" shows his vocal chops, as does the powerful "Homesick." He's not afraid to show his emotional side on the cut, as well as he does on...
 
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Rosie Flores – Working Girl’s Guitar

Since she emerged as one of the most critically acclaimed artists of the late 1980s, alongside of acts like Dwight Yoakam, Sweethearts of the Rodeo, and Steve Earle, Rosie Flores has become one of the most respected female singer – songwriters of her time. But, while all that is great with the singer, she has always wanted the respect of her peers as a guitarist. She’s had that for years, but this album serves as a reminder of what a powerful player she is – in addition to her vocals. This album, her first in a few years, showcases many different sounds, but ...
 
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Sasha Mercedes - Lucky

Minnesota native Sasha Mercedes has one of those voices that you only hear so often. She reminds me of some of the popular female singer-songwriters of the 1990s, such as Alanis Morrisette or Sixpence....but she is very much her own artist, musically. After all, anyone who taught music to students in a “School of Rock” fashion in Macedonia would have to be able to hold their own, don’t you...
 
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Tom Skinner – Self Titled

Tom Skinner has long been one of Oklahoma’s favorite musical sons – heck, one of his fans is even named Garth, if that tells you anything. Listening to him, I have to admit, is a little bit of a magical experience. Now, first of all, Brooks endorsement or not – this isn’t something you’re going to find on mainstream country radio. It goes a little deeper than that, and I have to admit that it took me a couple of listens before I can say that I totally got...
 
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Merle Haggard – The Troubadour

Merle Haggard’s years with Capitol Records resulted in some of the greatest Country Music that has ever been recorded. But, by 1976, the singer had become frustrated with the label, and sought to record elsewhere. MCA Records was the winner in the bidding war, as Haggard signed a deal with the label that would place him there until the early 1980s. To compare his MCA years with...
 
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Greg Bates – EP

Republic Nashville newcomer Greg Bates is somewhat of a rare breed – a country artist that is actually from Nashville. Making his initial splash with the sing-along “Did It For The Girl,” Bates has quickly made a name for himself as one of the most talented newcomers in the business today. With the demand for his music rather high, his label has decided to make available a few of the songs that will...
 
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Uncle Kracker – Midnight Special

Uncle Kracker has always been something of a musical smorgasbord of sorts. You get a little Rock, a little Motor City Soul, and some Country when you hear him perform. That mix has made him one of the most entertaining artists out there today. Throw in his approach to performing and recording, and you know you are in for a cool ride when you’re listening to a Kracker project. For this, his debut for Sugar Hill, the singer continues that trend from...
 
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Elvis Presley – Prince From Another Planet

By 1972, Elvis Presley had exorcised himself from one of his worst creative periods. While much of the 1960s represented a vast wasteland of forgettable films and soundtracks, his 1968 NBC special – and his subsequent 1969 “Memphis Sessions” had restored the luster to the “King’s” shine. Never a prolific touring artist, Presley took to the road as never before, with documentaries like “Elvis On Tour” and “That’s The Way It Is” featuring the singer at full...
 
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The Mannish Boys - Double Dynamite

If you consider yourself to be a Blues fan, you need to take serious heed of these words. The Mannish Boys are a group that you really need to pay some serious attention to. They manage to pay deep attention to the history of the music, while also pushing the boundaries a little. On disc one of this set, titled "Atomic Blues," the band is particularly effective. The opener, "Death Letter," features some downright mournful notes from Sugaray Radford, and definitely gets this disc started in fine fashion. Another high-water mark on disc one is ...
 
Robert Kinsler & TJR

Music Worth Buying - Brandi Carlile and 7Horse

Orange County Register (CA) music critic Robert Kinsler and his co-host, TJR review new CDs. This week we look at Brandi Carlile new album "Bear Creek" recommended for fans of American Rock and "Let The 7 Horse Run" by 7Horse which TJ describes as Americana on Grunge.