CD Reviews

Charlie Abbott Brand New Weather

Charlie Abbott - Brand New Weather

I’ve got to be honest with you. I’m really at a loss trying to tell you about the music of Music City-based Charlie Abbott. Like many of the artists we review on MNN, there’s not a clear definition of Abbott’s music. The opening cut, , has a wide open sound that is just bursting with a ton of personality. At points, you just might think you are listening to a good dose of 80s rock. He’s that good. But, he can strip it away, as he does on the lighter-hearted “Condor Song,” which just kind of flows along nice...

Jana Kramer – Self-Titled

One of the hardest words to define is “it.” What exactly is the meaning of “it” and who has “it.” Well, I don’t know what the definition is. But, I can tell you wholeheartedly that Michigan native Jana Kramer has it – and then some. OK, if you look at the picture, you might think that beauty enters into this review. And, sure, Kramer’s stunning looks haven’t hurt her career one iota. But, there is something about that voice that stops you in your tracks. To my ears, it’s one of the more “country” voices that has come...

Deep Purple – Total Abandon: Australia ‘99

The aural pyrotechnics of British rock band Deep Purple were recorded live during their April 1999 concert down under at Melbourne Park. Originally released abroad as a two-disc set, and only available in the U.S. as a DVD included in the 2008 box set, this twelve-song full-throttle performance by the legendary progressive/heavy metal group is finally released here on CD. “Total Abandon: Australia ’99,” on the Thompson Music label and licensed to Eagle Rock Entertainment, captures all the loud and relentless high-energy ...
Robert Kinsler & TJR

Music Worth Buying: Vintage Trouble & Tab Benoit

Orange County Register (CA) music critic Robert Kinsler and his co-host, TJR review new CDs. This week Robert discusses the Blues/Country rock of Tab Benoit and TJR talks about the electrifying sound of Vintage Trouble and why he thinks they are the next band to watch out for.

Grant Peeples – Prior Convictions

Prolific singer/songwriter Grant Peeples is at it again, with the GatorBone Records 104 release of “Prior Convictions” – his fourth album in four years. With gritty artistic prowess, he weaves story after compelling story around a flock of fallen characters, leaving listeners with feelings of disgust, shame, even longing. Known for his strong-statement songs that can shake one to the core, Peeples does not disappoint here on this ten-song, Gurf Morlix-produced effort. There’s no mistaking the distinctive, raspy ...
Robert Kinsler & TJR

Music Worth Buying: Alabama Shakes and The JayHawks

Orange County Register (CA) music critic Robert Kinsler and his co-host, TJR review new CDs. This week, We discuss the soulful sounds of the Alabama Shakes, and the acoustic rock of the JayHawks

The Oak Ridge Boys – Back Home Again

Though they have become one of the most successful Country acts of all time, Gospel Music is still a large part of the Oak Ridge Boys’ musical stylings. For their latest disc, the group digs a little deeper into the well for a few Gospel classics – as well as few Country classics with an Inspirational slant. As usual, the “Mighty Oaks” rise to the occasion. Highlights here include “Lead Me To That Rock” and “Out Of Bondage,” both...

The Joe Craven Trio – All Four One

I have reviewed albums before that qualified as diverse, but I don’t know if I have ever heard one like this. This disc is advertised as featuring American Folk, Blues, New Orleans, Swing, and a little bit of Funk sounds while also featuring glimpses into the music of Brazil, Haiti, Ireland, Cuba, and Puerto Rico. That description is true – but there’s a lot more than that to this band’s unique musical style. Throw in Pop, Tin...

Kip Moore – Up All Night

One of the biggest newcomer-related success stories of 2012 has been Tifton, GA native Kip Moore. His hit single of “Somethin’ Bout A Truck” has brought him a huge amount of airplay and attention from radio across the country. That being said, while the song is a hit, it is just the tip of their iceberg of what the singer can do vocally – as well as lyrically. With radio firmly on board with Moore, I really think that some big...

Joey Canyon - Canyon Country

Joey Canyon is an artist that believes in performing music from the heart. You can tell that based on some of the artists that he has tabbed as influences – Nat King Cole, Marty Robbins, and Vern Gosdin among them. Just like those afore-mentioned artists, Canyon’s vocal style is simple and direct. There’s not a lot of bells and whistles, as he prefers to draw on the deep emotion of the lyrics on songs such as “I Can’t Live My Life...

Con Hunley – Wayfarin’ Stranger

There’s little doubt in my mind that when the complete history of Music City is written that the name of Con Hunley will be listed as one of the top vocalists to ever record here. His body of work speaks for itself. Tracks like “Oh Girl” and “No Relief In Sight” are some of the best music to come out of Nashville in the decade of the 1980s. Fortunately, Hunley is still recording, and his new disc is a keeper. His first...

Michael Juan Nunez and The American Electric – My Little Train Wreck

Hailing from South Louisiana, you can definitely get a feel for where Michael Juan Nunez is coming from in his music. This music sounds like it was meant to be played –loudly on Bourbon Street down in New Orleans. That is very apparent from the stirring blues riffs that this band plays on “Make Up My Mind.” The instrumentation- Nunez on the guitars, Chad Willis on the bass, and Clint Rodwing on the drums – is first rate all over the album, but particularly on this track. They continue that...

Leigh Marble – Where The Knives Meet Between The Rows

“I descended into a depression that lasted over a year. So you’ll hear themes of anger, frustration and fear all over this record,” explains Portland, Oregon folk-rock artist Leigh Marble, speaking about his third and latest full-length album, “Where The Knives Meet Between The Rows.” It took some time to bring about this Laughing Stock Records release; while writing and recording, his girlfriend-now-wife battled breast cancer. Making it was a healing experience for him, and he hopes it will be so for anyone who has stood ...
Robert Kinsler & TJR

Music Worth Buying: Norah Jones and Dawes

Orange County Register (CA) music critic Robert Kinsler and his co-host, TJR review new CDs. This week TJ talks about the Sonic makeover of Norah Jones' new album "Little Broken Hearts", and Robert talks about James Taylor/CSN&Y styled sounds of Los Angeles band DAWES, whose latest album "Nothing is Wrong" is a great one.

The 44’s – Americana

You gave no doubt heard of the term “Day Trip” before. Well, let me tell you, that term applies this wonder of a musical group. The 44’s have my written permission to take me back in time any day of the week! This Los Angeles-based band has a load of musical talent. You can hear proof of that on the opening cut, “Hanging Tree.” They also have a knack for being able to recreate different musical sounds. Take “Dixie” and “You’ll Be Mine,” for...
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