CD Reviews

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Jeff Powers - Self-Titled

Sometimes, music is all in the interpretation. Two people are not going to hear the same thing the same. That being said, I know I will take some heat for this. But, there are times on his self-titled disc that Jeff Powers sounds like Bob Dylan. Maybe, not in terms of how he approaches his vocals, but in lyrical content. Songs like "Longest Train" and "15 Seconds, 67 Shots," definitely have a little bit of social commentary lean to them. The latter, in my opinion, might very well be the most powerful...
 
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The dB’S – Falling Off The Sky

Memorable melodies are the strong suit of The dB’s solid re-union effort on Bar/None Records, “Falling Off The Sky.” It’s been thirty years since the original line-up of this indie jangle pop/rock band has released an album. Inspired by their live performances back in 2005 when they briefly came back together, founding members Peter Holsapple on guitar and keys, Chris Stamey on guitar, Will Rigby on drums and Gene Holder on bass took their time recording this angst-free twelve-track collection of self-penned songs with...
 
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Buck Owens – “Live” At The White House

Many Country performers have performed in front of the President over the years, but to my knowledge, Buck Owens was the only one to ever release an album of the performance to the public. Taped during the last months of Lyndon B. Johnson’s term in September 1968, the album stayed on the shelves until 1972. At the time, Owens was riding high on the singles chart with “You Ain’t Gonna Have Ol’ Buck To Kick Around No More,” a song inspired by a decade-old statement from President...
 
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Edens Edge - Self Titled

I remember a few years back I was attending a songwriter's showcase at Nashville's Fontanel Mansion. Paying tribute to the legendary tunesmith Kye Fleming was a new trio named Eden's Edge. I came away thoroughly impressed with their musicianship and their tight harmony. Now, the group has released their very first album, and I have to admit that I am very impressed with the entire album as a whole. It's not everyday that you hear an album where there are no clunkers or dead weight, but this...
 
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Craig Morrison – Self-Titled

There’s a lot to like when it comes to the debut disc from Australia native Craig Morrison. His album is full of deep and thoughtful lyrics, guitar riffs, and some very fine guitar hooks throughout this disc. Starting out with the fresh opening cut, “Just Another Sundown,” Morrison comes running out of the gate like a man on a mission. The track has a wide open feel that really serves the singer well. He plays the guitar, and does it exceedingly well, especially on the pulsating “Wasted On Me,” which is also a...
 
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Clinton Gregory - Too Much Ain't Enough

He’s baaa-aack. It’s been a while since the world had a chance to hear something new from Clinton Gregory. Just about twenty years or so, in fact, since a Gregory song broke the Top 30 Country charts. Traditional country fans will figure the wait was worthwhile when it comes to Gregory’s new CD release “TOO MUCH AIN’T ENOUGH” as his gravelly baritone makes the best of subjects involving booze and women who let you down and men who let themselves down, thanks to booze and women...
 
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Orbo & The Longshots – Prairie Sun

I remember reviewing the last album from this very talented European group, , a few years ago. One of the things that struck me then was their amazing harmony and musicianship. Well, a few years later, they have only managed to raise things up about twenty notches.Kicking off with the spellbinding beat of “Highway Tears,” this is an album that is meant to be played at loud volumes particularly with the windows down. “High Grass Dog” continues the swagger, with Orbo sharing the vocals with the...
 
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Josh Turner – Punching Bag

In looking over some of the promotional materials for this album, I found a fact that kind of threw me for a loop. It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost a decade since Josh Turner first hit the charts with his breakthrough “Long Black Train.” Time has a way of going by, and Josh Turner has become one of Country Music’s most dependable artists during that time. For this, his fifth studio disc, the singer has found a niche, and stays with it some of the time. “Time Is Love,” the first single, would be at home on...
 
Robert Kinsler & TJR

Music Worth Buying: Beach House and Keane

Orange County Register (CA) music critic Robert Kinsler and his co-host, TJR review new CDs. This week Robert talks about the new album "Strangeland" by Keane and TJR talks about the newest bit of dream pop by Beach House titled "Bloom".
 
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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...
 
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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...
 
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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.
 
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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
 
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