CD Reviews


Robert Kinsler's Music-Minded Gift Guide Part 3

This year has been an especially good one in terms of exciting new DVD releases (most also available on Blu-ray) and album releases. Here is a last-minute roundup of new music-minded gift ideas for the most discerning family members and friends on your holiday list. Title: Psych: The Musical (Universal Studios). You might like if you enjoy: Psych (the popular USA Network comedy drama). Tell me more: Set to air on USA Network as a two-hour special...

Carmen Skyy - I Dream About You

Every day new music comes out onto the market. It can either blow our minds or get cast aside. The creative juices of Miami, Florida based singer/songwriter, Carmen Skyy will make you stop in your tracks as you listen to her latest single “I Dream About You.” Her fierceness and attitude bring a new dimension where artists like Ke$ha and Nicki Minaj left off. Going beneath the surface of the song, Carmen's songwriting talent is stylish and inventive. Pop superstars...

Tom Kazas – Sisyphus Happy

Tom Kazas has just released his 20th something release Sisyphus Happy. For those who are wondering Sisyphus was a tricky and rather nasty king from the land of the Greek Gods. He’s the gnarly dude that tricked death so that everyone stopped dying. I do remember this one. He pissed off Zeus and as a punishment he was made to roll a huge boulder up a hill. The boulder was enchanted and always rolled back to the start before Sisyphus could complete his task. Others...

Ruff Kutt Blues Band – That’s When The Blues Begins

It’s a Texas Blues band alright, but Ruff Kutt Blues Band has a sophisticated city sound that’s more downtown than dirt road on their sophomore recording “That’s When The Blues Begins.” This Vizztone label project offers fourteen tracks – all penned or co-penned by bassist James Goode, and he is joined by core members Zac Harmon on vocals and guitar, Finis Tasby on vocals and Anson Funderburgh on guitar, who produced the album as well. Supporting players Wes Starr...

Robert Kinsler's Music-Minded Gift Guide Part 2

With December's arrival it's time to get serious about picking up some outstanding collections for those special and discerning music fans in your life. Here is the second of two special Music-minded Gift Guides showcasing a wide-ranging number of new collections available now. Here are some highly-recommended albums. Artist: Mark Knopfler. Title: Privateering (Verve). You might like if you enjoy: Dire Straits, Nils Lofgren. Tell me more: Bound to rank on...

Tommy Emmanuel - Live and Solo in Pensacola, Florida

Acoustic phenom Tommy Emmanuel is literally a one man band. Inspired by guitar legend Chet Atkins, his “fingerstyle” picking technique enables him to play the bass, melody and drum parts all at once. He is one of only five recipients of Atkins’s coveted CGP (Certified Guitar Player) award. His highly anticipated CD/DVD combo “Tommy Emmanuel cgp: Live and solo in Pensacola, Florida” is an intimate showcase at the Jean & Paul Amos Performance Studio where the 58 year...

Gord Bamford – Country Junkie

“…I’ve learned a lot of lessons, and lost a lot of money along the way, but I’ve had the chance to meet and work with a great group of people, which has resulted in my success story,” says Canadian Country artist Gord Bamford in an October interview. He’s quick to acknowledge those around him for his achievements, and doing it often these days. His CCMA trophies have been steadily stacking up since 2008, and this year the man blew up with five CCMAs and his very first ...

Dustin Tebbutt - The Breach

Cascading folk sensibilities flecked with wintry tinges of melancholia and an earnest intensity. Understated acoustic harmonies heightened by superb instrumentation. These are elements of Dustin Tebbutt’s carefully crafted works which capture the tremendous glacial landscapes of the Scandinavian winter, the recording location of recently released The Breach. Relocating to Sweden for two years to live, work, write and record, the emerging Sydney musician has...

Music Worth Buying: Boston - Life, Love & Hope

Orange County Register (CA) music critic Robert Kinsler and his co-host, TJR review new CDs. This week, the pair review the new release by Boston, "Life, Love & Hope", as well as discuss the legacy of the hit rock band. Boston's self-titled debut album included rock-radio staples More Than a Feeling and Peace of Mind, selling more than 17 million copies. Since the 1980s, the band has released an album a decade, most recently Corporate America in 2002.

Go Violets – Heart Slice EP

In everybody’s teenage years, there comes a time when you wish that the boy/girl you have adored for as long as you can remember shows signs they feel the same way about you. This perfect, fantastical moment occurs at sundown, gazing into one another’s eyes in front of an idyllic, waterfront view. Indie pop-rockers Go Violets provide the perfect soundtrack to such a vision. Their songs just fall short of screaming, “kiss me!” to the object of their affection.

T.G. Sheppard & Kelly Lang - Iconic Duets

Since they got together several years ago, T.G. Sheppard and Kelly Lang have weathered some rough storms - through her battle with cancer and Sheppard's well-publicized health battle of 2012. They have seemingly made it through the toughest of times, and have been eliciting a strong response from concert audiences when they perform on stage together. That being said, it was only natural that the two would record a...

Mindy Smith - Snowed In

Mindy Smith has long been one of Americana Music's brightest shining lights - as well as a critical darling, so it's no surprise that her Yuletide EP is a little bit deeper than most. There's not any "Jingle Bells" or "Here Comes Santa Claus" recordings here, but this collection of three standards and two new tracks dazzles with its' amazing simplicity. "Tomorrow Is Christmas Day" has such a sweet innocence...
MNN Ditty Road

Ditty Road - Self Titled

He brings grit to her sweetness; she brings refinement to his raw edges. Arguably, the most serendipitous coming together of the year is newborn Americana duo Ditty Road. Comprised of cigar-box luthier legend Little Johnny Kantreed and singer/songwriter Kat Starr, these two Tennessee natives bring different experiences to the table for a unique blending of roots-based music on their self-titled EP. While LJK gets down and dirty on a dobro or one of his organic creations...

Restless Heart - A Restless Heart Christmas

When it comes to recording Christmas albums, artists sometimes get a little too adventurous in trying to make holiday standards their own - thereby forgetting the reason that we are drawn to them in the first place. There's something warm and homey about the classics you grew up on, and though we love seeing artists stretch their wings - Yuletide albums are not generally the place to do it. That being said, props need...

Bill Anderson - Life!

Bill Anderson is definitely one of Country Music's most enduring success stories. Beginning in the late 1950s with Ray Price's "City Lights," Anderson has long been a part of our culture as a songwriter, singer, radio personality, and even a game show host (Who, after all, didn't want to be a contestant on Fandango back in the 1980s?). And, that success story continues today - with two wins over the past decade for Song of the Year ("Whiskey Lullaby" and "Give It Away"). So, the artist continues...