CD Reviews

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.

Rock’s Greatest Names Celebrated Across New DVDs

Several of rock music’s most influential artists are showcased on recently-issued DVD releases. Fans of the Doors, the Who, Queen and the Beatles all have something to celebrate this holiday season. Artist: The Doors. Title: Live at the Bowl ‘68 (Eagle Rock Entertainment). You might be interested in buying this if you like: The Doors, the Zombies, Jefferson Airplane. Tell me more: After a five-year period dominated by the Beatles and Rolling Stones, the emergence of California-spawned bands such as Credence Clearwater Revival (CCR)...

Keith & Kristyn Getty - Hymns For The Christian Life

Husband and wife songwriting team Keith & Kristyn Getty have definitely made an impact on the Christian Hymn market as of late. Highly respected for writing songs such as "In Christ Alone," the couple has carved out quite the reputation in the genre. This disc features many songs that could very well become standards, with tracks such as "Oh, How Good It Is" and "Christ Is Risen, He Is Risen Indeed" designed to make an impact on the style. Personally...

Hank Williams – The Lost Concerts

Artists such as Hank Williams or Patsy Cline almost seem like they are mythical figures at times more than real people. Both performers created their body of work in just a little over five years, and have been gone a lot longer than they were alive. It’s always interesting when you get to hear snippets of the real personalities behind the music. In this never-heard-before collection, two concerts are featured. Concert number one takes place in...

Sammy Kershaw – A Sammy Klaus Christmas

In making his second Christmas album, Sammy Kershaw said that his goal was to simply make an album that was fun to listen to and to bring back a few memories of the Yuletide season. There were no major statements to make, just an album to enjoy whether you were Christmas shopping or having a get-together. I think Kershaw and Co. accomplished that feat. Starting with a warm and fuzzy reading of “Twas’ The Night Before...

Donna Ulisse – All The Way To Bethlehem

Donna Ulisse has long been recognized as one of Country and Bluegrass Music’s most distinctive talents. Her work for Atlantic Records in the 1990s went sadly unnoticed by radio, though her 1991 single “Trouble At The Door” was a song that should have been heard by the masses. Her Bluegrass work the past few years has fared much better, as she has netted several awards for her sterling efforts. All that said, this may very well be her defining moment as an artist– and as a writer, having written or co-written each...

Francesca Battistelli – Christmas

Christmas albums are a strange type of release. You only spend about six weeks each year listening to them, but if one strikes a chord within you, chances are you will return to it again and again. Look at Elvis’s Christmas Album from 1957, or Once Upon A Christmas by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton. The latter was released in 1984, but to this day, I know where my copy is. So, I was intrigued when I received my copy of the Yuletide album...

The Grass Cats – The Mountains, My Baby, And Me

There’s nothing finer than good Bluegrass music. You know what I am talking about. When the banjo is ringing like a bell in the night, the fiddle is sawing dust, and the guitar work sounds like it could be coming from Lester Flatt himself. At the same time, there’s nothing worse than when the fiddle player is two beats behind the mandolin player, who is about a beat ahead of the lead vocalist, who has his mind on that stunning blonde on the front row...

Bobby Bare – Darker Than Light

Though Bobby Bare started making records fifty years ago, he might very well stand as an ongoing definition of the “Americana” genre. During his career, Bare has had success with Traditional Country, the Nashville Sound, Outlaw Country, and even an occasional novelty tune. In a sense, he puts it all together – save the novelty, with this inaugural recording on Plowboy Records, a label started in part by Shannon Pollard, grandson of Eddy...

Black Country Communion Project - Afterglow

Legendary producer Kevin ”Caveman” Shirley put the rock guts back into Rush in the 1980s when they started to get too keyboard and synth oriented. Guitarist Alex Lifeson was asked to ditch the reverb and Neal Peart the electric drums. The problem being addressed was strikingly clear and indicative of the Eighties. “The songs had no “balls,” Shirley said. “They were thin so I was hell bent on making a heavy record.” No such issue befalls his Black Country Communion project. The Anglo/American hybrid is unfairly...

Shannon Whitworth & Barrett Smith – Bring It On Home

The duo of Shannon Whitworth and Barrett Smith have been performing together for a while. Smith has been one of the key ingredients in Whitworth’s backing ensemble. However, on this album, the two are equals, as they have gone back and revived some of America’s greatest standards.The songs on here definitely hit the mark and bring back many memories. The duo slays the opening cut, and in doing so, reveal a secret in doing a...

Taylor Swift – Red

In case you didn’t know, Taylor Swift has a new album out. Of course, due to the unprecedented media blitz that she and Big Machine embarked on last week, you would have had to be hiding in a cave not to know the reigning CMA Entertainer of the Year was back with a new release. I think it’s a safe assumption that by the time you read this, the album will have become her second straight to scan one million in a week – another unprecedented...

Reviews: Freddie Mercury. Don McLean and George Martin

Sights and sounds abound on new DVD/Blu-ray collections - the late Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury, singer-songwriter Don McLean and Beatles producer George Martin fêted on new releases. Artist: Freddie Mercury. Title: The Great Pretender (Eagle Rock Entertainment). You might be interested in buying this if you like: Queen, Foxy Shazam. Tell me more: Freddie Mercury was one of rock music’s most original voices, with an amazing sky-reaching tenor and oversized persona to match. And while ...
Robert Kinsler & TJR

Music Worth Buying: The Fixx & Foxy Shazam

Orange County Register (CA) music critic Robert Kinsler and his co-host, TJR review new CDs. This week Robert discusses the new album by The Fixx Beautiful Friction, and TJR talks about why Foxy Shazam are heir to Queen's throne with their new album The Church of Rock'n'Roll.

Brownsville Station – Still Smokin’

As the band behind the classic 1970s rock hit “Smokin’ In The Boys’ Room,” Michigan-based Brownsville Station saw many of their dreams come true. The group stayed together until the end of the decade before disbanding, with the band members going their separate ways. Each went on to successful endeavors, including radio and record production. Cub Koda, the band’s ever-so-peronable vocalist, passed away from kidney disease in 2000. However...