CD Reviews

Lincoln Durham - The Shovel Vs. The Howling Bones

Lincoln Durham has quite the following and the reputation in his career. That is true for a reason. Listening to his music is very much a treat for the ears. There's some Rock, some Blues, and even a little bit of Bluegrass in the musical style. Vocally, he possesses a soulful approach that is not too different from the music of the late Jeff Healey. The comparison to Healey can be heard the most on "How Does A Crow Fly," but there's a lot more to his style. "Drifting Wood" and "Last Red Dawn" both have a rough...
 
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Josh Gracin – Redemption

Over the past few years, Josh Gracin has been caught in what could be described as “Record Company Limbo.” His record company, Lyric Street, closed not too long ago, leaving him in search of a new label home. Enter into the picture Average Joe’s Entertainment, and you get an album from Gracin that features some Country, some Pop, and even a little bit of the Blues, and on each track he handles each style beautifully. Redemption opens up with a pair of cuts that illustrate this point beautifully. The...
 
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Reckless Kelly - Somewhere In Time

For a decade and a half, the members of Reckless Kelly have stood firm as some of the biggest musical renegades in the business. Their brand of Rock and Country has entertained crowds all over the Lone Star state and beyond, and has made them favorites of artists and critics alike. The opening cut, "Little Blossom," is ample proof of what they do so well. It's a story set to music, and leader Willy Braun does a fantastic job with it. The same could be said of the story tune "Thelma." Other standout cuts on this album...
 
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T-Bird & The Breaks - Self Titled

On their website, T-Bird & The Breaks describe their music as "Chunk" Music, with that definition being "A form of twenty-first century American music consisting of equal parts funk, hip-hop, and rock and roll characterized by its rough sonic quality and energetic, visceral performance. Commonly served hot with a side of girls and brass." If nothing else, I love their imagination when it comes to defining a sound. But, I will tell you one thing that I definitely like more - their music. While their sound comes from all...
 
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Lea Salonga - The Journey So Far

Lea Salonga is an fantastic singer. Fans who are familiar with her work in stage productions such as Miss Saigon and Les Miserables no doubt respect her talent. Those who have heard her work in Disney films such as Aladdin and Mulan can also testify to her amazing range. On this album, she gets an opportunity to show what she can do live, and the answers are limitless. Her range on the medley of "My Romance / Let's Fall In Love" is amazing. She's able to show the fact that her personality has a lot of different...
 
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George Ducas - Volume Up, Windows Down

George Ducas made his initial splash in the Country Music community back in 1995 with the radio hit "Lipstick Promises." Since then, he has built his songwriting career up, and likewise became one of Nashville' more respected tunesmiths. Still, when you are an artist - especially one of his talent - you want to sing your own songs yourself. That being said, it's good to hear Ducas back on record. As the title of this disc implies, you're not going to hear any heavy-handed messages on this album. It's basically an...
 
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38 Special - Live From Texas

As the inner sleeve of this disc reflects, this album was recorded throughout the state of Texas in September 2009. That means that you're going to get a very loud crowd, as Texans love their music - whether your name is Wills or Van Zant. Speaking of which! There are no heavy handed musical sermons, as the legendary rockers are in no way shape or form trying to influence one's political persuasion. It's simply put, Rock and Roll, and that's one thing 38 Special does just about as good as anyone. Seriously, this is...
 
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Karling Abbeygate – Christmas With Karling

Contemporary rockabilly artist Karling Abbeygate releases her first holiday album, “Christmas With Karling,” in the spirit of the season by donating all proceeds to the non-profit organization, Save-A- Life Cat and Dog Adoption, a Southern California no-kill rescue. Born and raised in England, and now living in the Los Angeles area, this theatrical vocal stylist recorded live five classics and six self-written songs in her home studio, with the help of producer Donnie Whitbeck and her four-piece band.
 
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Billy Crockett - Wishing Sky

Wow. Sometimes there simply aren't enough words. Billy Crockett is quite the effective singer, as evidenced by each and every cut on this album. But, as a producer, he shows even more talent on this disc. It definitely has its' moments when you can hear some of his influences, like Dan Fogelberg or possibly Restless Heart lead singer Larry Stewart. But, it all comes out as a unique mix of singer-songwriter with a deep rooted pop sensibility. The Fogelberg comparison can be heard immediately, on the opening...
 
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Teea Goans – The Way I Remember It

I have been hearing a lot about Teea Goans as of late. But, it wasn’t until a recent visit to the Ernest Tubb Midnite Jamboree that I first heard this talented vocalist up front and center. I will tell you that if you’re not a fan of Traditional Country the way it used to be, you might need to quit reading now. OK. With that said, I have to admit this is a special album by a special artist. Teea is a Missouri native who grew up listening to the local AM radio station near the Kansas border. The sounds she grew up...
 
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Alayna & Zeb – The Real Thing

Pittsburgh duo Alayna & Zeb consists of best-friends-since-college Alayna Carroll and Sara Zebley. Their solid debut effort is “The Real Thing,” a pop-rock-country crossover recorded in their home state. Five of the six tracks offered here are written by these two women, joined by a co-writer on one, and Zebley solely penning another. Their chemistry blend produces lyrics reflecting stories of strong women, singable, commercial chorus melodies, and thick, might-as-well-be...
 
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Suzanna Choffel - Steady Eye Shaky Bow

Texas native Suzanna Choffel's influences run deep and wide. Erykah Badu. Paul Simon. Bebel Gilberto. Marie Daulne. When that many ingredients enter your musical stylings, you know it is going to figure into a very interesting mix, and Choffel definitely delivers in that regard. There's a very retro feel to this disc. Several of the cuts sounds like they are from another era. "Archer" sounds very much like it could have been the theme song for an early James Bond film for example, and she conjures up a 70s sound on "So...
 
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The Marshall Ford Swing Band - It's About Dam Time

Sometimes, an album sounds exactly the way it is advertised. The name of this group is the Marshall Ford Swing Band, and believe me, that's exactly what this five-piece combo is. A listen to this disc is like a trip back in time, and I think you will enjoy the ride. This is definitely old-school swing from the get-go. The opening cut, "Lyla Lou," shimmers with a light and easy vocal from Greg Harkins, and his guitar playing also makes the track a winner. Emily Gimble's immaculate work on the keys is also...
 
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Ruthie Foster – Let It Burn

2011 Blues Music Association Best Traditional Female Blues Artist and 2010’s Best Contemporary Female Blues Artist is one and the same person, Ruthie Foster. This Texas singer’s musical style defies labeling, reflecting a blend of gospel, folk, rock and soul in her cornucopian mixture of blues. In early 2012, Foster is scheduled to launch her latest project: an eclectic collection of thirteen originals and covers, “Let It Burn,” released by Blue Corn Music. Produced by John Chelew, and recorded in New Orleans with local A-list musicians for an authentic sound, this album features special guests – gospel greats, the Blind Boys of Alabama, and soul singer William Bell.
 
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Lisa Matassa – Me Time

The story of Lisa Matassa is definitely one that is a little bit different as opposed to most that you hear these days. The striking beauty doesn’t hail from a small town in Southern Alabama, but rather, Long Island. And, having been married with children for quite a while, she has definitely lived the words of some of these songs for quite a while. Vocally, she draws from a mixture of influences without trying to sound like any of them. On the first two cuts, “I Don’t Feel Anything” and the feisty “Wouldn’t You...
 
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