CD Reviews

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Rosanne Cash - The River & The Thread

In the history of Country Music, I don't know if there has ever been a singer-songwriter who has managed to walk the fine line between introspective and sexy any more than Rosanne Cash. Going back to her early hits like "Seven Year Ache" or even the jazzy "I Wonder," there was such a passion to her Columbia records - one that was balanced by some of the best songwriting from that era. Simply put, you had to think about what...
 
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Tracy Lawrence - Headlights, Taillights and Radios

Tracy Lawrence is one of the most consistent – and consistently popular – artists in country music today. That’s not surprising for a guy with the grit and determination that Lawrence has shown since he arrived in Nashville back in 1990. Determined to build a career in music, he worked in telephone sales and as an ironworker during the day and played talent shows and gigs at night. Then just before the release of his first album, “Sticks and Stones” in 1991, he was shot...
 
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Dean Miller - 'Til You Stop Getting Old

I've got to tell you that listening to Dean Miller's new CD makes me a little sad. That's not a reflection upon Dean and his music. Far from it. But, given the current landscape in commercial Country Music, I just seriously doubt that his music will find much exposure. And, that's a damn shame, literally. Because, this might very well be one of the finest albums a male vocalist has cut in this town in quite some time. Kicking off with the...
 
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Indie and Alternative Pioneers Shine On New Releases

Reissues are in the spotlight this week thanks to the release of a legendary live recording from Paisley Underground heroes The Dream Syndicate, as well as two deluxe reissues of classic Camper Van Beethoven albums. And what's not to love about the stunning debut from honeychain? Artist: Camper Van Beethoven. Titles: Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart, Key Lime Pie (Omnivore Recordings). You might like if you enjoy: Cracker. Tell me more: Both 1988...
 
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Bigg Redd and Creole Soul - Do You Qualify

I recently checked out the latest CD from Rhythm and Blues artist Bigg Redd entitled Do You Qualify (2013). The band Standard 4 piece line-up which includes drums, bass, accordion, organ, vocals and harmonica. I would say they possess above way average songwriting and way above average playing within the genere. You will find many impressive musical licks along the way. Timing is spot on within the Rockabilly, R&B grooves. Redd can hold his own...
 
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Suzy Bogguss - Lucky

Ask Suzy Bogguss about her new album, and she will tell you quickly that it's not exactly a tribute album to Merle Haggard the singer. Sure, the album is a collection of Haggard standards, but she didn't exactly paint by the numbers and do the classics the same way "The Hag" did. She did do a few things differently, as far as the artist perspective goes.But, as a songwriter, Bogguss does tip the hat the the "Poet Of The...
 
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Males – Run Run Run

Dunedin is the site of New Zealand’s first University, Otago Polytechnic and is the second largest city in the South Island. 21% of the city’s population are students of some form or another, there is a higher than average rate of unemployment and there is a female skewed bias in the population. What this means is that there are heaps of young people with time on their hands and a whole bunch of chicks to come to your gigs. I’m no muso-sociologist, but this...
 
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The Apostle Paul Martin - Kentucky Jukebox, Volume 1: The Country Sessions

A true sign of a great project is that you are somewhat bummed when it's over. That's how I feel listening to this project from Paul Martin - who dazzles fans and viewers alike with his musical skills as a member of the Fabulous Superlatives on the Marty Stuart Show, where he has been dubbed by Stuart as "The Apostle." Of course, Martin's...
 
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Ralph Stanley & Ralph Stanley II - Side By Side

Hank Williams, Jr. might sing about family traditions in Country Music, but make no mistake about it - the world of Bluegrass is full of historic lore when it comes to families, as well. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the Stanley family tree. Of course, the Stanley name became known due to the groundbreaking recordings by Carter and Ralph Stanley. But since the former's passing in 1966, his younger sibling has more than done...
 
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The Band of Heathens - Sunday Morning Record

“The further into life you get, the more you realize that life isn’t black and white, and that there are millions of shades of grey in between,” says Ed Jurdi, member of Americana-leaning The Band Of Heathens. On the Austin band’s fourth and latest studio project, “Sunday Morning Record,” they explore just these kinds of subtleties, in perhaps their most understated effort to date. Their 2011 “Top Hat Crown And The Clapmaster’s Son” album garnered my review that...
 
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Seagull – Ocean From Above

It’s haunting, it’s mystical, it’s slightly depressing, it’s basically like being in a Brannan filtered Instagram image of an uninhabited forest. Melbourne band, SEAGULL, make that dark, ominous kind of indie-folk that encourages emotional epiphanies. Their most recent album Ocean From Above (2013) was produced by front-man Chris Bolton and is executed with raw, apocalyptic beauty. Enter opening song Ruby, whose thought-provoking lyrics gives you hope...
 
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Echo Arcadia - Beauty in the Average Life

Echo Arcadia is the Edinburgh, Scotland based alternative indie septet of Leigh Moyes (Lead Vocals/ Rhythm Guitar), Vonny Moyes (Lead Guitar / Vocals), Euan Mushet (Bass), Dan Ciesielski (Drums), Kev Tierney (Guitar / Vocals /Trumpet), Pete Nicholson (Keys / Vocals) and Andrew Gray (Violin / Vocals). One music critic called them: Mature without being boring; intelligent without a hint of pretentiousness; pop without the pap: Echo Arcadia’s tasty portions of ...
 
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Lunaire – Dreams and Inbetweens

Dreams and Inbetweens is the first full length album and fourth release in as many years from Lunaire, a Melbourne based post-rock outfit with their minds and music blissfully in the clouds. This offering sees the continuation of their dreamy, gliding sound that will leave you in a trance somewhere amongst the inbetweens. The self-described shoegazers have looked down to see their feet firmly in their comfort zone, but it’s immediately apparent that they’ve found the...
 
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Trick Mammoth – Floristry Review

We’ve only been doing Happy NZ for a few weeks now, but it seems to me that all I can find from across the Tasman are bands made up of pretty brunettes and tragic eyes. Take the newest full length LP from Dunedin pop trio Trick Mammoth for example. Floristry‘s cover depicts a band beneath a broken bouquet, their tight trousers and vintage shoes peeking out from underneath. More like NewTweeland, Amirite?
 
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Legendary Artists Push The Envelope On Latest Albums

Paul Rodgers revisits his early love of soul via the glorious "The Royal Sessions," while Zombies singer Colin Blunstone and Big Head Todd & the Monsters push the boundaries of their respective styles forward with persuasiveness and force. Artist: Paul Rodgers. Album: The Royal Sessions. You might like if you enjoy: Otis Redding, Bad Company, Albert King. Tell me more: Paul Rodgers, the famed rock singer who fronted Free, Bad Company, the Firm and even Queen for...