CD Reviews


David Maxwell – Blues In Other Colors

David Maxwell has been doing what he does – and doing it well – for four decades now, and his latest disc is one of his greatest artistic triumphs yet. On this disc, he fuses his traditional blues stylings with many other genres – including some from other countries. The resulting factor is one of the most stirring instrumental albums I have heard all year. For fans of pop-leaning sounds, they will no doubt be attracted to cuts such as “Big Sky” and “Blue...

Dinah Thomas & The Five White Guys – 12

When you list artists in your bio as influences ranging from Beethoven to Carole King to Chuck Berry, a listener should very well expect a diverse album. Needless to say, Dinah Thorpe does not let down in that aspect, as this disc is all over the place musically. The Canadian artist begins the disc with the folk-ish sounds of “In The Country,” and continues with the down home stylings of “Song For Dolly.” (Of course, with a title like that, it would...

Johnny Society – Free Society

New York-based rock group Johnny Society has quite the synergy on record. That is evidenced by this album, which is quite the sonic treat to listen to. Kicking off with the up-tempo “So Quick To Turn,” this band – consisted of lead guitarist / vocalist Kenny Siegal, drummer Brian Geltner, bassist Gwen Siegal, keyboard player Ed Pastorini, and Sam Kulik on the trombone – as cliched as it sounds – cooks. Siegal’s vocal is also full of personality from...

Dave McGraw & Mandy Fer – Seed Of A Pine

Every now and then, you come across something that is just a little special. This album is one of those instances. This disc is very much in the Americana sound, and both pull off some incredible performances. After all, there is strength in numbers, and that applies here. For the most part, their vocals take front and center stage, as the instrumental arrangements on this record are sparse and light. That really allows McGraw’s rough edged vocals...

Emilee Allan – Self Titled

Over the past couple of years, thanks to acts like Corey Wagar and Eric Lee Beddingfield, Kent Wells has developed a reputation for being one of the rising producers in Nashville. His latest find is a youthful singer from Michigan, and needless to say, I think he’s done it again. She plays off of her youth and vitality on the to-the-point feel of “Wrong For Me,” which is a winner, as well as on the polish of a radio-ready track such as “One Song.” She...

The Stray Cats, Peter Frampton, Jellyfish and Kenny Howes are among the greats featured on new CD collections.

Fall 2012 is providing an endless number of fantastic new releases for music lovers. The Stray Cats, Peter Frampton, Jellyfish and Kenny Howes are among the greats featured on new collections. Artist: The Stray Cats. Title: Live At Montreux 1981 (Eagle Rock Entertainment). You might be interested in buying this if you like: Elvis Presley, the Blasters, Lee Rocker. Tell me more: The Stray Cats didn’t launch rockabilly music, but the New York trio sure revived the ‘50s-spawned style and introduced it to an entire new generation of music lovers in the early...

Claude Hay – I Love Hate You

Australian musician Claude Hay uses somewhat of a different style than a lot of guitarists. He uses a technique that loops together different sounds of instruments to make it appear that the studio is much more crowded than it is. Truth is, this is actually a one man show, with Hay doing the singing and performing all the instrumentation. He also wrote all the songs, except for a little nugget called “Come Together,” from the pen of some songwriters with...

Chris Edwards – There Was A Time

I would bet a high amount of money that Virginia native Chris Edwards has listened to a Duane Eddy album from time to time during his life. The influence is all over this disc. It takes you back to a time when there instrumentalists made their own records. Granted, it still happens today, just not on the same scale as it once did. That being said, this album is a lot more than simple nostalgia. Edwards picks his back side off, kicking off with the...
Robert Kinsler & TJR

Music Worth Buying: Led Zeppelin and The Doors

Orange County Register (CA) music critic Robert Kinsler and his co-host, TJR review new CDs.. This week, TJR and Robert take a look at the new live DVD - Blu Ray releases by Led Zeppelin Celebrartion day and The Doors Live at the Bowl 68

Rich Mahan – Blame Bobby Bare

As a child, Rich Mahan recalls how the free and easy sounds of Bobby Bare helped to serve as a healing stream of sorts to his father when he would get stressed. For his latest album, the California transplant name-checks Bare for the title, but also that quirky and irreverent style that he personified in his recordings. Stylistically, Mahan shows his blues influence all over the place. There’s a hard driving sound to the opener, “Math,” and Mahan knocks it out...

Rick Stephenson – Love Beyond Reason

When it’s done right, Inspirational music brings you closer to your spiritual side. Wisconsin native Rick Stephenson does just that with a praise-filled collection that includes songs designed to warm your heart – and bring to mind your daily walk. The opener, “Be Still,” is a prime example of this. What really makes the track work is they way he shifts the tempo from the verses to the choruses. It makes for interesting listening, which kind of leaves you...

Holiday Music Celebrated on New Christmas Collections

Orange County Register music writer Robert Kinsler reviews some new Christmas albums by various artists including The Shins, Paul McCartney, The Civil Wars, Colby Caillat, Mandisa and Smash Mouth.

The Charlie Daniels Band - Hallelujah It's Christmas Time Again

The new album from the Charlie Daniels Band gives the legendary musician a chance of to combine two of his strongest passions - his love for the Christmas season and the birth of Jesus Christ, as well as his deep appreciation of the United States Armed Forces, and the work those men and women do in keeping us safe. The Grand Ole Opry member has partnered up with Buffets, Inc to help benefit ...

The Oak Ridge Boys - Christmas Time's A-Coming

You know how some things just make you comfortable - like that old pair of shoes in the corner that feel right. Listening to the Oak Ridge Boys is one of those things. By my count, this is their sixth Christmas -themed disc. You might wonder how an act can keep coming up with new and fresh takes on topics, but once you get into the first verse of the standard "Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow," and you hear that unmistakable harmony, you know...

Willie Nelson – Heroes

Even if you are not the biggest fan of his music or not, one has to admire Willie Nelson and his creative spirit. Even as he nears 80 years old, the ‘Red Headed Stranger’ is still out there each year performing and creating. That being said, I think might very well be his best all-around project since 2002’s The Great Divide, which I think is one of his most underrated efforts. This disc is basically a creative effort with son Lukas, who appears on eight tracks...