CD Reviews

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Music Heroes Return With Monumental Efforts

Former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr, Thom Yorke's Atoms For Peace, the Jeff Healey Band and Moody Blues singer-songwriter Justin Hayward make powerful impressions on their latest releases. Artist: Johnny Marr. Title: The Messenger (Sire / ADA). You might be interested if you like: The Smiths, Blur, New Order. Tell me more: More than 25 years after the Smiths disbanded, that legendary British quartet's phenomenal guitarist Johnny Marr has finally issued his first-ever solo album. Indeed, "The Messenger...
 
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Jimbeau Hinson - Strong Medicine

Jimbeau Hinson has crafted some of Country Music's biggest hits, with artists such as the Oak Ridge Boys, John Conlee, and David Lee Murphy all reaping the benefits of his emotional lyrics. Behind the scenes, Hinson has had quite an eventful life. Diagnosed with HIV in the mid-1980s, the singer-songwriter knows a little bit about life's peaks and valleys. He brings to light many of those struggles in this emotional-charged...
 
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Jason Crabb - Love Is Stronger

“With everything everybody has been going through these last couple of years, from the shootings to the hurricanes, the very thing that’s gotten everyone through it is love. Love wins when you are broken. Love gives us hope,” says Christian music recording artist Jason Crabb. This conviction that love and hope are what’s important in life is what drives his sophomore studio solo album “Love Is Stronger,” an eleven-track gem on the Gaither Music Group label. To the Grammy and twenty-time-winning Dove Award singer, “The lyrics...
 
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Mark Robinson – Have Axe – Will Groove

“Finally I decided it was time to stop being a sideman and step into the limelight,” says blues artist Mark Robinson. The onetime guitarist for Chicago performers such as Koko Taylor and Jimmy Johnson, and Nashville’s Tracy Nelson and Tommy Womack came out from the supporting-role shadows when he released his debut album back in 2010, “Quit Your Job – Play Guitar.” Now his sophomore effort on Blind Chihuahua Records, “Have Axe – Will Groove,” shows he is settling into his newfound place with a maturing...
 
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Juliet and the Lonesome Romeos – No Regrets

Being compared by critics to Lucinda Williams and making the CMA CloseUp Magazine’s “Who New To Watch in 2013” list have got to be hard to live up to, but Juliet and the Lonesome Romeos do just that with their debut album, “No Regrets.” This Tree O Records release features ten tracks, nine of which Boston singer/songwriter and Berklee alum Juliet Simmons Dinallo has a hand in penning. Produced by bandmate/husband Mike Dinallo, along with Ducky Carlisle (aka The Tremolo Twins), the band covers the full...
 
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Joe Bonamassa - An Acoustic Evening at the Vienna Opera House

Joe Bonamassa, Acoustic evening, Vienna Opera house. If you think that is counterintuitive, toss in the nyckelharpa, glockenspiel and Irish fiddle and you’ve got a modern day magical mystery tour on your hands. Nonetheless, the blues phenom known for his bruising Les Paul manages to create an unparalleled unplugged experience with “An Acoustic Evening at the Vienna Opera House.” (out Mar. 26) After scorching London’s Royal Albert Hal land New York’s Beacon Theater on his prior live albums, Bonamassa...
 
Robert Kinsler & TJR

Music Worth Buying - Otis Taylor and The Lone Bellow

Orange County Register (CA) music critic Robert Kinsler and his co-host, TJR review new CDs. In our latest album Robert talks about the Trace blues rock historical album of Otis Taylor "Our World is gone" and TJ discusses the evocatively beautiful debut album by The Lone Bellow.
 
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John Driskell Hopkins & Balsam Range - Daylight

Zac Brown Band founding member John Driskell Hopkins has released his own project apart from the Grammy-winning country group – a colorful collaboration with bluegrass quintet Balsam Range titled “Daylight.” Produced by Hopkins and the North Carolina-based band, this collection of thirteen songs, all written or co-written by Hopkins, is a polished effort that’s destined for the industry’s lists of best in bluegrass this year. With meaty vocal performances that fluctuate from smooth croon to bluesy spittin’ growl, Hopkins takes us on a ...
 
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Legends Return With Masterworks

Groundbreaking bluesman Otis Taylor’s 13th full-length album “My World Is Gone,” country music singer-songwriter Gary Allan’s confessional “Set You Free,” fabled singer Eric Burdon’s probing “Til’ Your River Runs Dry” and power pop outfit Throwback Suburbia’s “Shot Glass Souvenir” add up to a sterling field of epic releases that will excite discerning music fans. Artist: Otis Taylor. Title: My World Is Gone (Telarc International). You might be interested if you like: The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Indigenous, Robert Johnson...
 
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Lydia Salnikova - Valentine Circle

Love is a word that so often is overused. A fan yells out "I love you" to a rock star and he yells back "I love you too," not knowing even who yelled. We say "I love this restaurant," or "I love that TV show," and so on. Continuing in that vein, I'll say that if love was based on someone's vocal talents and musical abilities, I'd drop to my knees with ring in hand and say "Lydia, I love you, will you marry me?" In the songs on her new CD, Valentine Circle, Lydia Salnikova talks about love of an another in its deepest, truest...
 
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Charlie Parr – Barnswallow

A little album recorded in Winona, Minnesota has taken on a hefty mission of handing down the tradition of folk blues. “Barnswallow” is the eleventh studio album by roots artist Charlie Parr, which tells a truly American story of our musical heritage, sounding more akin to old, archival field recordings than digitized 21st century masters…and that’s a good thing. Parr’s eight self-penned songs and two traditionals were recorded live to tape, using only first and second takes, allowing a raw freshness into his work. Playing his ...
 
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Tim McDonald - Livin' Breathin' Havin' Fun

Since a very young age, Tim McDonald has been captivated by music. His love of it shows in his musical performances which, over the years, have ranged from Country to Jazz and all the way back around. On his latest album, he shows his Country side for all the world to hear and see, and for my money, it sounds pretty dang good. Kicking off with "Every Song Sounds The Same," which is one of the most traditional sounding tunes on the album, Tim shows...
 
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A Fragile Tomorrow – Be Nice Be Careful

“We really wanted to make a record that was spontaneous and fun,” says Sean Kelly, member of Piewillie Records recording artists A Fragile Tomorrow, referring to their new record “Be Nice Be Careful.” Check, check on both fronts. This, the Charleston, South Carolina quartet’s fourth release, has enough light, youthful verve to be described as fun, and flashes of surprise to boast spontaneity. Helmed by R.E.M. producer Mitch Easter, along with Ted Comerford (Jukebox the Ghost), the album’s fourteen...
 
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Stevie DuPree & The Delta Flyers – Dr. DuPree’s Love Shop

Brassy, splashy Stevie DuPree & The Delta Flyers are a Texas band with a vibrant Louisiana sound. The latest from this quartet is a twelve-track showcase of blues-soaked style on the Soulbilly Music Group label, “Dr. DuPree’s Love Shop,” produced by band member guitarist Mark Kazanoff and recorded in Austin. DuPree’s strident, rough-around-the-edges tenor has a John Fogarty quality, and he’s backed by solid musicians, including a hellacious horn section that polishes here and there to a luster. His pen creates...
 
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Don Rich – Don Rich Sings George Jones

It has been well established over the years what a crucial part of Buck Owens’ sounds that Don Rich was. What most might not realize is what a great singer and musician that Rich was on his own. Part of this stems from the fact that “Dangerous Don,” as he was known, didn’t aspire to be a big solo star. He was perfectly content to be the right hand man of Owens and the leader of the Buckaroos. This disc, recorded in 1970, laid around in the...