CD Reviews

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The Bacon Brothers - Philadelphia Road: Best of the Bacon Brothers

Over the years, many actors have attempted to become recording artists. Some achieve success or notoriety initially, only to fall by the wayside later. Thankfully, Kevin Bacon and his brother Michael have not done that. Then again, music has been a part of their lives long before Kevin became known as an actor or Michael developed an equally impressive reputation as a film and television composer. On this compilation of their best recordings over the past decade and a half, you will find...
 
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The Fry Brothers – Waitin’ On The Wonderful

With a list of influences / favorites that include Johnny Paycheck and Joe Walsh, the Fry Brothers cover a lot of musical territory. But, they do it very well, and in a cohesive musical manner. The harmonies are air-tight throughout this project, with “Waitin’ On The Wonderful” and “Just Gettin’ Started” being great examples of this. They range emotionally from the plaintive and feeling lyrics of “Hold Me” to the snappy and fun sounds of “Temptation” and “Mr. Party.” Each of those cuts work well, but they also have...
 
Robert Kinsler & TJR

Music Worth Buying: The Beach Boys and Asia

Orange County Register (CA) music critic Robert Kinsler and his co-host, TJR review new CDs. It's the 50th Anniversary of The Beach Boys, so this week TJ examines their latest album: "That's Why God Made The Radio". And Robert talks about "XXX" The 30th Anniversary album by 80's rock group Asia.
 
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Leah Seawright – Self Titled

If you’ve ever been around Alabama native Leah Seawright for any amount of time, you know that she is a old-fashioned Southern belle. You’re going to get a big hug, and also a ‘Honey’ or a ‘Darlin.’ That personality was a part of her first album to an extent, but she moves closer to her true personality on this EP. The opener, “Dixie Daughter,” would have fit on her debut disc – but she accentuates the performance with a healthy amount of twang. She gives Lee Ann Womack’s “Don’t Tell Me” a very dramatic...
 
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Grady Champion – Shanachie Days

I have been privileged to review the music of Grady Champion on at least one other occasion. I say ‘privileged,’ because this guy is an absolute treat to listen to from start to finish. Unlike many Blues acts out right now, he can play – and he can sing on an equal level. Some have the vocal chops, but can’t play – or vice versa. Champion isn’t one of these. He does each, and in such a superb manner. This is a compilation of some of his best work over the years, and it does contain some definite...
 
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Guitar Mikey & The Real Thing – Out Of The Box

Ontario-born Mike McMillian has loved the blues for a long time. That comes across in many of the tracks on this disc. As a vocalist, writer, and an instrumentalist, he makes it sound so easy on this disc. There are a variety of styles involved here, from the Rock & Roll of “That’s No Way,” as well as the straight-up roadhouse sound of “Blues Attack.” He opts for a laid back approach on “It’s Goin’ Down,” as well as effective modern day boogie of “Freedom Road.” In addition to the lyrics and the vocals, the instrumentation...
 
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Albert Bashor – Cotton Field Of Dreams

Upon first listen, you might label Albert Bashor a Blues performer. And, while I don’t think he would argue with that presumption. There’s a lot more to his style than just that. There’s some rock and folk sounds that pierce through this project as well. Take the opener, “Jukin’ Down On Johnson Street,” for example. There’s a swagger that Bashor performs to the nth degree, with a great deal of funk. That also can be stated for “Rockin’ Red Rooster” or the instrumentally tight “Poodle Ribs.” Needless to say, Bashor...
 
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Buck Owens – Tall Dark Stranger: The Buck Owens & The Buckaroos Recordings 1969-1975

In retrospect, 1969 might have been one of the biggest years of Buck Owens’ career. He topped the chart three times that year, and also began a seventeen-year run as host of “Hee Haw.” The effect that stint had on his career can be argued, but if you look at truth in numbers, his sales and chart success dipped dramatically once he took up residence in Kornfield Kounty. In the third release of Owens’ Capitol years from German-based Bear Family, we take a look at his recorded output from...
 
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Paul Thorn – What The Hell Is Going On?

OK, I am going to admit something to you. I’m not that hip. Unlike a Mansfield or a Cooper, sometimes it takes me a while to get on board with someone who receives a lot of critical acclaim. I guess I’ve bought too much vanilla at Baskin Robbins instead of that 44th flavor. You’re probably wondering by now, what does any of this have to do with Paul Thorn? Well, while he has become one of Nashville’s most respected and revered artists over the past few years, you’re probably wondering by now, what does any of this have to do with Paul Thorn? Well, while he has become one of Nashville’s most respected and revered artists over the past few years, I have...
 
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Darryl Holter – Crooked Hearts

It’s been a while since I have heard a great murder song. For the most part, they just don’t make songs like that anymore. Moments into, “Mary Brown ,” the first cut on the album, there’s already been one. It definitely qualifies as a song of passion and mystery that will leave an impression on you – along with those Waylon Jennings-ish guitar riffs. The good thing is that there is a lot more where that comes from on this album. A native of Minnesota, Holter also tips the hat to the sound of the 1960s. The...
 
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BoDeans - American Made

Over the past few years, BoDeans have become one of the most respected acts in the Americana format. There are many reasons for this, as they seem to derive excellence from so many different areas. For starters, the musicianship is nothing short of first class. On cuts such as “Shake The Fever” and “All The World,” there is an impeccable detail that is given to make sure that each track sounds great from an instrumental level. Lyrically, they are not afraid of doing things a little bit different. Kurt Neumann...
 
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The MSB Family Band - Self Titled

Based out of Madison, Wisconsin, the Mighty Short Bus Band tends to have a way of doing things different than the norm. Rather than depend on the technical excellence of a recording studio, for their fourth full-length album, the band traveled to a barn not too far from Madison, set up some microphones in a circle – and simply played their music. Quite a novel approach, huh? A six piece band that member Frank Busch has proclaimed to be the “Definition of Americana Music,” the MSB Family Band manages to...
 
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Doug Briney - It's All Country

I was looking at a bio of Doug Briney, and something struck me as a little but unusual. It promoted him as "Alaskan Country Artist." That, of itself, is pretty unusual. After all, there hasn't been a Country artist to make it from that state. There is a first time for everything! As a vocalist, Briney is very much from the traditional old-school. He even pays tribute to the art form known as Country Music on the inviting "It's All Country," and shows a romantic crooner side on the sweetly-performed "Second Dance." There's an...
 
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Mark Bates - Night Songs

West Virgina native Mark Bates is quite the unique artist. One can listen to his second album five different times - and hear five very different things each time. Maybe it's the songwriting - which can be very fiery and deeply poetic all at once. Perhaps it's the vocal work, which is also a highlight. But, there's a little something for everyone here. Lyrically, Bates ranges from the quirky "Smile" to the sad and lonely sounds of "No One There." The latter is a particularly impressive highlight of the disc. However, as a...
 
Robert Kinsler & TJR

Music Worth Buying: The Black Angels & Joan Osborne

Orange County Register (CA) music critic Robert Kinsler and his co-host, TJR review new CDs. This Week TJ immerses into Dark Psychedelic Rock world of the Black Angels latest album "Phosphene Dream". Meanwhile Robert Boogies to Joan Osborne's latest album of soul music titled "Bring it on Home".