<html> <head> <title>FolkWorld CD Reviews</title> </head> <body bgcolor="#EEFFFA" link="#DC143C" alink="#FF3300" vlink="#4B0082"> <p><font size=4 color="4169e1"><font FACE="Maiandra GD">FolkWorld</font> Issue 43 11/2010</font></p> <p><center><font size=7 color="4169e1"><font FACE="Maiandra GD">FolkWorld</font> CD Reviews</font></center></p> <p><a name="minn"><center> <font size=5 color="4169e1"><b>Ruth Minnikin and her Bandwagon "Depend on This" </b></font><br><font size=4 color="#008000"><i>Label: Song Mill Music; 2010</i></font></center> In these cyberspace days where the world is so closely connected, does physical geography matter any more? My answer would normally be that it doesn t matter that much, except that every band I hear from Toronto I end up enjoying an awful lot, and at times I am really blown away with their music. Ruth Minnikin is simply another fine Toronto artist to add to my ever-lengthening list. This album is a lovely original piece of work. The cover made me think of some sixties church folk group, but from note one onward, the music just moves into worlds of its own. In fact, there is a really audacious approach by offering six songs in two different formats with a different producers arranging and rearranging the many intriguing instruments used to bring these songs to life. I still have not described the music yet as I really don t have simple adjectives up to the job. But as simply as I can, I would say if you enjoy other darlings of the independent world in 2010 such as Joanna Newsome, Arcade Fire, Antony & the Johnsons, etc., then you would be well served to give this fine record a listen. And there is always my fail-safe comparison I can make with any female vocalist using creative arrangements Kate Bush. Ms. Minnikin is taking her music on the road at festivals and shows all over the world, so jump aboard while there is still room on this speeding train. <br><i><a HREF="http://www.ruthminnikin.ca">www.ruthminnikin.ca</a></i><br> <A HREF="../../fw/staff.html#staff">David Hintz</A></p><hr color="#0000CD"> <p><a name="frol"><center> <font size=5 color="4169e1"><b>Stefano Frollano "Sense of You" </b></font><br><font size=4 color="#008000"><i>Label: Own label; 2010</i></font></center> Frollano is a veteran guitarist from Italy who has played in several bands and done some solo work. He recorded this in California as he has worked with many musicians from California and is music is similar to that rootsy laid-back California light rock sound. A couple of songs rock a bit, but not too many head into straight folk. It mostly is rather lush rootsy mainstream light rock music. This just does not move me a whole lot, but keep in mind, I think Gram Parsons is ridiculously overrated and never cared much for the Flying Burrito Brothers. But even if you disagree, you may want to test this out first, as it is much more slick and polished than those acts were. <br><i><a HREF="http://www.stefanofrollano.com">www.stefanofrollano.com</a></i><br> <A HREF="../../fw/staff.html#staff">David Hintz</A></p><hr color="#0000CD"> <p><a name="reza"><center> <font size=5 color="4169e1"><b>Reza "Moonless" </b></font><br><font size=4 color="#008000"><i>Label: French Toast; 2009</i></font></center> This French band has a really nice style to it. The vocals remind me of Leonard Cohen, with that low-key nearly spoken delivery. There is a nice undulating rhythm present with a nicely distorted lead guitar snaking in and out such as you might hear in a Chris Isaak song. There is a bit of laconic country and western in the mix as well, but the music still moves at a steady pace within a light rock structure. There may be a very steady pace, but the guitar work is adventurous in a subtle textual sort of way. This is a nice album that is easy to listen to, but with a lot more going on. <br><i><a HREF="http://www.reza-music.com/">www.reza-music.com</a></i><br> <A HREF="../../fw/staff.html#staff">David Hintz</A></p><hr color="#0000CD"> <p><a name="nich"><center> <font size=5 color="4169e1"><b>Chet Nichols "Walking in Circles" </b></font><br><font size=4 color="#008000"><i>Label: Own label; 2010</i></font></center> <table align=right cellpadding=5 border=5 bgcolor="#add8e6" bordercolor="#EEFFFA"><tr><td><a href="../d/cds3.html#nich">See also the German<br>review in this issue</a></td></tr></table> Chet Nichols is an inductee of the Kansas Music Hall of Fame. He was one of 12 inductees in 2008, of which, Pat Metheny is the only name I recognized. Nichols has been an active musician and actor for many years now. He has a nice road weary voice and plays all the instruments on this record. The songs are voice and guitar driven, but there are some nice keyboards as well. The style is a blend between folk, blues and rock and it was no surprise to see he is a big fan of The Band. There is good quality in all the songs, but the longer ones resonated a bit more with me. The title cut and  I Wish that I Could Heal add up to almost 14 minutes and kept me involved the whole time. Some of the other songs stayed a bit too close to the middle of the road. I am not sure about all of his Hall of Fame credentials, but the better songs here should play well in Kansas and beyond. <br><i><a HREF="http://chetnichols.net">chetnichols.net</a></i><br> <A HREF="../../fw/staff.html#staff">David Hintz</A></p><hr color="#0000CD"> <p><a name="faul"><center> <font size=5 color="4169e1"><b>Jaimi Faulkner "All I Can" </b></font><br><font size=4 color="#008000"><i>Label: Valve Records; 2010</i></font></center> This is a live record of bare bones singing and acoustic guitar. Well, you can toss in the expected clich also known as a harmonica, fortunately used on only one track. The playing and singing is mostly pretty muscular reminding me a bit of Roy Harper when he is rocking out solo. Faulkner can bring it down a notch when the song calls for it and shows a nice touch on guitar. He is an Australian artist and this release is on a German label and it appears he is regular on the European tour circuit. It certainly showcases his talent as a live album should and is a fine advertisement for his live show. The only advice I would give is for him to check his website as it has been hacked. Hopefully that will be fixed, but I will conclude with a link to his myspace page: <a HREF="http://www.myspace.com/jaimifaulkner">www.myspace.com/jaimifaulkner</a>. <br><i><a HREF="http://www.jaimifaulkner.com">www.jaimifaulkner.com</a></i><br> <A HREF="../../fw/staff.html#staff">David Hintz</A></p><hr color="#0000CD"> <p><a name="macg"><center> <font size=5 color="4169e1"><b>Mary MacGowan "Morning Glory" </b></font><br><font size=4 color="#008000"><i>Label: Own label; 2010</i></font></center> From the northern hinterlands of Michigan in the USA, comes a published poet putting out her first album. She has also studied music in addition to her literary output and puts the two together quite nicely here. She has plenty of assistance from crack studio musicians, but they stay behind her voice in the mix for the most part, unless it is a bit of a rocking song or maybe the bluegrass number. The songs all take on their own style between those two genres along with folk, country and a bit of jazz even. The emotions in the lyrics range from feel-good happiness to melancholic reflection. The lyrics are good and not obtuse. The singing is clean and delicate and the songs are likable. Nothing explodes out at me, but it is a nice debut. <br><i><a HREF="http://www.morningglorythecd.com">www.morningglorythecd.com</a></i><br> <A HREF="../../fw/staff.html#staff">David Hintz</A></p><hr color="#0000CD"> <p><a name="woll"><center> <font size=5 color="4169e1"><b>Greg Wollan and New Command "Damascus Journey" </b></font><br><font size=4 color="#008000"><i>Label: Own label; 2010</i></font></center> The New Command is comprised of two guys assisting Greg Wollan on various string instruments. They also have some string and percussion assistance and some female vocals on a couple tracks. There is some electric sitar, cello and much more that lead to some moderately dense music. This is a Christian album full of worldly sounds and rhythms that hover between new-age (sound, not philosophy), folk, and light lounge jazz-rock. The vocals are smooth and the production quite good. There are moments that work for me, while others veer a bit too much to the dreaded easy listening label. It got it a little long and tiring in the whole. <br><i><a HREF="http://gwollan.com">gwollan.com</a></i><br> <A HREF="../../fw/staff.html#staff">David Hintz</A></p><hr color="#0000CD"> <p><a name="shog"><center> <font size=5 color="4169e1"><b>J. Shogren "Bird Bones & Muscle" </b></font><br><font size=4 color="#008000"><i>Label: Jaha!; 2010</i></font></center> J. Shogren and his musical friends come from Wyoming and have some of that Rocky Mountain sound coming from the part of the USA where the flat plains meet the largest mountains. This is a bluesy Americana sound featuring acoustic and electric guitars with a blues-rock rhythm section and lots of backing vocals behind Shogren. Much of the sound is up-tempo and fun. I found the slower  Paper Barn to be the most outstanding cut on this album. It features two guitars lightly picked with a nice heart warming lead vocal.  Younger is also a nice mid-tempo cut with some banjo and some interesting musical shifts. The more I listen to this, the more impressed I am. It comes on softly with many familiar sounds but there definitely is some solid playing and songwriting going on here. So not only does this make me nostalgic for living in the Rocky Mountains, I think it succeeds quite nicely with its good honest approach at delivering solid roots music. And if I have not convinced you of how interesting the music is, go to his website and find out how interesting Dr. J. Shogren is. Not only is he a professor of  Applied Philosophy , he spends a lot of time in Sweden and was part of a nobel prize winning team for work on global climate change. And thankfully, he still takes time to write and play these great songs. <br><i><a HREF="http://jshogren.com">jshogren.com</a></i><br> <A HREF="../../fw/staff.html#staff">David Hintz</A></p><hr color="#0000CD"> <p><a name="fama"><center> <font size=5 color="4169e1"><b>Famara "The Sound of & " </b></font><br><font size=4 color="#008000"><i>Label: N-Gage; 2010</i></font></center> Reggae music from Switzerland? Why not? Famara has been bringing the islands to the isolated mountains and valleys of beautiful Switzerland for twelve years. It is fairly straightforward reggae music with a smooth commercial feel, but still plenty of rhythms and punch to the music. Some of the electric guitar work is nice. The two live cuts work for best for me, which does not surprise me. This will not have you shoving aside your Bob Marley or Augustus Pablo records, but will certainly leave you feeling the rhythm. <br><i><a HREF="http://www.famara.ch">www.famara.ch</a></i><br> <A HREF="../../fw/staff.html#staff">David Hintz</A></p><hr color="#0000CD"> <p><a name="maye"><center> <font size=5 color="4169e1"><b>Peter Mayer and Friends "Goodbye Hello" </b></font><br><font size=4 color="#008000"><i>Label: Little Flock; 2009</i></font></center> This is a CD of Beatles covers done by a formal Coral Reefer Jimmy Buffet s band. I am not even sure if in this day and age, I want to hear twisted oddball versions of Beatles songs being re-imagined (with the exception of a band like Beatallica who does Beatles tunes with updated lyrics in Metallica s musical style). These are all slickly recorded and completely uninteresting. I see no reason to get this unless you are a Jimmy Buffett completist, as he appears here performing  Rocky Raccoon live with Mayer. Buffett introduces the song by thanking him for being on this album and is glad to help out providing some job security. <br><i><a HREF="http://www.petermayer.com">www.petermayer.com</a></i><br> <A HREF="../../fw/staff.html#staff">David Hintz</A></p><hr color="#0000CD"> <p><a name="seer"><center> <font size=5 color="4169e1"><b>The Seer "Heading for the Sun" </b></font><br><font size=4 color="#008000"><i>Label: <a HREF="http://www.fame-recordings.de">F.A.M.E.</a>; 2010</i></font></center> This is the eleventh release from this veteran German band that I have not previously heard on my side of the Atlantic. They sing in English and remind me a bit of a slightly more mainstream version of another European favorite, the Levellers. There are a lot of electronics within the slick rock production present. The lyrics seem a bit simplistic, but not too bad and I have heard worse from  English only bands. At times I have difficulty figuring out if there is enough original and compelling work here, but then a cut will come along that is very catchy. Specifically,  Borderline and  Wishful Thinking have very infectious hooks and would make good singles, if we stepped back in time 30 years when singles mattered. The music is a bit safe but the highlights are worthwhile in the end. <br><i><a HREF="http://www.theseer.de">www.theseer.de</a></i><br> <A HREF="../../fw/staff.html#staff">David Hintz</A></p><hr color="#0000CD"> <p><a name="simm"><center> <font size=5 color="4169e1"><b>Chris Simmance "Moving Roots" </b></font><br><font size=4 color="#008000"><i>Label: Own label; 2010</i></font></center><center> <font size=5 color="4169e1"><b>Travelling People "New Roads" </b></font><br><font size=4 color="#008000"><i>Label: Demos; 2010</i></font></center> "Moving Roots" would appear to be as stark as it gets, voice and guitar. Yet there is a full sound throughout. Yes, the occasional second guitar and overdubbed vocals are part of that, but Simmance also creates a full atmosphere for his direct delivery. His voice is rich with a clean enunciation. The guitar playing is low-key but moving. Many of themes are related to busking and life on the city streets, which give you an insight on Simmance s experiences. The Stonehenge photographs are not on the CD booklet as a new age motif, but they are a part of his past as he grew up nearby. He equates their imagery as representative of when nomads began to settle, which he feels is where he is at in his life. Spoken like a classic singer with guitar, whether busking on the street or playing in a folk club. I would recommend a listen on the street, in a folk club, or on this CD.<br> "New Roads" is a CD-R of four demo songs. It features Chris Simmance (reviewed earlier here) and Julia Neukam in sort of an ethereal style reminiscent of some of the UK folk and psyche-folk artists of old. Instrumentally, there is a guitar and violin supplying woven layers of melodic sound creating a pastoral setting for the songs. It is a little lighter and more positive than much of the classic psyche-folk artists. This is another nice effort from Simmance and hopefully will be expanded into a full-fledged release. <br><i><a HREF="http://www.simmance.de">www.simmance.de</a></i><br> <A HREF="../../fw/staff.html#staff">David Hintz</A></p><hr color="#0000CD"> <p><a name="benn"><center> <font size=5 color="4169e1"><b>Marc Benno and the Nightcrawlers "Crawlin" </b></font><br><font size=4 color="#008000"><i>Label: <a HREF="http://www.blueskunkmusic.com">Blue Skunk Music</a>; 2009</i></font></center> This is an interesting album featuring unreleased material from 1974. Marc Benno and the Nightcrawlers were a successful Texas area blues-rock band that were doing major US tours with J. Geils, Humble Pie and Peter Frampton. Although Benno s voice and guitar are what lead the band at the time, present interest will no doubt be due to a nineteen year-old guitarist he had named Stevie (Ray) Vaughan. Included here are seven songs that were to be released as an album, but were shelved due to the usual management shenanigans that happened back in the day. There are also four cuts that Benno recorded intended for a solo album, all of which have Stevie Ray Vaughan and some ace session men Russ Kunkel and Lee Sklar. The interest in having some of Vaughan s work is obvious and rewarded, but Benno s abilities are worthy of attention as well. He played on the Doors  LA Woman , recorded with Leon Russell and had Eric Clapton guest on a solo album from 1979. The Nightcrawlers material is quite good and gives a glimpse back to the early seventies style of blues-rock with a touch of soul. There is even some of that Texas psychedelia swimming in the mix of  Crawlin  my favorite cut. It is nice to see these tracks hit the light of day. <br><i><a HREF="http://www.marcbenno.com">www.marcbenno.com</a></i><br> <A HREF="../../fw/staff.html#staff">David Hintz</A></p><hr color="#0000CD"> <p><a name="blab"><center> <font size=5 color="4169e1"><b>Blabbermouth (aka Steve Thompson) "Me and the Metronome" </b></font><br><font size=4 color="#008000"><i>Label: <a HREF="http://www.hobgoblinrecords.com">Hobgoblin Records</a>; 2009</i></font></center> I am not sure why Steve Thompson chose this odd nickname to record under. No, this is not a punk rock or hip-hop album, but a well-produced folk and folk-rock record. In fact, if you do not go directly to the link below, you may end up at blabbermouth.com and learn the latest news in heavy metal. But Mr. Thompson is an eclectic fellow, living on a narrowboat and doing a lot of busking on the way to getting more regular gigs. He has got some nice songs and a great voice. This album is a mixed affair and a bit overproduced on some songs. But songs like  Fifteen to One or  Time Machine make it all worthwhile. He plays some nice banjo at times, but it s mostly guitar leading the way above the usual accompaniment. More hits than misses here, so this has earned more spins in my listening lineup. <br><i><a HREF="http://www.blabbermouthmusic.com/">www.blabbermouthmusic.com</a></i><br> <A HREF="../../fw/staff.html#staff">David Hintz</A></p><hr color="#0000CD"> <p><a name="mill"><center> <font size=5 color="4169e1"><b>Matt Millecchia "Silhouette of a Season" </b></font><br><font size=4 color="#008000"><i>Label: Own label; 2008</i></font></center> There certainly are a lot of aging punk rockers that are strapping on acoustic guitars and hitting the road in the 21st Century. I have seen guitarists and singers from Seven Seconds, Youth of Today and Groovie Ghoulies in the last six months alone. Now this CD comes my way from a guitarist with a punk and rock pedigree. You would not guess it from this gentle acoustic album. It is fully instrumental and features flat-picking acoustic guitar with some other instrumentation on most cuts. Millecchia hired veteran Will Ackerman (founder of Windham Hill Records) to produce. That is an excellent choice as Ackerman was a fan and worked with Robbie Basho, who I absolutely love. Although there is not any of Basho s wilder moves here, there is a lot of excellent sonic landscaping with bass, cello, violins, flute and other guitars. I think if you like the Windham Hill artists or the artists with John Fahey s Takoma label, you will like this record as well. <br><i><a HREF="http://www.mattmillecchia.com/">www.mattmillecchia.com</a></i><br> <A HREF="../../fw/staff.html#staff">David Hintz</A></p><hr color="#0000CD"> <p><a name="jame"><center> <font size=5 color="4169e1"><b>Chris James & Patrick Rynn "Gonna Boogie Anyway" </b></font><br><font size=4 color="#008000"><i>Label: <a HREF="http://www.earwigmusic.com">Earwig Music</a>; 2010</i></font></center> This San Diego duo is comprised of guitar and bass with the guitarist (James) singing. They unleash a steady diet of electric blues engaging many other studio musicians. There is plenty of piano and some brass and harmonica of course. They do a few covers but otherwise play original material. It is all decent electric blues, which follows the basic patterns we all know. The Chicago-style playing is good, particularly on  H.M. Stomp . I did feel I had to turn off my brain for some of the lyrics. When the cynicism of  You Can t Trust Nobody is followed with  Life Couldn t Be Sweeter , I start to think in far too circular a manner. <br><i><a HREF="http://www.chrisjamesandpatrickrynn.com">www.chrisjamesandpatrickrynn.com</a></i><br> <A HREF="../../fw/staff.html#staff">David Hintz</A></p><hr color="#0000CD"> <p><a name="dana"><center> <font size=5 color="4169e1"><b>Simphiwe Dana "Kulture Noir" </b></font><br><font size=4 color="#008000"><i>Label: <a HREF="http://www.skiprecords.com">Skip</a>; 2010</i></font></center> Simphiwe Dana is a young South African singer who is a growing presence in the world/jazz scene in Europe, as well as her native country. She has only been on the scene since 2004, but on the basis of this album, she may become more of a household name. The music is lushly produced with lots of African choral backgrounds and rhythms. It does have a worldlier jazz feel, but most listeners would feel the African vibe strong and clear. Dana s voice is delicate, but distinct. She also successfully straddles between singing traditional songs and belting out modern jazz moves in a sleek city club. This is an intriguing record, worth a listen certainly, but this is an artist that I will keep my eye on to see where this will take her. Hint, hint, I think it is going to be much higher, rather than lower. <br><i><a HREF="http://www.simphiwedana.com">www.simphiwedana.com</a></i><br> <A HREF="../../fw/staff.html#staff">David Hintz</A></p><hr color="#0000CD"> <p><a name="clev"><center> <font size=5 color="4169e1"><b>Carl Cleves & Parissa Bouas "Out of Australia" </b></font><br><font size=4 color="#008000"><i>Label: <a HREF="http://www.stockfisch-records.de">Stockfisch</a>; 2010</i></font></center> This is a very nice folk record that has a classic UK style sound, yet is about as international as you can find. The excellent German label has released this record from an Australia-based duo comprised of a Belgian guitarist who has travelled the world with a female singer who was born of a Greek sailor and has toured through Latin America. Not only do they cull all these influences together, they are able to focus this into their sound, rather than issue out a haphazard cultural stew.  Way Down in the Mines could be snuck onto a compilation with Raven & Mills, Pererin, and the Watersons. The lyrics are strong and the music is constantly involving, with some intriguing bass playing and sounds. This is a gem and moves to the top of my listening pile. If you enjoy classic folk duos and like the psychedelic influences on folk from the seventies, then you are certain to enjoy this. <br><i><a HREF="http://www.carlcleves.com">www.carlcleves.com</a></i><br> <A HREF="../../fw/staff.html#staff">David Hintz</A></p><hr color="#0000CD"> <p><a name="sego"><center> <font size=5 color="4169e1"><b>Vero Sego "& and the pursuit of happiness" </b></font><br><font size=4 color="#008000"><i>Label: <a HREF="http://www.extraordinaire.fr/">Extraordinaire</a>; 2009</i></font></center> <table align=right cellpadding=5 border=5 bgcolor="#add8e6" bordercolor="#EEFFFA"><tr><td><a href="../d/cds4.html#sego">See also the German<br>review in this issue</a></td></tr></table> The first song is an attention grabbing folk rock song with good guitar work and a strong clear vocal line with a nice little melody. The next song switched gears into a very nice contemplative folk song along with some subtle bluesy roots. And after that, the remaining twelve songs fell somewhere in between these styles. Some worked better than others, but most all of them had a nice catchy vocal line and solid playing. Two of the songs even reminded me of a couple of bluesy Led Zeppelin songs, but were much quieter. This is an album that begins as lightly likable, but sneaks up on you as even better the more you listen. You may not notice it at a bar or while looking through music at a record/CD store, but a few of the songs will work its magic on you in their own quiet way. This decent record is by a French artist who is mostly singing in English here. <br><i><a HREF="http://www.myspace.com/verosego">www.myspace.com/verosego</a></i><br> <A HREF="../../fw/staff.html#staff">David Hintz</A></p><hr color="#0000CD"> <p><a name="cohe"><center> <font size=5 color="4169e1"><b>Andy Cohen "Built Right on the Ground" </b></font><br><font size=4 color="#008000"><i>Label: <a HREF="http://www.earwigmusic.com">Earwig Music</a>; 2010</i></font></center> Andy Cohen is a veteran blues player on the guitar with some piano. He sings most of the cuts here with his wife s vocals being far more of help than his efforts and especially those of another guest vocalist. The playing is good and it certainly is rustic, classic blues. Still, the cut I enjoyed the most was the instrumental  Temptation Rag which showed classical moves in addition to the blues. It is these moves that make me interested in an artist s material. If a record is just good blues playing, well we can find that available on a thousand other records. As I have said in the past, this works so much better live in a nice club. <br><i><a HREF="http://www.andycohenmusic.net">www.andycohenmusic.net</a></i><br> <A HREF="../../fw/staff.html#staff">David Hintz</A></p><hr color="#0000CD"> <p><a name="wade"><center> <font size=5 color="4169e1"><b>Kieran Wade "Across the Western Ocean" </b></font><br><font size=4 color="#008000"><i>Label: Own label; 2010</i></font></center> This record was originally released some time in the 1990s on cassette. It has grown by three more songs and gets this rerelease on CD. It is as welcome now as then, as it really has a great classic Irish folk sound. It could have come from the 1970s with the traditional, yet post 1960s folk feeling this record has. Wade is an Irishman who has spent a lot of his life in Canada. Canada has some great traditional pockets of folk artists from Europe that keep a traditional sound, so this does not surprise me in the least. I like Wade s topical lyrics and between the lyrics and the emotional music he conjures up on  The Coffin Ships , you will likely be very impressed with his efforts. He may not consistently rise to the heights of the Moore brothers, Christy and Luka Bloom, but he offers up some nice songs here and a few real gems. <br><i><a HREF="http://www.kieranwade.com">www.kieranwade.com</a></i><br> <A HREF="../../fw/staff.html#staff">David Hintz</A></p><hr color="#0000CD"> <p><a name="esco"><center> <font size=5 color="4169e1"><b>Alejandro Escovedo "Street Songs of Love" </b></font><br><font size=4 color="#008000"><i>Label: Fantasy; 2010</i></font></center> The first notes I heard from the guitar of Alejandro Escovedo were on a punk single released by a San Francisco band called the Nuns in the 1970s. It was raw, ferocious music. I next saw him with the Kinman brothers (from LA punks, the Dils) in a band called Rank & File, which is one of the inventors of alt-country. That band never did much for me, so I kind of stopped following Escovedo through his critically acclaimed success as a solo artist and in his band, the True Believers. He has played on and on, battling hepatitis and has released a really strong record, making me regret not hearing more of his solo work. The songs are far more American rockers than alt-country, although that label is colored with broad brushstrokes. The three-piece band he has offers plenty of punch to go along with Escovedo s vocals and guitar work. They find room for a nice slow ballad like  After the Meteor Showers which has that great distant guitar that evokes the feeling of being in the desert. The title cut is my favorite as it packs a wallop with a great pop sensibility as well. Tony Visconti is in the producer s chair and offers some vocals along with Ian Hunter. There is a major league sound on this record, loud, clear and mixed well. Escovedo is now being managed by Jon Landau, which may explain the presence of another background vocalist on  Faith  some guy named Bruce Springsteen. <br><i><a HREF="http://www.alejandroescovedo.com">www.alejandroescovedo.com</a></i><br> <A HREF="../../fw/staff.html#staff">David Hintz</A></p><hr color="#0000CD"> <p><a name="cote"><center> <font size=5 color="4169e1"><b>Dwayne Ct & Duane Andrews "Dwayne Ct & Duane Andrews" </b></font><br><font size=4 color="#008000"><i>Label: Own label; 2010</i></font></center> This instrumental album features the fiddle and guitar of two fine musicians from Eastern Canada. There is always plenty of high quality traditional folk music coming from Cape Breton and Newfoundland where Dwayne and Duane respectively come from. They perform one original song, some special arrangements of their own, some traditional arrangements, and some covers including two from Django Reinhardt. Reinhardt does seem to influence the guitar playing quite a bit. The fiddle is used in a percussive, assertive manner in many songs giving these songs quite a punch. Although on the reels, the fiddle is used more traditionally with lots of pace from Ct, while Andrews hits the staccato notes on guitar. So they cover for each other well and keep things a bit on edge with the space between the notes and percussive quality to the playing. So if you like your traditional instrumentals with a bit of bite to them, give these a listen. <br><i><a HREF="http://www.dwayneandduane.com">www.dwayneandduane.com</a></i><br> <A HREF="../../fw/staff.html#staff">David Hintz</A></p><hr color="#0000CD"> <p><a name="cham"><center> <font size=5 color="4169e1"><b>Grady Champion "Back in Mississippi  Live at the 930 Blues Club" </b></font><br><font size=4 color="#008000"><i>Label: <a HREF="http://www.earwigmusic.com">Earwig Music</a>; 2008</i></font></center> This is up-tempo  feel good blues I would call it, despite the seeming contradiction. Champion is a strong singer and you can sense him working every corner of it based on what you can hear on this album. About half of this set is original material and the other half is a mixture of traditionals and lesser-known covers. And what is a blues album without a cover of  Spoonful ? There is a positive, partying atmosphere present in much of the work. The band helps keep things moving and the guitar work by Eddie Cotton, Jr. (son of a minister, not the boxer) is excellent and helped me enjoy this all the more. This was a fun listen, especially for blues guitar fans. <br><i><a HREF="http://www.gradychampion.com">www.gradychampion.com</a></i><br> <A HREF="../../fw/staff.html#staff">David Hintz</A></p><hr color="#0000CD"> <p><a name="ston"><center> <font size=5 color="4169e1"><b>Rob Stone "Back Around Here" </b></font><br><font size=4 color="#008000"><i>Label: <a HREF="http://www.earwigmusic.com">Earwig Music</a>; 2010</i></font></center> More Chicago blues delivered here. The first thing I like is that all of the songs are original. That may account for the high quality singing, as opposed to some bluesy bellowing. Stone sounds like he could tackle several different genres of music. But he also plays a mean harmonica, and the blues suit him well for this, obviously. There still too many of the standard blues moves within many of the songs which is fine for tradition s sake, but has me thinking I will put this on the pile of the many traditional blues albums I have. When I hear the vocals and the good piano work, I lean toward putting it toward the top, but the overall melodies, horn arrangements and blues guitar clichs pull it back toward the pack, I am afraid. <br><i><a HREF="http://www.robstone.com">www.robstone.com</a></i><br> <A HREF="../../fw/staff.html#staff">David Hintz</A></p><hr color="#0000CD"> <p><a name="cope"><center> <font size=5 color="4169e1"><b>Les Copeland "Don t Let the Devil in" </b></font><br><font size=4 color="#008000"><i>Label: <a HREF="http://www.earwigmusic.com">Earwig Music</a>; 2010</i></font></center> This Earwig release features the blues guitar and vocals of Les Copeland, making his debut album. He is no child prodigy, as he appears to have been playing for many years fourteen of them spent on the road apparently. Although from British Columbia, he style fits in anywhere between New Orleans and Chicago. He has a nice touch on the guitar and nice restraint in his voice. The guitar work is what brings this one toward the top of my blues listening pile. If you want to pick up good enjoyable blues music in 2010, I would easily recommend that you start right here. <br><i><a HREF="http://www.myspace.com/copelandband">www.myspace.com/copelandband</a></i><br> <A HREF="../../fw/staff.html#staff">David Hintz</A></p><hr color="#0000CD"> <p><a name="lang"><center> <font size=5 color="4169e1"><b>Michael Langer/Sabine Ramusch "Guitar & Passion" </b></font><br><font size=4 color="#008000"><i>Label: <a HREF="http://www.dux-verlag.de">DUX</a>; 2010</i></font></center> Instrumental finger style guitar albums have been routinely released for a long time. There is a need for different approaches musically, which keep things interesting beyond any virtuoso displays. Here, we have two guitarists with no overdubs aside from one song. The playing is high quality, although I did not necessarily hear anything I have not heard before. There were some interesting percussive styles and interplay between punchy playing and more flowing playing. An example of that would be on the interesting medley of  Farewell to Stromness-Mercy Mercy Mercy . I found the more traditional songs, the classical songs and the originals based on traditional to be my favorites on this record. Some of the other songs drifted into easy listening territory, as there was not much variety in the sound of this album. Although that is not entirely fair, as easy listening records do not feature guitar playing anywhere near this quality. Overall, I found this to be a good effort and I always like a nice fix of finger style guitar playing now and then. So this one will get a few more spins. <br><i><a HREF="http://www.michaellanger.at">www.michaellanger.at</a></i><br> <A HREF="../../fw/staff.html#staff">David Hintz</A></p><hr color="#0000CD"> <p><table align="center" bgcolor="#add8e6" cellpadding=20 border=5 bordercolor="#EEFFFA"> <tr><td> <p> <center> <font size=+1> <a href="cds.html">Overview CD Reviews</a> <br><br> <a href="index.html#up">Back to FolkWorld Content</a></font> </center> </p> </td></tr> </table> <p><font size=-1>&#169; <a HREF="../../fw/staff.html">The Mollis</a> - Editors of FolkWorld; Published 11/2010</font> <p><FONT FACE="Arial" SIZE=-2>All material published in FolkWorld is &#169; The Author via FolkWorld. Storage for private use is allowed and welcome. Reviews and extracts of up to 200 words may be freely quoted and reproduced, if source and author are acknowledged. For any other reproduction please ask the Editors for permission. Although any external links from FolkWorld are chosen with greatest care, FolkWorld and its editors do not take any responsibility for the content of the linked external websites. </font> <hr color="#0000CD"><CENTER><FONT FACE="Arial" SIZE=-2>FolkWorld - Home of European Music</FONT><BR><A HREF="http://www.folkworld.eu/"><IMG SRC="../../p/fw.jpg" WIDTH="360" HEIGHT="54" BORDER="0" ALT="FolkWorld Home"></A><BR><FONT FACE="Arial" SIZE=-2>Layout &amp; Idea of FolkWorld &#169; <a HREF="../../fw/staff.html">The Mollis</a> - Editors of FolkWorld</FONT></CENTER> </body> </html>