This debut album from the Brad James Band has the long standing Tulsa musicians delivering a jam band influenced record where folk, blues, Americana, honky tonk and good old fashioned rock’n’roll are all in attendance in their groove filled formula.
The 8 track album gets off to a fun and rhythmic affair with the ‘‘70s vibes of “No Dress Rehearsal”, and “Heather Grows” follows with plenty of soul in the thoughtful rock.
Further on, “Effort” uses organs and female backing vocals strategically on the cautious album highlight, while “Together” is a slick effort of warm guitar work alongside hushed singing.
At the end, “Blues For Rollo” will get your body moving with its playful keys and tambourine shaking prowess, and “Trust” ends the affair soft and agile with pretty balladry that resonates with authenticity.
An outfit who have been playing together for nearly a decade now, their dynamic chemistry is certainly evident here, as each tune is meticulously crafted and delivered with precision.
Travels well with: Grateful Dead- Shakedown Street; The Allman Brothers Band- Brothers And Sisters
An outfit spearheaded by Joe Troop, the North Carolina raised artist is well traveled, and eventually settled in Argentina, where he assembled Che Apalache with an all star cast of Latin musicians.
“Saludo Murguero” starts the listen with vocal harmonies in a sparse environment sans instruments, before the stringed acrobatics of “Maria”, where Joe Troop’s strong vocals soar over subtle flamenco stabs.
In the middle, “Rock Of Ages” is banjo fueled fun that parallels the Americana sounds of Nashville, while the playful “The Wall” is just multiple voices in the ultra tuneful highlight. The title track is one of the most moving pieces included, and finds a nice place to reside between folksy, roots sounds and the Latin influence from their homelands.
At the end, “Over In Glory/New Swing” hints at bluegrass fun as melodic vocals guide us through the organic prowess, and “Once Took Me In” finishes the listen with some experimental ideas in the cultured, cautious exit that builds into a busy display of tense beauty.
An extremely well done debut album, you’ll find Japanese folk sounds alongside rural bluegrass and plenty of nods to the Mexican and Argentinian heritage from the band, as Che Apalache deliver socially aware subject matter with their own unique version of gospel.
Travels well with: Old Crow Medicine Show- Remedy; Bela Fleck- Deviation
A husband and wife duo, Adam and Chris Carroll have been performing together for years now, and this record illustrates their chemistry and strong songwriting prowess quite well while also capturing their gritty and lovely live sound.
“Hi-Fi Love” starts with acoustic guitar and sweet, booming vocals from Chris and Adam’s mix of singing/talking which complements the folk song well, and “City By The Sea” follows with a breezy Americana feel as Chris takes the lead on vocals.
At the middle, “Tough As Nails” unfolds with a mountain-esque setting of warm organic sounds, while “Louise” is a stripped back duet of sublime beauty.
Near the end, “Love You Already” finds the pair channeling the greatness achieved by Emmylou Harris, and the harmonica friendly “Ocean Of Peace” settles into one of the best tunes present. “Take Me Away” ends the listen with strings and raw, beautiful Americana with both voices harmonizing just perfectly.
Though the Carroll’s are front and center here, Dennis Ludiker handles fiddle and Lloyd Maines offers pedal steel, ukulele, and others, and together the ensemble mesh strong southern sounds and gorgeous acoustic Americana that their unwavering fans have been clamoring for for years now.
And they sure are going to be impressed with this playful and authentic masterpiece.
“Crossroads” gets the album off to a graceful start with keys and soothing vocal harmonies that builds into a fuller, lush explosion of melody, and “(Love Is) Running Me Ragged” follows with playful acoustic guitars in the bright instrumentation.
Deeper tracks include the calm balladry of the title track that emits a powerful display of subdued beauty, and the contemplative pop friendly tension of “Chardonnay”, which could easily make the pair a household name.
Near the end, “Dorothy” puts the pretty vocals of on display in a folky-pop tune, and “This Land Was Your Land” highlights their warm vocal harmonies in an intimate setting. “His Town” ends the record strong with memorable alt-folk fun
Spearheaded by the esteemed conductor and composer Alicia Terzian, the Latin American ensemble Grupo Encuentros offer a handful of tangos here, but all are delivered in unique, cultured, unpredictable ways.
“Mimi Pinzon” starts the listen with fluid keys before intricate violin enters the equation on the playful opener, and “Cristal” follows with operatic vocals in the cautious tune that’s a bit haunting.
Elsewhere, “Invierno Porteno” recruits a busy display of keys in the classical setting, while “Lloron” uses softer ebbs to its advantage in the cinematic album highlight.
Near the end, “Los Mareados” offers a Spanish anthem where power and melody are in attendance, and “Verano Porteno” finds beautiful tension between the cello, violin and piano. The album exits on “Llamado De Tambores”, where solos on piano and bandoneon complement the emotive singing.
Certainly a classically influenced record, but making full use of the ‘Something More’ in the title, there’s much lush texturing and plenty of soulful instrumentation in this accomplished listen where each track comes with a journey that’s difficult to forget.
Australia’s Lachlan Skipworth is a talented guy, as he is an accomplished clarinetist and flute player, and here he, along with a large all star cast, delivers orchestral, chamber and experimental compositions that are certainly not short on creativity.
“Clarinet Quintet” starts the listen with quivering clarinets in a tense, calculated delivery of cinematic, mysterious elegance, and “Piano Trio” follows with a louder, more abrasive approach that twists and turns with unpredictable ebbs of grace and exploration.
At the halfway point, “Intercurrent” offers a soothing, engaging display of textured beauty, and “Piano Quartet” complements the affair with an eerie, moody dip into territory that is both haunting and frisky.
“The Night Sky Fall” ends the listen sparse with gentle keys and bare strings that unfold with charming intimacy.
Lachlan spent 3 years in Japan extensively studying his craft, and his spiritual and meticulous nature unfold here with daring, meditative and cultured skill that make it very easy to see why he’s quickly becoming a global name.
Travels well with: Patterns- Chamberworks; Andrea Cheeseman Clarinet- Somewhere
A Cameroonian born artist who is now an Atlanta resident, Moken returns with this sophomore album where African sounds are met with Avant Garde and experimentalism that is never in short supply alongside Moken’s atypical creativity.
“Your Sun Is Rising” starts the listen with warm strumming and an elegant atmosphere before Moken’s unusual baritone and warbling vocals sweep in as do bright horns, and “Sometimes” follows with emphasis on percussion and flute in the vocally expressive and cultured tune.
In the middle, “Walking Man” offers a swift setting of brass and busy instrumentation that touches on jazz, while “U Nia” resides comfortably in some variation of folk sounds with vivid storytelling.
Near the end, the upbeat “Retro Africa” certainly does take nods to earlier times with its playful and dance friendly funk sensibilities, and “Tequila Song” recruits breezy melodies in the unpredictable setting. “Sing The Song” ends the listen agile and soothing amid Moken’s inimitable delivery where sax, flute and strings all mesh in intriguing, memorable ways.
An album that saw its completion after Moken was wrongly jailed a short time, there is a visceral amount of energy here- no doubt stemming from his stint being locked up- and, quite honestly, there’s no genre that can hold Moken. This is a visionary truly carving his own path, and we’re all better off for it.
Travels well with: Fela Kuti- Gentleman; Wasis Diop- Toxu
A record where multiple composers are on hand, Patterns turn minimalism into a highly refined art form across the appropriately titled Chamber Works.
“Asymmetry” starts the listen with dual guitars on a fast paced picking and strumming opener, and “Disintegration” follows with a lone guitar on a meticulous track with a unique melody.
Further along, “Two Lords” is divided into 3 parts, each with world class guitar playing from Santiago Kodela, while “Road Traversed And Reversed” relies heavily on a marimba in the playful setting.
Deeper cuts offer us the two part “Suite For Sarro”, where violin, viola and cello all bring sophisticated interplay, and the three part “Bassoon Quartet” ends the listen with 4 bassoons showing us much versatility in the woodwinds.
A listen that relies heavily on classical ideas, Patterns prove to us that the sounds of chamber music have few boundaries, or at least in their calculated, fascinating vision.
“The Serpent’s Tooth” gets the album off to a peppy start with glorious interplay between the many instruments, as trombones and saxophones get their own solos, and “Vierd Blues” follows with a more subdued setting of intricate guitar and a flourishing jazz feel.
Further along, “Trinkle Trinkle” builds into a mesmerizing display of brass fun, while “‘Round Midnight” offers a setting of elegance and mystery.
Deeper cuts brings us “Imagine”, which is a dreamy version of the classic where both singing and talking are present, and the last original, “Blue Steps” uses strategic keys in a busy display of rhythm and melody.