How appropriate are titles to albums, songs, bands…..sometimes they are just perfect. In this case for my tastes, I think the hammer hit that snail square. Tommy Emmanuel c.g.p. has a new live album out today called “Center Stage” and that is the live setting feel gives the listen who has never seen him perform a look, well listen anyways, into the treat it truly is. Released on Favored Nations, this Live 2 CD set (with a DVD coming mid summer) is as intimate as a recording can be, and is a great blend of some new tracks and some fan favotires for previous FN releases. The four new tracks are introduced as: “Ruby’s Eyes”, “Jolly Swagman”, “Lenny Bro”, and “Papa George” (inspired by the legendary Sir George Harrison. This summer there will be a DVD released mixed in 5.1 Dolby Digital sound & filmed in that eye-grabbing High Definition. Both the CD and the DVD contain extra performances of Tommy’s that were not originally part of the “Sierra Center Stage” PBS television program.
A Must Have. “Center Stage” 2008 Favored Nations
And the first guests to invite would be the fine folks at Putumayo. They have assembled together many great artists stretching from the Ivory Coast to South Africa. The album also celebrates the 15th anniversary of Putumayo and the work of its founder Dan Storper was strolling through Golden Gate Park when he was transfixed by the uplifting sounds of the African group Kotoja. This experience inspired Dan to launch Putumayo World Music as a platform to introduce people to the joyous international sounds that moved him on that day. This album takes me to Mr. Storper’s Golden Gate Park moment and transcends it into my living room…allowing full comfort in surroundings and sounds….and allows me to get away while staying home. There is no way to stop yourself from feeling alive when the African Party is on!! African Party features the inspirational band Kotoja & Oliver Mtukudzi, who released several popular albums on the Putumayo label. And a personal favorite of mine is the final cut: Mulemba Xangola by Bonga from Angola….seeing him once in a live setting helps me to remember that there is magic in this world.
Cover Art:Nicola Heindl/Putumayo 2008
Slide over, no really SLIDE on over and listen to this. Joe Pitts can create a powerful storm of sound with a ghostly shadow of style reminding myself and many of the dear Duane Allman. Not afraid to rock a love song or tell that fantastic story, the album Just a Matter of Time, (Kijan Records 2007) takes a ride on the southern side of rock and keeps plenty of room for some of that sweet soulfulness of the blues. He has pulled influences from yesterday into today and has been compared to guitarists like Warren Haynes, Larry McCray and Walter Trout. Although his influences range from Duane Allman and Jeff Beck(ice cream cakes) to Roy Buchanan(Nickle and a Nail), he is becoming known worldwide for his slide guitar work. He uses his slide work to create tone-filled licks that both glide and soar over the music. And I am starting to wonder who is calling him their influence. He is also heavily inside the groove with really funky rhythmic improvisations, which as a listener you can get that true feeling on the final track, Funked Up…but be patient–coming out of the shadows of that track is the ghost of song greatness…..(lone me a dime) the great Fenton Robinson tune with the easily treasured slide work of Duane worked over with precision and pride…Thanks Joe.
Barry Adamson was bass player in post punk band, Magazine between 1978-1982. He then went on to become a founder member of Nick Cave’s illustrious Bad Seeds in 1984. Since 1989, with the release of debut album ‘Moss Side Story‘, Adamson has forged his own highly acclaimed solo career with a series of distinctive and thematically linked soundscape albums, he has also worked on film soundtracks for David Lynch. In 2002, Adamson left his long-term label, Mute Records, and started his own “production home“, Central Control International. In 2006, he released Stranger on the Sofa, to critical acclaim. And this year, the release of the soulful funky sounds of Back to the Cat take listeners down a funky road of soul-slides and real wording. Soaked in a gravy of mood & sophistication, this album will catch on easily with the soul of your listening, and the enjoyment of your mischievous side…ENJOY!!!!
1 The Beaten Side Of Town (4:49)
2 Straight ‘Til Sunrise (4:59)
3 Spend A Little Time (4:29)
4 Shadow Of Death Hotel (4:21)
5 I Could Love You (3:33)
6 Walk On Fire (4:32)
7 Flight (4:54)
8 Civilization (4:18)
9 People (3:23)
10 Psycho_Sexual (5:53)
Being a key name on the independent hip hop scene, the downtown Manhattan beat maker known as Blockhead has had a big role in assisting some other MCs into “name-dom“, Aesop Rock, Cage, Slug, and Murs. He approached Ninja Tune with a heavy demo which turned into his debut album, “Music by Cavelight” which was followed up by “Downtown Science“, a second album on Ninja Tune. He is deep in the production scene and most notably the Aesop Rock album None Shall Pass on the Def Jux label. And to keep it all rolling, Blockhead has this fantastic soundwave force of a new album, Uncle Tony’s Coloring Book, a self-released project and oh my, there’s a tour. The album is an ocean carrying this soundwave into fun instrumentals with tough beats, like the waters crashing onto the rocky shore. There are catchy grooves that you don’t want to shake off of yourself…so don’t!
Well, let em start by mentioning how I spoke to my psych…I mean a friend of mines’ therapist and they told me that she said it is perfectly fine to fall in love with a new album. I mean, c’mon. I have and you might too. Supreme Beings of Leisure has managed to capture cool and sexy so you don’t have to…..and you can now focus on your outfit of the evening or the appropriate number and colors of candles. The third album of the alluring Geri Soriano-Lightwood & Ramin Sakurai is enchanting with hypnotizing tales within states of adreamy chilled out sophistication like a stream-lined martini served on an icy day…..smooth and dangerous. Each track from the dynamic go point of THE LIGHT to the “space is the place” departure of the closing point of LAY ME DOWN, there is a mysterious magnet in the voice, and a familiar yet undiscovered beat to the sounds rendering the listener, well in my case…..TAKEN. This album has become a recent exploration and with each visit I find new favorite moments and spots I missed prior that draw out a smile on my face. The concept album idea is one which evolves within many of an artist and in this album, there is more then meets the eyes….and the ears are catching on.
Become friends with Supreme Beings of Leisure and tell them misterG sent you along.
Supreme Beings of Leisure 11i Ryko 2008
There are so many ways one can say get down and get groovy, across the borders and territory lines, people know how to explore fascinating fusions of sound and let it take them to the other places they only have been around in dreams. Putumayo’s Groove series has once again dipped into the salty European oceans to pull out ten treasured tracks from around the European scene that takes contemporary music with different languages and allowing the ears to hear them as birds whistling a sweet head-bouncing tune. A global groove. The people of this ever changing cultural continent seem to love the flow of cultural exchanges and what better to lead people to their synergies then through the music scene. The sounds are becoming as diverse as the people’s last names with influences of hip-hop, dance and electronic music. The continent is exploring its funky and exotic side with style and soul and it is eager to show it off to the rest of the world. And that my friends, is exactly what Putumayo Groove has done for us with this release. From the smooth electronic lounge jazz of the German duo Jazzamor to the Madrid based Guateque All Stars featuring Shiva encouraging us, the listeners to “Enter the circle and let’s twirl/Enter the circle and let’s go round and round”, this IS a record to drop everything and pick up with your get down.
Putumayo 2008 Euro-Groove
Ahhh…remember being a kid..What’s that you say…YOU are now just a BIG kid. Alright, I am with that. For those that are funky kids at heart, mind and soul comes this special release FUNKY KIDZ, a groovy grouping of some funkified classic hits for children and yes, even us BIG KIDS. This collection features some of New Orleans’ finest musicians and statesmen such as: Bonerama, Big Sam’s Funky Nation, Ivan Neville’s Dupstaphunk, The Radiators and Walter “Wolfman” Washington & the Roadmasters. The songs are classic tracks that children of all ages will have been in contact with and can even sing and oh yes, dance along like nobody is watching. These songs are meant to invoke happy memories of childhood while exposing some new and younger ears to the FUN-ky, high instrumentation sound that oozes out of the Crescent City. If you were evenr a kid growing up, this album might just be the one thing that’ll remind you of those time…Have a FUNKY good time.
2008 ASAP Productions Inc. FUNKY KIDZ
Lovespirals have hit no only their stride on this third album, Long Way From Home, but also hit a warmth in my ear. Combining the dreamy folk and rock of their 2002 debut, Windblown Kiss, with the soulful jazz and blues of 2005 follow-up Free & Easy, the duo seamlessly blend their past works and listens with new sounds and styles. More than melancholic music, there is a sense that they traveled with you on similar & familiar roads with the radio tuned to the same left of the dial station in the middle of wherever. After nearly a decade of artistic collaboration between singer/songwriter, Anji Bee, & multi instrumentalist & producer, Ryan Lum, it is no wonder that they have managed to put together an album of answers to questions yet asked with a subtle sultry sense of sound security. Lovespirals have gained many new fans, from both their heavy involvement with the digital music revolution & their growing popularity in the podcasting world. They were a forerunner of band pocdasting, launching Chillinâ€™ with Lovespials in mid-2005. This Podshow syndicated podcast has detailed their work on Long Way From Home, leaking clips of songs in progress, as well as remixes, live recordings & demos w/ thousands of listeners monthly. Beeâ€™s popular podsafe music podcast, The Chillcast, has won the band additional fans due in no small part to her stature as â€œthe sexiest voice in podcasting.â€ The albumâ€™s first podsafe single, â€œMotherless Childâ€, was remixed by indie bands including Karmacoda, Hungry Lucy, and MoShang, for a digital EP which is entirely podsafe.
Try this album on for yourself.
2007 Ryan Lum/Anji Bee
Brought to you by San Francisco based indie label Om Records, songwriter/performer Samantha James has spent the past three years honing her estimable skills as a modern-day singer/songwriter within the dance/electronic/soul genre. Her sultry style, vocal cadences, and international rhythms are largely influenced by such artists as Sade, Basia, Bebel Gilberto and Morcheeba. On her debut album â€˜Riseâ€™, Samantha teamed up with producer and co-writer Sebastian Arocha Morton-AKA ROCAsound (Sting, Vikter Duplaix, Fischerspooner, Fila Brazilia and Rick James for the classic finaleâ€™ of the hit film Little Miss Sunshine.) native of Los Angelesâ€™ Topanga Canyon where she currently resides, James is the grand daughter of Emmy Award-winning composer/conductor David Rose. Jamesâ€™ lyrics resonate with the pain of lost relationships and joy of loving connections. â€ â€œSamantha has a unique and strong sense of style as a both a songwriter and performerâ€, enthuses Arocha Morton. â€œTalented, beautiful, passionate, and dedicateâ€¦ Samantha James is the real thing-as both recording artist and stage performer. She is a welcome and beautiful new face in the world of dance-electronic music.â€
She makes me want to dance until the ground stops spinning.
#2 Enchanted Life
#3 Breathe You In
#4 Angel Love
#5 Come Through
#6 Living Without You
#7 I Found You feat. Celso Fonseca
#8 Deep Suprise
#9 Send It Out To The Universe
#11 Samantha James – Right Now
Brings us an album entitled: The London Book of the Dead and it is a unique, catchy, engaging, humorous and definitely worth-your-while. The album reaches a new apex of oddness for the British artist known both as the Clerkenwell Kid and/or Stephen Coates, who happily splashes the album with Tin-Pan-Alley electro-jazz oddness, mingled in with misty ballads and colorful vintage pop musics. There are moments you think your radio found a time machine and just kept going back further and further, and other moments of futuristic electronica fused with jazz that pops, snaps and stays within your head indefinitely. While a melancholy flavor may be dripped on the outside of each lyrical content, there is happiness in there that easily jumps out onto you and isn’t coming out so easily….The arrangements and instruments used are like the wide open road that is suddenly detoured for no good reason….there are many choices for sound production and the way we get to it is certainly under a direction unknown status.
Six Degrees 2007
With his roots deeply embedded in Africa, Omar Sosa brings together musicians from Africa, Cuba, Brazil, and France to celebrate the rich heritage of African music in Jazz as well as Latin music. The arrangements on this album, set to be released in early 2008, combine the folkloric with the contemporary-the ancestral with the urban. You will be able to not only hear but feel the spirit voices and pulsing percussion instruments of Africa and the Americas fuse with Sosa’s lyrical and adventurous piano stylings. I want to be sure to thank my friends over at Ota Records for making certain I get to share this album with you.
Omar Sosa-Afreecanos-Ota Records-2008
Most likely I am going with a TOP 20 something this year. But this is one of the great releases of 2007 for sure.
GOIN’ HOME: A Tribute to Fats Domino
Icons from the world of rock, blues, reggae, pop and country music have joined together to salute the genius of legendary piano man FATS DOMINO. This stellar tribute to one of the cornerstones of rock n’ roll music will help raise desperately needed funds specifically earmarked for instruments to be donated to New Orleans’ public school children. Monies raised from the sales of Goin’ Home will also go toward Domino’s neighborhood by creating a community center in the Crescent City’s still ravaged Lower 9th Ward. Proceeds of Goin’ Home will fund additional community related programs. The Tipitina’s Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation dedicated to preserving the cultural legacy of New Orleans through music education for the youth and providing programs that support working musicians of New Orleans and the Gulf Region, conceived and executive produced Goin’ Home. With so many great artists and people being a part of this album, I thought I’d dangle the set-lists in front of you to make your mouth and thirsty ear-holes water some more…
1. John Lennon: Ain’t That A Shame
2. Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers: I’m Walkin’
3. B.B. King with Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk: Goin’ Home
4. Elton John: Blueberry Hill
5. Taj Mahal & The New Orleans Social Club: My Girl Josephine
6. Dirty Dozen Brass Band with Joss Stone and Buddy Guy: Every Night About This Time
7. Paul McCartney featuring Allen Toussaint: I Want To Walk You Home
8. Lenny Kravitz with Rebirth Brass Band, Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, Fred Wesley, Pee Wee Ellis and Maceo Parker: Whole Lotta Loving
9. Dr. John: Don’t Leave Me This Way
10. Bonnie Raitt & Jon Cleary: I’m In Love Again/All By Myself
11. Art Neville: Please Don’t Leave Me
12. Robbie Robertson with Galactic: Going To The River
13. Randy Newman: Blue Monday
14. Robert Plant with Lil’ Band O’ Gold: It Keeps Rainin’
15. Corinne Bailey Rae: One Night (Of Sin)
1. Neil Young: Walking To New Orleans
2. Robert Plant with The Soweto Gospel Choir: Valley Of Tears
3. Norah Jones: My Blue Heaven
4. Lucinda Williams: Honey Chile
5. Marc Broussard featuring Sam Bush: Rising Sun
6. Olu Dara & The Natchezippi Band with Donald Harrison Jr.: When I See You
7. Ben Harper with the Skatalites: Be My Guest
8. Toots & The Maytals: Let The Four Winds Blow
9. Willie Nelson: I Hear You Knockin’
10. Irma Thomas and Marcia Ball: I Just Can’t Get New Orleans Off My Mind
11. Bruce Hornsby: Don’t Blame It On Me
12. Herbie Hancock with George Porter Jr., Zigaboo Modeliste and Renard Poche: I’m Gonna Be A Wheel Someday
13. Los Lobos: The Fat Man
14. Big Chief Monk Boudreaux with Galactic: So Long
15. Preservation Hall Jazz Band with Walter “Wolfman” Washington & Theresa Andersson: When The Saints Go Marching In
2007 Vanguard/Tipitina’s Foundation
With the re-release of The Other Side of Town on Select Records, people can be re-introduce, re-member or simply rejoice in nine songs that are meaningful and important. He grew up in Denver, Colorado, where his parents owned a record store (Record Center). Through his parents, and by spending time at the local blues bar Ebbett’s Field, he met Lightnin’ Hopkins. Mr. Hopkins was impressed with his drum playing and took him on tour, where Weiss had the opportunity to play with Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Roger Miller, Dr. John, and other great musicians. Weiss released “Extremely Cool” in 1999, featuring extensive collaboration with Tom Waits, who co-produced the album for his longtime acquaintance (they met in 1972 at Ebbett’s Field, where Weiss played in the house band) and appears on at least two tracks. The style is heavily reminiscent of Waits, both in composition and vocal approach. Either could have influenced the other. “Old Souls and Wolf Tickets” was released in early 2002, perhaps less reminiscent of Tom Waits and more redolent of Delta blues acts decades older. Weiss’s music includes strains of every rhythmic style from nursery rhymes to zydeco. Weiss was the subject of Rickie Lee Jones’s hit “Chuck E.’s in Love” from her 1979 debut album, in which she claims “Chuck E.” is in love with “the little girl who’s singing this song” (Jones says the song was fictional). At the time Jones was linked romantically to Tom Waits. All three lived at the time at the Tropicana Hotel in Los Angeles, in the middle of a fertile musical scene including Jackson Browne, the Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, Warren Zevon, and the one and only Mister Frank Zappa and others. Weiss has also played with legendary bassist Willie Dixon, who was quoted on the original packaging of “Extremely Cool” (“Ain’t ya got ears son? That little Jew boy with the big old head be one of the best musicians in this town, this country even.”) “Down the Road a Piece,” from “Old Souls & Wolf Tickets,” is a 1970 recording of the two playing together. Chuck E. Weiss has been associated with Los Angeles and Southern California for years, saying he does not like to travel by airplane. Weiss played 11 years of Mondays at a club called the Central before it fell on hard times. Weiss and his friend Johnny Depp (who executive produced the first track on “Extremely Cool”) were instrumental in resuscitating it as the Viper Room, which became immediately trendy when River Phoenix died there in 1993. “Extremely Cool” makes reference to Canter’s Kibitz Room, a small nightclub in a larger diner in Los Angeles’s Fairfax District, where Weiss has also played habitually. His regular band is called The G-d Damn Liars.
There is a slick feel to this latest release from Charlie Hunter’s Trio, like walking on a sidewalk that was shoveled too soon and a think layer of ice is still underneath. There you are mis-stepping and it feels so right. Allowing an unseen force to lead you on your way and doing so with a smile wrapped around your head. I haven’t yet discovered the land of Mistico, but I am certainly enjoying the surrounding sounds while trying to locate it. Then there are times like in track #2, “Speakers Bulit in”, where the moment of impact is eventual. As you spiral downwards you find yourself standing upright and all signs point up. Along with Charlie Hunter on 7 string guitar, Simon Lott handles the drumming duties and Erik Deutsch fingers the keys of the piano, Fender Rhodes and CasioTone. Together, this search party leads you and your ears towards unchartered sound spots, but please keep your minds open at all times, as this album features 10 tracks that will certainly challenge your memories to compare. Often times during the album as it plays the slippery sidewalk seems to lead to the ends of some world…..I’m sure this is to be continued.
CH3 Mistico Concord Music Group
The Karl Denson Trio’s newest album, Lunar Orbit is the vessel to take space and make it into your backyard. I have been swimming in this album up to my ears and keep finding new worm-holes to depart into. As the title track blasts off, you can buckle up or feel free to roam around the cabin area inside your mind, weightlessness is around you and time seems to be irrelevant once again, like when you were a child. The grooves are very rich with a star-like brightness that easily excite your senses like the first time you saw pictures of earth from the moon. Now that’s some deep grooves. Take a breath. There is an innovator’s spirit that flows from this album, like someone has witnesses the future and is setting it into sound. With Jake Najor on Drums, Anthony Smith on keys, Karl Denson’s sax/flutes explode in evolutionary exploration and is willing to take you as a passenger. Join me on a ride? Karl Denson’s career has taken many forms. From saxophone player for Lenny Kravitz to front man of The Greyboy All-Stars and his own Tiny Universe, Karl has constantly found ways to simultaneously expand his listeners’ minds while making them move their feet. His undeniable grooves and colossal saxophone solos have taken a new form in The Karl Denson Trio.
When something is right, it is right. That;s how I feel about the 2-piece force d’rock known as Sirsy In there latest release Revolution on their own label SIRSRYMUSIC, there are signs of a band just about to make a bigger name for themselves. The start of this album is the title track Revolution and thus begins your interest in Sirsy. How do they make that much rock with this roll, just two you say?? There are personalities in this music, but even more importantly is that each song has it’s own face, it’s own expression. Sassy to the core and tender when needed, I think this could be the next band you fall in love with. Melanie and Rich have a live show that surpasses attempts at words, but merely needs to been taking in and you’ll be ready to join in the movement that is a Sirsy Revolution.
2 Sorry Me
3 Leftover Girl
5 Waiting For Rain
6 Oh! Billy
8 Mary Concetta
From the moment the beat battle bell is rung this EP tips its cap to old school R&B and hip hop with raps that spit fresh retro fire and scratching that has the sniff jealous. The Gift of Gab, Lateef The Truth Speaker, and Headnodic as the new super-group: The Mighty Underdogs. The new EP entitled THE PRELUDE (featuring DJ Shadow, MF Doom, Ladybug Mecca, and Rashaan Ahmad from the Crown City Rockers). This release is independent through Giftstribution and will release an LP entitled “Dropping Science Fiction” in early 2008. Something to keep a look-out for. The stylings of this are off the charts. This is hip hop keeping it really real. Just set your ears on track #6 Bring Me Back and have yourself a flashback moment rivaled only in scenes from Wayne’s World. And of course, I am always a sucker for the voice of LadyBUG Mecca, it always sounds like she is just reciting a lullaby made to hush a city block…and that can’t be bad.
The answer is yes! Putumayo Presents: TANGO around the world. The energy driven by passion fuels this movement friendly album with songs representing that fire from countries around the globe. There is a style and elegance that all cultures and their music develop and I must say, they have captured the Tango beast within them and put forth a hip bending blend including pieces from Serbia, Norway,Senegal and Argentina and Brazil. The roots of Tango music stretch back to African rhythms and European parlor dances, the main influences are the milonga, a poetic song style developed in Uruguay, and the Cuban habanera, whose shuffling beat still forms the foundation of that instantly recognizable tango rhythm.
This album is a great introduction to celebrate the exploration of tango music’s influence around the globe.
For those waiting for a concert experience with the dynamics of a rock band (read: no laptops), the dance inducing rhythms of club music, and the sophistication of modern electronica, an unlikely musical alternative has arrived in the form of the band Lotus. And no better chance to get yourself hooked than checking out the new live album, Escaping Sargasso Sea, a 2007 Lotus Vibes release. The double disc live set offers waves into the future, as progressive as a sunrise and as organic as the stepping soils. There are songs from two previous studio albums: Nomad and The Strength of Weak Ties as well as new not yet released material. This five-piece band has creatively fused electronic dance music with instrumental post-rock for eight years. The result is an explosive live show that has made crowds get down across the U.S., Canada, and Japan. Armed with a massive light rig and one of the most energetic shows on the circuit, this proves why they have become a go-to act for late night festival slots. There is enough funky jams to spread around while giving this new album a listen, so do enjoy.
LOTUS–Escaping Sargass Sea 2007