Archive for folk

Iron & Wine / Kiss Each Other Clean

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on 110000002UTC 12 by marky7235

Kiss Each Other Clean

Samuel Beam (born July 26, 1974), better known by his stage and recording name Iron & Wine, is an American singer-songwriter. He has released four studio albums, several EPs and singles, as well as a few download-only releases, which include a live album (a recording of his 2005 Bonnaroo performance). He occasionally tours with a full band.[1]

Beam was raised in South Carolina before moving to Florida to attend school and now resides outside of Austin, Texas. The name Iron & Wine is taken from a dietary supplement named “Beef Iron & Wine” that he found in a general store while shooting a film.

The Analysis:

Walking Far From Home—-Giving you a vocal from almost the very first strain of music, the track is wrapped in a familiar melancholy that allows you a very comfortable emotion. The overlays…the oohs and aahs give the song a body and feel that raise goosebumps all over your body. This is beautifully landscaped Folk music with an accessible edge that takes you away from this time with little effort!

Me And Lazarus—-With a bit more of an upbeat sound, the remarkable bass line has a nice funk feel to it that allows you to move your head and find a groove. The vocal is amazingly comfortable and familiar…causing you to think of 1000 other voices but still distinguished be a nice unique phrasing. This is a joy…the song has a saxophone solo that is die for…one of my favorites on this release!

Tree By The River—-Returning to a more somber sound, the drums that introduce the song give you a feeling of isolation and loneliness. The vocal enters and you are reminded of a track or two from The Wall….the full voice begins and you feel your lips curl into a smile…this is magical…another of those songs I keep listening to over and over…..this is spectacular…..

Monkeys Uptown—-This is a bit different for me…the backdrop of the song is bass heavy and full of an electronic beat that surprises me. The voice enters and makes me comfortable once more…making me calm a bit despite the surprising percussion. Not a favorite track…but still sticks to the general formula of the band’s history.

Half Moon—-Now….this is nice!!! Delivered with a slight Country/Folk feel this is laden with a remarkable emotion and almost over-powering realism to the music. This is what I have been craving for the past few weeks…that slight Alt-Country feel…with nice steel guitar…laidback backing vocals and a layered lead that makes you feel lonely…just wonderful!!!

Rabbit Will Run—-This is wonderful….from the very first notes…reminding me of a slight Low sound…a male Indigo Girls and a remarkable Jackson Brown memory….who could ever ask for more. The music is exotic and mystical…delivered with all kinds of foreign sounds that come together to create a huge masterpiece of layered sounds…this is wonderful!!!!

Godless Brother In Love—-Gosh….this just makes me ache…reminding me of the best of Conor, Jim James and M. Ward….I am left with an almost permanent smile om my face as I wallow in the familiar melancholy that surrounds the song….I turn back to this time and time again…this will make you feel grounded…even if you are on the top of the world…because…..Music Matters!!!!

Big Burned Hand—-Not one of my favorite tracks….all of the ‘world horns’ kind of get on my nerves and is so differential from anything else of the record…it just does not gel with me….I hope this is not a planned progressive sound….!!!!

Glad Man Singing—-Delivering one of those New Millennium Folk sounds that will live forever, the overlayed vocals give the song a huge almost angelic feel. The track delivers a warm blanket feel that makes me happy and sad at the same time…a remarkable emotion…that only evokes goosebumps through my entire body……

Your Fake Name Is Good Enough For Me—-A Facebook song title if I ever heard one……This is exquisite. This is delivered with a great funk bass line and horns that automatically make me think of the late 70’s sound. The voice is familiar, but the sound is all classic Toto and brings to mind the great classics of soft radio…so the release leaves me with a smile and much to chew on…something I will return to over and over again……

**** 1/2 out of 5

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Beth Orton / Pass In Time-The Definitive Collection

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on 3000000012UTC 12 by marky7235

Pass In Time- The Definitive Collection

Beth Orton (born Elizabeth Caroline Orton, 14 December 1970) is a BRIT Award–winning English singer-songwriter, known for her ‘folktronica‘ sound, which mixes elements of folk and electronica.[1] She was initially recognised for her collaborations with William Orbit and the Chemical Brothers in the mid 1990s. However, these were not Orton’s first recordings, she had released a solo album, Superpinkymandy, in 1993. Since the album was only released in Japan, it went largely unnoticed by international audiences. Her second solo album, Trailer Park, garnered much critical acclaim in 1996. Orton developed a devoted audience with the release of the albums Central Reservation (1999) and the 2002 UK top 10 album, Daybreaker. In her 2006 release, Comfort of Strangers, she has moved towards a more folk-based sound and away from the electronic sound of her past albums.

The Analysis:

Central Reservation—-Beginning rather acoustic, but slowly picking up in pace, Beth enters with her trademark vocal that is both breathtaking and unmistakable. The words wash over you like a gentle wave…full of emotions and serenity, honesty and blatant truth. This is remarkable….upbeat and at the same time filled with an overwhelming sadness that is unescapable…Orton is a gem!

She Cries Your Name—-At this point in her career, Orton was fully in her ‘folk-tronic’ era. The music is full of small little intricate musical sounds that only serve to highlight Orton’s melancholy vocal and lyric, while also being accessible as hell. Why this woman was not huge is beyond me. The Orbit sound that is provided via the electronic sounds are trademark…there is no mistaking the homage to bands like Portishead….this is stellar…still sounds fresh and still smacks me in the face with the emotional quality as well.

Someone’s Daughter—-This is full of a nice almost funky folk sound that reminds you of summer days when you were a kid and people actually skipped down the street. At the same time, if this catches you in the right mood, it can bring tears to your eyes and devastate your emotions at the same time. this is a remarkable track…the overlays that are on the vocal track give the song this huge layered sound…making me smile and tear up at the same time…of course, that is what music is all about right?

Where Do I Begin—-Really, one of my favorite Orton songs. This combines the wonderful vocal elements that Beth brings to the table and is so laden with the electronic sounds of her early experimentation…I just smile my way through the tears…this is exquisite and speaks to my life at the moment. This is fantastic…a piece of emotional music that can control your emotional flow depending on where you happen to be at the point you hear it.

Stars All Seem To Weep—-This is a surprise from the onset, the ‘electronic’ sounds that emit from your headphones remind you of the beginnings of a West coast Rap track, then Orton enters and steers you in a total different direction. this is the best of indie Folk that you have ever heard, mixed with a remarkable accessible funk beat that actually allows you to listen to the words and digest them…store them and save them up to a later date when you NEED to pull them out again. Fantastic!

Touch Me With Your Love—-Rather quiet and introspective, this track still manages to provide a nice mix of Folk and Electronica. when Beth enters with the ‘chorus’ of the song, you are swept up in a wave of emotion…you believe and feel every single word that she sings…the ghostly electronica only serves to heighten the words and mood…a nice breath of fresh air!

Safety—-This is pure classic acoustic folk that makes me smile as each word is emitted from the throat of Orton. this is honest emotion, relatable and incredibly poignant. The song has the magical ability to elate me and bring me to a precipice of personal danger at the same time. I am incredibly humbled by the honesty and the truthfulness of the words…I am moved!!!

Sugar Boy—-This is another of those Orton tracks that remains a favorite. This seems to speak to me…God knows I have put enough girls through this shit. I love the loneliness and slight anger feel to the vocal. This is as about as honest and as real as you can get. Kudos Beth…..at least you tell it the way it is.

Galaxy Of Emptiness—-Heavily steeped in that William Orbit kind of Electronica, this is full of moody and transcendent musical sounds that magically take you to the place that you need to be on the given day that you might listen to this. This is remarkably layered and delivered with a trip-hop kind of sound that was very popular in the underground in the mid-90’s…this still sounds remarkable to me…even now!

Pedestal—-This track finds Orton at her very acoustic, Folky best. Delivering one line after another that are designed to rip your emotion to the very fore-front of your brain, this is remarkable. You manage to question everything that you belive in and that you want to believe…whether it is your life or someone else’s. This is transparent as hell…brutally honest and remarkably devastating.

Dolphins—-I really have never liked this song…only the strings excite me…but the rest is a waste to my ears…Sorry!

I Wish I Never Saw The Sunshine—-Another of those Orton songs that are instantly recognizable and meaningful to me. This is one of the loneliest vocals I have ever heard…beth delivers line after line that reminds you what a broken heart is all about. This is as emotional and real as it gets. Make no doubt that this is a voice that has experienced both joy and loss…welcome to my world!!!!

Best Bit—-Orton delivers a vocal that is almost to full of urgency for me on this track…the hurried-ness of the song seems to allow for a loss of emotion. The musical landscape is much more rock oriented and seems to rob Beth of some of the emotion that she is more capable of. This is nice, but not a favorite…..

It’s Not The Spotlight—-Wow…this is first time listen for me and it literally tore my heart out….you can’t get much more intense than this. This is stripped down, bare and raw…allowing you to feel every single word that is pronounced. This tears me up…soon to be a favorite on my especially bad days.

Don’t Wanna Know About Evil—-Returning to a more predictable Electronic feel on this track, Orton seems very comfortable with this genre…I’m still confused as to why she managed to abandon the whole thing. The vocal is delivered with a nice reverb that adds even more emotion to the lyrics. this is stellar…wonderful and perhaps an artist at her peak!

The Same Day—-From the onset. this reminds me of a classic Rickie Lee Jones track….full of a slight Blues/Folk that touches me and stays in your brain for hours after you first hear it. Orton delivers a vocal that is drawn out and delivered with slight ennunciations that only seem to heighten the emotional quality of the song. This shit is stellar!!!!

Stolen Car—-Another of those earlier Orton tracks that have remained a very favorite of mine…there was a three CD stretch where it seemed like Orton could do no wrong and then the general public abandoned her and moved on to other things…perhaps I am the most fortunate person in the world for still listening despite what the charts and sales dictated. This is fantasitic…Orton delivers line after line in her rough shoved together sentences that fit every emotion possible all together at once…leaving you in an overload that is exquisite and delicious.

Where Do You Go—-Wow….replendant in strings and acoustic guitar, this is a track that touched my heart from the very first note. this is incredible…Beth sings in a voice that is much lower in tone and more expressive than anything I have ever heard. Think of a deeper Enya with words that actually mean siometing…this is incredible…I could not ask for more than this at this moment.

Sweetest Decline—-Delivered with a huge ode to the blues-jazz feel of low dive bars that cater to the sad, this is remarkable. I love the swell of the strings, the jazz infused piano and the remarkable relaxed feel of the song. This is a favorite….the vocal is so pure and real…i xould never ask for more.

Water From A Vine Leaf—-Well, this has a HUGE Electronic infusion that makes the song incredible from the very first notes. Imagine if Madonna would have taken on this song from Orbit on her Music or Ray Of Light record….I can guarantee you that the public would have digested this with little problem. This track has a nice ambient feel that never strays too much from the original Orton sound…that is what I love about her….expansion without compromise!!!!

Pass In Time—-This is a remarkable duet that manages to leave me as devastated and full of feelings as anything that has been ever releases by Orton. The music is a remarkable blend of Alt-Country and gentle acoustic guitar that sucks you in from the very first notes. this is beautiful, emotional and designed for those in pain….and that feel real emotion!!!!

Concrete Sky—-Another of those iconic songs in the career of Orton, once you hear this track you will be hooked and will return time after time. The vocal and the melody is so remarkable….this is a wonderful mix of Indigo Girls vs. Rickie Lee Jones….you can’t go wrong with either of the three. This is fantastic…a stellar cornerstone in a wonderful career.

Thinking About Tomorrow—-Delivered in a remarkably lazy manner, the acoustic style guitar fits Orton and her deliver so wonderfully. The song is laid-back, warm and full of warm melodies that suck you in and allow you to breathe in the essence of the emotions from beth…this is damn magical.

****3/4 out of 5

 

Mumford & Sons / Sigh No More

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on 300000009UTC 12 by marky7235

Sigh No More

Mumford & Sons are a folk rock band. The band is made up of Marcus Mumford (vocals, guitar, drums, mandolin), “Country” Winston Marshall (vocals, banjo, dobro), Ben Lovett (vocals, keyboards, accordion), and Ted Dwane (vocals, double bass).[1]. Although the band members have claims on certain instruments, the members switch instruments during live shows according to convenience, for they each play a variety of instruments. The band formed in late 2007, rising out of London’s folk scene with other artists such as Laura Marling, Johnny Flynn, Jay Jay Pistolet and Noah and the Whale.

The band has often supported Laura Marling at concerts, while their association with Noah and the Whale can be traced back to St Paul’s School, Barnes and King’s College School, Wimbledon. Mumford and Lovett attended King’s College School alongside Noah and the Whale bassist Matt Owens, while Marshall attended St Paul’s School along with Charlie Fink, lead singer of Noah and the Whale.

The band’s debut album, Sigh No More, was released in the United Kingdom in October 2009, and February 2010 in the United States.

The Analysis:

Sigh No More—-Beginning with lush arrangements and some damn harmonious vocals, the song is rather quiet but allows you to hear every little note that is being played. The accents on these guys are priceless! I love the gentleness of the whole damn thing and the gentle switch off from vocalist to vocalist…this is very different….but in a great way!

The Cave—-Beginning with a gentle acoustic guitar and a lone vocal, this has a melody line that is damn irresistible. Slowly, there are sounds added to the track..little by little the song exposes itself to you. This is wonderfully layered with subtle harmonies…and when the song does really come alive, hang on to your hat. this is fabulous…this is the furthest thing from mainstream, but has found a permanent place on my playlist. Fantastic!!!

Winter Winds—-This has some nice horns at the onset and a remarkable banjo that fits the heavily accented vocal wonderfully well. When the entire band joins in on the vocal, this really has the sound of a very large band. This is magical….the different instruments all work together to create a lush and wonderful landscape of sound. This is different, but just different to keep me listening.

Roll Away Your Stone—-With a sad and forlorn sounding guitar at the onset of the song, the banjo comes in after and adds to the sweet sound of the song. The vocal is a lone one…full of an emotional edge. you are suddenly surprised as the song opens up with some furious picking that last a short time and then quiets suddenly again…just to repeat the process over and over..keeping you on your seat wondering what is coming next. This is fantastic…a true plethora of sounds and rhythms.

White Blank Page—-Delivered with a vocal that is as melancholy as the music itself, this is a stark and beautiful display. The vocal is just rough enough to keep your attention and the music just quiet enough to make you listen with keen ears to every note. There are huge moments in the song…when the music actually leads the song, but it is the lone and lonely vocal that is the star of this show…this is just wonderful!

I Gave You All—-Again, beginning with a stark and lone acoustic guitar and a lonely emotional vocal, this release can become tedious at this point…because of the sameness and the lonely and quiet aspect of it all…you find your disposition taking a downward turn. It is only the huge instrumental bright spots that save this from being a bit too depressing for the mainstream. These are some pretty intense lyrics as well.

Little Lion Man—-This is just fantastic!!! Much more upbeat musically and showing that magical vocal with the heavy accent to the best light, this is just incredible. I love this…when all of the instruments join in and the band goes on a mini-rampage, it is just what the release needed at this point. This is full of life, fantastic lyrics and a damn nice energy!!!

Timshel—-Returning to a more sedate and predictable sound at the onset, the saving grace is when the vocal begins on this track. It seems like all 4 voices are joined together…delivering this huge harmonious beautiful sound that takes your breath away. This is simply beautiful…with lyrics that make you pause and ponder as well.

Thistle & Weeds—-Full of the sedate and gentle instrumental meanderings that shapes this release, the vocal is more sedate than usual…but the lyrics are like huge colorful swipes of paint on a bleach white canvas. This save the track from obscurity…the emotions are real and raw…the words dig in and find a place in your psyche.

Awake My Soul—-With little musical introduction, the vocal begins almost automatically from the start. The lyrics…again, are full of this vivid imagery that is just breathtaking. Mumford delivers line after line of words that are just meant to sear a place in your soul…awaken your emotions and make you think all day about the things that are better left alone…not anymore.

Dust Bowl Dance—-Stark piano begins this track….ushering in a poignant lyric that would rival the best of Springsteen Americana. The accent is heavy on this track..allowing you to realize that emotions and lyrics are not bound by oceans or land lines. This is wonderfully quaint…touching me and making me think much more than i wanted to this afternoon…but, that is what music is all about.

After The Storm—-Ending this release much as it started, this is stark and naked…bolstered only bu a lone acoustic guitar and lyrics that squeeze you heart tighter than cardiac arrest. This is brilliant folk-pop that was designed perhaps to exile demons…both his and yours! This is wonderfully beautiful.

**** out of 5

Robert Plant / Band Of Joy

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on 140000009UTC 12 by marky7235

Band of Joy

Band of Joy is an album by the British rock singer Robert Plant and his band the Band of Joy.[1] [2] It was released on September 13, 2010 in the UK and September 14 in the USA.

The first single released from the album was “Angel Dance”.

The Analysis:

Angel Dance—-The first single to be released from this CD finds Plant delivering a vocal that is almost breathtaking. The natural tone fits the mood of the music perfectly. The music is a nice cross of shuffling folk and a deep sounding contemporary. This is brilliant…even when Plant includes some of his trademark enunciation, you are still firmly rooted in 2010. This has such a contagious melody you will have it in your brain for days! This is fantastic.

House Of Cards—-Although the music on this track is rather sedate, I am still blown away by the clarity and firmness of Plant’s vocal. this has a nice twang to it that is aided by the addition of some back drop singers that turn this into a quasi-bluegrass track that hearkens back to his release with Alison Krause. This is moody and fantastic!!

Central Two-O-Nine—-Again ushered in by some pretty great banjo music, this is superb. Plant delivers a vocal that is slow and drawn out…finding his third wave of his career firmly rooted in Appalachian style music and group sing-a-longs. This is magnificent…not at all what I expected, but pleasantly brilliant. Plant seems to have himself firmly planted in the backwoods of the music industry…the result is our gain…I will be listening to this for a very long time.

Silver Rider—-This is one of two covers from the seminal Slo-core band Low. Somehow Plant just knew that this was one of my favorite bands of all time. Plant gives a vocal performance that is raw and naked and stacks up against the original surprisingly well. This is magnificent…koined in the song by a lone and quiet female voice, this song is so accessible and pleasant I listened to it 4 times in a row. This is marvellous…who knew Plant has been nodding to Low all of this time…..again…this is our gain…thank you for the wonderful gift.

You Can’t Buy My Love—-Becoming a bit more electric, this song has a nice drum track that makes me think of The Stray Cats…this is one of those huge blues-ridden overblown things that gets on my nerves after two long of a time. None the less, this is a nice change of pace and adds some needed variety to the CD.

Falling In Love Again—-Jumping from Rock-A-Billy to a quasi-50’s Doo-Wop type of track, you have to love the diverse kinds of music on this release. Plant sounds a bit muted, but he is joined on the song by an assortment of vocals and a slide guitar that gives the track a wonderful lonely feel. This is superb!

The Only Sound That Matters—-Steeped in that wonderful Country tinge that Plant seems so fond of these days, this song is full of every trademark country sound you could imagine. the remarkable thing is how well the whole damn thing works. Perhaps the Krause influence has really stuck with him…it is hard to believe all of the roads he has travelled to get to this point. That in itself is pretty damn remarkable.

Monkey—-The second of two Low covers finds Plant delivering a vocal that is so uncanny in resemblance that it causes me to have a mini Low listening party. The wonderful thing is how well the band has reproduced that low hum that runs through the backdrop of this original track. This is incredible…I am duly impressed.

Cindy, I’ll Marry You Someday—-Beginning with a gentle heavy drum and quickly joined by a team of remarkable banjos, Plant enters with a low down and dirty kind of lyric that fits the mood of the music wonderfully well. This is sedate, but incredibly powerful…thanks to the vocal and lyrical delivery. I love this next stage of Plant’s career…it has found a definite home with me.

Harm’s Swift Way—-A bit more upbeat, but still wallowing in that wonderful Alt-Country manner. Plant really tells a nice story on this track…the lyrics are crystal clear and the harmonies that come on the chorus are breathtaking. This is just fantastic…I wish everyone could hear this.

Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down—-This is nice…full of quiet banjo and an ethereal vocal delivery that is soaked in a slight blues delivery…perhaps taking Plant right back to where he began. This is nice…but very sedate and quiet…full of minimalism and quiet lyrics…still, this is masterful.

Even This Shall Pass Away—-Ending the release much as it started…with a more upbeat and radio friendly song. Plant almost whispers his vocal at times…but have no doubt…you know this voice and it sounds as good as ever. This is nice, but a bit jaunty and floundering. All in all, this has been a masterful release from one of the most important figures in music EVER!!!

***** out of 5 [!!!!!]

Ray LaMontagne And The Pariah Dogs / God Willin’ & The Creek Don’t Rise

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on 220000008UTC 12 by marky7235

God Willin' & The Creek Don't RiseRaymond Charles “Ray” LaMontagne (pronounced /lɑːmɒnˈteɪn/) (born June 18, 1973) is an American singer-songwriter. Reportedly[citation needed], after hearing a Stephen Stills song, LaMontagne decided to quit his job at a shoe factory and pursue a career in music. He has since released four albums, Acre of Land, Trouble, Till the Sun Turns Black and Gossip in the Grain. In the UK, Trouble was a top 5 hit, and the title track of the album was a top 25 hit. Till the Sun Turns Black was a top 40 hit in the U.S. A soft-spoken person who is known for his raspy voice, LaMontagne has won a number of awards for his music and has performed at several charity events.

LaMontagne’s fourth studio album, God Willin’ & The Creek Don’t Rise, was released on August 17, 2010.

Repo Man—-Beginning with a nice lazy guitar and a slow tambourine, the mellow sounds of the band slowly emerge from that one distant chord. The song turns into a nice almost funky Alt-Country jam that is full of expression and feeling…even before you hear any vocal at all. This is a nice jam session…Ray enters with that trademark rasp of his and this becomes a nice barn blues track that leaves you feeling warm and comfortable. Really nice

New York City’s Killing Me—-Much more my speed, most of you know I’m not a real fan of Blues oriented music. This is much more Alt-Country…the kind of low and mellow song that is made for whiskey and campfires. The gentle melody makes me feel so comfortable and the lyrics could be about your city or mine…the need to escape the hustle and bustle of life is universal. The slide guitar is magnificent and creates a masterful lonely feeling. This is brilliant!

God Willin’ & The Creek Don’t Rise—-Stark and with that low twang that constructs only the best and most memorable Country tracks, this takes a while to get started. When Ray enters with the rough voice of his, you will fall in love. This is wonderfully delivered and the lyrics will leave you with your head hanging low and your mind reeling from the raw emotion of the meaning of it all. This is fantastic. Really another new favorite…really?

Beg Steal Or Borrow—-A bit more upbeat in tempo, this still has a remarkable back woods feel that warms you from the very first notes. Ray has a way with words that most songwriters are lacking these days…these are sentiments that are made to make you think and ponder…digest and do something with. This is a dying art form…real words with real emotions that are designed to touch the listener regardless of whom they are. This is wonderful….buy this record!!!

Are We Really Through—-So full of gentleness, the simple guitar strains are enough to bring instant tears to your eyes and goosebumps all over your body. The vocal is remarkably clear…Ray seems to have cleared his voice before this one. The lyrics are introspective and remarkable insightful. this is full of real hurt and true feelings…you could never ask for more from a songwriter. This is stark and beautiful!

This Love Is Over—-A bit more full-bodied, the guitar has less twang….but the vocal more than makes up for it. This has a slight, country-blues feel to it that is wonderful. The twang appears by the third bar and Ray is in full despair mode. This is wonderfully delivered…the classic somebody done me wrong song…but manages to make it sound fresh and like nothing you have ever heard before.

Old Before Your Time—-With a really nice banjo intro, this is much more upbeat than most of the other things on this release. This song, although pretty deep in introspection and feeling, has a much lighter feel. Ray delivers his clearest vocal yet…this is wonderfully fresh and could be played on the radio with little or no problem. It is sad to think that only a select group of people will ever hear the mastery of this man…I would love nothing else but to play it from the highest building in the village square. Our lives would be so much better!

For The Summer—-Returning to a more somber palate, the song slowly opens up with a nice back beat shortly after it begins. The vocal is crystal clear and full of slide guitar that puts you in that perfect country mood. This is so accessible and pleasant…wonderfull written, the band that backs up this record is pure perfection. This is the best anti-big-city music I have ever heard!

Like Rock & Roll And Radio—-Beginning with a lonely harmonica, the tone is already set for this song before the first guitar strum or a single word is uttered. Ray enters with that slight rasp and begs for confirmation of love and emotion. Saying all of the words that we are so afraid to speak out loud, Ray is masterful at putting his emotions on display. This is stark, haunting, lonely and incredibly beautiful. This man has a magical way of touching my heart.

Devil’s In The Jukebox—-This is a nice way to round out this release…taking on a more bombastic feel, the guitars are more steel oriented and the tempo is a true toe-tapper. The vocal sounds weathered and years beyond its actual age. The harmonica is a train station type of delivery…making you yearn for old wide open spaces and care free days where people sat around in a big old barn and jammed the night away…falling into bed with sheer exhausted joy at the creativity. This is freakin’ wonderful!

***** out of 5 [!!!!!]

The Indigo Girls / Staring Down The Brilliant Dream

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 160000008UTC 12 by marky7235

Staring Down the Brilliant Dream

The Indigo Girls are an American folk rock duo, consisting of Amy Ray and Emily Saliers.

They began in Atlanta as a regular act at The Little 5 Points Pub, and were tangentially part of the Athens, Georgia college rock scene that included The B-52’s, Pylon, R.E.M., The Georgia Satellites, Widespread Panic and Love Tractor.

This release was downloaded from a PAID site on the internet, but in the process the track listing became rather mixed up. All of the songs are here, but in a rather convoluted form…my apologies.

Get Out the Map—-Perhaps the best way to experience The Indigo Girls is in a live setting…this recording only proves that assertion. the lyrics and melody lines are on a brilliant display…the harmonies are naked, real and raw and the chemistry between this dup is magically intact. This is brilliant…the gentle sounds from the band are a bit subdued, never overtaking the mastery of the two voices working together as their own instruments.

Heartache For Everyone—-With a great bass intro and a line that reeks of a subtle reggae flavor, the vocal is raw and real…sounding the best I have ever heard it sound. this is remarkably beautiful as the two voices play intimately with each other as they weave a masterpiece of a song…the Girls have this way of singing over top of each other that ALWAYS gives me gossebumps…this is no exception.

Closer To Fine—-A trademark song from this duo, this is best experienced in this setting. Live this song takes on a new life and vitality..I never get tired of the rawness of the vocals as they gently wrap themselves around each other…taking you to new heights and allowing you to feel extreme beauty. This is classic. wonderful and fresh after all of these years. When the crowd joins in on the chorus you will have goosebumps for days.

Salty South—-This is nice and gentle…full of classic acoustic guitars and a story song that transfers magically to CD. The rough vocal of Ray stacked up against the gentle voice of Saliers is masterful and has never sounded better than on this song. The gentle backing of the harmonica adds so much to the lonely feel of the song…this is just wonderful.

Go—-This is a much more raucous and electric guitar based song…and a sound that really never resonated for me where the girls where concerned. not to say that this is a bad track, but I prefer a gentler and more acoustic based sound where you can really appreciate the two voices coming together.

The Wood Song—-Returning to a magnificent acoustic flavor, this song rips my heart from me! I love any of the girls tracks that starts out with Emily…she has such a soothing voice that almost always puts tears in my eyes. this is no exception. The guitars are smooth and the harmonies are more delicious than a three course meal…this is magic!

Come On Home—-Again, the landscape that is painted by the gentle voices and the mellow guitars are one of a classic Rockwell painting that sings of simpler days and a less hectic life. This is on bright and brilliant display…the melodies are so intertwined they dig into your brain and lay there for as long as you want them to..perhaps never leaving. This is a vivid beautiful painting…wonderfully stroked and delivered with a beautiful shine.

Three County Highway—-Again the band and the duo deliver a song that is a bit more rough and with a less gleam…this is though, one of my favorite Indigo girls songs…when I first heard this track, I put it on repeat for about three days…allowing it to take over my very soul. This is wonderful, aggressive but never losing the beauty of the voices coming together. This is magic for me.

Devotion—-Beginning with that wonderful Alt-country sound they are known for, the crowd goes a bit crazy for this song that I’m really not that familiar with. The song plays well enough and the appeal is obvious as the Girls deliver the vocals in another ’round’ manner of singing with some nice harmonica thrown in in-between. This is really nice!

Digging for Your Dream—-Another of those songs that really found a way under my skin and settled there for quite sometime, it seems to be even better live. This has an energy that is lacking on the recorded version, perhaps propelled by the crowd. The vocal of Ray is a bit weak, but it is nice to hear her step out of her comfort zone…remarkable.

Cold Beer And Remote Control—-Remarkably delivered with a nice Americana sound, Emily begins and Amy joins in by the second verse and the song becomes a huge rant against the rush, rush of the world and the need for a gentle and more relaxed way of life…an escape from the every day bullshit and an urge to run back to the backwoods when people never heard of cell phones or Playstation 360….

Rock And Roll Heaven’s Gate—-This is a fantastic song…..one of my favorites’ from the later releases by this by now iconic band. This is fantastic…the voices play so well off of each other…you cannot help but get sucked in to the play off of each other. This has a fantastic melody line and a remarkable contrast that lies underneath the song as Amt rides on top and Emily delivers underneath in a quieter and less obvious harmony line. This is just magical.

I Believe In Love—-Emily delivers the opening lines…as much of the mellow songs from this duo are formed. the lyrics are magnificent and vivid…added to the harmonies, this becomes a rather fantastic song that you can not get out of your head for quite sometimes. This is a gentle and a bit juvenile track that reminds me of my first feelings of love…if only those feelings could be that way forever. Wonderful.

Moment Of Forgiveness—-This is fantastic as well…reminding me of a lost Springsteen track from Nebraska….this whole song just has that lone and lost feel to it. When the Girls begins to intertwine te harmonies, the song becomes even more magnificent. I love this stuff…I never get tired of this Americana feel of their music…this is just magical.

Fill It Up Again—-This is nice, but i could think of so many other songs that the duo could have put in the place of this song from this era of songwriting. I do not mind this, and the crowd seems to love it as they finish the sentences for the band…that is the magical part of the song….the interaction is full of such love and adoration. This is nice!

Fugitive—-One of the few songs from this duo where a piano was really present in the mix of everything. I love the lack of pretention…the prefix’s are not contrived and the girls openly write all of their songs in the female prefix…not hiding who or what they are for a moment. this is a pretty brooding dark song…none the less….when the voices combine, you forget everything else but that.

Cordova—-Again, this goes into a newer territory as the song seems to feature more than a piano, but more of an organ sound…this gives the song a nice ghostly and lonely feel that makes you hand your head a bit and feel a weight across your shoulder blades as you fall into the deep dankness of the track. Amy seems to carry most of the vocal parts on this song…accompanied by a nice crisp mandolin that rides over everything else. This is stark, naked and brilliantly wonderful.

Sugar Tongue—-Nice…..I had almost forgotten about this song with all of the material that this band has produced since the 80’s, but it is so nice to know that there are still favorites that don’t get played on a regular basis. I am wonderfully elated by this song as well…the guitar and the interplay of the voices fill me with wonderment and joy.

Fly Away—-This is just a wonderful little song that allows you to remember that this band is above all very talented songwriters. Emily delivers line after line of lyrics that stab at your heart and make your brain bleed with realization. This is just beautiful….the gentle piano and guitar combination comes together to create a landscape that makes your heart bleed and reminds you how much more your soul needs to grow.

What Are You Like—-Even though i am not particularly familiar with this song, there is still a magic that is evident from the very onset. The girls come together in that remarkable harmonizing way that just makes you shake your head and wonder if these kinds of pairings are determined in heaven far before the actual happening…this is heavenly after all.

Ozilline—-Now, this is Americana from the word go….the banjo that plays is full of the laid back woods feel that the joined harmonies have been aching for. This is magical…you could never ask for more from this duo. This is a pure moment that is caught and will live in infamy, one that I will without a doubt visit again and again and again. Wonderful!

Second Time Around—-Stark and magnificent, this story song is again full of brilliant harmonies and magnificent Americana style guitars. The vocal is haunted and lonely…only adding to the powerful music that plays in the backdrop. It would seem to me that these Girls rarely take a misstep or do anything wrong. When the harmonica enters the scene…you are transported to a different time and place.

Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright—-This is great….right from the onset, the guitars that introduce the song are a nice Grand Ole Opry style Gospel magic. When the vocals enter you are sure of the fact…this is a nice country song that you cannot escape. This is a honky-tonk feel that gets deep under your school and makes you wonder if these Girls have ever had the privilege of adorning the stage in Nashville…it would only seem natural and right!

Love Of Our Lives—-Wonderful!!!! This is a huge track….there seems to be a hundred voices singing all at the same time and the energy is freakin’ magnificent. This is pure magic. The gentle intertwining of the two vocals come together and the backdrop of escalating music that drives the song makes this even more magnificent….this is fantastic!!!

Become You—-Beginning with a huge choir of harmonicas, the vocal of Ray enters with a nice worn and warmed up feel that gives the song an even more rustic feel. Emily rides things slowly and quietly in the backdrop, but it would not be the same song without that. The guitars are a constant and steady rhythm that drives everything but keeps it at a magical pace…this is brilliant.

Kid Fears—-Perhaps my favorite Indigo Girls song, this goes way back to the first major label release but the actual second release from the duo. The original, featuring a huge and mighty guest vocal by Michael Stipe, just brings sobs to my psyche….the song is not quite the same without that vocal. Even still, this is so powerful and magnificent….perhaps the best song in this bands catalog.

Prince Of Darkness—-Also from that same era, this song is full of dark imagery and pure explicit lyrics of the excess of the decade that brought this band into fruition. This still manages to sound as fresh today as it was then…still as poignant and still as real and raw. This is brilliant….a true story that reminds you of the importance of keeping that which is real to you the closet…and those the most foreign at an arm’s length. Fantastic!!!

Watershed—-Another of those songs that still manages to remain a favorite of mine despite the hundreds that I have to choose from. The lyrics are magnificent…a slight religious imagery prevails through the song and makes me thing of the people long ago taking the long march through the trails and dirt roads of Damascus…this to me takes me back to those very days. The gentle harmonies are magical and conjures up huge chorus’ of voices arising as they struggle through the difficulties of traveling by foot. This is pure magic for me.

Shame On You—-Really never one of my favorite tracks from this duo, in a live setting, the band takes on anew energy and the song sounds more fresh and driven. This is ok, but i could do without…this is an Amy ray song that should have been on her solo effort. I’m just say in’.

Tether—-Ray again begins the song with a pretty aggressive vocal that is backed by an organ sound that kind of gets on my nerves. The guitars are very slow to enter and the voice of Emily is nowhere to be heard. This is a Tom Petty styled rocker ballad that lacks energy because the double layered vocal is missing. Even when Sailers does enter you barely hear the mastery of the well tuned harmonies…to me. this is just so so.

Wild Horses—-Rounding out things in a magnificent manner, the girls leave the crowd drenched in the sweet sweat of heart-felt emotions and the gentle longing of love. The entire release seems to leave me wanting so much more from my life…this last song…a masterful cover saps all of the lasting strength that i have and leaves me drained and lonely…wanting more but never needing to hear any more….waiting for the nest with anticipation, but turning my head with the introduction of new. This has been a magnificent journey!

***** out of 5 [!!!!!]

Bruce Springsteen/Magic [Bonus Tracks]

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on 50000008UTC 12 by marky7235

MagicMagic is the 15th studio album by Bruce Springsteen, released in 2007. It is his first with the E Street Band since The Rising in 2002. This album was #2 on Rolling Stones list of the Top 50 Albums of 2007.

Radio Nowhere—-Delivered with that classic E-Street sound, Springsteen enters with a remarkable vocal…as he ages, his voice becomes even more accessible. This is raucous but so damn accessible I listen to it over and over again for the sheer magic of it all. Weinberg delivers a fantastic drum track and the joining of Springsteen and Little Steven’s voices are like a long-lost friend. This is phenomenal.

You’ll Be Comin’ Down—-With a nice Alt-Country feel, Springsteen delivers a relaxed vocal with lyrics that are inspired to make you think and feel. The chorus is bolstered by a bevy of voices…giving the song a remarkable warm feeling. This is classic Springsteen…I love this release.

Livin’ In The Future—-Beginning with the classic Clarence saxophone, Bruce delivers his vocal sounding ten years younger and invigorated by the band’s presence. This sounds to me like it came straight off the Classic The River release. This is energetic, delivered as a nice story song with some great backdrop involvement from Steven and Clarence. This is remarkable….sounding like 1980!!!

Your Own Worst Enemy—-This has a nice bit or orchestration to the intro…Springsteen delivers a vocal that sounds tired and worn…just as it should be as it fits the mood of the song wonderfully. this is sedate and quiet…allowing you to think about the words and the meanings behind them. Patti joins in on the chorus…giving the song an even warmer feel. This remains a very classic Springsteen effort.

Gypsy Biker—-Out comes the wonderful harmonica and you want to reach for Nebraska for a quick listen. Bruce again delivers a nice story in a remarkable 4 minutes…leaving you feeling like you heard all he had to say. With wonderful Americana references and a masterful chorus, this is another standout track. The songwriting is superb and the delivery…although stripped down remains full and lush.

Girls In Their Summer Clothes—-This has always been and remains my favorite track from this release. This contains everything about Bruce and The E-Street Band that is wonderful. Again full of references that make you long for simpler times and warm sunny summer days that last forever, this leaves you a bit low but with a nice sense of elation at the same time. This is remarkable…I have waited far too long to listen to this again…just wonderful.

I’ll Work For Your Love—-Piano based at the onset, the song open up nicely with a honky-tonk feel that will have you tapping your foot along with the rest of the band. Bruce delivers a vocal that is a bit rough around the edges…fitting in with the feel of the song wonderfully well. The gentle fiddle that plays in the backdrop of the song adds so much…even though it is not right in your face. This is like the title suggest…Magic!

Magic—-Again sounding like a long-lost track from Nebraska or Tunnel Of Love, this is sedate and full of dark lyrics and beautiful Country sounds that make you smile from the inside out. This is brilliant…leaving me with warm feelings and more than a bit of melancholy. This remains another really favorite track of mine.

Last To Die—-Returning to a much more straight forward rocking sound, Springsteen and Co. allow the music to propel the song…the vocal almost secondary to the mastery of the music. This is classic Springsteen…..full of lyrics that are vivid and easily held on to. This is real Americana…something that is rare and hard to find these days. Brilliant.

Long Walk Home—-Stripped down and bare, this finds Bruce at his introspective best…I love these nice mellow intense tracks of his. This is some of the best material you have heard from him and the band in quite sometime..although The Rising was a pretty remarkable release as well. When the song opens up, it is never overbearing…allowing you to catch every single word that is written and sung. This is just fantastic.

Bonus Tracks:

Devil’s Arcade—-Beginning almost silent, the track takes a moment to get started…and once it does, it delivers a sound that is so funeral and mellow that your head automatically hangs a bit lower. This is beautifully delivered…the vocal will make you almost weep. The music is almost orchestrated…full of lush sounds and a desolation that leaves me lonely…..wonderful!

Terry’s Song—-Stripped bare and delivered in a naked manner, this finds Bruce at his best . The vocal is pure and unassuming…natural and real..showing his age in a masterful way and his emotion in a pure and unadulterated way. This is sad and real…when Patti and Steven join in on the lyric you are left even more devastated. This is an ode to a fallen band member…and the sentiment is so real you hurt.

****3/4 out of 5