When I Rise (CD) By Cary Morin

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When I Rise

Cary Morin

Cary Morin Music 2018

Review by David Bowling

 

Cary Morin is an artist who helps define the musical style Americana. He includes elements of folk, blues, and jazz into his approach, and it all coalesces into a distinct American sound.

His new album, When I Rise, consists of 10 original compositions and two cover songs. Drawing on his own experiences and the world around him, both real and imaginary, he is able to create stories rich in imagery.

Morin has a distinctive guitar sound. He is a precise picker who is able to layer his own sound so it appears he is playing both the lead and rhythm parts.

In addition to his own material, he tackles the Jerry Garcia/Robert Hunter “Dire Wolf,” but it is his take on Duane Allman’s “Little Martha” that really shines.

Cary Morin has carved out a niche for himself. When I Rise adds nicely to his expanding legacy.

Rating: ***1/2

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Global Griot (CD) By Eric Bibb

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Global Griot

Eric Bibb

Stony Plain 2018

Review by David Bowling

 

Eric Bibb’s career has been one of exploration, creativity, and change. His early career found him as a gentle folk singer emulating Greenwich Village folk singers such as Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, and Odetta. As time passed he began fusing blues into his folk music. His latest album finds him returning to his cultural roots as he has added West African rhythms to his sound.

His latest release, Global Griot, continues his musical metamorphosis by exploring and adapting some of West Africa’s culture and stories into his music. The word griot is an African word for a member of a caste who is responsible for maintaining an oral record  of tribal history through music, poetry, and storytelling. He expands this concept as he moves his music outward into the world around him.

Global Griot is a career defining statement and his most distictive and powerful to date. It is also his most ambitious as it contains 24 songs spread over two discs.

Sometimes his approach belies the social commentary as “We Don’t Care,” “What’s He Gonna Say Today,” “Race And Equality,” and “Where’s The Money At” tackle a number of social and polical issues.

Bibb has always had a spiritual presence in his music and here songs such as “Let God,” “Listen For The Spirit,” and a simple “Michael, Row Da Boat Ashore” provide a nice counterpoint to the other material as they as interspersed throughout the album.

Anyone acquainted with the music of Eric Bibb will find Global Griot full of surprises, yet never straying too far from the familiar. Several decades in his career, he may have produced his most accomplished album of music.

Rating: ****

 

 

VHS (CD) By Dr. Chrispy

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VHS

Dr. Chrispy

Interplanetary Records 2018

Review by David Bowling

 

Very few musicians have taken a more unusual or circuitous journey to issuing their first album than Chris Boshuizen, professionally known as Dr. Chrispy.

Boshuizen holds a PhD in Physics from the University of Sydney, and for nearly two decades was employed by NASA. Now working for his own company Planet Labs, he has helped design over 200 satellites.

In his spare time he began creating music on his computer. His hobby has now come to fruition in the release of his debut album VHS.

As one might expect from his former profession, this is an album of electronica that travels on the outer edge of structured music. There is a nostalgic quality contained in the music but it is synthetic and technological and will only appeal to a niche audience that is willing to listen to music outside the mainstream.

There is a theme and a personal sense to the project. The songs were written in and inspired by cities that he experienced in his travels. Their inspiration inspired his creative thoughts and process and are reflected in the titles.

Dr. Chrispy is now travelingg a different journey of exploration. If you are inclined to take a trip outside the norm, then you might want to give VHS a try.

Rating: ***

Complicated Mess (CD) By Doug Deming & The Jewel Tones

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Complicated Mess

Doug Deming & The Jewel Tones

Ellersoul Records 2018

Review by David Bowling

 

Doug Deming & The Jewel Tones have issued a new album titled Complicated Mess. Despite the title, the album is neither complicated nor a mess. It is an album of solid modern day blues.

Deming takes the simple approach fronting the bassist Andrew Gohman and drummer Marty Dodson, with gust appearances by Kim Wilson, Little Charlie Baty, Sax Gordon, and Bob Welch, who bring their harp, piano, and guitar talents to various tracks. The added musicians bring additional energy and depth to the basic trio.

Through the ten original tunes and three cover songs, Deming remains true to original blues traditions. As an artist, guitarist, and vocalist; he understands the blues and its heritage. “Sweet Poison,” “Need My Baby,” “Cookin’ At The Kitchen,” “Rat Killin,'” and the title track all pay tribute to the past, while maintaining enough modern elements to make them relevant and entertaining.

Two cover songs stand out. Sam Thread’s “You Rascal You” and Fats Domino’s I’m Walkin'” both undergo a modern metamorphosis.

Doug Deming is now two decades into his career. He has carved out a nice niche for himself as he continues to produce an excellent fusion of new and old blues. Complicated Mess is another fine step on his blues journey.

Rating: ***1/2

Blue (CD) By Dale Bundy

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Blue

Dale Bundy

Elastic Penguin Records 2018

Review by David Bowling

 

Dale Bundy is a veteran of the contemporary blues scene with close to 40 years experience. He has just released his debut solo album titled Blue comprised of five original songs and four covers.

Guitarist/singer Bundy is a blues everyman as he explores everything from comtemporary to the traditional blues of the Southern Delta. He plays and sings with a ligher touch than what one would expect and sets him apart from many of the other blues artists working today.

His lyrics fit the blues as they deal with life’s ebbs and flows. Add in such blues staples as “Big Legged Woman,” “The Thrill Is Gone,” and “Trouble In Mind” and you have an auspicious debut album.

Dale Bundy is one of those musicians who has spent decades perfecting his craft and has finally brought that experience into the studio. Blue is a solid first album.

Rating: ***

 

The U.K. Singles Volume One: 1972-1978 (Vinyl Box Set) By The Electric Light Orchestra

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The U.K. Singles Volume One: 1972-1978 Box Set (16 X 7″ Vinyl Singles)

Electric Light Orchestra

Sony Legacy 2018

Review by David Bowling

 

The Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) was formed in 1970 by Jeff Lynne and Roy Wood as a creative and innovative band that fused elements of rock and classical music into an inventive mix. When Wood left, Jeff Lynne assumed the leadership and for the next 15 years produced some of the best pure pop/rock music of the era.

While ELO sold tens-of-millions of albums; The UK Singles Volume One: 1972-1978 is a chronicle of their single releases in their home country, 20 of which reached the charts.

Vinyl has been making a comeback and this box set capitalizes on that fact. Their 15 singles are reissued as 45 rpm records with many original picture sleeves. The 16th disc is their four song EP “The ELO EP.” It is a unique release that will appeal to fans of the band and collectors of those old 7 inch 45’s.

The A sides are instantly recognizable for fans of 1970’s pop. “Roll Over Beethoven,” “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head,” “Turn To Stone,” “Strange Magic,” and “Livin’ Thing” have stood the test of time and helped propel the band into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. While they have been reissued a number of times; now they are returned to their original format.

The B sides of the 45’s are an eclectic mix and delve deeper into the ELO catalogue. Many times 45 “flip sides” were songs deemed not strong enough to be hits or drive album sales. Still, songs such as “Illusions In G Major,” “Poker,” “Queen Of The Hours,” and live tracks “10538 Overture,” “Daybreaker” and “Showdown” give a different picture of the band and show their more experimental, if not commercial, side.

The sound is superior is you have a good stereo system. The crackle and pop of those old 45’s is missing. The technology of the present day allows vinyl to provide a sound as good as most CD’s.

The UK Singles Volume One: 1972-1978 is in many ways a niche release due to its format. The box set is old school and it takes patience to play 45’s and listen to music in three minute increments. Still, it is a nice ride through the music of the Electric Light Orchestra if you are so inclined.

Rating: ****

Blues To Go (CD) By Colin James

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Blues To Go

Colin James

Stony Plain 2018

Review by David Bowling

 

Colin James is now in his early 50’s and has just released his 19th studio album. He is a blues traditionalist and his latest album reflects that inclination.

Blues To Go combines nine covers and two original composition. Blues legends Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Blind Willie Johnson, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Big Boy Crudup, and Robert Johnson provide the material and inspiration. James, however, takes the road less traveled as he stays away from their better known songs and delves a little deeper into their catalogues and legacies.

“One More Mile (Muddy Waters), “I Need Your Love So Bad” (Blind Willie Johnson), and ” and “Did Myself A Hole” (Crudup) are the highlights, along with a gritty version of Blind Lemon Jefferson’s “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean.”

James is always respectful of the material and their legacies. He never tries to over-extend or over-whelm the songs but sticks close to their original intent.

Colin James has a knack of introducing classic blues songs to the 21st century. Blues To Go is an apt name for his latest album.

Rating: ***1/2

Every Soul’s A Star (CD) By Dave Keller

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Every Soul’s A Star

Dave Keller

Catfood Records 2018

Review by David Bowling

 

For music aficionado’s in the know, a new album by Dave Keller is a cause for celebration. Every Soul’s A Star is the veterans first release for Catfood Records, which brings a bonus, the labels house band The Rays.

Keller has produced ten new songs for the album and added the Aretha Franklin cover “Baby I Love You.”

While Keller may move in R&B and rock directions at times; he is at heart a blues musician. His lyrics chronicle life but from a mellow perspective. His guitar work is fiery and the Rays fill in the blanks and add layers to his music.

Whether smoldering or high energy; songs such as “Don, Let The Take Your Joy,” “You Bring The Sunshine,” “This Is Gonna Hurt,” and “Kiss Me Like You Miss Me” are now part of Keller’s body of work.

Keller has learned his craft well. Every Soul’s A Star is another fine release and is well worth a listen.

Rating: ***

Just A Simple Soul (2-CD Set) By Bert Jansch

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Just A Simple Soul

Bert Jasch

Sanctuary Records 2018

Review by David Bowling

 

Just A Simple Soul is a long overdue album as it gathers the best material from Bert Jansch’s 40 year solo recording career. As an added listening bonus, the 39 tracks are presented in chronological order, which enables the listener to appreciate the distinct periods of his career and the evolution of his music.

Jansch began his recording career in 1965 and over the next four decades released 25 solo albums. In addition, he was a founding member of Pentangle and would record and tour with the group for the rest of his life, 1967-1973, 1981-1995, 2007-2011 (his death). Pentangle emerged as on the most innovative and influential folk bands in music history as it combined traditional folk music with elements of jazz, blues, and rock.

Jansch was always able to bridge styles. His lyrics have always been folk oriented but the guitar work borders on the blues, similar to early Bob Dylan. He was one of the best acoustic guitarists of his era and his innovative and creative innovations are unmatched.

Any study of Jansch’s music begins with his ode to the passing of a friend, “Needle Of Death.” It is folk music at its distressing and painful best. Add in such songs as “Poison,” “Angie,” and “It Don’t Bother Me” and you have some of the better traditional folk music of the second half of the 1960’s.

For a time he was maintaining two careers; as a solo artist and member of a high profile band. “The First Time I Ever Say Your Face,” “Reynardine,” and “Moonshine” represent a more commercial approach apart from Pentangle.

From the 1990’s on, his music was reflective and at times simple. “Morning Brings Peace Of Mind,” “When The Circus Comes To Town,” “On The Edge Of A Dream,” and the title track are mesmerizing in their calmness and simplicity.

Jansch was a rare musician who was able to produce memorable music both within and outside of a band. When the best music of his solo career is gathered in one place; it forms one of the better listening experiences available.

Rating: ****

Blues & Angels (CD) By Sandy Carroll

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Blues & Angels

Sandy Carroll

Catfood Records 2018

Review by David Bowling

 

A new album from veteran blues and roots artist, Sandy Carroll, is due October 19th. Her last release, Last Southern Belle, charted high on the Contemporary Country and Indie Charts. Blues & Angels is a return to a more traditional blues style.

While Carroll is known as a respected singer and keyboardist; it is her ability as a songwriter that forms the heart of her newest album.

She draws on an array of singers and backing musicians to support her latest creations. They give her music more depth and textures than have been present in the past.

The songs tell stories from a blues perspective. Tales of joy, sorrow, pain, and just living come together to form a strong release.

Sandy Carroll has reached a point in her career where she knows who she is and how to put together an album of new music. Blues & Angels is another step forward in her blues journey through life.

Rating: ***