New CD Releases for 12-28-12


Jeff Black - B-Sides and Confessions Volume Two

Genre: Roots, Singer-Songwriter,

The first time I heard Jeff Black was on his first B-Sides and Confessions album, released in 2003. I instantly became a fan. Since then Black has regularly released a series of fine albums, including 2011's Plow Through the Mystic. On his second installment of B-Sides and Confessions Black enlists Jerry Douglas on Dobro, Sam Bush on mandolin, and Matraca Berg on background vocals. Recorded in Jeff Black's Arcana studio, Mixed by Dave Sinko, who's worked with The Punch Brothers and The Bee Eaters, and mastered by Eric Conn, this disc sounds wonderful. If you want to hear what one of the best songwriters in the US is up to, pick up a copy of B-Sides and Confessions Vol. Two. You won't be disappointed.

Rating (0- 10): Overall - 9, Sonically - 8


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A Fragile Tomorrow - be nice be careful

Genre: Pop, Rock,

A Fragile Tomorrow combines a frisky pop music sound with a post-Beck DIY eclecticism. While the term "family band" usually implies a certain level of artistic inbreeding, Sean Kelly's songwriting displays a wide variety of influences and genres. Joined by his twin brother, Dominic, younger sibling Brendan, and Shaun Rhodes, this four-piece band delivers fourteen original songs with vigor. Produced by REM's Mitch Easter, with decent but not overbearing sonics, be nice be careful redefines power pop for the 21st century.

Rating (0- 10): Overall - 8, Sonically - 8



Opus 3 - Showcase 2013

Genre: Assorted

If you've been an audiophile for more than a couple of years you've probably heard of OPUS 3. This small Swedish record label has been releasing outstanding-sounding albums since 1977. If you want to hear what they do and how they do it, the new 2013 Showcase sampler CD would be an excellent place to start. The thirteen tracks include selections from Opus' jazz, blues, and folk releases from the past several years. All are sonically impressive, and some, such as Eric Bibb's "Comeback Baby" and B.B. Driftwood's "Sweet Elizabeth," are catchy enough to wind up in many audiophiles' "often selected" playlists.

Rating (0- 10): Overall - 8, Sonically - 9



Chad Fadely - Amity Road

Genre: Bluegrass, Instrumentals

On his fourth independently produced album mandolinist Chad Fadely delivers eleven new original instrumental tunes. Joined by Richie Reinholdt on guitar, Larry Chung on banjo, Isaac Callender on fiddle, Andy Dunnigan on dobro, and Ted Lowe on acoustic bass, Fadely's tunes have a traditional feeling without falling into heard-that-before clich├ęs. Some, such as "Forest Run" draw on traditional fiddle tunes, in this case the B-part of "Bill Cheatum," for inspiration. Others, like "For Hailey" have an old timey Doc Boggs-like feeling. For Chad Fadely album four is a charm.

Rating (0- 10): Overall - 8, Sonically - 8

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