New CD Releases for 2-15-13

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Richard Thompson - Electric

Genre: Roots, Singer-Songwriter, Rock

A new Richard Thompson album is always a cause for celebration. But when that new album produced by Buddy Miller it's even more of a special occasion. Available in two versions - regular, with eleven new tracks, or deluxe, containing a second bonus disc of seven tracks, the music is classic Richard Thompson, with powerful rhythms, mellifluous melodies, strong hooks and bridges and stinging guitar solos. The most pensive cut on the album, "The Snow Goose," features harmony vocals by Alison Krauss.

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

 

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Marcy Marxer - Things are Coming My Way

Genre: Acoustic Jazz, Root

Multi-instrumentalist Marcy Marxer struts her stuff on her latest solo album. She plays guitar, resonator guitar, tenor guitar, cittern, six-string banjo, and accordion, as well as lead vocals. Material ranges from jazz standards, such as "I'll See You In My Dreams," to traditional tunes including "Things Are Coming My Way." All feature Marxer's impeccable technique and swinging understated musical style. Her singing isn't too shabby either.

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

 

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John Corbett - Leaving Nothin' Behind

Genre: Country, Singer-Songwriter

Yes, John Corbett has had a successful acting career, but his music has more weight and dedication than a vanity or "side-project." His first album came out in 2006 and got to 46 on the US country cahrts. But Corbett's music is more roots than top-ten country, with seven original songs that were written or co-written by ace songwriter Jon Randall. Co-produced by engineer extraordinaire Gary Paczosa and Jon Randall Stewart, the sound here is lush but never overdone. I especially enjoyed Corbett's cover of Willis Alan Ramsey's "Satin Sheets." His rock-and roll-energized version makes the song very much his own.

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

 

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The Blue Canyon Boys - Next Go 'Round

Genre: Bluegrass

The old saying, "Three is a charm," should be revised to "Five is a charm" for the Blue Canyon Boy's latest album. Easily their best release, "Next Go 'Round" highlights the band's songwriting, picking, tight three-part harmonies and streamlined arrangements. Mandolinist Gary Dark and guitarist Jason Hicks original songs vie with classic bluegrass tunes including Bill Monroe's "Sitting Alone in the Moonlight," and Vern Gosdin's "Going Up," as the strongest cut here. I've long admired this band's fine live performances, and it's great to hear a studio album that captures the band's live vibrancy and passion.

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

 

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Bella Betts - Lights Around a Curve

Genre: Acoustic, Singer-Songwriter, Folk

Back in January 2012 Bela Betts received over $21,000 through Kickstarter to finance her first album. As one of her "backers" I'm happy to report she has put the money to good use. Her first album, produced by Rockygrass Academy director Steve Szymanski, is a gem. Featuring twelve-year-old Betts' outstanding skills on mandolin, guitar, vocals, and songwriting, this is far more than one of those "ain't she cute" showcase exercises. The music here has a level of depth and sophistication that's rare, even for musicians twice her age. Primarily filled with original compositions, which hold up well even when compared to covers by U2, and Bod Dylan, I expect to be hearing from Bella Betts for many years to come. She's a keeper, so get on board...

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

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