New CD Releases for 3-1-13

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Kim Richey - Thorn in My Heart

Genre: Roots, Singer-Songwriter, Country

On her seventh studio album Kim Richey unveils twelve new songs that showcase her songwriting prowess. Her compositions have graced albums by The Dixie Chicks, Patty Loveless, and Radney Foster. But Richey isn't merely a fine songwriter, she's also a superb singer and interpreter of her music. Her simple, direct singing style combined with the basic arrangements permits her songs' raw power to bloom. If you have an opportunity to hear her play live, grab it. But until then, this album should sate your need for powerful, lyrical, and beautifully constructed songs. Too bad it doesn't officially come out until 3/16/13, but I just couldn't wait. 

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

 

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Fat Opie - Victoryville

Genre: Rock, Pop

San Francisco-based Fat Opie have been together for twenty years, but many prospective fans haven't heard them yet. Victoryville will help change that. Principal songwriter and lead singer Scott Mickelson has a unique voice, both in his writing and his vocals. First begun in 1994 as a grunge band, Fat Opie's sound has evolved into a polished contemporary rock. Basically a three-piece band, with Mickelson on vocals, banjo, and guitar, Robin Hildebrant on bass and vocals, and Dave Tavel on drums, the band fills out their sound with a few guest artists, including Erin Seibel on electric guitar and Stanly Goldstein on violin. If your tastes lean toward adult rock, and you haven't heard Fat Opie, you're in for a treat.

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

 

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Heather Masse and Dick Hyman - Lock My Heart

Genre: Jazz

The collaboration of The Wailin' Jennys Heather Masse and jazz piano legend Dick Hyman at first seems like an unlikely musical pairing. But Masse's special vocal talent meshes beautifully with Hyman's musical sensibilities. They don't so much perform ten jazz classics (and two Masse originals) from the likes of Kurt Weil, Rogers & Hart, the Gershwin brothers, and Billy Strayhorn, as they luxuriate in them. The recording quality is exemplary, in large part to recording engineer Mike Badalamenti and mastering engineer David Glasser. If you want to hear traditional jazz that doesn't feel like it was made in a mausoleum, this disk is for you.

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

 

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God Didn't Choose Sides - Civil War Stories About Real People Vol. 1

Genre: Bluegrass

While there are plenty of anthologies of historical civil war songs, this anthology is different. Instead of old songs, all the tunes here are recent compositions. Project creator, Sam Passamano enlisted singer-songwriter Steve Gulley as producer. Marty Raybon, Dave Adkins, Carrie Hassler, Bradley Walker, and Dale Ann Bradley perform Songs by Gully, Tim Stafford, Paula Breedlove, Brink Brinkman, and Ronnie Bowman. The songs are about "the unsung heroes" from both sides of the conflict, instead of generals and historical figures. I'm looking forward to volume II.

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

 

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Dale Watson & His Tonestars - El Rancho Azul

Genre: Country, Honkytonk.

If there ever were a "honkytonk hero" it would be Dale Watson. He's been creating authentic rustic goodtime country music for his fans since 1996, doing on average 300 shows a year, touring with his band, The Tonestars. For his second release on Red House Records Watson delivers fourteen new original instant honkytonk classics. Most deal with the familiar topic of drinkin' with titles such as, "I Lie When I Drink," "I Drink to Remember," and "Drink, Drink, Drink." Recorded at Willie Nelson's Pedernales Studios, you can practically smell the spilt beer on every cut.

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

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