New CD Releases for 8-24-12

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Title: Chick Corea & Gary Burton - Hot House

Genre: Jazz

Description: Continuing a musical partnership than began in 1973 with Crystal Silence, Corea and Burton create cerebral jazz worthy of multiple listenings. The combination of piano and vibraphone isn't a combination that was guaranteed to work out, given their similarities of tonalities, but these two masters manage to meld their sounds into a marvelously cohesive whole. You want luscious, reach out and touch me sound? You got it. This is solid gold-plated ear candy for sure.

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

 

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Title: Robin & Linda Williams - These Old Dark Hills

Genre: Bluegrass, Folk

Description: Prairie Home Companion fans will recognize Robin and Linda Williams from their many guest appearances on the show. This husband and wife duo create intimate and folk-flavored bluegrass, highlighted by Linda's rich soprano and Robin's skilled songwriting chops. Produced by Jim Rooney, whose creds go back to the early days of the folk revival in the mid 60's. The Williams' find band includes Grisman regular Todd Phillips on bass and Chris Brashear on mandolin and fiddle. The sound is clear, natural and very inviting.

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

 

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Title: The Pear Ratz - Still Hungry...Still Hurtin'

Genre: Roots Rock

Description: With song titles such as "Tryin' to Talk Myself Outta Killin' You," "Nice Ice Cold Bottle of Beer," and "Jesus Loves Bad Boys Like Me," you might think the Pear Ratz play country music and you'd be partially right. They also used to play heavy metal, and they've grafted that kind of riff/power chord style over to country. The result is like a stage full of hardcore country metal, Johnny Cash on Bennies mad and Ozzie Osborne evil. The Pear Ratz goes great with boilermakers.

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

 

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Title: Bedhed and Blondy - Down South

Genre: Rock, Pop, Country

Description: Featuring one of the oddest cover pictures I've seen in many moons, Bedhed and Blondy's Down South also contains one of the most beautiful lullabies I've ever heard, called "Lullabye." Bedhed, whose real name is Jay Studdard, wrote all but one of the songs. Blondy, Fran Jackson, wrote that last one. For connoisseurs of fine guitar tone, Bobby Alexander, has that early English invasion clean with sustain blues guitar sound down. Sonics are decent but not wowie -zowie.

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

 

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Title: Butch Thompson & Pat Donohue - Vicksburg Blues

Genre: Acoustic Blues and Jazz

Description: This must be Prairie Home Companion week at Red House records. This is the second new release from the label that features artists associated with the show. Butch Thompson and Pat Donahue, longtime members of PHC's house band, collaborated on a duo album that features renditions of classic acoustic blues written by Blind Blake, King Oliver, and Little Brother Montgomery on guitar and piano. Impeccably played, beautifully recorded, this is a must-have for anyone who loves acoustic blues.

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

 

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Title: The Kennedys - Closer Than You Know

Genre: Singer/Songwriter, Folk, Pop

Description: The husband and wife duo, The Kennedys, first met when they both joined Nancy Griffith's touring band. With her encouragement (they soon began performing as her opening act at shows) they soon struck out on their own. Their latest album is full of original songs inspired by a sojourn in Paris. Full of Pete's signature jangly twang coupled with Maura's powerful vocals, the new album continues their special brand of folk/pop.

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

 

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Title: Kelly Joe Phelps - Brother Sinner & the Whale

Genre: Acoustic, Blues, Gospel 

Description: Kelly Joe Phelps has always followed his muse. From his first album in 1994, which combined the slide and fingerpicking techniques of John Fahey and Mississippi John Hurt with his own unique vocal and songwriting. At times, such as on his Western Bell Album, Phelps has gone into uncharted musical territory, but his latest is almost a retro release - it concentrates on original gospel songs that would sound very much at home coming from Rev. Gary Davis. Phelps acoustic guitar is a powerful driving force of nature behind his strong vocals. You will feel the spirit on Brother Sinner and the Whale.

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

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