New CD Releases for 9-7-12


Title: Caroline Herring - Camilla

Genre: Folk, Americana

Description: For her sixth release Caroline Herring has focused on the civil rights movement of the 60's. And while the songs may center around a historical event, the songs themselves are personal rather than political statements. Herring's ability to write seductive melodies combined with her richly nuanced lead vocals makes her music accessible and immediately appealing. Guest vocalists including Mary Chapin Carpenter and Aoife O'Donovan and backing musicians such as Bryn Davies, gives this album a level of polish and musicality worthy of the songs therein.

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



Title: Shingo Yuji - Introducing Shingo Yuji

Genre: Jazz

Description: For his first release Japanese-American jazz guitarist Shingo Yuji leads a quartet with Walter Smith on sax, Dave Robaire on bass, and Dan Schnelle on drums, through seven original and one cover (Lennon and McCarthy's "Help.") With his Pat Methenyesque, slightly electronic tone, Yuji creates delicate floating lines counterbalanced by occasional flurries of notes to create modern, yet accessible jazz. The sound here is as rich and intricate as the music itself.

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



Title: Rayland Baxter - Feathers & Fishhooks

Genre: Singer-Songwriter, Folk, Americana

Description: Nashville-based singer-songwriter Rayland Baxter's debut full-length album highlights his accessible and roots-influenced music. Baxter's voice is only passable, but that's OK because it's the songs themselves that are the stars here. The arrangements are kept simple, with a fingerpicked guitar leading the stripped down band that includes Baxter's father, Bucky, who's played with Bob Dylan and Steve Earle, on guitar. Some tunes, such as "Mountain Song" are destined to be instant classics.

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



Title: Mark Bates - Night Songs

Genre: Pop, Singer-Songwriter

Description: For his second album release Los Angeles-based singer songwriter focused on themes of change and yearning. With his mellifluous lead vocals and impeccable pop/rock instrumentation, Bates' music combines bright infectious melodies with darker lyrical content to create music that has more gravitas and impact than simple pop. On the tune "How Good You Look" Bates creates a near perfect 2:58 pop song, complete with a super bridge and hook, "I don't care about your reputation, or your stories that end in devastation. Most men would be terrified, but I 'd like to say how good you look tonight."

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



Title: Mason Brothers - Ghost Season

Genre: Folk, Pop, Singer-Songwriter

Description: For folk-pop with an almost otherworldly edge the Mason Brothers would be my band of choice. Even the title for their third album, Ghost Season, feels completely appropriate. With soft unison vocals, which have a passing resemblance to early Simon and Garfunkel, coupled with rich guitar textures that intertwine acoustic tones with U-2ish electric drones, The Mason Brothers recast folk music for the new millennia. The final cut, "Slowly Turning," which runs almost 7:30 has more drama and attitude than most Hollywood big-budget movies.

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

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