Artist: Jake Schepps An Evening In The Village: The Music of Bela Bartok
Anyone who has even a remote idea who Bela Bartock was, and his music, knows he was a consummate Hungarian composer. Yet here are nineteen covers of Bartok's more celebrated works done in a banjo centric, folk music style. Folk Music? Absolutely. It seems the Hungarian master was very fond of folk music. Schepps deftly handles the banjo duties and along with accompaniment by guitar, standup bass, violin and mandolin weaves rich harmonies and melodies all done in a Folk / Bluegrass style. Were Bartok alive to hear this work, and given his appreciation for Folk and Bluegrass music, I have every belief he would approve of "An Evening In The Village." I know I sure did.
Overall: 8 Sonics: 8
Artist: Jessie Smith Like The Sun
Label: Jesse Smith Music
When track two, "Lighting Up The World" began, my first thought was a progressive version of a modern day incarnation of Muddy Waters or Howlin' Wolf. Nashville, TN Jessie Smith is a Blues woman and a quite a good one at that. She describes her music as having a sound that imitates crying, thus her music is somewhat dark in nature. But that doesn't mean it is depressing because it is anything but that. While her music does tend to "feel the pain" in an Al Green sort of way, her music, deeply rooted in the Blues genre, is simply spectacular. Her route to the Blues came circuitously. She received a scholarship to study opera at Mercer University, finished her education at Belmont University in Nashville and immediately immersed herself in the Country & Western scene so prevalent in central Tennessee. All twelve tracks were either written or co-written by Smith on this, her debut release. If you like the Blues, performed by a woman with a fantastic voice and a parlance for delivering on musicality, take a listen to "Like The Sun." It is worth the effort.
Overall: 9 Sonics: 8