New Releases For 11-06-13

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Tim O'Brien and Darrell Scott - Memories and Moments

Genre: Roots, Singer-Songwriter, Country

In 2000 Tim O'Brien and Darrell Scott collaborated on an album called "Real Time," which consisted of the two of them performing original material in a duo setting. It was a hit, as much as any acoustic roots album can be, and now thirteen years later, O'Brien and Scott have gotten together to do it again, with newer material. The results are stellar, with top-flight musicianship and songwriting. I've been playing the digits off of my copy.

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

 

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Peter Cooper - Opening Day

Genre: Singer-Songwriter, Country

Peter Cooper's solo release features a full band that includes Lloyd Maines on pedal steel, Richard Bennett on guitars, and Cooper's regular songwriting partner, Eric Brace on harmony vocals. Although inspired by Americas' favorite sport (baseball) the ten original songs (and one cover) are influenced by rather than about baseball. Fine songwriting can be found on every cut, but my favorite here is "Opening Day," which has wonderful pedal steel fills and solos.

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

 

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Noam Pikelny - Play Kenny Baker Plays Bill Monroe

Genre: Bluegrass

Back, in the day, there was a seminal and highly influential album released by Bill Monroe's longtime fiddle player, Kenny Baker, called "Kenny Baker Plays Bill Monroe." Although not originally planned, Bill Monroe happened upon the session and joined as a "sideman" (as if Bill Monroe was ever sideman to anyone). It included quite a few Monroe classics, which were never recorded anywhere but on this album. KBPBM became one of those essential albums that every bluegrasser committed to musical memory. Noam Pikelny, who was a recent recipient of Steve Martin's $50,000 yearly banjo award, has released an album which contains all the tunes on the original Kenny Baker release, in the same order, with the best current generation of young bluegrass musicians. Pikelny's "cover" is as much of a must-have as the original.

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

 

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Band of Heathens - Sunday Morning Record

Genre: Rock, Roots, Blues

The Band of Heathens have been one of my favorite rock bands ever since I heard their 2008 release "The Band of Heathens." Since then BOH has released a series of superb studio albums - "One Foot in the Ether" in 2009, "Tophat Crown & the Clapmaster's Son" in 2011, and now 2013's "Sunday Morning Record." Featuring tunes with strong bluesy riffs, catchy melodies, and superb performances, "Sunday Morning Record" may be their finest studio album yet. I'll know for sure once it's gotten as many spins as their earlier efforts. And given how often I've been playing "Sunday Morning Record" that won't take too long. It also sounds great and is available on vinyl from their website.

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

 

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Patty Larkin - Still Green

Genre: Singer-Songwriter, Folk

For her thirteenth solo release Patty Larkin has gone into the studio to create something new and different. Instead of relying solely on her superb fingerstyle guitar chops for accompaniment Larkin has enlisted Mike Denneen to add a more modern pop feeling and musical textures to "Still Green." The results are a thoroughly modern adult folk/pop that sounds contemporary without being gimmicky. It also helps that Larkin is spinning out fine songs and is still a wonderful guitarist. It nice to see that for some musicians 13 is a lucky number.

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

 

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Fred Fried and Core - Core Bachrach

Genre: Jazz

Fingerstyle guitarist Fred Fried and his trio decided to devote an entire album to tunes written by Burt Bachrach and Hal David. Obviously they had an extensive songbook to choose from. The album opens with "Say A Little Prayer," and covers many Bachrach classics including "The Look of Love," "Walk On By," "Alfie," and "what's New Pussycat." Fried and his group have a laid back and understated approach that works well with Bachrach's tunes. Fried's guitar tone is rich and round, sort of like an acoustic Johnny Smith. Pefect music for a quiet evening when you're in the mood for "Wives and Lovers."

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

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