Written by 7:01 am Audiophile Music

New CD and Blu-Ray Reviews for 2-24-12

Steven Stone looks at six new CDs and one Blu-Ray disc from bluegrass, country, rock, and jazz artists.


Title: Tony Rice – The Bill Monroe Collection

Genre: Bluegrass, acoustic guitar

Description: Tony Rice ranks among the finest acoustic guitarists to ever hold a flat pick. On The Bill Monroe Collection you’ll find fourteen examples from Rice’s extensive catalog of twenty-four releases on Rounder Records. Some, such as “On and On,” feature Rice’s wonderful lead vocals, now sadly silenced due to a throat condition. The Bill Monroe Collection makes a perfect first installment on what will inevitably become a library of Tony Rice recordings.

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



Title: Josh Rzepka – Into The Night

Genre: Jazz, Tumpet

Description: Twenty-seven year-old trumpeter and bandleader Josh Rzepka leads a six-piece group through nine original compositions. Beautifully recorded and produced by Five/Four productions, the liner notes list every piece of gear in the recording chain. The music is cool, post-bop, and breezy without wandering into Muzak territory.

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



Title: Chris Jones and the Night Drivers – Lost Souls and Free Spirits

Genre: Bluegrass, Acoustic, Country,

Description: After fifteen years in the business and three Rebel Records albums, Chris Jones has a rich catalog of outstanding original songs and recordings. Unfortunately, his work is not as widely known as it deserves to be. Lost Souls and Free Spirits includes the best from his back catalog, as well as three newly penned and recorded tunes. With his rich baritone vocals and scintillating guitar chops, Jones deserves to be better known. Hopefully Lost Souls and Free Spirits will accomplish that.

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



Title: Lonesome River Band – Chronology – Volume One

Genre: Bluegrass, Acoustic, Country,

Description: The Lonesome River Band has been together in one form or another for thirty years. To celebrate, the band has created Chronology, a series of three eight-song EP albums that includes newly recorded versions of their most popular songs from each of three decades. Volume One covers from 1982 to 1992. Featuring four-time IBMA banjo player of the year Sammy Shelor and Brandon Rickman on guitar and lead vocals, Lonesome River Band creates modern bluegrass music that burns with passion and precision.

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



Title: Randy Thompson – Collected

Genre: Country, Singer-Songwriter

Description: Much of the country music you hear on the radio is merely MOR rock with a pedal steel or a fiddle thrown in. Randy Thompson writes and performs authentic country music that leaves all the poseurs in the dust. On Collected you’ll hear twelve selections from his three previously released albums as well as three previously unreleased cuts. His voice, songwriting, and a bunch of top-tier sidemen including Rickie Simpkins on fiddle and Don Helms on Pedal steel, make Collected a strong must-have album for roots country fans.

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



Title: Angela Easterling – Mon Secret

Genre: Singer-Songwriter, Rock, Folk

Description: Angela Easterling was born and raised in South Carolina. Her songs have made the finals in both the Kerrville and Telluride festivals. On her latest release all ten of the original songs are written and preformed in French. The project was a collaboration with Marianne Bessy, a native of Rennes in Brittany, and came about after the two worked together on a translation of Easterling’s song, “One Microphone.” The results combine romanticism with rootsy musical textures to create something special.  

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



Title: Queen – Days of Our Lives – A Documentary

Genre: Rock

Description: This Blu-Ray release by Eagle Rock Entertainment documents the history of the pioneering rock band Queen. Divided into episodes, with part one covering 1970 to 1980 and the second 1980 to the present, this film includes selections from some of Freddie Mercury’s finest moments, including Queen’s Farm Aide set. With twenty-four minutes of additional music videos as well as fifty-nine minutes of bonus sequences, the Blu-Ray version of Days of Our Lives is a must-have for any and all Queen fans, as well as anyone else who fancies classic rock.

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

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