Written by 7:19 am Audiophile Music

New CD and Blu-Ray Reviews for 4-20-12

Here are five new CDs and one Blu-Ray for your weekend pleasure. From Phil Collins to Marty Stuart, from super-smooth to country grit, it’s all here.


Title: Marty Stuart – Nashville Vol. 1 Tear The Woodpile Down

Genre: Country, Roots Rock, and Americana

Description: Twang, in all its many splendid guises can be found slithering and sliding up and down the tunes on this album. There’s still a lot of that 13-year-old kid that Lester Flatt first hired in the sixty-something Marty Stuart. He attacks every tune with a barely contained ferocity that makes me wonder how the strings stay in the saddles of his Fender Telecaster as he and fellow guitar slinger Kenny Vaughn tear it up with their double-stopped hot licks. Sure, Stuart’s singing is barely passable by American Idol standards, but after a couple of measures, you don’t care.

Rating (0- 10): Overall – 8.5, Sonically – 7.5



Title: Marty Raybon – Southern Roots and Branches

Genre: Acoustic Country, Bluegrass, and Americana

Description: Marty Raybon could sing the phone book and he’d have me by AAA. Backed by a passel of serious pickers including Bryan Sutton on lead guitar, and Kenny Smith and Donnie Allen, and Tim Stafford on rhythm guitars, Scott Napier and Ashby Frank on mandolin, and Justin Moses on nearly everything with strings from fiddle to mandolin, to banjo. Several Raybon originals join songs from Jimmy Martin, Lester Flatt, Bill Monroe, Rodney Crowell and Robert Ellis Orrell to make up this fine example of contemporary bluegrass.

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



Title: Treasa Levasseur – Broad

Genre: Blues, Funk,

Description: Is it a singer or a songwriter’s album? When the singer writes all but three of the tunes that the first question that springs to mind. Levasseur’s voice is perfect for her songs. She has the brass and sassy edge needed to deliver the tunes on a silver platter. The band is tight, with a full horn section and a killer harp player, Paul Reddick. Levasseur’s version of Randy Newman’s “God’s Song” is so good it’s downright spooky.

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



Title: Lou Reid & Carolina – Callin’ Me Back Home

Genre: Bluegrass

Description: What makes Lou Reid’s sound so special? Obviously Reid’s powerful and heartfelt lead vocals are a big part of his unique sound. But Christy Reid’s silky smooth tenor and high baritone harmony vocals are another important element. That Lou Reid’s first pro gig was playing bass in Doyle Lawson’s Quicksilver band explains some of the vocal precision. As if that weren’t enough, Tony Rice, Ron Stewart and Rob Ickes add some solos to spice things up some.

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



Title: Joe Pug – The Great Despiser

Genre: Rock, Singer/songwriter

Description: Even if the recording quality weren’t so pristine, I’d still recommend this disc. But the sound is super too, so it’s a double-whammy album. The songs are well crafted, and the arrangements are cool – such as using an acoustic guitar combined with a Fender VI electric baritone that opens the first track, “Hymn #76.” Pug’s voice has the grain and texture of 1000 grit sandpaper. It’s a rock and roll voice that cuts right to the chase. The title cut, “The Great Despiser,” features a veritable orgy of guitar sounds from chimey acoustic through electric grunge.

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



Title: Phil Collins – Live at Montreux 2004

Genre: Rock, Pop

Description: Phil Collins gives me hives. By the end of the first tune entitled “Drums, Drums, and More Drums,” I was beet-red and itching. But if you’re a fan, you’ll have a different reaction to this live concert video of all his hits. Actually you get two concerts here, one from 2004 and a second from 1996. As you might expect the 2004 concert has better production values, but the quality of the audio is more than adequate to rate a “mighty fine,” even on the 1996 concert. And Collins did assemble a super band, including the likes of Leland Sklar on bass. Yep, this Blu-Ray is so good it almost makes me wish I enjoyed Phil Collins.

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

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