Written by 7:34 am Audiophile Music

New CD Releases for 9-21-2012

New Releases for this week include jazz from Mickey Freeman, bluegrass from Ricky Skaggs and Town Mountain, and roots Americana from Jimmy LaFave and Kathy Matea.


Title: Mickey Freeman – Livin’ the Dream

Genre: Jazz, Vocals

Description: Mickey Freeman’s voice is like a cool breeze on a hot summer night. Her tone, inflections, and phrasing call to mind the great female vocalists of the forties and fifties. Accompanied by a jazz group that includes Paul Nagel on piano and Marty Ballou on acoustic bass and special guests Duke Robillard and Scott Hamilton, Mickey Freeman’s first album will be a delight for traditional jazz fans. Be forewarned, my review copy had mislabeled tracks and bad metadata so if you rip into iTunes you’ll need to do a bunch of cutting and pasting.

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



Title: Kathy Matea – Calling Me Home

Genre: Roots, Country, Acoustic

Description: Kathy Matea’s latest continues her musical travels down the dusty back roads of acoustic country. Joined by a super-session level of musicians including Bryan Sutton on guitar, Byron House on acoustic bass, Stuat Duncan on fiddle, and Randy Kohrs on dobro, Matea covers songs from Hazel Dickens, Laurie Lewis, and Alice Garrard. Between Matea’s nuanced vocals and the impeccable backup playing, this album is must-have for anyone into traditional American music.

Rating (0- 10): Overall – 9, Sonically – 8.5



Title: Ricky Skaggs – Music to My Ears

Genre: Bluegrass

Description: If Bill Monroe was the father of bluegrass, Ricky Skaggs has earned a place as one of his Godsons. Since turning his back on commercial country (which he helped create with his 12 #1 hit singles) Skaggs has firmly embraced the “ancient tones” of traditional bluegrass. With his band, Kentucky Thunder, Skaggs has recorded a series of superb albums, such as Bluegrass Rules. On Music to My Ears Skaggs covers bluegrass classics such as “Blue Night” and “Tennessee Stud,” as well as several new tunes, including “You Can’t Hurt Ham” based on a Bill Monroe saying.

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



Title: Town Mountain – Leave the Bottle

Genre: Bluegrass

Description: Town Mountain hail from Asheville, N.C. On their fourth album the five-piece bluegrass band establishes themselves as one of the best of the current wave of up and coming young traditional bands. Recorded at banjo-master Scott Vestal’s studio and produced by bassman extraordinaire Mike Bubb, Town Mountain’s impeccable bluegrass credentials are obvious on every cut – strong heartfelt vocals combine with clean, well articulated instrumentals to make powerful straight-ahead original bluegrass.

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



Title: Jimmy LaFave – Depending on the Distance

Genre: Country, Roots, Rock, Singer-songwriter

Description: For his first studio album in five years Austin, Tx.,-based singer songwriter has included eight new original songs and four covers. LaFave’s version of the Dylan classic, “Tomorrow is a Long Time” epitomizes his approach to music – strip it down to essentials and then add in just enough instrumentation to keep it texturally interesting. On the original, “Talk To Me,” LaFave’s special blend of “high lonesome” combines pop lyricism with country inflections to create his unique form of American music.

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

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