Written by 6:00 am Audiophile Music

New Music Friday

Paul Wilson looks at five new works of country, folk and jazz…

Sam Fazio – “Let’s Go” Self Released

AR-SamFazioLetsGo225.jpgUnlike a number of jazz artists, Sam Fazio is more of a vocalist than someone who plays an instrument and sings. Don’t let that dissuade an interest in his collection of jazz / pop covers on “Let’s Go,” his latest self-released work. Fazio has an eminently listenable voice that is smooth and quite mellow. Yet at times he can add some “oomph” in for good measure. “Let’s Go” was also produced, recorded and mixed by the highly respected jazz team of Tuck and Patti, both of whom are also superior vocalists, and, who also helps out on the occasional vocal backup. Fazio can be downright mellow as on the Gershwin classic “S’Wonderful” and also energetic on the several tracks with a full rhythm section. This was a fun listen to an artist who has performed at numerous prestigious venues and with many highly respected artists. This one does not disappoint. 

Overall:   8

Sonics:     8

Chicago Farmer – “Flyover Country” Self Released

AR-ChicagoFarmerFlyoverCountry225.jpgWhen I fished this work out of the shipping box, I immediately thought “ah, the boys are at it again.” I first reviewed Chicago Farmer in 2017 and what I discovered in that review have stood the test of time. “Flyover,” however, is not the only release since my review in 2017.  Also released was “Quarter Past Midnight” in 2018. In my 2017 review I liked Cody Diekhoff’s ability to tell a very interesting story. That quality is also present on “Flyover.” Diekhoff seems to have an affinity for the downtrodden in his music. He sings about the underdog and does so in a way that is interesting and thought provoking. I found myself listening to the lyrics to better understand their meaning. This is country music, no doubt. Just like on his earlier work, generally done in a folk / Arlo Guthrie style. Some tracks owe themselves to a pure folk type of arrangement, others, like Track No. 4, “13 Beers,” is done in more of a Conway Twitty style. However the music may sound, one thing that remains is that Cody Diekhoff, or more affectionally known as Chicago Farmer, is a great storyteller

Overall:     8

Sonics:      8

The Flyin’ A’s – “No Holds Barred” Flyin A Records

AR-TheFlyinAsNoHoldsBarred225.jpgBeing based in Austin, TX, and the band name, should be a gateway into what “No Holds Barred” is all about stylistically. While certainly country, it is country, at times anyway, that has a certain rock flair – something a lot of modern country music can claim. Married Duo Hilary and Stuart Adamson who not only contributed heavily to the writing and arrangement of the thirteen tracks, but also stepped up for most of the vocal duties. In fact, both of the Adamson’s shared vocal duties with other band members sometimes as solos, other times as harmonies. Sometimes sounding more rock oriented, other times more traditional country based, “No Holds” moves along such that the listener hardly notices the time. Their lyrics have been called “honest.” I would add the term “real world.” And the mix and match of vocal duties, harmonic duties and solo duties makes the thirteen tracks all the more interesting. 

Overall: 8

Sonics: 8

Sarah Morris – “All Mine” Self Released

AR-SarahMorrisAllMine225.jpgSarah Morris started out primarily as a song writer. In the first five years of her career, she entered songwriting competitions in Nashville, New York, Arizona and North Carolina where her music was very well received. She grew up listening to other well respected songwriters such as Mary Chapin Carpenter and she has been compared to Norah Jones. On her latest release, “All Mine,” Morris writes about things most of us would hardly notice, like a ring of water on a table. So how do you make that interesting? Ah, that’s the trick, is it not? But I must say she does. Perhaps the years she spent writing lyrics paid off. This is music done in a country / folk style and Morris’ voice is simply a treat the listener will easily enjoy. Anyone who enjoys a melody in a country / folk style will be immediately captured by the first track. But music only goes so far. And what Sarah Morris does with her lyrics is what makes this a work that may be enjoyed from start to finish. I did, for sure.

Overall: 8.5

Sonics: 8

Michael Waldrop – “Triangularity” Michael Waldrop Music

AR-MichaleWaldropTriangularity225.jpgWaldrop shares his time between being a Professor of Percussion and Jazz Studies at Eastern Washington University and writing and recording music. “Triangularity” is his third release of music done in a traditional jazz style. For this release, Waldrop is joined by a piano and a bass on all tracks, and a sax on tracks Number 9 & 10, both identified as “bonus tracks.” Waldrop, not surprisingly, centers his talents on the drums and other percussion instruments. He does not, however, overwhelm any of the tracks with an abundance of percussion portrayal. He does a superior job at arrangements that are balanced between what is arguably a trio, and on two tracks, a quartet. Yet by the same token, he shares the solo spotlight with all the musicians and gives everyone a chance to shine. This is skillfully crafted traditional jazz that does an excellent job of captivating the listener and enticing them to find out what comes next. 

Overall: 8.5

Sonics: 8

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