Showing posts from July, 2009

Review: Shawn Colvin "Live (Yoshi's San Francisco)"

It's not just luck that Shawn Colvin is a music star around the world. In fact, Colvin's new album titled "Live (Yoshi's San Francisco)" provides proof positive that Shawn Colvin is still at the very top of her profession. Indeed, Shawn Colvin's "Live" is the best concert recording of the year. Shawn Colvin is one of the stars of the "new folk" movement that began in the late 1980s, but Colvin herself only began receiving mass attention from the music press and fans since the release of 1996's "A Few Small Repairs" and its 1997 hit single "Sunny Came Home." On the album "Live," Colvin presents a new and fresh version of the murder ballad that is thrilling in its quiet intensity. The album, recorded at the famed San Francisco jazz club Yoshi's, begins with the announcer saying: "Please welcome to the stage...Shawn Colvin." Colvin begins playing guitar for the first song "Polaroids"

Review: Ben Smith “Pendulum”

Ben Smith's new album "Pendulum" is a feel-good, laid-back, toe-tapping, Texas country triumph that deserves the ear of any country music fan looking for a musician that is destined to become the next big thing. This country boy offers a refreshing break from new country artists who take themselves too seriously, because it's clear Ben Smith loves to have a good time. And, by the way, with songs like "Shuck N' Jive" and "Country Summer Days," it's clear he wants you to have fun, too. Ben Smith is a man who might have been six feet under right now instead of sharing stages with Walt Wilkins and Stoney LaRue. You see, this Dallas, Texas singer-songwriter was almost killed in a farming accident at age 16 when he was pinned underneath a three-ton tractor that flipped. But this talented Texan took the near-miss as a sign that life is short, and he set his sights on a career based on his own brand of alt-country and acoustic pop music. Smith&#

Review: Moonshine Bandits “Divebars And Truckstops”

Nobody should accuse the Moonshine Bandits of being subtle. And that's a good thing, because "Divebars And Truckstops" is one of the best country rap-rock albums ever. No kidding - the boys of the Moonshine Bandits have cooked up a musical feast that any blue-collar, red-blooded American male will eat up like an ant at a picnic. The album begins with the stellar "Big Tex" and followed by "I'm Still Here" which offers bold, confident lyrics. The first single "Whiskey River" is a rockin' tune that can best be described as Big & Rich meets Bubba Sparxxx. In "Back Home," the Moonshine Bandits describe their music as rockabilly hip-hop, and it's the country rock edge that gives "Divebars And Truckstops" its infectious sound. The biggest surprise of the album and best chance for major chart success is the breezy, Uncle Kracker-esque tune titled "Saturday Afternoon," which deserves to become a huge ra

Review: porterdavis "porter davis" (Self-Titled)

The new, self-titled album from porterdavis is a Roots music masterpiece with pitch-perfect three-part harmonies and engaging, thoughtful lyrics. Fans of Blues and Roots music should run - not walk - to their favorite music dealer to buy "porterdavis." The best song on the project is the superb "Grass Growing On Concrete" which showcases the band's stripped-down instrumentation and penetrating vocals. Other standouts include "Strange Way To Grieve," "Jack" and the new Americana classic track titled "Carter's Tune" featuring Eliza Gilkyson. The band members, Daniel Barrett, Mike Meadows and Simon Wallace, crafted nine original songs (and one cover - "Can't Be Satisfied" by Muddy Waters) with the help of famed producer Gurf Morlix. By the way, porterdavis' unique name is a tribute to Boston's Porter Square and Davis Square subway stations where Daniel Barrett and Mike Meadows got their start by busking for

Review: Pine Leaf Boys “Homage Au Passe” (Homage To The Past)

The young Louisiana band members of the The Pine Leaf Boys offer a masterful tribute to their Cajun music heroes in the appropriately titled "Homage Au Passe" (Homage To The Pass). This album deservedly received a  2009 Grammy nomination in the new Cajun/Zydeco album category based solely on its digital debut on iTunes, and now the project is available in record stores everywhere. It is not to be missed. The band formed in Lafayette, Louisiana, a city which has taken a lead in producing exceptional new Cajun/Creole music talent. However, it is safe to say that there is no greater band on the Cajun scene today than The Pine Leaf Boys. From the lead track titled "Festival Acadiens Two Step" to the final moments of the superb final song, "I'll Always Take Care Of You," The Pine Leaf Boys never falter in providing riveting, rockin' and groundbreaking performances. Indeed, the Pine Leaf Boys new album "Homage Au Passe" is proof positive th

Review: R.W. Hampton “Oklahoma... Where The West Remains: A Centennial Journey In Story And Song 1907-2007”

  R.W. Hampton is probably the most authentic and talented cowboy country musician in the United States today. So it is really no surprise that Hampton has hit a new career high with the release of "Oklahoma...Where The West Remains: A Centennial Journey In Story And Song 1907-2007." The key to RW Hampton's amazing success on "Oklahoma... Where The West Remains" lies in his uniquely rich western voice, which is featured in richly textured songs and spoken interludes. Plus, Hampton is truly a cowboy. He's the real deal, and it shows in every lyric on this stellar album. R.W. Hampton lives and breathes the heritage of the West. Indeed, RW Hampton has created a stunning masterpiece with "Oklahoma... Where The West Remains," and this album is destined to set the standard in cowboy country for many years to come. *Track Listing of songs: Where the West Remains; Intro to the Story; Where the West Remains; Before the Journey; The J