Showing posts from May 8, 2011

Review: Jed Dunkin "Dixie To Detroit City"

If suave seduction and subtle melodies are your favorite country music elements, then stay far, far away from the first two tracks of Jed Dunkin's new album "Dixie To Detroit City." You see, the imposing, never-bashful Dunkin is a brash bucket of country music fun that is destined to delight fans of Waylon and Willie while disappointing supporters of Gloriana and Jewel. That's a good thing.
The 8-song album begins with the hard-driving "Dixie To Detroit City" that is passionately performed. The more traditional sing-a-long track "Family BBQ" is like mustard potato salad at a church picnic - a little bit tart at first but smooth and sweet going down.

Jed Dunkin manages to show his gospel side with the terrific "Waltz Across Heaven." Likewise, "Daddy's Song" and Come On Home" should be favorites with country gospel fans as well. The final track "Wouldn't Change This" shows another side of Jed Dunkin and pr…

Review: Baron Lewis "Long Overdue"

British singer-songwriter Baron Lewis has a rich voice reminiscent of a curious mixture of the soulful Michael McDonald and country impresario Phil Vassar. With a little help from friend and Spiritualized (Britpop supergroup) guitarist Tony "Doggen" Foster, Baron Lewis has created a masterful album that is never predictable and immensely entertaining with the appropriately titled "Long Overdue."
The album begins with the comfortable "Inspiration," which offers laid-back charm. However, the country quotient rises considerably with the passionate "Fortune Game" that should receive a rapturous response from radio program directors.

The biggest surprise of the album is the bold and smart "Something To Prove," which ratchets up the rock. The haunting "Ghost" shows Baron Lewis in top form, but it is the sparse "Did What I Had To" which provides the album's best musical moment. Lewis delivers an award-worthy vocal per…

Review: Maurice Tani/Jenn Courtney & 77 El Deora "The Crown & The Crow's Confession"

Finding the right cover art is never easy, and sometimes it just goes horribly wrong. Unfortunately, that's the case of Maurice Tani/Jenn Courtney & 77 El Deora "The Crown & The Crows Confession." There's too many visual elements, too much nudity, and, oh yeah, too many names (including a forward slash?). At first glance, the front cover appears to be a 90s remix CD or a repackaged foreign album. But the bad news ends there, because the music is superb. And, by the way, so are the beautiful photographs of the musicians inside the CD packaging that should have been utilized as cover art. However, it's the music that matters, and it's great.
The album begins with the terrific "I Just Dodged A Bullet, and Tani and Courtney have a uniquely wonderful musical chemistry that bursts out of the speakers and is pleasing on all levels. The retro-cool vocals couldn't help but bring a smile to even a person with the hardest of hearts. The bluesy &…

Review: Bill Bachmann "Folk-N-Roller"

Unafraid and uncompromising are the best terms to describe the perky new album from folk rocker Bill Bachmann with the intriguing title "Folk-N-Roller." However, the 14 track album proves a rollicking good time that lives up to its name a hundred times over.
The title track "Folk-N-Roller" starts off the project with a bit of quirky fun and is followed by the intriguing "The New Hip Song." However the album really picks up with the melodic and weirdly wonderful "B-A-C-H-M-A-N-N," which is an urgent plea by the artist to spell his name correctly. Yes, this really is the subject of the song, and the biggest shock is that the cut offers a really great melody.

A more reflective Bill Bachmann appears on "Your Old Man," and the folk singer offers a passionate vocal performance. The retro-flavored "These Are The Days" is a toe-tapping delight.

The finest upbeat song on the album is the eclectic track "Kill That Other Beer"…

Review: Amanda Nagurney "So Full Of Country"

Full of life, confidence, and country charm is the best way to describe Buffalo, New York native Amanda Nagurney on her sophomore album "So Full Of Country." And this is one country girl who knows how to market her music after having opened for Sara Evans, Gretchen Wilson, Jason Michael Carroll, Travis Tritt and Justin Moore all in the space of 12 months.
"So Full Of Country" was actually released in early 2010, but the album is getting a renewed push because of the attention the aspiring country star has recently received, and the project begins with the Sara Evans-esque "Just Me & The Road." Nagurney has raw vocal talent, and the melody is sung with ease.

"Gone Fishin'" showcases the best elements of  Amanda Nagurney, and her powerful vocals are well-suited for the hummable melody, but the biggest surprise is the synth-styling found on "White Dress." Nagurney has a powerful musical moment on this track that mixes pop and cou…

Review: Flat River Band "High Roller"

Brotherly love is mandated by The Good Book, but it is easier said than done. However, the Sitze brothers (Chad, Dennijo and Andy) have managed to make it work in the formation of the Flat River Band. Indeed, the brothers' new album "High Roller" is a testament to the beautiful harmonies that usually only family members can successfully produce.
The album begins with retro-cool "I'm Alright I'm OK," but the band really proves that it has the chops to compete in the rough and tumble country music industry with "Without Love," which should have been the album's first song. The melodies are terrific and mix the best elements of Alabama and Rascal Flatts. This cut shows that these musical upstarts have a future in country music.

"Lovely" mixes some Bee Gee-esque melodies with a country sound to great success, and the band proves its country rock credentials with the synthed-up "Blow My Mind." Another successful track is &q…

Review: Diana Jones "High Atmosphere"

Musician and portrait artist Diana Jones has a unique voice that could pierce the hardest of hearts. Indeed, the singer-songwriter's new album "High Atmosphere" offers a soulful jolt of folk that beautifully showcases her masterful lyrics.
The album begins with the bluegrass-tinged "High Atmosphere" and is followed by the project's best cut "I Don't Know." This song offers sincere lyrics and lush instrumentation that encapsulates the listener in musical bliss.

The easy-going "Sister" shows that Diana Jones is comfortable in her skin, and the sparse "Little Lamb" showcases the artist's considerable charm. The biggest surprise of the album is the bouncy and witty "Poverty," which deserves to be an Americana and Roots radio chart hit.

The hauntingly beautiful "My Love Is Gone" tugs at the heartstrings along with "Don't Forget Me" and "Funeral Singer." Like the track "Povert…

Review: Amy Speace "Land Like a Bird"

Television hasn't exactly been kind to the image outsiders have of New Jersey. Indeed the Jersey Shore, Real Housewives of New Jersey and news reports about former Gov. Jim McGreevey give an uneven  impression. However, singer songwriter Amy Speace wrote an album that included gentle goodbyes to New Jersey people and places in her new project titled "Land Like A Bird" as she prepared to move to Nashville. These songs give a more balanced and accurate portrayal of the hard working men and women that make up the Garden State and the gifted artist New Jersey lost to Tennessee.
Speace's husky vocals are put on full display with the first cut "Drive All Night," which offers an intense performance and earthy lyrics. The title track "Land Like A Bird" slowly sizzles with a minute long intro that builds to folk lyrical gold. Speace's musical interpretation during moments that feature her higher register are especially powerful and satisfying.