January 2013 Archives

'Idol' San Antonio, Long Beach Auditions: Papa Peachez, Sanni M'mairrura, Micah Johnson Among Standouts

Expect to see some of tonight's contestants make a serious run at being Season 12's 'American Idol'
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Last night's American Idol auditions took us to the fabulous city of San Antonio and then to the Queen Mary in the Long Beach, Cali area. I'm going to condense this down because the first hour in Alamo City was pretty much a waste and I think this season's winner will be from the second hour. So let's hurry and get there, shall we? For the record you didn't miss my Week Two recap, I did. This episode was a mixed bag of good, bad, and forgetable. I'm a little burned out on the trolls and forgettable ones so let's

The Weird Al Chronicles Part II: Weird Al Yankovic in 3-D

The journey continues with the second album in Weird Al's lengthy discography.
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Soon after I had finished and submitted the first entry in this series, a tale about Weird Al Yankovic's self-titled album, guess who was a guest on Ken Plume's A Bit of a Chat podcast? No, it wasn't former NHL journeyman Jamie Macoun. It was the man himself, Weird Al. Thanks to that conversation, I learned some things about Al's first album that were enlightening. Mostly what I came to find out was how rushed and low budget the album was. In essence, Weird Al Yankovic was Al and company's shot at a record deal, but first they had to

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Top iTunes Single; Pitch Perfect, Gary Allan, Lumineers Top Albums

iTunes' Official Music Charts for the week ending Jan. 28, 2013
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We looked yesterday at what's popular at Spotify in the world of music streaming and now we take a look at the other behemoth of the digital music world, iTunes, and the top-selling songs and albums from the #1 music retailer in the US. The Billboard Hot 100, Spotify, and iTunes all have "Thrift Shop" from Macklemore & Ryan Lewis in the top spot, which makes me want to unspeakably angry. Taylor Swift isn't getting a lot of love at Spotify but her "I Knew You Were Trouble" is #2. Also in the Top 10 this week is Justin Timberlake's

Lumineers Storm US, UK Top 10 Most Streamed Tracks At Spotify, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, will.i.am Hold Top Spots

Top 10 most streamed tracks on Spotify from Jan. 21-27
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I promised last week I would listen to a track from The Lumineers' self-titled album when writing about the Top 10 most-streamed tracks on Spotify , having mentioned I was hearing a lot about them but hadn't actually listened to them. I was on the verge of blowing off that little promise until BlindedBySound ace contributor Heather demanded I listen to them, knowing nothing of my pledge. This is a teachable moment, kids. Lesson 1: you should always keep your promises. Lesson 2: it's really, really good to have friends who have great taste in music. "Ho Hey," the song

DeepSoul: Ohio Players - "Love Rollercoaster"

The seminal '70s funk band transformed modern R&B with lead singer Leroy "Sugarfoot" Bonner's scratchy guitar and howling vocals.
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Think Cameo's Larry Blackmon was the first to cry "oww" in songs like "Word Up"? Think again. The mighty Ohio Players, led by vocalist/guitarist Leroy "Sugarfoot" Bonner,mixed Bonner's nasal sound with funky beats and blaring horns to create an impressive string of 1970s hits. "Skin Tight," "Heaven Must be Like This," and "Fire" represent just a few tracks from their extensive catalog. However, few songs best encapsulate their sound like 1975's "Love Rollercoaster." Bonner's death at age 69 on January 26 reminds us how they developed from their 1959 roots to record such an iconic song. The Ohio Players began
Welcome to 2013 and the return of New Music Tuesday where we preview just a few of the most interesting new music releases each and every week. The first title I want to discuss this week comes from Ben Harper and Blues Hall of Famer Charlie Musselwhite, Get Up! Harper has cultivated a devoted following over his years of recording and touring but I've remained indifferent towards his work. The same isn't true of the legendary Musselwhite, whose work I adore (including his Blues Music Award-winning Album Of The Year Delta Hardware and his stunning most recent solo record The

Everything Everything Release "Cough Cough" Video From Top 10 UK Album 'Arc'

Wherein UK singer/songwriter Lianne La Havas turns me on to something new...
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Everything Everything is on its way to American shores with their sophomore effort Arc and the video for the first single from the album "Cough Cough."Arc was released in the UK two weeks ago where it entered the Top 10 and remains strong in the Top 20, garnering considerable critical praise and now it's coming our way. I believe I'd heard the band's name before but couldn't place them or anything about them. It was a tweet from British vocalist extraordinaireLianne La Havas that convinced me to take a chance on EE when she told her fans to check out

Review: Esperanza Spalding - Radio Music Society

...goes on to demonstrate that she is more than just a pretty face...
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Radio Music Society is Esperanza Spalding's fourth album and follows the highly appreciated and successful "Chamber Music Society" from 2010. At only 28 years of age the sexy and confident Esperanza is already a very accomplished musician, shining not only as a vocalist but also as a bassist and songwriter. In Radio Music Society she goes on to demonstrate that she is more than just a pretty face. I have a soft spot for decent opening tracks and "Radio Song", an interesting, if "all-over-the-place" tune that does a good job of setting the tone for the entire record, summing

Huw Lloyd-Langton: Rare & Unreleased Anthology 1971-2012 CD Review

An excellent tribute to an outstanding guitarist...
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Huw Lloyd-Langton (1951-2012) was probably best known for his stints with Hawkwind. As most Motorhead fans know, Lemmy Kilminster also started out with the space rock pioneers. Although the Hawkwind experience was a pretty good springboard for Lemmy, for Lloyd-Langton, it may not have worked completely in his favor. The band had a very intense science-fiction vibe, and the brilliant delicacy of his playing was sometimes swallowed up in the whole. Still, he did create some powerful music with them, so it was probably a positive experience in the end. Lloyd-Langton recorded a wealth of music outside of Hawkwind over

The Weird Al Chronicles: Weird Al Yankovic

The start of a series of articles that will delve into the albums of the one, the only Weird Al Yankovic.
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It all started simply enough. The head honcho of this website, Josh Hathaway, was a guest on my podcast. We were discussing music and what have you, when I made a fairly basic, self-evident statement, not unlike saying "The sky is blue." That statement, boiled down simply: Weird Al Yankovic is an institution. For decades, Weird Al's music has persevered, and he keeps on keeping on, generating new fans with his particular brand of parody and humor based music. His career is fairly unique, and he may just be the hardest working man in show business, now that James Brown

Top 10 Spotify Streams: Macklemore And Ryan Lewis #1 US, will.i.am #1 UK

Top 10 Most Streamed Tracks For Jan. 14-20 at Spotify
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It's no secret we access music in a host of new ways beyond the traditional means of listening to the radio or buying CDs. It's a whole new world with digital downloads and streaming. iTunes is the #1 music retailer in the US and Spotify has become a dominant force in the world of streaming music and now we can keep tabs on what you, the people, are listening to en masse. We have the Top 10 most streamed tracks for the week of Monday, January 14 through Sunday January 20 for both the US and the UK according to

Guitar Legend Ronnie Earl Releases Live Album 'Just For Today' April 9

New music from perhaps the greatest guitarist alive...
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Ronnie Earl, one of my guitar heroes and perhaps the definitive answer to the oft-asked question "Who Is The Greatest Guitarist Alive," will release the follow-up to his amazing, acclaimed Spread The Love when he releases ­­­­­­Just For Today on April 9 via Stony Plain Records. Just For Tonight is a live album taken from two shows with his band The Broadcasters recorded in Massachusetts last year. The Broadcasters are drummer Lorne Entress, piano and organist Dave Limina, and bassist Jim Mouradian. The Broadcasters are joined by a guest vocalist, Diane Blue, and Nicholas Tabarias does a turn as a

Review: Bob Menzies - Breaking Time

Songs of love and life that sound lived and not just observed...
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In the sixties and into the early seventies, the travelling life of a vagabond was a dream shared by many baby boomers. Now based in Toronto, Bob Menzies actually lived that dream, making his way around the world by thumb, boxcar, and freighter. He worked in Sudbury’s nickel mines and alongside migrant pickers in the fields of California. He’s been to Morocco, Norway, Greece and France, and lived and worked in Germany and England, all during a turbulent time when music genuinely had the power, if not to change the world, then at least to profoundly influence the people in

Hit Parade: Thrift Shop - by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (feat. Wanz)

So many bad jokes packed into one song but the joke's on us; this is the #1 song this week
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Heading into this project of listening to the number one song on the Billboard Hot 100, I wasn't prepared for how long most of these songs end up atop the list. Bruno Mars' "Locked Out of Heaven" was the number one song for all of January's charts, and two weeks of December as well. Sure, it was a genuinely good song, but how did it remain that popular for so long? Don't people get tired of it? Sure, I imagine new people stumble upon the song week in and week out, but not that many. Do radio stations just keep

DeepSoul: Tina Turner - "Let's Stay Together"

Remember Tina Turner's comeback single? Chances are it's not the track you think.
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The story has gone down in rock legend: Tina Turner overcame years of domestic abuse, slowly rebuilt her career, and returned to the top of the charts in 1984. Her comeback album Private Dancer spawned an astonishing number of singles, most notably the iconic "What's Love Got to Do with It." That song has become so ubiquitous that few remember the actual first single off the album: a cover of Al Green's "Let's Stay Together." In addition to being one of the best versions of the soul classic, the song represents a crucial turning point in her career: the transition

Keith Jarrett - Hymns/Spheres CD Review

Jarrett's 1979 album has been issued on CD for the very first time.
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In Keith Jarrett’s long and storied career, there has never been an album quite like Hymns/Spheres. The original double-LP was recorded in 1976 at the Benedictine Abbey in Ottobeuren, Germany. This is the home of the massive Karl Joseph Riepp "Trinity" Baroque pipe organ, with which Jarrett utilized to create this truly unique set of music. Although the album was recorded in 1976, and released in 1979, it has never been issued on compact disc before. In 2000, ECM released Spheres, which was a single CD containing excerpts from the set. The full program is finally available as a double-CD,

Review: The Civil Wars - Unplugged On VH1

An amazing first chapter for The Civil Wars is capped off with this digital release; let's hope there's a second chapter on the horizon...
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It's been a tumultuous time for The Civil Wars, who rose to stardom on the strength of their fantastic, Grammy-winning debut album Barton Hollow. They toured the album relentlessly, made countless promotional appearances, and performed on VH1 Unplugged. Joy Williams gave birth to her first child. They initiated work on a follow-up, booked more tour dates, announced plans to release the Unplugged performance exclusively through iTunes, and then things went pear-shaped. A statement was released indicating there were tensions within the Civil Wars camp, although it wasn't specified if these were issues between Williams and John Paul White, issues with

Review: Billy Joel - 'She's Got A Way: Love Songs'

A new compilation celebrates the piano man's famous and lesser-known ballads.
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During the 12.12.12 concert benefitting the victims of Hurricane Sandy, Billy Joel played a fiery set, showing his vocals and piano chops have diminished little since his debut 40 years ago. Until Joel decides to emerge from his retirement and return to the studio, fans must make do with his vast back catalog. A new compilation, She's Got A Way: Love Songs, celebrates ballads both familiar and rare. Listening to the album lends new appreciation for his songwriting gifts and ability to simply communicate emotion. Some of the tracks are like old friends for those who grew up with Joel.

Shemekia Copeland Holds #1 At Blues Radio, Musselwhite/Harper Collaboration Enters Top 5 Ahead Of Release

Blues Radio Report for week of Jan. 18, 2012...
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Shemekia Copeland is once again our #1 this week at blues radio followed by Chris Smither, Robert Cray, and Gary Clark Jr. I've spent a good bit of time with the Cray and Copeland records and you might have read about Gary and his Blak & Blu album on this site once or twice so you might know I'm pleased with what's being played for the citizens. Our rising entrant this week comes from Ben Harper and Blues Hall of Famer Charlie Musselwhite. They've collaborated on an album called Get Up! for the reborn Stax imprint. The record doesn't get

Kiwanuka Spins His Beautiful "Tale" With The Roots On Jimmy Fallon

A special performance from an artist you need to know...
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British singer/songwriter Michael Kiwanuka played with The Roots on Jimmy Kimmel’s late night talk show this week and it was a fantastic performance from an amazing talent. I posted a playlist of my Top 25 Songs of 2012: The Songs I Listened To Most and songs from Kiwanuka’s beautiful Home Again album littered that list. I was actually surprised to see so many of them there. I knew I listened to it a lot but I didn’t know I listened to it that much. I’m not surprised. It really is incredible This performance of “Tell Me A Tale” with The

Review: Kendrick Lamar - good kid, m.A.A.d city

Catching up with one of the best records of 2012.
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Compton-based rapper Kendrick Lamar’s brilliant good kid, m.A.A.d city is an inspired trip that reminds us that some artists are still making complete albums with realized visions and cinematic sensibilities. At just 25, Lamar’s wisdom is off the chain and his abilities on the microphone are amazing. He draws out bars in double and triple time, easing through intricate lines with the will and raw skill of a master. Lamar’s second record dropped to finish off 2012 in style and found itself on the Best Of lists of many publications, rightly earning accolades for its unconventional songcraft and robust sense

American Idol: Chicago Auditions Follow Lowest Rated Premiere In Series History

Night 1 in the Big Apple failed to deliver big ratings... will Chicago fare better?
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Welcome back to American Idol’s second night of auditions, this evening we’re joining the gang in Chicago. And despite the bragging from Fox that season 12 of American Idol would be a season unlike anything we’ve ever witnessed, it seems fans were turned off by judging and format changes, bringing in 18% fewer viewers from last season making last night the lowest rated Idol premiere in the show’s history. What do you think of the changes and new judges Nicki Minaj, Keith Urban, and Mariah Carey? Due to a minor technical glitch I missed about 15 minutes at the beginning

See Phillip Phillips Perform "Gone, Gone, Gone" on Jimmy Kimmel Live

When did they take the alcohol out of NyQuil?
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Do you want to know what it looks like when someone’s doing exactly what they were put on earth to do and enjoying every millisecond of it? Then you need to watch Phillip Phillips performing anything live. Yes, the same Phillips whose debut CD The World From The Side Of The Moon I reviewed yesterday and called a Dave Matthews copycat not once but three or four times, which he still is but, he’s a passionate one. Phillip is American Idol’s reigning crown prince and of all the recent winners I can think of he seems to be doing
Welcome back, American Idol! You were missed! Well not so much missed as a vague memory of something we used to do two nights a week from January to May. I’m less excited about any future music superstars we’re sure to uncover than I am about watching the weirdass dynamic of the four judges. Randy Jackson is returning as the elder statesman and he is joined by crazy as a loon living legend Mariah Carey, the Aussie country star Keith Urban and wig-tastic Nicki Minaj. Tonight’s auditions take us to New York which is often a wealth of as much

Vintage Trouble Makes Friends With "Total Strangers" On 'Tonight Show' With Jay Leno (Video)

Another incendiary performance from breakout band!
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Vintage Trouble wowed the crowd at the historic Ed Sullivan Theater on Late Night With David Letterman with a fiery performance of "Blues Hand Me Down" and earlier this week they took their energetic stage show  to the West Coast for an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and brought the heat with another of their great songs, "Total Strangers." Both songs are high points on their incredible debut The Bomb Shelter Sessions. Ty Taylor's presence and energy are on full display and it's easy to get lost in how infectious that energy can be and how

Review: Phillip Phillips - The World From The Side Of The Moon

American Idol's Season 11 winner has struck sales gold with debut and it's not (all) fool's gold...
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As we gear up for the 12th American Idol season here at BlindedBySound.com, I thought it was high time I get down to some long awaited and accidentally neglected Idol business: namely reviewing the debut album from last season winner's winner, Phillip Phillips. Propelled by the mega hit "Home," The World From The Side Side Of The Moon has soared beyond all expectations (well mine at least). It debuted at #4 on the Billboard 200 and has reached 596,000 in sales. It's not that I didn't find him to be a charming, talented young man; it's more that he won

DeepSoul: Fontella Bass - "Rescue Me"

Fontella Bass's gospel-drenched voice lends her 1965 hit passion and powerful emotion.
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Recently the R&B lost the distinctive voice who graced one of the 1960s' best singles. AllMusic describes her 1965 hit "Rescue Me" as "the greatest record Aretha Franklin never made," and Fontella Bass's rich voice certainly invites such comparisons. Yet Bass's higher range lends the song energy that Franklin's deeper vocals may not have achieved. Her death at age 72 on December 26, 2012 reminds us of a song that, while somewhat overexposed through commercials and movie soundtracks, still soars with its timeless plea for her lover to rescue her from loneliness. Not surprisingly, Bass's roots remained firmly in gospel

Norah Jones Shines On Target Exclusive Compilation 'Covers'

Jones returns to role as song interpreter, reminds us why we fell in love with her in the first place...
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Norah Jones took the world by storm in 2002 when her landmark debut Come Away With Me was released, racking up eight Grammy Awards and selling more than 10 million copies. That timeless record accentuated her gift as a song interpreter, drawing mostly of material penned by her bandmates as well as a couple standards like Hoagy Carmichael's gorgeous "The Nearness Of You" and Hank Williams' "Cold Cold Heart." She would invest more time and effort in generating her own material, showing growth and promise as a songwriter with each subsequent release including last year's Little Broken Hearts. Target released

Blues Masters Ronnie Earl, Nick Moss Gather For Late Night Jam (Video)

See two of the best in the business unite for a special performance...
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There can be too much of a good thing in life but not when you're talking about putting guitars in the hands of Ronnie Earl and Nick Moss and putting them both on a stage together. Earl and Moss are two of the most distinguished guitarists alive and I believe it's that common heritage that allows to giants of the genre and masters of the instrument to play so beautifully together. They both backed giants of the genre in their younger days and now have fantastic solo careers. Earl and Moss are each fully capable of blowing any hundred guitarists

Review: Spector - Enjoy It While It Lasts

...might not end up on your desert-island list but there’s a good chance it can end up on your list of “guilty pleasures”...
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Recently, my wife and I took a trip to Paris to see the lovely Florence and the Machine in concert. From the start we knew that it was going to be a trip with musical theme since not only were we going to see my wife’s favorite band live but I was also commissioned by a magazine to do a cover story profiling Jazz pianist Jason Domnarski, whose music I had reviewed before. We knew there was going to be music at the heart of the trip but we were surprised at how much of it we encountered in

Vintage Trouble - 'The Bomb Shelter Sessions': A Shining, Magical Light

The torch was passed to me and now I'm passing it on to you...
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Vintage Trouble is the kind of band that hits me right where I live, writing and performing raucous blend of garage rock and dirty, modern blues bursting with joy and creativity and are touched by the spirit of sweet soul and rhythm and blues they channel into tender ballads. They fit brilliantly alongside some of my more recent musical obsessions like Gary Clark Jr., Michael Kiwanuka, and Lianne La Havas. I'd love them VT if I'd discovered them listening to late night radio or watching MTV at 2 AM on a night I couldn't sleep or was just being

Shemekia Copeland, Robert Cray Tops At Blues Radio; Gary Clark Jr., Buddy Guy, Magic Slim Among Top 20

Top 20 albums at Blues Radio for week of Jan. 11, 2013...
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I don't want to look to see how long it's been since I checked out the top albums at Blues Radio according to the weekly Roots Music Report but I'm glad to check back in this week. I hope time permits me to spend some time talking about this week's #1: Shemekia Copeland's 33 1/3. I previewed it when I first got details about the album and have listened to it a few times since but haven't had time to tell you all the things I really like about it. I did review Robert Cray's Nothin' But Love last

Blu-ray Review: Patti Smith - Live At Montreux 2005

The legendary singer takes her band to the legendary Montreux Jazz Festival
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For nearly 40 years (albeit with a self-imposed hiatus for much of the 1980s), Patti Smith has mixed her unique blend of poetry, punk, folk and rock and roll, creating something interesting and powerful. She started strongly with Horses, her legendary 1975 debut, and has continued to push musical boundaries ever since. In 2005 while on tour for her album, Trampin’, Smith and her band, which includes original members Lenny Kaye and Jay Dee Daugherty, along with Television’s Tom Verlaine in a guest spot, were invited to play the famed Montreux Jazz Festival. The concert was filmed and is now

Guster Goes Back To The Future On Very Special 'Live Acoustic'

It's possible to have a fanboy crush and be right at the same time...
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There was a time when Live Acoustic would have been a redundant description of a Guster live show. Ryan Miller, Adam Gardner, and Brian "THUNDERGOD" Rosenworcel formed the band as a trio with two acoustic guitars, harmonies, and bongos. Everything was acoustic! They expanded their sound over time and in the process created some amazing melodies and critically acclaimed records like Lost & Gone Forever, Keep It Together, Ganging Up On The Sun, and Easy Wonderful. They released Guster On Ice, a live CD/DVD following the Keep It Together tour and there are plenty of official and unofficial bootlegs floating
Last night would have been a glorious night solely from the assbeating my beloved Alabama Crimson Tide administered to the hated Notre Dame Fighting Irish but the glories multiplied themselves when I learned David Bowie is coming back from a presumed retirement with a brand new album and the first single is available on iTunes. I don't know which happened faster: me getting in my car to go buy Crimson Tide National Championship gear or spending the $1.29 to download the first new Bowie song in damn near a decade. No matter, yesterday wasn't cheap but it was worth every

Review: Joanne Shaw Taylor - Almost Always Never

Third time isn't the charm but a solid effort pointing that direction...
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If you crossed Joss Stone with Stevie Ray Vaughan, you might come back with something very much like Joanne Shaw Taylor and I suppose that's why I've liked her (ignoring for the moment I'm not a real big fan of Stone) since hearing her debut record White Sugar. Taylor followed Sugar with Diamonds In The Dirt where she stayed very much rooted in the Stone-SRV hybrid and as appealing as it was, it could get repetitive. Both records were comprised largely of original material and the results were mixed. These would be major issues for me with some artists but

Jose Luis Monton - Solo Guitarra: CD Review

More than "just guitar"
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When listening to solo music, one of my favorites is flamenco guitar, as played by a master. A marvelous example of this is the new ECM release by José Luis Montón, titled Solo Guitarra. The album grew out of sessions for another ECM recording, Arco Iris by Amina Alaoui. When Manfred Eicher heard Monton’s playing, it was obvious that the guitarist was ready for a solo turn. Exactly one year after the Alaoui sessions, Monton returned to the Auditorium RSI Lugano in Switzerland, with Eicher in the producer’s chair, to record Solo Guitarra. The 13 pieces that make up Solo Guitarra make a magnificent introduction for

Buddy Guy - Live At Legends: The Legend Tears It Up On His Home Turf

Buddy Guy sounds right at home...
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Blues and Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Buddy Guy released Live At Legends at the end of last year. In addition to being a musical icon, Guy has run his Legends club in Chicago for decades now and he presents seven songs performed on his home turf in this new package in addition to three new studio cuts. It's a jarring transition from the ribald medley of Muddy Waters' "I Just Want To Make Love To You" and Bobby Rush's "Chicken Head" to Guy's own "Skin Deep," a pleading ballad for racial harmony and human kindness filled with stories from his

Musical Postcards|My 2012 Playlist: Lanegan, Fiona Apple, LaHavas, Kiwanuka, Karp/Foley, Garbage, Walking Papers

A few of the places I visited in 2012 as told by my iTunes library...
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We closed the book on 2012 this past year and I, for one, am not sorry to see it go. Oh, it had it's good moments: a new niece and nephew, new friends, and of course, new music. It also came with its share of downers: deaths of people close to me close to people close to me, a near job loss, a new job, and some painful personal struggles and lessons related to all the above and things not related to any of it. I compile my best albums of the year most years but having dropped off

U2 Chronicle Triumphant 360° On 'U22,' 'From The Ground Up' Fan Club Packages

Even Better Than The Real Thing? Almost...
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My favorite live albums are complete, single shows with no overdubs and minimal post-production, presenting and preserving the magic of a band, its music, and the audience on one night. It's the best way to structure a live album but it's not the only right way. Another way to construct a live album/ is to compile songs from throughout the tour and give fans a chance to hear high quality versions of most or all the songs they played over the course of that tour. That's what U2 has done, chronicling their epic 360° tour. It took them two tries
2012 has come to a close and it produced a lot of great music. The 14 albums and one EP on my favorites list this year are just a fraction of the music I enjoyed. I'll probably spend most of January checking out more music from 2012 that I missed and overlooked. As it stands, my list is of the albums I listened to over and over and over again throughout 2012 and would gladly listen to many more times. The albums are presented alphabetically by artist with no rankings applied.  Animal Collective – Centipede Hz: This sheer quantity of

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