Friday, April 22, 2011

Trying to Find Room on the iPod

We receive several CDs over any given month and keep receiving some really fascinating material. The latest round started with the California Guitar Trio - Andromeda. This is one entertaining release; I can't believe its the first time we've taken a listen since they have been performing together for 20 years. Part acoustic jazz, latin, classical - listen closely and no song sounds alike. And check out "Hazardous Z" and "Improv VIII".

Just in time for Spring Break, we received Jonathan Scales - Character Farm & Other Short Stories.Scales plays the steel pan - an instrument associated with Trinidad & Tobago, but this is nowhere near conventional Island music. I love this CD, particularly "The Trap" which includes fiddler  Casey Driessen. Other guest artists include Jeff Coffin, Yonrico Scott and Kofi Burbridge. "Hallucinations of the Dream Chasers " is hypnotic while "Muddy Vishnu" gets rockin'. The title track is as close as you get to an Island sound - can't wait to listen on the beaches in south Florida with a bottle of rhum.

Speaking of Florida, the state is home to the brother and sister duo Jubal's Kin. Their self titled CD, Jubal's Kin, is a blend of old-timey music and folk - more reminiscent of the Crooked Road than the cattle pastures and swamps in Florida. Maybe because they cover A.P. Carter's "No Depression" or play so many general domain songs: "Raleigh & Spencer", "Cuckoo Bird", "Train on the Island / Hunting the Buffalo", "Red Rocking Chair", and "I Will Arise". Don't worry, there are originals, including "Will You Sing Dixie" - a haunting powerful song.  This is just their debut CD, we expect a lot more entertaining releases from this pair.

Given our Americana preferences, its not that surprising that Israel Nash Gripka - Barn Doors & Concrete Floors was our favorite of the bunch. It has everything: roots, gospel, soul, even some classic rock. Gripka is from the Ozarks but now resides in New York City. To capture a more authenticate sound, they recorded this CD in an old and dusty hay barn up in the Catskill Mountains. Basically each song is a winner - but "Drown", "Four Winds", and "Red Dress" are replayed quite often in our house. I can't wait until Gripka returns from a European tour - he deserves a road trip.

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