Friday, May 30, 2014

Best Monday Night Concert -> Zoe Muth and the Lost High Rollers & The Hello Strangers at Jammin Java

What to do on a Monday night? Next week the answer is clear. Check out Zoe Muth and the Lost High Rollers & The Hello Strangers at Jammin' Java. It's roots, Americana, Texas roots rock night. Muth hails from the pacific Northwest where she is known as "Seattle’s Emmylou". Her latest release is World of Strangers and just listening to the opening track confirms this billing. "Mama Needs a Margarita" is another good one. Need confirmation? Check out the video below. Hope to hear that song Monday night.

The Hello Strangers are two sisters who have brought their Austin sound to western Pennsylvania. I spent some time at their website listening to the stream of their latest songs - most off their upcoming self-titled CD. These songs are tight - in  particular, check out "What It Takes to Break a Heart", "Caribou",  and "Never Roam Again". The sisters can harmonize and are backed by more than capable musicians. Their inclusion of "Que Sera, Sera" throws you off a little until you learn that it's inclusion pays tribute to their grandfather, Ronald Chace, who sang with Doris Day. You will enjoy this release and pair with Knob Hall Winery where they play later this summer.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Album Review: Amy McCarley - Jet Engines

Are you a fan of Holly Williams? Then take a listen to singer-songwriter Amy McCarley. No, she is not an exact match, but while listening to the opening track off her upcoming second release Jet Engines, "Everybody Wants To",  I can't help waiting for McCarley to belt out Williams' Hey why are you cheatin' on a woman like this. Co-produced by Kenny Vaughan and George Bradfute, Jet Engines is an enjoyable listen throughout - plenty of roots, rockabilly, and country as well as McCarley's very distinctive voice. "Here I Am" seems like a an anthem for many people I know, and I love the guitar work. On the other hand, "Head Out of Town" is my anthem. I can relate completely (I'm going to pick me a place and that's where I'm going to go). Plus there's some slide guitar from Bradfute. Vaughan also contributes electric and acoustic guitars throughout the CD with Derek Mixon (drums & percussion) and Michael Rinne (electric & upright bass) rounding out the supporting cast.  The title track is another favorite (great melodies) and Woods on Fire closes the release in rockin' style. Pair with Blue Pants Brewery from her native Alabama where McCarley performs May 29th. Cheers. 

Friday, May 9, 2014

Album Review: Seth Walker - Sky Still Blue

I've missed the last couple times Seth Walker has played at Jammin Java and after listening to his latest, Sky Still Blue, I'm regretting those decisions. This release is tremendous - the lyrics, the swagger in his voice, and  since he's moved to new Orleans, his Americana sound has been infused with funky blues. This is perhaps my favorite of the year. Five songs were co-written by producer Oliver Wood of The Wood Brothers which include many of my favorites: Easy Come, Easy Go, High Wire, and the final track - Way Too Far. Joining Walker are longtime bandmates Steve Mackey (bass) and Derrek Phillips (drums) as well as Chris Wood and Jano Rix. But don't ignore Walker's guitar work - it funky demeanor stands out in many tracks - just listen to Trouble (Don't Want No) or Either Way I Lose. Pair with NOLA Brewing and listen often. Cheers.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Album Review: Doctor Magnum - Magnum Carta Holy Grail brings out some electronic funky jazz

Be that it is New Orleans Jazz Fest week I found the spirit by listening to a very interesting and entertaining release from Doctor Magnum, an Albany NY jazz quartet. Their latest release is Magnum Carta Holy Grail which they describe as a combination of classic rock 'n' roll, hip hop infusion, and jazz. I found this six track, all instrumental album closer to an electronic fusion of rock & funk. And despite a few times where the instrumentation went beyond my capabilities, I enjoyed this release. The lineup is what makes this work: electric guitar, keyboards, and percussion - Charlie Button (lead guitar), Jerome Steele (lead guitar), Steve Keator (keyboard), and Rob Colpoys (drums) - to be precise. I enjoyed the interplay between drums and keyboard and then at times there is a definite jamband feel as each member trades off solos. That process starts with the first track Agent Zero and continues with my favorite jamband-ish ALL CAPS/N.Y. State of Mind. Pair with CH Evans Brewing Company at the Albany Pump Station. Cheers.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Album Review: Moot Davis - Goin’ In Hot

Ever heard of Moot Davis? I hadn't until I received a link for his latest release, Goin’ In Hot. Produced by Kenny Vaughan this is a great combination of love sick ballads and rockin' up tempo music. His 5-string open G Telecaster is noticeable throughout as is the excellent accompanied sound of  The Good Americans featuring bassist Michael Massimino, drummer Joe Mekler and guitarist Bill Corvino.  I enjoyed the heck out of this release and you will too. Pair Davis' native Jersey brewery: Flying Fish Brewing Company. Cheers.

Goin In Hot - rock feel; great electric guitar
Food Stamps - country flavor of $2 wine
Just Left Home - slow drawl Americana
Made For Blood - classic rock meets Americana
Used To Call It Love - proves he can slow it down
Walk Alone - another rockn' country song
Midnight Train - just listen to those guitars
Hurtin' For Real - slow ballad to cry in your beer
The Reason - old school country
Love Hangover - my favorite track - sounds like the BSOJC
Rag Man's Roll - more 70's rock Lynyrd Skynyrd style
I Wanna Go Back - Is that Haggard?
25 Lights - book ends with more great electric guitar & rock