Category Archives: Music

Squirrel Flower’s I Was Born Swimming

Squirrel Flower is the stage name of the Boston-based singer-songwriter Ella O’Connor Williams, making her recording debut with the beautifully realized I Was Born Swimming. She has a singing voice that conveys heartache and steely determination in equal measures, an … Continue reading

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Joe Russo’s phér•bŏney

This debut solo album by drummer Joe Russo was released digitally in the summer of 2019, but I’m just catching up with it in time for its release on vinyl. phér•bŏney is the most eclectic set of tunes I’ve reviewed … Continue reading

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Son Little’s aloha

“We don’t have to suffer, you and I … we don’t have to wait in the shadows for the sunshine.” Thus goes the hooky chorus of “suffer,” a standout track on Son Little’s new aloha. The song was inspired by … Continue reading

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Emmi Kujanpää’s Nani

Finnish folk singer, composer, teacher and researcher Emmi Kujanpää continues her ongoing exploration of the intersection of Finnish and Balkan music with her first “solo” recording Nani. I put solo in quotes because this album includes the contributions of Le … Continue reading

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David Dondero’s The Filter Bubble Blues

The Cuyahoga River was the subject of scathing satire in the 1970s, when it was so polluted it actually caught fire where it passed through Cleveland, Ohio. That hasn’t happened again, yet. But David Dondero imagines it won’t be long … Continue reading

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Tautumeitas’s Songs from Auleja

This stirring album presents a studio version of music sung by the Tautumeitas ensemble at a concert that was founding member Asnate Rancāne’s project for a bachelor’s degree at the Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music. Fortunately, it’s a lot … Continue reading

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Gary’s favorite music of the 2010s

The 2010s have been a turbulent decade, and for me a life-changing one. In the closing months of 2010 I received a kidney transplant that transformed my life. And at about the same time, after a couple of decades of … Continue reading

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Swåp: Swåp, [SIC], Du Da

Somehow, we’ve never reviewed any recordings by the Anglo-Swedish folk-roots group Swåp here at GMR. The four musicians who compose Swåp (Ola Bäckström, fiddle; Ian Carr, guitar and vocals; Carina Normansson, fiddle and vocals; and Karen Tweed, accordion and vocals) … Continue reading

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Mal Waldron Trio’s Free At Last

This 50-year-old recording sounds like it could have been made this year. That’s partly because of the playing of pianist Waldron and his trio, which was so forward-looking at the time that its effect is to be timeless. This is … Continue reading

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Ludwig van Beethoven’s Sonatas for Piano

No. 14 in C Sharp Minor, Op. 27, No. 2 [“Moonlight”] No. 26 in E Flat, Op. 81a, [“Les Adieux”] No. 8 in C Minor, Op. 13 [“Pathétique”] No. 23 in F Minor, Op. 57 [“Appassionata”] The history of Western … Continue reading

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Foreigner’s The Very Best and Beyond

Sometimes it takes a while to catch on, for me at least. On a whim, I purchased Foreigner’s all-time best album, The Very Best and Beyond. (It wasn’t really a whim – I had this song in my head and … Continue reading

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Nous’s Nous II

What first attracted me to this recording was the presence of Shahzad Ismaily, the New York-based multi-instrumentalist whose playing, composing and arranging skills have made him a valued contributer to projects by so many musicians it’s impossible to list them … Continue reading

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Various artists’ Down In Jamaica – 40 Years Of VP Records

VP Records has released a definitive set chronicaling its 40 years of bringing Jamaican music to the world. Down In Jamaica is a 94-track box set with 24-page booklet and art cards detailing the hits, rarities, and history of the … Continue reading

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Lumen Drones’ Umbra

Let’s see, how many of my musical buttons does this new release by Lumen Drones push? Hardanger fiddle? Check. Folk-based experimental music? Check. Nordic music? Check. And of course the big one, right there in the name: drones, drones, drones! … Continue reading

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Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra’s Big Band Holidays II

For more than a decade the Big Band Holidays concerts have been a New York City holiday tradition for jazz lovers and families. Every December the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis and an all-star roster of guest … Continue reading

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Blato Zlato’s In The Wake

I went to a good number of musical events in 2019, and one of the most enjoyable was a performance and dance put on by the New Orleans-based Balkan band Blato Zlato. They’re a superb folk ensemble playing mostly Bulgarian-style … Continue reading

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Eivør Pálsdóttir’s Eivør

Eivør Pálsdóttir has an astounding voice. I was speaking with two of my folk-music heroes at a folk festival the first time I heard her sing, and I stopped mid-conversation to find out who had hit that range of notes … Continue reading

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Locobeach’s Psychedelic Disco Cumbia

This album’s title Psychedelic Disco Cumbia pretty much says it all. Danceable cumbia music with a combination of analog and electronic instruments and a psychedelic edge. Locobeach is a New York City-based supergroup with members from bands like Los Amigos … Continue reading

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Various artists’ Too Late to Pray: Defiant Chicago Roots

I’ve been a fan of Bloodshot Records, the Chicago insurgent country label since not quite the beginning, but sometime in the late 1990s. They’re celebrating their 25th anniversary this month with some live music events as is their wont, but … Continue reading

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Henryk Wienawski, Henryk Wieniawski

Henryk Wieniawski, like his countryman Frédéric Chopin, was in great demand as a soloist — so much so that his performance schedule seems to have seriously impacted his work as a composer. Another prodigy, he entered the Paris Conservatory at … Continue reading

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Los Pirañas’ Historia Natural

The three musicians who comprise Los Pirañas have been playing together since they were in high school, 25 years ago, but they only formed this power trio in 2009. The three are based in Bogotá, Colombia, and guitarist Eblis Alvarez, … Continue reading

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Jens Carelius’s Opsi

Norwegian guitarist, singer and songwriter (and visual artist) Jens Carelius has turned a legendary figure in his ancestry into a unique album. Opsi is a song cycle based on the diaries of Carelius’s great-great-grandfather Fritz Doerries (known to his family … Continue reading

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BaBa ZuLa’s Derin Derin

It’s only been a couple of years since BaBa ZuLa first blew my mind with their 20th anniversary retrospective two-disc set XX, so it’s a real treat to have a new studio album already. Derin Derin is something like ninth … Continue reading

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10,000 Maniacs at the Iron Horse Music Hall

Meredith Tarr wrote this lovely look at this concert. On Saturday, March 6, 10,000 Maniacs performed at the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, Massachusetts. A friend and I had traveled through the snow from New Haven to see the … Continue reading

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Terry Riley’s A Rainbow in Curved Air, Poppy Nogood and the Phantom Band

A Rainbow in Curved Air is a hard piece of music to describe, in part, perhaps, because although easy to listen to (at this point in history, at least), it’s not really very easy to make sense of. In part … Continue reading

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Aly Bain’s Aly Bain & Friends

Pat Simmonds penned this review. This is a selection of 16 tracks recorded in 1988 for Scottish TV live in front of a studio audience. Aly has the benefit of having anyone he wants at his sessions such is his … Continue reading

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Leopold Stokowski, Rhapsodies

No one who ever saw Disney’s Fantasia can forget Leopold Stokowski, who in many ways was the star of the film, even though he shared conducting honors with Mickey Mouse. Stokowski’s reputation as one of classical music’s greats is still … Continue reading

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Linkin Park’s A Thousand Suns

Full disclosure: as much as I am ever a “fan” of anything, I am a Linkin Park junkie. I suspect that’s only partly because they do loud, obnoxious rock and roll; it’s also partly because they are very sophisticated musicians … Continue reading

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Susan McKeown and the Chanting House and Kíla at the Towne Crier Cafe,

Meredith Tarr wrote this splendid review. The Towne Crier Cafe is a surprising venue: nestled off route 22 in rural Pawling, New York (about a mile past the point where you think you’ve gone too far), on the outside it … Continue reading

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Kerstin Blodig’s Valivann

Tom Hoke penned this review. Celtic-Scandinavian acoustic fusion is what Kerstin Blodig calls her music. On Valivann, I hear most of that, especially the “fusion” part, but I’m too much of stickler to call it “acoustic”, with all of the … Continue reading

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Gianluigi Trovesi and Gianni Coscia’s La misteriosa musica della Regina Loana

It was on a particularly melancholy night as summer faded to autumn that I first heard the exquisite, sad and slow rendering of “Moonlight Serenade” by Gianluigi Trovesi and Gianni Coscia on their 2019 album that is a tribute to … Continue reading

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Altan at Massey Hall

Altan were one of the first truly traditional groups I came to love, and they will always be one of my favorites! I hadnít seen Altan in five years or so–last time was at the World Theater in St. Paul–so … Continue reading

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Dori Freeman’s Every Single Star

In the three years since her self-titled debut took the Americana world by surprise and garnered critical and popular acclaim, Dori Freeman has gone through a lot of changes. The songs on Dori Freeman mostly centered around the breakup she … Continue reading

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Ethan Iverson Quartet’s Common Practice

I took in a set of avant-garde acoustic jazz by trumpeter Tom Harrell and his piano-less quartet at the Village Vanguard in 2018. It was a mesmerizing but at times puzzlingly opaque (for me) set from Harrell, who was voted … Continue reading

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Enrico Rava and Joe Lovano’s Roma

Italian jazz is a world all its own, one which I’ve only barely begun to explore. But even I know and love the great Enrico Rava, the 80-year-old flugelhornist and composer and eminence gris. In late 2018 he joined up … Continue reading

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Various Artists’ Fest Vraz

Fest Vraz is, indisputably, an album “made in Breizh!” It’s a 2-CD compilation from Keltia Musique, celebrating both 20 years of that esteemed label and the memory of its founder, Herve Le Meur. In recent years, Keltia Musique has passed … Continue reading

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Dan Ar Braz’s Made In Breizh

It’s been a while since I got my hands on a Dan Ar Braz CD, so I happily jumped at the chance to review this! Actually, it was 1992, and the CD was Borders of Salt, a low-key album recorded … Continue reading

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Calennig’s A Gower Garland

One of my favourite places in the world is the Gower, a small peninsula southwest of Swansea in Wales. There is nothing more soothing than standing on the hills overlooking Rhossili Bay and Worm´s Head watching the hang gliders using … Continue reading

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Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra’s Jazz And Art

Jazz at Lincoln Center is doing as much as any other institution in America to preserve and promote jazz music. In addition to the regular program Jazz Night in America in conjunction with NPR and WBGO, there’s the Jazz at … Continue reading

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Avishai Cohen and Yonathan Avishai’s Playing The Room

The overall impression I got of New York-based Israeli-born trumpeter Avishai Cohen’s playing when I saw him in Portland, Ore., a few years ago was of control. The young man is capable of many levels of nuance, but he seems … Continue reading

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Bob Johnson and Peter Knight’s The King of Elfland’s Daughter (Another Review)

“We would be ruled by a magic lord.” Be careful what you ask for. On hiatus from Steeleye Span, Johnson and Knight tackled a musical project that seems mostly to have been ignored. Adapting Lord Dunsany’s classic parable on marriage, … Continue reading

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Clumsy Lovers’ After the Flood

Craig Clarke penned this review. The Clumsy Lovers call their music “raging bluegrass Celtic rock.” Now, I don’t know about “raging,” but there’s an infectious energy that permeates every song on their latest release, After the Flood. Fast fiddling (from … Continue reading

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Clumsy Lovers’ Barnburner

The Clumsy Lovers play raucous, uptempo Celtic-based rock with all kinds of Pacific Rim influences. Based in the Vancouver, B.C., area, the Lovers incorporate Californian and Hawaiian folk-rock, reggae and ska into their lively musical brew. The band writes much … Continue reading

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Rambling House’s Demo EP

So an unassuming little CD that (unusually) came my way by direct courtesy of Green Man‘s Chief Editor, Cat Eldridge. It’s a four-track ‘demo’ CD by an Australian band called Rambling House, whose membership (according to the booklet) comprises: ‘Paul’ … Continue reading

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Karan Casey’s Songlines

Songlines is Casey’s solo debut album, after her work with the Irish American traditional group Solas. It is produced by Solas founder Seamus Egan (tin whistle, flutes) with assistance from fellow band members Winifred Horan (fiddle) and John Doyle (guitar), … Continue reading

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Eliza Carthy’s Angels & Cigarettes

Eliza Carthy is the crown princess of English folk music. Her mother Norma Waterson, has been singing traditional music her whole life, and her father Martin Carthy is a seminal guitarist/singer whose arrangement of “Scarborough Fair” gave Paul Simon his … Continue reading

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Eliza Carthy’s Rough Music

Eliza Carthy is a fiddler, singer and folk babe extraordinaire. Rough Music is her latest album. Released in 2005, it’s taken a while for us to review it because…well…I guess I would rather listen to it than write about it! … Continue reading

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Humbird’s Pharmakon

This new album by Humbird is promoted as “experimental.” At first blush, it sounds anything but. Humbird is a project of Minneapolis-based singer-songwriter (and pizza waitress) Siri Undlin, working with several other local musicians. As the album opens on an … Continue reading

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Steeleye Span, Trinity Theatre & Arts Centre

Tony Wighton contributed this review. Trinity Theatre / Arts Centre, Tunbridge Wells, England. 2nd October 1998…. The first UK gig of Steeleye Span since Maddy Prior left in October 1997. Well, having given the new album a good airing I … Continue reading

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Steeleye Span on The Reunion Tour

Being an ardent fan of the band for the past 35 years, a chance to go and see them again was just too good to pass up. My home is in Chester, which is only about 35 miles away from … Continue reading

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