Category Archives: Music

Tiny Ruins’ Olympic Girls

Hollie Fullbrook has an arresting, husky alto that makes her singing stand out immediately. Add that to her multi-faceted songwriting talents and a New Zealand “accent” that’s going to sound pretty exotic to American ears, and Olympic Girls, her first … Continue reading

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Yonathan Avishai’s Joys and Solitudes

For such an economical package — at eight tracks and just 55 minutes, it’s practically an EP by today’s jazz CD standards — Yonathan Avishai’s Joys and Solitudes is brimming with musical riches. On the strength of this album, the … Continue reading

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Johannes Brahms, Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D Major, Op. 77; Concerto for Violin, Cello and Orchestra in A Minor, Op. 102

There are certain artists whose work becomes an inextricable part of one’s life, whether it be a writer, a painter, or a composer. One develops a sense of the work, sometimes to the point where it all becomes one great … Continue reading

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The Transgressors’ They Made Her a Criminal

They Made Her a Criminal by the Austin-based Transgressors is sort of new and sort of not, depending on how you count these things. But its somewhat twisty release history pales in comparison to the deliciously tortured music this four-piece … Continue reading

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John Mailander’s Forecast

Fiddler John Mailander on his second full-length release Forecast is attempting to bridge the worlds of jazz, folk and Americana music – and pretty much succeeding. The Nashville-based fiddler has played with a who’s who of Americana artists from stalwarts … Continue reading

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Joseph Haydn’s Die Jahreszeit (The Seasons)

I’m always delighted and amused by what the eighteenth century — one of the most mannered and formal periods in Western history — considered “lacking in artifice.” However, whatever my personal opinion (coming, as it does, from a casual and … Continue reading

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Various Artists’ Ragas Live Retrospective, 2012-2017

The ancient musical form of the Indian subcontinent known as raga is experiencing a renaissance in New York. It’s been going on for at least a decade now, and in 2011 performers descended on a New York City radio station … Continue reading

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Jethro Tull’s Songs from the Wood and Heavy Horses (Reissues)

Over the past several years, many classic rock bands have been re-releasing their backlists, and Jethro Tull is no exception. Like most Tull fans, I already have these albums, in some cases in multiple formats, so I was initially skeptical … Continue reading

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Jethro Tull’s The Jethro Tull Christmas Album

Now I have to tell you, when I first saw this album listed on the Jethro Tull Web site I did a double take. I read it like this…The JETHRO TULL CHRISTMAS???? album? I was not the only surprised person … Continue reading

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Depeche Mode’s Playing the Angel

Somewhere along the line, I rediscovered Depeche Mode. I pretty much had everything available up through Depeche Mode 101 (which I didn’t think much of — it’s one of the worst live albums I’ve heard), but on a whim I … Continue reading

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The Beatles’ The Beatles and Esher Demos

Well here we are again, celebrating another 50th anniversary of a ground-breaking Beatles LP with a deluxe, remastered reissue. This time it is the double LP The Beatles, otherwise known as The White Album, the first proper album the Beatles … Continue reading

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Arthur Fiedler’s Hi-Fi Fiedler

Arthur Fiedler has the distinction of being the best-selling classical conductor of all time, due in no small part to his immense popularity as the musical director of the Boston Pops, a post he held for fifty years. His recordings … Continue reading

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Ian Anderson at the Beacon Theater, October 13 2009

There are many different stages to Ian Anderson’s seemingly endless artistry with Jethro Tull, the band with whom he is synonymous. There is the tramp/vagrant persona of the late 60s, the Aqualung character, the medieval minstrel of the early and … Continue reading

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Jethro Tull at Jones Beach, NY June 11, 2010

After more than four decades of making music, Jethro Tull still has the kind of magic that defines rock ‘n roll. Ian Anderson’s wild onstage antics may have mellowed somewhat over the years, but he is still shockingly agile and … Continue reading

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Terry Riley’s Lisbon Concert

One of the high points of my music-listening career, right up there with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with Irwin Hoffman performing the perfect Brahms Symphony No, 1, was the chance to hear Terry Riley in concert. For those who haven’t … Continue reading

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Ryley Walker’s The Lillywhite Sessions

It’s always interesting to find out what kind of music your favorite musicians were listening to as teenagers. Sometimes it’s surprising, like finding out that Chicago-based indie-folk-jazz-rocker Ryley Walker was a huge Dave Matthews Band fan in his mid-teens. Pretty … Continue reading

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Thick As a Brick 2: Whatever Happened to Gerald Bostock?

Forty years after the groundbreaking progressive rock classic Thick as a Brick, Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull brings us Thick as A Brick 2: Whatever Happened to Gerald Bostock? Is he Too Old to Rock n’ Roll? Hardly. This album … Continue reading

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Vaughan Williams’s Orchestral Works

Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) is certainly one of the foremost English composers of the twentieth century. Like many of his contemporaries – Bartók and Copeland come immediately to mind – he drew a great deal of his inspiration from folk … Continue reading

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Flash Girls’ Play Each Morning Wild Queen

“They talk about the Islands and they have been called Wild Queens. I wonder if they were not really Anne Bonney and Mary Read, those piratical dames, those buccaneer broads, those sword-and-knife wielding beauties of the Bounding Main. After all, … Continue reading

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Rachel Baiman’s Thanksgiving EP

A lot of American holidays have their own music, and every musician’s fallback is the Christmas album. But I can’t think of any Thanksgiving records, although I’m sure there are some in the contemporary Christian catalog. But we won’t go … Continue reading

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Folk Underground’s Buried Things

I must confess that Cat, our fearless editor-in-chief, handed me this CD and said, “You’ll like this, they’re fun”, or something to that effect. He knows my weird taste well enough that I could tell by the way he spoke … Continue reading

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Flash Girls’ Maurice & I

Judith Gennet penned this review. Emma Bull is a science fiction and fantasy writer, having published a number of sometimes odd works including War for the Oaks, Territory, and Bone Dance: A Fantasy For Technophiles. Lorraine Garland is a “comic … Continue reading

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Duchas’ Solstice

Naomi de Bruyn penned this review. Duchas, pronounced “du-kuss,” is an Irish Gaelic word meaning “heritage.” And this is what this high energy group from Connemara is playing: their musical heritage. This is their second release, and it is filled … Continue reading

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Burach’s Born Tired

Chuck Lipsig penned this review. Many forms of music have been fused with Celtic — hard rock, new age, jazz, and South American, just to name a few — with varying success. With Born Tired, Burach fuses with several styles, … Continue reading

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Ben Lennon & Friends’ The Natural Bridge

Judith Gennett penned this review. The Natural Bridge is a heavily traditional Irish album featuring septuagenarian fiddler Ben Lennon, a native of County Leitrim. Lennon’s friends include members of his Eighties plus traditional band Dog Big and Dog Little, all … Continue reading

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Jakob Bro at The Old Church, Portland, Oregon, October 28, 2018

The music that Danish guitarist Jakob Bro makes with his trio is paradoxical, such that much better music writers than I have difficulty describing it. He’s currently working with two Americans, bassist Thomas Morgan and drummer Joey Baron, with whom … Continue reading

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Kathryn Tickell’s Borderlands and Kathryn Tickell Band’s Kathryn Tickell

Kathryn Tickell has made a name for herself as well as working tirelessly to promote her instruments, the Northumbrian smallpipes. Coming from a family of musicians, she has extended her work into academia through her position at Newcastle University as … Continue reading

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Kathryn Tickell & Ensemble Mystical’s Ensemble Mystical

Naomi de Bruyn penned this review. I was looking forward to reviewing this CD with an anticipation I usually reserve for live gigs. The reason — a carynx is actually played on it! And I’ve wanted to hear this elusive … Continue reading

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Kathryn Tickell Band’s Air Dancing

In a far distant past (1986) I saw the then very young Kathryn Tickell charm an audience at Sidmouth Folk Festival with her Northumbrian pipes and her fiddle. She was named as one of the bright hopes for the future … Continue reading

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Bert Jansch’s Just A Simple Soul

Bert Jansch was one of the most iconic and influential folk musicians to come out of the U.K. in the 1960s. It’s shocking that it’s taken until now for the release of a career retrospective, but very welcome indeed is … Continue reading

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Icehouse’s Great Southern Land

First, a bit of history is in order: I first ran across Icehouse in the early ‘90s. One of the bartenders at my then-favorite watering hole had added “Love in Motion (No Promises)” to his mix, and the song just … Continue reading

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Engelbert Humperdinck’s Hansel und Gretel

The idea of making an opera out of a fairy tale was not unique to Engelbert Humperdinck (this is the nineteenth-century composer I’m talking about, not the mid-twentieth century crooner). Actually, in the case of Hansel und Gretel, it wasn’t … Continue reading

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Joni Mitchell Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970

Joni Mitchell’s 1970 Isle of Wight performance is captured in Both Sides Now, a fascinating historical document of the artist amid the chaos of this iconic festival. This film showcases Mitchell’s performance interspersed with behind the scenes footage, and gives … Continue reading

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Hazel Dickens & Alice Gerrard’s Sing Me Back Home: The DC Tapes, 1965-1969

The first time I listened to this CD with headphones, I nearly fell out of my chair when the second track, “Tell Me That You Love Me” began. I don’t believe I’d ever heard this old song before, although perhaps … Continue reading

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Engelbert Humperdinck’s Hansel und Gretel

The idea of making an opera out of a fairy tale was not unique to Engelbert Humperdinck (this is the nineteenth-century composer I’m talking about, not the mid-twentieth century crooner). Actually, in the case of Hansel und Gretel, it wasn’t … Continue reading

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Philip Glass’ In the Penal Colony

Philip Glass, bless his heart, keeps turning out operas, and with a couple of near-misses, they’re among the best in the contemporary canon. In the Penal Colony takes as its foundation Franz Kafka’s chilling short story of the same title. … Continue reading

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Qntal’s Qntal III: Tristan und Isolde

I long ago gave up apologizing for being a sloppy romantic. At my age, I figure I’m entitled. I also have a tendency, when the lists of CDs available come out from GMR, to get a little crazy and go … Continue reading

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Jakob Bro’s Bay of Rainbows

One of my favorite recordings of 2016 was the Jakob Bro trio’s Streams, which made me a big fan of this Danish guitarist. It also introduced me to the up-and-coming American bassist Thomas Morgan, who lately is on seemingly everybody’s … Continue reading

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Maddy Prior, Hannah James and Giles Lewis’ Shortwinger

Maddy Prior has been in the public eye for about 50 years. Starting out in a duo with Tim Hart, they both took part in starting Steeleye Span, the only folk rock band to make an impact on the singles … Continue reading

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John Corigliano’s The Red Violin Concerto

John Corigliano is widely considered one of the leading American composers of his generation, which includes such luminaries as Morten Lauridsen, Terry Riley, and Ned Rorem. Commentators have characterized his style as “highly expressive,” “compelling,” and “kaleidoscopic.” In addition to … Continue reading

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Courtney Hartman & Taylor Ashton’s Been On Your Side

Courtney Hartman and Taylor Ashton’s debut recording is an intimate affair, born of their close friendship and harmonious ideas about how they want to make music. Ashton, a Canadian, is a visual artist as well as a singer and songwriter … Continue reading

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Benjamin Britten’s Death In Venice

Many consider Benjamin Britten the most important British composer since World War II; indeed, some think him the most important since Henry Purcell. Although often thought an uneven composer, most writers in the area concede that his operas Peter Grimes, … Continue reading

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Aallotar’s Ameriikan Laulu

To me, the sound of a fiddle and accordion together is exemplary of folk dance music. So many European-based cultures have dance music traditions that feature these two instruments, from the Roma, Italians and French, to the English, Irish and … Continue reading

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Arvo Pärt’s Da Pacem

The music of Arvo Pärt, one of the best known contemporary composers, is something I’ve always found attractive. From my first recording of Passio, which was, believe it or not, my beach music for a whole summer way back when, … Continue reading

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Ian Anderson at the Beacon Theater

Fifty years ago, a group of young musicians from Blackpool released a record called This Was, launching the career of Jethro Tull, one of the most influential and original rock bands ever. This year, Ian Anderson is out on the … Continue reading

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Rachel Button’s Long Way Round

Rachel Button is a singer, songwriter, fiddler and vocal coach. She was born and raised in Britain but she has also lived in Vancouver and Nashville, where this EP was recorded. Rachel started out as a folk performer, but here … Continue reading

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Mark Turner & Ethan Iverson’s Temporary Kings

I was sad and a little concerned in 2017 when pianist Ethan Iverson left The Bad Plus, the modern jazz trio he helped found nearly 20 years ago. Not to worry, though. He left that ensemble in good hands with … Continue reading

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Philip Glass’ Symphony No. 7, “Toltec”

Philip Glass was invited to compose a work for conductor Leonard Slatkin’s 60th birthday season with the National Symphony Orchestra in 2005; the result was the Symphony No. 7, “A Toltec Symphony”, based on the wisdom tradition of the ancient … Continue reading

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McDermott’s 2 Hours v Levellers, Claws and Wings

If you’re thinking this a strange name for a band, you’re not alone, because so did I. But it’s the music that’s important, not what they want to call themselves. In fact, the album appears to be a collaboration between … Continue reading

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Primus’ video of Charlie Daniels’ ‘The Devil Went Down to Georgia’

Primus, a rock band from San Francisco, recorded this version of Charlie Daniels’ classic, which was released as a Claymation music video on their 1998 Rhinoplasty EP and its companion Videoplasty video album, and also re-released on their 2003 EP … Continue reading

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