Tag Archives: music

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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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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Cliff Westfall’s Baby You Win

Been listening to the Cocaine & Rhinestones podcast and wonder where you can find some modern honky-tonk music like they used to make back in the mid-20th Century? Or maybe you just love the stuff and can’t seem to find … Continue reading

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Humphrey Carter’s Benjamin Britten: A Biography

Whatever one may think of Benjamin Britten’s place in the history of music, there is no doubt that his life provides a fascinating and insightful look into the place of the artist in the twentieth century. In Humphrey Carter’s biography, … Continue reading

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Duende Libre’s Drift

Drift is the sophomore release from the Seattle-based Latin-jazz/world music trio Duende Libre. It builds on the elements displayed on their self-titled debut, which was one of my favorite recordings of 2017. Duende Libre is composer and bandleader Alex Chadsey, … Continue reading

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Alan Trist and David Dodd’s The Complete Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics

I’m Uncle Sam that’s who I am / Been hidin’ out in a rock and roll band — ‘U.S. Blues’ by Robert Hunter What’s your favourite Dead song? Do you have a fair idea of what the lyrics for that song … Continue reading

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Ryley Walker’s Deafman Glance

I’ve been listening to Chicago-based folk-rocker Ryley Walker maturing his music since his first full-length All Kinds of You came out on Thompkins Square in 2014. He gained critical acclaim for his second Primrose Green the following year, with its … Continue reading

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Geoff Emerick’s Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of The Beatles

Geoff Emerick is one of the unsung heroes of The Beatles’ saga. Inveterate reader of liner notes that I am, I’ve been aware of his name for some time, but it tended to blend into the amorphous blob of names … Continue reading

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Various artists’ Swing West!

Country music and Nashville are synonymous, right? Wrong. Since the late 1940s, California, particularly Bakersfield, has been the breeding ground for its own strain of country music that stands outside of the mainstream flowing from Nashville. Razor & Tie, which … Continue reading

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Sarah Shook & the Disarmers’ Years

By the time we reach the second track of Sarah Shook’s new album Years, it’s already the second time she’s not just saying goodbye to a lover who doesn’t meet her standards, but saying, in effect, “get the hell out, … Continue reading

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King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard’s Polygondwanaland

King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard is a large Australian ensemble that is wildly prolific and insanely creative. In something like 13 albums since the band got together in 2010, they’ve plowed through styles that range from jazz fusion and … Continue reading

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Nona Hendryx and Gary Lucas’s The World of Captain Beefheart

It’s pretty audacious to record an album of Captain Beefheart’s music, but apparently guitarist Gary Lucas is that kind of guy. He comes by it honestly, though. He played in a late incarnation of Beefheart’s Magic Band in the 1980s, … Continue reading

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Eric Brace’s Cartes Postales

I’ve been reviewing the music of Eric Brace for perhaps 15 years now, and I didn’t think he could surprise me much. I’ve enjoyed him solo and in various permutations – with his band Last Train Home, with Peter Cooper … Continue reading

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The Weather Station’s self-titled album

Toronto-based musician Tamara Lindeman records and performs as The Weather Station. This self-titled album is her fourth release under that name, and it’s a bold, self-confident report back from the baffling frontiers of adulthood, relationships, independence, dependence and life in … Continue reading

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Ugasanie’s Border of Worlds

Ugansie is the name under which Russian musician Pavel Malyshkin creates his art, which is called dark polar ambient. Border of Worlds is his fourth release since he started making this kind of music in 2010. This one is focused … Continue reading

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Jackie Shane’s Any Other Way

I don’t feel too bad about not knowing who Jackie Shane is, because she’s mostly unknown outside of Toronto, where she had a brief career as a soul singer in the 1960s. But I do feel bad that I never … Continue reading

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Saffron Ensemble’s Will You?

I can’t get enough of the music made by Shujaat Husain Khan and Katayoun Goudarzi. Fortunately, they make a lot of music, whether as a duo or in ensembles with other musicians. The thread that runs through their music is … Continue reading

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Bert Jansch’s Living in the Shadows (Part 1)

Bert Jansch, who died in 2011, was quite a prolific musician for quite a long time. I was a rather casual fan of his — well, actually I was an intense fan of one of his albums, and a casual … Continue reading

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The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band 50th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition

Somehow 50 years have come and gone since Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was released. And unless you’ve been living in a cave (or have been too preoccupied with the intense political goings-on around the world in 2017), you … Continue reading

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Cats Laughing’s A Long Time Gone – Reunion at MiniCon 50

“Achievement unlocked!” I have to confess something to you.  The reason I asked to review this CD and DVD set wasn’t because I knew about the band.  It was because I like cats, and the band name is incredible.  So … Continue reading

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Toby Faber’s Stradivari’s Genius: Five Violins, One Cello, and Three Centuries of Enduring Perfection

One of the most shamefully puzzling phenomena in the history of our continual technological “progress” is the simple fact that a violin maker of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries manufactured instruments that no one has since been able … Continue reading

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Colin Symes’ Setting the Record Straight: A Material History of Classical Recording

One of the fundamental concepts of contemporary critical theory, whether it be post-modern, feminist, post-colonial, queer theory, or whatever subset one has chosen, is “discourse.” Discourse in this sense is not to be taken as mere converse employing words as … Continue reading

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Aseethe’s Hopes of Failure

Aseethe is a doom band from Iowa City, Iowa. I know hardly anything about the genre called doom, or drone, or any of the other darker-than-dark and heavier-than-heavy offshoots of metal. In fact I’ve never been much of a fan … Continue reading

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Transatlantic Sessions to perform at 2017 MerleFest

The Transatlantic Sessions tour will be part of the 30th anniversary MerleFest in April. The Transatlantic Sessions is a series of musical productions that brings together innovative and iconic U.K. artists with the best American roots artists, under the musical … Continue reading

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Tarkovsky Quartet’s Nuit Blanche

The French pianist François Couturier continues a project of more than a decade now of honoring the spirit of Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovksy (1932-1986). Nuit Blanche or White Night, by what is known as the Tarkovsky Quartet, is the fourth … Continue reading

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Slothrust’s Everyone Else

The music I find myself drawn to these days has at least some element of a drone in it. Sometimes that’s the comforting drone of hardangar fiddle in Nordic folk and jazz, the martial drone of pipes, the spine-tingling vocal … Continue reading

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Anna & Elizabeth’s Hop High b/w Here In The Vineyard

As they prepare for a short tour of venues in the Northeast and Northwest of the U.S., followed by a May 2017 visit to the U.K., Anna & Elizabeth are releasing an old-school seven-inch vinyl single that’s unlike anything they’ve … Continue reading

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Patricia A. McKillip’s The Bards of Bone Plain

I’ve noted before the importance of music in the works of Patricia McKillip. I’ve probably also said something about the poetic quality of her writing. I know I’ve mentioned the way magic infuses her stories, context rather than event. That’s … Continue reading

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Ryley Walker’s Golden Sings That Have Been Sung

Ryley Walker’s Golden Sings That Have Been Sung is a logical follow-up to his critically acclaimed 2015 album Primrose Green. The earlier release was noted for its almost spookily faithful homage to 1960s English folk-rock, particularly early Van Morrison. While … Continue reading

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Bert Jansch’s Moonshine

The year 1973 was not all that good a year for music, as far as I was concerned. There were a few bright lights, but mostly, the vibrant rock music of the late ’60s was morphing into bloated arena rock … Continue reading

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Marcel Khalife’s Andalusia of Love

Reams have been written about Lebanese musician, composer and singer Marcel Khalife, who is one of the most popular and controversial musicians in the Arab world today. He’s made his name by expanding the possibilities of the Arabian lute, called … Continue reading

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Various artists’ Valse de Noël, An Acadian-Cajun Christmas Revels

What a delightful way to end a year that was sometimes less than delightful. For 2016, The Revels has produced a program and CD of Acadian and Cajun music and dance. If you’re not familiar with The Revels (I’m not … Continue reading

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Michael Davidson’s The Classical Piano Sonata from Haydn to Prokofiev; Vlado Perlemuter and Hèléne Jourdan-Morhange’s Ravel According to Ravel

Music, among the forms of art, is a rather strange beast. It is ephemeral, subjective, almost completely dependent on interpretation, and, looked at logically, has no intrinsic meaning unless paired with a text (which does not keep us from responding … Continue reading

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Leonard Cohen’s You Want It Darker

I was in the middle of writing a review of Leonard Cohen’s You Want It Darker when news came on Thursday, November 10, of his passing earlier in the week. It was obvious from the songs on this remarkable album … Continue reading

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Wolfgang Muthspiel’s Rising Grace

Austrian-born guitarist Wolfgang Muthspiel has expanded the trio with which he cut his 2014 ECM debut as a leader, into a top-shelf quintet for Rising Grace, which has become one of my favorite jazz albums of 2016. To the rhythm … Continue reading

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Colin McPhee’s A House in Bali

Colin McPhee, a Canadian-American composer who had much more influence on American music than the body of his music might indicate (see Colin McPhee: Composer in Two Worlds by Carol J. Oja), left behind two books that were as influential, … Continue reading

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Carol J. Oja’s Colin McPhee: Composer in Two Worlds

The music of the East, particularly the gamelan of Indonesia, and even more particularly that of Bali, has a longer history of interaction with the music of the West than many might imagine. Claude Debussy first encountered the gamelan in … Continue reading

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The Nordic Fiddlers Bloc in concert

I usually don’t like it when a concert review is more about the reviewer than the musicians, so I’ll apologize up front. But this time, it’s kind of all I’ve got. The day started well enough (and – spoiler alert … Continue reading

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Waylon Jennings’ The Lost Nashville Sessions

They keep unearthing hidden treasures, in country music as much as in jazz. The latest, and apparently just the tip of the iceberg of this particular trove, is a parcel of recordings made by Waylon Jennings in 1970 as part … Continue reading

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Caleb Klauder & Reeb Willms’ Innocent Road

When you listen to an album and you can’t tell which are originals and which are classic country covers, that’s a good sign. I was pretty sure that the opening track of Innocent Road by Caleb Klauder & Reeb Willms … Continue reading

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Buckwheat Zydeco’s Lay Your Burden Down

I thought I had given up on zydeco. I first heard it in the late 1980s in the person of Clifton Chenier, the King of Zydeco. Also at about that time, I was fortunate to see in concert some superb … Continue reading

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Eljuri’s La Lucha

The New York-based guitarist, singer and songwriter Cecilia Villar Eljuri, who performs under the name Eljuri, compulsively fuses genres in a way that’s not entirely unusual for a Latino musician. She is, however, rather unusually a Latina rocker and electric … Continue reading

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3hattrio’s Solitaire

Hard on the heels of 2015’s eyebrow-raising Dark Desert Night comes 3hattrio’s third full-length release Solitaire. It’s named for Desert Solitaire, the classic 1968 book about dryland ecosystems by Edward Abbey. This stringband trio from the red-rock desert of southern … Continue reading

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William Tyler’s Modern Country

Guitarist William Tyler’s Modern Country was one of my favorite drive-time listens of the summer of 2016. I was so busy enjoying it, I didn’t get around to writing about it until now! First, about the title. It’s amazing how … Continue reading

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Daniel Lanois’ Goodbye to Language

Daniel Lanois’ name has become synonymous with sonic exploration. From his early electronic music collaborations with Brian Eno through his legendary production work with Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, U2 and more, to his own recordings, the Canadian-born musician has delved … Continue reading

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Y La Bamba’s Ojos del Sol

Lyrically, musically and thematically complex, Ojos del Sol represents a leap of creative faith by Luz Elena Mendoza, the Portland, Oregon-based singer-songwriter who leads Y La Bamba. Her previous efforts, including 2012’s Court the Storm have combined the rhythms, sounds … Continue reading

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Anna & Elizabeth’s Sun to Sun

Anna Roberts-Gevalt and Elizabeth LaPrelle took the folk music world by storm with their 2014 self-titled album. It made my Top 10 for the year and was similarly honored by media from American Songwriter to No Depression to NPR to … Continue reading

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The Traveling Wilburys’ Collection

The entire output of the supergroup known as The Traveling Wilburys is at long last available on various digital platforms. To mark the occasion Concord Music Group is reissuing this 2007 collection in a nice package that includes both of … Continue reading

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Wolfert Brederode Trio’s Black Ice

Two things stand out on Black Ice, the debut disc from the Wolfert Brederode Trio: The Dutch pianist’s strong melodic sense and the ease of interplay among the musicians, particularly Brederode and Icelandic bassist Gulli Gudmondsson. No surprise the latter, … Continue reading

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Golfam Khayam and Mona Matbou Riahi’s Narrante

Narrante is an utterly fascinating album, and it’s like very little else that I’ve ever heard. Golfam Khayam and Mona Matbou Riahi, who perform as Naqsh Duo, are Iranian musicians making their debut on the German jazz and classical label … Continue reading

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