Current Album Reviews
Our take on some of the latest material from a variety of artists.
Ben Wilkins – self titled (Milagro) review The most melodic album of the year comes from a young songwriter from Canada. Ben Wilkins’ self-titled debut is full of memorable hooks and echoes of the past. His excellent piano work and pleasant vocals recall a time when singer/songwriters dominated the charts of the early Seventies. But, what truly makes this album a throwback is Wilkins choice of recording technique – choosing to utilize a real string section, horns and background vocals. This, intertwined with his keen melodic sense, make for an album that sounds incredibly fresh amongst all the digital sampling of today.
Maria Muldaur – Steady Love (Stony Plain) review It’s time to crown Maria Muldaur the queen of roots music. You can’t name another artist who so effortlessly shifts from classic style to classic style – managing to own every one of them. Last year, she ventured into jug band music; this year – she’s back to the blues with Steady Love. How does the 70-year old Muldaur, who’s been flying under the radar for years, manage to release the best blues album of the year?
Because, unlike so many others, she gets it.
Tommy Keene – Behind the Parade (Second Motion Records) CD review Most reviews about Tommy Keene usually start with some exclamation about how the particular writer is baffled by the artist’s lack of commercial success; how after all this time, he should be a household name and a fixture on any good music fan’s Ipod. Sure, it’s a head scratcher, but let’s concentrate on the things he has accomplished in his over 30-year career – releasing 15 critically-acclaimed albums, and every one of them, consistent as hell. Behind the Parade is yet another example of Keene’s excellent, melodic songwriting – full of tunes with chiming choruses, big drums, and excellent guitar fills.
Bob Seger- Ultimate Hits: Rock and Roll Never Forgets (Capitol) review
First-ever 2-CD set collects 24 Seger classics and two new tracks
I saw Bob Seger over the summer (see review here), and have NEVER heard a louder, more appreciative audience. The fact is, his success has only grown over the years. Part of his appeal is that he seems like an average guy – he isn’t seen hob-nobbing with Hollywood stars or selling his wares on cable TV. Perhaps that’s why his original Greatest Hits CD, released back in 1994, has sold a staggering nine million copies, making it the #1 Catalog Album of the Decade. But that set, with only 12 classic tracks and two new ones, always seemed to short-change the singer. Face it – you just can’t squeeze all of Seger’s great songs on a single CD. To remedy this comes Ultimate Hits: Rock n’ Roll Never Forgets, a two-disc set featuring 24 classic tracks and two recent ones.
Capitol Records is in the midst of a massive reissue program of the Pink Floyd catalog. Icon Fetch reached out to several veteran Dayton musicians to give their takes on their favorite Floyd albums. Nick Kizirnis has played in several legendary Dayton bands like Cage and the Mulchmen, and is currently doing shows with his own Nick Kizirnis band.
Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon (Experience Edition) (Capitol/EMI) review by Nick Kizirnis
Floyd’s “Dark Side” Experience release feels both nostalgic and new
I bought Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” LP at The Forest record store in Dayton, Ohio after hearing “The Wall” at a friend’s house. I thought “The Wall” was amazing, and I had to hear more.
Frank Sinatra – Best of the Best (Capitol / Frank Sinatra Enterprises) CD review Finally a collection worthy of the “Chairman of the Board.” Frank Sinatra recorded for a variety of record companies over his long career, making it difficult to track down his finest songs. Best of the Best comes to the rescue, marking the first time his most fruitful years with Capitol in the 1950’s and his own Reprise label of the 1960’s & 70’s have co-habitated on a single CD. Lovingly assembled by the Frank Sinatra Estate, The Best of the Best compiles 23 of Sinatra’s most treasured tracks.
Barenaked Ladies - Hits From Yesterday & the Day Before (Rhino) review by Jay Scott Scarborough, Ontario’s favorite sons find themselves anthologized for the second time in 10 years with Hits From Yesterday & the Day Before. This CD is not a companion volume to Barenaked Ladies’ first compilation, but an abbreviated, updated collection aimed mostly at newcomers. Its timing is anything but coincidental, as the featured rarity here is their wonderful theme from the hit television series “The Big Bang Theory,” currently the most-watched show in Canada, and also in its first year of global syndication.
Johnny Cash – Bootleg Vol III – Live Around the World (Columbia/Legacy) CD review We all could learn a lesson from Johnny Cash. As we continue to divide ourselves, politically and socially, it’s nice to be reminded of one performer who saw no such boundaries. Bootleg Vol III - Live Around the World, the third in a series of archival releases from the fertile Cash vaults, features the legendary “Man in Black” in a wildly diverse series of settings. Take, for example, his 1964 show at the famed Newport Folk Festival, where he’s brought on stage by left-wing activist Pete Seeger. Yet, just a few tracks away, Cash is introduced by President Nixon before launching into a performance at the White House in 1970.
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