There’s an easy test to apply to a compact disc to determine its worth: can you listen to it from front to back without skipping a track. Ask yourself, "can I really listen to this CD all the way through?"
On his latest release, Yell Fire!, Michael Franti and Spearhead have made a record that passes that test.
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The last recordings Johnny Cash made with producer Rick Rubin come to light on American V: A Hundred Highways. While this is not the best album Rubin put together with the country superstar, it certainly is a gripping piece of work.
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Highway Companion returns Tom Petty to finish his trio of solo recordings that included Wildflowers and Full Moon Fever. Joining him once again on this journey is ELO mastermind and producer Jeff Lynne.
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Ryan Adams & the Cardinals
by Anthony Pierce
Continue reading Ryan Adams rocks the Sonar
Ryan Adams & the Cardinals
Ryan Adams doesn’t get a whole lot of time to himself once he arrives to a venue. The singer-songwriter, self dubbed on “the edge of alt-country,” sits beneath the seat of his piano, left of center stage, legs extended, in silence. There is a peaceful aura surrounding the often times volatile 31 year-old rocker.
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Jazz to Funk captures jazz legend Herbie Hancock at the peak of his transitional period in the late 1960s when he was moving from the hard-bop sound he had helped establish with Miles Davis and moving towards a more funk-laden sound layered with deep rhythms that would find a home in his work during the 1970s.
This two-disc collection of outtakes and rare recordings finds Hancock backed by some of the era’s most legendary influential players, including Don Cherry and Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, Ron Carter on bass, and Jack DeJohnette on drums.
The first disc contains four rare cuts from a 1969 session with Albert “Tootie” Heath. Despite being originally listed as a side-man on the sessions, Hancock’s tasteful piano adds a swinging groove that takes center stage.
The second disc is a mishmash of outtakes from the 1966 soundtrack session for the film Blow Up. While not as hard hitting as the previous disc, it provides a good feel of the vibe and sound that helped define the time.
This collection is Hancock at his best, both as a player and as a composer. For those getting into Hancock for the first time (What took so long?), there are better places to start – namely his classic records Cantaloupe Island or Headhunters, but for those who have already gotten into Hancock then this collection is a must.
I’ve seen Peter Rowan enough times over the years to know that he is constitutionally incapable of playing a bad show. Like any artist however, some shows are better than others.
This set, recorded live at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in 1994, was one of those magic nights when the X-Factor was present. Rowan’s band that night, Crucial Country, might well have been called The Ringers. Sam Bush on mandolin, Jerry Douglas on dobro, Viktor Krauss on bass, Kester Smith on percussion and Larry Atamanuik on drums breathed not just life but fire into some of Rowan’s finest songs.
Drawing heavily from Rowan’s two early 90s gems, Dust Bowl Children and All On A Rising Day, Rowan and company also stretch out on in cosmic cowboy style on classics like “Panama Red,” and “Land Of The Navajo,” and reveal more tender, reflective and philosophical sides at other times.
During the one moment that starts to lag, a drum breakdown part of the way through an extended take on Bob Marley’s “No Woman No Cry,” the entire crowd began to sing the chorus creating a spine-tingling moment out of what could have been filler. A dozen years has done nothing to dim the magic captured on these tapes. It’s good Rowan finally allowed their release.