Archive for the ‘Americana’ Category

Hope and Desire – Susan Tedeschi | CD review

 (Verve/Universal) 4 stars If they held a blindfold test for `Hope and Desire’, you’d swear it was Bonnie Raitt singing. Susan Tedeschi has that same, frayed-edge, gospel-inflected vocal style, a stinging electric guitar attack and covers the blues-roots spectrum.

Stumble Into Grace – Emmylou Harris | CD review

(Nonesuch) 5 stars In 1995, after two decades of successful country/folk recordings, Harris embarked on a ground-breaking covers project with the Daniel Lanois-produced `Wrecking Ball’, redefining her as a performer. More impressive still was 2000’s `Red Dirt Girl’ (aided by Lanois protégé Malcolm Burn), featuring an array of original songs, but `Stumble Into Grace’ must […]

Chavez Ravine — Ry Cooder | CD review

(Nonesuch/WEA) 4 stars More a music documentary than conventional album, Ry Cooder’s `Chavez Ravine’ revisits a forgotten Mexican-American district of Los Angeles, bulldozed in 1950 through political chicanery, to provide a stadium-home on the west coast for New York’s Brooklyn Dodgers baseball team. Inspired by period photos, Cooder explores, through 15 songs in Spanish and […]

Let Them Talk – Hugh Laurie | CD review

(Warner Music) 4 stars Hugh Laurie is a modern renaissance man: an actor, academic, athlete (he rowed for Cambridge University) and, as this debut recording reveals, is also an accomplished musician. If you’ve followed the lanky Laurie’s career, his musical penchant will come as no surprise.  

Mojo – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers | CD review

(Reprise) Tom Petty’s last studio outing with the Heartbreakers was nine years ago, although he did collaborate in 2008 with the band’s guitarist Mike Campbell and pianist Benmont Tench, reviving their pre-Heartbreakers line-up to record the self-titled ‘Mudcrutch’. Understandably, some of that raw rock ethos has carried through to Petty and the Heartbreakers’ latest, ‘Mojo’, […]

Band of Joy – Robert Plant | CD review

(Decca) Avoiding the temptation to recycle his back-catalogue, English blues-shouter Robert Plant has ranged far and wide in his recent exploration of genres, from world music to the collaboration with Alison Krauss, Raising Sand. Now, in a deliberate step away from that Grammy-winning roots pairing, Plant delivers Band of Joy, a solo offering named after […]

Clapton – Eric Clapton | CD review

(Reprise) Eric Clapton’s solo albums have been rarities recently but the latest, produced by co-guitarist Doyle Bramhall II, is one of his more satisfying and diverse studio outings. Mostly covers, the self-titled, 14-track collection embraces blues, popular songs and New Orleans jazz. In addition to his core rhythm trio (drummer Jim Keltner, bassist Willie Weeks, […]

Time Stands Still – Chris Smither | CD review

(Shock) PERENNIAL United States troubadour Chris Smither continues to delight folk-blues fans with incisive lyrics and melodic hooks, underpinned by a monster finger-picking technique. This album, although a shade below 2007’s dazzling Leave The Light On, is still impressive. The 11 studio tracks were recorded over four days with producer-guitarist David Goodrich and percussionist Zak […]

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