That’s Enough For Now - Keith Hays | A Little Anonymous Music (Anon)
Wednesday, October 11, 2017
The musical soul that lifelong musician Keith Hays shows in this record is breathtaking.
Cat Stephens drifts in…
As do Jackson Brown vibes…
And a big connection to the late Greg Lake…not to mention Jim Croce lyrically and vocally.
Fact is, every musical creative mind is a mix of the various musical elements it has soaked up through the years.
Keith penned and played everything on this cd…from very nice guitar, prominent piano playing, and very good percussion, with a couple of the songs co-written by Lyman Ellerman and Glenn Simmons.
Most of the songs are accompanied by his excellent guitar work, which combined with his vocals make the nut.
A multi-instrumentalist and composer, I don’t get the impression that he loves to hear himself sing. But his voice is his most impressive instrument…from soft and melodic to exact harmonies, adjustable by only the imagination.
I suspect that Keith sought to make a record one might go off in a corner with alone. It is definitely not a party record.
There are 11 tunes on this cd, and they flow well together. And that’s just fine…some of my favorite records are like that: Cat Stephens’ Tea For The Tillerman, Carole Kings’ Tapestry, Simon & Garfunkels’
The title tune, “That’s Enough For Now”, goes right into my soul. The fact is that artists of all types occassionally drift into stress-related melancholy…a touch of Van Gogh.
Fact is, very few cut off their ears in the process.
I personally believe that these artists are portals through which God speaks to regular people, and exists so that the father/mother can communicate surrepticiously through artists to His or Her children, thereby making it, essentially, Divine in nature.
All together, That’s Enough For Now is an excellent collection of music.
Ten Penny Gypsy | Indie
Wednesday, October 11, 2017
Recorded at Admiral Bean studio in Loxley, Alabama, these musicians create some beautiful music.
Laura Lynn Danley and Justin Patterson are Ten Penny Gypsy, and together they created a fun and relaxing record.
All the songs are original, and downright pleasant and peaceful across the board.
Both are excellent vocalists, and their harmonies fit together like a musical glove.
A throwback to Sonny & Cher, Laura Lynn’s vocals combined with Justin’s playing are a perfect combination of music and poetry.
Add in the guitar, bass, drums and various percussion work by A. Crawford, you have a musical journey to the stars.
There are 11 songs on this CD. And I predict there is a lot more. Indeed, they are most probably already getting in gear for their next project.
The feel of this collection is that it might never stop.
tenpennygypsy.com is where to find them.
This recording was produced, engineered and mixed by veteran recordist Anthony Crawford.
If all you need from your music is excellent musicianship, tight harmonies, and a great energy overall creativity, check these players out first chance you get.
Southern Dreams - Dave Miller | Howling Dog Records
Wednesday, October 11, 2017
This cd arrived out of nowhere, and it has been a favorite of this office ever since.
It basically is relaxed sweet country music, delivered by the humble voice of Dave Miller.
The musicians are all experts in their fields, including Don Richmond on acoustic guitar, fiddle, mandolin, pedal steel, organ, mandolin and dobro; Rob Bosdorf, electric guitar and vocal harmonies; Charley Johnson, bass; Jim Turnbull, on drums.
If I had to pick a favorite, it would have to be "Counting On Love", obviously written for his true love partner.
It's difficult to pick a favorite, though, because this record us a collection of fine songs. It is correctly a fine collection of tunes, which any good album should be.
Recorded at Howlin' Dog Studio in Alimosa, Colorado, and mastered at Yes Master in Nashville, this is a collection of 12 tunes, all penned by Miller.
One great thing about this cd is that it comes with a booklet including credits and lyrics. While we can understand Dave's voice just fine, it's not the case with many of the recordings we receive. (Think about Whoopie Goldberg in trying to guess Mic Jagger's vocals in the movie Ghost…)
For further information, and to buy this for your musical collection, please visit davemillercountry.com
Looking Out For Dry Land - Joey Farr & The Fuggins Wheat Band | Indie
Wednesday, May 17, 2017I can't help hearing Donovan's song "Atlantis" when I hear this song. It makes sense really, because Joey Farr, like many of us, has been inspired by literally all the music he has heard. It soaks into the musician's mind, and all the wonderful music he has heard in his life has become the virtual elements of future musical endeavor's much like the wooden walls of the White Water Tavern, that has soaked up music from the thousands of artists who have performed there for decades. "Dinosaur Blood" rocks from start to finish, and shows the very nature of Joey's band. The drum tracks alone leave me gasping for breath and then drifts into a wonderful Reggae song called
"Trickle Down" enough to make Bob Marley dance in his lustrous grave.
"Caving In" gives the ultimate personal expression of the music bidness as we have come to know it's a drifting cataclysm of an ever-changing industry that was born and has grown up within our lifetimes and is still finding itself.
"Mama Said" combines that fact, and is no relation to Merle Haggards' "Mama Tried" at all.
This EP started out as an entire album, but due to Joey's musical integrity was recently demoted into becoming a 5-song release.
Joey Farr is a stupendous musician, and there seems to be everything here for ultimate success in this business across the board.
To purchase this recording please visit joey.farr.bandcamp.com. For the real treat, though, catch any Joey Farr shows in person and make sure you have him and the rest of the band autograph the copy. Buy two, in fact and put one away. In a few years you'll be able to make a fortune selling it on eBay.
For more information, visit joeyfarr.bandcamp.com or call Joey at (479)883-4640.
All The Fish Are Hoppin' - Dan Beck Band | Indie
Wednesday, May 17, 2017A "swinging set of blue jazz" is how this record is appropriately described on the liner notes
And it really IS, too. From the moment of the first listen, I was amazed at the instrumentation, the production and virtually all the music here.
In ways it is memorable of It's A Beautiful Day, the rocking jazz/blues presented by David LaFlamme from the early 70s. "Time And Sparing" starts out the collection of 9 songs with a suitable soft jazzy feeling, completely full of paraplegic jazz chording and off-the-wall jazzy guitar licks playing through.
"Radio Song" is next, being perfectly in line with the energy. It's as if Steely Dan went back in time to produce the final notes of Aja, ones too complicated for Fagen and Becker to handle at the time.
The entire collection is downright intriguing music, with superb accompaniment: in addition to Beck on lead guitar and vocals, Dave Prentice on drums, Robert Rosett plays saxophone and flute, Tyler Reilly plays violin, and Pablo Nu on electric bass, and sitting in on percussion are Macucho Bonilla and Sebastian Marchevsky.
Beck wrote all tunes with the noted exception of "California Dreamin'" and they present the most haunting jazz version I've heard of that song, including my own rendition years ago.
Altogether, the collection of songs is smooth and relaxing, yet very danceable in a slow romantic way.
If you like well-done jazz, excellent lyrics and finely recorded and presented jazz/blues, you will play this recording over and over again. It will be a great addition to your music collection, I promise.
For more information, and to purchase this cd, please visit www.danbeckmusic.com or call (831)540-8919.
The Wildflower Revue - The Wildflowers | Indie
Tuesday, April 18, 2017This much-awaited recording arrived just yesterday and is already nearly worn out. The trio is comprised of songbirds Mandy McBryde, Amy Garland Angel and Bonnie Montgomery, and it rocks and rolls right into my soul. All three singers are as good as good gets.
To borrow from their press notes:
"This southern girl-group debut, overflowing with mountain melodies, hillbilly harmonies and epic tales of sin-soaked outlaw heroines, is an exquisite homage to traditional country folk Americana roots music, with a unique and current texture all it's own." I couldn't have said it better.
Recorded lovingly by Barry Poynter, and accompanied by many good musical friends like guitar and mandolin monster Nick Devlin, keyboardist Jeff Coleman, drummer Bart Angel, bassist Brent LaBeau, steel player Matt Stone, banjo player Steve Brauer, and stomps and claps by Wildpeople, the cd is a collection of 13 tunes written just for this record.
It is definitely a project done of love…the band rarely appears, since each of the players have many other music careers. Their debut recently occurred at the fully renovated Dreamland Ballroom, and they have another concert planned for April 21 at the Ron Robinson Theater in the Market Place.
If you like great music produced by real no-nonsense music professionals, this cd needs to be in your collection.
Blues Habits - Brick Fields | Indie
Monday, April 17, 2017From the first note the music and feel of this record draws the listener in. Of course, Rachel's voice tends to do that anyway, but when you toss in extremely tight musicianship you have a real winner.
To say Rachel Fields is a strong vocalist would be a misnomer. She's in the ranks of the best…Aretha, Billie, Etta James, Bessie Smith to modern-day Janis Joplin, Koko Taylor, and Bonnie Raitt…Her emotionally charged vocals are like nothing else. Her ability to convey the meaning of every song with an emotional depth that is unmatched makes her a truly unique world-class talent.
Her rendition of Tony White's "Polk Salad Annie" is the most exciting version of this tune I've ever heard…and I've seen Tony and Elvis do it in person.
Kicking off with their own version of "This Train", Brick Fields owns the traditional tune as their own.
Following it up with Little Brother Montgomery's "Vicksburg Blues", complete with Dixieland elements, the cd steps up the stairs one step at a time.
The list of various players on the album is as long as a well-rope.
Kevin Bonner plays the drums; John Davies and Vince Turner handle the bass; Larry Brick, Jude Gold, Isayah Warford and Rachel Fields do the guitar work; Danny Timms contributes all the excellent keyboards; Ben Sass does harp; while Rachel Fields is a hard-core blues vocalist, she is joined throughout by Rain Equine, Ocie Fisher, Tori Rudolph, Kevin Bonner, Jim Mills and Andy Green; Rachel contributes the flute; Rick Salonen does the clarinet and Jeff Grey blows in the trumpet.
Blues Habits was recorded at Crisp Studio in
Fayetteville, and quite frankly could have easily been done at Muscle Shoals or Abby Road. It's that good. Engineering was by Darren Crisp (who, with this record, in my mind, obviously is channeling George Martin).
The album was produced in Arkansas by Andy Green.
Please visit www.BrickFieldsMusic.com for details and to order Blues Habits, and to connect with this excellent album and band.
The Strangest Times - Trout Fishing In America | Elixir Records
Sunday, April 16, 2017This is the 24th album to be released by this band. And about the 224th time I've written how good they are, too…
Keith Grimwood and Ezra Idlet have been a part of the Nightflying family since 1980. Originally from Houston, they relocated to the Altered State and made it their home.
The Strangest Times is a collection of 12 songs. Ranging from country to folk ballads to even Reggae, the Trout boys have scored again in a big way. To borrow from the press released that arrived with the cd, the songs "explore a wide range of feelings and musical styles that blend seemlessly into an inspired and cohesive work."
"When The Fog Rolls In" is a dynamic combination of breathtaking musical accompaniment between guitar and bass and vocal harmonies.
"Where's Your Mama" returns to the jazzy swing the band is famous for, combining rock, roll, blues and Texas-swing…as if somehow Stevie Ray Vaughan made love with Bob Wills and created a Gatemouth Brownish offspring in the Ozarks.
The entire cd is a beautiful set of songs. It's been played repeatedly in this office since arriving. I suspect, as all of Trout's products through the years, it will be worn out (and we'll have to request second copies.)
"Boat On A String" brings in the excellent music of JT Huff, and could have even been a good title for the whole collection.
This cd adds yet another chapter for these wonderful musicians.
Visit www.troutmusic.com to connect with their fishy world, or call (479)761-3630.
Arkansas Amplifier - Jesse Dean | Indie
Sunday, March 19, 2017This is the best CD I've heard in years! I don't know Jesse in person yet, but after putting this on the player the entire Nightflying staff got turned on, were dancing around and singing along.
Unlike most of the records turned in for review, the cd has been played and re-played several times, too.
We will have a feature article about this in the near future, but for now all I can say is WOW!
Tight harmonies, elaborate arrangements, and 11 really original songs form a very tight set. Jesse, of course penned all of them, and played most of the instruments on it too.
It's a bit hard to describe the music in words…
It's like a combination of Steely Dan meets Simon & Garfunkle, with plenty of Sting, Grateful Dead and Santana tossed in for good measure.
I know…sounds too good to be true, especially considering it's a local artist…But, hear it once and you'll be blown away. I promise…
The list of other musicians who've handled some tracks is long as a well-rope of some of Arkansas' best musicians: Earl Cate, John Davies, Darren Novotny, Ricky Erke, Danny Timms, Bruce Allen, Vince Turner, Kevin Carl Donner, James Nicholson, Sara Yingling, Tyler Bame, Emma Yingling, Leslie Yingling.
One of the cool things, though, is that this album is much more than the sum of its parts. All the ingredients tightly blend to feature an album that is an entirely new musical experience, much like Dark Side of The Moon and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was for many…it is a tightly knit collection of tunes in one package that doesn’t just entertain, rather, it draws into and soothes your musical soul.
Jesse Dean has launched his recording career in a big way with this album.
Ghosts - Gil Franklin Band | Indie
Friday, March 17, 2017I've been following Gil Franklin's music since back in the 80s. I've even produced albums for him, starting out with the amazing Live At The White Water collection which led them to perform at the world-famous Antone's in Austin as the Nightflying SXSW showcase band.
Here's Franklin 25 years later with another very excellent recording, albeit a solo effort.
He voice is still one of the best white boy blues voices I've ever heard…and his guitar and slide work are even better than I remember - and I was always blown away back then.
This is a collection of his best 15 songs…out of thousands he's written. The tune "You People Worry Me" was co-written by Gil, Jim Harlow and Dan Socoloski.
"Dark Hollow Blues" still remains the sheer character of his overall musical approach. However, certain of these songs are far more than the normal chords, lyrics and instruments. There's a great deal more developed musical content, complete with touches of jazzy rock in general…
"Restless" brings to mind personal interrogation of one's soul. His slide work here is quite inspiring and ultimately dreamy. "Time has it's way…it drifts away from day to day…"
These CDs are available at Arkansas Record & CD Exchange and certainly at any Gil Franklin band appearance.
A footnote here: both these records were recorded and produced by Jason Tedford at Wolfman Studios. His production captures the essence of both artists and is, in a word, superb.
Better Than I Thought It Could Be - Brian Nahlen | Indie
Wednesday, March 15, 2017This 6 song cd is a collection of Brian's tunes.
Soft, thoughtful and very well played, the recording produces a deep and serious collection of Brian's music, albeit a short one.
Brian plays throughout Central Arkansas often. Catch him at Dugan's, Cajuns Wharf, Reno's and other clubs on a regular basis, frequently onstage alone or with partners such as Nick Devlin…or with a full band if the gig requires it.
"Honey Babe" is a beautiful love song to his 'main squeeze'. She must be very proud.
"Nation of One" has the full implementation of a complete band, and is very impessive… It sounds very Steely Dan'ish, complete with unusual chords and with off-the-wall harmonies and cross-chord harmonies. This song alone might really launch his recording career, but is enough to make him stand out as a serious composer.
"Don't Lose Sight," featuring Brent LaBeau and Stephen Winter, is just what it describes: a relaxed approach to the importance of self-confidence toward achievement of your dreams…and holding on no matter what it takes.
"Devil's Smile", features the devilish horn work of Dave Williams II that really brings the music out. It brings out the sax work of no less than Satan himself.
The title song, "Better Than I Thought It Could Be" is musically fun…cute and rambunctious might be a better description, complete with multi-vocals and a strong chorus.
The cd was recorded and produced by both Brian and recordist/musician Jason Tedford, at Wolfman Studios, and officially released in November of 2016.
For further information, please visit www.briannahlen.com. For booking information, call (501)590-1319.