Music of the Moment – September 2017
August 30, 2017 - 3:51 pm
Chicano Batman – Freedom is Free
Well, you know, they’re sort of like a funk band with this cool lackadaisical Marvin Gaye thing going on and some Santana mixed in there, too. No, they’re not that new, almost going on ten years as a band. Freedom is Free is actually their third album. Yes, they have something to say. Check this out: “You got your guns up on display / But you can’t control how I feel, no way / ‘Cause freedom is free / And that’s the way it’s always gonna be.” Yeah, you definitely can dance to them.
The War on Drugs – A Deeper Understanding
The fourth studio album, A Deeper Understanding, from Philadelphia’s The War on Drugs is flat our superb. In fact, it actually sounds like an album; not a collection of singles, not a couple of good songs surrounded by filler, but something to actually sit and listen to and just maybe even get lost in. Founder and front man, Adam Granducielo continues to flash his influences, whether it’s his Dylanesque vocal delivery or the textured layers of synth and guitar of 1980’s era Peter Gabriel or Dire Straits, to the sonic roots-pop experiments of Wilco, yet from the very first note it’s unmistakably a The War on Drugs record – I cannot think of higher praise.
Gregg Allman – Southern Blood
Southern Blood is a remarkable exit mundi from iconic singer, songwriter and southern rocker Gregg Allman. He recorded it at Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals – where as a young man with brother Duane he would record as the pre-Allman Brother’s band Hour Glass. Duane was playing on sessions behind Aretha Franklin, Otis Rush, and Wilson Pickett, at the time, so it seems fitting that Gregg fills this final album was perfectly chosen covers from Willie Dixon, Lowell George, Bob Dylan and the Grateful Dead. Produced by Don Was the album smartly keeps Mr. Allman’s still-formidable vocals at the forefront. This is not so much a farewell, but rather a sendoff; a roar into the darkness.
Eilen Jewell – Down Hearted Blues
Eilen Jewell often works in the murky territory between the blues and honkytonk and rockabilly. Spiritually, the differences are slight as the music takes off from more-or-less the same place, but the band’s affection for minor keys, Eilen’s supple vocals, and Jerry Miller’s dazzlingly guitar work make for a raucous and gritty album that that jumps beyond its retro leanings and raves off into a humid summer night. As intentions go, this one nails it.
Eddie Adcock – Vintage Banjo Jam
After listening to (and rejecting) Vintage Banjo Jam Chet Atkins wrote to banjo master, Eddie Adcock, that he liked his guitar playing. Chet probably had a pretty good laughed as he wrote that, too. Eddie recorded this solo album in 1963 while he was still playing with The Country Gentlemen. He got a little help from Pete Kuykendall, Tom Gray, and jazz drummer Barry Worrell. On one hand, Chet was right, this odd album full of groovy instrumentals wasn’t really bluegrass or jazz or country, so it’s hard to imagine it finding a commercial niche during the burgeoning Nashville Sound scene of the early 1960s. That said, these tunes are weird and funky and should delight most bluegrass pickers. Especially those hungry for some new-not-so-new licks. Ironically, Eddie’s picking reminds me most of Jerry Reed – a good pal of Mr. Atkins. Eddie was just before his time.
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