AWNA TEIXEIRA Wild One
Like Po’ Girl Awna Teixeira’s solo debut – Where The Darkness Goes (2012) – her follow up Wild One is a sparse, plaintive set.
For the most part written in Salt Lake City and reflecting on the landscapes and relationships Teixeira has made during her time in the high mountain desert, the multi-instrumentalist (acoustic and electric guitars, bass, piano, banjo, ukulele, pump organ, and keyboards) decided to record the album in her old home town of Toronto with a small group of North America’s finest musicians – Sly Juhas (drums), Ja Speed (electric guitars), Brian Kobayakawa (bass), Drew Lindsay (piano) and Oh Susanna (harmony vocals).
A beautifully restrained affair with Teixeira’s vulnerable vocals reminiscent of a young Stevie Nicks or Dolly Parton, the project was funded by the Canada Council for the Arts and will be toured throughout 2015 (including UK dates in March) under the banner of her Blue Heart On Your Sleeve Tour – to help raise mental health awareness through music.
Interestingly categorised on iTunes as ‘indie rock’, Wild One is release that will appeal to alt country aficionados and fans of minimalist artists like Damien Rice. ***
Review by Pete Whalley
KIMMIE RHODES Cowgirl Boudoir
The concept of a retro-cowgirl-hippie-chick musical experiment is an alluring one. Combined with the inner sleeve sentiment that ‘we’re in the fun business so if we’re not having fun we’re not doing our job’ you might expect the tantalisingly titled Cowgirl Boudoir to deliver an upbeat ride.
Sadly no, and while her 16th album since her 1981 debut does have some subtle echoes back to the sixties, Rhodes does not seem to subscribe to the new Nashville philosophy. Instead, she sticks to the script that country music is more about love lost than love found.
And while she may been having fun with the Sunbird Studios House band – who deliver an understated melange of steel guitar, dobro, ukulele, electric sitar, B3 organ and percussion – the combined effect with her fragile semi spoken vocals is a rather sombre and downbeat affair.
Despite critical acclaim, none of Rhodes previous outings have charted, and it’s difficult to see Cowgirl Boudoir breaking that trend. So unless the more purist aspects of country and western float your boat, it’s probably best avoided. **1/2
Review by Pete Whalley
PAUL BIBBY Invocations, Bliss & Lullabies (Dead Fly Recordings)
I am vaguely aware of Midwich Assembly, who produced the excellent ‘Bewilderland’ in 2012. Paul Bibby plays in that band and also in prog/punk specialists John The Baptist and The Second Coming. Whilst these may not be fantastic credentials, it’s evident that Bibby knows his way around a sequencer ot two.
The long (15 minute) opening track ‘Invocation’ holds the attention with an infectious ‘Relax’-style synth bass riff to create the groove for Bibby’s guitar excursion. Embellished with atmospheric “guitarscapes” it is a fascinating trip.
And this holds out for the rest of the album, new age synth soundscapes over a monotone beat, topped with guitar noodling. Only ‘Bartok’s Lullaby’ provides some respite and welcome key changes. ***
Review by David Randall
LYNYRD SKYNYRD Vinyl (Polydor/Universal)
Lynyrd Skynyrd’s studio and live LPs originally released between 1973 and 1977 are brought together in a box set for the first time. Each LP will have exact reproductions of original artwork and pressed to 180 gram heavyweight audiophile vinyl. These vinyl box sets have arrived as a lifeline to the big labels as they can cash in on the collectors demand and as can be seen in the past few years sales in the vinyl market are growing again.
The box set includes the albums, ‘(Pronounced ‘Lĕh-’nérd ‘Skin-’nérd)’ (1973), ‘Second Helping’ (1974), ‘Nuthin’ Fancy’ (1975), ‘Gimme Back My Bullets’ (1976), the double live album ‘One More From the Road’ (1976), and ‘Street Survivors’ (1977).
Their debut has enough classics on it that many bands would be lucky to produce in a lifetime, from the epic ‘Free Bird’ through to one of my favorite Skynyrd songs, ‘Tuesday’s Gone’. There is the rollicking ‘Gimme Three Steps’ too. Mind you the follow-up, ‘Second Helping’ has ‘Sweet Home Alabama’, a song more known to the general public than ‘Free Bird’ due to being used more on films and TV.
The band’s appeal is that their songs connected with their audience being tales of everyday folk and their lives, along with a few tales of caution like ‘The Needle and the Spoon’. Sadly tragedy struck with a plane crash in 1977 which killed band members vocalist Ronnie Van Zant, and guitarist Steve Gaines, along with backing singer Cassie Gaines. The band are still touring now and have released a series of albums since they reformed back in 1987, although they have some good songs none of the albums match these classics. Plus they are on quality vinyl another bonus for those after the perfect sonic experience of classic 1970′s southern rock.
For the fan and vinyl fan a perfect set of the band’s classic albums and era. ****1/2
Review by Jason Ritchie
In his show broadcast on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio on 10 May David Randall played a further selection of artists and albums included in the new Features series, “2020 Vision”.
Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
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Featured Albums w/c 25 May (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 FM Synchronized (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 THE ROCKET DOLLS The Art Of Disconnect (indie)
14:00-16:00 BEN KUNDER Searching For The Stranger (indie)
Power Plays w/c 11 May (Mon-Fri)
THE MERCY KILLS Alone (Golden Robot Records)
DEAD REYNOLDS By Your Side (indie)
THE JAILBIRDS Watery Grave (Golden Robot Records)
ALI MASS & MICKY MOODY These Times (Last Man Music)
MASSIVE WAGONS Bangin In Your Stereo (Earache)
UDO We Are One (AFM Records)
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