Monday, January 16, 2006

This Weeks Play List

Beth Hart – Live at Paradiso (2005) This is Beth at her best; full of energy and power with the voice that… Well, let’s put it this way; It should have been Melissa Etheridge and Beth Hart instead of Joss Stone singing the tribute to Janis Joplin at the Grammy’s last year. She is that good. The in between chatter is pretty funny when held up against the singing on this CD. But she is so sincere and truly so excited to be performing for the crowd. After you’ve finished devouring this CD, pick up the DVD which will blow you away even more. Like so many good artists these days, she is taking the small/indie label route. You can purchase her CDs at www.bethhart.com .

Jill Sobule – The Folk Years (2004) The title is a bit of a joke. But I’m not joking when I say that Jill is one of America’s unknown treasures and one of our finest songwriters. Some of this CD ended up on her fabulous “Underdog Victorious” CD from 2004 and others we thought we would only hear in concert (Que Sara Sara and Sunrise/Sunset are such unusual covers in this rock in roll age). It is just more essential music that you should have in your CD collection. For more info, you can go to Jill’s website at www.jillsobule.com .

John Mayer Trio – Try! (2005) and Ryan Adams – 29 (2005) In some ways it is fitting that I add the John Mayer Trio CD and Ryan Adam’s last CD of 2005, “29” on the same play list. Ryan Adams has been accused of sounding like whoever he happens to be listening to at the time. If that is true, he has been listening to the Grateful Dead lately. John Mayer’s guitar playing not only sounds like Stevie Ray on Try!, even his voice when he is talking to the audience seems to have changed to fit the music. What is important here though, is that these two men do not care about labels. Playing the music they want to play is more important to them than pop stardom. And you have to give them both a lot of credit for that. This is Ryan’s second best CD of 2005, again with some of the songs having a very strong Dead sound to them. John’s CD is heavy on guitar and blues rock. He’s got the chops to play it and it is so funny to hear the girls screaming after songs they might not have been caught dead listening to a year ago. Neither album blazes any trails, but they are nice divergences (although in Ryan’s case every CD seems to be a divergence these days) from their more popular sounds.

KPRI – Live Tracks Volume 3 (2005) and KFOG – Live From the Archives 12 (2005) California is doing its best to keep up with the live CD compilations. San Diego’s KPRI and San Francisco’s KFOG have done an excellent job of putting together good live cuts.

Sylvia Tosun – Jump In (2005) Powered partially by Emil and Julie, two of the key songwriters for October Project, Sylvia has created a beautiful CD. If you like October Project, Sylvia’s beautiful voice and the lush production will win you over. www.sylviatosun.com

The Secret Policeman’s Third Ball (1987) A rare Kate Bush performance. Joan Armatrading, Peter Gabriel, Jackson Brown and World Party perform. Need I say more?

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