I know. I know. These always start with, "I've been so busy" and "There is so much to catch up on". No excuses. We'll just get right in to it.
Bob Schneider - Lovely Creatures (2009)
This is Bob's best CD in years. Maybe his best since "Lonelyland". It is filled with hooks, has an optimistic up beat to it and yet somehow I love it. Seriously, it's a great sounding CD, closer to Lonelyland then the last few CDs, yet not at all like it. He decided to remake a couple of Scabs songs, and they are fine. But the treasures here are the new songs. I'm very happy knowing that I will be spinning most of this CD on The Promise. It has been way too long Bob. http://www.bobschneidermusic.com/
Suzanna Choffel - Shudders & Rings (2006)
While we're in Austin... If you read my blog post at ACL this year http://aclfestival.blogspot.com , you know that I fell for Suzanna's music live. And I am happy to report that the CD is really good also. There are some different players on this CD but the overall jazz/singer/songwriter sound is still intact. Suzanna sings like a sultry jazz singer. Her songs are sophisticated, surprising and yet familiar. This is a beautiful CD. It deserves your attention. http://www.suzannachoffel.com/
Sam Phillips - Hypnotists in Paris (2009)
For the first portion of Sam's "The Long Play" project we have 5 wonderful songs, including the brilliant revisiting of "I Don't Want To Fall In Love" from Sam's "Indescribable Wow". The project, a year long releasing of music, first on her web site and later on ITunes/Amazon/etc, should keep us Sam Phillips fans quite satisfied for some time to come. One of the 5 highlights (yes, I love every song on this EP), is Sam's love song to her daughter, "So Glad You're Here". Although there is a full band (Section Quartet) version of the song, she decided to release the piano version, which is so much more personal. For $52, you get 5 digital EP's and a digital CD over the next year (along with other fun stuff on her website). I highly recommend checking it out. http://samphillips.com/thelongplay/
Various Artists - The Best Is Yet To Come - The Songs of Cy Coleman (2009)
And speaking of Sam Phillips, she makes an appearance on this compilation of classics done in a modern style. The songs each have their singer's stamp on them, yet they remain true to the original versions. Besides Sam, there are excellent performances by Patty Griffin, Jill Sobule, Missy Higgins, Ambrosia Parsley, Madeleine Peyroux, Julianna Raye, Peria Batala, Sara Watkins, Nikka Costa, Sarabeth Tucek and two beautiful songs from Fiona Apple.
John Lefebvre - Psalngs (2009)
This would be really easy to dismiss, if it wasn't so darn interesting. John, who is awaiting trial in L.A. on gambling charges (he wrote payment programs for a gambling site), wrote a bunch of songs and then hired some of the best players in L.A. to create this CD. Actually, it is beyond a CD. It is all available for free download at http://www.psalngs.com/. The songs are actually pretty good. The singing is a little raw, but he has an interesting voice; one that you could get addicted to. The playing is top notch and this adds to the confusion. Did a great backup band make this more enjoyable or is it really the creation of a new exciting singer/songwriter. I'll leave it to you to decide. I will be playing a few of the songs on The Promise, so check him out.
Charlie Faye - Wilson St.
I saw Charlie Faye as an opening act at The Mint a couple of months ago. I didn't really hear any of it because of the crowd noise, but I heard enough to know there was something good going on here. I picked up her CD that night and have really enjoyed it. This CD can best be described as classic country rock with a solid rock edge and Charlie's sweet voice, making is as easy to swallow as a cold sweet tea on a hot Texas day. Songs like "Runaround" and "Jersey Pride" sound like they belong in another era. Actually, "Jersey Pride" reminds me a bit of Natalie Merchant. The songs will take you back without sounding old and dated. http://www.charliefaye.com
Mary Kastle - Another Swing (2008) / Fresh Air (2006)
These pair of EPs continue to show off the female/jazz/singer/songwriter in music today. It is an exciting area to watch as women such as Mary, with exciting voices and interesting arrangements challenge our rock and roll ideas. Songs like "Down the Wire", with the piano up front and a funky guitar in the background, make me glad I have the opportunity to get to share this music with you. Find out more about Mary Kastle at http://www.marykastle.com
More coming soon...