I've got lots of new music on the way. Here are a few of new CDs you will hear on The Promise...
Kevin Gilbert - "Nuts" and "Bolts" (2009)
Kevin, the man behind Toy Matinee and one of the key songwriters in the Tuesday Night Music Club, has been gone over a dozen years, but he hasn't been forgotten. His estate has finally released some material that has been sitting in the vaults. These aren't half recorded, not quite ready pieces of music, but fully produced (and let's face it, when Kevin produced something it was FULLY PRODUCED) ready for release songs. In fact most of the first CD, "Nuts" is typical of the heavily produced songs from Toy Matinee (The last few songs are simpler productions though). "Bolts" is much more personal with Kevin mainly accompanied by either guitar or piano/keyboard with maybe some light percussion. Throughout the two CDs, the songs focus on life and relationships; which is probably why the people who are releasing these CDs consider them singer/songwriter CDs. The sound is very 80s, but the quality is there, both in the production and the writing. If you loved Kevin before, you will love these new/old CDs. Warning, if you only buy "Nuts", you will be mislead (on purpose) by the liner notes and you WILL buy "Bolts" just to see what she as talking about. You can find out more and buy the CDs here: http://kevingilbert.com/
James McMurtry - Live in Europe (2009)
The studio CDs don't begin to show you the power of his live shows. The problem with this CD is that some of the classics were saved for the DVD that comes with it (if you haven't seen him do "Choctaw Bingo" live...). So, at 8 songs, the CD is a bit short. The 6 songs on the DVD make up for it, if you like to watch your music. Still, it is hard to put down anything live by James. This was a nice addition to my JM collection.
Tinted Windows - Tinted Windows (2009)
There hasn't been a power pop band like this since... maybe The Knack. If that sounds horrible to you, then you will want to pass on this CD. But, if you love to hear that sweet vocal with the power chords and big drumming, then this is the CD for you. The surprise here is that this is actually a super band featuring Taylor Hanson from Hanson, James Iha from Smashing Pumpkins, Adam Schlesinger from Fortunes of Wayne and on drums Bun E. Carlos from Cheap Trick. This could be the next big band.
Sam Phillips - Cold Dark Night (2009)
Part of her Long Play project, there are a half dozen Christmas songs here. Now, I'm not one for Christmas songs, but Sam can make anything sound special to me and these songs prove that. The highlight is easily "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" which she originally recorded for the movie, "A Midnight Clear". This new arrangement is just as gorgeous.
Lazy Preacher - 4th and Independent (2009)
They are Orange County's little secret, and that's too bad. You might be tempted to call their music psychedelic folk, but putting labels on Lazy Preacher isn't easy. Let's see... I'd put them somewhere between Beck and The Moody Blues. How is that for a wide label. This new CD is more focused than "Fall Asleep When Awaking" and has a more consistent sound; nice acoustic guitar with good melodies and just enough strangeness to keep you on edge. One of my favorite indie CDs of 2009. You can find out more here: http://www.lazypreacher.comJay Farrar and Benjamin Gibbard - One Fast Move Or I'm Gone - Music from Kerouac's Big Sur (2009)
Big fans of Jack Kerouac, Jay (Son Volt) and Ben (Death Cab for Cutie) take Jack's words and create a brilliant folky/Americana CD. For me, the highlight is hearing songs that sound like Son Volt but have Benjamin singing (and vise versa). If you like either of these artists (especially Jay Farrar) check out this beautiful and touching tribute to the King of the Beats.
Matt Stansberry - Self Portrait EP (2009)
Some great hooks from this indie artist. "Love Struck" has hit written all over it. His people like to compare him to John Mayer, and... well, it seems to fit. Some really nice pop music. Find out more at http://mattstansberry.comMike Doughty - Sad Man Happy Man (2009)
I just love his style. This acoustic rock always seems on the verge of exploding. He can write, he can sing, he brings the melodies and he brings the energy. What else can rock and roll ask for? It is maybe a touch below "Golden Delicious", but them maybe I just need to listen to it some more, 'cause every time I do it keeps getting better. http://mikedoughty.com