Category: Reviews

Judith Owen – redisCOVERed

Owen is one of our favourite artists here at Just Listen To This – on account of her imagination, musical skills, choice of accompanists, beguiling voice, bravery and waspish humour.

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Jaki Graham – When A Woman Loves

British soul singer Jaki Graham has been in the music business for over forty years and she just has not stopped. Still touring today, Graham is the first black British female solo artist to have six consecutive Top 20 hits and now she has a brand new full-length studio album ‘When A Woman Loves’ to share with the world.

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The Nectars – Sci-Fi Television

The Nectars are a female-fronted band from New Jersey who went to New York and made a name for themselves in the underground music scene. The band are formed of vocalist Jessica Kenny, Mike Montalbano (drums/vocals), Jon Paul (bass) and Michael Baron (guitar).

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Hailey Tuck – Junk

I enjoy various genres and styles of music and I don’t really have a ‘favourite’ per se. However, I do like jazz and have been a fan of artists such as Gregory Porter and Jamie Cullum for several years. It seems like such ‘free’ genre of music which can take a listener to several places both psychologically and emotionally.

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Jon Allen – Blue Flame

Easily one of our favourite songwriters, Allen has a husky, soulful voice to be envied and a way with a tune. Females love his intimate delivery and the chaps marvel at his melodic and emphatic guitar playing and slivers of harp.

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My Indigo -My Indigo

There’s a rather unusual inspiration to this release, leading to an album that both had to be made and is something of a left turn. The act is fronted by Sharon den Adel, star vocalist and songwriter with Within Temptation, well-known to conneisseurs of Female Fronted Symphonic Metal groups.

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Mike Zito – First Class Life

Zito doesn’t go for that racing around, foot on the monitor, extreme face-pulling style of guitar. He just plays out and keeps his cool, channelling soul through his fingertips. Better still he doesn’t shout or groan, he actually sings..and if these comments puzzle you, you should hear a lot of the stuff we receive to review.

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Finbar Furey – Don’t Stop This Now

Long and deservedly a folk icon in Ireland and globally, hearing this very varied set of new songs from Finbar Furey is not just refreshing but really an intriguing pile of aural postcards that make the listener think as well as enjoy the singing, the melodies, the contribution of the players.

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Bernard Allison – Let It Go

Allison’s latest release arrives amidst extensive plans to tour. He’s never far from a stage and like dad Luther this seems to be his natural habitat, a chance to sing, play and connect with established fans and the uninitiated.

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John Mayall – Three For The Road

This release finds veteran Mayall leading a trio-format crew on various stages for this live album. Something of a departure as John usually has a hotshot lead guitarist on board, but this decision does mean that the three musicians have to adapt to the configuration and play out and it does bring something fresh out of the songs included.

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Simon Kent – In Another Life

When this singer-songwriter first came to our attention a few years back, we made a point of going to see him perform and have a chat with him. There are several influences wove into Kent’s individual style, one of which I thought was the edgy pop melodic roll of early Duran Duran.

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A Wrinkle In Time – O.S.T

A brand new Disney fantasy film arrives and with it a soundtrack album embracing the original scores for scenes by Ramin Djawadi and various key and supplementary tracks by a clutch of popular artists. The film release will take the story and all the music around the globe.

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Danny Bryant – Revelation

With Richard Hammerton again helming production, Bryant returns with a new studio album and digs deep for lyrical inspiration. Perhaps absolution, of a kind. His fiery and flexible guitar work is to the fore and again he is playing with colleagues who work for the song every time.

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Liv Austen – Don’t Regret A Single One (Single)

Austen’s bright country-influenced music was heard loud and clear at the recent Country2Country Festival out at London’s 02. With a sharp band behind her, a lot of empathy and accent on melody make the act listenable but retain the necessary punch to make this strand of music effective and crowd-friendly.

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Jesse Terry – Natural

This collection finds singer-songwriter Terry featuring many female singers is a set of duets. I recall the great Tony Joe White doing this a few years ago and it resulted in one of his best ever albums.

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Lydian Collect/ve – Adventure

This grouping comprises Aaron Wheeler, Todd Baker, Ida Hollis and Sophie Alloway with composition, production, recording and mastering down to Wheeler and Baker. There are guest singers and players on this release.

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Vanja Sky – Bad Penny

Ruf is a label has always had talented females on their roster. Vanja is from Zagreb in Croatia and started playing guitar five years ago. These recordings are the result of sessions in Stantonville and in Berlin with the renowned and experienced Mike Zito and Sky credits him with endless tips and help in getting these cuts down.

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Angel Forrest – Electric Love

This album release has two discs – both live – and mixing Angel’s own compositions with he own favourites from others. Forrest is a Canadian artist BUT has Irish, Welsh and Italian strands in her DNA.

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Jamie Williams And The Roots Collective – Diff’rent Gravy

One of the independent acts under the 3ms Music banner, this ensemble has singer and guitarist Williams as spearhead and stars harpist Nick Garner, guitarist Dave Milligan, son Jake Milligan as bassist and drummer Paul Madden. Jamie has a stockpile of own songs. The entire record has no shallow nods to trendiness or fashion, but centres on skilful band playing.

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Dita Von Teese – Dita Von Teese

I last saw Ms Von Teese in an alluring erotic outfit – her, not me – sitting in a large champagne glass at an event in London. She is to many devastatingly attractive..and she knows it. A queen of burlesque, she represents a glamorously retro classic feminine look but is definitely in complete control of her life and career.

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DeWolff – Thrust

A power trio from the southern part of The Netherlands, the personnel of this outfit comprises guitarist and singer Pablo and drummer Luka van de Poel with the brothers joined by Robin Piso on Hammond. The group name comes from a character in the film Pulp Fiction.

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Jimi Hendrix -Both Sides Of The Sky

Nearly fifty years after the guitar adventurer’s passing, a new Jimi Hendrix record release is still – potentially – an exciting event for fans. The last one put out was the terrific Machine Gun live set with the Band Of Gypsys crew, sounding rich and powerful with a sparky set of tunes.

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Dan Patlansky – Perfection Kills

From the eyecatching artwork to the recording depth and clarity – especially on Dan’s vocals – to the adventurous and fresh songs themselves, Perfection Kills represents quite a jump forward in impact and appeal of his recordings, for this listener. Elsewhere on this site he explains the story behind this collection of songs in a new Q & A session.

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Elise LeGrow – Playing Chess

Intriguing, sharply-honed, impactful…and so is her record. Having met this Canadian songstress in London to talk this release, listening to it makes more and more sense. For this chanteuse has her own twist on personality, looks and music.

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Matthews Southern Comfort – Like A Radio

Out of the blue and with a band of Dutch musicians whose grip on this artist’s feel for roots and folk music and vintage and modern Americana is eminently displayed here…a new album from Iain Matthews and the new Matthews Southern Comfort!

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The Bad Flowers – Starting Gun

All the songs on this debut album by the hard rock trio are group compositions. Guitarist and singer Tom Leighton fronts the act, Karl Selickis plays drums and bass and backing vocals come from Dale Tonks.

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Laurence Jones – The Truth

Jones is touring with his four-piece lineup and this new album overall explores contemporary rock elements rather than the rock-blues material upon which he has risen in the field as a live draw.

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Matt Patershuk – Same As I Ever Have Been

Produced by Steve Dawson, this Canadian release stars Matt Patershuk as – going by the tongue-twister titles as chief wordysmith. Sometimes You’ve Got To Do Bad Things To Do Good ( Adolf Hitler – 1944) kicks things off with a dirty girt tone that evokes R L Burnside.

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Sterling Ball, John Ferraro and Jim Cox – The Mutual Admiration Society

In which these three gentlemen – BFC as I am now naming them, to save time – create an album called The Mutual Admiration Society. Tongue in cheek title? Or straight? A lot of familiar numbers, a lot of familiar guests. The collection turns out to be a set of instrumentals of quite staggering variety, on which BFC make everybody sound fine. Skill of this strength is always going to make for an entertaining listen.

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The Koch Marshall Trio – Toby Arrives

Under the label’s The Players Club imprint, this collection immediately rolls into earshot with a Medeski-meets-Jimmy Smith groove in the shape of Toby Arrives. I’d be very surprised if Milwaukee guitarist wasn’t a fan of Harvey Mandel.

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Michael Landau – Rock Bottom

Ace guitar man has played on a ton of albums, for all sorts of people. For this effort he has decided to put together a four-piece with him on guitar and vocal, drummer Alan Hertz, son Teddy Landau on bass and singer David Frazee. Great players, so as ever it’s down to the strength of the material to assess the record’s desirability.

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Midge Ure – Orchestrated

Ure takes some of his best and certainly some of his best-known material into the studio for orchestral reinvention. Let’s look at who’s involved – well the collection is produced, arranged, recorded and mixed by TY Unwin.

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In This Moment – Ritual

Recently beset by difficulties healthwise, original rock creatives In This Moment return with a new album. This is an act that sometimes misses me with their songs but at others just knocks me flat.

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Shane Filan – Love Always

Another album from the still young Irish singer and once again we have tuneful singing, a crisp delivery that still has warmth, clear production and professional arrangements. But once again, what’s missing?

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Zoe Mulford – Small Brown Birds

A quick double take of the cover to check that we don’t have a member of the Mumford family here and whew, what a relief, no. Does the charming 50s style Nature Ramble Annual-style artwork give anything away? We shall press ‘Play’ and find out…

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Kyle Shutt – Doom Side Of The Moon

The Sword guitar player Kyle Shutt tackles the popular Pink Floyd album Dark Side Of The Moon. Fab idea or folly? Gov’t Mule got there first but in dub style, of course. He says he wanted to do a heavy version of Time and it all went from there…

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Dave Kerzner – Static

Man, such prog song titles! Keyboard ace and singer Kerzner has form working with key figures from his chosen field e.g. Simon Collins (son of Phil). Steve Hackett, Keith Emerson, Steven Wilson, Joe Lynn Turner, Jon Anderson, Alan Parsons. You get the picture……

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Ringo Starr – Give More Love

Can’t let this year finish without catching up with this record – the latest from Ringo whose albums more and more reflect the fun and creativity he draws from working with the globe’s finest. Of course it’s an honour to work with the cat who played drums on Rain and Old Brown Shoe and our friend Steve Lukather was genuinely thrilled to be in on the sessions.

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Jane Lee Hooker – Spiritus

A second album for the all-female quintet arrives and it seems the mission to rock the globe remains. Their strong points here are an NYC gang attitude, a move this time to more originals and – in their view – the cleansing credo of recording live, using no pedals and no overdubbing.

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Sonia Leigh – Mad Hatter

Clever lass is Ms Leigh – singing, playing, arranging, producing some of the tracks on this disc. If the record is a success it’s largely down to her and if it is not, not many places to hide.

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David Crosby – Sky Trails

Following on from the airy trip of the previous record Lighthouse, this set sounds more like a performing band and indeed Croz has been out touring with a show based around this album.

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Sheridan Smith – Sheridan The Album

She has had her ups and downs in recent years, but evidently the time is right for her
own musical efforts to be heard. I say ‘own’ but the inclusions overall do point to something of a quandary..do we emphasise her ability to put a well-known song over well with no great risks taken OR do we spotlight her own individual character?

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Shane Richie – A Country Soul

A longtime singer and musician, Richie now mines his love of country and roots music on this new release. Doubtless encouraged by Bradley Walsh’s success with his recent lounge club records, Shane has the depth of knowledge to give this a crack.

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Cheap Trick – Christmas Christmas

As far as I am aware, this is the first seasonal release from the veteran rock band. It’s a mix of well-worn Xmas favourites and less familiar material but all delivered with the group’s customary energetic, guitar-fueled elan. The artwork blends the outfit’s checkerboard graphic with Christmas corn.

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Tom Chaplin – Twelve Tales Of Christmas

After a very successful solo album, Chaplin must feel it is the right time to make his mark on the seasonal release scene and why not? This record has some strange choices amongst pretty original fare and must be counted as an achievement. It will probably have some appeal to listeners not Keane fanatics, too.

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Thunder – Christmas Day EP

From the ace hardrock band comes a seasonal offering of new items which stresses the act’s versatility and quality and won’t make you throw up from too much sugar and corniness. The compositions are by guitarist Luke Morley but sung by Daniel Bowes as if the words were his

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Sarah Darling – Winter Wonderland

Two things strike you as you look at this album – the design has a beautiful charm about it, very striking and suitable for the theme AND it would be hard to pick a more hackneyed choice of songs for inclusion. However context is everything, any reviewer has to ask 1/ what is attempted and 2/ how successful is the project.

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The Harpoonist & The Axe Murderer – Apocalipstick

Described as a ‘Canadian alt/blues-rock duo’, this act played some UK dates a few weeks ago before moving to Europe to perform there. I had the advantage of catching them with friends – notwithstanding local directional ‘advice’ – in an obscure village hostelry down a very long dark lane as they fitted in an extra show in deepest Sussex. They had no trouble charming the crowd.

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Project Mama Earth – Project Mama Earth

This release really has an interesting list of participants – Joss Stone, Nitin Sawhney, Jonathan Joseph, Etienne M’Bappe, Jonathan Shorten. I really liked a previous gathering including Mick Jagger and Dave Stewart and called SuperHeavy but how does this fare ?

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Talk-Show – Permanent Honeymoon

Is Boo Hewerdine of The Bible fame likely to be involved as Executive Producer on a duff project? Is a recording also produced and mixed by Chris Pepper likely to be more than listenable? The answers are definitely No and Yes, respectively….hence Lawrence O’Shea has chosen well as regards cohorts for this album. Originally a one-man project, this is now a band itching to perform, I understand.

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Blitzen Trapper – Wild & Reckless

The enduring Portland rock band recently had a 28-performance run of a musical entitled Wild & Reckless…quite an achievement. And here is an album under that name. It adds new numbers to gems from their catalogue, which seems fan-friendly as a plan.

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Alexander O’ Neal – Hearsay 30

The original 1987 Minneapolis studio album helmed by Jam and Lewis sold over a million copies and the funky key cuts had club crowds dancing night after night. To this day Alexander tours on a glittering career with the Hearsay songs prominent in the act.

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The Cadillac Three – Legacy

The JLTT team have seen this act a couple of times now and they do combine loose and free with good band discipline, to create a sound that coasts from mellow to exhilarating. There seems to be some love and respect in this crew..that or they all deserve Oscars……

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Paul Potts – On Stage

Your scribe does not watch TV ‘talent’ shows. Mainly because the acts become secondary to the self-promotion of the show hosts/’judges’/ principal figures. So I first became aware of Paul Potts when his albums came through the letterbox – as I was able to explain to him in person a few weeks ago.

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Supersonic Blues Machine – Californisoul

This second SBM release consolidates their reputation as a recording outfit of great skill and versatility and the group has undoubtedly benefited from recent live forays. Totally at ease in the company of any musician, the trio put everyone’s contribution in a great dynamic setting and this means each track has its own atmosphere. No wonder that star artists queue to get into the studio with these chaps.

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K-Syran – Dizzy

One thing you can be sure about with K-Syran the Norwegian singer-songwriter is that a new album release will not be a repeat of the last collection. This time around the production team of Philip Larsen and Manhattan Clique is involved plus she is working with some of her regular musicians Gauthier Toux, Erwan Valazza, Axel Lussiez and Leon Phal. These coves know how to get the best out of the artist’s voice and altogether these colleagues point to and achieve an international sound.

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Bootsy Collins – World Wide Funk

I have fond memories of that exciting show at Hammersmith, Mothership descending and all and featuring Parliament, Funkadelic, Bootsy’s Rubber Band with Mudbone Cooper AND a spliff-riding standup guy…so this new Bootsy and guests set is pretty welcome. Even for a guy who cannot dance..and never could.

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Black Stone Cherry – Black To Blues EP

As anyone who has seen Black Stone Cherry perform will know, these Kentucky lads are never far from the Blues. The clues are the way they play off each other, the use of dynamics, the occasional slide guitar but moreover the raspy vocal stylings of Chris Robertson.

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Imagination feat. Leee John – Retropia

We have much time for Leee John. He makes great records, can readily turn his hand to jazz and we have never seen him give a bad performance, rather he has given some of the best we have seen, singing like an angel and giving his muscular band room to explore the funk. Here we have a set of twelve new songs plus some extra’s. And very welcome, too.

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CousteauX – CousteauX

This early 2000s act returns with a new album and adding a letter to their group name. Cousteaux is in essence a duo of deep-voiced singer originally from Cork Liam KcKahey plus Davey Ray Moor, and Aussie born in Beirut.

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Janis Ian – The Essential 2.0

There’s always room for a Janis Ian compilation album and this double might be the strongest yet. It certainly has lots of highlights and for the newcomer to this stalwart artist’s work will be a revelation. Broadly chronological, this is a trip through a creative artist’s world and back again. Quite a trip from guesting on the very first Saturday Night Live TV show to filling concert halls worldwide today…

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Dixie Chicks – DCX MMXVI

Sooner or later a great live act will be tempted to get the best of their stuff out on a CD / DVD set and here is the country-rock trio’s offering on three discs. These performances were recorded on a set of US and Canadian dates and it sounds as though they were fun. Selling 30 million albums must teach you something, in this case it was plainly how to entertain and put together a fine setlist.

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Alice Cooper – Paranormal

A treat from Vincent! A new studio album AND a live performance on a second disc with a show out in Columbus. Produced by old sparring partner Bob Ezrin, too. What can go wrong? Turns out, not much at all….in passing, Alice was surprised that guest drummer Larry Mullen from U2 insisted on seeing the song lyrics before working on the drum parts..unprecedented, says Cooper.

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The Bad Flowers – Thunder Child (Single)

The new single release from The Black Country’s act The Bad Flowers features guitar man Tom Leighton, bassist Dale Tonks and drummer Karl Selickis, session helmed by producer Adam Beddow. Lead cut Thunder Child has the trio plunging into the number like an amphetamined Cactus but with the unmistakable Brit Metal vocal declamatory vocal style.

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Little Big Town – The Breaker

Well just look at those titles, readers – very Brian Wilson/Beach Boys, are they not ?
But this talented quartet (adding a band for touring) can play many instruments and all sing lead, so they have their own thing going.

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Simo – Rise & Shine

‘Rise & Shine’ …a phrase I heard many a time from my late father, too early in the morning ! But his military background as a Sergeant Major never left him, we his hapless offspring his platoon…but the phrase also heralds the return of funky psych-rock trio from Nashville.

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Aubrey Logan – Impossible

We are all about sounds and listening, in the main. But your scribe must take time out to mention that this artist has a face that is simultaneously beautiful and 100% wicked. She must have had a terrible time at school, she just looks as though she definitely did it or masterminded it. She also bears a resemblance to…oh, more of this another time…..

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Keith Urban – Ripcord

Master of the live performance, Urban seems to release records to no conventional, regular pattern. So when one appears it is generally worth getting hold of a copy to see what Urban is up to.

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The Strypes – Spitting Image

A few days after The Thin White Duke passed, image man John Bull and I were up at the Garage in London to see the Strypes and hear their new material. They strode on, plugged in and burst – I mean burst – into Rebel, Rebel.

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Becca Stevens – Regina

‘Regina’…Latin for ‘queen’. One listen to this collection confirms that indeed Stevens is queen of what she is creating. Her involvement with David Crosby and his recent music attracted my attention. Crosby is free with his praise of her songs and singing. He knows a bit about both. Female voices are much in evidence on TV and radio at present, but not this kind of voice…..

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Dave Stewart – Nashville Sessions The Duets Vol. 1

One of the best Tony Joe White albums is the one featuring duets with female vocalists. Here music maestro Stewart puts together the various duets to be found on his Blackbird Studio Sessions trilogy of albums, which I have – to form a compilation of the best tracks in this format.

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ZZ Ward – The Storm

This artist had one of the better, grittier tracks on the recent Cars 3 film which we reviewed and she social’d – thank you Ms Ward – and the actual song Ride can be heard on this album release.

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The Hallows – Of Time And Tides

What if you took a supple, versatile drummer, a lofty bassist with a cool line in subterranean bottom-of-the neck riffs and nimble top-strings fusion figures and added an alluring female vocalist with a crisp keyboard style and lyrical inspiration running far beyond romantic odes? Well THIS is what you would get – The Hallows.

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