Album Reviews

BILLY ALLEN: Keep On Loving Me

BILLY ALLEN Keep On Loving Me Cover

COUNTRY (Reviewed 8/6/10)
BILLY ALLEN
Keep On Loving Me

KMA Records (Nashville) keeps producing top of the line, quality acts and Billy Allen is no exception. He lists the likes of Wilson Pickett and Merle Haggard as two of his influences and you can here in his vocal performance.

From an upbeat tune to a traditional country ballad you can hear and feel Allen’s
connection to the music he performs. His take on “Green, Green Grass of Home” is
not gold – it’s platinum!

4/5 stars
Rusty Russell

BOBBY CARLSON: Bobby Carlson

bobby-carlson.jpg

COUNTRY (Reviewed 8/6/10)
BOBBY CARLSON
Bobby Carlson

Bobby Carlson’s self titled CD is New Country with an occasional sound that borrows from the past.  Bobby Carlson glides from track to track with ease and a style that simply sounds like what you hear on Country radio stations these days.  “She’s Got My Heart” is bound to be found on the charts soon, if it isn’t already.

The themes of the songs vary as they should on a CD but regardless of whether it is up-tempo or a tear jerking ballad Bobby handles the vocals with perfection. This is a must-hear.

4/5 stars
Rusty Russell

DAVID NALL: Klean Kountry

DAVID NALL Klean Kountry Cover

COUNTRY/GOSPEL
DAVID NALL
Klean Kountry

There seems to be no end to the great country music that is produced in Texas! David Nall, probably best known for his gospel recordings has a gem with “Klean Kounty” collection of “pure country” all of which could climb up the country charts.

Nall, a multi-award winning performer and songwriter demonstrates his passion not only for his music but for his home state of Texas with songs like “Something ‘Bout Texas” and “I’m Well-Known In San Antone”. His gospel roots shine through on “The Cross On I-40”.

If you like your country with a traditional style similar to that of George Strait but with a uniqueness that can only shines through from a songwriter and singer who holds true to their own style, then give a listen to a David Nall recording today. You won’t regret it.

4/5 stars
Rusty Russell

LINDA WELBY: A Story To Tell

Linda Welby A Story To Tell Cover

COUNTRY/INTERNATIONAL
LINDA WELBY
A Story To Tell

Linda Welby, a young mother of eight from Ireland, and affectionately known as “The Galway Fiddler”, also the title of one of her songs, recently signed with Bullet Records (Nashville) and with one listen to her new CD “A Story To Tell” it is easy to see why Bullet wanted her on its roster.

Welby brings a Celtic flair to today’s country and her story-telling is second to none on this collection of contemporary songs all written and produced by herself. Linda Welby has a very defined vision of where she is going and what is important in her life. Her passion for life, others and her music is defined with “Through You, I’ll Find My Way”, a song written as being told through the eyes of a person with Autism.

If you’re looking for something just a little bit different, but with the story telling and emotion that makes a good country song, then this CD is for you. Add it to your collection – you won’t be sorry.

4/5 stars

Rusty Russell

SELINA MARTIN: Disaster Fantasies

SELINA MARTIN

Unsigned

This third album from one of the T.Dot’s more versatile young singer/songwriters takes a decided turn for the hard rockin’. Judging by the audience reaction at The Garrison for its coming out party, the turn is well worth the taking.

This feisty art rocker been simmering under for two album and on this third one, has busted wide open, kicking down the genre walls on the way out. Cute as a bullet and with the requisite pedigree, having worked with Rheostatics alumni Dave Bidini, Michael Phillip Wojewoda and Martin Toelli, Martin always assembles spit hot players for her projects.

Disaster Fantasies is no exception; the lineup includes long-time collaborator Doug Friesen (bass), Josh Van Tassel (drums), Chris Stringer (bass), Martin Toelli (Guitars) and another long-time collaborator, Annelise Noronha (lead accordion, guitars).

Mash ‘em all together with en eye for lyric detail and an ear for making it stick and it’s like Joni Mitchell and Annie Lennox hooking up for sour mash martinis.

And beats there a heart so cold that can’t love the indie gal covering a Rush tune?. Coming on with a jazzy, finger poppin’ take, she delivers “The Spirit Of Radio’ just this side of a nod and a wink. With ‘Rape During Wartime’ the Talking Heads essence is obvious and Martin wears it well.

Megan Morrison: MOVIN’ ON

Megan Morrison

(Unsigned)
by Lenny Stoute

Newest country darlin' on the horizon is the real deal; a rodeo ridin’, calf ropin’ big smilin’ blonde from Holstein, ON. Can’t get much more cow town than that nor more hometown girl than Megan Morrison. The lady’s just dropped her second album, Movin’ On and it shows an artist rolling straight up that blacktop to US success travelled by Shania, Terri Clark and pioneer Anne Murray. It’s trafficking in country pop with loads of citified appeal and a knack for a heart-tugging country lyric.

The album kicks off with the catchy one-two upbeat combo of ‘Everywhere I Go’ and the aptly titled ‘Dancing In The Rain’, then swiftly shifts gears for ‘I Can Love Anyone I Want To’, done with a more defiant edge than the version cut by Nashville alt country comer Cindy Roberts. This pattern pretty much continues throughout, a back and forth between upbeat pop and reflective country balladering.

Even as it pays all the right dues to Nashville, ‘Movin’ On’ comes off as an accomplished sophomore offering with a distinct personality. Producer Joel Feeney gets much credit for shaping the sound and as co-writer of three of the album’s tunes. He keeps a radio-friendly ear on the proceedings without applying too much sheen, which allows Morrison to step outside her persona in embracing the protagonist’s cheeky innuendo in ‘Party Girl’ and the downright gritty perspective of ‘Old Habit Town’.

Two Roads to Exile

Simon Wynberg

by Dr. Robert Tomaro

Walter Braunfels – String Quintet
Adolf Busch – String Sextet
by ARC (Artists of the Royal Conservatory)
on RCA Red Seal

German composers Adolf Busch and Walter Braunfels were linked in life by twin tragic destinies of Nazi persecution that decimated their careers. Now, happily, they are linked aesthetically and effulgently on this new release by RCA Red Seal. Their chamber music is performed exquisitely by ARC, one of Canada’s premier ensembles. Comprised of senior faculty members of the Royal Conservatory in Toronto, ARC breathes vibrant new life into these important and long neglected offerings.

The composers, who we find here on parallel musical roads, were actually quite different in life. Busch, a blond, square jawed Westphalian and a famous violin virtuoso, was universally hailed by the public and the Nazis, alike. Hitler dubbed him “our German violinist”. But Busch was a true Cosmopolitan and was horrified at the onset of anti-Semitic hatred. He would admonish audiences from the stage if he saw Nazi salutes in the house: “Go to your brown shirt meetings and do that, but not here”. He would rail at correspondence that closed with “Heil Hitler”, replying: “That’s not a German greeting as far as I am concerned”, both terribly dangerous practices at the time.

Sandro Dominelli – The Alvo Sessions

Sandro Dominelli
CD Review by Bill McDonald

The Alvo Sessions is the most recent addition to Sandro Dominelli’s growing discography. Like his previous recordings, this CD is comprised of a combination of his own compositions and some interpretations of those by other artists. Also, like some of his other recordings, he does not draw strictly from the “jazz world”. In this case, the Alvo Sessions includes Chris Issak’s “Wicked Games” and Keith Jarrett’s “Personal Mountains”.

Accompanied by Rez Abbasi (guitar) and Chris Tarry (electric bass), Dominelli offers up a number of interesting tracks. The common theme throughout all is the balanced interplay between the three musicians and an eastern atmosphere underscored by Abbasi’s guitar.

Highlights include the version of “Wicked Games”. Like the original, the melody is presented in a simple, clean fashion with as much importance placed on space as the line itself. The guitar solo keeps true to this premise, offering only slightly more density. This contrasts nicely with the following track, “Number 11” with musical complexity from both guitar and bass and driving rhythms from the drums.

HIP KITTY

Hip Kitty Cover

by Sandy Graham

If you could harness the raw originality of the 1960s Jefferson Airplane and the dynamic power of Heart from the 1970s and ‘80s and transport them to the 21st century, you’d probably end up with a sound very similar to HIP KITTY.

Make no mistake, this is not an ordinary band with a cute name. These folks can play! And sing! And write great songs!

From the very top of The Art of War CD, with the ethereal orchestral intro leading into the first cut “The March of Tzu” right through to the 14th track “A Same New Day,” this group will grab your auditory attention and will not let you go until the last note stops ringing.

Darrelle London: Edible Word Parade

Darelle London

Unsigned

This 9-song collection is loaded with offbeat pop appeal. Farm girl London writes and performs on piano and while she cites Carole King as an influence, a much more apparent one is Tory Amos, in reference to song structure and offbeat arrangements.

The songs carry sharp observations sheathed in whimsical almost spontaneous sounding melody lines and breezy delivery a la Lily Allen.

The sweetness of the voice and childlike overtones is at once engaging and disarming to the point where it's easy to miss stuff first time around. Much of the lyric is at variance with the shiny, happy surface wrapping and only this tension keeps some songs from being a touch too precious.

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