Miscellaneous Gems

Over the last 6 months or so I’ve come across a few albums or EP’s that I enjoyed, but for one reason or another didn’t do a full review.  As the year winds down I figured it’s a good time to collect a few of those into a single post.

Wasabi – Wide Open

An acquaintance handed me this CD one day and commented that ,although it’s probably not something I would normally listen to, he thought I would enjoy it.  Boy was he right.  Wasabi is a Santa Cruz jazz funk band, but that maybe doesn’t do their style justice.  They’ve shared the stage with a number of well known jazz groups, but also with surf rock legend Dick Dale, so they have bona fides in their roots influences.  It’s not standard Twangville fare, but if variety is the spice of life, Wide Open is, well, wasabi.

Trevor Alguire – Till Sorrow Begins To Call

I ran into Trevor at the AMA festivities in Nashville back in September.  He was just setting up to release Till Sorrow Begins To Call and go out on tour.  Although my favorite song on the disc, Since When’s Dying A Sin, is kind of an upbeat bluegrass number, many of the tunes are slower tempo and carry some emotional darkness to them.  Trevor told me the album had been recorded in the middle of a gauntlet of injuries and illnesses (his and others) and that added a texture that probably wouldn’t have been present otherwise.  As listeners, we should be thankful for that string of circumstances because the result is an album that carries you across highs and lows for a musical roller coaster that really draws you in.

Grace London – Rocketship Girl

A couple of years ago the emerging talent competition at Old Settler’s Music Festival in Austin was won by a barely-teenage Grace London.  I still remember her very successfully covering Patsy Cline, a pretty audacious goal for a 13-year-old.  Since then she’s had some pretty high profile live appearances and earlier this year released her first EP, Rocketship Girl.  Her musical style is picking up as much Jack White now as Taylor Swift so who knows where she’ll find her own inner muse, but in the meantime listen to You or Eyes to hear what she’s capable of vocally.

Amy Black – One Time

Another find for me at the Americana Music Festival was Amy Black, who was featured in one of the songwriting showcases.  Although her newest album, One Time, actually was released last year she did a new push this year outside her native Northeast.  Overall the album is a lot of blues-tinged country music, some of which rocks more and some of which leans more to swing.  Try out the title track, with its Delta blues intro, and Amy’s take on the Loretta Lynn tune, You Ain’t Woman Enough (To Take My Man).  The disc finishes with a country version of the traditional gospel number, Ain’t No Grave (Gonna Hold My Body Down).

About the author:  Support new music. Listen to a band or singer you've never heard of this week. I've been doing that for over 30 years.

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