Author Archive

Album Review: Marty Thompson — Romantic Stories

In 2018, every album release has to have an angle, it seems. The unique selling proposition for Romantic Stories is that Thompson wrote all of its songs ion a ukulele. A pink one, in fact. Fascinating, no? Me neither. Let’s ignore that and focus on the music itself, which is decidedly not played on a

Album Review: Gideon King & City Blog — Upscale Madhouse

Sophisticated, jazzy pop is the order of the day on Upscale Madhouse, the latest album from Gideon King & City Blog. With a sound that instrumentally recalls Steely Dan, King’s group leans a bit more in a jazz direction. The vocals are silky-smooth, almost veering into yacht-rock territory. Fans of Hall & Oates with a

Album Review: The Shadows of Knight — Alive in ’65

Sundazed and its affiliated imprints have been doing yeoman work of late, providing an astounding service to the history of rock. The label has unearthed live tapes of fabled garage-rock bands (and I use that term loosely) of the 1960s, allowing modern-day listeners a glimpse of what these groups “really sounded like.” The bands’ studio

Album Review: Little Willie John — Fever

Little Willie John’s time in the spotlight was relatively brief; his album-making career on King Records lasted only from 1956 to ‘62. His debut LP, Fever, founding him roaring out of the gate: a dozen songs, all killer, no filler. Albums weren’t the primary musical format in ‘56, so Fever is to some extent a

Album Review: The Vettes – Rev-up

Man, those Wrecking Crew guys and gals were a busy bunch. Of course in their 1960s heyday, the loose studio aggregation wasn’t known by that label – ace bassist (and guitarist) Carol Kaye argues the name is a later-day Hal Blaine invention – and in fact their were rarely if ever credited on the records

Album Review: Johnny “Guitar” Watson – s/t

When one thinks of the bluesy masters of the electric guitar, the name Johnny “Guitar” Watson is sure to be mentioned. Watson’s second guitar LP mines a variety of styles; “Posin’” feels a bit like Philly soul, with massed backing vocals and Watson’s blues-shouted lead vocal. But when the master of the Stratocaster launches into

Album Review: Mel Henke — 77 Sunset Strip-per

For a lot of Americans in the late 1950s and ‘60s, jazz wasn’t something they went to clubs to hear. If they heard it at all, jazz was often presented in the context of television and film theme music. The brash, hard-swinging sounds of big band jazz lent an exuberant (and wordlessly carefree) vibe to

Josh Rouse is Totally ’80s (For Now) — Part 2

Continued from Part One… How important is it to you to not do the same thing over and over? Is that driven by your own creative restlessness, or a kind of obligation to your fans? It’s weird; it’s hard to get a balance. I mean, I love to do new things; I even sang in

Josh Rouse is Totally ’80s (For Now) — Part 1

One never quite knows what to expect from Josh Rouse. The nomadic, Nebraska-born singer-songwriter’s first few albums introduced a musician whose contemplative, sometimes moody songs compared favorably to work by introspective artists like Neil Finn and Pete Yorn. By the time of 2002’s Under Cold Blue Stars, Rouse was adding subtle jazzy and modern electronic

Jazz Great Henry Threadgill on Accessibility, Artistry and Expectations

Henry Threadgill has a well-deserved reputation as a jazz innovator. Working with unusual ensembles that included instrumental combinations not often thought of in a jazz context, Threadgill has made a series of boundary-pushing albums beginning in the 1970s and continuing to present-day. For his efforts, the composer/saxophonist/flautist has earned many accolades and awards, including the