Author Archive

Gordon Lightfoot: 80 Years Strong

In some ways a reaction to the hard rock and psychedelic excesses of late 1960s pop music, the early 1970s ushered in the era of the singer-songwriter. Led by a raft of supremely talented artists who composed their own material, the scene featured acts like Carole King, James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Laura Nyro, Leonard Cohen,

Rodrigo y Gabriela: Echoes of the Past, Focus on the Present (Part 2)

Continued from Part One… The ideal opportunity to perform the song live finally came a few years later, during a concert at the Hollywood Bowl where the duo was joined by an orchestra for half of the performance. During the duo-only part of the set, Sánchez and Quintero sat down on the steps of the

Rodrigo y Gabriela: Echoes of the Past, Focus on the Present (Part 1)

The music that Mexican acoustic guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela make is sometimes characterized as “acoustic speed metal.” The pair’s flamenco-influenced instrumental approach has certainly attracted fans from the metal scene, but Rod y Gab’s style draws from flamenco and classical guitar as much as anything else. They’re not rigid musical Luddites, either; across a

Reviews: Three New Classic Jazz Albums

Three new and notable jazz releases have gone on the market recently. Two are from long-established artists who demonstrate that after decades playing jazz, they still have plenty that’s fresh, new and exciting to offer. The third comes at things from the other direction: it’s a collection of soul jazz classics played with fire and

Gold Light + Snakemusk: Shadows and Light

The first recorded project from Gold Light + Snakemusk – the duo of former Kovacs and the Polar Bear multi-instrumentalist Joe Chang and singer-guitarist Beau Campolong – is a new album, Shadows in the Shallows. The duo digs deep into a country duo sound that recalls Johnny and June Cash as well as Gram Parsons

EP Review: Tub — UNCA Session

For some listeners, the very thought of improvisational music is an unappetizing prospect. The idea that a musician – or worse yet, the thinking goes, a group of musicians – might begin playing without a specific direction in mind conjures mental images of train wrecks. Not without reason, those sorts of listeners prefer instead music

EP Review: Versal

A vocal chorus pad introduces the EP, but that aural texture quickly subsides in favor of crystalline acoustic piano playing a simple yet appealing melody. As “Eternal” unfolds, those electronically generated vocals return along with synthetic strings. The whole effect is elegiac, contemplative. When a string synth lead enters around the two-minute mark, it’s a

Humble Pie’s Mid ‘70s ‘Joint Effort’

A new release of little-heard Humble Pie music, Joint Effort documents a strange period in the lifespan of the British hard rock group. Made not long after its lead singer briefly quit and returned, the collection of songs found the four band members contributing to various degrees. Falling somewhere between a proper album and a

California Guitar Trio Takes the Instrument Someplace Else

Acoustic guitar trios are nothing new. But in the hands of the musicians calling themselves the California Guitar Trio, the instrument is approached in a unique way. And the sounds created are subtly different as well. Founded in 1991 by an international aggregation – Hideyo Moriya from Japan, Belgian musician Bert Lams and Salt Lake

Album Review: The Gun — Gun

Brothers Adrian and Paul Gurvitz launched The Gun in 1967 a a re-branded and slimmed-down version of their previous band the Knack (no relation to the American power pop quartet). Then using the surname Curtis, guitarist Adrian and bassist Paul led a power trio with Louie Farrell on drums. Taking an aggressive and decidedly psychedelic