review Archive

Album Review: Kate Fenner — Middle Voice

As “Two Minds” opens Middle Voice, one might think that Kate Fenner is merely another in a waif-viced singer-songwriters. But give the song a moment to unfold, and both it and its singer/composer reveal greater depth. There’s a windswept Americana feel to the music, with a mood and sensibility that evokes pleasant memories of Bob

Album Review: Balsam Range — Mountain Overture

Much of what is thought of as classical music has its roots in the folk melodies of European countries. With that in mind, the pairing of bluegrass heroes Balsam Range and the Atlanta Pops Orchestra Ensemble isn’t such a radical concept. Steep Canyon Rangers have similarly augmented their music live onstage with classical instrumentation. Mountain

Album Review: The Rising Storm — Calm Before…

A bunch of prep school boys put together a rock band in 1965. Big deal, right? American teens (mostly but not exclusively males) did that all over the USA in the mid sixties. The influences of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the Yardbirds was widespread, and American affluence (for some, at least) meant that

Album Review: The Remains — Live 1969

The Remains were one of the coolest and most promising r&b-flavored American rock bands of the 1960s. The Boston-based group scored the supreme honor of opening for the Beatles on their final U.S. Tour. And the Remains would be immortalized by inclusion on Lenny Kaye’s incalculably influential garage rock compilation, Nuggets. What the Remains never

Album Review: Jonathan Wilson — Rare Birds

Jonathan Wilson is a son of Western North Carolina. Born in Forest City and raised in the tiny town of Spindale, Wilson came from a musical family. By the late 1990s he was in a band called Muscadine, and signed to Sire Records; the group released three albums before disbanding. Settled in California’s Laurel Canyon,

Album Review: Mailman — Yang Yin

The concept of duality is a popular one in literature and the arts; West Sussex, England-based recording artist Mailman (known at home as Jamie Stanley or “Stan”) explores the subject on his latest release, Yang Yin. The idea is simple: a full life is neither all light nor complete darkness; it’s bits of both. In

Album Review: Miles Davis & John Coltrane — The Final Tour

Miles Davis’ 1960 tour with John Coltrane ranks among the most historically significant series of concerts by either of those artists. And that’s saying something, in light of each musician’s landmark importance. The Davis estate has, in recent years, been releasing sets of recordings under the banner of “The Bootleg Series,” because many of these

Album Review: Steppenwolf at 50

There have been countless Steppenwolf collections. I count more than a dozen best-of’s and similarly-themed compilations. And during the group’s heyday – its years on Dunhill Records – Steppenwolf released seven albums of new material. So perhaps the news of yet another Steppenwolf collection in 2018 – a three-disc set no less! – might initially

Album Review: Philippe DeBarge & The Pretty Things — Rock St. Trop

The Pretty Things never really broke through into the American Market. Despite some fine singles and albums, the British band formed by early Rolling Stones member Dick Taylor suffered a fate not unlike that of contemporaries like the Small Faces and the Kinks: their music didn’t get played on American radio stations. They didn’t mount

Reviews of Three 45-rpm Singles

“We get letters,” as the saying goes. Actually, I get packages. Lots of ’em. Nearly every day. Mostly CDs, occasionally LPs. Once in a blue moon, a cassette. And nearly as infrequently as the cassettes, 7: 45 RPM records. Singles, we used to call ’em, or EPs (the term originally meant extended-play 45s; today it’s