passione Andrea Bocelli
Sugar / Verve / Universal

Author:

andrea bocelli tries and succeeds to be so very real. his recent album "passione" has a magical effect on me. going crazy about love is his passionate feeling. and the music is so great we all lose control. it seems as if he created music that took him ten years to live. and two years to write.

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Victoryville Fat Opie
Fat Opie

Author:

fat opie's lead singer/songwriter, scott mickelson, feels like an underground hero. "victoryville" takes me back to a magical time in my life, a time of raw emotion. this is fat opie's sound.

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The Fall & Further Decline of The Mighty King of Love Phil Lee
Palookaville

Author:

so the title goes on forever. talk to phil lee, the artist, not me. check out the cover of "the fall & further decline of the mighty king of love." now i'm a bit superstitious, so this blues masterpiece is always the first album i play after i get kicked out of one apartment and move into another. the lyrics are dark and weird, but when the singing starts i feel healed. they face up to their adult struggles, with world-weary defiance, propelling their ragged harmonies.

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Blue Room Hal Stephens
HazJazz

Author:

if you think hal stephens is just human you better listen to this. on the album, "blue room" the music that stephens and his band create will never get old for me. my world stands still when i listen to "blue room." they have no idea how good they are.

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These Wilder Things Ruth Moody
Red House

Author:

ruth moody is a member of the folk supergroup the wailin' jennys. when i listen to her solo album "these wilder things" she takes me all over cities and towns. i hear blues standards, stretching them into psychedelic orgies. she brings me back to my teenage years, when i worried that my singing fantasies were pipe dreams. she takes me on a nostalgic look at my childhood, with an expression of my own pride. ruth's high singing goes into the clouds, like honey on a stick. let's face it, "these wilder things" is transcendent. when i first heard this i sang it over and over. you will to.

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swingin' to the sea Miki Purnell
Sweet and Lovely Music

Author:

miki purnell can sing with a controlled or uncontrolled style, and yet it's always so groovy. she sounds like she's singing from the top of mount olympus during "swingin' to the sea." she means business.

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Sonograms Various
Labor Records

Author:

"sonograms" is a compilation by various international groups. the album is beautiful at the beginning, the middle and the end. describing the music is impossible. the graphic representations of sounds are much better than most artist's main melodies.

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Things are Coming My Way Marcy Marxer
Community Music

Author:

first of all, marcy marxer has mastered dozens of instruments. her album, "things are coming my way", is filled with southern gothic short stories. and her voice influences the style of others.

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City Mainstream Al Thompson Jr
Alcalgar Records

Author:

i love the economy, in that blues/jazz beat of al thompson, jr.'s album "city mainstream." it's not enough to be a great songwriter, as he is. you then have to turn that song into a stream of great songs into a great album, as "city mainstream" is.

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Sunday Morning Radio The Complaints
Comp Records

Author:

there's a three-way tie between songs that share DNA--great bass, great drums and some great vocals by dean petrella on the complaints album, entitled "sunday morning radio." there's no way i can separate them.

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Ryan Broshear Ryan Broshear
Self-Release

Author:

on ryan broshear's self-titled album we are lucky to receive something special. there is no record label involved. so ryan and his country band play what they want to. they don't have to worry about what "the label" wants. so it sounds like the musicians were having so much fun while they were making this record.

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Sweet Honey in the Rock: A Tribute Various
Appleseed

Author:

let's face reality here. sweet honey in the rock: a tribute album is out of this world. the title is "live! jazz at lincoln center" and is a double album where the vocal quintet performs glorious music that was originally created by artists such as abbey lincoln, odetta, billie holiday, nina simone, miriam mekeba, carmen mcrae, bessie smith, sarah vaughan and many others. their voices have always been a glorious instrument among music lovers. singing unaccompanied, and here with music, lies within its repertoire rooted in the tradition of african choral style and its many extensions. and this double album is a huge extension. i have been a loving fan since the '70s and could go on forever. i'll just say--lord have mercy. a "must buy" double album.

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One The American Three
Self-Release

Author:

the debut album by the american three is entitled "one." they have created special music---things every person goes through--that moment of pride--whether it's joy, sorrow or love.


BOB: a palindrome Robert Hurst
Bebob

Author:

"bob: a palindrome" is the sixth album by bassist/composer robert hurst, along with a remarkable group of jazz musicians. they have created a masterpiece, which tells us that music, magical sounds, is an antidote to slavery, both physical and psychological. and that is a great message.

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The Next Day David Bowie
ISO / Columbia

Author:

it has been ten years. now we get new david bowie music. the album is entitled "the next day." sweet baby jesus. and he's still the slinky vagabond rooting for the hot tramps and glitter kids of tomorrow. david bowie's whole world, rock and roll, is in his music. even he disappears for a hundred years. what david bowie has done since 1967, and again today, is be a hero. he will be a flying star forever--no matter what he does. bowie's music will always sound great as long as the world has fools, actors, glitter babes and young folk going through that difficult phase called life.

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R.E.V.O. Walk off the Earth
Columbia

Author:

walk off the earth released their debut album, showing off brilliantly, with "r.e.v.o." they have created complex, emotional music. what are they saying. i have no idea. and i'd bet they don't either. that's what great about rock and roll.

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Grace's Song The Dann Zinn 4
Self-Release

Author:

i was lucky enough to experience dann zinn and his jazz band play live in california. "grace's song" is a pastoral about death and the power to overcome it and not fear it. with that message he has broadened his audience once and for all.

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Rhythm of the Heart Raquel Bitton
Self-Release

Author:

raquel bitton reminds me of the month i spent in paris searching for the apartment and hotel where marlon brando filmed the great "last tango in paris." "rhythm of the heart" is an all together different journey. it combines an extraordinary marriage of havana and paris with raquel singing beautifully and passing the greatest message in the world for men. you don't abuse women; you give them love.

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#BAM Live at the Bohemian Caverns Nicholas Payton
BMF

Author:

the album that i was lucky enough to listen to was recorded live by grammy-winning trumpeter nicholas payton in d.c. and entitled "#BAM live at bohemian caverns." whether he was physically crying or crying on the inside is the same thing. it sounds like an emotional bulletin from the future.

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That's Just the Way I Roll Dave Adkins and Republik Steele
Rural Rhythm

Author:

"that's just the way i roll" is an album full of tributes to hard working coal miners. dave adkins, the lead singer, and his band, republik steele, create serious magic by going back to the basics, putting together tales of a drifting heart on the road. there is so much feeling in dave's tough-sounding voice. the songs reach your soul whether you've experienced his stories or not.

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The Mandolin Chronicles Alan Bibey & Wayne Benson
Pinecastle

Author:

"the mandolin chronicles" is a superb bluegrass album by alan bibey & wayne benson, mandolin players,  and the rest of their fine musicians. with virtually only music, they are like a sweet, sunny day. they take away your pain. that's what great music does--relieves you of your pain.

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