High Hopes Bruce Springsteen
Columbia

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

what more do we want. bruce springsteen's "high hopes" which include cuts
with the current e  street band, the late clarence clemons, and the working
class hero/guitar god tom morello and tons more, including previously
unreleased material. bruce is many things, including a fighter with weathered gloves. he's been fighting for many years and he's asking for help--ours! and he's no bob dylan, who broke my heart by selling out to some ugly greedy corporation during the super bowl. if you're one of those people who has trouble understanding why bruce inspires such fervor in his fans you must listen to this album and many others. and if you don't come onto the jersey shore you've got debts no honest man can pay. he's number one in this man's world.    

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Side By Side Ralph Stanley & Ralph Stanley II
Rebel Records

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

they have performed together for thirty years but "side by side" is the
first album the one and only ralph stanley has released with his son, ralph II. ralph, who's bluegrass career now spans 70, that's right, 70 years as a
performer. and he's passed that high and lonesome sound into his son's soul. the greatness of ralph and his son (also his brother, before he passed) has taken the virginia mountains and their traditions and their songs and wove them into a bluegrass sound of utter purity, simplicity and astounding beauty. if you want more than that you better go to another world.   

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Faya Joe Driscoll, Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyate
Cumbancha

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

the collaboration between a rapper/beat boxer/singer-songwriter named joe
driscoll with an electrifying african "kora" sensation named sekou kouyate
pushes genre boundaries on their album "faya." they have a defiant deeply
funky melody of a short stint in prison. "faya" is definitive proof that pure soul is not limited to the usa mainland.

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Calicountry Moonshine Bandits
Average Joe's Ent

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

let's face it, the moonshine bandits, bird and tex, have created an album
called "calicountry" you have never heard before. they sing country/rap
boasting classic american voices--clear, vibrattoless sounds as reassuring as a
warm fireplace (if you've taken the right drugs).

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Get Your Burdens Lifted Jesse Woods
Guns In The Sun Records

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

now i'll admit it, this album, by guns in the sun, entitled "get your
burdens lifted" confused the hell out of me, although it's a total turn on. it seems like kids are hiding by escaping into dreams and sharing guilty secrets with one another. and then they wake up to see family life from the parents perspective--a much harder trick. am i close?

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Songs From St. Somewhere Jimmy Buffett
Mailboat Records

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

now jimmy buffett in his remarkable style tells us that his latest album
called "songs from st. elsewhere" popped out of a toaster of tropical tales
that was powered by books that he had read or stories that he had been told by his seafaring forefathers. he has that right. and if you take the great
trip with him you'll go to a subtropical state of mind filled with margaritas and sunsets. his songs take you to escapist fantasies and beach parties. not bad.

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Cluck Ol' Hen (Live) Ricky Skaggs, Bruce Hornsby
Skaggs Family Records, Inc

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

now ricky skaggs and bruce hornsby are well known by my readers, i hope.
they've created a special live recording called "cluck ol' hen" featuring
ricky's mandolin and vocals, bruce's piano and vocals and tons of other great music. the glorious arrangements and earthy voices and creative phrasing carries the album to greatness. and then the two veterans just add to the emotional wallop. they make you feel like you are in omaha.

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After The Fair Tish Hinojosa
Varese Sarabande

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

tish hinojosa has released her 15th album, "after the fair," and found the
songs in herself and sauntered outside her safe circle to find songs she
loved and wanted to share. with her surf-kissed guitar melodies, angelic voice and positive vibrations the music is like a fresh pina colada. you may have loved her gentle songs before, but, as always, her latest record is impossible not to love.   

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GrandMasters Of Jazz Jackie Ryan
Openart

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

"grandmasters of jazz" is an incredible collaboration of three jazz
legends--trumpeter clark terry, clarinetist buddy defranco and vibraphonist terry gibbs. this audio cd/dvd is punctuated by colorful insider anecdotes by the legends themselves--war stories from jazz trenches which work their way seamlessly into and around the great music. and these indie jazzers are not shy gunning for a solemn, grandiose three hankie anthem many times out.

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The Sapphire Sun David Allen Hammond
Hydra's Teeth Records

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

this collection of songs, "the sapphire sun," by david allen hammond
continues his exploration of the spiritual underpinning of human experience and the longing for discovery and what lies beneath the way we construct our world. his garage blues and americana seem to duck into muscle shoals and emerge with his tightest record yet.   

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Irons In The Fire Redlight King
Hollywood Records

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

kaz is the leader of redlight king and their second album "irons in the
fire" is a super-dynamic sonic and stylistic recipe that hits you like a
battering ram. they start with songs about scared kids hiding from their parents. and they leap to murder-stuffed characters pushing rustic mystery to an extreme. but they've kept the noise from their youth. they provide a great punk sound to the canon of "i'm lost" songs. 

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Empty Roads Dan Bubien
CD Baby

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

when dan bubien sings and writes and plays with overpowering passion and
commitment to his artistic vision on "empty roads" you better check it out. he emerges from the gritty blue collar world of western pennsylvania singing and playing like a man possessed to make an inner fire, calling for real love or a complete overturning of society, both messages couched in gorgeous melodies.   

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Am I Walking Wrong? Dusan Jevtovic
Moonjune Records

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

guitarist dusan jevtovic leads his band showcasing moments of immense raw,
explosive power interspersed with playful dissonance, contemplative
ambiance, riveting rhythm and blues grooves, authoritative rockvamps and more on "am i walking wrong?" the album goes from slow burn to date with death velocity with choruses you can hum all the way to oblivion.  

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Excursions Marie Nelson Bennett
Ravello Records

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

marie nelson bennett is a graduate of yale. she deserves two albums of her
art recorded for more reasons than that. the music she has created for
symphonies are exquisite. the 2cd album is entitled "excursions." marie's art distills the struggle for a better life that runs though all of her music.

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Tennessee David Newbould
MondoTunes

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

"tennessee," the latest album by david newbould, is an earthy, detail-rich
disk about taking stock of the present, pushing toward a better future, and
learning from your past. it must have been so hard, at times, to share
lyrics about a loner who don't need no friends. those songs seem to be an extract from a diary that nobody was allowed to read. 

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Rust Belt Cowboy David Shelby
Highway South Records

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

david shelby captures the salt-of-the-earth and grit of detroit and melding
it with nashville's signature musicianship and storylines on his album
"rust belt cowboy." he wails with crazed soul about two doomed lovers finding a moment of redemption together--just for one day.  

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Loren Benjamin Acoustic EP Loren Benjamin
Loren Benjamin

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

loren benjamin's debut ep is a unique brand of melodic and hook-driven
songwriting sure to strike a chord in listeners around the world. the lyrics really personalize revolution. and if i told you any more the cia, fbi, nsa and all the other usa spies would have to arrest us all.  

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Black Denim AC Angry
MADE IN GERMANY MUSI

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

ac angry has pent-up anger channelled into a feisty rock and roll attitude.
on their album "black denim" we receive a wonderful collection of
imagery--a fantasy bowery--that really gets your imagination working. the record is pure passion.  

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Singing in Tongues and Ecstasy-Sound Prayers Akasa
Akashich Sound Productions

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

alasa's vocalizations are ethereal, mystical and enchanting. her music
explores the depth of the individual psyche and the breadth of the cosmos. her extraordinary voice, on "cosmos" destroys every notion of what great music should be. 

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Night Voiced Mark Winges
Ravello

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

"night voiced" is the latest release by classical genius mark winges. it is
a collection of warm sounding and texturally rich works featuring the viola
in a lush variety  of solo, duo and trio contexts. these are gloomy,
creative downtrodden works of art. there seems to be a suicide note with the line--i walk on a lonely street. the creative moments must have struck the depths of his emotions.