'Tis The Season Tuba Jolly! Various Artists
Basset Hound Records

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

What you get is a new, jazzy Christmas album featuring top l.a. tuba players and arrangers, and the unique sound of 12 tubas playing holiday songs. This is Christmas music you can really "feel."

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High Priestess Ingrid Gerdes
CD Baby

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

This Boston soul singer spends her Sundays praising the lord and then she raises the roof. What, you expected a screwed and chopped album. This is a serious woman and she doesn't mess around with fashion.

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Modern Sounds of Ancient Juju HowellDevine
Arhoolie Records

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

These three dudes play in a style evocative of the Mississippi juke joints of the '30s and '40s, but bring an energy and spirit all their own. The album's greatness lies in its fully formed characters and harrowing stories.

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Funeral Bonsai Wedding Steve Dawson
Kernel Sound

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

Pop/Americana/Rocker Steve Dawson has joined forces with some of Chicago’s most inventive and progressive jazz players to create the improbable "funeral bonsai wedding.  "The artists are caught in a tug of war between hope and despair.

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"The Rock Legend" Jon Lord, Deep Purple & Friends
Eagle Rock Entertainment

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

For four hours the music of deep purple's Jon lord was shining.  Commotion, jokes, laughs and a lot of music came together by magic. British masters like Bruce Dickinson, Glenn Hughes, Rick Wakeman and many more played their craft with old friends to celebrate the late Jon lord. It is a stalwart response to scary ties and just because it feels right.

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20 Stages Sister Hazel
Rock Ridge Music

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

Twenty years into the stories career of a band whose devoted fan base continues to grow, sister hazel treats to a live double album, 20 stages. Let’s hear it for raging against the machine while the world is going to hell in a hand basket.

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Popular Problems Leonard Cohen
Columbia

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

In "popular problems", his thrilling new studio album, Leonard Cohen gets down into the avenues of our dreams and sets a new tone and speed of hope and despair, grief and joy. Whispering in his glamorously tattered voice, he still makes his songs sound like sinful confessions shared over bottles of loody-red wine.

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The Third Set Marbin
Moonjune Records

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

What does a band that has performed almost 1000 shows all over the USA over the last three and a half years do for an encore? They record a scorching balls-to-the-wall, three-alarm live album. They rise to the occasion, exuding passion, flow, ideas and charisma throughout.

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Alive Andy Waddell
Rhombus Records

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

"Alive" includes nine original compositions by Andy and played by his jazz band in a style all their own. They get into their music which got into the air, from their it passed into my body. How can I possible thank them enough?

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Samba Little Samba Gabriel Espinosa & Hendrik Meurkens
ZOHO

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

The two lead artists share respect for great songs, love for strong melodies and the desire to connect with their audience. They combine near suicidal excess with hairpin-turn discipline to create the most confounding and commanding jazz album of the year.

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Old Boots, New Dirt Jason Alean
Broken Bow

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

This is Jason' sixth album, and it's got nothing but legs. "Old boots. New
dirt" seems to have no quit. It’s more pop than his previous records. But
it's a tour de force. This is a breakthrough not only for the singer, but for the band, as well. There’s an extended account of a woozy night, rich in pictorial detail, zigzagging with erotic longing. Someone he's been with and others he's dreamed of.

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24 Karat Gold - Songs From The Vault Stevie Nicks
Reprise/Warner Bros.

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

Stevie brings back the Fleetwood mac magic and makes it new. She will always be the high priestess of her own religion, ruling a world of prancing gypsies, gold-dust princesses, and white-winged doves, all without going near a sensible shoe. She has spent her career turning her private fantasies into an elaborate pop mythology Stevie nicks (part two) but we also get a devastating farewell to innocence, kicking it into the street, whether that means the end of a friendship or a love affair.

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10 Summers DJ Mustard
Roc Nation

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

The latest and greatest rapper/producer has spent much of his debut album
bringing us back to old-school la hip-hop sounds. What’s wonderful about
these words are these characters that he inveighs on. In his or our imagination mustard mentions famous people, some of them are mythical and some are real.

 

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Platinum Miranda Lambert
RCA Records Label Nashville

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

Move over Reba, Dolly and Carrie, Miranda Lambert has delivered a wonderful
collection of imagery--a fantasy bowery--that really moves your
imagination. "Platinum" is a total passion in itself.

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Hypnotic Eye Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
Warner Bros

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

One thing you can about Tom Petty is that he is consistent, consistently
great. The cat and his great band have always punched the rock hard clock.
Embedded in his warm fragile voice and his images are hard truths about wrong turns taken. His great songs of sorrow and regret always appear in an appropriately spare context.

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El Pintor Interpol
Matador Records

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

Paul Banks, the lead singer, and Daniel Kessler, the great guitar god, take
Interpol on a glorious trip down the rock highway. They lead a series of
star-crossed characters down to the blues. They glorify the rock world by
spinning into a series of American hypocrisies, a symphony of crass
commercialism. Interpol creates a perfect erotic fusion that builds slowly into another great guitar solo.

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Gary Clark Junior Live Gary Clark Jr.
Hotwire Unlimited

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

Gary Clark Jr. has been waiting for this moment and so have we. A double
album of bruising guitar heavy belt of the blues. The generous helping of
metal madnass complement Clark’s smooth and angry fury and heartbreak.

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V Maroon 5
222 Records/Interscope Records

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

What really makes "v" work is the way it outfits sleek beats, beautiful
rhymes and slogans that can't be beat. Adam Levine barks at an idyllic
relationship for reasons neither party can control. Adam can go from the painful ambivalence of a love affair all the way to the American dream--"twenty years of schooling and they'll put you on the day shift."

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Cheek to Cheek Tony Bennett / Lady Gaga
Streamline/Columbia/Interscope

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

Now I don't know who came up with this idea but...they are spiritual
siblings who teamed up for a track on his last album. But now we have a real
party, and with Christmas coming. Lord have mercy, what was Gaga without Tony. Just a photo op. we didn't know she was a singer. What was tony, a tired former star. If you get nothing else for the holidays pick up "cheek to cheek" and prepare for your mouth to flop wide open.

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Moonshine In The Trunk Brad Paisley
SONY NASHVILLE/ARISTA

Author:
John Shelton Ivany

Country superstar rebounds with "moonshine in the dark." Nashville’s guitar
hero goes to many parties and drinks plenty of beer. Brad sings about every
aspect of life's being, and amid paisley's swooping strings, his powerful
singing make the capitalist and chauvinistic lyrics sound genuinely humane.

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