Friday, 21 July 2017

Gentle Giants - The Songs of Don Williams

No Complications

As you'd imagine, an essentially gentle homage to the title's man of comfortable Country, nothing in these references to peacefulness and simplicity meant as negatives.

It is a set of fine songs, and a set of fine other Country stars contribute, often as duets as the track list and artists show:

1. "Tulsa Time" - Pistol Annies
2. "I Believe in You" - Brandy Clark
3. "We've Got a Good Fire Goin'" - Lady Antebellum
4. "Some Broken Hearts Never Mend" - Dierks Bentley
5. "Amanda" - Chris Stapleton feat. Morgane Stapleton
6. "Till The Rivers All Run Dry" - Alison Krauss
7. "Love Is On A Roll" - John Prine feat. Roger Cook
8. "If I Needed You" - Jason Isbell & Amanda Shires
9. "Maggie's Dream" - Trisha Yearwood
10. "Lord I Hope This Day is Good" - Keb' Mo'
11. "Good Ole Boys Like Me" - Garth Brooks

There is a reasonable spread within the gentility to emphasise tonal shifts: the roar of Chris Stapleton in a live cover to the sublime serenity of Alison Krauss. There is a distinctive cover from Isbell and Shires, inimitable of the inimitable, to attempt a complex summary of the uncomplicated.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Guitar Music 4

Möbius Strip - Möbius Strip, album review

The Other P

Described as a Progressive jazz rock band I really only hear the jazz, sax-led, easy on the ear, familiar without being dulled by the sound of something, a sound-track aura at times with piano/synth runs and at times pulsing bass, but always the tinkling of soothingness over rousingness, and I guess as I have been writing and thinking about the opening genre tag it is at least fair to call it rock jazz or jazz rock; Pleasant rock jazz or Pleasant jazz rock. 

Band: Lorenzo Cellupica: composer, piano, organ, synth; Nico Fabrizi: tenor sax, alto sax, flute; Eros Capoccitti: electric bass; Davide Rufo: drums.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Shoe Music 6

John Zorn - Midsummer Moons, with guitarists Gyan Riley & Julian Lage

Moon Mood Marking Music

If I listen to music at all when I am examining it can only be instrumental works. I have been playing quite a bit of classical, low in volume and in the background, and some gentler jazz.

This by John Zorn and performed brilliantly by Riley and Lage is some of the prettiest I have listened too more than once. It is relaxing. Not so relaxing I switch off, obviously.

I used to be able to listen to any music when marking, the heavier the better. I somehow managed then, and still do now but with the quieter range, to place it in another sphere that runs alongside my examining focus.

Midsummer Moons is a set of ten Shakespearean inspired songs that glisten in this duets' moonscape of acoustic brightness. Gorgeous playing throughout.

Friday, 7 July 2017

Sports Music 4

Lucy Rose - Somethings Changing


That's the 'review' - more a brisk celebration and recommendation. This is brilliant. Sparkling songs; sparkling, crisp arrangements/harmonisings, and Rose's singing sparklingly sublime [the adverb, as all the students I am currently examining would note and say, explaining the noun].

She reminds me very much of early Joan Wasser in the clarity of tone and occasional warble of this. Joni Mitchell too. Two great namechecks as, as ever, accolade and reference point.

Plenty of acceptable pop sensibilities in this collection too. All part of the sparklingness.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Steering Wheel Music 10

Hampshire & Foat - Galaxies Like Grains of Sand

Chilled and Relaxing

Chilled and relaxing. Yes, that's the title of the piece, but it also encapsulates. Pianist Greg Foat and multi-instrumentalist Warren Hamshire team up for a set of what sound to me like meditative/emotive film scores, or maybe TV drama soundtracks. I have read the songs described as 'cinematic' and so another listener concurs. They are peaceful and soothing: old-school in many ways.

Yes I do mean familiar. Comfortably so. Just listening to How the Night Can Fly, horn and strings painting a nightime vista with a car driving along a long road through the darkness. The protagonist I guess. A hero. Flawed. You know: it's an old car, but distinctive, and a balmy night, this music playing on the radio. Of course its the 60s/70s. Jazz, by the way.