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The Listening Room: Regina Carter, Eli Young Band and more...
(Sony Music Masterworks)
Regina Carter's impossibly varied career has spanned her time playing jazz with Straight Ahead to recording and gigging with Joe Jackson in 2012 -- and she's still finding new musical territory to explore. The Detroit-born violinist and Oakland University graduate's latest album is aptly titled, taking her into a Library of Congress world of Appalachian traditional songs, spirituals, country, folk and even something that will be familiar to rock 'n' roll fans -- the latter a take on "See See Rider" modeled more on its rural roots than Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels' roaring reinvention. The gospel piece "I Moaned and I Moaned" also gets something of a rocking makeover as Carter's violin jousts with electric guitars for "Southern Comfort's" most fleshed-out track. Carter and company lend a New Orleans flavor to her gradually building, aggressive treatment of Hank Williams' "Honky Tonkin'," and a New Orleans flavor to the Cajun dance tune "Blues De Basile," while "Cornbread Crumbled in Gravy" is treated to a pretty violin and guitar arrangement and the Appalachian standard "Miner's Child" is driven by an urgent polyrhythm. Carter also tucks effectively into a Tex-Mex styled version of Gram Parson's "Hickory Wind," and her take on the children's song "Shoo-Rye" is both playful and provocative. It's a sweeping, down-home collection treated with otherworldly vision that expands Carter's already broad artistic resume.
Eli Young Band, "10,000 Towns" (Republic Nashville) **1/2
The quartet from Denton, Texas is on a roll, with two Top 5 country albums and a pair of chart-topping hits. The EYB's fifth release touts the virtues of lowest common denominator country, filled with sweet melodies, rich vocal harmonies and a careful straddle of the twang/rock divide to maintain its crossover candidacy. The already-proven "Drunk Last Night," its successor, "Dust," "Revelations," the title track and the instructive "Just Add Moonlight" keeps things in high gear, while "Angel Like You," "Your Last Broken Heart" and "Prayer For the Road" will keep the hankies moist -- and the EYB's trajectory headed upwards.
New & Noteworthy:
American Authors, "Oh, What a Life!" (Island): the full-length debut from this Boston-formed indie rock band already has plenty of push thanks to the hit single "Best Day of My Life."
Ashanti, "BraveHeart" (Written/eOne): The R&B singer and actress' latest features duets with Rick Ross and Beenie Man.
Bear's Den, "Without/Within" (Communion): The rootsy but contemporary-sounding British trio introduces itself with this six-track EP that certainly whets the appetite for more.
Deana Carter, "Southern Way of Life" (Red River): The seventh studio album from the country singer and daughter of singer Fred Carter, Jr.
Bruce Cockburn, "Slice O Life: Live Solo" (Rounder): The title says it all for this two-disc set, and few do a one-man show much better than this socially and emotionally conscious Canadian troubadour.
Bryce Dessner and Jonny Greenwood, "St. Carolyn By the Sea: Suite From There Will Be Blood" (Deutsche Grammophon/UMC): A cinematic and symphonic pairing between members of the National and Radiohead.
Drive-By Truckers, "English Oceans" (ATO): The artful Southern rock troupe's latest release is marked by a spate of energized writing by guitarist and co-founder Mike Cooley, who usually plays second fiddle to the more prolific Patterson Hood.
Eagulls, "Eagulls" (Partisan): The British quintet's first album bristles with an anger and aggression that should bring a smile to many a punk rock fan's face.
Robben Ford, "A Day in Nashville" (Mascot/Provogue): The guitar master shows off the results of one session in a Music City studio with a few pals, seven originals and a pair of covers.
Fuel, "Puppet Strings" (MRI): The hard rockers returns with original frontman Brett Scallions back in the fold for the first time in a decade.
Holly Golightly & the Brokeoffs, "It`s Here Fault" (Transdreamer): Golightly and Brokeoffs partner Lawyer Dave took an uncharacteristic six months in making their latest album.
John Gorka, "Bright Side of Down" (Red House): The singer-songwriter is joined on his first new release in more than four years by regular pals Lucy Kapslansky, Eliza Gilkyson, Claudia Schmidt and Michael Johnson.
Missing Persons featuring Dale Bozzio, "Missing in Action" (Cleopatra): A new edition of the hitmaking 80s New Wave group convenes around singer Bozzio for 10 new songs and an acoustic take on the hit "Walking in L.A."
David Nail, "I'm a Fire" (MCA Nashville): Known to this point for his ballads, Nail lights a fuse on his third album and pushes his rockin' side, with help from Little Big Town and Lee Ann Womack.
Pink Martini & the von Trapps, "Dream a Little Dream" (Heinz): As if this pairing wasn't enough, Wayne Newton, Jack Hanna the Chieftains and others take part in the creative collaboration here.
Rick Ross, "Mastertmind" (Maybach/Def Jam): The rapper's sixth album finds him spitting with Jay Z, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Detroit's Big Sean and a bunch of other hip-hop luminaries.
Claudia Schmidt, "New Whirled Order" (Red House): The Michigan-born songwriter, now in Minneapolis, returns to the national spotlight after spending the past decade-plus operating a bed and breakfast in northern Michigan.
Jeremy Spencer, "Coventry Blue" (Propelz): A new set from the original Fleetwood Mac guitarist that was partly recorded in Ferndale with Brett Lucas and other Detroit area musicians.
Nick Waterhouse, "Holly" (Innovative Leisure): The California troubadour wrote songs with Ty Segall, Mose Allison, Young Holt Trio and others for his sophomore album.
We Are Scientists, "TV en Francais" (Dine Alone): Despite its title, the California indie rock trio's fourth album was recorded in New York -- and is sung in English.
From The Vaults: Little Feat, "Bad Gumbo: The Complete Warner Bros. Years 1971-1990" (Rhino); Loreena McKennitt, "The Journey So Far: The Best of..." (UMe); Various Artists, "Bob Dylan -- The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration (Deluxe Edition)" (Columbia/Legacy); Rufus Wainwright, "Vibrate: The Best of..." (UMe), "Live From the Artists Den" (Artists Den/UMe)
Soundtracks: David Arnold and Michael Prince, "Sherlock: Original TV Soundtrack -- Music From the Series" (Silva America); Junkie XL, "300: Rise of an Empire -- Original Motion Picture Soundtrack" (WaterTower); John Ottoman, "Non-Stop" (Varese); Various Artists, "The Grand Budapest Hotel" (ABKCO); Various Artists, "Mr. Peabody & Sherman" (Relativity)
New Music DVDs: Rufus Wainwright, "Live From the Artists Den" (Artists Den/UMe)
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