a review of cool new music
by Jeff Pinzino
! I’m Not There: Original Soundtrack (rock)
The songs from the upcoming Bob Dylan biopic are an embarrassment of riches. Big names like Eddie Vedder and Jeff Tweedy, living legends like Willie Nelson and Richie Havens, and buzz bands like Iron & Wine and Cat Power all do powerful takes on Dylan. The sounds of these songs are all over the map, but what comes through brilliantly is the emotional bite that you hear in the best of Dylan. If you hate Dylan, this album could change your mind. If you love Dylan, some of these songs will put you in tears. More commentary on this one in this week’s blog.
! Andy Bey – Ain’t Necessarily So (jazz)
Andy Bey’s voice is Grade A maple syrup: smooth, rich, and distinctive. He sings jazz standards on this album – “All the Things You Are,” “Someone to Watch Over Me,” and the Gershwin title track – but he could sing a dial tone for 45 minutes and make the list. Don’t miss a truly great jazz vocalist at work.
Youssou N’Dour – Rokku Mi Rokka (world)
Youssou N’Dour’s voice is one of the most distinctive in the Afropop world – half carnival, half call to prayer. A modest band featuring guitar, drums, and accordion brings the beat while allowing the vocals to shine.
The Starkweather Boys – Archer St. Blues (rock)
These guys nail the 1950’s rock sound so well, Chuck Berry himself would be proud. Go beg, borrow, or steal a classic convertible, spin this disc, and go cruising.
Hip, spare rock with way cool electronic support. Quirky, catchy, well-crafted indie pop.
Leni Stern –
Warm jazz guitar and fragile vocals over West African twilight. Choral backup, African Kora, and talking drum help create a distinctive fusion drawing deeply from the subcontinent.
In the blog this week: Blues Traveler, Dylan Soundtrack Redux.
* highly recommended
! highest recommendation