a review of cool new music
by Jeff Pinzino
! Willie Nelson & Wynton Marsalis – Two Men With the Blues (jazz)
An unusual feat of musical alchemy produces pure gold. These two may seem an odd couple, but remember that Nelson is the songwriter of "Crazy," one of the most memorable jazz standards of the last 50 years. The band is a new Hot Seven - guitar and harmonica swagger over piano, drums, upright bass, and saxophone, with Marsalis giving a command performance in the role of Louis Armstrong on trumpet. The resulting style lives at the crossroads of Dixieland and delta. This album is tops among recent releases in any genre.
McCoury reconstructs a depression-era soundscape, complete with recorded excerpts from Franklin Roosevelt’s fireside chats. This is a populist album about hard times, set to fiddle, banjo, and mandolin. In addition to McCoury, there are contributions from other country notables such as Merle Haggard, Emmylou Harris, and Patty Loveless.
James Intveld – Have Faith (country)
Honky-tonk revival. Intveld is a student of the “Bakersfield Sound,” a counter-current in country music known for tight songwriting and acrobatic pedal-steel guitar. Intveld pulls it off with flair.
Beck – Modern Guilt (rock)
Is there such a thing as a bad Beck album? His trademark slacker singing style floats on an array of beats and samples, provided by DJ Danger Mouse of Gnarls Barkley fame. Nothing revolutionary here, but a great creative ride.
Gaelic Storm – What’s the Rumpus (Celtic)
Your friendly neighborhood Celtic bar band. Fiddle, accordion, pennywhistle, and lots of group singing.
* highly recommended
! highest recommendation