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ANDREW SHEPPARD/Steady Your Aim: An Idaho punker whose mom played rock and blues finds himself enmeshed in Marshall Tucker and outlaw vibes. Bringing the whole alt.country rock into the 10s, this cat has a great home grown feel to him and his sincerity is the sixth man on the court here for him. Tasty stuff that feels like singer/songwriter but goes someplace wholly different. Well done.

BC DOUBLE QUARTET/Departure: How about a little sitting down, art jazz you can enjoy with it being work to play? A glorious combination of jazz quartet and string quartet, they face off without declaring war on each other on this set of mostly originals that wants to capture a pure listening experience. Not at all egghead material, this is just fine stuff for when those moments of being a grown up overtake you and you want to listen to something that really feels age appropriate with being foisted on you. Well done throughout.

SCOTT HAMILTON TRIO/Live at Pyatt Hall: Take one of the most lyrical sax men in contemporary jazz, turn him loose live with Rossano Sportiello on piano with a set card that sounds like something Houston Person might have cooked up and you get a killer listening date that works throughout. Not changing the face of jazz or setting the world on fire, these two just deliver in fine form. A set that could turn a traffic jam in to an after hours club, this is top shelf adult music as only real pros can do it.

KEITH O'ROURKE/Sketches from the Road: The sax man got his music degree, tucked it in his back pocket and hit the road to soak up all the jazz he could from all around the world. A tasty set he calls 20 years in the making, this is like a mini encyclopedia of contemporary and modern jazz from all it's meters and quadrants. Coming together somewhere between cocktail jazz and world beat, this set has a lot on the ball and it's frequent vectors will keep you engaged throughout. Well done.

GARDENING CLUB: The singer/songwriter side of prog rock, this is a reissue of a lost 1983 genre classic. Sounding very much like a 70s record when old folkies took off for some vapor trails, it's gentle without being twee or reminding you of the worst moments of the times. Described as the right record at the wrong time, the appeal of this to organic types with some edge is undeniable. A great audio getaway that can finally be a product of it's times at long last.

GREG SOVER/Jubilee: A blues rocker with organic edges, Sover's sound is from the streets and not the suburbs. Loading his axe with modern protest music, this hard hitting cat has come along from his debut where he let you know he's been all self taught. Coming together in all facets like a champ, this is hard hitting stuff at all levels of the game. This set kind of proves just how much heart plays in getting it all done right.

BACKTRACK BLUES BAND/Make My Home in Florida: If the Butterfield gang had been younger and healthier, they might have been this crew. Blasting out the white boy blues for almost 40 years, they know a party and how to party. This set, a cd and DVD collection, shows them kicking it out out live and getting the word out farther around than their Florida base. Solid pros throughout, they know how to take you back to the day even if you weren't there the first time around. A tasty set that works well for all white boys with the blues.

BILLY WALTON BAND/Soul of a Man: Sometimes, what you need is a growling guitar slinger that feels the blues but doesn't have them because he's recording in Hawaii. With a real feel for putting on a blues/R&B show, this cat with a decade of lighting up the night might be able to do it in is sleep but he certainly doesn't put you to sleep. A dandy high octane set that cooks on high throughout and never runs out of gas.

MICK KOLASSA/Double Standards: And this is what happens when you just let the good times roll. White boy with the blues Kolassa rounds up a bunch of his like minded pals (even they all aren't white boys) herds them off to Memphis and they all proceed to tear it up on a set list heavy with Willie Dixon and Tampa Red. The good times are indeed rolling. Not at all self conscious about standing the in shadows, this is pure fun stuff throughout. Well worth checking out.

OBERON ROSE/Tell Me About It: A bunch of New England underground recidivists, they take their power pop back to the 70s like it was right in step with the times. Psych/garage rock fans that know what it was when folk met space and went to stars beyond the stars on the wings of a blunt will hoist this one high.

Volume 41/Number 85
January 24, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2018 Midwest Record

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