October 31, 2006 This live version of "Lowdown," a gem from My Morning Jacket's At Dawn, serves as a great way to bring the uninitiated into the band's chiming majesty. At times, the screaming-arrow lead guitars thoroughly overshadow Jim James' voice. Somehow, though, the unassuming and beautiful melody prevails.
October 25, 2006 Though the disc offers terrific guitar asides, Laid Back's songs are centered on Allman's B3 organ and Chuck Leavell's pianos, while the rhythm section's relaxed approach defines the session. Singing at a measured pace, one word at a time, Allman makes the most of these entrancingly downcast tunes.
October 18, 2006 Art Tatum was such a towering figure that it's easy to wonder whether he did things differently when he was off-duty and out of the spotlight. What did he sound like playing a private party or an after-hours club, that jazzman's preferred hangout, in the company of friends?
October 16, 2006 The title track from Ward's remarkable Post-War, this weary, trancelike spell of a song anticipates a moment of reckoning. It doesn't bring solutions or add to the rhetoric of grief — instead, the sleepy tenderness of Ward's voice, framed by pedal-steel guitar, offers an aura of consolation.
October 16, 2006 John Mayer has sold millions of CDs with his sensitive, wistful songs. Music critic Tom Moon has been listening to Mayer's new album, Continuum. He says Mayer is growing as an artist, his songs are better and he is utilizing one of his strengths, in playing guitar.
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October 11, 2006 A collection of miniatures brought to life via multi-tracking, Spirits finds Jarrett using a total of 18 instruments to bring simple, sometimes folk-song-like melodies to life. He plays everything himself, including hand drums and soprano saxophone.
October 4, 2006 In a perfect rock 'n' roll world, everyone who ever loved the rambling-rogue storytelling of early Bruce Springsteen or Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy would know about Lifter Puller. The brainchild of Craig Finn, Lifter Puller captured inglorious moments in the club-going pursuit of oblivion.
October 4, 2006 Anyone looking for a quick sense of where Beck's at in 2006 can get it by cueing up "Cell Phone's Dead," one of 17 songs from the richly textured new The Information. The track gathers the alternating currents of Beck's art into one tidy and nearly timeless package.
September 27, 2006 Every month seems to bring another rediscovered talent from the golden age of soul music — someone who was little more than a footnote during the outbreak of amazingness that distinguishes that fertile era. What makes Lorraine Ellison's case puzzling is the remarkable consistency of her work.
September 20, 2006 Muddy Waters' 1968 blues-rock hybrid Electric Mud works as an intermittently spirited experiment, a loosely structured attempt at moving an icon beyond the traditional. The legend sounds like a lost soul from the Delta who's wandered into the exaggerated druggy debauchery of a hippie movie.
September 19, 2006 By the time Dr. Octagon's science-fiction caper in miniature ends, countless styles and funk attitudes have been blurred together, subsumed into the rare bit of contemporary hip-hop that fully commits to celebrating genuine weirdness.
September 13, 2006 Johnny Paycheck's Gospel Time in My Fashion was recorded in 1966, during a period when many country stars were doing gospel projects. It stands apart because Paycheck's sweet voice can't fully mask the orneriness underneath — and because the songs, even the waltzes, move at a brisk, buoyant clip.
September 6, 2006 Based on star power alone, this document of London rock circa 1971 should have been huge. Among the A-list friends gathered to support the Incredible String Band's Mike Heron on his solo outing are Richard Thompson, Steve Winwood, John Cale of The Velvet Underground, Ronnie Lane, Elton John and members of The Who.
September 5, 2006 Bob Dylan's nine-minute "Ain't Talkin'" saunters along at a measured gait that inspires the author to savor mystic gardens and this "weary world of woe." He doesn't seek out company — he intends to take his troubled secrets with him. He is, as he notes repeatedly, not talking, just walking.
August 30, 2006 Vaughan was, arguably, the foremost interpreter of Brazilian music in jazz history. Recorded three years before she died, Brazilian Romance is her equivalent of Johnny Cash's American Recordings — full of contemporary spirit, propelled by a timeless voice.
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