Monday, May 31, 2010

Vince Gill - These Days - The Reason Why - The Groovy Record

Vince Gill - These Days
Disc Two: “The Reason Why” (The Groovy Record) is the second set of Vince Gill’s 4-CD “These Days”. It features set of 13 ballads that reveal the depth of Vince Gill's craft as a songwriter. The production on this set is outstanding and the subdued tone present overall creates a feel hard to resist. This is a groovy record not because it makes you dance but because it leaves you lingering for more. It includes contributions or vocal harmonies from some of the greatest female singers such as Lee Ann Rimes, Bonnie Raitt, Sheryl Crow, Amy Grant, Alison Krauss and Diana Krall provided a wise counterpoint to his Gill’s husky tenor. All the songs are so good that most could be singles. It’s a record full of depth, dimension, warmth and honest emotion all wrapped up in pop shine. Musicians: Vince Gill on vocals and acoustic and electric guitar solos│guests: Lee Ann Rimes, Bonnie Raitt, Sheryl Crow, Amy Grant, Alison Krauss, Diana Krall and Katrina Elam │drums: Chad Cromwell and Billy Thomas│bass: Michael Rhodes│acoustic guitars: Richard Bennett, Al Anderson and Vince Gill│electric guitars: Tom Bokovak, Al Anderson, Stewart Smith, Richard Bennett and Vince Gill│mandolin: Vince Gill│steel guitar: Paul Franklin and John Hughey│organ, piano and keyboards: Pete Wasner, John Hubbs, Jimmy Cox and Diana Krall│percussion: Erik Darken│background vocals: Bekka Bramlett, Gene Miller, Lisa Cochran, Vince Gill, Jeff White and Billy Thomas│plus strings by the Nashville String Machine arranged by David Campbell and choir. Produced by Vince Gill, John Hobbs and sound engineering Justin Niebank.

Track Listing:
1. What You Don't Say
2. The Reason Why
3. The Rock of Your Love
4. What You Give Away
5. Faint of Heart
6. Time to Carry On
7. No Easy Way
8. This Memory of You
9. How Lonely Looks (sampled above)
10. Tell Me One More Time About Jesus
11. Everything and Nothing
12. Which Way Will You Go
13. These Days
Buy These Days at Amazon or

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Vince Gill - These Days - Walking On A Big Chill - The Rockin' Record

Vince Gill - These Days
Vince Gill has distinguished himself with numerous Grammys including two for this release (2007 Best Country Album and 2006 Best Country Male Performance with the song “Reason Why”) and sales in excess of 22 million and he has reached country chart success with more than 40 singles. In 2006 Gill released “These Days”, a 4-CD set each with a different musical but all within the real of country music. It includes 43 new and original songs, each one so special in its own way. This unprecedented, gutsy, bold and ambitious undertaking collection is an artistic tour de force that displays Gill’s mastery as a songwriter, performer, singer, producer and musician. Gill enlisted the help of top rated studio musicians and guest artists such as Sheryl Crow, Bonnie Raitt, Diana Krall, Rodney Crowell, Phil Everly, Emmylou Harris, John Anderson, Lee Ann Womack, Jenny Gill, Amy Grant, LeAnn Rimes, Gretchen Wilson, Guy Clark, Trisha Yearwood, Michael McDonald and many more. But the guest artists’ key role in “These Days” is more as background gifted musicians rather than stars mainly due to Gill’s personal relationships with most of them. "These Days" is a landmark album which traces the musical gifted abilities of one of country music's most versatile and diverse artists. Disc 1: "Workin' on a Big Chill" is as a straight out rock & roll record which exceeds anybody’s expectations, which also showcases Gill's guitar virtuosity. Musicians: Vince Gill on vocals and electric guitar solos│guests: Michael Mc Donald, Gretchen Wilson, Rodney Crowell, Del McCoury and Bekka Bramlett│drums: Chad Cromwell and Billy Thomas│bass: Michael Rhodes│acoustic guitars: Richard Bennett, Al Anderson, Tom Britt and Vince Gill│electric guitars: Tom Bokovak, Al Anderson, Stewart Smith, Richard Bennet and Vince Gill│archtop guitar: Richard Bennet│slide guitar: Tom Britt│fiddle: Stuart Duncan and James Carter│dobro: Paul Franklin│mandolin and banjo: Ronnie McCoury│steel guitar: Paul Franklin│organ and keyboards: Pete Wasnerand John Hubbs│percussion: Erik Darken and Chad Cromwell│background vocals: Bekka Bramlett, Gene Miller, Will Owsley, Vince Gill, Billy Thomas and Jenny Gill│plus horns arranged by Michael Omartian and Jim Horn. Produced by Vince Gill, John Hobbs and sound engineering Justin Niebank.

Track Listing:
1. Workin' on a Big Chill (sampled above)
2. Love's Standin'
3. Cowboy Up
4. Sweet Thing
5. Bet It All on You
6. Nothin' for a Broken Heart
7. Son of a Ramblin' Man
8. Smilin' Song
9. The Rhythm of the Pourin' Rain
10. Nothin' Left to Say
Buy These Days on Amazon or

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Mathias Eick - The Door

Mathias Eick - The Door
Norwegian Trumpeter Mathias Eick has worked with musicians like Chick Corea, Manu Katché, Trondheim Jazz Orchestra, Norwegian psychedelic rock band Motorpsycho and the jazz/progressive rock ten-piece band Jaga Jazzist. Just like his counterpart Arve Henriksen, he also encompasses many influences such as Miles Davis, Chet Baker, Jon Hassell, Kenny Wheeler, Tomasz Stanko and Nils Petter Molvaer. However his playing has developed his own characteristic sound full of lyricism, a strong musical sense and a beautiful tone that allows him to sound smooth at any register. Eick released “The Door” in 2008 as his debut on the ever innovative ECM label. This CD is characterized by great melodic content and an ambience prone to the development of edgy yet beautiful improvisations. Musicians: Mathias Eick on trumpet, guitar and vibraphone, Jon Balke on piano, Audun Kleive on drums, Audun Erlien on bass and Stian Carstensen on pedal steel guitar. Read a great review by Thom Jurek.
Track Listing:
1. The Door
2. Stavanger
3. Cologne Blues (sampled above)
4. October
5. December
6. Williamsburg
7. Fly
8. Porvoo
Buy The Door at Amazon or The Door - Mathias Eick, Jon Balke, Audun Kleive & Audun Erlien

Monday, May 24, 2010

Arve Henriksen - Cartography

Arve Henriksen - Cartography
Norwegian trumpeter Arve Henriksen encompasses the tale of many trumpets. His playing might spark memory flares of Nils Petter Molvær, Jon Hassell, Chet Baker and even Miles Davis but his flute-like sound alone propels him into a class of his own. His minimalistic approach and his extensive musical concept create a serene journey into beauty. I had the chance of participating in a recording session with Enriksen in Norway and I was mesmerized by the sound emitted by his trumpet. It sounded like a Japanese or Indian flute. “Cartography" is a wonderfully realized, musically mapped study of land, sea, and sky through the ears of a very literate, wise, and wide-eyed sonic landscaper who understands the beauty, subtleties, nooks, and crannies of both ancient and modern musical values” (described by Michael G. Nastos on his AMG review). This CD reminds you what is like to feel the power of music discovery. A classic release by the ever innovative ECM label. Musicians: Arve Henriksen on trumpet, Jan Bang and Erik Honore on programming, sampling and keyboards, Audun Kleive on percussion, drums and programming, Eivind Aarset on guitar, Lars Danielsson on double bass, Verene Adronikov and Anna Maria Friman on vocals, Jan Berg on sampling, David on vocals, sampling and programming, Arnaud Mercier on electronics, Ståle Storløkken on synthesizer and sampling, Helge Sunde on strings, Vytas Sondeckis as arranger and the Trio Medieval on vocals.

Track Listing:
1. Poverty and Its Opposite
2. Before and Afterlife
3. Migration
4. From Birth
5. Ouija
6. Recording Angel
7. Assembly
8. Loved One
9. The Unremarkable Child
10. Famine's Ghost
11. Thermal
12. Sorrow and Its Opposite(sampled above)

Buy Cartography at Amazon or Cartography - Arve Henriksen

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Boz Scaggs - Fade Into The Light

Boz Scaggs - Fade Into Light
Boz Scaggs enjoyed success in the 70s with his hit "Lowdown" from his now classic album “Silk Degrees”. Scaggs spent the 80s in retirement until he resurfaced totally energized in 1988. Since then he’s been releasing new material, including “Fade into Light” in 1999, which is a magnificent album even if you never heard or liked Scaggs. It features unplugged and redone performances of Scaggs' classics with a completely different feel as well as some new tunes. The remakes are so well done that you don’t even miss the originals. His sultry raspy voice has encountered a new depth of performance, phrasing and dimension that involves you. The musicians’ contributions are also superb. Musicians: Boz Scaggs on vocals, guitar, keyboards and vocals, Michael Omartian on keyboards, Jai Winding, Greg Phillinganes and Kevin Bents on piano, Randy Kerber on piano, keyboards, string arrangements and conductor, David Paich (of Toto), Michael Rodriguez and Aaron Zigman on keyboards, Dave Carpenter, Nathan East, Neil Stubenhaus, James "Hutch" Hutchinson and Roscoe Beck on bass, Robben Ford, Dean Parks, Ray Parker Jr. and Fred Tackett on guitar, Jim Keltner, Curt Bisquera and Ricky Fataar on drums and percussion, Lenny Castro on percussion, Booker T. Jones and William McLeish Smith on organ, Norbert Stachel and Tom Scott on saxophone and Kathy Merrick and Lisa Frazier background vocals. Produced by Scaggs, David Paich and Ricky Fataar. Beautifully recorded by Michael Rodriguez, Chris Tavarez, Terry Christian, Dan Garcia, Paul McKenna and mixed by Steve MacMillan. Mastered by Bernie Grundman. Released as a Dual Disc with the entire album on enhanced audio and some videos on the flip side.

Track Listing:
1. Lowdown
2. Some Things Happen
3. Just Go
4. Love T.K.O.
5. Fade into Light
6. Harbor Lights
7. Lost It
8. Time
9. Sierra(sampled above)

10. We're All Alone
11. Simone
12. I'll Be the One
Buy Fade into Light [Dual Disc] on Amazon or Fade Into Light - Boz Scaggs

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Jude Cole - I Don’t Know Why I Act This Way

Jude Cole - I Don't  Know Why I Act This Way
Jude Cole’s “I Don’t Know Why I Act This Way” was released in October 1995. This highly underrated 4th solo album is a solid, intelligent and very accessible mainstream pop/rock, full of great hooks, memorable melodies, complex arrangements and production and very poignant lyrics about a wide variety of human emotions and conditions. It’s a somber feel from his preceding efforts but this gem grows on you with every listen. As an example, the song "Joe" (sampled below) demonstrates Cole’s ability to portray an almost cinematic landscape through his songs as he depicts a regular Joe who goes to church, beats his wife, thinks of suicide while indulging into the fallacy of the American dream (Keifer Sutherland or "Jack Bauer" as some of you might know him, provides a low vocal on this song). But the album rages from the uplifting tone of “Believe In You” to the funky “Move If You’re Going” to the hunting “Heaven's Last Attempt”, truly not a wasted track. Musicians: Jude Cole on vocals, bass, guitar and keyboards, Jon Brion on keyboards and guitar, Steve Porcaro (of Toto fame) on keyboards, Pat Mastelotto (of Mr. Mister and King Crimson fame) on drums and percussion, Lyle Workman on guitar, Paul Bushnell on bass, Mark Goldenberg on guitar and organ, Michael Lawrence on percussion, Chris Botti on trumpet, Sally Dworsky and Samuel Llanas on vocals, Phil Parlapiano on accordion and Martin Tillman on cello. Produced by Ron Aniello and Kevin Killen. Recorded and mixed by Kevin Killen. Mastered by Bob Ludwig.
Track Listing:
1. Speed of Life
2. Believe in You
3. Move If You're Going
4. Low Life
5. Joe (sampled above)
6. Sheila Don't Remember
7. Take the Reins
8. Madison
9. Hole at the Top of the World
10. Heaven's Last Attempt

Monday, May 17, 2010

Jonatha Brooke - 10 Cent Wings

Jonatha Brooke - 10 Cents Wings
Singer and songwriter Jonatha Brooke began in the early '80s as a member of a female duo “The Story” along with Jennifer Kimball. By 1994 The Story had split up and Brooke began pursuing a solo career. She released her solo debut “Plumb” in 1995 and “10 Cent Wings” completed her transition to a solo career in great style. Although it might seem as if this solo effort was a deliberate attempt to emulate female singer-songwriters of the time, this album has great merit on its own. These are well-crafted pop-rock-folk tunes with beautiful melodies and poignant mature lyrics amazingly carried away by Brooke’s enchanting voice. This is evident on the most hunting track "Shame On Us" (sampled below). Producer Alain Mallet creates an excellent mesh of instrumentations that support Brooke’s compositions and vocals while this album is beautifully recorded and mixed by Kevin Killen, Elliot Scheiner and Bob Clearmountain. Musicians: Jonatha Brooke on vocals and guitars, Alain Mallet on keyboards and production, Gerry Leonard, Marc Shulman, Jon Brion and Duke Levine on guitars, Michael Rivard on bass, Abe Laboriel, Jr. and Ben Wittman on drums and percussion, Tom West on organ, Karl Berger as arranger and conductor, Jean-Baptiste Boclé on vibraphone, Peter Cirelli and Jeff Galindo on tuba an trombone, Rick Hammet on trumpet, Ingrid Graudins on vocals, Mindy Jostyn, Conway Kuo, Peter Weimer, Krystof Witek on violins, Ralph Sarris on viola and Garo Yellin on cello.

Track Listing:
1. Secrets and Lies
2. Crumbs
3. Because I Told You So
4. Blood from a Stone
5. Glass Half Empty
6. The Choice
7. Last Innocent Year
8. Shame on Us (sampled above)

9. Genius or a Fool
10. Ten Cent Wings
11. Landmine
12. Annie
Buy 10 Cent Wings at Amazon or 10 Cent Wings - Jonatha Brooke

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Williams Brothers - Harmony Hotel

The Williams Brothers - Harmony Hotel
The twin nephews of crooner Andy Williams, Andrew and David Williams born in 1960 released a few albums throughout the early 70s as they tried to appeal to teen audiences. In the early 80’s they began backing up artists such as Brian Setzer and Joe Ely and even played in T-Bone Burnett's band during a European tour. In 1987 simply as The Williams Brothers they released "Two Stories" followed by "The Williams Brothers" in 1991, which enjoyed moderate success. But in 1993 they released their true gem "Harmony Hotel", which consolidated the duo as a mature, strong, original, contemporary folk-rock act with a sound of their own. This album grows on you listen after listen with its close harmonies and its sweet but tough sound enhanced by a great compositions, hearty lyrics, a beautiful recording and most appropriate instrumentation and production. Simplicity is portrayed as an achievement in virtuosity. Musicians: Andrew and David Williams on vocals and guitars, Denny Fongheiser on drums, Scott Babcock on percussion, Kenny Edwards on bass, Marvin Etzioni on guitars and mandolin, Greg Leisz on pedal and lap steel guitars, Phil Parlapiano on mandolin, accordion, euphonium and harmonium, Paul Buckmaster as string arranger and conductor, Jon Clarke on oboe, Laura Griffin on harp, Trey Henry on bass, Lili Haydn, Jacqueline Brand, Katia Popov and Sayuri Kawada on violins, Martin Tillman on cello and cello arrangements and Dan Neufeld on viola.

Track Listing:
1. Friction (sampled above)
2. Don't Look Now
3. Man of the House
4. Silver
5. Harmony Hotel
6. Where Would I Be
7. Love Is the Language
8. Broken Things
9. Long Ago Last Night
10. Wonderful Blues

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Caudio Baglioni - Oltre

Claudio Baglioni Oltre
Following the release of his second album “Un cantastorie dei giorni nostril” in 1972, Italian singer Claudio Bablioni established himself as an international success with his worldwide hit “Questo piccolo grande amore”. His career has continued with a great deal of success but mainly contained to Europe. His albums have always been on the edge of innovation and creativity and “Oltre” is certainly one of his most amazing achievements. Baglioni’s audacity took him into releasing this project released as a double CD. On “Oltre” his raspy yet smooth and fierce voice is at its peak, his compositional skills are at their best and the production has turned this album into a remarkable work of art, mainly due to the incredible arrangements of Celso Valli. Baglioni has the ability of writing complicated yet beautiful almost operatic melodies, which start low and reach a peak of emotion that opens your heart to the greatness of his music. The list of musicians who contribute to this album is a “who is who” of the record business, yet their contributions are not merely interventions but true evocative stamps of their talents without shading Baglioni’s concept. A sample of this album’s uniqueness is the song “Tamburi Lontani” (sampled below) beautifully arranged only for drums, acoustic bass, percussion, horns and woodwinds, (there are no keyboards or guitars). Musicians: Claudio Baglioni Vocals, Producer, Celso Valli arranger, director, keyboards and programming, Simon Clark on piano, Danny Cummings, Hossam Ramzy and Frank Ricotti on percussion, Pino Daniele on guitar and vocals, Youssou N’Dour on vocals, Manu Katché, Charlie Morgan and Steve Ferrone on drums, John Giblin, Tony Levin and Pino Palladino on bass, Phil Palmer and David Rhodes on guitar, David Sancious on keyboards, Richard Galliano on accordion and fisarmonica, Didier Lochwood on violin, Paolo Gianolio on guitar and programming and Roberta Longhi, Danilo Rea and Mia Martini background vocals plus strings, orchestra and choir.
NOTE: This album is not available digitally.
Track Listing:
1. Dagli Il Via
2. Io Dal Mare
3. Naso Di Falco
4. Io Lui E la Cana Femmina
5. Stelle Di Stelle
6. Vivi
7. Le Donne Sono
8. Domani Mai
9. Acqua Dalla Luna
10. Tamburi Lontani (sampled above)

11. Noi No
12. Signora Delle Ore Scure
13. Navigando
14. Le Mani E l'Anima
15. Mille Giorni Di Te E Di Me
16. Dov'e Dov'e
17. Tieniamente
18. Qui Dio Non C'E
19. La Piana Dei Cavalli Bradi
20. Pace
Buy Oltre at Amazon

Monday, May 10, 2010

Michel Camilo - Concerto for Piano and Orchestra

Michel Camilo - Pno Concerto
Dominican pianist and composer Michel Camilo has fascinated audiences since his debut album. He is a jazz pianist with a brilliant technique and a composer who flavors his tunes with Caribbean rhythms and jazz harmonies. Camilo has also composed scores for the award winning European film suc as “Amo Tu Cama Rica” and for “Los Peores Años de Nuestra Vida” and he has been a featured soloist, arranger and composer with many world renowned Orchestras. In February 2002, Decca released his Concerto for Piano & Orchestra, the Suite for Piano, Strings and Harp and his piece Caribe. Most attempts by jazz pianist to create a piano concerto are not as memorable, but Camilo’s early classical education plays an influential role in the development of this work, thus creating an enchanting and beautiful piano concerto, which not only showcases his abilities but it’s also everlasting in its compositional merits. Musicians: Michel Camilo on piano accompanied by the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Leonard Slatkin.

Track Listing:
1. Concerto for Piano & Orchestra: I. Religiosamente - Allegretto - Allegro
2. Concerto for Piano & Orchestra: II. Andante
3. Concerto for Piano & Orchestra: III. Allegro
4. Suite for Piano, Strings & Harp: I. Tropical Jam
5. Suite for Piano, Strings & Harp: II. Tango For Ten
6. Suite for Piano, Strings & Harp: III. In Love
7. Suite for Piano, Strings & Harp: IV. Journey
8. Caribe (Improvisation for Solo Piano)
Buy Piano Concerto, Suite & Caribe at Amazon or Michel Camilo: Concerto for Piano & Orchestra - Suite for Piano, Harp & Strings - Caribe - BBC Symphony Orchestra, Leonard Slatkin & Michel Camilo

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Francis Cabrel - Samedi Soir Sur La Terre

Francis Cabrel Samedi soir sur la terre
The music of Francis Cabrel has always been characterized by simple elements, great songwriting, an acoustic guitar and a gentle voice. Cabrel is the French equivalent of a mixture of James Taylor and Mark Knopfler. His contemporary folk style incorporates elements of rock, blues, jazz and French pop rock. His second album, “Les Chemins de Traverse”, released in 1979 penned the single "Je l'aime à mourir," which earned him the recognition of worldwide audiences and the song even got translated to other languages as covered by other artists. His songs are carefully crafted and infused with a variety of influences and his renowned lyrics are sharp and poetic. “Samedi Soir Sur la Terre” is an Amazing example of all these characteristics smoothly brought together by beautiful instrumentation, great musicianship while the main focus is kept on Cabrel's voice, his guitar and his amazing songwriting enhanced by appropiate production and a beautiful recording. This is a master at his trade. Musicians are: Francis Cabrel on vocals and acoustic guitars, Michael Francoise and Denys Lable on guitars, Bernard Paganotti on bass and vocals, the great Manu Katché on drums, Gérard Bikialo on keyboards, Michel Gaucher on flute, piccolo and saxes, Denis Benarrosch on percussion, Nicolas Reyes of the Gipsy Kings vocals on “La Corrida”, Jean-Louise Roques on accordion, Thierry Caens on trumpet, Bruno Flahou on trombone, Andre Gilbert on tuba, Jerome-Julien Laferriere on clarinet, Eric Vernier on horn and Marina Albert, Carole Fredericks and Debbie Davis on background vocals. This album was mix by the great engineer James Farber.
Track Listing:
1. La Corrida (sampled above)
2. Assis Sur le Rebord du Monde
3. La Cabane du Pêcheur
4. Samedi Soir Sur la Terre
5. Je T'Aimais, Je T'Aime, Je T'Aimerai
6. Les Vidanges du Diable
7. L' Arbre Va Tomber
8. Octobre
9. Le Noceur
10. Tot Ou Tard S'En Aller
Buy Samedi Soir sur la Terre at Amazon or Samedi soir sur la terre - Francis Cabrel

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Calogero - Calogero

Calogero enjoyed success as a member of the trio Les Charts, which he co-founded in 1986. In 1991's Les Charts became certified chart superstars with "Notre Monde à Nous". The trio split in 1997 and Calogero spent the remainder of the decade writing material for other French artists such as Florent Pagny, Ismaël Lô, Hélène Ségara, and Patrick Fiori. He finally issued his debut solo LP, “Au Milieu des Autres” in 2000 but it was in 2002 that Calogero returned to chart glory, reeling off a series of hits with this production simply entitled “Calogero”. This album combines in a very successful package beautiful compositions, great vocals, well-crafted pop-rock all assembled with the amazing on-target production of Pierre Jaconelli. The beauty of this production lays on the beautiful melodies, which evoke the glory days of French Chantours such as Piaf, Aznavour, Brel and Gainsbourg while maintaining a very contemporary pop-rock alternative sound. Every production detail steers the listener towards reminiscences of old French film music, Paris kissing corners and ever lasting travelling moments. Musicians are: Calogero on vocals and bass, Michel Ayme, Olivier Marly and Pierre Jaconelli on guitars, Yannick Fonderie and Jean Pierre Pilot on keyboards, Magnus Perrson on drums, Yvette Hammond on background vocals and Olivier Schultheis and Stanislas Renoult as string arrangers.

Track Listing:
1. En Apesanteur
2. Aussi Libre Que Moi
3. Tien an Men (sampled above)
4. Prouver l'Amour
5. Prendre Racine
6. À la Gueule des Noyés
7. Une Dernière Chance
8. Juste un Peu de Silence (duet with Yvette Hammond)
9. Je Vis Où Tu M'As Laissé
10. Partir Ou Rester
11. Le Plus Beau Jour
Buy Calogero at Amazon or Calogero - Calogero