Dianne Reeves latest a sweet listen
When You Know Blue Note RecordsJazz diva Dianne Reeves proves she still has it after 30 years in the biz. Her Grammy Award winning vocals are as sharp as ever on When You Know, Reeves latest release on Blue Note Records.In a singing style that never seems to go over the top or get too wildly improvisational, Reeves keeps each of the 10 tracks on When You Know grounded in the simple beauty of her voice. I guess when you have pipes like Reeves theres really no reason to go showing off all the time. Depending on how you like your jazz, When You Know might be a little bit stale or subdued. There isnt a lot of improv at all, but then thats much harder to do when the band has to let the vocalist stay in the spotlight. However, if you like predictable and practical jazz then this album is a very sweet little listen. Not to say that there arent a few surprises throughout pay special attention to the title track and the blues finale Today Will Be A Good Day, both awesome.If nothing else, this album is steady, just like Reeves voice. When You Know is like riding one long, constant wave. It wont disappoint, but it may not deliver the punch that some expect from a jazz album. Charlie Owen, High Life writer
The Bright Lights of AmericaAnti-Flag is not really in the business of making you happy. Thats a sentiment that comes despite ready-made sing-alongs on the often anthemic The Bright Lights of America, the punk crews second record for RCA (a categorization that still feels a little weird, three years after the anti-everything stalwarts joined a major label).While a lot of the groups original aesthetic read: ugly has been sacrificed here for the occasional touch of folk or sweeping choral background, Anti-Flags themes have stayed true to the bands name since a common disgust for the way we live brought them together 15 years ago.Bright Lights comes packaged with prefab postcards to the United Nations, and a Live and Die in America cutout, complete with instructions on how to affix it to government buildings (or wherever) with homemade wheat paste.The album itself loses steam after its title/second track, but you have to hand it to Anti-Flag for sticking to its guns and for writing songs meant to inspire, even if theyre only half-successful in doing that. Margaret Hair, Steamboat Pilot & Today
Trouble in Mind Lost HighwayTexas troubadour Ray Wylie Hubbard is alive and well, so theres no need to seek his replacement. If there were, though, fellow Texan Hayes Carll would do a fine job. In fact, Carlls Lost Highway debut opens with a song he co-wrote with Hubbard. Drunken Poets Dream is rootsy and wry, with a tangle of fiddle and growling electric guitar encircling vivid lyrics about a woman who likes to lay naked and be gazed upon.It sets the tone for Trouble in Mind, a collection of rollicking country-rock tunes that build upon the Texas songwriting tradition of aw-shucks philosophy laced with subversive undertones. Carll sings waggish odes to drinking, broken hearts and the glories of the barroom music circuit, with a potent mix of deadpan self-deprecation and stinging pathos. Good Lord, I hope I get paid tonight, he cracks in an easy, tuneful drawl on I Got a Gig, banjo plunking along behind him. He offers a straight take on road weariness on the slow and sorrowful Dont Let Me Fall and comes at the same topic from a different direction on Knockin Over Whiskey.Like a true showman, Carll saves the best for last, ending with the hilariously wrongheaded complaint She Left Me for Jesus, promising, with tongue in cheek, fierce payback should he ever take his ex-girlfriends advice and find the Lord. Eric R. Danton, L.A. Times-Washington Post
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