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Going Into the Wild with Eddie Vedder

Daily Staff ReportsVail, CO, Colorado
Special to the DailyEddie Vedder, "Into the Wild"
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J RecordsThis soundtrack to the motion picture Into the Wild is not your typical compilation of songs collected simply to boost merchandising sales of the film. Instead, it is a captivating relationship between the singer, Eddie Vedder, and the material. For those expecting the usual Pearl Jam experience on this album, forget about it. This is as far removed from PJ as Vedder has ever been. Its mostly Vedder picking or strumming away on a guitar while his heavy-handed vocals bring life to the film, based on the real life story of Christopher McCandless who walks out on his privileged life to travel the country in search of adventure. If you havent already seen Into the Wild, then you might be slightly surprised by the tender mood that Vedder conveys, which never changes. Into the Wild comes across as a little too self-important, and even if Vedder is the Neil Young of our generation, sometimes it just seems like a little too much of him, with 12 brooding tracks coming too close to over-kill. Although the album doesnt fail to capture the movies essence, Ill take the angry, political Pearl Jam frontman any day of the week. Charlie Owen, Arts & Entertainment Writer

RepriseWhen last we heard from Neil Young, he was busily excoriating the Bush administration on last years Living With War, a scathing and deeply poignant album. Young changes direction some on his latest, the sequel to an album that never came out.Chrome Dreams was slated for release in November 1976 and simply never appeared, though some of its songs, including Like a Hurricane, ended up elsewhere. Fittingly, Chrome Dreams II is a return of sorts to Youngs earliest approach to music, which grouped songs by feeling rather than a single subject. Hes interested in the human condition this time, singing about a rail-riding hobo on Boxcar, lecherous thoughts on Dirty Old Man and spirituality on several different songs. The centerpiece, though, is Ordinary People, a surprisingly focused 18-minute inventory of the ways in which people get lost in their own lives.The songs growling guitars and ramshackle vocal harmonies sit easily alongside the simple, rootsy acoustic guitar of Beautiful Bluebird or the subdued 70s pop piano of The Way, which features a quietly buoyant choir on the chorus. With its varied sound and subtle optimism, Chrome Dreams II stands in marked contrast to Youngs recent, more strident efforts, but at least he got around to sharing these dreams. Eric R. Danton, L.A. Times-Washington Post News Service

RounderNews that Robert Plant and Alison Krauss were collaborating was an eyebrow-raiser, generating a wellspring of questions about where the rock icon and modern bluegrass luminary would find common ground. The answer is delightful on Raising Sand, an album of carefully crafted enticements. It sounds daring in theory but is in fact a remarkably natural collection of songs that haunt and linger.Producer T Bone Burnett shepherds an organic mix of blues, rock and roots as the singers share space in ways that range from the intertwined simmering on Rich Woman to the more crisply defined Fortune Teller as Plants lean bark rides a bounding roots pulse while Krauss weaves an ethereal presence into the tunes fabric. The sonic palette is eclectic and the song selections pleasantly obscure, but the going is comfortable. Krauss luxuriates in delicate Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us, and Plant sounds at home on a cover of Gene Clarks Polly Come Home.The musical backdrops are equally savvy, as guitarists Norman Blake and Marc Ribot inject a gritty edge into Plants subdued rendition of Townes Van Zandts Nothin and color the plump rock chorus of Please Read the Letter while Krauss adds pretty vocal touches. Her partnership with Plant is impressive for how readily it develops complements and contrasts like those in the fertile country angst of Killing the Blues, and the breadth of new realms both singers explore is one of many highlights of a collection that is nothing short of remarkable. Thomas Kintner, L.A. Times-Washington Post News Service



AstralwerksEver since the Libertines split up in 2004, two questions have dogged Pete Doherty, the drug-ravaged half of that bands creative duo. The first is whether the Byronic British hero and tabloid mainstay will defy critics and live to see his 30th birthday.More pressing, though, at least for anyone more interested in music than celebrity gossip, is whether Doherty will ever record anything as good as the first Libertines album a collection of gloriously ragged, surprisingly tuneful garage-punk classics.Shotters Nation, Dohertys second album with Babyshambles, is a fine effort and marked improvement on his first post-Libertines sally, but its explosiveness is held in check by an unfortunate air of self-awareness.Perhaps knowing his public expects him to sing about the pitfalls of fame and dating a supermodel he broke up with longtime girlfriend Kate Moss in July Doherty succumbs to his wasted-rocker image, declaring Im a crumb-begging baghead, baby, on Crumb Begging.Musically, while Smiths producer Stephen Street stops well short of polishing away Dohertys charm, Babyshambles might have been better served by someone such as former Clash guitarist Mick Jones, whose hands-off approach was a catalyst for the Libertines tattered magic.On Delivery, the discs Kinks-like standout, Doherty warns, Dont sing along, or youll get what I got. Anyone wary of contracting SPD squandered potential disease should heed his words. Kenneth Partridge, L.A. Times-Washington Post News Service


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