Bruce Springsteen – We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions
The last time I heard “Old Dan Tucker”, Steve Zahn was singing it to a group of aspiring seven year-old beauty queens in the movie “Happy Texas”. I have to say that Bruce’s version is much more compelling. Being a lifelong hardcore Springsteen fan, I approached this compilation with much trepidation. After the first listen I was hooked. As I have said on many occasions, take Bruce out of the equation and this is still a flat out great album. A collection of great forgotten stories that
Willy Porter – Available Light
It is unfortunate that people in Milwaukee think of Willy Porter as a “local” musician. Anyone who has the opportunity to listen to his work or see his performance will concur that Willy is truly one of the best singer/songwriters of his generations. His ability to take simple ideas like wiping out on a pedal bike in “Loose Gravel” or just remembering your dad (Me and My Old Man) provide an intimate connection to the music. They say everyone has a gift given from God and it is up to them to find it. I for one am thankful that Willy found his.
Glen Phillips – Mr. Lemons
I loved Glen as the leader of Toad the Wet Sprocket and I love him just as much as a solo artist. Mr Lemons, is his latest release and in true Phillips songwriting form addresses love, spirituality the the frailness of the human condition. Nothing spectacular here other than a nice listen and a very interesting re-arrangement of the Huey Lewis hit “I Want a New Drug”. If you like Glen you’ll like this. If you don’t, that’s cool too.
Mary Karlzen – The Wanderlust Diaries
Having played with Mary for a couple years I have develop a deep affinity for her music and talent. While this album will not be released until 2007 (Dualtone, has pushed the release date back), the initial cuts that have been released are indicative of her exceptional songwriting skill. Songs like “Friends Along the Way” and “Oh My’” capture the range of emotions found in relationships both good and bad. The album also offers two great covers – Tom Waits’ “The Heart of Saturday Night” and The Replacements “Skyway”. In both instances, her voice fits perfectly with the music and the mood of the songs. While not officially a best of for 2006, this will be a must have for 2007.
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