Flashback: Denver Snow

Flashback: Denver Snow
Folk – Modern Bluegrass
Back in the 90s, there was a version of J.D. Crowe’s New South band that rocked the bluegrass world. They have started touring and playing together again as Flashback, even convinced ol’ J.D. to come out of retirement for some shows in 2015. This CD contains a mix of new songs and songs & tunes familiar to anyone who has woken up with a hangover at a bluegrass festival. Start with track 9 (cover of a James Taylor pseudo-trad ballad). Not as slicked-up as some of the big-name bluegrass bands, but a very fine record. (4.5 Stars from mandorichard, 6/8/18)
Rec: 1, 2, 5, 9
RIYL: IIIrd Tyme Out, Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers, Country Gentlemen
FCC: No FCC warnings
Instrumental Track: 4
Submitted to WRCT Pittsburgh 6/8/18
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Bill Feehely: Money & Love

Bill Feehely: Money & Love
Rock – Alternative
Dramatist Bill Feehely recently retired from Belmont U. (Nashville). This 2017 CD shows that he’s got talent in other arts, too! Power chords, well-written lyrics, layered arrangements that sound like danceable 80s rock with a southern twinge. The horns on “Don’t Hold Back on Me” make it my fave track. Slide guitar, 4-bar breaks, organ, and retro backup singers throughout are a hoot. Even has some slow dance numbers (4 & 10). A classic sound that still works today. (5 Stars from mandorichard, 6/8/18)
Rec: 1, 3 (my fave), 6, 10
RIYL: The Hooters, early Little Feat
FCC: No FCC warnings
Submitted to WRCT Pittsburgh 6/8/18

The Roe Family Singers: Songs of the Mountains, Songs of the Plains

The Roe Family Singers: Songs of the Mountains, Songs of the Plains
Folk – Trad. Bluegrass
This CD is comfortable music that harkens back to the Friday night jams of my youth. The instrumental execution is not always stellar, but is always competent. The vibe & harmony singing sounds like wearing a pair of broken-in jeans feels. Selections range from a traditional song that goes back to the English roots of American folk music to contemporary songs composed in this musical style. And yes, that’s a musical saw on “Dixie Darling”! (4 Stars from mandorichard, 6/8/18)
Rec: 1 (my fave), 2, 4, 8, 14
RIYL: Carter Family, Stanley Brothers, Tamsula & Withers
FCC: No FCC warnings
Instrumentals: 9
Submitted to WRCT, Pittsburgh 6/8/18

The Young Novelists: In City & Country

The Young Novelists: In City & Country
Rock – Alternative/retro
This Canadian duo, and their backing band, have put out a delightful record. A variety of different vibes across this CD: sometimes contemplative and sweet, sometimes poppy, sometimes upbeat and dramatic. Strong vocals, intelligent harmonies, solid performances from the backing band—I particularly like the ensemble feel of the band. Tasty guitar licks, atmospheric keyboards & cello, and subtle drum flourishes abound. Solid song-writing, too. Overall, it sounds like a contemporary alt. band listened to a lot of groovy 70’s folk-rock. (5 Stars from mandorichard)
Rec: ALL. Start with Track 7
RIYL: Aztec Camera, Jackson Browne, They Might Be Giants
FCC: No FCC warnings
Review submitted to WRCT, Pittsburgh, 6/7/18

The Super Saturated Strings: All Their Many Miles

The Super Saturated Strings: All Their Many Miles
Folk – Dramatic/Horns&Drums/Original/Stomp!
From the opening trumpet solo, you know this record is unlike any other you’ve heard. Each song is a different one-act play, with mood shifts, rising and falling action. Each is a dramatic story told using vocals, drums, horns, piano, strings, guitars, other instruments, all superbly arranged. Begin with “The Vow,” then explore the whole CD. This Anchorage Alaska sextet have been described as purveyors of Stomp Folk. As good a label as any for this unique band. One of my favorite 2018 CDs in any genre. (5 Stars from mandorichard)
Rec: 1, 3, 4 (my fave), 5 (rockers will like), 8 (bouncy folk), 10
RIYL: Red Clay Ramblers, Cirque du Soleil, Bumper Jacksons
FCC: No FCC warnings
Instrumentals: 10
Review submitted to WRCT, Pittsburgh, PA on June 7, 2018.