Saturday, 16 December 2017

Some Awe's Best of 2017 - Preliminaries

As ever, this is my preliminary list. I will whittle it down to a top ten at the turn of the year.

I am not saying I know each one of these albums well, but I have listened and liked them all. It seems a ridiculously long list, but in reality it is a snippet of the music released in a year. It is what it is, and genuinely so.

* - indicates I have reviewed on this site: copy/paste or type band and album names in Search window [top left]

Alice Coltrane - World Spirituality Classics 1꞉ The Ecstatic Music Of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda *
Allison Moorer & Shelby Lynne - Not Dark Yet *
Amber Cross - Savage On The Downhill
Amelia White – Rhythm of the Rain *
Angelica Rockne - Queen of San Antonio *
Angaleena Presley – Wrangled *
Andrew Combs – Canyons of My Mind *
Black Star Riders - Heavy Fire
Bob Seger - I Knew You When *
Carrie Elkin – The Penny Collector *
Chaz Bundick Meets the Mattson 2 – Star Stuff *
China Moses – Nightintales *
Chip Taylor – A Song I Can Live With *
Chris Stapleton - From A Room Volume 1 *
Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah - The Emancipation Procrastination
David Crosby - Sky Trails *
David Rawlings - Poor David's Almanack *
Daymé Arocena – Cubafonía *
Declan O'Rourke - Chronicles of the Great Irish Famine *
Denys Baptiste – The Late Trane *
Eliza Carthy & the Wayward Band – Big Machine *
Eliza Neals - 10,000 Feet Below *
Eric Johnson – Collage *
Father John Misty - Pure Comedy
Feist – Pleasure *
Flamin' Groovies - Fantastic Plastic *
Fleet Foxes - Crack-Up
Galley Beggar – Heathen Hymns *
Glen Campbell – Adiós *
Grant Maloy Smith - Dust Bowl; American Stories
Gregg Allman - Southern Blood *
Gregory Porter - Nat King Cole & Me *
Greta Van Fleet – From the Fires *
Hampshire & Foat - Galaxies Like Grains of Sand *
Hawkwind - Into the Woods
Henrik Freischlader - Blues For Gary *
Jaime Wyatt – Felony Blues *
Jamiroquai - Automaton
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit - The Nashville Sound
Jesu and Sun Kil Moon - 30 Seconds To The Decline Of Planet Earth
Jim Lauderdale – London Southern *
Joey Landreth – Whiskey *
John Mayall - Talk About That
John Zorn – Midsummer Moons *
Joseph Shabason – Aytche *
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - Sketches of Brunswick East *
Larry Coryell's 11th House - Seven Secrets
Liane Carroll – The Right to Love *
Lindsey Buckingham & Christine McVie - Lindsey Buckingham & Christine McVie
Lisa Knapp – Till April is Dead a Garland of May *
Lizz Wright – Grace *
London Grammar - Big Picture
Lucy Rose - Somethings Changing
Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real - Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real *
Marry Waterson & David A. Jaycock - Death Had Quicker Wings Than Love
Martha Tilston – Nomad
Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives – Way out West
Mavis Staples - If All I Was Was Black *
Medusa's Disco – Ripe *
Michael McDonald - Wide Open *
Möbius Strip - Möbius Strip *
Neil Young & Promise of the Real - The Visitor
Nguyên Lê & Ngo Hong Quang feat. Paolo Fresu - Hà Noi Duo *
Old Crow Medicine Show - 50 Years of Blonde on Blonde
Paul Brady - Unfinished Business
Paul Weller - Jawbone
Peter Hammill - From the Trees *
Pieta Brown – Postcards
Rag'n'Bone Man – Human
Randall Bramblett - Juke Joint at the Edge of the World
Reflections in Cosmo - Reflections in Cosmo *   
Rhiannon Giddens - Freedom Highway
Rick Wakeman - Piano Portraits *
Robert Finley – Goin’ Platinum *
Robin Trower - Time and Emotion *
Robert Plant - Carry Fire
Rodney Crowell - Close Ties *
Roger Waters – Is This the Life We Really Want *
Ron Sexsmith - The Last Rider
Ronnie Montrose, Ricky Phillips & Eric Singer - 10X10 *
Sam Outlaw – Tenderheart
Sarah Shook & the Disarmers – Sidelong *
Six Organs of Admittance - Burning the Threshold *
Stephen Stills & Judy Collins - Everybody Knows *
Sudan Archives - Sudan Archives EP
Sunny Sweeney – Trophy *
Taylor Haskins – Gnosis *
The Afghan Whigs - In Spades
The Isley Brothers & Santana - Power of Peace
The Rails - Other People
The Savage Rose – Homeless
Three Days Dark – Somewhere a Band Plays *
Thundercat – Drunk
Tift Merritt - Stitch of the World
Tim O'Brien - Where the River Meets the Road
Tom Russell - Folk Hotel
UFO – The Salentino Cuts *
UNKLE - The Road, Pt. 1
Victor Wooten, Dennis Chambers And Bob Franceschini – Trypnotyx
Walter Trout - We're All In This Together
Willie Nelson – God’s Problem Child
Willie Watson - Folksinger Vol. 2 *
Yusuf - The Laughing Apple *

Eye Music 18

Friday, 15 December 2017

Greta Van Fleet - From the Fires, album review

Fully Juiced

Boyish in looks, these guys must have started very early in suckling on the juice of Led Zep, for their wholesome rebirth of that classic sound demonstrates how the bloodline continues to work far and wide and across time.

Legs so genetically soaked, opener Safari Song introduces a Plant-eque wail of epic proportions – enhanced, surely – by vocalist Josh Kiszka that presages a whole album of dynamic retro-rock the guys might flinch at being so ascribed [yet again, surely again]. Where they diverge from the suckled-sibling-lineage is in their transference of this sound to a whole different kind of classic in A Change is Gonna Come, a rousing chorus in support of Kiszka’s impressive delivery. Meet on the Ledge is another though more balladic tangent from expectation, but not from their clear influences, and this is a great song cleverly interpreted, nice guitar work from brother Jake.

Jake Kiszka (guitar), Sam Kiszka (bass/keyboards), and Danny Wagner (drummer) make up the other part of this whole fine band, and the guys will surely one more and final time know precisely the recognisable niche they reside so confidently within, fully weaned and strutting.

Chevy Music 7

Jim Mullen at The Blue Vanguard Jazz Club, Gipsy Hill Hotel, Exeter, 14th December, 2017

Memorable Mullen

It was an excellent evening seeing legendary guitarist Jim Mullen playing last night at The Blue Vanguard Jazz Club held at The Gipsy Hill Hotel, Exeter.

The two sets of jazz standards were brilliantly played, the ‘house’ band of Coach York on taut, crisp drums [and great soloing], Al Swainger on perfectly perambulating bass [and great soloing] and the superb keyboards of Craig Milverton [and great soloing] supporting Mullen’s resonant playing.

Covers included the Styne/Cahn I Fall in Love Too Easily, Earth, Wind and Fire’s After the Love is Gone, the Sinatra classic All the Way, the Duke/Gershwin I Can’t Get Started, with the finale an apt if surprising choice of College Boy, the theme tune to the TV programme University Challenge which Mullen playfully introduced as a shoehorn for the informed and jazz-educated audience.

Vocalist Zoe Francis sang a couple of songs too, and her interpretations, the first a Billy Holliday number, were wonderfully concise and fitting, conveying a palpable sense of the jazz era embraced by the whole night’s main musical focus.

I have not been an avid follower of Mullen’s career, and being now honest in acknowledging my ignorance, was unaware of his work in the music of the 70s that I did follow, for example Mullen in the band Pete Brown & Piblokto!, especially his co-write and beautiful playing on one of my all-time favourites High Flying Electric Bird, and his time with Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express when I most likely saw Mullen playing at an early 70s gig at Ipswich Civic College.

Any look at Jim Mullen’s entire and illustrious musical career will show his status as one of the great jazz guitarists is well-earned, and it was a privilege to have this confirmed last night be seeing him perform so expertly, and with the support of that sterling band. A bonus was seeing him at The Blue Vanguard Jazz Club, Gipsy Hill Hotel, Exeter, which is a fine venue for such memorable entertainment.

Jim, Zoe and band at last night's gig. Thanks to Timbo for pic