Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Adam Page - The Colours Of Grief, album review

The Beauty of Grief

Grief is sombre, but there is beauty in that solemnity on this album, as with opener Red where the saxophone and cello accompany one another in a plaintive melodic line, and where piano and cello break to soothing tones before the sax returns in a slowly paced meditation.

We might expect next Grey to delve more into lamenting, and in a way it does, but the beautiful sense of peace and calm continues and transcends, perhaps as only music can in such emotive terrain. Adelaide based multi-instrumentalist Page soothes again with a saxophone that glides eloquently through playing and melody, deeper notes caverned for their occasional resonances. 

Third track Black begins with a piano roll [played loop] where the saxophone and cello are layered together as mood, brooding, and there is more intended tension in this, piano rises signalling.

Page plays piano on fourth track Purple, arriving at quite a beautiful run; fifth Orange highlights the cello in a strongly emotive contribution, especially at its end, Page’s saxophone suspires sweetly, and guitar and piano work together wonderfully – this is a gorgeous track, and closer Green is a group improvisation, the fine ensemble consisting of Adam Page – Tenor Saxophone and Piano; Rachel Johnston – Cello; James Brown – Guitar; Brenton Foster – Piano, and Ross McHenry – Bass.

You can listen and purchase here.

Sunday, 26 May 2019

Black Oak Arkansas - Underdog Heroes, album review

Keeping the Faith

This is a paradox of an album – not good/bad; I think it is damn good – but in the polished/raw qualities it relays: the polish of its production, and the rawness that is inherent in the bass-growl of Jim ‘Dandy’ Mangrum’s signature vocal, here foregrounded throughout and often echoed-up for sustaining effect. ‘To The Rescue’ indeed. There is often a talking pace to the delivery, as in the dirtiest walk of The Wrong Side of Midnight, like Beefheart on a tab of sass. Great vocal support from Sammy B. Seauphine.

Rickie Lee Reynolds and his excellent guitar playing also provides a significant anchor to this album’s success, for example superbly on opener Don’t Let it Show, as is the shredded lightning of a contribution from Shawn Lane [who passed in 2003] on Do Unto Others.

Another ‘narrative’ offering is third track Channeling Spirits paying talking homage to other musicians, and this is a sweetly resonant song intoning a lineage from a range of artists. Reynolds’ guitar work on this is a glorious overlay of lead.

Next Ruby’s Heartbreaker is written about former band member Ruby Starr, a hugely powerful vocalist in her own right, and this is a dynamite tribute, using wonderful catches from the chorus of Grand Funk Railroad’s Heartbreaker as well as Reynolds in Funkadelic’s Eddie Hazel mode. An earlier posting of mine about Ruby can be read here.

If you want it real dirty – so that’s hot ‘n’ nasty – check out The Devil’s Daughter with Seauphine featured on vocal. With lines such as like a blow job from hell, but boy I’ll bite off your balls it is the lyrical poetry of ‘don’t take this too seriously – just fucking enjoy’.

And I am. Nostalgic and nostalgia notwithstanding.

My review of Keep the Faith as a favourite all-time album here.

Two Faces Music 25

Gin Lady - Tall Sun Crooked Moon, album review


A Swedish band presenting the most authentic time-warp back to 60s/70s American west-coast harmony rock: opener Everyone is Love lyrically rooted to this musical philosophy. The written assertion may not have been realised [well, in Trumpland, most definitely not] but the echo of Doobies, Outlaws, CSN&Y et al certainly has and is.

Second track Sweet Country Livin’ doesn’t try to conceal its other roots with wording and contraction, and we are on the same broad road, here more Matthews Southern Comfort, but you get the trajectory. With third The Darkest Days of All Time we are certain of our listening trajectory. Fifth Gentle Bird reminds how hints of the blues are also always a part of this lineage, here actually having in its harmonised form and piano thumped chorus a differing intimation of the Beatles. You continue to get the gist.

Generic and formulaic, yes, but then that is why you would be listening.

Hear and buy at the band's Bandcamp page.