Keb’ Mo’: BLUESAmericana

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Keb’ Mo’ BLUESAmericana (Kind of Blue) 3 out of 5 stars Those who were disappointed in the slick, blues-free approach that made Keb’ Mo’s previous release so bland will be pleased to know this follow-up three years later is a substantial improvement. Despite the singer/guitarist’s early affiliation with Robert Johnson, his albums have been more […]

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John Frusciante: Enclosure

John Frusciante

John Frusciante Enclosure Record Collection 3 out of 5 stars Regardless what you think of the quality of the Red Hot Chili Peppers albums he played on, John Frusciante’s guitar work has been easy to appreciate. His performance on Blood Sugar Sex Magick alone has been enough to earn him a spot in the best-alt-rock-guitarist-of-the-’90s […]

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The Whigs: Modern Creation

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The Whigs Modern Creation (New West) Rating: 3 out of 5 “I just want to run forever, and I want to rock and roll.” Those few words (from the album cut “Too Much In The Morning”) tell you most of what you need to know about Modern Creation, the fifth full-length from long-running trio The […]

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Nickel Creek Relight The Flame At Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium

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There’s a tipping point with nostalgia where, when you get enough of it in one room, the wistful warmth of a memory recollected becomes full-blown, palpable electricity. At the first of Nickel Creek’s two-night return to Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium this past weekend, that collective nostalgia provided a charged backdrop for one of the most anticipated reunions […]

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Six Takeaways From Bruce Springsteen’s Show In Nashville

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#1 Every Bruce Springsteen show I’ve seen has been better than the last, and every show I’ve seen has been amazing. #2 The songs from the last few albums are made for live performance. “High Hopes,” “41 Shots,” “Death To My Hometown” and “Shackled And Drawn” more than held their own among more classic material […]

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Bobby Bare Jr.’s Young Criminal Starvation League: Undefeated

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Bobby Bare Jr.’s Young Criminal Starvation League Undefeated (Bloodshot) 3 out of 5 stars Just when you think you have a sense of Bobby Bare Jr.’s style, he up and changes it, which on this, his fourth album under the Young Starvation League moniker, he does on nearly every track. One moment he’s a sly, […]

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Noah Gundersen: Ledges

Noah Gundersen Ledges

Noah Gundersen Ledges (Dualtone) 3.5 out of 5 stars Noah Gundersen’s first full-length album opens with “Poor Man’s Son,” a nearly a cappella tune featuring the Seattle singer-songwriter harmonizing with his sister Abby. He strums a few times on his acoustic guitar, but that’s mainly to let you know it’s still there. Mostly the song […]

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Del Barber: Prairieography

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Del Barber Prairieography (True North Records) 4 out of 5 stars Country music suits Del Barber well. On Prairieography, the fourth album from the Winnipeg singer-songwriter, Barber shies away from the folkie romanticism of his previous several albums, leaning, instead, on the sounds, styles, and guidelines of traditional country for the first time. The result, […]

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The Afghan Whigs: Do To The Beast

The Afghan Whigs

The Afghan Whigs Do To The Beast (Sub Pop) 4 out of 5 stars In the 1990s, The Afghan Whigs occupied an unusual — even unique — niche. They were as much a grunge band as an R&B group, sounding as comfortable on a playlist or a festival lineup next to Funkadelic as they were alongside […]

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Rodney Crowell: Tarpaper Sky

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Rodney Crowell Tarpaper Sky (New West) 3.5 stars out of 5 Working your way to legendary status as a singer/songwriter might be a marathon as opposed to a sprint. But Rodney Crowell blew out of the blocks awfully strong with songs that remain staples, written and recorded back in the mid-70s such as the immortal […]

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NEEDTOBREATHE: Rivers In The Wasteland

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NEEDTOBREATHE Rivers In The Wasteland (Atlantic) 2.5 out of 5 stars Perhaps it’s inevitable that most Christian rock acts feel the need to display an ostentatious, widescreen sound—heavy on the drama, please— to communicate their often unsubtle messages. That has certainly been South Carolina’s NEEDTOBREATHE’S M.O. over the years since its 2006 debut and few […]

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Joan Osborne: Love and Hate

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Joan Osborne Love and Hate (EOne) 3.5 out of stars There’s plenty of love involved in Joan Osborne’s first album of original material since 2008 although not a lot of hate. So the title might be a little misleading as the singer dives into a passionate dozen song cycle that examines love from various angles, […]

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