MMMM – Monday August 17, 2010

Okay, I have to admit I have been incredibly busy this summer.  I’ve got home remodeling to complete before mid-September, festivals to produce and/or be a part of as emcee (People’s Fair, Carbon Valley Summer Festival, Bohemian Nights) or as a performer (Carbon Valley Summer Festival)… my show to produce weekly … records to listen to … sound gigs to do …. I really needed a day or two or three to just simply relax and listen to music that not only doesn’t shake, rattle, and roll but just sounds somehow refreshing to the soul.  I need that on occasion.  Today (Sunday) is one of those days.  Sun tea anyone?

Selasee and the Fafa Family – African Gate
Genre/Style: World, African, Reggae
Sampled Track: African Gate
Website: http://www.selasee.com
Bio from website: Born and raised in West Africa, Selasee’s pursuit of music eventually led him to Boulder, Colorado, where he currently lives.  Selasee’s music is a unique blend of Reggae, West African Highlife and American Pop music.
Notes: I only recently became aware of Selasee’s music.  This record was enough to convince me to check out his previous release called “Run.”  Most reggae bands rarely ever fully embrace the style or immerse themselves in it authentically.  That’s why those whose soul is tied to the message and the “nation” win out every time … This album is highly recommended if what you’re looking for is the authenticity that lies beneath the pop trappings of most who try to play African and reggae styles.

John McVey – Unpredictable
Genre/Style: Adult Contemporary, singer-songwriter
Sampled Track:  Unpredictable
Website:
http://www.johnmcvey.com
Notes: In today’s world, you just don’t take ten years off between doing records and hope that anyone who heard that “one” will remember you ten years later.  John did just that … took ten years between albums.  The result?  Amazing.  And it’s not that John didn’t have chops to begin with.  He’s an accomplished producer/engineer at Coupe Studios in Boulder who stays so busy that this record actually took two years to record.  The care, professionalism, and attention to detail shows in every imaginable way.  This record is truly as good as it gets …

After Midnight Jazz Band – Midnight in Madison
Genre/Style: jazz, big band, vocal, trad, blues, americana
Sampled Track: Hallelujah I Love Her So
Website: http://www.aftermidnightjazzband.com/
Recommended if You Like (RIYL): Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Lyle Lovett and His Big Band
Notes: I grew up in a house filled with the music of Benny Goodman (The King of Swing), Lionel Hampton, Pete Fountain, and other Swing Era greats.  I am tremendously happy that bands like After Midnight not only keep the style alive, but do with the care and skill they do.  This record represents the best of four sets of music the band did live in Madison, Wisconsin, in 2008.  It is a joyously good listen!

Gabrielle Louise – Mirror the Branches
Genre/Style: Folk
Sampled Track: I’ll Turn Myself in on Monday
Website: http://www.gabriellelouise.com
RIYL: Joni Mitchell, Patty Griffin
Notes: There’s a gypsy in Gabrielle’s soul.  I knew that BEFORE reading this on her website, “The daughter of two gypsy musicians, Gabrielle inherited the genetic predisposition to wanderlust and song.”  On this, her fifth independently released album, Gabrielle follows further out across the trail she’s been traveling the past four years since the release of Journey.  One of the most striking songs on the record is “Strange Summer Snow,” and I do dare to say that it is the equal to some of the best folk songs in anyone’s catalog.  This isn’t simply singer-songwriter fare … Gabrielle, over the course of a few short years, has really and truly become a major force as a folk artist – not just singing love songs, but singing about the heart and soul in ways that MOST singer songwriters can only hope to achieve in their dreams.

Eric Forsyth – (the thin of thick things)
Genre/Style: Folk
Sampled Track: Flannel Shirts and Boat Shoes
Website: http://www.ericforsythmusic.com/
Notes: A solid performance and maturing songwriting are the highlights of this sophomore record from this California transplant who was, “Born of a jazzer father and very accomplished professional organist for a mother, “Er-Bear” Forsyth was homegrown in Northern California in the shadow of his late great grandmother’s baby grand Steinway.”    A multi-instrumentalist, Eric wrote, produced, and recorded this effort with the skillful mandolin work of Dave Willis.  Focus tracks include “Flannel Shirts and Boat Shoes” and “Happenstance.”

Dan Craig Band – Alchemy
Genre/Style: Folk, singer-songwriter
Sampled Track: Enough
Website: http://www.dcraigmusic.com/
Notes: Recommended if you like Josh Ritter and Damien Rice.  Dan Craig’s music has recently been featured on the hit show “One Tree Hill” and has shared the stage with many artists including Gregory Alan Isakov, Mike Doughty (Soul Coughing), Ari Hest and Katie Herzig in the past year.  Recommended tracks include: “Alchemy,” “Solid Ground,” and “Enough.”  There are few voices as self-assured as Dan’s … and fewer still the songwriters whose arrangements are as fresh as those on this record.  It’s solid… and he’s got a new one apparently in the can for a Christmas 2010 release … dude stays busy that’s for sure.

Monday Morning Music Meeting (MMMM goood!)

Okay, so it’s Monday morning, March 8. I’m having my coffee and wondering what new feature to add to this here new site… Since Tuesday is the traditional reporting day to the trades, I thought maybe a Monday morning music meeting would be cool. A place to write about new releases that came in during the past week – and that maybe got tested over the weekend. Whatcha think? I can launch it on Monday and those of you who are music directors around the state can post your comments as you see fit during the week? What new Colorado music did you add to your libraries? What releases are impressing your djs? Let’s talk….

New in the RMMN offices this past week.

Tommy Metz aka iuengliss – The Blossom Frontier
Genre/Style: electronica/dance, pop
Website: You’ve got two choices here. You can go to http://tommymetz.com/ and download the entire new album for free, or go to http://www.myspace.com/tommymetz for information and to hear the trax he’s posted there.

Molina Soleil & Aju w/ DJ Icewater – Soulaju
Genre/Style: hip-hop, neo-soul
Website: http://www.myspace.com/soulaju
Notes: Impressive act heavy on multiculturalism (Aju speaks 5 languages). They have an impressive touring schedule that includes stops throughout Colorado, Wyoming, Missouri, Oregon, California to name a few. According to their website: Molina Soleil & Aju are set to release “Soulaju” on March 23rd, 2010. It features the production of DJ Icewater, who has toured internationally with the Pharcyde and Shing02, and has recently mixed albums for artists like Lyrics Born and Jern Eye.

Romano Paoletti – Story of a Lifetime
Genre/Style: Americana, country, folk
Website: http://romanosmusic.com/
Notes: produced by Eric Thorin (Drew Emmitt Band). Features Eric Thorin, Sally Van Meter, Caleb Roberts, Eben Grace, Todd Moore, John McVey and Mollie O’brien and others. His grandfather, “Ragtime” Bob Darch, was the only living inductee of the Ragtime Hall of Fame. Romano’s mother, Norma Jean, was always a singer and was signed by Smokey Robinson of Motown Records.  He spent a lifetime with both of these people learning his craft.  It shows in his performances on the record.

David Williams & The Wildgrass Band featuring Kristina Murray – The Crazy Kind
Genre/Style: Americana, country, folk, bluegrass
Website: The best place I’ve found to sample tracks is at the CD Baby page for this album – cdbaby.com/cd/dwilliamswkmurray or hit http://myspace.com/davidwilliamssongs
Notes: The album features performances by Rockygrass mandolin winner Jordan Ramsey, Rockygrass banjo winner Chris Elliott, national fiddle champion (Weiser, ID) Katie Glassman and renowned Colorado bassist Duane Webster.
From website: David is  the 2009 EMMY AWARD WINNER IN COMPOSITION AND WRITING. Influenced by everything from gypsy jazz to folk, delta blues, swing, rockabilly, bluegrass & folk. As a singer-songwriter, David’s known for his way with words and melodies, which conjure up the American musical landscape.  His songs touch on everything from the difficulties of love to the people and places along old Route 66, or a carnival from his childhood, or swing tunes reminiscent of Tin-Pan-Alley—in a wide range of CDs released over the last 30 years.

As musician, David has recorded and performed with Greg Brown, Dave Moore and others; and he studied and performed with the great Jethro Burns, of Homer and Jethro fame.  He has played at many of the large folk music festivals in North America, such as Vancouver and Winnipeg, where he has been recognized as both a songwriter and instrumentalist.

Recently, he has written a new musical/play about Django Reinhardt.  His group DECO DJANGO specializes in this infectious music from the 1930s.

David has also published a number of books with Alfred A. Knopf and Ghost Road Press, as well as short stories and poems. He holds a Ph.D. in English, and he has been a writer in residence at a number of colleges and universities in the US.  A working cartoonist, his work appears around the world through Carlton Cards and Soultrader of London.

He is an ALA and NAPPA award-winning albums for children and is currently the songwriter for the new PBS children’s show The Big Green Rabbit.  As DIRTY LINEN says, no one else writes kids songs like DW.

The Crazy Kind is not a kid’s music record.  David Williams is most definitely one of Colorado’s most literary country-folk artists.