US Review: NAPA VALLEY DUO “A SOFT MESSAGE TO YOU”

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Stay tuned in 2019 for even more great artists and releases from IAC RECORDS!

For more information about IAC RECORDS and Artists, please visit www.iacrecords.com

To order IAC RECORDS Releases on Bandcamp please visit: https://iacrecords.bandcamp.com

 

IAC 2018 Cover Image Flyer

 

 

US Review: IAC RECORDS ARTISTS SAMPLER 2018

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https://www.seaoftranquility.org/reviews.php?op=showcontent&id=21467

Various Artists: IAC Artists Sampler 2018
Posted by Jon Neudorf, SoT Staff Writer on 2019-03-26 04:33:53
My Score: 


IAC Records (Independent Artists Collective) is a newly formed record label with the focus on musicians in central and northern California. The label was formed in early 2018 by engineer/producer Don Setaro and musician/producer Eric Westphal.

On this sampler there are a total of seven artists all with new music in 2018. For an example of what you will find here the first couple of tracks are taken from Dirk Hamilton’s album Live at the Palms. Hamilton has been around since the early ‘70s but for some reason never really caught on and that is a shame as these two tracks, “Heart Of Soul” and “Alias I” are nice acoustic led numbers influenced by the likes of Gordon Lightfoot, Bob Seger and perhaps Bob Dylan. It’s quite folky with a bit of country and Hamilton’s voice has a pleasing earthy tone. On “Alias I” the supporting electric guitar is laid down with expert care. Next are two tracks taken from Eric Westphal’s Alice Street Sessions; “Footsteps” and “Stop And Smell The Roses”. The former is a catchy slice of Americana style rock with excellent guitar while the latter is a melodic mid-tempo number with hints of Steely Dan and includes sublime female backing vocals. On a different note, Nappa Valley Duo add a completely different flavour with just piano and cello. “Hotel” is a very slow moving and somber track followed by “See Me Feel Me/I Will Fight And Never Slack”, and yes, the first half is classic Who with the cello replacing the vocals quite effectively. The tempo shifts into higher gear with the jaunty “I Will Fight And Never Slack” before returning to the Who. Willie Hines is another artist that has that ‘California sound’ particularly with the catchy AOR track “Let’s Not Waste Time” followed by the equally melodic “On Fire”.

Although this is more mainstream than what I am used to I have to admit I had no problems listening to this easy flowing disc. For fans of radio friendly rock music in the singer/songwriter style.

 

Stay tuned in 2019 for even more great artists and releases from IAC RECORDS!

For more information about IAC RECORDS and Artists, please visit www.iacrecords.com

To order IAC RECORDS Releases on Bandcamp please visit: https://iacrecords.bandcamp.com

 

IAC 2018 Cover Image Flyer

 

 

US Review: NAPA VALLEY DUO “AN AMERICAN IN PARIS”

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Napa Valley Duo

An American in Paris

Review by Gary Hill

6PAN1T-C

 

http://www.musicstreetjournal.com/index_cdreviews_display.cfm?id=106618

Perhaps this set is classical music. The duo in question is Jeffrey McFarland-Johnson who plays stringed instruments (I’ve often labeled it as cello, but I might be wrong in places) and Terry Winn on piano. They create a mix of sounds here that is unique and quite compelling. While this isn’t really my kind of music, I found that parts of it really drew me in.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2019  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

 

Track by Track Review
Hotel
The piano and cello both work together well to create a pretty and rather sad musical texture on this piece. This instrumental is fairly short and a good way to start the set in style.
An American in Paris
While the opener was short, the same can’t be said for this. It’s almost 15 and a half minutes long. It’s quite a musical ride with some rather crazed instrumental sounds at play at points. It conveys a lot of modes and textures along the ride. Both the cello and the piano find plenty of opportunities to shine. They certainly capture a lot of different sections of the soundtrack to the film.
It Never Entered My Mind
This is such a pretty piece. It has a certain sad air to it. There is a real majestic quality, too.
JMJ Suite: Prelude Perfume
Piano starts this one with an almost magical kind of vibe. The strings lend a new air as they join. The cut continues to evolve as it drives forward. This is quite classical and a bit odd at times. It is also oddly compelling.
A Soft Message to You
This has a lot of beauty and is another effective number. I particularly like the piano melodies on the cut, but everything works well.
Star Trek Anthem / I Love Lucy
Combining “Star Trek” and “I Love Lucy” might seem odd. The fact is, they were connected. Lucille Ball believed so strongly in “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry that she signed him to her Desilu Studios for the series. So, combining these two pieces of music makes sense in a rather unique way. I love the twist that this arrangement brings to the “Star Trek” sounds. It’s just a short bit of the music, though. Then they take it into an upbeat and fun romp of the “I Love Lucy” theme.
Meritage Estate
Coming in slower and rather melancholy, particularly in contrast to the previous number, this works out after the introduction to some more crazed sounds as punctuation to the mellower, more melodic segments.
Preparing For the Day
The classical tones on this are fun and energetic. There is a playful air to this piece.
Vesper For Janelle
Slow moving, sedate and rather melancholy in tone, this is also quite a pretty number.
Chimera
I love the piano textures that start this. The strings add so much as they join. This has more energy and a lighter tone than the previous number did. There is a real moving vibe to it. It feels almost like “traveling music.”
See Me Feel Me / I Will Fight and Never Slack
The strings start this, playing the familiar Who passages in a slow and measured way. The second half of this brings an almost Celtic angle to things. It’s not until that movement kicks in (and nearly two minutes in) that the piano joins. They work things to a fast paced and playful jam from there. Then, just after the three minute mark, they bring it back to the Who melodies, this time with the piano added to the mix. That movement takes the cut to its end.
Moderatamente
I love the classical elements on display here. This is a pretty and rather reflective piece. It is packed with emotion.
Romanza
Another that’s on the sedate and classical end of the musical spectrum, this is a pretty track.
The Lady Caliph
This is also quite a pretty piece of music. It’s a satisfying way to end the set.

 

For more information about IAC RECORDS and Artists, please visit www.iacrecords.com

To order IAC RECORDS Releases on Bandcamp please visit: https://iacrecords.bandcamp.com

 

 

 

US Review: ANDREW DURR “TIME FRAME”

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https://michaelsmusiclog.blogspot.com/2018/12/andrew-durr-time-frame-2018-cd-review.html

Andrew Durr: “Time Frame” (2018) CD Review

Migrant Mother is the title of a famous photograph by Dorothea Lange. That photo and its subject and its creator inspired a play of the same title written by Ken White. The play debuted in January of 2017 (though apparently a shorter version was put on in 2014), with music performed by Andrew Durr. Now that music is available on Time Frame: Songs From The Play Migrant Mother. This is a folk album sort of in the original folk tradition, covering some well-known and beloved songs, songs from the Dust Bowl era. But Andrew Durr delivers some unusual, intriguing takes on the familiar material. Joining him on this album are Ray Vazira on percussion and keys, Janet Baltzo on keys, Steve Ashman on electric bass, John Ady on acoustic bass, Kevin Pallotta on drums, Narayan Baltzo on trumpet, Jeffrey McFarland-Johnson on cello, Patrick Durr on harmonica and backing vocals, Alexandra Durr on backing vocals, and Melissa Dawn on spoken word vocals. The disc’s liner notes were written by Ken White.

The album opens with “Hard Times Come Again No More,” a song that predates the Dust Bowl years. This version by Andrew Durr is delivered honestly without adornment, and features some nice work on harmonica. There is also some excellent, passionate vocal work, and I love the backing vocals. “Many days you have lingered around my cabin door/Hard times come again no more.” That’s followed by a lively, fun number, “Are You making Any Money?” This playful tune features some delightful work on piano, as well as more good work on harmonica. “Make fun when you could make trouble/Make mistakes, but they pay double/Say, honey, are you making any money?/Because that’s all I want to know.” Then we get a good rendition of “Pastures Of Plenty.” Any album of material covering this time and subject must include at least one Woody Guthrie song. It just wouldn’t be right otherwise. This rendition of “Pastures Of Plenty” has a more serious, somber tone, and a power. Toward the end, the snare drum takes on the feel of a march for a time.
“Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?” is one of the most famous songs of the Great Depression. It was written by Jay Gorney and E.Y. Harburg. As presented here, it has a darker folk vibe, which is quite fitting for the lyrics. I really like the way Andrew Durr tackles this one. He starts to belt out the lyrics toward the end, giving a passionate and raw performance, fully invested in the song. Another well-known song from that time is “Pennies From Heaven,” written by Artie Johnson and Johnny Burke. The version here begins with some vocals delivered basically as spoken word, and sounding like an old recording, or like they’re on a radio or perhaps even from over a phone. Then the musicians come in, and the song takes on a sweet, warm folk vibe, with more good work on harmonica. That’s followed by “Who’s Been Polishing The Sun” a fun, bouncy, peppy folk number, with yet more lively, wonderful work on harmonica.
“The Way You Look Tonight” is a song that gets in my head quite often. I’ve heard a lot of different renditions over the years, but I’ve never heard a version quite like the one on this album. It is sort of folk, but has a strange, cool jazzy feel. I like it a whole lot, especially the work on piano. Andrew Durr follows that with an equally unusual rendition of “Keep On The Sunny Side.” He establishes a darker, more serious vibe, fitting the song’s first line, “There’s a dark and troubled side of life,” much more than its second, “There’s a bright and sunny side too.”  I’ve never heard the song approached this way before. It has more of a “House Of The Rising Sun” vibe, or perhaps even “Death Don’t Have No Mercy.” Listening to it, you get the feeling that it is probably impossible – or at least incredibly difficult – to do as the song says and “Keep on the sunny side of life.” Then “Will The Circle Be Unbroken?” begins a cappella, before the guitar comes in. This version is folk, with a gospel element in the backing vocals, and sounds wonderful. The album ends with “Life Is Just A Bowl Of Cherries,” a fun, playful version that even includes some whistling and then kazoo and then horn. So there! I love it.
CD Track List
  1. Hard Times Come Again No More
  2. Are You Making Any Money?
  3. Pastures Of Plenty
  4. Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?
  5. Pennies From Heaven
  6. Who’s Been Polishing The Sun
  7. The Way You Look Tonight
  8. Keep On The Sunny Side
  9. Will The Circle Be Unbroken?
  10. Life Is Just A Bowl Of Cherries
Time Frame was released on CD on November 9, 2018 through IAC Records.

Stay tuned in 2019 for even more great artists and releases from IAC RECORDS!

For more information about IAC RECORDS and Artists, please visit www.iacrecords.com

To order IAC RECORDS Releases on Bandcamp please visit: https://iacrecords.bandcamp.com

 

 

 

US Review: NAPA VALLEY DUO “AN AMERICAN IN PARIS”

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Stay tuned in 2019 for even more great artists and releases from IAC RECORDS!

For more information about IAC RECORDS and Artists, please visit www.iacrecords.com

To order IAC RECORDS Releases on Bandcamp please visit: https://iacrecords.bandcamp.com