Misha & Han Mid-70s Cave Music

I didn’t know about this box set. But def need to share.

Country Music Critics’ Poll Results

 

The results of the Nashville Scene’s annual Country Music Critics’ Poll have have hit. Take a bow, Lil Nas X, Tanya Tucker, Miranda Lambert, Luke Combs, and Bear Family. Hats off to Geoffrey Himes and team for all the hard work of tabulation. Here’s my ballot below.
TOP TEN COUNTRY ALBUMS
 1. Tyler Childers – Country Squire 
2. Hayes Carll –  What It Is  
3. Runaway June – Blue Roses 
4. Maren Morris – GIRL
5. Jon Pardi – Heartache Medication
6. Miranda Lambert – Wildcard 
7. Midland –  Let It Roll 
8. George Strait – Honky Tonk Time Machine
9. Maddie & Tae – One Heart to Another 
10. Trisha Yearwood – Every Girl

TOP TEN COUNTRY SINGLES
1. Hardy – Rednecker 
2. Tenille Townes – Somebody’s Daughter 
3. Runaway June – Buy My Own Drinks 
4. Little Nas X ft. Billy Ray Cyrus –  Old Town Road 
5. Lori McKenna – Stealing Kisses 
6. Maren Morris – All My Favorite People Do 
7. Trisha Yearwood – Every Girl in This Town 
8. Tenille Townes – I Kept the Roses 
9.  Ashley McBryde – One Night Standards
10. Midland – Playboys  

 

COUNTRY MUSIC’S THREE BEST SONGWRITERS
 1.  Ashley McBride
2.  Tyler Childers 
3.  Lori McKenna 
 

 

TOP FIVE COUNTRY REISSUES
3. Various Artists – Strut My Stuff: Obscure Country and Hillbilly Boppers   (Sundazed)
4. Neil Young & the Stray Gators – Tuscaloosa   (Reprise)

 

 

COUNTRY MUSIC’S THREE BEST NEW ACTS
1. HARDY 
2. Kelsey Waldon 
3. Riley Green 

 

 

Snock in Town – Crystal Beams of Yore Sighted

Almost Forgot: Michael Leonhart Orchestra Rockin GZA and ODB

A lot of music flies by each anum, and the ever-wise Tom Moon just posted about a fun record he neglected to mention in year-end citations, like this list i made. That reminded me that I had one, too. Michael Leonhart Orchestra’s ‘Suite Extracts, Vol 1’ is a blast, and not just because it allows Spinal Tap to spill into Ornette (shades of those glorious Either/Orchestra pair-ups from years gone by). Spent a fun afternoon in the car this summer, blasting it and loving the group’s spin on GZA’s “Liquid Swords.” Prob best if you give it a spin. Even better if you catch Team Leonhart at the Jazz Standard on January 14/15. On Tuesday, they address their Brazilian Suite with Anat Cohen as a special guest, and on Wednesday it’s Tain Watts as guest drummer and Michael Blake on reeds. Saw them roar through a few pieces last Sunday at Rizzoli in NYC, and when he got the audience singing along on an Arto/Vinicius jewel, everyone in the room lifted off. See what happens during this Jazz Standard run. 

Jazz Standard

Sunnyside Records

Dave Douglas ENGAGE (Greenleaf)

There are various ways to fight the power, and when it comes to battling the current assaults against equality, science, social justice and good old common sense, Dave Douglas likes to have his anger generate campaigns of positivity. Rectifying wrongs can yield an array of attacks, but he titled his last outing UPLIFT and this new album ENGAGE because activism, especially creative activism, has transformative effects. Speaking of change, the bandleader, heralded since his 1993 debut as a conceptualist whose ever-shifting interests have yielded a wealth of distinct ensembles, introduces a new outfit here. As they enthusiastically address this program, they create a music of optimism.

Encouragement and assurance waft through the 12 pieces comprising the trumpeter’s 40somethingth album, and though the music sounds familiar – style becomes an artistic signature, even when you dodge formulas as doggedly as Douglas – it remains potent. A clarity of purpose is prominent in many of these tunes, with golden melodies leading the charge and the sextet’s feisty interplay exploding the themes. Rather than coming off like an ornery indictment of kids caged at the border, “How Are the Children” radiates a dark-hued idealism that offers solace while suggesting a transcendence, with saxophonist Anna Webber digging in to offer a variety of emotions in a perpetually flourishing solo.

That’s a tad different than Douglas’ last excursion. Despite its title, UPLIFT aptly echoed some of the social and political turmoil afoot these days. The new record’s liner notes explain that its tunes are paeans to community and involvement, and to underscore such comparatively hopeful feels, the pieces are built on major triads. Google reminds this particular tack will often yield music that’s “simple, bright and happy.” It’s no surprise that Team Douglas renders something a bit meatier than that – these are some of the era’s deftest improvisers, and the boss’s pen is naturally provocative. But there is an enviable anthemic atmosphere to several tracks, and in a captivating way, a pop savvy forms an attractive undercurrent to most performances.

The group – Douglas, Webber, guitarist Jeff Parker, cellist Tomeka Reid, bassist Nick Dunston and drummer Kate Gentile – is united in purpose. The sway of “Free Libraries” is substantial; the swing of “Living Earth” is deep; the pliant changes of “One Sun, A Million Rays” are gripping. There’s plenty of old-school blowing, too. “Where Do We Go From Here” turns into a blast of brass when trumpeters Dave Adewumi and Riley Mutherkar join the action, and there are passages when the music recalls the clarion swag of Henry Threadgill’s early Sextett, reminding how crucial group participation is to the success of any vibrant endeavor. That kind of spirited cooperation has political parallels as well. If we’d all activate and unite, Douglas seems to be saying, we could dump the pernicious bastards now in power, and accomplish so much more.

DownBeat

DownBeat Digital

Greenleaf Music 

A Lovely Story

If Your Partner Don’t Act Fair, Don’t Worry, There’s Some More Over There!