Collin Raye – Selected Hits

Collin Raye – Selected Hits / 2007 StarPointe Records / / /

What Collin Raye does on eir “Selected Hits” is essentially make a Greatest Hits EP. Like many greatest hits albums, there are a few new tracks to whet the appetites of completists (this time, “A Soldier’s Prayer” and “Quitters” make their appearance). Also like many greatest hits albums, there are tracks that everyone that is a fan of Raye’s would know, a listing which includes “That’s My Story (And I’m Sticking To It)”, “Little Rock”, “I Think About You”, and “Love Me”. There is a minor twist on the greatest hits idea with “Selected Hits”; the songs here are not what individuals know as being the “studio” version, but rather mark a live recording that Raye did with the Salt Lake Symphony. The production of these tracks are all excellent, and allow listeners to hear exactly what type of variations Raye added to these already classic tracks. Continue reading “Collin Raye – Selected Hits”

Karmina – The Kiss

Karmina – The Kiss / 2007 CBS / 5 Tracks / / /

“The Kiss” is the self-titled opener to this pop star’s latest EPs. “The Kiss” has a sound that seems like a more  mature version of early Hilary Duff. There are hints of artists like Kelly Clarkson present in Karmina’s overall approach. The instrumentation works well in highlighting all the right places during “The Kiss”, but does not experiment or come forth with a sound that has been heard before. Individuals that are trying to find a new easy listening meets pop (adult contemporary) type of sound should look into Karmina, but if individuals are looking for ways that the pop genre can be expanded, this is not the disc that they should pick up. “Free” varies up the style that individuals should expect from Karmina, coming in with a slower tempo. Continue reading “Karmina – The Kiss”

Will Dailey – Back Flipping Forward

Will Dailey – Back Flipping Forward / 2007 CBS / 10 Tracks / / /

Will Dailey has been around the Boston independent music scene for a few years. 2004 marked the release of Dailey’s first disc, “GoodByeRedBullet”, which pushed 10,000 copies in sales. Individuals that are not immediately familiar with Dailey’s work may have still heard Dailey in the past. Songs of eir have been present on shows such as CSI: Miami, Jericho, NCIS, and The Young and The Restless. I guess it makes that sense that “Back Flipping Forward” is on CBS Records.

 Well, the re-release of “Back Flipping Forward” is on CBS; Dailey released the album to critical acclaim once before, in April of 2006. Individuals that have this first version of “Back Flipping Forward” still need to pick up this version, for a number of reasons. The style of rock that Dailey plays is something that is interesting in the sense that it sounds like a more soulful, more honest version of a John Maher. I have no doubt that it will be easy for Dailey to go forth and really capture the minds and hearts of a number of individuals on the college circuit. Whether eir fame will expand when CBS gives this album proper publicity is to be seen, but Dailey makes a strong case for this album based on eir work here. The production is strong without being stifling, the arrangements thoughtful without otherwise sounding trite or too experimental.

More interesting to me is the fact that unlike a Maher, Johnson, or Matthews, Will Dailey is able to make an entire album work within a specific theme. This means that individuals know exactly what album a song like “Yesterday’s Gone” or “Rise” is coming from; different tracks have a common thread that links them inexorably to each other and to the whole of “Back Flipping Forward”. If you are a fan of this very vibrant and energetic take on the singer songwriter paradigm, pick up “Back Flipping Forward”. I have no doubt in my mind that Dailey is just one of the lineage that leads all the way back to Bob Dylan, in that the instrumentation that ey provides and the heart and spirit that ey imbues each track on the disc with is similar to that of the great mumble mouthed legend. Also, if you hear some rumbling about Dailey playing live – take the opportunity. I have little doubt in my mind that the live performance takes all of the strengths from the studio and adds more of Dailey’s vim and vigor.

Top Tracks: Yesterday’s Gone, Rise

Rating: 6.2/10

Johnny Cash – The Great Lost Performance

Johnny Cash – The Great Lost Performance / 2007 Island / 18 Tracks / / /

This CD makes a Johnny Cash that was a good fifteen years before the one that was captured during the last “American” CD. This means that the voice seems stronger, and that there is more of an energy with each of these eighteen cuts that blends well the younger and older Cash. This “lost performance” was recorded in July of 1990 at The Paramount Theatre in Asbury Park, New Jersey. For those individuals that are only casually familiar with Cash’s discography, “Ring of Fire”, “Folsom Prison Blues”, and “I Walk The Line” all make their appearance on this album. Continue reading “Johnny Cash – The Great Lost Performance”

Son Volt – The Search

Son Volt – The Search / 2007 Transmit Sound / 14 Tracks / /

I came to the music scene a little too late to hear Uncle Tupelo, but Son Volt is an act that continues some of the same styles and musical approaches that Uncle Tupelo once created. This is probably due to the fact that Jay Ferrar, the guitar / harmonica / vocalist of Son Volt, was an integral member of Uncle Tupelo. Don’t get me wrong, Son Volt has had a hell of a history in the years since the folding-up of Uncle Tupelo. “The Search” marks their fifth release, their third on Transmit Sound. Son Volt had an interesting marketing premise with this album. Continue reading “Son Volt – The Search”

Marla Hansen – Wedding Day

Marla Hansen – Wedding Day / 2007 Standard / 6 Songs / /

Individuals may not be familiar with who Marla Hansen is. Essentially, ey is a member of the Sufjan Stevens band and also is a member of My Brightest Diamond. The title track has more of a Devendra Banhart sound than a Sufjan style, as Hansen comes to the plate with a very early Americana type of sound. Hints of woodsy folk music interact with a softly-spoken and meandering set of vocals during “Wedding Day”, sounding similar to if Alanis Morrisette went back to the 1890s with Marty McFly and eir Delorean. “Shuffle Your Feet” is a track that has a little bit more of a dedicated direction to it, and while it does not add anything different to the mix, Hansen approaches different sounds and styles in such a way to keep individuals interested. Continue reading “Marla Hansen – Wedding Day”

Over The Rhine – The Trumpet Child

Over The Rhine – The Trumpet Child / 2007 Great Speckled Dog / 11 Tracks / /

“I Don’t Wanna Waste Your Time” is one of the first tracks on “The Trumpet Child”, and it shows Over the Rhine as an extremely mature band that is able to set off a track that will introduce fans properly to the rest of the album. There is a high amount of jazz and blues influence that present themselves during this introductory track, and even when Over the Rhine start to speed things up, they do not jettison this introductory sound. Brass add a little bit more in the way of flair to the track, but this does not detract from the sultry vocals that occupy the focal point of the song. Continue reading “Over The Rhine – The Trumpet Child”

Elvis – Viva Las Vegas

Elvis – Viva Las Vegas / 2007 RCA / 16 Tracks / / /

There are literally millions of fans that dedicate their lives to following the spectre of Elvis. Record labels have attempted to continually keep these fans awash in different media concerning Elvis, and this live CD is yet another important step forward. While the tracks here are from a myriad of different places, there are a number of songs that individuals, regardless of how familiar they are with Elvis, will be familiar with. Songs here include “Viva Las Vegas”, “Bridge Over Troubled Water”, and “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling”. There are tracks that individuals that are not Elvis fanatics will likely have to get used to, such as “You Gave Me A Mountain”, but this would only increase the appreciation of Elvis’ talent for anyone that is somewhat familiar with the artist. Continue reading “Elvis – Viva Las Vegas”

Marlene Tholl – Kore

Marlene Tholl – Kore / 2006 Self / 11 tracks /

World music is an inexplicably tough genre in which to attain popularity . This can be assumed, of course, with any genre of music, but world music is constantly thrown into a category with classical or orchestral.
I had some hope in World music, especially with more mainstream bands like Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly infusing Irish beats with aggressive punk. Unfortunately, the bulk of American society still seems to associate World as old fashioned and out of date. Continue reading “Marlene Tholl – Kore”

Birds and Batteries – I’ll Never Sleep Again

Birds and Batteries – I’ll Never Sleep Again / 2007 Self / 13 Tracks /

What the country’s new obsession with annoying Mario Cart music like The Snow Patrol and Hellogoodbye is, I will never figure out. Nor will I be able to forgive people like my sister, 17 and a cheerleader, for blasting the annoying, synthetic beats every morning for her workout. Good job, America, for getting away from your game of Tetris and instead creating whole albums full of music for such games. Continue reading “Birds and Batteries – I’ll Never Sleep Again”