Monday, September 22, 2003
— Dave Matthews steps away from his band mates on “Some Devil” (RCA). But the set still boasts a big production sound, as Matthews has welcomed support from his longtime pals Tim Reynolds and Trey Anastasio, plus the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Emmylou Harris and more.
— OutKast releases “Speakerxxx: The Love Below” (LaFace/Arista), a double-disc set with a bonus, limited edition DVD.
— Nickelback, Canada’s hottest export of the hour, summons up a fourth studio set of tuneful rockers, “The Long Road” (Roadrunner).
— There’s nothing like falling in love to inspire a songwriter’s creative juices. So it is with Elvis Costello and his new romantic suite, “North” (Deutsche Grammophon), clearly sparked by his significant other, Diana Krall.
— A cover of Elvis Costello’s “Tear Off Your Own Head (It’s a Doll Revolution)” is featured on and inspires the title of the new Bangles reunion album “Doll Revolution” (Koch). First edition features a bonus DVD with music video, documentary and musical rarities.
— Showing lots of old-school showbiz flair (verging at times on Broadway and opera) is Rufus Wainwright’s “Want” (DreamWorks), a posh and wry vision of New York gay life, lushly and theatrically orchestrated.
— Actor Billy Bob Thornton tries again to cross over to the music scene with “The Edge of the World” (Sanctuary), his cause boosted by the likes of Joe Walsh, Tommy Shaw, Daniel Lanois and Marty Stuart.
— With Raul Malo finally back in the fold, the Mavericks are in strong form again on their new self-titled album for Sanctuary Records. Their definition of Americana rock includes a big dose of Roy Orbison dramatics on the likes of “In My Dreams” and “Wondering,” the Texas swing of “Because of You” and Mariachi spunk on the anthemic “Shine a Light.”
— The String Cheese Incident strives for a more varied and craft- conscious approach on its fourth album, “Untying the Not” (Sci- Fidelity Records), with material largely inspired, its members say, by “life’s obscenities.”
— “Welcome to the Middle” (Universal) is a great introduction to Laguardia, a sophisticated, substantial sounding rock group from Philadelphia, at turns lush and quirky (in a British sort of way).
— While much admired by peers, husky-throated singer-songwriter Joe Henry has yet to win a wide following. Arguing for attention anew is his darkly atmospheric, jazz-tinged new set of mini-movies, “Tiny Voices” (Anti).
— Meat Loaf cranks up the Broadway-meets-Springsteen rock histrionics anew on “Couldn’t Have Said It Better” (Sanctuary), with major opuses like the title track, “Did I Say That,” “Man of Steel” and a 10-minute version of Dylan’s “Forever Young.”
— On “More Jack Than God” (Sanctuary), the durable Jack Bruce delivers dramatic, big-picture rock songs and also tosses in a couple of classics crafted in his Cream days.
— Talented cabaret performer Stew has “Something Deeper Than These Changes” (Smile/Image Entertainment).
— The offbeat show-and-tell troupe Trachtenberg Family Slideshow Players project “Vintage Slide Collections From Seattle, Volume 1” (Bar None).
— Consummate mandolin pickers Sam Bush and David Grisman have a great time (and so will you) working bluegrass and jazzgrass instrumental numbers on “Hold On, We’re Strumming” (Acoustic Disc).
— Capercaillie blends modern sampling and scratching percussion with its Celtic music to surprisingly good effect on “Choice Language” (Sanctuary).
— Ruminating balladeer John Gorka returns to the Red House label with “Old Futures Gone,” softening his vocal attack to good effect.
— The Kennedys “Stand” (Koch) and deliver punchy folk rock.
— Emmylou Harris returns with “Stumble Into Grace” (Nonesuch), with visits from Linda Ronstadt, Jane Siberry and the McGarrigle sisters, Kate and Anna.
— Epic wants new Fuel fans to hear what they’ve missed, by simultaneously delivering both the group’s new album “Natural Selection” and expanded versions of Fuel’s first two albums, “Sunburn” and “Something Like Human.” The latter now features covers of Elton John’s “Daniel” and Led Zeppelin’s “Going to California,” previously available only on a bonus EP distributed by Wal-Mart.
— On “Regreat Over the Wires” (Hybrid), Matthew Ryan serves up a vigorous dose of rock ‘n’ roll infused with honesty, insight and humor.
— Sure to pump up the adrenaline, former members of Dropkick Murphys collaborate with a fellow Boston scenester from Mighty Mighty Bosstones as Street Dogs on “Savin’ Hill” (Crosscheck).
— Funky dudes Sex Mob welcome swaggering trombonist Roswell Rudd into their midst on “Dime Grand Palace” (Ropeadope).
— Renee Austin makes a wonderful impression — in voice and material — on the contemporary blues set “Sweet Talk” (Blind Pig).
— Likewise new from the label is “Blues in the Blood,” a set of mostly new material written and performed by Big Bill Morganfield, son of Muddy Waters.
— Rory Block shuffles some classics on the acoustic-oriented “Last Fair Deal” (Telarc).
— Duke Robillard, formerly of Roomful of Blues and the Fabulous Thunderbirds, delivers his own set “Exalted Lover” (Stony Plain), assisted at times by Debbie Davies and Pam Tillis.
— Manhattan Transfer delivers its first live concert album, “Couldn’t Be Hotter” (Telarc).
— Eric Marienthal shares “Sweat Talk” (Peak).
— Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band sizes up to “XXL” (Silverline) in CD and surround DVD Audio versions. Helping out are Take 6, Brian McKnight and Johnny Mathis.
— Geoffrey Keezer teams with Claire Martin on “Falling Up” (Maxjazz).
— Iconoclastic country rocker Steve Earle is the subject of a two- CD concert set, “Just an American Boy,” out Tuesday, and a DVD documentary of the same name, coming Oct. 21, both from Artemis.
— “The Complete Geffen Recordings” gathers all four albums recorded by Joni Mitchell for the label between 1982 and 1991, improved with a couple of previously unheard tracks and artist insights in an 88-page booklet. The increasingly jazzy and urbane sounding albums include “Wild Things Run Fast,” “Dog Eat Dog,” the theatrical “Chalk Mark in a Rain Storm” (heavy with guests like Peter Gabriel, Willie Nelson, Don Henley, Tom Petty and Billy Idol) and “Night Ride Home.”
— Bjork’s rare 1990 Icelandic jazz album “Gling-Glo” (One Little Indian) finally arrives in the United States. A few of the tunes are familiar without translation — “Dad Set Ekk Saetari Mey” is “You Can’t Get a Man With A Gun” (from “Annie Get Your Gun”) while “Pabbi Minn” is “Oh My Papa.”
— Keyboard original Thelonious Monk is in rare form on “Monk in Paris: Live at the Olympia” (Sin-Drome Records) bundled with a DVD of the group performing Monk’s signature tunes “Round Midnight” and “Blue Monk.”
Count Basie’s small and big band recordings of the 1930s, ’40s and early ’50s comprise “America’s #1 Band: The Columbia Years” (Columbia Legacy).
— Jonathan Takiff, Knight Ridder Newspapers
Look for reviews of the latest CDs Thursday in Cue and Friday in Weekend Cue.
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