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    Album of the week

    Album of the Week: Rosanne Cash - The River & The Thread

    This weeks album of the week is Rosanne Cash - The River & The Thread and here is what www.pastemagazine.com had to say.....

    Like a good claret or damp moss, Rosanne Cash’s singing is something to sink into. Surrender to the tones—mostly dark, but marked by the occasional glimmer of light—and let the emotions they contain seep inside.

    For Cash, the emotions on The River & The Thread are complex and tangled. Beyond what she sings about—the ghost of Emmett Till on the haunting “Money Road,” the widow of The Tennessee Three’s bassist Marshall Grant on the acoustic-picked “Etta’s Tune,”—there is the Grammy-winner’s own difficult relationship with the South, her roots and her own musical journey.

    What emerges, beyond a woman grappling with a legacy, as much in the rich bottomland as her father Johnny’s iconic presence as the voice of America, is a knowing embrace of the conflicts in the things we love. The chooglin’ “World of Strange Design,” strung with a neon fishing wire guitar solo from Derek Trucks, addresses the notions of problems and things we refuse to acknowledge for that embrace.

    Still, the 11-song cycle is mostly a meditation on the textures and musical forms that emerged south of the Mason-Dixon line. The title track suggests each piece does not create a whole, yet the essence can be found in any little piece—just as the Mississippi River serves as a metaphor for the blood in her veins.

    Whether tender—as the almost lullaby of “Night School” or the aching “Tell Heaven”—or savoring the moment—the roiling invocation of a religious AM station “50,000 Watts” that saunters like an alley cat on the prowl—Cash has never sounded as comfortable or engaged. These songs are plumbing something deep inside, something she doesn’t need to flex or open a wound to inhabit.

    Finding not just resolve, but acceptance, is a gift. Cash, who’s sidestepped her heritage, and eschewed a career as a country star with 11 No. 1 hits, a marriage to a country writer/producer/artist Rodney Crowell and the city and industry where she found prominence, savored her wandering the Manhattan life she built. With The River & The Thread, she comes home with the warmth reserved for knowing where we’re from.

    As powerful a witness for the region—Memphis, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas—as it is a lovely quilt of musicality, braiding blues, folk, Appalachia, rock and old-timey country, this is balm for lost souls, alienated creatures seeking their core truths and intellectuals who love the cool mist of vespers in the hearts of people they may never encounter

     

     

     

    RTÉ Radio 1 Album of The Week: Tales From The Realm Of The Queen Of Pentacles – Suzanne Vega

     The weeks RTÉ Radio 1 Album of the week is Suzanne Vega - Tales From the Realm of The Queen of Pentacles.

    Here is what Cooking Vinyl had to say....

    Vega’s much-welcomed first new material in seven years.

    By Andy Fyfe February 3, 2014 MoJo.com ( Also their Album of the Week that week)

    Whatever made Vega spend her last four years re-recording her own back catalogue as four themed albums – like someone re-filing their CDs from alphabetical into ‘feel’ – it seems to have unblocked whatever was preventing her from releasing new material. And to celebrate, here is the folky singer-songwriter in totally new guise: Suzanne Vega, Rock Chick. Well, not quite, but in a career more noted for hushed moments it’s still a surprise to hear electric guitars played in anger. And it’s a good look. Vega dips into the Tarot for songs about spiritual growth, death, the afterlife and Vaclav Havel, while an array of session superheroes – among them Larry Campbell and Gail Ann Dorsey – fill the album with crackling electricity that even gets a little menacing on live showstopper I Never Wear White. It’s hardly Dylan goes electric, but the intent is much the same.

     

     

    Album of the Week: The Henry Girls - Louder The Words

     

    This weeks album of the week is Henry Girls Louder Then Words and here is what MusicandEverything.com had to say....

    The Henry Girls have been around for quite some time despite the recent peak in interest, possibly spawned by the increased popularity in folk music. Names after their grandfather, the Donegal sisters have been performing together for more than a decade, with their first release “Between Us” gracing the Irish music scene in 2002.

    This month sees the release of their 5th album ‘Louder Than Words’ , a warm, ten track album that comes across polished and professional, without succumbing to an overly commercial sound.

    On the whole, this is a consistently strong album with a few tracks that stand just a little further out than the others. Reason To Believe is particularly notable; a soothingly harmonic track in which the sisters vocals intertwine beautifully, it is a signature of their light and airy sound.

    The harmonies are what really sell this album. There is something wonderfully perfect when siblings sing together and this is especially true in the case of the Henry Girls. The Light in The Window and Here Beside Me are rendered magical by the heart wrenching harmonies; the former instilling some fantastic traditional Irish musicianship in the form of a fiddle and bodhrán.

    This is an exquisite album with highs and lows in terms of tempo, mood and vocals throughout. It is compelling and moving; masterful in the sense that it truly draws the listener in to the atmosphere of each song. If you have not yet heard The Henry Girls music, this album would be a great place to start

    Review written by Claire Kane. Visit her website for more great music reviews: musicandeverything.com

     

     

     

    Album of the Week: Bruce Springsteen - High Hopes

    This weeks album of the week is Bruce Springsteen High Hopes -

    Here is what Alan Corr of RTÉ Ten had to say about it,

    40 years on and at 64 years of age, Bruce elevates this re-ordering of odds and sods onto a higher level altogether.

    Welcome to the Bruce and Tom show. Rage Against The Machine guitar firebrand Tom Morello is not just Springsteen’s musical foil on this enjoyable rag bag collection of b-sides, covers and previously un-recorded tracks; he also became his muse, providing the impetuous for Bruce to finally put these ghosts and lingering half-finished songs from his vast back catalogue to rest.

    Morello features on seven of the 12 tracks here and High Hopes also marks a series of firsts for Springsteen. This is the first album he’s recorded on the road and the first Bruce album beginning and ending with cover versions.

    As bookends go, they reveal a lot about the spirit of this 18th album. The first is a sturdy reworking of High Hopes, a song by LA act The Havelinas originally covered by Bruce in 1996 for his Blood Brothers EP. Here it becomes a brass- drenched, righteous rumble full of lashings of Morello’s wah-wah guitar. The closing song is a cover of Dream Baby Dream by New York proto-punks Suicide, a seemingly unlikely choice that keeps its original form but also turns into a burnished torch song in Bruce’s hands.

    What lies between is a collection split between Springsteen heart-on-blue-shirted sleeve redemption songs and some knocked-out knockabouts, all bristling with the bedrock musicianship of E Streeters but truly enlivened by Morello’s spitting, aerobatic guitar moves.

    There’s even a blast of Celticism on This is Your Sword as Cillian Vallely's uileann pipes and high and low whistle build to a typically rousing chorus about self-belief in the face of adversity. There’s fun to be had with Frankie Fell in Love and the spare and haunting Down in The Hole features Clarence Clemons and Danny Federici's last ever recordings.

    The lean Harry’s Place, originally recorded for 2003's post-911 album The Rising, has all the backroom menace of The Sopranos or a poker game in Joe Pesci’s basement. A lively cover of The Saints' Just Like Fire Would is also very good and very welcome indeed but perhaps Hunter of Invisible Game is late period Springsteen at his best. It overtures with an Elmer Bernstein-style string thing and is the most plangent and gorgeous song here. Raw emotion leaks out on The Wall, a moving lament for fallen comrades on the Jersey music scene who died needlessly in the Vietnam War.

    However, the seven-and-half-minute re-recorded version of the celebrated Ghost of Tom Joad towers above even that. It’s owned by Morello as he trades verses with Springsteen and fires off some extraordinary note-bending pyrotechnics which sound like machine gun rattle one second, wired turntablism, and, then, police sirens the next. It's spine-tingling proof of the genuine connection between the pair.

    40 years on and at 64 years of age, Bruce elevates even this re-ordering of odds and sods onto a higher level altogether. This kind of heroism and undaunted self-belief would be clichéd if it wasn’t so damn passionate. It’s further testament that he remains hungry after all these years. Clearly, Springsteen is still guided by hidden forces

      

     

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