BANFF Beats online music review.
David Crosby, "Sky Trails" (BMG)- The veteran folk-rock pioneer may be in his mid seventies now but the one time Byrd and Crosby, Stills and Nash stalwart is also arguably enjoying one of the most prolific and productive periods of his entire career . "Sky Trails" is the third solo album that David Crosby has completed in the past four years and this gifted old curmudgeon has assembled a finely honed backing band to underpin his efforts here , including his multi-talented son James Raymond. The latter also produced the album and had a hand in writing five of the freshly minted tracks, including the opening Steely Dan soundalike, "She’s Got To Be Somewhere" and Crosby’s current single, "Sell Me A Diamond." Splendid stuff.
Lucinda Williams, "This Sweet Old World"(Highway 20/ Thirty Tigers)- Grammy award winning singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams recently made the decision to re-record the entire contents of her much loved album, "Sweet Old World," re-vamping the package with some fresh new arrangements and the addition of several fine tracks that were dropped from the original release , including "Factory Blues," "Dark Side of Life" and John Anderson’s "Wild and Blue." The finished product is much more raw, uncluttered and visceral than the 1992 original and the urgent makeover that stand-outs such as "Six Blocks Away,""Prove My Love" and "Memphis Pearl" receive elevates them to a whole new musical level in the process.
Soft Machine, "Seven" (Talking Elephant)- This mildly esoteric offering first saw the light of day in 1974 and found keyboardist and long term Soft Machine mainstay Mike Ratledge working with three former members of fellow jazz-rock outfit Nucleus in the shape of bassist Roy Babbington, pianist and reedman Karl Jenkins and demon drummer John Marshall. The sound which these four talented musicians created together placed them firmly in the then highly fashionable fusion genre. with their finest moments oddly reminiscent of the Mahavishnu Orchestra at their most relaxed and accessible.
The Wailin’ Jennys, "Fifteen" (True North Records)- Exquisitely crafted vocal harmonies are the order of the day as the Canadian folk trio return to the fray after a lengthy self-imposed silence with a subtly memorable package featuring affecting interpretations of songs made famous by the likes of Emmylou Harris, Paul Simon and Warren Zevon to name but a few. The latter’s musical epitaph,"Keep Me In Your Heart" provides a genuine highlight alongside Dolly Parton’s "Light of a Clear Blue Morning" and the English traditional ballad "Old Churchyard."