Thursday, January 26, 2006
"Hope and Desire"
On sale at All That Jazz for $15.98
Every generation of women searches for a musician to speak for them. And somehow, "Whoops, I did it again" just doesn't provide us with that connection.
What woman can forget the day she first heard Janis Joplin long for Bobby McGee or Aretha Franklin beg for respect?
For a woman to carry the musical burdens of her entire generation, she must be as strong as she is vulnerable, and her voice must be her own.
Susan Tedeschi is all those things.
Her music swaggers. It pines. It carries the kind rhythm of painful, raspy lyrics that will make songs such as "Soul of a Man" a late-night jukebox hit for years to come.
Rated: Listen to Tedeschi wail while you sway by yourself in the middle of the empty dance floor.
Built to Spill
"There's Nothing Wrong with Love"
Available at All That Jazz for $12.98
The two most difficult things about being in a rock band are: 1) choosing the band name and 2) deciding which T-shirt to wear on stage. Built to Spill have done both so well. Good name. Good stage fashion.
Alas, one of the coolest names in rock 'n' roll does not the best band make.
Does it matter? It was that stellar band name that got me to fish this early release out of the bin for a listen.
Built to Spill knows how to carry a rhythm much better than they can carry a tune. The rhythm guitar and drums kept my head bobbing, my toe tapping and shoulders shimmying, which means it's the perfect music to be used as the soundtrack for a movie or a commercial for Converse sneakers.
Rated: But sucky vocals make this a bad band for alone time.
The Codetalkers with
Col. Bruce Hampton
Available at All That Jazz for $16.98
The cover of this album says, "This CD will change the way you think about the banjo, flying saucers and grandmothers, not to mention Baltimore."
And with that, the first track starts at such a furious banjo pace that you have to adjust the rhythm of whatever you're doing. If you're doing the dishes, you might want to splash a little. If you are on the road, you might want to drive a little faster. If you are sitting at your desk writing an album review, you might want to do the rib-shaking chair dance.
You might even want to pull the headphones out of your computer so your co-workers can do a little chair dance of their own.
I picked up this album after Oliver Wood, the Southern blues side of The Wood Brothers, talked about how great it was to play with Col. Bruce Hampton.
There are hints of that musical greatness captured on this album, but there's also a wacky, danceable side on tracks such as "Lima" that helped me understand why this group is so popular with the Widespread Panic crowd.
Rated: If you are getting into Southern music these days, as everyone seems to be, this is a good pool in which to dip your toe.